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China Business Briefs 12/1/14

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

ECONOMY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted from Diigo.

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China Business Briefs 1/1/14

The Shanghai Stock Exchange is closed today, so no Stock Watch. Happy New Year to all readers – best wishes for 2014.

ECONOMY

China trusts bring contrasting fortunes – FT.com **Lack of regulation makes it highly risky, whatever the current form of certain banks** The term “shadow banking” in China for many observers conjures up images of underground lenders handing out credit to sketchy borrowers at usurious rates. But that is a simplistic view of many of the financial institutions that have moved into gaps left behind by the country’s heavily regulated banks.

Some shadow banks have indeed courted trouble; others, though, are well-managed companies with strong track records.

China’s manufacturing growth slows as demand for exports weakens – FT.com Growth in China’s manufacturing sector slowed for the first time in six months in December, dragged down by weak demand for Chinese exports, according to an official purchasing manager’s index.

The state-sponsored PMI fell to 51 in December, down from 51.4 in November, marking a four-month low and highlighting the challenges facing the ruling Communist party as it tries to transform the growth model in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s factory growth slower but resilient at year end | Reuters Many economists have said China’s economy was likely to show weaker momentum in the final three months of 2013 after a rebound between July and September, due to slowing credit growth and a fall-off in restocking demand.

China’s farm produce prices stay flat – Xinhua | English.news.cn **Some notable spikes** Farm produce prices in 36 major Chinese cities stayed mostly flat in the week ending Dec. 29 compared with the previous week, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce.

Average wholesale prices of 18 kinds of vegetables rose 4.8 percent from a week earlier, while the prices of bitter gourds and tomatoes increased 11.3 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively.

Food accounts for about one-third of China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation.

Closer Look: Rise in Total Gov’t Debt – to 30.3 Tln Yuan – Means Change Is Needed – This is the third time the National Audit Office has surveyed government liabilities. The survey was the work of some 544,000 auditors across the country. It was performed in August and September, and a report was given to the State Council, the country’s cabinet, in mid-October. Suspicion had mounted about how horrible the figures were considering it took so long for the government to publish them.

Experts, especially those from overseas institutions and academia, tended to be pessimistic in their estimates of total local government debt, guessing the figure would be 18 to 25 trillion yuan. Chinese government officials and affiliated institutions were generally more sanguine, estimating it to be between 15 and 20 trillion yuan.

China’s Tianjin to Begin Restricting Car Population, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg **Tianjin’s subway is still relatively quiet** Only 100,000 new license plates will be issued in Tianjin next year, of which 60,000 will be distributed by lottery and the rest auctioned off for a minimum bid of 10,000 yuan ($1,650) each, according to Xinhua. Government departments will be banned from buying new official cars and all proceeds from the auctions will go to support public transportation, Xinhua reported, citing a plan approved by the Tianjin government.

Property to take less of the GDP load | South China Morning Post **Dangerously high** Property investment accounted for 15.8 per cent of the mainland’s gross domestic product in the first three quarters of last year, a record high and a big jump from the 5 per cent contribution in 2000.

The ratio has stayed above 10 per cent since 2009 and the industry, which affects more than 40 other sectors including metals and home appliances, has stood out and provided a cushion to slowing growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

Xi Says in New Year’s Address China Will Make Progress on Reform – Bloomberg **One leads to the other. Can expect to see more aggressive moves towards of South China Sea neighbours** Xi Jinping, delivering his first New Year’s address as China’s president, said the country must press ahead with reforms in 2014 to improve livelihoods and make the country “rich and strong.”

Analysis: Transparency the crux in China’s struggle to deal with rising debt | Reuters **Money talks louder** By letting local governments sell bonds for cash, China wants to rely on nimble markets rather than inflexible regulations to keep spendthrift units in check.

But analysts say China’s dreams of a municipal bond market are so far just that, as building one has been impeded by a lack of disclosure from local governments on how much money and assets they have, and how much they owe.

China’s Banks Adopt ‘Living Wills’ to Plan for Less Predictable Future – China Real Time Report – WSJ The living will proposals come at an appropriate time for China, as the nation begins to address the prospect of bank failures. Its government-dominated banking sector is seen as having implicit state support. But Beijing wants to bring private capital to the sector and that could mean new risks. While China wants fresh competitors to shake up its banking system, it doesn’t want to be on the hook for management mistakes.

China-Russia trade sees downshift in 2013|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com China-Russia trade value in January-November stood at US$81 billion, up 0.5%. The growth rate is more than 10% down on a year ago, according to China’s general customs administration.

During the period, exports to Russia reached US$44.56 billion, up 11.3% while Russian exports to China stood at US$36.5 billion, down 10.1%.

Chinese Banks Eye Global Bond Market – WSJ.com The country’s banks will need to raise up to two trillion yuan ($330 billion) from share and bond sales in the next five years, according to McKinsey & Co. With growing levels of bad debt in a slowing domestic economy, weakness in stock markets and rising capital requirements, Chinese banks can no longer rely on share sales and the country’s four-trillion-yuan bond market for cash.

China’s third economic census enters registration phase – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China’s third national economic census entered its registration phase on New Year’s Day after months of preparation, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The census is designed to paint a wide economic picture of China’s fast-expanding secondary and tertiary industries and complete a database covering all economic sectors, said NBS head Ma Jiantang.

China suspends Pfizer imports – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s drug watchdog has decided to stop importing an injection from the Pfizer Inc., as the US pharmaceutical maker failed in a supplementary application for drug exports.

China will not import Pfizer’s Fluconazole injection, used to treat monilial infection, until the company makes correction, the State Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday.

NDRC: Negative list to cut central govt role in investment – People’s Daily Online The National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s economic planner, vowed on Tuesday to stick strictly with the State Council’s directory of investment projects that require government approval.

The directory, known as the negative list, came into effect on Dec 2 and replaces the government’s approval procedures for 19 investment areas.

It devolves the responsibility to approve 30 categories of investment items from central to local authorities, and it transfers approval for 10 kinds of investment projects to industrial administrations.

Timeline: a history of Bitcoin in China in 2013 In the first three months of this year, China’s relationship with bitcoin was virtually nonexistent. A handful of scattered miners and exchanges like BTC China, which launched in 2011, had never really entered the public eye.  As far back as we can tell, Bitcoin’s recorded history in China dates back to April, when a Chinese charity started accepting bitcoins to help earthquake victims in Lushan, Sichuan province. That probably sparked the curiosity of a few speculative investors. The miners sooned caught the favorable eye of state media, which led to China’s explosion of interest.

Walter Lippmann on China – Silicon Hutong **Innovation and agility** “The small American businessman has long complained about how difficult it is for him to survive in the competition with the large American corporation,” [Walter] Lippmann warned. “What will he do when he has to face the competition of totalitarian monopoly organized on a continental scale?”

Lippmann was talking about the Soviet Union at the time, but his words do resonate today.

The year of bitcoin – The Tell – MarketWatch Elsewhere, banking authorities in China, India and Europe issued warnings about the risks associated with bitcoin. Developments in China took a bite out of the bitcoin rally, which was supported in part due to increased Chinese demand, and raised questions about what geographic region could attract the next round of bitcoin mania.

5 Things to Watch: China’s Energy and Environmental Policy – Five Things – WSJ An overhaul of China’s energy and environmental policies will be in focus next year as the country struggles to balance economic growth with protecting the environment. In November, China’s central government said in its landmark reform plan that it would allow markets to take a more “decisive role” in the economy, a signal that the era of cheap, tightly controlled energy prices might be over. Here are some major energy and environmental-policy reforms to look out for in 2014.

China Money Network − The Drivers And Headwinds For China’s Economy In 2014 Now onto the negatives. Drags on growth include tighter monetary policy, a slower real estate market (though location is everything), a cash crunch in the local government infrastructure space and a mild rise in inflationary pressures.

Regional jet service set to start in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn China’s first domestic regional jetliner will go into commercial operation in 2015, with the first two ARJ21-700 aircraft intended for commercial service rolling off the assembly line on Monday.

The dual-turbofan planes will be delivered to Chengdu Airlines Co Ltd by the end of 2014, assuming the airworthiness certification process goes smoothly.

COMPANIES

Chinese state firms looking malnourished in 2013: report|WantChinaTimes.com **See yesterday’s analysis of the annual performance of the twenty largest stocks** Six state firms sit on the top 10 list with China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) having seen the highest market value decline among all state firms. CNPC’s market value slipped from 1.46 trillion yuan (US$241 billion) at the beginning of 2013 to 1.24 trillion yuan (US$204 billion) by the end of the year.

In addition to CNPC, state companies that are on the top 10 lists are China Shenhua Energy Company, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the China Life Insurance Company, the China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) and the Bank of China (BOC), whose combined market value shrunk by nearly 600 billion yuan (US$99 billion) this year.

How Alibaba and Tencent went head-to-head in 2013 This past year saw some major competition emerge between Tencent, China’s massive gaming and social networking company, and Alibaba, which is best known for its e-commerce offerings. Below we’ve tracked the progression of both firms throughout 2013 and ask: what’s next?

Baidu.com, Inc. (ADR) (BIDU): Baidu Cranks Up Anti-Piracy Campaign – Seeking Alpha **Got to act mature if it wants to play with the big boys** Just days after announcing a new acquisition designed partly to rid its various sites of piracy, leading search engine Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) has removed all pirated material from one of its popular video sharing sites. The timing of this move looks quite interesting for a number of reasons, including the fact that Chinese media are saying Baidu has just been fined by Beijing for piracy violations. The move also comes just 6 weeks after Baidu was sued for piracy by China’s leading video sites, which took the action in an unusual alliance with Hollywood’s most powerful trade association. But perhaps most interesting is the fact that the U.S. could soon release its latest list of the world’s most “notorious” piracy sites, and Baidu has no desire to see its name appear on the list.

Morgan Stanley Stake Purchase Propels NQ Mobile Rally – Bloomberg Shares of the Beijing-based company soared 17 percent to $13.90 in New York, the biggest gain since Nov. 11. Morgan Stanley, which helped NQ Mobile raise $173 million in convertible bonds in October, said in a filing that it has a 5.2 percent stake. The Bloomberg China-US Index of Chinese companies trading in the U.S. slipped 0.6 percent yesterday, paring its 6 percent advance this year.

805 companies face punishment for pollution **But what punishments?** The names of 33 companies, including Ansteel Group’s chemical branch in Northeast China’s Liaoning province, were publicized by the ministry for serious air or environmental pollution.

Another 890 small workshops were shut down in the inspection, the ministry said.

Why China Ming Yang Wind Power Group Ltd. Soared 113% in 2013 (MY) Shares of wind-turbine maker China Ming Yang Wind Power Group  (NYSE: MY) clearly had the wind buoying them in 2013, having clocked a massive 113% gains. For a company that’s yet to turn in a profit, the rally may seem out of place. Yet, a growing order book, and great-looking prospects in the clean energy space, kept investors hopeful. But will that be enough to propel the stock higher in 2014, or is the rally close to over? Let’s find out.

Shenzhen incubated Wearable Device Startup Vigo Helps you Stay Alert and Fight DrowsinessThe Vigo team moved to Shenzhen, China as part of the hardware accelerator HAXLR8R. HAXLR8R offers seed funding ($25,000), office space as well as mentorship along with the other opportunities for startups to take an idea to a product. The programme is based in Shenzhen in order to leverage the supply chain and factory ecosystem. They use a process they call ‘Interactive Manufacturing Process’ to ensure rapid development of manufacturable products.

The Island Speaking at the occasion Minister Abeywardena said that Sri Lanka will sign US $2 billion worth Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) deals, including the $ 1.3 billion Investment from China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. to build a port city.

Riding the Digitization Trend into a New Industrial Age – PR Newswire – The Sacramento Bee Huawei Unveils its Viewpoints on 2014 Industry Trends

TAZARA, Chinese firm sign pact for four locomotives The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has sealed a contract with the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), for the manufacture and supply of at least four new mainline locomotives.

According to a statement from the TAZARA head office in Dar es Salaam, the locomotives will be supplied together with consumables and spare parts worth Chinese RMB Yuan 85 million (about USD12.45 million).

Chery plans to build R&D center in Brazil – People’s Daily Online After building an engine factory in November, Chery automobile plans to build a R&D center in Brazil. The CEO of Chery Brazil, Luis Curi, said the investment of this center would be tens of millions, aiming to promote localization. Chery has planned an assembly plant, an engine factory and a R&D center.

Numerous Gurus Hold IDCC, DGX, PTR at 10-Year Low P/B – NASDAQ.com According to the GuruFocus Value Screen  that shows value strategies of stocks traded at historical low P/B ratios, InterDigital Inc. (IDCC), Quest Diagnostics Inc. (DGX) and PetroChina Co. Ltd. PTR) are held by numerous gurus and are traded at or near their 10-year low. Furthermore, insiders are selling IDCC and DGX.

Revlon to Exit Operations in China, Cut 1,100 Jobs – Bloomberg Revlon Inc. (REV), the maker of cosmetics under its namesake and Almay brands, will cease operations in China and eliminate about 1,100 positions, including 940 beauty advisers, as it restructures its struggling business.

The China business makes up about 2 percent of net sales, and the restructuring will result in about $22 million of pretax charges, the New York-based company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The changes are expected to reduce costs by about $11 million a year, Revlon said.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 22/12/13

ECONOMY

China’s economy: The PBOC’s rough playground | The Economist As I mentioned in a previous post, China’s central bank has the power to keep interbank rates steady if it puts its mind to it. So, as Ting Lu of Merrill Lynch points out, any analysis of this week’s interbank strife has to answer two questions: First, why is liquidity tight? And second, why hasn’t the PBOC done enough to ease it?

Q&A: Cash crunch in China – FT.com **Good primer** At the end of Friday China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, responded to rising money market rates by announcing it had injected more liquidity into the system. But will that injection be enough to calm fears that China is set for a new cash crunch?

Worst Cash Crunch Since June Drives Chinese ADRs Slump – Bloomberg The Bloomberg China-US Index of the most traded Chinese stocks in the U.S. dropped 0.2 percent to 103.75 yesterday for a weekly slide of 1.6 percent. The gauge’s two-week slump was the longest losing stretch in six months. Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (MPEL) fell for a second day, trading at the widest discount to its Hong Kong stock in a month. NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ) dropped for a fourth week while LightInTheBox Holding Co. slid the most in a week.

Smartphone companies place bet on sports marketing |Companies |chinadaily.com.cn **This will also probably mean more hugely-overpriced friendlies in Beijing, Shanghai etc** As Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE Corp managed to become top-5 mobile phone vendors globally and now aspire to climb the pricing ladder and attract high-end users, they’re starting to build up their branding by using the power of sports stars.

Shenzhen-based Huawei, which has been paying more attention to the smartphone business in recent years, recently signed a sponsorship agreement with Italian football club AC Milan. The three-year deal allows Huawei to use AC Milan’s logo and images of its players for phone promotion activities.

Yuan to appreciate moderately in 2014 |Markets |chinadaily.com.cn **You don’t hear US Congress complaining about currency manipulation any more, amiright?** Deutsche Bank strategists forecast that the yuan will appreciate versus the US dollar by roughly 2-3 percent in 2014, and that renminbi cross-border trade settlement will increase by roughly 50 percent to 6 trillion yuan ($983 billion), or approximately 20 percent of China’s global trade volume.

“Looking to 2014, we expect yuan to continue to appreciate moderately, with the yuan/US dollar bilateral rate expected to rise to the level of 6,” said Zhu Haibin, China economist at J.P. Morgan,

Five Predictions: China’s Business Environment in 2014 – Silicon Hutong **Compare with Evan Osnos’ “ten stories to watch”** Futurism is alchemy in the best of circumstances, and nowhere more so than in the case of China. Nonetheless, if we extrapolate from current events, it appears that China has embarked on a course of commercial nationalism, if not outright mercantilism.

In the spirit of the season, then, we offer our five predictions for 2014:

China faces tough task to resolve housing deadlock |Industries |chinadaily.com.cn “The policy message indicated by authorities recently will bring profound changes to the real estate sector. We expect more targeted reform measures to fix the defects of previous policies,” said Chen Guoqiang, deputy head of the China Real Estate Society.

Processes that allow the market to play a major role are expected to be formed to replace administrative measures currently in place.

Hair-raising rabbit clip hits China’s fur trade |Industries |chinadaily.com.cn The bottom has fallen out of the market for Chinese rabbit fur since a video of fur harvesting appeared online, despite claims that the abuse was an extreme case.

The clip of a farmer ripping fur from an live rabbit precipitated a torrent of public outrage. Many fashion brands, including Calvin Klein, Topshop and H&M, have since refused to use rabbit fur from China in their designs, leaving the Chinese rabbit industry with a tremendous reduction in orders.

Cathay puts in US$7.5b order for Boeing jets | South China Morning Post Chief executive John Slosar has been pushing to retire the airline’s older 747-400 fleet and replace it with more fuel-efficient and modern aircraft as it competes with Emirates for the lucrative business traveller market.

China vs. Japan: Will Boeing’s New Submarine-Destroying Jet Get Battle Tested? (BA) **Is this article literally looking forward to miitary conflict just so we can see quality of Boeing’s hardware? Very bad taste** Japan and China are anything but friendly, but tensions escalated further following China’s recent declaration of a maritime air defense zone over the East China Sea. This move also increased tensions between China and the U.S., and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. military wont adhere to the guidelines of the Chinese-described air-defense zone.

While this situation isn’t the best news, it has provided Boeing (NYSE: BA) with the opportunity to show off its new submarine-hunting P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Here’s what you need to know.

Ex-ICBC Credit Suisse duo readies China hedge fund as reforms lure investors | GlobalPost Two former portfolio managers of ICBC Credit Suisse Asset Management (International) have started their own hedge fund to invest in China in a sign that Beijing’s bold new reform agenda is drawing investors.

Genesis Capital Investment, founded by Kang Hao, the former head of investment for ICBC Credit Suisse Hong Kong and portfolio manager Jimmy Weng, will start trading by end of this month and aims to raise about $100 million next year.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 25/11/13

(Reuters) – Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng denounced the United States as “irresponsible” on Sunday after Washington accused China of jeopardizing a deal that aims to cut tariffs on technology products, saying Washington had disappointed participants in the talks.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday that China’s demands to exempt more than 100 products from a technology trade deal risked leading to a breakdown in the negotiations.

As I see more and more production lines in China equipped with robots and not workers, as I read about the modularization of housing construction and presumably the reduction in needed workers, and as I write about the impact of e-retail in eliminating many physical retail locations and related jobs, I do increasingly wonder where the next wave of jobs is going to come from, and what skills people will require to fill them.

Residents in Heze, a third-tier city in Shandong province, were angered last week after they discovered they would have to turn over their homes to the local government. Officials in Juancheng county are offering a scandalously low compensation rate for land that they plan to clear, add basic utilities to, then turn around to a property developer at a steep profit. Residents there say they refuse to move.

Incidents such as these are commonplace. They occur as local governments, entrusted as the sole purveyor of rural land, look to finance regional development with the proceeds of land sales. However, reforms underfoot may soon edge local governments out of the rural land market.

China Central Television (CCTV) ­reported Sunday that major real estate companies are behind on payments of land value-added tax (VAT) amounting to more than 3.8 trillion yuan ($623.58 billion) for the period between 2005 and 2012.China’s real estate companies should have paid a total of 4.6 trillion yuan in land value-added taxes between 2005 and 2012 but only paid 0.8 trillion yuan, CCTV reported, citing Li Jinsong, a Beijing lawyer and certified tax agent.

An explosion at a China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) oil pipeline and the nation’s deadliest spillage since at least 2005 may threaten the government’s efforts to lure investment to state-controlled industries as President Xi Jinping called for improved industrial safety.

The Nov. 22 accident at the Huangdao district in the eastern city of Qingdao killed at least 52 people, Xinhua News Agency reported. Sinopec, as China Petroleum is known, said yesterday it was still investigating the cause of the blast, which happened after crude oil leaked from a 27-year-old pipeline into Qingdao’s municipal rainwater pipe network.

When Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy Gear launch in early September created a hype around the potential market for smartwatches, it was certain that we would soon see cheaper versions from Chinese competitors.

Now, ZTE Corp., mainly known for its telecom equipment but also a smartphone maker, plans to launch a smartwatch in the second quarter of next year, according to Lu Qianhao, head of the Shenzhen-based company’s handset marketing strategy.

Earlier this month Cisco CEO John Chambers admitted in an earnings call that political dynamics were stymieing his company’s long march into Huawei’s backyard.

Asked whether the recent U.S. spying scandal was affecting overseas business, Chambers said it was having an impact, particularly in China, which is Cisco’s biggest emerging market country but represents less than 5 percent of its total revenue.

BEIJING, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) — Shares of Sinopec, China’s top refiner listed in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, opened to tumble on Monday following Friday’s deadly oil pipeline blasts in east China’s Shandong Province.

A-share of Sinopec in Shanghai opened at 4.85 yuan (79 U.S. cents) per share, down 3.96 percent from Friday’s closing price.

A group led by Aluminum Corp. of China has abandoned its bid for Glencore Xstrata Plc (GLEN)’s Las Bambas copper project in Peru, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Chinalco, as the state-owned aluminum producer is known, decided to drop out rejecting a proposal by the Chinese government that it be a minority partner in a combined bid led by China Minmetals Corp., said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the deliberations are private.

Mobile device chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. expects to continue growing in China, but Chief Executive Paul Jacobs acknowledged U.S. restrictions on Chinese companies and revelations about surveillance by the National Security Agency are impacting its business in the fast-growing country.

Evergrande bid for a piece of land with 20.84 ㎡building area in Chaoyang  District, Beijing on Thursday for CNY5.14billion, a premium of 30 percent over  the original auction price.

This is the third plot the group bought in the capital city this year,  raising the aggregate investment to CNY12.7billion in its first year marching  into Beijing’s property market.

One of the key questions is if China Mobile and Apple were to announce their partnership would the 200,000 TD-LTE base stations that it plans to have in place by the end of the year, which could handle 4 million active users, be enough for the initial iPhone demand. At least one analyst believes that 10% of China Mobile’s users, or about 76 million, could be potential customers. Note that as of September 2013 Apple has sold a total of 421 million iPhones worldwide since it was launched over six years ago.

The COMAC America Corporation aims to further COMAC’s relationship with local civil aviation authorities, aerospace companies and academic institutions, mainly in areas such as airworthiness certification, civil aircraft development and educational training, said Jin Zhuanglong, chairman of the COMAC.

“Chinese civil aviation market is the No.1 booming market…The fast-growing Chinese civil aviation industry is now becoming an indispensable force to world aerospace industry,” Jin said, adding that China is embracing an era of mass aviation with its remarkable air transport growth.

Muddy Waters NQ Short Call Fails to Freeze Chinese IPOs

Chinese companies are selling shares in New York at the fastest pace in two years less than a month after short seller Carson Block’s call spurred a 62 percent plunge in Beijing-based NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ)

Three Chinese companies have debuted on U.S. bourses this month, raising $345.4 million, the most since May 2011, when six companies listed $1.3 billion of shares. 500.com Ltd., an online sports lottery service, raised $75.2 million in an initial public offering. Sungy Mobile Ltd., which makes applications for Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software, sold 7 million shares at $11.22. 58.Com Inc. (WUBA), an online marketplace similar to Craigslist, and travel agency Qunar Cayman Islands Ltd. (QUNR) have sold shares above their price targets since Oct. 30.

BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) – As China struggles to rid cities of choking smog, one of the early priorities for Beijing’s economic reforms will likely be to force state-run PetroChina to allow private producers fair access to natural gas pipelines.

Without fair access to the distribution network, independent producers have no incentive to develop the country’s vast gas reserves to their full potential. Already the world’s fourth-largest gas user, China’s leaders want to boost domestic output to accelerate the substitution of cleaner-burning gas for coal to fuel power and heating.

Sina will soon launch a service to enable Weibo users to make online payments on credit, Dai Geng, vice GM of Sina Payments, told Nandu reporter (in Chinese).

Zhong An, the online-only insurance company jointly founded by Alibaba, Tenent and Ping An, will provide coverage for defaults on payments.

Posted from Diigo.