After triggering a yearslong exodus of foreign investors from Chinese markets, President Xi Jinping looked like he’d cracked the formula to revive his economy and lure back global funds.

China’s very public pivot away from "zero-COVID" late last year was accompanied by a speech from Xi impressing upon top officials the importance of attracting and retaining funds from abroad. Spoken behind the closed doors of the Central Economic Work Conference in December — and only released in full this month — the speech heralded a string of market-friendly reversals for hard-hit sectors like property and Big Tech, as well as a decisive shift in tone from regulators and state media.

The result was a world-beating stock rally in Hong Kong, a record winning streak for Chinese junk dollar debt and the strongest momentum in five years for the yuan. Strategists across Wall Street recommended the country’s assets. One money manager described it as the "easiest” trade in the world, and even longtime skeptics like Morgan Stanley agreed it was time to buy.