Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shaun Rein 1, Jim Rogers 0

Shaun Rein seems to me one of the soundest writers on the PRC commercial scene. I find myself agreeing with him more often than not on the development of corporate China.

I have rarely, however, agreed with him more than I do today when I read his intelligent review of the pompous, self-important piffle masquerading as investment advice in Jim Rodgers' book A Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World's Greatest Market. While Rein (like me) avows great optimism for China's economy and businesses, he pulls no punches when he says:

Overall, though, it does not really sound like Rogers has any idea of what he is talking about when investing in China. He seems to be talking in broad macro themes rather than on specifics of doing business in China. He sounds very much like that professor or government official or businessman who flies into China a couple times a year and lives at the Portman Ritz Carlton and then positions himself as the China expert but does not understand the realities of business here.
When I first travelled to China in 1985 I talked to a very sage American woman who had already been running a business there for several years. I was making my living as a writer then and her advice still sticks with me: "those who stay for a week write a book. If they stay for a month, they might try to write a magazine feature. If they stay for year, they're far too confused to write anything". And it is still so. She, by the way, is still running a China business, now publicly listed and very successful.


Alan P. Fishman said...

I emailed Jim Rogers a copy of the review of his book and he emailed me back informing me that he had responded to the review.
It would be appropriate for Mr. Rein to publish his response to the review.

Alan from Ct.

Paul Woodward said...

I am sure that both Shaun or I would be happy to publish any response that we receive.