4.5 Stars

Mr China

A Wall Street banker, an Englishman, an ex-Red Guard ... and $418,000,000 disappearing day by day

Mr China is the true but incredible story of a Wall Street banker who went to China with four hundred million dollars and learned the hard way that it won’t play by Western rules.

In the early nineties, 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 MBA’s, pinstripes and tassled loafers, ready to negotiate with the Old Cadres, the stage was set for a collision between Wall Street and the world’s oldest culture.

Mr China is the story of a tough investment banker who came to China looking for glory. Determined to surf the next big investment wave, he teamed up with an ex-Red Guard and a Mandarin-speaking Englishman. Together, they raised over four hundred million dollars and bought up factories all over China. But then they began learning the hard way that China doesn’t play by anyone else’s rules. Left sitting in their boardrooms while their Chinese partners marched off in their own different directions, they watched as their millions slid towards the abyss.

Faced with no option but to fight, they embarked on a series of desperate battles to regain control of their business. Their struggle in unfamiliar territory reveals the human face of this vast and complex country that knew it had to modernise but throughout history has always kept the advantage when dealing with outsiders. This surreal story is told with amusement and affection – and the result is both eye-opening and exhilarating.

4.5 Stars


“An instant classic.”

“The book is a wonderful read … one might not expect such poetry from a banker.”

“This hugely entertaining book... can serve as instruction and caution for people contemplating doing business in China, but for the general reader it offers plenty of other pleasures. Clissold loves China and knows it well … but also views it with clarity and no small amount of humour.”

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“One would be hard-pressed to find a serious Western investor in China who isn’t aware of Clissold’s eye-opening account”

“An adventure tale. Clissold is a wonderful and compassionate narrator (with) a deep respect for the culture, language and history.”

“It’s got big money, charismatic capitalists, Communist apparatchiks, crime and mysterious disappearances – the lot. Sadly for author Tim Clissold, though, it’s not just a novel, at all … the real butts are the Wall Street types who thought they could crack China without knowing what they were doing.”