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The week in review: Beijing tests millions for Covid-19, PBoC keeps June LPR stable, China welcomes first foreign owned lifer

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By Addison Gong
22 Jun 2020

In this round-up, the Chinese capital of Beijing conducts nucleic acid tests for Covid-19 on 2.3m local residents, the central bank leaves the benchmark lending rate unchanged for June, and a subsidiary of AIA is set to become China’s first wholly foreign owned life insurance company.


Beijing has begun mass testing for Covid-19 in light of a new cluster, with nearly 2.3m residents tested between June 13 and June 20, according to government officials.

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Three of China’s Covid-19 vaccines under development have completed two out of the three phases of clinical trials. China has approved five vaccines — including the three — for human tests, accounting for 40% of the world’s total, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Health Commission said last Friday.

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Chinese state media Xinhua News released a full draft of the national security law for Hong Kong on Saturday.

The Chinese central government will set up the Office of the National Security Commission of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong. The city’s chief executive will head the agency.

The agency will be used to “monitor, supervise, co-ordinate and support” the local administration, Xinhua reported. The law also gives Hong Kong’s chief executive the right to appoint judges to hear national security cases. Under “extremely few” circumstances, the agency will handle criminal cases that violate the security law. 

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June’s one-year loan prime rate (LPR) was unchanged from the previous month at 3.85%, with the five-year LPR also staying the same at 4.65%, according to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

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Foreign investors have been increasing their holdings of Chinese onshore bonds for 18 months in a row, according to data released by Shanghai Clearing House and China Central Depository and Clearing.

In May, foreign holding of outstanding Chinese bonds reached Rmb2.43tr ($343.6bn), equal to 2.61% of the total outstanding, which was a record high.

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The Securities Association of China held its quarterly meeting among chief economists from the securities and fund industries. The attendees suggested a tougher delisting system and harsher punishment for financial frauds, as well as the introduction of an index that tracks stocks listed on the Star board.

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AIA has won approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission to convert its Shanghai branch into a wholly-owned subsidiary. This makes it the first foreign company with a wholly-owned life insurance subsidiary in the Mainland.

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Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) has received the greenlight from the listing committee of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market to list on the technology and innovation board. The approval, announced last Friday, came only 19 days after Hong Kong-listed SMIC’s application was received, a record pace of approval for the bourse.

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“China has never prohibited or prevented accounting firms from providing audit working papers to overseas regulators,” Yi Huiman, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said in an interview with local media Caixin.

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Luckin Coffee has scheduled a hearing on Thursday this week with the Nasdaq to appeal the bourse’s decision to delist the company after it was found to have fabricated its sales figures, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Separately, Luckin announced it will hold an extraordinary general meeting on July 5 to vote out several directors including Lu Zhengyao, its chairman, and independent director Sean Shao. Shareholders are also expected to vote on the appointment of two independent directors.

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A Cayman Islands court filing dated June 16 showed that judge Raj Parker ruled in favour of Credit Suisse-led lenders to wind down Primus Investments Fund and Mayer Investments Fund. Both are Cayman Islands’ special purpose entities holding shares in Luckin and controlled by chairman Lu’s family. The lenders were owed $324.1m (as of June 1) after the default of a loan facility.

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Kangmei Pharmaceutical, a Chinese company that has defaulted before, released its revised 2019 annual report last Thursday. The company was fined by the CSRC for falsifying its financial statements.

The company recorded a net loss of Rmb4.7bn last year. Its annual revenue also declined by 32.9% to Rmb11.4bn, according to the release.

Additionally, it revised its net profit and revenue figures for the fiscal years of 2017 and 2018.

Kangmei has also revised its 2019 net loss expectation multiple times since the beginning of this year, from Rmb1.35bn-Rmb1.65bn to Rmb3.65bn, and then again to Rmb4.615bn.

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China is speeding up US farm purchases after Yang Jiechi, a senior Chinese diplomat, met with US secretary of state Michael Pompeo in Hawaii last week, Bloomberg reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

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Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians who were detained in China in December 2018, have been formally charged with espionage, Canadian local press reported. The crime is punishable with life in prison, according to Chinese law.

“[The] charges change nothing to our resolve to secure Michael’s release and to our hope and expectation that he will soon be reunited with his loved ones,” Robert Malley, chief executive officer and president at International Crisis Group, Korvig’s employer, said in a Friday statement. By then, the two had been detained for 557 days in China.


By Addison Gong
22 Jun 2020