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Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani thinks China will become ‘increasingly isolated’ in the current global turbulence – and says the country’s recovery will be harder than ever

  • Gautam Adani says China will feel “increasingly isolated” and see a tougher economic recovery.
  • Companies and countries are turning away from globalization in favor of nationalism.
  • However, the global turbulence has accelerated the chances for India’s rise, Adani says.

Gautam Adani of India, the richest person in Asia, says China has an increasingly isolated view of the world stage.

“I expect China – which has been seen as the foremost champion of globalization – will feel increasingly isolated,” Adani said in his keynote speech at the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore on Tuesday. “Increasing nationalism, supply chain risk mitigation and technological constraints will have an impact.”

The founder of the conglomerate Adani Group has a net worth of $139.8 billion as of Sept. 27 and is the third richest person in the world, according to Forbes, after Elon Musk and LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault.

After the COVID-19 pandemic and amid the war in Ukraine, companies and countries around the world are trying to protect their supply chains and reduce their dependence on others. As a factory for the world, China has benefited from globalization, but the tide may turn – and it will be a challenge to get back, said Adani.

China is facing backlash as it lends more money to emerging countries than they can afford – owing them to Beijing, as well as concerns about the real estate debt crisis escalating into a broader global financial crisis.

“China’s Belt and Road initiative was expected to be a demonstration of its global ambitions, but resistance now makes it challenging. And housing and credit risks draw comparisons to what happened to the Japanese economy during the ‘ lost decade “of the 1990s,” Adani said.

Meanwhile, the global turbulence has “accelerated opportunities” for India, Adani said.

India has a fast-growing middle class and a young population that will bring GDP to $30 trillion by 2050, up from $3 trillion currently, making it a “bright spot” from a political and market perspective, Adani said. His projection mirrors that of DK Srivastava, chief policy advisor at Ernst & Young India.

It would be to Adani’s advantage to present India as a country of opportunity and potential: the Adani Group is a huge company, with interests ranging from energy to transportation and real estate. It’s worth nearly $234 billion as of Sept. 29 — and that’s just from seven publicly traded companies in the conglomerate.

“What I see in the future are the new principles of global engagement, based on greater self-reliance, reduced supply chain risk and stronger nationalism,” Adani said.

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