Caixin
May 28, 2020 09:31 PM
CHINA BUSINESS DIGEST

China Business Digest: Premier Says China Doesn’t Want Cold War, U.S. Decoupling; HNA Faces Liquidation Case in Hong Kong

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Premier Li Keqiang touches on GDP target, China-U.S. ties and Hong Kong in a closely watched press conference. China will gradually ease restrictions on international flights, but at a slower pace than previously planned. Meanwhile, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou won’t be coming back to China anytime soon after losing a key ruling in her extradition case in Canada.

— By Timmy Shen (hongmingshen@caixin.com) and Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

** ON THE CORONAVIRUS

China won’t ease curbs on international flights as fast as expected

China will not triple the number of regular international flights to 407 a week starting June 1 as previously planned, Li Jian, a deputy chief of China’s Civil Aviation Administration said Wednesday (link in Chinese). The country currently accommodates 134 international flights a week under restrictions imposed in late March to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Antibody tests on monkeys show positive results

According to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature, a group of Chinese scientists have isolated two human proteins that fight the virus which causes Covid-19, with one showing significant promise in animal trials.

New studies add to evidence of significance of asymptomatic infections

Two papers published this week add to growing evidence that a significant proportion of people infected with the novel coronavirus do not show symptoms, and may silently infect others.

U.S.’ death toll surpasses 100,000

As of Thursday in Beijing, the U.S.’ death toll had passed 100,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The global death toll has exceeded 356,000.

On Wednesday, the Chinese mainland reported two new symptomatic infections (link in Chinese). Both were imported cases. One was in Shanghai and the other was in the eastern province of Fujian.

More than one in six young people in the world are now unemployed

The International Labour Organization said Wednesday that more than one in six of the world’s young people have stopped working since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, while those who remain employed have seen their hours cut by 23%.

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Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus

** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY

Li Keqiang discusses GDP target, U.S. ties, Hong Kong in press conference

China has consistently rejected a so-called “cold war mentality” and economic decoupling, China’s Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday at a press conference following the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress. Li called for cooperation and mutual respect between China and the U.S. despite recently rising tensions on many fronts.

The premier also discussed the abandonment of an annual GDP target, China’s economic recovery plan, the Covid-19 pandemic and the national security resolution on Hong Kong.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou loses key ruling in her extradition case

The Supreme Court of British Columbia determined that U.S. allegations against Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., could be considered a crime if the actions took place in Canada. That decision means proceedings seeking to extradite her to the U.S. to face criminal charges will continue, though it does not guarantee actual extradition.

Hisense plans ownership restructuring with sale of 17.2% of equity

Leading Chinese television maker Qingdao Hisense Electric Holdings Co. Ltd. will sell 41.5 million new shares, or 17.2% of the company’s total equity after the placement, to invite new investors in a major restructuring to reduce the weight of state ownership in the company. The overhaul will reduce the holding of the Qingdao city government in the company and most likely leave the company without a single controlling shareholder.

Coronavirus testing equipment maker MGI Tech raises $1 billion

MGI Tech Co. Ltd., a major provider of Covid-19 testing equipment in China, completed a $1 billion series B funding round led by IDG Capital and Citic Private Equity Funds Management Co. Ltd. Investors have expected a public listing of MGI Tech since last year. But the company said there is still no timetable for an initial public offering.

China’s top legislature adopts proposal to make Hong Kong national security law

China’s top legislature on Thursday adopted a proposal to empower its standing committee to make a Hong Kong national security law.

The upcoming law for Hong Kong could trigger volatility in local financial markets in the short term, but stability will eventually come, said Laura May-Lung Cha, chairman of the city’s stock exchange.

MYBank to offer $70 million of perpetual bonds

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-backed online lender MYBank, officially known as Zhejiang E-Commerce Bank Co. Ltd., became the first private lender to win approval to replenish capital through the sale of perpetual bonds. It is set to sell as much as 5 billion yuan ($70 million) worth of perpetual bonds to supplement its Tier one capital, according to a regulatory notice.

Social credit blacklists

Critics have said that the ease of clearing online records of wrongdoing undermines Credit China — a website operated by a social credit body affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission — which is intended to help track unscrupulous businesses. (Read the full in-depth story on how Chinese companies can get off social credit blacklists.)

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** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES

Finance & Economy

• U.S.-listed Chinese companies will not be affected that much (link in Chinese) by a new U.S. bill that some say could lead to some companies being barred from listing on American stock exchanges,Zhang Yichen, chairman and CEO of Citic Capital Holdings Ltd., told Caixin.

• Chinese authorities on Wednesday issued a ban on imports (link in Chinese) of pigs and pork products from India in an effort to prevent imported cases of African swine fever.

• Some local regulators have started looking into banks’ group savings products, which offer higher interest rates, a practice inspired by online group buying.

• In the first quarter, banks’ credit loans to enterprises increased by 2.4 trillion yuan, much more than last year’s total increasing amount for the entire year, according to government data.

• Trust companies in China have been having trouble finding new projects to invest in as a deluge of cheaper money in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic has given their clients more options for borrowing money elsewhere.

• The outstanding balance of loans with intellectual property pledged as collateral (link in Chinese) stood at about 71.3 billion yuan at the end of March, marking an expansion from the 65.6 billion yuan at the end of last year, according to official data.

Essence Securities Co. Ltd., the brokerage unit of China’s largest state-owned investment holding company, is getting an 8 billion yuan cash injection from its parent, joining nearly a dozen brokerages bolstering capital to meet new ranking requirements.

Business & Tech

• Trading of shares in Hong Kong-listed new energy battery-maker Tianneng Power International Ltd. was halted on Wednesday morning after short seller CloudyThunder Research released a report calling the company a fraud “worth close to zero.” Tianneng said the allegations are untrue and it has reported the incident to proper authorities.

• Video-streaming platform Kuaishou has teamed up with e-commerce giant JD.com Inc. in a bid to step up its livestreaming e-commerce business.

• Between January and April, major Chinese internet-related companies generated combined revenue of 344.6 billion yuan, up 4.9% year-on-year, according to official data.

• Zambian police have arrested three people in connection with the killing of three Chinese nationals at a warehouse in the capital of Lusaka on Sunday. Caixin has learned the victims were three men who were working for a Chinese company in the country.

• China Joy Shipping Inc., a Panama-based shipping services provider, has filed a petition in Hong Kong to liquidate debt-laden Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. Ltd., according to judicial records.

• The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that global energy investment this year is expected to plummet 20%, or almost $400 billion, compared with last year.

** AND FINALLY

Fitness junkies in China are now able to get their fix as gyms have begun to reopen across the country. But there are strings attached — such as wearing a mask and getting your temperature checked.

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A man stretches on April 16 at a fitness center in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan province.

** LOOKING AHEAD

May 28: Trip.com reports first-quarter results in U.S.

June 1: Release of Caixin China manufacturing PMI

June 3: Release of Caixin China services PMI

 

Contact reporter Timmy Shen (hongmingshen@caixin.com) and editors Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com) and Michael Bellart (michaelbellart@caixin.com)

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China Business Digest: Hong Kong, Singapore Airports to Resume Transit Travel; Central Bank Doesn’t Cut Interest Rate

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