Foreign investors are steadily moving into China as a result of Alibaba’s plans to restructure, with money managers viewing it as an indication of the Chinese government becoming more business-friendly as economic growth strengthens.
Foreign investors have been net buyers of mainland-listed stocks on a daily basis since Alibaba unveiled plans to divide and list its business divisions last week, setting a new quarterly record.
Investors have also turned positive on the company and the stock is up this year after heavy falls in 2021 and 2022.
The flow may be signalling a shift in sentiment among foreign investors who have been notably absent while China’s markets and economy roared back to life after Beijing abruptly lifted its stringent zero-COVID policy in December.
Derrick Irwin, a portfolio manager at U.S. asset manager Allspring Global Investments, said the Alibaba breakup and founder Jack Ma returning to China appear part of an effort by the government to extend an olive branch to entrepreneurs.
“This may reignite investment in the private sector,” he said.
China has since late 2020 waged a crackdown on a broad range of industries, leaving startups and its biggest companies alike operating in an uncertain environment. It punished tech companies for monopolistic behavior among other issues, levying large fines on e-commerce firms including Alibaba.
Rob Brewis, a portfolio manager at UK-based asset manager Aubrey Capital Management Ltd, said the firm had moved back into Chinese equities this year, mainly based on economic recovery hopes and cheap valuations.