Mr. China: An Adventurous Young Man Collides with a Vast Nation on the Brink of Capitalism

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9780060761394: Mr. China: An Adventurous Young Man Collides with a Vast Nation on the Brink of Capitalism

In the early 1990s China finally opened for business, and Wall Street wanted to get in on the act. When the investment bankers arrived from New York with their Harvard MBAs, pinstripes and tassled loafers, ready to negotiate with the Old Cadres, the stage was set for a collision between Wall Street's billions and the world's oldest culture.

This is the true story of a tough Wall Street banker who had reached the top and found that it wasn't enough. Looking for glory, he came to China to surf the next new investment wave and teamed up with an ex-Red Guard and an Englishman living in Beijing. Together, they raised over $400 million and bought up factories all over China. They thought the contracts were watertight. But then they began learning the hard way that China doesn't play by anyone else's rules. Left sitting in their boardrooms while their Chinese partners marched off in their own different directions, they watched their millions begin sliding towards the abyss.

Faced with no option but to fight, they embarked on a series of desperate battles to regain control of their businesses. Their struggle reveals the human face of this vast and complex country that knows it must modernise but throughout history has always kept the advantage when dealing with outsiders. Clissold tells his at times surreal story with amusement and affection, and the result is exhilarating, an eye-opening account of the arcane world of traditional Chinese business and an instructive insight into the limitations of Wall Street and western business-school training. He opens a window of understanding between East and West in a truly exciting human-interest story that is a mix of adventure, farce and high finance.

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Product Description:

The incredible story of a Wall Street banker who went to China with $400,000,000 and learned the hard way how (not) to do business there . . .

In the early nineties, China finally opened for business and Wall Street wanted in on the act. When the investment bankers arrived from New York with their Harvard MBAs, pinstripes and tasselled loafers, ready to negotiate with the Old Cadres, the stage was set for collision.

This is the true story of a tough Wall Street banker who came to China looking for glory. He teamed up with an ex-Red Guard and a Mandarin-speaking Englishman. Together, they raised over $400,000,000 and bought up factories all over China. Only as they watched those millions slide towards the abyss did they start to understand that China really doesn't play by anyone else's rules.

Tim Clissold was there at the beginning of China's transformation and he's still there, doing business. In this new edition of his hugely successful book he describes just how much - and how little - has changed in China since his story began.

Review:

For those on Wall Street with their MBA certificates hanging proudly in the office, China is the last great economic frontier, theoretically readily for Westernisation and modernisation, fuelled by oodles of cash. Sadly for them, it's not quite like that. The thin veneer of novelisation is a threadbare cloak for Clissold's exasperated memoirs of his time as a frontiersman in China, trying to translate over USD400m of Wall Street-loaned cash into a viable, working business empire. But the combination of Red Party politics, an unwieldy government and generations of idiosyncrasy militates against the conqueror. Money goes missing, committees fail to be swayed, loyalties waver and the sheer size of the place deadens the possibilities. A country where the workers nibble rabbits' heads is not one where a Brooks Brothers suit cuts much ice in this cautionary tale, prosaically told. Clissold remains caught between a country that he loves and who's people fascinate him and the lure of big, big money, but, in its redemptive arc, its the love that wins through, though not without the rueful acceptance that if you play a game, its best if you know the rules first. --Kirkus

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