The list of major Chinese entertainment firms jumping on the Hollywood bandwagon has just gained an important new member with word that Huayi Bros (Shenzhen: 300027) is on the cusp of investing in a major new production house. I’ve been following the China media scene for more than a decade now, and can say that Huayi was one of the nation’s earliest major players to emerge in a space that was extremely difficult for years due to tough restrictions and extreme fragmentation. But Huayi has shown not only an ability to survive, but also to thrive in a market where the movie theater business is suddenly booming and online video has quickly become an important new revenue source. Continue reading
I had a sense of deja vu on reading reports that a group of workers at an IBM (NYSE: IBM) plant in south China had gone on strike, unhappy about the terms of their transfer to domestic PC giant Lenovo (HKEx: 992) under a recent M&A deal. It seems the workers in the city of Shenzhen were offered similar pay and other terms under the transfer, which came as the result of Lenovo’s pending purchase of IBM’s low-end server business announced in January. But the workers were still unsatisfied, feeling they should get higher pay for agreeing to work at a domestic company rather than the more prestigious IBM. Continue reading
The 4G strategies of China’s 2 smaller telcos are starting to emerge under an unusual hybrid scheme being rolled out by the nation’s telecoms regulator, and the path being pursued by China Unicom (HKEx: 762; NYSE: CHU) certainly doesn’t look encouraging. Both Unicom and China Telecom (HKEx: 728; NYSE: CHA) have been given the nod to launch commercial 4G service using a homegrown standard known as TD-LTE, even though both plan to build their main networks using a more globally tested technology technology called FDD-LTE. But whereas China Telecom is making minimal investment in TD-LTE, Unicom seems intent on wasting billions of dollars, with word that it has awarded contracts to 8 companies to start construction of a network based on the technology. (Chinese article) Continue reading
The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on March 7. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
- 8 Companies Win Awards In First Round Of Unicom (HKEx: 762) 4G Tenders (Chinese article)
- IBM China Workers Strike Over Terms In $2.3 Bln Lenovo (HKEx: 992) Deal (English article)
- L’Oreal 2013 China Sales At $13.3 Bln, 13th Year Of Double-Digit Growth (Chinese article)
- Dangdang (NYSE: DANG) Announces Resignation Of CFO (PRNewswire)
- Huayi Bros (Shenzhen: 300027) Prepares To Go To Hollywood, Shares Halted (Chinese article)
- Latest calendar for Q4 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)
If I was a shareholder in e-commerce firm Dangdang (NYSE: DANG), I would definitely sell my stock after hearing about the company’s latest announcement of a tie-up with Walmart-backed (NYSE: WMT) Yhd.com. I personally wasn’t surprised by the nature of the tie-up, which will see the pair cross-promote each others’ services, even though I was a bit disappointed that there was no equity exchange. Dangdang had previously confirmed it would announce a tie-up after rumors of an alliance first appeared a few weeks ago. This kind of hype followed by disappointment is quite typical of Dangdang’s co-founder and CEO Li Guoqing, whose fierce independence could ultimately lead to the marginalization or even death of his company. Continue reading
Everyone is getting quite excited these last 2 days about word that Beijing will soon launch a major new sell-down of its stake in many of China’s largest state-owned enterprises (SOEs), in a bid to breath new life into these bureaucratic behemoths. The news certainly looks like a positive sign all around, providing an exciting new opportunity for investors who would prefer to own major companies that behave more commercially rather than the current group that take their orders from Beijing.
Equally important, the shift could help many of these state-run giants to shed their “SOE stigma”, which often carries connotations of state-control, bureaucracy and political agendas. Such a shift could fuel a new wave of outbound M&A by some of these giants, whose major global purchases often raise suspicions among host governments who currently view such SOEs as tools used by Beijing to execute its political goals. Continue reading
Much of the China tech world was focused last week on the world’s largest telecoms trade show taking place in Barcelona, but one company that was noticeably absent from the Mobile World Congress was fast-rising smartphone maker Xiaomi. That absence was all the more noticeably because Xiaomi has made no secret of its plans for a global expansion this year as part of a strategy to maintain its explosive growth in the 4 years since its founding. Xiaomi seems to have skipped the big show this year, and instead focused its energies on its own internal suppliers meeting, as reflected by a flurry of microblog posts from that event. Continue reading
The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on March 6. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
- Dangdang (NYSE: DANG), Yhd.com Form Strategic Partnership (PRNewswire)
- Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) Reports Q4 And Full Year 2013 Results (PRNewswire)
- Minsheng Bank (HKEx: 1988) Approved To Issue 20 Bln Yuan In Bonds (HKEx announcement)
- Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU) Apps Return to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store (English article)
- EMC (NYSE: EMC) Says China Sales Grow For 8th Consecutive Year (Chinese article)
- Latest calendar for Q4 earnings reports (Earnings calendar)
I wanted to take this opportunity to commend Internet companies YY (Nasdaq: YY) and Vipshop (NYSE: VIPS) for taking the risky move of launching New York IPOs at the heart of a deep freeze in investor sentiment towards Chinese companies in 2012. The pair, which have both just announced their latest stellar results, were 2 of the only major offerings by Chinese firms in New York that year. Shares for both received an initial tepid reception due to the chilly investment climate at the time. But all of that has changed more recently with a sudden surge in investor interest, and anyone who was brave enough to buy the companies’ shares shortly after their IPOs has been handsomely rewarded. Continue reading
The worrisome “vampire” moniker heaped on Alibaba’s Yu’ebao has died a quiet and appropriate death, with word that China’s top banker has no plans to kill the wildly popular investment product. The pronouncement from central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan caps a brief period of turbulence for Yu’ebao, beginning when an influential financial commentator branded the product a “vampire” nearly 2 weeks ago. That comment triggered a heated debate about new competition that private companies are suddenly posing for stodgier state-run banks, which until recently were the only low-risk option for most consumers to deposit their savings. But Zhou didn’t completely let Yu’ebao off the hook, adding that the fast-rising private banking sector needs to be more tightly regulated. Continue reading
After years of fragmentation, China’s Internet has undergone a sudden and radical overhaul over the past year, with 3 major firms emerging as major consolidators. The frenzy of new tie-ups and acquisitions has been a welcome development, helping to cool overheated competition in a wide array of sectors where most companies were losing money.
But with the emergence of Alibaba, Tencent (HKEx: 700) and Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) as the 3 major consolidators, China’s anti-monopoly regulator should start to give closer scrutiny to future deals to avoid too much reduction in the competition necessary to ensure future innovation and consumer choice. Such scrutiny could and should ultimately lead to the veto of some future deals, especially larger ones, by regulators who need to become more assertive in the space.