China Business Digest: China May Regulate Online Health-Care Mutual Aid Platforms; ByteDance Plans Bonuses to Thank Employees Amid Turmoil
Shares of bottled-water producer Nongfu Spring jumped sharply in their Hong Kong trading debut. China’s banking and insurance regulator is considering bringing the $760 million online health-care mutual aid industry under regulation. ByteDance plans to hand out cash bonuses to its 60,000-plus global workforce.
— By Guo Yingzhe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
China may regulate online health-care mutual aid platforms
China’s banking and insurance regulator is considering bringing the 5.4 billion yuan ($760 million) medical insurance-like online health-care mutual aid industry under regulation and require licensing for operators of the platforms. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) raised the idea Monday in an article published by an insurance industry journal.
TikTok parent plans bonuses to thank employees amid turmoil
TikTok’s Chinese parent ByteDance Ltd. plans to hand out cash bonuses to its 60,000-plus global workforce to thank them for helping the company “overcome challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and changing macro environment,” the company said.
Founder Group won’t recognize HK unit’s $1.7 billion of bonds
Bankrupt Peking University Founder Group Corp. said Monday its bankruptcy administrator notified overseas bondholders that the company won’t recognize (link in Chinese) $1.7 billion of bonds issued by its Hong Kong unit. The parent company didn’t directly provide a guarantee for the bonds but signed a “keepwell deed,” which usually serves as a “letter of support” used by Chinese companies to facilitate offshore bond sales by subsidiaries.
Chinese distiller Jiangxiaobai raises $300 million
Chinese liquor distiller Chongqing Jiangxiaobai Liquor Co. raised about $300 million from investors in a fresh funding round, according to people familiar with the matter. China Renaissance Holdings Ltd. led the funding round for the company, the people said.
Speculators pile into ChiNext board as price limits ease
Speculators have been rushing into Shenzhen’s Nasdaq-style ChiNext board (link in Chinese) as regulators have relaxed limits on daily changes in stock prices. Stocks were allowed to rise or fall up to 20% a day starting in late August, up from the previous 10% limit. And there are no limits on daily price changes for new listings in their first five trading days.
ChiNext’s turnover has jumped since the reform, reaching 337.5 billion yuan ($49.4 billion) on Tuesday, the first time in history it was higher than the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s turnover.
Nongfu Spring wells up in Hong Kong trading debut
Shares of leading Chinese bottled water producer Nongfu Spring Co. Ltd. opened up over 85% on Tuesday in their trading debut on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company’s IPO was warmly welcomed by investors, with the retail portion oversubscribed by more than 1,100 times.
China set to be world’s top corn buyer on crop woes and demand
China’s corn purchases from the U.S. and Ukraine have already exceeded 10 million tons, and they could hit 20 million tons if U.S. prices stay competitive, said an analyst. That would make the country the world’s largest corn importer. (Bloomberg)
Farmers sell less wheat to state in anticipation of higher prices
Over 20% less wheat was purchased from the country’s major planting regions as of Aug. 31 this year compared to the same period last year, as farmers stored more wheat themselves in anticipation of rising prices. (Read the full story.)
Beyond Meat to set up production facility near Shanghai
American plant-based meat producer Beyond Meat Inc. said on Tuesday that a subsidiary had signed an agreement with local authorities in East China’s Zhejiang province to set up a production facility there to make plant-based meat products including imitation beef, pork and chicken.
Australia’s last two reporters in China flee amid tensions
Two Australian journalists based in China have fled the country as diplomatic relations between the trading partners worsened. (Bloomberg)
** OTHER STORIES MAKING HEADLINES
Economy & Finance
• Near relatives of Fred Hu, chairman of private equity firm Primavera Capital Group, hold a stake of no more than 1% (link in Chinese) in Ant Group Co. Ltd., the fintech giant said Monday. Hu has been accused of cheating a group of investors out of millions of dollars by selling their stake in Ant Group to his siblings on the cheap.
• Taiwan’s exports rose to a record in August, aided by suppliers rushing to ship as many components as possible to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. before a U.S. ban on sales to the company comes into effect next week. (Bloomberg)
• The State Council, China’s cabinet, has approved a work plan for Beijing municipality to build itself into a demonstration zone to expand the opening-up of the services sector. (Read the full story.)
• Insurance giant The People’s Insurance Co. (Group) of China Ltd. is set to welcome Luo Xi as its new chairman, filling a post that has been vacant for two months. (Read the full story.)
• Global food prices increased for a third consecutive month in August, driven by a rebound in demand as economies recover from the pandemic, and by an increase in imports by China as it seeks to meet its U.S. trade deal commitments. (Read the full story.)
Business & Tech
• Profits of nearly a dozen Chinese mainland-listed cable TV networks crashed in the first half of 2020, as people opted to watch shows online, and as the government pushed TV providers to offer free content as a way of encouraging people to stay at home amid the Covid-19 outbreak. (Read the full story.)
• Removing and replacing equipment made by Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. from their wireless networks will likely cost U.S. rural telecom operators as much as $1.8 billion, according to a statement released by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. (Read the full story.)
• Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will halt production at a TV factory in Tianjin municipality by the end of November, its latest step to streamline operations in the world’s second-largest economy where it is facing stiff competition and rising labor costs. (Read the full story.)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
• On Monday, the Chinese mainland reported 10 new symptomatic Covid-19 cases (link in Chinese), all imported. It also reported 13 asymptomatic cases, also all imported.
Caixin’s coverage of the new coronavirus
• As of Tuesday afternoon Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally surpassed 27.3 million, with the death toll at more than 892,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• This week, India passed Brazil to become the country with the second most infections worldwide, behind only the U.S.
** AND FINALLY
Beijing and Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have welcomed millions of students back to school this week, as the two regions were two of the last places to begin autumn classes in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.
A student in Beijing runs to attend the ceremony marking the start of the autumn semester on Monday.
** LOOKING AHEAD
Sept. 9: Release of China’s CPI and PPI data for August
Contact reporter Guo Yingzhe (email@example.com) and editors Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joshua Dummer (email@example.com)
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