CITIC Group

China Business Briefs 18/4/14

Good to be back in Beijing.

Economy Finance Auto Energy Telecoms Property Tech Agriculture Retail

Economy

Closer Look: Signs China’s Economy Transforming Linger behind Latest GDP Figure – What is worth more attention than the growth rate is a change in the economy that other NBS data reflect. In 2013, the tertiary sector’s contribution to total economic output exceeded that of secondary sector for the first time in modern Chinese history.

The latest results showed that services pulled ahead of production and construction even more, with the former accounting for 49 percent of total economic output in the first quarter. Last year tertiary sector’s share of GDP was 46.1 percent.

Many Chinese firms looking overseas: Poll[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Approximately 60 percent of leading Chinese companies plan to move research and development centers and/or production overseas in the next five years, a study by Strategy& (formerly Booz &Co) and the World Economic Forum said on Wednesday.

That figure roughly doubles the number of Chinese companies that are currently sending these functions abroad, according to the study.

Anti-Dumping The U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) announced last week that China, in a follow-up to its December 3, 2013 request for World Trade Organization (“WTO”) consultations, has asked for a dispute settlement panel concerning certain U.S antidumping methodologies. The USTR requests public comments on the issues identified by China in its panel request.

Beijing must stay the course despite the slowdown | China Economic Review If expectations are low, beating them doesn’t mean much. China’s GDP grew by 7.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2014, a notch above the market consensus of 7.3%.

But after three months of mainly gloomy economic data, analysts weren’t betting on a powerful punch in overall growth figures. The stats from March alone give reason to believe that China has yet to rebound from a tough start to the year. As for giving the economy a gentle fiscal nudge, Beijing has likely said all it intends to on that matter with some targeted measures in recent weeks. China Economic Review thinks that’s just fine as long as economic reform keeps abreast.

Internationalizing Your China WFOE | China Briefing News In the rush to get into China over the past decade, many foreign investors established WFOEs – either as trading and services companies, or as manufacturing entities in their own right. For many, this is a policy that has worked very well – the legal and regulatory structures are well defined and understood. Today though, as foreign investors start to eye other markets in Asia, the China WFOE is starting to prove awkward as a base from which to launch into Asia. There are a number of reasons for this:

China Resources Chairman Song Lin Faces Probe After Media Charge – Bloomberg Song Lin, whose company is the parent of five Hong Kong-listed units, is being probed for “suspected disciplinary violations,” the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said in a statement yesterday on its website using language that signals a corruption probe.

His company controls China Resources Power Holdings Co., which was accused last year of paying too much for three coal mines in Shanxi province in 2010. The probe is a signal that the Communist Party is intensifying a campaign to root out the corruption that President Xi Jinping has said threatens its six-decade hold on power. Party leaders have promised to target both “tigers and flies,” or cadres up and down the power ladder, over graft.

Bet the Farm, Or Settle for Table Scraps? In this intriguing essay, Shanghai-based consultant Kaiser suggests that for foreign companies, the glory days are over, and the only two strategies left are to either fight for one of the top two positions in your industry (against what might be brutal competition) or accept that your market in China will be modest, picking up what others cannot.

I really enjoyed the essay, because I like contrarian thinking on business in China. But I have a couple of problems right out of the gate.

McKinsey Greater China – Even Chinese SOEs Are Getting Media Savvy **Their websites still suck though** I recall state-owned insurance company announcements as being completely dire in the past. A large semi-lit room, partly filled. Executives sitting at a desk reading a script they didn’t care about to an audience who didn’t really want to be there other than for the drinks available at the end. And always running late.

The new version involved floor to ceiling LCD screens, which projected what was on the screen of the sales agent’s iPad on the stage as she demonstrated an actual sale in real time during the event. The speeches were concise, on time, and delivered with enthusiasm. The back of the room had further iPads so that the journalists could try (and film themselves doing so) the apps.

Disillusioned office workers: China’s losers | The Economist But Mr Zhu considers himself a loser, not a winner. He earns 4,000 yuan ($650) a month after tax and says he feels like a faceless drone at work. He eats at the office canteen and goes home at night to a rented, 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) room in a shared flat, where he plays online games. He does not have a girlfriend or any prospect of finding one. “Lack of confidence”, he explains when asked why not. Like millions of others, he mockingly calls himself, in evocative modern street slang, a diaosi, the term for a loser that literally translates as “male pubic hair”. Figuratively it is a declaration of powerlessness in an economy where it is getting harder for the regular guy to succeed. Calling himself by this derisive nickname is a way of crying out, “like Gandhi”, says Mr Zhu, only partly in jest. “It is a quiet form of protest.”

Finance

How liquidity evaporates from China | South China Morning Post The difficulty of accurately calculating the mainland’s liquidity results from the unknown size of the shadow banking system in which non-banks borrow, lend and invest like a real bank but at market rates and outside the official regulated system. This market is calculated variously as 70 per cent of the mainland’s GDP, or 20 per cent of all credit.

But in reality, no one knows – except that it is significant. This black market has developed to allow market-based funding of smaller enterprises and individuals. It appears strange to have such a tightly regulated banking environment on the mainland when you can game the system so readily.

HEARD ON THE STREET: China’s Citic and the State Share Shuffle – WSJ.com Citic Group, a sprawling state conglomerate, laid out a more ambitious plan last month, with more details unveiled this week. The company will inject its entire $36 billion of assets—including businesses in finance, steel, publishing and more—into Citic Pacific, a Hong Kong-listed unit.

The listed company will pay mainly by issuing shares to the parent, but at a 6.5% premium to where they were trading before the announcement. The new assets will boost return on equity to 13% from 9%, partly because the old listed unit was weighed down by a struggling Australian iron-ore mine.

China eases M&A rules for insurers | Reuters China’s decision to partially relax mergers and acquisition rules in the insurance industry could see global insurance firms expand their footprint in the $288 billion market.

Beijing would allow insurers, including Chinese-based units of foreign insurance firms, to buy stakes in more than one peer that competes in the same market segment, according to a statement on the China Insurance Regulatory Commission’s (CIRC) website and dated last Friday.

RPT-Fitch Affirms Noble Group’s Guaranteed Bonds at ‘AAA(tha)’ | Reuters Fitch Ratings (Thailand) Limited has  affirmed Noble Group Limited’s (Noble; BBB-/Stable) THB2.85bn guaranteed bonds  due 2016 at National Long-Term ‘AAA(tha)’. The bonds, which are guaranteed by  Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF), have a Stable Outlook.

Chinese banks are passing the buck | Business Spectator Outstanding non-performing loans soared 19.5 per cent in 2013 from 390 billion yuan ($67 billion) to 467 billion yuan, according to data disclosed by 12 major listed Chinese banks. During the same period, these 12 Chinese banks either transferred or wrote off 102 billion yuan worth of loans, an increase of 206 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to Caixin.

The outstanding non-performing loans of the big five major Chinese banks — the Industrial and Commercial bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China and the Construction Bank of China and Communication Bank of China — increased 16.1 per cent in 2013.

RPT-Fitch Affirms China Life at IFS ‘A+’; Outlook Stable | Reuters Fitch Ratings has affirmed China Life Insurance Company Limited’s (China Life) Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) Rating at ‘A+’.  The Outlook is Stable.

China to Cut Reserve Ratio for Some Rural Banks -Caijing Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday said reserve requirements would be relaxed for qualifying rural banks in a sign that more loosening policies are likely on the way.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) sets different reserve requirements for banks, depending in part on the size of their loan business. The ratio stands at 20 percent for China’s biggest banks, around 16 percent for smaller, rural banks.

Auto

Jaguar Land Rover to recall vehicles in China – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Jaguar Land Rover Automotive Trading (Shanghai) will recall 1,923 vehicles mainly due to problems with their warning lights, China’s quality watchdog announced on Thursday.

The recall, from April 17, covers 1,909 imported 2014-edition Range Rover vehicles in the Chinese mainland, which were produced from May 7 to Oct. 10, 2013, said the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.

5.12 Million China Commercial Vehicle Industry Growth in 2017 Forecasts a Research Report | SYS-CON MEDIA According to China Commercial Vehicle Industry Report, 2014-2017 sales volume of China’s commercial vehicles is estimated to register a CAGR of 6% in 2014-2017, and will reach 5.12 million in 2017. The development of the commercial vehicle industry is closely related to the macro economy. In 2013, the growth rate of China’s GDP fell to 7.7%, while commercial vehicle market experienced slow growth at the same time, with output and sales volume increasing by 7.6% and 6.4%, respectively.

Chinese auto brands limp into Beijing show – SFGate **This is not in the Five-Year Plan!** Facing intense competition from General Motors, Volkswagen and other global rivals, local brands such as Chery, Geely and SUV maker Great Wall have suffered shrinking sales and market share this year while China’s overall auto market has grown. That is a blow to Chinese leaders who have made it a national priority to catch up with neighboring Japan and South Korea by creating globally competitive automakers.

Ford to Start Selling Luxury Lincoln Cars in China Lincoln is a late comer to China’s luxury car market, but Robert Parker, president of Lincoln China, said the brand is being introduced here after thorough research.

At Lincoln dealerships, Chinese customers will be greeted with a waterfall, considered auspicious, and their new Lincoln car will have a custom fragrance pleasing to Chinese noses, Parker said.

Energy

China Shenhua Energy Company Limited (HKG:1088) More Than a Coal Company Morningstar analyst Zhao Hu says investors would be wise not to look at China Shenhua Energy Company Limited (HKG:1088) as only a coal story. Even if coal continues to underperform, Hu says China Shenhua’s other businesses will offset the negative impact.

China Shenhua is a little bit different than the other pure-play coal companies we cover primarily because of its vertical integration strategy,” Hu says. “The company recognized the coal sector’s volatility and was able to expand upward and downward into different sectors that include railway transportation, power generation as well as some shipping and port operations.”

CNOOC Limited Filed 2013 Annual Report on Form 20-F – Yahoo Finance CNOOC Limited (the “Company”, NYSE: CEO, SEHK: 00883, TSX: CNU) announced today it has filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) its 2013 annual report on Form 20-F (“annual report”) that included audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013.

The annual report is available on the Company’s website at www.cnoocltd.com as well as SEC′s website at www.sec.gov.

Sinopec Wins Dismissal Of $5B False Imprisonment Suit – Law360 A California federal judge on Tuesday tossed a Chinese foreign national’s $5.17 billion suit alleging China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., known as Sinopec Corp., colluded with the Chinese government to falsely imprison him, ruling the court did not have jurisdiction over the claims.
U.S. District Judge Beverley Reid O’Connell granted Sinopec’s motion to dismiss the July suit, which accused Sinopec officials of interrogating, threatening and ultimately having Tiangang Sun imprisoned for five years after he sued the company in China for breaching a pipeline contract

Your Industry News – Three International wind power exhibitions to take place in Shanghai in July 2014 **Would hope there is a major Scottish presence at these events. Wind power getting important there as oil declines** The Offshore Wind China Conference & Exhibition, the Wind Farm O&M China Conference & Exhibition and Distributed Generation China will take place concurrently at Shanghai Mart in Shanghai on 2-4 July 2014.

China Money Network − Yingli, Shanghai Sailing To Jointly Launch $160M Renewable Energy Fund New York Stock Exchange-listed Chinese solar panel producer Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Ltd. says that it has signed an agreement with Shanghai Sailing Capital Management to jointly form a renewable energy fund in Shanghai to invest in downstream solar energy projects in China, according to a company announcement.

The joint fund will have an initial size of approximately RMB1 billion ($160 million). Yingli China will commit around 51% of the total capital in several installments through its wholly owned affiliate in China.

PetroChina to Expand Installation of Honeywell Technologies to 30 Plants | Control Engineering Asia PetroChina Company Limited will expand its use of Honeywell advanced information management and process modeling software tools to 17 additional refining and petrochemical sites across China, to help meet the country’s growing demand for chemicals and transportation fuels. PetroChina currently uses Honeywell’s information solutions at 13 locations.

Telecoms

Alibaba unit to offer mobile phone service in China from June – Livemint The service will include voice and third-generation data packages on network capacity leased from all three state-owned carriers, according to Alizila, a website run by Alibaba. The packages will be sold through Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall sites and can be paid for with Alipay, the company’s e-payment affiliate.

Alibaba, Tencent take rivalry to mobile network services | South China Morning Post Alibaba, the mainland’s biggest e-commerce service provider, said yesterday that it would launch 3G data and voice services in June through subsidiary HiChina, one of 19 companies licensed to operate as a mobile virtual network operator in the country.

The announcement, made through the Alizila website of Hangzhou-based Alibaba, followed reports earlier this month that online retail platform operator JD.com in which Tencent is a major shareholder, would launch its own mobile virtual network operator service next month.

ZTE Q1 profit grows – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn ZTE Corp, China’s second-biggest telecommunications equipment maker, said first-quarter profit matched its estimate after benefiting from the country’s introduction of 4G networks.

Net profit rose 204 percent to 622.2 million yuan ($100.01 million) from January to March, compared with an estimated range of 425 million yuan to 637 million yuan, the Shenzhen-based company said on Thursday.

China Unicom profits rise – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, the country’s second-biggest mobile carrier by subscribers, posted a 74 percent rise in first quarter net profits, beating estimates, as an increase in data usage offset a slowdown in subscriber growth.
China Unicom said on Thursday net profit from January to March was 3.3 billion yuan, higher than the 1.9 billion yuan in the same period one year ago.

Yahoo Still Set to Get Value From Alibaba After IPO – Bloomberg That’s because Yahoo, which owns about 24 percent of Alibaba, will still have a sizable chunk of the Chinese e-commerce company after it goes public as soon as this year. The Web portal is set to sell about 40 percent of its Alibaba stake in the initial public offering, leaving it with the majority of its holding. Yahoo can hang onto that piece indefinitely if it chooses.

Investors who had bought into Yahoo as a proxy for privately held Alibaba thus may not be tempted to dump the Web company’s shares — at least not right away. For Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, who has relied on Yahoo’s Alibaba stake to boost the company’s share price, that may buy just enough time to accelerate a nascent sales rebound.

Xiaomi looks to steal thunder from OnePlus with launch of mysterious new gadget on same day, April 23 The mysterious device is set to launch on the same day as the OnePlus One, the new brand’s first ever phone. We doubt Xiaomi’s timing is unintentional as the OnePlus One phone is designed to compete with Xiaomi’s flagship phone, the Mi3.

Coolpad obtains fresh funds for 4G smartphone expansion | South China Morning Post Coolpad Group, the third-biggest smartphone supplier on the mainland, is poised to boost its 4G mobile phone development plans and global expansion with new financing worth as much as US$175 million.

Shenzhen-based Coolpad, formerly known as China Wireless Technologies, obtained yesterday a US$107 million, three-year loan facility through a syndicate of mostly Taiwanese banks, according to the firm’s filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Property

Towers where no lights burn at heart of China’s puzzle – FT.com The main reason for the slowdown is a slump in fixed asset investment, the biggest driver of the Chinese economy.

The slide was largely owing to declining real estate investment, which also experienced its weakest growth in more than a decade. The situation is certain to get worse in the coming months as new housing floor space under construction contracted 27.2 per cent in the first quarter.

Why China Needs to Let More Companies Go Bankrupt – China Real Time Report – WSJ China needs to let more companies go bust.

That was the message from several executives at a real-estate conference in Shanghai on Thursday, as the latest string of loan defaults among real-estate developers and a small construction firm have some people talking about bankruptcy more freely.

Tech

China Money Network − Sina’s Weibo Downsized IPO By 21% To $286M Chinese social networking platform Weibo Corporation has raised $286 million by offering 16.8 million American Depository Shares (ADR) at $17 per share. The size of its IPO is 21% smaller than its initial target of of $380 million, according to an announcement.

Weibo gains 5% in Nasdaq trading debut – MarketWatch **I wouldn’t put money on Weibo** Shares in Weibo Corp were last up 5% on Thursday in their trading debut on the Nasdaq after initially dropping. Late Wednesday, the Chinese social-media company raised $286 million by offering 16.8 million U.S.-listed shares at $17, according to Renaissance Capital. That $17 price was at the low end of an expected range of $17 to $19.

As Weibo launches IPO, here are all the facts and stats you need to know In less than an hour, China’s top Twitter-esque social network, Sina Weibo (NASDAQ:WB), will launch its long-awaited IPO. As that happens, let’s look at all the facts and stats you need to know about Weibo.

Chinese graduates deepen hi-tech inroads | South China Morning Post The Chinese for more than a decade have been potent rivals to American and European manufacturers. Now, China is giving Westerners something new to worry about: a generation of workers able to compete in higher-technology endeavours. The aim is to develop service industries and shift from producing simple exports – often assembled from parts made elsewhere – to making a larger share of more sophisticated products.

Agriculture

China Says Nearly One-Fifth of Its Arable Land Is Polluted – WSJ.com **But doesn’t say what constitutes “polluted” or “highly polluted”** Nearly one-fifth of China’s arable land is polluted, China’s environmental ministry said. The new report confirms the worst fears of environmentalists and researchers about the effects of decades of rapid industrialization on the country’s soil.

The release of the report Wednesday shed unexpected light on the scale of China’s environmental problem. Environmental authorities had previously declined to disclose national soil pollution data, calling it a “state secret.”

Retail

China backs away from price controls on basic drugs | Reuters **Healthcare in China is FUBAR** China has backtracked on its policy of capping retail prices on medicines and will allow pharmaceutical companies to set prices for some drugs, after criticism that controls had caused a drug drought that derailed treatment for millions of patients.

Beijing has been struggling with rising healthcare costs, violent conflicts between patients and doctors and medicine safety issues, and President Xi Jinping has said providing affordable, accessible healthcare is a government priority.

Gap sees China sales tripling to $1b in three years – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn The push comes as Gap Inc tries to become less reliant on North America, where it generates 84 percent of its sales. North American sales have cooled of late at Gap Inc’s three major brands, which also include Banana Republic.

 

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 29/1/14

I will be travelling over the next two days and might be unable to blog during that time. My visit to Beijing has generally been very pleasant. Will be back in three months.

ECONOMY

China’s retail investors are leading grassroots financial reform | China Economic Review Grassroots movements bring to mind angry petitioners on the streets or the little man fighting against the big, ugly institution. It doesn’t conjure images of investors handing over their cash to bankers, who then pile that money into real estate or coal projects.

But in China, a grassroots financial movement fomenting off the balance sheet involves just that. And in some ways, it too is the story of a marginalized group of people, depositors, pushing back against an almighty, unmovable force, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

Micro-credit firms lent RMB227bn last year: People’s Bank|WantChinaTimes.com China had 7,839 micro-credit firms by the end of last year, which made 227 billion yuan (US$37 billion) in new loans, according to the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank.

The total loan balance reached 819.1 billion yuan (US$135.4 billion), according to central bank figures.

China trust deal raises thorny questions – FT.com The last-minute rescue raises a thorny question for the future of the Chinese economy. Has the deal confirmed the widespread belief that the government will do whatever it can to stave off trouble, hence fuelling more risk-taking? Or has the near-default taught investors that high yields come with high risks?

China’s Rescue of Troubled Trust May Stoke Risk-Taking – Bloomberg China’s eleventh-hour rescue of wealthy investors in a high-yield trust threatens to drive more money into the nation’s $6 trillion shadow-banking industry, undermining regulators’ efforts to deter excessive risk-taking.

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest lender, yesterday told customers who had invested in the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust product that they can sell their rights to unidentified buyers to recoup the principal. Some clients plan to visit ICBC branches to demand more interest ahead of tomorrow’s 5 p.m. deadline for accepting the offer, according to Du Ronghai, a Guangzhou-based investor.

China Industrial Profit Growth Further Declines in December: NBS-Caijing Total profits of China’s industrial companies rose 6 percent year-on-year to  CNY942.53 in December, compared with a growth of 9.7 percent a month ago and 17.3 percent a year earlier.

For the full year of 2013, industrial profit rose 12.2 percent year-on-year  to CNY 6.28 trillion, compared with a growth of 5.3 percent in the previous  year.

China’s ‘invisible man’ quits forex role – FT.com Zhu Changhong had been the chief investment officer for the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the agency that manages China’s $3.8tn mountain of foreign exchange reserves. He left a starring role at Pimco, the world’s largest bond house, to join SAFE in late 2009 and is now expected to return to the private sector, according to two people familiar with his decision.

Trained as a physicist, Mr Zhu earned the “invisible” moniker for his extreme reluctance to make public appearances. He has never given any media interviews, and the only photos of him online are a grainy picture from his student days and an unidentified shot from the time of his return to China.

China yuan weakens to 6.1073 against USD Wednesday – Xinhua | English.news.cn The Chinese currency Renminbi, or the yuan, weakens 20 basis points to 6.1073 against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

China Further Eases Foreign Exchange Control over Capital Accounts | China Briefing News The State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) of China promulgated a circular on January 24 to improve and further ease the administrative control over capital account foreign exchange items (Huifa [2014] No.2, hereinafter referred to as “Circular 2”). Circular 2 will enter in to effect on February 10.

The approval procedure for profit repatriation will be simplified and banks will no longer review any transaction documents if the remittance amount is under US$50,000. For remittance of profit over US$50,000, banks in principle do not need to review the audit report and capital verification report; however, they will still check the board resolution on profit distribution and the original tax record-filing documents to verify the authenticity of the transaction.

The Misfortunes of the Big Four in China Overall, the judge’s 112-page ruling on the audit work of the Big Four in China makes for interesting, and at times damning, reading. You can click here to access it.The judge’s decision should probably be required reading for anyone working in Chinese private equity and capital markets transactions with Chinese companies. Investments in Chinese companies worth many tens of billions of dollars rely, at least to some extent, on the accuracy and reliability of Big Four audits. That audit bedrock looks shakier now than it did a week ago.

H7N9 bird flu: Chinese provinces halt live poultry trade | World news | theguardian.com Authorities in eastern China have banned live poultry sales after an increase in the number of people infected with the H7N9 strain of bird flu, state media has reported as the busy Chinese new year travel period gets under way.

So far this year H7N9 has killed 19 people in China and infected 96, according to the official Xinhua news agency, which cited the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Chinese firms dominate Arab Health Congress 2014|WantChinaTimes.com Chinese companies are the biggest participant in the ongoing Arab Health Congress 2014, the largest health fair in the Middle East and North Africa that started in Dubai on Monday.

Among the 3,900 companies participating in the four-day congress, 510 are from mainland China, 29 are from Hong Kong, while 107 are from Taiwan.

China ends 2013 with a total of 417 million 3G subscribers China’s grand total on 3G at the end of 2013 is a whopping 417.3 million, up from 233.5 million in December 2012; that’s a 78.7 percent rise. Check out the growth from 2010 to the most recent number:

Beijing Urges Steelmakers to Pursue Overseas Iron-Ore Assets – WSJ.com China is urging its steel companies to buy more iron-ore assets abroad amid signs that many have been losing their appetite for such investments.

The National Development and Reform Commission this week said Chinese steelmakers should keep building up stakes in global iron-ore assets in the interests of China’s strategic security and “speaking rights,” or influence, in global trade. China’s ore imports rose 10% last year to a record 819 million metric tons, according to customs data.

Chart Of The Day: How China’s Stunning $15 Trillion In New Liquidity Blew Bernanke’s QE Out Of The Water | Zero Hedge You read that right: in the past five years the total assets on US bank books have risen by a paltry $2.1 trillion while over the same period, Chinese bank assets have exploded by an unprecedented $15.4 trillion hitting a gargantuan CNY147 trillion or an epic $24 trillion – some two and a half times the GDP of China!

UK embraces Chinese investment Chinese interest appears to lie in the future of high speed rail in the UK. China currently has the world’s largest and fastest growing high speed rail network of its own, boasting nearly 6000 miles of track, and may now be turning its attention to the UK’s own aging and oversubscribed railway network. Although Chinese investors will not be placing any direct financing into the construction phase of the new £50bn ‘HS2’ line, Chinese bidding for the concession to operate the new railway or invest in schemes around the route and its stations seems likely. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang noted, following talks with Mr Cameron, that “The two sides have agreed to push for a breakthrough and progress in co-operation in the areas of nuclear power and high speed railway.”

Norway’s sovereign fund halves coal exposure | Reuters Norway’s $817 billion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, has halved its exposure to coal producers, with most of its remaining interest in the sector in Chinese companies, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

COMPANIES

Citic Group Unit May Invest in Trust Product, Morning Post Says – Bloomberg A unit of Citic Group Corp., a Chinese state-backed conglomerate, may take part in bailing out investors in a troubled 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust product, Oriental Morning Post reported.

The transaction is under way, the newspaper reported yesterday, citing a person close to Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (601398) The person declined to give the name of the unit or the amount it plans to invest, according to the report.

China’s Tencent WeChat App Launches Electronic Hongbao – China Real Time Report – WSJ When China celebrates the Lunar New Year on Friday, millions of red envelopes stuffed with cash are expected to change hands among families, friends and colleagues. But this year, there’s a new spin on this old tradition, with the gift-giving happening right on people’s smartphones.

On Tuesday, Wechat, the social networking and messaging app from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings, launched a new feature that allows users to send these envelopes of money to each other electronically. Givers must first link the app to their bank accounts, then they can send specified amounts of money to their Wechat contacts through a personal message or to put the cash up for grabs in chat rooms full of friends. Receivers can transfer the funds back into their own bank accounts. (This reporter successfully grabbed three this morning.)

Alibaba Posts Profit on Demand Ahead of Potential IPO – Bloomberg Net income attributable to ordinary shareholders was $792 million in the three months ended September, up from a loss of $246 million a year earlier, according to a presentation from Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), which owns a 24 percent stake in China’s largest e-commerce company. Revenue rose 51 percent to $1.78 billion.

Weibo’s value shrinks by US$500m after market report|WantChinaTimes.com The stock price of Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, fell by 11.32% from US$84.60 on Jan. 15 to US$75.02 on Jan. 17, which was a result of a recent Chinese report, according to Beijing’s Economic Observer.

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) released a report on Jan. 16 in which it said that the number of Weibo users had dropped by 9.2%, or 27.83 million last year. The market misinterpreted the Weibo or microblog users mentioned in the report as Sina Weibo users, as a result of which Sina Weibo’s market value shrunk by US$500 billion after the report’s release.

PetroChina: Discounted Growth Play With Significant Upside – Seeking Alpha PetroChina (PTR), China’s only super major, has a history of strong financial growth and is well positioned to take advantage of China’s growing demand for diversified energy sources. Currently trading at only 9.3x earnings, the PTR stock looks like the rare gem that offers growth at a value price.

Wal-Mart to upgrade China vendor compliance after state TV criticism | Reuters U.S. retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) said on Wednesday it will upgrade its vendor compliance process in China, requiring more documentation and making use of a computer-based system to help suppliers manage associated paperwork.

The announcement came after state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) criticized the world’s No. 1 retailer for circumventing its quality control process and fast-tracking some products with higher profit margins.

Shipping lines shed assets to offset poor performance – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China Shipping Container Lines Co, a main subsidiary of State-owned China Shipping (Group) Co, has forecast a net loss of 2.63 billion yuan ($435 million) for 2013, as the company underwent a shrinking global shipping market, aggravated by the challenges of overcapacity and international competition.

To avoid financial loss, CSCL began to sell its quality assets in the second half of 2013. However, the company only managed to complete a 49 percent share sales of Lianyungang New Oriental International Container Wharf with Singapore’s port operator PSA International Pte Ltd within the year, gaining 260 million yuan in sales profit.

Huawei, Lenovo poised to close gap with smartphone leaders | South China Morning Post Huawei Technologies and Lenovo are expected to intensify competition in the global smartphone market after both companies recorded strong unit shipment growth last year.

Data released yesterday by technology research firm IDC showed the two Chinese technology giants captured a combined 9.4 per cent market share last year, when total industry shipments topped 1 billion units for the first time.

Why Baidu Acquired Renren’s Group-Buying Site By acquiring the remaining shares in Nuomi, Baidu actually does something rare, as the company is well-known for buying only controlling stakes. At the same time, by selling all of its stake in Nuomi, Renren –which has been largely overtaken by Sina‘s Weibo and Tencent‘s WeChat in the past two years– may be trying to make its portfolio of services more compact. The social network company may focus more on improving user and monetization metrics of its promising game business, rather than releasing new services.

Hong Kong Property Tycoons Settle Family Feud – China Real Time Report – WSJ A yearslong feud involving the family behind one of the world’s biggest property empires appears to have come to a happy ending, with a deal reached to equally divide family-owned shares in Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. to the three Kwok brothers and their families.

The agreement in essence restores eldest brother Walter Kwok as a beneficiary of the family trust that controls the property company, commanding a market capitalization of 260 billion Hong Kong dollars (US$33.5 billion).

CICC, Qianhai Financial Plan $3.3B Joint Cross-Border Fund Beijing-based China International Capital Corporation (CICC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Qianhai Financial Holdings, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Administrative Bureau of Qianhai Economic Zone in Shenzhen, to establish a joint development fund, according to an announcement.

The CICC Qianhai Development Fund will target to raise a total of RMB20 billion ($3.3 billion). It plans to complete first closing of RMB5 billion ($833 million) before June 30 this year.

Toyota Supplier Sees China Sales Doubling on Orders From VW, GM – Bloomberg Tsubakimoto Chain Co. (6371), a Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) supplier, forecasts China auto parts sales to more than double in four years as carmakers including Volkswagen AG and General Motors Co. raise orders to diversify supply chains.

The maker of transmission chains and gears expects sales to jump to more than 12 billion yen ($117 million) by March 2018, Toru Fujiwara, managing executive officer, said in a Jan. 27 interview. The board has approved plans for a new plant in China as early as this year, he said.

China Money Network − KPCB-Backed Chinese Group-Buying Site ManZuo.com Sold To Suning Nanjing based Chinese home appliance retailer Suning Commerce Group Co. says it has acquired Chinese group-buying site ManZuo.com for around $10 million, according to media reports.

Kingsoft to Take Security Software Business KIS and List it on U.S. Market Kingsoft Corporation (SEHK: 3888), a leading applications and entertainment software developer in China, announced today that it planned to spin off security software business and list the sector on NASDAQ or New York stock exchange. Kingsoft has filed to Hong Kong Stock Exchange for the spin-off.

Kingsoft’s security software business is operated by Kingsoft Internet Software Holdings Limited (KIS), also known as Kingsoft Network in China. The company is principally engaged in development and operation of security software and web browser Liebao, as well as cross-platform value-added services and online advertising.

Noble Group Limited (via noodls) / NOTIFICATION ON SUBSIDIARY Noble Group Limited (the “Company”) wishes to announce that on 23 January 2014, the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Noble Clean Fuels Limited (“NCFL”), has subscribed for a 51% shareholding interest in Watt Power Limited (“WPL”), a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.

Moody’s assigns A1 to China Shipping Overseas Finance 2013 Limited’s bonds Moody’s Investors Service has assigned a definitive A1 rating to the credit enhanced bonds issued by China Shipping Overseas Finance 2013 Limited (unrated).

The bonds are supported by an irrevocable standby letter of credit from  the Bank of China Limited (BOC, A1/P-1/D, stable),  Macau Branch.

RPT-UPDATE 2-Shaanxi Coal debut hit by volatility in China’s reopened IPO market | Reuters Shares of Shaanxi Coal Industry Co Ltd jumped in their Shanghai debut but came off earlier stratospheric highs in a roller coaster day as China’s newly reopened initial public offering market drew out aggressive punters.

Shaanxi Coal, which raised $660 million in the biggest mainland China listing since 2012, had soared by its daily limit of 44 percent in early trade. That triggered a suspension until five minutes before the market’s close and prompted an announcement from the exchange that it had taken measures against two retail investors who had driven the price up aggressively.

KWM advises Agricultural Development Bank of China on RMB bonds issuance | Firm News | The Lawyer King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) has advised the Agricultural Development Bank of China (ADBC) on the successful issuance of RMB bonds worth ¥3bn (£300m) and getting listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The bonds are issued to institutional investors with terms of two years and three years respectively at the interest rate of 3.08 per cent and 3.28 per cent per annum.

Posted from Diigo.

China’s Twenty Biggest Stocks

From the Fortune 500, here are the biggest Chinese companies on the stock market:

  1. Sinopec
  2. PetroChina
  3. ICBC
  4. China Construction Bank
  5. Agricultural Bank of China
  6. Bank of China
  7. China Mobile Communications
  8. Noble Group
  9. China State Construction Engineering
  10. CNOOC
  11. China Railway Construction
  12. China Railway Group
  13. SAIC Motor
  14. China Life Insurance
  15. Dongfeng Motor Group
  16. China Shenghua Energy
  17. Ping An Insurance
  18. China Telecom
  19. China Communications Construction
  20. Bank of Communications
  21. Jardine Matheson
  22. Aluminum Corp. of China

Here they are with with their turnover and profits (US$bn). They are ranked by turnover, not profits or market cap. Companies which are struck-through and italicized are state-owned enterprises, to give a sense of their importance to their Chinese economy.

# Company Turnover Profit
1 Sinopec Group 428.2 8.2
2 PetroChina 408.6 18.2
State Grid 298.4 12.3
3 Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) 133.6 37.8
4 China Construction Bank 113.4 30.6
5 Agricultural Bank of China 103.5 23.0
6 Bank of China 98.4 22.1
7 China Mobile Communications 96.9 11.9
8 Noble Group 94.0 0.5
9 China State Construction Engineering 90.6 1.3
10 CNOOC 83.5 7.7
11 China Railway Construction 77.2 0.8
12 China Railway Group 76.7 1.2
13 SAIC Motor 76.2 3.3
14 China Life Insurance 73.7 -1.7
Sinochem Group 71.8 0.8
China Southern Power Grid 66.7 1.0
China FAW Group 64.9 2.6
15 Dongfeng Motor Group 61.7 1.3
China North Industries Group 58.0 0.7
CITIC Group 55.4 4.8
16 China Shenhua Energy 54.5 6.2
17 Ping An Insurance 53.8 3.2
18 China Telecommunications 53.4 1.1
China Resources National 52.4 1.9
China Minmetals 51.8 0.7
China Post Group 50.9 4.1
China South Industries Group 48.0 0.2
Aviation Industry Corp. of China 47.4 1.0
19 China Communications Construction 47.3 1.0
Baosteel Group 45.7 0.9
China Huaneng Group 44.3 0.1
20 Bank of Communications 43.1 9.3
People’s Insurance Co. of China 40.8 1.1
China Unicom 40.6 0.4
21 Jardine Matheson 39.6 1.7
Hebei Iron & Steel Group 39.3 -0.2
22 Aluminum Corp. of China 38.8 -0.8

These are the twenty stocks this website will be mostly keeping an eye on, as well news from state-owned enterprises and up-and-coming companies like Lenovo, Tencent and Sina.

EDIT

Further reading has shown me that China National Petroleum and Shenhua Group should be on the stock list, through their subsidiaries PetroChina and China Shenhua Energy. (This is one of the difficulties of the Chinese economy, where corporations can be state-owned and listed on the stock market). I have therefore updated the list of the top 20 stocks, with Jardine Matheson and Aluminum Corp of China being displaced. Apologies for any confusion at my error.