"Whenever there's a large gap between perception and reality," I told the audience last week in Shanghai, "there's often a massive opportunity to profit.
"And in my 25 years in the markets, I have never seen such a massive gap between perception and reality as I see in China today. So let's take advantage of it."
Having visited both Shanghai and Beijing in the last week, I can tell you this:
Shanghai and Beijing are two of the planet's most advanced cities. There are no cities in the U.S. that even come close.
That is the reality.
You might not want to believe that. But it is true.
The craziest part is just how quickly it happened...
I stayed in an area called Pudong in Shanghai. Pudong is a bit like a modern Manhattan – it's the financial center on a peninsula with huge high-rise buildings... But it also has a lot of fashion going on.
It's so modern that if I was going to shoot a film set 20 years in the future, I would set it in Pudong.
My colleague Ben Morris took this photo of Pudong a few nights ago. You might have seen it in DailyWealth earlier this week...
It's hard to get the full perspective from looking at a tiny photo, though. So let me try to help:
The twisted building on the far right is the world's second-tallest building at more than 2,000 feet high. (The world's tallest building is in Dubai.) The blue building in the background – which doesn't seem like much – is more than 100 stories high. (Only three buildings in the U.S. are more than 100 stories high.)
The heights of these buildings aren't the crazy part, though. The crazy part is how fast all of this happened...
Both of these buildings were completed in the last 10 years.
I have witnessed firsthand the speedy growth of Pudong in my travels to China. To me, it is the greatest human building achievement of my lifetime – and possibly the greatest in the history of man.
Back in 1996, I stood in almost the same spot where this photo was taken. This is what blows my mind:
Nearly everything you see in Ben's photo did not exist in 1996.
The only major exception is the "Space Needle"-looking tower on the far left. I ate in the rotating restaurant of that tower in 1996, up nearly 900 feet in the air. I can personally report that I saw almost none of what you see in Ben's photo today.
The thing is, Pudong is just one example of what's going on in China's major cities. Going to Beijing gives you a similar look into the future.
I can forgive any foreigner who hasn't been here for not believing what I'm saying. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't seen all the changes with my own eyes.
What all this change – in such a short period of time – has created is the greatest gap between perception and reality that I've seen in my career.
The American perception of China is not reality... It's the China that existed 20 years ago.
Today, buying an ordinary apartment in Beijing will cost you $1.5 million. (Yes, that's in U.S. dollars.) The same apartment in Shanghai will cost you $2 million. I'm not talking about anything fancy at all... I'm talking about 1,000 square feet, and no view in particular.
You can't be the world's lowest-cost producer of much when you have to pay the rent on places like that.
In Bangladesh, you can make a men's dress shirt for 90% less than you can in China. If you see China as the low-cost supplier of clothes and cheap goods to the world, then get over it. Those days are gone.
Yet "those days" are the American perception of China.
That perception of China is not the reality. The gap between perception and reality will narrow – for sure. And as it does, investors who get on board today will make a lot of money.
You can be one of them. I urge you, position yourself to profit as this change in perception happens...
P.S. All this means we can be the first investors to get in on the huge upside potential in China... That's why in my True Wealth China Opportunities letter, I show you exactly where to put money to work. Our entire base-level portfolio is up nearly 50% since it launched in 2016... And our top three positions are each up more than 100%.
To learn more about how you can subscribe today, click here. (This link does not lead to a long promotional video.)
Catch up with Steve and the Stansberry Research team on the ground in China right here:
On the Ground in Beijing: The Big News
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Regular readers know we love investing in "picks and shovels" businesses. These companies provide the products and services that support broad industries and trends... The whole field depends on them. And that lowers your investing risk. Today, we can see this playing out with software giant Salesforce.com (CRM)...
Salesforce.com is a cloud-computing giant, with a market cap of around $100 billion. The company provides software for customer-relationship management. As companies grow, keeping track of their customers can be challenging. Salesforce.com's platform makes it easier. Agents can access their clients' accounts from the cloud – anywhere, anytime. And businesses are turning to Salesforce.com at an incredible rate... First-quarter sales are up about 25% year over year.
As you can see below, Salesforce.com is soaring. Shares are up almost 50% over the past 12 months, and they just hit a new all-time high. As Salesforce.com continues to grow at this rapid pace, its shares should continue to rise...