China Business Briefs 16/12/13

ECONOMY

China’s HSBC flash PMI sinks to three-month low, but rebound signals stay | South China Morning Post Growth in activity in China’s vast factory sector slowed to a three-month low in December as reduced output offset a pickup in new orders, a preliminary private survey showed on Monday, in line with other recent data pointing to a resilient but slowing economy.

The flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.5 from November’s final reading of 50.8, but for a fifth consecutive month remained above the 50 line which separates expansion of activity from contraction.

China’s overall capacity utilization rate – a major gauge of overcapacity – eased to 57.8 percent last year, well below the historical average of roughly 73 percent set during the decades following 1978. And according to the National Bureau of Statistics, capacity utilization in heavy pillar sectors was only 78.6 percent at the end of the second quarter of 2013, meaning that 21.4 percent of capacity was idle.

Company pay to surge in 2014: survey An average pay rise of 8.8 percent is expected for company employees in China next year, according to a survey released on Sunday by 51job.com, China’s leading jobs website.

Some 17.3 percent of the surveyed companies plan to increase pay for their staff at least once next year, a slight dip compared with the figure in 2013, the survey revealed, adding that 74.9 percent chose to increase pay only once in 2014.

Land sales hit new record in Shanghai |Industries |chinadaily.com.cn **I love the “sources said”** Shanghai sold 200 billion yuan ($33 billion) worth of land as of Dec 12 this year, marking a new annual record, sources said.

Three land sites were sold for a total of 1.9 billion yuan on Dec 12.

According to a statement released Saturday following an urbanization work conference hosted by the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee, which included Party leader Xi Jinping, residents in some urban areas could expect to see an easing of hukou (household registration) restrictions.

China Sets Out Urbanization Plans to Support Economic Growth – Bloomberg China will map out city clusters across the country’s central, western and northeastern regions and develop them into engines for growth as part of its urbanization strategy, according to the nation’s leadership.

“Diverse and sustainable” funding mechanisms will be developed to finance policies, they pledged at an urbanization conference, according to a report of the meeting by the Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Attention must also be paid to the environmental impact of such development, they said.

China CDs Show Banks May Benefit From Rate Reform, Mizuho Says – Bloomberg Chinese banks’ ability to raise funds below benchmark interbank costs by selling negotiable certificates of deposit shows they may benefit from interest-rate liberalization, according to Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd.

When 10 banks sold 34 billion yuan ($5.6 billion) of the certificates last week, they paid less than the Shanghai interbank offered rate, easing concern that the industry could face a funding shortage, Jim Antos, a Hong Kong-based Mizuho analyst, wrote in a note today. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the world’s most profitable lender, sold CDs at 5.1 percent on Dec. 12, compared with the one-month Shibor of 5.42 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Short Circuit for Foreign Electronics Vendors – **Unprovable protectionism** What’s hot lately in China’s electronics industry is not the latest gadget but procurement guidance from the central government that is starting to sting Western companies. That guidance can be summarized in two words: Buy local.

Several sources close to the American electronics giant Cisco Systems Inc. told Caixin that Chinese government agencies and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been told to “when possible” turn their backs on electronics equipment offered by overseas firms in favor of domestic company products.

Cabinet Pledges Tax Change to Cut Coal Reliance – **Bad news for China Shenhua** The cabinet unveiled a document titled an Opinion to Promote the Stable Operation of the Coal Industry on November 28. It says the government will speed up a shift in the coal tax from one focused on volume to one based on value.

This would significantly increase costs for coal producers, and thus be an attempt to cut back on the country’s heavy use of coal. China is the world’s largest producer, buyer and user of coal.

COMPANIES

Alibaba to Invest over HK$ 2.8 Billion in Haier Subsidiaries – On December 9, the companies announced a deal in which Alibaba will invest a total of HK$ 2.82 billion in Haier subsidiaries. Under the agreement, Alibaba will pay HK$ 541 million for a 9.9 percent stake of Qingdao Haier Logistics Co.

Alibaba will also buy HK$ 1.32 billion worth convertible bonds from Hong Kong-listed Haier Electronics Group Co. that can be turned into to a 24.1 percent stake in Qingdao Haier Logistics.

China Auto Industry News | Chinese Made Volvo S60L Launches in China From 269,999 RMB to 384,900 RMB | China Car Times – China Auto News After a long winding road, Volvo has finally brought its Chinese factory online in Chengdu where the facility is now producing the China only S60L.

Volvo came under Geely’s control in early 2010 with the mission of bringing Volvo more sales in China to offset falling sales in Europe and elsewhere. One issue in Volvo’s China plan was a lack of production facilities within China, of course they had the CKD agreement with Chang’an but Chang’an were busy with multiple joint ventures with Ford, Mazda and Suzuki as well as its own range of vehicles. Geely and Volvo developed a new facility in Chengdu in record time to produce the long wheelbase S60 for China.

Wuhan: Detroit of the East gives green light to Renault | 4-Traders Renault SA clinched full access to China’s auto market on Monday by sealing a joint venture agreement with state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group in Wuhan, a city fast shaping up as China’s own Detroit.

Nine years after the two companies first announced plans for the joint venture, they finally inked a $1.3 billion 50-50 partnership to introduce the French carmaker’s own locally assembled models in the world’s biggest auto market.

Shell Exiting Woodside Opens Door to China Bids: Real M&A – BloombergRoyal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSA) long-awaited sale of its $6.4 billion stake in Woodside Petroleum Ltd. may open the door for Asian buyers to grab a slice of Australia’s second-largest oil and gas producer, or even the whole company.

Shell, which said last month it was entering “a divestment phase,” may exit its 23 percent holding in Woodside as soon as 2014 as its importance to Europe’s largest oil company fades, said Nomura Holdings Inc. While Shell may opt to sell the stock back to Woodside and institutional investors, China’s Cnooc Ltd. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. might pursue the stake or a full takeover, Morningstar Inc. said.

Clearing facility to support London’s RMB business – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn|china|news|chinanews|ecns|cns The benefits of the facility include same-day clearing for London transactions, the ability to clear transactions without being affected by Chinese public holidays and clearing under the laws of the United Kingdom.

The facility is being jointly established by Standard Chartered and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. It was announced last week during Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to China.

Online Estate Service Soufun Launches Third-party Financial Platform to Tap Online Finance Industry China’s leading online estate service Soufun launched Soufun Financial Service Platform today, offering third-party financial products to customers to cater for their funding demands for property acquisition, home leasing and decoration.

The service will be firstly launched in first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and then expanded to other cities, according to Mo Tianquan, board chairman of the company. Mo added that Soufun will join hands with financial institutions to roll out custom financial products for its members, and then, develop in-house financial products in the future.

After China Mobile sugar rush, Apple will fight for customers | Reuters **Won’t be easy** For all the hype, Apple Inc’s long-awaited iPhone agreement with China Mobile Ltd may deliver little more than a fleeting revenue jolt for the U.S. giant.

A deal with the world’s largest mobile carrier, expected as early as this week, nets Apple 759 million potential new customers that could generate $3 billion (1.8 billion pounds) in 2014 revenue, or nearly one-quarter of Apple’s projected revenue growth in its current fiscal year.

Posted from Diigo.

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