‘We don’t have to invest in the U.S.’ if trade tensions aren’t resolved, says tech investor Kai-fu Lee

Tech investor, former president of Google China, and Sinica Podcast guest Kai-fu Lee (李开复 Lǐ Kāifù) told Bloomberg that his firm Sinovation Ventures might stay away from the United States if trade tensions with China are not resolved.

  • “We don’t have to invest in the U.S.,” Lee told Bloomberg: “Our U.S. strategy is pending on the Argentina meeting [between Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 and Donald Trump], to see if there is a U.S. strategy…”
  • Lee is particularly concerned about the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has greatly tightened its scrutiny over Chinese acquisitions and investments:

“CFIUS regulation is probably the most worrisome for us all… The easy thing for us to do is to look for smart, technical Chinese people in America and bring them back to China. That is what the current American policy is forcing us to do. That can’t be good for the future, but if you’re in my shoes, what other choice do you have?”

  • Founded in 2009, Sinovation Ventures “manages about $2 billion between six funds in U.S. and Chinese currencies,” and owns shares in more than 300 companies, mostly in China.
  • Under new rules passed in August, the U.S. Congress strengthened the review powers of CFIUS. Now, Bloomberg says, “even a small investment can be flagged for CFIUS review.”

See also:

  • Bloomberg opinion writer Noah Smith’s explanation on Twitter of “why declining international student numbers – which are almost certainly due to Trump’s restrictionist policies — are a bad thing for the United States.”
  • This New York Times piece (porous paywall) on the declining rates of legal immigration under Trump at a time when “there are more job openings than job seekers in the United States.”

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