GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (GSK), China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): Will China’s Corporate Crackdown Scare Off Investors?

China’s not losing importance in the eyes of investors, despite the world’s second-largest economy’s slump this year. The country remains one of the world’s most-prized emerging economies, and even Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has picked up the pace recently for investors after a horrid start to the year. Over the last five days, the Hang Seng gained nearly 2.3%, although the index is still in the red for the year so far.

GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK)

China’s government is trying to stave off a prolonged economic slump with mixed success so far, but this emerging market star still faces plenty of challenges ahead — starting with its heightened regulations, and investigations into numerous companies and industries. Is China ready to perform for investors who are tired of waiting patiently for gains?

China’s shaky foundation
China’s certainly receiving all the attention these days, and it won a small victory this week when the Chinese yuan became the ninth most-traded currency in the world, according to the ranking from the Bank of International Settlements. There’s an upside and a downside to this: While the rise of China’s yuan, and liberalization from Beijing currency regulators, has made it easier for domestic Chinese firms to exchange currency, some of the increased trade has come as cash has flowed out of China in the country’s credit crunch.

Don’t accuse Beijing of sitting still while the latter has happened, however. Government regulators have intentionally refused to resort to stimulus-style moves in order to help weed out corruption and poorly run businesses, a long-term move that’s positive for both the economy, as a whole, and China’s business climate. This week, Beijing opened the door to allow a few chosen publicly listed firms to recapitalize in order to ease that crunch, and to reinvigorate domestic investment.

Yet, China’s investment climate isn’t anywhere near the standards of leading developed economies — particularly in regards to both local government corruption and regulation of foreign multinational firms that investors have paid especially close attention to lately. Both have come together with GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK)‘s ongoing investigation by country authorities. Chinese police have accused the company’s China segment of engineering corruption; but regardless of the details, the situation’s making it tough for GlaxoSmithKline plc (ADR) (NYSE:GSK) to even stick around in China altogether.