* Chinese College Dropout Turns Market Blog Into Pundits’ Favorite

It’s not only US kids who can start successful on-line business from home! As some author commented: Chinese now dream what used to be the American dream – “We can do it”.

Bloomberg: “When Hu Bin started his blog in early 2008, he was a skinny 22-year-old college dropout with a perpetually skeptical look on his face and little doubt he’d soon be a household name.

Chinese College Dropout Turns Market Blog Into Pundits’ Favorite

The previous year, the Shanghai Stock Exchange had been flooded by speculators. For a brief period, it was the second- busiest exchange in the world. It was also beginning a dramatic fall ushered in by the global financial crisis. Hu says he considered the market, considered his audience, and sensed it was time to make his mark.

Enlarge image

Blogger Hu Bin spent his early days predicting the rise of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and now foresees its continuing decline. Photographer: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

“It really started when Premier Wen Jiabao announced a 4 trillion renminbi rescue plan for the economy,” Hu says. “I knew I just needed to be clever and use this chance of high liquidity in the market to make myself famous.”

Now 26, Hu is China’s most popular online market commentator, Bloomberg Businessweek reports in its Dec. 24 edition. His blog has gotten more than 400 million visits. His posts are equal parts outlandish and thoughtful, and employ liberal use of bolded, multicolored text and exclamation points.

Hu writes under the name Yerongtian, a character from a real estate-themed Hong Kong soap opera, and has been known to pick fights with other commentators, whom he says suffer from a “lack of emotion.” He has posted at least one picture of cats, and multiple pictures of himself wearing sunglasses to help illustrate his opinions.

‘Eccentric Behavior’

In 2009, the state-run newspaper China Daily listed him, under his alias, among the 10 people in the nation with the most influence on China’s stock market.

“Back then,” Hu says of 2008, “any eccentric behavior would attract people’s attention. If you understood this vital point, you could control people’s minds.”

Hu grew up in Kunming, a southwestern city of 6.4 million that’s far from China’s centers of finance. He learned about the stock market by watching his mother invest in her spare time, he says. She put money into the market in the 1990s, early days for Chinese investment, and lost it all. “Now she invests her money in gold,” Hu says.

He started at Kunming University, intending to study philosophy and Marxism, however quit, thinking he would take up investing himself.

“I was interested in psychology,” he says. “I wanted to know why everyone wanted to bet their future on an uncontrollable thing.”

Commander in Chief

Hu says that in the early days of his blog, his knowledge of the market was thinner than it is now. He has always, however, understood his audience and how to keep it interested.

Hu’s approach to his blog is purposefully bombastic, earning him vocal critics along with followers. In 2009, he got into a spat with another stock commentator, Hou Ning. Hou, at least according to Chinese news reports from the time, holds the record for the longest nickname of any stock commentator in history: Commander in Chief of the Stock Market Army.

The two made a 1 million yuan ($160,500) bet on the future of the Shanghai Composite Index (SHCOMP), with Hu wagering it would reach 4,000 by the end of the year. It didn’t, and Hu didn’t pay, though he got what he wanted out of the rivalry.

“Who would have paid attention to me if I had said 3,000?” he asks. “Everyone already knew it would reach 3,000.” In 2010, he promised to throw himself off one of Shanghai’s tallest buildings if the benchmark Shanghai Composite didn’t reach 5,800 by the end of the year. It didn’t: Hu is still with us.

‘Weather Vane’

Stunts aside, Hu has spent the last four years working through his thinking on the ups and downs of China’s economy in public, slipping thoughtful essays in between bouts of hyperbole.

He spent his early days predicting the rise of the Shanghai Stock Exchange and now foresees its continuing decline. One recent headline: “Doomsday Runs Wild, the Stock Market will likely drop 200 points!!” In another post, he explains that a drop in the market may not be bad. It could give the authorities some space to make reforms without worrying about overheating, and help to attract more foreign investment.

“The stock market is not only an economic weather vane,” he writes. “It is a political weather vane.”

Hu says he is not a financial rabble-rouser. Most laypeople should stay away from investing in individual stocks, he says. The people who read his blog, however, are generally not professionals; retail investors make up the majority of the volume of trading in the Chinese market. There are about 72 million retail investors in China, accounting for three-quarters of the trading on domestic exchanges, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission.”

via Chinese College Dropout Turns Market Blog Into Pundits’ Favorite – Bloomberg.


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