How ‘Millionaire Yang’ Became China’s First Stock Trading Hero


Until 1988, Yang Huaiding was an unknown 40-year-old storekeeper at a steel mill in Shanghai, earning about 7.80 US dollars (51 yuan) a month at the time.

Then it only took one decision that turned out to be life changing, making him the first stock market hero of his country, China.

And today, Yang Huaiding is fondly remembered as “Millionaire Yang” in Chinese stock market folklore.

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Key decisions and the journey

It was a rented ballroom at the Astor House Hotel where Yang scored some of his first stock gains.

“I was convinced that Shanghai Vacuum Electron Device shares were a good buy at the time because they were undervalued based on the cash dividend stream,” said Yang, who bought thousands of shares. from the public tube television company at 80 yuan, and came out at 800 yuan before the stock reached 2,000 yuan.

It all started with the dawn of Chinese experiments in financial markets in the late 1980s. Yang decided to raise $8,000 to invest in bonds that were more like bank IOUs, which are a written promise to repay the money owed.

And he made his first million by meddling in the first batch of 8 stocks shortly after the local stock exchange went live in December 1990, prompting him to take up trading full time, according to SouthChina Morning Post.

He said “You could say the scholarship gave me a new career pathsaid Yang, who had experienced at least three boom and bust cycles – the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and the domestic market crash of 2015.

“These huge early benefits inspired me to make the switch,” he added, in the SouthChinaMorningPost of 2020.

Yuan had risen to fame after earning more than one million yuan ($156,300) trading stocks in the late 1980s, a time when many Chinese earned meager monthly salaries.

Around 1993, Yang rose to prominence throughout China by successfully dodging the market crash, according to Global Times.

He had even organized a securities workshop in Shanghai where he taught many individual investors how to trade in the market, in addition to publishing a number of books on trading.

After the government’s efforts to strengthen capital market infrastructure since 2018, millionaire Yang said, “Chinese retail investors will also need to ‘upgrade’. The days when punters could get rich overnight on the casino-like local stock market are a thing of the past,” according to the 2020 report in SouthChina Morning Post.

He further added,To play it safe I only buy blue chip stocks like banks now for stable returnsby about 10%. With my background in trading, my advice to retail investors is to buy on fundamentals and valuation or invest in professionally managed funds. Investing in stocks is a high risk game.

Millionaire Yang, also called the pioneer of stock trading in China, died last year in June 2021, aged 70.

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