Apr 13, 2021 09:14 AM

CX Daily: Ant Group to Remake Itself to Fall in Line With Regulators

Fintech /

Ant Group to remake itself to fall in line with regulators

Ant Group Co. Ltd. will restructure itself into a financial holding company overseen by the central bank, central bank Deputy Governor Pan Gongsheng said Monday, as China tightens its scrutiny over the sprawling fintech giant.

The restructuring is part of a “comprehensive and feasible rectification plan” that the company has formulated upon regulators’ guidance after falling under strict regulatory oversight last year, Pan said in a statement (link in Chinese) released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

The statement comes after China’s four top financial regulators, including the PBOC, summoned Ant Group executives for talks on Monday.

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Smart cars /

Cover Story: Tech giants bet on the smart-car revolution

The electric car sector is becoming increasingly crowded as more tech companies jump on the bandwagon, pushing a radical shake-up in the 138-year-old global auto industry.

Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp. became the latest newcomer in the electric vehicle (EV) race with a plan to invest $10 billion over the next decade. Shortly before Xiaomi’s announcement, internet search engine Baidu Inc. set up a joint venture with domestic carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to make smart EVs. E-commerce giant Alibaba formed an EV joint venture with China’s biggest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp., and ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing partnered with automaker BYD to develop EVs designed for ride-hailing.

Telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co., which is suffering under U.S. sanctions that crippled its phone business, partnered with Beijing-based EV manufacturer BAIC Blue Valley to launch a luxury electric car equipped with Huawei’s smart driving system. The car, which is set to hit the market April 17, reinforced speculation that Huawei will eventually build its own cars, despite the company’s repeated denials.


Hainan /

China issues guidelines on opening up Hainan financial sector

China’s financial regulators issued guidelines Friday to further open up financial services in the southern island province of Hainan, including increasing yuan convertibility and allowing market access to foreign investors.

The guidelines are another step in a massive plan announced in June to develop Hainan over the next 15 years and make it an “internationally influential, high-level” port by 2050. The guidelines include 37 pilot measures but still need detailed implementation policies, industry experts said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the decision to build Hainan into a free trade port in April 2018 at a ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Hainan Special Economic Zone. In June, the State Council released a master plan, including 60 key measures covering tax breaks and relaxed regulation that will make foreign trade and investment easier.

Banking /

Provincial bank first to roll out carbon-neutrality lending plan

Bank of Jiangsu Co. Ltd. became China’s first bank to roll out a carbon-neutrality lending plan, vowing to lend no less than 200 billion yuan ($30.52 billion) between now and 2025 on climate change-related projects, state media Shanghai Securities News reported (link in Chinese) Sunday.

The bank also pledged to provide loans worth at least 50 billion yuan in the clean-energy sector with the goal of reducing carbon emissions by more than 10 million tons, according to the report.

Covid-19 /

China CDC director sticks up for homegrown vaccines, downplaying criticism

A senior Chinese health official downplayed recent headline-making comments he made about the effectiveness of Chinese Covid-19 vaccines, saying he was commenting on the efficacy of global vaccines more generally, not homegrown ones in particular.

In follow-up press reports, Gao Fu, director of China's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), nonetheless stood by remarks that the country is considering adopting a new inoculation strategy that includes mixing different types of vaccines and adjusting doses.

Gao was responding to media reports Saturday which quoted him as

saying that efficacy rates of Chinese vaccines needed improving. Gao

was speaking at a conference in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

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Opinion /

Opinion: Huarong can’t be treated like a normal company in bankruptcy restructuring

After China Huarong Asset Management Co. Ltd. on March 31 decided to suspend its share trading the next day, the market became awash in rumors that the company, one of the country’s four largest bad-asset managers, would be forced into restructuring or might even go bankrupt.

"The rumors spooked many institutional investors, sending the company’s bonds tumbling," writes Ling Huawei, managing editor of Caixin Media and Caixin Weekly. "Huarong, a product of China’s reform of state-owned banks at the end of last century, has once again found itself at the center of a critical moment in its history."

"Can Huarong go bankrupt?" Ling asks.

Quick hits /

Editorial: Asset prices key to controlling inflation in China

China's former envoy to U.K. gets new job overseeing Korean affairs

Opinion: China should stay cautious as it flirts with all-in Middle East strategy



A staff member inspects a wind-solar power station in Hami, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Feb. 12. Photo: IC Photo

Subsidies /

China plans to end some solar subsidies while eyeing price parity with fossil fuels

China will end subsidies this year for new solar power plants and distributed industrial energy projects and could set prices for wind and solar power sold to the state power grid on a par with fossil fuels to make renewables stand on their own feet, according to the country’s top economic planner.

The cutoff in handouts for the two key solar power sectors in 2021 follows the central government’s move last year to slash subsidies. China is also mulling an end to subsidies for new residential solar power projects in 2022, according to an internal draft plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Tuesday.

Accident /

Authorities battle to rescue 21 miners trapped in flooded Xinjiang coal shaft

Chinese authorities were working Sunday to rescue 21 miners trapped in a coal shaft due to flooding in the far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, state news agency Xinhua reported.

The incident occurred at around 6:10 p.m. Saturday at the Fengyuan Coal Mine in the Changji Hui autonomous prefecture in northern Xinjiang, Xinhua said. Eight people were safely evacuated. No deaths were immediately reported.

Rescuers have basically identified the locations of the trapped miners, 12 of whom are stuck some 1,200 meters below ground, state broadcaster CCTV reported Sunday morning, adding that the region’s complex topography is hampering rescue efforts.

Sex doll /

Police crackdown on sex doll rental firms fires debate about migrants’ needs

When police shuttered Li Bo’s business in March, he wasn’t particularly surprised. Law enforcement officers had targeted his controversial company for months with nighttime raids and threats of a shutdown.

The 35-year-old is the owner of Ai Ai Land, a so-called “sex doll experience hall” in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that rents mannequins at hourly rates for sexual use. Although similar businesses have operated in China since at least 2019, a string of recent closures has made national headlines and stoked public debate about the country’s laws and sexual mores.

Chips /

China chip fund cashes out some of its holdings

A national entity set up to invest in China’s chip sector is starting to unwind positions in some of its more advanced investments, cashing out positions and pocketing profits as a growing number of its portfolio companies list on the country’s nearly 2-year-old Nasdaq-style STAR Market.

In the latest such sell-downs, GigaDevice Semiconductor (Beijing) Inc. and China Wafer Level CSP Co. Ltd. both announced recent reductions in stakes held by China Integrated Circuit Industry Investment Fund Co. Ltd. (CICIIF), a national entity set up in 2014 to invest in the sector.

Chinese government-led funds like the ones set up by CICIIF are similar to venture and private equity funds elsewhere, though they tend to be more policy-focused.

Quick hits /

Top Hong Kong broadcaster’s CEO to retire

Real estate platform Anjuke files for HK IPO

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