Bottom line: Baidu’s sale of its Qiyi video unit is a first step before a domestic IPO, and the valuation from that sale shows that Alibaba is overpaying for rival video site Youku Tudou and that industry leader LeTV is still highly overvalued.
Two of China’s largest online video sites are in the headlines as the nation returns to work after the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, led by word that Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) is selling its controlling stake of its iQiyi online video unit. In this case the move looks like preparation for a domestic IPO by the unit, since the buyer of the stake is a group led by Baidu founder Robin Li and iQiyi chief Gong Yu.
The second report has Youku Tudou (NYSE: YOKU) announcing a date for its shareholders to vote on an offer to sell the company to e-commerce leader Alibaba (NYSE: BABA). The meeting will take place on March 14, and will mark a final step before Youku Tudou ceases its brief but stormy life as a publicly traded company and becomes part of Alibaba. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Coolpad’s shares are likely to come under pressure for the rest of 2016 due to stiff competition in China’s smartphone market, and it could be forced to raise more money last this year following its newly-announced rights issue plan.
It seems like $700 million and 2 major new alliances weren’t enough to prop up financially challenged smartphone maker Coolpad (HKEx: 2369), which has just announced a new share rights offer to raise up to HK$736 million ($95 million). The deal marks the latest distress signal coming from China’s overheated smartphone sector, which has seen Coolpad and a vibrant field of other domestic brands engage in a fierce game of price wars over the last 2 years.
What’s somewhat revealing about this new capital raising plan is its relatively paltry size, and also the large discount that Coolpad had to offer to sell the new shares. Even worse, one of the main buyers of the new shares is Chinese online video giant LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104), which should have been willing to pay closer to market levels for the new shares after becoming one of Coolpad’s largest stakeholders last year. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Billionaire Guo Guangchang’s new sporting venture reflects his desire to move into entertainment, and also to win goodwill by supporting Beijing’s initiative to build up Chinese athletics.
After his brief and somewhat ominous disappearance last month, the man once called China’s Warren Buffett is back in the headlines, with word that Guo Guangchang has joined the growing ranks of Chinese billionaires making major investments in sports. In this case Guo is teaming up with Portuguese “super broker” GestiFute, whose main business is engineering the deals that allow European players to move from one soccer club to another. Among its deals, GestiFute was involved in previous transfers involving superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, showing the company is itself a major player in the business.
This particular deal is just the latest by some of China’s richest men and biggest private companies, which have suddenly discovered a huge appetite for all things sports. Previous investors in the growing trend include Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) founder Jack Ma and Wanda Group chief Wang Jianlin, who are 2 of the country’s wealthiest individuals. They also have been joined by a growing number of entertainment-related companies like online video firm LeTV(Shenzhen: 300104) and electronics retailer Suning (Shenzhen: 002024), which also owns a major online video site. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: Competition will remain fierce in China’s smartphone market this year, as major players including Huawei and Xiaomi compete aggressively with newcomers like LeTV for market share.
The sputtering Xiaomi and high-flying LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104) have become 2 of China’s first smartphone makers to announce 2015 sales figures, as broader industry data show just how crowded the field has become. Xiaomi’s first-look sales figures come in a microblog post from one of its executives, and show the company missed its 2015 sales target by around 10 percent. LeTV’s figures come from an emailed statement, and say the company sold a relatively modest 4 million smartphones last year following its entry to the space.
Then there’s the broader industry data that points out 7 of the world’s top 10 smartphone brands last year came from China. That report notes that among the top 10, only Samsung (Seoul: 005930), Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and LG (Seoul: 066570) were non-Chinese, and that a surging Huawei overtook Lenovo (HKEx: 992) to become the world’s leading Chinese brand. Read Full Post…
Bottom line: TCL’s smart TV alliance with LeTV brings together 2 strong names and is getting off to a good start with a strong lineup of new products, but could have trouble over the longer term due to the rapidly changing industry.
TV stalwart TCL (Shenzhen: 000100) has just announced an expansion of its young partnership in smart TVs with industry high-flyer LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104), in what could become the first of an earlier wave of such tie-ups to finally gain some traction. Many of the similar tie-ups were announced in rapid succession a couple of years ago, as newer online video companies rushed to forge partnerships with traditional TV manufacturers.
The idea was that the TV makers would produce customized products optimized to offer video services from a particular Internet company, creating a new generation of online-connected smart TVs that could compete with traditional cable TV services. But it seems many of those alliances never really got very far, and these days many video companies have decided to focus instead on making special set-top boxes that be easily mounted on any TV. Read Full Post…
The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on January 15. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104), TCL (HKEx: 1070) Form Alliance in Large Curved TVs (Chinese article)
36 Charitable Health Organizations Raise Alarm on Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) (Chinese article)
Shanghai Quality Inspector Says Xiaomi Air Purifiers Substandard (Chinese article)
Huawei, Ericsson (NYSE: ERIC) Sign Patent Exchange Agreement (Chinese article)
Qunar (Nasdaq: QUNR) Rises as Ctrip Plans to Buy `Significant Minority Stake’ (English article)
Bottom line: Sina’s new deal to broadcast the video channel of the Manchester United soccer team looks like a good bet, while LeTV’s new deal to broadcast US baseball games is more likely to strike out.
Leading web portal Sina (Nasdsaq: SINA) and online video giant LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104) have just announced 2 new sporting deals, extending a recent streak of similar investments by media companies in search of exclusive content. The first deal will see Sina become the official broadcaster in China for Britain’s Manchester United soccer club, while the second will see LeTV’s sports division get similar rights for live broadcasts of US Major League Baseball (MLB).
Both moves are really just licensing deals, though each could become an important new revenue source for Sina and LeTV as they search for exclusive content to lure viewers to their services. From a quantity perspective, LeTV is the big winner in this new round of deals since it will gain rights to hundreds of baseball games played in America each year. But Sina is the winner from a quality perspective, since soccer is far more popular in China than baseball, which is relatively unknown among average Chinese. Read Full Post…
The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on January 9. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) Ant Financial Approved for Internet Bank in South Korea (Chinese article)
Gaming Firm Perfect World Returns to China A-shares via TV Studio Affiliate (English article)
Ctrip (Nasdaq: CTRP) Announces $180 Mln Investment in Indian Peer MakeMyTrip (PRNewswire)
ZTE (HKEx: 763) Chairman Hou Weigui to Step Down at Next Board Meeting in March (Chinese article)
LeTV Sports in Partnership to Live Stream Major League Baseball Games in China (Businesswire)
The following press releases and media reports about Chinese companies were carried on January 6. To view a full article or story, click on the link next to the headline.
Dalian Wanda Clinches Deal for Legendary Entertainment – Source (English article)
Faraday Unveils Concept Electric Race Car with LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104) (English article)
Commerce Ministry Asks More Questions in Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) Anti-Trust Probe (Chinese article)
New Huawei Mate 8 Smartphone Sells More Than 1 Mln Units in Less Than a Month (Chinese article)
Air China, China Eastern Join Airlines Parting With Qunar (Nasdaq: QUNR) (Chinese article)
Bottom line:Wanda’s decision to set up its sports division headquarters in Guangzhou is part of a diversification away from Beijing, and could presage an IPO for the unit in Hong Kong as early as next year.
A recent series of major sporting moves is back in the financial headlines as 2016 approaches, with word that real estate giant Wanda Group is setting up a new headquarters for its growing sports business in the southern city of Guangzhou. Those same reports hint at another major theme in the new year, which could see a new wave of IPOs for some of these big new sporting investments by names like Wanda.
Sporting investments have become a major theme in the current year, reflecting a sudden desire for content and related services to feed China’s fast-growing entertainment sector. E-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) kicked off the wave last year with its investment in a domestic soccer club, and has been joined this year by a wide range of companies that includes Wanda, electronics retailer Suning (Shenzhen: 002024) and online video operator LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104). Read Full Post…
Bottom line: LeTV will announce the launch of a new smart TV and video services in the US during the Consumer Electronics Show in last Vegas next month, but the foray will end in failure due to inexperience and fierce competition.
China’s LeTV (Shenzhen: 300104) looks set to launch its trademark smart TVs and affiliated video service in the US, a move that would make it the first Chinese player to enter a major western market. In this case LeTV is making lots of noises that point to such a move, though it hasn’t officially announced anything just yet.
The company is preparing to attend the massive Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month for the first time, providing the perfect venue for such an announcement. The other major signals for such a launch come from LeTV’s own recently launched US online mall, lemall.com/us, whose product offerings include a $799 smart TV that is currently not available but “coming soon”. Read Full Post…