Posted inAT Finance, Beijing, China, Japan, Myanmar, Northeast Asia, South Korea, World

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 9 March 2017

US and China: Lotte Group said its website in China was hacked on March 1 and in the following days more than 10 of its stores in the country were forced to close for “inspections” by authorities. Peter J. Brown writes that the events show how unhappy Beijing is after the Korean conglomerate sold a golf course in South Korea to the military, that will use the land as a base for a US missile defence system with radar powerful enough to peer into and perhaps spy on China.

China inflation concerns: Despite a substantial pullback in China’s headline Consumer Price Index in February, to just a 0.8% increase, price pressure continues to build as the Producer Price Index beat expectations with a strong 7.8% gain, writes Steve Wang. Imported inflation is now the top concern for China’s state planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, which holds the power to set and adjust the prices of certain key economic influencers, including retail gasoline prices.

Bankruptcy for Westinghouse: US nuclear power plant developer Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, owned by troubled Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp, has brought in bankruptcy attorneys from law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Reuters reports that the move comes after a $6.3 billion writedown at Westinghouse last month wiped out Toshiba’s shareholder equity and caused it to seek divestments to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems.

Myanmar’s drug problem: There is little disagreement that Myanmar remains one of the world’s largest producers of illicit drugs, including opium, heroin, methamphetamine and other synthetic narcotics. Bertil Lintner reports that the country’s “war on drugs” has always had more to do with counterinsurgency than suppression of the narcotics trade with government forces, including the autonomous Myanmar army which controls all security related agencies, viewing drug trafficking militias as useful allies in their counterinsurgency campaigns against ethnic rebels.

Posted inBeijing, China, Chongqing

China Digest for Thursday, 9 March 2017

Tech firms should be at top of IPO list, says CSRC chairman

Liu Shiyu, Chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, agreed with a suggestion that tech companies should get priority in launching initial public offerings, Phoenix TV reported on Wednesday. Liu made the comment in a meeting with Chongqing city’s delegates at the National People’s Congress (NPC).

Reducing fees is painful but necessary: Premier Li

Various departments and state-owned enterprises should reduce so-called fees for resources imposed on private companies because this is what the people want, Premier Li Keqiang emphasized when meeting NPC deputies from Guangxi, a government website said on Wednesday. He did not specify the departments that should cut fees. Li also said officials should not over-regulate the market, Xinhua reported.

Ministry plans to extend land-use rights

Ministry of Land and Resources Jiang Daming reassured property buyers that the law will duly protect their assets, Xinhua state news agency reported on Wednesday. The rights on residential housing in China usually expires in 70 years and the government is carrying out in-depth research to propose relevant legal arrangements beyond this period, the report added. Wenzhou municipal government decided the rights would be renewed by default last December.

Legislative body to launch e-commence law this year

The National People’s Congress (NPC) will establish an e-commence law this year, said Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee on Wednesday in his work report. Xinhua reported that amendments would be made to the laws on securities, anti-illicit competition, small and medium business promotion and others, said Zhang.

US$28.96 billion tax or cost to be cut for corporates in Guangdong

The Guangdong government plans to reduce the tax burden and the cost of financing, transaction, labor, logistics, energy consumption and land use by 200 billion yuan (US$28.96 billion) per year for corporates in the province. The government aims to achieve the goal in one to two years, Xinhua said on Thursday.

Beijing’s second-hand property prices higher than new homes

Second-hand property prices have increased dramatically and are higher than that of new homes in Beijing, said Caixin on Wednesday night. Secondary housing, which is not under the government’s price control, reflected the shortage of land supply for property, analysts said. Beijing’s land supply for homes hit a record low this year, only 260 hectares, decreasing 70% from last year.

Former discipline inspector promoted to deputy commerce minister

Fu Ziying has been promoted to two new Ministry of Commerce posts – the negotiation representative of international trade and deputy minister. The ministry website updated the information late last night. Before Fu joined the ministry as a deputy party boss last month, he had served as a discipline inspection group leader in the Central Discipline Inspection Commission since March 2015.