He got his first experience of China in 1985 when he travelled around the country for a month with a budget of 3,000 yuan. Later on, he worked as a tour guide for six years, making numerous trips to China. From 1994, he has served Handelsbanken, first in Taipei, then in Beijing and Shanghai and later on in Hong Kong.

The expression “old China hand” was once developed for foreigners with an expert knowledge of the language, culture and people of China. One person that really fits this description is Johan Andrén, who recently left his job as general manager of Handelsbanken’s Hong Kong branch to move back to Europe. Few foreigners in Asia can beat Andrén’s record of having spent around 35 years in the region, most of the time in China.

“I first visited mainland China in 1985 when I was still studying,” says Andrén. “I spent a month exploring the country by rail. My budget was 3,000 yuan which included train tickets, accommodation, food, entrance fees and so on. I managed to live on that but it was a bit hard core. For example, I couldn’t afford soft seater on the trains and had to use hard seater or hard sleeper cars. However, I really got a chance to see a lot of China,”

Read the full fascinating story about Johan Andrén here: https://www.dragonnews.se/profiles/2018/issue3/the-tour-guide-who-became-a-banker/