Mark Kitto is a British entrepreneur, magazine publisher, and writer notable for investing and living in the People's Republic of China. During his time in China he lived in Shanghai before relocating to Mount Mogan where he ran a restaurant and guest houses. In 2013 he announced his intention to leave, citing the welfare of his children as the deciding factor.
Kitto has a passion for languages, and a fascination with the Far East. This love led Mark to study Chinese at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and for the second year of his Chinese degree course Mark went to Beijing in 1986. As a student, and in later years, he has travelled to most of China’s provinces. Kitto has recently discovered the mountains of southern Zhejiang. In 1993 he was a member of the first expedition to cross the Taklamakan Desert from west to east.
In 1997 Mark met Joanna, a native of Guangzhou through a mutual friend. They married in 2002. The family now includes two children, Isabel and Tristan. After announcing that he was leaving China month passed with a grand tour of the country being planned. His stated destination is a cottage in the village of Fakenham, a jumping hot spot in North Norfolk.
Mark Kitto was a Captain in the Welsh Guards before he became a metals trader in London and then China in 1996. By 2004, Mark Kitto had set up a foreign joint venture consultancy company, and invested 3m yuan ($350,000) to bring his formula north to the capital by launching That’s Beijing, with a circulation of 20,000, That’s Shanghai (then 45,000) and That’s Guangzhou (15,000). The business and the magazines were entirely “self-made,” stated Kitto.
In 2004, after seven years building up his magazine empire, Kitto says it was seized by the state. He stated, "I lived in the grey zone that is China’s media business and, despite my commitment to the country, paid a high price." Kitto has been a regular contributor to Prospect Magazine for the last six years. In his recent article "You'll never be Chinese", Kitto wrote: "my state-owned competitors (enemy is more accurate) told me in private that they studied every issue I produced so they could learn from me. They proceeded to do everything in their power to destroy me." He expressed his regrets that he could not quite thrive alongside his Communist competitors, and declared that he would not miss China once he left it for good.
Mark Kitto and his wife also opened a coffee shop and three guest houses in Moganshan Lodge.
He chronicles his time in China and his discovery of Moganshan in his book China Cuckoo (in the UK) ISBN 978-1-84529-940-8 or Chasing China: How I Went to China in Search of a Fortune and Found a Life (the US edition) ISBN 978-1-60239-657-9.
Notes and references
- Edward Wong (June 15, 2011). "Restoring Life to Mountain Retreat Where Mao Napped". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Chris Hawke (November 15, 2012). "I'm still leaving China". The Global Times. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- Edward Wong (June 14, 2013). "A Briton's Bitter Farewell to China Echoes Loudly". The New York Times. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
- "You’ll never be Chinese: Why I’m leaving the country I loved." Mark Kitto, Prospect Magazine August 8, 2012
- Kitto, Mark (2009). Chasing China: How I Went to China in Search of at Fortune and Found a Life. Skyhorse Publishing. p. Chapter 1 pages to 16. ISBN 978-1-60239-657-9.
- The worst things about Fakenham
- Mark Kitto (April 23, 2006). "That's China!". Prospect Magazine. Retrieved June 15, 2013.