Tim graduated with an MA in Physics and Theoretical Physics from Cambridge University in 1982. He subsequently joined Arthur Andersen in London and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with the ICAEW before moving to Australia and then Hong Kong. He first went to China in 1987 and, on returning to London, he spent a year studying Mandarin Chinese at the London University School of Oriental and African Studies, gaining a distinction. He continued with Mandarin studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing before co-founding one of the first private equity groups in China in 1994. That group raised $400 million of institutional capital, mainly from the US, and invested it in twenty PRC joint ventures, forming what is still the largest independent automotive components manufacturer in China.
He later ran Goldman Sachs China distressed investment business in Beijing, bidding on and recovering value from complex NPL portfolios in Hunan, Liaoning and Shandong. More recently, he co-founded another business to originate UN carbon offsets from GHG emission reduction projects in China with start up capital from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust. The main counterparty in that business was Huaneng Power, China's largest power utility.
Tim is a member of the Strategic Advisory Board of Braemar Energy Ventures, a New York venture capital fund focused on energy efficiency technologies. He is the author of Mr China, which was translated into fifteen languages and was one of the Economist magazine books of the year. He recently published his second book, Chinese Rules.
Tim also leads a not-for-profit initiative that, together with the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts Exam Board, is introducing a new A-level in Chinese Civilisation.