01/22/16

Permalink 02:10:35 pm, by dacare, 127 words, 127 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Taiwan jobless rate at lowest level in 15 years

Unemployment in Taiwan was 3.78 percent last year, the lowest level since 2000, the island's statistics agency announced Friday.

This is a decrease from 3.96 percent posted in 2014, showing the job market is generally steady, the agency said in a press release.

There were around 440,000 unemployed people in Taiwan in 2015, compared with 11.2 million employed, it said.

The unemployment rate of the young (15 to 24 years old) was 12.05 percent, compared with 3.95 percent for the 25-44 age range, and 1.99 percent for those aged between 45 and 64.

In December alone, 3.87 percent of Taiwan's residents reported being unemployed, down from 3.91 percent for November.

The agency said in a separate statement that in the first 11 months of 2015, industrial and service sector employees had record high average monthly salaries -- around 48,650 New Taiwan dollars (about 1,445 U.S. dollars).

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01/21/16

Permalink 02:52:45 pm, by dacare, 364 words, 83 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Job site Zhaopin receives initial proposal to take firm private


Job hunters seek information at a Zhaopin.com stand.

Zhaopin Ltd, China's biggest job recruitment site, has received a non-binding offer to take the firm private, a year and a half after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company said on Wednesday it had received the preliminary proposal from affiliates of CDH Investments and Shanghai Goliath Investment Management LP.

Zhaopin said it considered the acquisition offer a fairly high valuation from the two noted investment institutions.

Officials said its board of directors are currently valuing the offer, but they did not disclose any further details or the time frame for the deal.

The investors plan to acquire all outstanding ordinary shares not owned by Zhaopin's controlling shareholder, Australian investment firm SEEK International Investments Pty Ltd which owns 68 percent of Zhaopin, for $17.50 in cash per American depositary share.

The price represents around a 22 percent premium to the company's closing at $14.35 per ADS on Jan 15, and values the company at $1.1 billion.

Officials did not give any information about whether it plans to relist on the A-share market.

Currently, it had approximately 322,000 unique employers and 105 million white-collar job seekers on its books.

Founded in 1997, Zhaopin was also one of the country's first recruiting websites.

It floated in June 2014, and is still the only Chinese job listing website listed in New York.

According to its latest earnings report, it has seen annual double-digit growth rates consecutively since going public.

Chief Executive Guo Sheng said earlier that its growth has been driven by expanding customer penetration, particularly among China's small and medium-sized companies, at a time of difficult domestic employment conditions and increased competition from career development portals.

The potential delisting would follow other Chinese companies exiting overseas stock markets.

Last year, the number of Chinese companies that received privatization offers exceeded the total number in the past 12 years.

A number of US-listed companies including Chinese leading Internet security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd and China's largest specialist in airport displays AirMedia Group Inc have now reached final privatization agreements with potential buyers.

FocusMedia Holding Ltd, which used to be China's largest overseas listed advertising firm, has already been privatized and has listed on the A-share market.

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01/20/16

Permalink 01:55:01 pm, by dacare, 145 words, 92 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Internet firm Meituan-Dianping raises $3.3b, valuing company at $18b

Chinese Internet company Meituan-Dianping announced on Tuesday that it has raised more than $3.3 billion in a funding round, valuing the company at $18 billion.

The deal is the largest single-round private financing in China's Internet industry up to date and the largest in the online-to-offline business section worldwide, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Leading investors include Tencent Holdings Ltd, Russian investment firm DST Global, and ChinTrust Bridge Partners.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the original investor of Meituan, did not participate in the new round of financing.

Meituan-Dianping is the country's largest online-to-offline company, offering a wide range of services like group-buying, selling movie tickets and food delivery.

The company was formed in October when Tencent-backed Dianping and Alibaba-financed Meituan merged.

With 150 million monthly active users, it can handle 10 million orders every day. In 2015, its online transactions totaled 170 billion yuan ($26 billion), the company said in a statement.

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01/18/16

Permalink 10:09:22 am, by dacare, 109 words, 97 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

JD.com's finance arm gets $1 bln in financing

Chinese online retailer JD.com said on Saturday that its financial arm will get 6.65 billion yuan (around 1 billion U.S. dollars) in funding from a group of investors.

The NASDAQ-listed online retailer said Sequoia Capital China, China Harvest Investments and China Taiping Insurance are chief among a group investors funding JD Finance, which offers a broad range of financial services including consumer credits, loans, insurance and wealth management products since its launch in 2013.

The funding, set to complete in the first half this year, will value JD.com's financial subsidiary at 46.65 billion yuan.

JD.com said it still holds the majority stakes in JD Finance after the funding completes.

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01/15/16

Permalink 10:02:29 pm, by dacare, 1095 words, 239 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services, Technical, IT Recruiting

China’s Haier to Buy GE Appliance Business for $5.4 Billion

By LAURIE BURKITT, JOANN S. LUBLIN And DANA MATTIOLI
Updated Jan. 15, 2016 5:17 a.m. ET

Haier

BEIJING— General Electric Co. agreed to sell its appliance unit for $5.4 billion to Chinese manufacturer Haier Group, which is looking to expand its products into homes around the world.

GE and Haier announced the deal Friday, saying the companies will cooperate world-wide to expand their reach in health care, advanced manufacturing and the industrial sectors.

The deal will help Haier sell refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances that are already popular in China overseas after years of struggling to gain a stronger foothold in the U.S. and elsewhere. Haier said it will have the rights to use the GE brand for appliances for 40 years.

The acquisition also enables GE to focus on its industrial business—jet engines and power turbines instead of washing machines and even finance.

“Haier has a good track record of acquisitions and of managing brands,” GE’s chairman and chief executive officer Jeff Immelt said in a news release. “Haier has a stated focus to grow in the U.S., build their manufacturing presence here, and to invest further in the business.”

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Qingdao Haier Co., a Shanghai- listed company in which Haier owns 41%, will acquire the GE appliance unit, Haier said. It said the deal “establishes a model for cross-border investment and cooperation between China and the United States.”

The deal, which values GE Appliances at 10 times the last 12 months of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to GE, was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

It marks the third major overseas acquisition by Chinese companies this week.

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China’s Haier Nears Deal to Buy GE Appliance Business
A consortium of investors including China National Chemical Corp. on Sunday agreed to buy KraussMaffei Group for 925 million euros ($1 billion), one of the largest Chinese takeovers of a German company. Two days later, Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. agreed to acquire production and finance company Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in cash, the largest China-Hollywood deal to date.

GE has been running an auction for the century-old appliance business since it abandoned a $3.3 billion sale to Sweden’s Electrolux AB in December. The U.S. Justice Department had sued to block that transaction, saying the combination of the two companies would hurt competition for cooktops and ranges. Haier is unlikely to face the same antitrust hurdles as Electrolux because of its small presence in the U.S.

In seeking a fresh buyer, GE executives wanted “a better deal” than they had gotten from Electrolux, one person familiar with the matter said. GE also stands to receive a $175 million breakup fee from Electrolux.

The Chinese appliance maker outbid other foreign corporate bidders for the Louisville, Ky.-based business, according to a person close to the deal.

Haier has struggled to compete in the U.S. While it calls itself the biggest appliance maker in terms of unit sales, Haier is mainly known in the U.S. for niche products such as compact refrigerators and window air-conditioning units.

The privately held company has also been expanding its range of products and retail partners in the U.S. Last August, Haier said it would invest $72 million to expand its 15-year-old refrigerator plant in Camden, S.C.

The GE transaction, however, will vault the Chinese company past Electrolux and other rivals in the U.S. market for white goods, which is currently led by Whirlpool. Sales for the GE Appliances and Lighting division, of which appliances is the lion’s share, were $8.4 billion in 2014.

Haier held talks with GE in 2008 to buy the U.S. firm’s appliance unit. In 2010, a Haier executive said the company didn’t buy at the time because the price for the unit was too high. Haier also made an unsuccessful bid for Maytag Corp. in 2004, but lost out to Whirlpool.

Since then, Haier has been vying for more U.S. retail partners, tapping major advertising agencies in an effort to become a household name. Haier held a 29.8% market share of major household appliance sales in China last year, compared with 5.6% in the U.S., according to market research firm Euromonitor.

For Haier, which had $32.6 billion in revenue world-wide in 2014, growth overseas is critical. Profit margins from the company’s refrigerators and washing machines in China are razor-thin due to increased competition at home, where online shopping has sparked price wars, pushing down prices in the electronics and appliances sector.

Another drag on business is that fewer people in China are buying new homes and thus need fewer new appliances.

The deal will broaden Haier’s customer base and distribution channels. It will also sharpen its credibility in the U.S., where “Chinese brands are perceived as low quality,” said Klaus Meyer, a business professor at China Europe International Business School in Shanghai.

Based in China’s northeastern coastal city of Qingdao, Haier is one of China’s legacy state-owned enterprises. Haier’s chief executive, Zhang Ruimin, was the general manager when the company started in 1984 as a successor to a loss-making refrigerator factory that had been opened in 1949, when Chairman Mao Zedong founded modern China.

Mr. Zhang, now 67, has become somewhat of a legend in business circles back home, building a no-nonsense demeanor when he, as newly appointed chairman in 1985, grasped a sledgehammer, smashing a faulty refrigerator to demonstrate zero tolerance for shoddy products at the factory.

Within his first decade as chairman, he transformed Haier, creating China’s largest appliance maker and becoming the first businessman appointed to China’s Central Committee, one of the Communist Party’s highest decision-making bodies.

Mr. Zhang built the brand by investing in a cartoon in the 1990s called the “Haier Brothers,” creating mascots that generations in China came to recognize long after the airing of the more than 200 episodes. Today, Haier has become one of the China most valuable brands, worth $1.9 billion in 2015, according to media agencies Millward Brown and WPP, which calculated the value using the company’s financial data and consumer survey data.

GE Appliances will keep its headquarters in Louisville, Ky, the companies said.

Haier said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange if the deal ceases due to failure to obtain approvals from antitrust regulators, Chinese regulators or Qingdao Haier’s shareholders, Qingdao Haier will be required to pay $200 million to $400 million to GE as compensation.

GE’s assets Haier is acquiring had a book value of 1.84 billion dollars as of the end of 2014.

—Ted Mann in New York and Rose Yu in Shanghai contributed to this article.

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12/31/15

Permalink 10:48:51 am, by dacare, 121 words, 167 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China foreign service trade deficit narrows

China continued to see a deficit in foreign service trade in November but the volume has narrowed, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) showed on Wednesday.

The deficit came in at 15.6 billion U.S. dollars, retreating from 89.2 billion U.S. dollars in October.

The State Council has pledged measures to accelerate development of trade in services, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture and medical treatment sectors.

SAFE began issuing monthly data on service trade in January 2014 to improve the transparency of balance of payments statistics. Since the start of 2015, it has also included monthly data on merchandise trade in its reports.

In November, China saw a surplus of 51.4 billion U.S. dollars in foreign merchandise trade.

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