China Business Briefs 22/11/13

China is expanding a trial program that allows non-bank financial institutions to lend to buyers of retail goods, as policy makers seek to increase the role of private capital in the economy.

The number of cities where consumer finance companies can be set up will increase to 14 from four, according to revised rules published on the website of the China Banking Regulatory Commission today. The program will also expand to include qualified non-financial companies, under rules that will take effect next year, the CBRC said.

The U.S. Treasury plans to appoint Michael Hirson, a Mandarin-speaking international economist, as its top rep in China, replacing David Dollar, a longtime China hand who returned this past summer to Washington, D.C., to work at the Brookings Institution.
Under the deal – announced by Li Keqiang, China’s premier, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, and José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president at the end of an annual bilateral summit in Beijing on Thursday – leaders pledged to increase bilateral trade from about $580bn in 2012 to $1tn by 2020.
China’s biggest lenders, led by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (601398:CH), tripled the amount of bad loans written off in the first half of 2013. The country’s banking regulator has called on banks to purge such loans from their books to prepare for even more defaults. Nonperforming loans at the top four Chinese institutions rose 4 percent in the third quarter, the biggest jump since 2010. The situation is worse at smaller regional lenders, which expanded their balance sheets by about 30 percent last year, three times the rate of the biggest Chinese banks, according to Standard & Poor’s (MHFI). “Small banks will probably fail,” says Ritesh Maheshwari, head of financial-services ratings for the Asia-Pacific region at S&P in Singapore. “Provincial governments will come to aid those banks and then turn to the central government for assistance.”

**Translation – “I don’t have a clue, but nor does anyone else” **

Instead of trying to predict the future, my advice to investors would be to prepare for whatever it might throw at you. Don’t sell out completely, because on a long-term view China is surely still far from its peak. But   don’t bet more than you could afford to lose either.

Put a small percentage of your portfolio – I wouldn’t invest more than 5pc – in a fund run by an experienced manager, perhaps one who has the flexibility   to invest across all the emerging markets, and don’t be surprised if the   market falls by 50pc – or doubles. But if you trust your manager, hang on through the ups and downs.

Lu Xiangdong, 53, in collusion with others including his wife, abused his position to take more than 25 million yuan ($4.10 million) in bribes between 2003 and 2011, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a mid-November ruling by a court in Jilin province.

“The sum of bribes accepted by Lu Xiangdong was immense,” Xinhua said, adding that he was given a “lenient sentence in view of his admission of guilt and good attitude, confession of details, and the return of some illicit funds”.

Today at 12 noon in China, gadget-maker Xiaomi started an experiment selling its smartphones inside WeChat, the popular messaging app. Xiaomi has set aside 150,000 of its flagship Mi3 Android-based smartphone to sell within WeChat – though only the TD-SCMA variant for the China Mobile network.

General Motors Co (NYS:GMNews) will step up its fight against China’s indigenous carmakers such as BYD Co Ltd and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd by ramping up its passenger car business at a Chinese venture best known for making mini vans.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Co Ltd (SGMW), 44 percent-owned by GM, plans to roll out new models, including a hatchback and an MPV, under its newly-created Baojun brand next year, vice president Ray Bierzynski told Reuters.

The funds will be limited to operations in LDK’s home province of Jiangxi by its unit Jiangxi LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co. and cannot be used to pay down debt, the Xinyu, China-based company said today in a statement. The first drawdown of 200 million yuan was approved and completed today.

Glorious Property Holdings Ltd. (845), the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Zhang Zhirong, said Zhang will make a buyout offer for the company that will cost as much as HK$4.57 billion ($589 million).

Zhangwill offer HK$1.80 a share, a 45 percent premium to the last traded price of HK$1.24, for all outstanding stock, Glorious Property said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing yesterday. The buyout price is at a 39 percent discount to net asset value, according to the statement. Zhang is also offering 4 Hong Kong cents per stock option.

Alibaba has been pushing its messaging app, Laiwang, a lot recently, including forcing the e-commerce titan’s tens of thousands of employees to get friends to sign up for the app. Today, Alibaba said that Laiwang has added 10 million registered users in the past month.

Singapore offers GM cleaner air, safer food, an unthrottled internet, an independent judiciary, an easily convertible currency, less risk to intellectual property and corporate communication, and a business environment that is designed to support and encourage international administrative and financial functions.

Given such a list of reasons to move, one might wonder why GM moved its international headquarters to Shanghai in the first place.  As it turns out, the answer to this question is more interesting and it provides a lesson on how not to approach the China market.

SAP AG (SAP) and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (CHA) recently entered into a strategic partnership to expand cloud based offerings in the Chinese enterprise cloud market. As per the partnership, SAP will be providing its cloud portfolio services to small and large organizations in China by China Datacom Corporation Limited (:CDC), a joint venture between SAP and China Communication Services (:CCS), which is a subsidiary of China Telecom Group.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, China Mobile’s website now teases a “new brand” for its upcoming 4G network. That new brand will debut at the carrier’s global partners conference on December 18.  It’s been widely reported that Apple will bring the iPhone to China Mobile very soon, and it looks like the stars have finally aligned for a launch next month.

Why is this a big deal?

China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier, but perhaps more importantly, it’s in China, where Apple is getting walloped by Android devices in terms of market share. In fact, according to Gartner, four out of every five smartphones sold in China run on Android.

Overseas shipments of the fuel exceeded purchases by 200,211 metric tons, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s about 48,600 barrels a day, the most since April, and more than triple net exports in September, the data show.

China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is shipping more diesel cargoes after the government increased export allowances for China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028), its two biggest refiners. That’s meant to preempt a surplus in fuel supply as plants restart after seasonal repairs and upgrades, according to ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based energy consultant.

Posted from Diigo.

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