But China's markets seldom let investors choose when to sell. Indeed, investors must be prepared to bail out at the right time, when influence over an entrepreneuros becomes harder to wield, when M&A activity picks up in China or when a buyer emerges before an intended deal comes along.
Three years after it was founded by two entrepreneurs in Shanghai, private equity-backed online auction house EachNet.com was offered the opportunity to sell one-third of the company to eBay for US$30 million. A year later, eBay offered to buy the remaining two-thirds for an additional US$150 million.
The private equity investors needed to be nimble enough to sell out earlier than expected.
But they might just as easily have needed to exercise the flexibility to invest more money than planned, if that had been necessary.
Buyout firms that learn to exercise the disciplines of building relationships, spotting emerging opportunities, quietly influencing outcomes, exercising strong due diligence and staying nimble will be best able to reap the rewards of a market where East and West are meeting for mutual benefit.