Mongolian Perspectives

 By Allyson Seaborn

Columnist Allyson Seaborn has an intimate series of questions she’ll be asking intriguing Mongolian Nationals each week. This new feature exposes their passions and memories about the land of eternal blue skies and sheds light on their past and future hopes. We look forward to bringing you on a new journey of discovery and hope you enjoy reading what these unique individuals have to share with readers.  

This week our third installment features Ch. Gankhuyag.

Ch. Gankhuyag – or simply “Gan” as he’s known amongst friends, is a man with an illustrious career history. He’s also however, a man of many colours and hidden talents – a man many would describe as “larger than life.” Most people simply know him as the founder of Xac Bank and as a major player in the Mongolian financial scene, but there’s a lot more to Ch. Gankhuyag than meets the eye.

He describes how, “We lost our father when I was twenty years old. This was a huge wake up call for me. I realized I needed to grow up and lead the family at once.” And lead the way he did, both personally and publically – and in more ways than one.

I ask him if he could please send me a photo for publication and he responds by telling me to choose one from his public Facebook page which has an astounding number of “likes” and an even more eclectic array of action packed images. Wolves, fast cars, babies being held, charity runs and basketball games. That’s right – Ch. Gankhuyag was recently elected President of the Mongolian Basketball Association. He’s a man who’s done it all, from leading large private companies to holding high-ranking public positions. Simply put, Ch. Gankhuyag is a modern day inspiration, demonstrating to eager young Mongolians that anything is possible in this rapidly evolving country if you simply put your mind to it.

Born in 1973, Ch. Gankhuyag first cut his teeth in finance as a floor supervisor at the Mongolian Stock Exchange, but this was just the beginning. He’s held the position of CEO of Xac Bank since its founding to 2009. At the same time, he led the founding of Xac Bank’s holding company Ten Ger Financial Group and its numerous subsidiaries – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Ch. Gankhuyag has served as the Honorary Consul of Hungary in Mongolia (yes, he speaks fluent Hungarian) and has been on the board of numerous high profile companies. He also served as the Vice Minister of Finance after a term with Prime Minister Batbold as his Economic Policy Advisor.

Ch. Gankhuyag currently holds the position of Executive Chairman of Equity Investment Trust, the company he helped found in 2005 which engages in financial investments and turnaround management. In 2009 he was also named as the World Economic Forum’s

Young Global Leader and is a founding curator of the YouBe Global Shapers Community.


That is of course, the formal introduction about a man who’s packed a heck of a lot into a mere thirty-nine years. Here now, is a fascinating glimpse into the private life and thoughts of Ch. Gankhuyag. 

-Where were you born and where did you grow up?

-I was born in Ulaanbaatar’s Second Maternity Hospital and grew up pretty much in the same way as my peers at that time: going to school, getting beaten on the street by neighborhood kids, playing football, playing the Mongolian street version of baseball, helping my parents with the household chores, going to movies, falling in love, getting into fights, stealing my father’s car while a teenager to show off to my friends, etc. I have two younger brothers and one of them is just two years younger than I am. He had a lot of influence on how I ended up later in life – we grew up side by side, competing like Olympians in whatever came to mind. Attention, toys, less household work, etc. We still hang out together a lot these days.

As a kid I used to read a lot. I read mostly in Russian. I think reading just about anything I laid my eyes on had a profound effect in shaping who I am today.

-Describe your most vivid childhood memory. 

-I liked following my father on his hunting and fishing trips. It was very exciting and we felt proud if we were allowed to try out the guns and drive a car. It was a blast!

I loved my time in Hungary where my father was assigned to work at the Embassy as a driver in 1983. We lived there for more than three years. I met foreign kids, made friends, wrote love letters and learned karate, swimming and even disco dancing. This was a huge exposure to a kid from Mongolia – a real eye opener for me.

-What do you like most about Mongolia today?

-We are free people living in a free society. We can think and act differently and speak our minds. We possess a free spirit. I think the country is undergoing a huge transformation – even still to this day. We’re in a different phase than we were in the 90s or the first decade of this millennium. We transited from socialism to democracy and a free market in the 90s – then we started building our foundations. Right now we are giving our house a shape that will determine Mongolia’s future in the coming millennium. It is a critical stage of our development. I am lucky that I witnessed both systems and the transition. I hope I will see Mongolia develop into a prosperous country. I think it is a privilege and honor. My ancestors fought hard to leave us with this beautiful and free country. We need to deserve and be grateful for their hard fight. Present and future generations need to persevere and show their thanks by working hard and selflessly.

-What do you miss most about the Mongolia of yesterday?

-I miss the friendliness, openness and the curiosity that was visible everywhere. People weren’t in a rush. There wasn’t a lot of money, but then again there were not a lot of choices. There also seemed to be fewer problems. I was a kid and I was happy simply throwing stones into the river. I enjoyed visiting herders without notice. I enjoyed entering neighbors’ houses to watch a movie without an invitation. I really dreamt about many things that were not available then to most in Mongolia. Now I realize that the process has been more important than attaining the goal. I think I’ve enjoyed the ride so far.

I hope we will live to see the day when we can say we’ve built a society that has the best of all societies. What we’ve witnessed to date are: happiness, choices, smiles, kindness, prosperity, healthy and wealthy people, highly educated and humble people who do good, think well and live well. We had a fair system that took care of everybody.

-What’s your favorite holiday destination either overseas or within Mongolia?

-We go camping with some friends every summer to popular Mongolian destinations. Then my family makes one or two trips a year to Europe in the summer or we may perhaps visit another South Asian country in the winter.

-Can you explain in English your favorite Mongolian expression or saying?

-Right intentions bring the right destiny. I almost wanted to add Right Bank, Xac Bank.

-What hopes do you have for the future of Mongolia?

-We are destined to live prosperously. See my vision for Mongolia on my blog termed as Wolf Economy.

-What do you find most interesting about foreigners living in Mongolia? 

 -I lived as a foreigner abroad. I know how it is. I want Mongols to remember that we are hosts. They are our guests. I want us to extend them their “guest rights.” We are nomads in the end. Then, I also want our friends to not abuse this right and be nice to the hosts. And it is easy. Please, mingle more with Mongols. Do not go to places where only foreigners go, do not eat out where only foreigners go. Please, mix. It will break the ice and help both sides understand and appreciate each other better. I am worried about the rise in violent attacks on foreigners in recent years, which was unheard of before. I want Mongols be respected when we go abroad. I think we need to give that respect and hospitality to our guests in order to do so.

-Who inspires you?

-My kids are an inspiration for me. I have four of them. My mother is an inspiration for me. My wife is also my inspiration. Mongolian history is an inspiration for me.


Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=3420

Posted by on Mar 24 2013. Filed under Community. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

2 + = 7

Recently Commented

  • Oyun: www.theblueeconomy.org
  • Honheree: It is a sad and awful sight to see so many animals dead from dzuds. These have happened in the past and since 2004 there have...
  • Harvey Dent: Mongolia does not get 476,000 tourists a year. Its gets 476,000 arrivals, most of these are Chinese construction workers....
  • Honheree: It is good but unusual that a Mongolian is so forthright. I am D. Ganbold will be criticised by Mongolians for telling the...
  • Honheree: Be thankful Mongolia is so cheap. In USA lamb in stores costs 69,281 MNT /kg and sirloin which is cheaper cut of beef is...