The introduction of competition to China's telecommunication services sector in the mid-1990s ignited growth that in just over a decade would propel China to become a world leader in communications and technology adoption and influence.
1994 – 1998: BDA emerges as leading advisor on China's telecoms sector
Yet in 1994, China's market for communications was both small and obscured by secrecy and a lack of reliable information or insights. Sensing the opportunity, that year Duncan Clark and Dr Bohai Zhang formed BD Associates (since abbreviated as 'BDA'). Duncan Clark, the 'D' in BDA, is a graduate of the London School of Economics and a former investment banker with Morgan Stanley in London and Hong Kong. Dr. Bohai Zhang, the 'B' in BDA, was one of the first mainland Chinese in decades to be able to study abroad, receiving in the mid 1980s a Ph.D in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin.
Following a conference sponsored by Morgan Stanley and China's State Planning Commission, thanks to an initial, one year assignment from Morgan Stanley BDA brought together Duncan Clark's knowledge of the communications sector and finance with Dr Bohai Zhang's unique insights into policy-making in China.
BDA was founded to bridge the gap between China's market opportunity in Telecommunications, Media and Technology ("TMT") and the needs of multinational corporations and institutional investors seeking to profit from that growth.
From serving Morgan Stanley and its clients on an exclusive basis from 1994 to 1995, BDA then started to serve TMT clients directly and diversified its financial institution client base.
1998 - 2003: BDA emerges as leading advisor on China's digital sector
BDA has advised on investments in the Internet sector since its inception in China in 1995. Early clients include Sina (through a 1995 assignment for Stone Rich Sight), NetEase (on whose Advisory Board BDA Chairman Duncan Clark served pre- and post- its 2000 IPO) and Alibaba.
2004 - Date: BDA adds Consumer Goods/Services expertise
As capital flows spread beyond telecoms and the Internet, BDA became recognized as a leading expert on China's consumer goods and services sector, prompted in part by the increasing interplay between e-commerce companies and their offline counterparts.
Our experience in advising on hundreds of projects in these sectors has given us a leading position in understanding and quantifying risks for private equity firms.
BDA also serves public equity fund managers through custom consulting and on-going sector tracking.
BDA also leveraged its TMT capabilities to build from 2006 a leading telecoms advisory team in New Delhi, India. BDA sold this business to the Cambridge, UK consultancy Analysys-Mason in April 2010.