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

News Digest: April 17, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on April 17. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • Citic Pacific (HKEx: 267) In $36.5 Bln Deal To Buy Parent’s Main Business (English article)
  • China Cellphone Shipments Drop 24.7 Pct In Q1 – MIIT (Chinese article)
  • Alibaba Could File Prospectus For US IPO Next Week – Sources (Chinese article)
  • Yingli (NYSE: YGE), Sailing Capital Form 1 Bln Yuan Renewable Energy Fund (PRNewswire)
  • Taxi App Didi Dache Lands $700 Mln in New Funding – Market Talk (English article)
  • Latest calendar for Q1 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

JD Shuffles Boardroom, Alibaba Profit Soars

JD makes boardroom adjustment

There’s a flurry of news out today on China’s 2 leading e-commerce firms, led by a new IPO filing and major boardroom adjustment at JD.com as the nation’s second largest player prepares to raise up to $1.5 billion through a New York listing. Meantime, industry leader Alibaba has reported impressive earnings for the fourth quarter of 2013, as it also heads towards a major New York listing as soon as later this year. JD’s boardroom change looks most interesting to me, as it’s a bit unusual to see such major movement in a company’s top ranks so close to an IPO. That leads me to wonder if this is the first in a series of moves leading to the eventual marginalization of JD founder and CEO Liu Qiangdong. Continue reading

Guangdong Strikes Cast Shadow Over Manufacturers

New strikes at shoe, microwave factories

A time of year typically known for labor unrest is taking a worrisome twist, with major new strikes occurring at top microwave oven maker Galanz and shoe making giant Yue Yuen (HKEx: 551), whose clients include Nike and Adidas. These latest signs of labor unrest in the important Pearl Delta manufacturing hub come just weeks after workers staged another strike at an IBM (NYSE: IBM) factory being sold to Chinese PC leader Lenovo (HKEx: 992). The fact that these industry leaders are seeing such major problems so early in the year hints at even bigger problems for smaller factories, which are struggling under the weight of soaring costs and sagging export orders. Continue reading

Shanghai Street View: Bird Flu Takes Flight

Bird flu? What bird flu?

What a difference a year makes. Many of us have been out and about these last couple of weeks enjoying the springtime weather, taking in cherry blossoms and celebrating the end of winter. Amid the spring fever, few people seem to recall that Shanghai at this time last year was a far different place, gripped by fear as the new and unknown H7N9 strain of bird flu swept through the city. Continue reading