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News from China
Dutch and Chinese firms seek to match
9th July 2015

 MORE than 200 small and medium enterprises from China and the Netherlands gathered in Rotterdam on Tuesday for their first-ever match-making party designed to expand bilateral cooperation in agriculture and the food industry.

The SMEs, including about 150 Dutch and 60-plus Chinese firms from a wide range of sectors such as seed cultivation, greenhouse technology, automation technology, dairy production, aquaculture and biological control, agreed on 196 cooperation intentions during the gathering in this biggest European port city.

A representative of the Dutch company Lely Group, which is famous for its milking robot, said the company has been trying to export machinery to China in the last four years and the match-making event proved to be a good chance for them to further explore potential Chinese partners.

“We are here to meet people. We know that the dairy industry is getting more and more important in China. Of course we want to play a part in this development, as a supplier of automatic systems,” said Marcel van Leeuwen, the group’s international business manager.

Worthwhile mission

The Chinese SMEs were mainly from China’s biggest agricultural provinces like Henan and Jilin as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

A representative of a Chinese milk producer, who only gave his surname as Qu, said he wished to bring Dutch cheese-making technology to his hometown in Jilin. If possible, he would also try to raise Dutch Holstein cows there.

“We’ve found a partner who showed great interest. We are still in the discussion process and will continue our talks in the afternoon. The Netherlands has world-leading cheese-making technologies and is also famous for cattle breeding and its herd management systems. I think it is worth coming here,” Qu said.

The Bank of China, the organizer of the event, also joined the match-making talks. It took the opportunity to promote its cross-border yuan financing products and offered consultation services to both Chinese and Dutch SMEs.

A financial institution should invest to bring enterprises together and create more cooperation opportunities for them, said Wang Jian, head of the bank’s SME services.

“Only eying immediate income or profits is a too narrow vision. Clients’ needs and benefits must be given a priority,” Wang said.

“Chinese SMEs have not yet enough ability to go international. They need a national bank to help them enter the international market and get connected with their partners in foreign countries.”

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 9, 2015
Temasek’s portfolio value up 19%
8th July 2015

 SINGAPORE’S state investor Temasek Holdings said the value of its portfolio jumped by almost a fifth to a record S$266 billion (US$196 billion) in the year to March on the back of a surge in Chinese bank stocks and added it was confident in China’s long-term economic outlook.

The 19 percent gain was Temasek’s largest in five years and reflects its investments in lenders such as China Construction Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China as well as holdings in leading Singapore firms. The previous year, its portfolio grew just 3.7 percent.

Stocks in China surged last year after the Chinese mainland moved to open up its equity markets with a stock trading link between Hong Kong and Shanghai. But in the last three weeks, they have tumbled some 30 percent, prompting authorities to unleash a slew of support measures.

“We remain confident in the long-term prospect of the Chinese economy and we are very comfortable with the prospect of the Chinese banking system as well,” Wu Yibing, Temasek’s head of China, said at Temasek’s annual review.

Wu said concerns about credit risks in China did not play out as feared last year.

“We actually not only stuck to our position. We increased our position in the Chinese banking system and we believe that has paid off,” he said of investments made last year.

Temasek made new investments of S$30 billion in the year ended in March, the biggest annual amount since the global financial crisis.

Singapore and Chinese firms account for more than half of Temasek’s portfolio, but it is increasing investments in the United States and Europe.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 8, 2015
Mobile data and broadband fees to be cut
7th July 2015

 CHINA plans to cut mobile data and broadband rates by 30 percent this year and is looking to cancel roaming fees for mobile users, the industry regulator said yesterday.

“We are seriously considering to cancel the roaming fees (nationally),” said Wen Ku, head of the telecommunications division of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The plan to reduce the fees is part of the country’s national strategy for a faster broadband and lower Internet costs to boost information use and the Internet Plus economy, industry insiders said.

Most 4G mobile packages don’t have roaming fees so that users have the same rate for local and long-distance calls on the Chinese mainland. Only some 2G users are charged roaming fees, according to China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile carrier.

The ministry also promised to cut rates of mobile data and family broadband by 30 percent this year.

Starting from July, Shanghai Mobile unveiled new packages under which smartphone users pay 50 yuan (US$8) for 2-gigabyte 4G data, which used to cost them 70 yuan.

China’s major mobile carriers, including China Telecom and China Unicom, released faster broadband services and a new round of discounts on Internet charges in May. They were taking heed of the government’s call for more advanced digital systems.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 7, 2015
Critical portion in World Bank’s report removed
6th July 2015

 THE World Bank has removed a sharply critical portion from a recently released report on China’s economy that called for reform of its financial system, saying the section had not been adequately reviewed and that its wording was inappropriate.

On Wednesday, the Washington-based institution released its China Economic Update report in Beijing, which included a section urging the country to accelerate reform of its state-dominated financial sector.

In blunt language, the World Bank warned that failure to address the issue could end “three decades of stellar performance” for the world’s second-largest economy.

“Wasteful investment, overindebtedness, and a weakly regulated shadow-banking system,” had to be addressed for China’s broader reform agenda to succeed, it said.

The organization, however, said in an update to the report that the section had been removed as it had not undergone proper vetting procedures.

Contacted for further comment yesterday, the World Bank provided a statement by Bert Hofman, its country director for China.

“The decision to withdraw this section of the report was taken because it did not fully follow our internal review and clearance processes and therefore its tone was not consistent with our standard of discourse with member governments,” Hofman said.

“To ensure full transparency, we disclosed the change on our website and in the updated report. We will continue to provide analysis and advice on China’s financial sector going forward.”

Hofman also said the World Bank has previously identified financial reform as “critical” for China’s development.

He added that China has acted on decisions taken at an important Party meeting in 2013 by pursuing changes including liberalizing lending rates, taking steps to curtail so-called shadow banking practices and providing more access to foreign investors to the country’s capital markets.

“Taken together, these are critical reforms that move China toward a more market-based allocation of capital,” he said.

The expunged section of the report had noted that the Chinese state exerts strong control over a majority of commercial bank assets, “making it an outlier by international standards.”

In some cases, the report added, authorities were simultaneously owners, regulators and customers of banks.

“Financial reform will only prove effective if it removes the distorted incentives and poor governance structures that have affected how financial resources are mobilized and allocated,” the report said.

“As now seen, a fundamentally reconfigured role of the state in the financial system is essential to change these incentives and structures.”

China is engineering a transformation of its growth model whereby consumer demand becomes the main driver rather than investment.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 6, 2015

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