Chicago-based financial and operational consulting firm Stout Risius Ross Advisors LLC recently acquired China Optimization Group.
SRR serves the automotive sector. COG helps Western firms enter the Chinese market and find manufacturing partners in China, according to a news release announcing the deal.
Craige Stout, SRR chief executive officer, said COG helps companies develop ``the right strategy with respect to Asia, from sourcing assessment to market entry to distribution and M&A support.''
``This includes companies that have been in Asia for many years, but for whatever reason, are not realizing expected returns on their investments,'' he said.
In a telephone interview, COG co-founder Jeff Pluto said his company has worked with many plastics firms.
``More and more,'' Pluto said, ``we are dealing with plastic companies that are looking at the Chinese market and saying: `Is there an opportunity for us to be successful in terms of selling into that market?' ''
In recent years, Pluto said, increased sourcing from Asia and the move of manufacturing of complete products into China has caused a major revolution in the supply chain.
``Now managing each one of the subcomponent manufacturers has become more and more critical, and it can't be done by having just one or two people in China.
``It has to be done systematically,'' he said.
Pluto said several multibillion-dollar clients are developing an acquisition type of approach and calling it the ``next-generation China strategy.''
COG, which will move into Stout's Chicago headquarters, was renamed SRR Asia LLC and Pluto was named managing director.
The new SRR Asia staff includes eight U.S.-based employees and 20 workers located in offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.
Tony Jiang, a co-founder of COG, will lead the China practice from Beijing.
``We also have third-party support on the ground in India,'' Pluto said.