At this year’s Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting – one of the highest profile events on the US investor calendar – Warren Buffett was spotted wearing a Dayang Trands suit, tailor-made for him by the Dalian-based menswear firm.
It turns out that the Sage of Omaha has a preference for Chinese-made suits, and he doesn’t mind telling the world about it.
In a video made to celebrate Dayang’s 30th anniversary, Buffett even praised the company’s suits as “wonderful”, revealing that high-powered friends like Charlie Munger and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates all don Dayang’s outfits too.
“I have to tell you that I now have nine suits all made in China. I threw away the rest,” Buffett, 79, says in the video. “It’s been a long time since I got compliments on how I look but since I’m wearing Madam Li’s suits, I get compliments all the time.”
Dayang, founded in 1979 by Li Guilian with 85 employees, now has more than 20 factories and 8,000 staff. The company produces suits for international brands and supplies retailers including Marks & Spencer and Macy’s.
Despite the personal endorsement, Buffett has no “disclosable business relationship” with Dayang, the company says.
But where Buffett leads, investors so often follow.
In Dayan’s case Chinese punters have taken notice of all the publicity, with many rushing in to buy the stock.
Shanghai-listed Dayang rose by the daily 10% limit four days running after it posted Buffett’s endorsement on its website. Company shares are up more than 260% this year, the biggest gain of the 25 apparel companies traded on the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses.
Call it Buffett’s halo effect. He enjoys rock star status among mainland investors. Back in July, businessman Zhao Danyang even spent $2.1 million in a charity auction to have lunch with his “hero”.
“Buffett has a lot of influence on the stock market so when Dalian Dayang shows him wearing their suits, that has an impact,” says Kong Jun, an analyst at China Jianyin Investment Securities.
But not everyone can afford to dress like the world’s richest men. Depending on the fabric, a tailor-made suit from Dayang is priced from Rmb6,800 to Rmb21,000 ($3,066) – astronomically expensive by Chinese standards.
As it turns out, President Hu Jintao is also a fan of Dayang tailoring. Hu wore a Dayang suit when he met former US president George W Bush in 2007.
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