JD.com, PDD Holdings, and Baidu Stocks Drop in January The Plunge of JD, PDD Holdings, and Baidu Stocks

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By Ronald Tech

The China stock market faced a tempest in January, with dispiriting economic indicators, government interference, and persistent regulatory concerns causing a tumultuous descent across the sector.

At the forefront of the freefall were JD.com (NASDAQ: JD), PDD Holdings (NASDAQ: PDD), and Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU), collectively plummeting by 22%, 13.3%, and 11.6% respectively, as per data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The iShares MSCI China ETF (NASDAQ: MCHI) also tumbled by 10.3%, reflecting the broad downturn of China stocks.

Let’s delve into the individual performances of each stock over the past month.

JD Chart

JD data by YCharts

The Struggle Continues for China Stocks

Chinese stocks faced an inauspicious start to the month following China’s announcement of a mere 5.2% GDP growth for 2023. Although commendable by global standards, this marked China’s slowest annual growth in 30 years, with fourth-quarter GDP stalling at a meager 4.1%. Experts anticipate this lackluster growth trajectory to persist through 2024.

Investor jitters were further stoked when Beijing dissuaded certain investors from trading Chinese stocks amidst a shift in investment focus from China to Japan by some money managers. Later in the month, the court-ordered liquidation of China Evergrande Group, once the nation’s largest real estate developer, exacerbated the frailty of China’s property sector.

These developments intensified pressure on China stocks, amplifying the challenges faced by JD, PDD, and Baidu.

Despite negligible company-specific updates, JD.com faced the most significant downturn among the trio over the preceding months. The company’s shares tumbled throughout 2023, as it struggled to achieve substantial growth. Moreover, it ceded market share to PDD Holdings’ Pinduoduo, which surged due to its social commerce model offering discounted prices for group buyers.

Back in December, the company’s founder, Richard Liu, implored JD to hone its competitiveness, acknowledging the entity’s unwieldy and inefficient nature. These sentiments echoed a similar call to action from Alibaba’s founder, Jack Ma.

Meanwhile, PDD Holdings initially weathered the broader market turbulence in China but faltered toward the end of January.

Analyst remarks suggesting that the success of its Temu e-commerce app in global markets may have peaked seemed to underpin this decline. While the exponential growth of Temu bolstered PDD’s revenue by 94% in the third quarter, this growth trajectory is projected to decelerate as the company nears a run rate of $40 billion in revenue.

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Conversely, Baidu’s stock faced a mid-month setback following an article linking its Ernie AI platform to military research. Concerns loomed over potential reactions from the U.S. government, which had already tightened restrictions on chip exports to China.

Although Baidu, China’s search leader, refuted these allegations, the denial did little to resuscitate the stock’s prospects.

A woman looking at a laptop with a skyline in the background

Image source: Getty Images.

The Road to Recovery for China Stocks

Presently, prospects appear bleak for a resurgence in the China tech sector. Apple’s recent report of declining sales in China further corroborates the nation’s economic frailty. While PDD has exhibited robust growth, the broader economic landscape in China presents a daunting outlook.

Of the three, PDD seems the most promising investment due to its exponential growth. Baidu’s AI chatbot also holds potential, albeit in a precarious sector; caution is warranted as China’s economic malaise is anticipated to persist.

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Jeremy Bowman holds positions in JD.com. The Motley Fool holds positions in and recommends Apple, Baidu, and JD.com. The Motley Fool recommends Alibaba Group. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.