Barry Sternlicht says the ‘deck is stacked’ in China and he is not a fan of investing there

World investor Barry Sternlicht instructed CNBC on Wednesday he continues to carry a cautious view on investing in China.

“We’re not traders immediately in China,” the chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group stated in an interview on “Squawk Field.” “It is not a China factor, a lot as international locations the place we expect the deck is stacked or we will not underwrite the political danger of the funding. It is simply, why trouble?”

Sternlicht’s feedback Wednesday comply with Beijing’s current regulatory crackdown on all method of industries, together with know-how and personal schooling corporations. The developments thrust again into the highlight considerations many abroad traders have had about working in China, the place the communist authorities may be unpredictable in exerting its far-reaching energy over companies.

Sternlicht, whose agency largely focuses on international actual property, has for years warned concerning the challenges of investing in China. For instance, in a 2015 Bloomberg interview, he stated the Chinese language authorities’s central planning is “not all the time that apparent to the international investor” and recommended he would not get sufficient return for the chance he is taking up.

Starwood Capital has, nevertheless, partnered with Chinese language developer Shimao Property Holdings to function a lodge three way partnership within the nation, which is house to the world’s second-largest financial system. In accordance with a 2017 press launch, Shimao owned 51%, whereas Miami-based Starwood owned 49%.

Past that Shimao enterprise, Sternlicht instructed the journey information website Skift final yr that his agency was “not able to be adventurous” in China. “It is not my consolation zone,” he added then.

Extra broadly, Sternlicht stated he holds considerations concerning the financial implications of U.S.-China relations proper now, notably because it pertains to Beijing’s current encroachments on Taiwan.

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Division stated in a press release it was fearful about China’s “provocative army exercise close to Taiwan” and urged Beijing to “stop its army, diplomatic, and financial stress and coercion” towards the democratic self-ruled island.

Taiwan holds a key place within the international financial system due to its dominance within the semiconductor business. Nevertheless, China claims Taiwan as a part of its personal territory.

Whereas saying the U.S. is unlikely to go to “bodily warfare” with China over Taiwan, Sternlicht fearful that the Biden administration might ratchet up financial sanctions and intensify the commerce warfare that started underneath former President Donald Trump.

“It could strategically be a nightmare for the US,” Sternlicht stated. “Semiconductors can be extra vital than oil for this nation,” he added. “Neglect reserves. We want a semiconductor reserve as a result of your washer will cease working. It is a severe concern.”

“That’s, actually, the chance to the fairness market as a result of we are going to most probably begin with a sanction, international sanctions in opposition to China. They suppose in 100-year intervals. Now we have traders that purchase corporations for weeks, not even months, so they’ll wait us out,” he added. … They’ve an enormous aggressive benefit.”

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