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News from China
China doubles QFII quota to US$300b
14th January 2019

 China's forex regulator announced Monday that the total quota of the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) program had doubled to US$300b.

 
The move aims to meet demand from overseas investors to expand investment in China's capital market, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement.
 
The QFII program is the earliest and most important arrangement for the opening up the country's capital market, the statement said.
 
Introduced in 2003, the scheme allows overseas institutional investors to move money into China's capital account to encourage controlled flows.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 14, 2019
China capable of maintaining reasonably high growth rate in 2019: economist
11th January 2019

 China will be able to maintain a growth rate around 6.5 percent and continue to contribute about 30 percent of the growth to the global economy, said former senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank Justin Lin Yifu Thursday.

 
"Looking ahead what will be the prospect for China's growth in 2019...I'm confident," said Lin, also the honorary dean of National School of Development at Peking University, while delivering a keynote speech during the "Forecast: China's Economy 2019," an event hosted by the National Committee on US-China Relations and Peking University's China Center for Economic Research in New York.
 
He mainly attributed his optimism to a fact that the Chinese economy will enter the expansionary stage of its on-going supply-side structural reform in the next few years.
 
Lin noted that since 2016, the Chinese government has advocated implementing some kind of supply-side structural reform in order to improve the quality of its economy and avoid possible systematic financial risks.
 
The economist spoke highly of China's willingness to take up the bold attempt, since structural reform has been discussed almost in every country, but most countries only talk since they are afraid of the potential pain by the contraction.
 
Lin pointed out that China's economic policies are "responsive and contingent," and as the country has achieved the major goals of reducing excessive capacity, destocking and deleveraging, the focus will be shifted to reducing the administrative cost or the administrative burden to the enterprises and removing the bottlenecks of the growth in the Chinese economy, which are "expansionary."
 
Policies such as cutting down the tax rate for the private sectors and reducing the business red tapes will not only boost investment but also create a favorable environment for the business community, he said.
 
According to the World Bank report "Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform," published in October 2018, China moved up more than 30 places to the 46th position in the global rankings, reflecting that it had made dramatic improvements to its business environment over the past year.
 
China's resolve to remove the bottlenecks of its economy and support investment in such areas as industrial upgrading, infrastructure, environmental protection, and urbanization will also give stimulus to its economic growth, Lin said.
 
He added that the Chinese market and growth will be an opportunity for the Chinese people and the business community in the world, including the business community in the United States.
Source: Shanghai Daily, January 11, 2019
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

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