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- Burberry to Work With Tencent to Open Social Retail Store in Shenzhen
- JD.com Beats Estimates With 28% Revenue Growth in 3rd Quarter
- Quantum Computing, CRISPR, Drones, Are Put on Chinese Kids’ Reading List
- Reporter’s Notebook: Alibaba’s Good Luck Symbols Pay Off on Double 11
- Money-Losing Ping An Fintech Unicorn Preparing for U.S. IPO
- Hong Kong Unrest Rains on Trip.com’s Red Carpet
- Internet Regulators Shut Down News Site for Defying Desist Order
- Luckin Withdraws Lawsuit Against Starbucks As Sales Surge
- Chinese Bitcoin-Mining Machine Company Canaan Slashes Its U.S. IPO
- Alibaba CEO Strikes Hopeful Tone as E-Commerce Giant Prepares for Hong Kong IPO
- WeWork’s China Challenger Eyes U.S. IPO Next Month
- Chinese Podcast Startup Ximalaya Seeks $3.5 Billion Value
- Weibo Reports 11.5% Drop in Third-Quarter Profit
- China to Launch Vaccine-Tracing App Next Year: Report
- Chinese Central Bank Denies Digital Currency Issuance Rumors
- Chinese EV Maker Xpeng Secures $400 Million Series C Funding With Xiaomi Tie-up
- China’s Starbucks Challenger Posts Piping Hot Third-Quarter Sales
- Renowned Chinese Tech Veteran Harry Shum to Leave Microsoft
- Two Billionaire Hikvision Directors Embroiled in Disclosure Investigation
- Alibaba Eyes Nov. 26 Trading Debut for Hong Kong IPO
British luxury brand Burberry entered into a partnership with Chinese internet giant Tencent to open a social retail store in Shenzhen.
The store will be powered by Tencent’s technologies and is expected to open in the first half of 2020. It is the first step in Burberry’s strategy of blending social media and retailing to create digital and physical spaces for local consumers, according to an interim earnings report Burberry published Thursday.
Burberry gave no further details on what technologies Tencent will offer in building the store.
Tencent owns WeChat, China’s biggest social media platform with 1 billion monthly active users. The WeChat platform has attracted a slew of vendors to tout their products through its mini programs.
In recent years, Tencent has stretched tentacles into the retail sector. In 2017, the tech company helped fashion group Bestseller to open a facial recognition-powered clothing store in Shenzhen. At the shop, buyers are offered dress colocation options in fitting rooms, which are equipped with algorithm-based computers to match faces with suitable clothing based on face scans.
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- Nov 15, 2019 07:55 PM
- Major Chipmaking Project Suspended by Court Order
- Multibillion-dollar project grinds to a halt in latest setback to China’s semiconductor ambitions
- Nov 15, 2019 07:47 PM
- Regulator Approves Beijing-Shanghai Railway Operator for Local IPO
- Railway will offer up 15% of the company as debt-ridden parent seeks outside funding
- Nov 15, 2019 07:41 PM
- China Mobile Mulls $142 Million Fund to Invest in Startups
- The telco giant makes about 10% of its profits from tech investments
Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com reported 28% growth in third-quarter revenue to 134.8 billion yuan ($19.27 billion), beating analysts’ estimates of 128.6 billion yuan.
Non-GAAP net income attributable to ordinary shareholders rose 160.6% to 3.1 billion yuan in the quarter from 1.2 billion yuan a year ago, according to the unaudited financial report released Friday.
The upbeat results were marked by accelerating revenue growth and record operating profit margin, said Sidney Huang, chief financial officer of JD.com.
“Looking forward, we will increasingly benefit from the economies of scale inherent in JD’s unique business model through our leading supply chain, technology and service capabilities,” Huang said.
“We will continue to invest in technology and innovation to meet the growing needs of Chinese consumers and businesses for fast and reliable e-commerce and supply chain solutions,” said Richard Liu, chairman and chief executive officer.
JD.com had 334.4 million annual active customers at the end of September, up 4% from 321.3 million as of June 30, the company said.
JD.com’s Nasdaq-listed shares rose nearly 6.5% in pre-market trading following the report.
Chinese students should learn about quantum computing, drones, military equipment, artificial intelligence and even gene editing, based on a new national list of book recommendations for elementary, middle and high school libraries issued by the Ministry of Education.
A quarter of the 422-page list of 7,000 books focuses on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, though it further breaks down this field into specializations such as agricultural and environmental sciences, industrial technology, transport and logistics, and aerospace.
Among the titles is a book titled “Third-Generation Gene Editor CRISPR,” commonly used DNA-editing technique, which is recommended for kids in middle and elementary schools. It’s among roughly 20 titles on genetic research, a discipline mired in controversy in China after Shenzhen-based scientist He Jiankui shocked the world last year with claims that he had altered the DNA of two human babies.
The list also includes about seven titles on quantum science, 50 entries categorized under “military affairs” and 50 on aerospace. Those totals are dwarfed by 2,200 literary titles, more than 1,000 under “culture, pedagogy, physical education,” more than 700 under history and geography, 300 on industrial technology, and more than 200 on communist ideology and philosophy.
The list is part of a national goal of improving the quality of libraries in elementary and middle schools and developing literary activities for students, the ministry said in a statement. It called on the education departments of all provinces, autonomous regions, tier one municipalities, and the “Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps” to implement rules on school libraries to be published last year.
Pirated materials and “publications unsuitable for student consumption” are forbidden from libraries, and schooling should amount to at least 40 hours a week, the ministry said.
Earlier this month, the ministry outlined a three-year revamp of the country’s higher education system. The government would draw on China’s highest-level experts to create tens of thousands of courses to improve undergraduate studies.
Contact reporter Dave Yin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
An Alibaba staffer beats a ‘Victory Drum’ surrounded by baskets of barley at the e-commerce company’s campus in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Nov. 11, 2019. Photo: Zhao Runhua/Caixin
Every country has its own good luck symbols and ceremonies permeating festive occasions from national holidays to weddings. But I was still unprepared for the overbearing presence of such symbols when I attended Alibaba’s Double 11 festival this year at its campus in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
Sheaves of dried barley, whose Chinese name is a homophone for “big sales,” were placed at the main gates and inside buildings, alongside drums representing Alibaba’s determination for victory. Waiting staff wearing auspicious red T-shirts flitted around, pouring guests cups of steaming barley tea.
Around an hour before the company announced record-breaking one-day sales, I wandered into a common area where there stood a giant decorative gourd carved with the Chinese characters for “fight together.” Nearby stood a tray piled high with chicken-stuffed buns. Waiters explained that the phrase “chicken-stuffed” sounded like an expression for a crashed smartphone or computer, while the word for “bun” was a homophone for mobile data packages. Eating the delicacies was meant to ward off unwanted technical difficulties on Alibaba’s busiest day of the year.
In the end, all the superstition seemed to pay off, as Alibaba’s one-day gross merchandise volume — the total revenues of orders placed across its online platforms via its affiliated payment service Alipay — hit a record high of 268.4 billion yuan ($38.3 billion). There was no better way to celebrate than with a slice of “victory cake” baked especially for Alibaba by well-known local chain Zhiweiguan.
The symbols weren’t to everyone’s taste, however. “I don’t care about them,” said Zhou, a local ride-hailing driver who used to be a vendor on Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce platform Taobao. “In the end, sellers only care about turning a decent profit, and consumers only care about quality and price.”Related: After Double 11 Smashes Shopping Records, What Next for China's E-Commerce Giants?
The ongoing unrest in Hong Kong is putting a damper on Trip.com, China’s leading online travel agent that until recently was known as Ctrip.
CFO Cindy Wang told investors that travel to Hong Kong by the company’s core customers in mainland China has plunged by more than half in recent months, as visitors stay away from the former British colony where ongoing, often-violent protests have become a regular occurrence.
In its latest earnings report released Wednesday, Trip.com reported its revenue grew 12% to 10.5 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the three months through September. It posted a 793 million yuan profit for the quarter, reversing a loss a year earlier. It didn’t mention Hong Kong in its report, but the subject was front and center for investors during its regular earnings call following the report’s release.
On the call Trip.com cited Hong Kong as a primary factor for its tepid fourth-quarter outlook. Wang said the company expects revenue to grow 8% to 13% during the quarter, which includes a 6 percentage point downgrade from what it could have been due to “recent macro and industry headwinds, in particular, related to events in Hong Kong.”
The gloomy outlook spooked investors, with Trip.com’s U.S.-listed shares losing 4.4% of their value in Thursday trade in New York. The stock has lost more than 10% of its value from earlier in the month as worries mount about the impact on its business from falling travel to Hong Kong, a popular offshore destination for its core base of mainland Chinese travelers.
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Tech-savvy coffee brand Luckin has reportedly withdrawn a lawsuit against archrival Starbucks, ending a yearlong spat sparked when Luckin accused the U.S. company of “monopolistic practices” in China.
The news, which was reported Thursday by state-owned newspaper Beijing Youth Daily, comes after Luckin reported soaring revenue in the third quarter, up sixfold from a year ago to 1.5 billion yuan ($215.7 million). Luckin declined Caixin’s request for comment.
Last year, Luckin sued Starbucks for allegedly violating Chinese antitrust laws. The rapidly expanding Chinese company complained it had been rejected by several commercial property owners that had signed exclusive cooperation agreements with Starbucks.
At the time, Starbucks dismissed Luckin’s claims as marketing hype.
New York-listed Luckin aims to have 4,500 stores in China by the end of 2019, a figure that would put it ahead of Starbucks’ presence in the country. Its rapid growth owes much to huge product discounts offered to customers as part of what it calls a “money-burning” strategy.
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Canaan, one of the world’s largest makers of bitcoin-mining machines, has slashed its initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq by nearly three-quarters, becoming the latest in a string of Chinese companies to scale back their listing targets amid cooling investor sentiment.
The Hangzhou-based company plans to sell 10 million American depositary shares at a price range of $9 to $11, according to the company’s latest copy of a prospectus filed Wednesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. According to Caixin’s calculations, the company may raise as much as $110 million, a target significantly less than the initial goal of $400 million indicated in its October filing.
The move follows a wave of Chinese companies raising significantly less money than planned in their U.S. listings. On last Friday, 36Kr Holdings, a Beijing-based news and data provider, raised $20 million in its debut, far less than its target of $100 million announced in September. On the same day, Shanghai-based health and wellness product retailer Ecmoho raised just $44 million, falling short of its goal of $150 million.
The diminished offerings signal investors are increasingly hesitant to buy shares in money-losing Chinese companies, a change which has hammered valuations as startups slash their IPO targets to adapt to the new environment.
Canaan reported losses of $33.1 million in the first nine months of this year, compared with a profit of $21.3 million in the same period a year earlier, according to its prospectus.
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Alibaba’s newly released prospectus for its planned Nov. 26 listing in Hong Kong contains a hopeful missive from its CEO and chairman Daniel Zhang.
“When Alibaba Group went public (in New York) in 2014, we missed out on Hong Kong with regret,” Alibaba CEO and Chairman Daniel Zhang said in the prospectus, adding that the company wants to contribute to Hong Kong’s development and believes in the former British colony’s “bright” future.
Alibaba also said the listing will allow the company to “expand (its) overall investor base” and “tap into substantial new capital pools in Asia.”
The Chinese e-commerce giant plans to offer 500 million ordinary shares, including 12.5 million for retail investors at no more than HK$188 ($24.01), the prospectus says. The final share price will not be available until next Wednesday.
Calculating from the maximum possible share price, Alibaba could raise around $13 billion from the listing if a greenshoe option of 75 million extra shares is exercised.
In July, New York-listed Alibaba decided to make the value of its American depositary shares equivalent to eight ordinary shares. Industry insiders say the comparatively affordable share price is a bid by Alibaba to attract more regional investors. A recently launched link between the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen allows buyers on the Chinese mainland greater access to Hong Kong-listed shares.
The company’s Hong Kong stock will list under the ticker 9988.
Alibaba’s New York share price closed fractionally up 0.18% at $182.80 on Thursday. It remains the most valuable overseas-listed Chinese internet company by market cap.
This article previously did not specify which shares were available to retail investors.
(Bloomberg) — Ucommune, the largest rival to WeWork in China, plans an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S. in December even as the better-known competitor still recovers from its botched listing, according to people familiar with the matter.
The first-time share sale of the Chinese office-sharing provider could raise about $100 million, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. The four-year-old company is considering a public IPO filing as soon as the week after next, one of the people said.
The deal is poised to test investors’ appetite for co-working startups after WeWork canceled its IPO in September and is now valued at less than $8 billion -- down from a peak valuation of $47 billion in January. Once the most valuable startup in the world, WeWork had to surrender much of the company in an emergency bailout. Backed by All-Stars Investment and Sequoia Capital, Ucommune was valued at $1.8 billion in August last year.
Details of the offering including timeline and size could still change as deliberations are ongoing, according to the people. A representative for Ucommune declined to comment.
Ucommune competes in China’s shared office space with WeWork and local rivals including KR Space and MyDreamPlus. The company is popular among the nation’s fast-growing crop of boot-strapped startups.
Ucommune was founded by Mao Daqing, a well-known figure in China’s property and tech circles. The grandson of Mao Ziyao, an architect who helped design Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, he spent time at Singapore’s CapitaLand and giant homebuilder China Vanke before starting his company in 2015.
The company got its start in China, but has begun setting up in cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, according to its website. It operates more than 200 co-working space in 44 cities. The company was known as UrWork until it changed its name after a WeWork lawsuit.Related: WeWork Might Give Up Some Hong Kong Office Space Amid Pullback
Ximalaya is seeking to raise funds at about $3.5 billion valuation as the Chinese online podcast and radio services startup looks to expand further, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company aims to raise about $350 million in a new fundraising round, which could be the last one ahead of a potential initial public offering, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The startup is in talks with potential investors including private equity firms and pension funds for the round, one of the people said.
Considerations are ongoing and the fundraising size could still change, the people said. A representative for Ximalaya declined to comment.
The Shanghai-based company has 600 million users who spend an average 170 minutes listening to its shows as of October, the company said in a statement on Thursday. Its content ranges from audio books, training seminars, foreign language learning to music and radio. It generates revenue via paid content, live-streaming and advertisements.
Ximalaya competes with Lizhi FM, a Guangzhou-based company that is planning for a listing in the U.S., people familiar with the matter have said.
Social media company Weibo Corp. posted weaker-than-expected results for the third quarter as its net profit fell 11.5% from a year ago.
The Twitter-like microblogging site operator said Thursday that its net income was $146.2 million, compared with $165.3 million for the same period last year. It is the second straight quarterly profit drop for the company. Diluted net income per share was $0.64, compared with $0.73 a year ago.
Weibo’s total net revenue was $467.8 million during the period, an increase of 2% from the same period last year but missing Wall Street’s estimate of $471.8, according to its unaudited financial report.
Advertising and marketing revenues rose 1% year-over-year to $412.5 million, while income from value-added services grew 9% to $55.3 million, said Weibo, which is majority owned by internet portal provider Sina Corp.
The platform’s monthly active users totaled 497 million in September, a net addition of about 51 million from a year earlier. About 94% of its users were on mobile.
Weibo forecast a 0% to 3% increase in net revenue for the fourth quarter.
Its Nasdaq-traded shares were down more than 8% during pre-market trading Thursday.
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China will launch a vaccine-tracing app next year allowing users to find out whether shots are real or fake, as Beijing moves to improve drug safety after a fake vaccine scandal last year severely damaged public trust.
The platform, developed under the auspices of the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), is slated to go online next March, according to the Beijing Daily, the official newspaper of the capital’s municipal Communist Party committee. The app will form part of China’s first national-level vaccine tracing system, which will integrate information from existing systems currently managed by companies and third-party service providers, the report added.
App users will be able to scan QR codes on their smartphones to access product information, batch numbers, and expiration dates of different vaccines. Information from 46 domestic manufacturers will be available, according to the report.
The app is part of the government’s efforts to improve transparency in a health care sector that has been tarnished by a rash of vaccine-related scandals in recent years. In June, the government passed a law ramping up supervision and management of vaccines entering the market.
That law was largely in response to a scandal that unfolded in July last year, when Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences, formerly one of the country’s largest vaccine producers, was found to be distributing ineffective, substandard, and unsafe vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough for several years. The company was fined a record 9.1 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) and had its production license revoked. On Friday it said it is now bankrupt.
More recently, a private hospital in the island province of Hainan was shuttered in April after police found it had administered unregulated human papillomavirus vaccines to 38 women. And in January, violent protests erupted in the eastern province of Jiangsu after parents discovered that 145 children had received out-of-date oral polio vaccines.
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China’s central bank said it had neither issued any digital currency nor authorized asset-trading platforms to deal in one, as rumors swirled about its mooted issuance of a state-backed digital currency.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in a Wednesday statement it is still studying and testing its own digital currency. A timetable circulating on the internet claiming the currency will be rolled out in the first few months of 2020 is inaccurate, the bank added.
The central bank also reminded people to remain vigilant toward trading platforms that illegally process online digital-currency transactions that they falsely claim are powered by the government’s Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) framework, which is similar to Facebook’s Libra. So far, the PBOC has revealed few details about DCEP.
Speaking at the 10th Caixin Summit held earlier this month, former PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan expressed cautious optimism about digital currencies, which he said may create shockwaves in existing global financial infrastructure. Zhou’s statement was interpreted as a hint that governments should handle the issuance and management of digital currencies.
In September, PBOC governor Yi Gang publicly said that China has no timetable for the launch of its sovereign digital currency, which will be used with electronic payments.
Facebook’s Libra has also raised global concerns over its potential risks to the world’s financial system.
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Chinese electric-vehicle (EV) startup Xpeng Motors Technology has raised $400 million in its latest Series C funding round with consumer-electronics maker Xiaomi joining as a strategic investor, the Guangzhou-based carmaker announced Wednesday.
Xiaomi will further deepen its partnership with Xpeng by “connecting smartphones and smart cars” as part of its overall Internet of Things strategy, said CEO Lei Jun in a comment on the investment, according to a company statement.
In addition to the equity raising, Xpeng has also secured several billion in yuan-denominated unsecured credit lines from China Merchants Bank, China Citic Bank, HSBC, and other banks, the statement said.
As in the company’s two previous funding rounds, Xpeng founder and Chairman He Xiaopeng once again participated as an individual investor.
The carmaker plans to launch its second EV model, the P7 sedan, next spring and start delivery in the second quarter of 2020. The company delivered 10,000 units of its first model, the G3, in June, but the release of a cheaper, improved edition of the vehicle in July — just six months after the original model was launched — prompted a furious response from many customers, who protested outside Xpeng’s offices demanding replacements and refunds.
Read the full story on Caixin Global.
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Shares of China’s Starbucks rival Luckin Coffee closed up 13% on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected sales in the third quarter of this year.
The Xiamen-based coffee chain, which went public on the Nasdaq in May, posted revenue of 1.5 billion yuan ($215 million) in the three months through September, up more than six times from the same period last year. It reported a widening loss of 531.9 million yuan, which was 9.7% greater than its loss over the same period a year earlier.
Founded in October 2017, the chain had 3,680 stores across China by the end of September. Luckin previously said it aims to have 4,500 stores by the end of this year, surpassing Starbucks to become the largest coffee chain in China. Starbucks currently has more than 4,000 stores in the country.
Read the full story later today on Caixin Global.
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Microsoft Executive Vice President Harry Shum is among the few Chinese computer scientists widely known in the U.S. tech world. But now he is set to leave the world’s largest software company after 23 years.
Shum, whose given name is Heung-Yeung in Chinese, will leave the company early next year, Microsoft announced Wednesday. His role at the helm of the company’s artificial intelligence and research arm will go to current Chief Technology Officer Kevin Scott. Shum will continue in an advisory role to CEO Satya Nadella and company co-founder Bill Gates.
Shum made his name at Microsoft when he played a leading role in establishing the company’s research lab in Beijing. He also oversaw the development of Microsoft’s popular Bing search engine.
Read the full story on Caixin Global later today.
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A turbulent year for Chinese surveillance giant Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology got even worse with the company’s announcement that two of its billionaire directors are under investigation by the country’s securities regulator on suspicion of flouting disclosure rules.
The allegations concern Gong Hongjia, Hikvision’s vice chairman and largest individual shareholder, and Hu Yangzhong, its general manager. According to Forbes, Gong has a net worth of $8.7 billion and is China’s 26th richest person, while Hu’s net worth stands at $1.5 billion and he is the country’s 265th richest person.
Hikvision gave no further details of the probe in a filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange dated Thursday, but said it will “actively cooperate” with the regulator and “strictly adhere to the demands of the regulator in promptly carrying out its information disclosure obligations.”
Hikvision did not respond to Caixin’s request for comment by the time of publication.
The investigation caps off a turbulent year for the world’s largest provider of surveillance systems. Last month, the United States put Hikvision onto a government “Entity List” for allegedly supplying equipment to police in the far western region of Xinjiang, where Washington says China is carrying out rights abuses against Muslim minorities.
The U.S. decision, which significantly restricts Hikvision’s access to American suppliers, drew opposition from the company at the time. Beijing has consistently denied allegations of abuses in Xinjiang.
Prior to its formal blacklisting, Hikvision had already drawn the suspicions of U.S. officials. Since last year, American government institutions have been clearing their systems of technology produced by the security camera-maker as well as by three other Chinese tech companies that some believe may be uncomfortably cozy with the Chinese government: Huawei, ZTE, and Dahua.
But that seems easier said than done: Many U.S. government systems were still found to be using Hikvision products even after a deadline for rooting out the technology elapsed in August.
Shenzhen-listed Hikvision’s shares were down 2.84% at 33.24 yuan as of 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
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With an official stock exchange blessing in the rear view mirror, it’s now off to the races for Alibaba as it charges towards what’s almost certain to be the biggest IPO in Hong Kong this year.
The e-commerce giant got the nod from Hong Kong’s stock market operator to proceed with its plan on Tuesday, which would see it make a second major listing in the former British colony to complement its current main listing in New York.
Such a move would not only raise billions of dollars more for Alibaba, but could also make its stock easily available to investors on the Chinese mainland for the first time through a link connecting the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen.
Following Tuesday’s listing approval, Alibaba revealed more details on its plans in a term sheet seen by Caixin. The document shows that Alibaba is aiming to raise $11.7 billion from the offering of 500 million ordinary shares, which could rise as high as $13.4 billion if demand is strong and the underwriters exercise an overallotment option to sell up to 75 million more shares.
The vast majority of shares being sold — 97.5% to be exact — would go to international investors, while the remainder would be available for local buyers in Hong Kong.
In terms of timing, things will move pretty quickly. The company plans to wrap up its roadshow by next Wednesday, and price the listing before U.S. markets open that day. The actual trading debut under the 9988 ticker symbol would come on Nov. 26 if all goes according to schedule.
Contact reporter Yang Ge (email@example.com; twitter: @youngchinabiz https://twitter.com/youngchinabiz)Related: Alibaba Gets Stock Exchange Approval for Hong Kong IPO
Discount e-commerce company Vipshop on Wednesday posted rosy third-quarter results, with both net revenue and net income surging thanks to decent growth in its active users and orders.
For the three months through September, the New York-listed company booked 19.6 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) in net revenue and 875.5 million yuan in net profit, up 10% and 282.7% respectively from the same period of last year.
The online retailer, famed for selling discounted goods from big brands, grew its number of active customers to 32 million, representing an increase of 21% from a year ago, the report showed. Third-quarter total orders totaled 127.6 million from 95.7 million in 2018, while gross merchandise value jumped by 17% to 31.7 billion yuan.
Vipshop attributed its strong growth to the successful implementation of its marketing strategy, which drove the rise in active customers. The company is also betting big on a planned strategy to offer more goods at bigger discounts, an efficient way to retain old customers and lure new ones.
Despite the strong showing, Vipshop’s share price fell by 5.16% on Nov. 13.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Bloomberg) — Nio hired an analyst covering the Chinese electric car-maker as its next chief financial officer, according to people familiar with the matter.
Feng Wei, an auto analyst at China International Capital Corp. (CICC), will join Nio by as soon as next week, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter. Feng would succeed Louis Hsieh, who resigned late last month citing personal reasons.
Nio declined to comment, as did CICC. Feng didn’t immediately comment.
Feng joined CICC in 2013, rising to managing director with a focus on the auto industry. After obtaining Master’s degrees from Tsinghua Univeristy and RWTH Aachen, he went on to work for German-auto component maker ZF Friedrichshafen and China’s Everbright Securities.
The new CFO will face the challenge of securing funds for Nio secure as the unprofitable carmaker battles an unprecedented slump in Chinese auto sales, including electric vehicles. Backed by technology giant Tencent Holdings, it sought $200 million from founder William Li and a Tencent affiliate, and plans to spin off some businesses and reduce jobs.
By the end of the third quarter, Nio had cut its workforce to 7,800 from 9,900 employees in January. Having burned through more than $5 billion in four years, the company failed last month in its attempt to get local government funding, according to media reports.
China’s EV sales have slumped for four consecutive months, while the overall auto market is down in 16 of the 17 past months. That’s impacting fundraising for EV startups in China, according to rival Xpeng Motors.
U.S. shares of the company fell 4.2% in early trading in New York on Wednesday to $1.86. They have dropped more than 70% this year.
As an analyst, Feng last held a neutral rating on Nio with a price target of $2.50 a share, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Related: Nio Jumps 37% After Intel Tie-Up for Automated-Vehicle Tech