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China bourse punters bet on ‘Emperor’ Xi after term-limit news

AFP / Share:
An investor checks stock information on a mobile phone at a brokerage house in Shanghai. Reuters

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Superstitious Chinese investors rushed to buy stock in companies with “emperor” in their names yesterday following the latest power boost for President Xi Jinping, who has been likened to a modern-day sovereign.

State media said on Sunday that the ruling Communist Party had proposed abolishing rules limiting leaders to two five-year terms, a move that could allow the increasingly powerful Xi to rule indefinitely like an emperor.

The millions of mom-and-pop investors who dominate trade in Chinese securities often do so more on superstition or perceived portent in corporate names rather than fundamentals, and they appear to have leapt into action again yesterday.

From smart ID card provider Shenzhen Emperor Technology to a producer of marinated chicken feet, half a dozen listed companies with an imperial air in their Chinese names posted solid gains.

Shenzhen Emperor Technology jumped 7.06 percent, Harbin Viti Electronics closed 4.43 percent higher, and Jiangxi Huangshanghuang added 2.93 percent.

Vatti Corporation, which makes dishwashers, stoves and other kitchen hardware, rose 1.74 percent.

The companies’ Chinese names all contain one or both of the two characters for “emperor’, which is “huangdi” in Mandarin.

Traders in the $7.7 trillion market flocked in 2016 to a stock whose name sounded like “Trump Wins Big” in Chinese as real estate mogul Donald Trump won the US presidency, while one called “Aunt Hillary” fell, Bloomberg News said.

And when China last year announced plans to construct a new economic zone near the national capital, companies with “Beijing”, “Development”, “Construction”, and even “Cement” in their names benefited, it added.

The customary two-term limit on Chinese leaders was imposed in the wake of Communist founder Mao Zedong’s chaotic and violent political campaigns, as a means of preventing any one leader from ever again gaining too much power.

“Congratulations, people who hold Jiangxi Huangshanghuang Group Food, such great news for your shares,” one investor said in the stock comments section of popular portal Sina.com on Sunday after the announcement.

Mr Xi, who was given a second five-year term as the party’s general secretary at the Communist Party congress in October, has amassed seemingly unchecked power and a level of officially-stoked adulation unseen since Mao.

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