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News from China
Midea wins majority control in Kuka
8th July 2016

 CHINESE appliance giant Midea has secured majority control in German industrial robotics supplier Kuka, it said yesterday.

Midea — best known for selling washing machines and air conditioners — offered 115 euros (US$127) per share for Kuka, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of industrial robots, in June.

It valued Kuka at 4.6 billion euros and was a near 60 percent premium to Kuka’s closing price before Midea announced it was increasing its stake in the German firm in February.

As of Wednesday, the offer had been accepted by holders of 43.74 percent of Kuka’s shares, the Chinese company said in a statement on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where it is listed.

Adding the shares it already owns, it said it had “approximately 57.25 percent of the issued share capital and the existing voting rights of Kuka.”

Following public and official concerns in Germany that the takeover might lead to losses of technology and local jobs, Midea and Kuka unveiled an investor deal which includes a commitment to keep its existing headquarters, factories and jobs earlier this week.

China has pushed its companies to “go out” and invest in foreign targets to increase their technological capabilities and seek new markets as economic growth slows at home.

There is huge demand for robotics in China, where officials are trying to raise manufacturers’ productivity. Since 2013, China has bought more industrial robots each year than any other country, and it is expected to be the world’s biggest operator of industrial robots in 2018. Many Chinese robotics companies have tried to raise their competitiveness through overseas mergers and acquisitions.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for foreign objectivity on overseas M&As by Chinese companies and “a reasonable and transparent business environment for them.”

“Such normal business behavior should be granted fair treatment,” said Hong Lei.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 8, 2016
Yuan hits lowest in 5 1/2 years
7th July 2016

 THE yuan weakened to the lowest in five and a half years against the US dollar yesterday after the central bank eased the guidance rate amid global and domestic economic uncertainties.

The yuan closed at 6.69 per US dollar at 4:30pm after going above 6.70, the weakest since late 2010.

The spot rate fell from Tuesday’s 6.6695 after the People’s Bank of China yesterday lowered the central parity rate by 0.4 percent from Tuesday to 6.6857, the weakest since November 2010.

The yuan can trade within 2 percent on each side of the reference rate.

The weaker yuan was in line with the pound’s tumble to a 31-year low against the US dollar on fears of financial and economic instability from Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

The PBOC tolerates a greater decline of the yuan in line with the trend of US dollar strengthening as it wants to keep the yuan relatively stable against a basket of currencies, according to analysts, adding that the sluggish outlook of the Chinese economy is also weighing on the yuan’s exchange rate.

“Nearly all emerging market currencies have been weakening since Britain decided to leave the European Union, and the yuan cannot avoid the impact,” foreign exchange broker FXTM said in a note.

“Market sentiment for the yuan will continue to weaken in the second half as risk aversion prevails. The market is also worried that the close link between the Chinese and British governments will be hurt by the Brexit decision.”

Zhu Haibin, chief China economist of JPMorgan, said China’s economic growth may slow to 6.3 percent annually in the fourth quarter from 6.7 percent in the first quarter. The US investment bank maintained its forecast for the yuan’s exchange rate at 6.75 against the US dollar at year’s end.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 7, 2016
Alibaba buys app firm to lift position
6th July 2016

 ALIBABA yesterday said it has acquired domestic Android application distributor Wandoujia to strengthen its position in the mobile Internet market.

Wandoujia will merge with Alibaba’s mobile business unit, which includes UC Browser and online mapping service AutoNavi, to tap on each other’s strength.

“Both companies share the same strategic vision, and we believe Alibaba’s mobile business and Wandoujia could form a strong product offering and deliver synergies under new mobile Internet trends,” said Yu Yongfu, president of Alibaba mobile business group.

The founder of Wandoujia, Wang Junyu, said combining each other’s resources and data analytic capabilities will help shape its future growth.

Earlier media reports said the deal is valued at around US$200 million but both companies declined to comment on the financial details.

Launched in 2010, Wandoujia is one of the earliest Android app distributors in China. Former Google China head Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works, Softbank Group and DCM have invested in it.

Alibaba has been trying to catch up with Baidu and Tencent in the mobile Internet sector. According to Beijing-based Big Data Research, Baidu, Tencent and Qihoo 360 took the top spots among Android app distributors in China in the first quarter.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 6, 2016
PBOC to adopt various policy tools
5th July 2016

 CHINA’S central bank said yesterday that it would use various policy tools to maintain appropriate liquidity and reasonable growth in credit and social financing.

The People’s Bank of China will continue with a prudent monetary policy and keep its stance neither too loose nor too tight, it said in a statement after the second-quarter monetary policy committee meeting.

It said the central bank would improve the financing and credit structure, increase the proportion of direct financing and reduce social financing costs.

The PBOC reaffirmed that it would keep the yuan exchange rate basically stable at “a reasonable and balanced level” while improving the exchange rate formation mechanism.

The central bank said China’s economic performance remained generally stable, but warned “the complexity of the current situation should not be underestimated,” underlining a modest recovery in the United States, a fragile recovery in Europe, financial market volatility after the Brexit vote, sluggish growth in Japan and difficulties facing emerging economies.

Latest data showed there remains downward pressure on the economy as the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, a main gauge of factory activity, fell slightly in June.

China’s economy grew 6.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of this year, the slowest growth since the global financial crisis in early 2009 but still in line with the official 2016 target range of between 6.5 percent and 7 percent.

The second-quarter GDP and an array of economic data are due for release on July 15.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 5, 2016

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