Glodek, RDIF: The China-Russia partnership goes back years.

The recent raft of Chinese investments into Russia following president Putin’s May visit to Shanghai might look like a rapid response to counter Western sanctions. But it is in fact the result of three year’s work and cooperation between two sovereign wealth funds: the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the China Investment Corporation (CIC).

Sean Glodek, the director of RDIF, explains that the years of cooperation and planning were instrumental in guiding the president and prime minister of Russia, at the time of the formation of RDIF, on its direction. The subsequent partnership with CIC to create the Russia-China Investment Fund in 2012 was intended to reach Chinese institutional and strategic investors. “We are experiencing significant opening on both sides to strengthen economic relations, owing to the cooperation between the RDIF and Chinese institutions. Investments are not doubling or quadrupling, but we are seeing ten times annual growth. There is a lot of potential, and there’s understanding and support from both governments, with the RDIF and CIC at the forefront to help companies from both countries access each others’ markets and support them—financially and otherwise. We should not underestimate how much a three-year history of intensive cooperation between RDIF and CIC helped both teams, anointed by their presidents and senior government officials to be the glue that bridges cultural, financial and bureaucratic differences.”

Although the power sector is the driving force behind Sino-Russian cooperation, infrastructure, logistics, minerals, financial services, consumer products, agriculture and agribusiness all stand to benefit from the venture.

“The idea behind RDIF is to focus on delivering commercially sound and proper risk-adjusted returns in both countries to investors,” says Glodek. “Because of our cooperation with CIC, we are able to talk to the biggest investors in China and work with them to find the right partners on the ground and work with both local and regional governments to make sure that incentives are properly allocated and accessible.”

To aid all foreign investors, not just Chinese, RDIF is launching Invest In Russia: an online database of potential sites where production assets could be located, and which includes data on each region’s investment appeal.