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Shop online to save for a home?

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - Good news for the millions of Chinese housewives hooked on online shopping: the more they spend online, the greater discount they will get on a home purchase under a new program.

China Vanke Co and Alibaba's eBay-like jointly launched a program this week that offers home price cuts based on a shopper's spending on the website last year.

China Vanke posts first profit decline in 12 years  Alibaba takes giant strides The discounts could be as high as two million yuan ($325,000) while those who spent under 50,000 yuan will get 50,000-yuan discount when buying a Vanke home before September 30.

Included in the program are apartments and villas in Vanke's 23 real estate projects in 12 first- and second-tier cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.

The tie-up between Vanke and Taobao is novel as it is done in accordance with "Internet thinking," a new buzz term used by Chinese Internet marketers to mean promotions offered across various platforms to better identify with web-savvy would-be customers.

But the cooperation is hardly more than the latest tactic of Chinese home developers to drive sales and unload stockpiles in the languid real estate market.

China's property sector showed new signs of cooling in July, with more cities reporting month-on-month price drops for both new and existing homes. The sales volume dropped accordingly as a wait-and-see sentiment prevailed.

In a bid to kickstart the market, real estate firms have been offering discounts, gifts like cellphones or even car washes by bikini-clad models.

At the same time, more than 30 cities have eased or lifted property purchases restrictions introduced in 2010 to cool the then overheated market.

Vanke said in an interim financial report that its home sales in the first half of 2014 bucked the sluggish trend and grew 14.6 percent year on year to 8.2 million square meters.

But the developer's operating revenue and profit dipped by 1.04 percent and 3.5 percent respectively from January to June.

Vanke said in the report that it "will actively market its real estate projects."

China Vanke posts first profit decline in 12 years  Alibaba takes giant strides "It is difficult to target potential buyers. We need to find them across all channels," said Vanke President Yu Liang.

Although the deal is based on Taobao shopping last year, the marketing is also expected to lure more Internet users to the site and encourage purchases on the largest business-to-customer platform in China.

The website's parent company, Alibaba, is about to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, in an IPO that is expected to be one of the largest in US history.

Taobao is one of Alibaba's major revenue sources and sells a huge range of products. It has been reported that more than 100 Taobao users have already been granted discounts on homes under the new program.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the cooperation between Vanke and Taobao will substantially boost home sales and bolster online shopping.

"Vanke's tactics may be a tradeoff of price for sales. But more likely, it's just a gimmick," said Deng Haozhi, an economist familiar with the real estate industry.

His remarks were echoed on microblogging service Sina Weibo. Some speculated that Vanke would simply have inflated the initial home prices on which it is offering discounts. Besides, one's spending on Taobao is usually a small amount of money compared with the price of a home.

Nevertheless, the program at least excited some female Taobao shoppers. One microblog posting read "Honey, quit criticizing me for buying too much. I am saving for a home!"

Categorias: , China

China-Brazil trade must adjust to countries' modernization

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - China and Brazil face the task of refocusing their trade with each other onto more sophisticated products and investment as the two major emerging economies modernize their industrial structure and their demand for natural resources slows.

China has been Brazil's largest trade partner since 2009 and Brazil is China's ninth largest trade partner worldwide and the largest in Latin America. However, the growth of bilateral trade is slowing down.

In the first half of this year, export and import of goods between the two countries increased 7 percent year on year, a sharp drop from the 43.6-percent growth in the same period three years ago.

Sun Yanfeng, a researcher with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, attributed the cool-down mainly to the effect of economic restructuring in China.

Economic ties with Latin America grow

China stokes plans for railway in S. America 

"China is gradually eliminating energy-intensive industries and moderating the speed of its economic growth. This has translated into declining demand for Brazilian natural resources," Sun said.

Trade between the two countries has long been concentrated on raw materials.

In the first six months of 2014, mineral and plant products accounted for 86.5 percent of Brazil's exports to China.

Although the pace of growth in bilateral trade is expected to continue dropping, Sun sees opportunities for Chinese and Brazilian authorities to place more attention on the added value of their products and exploring new fields of trade.

Take iron ore as an example. "China's demand for raw iron ore will decline with the shrinking of its energy-intensive industries, but it will need more of the processed iron ore products that Brazil can export," said Sun.

China's decreasing demand for natural resources also comes at a time when Brazil is looking to move away from resource-centered industries, noted Zhou Zhiwei, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Meanwhile, economic ties between the two economies could go far beyond simple trade to include more joint ventures and investment, with Brazil craving Chinese funding of building projects. Chinese companies' relative wealth can help compensate for the shortage of funding in Brazil.

Brazil's economic transformation is centered around modernizing its industry and encouraging investment and construction of infrastructure. "These are just the areas where China has accumulated a lot of experience," said Zhou.

Sun stressed that trade alone is not enough to push forward the two countries' economic ties. "What is more important is cooperation in investment, financing and joint contracting, which could become the new engines for the economic ties."

Over the past year, the Brazilian government has announced plans for a slew of infrastructure projects, including the extension of airports and ports, the building of 11,000 km of railway and 7,000 km of highway.

During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Brazil in July, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff welcomed broader investment in his country by Chinese enterprises, particularly highlighting transportation, infrastructure, agriculture, information, logistics and innovation in science and technology.

Categorias: , China

China says imported garments of fast fashion brands substandard

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - Four "fast fashion" brands were named in China's top 5 worst in terms of safety among imported garments, quality supervision officials said.

Forever 21, Zara, H&M and Mango were the most frequently found to fail quality and safety tests in recent trials, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in an online statement.

A total of 12,305 cases of imported apparel, worth $47.67 million, were found to have failed quality tests in the first half of this year.

An overwhelming majority (over 97 percent) failed quality tests due to lack of clear instructions in Chinese.

Of those, 396 cases failed safety tests. The four "fast fashion" brands accounted for 107 cases, or 27 percent of the total, the Administration said.

Clothing can fail safety tests if they are found to be potentially hazardous to consumers or the environment.

For example, 1,442 imported children's garments failed quality tests after a significant portion failed to meet pH level standards - which could result in harm to children's skin.

China demands all imported apparel should be inspected by the country's quality watchdog before entering the Chinese market.

Forever 21 quickens expansion in China   Zara to enter China's largest online platform

Categorias: , China

Stimulus expectations grow amid soft China recovery

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - Economists and analysts expect more policy easing in the Chinese economy as economic data this month indicating a volatile recovery.

Analysts say the latest data suggest China's economic recovery is losing momentum, and more policy easing needs to be rolled out.

The HSBC/Markit flash manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for August fell to a three-month low of 50.3, down from a final reading of 51.7 in July.

Manufacturing gauge triggers fresh concerns on 2014 growth China's July money data cast doubts on recovery's durabilityThe August Flash PMI reading showed a decline of more than one percentage point in both new orders and output compared to July, indicating a worsening climate for both demand and production.

Qu Hongbin, Co-Head of Asian Economic Research, and Julia Wang, HSBC Greater China Economist, said in a joint research note that July's economic activity data was also softer than expected.

According to the note, fixed-asset investment growth dropped to 15.6 percent in July, with manufacturing and infrastructure investment moderating. In particular, property investment growth slowed further to 11.9 percent after a brief pause in June.

Industrial production slowed due to weak growth in sectors hit by overcapacity. Private sector consumption was weighed down by weak large-ticket spending and jewelry sales, the research note showed.

The Chinese central bank has signaled a preference for quantitative tools such as pledged supplementary lending (PSL), a type of supplementary lending instrument backed by collateral. But a comprehensive cut of the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for banks or a policy rate cut are also options, the note said.

"With low inflation, there is sufficient room to do so," it added.

Analysts said that monetary policy easing is expected to stay amid a soft recovery as concerns grow over the possibility of interest rate cuts, Meanwhile, the stimulus impact from easing measures adopted since the start of the year is abating.

Such measures included targeted RRR cuts for qualified banks, relaxed standards on loan-to-deposit ratio calculations, and a reported one-trillion-yuan PSL offered by the central bank to China Development Bank Corp to support shanty town renovations.

However, J.P. Morgan China Chief Economist Haibin Zhu said that its forecast for the second half of 2014 is relatively cautious and he does not expect further policy easing.

Manufacturing gauge triggers fresh concerns on 2014 growth China's July money data cast doubts on recovery's durability"Front-loading of fiscal spending implies tighter fiscal measures going forward," Zhu said. Zhu added that policy rates will stay unchanged and credit growth will remain stable, citing the central bank's reiteration of its neutral monetary policy stance.

But new credit flowing into the Chinese economy dropped surprisingly in July. Central bank data showed sharp volatility in credit numbers, with new yuan loans falling to 385 billion yuan in July from over 1 trillion yuan in June. Meanwhile, aggregate financing, which includes yuan loans, grew by just 273 billion yuan in July, down from nearly 2 trillion yuan in June.

The central bank attributed the plunge in July's new credit to multiple factors, including strong financing data in June, flagging demand for loans amid downward pressures on economic growth, drops in deposits, and risk control by banks in the face of rising bad loans.

Xu Gao, Everbright Securities chief economist, worried that the weak credit numbers mean insufficient support for economic growth, whether due to weak demand or banks' reluctance to lend due to risk.

He said that since property sector investment can stimulate related sectors, the sector's growth must be maintained so it can help stabilize economic growth. This means more loosening in the sector is expected, he said.

Amid the downturn in the real estate market, some cities have begun to ease market control measures, including removing purchase limits and lowering minimum down payment requirements on second homes. These measures, along with discounted mortgage rates offered by commercial banks to first-home buyers, are significant and their impact remains to be seen, analysts said.

Categorias: , China

Shanghai FTZ to build 8 intl trading platforms

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

SHANGHAI - The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) will set up eight international trading platforms by 2015, according to a work plan issued by the Shanghai municipal government on Wednesday.

The platforms will respectively focus on oil, gas, iron ore, cotton, liquid chemicals, silver, bulk commodities and nonferrous metals transactions, said the plan.

An earlier report by the Shanghai Securities News, quoting an FTZ official, said an international gold exchange center will start to trade gold in the FTZ on Sept 26.

In addition, the local government has submitted a plan to pilot a "parallel importing" program for automobiles in the FTZ to the Ministry of Commerce for approval. The program allows importers other than chief dealers to import foreign brand automobiles from their countries of origin.

If the program is successful, the prices of imported cars are expected to drop by at least 15 percent.

Shanghai FTZ 'negative list' may be cut by 40% to boost more interest  Shanghai global goal a tough one 


Categorias: , China

Western Union gains ground with Chinese students

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

Chinese students, who account for the largest chunk of international students in US colleges, are increasingly using Western Union solutions for tuition fees and money remittances from home, a top Properties abroad a two-edged sword  China's rich look abroad as home prices fall company official said.

The United States-based global payments solution provider has teamed up with Chinese online and mobile payment company ChinaPay and China CITIC Bank to provide these services. Western Union saw a 20 percent growth in the number of renminbi transactions by Chinese students in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period last year, said company officials.

The Colorado-based financial services company announced a partnership with ChinaPay at the end of 2012 to allow Chinese international students to make tuition and education-related payments more easily. It partnered with Beijing-based China CITIC Bank last June as the number of Chinese students studying overseas continued to grow.

Jens Buckler, head of client management at Western Union Business Solutions, which handles cross-border payments, said: "Chinese students are the No 1 population of foreign students attending US universities, so they're a very important group. Up until fairly recently, it was really difficult for them to make tuition payments.

"(Their acceptance) letters say, 'Congratulations, you've been accepted to this university you applied to, now here's a bill you have to go to your local bank and try to pay in a foreign currency', which can be an obstacle for those who only have access to smaller local banks."

Typically, Chinese students who have to make tuition payments to US colleges have to try to make an international transaction at a local bank, where the paperwork can be cumbersome and the currency exchange rates are not the most competitive, Buckler said.

"Individual students are going to walk up to the teller and say they need to pay $10,000, $20,000, $30,000. They're not going to get a really great rate," he said.

The rate that would be offered by Western Union "is going to be the university's rate, rather than the individual's rate, so (the students) have a lot more buying power" and "they're going to achieve a lot more competitive exchange rate there", he said.

Local banks have to partner with large multinational banks for the transaction to go through, and payment details can get lost along the way, making it hard for schools to track payments back to particular students, Buckler said. Multiple fees may often be charged as well, he said.

Western Union has partnered with China CITIC Bank because the bank is popular within Guangdong province, where the company saw "a certain density in need", Buckler said, and students can go into a CITIC Bank location and perform their transactions. For ChinaPay, students can pay online or via mobile apps.

The company works with colleges across the US and is featured as a payment option among those offered to students when they are accepted, Buckler said.

"We're a 125-year-old public company and so when (students are) possibly making the largest transaction they've made yet in their lifetime, they can have a good feeling that the transaction is going to go through efficiently," he said.

"We're solving two issues here: one is with the student, who is on their own, making a large transaction, and the other is with the school, that benefits from foreign student attendance in a number of ways. We're trying to do right by both," he said.

Categorias: , China

China Huarong to invite 8 strategic investors

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - China Huarong Asset Management Co Ltd, the country's largest asset-managing company, announced Thursday it will partner eight strategic investors and go public.

China Life, Warburg Pincus, CITIC Securities International, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, CICC, COFCO, Fosun and GoldmanSachs will put a total of 14.54 billion yuan ($2.36 billion) in Huarong.

The deal has been approved by the State Council and other supervision authorities, according to Huarong.

The eight investors will jointly hold a 20.98-percent stake in the asset-managing giant. But the share each company will take has yet to be released.

Huarong said it will issue shares at a proper time after the deal is closed, an important step for market-oriented reform.

Huarong was established in 2012 with major investment from the Chinese Ministry of Finance (MOF) and China Life. It is a State-owned financial firm, with the MOF now holding a 98.06-percent stake.

 Asset firms can resolve local debt  Huarong Q1 profits up by 75%

Categorias: , China

Chinese govt to cut more administrative approvals

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - China is making efforts to ease market maneuverability by reducing the amount of administrative approvals required for businesses.

The State Council announced Wednesday it had plans to cancel or decentralize more than 200 administrative approvals this year to unleash market dynamics.

The move is expected to endow businesses with easier resource allocation and encourage them to focus more efforts on supervision and macro-management than government approvals, said Yang Jing, Chinese State Councilor, also secretary-general of the State Council.

Government streamlines procedures for business approval  SAIC mandates broader disclosure by companies The government is determined to tackle the toughest barriers during reforms in order to release more power to the market and society, Yang said.

The report was delivered during the bimonthly-session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature.

The State council will issue guidelines this year to ensure administrative approvals can go through simpler procedures, in shorter time and with more transparency, he said.

The State Council began a new round of restructuring government functions in March, 2013. In just under a year and a half, it has canceled or delegated 632 administrative approval processes, Yang said.

These include approval of investment plans by businesses, the daily operation of enterprises, and scrutinizing the qualifications of enterprises, organizations or individuals.

The central government has removed or reduced charges for services, saving an expected 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) for enterprises and individuals each year. It has led to relaxed control of the market, boosted investment and creativity of businesses, Yang said.

Thanks to simplified business registration procedures, more than 11.3 million businesses were registered last year, an increase of 19.6 percent year on year. The figure reached 5.9 million during the first half of this year, up 16.7 percent against the same period last year, he added.

Categorias: , China

Beijing, Tianjing, Hebei airports to coordinate operation

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - Three of China's high-volume airports are discussing ways to coordinate in order to cut down on delayed flights.

As part of a regional development program, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province airport officials met recently to discuss the plan.

"A coordinated plan for airports in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will be launched as soon as the time is right," Zhou Laizhen, deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said in a statement on the administration's website Wednesday.

He did not specify details on the program but said airports in Beijing should focus on how to neutralize the "siphon effect" caused by over-crowding, while airports in Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei province, should work on helping divert passenger flow from Beijing.

There are already a partial foundation in Beijing and Tianjin. Authorities in Tianjin and Hebei should make "feasible plans" for the program, Zhou said.

The coordination plan is part of an overall regional program aiming for integrated, coordinated development in terms of industrial distribution, urban layout, transportation and other areas.

Top 10 busiest airports in the world  Team formed to boost Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration 

Categorias: , China

China riding railway hopes

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - When the State Council announced the breakup of the Ministry of Railways 17 months ago, policymakers wanted to see a more efficient railway network that separated government and commercial functions.

More than a year after the cabinet reshuffle that saw the incorporation of the China Railway Corporation (CRC), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang now wants the railway sector to take up roles beyond transportation at home and abroad.

To the premier, the development of railways enables the country to "kill multiple birds with one stone," given its role in stabilizing economic growth, enhancing social harmony and aiding urbanization.

The CRC should boldly explore investment and financing reforms for projects, Premier Li said Friday during an inspection of the company.

  Passenger transport starts on Tibet's new railway  Work wraps up on key Angolan railway project Since the beginning of the year, Premier Li has pinned increasing hope on building more high-speed railway projects to spur a slowing economy, partially due to slow implementation of railway investment plans.

To meet an annual growth target of 7.5 percent, the Chinese government needs to do more in the coming months as the GDP expanded only 7.4 percent in the January-June period.

The CRC, which is responsible for building and operating the country's railway network, completed only 235.1 billion yuan ($38 billion) of fixed-asset investment in the first half of year, or just one-third of its full-year planned investment.

The slow investment pace fell short of policymakers' expectations, who are now looking at high-speed railways as a pillar of the Chinese economy, particularly when the property sector, another pillar of the economy, is wobbling amid weak demand and declining prices.

But according to Premier Li, railway construction should no longer rely on state investment alone. He says attracting more private funds is necessary.

Chen Hufei, an analyst with the Bank of Communications, expected the railway sector to play a bigger role in stabilizing economic growth in the second half of the year.

"Accelerating railway construction could lead to the consumption of a lot of steel and cement products and help solve the overcapacity problem for those sectors," Chen said.

The hopes on the railway sector are not confined to the domestic market as promoting the construction of more projects overseas is also on the Chinese leaders' agenda.

In his talks with visiting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday, Premier Li said China will "actively support" a proposal to build high-speed railways connecting capitals and major business centers in Africa.

Previously, the premier has tried to sell China's high-speed railway technologies to central and eastern Europe, Britain, Australia, southeast Asian countries and the United States.

It has earned him a nickname as the country's "super salesman".

The global outlook of China's high-speed railways was boosted by a World Bank report in July, which said construction costs per meter of rail are significantly lower in China than in Europe and the US as a result of high volume, low costs of land acquisition and a cheaper labor force.

Luo Renjian, a researcher with the National Development and Reform Commission, said he is a firm supporter of the premier's promotional efforts overseas.

"The promotion of high-speed railway by a 'salesman' as senior as the premier will definitely give great confidence to the industry," Luo said.

Categorias: , China

China Life half-year profit rises 13.6%

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

A woman walks past China Life Insurance Co Ltd headquarters building at Beijing's Financial Street in this October 26, 2012 file photo. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING - China Life Insurance Company, the country's largest insurer, reported profits for the first half of the year grew 13.6 percent year-on-year to 18.4 billion yuan ($3 billion).

Earnings per share also advanced 13.6 percent year-on-year to 0.65 yuan, the insurer reported in a statement filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Its operating revenue in the first half, however, fell 3.5 percent from a year earlier to 243.7 billion yuan. Net premiums fell 3.5 percent year-on-year to 193.8 billion yuan.

China Life, listed in both Shanghai and Hong Kong, said increase of half-year profit was primarily due to the change of discount rate assumption of reserves for traditional life insurance.

It maintained a leading position in China's life insurance market, with a market share of 25.7 percent in the first half of this year.

By the end of the first half, total assets of China Life stood at 2.12 trillion yuan, up 7.5 percent from the end of 2013.

The company plans on participating in the capital introduction of Sinopec Sales, a subsidiary of China's largest oil refiner Sinopec.

Sinopec announced in February that it would sell up to 30 percent of Sinopec Sales to institutional and private investors by the year-end as the Chinese government was pushing forward with restructuring of State-owned assets.

Half-year profit of insurer China Pacific jumps 25.3%  Insurance giant's net profit up 40%   

Categorias: , China

China's industrial profits improve in Jan-July

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

BEIJING - Chinese industrial businesses saw faster growth in profits in the first seven months of this year thanks to lower costs and the country's growth-stabilizing measures, official data showed on Thursday.

Total profits of industrial companies rose 11.7 percent year on year to reach 3.34 trillion yuan ($542 billion) during the January-July period, accelerating 0.3 percentage points from the first half of the year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.

China's July industrial output up 9% Infographic: China's economic performance in H1, 2014 Core business of those industrial companies contributed to about 93.3 percent of total profits, or 3.13 trillion yuan, according to the NBS.

In July alone, industrial companies reaped combined profits of 482.33 billion yuan, which was 13.5 percent larger than a year ago. But the July growth was 4.4 percentage points lower than that in June, indicating that the momentum has yet to be consolidated.

He Ping, an NBS statistician, said measures adopted by the government to stabilize economic growth have helped industrial companies keep steady growth in their sales revenues.

Price declines in raw materials also improved the profitability of downstream industries, He said.

In the January-July period, the industrial firms' profit margin of core business stood at 5.54 percent, down from 5.57 percent in the January-June period.

The NBS data showed that about four-fifths of the profits came from the manufacturing sector, which posted an annualized increase of 15.6 percent with a combined profit of 2.69 trillion yuan.

The mining sector, however, saw its total profits fall by 13.2 percent year on year in the first seven months, narrowing from a decline of 14.6 percent in the January-June period.

Foreign-funded enterprises and companies with funds from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan posted the strongest growth in profits during the first seven months, with an annual increase of 16.1 percent, compared with 15.3 percent in the first half of the year.

In contrast, profits by State-owned and State-holding industrial enterprises expanded only 6.3 percent to 869.13 billion yuan, marking slower growth compared to their private or joint-stock peers.


Categorias: , China

Academies teach children to play the game

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

Meng Xin, a 10-year-old girl from Beijing, stayed at a summer camp to play mini-tennis with about 40 other children from Chinese and expatriate families.

They are receiving intensive full-day training at the Potter's Wheel International Tennis Academy in Beijing, where Carlos Rodriguez, French Open champion Li Na's former coach, serves as the president and is one of the shareholders.

The historic victory of Li, the first Asian woman to win a Grand Slam championship, has resulted in a growing interest in tennis among children in a nation where the sport has been relatively unpopular.

Tennis is not alone when it comes to children playing trendy sports this summer. Many take classes in soccer, swimming and ice hockey, as parents increasingly value the importance of playing sports as a way to help children boost their confidence and social skills.

"I would like my children to learn to play tennis because it teaches coordination, determination, and it's a great exercise to build muscles," said Melissa Mowbray-d'Arbela, a mother of two daughters aged 7 and 10.

A week of mini-tennis training at Potter's Wheel International Tennis Academy costs 2,980 yuan ($485) including boarding. Between 1,000 and 2,000 students enroll in tennis classes each year.

In 2005, China had only 5 million regular tennis players, but the number had soared to 30 million by 2011. The Women's Tennis Association predicts that Li's victory will eventually boost the Chinese tennis-playing population to 300 million.

Ding Ding, chairman of the Potter's Wheel International Tennis Center Ltd in Beijing, said the school had an annual loss of more than 3 million yuan for many years, following its establishment in 2003. China's tennis market did not show its growth potential until recently, but since then the school has started to turn a profit.

"Many people think Asians lag behind in tennis because they are not physically competitive. In fact, it's due to the lack of a comprehensive coaching system," Ding said. "There aren't many tennis associations in China because they are unsure about the investment and repayment of the talent."

Akhter Hossain, a head coach of the school, said he has seen a big change during his nine years of coaching, with many more Chinese becoming serious about tennis.

"Tennis is a psychological game," he said. "Chinese players have good technique, but they need to develop a stronger mentality."

For other youngsters, soccer is their sport. Groups of children aged between 7 and 15 are taking soccer classes held at different parks in Beijing. The classes are organized by China Club Football Ltd, a joint-venture club that has coaches from the United Kingdom. Founded in 2001, the club started to make a profit in 2009, when interest in soccer in China grew and parents began to change their mindset and allow their children to take sports training, according to Liu Libin, coaching administrator at the school.

About 5,000 children attend soccer classes annually at the school, with the youngest being 4 years old.

Coach Rob Skupien, who has coached in the United Kingdom and the United States, said soccer is quite new in China and poses many challenges. But it is a growing sport, and he is looking forward to seeing the change.

Chinese students have too much academic pressure placed on them, Skupien said. They play soccer only two hours a week, less than their European peers who play about 10 hours a week with their parents and friends, he said.

Categorias: , China

China Telecom will seize 4G opportunities

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

China Telecom Corp Ltd, one of the country's three main State-owned carriers, said it plans to climb on the fourth-generation bandwagon after suffering a marked decline in low-end subscribers.

Era of 4G to bring changes to China   China Mobile lowers data price by 40% on 4G service packages The company lost 5.34 million subscribers, primarily those using second-generation phones, mainly because of intense competition from other carriers.

But within one month of the company being granted a trial permit for TD/FDD, a 4G network, its number of 4G users rose to 600,000 in 16 cities at the end of July, said Wang Xiaochu, China Telecom's chairman and chief executive officer.

Based on Wang's prediction that the 4G FDD/LTE license would expand to 50 cities next year, China Telecom is poised to become more competitive, said an analyst from UOB Kay Hian.

The company reported an 11.8 percent increase in net profit in the first half of the year, to 11.44 billion yuan ($1.86 billion), with turnover up 5.3 percent to 165.973 billion yuan over the same period.

The company spent 29.33 million yuan to enhance its network quality for 3G and 4G, wired lines and wireless broadband in the year's first six months.

Its operating expense was 17.7 percent of its operating revenue, an increase of 2.9 percentage points.

The past six months also witnessed the carrier deploying 26,000 4G base stations.

Expenditure on 4G networks is expected to increase, but it will be one-time costs, the analyst said.

Mobile data revenue increased by 60.1 percent to 15.75 billion yuan year-on-year, surpassing mobile voice revenue for the first time.

The company now has 20 models of 4G handsets in the market, and the number is expected to rise to 100 by the end of the year.

Next-generation iPhones sold by the carrier will support all the wireless networks, China Telecom's Shanghai branch announced on Sina Weibo last week.

It means the upcoming iPhone 6 to be sold by China Telecom will function across a variety of other networks, including TD-LTE and FDD-LTE.

It will be a shift in policy for Apple Inc's products sold by China Telecom, which previously were only products that accepted its SIM cards.

Wang told China Daily that the change will benefit more mobile users and will not affect its 4G business or its subscriber base.

Selena Li in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

Huaweihas eye on 5G  China Mobile eyes 100b devices with 5G network 

Categorias: , China

China Agri shares sink 11% after H1 loss

China Daily - 6 minutos 30 segundos atrás

China Oil & Foodstuffs Corp's products displayed at an international exhibition in Tianjin. [Photo/China Daily]

High soybean prices hit COFCO unit; loss-making pressure said to continue in H2

The announcement of a first-half loss, combined with a profit warning for the rest of the year, sent China Agri-industries Holdings Ltd's shares down 10.9 percent to HK$3.19 (41 cents) on Wednesday.

The company, a subsidiary of the State-owned conglomerate, China Oil & Foodstuffs Corp, reported a loss of HK$290.2 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of HK$706.8 million.

No interim dividend was proposed this year, compared with 3.1 HK cents per share in 2013.

The company also issued a profit warning in its statement to the stock exchange of Hong Kong.

"Given the prevailing market situation, the board of directors expects that the group will face loss-making pressure for the second half of 2014," said the statement issued on Wednesday.

The company said it lost money because of "relatively high" soybean prices during the first half.

"There are signs of a market recovery. We expect to reduce the loss in the second half. But a lot could happen in the rest of the year. We estimate there will be no substantial improvement in the gross profit margin this year," said Shi Bo, executive director and vice-president.

He said, however, that the company was not experiencing cash flow problems or other financial distress.

The gross profit margin contracted to 3.8 percent in the first half from 7.2 percent a year earlier.

Soybean prices were about 400 yuan ($64) to 500 yuan higher per metric ton in the first half than in the second half of last year, said Chang Muping, vice-president and deputy general manager of the oilseeds processing division of the company.

"But we should be able to consume the stocks built up in the first half by year-end," Chang said.

Yue Guojun, executive director and managing director, said: "Oilseeds processing accounts for 59 percent of our businesses, thus having a significant impact on earnings. In the future, we will increase the share of other businesses. We will also improve our purchasing plans and raise our operating efficiency to offset the impact of price changes in the soybean market."

Yue also said that because COFCO is one of the six central State-owned enterprises taking part in a reform program, China Agri-industries expects to invite private investors.

"We are waiting for detailed plans from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. There hasn't been any schedule yet. We believe the reform will drive growth for the company," he said.

Alvin Lao, an analyst at Emperor Securities Ltd in Hong Kong, said: "SOE reform will be good for the company in the long term, but at this moment, the gross profit margin from oilseeds processing is very low. We believe the performance of China Agri-industries will remain under pressure."

"We are not optimistic about the company's earning in the second half. The raw materials price is still booming, but the price of the end-product - soybean oil - is at a record low. For the time being, we don't see any improvement coming," he said.

 Cofco takes a bite out of nation's food insecurity
 COFCO raising $3.2b loan to back Noble Group buy

Categorias: , China

REITs 'a relief for developers' amid housing downturn

China Daily - 6 minutos 31 segundos atrás

HK-based Link says it has plans for Pearl Delta

The Chinese mainland should develop more real estate investment trusts, which will relieve financial pressures on developers as the property market slump continues, according to a top executive of Asia's largest REIT.

George Hongchoy, chief executive officer of The Link Real Estate Investment Trust, confirmed that his company is seeking assets on the mainland, where the expansion of major cities will offer opportunities.

Hongchoy confirmed that The Link has a project in the pipeline in the Pearl River Delta, although it is too early to give details. "For our initial focus, we chose the PRD region," he said, adding that The Link is still studying the market.

China's property slump has worsened in recent months. Prices fell for a third consecutive month in July, with a decline of 0.9 percent from June, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Investment in the sector rose 13.7 percent in the first seven months of 2014, down from a growth rate of 14.1 percent in the first half.

While some economists have warned that the slumping property market may depress overall economic growth in China, Hongchoy said he remained optimistic. And he urged the government to encourage REITs, which invest shareholders' money in real estate and loans for property development. REITs invest mainly in commercial property and pass along the rents from those projects to shareholders in the form of dividends.

"For developers, it's a good way to recycle capital, to reduce the capital investment in property by putting it into REITs, so they don't have that cost of investing and cost of holding real estate," he said.

"Putting real estate management and investment into very professional hands is very positive for a lot of economies. I think China will move toward that," Hongchoy said.

Stephen Qiu, investment director of DTZ, a global property service provider, said: "It's a way out for developers, an ideal exit for those less liquid but income-generating shopping mall and office projects, given the oversupply in the mainland's residential property market."

The China Securities Regulatory Commission approved the mainland's first REIT earlier this year. CITIC Securities Co listed a REIT called the CITIC Qihang Specific Asset Management Plan on May 21 after raising $835 million at the end of April from a handful of institutional investors.

CITIC Goldstone manages the REIT, which is based on two office buildings originally owned by CITIC Securities Co Ltd in Beijing and Shenzhen.

REITs have become a significant and popular asset class in Asia. Since the launch of the first J-REIT in September 2001 in Japan, the market capitalization of Asian REITs, including Australia, now exceeds $170 billion, according to the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association.

REITs have been beneficial to the real estate market, APREA said in April. In addition to a relatively low cost of capital, REITs offer institutional and individual investors liquid exposure to income-generating real estate and can improve the quality of real estate assets.

"It is not often understood that REITs are financial instruments (and relatively new ones) that broaden and deepen the capital markets," it continued.

The Link Management Ltd, which manages The Link REIT, announced in December the signing of a memorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation with China Vanke Co Ltd, the mainland's top-selling developer.

Its expansion plans on the mainland aim to capitalize on the fast-paced growth of the ranks of middle-class consumers, particularly those who live in the suburbs of first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

"If you can't afford living in the city center, you can choose to live 40 minutes away from the city center. That helps us as well, because once you are in the suburb, you will need community shopping centers, which is where we see the opportunity," Hongchoy said.

Lower prices challenge developers  Downturn shakes realty foundations 

Categorias: , China

KKR invests in chicken producer

China Daily - 6 minutos 31 segundos atrás

The booth of Fujian Sunner Development Co Ltd at a meat industry exhibition held in Beijing. Global investment firm KKR& Co LP is investing $400 million for an 18 percent stake in the Shenzhen-listed company. [Photo/China Daily]

Leading global investment firm KKR & Co LP is making a series of investments in China's consumer sector, seizing opportunities related to the nation's food quality.

Husi faced unethical practice claims in 2013

McDonald's fishing for supplier Its latest move is spending $400 million on an 18 percent stake in Shenzhen-listed Fujian Sunner Development Co Ltd, a leading vertically integrated chicken producer, according to a statement by KKR on Tuesday.

KKR (formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co) and Sunner will form a strategic partnership to expand the Chinese company's operations in providing safe and high-quality chicken products to consumers, according to the statement.

"Partnering with companies that meet China's demand for increased food safety is one of our key focuses for China investments," David Liu, CEO of KKR greater China, told China Daily.

Liu said the company will offer capital, KKR's global resources and operational expertise to further strengthen Sunner's market leadership.

In June, KKR and three other private equity firms invested $270 million in Cofco Meat, a subsidiary of the State-owned COFCO Group. The investment will help the Chinese company establish and manage large-scale hog farms and meat-processing facilities in China.

In September of last year, KKR formed a new joint venture with CDH Investments and China Modern Dairy Holdings Ltd. Its first move was a $140 million investment to set up two large-scale dairy farms that will have 10,000 cows each within the next two years.

The main reason that KKR favors China's consumer sector is that the demand for high-quality food exceeds the supply, said Wu Li, research director of China Galaxy Securities Co Ltd.

"With consumption upgrading and food safety scandals, people have a strong demand for high-quality food, such as better meat, egg and dairy products," Wu said. "In the meantime, safety standards and food quality require that the providers need to be improved."

According to Wu, stock breeding farms are very fragmented in China, and integration will become a trend.

Other private equity firms are also seizing opportunities in the consumer sector.

For instance, Lunar Capital, which focuses on Chinese consumers, has made a series of deals in fast-moving consumer goods, such as beef jerky producer Yonghong Food Co Ltd, walnut beverage manufacturer Sichuan Zhiqiang Food Co Ltd and China Yeehoo Group Ltd, a Guangzhou-based baby products company.


Categorias: , China

Microsoft CEO to visit China amid antitrust probe - source

China Daily - 6 minutos 31 segundos atrás

Satya Nadella, Microsoft Corp chief executive, attends the unveil event of the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 in New York May 20, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is set to visit China in late September, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday, as the Chinese government conducts an antitrust investigation into the world's largest software company.

It is not clear if Nadella, who took over as Microsoft CEO in February, will meet with any Chinese government representatives as part of his visit, or try to resolve issues with the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), one of China's antitrust regulators.

A Microsoft spokesman would not confirm the visit, saying the company does not comment on executive travel plans. SAIC officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

 Microsoft not transparent with sales information: regulator Chinese antitrust agency looking into Microsoft Microsoft is one of many foreign firms to have come under scrutiny as China seeks to enforce a 2008 anti-monopoly law.

Foreign CEOs often pay calls on the world's second-largest economy to strengthen business and political ties. Nadella would be at least the second major tech executive to have visited the country as antitrust tensions simmer.

Qualcomm Inc President Derek Aberle, looking to end to the wireless chip giant's own antitrust scrutiny, met with China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) last week.

Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, did occasionally go to China in his 14 years as CEO, but visits were rare to a country where Windows and Office are widely pirated. Ballmer said in 2011 that Microsoft got more revenue in the Netherlands than China.

Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Mary Snapp already met with SAIC officials in Beijing earlier this month to discuss the antitrust matter.

China's SAIC initiated an antitrust probe into Microsoft earlier this month, saying that the company may have broken anti-monopoly laws regarding compatibility, bundling and document authentication for its Windows operating system and Office suite of applications.

On Tuesday, SAIC head Zhang Mao said at a briefing in Beijing his organization - one of three antitrust regulators in China - was focusing on Microsoft's web browser and media player, and suspected the company had not been fully transparent with information about its Windows and Office sales.

The investigation has been met with puzzlement outside China, given that Microsoft settled US and European antitrust cases around Windows more than a decade ago, and its desktop software monopoly is now largely irrelevant with the explosion of tablets and phones running Apple Inc or Google Inc software.

The probe comes amid a spate of antitrust probes against foreign firms in China, including Qualcomm and German car maker Daimler AG's luxury auto unit Mercedes-Benz, renewing fears of Chinese protectionism.


Categorias: , China

Alibaba revenue accelerates ahead of IPO

China Daily - 6 minutos 31 segundos atrás

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's revenue accelerated in the second quarter on strong gains in its mobile business, providing investors with what may be the final glimpse of the Chinese e-commerce Alibaba takes giant strides   Alibaba picks up digital content stake company's financials before its expected landmark market debut.

Alibaba, whose IPO could be the largest ever by a technology company, said mobile revenue was roughly a third of its total transaction volume in the three months ended June 30, up from 27.4 percent in the first three months of the year.

Revenue in the second quarter increased 46 percent year-on-year to $2.54 billion, a faster pace than the 38.7 percent revenue growth that Alibaba posted in the first quarter.

Net income attributable to Alibaba's ordinary shareholders nearly tripled to $1.99 billion, or 84 cents per share, in the quarter.

"The main positive I take away is that (it) seems the mobile monetization is on a very strong upwards trajectory," Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell told Reuters.

"The results are very positive overall for the forthcoming IPO and I think you can see valuations to head north of $200 billion as we go through the IPO process," Cordwell said.

Alibaba accounts for about 80 percent of all online retail sales in China, where rising Internet usage and an expanding middle-class helped the company generate gross merchandise volume of $296 billion in the 12 months ended June 30.

With people increasingly accessing the Internet from smartphones and tablets, online companies ranging from social networks such as Facebook Inc to e-commerce companies like Inc have been investing heavily to develop their mobile platforms.

"Our current focus is on increasing mobile (gross merchandise volume) and user engagement," Alibaba said in a US regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Alibaba, expected by some to price its IPO as early as next week, will have a roadshow next month that is likely to attract interest from a wide range of funds, including those focused on emerging markets and technology. Alibaba may garner a valuation of $200 billion or more when it goes public, analysts say, which would make it one of the 20 biggest companies listed in US markets and more valuable than Inc or eBay Inc .

Though Alibaba's growth has slowed sharply over the past two years as the Chinese leviathan accumulates scale, its revenue growth still outpaces Amazon's. The US online retailer reported a 23 percent jump in third-quarter revenue to $19.34 billion, just about half of Alibaba's pace of expansion.

Some fund managers advocate selling out of Amazon, and buying into Alibaba as a play on Chinese consumer spending growth instead.

"We've been waiting for this deal for so long that when it finally arrives people will have been analyzing it for a year. They're ready to buy," said Paul Meeks, senior analyst and portfolio manager of the Sextant Growth Fund at Saturna Capital in Bellingham, Washington.

"With an IPO that is this marquee, this large and this hot, unless bankers price it at a crazy high level I'm not sure there's any worry about people having to clear things out," he said earlier this month.

Alibaba had 279 million active buyers at the end of June, up 50 percent from a year earlier. The company said the average active buyer placed 52 orders in the year ended June, up from 45 in the previous year.

Alibaba said on Wednesday it had incurred "substantial indebtedness", after fully drawing down an $8 billion credit facility. The company has arranged another credit line of $3 billion.

Even as Alibaba prepares for its IPO it has continued to invest more than $5 billion in acquisitions since the beginning of the year, including Web browser maker UCWeb and mobile mapping service AutoNavi Holdings Ltd. The number of subsidiaries and consolidated entities has jumped to 279 from 202 from March to June, according to the updated prospectus.

Categorias: , China

19th Dalian International Auto Exhibition kicks off

China Daily - 6 minutos 31 segundos atrás

A model poses near a Mercedes-Benz car at the 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition that kicked off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

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Visitors check the New Superb model at at the 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition that kicked off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

  Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

  Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

  Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

  Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

The 19th Dalian International Automotive Exhibition kicks off in Dalian Dalian Xinghai Convention & Exhibitions Center and Dalian World Expo Center in Dalian on August 27. Auto makers from 12 countries brought over 1300 vehicles, including many latest models, to participate in the event. [Photo/IC]

Hyundailaunches New Genesis to Chinese maket 'Transformers' perform Ice Bucket Challenge  10 countries that have most nuclear power plants 

Categorias: , China
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