China's Financial Insider
Wei Sun Christianson, Morgan Stanley China’s CEO and managing director, is the kind of woman others admire, pulling off deals with aplomb while juggling a family. But she does need to catch up on her movies.
I go to the chattiest beautician in town. But she is the best, despite her gossiping about her other clients throughout the session.
"Do you know Wei?" she asked me once.
"Yes, we go to the same parties a lot. She is really nice." I said.
"You should take care of yourself better," the beautician informed me. "I think she might be older than you, but she looks at least five years younger. She comes here regularly, her work schedule is insane, but she is so good at time management. Not like you, you canceled my appointment how many times now?" she admonished.
Wei somehow slips in unnoticed, has a private tête-à-tête with the powers that be, and abracadabra, deal done.
"Hmm… four times," I said lamely.
"Wei never cancels. She really understands it is important to look good. And she looks much better than you on television."
• More Daily Beast Coverage on the Women in ChinaIt is a no-brainer that Wei Sun Christianson is way better than me. She is the kind of woman you admire, envy, and want to be friends with all at the same time. Wei is a powerful woman in China; everyone knows she is on the insider track with everyone in the financial business here. She is the woman responsible for the purchase of a stake in Morgan Stanley by the China Investment Corp., the sovereign trust fund of China. This is a huge achievement, as CIC is difficult to get to; there are delegations of fund managers sitting in the CIC reception area just hoping for a meeting. Wei somehow slips in unnoticed, has a private tête-à-tête with the powers that be, and abracadabra, deal done. So smooth, so painless. While Wei pulls this off, the other investment bankers are still waiting in the lobby, drinking $10 lattes. (Yes, that is the price of a cup of joe in the CIC lobby.) And I bet you Wei gets her cup free.
So Wei is not only way better than me in terms of looks. She is also way better than her peers in her industry. As managing director and CEO of Morgan Stanley China, she is known as the woman who gets the deal done in China. She consults some of the most powerful bosses in the world, including Bernard Arnault of LVMH. To her clients, Wei walks on water.
Cynics would say, sure, but she's probably single and overworked, with a big bank account and no family. Wrong. Wei is actually happily married, with two gorgeous Eurasian boys and a good-looking blond husband who is a legal eagle in his own right. And the marriage seems to be solid and happy. There was only one little incident: Wei's husband was legal counsel for Blackstone on a major deal in China. He could not tell her what he was working on, and every night, for two weeks straight, he disappeared into his study to whisper on the phone. It was the only time Wei was seriously worried about her husband having an affair.
But Wei is not perfect. She can be way out of line sometimes. For example, she and I once sat at the same table at an event. Between us was one of China's most gorgeous actors, Chang Chen, who played the wild horseman in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. He is like the Chinese DiCaprio. Wei sat down, had no idea who he was, and fired a series of questions at him, as if she were doing due diligence: "What's your name? What do you do? Have I seen any of your films? And who did you play in that film?"
Unfortunately for me, the beautiful man disappeared from the table after that.
Yes, Wei was way out of it. Go to the movies, Wei.
Huang Hung is a columnist for China Daily, the English language newspaper in China. She is also an avid blogger with more than 100 million page views on her blog on sina.com.