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China Business Briefs 24/4/14

Economy Finance Auto Energy Tech Property Agriculture Retail

Economy

Manufacturing remains weak[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn The preliminary reading was 48.3, compared with 48.0 in March. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction.

Domestic demand improved slightly, as suggested by an increase in new orders. The sub-index reading rose to 47.7 in April from 46.5 in March. Output rebounded to 48.0 from 47.2.

Infrastructure projects set to boost growth – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China announced 80 major public infrastructure projects on Wednesday to arrest the economy’s slowdown while experimenting with wider access for private and overseas investors.

The projects will cover railway and harbor construction, new infrastructure needed by information technology, major clean energy projects such as hydropower, wind power and photovoltaic power, as well as modernization projects in oil and gas and chemical industries.

China Opens 80 Projects in State-Run Sectors to Investors – Bloomberg The projects are in industries including railways, ports and clean energy, according to a statement posted on the central government’s website yesterday that cited a State Council meeting. The projects are also in information technology, oil and gas pipelines, coal-to-chemicals and petrochemicals, it said.

State-controlled companies including PetroChina Co. (857) and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) have been leading a drive to find private investors amid a push by Premier Li Keqiang to give markets a bigger role in the allocation of resources. The country’s economy grew 7.4 percent in the first three months of the year, the slowest pace in six quarters.

Weakening RMB affecting dim sum bond market|Finance|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Continued depreciation of the renminbi has made investors more cautious in credit checks of offshore RMB bond issuers as the fear of a market reaction has caused some Chinese companies to turn to dollar bonds to raise cash.

Since mid-February, the Chinese currency has depreciated by nearly 3%, meaning investors snapping up “dim sum bonds,” or RMB-denominated bonds issued outside the Chinese mainland, can no longer speculate on a rising yuan.

China Resources ‘mistress’ business link tracked – FT.com China Resources, the state-owned conglomerate whose chairman was detained last week by anti-corruption investigators, has allocated many of its investment banking deals over the past five years to institutions employing the chairman’s alleged mistress.

From 2009 until 2012, Credit Suisse was one of the most prominent advisers on acquisitions and capital market activity carried out by China Resources and its numerous subsidiaries, according to data from Dealogic financial services information. This period coincides with the employment of Yang Lijuan, who also goes by the name Helen Yang and who is alleged to have been the mistress of the disgraced China Resources chairman Song Lin.

Contrarian Fund Will Seek Opportunities in Suffering Chinese Shares – WSJ.com Value Partners Group Ltd., a money manager based in Hong Kong, plans to open a fund in the third quarter to snap up shares in companies such as coal miners and steelmakers. They have been big decliners since China’s government started making noise about pollution and taking aim at energy-intensive heavy industries.

“They are too severely punished, to the point where it’s worth thinking about deep value buying,” said Cheah Cheng Hye, chairman and co-chief investment officer of Value Partners Group Ltd., which will likely look to raise at least US$50 million for its contrarian fund.

Finance

Chinese firms turn to foreign investors to borrow – MarketWatch Businesses based in mainland China–led by banks, property developers and energy companies–at the end of last year had a total of $169.2 billion of bonds outstanding held by investors outside China, up 60% from the previous year and more than double the amount from 2011, according to a new analysis by Nomura Holdings Inc. Many of the bonds are sold in Hong Kong, a Chinese city that operates under its own laws, and in the Caribbean. Of all the estimated $2 trillion of Chinese corporate bonds outstanding, about 8% is held by foreigners, the Nomura study shows.

Chinese brokerages queue up for next round of IPOs | GlobalPost The China Securities Regulatory Commission published the application prospectuses of 19 firms on its website on Tuesday evening, bringing the total to 65 applicants over the last five days.

One firm, Guotai Junan Securities Co Ltd, has applied for an IPO in Shanghai that could raise nearly 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), according to Reuters calculations.

Short-Seller Accuses Chinese Rubber Recycler of Doctoring Financials – WSJ.com Short-seller Glaucus Research Group California LLC on Thursday accused a Taipei-listed Chinese foam-rubber recycler of doctoring its financials.

In a 32-page report, Glaucus said it believes Asia Plastic Recycling Holding Ltd , based in China’s Fujian province, has overstated its net income by around 10 times, citing Chinese government tax records. Glacus also said public-land records show the company paid much less than it reported in acquiring two pieces of land and in expanding a factory since 2011.

Auto

Tesla CEO Pledges to Build Up Support Network in China – WSJ.com Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk pledged to enhance the auto maker’s support network in China to help broaden use of the company’s niche electric car, and offered new details about a $5 billion battery factory Tesla plans to build in the U.S.

Speaking in Beijing Tuesday at a ceremony marking the first handover of a Tesla vehicle to a customer in China, Mr. Musk said U.S.-based Tesla is building out hundreds of service centers around China but didn’t offer a time frame for their completion.

Energy

China Ends Environmental Ban on CNPC, Sinopec Refining Projects – Bloomberg Overturning an eight month-old ban, China National Petroleum Corp. and China Petrochemical Corp. can resume applying for clearance from the Ministry of Environmental Protection for new refining and petrochemicals projects, the ministry said today on its website.

CNPC, China’s biggest oil and gas company and parent of PetroChina Co. (857), and Sinopec Group, Asia’s biggest refiner and parent of China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (386) known as Sinopec, were banned from seeking environmental clearances in September 2013 following a review of their emissions in 2012. The ban effectively prevented the companies from building new refineries and petrochemical facilities.

PetroChina Company Limited Given Average Rating of “Buy” by Brokerages (NYSE:PTR) | WKRB News PetroChina Company Limited (NYSE:PTR) has received an average recommendation of “Buy” from the twelve brokerages that are covering the company, ARN reports. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell recommendation, four have given a hold recommendation and seven have given a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among analysts that have issued a report on the stock in the last year is $102.00.

CNOOC Ltd offers $4bn bonds -Upstreamonline.com The overseas arm of state-run China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) is offering $4 billion worth of bonds to help repay loans related to its takeover of Canada’s Nexen last year.

CNOOC Ltd revealed it planned to sell $1.25 billion three-year notes, $2.25 billion 10-year notes and $500 million 30-year notes.

CNOOC Ltd names new Nexen boss -Upstreamonline.com Current executive vice president of CNOOC Ltd Fang Zhi will take over for Kevin Reinhart as Nexen’s chief executive, the company said.

Reinhart, who has worked for Nexen for 20 years, was named interim chief executive in early 2012 following the abrupt departure of former boss Marvin Romanow. Reinhart has held the position since then and oversaw the $15.1 billion sale to CNOOC Ltd, which was finalised in February last year.

Tech

Competition, Subsidies Hit China Mobile Earnings – WSJ.com China Mobile, however, has been dependent on homegrown 3G technology, which is compatible with fewer handsets. To maintain its dominant position, the company plans to double its capital spending to $12 billion this year to build a speedier 4G network. Apple and other major smartphone makers including Samsung Electronics Co., Sony Corp. and HTC Corp. already make phones to support this 4G standard.

China Mobile added 1.34 million 4G users in February, of which about one million were new iPhone users, Chief Executive Li Yue told The Wall Street Journal last month. The company said Tuesday it added 1.45 million 4G users in March, but it didn’t give a breakdown of iPhone users.

Tencent $2.5bn bond sale defies tech sector gloom – FT.com The deal, announced to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Wednesday, is part of the company’s medium-term notes programme established earlier this month, and is split into three-year and five-year tranches. The shorter duration debt offers a yield of just over 2 per cent while the notes maturing in 2019 – the bulk of the deal, at $2bn – pay out 3.4 per cent.

The five-year portion was priced at a spread over US Treasuries of 165 basis points, a new low for the company. It paid a spread of 375 bps in its first US dollar deal in 2011, and 275 bps in 2012.

Alibaba Starts to Sells First Ever Private Brand Hardware Tmall Box for 299 Yuan | TechNode Alibaba starts to sell set-top-box Tmall Box today on its B2C e-commerce site Tmall. This is the first time for the Chinese Internet giant to commercialize private brand hardware, although it has released last year another set-top box Wasu Rainbow together with Wasu Media, one of the several state-authorized content providers.

The product is priced at 299 yuan (around $48), while 10,000 Tmall credits will be distributed to each buyer, who can purchase 100 yuan worth of products on Tmall.

Xiaomi announces expansion into 10 more countries this year This afternoon Xiaomi, China’s fast-growing smartphone maker, held a meetup in Beijing to announce it would enter some new markets and also reveal a new product it had been teasing for the past several weeks.

  • Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam
  • Europe: Russia, Turkey
  • Latin America: Mexico, Brazil

Uber rolls into Beijing, now in 5 cities across China As is Uber’s usual strategy, the Beijing debut is a quiet ‘soft’ launch ahead of a more high-profile entrance at a later date. Uber gave rides to two Beijing luminaries earlier today – local tech blogger Keso, and Beijing newbie Hugo Barra, the Googler who’s now heading the global push at phone-maker Xiaomi.

New competition coming soon in China 4G, broadband | South China Morning Post Just a day after China Mobile (0941.HK; NYSE: CHL) reported some of its worst results in years, new developments in the telecoms space are showing why the nation’s leading telco will face a rough time for the rest of this year and quite possibly well beyond that. According to the latest media reports, China’s telecoms regulator could issue 4G licenses for the main technology being used by China Mobile’s two rivals as soon as next month, injecting a major shot of competition into the market. The second telecoms news bit comes in broadband, with reports that the nation’s newly formed national cable TV company has formally registered and will start business soon.

Huawei to boost its smartphone brand via new retail, online push | South China Morning Post “There are different ways to build a brand,” said Shao Yang, vice-president of marketing for Huawei’s consumer business group. “We will adopt measures not that new to the market but new to Huawei.”

Shao said the China market will be the focus of the company’s efforts in 2014, mainly because of the launch of 4G networks on the mainland. The company trails only Samsung and Apple as a leading producer of smartphones. It plans to manufacture 80 million smartphones this year, having shipped 52 million units in 2013.

China mobile Zong wins Pakistan’s 3G, 4G spectrum – Xinhua | English.news.cn Pakistan raised 1.1 billion U.S. dollars in its first auction for 3G and 4G mobile phone networks on Wednesday and China Mobile Pakistan, or Zong, emerged the sole winner of Pakistan 4G spectrum license and one of four winners of the country’s 3G spectrum licenses.

Property

China Money Network − CITIC Capital, Sonae Sierra Launch Property Management Joint Venture CITIC Capital Holdings Limited and international shopping center operator Sonae Sierra says they have launched a joint venture to provide management and leasing services to shopping centers in China, according to a company announcement.

Headquartered in Shanghai, the joint venture will focus on adding long-term value to shopping centers in China. It will start by providing property management services to retail projects currently invested by CITIC Capital.

Agriculture

Shanghai Dairy planning independent public listing|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Shanghai Dairy Group, a subsidiary of Bright Dairy and Foods, plans to go public independently, the subsidiary’s chairperson Shen Weiping told Shanghai-based China Business News, denying rumors about Shanghai Dairy’s capital being invested into the listed Bright Foods stock-trading platform.

Shen also said that Shanghai Dairy had reached an agreement with Nestle to build a milk production line in the Heilongjiang region of northeastern China to supply milk to Nestle’s baby formula brands. The planned investment will be worth several billion yuan, Shen stated.

Posted from Diigo.

 

China Business Briefs 21/4/14

Economy Finance Auto Infrastructure Energy Telecoms Property Travel Tech Agriculture Retail

Economy

Bank Defaults Seen as Dark Side of Deposit Vows: China Credit – Bloomberg Authorities may tolerate failures of smaller banks once depositor safeguards are in place, Kwong Li, chief executive officer of China Lianhe Credit Rating Co. said. Among lender bonds rated at or below AA, the extra yield investors demand to hold the 2022 securities of China Bohai Bank Co. in the northern city of Tianjin surged to an 11-month high of 245 basis points on April 17. The premium on the notes due 2019 of Harbin Bank Co., a lender near China’s border with Russia, has jumped 41 basis points in the past year to 217.

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

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

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

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

Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Auto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

Energy

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

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

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

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

Telecoms

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

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

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

Property

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

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

Travel

Tech

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agriculture

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

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

Retail

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

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

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

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

Posted from Diigo.

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 16/4/14

There won’t be a posting of the business briefs tomorrow, as I am flying to Beijing (in about three hours) for a two week visit. I will try to keep on posting once there, but visits and reunions may take precedence.

I am looking forward to seeing Iain Shaw and co, former staff of the Beijinger (and former colleagues of mine) who are starting up The Cleaver Quarterly, a magazine on Chinese food around the world. Check out their kickstarter thing here if you’re interested.

Economy Finance Auto Infrastructure Energy Telecoms Property Travel Tech Agriculture Retail Healthcare

Economy

China’s first quarter GDP grows 7.4% – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s economy grew 7.4 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2014, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed on Wednesday.

The NBS said that preliminary data showed the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached 12.8213 trillion yuan ($2.08 trillion) in the first quarter.

The figures suggest growth in the world’s second-largest economy in the beginning of year 2014 was stable and that the economy was generally in good health, as Chinese authorities promoted reforms, innovation, restructuring and improvement of people’s well-being, according to the NBS.

Chinese incomes continue surging in Q1 – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn The average per capita disposable income rose 11.1 percent year on year to 5,562 yuan (908.82 US dollars) in the first quarter. Deducting inflation, the actual growth was 8.6 percent, according to the NBS.

The income gap between urban and rural residents narrowed with the actual income growth in rural China 2.9 percentage points higher than that in its urban areas in the first quarter, according to the NBS.

China’s Economic Growth Slows to Six-Quarter Low After Credit Reined In – Businessweek China’s expansion moderated to the weakest pace in six quarters and property construction plunged, testing leaders’ commitment to keep reining in credit as risks mount of a deeper slowdown.

Gross domestic product rose 7.4 percent in the January-to-March period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing, compared with the 7.3 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Industrial production and fixed-asset investment trailed projections.

China’s expansion slows as property construction falls | Money | The Malay Mail Online Gross domestic product rose 7.4 per cent in the January-to- March period from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said today in Beijing, compared with the 7.3 per cent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. Industrial production and fixed-asset investment trailed projections.

The weakest first-quarter property-investment growth since 2009 signals credit is tight and demand is faltering, adding to economic and default dangers as Premier Li Keqiang grapples with risks from shadow banking and local-government debt. A deeper slowdown would put pressure on leaders to expand stimulus or limit the pace of changes intended to give market forces a bigger role in the world’s second-largest economy.

Chinese Police Confront Trust Investors Demanding Repayment – Bloomberg Chinese investors demanding their money back from a troubled 973 million-yuan ($156 million) high-yield product in Shanxi province were confronted by police in front of a China Construction Bank Corp. (939) branch.

People wearing white masks with the words “despicable bank” and “pay back our money” were among at least 30 investors facing special-forces officers in dark uniforms in Taiyuan city, about 521 kilometers (324 miles) southwest of Beijing. The nation’s second-largest bank is the custodian of the Songhuajiang River No. 77 trust, which missed six payments as of last month, according to the Economic Observer.

Electricity, Steel Hint at Economic Uptick in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ Official data shows China’s economy in the first quarter grew at its slowest pace in 18 months, but two proxies point to some resilience.

Electricity output—an indicator favored by Premier Li Keqiang over gross domestic product—and crude steel production grew faster in March than in the preceding two months. In addition, steel output in March hit a record high, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

China’s slowing growth potential minefield for leaders – The Globe and Mail Slowing growth presents a potential minefield for Chinese leadership, whose chief concern is maintaining a rising standard of living for its own people. To that end, officials have sought to discount the value of GDP as a measure of well-being, instead deliberately underscoring other statistics. “Maybe a more important thing to look at is employment and income,” said Mr. Sheng. And those numbers still look good. The first quarter saw 3.74-million urban jobs created, slightly more than the year before. Rural income is up 10.1 per cent, while urban salaries swelled 7.2 per cent. At the same time, consumer price index growth of 2.3 per cent has allowed many of those gains to flow in to consumer pockets, rather than back into groceries.

Slowdown curbs Q1 lending activity – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn Money supply growth decelerated further in March amid a reform-induced economic slowdown, according to figures released on Tuesday by the People’s Bank of China.

The central bank said that the expansion of M2, a broad measure of money supply, slowed to 12.1 percent year-on-year from 13.3 percent in February. The market consensus was for an increase of 13 percent.

Slower deposit growth, which limits banks’ ability to lend, was a factor. Yuan deposit growth fell to 11.4 percent year-on-year in March from 12.5 percent in February.

Higher-value exporters survive turmoil in market[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Higher-value Chinese exporters are more immune than low-cost manufacturers in the face of market turmoil from such things as weak demand, exchange-rate fluctuations and rising costs, said exhibitors at the Canton Fair that opened on Tuesday.

China not Currency Manipulator: US Treasury-Caijing “China’s currency yuan, or renminbi (RMB) appreciated on a trade-weighted basis in 2013 but not as fast or by as much as is needed,” the US Treasury said  in the latest semi-annual Report to Congress on International Economic and  Exchange Rate Policies.

According to the report, the yuan appreciated by 2.9 percent against the US  dollar in 2013, and China’s current account surplus declined to 2.1 percent of  gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, down from 2.3 percent of GDP in 2012 and  from a peak of over 10 percent in 2007.

Yangtze River Delta becomes epicentre for China credit risk | South China Morning Post Suzhou, an ancient city in Jiangsu province 100 kilometres west of Shanghai, lives in legend as one of China’s most beautiful, famous for its elegant gardens and charming canals.

More recently, it became an industrial powerhouse, sitting at the heart of the Yangtze River Delta region that, along with the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong, drove the mainland’s economic boom.

Now it is ground zero for a painful corporate deleveraging that has tacit government approval. A third of all loan delinquencies come from the region, and credit is getting harder to come by.

Finance

Citic Pacific to Pay $36B for Parent’s China Assets – Bloomberg The steelmaker and property developer will pay 49.9 billion yuan in cash and issue almost 16.6 billion shares at HK$13.48 each, according to a Hong Kong exchange filing today. Citic Group Corp. will hold 75 percent of Citic Pacific following the transaction and a share sale by the Hong Kong company, it said.

The transaction comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping advocates the most sweeping changes since Deng Xiaoping’s liberalization in 1978, including loosening yuan trading and allowing more private investments in state businesses. The deal gives Citic Pacific a stake in China’s largest brokerage, as well as banking, energy and infrastructure assets.

China Money Network − S&P Downgrades Fosun International’s Credit Rating Shanghai-headquartered Chinese privately owned conglomerate Fosun International Ltd. has been downgraded by Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services because of the company’s increasing leverage level as a result of its acquisitions, according to a notice issued by S&P.

Fosun’s long-term corporate credit rating is downgraded to BB from BB+ with stable outlook.

BRIEF-Ping An Insurance’s Jan-Mar premium income totalled 108 bln yuan | Reuters Ping An Insurance Group Co of China Ltd

* Says January-March premium income totalled 108 billion yuan ($17.37 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/tan58v

BRIEF-China Life Insurance’s Jan-Mar premium income totalled about 132.2 bln yuan | Reuters China Life Insurance Co Ltd

* Says January-March premium income totalled about 132.2 billion yuan ($21.25 billion)

Source text in Chinese: link.reuters.com/tet58v

Auto

Volvo likely to become China’s next official car brand: report|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com **I wonder what % of Audi’s revenues come from China** China’s president Xi Jinping, who visited the Chinese-owned Volvo car plant in Ghent, Belgium on April 1 during his European trip, seems to have become the best spokesman for the automobile brand after a photo of him and the Volvo XC60 model was published. Volvo could likely become the new choice for official cars in China, according to the Guangzhou-based Time Weekly.

Infrastructure

SOE accounting puzzle blurs frugality drive – Headlines, features, photo and videos from ecns.cn **Article repeated from Xinhua – evidently CRCC’s arse is being kicked** Many Chinese state-owned enterprises(SOEs) that were under fire last year for exorbitant “reception” fees hid the item in their latest financial results, renewing public concerns over their sincerity to cut extravagance.

China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd. (CRCC), one of the country’s largest construction companies, spent 837.5 million yuan (135.1 million U.S. dollars) on receptions in 2012. The company was punished following public outrage over the alleged abuse of state assets.

In its 2013 financial report released in late March, CRCC canceled the item called “receptions” in its accounting statement. Meanwhile, the item named “management fees,” which included the sub-item “receptions” in the 2012 report, surged by nearly 2.2 billion yuan last year.

World’s longest plateau rail tunnel completed – People’s Daily Online The Xinguanjiao Tunnel, the world’s longest plateau rail tunnel on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, was completed on Tuesday, local authorities said.

Spanning 32.645 km, the tunnel was finished on Tuesday afternoon, making it the longest rail tunnel in China, according to Zhi Changying, an official with the China Railway Tunnel Co. Ltd. (CRTC), a partner in the project.

Sierra Leone Sports: Bo stadium handed over to Salone « Awoko Newspaper Renowned Chinese company, Xinjiang Beixin construction and Engineering Group Company Limited on Friday April 11th handed over the four thousand seater stadium to government through the Ministry of Sports.

Before the handing over ceremony, one of the Engineers Tai Xie who also doubles as interpreter told Newday that they started the construction of the Stadium on the 25th of December 2008 and they finished the project on 25th December 2013 spanning over a five year period.

Energy

China Natural Gas Output Rises in March to Highest in Two Years – BloombergNatural gas output in the world’s largest energy consumer rose 7.6 percent to 11 billion cubic meters last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics in Beijing show today. That’s the highest since March 2012. NBS didn’t release output figures for January 2013 because the data was distorted by the Lunar New Year holiday.

The Chinese government sees expanding gas supply as a way to curb air pollution that has frequently exceeded limits recommended by the World Health Organization. The National Energy Administration said in its work plan in January that gas output is forecast to rise 12 percent from a year earlier to 131 billion cubic meters this year.

China State Grid Considers Dollar Issue Amid State-Giant Sales – Bloomberg State Grid Corp. of China, the nation’s largest power distributor, is considering a dollar-denominated bond offering following sales from other government-backed giants.

The company will meet investors in the U.S. and Asia from April 21, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. China Petrochemical Corp., known as Sinopec Group and parent of Asia’s largest oil refiner, raised $5 billion selling securities April 2 in Asia’s biggest dollar bond offering in a decade.

China builds up nuclear power grid – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn “China will install another 800 gigawatts of capacity for nuclear power, about 70 percent of which will use our technology for steam turbines and other key components,” Chen Chaoming, vice-president of Nuclear China-Alstom Thermal, told reporters in Beijing during the 13th edition of Nuclear Industry China, organized by the Chinese Nuclear Society.

“Despite the post-Fukushima delays,” he said, referring to the Japanese disaster of three years ago, “China’s nuclear market has a huge potential for growth. Basically, it is because China’s nuclear industry is still at a nascent stage. Power generated by nuclear plants accounts for less than 2 percent,” he said.

PetroChina Company Ltd.: Notice of Annual General Meeting for the year 2013 NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that an annual general meeting of PetroChina Company Limited (the “Company”) for the year 2013 (the “Annual General Meeting”) will be held at 9 a.m. on 22 May 2014 at Beijing Oriental Bay International Hotel, 26 Anwai Xibinhe Road, Dongcheng District, Beijing.

PLN teams up with Chinese firms on marine project | The Jakarta Post State owned electricity company PT PLN has teamed up with three Chinese companies — Technology Intern Shijiazhuang Enric Gas Equipment Co. Ltd, Ocean Engineering Design & Research Institute of CIMC and PT Enviromate Technology International Cui Li — to develop marine transportation of compressed natural gas (CNG) in Indonesia.

The marine CNG transportation project, which will transport CNG from Gresik, East Java to Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, via a CNG vessel, is the first project of its kind in the world.

Telecoms

Huawei world’s top communications equipment supplier in 2013|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Drawing from China’s huge mobile communications market, Huawei became the world’s largest communications equipment supplier in 2013, overtaking Ericsson, according to the Chinese-language CBN Weekly.

The company raked in net profits of US$3.47 billion on sales of US$39.5 billion in 2013, compared with US$1.9 billion and US$35.3 billion for Ericsson. Cisco was third.

Property

China First-Quarter Home Sales Post Decline on Tight Credit – Bloomberg The value of homes sold fell 7.7 percent to 1.1 trillion yuan ($177 billion) in the three months to March from the same period a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said today. The last time home value sales dropped in the first quarter was in 2012. New property construction declined to 291 million square meters (3.1 billion square feet) in the quarter.

Is glut developing in retail building sector?[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Despite a rapid growth in retail sales, less-experienced developers could soon be learning a hard lesson from a market with a supply glut, says a retail property trend report released by Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate services company.

The report forecast that the new supply of commercial properties in 30 cities that it monitors will total 75 million square meters, and a peak of new supply with more than 20 million sq m will flood the market this year.

Hoping for Price Rises? Here’s the Harsh Reality, CCTV Tells Home Buyers – China Real Time Report – WSJ China’s latest message about the property market is simple and aimed at the man on the street: The home you’ve bought isn’t a one-way bet. Deal with it.

That message has been pumped out through China’s state broadcaster as part of Beijing’s efforts to curb people’s enthusiasm for homes as an investment tool. Such appetite for property has driven economic growth, but also led to imbalances in the country’s economy and social tension.

Hebei Hopes to Turn Cities into Satellites by Pushing Them into Beijing’s Orbit – The housing market in Baoding heated up after media reports that provincial officials in Hebei want to develop some cities into satellites of Beijing, and Baoding might host some central government offices.

A Hebei official has said the idea is still just that, and that the central government has not approved anything.

However, the plan shows the province is enthusiastic about developing its economy, and has identified problems in the capital – overcrowding, heavy traffic and terrible air pollution – as problems it could use to its advantage.

Travel

WeChat Adds Air Ticket Booking Service | TechNode WeChat’s m-commerce offerings has added flight booking service that is provided by LV.com (formerly 17u.cn), a Chinese online travel service Tencent has a stake in. Payments, of course, are supported by WeChat Payment.

Firms decline to comment on merger rumors – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn Ctrip.com International and Qunar.com Inc, two Chinese NASDAQ-listed online travel service providers, both declined to comment Tuesday on market rumors that they will merge in a deal that would create an online travel service giant with a market capitalization of over $10 billion.

The rumors, as reported by China Business Journal over the weekend, claimed that search engine giant Baidu Inc, the majority shareholder in Qunar, will swap its shares in Qunar for Ctrip shares, resulting in Baidu taking a controlling stake in Ctrip.

Sikorsky Helicopter Receives Chinese Nod – Analyst Blog – NASDAQ.com **UK political buffs may remember Sikorsky from the Westland affair** Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a unit of  United Technologies Corp. (UTX), declared that its S-76D aircraft has received China’s  certification, jumpstarting its delivery to Chinese customers.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a validation type certificate for the helicopters, which will  support expansion of Sikorsky’s operations in a potentially  profitable market and strengthen its foothold in the Chinese market.

Tech

Alibaba Plans Hong Kong-Style Fee as Carrot for IPO Banks – Businessweek Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is planning to award about one-third of the fees for its initial public offering in the form of incentive bonuses to coax better performance from underwriters, people with knowledge of the matter said.

China’s largest e-commerce company plans to pay at least 1.1 percent of the total IPO proceeds in fees, two people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. Estimates of Alibaba’s valuation suggest the company could raise as much as $18 billion in the sale, making the potential fee pool almost $200 million. While the e-commerce giant is preparing for an IPO in New York, performance incentives are common in Hong Kong and have been used by companies including Agricultural Bank of China Ltd.

China’s Alibaba sees profit double ahead of long-awaited IPO As the tech world awaits Alibaba’s US IPO, here are some new financial figures to chew on. The Chinese ecommerce juggernaut pulled in US$3.06 billion in revenue in Q4 2014, which is up 66 percent on the same period a year before. Alibaba’s Q4 net income hit $1.36 billion in net income in Q4, which has more than doubled (up 110 percent) from the previous year.

Alibaba’s Q4 numbers were boosted by the popularity of China’s equivalent of Cyber Monday, which happens every November 11. On that day, Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao marketplaces saw $5.7 billion spent by shoppers in just 24 hours.

Baidu enters China’s mobile payments war with Baidu Wallet Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the Chinese tech giant best known for its search engine, announced yesterday it will roll out a new mobile wallet app called Baidu Wallet (baidu qianbao), reports Jinghua.cn (via Techweb).

Like its main rivals from Alibaba (Alipay) and Tencent (Tenpay and WeChat Payments), Baidu Wallet serves as a Swiss army knife for the average Chinese consumer’s finance needs. By binding bank cards to the app, users can transfer money to friends’ accounts, top up their SIM cards, pay for virtual goods in video games, purchase movie tickets, and buy goods from any vendor that accepts Baifubao, Baidu’s third-party payment solution.

Agriculture

Noble Group to sell stake in agriculture unit for US$1.5b – Channel NewsAsia China’s largest grain trader COFCO Corp will buy a 51 per cent stake in Singapore-listed Noble Group Ltd’s agriculture business unit for US$1.5 billion, Noble said on Wednesday.

The two companies plan to form a partnership that will link COFCO’s grain processing and distribution business with Noble Agri’s agricultural unit.

Noble Group Limited – Did it sell the agriculture business at right price – which of the brokers is right? – Yahoo Singapore Finance After failing to spin off its agriculture business in 2011 it has now again plans for an IPO after divesting majority stake to COFCO. The question still remains whether this segment deserves better valuations.

Retail

An Overview of China’s Retail Industry | China Briefing News Underpinned by the steady rise of household income, China’s retail market has become one of the most lucrative and rapidly growing in the world. China is currently the world’s second largest retail market, and Asia’s largest. It is expected to surpass the U.S. to become the world’s largest retail market by 2016. After years of accelerated growth and annual expansion rates of 10 percent or more, China’s growth in 2013 slowed down to 7.7 percent – level with the figure for 2012. This slowdown in growth is consistent with China’s effort to carry out a major overhaul aimed at weaning its economy off its decades-long reliance on heavy industry, export-oriented manufacturing, state-driven investment, as well as investment in infrastructure. Meanwhile, to rebalance the nation’s economy, policymakers are attempting to shift towards a more consumption- and service-driven model, hoping to foster and sustain more productive growth over the next decade and beyond.

Reaching for the red | China Economic Review This is a characteristic trait seen in previous emerging markets like Japan that eventually opened up their palates to other varieties, notes Guilllame Delglise, CEO of Vinexpo, a global wines and spirits exhibition, but it will take time for the same to happen in China.

In an interview during a recent visit to Shanghai, Delglise, who was previously Asia Pacific director for Laurent-Perrier, also told China Economic Review that officials in Beijing are not inclined to serve champagne to their guests, and explained why that might be good for marketers of bubbly as they chase affluent urban youngsters at fancy nightclubs.

Healthcare

China Money Network − TPG, Fosun’s Privatization Target Chindex Receives Higher Takeover Proposal NASDAQ-listed Chindex International, Inc., the operator of high-end United Family hospitals in China, says the company has received a superior take-private proposal from an unspecified financial bidder, according to a company release.

The new bidder is willing to pay $23 per share for all outstanding American Depository Shares (ADS), valuing the company at around $414 million.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 6/2/14

Economy   Finance   Auto   Infrastructure   Energy   Telecoms   Property   Tech   Media

Economy

Four reasons the yuan will struggle to gain acceptance | South China Morning Post Yet a look at the economic history books advises caution. Over the past 50 years, other currencies – including the deutschemark, its successor the euro, and the Japanese yen – had been tipped to steal the dollar’s crown.

All failed. And the obstacles the yuan will have to overcome to unseat the dollar are just as formidable as those that defeated the three earlier pretenders.

Intel Economist Sees Pollution Contributing to Slower China Growth – China Real Time Report – WSJ Mr. Thomas predicted slower growth in China, the world’s second-largest economy, in part because of rising concern about air-pollution problems. He said Intel, like many non-Chinese companies, has installed additional air filters in its facilities in China and that many employees use air filters in their homes.

Shenzhen has China’s highest minimum wage|Markets|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The Shenzhen city government announced that the city’s minimum wage has been raised from US$213 to US$241 a month, which has made it the city with the most expensive labor in China. The minimum wage in the city in 1992 was US$39.

In 2013, Shanghai had the largest minimum wage, followed by Shenzhen and Guangdong. In addition to Shenzhen, the growth for the minimum wage in Xinjiang was 31%, 29.8% in Jiangsu, 19.2% in Guangdong, 11.7% in Shanghai and 11.1% in Beijing.

What’s Driving China’s New Economy? Three months after the conclusion of China’s Third Plenum, the state seems to be fulfilling every prophecy set out by economists. These meetings, used by Chinese political leadership to set policy goals and the general direction of the country, seem to show that the state may be giving up its usual stance on intervening in the market for something a little more hands-off. This move is still in its infancy, but in an economy expected to be the world’s strongest by 2020, the move seems to be one a long time in coming.

Although China’s slowing economy has been compared to a near-apocalyptic sign of failing markets, indications show the slow to be a forced suppression of an economy that had been bubbling in the early 2000s. This bubble is now being deflated, says Professor Yiping Huang, by Premier Li Keqiang’s government who seeks less market volatility. In an economic view that has been dubbed “Likonomics,” the Chinese premier calls for the establishment of a market built on no stimulus, deleveraging of current assets, and structural reform.

GlaxoSmithKline hails drug pipeline after 2013’s China scandal The pharmaceutical giant unveiled its drugs pipeline as it revealed that turnover rose 1% to £26.5bn in 2013, while pre-tax profits inched up by 0.7% to £6.6bn. Sales continued to slide in its scandal-hit China division, but the pace of decline slowed down: drug and vaccine sales were down 18% in the final quarter of 2013, compared with a 61% drop in the previous quarter.

Chinese authorities have accused GSK of being a “criminal godfather”, running a £320m slush fund to bribe doctors and hospital officials with cash payments and visits to prostitutes, in order to sell its products.

Finance

Big Four’s Chinese Affiliates May Mull Workarounds – China Real Time Report – WSJ The Big Four’s Hong Kong affiliates aren’t affected by the ruling, and if they were to temporarily take over some of the Chinese affiliates’ work, it might minimize the disruptions the suspension would cause for the Chinese firms’ clients, some observers believe.

But others say a switch would be unfeasible as the Chinese firms’ reason for refusing to give the SEC the documents it wanted – they said Chinese laws on state secrecy prevented them from turning over the documents – could also apply in certain cases to the Hong Kong firms if they took over the work. That could leave the Hong Kong firms similarly unable to comply, and potentially subject to U.S. sanctions.

Singapore Bank Expands China Presence; OCBC Buys Ningbo Bank Shares – WSJ.com A week after announcing that it was in exclusive negotiations to buy Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank Ltd., OCBC said Tuesday that it has agreed to buy up to 207.5 million new ordinary shares in Bank of Ningbo, which is undertaking a private placement of shares to current substantial shareholders. The 383 million-Singapore-dollar (US$303 million) investment will raise the Singaporean bank’s stake in the Chinese lender to 20% from 15.35%.

Westpac to launch derivatives business in China – MarketWatch Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AU) plans to launch a new derivatives business in China, tapping into increased capital flows after Australia and China agreed to allow each other’s currencies to be directly converted last year.

The Sydney-based bank said Thursday it has been granted a general derivatives license by the China Banking Regulatory Commission. It will offer derivatives trading from its branches in Shanghai and Beijing, where it has already built up its dealing rooms in the past year to support yuan trade.

Bank of China International hires Ex-Goldman metals chief – Yahoo Singapore Finance Bank of China International (BOCI) has recruited former Goldman Sachs (GS.N) metals trading chief as an adviser to help it expand its commodities business.

BOCI’s appointment of Stephen Branton-Speak as an adviser is one of the highest profile metals industry hires by a Chinese bank since Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd bought the London Metal Exchange (LME) for $2.2 billion in 2012.

Auto

Aston Martin recalls 75% of the cars it has built since 2008 – FT.com The British supercar manufacturer is recalling almost 18,000 cars – 75 per cent of the cars it built since 2008 – after discovering a Chinese supplier used fake materials in its cars’ accelerator pedals.

Infrastructure

Rail will cost more than Sh1.3trn – PIC | The Star The committee also found out the railway line awarded to China Roads and Bridges Corporation will be constructed in line with the Chinese specifications.

While appearing before the committee on Monday, former Transport Minister Chirau Mwakwere told the committee that CRBC is a credible firm having constructed the 1,390km Shanghai- Beijing railway.

But the committee has information that CRBC was just a sub-contractor in the project and that various audits carried out in China had raised serious audit queries against the firm.

Sierra Leone News: Amb. Zhao visits Hydro & Regent Grafton Rd Construction sites « Awoko Newspaper Chinese Ambassador Zhao Yanbo less than a month after taking office as the new Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone has made a visit to the Hydro construction at Charlotte and the Regent  Grafton Road sites.

Energy

Moving Average Crossover: Great News for CNOOC Limited (CEO)? – Tale of the Tape – NASDAQ.com CNOOC Limited (CEO) could be a stock to avoid from a technical perspective, as the  firm is seeing unfavorable trends on the moving average crossover  front. Recently, the 50 Day Moving Average for CEO broke out  below the 200 Day Simple Moving Average, suggesting short-term bearishness.

This has already started to take place, as the stock has moved  lower by 15.8% in the past four weeks. Plus, the company  currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) meaning that now could  definitely be the time to get out of this potentially in-trouble  stock.

Ethiopia: How Foreign Oil Companies Annihilated the Lives of Ordinary African Population in Ogaden Region February 13, 2013, China’s oil and gas producer of Petro-trans negotiated with Somaliland’s officials for the possibility to extend Berbera  port’s container and mineral export services to help China’s grasping  ways to profit Ogaden gas and oil financially but has scrapped plans to  build a liquefied natural gas facility. Now China’s GCL Poly Petroleum signed  a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday January 8, 2014, with  the government of Djibouti that will allow the company to construct two  pipe lines stretching from Ethiopia to Djibouti.

Regional commentators believe that China is good for Africa leaders  but it’s bad for Africans as long as human rights concerned. And it uses  the key president’s issue to penetrating, like the European colonial  times, more or less. Sad and angry Somali people in Ogaden say, every  coming year it is Dhina’s day-dreaming to produce oil and gas from Ogaden region and Ethiopia’s nightmare of being an oil-industry nation, dreams likely to be a needle in a haystack.

China’s Oil Pipeline Through Myanmar Brings Energy—and Resentment – Businessweek Until recently, 80 percent of China’s oil and gas imports were transported by ship through a narrow waterway separating Indonesia and Malaysia, known as the Strait of Malacca. The possibility that hostile forces could one day block that crucial passageway and starve the country of energy has long made China’s leaders nervous.

Petrochina’s Neutral Rating Reaffirmed at Zacks (PTR) | Ticker Report Zacks reiterated their neutral rating on shares of Petrochina (NYSE:PTR) in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning, AnalystRatings.Net reports. The firm currently has a $102.00 price target on the stock.

Maintenance at UK’s Buzzard oilfield set for Q2 and Q3 -Suncor – Yahoo Finance UK Britain’s biggest oilfield Buzzard will undergo routine, planned maintenance in the second and third quarters of 2014, Suncor, which owns a 29.9 percent stake in the field, said.

Nexen (KSE: 005720.KSnews), Buzzard’s operator and a unit of Chinese state company CNOOC (HKSE: 0883.HKnews) , has said that it aims to improve Buzzard’s reliability in 2014.

Telecoms

WeChat’s money gifting scheme lures 5 million Chinese users Last week WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app, launched a feature letting users based in China gift money to friends and family.

The feature went viral in China, and yesterday parent company Tencent disclosed to Chinese media that during the first two days of Spring festival, over five million users participated in the scheme, exchanging over 20 million envelopes. At its apex, over 585,000 people sent over 121,000 red envelopes within a five-minute stretch.

Probe against Huawei over hacking of BSNL network – The Hindu The Centre told Parliament on Wednesday that an inter-ministerial team had been formed to investigate the hacking of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. network in Andhra Pradesh allegedly by the Chinese telecom equipment-maker Huawei.

In probably the first case of its kind, the Centre is investigating corporate rivalry between Huawei and another Chinese company, ZTE, which has bagged the BSNL’s network-expansion project, including in Rajahmundry, that led to the alleged hacking.

Property

China’s housing market is looking ugly, which is scary for its financial system – Quartz Sales have “showed a sharp decline” (paywall) in January, compared to Dec. 2013, according to China Confidential, a Financial Times research outfit, even when controlling for softness due to the Chinese New Year holiday. Official data show prices still high in December (the last month for which data were available), but those will likely be dragged down in the coming months.

Housing investment is a big engine of China’s economy. And though slower growth could help end China’s dangerous reliance on credit-backed investment, an abrupt slowdown will freak out global markets and throttle commodity prices.

Chinese government foundation teams up with investors in Hong Kong and Dubai to build resorts catering to elderly | South China Morning Post China Ageing Development Foundation, a fund under the Ministry of Civil Affairs, has formed an alliance with investors in Hong Kong and in Dubai for an aggressive plan to build 12 upmarket retirement and health resorts on the mainland and overseas to tap the country’s rapidly greying population.

“Population ageing in China is expected to lead to a burgeoning demand for aged-care services over the next 40 years. It is now recognised that the ageing of China’s population will have far reaching implications for society, for the economy and for the ability of the government to meet the expectations of the community,” the consortium said in a written reply to questions from the South China Morning Post.

Tech

China’s Top Revenue-generating Mobile Apps of 2013 App ranking and analytics service App Annie released top trends of 2013 on iOS and Google Play. For Google Play isn’t widely accessible in mainland China and the majority of Chinese users download Android apps through dozens of other stores, the revenues in China market recorded by App Annie are mainly from iOS platform. What’s interesting is the most revenue-generating non-game categories include dating, messaging, navigation, among others.

Glu Mobile: Better Play Than Zynga [Apple Inc., Zynga Inc] – Seeking Alpha Following the announcement of Apple’s (AAPL) deal with China Mobile (CHL), the mobile gaming stock most likely to benefit, in my opinion, from a double-whammy of an additional 24 million iPhones held in the hands of gamers in China, of which, whose spending on gaming apps soared 247% (y-o-y) in 2013 is: Glu Mobile (GLUU).

I also expect Glu Mobile could reach $9 in 2015, but, first, the lead-up to my analysis.

Media

This Movie Beat Iron Man 3 in Chinese IMAX Corporation Theaters (DIS, IMAX) But that young record fell this week. That’s right — not even Iron Man’s robotic power could hold back the magical armies of the Middle Kingdom this time. Chinese kung fu production The Monkey King just laughed at Iron Man‘s $1.5 million first-day sales, on its way to a $1.8 million opening day in IMAX theaters.

So IMAX is finding new ways to grow in the crucial Chinese market. Furthermore, the company should be able to apply the lessons learned here in other important markets, accelerating revenue growth in places like Latin America and major European markets.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 5/2/14

Economy   Finance   Auto   Infrastructure   Energy   Telecoms   Property   Travel   Tech   Agriculture

Economy

China’s strong currency problem – Craig Stephen’s This Week in China – MarketWatch There are other vulnerabilities too exposed by China’s renewed popularity as a destination for “hot money” playing the yuan carry trade.

For one, it means its economy and financial system is now reliant on the fickle and potentially destabilizing short-term foreign capital its closed financial system was designed to guard against. This is hard to quantify but claims Hong Kong banks have on mainland counterparts give an approximation of the size of these yield-seeking structured products. As of October, those claims were a record HK$2.3 trillion ($295 billion), up 53% since the end of 2012

China Money Network − Is A Re-Run Of The Asian Financial Crisis Likely In 2014? The emerging market world may not be facing a re-run of the late-1990s, as some have suggested, but the precarious position of some emerging markets makes it likely that several economies will run into trouble over the next couple of years.

Events remain in a state of flux but there are five questions that we have been asked over the past week or so that merit a first stab at answering.

Pimco’s Bill Gross Says He Avoids China ‘Mystery Meat’ – Bloomberg Bill Gross, who oversees the world’s biggest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., said the pace of economic growth in China is among the biggest questions in developing nations and the largest risks for markets.

“I call China the mystery meat of emerging-market countries,” Gross said yesterday during an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers” with Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle. “Nobody knows what’s there and there’s a little bit of bologna, so we’re just going to have to wonder going forward through this year as to the potential problems in China and other emerging markets.”

China Policy Institute Blog » Middle Power Pushback: Explaining Australia’s China Challenge In 2007, China overtook Japan as Australia’s largest trading partner, reflecting unprecedented levels of demand for iron ore and coal resources to power Chinese economic growth. In 2012, Australia and China signed a ‘Strategic Partnership’, which was highly vaunted by the then Gillard Labor Government as marking a new era in the bilateral relationship. While the Sino-Australian ‘Strategic Partnership’ did not constitute a security agreement, much less a formal alliance, for supporters of closer ties between Beijing and Canberra it represented a major step forward.

China Money Network − HK Millionaires Will Possess $1.7T In Combined Wealth In 2017 There will be more than 339,000 millionaires in Hong Kong in 2017, and the amount they possess will increase by 53% to over $1.7 trillion in combined wealth, according to a report release by London-based wealth management research firm WealthInsight.

Austerity drive among factors taking toll on luxury market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn China’s luxury goods market has slowed from 7 percent growth in 2012 to around 2 percent in 2013, with expectations of similarly slow growth in 2014, according to the China Luxury Goods Market Study by consultancy Bain & Co.

Chinese shoppers now do about two-thirds of their luxury shopping abroad, which has triggered a slowdown in domestic store traffic and store openings, the report said.

Foreign retailers learning how to click with Chinese fashionistas[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn “Cyber Monday” and “Black Friday” are no longer unfamiliar terms to China’s price-savvy middle class. A growing number of English-speaking credit card holders have joined the international fray.

The popular trend of cross-border online shopping is being spearheaded by a number of shopaholics who understand how to buy things overseas. They usually choose items with price differences or things that tend to be unattainable in China.

Finance

The dark economic thoughts of Charlene Chu | South China Morning Post Charlene Chu, a former senior director and head of China financial institutions at the ratings agency Fitch, has been talking to Britain’s Telegraph about why she feels that China is on the verge of a crisis.

Chu left Fitch last year and will join US-based Autonomous Research later this year. She maintains that a banking crisis in China is not just an outside chance but a certainty. “The banking sector has extended US$14 trillion to US$15 trillion in the span of five years. There’s no way that we are not going to have massive problems in China,” she told the newspaper.

China and the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act | China Briefing News For several years now, the United States has been preparing legislation under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), a complex reporting and withholding regime intended to enable the U.S. to better access offshore accounts, investments and income of U.S. citizens who have failed to rigorously report these holdings. Despite several nations’ embrace of the FATCA, China has continued to delay negotiations with the U.S. Treasury over whether or not to allow Chinese financial institutions to report U.S. taxpayer or U.S. firm information to the United States Government.

Auto

China Has How Many Cars? More Cities To Implement Limiting Car Sales? | China Car Times – China Auto News Chinese media are today reporting that the total number of vehicles on Chinese roads has broken the 250 million barrier for the first time, with 31 cities boasting a vehicle population exceeding one million vehicles.

Out of China’s 1.3 billion people, only 280 million people have a driving license however over 18.44 million people took their driving tests in 2013. Drivers with less than one years driving experience under the belt caused 15% of all accidents in China last year, down slightly from 16.7% a year previously but drivers with more than 3 years of experience caused 51,000 accidents causing 14,000 deaths and 56,000 injuries.

Carmaker Tesla gambles on ‘fair price’ strategy in China despite risk of losing prestige | South China Morning Post In China, where higher prices mean prestige, Tesla, a US maker of luxury electric cars, is taking a bold step to win customers and cachet by restricting its mark-up to half of what some of its rivals can command.

In an unusual blog post last month, the firm announced the lower-than-expected 734,000 yuan (HK$933,000) China price tag for its high-end Model S electric car. The price, still 50 per cent higher than in the United States, includes only “unavoidable” taxes and transport costs, it said.

Infrastructure

Changing the rules of engagement on infrastructure – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Although there are roads, bridges, railway lines and various other government buildings that stand testimony to the Chinese capabilities, companies are now gearing up to participate in projects such as urban facilities, modern transportation and manufacturing.

Sun Guoqiang, general manager of CGC Overseas Construction Group, a Chinese construction major that has been in Ethiopia for more than 15 years, says that although there are still plenty of construction projects in Africa, his company will move away from the business in five to 10 years.

Sierra Leone News: Grafton road to be handed over as Independence gift -Wang Kai Ge « Awoko Newspaper The General Manager of China Railway Seventh Group Ltd, constructing the Regent  Grafton Road has told this medium that they intend to finish the road and hand it over to Sierra Leone government on the 27th of April as their own gift to the people of Sierra Leone as they celebrate Independence.

Energy

Research and Markets: Concise Analysis of the Asia Pacific Oil and Chemicals Storage Industry – Forecasts to 2017 “Concise Analysis of the Asia Pacific Oil and Chemicals Storage Industry   – Forecasts to 2017”, is the essential source for industry data and information relating to the oil and chemicals storage industry in Asia   Pacific. It provides asset level information relating to active and planned oil and chemicals storage terminals in Asia Pacific. The profiles of major companies operating in the oil and chemicals storage industry in Asia Pacific are included in the report.

Telecoms

China Mobile’s 4G expansion drives smartphone supply buildup in China | South China Morning Post Analysts see the 4G network roll-out being led by China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless network operator, changing the competitive landscape for smartphones in the domestic market, where most of the country’s 1.23 billion subscribers at the end of December were still tied to old 2G cellular infrastructure.

While Apple recently hogged the headlines by having China Mobile as a new carrier-partner for the iPhone, the domestic brands led by Lenovo, Huawei Technologies, ZTE and Coolpad were expected to step up their supply of cheaper smartphones to help the operator sign up more 4G subscribers nationwide, analysts said.

Chinese New Year welcomed in with 13.6 billion messages in 1 day on China’s top social network While everyone’s talking about WeChat, it’s easy to forget that Tencent makes another social network that’s even more popular. It’s called QQ. Today Tencent (HKG:0700) revealed that QQ’s users sent a total of 13.6 billion QQ chats on the instant messaging service during Chinese New Year’s Eve, the busiest and most raucously celebrated day of the year.

Chinese tech giant Huawei enters Nepal’s market – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Speaking during the launching program held in Kathmandu, Huawei representative Li Ji said that the Chinese tech giant in partnership with Nepal Telecom, the country’s State-owned telecommunication service provider, has the potential to bring a positive change in the lives of Nepalese nationals.

Apple silences FaceTime Audio for iPhone and iPad buyers in China Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) FaceTime was updated with audio support in iOS 7, but a growing number of iPhone and iPad owners in China are realizing that they’ve been left out. Anyone who has bought a made-for-China iPhone 5s, 5c, or newest-gen iPad will find that they only get the option to make FaceTime video calls, with the audio ability nowhere to be seen.

Property

China Savers’ Penchant for Property Magnifies Bust Danger – Bloomberg Some 66.1 percent of family assets were in housing in 2013, a national survey of about 28,000 households shows. Mortgage debt as a share of disposable income rose to 30 percent from 18 percent in 2008, according to estimates by Nicholas Lardy at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

The buildup raises the stakes for any slide in property prices amid China’s efforts to head off defaults by local governments and developers that propelled a run-up in borrowing that now amounts to more than double the size of the economy, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A hit to household wealth could impair consumer spending, rebuffing policy maker efforts to rebalance the economy toward domestic demand.

Travel

Countries tap into China’s medical tourism market|WantChinaTimes.com South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan have been actively developing their medical tourism industry, capitalizing in part on the growing demand for such service among China’s nouveau riche, reports the Guangzhou-based New Express.

The policy is also in line with the expanding global medical tourism market, which has seen an annual growth rate of 20% in recent years, with the market scale topping US$100 billion in 2012 alone, the paper said.

Tech

Alibaba’s Average Valuation Rises to $153 Billion After Earnings – Bloomberg Alibaba is valued at an average of $153 billion, based on the estimates of 10 analysts. That compares with the $120 billion average of six analyst estimates in October. The company last week reported profit of $792 million for the three months ended September, a 12 percent increase from the June quarter, as revenue surged 51 percent to $1.78 billion.

Analysts expect the company, based in Hangzhou, China, to hold the biggest initial public offering since Facebook Inc. (FB) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. valued Alibaba at $150 billion in a Jan. 29 report, saying that may be a “conservative” estimate.

Hon Hai to launch B2B e-trading platform|Companies|Business|WantChinaTimes.com Hon Hai Precision Industry — the world’s largest contract electronics maker, also known by its trading name Foxconn — will launch a business to business (B2B) trading platform in early March, a move perceived as a way for the company to broaden its business model, market sources said on Tuesday.

The sources said Hon Hai chairman Terry Gou made an internal announcement before the Lunar New Year holiday, saying that the Taiwan-based company will gear up to develop its electronics commerce business this year.

Smart Air filters China’s pollution with budget air purifier Despite having no business background, setting an arbitrary price point, and starting off with no name recognition whatsoever, Beijing-based startup Smart Air has sold over 2,500 cheap and frankly ugly do-it-yourself air purifier kits, almost as many replacement filters, and another 600 of the more powerful “Cannon” kits since sales began in mid-September.

The scrappy team of four is making waves across polluted Chinese cities with an incredibly simple fact: by strapping a HEPA1 filter to a household fan, you can clean the air in your home for just RMB 200 ($33).

China’s solar firms consider response to US probeWantChinaTimes.com After the US Department of Commerce recently initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on imports of silicon solar photovoltaic (PV) products from China and Taiwan, Chinese PV makers plan to jointly discuss countermeasures by focusing first on cutting the scope of products covered by the probe, the Shanghai-based China Business News reports.

Agriculture

Bigger farms reap bigger fortunes upon rural land reform – Xinhua | English.news.cn Lured by better employment and salaries, as many as 260 million farm workers have left the countryside for cities. A side effect of the exodus is a vast amount of land being left uncultivated. Farmers have very little wriggle room in land transfers and don’t make much money from land deals anyway, so they often simply abandon their land and start afresh on their urban journey.

With food security and the economic potential of rural and ex-rural residents foremost in their minds, authorities are promising more property rights for farmers. These include transfer and mortgage of land-use rights, and the ability to take shares in large farming entities, according to a document released after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee last November.

Posted from Diigo.

China Business Briefs 4/2/14

Economy   Finance   Auto   Infrastructure   Energy   Telecoms   Property   Travel   Tech   Agriculture

Economy

Chinese factories act to keep staff in saddle in Year of the Horse – FT.com Many factories across the Pearl River Delta, the manufacturing workshop of the world in Guangdong, are trying to find ways to keep workers. This has become more important as demographic changes – particularly the one-child policy and a government push to create jobs inland – have made staffing harder.

But the world’s factories cannot simply rely on outings, returning bonuses and lucky draws. What workers really want is better pay and benefits, says Geoff Crothall of China Labour Bulletin. While wages in Guangdong have posted double-digit rises in recent years, the minimum wage in Shenzhen – the highest in China – is still only about $300.

Why Did One Of The World’s Largest Generic Drug Makers Exit China? – Forbes The broader questions that Actavis’ CEO pointed towards as a rationale for the company’s exit from China are not wrong.  Surveys conducted by various American and European business groups in China all point towards worrying trends which suggest China is becoming fundamentally less hospitable to foreigners than in years past.  Favoritism towards domestic companies by government purchasing is nothing unique to China, unless you consider that China’s 144,500 State Owned Enterprises (SOE) represent 35% of the country’s industrial revenue (a percentage many economists believe greatly under-represents the economic impact of SOEs). Add to the SOE’s position the role of the Chinese government as purchaser of great amounts of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and you can see what the comments of Actavis’ CEO ring true to many.

Bilateral China / US Investment ‐ Is 2014 the Year? | The National Law Review Times are changing, however. There has been a rapid increase in the amount and rate of investment by Chinese companies in the United States in the last three years. At the end of the second quarter of 2013, the United States with cumulative investment from China of $57.8 billion ranked only behind Australia with $59.2 billion.2 With the September 2013 closing of the Shuanghui International acquisition of pork producer, Smithfield, for $7.1 billion and several large real estate investments, the United States took the lead as the preferred destination for China investment.3 Included within the United States numbers during the first nine months of the year is $12.2 billion invested in 55 Greenfield projects and acquisitions in the United States.4

The Great Debtscape In short, over the past five years China has rectified one of its famous “imbalances” — excessive reliance on external demand — and made a good start on fixing the other (excessive reliance on investment spending). But a growing chorus of observers views China’s economic future with trepidation. In mid-January, Ray Dalio, who runs Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund, declared that China was a bubble. And earlier that month, Patrick Chovanec, a well-known China bear, warned that “China’s leaders are riding a runaway train that they don’t quite know how to stop.”

China Demand Still Buoys Global Producers – WSJ.com From southern Africa to southern Asia, investors have soured on many commodity-rich emerging markets boosted in the past by China’s ravenous appetite for what is grown from the soil or extracted from the mines. But so far, a slowing China hasn’t hurt its suppliers much.

That is because massive Chinese demand hasn’t significantly weakened and many emerging economies now have their own consumers to help pick up any slack. The global market jitters, economists and executives say, reflect less an actual falloff in China’s appetite and more a bet that China’s growth will continue to taper off.

Finance

Judge’s Ruling On Accounting Firms In China Touches on Hong Kong Units – WSJ.com But in a potential broadening of the issue at hand, the ruling by SEC Administrative Law Judge Cameron Elliot also spotlighted another practice of note in the auditing of Chinese companies that trade on U.S. markets. In some instances, a Hong Kong unit of a Big Four auditor acts as the company’s official auditor, but the bulk of the audit work is outsourced to the same firm’s affiliate in mainland China.

That could raise issues under U.S. auditing rules, which suggest that an audit firm should do a “material” amount of the work to be entitled to serve as a company’s principal auditor and sign the audit opinion.

Guess which bank has the most valuable brand While the value of bank brands in Russia, India and Brazil fell, China continued to perform strongly. The value of the lenders’ brands there rose by $19 billion during the year, and there are now three Chinese banks ranked in the top 10 — Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank and the Agricultural Bank of China.

Asia Markets live blog: Shares falling on U.S. cue – The Tell – MarketWatch China might soon loosen its tight grip on its banking sector. The official Xinhua News Agency reported Monday that it’s an inevitable choice for China’s financial reform to allow banks to fail.

It quoted Yan Qingmin, vice chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, as saying that the government would let market force play a larger role in the banking system and allow commercial banks to “go out of market” if they turn insolvent.

This Chinese online retailer’s IPO documents could be a bit too candid – Quartz The prospectus for Chinese online retailer JD.com’s planned $1.5 billion US public offering, filed recently with the Securities and Exchange Commission, offers up a warts-and-all look at the risks of investing in a Chinese internet company. And there are a lot of warts—over 40 pages worth—listed in the “risk factors” section, including:

We don’t really know what we’re doing in some businesses. The company recently expanded into internet finance, providing supply-chain financing to supplier and loans to customers. “We have limited experience in operating an internet finance business,” the prospectus admits.

SEC Ruling May Be a Death Knell for Chinese Stocks Woes for Chinese tech stocks are significant. The argument goes that as long as Chinese authorities outright ban Chinese companies from submitting required information to the SEC, such audits are not acceptable. So far Chinese companies have circumvented such requirement by submitting audits conducted by the big four auditor firms’ Chinese affiliates. But again, the SEC said those audits done in China, even by the big four auditors’ affiliates, are not good.

And this raises an interesting issue. Major Chinese companies, as well as smaller ones, are in jeopardy meeting the deadline to submit quarterly and annual reports on time.

SEC, Deloitte, Longtop case resolution raises hopes for solving US audit ban – Governance – The Corporate Treasurer The SEC has dropped its case against Deloitte’s China arm and Longtop Financial Technologies, pointing the way through a broader audit ban crisis.

US houses to boost funds on offer in Hong Kong to tap opportunities in China | South China Morning Post Two US fund houses, Principal Global Investors and Franklin Templeton, have unveiled plans to add to their Hong Kong-domiciled offerings in order to tap into mainland China opportunities under a soon-to-be signed mutual recognition scheme.

Bitcoin Exchange BTC China Resumes RMB-Based Deposits | China Briefing News Bobby Lee, CEO of the Bitcoin exchange BTC China, has announced that customers are once again able to purchase Bitcoin by depositing RMB directly into the company’s corporate bank account.

The decision by BTC China comes after the exchange stopped accepting RMB deposits in response to a Dec. 5 memo from the People’s Bank of China warning national financial institutions not to trade in Bitcoin.

Auto

China’s carmakers have yet to make their marque – FT.com Dongfeng, one of China’s “Big Three” car groups alongside Shanghai Auto and First Auto Works, has more joint ventures with international car groups than any of its domestic peers. Including Korean partner Hyundai, it currently operates four joint ventures and signed a fifth partnership agreement in December with Renault. The Wuhan-based company is also poised to take a 14 per cent stake in Peugeot as part of €3bn capital raising.

Dongfeng’s four joint ventures account for more than 90 per cent of the group’s annual passenger car sales, dwarfing those of its own Aeolus brand. It is an imbalance shared by all of China’s state-owned car companies and helps explain why the country that boasts the world’s biggest car market has, unlike Japan and Korea before it, thus far failed to produce a national champion of its own that can compete globally.

Beijing licence plates fetch twice the price of the car on black market | South China Morning Post Beijing’s clampdown on new car registrations is creating a scramble for licence plates and fuelling a boom on the black market, where prices have soared as high as US$33,000, almost double the price of China’s best-selling car, the Ford Focus.

This year, Beijing will cut the allocation of new number plates by 40 per cent to 150,000, meaning only one in 150 will get a plate.

As China’s Auto Sales Surge, Lunar New Year Travelers Opt for Road Trips – WSJ.com A long car ride home can sound appealing to the alternative. China’s top economic planning body estimates that during the 40-day period around the holiday Chinese will take 3.62 billion rides on trains, planes, buses and ships. China’s rails are carrying an average of 6.8 million passengers each day, according to transport ministry officials.

Many hitting the road are carpoolers. According to 58.com Inc., a U.S.-listed Chinese online marketplace, the number of posters looking for or offering Lunar New Year rides is four times the amount a year ago.

Infrastructure

Giant pipeline brings unaffordable water to China’s north|Policy|Business|WantChinaTimes.com The eastern route of China’s South-North Water Diversion project officially began drawing and diverting water last November and December from the Yangtze River to 71 counties, cities and areas in Jiangsu, Shandong and Anhui provinces. The much-needed water comes, however, at a price many local officials find difficult to swallow.

Even though water prices have yet to be finalized, the preliminary estimate for the high fees has drawn negative comments from officials in Jiangsu and Shandong.

Energy

China imports more natural gas in 2013 – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn China saw its aggregate volume of natural gas imported from overseas jump 25 percent year on year in 2013, approaching one-third of its apparent consumption, a new report has showed.

The country imported 53 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, 31.6 percent of its domestic gas output plus imported volume, according to a report released by an economic and technological academy under China National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s state-owned oil giant.

China’s Xinjiang sizzles with green energy – Xinhua | English.news.cn Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a major power supplier in China, has accelerated the development of green energy as it recorded higher installed capacity in 2013.

Statistics with the Xinjiang branch of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) showed that by 2013, the combined installed capacity of wind power, hydropower and solar power stations exceeded 1,368 million KW, accounting for about one third of all installed capacity in Xinjiang.

Singapore Refining Co to invest over $500 mln in gasoline, power units – Yahoo Finance Singapore Refining Co (SRC) said on Tuesday it will invest more than $500 million to build gasoline and power generation units at its refinery on Jurong Island.

SRC operates a 290,000 barrels per day refinery and it is a 50:50 joint venture between Chevron Corp and Singapore Petroleum Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroChina International Co.

Why Is China Buying So Much Methanol? In March 2013, IHS Chemical found that the demand for methanol was growing faster in China than any other part of the world — the country increased consumption 23% from 2010 to 2012 and is expected to consume half the world’s production of methanol this year, which is about 32 million tons. By contrast, the United States currently consumes about 6.5 million tons. IHS Chemical expects the demand for methanol in China alone to triple by 2022.

So, what’s fueling China’s interest in methanol?

Telecoms

4.8 million WeChat Users Participated in the Lucky Money Game on Chinese New Year Eve 4.82 million WeChat users took part in the Lucky Money game on 2014 Chinese New Year eve, as disclosed by WeChat’s parent company Tencent. Launched several days before, the feature that adds gamification elements to giving and receiving digital Lucky Money became an immediate hit among WeChat users. Kingsoft even developed a plugin that automatically harvests lucky money for WeChat users.

Property

Tight availability of funds drives Chinese developers abroad to raise cash | South China Morning Post Driven by concern about the availability of funds, more than a dozen mainland developers, including China Overseas Land & Investment, Dalian Wanda, Guangzhou R&F and Greenland, raised more than 50 billion yuan (HK$63.5 billion) offshore in the first month of the year.

Home-buy hopefuls run into banks feeling the pinch – The Standard State-owned banks including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (1398), China Construction Bank (0939), Agricultural Bank of China (1288), and Bank of China (3988) are reluctant to provide discounts to boost mortgage businesses.

China Guangfa Bank, Ping An Bank and China Minsheng Banking (1988) are tightening as well.

Travel

Ireland goes the extra mile for Chinese visitors | South China Morning Post UnionPay card machines aren’t the only reason mainland Chinese tourist flock to Dublin. Firstly, Ireland eased its visa restrictions last year, after the UK tightened theirs, chuckle, chuckle. The RMB has appreciated 40 per cent in recent years over the euro, which means China’s new travelling middle class gets far more bang for their buck in euroland. Ireland’s high sales taxes and VAT can be claimed back at the airport, reducing real prices even further. You also get the latest lines of European branded products, so they can stock up on their favourite Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Ireland’s own Waterford Crystal, also popular with Chinese customers.

Tech

Lenovo Slumps on Analyst Downgrades After Buying Spree – Bloomberg Lenovo Group Ltd. (992), which announced $5 billion of deals last month to bolster its server and smartphone businesses, plunged the most in five years in Hong Kong after the stock was downgraded by at least five brokerages.

Lenovo fell 16 percent to HK$8.41 at the close of trade, cutting $2.2 billion from its market value in the biggest decline since January 2009. The world’s biggest maker of personal computers was cut at UBS AG (UBSN), Morgan Stanley (MS), Jefferies Group LLC, JI-Asia Research Ltd. and Kim Eng Securities Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Lenovo said to turn to security insiders for deal approval – DailyHerald.com Lenovo Group Ltd. has turned to national security insiders to win U.S. approval to buy Google Inc.’s Motorola Mobility phone unit, which is based in Libertyville, and International Business Machines Corp.’s low-end server business, people familiar with the two deals said.

The world’s largest personal-computer maker hired attorneys at Steptoe & Johnson LLP who held positions at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Homeland Security Department to guide its Motorola review through a key interagency panel, one of the people said. Covington & Burling LLP partners David Fagan and Mark Plotkin are representing Lenovo in the IBM server deal, according to another person familiar with the matter.

VyprVPN enters Great Firewall-evading VPN market Now a new contender has entered the fray, boasting greater security and privacy than all its competitors. VyprVPN uses a new proprietary protocol called Chameleon, developed by Switzerland-based Golden Frog. Chameleon “scrambles OpenVPN packet metadata to ensure it’s not recognizable via deep packet inspection” and is specifically “designed to mask Internet traffic to defeat VPN blocking in restrictive environments like China.”

Agriculture

China cancels deal to buy Thai rice due to graft probe: Thai minister | Reuters China has canceled a deal to buy 1.2 million tonnes of Thai rice after Thailand’s anti-corruption agency launched investigations into a state rice-buying scheme, the Thai commerce minister said on Tuesday.

“China lacks confidence to do business with us after the National Anti-Corruption Commission started investigations into the transparency of rice deals between Thailand and China,” Niwatthamrong Bunsongphaisan told reporters.

Posted from Diigo.