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Wang Chuanfu (above), the founder of Chinese battery manufacturer and automaker BYD is reportedly the richest man in all of China. Already a wealthy man, Bloomberg reports that Chuanfu has jumped a startling 102 places to land himself atop Hurun Rich List, an annual wealth index chronicling the country's richest people.

How did this happen? Chuanfu made nice with "The Oracle of Omaha" Warren Buffett, and the investor has paid him back – handsomely. The iconic businessman's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. took a 10% stake in BYD this year, and the stock feeding frenzy that resulted pushed Chuanfu's personal wealth from a piffling $880 million up to a get-Robin-Leach-on-the-horn $5.1 billion. Buffett himself pocketed a billion from the relationship in short order, too.

Of course, Bloomberg notes that it also helps that BYD's F3 sedan has become China's best-selling automobile this year, and presumably the demand for high-capacity rechargable batteries for everything from phones and laptops to hybrid autos isn't going anything but up.

Either way, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that Chuanfu plans on repaying Buffett's favor come holiday season by sending him the mother of all fruit baskets.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: Bill Pugliano/Getty]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bloomberg is already a wealthy man, huh? No kidding! So what?
      • 5 Years Ago
      lol@the post the title.

      pretty funny autoblog. your joke didn't go unnoticed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      B3? Isn't that the one with the epic fail crash test?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dear Chris,

      Its called the BYD F3
      BYD current range :

      BYD F0 - F3-F3DM - F6
      BYD S8
      BYD E6

      Interestingly tho most of these are blatant copies or inspirations of other Japanese cars .
      However they are not cheaply built as the usual from china .. If they hire some real designers they would really evolve into a SEMI-Korean company .

      they have 2 working production ready hybrids, the F3DM and E6
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's a really awkward picture.
      • 5 Years Ago
      why would Buffet want to sell? If you know anything about BYD, there incredible discipline when it comes to engineering and innovation... Buffet actually wanted to buy the WHOLE COMPANY but they wouldnt sell. See, when you want to buy the whole company it means stock price is irrelevant, as they become a fully owned subsidiary with no stock. Was not about the stock price most assuredly. If you have money to park for 5years you could do a LOT worse than this company. There battery innovation particularly as regards environmentally friendly is fascinating.
      • 5 Years Ago
      yep, all that chineese communst miracle is simply zillions of dollars poured by into by western capitalists who grew found easier way of ripping of people
      • 5 Years Ago
      I remember several people on this site scoffing at Buffet's investment in BYD, saying he should've invested in US companies instead. Looks like he's got a billion reasons as to why this was the better move. Kinda sucks for the rest of us, but that's business for ya.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Whoops. The article wording made me assume he'd already gotten out. OTOH, it did run up quickly after Buffet's investment and primarily for just that reason.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Judy Zik

        > Based on the product I have seen from them developed in such a short time in the business I expect they will be the first serious competitor from China. Especially when it comes to electric vehicles.

        BYD products aren't even legal to sell in the US. BYD car models are pirated from Toyotas, while BYD auto battery is pirated from A123's.

        > Being king of the battery makers

        BYD is the king of Chinese domestic battery market; but not outside of China.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It hardly matters. Fact is, it's an investment that yielded a billion dollars in profit in a short amount of time. It was a shrewd business move no matter how you wanna slice it. While you sit there splitting hairs, Buffet's probably making a couple more billion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It only yields a real profit if you can sell the equities.

        How much do you think his shares are worth if he tries to sell them? He couldn't possibly unload them quickly enough to not take a huge bite once word that Berkshire-Hathaway is getting out becomes known.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was borderline pump and dump.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They are the world's second largest rechargeable battery maker, which doesn't deviate from the point.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The stock only went up because of the attention Buffet's purchase gave it. It just boggles that anyone thinks this was more that a consequence of a PR move.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Laugh it up folks but remember the name BYD. Based on the product I have seen from them developed in such a short time in the business I expect they will be the first serious competitor from China. Especially when it comes to electric vehicles. Being king of the battery makers kind of gives you an edge. Add in the cheap Chinese labour and what appears to be rapidly improving engineering and you could someday see a Chinese Electric Car alongside all the other things from China you buy at Wal-mart already. BYD stands for Build Your Dreams and this guy has the money and the engineers to do it. He made no bones about some of his models being inspired by others. He decided that if the Toyota Corolla is the best small sedan on the market today let's buy one and study it and build one the same as a place to start from. The kind of thing you could only get away with in China but now they can build their own models based on what they have learned while making a fortune on their home market. BYD is serious about building cars and I predict they will be the first Chinese manufacturer to show something saleable in North America.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Buffet could invest in dirt and make a billion.
      Carlos
      • 5 Years Ago
      I would kill the be Warren Buffett's PA.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have witnessed the BYD models transform over the last few years. The quality compared with a few years ago is really good (matches EU lower segmentations). From a safety perspective things might be a little different.

      http://www.carnorama.com
      • 5 Years Ago
      If it weren't for the taxpayer bailouts of several large US banks, Buffet and Berkshire would be insolvent today.

      How did this ass-clown Buffett manage to hang onto a reputation as a good businessman over the past two years?

        • 5 Years Ago
        Name one investor that didn't take a hit. Just one, I dare you.
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