Alibaba Eyes Hollywood: Investment Coming?

Alibaba’s Jack Ma heads for Hollywood

New reports are saying that Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) CEO Jack Ma, flush with cash just weeks after his company’s blockbuster New York IPO, is headed to  Hollywood to talk deals with the industry’s top players. The reports focus mostly on the potential for new content-purchasing deals, as Alibaba looks for a spot in China’s booming market for movies and online video. But what caught my attention was a brief mention in the reports that Ma may be looking for something bigger on his trip, namely a stake in a major or mid-sized Hollywood studio. Continue reading

CICC IPO Hits New Hiccup With Chairman Exit

CICC Chairman Jin Liqun resigns

What previously looked like an exciting Hong Kong IPO by CICC, China’s earliest homegrown investment bank, is rapidly losing its luster, with word that the company’s Chairman Jin Liqun is leaving the company. His departure, which was first rumored earlier this month, comes just a week after Levin Zhu, CEO of the company formally known as China International Capital Corp, also resigned to reportedly pursue a start-up in the hot area of Internet finance. Continue reading

China Internet ‘Godfather’ Chen Tong Steps Down

Sina loses company veteran Chen Tong

The names of top executives from some of the world’s leading tech firms have filled the headlines these last 2 days, as Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg and IBM (NYSE: IBM) CEO Virginia Rometty visit China to promote their companies. But today I wanted to focus on a far less known Chinese Internet pioneer, Chen Tong, who is making headlines in his native China as he steps down at Sina (Nasdaq: SINA), the country’s leading web portal and one of its earliest Internet companies.

Perhaps one reason I’m attracted to Chen’s story is because he comes from a background similar to my own, starting out as a journalist when he joined a company in 1997 that would later lead to his employer of nearly 2 decades. Anyone who knows the Chinese Internet realizes that 2 decades is really the entire history of the medium in China, and Chen’s early arrival and wide popularity among industry veterans is drawing widespread praise and some sadness as he steps down. Continue reading

News Digest: October 24, 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.

  • 30 Pct Of Traditional Retail Stores To Close In Future – Suning VP (Chinese article)
  • Facebook’s (Nasdaq: FB) Zuckerberg Says To Start Hiring In China Next Year (Chinese article)
  • ZTE (HKEx: 763) Announces Q3 Results (HKEx announcement)
  • Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) Jack Ma Meets With Hollywood Execs, Seeks Content (Chinese article)
  • Xiaomi Passes Samsung (Seoul: 005930) In Q3 China Smartphone Sales – iSuppli (Chinese article)
  • Latest calendar for Q3 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)

Apple’s Cook In China, Xiaomi Weighs India Production

Apple’s Tim Cook on second China tour this year

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Tim Cook should consider buying a second home in China, based on the growing frequency of his trips to the country since assuming his current title of the world’s biggest gadget maker 3 years ago. That’s my light-hearted suggestion, following reports that Cook is in China yet again after already paying a visit to the country earlier this year. Meantime, I might also suggest that Apple wannabe Xiaomi buy a few condos in India for its building presence in that market. In the latest headlines on that front, media are reporting that Xiaomi is eying India for its first major overseas manufacturing foray as it pushes heavily into the market. Continue reading

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’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.

  • 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 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 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