Posted inAT Finance, China, Guangzhou, Taiwan, Thailand, World

The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 25 January 2017

With the mainstream media focused squarely on the new administration under US President Donald Trump, many countries in Asia are looking forward to the Lunar New Year and China – the world’s factory has temporarily shut down so workers can spend time with their families. Lin Wanxia spoke to travelers outside the Shenzhen Train Station recently, as they braced for their long journeys home. Asia Times also features a slide show of Serbian artist Endre Penovac’s paintings of roosters using techniques reminiscent of Asia ink masters.

And if you happen to be celebrating the Year of the Rooster, Asia Times is looking to share your most stunning images of Chinese New Year. We’ll share the best of them with the world, so please be sure to say where each photo was taken and include a brief description of what they show. Share it on Facebook with this hashtag, or on Twitter #atimescny.

Almost a year since she shook the mixed martial arts world, Angela Lee has experienced a steep learning curve, writes Pedro Chan. She has rarely been out of the spotlight after lifting the ONE Championship atomweight crown in May becoming the MMA’s youngest world champion at 19. Now she is preparing for her first defense of the title on March 11 in Bangkok. The now-20-year-old Lee (6-0) will face Taiwan’s Jenny Huang (5-0).

Moves are being made to herald a new king in Thailand, writes Shawn W. Crispin. The royal succession has been smooth, defying predictions of a tumultuous transition. On government buildings, shopping malls, and luxury hotels, larger-than-life portraits of recently deceased Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej are gradually being replaced with images of his succeeding son – King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun. While black-clad Thais continue to mourn Bhumibol’s death last October, the new king is setting the pieces that will define his power and reign.

Jie Jie is young, bright-eyed and works in a suburb of the city of Guangzhou in southern China. She’s mostly dressed in white, has a cute neckerchief and huge eyes that blink every four seconds exactly, and is the worst waitress I’ve ever met, writes Johan Nylander. The Steamed King Robot Restaurant is one of the few in Guangzhou – perhaps the only one – that still has a jiqiren, “machine man.”

Posted inChina, Chongqing

China Digest for Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Foreign-invested enterprises can still repatriate their profits: SAFE

A State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) director reiterates that there are no restrictions on foreign-invested enterprises’ remittance of profits, a National Economic Daily report said on Wednesday. SAFE will still follow previous policies on currency regulation, director Pan Gongsheng added.

PBOC increases interest rates on MLFs to stabilize liquidity

The People’s Bank of China raised interest rates on medium-term lending facilities (MLFs) on Tuesday to stabilize liquidity in its financial system, Yicai reported Tuesday evening, citing the central bank. Six-month and one-year rates on MLFs were raised from 2.85% to 2.95% and 3% to 3.1%, respectively. It was the first increase in nearly six years, the report added.

Regulator tightens rules on insurers’ stock investments: CIRC

Stock investments that exceed 5% of a listed company’s total shareholdings must be reported to the insurance regulator, Sina Finance reported Tuesday afternoon. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission issued the new rules to crack down on excessive buyouts and maintain market stability, the report added.

Alibaba’s online-to-offline unit raises US$1.1b in financing

Koubei, an online platform gathering businesses offering offline services under Alibaba, has finished a new round of financing worth US$1.1 billion, Caixin reported on Tuesday night. Silver Lake, CDH Investments, Yunfeng Capital and Primavera Capital are the major investors, Alibaba said.

Zhuhai bans use of commercial buildings as homes

The planning and construction of commercial buildings in Zhuhai city in Guangdong province must be sharply demarcated from residential buildings, Caixin reported on Tuesday night. The municipal Housing Department regulation also shut the door on adding toilets and kitchens to commercial property.

“Zombie” property developers get axed in Chongqing

Chongqing Industry and Commerce Administration has written off 397 “zombie” real estate enterprises in 2016 and reforms at 230 property developers will be supervised, Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday.

Firms seeking IPOs in ethnic regions get support

China will further support companies seeking initial public offerings in ethnic regions as part of the 13th five-year plan to boost regional economic development, Sina Finance reported on Tuesday, citing a State Council notice. Details on these measures have not yet been released.