China business news digest

State media say 2015 will be a crucial year for pushing ahead with reforms. Are major changes to SOEs on their way?

Your daily digest of the biggest business news in China, translated and summarized every day.

SOE reform policies to be rolled out over coming months

Today's China Securities Journal features a front-page story which quotes the deputy head of the research centre at China's state-owned assets regulator as saying that a swathe of reforms will soon be announced in quick succession.

According to the report, SASAC might trial reforms involving employee share holding schemes at some SOEs.

State-backed companies operating in a commercial environment will be the main 'battle ground' for ‘mixed-ownership reforms’, which involve attracting private capital to invest in state-owned firms.

The article also notes that classification of SOEs will be one of the key tasks of the reforms and that reforms could be announced before Spring Festival which begins February 19.

(China Securities Journal)

Xi Jinping delivers his report card on China's economic reforms

Many of today's party papers led with a long Xinhua News Agency piece which reviewed the progress that has been made with economic reforms over the past year. The piece trumpets the official line that 2015 will be a crucial year for pushing ahead with reforms.

Tuesday’s CCTV evening news bulletin also broadcast an item on the Xinhua article .

The report emphasised Xi Jinping's role in leading reforms through his position as general-secretary of the Communist Party and comes just as major new reforms to China's state-owned enterprises sector are to be announced. 

(CCTV)

(Xinhua News Agency)

China is building an unprecedented number of shopping centres

China is home to 13 out 20 cities in the world with the most shopping centre floor space under construction. Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen each boast 3.3 million square metres, 3.2 million square metres and 2.6 million square metres of floor space under construction respectively.

China has 3,500 shopping centres at the moment and the country is expected to build another 7,500 by 2025. Industry experts and legislators have warned about the danger of building too many shopping centres.

They point out that floor space per person in Shanghai is about 2.8 square metres -- 2 to 3 times larger than other cities such as Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo. They are worried that many shopping centres will become ghost malls in the future.

(The Paper

China UnionPay cardholders spent 41 trillion yuan last year

UnionPay cardholders spent 41 trillion yuan last year or the combined GDP of France, Britain and South Korea, and an increase of 27.3 per cent from the previous year.

China UnionPay is the third largest card payment system in the world after Visa and Masters Card.  The company has 30 million merchants worldwide and 1.8 million ATM machines.  There are 13 million overseas merchants and 1.2 million ATM machines which accept UnionPay cards.

(The Paper

Chinese luxury hotels suffer under austerity measures

Chinese luxury hotel profits have plunged since the start of Beijing’s harsh anti-corruption campaign. The country has 13,500 hotels, which include 850 five star hotels.

In 2012, luxury hotels earned more than five billion yuan in profits. However, their profits took a nosedive in 2013 when the government started to crack down on public spending. Profits for the sector went into the red with the luxury hotel sector losing 2.1 billion yuan.

The head of China’s Hotel Association said hotels that relied on high-end government business suffered the most and that profits for the whole sector had fallen off a cliff.

Chinese hotels have asked to be downgraded in order to avoid further unwanted media attention.

(The Paper

Chinese banks lose depositors’ money

Chinese depositors, both retail and corporate, have seen their money disappear under mysterious circumstances from Chinese banks.

42 retail depositors lost 95 million yuan in Hangzhou and a well known Chinese liquor company also lost 100 million in deposits from its corporate account at the Agricultural Bank of China, one of the big four state-owned commercial banks.

Outright fraud is reportedly responsible for the lost deposits.

(The Paper

China's target for new loans will remain unchanged in 2015: report

China's central bank will leave the target for the total amount of new loans to be released by Chinese banks in 2015 unchanged from the previous year, according to 

unnamed sources quoted in a story by Tencent Finance.

Last year Chinese banks lent 9.78 trillion yuan in new RMB-denominated loans, surpassing the previous record set in 2009.

(Tencent Finance)