Jim Rogers, the legendary investor, recently came to The World MoneyShow Shanghai to give a groundbreaking keynote speech. In his talk, Rogers said that while the greatest opportunities for investors during this century will be in China, there will also be big risks.

Over the next two weeks, we will be running a series of articles excerpted and edited from Rogers’ speech to Chinese investors. The series provides Rogers’ unique insights into China’s economic growth, advice on how you can profit, and which Chinese sectors, specifically, you should keep an eye on.

When I speak in the West, I always tell people the most important thing happening in the 20th and 21st century is the rise of China.

In my view, the 19th century was the century of the UK, the 20th century was the century of the US, and the 21st century is going to be the century of China, whether we like it or not. Many people in the West do not like that—but there’s not much they can do about it.

China is the only country in the world that I know of which has had recurring periods of greatness. Great Britain was great once. Rome was great once. Egypt was great once. But China has been great three or four times.

China’s History of Setbacks
China has been terrible three or four times too. The country had some serious problems in its long history. For 300 years it was in decline, and then in 1978 Deng Xiaoping said China needed to try something new. He opened the gates again to entrepreneurship, and you know the rest of that story.

The reason I bring it up is because most people in China do not even understand the full significance and depth of what’s happening, much less the West. Chinese investors are at the right place at the right time.

China is going to be the great country of the 21st century, and you need to prepare yourselves for that because there are going to be amazing and startling opportunities in China, just as there were in the US and the UK as they rose to power and glory.

The US Was Once a Mess
I need to emphasize that there will be more setbacks along the way. In the United States, in the 19th century, we had:

  • a horrible civil war
  • fifteen depreciations
  • very few human rights
  • very little rule of law
  • even periodic massacres in the streets

We were a mess in the 19th century.

As recently as 1907, the whole United States system went bankrupt. Washington went bankrupt. New York went bankrupt. The place was a wreck, just on the verge of becoming the most successful country in the 20th century.

So, China is going to have setbacks. Be prepared for them. I don’t know what. I don’t know when, but I know that every country which rises, every company which rises, every individual which rises, has setbacks along the way.

China will too, but when you see setbacks, pick up the phone and get more invested, more involved, because China is going to be the great success of the 21st century. Again, whether the West likes it or not.

NEXT: Watch Out for Real Estate Prices, Inflation