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China Investment Corporation (CIC): Too early to fear China’s sovereign wealth fund

Managers are still learning the ropes.

More on sovereign wealth funds

Few institutions are as intensely scrutinized, debated over and even feared as China’s recently minted sovereign wealth fund.

The China Investment Corporation (CIC), launched in summer 2007 to much fanfare, is barely out of swaddling clothes, yet already it has been picked to death by the international press, global wealth managers and a broad range of paranoid governmental institutions.

This is strange, as even a glance inside the ramshackle internal structure of the $200 billion, Beijing-controlled fund, the first of its kind ever launched by the People’s Republic, dispels much of the fear. Even the top mandarins running CIC admit that they are still fumbling around in the dark, and will be for some time.

"We’re still learning the ropes here," a board member and senior manager at CIC told Euromoney on the sidelines of the fund’s first annual general meeting, held at a plush central Beijing hotel on a chilly day last December. He says it will be "a few years yet" before the fund’s senior managers really know what they’re doing.

Vexation

Already the fund’s managers seem vexed by the level of attention they have attracted.

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