(Sept 27): Billionaire Gautam Adani said China will feel increasingly isolated as rising nationalism, shifts in supply chains and technology curbs threaten the world’s second-biggest economy.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has run into resistance in many countries, challenging Beijing’s global ambitions, the world’s second richest man after Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk told a conference in Singapore on Tuesday (Sept 27). The property market meltdown there has drawn comparisons with what happened to Japan during the “lost decade” of the 1990s, he added.
“While I expect all these economies will readjust over time and bounce back, the friction to the bounce-back looks far harder this time,” he said.
Adani’s comments on China and the global economy come at a time when the 60-year-old port-to-power tycoon is seeking to raise his international profile as he added more than US$58 billion (RM267.43 billion) to his personal fortune this year. Central banks are doing the “unthinkable” by raising interest rates so much that they can crash an economy into a recession, he said.
He also hit back at criticism over India’s plans to increase the amount of power it generates from dirty fossil fuel, as the tycoon funds and straddles both sides of the green-energy divide.
“Critics would have us instantly get rid of all fossil fuel sources that India needs to serve a large population,” he said. “This would not work for India.”
Adani’s conglomerate is marshalling its resources into renewables, and the billionaire reiterated his plans to invest US$70 billion in the transition. At the same time, Adani has faced pressure from environmental groups who claim his energy ambitions also include the financing of new coal mines and fossil-fuel powered plants.
The tycoon’s comments mirror those of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has blamed climate change on historic emissions from the developed world, and made it his mission to provide electricity to every Indian home, for which he needs cheap fuel.
Despite being the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, India will add nearly 56 gigawatts of coal power capacity, unless there’s a substantial drop in the cost of storing electricity, as the government prioritises economic growth and reliable electricity supply, India's Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh told Bloomberg News this month.
The country is also planning major investments in renewable energy, Singh said. India, which saw power demand surge this summer as temperatures rose to a record, is also delaying shutting older coal plants and increasing mining output.