Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America


Meet the Author


Drinks Reception 6:30pm
Dialogue 7:00pm
Close 8:00pm

Out of Gobi is the most profound and powerful memoir to emerge from China in years, with the potential to reshape the American perspective of China and how the Chinese view America, as China and the United States this year mark 40 years of the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations. Weijian Shan, one of Asia’s best-known financiers, recounts his remarkable personal story of his exile to the Gobi Desert for hard labor at the age of 15 amidst the turmoil of Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution. He provides in-depth history of and commentary on modern China and retells of how, improbably, his life became intertwined with America. Indeed, his improbable journey from the Gobi Desert to the “People’s Republic of Berkeley” and beyond is a uniquely American success story. Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says: “Shan’s life provides a demonstration of what is possible when China and the United States come together, even by happenstance. It is not only Shan’s personal history that makes this book so interesting, but also how the stories of China and America merge in just one moment in time to create an inspired individual so unique and driven, and so representative of the true spirits of both countries.” In dialogue with Mr. Vivek Pathak, Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific of the International Financial Corporation (IFC), Mr. Shan will share his extraordinary personal journey of perseverance. 


Weijian Shan is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PAG, a private equity firm. Prior to PAG, he was a Partner of TPG, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, and Co-Managing Partner of TPG Asia (formerly known as Newbridge Capital). Mr. Shan led a number of landmark transactions, including the acquisitions of Korea First Bank and China’s Shenzhen Development Bank, both of which made his investors billions of dollars in profits and were made into case studies at Harvard Business School. He previously was a Managing Director of J.P. Morgan, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a farm laborer in China’s Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia. Mr. Shan holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and M.B.A. from the University of San Francisco. He studied English at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade (now Beijing University of International Business and Economics), where he also taught as a faculty member.

Vivek Pathan

Vivek Pathak is Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific at the International Finanace Corporation (IFC). He has extensive emerging markets experience in principal investments, restructuring and risk management across all industry sectors. Mr. Pathak joined IFC in 1998 and has since covered Asia Pacific, Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia in various leadership capacities. Based in Hong Kong, he leads IFC’s advisory and investment operations across 18 countries, which in fiscal year 2018 reached $3.5 billion in long-term investments, including funds mobilized from other investors. Previously, he served as IFC Director for Investment and Credit Risk based in Washington, DC, managing a team of seasoned professionals responsible for global coverage of credit risk, investment risk, integrity risk, pricing and credit/equity training. Prior to joining IFC, Mr. Pathak worked with Bank of America and ABN AMRO Bank in new business and risk management. Mr. Pathak holds a Master’s degree in Management from the University of Mumbai, India. (Moderator)

Event Details

Tue 26 Feb 2019
6:30 - 8 p.m.

Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty


Signed copies of the book are available for sale at the program

Buy Tickets
$200 Asia Society members/ PAG/ IFC/ Berkeley Club of Hong Kong/ Harvard Club Members; $350 Non-members
Add to Calendar 20190226T103000 20190226T120000 UTC Asia Society: Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America Asia Society Hong Kong Center, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty   Signed copies of the book are available for sale at the program