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 begins auto insurance pricing reformMar 27, 2015
The China Insurance Regulator y Commission (CIRC) said the auto insurance pricing reform will be piloted in six provinces and cities in China, allowing auto insurers to set their own premiums. The guidelines for the liberalisation of the auto insurance rates have been issued by the CIRC. The scheme will be first implemented in the provinces of Chongqing, Guangxi, Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Shandong and Qingdao. This means motor insurers in these areas will have the liberty to set their own premiums, within a range higher or lower than the benchmark, under the trial scheme. The regulations issued by the CIRC stated that insurance firms in the pilot areas will determine their motor premiums based on the risk profile of their customers. The programme will be expanded to other areas based on how the motor market develops, the CIRC said.
China's January-February industrial profits fall 4.2%Mar 27, 2015
Profits of China's industrial sector is estimated to have reached Rmb745.24bn (USD121.5bn) in January and February this year, a 4.2% drop year-on-year, according to the country's National Bureau of Statistics. The decline narrowed from the 8% fall seen in December 2014. The NBS included companies with annual revenues of more than Rmb20m (USD3.22m). NBS statistician He Ping said that the profit decline in the industrial sector is due to several factors, including lower prices, increasing costs and profit declines in the oil and coal industries.
China Construction Bank eyes 8-nation expansionMar 27, 2015
China's second-biggest bank is planning to set up branches in at least eight countries around the world, Reuters reported. China Construction Bank (CCB) is reportedly planning to expand in eight countries in Europe, South America and Asia this year. Sources said the countries are France, the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Chile and Malaysia. The expansion in eight countries will significantly increase CCB's global expansion. It currently has presence in 18 countries and territories. State-owned banks in China are embarking on overseas expansion as part of the Chinese currency's internationalisation. China has assigned yuan clearing banks in at least 14 offshore hubs.
Shanghai, Shenzhen bourses top in IPOs in Q1Mar 27, 2015
The stock exchanges of Shanghai and Shenzhen are the joint top bourses based on the number of initial public offerings worldwide in Q1 of this year, according to an Ernst & Young industry report. The two exchanges listed 70 firms from January to March 2015, accounting for 28% of all new listings globally. The overall proceeds of the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses hit USD7.8bn or 20% of the world's total. The Shanghai stock exchange topped globally with USD5.4bn raised.
Renminbi's popularity now discussed by 22% of world's boardroomsMar 26, 2015
A recent survey conducted by HSBC Commercial Banking shows that China's currency, the renminbi, has become a topic of debate in more than 22% of company boardrooms around the world. The discussions focus on the renminbi's corporate use and its popularity as a major global currency, the survey showed. The survey, which polled more than 1,600 decision makers in 14 countries and territories, revealed that about a quarter of senior management teams in Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and the UAE have discussed the renminbi as a business enabler. In Australia, Canada, the UK and the US, a fifth of senior management teams have discussed the Chinese currency. Simon Cooper, chief executive of HSBC Commercial Banking, said companies doing business with China will have to think about doing business in China's currency.
Citi names Catherine Cai as new head of China investment bankingMar 26, 2015
Citigroup Inc said it has appointed Catherine Cai, former China banker from Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit, as chairman and head of China investment banking. Cai, who has more than 20 years of experience in China investment banking, will report to Mark Slaughter, head of corporate and investment banking for Citi in Asia Pacific. She joins Citi after working for ten years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she was most recently chairman of China investment banking. Slaughter said Cai has excellent client relationships around the region and has been involved on several landmark and groundbreaking transactions from China during her career.
Northern Trust names Michael Wu as new Greater China headMar 26, 2015American international financial services firm Northern Trust Corp announced the appointment of Michael Wu as head of its Greater China region. The role is newly created and will give Wu executive management responsibilities for the Hong Kong office, in addition to his current responsibilities for the Beijing branch. Wu was most recently Northern Trust's country manager based in Beijing. Wu joined Northern trust as chief representative in China in 2008. It was under his leadership that the firm received branch license from the China Banking Regulatory Commission.
AIIB headquarters will be in Beijing, official saysMar 26, 2015
Indonesia's hope to host the headquarters of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) seemed to be losing light as China's Vice Minister of Finance, Shi Yaobin, said the AIIB will be headquartered in Beijing. Shi issued the statement on the Finance Ministry's website, basing his pronouncement on the consensus that relevant parties reached during the signing of a memorandum of understanding last October. Indonesia earlier said it was ready to compete with Beijing in hosting the AIIB headquarters.
China-Armenia currency swap deal strengthens yuanMar 26, 2015
The yuan's central parity rate strengthened by 35 basis points to 6.1375 versus the United States dollar on 25 March, according to a China Foreign Exchange Trading System report. This comes after China and Armenia signed a currency-swap agreement worth Rmb1bn (USD162.93m). The three-year contract between the central banks of mainland China and Armenia seeks to enhance their bilateral trade and investment, according to the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank. China has now signed currency swap deals with over 20 nations.
Australia to announce AIIB decision in few daysMar 25, 2015
Australia's decision to join the China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be made in the next few days but could be before the 31 March deadline set by Chinese authorities. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a public announcement will be made soon, although local media reported that the National Security Committee of cabinet and the federal cabinet had approved the move to join the AIIB. Abbott said Australia is not rushing to join the AIIB because the Asia Development Bank and the World Bank have already served important roles in the region. Treasurer Joe Hockey earlier set out conditions that Australia wants to see before signing the memorandum of understanding.
FTZ plans in three China areas okayedMar 25, 2015
Fujian, Guangdong, and Tianjin's comprehensive plans for free trade zones plus enhancements to the Shanghai FTZ received official approval on 24 March during a Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee convention. According to a statement made public after the Central Committee meeting, the Shanghai FTZ had made good progress and has come up with a model that can be duplicated in other areas of China. The three new FTZs and the Shanghai FTZ will keep seeking institutional innovations, the statement adds.
China Life Insurance sees 30% rise in profitMar 25, 2015
China's largest insurer, China Life Insurance Co Ltd, got even bigger after it reported a 30% rise in annual net profit to Rmb32.2bn (USD5.19bn) in 2014. The company attributed its annual net profit rise to gains on its investment portfolio, especially its investment in China's booming stock markets. China Life's net profit in 2014, which was higher than the previous year’s Rmb24.77bn (USD3.99bn), was in line with the average forecast of Rmb32.7bn (USD5.26bn) from analysts. China Life also said that it has increased the number of its agents by 13% to a total of 743,000 by the end of last year. China's insurance industry recorded an average yield on investments of 6.3% last year, from 5% in 2013. Ping An Insurance Group, China Life's rival, reported a 39.5% rise in its annual net profits.
Shanghai eyes raising housing loan capMar 25, 2015
The local government of Shanghai is considering raising the housing loan cap to Rmb700,000 (USD112,000) from Rmb400,000 (USD64,000). Shanghai said it plans to raise the ceiling for housing loans under its provident fund by as much as 75% to help low and mid-income residents improve their housing conditions. Shanghai's move also comes at a time that property sales in the country have dropped by the most in three years due to a glut of housing supply. China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development has been calling on local governments to make good use of the housing fund to help their residents.
6 insurers take part in China’s heavy equipment insurance trialMar 24, 2015
A total of six Chinese insurers have signed up to participate in China's pilot scheme for co-insurance of heavy equipment or high-technology. The scheme, established by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, seeks to promote the country's heavy equipment industry and encourages insurance firms to create new products and expand their coverage scope. Under the pilot scheme, China's central government will provide up to 80% of insurance premium subsidies for an eligible project for a period of up to three years. The programme covers 360 kinds of equipment or products in 14 areas that include shipbuilding, aviation, nuclear power and aerospace. Insurers who are joining the pilot scheme are Ping An Insurance, PICC P&C, China Pacific Insurance, China Continent Property & Casualty Insurance, Tian An Property Insurance, China United Insurance and Groupama-Avic Property Insurance.
Total banks on China to fund USD15bn Russia expansionMar 24, 2015
French oil and gas producer Total is looking at Chinese banks to bankroll about USD15bn of its expansion in Russia. The deal could become the largest reported private corporate deal that Chinese banks have taken part in if it pushes through. Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne did not mention which will be involved in the funding but he said the deal could be closed by the middle of 2015. Pouyanne said the money will be used to expand the financing of the USD27bn Yamal LNG project in Russia's Siberia. The Yamal LNG project is being financed by Total, Russia’s Novatek and China National Petroleum Corp.
Sinopec net profit falls 30%Mar 24, 2015
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), the largest oil-refining firm in Asia, saw a net profit decline of 30% in 2014 due to the continuing fall in global crude oil prices since June. Sinopec also released a profit warning for Q1 of 2015, saying that the negative impact will continue as margins took a hit from the high-cost crude bought earlier. Other Chinese state-owned companies such as China National Petroleum Corp are expected to see profit decline.
Yuan clearing bank launched in CanadaMar 24, 2015
The official Chinese currency, the yuan, now has a clearing bank in Canada. ICBC Canada was launched on 23 March in the North American country -- the first yuan-trading centre in the western hemisphere. The centre is the latest development in the China-Canada trading relationship now worth an estimated USD78bn. Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver launched the yuan clearing bank in Toronto with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China hosting the event.
China's Zhong An seeks USD1bn in first round of fundingMar 23, 2015
China's largest online insurer, Zhong An Online Property Insurance, plans to raise about USD1bn in a first private round of funding that will involve selling around 15% to 20% of its total share capital. Sources said Zhong An, the first Chinese firm that was granted an operating license to insure only properties tied to the Internet, will use the funds for expansion of new products, growing its 630 million insurance policies as of 9 November 2014. Zhong An, founded by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, Tencent Chairman Pony Ma and Ping An Chairman Ma Mingzhe, serves more than 150 million clients. The private round of funding is expected to value the online insurer at between USD5bn and USD6.7bn.
China seeks to make the yuan capital account convertibleMar 23, 2015
Governor Zhou Xiaochuan of the People's Bank of China said that before the year is over, which is the final year of the country's 12th Five-Year Plan, the renminbi will be made capital account convertible, making it more user-friendly to make overseas investments easier. Zhou made the announcement during the China Development Forum in Beijing on 22 March with global business leaders in attendance. The reform seeks to comply with the International Monetary Fund’s requirements before its evaluation on whether the Chinese currency can be included on its Special Drawing Rights.
Asian casinos seek to pull in Chinese gamblers amid corruption crackdownMar 23, 2015
Casino operators in the Asia Pacific region are actively trying to draw in mainland Chinese gamblers amid China’s continuing cracking down on corruption, which scares customers away from Macau. In February, Macau, the largest gambling centre in the world, saw its worst revenue decline. South Korea's Paradise Co is employing Mandarin-speaking workers and offering free flights, hotel and limousine service to big Chinese spenders. Cambodia's NagaCorp Ltd and Sydney's Echo Entertainment Group Ltd cater junket operators who organise trips for Chinese gamblers with attractions like private jets, bigger commissions, and lower taxes.
Australia set to make AUD3bn investment in AIIBMar 20, 2015
Australia's National Security Committee is scheduled to grant its approval for the country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and invest around AUD3bn (USD2.3bn), according to Australian media reports. The NSC, the nation's cabinet, has discussed the matter with Premier Tony Abbott, Deputy Premier Warren Truss, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Treasurer Joe Hockey, and Defense Minister Kevin Andrews. The Australian government initially rejected China's offer to join the AIIB in 2014.
China’s online life insurance market dominated by small insurersMar 20, 2015
Small and medium-sized insurance firms currently dominate China’s growing online life insurance market, the Insurance Association of China revealed. Small and medium-sized insurers now account for 82% of total online life insurance sales in China. These insurance companies collected a total of Rmb29bn (USD4.68bn) online life premiums, or about 82% of the total Rmb35.3bn (USD5.7bn) online life insurance premiums. The association said nine of the top ten online life insurers in China are small and medium-sized insurance firms, led by Sun Life Everbright Life with a 16% share of the market and ICBC-AXA Life Insurance, which takes up 12% market share. Foreign-owned life insurers are also given more prominence in the Chinese market through online channels although their share of the total life insurance market in China is only around 5%.
Jimmy Choo to expand in ChinaMar 20, 2015
British luxury shoe manufacturer Jimmy Choo announced that it will continue to expand in China after registering a 7.2% rise in annual earnings. Its China expansion will involve opening 10 to 15 directly owned shops this year as it continues to perform well in Asia. Jimmy Choo's revenue increased by 7.2% to GBP50.2m (USD75m) last year from GBP46.9m it made in 2013. CEO Pierre Denis said Jimmy Choo remains focused on executing growth strategy and pursuing growth without compromising it brand. The growth, he said, will come from opening 10 to 15 new stores this year, with a focus on China.
China to audit SOEs' overseas assetsMar 18, 2015
The Chinese government will conduct a broad audit of the overseas assets of its state-owned enterprises in order to boost control of its global operations and improve transparency. China's State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission issued an invitation on 17 March for tenders to audit the assets. An estimated Rmb12.4m (USD2m) from the fiscal budget will be involved in the auditing initiative. Result of the bidding will be announced on 7 April, the commission said.