China Business Digest: Trump’s Threat to Block WeChat, TikTok Takes Effect Sunday; Ant Wins Shanghai Approval for Mega Listing
TikTok and WeChat will be banned from American app stores starting Sunday, the U.S. Commerce Department said. Jack Ma’s Ant Group moves one step closer to blockbuster listings in Shanghai and Hong Kong. More than half of Japanese companies operating in China say they’re willing to maintain business operations in the country. Meanwhile, China’s younger generation is saving more amid uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
— By Mo Yelin (email@example.com) and Han Wei (firstname.lastname@example.org)
** TOP STORIES OF THE DAY
U.S. to curb WeChat transfers, limit TikTok app as of Sunday
The U.S. will prohibit cash transfers within the U.S. related to WeChat and its parent company Tencent Holdings Ltd. starting Sunday, while prohibiting distribution, maintenance and updates of WeChat and TikTok apps through app stores in the U.S., the Commerce Department said in a statement.
The department also gave ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok until Nov. 12 to resolve the administration’s national security concerns. If they are, the prohibitions in the order may be lifted.
Ant clears Shanghai bourse review for listing
Ant Group won approval from the Shanghai Stock Exchange for an initial public offering on the STAR Market, moving one step closer to a blockbuster dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong that’s expected to raise as much as $30 billion. The Shanghai bourse gave the green light after a hearing Friday, records on its official website showed. The company still needs to register with China’s securities regulator and hold a hearing with the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Regulators warn of risks of high-yield investment products
China’s financial regulators sounded a warning to the public about risks related to wealth management products that promise high yields and zero principal loss, calling such products “financial fraud.” The warning from top regulatory officials came after several investment products went bust, exposing unqualified retailed investors to huge losses.
Japanese firms not ready to pull out of China: survey
Over half of surveyed Japanese companies operating in China expect to stay (link in Chinese) in the country despite rising China-U.S. tensions, according to a survey by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China. The percentage of respondents planning to leave or scale back their China operations also dropped to a five-year low.
Young Chinese save more amid pandemic
China’s younger generation is more willing to save in the face of uncertainties caused by the pandemic, a recent survey found. Average monthly deposits by Chinese from age 18 to 34 reached 1,334 yuan ($197), up 34% from the same period last year. Monthly savings of people older than 35 grew 31% to 1,543 yuan, the survey found.
Auto unit of real estate giant Evergrande eyes Shanghai listing
Hong Kong-listed China Evergrande New-Energy Vehicle Group Ltd. (link in Chinese) announced Friday it plans to list on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market. It is the latest signal that China Evergrande Group, one of the nation’s biggest developers, is serious about developing its auto business.
Investment bank CICC gets the go-ahead to list on mainland
China’s top securities regulator has approved China International Capital Corp. Ltd.’s plan for a secondary listing on the Chinese mainland, according to the brokerage’s Thursday filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company plans to issue as many as 458 million shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, or 9.5% of its total shares, according to the company’s prospectus released earlier this month.
** OTHER STORIES MAKING THE HEADLINES
• U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order that could ban Chinese-owned WeChat in the U.S. may face a delay as a judge is considering putting it on hold. (Bloomberg)
• Robin Li, CEO of internet search engine Baidu Inc., says traffic jams could become a thing of the past by 2030 as he projected (link in Chinese) artificial intelligence-powered “smart transportation” will drive China’s economy in the next decade.
• China’s ByteDance Ltd. is planning a U.S. IPO for TikTok Global, the new company that will operate the global edition of its popular short video app, should its proposed deal be cleared by the U.S. government, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
• The latest efforts to impose order on China’s cement sector was announced this week in the form of a new policy that applies to the installation of new capacity for making clinker, one of the main ingredients in cement making. The new rules increase the amount of old capacity that must be retired when new capacity is added.
• Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has unveiled an autonomous logistics robot that will be used by its logistics affiliate Cainiao in an attempt to meet the demands associated with the last-mile of any delivery.
• The coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world’s travel-related industries, but the sector is recovering faster in China than other countries with the help of government policies. Now, a Chinese state-owned operator of duty-free stores has claimed the top global position in the sector as measured by revenue. (Nikkei)
• With the pandemic hammering steel demand in much of the world, well-known Asian players, from Japan’s Nippon Steel Corp. to South Korea’s Posco, are shuttering blast furnaces and reviewing capital spending plans. (Nikkei)
** ON THE CORONAVIRUS
•As of Friday afternoon Beijing time, the number of coronavirus infections globally surpassed the 30 million mark, with the death toll passing 946,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
• On Thursday, the Chinese mainland reported (link in Chinese) 32 new symptomatic Covid-19 cases, all imported, up from nine the previous day. The number marked the biggest daily increase in more than a month. The health authority also reported 20 asymptomatic cases, also all imported.
Contact reporter Mo Yelin (email@example.com) and editors Yang Ge (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Joshua Dummer (email@example.com)
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