Good evening. Robert Friedland might just be the most interesting billionaire you’ve never heard of. Check out our cover story this week to learn how the ex-hippie (he was Steve Jobs’s guru!) turned into a mining mogul — and why he is partnering with some of China’s biggest players to mine a metal he says is a national security issue. Elsewhere, we have infographics on Qiming Venture Partners, the VC firm attracting big U.S. money; an interview with Raffaello Pantucci on the West’s missed opportunity in Central Asia; an op-ed from Carl E. Walter, a former JP Morgan China executive, on China’s financial deterioration; and an op-ed from Shang-Jin Wei on how China could possibly hit its growth target this year. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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Robert Friedland says the renewable energy transition won’t be achieved without people like him digging up the critical metals needed “to electrify the world economy.” He might be right, but as reporting from Isabella Borshoff shows, the mining mogul’s decision to team up with some of China’s biggest players to dig up copper in the Congo represents a conundrum for the West.
Qiming Venture Partners, a top venture capital firm, recently raised significantly more than expected from U.S. investors for a new fund — a signal that the institutional appetite for investing in China remains strong. This week, The Wire’s infographics by Eliot Chen introduce readers to Qiming, its limited partners and its major investments.
Raffaello Pantucci is a scholar at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore and at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). His new book, Sinostan: China’s Inadvertent Empire, investigates China’s relations with its western neighbors. In this week’s Q&A with Andrew Peaple, he talks about the West’s missed opportunity in Central Asia, Xinjiang’s relationship to Central Asia, the BRI’s origins, and the China-Russia relationship in Central Asia.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
The Communist party should be worried about the risks that have built up in China’s financial system, argues Carl E. Walter, a former COO of JP Morgan China and the co-author of Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise. To avoid social and even political crises, he says, the party must throw away the fossilized thinking that has landed the country in today’s difficulties.
China’s GDP growth target for this year looks challenging in light of the Ukraine war and U.S. monetary tightening. The target remains feasible, argues Columbia professor Shang-Jin Wei, but only if Chinese policymakers return to the sort of market-oriented reforms and regulation that have proved successful in the past.
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