Famous investment boss Mark Mobius has complained on US television that he cannot take his money out of China due to the country’s capital controls.
In an interview on Fox Business, the billionaire, now 86, cautioned other investors to be “very, very careful” about investing in an economy under a tight government grip.
“I have an account with HSBC in Shanghai. I can’t take my money out. The government is restricting flow of money out of the country,” Mobius, founder of Mobius Capital Partners, said in an interview published on March 2.
“I can’t get an explanation of why they’re doing this … They’re putting all kinds of barriers. They don’t say: No, you can’t get your money out. But they say: give us all the records from 20 years of how you made this money … This is crazy.”
Mobius’ comments were circulated on Chinese social media site WeChat at the weekend.
Mobius led emerging market investment at Franklin Templeton Investments for three decades and is known for his bullish view on China. Now, though, he said, he “would be very, very careful” investing in the country.
“The bottom line is that China is moving in a completely different direction than what Deng Xiaoping instituted when they started the big reform program,” he said, referring to the former Chinese leader.
“Now you have a government which is taking golden shares in companies all over China. That means they’re going to try to control all of these companies … So I don’t think it’s a very good picture when you see the government becoming more and more control-oriented in the economy.”
Mobius, who calls himself “the Indiana Jones of Emerging Market investing”, told Fox he’s increasing exposure to alternative markets such as India and Brazil.
Mobius and HSBC could not be reached at the weekend.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard