Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) chief executive officer Choi Hee-nam is optimistic Asia will remain an attractive investment destination despite growing economic and political tensions, with China and India still heading the list. 

The two Asian giants have clashed recently over their disputed Himalayan border, while relations between China and the US have steadily deteriorated due to a range of issues, including the origins of the Covid-19 virus.     

“In the long run, the Asian era will come. The U.S. share of the world’s gross domestic product is decreasing,” the head of South Korea’s wealth fund said in an interview with local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo. “If the risk of conflict between the U.S. and China is resolved, China is still an attractive investment destination considering the size of domestic consumption and its high-end IT manpower. The same goes for India.”

Discussing KIC’s strategy for investing in emerging economies, including those in Asia, Choi said, “Investing in infrastructure is important. There are many opportunities in digital infrastructure markets such as telecommunications networks, as well as building roads and dams.”

Choi reiterated the KIC’s plan to increase the portion of alternative investments in its investment portfolios. KIC investment assets entrusted by the South Korean Government and Bank of Korea in overseas markets had a net asset value of $157.3 billion at the end of last year, with an accumulated profit of $49.2 billion. 

He also referred to opportunities offered by KIC’s San Francisco office, which is scheduled to open in November.

“It is important to enter the inner circle of the venture investment industry,” Choi noted, adding, “We started venture investment in 2017, but due to a lack of networks we have entrusted venture investment to external managers. We can increase direct investment once the office is opened.”  (Reporting by Kyoungho Lee)