Ray Dalio, Elon Musk and other big investors are divided over China. Here’s what they have to say as the Evergrande crisis unfolds.

Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio remains positive about China.
  • The world's biggest investors are divided over China, with the Evergrande crisis fuelling the debate.
  • Ray Dalio and Elon Musk have said the country is a big opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs.
  • But others such as Mohamed El-Erian have questioned whether it's an "investable" market.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Whether to invest in China is the question haunting Wall Street right now.

Some argue export powerhouse China is likely to dominate the global economy for decades, so it would be foolish not to invest there.

Yet plenty of others say President Xi Jinping's "common prosperity" drive to reduce economic inequality is a danger for overseas investors. They note China's economic model is built on excessive debt.

The ongoing $305 billion debt crunch for Evergrande has only made the debate more relevant. A default by the embattled Chinese property developer - which faces another deadline for a dollar bond interest payment Wednesday - could ripple across the global economy.

Here is what some of the world's biggest investors make of the situation.

Ray Dalio, founder of $140 billion hedge fund Bridgewater

Hedge fund veteran Dalio told Bloomberg the Evergrande crisis "is all manageable," and China will be able to work it out.

Beijing's regulatory crackdown on big companies and push for economic equality is worrying some notable investors, such as George Soros. But Dalio argues the opportunities outweigh the risks, and foreign investors are still welcome.

"China's motivations should not be interpreted as a return to Maoism," he told the Financial Times.

Elon Musk, cofounder of Tesla

Musk's electric car company Tesla has big business interests in China, and the outspoken billionaire was full of praise for the country's tech sector last weekend.

Tesla will continue to step up its research and development efforts and its investment there, he told the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen.

"My frank observation is that China spends a lot of resources and efforts applying the latest digital technologies in different industries, including the automobile industry, making China a global leader in digitalization," he said.

Howard Marks, cofounder of asset manager Oaktree Capital Management

Investing in China is risky, but is likely to be rewarding, Marks believes. "Compared with the US, Europe and Japan, I think of China as an economic adolescent ... tempestuous and volatile, but its best decades are ahead," he told the Financial Times.

Yet he noted: "If [China acts]in an unpalatable way towards outsiders, they won't progress the way they want to."

Jim Chanos, who foresaw the collapse of Enron

Renowned short seller Chanos is more cautious than Marks on China, telling the Financial Times Evergrande is "symptomatic of the whole economic model and the debt that's behind the economic model."

But he doesn't think the property giant's looming default will cause "contagion" and hit the world economy. Yet he said: "This is more a risk to the economic model because residential real estate is still such a huge part of GDP there."

Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz

The Evergrande debt crisis is undermining faith in Chinese assets, former PIMCO CEO El-Erian has said.

The country's government has failed to show that it stands behind the financial sector, he told CNBC. "Now add to that what has been an attack on various sectors … and it's shaking this notion that China is an investable market."

Carson Block, short seller famous for taking on Chinese companies

Muddy Waters Research founder Block believes there's "rule by law, but not rule of law" in the country. "I'm not going to be long China because the numbers are not trustworthy and nothing about it is trustworthy," he told the Financial Times.

Block told Insider Beijing is cracking down on US-listed companies such as ride-hailing app maker Didi "in part to send the message that you need to start thinking about how you can get delisted from the United States."

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