Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, who recently announced he would not support Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign, admitted that investment in China is a “center of focus” for his company and revealed plans to “increase the size of our commitment” in the region.
Speaking with Bloomberg News, the hedge fund manager also praised efforts to “re-accelerate China’s growth” by brutal Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.
“Griffin is upholding his plans for Asia expansion, encouraged by China President Xi Jinpingâ€™s renewed focus on the economy,” explains a summary of the interview, published the same day Trump declared his third bid for the presidency.
“China, given the size of its capital markets, is a center of focus for our investment team,â€ Griffin declared.
â€œSeeing growth in the region accelerate only encourages us to increase the size of our commitment.â€
Beijingâ€™s recent moves to relax Covid measures and to support property markets â€œindicates that Xiâ€™s team is committed to, once again, re-accelerating Chinese economic growth,â€ Griffin added during the interview at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.
The Ron DeSantis supporter also spoke with Bloomberg’s Editorial Director Erik Schatzker about U.S. trade policies toward China in a nearly thirty-minute, live interview.
â€œStructurally, the trade war with China is a huge loss for humanity,” Griffin began before claiming the Trump-era approach would lead to a “global fracturing of the tech stack.”
Schatzker followed up, noting: “On the one hand thereâ€™s intelligence or at least informed speculation that China is using advanced American semiconductor technology in next-generation weapons systems. Thereâ€™s also bipartisan support for a tough stance on access to American technology by the Chinese government, Chinese companies.”
“Shouldnâ€™t it warrant at the very least some concern if not action by Washington?” he inquired.
â€œThe United States has no ability to produce anywhere near the number of semiconductors it needs to run its economy. We are utterly and totally dependent upon the Taiwanese for modern semiconductors in America,” Griffin began.
“Now, you could argue that by depriving the Chinese of access to semiconductors, we actually up the ante of the risk that they seize Taiwan. So itâ€™s not necessarily clear that we get the outcome that we want by depriving the Chinese of this technology. They could resort to other methods to secure this needed technology for their economy if they so choose.â€
The stunning admissions follow criticism over Griffin’s links to the Chinese Communist Party playing a significant role in his decision to withdraw support for Trump, whose administration took an unprecedentedly hardline approach to Beijing and its manipulative economic practices.
Citadel operates across Asia, with offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Citadel and Citadel Securities added additional office space in Hong Kong this year to accommodate its widening Asia operations. The two companies have increased their Asia-Pacific headcount by more than 60% to about 350, people familiar with the moves said in July.
In the past, Griffin has been a staunch advocate for collaboration with China on technology, adamantly opposing the Trump-favored idea of “decoupling.”
In 2020, the company paid a fine of $97 million to Chinese Communist Party authorities in a settlement over an alleged trading rule violation, allowing the company to continue to expand its operations in the country.