Buffett visits China’s electric vehicles automaker BYD

Buffett holds 10 percent of Hong Kong-listed BYD’s stock, which he bought with about $230 million in September 2008. His share is now worth as much as $1.7 billion.

Wang Jianjun, a sales manager of BYD, said Buffett was invited as a guest to attend a ceremony to celebrate BYD’s inking of an agreement for building an energy storage power station with China Southern Power Grid and the market debut of the company’s F3DM electric hybrid car.

Buffett is scheduled to visit BYD’s plants in Shenzhen and Huizhou cities in Guangdong province on Tuesday and leave for Beijing on Wednesday, where he will co-host with Bill Gates a charity banquet to meet about 50 wealthy Chinese to share ideas about philanthropy.

His trip will end in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan province, where he plans to visit BYD’s electric bus production base. The purpose of Buffet’s visit is to inspect BYD’s production of electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries and solar power station.

Buffett: Meeting was a complete success

50 Chinese billionaires and philanthropists have shown up to the private gathering on Wednesday night at the invitation of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett for a discussion on philanthropy in China.

Their attendance has cleared previous doubts on whether Chinese rich might be absent due to fears of being pressured to donate money.

"Our hopes for this meeting were to learn about giving in China, and share our own views," said Warren Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. "By any measure, it was a tremendous success. We had a terrific exchange of views, and learned a great deal about the good work that is already underway."

"We’ve both been very eager to have this meeting," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and chairman of Microsoft. "We’re grateful so many people made the time to attend, and for their candor and insights. People are doing some very good thinking about how their good fortune can have a positive impact on China and the world."

"This is a key generation for New China," continued Buffett. "Today’s generation of successful entrepreneurs has the chance to lead and inspire giving for generations to come. And from the tone of our conversations, I am confident that they will."

The meeting, co-organized by the Sun Culture Foundation, and moderated by its Chair, Yang Lan, took place at the Chateau Laffitte Hotel. After a 90-minute discussion moderated by Ms.Yang, there was a reception. Participants included business leaders and philanthropists. At Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates’ request, the guest list will not be made public, in deference to the privacy of their guests.

Recently, 40 wealthy families in the United States agreed to participate in the Giving Pledge. The Pledge is a commitment by wealthy families to return the majority of their wealth to society through philanthropy – during their lifetime or at death. Gates and Buffett spoke of that effort briefly at the Beijing meeting, but stressed that China would need to find its own approach to large philanthropy, appropriate to its unique situation.

"Recently, Bill and I wrote, that we expected China to surprise the world," continued Buffett, "in how it embraces philanthropy. Hearing about the giving that happens at every level of society in modern China was inspiriting. If Bill and I could contribute to encouraging the very fortunate to follow their desire to do more, then our trip was a complete success."