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News from China
China enhances appeal to foreign investment
9th August 2017

 HINA is working to make itself more appealing to foreign investors.

 
In the past month, commitments have been made by the Chinese government on further opening up.
 
China should create “a stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment,” and speed up efforts to build an open economy to promote the sustainable and healthy development of the Chinese economy, according to a meeting of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs in July.
 
Growing appeal
 
“Foreign investors used to be attracted by the cheap land and labor to China, but now we are more interested in the vast market and good business environment,” said Jin Youhua, chairman and president of Whirlpool (China).
 
The US appliance-maker is expecting its China headquarters and global R&D center, which is now under construction in east China’s Anhui Province, to be put into operation in 2018, Jin said.
 
Inbound foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 0.1 percent year on year to 441 billion yuan (US$66 billion) in the first half of this year, but the number of new foreign enterprises in China was up by 12.3 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
 
Meanwhile, a survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai showed that 77 percent of US companies in China remained profitable last year, up 6 percentage points from 2015, and 73.5 percent reported revenue growth, up 12 percentage points from 2015.
 
Behind the growing appeal from the Chinese market was China’s stable economic development and government efforts in opening up more sectors and relaxing restrictions for foreign businesses.
 
Starting on July 28, China implemented a revised foreign investment catalogue, which includes a “negative list” approach that identifies sectors and businesses that are off-limits or restricted for investment, as well as sectors and industries that the government wants to encourage foreign companies to invest in.
 
The catalogue shortens the list of sectors that are completely off-limits for foreign investment from 36 to 28.
 
In the southwestern province of Sichuan, where a free trade zone was launched this April, instead of lining up to submit paperwork, foreign investors now only need to upload files online to establish a company or make alterations on existing ones.
 
Today, over 95 percent of new foreign enterprises in China do not need government approval before they are set up, and the registry procedures take less than three days, compared with more than 20 days previously.
 
Just as a more open China means opportunities for the rest of the world, China is expecting inbound investment to play a larger role in its economic development, promoting the growth of new sectors and driving supply-side structural reform.
 
A win-win process
 
The FDI inflow into high-end sectors has been robust, official data showed. In the first half of this year, the high-tech manufacturing sector saw FDI up 11.1 percent to 34.97 billion yuan, while foreign investment in high-tech services rose 20.4 percent to 64.72 billion yuan.
 
Compared with the initial stage of China’s reform and opening-up nearly 40 years ago, China is more consciously choosing the types of “investment” or “professionals” it wants to attract, said Zhang Jianping, a researcher with the commerce ministry.
 
“As an economy going through transition, China wants to bring in advanced technologies, professional personnel, brands and management by luring foreign investment, so it can increase its competitiveness and improve the quality and efficiency of growth,” said Zhang.
 
To make China more appealing to talented people outside the country, the government will put in place a work permit system for foreigners working in China to streamline their working permit application procedures, expand visa issuance and extend visa expiration dates.
 
The introduction of the new system, together with a number of other measures, is expected to be implemented by the end of September in principle, according to a State Council meeting late last month.
 
“The inflow of foreign capital has been pivotal for China to maintain a relatively quick growth rate. Our industries are in general at the lower end of the global value chain. We must send a strong message of welcome to foreign investment,” Premier Li Keqiang told the meeting
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 9, 2017
Dull sentiment dents Shanghai’s new home sales
8th August 2017

 SALES of new houses in Shanghai fell notably in the first week of August, which also saw no single project launched.

 
The area of new homes sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, dropped 30.4 percent to 108,000 square meters during the seven-day period ended Sunday, after hovering around 150,000 square meters for three consecutive weeks, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released yesterday.
 
The city’s outlying Qingpu District led with weekly transactions of 17,000 square meters, followed by Songjiang and Jiading districts which both sold around 12,000 square meters.
 
These new houses sold for an average 52,154 yuan (US$7,736) per square meter, a week-over-week gain of 8.3 percent, Centaline data showed.
 
“It was rare that three of the 10 most popular projects cost more than 70,000 yuan per square meter, with two of them even above the 100,000-yuan-per-square-meter threshold,” said Lu Wenxi, senior analyst at Centaline.
 
But still “no single development managed to record weekly sales of over 100 units, evidence of a really lackluster sentiment among home buyers,” Lu said.
 
One project in remote Fengxian District became the most sought-after development after selling 70 flats totaling 5,903 square meters for an average price of below 33,000 yuan per square meter. A Yanlord Land development in Pudong New Area sold 17 units for an average of 107,315 yuan per square meter, and a Shui On Land project in Hongkou District sold 11 apartments for an average of 110,799 yuan per square meter, both making into the Top 10 list, Centaline data showed.
 
No new project was launched locally last week unlike the previous seven-day period when 49,000 square meters of new supply were released.
 
Lu predicted that weakness will linger across the city over the next few weeks.
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 8, 2017
Huge Internet finance firms to be assessed
7th August 2017

 CHINA will explore methods to include large Internet financial businesses of systemic importance in its macro prudential assessment, said a central bank report issued late Friday.

 
The People’s Bank of China, the central bank, will improve its supervisory system and strengthen regulation of Internet businesses, let industry and local associations play a bigger role in supervision, and promote new technology, said the report on regional financial development.
 
Development of Internet finance has helped broaden the financial reach, improved efficiency of financial services, given Chinese more investment options, and helped some small businesses get badly needed loans.
 
The first peer-to-peer lending platform opened in 2007, and exploded in popularity, with the number of such platforms increasing 18-fold between 2012 and 2015 and the combined transaction volume jumping about 40 times over the period, said the State Information Center.
 
On top of P2P lending, Internet finance also covers third-party online payments, crowd funding and other financial services. As a result, risk in the Internet finance industry has wide repercussions.
 
Authorities have strengthened supervision on businesses such as P2P lending, Internet-based asset management and businesses spanning boundaries, third-party online payment, and advertisements of Internet financial services, the report said.
 
Since the start of this year, the PBOC has placed financial market practices under MPA for strict control of liquidity risks and maturity mismatch risks.
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 7, 2017
China’s SUV market set to expand slowly in 2017
4th August 2017

 CHINA’S sport-utility vehicle market is expected to post slower growth this year, according to estimates from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

 
China’s sales of SUVs are set to hit 11 million this year, up 20 percent annually, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. This growth is a sharp slowdown from the 44 percent growth of the SUV sector last year.
 
“2017 will become a starting point for the slowing growth of sport-utility vehicles,” said Xu Changming, director of the Information Resource Department at the State Information Center. “Only companies with competitive SUV models can win market share.”
 
Sales of SUVs surged 16.8 percent to 4.53 million units in the first half of this year, data from CAAM showed. The growth rate is below the association’s prediction of 20 percent expansion this year.
 
While the growth of SUVs is slowing, domestic makers’ market share rose.
 
“Domestic manufacturers have contributed a lot to the growth of the SUV sector in the first half of this year,” said Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary-general of CAAM.
 
The market share of domestic vehicle makers took up 59.6 percent of the total SUV sector in the first six months, 3.6 percentage points higher compared with the same period last year, data from CAAM showed.
 
This development in the domestic vehicle sector is down to cost control measures and the introduction of new models into the market, Shi said.
 
“Domestic brands are still leading in market share and have the potential for further growth,” said Zhang Zhiyong, an independent auto analyst.
 
While the growth rate has slowed down, the market share of SUVs is climbing, which means more and more people are choosing these vehicles.
 
The market share of SUVs rose to 40.2 percent in the first half year, up from 16.7 percent in 2013, data from CAAM showed.
 
The rise is driven by rising demand from young and middle age buyers in third and fourth-tier cities in China, according to Shi.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, August 4, 2017

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