Pioneering investor dubbed ‘China’s First Shareholder’ dies


BEIJING — A former factory worker known as “China’s First Shareholder” after he amassed a fortune trading in the country’s infant financial markets starting in the 1980s has died, news reports said Tuesday.

Yang Huaiding died Sunday at 71, the state-owned Securities Times and other business publications reported, citing a statement by his family.

Yang quit a job as a warehouse keeper at a Shanghai ferroalloy factory in 1988 and used his savings of 20,000 yuan ($5,400 at that time) to buy and sell Treasury bonds after the ruling Communist Party began allowing transfer of ownership as part of market-style economic reforms.

Yang became publicly known after he asked police to protect him while he carried boxes of cash and bonds from one province to another. He was dubbed “Yang Million” after he made 1 million yuan ($250,000 at that time) in one year.

In the early 1990s, Yang made a second fortune trading in newly opened Chinese stock markets. News reports said Yang scored his last major windfall in 2008 when he correctly forecast the fall of share prices that came with the global financial crisis.

Yang became the first person in China to hire bodyguards and a private lawyer and to sue a securities company, according to the Securities Times. It said he was the first private individual to act as a consultant for banks and tax authorities.

“As one of the witnesses of the ‘awakening era’ of China’s securities market, his death is regrettable,” the newspaper said.

Details of survivors and funeral arrangements weren’t reported.

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