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China Business Briefs 23/4/14

Economy Finance Auto Infrastructure Energy Telecoms Property Travel Tech Agriculture Healthcare

Economy

Reform of China’s state-owned sector gains momentum | South China Morning Post **Cross river by feeling the stones, etc** Far from the spotlight, in secretive high-level meetings and company boardrooms, Beijing is drawing up one of the country’s thorniest reforms: an overhaul of China’s hugely inefficient state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

It shapes up as an eclectic mix of pilot projects and initiatives rather than a single blueprint, which makes it hard to judge their progress.

Yet, taken together, they probably mark the beginning of the biggest revamp of China’s state sector since the late 1990s, when Beijing set out to shore up industry before joining the World Trade Organisation.

South China’s Balancing Act Between Raising Wages & Keeping Investors | China Briefing News In South China for example, minimum wages were last increased in Dongguan, Foshan, Zhuhai and Zhongshan on a mandatory basis on May 1st of last year. This year, no announcement has been made, although rumors are the increase is being deferred a few months to August.

There are signals that local governments are now having to strike a balancing act between making companies happy (with no further labor cost raises) and workers demanding higher salaries – which will attract more workers and increase local consumption. In terms of social insurance, although this is compulsory, some local companies have been late in paying their obligations in full.

Chinese Bad-Loan Ratio Rises ‘Significantly,’ Huarong Says (1) – Businessweek China’s bad-loan ratio rose “significantly” in the first quarter, increasing risks for the nation’s banking industry, according to the nation’s largest manager of soured debt.

The business environment this year has been “grim and complicated” as lenders face pressures on asset quality, liquidity and lending margins, China Huarong Asset Management Co. Chairman Lai Xiaomin said during an internal meeting on April 15, according to a statement today on the website of the Beijing-based company.

Chinese Shoemakers Are on Strike for Benefits — But Who Will Foot the Bill? – China Real Time Report – WSJ The workers said the Hong Kong-listed company has been making social insurance contributions based on basic wages rather than total actual pay as required by law.

According  to an estimate by a not-for-profit labor support organization, Yue Yuen’s back payments could total more than 100 million-200 million yuan ($16 million-$32 million) depending on how many of the workers are owed for long years of service.

Slower growth poses challenges: AmCham[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn “With slower growth, we see more challenges,” AmCham China Chairman Gregory Gilligan told reporters in Beijing. “That is the reason some American companies are scaling back their investment plans.”

Finance

China Warns of Rising Risks From ‘P2P’ Lending – WSJ.com **Again** “Currently, P2P lending has been growing rapidly. The number of new P2P lending websites and the total of loans they have issued have been rising rapidly,” said Liu Zhangjun, director general of the Office of the Interagency Anti-illegal Fundraising Taskforce, a group that includes bank regulators, police and court officials.

Closer Look: Regulator Takes Hard Look at Jack Ma-Hundsun Deal – **Is Ma starting to overreach?** The securities regulator has been consulting large securities firms and fund companies regarding the proposed acquisition of a leading financial software provider by Jack Ma, the founder and chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Banks to issue preferred shares this year – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn The first batch of Chinese commercial banks may issue preferred shares this year, and investors will ask for a higher dividend rate while putting up with more uncertainties, experts said.

Preferred shares pay fixed dividends and enjoy priority over common stock in the event of bankruptcy. They typically do not trade on the open market, carry no voting rights and do not dilute net profits attributable to shareholders.

“The pace of Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China is faster, and they probably will issue preferred shares this year,” said an insider at one of the four major State-owned commercial banks.

China may let banks default when deposit insurance begins – SFGate Authorities may tolerate failures of smaller banks once depositor safeguards are in place, Kwong Li, Chief Executive Officer of China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. said. Among lender bonds rated at or below AA, the extra yield investors demand to hold the 2022 securities of China Bohai Bank Co. in the northern city of Tianjin surged to an 11-month high of 245 basis points on Thursday. The premium on the notes due 2019 of Harbin Bank Co., a lender near China’s border with Russia, has jumped 51 basis points in the past year to 225.

DZHNews.com- Breaking China Biz News, Financial Updates, Corporate News Wang Yongli, vice president of Bank of China Ltd. (BOC, 601988.SH) quitted his job last week, following reports that he was under investigation by the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) discipline department.

Wang’s resignation came after he had reportedly been investigated by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

Forex controls and VIEs | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis Chukong Holdings Limited filed on last Friday with the SEC for a U.S. IPO. Chukong is an online game company so it uses the variable interest entity (VIE) structure despite a specific MIIT prohibition against using VIEs for game companies. The company also faces a lawsuit alleging they ripped off their game Fishing Joy from an arcade game, report that they have not been paying required employee benefits, never bothered to register their stock option plan, and have an auditor facing suspension by the SEC, but based on past history investors ignore such matters.

Beijing mulls bond sales by local gov’ts|Finance|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Money raised by the bond sales could be used to partly finance construction projects that have been included in the provincial-level governments’ general public budget plans, it said.

No other forms of debt raising by local governments and their subordinate organs would be allowed under the draft revision. Furthermore, local governments and their subordinate departments should not provide debt guarantees for any institutions or individuals, under the proposals.

WH Group Said to Mull Cutting $5.3 Billion IPO in Half on Demand – Bloomberg The company may sell new shares equivalent to 10 percent of its enlarged market capital, about half of what it previously planned, the people said yesterday, asking not to be identified as the information is private. Existing investors including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) may also refrain from selling stock as part of the IPO, the people said.

At $5.3 billion, the WH Group IPO would have been Hong Kong’s biggest since October 2010, when AIA Group (1299) Ltd. raised $20 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company struggled to attract investors even after hiring 28 underwriters, the most ever for an IPO in the city.

Wanda Cinema Line Plans CNY2 Billion IPO in Shenzhen — Update – WSJ.com China’s biggest cinema operator in terms of box office revenue plans to sell up to 60 million yuan-denominated A shares to fund the opening of new cinemas and to supplement working capital, according to a preliminary prospectus posted late Monday by the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The planned listing comes as China pushes to generate economic growth more through domestic spending and less through state-backed investment. The film industry, part of the so-called “cultural industry” that Beijing wants to build up, has in recent years grown rapidly with box office revenue rising by about 30% a year.

Huarong Q1 profits up by 75% – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Huarong, one of four asset management companies the government set up in 1999 to absorb toxic assets held by China’s four biggest banks, said total assets and net assets were 432.9 billion yuan and 56.7 billion yuan, respectively, at the end of March.

Profits nose dive for Chinese rare earth miner|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The company made 1.6 million yuan (US$261,300) in net profits from the start of January to the end of March, diving by 94.1% year on year, according to a financial report released on Monday.

The miner’s business revenue also declined by 98.5% to reach 3.3 million yuan (US$529,100) in the first three months. The financial results came after a 20.5% decline in net profits and a 57.6% drop in business revenue in 2013.

Auto

GM to battle VW in China with $12 billion investment and new plants | Reuters GM expects its China sales to expand 8-10 percent this year, in line with the overall growth of the Chinese market, where foreign firms, such as Volkswagen AG, and domestic players like SAIC Motor Corp vie for more market share.

“We are investing wisely and accelerating our vehicle development and manufacturing to keep pace with market demand. In total we are investing $12 billion between 2014 and 2017,” Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said at the Auto China show in Beijing.

Chinese Nissan Leaf goes on sale in September as Venucia e30 The upcoming Chinese version of the Nissan Leaf, the Venucia e30, was not the highlight of the Dongfeng Nissan stand at this year’s Beijing Motor Show. That honor goes to the R30, a compact car with “segment-competitive fuel economy” and a starting price of under RMB 50,000 ($8,033 US). But that doesn’t mean Dongfeng didn’t make some news about the debut of the world’s most popular electric vehicle in the world’s most populous country.

Infrastructure

China Province to Spend $3.35 Billion on Water Projects – Bloomberg A northeastern Chinese province is planning to invest 20.9 billion yuan ($3.35 billion) this year on water-conservation projects as the world’s most-populous nation tries to ensure residential and industrial supplies.

The works in Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia, will highlight agricultural irrigation and drainage, improved flood protection and preserving water resources, the official Xinhua News Agency reported today, citing a provincial government work meeting.

Sany digs deep to lay foundation in Africa[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn However, Xiao Jiang, general manager of subsidiary Sany Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd, said that while Africa has tantalizing potential as a market, any Chinese company contemplating taking advantage of that potential needs to take a long-term view.

“If all you do is scramble for market share by offering the lowest price and don’t care about related services, it’s only a matter of time before your operations fold,” Xiao said.

Energy

CNOOC Limited Announces Key Operational Statistics of Q1 | The Jakarta Post – PR Newswire In the first quarter, the Company achieved a total net production of 108.1 million barrels of oil equivalent (“BOE”), representing 15.5% increase year over year (YoY).

In the first quarter, the unaudited oil and gas sales revenue of the Company reached approximately RMB59.15 billion, representing an increase of 6.9% YoY, mainly due to the increase of oil and gas production. During the period, the Company’s average realized gas price was US$6.33 per thousand cubic feet, representing an increase of 9.3% YoY while the Company’s average realized oil price was US$104.63 per barrel.

PetroChina hikes 2015 shale gas output target to 2.6 bil cu m: report – Natural Gas | Platts News Article & Story State-owned PetroChina has hiked its shale gas production target significantly and now expects to produce 2.6 billion cubic meters/year next year, a senior executive was reported as saying Monday.

This is an increase from an earlier target of 1.5 billion cu m/year made in August last year.

China Petroleum and Chemical’s Underperform Rating Reaffirmed at Zacks (SNP) – Mideast Time Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are maintaining our recommendation on Sinopec at Underperform, ahead of first quarter results. During 2013, the company witnessed a sharp drop in crude oil prices, which dragged down the Exploration and Production (E&P) segment’s operating profit by 21.8% year over year. However, increases in the price of international crude oil amid government caps on fuel prices prevented the company from fully passing on the spiraling costs to consumers. We believe that Sinopec’s matured domestic oil fields and associated rising costs will continue to be an overhang on its operations as natural declines become pricier to counterbalance. In view of these factors, we see no positive catalyst in the near term.”

Exclusive – Nigeria favours local firms in $40 billion oil contract awards – Yahoo Singapore Finance A number of other former winners were also absent from the 2014/2015 list, which will take effect from June. China’s Unipec, the trading arm of top Asian refiner Sinopec Corp , as well as Azeri state oil company Socar, were former contract holders and did not feature on the new list.

China Hydroelectric Corporation Announces Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013: PR Newswire Business News – MSN Money China Hydroelectric Corporation (NYSE: CHC, CHCWS) (“China Hydroelectric” or “the Company”), an owner, developer, and operator of small hydroelectric power projects in the People’s Republic of China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2013.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, revenues from continuing operations (net of value-added tax) declined by 18.5% year over year to $10.1 million, due to a 16.6% decline in electricity sold. We recorded a net loss attributable to China Hydroelectric shareholders from continuing operations of $5.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to a $9.2 million loss for the same period of 2012. This improvement is partially attributable to a $2.9 million decrease in general and administrative expenses.

Telecoms

China Mobile Profit Declines as Costs Rise With IPhone Release – Bloomberg China Mobile Ltd. (941), the world’s largest phone company by users, posted its third straight drop in quarterly profit as expenses for subsidizing Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and building networks increased.

Net income fell 9.4 percent to about 25.24 billion yuan ($4 billion) in the first quarter, the Beijing-based company reported yesterday. Profit was expected to be 27 billion yuan, based on the median of five analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg News.

China Unicom Q1 Earnings Soar on 3G Adoption – April 22, 2014 – Zacks.com China Unicom Hong Kong Limited, China’s second largest mobile operator, announced results for first-quarter 2014 with adjusted net income of RMB 3.302 billion ($539.5 million) that surged 73.8% year over year on strong revenue growth and higher adoption of the 3G plan. Earnings per share soared 75% year over year to RMB 0.14 (2 cents).

Total revenue (excluding deferred fixed-line upfront connection fee) climbed 8.3% year over year to RMB 76.5 billion ($12.5 billion) in the first quarter. Telecommunication service revenues, comprising roughly 81% of total revenue, were RMB 63.80 billion ($10.4 billion), up 11.8% year over year.

Property

Xi’s Squeeze Leaves China’s Heartland Missing Boom – Bloomberg “Cities in China are facing some serious real estate bubbles, and the bubbles in third-, fourth-tier cities have the risks of total collapse,” said Tao Ran, director of the China Center for Public Economics and Governance at Renmin University in Beijing, in a phone interview on March 31. “The central government and banks tightened credit in the property market because they realized the risks.”

Liu said three years ago he could get loans from China Construction Bank Corp. (939) and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. for half the value of the land at about 6 percent to 7 percent interest. Now he’s forced to rely on “friends with connections” and pay rates of about 20 percent.

Closer Look: Why Gov’t Is Eager to Renovate Shantytowns – Premier Li Keqiang said in a recent work report that the government plans to start building 7 million low-income housing units this year, 340,000 more than the number built last year. But the number to be completed is 4.8 million, 640,000 units less than in 2013.

A rough estimate based on the data from Li’s report shows investment in affordable housing for this year will be around 1.2 trillion yuan, similar to last year’s level. In 2013, 1.12 trillion yuan was spent to build affordable housing, equivalent to 13 percent of the year’s total real estate investment, and 2 percent of GDP.

Travel

Shandong Airlines orders 50 Boeing aircraft for US$4.6 billion | South China Morning Post The company signed a deal to purchase 16 Boeing 737-800s and 34 Boeing 737 MAX planes, a statement said, in a drive to grow its fleet for business expansion in the future.

China’s commercial airline industry is dominated by the “Big Three” – flag carrier Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines – but a move towards greater competition has seen the growth of smaller players in the market.

Tech

China Money Network − Baidu Likely To Report Better-Than-Expected Earnings Baidu, Inc. will report first quarter results on April 24th after the market close. We believe its results are highly likely to come in better than consensus expectations, mainly driven by its mobile business and other non-traditional search businesses such as online video.

In the mobile area, the number of downloads for both Baidu app stores and Baidu’s apps showed significant growth based on our proprietary data.

Ban on Video Game Consoles Tentatively Lifted in the Shanghai FTZ | China Briefing News **Nuts, when you think about it** On Monday this week, details were announced regarding the lifting of China’s 14-year ban on video game consoles, set to begin as a pilot program in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ). The lifting of the ban is poised to fundamentally alter China’s lucrative video gaming market, which is currently dominated by PC and mobile games, as the giants of console gaming compete over the world’s 3rd largest video game market in terms of revenue (valued at 123 billion yuan).

Qingguo Jizhang, WeChat-based Daily Expenses Tracking App | TechNode Qingguo Jizhang is one of those expense tracking apps that hopes to make your life easier through their outstanding value proposition – using audio recording function to track your expenses.

By tapping on the WeChat platform and its audio message capability, Qingguo Jizhang wants to make expense tracking easily accessible, hassle-free and most importantly, cultivate a habit of managing your finances on a daily basis.

Alibaba’s chat app has turned its focus away from messaging **”Me too! Me too!”** How is the new Laiwang different from the old app? For starters, let’s take a look at the design. A screenshot of the original Laiwang ought to show up as a picture under the Chinese-English dictionary entry for the word “uninspired.” Its app icon featured a speech bubble enclosed in a kelly green backdrop. Look familiar? Laiwang’s user interface, meanwhile, closely mimicked that of the original WeChat interface, before Tencent placed public accounts on separate pages from ordinary contacts pages.

Now, the updated Laiwang is drenched in sour-candy yellow as it sports a new lemon theme. It even has a new mascot of sorts – anthropomorphic lemons.

Days after promising to go legit, police in China raid offices of notorious video piracy app Police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen performed a raid this morning on the offices of one of China’s most notorious video piracy apps. The raid on Kuaibo, makers of the QVOD app for streaming films and TV shows, comes less than a week after the company promised to remove pirated content – which can be streamed or downloaded – from QVOD.

Late last year, QVOD (pictured below) and a mobile app made by search engine Baidu were the targets of a $50 million legal challenge by legitimate video streaming sites in China.

China Money Network − China Everbright Supports Management Buyout Of iSoftStone Beijing-based Chinese IT services provider iSoftStone Holdings Limited says it has entered into a definitive agreement, in which its chairman and CEO Liu Tianwen, together with China Everbright Investment Management Limited, will take the company private, according to a company announcement.

Agriculture

Millions of China’s Farmers Now Buy Climate-Change Insurance – Scientific American Li is one of hundreds of millions of Chinese farmers who are now using insurance as a tool to hedge against the risks of climate change. China is the world’s second-largest agricultural insurance market after the United States by premium income, and it is scrambling to spread the use of climate-related insurance into other sectors.

Chinese policymakers in recent years have already persuaded hundreds of millions of farmers there to buy agricultural insurance, forming a capability of covering losses worth 1.4 trillion yuan ($225 billion) in 2013. Climate risks are known as the biggest danger for losses in agriculture.

Healthcare

Fosun-TPG Group Agrees to Buy Chindex With Sweetened Bid – Bloomberg **Wonder how this will affect expat media – United Family Hospitals are one of their biggest advertisers** Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. (2196) and its partners agreed to acquire hospital operator Chindex International Inc. (CHDX) for about $433 million, after raising their offer to counter another bidder.

The group comprising Fosun Pharma, TPG Capital and Roberta Lipson, Chindex’s chief executive officer, boosted its offer for the hospital operator to $24 a share from $19.50, the Chinese drugmaker said yesterday. Chindex, based in Bethesda, Maryland, signed an amended agreement with the group after another bidder, who earlier offered $23 a share, declined to bid further, Chindex said in a separate statement

Posted from Diigo.

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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.

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.

China Business Briefs 20/1/14

Lots of economic data out today, but the main stories are 1. another spike in interbank lending, and 2. the Shanghai Composite has gone under the 2000 barrier.  The systemic reasons for the sharp rise inter-bank lending are interesting, but we seem to be entering very dangerous territory for the Chinese economy, with the banks at particularly risk Their lazy days of soaking up low interest-paying deposits from the public to lend to SOEs are over. With the shadow banking industry also at risk, we are likely to see some severe pain in the financial sector. Accordingly, several state-owned banks are trading below their book value.

These are very delicate times.

ECONOMY

Crunch Escalates as Money Funds Rival Shadow Banks: China Credit – Bloomberg A doubling in China’s money-market funds in the past six months is draining bank deposits and raising the risk of financial failures during cash crunches, according to Fitch Ratings.

China Money Market Rates Soar – WSJ.com China’s financial system is showing fresh signs of stress with short-term borrowing costs for banks soaring on heavy demand for cash ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and rising worries over the vast shadow-banking sector.

The rising rates in the money markets is also hammering stocks with the benchmark Shanghai Composite falling past the key level of 2000 to 1996.47, its weakest in almost six months and down 5.7% this year, the worst performer in Asia.

China banks in bond market push | News | IFRAsia China’s biggest banks are stepping up their use of the international capital markets in search of cheaper, longer-term funding.

Two Chinese lenders raised US$1.95bn in the US dollar bond market in the first two weeks of this year, more than half the US$2.67bn issued by China’s entire banking sector in 2013.

The deals have pushed credit spreads wider as market participants brace for a record volume of G3 bonds from Chinese banks in 2014.

Pressure Rises on Chinese Shadow Lender – WSJ.com Pressure is building on China’s largest bank and a major shadow lender to bail out investors facing a nearly $500 million hit, potentially the first loss for a key part of China’s vast but loosely regulated shadow-banking sector.

China Credit Trust Co., the shadow lender, told investors on Thursday that it may take legal action to recoup three billion yuan ($496 million) related to a troubled loan, without specifying against whom, according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Major banks in China see share prices fall below NAV|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Prices of China’s A-share banking stocks have one by one fallen below their net asset value (NAV) per share. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) saw its prices fall as of Jan. 15, with the country’s other major state-run banks set to quickly follow, according to Shanghai Securities News and our sister paper Want Daily.

Among the 16 listed banks, 12 have seen their share prices fall below their NAV per share. The remaining four banks — Ping An Bank, Bank of Ningbo, China Minsheng Bank, and China Merchants Bank — may soon approach the line however, as there their price-to-book ratio, or P/B ratio, stands at just 1.01, 1.01, 1.09 and 1.04, respectively.

China’s economic growth slows in line with forecasts – Economic Report – MarketWatch Among other data released Monday, industrial production slowed to 9.7% annual growth in December, from November’s 10% gain. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters surveys put the median forecast at 9.8%.

December retail sales increased by 13.6% compared to the year-earlier period, after a 13.7% rise in November, with the result matching the projected increase from the Reuters survey.

China economic growth continues to cool – FT.com Gross domestic product in the world’s second-largest economy expanded 7.7 per cent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period a year earlier – a slowing from 7.8 per cent growth in the third quarter, according to figures released by the government on Monday.

China’s full-year GDP growth in 2014 is expected by economists to come in at about 7.4 per cent, which would be the country’s slowest pace since 1990, when Beijing faced international sanctions as a result of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

China’s economy grows 7.7 percent in 2013, more cooling seen | Reuters China’s economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013 after easing in the final three months on sagging investment growth, a cooldown that some analysts say is a sign of the more sober times ahead as the government wrestles to implement major reforms.

How Much Did Consumption Contribute to China’s 2013 GDP Growth? – China Real Time Report – WSJ Economists may not know for months how much China’s emerging consumer class contributed to last year’s 7.7% growth. But by one economist’s estimate, last year it continued to slide.

Ma Jiantang, chief of China’s National Bureau of Statistics, said consumption contributed 50% of GDP last year and investment 54.4%. Trade of goods and services was a negative 4.4%, he said.

China central bank guides yuan slightly lower, downside seen limited – The Economic Times China’s yuan edged down against the dollar on Monday after the central bank fixed a slightly weaker midpoint, but traders said any sharp correction would be suppressed by the central bank.

Spot yuan was trading at 6.0522 per dollar at midday, falling 0.03 per cent from 6.0502 at Friday’s close, after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set its midpoint at 6.1083, down 0.07 per cent from Friday’s 6.1041. Traders said December and 2013 economic data published by the government on Monday had no impact on trading as the yuan’s exchange rate remained in the tight grip of the central bank.

China 2013 new home sales surge past $1.1tn – FT.com China’s real estate frenzy continued unabated last year, with buyers snapping up more than $1.1trn worth of new homes, roughly the same amount as was spent on all home sales in the US in 2012.

China – which only embraced home ownership less than two decades ago – ramped up sales as the new premier Li Keqiang eased off on the previous administration’s attempt to artificially cap house prices.

Beijing land sales likely to set new monthly record|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com By Jan. 16, the revenues from land sales in Beijing had exceeded 30 billion yuan (US$4.9 billion), but still many plots of lands are to be auctioned in the remainder of the month, said a department from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Land and Resources.

Exporters in Guangdong’s Pearl River Delta seek relief from surging yuan | South China Morning Post A stronger yuan adds salt to the wounds of factory owners already suffering from rising wages, worsening labour shortages, weak demand and government policies of weeding out labour-intensive, pollution-inducing and energy-consuming industries.

The yuan’s appreciation shows no signs of abating, and it is on track to gain a further 2 to 3 per cent against the US dollar this year, economists say.

Chinese shipbuilding industry rides wave of restructuring – Xinhua | English.news.cn Though Chinese shipbuilding has yet to come in from the cold, recent restructuring, cuts in overcapacity and upgrades have given the troubled industry more hope, a report showed.

The industry received in 2013 new orders with dead weight tons (DWT) of 70 million, up 242 percent year on year, according to a report posted by the Information and Technology Ministry.

Lock-up shares worth 23 bln yuan come online – Xinhua | English.news.cn Lock-up shares worth 22.6 billion yuan (3.7 billion U.S. dollars) will become eligible for trade next week in China.

The volume marks a slight rise from the 20.83 billion yuan from Jan. 13 to Jan. 17, according to information from the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

Under the mainland’s market rules, major shareholders of non-tradable stocks are subject to one or two years of lock-up before they are permitted to trade.

Beijing Lays Siege to China’s Steel Output – China Real Time Report – WSJ The steel slowdown began in September, with the deceleration becoming most marked in November. In December, daily average production of the industrial metal fell to 2.01 million metric tons, China’s lowest level for the year.

The slide stems in part from an all-out campaign that President Xi Jinping’s government is waging to cut the industry’s bloated capacity and environmental pollution. China produces about half the world’s steel, and the amount of redundant capacity in the country is more than the annual steel output of the U.S. The overproduction has already weakened Chinese steel prices, which ended the year 7.2% lower than when 2013 began. Global composite carbon steel prices followed the trend, falling 2% last year, according to data from the consultancy MEPS.

Beijing-owned US debt sustains growth; not political tool: CNSWantChinaTimes.com As of November 2013, China owned US debt amounting to a total of US$1.3 trillion, and remains the country’s largest creditor.

US debts owned by China increased by 11% in 2013 from the previous year, the report said, adding that US debt remains an important market for China.

Minimum wage raised in 26 provinces, cities in China|Policy|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The paper reported that the minimum wage in Beijing, Zhejiang, Henan, Guizhou, Shanxi, Shandong, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Tianjin, Shanxi, Shanghai, Guangdong, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Anhui, Fujian, Hunan, Hainan, Shenzhen and Inner Mongolia has been raised as of Dec. 31, 2013. The minimum monthly wage in Shanghai is now US$216, while the minimum hourly wage for a blue-collar worker in Xinjiang is US$2.

For China, north is a new way to go west – The Globe and Mail China is not an Arctic country. Its northernmost point on the Russian border – a settlement called Mohe that is nicknamed “China’s north pole” – is well shy of the Arctic Circle.

Yet in Beijing lately, officials have made a point of calling their country a “near Arctic” state. China is increasingly casting a hungry gaze north: Its companies are exploring for oil and resources that can be mined, its diplomats are making friends with Nordic countries – with the notable exception of Canada – and its yuan are paying for polar research projects in the Antarctic and Norway.

Hard luxury brands set up shop in Macau – FT.com Macau, the special administrative region of China and undisputed champion of the global gambling industry, is going through a period of unprecedented growth.

Given a Chinese population eager to place bets, and a gambling revenue of $45bn in 2013 – an increase of nearly 20 per cent on the previous year – it is easy to see why. And Macau’s gamblers have an appetite for luxury goods.

Citi offers automated RMB cross-border pooling in Shanghai free trade zone | Reuters Citi (C.N) said on Monday it had launched an automated RMB cross-border pooling solution for its clients in the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone, a move that could help multinational companies optimize their cash management and enhance capital efficiency.

The solution enables companies to automatically sweep RMB between their onshore and offshore entities freely, without providing supporting documents or applying for approvals on a deal basis.

Shanghai mayor vows progress on free-trade zone this year | South China Morning Post At the annual meeting of the city’s legislature, which opened yesterday, Yang Xiong underscored the significance of making the yuan fully convertible inside the 28.8-square-kilometre testing ground for economic reforms in the country.

The mainland’s first free-trade zone was launched in late September with the aim of allowing the yuan to be convertible on the capital account, meaning for investment and financial transactions. The details of the zone have yet to be announced.

Premier vows to help startups – Chinadaily.com.cn The premier promised better support from the government for student entrepreneurs facing difficult job-hunting prospects, and he said their perseverance will lead to larger possibilities of success when building up businesses.

Growth in China’s outbound investment not dramatic but steady – as it should be | South China Morning Post Official data may show faster growth for last year, but it will be still be nothing like the explosive gains in the middle of last decade.

Why not? Beijing just pegged foreign exchange reserves at US$3.82 trillion. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign currency more at domestic banks. In that light, another US$50 billion last year would have been a drop in the bucket.

A Sino-British pact on cross-border fund sales? Not so fast | South China Morning Post As China opened up its economy to the world, Hong Kong has long enjoyed the exclusive right to develop certain new products and services.

Now there are straws in the wind that the mainland may not only sign a mutual recognition agreement with Hong Kong to allow the selling of fund products in each other’s markets but may soon also sign a similar accord with Britain.

London sees renminbi transactions take off – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Rapidly rising renminbi transaction volumes are supporting London’s ambition of becoming the Western world’s offshore yuan center, according to figures released on Thursday by the City of London Corp.

Trade finance transactions using the Chinese currency totaled 27.94 billion yuan ($4.61 billion) in the first half of 2013, up from 13.8 billion yuan a year earlier.

China Vehicle Sales Reach 22 million Units in 2013 | China Briefing News China became the first country to sell in excess of 20 million auto units last year, with nearly 22 million passenger and commercial vehicles being sold in the country over that time. This figure represented a 14 percent increase over 2012, and was double the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimate. Of these, 59.7 percent of the market was taken by foreign joint ventures. Volkswagen replaced General Motors as the top China seller for the first time since 2003, while Ford sales grew by 49 percent and Japan’s Toyota enjoyed a record year, despite political problems with China.

COMPANIES

Dalian Wanda to List Two Businesses This Year: Wang Jianlin -Caijing Wan Jianlin, the richest Chinese man said he is attempting to list two of  Dalian Wanda Group’s businesses this year as his conglomerate keeps growing fast  in a slow-down of the world’s second largest economy.

The Dalian Wanda chairman didn’t disclose which businesses he is planning to  list but speculations have been focusing on Wanda Cinema Line, the largest  cinema operator in Asia and Wanda Commercial Properties Co. Ltd., which both  which have been waiting for an IPO on mainland markets for three years.

Petrochina Buy at Chinavestor Based on gas pricing reforms and higher oil prices, we expect Petrochina’s business prospects to improve over the forthcoming quarters. Given Petrochina’s share of the natural gas market, they are likely to overturn downstream losses incurred in 2012 and improve their share price significantly in 2013. The revisions in gas prices are predicted to be considerably higher for industrial users than residential users. Petrochina has traded at PER of 12.5x in 2012, reflecting a 56% premium over CNOOC (NYSE:CEO) , who utilizes more aggressive E&P tactics and realised higher EPS values.

China Grand Automotive Readies Hong Kong IPO – WSJ.com China Grand Automotive Services Co., in which U.S.-based private-equity firm TPG Capital has a stake, is planning to raise $500 million to $800 million in a Hong Kong initial public offering in the second quarter at the earliest, people with a direct knowledge of the deal said Monday.

Steel firms in China’s dirty North get the hammer|WantChinaTimes.com New Wuan Iron and Steel Group, the largest private steel firm in China’s largest steel-producing province, is slimming down its annual capacity to 8 million tons by 2017. The slash, more than 50% of its 2013 output, is indicative of major tremors in the nation’s steel industry, reports the Chinese-language Economic Observer.

Game firms in China solicit endorsements from Japanese porn stars|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Two years ago, when Japanese adult film star Sola Aoi showed up on stage at online clothing retailer VANCL’s end of year party and was hugged by Chinese business tycoons, it was seen by many in the industry as a fun way of boosting morale. Now, more and more internet firms are following suit, Sina’s technology news webportal reports.

Recently, Qihoo 360 Technology, an antivirus software firm, invited another Japanese adult film star, Takizawa Laura, to its annual party, attracting media attention, while one unnamed Shanghai video game firm, in addition to inviting a Japanese porn star to endorse one of its video games, reportedly offered a special prize for its best performing employee at its end of year party of a one-night-stand with the porn star.

China’s re-opened IPO highway proving a bumpy ride – FT.com In China, initial public offerings are a bit like London buses – you wait 14 months, and then 50 come along at once.

On Friday, the first new listed company since November 2012 – Neway Valve – made its trading debut in Shanghai. The stock rose more than 40 per cent, an encouraging sign for the hundreds of other new listings that are expected through the year.

1 Android Player That Wants to Piggyback on Apple Chinese manufacturer Huawei looks to stand out in the Android crowd with reverse charging in its Ascend Mate 2. It’s a solidly built 6-inch device, but do consumers really want to use one phone to charge another?

Opportunity in China’s food crunch – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch The imminent listing of Shuanghui International Holdings in Hong Kong — which last year gobbled up America’s largest hog producer — is set to put China’s food industry in the spotlight. There is big money to be made feeding China as it faces up to a self-made food crunch.

Baidu continues to enter households with wireless music box Baidu (NASDA: BIDU), the Chinese internet giant best known for its search engine, has recently unveiled its latest hardware product – a wireless music-streaming box that retails for a smooth RMB 99 (about $16).

Chinese firm constructs high-speed railway in Turkey – People’s Daily Online A photo taken on Jan. 4, 2014 shows a trial train take a test run on the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway constructed by China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) in Turkey. Chinese railway department officals said on Jan. 17 that second phrase of the principal project of Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway has been completed, marking the first of its kind in overseas market is about to open to traffic in a short term.

Shell, PetroChina Gas Venture in Australia Reviewing Job Numbers – WSJ.com Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB) and PetroChina Co. (PTR) are looking to cut jobs in an effort to contain costs at their venture in eastern Australia, where the energy companies plan to build a multibillion-dollar operation for extracting and exporting natural gas trapped in underground coal seams.

A spokesman for Arrow Energy Pty. Ltd., a 50-50 venture between Shell and its Chinese partner, said the company is focused on reducing overall costs and continues to assess options to develop its gas reserves. Those options include looking at possible collaboration opportunities, he said.

Xiaomi, Gionee grab 10th largest market share from HTC|Technology|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Taiwan’s HTC dropped out of the top ten for global smartphone market share last year as its Chinese rivals Xiaomi and Gionee saw their market shares increase, according to market research institution TrendForce and our Chinese-language sister newspaper Commercial Times.

US mulling partnership with China in Congo Inga 3 dam project | South China Morning Post In an unusual move, the US government is considering partnering with Chinese state firms in financing the US$12 billion Inga 3 dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world’s costliest and possibly most controversial dams.

A Chinese consortium comprising Sinohydro and China Three Gorges Corp, both state-owned enterprises (SOEs), are bidding for the project, according to media reports.

Jidong Cement reaps hefty profit in 2013 – Xinhua | English.news.cn Tangshan Jidong Cement Co., Ltd, the largest cement supplier in northern China, estimated net profits in 2013 would rise between 70 percent and 100 percent year on year to reach over 306 million yuan (50 million U.S. dollars).

Earnings per share for Jidong stood at the range of 0.227 yuan and 0.267 yuan, up around 0.1 yuan from a year earlier, the company said in a business report filed on Saturday to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Goubuli to slash bun prices in Tianjin – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn The price cut came shortly after Goubuli’s revelation of its plan to buy a famous American coffee chain. Without revealing the name of the coffee chain, Goubuli said on January 8 that the deal is expected to take place in the first half of the year.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 19/1/14

Apologies for the brief hiatus. In the same way that you get your shots before travelling to some countries, you really ought to sort out your internet connections before you travel to China.

ECONOMY

ICBC Won’t Repay Troubled China Trust Product, Official Says – Bloomberg Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. is rejecting calls to bail out a troubled 3 billion-yuan ($495 million) trust product, a bank official with knowledge of the matter said, stoking concern that the nation’s first default on such high-yield investments may be looming.

ICBC, which distributed the product sold by a trust company to raise funds for Shanxi Zhenfu Energy Group, won’t assume primary responsibility after the coal miner collapsed, according to the executive, who asked not be identified while negotiations continue. China’s largest bank may be forced to repay investors, most of whom were Beijing-based ICBC’s own private banking clients, Guangzhou Daily reported yesterday.

China Shadow Lender Makes Plans to Recoup Loan – WSJ.com A standoff is brewing in China, as an asset management firm that had used the country’s largest bank as its agent seeks avoid setting a loss-making precedent among shadow lenders in connection with a loan-gone-bad made to a coal miner.

China Credit Trust Co., the shadow lender—a term used to describe nonbank lenders in China—raised 3 billion yuan ($495 million) from customers of state-controlled Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and lent it to a little-known coal-mine operator in northern China’s Shanxi province, Wang Pingyan. The farmer-turned-entrepreneur, whose financial problems first came to light in 2012, has been detained by authorities and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Troubled shadow bank product tests no-default policy in China | South China Morning Post A high-yielding investment product based on a loan to an indebted coal company is offering the latest test of Beijing’s willingness to permit defaults in the mainland’s shadow banking system.

If the product, which is scheduled to mature on January 31, fails to pay out as promised, it could shatter the widespread assumption that even risky investments carry implicit guarantees from the government and state-owned banks.

UK’s drive to be offshore hub for Chinese currency gains pace – Yahoo Singapore Finance China decided late last year to give UK investors the right to buy up to 80 billion yuan (7.90 billion pounds) of mainland stocks, bonds, funds and money market instruments directly using its currency, making Britain the first country outside Asia with such status.

Last week, the state-controlled Bank of China also sold a 2.5 billion yuan ($413 million) bond in London, the biggest issued in the currency – which is also known as the renminbi (RMB) – so far in the British capital.

Inland provinces in China see boost in foreign trade|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com A total of six inland provinces — Henan, Anhui, Yunan, Shaanxi, Gansu and Guizhou — along with the municipality of Chongqing posted an over 15% growth in foreign trade during 2013. In comparison, the contribution of foreign trade in seven coastal provinces or municipalities dropped 0.9% to 79%, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

Bank profit growth could miss 10-pct target: analysts – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s listed banks may see profit growth under 10 percent this year as financial reform and Internet businesses take their toll on the sector.

Chief economist at the Bank of Communications Lian Ping forecast net profit growth for listed banks at around 8.3 percent this year, a notable retreat from the double-digit era, according to China Securities Journal. China Merchants Securities analyst Luo Yi put the figure at 9.4 percent.

China decries U.S. spending bill | Reuters China’s Commerce Ministry has condemned a $1.1-trillion spending bill passed by the U.S. Congress last week over clauses that limit technological purchases from the Asian giant, saying they clash with the principles of fair trade.

In a weekend statement, China’s Commerce Ministry said the move “went against the principles of fair trade” as it sought to curb purchases of Chinese technology and export of satellites and parts to China.

Investment pact ‘means better market access’ – Chinadaily.com.cn China and the European Union will open negotiations next week on a bilateral investment agreement, EU Ambassador Markus Ederer told a news conference on Friday in Beijing.

Even amid weak global economic conditions in recent years, EU-China trade has grown steadily. Bilateral trade expanded 2.1 percent last year to $559.06 billion, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

PBOC sets sights on ‘zombie’ financing vehicles[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn The People’s Bank of China has reiterated its resolve to root out “zombie” local government financing vehicles this year and ensure that urbanization funding moves through standard market channels.

The central bank said in an online statement on Thursday that it will “exhaustively clean up” local government financing vehicles that “have poor credit, ambiguous functions and unsustainable financial conditions”.

China Home Prices Advance as Guangzhou, Shenzhen Jump 20% – Bloomberg New-home prices in China’s cities defined by the government as first tier rose more than 15 percent last month, led by Guangzhou and Shenzhen in the south, as local property curbs failed to deter buyers.

Prices climbed 20 percent in Guangzhou and Shenzhen from a year earlier, and jumped 18 percent in Shanghai and 16 percent in Beijing. They increased in 69 of the 70 cities tracked by the government, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement today.

Chinese Property Prices Rose in December – WSJ.com New-home prices in major Chinese cities in December were up 9.2% from a year earlier, but month-to-month figures suggest Beijing’s efforts to cool the market are continuing to have an impact.

Prices in December were up from a year earlier in 65 of the 70 cities surveyed by the government, according to data released on Saturday. At 9.2%, the average price increase marked an acceleration from November’s 9.1%, according to Wall Street Journal calculations.

Austerity drive crimps gift-giving by China’s rich – FT.com The Hurun Report, chronicle of all things wealthy in China, said in its 2014 Luxury Consumers Survey that 25 per cent fewer people plan to give a gift over Rmb5,000 ($826) at Chinese New Year – in two weeks’ time – than last year. Overall, their average luxury spending fell by 15 per cent, from Rmb1.77m last year to Rmb1.5m this year, “possibly due to the impact of anti-corruption initiatives and a slowdown in the economy”, Hurun said.

The Rise of China’s Innovation Machine – WSJ.com Chinese companies still face a perception problem among consumers in many parts of the world that their products aren’t as high-quality or reliable as others. Some foreign competitors have alleged that Beijing gives unfair advantages through subsidies, cheap financing and control over the currency market.

But, many executives at Chinese and Western companies contend, China’s technology sector is reaching a critical mass of expertise, talent and financial firepower that could realign the power structure of the global technology industry in the years ahead.

Private Chinese Companies Struggle to Invest in America, Expert Says – In 2012, direct investment made by private Chinese firms for the first time outpaced that by their state-owned counterparts in terms of value. In 2013, total investment by private firms into the U.S. again increased by US$ 5 billion to about US$ 9 billion.

Despite the surge, a large number of private Chinese firms are seeing their attempts to tap the U.S. market fail. Data from the SoZo Group, a Hong Kong company that provided investment expertise to businesses in China, shows that 90 percent of Chinese private enterprises’ attempts at setting up manufacturing in the United States or Europe fail.

Guangdong Tells Certain SOEs to Turn over More of Their Profits – The figure is significantly more than the previous level of 10 percent, but is still lower than the 30 percent target a recent meeting of the Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee called for reaching by 2030.

Wholly state-owned companies in the southern province of Guangdong will turn over 15 percent of their profits to the government this year, a report the provincial finance department submitted to the local people’s congress says.

China Private Equity, M&A & Capital Markets, from China First Capital The long dark eclipse is over. The sun is shining again on China’s capital markets and private equity industry. That’s good news in itself, but is also especially important to the overall Chinese economy. For the last two years, investment flows into private sector companies have dropped precipitously, as IPOs disappeared and private equity firms went into hibernation. Rebalancing China’s economy away from exports and government investment will take cash. Lots of it. Expect significant progress this year as China’s private sector raises record capital and China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) gradually transform into more competitive, profit-maximizing businesses.

The Future of the Accounting and Legal Professions in China | China Briefing News The accounting profession in China and, more generally, Asia, will undergo dramatic changes over the next decade as competition intensifies and business complexity increases, according to the Intuit 2013 Future of Accounting Report. More accounting or tax-related products and services will enter the market as banks, financial services companies, software and Internet firms, and even governmental bodies, innovate and develop new offerings.

CSRC Launches Inspections Linked to Pricing of New Shares – The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said on January 15 it has sent out teams to inspect underwriters and financial institutions involved in pricing new shares that were about to hit the A-share market.

The inspections target 13 IPO underwriters for 13 issuing companies and 44 financial institutions that took part in the price inquiries. They will be examined for compliance with regulations, the CSRC said, suggesting as usual that it will check whether they inflated the new shares’ offering price.

FDI in China Springs Back by 5.25 Percent in 2013 | China Briefing News Total foreign direct investment (FDI) in China rose by 5.25 percent in 2013 after the decline which was witnessed in 2012. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) recently disclosed this information during a routine press conference on January 16.

COMPANIES

49 million Alipay Users Have Contributed to Mutual Fund Yuebao. WeChat Adds A Me-too One. When WeChat stealthily launched a Yuebao clone, named Licaibao (means a powerful tool for financial management) a couple of days ago, Alipay announced that 49 million Alipay users had contributed 250 billion yuan (roughly $41 bn) to the mutual fund Yuebao as of January 15.

Chinese microblog use fell 9% in 2013, government says – WSJ.com The report doesn’t specify how the data about user numbers were collected or which microblogs the data references. Internet giants Sina Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. operate China’s two largest microblog services. Sina said in November in its most recent earnings report that daily active users grew 11.2% to 60.2 million in the third quarter from the second. Tencent didn’t release third-quarter figures for its weibo users.

Making money from WeChat: Nice little earner | The Economist IT IS hard to make money peddling social media anywhere. During their first few years in business, Facebook and Twitter lost pots of money. Yet somehow Tencent, an innovative Chinese firm that released the WeChat app in 2011, seems to have cracked the code. Alicia Yap of Barclays, an investment bank, forecasts that WeChat will earn some 6.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) this year and 9.6 billion yuan next year. The reasons for optimism include clever integration of the app with other money-making services and spectacular growth in users at home and, unusually for a Chinese app, abroad.

Baidu Releases Wireless Music Box Priced at $16 After releasing several smart devices last year, Baidu continues its forays into hardware industry by releasing a wireless music box to enrich its smart gadget lineup. The first batch of 20,000 sets is on sale at online retailer JD with a price tag of 99 yuan ($16.35) .

Tencent’s 10TB of free cloud storage is hands down the best Welcome to Tencent’s Weiyun. In July 2012, the Chinese web giant released its cloud service with a whopping 10TB of free storage, and it now reports 300 million registered users. This week, Tencent released an update that dramatically improved the interface and features. Only a Chinese version is available for now, but Tencent (HKG:0700) plans to launch an English-language version sometime this year.

China’s Tencent latest online platform to launch fund product | Reuters China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd  quietly rolled out its first financial services product for its mobile messaging app WeChat on Thursday to compete against similar offerings from rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Baidu Inc.

Tencent teamed up with China’s Huaxia Bank Co to offer the product via its three year-old WeChat messaging app, which boasts 272 million global monthly active users. The service was released on a limited basis and is not available to all users.

Peugeot Board to Discuss Possible Investment – WSJ.com The board of loss-making car maker PSA Peugeot Citroën is set to meet Sunday to discuss a possible investment from the French government and China’s Dongfeng Motor Co., as well as from the Peugeot family, people with direct knowledge of the matter said Friday.

Worker error, corrosion caused Nov. pipeline blast, Sinopec says – UPI.com Chinese energy company Sinopec published a statement on a fatal November oil pipeline explosion, blaming worker error and corrosion for the accident.

“After the leakage, rescue workers used hydraulic hammer[s] to break the concrete trench cover slab, and sparks ignited the vapor in the trench and caused an explosion,” Sinopec said in a statement Monday.

Sinopec said it did not take full responsibility for safety at the site while provincial officials didn’t identify the risks properly.

Sina Weibo Loses More Users to Tencent’s WeChat -Caijing Sina Weibo, the once most popular social networking site in China, is losing large number of users last year to WeChat, an instant messaging app where Chinese people are spending more time every day.

The total number of Weibo users dropped 27.83 million from a year ago to 281 million by the end of 2013, a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Thursday showed.

Challenges ahead for Zhou Jiping at the helm of CNPCWantChinaTimes.com Zhou Jiping has assumed the chairmanship of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), taking on the formidable mission of revitalizing the state enterprise’s operations, in the wake of the 180 billion yuan (US$29.8 billion) market value plunge in 2013.

The company’s share price closed at 7.71 yuan (US$1.27) on Dec. 31, 2013, down 11.68% from 9.04 yuan (US$1.49) a year earlier and a far cry from its peak level of 48.62 yuan (US$8.04) in 2007. In addition to the share-price drop, the company was inflicted by a litany of woes in 2013, including the ousting of many executives, heavy fines for violation of environmental regulations, and an outbreak of security incidents.

Apple’s China Data Seems Suspicious (AAPL, GOOG) Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, claimed that Apple’s iOS devices account for 57% of all mobile Internet browsing in China.

Cook didn’t give a source for his data — it’s likely that he’s relying on internal Apple metrics of some sort. At any rate, I find that figure is a bit hard to believe. Google‘s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android has taken China by storm in recent quarters, as Samsung, Xiaomi, and other Android handset makers dominate the Chinese market.

Itemized online transactions reveal China spent massively in 2013|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Alipay released the 2013 National Shopping Records on Monday, saying the annual average per capita expenditure of its users exceeded 10,000 yuan (US$1,653) for the first time, including consumption in online shopping, money transfers, debt repayments and fee payments.

Ping An Launches Trial of App to Provide Wealth Management Services – The service is called Yi Qianbao, meaning One Wallet. It is open to only Ping An employees and a small group of select customers for now, the insurer said on January 16.

Users can now transfer money between bank accounts and chat with each other. The app has other functions, such as one that allows people to split bills conveniently, the company said.

Gov’t-Backed Consolidation of Hebei Steel Industry Melts Away – In 2010, the government of the central province of Hebei, which produces about one-quarter of the country’s steel, arranged a consolidation of Hebei Iron & Steel, the country’s largest steelmaker, and 12 private firms in the hopes of boosting competitiveness and better regulating the industry.

There are two main reasons for the break-up, said an executive at Hebei Iron & Steel who did not want to be named. Hebei Iron & Steel wants to focus on managing its assets and the private companies no longer want to remain part of the group.

A China Hand Loses Touch – In 2006, familiarity with Chinese business culture apparently helped Palmer cut an iron ore mine deal with CITIC Pacific, a Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of one of the country’s biggest state-run investment conglomerates.

Since then, however, Palmer and CITIC Pacific executives have battled bitterly over the contract they signed for the magnetite ore operation in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. Their legal disputes have grown increasingly complicated, to the point where other Chinese executives have apparently discussed pulling their companies out of Australia.

China-focused Boyu Capital raises $1.5 bln for 2nd buyout fund-sources – Yahoo Finance China-focused private equity firm Boyu Capital, whose partners include former TPG Capital executive Mary Ma and the grandson of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin, has raised $1.5 billion for its second buyout fund, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Boyu, which was established in 2010, is an investor in e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and debt manager China Cinda Asset Management Co Ltd. Cinda has risen 48.5 percent since listing in December, while China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba is widely expected to launch an IPO this year.

Construction of the Yaoundé-Nsimalen highway takes shape – Business in Cameroon The Cameroon government has just hired the Studi International, Cenor and ECTA BTP technical study firms to oversee the construction of the Yaoundé-Nsimalen highway’s “rural” section that runs some 10.6 km for 2 billion FCfa.

The roadwork initially scheduled for early 2013 will now be completed in thirty-six months by the Chinese company, China Communications construction Company Ltd for 36.7 billion FCfa.

Business Newswires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand Chinese carmaker BAIC Motor, part-owned by Daimler AG , plans to raise up to $2 billion in a Hong Kong initial public offering, hoisting its target as China’s auto industry purrs to solid growth.

Fueling BAIC Motor’s ambitions, the world’s biggest auto market is moving toward a second year of double-digit sales increases. A year ago, in the early planning stages, BAIC Motor’s target was closer to $1 billion.

China’s Jingdong Said to Plan $2 Billion IPO for Second Half (1) – Businessweek Beijing Jingdong Trading Co., the Chinese online retailer backed by Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, plans to raise about $2 billion in an initial public offering in the second half, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

The Beijing-based company is working with Bank of America Corp. and UBS AG, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Jingdong is leaning toward a U.S. listing, although Hong Kong is another potential IPO destination, they said.

30,000 houses from China, and a big earthquake – In Focus – Jamaica Gleaner – Sunday | January 19, 2014 The Chinese company, Gao Zhen Real Estate and Development Company Ltd, is either stupid or knows something which Chairman Douglas and the NHT do not. They are proposing delivering around 6,000 units per year of low-income, high-quality housing solutions while creating sustainable employment for some 1,500 skilled and unskilled Jamaicans.

Your Oil and Gas News – CNOOC Limited – Liuhua 19-5 gas field starts production Liuhua 19-5 is located in the Pearl River Mouth Basin of the South China Sea with an average water depth of about 185 meters. This project was designed to share the existing producing facility of Panyu 30-1 gas field, and two new producing wells were drilled. Liuhua 19-5 is expected to hit its peak production of 29 million cubic feet per day in year 2014.

See how Noble Group earnings could rebound in 2014 | Singapore Business Review The earnings outlook for Noble Group is looking brighter as prices and crush margins may soon see a resurgence, according to Barclays Research.

Noble Group may see its agricultural business margins recover as well as revive its volume growth, which will help the company post better earnings this year.

ICBC to Sell CNY100bn Certificates of Deposit in 2014 | 4-Traders Industrial and Commercial Bank of China announces that it plans to issue CNY 100 billion certificates of deposit in 2014 after ten Chinese banks completed the first round of such issuances at last year end.

China’s CNPC foreign equity oil, gas output up 12.9% in 2013 – MSN Malaysia News China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) recorded a 12.9% increase in its overseas equity oil and gas production last year, state media and the company said today, a growth pace rapidly accelerating from the previous year.

CNPC, parent of PetroChina Co Ltd, said its equity share of oil and gas output outside China in 2013 amounted to 59.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent or about 1.18 million barrels per day (bpd).

Sinopec Engineering Entered Into RMB18.67 Billion Contract Providing One-stop EPC Servi… | 4-Traders SINOPEC Engineering (Group) Co., Ltd. (“SEG” or “the Company”, together with its subsidiaries known as the “Group”) (stock code: 2386.HK) announced that the Company and Zhong Tian He Chuang Energy Corporation Limited today entered into an EPC contract for the development of a new coal chemical project (the “Project”) in Uxin Banner, Ordos, Inner Mongolia.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 15/1/14

ECONOMY

China’s shadow banking loans leap – FT.com Funds from trust companies and other entities in the shadow sector rose to their highest level on record and accounted for more than 30 per cent of aggregate financing, the People’s Bank of China said, up from 23 per cent the previous year.

China’s shadow banking sector has helped fuel an alarming run-up in the debt owed by local governments, which have established off balance sheet vehicles to borrow money for development projects. A recent report by China’s National Audit Office estimated that local government debts had reached almost $3tn by June last year, rising 70 per cent from the previous audit conducted at the end of 2010.

Is China’s Focus on Reform Clouding the Picture on Shadow Banking? – China Real Time Report – WSJ Fealty to the idea of reform made China slow to recognize that shadow lending was turning into what Cornell University economist calls an “untamed beast in China.” With the encouragement of Messrs. Li and Xi, the central bank has been focusing on its top priority: freeing interest rates so they move according to market sentiment, say banking officials, not on curbing shadow banking

So far lending rates have been deregulated. Next up are deposit rates – a much dicier proposition because banks could compete for customers by offering such high interest rates that they can’t cover their costs.

China urges IMF to give more power to emerging markets | Reuters China called on the IMF on Wednesday to stick to a commitment to give emerging markets more power at the world body after U.S. lawmakers set back historic reforms that would give developing countries a greater say.

The remarks by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei were an indirect criticism of the United States, the biggest and most powerful IMF member, where lawmakers failed on Monday to agree on key funding measures, though Hong did not mention the United States by name.

China’s overcapacity easing: Deutsche Bank – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s industries beset by overcapacity have entered a more favorable demand-supply balance, Deutsche Bank said on Tuesday.

The bank estimated the cement industry would reduce its added capacity by 35 percent in 2014 while the steel sector could raise its use ratio to 78 percent.

China Credit Growth Slowed in Second Half of 2013 – WSJ.com The People’s Bank of China on Wednesday said new credit issued in the Chinese economy fell by 10.7% to 7.135 trillion yuan (about $1.18 trillion) in the second half of 2013 compared with the year-earlier period. But for all of 2013, overall credit rose 9.7% to 17.29 trillion yuan compared with 2012. The central bank’s data concerns total social financing, a broad measure of credit in the Chinese economy.

BBC Asks The Hard Question: Will Americans Drive Chinese Cars One Day? | China Car Times – China Auto News With the Detroit Auto Show kicking off this week, the UK’s Britain’s BBC has noted that there is no Chinese prsence at the show for the first time since 2006. The BBC delves into the history of Chinese cars, their current status in China, and also the development of Korean auto brands in the US market with their generosity in warranty guarantees and eventual stylish demands, but the question remains: Will American’s one day look to Chinese cars the way they look to Korean cars today?

Microsoft Ventures Accelerator Debuts 4th Batch of 19 Startups in Beijing Microsoft Ventures Accelerator, a program which has accelerated 154 startups in the past two years, just debuted its fourth batch of 19 startups coming from Chinese mainland, Singapore, and Taiwan. These new companies which were handpicked from 420 applicants range from Internet finance, education, smart wearables, etc. This session of the program will last six months from Jan to July this year.

Hong Kong faces threat from Guangzhou port – FT.com Tens of thousands of litres of Admiral Vodka, a Lithuanian brand, lie in large blue vats in a warehouse in the southern Chinese port of Nansha waiting to be bottled for shipment to consumers in southeast Asia.

The 900,000 litres that Nansha – the main port in Guangzhou – handles annually, alongside European wine, Scottish whisky and polyethylene plastic from the United Arab Emirates, are just a few examples of how the lesser known hub has helped Guangzhou gain ground on Hong Kong and become the world’s seventh largest

China’s fuel exports to rise 30% in 2014: CNPC – MarketWatch It is is expected to produce 313 million metric tons of refined-oil products this year which may lead to a surplus of 13.39 million tons, according to CNPC Research Institute of Economics and Technology in an annual report. Exports of refined-oil products grew 17.5% in 2013, according to customs data.

Saudi to keep 2014 China crude contract volumes steady -trade | Reuters China’s top crude supplier Saudi Arabia is set to ship about the same volumes to Chinese buyers in 2014 as it did last year, as the world’s second-largest oil consumer takes more from Iraq and Central Asia, traders said.  Iraq has been offering cheaper prices and better payment terms to Asian buyers this year as it increases its output, while two new refineries in China are designed to run on crude from suppliers in Kazakhstan, Russia and the Middle East.  Since those two refineries will provide the bulk of China’s oil demand growth in 2014, Saudi Arabia has been left with little room to increase its Chinese contract volumes. That means its 20 percent share of the China market will fall.

Shangha Gold Exchange to Launch Yuan-Denominated Gold Contract in New Free-Trade Zone – China Real Time Report – WSJ Gold buyers in the world’s biggest consumer of the precious metal want more of a say in its price, and the government wants to increase the international use of its currency: The Shanghai Gold Exchange is combining these two wants with the upcoming launch of an “international board” for gold trading in Shanghai’s pilot free-trade zone. Now, the question is whether investors demonstrate a need for gold contracts denominated in China’s currency.

China Auto Industry News | Used Car Warranties in China – The Next Big Thing | China Car Times – China Auto News The used car industry has slipped into China – hidden by the desire for new cars being so huge that the glut of near new vehicles must find new homes – and is now presenting itself as a premium choice for many to build upon or integrate their business into.

China Shoe Factory Owners Detained After Deadly Fire – WSJ.com Authorities detained the owners of a shoe factory in the eastern Chinese city of Wenling where a fire on Tuesday killed 16 workers, according to local officials.

COMPANIES

Can Qihoo 360 Close the Revenue Gap With Baidu? Although the company has gained significant traffic share from Baidu, Qihoo still hasn’t ramped up monetization. Analysts at Stifel expect 2014 to be the year Qihoo flips the switch and closes the gap between market share and revenue share, and they upgraded the stock earlier this week.

Apple’s China Mobile deal to extend beyond handsets – The Wall Street Journal – MarketWatch Apple Inc.’s deal with China Mobile Ltd. to sell iPhones won’t be limited to handsets, but will also entail broad cooperation between the two companies, the chairman of the world’s largest carrier said Wednesday.

China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua said that already multi-millions of Apple’s iPhones have been ordered by its customers, signaling strong demand for the device. Apple’s iPhones will begin selling at China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier by subscribers, starting Friday.

China’s biggest dating site now has 100 million lovelorn users How many of Jiayuan’s 100 million users are active? According to the newest numbers in Jiayuan’s Q3 financial report (the company went public in 2011) that we looked at in November, it has 5.43 million monthly active users. That’s up an almost glacial 3.5 percent from Q3 2012.

Tesla to build a network of car charging stations in China The network will be similar to the one Tesla is building in the US and plans to build in Europe. It will serve car owners traveling between major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai. Tesla owners will be allowed to use the charging stations free of charge.

Sanyuan set to suffer first annual loss since 2009 – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Dairy producer Sanyuan Group estimated losses of between 185 million yuan ($30.63 million) to 215 million yuan for 2013, according to a pre-announcement released on Tuesday.

The Beijing-based dairy group attributed the predicted loss to rising material costs, and a fall in investment.

Haier expanding brand presence in US market|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com China’s leading electrical appliance maker Haier Group has been trying to deepen its penetration into the US market because its brand name is not as well-known as its global counterparts in the country, Tencent’s financial news portal finance.qq.com reports.

In its latest move, Haier was one of six global television suppliers to unveil their line of “flexible” televisions at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Breaking New Ground – Liu Chuanzhi, co-founded what is now Legend Holdings – owner of Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker and seller – has dedicated his life to exploring new ground and pushing boundaries.

Caixin editor-in-chief Hu Shuli recently interviewed Liu. Excerpts from their conversation follow.

Insurance Group Bets Big on Banking and Real Estate – and Pushing Regulatory Limits – Eighteen months after it was established, at the end of 2012, AIG already boasted assets of 510 billion yuan. The figure surpassed 600 billion yuan in 2013, a source familiar with the company said.

Much of the growth apparently owes to the company’s 35 percent holding in Chengdu Rural and Commercial Bank (CDRCB), which it acquired for 5.6 billion yuan in mid-2011. In less than three years, the bank’s assets have grown from slightly more than 100 billion yuan to more than 300 billion yuan.

Apple-China Mobile deal a ‘watershed’ moment: Tim Cook A deal to sell iPhones on China Mobile‘s vast network is a “watershed” moment, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC on Wednesday.

“This is a watershed day,” said Cook, who is in Beijing ahead of Friday’s launch. He referred to China Mobile as a great cellphone firm with a “very fast network.”

Dispute over foreign bank assets sent to New York’s highest court – Yahoo Finance In the second case, privately held Tire Engineering and Distribution of Sarasota, Florida, has been trying to get the Bank of China to turn over money the tire maker is owed after winning judgments against China-based competitors.

The bank has refused, saying Chinese banking laws prohibit it from complying with U.S. court orders to freeze customer bank accounts.

Richard Li’s PCCW Said To Sell Beijing Property For $900M – Forbes A real estate firm controlled by Richard Li, the billionaire son of Asia’s richest man, announced this week that it is in advanced talks to sell a Beijing office building for a price that is said to be in the range of $900 million.

BoCom Financial Leasing to Issue CNY200mn Financial Bonds – Financial and Business News – MENAFN Bank of Communications Financial Leasing intended to issue CNY 200 million three-year financial bonds on January 16, the first term in 2014.

The bonds have fixed rate, the interests will be paid based on an annual basis and the coupon rate is determined by the bid-inviting results. Bank of Communications will act as the lead underwriter of this issuance and Agricultural Bank of China, CITIC Securities and UBS Securities will serve as joint lead underwriters.

ZPMC mulling German shipyard deal – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn|china|news|chinanews|ecns|cns Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co Ltd, the world’s largest maker of cranes and large steel structures and known as ZPMC, is negotiating the acquisition of a German shipyard – part of its drive to diversify and expand its maritime engineering business.

ZPMC aims to buy JJ Sietas Schiffswerft, a Hamburg-based shipyard with a history of more than 300 years, Huang Qingfeng, vice-president of ZPMC, told China Daily. He visited the shipyard and talked with local politicians and business executives in October.

China’s Huawei profit jumps on smartphones, U.S. asks Hua-who? | Reuters China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, known more for its telecom networking prowess than its razor-thin smartphones, is starting to see success in its consumer electronics business, though the key U.S. market remains elusive.

Huawei became the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer last year, mainly due to a fast-growing Chinese market. That is helping to cushion the impact of a global slowdown in network equipment spending, which caused the company to miss its revenue growth target last year.

Investor’s ALert – Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU), China Telecom Corporation (NYSE:CHA), China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), Qihoo 360 Technology (NYSE:QIHU) | Gaining Green Companies looking to do businesses in China often stumble because they don’t understand the local market, said Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) CEO Robin Li, operator of China’s largest search engine. Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) stock opened at $178.90 in last session, and closed at $179.66, while the day range of stock is $176.61 – $180.22. The stock showed a positive weekly performance of 2.50%.

Ping An 2013 gross premium totals $44.36 billion | Business Insurance Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. posted a total gross premium of 268.7 billion Chinese yuan ($44.36 billion) during 2013, an increase of 15.03% year on year, Chinese news website Hexun.com reports.

Premiums posted by the insurer’s property/casualty arm Ping An Property & Casualty Co. Ltd. totaled CNY 115 billion ($19 billion).

Yanzhou Coal Buy at Chinavestor We recommend a BUY for Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YZC). With an average revenue and net income growth rate of 33% and 56%, the company has growth potential very far into the future. It is clear that the company is very generous in using its resources to invest in new and promising coal projects.

A.M. Best Assigns Ratings to China Overseas Insurance Limited – MarketWatch Best Asia-Pacific Limited  has assigned a financial strength   rating of B++ (Good) and an issuer credit rating of “bbb” to China   Overseas Insurance  Limited  (COIL) (Hong Kong). The outlook assigned to both ratings is stable.

The ratings reflect COIL’s improvement in loss experience, low underwriting expenses and the strong support it receives from its parent company, China State Construction International Holdings Limited (CSCI), one of the largest construction companies in Hong Kong and ultimately owned by China State Construction Engineering Corporation  (CSCEC), a Chinese state-owned construction company.

Petrochina Buy at Chinavestor Based on gas pricing reforms and higher oil prices, we expect Petrochina’s business prospects to improve over the forthcoming quarters. Given Petrochina’s share of the natural gas market, they are likely to overturn downstream losses incurred in 2012 and improve their share price significantly in 2013.

NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand A former senior executive at China Mobile Ltd’s state-owned parent has been expelled from the Communist Party amid a company-wide probe into suspected corruption.

Xu Long, who was general manager of China Mobile Communications Corp’s Guangdong office, was expelled from the party due to “severe discipline violations,” according to a statement posted on Wednesday on the website of Guangdong province’s disciplinary committee.

China CNR Said to Pick Banks for $1.5 Billion Hong Kong Offering – Bloomberg China CNR Corp. (601299), the nation’s second-biggest trainmaker, picked China International Capital Corp., Macquarie Group Ltd. and UBS AG (UBSN) to work on a first-time share sale in Hong Kong, said three people with knowledge of the matter.

Shanghai-listed China CNR plans to raise as much as $1.5 billion in the offering this year, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The company has yet to file an application to the Hong Kong stock exchange, they said.

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%.

1.4M Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone 5S Shipped For China Mobile’s Launch Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is ready to kick off its China Mobile launch with a bang. A new report surfaced that Foxconn shipped about 1.4 million iPhone 5S units for the launch at China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE:CHL) (HKG:0941).

Agricultural Bank of China goes live with Avaloq platform in Hong Kong The Avaloq group, an international leader in integrated and comprehensive banking solutions, has successfully put the Avaloq Banking Suite into operation at Agricultural Bank of China’s Hong Kong branch.

Chinese Real Estate Developer Dalian Wanda Group Still Has Plenty of Cash to Burn – China Real Time Report – WSJ Wanda, which is one of a handful of large but unlisted property developers in China, still has plenty of cash to burn: The company said over the weekend at its annual meeting that its revenue jumped 31% on-year to hit 186.6 billion yuan ($30.9 billion) in 2013. That marked the eighth consecutive year its revenue rose by more than 30%, the company said in a statement on its website that 2013.

To date, Wanda said it has 380 billion yuan worth of assets world-wide and has opened 85 malls and 54 hotels across China.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 12/1/14

Sorry about there being no blogpost yesterday. Enjoy today’s bumper issue.

ECONOMY

Beijing Tests Tools to Tackle Bad Debt – WSJ.com China’s government is gearing up for a spike in nonperforming loans, endorsing a range of options to clean up the banks and experimenting with ways for lenders to squeeze value from debts gone bad.

Write-offs have multiplied in recent months. Over-the-counter asset exchanges have sprung up as a way for banks to find buyers for collateral seized from defaulting borrowers and for bad loans they want to spin off. Provinces have started setting up their own “bad banks,” state-owned institutions that can take over nonperforming loans that threaten banks’ ability to continue lending.

Caixin Explains: What the Central Gov’t Thinks of Shadow Banking – Problems regarding shadow banking have long concerned the central bank and the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), but it was not until a meeting in July that the State Council made a priority of addressing the problem. A lot more attention was paid to the CBRC’s research on the matter, which constituted the basis of the document that was circulating.

The CBRC had argued that trust companies and some off-balance-sheet operations of commercial banks were not shadow banking, considering that they were not highly leveraged. Also, the Ministry of Commerce had long opposed treating pawn shops and financial leasing companies as shadow bankers.

China uncovers thousands of disaster risks in oil and gas sector | Asia-Pacific | BDlive China has uncovered about 20,000 disaster risks in its oil and gas sector during a nationwide safety probe following a pipeline blast that killed 62 people last year, the country’s safety watchdog said on Thursday.

People’s Bank of China keeps pressure on money markets – FT.com Last week, hours before 2013 came to an end, the People’s Bank of China delivered an unwelcome surprise to some of the country’s biggest banks. Despite frazzled nerves after a liquidity squeeze just one week earlier, the central bank told them it wanted to conduct a bond repurchase operation, a move that would take cash out of their hands for a few days.

“Everyone said it was like a new year’s message from the PBoC. They were telling us that money is going to stay tight,” says a senior credit trader with a European bank in Shanghai.

China Keeps Dancing With a Lehman Moment – Chovanec – MoneyBeat – WSJ China’s year-end cash crunch, the one that the government didn’t want journalists to call a cash crunch, is a very serious situation, Patrick Chovanec, chief strategist at Silvercrest Asset Management, said this morning on the MoneyBeat show.

Oilweek – The big chill China is an oil-producing superpower. Last year the country’s state-owned oil companies spent $35 billion buying foreign assets. One result: the country’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) now produce almost as much oil outside the country as such OPEC kingpins as Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. These overseas acquisitions are being operated as commercial investments, in the sense that oil from far-flung businesses is mostly being used to supply traditional markets. Add those volumes to China’s position as the world’s fifth-largest producer from domestic fields and the end result is a network of SOEs that is global in scope.

Women Add To Their Lead On Forbes China’s New List Of 50 Top Financial Planners – Forbes Women added to their majority on the new list, taking up 31 spots, compared with 28 last year. Their success, according to Forbes China managing editor Bridge Kang, comes in part from a convention in Chinese households that “men earn the money and women manage it.” That in turn helps female professional financial planners and advisers build good relationships among industry executives and customers, Kang said.

China Exports to Face Tough 2014 as Yuan Climbs – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s export growth was disappointing in the final month of 2013due to lackluster demand from developed markets, data released Friday showed.

But there could be more problems in store for China’s exporters in 2014 as the yuan currency’s continued appreciation against the U.S. dollar makes the country’s goods more expensive in world markets.

Maturing of municipal bonds puts pressure on Chinese citiesWantChinaTimes.com Municipal bonds worth 285 billion yuan (US$47.1 billion) will be due in 2014 and bonds worth 140.6 billion yuan (US$23.2 billion) will be due in 2015, according to Shanghai-based China Business News. The total outstanding amount of municipal bonds in the nation is estimated in a range of 2.7-3.3 trillion yuan (US$447-546 billion), the paper reported.

China Auto Industry News | China Ends Microgrowth Myth With 13.9% Growth | China Car Times – China Auto News 2011 and 2012 ushered in the era of ‘micro -growth‘ for the Chinese auto market where auto sales slipped from the 30-40% range as seen in the previous decade to to 2.5% and 4.3%, respectively. It was widely thought, and accepted, that micro growth would be the norm rather than the exception for the Chinese automotive market. However, 2013 saw a strong rebound to 13.9% sales growth where sales grew to just under 22 million units over the course of the year with an exceptionally strong December where sales rose 17.9% year-on-year to 2.13 million units according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM)

Fitch’s China shadow banking guru quits – FT.com Charlene Chu, who as a senior director of Fitch Ratings was among the first to flag the growth of China’s massive shadow banking sector, is leaving the credit rating agency. Her departure ends an eight-year spell as a thorn in the side of the Chinese banking industry.

Ms Chu was one of the first to highlight the dangers of both shadow banking and China’s mammoth stimulus plan, rolled out in early 2009 in response to a collapse in global trade.

China iron ore imports grow 10% in 2013 – FT.com The strength of Chinese iron ore demand confounded analysts last year, with 2013 imports rising 10 per cent year-on-year to 820m tonnes, as steel mills defied expectations with an 8 per cent rise in output, according to estimates by the state-backed industry association.

Reversal of fortune in China’s peer-to-peer lending boom – FT.com Dozens of the P2P lending websites that sprang up in recent years have shut down. The biggest companies are unscathed so far, but the rapid collapse of smaller rivals highlights the mounting difficulties in the Chinese micro-lending industry as economic growth slows and monetary conditions tighten.

It is a dramatic reversal of fortune for China’s peer-to-peer websites, which, for a small service fee, connect people wanting to invest money with those looking to borrow small amounts.

Dubai property market attracting more Chinese investors|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The bubble created in Dubai’s real estate market burst in 2008, but the sector is now making a comeback, attracting global investors including those from China, reports Shanghai’s China Business News.

Housing prices in Dubai have surged by nearly 30% over the past year, with Dubai-based real estate developers, such as Nakheel Properties, recruiting salespeople that can speak Chinese to attract Chinese investors entering the market.

China central bank guides yuan slightly lower, downside seen limited – Economic Times China’s yuan edged down against the dollar on Thursday after the central bank fixed a slightly weaker midpoint but traders said the potential for any sharp correction was limited as Beijing appeared to want to keep the yuan largely stable for now.

Spot yuan was trading at 6.0546 per dollar at midday, falling 0.06 percent from 6.0512 at Wednesday’s close, after the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set its midpoint at 6.1109, down 0.05 percent from Wednesday’s 6.1079. “Thursday’s midpoint guides the yuan to weaken slightly,” said a trader at a Chinese state-owned bank in Shangh

Chinese banks rush to float bonds abroad|Economy|News|WantChinaTimes.com McKinsey predicted that Chinese banks will raise 2 trillion yuan (US$330 billion) in funds from overseas markets, via issuance of stocks and bonds, in the next five years.

The trend will be fueled by the increasing difficulty of Chinese banks in raising funds on the domestic market due to rising bad debts, a sluggish stock market, rising funding costs, and the deleveraging process.

China mulls national pollution permit trading system | Reuters China will look into establishing a nation-wide trading system for pollution permits as part of efforts to use market mechanisms to help clean up its environment, the country’s top environment official said.

In remarks published on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (www.mep.gov.cn) on Friday, minister Zhou Shengxian said China was working on new regulations for pollution permits and would also publish proposals for new pilot trading projects as soon as possible.

Private capital to play bigger role in China’s healthcare services|Policy|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Investors from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can now run their own hospitals in every city at prefecture level or above, while it was previously stipulated that they could do so only in municipalities and provincial capital cities, according to a circular publicized by the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Thursday.

Investors from foreign countries can also set up wholly foreign-funded medical institutions in the newly established Shanghai Free Trade Zone and in certain other regions, according to the circular, which was jointly signed by the commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, although it did not specify the other regions.

Half of China’s coastal outfalls over-discharging sewage – Xinhua | English.news.cn Half of China’s 156 coastal outfalls are discharging excessive sewage into the ocean, according to the State Oceanic Administration.

According to a survey conducted by the administration in November, 78 ocean outfalls are discharging excessive sewage, with municipal drainage being the biggest contributor.

Survey results showed that South China’s Guangxi is the most serious among six coastal provincial regions in over-discharging. Fourteen of its 15 ocean outfalls discharged excessive sewage.

China to expand cross-border use of RMB: PBOC – Xinhua | English.news.cn China will continue to expand the cross-border use of the Chinese currency, the Renminbi or yuan, this year, China’s central bank said Friday.

The Chinese yuan’s cross-border settlement reached 3.64 trillion yuan(596.6 billion U.S.dollars) in the first eleven months of 2013, which was 350 times the amount in 2009, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said at a work-planning meeting.

China fires back at U.S. for criticism on fishing curbs | Reuters China defended on Friday its new fishing restrictions in disputed waters in the South China Sea against criticism from the United States, saying the rules were in accordance with international law.

Beijing claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea and rejects rival claims to parts of it from the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Washington called the fishing rules “provocative and potentially dangerous”, prompting a rebuttal from China’s foreign ministry on Friday.

Securities regulator shares audit data with US counterparts – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The China Securities Regulatory Commission has shared the audit details of four Chinese companies listed abroad with overseas regulators, in a further move to crack down on illegal activities and protect the interests of investors, the watchdog said on Friday.

Cabinet approves new zones – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s cabinet on Friday approved the establishment of new zones in Northwest China’s Shaanxi and Guizhou provinces in the southwest, the latest move to open up inland regions.

Shaanxi’s Xi’an-Xianyang New Area and Guizhou’s Guiyang-Anshun New Area got the nod from the State Council, adding to a string of “new areas”.

Some previous new areas are the Chongqing Liangjiang New Area (approved in 2010) and the Lanzhou New Area (2012). But while the Chongqing and Lanzhou areas were designated as State-level development areas, along with four other such areas, the two latest areas approved didn’t achieve that top position.

Proposed pension reform divides opinion – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The public is critical that government officials do not need to input into the country’s pension pool but will enjoy higher annuities after retirement than their peers from enterprises and farming due to different plans.

China adopts different pension plans for enterprise employees, rural residents, urban dwellers and workers with government and government-sponsored institutions. This has caused a gap in pension payments, Zheng Gongcheng, a professor with Renmin University of China, told the People’s Daily, flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

China’s Liquidity Paradox-Caijing Consider this: Despite China’s swelling foreign-exchange reserves – the result of persistent current-account surpluses – market and interbank short-term interest rates are soaring. How did this happen, and what should policymakers do about it?

China December Exports up 4.3Pct, Trade Surplus $25.6B-Caijing China’s exports grew 7.9 percent in 2013 while imports expanded 7.3 percent from a year ago, resulting in a trade surplus growth of 12.8 percent, government data showed.

Trade surplus in the year hit 1.61 trillion yuan ($259.8 billion), with exports at 13.72 trillion yuan ($2.21 trillion) and imports 12.11 trillion ($1.95 trillion), according to data released by the General Administration of Customs today in Beijing.

COMPANIES

China Disciplines 48 For Pipeline Explosions In Qingdao – WSJ.com Two Sinopec executives in charge of the pipeline and a safety director were removed from their positions, Xinhua said. Three local officials in charge of an economic development zone in the Huangdao district of Qingdao—where the blasts occurred—also were dismissed, according to Xinhua.

In 2011, the State Council issued similar disciplinary warnings to 64 people responsible for four accidents at state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., the country’s largest energy company. Jiang Jiemin, CNPC’s former chairman, was among those disciplined for the accidents, which included a pipeline explosion in the port city of Dalian that didn’t result in casualties. Mr. Jiang was promoted two years later to head a government commission that oversees state-owned companies.

China Petroleum and Chemical Rating Increased to Buy at TheStreet (SNP) | Ticker Report China Petroleum and Chemical (NYSE:SNP) was upgraded by investment analysts at TheStreet to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, Stock Ratings Network reports.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) (SNP): New Analyst Report from Zacks Equity Research – Zacks Equity Research Report – NASDAQ.com We are downgrading our recommendation on Sinopec to Underperform from Neutral, ahead of fourth quarter results.

China Railway tops charts for proper monetary insulation|WantChinaTimes.com China Railway Group, the nation’s largest construction company, came in on top for accounts receivable, tight cash flows and provisions for bad debt among China’s 36 listed firms related to the high speed rail sector, National Business Daily reports.

China Railway issued a statement on Jan. 6 to clarify that its high level of debt is related to the nature of the industry and not dissimilar from others in the sector. Its liability-asset ratio of 84.84% remains normal and the risk controllable. What should be noticed its high debt ratio has remained for years, the report said.

China’s State Grid buys biggest chunk of HK Electric’s IPO: sources | Reuters Government-owned State Grid Corp of China is coming in as the biggest cornerstone investor in a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) worth up to $5.7 billion by Li Ka-shing-backed HK Electric Investments, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Li’s Power Assets Holdings Ltd is planning to list its Hong Kong electricity business, HK Electric Investments, as it seeks funds for overseas expansion. The IPO is set to be launched on Monday, they added.

The first Chinese game console: Huawei’s Tron Tron is a small, cylindrical console that runs Android 4.2.3 and connects to TVs via HDMI (it is capable of 1080p output). All told, it’s about the size of a coffee mug. Huawei says the device will sell for $120 or less and come with 16 or 32 GB of storage. Internally, it’s using Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor, and the Tron also has wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity and even a USB 3.0 port. Here’s a video of the thing in action via Huawei News:

Fosun buys Portuguese insurer for $1.4b – Chinadaily.com.cn Fosun International’s chairman Guo Guangchang said in statement on Thursday that the Hong Kong-listed company outbid US investment fund Apollo Global Management LLC to acquire an 80 percent stake in state-owned Caixa Seguros e Saude SGPS SA, Portugal’s largest insurance group, which is owned by state bank Caixa Geral de Depositos SA.

Shui On Land CEO Resigns as Billionaire Lo Takes Active Role – Bloomberg Shui On Land Ltd. (272), the Chinese developer that’s been selling assets to cut debt, said Chief Executive Officer Freddy Lee quit after less than three years and billionaire Chairman Vincent Lo will resume a more active role.

Shui On has been selling assets as it seeks to pay down debt and improve its cash position. The developer announced last month that it will sell a project in Shanghai to China Life Insurance Group Co. for 3.32 billion yuan ($549 million). New York-based Brookfield Property Partners in November invested $500 million into Xintiandi, which operates the popular entertainment complex in Shanghai.

U.S. Market Still Out of Reach for Chinese Car Makers – WSJ.com GAC Motor isn’t the only Chinese auto company shunning this year’s U.S. show. For the first time since Chinese auto maker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. debuted at the show in 2006, no Chinese car company will hold an exhibit this year.

Five years ago, many Chinese auto makers were hatching ambitious plans for going global. While some have been stepping up efforts to build their presence in emerging markets, for the most part they have fallen silent on their ambitions tapping demand in developed economies.

Kuga recall leaves buyers bruised – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Chang’an Ford will recall 80,857 Ford Kuga SUVs produced between September 21, 2012 and November 13, 2013 from February 21, 2014 because of substandard steering knuckles, Chang’an Ford announced on December 27, 2013 on its website.

Goubuli prepares to put big dough into expansion[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn An eatery giant known for its steamed stuffed buns, and with an ambitious expansion plan to buy a United States coffee chain, is joining a growing number of Chinese enterprises in going global.

Goubuli Group, a renowned Chinese food corporation based in North China’s Tianjin, announced on Thursday that it plans to buy a US cafe chain company in the first half of the year.

Greenland Group Plans for A-share Listing-Caijing China’s state-owned property developer Greenland Holding Group Co. said today it aims to float shares in the domestic stock market.

The company plans to submit materials for an A-share listing to China’s securities regulator as soon as next month, said Greenland chairman Zhang Yuliag today.

Observer-Reporter | Chinese coal giant enters Greene Co. natural gas joint venture Officials with Energy Corporation of America and China Shenhua Energy Co. subsidiary Shenhua America Holdings Corp. announced a 50/50 joint venture to develop 25 natural gas wells in Greene County over the next 18 months.

China Tops Rolls-Royce’s Largest Market in 2013-Caijing China has toppled the US to become the largest market for Rolls-Royce Motor  Cars in 2013 with the country’s growing class of crass new riches.

The British-headquartered luxury carmaker sold 3, 630 cars around the world  last year, up from 3, 575 a year ago. 2013 also marked its fourth consecutive  year to report record sales.

Infiniti China Sales Surge – WSJ.com Infiniti, the premium car division of Nissan Motor Co., said its auto sales in China surged 54% in 2013 and the brand expects to maintain its growth momentum this year in the world’s largest auto market.

The company sold 17,108 Infiniti-brand cars in China last year, Johan de Nysschen, senior vice president of Japanese auto maker Nissan Motor and president of Infiniti, said Saturday. Infiniti posted a 16% decline in sales in 2012 amid a territorial dispute between Japan and China over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Tencent’s Personal Cloud Storage Service Micro Cloud Releases 2.0 Version Chinese Internet giant Tencent recently released version 2.0 for its personal cloud storage Micro Cloud (Weiyun in Chinese) with a number of features that aims to turn the product into an integration service from a storage service. The new 2.0 version is expected to hit market on January 15 (source in Chinese).

WeChat’s Rank Rocketed up in the U.S. during Recent Holiday Season, but Dropped down soon AppAnnie has added new features to its free Store Stats tool that you can track apps’ performance on Google Play, iOS, Amazon, and Mac App Store apps in up to 10 countries at once.

For instance, you can see the rank history of WeChat on iOS Store in multiply countries as below. What immediately drew my attention is a peak during the past holiday season. The graph in orange is WeChat’s performance on the U.S. iOS Store. It’s unknown what marketing efforts by Tencent, WeChat’s parent company, helped it.

Steve Wozniak drops into Xiaomi Beijing HQ According to former Google and Android VP turned Xiaomi executive Hugo Barra, who just posted a photo and some details to his Google+ page, Woz is a new convert to their phones. Woz declared that it’s “very emotional for me to be a part of Xiaomi now” – a reference to him using a Xiaomi Mi3 (not working for the ambitious phone-maker).

A tale of two China stocks: NQ Mobile vs. Baidu – The Cody Word – MarketWatch Put simply, I know how hard it is to stay on top of and believe in the numbers that U.S.-based companies publish. To think that I could successfully do so in most any foreign-based company is rather insane. On the other hand, when I see someone like Muddy Waters’s Carson Block target a company like NQ Mobile out of China, it piques my interest, because I do think there’s money to be made finding companies who are pushing the envelope overseas.

Sam’s Club Has Potential in China Because China has the largest population in the world (1.35 billion people), you would think that this move should automatically lead to exceptional results. However, if you look at retailers that have attempted to make names for themselves in China in recent years, their moves haven’t gone so well, and this group includes Wal-Mart. Sam’s Club differs from Wal-Mart’s namesake stores, and this might be a positive for the potential of Sam’s Club in China going forward.

Warren Buffett’s Chinese Cars Are Coming to the U.S. (BRK-B, GM) BYD has done some intriguing work with hybrids and electric cars. But BYD has a long history of optimistic predictions, and the company has had a rough time staying competitive even in its home market. But the Berkshire Hathaway investment has given the company some global cred. Is it time to take them seriously?

Ford and Tencent Work Together To Bring Tencent’s QQ Music To Cars | China Car Times – China Auto News Ford have teamed up with Tencent’s QQ, China’s largest chat and social platform, to introduce QQ Music into all Ford SYNC systems. QQ Music features China’s leading online music streaming platform, and is the most popular music app among Chinese smartphone users, with more than 200 million monthly users and 40 million daily users.

Tencent, Alibaba Have their Eyes on Mobile Payment Prize – The transactions are part of what is sometimes referred to as online-to-offline, or O2O, business, an arena where Alibaba and Tencent are busy battling for supremacy. Late last year, Tencent, which is listed in New York, invested in Didi Dache. Before that, Alibaba put cash into promoting a similar app, called Kuaidi Dache.

And the rivalry is not limited to taxi-hailing apps. The two firms are expanding their offline frontiers to shopping malls, movie theaters, convenience stores and restaurants. Both are beefing up their mobile payment systems – the key to connecting online and offline services – to compete head to head with credit cards and cash payments.

BoCom HK rides wave of bond issuance – Debt – Deals – News – FinanceAsia.com Bank of Communications (BoCom) Hong Kong branch raised a $700 million three-year senior unsecured note on Wednesday, smartly riding the wave of other bond issuance that has hit the debt markets in the first week of the new year.

The bank’s debut Reg S-registered paper had an initial guidance of 170bp over Treasuries and ended up pricing 25bp tighter at 145bp over Treasuries, according to a term sheet.

Surprising hedge fund plays include Bitcoin and China stocks (ACGBY)-ACGBY-PNGAY-Stockhouse news Two examples that come to mind are Ping An Insurance Group Co. (OTO: PNGAY, Stock Forum) and the U.S. listed version of Agricultural Bank of China (OTO: ACGBY, Stock Forum), both of which are known to be heavily owned by hedge funds.  To this day, despite China stocks being in a bear market, PNGAY has not only seen increased liquidity due to hedge fund presence, but the stock recently experienced a run-up that can only be attributed to hedge fund-created momentum.

China Railway Group Ltd : China : CHINA Railway Group to FUND the UK s £50bn high-speed RAIL LINE | 4-Traders China Railway Group has approached Downing Street to fund the UK s £50bn high-speed rail line. This comes a month after Chinese premier Li Keqiang expressed China s interest in the infrastructure project to Cameron.

See how Noble Group earnings could rebound in 2014 | Singapore Business Review The earnings outlook for Noble Group is looking brighter as prices and crush margins may soon see a resurgence, according to Barclays Research.

Noble Group may see its agricultural business margins recover as well as revive its volume growth, which will help the company post better earnings this year.

Chinese Tycoon’s Vanishing Seen Linked to Probe of State-Firm Officials – WSJ.com Hua Bangsong, one of China’s richest men, controls a vast engineering-services empire, Wison Group, which develops chemical plants for the nation’s major oil companies and international giants like Germany’s  BASF SE. But the 48-year-old hasn’t been seen by colleagues since August, when he was detained by Chinese investigators.

Bank of China London Branch successfully issues 2.5 billion RMB Bonds | 4-Traders On 9th January 2014, the book building of the first London offshore RMB bonds issued by Bank of China London Branch was successfully completed? making it the highest value single issue of RMB bonds in London and providing UK and European investors with an additional high quality RMB product.

Fears OCBC may overpay for Wing Hang | Macau Business Daily Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, Southeast Asia’s second-biggest lender, fell to an almost four-week low in early Singapore stock trading yesterday amid concern it may pay too much to take over Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank Ltd.

MVP Group pushes JV talks with CNOOC for Recto Bank | ABS-CBN News The group of business titan Manuel V. Pangilinan is aiming to reach a commercial agreement with state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co. Ltd. (CNOOC) to finally pave the way for exploratory works at the disputed Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, its spokesperson yesterday said.

World’s largest bank opens branch in Calgary Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in the world in total assets, officially opened a Calgary branch Wednesday.

The move marks the first foray into Alberta for the bank’s Canadian subsidiary, known as ICBK. There are already five branches in Toronto and two in Vancouver.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China : Pak-Sino to constitute Experts Working Group | 4-Traders Pakistan and China have decided to constitute an ”Experts Working Group” on setting up energy and development projects in Pakistan with focus on their financing.

This was decided at a meeting between Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Chairman Jiang Jianqing in Beijing.

Construction of the Yaoundé-Nsimalen highway takes shape – Business in Cameroon The roadwork initially scheduled for early 2013 will now be completed in thirty-six months by the Chinese company, China Communications Construction Company Ltd for 36.7 billion FCfa.

Posted from Diigo.