Early briefings, Shanghai; June 2015

Michael North, Managing Member, Business Development

Michael North is the original founder of North Communications, a leader in multimedia touchscreen networks. Together with key investor Metromedia and its principal, John Kluge, he was responsible for many innovations in the public access field, and operated hardware, software, services and network management divisions in hundreds of sites worldwide.

Clients and allies of North Communications included IBM, Microsoft, IBM, BellSouth, GTE, MCI, Sears,  U.S. Postal Service, , the PGA, Social Security Administration, Medicare, the Cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Brisbane and Singapore, the States of California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and more.

He is an experienced entrepreneur and private investor, with extensive relationships across mainland China. Michael works with investment banking professionals to identify, research, assist in corporate development, and provide capital to sound, growing businesses. He has made investments in the renewable energy field in strategic markets around the world, including Ghana, India, Jamaica, Tibet and the West Bank.

Michael serves as a Senior Business Development Executive with Wealthbridge, a firm that provides financial services to individuals and growing companies. He is helping to expand the firm’s business reach in America and Asia.

Michael has worked actively since 2012 with his longtime associate and partner, Arthur Lipper, to develop royalty finance as a new field of investment. He is a co-founder of the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute.

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Xiaofang Zhou North, Member, President, APG China

Xiaofang Zhou North is a seasoned business manager, who has developed complex financial services, international investment and trade projects in both China and the United States. She is president of Asia-Pacific Group in China, and established the company’s first full-time office in Beijing in 2016.

Born in Beijing, Xiaofang nurtures high-level relationships with leaders of business, academia and government in China, including the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information, Beijing University, Nankai University, and Guizhou Province. She pioneered the introduction of revenue royalties to China in a partnership with renowned Wall Street financier Arthur Lipper.

Under her leadership, Asia-Pacific Group created joint projects with the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, a unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

She is the co-founder of the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute, an international group that creates public education projects about Zhou Enlai, the first Premier and Foreign Minister of modern China. Through the work of the Institute, Zhou Enlai is being increasingly recognized as China’s global peacemaker.

She is an experienced documentary filmmaker, and has completed on-location production in more than 20 cities for the production of “In the Footsteps of Zhou Enlai.” Xiaofang is co-author of four books, with partners including the Zhou Enlai Study Center at the Central Committee, the Zhou Enlai National Memorial in Huaian, the Zhou Enlai-Deng Yingchao Memorial in Tianjin, and China International Publishing Group. She helped create and hosts a syndicated television series, “Understanding China.”

Xiaofang introduced Mary Buffett, the best-selling author and former daughter-in-law of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, to China for the first time. A series of seminars in 2010 presented the first in-depth view of Buffett’s investment methods in China, at the Beijing Hotel.

Originally trained in hotel management and international relations, in the mid-1980′s Xiaofang served in the Jianguo Hotel, the first joint venture hotel in China, which was established by the Peninsula Group and helped to open up Beijing and all of China to international business.

Xiaofang’s career is dedicated to forming a bridge between the business communities, cultures and the people of China and the United States. This follows in the tradition of her great uncle, Zhou Enlai, as a communicator who is trusted and respected across borders, committed to supporting the cause of peace between all nations.

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Roger Epstein, Member and Chief Counsel

Mr. Epstein practiced law with  Cades Schutte, the largest law firm in the State of Hawaii from 1972-2016, and the chair of its Tax Department since 1985.   

He is a nationally recognized  expert in International and U.S. domestic tax planning and litigation; and has substantial experience in corporate and partnership structure, real estate law and financing, international estate planning, family trusts and litigation.  He is an honors graduate of Georgetown Law School.

Roger is a co-founder of the US-China Legal Network and the Asia-Pacific Network Foundation, both of which have developed favorable business relationships between lawyers, partners and investors in America and Asia; and was instrumental in the execution of cooperating agreements between the Hawaii State Bar Association and Bar Associations and Judicial Districts in Shanghai and Suzhou.

His experience in Asia dates back over forty years when he began providing US tax advice to major Chinese and British clients in Hong Kong. The was one of the first American attorneys to visit mainland China in the early 1980’s.  He was Of Counsel to a large Thai law firm in Bangkok in the 1980’s, and has represented numerous Japanese corporations doing business in the US.  

Prior to joining Cades Schutte in 1972, Mr. Epstein was a Tax Law Specialist with the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C. and prior to that, he was an Internal Revenue Agent in Washington D.C. He is a frequent lecturer at presentations across the country; A.V. rated by Martindale Hubbell, and is listed in both Who’s Who in American Law and Best Lawyers in America (every edition since the publication began); and a Member of the American College of Tax Counsel.

In 2011 he received the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Greeley-Key Award for Innovation in the Law, recognizing his work on forgiveness projects and restorative justice.  And in the same year was listed as the best tax attorney in Hawaii, by Best Lawyers in America.

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Roger Epstein Bio

Tobin Butcher, Member, Investment Banking

Tobin Butcher is the founder and managing executive of Bridge Capital – a Seattle based financial company and investment bank that provides foreign companies and high net worth clients with access to investment opportunities in the United States.

He has extensive business relationships throughout Seattle, especially in the Microsoft executive community, and across the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. He has experience  with finance in Southeast Asia, and in eastern and central Europe, especially Germany and its financial markets.

Mr. Butcher specializes in identifying opportunities, matching partners with their strategic needs, creating innovative business structures, originating and documenting both equity and debt finance, and negotiation of complex transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, and oil and gas properties. He is an industry leader in the field of immigration, specializig in the EB-5 Visa Program; he has brought immigration investment projects to China, and has formed many Regional Centers around the United States.

Mr. Butcher  spent his early career in finance working at the New York City offices of Citigroup and Goldman, Sachs & Co. before moving to Seattle to start his own firm, Bridge Capital. He works closely with his father, Bruce Butcher, a seasoned Seattle attorney with experience as an academic lecturer in China.

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Arthur Lipper; Advisor, Royalties Finance

Arthur Lipper is a leading innovator in the field of financial services, with more than five decades of experience in world financial markets. Through the Lipper Index, and the international Lipper Fund Performance Awards, he pioneered breakthroughs in the fields of mutual fund analysis, stock index futures and mutual funds.

Mr. Lipper formed two New York Stock Exchange member firms, Arthur Lipper Corporation and New York & Foreign Securities, and served both as Chairman. These firms specialized in serving institutional investors, and their services included the creation of mutual fund investment performance analysis. They were members of all of the major U.S. securities exchanges, and a number of commodity futures exchanges, and transacted hundreds of millions of dollars of business. He has also advised stock and commodity futures exchanges, including Mid-America Commodity Exchange and Bourse de Beyrouth.

In 1969, Arthur Lipper Corporation filed the first prospectus for a Stock Index Fund and subsequently conceived and initiated trading Stock Index Futures.  The company had offices in New York, London, Washington, Amsterdam, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Singapore and Tokyo, and was actively involved in Australia.

Arthur Lipper Corporation invested in privately owned companies, including Venture Magazine, where Mr. Lipper served as Editor-in-Chief. He has lectured at many prominent universities, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown.

In 2007, Mr. Lipper was awarded a U.S. patent covering the Comparator service for investment managers. Comparator allowed users to uniquely review and manage portfolios based on the relative weighting of holdings. In 2010 he was awarded a patent for an approach to using revenue royalties in the financing of companies. In 2013 he filed another patent covering the combination of debt and royalties.

He is a leader of the field of royalties finance, and has published a number of analytical tools to help investors and business owners understand their potential. Arthur is involved with a number of efforts to initiate funds, partnerships, and public securities exchanges focused on revenue royalties.

Arthur served in the U.S. Marine Corps, receiving a Purple Heart in Korea.

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Selected scenes of APG at work with clients, in China and America.