Possible effects of Chinese yuan appreciation

by: Ezra Marbach

According to an article in ChinaTechNews.com, investment in Chinese companies will probably not change as a result of an RMB appreciation.

Many of the publicly traded Chinese companies like SINA, SOHU and KONG raised US dollars in public offerings. An RMB appreciation therefore decreases the purchasing power of IPO dollars these companies have not yet spent. Will that encourage these companies to spend their dollars faster before the appreciation? Probably not. It is possible, however, that some of these companies have already traded their US dollars for Euros and other currencies. 

Operationally, the appreciation is positive because all the listed Chinese technology and Internet companies do their business in China and virtually nowhere else (with the possible exception of CHINA).

However, from a foreign direct investment standpoint, the appreciation may not be so favorable. Lately, American investors have been more directly involved in investing in Chinese technology companies. IACI recently took a major position in LONG (online travel) and AMZN acquired a Chinese online bookseller. If the American currency is suddenly devalued in China, American investors may lose any interest in direct investment.

In conclusion, the appreciation of the RMB will probably not be much in percentage terms. Therefore, it is hard to imagine that this event will change the investing habits of foreign tech investors.