Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.08.23]






SOEs' recast to create third-largest steelmaker

The strategic restructuring of Ansteel Group Corp Ltd (Ansteel), the Liaoning province-based centrally administered State-owned enterprise, and Ben Gang Group Corp (Ben Gang), another Liaoning-based steelmaker, will create the world's third-largest steel manufacturer by production volume, the country's top State asset regulator announced on Friday.

The move came as the provincial State-owned assets supervision and administration commission of Liaoning province transferred its 51 percent shareholding in Ben Ganga locally administered SOEto Ansteel without any conditions. Ben Gang has become the latter's subsidiary.

After the reorganization, the annual crude steel production capacity of Ansteel will reach 63 million metric tons, and its operating income will reach 300 billion yuan ($46.14 billion), ranking second in China and third in the world, a statement released by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and the Liaoning provincial government said.

China Telecom

China Telecom flies on Shanghai float

Debuting shares of China Telecom, one of the country's big three telecom operators, surged by nearly 35 percent to 6.11 yuan (94 cents) in Shanghai on Friday.

The IPO netted 54.1 billion yuan ($8.3 billion), which made it the biggest float in the A-share market in a decade.

But, China Telecom, which is already listed in Hong Kong, saw its shares decline nearly 5 percent there on Friday.

China Telecom first went public on the New York Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong bourse in November 2002. After delisting from the US in May due to local investment restrictions, China Telecom announced it would list on the A-share market.

China Telecom's competitor China Mobile submitted its A-share IPO application to the market regulator this week, after delisting from the NYSE. It aims to raise 56 billion yuan, which could surpass China Telecom's IPO.


Evergrande denies EV unit stake sale talks

China Evergrande Group, a prominent property developer, on Friday denied holding negotiations with Chinese technology company Xiaomi Corp for a 65 percent stake in its electric car unit, Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group.

Evergrande's denial coincided with a similar response from Xiaomi to media reports that the two sides were in talks for the said stake sale.

The property giant, media reports suggested, was keen to reduce its debts and hence seeking to raise funds by offloading some assets or via subsidiary stake sales.

Ping An Bank

Ping An Bank step up green finance push

Ping An Bank is stepping up investment in green industries and promoting green finance development in order to contribute to national 'emission peak' and 'carbon neutrality' initiatives.

The national joint-stock commercial bank has elevated green finance to the strategic level and established a related office in the first half of the year, strongly supporting the development of green industries, the bank's chairman Xie Yonglin said on Friday.

The size of the bank's green finance business and its wealth management unit reached 60.22 billion yuan ($9.26 billion) as of the end of June, up 58.7 percent from the end of last year. Green credit balances hit 36.86 billion yuan, a jump of 62.5 percent from the end of 2020, Xie said at Ping An's interim results conference in Shenzhen.


Apple Inc tops Hurun Global 500 list

Consumer electronics tycoon Apple Inc topped the Hurun Global 500 list this year, with a gross value of 15.81 trillion yuan($2.43 trillion), followed by Microsoft and Amazon, according to the ranking released today.

Alphabet and Facebook took the fourth and fifth spots, with 11.21 trillion yuan and 6.26 trillion yuan in value, respectively.

A total of 47 Chinese companies rounded out the top 500, generating a total value of 36 trillion yuan. Internet giant Tencent ranked sixth, while still maintaining the No 1 position domestically.


Differing ingredients for Unilever ice cream in China and Europe generate controversy

Magnum, a well-known ice cream brand owned by consumer products company Unilever, offers a different list of ingredients for China and Europe, with the former using milk powder and the latter containing condensed milk, according to a recent report from China Central Television.

Magnum's different ingredients lists in China and abroad was first discovered by Chinese internet users, and soon triggered heated discussion on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Some netizens regard this act as proof of a 'double standard', and said they would exclusively purchase Chinese ice cream brands.

In response to this, Zeng Xiwen, global vice-president of Unilever, accepted a video interview with CCTV, and admitted the company does use different ingredients in China and Europe. Zeng said the transportation difficulties of condensed milk from Europe to China, as well as supply issues with local milk, led to the company making the change for its Magnum ice cream in China.


Takeda gains approval for new drugs

The spillover effect of the China International Import Expo has accelerated the approval process of foreign new drugs and therapies in the country, according to Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda.

The company first participated in the CIIE in 2018 with a 300-square-meter booth. It doubled the exhibition area in 2020 after it acquired Shire, a drug maker specialized in rare diseases treatment.

The company said that its five new products related to rare diseases, such as Fabry disease, haemophilia, Gaucher disease and hereditary angioedema, that it launched at the CIIE last year were approved by Chinese authorities this April.

Furthermore, three new molecular entity drugs were recognized by the Center for Drug Evaluation of the National Medical Products Administration as 'breakthrough therapeutic variety' three months after their exhibition at the expo last year.

According to Takeda's five-year China development plan, the company is looking to introduce more than 15 innovative drugs to the Chinese market by 2025.


Tencent announces 50b yuan social charity investment plan

Tencent Holdings Ltd announced a plan to double its fund for social charitable causes in a bid to help promote 'common prosperity' in China.

The internet giant is investing an additional 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) on supporting everything from rural revitalization, enhancing efficiency of the rural economy, increasing incomes for low-income people, funding inclusive education programs and other measures to enhance social fairness, the company said on Thursday though its official WeChat channel.

This latest move, which Tencent promised to be 'long-term and constant', adds to an April pledge of 50 billion yuan for the 'Sustainable Innovations for Social Value' program, which is dedicated to basic science, education innovation, carbon neutrality, food/energy/water provisions, and technology for the elderly and digitalization of public welfare.


Internet giant may skip dividend while eyeing potential investigations

Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd did not recommend an interim dividend payment even though its interim profit beat the market consensus forecast as the company needs to reserve financial resources as it braces for potential regulatory investigations of the industry.

The mainland-based technology giant said its profit attributable to equity holders for the six months ended June 30 rose 46 percent to 90.35 billion yuan ($13.94 billion) from the previous year. Revenue surged 23 percent to 273.56 billion yuan.

The company attributed the increase in interim profit to services enhancement and healthy growth rates across its business lines, particularly business services and advertising, and said its game revenue benefited from international growth.


Bilibili reports new revenue highs

Bilibili Inc, a popular video site in China especially among the younger generation, reported robust growth in revenue and monthly active users in the second quarter ending June 30.

The company registered a 72 percent increase in total net revenues to 4.49 billion yuan ($696.2 million), according to the latest earnings report released on Thursday. Average monthly active users reached 237.1 million, up 38 percent from the same period last year.

China Unicom

China Unicom considers spin-off of subsidiary

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd, a major Chinese telecom operator, said on Thursday it is considering a proposed spin-off and separate listing of China Unicom Smart Connection Technology Ltd in the nation's A-share market.

China Unicom Smart Connection Technology's businesses focus is in the field of internet-equipped vehicles, including smart connection, operation and application.

China Unicom said the move will accelerate enterprise value enhancement and realization. Upon the spin-off and listing, China Unicom Smart Connection Technology, as an independent listed company, can strengthen its financing ability and operational flexibility, better attract talents and strategic partners, enhance its competitiveness, accelerate its business development and improve returns.


Sinopec joint venture refinery starts operation

Gulei Refinery, a 50:50 joint venture between China Petrochemical Corp, or Sinopec Group, and Xuteng Investment Co Ltd from China's Taiwan, was put into operation on Thursday, Sinopec said.

The project is a major vehicle to step up refinery integration between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. With an estimated annual value of production exceeding 26 billion yuan ($4 billion), the project will further optimize the company's refinery layout while promoting common prosperity across the Taiwan Straits, it said.

Located in Zhangzhou in Fujian province, the plant aims to produce high-end chemical products, including polypropylene, ethylene glycol and styrene, said the company.


Lenovo doubling R&D investments for edge in digitalization

Lenovo Group Ltd will further invest in innovation and aims to double its research and development investments over the next three years, as the Chinese tech heavyweight works to tap into opportunities from accelerated digitalization and intelligent transformation.

The plan came after the Beijing-based company reported sterling fiscal first quarter results, with its pre-tax income almost doubling to $650 million in the quarter ending on June 30.


Bangladesh signs pact to make 5m Sinopharm vaccine doses

Bangladesh will be able to produce 5 million doses of Sinopharm's inactivated COVID-19 vaccines monthly, according to a memorandum of understanding signed virtually from Beijing and Dhaka on Monday.

The Chinese company will cooperate with local company Incepta to bottle and package the vaccines in the Incepta factory to meet people's needs in Bangladesh.


Sinopec finds much gas in Zhongjiang

China Petrochemical Corp, or Sinopec Group, said on Monday it has discovered abundant natural gas in its Zhongjiang gas field in Sichuan province.

This, Sinopec said, has further stepped up the company's clean energy supply capacity while helping ensure the country's energy security.

The proved reserves of newly added natural gas in the Zhongjiang gas field have exceeded 34 billion cubic meters and the total proved reserves reached 106.1 billion cu m, said Sinopec Southwest Oil and Gas Co, a domestic upstream oilfield company of Sinopec that is in charge of oil and gas exploration, development and sales in the Sichuan basin and surrounding areas.

The Zhongjiang gas field has produced 5.29 billion cu m of natural gas so far. For two consecutive years, it produced more than 1 billion cu m of natural gas per year, equivalent of 5.5 million households' daily gas consumption, Sinopec said.



Chinese sportswear brands sprint into healthy growth

Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning saw its net profits surge 187 percent year-on-year in first half of 2021 to over 1.96 billion yuan ($302.89 million), according to the firm's mid-year performance report released on Friday, The Paper reported.

Li-Ning said the firm's implementations of sales improvement during the pandemic contributed to the satisfactory result, along with the climbing demand from domestic consumers for a healthier life as well as their acknowledgement and support for domestic sportswear brands.


Ant Group

Ant Group denies rumors about govt official buying shares

Ant Group, Alibaba's financial arm, denied rumors that a senior Hangzhou government official, who is now under disciplinary investigation, bought shares of the company during its IPO.

The company said in a statement on Sunday that the company had strictly followed laws and regulations of both markets in the previous IPO process, which was open and transparent.

The rumors about a certain person taking shares in the company are false, not to mention sudden share buying or refund, it said.

The company added that it had never cooperated with the law firms or lawyers mentioned in the rumors and that it will resort to legal measures to safeguard its legitimate rights.