Thursday, June 24, 2004

HAVE THEM LEARN MANDARIN

Nine years ago, I attended a banking conference in San Diego. Investment guru Jim Rogers spoke about his world travels and investment philosophy and, as he usually does, made some fairly sweeping pronouncements. One of them was "if you have children under the age of 5 (I had two at the time), make sure they learn Mandarin; failing that, make sure they learn Spanish; and it would be great if they learned both."

So why the encouragement to learn those languages? Rogers stated that "in 30 years, the largest economy on the face of the earth will be China. Get used to it." He also said that Latin America has the potential to be a major player once they create a truly democratic form of government with the people (not the wealthiest families) in control. He went on to tell everyone how they could profit, recommending specific industries and companies to invest in (I bought shares in one company he recommended -- a Chinese auto manufacturer -- and made a 500% return over the next four years).

Was Rogers right? Well, yes and no. The Chinese banking system, and the push it gave to expansion, is in "pause" mode right now as billions in problem loans get worked out, but I believe he was mostly spot on. Here's an example why. You can learn more about Dalian here.

PS My kids speak Spanish.


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