Ethan's Feed
Nov 4, 2014
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Xiaomi’s upward valuation hike hard to justify

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is a hit with customers, but its upward valuation spiral seems hard to justify. A new funding round could value the group at a mooted $50 billion. That suggests investors are valuing it the same way they do tech giant Apple. Xiaomi is growing fast, but it lacks its U.S. rival’s dominance or innovation.

Nov 3, 2014
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Macau’s casinos worryingly reliant on high-rollers

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A drop in Macau’s high rollers may push the Chinese territory’s gambling revenue to its first annual decline on record. Forecasts for next year seem over-optimistic. For many casinos in the coastal enclave, high-spending VIP gamblers are the biggest vulnerability. If they stop playing, the likes of Galaxy Entertainment and Wynn Macau would be particularly hard hit.

Oct 29, 2014
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Train merger could be China’s ticket to elite club

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China’s bullet-train builders are on track for a tie-up that might help secure membership of an elite club. At first glance, merging CNR and CSR into a domestic monopoly sounds like a step backwards. But it would help China better compete against an oligopoly of big, rich-world rivals. For a growing superpower, that probably seems a good enough reason to bend the market norms.

Sep 25, 2014
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Sinopec’s petrol station revamp is an uphill job

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Chinese oil giant Sinopec wants to sell more from its 23,000 pump-side stores. But as a new Breakingviews calculator shows, even a dramatic increase in non-fuel sales won’t do much to lift the $58 billion valuation that outside investors have put on the business.

Sep 9, 2014
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China smartphones set to pick off global giants

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. 

Not everyone is able to spend $500 on a smartphone. For those lacking funds or wanting better value for money, China’s handset makers increasingly appeal. Today, most of their sales are domestic. Yet low costs are helping them dial in new emerging market customers.’

Aug 29, 2014

Emerging market watchdogs could dent car industry

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Ethan Bilby

HONG KONG, Aug 29 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Emerging markets
are where the big growth is for automakers. Now local
competition watchdogs are using their heft to upend the car
parts industry. India has fined car companies $421 million and
forced them to open up the market for spare parts to rival
manufacturers. If Chinese regulators take a similar approach,
carmakers’ earnings could suffer.

Aug 21, 2014
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China Mobile’s foreign foray risks meagre returns

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

China Mobile is using its cash pile to hunt for growth overseas. If past industry experience is any guide, however, returns could be meagre. Many other mobile operators have failed to create value through cross border tie-ups.

Aug 19, 2014
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Sinopec petrol sale attracts a motley bunch

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Sinopec’s petrol station stake sale could drum up a mixed bunch. The Chinese oil giant is seeking investors to help develop Sinopec Sales, which operates its vast network of filling stations. Prospective buyers from food retail, energy, technology and private equity have been shortlisted, according to Reuters. But the price tag of around $16 billion for a 30 percent stake could force them to club together.

Aug 6, 2014

Xiaomi creative destruction may reach beyond China

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions
expressed are his own.)

By Ethan Bilby

HONG KONG, Aug 6 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Xiaomi has
overtaken the mighty Samsung to become China’s top
smartphone seller. Could the same success follow in Kuala Lumpur
and Bangalore? The four-year-old upstart’s rise is evidence of
the continuing creative destruction in the mobile market.
Xiaomi’s model of low-cost phones and software sales may squeeze
rivals elsewhere.

Aug 5, 2014
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Microsoft’s China dream sorely strains credibility

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By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Xbox gamers fear the “red ring of death”, a flashing light that can herald system failure. Microsoft, which makes the consoles, must be awaiting a similar sign in China. After 22 years, the tech giant has achieved little in the country, which looks to account for around 2 percent of revenue. Cloud services may multiply that over time, but political headwinds are raising the cost of business – possibly too high.

    • About Ethan

      "Ethan is Reuters Breakingviews corporate China columnist based in Hong Kong. He joins the team having covered trade disputes, foreign affairs, and EU politics in Brussels. Ethan began working for Reuters as a graduate trainee in London and speaks Mandarin Chinese, Danish, Swedish and Spanish. Follow Ethan on Twitter at @EthanBilby"
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