Goldman's Big Bet On China

The firm has spent years cultivating government leaders in Beijing. Will its patience finally pay off?

It's 4 p.m. in Hong Kong on Nov. 15. Goldman Sachs Asia Chairman Mark Schwartz is closing a $1.2 billion deal for a linkup between Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., the conglomerate of local tycoon Li Ka-shing and Gary Winnick's Global Crossing Ltd., a fast-growing U.S. telecom company. The idea is to wire mainland China for phone and Internet service sometime in the future. Minutes later, Schwartz hears that U.S. negotiators in Beijing have agreed on terms for China's entry into the World Trade Organization.

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