Only In China: Why A Smog Documentary Sends Chinese Stocks Soaring To Trading Limit
When journalist Chai Jing released her documentary on China’s air pollution, she probably could not have dreamed that her message would resonate so widely while boosting the share prices of so many “environmentally friendly” companies.
On Monday, more than a dozen stocks in the fields of pollutant treatment, air quality monitoring and green technology saw huge gains, with several rising 10% and reaching the daily trading limit.
Among the biggest winners were Sail Hero, a producer of pollutant monitors, Top Resource Conservation Engineering, a renewable energy equipment provider, LongKing Environmental, a maker of desulfurization facilities for boilers and furnaces, and Create Technology & Science, a producer of industrial and corporate air purifiers.
The catalyst for the buying frenzy was a 104-minute long documentary going into details of the history, causes and impact of China’s smog. An independent production by well-known reporter Chai Jing, “Beneath the Dome” was released online over the weekend, and by Monday morning had more than 100 million cumulative views.
More at forbes.com
Chai is a former news reporter and anchor for China Central Television (CCTV). Believing her daughter’s benign tumor (in utero) was caused by China’s pollution, she spent more than 1 million RMB ($167,000) of her own money to produce a low key, but powerful documentary called “Beneath the Dome” (穹顶之下). *
In one segment, Chai asks a little girl in Shanxi province — probably the most polluted of China’s 23 provinces — if she had ever seen stars in the sky. The girl said no. Blue sky? Maybe once, sort of blue. White clouds? Never.
Chai ran the documentary past government officials in Beijing before releasing it on China’s versions of YouTube for free viewing over the weekend. On youku.com alone, it’s been viewed more than 3 million times
Environmentalists hope that public pressure resulting from the film will induce local regulators to enforce China’s existing anti-pollution laws, rather than ignore them to promote faster economic development.
* The Chinese title can also be translated as “Under the Dome,” which is also the title of a science fiction TV series in the USA.