Oct 31, 2019 09:24 AM

CX Daily: The Stakes are Raised in China's New Big Data Clampdown

In depth /

China’s big-data clampdown leaves online lenders in a bind

China's most recent clampdown on the big-data industry for its role in collecting personal information for use in shady debt collection may sound familiar to those intimate with two years of intermittent crackdowns. But authorities are now raising the stakes.

For one, authorities have come down much harder on the industry this time around, investigating executives and founders rather than simply probing lower-level employees. Companies had also grown sophisticated, using methods such as abusing app permissions on phones to extract contacts for risk management analysis or telemarketing.

China's 2017 Cybersecurity Law should have reined in collection practices in the burgeoning big-data industry, but recent investigations, including our own, show that data-driven “financial risk managers” such as Tongdun Technology Co. Ltd., a darling of the financial industry, have millions of pieces of data from unscrupulous sources.

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Rixs Creek open cut coal mine in New South Wales, Australia, on Nov. 23, 2016. Photo: VCG

Energy / Australia

China to extend unofficial restrictions on Australian coal, analysts say

While there had been hopes in Canberra that the unofficial quota on Australian coal exports to China would be rolled back shortly, analysts and traders in China said this week they expected the restrictions to remain into next year.

Coal analysts also said there was evidence of intensifying curbs on imported coal, with the major southern Chinese ports of Guangzhou and Fuzhou banning the commodity this week. Both ports recorded a strong increase in imports this year, and Beijing may be seeking to moderate such a spike to protect domestic supply.

Trade war /

China won’t force tech transfers, trade representative says

One of China’s top commerce officials says the country will “neither explicitly nor implicitly” force foreign companies to transfer technologies when doing business in China, Reuters reports.

The comments by Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen at a Tuesday press conference address a major bone of contention in the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S., though it's a position Beijing has long held.

Debt /

China wants new public-private partnership rules

China will speed up introducing rules for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to clarify criteria for implicit debts, a senior Finance Ministry official said Tuesday.

The relationship between PPP projects and implicit debts has become a core problem in the development of the PPP market, Zou Jiayi, vice minister of finance, said at a PPP development and financing forum. In addition to PPP rules, Zou also called for updating operating guidelines on PPP projects, performance and risk management, and research on related policies for tax, accounting, and land and asset management in relation to PPP projects.

Quick hits /

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Offshore China tech IPO wave should peter out by next year

Investment firms condemn imposters who’ve been defrauding investors

Troubled Hengfeng Bank takes step closer to restructuring

HK tycoon Li Ka-shing donates $25.5 million to support small restaurants

China Minsheng Investment Group slashes executive salaries


Photo: VCG

Markets /

Mainland stock buyers finally get a taste of Xiaomi, Meituan

Two of China’s biggest high-tech names, smartphone-maker Xiaomi and on-demand services platform Meituan Dianping, are finally available to stock buyers on the Chinese mainland.

On Saturday, the pair was officially included in a stock connect scheme that makes Hong Kong-traded stocks available to mainland-based investors, according to a statement on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange website. The move comes after operators at the Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenzhen bourses agreed in August on conditions permitting mainland traders to buy and sell companies like Xiaomi and Meituan, which have a dual-class share structure that was only recently permitted in Hong Kong.

Food /

Nestle to weigh $1 billion sale of local Chinese brands

Nestle SA is weighing options including a sale for two ailing Chinese units after years of attempting to turn them around, people familiar with the matter said.

The food giant has been reviewing its ownership of Hsu Fu Chi, a local confectionery brand, and Yinlu, known for its ready-made Chinese porridge, according to the people. It is seeking more than $1 billion for its controlling stakes in the two companies, sources said. Nestle acquired both companies in 2011 as it sought to tap Chinese demand, but found sluggish growth a few years later.

5G /

German intelligence chief signals distrust of Huawei on 5G

Germany’s spy chief said Huawei Technologies “can’t fully be trusted,” signaling that security hardliners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government want to keep the Chinese technology giant out of the country’s fifth-generation networks.

Bruno Kahl, the president of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, testified in Berlin Tuesday, saying that “trust in a state company that has a very high level of dependence on the Communist Party and the country’s intelligence apparatus is not present.” Merkel’s government earlier this year ruled out an outright ban on Huawei.

Electric cars /

China’s biggest electric-vehicle maker flags massive profit slump

BYD Co. Ltd., China’s largest manufacturer of new-energy vehicles (NEVs), has shocked investors with news that its full-year profit could plunge as much as 43% on sluggish sale as the central government continues to phase out generous industry subsidies.

The company, which mainly makes NEVs, forecast 2019 profits of between 1.6 billion yuan ($230 million) and 1.8 billion yuan, down from 2.8 billion yuan last year, in an earnings report filed Tuesday with the Hong Kong and Shenzhen stock exchanges. BYD also reported profit of 119.7 million yuan for the third quarter, down 88.6% YOY.

Property /

Soho China plans to exit mainland commercial property market

Soho China Ltd., one of China’s largest commercial property companies, is considering selling most of its commercial property on the mainland as part of a plan to switch to overseas investment, according to people familiar with the situation.

One of the transactions, involving two office towers in Beijing and one in Shanghai, is close to the final stage. The buyers are American private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc. and Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd.

In addition to the three office towers, Soho China also plans to sell five other commercial buildings in Beijing and Shanghai within two years, with a total value of 50 billion to 60 billion yuan ($7.1 million to $8.5 billion), the people said.

Quick hits /

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China’s hydrogen car industry holds out hope for special treatment

Challenging Alibaba, opens smart logistics facility

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