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U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday morning on news that Janet Yellen was selected by the White House to take Ben Bernanke’s place in leading the Federal Reserve. Later on Wednesday, the Fed will release the minutes from its Septembe...
U.S. stock futures rose Wednesday morning on news that Janet Yellen was selected by the White House to take Ben Bernanke’s place in leading the Federal Reserve. Later on Wednesday, the Fed will release the minutes from its September 17-18 meeting, during which the central bank unexpectedly decided to continue with its bond purchases. The yen, copper, and gold all declined Wednesday morning. Futures at 8:30 a.m: DJIA: +0.2%, S&P 500: +0.3%, NASDAQ: +0.27%. Here’s your cheat sheet to what’s buzzing this morning. Alcoa (NYSE:AA) kicked off earnings season after the bell on Monday, and Alcoa beat analyst expectations despite the falling price of aluminum due to cost-cutting measures and increased demand from automakers. Earnings per share came in at 11 cents, more than double analyst forecasts of 5 cents. Revenue came in at $5.8 billion. Alcoa posted a profit of $24 million versus a loss of $119 million a year ago and reaffirmed its guidance for the year. Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) shares fell during premarket trading after the owner of fast food joints including KFC and Pizza Hut posted earnings Tuesday that revealed the company is still struggling in China due to an avian flu scare and the slumping Chinese economy. Analysts had expected declines in Yum’s China business, but the company still missed estimates. Yum posted earnings per share of 85 cents, falling below analyst expectations of 93 cents. Same-store sales in China fell 11 percent. “Even with our recent challenges, KFC is unquestionably the category leader in China and we remain confident sales will fully recover from the adverse publicity surrounding the December poultry supply incident,” Yum CEO David Novak said in the company’s earnings report. AT&T (NYSE:T) is reportedly close to selling its wireless towers to Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE:CCI), according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. The sources estimated that the towers could be worth $5 billion but also cautioned that an agreement has not been finalized and that the talks could still fall apart. AT&T could put the cash toward its $14 billion network update and acquisitions in Europe. The cash will also strengthen AT&T’s balance sheet before a planned stock offering. Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs in a restructuring move that would work to bring the French-American wireless company back to profitability, but French officials will work to limit the scope of those cuts. According to The Wall Street Journal, French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg has asked Alcatel to limit the cuts in France, which will be hit particularly hard by the restructuring, as 900 jobs in the country will be eliminated, 900 more could be outsourced, and research facilities will be closed. A French union will also be working with the government to attempt to reduce Alcatel’s planned job cuts. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter @Jacqui_WSCS Don’t Miss: Are Nations Still Hunkering Down with Cash? Read the original article from Wall St. Cheat Sheet
about 5 hours ago
According to a statement by Junzheng Group, an investor of Mutual Fund THFund, Alibaba Group would acquire a 51% stake in the THFund for 1.18 billion yuan (over $190 million). Alipay, the payments service under Alibaba Group, and THFund ...
According to a statement by Junzheng Group, an investor of Mutual Fund THFund, Alibaba Group would acquire a 51% stake in the THFund for 1.18 billion yuan (over $190 million). Alipay, the payments service under Alibaba Group, and THFund jointly launched Yuebao, a mutual fund for users to buy with money in their Alipay accounts, in the past July. Alipay claimed that 2.5 million users had signed up to it and purchased a total of 6.6 billion yuan (over $1 billion) worth of Yuebao in half a month since launch. It is said the two parties would launch more Internet-based financial products later on. Alibaba established Alifinance, based on Alipay, in March 2013 that operates businesses including online payments, small loans, online insurance, among others. Related posts: Alipay to Release Online Mutual Funds Investment Service Alibaba Confirms Investment in Sina Weibo, Taking An 18% Stake for $586 million Alibaba Sets a Good Example By Establishing an Environmental Protection Fund
about 6 hours ago
When Baidu invested in Qunar in 2010 and asked about vertical search engines, Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, said he believed most users were lazy and would rather visit an all-in-one search service like Baidu for all types of information. Also...
When Baidu invested in Qunar in 2010 and asked about vertical search engines, Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, said he believed most users were lazy and would rather visit an all-in-one search service like Baidu for all types of information. Also he was confident that Baidu users would increasingly rely upon its service and brand. His comment on the Qunar deal was that it helped Baidu offer high-quality travel-related information to users.He said he hadn’t seen any vertical search engine that turned out to be successful in the 15 years working on search engine. Qunar.com was launched in May 2005 as a vertical search engine for travel-related information. Now it filed with the SEC for an IPO on the NYSE. Looking at the user metrics and financials, you’d wonder whether Robin Li still doesn’t think it is or will be a successful business. Li may argue Qunar’s success must to a large extent attribute to the traffic from Baidu or the non-competition agreement reached between the two parties. Qunar had 203.2 million users, with 39.6 million on mobile, in the 12-month period ended June 30, 2013. Qunar claims it’s the largest non-state-owned travel website in China citing a iResearch report in the prospectus – It’s hard to compete with state-owned monopolies like 12306.cn which is the only official online seller for train tickets. The company makes revenues from performance-based paid searches and commissions, and display advertising. Of the total revenues for H1 2013, 88% is from performance-based marketing services, 7% from display advertising and the rest from other services. Source: company Leisure travel contributes a significant portion of its total revenues, says the company. Searches for flights make up the largest portion of the total while revenues from hotel searches grew the fastest with a 130% year-over-year increase. Revenues as a percentage generated from mobile account for 10% of the total. There were about 25 thousand travel agencies in China in 2012, according to the China National Tourism Administration. A search engine like Qunar makes prices and other information relatively transparent and offers choices for users to choose from different brands and, more important to a large portion of Chinese, prices. Chinese government passes a new travel law that came into force on October 1st to regulate the fast growing and chaotic market. The high growth rate of leisure travels and a market that isn’t transparent in prices and services are reasons that Chinese users need travel search. Qunar wasn’t the only one that saw the business opportunity. So did Kuxun who launched its own search service in early 2006. In October 2009, Kuxun became a business of Tripadvisor. But Qunar turned out to be the most-known brand for travel search while Kuxun is much less known. Beyond A Search Engine In 2010, Qunar rolled out Total Solution (TTS) which enables users to make orders and payments directly after the search results show up. It thus became more of an online travel agency, just like Ctrip and eLong. Previously Qunar was a pure benefactor to Ctrips that brought over extra orders or customers, but now it became a competitor. The fact that Qunar’s role was both a judge and an athlete made online travel agencies unhappy. In April 2013, the new pricing terms by Qunar enraged many, including  Ctrip and eLong, who suspended cooperation with the former and withdrew their offerings. But now the traffic on Qunar was too high to ignore. Later on all the services that did so restored the removed back onto Qunar. In the past August and October, Ctrip and Qunar announced a partnership that all the offerings by the former would be integrated into the latter. Actually, all the online travel agencies are to some extent search services, too. The only major difference is how many travel agencies or offerings that have been integrated. The Qunar model, a search engine plus a transaction-enabled service, has
about 8 hours ago
Online literature industry is catching the eyes of Chinese Internet giants in recent years. Several Internet companies swarmed into this sector recently to layout in an emerging battle field. In the first half of 2013, Baidu released Wen...
Online literature industry is catching the eyes of Chinese Internet giants in recent years. Several Internet companies swarmed into this sector recently to layout in an emerging battle field. In the first half of 2013, Baidu released Wenku Digital Platform and online literature web Duokoo, while Sina spun off reading channel into an independent literature company. Another Internet juggernaut Tencent also took the wraps off the long-awaited Tencent Literature in September, which includes three major divisions of Chuangshi, a web developed by Shanda Cloudary’s former Qidian team, feminine literature-focused Yunqi and a digital publishing platform for best-sellers (source in Chinese). Apart from online writers, Tencent also invited traditional writers to the platform, including Nobile Literature Prize Winner Mo Yan, Su Tong and Liu Zhenyun. Cheng Wu, vice president of Tencent, disclosed that the company will invest 400 million yuan ($65.16 million) in purchasing the copyrights of best-sellers. According to stats from CNNIC, China recorded 233 million of online literature readers by the end of 2012, forming a sizeable market even though the figure is still smaller the 336 million users for mobile gaming industry. EnfoDesk, an Internet think-tank, predicted that the number of online readers will chalk up 648 million this year. Statistics from EnfoDesk showed that revenue from China’s mobile reading market surged 90.7 percent year-on-year to 1.47 billion yuan in the second quarter of 2013. As noted by Cheng Wu, literature is on the upstream of entertainment industry. A raft of blockbusters and online games are adapted from online literature. The development of online literature will open up more cooperation opportunities with film, gaming and animation industry. He predicted that the value of literature industry will total 10 billion yuan, exceeding 100 billion yuan together with the output of related industries. Apart from the above-mentioned latecomers, Shanda Cloudary, a well-established online literature brand in China, accounts for more than 70% of the market share and recorded profits since last year. Related posts: Qidian Founder Left Cloudary to Build A New Online Literature Platform, Possibly Partnering with Tencent or Baidu Orbis Invested $15M into Shanda Literature at $800M Valuation Acquisition Rumors Galore: Chinese Internet Giants Start Spring Shopping?
about 9 hours ago
Do firms move location to take advantage of lower environmental regulations? It is a question that many of tried to answer including myself for numerous countries, time periods and regulatory regimes. A recent guardian newspaper arti...
Do firms move location to take advantage of lower environmental regulations? It is a question that many of tried to answer including myself for numerous countries, time periods and regulatory regimes. A recent guardian newspaper article looks at what is happening within China. When it comes to the impact of the environment on an economy China is the place to do the research. The question the Guardian asks is whether the rich coastal provinces are "outsourcing" their production of greenhouse gases elsewhere in China. This links to a recent paper of mine called "Environmental Outsourcing" (we look at Japan outsourcing its pollution to China funnily enough). The paper can be seen HERE. So what does the Guardian paper report on: China's rich provinces outsource emissions to less developed areas [Guardian] Rich coastal provinces of China are outsourcing their greenhouse gas emissions by importing goods from less developed provinces, according to scientists. The practice makes it far less likely that China – the world's biggest emitter – will reach its climate goals, the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said. "Recent studies have shown that the high standard of living enjoyed by people in the richest countries often come at the expense of CO2 emissions produced with technologies of low-efficiency in less affluent, developing countries," the study said. "Less apparent is that this relationship between developed and developing can exist within a single country's borders." It is worth reading the academic paper. It is interesting that they decided to publish in PNAS. Abstract Recent studies have shown that the high standard of living enjoyed by people in the richest countries often comes at the expense of CO2 emissions produced with technologies of low efficiency in less affluent, developing countries. Less apparent is that this relationship between developed and developing can exist within a single country’s borders, with rich regions consuming and exporting high-value goods and services that depend upon production of low-cost and emission-intensive goods and services from poorer regions in the same country. As the world’s largest emitter of CO2, China is a prominent and important example, struggling to balance rapid economic growth and environmental sustainability across provinces that are in very different stages of development. In this study, we track CO2 emissions embodied in products traded among Chinese provinces and internationally. We find that 57% of China’s emissions are related to goods that are consumed outside of the province where they are produced. For instance, up to 80% of the emissions related to goods consumed in the highly developed coastal provinces are imported from less developed provinces in central and western China where many low–value-added but high–carbon-intensive goods are produced. Without policy attention to this sort of interprovincial carbon leakage, the less developed provinces will struggle to meet their emissions intensity targets, whereas the more developed provinces might achieve their own targets by further outsourcing. Consumption-based accounting of emissions can thus inform effective and equitable climate policy within China. I have many comments on this paper but will not go into detail here. As an aside, academic economists need to take a close look at how their journals work compared to those in the Physical sciences. Economists have a lot to learn.
about 10 hours ago
Editor’s Note: This article is contributed by Joey Dembs, an Associate Director at Flamingo Shanghai. Flamingo is an insights and strategic consultancy who understand people, culture and brands. I recently signed up for my first ...
Editor’s Note: This article is contributed by Joey Dembs, an Associate Director at Flamingo Shanghai. Flamingo is an insights and strategic consultancy who understand people, culture and brands. I recently signed up for my first MOOC. I am taking a class called ‘Designing Cities’. This MOOC or ‘massive open online course’ as they’re commonly referred to, is being offered by the University of Pennsylvania, through the leading US-based MOOC website, Coursera.org. Over 10 weeks, I’ll be offered access to free lectures from three leading design professors. There is a course syllabus, three major ‘homework’ assignments, and a recommended reading list. It’s much like a normal class at a normal university. However, there’s no guarantee my work will be seen by any of the professors. No one is taking attendance. I won’t receive any accreditation or verification after completing the course. I’m committing four to six hours every week largely for the pursuit of knowledge. An idealist’s dream or a self-motivator’s nightmare, MOOCs offer anyone, anywhere an opportunity to learn and enhance their skills. In a global society where access to higher education is transitioning from a privilege to a basic right, MOOCs present both a challenge and opportunity for students in developing countries – especially in China. Refuting common Western notions of ‘online openness’, this concept of self-education and open, online access to knowledge has been available in China for almost a decade. Netease Open Courses Leading web portal, 163, has long offered open courses and lectures on their website. This site collects famous overseas courses, Chinese university courses and even TED lectures, offering high-quality subtitles in a searchable and organized fashion. MIT has long offered an open portal and source for Chinese translations of it’s popular courses on its open course website. And on Douban, true to the nature of the website itself, a group of almost 90,000 Chinese users post events, lectures and open course recommendations for those interested in furthering their knowledge level in a MOOC style. Guokr, a popular social networking portal centering on science-related news and information, recently signed a cooperation agreement with Coursera. Guokr will tap into its large network of dedicated translators, offering Chinese subtitles for some of Coursera’s most popular courses. Guokr will be able to leverage the global positioning of Coursera for increased credibility and site visitation. Chinese universities are also seeking to tap into the world of MOOCs. Shanghai’s Jiaotong University recently held an international forum for online education, touting its leading position and commitment to offering several of its courses online and available to students around the world. It’s evident that the there’s potential for MOOCs in China, but does it represent a new model for aspiring Chinese students, hungry for knowledge at a global level? In the US, MOOCs are seen as an inevitable future for higher education and it’s likely more and more options will be available to students not only in the US, but around the world. MOOCs face a perception challenge in China as it’s widely perceived that a top-tier education is obtained at the Harvard’s or the Oxford’s of the world – in person. This is largely based on ‘brand’ reputation and the opportunities offered following graduation. However, The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the growth of Chinese study abroad students is expected to stall in the next 5 to 10 years due to “a combination of demographics, better options at home and rising concerns about safety abroad”. Further examined in the article, many top-tier universities such as NYU, Duke, and even the Juilliard School are opening regional campuses to attract local students to advanced graduate courses. It’s possible then, that MOOCs in China will not supplant the higher education (or take away valuable revenue) but instead could be offer
about 10 hours ago
B5M claims it’s now the  the largest independent shopping search service and the second largest after Alibaba’s Etao in China. Launched in December 2011, B5M has indexed 300 million items from Taobao & Tmall, over six thousan...
B5M claims it’s now the  the largest independent shopping search service and the second largest after Alibaba’s Etao in China. Launched in December 2011, B5M has indexed 300 million items from Taobao & Tmall, over six thousand business-to-consumer sites, over 200 group-buying sites and over 40 social shopping websites. There are more than 3 million visitors and 50 million pageviews daily. The company has reached deals with 350 e-commerce players such as JD.com, Dangdang, Amazon China, Yihaodian, Vancl and Ctrip receiving transaction-based compensation from them. In early 2012 the company raised $7.1 million in Series A funding led by Oak Investment Partners and announced today $16 million funding led by ClearVue Partners. Oak Investment Partners and some unnamed angel investors joined the new round. B5M Home Page B5M iOS and Android Apps Yeogirl Yun, founder and CEO of B5M, is not a Chinese but a Korean. Before B5M, he had founded four shopping search servies, mySimon (1998 in the US), WiseNut (1999 in the US & 2000 in South Korea) and BECOME (founded in 2004 for the US, Japan, Italy, Britain, Germany and France). mySimon was acquired by CNET for $700 million in 2000; LookSmart bought WiseNut US in 2002 but closed it in 2007; WiseNut for South Korea is planning for a 2013 IPO; BECOME is profitable, says so the company. It sounds that the founding team are well experienced in establishing a shopping search and dealing with users in some of the most developed countries. China is different, less developed in economy and tech in general than those mentioned countries but with an even more dynamic and complicated e-commerce market. B5M’s major competitors are all shopping searches operated by big Chinese Internet companies, including Alibaba, Baidu, Netease and Qihoo. Etao of Alibaba can hardly be beaten as there’s a whole giant e-commerce market behind it that it can easily get traffic and have e-tailers pay for paid services. B5M thinks a problem with Etao is it’s becoming more and more like Taobao and Tmall where users do regular searches too. B5M claims it became the largest independent shopping search engine by surpassing Huihui, which was spun off from Netease’s general search engine Youdao, in the past August. The company doesn’t see Baidu, the largest general search in China, a strong competitor in this area as it has long been blocked by Alibaba that cannot index shopping information from the latter’s e-commerce properties. B5M thinks Qihoo, with its one-year old general search engine growing swiftly, owns the largest shopping search for business-to-consumer e-commerce market. But Qihoo lacks the information from Taobao and Tmall, where a majority of consumer-to-consumer and business-to-consumer e-tailers are doing business; so that it cannot compete with Etao. Related posts: Image Shopping Search Taotaosou Raised Series B Funding from Investors Including Alibaba Youdao Claims 1% of China Search Market Chenwei Ventures Led Series A Round in Mobile Shopping App
about 10 hours ago
PPzuche, a P2P car sharing platform which has already rolled out service in Singapore, will hit Chinese market on October 10 (report in Chinese). PPzuche will first land in Beijing, mainly focused on low-and medium-tier cars, whose owner...
PPzuche, a P2P car sharing platform which has already rolled out service in Singapore, will hit Chinese market on October 10 (report in Chinese). PPzuche will first land in Beijing, mainly focused on low-and medium-tier cars, whose owners range from 25 to 40 years old. iCarsclub, developper of PPzuche, localized their services and planned to cooperate with domestic roadside assistance companies in the future. Instead of owning cars, PPzuche creates a virtual fleet from the car owners who list their car on the car sharing platform and rent it out to nearby drivers who need a car, turning private car resources into money-making opportunities rather than letting them sleep in the garage. The service is similar in many ways to car rental services like YongChe or America’s ZipCar, except that it collects cars from both private and business car owners. The company claimed that car sharing is a better alternative than car rental, because it offers cars in better conditions, has cheaper rentals and simple renting procedure. Car owners will get 30% of the rentals. In order to protect the cars, the company launched a stringent check for all drivers that join iCarsclub. A credit system is established and drivers with low credit ratings will be deprived of the right to hire cars on the platform. Vehicle-mounted tracking devices will send alarms when the rented cars are out of the designated area. Besides that, car insurance will cover all the cars registered on the platform. All transactions are done online without the nuisance of completing tedious paperwork. Car owners and drivers do not have to meet each other, because the hardware installed in member’s vehicles will allow the renter to unlock the doors with a phone app. According to data released by the company, PPzuche now attracted more than 1,000 private cars and around 7,000 registered users in Singapore since its launch in Dec. 2012. Uber, American online car booking service, also made forays into Chinese market earlier this year. image credit: PPzuche Related posts: RelayRides Wants to Revolutionize Personal Mobility Through Car Sharing Uber Landing in Shanghai Innobook, A New Open Publishing and Sharing Platform
about 12 hours ago
The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook notes how growth in the leading developing economies, including China, has slowed more than expected. The IMF is now forecasting 7.6% growth this year for China and 7....
The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook notes how growth in the leading developing economies, including China, has slowed more than expected. The IMF is now forecasting 7.6% growth this year for China and 7.3% next year, down 0.2 … Continue reading →
about 14 hours ago
Every so often I read an article on some aspect of China that beautifully sums up some large aspect of China.  I just read such an article on the China File blog (written by two Caixan reporters), entitled, Shandong Shipyard’s Lesson: Do...
Every so often I read an article on some aspect of China that beautifully sums up some large aspect of China.  I just read such an article on the China File blog (written by two Caixan reporters), entitled, Shandong Shipyard’s Lesson: Don’t Rock the Bank.  This article summarizes at least part of pretty much every single litigation matter my law firm has ever handled in China.  More importantly, it does a superb job of describing how things get done in China (or don’t get done) and of the role that banks, large employers and governments can play in China litigation matters. I strongly recommend this article for anyone doing business in China.
about 15 hours ago