Investments are set to flow back into China as tech giants avoid U.S. delisting, government pledges policy support, says investment manager

Finance

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba was one of the 100 over companies that had faced the risk of delisting in the U.S. in 2024 if their audit information was not made available to PCAOB inspectors.
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Investors could regain the confidence to put their money in Chinese tech stocks as these companies avoid delisting from U.S. stock exchanges and the Chinese government pledges policy support, according to one investment manager.

Last week, U.S. accounting watchdog the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said it gained full access to inspect and investigate Chinese companies for the first time, after China finally granted the U.S. access in August.

More than 100 Chinese tech companies such as Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com had faced the risk of delisting in the U.S. in 2024 if their audit information was not made available to PCAOB inspectors.

Investors often grapple with a lack of transparency into Chinese stocks.

“It will allow institutional investors to come back. Professional investors were very scared about this delisting risk which was why they have stayed on the sidelines,” Brendan Ahern, chief investment officer at U.S.-based investment manager KraneShares, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Wednesday.

As of Sept. 30, there were 262 Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges with a total market capitalization of $775 billion, according to the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

“With that risk going away based on the PCAOB announcement, you are going to see investment dollars flow back into these names,” said Ahern.

“These internet giants are really where investors want to invest when it comes to China,” said Ahern.

But he also caveated that it is still “early days, weeks, months to see that capital return back into the space.”

But he also noted policy support will help to boost growth for these companies. Last week, China pledged to raise domestic consumption next year, as the country moves toward boosting growth after exiting its zero-Covid policy.

“2023 is a year where we are going to have a lot of government policy support such as raising domestic consumption,” said Ahern. “About 25% of all retail sales goes through the companies.”

“The Chinese government actually needs these internet companies, which explains why we have seen a backing off on some of the regulatory scrutiny we experienced in 2021,” said Ahern.

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