China Business Briefs 5/2/14

Economy   Finance   Auto   Infrastructure   Energy   Telecoms   Property   Travel   Tech   Agriculture

Economy

China’s strong currency problem – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch There are other vulnerabilities too exposed by China’s renewed popularity as a destination for “hot money” playing the yuan carry trade.

For one, it means its economy and financial system is now reliant on the fickle and potentially destabilizing short-term foreign capital its closed financial system was designed to guard against. This is hard to quantify but claims Hong Kong banks have on mainland counterparts give an approximation of the size of these yield-seeking structured products. As of October, those claims were a record HK$2.3 trillion ($295 billion), up 53% since the end of 2012

China Money Network − Is A Re-Run Of The Asian Financial Crisis Likely In 2014? The emerging market world may not be facing a re-run of the late-1990s, as some have suggested, but the precarious position of some emerging markets makes it likely that several economies will run into trouble over the next couple of years.

Events remain in a state of flux but there are five questions that we have been asked over the past week or so that merit a first stab at answering.

Pimco’s Bill Gross Says He Avoids China ‘Mystery Meat’ – Bloomberg Bill Gross, who oversees the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., said the pace of economic growth in China is among the biggest questions in developing nations and the largest risks for markets.

“I call China the mystery meat of emerging-market countries,” Gross said yesterday during an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle. “Nobody knows what’s there and there’s a little bit of bologna, so we’re just going to have to wonder going forward through this year as to the potential problems in China and other emerging markets.”

China Policy Institute Blog » Middle Power Pushback: Explaining Australia’s China Challenge In 2007, China overtook Japan as Australia’s largest trading partner, reflecting unprecedented levels of demand for iron ore and coal resources to power Chinese economic growth. In 2012, Australia and China signed a ‘Strategic Partnership’, which was highly vaunted by the then Gillard Labor Government as marking a new era in the bilateral relationship. While the Sino-Australian ‘Strategic Partnership’ did not constitute a security agreement, much less a formal alliance, for supporters of closer ties between Beijing and Canberra it represented a major step forward.

China Money Network − HK Millionaires Will Possess $1.7T In Combined Wealth In 2017 There will be more than 339,000 millionaires in Hong Kong in 2017, and the amount they possess will increase by 53% to over $1.7 trillion in combined wealth, according to a report release by London-based wealth management research firm WealthInsight.

Austerity drive among factors taking toll on luxury market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s luxury goods market has slowed from 7 percent growth in 2012 to around 2 percent in 2013, with expectations of similarly slow growth in 2014, according to the China Luxury Goods Market Study by consultancy Bain & Co.

Chinese shoppers now do about two-thirds of their luxury shopping abroad, which has triggered a slowdown in domestic store traffic and store openings, the report said.

Foreign retailers learning how to click with Chinese fashionistas[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday” are no longer unfamiliar terms to China’s price-savvy middle class. A growing number of English-speaking credit card holders have joined the international fray.

The popular trend of cross-border online shopping is being spearheaded by a number of shopaholics who understand how to buy things overseas. They usually choose items with price differences or things that tend to be unattainable in China.

Finance

The dark economic thoughts of Charlene Chu | South China Morning Post Charlene Chu, a former senior director and head of China financial institutions at the ratings agency Fitch, has been talking to Britain’s Telegraph about why she feels that China is on the verge of a crisis.

Chu left Fitch last year and will join US-based Autonomous Research later this year. She maintains that a banking crisis in China is not just an outside chance but a certainty. “The banking sector has extended US$14 trillion to US$15 trillion in the span of five years. There’s no way that we are not going to have massive problems in China,” she told the newspaper.

China and the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act | China Briefing News For several years now, the United States has been preparing legislation under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a complex reporting and withholding regime intended to enable the U.S. to better access offshore accounts, investments and income of U.S. citizens who have failed to rigorously report these holdings. Despite several nations’ embrace of the FATCA, China has continued to delay negotiations with the U.S. Treasury over whether or not to allow Chinese financial institutions to report U.S. taxpayer or U.S. firm information to the United States Government.

Auto

China Has How Many Cars? More Cities To Implement Limiting Car Sales? | China Car Times – China Auto News Chinese media are today reporting that the total number of vehicles on Chinese roads has broken the 250 million barrier for the first time, with 31 cities boasting a vehicle population exceeding one million vehicles.

Out of China’s 1.3 billion people, only 280 million people have a driving license however over 18.44 million people took their driving tests in 2013. Drivers with less than one years driving experience under the belt caused 15% of all accidents in China last year, down slightly from 16.7% a year previously but drivers with more than 3 years of experience caused 51,000 accidents causing 14,000 deaths and 56,000 injuries.

Carmaker Tesla gambles on ‘fair price’ strategy in China despite risk of losing prestige | South China Morning Post In China, where higher prices mean prestige, Tesla, a US maker of luxury electric cars, is taking a bold step to win customers and cachet by restricting its mark-up to half of what some of its rivals can command.

In an unusual blog post last month, the firm announced the lower-than-expected 734,000 yuan (HK$933,000) China price tag for its high-end Model S electric car. The price, still 50 per cent higher than in the United States, includes only “unavoidable” taxes and transport costs, it said.

Infrastructure

Changing the rules of engagement on infrastructure – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Although there are roads, bridges, railway lines and various other government buildings that stand testimony to the Chinese capabilities, companies are now gearing up to participate in projects such as urban facilities, modern transportation and manufacturing.

Sun Guoqiang, general manager of CGC Overseas Construction Group, a Chinese construction major that has been in Ethiopia for more than 15 years, says that although there are still plenty of construction projects in Africa, his company will move away from the business in five to 10 years.

Sierra Leone News: Grafton road to be handed over as Independence gift -Wang Kai Ge « Awoko Newspaper The General Manager of China Railway Seventh Group Ltd, constructing the Regent  Grafton Road has told this medium that they intend to finish the road and hand it over to Sierra Leone government on the 27th of April as their own gift to the people of Sierra Leone as they celebrate Independence.

Energy

Research and Markets: Concise Analysis of the Asia Pacific Oil and Chemicals Storage Industry – Forecasts to 2017 “Concise Analysis of the Asia Pacific Oil and Chemicals Storage Industry   – Forecasts to 2017”, is the essential source for industry data and information relating to the oil and chemicals storage industry in Asia   Pacific. It provides asset level information relating to active and planned oil and chemicals storage terminals in Asia Pacific. The profiles of major companies operating in the oil and chemicals storage industry in Asia Pacific are included in the report.

Telecoms

China Mobile’s 4G expansion drives smartphone supply buildup in China | South China Morning Post Analysts see the 4G network roll-out being led by China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless network operator, changing the competitive landscape for smartphones in the domestic market, where most of the country’s 1.23 billion subscribers at the end of December were still tied to old 2G cellular infrastructure.

While Apple recently hogged the headlines by having China Mobile as a new carrier-partner for the iPhone, the domestic brands led by Lenovo, Huawei Technologies, ZTE and Coolpad were expected to step up their supply of cheaper smartphones to help the operator sign up more 4G subscribers nationwide, analysts said.

Chinese New Year welcomed in with 13.6 billion messages in 1 day on China’s top social network While everyone’s talking about WeChat, it’s easy to forget that Tencent makes another social network that’s even more popular. It’s called QQ. Today Tencent (HKG:0700) revealed that QQ’s users sent a total of 13.6 billion QQ chats on the instant messaging service during Chinese New Year’s Eve, the busiest and most raucously celebrated day of the year.

Chinese tech giant Huawei enters Nepal’s market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Speaking during the launching program held in Kathmandu, Huawei representative Li Ji said that the Chinese tech giant in partnership with Nepal Telecom, the country’s State-owned telecommunication service provider, has the potential to bring a positive change in the lives of Nepalese nationals.

Apple silences FaceTime Audio for iPhone and iPad buyers in China Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) FaceTime was updated with audio support in iOS 7, but a growing number of iPhone and iPad owners in China are realizing that they’ve been left out. Anyone who has bought a made-for-China iPhone 5s, 5c, or newest-gen iPad will find that they only get the option to make FaceTime video calls, with the audio ability nowhere to be seen.

Property

China Savers’ Penchant for Property Magnifies Bust Danger – Bloomberg Some 66.1 percent of family assets were in housing in 2013, a national survey of about 28,000 households shows. Mortgage debt as a share of disposable income rose to 30 percent from 18 percent in 2008, according to estimates by Nicholas Lardy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

The buildup raises the stakes for any slide in property prices amid China’s efforts to head off defaults by local governments and developers that propelled a run-up in borrowing that now amounts to more than double the size of the economy, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A hit to household wealth could impair consumer spending, rebuffing policy maker efforts to rebalance the economy toward domestic demand.

Travel

Countries tap into China’s medical tourism market|WantChinaTimes.com South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have been actively developing their medical tourism industry, capitalizing in part on the growing demand for such service among China’s nouveau riche, reports the Guangzhou-based New Express.

The policy is also in line with the expanding global medical tourism market, which has seen an annual growth rate of 20% in recent years, with the market scale topping US$100 billion in 2012 alone, the paper said.

Tech

Alibaba’s Average Valuation Rises to $153 Billion After Earnings – Bloomberg Alibaba is valued at an average of $153 billion, based on the estimates of 10 analysts. That compares with the $120 billion average of six analyst estimates in October. The company last week reported profit of $792 million for the three months ended September, a 12 percent increase from the June quarter, as revenue surged 51 percent to $1.78 billion.

Analysts expect the company, based in Hangzhou, China, to hold the biggest initial public offering since Facebook Inc. (FB) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. valued Alibaba at $150 billion in a Jan. 29 report, saying that may be a “conservative” estimate.

Hon Hai to launch B2B e-trading platform|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Hon Hai Precision Industry — the world’s largest contract electronics maker, also known by its trading name Foxconn — will launch a business to business (B2B) trading platform in early March, a move perceived as a way for the company to broaden its business model, market sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou made an internal announcement before the Lunar New Year holiday, saying that the Taiwan-based company will gear up to develop its electronics commerce business this year.

Smart Air filters China’s pollution with budget air purifier Despite having no business background, setting an arbitrary price point, and starting off with no name recognition whatsoever, Beijing-based startup Smart Air has sold over 2,500 cheap and frankly ugly do-it-yourself air purifier kits, almost as many replacement filters, and another 600 of the more powerful “Cannon” kits since sales began in mid-September.

The scrappy team of four is making waves across polluted Chinese cities with an incredibly simple fact: by strapping a HEPA1 filter to a household fan, you can clean the air in your home for just RMB 200 ($33).

China’s solar firms consider response to US probeWantChinaTimes.com After the US Department of Commerce recently initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on imports of silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) products from China and Taiwan, Chinese PV makers plan to jointly discuss countermeasures by focusing first on cutting the scope of products covered by the probe, the Shanghai-based China Business News reports.

Agriculture

Bigger farms reap bigger fortunes upon rural land reform – Xinhua | English.news.cn Lured by better employment and salaries, as many as 260 million farm workers have left the countryside for cities. A side effect of the exodus is a vast amount of land being left uncultivated. Farmers have very little wriggle room in land transfers and don’t make much money from land deals anyway, so they often simply abandon their land and start afresh on their urban journey.

With food security and the economic potential of rural and ex-rural residents foremost in their minds, authorities are promising more property rights for farmers. These include transfer and mortgage of land-use rights, and the ability to take shares in large farming entities, according to a document released after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last November.

Posted from Diigo.

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