Share this on Twitter Share this on Facebook Share this on LinkedIn Share this on Sina Weibo Share this on Wechat Share this on LinkedIn Illustration by Pete Ryan The cover of the January 19, 2008, edition of The Economist showed three large tandem-rotor military helicopters, each hauling a pallet full of gold bars and emblazoned with the flags of China, Singapore and Kuwait. Credit: The Economist Above the fleet of helicopters, the headline announced the impending “invasion of the sovereign wealth funds.” This hyperbolic declaration was a reference to several sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) from Asia and the oil-rich Arabian Gulf that had, in the week prior, pumped $69 billion into troubled Western financial institutions, some of which were among the world’s largest banks and investment managers. At that time, the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the advent of the 2008 global financial crisis were still more than nine months away. The prevailing attitude of Western policymakers was still mostly averse to the notion of wide-scale market intervention, which some economists half-mockingly described as drops of “helicopter moSubscribe or login to read the rest. Subscribers get full access to: Exclusive longform investigative journalism, Q&As, news and analysis, and data on Chinese business elites and corporations. We publish China scoops you won't find anywhere else. A weekly curated reading list on China from David Barboza, Pulitzer Prize-winning former Shanghai correspondent for The New York Times. A daily roundup of China finance, business and economics headlines. We offer discounts for groups, institutions and students. Go to our Subscriptions page for details.