CX Daily: Former ICBC Executive Walks Free After 26-month Detention
Exclusive: Former ICBC executive walks free from bribery charges
A former executive of the world’s largest bank by assets was released Tuesday after 26 months in detention as prosecutors dropped corruption charges, citing “changes in evidence.”
Xu Zhihong, a former senior executive of ICBC and a former general manager of Hong Kong-based CMB Wing Lung Bank Ltd., was released from a detention center after a court in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, accepted prosecutors’ request to withdraw criminal charges against him, according to He Bing, Xu’s lawyer.
Xu, 56, was accused by Wuxi prosecutors of taking 2.38 million yuan ($333,000) of bribes between 2006 and 2010 to benefit several individuals at ICBC’s Hegang branch in Heilongjiang province in investment and bond underwriting deals, using his influence as the general manager of the ICBC’s financial market department. Xu denied most charges against him, admitting only that he accepted 50,000 yuan in 2008.
FINANCE & ECONOMICS
China slips more deeply into debt, though at slower pace
China’s overall stock of debt as a share of GDP continued to climb in the second quarter of this year, albeit at a slower pace amid the ongoing slowdown in economic growth.
The overall leverage ratio, which measures the nation’s outstanding debt in the real economy against nominal GDP, increased to 249.5% at the end of the second quarter, up 0.7 percentage points from 248.8% a quarter earlier, according to a report released Tuesday by two government-backed research institutes. The growth in the ratio in the second quarter was lower than the increase of 5.1 percentage points in the first quarter.
Now the trade war is ruining Christmas — for toymakers
Chinese factories are normally at their busiest during Q3, cranking out U.S.-bound production ahead of the Christmas shopping season, but this year’s different. Even with President Donald Trump delaying tariffs on $160 billion of goods from toys to smartphones to spare U.S. retailers, the damage has already been done. Big toy purveyors like Walmart Inc. already piled up inventory over the uncertainty of trade war, according to industry officials.
Retailers started a buying frenzy a year ago amid early trade tensions — shipping cargo volume to North America from Asia rose 7.9% in H2 2018, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That growth has slowed significantly this year — to just 0.2% in H1 — as U.S. warehouses filled up.
Properties / Australia
East Asians buying up more of Melbourne’s real estate
Asian investment in commercial real estate in Melbourne surged 30% in the past financial year, led by investors from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to new research by CBRE.
The real estate firm tallied A$1.14 billion ($774.65 million) of sales to Asian investors in the 2019 financial year, up from A$880 million in the previous financial year. Of 42 properties sold over the 12-month period, 36 were purchased by Asian buyers, with half of those from the Chinese mainland, 11 from Singapore and seven from Hong Kong.
Quick hits /
How Deng’s drama unfolded (Part 2)
Yuan poised for worst month on record after 7 barrier broken
Opinion: A new era of global payments is coming
BUSINESS & TECH
A server at Costco's Shanghai outlet looks on helplessly as customers fight to purchase rotisserie chickens. Photo: VCG
Frenzy at Costco as shoppers elbow and kick their way to savings
U.S. wholesale giant Costco was forced to suspend business at its first mainland store in Shanghai just hours into its first day of trading on Tuesday, after bargain-hunters created chaos, pushing and shoving their way through the store in search of the best deals.
China boosts pressure on cities to ease car ownership restrictions
China’s State Council called on major city governments to relax or even cancel restrictions designed to limit car sales, aiming to boost a struggling auto market now entering its second year of contraction, though a source close to policymakers told us the call will meet resistance.
Many of the country's largest cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, have restricted issuance of new license plates to keep congestion and pollution in check. The latest call was contained in a document dated Aug. 16 and published Tuesday on the website of the State Council, China’s cabinet. The document was more broadly focused on steps that could stimulate consumption as China’s economic growth slows sharply.
ZTE posts $206 million half-year profit in turnaround bid
ZTE Corp., China’s second-largest telecom equipment maker, swung to a profit in H1, strengthening the prospect of a turnaround this year from a crippling U.S. trade ban.
ZTE, the smaller rival of China’s Huawei Technologies, posted 1.47 billion yuan ($206 million) of net profit for the H1, compared with a 7.8 billion yuan net loss in the same period last year, according to the company’s financial report released Tuesday. First-half revenue rose 13.1% to 44.6 billion yuan on the back of expanding network business for telecom carriers and government customers, ZTE said.
State-owned Unigroup to build memory chip plant in Chongqing
State-owned chipmaker Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd. signed a deal Tuesday with the Chongqing municipal government to build a facility that will design and manufacture memory chips in the southwestern Chinese city.
The plant, which will focus on DRAM chips, will include a factory and an R&D center. The factory itself will mainly produce 12-inch DRAM chips and is expected to begin production in 2021, the company said. As part of the agreement, Unigroup will set up the HQ of its new memory chip-focused business group in Chongqing. It announced the formation of the internal DRAM unit last month.
Quick hits /
Obama-backed film offers a sobering take on U.S.-China rivalry
New businesses drive profit surge for delivery giant SF Holding
Excess supply, rising tech costs take shine off screen maker profits
Jeremy Lin signs with Beijing Ducks
Xiaomi president pledges no more stock sales to restore confidence
Who’s fighting China’s new shared bike wars?
Air China plane catches fire at Beijing Airport
Playing cards giant rebrands as tech company
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