China Business Briefs 6/2/14

Economy   Finance   Auto   Infrastructure   Energy   Telecoms   Property   Tech   Media

Economy

Four reasons the yuan will struggle to gain acceptance | South China Morning Post Yet a look at the economic history books advises caution. Over the past 50 years, other currencies – including the deutschemark, its successor the euro, and the Japanese yen – had been tipped to steal the dollar’s crown.

All failed. And the obstacles the yuan will have to overcome to unseat the dollar are just as formidable as those that defeated the three earlier pretenders.

Intel Economist Sees Pollution Contributing to Slower China Growth – China Real Time Report – WSJ Mr. Thomas predicted slower growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy, in part because of rising concern about air-pollution problems. He said Intel, like many non-Chinese companies, has installed additional air filters in its facilities in China and that many employees use air filters in their homes.

Shenzhen has China’s highest minimum wage|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The Shenzhen city government announced that the city’s minimum wage has been raised from US$213 to US$241 a month, which has made it the city with the most expensive labor in China. The minimum wage in the city in 1992 was US$39.

In 2013, Shanghai had the largest minimum wage, followed by Shenzhen and Guangdong. In addition to Shenzhen, the growth for the minimum wage in Xinjiang was 31%, 29.8% in Jiangsu, 19.2% in Guangdong, 11.7% in Shanghai and 11.1% in Beijing.

What’s Driving China’s New Economy? Three months after the conclusion of China’s Third Plenum, the state seems to be fulfilling every prophecy set out by economists. These meetings, used by Chinese political leadership to set policy goals and the general direction of the country, seem to show that the state may be giving up its usual stance on intervening in the market for something a little more hands-off. This move is still in its infancy, but in an economy expected to be the world’s strongest by 2020, the move seems to be one a long time in coming.

Although China’s slowing economy has been compared to a near-apocalyptic sign of failing markets, indications show the slow to be a forced suppression of an economy that had been bubbling in the early 2000s. This bubble is now being deflated, says Professor Yiping Huang, by Premier Li Keqiang’s government who seeks less market volatility. In an economic view that has been dubbed “Likonomics,” the Chinese premier calls for the establishment of a market built on no stimulus, deleveraging of current assets, and structural reform.

GlaxoSmithKline hails drug pipeline after 2013’s China scandal The pharmaceutical giant unveiled its drugs pipeline as it revealed that turnover rose 1% to £26.5bn in 2013, while pre-tax profits inched up by 0.7% to £6.6bn. Sales continued to slide in its scandal-hit China division, but the pace of decline slowed down: drug and vaccine sales were down 18% in the final quarter of 2013, compared with a 61% drop in the previous quarter.

Chinese authorities have accused GSK of being a “criminal godfather”, running a £320m slush fund to bribe doctors and hospital officials with cash payments and visits to prostitutes, in order to sell its products.

Finance

Big Four’s Chinese Affiliates May Mull Workarounds – China Real Time Report – WSJ The Big Four’s Hong Kong affiliates aren’t affected by the ruling, and if they were to temporarily take over some of the Chinese affiliates’ work, it might minimize the disruptions the suspension would cause for the Chinese firms’ clients, some observers believe.

But others say a switch would be unfeasible as the Chinese firms’ reason for refusing to give the SEC the documents it wanted – they said Chinese laws on state secrecy prevented them from turning over the documents – could also apply in certain cases to the Hong Kong firms if they took over the work. That could leave the Hong Kong firms similarly unable to comply, and potentially subject to U.S. sanctions.

Singapore Bank Expands China Presence; OCBC Buys Ningbo Bank Shares – WSJ.com A week after announcing that it was in exclusive negotiations to buy Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank Ltd., OCBC said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy up to 207.5 million new ordinary shares in Bank of Ningbo, which is undertaking a private placement of shares to current substantial shareholders. The 383 million-Singapore-dollar (US$303 million) investment will raise the Singaporean bank’s stake in the Chinese lender to 20% from 15.35%.

Westpac to launch derivatives business in China – MarketWatch Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AU) plans to launch a new derivatives business in China, tapping into increased capital flows after Australia and China agreed to allow each other’s currencies to be directly converted last year.

The Sydney-based bank said Thursday it has been granted a general derivatives license by the China Banking Regulatory Commission. It will offer derivatives trading from its branches in Shanghai and Beijing, where it has already built up its dealing rooms in the past year to support yuan trade.

Bank of China International hires Ex-Goldman metals chief – Yahoo Singapore Finance Bank of China International (BOCI) has recruited former Goldman Sachs (GS.N) metals trading chief as an adviser to help it expand its commodities business.

BOCI’s appointment of Stephen Branton-Speak as an adviser is one of the highest profile metals industry hires by a Chinese bank since Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd bought the London Metal Exchange (LME) for $2.2 billion in 2012.

Auto

Aston Martin recalls 75% of the cars it has built since 2008 – FT.com The British supercar manufacturer is recalling almost 18,000 cars – 75 per cent of the cars it built since 2008 – after discovering a Chinese supplier used fake materials in its cars’ accelerator pedals.

Infrastructure

Rail will cost more than Sh1.3trn – PIC | The Star The committee also found out the railway line awarded to China Roads and Bridges Corporation will be constructed in line with the Chinese specifications.

While appearing before the committee on Monday, former Transport Minister Chirau Mwakwere told the committee that CRBC is a credible firm having constructed the 1,390km Shanghai- Beijing railway.

But the committee has information that CRBC was just a sub-contractor in the project and that various audits carried out in China had raised serious audit queries against the firm.

Sierra Leone News: Amb. Zhao visits Hydro & Regent Grafton Rd Construction sites « Awoko Newspaper Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo less than a month after taking office as the new Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone has made a visit to the Hydro construction at Charlotte and the Regent  Grafton Road sites.

Energy

Moving Average Crossover: Great News for CNOOC Limited (CEO)? – Tale of the Tape – NASDAQ.com CNOOC Limited (CEO) could be a stock to avoid from a technical perspective, as the  firm is seeing unfavorable trends on the moving average crossover  front. Recently, the 50 Day Moving Average for CEO broke out  below the 200 Day Simple Moving Average, suggesting short-term bearishness.

This has already started to take place, as the stock has moved  lower by 15.8% in the past four weeks. Plus, the company  currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) meaning that now could  definitely be the time to get out of this potentially in-trouble  stock.

Ethiopia: How Foreign Oil Companies Annihilated the Lives of Ordinary African Population in Ogaden Region February 13, 2013, China’s oil and gas producer of Petro-trans negotiated with Somaliland’s officials for the possibility to extend Berbera  port’s container and mineral export services to help China’s grasping  ways to profit Ogaden gas and oil financially but has scrapped plans to  build a liquefied natural gas facility. Now China’s GCL Poly Petroleum signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday January 8, 2014, with  the government of Djibouti that will allow the company to construct two  pipe lines stretching from Ethiopia to Djibouti.

Regional commentators believe that China is good for Africa leaders  but it’s bad for Africans as long as human rights concerned. And it uses  the key president’s issue to penetrating, like the European colonial  times, more or less. Sad and angry Somali people in Ogaden say, every  coming year it is Dhina’s day-dreaming to produce oil and gas from Ogaden region and Ethiopia’s nightmare of being an oil-industry nation, dreams likely to be a needle in a haystack.

China’s Oil Pipeline Through Myanmar Brings Energy—and Resentment – Businessweek Until recently, 80 percent of China’s oil and gas imports were transported by ship through a narrow waterway separating Indonesia and Malaysia, known as the Strait of Malacca. The possibility that hostile forces could one day block that crucial passageway and starve the country of energy has long made China’s leaders nervous.

Petrochina’s Neutral Rating Reaffirmed at Zacks (PTR) | Ticker Report Zacks reiterated their neutral rating on shares of Petrochina (NYSE:PTR) in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning, AnalystRatings.Net reports. The firm currently has a $102.00 price target on the stock.

Maintenance at UK’s Buzzard oilfield set for Q2 and Q3 -Suncor – Yahoo Finance UK Britain’s biggest oilfield Buzzard will undergo routine, planned maintenance in the second and third quarters of 2014, Suncor, which owns a 29.9 percent stake in the field, said.

Nexen (KSE: 005720.KSnews), Buzzard’s operator and a unit of Chinese state company CNOOC (HKSE: 0883.HKnews) , has said that it aims to improve Buzzard’s reliability in 2014.

Telecoms

WeChat’s money gifting scheme lures 5 million Chinese users Last week WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app, launched a feature letting users based in China gift money to friends and family.

The feature went viral in China, and yesterday parent company Tencent disclosed to Chinese media that during the first two days of Spring festival, over five million users participated in the scheme, exchanging over 20 million envelopes. At its apex, over 585,000 people sent over 121,000 red envelopes within a five-minute stretch.

Probe against Huawei over hacking of BSNL network – The Hindu The Centre told Parliament on Wednesday that an inter-ministerial team had been formed to investigate the hacking of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. network in Andhra Pradesh allegedly by the Chinese telecom equipment-maker Huawei.

In probably the first case of its kind, the Centre is investigating corporate rivalry between Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE, which has bagged the BSNL’s network-expansion project, including in Rajahmundry, that led to the alleged hacking.

Property

China’s housing market is looking ugly, which is scary for its financial system – Quartz Sales have “showed a sharp decline” (paywall) in January, compared to Dec. 2013, according to China Confidential, a Financial Times research outfit, even when controlling for softness due to the Chinese New Year holiday. Official data show prices still high in December (the last month for which data were available), but those will likely be dragged down in the coming months.

Housing investment is a big engine of China’s economy. And though slower growth could help end China’s dangerous reliance on credit-backed investment, an abrupt slowdown will freak out global markets and throttle commodity prices.

Chinese government foundation teams up with investors in Hong Kong and Dubai to build resorts catering to elderly | South China Morning Post China Ageing Development Foundation, a fund under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, has formed an alliance with investors in Hong Kong and in Dubai for an aggressive plan to build 12 upmarket retirement and health resorts on the mainland and overseas to tap the country’s rapidly greying population.

“Population ageing in China is expected to lead to a burgeoning demand for aged-care services over the next 40 years. It is now recognised that the ageing of China’s population will have far reaching implications for society, for the economy and for the ability of the government to meet the expectations of the community,” the consortium said in a written reply to questions from the South China Morning Post.

Tech

China’s Top Revenue-generating Mobile Apps of 2013 App ranking and analytics service App Annie released top trends of 2013 on iOS and Google Play. For Google Play isn’t widely accessible in mainland China and the majority of Chinese users download Android apps through dozens of other stores, the revenues in China market recorded by App Annie are mainly from iOS platform. What’s interesting is the most revenue-generating non-game categories include dating, messaging, navigation, among others.

Glu Mobile: Better Play Than Zynga [Apple Inc., Zynga Inc] – Seeking Alpha Following the announcement of Apple’s (AAPL) deal with China Mobile (CHL), the mobile gaming stock most likely to benefit, in my opinion, from a double-whammy of an additional 24 million iPhones held in the hands of gamers in China, of which, whose spending on gaming apps soared 247% (y-o-y) in 2013 is: Glu Mobile (GLUU).

I also expect Glu Mobile could reach $9 in 2015, but, first, the lead-up to my analysis.

Media

This Movie Beat Iron Man 3 in Chinese IMAX Corporation Theaters (DIS, IMAX) But that young record fell this week. That’s right — not even Iron Man’s robotic power could hold back the magical armies of the Middle Kingdom this time. Chinese kung fu production The Monkey King just laughed at Iron Man‘s $1.5 million first-day sales, on its way to a $1.8 million opening day in IMAX theaters.

So IMAX is finding new ways to grow in the crucial Chinese market. Furthermore, the company should be able to apply the lessons learned here in other important markets, accelerating revenue growth in places like Latin America and major European markets.

Posted from Diigo.

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