China Business Digest: Beijing Tests 356,000 People to Curb Second Wave; Hong Kong Unemployment Surges
Beijing tested 356,000 people after 137 new infections were recorded since last week. Premier urges financial institutions to give up some profits to support businesses. Meanwhile, China’s largest gay dating app Blued has filed for a Nasdaq IPO. And closer to home, Ant Financial takes a step toward getting into the credit ratings industry.
— By Tang Ziyi (email@example.com) and Han Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Beijing tested 356,000 people on resurgence concerns
The Chinese capital city completed nucleic testing for 356,000 people in roughly five days amid a rising second wave of the outbreak in the city. The municipal government said Wednesday afternoon that the city has completed screening of people with potential contacts with the new cases and a wholesale market where the new outbreak started. The city has re-imposed some restrictive measures to curb the resurgence.
Guangdong enacts emergent virus screening
Southern China’s manufacturing hub has launched an emergency campaign to trace people with potential exposure to the coronavirus on concerns that the recent outbreak in Beijing may spread wider. Officials in Guangdong estimated that about 1,585 people who visited the Beijing wholesale market, where a cluster of infection emerged, have travelled to Guangdong over the past few days. Among them, 502 people have been contacted for screening.
China adds 44 new cases, including 31 in Beijing
The Chinese mainland reported 44 new Covid-19 cases with symptoms (link in Chinese) on Tuesday, up from 40 on Monday, according to China’s top health body. Of those, 31 were in Beijing, a new hotspot for Covid-19, bringing the number of currently hospitalized local infections with symptoms in the capital city to 137 (link in Chinese).
The Beijing government on Tuesday night raised the city’s emergency response one notch to level two, the second-highest of four disease response levels. The city has ordered the closing of all schools, restricted interprovincial travel and launched citywide disinfections for restaurants and food markets. (Read the full story.)
Chinese cities step up restrictions on travel to and from Beijing
About 40% of flights into and out of Beijing were canceled Tuesday while several interprovincial shuttle bus services were suspended, Caixin has learned.
Meanwhile, at least two dozen Chinese cities and several provinces had imposed new restrictions on travelers from Beijing as of Wednesday morning. They included the eastern megacity of Shanghai, which required entrants from “high-risk areas” to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. The sole domestic high-risk area is located in Beijing’s Fengtai district.
Other virus news
• As of Wednesday evening Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally reached about 8.2 million, with the death toll at more than 444,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Premier tells financial system to forgo $212 billion of earnings to support business
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday called on the country’s financial system to “sacrifice” 1.5 trillion yuan ($212 billion) of profit this year to support enterprises recovering from the pandemic and stabilize the economy.
Banks and other financial institutions could support businesses by offering lower lending rates, cutting service fees and deferring loan repayments, a State Council meeting led by Li said Wednesday.
Gay dating app Blued files for U.S. IPO
BlueCity Holdings Ltd., owner of China’s largest gay dating app in terms of the number of active users, aims to raise as much as $50 million from a Nasdaq IPO, the Beijing-based company said in a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ant Financial’s credit ratings arm completes registration with central bank branch
Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has taken a step forward in the credit ratings industry as its credit ratings arm has completed registration with a local branch of the central bank (link in Chinese).
JD.com’s secondary offering in Hong Kong oversubscribed nearly 180 times
JD.com Inc.’s public offering in Hong Kong was nearly 180 times oversubscribed for the 6.65 million shares initially available, reflecting retail investors’ strong interest in one of China’s top e-commerce platforms, the company’s Tuesday filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange showed. Its international offering was over 10 times oversubscribed. The company’s shares will begin trading in Hong Kong on Thursday.
Banking regulator steps up nonperforming personal loan cleanup
China’s top banking regulator recently announced a pilot program to transfer batches of nonperforming personal loans from banks to asset management companies, in a move to help lenders clean up rising bad debts amid the coronavirus pandemic, Caixin has learned (link in Chinese).
Over the past decades, China has set up a group of asset management specialists designed to receive bad debts from other financial institutions and recover as much money as possible through restructuring or other methods.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING HEADLINES
• Hong Kong’s unemployment rate surged to 5.9% in the period from March to May amid the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Tuesday, reaching its highest point in more than 15 years. The rate rose 0.7 percentage points from its position over the February-to-April period.
• The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the Communist Party’s top anti-corruption agency, investigated 32 graft cases (link in Chinese) against officials at China’s top banking and insurance regulator and institutions the watchdog oversees last year, a 68.4% increase year-on-year, a CCDI official said last week.
• China’s finance ministry said (link in Chinese) Wednesday that it will auction 70 billion yuan ($9.9 billion) of 10-year bonds on June 23 as the third batch of a planned total 1 trillion yuan of special treasury bonds to boost the country’s economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
• The Asset Management Association of China, an industry association supervised by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said Tuesday the top securities regulator had named He Yanchun (link in Chinese) as its new chairman.
• ZTE Corp. has appointed company veteran Ni Fei to lead its mobile device business as the telecom equipment maker looks to regain a foothold in the global smartphone market.
• Nasdaq-listed shares of Chinese video streaming service iQiyi Inc. closed up 25.9% on Tuesday after a Reuters report revealed that Tencent Holdings Ltd. is looking to buy a stake in the company, in which its rival Baidu Inc. is currently the majority shareholder.
• The migration of U.S.-listed Chinese companies to Hong Kong for secondary listings could attract as much as $557 billion to the Asian financial hub, American investment bank Jefferies LLC estimated in a report.
** LOOKING AHEAD
June 18: Trading debut for Hong Kong listing by JD.com Inc.
Contact reporter Tang Ziyi (email@example.com) and editors Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Gavin Cross (email@example.com)
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