PPTV Carve-Up Continues As Crackdown Bites

PPTV yanks set-top box

Worrisome signs of a crackdown are growing in the online video sector, where a field of young private firms rolling out a new generation of TV-like products are facing strong resistance from traditional television stations. The latest signs of turmoil are coming from PPTV, a former industry leader that is slowly getting carved up among investors as it is forced to scrap some of its most promising new products. The former high-flyer is showing up in 2 separate headlines today, including one that has seen it shelve its TV set-top box product. The other headline has the company selling 10 percent of itself to Phoenix Publishing & Media (Shanghai: 601928), marking its third major stake sale in the last year as it slowly gets carved up among a group of diverse investors. Continue reading

Tesla Charges China EVs With Unicom Tie-Up

Tesla in charging tie-up with Unicom

Despite disappointing progress in China’s plan to put hundreds of thousands of new energy vehicles on its roads by next year, American electric car maker Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has made remarkable progress despite its late arrival to the market. The company has won its strong initial results though a smart combination of savvy marketing and initiatives to encourage building of necessary infrastructure to support its buyers.

The latest of those initiatives saw Tesla last week announce a partnership with Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU), China’s second largest mobile carrier, to install charging stations at hundreds of Unicom outlets nationwide. (English article) As a result of these and other efforts, Tesla has been the lone player so far to succeed in China’s broader consumer market, an area that will be critical to achieving Beijing’s goals. Continue reading

News Digest: September 2, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on September 2. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • VNOs Enter Silent Period, Sign-Ups Total Just 300,000 After 3 Months (Chinese article)
  • SAIC Seeks Written Explanation In Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Probe Within 20 Days (Chinese article)
  • Huawei, Alipay Introduce First Domestic Fingerprint Payment Standard (Chinese article)
  • Phoenix Publishing & Media (Shanghai: 601928) To Acquire 10 Pct Of PPTV (English article)
  • China’s Li Ning (HKEx: 2331) Stumbles From Gold Medal Spot To No Man’s Land (English article)

Game Operator Linekong Heads For HK IPO

Linekong breaks IPO silence with HK listing plan

The latest headlines about an upcoming IPO for online game operator Linekong made me realize it’s been quite a while since we last saw any news of offshore listing plans by Chinese Internet and tech firms. Such listings were coming nonstop earlier this year, and saw a wide range of names including the Twitter-like Weibo (Nasdaq: WB), e-commerce giant JD.com (Nasdaq: JD) and real estate services site Leju (NYSE: LEJU) all make IPOs in New York. But the Internet IPO pipeline has gone largely silent since early August, when mobile game operator iDreamSky (Nasdaq: DSKY) made its trading debut. Continue reading

New Criminal Actions Against VW, US Meat Supplier

6 Husi workers arrested in tainted meat scandal

Most of the recent flood of probes against foreign firms have been of the civil variety, resulting in stiff fines for anti-competitive behavior but few or no criminal charges and prison time. But that trend could be changing, with officials at car maker Volkswagen (Frankfurt: VOWG) and a former major meat supplier to McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and KFC (NYSE: YUM) being probed or charged with crimes that could end with lengthy prison terms. It’s probably still too early to say if criminal charges against executives at major multinationals will become a trend. But if it does, it could certainly send a new chill into China’s rapidly worsening relationship with western businesses and governments. Continue reading

Tencent In M&A Overdrive With New Tie-Ups

Tencent eyes non-web firms in tie-up frenzy

I’ve become a big fan lately of top Internet company Tencent (HKEx: 700), which has taken a more focused, measured approach to M&A in a recent string of major acquisitions and tie-ups by China’s top 3 web firms. But the company seems to be rapidly moving into M&A overdrive, following word of 3 major new deals this week alone, none of which looks too exciting or focused. Whereas nearly all of Tencent’s tie-ups to date have been with other online firms, the trio of rumored new deals all involve major players from traditional industries that have little or no experience on the Internet. Continue reading

News Digest: August 30-September 1, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on August 30-September 1. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • 6 Detained, Arrested In Husi Tainted Meat Scandal (Chinese article)
  • iPhone 6 May Cost More Than 6,000 Yuan As Telcos Trim Subsidies (Chinese article)
  • Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA), Unicom (HKEx: 763) To Build Charging Outlets Across China (English article)
  • China Construction Bank (HKEx: 939) Announces Interim Results (HKEx announcement)
  • Game Maker Linekong Files For HK IPO, Gets Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) Funding (Chinese article)

Alibaba’s Ma Tops Rich List As Profits Leap

Jack Ma takes over title as China’s richest man

We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see who wins the title for China’s most valuable Internet company, but the champion for wealthiest chief executive has just been declared with Alibaba founder Jack Ma beating out Tencent (HKEx: 700) chief Pony Ma for the title. That declaration, based on estimates by Bloomberg, comes after release of the latest public filing from Alibaba in the run-up to its highly anticipated IPO that could come in less than 3 weeks. That filing also showed that profits from China’s leading e-commerce company rose 60 percent in the second quarter, an impressive feat for a company of its size. Continue reading

New Microsoft Chief Sets Sail For China

New Microsoft CEO Nadella to visit China

It’s become a sort of rite of passage for CEOs of major tech firms to visit China after moving into their job, which looks set to happen again with a September trip to Beijing set for Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) new top executive Satya Nadella. Tim Cook traveled to China just 6 months after taking the reins from Steve Jobs as Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO in 2011, and has visited the country several times since then. Even Twitter’s (NYSE: TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo visited Shanghai earlier this year, just months after the social networking giant’s New York IPO, despite saying earlier that China wasn’t a market where his company could do business. (previous post) Continue reading

Bad Assets Sweet For Huarong, Sour For Saab Buyer

Huarong finds gold in bad assets

Domestic and overseas investors have been feasting on a flood of sour loans being churned out by China’s economic slowdown, mostly by buying shares in big state-run firms that try to recover money from those bad assets. In the latest wrinkle of that story, 8 major institutional buyers have spent a hefty $2.4 billion to purchase 21 percent of China Huarong Asset Management, one of the leading bad asset managers.

But bad asset management isn’t always such an easy game to play, as another group of China-backed investors is learning after their ill-advised purchase 2 years ago of insolvent Swedish car maker Saab. That group, called National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB (NEV) has declared bankruptcy, signaling an end may finally be near for the Swedish car maker that probably should have died several years ago. Continue reading

News Digest: August 29, 2014

The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on August 29. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
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  • Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) CEO Nadella To Visit China Amid Antitrust Probe – Source (English article)
  • ICBC (HKEx: 1398) Announces Interim Results (HKEx announcement)
  • Huarong Asset Management Adds 8 Investors, Raises 14.5 Bln Yuan (Chinese article)
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma Becomes China’s Richest Man With $21.8 Bln Fortune (Chinese article)
  • China-Backed Investor That Acquired Sweden’s Saab Declares Bankruptcy (Chinese article)
  • Latest calendar for Q2 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)