Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

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Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests

DANIEL L DAVIS, 11 April 2021

Being “tough on China” is politically popular in Washington these days, and Biden has come out of the gate swinging against Beijing. But “being tough” isn’t a policy and reflexively applying it to China doesn’t serve U.S. interests. A logical and realistic approach to Beijing, however, can.

Obama’s “pivot to Asia” in 2011 opened a new chapter in Sino-American relations and turned an always challenging relationship even more tense. From the beginning of his administration, Trump characterized China in starkly adversarial terms, calculating domestic political advantage in starting a trade war. In the early months of the Biden term, it appears the new president has chosen to accelerate this deterioration in relations. Continue reading “Article: Being ‘tough on China’ can’t mean harming our own interests”

Article: Can the US compete?

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Can the US compete?

Rod Kapunan, 10 April 2021

Many are speculating whether the US has the budget to sustain the cost for the long-delayed rehabilitation of America’s infrastructure. It was announced it will cost the Biden administration a whopping $2 trillion to undertake the repairs of the country’s mostly aging infrastructure.

As observed, the US economy is saddled with great contradictions. It is deeply mired in debt that it cannot just do all things at the same time. Some say the problem is for the US economy to undergo some kind of economic metamorphoses, similar to what China did to overcome the obstacle inherent in the US system.

One must remember that the greatest enemy of the US is the contradiction from within its own system. The US is hampered in what Marx says “internal contradictions” – that the interest of the various pressure groups could stymie most of its objectives. Continue reading “Article: Can the US compete?”

Article: Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable

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Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable

Max Chafkin, 07 April 2021

Peter Thiel is “pro-crypto” and “pro-Bitcoin maximalist,” but he also thinks the cryptocurrency may be undermining America.

Thiel, the venture capitalist and conservative political donor, urged the U.S. government to consider tighter regulations on cryptocurrencies in an appearance on Tuesday. The statements seemed to represent a change of heart for Thiel, who is a major investor in virtual currency ventures as well as in cryptocurriences themselves. Continue reading “Article: Peter Thiel Calls Bitcoin ‘a Chinese Financial Weapon’ at Virtual Roundtable”

Article: Hong Kong Hit by Dozens of Trading Halts After Earnings Deadline

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Hong Kong Hit by Dozens of Trading Halts After Earnings Deadline

Bloomberg News, 01 April 2021

Trading in more than 50 Hong Kong-listed companies was suspended on Thursday, after a number of firms failed to report earnings ahead of the March 31 deadline.

GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd. and China Huarong Asset Management Co. were among the firms that announced a trading halt. GCL-Poly said additional time is required to complete its audit procedures while Huarong said it will delay delivering its earnings as it seeks to complete a transaction. While it’s not uncommon for some companies in Hong Kong to have to suspend trading on April 1, the number this year compares with at least 9 last year and 25 in 2019. Continue reading “Article: Hong Kong Hit by Dozens of Trading Halts After Earnings Deadline”

Article: Why Is It Moving? Looking Into Why SeaChange International’s Stock is Trading Higher Today

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Why Is It Moving? Looking Into Why SeaChange International’s Stock is Trading Higher Today

Erin Clark,  29 March 2021

Hong Kong Is Set to Target First SPAC Listing by End of Year

(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong is expected to have its own blank check company listing framework ready in June for public feedback and targets allowing deals to start by the end of this year, according to people familiar with the matter.The city is looking at tighter rules for sponsors of special purpose acquisition company listings and their buy-out targets than those enforced in the U.S., said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal deliberations. Continue reading “Article: Why Is It Moving? Looking Into Why SeaChange International’s Stock is Trading Higher Today”

Article: Hong Kong activist charged with foreign collusion under national security law

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Hong Kong activist charged with foreign collusion under national security law

Jessie Pang and James Pomfret,  24 March 2021

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Andy Li was charged on Wednesday with “conspiracy to commit collusion” with a foreign country to endanger national security, two days after he was released from a Chinese prison.

At the city’s West Kowloon Court, the prosecutor told the judge that Li, who had been detained by Chinese authorities after trying to flee Hong Kong for Taiwan by boat with 11 others last August, would also be charged with two other offences including possession of ammunition without a licence.

The ammunition in question included used tear gas canisters.

Under the city’s China-imposed national security law, defendants could face up to life in prison if convicted. Continue reading “Article: Hong Kong activist charged with foreign collusion under national security law”

Article: German Attorney Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

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German Attorney Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

Eastern District of New York, 24 March 2021

Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Henning Schwarzkopf, a citizen of Germany and an attorney licensed to practice in Germany, pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Ramon E. Reyes, Jr., to money laundering by transferring funds that he believed to be the proceeds of a securities fraud scheme through the bank account of a Hong Kong shell company controlled by the defendant. Schwarzkopf was arrested on a criminal complaint in October 2020. When sentenced, Schwarzkopf faces up to 20 years in prison, as well as forfeiture and a fine of up to $250,000.

Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the guilty plea. Continue reading “Article: German Attorney Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering”

Article: Think twice before signing ‘2021 Hong Kong Charter’

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Think twice before signing ‘2021 Hong Kong Charter’

SCMP Editorial, 17 March 2021

A campaign seeking to unite Hongkongers based overseas and the international community to fight what it calls suppression of the city’s freedoms and autonomy had barely made a ripple before being branded “illegal” by the Security Bureau.

The “2021 Hong Kong Charter” will not just make its founder, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, and others liable to breaching the national security law, but also whoever else signs up. Such a move is likely to be seen as foreign collusion.

The 25-point document contains statements on Hong Kong, mainland China and the international community and calls for the “liberation” of the city and the end of China’s one-party rule – slogans that are now deemed in violation of the law banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

It also mentions issues in relation to Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan, and urges the international community to “stand together, to safeguard democratic values under the threat of totalitarianism”.

The city’s development has always been at the heart of many overseas Chinese with Hong Kong roots, even more so in the wake of the political and economic turmoils in recent years. It would therefore be unsurprising if the campaign attracts some support abroad and at home.
Taiwan
But people should think twice before signing up to the document. The Security Bureau has warned that it would be an offence for anyone planning or participating in acts that undermine sovereignty or colluding with foreign forces to sanction or engage in hostile activities against Hong Kong and the mainland. The extraterritorial effect of the law makes those participating from overseas also liable.

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Article: China tells Alibaba to sell off media assets in tech crackdown

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China tells Alibaba to sell off media assets in tech crackdown

Mark Sweney and Helen Davidson, 16 March 2021

Beijing has ordered e-commerce company Alibaba to sell off media assets including Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (SCMP) as the Chinese government looks to crack down on the growing public influence held by the country’s sprawling tech conglomerates.

Alibaba has become the lightning rod in the crackdown on big tech after founder Jack Ma, one of China’s most popular, outspoken and wealthiest entrepreneurs, delivered a blunt speech last year criticising national regulators that reportedly infuriated the president, Xi Jinping.

Following the comments, Chinese regulators blocked the $34bn stock market flotation of Alibaba online payments subsidiary Ant Group, which would have been the biggest share offering in history, and Ma disappeared from the public eye for three months. Last week, it emerged that regulators are reportedly preparing to hit Alibaba with a record fine in excess of $975m over anti-competitive practices.

China’s protectionist business regime, which shuts out foreign companies including Google and Netflix, has enabled a group of homegrown conglomerates to flourish as the country looks to build the next wave of global tech champions to challenge Silicon Valley.

Beijing has struggled to maintain control over their activities and wider influence with Alibaba’s media empire expanding to buy SCMP, Hong Kong’s premier English-language newspaper, in 2016 and holding stakes in social network Weibo, video streaming service Youku and Yicai Media Group, one of the country’s most influential news outlets.

“What is interesting here is that the Chinese Communist party has done a good job of cultivating huge tech giants, national champions,” said Jamie MacEwan, a senior media analyst at Enders Analysis. “But there has always been a split under the surface between those who want to encourage the great tech leap forward and a growing unease among those worried about these huge companies and the big public figures at the head of them, like Ma, outgrowing the patronage of the [Chinese communist] party.”

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Article: The Next ‘Gamestop’: How China or Russia Could Attack Our Financial System

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The Next ‘Gamestop’: How China or Russia Could Attack Our Financial System

Robert Carlson, Gray Gaertner, 16 March 2021

Last week, the dramatic rise and fall in the price of Gamestop demonstrated how vulnerable the stock market is to social media speculation. U.S. regulators should now turn their attention to a greater risk—that in the near future, China, Russia, or another adversary could coordinate an unwitting mob to harm the American financial system.

The potential for financial warfare follows from a playbook that China, and especially Russia, have drawn from repeatedly to meddle in U.S. domestic politics. First, foreign state agents have used social media to spread disinformation or stoke existing grievances. Second, they have counted on naive users to share the original posts, allowing the content to reach a larger audience. Finally, they fan the flames to provoke action.

In 2016 and 2020, Russian propaganda decreased U.S. voters’ trust in their candidates and the political system. During last year’s protests over race and policing, foreign bots amplified instances of both racial discrimination and violent protests, further polarizing American society. Following Joe Biden’s electoral victory in November, Russian agents embraced false allegations of fraud, providing the rationale for an armed mob to assault the Capitol Building. China spends at least $10 billion per year on its own influence operations through the United Front Work Department, which promotes pro-Beijing narratives overseas.

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Article: China tells UK to butt out of Hong Kong

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China tells UK to butt out of Hong Kong

Andrew Davis, 15 March 2021

China accused the UK of “groundless slanders” after the British government said Beijing’s crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong wasn’t in compliance with the treaty that paved the way for the city’s return to Chinese control.

“The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of ‘supervision’ over Hong Kong after the handover, and it has no so-called ‘obligations’ to Hong Kong citizens,” China said in a statement posted Sunday (Monday AEDT) on the website of its London embassy. “No foreign country or organisation has the right to take the Joint Declaration as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs.”

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Article: Nasdaq Futures Tumble As Value Surge Makes Europe A Sea Of Green

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Nasdaq Futures Tumble As Value Surge Makes Europe A Sea Of Green

TYLER DURDEN, 08 March 2021

US equity futures and global markets jumped higher at the reopen of Asian trading late on Sunday following news of the Senate’s passage of the Biden $1.9TN stimulus plan and the spike higher in oil following the Houthi drone attack on Aramco facilities in the Gulf, but have since dipped amid renewed reflationary fears which pushed Treasury yields as high as 1.61% overnight hitting tech stocks with lofty valuations even as value stocks and European markets were broadly in the red. After rising above $71, Brent has since faded gains and was last trading near where it closed Friday at $69. Bitcoin soared as HK-based firm the latest institution to convert cash into Ethereum and Bitcoin.

At 7:10 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 16 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 16.5 points, or 0.44%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 154.25 points, or 1.20%. Continue reading “Article: Nasdaq Futures Tumble As Value Surge Makes Europe A Sea Of Green”

Article: No Rest For Hong Kong Investment Bankers As Kuaishou IPO Skyrockets

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No Rest For Hong Kong Investment Bankers As Kuaishou IPO Skyrockets

Brendan Ahern, 05 February 2021

Tencent-backed ByteDance rival Kuaishou Technology (1024 HK) ripped +160% in its Hong Kong IPO today in the second-best IPO performance ever behind Alibaba’s +193% gain back in 2007 (BABA went private before going public again in 2014). The company raised $5.4B from investors. Yesterday we did a deep dive on the company, which you can access here.

The value traded in Kuaishou was nearly 3X the second most traded stock worth $4.84 billion as 119 million shares traded hands today. Several brokers noted the company’s market cap of $158 billion is more than three Hong Kong banks, HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Hang Seng, combined! The Hong Kong IPO frenzy is going to continue with rumors overnight that Tencent Music Entertainment TME -4% is working on a Hong Kong IPO along with Baidu BIDU -0.3%. Bloomberg noted that ByteDance might want to take advantage of the valuation given to Kuaishou and pursue an IPO itself, similar to when Uber UBER +2% went public after seeing Lyft’s LYFT +0.2% success at doing so. Continue reading “Article: No Rest For Hong Kong Investment Bankers As Kuaishou IPO Skyrockets”

Article: HSBC dragged into forex probe, reveals profits jump

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HSBC dragged into forex probe, reveals profits jump

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, 04 November 2013

LONDON: A worldwide probe into suspected rigging of foreign exchange deals has reached Europe’s biggest bank HSBC, the bank revealed when it also announced a jump in quarterly profits.
The London-based bank said in its earnings statement that British regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, is conducting investigations alongside several other global agencies into a number of firms, including HSBC, “relating to trading on the foreign exchange market”.

HSBC said it was “cooperating with the investigations which are at an early stage”.

It comes as the British bank announced a 28-percent increase in net profit to $3.2 billion (2.37 billion euros) during the three months to the end to September on major cost-cutting and lower bad debt charges.

HSBC had posted profit after tax of $2.5 billion in the third quarter of 2012.

“Revenue was stable in the third quarter (of 2013), influenced by the mixed global macroeconomic picture,” HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver said in a statement.
“Our home markets of the UK and Hong Kong contributed more than half of the group’s underlying profit before tax.”

Gulliver added: “Hong Kong continues to benefit from its close economic relationship with mainland China. We remain well positioned to capitalise on improving economic conditions in these markets.”

HSBC said it would continue to focus on reducing its cost base after savings of $400 million over the third quarter and total cuts since the start of 2011 of $4.5 billion.

“This is well in excess of the target we set out to achieve by the end of 2013. We re-invested part of these savings in risk and compliance, increasing headcount by 1,600 since December 2012,” Gulliver said.

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Article: 4 at Deutsche Bank indicted over stock manipulation

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4 at Deutsche Bank indicted over stock manipulation

Choi He-suk, 21 August 2011

Four employees of Deutsche Bank AG and Deutsche Securities Korea have been indicted on charges of gaining unlawful profits by manipulating stock prices, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said Sunday.

Of the four, three work at Deutsche Bank’s Hong Kong branch including one executive. The other is an executive of Deutsche Securities Korea.

The Hong Kong-based individuals have so far refused to comply with the prosecution’s summons. The prosecutors said that if they do not attend the hearing, it plans to request their extradition and to request Interpol’s cooperation if necessary. Continue reading “Article: 4 at Deutsche Bank indicted over stock manipulation”