Asia Pacific (APAC), Global Politics

Cross-strait News Daily Round-up for Dec. 2

Ping an Insurance raises US$4.7 billion from investors

Ping An Insurance (SHA: 601318) raised a total of US$4.7 billion on Nov. 30 through a private placement of new shares with investors, including Alibaba’s (NYSE: BABA) Jack Ma (馬雲) and Tencent’s (HKG: 700) Pony Ma (馬化騰).

Privately owned Ping An, which also controls the separately listed Ping An Bank (SHE: 000001) has been among China’s most aggressive groups in pursuing internet finance ventures. Its affiliates include Lufax.com, the peer-to-peer lending platform, and online payment company 1qianbao.com.

KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou steps down for the election defeat

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) offered his resignation as the chairman for the ruling party Kuomintang (KMT) on Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 2) as a gesture of taking responsibilities for KMT’s being trounced during last Saturday’s elections.

During the elections for mayors, city councilors, wardens, etc., the KMT lost major seats, including Taipei mayor, Taoyuan mayor, Keelung mayor and Taichung mayor. KMT Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) immediately resigned, followed by Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) as vice chairmen on Dec. 1.

In addition to Hau and Wu, the KMT still has five vice chairmen and women, including Tseng, Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱), Chiayi Mayor Huang Min-hui (黃敏惠), New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) and Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強).

By KMT’s regulations, the chairman will be the president when the party is ruling. After Ma quit, an extraordinary meeting must be organized for amending the regulations for electing a new chairman within three months, while one of the vice chairmen will be the acting chairman for the party.

Hung is the priority candidate to take the job at this moment, now that Tseng has declined such allegation.

Taiwan’s PMI shows first contraction during the past two years

The Chunghua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) said on Dec. 1 that PMI declined to 49.2 in November from 51.5 in October, as manufacturers saw a slowdown in business amid a lackluster global economy.

CIER President Wu Chung-shu (吳中書) said that it was the firs contraction since December 2012, with almost all subindices falling below the neutral threshold as inventory-building demand linked to Apple’s new handsets softened.

“The latest PMI value suggests a slowdown in the domestic economy, instead of a downturn due to a lack of seasonal adjustment,” he said.

China tax office plans to monitor foreign firms’ profits

China Economic Review reported on Dec. 2 that the Chinese authorities are planning to put a system in place to monitor the profits of foreign companies to end alleged tax evasion.

An anonymous source said that Microsoft was required to pay more than US$150 million in China last month, while an unnamed foreign company had paid US$137 million in back taxes and interest as well as more than RMB100 million in annual disbursements on Nov. 23.

The report also said that the Chinese authorities will also tighten management of tax practices by Chinese companies abroad.