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Former Beijing Tour Guide Leads HSBC Clients Through a Tumultuous Stock Market

The head of Asia equity strategy has spent 30 years in the region and thinks domestic retail investors are now poised to dominate local markets. 

Van der Linde hiking Mount Bromo in East Java in the early 1990s.

Van der Linde hiking Mount Bromo in East Java in the early 1990s.

Photo courtesy Herald van der Linde

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Herald van der Linde’s journey to ­becoming head of Asia equity strategy at HSBC Holdings Plc started with a backpacking trip. After his first year at university in 1990, he left the Netherlands to travel almost every corner of Indonesia and China, learning Indonesian and Mandarin along the way. He returned to Europe, earned a degree in macroeconomics, and quickly made his way back east. He worked odd jobs, including a stint as a tour guide in Beijing, before he became an analyst at UBS Group AG’s Jakarta office in 1995. A decade later, van der Linde joined HSBC in Hong Kong, where he now considers himself a lifer—though he also feels at home in Jakarta, where his wife’s family lives. Working through the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s made him wary of market bubbles, so he was an early skeptic of China’s internet boom. He says one of his boldest calls now is that local retail investors are ready to dominate Asian markets. Van der Linde, 51, who’s written three books—on markets, history, and wine—spoke with Bloomberg Markets in December about the spending power of China’s empty nesters and a wine that a young Mao Zedong could’ve tasted. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

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