Becky Quick's High Flying Interview with Warren Buffett About China
CNBC's Becky Quick traveled exclusively with Warren Buffett on a whirlwind tour of China and South Korea. All this morning on Squawk Box, she is reporting in-depth on the trip and what it tells us about Buffett's investment philosophy.
In this excerpt from an interview with Buffett while he and Becky were flying to China, he talks about the prospects for his investment in that country and why the Chinese people should be petitioning to get one particular Berkshire Hathaway product.
Becky: So you bring an entourage when you come along because you've got a lot of different companies doing business there.
Warren: Yeah, they can do a lot of business there. We will make the trip pay.
Becky: How many of your companies do you think are doing business in China?
Warren: There would be quite a few of them, Becky. I wouldn't know how many, but all of the furniture. We have five different furniture operations. They all buy over there.
Becky: What about just in terms of Berkshire's operation. How big of a market is China for stuff that you are selling into?
Warren: Well, it isn't that big yet, but it will get bigger by the year.
Becky: Do you sell insurance there?
Warren: We don't sell insurance there. You can only own 24.9 percent of an insurance company in China. We are looking into selling insurance there, though. It depends on whether they open up ownership further as we go along, but it is a source of real interest. I've looked into it.
Becky: In terms of having a Chinese partner?
Warren: We would probably have a Chinese partner.
Becky: But it would depend on if they would open those rules and you could own more than 24.9 percent?
Warren: Yeah. I think it is likely to happen, but I don't know whether it is a year away or ten years away, but it would be auto insurance with us.
Becky: It would be Geico.
Warren: Yeah. We could save them money. Yeah. (Laughs.) They should be having petitions to let us in.
Becky: If you have one goal for getting through this week and one thing for taking away from this trip, what would it be?
Warren: Well, I just have a lot of ... The Iscar operations ever since we bought it. It's a star. I knew it was was a terrific operation going in, but there are very few like it in the world and so my goal is just to cheer these guys on. (Laughs.)
Becky: Should people read anything into the fact, though, that when you're interested in going overseas, people say, 'OK, Buffett is going overseas. Should we worry about the United States economy?' Is this a time when the global economy is going to be the stronger place to be?
Warren: Well, the United States is number one and, ah, but there is no reason to... that would be like restricting my business to Nebraska or something. We can find things in the United States but we are not going to declare anything off bounds.
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