The Rise of AI Stocks in China

Investors in Mainland China have been closely monitoring the performance of U.S. stocks, particularly those in the technology sector, while expressing disappointment over lackluster returns in their home market. However, a deeper analysis of the first-half performance of Chinese stocks reveals some notable success stories, especially in the field of artificial intelligence. One such standout performer is Foxconn Industrial Internet, a key supplier to tech giant Apple. The Shanghai-listed company witnessed an impressive 81% surge in the first six months of the year, catching the attention of analysts at Bank of America Securities. The analysts have a buy rating on Foxconn Industrial Internet, citing its strategic position as an iPhone casing supplier and the potential for strong sales growth in the coming years.

Another notable player in the Chinese stock market is Avary Holding, listed on the Shenzhen exchange, which saw its value increase by nearly 81% in the first half of the year. With major institutional investors like Standard Chartered Bank, HSBC, and JPMorgan showing confidence in the company, Avary Holding is poised to capitalize on the growing demand for AI-related components in mobile phones and PCs. Analysts at Huatai have labeled Avary as a buy, emphasizing its strengths in high-end circuit board technologies and its expansion into new sectors such as automobiles and servers.

Ranking third in the CSI 300 performance for the first half of the year is Zhongji Innolight, a company specializing in optical communication. With a 70% increase in its stock value, Zhongji Innolight has garnered attention from analysts at Nomura, who have given it a buy rating. The company’s focus on cutting-edge technology and strong relationships with global AI infrastructure customers position it well to maintain its leadership in the optical transceiver market. Nomura analysts are optimistic about Zhongji Innolight’s future growth prospects, especially in the AI-driven infrastructure sector.

Despite the success stories of individual companies, the broader Chinese stock market has faced challenges in recent years. The CSI 300 index is slightly down year-to-date, reflecting slower economic growth and concerns about future earnings. In contrast, the Nasdaq Composite in the U.S. has experienced an 18% gain in the first half of the year, highlighting the diverging fortunes of the two markets. According to Wanda Wang, a research manager at Morningstar, the underperformance of Chinese Class A shares has led to increased interest in index-tracking ETFs among institutional investors.

Capital controls in mainland China have traditionally limited investors’ access to overseas markets, but financial institutions have found ways to tap into global trends without violating restrictions. One such example is the jointly managed ETF by Invesco and Great Wall that tracks the Nasdaq, attracting significant buying interest and trading at a premium to its net asset value. The popularity of this ETF has led to trading suspensions on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, underscoring the demand for exposure to U.S. tech stocks among Chinese investors.

While challenges persist in the Chinese stock market, particularly in the face of economic headwinds and regulatory constraints, opportunities for growth and innovation are evident in the AI sector. Companies like Foxconn Industrial Internet, Avary Holding, and Zhongji Innolight exemplify the potential for Chinese firms to thrive in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, providing investors with opportunities for diversification and long-term returns.


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