SAFE eases regulations for special economic zonesMay 24, 2013China'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.
China's CPIC and Germany's Allianz create JVDec 19, 2014
China Pacific Insurance Co, the third-largest Chinese insurer, and Allianz Group of Germany officially started their joint venture on 18 December in the field of health insurance in mainland China. The CPIC Allianz Health Insurance, the first of its kind in Shanghai's free-trade zone, will offer health insurance including tailor-made health services and long-term care insurance, said CPIC CEO Sun Peijian. Sun added that almost 90 million users will be served by the JV firm's new products.
Weakening of the rouble may affect yuanDec 19, 2014
Economic experts have warned China that the weakening of Russia's official currency, the rouble, is very likely to adversely affect China's yuan and its foreign exchange market. After global oil prices fell, the rouble declined by some 20% versus the dollar on 16 December, reminding China's financial experts of the Russian financial crisis in 1998. China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang said that the currency-swap deal with Russia has not been affected yet by the rouble's slide.
Anbang Insurance raises stake in Minsheng BankDec 19, 2014
Anbang Insurance Group Co is now the biggest shareholder of Minsheng Bank, China's largest private lender, after it raised its stake in the bank to 10%. In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, Minsheng said Anbang now owns about 3.1 billion shares in Minsheng, from 1.7 billion as of 28 November. Anbang has been increasing its investments and holdings this year and has purchased the famed Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.
Asia's top three billionaires are ChineseDec 18, 2014
The top three billionaires in Asia, whose combined fortune is USD81.5bn, are all Chinese, based on the list released by Bloomberg. Alibaba's Executive Chairman Jack Ma is now the region's richest, followed by Hong Kong's Li Ka-shing. Chinese real estate mogul Wang Jianlin overtakes India's richest person, Mukesh Ambani, to become Asia's third-richest person with a fortune of USD24.8bn. Aside from real estate, Wang's assets include a department store chain and almost 80% of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.
Finance and banking professionals in tier-1 cities lead salary rankDec 18, 2014
Finance and banking professionals in tier-1 cities earn 21% more than their counterparts in tier-2 cities, a survey jointly conducted by British recruiting firm Hays Recruiting and HR service provider Zhaopin showed. Finance professionals in tier-1 cities earn an average of Rmb11,933 (USD1,925) per month, while those in tier-2 cities get an average of Rmb9,896 (USD1,592). The survey also showed that salary gap in the banking industry was highest at 36%. Fund and investment sector followed at 25% while salary gap in the insurance industry was at 5%. The survey polled 1,066 people in nine Chinese cities.
IPOs of Chinese firms propel Hong Kong stock exchange into second placeDec 17, 2014
The initial public offerings (IPOs) of mainland Chinese companies, including the USD3.7bn Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co IPO and the USD3.2bn CGN Power Co IPO, have helped propel Hong Kong into second place in the global IPO rankings. Hong Kong raised a total of USD27.1bn from listings this year, ranking second only to the New York Stock Exchange, which raised USD73.4bn in IPOs. Hong Kong was ahead of the Nasdaq Stock Market and the London Stock Exchange, which raised USD23.9bn and USD22.6bn, respectively.
Standard Chartered selling HK and Shenzhen consumer finance unitsDec 17, 2014
A consortium that includes a Chinese state firm is buying the consumer finance businesses of Standard Chartered in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, Global Times reported. Reuters said the value of the transaction is between USD600m and USD700m but Standard Chartered did not disclose the amount. The units will be sold to the consortium that includes state-owned China Travel Financial Holdings, US hedge fund York Capital Management Global Advisors and financial firm Pepper Australia Pty Ltd. Analysts said the sale is part of Standard Chartered's restructuring as the lender comes under pressure due to slower growth in the region and after being fined by US regulators for breaching sanctions in Iran two years ago.
Banks in mainland China and Taiwan agree on syndicated lendingDec 17, 2014
Financial cooperation between Taiwan and mainland China is getting a boost after the signing of agreement of ten banks on syndicated lending. Syndicated loans are loans pooled by a group of lenders for a single borrower. Ten banks from mainland China and Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding that will make financing easier for small and medium enterprises across the Strait. Five of the ten banks are from the mainland while the other five are from Taiwan. The MOU was signed during the two-day cross-Strait entrepreneurs summit in Taipei.
Dalian Wanda's HK IPO raises USD3.7bnDec 16, 2014
Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co (DWCPC), controlled by China-based billionaire Wang Jianlin, was able to come up with USD3.7bn in its initial public offering in the autonomous administrative region of Hong Kong. The company did this by pricing the deal at its indicative price range's high end. DWCPC is the real-estate unit of the Dalian Wanda Group, which acquired movie-theatre chain AMC Entertainment Holdings of the United States in 2012. It sold 600 million shares for HKD48 (USD6.19) each, close to the high end of a price range of HKD41.8-HKD49.6 (USD5.39-USD6.40).
China's US Treasury holdings hit 20-month lowDec 16, 2014
China's holdings of US debt fell to USD1.25tr in October, dropping USD13.6bn from a month before, the US Treasury Department said. The fall is the lowest since February 2013. In a monthly report, the US Treasury Department said that while China's holdings fall to its lowest in 20 months, the country continues to be the largest foreign holder. In October, China registered net purchases of USD28.4bn worth of Treasury notes and bonds. The Treasury Department said foreigners purchased net USD178.4bn of US securities in October.
Assets of China's rural commercial banks exceed USD1.64trDec 16, 2014
The combined assets of China's 659 rural commercial banks have surpassed Rmb10tr (USD1.64tr) by September, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said. Total loan of these banks was Rmb5.4tr (USD871bn) by the end of September, the top industry watchdog said. The number of rural commercial banks grew 40.8% from last year's 468 banks. China's rural commercial banks have grown in numbers after the government allowed private investors to establish such financial facility. The government's move was aimed at boosting rural development.
New Zealand plans to add renminbi to its reservesDec 16, 2014
New Zealand's central bank revealed that it plans to introduce the yuan or the Chinese renminbi as one of its foreign currency reserves. New Zealand will then be the second nation after the United Kingdom to introduce the yuan as a reserve currency. The yuan will now become the second-biggest reserve currency with a 20% weight, after the Australian dollar’s 22%. Meanwhile, the United States dollar lost its top ranking, sliding 31% into the third spot with a 12% weight.
Demand for brokerage staff rises in ChinaDec 16, 2014
Demand for staff from brokerages in China has increased by around 20% due to a booming local stock market and a surge in new clients, Reuters reported citing Chen Xia, headhunter at Unique. Analysts, researchers and asset managers are in demand in small to mid-sized brokerages in the country, such as Chinalin Securities, Donghai Securities and Jianghai Securities, said Shi Guangming, a financial services headhunter at Hunter W S. Haitong Securities, China's second-largest listed brokerage by market capital, revealed plans to hire around ten new members for its research team.
China, Kazakhstan ink new three-year currency-swap agreementDec 15, 2014
The central banks of both China and Kazakhstan agreed on 14 December to renew their three-year currency-swap contract. According to a statement posted on the People's Bank of China’s website, Chinese and Kazakh authorities signed a payment agreement and currency-settlement deal -- allowing domestic currencies to be utilised in settlements not only in border trade but also in ordinary trading. The renewed deal coincides with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang's official visit to Kazakhstan on Sunday to take part in the 13th edition of prime ministers' convention of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Moody's says Wanda's IPO credit positiveDec 15, 2014
Moody's Investors Service said Dalian Wanda Commercial Property Co's IPO is credit positive, adding that the listing will enhance the company’s equity base and capital structure. Dalian Wanda, which is expected to start trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 23 December, will also be able to expand its investor base and enhance its already strong liquidity position if the IPO is successful, said Kaven Tsang, Moody's vice president and senior analyst. Dalian Wanda wants to raise up to HKD29.8bn (USD3.84bn) by issuing 600 million shares at HKD41.8 - HKD49.6 per share. One of China’s largest property companies, Dalian Wanda develops, operates and sells integrated properties, including shopping malls, offices, residential housing, and hotels.Moody's says Wanda's IPO credit positive
China injects USD65bn into country's banking systemDec 12, 2014
Beijing decided to add more cash to its financial system in order to encourage economic growth, even as the Chinese government said it is willing to settle for a slower rate of economic growth. Chinese President Xi Jinping calls it the “new normal”. The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, is putting in some Rmb400bn (USD65bn) into the nation’s banking system to spur growth.
PBOC and traders struggle over the renminbiDec 11, 2014
China’s currency market is seeing a struggle these days between the People's Bank of China, the nation's central bank, and traders who seek to weaken the yuan. The PBOC is trying to drive the tightly-controlled foreign-exchange rate stronger. On 10 December, the yuan started trading 1.1% weaker than the PBOC's preferred level, marking the largest decline of the Chinese currency since June this year. The daily trading has a limit of 2% above or below the central parity rate.
Some Asia Pacific CEOs believe CFOs not up to challengeDec 10, 2014
A survey conducted by KPMG, in association with Forbes Insights, showed that chief executive officers (CEOs) in the Asia Pacific see a powerful future for their finance chiefs, but many respondents expressed concerns that their CFOs are not up to the challenge. The survey, which involved 178 senior business executives at Asia Pacific companies, including 38 in China and Hong Kong, showed that 72% of CEOs expect that the CFO's role will be more important over the next three years. However, almost a third of the surveyed CEOs believe their CFOs do not fully understand or help them enough in addressing the issues their companies are facing. In the survey conducted by KPMG a year ago, 60% of CFOs said they were happy with the overall performance of their finance function.
Fiscal spending picks up in NovemberDec 11, 2014
China's fiscal expenditure picked up in November by 0.8% from a year ago after a fall of 5.7% in October, the country's finance ministry said. From January to November this year, fiscal spending reached Rmb12.6tr (USD2.04tr), a 10.1% rise from a year ago. In November alone, fiscal expenditure reached Rmb1.28tr (USD207bn). Central government spending dropped 9.9% while local government spending went up 2.4% in November from a year earlier, the ministry said.
China could cut banks’ required reserve ratiosDec 11, 2014
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, may cut banks’ required reserve ratios in order to ease liquidity and stabilise growth due to the further easing in consumer inflation and increasing industrial deflation in November, analysts said. China’s top leaders might also discuss cutting down next year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) target to 3%, from this year’s 3.5%, at the Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing.
Shanghai tops Alipay's per capita paymentsDec 10, 2014
The city of Shanghai recorded the most per capita payments using Alipay this year. Shanghai residents had an average payment of Rmb38,561 (USD6,230) from January to October 2014. Beijing came in second followed by the provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong. Total payments in Shanghai by way of Alipay comprised 9.3% of the country's overall payment in a decade. Alipay started operating in 2004.
Interbank forex trade regulations in China relaxedDec 10, 2014
The Chinese government has eased rules and procedures to enable financial institutions trade on the interbank foreign-exchange market. According to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, this is an attempt to boost transparency in forex management. Beginning 1 January 2015, financial agencies in China that are licensed to trade spot forex and financial derivatives can take part in the interbank market sans administrative approval.
Pony Ma sells USD387m worth of shares in TencentDec 10, 2014
Tencent Holdings Ltd Chairman and CEO Pony Ma has sold a total of 25 million shares in the Chinese internet firm for about USD387m this month. The sale, according to a Tencent spokeswoman, was related to Ma's personal wealth management. The shares sale was reported in a regulatory filing at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ma co-founded Tencent in 1998 and helped it become one of the world's most influential internet firms.
Beijing to adjust preferential tax rulesDec 10, 2014
The central government of China has decided to regulate its preferential tax policies, preventing local taxation agencies from creating such policies. This was contained in a statement that Beijing released on its website. China's State Council, the country's cabinet, came out earlier with a notice cutting down on local preferential-tax regulations that may harm market mechanisms and macro controls. The statement adds that the aim is to forge a more open market and minimise regional protectionism.