China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says

  • Investors are worried that China’s economic growth will be even lower in the coming quarters.
  • UBS has downgraded its forecasts for Beijing to 6.5 and 6.2 percent for 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Mobile payment platforms Apple Pay and Alipay are displayed for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on November 1, 2016.
Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mobile payment platforms Apple Pay and Alipay are displayed for a photograph in Hong Kong, China, on November 1, 2016.

Despite a slowdown in growth and trade tensions, there are “enormous” and “stunning” opportunities in China, particularly in Fintech, an investment manager said Tuesday.

“We love the fintech sector in China today,” Glenn Youngkin, co-CEO at Carlyle Group, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe.”

“We think it offers an enormous growth opportunity. The Chinese economy is growing, it’s growing at the fastest pace in the world, the Chinese consumer is growing faster than any consumer in the world, and any evolution of financial technology in that environment is actually stunning.”

China’s economy grew at a pace of 6.7 percent in the second quarter of the year — slightly below the 6.8 percent seen in the first three months of 2018, according to data published by Chinese authorities Monday.

However, because of Washington’s recently-imposed tariffs on Chinese products, investors are worried that China’s economic growth will be even lower in the coming quarters. And given that it is the world’s second-largest economy, any slowdown domestically could dent global growth too.

UBS said in a note Tuesday that growth momentum in China is slowing down and that the trade war with the U.S. could have a knock-on impact on Chinese growth above 0.5 percentage points. The Swiss bank has downgraded its forecasts for Beijing from 6.6 and 6.4 percent for 2018 and 2019 respectively to 6.5 and 6.2 percent.

However, Youngkin told CNBC he is positive about the Chinese growth story.

“Despite the news overnight from Beijing, on expectations out of China, we felt that China was growing at a 5 or 7 percent for quite a while now. And so for them to say, ‘Well, we might not grow at 7 but we may grow at 6,’ for an economy of that size, we think over the long-term is pretty darn impressive,” he said.

In comparison, the U.S. growth rate stood at 2 percent in the first-quarter of the year.

“We think the volatility in the markets in the near-term has clearly increased and will continue to increase, but over the long-term we don’t see any near-term signs of recession,” Youngkin added.

One of the reasons behind the recent market volatility is trade tensions. Chinese stocks, in particular, have been quite vulnerable to repeated announcements and threats from President Donald Trump of new duties on Chinese goods.

“We do hope this gets settled,” Youngkin said about trade tensions.