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Board: Saul's Investing Discussions

Author: brittlerock

Thanks for the levity (imagine Bob Hope singing this)

I've mentioned more than once that I have some first-hand knowledge about the Chinese - Nothing official or scholarly, I've simply spent a lot of time there and my wife is Chinese.

Comparing the Chinese stock markets to the US markets makes no sense. A few observations:

The Chinese are highly superstitious and they have a penchant for gambling. However, there is only one (relatively) small town in all of China where gambling is officially sanctioned: Macau.

And then there's the stock market.

The act of "investing" in the Chinese stock market bears little resemblance to the act of "investing" in the American markets. The fact that these two quite different activities bear the same name is the source of a lot of confusion, and I believe, a lot of over-reaction.

My understanding of the Chinese market is that very few investors are engaged in an activity intended to build a portfolio over a period of years. Instead, the market is viewed as a get-rich-quick vehicle. Buying stock in the Chinese market has more in common with picking your favorite numbers on a lottery ticket as opposed to sharing in the business success of a good company by becoming a partial owner through the acquisition of stock (BTW, Chinese companies are listed by a serial number rather than an alphabetic ticker symbol).

Also one should be aware that intentional inaccurate financial reports and outright fraud are commonplace in China. Chinese management typically does not view stockholders as owners. Fraudulent activities are tolerated because local governments will not allow one of the larger enterprises to fail due to the resulting job losses.

The current President/Chairman, Xi Jinping is taking a hard line against fraud and corruption. He has been more successful than most anyone ever anticipated, but his targets are mostly political rather than corporate. 

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