Thursday, 9 January 2014

Brash, Bold... Bust?

Chen Guangbiao selling cans of "fresh air" with his likeness on them
Chinese tycoons. They think they can buy up whatever they want.

But Chen Guangbiao is finding this out the hard way.

The multimillionaire made his wealth in tearing down buildings and bridges and recycling the material, and has done publicity stunts like sell canned fresh air and handing out cash to victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

But probably his biggest stunt so far was his opinion piece in the January 5 edition of the Global Times where he wrote he was disappointed in the negative coverage of China and felt that he could influence American media by buying $1 billion worth of shares of the New York Times.

He even warned readers that he was serious and that it was not a joke.

This past week he did fly to New York and hoped to have a meeting with shareholders of the Times but this did not pan out. He probably didn't know that the company is set up so that there are two kinds of shares: ones that are publicly traded but do not affect the running of the company, and the others that are majority controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family that has owned the paper for more than 100 years.

After his failed attempt, he was ridiculed in the media for his business card that he purportedly handed out to the media:

Apparently this is what his business card looks like...
It has a passport picture of him on the left and on the right are numerous grandiose titles he obviously made up for himself. They include: "Most influential person in China", "Most prominent philanthropist of China" followed by "Most charismatic philanthropist of China", and we love this one -- "Most well-known and beloved role model".

Despite his public setback, Chen is undeterred. In fact he is know publicly pondering buying another paper. "I am going to talk to the Wall Street Journal and find out if it's for sale," he said in an interview with Sinovision, a New York-based TV station.

Chen added he was well aware many American newspapers were owned by Jews and that he had "equally competent IQ and EQ" compared to Jews. "I am very good at working with Jews," he said.

Chen likes to demonstrate he has gobs of cash lying around...
Uh huh.

So we are waiting with baited breath to see what the WSJ will say.

In the meantime we get the sinking feeling that Chen isn't leaving the US until he acquires an American paper.

Americans appreciate someone who's brash and determined, but probably not the way Chen is presenting himself...

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