China Business Briefs 16/4/14

There won’t be a posting of the business briefs tomorrow, as I am flying to Beijing (in about three hours) for a two week visit. I will try to keep on posting once there, but visits and reunions may take precedence.

I am looking forward to seeing Iain Shaw and co, former staff of the Beijinger (and former colleagues of mine) who are starting up The Cleaver Quarterly, a magazine on Chinese food around the world. Check out their kickstarter thing here if you’re interested.

Economy Finance Auto Infrastructure Energy Telecoms Property Travel Tech Agriculture Retail Healthcare

Economy

China’s first quarter GDP grows 7.4% – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s economy grew 7.4 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed on Wednesday.

The NBS said that preliminary data showed the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 12.8213 trillion yuan ($2.08 trillion) in the first quarter.

The figures suggest growth in the world’s second-largest economy in the beginning of year 2014 was stable and that the economy was generally in good health, as Chinese authorities promoted reforms, innovation, restructuring and improvement of people’s well-being, according to the NBS.

Chinese incomes continue surging in Q1 – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn The average per capita disposable income rose 11.1 percent year on year to 5,562 yuan (908.82 US dollars) in the first quarter. Deducting inflation, the actual growth was 8.6 percent, according to the NBS.

The income gap between urban and rural residents narrowed with the actual income growth in rural China 2.9 percentage points higher than that in its urban areas in the first quarter, according to the NBS.

China’s Economic Growth Slows to Six-Quarter Low After Credit Reined In – Businessweek China’s expansion moderated to the weakest pace in six quarters and property construction plunged, testing leaders’ commitment to keep reining in credit as risks mount of a deeper slowdown.

Gross domestic product rose 7.4 percent in the January-to-March period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing, compared with the 7.3 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Industrial production and fixed-asset investment trailed projections.

China’s expansion slows as property construction falls | Money | The Malay Mail Online Gross domestic product rose 7.4 per cent in the January-to- March period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing, compared with the 7.3 per cent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Industrial production and fixed-asset investment trailed projections.

The weakest first-quarter property-investment growth since 2009 signals credit is tight and demand is faltering, adding to economic and default dangers as Premier Li Keqiang grapples with risks from shadow banking and local-government debt. A deeper slowdown would put pressure on leaders to expand stimulus or limit the pace of changes intended to give market forces a bigger role in the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese Police Confront Trust Investors Demanding Repayment – Bloomberg Chinese investors demanding their money back from a troubled 973 million-yuan ($156 million) high-yield product in Shanxi province were confronted by police in front of a China Construction Bank Corp. (939) branch.

People wearing white masks with the words “despicable bank” and “pay back our money” were among at least 30 investors facing special-forces officers in dark uniforms in Taiyuan city, about 521 kilometers (324 miles) southwest of Beijing. The nation’s second-largest bank is the custodian of the Songhuajiang River No. 77 trust, which missed six payments as of last month, according to the Economic Observer.

Electricity, Steel Hint at Economic Uptick in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ Official data shows China’s economy in the first quarter grew at its slowest pace in 18 months, but two proxies point to some resilience.

Electricity output—an indicator favored by Premier Li Keqiang over gross domestic product—and crude steel production grew faster in March than in the preceding two months. In addition, steel output in March hit a record high, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

China’s slowing growth potential minefield for leaders – The Globe and Mail Slowing growth presents a potential minefield for Chinese leadership, whose chief concern is maintaining a rising standard of living for its own people. To that end, officials have sought to discount the value of GDP as a measure of well-being, instead deliberately underscoring other statistics. “Maybe a more important thing to look at is employment and income,” said Mr. Sheng. And those numbers still look good. The first quarter saw 3.74-million urban jobs created, slightly more than the year before. Rural income is up 10.1 per cent, while urban salaries swelled 7.2 per cent. At the same time, consumer price index growth of 2.3 per cent has allowed many of those gains to flow in to consumer pockets, rather than back into groceries.

Slowdown curbs Q1 lending activity – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn Money supply growth decelerated further in March amid a reform-induced economic slowdown, according to figures released on Tuesday by the People’s Bank of China.

The central bank said that the expansion of M2, a broad measure of money supply, slowed to 12.1 percent year-on-year from 13.3 percent in February. The market consensus was for an increase of 13 percent.

Slower deposit growth, which limits banks’ ability to lend, was a factor. Yuan deposit growth fell to 11.4 percent year-on-year in March from 12.5 percent in February.

Higher-value exporters survive turmoil in market[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Higher-value Chinese exporters are more immune than low-cost manufacturers in the face of market turmoil from such things as weak demand, exchange-rate fluctuations and rising costs, said exhibitors at the Canton Fair that opened on Tuesday.

China not Currency Manipulator: US Treasury-Caijing “China’s currency yuan, or renminbi (RMB) appreciated on a trade-weighted basis in 2013 but not as fast or by as much as is needed,” the US Treasury said  in the latest semi-annual Report to Congress on International Economic and  Exchange Rate Policies.

According to the report, the yuan appreciated by 2.9 percent against the US  dollar in 2013, and China’s current account surplus declined to 2.1 percent of  gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, down from 2.3 percent of GDP in 2012 and  from a peak of over 10 percent in 2007.

Yangtze River Delta becomes epicentre for China credit risk | South China Morning Post Suzhou, an ancient city in Jiangsu province 100 kilometres west of Shanghai, lives in legend as one of China’s most beautiful, famous for its elegant gardens and charming canals.

More recently, it became an industrial powerhouse, sitting at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta region that, along with the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong, drove the mainland’s economic boom.

Now it is ground zero for a painful corporate deleveraging that has tacit government approval. A third of all loan delinquencies come from the region, and credit is getting harder to come by.

Finance

Citic Pacific to Pay $36B for Parent’s China Assets – Bloomberg The steelmaker and property developer will pay 49.9 billion yuan in cash and issue almost 16.6 billion shares at HK$13.48 each, according to a Hong Kong exchange filing today. Citic Group Corp. will hold 75 percent of Citic Pacific following the transaction and a share sale by the Hong Kong company, it said.

The transaction comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping advocates the most sweeping changes since Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization in 1978, including loosening yuan trading and allowing more private investments in state businesses. The deal gives Citic Pacific a stake in China’s largest brokerage, as well as banking, energy and infrastructure assets.

China Money Network − S&P Downgrades Fosun International’s Credit Rating Shanghai-headquartered Chinese privately owned conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services because of the company’s increasing leverage level as a result of its acquisitions, according to a notice issued by S&P.

Fosun’s long-term corporate credit rating is downgraded to BB from BB+ with stable outlook.

BRIEF-Ping An Insurance’s Jan-Mar premium income totalled 108 bln yuan | Reuters Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd

* Says January-March premium income totalled 108 billion yuan ($17.37 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/tan58v

BRIEF-China Life Insurance’s Jan-Mar premium income totalled about 132.2 bln yuan | Reuters China Life Insurance Co Ltd

* Says January-March premium income totalled about 132.2 billion yuan ($21.25 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/tet58v

Auto

Volvo likely to become China’s next official car brand: report|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com **I wonder what % of Audi’s revenues come from China** China’s president Xi Jinping, who visited the Chinese-owned Volvo car plant in Ghent, Belgium on April 1 during his European trip, seems to have become the best spokesman for the automobile brand after a photo of him and the Volvo XC60 model was published. Volvo could likely become the new choice for official cars in China, according to the Guangzhou-based Time Weekly.

Infrastructure

SOE accounting puzzle blurs frugality drive – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn **Article repeated from Xinhua – evidently CRCC’s arse is being kicked** Many Chinese state-owned enterprises(SOEs) that were under fire last year for exorbitant “reception” fees hid the item in their latest financial results, renewing public concerns over their sincerity to cut extravagance.

China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd. (CRCC), one of the country’s largest construction companies, spent 837.5 million yuan (135.1 million U.S. dollars) on receptions in 2012. The company was punished following public outrage over the alleged abuse of state assets.

In its 2013 financial report released in late March, CRCC canceled the item called “receptions” in its accounting statement. Meanwhile, the item named “management fees,” which included the sub-item “receptions” in the 2012 report, surged by nearly 2.2 billion yuan last year.

World’s longest plateau rail tunnel completed – People’s Daily Online The Xinguanjiao Tunnel, the world’s longest plateau rail tunnel on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, was completed on Tuesday, local authorities said.

Spanning 32.645 km, the tunnel was finished on Tuesday afternoon, making it the longest rail tunnel in China, according to Zhi Changying, an official with the China Railway Tunnel Co. Ltd. (CRTC), a partner in the project.

Sierra Leone Sports: Bo stadium handed over to Salone « Awoko Newspaper Renowned Chinese company, Xinjiang Beixin construction and Engineering Group Company Limited on Friday April 11th handed over the four thousand seater stadium to government through the Ministry of Sports.

Before the handing over ceremony, one of the Engineers Tai Xie who also doubles as interpreter told Newday that they started the construction of the Stadium on the 25th of December 2008 and they finished the project on 25th December 2013 spanning over a five year period.

Energy

China Natural Gas Output Rises in March to Highest in Two Years – BloombergNatural gas output in the world’s largest energy consumer rose 7.6 percent to 11 billion cubic meters last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing show today. That’s the highest since March 2012. NBS didn’t release output figures for January 2013 because the data was distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday.

The Chinese government sees expanding gas supply as a way to curb air pollution that has frequently exceeded limits recommended by the World Health Organization. The National Energy Administration said in its work plan in January that gas output is forecast to rise 12 percent from a year earlier to 131 billion cubic meters this year.

China State Grid Considers Dollar Issue Amid State-Giant Sales – Bloomberg State Grid Corp. of China, the nation’s largest power distributor, is considering a dollar-denominated bond offering following sales from other government-backed giants.

The company will meet investors in the U.S. and Asia from April 21, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec Group and parent of Asia’s largest oil refiner, raised $5 billion selling securities April 2 in Asia’s biggest dollar bond offering in a decade.

China builds up nuclear power grid – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn “China will install another 800 gigawatts of capacity for nuclear power, about 70 percent of which will use our technology for steam turbines and other key components,” Chen Chaoming, vice-president of Nuclear China-Alstom Thermal, told reporters in Beijing during the 13th edition of Nuclear Industry China, organized by the Chinese Nuclear Society.

“Despite the post-Fukushima delays,” he said, referring to the Japanese disaster of three years ago, “China’s nuclear market has a huge potential for growth. Basically, it is because China’s nuclear industry is still at a nascent stage. Power generated by nuclear plants accounts for less than 2 percent,” he said.

PetroChina Company Ltd.: Notice of Annual General Meeting for the year 2013 NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that an annual general meeting of PetroChina Company Limited (the “Company”) for the year 2013 (the “Annual General Meeting”) will be held at 9 a.m. on 22 May 2014 at Beijing Oriental Bay International Hotel, 26 Anwai Xibinhe Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing.

PLN teams up with Chinese firms on marine project | The Jakarta Post State owned electricity company PT PLN has teamed up with three Chinese companies — Technology Intern Shijiazhuang Enric Gas Equipment Co. Ltd, Ocean Engineering Design & Research Institute of CIMC and PT Enviromate Technology International Cui Li — to develop marine transportation of compressed natural gas (CNG) in Indonesia.

The marine CNG transportation project, which will transport CNG from Gresik, East Java to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, via a CNG vessel, is the first project of its kind in the world.

Telecoms

Huawei world’s top communications equipment supplier in 2013|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Drawing from China’s huge mobile communications market, Huawei became the world’s largest communications equipment supplier in 2013, overtaking Ericsson, according to the Chinese-language CBN Weekly.

The company raked in net profits of US$3.47 billion on sales of US$39.5 billion in 2013, compared with US$1.9 billion and US$35.3 billion for Ericsson. Cisco was third.

Property

China First-Quarter Home Sales Post Decline on Tight Credit – Bloomberg The value of homes sold fell 7.7 percent to 1.1 trillion yuan ($177 billion) in the three months to March from the same period a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. The last time home value sales dropped in the first quarter was in 2012. New property construction declined to 291 million square meters (3.1 billion square feet) in the quarter.

Is glut developing in retail building sector?[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Despite a rapid growth in retail sales, less-experienced developers could soon be learning a hard lesson from a market with a supply glut, says a retail property trend report released by Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate services company.

The report forecast that the new supply of commercial properties in 30 cities that it monitors will total 75 million square meters, and a peak of new supply with more than 20 million sq m will flood the market this year.

Hoping for Price Rises? Here’s the Harsh Reality, CCTV Tells Home Buyers – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s latest message about the property market is simple and aimed at the man on the street: The home you’ve bought isn’t a one-way bet. Deal with it.

That message has been pumped out through China’s state broadcaster as part of Beijing’s efforts to curb people’s enthusiasm for homes as an investment tool. Such appetite for property has driven economic growth, but also led to imbalances in the country’s economy and social tension.

Hebei Hopes to Turn Cities into Satellites by Pushing Them into Beijing’s Orbit – The housing market in Baoding heated up after media reports that provincial officials in Hebei want to develop some cities into satellites of Beijing, and Baoding might host some central government offices.

A Hebei official has said the idea is still just that, and that the central government has not approved anything.

However, the plan shows the province is enthusiastic about developing its economy, and has identified problems in the capital – overcrowding, heavy traffic and terrible air pollution – as problems it could use to its advantage.

Travel

WeChat Adds Air Ticket Booking Service | TechNode WeChat’s m-commerce offerings has added flight booking service that is provided by LV.com (formerly 17u.cn), a Chinese online travel service Tencent has a stake in. Payments, of course, are supported by WeChat Payment.

Firms decline to comment on merger rumors – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Ctrip.com International and Qunar.com Inc, two Chinese NASDAQ-listed online travel service providers, both declined to comment Tuesday on market rumors that they will merge in a deal that would create an online travel service giant with a market capitalization of over $10 billion.

The rumors, as reported by China Business Journal over the weekend, claimed that search engine giant Baidu Inc, the majority shareholder in Qunar, will swap its shares in Qunar for Ctrip shares, resulting in Baidu taking a controlling stake in Ctrip.

Sikorsky Helicopter Receives Chinese Nod – Analyst Blog – NASDAQ.com **UK political buffs may remember Sikorsky from the Westland affair** Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a unit of  United Technologies Corp. (UTX), declared that its S-76D aircraft has received China’s  certification, jumpstarting its delivery to Chinese customers.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a validation type certificate for the helicopters, which will  support expansion of Sikorsky’s operations in a potentially  profitable market and strengthen its foothold in the Chinese market.

Tech

Alibaba Plans Hong Kong-Style Fee as Carrot for IPO Banks – Businessweek Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is planning to award about one-third of the fees for its initial public offering in the form of incentive bonuses to coax better performance from underwriters, people with knowledge of the matter said.

China’s largest e-commerce company plans to pay at least 1.1 percent of the total IPO proceeds in fees, two people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Estimates of Alibaba’s valuation suggest the company could raise as much as $18 billion in the sale, making the potential fee pool almost $200 million. While the e-commerce giant is preparing for an IPO in New York, performance incentives are common in Hong Kong and have been used by companies including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.

China’s Alibaba sees profit double ahead of long-awaited IPO As the tech world awaits Alibaba’s US IPO, here are some new financial figures to chew on. The Chinese ecommerce juggernaut pulled in US$3.06 billion in revenue in Q4 2014, which is up 66 percent on the same period a year before. Alibaba’s Q4 net income hit $1.36 billion in net income in Q4, which has more than doubled (up 110 percent) from the previous year.

Alibaba’s Q4 numbers were boosted by the popularity of China’s equivalent of Cyber Monday, which happens every November 11. On that day, Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao marketplaces saw $5.7 billion spent by shoppers in just 24 hours.

Baidu enters China’s mobile payments war with Baidu Wallet Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese tech giant best known for its search engine, announced yesterday it will roll out a new mobile wallet app called Baidu Wallet (baidu qianbao), reports Jinghua.cn (via Techweb).

Like its main rivals from Alibaba (Alipay) and Tencent (Tenpay and WeChat Payments), Baidu Wallet serves as a Swiss army knife for the average Chinese consumer’s finance needs. By binding bank cards to the app, users can transfer money to friends’ accounts, top up their SIM cards, pay for virtual goods in video games, purchase movie tickets, and buy goods from any vendor that accepts Baifubao, Baidu’s third-party payment solution.

Agriculture

Noble Group to sell stake in agriculture unit for US$1.5b – Channel NewsAsia China’s largest grain trader COFCO Corp will buy a 51 per cent stake in Singapore-listed Noble Group Ltd’s agriculture business unit for US$1.5 billion, Noble said on Wednesday.

The two companies plan to form a partnership that will link COFCO’s grain processing and distribution business with Noble Agri’s agricultural unit.

Noble Group Limited – Did it sell the agriculture business at right price – which of the brokers is right? – Yahoo Singapore Finance After failing to spin off its agriculture business in 2011 it has now again plans for an IPO after divesting majority stake to COFCO. The question still remains whether this segment deserves better valuations.

Retail

An Overview of China’s Retail Industry | China Briefing News Underpinned by the steady rise of household income, China’s retail market has become one of the most lucrative and rapidly growing in the world. China is currently the world’s second largest retail market, and Asia’s largest. It is expected to surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest retail market by 2016. After years of accelerated growth and annual expansion rates of 10 percent or more, China’s growth in 2013 slowed down to 7.7 percent – level with the figure for 2012. This slowdown in growth is consistent with China’s effort to carry out a major overhaul aimed at weaning its economy off its decades-long reliance on heavy industry, export-oriented manufacturing, state-driven investment, as well as investment in infrastructure. Meanwhile, to rebalance the nation’s economy, policymakers are attempting to shift towards a more consumption- and service-driven model, hoping to foster and sustain more productive growth over the next decade and beyond.

Reaching for the red | China Economic Review This is a characteristic trait seen in previous emerging markets like Japan that eventually opened up their palates to other varieties, notes Guilllame Delglise, CEO of Vinexpo, a global wines and spirits exhibition, but it will take time for the same to happen in China.

In an interview during a recent visit to Shanghai, Delglise, who was previously Asia Pacific director for Laurent-Perrier, also told China Economic Review that officials in Beijing are not inclined to serve champagne to their guests, and explained why that might be good for marketers of bubbly as they chase affluent urban youngsters at fancy nightclubs.

Healthcare

China Money Network − TPG, Fosun’s Privatization Target Chindex Receives Higher Takeover Proposal NASDAQ-listed Chindex International, Inc., the operator of high-end United Family hospitals in China, says the company has received a superior take-private proposal from an unspecified financial bidder, according to a company release.

The new bidder is willing to pay $23 per share for all outstanding American Depository Shares (ADS), valuing the company at around $414 million.

Posted from Diigo.

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