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托特纳姆热刺主场在哪里: 曾經是內蒙古戈壁里的農夫,如今成為傳奇投資人,他是怎么做到的?

热刺贝尔 www.gyplwd.com.cn Shawn Tully 2019年12月01日

單偉建深諳中國消費者的痛點,并憑借精明的投資贏得巨額回報。

太盟投資集團董事長兼首席執行官單偉建。圖片來源:Photograph by Verónica Sanchis Bencomo

當今國際局勢復雜多變,各國經濟均面臨較大挑戰,中國似乎也不例外。但單偉建看法不同。他認為中國是一個蓬勃發展、坐擁14億消費者的龐大市場。這個市場不會受到關稅爭端的影響,是世界上最好的投資地點之一。

在一個寒冷的夜晚,我們坐在曼哈頓上西城的一家梅森凱瑟咖啡店。我點了一杯拿鐵和一份烤餅,而單偉建只要了一杯熱水。現年66歲的他身材瘦削,渾身上下散發著一種帶有禪意的平靜。他執掌的太盟投資集團(下文簡稱PAG)是亞洲最大的私募股權機構。他準備打電話參加PAG旗下一家公司的董事會,后者在北京運營一家英語輔導機構?!懊騁漬聳俏譜蛺轂⒌某逋??!彼萌岷?、略帶口音的英語說?!壩彌泄顏卟攀欽嬲惱嚼??!?/p>

20年來,單偉建從這個戰利品中獲利頗豐。他的超凡能力反映了三種截然不同的特點,由此讓他成為了一位對中國市場異常敏銳的觀察者:他是一位成功的實地交易撮合者,管理著350億美元的資產;他也是一位曾經在美國接受博士教育的經濟學家、前商學院教授;此外,他的個人道路折射出他的祖國從極端貧困走向經濟奇跡的變革歷程。早在單偉建讀博時就與他相識的芝加哥大學布斯商學院的退休經濟學教授羅伯特·艾利伯對他贊嘆有加:“我想不出有誰能夠比他更清楚地看到中國各個市場的真實圖景。這就是他如此成功的原因?!?/p>

“成功”是一種保守的說法。單偉建的公司運營一只房地產投資基金和一項企業貸款業務,但他的影響力主要體現在價值150億美元、由他親自操刀的PAG私募股權投資組合上。他拒絕透露相關的投資者或回報信息。但公共記錄和其他報告顯示,單偉建的客戶包括大型養老基金、保險公司和捐贈基金。他的私募股權投資者包括加州公務員退休基金、舊金山公共雇員退休體系,以及新加坡和科威特的主權財富基金。PAG去年還與黑石集團進行戰略合作,這家美國私募股權巨頭由此成為了PAG的少數股權股東。盡管外界很難計算私募基金的回報率,但對單偉建買賣過的公司,以及他目前投資組合的盈利能力所做的分析顯示,10年來,他平均每年從這些公司身上獲得大約30%的回報。

這些回報植根于中國高歌猛進的國內經濟。單偉建信心滿滿地表示,中美貿易爭端不會遏制這種態勢。在他看來,美國總統特朗普的關稅攻勢“主要打擊的是業已下滑的出口部門,而消費領域一直在蓬勃發展?!敝泄咽諧≌瓜至宋尷抻杖說目贍芐?,因為它本身就是一個世界——美國和中國公司賣給中國消費者的很多產品也是在中國制造的。

在與《財富》雜志持續數月的對話中,單偉建詳細闡述了這一命題。我們的對話猶如一場流動的盛宴,但四處奔走的并非是《財富》雜志的記者,而是單偉建。在位于香港中環(他也住在那里)的PAG總部、在開車去家鄉餐廳吃飯的途中、在舊金山(他在那里開始了他的美國求學生涯)漫步時,單偉建接受了我大約10小時的電話采訪。一路上,他詳細描述了自己如何在日托中心、約會網站和一大群奶牛身上發現了巨大的潛力。

Most headlines today depict a China under siege, its long economic boom ominously waning as it duels with the U.S. in a volatile trade war. But Weijian Shan is talking about the other China, the thriving market of 1.4 billion customers that, he claims, stands shielded from tariff disputes—and is one of the world’s best places to invest.

On a wintry evening, we’re seated in a Maison Kayser coffee shop on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I’m having a latte and scone, while Shan, a wiry 66-year-old who exudes Zen calm, orders hot water. Shan heads PAG, Asia’s largest private equity firm, and he’s about to phone in for the board meeting of a company PAG owns that runs an English-language tutoring school in Beijing. “The trade war is yesterday’s conflict,” he says, in soft, lightly accented English. “The prize is winning the Chinese consumer.”

Shan has been profiting from that prize for two decades. His prowess reflects three contrasting traits that have made him an unusually astute observer of China’s markets: He’s a successful on-the-ground dealmaker, managing $35 billion in assets; he’s a U.S.-trained Ph.D. economist and former business-school professor; and he’s a figure whose personal path mirrors his nation’s transition from repressive poverty to an economic miracle. Says Robert Aliber, a retired economics professor from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business who’s known Shan since he was a doctoral student: “I can’t think of anyone who offers a better streetscape view of the individual markets in China. That’s why he’s been so successful.”

“Successful” is an understatement. Shan’s firm operates a real estate investment fund and a corporate lending franchise, but his impact shows most in PAG’s $15 billion private equity portfolio, which he directly manages. He declines to disclose information about his investors or returns. But public records and other reporting show that Shan’s clients include major pension funds, insurance companies, and endowments. Among his private equity investors are -Calpers, San Francisco’s public-employee retirement system, and the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore and Kuwait. PAG also took on U.S. private equity giant Blackstone as a minority partner last year. While returns of private funds are hard for outsiders to calculate, an analysis of the companies Shan has bought and sold and the profitability of his current portfolio indicate he’s been generating gains averaging about 30% a year on those companies—for a decade.

Those returns are rooted in China’s roaring domestic economy, and Shan expresses confidence that trade tensions won’t muffle that boom. In his view, President Trump’s tariff offensive “mainly hits an export sector that’s already in decline,” says Shan. “The consumer sector has kept thriving.” And that sector offers enticing possibilities because it is something of a world unto itself, since so much of what U.S. and Chinese companies sell to consumers in China is also made in China.

In conversations with Fortune over several months, Shan elaborated on that premise. It was a movable feast in which Shan did most of the moving, treating me to around 10 hours of phone interviews from PAG’s headquarters in central Hong Kong, where he also lives; from his car while driving to dinner at a hometown eatery; and while strolling in San Francisco, where he began his U.S. education. Along the way, Shan described how he spots megahit potential in the likes of day-care centers, dating websites, and a huge herd of dairy cows.

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單偉建在北京長大,父親是一名海關官員,母親從事文秘工作。他小時候經歷過貧困的生活。

1969年,正值知青上山下鄉之際,單偉建前往內蒙古戈壁沙漠,成為廣大農民中的一員。他所在的單位負責在貧瘠的土地上種植小麥和玉米。單偉建還做過“赤腳醫生”, 為其他工農兵提供基本的醫療服務。在寒冷的冬天,燃燒冰凍的牛糞成了唯一的熱量來源?!昂罄吹矯攔?,我非常驚訝地發現,如果人們有不同意見時,經常將對方的觀點稱為‘牛屎’(bullshit),”單偉建告訴我?!澳鬮薹ㄏ嘈拍峭嬉舛暈依此凳嵌嗝湊涔?”

Shan grew up in Beijing, where his father worked as a customs official and his mother as a secretary.

In 1969, China’s government transplanted 16 million urban teenagers to the countryside. Shan’s destination was the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia, as part of a corps of farmers. His unit was tasked with growing wheat and corn in the barren soil. Shan also served as a “barefoot doctor,” supplying basic medical treatment to other soldiers. In the frigid winters, the only source of heat was burning frozen cow dung. “I was surprised that when people disagree in the U.S., one person calls the other’s argument ‘bullshit,’?” Shan told me. “You can’t believe how precious that stuff was to me!”

Grady McGregor 2019年11月30日在戈壁沙漠的務農經歷,促使單偉建形成了他對自由市場的堅定信念。圖片來源:COURTESY OF WEIJIAN SHAN
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即使在這段困苦時期,單偉建也顯示出了他善于提高效率的本領。在被分配到一個三人制磚小組后,他發現專業化有助于提高產量。他給每個隊員分配一項任務——一位負責攪拌泥沙;一位負責將攪拌好的泥沙裝進磨具;一位負責把磚塊運到干燥區。這種安排推動他們的產量幾乎翻了一番。

在荒蕪的戈壁沙漠上,單偉建孜孜不倦地尋求廣闊世界的知識。他堅持收聽英語廣播,認真研讀一本英文配圖字典。在中美關系改善后,單偉建抓住了機會。1980年,他獲得了一筆赴美留學的獎學金。單偉建選擇了舊金山大學,而不是更加有名的斯坦福大學和加州大學伯克利分校,部分原因是舊金山的中文名字聽上去非常顯赫?!八囊饉際恰爬系慕鸝蟆?,19世紀加入淘金熱的移民們都這么叫它?!彼饈偷?。在獲得MBA學位后,單偉建于1982年進入伯克利大學攻讀博士學位,他的導師包括未來的美聯儲主席珍妮特?耶倫。在單偉建的回憶錄中,耶倫回憶稱:“他是一位很有魅力的年輕人,但是很需要好好吃上一頓,然后換個新發型?!?/p>

畢業后,單偉建曾經在世界銀行工作過一段時間,之后在沃頓商學院任教。但事實證明,他無法抗拒中國經濟的市場化進程所蘊含的無限商機。1993年,他加入摩根大通,成為一位常駐香港的投行家,五年后轉投新橋投資,后者彼時是私募股權巨頭德太投資集團(TPG)的亞洲分支。單偉建與傳奇交易撮合者、TPG的創始合伙人龐德文合作,拯救了兩家在亞洲債務?;械瓜碌囊?。TPG向韓國第一銀行投資5億美元,向深圳發展銀行注資1.5億美元。隨著這兩家銀行重煥活力,TPG分別以16.5億美元和22億美元的價格出售了它持有的韓國第一銀行和深發展股票。與此同時,單偉建在發掘其他機會方面也表現得非常頑強?!八嫠呶?,他曾經為了參觀一家工廠,在中國內地坐了36個小時沒有暖氣的火車?!卑淌諢匾淶?。

2010年,單偉建離開TPG,隨后迅速籌集25億美元,在一家名為PAG的現有公司啟動了自己的基金。事實證明,他在中國和美國金融界高層的深厚人脈,為他籌集資金和發現交易機會提供了莫大的幫助。但他的觀察技巧同樣至關重要?!八鏨獠皇強炕凳?,他是一位教授型交易撮合者?!鋇狼硭怪泄鏡那笆紫蔥泄?、致力于幫助企業應對中國監管程序的咨詢師麥健陸說?!暗ノ敖ǚ淺I樸詵治齪徒饈退蹲柿煊虻南晗富??!?/p>

Even amid hardship, Shan showed a knack for efficiencies. Assigned to a team of three to make bricks, Shan found that specialization hiked their output. He gave each teammate one task—mixing clay and sand, packing the compound into molds, or transporting bricks to the drying area—and the process nearly doubled their production.

In the wilds, Shan relentlessly sought knowledge about the wider world. He secretly listened to Voice of America broadcasts in English while studying a dictionary that matched English words with pictures. Later, when China began building ties to America under Deng Xiaoping, Shan seized his opportunity. In 1980, he won a scholarship to attend a U.S. university. Shan chose the University of San Francisco over Stanford and UC Berkeley, in part because the Chinese name for San Francisco had a prestigious ring. “It means ‘Old Gold Mountain,’ as it was called by the immigrants who joined the 19th-century gold rush,” he explains. After earning an MBA, Shan enrolled in 1982 as a doctoral student at Berkeley, where his advisers included Janet Yellen, the future chair of the Federal Reserve, who in Shan’s book recalls “a charming young man in need of a good meal and a new haircut.”

Upon graduating, Shan worked briefly at the World Bank, then taught at the Wharton School. But the chance to capitalize on China’s shift to a market-driven economy proved irresistible. In 1993, he joined J.P. Morgan as an investment banker in Hong Kong, switching five years later to Newbridge Capital, then the Asian arm of private equity firm TPG. Shan worked with legendary dealmaker David Bonderman to revive two banks felled by the Asian debt crisis. TPG invested $500 million in Korea First Bank and $150 million in Shenzhen Development Bank. As the lenders rebounded, TPG sold its shares in Korea First for $1.65 billion and in Shenzhen for $2.2 billion. Shan, meanwhile, was typically dogged in unearthing other opportunities. “He told me that he’d traveled 36 hours on a unheated train in China’s interior to visit a factory,” recalls Aliber, the professor.

In 2010, Shan left TPG and quickly raised $2.5 billion to start his own fund at an existing firm called PAG. His contacts in top echelons of the Chinese and American financial worlds proved invaluable in raising money and spotting deals. But his observational skills were just as potent. “The way he’s gotten business isn’t by being an aggressive salesman but by being a professor-dealmaker,” says James McGregor, former CEO of Dow Jones China and a consultant who helps companies navigate China’s regulatory process. Shan is “great at analyzing and explaining the detailed mechanics of the sectors he invests in.”

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這只PAG基金的啟動時機,恰逢一場歷史性轉變。單偉建說,從那時起,“中國已經從世界工廠轉變為世界市場?!?/p>

中國經濟最近增勢放緩,這幾乎完全歸因于出口和制造業的下滑——換句話說,這是“工廠”的衰落所致。單偉建指出,這在很大程度上反映了政府推動的去杠桿化運動:從2017年開始,中國政府采取一系列激進措施,以期收縮臃腫的國有工業,并將過剩的信貸擠出銀行體系和房地產市場。

這種減速更核心的原因是,從長期趨勢看,中國經濟正在從出口導向型制造業向消費導向型轉變。隨著中國工資水平持續攀升,無數家庭將更多的收入用在醫療、娛樂、餐飲和消費品上面。通常情況下,向消費社會的轉變會抑制整體增長率?!爸圃煲的芄徊聳в??!鋇ノ敖ń饈退??!耙患倚鹿こЭ?,雇傭員工,然后從其他生產商購買供應品和電力,而這些生產商也會雇傭更多的工人,從而創造更多的工資來購買商品?!鋇閻С觥笆且幻澇灰幻澇?,它所創造的經濟增長率相對較低?!?/p>

單偉建強調稱,早在貿易爭端爆發之前,出口和制造業就開始下滑。自2010年以來,中國出口額占GDP的比重從36%降至18%。這意味著,美國加征的關稅對中國造成的傷害遠沒有以前那么大:對美出口占中國國民收入的比例,已經從10年前的三分之一降至區區4%。今年,中國輸美商品預計將下降約600億美元。但正如單偉建所指出的那樣,中國向世界其他地區的出口額要多得多,從而削弱了對美出口下降帶來的負面影響。

隨著制造業步入衰退,中國的消費水平不斷走高。如今,中國消費支出正在以每年10%的速度持續增長,是美國增速的2.5倍。令人驚訝的是,今年8月,中國零售行業(意指消費品市場,但不包括服務業)折合成年率增長至6.22萬億美元,首次超過美國。

這場消費革命并非完全不受貿易爭端的影響?!靶睦矸矯嫻撓跋煒贍芎艽??!鋇ノ敖ň嫠?。他回憶稱,當美國在2018年年中實施第一輪關稅時,市場一片恐慌,中國股市暴跌25%,盡管此后有所反彈。

盡管如此,單偉建認為,迅速增長的中國居民收入將抵消對貿易爭端的擔憂。從這種增長中獲利良多的企業,包括一批美國公司——去年,美國公司在中國的銷售額高達4000億美元。盡管針鋒相對的關稅戰已經傷害了美國農民和制造商,但迄今為止,那些在中國生產,并在中國銷售的公司并未受到多大影響。正如單偉建所言,這類公司不勝枚舉。

為了服務迅速增長的中國客戶群體,特斯拉在上海建設了Gigafactory 3,后者是全球最大的汽車工廠之一。蘋果在中國的iPhone用戶比美國還多,通用汽車的在華銷量早已經超越美國本土。星巴克去年雄心勃勃地宣稱,要將在華收入增加兩倍以上——目前估計占總銷售額的20%。麥當勞承諾到2022年新增2000家餐廳。總部設在上海,但在得克薩斯州注冊的百勝中國是中國最大的餐飲企業。旗下的餐飲品牌肯德基和必勝客分別是中國首屈一指的快餐和休閑餐廳。百盛中國正在追尋一個長期發展目標,即將門店數量從目前的8900家擴大到20000家。

The PAG fund launched just in time to capitalize on a historic transition. Since then, Shan says, “China has gone from the factory of the world to the market for the world.”

The recent slowdown in China’s growth is attributable almost entirely to a decline in exports and manufacturing—to the “factory,” in other words. Much of that, Shan notes, reflects government-driven deleveraging: Starting in 2017, Beijing took radical steps to shrink bloated, state-owned industrial enterprises and squeeze excess credit out of the banking system and housing market.

Even more central to the deceleration is China’s long-term shift from export-led manufacturing to consumption. As Chinese wages rise, families spend a higher proportion of their income on health care, entertainment, restaurants, and consumer goods. The shift to a consumer society, as a rule, dampens the overall growth rate. “In manufacturing, you have a multiplier effect,” explains Shan. “A new plant starts and hires people, then buys supplies and power from producers that hire more people, who generate more wages to buy things.” But consumer spending, “dollar for dollar, creates less growth.”

Shan emphasizes that exports and manufacturing started falling long before the trade war began. Since 2010, the value of goods China ships abroad dropped from 36% of GDP to 18%. That means U.S.-imposed tariffs sting less: Exports to the U.S. now represent only 4% of China’s national income, around one-third the level of a decade ago. This year, China’s shipments to America are expected to drop by around $60 billion. But as Shan points out, China has been exporting far more goods to the rest of the world, blunting that decline’s impact.

As manufacturing retreated, Chinese consumption rose. At 10% a year, Chinese consumer spending is growing 2.5 times as fast as the equivalent U.S. figure. Amazingly, China’s retail sector—defined as the market for consumer goods, but excluding services—grew to an annualized $6.22 trillion this August, surpassing the U.S. for the first time.

This consumer revolution isn’t completely immune to the trade war. “The psychological impact could be large,” Shan warns. He recalls that when the U.S. unleashed its first round of tariffs in mid-2018, panic reigned, and Chinese stocks dropped 25%, though they have since bounced back.

Still, Shan reckons that fast-rising Chinese incomes will triumph over trade fears. Among the businesses capitalizing on that growth are a host of U.S. companies—to the tune of $400 billion in sales inside China each year. While tariff tit-for-tats have hurt U.S. farmers and -manufacturers, they’re so far sparing companies that make goods in China to sell in China—and those, as Shan notes, are plentiful.

Tesla is building Gigafactory 3, one of the world’s largest auto plants, in Shanghai, to serve a burgeoning Chinese customer base. Apple has more iPhone users in China than in the U.S., and GM sells more cars in China than stateside. Last year, Starbucks announced plans to more than triple its revenues in China—currently estimated at around 20% of total sales. McDonald’s promises 2,000 new restaurants by 2022. And Yum China—headquartered in Shanghai but incorporated in Texas—is China’s largest restaurant company. Its Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut brands are the country’s leading quick-service and casual-dining eateries, respectively, and Yum is pursuing a long-term goal of expanding its store count from its current 8,900 to 20,000.

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那么,單偉建收獲的戰利品來自何方?從一開始,PAG就專注于投資那些迎合消費者需求、所需成長資金相對較少的企業。它最早的一些成功源自中國之外。例如,PAG是位于日本大阪的環球影城主題公園的重要投資者。單偉建解釋說,日本自身的增長并沒有那么激動人心,“但我們篤信,這個主題公園肯定會大火特火,因為中國和其他亞洲國家的游客數量將爆炸式增長。后來的事實就是這樣?!?PAG最初的投資是1.2億美元。2016年,該公司以12.5億美元的價格出售了所持股份。

數字音樂是單偉建最成功的投資領域之一。他早早就發現了音樂版權所有者海洋音樂集團(CMC)的巨大潛力?!罷饈且桓齬郝蚋棖?、歌詞版權和唱片公司的平臺?!鋇ノ敖ń饈退??!八滌兄泄?0%的數字版權?!蔽侍饈牽罕聳鋇牧髏教迤教ú⒉恍枰Ц棟嫠?。但單偉建預計,打擊音樂盜版將是中國法律的大勢所趨。2014年,PAG向CMC投資1億美元,以資助它收購兩家頗有人氣的流媒體服務商。也就是說,PAG成功實現了一家音樂版權持有者和兩大傳播平臺的垂直整合。2016年,在他的精心策劃下,CMC與科技巨頭騰訊控股旗下的流媒體平臺QQ音樂完成合并,合并后的公司被命名為“騰訊音樂”。如今,騰訊音樂已經在中國音樂流媒體領域占據主導地位,擁有高達8億活躍用戶。鑒于中國正在采取強有力的手段?;ひ衾職嬡?,騰訊音樂預計將獲得巨額收入。2018年年底,騰訊音樂登陸紐交所,PAG的1億美元投資現在價值約20億美元。只不過,這個主打流行音樂的流媒體平臺的主顧并不包括單偉建自己?!拔抑惶諾湟衾?,偶爾聽聽爵士樂也無妨?!彼?。

單偉建的投資組合目前包括20多家公司,其中多數為私營企業,PAG通常持有100%的股份或者控股權。中國的醫療保健業是單偉建尤為重視的投資領域之一。他說:“隨著人們變得越來越富裕,他們會越來越多地接受一些高端醫療服務,其復雜程度是我當年做赤腳醫生時無法想象的?!盤AG投資的醫療企業包括中國領先的心臟和中樞神經系統藥物制造商吉林英聯生物技術有限公司。

PAG還深信,隨著中國變得更加富裕,老百姓會更加追求吃的品味。它在這一領域投資的公司包括富友聯合食品。這家北歐乳制品供應商正在將它的酸奶和冰淇淋帶到中國。在中國,這類食品往往被視為高端美食。PAG還擁有中國最大的牛奶生產商優然牧業的多數股權。單偉建說:“我們擁有10多萬頭牛,是中國最大的牛群之一!”他指出,其中數千頭徜徉在他早年生活的地方——內蒙古大草原。

面向消費者的技術也是單偉建的重要投資領域。PAG參與的一家中國財團擁有總部位于肯塔基州的利盟公司;這家公司在中國的銷售增勢迅猛,因為中國家庭和辦公室打印機市場的增長速度遠遠快于西方。單偉建的基金還持有約會網站珍愛網的多數股權。這家迅速崛起的婚配服務平臺號稱擁有1.4億會員,2018年的銷售額約為4億美元。其模式精確迎合了中國父母的一個熱切目標:為女兒找到一位如意郎君。一些父母愿意支付每年高達數千美元的VIP會員費?!爸泄朔淺V厥釉薊??!鋇ノ敖ń饈退?。一對男女通過珍愛網相識后,一位女性監護人會對該男子進行審查,并監督他們的首次約會?!八竊諛搶錒芾碓て詰??!鋇ノ敖ㄋ?。

PAG還押注于另一項造福社會的業務:中國的私立學校?!爸泄改付宰優哪綈淺雋嗣??!鋇ノ敖ㄋ??!霸謚泄?,超過60%的幼兒園是私營的?!彼プ≌庖磺魘?,收購了金蘋果學前教育集團。這家連鎖教育機構在成都經營60所幼兒園,總注冊人數達1.57萬人。此外,PAG擁有的另一家教育公司,總部位于北京的LILY英語學校,致力于為4至12歲的兒童提供沉浸式英語課外教育。對單偉建來說,教育是那種典型的“以小博大”業務,即只需用一小部分收入進行再投資就能產生巨額收益。今年前八個月,金蘋果的Ebitda(即息稅折舊攤銷前利潤)飆漲42%,達到3100萬美元,利潤率超過30%。

單偉建說,去北京的時候,他有時會去拜訪一些當年在戈壁沙漠與自己共患難的老朋友。盡管他們幾乎總是用黑色幽默的口吻追憶昔日的戈壁歲月,但每當這些老伙伴說起他們的子女是如何受惠于新中國的學校、娛樂、醫療和其他服務時,他總是非???。畢竟,這些領域正是他的風險投資生涯賴以成功的基石?!澳鞘焙?,我們被關在籠子里,哪兒都去不了?!彼縭腔匾涔サ娜兆?。

“后來,籠子漸漸打開,人們開始展翅高飛。當經濟體制變得更加開放時,一切都隨之改變?!畢衷?,那些在商場購物、在餐廳就餐、在私立學校學習的人,才是中國經濟最大的推動力。(財富中文網)

本文另一版本登載于《財富》雜志2019年12月刊,標題為《走在前面的中國人》,是“2020年投資者指南”專題的一部分。

譯者:任文科

So where has Shan been reaping his gains? From the start, PAG has focused on businesses that cater to consumers and require relatively little capital to grow. Some of its earliest successes were outside China. PAG was a big investor in the Universal Studios theme park in Osaka, Japan, for example. Japan’s own growth was tepid, Shan explains, “but we thought [the park] would take off because of the explosive growth of visitors from China and other Asian countries. And that’s what happened.” PAG’s original investment was $120 million. In 2016, it sold its stake for $1.25 billion.

One of Shan’s biggest scores has been in digital music. Shan saw huge potential in an owner of music copyrights called China Music Corp. “It was a vehicle for purchasing the rights to songs, lyrics, and music labels,” Shan explains, “and it owned 70% of all the digital rights in China.” The problem: The streaming platforms at the time were paying no royalties. But Shan anticipated that legal trends in China would turn against music piracy. In 2014, PAG invested $100 million in CMC, enabling it to buy two popular streaming services—vertically integrating a musical rights holder with a means of transmission. And in 2016, he helped orchestrate a merger between CMC and QQ Music, the streaming platform of tech conglomerate Tencent, to create Tencent Music Entertainment. Today, that service’s dominant position has swelled its audience to 800 million active users—and strong copyright enforcement means it’s earning huge revenue. Late in 2018, Tencent Music went public on the New York Stock Exchange, and PAG’s $100 million investment is now worth around $2 billion. Tencent Music’s pop-oriented patrons don’t include Shan himself, who says, “I only listen to classical music, and I don’t mind jazz.”

Shan’s portfolio currently consists of over 20 companies, most of them private, in which PAG usually owns either 100% or a controlling interest. Health care in China is one of Shan’s themes. “As people become more affluent, they consume more and more of the sophisticated treatment I could never supply as a barefoot doctor,” he says. PAG’s health care investments include Jilin Yinglian, a leading maker of cardiac and central nervous system drugs.

PAG has also bet on the expanding culinary tastes of a more affluent nation. One holding is Food Union, a Northern European dairy-products purveyor that’s bringing its yogurt and ice cream to China, where such treats are considered high-end delicacies. PAG also owns a majority stake in China’s largest milk producer, China Youran Dairy. “We own more than 100,000 cows, one of the biggest herds in China!” says Shan, noting that thousands of them graze in the pastures of his old haunt, Inner Mongolia.

Consumer-facing technology also fuels Shan’s strategy. PAG is part of a Chinese consortium that owns Kentucky-based Lexmark; its sales have taken off in China, where the market for home and office printers is growing far faster than in the West. Shan’s fund also holds a majority stake in Zhenai, a dating website. The mushrooming matchmaker boasts 140 million members, and it posted roughly $400 million in 2018 sales. It tailors its model to a fervent goal for Chinese parents: finding an acceptable spouse for their daughters, a service for which some parents are willing to pay thousands of dollars a year for VIP memberships. “In China, dating is taken very seriously,” explains Shan. After a man and woman meet online through Zhenai, a female chaperone vets the man and oversees the couple’s first meeting. “She’s there to manage expectations,” Shan says.

PAG is also betting on another social--betterment business: China’s private schools. “Chinese parents spoil their kids,” says Shan. “More than 60% of the kindergartens in China are private.” He seized on the trend by purchasing Golden Apple, a chain in Chengdu that runs 60 kindergarten centers, with total enrollment of 15,700. Another PAG-owned academy, Lily English in Beijing, educates children from ages 4 to 12 in after-school courses conducted exclusively in English. For Shan, education is a model business that reinvests only small dollops of earnings to generate big gains. Through the first eight months of this year, Golden Apple’s Ebitda has soared 42%, to $31 million, with margins exceeding 30%.

When he visits Beijing, Shan says, he sometimes meets with friends from his years in the Gobi. Although they mostly recall the black comedy of their life in the wilderness, Shan is delighted when his old comrades talk about how their children are benefiting from the schools, entertainment, medical care, and other choices in the New China, the panoply he’s built a career around funding. “We were put in a cage, and we couldn’t fly anywhere,” he says of the old days.

“The cage gradually opened, and the people started to fly. It’s a more open system that makes the difference.” And it’s the folks in the malls and restaurants and private schools who are now proving to be that system’s greatest strength.?

A version of this article appears in the December 2019 issue of Fortune as part of the 2020 Investor’s Guide with the headline “Ahead of China’s Herd.”

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