April 26th, 2012
08:27 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – To paraphrase Claude Rains in “Casablanca,” reports from U.S. regulators suggest they are “Shocked! Shocked!” to learn Hollywood studios may be lining pockets in Beijing to get a foothold in the Middle Kingdom's theater market.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission appears to be poking around whether Hollywood studios are buying their way into one of the world’s largest – and most tightly controlled – media market. The investigation, first reported by Reuters, says the SEC has sent inquiries to 20th Century Fox, Disney and DreamWorks Animation.

The investigation centers on bribes to Chinese official to get the right to film and show studio movies in China, according to Reuters, the New York Times and the L.A. Times – all citing anonymous sources. The news comes just two months after China’s Vice-President Xi Jinping – who is widely expected to succeed Hu Jintao as president of China in 2013 – wrapped up a week-long trip to the U.S. with a Los Angeles visit that included a $2 billion deal between two Chinese firms and Dreamworks Animation.
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April 16th, 2012
07:52 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Over the weekend, China announced it was doubling the trading band of the yuan against the U.S. dollar.

The move was widely lauded as a step toward liberalizing the Chinese exchange rate and moving the yuan toward an internationally traded currency like the U.S. dollar, yen and euro.

“This underlines China's commitment to rebalance its economy toward domestic consumption and allow market forces to play a greater role in determining the level of the exchange rate,” said Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in a statement.
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April 13th, 2012
09:16 AM GMT
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Beijing (CNN) – Chinese first quarter GDP data showed a fall in year-on-year growth to 8.1% for the first quarter of the year, compared to 8.9% in the last quarter.

This relatively sharp slowdown in growth will clearly increase concerns about a hard landing in the near-term.

However, many analysts expect that growth will stabilize and recover modestly over the rest of the year as external conditions improve and China's domestic policy is fine-tuned.
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April 9th, 2012
09:52 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) -– If you’re a glass “half full” or a glass “half empty” kind of person, you’ll see what you want to see in China’s latest inflation number. The hard number: March CPI came in at 3.6%.

On the positive side, March is the second month in a row that inflation was below 4%. Last month, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao announced a 4% inflation target for the country. FULL POST

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March 29th, 2012
10:07 AM GMT
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(CNN) – India will overtake China as the world’s biggest economy by 2050, a new report says.

This follows China’s rise to the top spot in 2020 at the expense of the United States, according to the 2012 Wealth Report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank.

The survey was published as India hosts the BRICS summit of emerging economies, which also includes China, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. FULL POST

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March 29th, 2012
08:02 AM GMT
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(CNN) – It’s been a bad year to be a BRIC.

As the leaders of the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India, China – gather in India for the summit Thursday, there is a nagging reality weighing on the world’s fastest growing emerging economies – they’re not growing as fast any more.

Brazil has seen its once blistering economy slow to an estimated 2.7% this year. Russia’s recovery from the global recession has been slow compared with other developing economies, the World Bank said in a report this week. Growth in India has steadily fallen as the nation lurches from scandal to scandal, most recently a report that alleges the government lost $211 billion in coal mining contracts.

Even the economic juggernaut of China has been slowing down, with Beijing dropping its projected growth this year to 7.5% which, if realized, would be the lowest growth rate since 1990, according to World Bank statistics.

What’s going on with the BRICs? FULL POST



March 26th, 2012
01:10 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – After a divisive and fiery campaign season, Hong Kong has a new chief executive. His name is Chun-ying Leung, or C.Y, for short. He’s a 57-year old pro-Beijing politician who made his multi-millions in Hong Kong property.

But the city native inherits the leadership mantle as his hometown faces a series of unenviable economic challenges. And it’s not just Hong Kong’s financial problems he has to address - it’s also his own popularity problems. More precisely, lack thereof.

On Sunday, Leung could be seen giving the thumbs-up for victory in Sunday’s fourth chief executive election. But he’s gotten a thumbs-down in approval. The Hong Kong Standard, a local newspaper, said Leung only mustered a 40% approval rating. Compare that to the 70% rating of the two previous chief executives.

To change that, Leung said he would address a swath of economic woes after he takes over in July.
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March 23rd, 2012
01:12 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) – Investors have even more proof that China’s economy is slowing down.

The country’s manufacturing sector shrank for a fifth month in a row, according to HSBC’s latest China PMI survey Wednesday. That follows news of weaker industrial output from January to February.

This news shows that Beijing’s policies to slow down the economy are in fact working. But Premier Wen Jiabao – who’s been the champion of those measures – may now be asking whether they’re working a bit too well.

HSBC’s China Flash PMI came in at 48.1 point for March. Anything under 50 means a contraction.  The worrying thing is that this manufacturing index has been under that 50-point mark since November. Not only that, March’s reading is the lowest in four months.

So why this continued contraction?
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March 12th, 2012
03:04 PM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) - If you look at China’s annual National People’s Congress, now in session, you might think this country is one of the richest in the world.

The NPC's 75 richest legislators - from a total of 3,000 - had a net worth of more than $90 billion in 2011. To put that in perspective, that’s more than half of Greece’s latest bailout of some $170 billion.

Zong Qinghou is the NPC’s richest member and China’s second-richest man, with a net worth of nearly $10.8 billion in cash and assets. If you’ve been to China, you’ve likely eaten or drunk something his company, Wahaha Group, manufactures.
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March 9th, 2012
06:44 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - China’s state-owned cigarette monopoly, the China National Tobacco Corporation, may have a larger annual net profit than HSBC and Walmart, according to a report released this week by the Industrial Bank Co Ltd.

A rare glimpse into the tobacco-giant’s finances revealed a net income of 117.7 billion yuan (US$18.7 billion) in 2010 on sales of 770.4 billion yuan.

According to Bloomberg, HSBC reported $16.8 billion of profit for its most recent fiscal year while Wal-Mart reported a net income of $15.7 billion. The 2011 figures of China National Tobacco Corp. were not given.
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