China Business Briefs 28/1/14

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday. Beijing seems to hit my immune system with frequent minor ailments. All a bit wearisome.

ECONOMY

China Credit Trust Says It Reached Pact on Troubled Product – Bloomberg China Credit Trust Co. said it reached an agreement to restructure a high-yield product that sparked concern over the health of the nation’s $1.67 trillion trust industry and contributed to a global selloff in emerging-market assets.

The agreement includes a potential investment in the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) product, Beijing-based China Credit Trust said on its website today, four days before payment is due. The two-line statement didn’t identify the source of funds, or say whether investors would get their money back.

China shadow bank says reached pact to avoid default – Yahoo Singapore Finance In a notification to investors, obtained by Reuters, the trust firm declared that an accord had been reached and advised investors to contact client managers, but the document, did not say how or when investors would be repaid.

Citing an unnamed investor in the trust product, Caixin, a respected financial magazine, reported on Monday that the agreement allows investors to recover their invested principal, but not the final interest payment originally promised.

China Trust Default Avoided…What Comes Next? – Forbes A default of the “Credit Equals Gold #1” trust product has been avoided. What happens in the coming months will either push China closer towards a financial crisis or help it gradually step back from the edge.

Heard on the Street: China’s Default That Wasn’t – WSJ.com Like clockwork, a mysterious third party has sprung to the rescue, allowing China Credit Trust to repay the principal on high-yield investment products tied to a struggling coal miner. Savers will miss some interest payments and get a lower effective yield, but otherwise escape unharmed. So does the reputation of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s largest commercial lender, which sold the trust products to clients.

The hand of the state seems to be at work. Officials in the miner’s home province were actively involved in coming up with a solution, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bailout involves the third-party investor taking an equity stake in the coal company, which came only after the company suddenly gained approval to restart a closed mine.

China’s top diplomat wants free-trade deal with Europe | Reuters Beijing’s top diplomat called on Monday for China and the European Union to consider a multi-billion-dollar free-trade deal, a once unthinkable step that shows a big improvement in relations between two of the world’s largest markets.

“There are bright prospects for China-EU business cooperation,” Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi told reporters after meeting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ahead a visit to Brussels by President Xi Jinping in March.

China Trade Puzzle Revived as Hong Kong Data Diverge – Bloomberg China’s trade numbers, distorted by fake exports (HKETEXPC) last year, are set to come under renewed scrutiny after a discrepancy between Hong Kong and Chinese figures for bilateral trade widened to the largest in eight months.

Hong Kong’s December imports from China fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to HK$176 billion ($22.7 billion), the city’s statistics department said yesterday. That compares with $38.5 billion in exports to Hong Kong reported earlier this month by China’s customs administration, up 2.3 percent, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

China Property New Loans Hit $380Bln in 2013, Accounting 1/3 of Total-Caijing China’’s property sector attracted 2.34 trillion yuan (about $384 billion) of new loans in the past year, representing nearly a third of the total from the banking institutions, a central bank report showed.

Outstanding yuan-denominated lending to the property sector from both Chinese and foreign financial institutions to the property sector rose 19.1 percent year-on-year to 14.61 trillion yuan by the end of 2013, the People’s Bank of China said.

Total loans outstanding at commercial banks amounted to 71.9 trillion yuan at the end of December, up 14.1 percent year-on-year and compared with a growth rate of 15.0 percent in the previous year.

Currencies and banks: the two big questions about China | The A-List But in the financial world the Chinese remain a little more hesitant. Two big issues kept recurring, one international, the other domestic:

-will the renminbi soon rival the dollar as a global reserve currency?

-is the rapid growth of shadow banking an accident waiting to happen?

China’s debt-fuelled boom is in danger of turning to bust – FT.com Debate rages over how this tale will end. Most analysts believe that the Chinese economy will once again expand by more than 7 per cent this year, despite ballooning private sector debts. But the pessimistic minority has history on its side. Only five developing countries have had a credit boom nearly as big as China’s. All of them went on to suffer a credit crisis and a major economic slowdown.

Banks see slower growth in assets – Frontpage – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Assets of the banking industry ­totaled 148 trillion yuan ($24 trillion) by the end of 2013, up 12.8 percent from a year earlier, according to data released Sunday by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). The growth rate was the lowest since 2003, when the CBRC first started revealing such data.

Banking assets mainly refer to ­financial institutions’ lending assets. Meanwhile, total liabilities reached 137.9 trillion yuan.

Beijing says US should stop new dumping probe on solar cells | South China Morning Post China’s commerce ministry called on the United States on Sunday to stop anti-dumping investigations into imports of solar power products from China, expressing “serious concern” and vowing to defend its producers.

“The Chinese side expresses serious concern,” the commerce ministry said in a statement on its website. “China urges the United States again to carefully handle the current … investigations, be prudent in taking measures and terminate the investigation proceedings.”

Life Insurance in China, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017 – PR Newswire – The Sacramento Bee The report provides in depth market analysis, information and insights into the Chinese life insurance segment, including: • Benchmarking analysis of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries • The Chinese life insurance segment’s growth prospects by life insurance categories and customer segments • The various distribution channels in the Chinese life insurance segment • The competitive landscape in the Chinese life insurance segment • A description of the life reinsurance segment in China • Detailed analysis of the regulatory framework in China

Oil Companies Using New Logic in Their Overseas Acquisitions – Among mergers and acquisitions of global upstream oil and gas assets over the past few years, one trend has seen European and American companies selling while national oil companies in China and Russia have been buying.

“In 2013, global M&A transactions of upstream oil and gas assets were the lowest since 2008,” said a January report by IHS, an energy consultancy. The report said that from 2010 to 2012, global M&A transactions of upstream assets totaled US$ 600 billion, with 2012 the highest in a decade, at US$ 250 billion. But this fell to US$ 136 billion in 2013.

Capital’s Expensive Plan to Fight Air Pollution Misguided, Expert Says – However, Tao Guangyuan, executive director of the Sino-German Renewable Energy Cooperation Center, said that while the sum shows determination, the government’s approach might be unnecessarily costly. (The center is supported by the governments of China and Germany.)

Much of the 760 billion yuan will go toward converting coal-burning power plants into ones that burn natural gas. Tao says the government will need to invest heavily in equipment and production facilities, but doing this will also create a long-term financial burden because gas is more expensive than coal.

Selling products and Services into China The big issue today is not so much how to make product in China, but how to sell product and services to China, be that within China or from outside China. Needless to say, the “within China” part is where the complicated legal regulations and hence the tensions can arise.

China’s guarantee companies face survival problems amid slowing economy|WantChinaTimes.com Since the second half of 2011, the government’s four trillion stimulus policy began to ebb, followed with a tightening monetary policy and the implementation of macro-economic control. Bad debt from soft government funds exploded from small and medium-sized enterprises, leading to rising pressure on guarantee companies.

Reforms to fuel Shanghai’s growth in 2014 – Xinhua | English.news.cn Economists believe the city’s financial sector is going to grow even more this year, while Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong estimates the city economy will grow by 7.5 percent. A series of reforms in the landmark Shanghai Free Trade Zone, including changes to capital accounts and interest rates, are expected to add new sources of growth to the financial sector.

Talent returns to China, but progress slow – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn A report on returned overseas talent compiled by Wang found that more than 270,000 people came back in 2012, an increase of 46 percent over 2011, adding that rapid economic development in China is one of the major attractions.

Of those who returned, more than 30 percent took jobs or started a business in areas such as new materials, energy, biotechnology and electronic information.

8.8% salary hikes expected for 2014 – Chinadaily.com.cn Salary increases are expected to hit 8.8 percent in 2014, a slight rise on the 8.6 percent for 2013, according to a survey issued by 51job.com, a human resources service provider.

It found that the highest salary increases occurred in the financial sector, reaching 10.4 percent, followed by real estate (10.1 percent), high tech (9.9 percent) and bio-pharmaceuticals (9.2 percent).

Li reaffirms commitment to social welfare system[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn During his visit, the premier highlighted the importance of social relief work and urged the governments to do a better job in providing basic welfare to disadvantaged people.

“The government has to tighten up the network of social security. A welfare system must be in place for the poor to fall back on if they encounter difficulties,” he said. “Otherwise, these disadvantaged people can easily impact the bottom line of society.”

Hong Kong export growth misses forecast | South China Morning Post The growth, which lagged economists’ forecasts of a rise of 4 to 5 per cent, underscored a weak economic recovery in the United States and disappointing demand in Europe in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, they said.

However, some economists expected better prospects this year on the back of recent strength in the US recovery while Europe’s turmoil hit its bottom.

China probes death of official who liquored up at lavish banquet | Reuters **”negative social impact” is my new favourite euphemism** The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Chen Ruixi, deputy mayor of the small city of Sanming in coastal Fujian province, who attended the banquet, as well as his colleagues.

One official died suddenly after the feast, held at the canteen of a private company, the agency said, adding that the event had made a “negative social impact”.

COMPANIES

Citic’s bad loan writeoff a sign of strain in China’s mid-sized banks | South China Morning Post China Citic Bank’s shareholders have agreed for the bank to more than double bad-loan writeoffs for last year, the latest sign of how much China’s economic slowdown is costing the country’s mid-sized banks.

At a meeting in Beijing yesterday, shareholders signed off as expected on management’s plan to write off 5.2 billion yuan (HK$6.6 billion) in non-performing assets, Citic said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing. The bank originally budgeted for two billion yuan in writeoffs.

Lenovo expands into internet service marketWantChinaTimes.com The Lenovo Group, one of the world’s largest PC suppliers, is placing putting more emphasis on catering to internet services in a bid to become more competitive, reports Shanghai-based First Financial Daily.

Instead of focusing on only hardware production, the company is shifting towards an operational style that will also values software capabilities and offering customized internet services.

Mobile Tourism Service Yikuaiqu Nets Millions of Dollars in Series A Financing Yikuaiqu, a tourism app, announced that it has raised millions of dollars in Series A financing led by Shenzhen Hight-tech Investment and followed by Shenzhen Capital Group, etc. The company has secured millions of yuan of angel investment in 2012. The capital will be used in research and development of its travel applications for scenic spots, said Liang Jiankun, CTO of the company.

Suning Commerce Fully Acquires Group-purchasing Site Manzuo with Nearly 10 Million Dollars Suning Commerce (SZ:002024) announced that it fully acquired group-buying site Manzuo for nearly $10 million (source in Chinese), continuing its expansion into Internet industry after becoming the largest shareholder of peer-to-peer video streaming service PPTV last year.

In addition to maintaining independent operation, Manzuo will also take over the group-buying and travelling businesses under Suning. Feng Xiaohai, founder of Manzuo, will be named as the head of Suning’s local life sector. The acquisition procedure will be completed by the end of this March.

Alibaba unveils its three games for Laiwang and Taobao The games are available on two of Alibaba’s mobile apps. Users who update Laiwang, Alibaba’s social messaging app, to the new 4.5 version, will notice a new tab under the “Explore” page with a castle icon. Pressing the tab takes users to the app’s new game center, which currently features two titles.

Not unexpectedly, all three titles fit firmly in the “casual” genre, which have proven to be popular among game developers looking to reach broad audiences, and social networks looking to keep up user retention. Of the games on Laiwang, “Pa Pa Pa” bears a resemblence to Line’s Bubble Pop, while “Po Po Po” recalls Simon. Taobao’s “Crazy Toy,” meanwhile, has many of the trappings of King’s Candy Crush Saga.

China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): China Mobile Shakes Up Fixed-Line Broadband – Seeking Alpha A welcome development looks set to shake up China’s fixed-line broadband sector this year, with word that leading wireless carrier China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) is offering aggressive pricing after receiving a license to offer fixed-line service late last year.

After-school Tutoring Service TAL Education Injects 150 Million Yuan in Childcare Portal Babytree TAL Education (NYSE:XRS), a K-12 after-school tutoring services provider formerly known as Xueersi, announced today it will inject 150 million yuan ($24.79 million) of strategic investment in childcare portal Babytree. Babytree has secured a combined $20 million of investments in previous rounds.

The acquisition of Babytree will help TAL to include pre-school children into its target customers. TAL has acquired education site Kaoyan.com for 50 million yuan last year.

Flying the flag for Chinese cars – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese carmaker Hong Qi, or Red Flag, is pressing to have its brand move into the mainstream here in China after years of supplying vehicles to the Chinese government.

Six months ago, Red Flag opened this showroom in Beijing’s exclusive Jinbaojie Street, which makes them almost neighbours with other top name carmakers such as Ferrari and Maserati. So what makes Red Flag Sales Manager Wang Rui Chao believe customers will come to his showroom and not theirs?

Drilling services provider COSL expects deep-water revenue boost | South China Morning Post China Oilfield Services (COSL), the mainland’s dominant provider of offshore drilling services, expects more work and a greater contribution from more capital-intensive deep-water jobs will lift revenues this year.

However, the company warned that the subdued outlook for oil prices will constrain the upside for drilling rates.

China’s Tencent WeChat App Targets U.S. Users – China Real Time Report – WSJ The fast-growing smartphone messaging application is now trying to expand in the U.S. market with a newly launched promotional campaign.

According to WeChat’s Chinese website, here’s how the new promotion works: Tencent is asking people who hold Google accounts to connect their accounts with WeChat, so they can invite their Google contacts to join WeChat. People can win a $25 Restaurant.com gift card from Tencent by getting five of their Google contacts to join WeChat.

Tencent Fully Acquires Map Service Linktech Navi with 60 Million Yuan Chinese Internet giant Tencent continues its acquisition spree this year by pouring 60 million yuan ($9.92 million) of funding in Beijing-based mapping service Linktech Navi for a 100% stake in the company (source in Chinese).

Founded in 2001, Linktech Navi is accredited with the state Grade-A qualification on surveying and mapping. The company’s main businesses are digital maps, navigation system, GPS vehicle monitoring solution, LBS application solution, etc. Linktech Navi’s customers include automobile manufacturers, like Chery, Shac, and Hawtai Motor, navigation services, telecos, among others.

Closer Look: Developers Build Banking Ties with Stake Purchases – Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group expanded into banking by acquiring a 4.5 percent stake in Beijing-based Huaxia Bank for 3.3 billion yuan last week.

A source close to the property developer said the purchase is a strategic investment. Huaxia has a strong balance sheet that can improve Evergrande’s financials. It may help Evergrande finance at a lower cost, he said.

BRIEF-China Life Insurance expects 2013 net profit up 120 pct on investment gains | Reuters China Life Insurance Co Ltd

* Says expects 2013 net profit up 120 percent y/y versus net profit of 11.1 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) previous year

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/wac46v

BRIEF-Ping An Insurance 2013 premium income totalled 268.7 bln yuan | Reuters Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd

* Says 2013 premium income totalled 268.7 billion yuan ($44.4 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/seb95v

allAfrica.com: Ethiopia: Halfway Point Reached in Inner-City Rail Project (Page 1 of 2) While China Railway Group Limited (CREG) won the contract for the construction of the lines, it was the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC) that was charged with supplying the tracks and the trains to transport passengers. Once complete, the tracks will be of standard size (1.435m wide) double track for the whole route.

LNG import: SSGC, ECC likely to award $1.4b contract today – The Express Tribune EVTL had submitted the offer for LNG services in partnership with China Harbour Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, which has been blacklisted by the World Bank until January 2017.

However, the government cleared the company, saying that the project was not being funded by the World Bank, therefore, EVTL could not be disqualified. However, “a question arises why such clause was made part of the tender when it could not be implemented,” an official asked.

SKAI Holdings secures AED737.6m (USD201m) of financing from China’s ICBC for its Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah projectReal Estate – Zawya SKAI Holdings, the Dubai-based real estate investment company, today announced it has secured AED737.6m (US$201m) of financing for its AED3.75bn Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah, ensuring the project is fully funded.

The financing agreement, which further reaffirms SKAI Holdings commitment to the UAE’s hospitality sector, was arranged by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China’s largest bank, marking its first project financing deal for a hospitality project in the Middle East.

BRIEF-China’s Jiugui Liquor says police investigating theft, financial impact uncertain | Reuters China’s Jiugui Liquor Co Ltd

* Says police investigating 100 million yuan ($16.53 million)stolen from its account with Agricultural Bank of China’s Hangzhou Branch, financial impact of the theft still uncertain

Chinese Pork Supplier WH Group Said to Apply for $6b IPO – Bloomberg WH Group Ltd., the Chinese company that bought the world’s biggest pork supplier last year, applied to the Hong Kong stock exchange for an initial public offering, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company plans to seek as much as $6 billion from the offering in the first half, the people said yesterday, asking not to be identified as the information is private. WH Group changed its name from Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. this month.

The WSJ Weekend Interview with Erik Prince: Out of Blackwater and Into China – WSJ.com Now, sitting in a boardroom above Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, he explains his newest title, acquired this month: chairman of Frontier Services Group, an Africa-focused security and logistics company with intimate ties to China’s largest state-owned conglomerate, Citic Group. Beijing has titanic ambitions to tap Africa’s resources—including $1 trillion in planned spending on roads, railways and airports by 2025—and Mr. Prince wants in.

Nicaragua canal fast-tracked with Chinese boost The Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd., is working with the Nicaraguan government on a massive canal project experts say could take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require digging about 130 miles (200 kilometers) of waterway.

Just as the Panama Canal was a projection of growing U.S. power at the start of the 20th century, the Nicaragua project already reflects China’s influence and financial clout around the world. Another Hong Kong-based company has been operating port facilities on both ends of the Panama Canal.

ICBC Chief: China’s Shadow Banking Overblown – TheStreet Viewers of China’s state-run television Saturday heard the head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China say shadow-banking problems in the country have been overblown and “distorted.”

ICBC Chairman Jiang Jianqing, interviewed by CCTV television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said “society has over-exaggerated and completely distorted the severity of shadow banking” in China.

I did not disown rail deal – AG | The Star Githu further discounted claims that his office’s endorsement of the commercial agreement signed between Kenya Railways and the China Road Corporation was also an approval of the tendering process. He said the SGR the logic of the financing agreement had “the making of a closed tender”.

Posted from Diigo.

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