China Business Briefs 29/1/14

I will be travelling over the next two days and might be unable to blog during that time. My visit to Beijing has generally been very pleasant. Will be back in three months.

ECONOMY

China’s retail investors are leading grassroots financial reform | China Economic Review Grassroots movements bring to mind angry petitioners on the streets or the little man fighting against the big, ugly institution. It doesn’t conjure images of investors handing over their cash to bankers, who then pile that money into real estate or coal projects.

But in China, a grassroots financial movement fomenting off the balance sheet involves just that. And in some ways, it too is the story of a marginalized group of people, depositors, pushing back against an almighty, unmovable force, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Micro-credit firms lent RMB227bn last year: People’s Bank|WantChinaTimes.com China had 7,839 micro-credit firms by the end of last year, which made 227 billion yuan (US$37 billion) in new loans, according to the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.

The total loan balance reached 819.1 billion yuan (US$135.4 billion), according to central bank figures.

China trust deal raises thorny questions – FT.com The last-minute rescue raises a thorny question for the future of the Chinese economy. Has the deal confirmed the widespread belief that the government will do whatever it can to stave off trouble, hence fuelling more risk-taking? Or has the near-default taught investors that high yields come with high risks?

China’s Rescue of Troubled Trust May Stoke Risk-Taking – Bloomberg China’s eleventh-hour rescue of wealthy investors in a high-yield trust threatens to drive more money into the nation’s $6 trillion shadow-banking industry, undermining regulators’ efforts to deter excessive risk-taking.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, yesterday told customers who had invested in the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust product that they can sell their rights to unidentified buyers to recoup the principal. Some clients plan to visit ICBC branches to demand more interest ahead of tomorrow’s 5 p.m. deadline for accepting the offer, according to Du Ronghai, a Guangzhou-based investor.

China Industrial Profit Growth Further Declines in December: NBS-Caijing Total profits of China’s industrial companies rose 6 percent year-on-year to  CNY942.53 in December, compared with a growth of 9.7 percent a month ago and 17.3 percent a year earlier.

For the full year of 2013, industrial profit rose 12.2 percent year-on-year  to CNY 6.28 trillion, compared with a growth of 5.3 percent in the previous  year.

China’s ‘invisible man’ quits forex role – FT.com Zhu Changhong had been the chief investment officer for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the agency that manages China’s $3.8tn mountain of foreign exchange reserves. He left a starring role at Pimco, the world’s largest bond house, to join SAFE in late 2009 and is now expected to return to the private sector, according to two people familiar with his decision.

Trained as a physicist, Mr Zhu earned the “invisible” moniker for his extreme reluctance to make public appearances. He has never given any media interviews, and the only photos of him online are a grainy picture from his student days and an unidentified shot from the time of his return to China.

China yuan weakens to 6.1073 against USD Wednesday – Xinhua | English.news.cn The Chinese currency Renminbi, or the yuan, weakens 20 basis points to 6.1073 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

China Further Eases Foreign Exchange Control over Capital Accounts | China Briefing News The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) of China promulgated a circular on January 24 to improve and further ease the administrative control over capital account foreign exchange items (Huifa [2014] No.2, hereinafter referred to as “Circular 2”). Circular 2 will enter in to effect on February 10.

The approval procedure for profit repatriation will be simplified and banks will no longer review any transaction documents if the remittance amount is under US$50,000. For remittance of profit over US$50,000, banks in principle do not need to review the audit report and capital verification report; however, they will still check the board resolution on profit distribution and the original tax record-filing documents to verify the authenticity of the transaction.

The Misfortunes of the Big Four in China Overall, the judge’s 112-page ruling on the audit work of the Big Four in China makes for interesting, and at times damning, reading. You can click here to access it.The judge’s decision should probably be required reading for anyone working in Chinese private equity and capital markets transactions with Chinese companies. Investments in Chinese companies worth many tens of billions of dollars rely, at least to some extent, on the accuracy and reliability of Big Four audits. That audit bedrock looks shakier now than it did a week ago.

H7N9 bird flu: Chinese provinces halt live poultry trade | World news | theguardian.com Authorities in eastern China have banned live poultry sales after an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, state media has reported as the busy Chinese new year travel period gets under way.

So far this year H7N9 has killed 19 people in China and infected 96, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which cited the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chinese firms dominate Arab Health Congress 2014|WantChinaTimes.com Chinese companies are the biggest participant in the ongoing Arab Health Congress 2014, the largest health fair in the Middle East and North Africa that started in Dubai on Monday.

Among the 3,900 companies participating in the four-day congress, 510 are from mainland China, 29 are from Hong Kong, while 107 are from Taiwan.

China ends 2013 with a total of 417 million 3G subscribers China’s grand total on 3G at the end of 2013 is a whopping 417.3 million, up from 233.5 million in December 2012; that’s a 78.7 percent rise. Check out the growth from 2010 to the most recent number:

Beijing Urges Steelmakers to Pursue Overseas Iron-Ore Assets – WSJ.com China is urging its steel companies to buy more iron-ore assets abroad amid signs that many have been losing their appetite for such investments.

The National Development and Reform Commission this week said Chinese steelmakers should keep building up stakes in global iron-ore assets in the interests of China’s strategic security and “speaking rights,” or influence, in global trade. China’s ore imports rose 10% last year to a record 819 million metric tons, according to customs data.

Chart Of The Day: How China’s Stunning $15 Trillion In New Liquidity Blew Bernanke’s QE Out Of The Water | Zero Hedge You read that right: in the past five years the total assets on US bank books have risen by a paltry $2.1 trillion while over the same period, Chinese bank assets have exploded by an unprecedented $15.4 trillion hitting a gargantuan CNY147 trillion or an epic $24 trillion – some two and a half times the GDP of China!

UK embraces Chinese investment Chinese interest appears to lie in the future of high speed rail in the UK. China currently has the world’s largest and fastest growing high speed rail network of its own, boasting nearly 6000 miles of track, and may now be turning its attention to the UK’s own aging and oversubscribed railway network. Although Chinese investors will not be placing any direct financing into the construction phase of the new £50bn ‘HS2’ line, Chinese bidding for the concession to operate the new railway or invest in schemes around the route and its stations seems likely. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang noted, following talks with Mr Cameron, that “The two sides have agreed to push for a breakthrough and progress in co-operation in the areas of nuclear power and high speed railway.”

Norway’s sovereign fund halves coal exposure | Reuters Norway’s $817 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has halved its exposure to coal producers, with most of its remaining interest in the sector in Chinese companies, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

COMPANIES

Citic Group Unit May Invest in Trust Product, Morning Post Says – Bloomberg A unit of Citic Group Corp., a Chinese state-backed conglomerate, may take part in bailing out investors in a troubled 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust product, Oriental Morning Post reported.

The transaction is under way, the newspaper reported yesterday, citing a person close to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (601398) The person declined to give the name of the unit or the amount it plans to invest, according to the report.

China’s Tencent WeChat App Launches Electronic Hongbao – China Real Time Report – WSJ When China celebrates the Lunar New Year on Friday, millions of red envelopes stuffed with cash are expected to change hands among families, friends and colleagues. But this year, there’s a new spin on this old tradition, with the gift-giving happening right on people’s smartphones.

On Tuesday, Wechat, the social networking and messaging app from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, launched a new feature that allows users to send these envelopes of money to each other electronically. Givers must first link the app to their bank accounts, then they can send specified amounts of money to their Wechat contacts through a personal message or to put the cash up for grabs in chat rooms full of friends. Receivers can transfer the funds back into their own bank accounts. (This reporter successfully grabbed three this morning.)

Alibaba Posts Profit on Demand Ahead of Potential IPO – Bloomberg Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was $792 million in the three months ended September, up from a loss of $246 million a year earlier, according to a presentation from Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), which owns a 24 percent stake in China’s largest e-commerce company. Revenue rose 51 percent to $1.78 billion.

Weibo’s value shrinks by US$500m after market report|WantChinaTimes.com The stock price of Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, fell by 11.32% from US$84.60 on Jan. 15 to US$75.02 on Jan. 17, which was a result of a recent Chinese report, according to Beijing’s Economic Observer.

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released a report on Jan. 16 in which it said that the number of Weibo users had dropped by 9.2%, or 27.83 million last year. The market misinterpreted the Weibo or microblog users mentioned in the report as Sina Weibo users, as a result of which Sina Weibo’s market value shrunk by US$500 billion after the report’s release.

PetroChina: Discounted Growth Play With Significant Upside – Seeking Alpha PetroChina (PTR), China’s only super major, has a history of strong financial growth and is well positioned to take advantage of China’s growing demand for diversified energy sources. Currently trading at only 9.3x earnings, the PTR stock looks like the rare gem that offers growth at a value price.

Wal-Mart to upgrade China vendor compliance after state TV criticism | Reuters U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Wednesday it will upgrade its vendor compliance process in China, requiring more documentation and making use of a computer-based system to help suppliers manage associated paperwork.

The announcement came after state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) criticized the world’s No. 1 retailer for circumventing its quality control process and fast-tracking some products with higher profit margins.

Shipping lines shed assets to offset poor performance – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China Shipping Container Lines Co, a main subsidiary of State-owned China Shipping (Group) Co, has forecast a net loss of 2.63 billion yuan ($435 million) for 2013, as the company underwent a shrinking global shipping market, aggravated by the challenges of overcapacity and international competition.

To avoid financial loss, CSCL began to sell its quality assets in the second half of 2013. However, the company only managed to complete a 49 percent share sales of Lianyungang New Oriental International Container Wharf with Singapore’s port operator PSA International Pte Ltd within the year, gaining 260 million yuan in sales profit.

Huawei, Lenovo poised to close gap with smartphone leaders | South China Morning Post Huawei Technologies and Lenovo are expected to intensify competition in the global smartphone market after both companies recorded strong unit shipment growth last year.

Data released yesterday by technology research firm IDC showed the two Chinese technology giants captured a combined 9.4 per cent market share last year, when total industry shipments topped 1 billion units for the first time.

Why Baidu Acquired Renren’s Group-Buying Site By acquiring the remaining shares in Nuomi, Baidu actually does something rare, as the company is well-known for buying only controlling stakes. At the same time, by selling all of its stake in Nuomi, Renren –which has been largely overtaken by Sina‘s Weibo and Tencent‘s WeChat in the past two years– may be trying to make its portfolio of services more compact. The social network company may focus more on improving user and monetization metrics of its promising game business, rather than releasing new services.

Hong Kong Property Tycoons Settle Family Feud – China Real Time Report – WSJ A yearslong feud involving the family behind one of the world’s biggest property empires appears to have come to a happy ending, with a deal reached to equally divide family-owned shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. to the three Kwok brothers and their families.

The agreement in essence restores eldest brother Walter Kwok as a beneficiary of the family trust that controls the property company, commanding a market capitalization of 260 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$33.5 billion).

CICC, Qianhai Financial Plan $3.3B Joint Cross-Border Fund Beijing-based China International Capital Corporation (CICC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Qianhai Financial Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Administrative Bureau of Qianhai Economic Zone in Shenzhen, to establish a joint development fund, according to an announcement.

The CICC Qianhai Development Fund will target to raise a total of RMB20 billion ($3.3 billion). It plans to complete first closing of RMB5 billion ($833 million) before June 30 this year.

Toyota Supplier Sees China Sales Doubling on Orders From VW, GM – Bloomberg Tsubakimoto Chain Co. (6371), a Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) supplier, forecasts China auto parts sales to more than double in four years as carmakers including Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. raise orders to diversify supply chains.

The maker of transmission chains and gears expects sales to jump to more than 12 billion yen ($117 million) by March 2018, Toru Fujiwara, managing executive officer, said in a Jan. 27 interview. The board has approved plans for a new plant in China as early as this year, he said.

China Money Network − KPCB-Backed Chinese Group-Buying Site ManZuo.com Sold To Suning Nanjing based Chinese home appliance retailer Suning Commerce Group Co. says it has acquired Chinese group-buying site ManZuo.com for around $10 million, according to media reports.

Kingsoft to Take Security Software Business KIS and List it on U.S. Market Kingsoft Corporation (SEHK: 3888), a leading applications and entertainment software developer in China, announced today that it planned to spin off security software business and list the sector on NASDAQ or New York stock exchange. Kingsoft has filed to Hong Kong Stock Exchange for the spin-off.

Kingsoft’s security software business is operated by Kingsoft Internet Software Holdings Limited (KIS), also known as Kingsoft Network in China. The company is principally engaged in development and operation of security software and web browser Liebao, as well as cross-platform value-added services and online advertising.

Noble Group Limited (via noodls) / NOTIFICATION ON SUBSIDIARY Noble Group Limited (the “Company”) wishes to announce that on 23 January 2014, the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Noble Clean Fuels Limited (“NCFL”), has subscribed for a 51% shareholding interest in Watt Power Limited (“WPL”), a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.

Moody’s assigns A1 to China Shipping Overseas Finance 2013 Limited’s bonds Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a definitive A1 rating to the credit enhanced bonds issued by China Shipping Overseas Finance 2013 Limited (unrated).

The bonds are supported by an irrevocable standby letter of credit from  the Bank of China Limited (BOC, A1/P-1/D, stable),  Macau Branch.

RPT-UPDATE 2-Shaanxi Coal debut hit by volatility in China’s reopened IPO market | Reuters Shares of Shaanxi Coal Industry Co Ltd jumped in their Shanghai debut but came off earlier stratospheric highs in a roller coaster day as China’s newly reopened initial public offering market drew out aggressive punters.

Shaanxi Coal, which raised $660 million in the biggest mainland China listing since 2012, had soared by its daily limit of 44 percent in early trade. That triggered a suspension until five minutes before the market’s close and prompted an announcement from the exchange that it had taken measures against two retail investors who had driven the price up aggressively.

KWM advises Agricultural Development Bank of China on RMB bonds issuance | Firm News | The Lawyer King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has advised the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) on the successful issuance of RMB bonds worth ¥3bn (£300m) and getting listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The bonds are issued to institutional investors with terms of two years and three years respectively at the interest rate of 3.08 per cent and 3.28 per cent per annum.

Posted from Diigo.

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