China business news digest

Beijing to relax investment rules, China’s water pollution problem worsens and anti-graft commission plans its third round of tour.

Beijing to relax investment rules

China’s central government is set to significantly relax its control over investment projects, allowing greater autonomy for local authorities and companies. It is the second time that the state council, the country’s cabinet, has revised its guidelines.

The number of projects that require approvals from the central government have declined 40 per cent in 2014. Beijing has eliminated the number of projects that require approval by 76 per cent over the last two years.

The government is also set to relax its rules on outbound investment, allowing greater flexibility for Chinese companies to invest abroad.

(State Council Guidelines)

Housing prices decline eased

The average price of second-hand homes in major cities have stabilised after months of decline. Prices for second-hand homes in Beijing increased 0.3 per cent after five months of decline, and prices in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen have stabilised.

Of 70 major cities, second-hand house prices fell in 64 cities, six less than the previous month. Two cities experienced flat growth and another two experienced modest increase in price.

The average price of new homes in 70 major cities continued to fall for the sixth straight month in October, but at a slower pace as some home buyers returned to the market Beijing’s move to loosen mortgage rules.


Anti-graft commission plans its third round of tour

The powerful head of the Chinese Communist party’s feared discipline inspection commission has announced its third inspection tour to crack down on corruption.

Inspection groups will visit government ministries and departments such as the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Environment Protection and large state-owned enterprises like China Southern, China Unicom and Shenhua Group


Greenland eyes overseas expansion

Greenland, one of China’s largest property developers wants to expand its footprint abroad, aiming to raise its overseas revenue to 25 per cent of the company’s total income.

The developer has already invested in $20 billion worth of projects overseas, which include more than 100 hotels. The company estimates its overseas revenue would reach 20 billion yuan this year, 5 per cent of the estimated 400 billion yuan income.

The chairman of the company also wants to diversify into other sectors such as agribusiness, health care and other areas to meet the demands of Chinese consumers.  


China’s water pollution problem worsens

50 per cent of China’s water system and 40 per cent of major state-owned water reservoirs are polluted, according to a special Xinhua investigation.

The report says Beijing residents are afraid of using tap water and major urban centres like Beijing are experiencing chronic water shortages.  60 per cent of China’s underground system is classified as “bad” or “very bad”.

300 out of 657 cities in China are classified as experiencing water shortage according to the United Nations.


Ministry of Finance is relaxing rules on bank employees holding shares

The Ministry of Finance is reportedly considering relaxing the tough 2009 rule which forbids state-owned banks and financial services companies to offer share incentives schemes to its executive employees.

Beijing introduced the tough rule in 2009 after a popular backlash against lucrative equity-based incentive scheme for bank executives. The Chinese government flagged its intention to change the rule at the end of 2013 as part of its comprehensive reform package.


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