An Internet user in China Photo: Xinhua

Total revenue of all internet-related companies in China grew 1.5% to over 215 billion yuan (US$30.58 billion) in the first three months of this year from the same period of last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The year-on-year revenue growth rate slowed by 17.3% in the first quarter of last year, the MIIT said Thursday.

During the first quarter of 2020, internet-related companies recorded a combined operating profit of 18.44 billion yuan, down nearly 25% year-on-year, as they were hit by the Covid-19 epidemic.

Revenue from online music, games, news and book companies increased 11% to 146.6 billion yuan, accounting for 68% of the total revenue of all internet-related companies. 

Internet-related companies based in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces recorded a combined revenue of over 166 billion yuan, which represented 77% of the total revenue of all internet-related companies. 

The number of mobile apps decreased by about 10,000 to 3.51 million at the end of March from a month ago. About 25% or 879,000 of these apps were mobile games. The number of music video downloads grew 4.8% to 148.7 billion in March from February. 

Supporting small businesses

Bosses of small and medium-sized enterprises who borrowed about 1 trillion yuan of bank loans have been allowed to delay their repayments due to supportive measures launched by the Chinese government last month, according to a China Central TV (CCTV) report. 

Last month, five government departments including the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, People’s Bank of  China, National Reform and Development Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Finance announced a plan that would allow SMEs to delay their loan repayments amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tax revenue also decreased by 742.8 billion yuan, or 16.4%, in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier, according to the State Taxation Administration. Of the decrease, 424.6 billion yuan was due to tax cut measures launched last year while 318 billion yuan was related to additional tax benefits launched this year.

The CCTV report also said a total of 1,100 companies have registered to participate in The 3rd China International Import Expo, which will take place in Shanghai on November 5-10. Some 70% of the venue’s gross floor area has been hired. It said China would be able to stabilize its foreign trade, increase its competitiveness and maintain long-term growth momentum. 

Yuanyou Bao

The Bank of China (BoC) said in a statement on Wednesday evening regarding its futures product, called Yuanyou Bao or literally “crude oil treasure,” it will continue to talk and negotiate with clients in a responsible manner and bear its legal responsibilities according to the law.

The bank said it is conducting a comprehensive review of its products’ design, business strategy and risk management. It said it will respond to its clients’ demands as soon as possible.

BoC said it has assigned a legal representative to send a letter to CME Group, a global markets company, and urged it to investigate an abnormal price fluctuation in the crude oil futures market on April 21. 

Prior to this, a group of individual investors said they had suffered huge losses on investments in Yuanyou Bao after oil futures decreased to -US$37.63 a barrel on April 21. They planned to file a class action against the Bank of China. 

Company news

PetroChina Co Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed oil and gas company, said it recorded a net loss of 16.23 billion yuan in the first quarter of this year, compared with a net profit of 10.25 billion yuan in the same period of last year. Operating income fell 14.4% to 509 billion yuan. The company said the decline in its operating income was caused by the slump in global oil prices. 

China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, or Sinopec, said it saw a net loss of 19.78 billion yuan in the first three months of this year, compared with a net profit of 14.76 billion yuan a year earlier. The company’s daily net loss hit a record high of 217 million yuan in the first quarter.

Everbright Bank said its outstanding loans for small and micro enterprises increased by 23 billion yuan to 523.5 billion yuan at the end of March from the end of last year. It said it had met loan demands that could help the SMEs resume production and operations and ensure a supply of medical products and necessities.  

The story was written by Yang Zhijie and Yuan Tianyi and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated into English by Nadeem Xu.