RSM boosts top-ten credentials in China with local member merger

26 July 2019 Consultancy.asia

International audit, tax and consulting network RSM is set for a big boost in China with its member firm Huapu Tianjian due to merge with a local competitor.

RSM – currently the world’s seventh largest accounting and consulting network of its kind with 2018 global revenues of $5.37 billion and a headcount of 40,000-plus across 750 offices in over 115 countries – is set to receive a significant boost in Asia, with its Chinese member firm Huapu Tianjian Public Accountants on the verge of finalising a merger deal with another leading local market player.

According to the firm, the merger will immediately result in 40 percent local growth for RSM, with the combined entities to feature a unified workforce consisting of 3,200 partners and employees across 15 offices, including new outlets in Xiamen, Wuxi, Fuzhou, Nanning and Nanjing and international client service hubs based in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

The deal will further what appears a decent turnaround in local fortunes for RSM, after the loss of its former joint-member Ruihua CPAs – itself boasting some 10,000 employees and 40 branches across China – to an exclusive arrangement with fellow accounting network and Ruihua joint-partner Crowe Global. Following the set-back, RSM secured a fresh deal with Huapu Tianjian at the end of last year.Huapu Tianjian joins RSMAt the time, the firm stated that the new alliance was just the first step in its ambition to create a new top-ten accountancy provider in China – through both organic growth and a ‘robust merger programme’ over the short-term – with those aspirations now seemingly set to come to fruition. Still, according to RSM, the deal represents just the second stage of a wider and targeted growth strategy for RSM in China.

“We have big plans for RSM in China,” the firm’s CEO Jean Stephens said at the time of Huapu Tianjian’s admittance, adding that the latest development is the “next step in an ongoing growth strategy which will see RSM China achieve top ten status and prominence as a key player in the Chinese market” – described by Stephens as a crucial market for its clients “who are increasingly looking for coordinated cross-border expertise that spans the globe.”

According to the firm, the new team – to operate with Huapu Tianjian under a rebranded RSM China banner – brings to the table not just its established client base and services in tax, consulting and risk advisory, but also solid expertise in the Chinese IPO, M&A and securities markets – further consolidating and expanding RSM’s “comprehensive service capabilities” at the local level.

“With our new merger, as RSM China we will be even better placed to serve our national and international clients, and those of the wider RSM network looking to operate in the Chinese market,” said Houfa Xiao, Managing Partner of Huapu Tianjian. “The new team brings strong expertise coupled with exceptional client service capabilities and we are excited to evolve our offering as a result.”