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Nov 28, 2013
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Giant Interactive’s $2.9 bln buyout hard to resist

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By Una Galani

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

Giant Interactive’s $2.9 billion buyout is hard to resist. Chairman Shi Yuzhu is leading a consortium with Baring Private Equity Asia to take the U.S-listed Chinese computer gaming group private. At almost 13 times this year’s earnings, the group’s offer to buy the 53 percent that it doesn’t already own is a chunky premium to peers. Besides, independent investors have few alternatives.

Nov 27, 2013
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How Cinda squares China’s debt triangles

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By John Foley

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

China Cinda has spotted a clever arbitrage. The Chinese “bad bank”, which is revving up for a Hong Kong initial public offering (IPO), has recently been doing brisk business by borrowing cheaply from other banks and using those funds to buy up companies’ short-term loans to each other. In doing so, it has found a way to square China’s dreaded “debt triangles”.

Nov 20, 2013
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Chinese “fixers” speak to Wall Street weakness

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By John Foley 

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

Wall Street banks used to argue privately that hiring consultants in China was the only way to get ahead. Now their worth is under the spotlight, after the New York Times reported that JPMorgan Chase paid $1.8 million to a two-person consultancy run by the daughter of Wen Jiabao, then China’s premier. The real mystery is why banks that have been in China for so long still need the extra help.

Nov 15, 2013
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China fuels optimists, leaves room for pessimists

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

China’s long-awaited blueprint for reform is epic, ambitious, detailed and vague. A sixty-point document issued by the ruling Communist Party on Nov. 15 covers everything from relaxing the hated one-child policy to opening up the financial sector and squeezing more dividends out of state-owned enterprises. It’s enough to restore investors’ faith, if not yet to help them allocate their assets.

Nov 13, 2013
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Four ways to tell China is serious about markets

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By John Foley 

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

China’s new buzzword is “decisive”. That’s how the ruling party described the role it wants markets to play in the economy. It’s hard to see whether it’s more than just talk. But there are four visible ways to tell whether China means business.

Nov 12, 2013
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China plenum is far cry from what might have been

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By John Foley

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

China’s third plenum was a study in anti-performance. This meeting of the ruling party’s top figures traditionally gives each new generation of leaders an opportunity to make big gestures. What emerged on Nov. 12 was only promising policies wrapped up in bland talk. Yet there is an important message: big economic changes may come, but politics remains a matter for Party insiders only.

Nov 11, 2013
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Doubly dysfunctional press hinders China cleanup

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By John Foley

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

Graft hurts growth; transparency helps. It sounds simple, but in China, the arrest of a domestic journalist for defamation and heavy-handed treatment of foreign news organisations suggest the message isn’t getting through. A free press can’t make corruption go away on its own. Without one, however, the economic benefits of any clean-up will be limited.

Nov 8, 2013
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Suntech casts shadow over China capital raisings

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By John Foley 

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

Suntech has gone from solar panel maker to financial black hole. The stricken company is fighting with creditors who want to see it liquidated after it defaulted on interest payments in March. Proposals to sell assets and take Chinese government cash seem unlikely to help investors avoid huge losses. For investors it’s a lesson in what happens when things really go wrong with Chinese companies.

Nov 7, 2013
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China’s Singles’ Day shows market power of one

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By John Foley

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

China’s retail sector is about to be plunged into collective madness. On Nov. 11, online shoppers are likely to snap up over $4 billion of goods when prices halve in celebration of “Singles’ Day”. Billed as a celebration of unmarried people, the event is actually a cue for massive online discounting. Consumers benefit, but the best deal goes to Alibaba, which reinforces the dominance of its Tmall and Taobao online marketplaces while leaving sellers to do the heavy lifting.

Nov 5, 2013
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China enters era of enlightened numerology

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By John Foley 

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

China has revealed the symbolic number that drives its economic policy: 7.2 percent. That’s the minimum growth rate Premier Li Keqiang says is needed to ensure a stable job market. Fetishising numbers sounds unhealthy for a country raised on central planning, but for China it may be a useful indication of how leaders will balance reform with stability.