Asia Pacific (APAC), Global Politics

Cross-strait News Daily Round-up for Dec. 22

Haitong Securities is planning private Hong Kong placement for raising US$3.9 billion

Haitong Securities (HKG: 6837) is planning to sell 1.92 billion additional Hong Kong-listed shares at US$2.08 each in a private placement, a Shanghai Stock Exchange’s statement said on Dec. 22.

Haitong, China’s second-biggest brokerage by market value, aims to raise US$3.9 billion through the placement, which comes as a stock-market boom in China boosts the country’s brokerages. The company will use about 60% of the proceeds to develop its short-selling and margin-trading business and about 10% to replenish working capital, the statement said.

Total revenue for China’s state-owned business grows 3.9%

China’s Ministry of Finance said on Dec. 22 that the growth of the total revenue for the nation’s state-owned companies increased 3.9% during the past 11 months.

The total revenue for all China’s state-owned companies for 2014 reached US$7.4 trillion, the ministry said.

The ministry’s latest statistics showed that the growth for state-owned companies’ revenue has obviously slowed down during the past 11 months, while the same figure showed a 8.2% growth last year.

Among all the companies, industries in traffic, steel, automobiles, and electricity experienced a growing business while coals, chemistry, textiles and petroleum went through a sluggish or going-down business.

Entry-level employees of Taiwan’s post office and railways administration will earn fatter paychecks

Taiwan’s Chunghwa Post Chairman Philip Weng (翁文祺) and Taiwan Railways Administration Director-General Chou Yung-hui (周永暉) both said on Dec. 22 that their entry-level employees will begin to earn fatter paychecks since next year.

Weng said that the post office has a total of 26,000 employees but only approximately 4,000 entry-level employees will be subject to the salary raise, which will be 7% more than what they have for now.

For the railways administration, Chou said that most of its staff members were recruited from those who passed the national exams and are regarded as government employees so they have been already assured for a regular salary raise. The plan to raise salary, about 3% to 6% more than the original salaries, was designed for those employees who were not recruited by the system and are also entry-level employees with the administration.

China may have greater steel production volume than what was estimated

China Economic Review reported on Dec. 22 that China may have underestimated its steel production volume, with last year’s crude steel output at 822 million tons which have been over 40 million tons more than official figures.

Quoting the latest report by MEPS, an independent supplier of steel market information, China Economic Review reported that while China’s National Bureau of Statistics has not officially revised 2013 output data, growth rates for January-November this year imply 2013 production was 803 million tons, 24 million tons more than originally reported.

MEPS, which has been tracking China’s steel industry since the late 90s, said it had seen indications of underreporting by at least 30 to 40 million tons annually since 2012.

Chinese President Xi Jinping asks Macau to end dependence on gambling industry

Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) urged Macau to get rid of its reliance on gambling industry on Dec. 21.

Macau’s gambling industry has been suffering from Xi’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign. Xi, who has been in town for the re-inauguration of the territory’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui and to mark the 15th anniversary of the territory’s return from Portuguese rule, exhorted the world’s largest casino hub to “push for a healthy economic and social development.”

The president also said that China’s central government would demarcate the maritime zones of Macau, which CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer said could give the territory’s government more control over land reclamation and more space to use for tourist attractions.