For Buffett, Best Suits Are Made in China

Obscure clothier outfits Omaha sage, Bill Gates—and Hu Jintao
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 8:43 AM CDT
Bill Gates plays bridge opposite Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, May 3, 2009.    (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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(Newser) – One is America's most famous capitalist, the other leads China's Communist Party. But Warren Buffett and Hu Jintao have something in common—they both get their suits from Trands, an obscure northern Chinese menswear company not open to the public. Buffett, who recently recorded a promotional video for Trands' owners, tells the Wall Street Journal: "I went 78 years before I got a compliment on my appearance."

Shares in the company that owns Trands have jumped 70% on the Shanghai stock market since Buffett recorded the video. He got his first of nine suits during a visit to the city of Dalian; he's since invited the company's founder to his annual shareholders' meeting in Omaha—and given his old suits to charity. Bill Gates is another satisfied Trands customer—but while the clothier is proud of its American billionaire customers, it's quieter about its affiliation with President Hu. "It's a bit sensitive," the company's press officer admitted.