222 of 229 people found the following review helpful
For a book whose the back-cover screams "Indiana Jones of Investing", the author thankfully sets realistic expectations in the introduction chapter and adopts a sane tone (different from the cheerleader hysteria or end of the world tone adopted by most investing books). Rogers starts off by saying that "this is not a catalog of hot tips or even recommendations", but a "survey of happenings" in China. The reader is well served with that approach. He also re-iterates his oft stated opinion - short the dollar, long commodities, and learn Chinese!
In the first chapter, Rogers takes the reader through the different shares classes in China and some history on the evolution of the stock exchanges in that country. Chapter 2 provides his assessment of the different risks faced by China. His bias towards investing in China as opposed to India is quite apparent in a rather superficial comparison (readers wanting a more detailed comparison could benefit from a recent book - The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us). It is hard to argue that the first two chapters provide the informed reader anything substantially new, but positioning that discussion with a quasi-travelogue is very entertaining.
Throughout the book, Rogers provides a list of companies that are relevant to the trends/observations in a section (Jims Sino Files!). To me, these lists seemed like an excellent way to understand the landscape of Chinese economy (high level, but still a good picture) and to create a watch list for IPOs! An overwhelming majority of the companies in the list do not trade as ADRs - most in Hong Kong or only in China. Rogers mentions where the stock is traded if at all, and provides the 3 year trends on profits and revenues. (sadly, it doesn't have any information on operating margins). Listing the companies along with his observations on a particular topic, as opposed to burying them in an appendix is a good choice.
Chapter 2 also talks about aero-defense-industrial materials sector companies, with the section on water purification the most interesting. The third chapter focuses on household names ranging from grocers to insurance companies and also highlights the top 5 innovators. (one wonders the lead time for editing these books, because the author still has Alibaba's IPO as a planned one...any reader who has watched CNBC or reading blogs should be aware that this was a big deal a few weeks ago...). The next chapter focuses on the energy sector. Using some startling statistics (most of them are cited, so a reader has to be content with the interpretation Rogers provides) talks about coal, hydro-electricity, wind power and nuclear energy. The list of companies involved in these sectors is an excellent source for China watchers/investors. (while Rogers identifies some companies that derive indirect benefit from these trends, some omissions is intriguing - Fuel Tech (FTEK) for coal industry is one of them). Chapters 5 and 6 talk about transportation and tourism respectively - the latter providing a much better reading than the former. The next chapter on agriculture is perhaps the most unique discussion in the book. Covering a wide range of topics from seeds to fertilizers to animal husbandry to wineries, the chapter paints a very vivid picture of the agriculture sector and identifies the key players.
Rogers seems to be running out of patience when he reaches Chapter 8, where he clubs Health, Education and Housing in a single "service sector" oriented chapter. The discussion highlights some interesting trends overall, but misses the relatively more detailed context provided in previous chapters. Nevertheless, an informative chapter, despite not mentioning any of the recent darlings in the stock market - EJ Holdings (real estate) and WuXi (WX - medical research outsourcer).
Chapter 9, the most important one in the book, provides his prognosis for the different sectors/themes with a view of "possibly plunking your money in them someday"! An excellent read and worth buying the book for this chapter alone.
The reader should also search some of the investment blogs such as Seeking Alpha to read recent interviews of Rogers regarding this book and his opinion on the current investment climate in China. The author cautions that one cannot predict whether a bubble is imminent or not, but suggests to keep monitoring the landscape for potential long term investments. That sanity is welcome!
The Appendix seems to be an after-thought and not particularly useful, and there is no list of citations for the more serious reader. Another book worth keeping in the radar is From Wall Street to the Great Wall: How Investors Can Profit from China's Booming Economy.
The writing style is very conversational and easy-flowing. The part travelogue aspect of the narration sustains the interest level of the reader throughout the discussions.
All in all, for the price of a few lattes, you can get first-hand information on the landscape of Chinese economy in a wide variety of sectors, and an excellent concluding chapter that could serve as a good framework for investing in China. A must read for any serious investor.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2008
Anytime someone makes you a lot of money, you tend to become a fan. And so I am a fan of Jim Rogers. I believe this man makes a lot of sense when he talks economics. I learned this by reading his earlier books about driving around the world. He admits to being a lousy trader. But he is great at looking at the big picture and investing according.
He made me money with an earlier book, Hot Commodities, which I had for four years before I invested in commodities. If I had invested when I first read the book, I would be retired 2 or 3 times over. Even though commodities have taken a huge tumble lately the bull market is not over yet and they will make me more money.
But this book is about the money that can be made in China. If you watched the 2008 Olympics you saw a new China. The reports from China are amazing. The growth, the production, the consumption, and everything about China is not just super-sized, it's gigantic-sized. With three stock exchanges, close to double digit GDP growth every year, and the largest financial reserves, there is plenty of opportunity here.
I am writing this review to help you decide if you should buy this book or not. I hope this review helps. If you want to read more of my reviews of stock trading and investment book, you can get them at [...]
Another reviewer has already painstakingly detailed the book chapter by chapter. My takeaway is that if you are looking for places to invest, then get this book. It explains why China is growing and why it will continue to grow. This book also breaks down all the sectors of the economy. Everything from travel to agriculture to the Chinese space program is discusses and dissected in easy to understand language. Dozens of companies are also listed with brief descriptions of each. The descriptions are good because you get a sense of what if happening in China, but for the average American investor most of these companies cannot be invested in.
But even if you only focus on Chinese companies listed on NYSE and NASDAQ or get into the Chinese Market ETF (FXI) you can still make a nice long term gain. The author stresses that investing in China is a long term process with ups and many downs along the way. He does not recommend any company in the book, he only mentions them to give the reader a broad understanding.
If you want to know what's going on in China and profit from it, from a man who knows how to make money, this book is a great place to start. It opened my eyes to China when I first read it and am patiently waiting for an opportunity to invest in the largest bull market of our lifetime. The author compares China to the Wild West of America. Lots of money to be made, but you have to be careful.
By looking at the trends in the US market and what is going on around the world, it makes sense to reason that investments for the next few decades will probably get a higher return in places like China than in the US. Even if you don't agree with me on this point, you will probably agree that diversifying by investing in China is not a bad idea. And if you believe that then this book will help.
39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2008
I agree with Jim Rogers. China is way too important for investors to ignore. China is growing fast and they are here to stay and perhaps are on their way to become the next great world power. But I found Rogers' book very flimsy. If you are unfamiliar with the changes in China, there are many other better books that can help you to better understand the changes. If you already know about these changes, then this book adds hardly anything. Book is also poorly organized. One minute he can be talking about the different dynasties or the cultural revolution, the next minute he talks about the newest companies in different industries.
From an investor's perspective, it gives you some information about various companies and types of shares (ie: A shares, H shares, etc.). There is no depth though. There are lists of companies in various industries, but Rogers provides hardly any information. He also does not teach you how to find out more about these companies and regulations that might affect investors. For example there are no answers to important questions like: Does China have anything analogous to SEC, GAAP? Where can we get financial statements on companies listed in Shanghai stock exchange? What is executive compensation like? Etc.
If you are thinking about investing in China then it is important to understand their culture, politics and recent business environment and Rogers tries to provide readers with some basic material here, but the lack of depth or new insights make this book not worthwhile. Here are some other books that I recommend:
China Wakes (a little outdated but still very important)
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
One of the many complications of investing in Chinese equities is deciphering where they can be traded at the lowest cost. Not all shares have the same rights and prices. Early in the book, Jim Rogers spells all of that out for you.
In the same light style that made Investment Biker and Adventure Capitalist entertaining books, Jim Rogers tells you how China became a capitalist country again and is progressing towards becoming a greener, more innovative source of competition. Economic sector by economic sector, he describes where China was, is today, and seems to be headed. At the end of each sector, he lists the companies (and where the trade -- including the ticker symbol) while summarizing what they do and their three-year change in revenues and profits. It's a dazzling overview that you couldn't hope to match by reading a hundred magazine articles.
This book is an excellent complement to Hot Commodities where Mr. Rogers explained beautifully the commodities boom that has enriched so many who have paid attention.
I have two concerns about this book:
1. Why bring this out when Chinese stock multiples are up in the stratosphere after climbing almost 100 percent in 2007?
2. Although he strongly advises buying on dips, what's a dip for a stock that's trading at 75 times next year's projected earnings? There's no advice on this point.
Mr. Rogers is certainly very bullish on China, and he doesn't see much that could go wrong for very long. Hmmm. That story seems familiar. I usually hear it just before a market pops. Is this book a sell signal for China? He points out that you can still play China indirectly through commodities. That is certainly the safer play. Why then invest in China? It's certainly a situation I cannot monitor personally very well. And I have no idea how accurate those financial reports are. I think the book could have used a few more caveats.
Read and learn. But keep thinking before you do anything now.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2008
As a big Jim Rogers fan, I am amazed to find myself giving his book a 1 star rating. While his first 3 books were excellent, this book should never have been published.
The book gives a cursory rehash of the "China is the next great super power" argument (which I believe is true) and then just gives long lists of random Chinese stocks with short and shallow rambles in between stock lists.
The book makes it clear that the listed stocks are not recommended stocks, just a long list of all the Chinese stocks that the author could come up with. It's obvious that no research was done on the stocks listed and most have no more than 1 paragraph on them describing what they do.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2007
Kudos to Jim Rogers for writing this book, which serves as an outstanding window into the truly avant-garde capitalist markets of China. This book will be useful to American investors in three ways:
1) It reveals the nature of publically traded Chinese companies that you never heard of--which may have no analogous forms in America for you to relate to, but which could lead to massive fortunes in the future. For example, who has heard of Jiangsu Expressway, Co., Zhejiang Expressway, Co., or Anhui Expressway, Co.? In China, the major expressways that collect tolls are publically traded. Could you imagine being an early investor in the New Jersey Turnpike? or the George Washington Bridge? or the Lincoln Tunnel?--not possible in America (yet). These are companies with near monopoly status, but regulated pricing power. And with car ownership exploding in China, these companies are surely worth investigating further.
2) The book reveals where hundreds of Chinese companies trade, and the underlying logic behind the different share classes. The differing share classes of Chinese companies was very confusing to me in the past. Now, having read this book, I feel much more confident spending my hard earned money buying these shares on various markets.
3) The book is written in a "top down" economics fashion. In a very logical progression, Jim Rogers describes various sectors of the Chinese economy likely to benefit from continued capitalist expansion (e.g. tourism, agriculture, defense)--and then lists companies in these sectors that should be fodder for additional research. Hence, the book is an excellent guide for further investigations into a capitalist system that would otherwise be too large and daunting to research easily.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2008
I was disappointed in this book. Having read Robyn Merideth's book on China and India and Rob Gifford's "China Road", I expected more insight from Jim Rogers. I had read his earlier book and found it useful and much more interesting. If you want a listing of the major "players" in the Chinese economy then this book is for you, but if you want anything more I don't think you'll find it.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2008
Jim Rogers separates himself from many investing and trading authors by having an experienced extraordinary amount of investment success in his funds and personal net worth.
In a Bull in China, specific recommendations are made based on several macro trends developing in china, and the needs that arise from those - such as more infrastructure, such as roads, railways, electricity, telecommunications, which accompanies a surge in demand for commodities like oil, cement, steel, and food. Rogers has spent extensive time in China, knows the political climate and knows the people. He notes that the Chinese have embraced Capitalism as much as or more than any other country in the world, having seen the effects of state controlled enterprises.
Rogers research and predictions are based upon solid statistics and math. His model is the united states, comparing the current state of China to the United States in the period following the Wild Wild West.
Rogers has put his money where his mouth is, and is so optimistic on China's prospects, he hired a Chinese nanny for his daughter, is teaching her the language, and moved his family there.
23 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2008
This book is based on the premise that China's gnp/gdp(gross national product/gross domestic product)and economic growth rate is such that ,in terms of overall gnp/gdp and economic growth,China would overtake the United States within a few years and become the world's number 1 economy, in terms of gnp/gdp and economic growth.At the end of 2007,the World Bank reevaluated its data sources and concluded that China's gdp is not in the $10-11 trillion range,as compared to the U.S.A.'s $13 Trillion,but is ,at most,$6 trillion.Second,the World Bank showed that China's middle class is much smaller than thought.The author of a Bull in China has placed a great deal of emphasis on the size ,actual and potential,of a fast growing middle class in China as one of his major reasons for advocating increased trade and investment in China's markets.His conclusions have now been demonstrated to be incorrect.The author needs to put out a revised edition of his book in the near future in which he substantially tones down his extravagant and misleading claims and recommendations,many of which were based on statistical data that has now been demonstrated to be highly inaccurate and inappropriate as a general guide to investing in China.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2008
I want to start off by saying this was an extremely interesting book. I read it fast. This book is a no nonsense view of what is taking place in China as well as a kind of "how to guide" for investing there. It is very broad based and should be a part of everyone's library especially for anyone wondering how they can invest successfully in China this book gives quite a few answers to that question.
China is really the place to be in the future. Jim Rogers lays it out so anyone even with below average intelligence can understand the huge opportunities to invest there. Beside all the information about where China has come from and where they are headed that has been packed in this book is a number of lists of companies with their stock symbols and what markets they are traded in along with their three year trends of profit percentages and changes in revenue. Just the homework of that alone is well worth the price of the book if not much more!
This book explains so much on investing in Chinese companies that anyone should be able to find some good investment opportunities with the stocks listed. Jim Rogers is one of the greatest investors of the last 40 years and it seems like a good idea to me to just ride his coat tail so to speak. He puts his money where his mouth is unlike a lot of others who give advice.
A Bull In China gives a good overview of the following markets: Energy, Transportation, Tourism, Agriculture, Health, Education, Housing, Currency and more. As mentioned in the book about the reality that since 1985 the USA has become the largest debtor nation in the world and China has become the largest creditor nation in that same time span says a lot about this countries future and the future of China. This book will certainly help you find a place to put some money. I don't think anyone will be disappointed.