Caixin
Mar 17, 2021 09:07 AM
CX DAILY

CX Daily: China Forges Steel Colossus. But Will the Pieces Stick Together?

Steel /

In Depth: China forges steel colossus. But will the pieces stick together?

One day late last December, leading Chinese steelmaker Baowu marked a major milestone when its Chairman Chen Derong performed the company’s first “distance smelting” with the tap of a key on his tablet computer. With that motion, an emotional Chen proclaimed that the 93-year-old company had officially passed the 100 million-tons mark for annual production capacity, capping four years of breakneck merger-fueled growth that has created the world’s largest steelmaker.

The milestone vaulted China Baowu Steel Group Corp. Ltd. past ArcelorMittal SA for the crown, ending the Luxembourg-based company’s 14-year streak at the top of the global steel heap. Baowu nearly took the crown a year earlier, producing 95.47 million tons of crude steel compared with ArcelorMittal’s 97.31 million tons.

Baowu’s sudden rise has come on a rapid-fire string of mergers and other tie-ups with regional peers, all state-owned. While Beijing has long pushed for such consolidation, the campaign is also being driven by local governments that want to unload responsibility for overseeing inefficient local behemoths.

Covid-19 /

China expands inoculation programs to select senior citizens

China has started administering coronavirus vaccines to select groups of senior citizens, broadening the use of shots initially only deemed safe for working-age people.

Healthy people over the age of 60 have been receiving the inoculations in Beijing since early March and in parts of the island province of Hainan since late February, according to local public health bodies.

Zhang Wenhong: How to view adverse vaccination reactions

FINANCE & ECONOMY

Fine

Guangdong Rongtai's headquarters in Jieyang, Guangdong province. Photo: Guangdong Rongtai

Fines /

Stocks regulator flexes muscles with massive fine on chemicals-maker

China’s stocks regulator plans to slap massive fines on a Shanghai-listed chemicals manufacturer and some of its senior executives and staff, sending a message to the markets that it is prepared to use stronger powers of punishment allowed in the revised Securities Law.

Guangdong Rongtai Industry Co. Ltd., its chairman and some employees are facing penalties adding up to a total 15 million yuan ($2.3 million) for falsifying profits and information disclosure violations, according to a company filing (link in Chinese) to the bourse published Saturday.

The scale of the fines reflects the provisions of the updated legislation, which went into effect in March 2020 and allows for far steeper financial sanctions on those found to have broken laws and regulations.

Shenzhen /

Shenzhen ranks as Chinese mainland’s most economically vibrant city

China’s southern boomtown of Shenzhen, long regarded as a pioneer of the country’s reform and opening-up, now has the strongest economy on the Chinese mainland, according to a new ranking.

Of the 900 global cities ranked in the latest Global Cities Index by asset management firm Schroders PLC, Shenzhen ranked 19th in 2020, jumping 25 places from the previous year. Shenzhen outranked other mainland cities including the eastern new economy powerhouse of Hangzhou, the capital of Beijing, and the financial hub of Shanghai.

The Global Cities Index ranks the world’s most economically vibrant cities based on several key factors — including environment, economy, innovation and transportation.

Personnel /

Citic Bank chairperson resigns in wake of former president’s fall

Li Qingping, chairperson of Shanghai- and Hong Kong-listed China Citic Bank Corp. Ltd., resigned due to “work arrangements,” the bank announced Monday, in the wake of its former president’s fall to a corruption investigation.

Li, 58, also resigned as executive director of the bank, according to a filing released after a board meeting on Monday.

Zhu Hexin, chairperson of the bank’s parent Citic Group Corp. Ltd., will fill the vacancy left by Li, another filing said. Zhu will officially take over Li’s role once the appointment gets approved by the bank’s shareholders and regulators.

Quick hits /

Chinese cult fighter under probe by graft busters

Fisher: Rise or fall, there’s no reason to fear the yuan

BUSINESS & TECH

Platforms

The campaign comes as online trading platforms have soared in popularity with a boom in home-based shopping during the global pandemic. Photo: VCG

Platforms /

Online trading platforms in crosshairs of market regulator’s latest cleanup

China’s market regulator said it is creating a list of responsibilities for online trading platforms in the latest government effort to bring order to a group of operators selling everything from cosmetics to takeout food.

The State Administration for Market Regulation’s latest plan aims to clean up the space and create a healthier online environment, said Wei Li, a senior official in its internet oversight office. Among other things, its new measures will clarify boundaries for when platforms should be held responsible, and strengthen regulatory oversight, he said.

Additionally, the regulator said it would strengthen its enforcement efforts when complaints arise over online trading platforms, including investigating and dealing with both major and ordinary cases in a timely way and notifying the public on such matters.

Xi calls for ‘gaps and loopholes’ in internet platform regulations to be closed

Restructuring /

HNA restructuring begins with consolidation of 320 units

A court in Hainan approved the merger and restructuring of 320 affiliates of bankrupt HNA Group into the parent company, paving way for the conglomerate to eventually emerge from bankruptcy.

HNA Group was designated as administrator of the merger, and creditors will hold their first meeting June 4, according to a statement issued Monday by the Hainan High People’s Court. The 320 units will be integrated into HNA group’s bankruptcy reorganization, and the group will submit a restructuring plan to the creditor meeting for approval, the court said.

HNA group’s creditors petitioned a court Jan. 29 to order a bankruptcy restructuring after the giant conglomerate failed to repay trillions of yuan in debts. Its 324 units also filed for bankruptcy. HNA later withdrew the bankruptcy filings of four units, reducing the number of subsidiaries in restructuring to 320.

Cinema /

Wanda cuts stake in U.S. cinema operator AMC Entertainment

Real estate and entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group sold down its stake in AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., a leading cinema operator in the U.S.

The company held 9.8% of AMC’s ordinary shares at the end of March, down from about 23% at the end of last year, according to AMC’s annual report filed with the U.S. securities regulator March 12.

In a March 10 conference call to discuss the company’s latest quarterly results, AMC CEO Adam Aron said Wanda is still AMC’s largest shareholder, and Wanda still has two members on the company’s board.

Pollution /

China’s air pollution improves dramatically amid pandemic

Air pollution in China improved dramatically last year amid the Covid-19 lockdowns, but people on the mainland were still exposed to more than three times the level of harmful airborne particles recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), a new report shows.

The World Air Quality Report 2020, published Tuesday by Switzerland-based air quality technology company IQAir in collaboration with Greenpeace, found that 86% of Chinese cities recorded cleaner air last year compared with 2019, while average pollution exposure by population fell 11%.

Quick hits /

Industry recovery drives double-digit growth in energy, commodity output

Facial recognition and faulty cars targeted at annual consumer rights show

Tesla challenger Xpeng drives off with $77 million from government-backed investment firm

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