John's Feed
Aug 15, 2014
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Alibaba deal spree turns from romance to thriller

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By John Foley 

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

Alibaba’s investment story has turned from romance to thriller. Its Hong Kong movie-making affiliate has uncovered “possibly non-compliant” accounting just four months after the Chinese e-commerce giant bought a 60 percent stake. It’s not clear whether Alibaba’s controls were flawed – but it certainly raises questions about the value of the company’s recent investment binge.

Aug 14, 2014
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China data puts economists to the Rorschach test

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By John Foley 

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

Is China’s economy stable or stuttering? Swings in credit and investment reflected in data released on Aug. 13 support conflicting views. Broadly, things look on track. But uncertainty can be damaging if it undermines the confidence of the people who matter most: consumers and depositors.

Aug 11, 2014
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China’s e-commerce secret weapon: the delivery guy

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By John Foley 

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

Want a Big Mac delivered to your door in minutes? Or a refrigerator by the end of the day? While U.S. retailers puzzle over how to make that happen, China’s e-commerce companies are already there. Servicing the country’s web-connected consumers at ever-faster speeds is driving some big businesses, not to mention stock market valuations. The secret weapon: the humble delivery guy.

Jul 30, 2014
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China’s political purges call for financial sequel

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By John Foley

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

The formal investigation of China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang, almost ten months after he was last seen in public, makes compelling viewing. What is needed next is a financial sequel.

Jul 29, 2014
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China online funds’ yield hunt piles on risk

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By John Foley and Robyn Mak

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

China’s online money market funds deserve credit for offering savers the decent returns that banks cannot. But it is getting harder for the upstart industry to do so without piling on risk.

Jul 24, 2014
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China’s old meat is a corporate health warning

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By John Foley 

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

Old meat in China’s fast-food chain brings a health warning for foreign companies doing business in the country. After getting fat on rapid growth, some are discovering nasties hidden within their ample folds.

Jul 21, 2014
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The perks and pitfalls of depending on Jack Ma

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By John Foley 

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

Buy a share in Alibaba and you place your trust in Jack Ma. The Chinese e-commerce giant’s founder, executive chairman and spiritual sultan will remain a controlling force even after the company completes its massive initial public offering later this year. The $100 billion-plus question for prospective shareholders is whether they can depend on him to always act in their best interests.

Jul 15, 2014
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China’s corruption purge nears tricky second phase

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By John Foley 

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

China is entering the second stage of its colossal fight against graft. Nabbing high-profile culprits was a good start. Now, other miscreants have to believe the same could happen to them. Finally, the rewards for good behaviour must be made comparable to the spoils of wickedness. From here, things get tougher.

Jun 26, 2014
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China’s subway splurge only half on right track

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By John Foley

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

Take a trip on Beijing’s subway during rush hour and it’s clear that building more lines is a good idea. Asking international capital markets to pay for them, though, is not. Beijing’s issue of a $190 million bond to finance urban transit has been a hit with investors. But in general, public funding for public transport still looks the best route.

Jun 11, 2014
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China’s vanishing metals corrode confidence

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By John Foley 

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

Faith in metal-backed lending in China is corroding – and so is confidence in the country’s giant credit system. Authorities and banks including Standard Chartered and CITIC are investigating whether traders at Qingdao port used the same lot of copper and aluminium to back multiple loans. Vanishing collateral isn’t a new problem, but could prove to be China’s weakest link.