Shanghai Daily Business
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Housing markets in China’s 15 major cities stayed generally stable in February as tightening policies to curb speculation have been consistently implemented, data released yesterday by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.Twelve of the 15 cities, including first-tier ones and key second-tier cities, saw declines of 0.1 percent to 0.6 percent in new home prices from January. Prices in two cities were flat from a month earlier, and Tianjin was the only city where prices rose month on month, according to the bureau, which monitors property prices in 70 Chinese cities.“Stability extended in the country's 15 hottest housing markets as differentiated policies to curb speculation continued to take effect,” said Liu Jianwei, a senior statistician at the bureau.In the four first-tier cities, new home prices in Shanghai lost 0.2 percent from January while Beijing’s shed 0.3 percent, Guangzhou’s fell 0.4 percent and Shenzhen’s dipped 0.6 percent.On an annual basis, prices in nine cities shed by between 0.3 percent and 2.5 percent, five cities saw rises of between 0.6 percent and 3.1 percent while one was flat from a year earlier, according to the bureau.Nationwide on a month-over-month basis, new and pre-owned home prices in the four first-tier cities both fell at a faster rate compared to January. In second-tier cities, new home prices grew slower while those of pre-occupied houses climbed moderately faster, according to the bureau’s data.In third-tier cities prices of both new and pre-owned homes rose at the same rate compared to January.Among the 70 cities, new home prices in 16 cities declined month on month, a rise of three from January. In the pre-owned home market, 15 cities saw price decreases, down two from a month earlier.
SEVERAL large retail companies, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Macy’s, are making a direct appeal to President Donald Trump not to impose massive tariffs on goods imported from China, in a letter sent to the White House yesterday.
The Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs against Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products in an attempt to force changes in Beijing’s intellectual property and investment practices. Washington could impose more than US$60 billion in tariffs on goods ranging from electronics to apparel, footwear and toys.
“At the same time, we are concerned about the negative impact as you consider remedial actions under Section 301 of the Trade Act could have on America’s working families,” the letter states. “Applying any additional broad-based tariff as part of a Section 301 action would worsen this inequity and punish American working families with higher prices on household basics like clothing, shoes, electronics, and home goods.”
The letter is the latest example of the growing division between the Trump administration and the business community over trade policy.
On Sunday, a group of trade associations that represent most of the United States’ large businesses penned a letter echoing concerns about the economic ramifications of tariffs. Trade associations publicly pushing back include the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Retail Federation and the Information Technology Industry Council.
Sandy Hill, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which organized the letter, argued that tariffs would eliminate any benefit the tax bill provided the economy.
“This is not American industries crying wolf,” she said in a statement.
NEW home transactions fell in Shanghai for the first time in four weeks along with sentiment cooling among real estate developers, latest market data showed.
The area of new homes sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, fell 11 percent to about 83,000 square meters during the seven-day period through Sunday, snapping a three-week rally after the Spring Festival holiday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released yesterday.
Around the city, projects in outlying areas targeting budget-tight home seekers continued to dominate last week’s new home sales. Jiading, which saw a week-over-week rise of 15 percent, became the most sought-after area after unloading some 23,000 square meters of new houses. Qingpu followed with some 15,000 square meters of new home sales, up 87.5 percent from the previous week.
These new homes cost an average 44,533 yuan (US$7,023) per square meter, a weekly rise of 4.7 percent, according to Centaline data.
“Projects asking for between 30,000 yuan and 40,000 yuan per square meter remained the most popular among buyers with six out of the 10 best-selling developments falling into that range,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline.
ALIBABA Group said yesterday that it will invest an additional US$2 billion in the Southeast Asian online shopping platform Lazada Group to drive its integration into the Alibaba ecosystem as the e-commerce giant seeks to accelerate its growth plan in the Southeast Asia market.
Alibaba took a majority stake in Lazada in 2016 by investing US$1 billion and further raised its stake to 83 percent with another US$1 billion investment last year.
The investment is set to enable Lazada to tap into Alibaba’s resources, which can help it better serve consumers and empower merchants in Southeast Asia.
The investment underlines Alibaba’s commitment to provide a broad platform for local talent in Southeast Asia to contribute to the development of the digital economy in their home markets, according to the statement by Alibaba.
Lazada’s board of directors also approved a management transition where Lucy Peng, a co-founder of Alibaba Group and chairwoman of Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial will assume the additional role of chief executive officer of Lazada to drive further growth strategies.
“Lazada is well-positioned for the next phase of development of Internet-enabled commerce in this region, and we are excited about the incredible opportunities for supercharged growth,” Peng said in a statement.
Chinese Internet firms are expanding globally, hoping overseas nations, especially Southeast Asian countries where online shopping penetration is relatively low, would offer new growth potential in the coming years.
SHANGHAI stocks gained yesterday, buoyed by financial-linked shares and medical companies.
The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.29 percent to close at 3,279.25 points.
Financial-related shares led the gain, with Kunwu Jiuding Investment Holdings Co Ltd jumping 7.27 percent and Ping An Insurance rising by 4.68 percent.
Stocks related to industrial Internet were also among the biggest gainers yesterday.
Baosight Software advanced 3.63 percent and CIG ShangHai Co Ltd added 2.41 percent.
Medical shares such as Wuhan Thalys Medical Technology Inc and Dali Pharmaceutical Co Ltd both increased by over 6 percent, and Joinn Laboratories China Co Ltd hit the maximum daily limit of 10 percent.
A customer at the Agricultural Bank of China’s first branch in Xiongan New Area. The lender became the first among the country’s “big four” state-owned banks to set up a branch in Xiongan New Area. Li Jun, head of the Xiongan branch, said the branch has set up sub-branches in the counties of Rongcheng, Anxin and Xiongxian. China announced plans in April 2017 to set up Xiongan New Area about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing. It is the third new area of national significance after the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.
CHINESE video streaming service provider iQiyi Inc, a unit of search engine giant Baidu Inc, has launched an initial public offering in New York worth up to US$2.4 billion, seeking to expand its range of content.
The listing is expected to give the firm extra financial muscle as it squares off against rivals in the Chinese market, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Youku Tudou Inc.
It plans to offer 125 million American depositary shares priced at US$17 to US$19 each, the company said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Underwriters have an option to sell an additional 18.75 million shares, which if exercised in full could bring the value of the deal to about US$2.7 billion.
IQiyi, which will list on the Nasdaq, said it expects to use about half of the proceeds to broaden and enhance its content offering while 10 percent would be earmarked to strengthen technology. The rest would go toward general corporate purposes.
Baidu owns 80.5 percent of the Netflix-like video platform and will continue to be its controlling shareholder upon completion of the offering. At the end of February, iQiyi had 60.1 million subscribers, over 98 percent of whom were paying members, it said.
IQiyi saw its 2017 revenue jump to 17.38 billion yuan (US$2.7 billion), up 55 percent over the previous year. It made a net loss of 3.74 billion yuan.
Bilibili, another Chinese video streaming company, also set tentative pricing for its New York listing, seeking to raise as up to US$525 million.
Its depository shares will be offered between US$10.50 and US$12.50 each. The deal has an option for an extra 6.3 million shares to be sold.
China will hold the first international low carbon technology exhibition in Shanghai next month, which seeks to commercialize low-carbon technologies to boost sustainable development, authorities said on Saturday.China had pledged that by 2030 carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product will drop 60-65 percent from the level in 2005, “which requires efforts from the whole society rather than merely the government, including collaboration among companies and universities,” Li Peng, executive chairman at the Low-carbon Economics Committee of China Electronic Energy-saving Technology Association, said.“The exhibition will be held every year in Shanghai, (which) acts as a bridge to link professionals and companies worldwide to help commercialize low-carbon technologies,” he added.The 2018 (First) China International Low Carbon Technology Expo will feature seven themes of climate change, green building technology, low-carbon cities, low-carbon equipment, low-carbon Internet of Things technologies, new energy and green manufacturing.Seven conferences will also be held on “green” manufacturing and “green” cities development, with experts from the National Development and Reform Commission, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Shanghai authorities, Li said.The expo will be held at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center (at Exhibition Hall 4) from April 22 to 26, Li said.
A unit of Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing has submitted an application to raise 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) through an issuance of asset-backed securities.
Didi, which said in December it had raised US$4 billion to support its overseas expansion, did not respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on how the funds would be used.
The funds will be raised by Dirun (Tianjin) Technology Co Ltd, according to a filing published on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s bond market website. Dirun’s sole shareholder is Didi Chuxing.
The Beijing News newspaper, which reported the proposed fundraising on Saturday, cited sources as saying Didi was also preparing to launch a meal delivery business in Wuxi on April 1.
Didi, which holds over 87 percent of the Chinese private ride-share market, is facing new challengers with several firms including Tencent-backed meal delivery company Meituan-Dianping announcing plans to launch ride-hailing services.
HONG Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing, announced his retirement as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd on Friday, bringing to a close a rags-to-riches story that made him a hero in the freewheeling capitalist hub.
Li, 89, will retire after the annual general meeting on May 10, the ports-to-telecoms conglomerate said in a filing to the Hong Kong bourse, passing the mantle to his eldest son Victor Li, who was named successor several years ago.
While Hong Kong’s adoration of Li Ka-shing and his story has waned somewhat in recent years, he is still stepping aside from one of Asia’s most outward-looking empires, spanning more than 50 countries and 323,000 employees at last count.
A factory apprentice when he was 13, Li has been called “Superman” for his business acumen and success.
“I’ve been working for a long time, too long,” a relaxed Li, dressed in a dark suit and striped tie, said.
He said the secret to his success included factors like continual self-improvement and unstinting hard work.
“I have always taken the straight path,” he said. “I’m very happy and very honored I have had this opportunity.”
Li will, as expected, stay on as senior adviser. Victor, who has been a group co-managing director for several years, is seen as a steady hand unlikely to change course.
At the news conference, however, when several questions were addressed directly to Victor, Li ended up interrupting his son with his own answers.
During his tenure, Li Ka-shing increased the pace of overseas acquisitions, helping boost the group’s profits with growth in the European telecoms business offsetting a drop in the value of the British business following Brexit.
Through his flagship CK Hutchison, Li controls the biggest container port operator in the world, Canadian oil giant Husky Energy Inc, one of Europe’s leading telecoms operators, as well as infrastructure assets and a long-time interest in Britain that saw him awarded a knighthood in 2000.
“Li Ka-shing is remarkable — he’s a role model and I regard him as such,” said Stuart Gulliver, former CEO of HSBC who in a 38-year career with the bank worked closely with Li.
It was HSBC’s 1979 sale to Li of a stake in Hutchison Whampoa, a colonial-era trading house, that vaulted him into the first rank of Chinese tycoons.
Commending Li’s long laid-out succession plan, unusual among tycoons in a region where discussing death is often viewed as unlucky, Gulliver praised Victor for being extremely capable.
Reinforcing the view that the transition will be seamless, Victor said: “Tomorrow morning when I go to work there won’t be any difference ... (My father and I) are also upstairs-downstairs neighbors, how could we not chat?”
The news of retirement came together with the announcement of better-than-expected results at some of Li’s biggest firms.
CK Hutchison reported a 6 percent rise in 2017 profit to HK$35.1 billion (US$4.5 billion), versus the average forecast of HK$34.6 billion from 12 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The real estate arm, CK Asset Holdings Limited, saw annual profits surge 55 percent, also beating estimates.
“Healthy and synchronised growth in major economies gathered pace in 2017. Provided this trend continues and inflation remains benign, the environment in 2018 should remain supportive for global trade and for our businesses,” Li said.
He declined to forecast, however, whether the red-hot local property market, one of the world’s most expensive, had peaked.
“I dare not speculate on property prices ... property prices have gone out of reach for the public,” he said, while urging the government to build more public housing.
Li, who ranked 23rd on the world’s rich list by Forbes, is the wealthiest tycoon in Hong.
Self-driving cars will hit the roads in China “within three to five years,” the founder of Chinese Internet giant Baidu, one of the world’s leading designers of driverless cars, said yesterday.
That is a lot sooner than predicted by China’s information technology minister, who last week said it would only be a reality in 8-10 years, citing constraints related to security.
“I’m more optimistic than him, I think it will come sooner,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said.
Baidu, often referred to as China’s Google, operates the country’s leading search engine and also invests heavily in services ranging from online payments to connected devices and artificial intelligence.
Like Google, the Chinese company is spending on research and development to put a driverless car on the road.
In 2019, in cooperation with local manufacturers, the Beijing-based company plans to launch a car featuring “a high degree of autonomy,” Li said.
“Highly automated driving means ... for example, on a Beijing to Shanghai trip, as long as you stay on the highway, you will not have to worry about anything — you can eat hotpot or sing inside while you’re waiting to arrive,” he said.
The driver would still, however, need to take the wheel again as soon as the car moved away from major highways.
“But in the next three to five years, I believe totally autonomous cars will make their appearance on the roads,” he said.
In September the company established a US$1.5 billion fund dedicated to developing driverless cars.
It also manages an open platform where it shares its technologies with designers and builders.
FOREIGN direct investment into the Chinese mainland rose 0.5 percent year on year in the first two months of 2018, official data showed yesterday.
FDI in January and February reached 139.4 billion yuan (US$22.1 billion), the Ministry of Commerce said in a statement.
During the period, 8,848 foreign-invested enterprises were created, a jump of 129.2 percent year on year.
FDI to the high-tech sector continued to grow, up 27.9 percent annually, accounting for 19.5 percent of the total.
Around 14.5 billion yuan flowed into the high-tech manufacturing industry, up 89.7 percent from a year earlier, with investment in medicine up 129.6 percent and medical equipment manufacturing up 321.8 percent.
FDI into western China frew rapidly, up 76.3 percent, while that in central China rose 35.3 percent.
FDI from Singapore, South Korea and the United States increased 62.9 percent, 171.9 percent and 56.8 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, investment made by countries along the Belt and Road climbed 75.7 percent year on year.
As the business environment continues to improve, China is set to attract steady foreign investment inflows by opening up and easing market access.
FDI is expected to keep steady in 2018 despite uncertainties in the world economy, the ministry has said.
In 2017, the country’s FDI rose 7.9 percent year on year to 877.6 billion yuan.
TOP Chinese online tourism firms performed strongly in 2017 as they tapped the market for outbound tourists, Shanghai Daily learned yesterday.
Shanghai-based Ctrip posted a net profit of 2.1 billion yuan (US$329 million) in 2017, reversing a 1.4 billion yuan loss in the previous year. Its revenue totaled US$4.1 billion last year, after it acquired smaller domestic rival Qunar and international air ticket service provider Skyscanner.
Nasdaq-listed Ctrip said offering quality services for out-border tourists is one of its key strategies.
Tuniu cut its net loss to 771.3 million yuan last year from 2.4 billion yuan in 2016. Its 2017 revenue surged 53 percent annually to 2.2 billion yuan.
YIRENDAI Ltd, a leading financial technology company in China, earned a net profit of 1.37 billion yuan (US$220 million) in 2017, up 23 percent from the prior year, said its unaudited annual financial report.
Its total net revenue surged 71 percent to 5.54 billion yuan during the same period, the report said, showing great potential of the fast expanding online financing sector. For 2017, the US-listed company extended 41.4 billion yuan of loans to 649,154 qualified individual borrowers through its online marketplace, up 102 percent year on year.
Yirendai said that around three quarters of its borrowers were acquired from online channels during the past year and nearly all of the loan volume originating from online channels was done through mobile.
Thanks to its expanded online business, the financial technology firm helped 592,642 investors with a total investment of 48.07 billion yuan from January to December 2017.
Total fees billed, a major contributor to the company’s net income, were 2.94 billion yuan in the fourth quarter of 2017, up by 81 percent from the same period of 2016.
Fang Yihan, chief executive of Yirendai, said it will grow its online lending, online wealth management and technology businesses in 2018.
SHANGHAI stocks closed generally flat yesterday after a decline by recently-listed companies offset gains made by consumer shares following the securities regulator’s warning of risks and bubbles.
The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.01 percent to end at 3,291.11 points.
The index was dragged by “sub-new shares,” referring to firms listed within one year and haven’t issued dividends, after the China Securities Regulatory Commission on Wednesday warned of risks in these firms where speculation is rife.
Recently listed shares Xuancheng Valin Precision Technology Co tumbled 8.70 percent to 25.09 yuan (US$3.97) and Nacity Property Service Co fell 5.11 percent to 41.22 yuan, “offsetting rises in consumer firms today,” said Zhou Jianbing, chief analyst at Sinolink Securities.
Meanwhile, consumer goods producers such as Shanxi Xinghuacun Fen Wine Factory Co gained 5.02 yuan to finish at 58.60 yuan while ShangHai JinFeng Wine Co added 4.15 percent to close at 8.28 yuan.
CHINESE e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is working on a plan to list on a stock exchange in its home country, the Wall Street Journal said yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Alibaba is evaluating ways in which its shares could be traded by investors on the Chinese mainland, the newspaper said.
The news of a probable listing comes a few weeks after it was reported that China may allow its offshore-listed tech giants to sell depositary receipts, a form of shares, on the mainland.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission will start accepting applications from interested firms toward the end of the year, according to a previous report.
Alibaba, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is one of the world’s biggest tech companies listed offshore. Others include Baidu Inc, JD.com Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ANGLO-DUTCH consumer giant Unilever yesterday named The Netherlands over London to host its headquarters, dealing a blow to Britain’s efforts to keep multinational companies onside following Brexit.
Unilever, whose famous brands include yeast extract Marmite, PG Tips tea and Persil washing powder, announced in a statement that it “intends to simplify from two legal entities, NV and PLC, into a single legal entity incorporated in The Netherlands.”
The news represents a blow to British Prime Minister Theresa May, analysts say, as her Conservative administration battles to secure a Brexit trade deal with Brussels.
Unilever’s decision comes after a swathe of big-hitting financial institutions, including British bank HSBC, Swiss peer UBS and US giants JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, have already confirmed plans to move some London activities to Paris and elsewhere.
Many large international companies insist however that they will retain their London presence as a platform for post-Brexit growth in Europe.
Unilever was founded in 1930 after the Dutch margarine producer Margarien Unie merged with British soapmaker Lever Brothers.
Until now, it has maintained a dual-headed structure since then, with listings on the London, Amsterdam and New York stock exchanges.
Unilever said yesterday that the headquarters of its beauty and home care divisions would be located in London, while its food and refreshment division will remain in Rotterdam.
The move will have no impact on its 7,300 employees in Britain and 3,100 in the Netherlands, the company said.
While analysts saw the decision as a consequence of Britain’s plans to leave the European Union in March 2019, the government said Brexit had nothing to do with it.
“Unilever has today shown its long-term commitment to the UK by choosing to locate its two fastest-growing global business divisions in this country, safeguarding 7,300 jobs and 1 billion pounds (US$1.4 billion) a year of investment,” a government spokesman said.
“As the company itself has made clear, its decision to transfer a small number of jobs to a corporate HQ in the Netherlands is part of a long-term restructuring of the company and is not connected to the UK’s departure from the EU.”
However Jos Versteeg, an analyst at the Amsterdam-based InsingerGilissen private bank said he believed Unilever’s choice indeed had to do with Brexit.
“I think they chose in favor of a Dutch entity because of Brexit and that its better to be in Europe,” he said. “It’s a hard blow for Britain to see Unilever’s headquarters disappear.”
THE demise of Toys R Us will have a ripple effect on everything from toymakers to consumers to landlords.
The 70-year-old retailer is headed toward shuttering its US operations, jeopardizing the jobs of some 30,000 employees while spelling the end for a chain known to generations of children and parents for its sprawling stores and Geoffrey the giraffe mascot.
The closing of the company’s 740 US stores over the coming months will finalize the downfall of the chain that succumbed to heavy debt and relentless trends that undercut its business, from online shopping to mobile games.
And it will force toymakers and landlords who depended on the chain to scramble for alternatives.
CEO David Brandon told employees on Wednesday the company’s plan is to liquidate all of its US stores, according to an audio recording of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.
Brandon said Toys R Us will try to bundle its Canadian business, with about 200 stores, and find a buyer. The company’s US online store would still be running for the next couple of weeks in case there’s a buyer for it.
It’s likely to also liquidate its businesses in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain, according to the recording. It’s already shuttering its business in the UK. That would leave it with stores in Canada, central Europe and Asia, where it could find buyers for those assets.
Toys R Us had 60,000 full-time and part-time employees worldwide last year.
Brandon said on the recording that the company would be filing liquidation papers and there would be a bankruptcy court hearing yesterday.
“We worked as hard and as long as we could to turn over every rock,” Brandon told employees.
When the chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last fall, saddled with US$5 billion in debt that hurt its attempts to compete as shoppers moved to Amazon and huge chains like Walmart, it pledged to stay open.
But Brandon told employees its sales performance during the holiday season was “devastating,” as nervous customers and vendors shied away. That made its lenders more skittish about investing in the company. In January, it announced plans to close about 180 stores over the next couple of months, leaving it with a little over 700 stores.
The company’s troubles have affected toymakers Mattel and Hasbro, which are big suppliers to the chain. But the likely liquidation will have a bigger impact on smaller toymakers that rely more on the chain for sales. Many have been trying to diversify in recent months as they fretted about the chain’s survival.
Toys R Us has been hurt by the shift to mobile devices taking up more play time. But steep sales declines over the holidays and thereafter were the deciding factor, said Jim Silver, who is editor-in-chief of toy review site TTPM.com.
The company didn’t do enough to emphasize that it was reorganizing but not going out of business, Silver said. That misperception led customers to its stores because they didn’t think they would be able to return gifts.
Now, the US$11 billion in sales still happening at Toys R Us each year will disperse to other retailers like Amazon and discounters, analysts say. Other chains, seeing that Toys R Us was vulnerable, got more aggressive. J.C. Penney opened toy sections last fall in all 875 stores. Target and Walmart have been expanding their toy selections. Even Party City is building up its toy offerings.
“Amazon may pick up the dollars, but won’t deliver the experience needed for a toy retailer to survive and thrive in today’s market,” said Marc Rosenberg, a toy marketing executive.
Toys R Us had dominated the toy store business in the 1980s and early 1990s, when it was one of the first of the “category killers” — a store totally devoted to one thing. Its scale gave it leverage with toy sellers and it disrupted general merchandise stores and mom-and-pop shops. Children sang along with commercials about “the biggest toy store there is.”
But the company lost ground to discounters like Target and Walmart, and then to Amazon, as even nostalgic parents sought deals elsewhere. GlobalData Retail estimates that nearly 14 percent of toy sales were made online in 2016, more than double the level five years ago. Toys R Us still has hundreds of stores, and analysts estimate it still sells about 20 percent of the toys bought in the US.
It wasn’t able to compete with a growing Amazon: The toy seller said in bankruptcy filings that Amazon’s low prices were hard to match. And it said its Babies R Us chain lost customers to the online retailer’s convenient subscription service, which let parents receive diapers and baby formula at their doorstep automatically. Toys R Us blamed its “old technology” for not offering its own subscriptions.
But the company’s biggest albatross was that it struggled with massive debt since private-equity firms Bain Capital, KKR & Co and Vornado Realty Trust took it private in a US$6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. Weak sales prevented them from taking the company public again. With such debt levels, Toys R Us did not have the financial flexibility to invest in its business. The company closed its flagship store in Manhattan’s Times Square, a huge tourist destination that featured its own Ferris wheel, about two years ago.
In filing for bankruptcy protection last fall, Toys R Us pledged to make its stores more interactive.
THE China Securities Regulatory Commission has fined a company a record 5.5 billion yuan (US$870 million) for manipulating stock prices of listed firms, the regulator said yesterday.
The huge fine was imposed on Xiamen Beibadao Logistics Group, a private company, which made 945 million yuan by using over 300 trading accounts to manipulate the stock prices of listed companies including two banks, Jiangsu Zhangjiagang Rural Commercial Bank Co Ltd and Jiangsu Jiangyin Rural Commercial Bank, and an industrial firm Guangdong Hoshion Aluminium Co Ltd.
“Beibadao Group made use of the small circulation and new concepts of these stocks” to manipulate their prices, said Xia Bing, head of an investigation group at the CSRC. “Beibadao’s bulk buying misled investors in their decisions severely.”
Jiangsu Zhangjiagang Rural Commercial Bank jumped sharply by over 600 percent from 4.37 yuan to 30.41 yuan in two months since it was listed in January 2017.
The CSRC revealed the penalty at a press conference today at which it also made public that it had investigated a case of information disclosure and second case involving another market manipulation.
The penalty for Beibadao Group is not an exceptional case because an equities trader was fined 54 million yuan for manipulating 15 stocks to make a profit of 27 million yuan in December last year.
The CSRC said they will stick to strict supervision in line with the law to serve the capital market and to develop an open and fair market environment.
CHINA will continue investing in the strategically vital semiconductor and flat panel display sectors to alleviate its dependence on imports and overseas technologies, industry officials told a Shanghai IT fair yesterday.
Chips and new technology panels are widely used in TVs, computers, mobile phones, cars and new devices like virtual reality and robotics.
“It’s a long term (goal) for China to cultivate its own semiconductor industry,” said Zhou Zixue, chairman of China Semiconductor Industry Association. He is also chairman of SMIC, the Chinese mainland’s biggest made-to-order chip producer.
In 2018, global semiconductor spending will hit US$63 billion following a record high spending of US$57 billion last year. Chip producers will move into the heavily-invested production lines on the Chinese mainland this year, making it the regional market with spending second only to the South Korean market. The Chinese mainland is expected to become the top region by semiconductor spending in 2020, with booming demand for artificial intelligence and 5G, SEMI, a global industry alliance, said during a forum of Semicon China 2018 which opened yesterday.
China’s capacity share of AMOLED, a new screen technology used in smartphones and new devices, will account for 29 percent globally in 2021, up from 13 percent this year, industry officials told another forum FPD China 2018.
The forums are parts of SIIEF (Shanghai International IT & Electronics Fair), the city’s biggest IT show held annually.
The IT fair, set to draw 4,000 exhibitors and 245,000 professional visitors, is held from yesterday to tomorrow at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre and from March 20 to 22 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (Shanghai).