by Tim Clissold
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 Streetâ€™s billions and the worldâ€™s oldest culture. This is the true story of a tough Wall Street banker who had reached the top and found that it wasnâ€™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 doesnâ€™t play by anyone elseâ€™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.
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