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Opinion

Mongolia: A heavyweight delegate who knows all the holds

The Listing in Hong Kong Forum at the Kempinski Khan Palace hotel in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaan Baatar, on April 14 involved a range of high-profile speakers and delegates, including representatives from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, regional product heads from various global banks and dozens of local chief executives. None, however, commanded quite the attention afforded to Kyokushuzan Batbayar, a Mongolian sumo wrestler returned from Japan to become a member of parliament. Translator in tow, the cheerful Batbayar toured the room handing out his card to local businessmen and some clearly impressed foreign bankers. "What. A. Unit...what an absolute unit!" was the awestruck response of one senior such figure at the event. Apparently known as the gino depato or "department store of techniques" while in Japan for his wide range of holds and throws, many adapted from Mongolian wrestling, Batbayar was a popular figure among his countrymen during his time abroad and now looks set on a successful political career. With many Mongolians worried about foreign investors getting the upper hand when wrangling with Mongolia’s government, his will surely be a reassuring presence on any negotiating team.

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