From George Soros breaking the British pound in 1992 to last year's Treasury selloff when 'bond king' Bill Gross exited Pimco, Wall Street's high-profile investors have a long history of moving markets. Now, strategists are wondering if the same could ring true for China.
The Shanghai Composite resumed trade more than 3 percent higher on Thursday after a week-long holiday. But it ended the third quarter as one of the world's worst-performing markets, down 25 percent after a summer of volatility. With Beijing's efforts to shore up confidence in recent months yet to pay off, one strategist has called on China's billionaires to step up to the plate.
The mainland needs a "white knight"' for its stock market, Robert Jones, managing director of Hong Kong-based investment consultancy FCL Advisory, told CNBC.
After the Shanghai and Shenzhen indices crashed in mid-June, officials unleashed a slew of aggressive measures to end panic selling, such as asking companies to halt initial public offerings and refrain from selling stocks. But such requests are akin to being bossed around by one's parents, which tends to result in people doing the opposite of what they're told, Jones said.
"We're in the era where Chinese billionaires need to take charge. For decades, we've had Hong Kong billionaires generate publicity and influence thousands of investors, but now with the shift in wealth to China, Chinese billionaires must take over from the old Hong Kong guard."
He noted that wealthy businessmen had been as quiet as mice in recent months in regard to market volatility.
"The only noise getting made right now is about billionaires making giant purchases overseas, whether its cinema chains or real estate, when this is the exact moment they need to pull in their horns and go back to domestic markets to shore up confidence," Jones said.
His comments came as Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka Shing, Asia's richest man, was accused of being unpatriotic in an editorial by the People's Daily, widely considered the mouthpiece of the Communist party, after he sold some Chinese investments. Li has dismissed the attack, calling the criticism "brouhaha."