Article: Greedy Wall Street giants won’t fare well in Xi Jinping’s China

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Greedy Wall Street giants won’t fare well in Xi Jinping’s China

Nels Frye, 01 June 2021

Congrats to America’s finance bros for finally getting their reward from the Chinese Communist Party. But surely, after obediently lobbying in favor of opening up to Beijing for decades, Wall Street deserved more than it received.

Two finance giants, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, can now operate wealth-management businesses on the mainland, partnering with China Construction Bank Corp. and Commercial Bank of China — state-run entities at the center of power in the Communist state. The result: Goldman and BlackRock will likely relinquish much in independence, data and intellectual property, while scrounging only scraps of the domestic finance market in China. Continue reading “Article: Greedy Wall Street giants won’t fare well in Xi Jinping’s China”

Article: China Considers New Holding Company for Huarong, Bad-Debt Managers

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China Considers New Holding Company for Huarong, Bad-Debt Managers

Bloomberg News, 01 June 2021

China’s finance ministry is considering a proposal to transfer its shares in China Huarong Asset Management Co. and three other bad-debt managers to a new holding company modeled after the one that owns the government’s stakes in state-run banks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Policy makers are re-examining the proposal, which was first tabled three years ago, as part of discussions on how to deal with the financial risks posed by Huarong, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.

Some officials view the creation of a holding company as a step toward separating the government’s roles as a regulator and shareholder, streamlining oversight and instilling a more professional management culture at Huarong and its peers, the person said. Continue reading “Article: China Considers New Holding Company for Huarong, Bad-Debt Managers”

Article: How the Big Three Rating Companies Got China Huarong So Wrong

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How the Big Three Rating Companies Got China Huarong So Wrong

Shuli Ren, 29 April 2021

After the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the Big Three rating companies were blamed for their enabling roles in the subprime mortgage crisis. Troubled securitized products would not have been marketed and sold without their seal of investment-grade approval. In fact, investors relied on their ratings, often blindly.

Over a decade later, similar drama is unfolding with state-owned China Huarong Asset Management Co. After failing to release its 2020 financials on time amid media reports of a deep restructuring, the distressed-asset manager became a distressed asset itself. Its 4.5% perpetual bond is trading at 70 cents on the dollar, not at all aligned with its safe-as-cash ratings. With $22 billion in dollar bonds outstanding, Huarong has issues due every month into the summer. Continue reading “Article: How the Big Three Rating Companies Got China Huarong So Wrong”

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: 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: China emerging as a global hub for money laundering operations

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China emerging as a global hub for money laundering operations

Vaishali Basu Sharma, 18 September 2020

The Income Tax Department conducted raids in the National Capital Region in August and found that some Chinese individuals, with fake Indian passports, were engaged in large scale money laundering operations. In July, China’s presidency of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) expired. With nearly one trillion dollars’ worth illicit financial outflows over a decade, China was hardly in a position to set the agenda for international anti-money laundering. Around the globe, multiple money-laundering operations reveal the systemic involvement of Chinese individuals and entities. In a sophisticated attempt to target competitive economies, the rich in China are channelling illicit cash through anonymous shell companies. They are engaging in wholesale money laundering, drug-smuggling, sanctions-busting, and market-distorting schemes. China has, in fact, emerged as the global hub for money laundering, not just for the Chinese but for criminals around the world. Continue reading “Article: China emerging as a global hub for money laundering operations”

Article: The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.

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The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.

Compliance Alert, 05 May 2017

Credit Suisse is forecasting $60 billion in new Chinese investment in Australia’s housing market over the next six years, more than double the $28 billion deluge of the past six years. One question is: how much of this is “clean” money? The likely introduction of further money laundering legislation may crimp the flow of Chinese funds. More broadly, it threatens to impose enormous costs on small businesses already foundering under a mountain of compliance paperwork.

This was brought to our attention last week when a fund manager touched base and bewailed, albeit with good reason, how real estate agents were still excluded from all obligations under Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act. Continue reading “Article: The real estate industry has escaped compliance of the Anti-Money Laundering Act so far – but experts predict not for long.”