China's stock market boom expected in 2014Dec 27, 2013
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) has said there is a strong possibility that the country's stock market make dramatic gains next year when the government reopens the market for IPOs. Although there will be challenges, the CASS said in a report that a dramatic rise in the stock market could happen next year, resembling that of 1999 in many ways. Within two months from mid-May in 1999, the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index increased from around 1,100 to more than 1,600. With the relaunch of IPOs next year striking rises should be expected, experts said.
China cuts key rates to stir economyMar 2, 2015For the second time in less than four months, China trimmed its key lending rates over the weekend, cutting the benchmark one-year loan rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 5.35% and the one-year deposit rate for the same percentage point to 2.5%. An official of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, cited deflationary risk and the slowdown in the property market as the two main reasons for the rate cut this time. The Wall Street Journal reported that while economists were expecting another rate cut, the Saturday reduction was sooner than anticipated. The latest easing step followed a rate cut in November, China’s first in two years, and an across-the-board measure lowering the amount of money banks need to hold in reserve, thereby freeing up more funds for lending. Analysts said the latest cut is a sign that China's leadership is becoming more aggressive in trying to arrest flagging economic growth.
China trails Hong Kong in outbound real estate investmentMar 2, 2015
China ranked second in outbound real estate investment in 2014, next only to Singapore, a report released by CBRE Research showed. Asian outbound real estate investment as a whole hit a record in 2014 after growing 23% year-on-year to USD40bn. Singapore was the top outbound investor with USD11.9bn, closely followed by China and Hong Kong, the real estate services firm said. Europe, the Middle East and Africa continued to receive the largest share of Asian investment while in Asia, Japan was the leading target destination, followed by China.
Beer made with Chinese tea a hit in New YorkMar 2, 2015
A new brand of beer made with Chinese tea in Syracuse, New York highlights new opportunities for high-end teas from China. In early February this year, Empire Brewing Co began to brew Two Dragons beer using Jingwei Fu tea, a fermented tea from China's Shaanxi province. Empire Brewing Co owner David Katleski said that their beer has earned rave reviews in Syracuse. Empire Brewing and Shaanxi Jingwei Fu Tea Co have agreed for a much bigger second shipment of tea, after a trial shipment of 12 kg of tea, to make the beer a permanent product.
Chinese firms rush to buy Manhattan propertiesMar 2, 2015
Chinese investors’ appetite for high-profile commercial properties in the United States is growing as highlighted in Anbang Insurance Group Co's purchase of an office building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York. Other Chinese firms are also caught in the rush of buying into Manhattan commercial real estate, which is considered as a ‘safe haven’. Less than two years ago, Chinese property developer Soho and its Brazilian partner purchased a 40% stake in General Motors Building for about USD700m.
Huawei works with EE for USD2.3bn 4G upgradeMar 2, 2015
China’s Huawei Technologies is now a core equipment supplier of the world’s fastest 4G network, which is operated by United Kingdom’s EE. EE will pay about GBP1.5bn (USD2.3bn) between now and 2017, a Chinese news platform reported. The upgraded 4G network speed will reach up to 400 megabits per second (Mbps), three times faster than the current 4G speed based on a demonstration in London’s Wembley Stadium that Huawei and EE jointly conducted. Comparatively, the average speed of China Unicom and China Mobile’s 4G networks is about 100-150 Mbps.
China’s PMI contracts in FebruaryMar 2, 2015
China’s manufacturing sector fell for the second consecutive month in February, a survey showed. China's official Purchasing Managers’ Index closed at 49.9 in February, edging up from January's 49.8. A reading above 50 indicates expansion while a reading below indicates contraction. The data released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics suggested a stabilising but still weak economy that required monetary stimulus such as an interest rate cut.
China likely to receive hot money from EuropeMar 2, 2015
Drastic monetary policies in Europe could create a new surge of hot money inflow into China, said Simon Derrick, chief currency strategist at the Bank of New York Mellon. Hot money is the flow of funds from one market to another in order to earn a short-term profit on interest rate differences and anticipated exchange rate shifts. Derrick added that the impact is similar to that caused by quantitative easing by the United States Federal Reserve on China in 2009, when excess money created was looking for a home in a high growth economy.
More reforms expected in China's next legislative sessionMar 2, 2015
The upcoming annual legislative session is expected to see more reforms as China’s economy continues to weaken, calling for renewed efforts in stimulating growth, the official Xinhua reported. Premier Li Keqiang is expected to deliver a government work report, which ADB economist Zhuang Jian believes might discuss the reform measures undertaken last year. A series of disappointing economic data at the start of 2015 resulted in uncertainties as indices measuring consumer prices, industrial activity and trade fell in January. The country’s PMI declined below the boom-bust line for the first time in more than two years, while inflation dropped to a five-year low.
Guangdong set to raise minimum wageMar 2, 2015
China’s Guangdong province is set to increase the minimum wage of workers by an average of 19% starting this May as part of its efforts to combat a labour shortage. The increase will take effect in all parts of Guangdong, except Shenzhen, which separately announced a raise in minimum monthly wage for workers by 12.3%. Guangdong's provincial department of human resources and social security said the minimum monthly pay for full-time workers in the provincial capital Guangzhou will be increased by 22.2% to Rmb1,895 (USD300). Guangdong said the minimum wage increase would also help workers cope with the rising living costs in the province.
China's Q1 GDP growth forecast to hit 7%Mar 2, 2015
China's State Information Center expects the country's economy to grow 7% in the first three months of this year, with the manufacturing sector continuing to slow. The estimate released by the government think tank showed that China's economy is in for a steady slowdown, after growing 7.4% last year, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years. The estimate also showed that investment in fixed assets will grow around 14.3% and 7% for real estate. Export will also accelerate around 5% but imports will decline by 10% due to a weakening domestic market.
Home prices fall again in FebruaryMar 2, 2015
Prices of new homes in 288 Chinese cities dropped 0.06% in February, marking the 11th consecutive home prices drop on a monthly basis. The fall, however, was slower than the 0.1% decline registered in January. The slower pace of decline was taken by analysts as a sign that China's property market continues to stabilise. The February fall was also slower than the decline a year ago, when home prices dropped 1.62%. China's Real Estate Information Corporation said the monthly drop of the index has been narrowing since October, which means property prices have already entered a relatively reasonable level. China's property industry accounts for about 15% of the country's GDP.
Bank of China joins NZ bankers' associationMar 2, 2015
The Bank of China, one of China's major banks, has become the first Chinese bank to join the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, bringing the total number of member banks to 15. Association Chief Executive Kirk Hope said the arrival of Bank of China further enhances competition and diversity in New Zealand's banking sector. The Bank of China became a New Zealand registered bank in November 2014. The bank’s focus in New Zealand is on international trade, offering corporate banking and financial markets services. Bank of China (New Zealand) Executive Director David Wang said the bank sought to promote economic and trade opportunities between China and New Zealand.
Consumption becomes China’s strongest driving forceFeb 27, 2015
The National Bureau of Statistics said China's total domestic consumption accounted for 51.2% of GDP growth last year while investment accounted for 48.6%. This means domestic consumption surpassed investment to become the major driving force of the Chinese economy in 2014. The consumption-driven growth model has started taking shape, said NBs Deputy Directory Xie Hongguang. Economists said that while investment and exports show weaker growth momentum, consumption will further grow in the near term due to an ongoing steady increase in personal income. Swiss global financial services firm UBS AG said China's modest rebalancing toward consumption from investment in recent years should remain on track as consumption is expected to hold firm for the next two years.
Chinese businesswomen dominate Forbes' Asia listFeb 27, 2015
A total of 14 out of 50 powerful businesswomen in Asia are Chinese women, the latest list released by Forbes' magazine showed. The “50 Power Businesswomen in Asia” showed that Chinese female executives dominate the region. The list includes Maggie Wu and Lucy Peng, two of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's top female decision-makers. The 2015 list is made up of 14 women from China, six from India, five from Thailand, four from Singapore, and three from the Philippines. Businesswomen from Mongolia and Myanmar also appeared on the list for the first time. Forbes Asia said the women in the list are active in the upper echelons of the business world in Asia, wield significant power and have access to robust financial resources.
Sinopec denies merger with other Chinese oil firmsFeb 27, 2015
China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) categorically denied reports that it seeks to merge with China National Petroleum Corp or China National Offshore Oil Corp. Sinopec Spokesman Lu Dapeng said that they have never heard of any internal discussion about a merger and Sinopec will not comment on the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Chinese leaders were looking into the possibility of a merger of its state-owned oil and gas firms to cut expenses and streamline operations.
Hutchison favours investments in Europe over ChinaFeb 27, 2015Hutchison Whampoa Ltd, the conglomerate controlled by Hong Kong-based multi-billionaire Li Ka-shing, continues to cut down business operations in China and Hong Kong in favour of Europe. The Wall Street Journal reported that Hutchison seeks more predictable and lucrative returns in Europe. Hutchison announced on 26 February that its European enterprises accounted for 42% of its operating profit in 2014, a 37% year-on-year rise.
European business groups seek removal of new China banking security rulesFeb 27, 2015
Technology and banking business groups in Europe have criticised the pending new cybersecurity regulations that the Chinese government said it will impose. The European groups said China's new rules are a disguised technology-transfer programme. Six European business groups have called on the European Commission to keep the Chinese government from applying the new rules, which require banks in China to switch to safe and controllable technologies.
China to keep buying properties overseasFeb 27, 2015
Global property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle has projected that Chinese investors may spend around USD20bn this year on properties abroad, a 20% increase from last year's USD16.5bn spent on overseas property. It is expected that the offshore property buying spree will continue for the next few years as property developers, wealthy Chinese, and institutional funds seek portfolio diversification and long-term, stable returns amid China's softening domestic market.
Alibaba's Ant Financial seeks 2017 IPOFeb 27, 2015
Alibaba's financial arm, Ant Financial Services Group, is considering a domestic IPO in 2017 and is planning to list on A-share market to raise up to USD4bn. Ant Financial, which is currently valued at between USD35bn and USD40bn, launched its first round of funding before the scheduled IPO in 2017, the state-run Shanghai Securities News reported. The company, however, has not made any official statement regarding its listing timetable. According to the report, about 10% of the company will be sold to strategic investors in the private placement, its first round of funding, with candidates limited to firms backed by the Chinese government. Ant Financial owns Alipay, the world's biggest online third-party payment platform.
200 million more 4G users expected this yearFeb 27, 2015
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said more than 200 million 4G telecom network users will be added this year as 4G coverage will be made available in more country-level regions. The ministry said China will also build at least 600,000 new base stations across the country to expand coverage and meet the demand of millions of 4G users. MIIT Chief Miao Wei said the government aims to expand 4G coverage to the same level as the 3G network. As of the end of 2014, China had close to 97 million 4G users and nearly 500 million 3G users.
China's R&D investment soars to USD216.8bn in 2014Feb 27, 2015
China's investment on research and development (R&D) soared 12.4% in 2014 to USD216.8bn, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a report. The R&D investment last year was about USD23.4bn more than the country's R&D investment in 2013, as China continues to look for innovation-led growth. The Economic and Social Development Report 2014 released by the NBS showed that total R&D investment last year took up 2.09% of the country's 2014 GDP, a 0.01% growth from 2013.
China opens another innovation zoneFeb 27, 2015
The State Council-approved Binhai New Area industrial park in north China's Tianjin Municipality officially opened on 26 February. The industrial park becomes the latest national innovation zone that the Chinese cabinet has approved following the success of several such zones. Other successful zones include Zhongguancun Science Park in Beijing and Zhangjiang Hi-tech Zone in Shanghai. The Binhai New Area industrial park covers more than 244 sq km and includes one administrative district and 21 industrial parks. The new innovation zone will enjoy government support in taxation and R&D financing, among others.
China and the Philippines to be world’s fastest-growing economies in 2015Feb 26, 2015
China and the Philippines will be the world’s fastest-growing and second fastest-growing economies, respectively, with GDP growth of more than 6% this year, a Bloomberg survey of economists showed. The two countries will be the only economies out of the 57 included in the Bloomberg survey that will grow at least 6% this year based on average estimates by economists. Overall, Bloomberg said the global economic growth will slow to 3.2% this year, after expanding 3.3% last year, and is expected to grow 3.7% next year. Bloomberg added that the economies of China, the Philippines, Kenya, India and Indonesia are all forecast to grow more than 5% this year but only China and the Philippines will grow 6% or more.
Apple, Cisco dropped from China's state purchase listsFeb 26, 2015
China has dropped several of the world's leading technology brands, including US network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc and smartphone and PC maker Apple Inc, from its approved state purchase lists. Cisco, which counted 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Center's (CGPC) list in 2012, had none by late 2014. Apple has also been dropped along with security software firm McAfee and network and server software firm Citrix Systems, Reuters reported. The CGPC instead approved thousands of locally made products. While some said the move is a response to reports of widespread Western cybersurveillance, others said it was part of China's efforts to shield the local technology industry from competition. The number of approved foreign tech brands in the list dropped by a third.