Archive for Uncategorized to sell its stake in JD Finance for US$2.1b to unnamed buyer

SCMP, China’s second largest e-commerce player after Alibaba Group, has agreed to sell its finance arm as part of a spin-off deal that potentially creates the biggest rival to billionaire Jack Ma Yun’s Ant Financial.

The Nasdaq-listed said on Thursday it agreed to sell all of its equity stake of 68.6 per cent in the rapidly growing JD Finance in exchange for 14.3 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion) in cash. JD will get 40 per cent of the finance arm’s future pretax profit and it has reserved the right to swap this for 40 per cent of the finance unit’s equity, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.

Under the deal, Richard Liu Qiangdong, chairman and chief executive of the Beijing-based company, will take about 4.3 per cent of the unit, but maintain a majority of voting rights through proxy agreements.

JD. com didn’t reveal the buyer of its finance unit, which offers online financial services such as small loans and wealth management to small businesses and individuals, similar to what Alibaba-backed Ant Financial offers. The transaction is expected to close in mid 2017, the company said in a statement.

The deal was announced on Thursday as reported better-than-expected fourth quarter revenue for 2016. “The transactions of JD Finance have grown more than eight times over the past three years, exceeding 1 trillion yuan in 2016. We aim to make JD Finance one of the top three fintech companies in the world by 2020, serving thousands of financial institutions and millions of enterprises,” Liu said at the company’s annual meeting in early February.

The spinoff of JD Finance has been anticipated by the market, with speculation that JD was eyeing a listing of its finance arm in 2020.

JD Finance was ranked No 10 globally in KPMG’s 2016 Fintech 100 list.

China Market Update-27FEB2017

Dan Collins on Russia Today-23FEB17

The trade war with China that America has already lost.

Global Investors Preparing for Withdrawal of Central Bank Liquidity

China’s Military Reaching Parity with the U.S.

China accounted for a third of Asia’s military spending in 2016 and was looking to sell more arms abroad, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) said in a report on Tuesday.

China’s overall defense budget last year was $145 billion (137 billion euros), 1.8 times higher than South Korea and Japan combined. China’s spending was topped only by the United States which spent $604.5 billion (572 billion euros) on defense in 2016.

On air power, China “appears to be reaching near-parity with the West,” IISS said, adding that Chinese-made drones had been seen in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
Its sales in Africa had moved beyond Soviet-era designs to exports of systems designed in China itself, the think tank’s report found.

China’s air force had introduced a “highly capable” short-range missile in a class only a handful of leading aerospace nations had been able to develop, it added.

Additionally, China’s long range air-to-air missile seen on exercise last year posed a risk for aircraft tankers and AWACS surveillance aircraft that previously loitered safe out of range.
Given China’s advances Western dominance “can no longer be taken for granted,” said IISS director John Chipman.

Don’t Smell That Rag! State Directed Murder of Fatty Kim’s Elder Brother Caught on Camera

China Relaxes Curbs on Stock-Index Futures Trading

By Zhu Liangtao and Han Wei

(Beijing) – China relaxed rules on transaction size and trading costs for stock-index futures in a move to revive the market after harsh restrictions brought trading almost to a halt after the 2015 market meltdown.

The China Financial Futures Exchange (CFFEX) said on its website late Thursday that it will reduce trading commissions, lower margin deposits for non-hedging accounts and double the daily cap for opening new positions beginning Friday.

The easing of controls on stock-index futures signals that China’s stock market has returned to normal, said Li Daxiao, chief economist at Shenzhen-based Yingda Securities, on social media. Stock-index futures provide a tool for investors to hedge against risk while helping to rationalize market prices, he said.

In its statement, the CFFEX said it would adjust trading rules “in a gradual and orderly” manner. The exchange also said it would continue reining in excessive market speculation, enhancing cross-market supervision, cracking down on illegal trading and strengthening risk education among futures market investors.

For index futures linked to the CSI 300 Index and SSE 50 Index, the CFFEX will lower margin requirements for non-hedging accounts to 20% from 40%. The requirement for small-cap CSI 500 futures will drop to 30% from 40%, according to the statement.

The limit on new position opening for non-hedging accounts will double from 10 to 20 per day. Anything above that would be considered “abnormal” trading activity and be subject to penalties.

The exchange said it would also cut trading commissions for contracts opened and settled on the same day to 0.092% of transaction value from the previous 0.23%.

A fund manager said investors have been expecting the news and the easing of restrictions will encourage trading.
Although trading limits remain, several futures industry sources said the adjustments are positive signals for a revival of the stock-index futures market.

The announcement came about 18 months after stock-index futures became the target of a crackdown as regulators questioned whether futures derivatives trading exacerbated the 2015 stock market crash. China’s stock market lost more than 40% of its value in the collapse.
In August and September 2015, the CFFEX introduced new rules requiring all investors trading stock-index futures — whether they were doing so to hedge risk or not — to increase deposits with brokers from 10% to 40% of contract value. Commission charges for daily purchases and sales were raised from 0.015% of transaction values to 0.23%. Also, the daily cap of 10 new positions was imposed.

The rules were the harshest since the introduction of stock-index futures by the China Securities Regulatory Commission in 2010. Trading in index futures linked to the CSI 300 in June 2016 dropped by 99.5% from the June 2015 level, according to the CFFEX. Trading volume of futures linked to the SSE 50 fell by 99.3%, and CSI 500 futures, by 97.4% compared with a year earlier.

Several sources with knowledge told Caixin in late January that regulators were considering unwinding the limitations on index futures trading after investigations failed to find evidence that such derivatives worsened the crash.
Contact reporter Han Wei (

Mongolia bailed out to the tune of $1,600 per person.

China Market Update

North Korean “La Femme Nikita” T-shirt went viral in China

Top with logo “LOL” offered by China’s leading online retailer for 6,324 yuan

A white top with the logo “LOL”, which was worn by a woman suspected of involvement in the assassination of the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was briefly available on for 6,324 yuan (HK$7,146).

Dubbed the “same Tee worn by North Korean female spy”, it was quickly removed from China’s largest online shopping platform after it briefly went viral on the internet.

Chinese Wire & Cable company has purchased Aston Villa Football Club now diversifying into Hollywood.

China’s Recon Group in Talks to Acquire Millennium Films (Report)

The Chinese conglomerate bought British soccer team Aston Villa from the former owner of the Cleveland Browns last year. Chinese conglomerate Recon Group is in talks to acquire Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films, producer of The Expendables franchise and genre flicks such as Olympus Has Fallen. The purchase would be made through Recon’s Shenzhen stock exchange-listed subsidiary Recon Wenyuan Cable Co., Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed sources. No potential price tag was reported. Headed by Chinese businessman Tony Xia, Recon took over Wenyuan Cable — a manufacturer of wires and cables — last October and has sought to shift the company’s focus to entertainment. Last May, the parent company, …
The purchase would be made through Recon’s Shenzhen stock exchange-listed subsidiary Recon Wenyuan Cable Co., Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed sources. No potential price tag was reported.

Headed by Chinese businessman Tony Xia, Recon took over Wenyuan Cable — a manufacturer of wires and cables — last October and has sought to shift the company’s focus to entertainment. Last May, the parent company, which owns businesses in industries ranging from infrastructure to healthcare, bought British soccer club Aston Villa from Randy Lerner, former owner of the Cleveland Browns, for an estimated $101 million.

Founded in 1996 by Avi Lerner and Trevor Short, Los Angeles-based Millennium Films has been courting potential Chinese buyers for the past year, sources in Beijing tell THR.

Several of the company’s genre films have found big success at China’s box office. Expendables 2, which was co-financed and distributed by Beijing’s Le Vision Pictures, earned $57 million in China in 2012. Last year, Mechanic: Resurrection brought in $49 million there, while London Has Fallen pulled in $52 million.

Over the past few years, Chinese firms have been acquiring U.S. media companies with ever greater frequency. Other high-profile acquisitions include Dalian Wanda Group’s purchase of Legendary Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions, for $3.5 billion and $1 billion, respectively. Last summer, Los Angeles-based Tang Media Partners, which is backed by Chinese investment, snapped up Stuart Ford’s IM Global, while Alibaba Pictures Group took a stake in Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Wenyuan Cable has a market value of about $1.2 billion. The company’s stock has been suspended from trading since Jan. 26 pending an acquisition in the film sector, according to regulatory filings.

Whether Wenyuan Cable, an untested firm new to entertainment, could close a sizable cross-border film acquisition in the current regulatory climate is an open question. Late last year, China’s regulators began scrutinizing overseas media deals much more closely. The clampdown is part of a broad effort to curb capital flight, which is seen as contributing to the devaluation of the Chinese currency. Regulators also are concerned about publicly traded manufacturing firms using high-profile diversifications into entertainment — a trendy sector among Chinese investors — as a short-term strategy to boost stock prices.

Chinese Fintech Booming

Fatty Kim Commits Fratricide with Blow Darts

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s brother has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reports.

Kim Jong-nam was killed at Kuala Lumpur airport after being attacked by two women with “poisoned needles,” according to local TV reports.

The two women, believed to be North Korean agents, escaped in a taxi and remain at large, TV Chosun reported.

His death was confirmed by Malaysian police.
Police official Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters the cause of Mr Kim’s death has not yet been confirmed, but said a post mortem would be carried out on the body.

“So far there are no suspects, but we have started investigations and are looking at a few possibilities to get leads,” Mr Fadzil said.

He said Mr Kim “felt like someone grabbed or held his face from behind.” He added: “He felt dizzy, so he asked for help” at an information centre.

Mr Kim was then taken to an airport clinic and then died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.

An employee in the emergency ward of Putrajaya hospital told the agency a deceased Korean there was born in 1970 and surnamed Kim.

Mr Kim was born from his father’s non-marital relationship with Sung Hae-rim, a South Korean-born actress who died in Moscow.

While he was widely seen as the hermit kingdom’s heir apparent, he fell out of favour after being detained while trying to enter Japan on a forged passport.

He told authorities he wanted to visit Disneyland with his family.

China Markt Update

We’re going to war in the South China Sea

The Guardian

Steve Bannon: ‘We’re going to war in the South China Sea … no doubt’
Only months ago Donald Trump’s chief strategist predicted military involvement in east Asia and the Middle East in Breitbart radio shows

The United States and China will fight a war within the next 10 years over islands in the South China Sea, and “there’s no doubt about that”. At the same time, the US will be in another “major” war in the Middle East.

Those are the views – nine months ago at least – of one of the most powerful men in Donald Trump’s administration, Steve Bannon, the former head of far-right news website Breitbart who is now chief strategist at the White House.

In the first weeks of Trump’s presidency, Bannon has emerged as a central figure. He was appointed to the “principals committee” of the National Security Council in a highly unusual move and was influential in the recent travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, overruling Department of Homeland Security officials who felt the order did not apply to green card holders.
While many in Trump’s team are outspoken critics of China, in radio shows Bannon hosted for Breitbart he makes plain the two largest threats to America: China and Islam.

“We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to 10 years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re taking their sandbars and making basically stationary aircraft carriers and putting missiles on those. They come here to the United States in front of our face – and you understand how important face is – and say it’s an ancient territorial sea.”

China says nearly the entire South China Sea falls within its territory, with half a dozen other countries maintaining partially overlapping claims. China has built a series of artificial islands on reefs and rocks in attempt to bolster its position, complete with military-length airstrips and anti-aircraft weapons.

Bannon’s sentiments and his position in Trump’s inner circle add to fears of a military confrontation with China, after secretary of state Rex Tillerson said that the US would deny China access to the seven artificial islands. Experts warned any blockade would lead to war.

Bannon is clearly wary of China’s growing clout in Asia and beyond, framing the relationship as entirely adversarial, predicting a global culture clash in the coming years.

“You have an expansionist Islam and you have an expansionist China. Right? They are motivated. They’re arrogant. They’re on the march. And they think the Judeo-Christian west is on the retreat,” Bannon said during a February 2016 radio
On the day Trump was inaugurated, China’s military warned that war between the two countries was a real possibility.

“A ‘war within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality,” an official wrote on the website of the People’s Liberation Army.

Aside from conflict between armies, Bannon repeatedly focused on his perception that Christianity around the world is under threat.
In one radio show, used to promote an article incorrectly claiming that a mosque had been built at the North Pole, Bannon focused heavily on China’s oppression of Christian groups.

“The one thing the Chinese fear more than America … they fear Christianity more than anything,” he said.

But China is not the only hotspot Bannon sees, and forecasts another ground war for American troops in the Middle East.

“Some of these situations may get a little unpleasant,” Bannon said in November 2015. “But you know what, we’re in a war. We’re clearly going into, I think, a major shooting war in the Middle East again.”

He also branded Islam as “the most radical” religion in the world, and moved swiftly since entering the White House to enact policies hostile to Muslims. Some have called Trump’s central doctrine a “war on Islam”.

China Tests Missile with Ten Warheads

In what defense officials say represents a dramatic shift in Beijing’s nuclear strategy at a time of growing tensions with the United States, China tested a new version of a long-range missile with 10 warheads, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Tuesday.

The test of the DF-5C missile is significant, because it demonstrates that China is boosting the number of warheads in its arsenal and could alter the strategic balance, especially as it strives for a second-strike capability.

Two officials familiar with reports of the missile test said it was carried out last month and was monitored closely by U.S. intelligence agencies.

The test comes as China is stepping up preparedness for a possible military conflict with the U.S., the South China Morning Post reported.

International Assessment and Strategy Center analyst Rick Fisher told the Free Beacon that the missile test appears to be sending a signal to the new Trump administration due to his vocal opposition to their military buildup on disputed South China Sea islands and on American policy toward Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province and not an independent country.

Fisher added that this test is only the latest in attempts by China to demonstrate strength toward the U.S., as previous signs “have included the public revelation in late December via Chinese websites of the new DF-41 ICBM in Heilongjiang province, plus articles in China’s state-controlled media touting the need for China to increase its nuclear forces to intimidate Washington.”

Tsinghua Group to invest $30 billion in Memory Chip Fab

Chinese “Teapots” make Russia #1 Supplier of Oil to China

China’s small independent refineries, often nicknamed ‘teapots’, account for a fifth of its refining capacity, consume about half its fuel oil imports and many use quite sophisticated technology.

Nearly 100 plants scattered across the country can churn out 1.8 million barrels of oil per day. (bpd)

The plants, which earned their nickname because of their small size and basic equipment, have upgraded and expanded in recent years to compete in a market where state-set pump prices can shave margins to razor thin levels or destroy them entirely.

“China’s independent refineries are key swing producers of diesel and, to a lesser extent, gasoline. They are also key suppliers of bitumen, accounting for about 60 percent of national production,” Argus said.

Faced widespread diesel shortages, the government even relaxed its crude regulations, ordering from majors PetroChina (PTR.N) (0857.HK) and Sinopec (SNP.N)(0386.HK) to provide their smaller rivals with feedstock.

Now, thanks to China’s Teapots, Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the number one supplier of oil in the Chinese market.

According to data released yesterday by the General Administration of Customs, Russia last year boosted its year-on-year supplies of crude to China by 24% to 52.5m metric tons (1.05m bpd), while Saudi Arabia dropped back to second place with 51m metric tons (1.02m bpd).

The Teapots are now importing as much as 1.2m barrels of crude oil per day or 15% of the country’s total after Beijing gave them permission to use overseas oil in 2015. Russia’s role in supplying these teapots with crude from its Siberian oil fields has been boosted by the proximity of its Far Eastern port of Kozmino to Qingdao, one of the ten busiest ports in the world, and a main hub for private-sector oil imports.

In 2017, China Is Doubling Down on AI

MIT Technology Review

In 2017, China Is Doubling Down on AI

The country’s Internet giants are focusing on AI research, and
domestic venture capital funding is pouring into the field.

by Jamie Condliffe January 17, 2017
This year, China looks set to make larger waves than ever in
artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

This year, China looks set to make larger waves than ever in
artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

The nation’s search giant, Baidu, is leading the charge. Already
making serious headway in AI research, it has now announced that
former Microsoft executive Qi Lu will take over as its chief operating officer. Lu ran the applications and services division at Microsoft,
but, according to the Verge, a large part of his remit was developing strategies for artificial intelligence and chatbots. In a statement, Baidu cites hiring Lu as part of its plan to become a “global leader
in AI.”

Meanwhile, Baidu’s chief scientist, Andrew Ng, has announced that
the company is opening a new augmented reality lab in Beijing.
Baidu has already made progress in AR, using computer vision and
deep learning to add an extra layer to the real world for millions
of people. But the new plans aim to use a 55-strong lab to increase revenue by building AR marketing tools—though it’s thought that the company will also consider health-care and education applications
in the future.

But Baidu isn’t alone in pushing forward. Late last year, Chinese Internet giant Tencent—the company behind the hugely successful
mobile app WeChat, which has 846 million active users—said that it was determined to build a formidable AI lab. It plans to start publishing
its work at conferences this year.

Smaller players could also get a shot in the arm. According to KPMG, Chinese venture capital investment looks set to pour into AI research
in the coming year. Speaking to Fintech Innovation, KPMG partner Egidio Zarrella explained that “the amount being invested in artificial intelligence in Asia is growing by the day.”

Similar growth is already underway in China’s research community.
A study by Japan’s National Institute of Science and Technology Policy found China to be a close second to the U.S. in terms of the number of
AI studies presented at top academic conferences in 2015. And a U.S. government report says that the number of papers published by Chinese researchers mentioning “deep learning” already exceeds the number published by U.S. researchers.

All of which has seen South China Morning Post label AI and AR as
“must haves” in any self-respecting Chinese investment portfolio.
No kidding. This year, it seems, many U.S. tech companies might find themselves looking East to identify competition.

Foxconn mulls US$7b America investment

THE head of Taiwan’s tech giant Foxconn confirmed yesterday he is considering a US$7 billion investment to make flat panels in the United States in a joint project with Japan’s SoftBank.

US President Donald Trump had announced before taking office a US$50 billion deal with SoftBank which he said would generate 50,000 jobs.

Trump was speaking last month alongside SoftBank’s chief executive Masayoshi Son, who displayed a document which indicated Softbank and Foxconn would “commit to invest US$50bn + US$7bn in US, generate 50k + 50k new jobs in US in next four years.”

Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple, had earlier said it was in “preliminary discussions” with US officials about a potential investment but gave no details.

“I have discussed with my major clients about going to (the US) and they are also willing to invest, including Apple,” Terry Gou told reporters in Taipei after the company’s year-end party.

The firm is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and is best-known for assembling products for international brands such as Apple and Sony.

“Pennsylvania is active and I urge other states to act more quickly or I will sign the contract with Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that the investment could create 30,000-50,000 jobs.

Foxconn is still waiting to see the tax policies of the new US government and what incentives state authorities can offer, such as cheap land and electricity.

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai, employs around a million workers at its factories across China and has operations in more than 10 countries.

Last year it took over the struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp after acquiring a 66 percent stake for US$3.7 billion in a move Gou described as “really worth it.”

In the US, it has a plant in Virginia for packaging and engineering which employes over 400 people. It has also announced a US$40 million investment in a facility in Pennsylvania to build precision tools and develop a robotics program.

Gou said Foxconn aims to increase investment in China this year to try to boost Sharp’s market share in the country.