Bill Gates foundation wins QFII approval

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 July, 2004, 12:00am

The US$27 billion philanthropic foundation set up by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has won approval as a qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII), enabling it to invest in China's four trillion yuan A-share market.

Observers say the licensing of the Seattle-based Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as China's 17th QFII, announced on the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) website yesterday, could herald a wave of applications by western endowment funds seeking to invest in Chinese stocks and bonds.

So far, 15 QFIIs have won investment quotas of a combined US$1.95 billion, including a $75 million quota allotted to Merrill Lynch yesterday. Until now, all have been asset managers, banks and insurance companies.

'I know of other foreign foundations that would like to follow suit, including university endowment funds,' a Shanghai-based brokerage executive said yesterday.

The Gates Foundation supports global health, education and poverty alleviation programmes.

With endowment of about US$27 billion, it made US$1.18 billion of grants last year.

It is not known how large an investment quota the foundation is seeking from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.