Chunkong Set For Tepid IPO, 58.com Eyes M&A

58.com eyes online job sites

Mobile game operator Chukong is back in the headlines with its latest filing for a New York IPO, while recently listed 58.com (NYSE: WUBA) is also making news with word that it’s eying strategic acquisitions to complement its popular online classified advertising site. Chukong’s newly released financials reveal that it’s growing at lighting speed in the attractive mobile games space, even as its losses also mount. Meantime, 58.com’s M&A plan looks quite attractive to me, as it attempts to build a diversified classified advertising site that we haven’t seen emerge in China so far. Continue reading

JD.com Adds WeChat To Arsenal In Alibaba Assault

JD finds new weapon in WeChat

Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s worries about the rapid rise of mobile instant messaging service WeChat appear to be well founded, with word that Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) wildly popular platform will create an exclusive shopping channel for Alibaba’s chief rival JD.com. This kind of deal must certainly be Ma’s biggest nightmare, as it will instantly link JD, China’s second largest e-commerce company, with the hundreds of millions of young Chinese who regularly use WeChat to communicate. What’s more, WeChat has shown itself quite capable of converting its users into shoppers who could easily become JD customers. Continue reading

China Smartphones Stall, As ZTE Launches Star 1

China smartphone sales sag in Q1

I’ve been predicting for a while now that China’s booming smartphone sector was set for a rapid slowdown due to a rapid build-up last year, and now the latest sales data is showing that such a downturn may have begun in this year’s first quarter. Of course one quarter of data is hardly enough to declare the death of last year’s smartphone explosion, and we’ll have to see if the coming months continue a downtrend that saw China’s cellphone sales tumble 27 percent in the first 3 months of the year. Meantime, one of the industry’s top players ZTE (HKEx: 763; Shenzhen: 000063) has just launched yet another new sub-brand aimed at online buyers, reflecting the hyperactive state of competition and intense pricing pressure in the market. Continue reading

News Digest: April 19-21

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on April 19-21. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) To Double Franchised Restaurant Ratio In China By 2015 (Chinese article)
  • Tencent (HKEx: 700) WeChat to Add JD.com Shopping Channel – Source (English article)
  • China Anti-Graft Agency Probes China Resources Chairman Song Lin (English article)
  • Huawei Founder: Don’t Blindly Chase Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Samsung, Xiaomi (Chinese article)
  • Mobile Game Maker Chukong Makes First Public Filing For New York IPO (Chinese article)
  • Latest calendar for Q1 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

Enterpreneurs Team Up In New Private Equity Firm

Rich entrepreneurs launch new private equity firm

An interesting new player may soon be coming to China’s crowded and highly fragmented private equity scene, with word that a major company has been set up by a group of leading entrepreneurs in Beijing and Shanghai. The company has a hefty 50 billion yuan in investment, equating to $8 billion. The player would be an important addition to China’s fast emerging field of major private equity firms, most of which are headed by entrepreneurial chiefs who are increasingly looking abroad for good investments. Continue reading

Youku Tudou, Huawei Join Internet TV Crowd

Youku, Huawei get set to roll out Joy Box

In a move that seemed almost inevitable, leading online video site Youku Tudou (NYSE: YOKU) and top telecoms equipment maker Huawei have joined hands to create a set-top box for Internet TV, with plans to launch the product later this month. I’m calling the move inevitable, because Youku Tudou was one of China’s only major online video sharing services that had yet to launch an Internet TV initiative, and Huawei was one of the few remaining hardware makers without such a plan. This alliance looks potentially interesting as it combines 2 leaders in their respective areas, though their relatively late arrival to the game could put them at a slight disadvantage. Continue reading

Weibo Debut Clouds Outlook For Tech IPOs

Weibo posts mixed IPO

Everyone’s buzzing today about the trading debut of Weibo (Nasdaq: WB), following a performance by the Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) microblogging unit that was filled with mixed signals. Potential investors in the company will inevitably have many questions about Weibo’s future, as it seeks to carve out a secure and profitable place for itself in China’s competitive social networking (SNS) space. But from the bigger perspective, this mixed performance is the latest sign that the window of positive sentiment towards Chinese Internet IPOs is closing fast in New York, though it could remain open for perhaps another few weeks.

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News Digest: April 18, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on April 18. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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New Yingli Fund Evokes Shades Of Suntech

YIngli launches solar fund

I wrote earlier this week about troublesome signs for the solar panel sector’s fledgling recovery after a revenue warning from Trina (NYSE: TSL), and now we’re seeing another worrisome signal with news that Yingli (NYSE: YGE) is launching a new fund to build solar power plants. This kind of scheme looks eerily similar to one that kicked off the downfall of former industry leader Suntech (NYSE: STPFQ), though there are also a few differences. Still, Yingli’s latest move signals that the industry may not have learned its lesson from the Suntech debacle. Continue reading

LeTV Plans Global Steps Into HK, US

LeTV prepares for global expansion

Hong Kong is quickly emerging as the preferred starting point for China’s tech companies eager to move outside their home market, with word that video sharing operator LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104) is planning a service launch in the former British colony later this year. Such a move would make LeTV the first of China’s online video and Internet TV firms to test out an overseas market. If the reports are true, LeTV could discover the outside world offers some interesting opportunities, but also major challenges as it goes head-to-head with local players and also global giants like YouTube and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Continue reading

Weibo: JD.com, NQ CEOs Resume Blogging After Long Pauses

JD, NQ top execs blog again after long pauses

Three of China’s shyest tech CEOs have made rare appearances on their microblogs over the past week, emerging from the shadows after difficult periods for at least 2 of their firms. Liu Qingdong, CEO of e-commerce giant JD.com, was the first to come out of his shell, ending a 19 month self-imposed silence. He was followed by NQ Mobile’s (NYSE: NQ) CEO Lin Yu, whose microblog had gone silent since a scandal last year that saw the security software maker came under a short seller attack. Tencent’s (HKEx: 700) CEO Pony Ma also made a relatively rare posting on his microblog, though in this case his appearance was mostly promotional as he trumpeted another major milestone for his company’s popular social networking services. Continue reading