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China Business Briefs 21/4/14

Economy Finance Auto Infrastructure Energy Telecoms Property Travel Tech Agriculture Retail

Economy

Bank Defaults Seen as Dark Side of Deposit Vows: China Credit – Bloomberg 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 April 17. The premium on the notes due 2019 of Harbin Bank Co., a lender near China’s border with Russia, has jumped 41 basis points in the past year to 217.

China allows gold imports via Beijing, sources say, amid reserves buying talk | Reuters China has begun allowing gold imports through its capital Beijing, sources familiar with the matter said, in a move that would help keep purchases by the world’s top bullion buyer discreet at a time when it might be boosting official reserves.

The opening of a third import point after Shenzhen and Shanghai could also threaten Hong Kong’s pole position in China’s gold trade, as the mainland can get more of the metal it wants directly rather than through a route that discloses how much it is buying.

China streamlines tax break procedures for SMEs – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The State Administration of Taxation (SAT) said in a statement that small firms with annual taxable income under 100,000 yuan (about $16,000) may have their business income tax halved without approvals.

On April 8, Chinese authorities rolled out the taxbreak, which is valid from Jan 1 this year until the end of 2016, shortly after a cabinet executive meeting, at which the government announced an economic package to address downward pressure.

Finance

China Unveils Slate of 28 Companies Planning IPOs – WSJ.com Beijing ended a 14-month-long moratorium on initial public offerings in January, allowing 48 companies to be listed in the first two months of this year. However, the new issues halted abruptly in March, when authorities stopped granting approvals because of loopholes in new IPO rules and lackluster market conditions.

But late Friday night, the China Securities Regulatory Commission announced a list of 28 companies that have disclosed their IPO plans. The “preliminary disclosure” of IPO plans, which includes the size of fundraising and intended use of proceeds, typically suggests the regulator is close to the final stage of issuing approvals.

Commercial banks need to diversify business – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China’s commercial banks should diversify beyond traditional banking, Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBC), the country’s central bank, said over the weekend.

Instead of competing on better services for local residents and small and medium-sized enterprises, many city commercial banks are vying with each other in expanding their retail footprint, according to Yi, who cautioned the country’s commercial banks have yet to develop specific services targeting the fields of real estate, automobile, bills or credit cards.

First Shanghai Stock Designated for Delisting in 7 Years Plunges – Bloomberg Shares of the oil-shipping company, which has posted four consecutive annual losses, fell 9.8 percent to 1.47 yuan as of 9:40 a.m., compared with a 0.3 percent decline for China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index. (SHCOMP) The stock, which had been suspended for a year until today, will move to an over-the-counter board for small- and medium-size enterprises after 30 trading days, according to the company.

China firm plans $1 billion distressed asset fund for foreigners | Reuters A unit of one of China’s biggest bad-debt banks plans to woo foreign investors with a $1 billion fund for soured property loans and distressed real-estate assets, reopening the sector to outsiders after a failed attempt last decade.

That the fund is being launched just as growth in the world’s second-largest economy has slowed to an 18-month low and the housing market is losing strength is no coincidence.

Agricultural Bank of China launches ‘Pretty Mom’ credit card – Economic Times A Chinese bank has launched a new ‘Pretty Mom’ credit card targeting young mothers, a growing group in the world’s most populous country known for their love of shopping and their greater say in the family budget.

The cards – issued by Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) – focus on the needs of new mothers with children up to the age of six by offering discounts on major baby productbrands and early education institutions.

Auto

HEARD ON THE STREET: China’s Geely Shouldn’t Drive Solo – WSJ.com Geely isn’t without foreign expertise: Its parent company bought Volvo in 2010. Yet the benefits of this are out of reach for Geely’s shareholders. Volvo sales are up 25% this year in China, all of which goes to the parent. Geely and Volvo opened a joint research center last year and are working on a new subcompact, but results will take time.

Geely’s shares are down 24% this year. Even so, they are no bargain. Geely earns nearly a quarter of its operating profit from government subsidies and capitalizes a chunk of research-and-development spending. Strip out these elements, and the stock trades at 14.3 times core earnings, according to estimates from Sanford C. Bernstein.

Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, which builds higher-margin premium cars with BMW, fetches only 12.2 times. Investors should be skeptical as long as Geely drives solo.

Chinese Car Makers Struggle to Lure Buyers – WSJ.com Chinese brands are struggling to win Chinese consumers, a trend that appears to have accelerated in the first quarter. Geely’s Hong Kong-listed unit reported sales of 89,607 vehicles, down about 37%. Warren Buffett -backed BYD Co. sold 103,500 cars in China in the first quarter, a drop of about 28% from the same period the previous year. Chery Automobile Co. reported a 25% fall to 109,000 vehicles.

Poor quality, uninspiring marketing and an inefficient industry structure lie at the heart of Chinese auto makers’ woes. Compounding these problems, foreign car makers and their Chinese joint-venture partners are increasingly looking to produce low-cost cars as they anticipate a boom in demand as hundreds of millions of rural Chinese move to cities to seek jobs, housing and cars. Foreign car makers are required to operate in China through joint ventures with Chinese auto makers.

China set to replace U.S. as Volvo’s biggest market this year – Yahoo Singapore Finance China is set to surpass the United States to become Volvo Car Group’s biggest market in 2014 with sales of at least 80,000 cars in the world’s largest auto market.

Its car sales target for 2014 is around a third higher than the 61,146 cars sold in 2013, while sales in the United States in 2014 are expected to increase only in line with the broader market, it said in a statement on Sunday.

Daimler/BYD Joint Venture Unveil Plans for All-Electric Car for China – WSJ.com The new electric car, called the Denza, is entitled to subsidies from both the central and local governments in China, Daimler officials said. The car was developed by Shenzen BYD Daimler New Technology Co. Ltd, the Daimler-BYD joint venture that was formed in 2010. The five-seater Denza is expected to go on sale in China in September, and is priced at 369,000 renminbi, or about $60,000. With government subsidies, Daimler said the price for the consumer could be reduced by 120,000 renminbi.

Infrastructure

Construction at Karuma hydro power project starts THE Karuma hydro-power project, worth about Sh.4.3 trillion ($1.7billion) has commenced with the construction of two big underground access tunnels and access roads at the site.

The eight month old construction of the 600 megawatts dam was commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni in August 2013, who said 85% of the funding will be procured by Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, a Chinese firm with a soft loan from Exim bank and the  Uganda government will cater for the 15%.

Merapoh, China Energy JV to revive Zipy | theSundaily The agreement will see state-owned China Energy emerging as a majority shareholder with a 70% equity interest in Merapoh and an investment of almost RM70 billion by China Energy, which will enable Merapoh to proceed with its projects and plans.

According to a media advisory issued by Merapoh last Friday, the most immediate project that Merapoh intends to proceed with is the creation of Malaysia’s biggest oil refinery complex to be built in Kedah.

Energy

China Is Quietly Profiting From the Russia-Ukraine Standoff: Here’s How Much to the chagrin of the United States, China has the innate ability to negotiate major energy deals in the midst of conflict. PetroChina’s (NYSE: PTR) state-run parent company, China National Petroleum, or CNPC, was the first oil company to secure a contract in the Iraqi oil fields following the fall of Saddam Hussein, and today both it and CNOOC (NYSE: CEO) are two of the most active oil comapnies there. With Russia and the West at a standstill over the recent events in Ukraine, it appears that CNPC is about to seal another energy coup. Let’s look at this deal and what it means for the future of energy around the world.

Nuclear plants to get the nod[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn China is quickening its approvals for nuclear energy and will launch projects in coastal areas to ensure energy security and economic growth, according to the State Energy Commission.

In a statement released on Sunday, the commission said it discussed strategic problems in the development of the energy resources industry as well as some major projects.

The latest approvals of nuclear plants and other energy projects are part of the government’s plan to push economic growth with minimal measures.

Telecoms

Merging cloud, big data and smart cities – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cnTian, founder and chairman of China Broadband Capital Partners LP, is probably the best-known venture capitalist in the country and one of the first players in China’s big data business.

“Data is the most valuable asset in the 21st century. We can build a long industry chain based on data-related businesses such as analytics, information security and statistics exchange,” Tian said during the opening of the Shenzhen data center on March 30, which was built in less than six months.

Chinese Mobile Gaming Company Chukong Files for US IPO to Raise USD150 million | TechNode The company, according to SEC filing, positions itself as a mobile content platform and development service provider, but it’s more known as a mobile game developer and, more recently, mobile game development service provider. In 2013, 98.5% of its total revenues were from mobile gaming and the rest, 1.5%, was from advertising — it runs a mobile advertising platform PunchBox.

Property

New York Real-Estate Agent Scores $13 Million Deal on WeChat – China Real Time Report – WSJ Last month, Yue (Emma) Hao, a New York-based agent at real-estate brokerage Douglas Elliman, received an unsolicited message on WeChat from a Chinese entrepreneur who wanted to know more about a residential building in Manhattan associated with the crystal brand Baccarat. Ms. Hao, who is from Beijing, realized the person was talking about the Baccarat Residences, a 50-story glass condo tower under construction across from New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The building, which is expected to open later this year, will have 61 units priced from about $3 million to about $60 million.

Ms. Hao left a message with the person on WeChat, telling her she’d inquire. After visiting the Baccarat’s sales center, she sent the Chinese entrepreneur, whom she declined to name, pictures of what the condos would look like and the neighborhood’s amenities. The next day, after speaking with the woman by phone, Ms. Hao hammered out the deal: a $10.25 million three-bedroom apartment on the 39th floor and a one-bedroom unit on the 21st floor for about $3 million.

Travel

Tech

Apple’s App Store China revenue jumps 70% after China Mobile deal – Silicon Valley Business Journal Apple iOS revenue from China increased 70 percent this quarter, according to a report from apps analytics firm App Annie. The index also found that the games, travel and social networking categories led the strong app download numbers.

China Money Network − Why Do We Still Like The Chinese Technology Sector? Governments around the world are slowly shifting away from austerity and, comprising 20% of spend in technology, are expected to be a contributor of overall demand for technology related goods and services.

The sector also has good exposure to the emerging markets where demand growth is structurally strong. In the case of the smart- phone market, penetration rates in Asia are a fraction of that in the U.S. and are likely to increase over time as people become wealthier.

Lastly, the technology sector is not expensive relative to its own history and in certain markets, such as the U.S., is trading at a discount to the local market indices.

China Money Network − Counting Jack Ma’s $5B Shopping Spree In 2014 As you will see from the list below, most deals are led by Alibaba Group. Even though he stepped down as CEO last May, Jack Ma continues to shape the company’s business strategy. Not to mention he still holds 7.4% of the e-commerce giant.

Travel and Expense Management Solution Baoku Announces Nearly $10 Mn of Series A Funding | TechNode Kubao, Chinese business travel & expense management solution provider, recently confirmed on its microblog that the startup raised nearly $10 million of Series A funding from CBC and AsiaInfo Linkage without disclosing the detailed amount of the financing.

Founded in 2007, the Beijing-based SAAS startup builds web-based corporate travel management systems that ensure policy and regulatory compliance, sales platforms for airlines and traveling agencies, as well analytics systems.

Agriculture

China to maintain high grain output in 2014-2023 – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Xu Shiwei, director of the Agriculture Information Institute under the CAAS, said that the output of China’s three main grain crops — rice, wheat and corn — will achieve a high rate of self-sufficiency during the next decade.

Imports for meat and dairy products will see rising growth, while slower growth will be seen in soybean imports, and cooking oil imports will decline, Xu said.

Retail

Can KFC Win Back China? Any investor savvy to Chinese growth stories knows about Yum! Brands’ (NYSE: YUM) KFC. Since opening its first shop in 1987, KFC has reigned as the chicken king in China. Already operating more than 6,000 Chinese stores, KFC’s future growth will be harder to attain. KFC has also lost favor with Chinese consumers in the face of greater Western competition and health scares.

Let’s look back at how KFC won China the first time, and see whether or not the chain can do so again.

China Focus: Chinese manufacturers not counting on yuan depreciation for profits – Xinhua English.news.cn“Regardless of depreciation or appreciation, the impact on us would be complex,” said Sun Shubao, a senior executive of Haier Group, one of China’s leading home appliance firms with 24 factories worldwide.

“The yuan’s depreciation will not boost our exports as people assume,” Sun said.

Posted from Diigo.

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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.

China Business Briefs 7/1/14

ECONOMY

Rural transformation underpins Chinese economy[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn China has long been a large agricultural nation, therefore the work concerning agriculture, countryside and farmers (the three rural issues) have always been the top priority of the Chinese government. The Central Rural Work Conference provided the first opportunity for the country’s new government to make plans for the three rural issues.

Besides ensuring domestic production of grain, the conference also made decisions about the position of agriculture, safety of farm produce, land rights, development of rural areas and raising farmers’ income.

Analysis: Cash crunch signals policy dilemma for China’s reformist central bank | Reuters China’s central bank looks set to risk another cash crunch at the end of January, barely a month after the last market squeeze, as policymakers press ahead with a crackdown on shadow financing and other risky bank lending.

Periodic cash squeezes as banks scramble for fresh funds highlight the policy dilemma the PBOC faces in 2014, as it pushes financial reforms to help rebalance the world’s second biggest economy away from the investment- and exports-led model that powered its rapid rise.

China’s Cabinet Drafts Shadow-Banking Plan – WSJ.com The plan, which was distributed to regulators by the State Council on Dec. 10 and hasn’t yet been made public, sets out to limit the growth in loans created outside formal channels for bank lending, according to a copy of the document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The framework calls for stronger oversight of such informal lending by the central bank and other regulators.

The plan falls short of launching a full-blown crackdown on the sector, suggesting the leadership’s preference for maintaining a key source of credit for the economy but one that has contributed to industrial overcapacity and high debt levels at local governments.

China’s reforms: The pain begins – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch Despite 2014 beginning with some disappointing data as HSBC’s China services index slumped to 50.9 for December, it looks like authorities will be applying tough-love austerity rather than the usual pump-priming response.

Ashmore becomes first to gain access to invest directly in China – FT.com China has taken a significant step towards opening its multitrillion-dollar capital markets to the outside world by giving a western asset management group freedom to invest in its domestic stocks and bonds.

Ashmore Group has become the first group outside Hong Kong to announce it has been granted a licence to invest directly in China’s $3.4tn domestic equity market, which is quoted in renminbi and known as the A-share market, and its $4.7tn bond market.

Few Specifics Mean China Banks Could Stay in the Shadows – China Real Time Report – WSJ But equally important was what the State Council didn’t say: It made no mention of trying to sharply ratchet down China’s debt which since 2008, has grown to 216% of GDP from 128% and could climb to 271% by 2017 if not corrected, according to Fitch Ratings. Indeed, the framework regulation goes out of its way to call shadow banking is an “inevitable” result of financial innovation and has played an “active” role in serving the economy and broadening the investment channels for Chinese individuals.

Major Corruption Prosecutions up in 2013-Caijing China’s procuratorial authorities investigated 27,236 embezzlement and bribery cases between January and November last year, sentencing 36,907 people, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate said in a statement on Sunday.

Of those cases, 80 percent were considered major or important, which the top procuratorate defines as embezzlement and bribery cases involving more than 50,000 yuan ($8,270) or earmarking public funds over 100,000 yuan.

Sales of luxury goods decline substantially in China|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Luxury goods sales in China have dropped significantly after rapid growth over the past few years, with some noted fashion brands closing some of their stores in the country, according to Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Herald.

According to Bain & Company statistics, luxury goods sales in mainland China slowed down in 2013 to a 2% growth rate, compared with the 7% annualized increase in 2012 and 30% in 2011. The consulting firm projected that the downtrend would continue in 2014.

Coking coal prices continue to work in steelmakers’ favour | Business Standard China, which remains relentless in raising steel production even while phasing out high-cost capacity, has to put greater reliance on imports of iron ore, since domestic supply is falling short of requirements of its steel mills. Production cost in many of the mines in China being double that in Australia and Brazil, the country is better off by importing than raising local production.

China destroys ivory stockpile in ‘significant symbolic step towards saving Africa’s elephants’ – Telegraph More than six metric tons of tusks, ivory ornaments and carvings were fed into   crushing machines by forestry and customs officials in southern Guangdong province, where much of China‘s ivory trade is focused.

Much of the ivory on the market in China is legal – bought from African governments selling off their stockpiles of seized tusks in 2008. But the continued demand also drives a trade in illicit ivory “laundered” with fake provenance certificates.

China adjusts measures in Shanghai FTZ – Xinhua | English.news.cn The State Council, or Cabinet, said in a statement that it decided to temporarily adjust measures in an effort to reform the country’s foreign investment management and open the service sector wider to overseas investors.

The government will also relax controls over foreign investment in fields covering international shipping, credit investigation, performance brokerage, entertainment, training and telecommunications within the zone.

Law cuts into guides’ earnings – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The law took effect on Oct 1 and bans forced shopping during trips. Three months later, many tour guides are looking for new jobs, since much of their income came from the commissions they earned by herding tourists into shops.

Dell looks at China as source of innovation[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Chinadaily.com.cn interviewed Amit Midha (President, Dell Asia Pacific and Japan Region) on Dec 19, 2013, in Xiamen, Fujian province. Midha talked about Dell’s strategy.

P2P firms in China dropping like flies|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The total transaction value of major P2P platforms in China reached 49 billion yuan (US$8.1 billion) in 2013, with an average interest rate reaching 23.24%, according to the report. Seventy four platforms had difficulty meeting the demand from cash withdrawals, mostly in the fourth quarter. The situation is gravest in Zhejiang province, where 17 P2P firms bit the dust in 2013, followed by Guangdong with 11 and Jiangsu with nine. December casualties fell to 10, compared with 30 in November and 18 in October.

China suspends ban on foreign video game console sales China’s State Council said it has temporarily lifted a ban on selling foreign video game consoles, paving the way for firms like Sony Corp, Microsoft Corp and Nintendo Co Ltd to enter a nearly $14 billion market.

The suspension of the 14-year-old ban permits “foreign-invested enterprises” to make games consoles within Shanghai’s free trade zone and sell them in China after inspection by cultural departments, the government said in a statement posted on its website on Monday.

China’s online video viewers watch for 5.7 billion hours every month (INFOGRAPHIC) This new infographic, put together by the Go-Globe team, shows just what a massive business it is. China now has 450 million online video viewers who collectively spend 5.7 billion hours per month watching stuff. There will be an estimated 700 million viewers by 2016. 76.3 percent of surveyed users say they prefer online videos over China’s very dour and propaganda-filled state television.

McKinsey Greater China – What might happen in China in 2014? It’s 2014, and Gordon Orr is back with his annual predictions for the coming year in China. In this podcast, he discusses some of his prognostications with Nick Leung and Guangyu Li. Gordon is a Director based in Shanghai. Guangyu is a Partner there. Nick is the Managing Partner of McKinsey’s Greater China Practice.

Cheap cash and speculation has never been tougher | China Economic Review Shadow bankers are no match for the central bank when it comes to throwing China’s financial system into a panic. Back-alley lenders have handed out a mere US$4 trillion in cash at exorbitant interest rates. No surprises here. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), on the other hand, managed to send shock waves through the banking system and push markets into turmoil twice last year.

China 2013: A Year in Review with Shaun Rein | China Briefing News This week, China Briefing is featuring a series of specially-commissioned articles and interviews from prominent China-based writers regarding their thoughts on the key developments in the country during 2013, and what lies ahead in 2014. Today’s interview features Shaun Rein, author of “The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that Will Disrupt the World” and managing director of the China Market Research Group.

Taiwan Rejects Bitcoin ATMs – China Real Time Report – WSJ The island’s financial regulator said Monday that physical teller machines for the virtual currency “will not appear” here, after Las Vegas-based RoboCoin, which makes bitcoin ATMs, reportedly said it had chosen Taiwan and Hong Kong as its first spots to expand in Asia.

China Auto Industry News | Chinese Manufacturers Rushing to Brazil | China Car Times – China Auto News Rapidly developing markets in South America, led by Brazil, are shaping up to be the new focus of investment in the future.

China Private Equity, M&A & Capital Markets, from China First Capital Think it’s easy to be a private equity boss in China, to keep your job and keep your LPs happy? It’s anything but.

COMPANIES

Report Says Death Of China Railway President May Be Linked To Anti-Corruption Campaign – Forbes The 21st Century Business Herald, citing anonymous sources working in China’s railway sector, said Bai’s death may be related to the ongoing anticorruption campaign that led to the downfall of Liu Zhijun, China’s former railway minister who was given a suspended death sentence in July for abuse of power and taking bribes. Under Liu’s tenure, China’s railway builders were mired in debt, waste and embezzlement. China Railway Construction Corp.Ltd., the country’s second largest infrastructure contractor, spent 837 million RMB ($135 million)on hospitality in 2012. A year earlier, the National Audit Office found officials embezzled 187 million RMB ($28 million) from just the Beijing-to-Shanghai portion of the high-speed railway project.

China Railway reassures after president’s death – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China Railway Group Limited said Monday that the company’s debts and risks are under control, after its president committed suicide over the weekend allegedly because of the firm’s high debts, China News Service reported Monday.

The company had debt of 408 billion yuan ($67.41 billion), and assets worth 503 billion yuan by the end of September 2013, according to the company’s third-quarter earnings report.

China Mobile Probes, Unicom Meddles [China Mobile Ltd. (ADR), China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (ADR), China Telecom Corporation Limited (ADR)] – Seeking Alpha We’re just a week into the New Year, and already new signs of political shenanigans at the nation’s 2 leading wireless telcos, China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) and China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), are hinting at turbulence ahead as Beijing tries to liberalize the state-dominated telecoms services sector. Media are reporting that China Mobile has launched an internal probe into a botched initiative in Hong Kong, which looks to me like an extension of Beijing’s fast-expanding series of anti-corruption probes at major state-owned firms. In the meantime, media are reporting separately that a top Unicom executive has left the company to join one of the nation’s newly licensed virtual network operators (VNO), in a deal that looks aimed at undermining Beijing’s plans to inject new competition into the telecoms services sector.

Alipay apologizes for leak of personal info – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The leak of information via the country’s largest third-party payment platform has sparked a public outcry over transaction security at a time when the Internet is soaring as a major shopping avenue

“The leaked data revealed only transaction information before 2010. They excluded sensitive information such as usernames or passwords, which were ciphered through a sophisticated method that is not available to anyone,” according to a statement by Alipay on Sunday.

Luring Beyonce Fashion Fans Spurs LightInTheBox Rally – Bloomberg LightInTheBox Holding Co. (LITB), a Chinese online retailer, surged 20 percent New York after saying it bought Seattle-based Ador Inc., a website that sells clothes and accessories similar to those worn by celebrities from Beyonce Knowles to Taylor Swift.

Telecom Deal by China’s ZTE, Huawei in Ethiopia Faces Criticism – WSJ.com The Ethiopian network’s glitches underline the broader troubles that sometimes face poorer nations as they borrow heavily to invest in telecommunications, roads, utilities and other infrastructure to help lift them out of poverty.

China’s financial firepower helps its firms win many of these contracts. But in agreeing to such deals, some governments appear to have flouted rules meant to foster sound public investment. When countries sidestep such rules, say experts at institutions such as the World Bank, big projects often cost more and are more likely to be poorly executed.

Ford Blows Past Toyota and Honda in China (F, TM) Ford China sold 935,813 vehicles last year, the company said in a statement. That was more than Toyota (NYSE: TM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) , though it’s still a long way from the more than 3 million sold by the twin titans of China’s auto market, General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH: VLKAY) .

Was Tencent’s Unverified Non-Competition Agreement Illegal? | Bridge IP Law Commentary Abstract: many of Tencent’s non-competition contracts being reported online are false due to invalidity. If the contracts were true, one might wonder the intelligence and morality of Tencent’s managers and officers. These agreements are arrogant, domineering, selfish and ignorant of relevant laws. It is hard to imagine how these contracts could come from a listed company with billions of dollars. Additionally, Tencent could possibly pay large amounts of compensation to departing employees in order to fully comply with the relevant laws.

Buffett-Backed BYD Says Chinese Cars to Debut in U.S. – Bloomberg BYD plans to introduce about four models for its U.S. debut at the end of 2015, said Stella Li, the senior vice president in charge of the company’s U.S. business, in an interview last week in Shenzhen, China. Though BYD wasn’t ready when it earlier sought to enter the U.S. car market in 2010, the company is more prepared this time, she said.

Ctrip Reportedly Invests Over $100 Million in Overseas Travel Platform ToursForFun Chinese online travel giant Ctrip reportedly invested more than $100 million in overseas tourism service ToursForFun (report in Chinese). According to official website of ToursForFun, the company will become part of Ctrip’s North American branch, which was set up in last November.

Founded in 2006, ToursForFun is a thriving online travel supplier dedicated to providing online purchasing experience for all travel needs. It is focused on overseas tours and vacation packages in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, and South & Central America.

Former Google China Head John Liu Joins Qihoo 360 John Liu, former vice president at Google Inc. and head of Google China, has joined Qihoo 360 as Chief Business Officer.

Dr. Liu left Google China in July 2013 after six-year stay there. He was the successor to the former Google China chief Kaifu Lee, founder of VC firm Innovation Works.

China Greenland to Invest $2 Billion in London Developments – Bloomberg The state-owned company, which is investing in the U.K. for the first time, will sign an agreement with Minerva Ltd. today to acquire the Ram Brewery site in Wandsworth in southwest London, the two firms said in an e-mailed statement. The completed development will be valued at 600 million pounds, according to the statement. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

Schindler Holding Ltd : Press release: Schindler to equip China’s tallest building | 4-Traders Schindler China, the Chinese division of the Schindler Group, has been awarded a major contract for a 115-story megatall skyscraper currently under construction in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

When complete, Shenzhen’s Ping An Finance Center will include office and retail space and stand 660 meters high, making it the tallest building in China. The structure will feature Schindler’s 7000 high-rise series elevators and Schindler’s cutting-edge PORT transit management technology.

DailyNews Online Edition – Passers-by bother bridge builders CONSTRUCTION of the 680- metre Kigamboni Bridge has been extended to July 2015 following a number of unforeseen challenges that afflict the project.

The project, which is financed by the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), is carried out by the China Major Bridge Engineering Company and China Railway Jiangchang Engineering (Tanzania) Limited as well as Arab Consulting Engineers.

AMEC plc : AMEC to hire 150 for China contract | 4-Traders ENGINEERING company AMEC estimates it will need to hire another 150 workers after being appointed by China’s state-owned CNOOC to provide services for its substantial North Sea oil and gas interests.

The firm has been hired by Nexen Petroleum UK, which has been a subsidiary of CNOOC since the $15 billion (pound(s)9.1bn) acquisition of its Canadian parent in February.

10 Online Tourism Startups You Should Not Miss Chinese startup database ITjuzi recently released the newest round-up of online tourism services. In ITjuzi’s database, there are overall 337 startups fall into this vertical category, while 41 companies or 12.2% of the total have secured capital injections in the past year. Please read the Chinese report here.

Let’s take a look at the 10 must-visit tourism sites recommended by the database:

Chexim plans to issue up to 4 bln yuan dim sum bonds – Yahoo Finance The Export-Import Bank of China (Chexim) plans to issue up to 4 billion yuan ($660.99 million) of dim sum bonds in Hong Kong to institutional investors, kicking off a strong offshore yuan bond pipeline expected this year.

Uganda reviewing nine applications for oil production licences – Yahoo Finance UK In September last year Uganda awarded the first production licence to China’s CNOOC (HKSE: 0883.HKnews) for the Kingfisher (LSE: KGF.Lnews) discovery, which contains an estimated 635 million barrels of crude reserves, of which 196 million are recoverable. CNOOC plans to spend $2 billion to develop the field over a four-year period.

CHINA TELECOM to focus its efforts in five areas this YEAR | 4-Traders The first one would be assuring it to change the way it serves customers and expand fundamental services.

4G commercialisation would be accelerated by the company and it would toughen 4G and 3G and broadband service integration.

Deutsche Bank Initiates Coverage on China Life Insurance (LFC) | WKRB News Analysts at Deutsche Bank assumed coverage on shares of China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Monday, TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports. The firm set a “hold” rating on the stock.

China Mobile Ltd. : VWO, BZQ: Big ETF Outflows | 4-Traders Looking at units outstanding versus one week prior within the universe of ETFs covered at ETF Channel, the biggest outflow was seen in the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO), where 9.2 million units were destroyed, or a 0.8% decrease week over week. Among the largest underlying components of VWO, in morning trading today China Mobile (CHL) is down about 0.3%.

Jeep Cherokee Pricing Revealed For China – $61,000USD to $76,000USD | China Car Times – China Auto News Jeep’s pricing for the New Cherokee was revealed earlier today, the base 2.4L model starts at 375,900RMB and rises to 459,900RMB for the top of the line 2.4L model, the flagship 3.2L pricing hasn’t yet been announced but it is expected to be in the 500,000RMB and rising area.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 22/11/13

China is expanding a trial program that allows non-bank financial institutions to lend to buyers of retail goods, as policy makers seek to increase the role of private capital in the economy.

The number of cities where consumer finance companies can be set up will increase to 14 from four, according to revised rules published on the website of the China Banking Regulatory Commission today. The program will also expand to include qualified non-financial companies, under rules that will take effect next year, the CBRC said.

The U.S. Treasury plans to appoint Michael Hirson, a Mandarin-speaking international economist, as its top rep in China, replacing David Dollar, a longtime China hand who returned this past summer to Washington, D.C., to work at the Brookings Institution.
Under the deal – announced by Li Keqiang, China’s premier, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, and José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president at the end of an annual bilateral summit in Beijing on Thursday – leaders pledged to increase bilateral trade from about $580bn in 2012 to $1tn by 2020.
China’s biggest lenders, led by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (601398:CH), tripled the amount of bad loans written off in the first half of 2013. The country’s banking regulator has called on banks to purge such loans from their books to prepare for even more defaults. Nonperforming loans at the top four Chinese institutions rose 4 percent in the third quarter, the biggest jump since 2010. The situation is worse at smaller regional lenders, which expanded their balance sheets by about 30 percent last year, three times the rate of the biggest Chinese banks, according to Standard & Poor’s (MHFI). “Small banks will probably fail,” says Ritesh Maheshwari, head of financial-services ratings for the Asia-Pacific region at S&P in Singapore. “Provincial governments will come to aid those banks and then turn to the central government for assistance.”

**Translation – “I don’t have a clue, but nor does anyone else” **

Instead of trying to predict the future, my advice to investors would be to prepare for whatever it might throw at you. Don’t sell out completely, because on a long-term view China is surely still far from its peak. But   don’t bet more than you could afford to lose either.

Put a small percentage of your portfolio – I wouldn’t invest more than 5pc – in a fund run by an experienced manager, perhaps one who has the flexibility   to invest across all the emerging markets, and don’t be surprised if the   market falls by 50pc – or doubles. But if you trust your manager, hang on through the ups and downs.

Lu Xiangdong, 53, in collusion with others including his wife, abused his position to take more than 25 million yuan ($4.10 million) in bribes between 2003 and 2011, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a mid-November ruling by a court in Jilin province.

“The sum of bribes accepted by Lu Xiangdong was immense,” Xinhua said, adding that he was given a “lenient sentence in view of his admission of guilt and good attitude, confession of details, and the return of some illicit funds”.

Today at 12 noon in China, gadget-maker Xiaomi started an experiment selling its smartphones inside WeChat, the popular messaging app. Xiaomi has set aside 150,000 of its flagship Mi3 Android-based smartphone to sell within WeChat – though only the TD-SCMA variant for the China Mobile network.

General Motors Co (NYS:GMNews) will step up its fight against China’s indigenous carmakers such as BYD Co Ltd and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd by ramping up its passenger car business at a Chinese venture best known for making mini vans.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Co Ltd (SGMW), 44 percent-owned by GM, plans to roll out new models, including a hatchback and an MPV, under its newly-created Baojun brand next year, vice president Ray Bierzynski told Reuters.

The funds will be limited to operations in LDK’s home province of Jiangxi by its unit Jiangxi LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co. and cannot be used to pay down debt, the Xinyu, China-based company said today in a statement. The first drawdown of 200 million yuan was approved and completed today.

Glorious Property Holdings Ltd. (845), the Chinese developer controlled by billionaire Zhang Zhirong, said Zhang will make a buyout offer for the company that will cost as much as HK$4.57 billion ($589 million).

Zhangwill offer HK$1.80 a share, a 45 percent premium to the last traded price of HK$1.24, for all outstanding stock, Glorious Property said in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing yesterday. The buyout price is at a 39 percent discount to net asset value, according to the statement. Zhang is also offering 4 Hong Kong cents per stock option.

Alibaba has been pushing its messaging app, Laiwang, a lot recently, including forcing the e-commerce titan’s tens of thousands of employees to get friends to sign up for the app. Today, Alibaba said that Laiwang has added 10 million registered users in the past month.

Singapore offers GM cleaner air, safer food, an unthrottled internet, an independent judiciary, an easily convertible currency, less risk to intellectual property and corporate communication, and a business environment that is designed to support and encourage international administrative and financial functions.

Given such a list of reasons to move, one might wonder why GM moved its international headquarters to Shanghai in the first place.  As it turns out, the answer to this question is more interesting and it provides a lesson on how not to approach the China market.

SAP AG (SAP) and China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (CHA) recently entered into a strategic partnership to expand cloud based offerings in the Chinese enterprise cloud market. As per the partnership, SAP will be providing its cloud portfolio services to small and large organizations in China by China Datacom Corporation Limited (:CDC), a joint venture between SAP and China Communication Services (:CCS), which is a subsidiary of China Telecom Group.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, China Mobile’s website now teases a “new brand” for its upcoming 4G network. That new brand will debut at the carrier’s global partners conference on December 18.  It’s been widely reported that Apple will bring the iPhone to China Mobile very soon, and it looks like the stars have finally aligned for a launch next month.

Why is this a big deal?

China Mobile is the world’s largest carrier, but perhaps more importantly, it’s in China, where Apple is getting walloped by Android devices in terms of market share. In fact, according to Gartner, four out of every five smartphones sold in China run on Android.

Overseas shipments of the fuel exceeded purchases by 200,211 metric tons, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s about 48,600 barrels a day, the most since April, and more than triple net exports in September, the data show.

China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, is shipping more diesel cargoes after the government increased export allowances for China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028), its two biggest refiners. That’s meant to preempt a surplus in fuel supply as plants restart after seasonal repairs and upgrades, according to ICIS-C1 Energy, a Shanghai-based energy consultant.

Posted from Diigo.