Warren Buffett Visits Electric-Car Maker BYD After Warm Welcome to China
Warren Buffett and his traveling companions started their visit to China earlier today in Shenzhen with a show of support for electric-car maker BYD.
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway bought a 10 percent stake in the company in 2008 for $230 million. Since then, it has soared nearly seven times in value, but lately the company has been struggling a bit. BYD has reduced its sales forecast for the year by 25 percent. (There are reports BYD has denied speculationthat Buffett plans to sell some or all of the stake now that the stock price is off its peak.)
AP describes Buffett's BYD visit today as a "celebration" that was a "colorful melange of capitalism — Chinese-style and western" featuring "hundreds of managers" from BYD dealerships who gave Buffett a standing ovation and "snapped pictures as he walked in with (BYD founder) Wang Chuanfu while bevies of ladies clad in red and gilt gowns stood alongside."
AP notes, however, that despite the "strong show of support," BYD "looks hard-pressed to meet its goal of exporting electric vehicles to the U.S. before the year's end."
CNBC's Becky Quickis covering what we're calling the "Billionaires' Road Trip," which includes Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Buffett's longtime business partner Charlie Munger. (They're also Berkshire directors.)
She filed this report to CNBC's Squawk Box early this morning, describing their "hectic" arrival in China and the BYD ceremonies.
She is also posting updates and photos on her Twitter feed. Watch "Squawk Box" Wednesday morning starting at 6am ET for Becky's live reports from Beijing. We're expecting to see video from inside the BYD factories that Buffett will be touring.