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EP14. Johnny Zou, Yale-educated top venture capitalist and fellow substacker

EP14. Johnny Zou, Yale-educated top venture capitalist and fellow substacker

A discussion about China's past and future, the median income of Chinese people and why we should be confident about China's future

Welcome to the latest episode of Baiguan Radio. If you wish to listen to us on Apple Podcast or Spotify, just go to your favorite podcast app and search for “Baiguan”.

We are glad to be joined today by Johnny Zou, the Head of Primavera Venture Partners春华创投. Johnny holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Yale University and a Master of Science in Economic History from the London School of Economics. At Primavera, he mainly focuses on investments in AI, medical technology, cloud, shared economy, and cross-border opportunities.

Johnny has a unique background. He worked at elite financial institutions and had impeccable Western training. At the same time, he is known to express views about China that may be considered a little unorthodox in his industry. Today, we will take a deep dive into Johnny’s views about China’s past and future, and how those views were shaped by his unique upbringing.

Johnny is also a fellow Sub-stacker, and he writes at one of my favorite Chinese-language substacks:

Highlights and timestamps

[03:42] What was the major mistake of China’s leadership during the 08/09 GFC?

[08:59] Why did China’s Total Factor Productivity (TFP) stagnate and who was responsible?

[12:51] When did the shift in Chinese leadership’s mindset really happen?

[15:45] What unique background has made a person working in China's high finance criticize its "over-financialization"

[26:29] What is the “median income” for Chinese people and its implications

[33:06] How were Johnny’s unique views shaped by his training and background

[41:25] Why does Johnny stay confident about China’s future in the short- to medium-term

[49:53] Long-term worries about China’s “shaky cultural foundation”

[55:45] Traditional Chinese medicine: an example of how parts of traditional Chinese culture could be rejuvenated.