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Russian Billionaire Ditches U.S. Firms For China

Tell us if you’ve heard this before: A global investment giant sees more opportunity for growth in China than the U.S.

Alisher Usmanov, Russia’s richest man is now staking his claim on the future of Chinese internet companies and dumping his stake in Facebook and shares of Apple, which are valued at over $100 million alone.

“We hope that our investments in China’s Internet companies may show the same and even better returns as we had with the American companies,”said Ivan Streshinskiy who runs Usmanov’s asset management firm.

Here is what you need to know – The U.S. has remained at the forefront of the internet revolution since it’s invention and that won’t end any time soon. So a Russian billionaire thinks Chinese e-commerce and retail sites hold the most upside? That’s fine. But it surely is not time to hit the panic button yet.

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Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov sold shares in Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc. (FB) and bought into technology investments such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in China, one of his advisers said.

“Chinese companies account for about 70 percent to 80 percent of the portfolio of our foreign Internet investments,” Ivan Streshinskiy, head of Usmanov’s asset-management company USM Advisors LLC, said in an interview on March 14 in Moscow. Most of the investment is in “Alibaba, JD.com and some other companies with great potential,” Streshinskiy said.

Usmanov, 60, built his Metalloinvest Holding Co. iron ore business by acquisitions and is Russia’s richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He bought a stake of about $100 million in Apple last year and sold it recently this year, according to Streshinskiy. The sale follows a gradual reduction of Usmanov’s stake in Facebook, he said.

“We hope that our investments in China’s Internet companies may show the same and even better returns as we had with the American companies,” Streshinskiy said. China is Russia’s largest trading partner.

Alibaba’s estimated valuation rose to an average of $153 billion last month after the Chinese e-commerce company reported surging sales. The Hangzhou-based company is starting the process for what may be the biggest U.S. initial public offering in two years. Chinese online retailer JD.com may start an IPO next quarter and be valued at more than $20 billion, according to co-owner Tencent Holdings Ltd. (700)

Read More at Bloomberg