"China has large investment opportunities. (I will invest in) any business that I can understand, and if it is available at the right price," said Buffett during his visit to Changsha in Hunan province.
He also said that the Chinese people, especially the country’s "fabulous" entrepreneurs, as well as China’s booming industrial areas, have strengthened his confidence about the nation.
Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates, who accompanied Buffett on the China tour, agreed: "I do appreciate the successful people here and I am optimistic about investing in the developing companies of China."
As the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns 10 percent of BYD Co through Des Moines, Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings, Buffett came to China to also tour the Shenzhen-based automaker, one of his most successful investments which has shown sevenfold returns since 2008.
During their four-day visit to China, the US billionaires spent five hours at a philanthropy banquet in Beijing on Wednesday.
They also visited BYD’s manufacturing bases in Shenzhen earlier on Monday and Changsha on Thursday, and participated in a series of model launches and agreement signing events held by BYD.
Their positive focus and high praise of BYD scotched earlier rumors that Buffett was considering selling his stake in the electric vehicles and lithium ion batteries maker.
Instead, Charlie Munger, vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, said in a rather roundabout way that to increase the company’s stake in BYD was "not impossible at all".
More important, Buffett’s China tour is expected to benefit BYD regain its footing after it announced on August 3 that it would cut its annual sales target from 800,000 units to 600,000 units as it had only fulfilled 36 percent of its sales target during the first half.
Due to sluggish sales and high inventory during the past five months, several BYD dealers quit its sales network in August.
Buffett had dinner with BYD’s more than 1,000 dealers in Shenzhen on Monday, telling them "BYD is the right choice for me".
"Like the name (BYD stands for Build Your Dreams), let us build our dreams together," said Buffett.
The company’s stock closed at HK$62.3 per share on Thursday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, nearly 45 percent higher since the lows of HK$43 per share in August.
Wang Liusheng, an analyst with China Merchants Securities, said it was likely that Buffett would increase his stake in BYD after the company outlined its capabilities and technologies in new energy areas.
Buffett and Gates also test drove the company’s pure electric car E6 model, witnessed the delivery of the 1 millionth BYD car and the company’s deal with China Southern Power Grid to build an energy storage factory on Monday.
The billionaires also unveiled BYD’s first MPV model M6 in Beijing on Wednesday, and participated in a contract signing ceremony wherein BYD agreed to provide Hunan province with 1,000 K9 pure-electric buses.
Buffett says more confident in BYD after visit
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Tuesday that he is more confident in Chinese electric cars maker BYD following his visit.
He said the support to BYD is not for a company or an industry, but for a cause which can make people’s lives become more beautiful.
Buffett, together with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, were shown around the company by Wang Chuanfu, Chairman and President of BYD Company Limited.
Buffett came to Shenzhen for the celebration of BYD’s 1 millionth car coming off the production line Monday along with the first group of BYD E6s to travel 600,000 km.
Buffett is also due to attend BYD events in Beijing and then in the central Chinese city of Changsha.
Buffett’s visit came amid market rumors suggesting he might reduce his stake in the Chinese carmaker after his investment in BYD had risen six-fold.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Group bought 10 percent of Hong Kong-listed BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, for $230 million two years ago. That stake is now worth as much as $1.7 billion.
BYD issued a statement Saturday saying reports of Buffett’s possible stake reduction were not true.