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Popular WeChat Account Valued at 2 Billion Yuan Snapped Up By Education Firm
Vietnam Welcomes Companies Moving Production from China
China’s Legislature Passes Landmark Foreign Investment Law
Tencent Quarterly Profit Sags, to Pay Dividend
Former Tencent AI Chief to Head New Sinovation-Backed Hong Kong Lab
U.S. Trade Delegation to Visit Beijing on March 28-29, China Says
The Fall of a Mysterious Private Villa in a Protected Wilderness Area in China
More Party Discipline Inspections Are Coming, With Focus on Central Government Institutions
China to Draft Value-Added Tax Law This Year
China Construction Bank Names New President
China High-Level Economic Forum to Focus on Opening Up
China Telecom to Invest 9 Billion Yuan in 5G This Year
People’s Daily Head Leaves for High-Level Position at Beijing’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong
Xiaomi Swings to Profit Amid Lackluster Smartphone-Industry
After Food Scandal, New Rule Requires School Officials to Dine With Students
Like the U.S., China Has Its Own College Admissions Problems
Swine Flu Prevention Moves to the Slaughterhouse
China’s Securities Watchdog Receives 22 Fund Applications Targeting High-Tech Board
Stock Nosedives for Shenzhen Software Company After Activist Dubs It Bubble
Teenage Son Kills Mother to End Her ‘Harsh’ Discipline
China’s New Nasdaq-Style High-Tech Board Starts Taking Applications for IPOs
Chinese Dairy Leader Purchases New Zealand’s Major Milk Supply Co-Operative
New Income Tax Law Takes Bite From Government Coffers

By Zhao Runhua and Qian Tong / Mar 22, 2019 12:58 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Tencent is turning to the dividend playbook to get investors excited about its sagging shares.

The gaming and social networking giant turned in a solid performance for 2018, with annual revenue up 32% to a cool 312.7 billion yuan ($46.80 billion), and annual operating profit up a less impressive 8% to 97.7 billion yuan, according to its latest financial report. But its profit tumbled more than 30% in the fourth quarter, as Tencent and its gaming peers suffered under a regulatory freeze on new game titles, which was finally lifted in January. 

In a bid to boost sentiment towards its sagging stock, the company proposed a dividend of HK$1 ($0.13) per share, turning to a commonly used corporate tactic to make its stock more attractive. Tencent’s Hong Kong-listed shares shed nearly 30% last year as investors fretted about the gaming approval freeze. They have gained back some of that this year amid a broader rally on China’s domestic stock markets.

Despite all the headwinds, Tencent contends that gaming remains a robust profit engine.

Its 2018 mobile gaming revenue increased 24% to 77.8 billion yuan, amid strict regulation on content production and children’s gaming addiction prevention that were separate from the freeze on new title approvals. PC games posted annual revenue of 50.6 billion yuan, down 8%, as players adopted more mobile options and the new title freeze dampened business.

Advertising, based on Tencent’s powerful WeChat and QQ social networking services, generated annual revenue of 58.1 billion yuan, up 44% year-on-year.

The company says 2019 will be all about infrastructure construction and cutting-edge technology. Internet of things will remain a crucial strategic area, and expanding gaming businesses in overseas markets is also on the agenda.



By Li Yi / Mar 21, 2019 05:37 PM / Business & Tech

Sinovation's Beijing office. Photo: VCG

Sinovation's Beijing office. Photo: VCG

Sinovation Ventures, the tech investment firm founded by former Google China head Lee Kai-fu, says it will team up with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to build a new AI research lab.

The new Computer Perception and Intelligent Control Lab will be led by former Tencent AI Lab chief Zhang Tong, Sinovation said in its announcement Wednesday. Zhang is currently a faculty member at HKUST, and will also be joining Sinovation as a research partner, the venture capital firm said.

Zhang’s departure as executive director of Tencent’s AI Lab was confirmed by the internet giant in January, after a tenure of less than two years. The Stanford-trained AI scientist was previously a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and had also worked at IBM, Yahoo, and Baidu, before joining Tencent.

Related: Star Researchers’ Departures Marks Shift in China’s AI Sector


By Liu Yanfei, Tang Ziyi and Han Wei / Mar 20, 2019 04:17 PM / Business & Tech

China Telecom executives releasing the company's annual earnings report at a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

China Telecom executives releasing the company's annual earnings report at a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Photo: VCG

China Telecom, one of the country's three major carriers, said it will invest 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in the development of 5G this year, as China competes to lead in the next-generation technology.

Company President and Chief Operating Officer Ke Ruiwen announced the plan on Tuesday at a press conference in Hong Kong while releasing the company's annual report in 2018 and outlook for this year.

The 9 billion yuan is a fraction of the expected spending to update the fifth generation of mobile telecom services in China — which will cost carriers an estimated 1.2 trillion yuan, or 1.5 times their investment in the 4G network, said Wei Leping, a telecom expert at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The announcement comes just days after state-owned China Unicom said it would invest up to 8 billion yuan in 5G this year. 

China Telecom’s net profit hit 21.21 billion yuan in 2018, up 13.9% from the previous year, fueled by increasing subscribers of its telecom and cloud services. Revenue rose 3% to 377 billion yuan.

Related: Former China Mobile Chairman: Eight Things to Know About 5G

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By Hou Qijiang and Tang Ziyi / Mar 20, 2019 02:44 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Xiaomi, the world's fourth-largest smartphone-maker, turned a loss of 43.9 billion yuan ($6.5 billion) in 2017 to a net profit of 13.5 billion yuan last year, according to the earnings report released on Tuesday.

The tech company’s 2018 revenue reached 174.9 billion yuan, up 52.6% year-on-year.

The bulk of that — 113.8 billion yuan, or 64%, came from smartphones, up 41% from the previous year.

This is an especially strong performance, as China’s overall smartphone industry saw weakening sales last year.

Total smartphone shipments in the country dropped 16% to 390 million units in 2018, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Xiaomi, which has long touted its products as offering value for money with a low-price strategy, spun off its lower-end brand Redmi in January, as a strategy to develop multiple specialized brands and target higher-end markets.

That strategy shift did hit Xiaomi a bit in the fourth quarter of last year, when its smartphone shipments slid 12.3% to 25 million, as the company prepared to launch the Redmi brand and new Xiaomi models.

On the earnings call, Xiaomi founder Lei Jun said the company plans to launch four to five new smartphone models in the second quarter this year to “improve” its products lines.

Related: Xiaomi ‘Matures’ With More Centralized Corporate Structure

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By Isabelle Li and Wei Yiyang / Mar 19, 2019 07:47 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The Shenzhen-based corporate software company Kingdee appeared to be a success story – until a prominent investor and stock market analyst in Hong Kong sent its stock into a nosedive by dubbing it a bubble on his website Monday.

David Webb, one of Hong Kong’s most famous stock pickers, wrote on his website that Kingdee may not be as profitable as it seems. Rather, the company “has relied on sector-specific tax breaks, government grants, property investment gains and questionable transactions with related parties” to present profits to investors, he said.

Kingdee’s Hong Kong-listed stock has more than tripled over the last two years, but its share price plunged as much as 14.77% during market time Monday after Webb’s report, and it closed as the worst performer on the Hang Seng Composite Index. The stock continued to take a hit Tuesday, closing nearly 3% lower at HK$8.84 ($1.12) on Tuesday. 

Webb explained his “bubble stock” theory by listing a number of potential risks to Kingdee investors that might not be listed on the company’s financial statements: property investments and state favors covering up low profitability of its core businesses, company disclosure flaws, and possible breaches of corporate governance code.

Webb, a former investment banker, did not specify whether he had a short position in the shares. The company did not respond to Caixin’s enquiries at press time.

Related: Hang Seng Index’s Hot Run Hits 13 Days


By Zhao Runhua and Shen Xinyue / Mar 19, 2019 01:41 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese dairy behemoth Yili announced on Monday that it will buy New Zealand’s second largest dairy co-operative, Westland, in cash for no more than NZ$246 million ($168.5 million).

A subsidiary of Inner Mongolia-based Yili agreed to pay NZ$3.41 per share.

Under the deal, Yili said it would commit to a 10-year promise in which Westland will buy qualified suppliers’ milk at their farm gate prices not lower than those of the bigger co-operative, Fonterra. Farm gate prices refer to prices of milk bought directly from farms. The promise comes as Westland admitted it had failed to maintain a "competitive" buying price from suppliers in the last few years.

The purchase is pending approval by both China’s and New Zealand's governments, as well as Westland’s shareholders.

Established in 1937, Westland provides around 4% of New Zealand’s milk. The company exports dairy products to over 40 countries. Yili said it will leverage Westland’s quality milk to support further dairy production and sales in China and overseas.

In 2018, Westland's net profit dropped 62.8% year-on-year to NZ$560,000. In the same year, Yili's net profit attributable to owners of the parent company increased 7.31% year-on-year to 6.44 billion yuan ($959.18 million).

Related: In a Land of Lactose Intolerance, Dairy is Going Down Better Than Ever


By Cheng Siwei and Yang Ge / Mar 19, 2019 05:54 AM / Business & Tech

A tax collection window. Photo: VCG

A tax collection window. Photo: VCG


That’s what some officials in China’s tax bureau might be thinking these days as a new personal income tax law puts a damper on collections.

China’s income tax revenue shrank by 18.1% in the first two months of the year, according to data released Monday by the Ministry of Finance. The new law took effect last October, cutting the tax burden on low-income earners by expanding lower tax brackets and raising the monthly tax-free threshold from 3,500 yuan ($521) to 5,000 yuan.

The impact was felt immediately, with individual income tax revenue growth coming in at 7% last October, down sharply from 20.8% in September, according to the finance ministry. Tax chief Wang Jun announced earlier this month that nearly 200 billion yuan of taxes were cut in the first four months of the new law, adding that roughly 80 million people are no longer required to pay personal income taxes. 

But the news wasn’t all bad for tax collectors.

Revenue from the value added tax rose 11.3% in the first two months of the year, while consumption tax revenue rose 26.7% and business income tax was up 10%, according to the finance ministry’s latest data. And at a broader level, China’s national general public budget revenue grew 7% in the first two months. Still, all of those growth rates were down from a year earlier as China’s cooling economy takes a toll on tax collections and other government revenue sources.


By Niu Mujiangqu and Zhao Runhua / Mar 18, 2019 08:07 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

While analysts foresee a sharp drop in China’s property market overall, the rate of increase for new home prices in Xi’an has been among the country’s top three for seven months in a row – and there’s reason to believe that prices will continue to rise.

Xi’an’s new-home prices in February rose 24.2% year-on-year, the highest rate among all 70 mid- to large-size cities surveyed, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. This is the third month that the city’s data has been on top of the list.

According to local real estate consulting firm Meicheng, Xi'an’s government and real estate companies completed 30 land transfer deals in January alone, with total associated fees increasing 301% year-on-year to 17.6 billion yuan ($2.62 billion). The local monthly average new-home price recorded in the same month was 4,291 yuan per meter square, up 71% year-on-year. In 2018, the Xi’an municipal government’s land supply to homes increased 34.47% year-on-year.

Analysts believe the price increases may be due to the northwestern city’s land and development policies that encourage personal real estate purchases. Xi’an has also rolled out policies offering fast-track residence approvals designed to lure talent to the city – and some market watchers therefore believe that there is still room for new-home prices in the city to grow.

Related: Housing Minister Vows Stability in Property Market



By Liu Shuangshuang and Tang Ziyi / Mar 18, 2019 07:37 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

ByteDance, the owner of popular video app Douyin, has acquired Shanghai-based gaming startup Mokun Technology, marking the tech company's latest foray into the gaming industry.

A wholly owned Beijing based subsidiary of ByteDance recently bought a 100% stake of Mokun, Caixin learned today. Other details of the transaction have not been disclosed, and ByteDance declined to respond to Caixin's inquiry.

Shenzhen-listed 37 Interactive Entertainment, the former parent company of Mokun, confirmed the deal to Caixin.

Mokun's legal representative has been updated – now filling the role is Zhang Xudong, the senior vice president of Bytedance-owned news app Jinritoutiao.

Founded in 2013, mobile game developer Mokun’s titles include “Fighter of the Destiny,” which raked in nearly 200 million yuan in the span of one month after its launch last year.

The deal comes after ByteDance's own Duoyin launched its first in-app game, "Music Jumping Ball," last month.

Related: Upstart ByteDance Takes On China’s Internet Goliaths


By Zhao Runhua and Shi Rui / Mar 18, 2019 05:06 PM / Business & Tech

Popular WeChat figure Wu Xiaobo. Photo: IC

Popular WeChat figure Wu Xiaobo. Photo: IC

Tencent-backed WeChat is not just a social networking app — it's also a huge content production and circulation ecosystem that creates new business models and wealth for content creators.

Shenzhen-listed Qtone Education Group, an online education firm, announced Sunday it would make a share-for-share acquisition of “Wu Xiaobo Channel,” a WeChat account focusing on business analysis and opinion articles managed by Hangzhou Bajiuling Culture and Innovation — which is controlled by finance journalist Wu Xiaobo alongside his wife Shao Bingbing.

The Wu Xiaobo Channel makes money from several WeChat-related routes: advertising, subscriptions, and even online finance courses.

According to Qtone’s plan, the firm will issue new stocks and exchange them for 96% of Hangzhou Bajiuling Culture and Innovation shares. Qtone said a final detailed plan is not yet available, and it may need to raise new capital to support the deal. The company’s stock at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended trading on Monday to avoid abnormal price fluctuations.

In 2017, Wu Xiaobo Channel raised a Series A financing of 160 million yuan ($23.83 million), which boosted the account’s valuation to 2 billion yuan. In the same year, the account had over 2.2 million followers. In 2018, Wu Xiaobo Channel’s accumulated views surpassed 72.72 million.

Regulators remain cautious about mergers and acquisitions of assets in new-media formats, due to limited available cases and potential improper pricing. In 2018, a company planned to purchase a WeChat management agency for 3.8 billion yuan, but abandoned the deal as a result of regulators’ concerns.

Regulators’ comments on this deal were not available was of this publication.

Related: Popular WeChat Account Shuts Down After ‘Endangering Social Stability’

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By Zhou Wenmin, Wei Yiyang and Mo Yelin / Mar 15, 2019 04:34 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Education company Koolearn Technology plans to raise up to HK$1.826 billon ($233 million) in its Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO) later this month.

The company will offer around 165 million shares, priced between $HK 9.3 and $HK 11.1, to investors, after its Mar. 28 debut, the company said in a Friday statement.

Koolearn filed an IPO application to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange last month. The company had first applied in July 2018, but later failed to gain the bourse’s approval. The firm was briefly listed in Shenzhen between March 2017 and February 2018.

Backed by internet giant Tencent, Koolearn was founded in 2005 by New Oriental, one of the early players in China’s education market, which is currently listed in New York.

Related: China Schools Investors on Education 


By Wang Zili and Isabelle Li / Mar 15, 2019 02:02 AM / Business & Tech

Vietnam welcomes companies to bring investment from China. Photo: IC

Vietnam welcomes companies to bring investment from China. Photo: IC

Who’s winning the trade war?

Some might say the winner is ... Vietnam.

The Southeast Asian country has benefited as multinationals have accelerated moving their production to the country amid U.S.-China trade tensions, observers said. Investors from the U.S., South Korea and Japan, for example, have started to move their factories from China to its less costly neighbor, said Nguyen Mai, chairman of Vietnam's Association of Foreign Invested Enterprises (VAFIE), in a recent interview with Caixin.

“Of course we welcome that,” said Nguyen. “But we hope that foreign investors chose Vietnam not only to avoid the risks of trade war.”

Nguyen told Caixin that many countries have been trying to benefit from the shift of foreign investments since the beginning of the trade war, and that Vietnam is no exception. But Vietnam is not just a beneficiary – the export-reliant country has also been negatively affected by global market turbulence caused by conflicts between the world’s two largest economies.

China has also been pumping investment into Vietnam as part of its “Belt and Road Initiative,” with a total registered investment in Vietnam of $12 billion as of 2018.

Nguyen also told Caixin that Huawei has been operating smoothly in Vietnam, and that the embattled telecom equipment maker is in “proactive talks” with Vietnam’s biggest mobile network operator Viettel about opportunities to provide 5G technology in the local market.

Related: Reporter’s Notebook: Hanoi Hyped to Play Summit Host



By Isabelle Li and Lin Jinbing / Mar 14, 2019 06:05 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Despite a gloomy employment outlook since late last year, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday the overall labor situation has “stabilized."

The surveyed urban unemployment rate in February was 5.3%, lower than the target set for this year of "around 5.5%", but higher than December's 4.9%. This was also the highest rate since February 2017, according to NBS figures compiled by data provider CEIC. The NBS only started regularly releasing the surveyed urban unemployment rate in early 2018.

In China’s 31 major cities, the number was 5.0% last month, 0.3 percentage points higher than in December.

Among the 25-59 age cohort, which makes up the majority of labor force, the jobless rate was 4.9%. Last December, the number was 4.4%.

Concerns have been growing since late 2018 regarding overall employment in the country, as China’s economy slows. The securities industry saw its first annual headcount reduction last year since 2014, and significant job cuts have been happening across the tech industry. 

Related: Job Hoppers Think Twice as Economy Slows


By Zheng Lichun, Zhao Runhua / Mar 14, 2019 05:38 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Debt-ridden Jia Yueting’s Faraday Future (FF) announced on Thursday it would sell the land in Nevada where the company once hoped to build a car manufacturing factory, signaling a failure of FF’s ambitious FF91 model production promise.

According to the announcement, the 900-acre land is priced at $40 million. In 2015, FF purchased the land at $29.40 million.

The company promised the local government that the factory could bring investment worth of $1 billion, and provide thousands of job opportunities. The local government also granted FF tax reduction and monetary rewards.

In 2017, as Jia’s businesses in China encountered severe liquidity problems and the factory’s construction failed to meet promised progress, FF returned the reduced taxes and rewards, but still owned the land.

Related: Faraday Future Founder Settles Investment Dispute with Evergrande


By Liu Caiping and Yang Ge / Mar 14, 2019 05:27 AM / Business & Tech

China Merchants Securities buys, sells own stock. Photo: VCG

China Merchants Securities buys, sells own stock. Photo: VCG

Brokerage China Merchants Securities is having some fun with its own stock.

The securities broker isn’t doing anything wrong per se, but instead is dealing out of both sides of its pockets by buying back shares while also selling shares to raise money.

Both forms of behavior are quite common for publicly traded companies as they often buy back shares when the stock price is weak and sell new shares to raise money when prices are strong.

But it’s uncommon for a company to do both at once as China Merchants is doing.

The company announced a plan that would give current holders of its A-shares in Shanghai and H-shares in Hong Kong the right to buy as many as three new shares for every 10 they already hold, raising as much as 15 billion yuan ($2.2 billion). At the same time, the company is buying back between 650 million yuan and 1.3 billion yuan of its stock at 26.35 yuan a share or less.

The share buybacks are aimed at acquiring stock for awards in an incentive program for high-level personnel, a China Merchants Securities official explained to Caixin. If all the shares were sold in the rights offering and all the shares were repurchased in the buyback, the company would raise a net 13.7 billion yuan.

Many of China’s publicly listed companies launched similar buybacks last year when the country was in the midst of a bear market that made it one of the world’s worst performers of 2019. Since then things have shifted into reverse and China is now in a bull market. But China Merchants’ schizophrenic signals have left at least one observer scratching his head. 

“Share buybacks usually occur when a stock is undervalued, and new share issues are usually a signal of high valuations,” the senior investment banking official said. “China Merchants Securities’ plan for both a buyback and a new issue are indeed a bit awkward, with a bit of twisting going on as these two are put together.”


By Liu Shuangshuang and Tang Ziyi / Mar 13, 2019 05:20 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Mobile social media platform and dating app Momo Inc. is seeing its net profit growth slow down due to the platform’s heavy reliance on the sluggish livestreaming industry.

Momo’s net profit grew 31% year-on-year to 2.8 billion yuan ($420 million) last year, down from the 119% growth reported the previous year. The company’s revenue mostly comes from its live video service business, according to an unaudited fiscal report released Tuesday.

The report comes as the market penetration rate of livestreaming services--an indicator of usage --fell to 18.7% in December last year, down 3.1% from the year before, local media Beijing Business Today reported, citing data provider Jiguang. 

Momo’s revenue hit 13.4 billion yuan in 2018, up 51% from the year before.  


By Li Liuxi and David Kirton / Mar 13, 2019 04:05 PM / Business & Tech

An employee holds processed lithium at a Talison Lithium Ltd. facility, a joint venture between Tianqi Lithium Corp. and Albemarle Corp., in Greenbushes, Australia. Photo: VCG

An employee holds processed lithium at a Talison Lithium Ltd. facility, a joint venture between Tianqi Lithium Corp. and Albemarle Corp., in Greenbushes, Australia. Photo: VCG

Tianqi Lithium Corp.’s global mine buying-binge has helped the company rapidly gain control of half the world’s supply of lithium, a key component of electric vehicle batteries.

Yet it is not content just being king of the upstream battery production cycle. This week the company announced it intends to purchase a 49.9 million yuan ($7.44 million) stake in Xiamen Tungsten New Energy Materials Co. Ltd., a major manufacturer of lithium battery components. The stake would further consolidate Tianqi’s reach across the whole production cycle.

The move comes despite the company’s rapid buildup of debt. Its $4.1 billion purchase of a 23.77% stake in rival Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA, long drawn-out due to several antitrust cases in the Chilean courts, is thought to have almost doubled its assets-to-liabilities ratio to 78%.

At the same time, lithium prices have plummeted as supplies of the metal have grown while demand is yet to catch up. This has bitten into Tianqi’s year-on-year profit growth, which fell from 510% in 2016 to a measly 3% last year.

Despite being able to buy lithium at lower prices as a consequence, Xiamen Tungsten has also seen its growth slow. This is largely due to the rising cost of cobalt, another vital battery component.  Xiamen Tungsten’s total profits were down almost two thirds year-on-year last year.

Yet Tianqi intends to be in a strong position across the whole chain of electric battery component production, with its next step being to beef up its R&D capabilities, insiders from the company said. The market expectation is that lithium prices will rise in the next few years as the electric car market matures. Tianqi is planning to be strong across the whole chain when that happens.

Related: Tianqi Lithium’s $4.1 Billion Chilean Bet


By Liu Shuangshuang and Zhao Runhua / Mar 13, 2019 03:48 PM / Business & Tech

Image: VCG

Image: VCG

Panda.TV, the Chinese livestreaming platform led by Wang Sicong, son of Wanda Group’s chairman Wang Jianlin, shut down its content services on Mar. 8. The company is likely to begin bankruptcy proceedings this month, Caixin has learned. 

Established in 2015, Panda.TV was once considered one of China’s most promising livestreaming platforms, given Wang’s significant capital resources, extensive networks, and strong influence in esports – a field that later has become on of the most lucrative segments of the livestreaming industry.

But things went awry for Panda.TV in three major areas: business model, market competition, and copyright ownership.

Successful livestreaming is essentially dependent on content-production and user management. But Panda.TV’s reliance on Wang’s fame caused the company to neglect internal management and fail to support its livestreamers, who were key to attracting fan subscriptions and payments.

Additionally, livestreaming companies have been squeezed by a combination of intensifying market competition and shrinking user base amid regulatory crackdowns on the industry. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, as of the end of 2018, the total number of livestreaming users declined 6.8% year-on-year to 397 million. In May, rival platform Huya went public on the New York Stock Exchange, further crowding the already-tight pool of available capital for livestreaming platforms.

Last but not least, platforms have faced pressure from Tencent, which owns popular esports game "Honor of Kings" and holds China rights for "League of Legends." Tencent has demanded that non-Tencent affiliate platforms apply for authorization to broadcast livestreams featuring the games. Tencent also has equity in all three leading esports livestreaming companies: Huya, Douyu, and Penguin Esports.

Wang Zhikai, founder of a livestreaming talent agency, says the industry has entered a “Tencent-led oligopoly state,” with the gaming behemoth backing most of the top platforms. He believes the “violent expansion” era of the livestreaming industry is over, and the focus will now shift toward optimizing business models and profitability.

Related: Tencent Unveils Plan to Create Electronic Sports Gaming Empire


By Dong Jing and Liu Jiefei / Mar 13, 2019 02:03 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Ping An Insurance, the country’s largest insurer by market value, announced Tuesday a 20.5% jump in net profit in 2018 on the back of strong performance of its life and health insurance units.

Net profits of the financial conglomerate, which also runs banking, securities, asset management and healthcare businesses, rose to 120.5 billion ($18.8 billion) yuan last year, up from 100.0 billion yuan in 2017, and 72.4 billion yuan in 2016.

Its overall insurance business, the largest profit contributor of the group, recorded a net profit of 71.0 billion yuan, up 43.5% from 2017. Its life and health insurance units generated 58.8 billion yuan in net profit, an annual increase of 62.6%, on strong growth of premium income.

Ping An is listed in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Related: Ping An Healthcare Still in the Red Despite Strong Revenue Growth



By Zhang Yu and Timmy Shen / Mar 13, 2019 12:03 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

One of China’s largest online lenders, Lufax Holding, has completed its Series C financing, giving it a total estimated valuation of $39.4 billion.

Parent company Ping An Insurance announced the news Tuesday in an annual report, pointing out that Lufax — an online wealth management and retail lending technology platform — has established asset partnerships with over 300 institutions, and provided 11 million active investors with over 5,000 products and customized financial services.

In retail lending, Lufax Holding has provided financing services to over 10 million customers, with 375 billion yuan ($56 billion) in balance of loans under management, according to the report.

The online lender had planned for an IPO in Hong Kong last year, but postponed the listing as regulators tightened online lending rules. However, multiple senior executives at Lufax told Caixin that the company has not given up its plan to go public. It remains unclear when the IPO plan will resume.

Related: Qatar Fund Nears Investment in Ping An-Backed Online Lender

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