Wandoujia

China Business Briefs 23/1/14

ECONOMY

Markit Economics – Press releases HSBC China Flash Manufacturing PMI (PDF)

China factory data show contraction; stocks fall – MarketWatch China’s manufacturing sector is showing an unexpected contraction in January, albeit a mild one, according to initial results from HSBC’s monthly survey released Thursday. The “flash” version of the HSBC/Markit China manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a six-month low of 49.6, down from a final December reading of 50.5, with the result sending Chinese stocks and the Australian dollar all lower. Economists had expected the flash PMI — which usually includes 85%-90% of total responses used for the final report — to print at 50.3, according to a Bloomberg News forecast. Results below the 50 level indicate contraction, while those above 50 suggest growth.

China PMI Signals First Contraction In 6 Months; Drops Most Since May | Zero Hedge With every component of HSBC’s China Manufacturing PMI either dropping or showong slower growth, it is hardly a surprise that the much-watched survey of economic strength dipped into contractionary territory. At 49.6 this is the lowest since July 2013 and dropped month-over-month by the most since May 2013. HSBC argues this is “domestic demand cooling” but new export orders tumbled at an accelerating pace as did employment. Of course, the silver lining is that because the prices components did not show acceleration then the PBOC has room to ‘stimulate’ to avoid repeating growth deceleration but that appears – despite today’s further CNY 120 billion reverse repo – to not be the plan for the PBOC for now (given the 20-plus percent YoY gains in house prices).

Judge Suspends Chinese Units of Big Four Auditors – WSJ.com The Chinese units of the Big Four accounting firms should be suspended from auditing U.S.-traded companies for six months, a judge ruled, a move that could complicate the audits of dozens of Chinese companies and some U.S.-based multinationals.

The audit firms, plus a fifth China-based accounting firm, broke U.S. law when they refused to turn over documents about some of their clients to the Securities and Exchange Commission to aid the commission in investigating those U.S.-traded Chinese companies for possible fraud, ruled Cameron Elliot, an SEC administrative law judge.

China’s Real-Estate Investment Boom Set to Continue in 2014 – China Real Time Report – WSJ Chinese outbound commercial real-estate investment is estimated to exceed $10 billion this year, after it doubled to $7.6 billion last year from 2012’s $3.3 billion, according to data from Jones Lang LaSalle. Rival brokerage Colliers International is more bullish, saying it expects Chinese investors to spend at least twice as much on overseas property assets this year as last year.

Among some of last year’s higher-profile investments were Shanghai’s Fosun International purchase of the Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York for $725 million in October and state-owned conglomerate Greenland Holding Group’s 70% stake in Brooklyn’s $5 billion Atlantic Yards project. Greeland also paid $1 billion for a piece of land in Los Angeles on which it plans to build a hotel, office units, serviced residences and high-end homes.

President Xi Jinping’s Crackdown on Official Gift-Giving Is Transforming How Business Is Done in China – WSJ.com An unexpected peak-season rut for China’s calendar business illustrates how broadly a corruption crackdown has challenged business as usual. Private clubs are shutting down following official criticism they are extravagant; officials attend meetings without watches and belts to avoid suspicion they have ill-gotten wealth; military officers, once able to ride high in imported SUVs, were recently told to drive only domestically made vehicles.

The campaign may be beginning to drag on China’s economy by reducing demand, economists said after a report this week showed last year’s gross domestic product growth held steady at 7.7%.

China Bailout Costs Jump Seen in Policy Bank Yield Surge – Bloomberg The average yield premium over the sovereign for five-year debt sold by China Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of China and Agricultural Development Bank of China widened 90 basis points from an August low to 142 basis points on Jan. 17, the highest in Chinabond data going back to 2007. The gap was 138 basis points yesterday. Yields have climbed on safer assets, including CDB’s, as delays in restructuring bad loans are stretching the central government’s ability to guarantee debt, Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a report this week.

China creates teams to spearhead economic change, with top leaders in charge | Reuters China has created six teams to supervise its boldest economic and social changes in 30 years, with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang personally taking charge, state media said on Wednesday.

Xi has been appointed the head of the central leading group for comprehensive reforms that will oversee the six teams, with Li as his deputy, state radio said after the group held its first-ever meeting.

Gazprom targets May for China gas deal, angles for pre-payments Gazprom on Wednesday proposed signing a major China gas export deal in May, as industry sources indicated that the Russian gas giant may offer a lower price in return for billions of dollars in upfront payments.

Industry sources say that Gazprom is hoping for $10-$11 per mmBtu from China. China is believed to pay $9 per mmBtu to Turkmenistan, the former Soviet state in Central Asia that beat Gazprom to the Chinese market.

China Auto Industry News | China to Account for 30% of Global Auto Sales by 2020 | China Car Times – China Auto News A recent study from KPMG indicates that the Chinese market will continue to expand considerably with it expected to account for 30% of global automotive sales by 2020 alone.

The study, carried out by KPMG as part of its fifteenth annual Global Automotive Executive Survey highlights many key points in the development of the Chinese auto industry which will coincide with the development of other BRIC markets which KMPG believes will benefit the top ten OEM manufacturers in China and to a lesser extent to the following ten.

Let the WMP house of cards fall apart next week | China Economic Review It’s time to let China’s wealth management house of cards fall apart. A potential US$500 million default at China Credit Trust (CCT) next week is the perfect place to start.

The 345 investors that bought CCT trust products through Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in 2011 aren’t sitting on buried treasure. Rather, the underlying assets for those products are a few dilapidated coal mines in Shanxi province. The price of coal has dropped 40% since a group of hungry investors poured their cash into the trusts, a form of wealth management product (WMP). The plant and equipment at the mine have also no doubt fallen in value.

China must spend $330 billion more to do fair share on climate – report | Reuters China must increase spending on emission cuts and clean technologies by 2 trillion yuan ($330 billion) to do its fair share to halt climate change, a report by Beijing’s Central University of Finance and Economics said.

China, the world’s biggest-emitting nation, has already pledged to spend 520 billion yuan to help prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2C, according to Chen Bo, co-author of the report.

Migrants find a home for capital in pursuit of foreign residence[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn Migration for investment in overseas real estate markets has become a top choice for Chinese applicants, according to a report on China’s migration status released on Wednesday.

The Annual Report on Chinese International Migration 2014 shows that a growing number of Chinese investors are rushing to go abroad in order to buy properties and establish permanent residence in places like Europe and North America.

Shadow Banking Again in the Limelight-Caijing The General Office of the State Council recently introduced a new set of  guidelines – known as Document No. 107 – to curb the country’s massive shadow  banking system. The guidelines are widely regarded as China’s highest level  document aimed at regulating risky off-balance-sheet lending.

Document No. 107 officially defines the shadow banking system in China for  the first time. It also clarifies responsibilities of the country’s central bank  and the separate regulatory agencies for the banking, securities and insurance  sectors when it comes to supervising shadow-banking activities, and pledges to  establish a regulatory framework featuring both central- and local-level  regulation.

China abandons its pursuit of growth at all costs – FT.com Implicit in this change of direction is a trade-off between growth and economic efficiency. The government is expecting growth of about 7.5 per cent in 2014. In previous years it has made its forecast deliberately low and then come in triumphantly above expectations. This year, if anything, it could go the other way. By the end of 2014 growth may be slowing towards 6 per cent, even if the result for the year as a whole is still likely to be 7 per cent or above.

China Reforms Hydro-Electricity Prices – WSJ.com China on Wednesday said it would reform the price that power-grid operators pay to hydropower plants for electricity to encourage investment in the industry.

Chinese officials admitted last month that the country is struggling to meet its 2015 targets for clean-energy production. China wants non-fossil fuels to make up 11.4% of its energy mix by 2015, but consumption reached only 9.4% in 2012.

For Liquor Makers, Cheer Dries Up in China – WSJ.com The crackdown on conspicuous consumption—part of an anticorruption drive led by President Xi Jinping—has hit spirits companies harder than most. Profit warnings, executive departures and restructuring drives have all been linked to the ban.

China is the world’s biggest alcohol market, making up 38% of global spirits consumption, according to the International Wine & Spirit Research industry body. The country is especially important for cognac makers: Rémy Cointreau derives about 40% of its total profit from cognac sales in China, while sales of the French liquor account for 15% of  Pernod Ricard S’s earnings.

China listings no lure to investors after closure of 3.6m trading accounts | South China Morning Post The number of mainland stock accounts containing funds shrank to a three-year low of 53.7 million on Friday, a drop of 3.6 million from the June 2011 peak.

The retreat, spurred by slowing economic growth and a shift towards higher-yielding wealth management products, is fuelling losses in the Shanghai Composite Index that erased US$571 billion of market value in the past four years and sent the gauge to a five-month low on Monday.

12 new free-trade zones to follow in Shanghai’s footsteps | South China Morning Post The 12 would include Guangdong, which has been lobbying the central government by highlighting its economic ties with Hong Kong, and Tianjin , Xinhua cited an official source as telling its subsidiary the Economic Information Daily. It did not name the remaining 10.

He said other candidates included Zhejiang’s Zhoushan , which consists of several islands with a focus on the shipping business; Qingdao , an important port city; Chengdu , a southwestern business hub; Wuhan , a central province; and Hangzhou , where e-commerce giant Alibaba is based.

Hi-tech industry helps Shenzhen beat GDP goal | South China Morning Post Mayor Xu Qin will tell delegates that the city’s economy grew by 10.5 per cent last year compared with 2012. Xu early last year set a target of a 9 per cent rise in gross domestic product. Per capita GDP in the city reached US$22,000.

Xu’s work report said Shenzhen’s six strategic industries – biotechnology, information technology, new energy, new materials, telecommunications and the cultural and creative industry – recorded growth of 19.8 per cent last year.

Wealthy Chinese want British education for their children – FT.com The Hurun Report, a closely watched annual survey of China’s entrepreneurs and investors, found that 29 per cent gave Britain as the ideal country for their children’s secondary education, followed by the US with 26 per cent.

The influx of Chinese in Britain’s education system would have spillover effects for the rest of the economy, he added. “These people will have two years in the UK at sixth form, followed by four years at university, followed very likely by a year or two of work experience. So they’re going to have a very personal relationship with Britain for the best part of 8 years.”

Chinese Hotels Drop Stars to Score Political Points – China Real Time Report – WSJ Amid China’s anti-extravagance sweep, hotels are downgrading themselves to score political points – and win back business from politicians. A year ago this week, President and Communist Party Chairman Xi Jinping declared war on “undesirable practices” by officials that he said risked creating an “invisible wall that separates the party from the people.”

COMPANIES

Chinese oil giants make use of offshore shell companies in Caribbean | World news | theguardian.com The country’s biggest oil companies – Sinopec, PetroChina and the China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) – are among the world’s largest businesses, but executives in the industry are embroiled in multiple corruption probes, many tied to networks of shell companies around the world.

Research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) based on leaked financial records from the British Virgin Islands, reveal dozens of companies tied to the three oil giants, many of which are not disclosed on any publicly available filings by the businesses.

China Insurer Ping An Promises to Look Into ‘VIP’ Investment Product Collapse – China Real Time Report – WSJ One of China’s largest insurers said it will look into allegations from investors that some of its salespeople sold them another firm’s product that they now say has collapsed.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Ping An Insurance Group Co. said the company forbids its insurance agents from selling products on behalf of other financial institutions.

ICBC May Pay Part of Funds in Troubled Trust: Time-Weekly – Bloomberg ICBC and China Credit Trust may each take responsibility for 25 percent of payments for the 3 billion-yuan ($496 million) trust, the newspaper reported on its website today, citing a person it didn’t identify. The Credit Equals Gold No. 1 product raised money for a coal mining company that collapsed after its owner was arrested. The government of Shanxi province, where the company was based, may take responsibility for the remaining 50 percent, according to the report on the website of Guangzhou city-based Time-Weekly.

Special Report: How Caterpillar got bulldozed in China | Reuters The night of the awards on November 16 three Caterpillar lawyers were wrapping up an eight-hour grilling of Wang Fu, Siwei’s chairman. Major accounting problems had been unearthed at Siwei headquarters in the gritty Chinese city of Zhengzhou. Two months later, on January 18, 2013, Caterpillar said it had discovered “deliberate, multi-year, coordinated accounting misconduct” at Siwei.

Wang was sacked. Caterpillar took a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $580 million – 86 percent of the value of the deal. The company says it was caught unaware by the problems at Siwei and only discovered them in November 2012, five months after the deal closed.

Are Lenovo and IBM Finally Close to Another Deal? It has taken a long time, but Lenovo (NASDAQOTH: LNVGY) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) may be about to finally strike a bargain for IBM’s x86 server business. Lenovo has openly acknowledged its interest in this business, but the companies have been at odds on deal terms. With ongoing share loss in the server business and a desire to reallocate capital to higher-returning businesses like software and services, IBM would do well to close this deal.

Yu E Bao Deals with the Pressure of Being No. 1 – As of January 15, Yu E Bao has more than 250 billion yuan in investment from over 49 million users, says Tian Hong Asset Management Co., the company that manages Yu E Bao. That makes it the 14th-largest money market fund in the world, data from Bloomberg shows. Combined with other investment funds, the amount managed by Tian Hong has exceeded 260 billion yuan.

An excerpt of the interview follows.

Text, Chat, Profit: Tencent Launches Investing on WeChat – China Real Time Report – WSJ The new service is no doubt aimed at competing with Alibaba’s service, which was introduced last year. It’s also likely a ploy by Tencent to entice users to link their bank and WeChat accounts. The fund, called Licaitong, offers an impressive 7.3940% seven-day annualized yield, besting Yu’e Bao’s rate by almost 1%.

Magnum Entertainment Soars on First Nightclub IPO in Hong Kong – Bloomberg Magnum Entertainment Group Holdings Ltd. (2080), the first nightclub operator to go public in Hong Kong, more than doubled on its first day of trading.

Magnum raised $16.3 million in an initial public offering, selling shares at the top end of a marketed range, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The stock jumped as high as HK$3.21 from its offer price of HK$1.50, and traded at HK$3.05 at 9:57 a.m. local time.

China Mobile shakes up fixed-line broadband | South China Morning Post A welcome development looks set to shake up China’s fixed-line broadband sector this year, with word that leading wireless carrier China Mobile (0941.HK; NYSE: CHL) is offering aggressive pricing after receiving a license to offer fixed-line service late last year. Of course I’m speaking from the consumer’s perspective, since China’s 1.3 billion consumers and millions of businesses have had little or no choice for the last decade when choosing a fixed-line broadband supplier.

Qihoo 360 to distribute and facilitate Disney’s mobile gamesWantChinaTimes.co The two companies reached an agreement on Wednesday. Disney Mobile will sign over the intellectual property rights to its mobile games to Qihoo while the Chinese company’s 360 Mobile Assistant will use Qihoo’s resources to distribute and facilitate the games. The two companies will also provide various Disney-related products such as browser skins and computer desktop wallpapers of Disney images, said Jiang Zuwang, director of the Qihoo’s Mobile Gaming group.

Top Chinese App and Mobile Game Trends in 2013: Wandoujia Chinese Android app distributor Wandoujia (or SnapPea) and research institute iResearch jointly released a report on the hottest trends of Chinese mobile apps and games in last year.

Square-like Chinese startup QFPay swipes $16.5M in series B funding QFPay, maker of a Square-like gadget for taking e-payments via a smartphone, has secured series B funding worth $16.5 million, 36Kr reports today.

QFPay’s main product is QPOS, which looks like a mini calculator. It connects wirelessly to Android tablets or phones, or iPhone or iPad; or there’s a wired version that hooks up to a PC. It can be used by retailers of all sizes to take credit card or bank card transactions.

The Himalayan Times : Two banks asked to set aside Rs 1.5bn to pay MWSDB – Detail News : Nepal News Portal Himalayan Bank Ltd (HBL) and Bank of Kathmandu (BoK) will have to deposit Rs 1.51 billion at the central bank for possible payment to Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, according to a court order.

HBL will have to deposit Rs 660 million and BoK has to deposit Rs 850 million as a provision to pay MWSDB the counter guarantee amount. The two Nepali banks stand to lose about Rs 1.5 billion to the project after their client — China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation — failed to complete the construction of the tunnel.

LNG Stock Prices: Three Reasons 2014 Will Bring the Biggest Gains Yet China continues to turn more to natural gas as a solution to the country’s air pollution problem. It aims to triple the use of natural gas by 2020 to above 300 billion cubic meters from approximately 100 billion cubic meters now.

China only began importing LNG in 2006, but by the end of 2012 it had six LNG import terminals in operation. The total capacity of these terminals is 18.8 million tons of LNG.

Four of the terminals are run by CNOOC Ltd. (NYSE ADR: CEO) and two by the parent of PetroChina Co. Ltd. (NYSE ADR: PTR).

Addax signs 10-year Gabon petroleum deal – Business – Chinadaily.com.cn Addax Petroleum Corp, the biggest overseas subsidiary of Sinopec Group, has won a 10-year contract to extract oil at three fields in Gabon.

At peak production, the company will account for about 20,000 barrels a day, or nearly one-eighth of the African country’s oil output.

New batch of dairy brands recommended – BUSINESS – Globaltimes.cn The China Dairy Industry Association (CDIA) announced Wednesday the second batch of the association’s recommended baby formula brands. Twelve baby formula products from six domestic dairy companies were promoted in a press conference held in Beijing Wednesday.

The six companies are Zhejiang Beingmate Technology Industry and Trade Co, Beijing Sanyuan Foods Co, and four regional dairy brands.

LifeWatch announces strategic partnership with China Telecom for the sale of medical smartphones LifeWatch AG (SIX Swiss Exchange: LIFE), the leading wireless cardiac monitoring service provider in the U.S., makes a huge step forward in its strategy to complement its offering with products and ser- vices that are independent from third party payees. Today, Yacov Geva, CEO, signed a binding memorandum of understanding with China Telecom with a potential of more than USD 400 million sales of medical smartphones LiveWatch V and subsequent generation and related services in China over five years.

China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): China Mobile: A Long-Term Buying Opportunity – Seeking Alpha Although CHL is currently facing some headwinds, the company has an enviable history of growth. From 2003 through 2012, CHL increased both revenue and EPS every year with a 9-year CAGR of 14.7% and 13.7%, respectively. Although rivals China Unicom and China Telecom grew revenues at a faster pace in recent years, their growth came at the expense of profitability as both companies spent heavily on marketing and subsidies to attract CHL customers. For example, although CHL has lagged badly from 2009 through 2012 in terms of revenue, the company has outpaced both CHU and CHA in terms of EPS growth at a 3-year CAGR of 3.9% vs. 0% for CHA and a negative 9.1% for CHU.

WeChat 5.2 Supports Nine Categories of Mobile Payments It now supports making payments for Didi (the taxi app venture backed by Tencent), Licaitong (the mutual fund, released several days ago, similar to Alipay’s Yuebao), purchases on Tencent’s online retailer Yixun, QQ Coins (the virtual currency used in Tencent ecosystem), movie tickets, lottery tickets, making donations, phone bills and splitting bills.

Volvo AB: Chinese Authority Approves Dongfeng Motor JV – WSJ.com Swedish truck maker Volvo AB (VOLV-B.SK) Wednesday said the National Development and Reform Commission in China on Jan. 7 approved the establishment of a previously announced joint venture between the company and China’s Dongfeng Motor Group Company Ltd. (0489.HK).

Volvo in January last year announced an agreement with Dongfeng to acquire 45% of the Chinese vehicle maker’s new subsidiary Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles, which will include a large part of its medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles business.

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China Business Briefs 13/1/14

ECONOMY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

COMPANIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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