Posted inBeijing, China, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Middle East, North Korea, Northeast Asia, World

The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 7 March 2017

SoftBank tech fund: Japanese technology tycoon Masayoshi Son’s new US$100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund promises to pour money into up-and-coming new technologies and undervalued technology companies worldwide. Doug Tsuruoka writes that fund contributors already include Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Apple and Qualcomm with many saying that its only a matter of time before investors from China are also involved.

China’s exchange reserves: The PRC’s stockpile of international currency unexpectedly rose above the US$3 trillion level, according to the People’s Bank of China, reports Steve Wang. The rebound in reserves adds weight to the efforts of Chinese authorities to curb outflows through tighter surveillance of capital flows in the banking system that follows seven straight months of declines in the forex treasure chest with a drop of US$41 billion in December and US$12 billion in January.

North Korea missiles: Pyongyang has said its launch of four missiles on Monday was a training exercise for a strike on US bases in Japan and was supervised by leader Kim Jong-un, reports Agence France-Presse. Three of the four missiles came down provocatively close to Japan, in waters that are part of its exclusive economic zone, and Washington and Tokyo are pushing for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and this is now likely go ahead on Wednesday.

HK horse racing: Brazilian jockey Joao Moreira raced eight and won eight at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin racecourse on Sunday. Yet, writes Ben Kwok, many of Hong Kong’s famously fervent horse racing fans were left disappointed because Moreira – who is known in Brazil as the “God of Thunder” – brought not just a new domestic win record but also drastically reduced odds and, correspondingly, much lower betting returns.

Belt and Road: In the past three years, China has invested more than US$50 billion in international projects aligned with its One Belt, One Road economic and diplomatic trade initiative, writes the Asia Times with Beijing saying these investments are yielding better than expected results. National Development and Reform Commission Chairman He Lifeng said this week that China has started 120 “Belt and Road” projects with 50 of these based on intergovernmental cooperation agreements and 70 signed with international organizations.

Posted inChina, Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, World

China Digest for Tuesday, 7 March 2017

120 projects worth over US$50 billion invested in Obor countries

More than US$50 billion has been invested in One belt, One Road (Obor), or Belt and Road, countries in the past three years and these projects had yielded better than expected results, Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday, citing National Development and Reform Commission Chairman He Lifeng. China has signed more than 50 intergovernmental cooperation agreements and around 70 with international organizations.

Core SOEs involved in national security face reforms

Companies directly involving national security and people’s welfare such as food and medicine will be targeted for reform this year, Shanghai Securities News reported on Monday, citing Xiao Yaqing, director of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission. Reforms will be conducted when required on core state-owned enterprises, Xiao said.

Big three telecoms giants answer Premier Li Keqiang’s call

Telecom service providers China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom have taken action following the call from Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report, Caixin reported. The three giants will improve internet speeds and reduce charges, while China Telecom is investing 100 billion yuan (US$14 billion) this year in optical network construction in township-level places or beyond in southern China.

Funds must avoid feeding asset bubbles: PBOC official

Chen Yulu, deputy director of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), emphasized the importance of money market funds avoiding areas of high-risk asset bubbles, referring to stocks and the housing market, China Securities Journal reported on Monday. To ensure the finance industry serves the real economy, the country must stick to a moderate monetary policy and expand financing channels, Chen added.

Hong Kong-Macau-Guangdong Bay Area inked in report

A plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau and cities in Guangdong province to develop a Bay Area has become a national strategy, Securities Daily said on Tuesday, after the idea was published in Premier Li Keqiang’s government work report. Tencent chief executive Ma Huateng also submitted a detailed proposal to build a world-class tech bay in the same area during the “two sessions,” it added.

250 Xiaomi stores set to open this year

Xiaomi, an e-commerce startup that has become one of China’s biggest smartphone brands plans to open 250 retail stores this year, founder Lei Jun told Caixin on Monday night. Lei believes the “new” retail model, meaning click-and-brick, will be the next evolution. Lei believes the new model and e-commerce technology will help to improve a buyer’s experience in the physical retail space and promote sales efficiency.

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