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Shuli Ren

China Doesn’t Care If It’s Uninvestable — for Foreigners

Beijing’s priority is to keep the real economy going. And if the Hang Seng falls into bear territory, too bad.

Xi has real-life priorities and the Hang Seng isn’t one of them.

Xi has real-life priorities and the Hang Seng isn’t one of them.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

The question of China’s “investability” first came up late last year when Beijing’s harsh regulatory crackdowns on its big tech companies and big real estate developers shaved trillions of dollars off foreign investors’ books. This discussion is bubbling up again, as Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong and New York witness their worst selloffs since the global financial crisis in 2008.

This time, there is an added urgency as the investment landscape for Chinese assets gets worse. Investors are fearful China Inc. may get snarled by U.S. sanctions because of ties to Russia. They are worried that China’s worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic will grind the domestic economy to a standstill. Meanwhile, Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdowns don’t seem to have stopped: Tencent Holdings Ltd., which had been largely unscathed, is facing a possible record fine for allegedly violating anti-money-laundering regulations.