In a heartfelt wave of grief, Chinese social media is ablaze with mourning for the recent passing of Charlie Munger, the revered vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. Munger, a stalwart supporter of China, leaves behind a legacy that extends beyond borders. As we delve into his profound influence on Chinese businesses, it becomes evident that Munger’s impact reverberates far and wide.
Munger’s Positive Outlook on China’s Economic Future
Despite China’s economic challenges, Munger remained optimistic, emphasizing that the Chinese economy held exceptional prospects for the next two decades. In a recent interview with the Acquired podcast, he expressed his confidence, stating, “The Chinese economy has better future prospects for the next 20 years than almost any other big economy.” This unwavering support endeared him to many in China.
A Resonating Presence on Chinese Social Media
The news of Munger’s passing has ignited a groundswell of emotion on Chinese social media platforms, particularly on Weibo, where tens of thousands of users shared Munger’s insightful quotes on life, markets, and business. With 32,000 posts and a staggering 340 million views, his influence remains palpable.
Tributes from Business Leaders
Beyond the virtual realm, business leaders have paid heartfelt tributes to Munger. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, a company with ties to Berkshire Hathaway, described Munger as a “titan of business and keen observer of the world around him.” Cook, with 1.6 million followers on Weibo, highlighted Munger’s role in building an American institution and inspiring generations of leaders.
Stella Li, president of BYD Americas, a Chinese electric vehicle maker, expressed deep gratitude for Munger’s visionary contributions. Munger played a pivotal role in Berkshire Hathaway’s decision to invest in BYD in 2008, a move that proved immensely fruitful. Li stated, “Charlie’s unwavering support and guidance were instrumental in shaping BYD into the global clean energy leader it is today.”
BYD Investment: A Testament to Munger’s Vision
Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in BYD, initially valued at 1.8 billion Hong Kong dollars ($230 million) in 2008, has grown exponentially. Recent filings reveal that Berkshire Hathaway now holds about 7.98% of BYD, with these shares valued at 18.54 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.4 billion). Munger’s influence on this strategic investment is undeniable, with him acknowledging, “I have never helped do anything at Berkshire [Hathaway] that was as good as BYD and I only did it once.”
Munger’s Bold Comparisons: BYD vs. Tesla
Munger’s praise for BYD extended to its founder, Wang Chuanfu, whom he hailed as a “natural engineer.” In a striking comparison, he asserted that “The guy at BYD is better at actually making things than Elon (Musk) is.” Such statements, made in a podcast interview published in October, underline Munger’s unapologetic support for BYD and his unique perspectives on industry leaders.
A Controversial Stance on China’s Government
Munger’s admiration for China extended even to its communist government, a viewpoint that diverged from Western criticisms of human rights violations. Despite the crackdown on Chinese tech giant Alibaba, a top investment for Munger, he remained steadfast in his praise for China. This unconventional stance showcased Munger’s ability to separate political differences from business assessments.
Conclusion: Munger’s Enduring Legacy in China
In conclusion, Charlie Munger’s impact on China transcends the realm of finance. His positive outlook on the Chinese economy, strategic investments, and unwavering support for businesses like BYD have left an indelible mark. As social media mourns the loss of this visionary investor, China reflects on the enduring legacy of a man who believed in its potential even during challenging times. Charlie Munger’s influence in China will undoubtedly be remembered as a testament to his unique perspective and contributions to the global business landscape.
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