China's markets have stumbled, but its top tech stocks could rise 20% this year, analyst says

Key Points
  • Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research, predicted that the Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — the so-called BAT stocks — will go up by between 15 and 20 percent by the end of the year.
  • That's despite steep losses on Tuesday and Wednesday for Tencent as China reportedly halted approvals for game licenses, and blocked the sale of a video game on Tencent's platform.
  • Wang said those top Chinese technology conglomerates will be resilient against any trade war escalations.
Analyst says there's still time to 'jump in' to FAANG stocks

There's still a lot of upside for Chinese tech giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — known as the BAT stocks — because investors see them as a safe bet, a research analyst told CNBC on Wednesday.

That's despite Tencent's steep losses on Tuesday and Wednesday after a spate of negative news. (The company may see more trouble ahead after it reported second-quarter earnings that missed analyst expectations, and said it had a profit drop of 23 percent from the previous quarter.) And, more generally, the prediction comes amid a negative performance from Chinese stock markets since January that has partially been attributed to Beijing's ongoing trade spat with the U.S.

Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research, predicted that those BAT stocks could ultimately post 2018 gains ranging from 15 and 20 percent.

"I still think that there's a lot of money out there that has not gone into the market," Wang said, explaining his call.

"There's no safe place to go, and what people are starting to think of is that they are treating these stocks as the safe stocks. They see this as an opportunity to go out and think about, this is like a safe bet, put it into FANG, put it into BAT … and you can't go wrong … They keep riding that market pretty hard," the analyst told CNBC's "Street Signs," referring to the acronym for American tech giants Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet.

Another appealing quality of China's tech behemoths is that they're set to pay more dividends in the future, he predicted.

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent will continue to do well, he said, as they are benefiting from growth in internet and mobile adoption. China's protectionist policies also give those companies significant leeway to succeed in their domestic market.

On top of all that, Wang said those Chinese technology conglomerates will be resilient against any trade war escalations.

"There isn't a lot of exposure to what they're doing today inside other markets. You don't see a lot of Baidu in the U.S. unless you are Chinese. WeChat, the same thing …There's not a lot of impact," he said. "They seem to be more of a nationalist market, within a China market only, although they do have expansion plans. So they are protected, and they get to go out and reach out to other markets at the same time."

Tencent shares had stumbled in the last session, dropping 3.61 percent in Hong Kong as its gaming business came under greater regulatory scrutiny. The tech giant's U.S.-listed shares dropped more than 6 percent on Wednesday. That followed another drop earlier this week on Chinese regulators blocking the sale of blockbuster video game title "Monster Hunter: World."

This year so far, its shares have declined about 17 percent, with more than $160 billion in market value wiped out since prices peaked in January. Of that, about $15 billion was lost on Tuesday alone.

Baidu, meanwhile, shed 7.69 percent year-to-date, and Alibaba has held up the best, actually gaining 0.06 percent.

— CNBC's Cheang Ming contributed to this report.