It features millionaire New York banker Mart Bakal and his charismatic and well-connected Hong Kong business partner Vincent Lee. The Men Who Would Conquer China traces their efforts as they join forces to take advantage of the investment opportunities provided by China’s transition from a socialist to market economy.
This bestselling Australian documentary has, since its world premiere in June 2004 at the Sydney Film Festival, been bought by France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland and Ireland with offers pending from UK, French Canada, French Belgium, Denmark, Korea and more. Northern American sales are likely to follow when the film is launched there.The film moves between New York, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities over almost four years as the pair seek ideal targets for their plan.
Bakal and Lee make an “odd couple’’. They have known each other for 10 years and relate in many ways like an old married couple- having spats, sulking then making up. Their relationship is the fulcrum on which the film pivots.Bakal has already restructured and sold more than 900 companies for the US Government in massive privatisation schemes in Eastern Europe.
His dream now is to repeat his success in the fastest growing and largest market in the world- China, where the horizons, he sees as unlimited.But China is a formidable fortress for would-be western suitors. Mart needs a “cultural interpreter’’ and his key to unlocking China is Vincent Lee, a brilliant entrepreneur, running his family’s Hong Kong securities dynasty under age-old Chinese business strategies – and in his father’s long shadow.
The film observes the values and approaches of the two and how their eastern and western origins affect their business methods and motivations, as they are locked together by perceived mutual advantage in a struggle crucial to the future of each.