The People's Bank of China. Photo: iStock

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement that has given the nod to two local lenders to issue convertible bonds in the interbank bond market to replenish capital.

Both banks, including Zhejiang Chouzhou Commercial Bank and Ningbo Commerce Bank, are based in east China’s Zhejiang Province. On January 20, Ningbo Commerce Bank issued 500 million yuan (US$77 million) convertible bonds with no fixed maturity.

Bondholders will be able to convert debt into stocks and participate in the distribution of the issuer’s remaining assets if specific risk events arise. It is a tool created to help the country’s undercapitalized smaller banks.

Financial regulators will further encourage qualified small and medium-sized banks to issue such bonds to replenish capital and strengthen capabilities to serve the real economy and defuse risks, the statement said.

Medical supply exports

Beijing saw its exports of medical supplies rise dramatically in 2020, customs data showed on Monday.

Beijing’s textile and clothing exports, the majority of which were surgical masks and hazmat suits, last year soared by 202.7% from 2019 to 35.21 billion yuan. Exports of medical instruments and devices grew 138.5% to 11.34 billion yuan, while exports of pharmaceutical materials and drugs increased 64.3% to 6.77 billion yuan, according to Beijing Customs.

Beijing’s foreign trade was hit hard by the pandemic in the first half of 2020, but gradually returned to normal as the epidemic waned and production resumed.

In the second half of 2020, Beijing’s foreign trade rose 5.7% to 1.19 trillion yuan from the first six months. Foreign trade in Beijing dropped 19.1% to 2.32 trillion yuan for the whole year.

Prices of production goods

Most major production goods monitored by the government posted rising prices in mid-January compared with the previous 10 days, official data showed.

Of the 50 goods monitored by the government, including seamless steel tubes, gasoline, coal, fertilizer and some chemicals, the price of 32 goods rose during the period, while 15 registered lower prices and three saw their prices unchanged, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Coal, petroleum, natural gas and agricultural products saw overall gains in prices during the period, while prices of nonferrous metals dropped. The reading, released every 10 days, is based on a survey of nearly 2,000 wholesalers and distributors in 31 provinces and regions. 

Company news

Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies on Monday dismissed the “unsubstantiated rumors” regarding the possible sale of its flagship smartphone brands, claiming it has no such plan. 

“We remain fully committed to our smartphone business, and will continue to deliver world-leading products and experiences for consumers around the world,” said the statement.

The reply is a denial of a Reuters’ report claiming that Huawei was in early-stage talks to sell its premium smartphone brands P and Mate to a consortium backed by the Shanghai government.

Oppo, a Guangdong-based smartphone and electronic product maker, said on Monday it has established a research and development center in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, as part of a broader push to sharpen its technological prowess amid intensified competition.

Oppo said the R&D center in Xi’an will initially focus on the research and development of smartphones, and will gradually grow into an all-around product R&D center.

Duan Yaohui, the vice-president of Oppo, said the establishment of the Xi’an R&D Center is an important move to support the company’s future business development and a key platform for Oppo to improve its R&D capabilities.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and KoKo and first published at ATimesCN.com.