China Business Digest: Trump Grumbles About ByteDance Retaining Majority TikTok Stake; Tencent to Show England’s Premier League in China
U.S. President Donald Trump raises concerns over a potential deal between Oracle and TikTok if TikTok’s Chinese parent retains a majority stake in the short video app. Tencent clinches China broadcast deal with Premier League. Alibaba expands in real estate market while a leading drone maker is ready to go public. Meanwhile, Burger King China’s 50% owner is weighing a sale of its stake.
— By Mo Yelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Han Wei (email@example.com)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
Trump raises question over ByteDance’s role in Oracle-TikTok deal
U.S. president Donald Trump raised concerns (link in Chinese) over a potential partnership between Oracle and TikTok if the latter’s Chinese parent ByteDance retains a majority in the short video app. “Conceptually, I can tell you that I don’t like that,” Trump told a news conference when asked about Oracle taking only a minority share. “I’m not prepared to sign off on anything. They’re going to be reporting to me tomorrow morning and I’ll let you know.”
Tencent secures China broadcast deal with Premier League
The English Premier League agreed on a new one-year broadcast deal with Tencent Holdings Ltd. in China after the abrupt end of a deal with a previous local partner in the country. Financial terms of the new accord weren’t disclosed. The league terminated its contract with local rights holder PPTV when it stopped payments in March as matches were postponed because of the pandemic.
Alibaba launches new online housing platform
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. launched an online housing platform in a partnership with real estate service provider E-House (China) Enterprise Holdings Ltd., joining a rush by tech companies into China’s booming property market. The new platform, Tmall Haofang, will allow property developers, agents and financial institutions to seek partnerships and offer services.
Industrial drone maker ready for STAR Market listing
Chengdu-based drone maker JOUAV won regulators’ nod to launch an initial public offering on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market, aiming to raise 451 million yuan ($66.7 million) to fund new research and manufacturing facilities. JOUAV specializes in unmanned aircraft for industrial use, such as surveying, mapping, agriculture, engineering and humanitarian assistance. It is the second-largest drone maker in China following SZ DJI Technology Co. Ltd.
China urged not to ban fossil-fuel cars
A policy recommendation (link in Chinese) that China refrain from making a specific plan to ban fossil-fuel cars has been presented to policymakers, said Wang Bing, an official at a state-affiliated research group at an industry conference on Wednesday. The recommendation was the result of discussion by more than 1,000 industry experts and plays an important role in shaping policymakers’ thinking, Wang said.
Liquor-Maker Moutai issues $2.2 billion in bonds to bail out home province
The parent of China’s most valuable company, liquor-maker Kweichou Moutai Co. Ltd., plans to issue up to 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion) in bonds to help another local government-owned company in debt-ridden Guizhou province to repay its debts.
The bond issuance illustrates how a local government can leverage a profitable state-owned enterprise (SOE) to aid a fellow government-owned company and, by extension, the government itself, which in theory is responsible for the debts of the companies it owns.
Burger King China 50% owner weighs sale of its stake
TAB Food Investments, the largest global franchisee of Restaurant Brands International Inc., is exploring a sale of its China business in a deal that would value the asset at more than $1.2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said. TAB Foods, or TFI, is working with an adviser to gauge interest in its 50% stake in Burger King’s Chinese operations from potential suitors, including private equity firms, the people said. (Bloomberg)
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• Cooking oil veteran Yihai Kerry has received the go-ahead (link in Chinese) for an IPO to raise around 13.9 billion yuan ($2 billion), in what could become a record flotation on Shenzhen's Nasdaq-style ChiNext market.
• Chinese artificial intelligence company Yitu Internet Technology Co. Ltd., is eyeing an IPO in the domestic market, a filing (link in Chinese) to the Shanghai Securities regulatory commission showed on Tuesday, in the latest move toward public listings by China’s “AI quartet”.
• WeChat users will not face civil or criminal penalties even if the United States bans the Chinese-owned messaging app through other actions next week, the Justice Department said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
• A major new company that could ultimately challenge China’s wireless carriers and digital entertainment providers by pooling many of the nation’s local cable TV operators came one step closer to commercial operation this week with the signing of an agreement by its 46 new stakeholders.
• Indebted state-owned Peking University Founder Group Corp., which is undergoing bankruptcy reorganization, has further narrowed down its list of potential strategic investors, and there might be a change in its planned restructuring timeline, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin.
• U.S.-listed Chinese firm Baozun Inc., which provides services to help brands sell on ecommerce platforms, aims to (link in Chinese) raise up to HK$4.1 billion ($529 million) through a secondary listing in Hong Kong.
• China’s national science academy pledged Wednesday to concentrate on plugging the country’s gaps in certain advanced technologies in the next 10 years, especially for key materials that rely on imports from the United States, in an effort to counter Washington’s tech decoupling with Beijing.
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorized emergency use of experimental coronavirus vaccines developed by a Chinese pharmaceutical company for front-line workers.
• As of Thursday afternoon Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally surpassed 29.88 million, with the death toll passing 941,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• In India, total coronavirus cases passed 5 million on Wednesday — behind only the U.S. with 6.6 million cases, as the pandemic accelerated at an ever-growing rate in the South Asian country.
• On Wednesday, the Chinese mainland reported nine new symptomatic Covid-19 cases (link in Chinese), all imported. It reported 14 asymptomatic cases, also all imported.
Contact reporter Mo Yelin (firstname.lastname@example.org) and editor Yang Ge (email@example.com)
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