Yum wants to win back China customers with new adsFeb 6, 2013
The owner of the KFC and Pizza Hut dining chains, Yum! Brands, said it will soon introduce a new advertising campaign aimed to winning back the trust and confidence consumers in China following the chicken supply controversy that has affected its sales in the mainland. Yum expects Q1 2013 sales to drop 25% and the aggressive marketing campaign will start after the Chinese New Year, said Yum CEO David Novak. Yum plans to open 700 stores in China this year. Yum Brands has been hit with a significant drop in Q4 profits as a result of chicken safety fears in China, its largest overseas market.
FDI in Shanghai increases 14.9% to USD1.6bnMay 23, 2013
Foreign direct investment in the city of Shanghai went up 14.9% year-on-year to USD1.6bn in April, mainly due to the swift growth of manufacturing-sector investment. According to the Shanghai Statistics Bureau, investment speed increased from the 10.4% figure in March, with 259 foreign-invested projects accomplished in April. Shanghai’s manufacturing sector, which accounted for about 20% of total value, rose 29.9% year-on-year in April.
HSBC China manufacturing PMI drops to 49.6 in MayMay 23, 2013
The manufacturing sector of China continued to slow down in May as the preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index declined to 49.6 – its lowest level in a seven-month period. April's final reading was at 50.4, indicating slight growth. The May reading indicates a contraction, as it is below 50. Before HSBC's China May PMI data was released, many economists cut forecasts for China's 2013 economic growth.
Microsoft sets June launch of Windows Azure in ChinaMay 23, 2013
As of June 2013, Microsoft Corp will be the very first multinational firm to offer public cloud-computing services in mainland China with the unveiling of its Windows Azure. The company’s cloud-computing service covers database, storage, and integration through online cloud servers that provide cheaper and more reliable methods for storage and sharing data. China’s 21Vianet will operate the Microsoft Windows Azure service, due to China's data regulations.
Pricing dispute stalls China-EU solar trade talksMay 23, 2013
China and the European Union started the first round of negotiations on the controversial issue of solar-panel trade by trying to settle the product’s export price, but disagreements ensued. The EU invited the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products to negotiate, but rejected the chamber’s pricing proposals, even declining to reply to the chamber’s questions, according to the Chinese chamber’s Deputy Head, Wang Guiqing.
Italy's Canali to open 5 new stores in ChinaMay 23, 2013
Italian menswear retailer Canali Holdings announced plans to open five new boutiques across China, expecting sales to grow 15% this year. Canali, which owns 60 outlets in China, aims to expand its footprint in the country by tapping the rising income of Chinese consumers. Greater China is the Italian clothier's second-largest market after the US. Industry analysts predicted that men's clothing market in China could grow 15% annually over the next three years.
Sweden's Sandvik aims for next-day delivery of goods in ChinaMay 23, 2013
Swedish high-tech industrial group Sandvik has opened its first Chinese distribution centre in Shanghai as it attempts to tap into China's demand for more efficient product distribution. The distribution centre, which covers an area of 6,000 sqm, will be able to deliver up to 85% of products to Chinese customers within 24 hours instead of the current three day delivery time. The centre will focus on local Chinese customers, said Annika Rooss, VP of supply chain management.
China's business travel to grow fasterMay 23, 2013
Corporate business travel in China is expected to increase 15.1% in 2013, according to a study by AirPlus International, a German company that provides business travel payment solutions. Business travel expenditure is predicted to hit Rmb1.38tr (USD224bn) this year. The report revealed that 41% of Chinese respondents said they expect more trips over the next 12 months, up from 31% the year before, against the global average of 32%. China is now considered the fastest-growing market for the sector.
SAFE eases regulations for special economic zonesMay 23, 2013
China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) announced that it will ease regulations of foreign currency transactions for firms operating in special economic zones in the country. The simplified regulations now allow companies to take legal profits derived from exports out of the country, as long as they are located in special economic zones. The new rules, which will take effect in June, will also cut down paperwork requirements and reduce the frequency of regulatory checks.
Air Incheon plans cargo-only China flightsMay 23, 2013
South Korea's first cargo-only airline, Air Incheon Co, has announced plans to start services to smaller cities in China this year. Vice President Kim Gyu Hyeong said the Seoul-based airlines will focus on Chinese cities where Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc have assembly plants. Air Incheon is a cargo-only airline that moves mobile phones, garments, and oil drilling equipment to Japan and Russia.
NZ says China meat imports freeze liftedMay 23, 2013
New Zealand's Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, announced that China has already lifted the freeze on meat imports and that New Zealand will again be exporting to China from next week. The freeze was earlier implemented by China after customs officials discovered discrepancies in meat certifications. Guy said Chinese authorities have agreed they will begin releasing consignments under the name of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority.
Tencent overtakes Facebook in brand valueMay 22, 2013
According to the results of a study conducted by the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands, China’s Internet-services firm Tencent Holdings Ltd has surpassed US-based Facebook Inc in terms of brand value. Tencent has achieved this through increasing both its revenue and number of users. The firm’s brand value has increased 52% year-on-year. Tencent currently has an estimated 800 million active users.
SOEs report slower profit growthMay 22, 2013
China's State-owned enterprises (SOEs) saw their total profit growth slow to 5.3% year-on-year to reach Rmb689.1bn (USD111.3bn) in the first fourth of this year, the Ministry of Finance announced. The growth rate slowed from 7.7% recorded in Q1. The ministry said SOEs in the power, electronics and housing construction sectors reported relatively fast profit growth, while those in the transportation, non-ferrous metal, coal, chemical and construction materials sectors saw profits decline.
Bayer about to boost R&D funds in ChinaMay 22, 2013
Bayer Material Science of Germany, which yesterday inaugurated its Asia-Pacific innovation centre in Shanghai, will increase its funding for R&D in mainland China to draw on demand from emerging markets. Bayer’s Shanghai innovation centre will supply the polyurethane, polycarbonates, and coating market. Bayer Material Science CEO Patrick Thomas said that that the company hopes to export China-made technology globally by 2020.
Burberry’s China sales rise 20%May 22, 2013
British luxury fashion house Burberry Group reported a 20% sales increase in China over the fiscal year ending 31 March. The firm’s sales growth ran counter to a downtrend in the industry, with the majority of Burberry's competitors claiming that the once buoyant Chinese market is losing steam. In 2012, Burberry took note of declining sales in China, forcing it to issue a profit warning, but revenues recovered this year. Burberry’s rivals Gucci, LVMH Moet Hennessy, and Hermes have not been as lucky.
Nestle seeks coffee sales growth in China, US, JapanMay 22, 2013
Swiss-based Nestle SA is seeking to boost single-serve coffee sales in traditionally tea-drinking countries such as China and Japan, as well as in coffee-centred North America, where Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc dominates the market with its Keurig brand. The global capsule-coffee market is believed to reach USD12bn before the end of 2013. Nestle came up with the first single-serve capsule coffee machine in 1986 with the Nespresso, but sales have slowed down as many of its rivals have introduced coffee pods that fit into Nespresso machines.
Li vows to cut China-India trade imbalanceMay 22, 2013
China’s Premier Li Keqiang said during an official visit to New Delhi that he is conscious of India's worries over a trade deficit with China, and stressed that he wants to ease Indian companies’ access to the Chinese market. According India’s Ministry of Commerce, the country’s trade deficit with China has reached USD40bn – a huge increase from only USD1bn in 2002. Li added that China never intended a trade surplus, but rather sought a vibrant trade balance between the two countries.
Borouge inks sponsorship deal with China University of PetroleumMay 22, 2013
Plastics solutions company Borouge, a JV of Abu Dhabi National Oil Co and Austria's Borealis, is extending the coverage of its sponsorship programs to five universities as it further expands its commitment to attract and develop qualified scientific talent. CEO Wim Roels inked a deal with the China University of Petroleum for a sponsorship program aimed at developing talent in the chemical industry across Asia.
China's consumer confidence 'back to normal'May 22, 2013
A Nielsen report showed that consumer confidence in the mainland has rebounded in Q1 to the highest level since Q3 2010. But Nielsen Greater China President Yan Xuan said the latest report should be interpreted as a "back-to-normal" trend, following a huge decline in Q4 2012. The consumer confidence index stood at 108 in Q1 2013, unchanged from the previous quarter and 15 points higher than the global average, according to Nielsen.
Fosun to build housing properties for China's elderlyMay 22, 2013
Shanghai-based Fosun International will team up with Fortress Investment of the US to expand into housing developments for China's elderly. The companies will form a JV, Shanghai Starcastle Senior Living Services, that will invest in six property projects for the elderly in Beijing and Shanghai, with the long-term plan of expanding into other key mainland cities. Fosun CEO Liang Xinjun said the new investment is triggered by market potential, as the China National Committee on Aging estimated that the number of Chinese aged over 60 will rise to more than 200 million this year.
Shopping malls to be most profitable property investmentMay 22, 2013
ARA Private Funds, a property investment firm partly owned by Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing, predicts that shopping malls will become the most profitable type of property investment in China over the next two to five years, surpassing office and residential space. The forecast made by ARA CEO Ng Beng Tiong came at time in which the China Chain Store and Franchise Association revealed that the number of malls in the mainland could jump to more than 4,000, or 40% more than at present, by 2015. While Ng said that malls with a gross floor area of at least 1m sqft will provide the biggest returns, he warned that malls full of luxury brands will not guarantee fat margins.
Hai Di Lao to open restaurant in LAMay 22, 2013
China's popular chain of 75 Chinese eateries, Hai Di Lao, will be opening a restaurant in the affluent Los Angeles enclave of Arcadia this September, its first foray into the US market. Owner Zhang Yong expressed hopes that the features that have established his brand in China will also pave the way for the success of his first US branch. Hai Di Lao, which first opened in Sichuan in 1994, launched its first international location in Singapore last year. Zhang said he would tweak the menu at his LA restaurant to suit consumers' tastes.
More investors eye China's logistics propertiesMay 22, 2013
Property consultants and logistics property developers said investors have increasingly been showing interest in China's warehouses and industrial properties as good places to invest. With the commercial and residential sectors seeing investment deals in recent months, Stuart Ross of Jones Lang LaSalle’s industrial department in Shanghai added that his firm has been receiving continuous inquiries over the past half year. Analysts said there has been an upturn in investment interest in logistics and business parks in recent months as investors attempt to tap into China’s booming e-commerce market and rising domestic consumption.
Maldives requires China honeymooners to show proof of statusMay 22, 2013
Resorts in the Maldives now require Chinese “honeymooners” to show proof they are indeed on a honeymoon, following reports that numbers of Chinese travellers are faking marriage documents to qualify for special trip packages. One of the top luxury resorts in Maldives, Niyama, said honeymoon bookings must now show the relevant documentation. Officials from the resort said they had seen numerous instances of clients that were not on honeymoons yet were availing themselves of the corresponding perks. The latter include free meals, complimentary spa visits, baskets of fruit and bottles of champagne.
Obama, Xi to hold first summit in USMay 21, 2013
Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama will be holding their first meeting in California in June, discussing bilateral, regional and global issues, the White House said. The meeting, set for 7-8 June at an estate in Rancho Mirage, California, will also likely discuss such topics as North Korea, cyber espionage, tensions in the South China Sea and Syria.