Sunday, December 05, 2004

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > A Long March From Maoism to Microsoft

The New York Times > Business > Your Money > A Long March From Maoism to Microsoft: "From 1945 until 1980, Mr. Rittenberg lived in China. He was a member of the Communist Party there and served as a midlevel party functionary - except for 16 years when he was locked away in solitary confinement, wrongly accused of being a spy. Though Mr. Rittenberg was born into a prominent family in Charleston, S.C., his compelling tale can perhaps best be understood as a story, writ small, of modern-day China itself. His metamorphosis from isolated expatriate to high-priced global go-between mirrors the country's own shift - from a closed-door Communist state to a freewheeling money-making society, with a new class of entrepreneurs who dream the same dreams that dance in the heads of people in places like Silicon Valley.
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Mr. Rittenberg's writings are avidly followed now by the likes of Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, and Michael S. Dell, who holds the same title at Dell Inc. Executives at Prudential, eager to sell insurance to the Chinese, recently sought him out for advice, as did InFocus, a maker of digital projectors. Last month, Mr. Rittenberg chaperoned Craig O. McCaw, a cellphone industry pioneer, on Mr. McCaw's first trip to China."
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