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Ep. 923: Weijian Shan Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Weijian Shan
Weijian Shan

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My guest today Weijian Shan takes me through too fantastic stories.

Money Games is a tale of one of the most successful buyout deals ever: the acquisition and turnaround of what used to be Korea’s largest bank by the American firm Newbridge Capital. This insider’s account is told by the chief architect of the deal itself, the celebrated author and private equity investor Weijian Shan. With billions of dollars at stake, and the nation’s economic future on the line, Newbridge Capital sought to become the first foreign firm in history to take control of one of Korea’s most beloved financial institutions. In a proud country still reeling from a humiliating International Monetary Fund bailout in the Asian Financial Crisis, Newbridge Capital had to muster every ounce of skill, determination, and patience to bring the deal to closing. Shan takes readers inside the battle to win control of the bank―a delicate, often exasperating process that meant balancing the goals of Newbridge with those of the government, bank employees, and Korea’s powerful industrial titans. Finally, the author describes how Newbridge transformed and rebuilt the struggling bank into a shining example of modern banking―as well as a massively profitable investment.

Out of the Gobi draws a vivid picture of the raw human energy and the will to succeed against all odds. Shan only finished elementary school when Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution tore his country apart. He was a witness to the brutality and absurdity of Mao’s policies during one of the most tumultuous eras in China’s history. Exiled to the Gobi Desert at age 15 and denied schooling for 10 years, he endured untold hardships without ever giving up his dream for an education. Shan’s improbable journey, from the Gobi to the “People’s Republic of Berkeley” and far beyond, is a uniquely American success story – told with a splash of humor, deep insight and rich and engaging detail. This powerful and personal perspective on China and America will inform Americans’ view of China, humanizing the country, while providing a rare view of America from the prism of a keen foreign observer who lived the American dream.

Bio: Weijian Shan is chairman and CEO of PAG, a leading Asia-focused private equity firm. Prior to PAG, he was a partner of the private equity firm TPG, and co-managing partner of TPG Asia (formerly known as Newbridge Capital). Over two decades, Weijian Shan has led a number of landmark transactions that have returned billions of dollars in profit to his firms’ investors. Previously, Shan was a managing director of JP Morgan, and an assistant professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In his youth, he spent several years working as a laborer in the Gobi Desert of China.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Life in Gobi Desert
  • Living in China
  • Human Nature
  • Curiosity
  • America the Land of Opportunity
  • Equal Opportunities in America
  • Misconceptions about China
  • Understanding Different Cultures
  • China and Japan

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