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John Thomas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with honors and a minor in mathematics from the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.) in 1974. He moved to Tokyo, Japan where he was employed by a medium-sized Japanese securities house. Thomas became fluent in Japanese... More
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  • BYD is Taking Over the World Auto Industry 0 comments
    Jun 28, 2009 4:23 PM | about stocks: TM, NSANY

    Like Paul Revere on his midnight ride, I feel a patriotic duty to warn you of the foreign invasion that is headed our way. No I’m not talking about the British, but redcoats of a more Eastern origin. I’m referring to the Chinese electric car company “Build Your Dreams” (NYSE:BYD) (see . CEO Wang Chuan-Fu, who Charlie Munger describes as a combination of General Electric’s (NYSE:GE) legendary manager, Jack Welch, and inventor Thomas Edison, scraped up $300,000 from relatives to start a knock off cell phone battery company in Shenzen in 1995. He grew the company into a massive, vertically integrated conglomerate, employing 130,000 workaholics at 11 factories, including those in Hungary, Romania, and India (interesting choices). BYD bought a defunct car company in 2003 and re-engineered it to launch the $22,000 F3DM sedan last year, a lithium ion phosphate based plug-in hybrid that gets 62 miles on a charge. General Motors (GMX) Volt and Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) plug in Prius, which won’t come out until next year, will only get 40 miles per charge and cost more. All-electric models are coming out this year. Warren Buffet was so impressed, he made a rare foreign investment last year, asking for a 25% stake and settling for 10% for $230 million. Wang, who has already earned himself a place on the Forbes 400 list, intends to build BYD into the world’s largest automaker, and quickly. Why do I feel like this war is over before the first shots were even fired?    

    Stocks: TM, NSANY
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