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Providing fastest 5G speed

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn (right) presents 5G ultra high-speed next generation mobile antennas technology in Berlin yesterday, a milestone in the race to provide the fast response times needed for virtual reality and autonomous driving. Telekom said it was the first use of the technology in a real world setting in Europe.

China condemns EU ruling on imports

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
CHINA said yesterday that the European Union’s new trade rules against Chinese imports lacked awareness of World Trade Organization rules, urging the EU to abide by those requirements. The EU’s new anti-dumping rules that grant separate treatment for imports under “significant market distortions” are not in compliance with WTO obligations, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng said at a regular briefing in Beijing. The concept of “significant market distortions” is not stated in the anti-dumping rules of the WTO, Gao said. The move is thus groundless and will harm the effectiveness of the WTO anti-dumping legal system, as it adds uncertainty to the rules’ applications, Gao added. The EU agreed to new rules last week in Strasbourg on new investigation methods for anti-dumping, which introduced “significant market distortions” other than the “analogue country methodology” when calculating dumping margins. The informal agreement was due to be put to a vote in the international trade committee yesterday. When asked about the United States deferring a decision on anti-dumping tariffs on imports of Chinese aluminum foil and China’s non-market economy status, Gao said the phrase non-market economy showed “Cold War” thinking. The concept of non-market economy countries does not exist in WTO rules and has only been adopted by some of the organization’s individual members, Gao said, adding that the concept of “non-market economy country” also does not exist in WTO rules.

Xu Jiayin tops mainland’s rich list

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
PROPERTY tycoon Xu Jiayin saw his wealth more than triple to US$43 billion, topping the Hurun Rich List this year. Xu, chairman of Evergrande Group, becomes the 12th person to top the list — which covers the Chinese mainland — since the compilation began 19 years ago. The average wealth of billionaires on the rich list rose 12.5 percent to US$1.2 billion, with the top 100 shooting up 60 percent annually, according to the list, which was released yesterday. Wealth calculations are based on market data as of August 15. “This year we found more than 2,000 individuals with wealth worth US$300 million, double that of five years ago and four times that of 10 years ago,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Hurun’s chairman and chief researcher. Tencent Chairman Pony Ma saw his assets rise 52 percent to US$37 billion, surpassing Alibaba’s Jack Ma, whose assets dropped to US$30 billion after cutting his stake in Ant Financial last year to 1.2 percent from 35.5 percent. Xu has knocked Wang Jianlin, founder of the Dalian Wanda entertainment and real estate empire, off his long-time position at No. 1 on the list. Xu has been likened by some media to Donald Trump, having built his fortune on a real estate business that has blossomed under a mountain of debt. The 59-year-old Xu’s Evergrande has a market value of US$47 billion, although its total debt stands at more than US$100 billion, an issue that has prompted some wary investors to short the stock. Evergrande, China’s second-most indebted company, has now pledged to cut its net debt ratio to around 70 percent by June 2020 from 240 percent. Xu’s wealth has climbed by US$30 billion in the past year thanks to a boom in the value of Chinese property assets. He founded Evergrande in 1996 and listed it in Hong Kong in 2009. Acquisition-hungry Evergrande, which has developed thousands of middle-class homes in China, made headlines in 2010 when it bought the main soccer club in its home town of Guangzhou for 100 million yuan (US$15 million). In 2014, Xu sold a half stake in the club to China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba for US$192 million. Female millionaires make up just over a quarter of the Hurun list (26 percent), and 70 percent of those women’s fortunes are self-made. Yang Huiyan, the majority shareholder of Country Garden Holdings, has again become the richest woman in China — after an 11-year gap. Manufacturing is the key industry for the rich list, accounting for 28 percent of millionaires listed, followed by real estate, TMT (technology, media and telecom), investment and health care. New entries making it to the top 10 of the Hurun Rich List this year are Yang, Wang Wei from SF Express, and in 10th place Geely’s Li Shufu together with his son Li Xingxing. The number of dollar billionaires in China rose to 647, up 53 from last year. A total of 43 individuals from e-commerce giant Alibaba and its financial affiliate Ant Financial were included in the rich list, thanks to the booming popularity and market value of the two companies. The 26-year-old founder of bike-sharing service ofo, Dai Wei, became the youngest self-made entrepreneur on the list. Jia Yueting of LeEco dropped down from 31st place last year to 1,978th place, after his wealth shrank 95 percent due to supply chain stress and cash-flow problems. Beijing is still the preferred city of residence for 300 individuals on the list, ahead of Shenzhen’s 223. Hangzhou is catching up with Shanghai fast, with 153 billionaire residents compared with Shanghai’s 174. The Hurun Report is regarded as the leading China-based organization ranking the wealth of the country’s rich and famous.

Kobe Steel finds wider problems of data faking

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
STEEL maker Kobe Steel apologized yesterday after finding wider problems, dating back to 2011, with faked inspections data for metals used in many products, including cars, bullet trains, aircraft and appliances. Kobe Steel’s president, Hiroya Kawasaki, bowed deeply in a formal apology, lamenting that “Trust in our company has dropped to zero.” He promised a senior trade ministry official that the company, Japan’s third-largest steelmaker, would provide results of safety inspections within two weeks and a report on the cause of the problem within a month. Akihiro Tada, director of the ministry’s Manufacturing Industries Bureau, urged the company to move quickly in resolving the problems, which are thought to have affected many of the country’s largest manufacturers. The company said in a statement late Wednesday that it had uncovered manipulation of data on steel powder used in metallurgy and also on high-tech materials used to create films used in computer chips. The government has urged Kobe Steel to clarify the extent of the misconduct. The latest discovery was of falsification of data on 140 tons of steel powder supplied to one customer in fiscal 2016, between April 2016 and March 2017. Another case involved 6,611 items of sputtering target materials shipped to 70 customers beginning in November 2011. Kobe Steel said it had failed to carry out tests it had agreed to conduct, and improperly “rewrote” inspection data. But it said most of those materials, used to deposit thin films from various materials onto components such as computer chips, were re-inspected and are thought to have met customers’ specifications. Earlier the company said that in the year up to August 31 it had sold materials such as aluminum flat-rolled products, aluminum extrusions, copper strips, copper tubes and aluminum castings and forgings using falsified data on such things as the products’ strength. The government has asked the company to provide more information about the products supplied to more than 200 Kobe Steel customers, reportedly including some of the country’s biggest manufacturers, including defense contractor Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and a number of automakers.

Consumer bank lifts JPMorgan’s profit

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
JPMORGAN Chase & Co’s third-quarter profit rose 7 percent from a year earlier, as the bank was able to increase revenue in its consumer banking business even though the company had to set aside additional funds to cover bad loans, most notably in its credit card division. The biggest bank by deposits and assets said yesterday it earned a profit of US$6.73 billion, or US$1.76 per share, compared with US$6.29 billion, or US$1.58 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The results beat analysts’ hopes, who were looking for JPMorgan to earn US$1.65 a share, according to FactSet. JPMorgan’s consumer bank was the driver of this quarter’s growth, reporting a 16 percent rise in net income. The bank saw higher deposit growth and increased revenue in its credit card division, which the bank has been expanding aggressively in the last year with a new high-end credit card known as Chase Sapphire Reserve. Charge-offs in that business have been creeping steadily higher for several quarters, however, and the bank had to set aside an additional US$300 million to cover potential losses. Despite the creep up in delinquencies, “the US consumer remains healthy,” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement. The gains in JPMorgan’s consumer banking division were more than enough to make up for declines in corporate and investment banking, its other major business. That division suffered a 13 percent fall in profits from a year earlier, mostly due to lower trading revenues. Bond trading revenue slumped 27 percent and stock trading revenue fell 4 percent, the bank said. Revenue across the bank was US$26.2 billion on a managed basis.

Lufthansa to buy over half of Air Berlin’s jets

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
YEARS of struggle for Germany’s second-ranked airline Air Berlin appeared on their final stretch yesterday, as Lufthansa announced plans to buy more than half the bankrupt carrier’s planes. The deal has sparked controversy in the European aviation sector, with the German government facing accusations it helped steer the process under a plan to build the Frankfurt-based carrier into an all-conquering juggernaut. Lufthansa will take over Air Berlin’s Austrian subsidiary Niki, German subsidiary LGW and 20 further aircraft, guaranteeing all jobs at the two smaller firms, Air Berlin said in a statement. The deal includes 81 of Air Berlin’s 144 aircraft and 3,000 of its 8,500 staff, Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr said in Berlin, hailing it as a “great day” for his company. Meanwhile, negotiations with Easyjet — the other bidder chosen for exclusive takeover talks — “are continuing”, Air Berlin said, offering no information about what the British firm hopes to buy or whether any Air Berlin staff will keep their jobs. Spohr has suggested Easyjet is interested in up to 30 aircraft. Lufthansa has yet to say how much it will pay under the deal, but Spohr told newspaper Rheinische Post yesterday that the group would invest 1.5 billion euros (US$1.8 billion) in its low-cost subsidiary Eurowings following the takeover. He added that 80 planes was the largest addition to Lufthansa’s fleet that competition authorities would accept.

IMF warns of debt in biggest economies

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
FOR the first time in years the International Monetary Fund is optimistic about global economic growth. But it sees a new problem: mounting debt in the world’s largest countries. “Debt levels are increasing in G20 economies,” Tobias Adrian, who heads the IMF’s monetary and capital markets division, said Wednesday. Among private businesses in those countries, leverage is higher than before the financial crisis. And the weight of debt service has also jumped in several top economies, he noted. With central banks in the United States and Europe expected to tighten monetary conditions, he said, “This poses greater risks over time from sharp increases in interest rates.” Introducing the IMF’s newest assessment of risk in the world’s financial system, Adrian noted that the extremely low interest rates of the past several years have allowed countries to borrow easily to finance their rebound from recessions. And recovery is not yet complete, he noted, saying low rates are still needed. At the same time, he said, “this environment is breeding complacency,” with risks building on several fronts. Another side of the problem is the dependence of emerging market and lower-income economies on external funding, especially portfolio investment inflows. Around US$300 billion in such funds will flow into these countries in 2017, supporting their growth. “This is broadly good news,” said Adrian. “But this greater reliance on foreign borrowing may at some point become a vulnerability, particularly for low-income countries, if those resources are not put to good use.” That leaves such markets vulnerable to shocks like geopolitical turmoil and jumps in interest rates, which would increase the cost of debt, and could spark sharp outflows in portfolio investment. “It’s going to be a challenge especially when you move to a world where the Federal Reserve is going to raise US interest rates, global rates will rise, and debt service will rise,” Sonja Gibbs, of the Institute of International Finance, said.

Firm taps Chinese solar power sector

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
German solar panel component maker Heraeus said yesterday its sales surged 50 percent annually in China’s solar power sector over the first nine months of the year.The firm, however, didn’t unveil the sales figure but it said China contributed 65 percent to its global sales in solar power business this year. The company’s solar power sales has jumped since the start of the year boosted by China’s surging solar farm installations, said Andreas Liebheit, president of Heraeus’s global photovoltaic business.Heraeus is the world’s largest silver paste maker with a 40 percent share of the global market. Silver paste is a component used in solar panels to conduct electricity.China installed 38.28 gigawatts of solar power from January to August, up 49.5 percent from the end of last year, according to the China Electricity Council.The rapid growth in solar power installation from last year was because "solar component costs are declining much faster,” said Alex Liu, analyst for energy and public utilities at UBS.The cost to generate one kilowatt-hour of solar power fell to 0.6 yuan by the end of last year from 1.5 yuan five years ago.Alongside the cost drop, China's solar power industry will also benefit from the government's call for more distributed power grids, Liebheit said. This “suggests the nation should be the long-term key market for global producers,” he said.

More land to build rental homes

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI will continue to increase land supply to build rental houses, the city’s top planning body said yesterday. As a key part of the government’s land management plan, “the lands for rental houses will be largely increased, while those for commercial houses will rise steadily,” said Xu Yisong, director of the Shanghai Planning, Land and Resources Administration. The supplies of affordable homes, including joint-ownership properties, will be guaranteed, he added. It is also part of the city’s “2040 Master Plan” which includes long-term measures to stabilize the real estate market. “Rental houses will mainly be built near places with dense employment, main industrial sites and Metro stations,” Xu told a press conference. “The city will increase the land supply for housing and ensue the proportion of medium and small-size apartments,” he added. Fifteen plots of land covering 500,000 square meters have been allocated for construction of rental houses, said Cen Fukang, deputy director of the administration. Most of them are in downtown or near major industrial and scientific parks as well as Metro stations. The city government wants to emphasize that “houses are for people to live in, rather than for speculation.” These rental homes will boast energy-saving features and are comfortable to live in. Supportive facilities such as sports, entertainment and commercial sites will be built nearby to “create a harmonious neighborhood atmosphere,” Cen said. Shanghai has also been implementing the central government’s trial operations on joint-ownership properties, Cen said. These properties refer to homes in which city governments and home buyers share ownership. When the homes are sold, buyers pay back a certain portion of the profit. The city has planned public rental houses in 22 major residential communities, Cen said, adding that many of them include joint-ownership properties. The scheme on trial in Shanghai and Beijing aims to provide affordable housing to people who have difficulties in purchasing a home and push supply-side reform in the housing sector, said a notice from the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development.

Taiwan fines Qualcomm US$800m

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
TAIWANESE authorities have imposed a record fine of nearly US$800 million on Qualcomm for antitrust violations in the latest of a string of setbacks for the US computer chip giant. Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission slapped Qualcomm with a fine of NT$23.4 billion (US$774 million) for harming market competition and manipulating prices following an investigation launched in 2015. “Qualcomm’s illegal actions have seriously affected the (market) competition... to ensure, maintain or enhance its dominance in the market,” the commission said in a statement late Wednesday. According to the commission, Qualcomm had violated fair trade rules for at least seven years by refusing to offer licenses that are essential for manufacturing chipsets to rival manufacturers and had imposed unfair contracts on smartphone makers. Qualcomm earned over US$13.33 billion in royalty fees and US$30 billion in baseband chip sales to local firms in that period, it added. The world’s biggest handset chip supplier said yesterday it would appeal the fine. “Qualcomm disagrees with the decision... and intends to seek to stay any required behavioral measures and appeal the decision to the Taiwanese courts,” it said in a statement. Last year, Qualcomm was hit with a record fine exceeding US$850 million by South Korea’s antitrust watchdog for abusing its dominant market pole as a maker of baseband chipsets used in mobile phones.

China’s auto sales climb 5.7%

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
CHINA’S auto sales rose 5.7 percent to 2.71 million vehicles in September from a year ago as momentum continued amid rising demand and strong economic growth. In the first nine months of the year, auto sales added 4.5 percent to 20.22 million units, according to data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The sales growth momentum in September continued from August whose sales expanded 5.3 percent. Analysts predicted that sales will further grow steadily till the end of this year amid rising demand from consumers lured by promotions by manufacturers and dealers amid a strong domestic macro-economic environment. “There are several reasons to further drive the growth of the China auto market in the second half of this year, such as strong economic growth and increased income of urban and rural residents,” said Xu Haidong, a spokesman of the association. Earlier this year, the association predicted that China’s auto sales are likely to rise 5 percent this year, a slowdown from 13.7 percent last year, citing reasons such as the reduction of a tax incentive for small-engine vehicles. In September, passenger car sales rose 3.3 percent to 2.34 million units while those of commercial vehicles surged 23.9 percent to 367,000 units. Commercial vehicles expanded faster in September compared with a 12.81 percent growth in August. Sales of sport-utility vehicles rose 10.5 percent in September from a year earlier to 971,000 units. Sedan sales added 3.7 percent to 1.16 million units. Multipurpose vehicle sales dropped 25.1 percent to 166,000 units. Sales of new-energy vehicles jumped 79.1 percent to about 78,000 units in September, faster than a 76.3 percent surge in August. In the first nine months of this year, sales of new-energy vehicles soared 37.7 percent to 398,000 units. Electric vehicle sales surged 83.4 percent to 64,000 units in September from a year ago. Sales of plug-in hybrids rose 61.9 percent from a year ago to 14,000 units last month.

Coal shares sold, military stocks sought

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI shares closed generally flat yesterday, with investors selling off coal shares while pursuing military counters. The Shanghai Composite Index dipped 0.06 percent to end at 3,386.10 points. Coal shares declined the most, with Shanxi Coking Co Ltd falling by 7.56 percent to 9.41 yuan, Jinneng Science & Technology Co Ltd losing 5.10 percent to 25.32 yuan and Baotailong New Materials Co Ltd shedding 2.73 percent. Non-ferrous metals shares also fell. Sunstone Development Co Ltd lost 6.83 percent and Tibet Mineral Development Co Ltd fell 3.98 percent. Military counters, however, were sought by investors, with Avic Aviation High Technology Co Ltd hitting the maximum daily cap of 10 percent to end at 13.8 yuan. AVIC Electromechanical Systems Co Ltd rose 5.29 percent and AVIC Helicopter Co Ltd climbed 5.08 percent.

Japan’s carmakers check vehicle safety

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
TOP Japanese automakers said yesterday they were scrambling to assess the safety of vehicles containing products from Kobe Steel, which has admitted falsifying quality data in a growing scandal. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi Motor, Subaru and Mazda joined aviation firms and defense contractors Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and IHI that have used the steelmaker’s products. The brewing crisis is the latest in a string of quality control and governance scandals to hit major Japanese businesses in recent years, undermining the country’s reputation for quality. Japan’s famous “Shinkansen” bullet trains also used Kobe Steel’s aluminum, as did high-speed trains in Britain, said engineering firm Hitachi. “Products used (for both Japanese and British trains) met safety standards. But they did not meet the specifications that were agreed between us and Kobe Steel,” a Hitachi spokesman said. Honda spokesman Tamon Kusakabe said: “As to safety, we are still studying (a possible) impact.” “At this point, we don’t see a critical problem as we have our own safety inspection on materials we use. But we are still investigating and it’s premature to say” if recalls will be necessary. Toyota has already said Kobe Steel supplied materials to one of its Japanese factories, which used them in hoods, rear doors and surrounding areas of certain vehicles. The industry ministry has pressed Kobe Steel to work with its clients, spread over a wide range of industries, to conduct urgent safety analysis. Kobe Steel also admitted yesterday that it was in talks with one client who received steel powder that did not match specifications. However, it declined comment on a media report that materials used in semiconductors were also impacted by the scandal.

Alibaba regains top online vendor title

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
ALIBABA surpassed its US counterpart Amazon as the world's biggest e-commerce company yesterday as the Hangzhou-based company reached the threshold of US$470 billion in market value. Shares of Alibaba rose over 1.2 percent in mid-session yesterday to US$184.32, hitting a market capitalization of US$472.1 billion. Meanwhile, the stock of online retailer Amazon shed 0.87 percent to US$982.35 a share, making the company’s market value at US$471.9 billion. Analysts said Alibaba regained its title as the world’s biggest e-commerce company after over two years thanks to its incredible performance this year. As one of the top performers on the New York Stock Exchange, Alibaba has gained over 100 percent since January, while Amazon rose nearly 30 percent. The Chinese company’s stock soared 12 percent in the past two months after it announced better-than-expected quarterly earnings in August. Alibaba’s net profit jumped 96 percent to more than US$2.1 billion year on year in the first fiscal quarter ending June, beating market expectations. Moreover, the number of active buyers on Alibaba’s retail platform climbed to 466 million, accounting for about one third of the Chinese population. Investment banks J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley raised their long-term price targets for Alibaba from US$190.17 to US$205.2 respectively after the release of its quarterly report.

F&B firms pull shares to end up

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
SHANGHAI stocks again ended higher yesterday, boosted by gains made by food and beverage counters. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.16 percent to close at 3,388.28 points. Food and beverage shares were the biggest gainers. Jiangxi Huangshanghuang Group Food Co rose 9.99 percent to 22.47 yuan while liquor producers such as Jinhui Liquor Co Ltd advanced 6.96 percent to 22.89 yuan and Anhui Golden Seed Winery Co Ltd added 6.38 percent to 9.67 yuan. Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd, China’s largest liquor maker by market value, climbed 1.06 percent to a new high yesterday. The liquor maker’s expected earnings per share may be raised to 17.93 yuan this year and 23.65 yuan next year, China Merchant Securities said, adding that target price could rise to 640 yuan. Logistics firms also rose, with GuangDong GenSho Logistics Co Ltd, Guanghui Logistics Co Ltd and Nanjing Inform Storage Eqpmnt Grp Co Ltd all surging by the daily 10 percent cap. Yunda Holding Co Ltd rose 5 percent to to end at 50.62 yuan.

Huawei to “popularize” full display

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
HUAWEI aims to cement its leading position in China’s domestic market with a price-aggressive strategy on full-display screen phone models, Shanghai Daily learned yesterday. Huawei launched three full-display Honor models whose prices start from 1,299 yuan (US$197), less than one-fifth the price of Samsung and Apple’s flagship models which normally cost up to 8,000 yuan. The new Honor models, which will be available on Tuesday, will “popularize” full-display screens in the market, said Zhao Ming, president of the Honor brand. “It (full-view screen) is a ‘Wow’ product to woo consumers. And it will become a must-have feature soon, like dual-cameras,” said Jia Mo, analyst at research firm Canalys.

Alibaba to invest US$15b in R&D over next 3 years

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
ALIBABA Group said it will strengthen its technology research input, aiming to invest more than US$15 billion in research and development over the next three years. The initial investment would focus on the setting up of seven research labs including two in China, two in the United States, plus one each in Russia, Israel, and Singapore, the company said at its annual Computing Conference in Hangzhou yesterday. The e-commerce giant’s global research program, called the Alibaba DAMO Academy (Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook), is expected to increase its technological collaborations worldwide in order to advance the development of cutting-edge technology. Alibaba chairman Jack Ma said its ultimate aim is to make society more inclusive and more sustainable, and to create 100 million job opportunities for the world as well as connect businesses with consumers around the globe. “The DAMO Academy strives to become a perfect integration of business and technology, real market application and ground level research work,” he added. The DAMO Academy’s focus, he said, will be on “solving problems with fun and profit.” “Only by doing so will a research institute solve problems. For any organization, if they can’t solve problems in society, they won’t last long,” Ma said. It is also looking to recruit 100 talented researchers from around the world. “We aim to discover breakthrough technologies that will enable greater efficiency, network security and ecosystem synergy for consumers and businesses everywhere,” Alibaba Group’s Chief Technology Officer Jeff Zhang said in a statement yesterday. Zhang added the company is now looking for researchers and collaborators to join the quest for new disruptive technologies that would advance our daily lives, benefit small businesses and narrow the technology gap. Alibaba’s financial affiliate Ant Financial also launched an independent personal ID verifying platform ZOLOZ yesterday to offer its biometric identification technology for more merchants and businesses. Chen Jidong, ZOLOS’s China general manager, said Alipay has been using facial, voice and fingerprint recognition to help personal information identification and has served over 200 million Alipay users. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, security, Internet of Things and cloud computing would be the basic technology capabilities.

Apple, Spielberg tie up on TV program

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
APPLE is teaming up with award-winning director Steven Spielberg for its first major push into TV programming. The iPhone maker is bringing back Spielberg’s 30-year-old anthology series “Amazing Stories” in its attempt to build an online video subscription service to challenge the digital networks operated by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO. “We love being at the forefront of Apple’s investment in scripted programming, and can’t think of a better property than Spielberg’s beloved ‘Amazing Stories’ franchise,” NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said in a statement yesterday. NBC Entertainment works with Spielberg’s Amblin Television on the series. Apple declined to comment on the deal. The Wall Street Journal first reported Apple had secured the “Amazing Stories” rights. The series aired on NBC from 1985 to 1987 and won five Emmy awards for its mixture of science fiction and horror episodes, although the series was never a big hit in the ratings. It marked a return to TV for Spielberg, who first made a name for himself directing the ABC film “Duel” in 1971 before moving on to the movie theaters. His films include box-office blockbusters such as “Jaws,” “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park,” the “Indiana Jones” franchise and critically acclaimed pictures such as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lincoln” and “Schindler’s List,” for which he won an Academy Award for best director. Apple is planning to spend US$1 billion on original programming during the next year.

1st US$2b bond issue in 13 years

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
THE Ministry of Finance said yesterday it plans to issue US dollar-denominated sovereign bonds worth US$2 billion in Hong Kong, the first such sale in 13 years. It is ready to sell US$1 billion worth of five-year notes and US$1 billion in 10-year notes in the near future, the ministry said. The specific date will be released ahead of the issuance, the ministry added. This is the first time that the ministry will issue dollar-denominated sovereign bonds in Hong Kong, which will offer a pricing benchmark for mainland businesses’ bond sales overseas, according to Shen Jianguang, chief economist with Mizuho Securities Asia Limited. The sovereign bonds will be listed and traded at the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong after the official launch. This will also be China’s first US-dollar sovereign bond sale since October 2004.

Price hikes ahead of Singles Day

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 18:01
TWO major Chinese courier companies announced price rises on Tuesday and yesterday ahead of November 11, which is expected to be China’s largest ever online shopping festival. Better services, according to ZTO Express and Yunda Express, mean rising costs in labor, materials and transport, but neither company was prepared to say by how much prices would rise. Other domestic couriers are expected to follow suit. Wang Chao, a deliveryman with ZTO Express, said he usually works 11 or 12 hours a day. “I hear that it is just a slight rise and won’t make a big difference, but we will earn a little more,” he said. China Express Association predicts that the industry will handle more than 1 billion packages between November 11-16. November 11 is “Singles Day,” allegedly started by some college students in the 1990s to celebrate — or poke fun at — their unattached status. November 11 was chosen for the four solitary digits: 11-11. It has grown into a Chinese version of Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States, and promoted as an online shopping day. Alibaba began Singles Day campaigning in 2009. TMall, Alibaba’s online marketplace, made only 50 million yuan (US$7.6 million) back then. Last year, the figure reached 120 billion yuan. On the back of the e-commerce boom, China’s courier sector has been the world’s largest by delivery volume for three years but continual expansion has put heavy pressure on services, leading to problems in delivery delays and driver safety. Lai Yang, a researcher in logistics, attributed the price rises to a shortage of labor.

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