China Railway Group

China Business Briefs 28/1/14

Sorry about the lack of posts yesterday. Beijing seems to hit my immune system with frequent minor ailments. All a bit wearisome.

ECONOMY

China Credit Trust Says It Reached Pact on Troubled Product – Bloomberg China Credit Trust Co. said it reached an agreement to restructure a high-yield product that sparked concern over the health of the nation’s $1.67 trillion trust industry and contributed to a global selloff in emerging-market assets.

The agreement includes a potential investment in the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) product, Beijing-based China Credit Trust said on its website today, four days before payment is due. The two-line statement didn’t identify the source of funds, or say whether investors would get their money back.

China shadow bank says reached pact to avoid default – Yahoo Singapore Finance In a notification to investors, obtained by Reuters, the trust firm declared that an accord had been reached and advised investors to contact client managers, but the document, did not say how or when investors would be repaid.

Citing an unnamed investor in the trust product, Caixin, a respected financial magazine, reported on Monday that the agreement allows investors to recover their invested principal, but not the final interest payment originally promised.

China Trust Default Avoided…What Comes Next? – Forbes A default of the “Credit Equals Gold #1” trust product has been avoided. What happens in the coming months will either push China closer towards a financial crisis or help it gradually step back from the edge.

Heard on the Street: China’s Default That Wasn’t – WSJ.com Like clockwork, a mysterious third party has sprung to the rescue, allowing China Credit Trust to repay the principal on high-yield investment products tied to a struggling coal miner. Savers will miss some interest payments and get a lower effective yield, but otherwise escape unharmed. So does the reputation of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the country’s largest commercial lender, which sold the trust products to clients.

The hand of the state seems to be at work. Officials in the miner’s home province were actively involved in coming up with a solution, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bailout involves the third-party investor taking an equity stake in the coal company, which came only after the company suddenly gained approval to restart a closed mine.

China’s top diplomat wants free-trade deal with Europe | Reuters Beijing’s top diplomat called on Monday for China and the European Union to consider a multi-billion-dollar free-trade deal, a once unthinkable step that shows a big improvement in relations between two of the world’s largest markets.

“There are bright prospects for China-EU business cooperation,” Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi told reporters after meeting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton ahead a visit to Brussels by President Xi Jinping in March.

China Trade Puzzle Revived as Hong Kong Data Diverge – Bloomberg China’s trade numbers, distorted by fake exports (HKETEXPC) last year, are set to come under renewed scrutiny after a discrepancy between Hong Kong and Chinese figures for bilateral trade widened to the largest in eight months.

Hong Kong’s December imports from China fell 1.9 percent from a year earlier to HK$176 billion ($22.7 billion), the city’s statistics department said yesterday. That compares with $38.5 billion in exports to Hong Kong reported earlier this month by China’s customs administration, up 2.3 percent, based on data compiled by Bloomberg.

China Property New Loans Hit $380Bln in 2013, Accounting 1/3 of Total-Caijing China’’s property sector attracted 2.34 trillion yuan (about $384 billion) of new loans in the past year, representing nearly a third of the total from the banking institutions, a central bank report showed.

Outstanding yuan-denominated lending to the property sector from both Chinese and foreign financial institutions to the property sector rose 19.1 percent year-on-year to 14.61 trillion yuan by the end of 2013, the People’s Bank of China said.

Total loans outstanding at commercial banks amounted to 71.9 trillion yuan at the end of December, up 14.1 percent year-on-year and compared with a growth rate of 15.0 percent in the previous year.

Currencies and banks: the two big questions about China | The A-List But in the financial world the Chinese remain a little more hesitant. Two big issues kept recurring, one international, the other domestic:

-will the renminbi soon rival the dollar as a global reserve currency?

-is the rapid growth of shadow banking an accident waiting to happen?

China’s debt-fuelled boom is in danger of turning to bust – FT.com Debate rages over how this tale will end. Most analysts believe that the Chinese economy will once again expand by more than 7 per cent this year, despite ballooning private sector debts. But the pessimistic minority has history on its side. Only five developing countries have had a credit boom nearly as big as China’s. All of them went on to suffer a credit crisis and a major economic slowdown.

Banks see slower growth in assets – Frontpage – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Assets of the banking industry ­totaled 148 trillion yuan ($24 trillion) by the end of 2013, up 12.8 percent from a year earlier, according to data released Sunday by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC). The growth rate was the lowest since 2003, when the CBRC first started revealing such data.

Banking assets mainly refer to ­financial institutions’ lending assets. Meanwhile, total liabilities reached 137.9 trillion yuan.

Beijing says US should stop new dumping probe on solar cells | South China Morning Post China’s commerce ministry called on the United States on Sunday to stop anti-dumping investigations into imports of solar power products from China, expressing “serious concern” and vowing to defend its producers.

“The Chinese side expresses serious concern,” the commerce ministry said in a statement on its website. “China urges the United States again to carefully handle the current … investigations, be prudent in taking measures and terminate the investigation proceedings.”

Life Insurance in China, Key Trends and Opportunities to 2017 – PR Newswire – The Sacramento Bee The report provides in depth market analysis, information and insights into the Chinese life insurance segment, including: • Benchmarking analysis of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries • The Chinese life insurance segment’s growth prospects by life insurance categories and customer segments • The various distribution channels in the Chinese life insurance segment • The competitive landscape in the Chinese life insurance segment • A description of the life reinsurance segment in China • Detailed analysis of the regulatory framework in China

Oil Companies Using New Logic in Their Overseas Acquisitions – Among mergers and acquisitions of global upstream oil and gas assets over the past few years, one trend has seen European and American companies selling while national oil companies in China and Russia have been buying.

“In 2013, global M&A transactions of upstream oil and gas assets were the lowest since 2008,” said a January report by IHS, an energy consultancy. The report said that from 2010 to 2012, global M&A transactions of upstream assets totaled US$ 600 billion, with 2012 the highest in a decade, at US$ 250 billion. But this fell to US$ 136 billion in 2013.

Capital’s Expensive Plan to Fight Air Pollution Misguided, Expert Says – However, Tao Guangyuan, executive director of the Sino-German Renewable Energy Cooperation Center, said that while the sum shows determination, the government’s approach might be unnecessarily costly. (The center is supported by the governments of China and Germany.)

Much of the 760 billion yuan will go toward converting coal-burning power plants into ones that burn natural gas. Tao says the government will need to invest heavily in equipment and production facilities, but doing this will also create a long-term financial burden because gas is more expensive than coal.

Selling products and Services into China The big issue today is not so much how to make product in China, but how to sell product and services to China, be that within China or from outside China. Needless to say, the “within China” part is where the complicated legal regulations and hence the tensions can arise.

China’s guarantee companies face survival problems amid slowing economy|WantChinaTimes.com Since the second half of 2011, the government’s four trillion stimulus policy began to ebb, followed with a tightening monetary policy and the implementation of macro-economic control. Bad debt from soft government funds exploded from small and medium-sized enterprises, leading to rising pressure on guarantee companies.

Reforms to fuel Shanghai’s growth in 2014 – Xinhua | English.news.cn Economists believe the city’s financial sector is going to grow even more this year, while Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong estimates the city economy will grow by 7.5 percent. A series of reforms in the landmark Shanghai Free Trade Zone, including changes to capital accounts and interest rates, are expected to add new sources of growth to the financial sector.

Talent returns to China, but progress slow – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn A report on returned overseas talent compiled by Wang found that more than 270,000 people came back in 2012, an increase of 46 percent over 2011, adding that rapid economic development in China is one of the major attractions.

Of those who returned, more than 30 percent took jobs or started a business in areas such as new materials, energy, biotechnology and electronic information.

8.8% salary hikes expected for 2014 – Chinadaily.com.cn Salary increases are expected to hit 8.8 percent in 2014, a slight rise on the 8.6 percent for 2013, according to a survey issued by 51job.com, a human resources service provider.

It found that the highest salary increases occurred in the financial sector, reaching 10.4 percent, followed by real estate (10.1 percent), high tech (9.9 percent) and bio-pharmaceuticals (9.2 percent).

Li reaffirms commitment to social welfare system[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn During his visit, the premier highlighted the importance of social relief work and urged the governments to do a better job in providing basic welfare to disadvantaged people.

“The government has to tighten up the network of social security. A welfare system must be in place for the poor to fall back on if they encounter difficulties,” he said. “Otherwise, these disadvantaged people can easily impact the bottom line of society.”

Hong Kong export growth misses forecast | South China Morning Post The growth, which lagged economists’ forecasts of a rise of 4 to 5 per cent, underscored a weak economic recovery in the United States and disappointing demand in Europe in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, they said.

However, some economists expected better prospects this year on the back of recent strength in the US recovery while Europe’s turmoil hit its bottom.

China probes death of official who liquored up at lavish banquet | Reuters **”negative social impact” is my new favourite euphemism** The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection is investigating Chen Ruixi, deputy mayor of the small city of Sanming in coastal Fujian province, who attended the banquet, as well as his colleagues.

One official died suddenly after the feast, held at the canteen of a private company, the agency said, adding that the event had made a “negative social impact”.

COMPANIES

Citic’s bad loan writeoff a sign of strain in China’s mid-sized banks | South China Morning Post China Citic Bank’s shareholders have agreed for the bank to more than double bad-loan writeoffs for last year, the latest sign of how much China’s economic slowdown is costing the country’s mid-sized banks.

At a meeting in Beijing yesterday, shareholders signed off as expected on management’s plan to write off 5.2 billion yuan (HK$6.6 billion) in non-performing assets, Citic said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing. The bank originally budgeted for two billion yuan in writeoffs.

Lenovo expands into internet service marketWantChinaTimes.com The Lenovo Group, one of the world’s largest PC suppliers, is placing putting more emphasis on catering to internet services in a bid to become more competitive, reports Shanghai-based First Financial Daily.

Instead of focusing on only hardware production, the company is shifting towards an operational style that will also values software capabilities and offering customized internet services.

Mobile Tourism Service Yikuaiqu Nets Millions of Dollars in Series A Financing Yikuaiqu, a tourism app, announced that it has raised millions of dollars in Series A financing led by Shenzhen Hight-tech Investment and followed by Shenzhen Capital Group, etc. The company has secured millions of yuan of angel investment in 2012. The capital will be used in research and development of its travel applications for scenic spots, said Liang Jiankun, CTO of the company.

Suning Commerce Fully Acquires Group-purchasing Site Manzuo with Nearly 10 Million Dollars Suning Commerce (SZ:002024) announced that it fully acquired group-buying site Manzuo for nearly $10 million (source in Chinese), continuing its expansion into Internet industry after becoming the largest shareholder of peer-to-peer video streaming service PPTV last year.

In addition to maintaining independent operation, Manzuo will also take over the group-buying and travelling businesses under Suning. Feng Xiaohai, founder of Manzuo, will be named as the head of Suning’s local life sector. The acquisition procedure will be completed by the end of this March.

Alibaba unveils its three games for Laiwang and Taobao The games are available on two of Alibaba’s mobile apps. Users who update Laiwang, Alibaba’s social messaging app, to the new 4.5 version, will notice a new tab under the “Explore” page with a castle icon. Pressing the tab takes users to the app’s new game center, which currently features two titles.

Not unexpectedly, all three titles fit firmly in the “casual” genre, which have proven to be popular among game developers looking to reach broad audiences, and social networks looking to keep up user retention. Of the games on Laiwang, “Pa Pa Pa” bears a resemblence to Line’s Bubble Pop, while “Po Po Po” recalls Simon. Taobao’s “Crazy Toy,” meanwhile, has many of the trappings of King’s Candy Crush Saga.

China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): China Mobile Shakes Up Fixed-Line Broadband – Seeking Alpha A welcome development looks set to shake up China’s fixed-line broadband sector this year, with word that leading wireless carrier China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) is offering aggressive pricing after receiving a license to offer fixed-line service late last year.

After-school Tutoring Service TAL Education Injects 150 Million Yuan in Childcare Portal Babytree TAL Education (NYSE:XRS), a K-12 after-school tutoring services provider formerly known as Xueersi, announced today it will inject 150 million yuan ($24.79 million) of strategic investment in childcare portal Babytree. Babytree has secured a combined $20 million of investments in previous rounds.

The acquisition of Babytree will help TAL to include pre-school children into its target customers. TAL has acquired education site Kaoyan.com for 50 million yuan last year.

Flying the flag for Chinese cars – Xinhua | English.news.cn Chinese carmaker Hong Qi, or Red Flag, is pressing to have its brand move into the mainstream here in China after years of supplying vehicles to the Chinese government.

Six months ago, Red Flag opened this showroom in Beijing’s exclusive Jinbaojie Street, which makes them almost neighbours with other top name carmakers such as Ferrari and Maserati. So what makes Red Flag Sales Manager Wang Rui Chao believe customers will come to his showroom and not theirs?

Drilling services provider COSL expects deep-water revenue boost | South China Morning Post China Oilfield Services (COSL), the mainland’s dominant provider of offshore drilling services, expects more work and a greater contribution from more capital-intensive deep-water jobs will lift revenues this year.

However, the company warned that the subdued outlook for oil prices will constrain the upside for drilling rates.

China’s Tencent WeChat App Targets U.S. Users – China Real Time Report – WSJ The fast-growing smartphone messaging application is now trying to expand in the U.S. market with a newly launched promotional campaign.

According to WeChat’s Chinese website, here’s how the new promotion works: Tencent is asking people who hold Google accounts to connect their accounts with WeChat, so they can invite their Google contacts to join WeChat. People can win a $25 Restaurant.com gift card from Tencent by getting five of their Google contacts to join WeChat.

Tencent Fully Acquires Map Service Linktech Navi with 60 Million Yuan Chinese Internet giant Tencent continues its acquisition spree this year by pouring 60 million yuan ($9.92 million) of funding in Beijing-based mapping service Linktech Navi for a 100% stake in the company (source in Chinese).

Founded in 2001, Linktech Navi is accredited with the state Grade-A qualification on surveying and mapping. The company’s main businesses are digital maps, navigation system, GPS vehicle monitoring solution, LBS application solution, etc. Linktech Navi’s customers include automobile manufacturers, like Chery, Shac, and Hawtai Motor, navigation services, telecos, among others.

Closer Look: Developers Build Banking Ties with Stake Purchases – Hong Kong-listed Evergrande Real Estate Group expanded into banking by acquiring a 4.5 percent stake in Beijing-based Huaxia Bank for 3.3 billion yuan last week.

A source close to the property developer said the purchase is a strategic investment. Huaxia has a strong balance sheet that can improve Evergrande’s financials. It may help Evergrande finance at a lower cost, he said.

BRIEF-China Life Insurance expects 2013 net profit up 120 pct on investment gains | Reuters China Life Insurance Co Ltd

* Says expects 2013 net profit up 120 percent y/y versus net profit of 11.1 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) previous year

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/wac46v

BRIEF-Ping An Insurance 2013 premium income totalled 268.7 bln yuan | Reuters Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd

* Says 2013 premium income totalled 268.7 billion yuan ($44.4 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/seb95v

allAfrica.com: Ethiopia: Halfway Point Reached in Inner-City Rail Project (Page 1 of 2) While China Railway Group Limited (CREG) won the contract for the construction of the lines, it was the Metal & Engineering Corporation (MetEC) that was charged with supplying the tracks and the trains to transport passengers. Once complete, the tracks will be of standard size (1.435m wide) double track for the whole route.

LNG import: SSGC, ECC likely to award $1.4b contract today – The Express Tribune EVTL had submitted the offer for LNG services in partnership with China Harbour Engineering Company, a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company, which has been blacklisted by the World Bank until January 2017.

However, the government cleared the company, saying that the project was not being funded by the World Bank, therefore, EVTL could not be disqualified. However, “a question arises why such clause was made part of the tender when it could not be implemented,” an official asked.

SKAI Holdings secures AED737.6m (USD201m) of financing from China’s ICBC for its Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah projectReal Estate – Zawya SKAI Holdings, the Dubai-based real estate investment company, today announced it has secured AED737.6m (US$201m) of financing for its AED3.75bn Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah, ensuring the project is fully funded.

The financing agreement, which further reaffirms SKAI Holdings commitment to the UAE’s hospitality sector, was arranged by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China’s largest bank, marking its first project financing deal for a hospitality project in the Middle East.

BRIEF-China’s Jiugui Liquor says police investigating theft, financial impact uncertain | Reuters China’s Jiugui Liquor Co Ltd

* Says police investigating 100 million yuan ($16.53 million)stolen from its account with Agricultural Bank of China’s Hangzhou Branch, financial impact of the theft still uncertain

Chinese Pork Supplier WH Group Said to Apply for $6b IPO – Bloomberg WH Group Ltd., the Chinese company that bought the world’s biggest pork supplier last year, applied to the Hong Kong stock exchange for an initial public offering, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company plans to seek as much as $6 billion from the offering in the first half, the people said yesterday, asking not to be identified as the information is private. WH Group changed its name from Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. this month.

The WSJ Weekend Interview with Erik Prince: Out of Blackwater and Into China – WSJ.com Now, sitting in a boardroom above Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, he explains his newest title, acquired this month: chairman of Frontier Services Group, an Africa-focused security and logistics company with intimate ties to China’s largest state-owned conglomerate, Citic Group. Beijing has titanic ambitions to tap Africa’s resources—including $1 trillion in planned spending on roads, railways and airports by 2025—and Mr. Prince wants in.

Nicaragua canal fast-tracked with Chinese boost The Chinese company, HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd., is working with the Nicaraguan government on a massive canal project experts say could take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require digging about 130 miles (200 kilometers) of waterway.

Just as the Panama Canal was a projection of growing U.S. power at the start of the 20th century, the Nicaragua project already reflects China’s influence and financial clout around the world. Another Hong Kong-based company has been operating port facilities on both ends of the Panama Canal.

ICBC Chief: China’s Shadow Banking Overblown – TheStreet Viewers of China’s state-run television Saturday heard the head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China say shadow-banking problems in the country have been overblown and “distorted.”

ICBC Chairman Jiang Jianqing, interviewed by CCTV television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said “society has over-exaggerated and completely distorted the severity of shadow banking” in China.

I did not disown rail deal – AG | The Star Githu further discounted claims that his office’s endorsement of the commercial agreement signed between Kenya Railways and the China Road Corporation was also an approval of the tendering process. He said the SGR the logic of the financing agreement had “the making of a closed tender”.

Posted from Diigo.

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China Stock Watch 21/1/14

After yesterday’s pessimism over the spiking interbank rate and worries over trust product defaults, stocks rebounded upon a RMB2255bn liquidity injection from the PBOC. Cash shortages were partly down to the run-up to Chinese New Year, although evidently the influence of funds from Alibaba and Ping An Insurance, for example, which offer substantially over the bank rate, is helping dry up bank deposits. The expectation is that with the PBOC sitting on massive FX reserves, it will be able to smooth over the bumps as banks have less deposits, SOEs have less access to capital (and hence are issuing more overseas bonds), and as the trust products and the shadow banking industry fail to provide the promised dividends. Time will tell, but the basic system of the Chinese economy is undergoing a rapture, and chances are there will be victims. Stocks trading around or even below book value is an almighty red flag.

On today’s trading, then, railway stocks did best, with China Railway Group gaining 2.19% to RMB4.2 a share, and China Railway Construction adding 1.68% to close at RMB2.42. Twelve of the twenty major stocks closed up, though only the aforementioned pair, SAIC Motor and Ping An Insurance put on over 1%. CNOOC had a very bad day, going down 6.3% to HK$13.08 on news that it had failed to meet production targets for the third year running. Energy stocks were otherwise flat, with China’s slower growth believed to herald lower growth in energy usage; both Sinopec and PetroChina finished the day as they started.

The Shanghai Composite closed at 2,008.31, having gained 17.06 points, or 0.86%.

Name Price Change Mkt cap 52wk high 52wk low EPS P/E
Sinopec 4.62 0.00 (0.00%) 538,531.74M 7.03 4.05 CN¥0.62 7.51
PetroChina 7.63 0.00 (0.00%) 1.40B 9.5 7.08 CN¥0.68 11.29
ICBC 3.4 0.00 (0.00%) 1.19B 4.53 3.38 CN¥0.74 4.62
China Construction Bank 3.92 +0.02 (0.51%) 980,043.05M 5.19 3.8 CN¥0.85 4.63
Agricultural Bank 2.37 +0.01 (0.42%) 769,762.02M 3.28 2.35 CN¥0.50 4.72
Bank of China 2.47 0.00 (0.00%) 690,030.45M 3.26 2.45 CN¥0.53 4.65
China Mobile 77.15* +0.50 (0.65%) 1.55B 89.2 74.9 HK$8.19 9.41
Noble Group 1 -0.01 (-0.99%) 6,660.21M 1.27 0.785 SGD0.04 27.64
China State Construction 3 +0.02 (0.67%) 90,000.00M 4.18 2.9 CN¥0.62 4.87
CNOOC 13.08* -0.88 (-6.30%) 583,988.72M 16.52 12.04 HK$1.89 6.91
China Railway Construction 4.2 +0.09 (2.19%) 51,817.67M 6.25 3.95 CN¥0.84 4.99
China Railway Group 2.42 +0.04 (1.68%) 51,545.76M 3.36 2.3 CN¥0.44 5.52
SAIC Motor 12.68 +0.20 (1.60%) 139,804.19M 19 11.83 CN¥2.05 6.18
China Life Insurance 14.3 +0.08 (0.56%) 404,185.29M 22 12.88 CN¥0.97 14.79
Dongfeng Motor 11.52* -0.04 (-0.35%) 99,257.71M 13.28 9.48 HK$1.38 8.37
China Shenhua 14.15 +0.06 (0.43%) 281,438.12M 25.28 13.97 CN¥2.25 6.29
Ping An Insurance 41.37 +0.65 (1.60%) 327,490.79M 53.27 31.69 CN¥3.45 11.99
China Telecom 3.61* -0.01 (-0.28%) 292,165.84M 4.42 3.48 HK$0.26 13.98
China Communications Construction 3.81 +0.02 (0.53%) 61,625.74M 5.79 3.74 CN¥0.81 4.71
Bank of Communications 3.73 +0.01 (0.27%) 276,999.97M 5.68 3.65 CN¥0.84 4.43

China Business Briefs 14/1/14

ECONOMY

Red Flags in China – Can It Prevent a Major Financial Crisis? | Matthew Kerkhoff | FINANCIAL SENSE China’s policymakers have been working to shift their economic model towards consumption, and away from excess investment spending. An explosion in lending is beginning to saddle China with the same problems that have plagued other debt-ridden nations.

Take a look at the chart below, from The Wall Street Journal, which shows the rise in China’s debt levels compared with other countries before their respective financial crises. Looks strikingly similar if you ask me.

China pouring billions into London real estate – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn|china|news|chinanews|ecns|cns Research released last December by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc, a Chicago-based real estate service and investment company, showed Chinese investment in London real estate has risen more than 1,500 percent since 2010, increasing from 54 million pounds to more than 1 billion pounds at the end of the third quarter of 2013.

This increase means that Chinese investment in London real estate now accounts for more than 50 percent of the total figure for Chinese investment in the rest of Europe, which stood at 1.9 billion pounds in 2013.

China Military to Stop Buying Foreign-Branded Cars, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg China’s military will stop buying foreign-branded vehicles as part of a campaign to promote frugality and reduce waste, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The military will also limit official trips and lavish receptions and ban its members from receiving gifts and souvenirs, Xinhua said. The armed forces will strictly control new construction of official buildings or the renting out of office space, according to the report.

US challenges China over compliance with WTO ruling – FT.com The United States has for the first time challenged China’s compliance with a World Trade Organisation ruling, claiming the country had failed to make changes ordered by a WTO dispute resolution panel.

The dispute alleges China refused to comply with a 2012 ruling that barred the country from imposing duties on a type of heavy steel manufactured in the US. The complaint asserted that the inaction was costing US companies about $250m per year.

New areas underscore China’s westward shift of development|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com China’s State Council, the country’s cabinet, recently approved two national-level new areas in western China, namely the Xixian New Area in Shaanxi province and Gui’an New Area in Guizhou province, increasing the number of new areas in the western region to four — on top of Liangjiang New Area in Chongqing and Lanzhou New Area in Gansu province, reports Shanghai’s China Business News.

Fuzhou’s US$16bn new town to emulate Shanghai FTZ|Policy|Business|WantChinaTimes.com A proposal for the development of a new district in Fuzhou and the city government’s plan to upgrade the Fuzhou development project to the national strategic level has been announced by the city mayor, reports China Business Journal.

HK should grow into a full-fledged financial market: HKEx – Xinhua | English.news.cn Hong Kong should grow into a full- fledged financial market and become the global financial center of Asia, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) Chief Executive Charles Li said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Seventh Asian Financial Forum, Li said that in the last 30 years, China’s reform has been made mainly through three events — trade, which brought China the first bucket of gold, foreign direct investment, which has engaged China with the world market, and capital market formation. Hong Kong has becomes the offshore capital center of the Chinese mainland, and essentially has helped it grow into an important destination for world’s largest banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions.

Chief of China’s wealth fund bullish on US private sector | South China Morning Post China’s sovereign wealth investment fund is poised to launch a buying spree in global infrastructure projects and advanced technology companies after deleveraging in the US and European private sectors has run its course, its chief said.

However, Ding Xuedong, chairman and chief executive of the US$575 billion China Investment Corporation, cautioned that the outlook for US investments could be clouded by the tapering activity of the US Federal Reserve.

Guangdong outlines big FTZ plans[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn The Guangdong provincial government has vowed to realize liberalization of trade in services in the South China province and its neighboring Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions by this year through CEPA (the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement).

China Provinces Set Lower Growth Goals for 2014 – Bloomberg Some Chinese provinces are setting lower growth targets for this year than in 2013, adding to signs that expansion will slow as the government focuses on policies to sustain the economy in the long term.

Hebei, which borders Beijing in the north, set an 8 percent growth goal amid “unprecedented pressure” from air-pollution controls, according to an annual work report published today in the official Hebei Daily. Last year’s target was 9 percent. Fujian in the southeast and Gansu and Ningxia in the northwest are also targeting slower expansion, state-run websites show.

Hedge Funds’ Bets on China Pay Off – WSJ.com One reason for the strong performance is hedge funds stayed away from stock benchmarks loaded with shares of debt-laden state-owned enterprises, a sector that is struggling as the country enacts reforms aimed at increasing competition, said Richard Johnston, Asia head for alternative investment advisory firm Albourne Partners.

Chinese Search Market Saw 40% Increase in Revenue in 2013 The total revenues made by Chinese search services in 2013 is 39.32 billion yuan (about $6.5 billion), a 40.1% increase, according to the latest report by Chinese online data service iResearch. The increase rate is, however, lower than that for the previous year.

Foreign banks lured to Shanghai free-trade zone are left in limbo over regulation delay | South China Morning Post Foreign banks that were lobbied by the Chinese government to open branches in the mainland’s first free-trade zone in Shanghai have been left with little to do by ambiguous guidance and regulations that have yet to come into force.

However, after three months of preparation, many foreign banks are still left with very little to do in their new offices in the free-trade zone (FTZ), since most regulations are still at an un-actionable stage, said lawyers and accountants.

Detroit’s Plan: Export Cars, Import Chinese Investment – China Real Time Report – WSJ Even as Chinese auto makers shun the Detroit auto show, local officials and automotive industry players are hoping to transform Motor City into a hub for Chinese investment.

The Detroit Chinese Engineer Association has around 1,600 registered members, according to Zifeng Nie, chairman of its technical council. He estimates the total number of Chinese engineers working in the Detroit area to be around five times that figure. There are around 87,000 engineers in total in Michigan.

China’s Stocks Rebound After Reaching Cheapest Levels on Record – Bloomberg The Shanghai index’s 14-day relative strength measure, measuring how rapidly prices have advanced or dropped during a specified time period, was at 26.2 yesterday. Readings below 30 indicate it may be poised to rise. Trading volumes were 21 percent below the 30-day average today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China branded products Succeeding at selling consumer products (really most products) in the United States virtually always requires more than just having the lowest price.  Unless and until Chinese companies truly understand this (rather than paying it mere lip service), the threat of Chinese companies taking over the US consumer market is minimal at best.

Liam Halligan: It pays to keep an eye on events in the East – Telegraph Among the most under-reported major trends in the world, this emerging Sino-Russian economic and diplomatic link-up will do a great deal to shape   the world economy in the years and decades to come.

As recently as 2003, cross-border trade between Russia and China amounted to just $12bn (£7.28bn). Over the last decade, that total has risen seven-fold, reaching $88bn last year.

China’s water shortage is so bad it could turn out the lights China has lost more than an entire Netherlands-worth of wetlands in the last decade—340,000 sq. km, or 9% of China’s total land—to agriculture, development, and climate change, according to new figures from its State Forestry Administration. It’s the latest in a long line of ominous warnings about the water supply in China, which has one-fifth of the world’s population but only 6% of its freshwater.

Chinese investors should avoid Britain’s rotten egg rail project | South China Morning Post **This is typical of British attitudes towards infrastructure or engineering works – investment in property is fine, but anything more ambitious gets sneered at** According to reports last week, Chinese state companies are eager to invest in Britain’s planned HS2 high-speed railway from London to Birmingham, and beyond to Manchester and Leeds.

They would be better advised to find another use for their capital. Although construction work has yet to start, HS2 shows all the signs of a classic British cock-up in the making.

5 Things Needed For an Education Startup in China Below are the 5 things entrepreneurs ‘should get’ for their education startup in China, according to Terry:

COMPANIES

Sinopec Plagued by Pipeline Crisis -Caijing **This is frightening** A schematic diagram of the national oil pipeline network shows that almost every province throughout the country has petrochemical pipelines, and many  cities incorporate multiple types of pipelines. And in each city, there are a  greater number of municipal grids that are even more complex. According to data from PetroChina Pipeline Company, there are more than 8,000 pipelines nationwide  that are in violation of current regulations.

China Railway Group Ltd : ANNOUNCEMENT-PASS AWAY OF PRESIDENT AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR | 4-Traders **Only took a week and a 10% share-price fall** The board of directors (the “Board”) of China Railway Group Limited (the “Company”) announces with deepest grief that Mr. Bai Zhongren, the President and an executive director of the Company, passed away on 4 January 2014 due to accident.

China Securities Regulator Investigating Sinovel Wind Group – WSJ.com **Who are the auditors, Deloitte?** Sinovel Wind Group Co., China’s onetime wind-power champion, signaled renewed scrutiny by Chinese regulators into its accounting problems in a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange late Sunday.

In the filing, Sinovel said it received a notice of an investigation from the China Securities Regulatory commission, adding to challenges that also include U.S. criminal charges and weak demand for wind turbines.

China Crackdown on IPO Pricing Gains Momentum With Bids Ignored – Bloomberg Chinese companies marketing initial  share sales are settling for lower valuations than most  investors were offering to pay, evidence that a government crackdown on overpriced deals is yielding results.

Beijing Utour International Travel Service Co. (002707), Hebei Huijin Electromechanical Co. (300368) and Yangzhou Yangjie Electronics Technology Co. (300373) priced IPO shares at below-average valuations for their respective industries after rejecting most investor bids for stock as too high, according to statements on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s website today.

Delay in SUV Launch Hits Great Wall Motor – WSJ.com Great Wall Motor Co.’s shares fell to a six-month low Tuesday after the Chinese auto maker said it deferred the launch of a sport-utility vehicle.

Analysts said the delay highlights the challenges China’s largest SUV maker by sales faces as it seeks a more upscale image to better complete with foreign car makers.

Huawei Pushes into Living Room With Game Console – China Real Time Report – WSJ Over the past few years, China’s Huawei Technologies has been branching further outside its mainstay telecommunications equipment business to sell more consumer products like smartphones, tablets and set-top boxes for TVs . Now, it’s making a push into the living room with a video game console.

Huawei has been trying to establish itself as a consumer brand as it seeks new engines for revenue growth beyond the market for telecom networking gear. Over the past few years, Huawei has become a major smartphone vendor in China, but it still has a long way to go in terms of consumer recognition, and the new game console could be a step toward building a more familiar brand.

RSI Alert: China Petroleum & Chemical (SNP) Now Oversold – Forbes In trading on Monday, shares of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. Inc (NYSE: SNP) entered into oversold territory, hitting an RSI reading of 29.5, after changing hands as low as $75.24 per share. By comparison, the current RSI reading of the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is 47.0. A bullish investor could look at SNP’s 29.5 RSI reading today as a sign that the recent heavy selling is in the process of exhausting itself, and begin to look for entry point opportunities on the buy side. The chart below shows the one year performance of SNP shares:

China Petroleum and Chemical Rating Lowered to Underperform at Zacks (SNP) | Zolmax Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are downgrading our recommendation on Sinopec to Underperform from Neutral, ahead of fourth quarter results. During the first nine months of 2013, the company witnessed a sharp fall in crude oil prices. This during the first nine months of 2013, dragged down Exploration and Production (E&P) segment’s operating profit by 15.5% year over year.

AB InBev to Buy Chinese Brewery Brand in CY3.8Bn Deal: Reports -Caijing Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Belgian-Brazilian multinational beverage and  brewing group, is planning to buy a Chinese brewery brand with 3.85billion yuan, Chinese media reported.

Ginsber, the north China-based brewer, was the eighth  largest beer brand by sales volume in Chinese market in 2011 when AB InBev surpassed Beijing-based Yanjing Brewery to become the market’s third largest brand.

Chat app WeChat launches four games in Southeast Asia It seems like the chat app competition has become a battle after all – according to WeChat, the China-based messenger will be rolling out four games for users residing in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia.

We reported earlier that WeChat had brought its game service into Indonesia, with four titles to begin with. But this news proves that it won’t stop there. WeChat will bring four games to the new markets in Southeast Asia, three of which already launched in Indonesia.

Shuanghui to apply next week for US$6 billion Hong Kong IPO, sources say | South China Morning Post Shuanghui International, China’s largest meat processor, plans to apply as early as next week for a listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange to raise up to US$6 billion, making it one of the biggest initial public offerings in Asia in years, people close to the situation say.

Yum Brands China same-store sales rose in December – MarketWatch Yum Brands Inc.’s China same-store sales rose an estimated 2% during December, increasing for a second straight month, but declined an estimated 4% for its fourth quarter.

The restaurant company has been trying to recover from food-safety concerns related to KFC chicken suppliers more than a year ago. Yum in November began an advertising and social-media campaign to assure people that its food is safe.

China Construction Bank VP to Lead China Everbright Bank | 4-Traders China Construction Bank vice president Zhao Huan will be appointed as president of China Everbright Bank amid a reshuffle of several bank executives, China Business News reported on Monday.

The report also said that Zhu Xiaohuang, president of China Citic Bank, would leave his post to become chairman of China Citic Group’s board of supervisors. The bank, China’s seventh-largest lender by assets, has so far declined to comment on the matter.

Chinese Smartphone Startup OnePlus Aims at Developed Markets OnePlus is a newly established Chinese smartphone brand officially announced today in Beijing.

It’s not just another phone brand by low-cost manufacturing China or aimed at less developed markets. OnePlus will be about high specs, comparatively low prices, selling directly online and shipping to the rest of the world, especially developed markets.

Bright Food gets 2nd Aussie firm – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Bright Food Group Co Ltd, China’s second-largest food producer, acquired a midsized Australian dairy company following the purchase of Manassen Foods in the same country.

Manassen, in which Bright Food has a 75 percent stake, has signed a deal to buy Mundella Foods, a four-decade-old company in Western Australia, according to Bright Food spokesman Pan Jianjun.

China Merchants eyes deals in logistics | South China Morning Post China Merchants Group will take advantage of merger and acquisition opportunities in the mainland’s fragmented logistics and infrastructure sector as local governments deleverage, said the company’s chairman, Fu Yuning.

There are over 100,000 logistics players on the mainland but there are a lack of major players with advantages of scale.

China shoes: feeling the pinch – FT.com Three years ago Chinese shoe sellers were increasing their sales at a 20 per cent clip – and they were adding stores even faster. Stock valuations could be as dazzling as Dorothy’s ruby slippers. Now that sales are flat or falling, shares have followed suit and a rebound looks unlikely.

China’s Bold $10 Billion Investment in Nigerian Hydrocarbons Well, never mind the experiences of Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total, and Eni, Chinese companies are willing to brave the Nigerian new frontier and invest onshore there. On 10 January, the federal government in Abuja approved a $10 billion in Chinese oil exploration in the Bida Basin.

More Obstacles Ahead for Chalco Despite Year-end Profits – State-owned Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd. (Chalco), the nation’s biggest producer of aluminum, turned a profit before the year’s end by selling 12.9 billion yuan of assets to its parent company. The sale allowed it to stave off a risk warning on mainland exchanges.

The company said on January 10 that it expects to earn about 1 billion yuan in net profits in 2013, which means the company could avoid getting branded as an “ST share.” ST or Special Treatment, is a risk warning issued by the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges for listed companies that have two consecutive years of negative net profits.

China Telecom Offers South Pole Mobile Service | 4-Traders China Telecom Corporation Ltd. (NYSE: CHA and SEHK: 0728) has offered e-Surfing mobile communication service in South Pole, making first mobile phone call from there, ending the history for China to have no mobile communication service in South Pole. Thus, China Telecom becomes the first Chinese telecom carrier to open mobile communication service in South Pole.

Uganda inches towards oil sales With China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), the only holder of an oil production license for the Kingfisher Discovery Area, expectations are that 2014 will likely be the year for the government to issue more production licenses to other firms.

China Seeks to Invest in Dutch Grain Trader – WSJ.com Chinese state-owned food company Cofco Corp. offered to buy a minority stake in Netherlands-based grain trader Nidera BV, the latest move by the world’s most-populous country to secure access to food resources.

Cofco submitted a binding bid for the stake last month, a person familiar with the transaction said. The stake is valued at around US$250 million, but it wasn’t clear how much Cofco offered to pay. The terms of the deal were being discussed, the person said.

ZURICH inks MoU with BANK OF CHINA to explore bancassurance opportunities in MALAYSIA | 4-Traders Zurich Insurance Malaysia Bhd declared that it has entered into a deal with the Bank of China Ltd for the expansion of bancassurance opportunities in Malaysia, by selling insurance products to the bank s clients.

It is stated, Zurich can provide the right guidance and surety which will be significant in Bank of China s business expansion here in Malaysia.

Fed Approves Chinese Bank for Expansion in California – Syndication Content Article – American Banker The Federal Reserve will allow Hong Kong-based Wing Lung Bank to expand in California as Chinese lenders boost their U.S. presence.

Wing Lung plans to establish a San Francisco branch and upgrade its existing office in Alhambra, California, to a full- service operation, the Fed said today in a statement.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China : 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.

ICBC points out that it will determine how many certificates will be sold and how long the certificates will mature in quotas filed this year and single issuance will be not less than CNY 50 million. Outstanding certificates will be not higher than quotas planned for the entire year at any time this year.

China data center roundup: Dawning, HongDa Telecom and CloudKC | Datacenter Dynamics Phase 1 of the 20m CNY Xinjiang Cloud Computing Data Center has come online.

Phase 1 of the project has seen 48 high-performance servers and storage systems deployed, and offers optical fiber connections by China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 13/1/14

ECONOMY

Yuan Reaches 1993-High on Record Fixing as Taper Concern Eases – Bloomberg The currency advanced by the most in a month as the People’s Bank of China strengthened the daily fixing by 0.1 percent today to 6.0950 per dollar, the highest since a peg to the greenback was scrapped in July 2005. U.S. employers added 74,000 workers in December, the least since January 2011, the Labor Department said on Jan. 10. China had a trade surplus of $25.6 billion in December, according to official figures released Jan. 10.

China Moving Closer to Bank Failure: Xinhua-Caijing China is moving closer to allowing its banks actually fail, the official Xinhua reported, citing Yan Qingmin, deputy chairman of China Banking Regulatory Commission.

The market will have the final say in future, Yan told the forum, which means banks would have to stay out of the market if they end up insolvent. Such a remark from the regulator has signaled the state’s exit from its support to deposits in commercial banks and the government will for the first time allow its banks to go bankrupt, Xinhua said.

China’s 2013 exports rise 7.9%, imports up 7.3% – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s exports rose 7.9 percent year on year to $2.21 trillion in 2013, while imports increased 7.3 percent to $1.95 trillion, customs data revealed on Friday.

The foreign trade surplus widened to $259.75 billion in 2013, an increase of 12.8 percent from a year earlier, said Zheng Yuesheng, spokesman for the General Administration of Customs.

Nation’s salary growth strong: Report – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn According to the 2014 Hays Asia Salary Guide, which was released on Thursday and polled about 2,600 employers across the region, 67 percent of the surveyed Chinese employers said they will increase employees’ salaries above 6 percent, compared with 66 percent last year.

US scrutinises Chinese investments most over national security: law firm | South China Morning Post The Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviewed 23 transactions proposed by Chinese companies in 2012, followed by 17 for Britain, traditionally top of the list for scrutiny, and 13 for Canada, US law firm Kaye Scholer said in a report.

Investors still not sold on rail sector – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Some see these losses as a sign that China’s rail assets are undervalued, despite a recent industry overhaul. In actuality though, investors have good reason to be bearish on the rail sector.

Chinese Developers Set to Increase Investment In Foreign Real Estate – Forbes Chinese developers have been purchasing big real estate projects in the world’s most important cities in the past year. They will continue the shopping spree this year, with other Chinese groups to follow the trend soon, according to real estate analysts.

New property bureau to be set up – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China will establish a new bureau specifically designed for property registration this year in a push to facilitate property management reform, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), the country’s top land regulator, said over the weekend, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

On top of the establishment of the new bureau, relevant regulations that will lay the ground for a unified regi­stration system will be released this year, Xu Deming, vice minister of land and resources, said Saturday at a two-day annual work conference.

China Believes that it Can Duplicate Our Success Given our recent success in producing oil and natural gas, it shouldn’t shock anyone that other countries believe they can follow suit. China now has hopes of doubling its oil production by 2030. Because it will be relying heavily on unconventional production methods, the help of current experts in these areas will be needed. Equipment & service providers Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) have already begun successfully setting up shop in China. They will be helping producers like CNOOC (NYSE: CEO) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A  ) tap these vast resources. For more, tune in to the clip below.

Why China Wants to Kill Off Bitcoin The press releases may seem mundane, but the reality is, China has a big incentive to keep Bitcoin out of the hands of its citizens. China maintains very tight capital controls, limiting the amount of cash citizens can move outside the country.

Bitcoin effectively circumvents any and all capital controls. Prior to a widespread ban, Chinese citizens could buy Bitcoin to sell for another currency, or even buy homes in foreign lands. Yes, homes. Several homes have been listed with prices in Bitcoin.

COLUMN-Record China crude oil imports flatter to deceive: Clyde Russell | Reuters Taken together, net crude and fuel imports last year were 5.83 million bpd, up about 160,000 bpd, or 2.8 percent, from 2012’s 5.67 million bpd.

This figure is a truer reflection of the overall state of Chinese import demand.

Closer Look: Same Game, Different Names – The end of a listing freeze on mainland stock exchanges has reinvigorated investor appetites for new shares. This comes along with the intention of many company founders to cash out of newly-listed companies. When such demands intersect, sparks are bound to fly.

RMB appreciation unappreciated as inflation dampens affordability|WantChinaTimes.com The 35.7% appreciation in the value of the yuan during this eight-year period has been a positive development for Chinese exchange students studying overseas, but locals who have remained in the country are complaining that their money is becoming less valuable given that the consumer price index, the main measure of inflation, has averaged around 3.1% per year.

Milk, Games and Movies: China Stocks to Watch in 2014 – China Real Time Report – WSJ One area to watch: dairy products. The government’s relaxation of its one-child policy and antitrust measures targeting international competitors are both good news for the domestic milk industry, Bank of Communications Schroder Fund Management Co. said in a recent research report. Retail prices of China’s dairy products rose 5.7% in 2013 on-year, up from an increase of 3.2% in 2012, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed—faster than inflation, which clocked in for the year at 2.6%.

China can avoid Japan-style property bubble: official | Reuters China’s policy fine-tuning and ongoing urbanization can help it to avoid a Japan-style property bubble, a senior housing official said, amid fears a housing market crash could lead to a hard landing for the world’s second-largest economy.

Beijing has allowed local governments to take differentiated property tightening measures, rather than a one-size-fits-all bid to cool the market, Vice Housing Minister Qiu Baoxing said in remarks published in the Southern Metropolis Daily.

Luxury cars drive UK exports to China – Telegraph British exports to China are rising at a blistering pace and are poised to overtake those of France for the first time in the modern era, driven by sales of Range Rovers and other luxury cars to the country’s new rich.

Fresh data released by China’s authorities show that imports from Britain rose 14pc to $19.1bn (£11.6bn) last year, with more than 40pc of total sales coming from vehicles and transport goods.

Closer Look: Why Overpriced IPOs are not a Reason for Intervention – All of them have one thing in common: the price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of their proposed offering price was much higher than the average PE ratio of comparable companies in the secondary market.

Five companies scheduled to start their online road shows for an initial public offering on January 13 postponed their issuance on the previous day, putting the number of companies to halt their stock issuance last minute at six.

China ‘equity return’ is a misnomer – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch The lack of correlation between China’s growth and stock-market performance has frustrated money managers for years and spawned a variety of theories to try to explain this misnomer. Some look more useful than others, but they are worth reviewing as new explanations arrive.

Little consensus on renminbi appreciation this year | China Economic Review The bank’s Deputy Governor Yi Gang went a bit further last week, saying that China’s currency was close to equilibrium and would not require more intervention.

If that’s true, and China intends to stop buying US treasuries on a regular basis, the value of the yuan should appreciate considerably this year and in the years to come as China’s trade surplus is set to rise too. The IMF says the country’s current accounts surplus will double between 2013 and 2017.

COMPANIES

Death blast hits Sinopec for $963m – The Standard China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (0386) announced yesterday it had suffered a direct loss of 751.72 million yuan (HK$963.69 million) from a deadly accident in Qingdao last November for which chairman Fu Chengyu has received disciplinary penalties.

Fu was given a demerit on administration, while vice chairman Wang Tianpu, president Li Chunguang, chief safety officer Wang Yongjian and supervisor and director of general production Yu Renming were given “serous demerit on administration,” the firm said.

Chinese app store Wandoujia seals $120 million in funding Wandoujia, one of China’s top Android app stores, has secured a massive $120 million in funding, the Beijing-based startup revealed today.

The investment is led by SoftBank (TYO:9984), the Japanese mobile telco, with some funds also coming from DCM and Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works Development Fund (IWDF). It’s the second major cash boost for Wandoujia, coming long after its $8 million in series A funding in 2011, which was led by DCM and Innovation Works.

Billionaire Li’s PCCW, Pacific Century Premium Suspend Trading – Bloomberg PCCW Ltd. (8), controlled by billionaire Richard Li, and its property unit Pacific Century Premium Developments Ltd. (432) halted their shares from trading in Hong Kong.

Pacific Century Premium plans to release a statement relating to “inside information and unusual price and trading volume movements,” the company said in a filing today. Shares of the Hong Kong-based property developer surged 15 percent to HK$3.07 before the trading halt.

WeChat brings in over 100,000 taxi rides in 9 days It’s been about a week and a half since WeChat, the messaging app that’s dominating smartphones in China, added taxi booking and payments to its range of services. The maker of WeChat, Chinese web giant Tencent, added support for the Didi Dache service after investing nearly $100 million into it. Today the fine folks at 36kr say that the total number of completed transactions – meaning taxis hailed and paid for inside of WeChat – have surpassed 100,000.

KFC Crisis in China Tests Ingenuity of Brand Builder – WSJ.com More than a year into the crisis, Yum is still struggling. Now Mr. Su and Chief Executive David Novak say the Louisville, Ky., company can turn things around in 2014, vowing that new menu items and digital-media initiatives will revive the brand in China. “I fully expect a strong comeback year,” Mr. Su said in a rare interview last month.

Some investors are getting restless. Yum’s shares—which had been propelled for years by its China growth—are up only 12% since late November 2012, when Chinese state media started reporting on food-safety concerns surrounding KFC suppliers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 26% in that period.

President Death Leaves Heir Overdue Rail Payments: China Credit – Bloomberg Shares in China’s second-biggest builder of railways have fallen 4.9 percent in Hong Kong since the company said Jan. 5 that President Bai Zhongren had died in an accident and that Chairman Li Changjin will take over his job before a successor is chosen. The yield on 2023 dollar-denominated debt of a company unit reached an eight-week high of 5.03 percent on Jan. 9, up from 3.88 percent when they were sold last January.

The Beijing-based company had 531.6 billion yuan ($87.9 billion) of liabilities on Sept. 30, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Its long-term debt to equity ratio of 129 percent would put it in the worst 3 percent on the Hang Seng Index, while its ability to cover interest payments with earnings would be in the worst 1 percent.

Li & Fung to Launch Factory-Safety Business – WSJ.com Li & Fung Ltd. , the buying agent for retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp., said it is setting up the unit to provide factories with consulting services on safety, compliance and efficiency, as well as access to financing and insurance.

Dogfight on the cards | South China Morning Post A dogfight is looming in the horizon as more budget carriers come on stream, bringing them head-to-head with the likes of Cathay Pacific Airways, China Southern Airlines and Air China.

There are about 60 budget airlines operating nearly 1,000 aircraft in the Asia-Pacific but only four in Greater China – encompassing the mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – deploying fewer than 80 aircraft.

OCBC Said in Talks for All-Debt Financing for Wing Hang Deal – Bloomberg Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. (OCBC) is in talks with lenders including Bank of America Corp. and HSBC Holdings Plc about an all-debt financing for its acquisition of Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank Ltd. (302), according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Singapore-based OCBC plans to sell stock later to help repay the short-term loan, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Talks between the companies are centering around a valuation of almost 1.9 times Wing Hang’s book value, though no terms have been finalized, one person said.

Service firms pay 67% of tax revenue – Xinhua | English.news.cn The service industry paid nearly two-thirds of Shanghai’s tax revenue last year and financial firms took the lead as they made up 40 percent of the 100 top service taxpayers, underlining the city’s goal to be a global financial center.

The Bank of Communications Ltd was the top service taxpayer with 16.2 billion yuan, followed by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank with 10.4 billion yuan, and Shanghai GM Sales Co Ltd with 8.4 billion yuan.

Onecard, China’s version of Coin, is your digital credit card As well as storing your credit cards and being swipe-able in China’s point-of-sale devices in stores, OneCard will go a couple of steps further than Coin in also storing prepaid cards and membership/loyalty cards. Even better, it promises to support the tap-to-pay function on Beijing’s and Shanghai’s public transport systems. It also incorporates NFC, but that’s of limited usage pretty much anywhere.

Moody’s assigns A1 to BOC Hong Kong Branch’s MTN program drawdown Moody’s Investors Service has assigned an A1 rating to the benchmark-size  senior unsecured notes to be issued by Bank of China Limited (BOC) Hong  Kong Branch.

ASIA CREDIT CLOSE: New issues feel impact of competition | Reuters Bank of China, meanwhile, also announced a two-tranche offering, which took the shine away from BoCom’s 3-year bonds printed last week, which were, therefore, last quoted at 186bp/184bp over the 2-year US Treasury, or 3bp wider.

Sinohydro Group Ltd : 32 Years After, No Power At Mambilla Hydro-Power Project | 4-Traders According to the report, the project was contracted at the sum of $3.2 billion (equivalent N508 billion) to the China Gezhouba Group Company Limited (CGGC) and another Chinese consortium, Sinohydro, with the proposed structure of the contract stipulating that Sinohydro cover 70 per cent of the project while CGGC would execute the remaining 30 percent.

Hong Kong Electric Eyes up to $3.6 Billion From IPO | 4-Traders HK Electric Investments, which owns power plants and electricity-distribution networks in the city, is selling 4.43 billion units in an indicative price range of HK$5.45-HK$6.30 each, it said in a statement late on Sunday. At the US$3.6 billion size, it will be the region’s top deal since Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd raised US$4 billion from an IPO in Japan in June, according to Dealogic.

£24bn rival to Panama Canal to break ground this year – Telegraph Its construction is essential to deal with a surge in global trade and the rise of colossal supertankers, many of which are too large for the ageing   Panama Canal, more than 500 miles to the south.

The project’s funding is being led by the Chinese telecoms billionaire Wang Jing, whose HKND Group won a licence for the development last year.

Chinese Startup Hopes to Capture Apple’s Magic – China Real Time Report – WSJ The Chinese company, which is planning to expand abroad, paid Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to appear on Sunday in front of reporters at its headquarters in Beijing. Mr. Wozniak showed up at the event–labeled as the “Lei Jun & Woz Tech Talk”–with Xiaomi’s founder and chairman, Lei Jun, and told reporters that Xiaomi’s products were “excellent” and “good enough to crack the American market.”

What U.S. Coffee Chain Could China’s Goubuli Be Looking to Buy? – China Real Time Report – WSJ Zhang Yansen, chairman of closely held Chinese bun maker Goubuli, has been in the Chinese press this week saying he is in the final stages of negotiations to acquire a well-known American coffee chain, without disclosing the name. He gave some hints though: It has hundreds of shops in 40 countries spanning the U.S., Europe and Asia.

China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. (LFC): New Analyst Report from Zacks Equity Research – Zacks Equity Research Report – NASDAQ.com We maintain our Neutral recommendation on China Life as strong market position, growth in premiums and investment income is expected to outweigh the headwinds like higher expenses and declining cash flow.

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.

China Stock Watch 10/1/14

Sorry there’s no business briefs today. I am in London and time is tight. I will be in Beijing next week for the first time in some months, and am very much looking forward to it.

Today was mixed, but something of an improvement for major Chinese stocks, with eight rising and only seven falling (unusually, five were flat on the day). Gains were however tentative, with none breaching 1% – China Telecom was the best performer on the day, up 0.82%. It is perhaps no coincidence that China Telecom has won awards for its investor relations, reflecting a commitment to transparency. Elsewhere, rail stocks were worst performers, with China Railway Group and China Railway Construction down 2.46% and 2.83% respectively. China Railway Group has not been forthcoming since the death of chairman Bai Zhongren, and the suspicions of unmanageable debts and who-knows-what problems have dragged down China Railway Construction, too.

The Shanghai Composite Index slumped to 2,013.30, down 14.32 points or 0.71%. My predictions of a buy-back led rise have not come about. The big SOEs could be finding themselves between a rock and a hard place, ordered to deleverage, revenue streams not kicking in as forecast (projections of likely returns always being likely to be grossly optimistic) and now being “advised” to buy-back shares to increase prices. One almost feels sorry for them.

Name Price Change Mkt cap 52wk high 52wk low EPS P/E
Sinopec 4.42 +0.02 (0.45%) 515,218.70M 7.03 4.05 CN¥0.62 7.19
PetroChina 7.53 -0.06 (-0.79%) 1.38B 9.5 7.08 CN¥0.68 11.14
ICBC 3.53 0.00 (0.00%) 1.24B 4.53 3.4 CN¥0.74 4.8
China Construction Bank 3.96 +0.01 (0.25%) 990,043.48M 5.19 3.8 CN¥0.85 4.68
Agricultural Bank 2.41 0.00 (0.00%) 782,753.85M 3.28 2.38 CN¥0.50 4.8
Bank of China 2.51 +0.01 (0.40%) 701,205.02M 3.26 2.48 CN¥0.53 4.73
China Mobile 77.85* +0.50 (0.65%) 1.56B 91.1 74.9 HK$8.20 9.49
Noble Group 1.03 0.00 (0.00%) 6,859.03M 1.27 0.785 SGD0.04 28.47
China State Construction 2.97 -0.04 (-1.33%) 89,100.00M 4.18 2.9 CN¥0.62 4.82
CNOOC 13.74* -0.14 (-1.01%) 613,456.04M 16.76 12.04 HK$1.89 7.25
China Railway Construction 4.12 -0.12 (-2.83%) 50,830.67M 6.46 3.95 CN¥0.84 4.89
China Railway Group 2.38 -0.06 (-2.46%) 50,693.76M 3.41 2.3 CN¥0.44 5.43
SAIC Motor 13.07 +0.01 (0.08%) 144,104.15M 19 11.83 CN¥2.05 6.37
China Life Insurance 14.31 0.00 (0.00%) 404,467.94M 22 12.88 CN¥0.97 14.8
Dongfeng Motor 11.24* -0.20 (-1.75%) 96,845.19M 13.28 9.48 HK$1.38 8.16
China Shenhua 14.49 +0.05 (0.35%) 288,200.60M 25.33 14.4 CN¥2.25 6.44
Ping An Insurance 39.58 -0.39 (-0.98%) 313,320.92M 53.27 31.69 CN¥3.45 11.48
China Telecom 3.69* +0.03 (0.82%) 298,640.44M 4.42 3.48 HK$0.26 14.28
China Communications Construction 3.84 0.00 (0.00%) 62,110.98M 5.79 3.8 CN¥0.81 4.74
Bank of Communications 3.8 +0.01 (0.26%) 282,198.36M 5.68 3.65 CN¥0.84 4.51

Week’s Movers

Movement over the week shows how disappointing the major stocks have been so far this year.

Bank of Communications rose 1.06%, SAIC Motor rose 0.08%, and Noble Group was flat. The other seventeen stocks fell over the week, with China Railway Group not surprisingly leading the way, falling 5.18%, while China Railway Construction was not far off, going down 4.63%. It’s been a very poor start to the year. Perhaps 2014 will surprise us and see some solid share performance, but with reforms challenging the privileges of SEOs and lower growth practically assured, companies will have to show some real innovation and agility. It remains to be seen if they as institutions have it in them.

risersfallers

China Business Briefs 9/1/14

ECONOMY

China’s 2012 GDP revised to 51.95 trillion yuan – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2012 has been revised to 51.95 trillion yuan (8.52 trillion U.S. dollars), 52.8 billion yuan higher than the preliminary reading released in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Wednesday.

Primary industries took up a 10.1-percent share in the GDP structure, while secondary and tertiary sectors accounted for 45.3 percent and 44.6 percent respectively, remaining unchanged from readings of the preliminary verification.

China Asks Systemically Important Banks to Comply With Disclosure Rules – WSJ.com China’s banking regulator said Wednesday that it has asked the nation’s large commercial banks to disclose their off-balance-sheet exposures, in an effort to align its regulations with international practices.

The guideline applies to the Chinese banks identified by FSB as systemically important, as well as other banks with on- and off-balance sheet assets worth at least 1.6 trillion yuan ($264 billion), the CBRC said.

Carson Block backs China short calls as buyers circle – Market Extra – MarketWatch “Investors seemed to forget the lessons of 2011 by the time we got into 2013,” said Block, the founder of Muddy Waters Research and the man who became famous in the investing world two-plus years ago when a research report he wrote help set in motion the collapse of Sino-Forest Corp., a Toronto-listed firm that managed forest land in China.

China’s World: Beijing Should Scrap the GDP Target – WSJ.com Here’s another idea: Scrap the national GDP target altogether. It would send a powerful message that Beijing is serious about shifting the drivers of growth.

The target is a relic of the Stalinist planned economy, the basis on which the government planned the allocation of scarce resources for industrial production. Its continued existence is testament to how far China has to go to fully embrace a market economy, one that operates according to market signals.

China’s Toxic Debt Doctors Prepare for Surgery – Regulators eager to resolve China’s local government debt conundrum are setting standards for an emerging class of asset management companies (AMCs) responsible for settling bad loans without Beijing’s help.

One standard, issued in early-December by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), set the floor for each local AMC’s registered capital at 1 billion yuan. It was the first financial parameter of its kind since CBRC and the Ministry of Finance started promoting these debt restructuring vehicles in May 2012.

Chinese Consumers Bought Over 20 Million Vehicles In 2013 As Foreign Automakers Jockey For Market Share China’s 2013 auto sales figures are incomplete until next week, when the December figures will be released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. But as of November, Chinese have exceeded U.S. sales in every month of 2013 by as much as double the number of vehicles purchased in the world’s second-largest auto market.

China is importing more US-built cars|Business|chinadaily.com.cn According to the latest information from the US Department of Commerce, 1.9 million vehicles were exported from the US in 2012. China was among the top five markets for light vehicles made in the US, a list that also includes Canada, Mexico, Germany and Saudi Arabia.

Robots replacing low-end workers in China|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com As Chinese plants lay off workers in the wake of rising labor costs, producers of industrial robots have found their domain expanding, according to Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Review, citing the example of the Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) Group.

Speculative investment hurting China’s economy: report|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The preference of Chinese investors to plow their money into financial markets rather than in the physical economy poses a great challenge for the country, which is trying to reinvent its manufacturing sector, reports the Chinese-language Economic Information Daily.

The sizable profits to be made from financial asset speculation in a market with ample liquidity and growing foreign capital attracted by an appreciating currency have pulled money away from investments in business, the paper said.

Oil-Tanker Data Show China Shift – MoneyBeat – WSJ Although China’s economic growth has diminished since the early post-financial-crisis period, when massive government stimulus made the country the last great hope of exporting nations, its gross domestic product growth has maintained a level above 7.5% that is enviable in most developed countries. It imported 255 million barrels of oil in the first 11 months of 2013, or 5.6 million barrels a day, up 3.2% on year. Its steady demand combined with the U.S.’s declining need for imports thanks to its energy boom have skewed the global flow of both oil and products.

Shenzhen to ease access – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Shenzhen’s government aims to further relax the restriction of access to domestic and overseas financial institutions and plans to encourage more private capital to enter the financial services industry, Shanghai Securities News reported Wednesday.

Guangdong Starts Electricity Sales Pilot Involving Open Bidding – Late last year the southern province started to allow large industrial consumers of electricity and generators to determine the price together through open bidding. The move gained nationwide attention since it dealt with the nation’s rigid power pricing mechanism. It was designed to minimize resistance from monopolistic state power grid.

COMPANIES

Bank of China Chooses London to Sell Yuan-Denominated Bonds – MoneyBeat – WSJ China took another step towards broadening the use of its currency outside its shores Wednesday, with state-run Bank of China set to become the third Chinese  lender to sell yuan-denominated bonds in London.

Bank of China, the country’s fourth-largest lender and the sole yuan clearing bank in Hong Kong, Wednesday opened the sale of three-year bonds, with early signs suggesting a yield of 3.50%, one of the banks working on the deal said. The sale is expected to be concluded Thursday morning.

Bitcoin Banned by Alibaba’s Taobao After China Tightens Rules – Bloomberg Taobao Marketplace, one of the main platforms that link buyers and sellers on Alibaba, will bar from Jan. 14 the sale of Bitcoin and related products, including mining software and hardware for the virtual currency, the company said on its website yesterday.

Baidu in 2014: Can It Keep Rolling? (BIDU) China’s leading search engine raced back into investor fancy last year. Game-changing acquisitions and accelerating growth projections work wonders on discarded former market darlings. The stock soared 77% last year, and that’s pretty remarkable since it was trading lower for 2013 at its midpoint. However, now that Baidu is armed with new toys that will increase its presence in mobile and online video, it will be interesting to see if it can live up to heightened expectations.

BoCom sees 2014 growth at 7.8% – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China’s economy is expected to grow by around 7.8 percent in 2014, as both domestic and external demand will be sufficiently stable to maintain the overall economic growth momentum, Bank of Communications (BoCom) said Wednesday in its annual forecast for the country’s economy.

But the economy still faces downward pressure, including challenges arising from the central government’s pledge to de-leverage and rebalance the economy for longer-term sustainability, which might put short-term growth at risk, Lian Ping, chief economist with Shanghai-based BoCom, told reporters in Beijing Wednesday, while releasing the outlook report.

Anhui Conch to Step Up Acquisitions With Record Cash Level – Bloomberg Anhui Conch Cement Co. (914), China’s biggest cement producer by market value, plans to add as much as 30 million metric tons to capacity through acquisitions amid a government drive to consolidate production.

Rural Mobile Commerce Service MMB Launches Low-cost Smartphone Q1 Maimaibao (MMB.cn)  started in 2006 as a m-commerce retailer targeting at the rural China. It offers more than 50,000 items, from apparel to digital devices, and daily transactions are 20,000, according to the company intro.. As one of the biggest of this kind, MMB has developed its own logistics service to serve customers who buy through WAP pages and don’t have any online payment account. The company is funded by investors including Tencent and reached partnership with the latter on mobile shopping.

China’s Meizu plans to launch smartphones in US market in Q3 Chinese phone-maker Meizu unveiled its latest flagship phone, the MX3, last September, but it’s getting a fresh wave of coverage today as the company makes its debut at CES in Las Vegas. Meizu also revealed today that it will launch for the first time in the US market in Q3 of 2014.

Huawei talks up global goals at CES – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Colin Giles, executive vice-president of Huawei Consumer Business Group, said Huawei’s goal this year is to deliver 80 million smartphones, a 28 million increase over last year’s number.

According to Giles, Huawei’s global brand awareness increased by 110 percent from 25 percent in 2012 to the current 52 percent. Over the past 18 months, Huawei’s brand awareness increased three to four times in countries such as Spain, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, France and Japan. In the US, it rose from 9 percent to 22 percent.

Mobile Video Contest Co-Hosted by China Mobile and Youku Tudou Breaks New Records, Generating More than 100 Million Yuan in Mobile Box Office Sales – Yahoo Finance An annual mobile video contest co-organized by by China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL; 0941 HK), and Youku Tudou Inc., China’s leading Internet television company, broke new records in 2013 with 110 million yuan in mobile box office sales and one single title garnering more than 5 million yuan from mobile video-on-demand sales, which is a new record in China.

Bank of China Limited : Bank of China London Branch issues RMB-denominated bonds | 4-Traders On 8th January 2014, Bank of China London Branch will issue RMB-denominated bonds, providing UK and European investors with an additional high quality RMB product.

China Life Insurance Stock Rating Upgraded by Deutsche Bank (LFC) | North Fork Vue China Life Insurance (NYSE:LFC) was upgraded by Deutsche Bank from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Monday, TheFlyOnTheWall.com reports.

SAIC Motor Corporation Limited : SAIC Motor 2013 Sold 5.1mn Cars | 4-Traders SAIC Motor posts that it sold more than 5.1 million complete cars in 2013, up 13.7% year on year. The company became the first Chinese automaker with an annual sales volume of over 5 million units.

Netizens React On Weibo To Mysterious Death Of Bai Zhongren, President Of China Railway Group Ltd. (601390) The story quickly spread through China’s major papers, but Chinese netizens were even quicker to call bluff in turn on the media report, pointing out that since China Railway Group Ltd. is a state-owned enterprise, the theory doesn’t make sense. Most executives of state-owned enterprises are bureaucrats and Communist Party officials who only assume the leadership of these companies for a few years before moving on to other posts.

Chinese company interested in rail link | Nuneaton News China Railway Group has expressed it wants involvement in the line in North Warwickshire.

The project attracting Chinese interest is the proposal, put forward six months ago, to restore the 11.7 kilometres (7.3 miles) Stonebridge Railway, together with a link to the planned HS2 Birmingham Interchange station and ‘people mover’ connections to Birmingham Airport, the existing Birmingham International Station and the National Exhibition Centre.

Moving further into West Africa’s frontier market – MarketWatch China is a huge investor in Sierra Leone. According to the country’s Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources, China’s Kingho Energy Group Co., Ltd  (private) will spend more than $6 billion in the development of mineral resources there. These projects include the construction of a railway and a deep-water port.

China State Const. Eng. Corp Ltd : Strategic Cooperation Agreement Signed | 4-Traders On December 25 2013, a strategic Cooperation Agreement on Qingyang Red Star Macalline Project was signed between China Construction Seventh Engineering Division Corp. Ltd. (CSCEC Seventh Bureau) and Gansu Wanhui Real Estate Ltd. The total contract price is 2 billion yuan.

Red Star Macalline Project, located in Qingyang City, Gansu Province, covers a total building area of approximately 900,000sqm. Being made up of large shopping malls, residences, office buildings and hotels, the Project will become a local landmark upon completion. (from CSCEC Seventh Bureau)

RPT-Fitch Upgrades China State Construction International to ‘BBB’; Outlook Stable | Reuters Fitch Ratings has upgraded China State Construction International Holdings Limited’s (CSCI) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and senior unsecured rating to ‘BBB’ from ‘BBB-‘. The Outlook on IDR is Stable. The rating action follows Fitch’s reassessment of the credit profiles of CSCI’s parent companies.

Bank of China Limited : China : Bank of China Achieves Customer-Centric Transformation with IBM | 4-Traders Bank of China and IBM have successfully completed the launch of the Bank s next generation global online banking platform, providing 100 million customers with a fully integrated experience spanning branch, phone, mobile and web banking. The Bank leveraged IBM s business consulting expertise to revolutionize all aspects of its online banking strategy including site redesign, improved functionality and interactivity as well as implementation of more personalized services.

SinoShip News – BOCOM Finance Leasing completes first ship charter deal in FTZ Bank of Communications (BOCOM) Finance Leasing has signed shipbuilding contract with China Shipping Industry for the construction of three 9,400 teu containerships.

The ships will be leased to CMA CGM under a long term bareboat chartering contract upon completion. The deal is also the first ship charter deal BOCOM operated through its SPV in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.

Athabasca Oil loses its third executive since May The company is suffering from a shortage of capital as it waits for Alberta government sign-off on the Dover oilsands project it shares with PetroChina. Once final approval is granted, it expects to sell its 40 per cent share of the project to PetroChina for $1.3 billion.

China State Const. Eng. Corp Ltd : CSCEC Wins the Bid for RJZQ-1 Section of Ruichang-Jiujiang Railway | 4-Traders On December 29, 2013, China State Construction Engineering Corporation Ltd. won the bid for RJZQ-1 Section between Ruichang and Jiujiang Railway Station Project with the contract value reaching nearly 1.9 billion yuan.

Bank of Communications Co Ltd : BoCom Settled at Horgos Int’l Border Cooperation Center | 4-Traders Bank of Communications’ central sub-branch at Sino-Kazakhstan Horgos International Border Cooperation Center opened on January 6, marking BoCom has settled at the center as one of the first financial institutions.

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