China market round-up: Huawei founder warns ‘live or die’ moment, Goldman Sachs to secure majority stake in JV
In this round-up, Ren Zhengfei warns employees of Huawei’s fragile situation, Hong Kong tension rages and Goldman Sachs is working to become the third foreign bank to have a majority-owned JV onshore
In an internal memo sent out on Tuesday, Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei warned that the company was at a critical “live or die moment,” local media reported.
He also told underused employees to make themselves useful, urging them to form “commando squads” to explore new projects. If these employees fail to find a role, according to the memo, their salaries will be cut every three months.
The Hong Kong protests continue to dominate the headlines. Simon Cheng, a staff at the British consulate in Hong Kong, was detained by mainland police during an August 8 trip to Shenzhen.
Chinese state-owned Global Times reported on Wednesday that Cheng had been in custody for fifteen days after an alleged visit to a prostitute, a violation of Chinese law.
On Monday, Twitter removed 936 accounts that it said were linked to the Chinese government. Facebook also shut down five accounts, three groups and seven pages.
In response, Geng Shuang, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, responded during a Tuesday press conference: “I think it’s reasonable that Chinese media use overseas social media platforms to introduce Chinese policies and tell Chinese stories. I don’t know why some companies and people reacted so strongly about this.”
China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has delayed its up to $15bn listing in Hong Kong amid growing political unrest, Reuters reported, citing a source.
Goldman Sachs has asked for the approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)’s for it to take a majority stake in its Chinese investment banking joint venture, Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities, Reuters reported. The bank is seeking to increase its ownership in the JV from 33% to 51%.
In separate news, the Shanghai Stock Exchange approved the registration of Goldman Sachs International as a cross-border GDR conversion institution on Thursday.
Seven other UK financial institutions – HSBC (UK), JP Morgan Securities, ICBC Standard Bank, Barclays, China International Capital Corp (UK), Haitong International (UK) and CLSA (UK) – have already been approved as cross-border GDR conversion institutions.
Bank of Jinzhou, having been put on state support since July 28, released an earnings warning on Tuesday, forecasting that the bank will book a net loss of between Rmb4bn ($564m) and Rmb5bn in 2018. Bank of Jinzhou is also expecting to lose Rmb500m to Rmb1bn in the first half of 2019.
As a comparison, the bank recorded a net earning of Rmb9.09bn in 2017.
Banks bought Rmb1.1tr of foreign currencies in July and sold around Rmb1.15tr of foreign currencies on the Chinese foreign exchange market, creating a deficit of Rmb42.3bn, according to data published by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (Safe) on Monday.
Meanwhile, banks bought Rmb1.04tr of foreign currencies from clients and sold Rmb1.06tr to clients. Banks themselves bought Rmb71.6bn of foreign currencies and sold Rmb85.6bn.
In July, China’s local governments issued a total of Rmb555.9bn of bonds. Among them, special-purpose bonds took up Rmb393.9bn, according to the Wednesday notice by the Ministry of Finance.
Since the beginning of the year, local governments have sold Rmb3.39tr of bonds, of which special-purpose bonds took up Rmb1.95tr. Outstanding local governments bonds reached Rmb21.1tr by the end of July.