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The Daily Brief for Monday, 16 January 2017

China is liberalizing its job market to attract international talent. As Lin Wanxia reports, top ministries have unveiled new rules to allow foreigners who have completed postgraduate degrees, either in Chinese or overseas institutions, to find a job in the country without any prior work experience.

Protectionism on the rise? American tobacco giant Philip Morris International is fighting to keep a toehold in India’s US$11 billion tobacco market, as the Indian government considers further tightening foreign investment rules in the sector, according to documents seen by Reuters. Meanwhile, Australia’s DUET Group has agreed to recommend an increased US$5.51 billion bid from a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, in a deal that is likely to test the Antipodean country’s appetite for foreign investment in its key energy assets. Australia has thwarted a number of attempts by foreign investors to buy up strategic assets of late.

Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe’s two-day visit to the Philippines came at a crucial juncture in the region’s fast-changing geopolitics, writes Richard Javad Heydarian for Asia Times. Abe’s overtures to Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte are an attempt to counter China’s advances. They also underscore that Manila is now in the middle of a bidding war for influence.

Outgoing US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Vietnam over the weekend was calibrated to reassure Washington’s Southeast Asian ally ahead of a potentially more volatile era in the region, writes Ha Nguyen for Asia Times. Kerry didn’t mention Rex Tillerson’s recent comments about the South China Sea but spoke of ongoing bilateralism.

Kenny Hodgart

Kenny Hodgart is an editor for Asia Times.

Posted inBeijingChinaShanghaiWorld

China Digest for Monday, 16 January 2017

3% profit growth target set for centrally administered firms

Centrally administered enterprises should aim for a minimum of 3% growth in profits and try to reach 6%, Shanghai Securities News reported on January 13. The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission set the target in a January 11-12 meeting and the debt ratio should also decrease, the report said.

Beijing city will adjust existing curbs on housing market

Beijing’s deputy mayor, Chen Gang, said the city administration will not increase property curbs in the capital, the Beijing Morning Post reported on January 14. Chen said measures already in place had worked well and housing prices would be stable this year, the report said, so there is no need to implement more curbs. The municipal government will tweak existing policies and moderate supply based on demand to stabilize prices.

Services account for 55% of Wanda’s 2016 revenue

Dalian Wanda Group Co Ltd said its service arm accounted for 55% of its revenue in 2016, surpassing its core real estate business for the first time, Caixin said on January 14. Wanda Group chief executive Wang Jianlin said the transformation of Wanda was ahead of schedule by a year, Caixin reported. Dalian Wanda began its transformation in 2014, investing in entertainment, sports, tourism and finance.

Didi targets title as world’s largest green car operator

China’s largest ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing aims to have the largest fleet of electric cars in China in 10 years, chief executive Chen Wei said in a Caixin report on January 15. Didi now works with 20 million cars in China. It aims to increase the number of green cars to 1 million in five years, up from 200,000 now, and become the operator with the most electric cars in the world in 10 years.

Massive salary cuts and downsizing at Pingan Bank

Pingan Bank slashed salaries and laid off more than 100 employees in the past two months after a leadership change last October, Caixin reported on January 15. The downsizing, including a reduction in administration departments from 343 workers to 207, was “rare” within the sector, Caixin said, citing bank insiders.