Hedge fund titan George Soros on Monday slammed BlackRock for funneling billions of dollars into China — a move he said imperils clients’ money and US security.
Soros, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, said BlackRock’s investment in China is tantamount to propping up an oppressive regime. He warned it’s “likely to lose money for BlackRock’s clients and, more important, will damage the national security interests of the US and other democracies.”
BlackRock is the world’s largest money manager, with $9.5 trillion under management.
Late last month, BlackRock introduced mutual funds in China for Chinese investors to buy after getting the green light from President Xi Jinping to launch investment products earlier this year. Shortly after getting approval, BlackRock recommended clients invest more money in China.
But even as China opens itself up to foreign investment following various trade agreements struck with the US, Soros, who’s known for supporting liberal causes through his Open Society Foundations, warns it’s a serious mistake for banks and other financial institutions to expand their presence in the nation.
Soros called out BlackRock CEO and Chairman Larry Fink as well as Blackstone CEO and chairman Stephen Schwarzman and former Goldman Sachs President John Thornton for jumping at “the prospect of business opportunities dangled by Mr. Xi.”
BlackRock defended its position in a statement to The Post.
“The United States and China have a large and complex economic relationship,” BlackRock said. “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.”
Xi has used his power to crack down on multiple successful companies over the last year, including halting Alibaba’s Ant Group IPO just days before the company was set to go public and launching a probe into ride-hailing company Didi days after it listed on an American exchange.
The moves have caused a sharp selloff in Chinese stocks. Didi has dipped more than 30 percent since going public earlier this summer and Alibaba has plummeted 35 percent over the last year.
Soros said he sees these initial moves targeted toward tech-focused companies as a sign Xi will do whatever it takes to stay in power.
“Earlier efforts could have been morally justified by claims that they were building bridges to bring the countries closer, but the situation now is totally different,” Soros said of encouraging investment in China. “Today, the US and China are engaged in a life-and-death conflict between two systems of governance: repressive and democratic.”
Soros has spoken out against repressive regimes before. He survived Nazi occupation of Hungary during World War II and moved to England after the war. He has focused his charitable giving on organizations that “build vibrant and inclusive democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens.”
Soros is a mega donor to Democrats. In 2020, he injected more than $28 million into various Democratic campaigns. He also supports various liberal causes — that draw the ire of conservatives — like a wealth tax.
In recent weeks, Soros has come out swinging against China. In another WSJ op-ed last month, he wrote, “Xi’s Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State.” He later argued in the Financial Times that, “investors in Xi’s China face a rude awakening” and that Xi, “does not understand the market economy.”
Soros has given away over $32 billion through his philanthropy Open Society Foundations. Some of the recipients are the American Civil Liberties Union, Planned Parenthood and the Robin Hood Foundation.