Jim Rogers is nothing if not a contrarian, and one of his boldest moves is trying to bet on North Korea.
The famous investor, who cofounded legendary hedge fund Quantum with George Soros, spoke to Real Vision TV, and said North Korea is where China was in 1981.
“If we all bought North Korean currency, we’d all be rich someday,” Rogers said.
In short, Rogers is seeing the controversial country open up, which he says makes it a good bet.
Here’s the relevant excerpt from the Q&A explaining why:
“Well, North Korea today is where China was in 1981. Deng Xiaoping started opening up in ’78. Most of us, including me, either weren’t aware of it or if we were aware of it, we ignored it, didn’t pay any attention. North Korea is doing that now.
“There are 15 free trade zones there now. You can take bicycle tours of North Korea, if you want. You can take movie tours. I’m sure if [Kim Jong-Un’s] father were alive, he’d hang him. If his grandfather were alive, he’d torture him and then hang him, you know, for some of the things he’s doing. I mean, you go to North Korea now, you see these astonishing restaurants with white tablecloths, cutlery, candles. I mean, this is North Korea we’re talking about. Chefs. It’s happening.”
Rogers noted that Chinese and Russian investors are pouring in to the country and said that he almost became an investor in a Chinese group that had a bank in North Korea. He added that his lawyer told him he couldn’t invest.
“They’re going to be the richest people in China, because they’re starting banks, and everything else in North Korea, and you and I just sit and look and say, ‘Buy me a Champagne someday.’
Rogers is a pretty colourful guy and is known for his bets. He also has investments in Zimbabwe and has been looking at investing in Kazakhstan and Rwanda. That said, he isn’t the only one looking at North Korea.
North Korea has been pushing to attract foreign investment, even posting videos on its “unique economic zones” on YouTube. And earlier this year, The New York Times published a profile on James Passin, a hedge fund manager at Firebird Management, who is trying to bet on the country.
Still, there is growing tension between the Hermit Kingdom and the rest of the world. The country has been launching ballistic missiles, with Kim Jong-Un reportedly hosting a party to celebrate the most recent test.
That is making life harder for those who are invested in the country. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that the only law firm in North Korea set up by a foreigner, Hay, Kalb & Associates, will suspend operations.