State invests in DNA sequencing company, BGI Genomics

Business | 22 Feb 2021 12:39 pm

China's state investment fund has invested in BGI Genomics Co, a listed domestic company that has supplied millions of coronavirus tests globally, Reuters reports.

BGI Group, which runs a massive gene databank in China and has DNA sequencing contracts with health firms and universities worldwide, has in the past responded to claims from U.S. security agencies that it is closely linked to the Chinese government by saying it has no Chinese government capital.

BGI Genomics, the company's subsidiary listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange, raised the equivalent of just over US$300 million in a private placement to investors including China's biggest state investment vehicle, the State Development and Investment Corp (SDIC), filings to the exchange on February 1 show.

SDIC is wholly owned by the Chinese central government, which appoints its board, and has focused on strategic emerging industries - including biotechnology and artificial intelligence - and infrastructure that serve China's national interest, according to its public statements.

The Central SOE Poverty Area Industrial Investment Fund, which is managed by SDIC Chuangyi, the wholly owned venture capital subsidiary of SDIC, paid 200 million renminbi (US$30.8 million) for 1.4 million shares in BGI Genomics, a spokesman for SDIC Chuangyi told Reuters.

The investment gave SDIC Chuangyi a shareholding of about a third of one percent in BGI Genomics, BGI said.

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