CHRISTOPHER RUFFLE, CEO OF HEDGE FUND FIRM OPEN DOOR Capital
Group in Shanghai, spends a lot of time traveling around China,
trekking into the hinterlands and as far west as Xinjiang
province, which borders Central Asia. His fund invests in
small- and midcap Chinese companies, and if he and his
portfolio managers don't do their own research, they won't be
able to get reliable information. So they visit the companies'
factories and customers; they talk to people at competing
companies who are, as Ruffle puts it, "willing to dish the
dirt." It is a total-immersion style of hedge fund investing
that requires being on the ground and speaking the local
(Illustrations by Christopher
But for Ruffle, who is fluent in Mandarin and Japanese, the
extra effort is well worth it. That's because the world of
smaller, thinly traded Chinese companies in...