Munger said that China essentially “just called in Jack Ma” and told him “you aren’t gonna do it, sonny.”
“They said, ‘To hell with you,’” Munger added, noting that he thought Ma was looking to “wade into banking … and just do whatever he pleased.”
Although he would not want “all of the Chinese system” in the US, Munger did say “I certainly would like to have the financial part of it in my own country.”
Buffett didn’t discuss China all that much during the CNBC special. Berkshire Hathaway was not immediately available for comment when asked by Asia Despatch Business if the firm or Buffett had any clarifications about what Munger said regarding China and Alibaba.
Munger also told CNBC’s Becky Quick that while “our own wonderful free enterprise economy is letting all these crazy people go to this gross excess,” the Chinese “step in preemptively to stop speculation.”
He also praised China’s approach to the current health crisis. As a totalitarian state, China had the luxury to “simply shut down the country for six weeks” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That turned out to be exactly the right thing to do. And they didn’t allow any contact,” he said. “When it was all over, they kind of went back to work. It happened they did it exactly right.”
It’s not the first time this year that Munger has shared effusive compliments about China.
“So my hat is off to the Chinese,” Munger said at the Berkshire meeting. “And I think they will continue to allow people to make money. They’ve learned it works.”