Breakingviews

China’s big banks enjoy calm before the storm

August 26, 2016

Net profits at CCB and BoCom are stable, as are bad-loan ratios: a pleasant surprise given the wider backdrop. This partly reflects a growing gulf in asset quality between large banks and their smaller peers. The giants are probably also putting off recognising bad debts.

Hong Kong’s cornerstone problem goes postal

August 25, 2016

Postal Savings Bank of China may sell as much as 80 pct of its $8 bln share offering to cornerstone investors. One unlikely ally, a big state shipbuilder, is already down for $2 bln. This is fresh evidence, on an epic scale, of how Hong Kong's IPO crown is thoroughly undeserved.

Singapore eyes last trick in the book to win IPOs

August 24, 2016

The city-state is moving closer to introducing dual-class shares. A growing sense of desperation about a moribund market for new listings has reduced opposition to such a move. The risks of giving up the high ground on shareholder democracy are likely to outweigh any rewards.

Shenzhen-HK stock link tees up “Bubble Connect”

August 17, 2016

Investors in the two cities will soon get access to each other's bourses. The addition to the Shanghai Stock Connect further opens mainland markets. The prospect of China's get-rich-quick punters exporting their investing tactics into Hong Kong small-caps is less heartening.

Short hit on Itochu is wake-up call for Japan

July 27, 2016

A report by U.S. firm Glaucus poses hard questions about how the $20 bln trading house accounts for big investments in Colombia and China. Like activists before them, foreign short-sellers could help shake up a market that often looks too cosy.

Activist faces long odds to stop Baidu video deal

July 20, 2016

Acacia Partners objects to a bid from Baidu's CEO for the group's video unit. The U.S. fund is right to highlight potential conflicts of interest. But it is hard to see an activist victory here, given the boss's influence. Same goes for China's other internet giants.

Volatile Netflix could turn shorts’ binges to bust

July 19, 2016

The $42 bln streaming service's shares plunged 15 pct in late trading after Monday's weak earnings. That kind of move tempts those who bet on stocks falling. But Netflix's share price, which has multiplied 80-fold since its 2002 IPO, has spiked up nearly twice as often as down.

Pokemon GO hints mixed reality beats virtual kind

July 11, 2016

The mobile game where users capture imaginary creatures in the real world is a smash. Within a week of launch GO may have more users than Twitter. Entirely computer-simulated worlds get the attention, but overlaying the digital on the physical may be the disruptive killer app.

Vanke battle is test of China’s shareholder rules

July 7, 2016

The country's top property developer is fighting with major holder Baoneng. The spat has produced a $7 bln deal, a motion to dismiss the board, and suggestions big stakeholders are colluding. The outcome will show whether China's public markets are up to protecting investors.

China’s giant savings bank not as safe as it seems

July 6, 2016

One in three Chinese citizens has money in Postal Savings Bank of China. It has fewer loans to bloated state firms and fewer bad debts than rivals. But big holdings of bonds issued by other arms of the Chinese state – and increased dabbling in shadow finance – still pose risks.