Since first visiting China in 1982, I’ve witnessed the country’s phenomenal transformations and the many challenges it faces as it develops economically. China has a long history of managing, in certain sectors, foreign direct investment. The country is now in the midst of a tightening regulatory cycle, implementing anti-monopoly, data security, and industry-specific regulations which have led to some investor uncertainty and heightened market volatility. When investing, it is critical to evaluate the alignment of companies with China’s long-term strategic goals.
- China’s recent regulatory activities cross many industries and are part of the Chinese government’s determination to develop China into a “modernised socialist economy,” including objectives of common prosperity, green development, and independence in key technologies and industries.
- China’s policy approaches are more cultural- and principles-based, focusing on desired outcomes, rather than legal rules-based, creating higher regulatory risks.
- Chinese companies have used variable interest entities (VIEs) to mimic direct equity ownership, thus allowing them listings on foreign exchanges. Chinese authorities have not formally approved these structures. China recently banned VIEs in the education sector. Investors must consider what would happen to valuations if this regulatory stance was extended to a broader universe of sectors.
- Chinese companies’ American Depositary Receipt (ADR) listings will be required to allow US regulators to audit their financials. This is raising concerns for the Chinese over possible sensitive data-sharing with the US government.
- While we remain positive on foreign investment options in China–including both equity and fixed income–we do expect these regulatory cycles to continue as the country aims to increase economic growth while also providing social fairness and stability.
- We believe China’s government will continue to use public equity and fixed income markets to foster innovation, despite new regulations. We also see opportunities where China is becoming more open, such as in the Chinese bond market.
For deeper analyses across Franklin Templeton, read “Heightened Regulatory Scrutiny In China: What Investors Need to Know,” by Franklin Templeton’s Emerging Markets Equity team; “The Certainty of Change: Evolution of Investor Access to China,” by Dina Ting, Head of Global Index Portfolio Management Team, Franklin Templeton ETFs; and “China Calling: The Rise of the Chinese Bond Markets,” by Franklin Templeton Investment Institute.
What Are the Risks?
All investments involve risk, including possible loss of principal. The value of investments can go down as well as up, and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Stock prices fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and dramatically, due to factors affecting individual companies, particular industries or sectors, or general market conditions. Special risks are associated with foreign investing, including currency fluctuations, economic instability and political developments; investments in emerging markets involve heightened risks related to the same factors. To the extent a strategy focuses on particular countries, regions, industries, sectors or types of investment from time to time, it may be subject to greater risks of adverse developments in such areas of focus than a strategy that invests in a wider variety of countries, regions, industries, sectors or investments.
China may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability. Investments in securities of Chinese issuers involve risks that are specific to China, including certain legal, regulatory, political and economic risks. Bond prices generally move in the opposite direction of interest rates. Thus, as prices of bonds in an investment portfolio adjust to a rise in interest rates, the portfolio’s value may decline. In general, an investor is paid a higher yield to assume a greater degree of credit risk.
Important Legal Information
This material is intended to be of general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy. It does not constitute legal or tax advice. This material may not be reproduced, distributed or published without prior written permission from Franklin Templeton.
The views expressed are those of the investment manager and the comments, opinions and analyses are rendered as at publication date and may change without notice. The underlying assumptions and these views are subject to change based on market and other conditions and may differ from other portfolio managers or of the firm as a whole. The information provided in this material is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region or market. There is no assurance that any prediction, projection or forecast on the economy, stock market, bond market or the economic trends of the markets will be realised. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount that you invested. Past performance is not necessarily indicative nor a guarantee of future performance. All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal.
Any research and analysis contained in this material has been procured by Franklin Templeton for its own purposes and may be acted upon in that connection and, as such, is provided to you incidentally. Data from third party sources may have been used in the preparation of this material and Franklin Templeton (“FT”) has not independently verified, validated or audited such data. Although information has been obtained from sources that Franklin Templeton believes to be reliable, no guarantee can be given as to its accuracy and such information may be incomplete or condensed and may be subject to change at any time without notice. The mention of any individual securities should neither constitute nor be construed as a recommendation to purchase, hold or sell any securities, and the information provided regarding such individual securities (if any) is not a sufficient basis upon which to make an investment decision. FT accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss arising from use of this information and reliance upon the comments, opinions and analyses in the material is at the sole discretion of the user.
Products, services and information may not be available in all jurisdictions and are offered outside the U.S. by other FT affiliates and/or their distributors as local laws and regulation permits. Please consult your own financial professional or Franklin Templeton institutional contact for further information on availability of products and services in your jurisdiction.
Issued in the U.S. by Franklin Distributors, LLC, One Franklin Parkway, San Mateo, California 94403-1906, (800) DIAL BEN/342-5236, franklintempleton.com – Franklin Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, is the principal distributor of Franklin Templeton U.S. registered products, which are not FDIC insured; may lose value; and are not bank guaranteed and are available only in jurisdictions where an offer or solicitation of such products is permitted under applicable laws and regulation.
CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by CFA Institute.