Caixin Business English 11 财新商业英语进阶计划 11
例句：The letter also shows the company saying its cash flow may collapse as it may need to repay a whopping 130 billion yuan or $19 billion to strategic investors.
To learn how the phrase is used in English reporting, please click here.
例句：Its long-delayed backdoor listing on the Chinese mainland market also suggests Evergrande could be headed for trouble.
To learn how the phrase is used in English reporting, please click here.
例句：Companies that have crossed all three red lines will be banned from taking on more debt, and Evergrande had breached all three thresholds. As of June 30, Evergrande had a liabilities-to-assets ratio of 83%, a net debt-to-equity ratio of 159%, and a cash ratio of 0.6, according to the company’s unaudited mid-year financial report.
To learn how the phrase is used in English reporting, please click here.
Josh: Hello and ni hao!
This is the Caixin China Biz Roundup broadcast every week day from Beijing with the essential news for everything you need to know about China and the world of business – plus a little bit more.
I’m Joshua Dummer
Nandini: And I’m Nandini Venkata
Josh: Coming up on today’s show. A mysterious letter has been circulating online, indicating that developer Evergrande is looking for government support for a corporate restructuring（公司重组） – which the company strongly denies. Also, we will be taking a look at China’s efforts to wean itself off coal and hearing how a new study says the country could cut its consumption of the black rock by a further 150 million tons. Plus, the former vice president of China Citic Bank has been sentenced to prison for 15 years for bribery（贪污受贿）.
But for my top story today I want to highlight an in depth feature on Caixin Global which asks the question quote “Will Huawei Become China’s Tesla Challenger?”
Nandini: I’m sorry? The question doesn’t even make sense to me. Huawei is a tech company that makes phones and last time I looked Tesla was an automaker.
Josh: OK I see I am going to have to do a little background here.
Tesla is a car company but Xu Zhijun, a rotating chairman of Huawei, gave a public lecture recently where he said that Tesla points to the future of automobile manufacturing and that future is powered by electricity and artificial intelligence. And this is an area that Huawei fits into very nicely.
In fact Huawei started to move into auto-related technology research back in 2013, developing internet-based auto applications. And in April 2019, the company made its first appearance at the Shanghai international auto show, declaring a plan to become an auto parts supplier. One month later, Huawei officially set up an auto business unit focusing on smart car（智能汽车） solutions.
Nandini: So Huawei has already moved into the auto industry making parts – how did I not know this?
Josh: I am going to politely not answer that question.
OK back to whether Huawei will eat Tesla’s dinner. Although founder and Chairman Ren Zhengfei has repeatedly said Huawei has no plan to manufacture complete cars, the company has built up the capacity to produce almost everything needed for smart cars.
And Xu Zhijun teasingly said quote: “Anything that Tesla can do, we can do,” end quote.
And in mid-August, Huawei quietly modified its business registration（营业登记） by adding research, production and sales of auto parts and smart driving systems to its business scope, according to public records.
AND A person close to the company told Caixin that Huawei aims to become a one-stop supplier of all software and hardware for smart cars and seeks a dominant say in the industry.
Nandini: OK Huawei is clearly moving into the auto industry but there is a big difference between making parts and making complete cars.
Josh: Maybe but Huawei previously said it wouldn’t manufacture cell phones and would just stick to making parts.
Nandini: It really said that?
Josh: The in depth feature on our Caixin Global website that I am getting all this information from wouldn’t lie. And look at Huawei now – crowned the world’s biggest smartphone maker.
Nandini: So when do you think Huawei will start producing cars and really taking on Tesla?
Josh: Well in some ways it has already started. It has entered into a partnership with BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co. Ltd, the electric-car unit of BAIC Group. The first model co-developed by the two companies is called the N61. And a prototype（原型） of the car is set to start road tests in later this year.
But before you get too excited about driving around in a Huawei car it might never happen –cars are a high risk business and notorious（臭名昭著的） money pit. An auto company executive familiar with Huawei told Caixin the company is doing everything related to smart cars but will figure out the most valuable part to focus on, which may be the operating system（操作系统） and computer chips and not making actual cars.
So expect to see Huawei getting more involved in the automobile industry but I’m making no predictions if we will ever see a Huawei car.
Nandini: Thanks Josh, and remember you can read the full in depth analysis on Huawei and its move into the car industry in the in depth piece on our web site.
Thanks Josh! Well, moving on to my top story of the day which is all about what absolutely no one wants to get for Christmas.
Josh: A signed copy of your autobiography?
Nandini: No I am actually talking about coal, which, granted, is a far better gift. Or to be more specific, my story is about dispersed coal, which is basically fist-sized lumps of the black rock burned by individuals and companies on their premises for heating and energy.
In its latest annual study, China Energy Conservation Association is now urging the government to keep on drastically cutting its use of raw coal. The country is on track to cut consumption by an estimated 200 million tons overall by the end of the current five-year plan（五年计划） this year.
However, the research organization’s new report says that China could slash its use of the black rock by at least an additional 150 to 200 million tons over the course of the next five-year plan which will cover 2020-2025.
Josh: And why is it so important for China to use less off this stuff?
Nandini: First things first, just yesterday, we reported on how China - the world’s top greenhouse gas emitter - has vowed to go carbon neutral（碳中和） by 2060. If the country wants to achieve such a goal, it will need to cut back on its use of fossil fuels（化石燃料） in general.
Second, dispersed coal remains a leading driver of air pollution within the nation. Whenever many households and businesses in the country’s north burn the fuel in basic stoves it often triggers upticks in pollution.
Now, in past years, the government has reduced its reliance on the fuel by encouraging tens of millions of users to switch to gas-fired or electric alternatives, eliminating old and inefficient furnaces, and even relocating polluting enterprises. But, the China Energy Conservation Association report says the country can achieve even better and faster results through measures like improving subsidies for switching to renewable energy（可再生燃料） sources, tightening regulation of industrial dispersed coal use, and setting a “rational” timeline for a total phase-out.
Josh: And did these moves at least lead to a significant improvement in air quality?
Nandini: Well, according to the new report, this phase-out of dispersed coal has already prompted rapid air quality improvements in areas historically prone to high levels of smog. Indeed, in a number of key northern pilot cities including Tianjin, Taiyuan and Shijiazhuang, average autumn and winter daily concentrations of the especially hazardous air pollutant PM 2.5 fell from 109.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016 to just 69.7 micrograms per cubic meter last year.
Josh: Ok, so it seems like China is generally making good progress cutting back on its use of this highly polluting fuel, but the new report argues that if the government were to adopt further steps, it could speed up the process? Anything else I need to know?
Nandini: Well, something to bear in mind: China consumes more coal than any other nation. For the country to wean itself off the black stuff won’t be entirely smooth. Indeed, since kicking off its transition（转型）, some parts of the country have suffered fuel shortages（燃料短缺）, safety issues and let’s just call it “heavy-handed implementation”. So, there could definitely be more challenges ahead.
Josh: Ok, thanks Nandini. Well, it seems like someone else that’s facing plenty of challenges is Evergrande Group. It appears to be plagued by a poison pen letter.
Nandini: Oh no, is this like that scary film when a group of teens receive a sinister anonymous letter saying ‘I know what you did last summer’?
Josh: Not quite, but I am wondering whether this episode is beginning to resemble a horror story for the Chinese developer. Instead, on Thursday, a peculiar letter began making the rounds online. The document showed that Evergrande is seeking government support for a corporate restructuring.
To make matters odder, the debt-ridden（负债累累的） company has denied the authenticity（真实性） of the document.
Nandini: Ok, let’s back up a moment. What else do we know about the document in question?
Josh: Well, the letter is dated August 24 and seemed to have been sent from Evergrande Group to the Guangdong government. It warned that the developer could trigger a series of risks in the financial system if it fails to complete an asset restructuring. The letter also shows the company saying its cash flow may collapse as it may need to repay a whopping 130 billion yuan or $19 billion to strategic investors（战略投资者）.
Nandini: So, Evergrande says it never wrote this message?
Josh: Well, that’s putting it mildly. In a reaction to news, Evergrande promptly filed a statement to the Hong Kong Stock exchange, where its shares are traded. The company said quote “The documents and pictures are fabricated and are pure defamation（中伤）,”endquote, adding that it will take all legal actions to protect its legitimate rights and interests.
Nandini: Alright, so that’s that. I don’t get why this seems so important.
Josh: Not so fast. As the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. A closer peek into the debt situation of the company suggests that the risks exposed by the letter may in fact not be groundless（毫无根据的）.
Nandini: Oh really? Do go on.
Josh: Well, first a bit of background. Over the years, as a result of a highly leveraged expansion, Evergrande has accumulated nearly 900 billion yuan of debt with an average cost of nearly 9%. That means the developer needs to pay out more than 80 billion yuan of interest（利息） each year.
But things have really come to a head in August for the company. That’s because of a new pilot program which aims to limit real estate companies’ ability to take on more debt. As part of the program, regulators have introduced something called the ‘three red lines’ policy which sets limits on bank borrowings by developers.
So. First, a liabilities-to-assets ratio（资产负债比）, excluding presales, of no more than 70%. Second, a net debt-to-equity ratio（债务股本比） of less than 100%; Third, cash holdings（库存现金） at least equal to short-term debt.
Nandini: And Evergrande has crossed all three of these red lines?
Josh: Correct. According to the company’s unaudited（未经审核的） mid-year financial report, as of late June Evergrande crossed all of these thresholds. Therefore, according to the new pilot program, the company is now banned from taking on more debt.
To make matters worse, on the same day the letter began circulating, S&P Global Ratings（标普全球信用评级） downgraded Evergrande’s outlook from stable to negative, citing liquidity（流动资金） reasons.
So, while the company does vehemently deny being behind the document or that it holds any truth, I do think we should be paying attention to this story because Evergrande is China’s largest developer by assets – so if it’s really on the brink of a government restructuring that’s undeniably one of the biggest stories on the national business scene.
Now, this is all part of a much longer, in depth report by Caixin, and I have just had time to give you a taste. So do head online to caixinglobal.com where you can learn more about the company’s financial woes and how its long-delayed backdoor listing（借壳上市） on the Chinese mainland market also suggests Evergrande could be headed for trouble.
Nandini: OK, thanks Josh. Now, about we find out what else has been going on in China’s business scene.
Josh: Caixin has learned that a former vice president of state-owned China Citic Bank has recently been sentenced to 15 years in prison for accepting bribes after issuing loans. That’s according to sources familiar with the matter. It’s been roughly two years since Chen Xuying surrendered（屈服） to authorities along with her husband. Sources told Caixin that Chen had expressed surprise at her conviction（定罪） and that she would appeal（上诉） the decision.
Nandini: Chinese genomics（基因） company BGI Group has put into operation a factory it built in Ethiopia to produce coronavirus testing kits for local people as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe. That’s according to a report by the Xinhua News Agency. The $5 million plant, which is the first coronavirus testing kit（测试仪器） production facility in Ethiopia, is designed to be able to make 6-8 million tests a year, and can enhance its annual capacity to up to 10 million if needed, Xinhua reported, citing Chen Songheng, general manager of BGI Ethiopia.
Josh: Shared workspace specialist WeWork said Thursday it is ceding control of its China operation to one of its local partners, as it continues working its way out of a debt crunch that sent its valuation plummeting last year. The deal will see Trustbridge Partners pay $200 million for an undisclosed（未公布的） stake of WeWork China, and take over running the venture in the process. Trustbridge named its operating partner Michael Jiang as acting CEO of WeWork China effectively immediately. The operation being taken over by TrustBridge includes about 100 locations in 10 cities on the Chinese mainland, as well as several locations in Hong Kong and Taipei.
Nandini: Thanks for listening and stay tuned for our next episode! If you want to listen to our extensive back catalogue of podcasts or check out more of Caixin Global’s great journalism, then why not simply download our app? Or head online to caixinglobal.com
Goodbye and Zaijian.
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