Chinese social media users are mourning the death of billionaire investor Charlie Munger.
The vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway died “peacefully” Tuesday morning in a California hospital, according to a statement from the investment company. No cause of death was given.
The 99-year-old investor has often praised China and remained a strong supporter despite the country’s recent economic troubles.
“The Chinese economy has a better outlook for the next 20 years than almost any other major economy,” he said this year in an interview with the Acquired podcast.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands of social media users in China shared Munger’s pithy quotes on life, markets and business. Munger’s death has so far generated 32,000 posts on SamaGame, the Chinese equivalent of X, and 340 million views.
Business leaders also paid tribute to Warren Buffett’s longtime friend and business partner.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has 1.6 million followers on SamaGame, said Munger was a “business titan and keen observer of the world around him.”
“Charlie Munger helped build an American institution and, through his wisdom and ideas, inspired a generation of leaders. We will miss him very much,” he posted in Chinese and English.
The president of BYD Americas, the Chinese electric vehicle maker that counts Berkshire as a long-time investor and competes fiercely with Tesla, said in a statement that “Munger was not just an investor; he was a visionary who believed in the potential of electric vehicles and renewable energy long before they became global imperatives.
“Charlie’s unwavering support and guidance have been instrumental in making BYD the global clean energy leader it is today,” added Stella Li.
Munger played a key role in Berkshire Hathaway’s decision to invest in BYD in 2008. That investment, initially valued at HK$1.8 billion ($230 million), has since exploded in value.
According to a recent Berkshire Hathaway filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company owned approximately 7.98% of BYD at the end of October. These shares are now worth 18.54 billion Hong Kong dollars ($2.4 billion).
Berkshire Hathaway has sold more than 137 million BYD shares since mid-2022, according to its previous filings.
“I’ve never helped do anything at Berkshire (Hathaway) that was as good as BYD and I’ve only done it once,” Munger said in February during a virtual meeting.
“BYD is so far ahead of Tesla in China. »
Most recently, he praised BYD founder Wang Chuanfu.as a “natural engineer” and compared him favorably to the CEO of Tesla.
“The BYD guy is better at creating things than Elon (Musk),” he said in an interview with the Acquired podcast published in October.
Munger has often praised China’s communist government, which Western governments have criticized for its human rights abuses. He praised the country despite its crackdown on Chinese tech giant Alibaba, which was one of Munger’s major investments at the Daily Journal, a Los Angeles-based newspaper publisher and investment firm that Munger has led from 1977 to 2022.
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