John's Feed
Oct 22, 2013
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Alibaba creative governance should come at a cost

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By John Foley

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

New York and Hong Kong differ on shareholder democracy. Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce company, has received approval from U.S. stock exchanges to let a partnership of senior executives nominate most of its directors. Hong Kong rebuffed the idea on principle. Investors in a future initial public offering must now decide what that principle is worth.

Oct 18, 2013
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Lenovo-BlackBerry bid could squish under pressure

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By John Foley and Ethan Bilby

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

Lenovo is wading into the BlackBerry jam. The Chinese technology group has gained access to the books of the Canadian smartphone seller, which is already considering a $4.7 billion approach from shareholder Fairfax Financial Holdings. If it chose to bid, Lenovo would have to do better than the current offer of $9 per share, and overcome more obstacles.

Oct 15, 2013
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Britain can gain from China’s empire builders

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By John Foley

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

Britain once had nothing to offer China but silver and opium. Now it has holidays, banks and building sites. George Osborne, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, and London’s mayor Boris Johnson are using visits to Beijing to say just how welcoming the UK is likely to be. It’s a triumph of openness, and provided the UK chooses its partners carefully and the Chinese are tactful, both sides will benefit.

Oct 10, 2013
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Tech disruptors could save China’s savers

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By John Foley

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

The biggest threat to Chinese banks’ cozy oligopoly may be in the palm of your hand. Online groups Alibaba and Tencent are making incursions into the country’s financial services market, providing an alternative to the capped deposit rates and sluggish service offered by the country’s big lenders. The disruptors are taking on risks, and savers should be glad.

Oct 8, 2013
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For China, U.S. debt ceiling is a paper tiger

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By John Foley

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

For China, the U.S. debt ceiling is what Mao Zedong might have called a paper tiger: terrible to behold, but in reality not so scary. Provided Washington doesn’t actually default on Oct. 17, when the Treasury has warned it could run out of cash unless allowed to borrow more, Chinese concern looks needless, and even self-serving.

Sep 30, 2013
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China Tea Leaf Index: Hanging on for reform

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

China’s rail shipments and steel drove our alternative growth index up to 96.3 in August, the highest since January. That looks like enough to give leaders the benefit of the doubt ahead of November’s party plenum, when the tone for future economic growth will really be set.

Sep 17, 2013
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China’s online land grab risks value mudslide

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By John Foley

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

China’s internet dealmakers are on a defensive offensive. Tencent’s $448 million purchase of a stake in search engine Sogou from its owner, U.S.-listed Sohu, is the latest attempt to stop competitors snapping up a bite-sized competitor. When cash is abundant and investors forgiving, that kind of land grab can turn into a value mudslide.

Sep 16, 2013
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Shanghai trade zone may give rest of China a kick

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By John Foley

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

Shanghai’s new trade zone may be a lab for financial reform. It may be a prop for the city’s flagging economy. Or maybe it will just be fuel for property speculators. In fact, it can be all of these and more. But the real benefits may not be in Shanghai at all.

Sep 4, 2013
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China’s bad debt could leave $500 bln equity hole

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By John Foley

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

China’s bad debts could blow a $500 billion hole in bank balance sheets. That’s roughly how much extra equity the eleven biggest lenders might need if 10 percent of their loans went sour, according to a Breakingviews calculator. Though the chairman of ICBC, China’s biggest lender, thinks dismal bank valuations are “unfair”, the malaise is well deserved.

Sep 4, 2013

Breakingviews-China’s bad debt could leave $500 bln equity hole

(Refiles to update context news)

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

By John Foley

BEIJING, Sept 4 (Reuters Breakingviews) – China’s bad debts
could blow a $500 billion hole in bank balance sheets. That’s
roughly how much extra equity the eleven biggest lenders might
need if 10 percent of their loans went sour, according to a
Breakingviews calculator. Though the chairman of ICBC
(601398.SS: Quote, Profile, Research), China’s biggest lender, thinks dismal bank
valuations are “unfair”, the malaise is well deserved.