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CHINA BUSINESS/POLITICAL ANALYST: John D. Kuhns, is author of the new book, South of the Clouds. Kuhns is a businessman, who has taken six companies from inception to their IPOs. From 2007 to 2012, he owned and operated a silicon smelter, like the one in South of the Clouds, in the Yunnan province of China on the Burmese border. He is currently the CEO of a company mining gold on Bougainville, an island in the South Pacific.
“If you listen to the common Chinese citizen in Beijing and even in faraway places like Chengdu in Sichuan Province, they actually like Trump and hope for the “great deal” he mentioned in an interview on Fox News Monday night.
Maybe “like” is too strong a word. They understand him. They seem to get his brand of nationalism. And they like his crass comments in the press. Trump is the biggest foreign star on Sina’s Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. On Tuesday, Trump was the 15th hottest topic overall on a day when populist novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung (pen name Jin Yong) passed away and dominated Chinese socials. Trump was the No. 1 non-Chinese story being shared on the massive social network because of his trade and immigration banter.
“I think that we will make a great deal with China,” Trump told Laura Ingraham on Fox News yesterday before taking a swipe at China for helping dismantle much of the manufacturing labor in the country. He said he would like to make a deal before the end of the year, but said China was not ready for one.
More tariffs are in the works. Investors are warily moving from $250 billion in tariffs as a base-case scenario to tariffs on around $500 billion worth of goods.”
SOUTH OF THE CLOUDS
BY INDUSTRIALIST AND FINANCIER
JOHN D. KUHNS
A once prominent American investor broken by the Great Recession seeks redemption in the jungle near the Sino-Burmese border, where a beautiful karaoke girl with a past might be able to save him.
The Great Recession of 2008 humbled many good men. Once featured on the front pages of New York’s business and society papers, Jack Davis had spiraled downward in the aftermath of the crisis.
How far will someone go to get their reputation back? Jack is about to find out. Exiled to the last remnant of his investment empire—a rusty silicon smelter in the Chinese jungle north of the Burmese border—his comeback seems far-fetched. But it’s either take his best shot or crawl away from the world in shame.
At first, his prospects appear grim. Asked when they could earn a profit, his general manager answered, “In China, no one make money in regular business. Make money other ways.” When Jack discovers his employees are using the company’s trucks to run jade from Burma over the border to China, his first instinct is to clean house—until he learns they’re making more money running jade than he is smelting silicon.
Jack’s jade buyer tries to warn him. “The problem is, it’s never just running jade,” the man said. “Jade leads to other things way beyond your control. You’re a foreigner, for God’s sake.”
Set in a dangerous, once-obscure corner of the world that has recently vaulted to prominence, South of the Clouds tells the story of an American forced to choose, not between right and wrong—“there’s no legal here”—but between the predictable and the unknown, between a stale life or one with Mei, the beautiful karaoke girl with a past, and the woman he loves.
Wall Street isn’t only about greed and cynicism. There are heroes there too.
PLUG BOOK: www.amazon.com/South-Clouds-John-D-Kuhns/dp/1682613720
BIO: In addition to South of the Clouds, John D. Kuhns is the author of China Fortunes and Ballad of a Tin Man. A businessman, he taken six companies from inception to their IPOs. From 2007 to 2012, he owned and operated a silicon smelter, like the one in South of the Clouds, in the Yunnan province of China on the Burmese border. He is currently the CEO of a company mining gold on Bougainville, an island in the South Pacific. Kuhns graduated from Georgetown University and also earned a MFA from the University of Chicago and a MBA from Harvard Business School.