Tech Arms Race: Is China already winning?

Names like George Soros, Howard Marks and Ashok Jacob are recognisable to most investors. Mary Manning has the unique experience of working inside the investment engines of each of these renowned fundies. Their ability to step back and think about big picture issues is one trait that has been impressed upon her.

In 2018, Mary and her team at Ellerston Capital published a research paper titled; “Tech Arms Race: Is China Already Winning?” It outlined a thesis that the geopolitical tensions taking place between China and the US were a sideshow. The real battle was over technology and, in her view, it remains the biggest issue in global markets right now.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, has just filed paperwork to commence an IPO of Ant Financial, the payments business sitting within China’s answer to Amazon. It’s set to be the biggest listing of the year with estimates that Ant Financial will hit the boards with a valuation between US$200 bn and US$300 bn. In a world starved of growth, Mary believes that the opportunities in Asia are simply too compelling to ignore.

In this extended interview, Mary discusses the thinking behind her thesis, outlines how she is investing right now and shares a lesson that she has taken from each of the great investors she has worked alongside.

Topics discussed

  • Reflections from working with three great investors; George Soros, Howard Marks and Ashok Jacob.
  • The compelling structural growth opportunity that exists in Asian markets.
  • Why the ‘tech arms race’ is the big issue facing investors globally.
  • Who is winning and where in the race for tech supremacy?
  • Investing in Asia’s tech giants and why size is an advantage when it comes to growth.
  • The next big tech player emerging in Asia.
  • Three tough lessons Mary learned from Soros, Marks and Jacob


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