Category: Banking & Financial Services

08/15/14

Permalink 01:41:46 pm, by dacare, 558 words, 179 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services

Big five banks plan bond sales to boost capital


A Bank of China branch in Yichang, Hubei province. China's top five banks will raise 128 billion yuan ($20.8 billion) over a two-week period.

China's top five banks will raise 128 billion yuan ($20.8 billion) in a two-week bond offering spree following a yearlong hiatus, as regulators signal a willingness for lenders to aggressively tap fixed-income markets.

The country's banking regulator began phasing in new higher capital adequacy requirements last year, in line with global rules known as Basel III, and aggressive implementation of the third Basel accord is a key element of China's plan to fortify banks against risks from a slowing economy.

China Construction Bank Corp and Agricultural Bank of China Ltd, the country's second and third-largest banks, respectively, have announced plans to raise 50 billion yuan worth of Basel III-compliant Tier 2 capital via domestic bond issues on Friday.

Bank of Communications Co Ltd, the country's fifth-biggest lender, plans to raise 28 billion yuan on Monday.

The issues follow two large offerings last week, the first from the country's top five banks since early 2013 and China's transition to Basel III.

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd and Bank of China, the country's largest and fourth-largest lenders, together offered 50 billion yuan of bonds last week.

The flurry of offerings shows Chinese regulators have signed off on the giant deals despite their potential drain on market liquidity, and are comfortable with the new Basel III-compliant bond structure, sources told IFR Asia, a Thomson Reuters publication.

China's economy showed further signs of softening in July despite a burst of government stimulus measures, and banks have tightened lending to risky areas such as the property sector.

The government embarked on a massive credit-fueled economic stimulus program from 2008 to 2010 to pull the economy through the global financial crisis. Many analysts expect a large portion of bank loans extended during that time to turn sour.

The fundraising spree still leaves China's top lenders lagging regional counterparts.

Asian banks (excluding Japan and Australia) have raised more than $32 billion in Basel III compliant securities to date, which includes $26 billion issued in 2014, in local and international markets, according to Moody's data.

Steven Chan, a banking analyst at Maybank Kim Eng, a Singapore-based research firm said the amount being raised was small viewed against the assets of China's top lenders. "It's very small compared with the trillions of assets," he said.

China's big State-owned banks have announced plans to raise $43.5 billion in on- and offshore Tier 2 capital by the end of 2015.

Agricultural Bank of China plans to sell 50 billion yuan of Tier 2 securities, Bank of Communications is in for 40 billion yuan and China Construction Bank for 60 billion yuan. ICBC is eyeing a total of 60 billion yuan, while Bank of China will make a play for the same.

All that makes for a total of 270 billion yuan in Basel III compliant bonds that will hit the market - more than from any other single country.

Lenders are issuing to replace old-style Tier 2 bonds that are about to mature and hold yields down, Chan said.

"If you don't repay bondholders, the yield will increase automatically, so the best way is to issue bonds at a similar or lower rate to repay the earlier one."

A total of 93 billion yuan of subordinated bonds from China's commercial banks will mature next year, according to China Central Depository & Clearing, a State-owned clearinghouse for onshore bonds.

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08/14/14

Permalink 10:24:08 am, by dacare, 241 words, 127 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services

China unveils support for insurance industry

The Chinese government on Wednesday unveiled measures to develop the insurance industry, vowing to raise premium incomes to 5 percent of GDP by 2020.

The package, announced on the State Council website, let the insurance industry play a bigger role in the fledgling social security network.

The second of its kind since 2006, the package could see citizens paying an average of 3,500 yuan (565 U.S. dollars) per capita in premiums by 2020.

Commercial insurance will become the primary undertaker of individual and household programs and an important supplier of corporate pensions and health insurance.

The insurance will be given a bigger role in the prevention and relief of disasters and accidents through the introduction of catastrophe insurance products.

Insurance funds will be encouraged to invest in bonds and equities to support major infrastructure projects, urban renewal and urbanization.

The government will encourage the house-for-pension insurance experiment and launch a pilot program to introduce compulsory insurance for environmental pollution, food safety, medical accidents and campus safety.

Zhao Xianghuai, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities, believes the package will open more space for China's insurance industry, which had a total assets worth 9.4 trillion yuan by the end of June this year.

"The package has elevated the position of the insurance industry and created new room for development," Zhao said.

Boosted by the announcement, Chinese insurers rose across the board on the stock markets, with New China Life Insurance Co., Ltd. leading the gains, up 3.57 percent to 25.27 yuan.

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04/22/14

Permalink 02:21:53 pm, by dacare, 264 words, 106 views   English (US)
Categories: Banking & Financial Services

ZTE banks on patents to expand

ZTE Corp, a leading Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone manufacturer, aims to increase its presence in international markets and establish itself as a multinational firm through boosting the number of its patents.

"We've made the development of intellectual property rights our company's core strategy, especially when expanding to overseas markets," said Guo Xiaoming, vice-president of the company, which is based in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.

Guo said that if a company doesn't have a solid foundation in intellectual property rights, it will be very difficult to establish itself in overseas markets, especially in matured markets such as the United States and Europe.

"We've been putting the development of intellectual property rights on top of our company's agenda. We've also been investing heavily in research and development," he told a media briefing on Monday.

Guo said ZTE invests about 10 percent of its annual sales on research and development every year. It has injected more than 40 billion yuan ($6.42 billion) on R&D over the past five years.

According to a report from the World Intellectual Property Organization in March, ZTE filed 2,309 Patent and Cooperation Treaty applications in 2013, becoming the world's second largest patent filer.

Panasonic Corp of Japan – with 2,881 published applications — was the top applicant last year. ZTE was the top applicant in 2011 and 2012, while Panasonic headed the applicants' list in 2009 and 2010.

Rather than the quantity of patents, Guo said ZTE eyes their quality.

"The cost of filing a patent in Western countries is quite high — usually 50,000 to 80,000 yuan for each application. We only file those inventions that have the biggest potential in monetization," he said.

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03/12/14

Permalink 02:05:50 pm, by dacare, 584 words, 177 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services

Privately funded banks to be launched

Ten private companies will launch five banks that are entirely funded by private capital in Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangdong Province and Zhejiang Province as part of a pilot program, Shang Fulin, head of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, said Tuesday.

The establishment of the private banks, which was approved by the central government in January, is considered a vital step in the country's financial reform and its opening-up of the banking sector to private capital.

Internet giants Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group will be among the 10 companies approved to participate in the pilot program, Shang said, adding that the five private banks should have differentiated market positioning.

Shang did not provide details about the names of the five banks, or the amount invested in them.

The website of People's Daily quoted Shang as saying on Monday that the 10 companies will also include Fosun International, a real estate conglomerate, and Chint Electrics Co, an electrical equipment maker.

Each bank must have two private investors, Shang said, and they will be allowed to open for business when they have made sufficient preparations.

The private bank that Tencent plans to initiate will specialize in providing products for the burgeoning online finance sector, a staff member of Tencent told the Global Times Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

"Tencent will utilize its advantages in the Internet service industry, and [launch] online financial products based on the services provided by the traditional banking sector," the source said.

The staff member said the bank will be located in Qianhai, a district of Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province. Qianhai was approved by the State Council in 2010 as a test ground for the free cross-border flow of the yuan and financial innovations.

A staff member of Alibaba, which is a partner in Yu'ebao, one of the country's most popular online money market funds, told the Global Times Tuesday that Alibaba is working with China Wanxiang Holdings Co to apply for a private bank license.

"Now our application materials are still being reviewed," said the staff member, who wished to remain anonymous.

Wanxiang Holdings is part of China's biggest auto parts company Wanxiang Group, which is based in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province.

The Alibaba source declined to comment on the location or market positioning of the bank.

Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times Tuesday that the private banks will offer loans of up to 1 million yuan ($162,879) that will mature in less than two years.

The banks' major customers will be those that have difficulty in getting loans from large commercial banks, Dong said, such as small and micro-sized businesses. That is why the new program will not have a disruptive impact on the banking sector or influence the interest rate, he said.

According to Shang, the private banks will be regulated in the same way as large commercial banks, but their performance will be more market-based.

Milestones in opening up to private investment

May 23, 2012 The State Council required sectors including railways, telecoms and banking to draw up detailed rules for encouraging private investment.

May 26, 2012 The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said it would encourage greater private investment in the banking sector, without imposing restrictive or other additional conditions.

Jun 19, 2013 The State Council said China should set up private banks and financial lease companies that bear the burden of risk on their own.

Mar 11, 2014 CBRC chief Shang Fulin said China will set up five private banks on a trial basis.

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01/29/14

Permalink 01:54:00 pm, by dacare, 850 words, 243 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services

Private banks to be on the rise

Since China Minsheng Bank Corp became the first private bank in 1996, the government has not approved any others, although it has allowed a small amount of private capital to be invested in commercial banks. This will soon change as the government opens up the financial sector to private enterprises.

China now has five State-owned commercial banks, three policy banks, 12 joint-stock banks, 144 city commercial banks, 47 foreign capital banks and numerous banks in towns and rural areas. The introduction of private banks will introduce more competition to the industry to the benefit of private businesses strapped for capital.

Until now, the names of more than 40 private bank applicants have gained pre-approval from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. However, the success of Minsheng, which was founded at a time when loans for small and medium-sized enterprises were relatively undeveloped, is unlikely to be repeated today given the many financial products fighting for customers' attention. Some private banks are bound to fail if they do not have a sound risk-control system.

With the opening up of the banking industry to private capital after 14 years of hiatus. The biggest change in the policy is that private enterprises have seen their status elevated from "equity participator" to "initiator", according to the guidelines issued by the State Council in July that encourages more private capital to enter the financial industry.

Private banks that are filing for approval fall into two categories. First, there are enterprises or business associations that seek easier financing channels for the industry. For instance, Suning Commerce Group Co Ltd, a leading home appliance retailer, was the first listed company to announce its plans to apply for permission to launch a private bank. Other public corporations have also formed groups to create their own private banks.

The second category is more ambitious. This sector is the Internet companies that want to build a line of services on their own financial platforms, such as Tencent Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd.

Companies aiming to get a pieces of the pie in private banking cover a wide range of industries including e-commerce, real estate, food, garments, electrical equipment, technology and aviation.

Why does private banking look so enticing?

The Chinese banking industry has been enjoying lucrative profitability. According to the half-year profit statements of 2,467 A-share companies in 2013, the total net profits of the 16 listed banks amounted to 619.1 billion yuan ($102.1 billion). up 13.54 percent from the same period last year, accounting for 54.3 percent of total A-share profits. Although profit margins in banks have been decreasing in recent years, the large net profits still have a great appeal to private businesses.

Private banks can ease the difficulties in financing and acquiring loans by private enterprises. According to a study conducted by Qianzhan Industry Research, a Beijing-based research group, a mere 1.3 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises could conduct direct financing. Others accumulate capital through bank loans and private capitalization. However, because of their relatively low credibility, high management costs and banks' preferences for large-scale companies, only 10 percent of SMEs have access to bank credit. It is predicted that SMEs will need 17.5 trillion yuan in capitalization in 2014.

Possible bankruptcy

Severe competition in the banking sector stands in contrast with the private sector's enthusiasm. The profits in the banking industry are highly concentrated. Among the 16 listed banks, the profits of the top five State-owned banks made up 75.5 percent of the total profits in 2012. The total assets of city commercial banks accounted for a mere 9.4 percent of the total assets held by banking financial institutions.

Experts have been applauding the opening up of the banking sector to private capital. However, there are bound to be risks ahead.

Jin Liqun, chairman of the sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp, said some of the private banks are bound to go bankrupt.

State-owned banks are not going to go bust because customers are assured their deposits will be safely managed because the central Party and the government will not cheat their own people, said Jin. Private banks, on the other hand, face the risk of bankruptcy. But people don't have to be overly concerned because development comes with risks, he added.

"Deposit insurance needs to be put in place to protect customers' interests in case of bankruptcy," said Jin. "I heard of opposition from large banks that claim the insurance system is nothing but a burden because they are not going to go bankrupt. However, these banks have been given government protection to be exempt from bankruptcy, which attracts customers to put their money into their accounts. What is the cost of establishing an insurance system compared with their vested interests?"

Experts also warn that the current enthusiasm may not pay off.

"Private companies should remain cool-headed before they enter the industry," said Ba Shusong, deputy director-general of the Financial Research Institute of the State Council Development Research Center. He cited a case in Taiwan in which 16 private banks gained approval in 1992, but where only six remain.

Generally speaking, banks see no profits within the first three years after their establishment. Companies should wait until the industry has undergone consolidation before they try their luck.

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01/08/14

Permalink 12:38:20 pm, by dacare, 110 words, 175 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China, Banking & Financial Services

BEA and DBS open FTZ outlets

Bank of East Asia and DBS Bank were the first among overseas lenders that officially opened their sub-branches in the Shanghai free trade zone yesterday, as they were attracted by potential opportunities in China's latest financial reform test bed.

In addition, at least six foreign banks have received the nod from the China Banking Regulatory Commission to prepare for a new outlet in the FTZ. They include Citi, HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, Deutsche Bank, United Overseas Bank and ANZ. The FTZ will allow overseas banks to introduce new services and expand more rapidly in the country, said Geoffrey Choi, assurance leader of financial services at Ernst & Young for China.

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