China's Wahaha Billionaire Says Capital Markets "Suck"
One of China's wealthiest men, Zong Qinghou - founder of the privately listed beverage empire Hangzhou Wahaha Group - is hunting fort deals overseas as the WSJ reports, he believes “The capital markets suck in China.” Since China's stock market bubble burst (after running up from 1000 in 2005 to 7000 in 2007), it has never recovered from its collapse, loitering around 2,000 points ever since. Plagued by too many offerings (run by the government) and a slowing economy, WSJ notes that a common complaint is that the only investors who make money from China’s stock markets are those with inside information. The retail investors that fueled the bubble in the first place remain scarred by the experience, and have mostly stayed away, as Zong concludes: "When the ordinary people invest in it, the market should reward them with some benefits. But it does not." This has driven the desire to 'invest' or speculate in real estate - a topic we discussed yesterday - leading to a looming bubble there also.
China's Shanghai Composite...
China’s richest man has a strong statement for those looking to invest: “The capital markets suck in China.”
Zong Qinghou climbed his way to the top of the list of China’s wealthiest by amassing a fortune of $12.6 billion through his privately listed beverage empire Hangzhou Wahaha Group Co. On Tuesday, he made clear he didn’t gain his wealth through the country’s stock market.
“When the ordinary people invest in it, the market should reward them with some benefits. But it does not,” Mr. Zong said on the sidelines of China’s annual parliamentary session, taking aim at speculators he says ruin the stock market for others. “The speculation has totally ordinary investors of any benefits.”
The sentiment of the billionaire, who is also an NPC representative, speaks volumes about the state of the country’s capital markets, highlighting the monumental obstacles investors face in China as they look for places to park their money in hopes of a return.
In recent years, China’s stock markets have lagged and generally been sluggish, plagued by too many offerings and a slowing Chinese economy. China’s stock bubble burst at the end of 2007 after the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose to almost 6,000 points from about 1,000 two years earlier. But the market has never recovered from its collapse, loitering around 2,000 points ever since.
The retail investors that fueled the bubble in the first place remain scarred by the experience, and have mostly stayed away. A common complaint is that the only investors who make money from China’s stock markets are those with inside information.
The Chinese government has made efforts to restore confidence, in part by trying to crack down on insider trading. And China Securities Regulatory Commission Chairman Guo Shuqing has floated the idea of bringing China’s model closer to that of the West, reducing the role the government plays in approving initial public offerings and shifting more power to auditors and investment banks, to foster a more transparent market where the various players take greater responsibility for their actions.
So rather than investing in the stock market, Mr. Zong is now looking to park money in high-tech projects. “We are looking for opportunities and will invest in anywhere that needs us in fields including bioengineering and energy-saving electrical appliance etc.,” said Zong.
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