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News from China
China's producer price up 0.9% in December
10th January 2019

 China's producer price index, which measures costs of goods at the factory gate, rose 0.9 percent year-on-year in December 2018, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

 
It was down from the 2.7 percent growth in November, according to the bureau.
 
On a monthly basis, the index edged down 1 percent in December, compared with 0.2 percent drop in November.
 
For the whole year, PPI rose 3.5 percent year-on-year, down from 6.3 percent growth in 2017, according to the NBS.
 
The prices of the means of production rose 1 percent year on year, compared with a rise of 3.3 percent in November.
 
Of all industrial sectors, producer prices in oil and natural gas exploration rose 4.5 percent from the previous year, with oil, coal and other fuel production increasing 5.7 percent. The pace of increases both decelerated from the preceding month.
 
Thursday's data also showed the country's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1.9 percent year-on-year in December, down from 2.2 percent for November. The CPI rose 2.1 percent year-on-year in 2018, up from 1.6 percent for 2017.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 10, 2019
Startups hopeful as China rolls out new tech innovation board
9th January 2019

 China’s ambitions for a Nasdaq-style board for startups have galvanized the country’s tech companies who are hopeful they can sidestep complex IPO hurdles and access easier funding.

 
The surprise announcement for Shanghai’s planned “technology innovation board” by President Xi Jinping in early November paves the way for a lower listing threshold, potentially scrapping a requirement that aspiring companies must be profitable.
 
For Beijing, the move is seen helping to counter US curbs on its technology companies and may draw the next generation of high-tech firms to list in the Chinese mainland. Some of China’s best known brands such as e-commerce firm Alibaba Group and gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings have listed in New York and Hong Kong.
 
Last year, Chinese companies raised US$64.2 billion globally — almost a third of the worldwide total — via initial public offerings (IPOs), but just US$19.7 billion of that came from listings in Shanghai or Shenzhen, according to data from Refinitiv, compared with US$35 billion in Hong Kong.
 
The intense interest in the new board, even before rules are finalized, underscores the significance to private Chinese companies of having an alternative source of funding.
 
“Our business is in the field of network information security and coding technology. And we cannot receive foreign capital or list overseas,” said Tan Jianfeng, chairman of PeopleNet.“The new board is a very good (funding) opportunity for companies like us, and we have plans to list there.”
 
According to the Hurun Report, China had 181 unicorns at the end of September, surpassing the United States as the country with the biggest number of startups worth at least US$1 billion.
 
 
 
‘Spring is coming’
 
Since plans were unveiled by President Xi, officials have been scrambling to draw up detailed rules, expected to be published this month, with the aim of launching by June, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.
 
The new tech board, to be set up by the Shanghai Stock Exchange, will include a registration system — in effect removing official control of the IPO process that has for years produced a stop-start pipeline of listing candidates with a waiting time measured in years not months.
 
The board is also expected to allow listings from companies yet to make a profit — a common practice in tech-heavy markets such as New York and, more recently, on Hong Kong’s main board.
 
“For the venture capital industry, spring is coming. But I hope the spring is enduring, not a short-lived one,” said Andrew Qian, chairman and CEO of New Access Capital, a Shanghai-based investment and financial advisory firm.
 
Qian has recommended 11 prospective firms, or a sixth of his portfolio, to the Shanghai government, which will help pick the city’s first batch of candidates to go public on the new tech board. Forms have been distributed to startups by various government bodies probing their appetite to list.
 
The excitement, however, has stirred memories of China’s previous tech-friendly efforts that drove Shenzhen’s tech-heavy ChiNext board to dizzying heights in 2015 before the broader market’s spectacular collapse.
 
But unlike its rival boards, ChiNext continued to slide and has lost around 38 percent over the past two years, compared with about 11 percent for the blue-chip CSI 300.
 
The New Third Board, an over-the-counter market for startups begun in 2006, has also fallen out of favor with investors and is struggling to generate interest as liquidity runs dry.
 
Bankers said IPO candidates may still be carefully scrutinized to protect investors.
 
“You need to pay attention to a company’s core technologies ... if a pig farmer wants to list on the tech board, you need to screen it out, unless it makes epoch-making breakthroughs in breeding technology,” said Liu Guangfu, investment banking director at TF Securities.
 
Zhang Yu, executive director of China Equities at UBS Asset Management, warned that stocks on the board could easily become the target of pump-and-dump, because “many investors in China are not mature enough.”
 
DaoCloud, a Shanghai-based cloud computing startup that has not yet broken even, said the new board meant it was considering an earlier IPO. It had planned to list around 2021 on ChiNext, which typically requires two consecutive years of profit.
 
“The launch of the new tech board is good news to us,” said Roby Chen, founder and CEO of DaoCloud, but he too is wary of bubble risk as many provincial governments begin mobilizing startups to prepare for listings on the new board.
 
“I’m quite worried. In China, when something like tech becomes a hot topic ... it’s easy to become bubbly.”
 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, January, 2019
Profit growth for major manufacturers still slows
28th December 2018

 Profits of China's major industrial firms grew 11.8 percent year on year in the first 11 months this year, down from the 13.6 percent expansion recorded during the first ten months this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

 
In November, combined profits at industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan(US$2.89 million) fell 1.8 percent year on year to 594.75 billion yuan, compared with an increase of 3.6 percent recorded in October.
 
"The decline is mainly because of slower increase in the sector’s output and sales, drops in the rise of factory gate prices of industrial products and higher costs,” analyst He Ping at the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
 
Profits in 34 of the 41 industrial sectors surveyed posted increase from a year ago, the NBS said, including upstream sectors such as oil extraction, coal and metal mining.  
 
The Central Economic Work Conference wrapped up last week in Beijing has pledged to offer deeper tax cuts and more government spending as the government aims to revitalize economy in wake of the uncertainties brought by the possible trade disputes between China and the US.
 
From April to October this year, growth of industrial profits has also been on the decline, dropping to 3.6 percent in October from 21.9 percent in April.
 
Pingan Securities wrote in a research note today that the profitability improvement in the long term would require more tax reduction measures to boost performance.
 
December's industrial profit is very likely to post further decline due to cost and profitability factors, and it estimate a 10 percent increase for industrial profit over 2018.
 
Nomura Securities also expects the downward trend in industrial profit growth to extend into 2019 given weakening domestic demand, the continued credit downcycle and an escalation in the China-US trade conflict.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 28, 2018
China's industrial profits up 11.8% in first 11 months
27th December 2018

 Profits of China's major industrial firms grew 11.8 percent year on year in the first 11 months of 2018, down from the 13.6 percent expansion for the January-October period, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

 
Profits in 34 of the 41 sectors surveyed rose compared with one year earlier, unchanged from that for the January-October period, according to the NBS.
 
In November, combined profits at industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.89 million) fell 1.8 percent year on year to 594.75 billion yuan, compared with an increase of 3.6 percent recorded in October.
 
According to the NBS, the sectors of steel, construction materials, oil exploitation, chemicals and special equipment manufacturing contributed 76.6 percent to the overall industrial profit increase.
 
By the end of November, the debt-asset ratios of major industrial firms dropped 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier to 56.8 percent.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, December 27, 2018

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