China Business Digest: Didi to Test China’s Homegrown Digital Currency; Harvard, MIT Sue Immigration Authorities on New Student Visa Rules
Harvard and MIT jointly challenge U.S. immigration authorities over new student visa rules that threaten more than 1 million international students. China’s central bank and ride-hailing giant Didi work together to test the official digital currency. Meanwhile, China’s largest gay dating app operator booms on its Nasdaq debut while Ant Financial is reportedly planning a Hong Kong IPO. Also, divorce doesn’t end troubles for ex-wife of Jia Yueting.
— By Lu Yutong (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Han Wei (email@example.com)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
PBOC, Didi Chuxing in tie-up to test China’s homegrown digital currency
Didi Chuxing is working with a research unit of the central bank to test China’s coming digital cash as a payment method on its platform, China’s ride-hailing giant said Wednesday.
China’s central bank has led global peers in the development of digital legal tender. A pilot program to test the digital currency was launched in April in selected cities with participation of large state banks.
Harvard and MIT sue immigration authorities on new student visa rules
Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the U.S. from enforcing new visa guidelines that could force international students out of the country if schools offer only online classes in the fall.
The new rules, announced by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency Monday, would affect more than 1 million international students studying at U.S. colleges.
Ex-wife of embattled tycoon Jia Yueting faces travel ban
Gan Wei, ex-wife of troubled LeEco founder Jia Yueting, was hit by a travel ban by a court because of 533 million yuan ($76 million) of unpaid loans to China Merchant Bank, according to a ruling released Wednesday by the Shanghai High People’s Court.
Gan, who was divorced from Jia last year, provided a guarantee along with Jia for the borrowing by one of LeEco’s subsidiaries in 2015. The business collapse of LeEco left a huge amount of unresolved debt disputes while Jia fled China to the U.S. Last week, Jia said he had completed a personal bankruptcy case in the U.S.
Chinese gay dating app operator BlueCity surges on Nasdaq debut
BlueCity Holdings Ltd., the owner of China’s largest LGBTQ dating platform Blued, skyrocketed as much as 124% in its trading debut Wednesday on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The stock finished its first day trading at $23.43, 46% higher than the $16 initial public offering price.
BlueCity sold 5.3 million American depositary shares to raise $89.8 million. The company’s market cap topped $880 million.
Alibaba’s Ant plans Hong Kong IPO, targets valuation over $200 billion: sources
Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., is eying an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as this year, Reuters reported. It plans to sell 5% to 10% of its shares and targets a valuation of over $200 billion. Alibaba owns 33% of Ant Financial. An Ant spokesperson said the report was "incorrect" but would not refute specific details.
Credit Suisse aims for 100% of securities venture in China growth plan
Financial services company Credit Suisse Group AG wants to raise its stake in its China joint venture to 100% and win more market share after getting the go-ahead from the country’s regulator to take a majority holding, Reuters reported.
Hong Kong hotel converted into new national security office
China opened its national security office in Hong Kong (link in Chinese) on Wednesday, utilizing the four-star Metropark Hotel Kowloon, with 266 rooms, near Victoria Park. Local media reported it may be only a temporary site.
Trump considering a ban on TikTok
U.S. President Trump said his administration is considering banning the short video app TikTok in the U.S. as one possible way to retaliate against China over its handling of the coronavirus.
“It’s something we’re looking at, yes,” Trump said in an interview about comments by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who had earlier mentioned the matter.
Real estate firm Tahoe Group defaults on debt of 27.1 billion yuan
Shenzhen-listed property firm Tahoe Group Co. Ltd. has defaulted on debt of 27.1 billion yuan cumulatively since last September, the company said in a Tuesday statement. The real estate agency said it will use sales revenue to pay down debt and is considering introducing strategic investors.
Medical manufacturer Tinavi soars more than sevenfold in STAR Market IPO
Shares of medical robot maker Tinavi Medical Technologies Co. Ltd. soared (link in Chinese) more than 600% in its trading debut on the Nasdaq-style STAR Market. The huge jump highlighted the year-old exchange’s more market-oriented features, including a lack of first-day trading limits.
Chinese students may be forced to leave U.S. if courses move online
A new policy announced by Washington Monday could force Chinese students enrolled at American universities to leave the United States if all their classes are taught online this fall due to the spread of Covid-19. The move could affect up to around 370,000 students.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• Popular hotpot restaurant chain Haidilao International Holding Ltd. is expected to report its first net loss since going public in September 2018 in Hong Kong. The company’s revenue declined by 20% in the first half of 2020 while expenses remained high due to epidemic prevention measures, it said Monday.
• China’s top economic planner announced 200 million yuan worth of investment in Sino-European freight train logistics centers in five Chinese hub cities.
• Chinese storytelling mobile app Kuaidian, that utilizes dialogue-based, text-message reading format, has closed nearly $100 million in a Series C round of financing led by Sequoia Capital China.
• Ucommune, China’s biggest shared workspace provider, has been acquired by Orisun Acquisition Corp., a Nasdaq-listed U.S. blank check firm formed for the purpose of entering into a merger, asset acquisition, or similar business combination, according to an announcement.
• At least 21 people died Tuesday in Southwest China’s Guizhou province after a bus plunged into a reservoir in Anshun. The dead included students on their way to take the annual college entrance exams.
• Harvard University President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement that new visa rules disclosed this week on international students impose “a blunt, one-size-fits-all approach to a complex problem.”
• Charles Chiang, CEO of Taiwan technology information company Micro-Star International Co. Ltd., died at 56 (link in Chinese) after falling from an office building on Tuesday. The reason for his death is still under investigation.
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
• The Chinese mainland reported seven new coronavirus cases (link in Chinese) for Tuesday, all imported, according to the National Health Commission. Beijing continued to report no new cases (link in Chinese) for a second straight day.
• Globally, the number of coronavirus infections was approaching 11.8 million as of noon Wednesday Beijing time, with the U.S. just short of 3 million. Fatalities have topped 543,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
China’s college entrance examination kicked off yesterday after being postponed for a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
** LOOKING AHEAD
July 9: Release of China’s CPI and PPI data
Contact reporter Lu Yutong (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editor Yang Ge (email@example.com)
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