Beijing Trims M&A Approval Times, Export Incentives

Beijing, EU in deal to settle telecoms dispute

Two separate reports are showing that Beijing is working hard to improve relations with its major trading partners, as central leaders try to rebalance the economy and put it on a more stable long-term footing. In a move with big implications, media are saying the Chinese agency that approves M&A is sharply reducing the time for its reviews, in a welcome signal for companies that sometimes see their global deals delayed for months due to slowness from the Chinese regulator. The second news bit has China and the European Union reaching a deal to end a trade spat in the telecoms equipment sector, which had seen the EU threaten to levy anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese heavweights Huawei and ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063). Continue reading

Weibo: Smog Worries Execs, Qihoo Admits Defeat To Tencent

58.com’s Duan Dong spotlights smoggy Beijing Marathon

Beijing’s notorious smog was thick in the blogosphere this past week, with tech executives sending out a flurry of cautionary messages as the city held its annual marathon. This particular issue shines an important spotlight on the fact that many of China’s top tech firms are clustered in the Chinese capital, running the range from search leader Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) to top portal Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) and PC giant Lenovo (HKEx: 992).

Meantime, other interesting buzz in the blogosphere was coming from security software specialist Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU), which finally admitted defeat in its anti-monopoly lawsuit against Tencent (HKEx: 700) after the case was denied a final appeal by China’s highest court. One final interesting tidbit came from several executives at Lenovo, which unleashed a flurry of buzz after the company’s announcement of vague plans to set up a separate unit dedicated to smart devices. Continue reading

News Digest: October 23, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on October 24. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • Facebook’s (Nasdaq: FB) Zuckerberg Visits Tsinghua University On China Trip (Chinese article)
  • Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Cook Visits Zhengzhou Foxconn Factory On China Trip (Chinese article)
  • Xiaomi Aims To Manufacture Smartphones In India (Chinese article)
  • Boeing (NYSE: BA) And Chinese Partner To Make Jet Fuel From ‘Gutter Oil’ (English article)
  • Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) Invests In Israeli Carmel Ventures Fund (Chinese article)
  • Latest calendar for Q3 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

Sohu Buys Renren Video Unit, Amid New Spending Binge

Renren sells 56.com to Sohu

A couple of new reports are shining a spotlight on the turmoil rippling through the online video space, following a period of huge optimism that ended earlier this year with a crackdown by Beijing. One report shows a major consolidation that took place last year could be getting ready to enter a second round, with word that struggling social networking (SNS) firm Renren (NYSE: RENN) is selling its 56.com online video unit to Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU), one of the sector’s leaders.

The other report details a new spending binge on self-produced original programs by another leader, Baidu-backed (Nasdaq: BIDU) iQiyi. That trend is accelerating following the regulatory crackdown, which has made purchasing popular TV programs and movies suddenly much more difficult. That’s forcing sites to find other ways to keep their viewers entertained and maintain their viewership. Continue reading

Cellphone Sales Tumble, As Mobile Ads Zoom

Cellphone sales tumble in August

New sales data for August is showing that China’s cellphone market is rapidly cooling due to saturation, putting even more pressure on domestic brands that have engaged in a battle for share that has resulted in plummeting prices. At the same time, a separate report is showing that mobile advertising is zooming, in a development that’s almost certain to mean big headaches for companies like Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) and Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) that depend heavily on advertisers that traditionally targeted desktop PC users. The pair of trends both cast a spotlight on how quickly things can change in the tech and media landscapes, putting huge pressure on established companies to innovate and spend heavily to translate their leadership into emerging areas. Continue reading

Shanghai Street View: New Humor

PSA features pandas behaving badly

I’m not a big fan of Chinese public service announcements (PSAs) due to their lack of creativity, but one such advertisement caught my attention this week while I was exercising at the gym. I normally don’t watch the TV very closely as I ride on my exercise bike, and was paying little attention to the cute but clichéd pandas that appeared on the screen during my routine.

But then I noticed these particular pandas were doing some strange things while walking around a western-looking landscape. I quickly realized the common theme was their boorish behavior, as they pushed other people out of the way to take photos and carelessly threw their trash onto city streets.
Continue reading

News Digest: October 22, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on October 22. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • China-Backed Hackers Target Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iCloud Users: Blog (English article)
  • Renren (NYSE: RENN) To Sell 56.com To Sohu (Nasdaq: SOHU) – Source (English article)
  • Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) Invests $28 Mln In 5 China Tech Companies (Chinese article)
  • TAL Education (NYSE: XRS) Announces Q2 Results, Management Changes (PRNewswire)
  • LDK Files Bankruptcy In US Court On China Solar Glut (English article)
  • Latest calendar for Q3 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

WeChat, OTTs Nip At China Mobile Revenue

China Mobile posts first-ever revenue drop

Leading telco China Mobile (HKEx: 941; NYSE: CHL) has just released its latest quarterly results that show profits continue to sag by about 10 percent, continuing a theme from the past year. But the figure that’s catching attention in the headlines is the company’s top line revenue, which has fallen for the first time ever in the latest quarter. The revenue drop isn’t all that surprising and comes about a year after China Mobile’s profits first began to decline. But perhaps more worrisome is the prospect that revenue could continue to drop for years until China Mobile finds a way to win back some of the business that is rapidly flowing to third-party service providers like Tencent (HKEx: 700) and a new batch of mobile virtual network operators (VNOs). Continue reading

LaShou Story Ends With Sale To SanPower

LaShou bows with sale to SanPower

The end has finally come for group buying site LaShou, though this former Internet superstar survived for far longer than I ever imagined it would before its newly announced acquisition by conglomerate SanPower Group, which owns a number of online and offline retail brands. Of course this acquisition doesn’t mean the actual death of LaShou, and it’s quite possible the company could still make a comeback under its new ownership. But its acquisition marks one of the final big consolidation moves for a group buying sector that saw explosive growth 3 years ago, followed by a major correction that saw most companies either close or get acquired. Continue reading

Shanghai FTZ On Roll With Costco, Sinopec

Costco sets up in Shanghai FTZ

After a year of mostly hype, Shanghai’s new Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has finally begun showing the world some substance in the last 2 months with a recent string of high-profile announcements by major companies that plan to set up in its borders. Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) were among the first to announce plans, and were joined last week by US retail giant Costco (Nasdaq: COST) and top Chinese oil refiner Sinopec (HKEx: 386; Shanghai: 600028; NYSE: SNP). Continue reading

News Digest: October 21, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on October 21. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • China’s M&A Watchdog Halves Time Taken To Approve Deals (English article)
  • Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) In Talks With UnionPay, Other For Apple Pay In China (Chinese article)
  • China Mobile (HKEx: 941) Reports Results For First 3 Quarters (HKEx announcement)
  • Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) Tries Tmall, To Take Part In Single’s Day Promotion (Chinese article)
  • SanPower Group Acquires Group Buying Site LaShou (Chinese article)
  • Latest calendar for Q3 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)