Caixin
Dec 22, 2020 09:20 AM
CX DAILY

CX Daily: How Illegal Online Gambling Launders $153 Billion From China

Online gambling /

Cover Story: How illegal online gambling launders $153 billion from China

A migrant worker from the northern Chinese city Baoding “loaned” three credit cards under his name to friends to offset 2,500 yuan ($380) of debt he owed. He never imagined he would later be arrested for illegal sale of credit cards that were used by criminal groups to launder money for online gambling.

In the first nine months of 2020, police cracked down on 1,700 online gambling platforms and 1,400 underground banks involving more than 1 trillion yuan ($153 billion) of illegal transactions, data from the Ministry of Public Security showed. That compared with 7,200 online gambling cases in 2019 totaling 18 billion yuan.

In the cross-border online gambling chain, mobile payments play an increasingly important role. As the front-runner in mobile payments, China has been aggressively promoting payments via mobile phone scans of QR codes, a type of barcode. In China, even a street food vendor owns a unique QR code for receiving mobile payments. The convenience associated with mobile payments has also attracted criminal gambling groups.

FINANCE & ECONOMY

deposit

Fintech companies have come under a storm of regulatory scrutiny since the abrupt suspension of Ant Group’s IPO Nov. 3.

Fintech /

Fintech giants follow Ant Group’s lead in halting bank deposit products

China’s biggest fintech companies removed savings products linked to regional banks from their online platforms amid heightened scrutiny from regulators concerned that the funds are being raised by unstable smaller lenders and could fuel financial risks.

The financial services arms of tech giants Tencent Holdings Ltd., JD.com Inc., Baidu Inc., Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd., Meituan, Xiaomi Corp., and Lufax Holding Ltd., which is backed by financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd., have stopped offering products that allow consumers who use their online platforms to make deposits with brick-and-mortar lenders.

The news follows confirmation Friday by Ant Group Co. Ltd., the country’s dominant online fintech platform, that it had halted the service on its Alipay mobile payment app in accordance with regulatory requirements.

Bribery confession sends shock waves through online payment sector

Bonds /

Brokerage involved in upending China’s bond market punishes handful of executives

A month after a state-owned coal mining company’s surprise default rattled the country’s bond market, the securities firm that allegedly helped it break the rules said it is punishing several executives following a regulatory probe.

Haitong Securities Co. Ltd. criticized and fined several of its senior staff for violating “the industry’s self-regulatory rules” and company rules, according to a statement (link in Chinese) published Saturday.

These staff members include Xia Kun, general manager of Haitong's bond financing department in Beijing; Li Dong, general manager of its fixed-income department; Zhang Shijun, a deputy general manager of its asset management subsidiary; and Yao Hong, a deputy general manager of its futures subsidiary.

Carbon emission /

Senior economic adviser says next five-year plan should set carbon targets

Liu Shijin, deputy director of economic affairs at the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s top advisory body, suggested that targets for carbon emissions reduction should be included in the 14th five-year plan with progress posted as the country seeks to achieve carbon neutrality.

To achieve China’s promises to reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060, Liu said at a forum Friday that the two commitments could bring about a “revolution to future technology and growth models” in the country. “We had better start now,” he said.

He suggested that Beijing should include the two indicators — carbon emissions and carbon intensity — in its 14th Five-Year Plan, a roadmap for the country’s development from 2021-25, and release data on a regular basis.

National security /

China adds rules on foreign investment in national security

China introduced a new regulation that will allow government agencies to preview, deny and punish foreign investment activities in areas that are deemed as important to national security.

Foreign investment involving production of military products, development of key agricultural, energy and natural resources as well as critical infrastructure and internet technology are subject to government review, the National Development and Reform Commission said Saturday in a statement.

The new regulation was drawn up based on the country’s existing foreign investment and national security laws and jointly issued by the NDRC and the Ministry of Commerce. The rule will be effective within 30 days, according to the statement.

Quick hits /

Beijing reports first confirmed case of Covid-19 in 134 days

China tightens Covid-19 testing rules for travelers from U.S.

Exclusive: Regulator removes insurer’s chair in embezzlement scandal

BUSINESS & TECH

DJI

The U.S. added around 60 Chinese companies, including drone-maker DJI, to its blacklist Friday for what it called “actions deemed contrary to the national security or foreign policy interest of the United States.”

Sanctions /

China mulls retaliation after U.S. blacklists drone-maker DJI and others

China pledged to take as-yet unspecified countermeasures after the U.S. imposed sanctions on dozens more Chinese firms — including domestic chipmaking leader SMIC and global drone giant DJI, as security and trade tensions between the two countries continued a downward spiral.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said in a statement (link in Chinese) over the weekend that the U.S. has “generalized national security and abused export controls to suppress other countries’ enterprises, institutions and individuals,” severely damaging the international economic order, free trade rules and the security of global supply chains.

Beijing’s response came after the U.S. Friday added around 60 Chinese firms to the blacklist for “actions deemed contrary to the national security or foreign policy interest of the United States,” according to a U.S. Department of Commerce statement.

U.S. blacklists SMIC among more than 60 Chinese businesses

Power /

Cold snap, recovering economy drive record power demand

A cold snap and rapid economic recovery pushed demand for power to record levels in large swathes of Central China last week, leading to shortages that prompted many areas to limit consumption and resort to controlled blackouts.

The problem has been compounded by recently soaring coal prices, since plants powered by the fossil fuel supply about half of China’s electricity. Domestic coal supplies have been squeezed recently due to tighter inspections following a series of recent mining accidents; imports have also plunged as most users have stopped buying from one of China’s leading suppliers, Australia, amid recent trade frictions.

Last week saw record electricity demand in a number of provincial-level regions, including Jiangxi, Hubei, Guangxi and Hebei. Cities experiencing similar major spikes included Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an and Beijing. Among those, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Chengdu and Xi’an all imposed usage restrictions to cope with the short supplies. Last week’s spike came after Hunan and Zhejiang provinces experienced similar jumps in demand that led them to also limit consumption.

Delisting /

Trump signs bill that could boot Chinese stocks from U.S. exchanges

President Donald Trump Friday signed legislation that could kick Chinese companies off of U.S. exchanges unless American regulators can review their financial audits, a move likely to further escalate tensions between the two countries.

The measure, which could affect corporate giants like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc., serves as another parting shot at Beijing before Trump leaves office in January.

The delisting law won bipartisan support in the U.S. House of Representatives early this month after easily clearing the Senate in May. While it applies to any foreign company, the bill’s sponsors have said their goal was to target China.

Methane /

Japan to help build giant methane plant in China

Japan and China will launch a joint project to create one of the world’s largest methane production facilities in northern China that reuses carbon dioxide and surplus hydrogen, Nikkei learned.

The two countries hope to establish the technology and provide it to emerging and developing nations. The project aims to produce methane from hydrogen and carbon dioxide emitted from industrial production in the Yulin Economic and Technological development zone in Shaanxi province. Recycling carbon in this manner reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

The joint project is expected to be operational in the mid-2020s. Japan’s economy ministry and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, or NEDO, an agency affiliated with the ministry, will support the project.

Quick hits /

Hong Kong bans flights from U.K. due to virus spike

Editorial: Regulators are right to take on competition-killing big tech

JD Health swells staff of on-call doctors with distinct health-care tie-up

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