Navigating a Blue "Silk Road"
Interview with Wang Chaoyong, Founder and CEO, China Equity Group; Chairman, China Team, a 34th America's Cup Challenger
on September 2, 2011
Sailing does not normally belong to any category on Essinova, so this interview lives here, for Fun.
My guest, however, would fit very well as an Essinova guest, and in fact, the next episodes of my interview with him, about his investments in water technologies and healthcare, will find their places in more serious categories.
Here, we talk about his adventure with China Team, one of the seven international sailing teams challenging Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing, the Cup defender. Five years ago Wang Chaoyong financed China Team's first entry into America's Cup, a sport which had been and still is dominated by Westerners. The Team's participation in the 34th America's Cup is the second time in China's history.
On the last day of America's Cup World Series debut in Cascais, I interviewed Wang Chaoyong just before the final, winner-takes-all race characteristic of the oldest trophy in international sport. I wanted to better understand what America's Cup means to him and what he was feeling at that very moment.
Calm, reserved and soft-spoken, Wang Chaoyong may not strike you as the "King of Investing" and "Father of Sailing", two titles bestowed on him in China.
Water permeates all three characters of his name. Ironically, born in the inland province of Hubei, he had never seen the sea until he was 20 years old. However, once he experienced the blue, infinite expanse of water, it became an all-encompassing mission in life. He now identifies his own personality with the ocean: both mountainous waves and vast serenity.
From the youngest-ever country head in Morgan Stanley's history, to investing in Baidu, the search engine that trumps Google in China, Wang Chaoyong is no stranger to monumental challenges. The America's Cup competition, however, gives him both an even greater challenge, and a more gratifying opportunity - to catalyze a "nautical renaissance" and seaward culture for the nation. His vision extends from the America's Cup trophy, to "ocean economy", which we will cover in another episode.
He sees many parallels between sailing and entrepreneurship.
Tags: Wang Chaoyong, China Equity, China Team, entrepreneurship,