Jim Chanos: This Is The Book To Read On China by Lucinda Shen, Business Insider
China’s economy has been a historically muddy topic for Western writers to tackle, given heavy censorship laws and cultural differences.
But according to billionaire hedge fund manager Jim Chanos, the founder of short-biased hedge fund Kynikos Associates, there’s at least one book on China that has scaled those barriers.
Chanos said the 2006 memoir is “a great, great story and kind of a cautionary tale. Tim and his team correctly, after Tiananmen Square, saw that China was going to be this great, booming market,” Chanos said.
“It was hard for him as a Westerner even though he had done everything right to make any money.”
“He confronted issues at every turn in China. And this has always been the illusion about China — this great market, this booming growth market — and yet profitability for outsiders has been again, illusive,” Chanos said.
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Jim Chanos Talks Commodities, Cheniere and Glencore
Jim Chanos, founder and president at Kynikos Associates LP, runs down where he sees opportunities in commodities, discusses his short on Cheniere and how he views Glencore’s strategy. He speaks on “Bloomberg ‹GO›.” (Peter Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, is a senior independent non-executive director at Glencore.) (Source: Bloomberg)
Mr. China: A Memoir – Description
Mr. China: A Memoir by Tim Clissold
Mr. China tells the rollicking story of a young man who goes to China with the misguided notion that he will help bring the Chinese into the modern world, only to be schooled by the most resourceful and creative operators he would ever meet. Part memoir, part parable, Mr. China is one man’s coming-of-age story where he learns to respect and admire the nation he sought to conquer.
Mr. China: A Memoir – Review
From Publishers Weekly
A British businessman with a background in accounting and auditing, Clissold joined up with an entrepreneur in the early 1990s and set out to buy shares of Chinese firms and to work to make them more profitable. Within two years, Clissold’s venture owned shares in 20 Chinese businesses, with 25,000 employees among them, but the story really centers on Clissold’s encounters with the nation’s “institutionalized confusion.” Firing entrenched middle managers became a protracted process that led to factory riots and employees using company funds to set up competing businesses; the anticorruption bureau demanded cash bribes before opening investigations. Clissold’s narrative is somewhat aimless, slipping from one misadventure (taking American fund managers to a condom factory) to the next, and there’s a certain amount of too-easy humor derived from the exoticism of Chinese culture (e.g., the inevitable banquet where unusual body parts of rabbit and deer are served). Even in these passages, though, Clissold’s fundamental respect for the Chinese culture is unmistakable, and the scenes where he leaves his office and interacts directly with the people can be quite vividly detailed. By the late ’90s, millions of dollars poured into the companies yield disastrous results from an investment standpoint (and Clissold himself suffers a heart attack), but the Chinese economy as a whole hums ever more loudly. Crossover appeal of this title may be limited, but business readers are likely to be entertained.
In the early 1990s, British businessman Clissold–with a passing knowledge of China and of Mandarin–found himself the point man between a group of Wall Street bankers with hundreds of millions to invest and a budding entrepreneur class in China strapped for cash and foreign expertise. This seemingly perfect marriage would become, as one investor put it, “the Vietnam War of American business.” By decade’s end, hundreds of joint ventures would fail and billions of dollars would be lost. If Clissold was well placed to help create many of these ill-fated partnerships, he’s even better positioned to explain, through his own horrific experiences, what went wrong: a labyrinthine legal and political system that Westerners (even with Chinese help) could never decipher, a rickety and hidebound system of factory management in China, an almost-willful lack of respect by Wall Street for Chinese sensibilities, and often-flagrant abuse by Chinese managers of the Western largesse made available to them. A compelling account, related with sly humor and hard-earned wisdom. Alan Moores
Mr. China: A Memoir by Tim Clissold