The Wire China: Flying High / America’s favorite small plane company, Cirrus Aircraft, has thrived under the ownership of a Chinese SOE. But with an IPO set for Hong Kong, can it continue to soar?

“We have had an iconic American technology and airplane created right here, in a
Midwestern town, with a huge pocket of very good jobs,”says James McGregor, a
Duluth native who lived and worked in China for three decades and was an advisor
to the city during the AVIC acquisition.“AVIC has made a success of it — and I
can’t think of another SOE that has done so well with its foreign investments.”
By the end of this year, perhaps even this month, Cirrus plans to have a very public
celebration of these accomplishments and complete an initial public offering (IPO)
on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.In another era, the IPO might be seen as a
fairytale ending for U.S.-Chinese business engagement. But today, given AVIC’s
reputation in the U.S., the story of Cirrus’s impending Hong Kong IPO is
fundamentally a mystery: Why would a stable and increasingly profitable
arrangement that has so far escaped damage from U.S.-China tensions place itself
in the middle of them? As McGregor put it to me, “A Chinese company that has been doing the right
thing is about to do the wrong thing.”