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News from China
Chinese banks in top-4 profit spots globally
30th June 2015

 CHINA’S banks are strengthening their position as the best capitalized and biggest profit makers in the world, a study showed yesterday.

Chinese banks filled the top-four spots for profits across the industry in 2014 after making more than US$180 billion between them, according to The Banker magazine’s annual rankings of profits and capital strength. Chinese lenders collectively earned almost double the amount of their US rivals, the data showed.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China’s US$59.1 billion profit last year topped the rankings, ahead of China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Bank of China.

US bank Wells Fargo ranked fifth with a US$33.8 billion profit, followed by JPMorgan and HSBC.

ICBC also topped The Bankers’ ranking of the strongest banks in the world for the third year, which is based on the amount of capital held, in amount rather than as a ratio of assets. The magazine says that method best reflects banks’ ability to lend on a large scale and endure shocks.

China had four names in the top-six strongest banks. There were four US banks in the top 10 — JPMorgan was third and Bank of America was fifth — and one British and one Japanese bank.

China’s big state-backed banks are growing in size and importance, fueled by their dominance of a huge domestic market. They are growing globally, but still have relatively modest overseas assets.

In contrast, some of the most international US and European banks are slipping down the rankings as they close businesses and shed assets to try to improve profitability.

HSBC slipped to ninth at the end of last year (from fifth in 2013) and Citigroup was seventh (from sixth). HSBC, Citi and Royal Bank of Scotland were the top-three banks in terms of capital just before the financial crisis in 2008.

The Banker said that in most regions banks increased their profits last year from 2013.

The best returns on capital were made by banks in South America at an average of 26 percent, followed by 24 percent for African banks, 19 percent in Asia and 15.5 percent in North America. Returns in Britain averaged 7.3 percent and lagged at 4.6 percent in the eurozone, The Banker said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 30, 3015
China under pressure to meet fiscal revenue budget target
29th June 2015

 BEIJINGThe Chinese government is under high pressure to meet its budget target forcentral fiscal revenue this yearfinance minister Lou Jiwei warned on Sundayciting slowingfiscal revenue growth.


The central treasury received 2.95 trillion yuan (about $475 billionfrom January to Mayayear-on-year growth of two percentLou said when briefing lawmakers on a State Councilreport on the final accounts for 2014.

The increase is far below the previously budgeted growth rate of five percent.

Total national fiscal revenue reached 6.43 trillion yuan in the same periodup 3.1 percentyear on year.

Chinese economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 yearsThisyear's growth target is set at approximately 7 percent.

The government has resorted to reform and structural optimization for stronger growthsaidLou.

"With the new growth engines still in the makingexternal demand contracting and internalcontradictions aggregatingthere has been considerable downward pressure on theeconomy," he said.

Thatamong other factorshas put the central government under "considerable pressure tomeet its fiscal revenue target ... for the rest of the year," Lou said.

The finance ministermeanwhilesaid the government has undertaken a series of measuresto steady growth and restructure the economySome measures "have workedor areworking," Lou said.

The government will stick to the strategic development blueprint of the "FourComprehensivesand focus on achieving the dual objectives of "maintaining medium-highgrowth and moving toward medium-high development," he said.

The State Council report was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People'sCongress (NPCat its ongoing bi-monthly sessionpresided over by Zhang Dejiangchairmanof the NPC Standing Committee.

In 2014, the general public budget revenue grew 7.1 percent year on year to 6.45 trillion yuan,while the expediture rose 8.3 percent to 7.42 trillion yuanthe report read.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 29, 2015
Hackers target users’ info security
26th June 2015

 CHINESE consumers should be more alert to information security risks in new gadgets and online services such as taxi-hailing applications, industry officials said at an Internet security forum yesterday.

Consumers have now become targets of hackers, Shanghai-based Internet security firm Keen said.

“Various O2O (online to offline) services have brought potential risks in people’s daily life,” said Wang Qi, chief executive of Keen, who used to work in Microsoft Corp.

Wang added that this situation creates a huge market potential for the information security industry.

Hackers, for example, are able to call more than 1,000 taxis at the same time or get information and other private data of thousands of users through loopholes present in Internet Plus apps like taxi-hailing and online housekeeping tools.

Besides smart devices like phones and computers, hackers can also target potential risks in new gadgets like drones and robots, according to experts who took part in a GeekPwn forum held by Keen and the Shanghai Youth League Committee.

A government-backed GeekPwn contest with total prize money of 5 million yuan (US$805,000) will be held in Shanghai in October.

Computer security experts, known as White Hats in the industry, will be asked to discover security weaknesses in new devices and apps as part of the contest.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 26, 2015
US$6.6t to meet greenhouse gas goals
25th June 2015

 IT will cost China more than US$6.6 trillion to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals it will lay out later this month in its strategy for United Nations climate negotiations, the country’s lead negotiator for the talks said.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change affairs, said the objectives the government will outline by the end of June will be “quite ambitious.”

Xie was taking part in a three-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue forum in Washington where he met counterparts in the Obama administration, including US climate negotiator Todd Stern, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

To meet its objectives, China, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, must reconfigure its coal-dependent energy mix and develop new energy sources, Xie said.

“We will need to carry out international cooperation and research and development to reduce the costs of relevant technologies and to innovate so that we can reach our objectives,” he told reporters at a State Department briefing.

On Monday, the United States and China said they will partner on two new carbon-capture, utilization and storage projects to help commercialize the technology.

While key details of China’s plan are not yet known, it is expected to include targets announced in November, when it reached a key climate change deal with Washington to cap its emissions by 2030 and fill 20 percent of its energy needs from zero-carbon sources.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed the government’s commitment to hit a carbon emissions peak by “around 2030.”

The country’s coal consumption decreased for the first time in years in 2014, however, leading some to speculate that its emissions could reach their peak sooner.

Stern told reporters the plans China has already announced with Washington were “a quite strong contribution.” But he said he hopes a final agreement of all countries at this December’s key UN climate change conference in Paris contains “a strong set of ... contributions, which are updated periodically” to ensure more ambitious targets.

Stern said China does not expect public finance to support its climate goals and that it is likely to attract investment as it adopts new technologies.

Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang told a panel that 750,000 electric vehicles were sold in China last year, three times more than the year before, “giving great opportunities and profit to companies like Tesla and BYD (Auto).” “To tackle climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity,” Wang said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 25, 2015

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