Posted inAT FinanceBeijingChinaMyanmarNorth KoreaNortheast AsiaWorld

The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 15 February 2017

In Myanmar, the removal of nearly all economic sanctions imposed on the previous military regime has not yet sparked an inrush of US investment. Peter Janssen reports that despite American entities no longer having to seek permission from the US Treasury Department to make investments exceeding US$500,000, Myanmar is not yet completely sanction-free.

Kim Jong Nam was China’s proxy for replacing Kim Jong Un because Beijing saw the North Korean leader as an impediment to their goals on the Korean peninsula. Stephen Bryen writes that China did not want to see American resources shifted to the Korean peninsula, especially the THAAD Terminal High Altitude Missile Area Defense system.

Around 112 million digital red packets valued at 6.67 billion yuan (US$971.07 million) were sent out on Tuesday via WeChat by young Chinese wishing their partners a Happy Valentine’s Day. Lin Wanxia reports that 9.6 million of these virtual red packets were stuffed with 520 yuan because the number “five-two-zero” sounds similar to “I love you” in Putonghua.

In Cuba, China is deepening its business footprint to help the fellow Communist-run state survive a crisis in oil-benefactor Venezuela and insulate against a possible rollback of US detente. Reuters reports that Cuban imports from China reached a record US$1.9 billion in 2015, nearly 60% above the annual average of the previous decade.

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China Digest for Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guangzhou firm’s first shipment sent to nuclear giant EDF

FEOSO Electric (Guangzhou) has exported the first batch of its low-pressure heaters to Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power stations after securing a quality supplier certificate on its originally designed equipment, Xinhua reported on Wednesday. EDF is one of the largest nuclear power operators in the world.

Property development mergers exceed US$58b in 2016

The number of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in property development stood at 198 in 2016 worth more than 400 billion yuan (around US$58 billion), a 43% increase in value compared to 2015, Securities Daily reported on Tuesday, citing data from financial information provider Wind. M&As are one method developers use to maintain profit margins as land prices remain high, the report added. Companies including banks and medical technology firms are also among the buyers, it said.

Insurers should have strong capital backing: watchdog

The insurance watchdog issued licenses to six companies while rejecting four, Xinhua state news agency reported on Tuesday. Insurers should focused on patiently growing the business and should not consider it as a “cash withdrawal machine,” while potential market entrants should be well-prepared. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission tightened issuing of new licenses in June last year, say news reports.

11 companies in pilot foreign debt reform trial

Seven banks, three non-bank financial institutions and Huawei Technologies are the first enterprises to start a pilot trial on foreign debt reforms, a Sina Finance report said on Tuesday. Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Life are among these firms authorised to issue cross-border debt at any time, the National Development and Reform Commission website said.

Manufacturing industries told to slash or halt output to reduce smog

The areas hit hardest by smog – Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei – have drafted a plan to tackle air pollution by limiting manufacturing in winter, the National Business Daily said on Wednesday. Steel producers are required to slash output in half, while medicine and pesticide manufacturers should completely stop production.

Southern cities to make total switch to electric buses in four years

Shenzhen will phase out diesel-oil buses and go totally green by 2018, while Guangzhou and Foshan will to complete the switch to electric buses by 2019 and 2020, respectively, Caixin reported Tuesday, citing a provincial planning document. Buses accounted for around 30% of total roadside emissions, the report said, citing public data.