In population and GDP, “China is going to be a major driver of global growth,” Flatt says. “By and large, China’s economic transition has been done in a methodical way such that it’s a place where we feel comfortable investing.”
About 1% of Brookfield’s assets -- a few billion dollars – are currently invested in China. That’s now going to change. In Flatt’s own words, “The bottom line is I have to believe 25 years from now a third of our business will be in China.” With China now at a stage of development where its acceptance of foreign capital is on the rise, the firm is ready to act. Says Flatt, “We’ve spent nearly 15 years building out our business in the Asia/Pacific region. We're now at a point where we can do things in China."
“In the early days, China was a hyper-growth market and that's something that we're not generally comfortable with,” says Flatt. “Today, China is forming into an economy that's more like the developed economies. The investment opportunities become more value and operationally based," he adds. As a tested manager of everything from New York's World Financial Center to London's Canary Wharf, Flatt says, "Our operating skills can be highly beneficial to businesses in the country."
“Thirty-five years from now half of global GDP will be in Asia and half will be in the Western economy," says Flatt. “Our belief is China will be a great place to invest."