Warren Buffett will become even more recognized in China, which currently holds second place for most number of billionaires, as his likeness can now be seen on every Cherry Coke can in the country.
Several reports on Tuesday revealed that the American billionaire’s caricature will be featured on Coca-Cola’s Cherry Coke variety in China, which also happens to be Buffett’s favorite soda.
The Berkshire Hathaway owner, whose net worth equates to $74.7 billion, is apparently a household name in China and is greatly admired by Chinese investors for his widespread success and tarnish-free reputation.
In fact, he was so beloved by the business community that a Chinese gaming company pledged $2.35 million to a charity in 2015 for the chance to have lunch with him, according to CNN Money. Last year, around 3,000 Chinese investors also booked seats for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders’ meeting.
“Warren Buffett is the financial god in China,” said Linda Steele, founder of the Nebraska Chinese Association in Omaha, in an article on Omaha.com about the event.
“He is being praised in China as the one who can never be beaten in the stock market. Many Chinese investors are crazy about him.”
A journalist working with Tencent Holdings, Kang Lu, noted that Warren Buffett’s popularity was due to Chinese investors’ growing interest in safe haven assets outside China.
“The Oracle of Omaha has proven many times how to be a winner even in a volatile market,” Kang told Omaha.com.
“It is time to look for guidance from Warren.”
Hedge fund owner Chan Heifeng also attributed Buffett’s fame in China to investors’ interest in educating themselves about long-term investing, which the billionaire is known for. Warren Buffett combines this view with his philosophy of investing in companies with a wide economic moat, or those with a unique value proposition and stable income-generating products.
The paper said that Buffett’s Chinese “fan base” has been steadily growing for years, with access to him becoming even easier after the United States government released a new type of visa that allows Chinese tourists and businessmen to travel to the country for 10 years.
Statistics revealed that as many as 2 million Chinese tourists have availed the visa.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Finance, Warren Buffett chimed in on his celebrity, saying he owed it to the rising interest of the Chinese in stock trading.
“I think my ‘popularity’ in China is due to the huge interest in stocks in China that has developed in just a couple of decades. I was in the right place at the right time as the Chinese looked around for famous investors,” Buffett told Yahoo! Finance.
“I also made a couple of visits to China that received a fair amount of publicity and several American books about me got widely distributed throughout China.”
Buffett also shared to Yahoo! Finance the account of how Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive Muhtar Kent proposed the idea of putting his face on the Cherry Coke cans. He also said that he agreed to do it for free.
“I said it would be fine to do it for the first six months after launching the product. If there are no problems associated with this and he asks me to continue, I will likely say OK,” he said. “Incidentally, there is no compensation involved.”
The BBC reported that Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 percent of Coca-Cola’s shares, and is in fact, the soda maker’s biggest shareholder.
Berkshire Hathaway’s ties with Coca-Cola could be traced back to 25 years ago, the BBC noted. It also revealed that the company’s investments in Coca-Cola had jumped by $15 billion.
Buffett’s company’s shareholders are familiar with his love for the soda. Warren Buffet once claimed that it’s his secret to “staying young.”
“I’m one quarter Coca-Cola,” Buffett told Fortune.
“If I eat 2700 calories a day, a quarter of that is Coca-Cola. I drink at least five 12-ounce servings. I do it everyday.”
[Featured Image by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images]