58.com files for US IPOOct 1, 2013China's 58.com Inc, a local classified-advertisement website, filed for an IPO of up to USD150m in American depositary shares as the site looks to fund further growth. 58.com, which became only the second mainland China-based company to complete a US IPO this year, said it would use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, these may include product development, technology investment and marketing, among others.
Samsung to start won-yuan direct tradingFeb 25, 2015
South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics announced in a statement that it was looking into starting won-yuan direct trading, a pronouncement that boosts Seoul's ambition to become a global hub for offshore yuan business. Samsung did not elaborate on its statement but analysts said such a move would be a major boost for the market. South Korea has been encouraging companies trading with China, including Samsung, settle transactions with the yuan or the won rather than the US dollar. Song In-chang, head of the finance ministry's international finance bureau, said that he hoped Samsung's move would influence other big companies.
China's high cost of living and pollution drives away expatsFeb 25, 2015
The rising cost of living and air pollution in China are driving expatriates out of the country according to a survey conducted by Unigroup Relocation, a company that provides international moving services. The survey results also indicate that twice as many expats moved out of China last year than those who moved in. While expiring contracts were the top reason for moving out of China, rising labour costs, the strength of the yuan and the country's pollution are also considered factors. Most of those leaving China are moving to the US, Germany, Singapore and France.
LG Electronics may form OLED TV JVs with Chinese, Japanese firmsFeb 25, 2015
LG Electronics Inc of South Korea revealed on 24 February that is has plans of going into business partnerships with Chinese and Japanese companies to boost its organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display televisions' market. LG Electronics did not give details on how it will go about cooperating with the Chinese and Japanese firms. LG's affiliate LG Display Co Ltd is the only panel manufacturer in the world capable of mass producing OLED TV panels. Industry experts say that OLED TVs are more expensive than the popular LCD TVs.
NetEase opens subsidiary office in CaliforniaFeb 25, 2015
NetEase, one of the top Internet and video-gaming firms in China, revealed that it opened a subsidiary office in Redwood Shores in San Mateo, California. NetEase's new office will have the gaming industry veteran's David Ting as its head. Ting used to be Chief Technology Officer of Android-based videogaming console maker, OUYA, and chief of online publishing at Blizzard Entertainment.
China's property use fell 25.5% last yearFeb 25, 2015
The use of land in China's property development declined in 2014, according to the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources. Construction of new homes used 151,000 hectares of land last year -- a 25.5% drop year-on-year. A key contributor to the country's economic growth, the real-estate market has been weakened by lower demand and a surplus of unsold homes.
Alitalia to open new Milan-Shanghai route for Expo 2015Feb 25, 2015
Italy's Alitalia announced on 24 February that it would launch a non-stop flight between the Milan and Shanghai between 1 May and 24 October this year, in time for Milan's Expo 2015 from May to October. Alitalia's 250-seat Airbus A330 will leave Milan in the morning on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and get to Shanghai around midnight. The return flights will leave for Milan the following morning. Alitalia CEO Silvano Cassano said that the new route would help promote bilateral trade between the Italian and Chinese cities while bringing in more visitors from China to the expo.
Five million Chinese travel overseas during Spring FestivalFeb 25, 2015
A growing number of rich Chinese, estimated to be more than 5 million, traveled abroad during the country's Spring Festival, according to the China Tourism Academy. Shopping has been cited as one of the Chinese tourists' biggest intentions during the weeklong holiday, buying various items ranging from Japanese electronic toilet seats to expensive Swiss watches. A stronger currency, relaxed visa policies, and growing personal wealth have cited as the main reasons for the increase in Chinese tourism abroad.
China sales drop hurts Amway's revenueFeb 25, 2015
The world's largest direct sales company, Amway Corp, attributed the drop of its 2014 revenue to lackluster sales in mainland China and fluctuations in currency exchange. Amway announced that its revenues in 2014 dropped 8% to USD10.8bn as its revenue in the Chinese mainland decreased to Rmb28.7bn (USD4.59bn) last year from Rmb29.3bn (USD4.68bn) in 2013. Despite the sales drop, which is the first decline for Amway in China, the country remains Amway's biggest market. Amway President Doug DeVos expressed confidence that the company is well-positioned for growth this year and beyond.
Box office booms in week-long holidayFeb 25, 2015China's total box office receipt during the week-long Spring Festival holiday topped Rmb1.73bn (USD282m), a record high, official sources said. Last year's Spring Festival holiday box office was Rmb1.39bn (USD222bn). According to the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, cinema ticket income on the first day of Spring Festival reached over Rmb360m (USD57.58m), a new daily record in the Chinese film market. The films shown during the Spring Festival holiday also received positive reviews from Chinese moviegoers, who gave an average rating of 80.3 out of 100 to the films they watched.
Hong Kong’s economic growth slows in Q4Feb 25, 2015
Economic growth in Hong Kong slowed in the last quarter of 2014, with some observers cititing political unrest and the sluggish global economy as causes. During the October-December 2014 period, Hong Kong's gross domestic product grew just 0.4% in Q4, falling from Q3's 1.4% expansion, Bloomberg reported. The Hong Kong government said the occupy movement affected the city's tourism, hotel, catering, retail and transport industries. Trade was also affected by weakness in Europe and Japan, the Hong Kong government said. Despite the slow GDP growth in Q4, Hong Kong's financial secretary, John Tsang, said he expected the city's economy to expand 1% to 3% this year, in line with the average 2.7% estimates by analysts.
China's manufacturing expansion hits 4-month highFeb 25, 2015
The preliminary HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which measures activity in China's mammoth factory sector, rose to 50.1 in February from January's final reading of 49.7. The preliminary PMI reading in February marks the highest expansion in four months but export orders continue to shrink. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity from the previous month, whereas a reading above indicates expansion. While last months figures do show slight expansion, HSBC's chief economist for China, Qu Hongbin, however, said domestic economic activity is likely to remain sluggish, and argued for more policy easing to support growth.
Postal Savings Bank of China’s IPO could raise up to USD25bnFeb 24, 2015
The Postal Savings Bank of China, one of the country's largest banks by assets and perhaps the world's biggest by branches, is reportedly in talks with potential investors about selling minority stakes before a possible IPO in early 2016. Analysts said an IPO could raise between USD1bn and USD25bn but any stake sales or an IPO would first need a go signal from China's State Council and the Ministry of Finance. The Financial Times reported that the state-owned Postal Savings Bank of China is in talks with potential investors, including an affiliate of Alibaba, US private equity groups and Asian sovereign wealth funds. The bank has close to 40,000 branches all over China and over 470 million retail customers.
Hong Kong analysts report strong income growthFeb 24, 2015
First-year and second-year analysts in Hong Kong have reported strong income growth in the city, while their counterparts in New York said their salaries have stagnated. One Hong Kong-based analyst said the pay in Hong Kong is about USD20,000 higher than in New York. Reports said many financial analysts in Hong Kong are reporting starting incomes exceeding USD90,000, including bonuses. The Financial Services Development Council (FSDC) of Hong Kong said financial jobs in the city are likely to rise by 15% over the next few years. The bulk of the new hires will come from overseas as Hong Kong does not have many hedge funds or private equity talents, said FSDC Chairwoman Laura Cha.
649 million Chinese are onlineFeb 24, 2015
China has now around 649 million people online, although the number of microblog users dropped following the government's 2013 crackdown on free speech. The China Internet Network Information Center said in its latest annual report that 557 million Chinese were using mobile devices. However, the number of microblog users in China dropped last year by 32 million to 249 million, it added. Newer products like instant messaging service WeChat are rapidly gaining popularity. The number of users of mobile instant message services increased 17.8% to 508 million.
Wanxiang to rebrand Fisker AutomotiveFeb 24, 2015
Chinese auto parts manufacturer Wanxiang Group is reportedly pushing back its planned relaunch of the defunct Fisker Karma hybrid sports car until middle of next year. Wanxiang will also rebrand Fisker Automotive as Elux. The Chinese firm purchased the California-based Fisker Automotive last year in a bankruptcy auction. The revised version of the Karma will be called Elux Karma, dropping the Fisker name. According to unnamed sources, the rebranded car will be priced at about USD135,000 --- almost 20% higher than the final price of the original Karma, which stopped production in 2012.
Venture capital firms boost investments in Chinese travel agenciesFeb 24, 2015
Venture capital firms are reportedly boosting their investments in China-based companies that arrange outbound and weekend travel plans for local customers. GGV Capital Managing Partner Jixun Foo said that VC firms are extremely positive on travel agencies as the Chinese government aims to upgrade domestic consumption. Outbound travellers from China reached 114 million by the end of last year, a 16% year-on-year rise, the China Tourism Academy report said.
China's mobile online gamers hit 248 million in 2014Feb 24, 2015
Mobile-based online games in China saw an impressive upsurge last year, with an estimated 248 million mobile online gamers by the end of last year, the China Internet Network Information Center said. The figure showed a 32.9 million increase from 2013. According to the report, more Chinese online gamers are turning from personal computers to mobile phones due to the development of 4G network and smartphone hardwares. Total number of mobile phone users reached 557 million last year, up 56.7 million year-on-year.
Baidu's star in global stock market to shine brighterFeb 24, 2015
US-based MSCI Inc, a provider of equity, fixed income, and hedge fund stock market indexes, has announced that it will start including foreign-listed firms in its country indexes. This means New York-listed Chinese search engine Baidu and e-commerce company Alibaba will be included in MSCI’s China and emerging-markets indexes. With the inclusion, Baidu and Alibaba will gain huge inflows of investor funds. In June 2014, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index was tracked by USD228bn of passive funds and was the benchmark for USD1.52tr of actively managed funds.
Catering sector picks up in 2014Feb 24, 2015
The China Cuisine Association (CCA) said revenue of the country's catering sector picked up in 2014 to about USD445.5bn even with the ongoing austerity drive by the government. The revenue last year was 9.7% more than what the caterers earned in 2013. The growth rate is expected to increase to double-digit figures and to hit about Rmb3tr in revenue this year, said CCA Head Jiang Junxian. The catering industry has been seeking a transition to survive after sharp declines in profits under the anti-corruption and frugality campaigns launched by the government. Last year marked the first in the last four years that the country's catering sector reported a pick up in revenue growth.
China to launch biggest passenger aircraft this yearFeb 24, 2015
The C919 large passenger aircraft, China's biggest passenger aircraft, is set to be launched later this year, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) said. The plane features 168-seat and 156-seat layouts and will compete with Boeing and Airbus in the medium-range aircraft sector, said Comac, the plane's manufacturer. Comac has already received orders for 450 C919 planes from 18 customers, mostly from the domestic airlines. China is expected to become the world's largest domestic aviation market in the next decade, according to a forecast by Airbus. An earlier forecast also said China will need more than 5,300 new passenger aircraft and freighters between 2014 and 2033.
China's patent applications hit 928,000 in 2014Feb 24, 2015
A total of 928,000 patent applications for new inventions were filed in China last year but the country's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) said it only approved 233,000 of the applications. The number of patent applications last year further cemented China's reputation as the world leader in patent applications, a title it has held for four consecutive years. Of the 233,000 patents that were approved last year, 163,000 were domestic inventions, with Huawei and ZTE topping the list of domestic firms with the most patents for new inventions approved. By province, Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu had the highest number of approved patents last year.
Number of mainland Chinese visitors to HK fallsFeb 24, 2015The executive director of Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council, Joseph Tung, said the drop in the number of mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong during the Lunar New year holidays is alarming. While the drop was just 0.3% over the first three days of the holiday, the fall was a first in about 20 years. The drop was attributed to the pro-democracy demonstrations and the recent spate of anti-China shopper protests in local malls. Tung said that if these things will carry on, the high spenders in China will skip Hong Kong and go elsewhere, like Europe. For the entire 2014, over 40 million mainland tourists visited Hong Kong. A total of just 437,199 mainland tourists arrived in Hong Kong since January of this year.
Investors get nod to short sell to boost Shanghai-HK connectFeb 23, 2015
The Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) has told brokers in a circular that from 2 March, it will allow investors to short-sell Shanghai-listed A shares under the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme. In a statement, the HKEx said investors may short-sell shares designated on the scheme. The Hong Kong exchange, however, will cap the short-selling ratio at 1% of an eligible stock on a specific trading day and no more than 5% of such stocks over ten consecutive days. Short-selling is used for hedging and to profit in bearish markets. Analysts hope that the short-selling scheme will finally boost the lacklustre start of the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock connect. The HKEx also plans to expand the number of Hong Kong stocks that Chinese investors will be able to buy as part of its steps to boost trading.
China's game console market to reach up to USD8bnFeb 23, 2015
Following a satisfactory trial run in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the 14-year ban on consoles in the country has been totally lifted by the State Council. The long-standing ban on producing and selling dedicated game consoles in China has been fully lifted, possibly triggering fierce competition between domestic and foreign developers. The game console market in the country is now expected to range between Rmb30bn-Rmb50bn (USD4.8bn-USD8bn), analysts said. The market is expected to be penetrated by major foreign players, such as Playstation-maker Sony and X-box maker Microsoft. Local firms, such as Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, are also eyeing the country’s console market.