In this interview with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Dr. Weijian Shan discusses his new autobiography, Out of the Gobi, about his experience during the Cultural Revolution as a manual laborer in the Gobi Desert. He explains what prompted him to write the book and why learning about the Cultural Revolution is essential to understanding China. Dr. Shan gave a talk to the National Committee about his book on January 28, 2019.
Dr. Weijian Shan is chairman and CEO of PAG, one of the largest private equity firms in Asia. Before joining PAG, he was a partner of TPG, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, and co-managing partner of TPG Asia (formerly known as Newbridge Capital). At TPG, Dr. Shan led a number of landmark transactions including the acquisitions of Korea First Bank and China’s Shenzhen Development Bank, both of which made his investors billions of dollars in profits and were made into case studies of Harvard Business School. Previously, Dr. Shan was a managing director of JP Morgan, a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and laborer in Inner Mongolia.
Despite not attending secondary school, Dr. Shan received an M.A. and Ph.D., both in economics, from the University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco. He studied English at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade (now the Beijing University of International Business and Economics), where he also taught.