Barefoot Banker Strikes Gold

WEIJIAN SHAN

NEWBRIDGE CAPITAL, HONG KONG

Weijian Shan, a managing partner of U.S. private-equity fund Newbridge Capital, learned some unexpected lessons about business in China's Gobi Desert. During the Cultural Revolution, Shan, a Beijing native, was banished there for six years. By day, he sweated under the blistering sun, tilling the soil and herding cattle--or healing villagers as one of Mao's famous "barefoot doctors." At night, he listened to Voice of America on a small radio, studied an English dictionary and hoped for something better. "When you have a job in the Gobi with absolutely no hope and no future, you...

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