Survival of the Fittest Investor

Published on
January 18th, 2019
43 minutes

Survival of the Fittest Investor

The Interview ·
Featuring Weijian Shan

Published on: January 18th, 2019 • Duration: 43 minutes

It’s been an improbable journey for Weijian Shan: Amid the shadows of Mao’s rule in China, Shan overcame enslavement, starvation and hard labor before coming to America. Shan went on to earn his undergraduate degree, MBA and doctorate and taught at Wharton before returning to China where he now oversees $30 billion in private equity. In this wide-ranging interview with Brian Price, Shan discusses his new book, “Out of the Gobi” and offers his take on the Fed’s next move, Apple’s struggles, and what a major Wall Street firm can do to alleviate the distress caused by the current U.S. government shutdown. Filmed on January 9th, 2019 in New York.


  • AO
    Arthur O.
    29 January 2019 @ 02:02
    Interviewer is lame
  • RD
    Rahul D.
    29 January 2019 @ 00:13
    Brian Price is not the best interviewer on RV.
  • CH
    Connor H.
    19 January 2019 @ 05:47
    Did not get that much out of this interview. Mr. Shan certainly seems to avoid making even indirect criticism of China and their policies. Also Brian, why did you say that federal employees are missing out on medical care during the shutdown? They didn't lose their (historically generous) health insurance, and providers generally don't refuse care for inability to immediately pay a deductible or a "copay".
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      19 January 2019 @ 15:23
      "A furloughed federal worker who is diabetic said she resorted to rationing her insulin medication because 'the thought of having more debt was scarier than the thought of dying' in her sleep. 'I thought, no end in sight for the shutdown. I can't afford an ambulance bill. I can't afford to go to the emergency room right now, because I know there's more bills coming our way,' Mallory Lorge explained on CNN's 'Anderson Cooper 360.'"
    • MP
      Matthew P.
      21 January 2019 @ 01:47
      Anecdote does not equal standard brian. (No disrespect, outliers vs mean)
    • fc
      flavio c.
      28 January 2019 @ 13:46
      Dont you wonder why he did not make any criticism about china?
  • LS
    Leo S.
    25 January 2019 @ 09:14
    Brain Price with the most serious face on Real Vision. Got to love it.
  • GW
    Geoff W.
    24 January 2019 @ 15:01
    It's time for RealVision to open a branch in China!
  • GH
    Gregory H.
    18 January 2019 @ 21:21
    "Who is biggest holder of US Government Bond? It's China. It's $1.1 Trillion." As far as other countries go, yeah, but I have a feeling that QE was not a one-off tool that will just go away. This cycle the Fed topped out around "only" $2.5 Trillion in treasuries (plus all those MBS holdings), and how much higher do you think this could go in next market/economic downturn ($5, 7, 10 Trillion). This topic of "China could really stick it to the US by selling treasuries" has been covered many times on RealVision and doesn't really help China and really seems like an empty argument. Let's say China did start dumping treasuries in a financial warfare fashion, couldn't the Fed easily justify coming in with an emergency buy program and sap that selling right up as a one-off (even while QT was still going on in the background). After watching central banks this cycle, the $1.1 Trillion in Chinese US Treasury holdings seems like an after thought compared to the total expansion of global central bank balance sheets from roughly $4 Trillion to $16 Trillion this cycle. Am I wrong to overlook this?
    • DR
      David R.
      23 January 2019 @ 22:05
      No I think you're right. It's indeed an empty threat plus now it's totally moot because China has already fully "spent" all their UST's as collateral for more productive investments than dubious US paper backed by empty promises from an insolvent country with no capability or intent to pay back their debt and instead now talks about default & debt jubilee.
  • BT
    Brian T.
    23 January 2019 @ 12:58
    Hey Brian ! Overall great interview and perspective on many topics. I would have liked to see you ask about the debt bubble in China that has swelled supposedly to the 'largest bubble in the history of the world'. Does he feel that this is sustainable ? Why don't they have recessions? I understand China has changed fractional reserve requirements of banks on Jan 15, and another on 25th this month? Why would this occur if there is already so much capital in China?? Thanks Again !!
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    22 January 2019 @ 22:02
    Incredible story - well worth watching for the first 5 min alone!
  • KS
    Kathleen S.
    20 January 2019 @ 13:30
    Praise from Steven Roach, Janet Yellen --- says it all, not interested. The CCP is a dangerous mafia that is running the largest Ponzi Scheme in the history of the world, 46 trillion printed on 3 trillion of equity. The globalist fairy tale rhetoric is tiresome, I do not believe a word of this guys story.
    • BD
      Bruce D.
      20 January 2019 @ 17:41
      Do you mean compared to the dangerous mafia that controls the USA? please expand your thoughts.....
    • DR
      David R.
      22 January 2019 @ 21:41
      The CCP is repugnant but nevertheless, in fact poll after poll shows that 80% of humanity judge the US to be the most "dangerous" state in the world and biggest threat to peace. Regarding large Ponzi Schemes, that describes both China and also the US with its $200 trillion of unfunded debt incl off balance sheet, with negative equity. At least the Chinese were smart enough to have mined and bought so much gold over the last 3+ decades that they now have the most of it, with the US and UK having rather little real physical gold, and possibly even none. Don't forget the golden rule of history, that he who owns the gold makes the rules.
  • RM
    Richard M.
    18 January 2019 @ 14:23
    ***** Milton ******, I've written in about this issue a month or so ago (and prior to that also when it had happened). I still cannot play the RVTV videos in my Microsoft Edge browser or in IE. The Insider Talks videos from MI play fine in either MS browser! So something about the formatting of the videos changed a month or two ago and that needs to be fixed! Yes I can still watch the videos in Google Chrome but that is not my preferred browser and it is annoying to have fire up Chrome just to watch RVTV videos. When this first occurred maybe 3-4 ago I sent in a notice about the problem and it was fixed in about a week - so the solution is there, someone just needs to take a look at it (check my old messages to Milton and you will see the message traffic). And yes I have all the latest browsers with their latest updates. Many thanks for looking into this and fixing it once and for all.
    • M.
      Milton .. | Founder
      18 January 2019 @ 17:49
      ***Richard****, acknowledged. I'll message you and we'll take care of it there.
    • RM
      Richard M.
      18 January 2019 @ 23:00
      Milton, I posted the comment here to see if anyone else is having a similar problem. I had already conversed with you twice over the messaging system (3-4 months ago the first time this happened (which you all fixed) and then again about 1 month ago when it happened again (still not fixed). Didn't mean to sound like a jerk, just wanted to see if others were suffering from the same problem. Many thanks for your attention.
    • RM
      Richard M.
      22 January 2019 @ 14:15
      Milton, I logged on this morning (Tuesday Jan 22) and now the videos play in both Edge and IE. Many thanks for looking into this and fixing it. Is there anything that I can mention to the tech support guys if this happens again so that they can clue in on it instantly and know what the problem is and how to fix it? Again, many thanks for your attention (and I can't say enough how much I love and appreciate what Real Vision is doing - I am learning so much it's crazy good)!!!
  • ZY
    Zheng Y.
    18 January 2019 @ 19:47
    Brian: it is interesting to watch u be fooled by a cunning fox backed by blackstone. sorry if I offend somebody. Yeh, that is your model, an interview sponsered by blackstone, if I am not wrong. Cheers and nice weekend.
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      18 January 2019 @ 20:18
      Glad it was interesting!
    • DS
      David S.
      19 January 2019 @ 21:16
      This is an interview not a debate. If you want blood watch a good old fashion bare-knuckle fist fight under the freeway. Have we fallen so far down the rabbit hole that we cannot just enjoy and learn from an interview? DLS
    • ZY
      Zheng Y.
      21 January 2019 @ 02:26
      David, u have no idea what behind scene, what is the motive. I believe Brian knows it quite well, That is life.
  • ET
    Eduard T.
    19 January 2019 @ 10:44
    I wish Kyle Bass interviewed him. Dr Shan has definitely had an incredible career. But in this interview, I feel he glosses over many critical aspects of China-US relationships (i.e. Thousand Talents program, cyber attacks, corporate IP espionage, etc).
    • DS
      David S.
      19 January 2019 @ 21:00
      Normally business people try to stay out of controversial topics in China, America and around the world. Mr. Shan is telling an exemplar personal biography and representing his company. Nuff said. DLS
    • MP
      Matthew P.
      21 January 2019 @ 01:45
      True david, but we can get that from cnbc. Hope to expect more “realism” from REALvision.
  • MP
    Matthew P.
    21 January 2019 @ 01:33
    These interviews, while appreciated, are getting less specialist insider talk and more typical broad strokes headliney talk. My intuition suggests it’s bc the interviewee knows the interviewer is not adept enough to deep dive into mechanics. Mike greene interviews for example offer much more clarity and insight. No offense but brian p. needs to educate himself more on deep finance and less on how to sound like a 60 minutes host. (I like brian, just an opinion to generate better quality)
  • JL
    Jimmy L.
    20 January 2019 @ 15:07
    His advice on looking at China from a "Good economy, Bad economy" point of view, i believe is spot on if one were to consider investing in this Country.....those who have lived and worked in China will realised the massive consumer consumptions, the internet shopping craze over the last few years are all REAL....think all the huge global brands who set up shop and are still trying to expand in China are all dumb?....Those who swallow the doom and gloom China thesis wholesale will end up missing on a part of the world that will continue to deliver much of the future global growth.....Good interview!!
    • KC
      Ken C.
      20 January 2019 @ 19:25
      Hey Jimmy, don't be seduced, Just ask Jack Ma the co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba, he was ask to give his company ownership over to the Chinese communist party. He had no choice in the matter. Do you think the Chinese communist party will let outsides come in and profit from their consumers. Those profits will stay in China. Its just a matter of time.
  • TJ
    Terry J.
    18 January 2019 @ 12:26
    What a fascinating and uplifting interview! I am in awe of this humble gentleman who has lived through so much hardship in his youth and yet successfully prevailed against all the odds. What an inspiration to all of us whatever our background or circumstance. I can't wait to read his book. I also hope one or more of the US banks take up his excellent suggestion of lending the US civil servants whom are experiencing financial hardship some money on reasonable terms for the duration of the government shutdown. My thanks also to Brian for his excellent interviewing skills with Mr Shan.
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      18 January 2019 @ 16:22
      Thanks so much, Terry. Glad you enjoyed. I think you'll really enjoy Shan's book. I certainly did.
    • BD
      Bruce D.
      20 January 2019 @ 17:48
      Thank you for understanding the actual focus of this interview.....the humble man who has accomplished WAY MORE than most everyone else who listens to RV. NO EXCUSE for being ordinary, unless that’s your choice in the world.
  • AG
    Adam G.
    18 January 2019 @ 12:44
    I hope this content is not representative of the New Real Vision.... Propaganda and yesterday’s news.... Weak guys...
    • RM
      Ron M.
      18 January 2019 @ 15:23
      Agree. Super impressive background and investor. But, politician... he can't have strong views as PRC would hang him.
    • CC
      Christopher C.
      18 January 2019 @ 15:45
      I found his commentary insightful, measured, calm, and wise. Why do you consider this propaganda Adam? What specifically smacked of this to you?
    • DS
      David S.
      19 January 2019 @ 21:53
      Excellent interview. I am looking forward to many more of this quality. DLS
    • BD
      Bruce D.
      20 January 2019 @ 17:46
      Remember, in America you have a can cancel your subscription!
  • CC
    Christopher C.
    18 January 2019 @ 16:44
    Mr. Shan's New York Times editorial. Intersting thoughts on the shift in China from an export led engine of growth to a consumer led engine of growth. This was first pointed out on Real Vision in Simon Hunt's interview on May 14th of last year. What I found as interesting as was said, was what was not said. Not specifically addressed in the opinion piece where the issues of intellectual property theft by China, (Worth remembering the US did the same to the UK after our independence?) the ongoing trade deficit, and the inability of expat companies in China to repatriate capital profits. (h/t Kyle Bass) While it is true there are things that can and can not be said by Chinese residents/businessmen (without fear of retribution by the CCP), it may be worth mentioning and remembering we to have our own very effective form of dissent repression here in the US. What are the things you know to be true which you would not even dream of saying on social media? What are the topics you know to be true that you will not broach in polite mixed company? To say nothing of what is happening in our universities and tech companies. Google "American Inventors", "White Couple", "Straight Couple" and click on images. We are all being "re-educated" to bring our "sensibilities" into line with "reality." First the steal the words, then they steal the meaning. Admonition or playbook?
    • BD
      Bruce D.
      20 January 2019 @ 17:45
      We need SIMON HUNT back on RV soon! Get Milton working on it!
  • PC
    Peter C.
    20 January 2019 @ 17:01
    Great guest who brings investment expertise & much more - what a life to reflect on.
  • KC
    Ken C.
    20 January 2019 @ 14:37
    China has 1.4 billion people to employ to keep its economy moving forward. Otherwise it faces a revolution. That is a tall order! Very soon Chinese companies will be building their own airplanes, smart phones and chips, etc. They will not be buying Boeing, Apple or Intel, etc products. Why send all those profits back to the USA. Bottom line the Chinese communist party will not let that happen. China has used the carrot and the stick masterfully by seducing USA companies in thinking they will be able to sell their goods to Chinese consumer to gain our intellectual properties. Once China was the capabilities to build those goods in their own factories what need will they have for Boeing, Apple and Caterpillar, etc. The Chinese are a very nationalistic people, eventually they will only buy Chinese goods to support their own people. What is that saying we have "Buy American products". For all of those companies/analyst out there with forecast for future sales to China, good luck with that! IMHO
  • JF
    Joseph F.
    19 January 2019 @ 06:12
    Excellent. A brilliant humble man. Also, PayPal Offers Cash Advances to Workers Impacted by Government Shutdown. Washington Federal offers interest-free loans for federal workers impacted by shutdown. Launch Federal Credit Union is issuing zero-percent interest rate loans of up to $3,000 to employees of the federal government.
    • CA
      Craig A.
      19 January 2019 @ 10:25
      Only in America
    • JF
      Joanne F.
      19 January 2019 @ 19:56
      I don't feel that sorry for the government employees losing a paycheck. (Good idea to have emergency savings.) I really feel sorry for those along the border putting up with the daily horrors. Two sides to this story!!!
    • DS
      David S.
      19 January 2019 @ 20:54
      Joanne F. - There are two sides to this story. We can feel compassion for both sides and hope for the best. for all of them. DLS
    • DS
      David S.
      20 January 2019 @ 09:03
      OK, you are correct - whoever gave me a thumbs down without comment may your Karma be instant to help guide your future footsteps. DLS
  • fd
    frank d.
    20 January 2019 @ 07:58
    Fascinating revelation! Mr. Shan believes the economic growth in China is the largest of all the major sectors. So he controls pension funds of the US.. So China is gifted we more control of other countries wealth through the pension investments. They are heading for world dominance with the help of the dominated.. RV is great !
  • JM
    John M.
    20 January 2019 @ 05:45
    I would love to get a critique of this interview from some like Kyle Bass. Given the depth of talent and market insights available elsewhere on Real Vision, I'd say Shan beautifully demonstrated the art of talking for 45 minutes without saying anything at all ...
  • SM
    S M.
    20 January 2019 @ 02:15
    Brain did good job but Shan answered too politically to almost all the questions. As if he himself works for CCP in some ways.
  • tc
    thomas c.
    20 January 2019 @ 01:30
    I(f anyone believes cooperation with China can be a level playing field they should read Michael Pillsbury's Book - The Hundred Year Marathon. It. documents very well the history of China's goal to take over the world and avenge the humiliation of the centuries of western dominance. They still believe they are the Middle Kingdom between Heaven and Earth and everyone else are still barbarians. 2049 will be the 100 anniversary of the communist dynasty. Mao proclaimed that the year off fulfillment of their world takeover. No one ever believed it. It was laughable to everyone but them.
  • tc
    thomas c.
    20 January 2019 @ 01:14
    BP is out of his deprh. , doesn't probe or dig into anything.. Just takes the answer rand moves on. Same thing with Malmgren interview last year. Very interesting guy but such a waste.
  • OT
    Omar T.
    20 January 2019 @ 01:03
    I think Brian does a great job with the interviews... keep it up.
  • AA
    Alberto A.
    19 January 2019 @ 04:55
    Fantastic interview Brian! Mr. Shan answered the questions not only with humbleness and knowledge but also very clever to not get into trouble. He let the audience read between the lines regarding China taking advantage over the USA. I like your interview style, but maybe next time you can asked tougher questions by putting out your point of view to create a bit of a debate. Let the Interviewer think more about his answers because you challenge them. But loved the interview! Keep it up.
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      19 January 2019 @ 15:24
      It's not about me. It's about him.
  • DS
    David S.
    19 January 2019 @ 00:33
    Brilliant interview Brian - your best yet. Mr. Weijian Shan story is inspirational. His brilliance, resilience, humility and humanity are apparent. I will watch several more times. How often do you see the most risk-averse investor in the world who is also so successful? DLS
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      19 January 2019 @ 03:52
      Cheers. Much appreciated, Dave!
  • JN
    Jill N.
    19 January 2019 @ 01:43
    Superb 👏👏👏👏 huge kudos to RV yet again !!! Sage insight into the USA & China. Shan’s humility & wisdom is Mandela-esque. An excellent perfectly balanced interactive interview.
  • CK
    Chris K.
    19 January 2019 @ 00:25
    Bravo!!! Bravo!!! That’s is the best interview I’ve heard on RealVision in a long time. Unlike the sensational, almost comical Chinese dissident interview by Kyle Bass last year; this provided an uplifting, sedate, realistic take on current China - U.S economic affairs. Keep it up - your subscribers are not all Gold bugs and conspiracy theorists
    • gg
      georgy g.
      19 January 2019 @ 01:02
      Agree. It is good to hear Kyle Bass but bears completely missed a huge oppty to buy biz at very low valuation that grow for decades at healthy clip
  • CK
    Colin K.
    18 January 2019 @ 21:05
    Brian, I would like to submit with respect that you need to press the tough questions harder. I appreciate your meticulous style to interviewing and I believe that if you drive for a true answer from your guests and don't let them off the hook it will make the interview more meaningful. I'm looking forward to hearing your follow up questions as well placed as your leading ones. Colin
    • DS
      David S.
      19 January 2019 @ 00:20
      You can be respectful with follow-up questions and the interviewer can decline respectfully or answer the portion of the question he/she wishes too. The major question this time is the illegal transfer of technology from the US, Japan and Europe. Since Mr. Shan is a major investor in Chinese companies, I understand his hesitation in not addressing this sticky issue. We are trying to learn from Mr. Shan not trap him. His brilliance, resilience, humility and humanity are apparent. DLS
  • SS
    Sam S.
    18 January 2019 @ 21:47
    Weijian really didn't answer the question of intellectual property theft and China taken advantage of the USA. After watching the interview with Kyle Bass about China, maybe I know why. However, he spoke beautifully and with such confidence regarding his view on the many topics and the future. His childhood past is such a fantastic example for all of us NOT to take our country for granted and we must promote and protect our good fortune. Really enjoyed this interview.
  • JH
    Jon H.
    18 January 2019 @ 19:51
    Brilliant questions and research, mr. Price!
    • BP
      Brian P. | Real Vision
      18 January 2019 @ 20:19
      Thanks, Jon! Have a great weekend.
  • ZY
    Zheng Y.
    18 January 2019 @ 19:47
    Brian: it is interesting to watch u be fooled by a cunning fox backed by blackstone. sorry if I offend somebody. Yeh, that is your model, an interview sponsered by blackstone, if I am not wrong. Cheers and nice weekend.
  • gg
    georgy g.
    18 January 2019 @ 15:36
    This type of interviews are great on RV. Some are more insightful than other but this is great value add
  • RJ
    Russ J.
    18 January 2019 @ 14:50
    very humble in his approach. i enjoyed the interview. was dissapointed with his dodge of the question regarding theft of intellectual property. a little politician like diverting the guestion instead to chinas inclusion in the wto. but probably a smart mive for him to answer this way.
  • SL
    Seth L.
    18 January 2019 @ 13:08
    It's nice to get a different perspective on China which is a polarizing topic. I appreciate the optimism and distinction between the good and bad parts of China's economy. I think it all comes down to economics vs politics, which are linked to the culture. The economic liberalization is unquestionably good. The seemingly authoritarian turn politically (both in China AND in the rest of the world (ie nationalism)) is unquestionably bad. Whichever one of those forces wins out will likely dictate the outcome.
  • MT
    Morgan T.
    18 January 2019 @ 10:22
    He has been schooled by Yellen and I like the guy... how is this possible?