LONDON - BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has responded to sharp criticism from billionaire investor George Soros over the firm’s investments in China.
Writing in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, Soros described BlackRock’s initiative in China as a “tragic mistake” that would “damage the national security interests of the U.S. and other democracies.”
The op-ed, entitled “BlackRock’s China Blunder,” said the firm’s decision to pour billions into the country was a “bad investment” likely to lose money for its clients.
It comes shortly after BlackRock launched a set of mutual funds and other investment products for Chinese consumers. The initiative saw BlackRock become the first foreign-owned company to operate a wholly owned business in China’s mutual fund industry.
The asset manager told CNBC on Wednesday that its China mutual fund subsidiary set up its first fund in the country after raising 6.68 billion Chinese yuan ($1.03 billion) from more than 111,000 investors.
“The United States and China have a large and complex economic relationship,” a BlackRock spokesperson said in response to Soros’ comments.
“Total trade in goods and services between the two countries exceeded $600 billion in 2020. Through our investment activity, US-based asset managers and other financial institutions contribute to the economic interconnectedness of the world’s two largest economies.”
BlackRock’s Investment Institute recommended in -August that investors boost their exposure to China by as much as three times in some cases. Earlier in the year, CEO Larry Fink in a letter to shareholders described China’s market as a “significant opportunity to help meet the long-term goals of investors in China and internationally.”