Malcolm Riddell

As investment banker, lawyer, diplomat, Harvard academic, and CIA spy, Malcolm Riddell has participated in China’s rise to international economic and political power for over 30 years.

A Mandarin speaker, who lived and worked for more than 15 years in China and Taiwan, Malcolm is president of RiddellTseng, a China-focused boutique investment bank and the creator of CHINA Debate and editor of the CHINADebate blog.

He began his China career in 1978 as a CIA case officer in China Operations, serving also as a ‘Special Operations Group’ reserve officer, and at all times holding ‘Top Secret/Codeword’ clearances.

After leaving the Agency in 1984, he attended Harvard Business School and worked in investment banking at Salomon Brothers before establishing RiddellTseng in Asia in 1988.

At RiddellTseng, he advises leading international financial services and real estate companies on China business, investment, and joint ventures, and works with them to source, negotiate, and close deals,with projects ranging from Fidelity’s China entry to MetLife’s China JV.

Malcolm is also a lawyer, licensed to practice in his home state of Florida since 1976, board certified in international law, and vice chairman of the International Law Board Certification Committee.

In addition to the CIA, his other government service includes United States delegate to the United Nations and Florida Undersecretary of State for International Affairs.

Malcolm is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

(more about Malcolm below)



Education and Academics

Malcolm's education includes:

In addition to a juris doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law in his home state of Florida and post-graduate studies at Harvard Law School’s East Asian Legal Studies Program, Malcolm's other graduate work includes:

  • Harvard Business School, MBA
  • Columbia University, Master of International Affairs
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design, AMDP in Real Estate

At Peking University, he is

  • Senior Visiting Fellow at Peking University Law School
  • Member of the Advisory Board at the Center for Real Estate Law

His activities at Harvard University include:

  • Harvard Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Associate-in-Research 
  •  Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Asia Fellow 2009-2010
  • Harvard China Fund Academic Committee, member 2009-2011
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design, former Academic Leader and instructor for China real estate exec-ed programs.

See His Harvard instructor profile @

On the Media

What Level of Reform Will Come Out of China?

Malcolm Riddell, President of RiddellTseng and founder of CHINADebate, on what to expect from the Chinese Communist Party's Third Plenary session this weekend.  Nov 9, 2013, BizAsiaAmerica

China Expert Discusses U.S.- China Relations

"Malcolm Riddell, a former spy for the CIA in China, He speaks with NBC News’ Kerry Sanders about U.S.-Chinese relations" NBC News

Malcolm Riddell Huffpost Live Interview on Hot China Issues

With a fast-growing economy and rising class divisions, Chinese elites increasingly find themselves under an online microscope.