Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Taoist temples and local blindness

Bronte Capital's office are in the tower above the Westfield Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia.

From there I scoured the world looking for Chinese stocks to short. And until today I never noticed Mazu Alliance which is above the same shopping complex as Bronte. Mazu Alliance is within a couple of floors of where we will be setting up our new expanded office.

Mazu Alliance's business  is religious shrines and ancillary activities including "development of the premier site for the worship of the goddess Mazu in Fujian province, China".

I have never seen religious sites traded in public markets, and if Mazu does exist then she is notably uninterested in or powerless to benefit her Alliance's external shareholders. The company has not found the money to pay their listing fees and the stock is not trading.

That did not stop them making one of the more amazing company announcements I have ever seen:

To strengthen the Company’s operations in the development of its 3,600 private temples and cultural halls, the Company is forming key strategic partnerships with aligned Taoist and Buddhist faiths. 
In furthering this strategy, the Company is appointing internationally recognised religious dignitaries as advisers to the Company. 
The Company announces that Mr Taochen Chang has been appointed as the Company’s Taoist Chief Adviser commencing on 1 January 2014. 
Mr Chang is the ‘Heavenly Master’, a title originating with the Eastern Han Dynasty. The position of ‘Heavenly Master’ is allocated to a religious head of the Taoist movement. Taoism has influenced Southeast Asia for over 2,000 years and has also spread internationally. Mazu is a deity in Taoism. 
In each generation, the position and title of ‘Heavenly Master’ was bestowed by the emperor of the time. The position has been passed through 64 generations, and Mr Chang, a 64th generation descendant of the family, is the current Heavenly Master. He has an extensive group of followers, and is recognised in Taiwan, Southeast Asia and internationally.

Still, I wonder about my strange blindness that allows me to navigate through obscure Chinese stocks listed in Canada and ignore the operators who probably queue with me for my morning coffee.



MrContrarian said...

Reminds me of this wonderful sketch on the business of religion

My New Blog said...

Perhaps they will tap his government stipend for listing fees (2nd page, last paragraph):

Anonymous said...

as someone who's taoist (at least on my birth cert & other official docs, i'm more like agnostics) and come from one of the area with strong support for Heavenly Master Zhang (Southeast asia), i wish you all the best in this short. (genuinely, not sarcastically, coz i rly don't buy all these masters thing).

They're not lying about the 64th generation thing though (there's rly some heavenly master zhang in the past who even featured in many historical records n even chinese pugilistic novels).

just take note that certain taoist temples/"heavenly masters" rly do have strong support among the older generation of taoists.

asok said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
asok said...

John I hope you have been grabbing some slices at nearby Arthur's and/or Sven's...

But What do I Know? said...

Sounds like an opportunity for a new asset class :>)

General disclaimer

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Hempton. You should assume Mr. Hempton and his affiliates have positions in the securities discussed in this blog, and such beneficial ownership can create a conflict of interest regarding the objectivity of this blog. Statements in the blog are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors. Certain information in this blog concerning economic trends and performance is based on or derived from information provided by third-party sources. Mr. Hempton does not guarantee the accuracy of such information and has not independently verified the accuracy or completeness of such information or the assumptions on which such information is based. Such information may change after it is posted and Mr. Hempton is not obligated to, and may not, update it. The commentary in this blog in no way constitutes a solicitation of business, an offer of a security or a solicitation to purchase a security, or investment advice. In fact, it should not be relied upon in making investment decisions, ever. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author. In particular this blog is not directed for investment purposes at US Persons.