Tencent’s return to top 10 club shows China rebound bets soaring

TENCENT Holdings Ltd reentered the club of the world’s 10 most-valued companies after six months, reflecting optimism that China’s economic growth can find its way back to where it was before all the crackdowns and lockdowns. 

The Chinese tech giant’s return to the group of biggest global companies also underscores the whipping US stocks have taken over the last year, primarily due to massive monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve (Fed). The S&P 500 Index is down about 20% from its record high reached a year ago, and firms like Tesla Inc and Meta Platforms Inc have fallen out of the top 10. 

Tencent on Jan 4 overtook oil and gas producer Exxon Mobil Corp to become the 10th biggest company globally, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It hit that milestone after the firm’s Hong Kong-listed shares rallied 4.6% as Chinese stocks marked their best start since 2009. 

A reentry of Asia’s biggest stock into the coveted Top 10 club solidifies the idea that China’s reopening, coupled with policy easing and a softening of regulatory tone for private enterprises, is restoring faith among investors. That’s after President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign hurt confidence over the past few years. 

China’s approval of a plan by Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co to raise US$1.5 billion (RM6.6 billion) for its consumer unit in the past week added to widespread cheer after the nation ditched its draconian Covid Zero strategy. A series of measures to lift the property sector out of its worst downturn on record also boosted sentiment. 

Shenzhen-based Tencent commanded market value of about US$442 billion on last Wednesday’s close in Hong Kong. Still, that is less than half of the US$949 billion it enjoyed at a peak in January 2021. 

It overtook chip giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to become Asia’s most valuable firm in early December, a gap which has been widening since then. — Bloomberg

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition