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Apr 30, 2013
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Alibaba spots pricey treasure in Weibo’s network

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Alibaba has spotted hidden treasure in Sina Weibo’s social network. The e-commerce giant is paying a punchy price for roughly 18 percent of China’s microblogging phenomenon, a business that has not yet celebrated its fourth birthday and is still working out how to generate revenue.

Apr 26, 2013
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Japan lifts Nomura from its lost half decade

By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Nomura has spent most of the past five years trying to break out of Japan. So it’s ironic that the investment bank’s best full-year results since 2007 were propelled by a revival at home. As with Japan’s economic renaissance, however, investors’ hopes are running ahead of reality.

Apr 22, 2013
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“Schwarzman scholarships” have many beneficiaries

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Steve Schwarzman is giving something back – to China. The Blackstone founder is contributing his name, and $100 million of his private wealth, to kick-start a scholarship programme at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. The programme may not be entirely philanthropic: China lost much more investing in his buyout firm’s initial public offering. But there will still be many beneficiaries if the scheme helps Western and Chinese elites understand each other better.

Apr 18, 2013
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Radical career move: become a Chinese citizen

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Here’s a radical career choice for investment bankers: become a Chinese citizen. American-born Marshall Nicholson has swapped his U.S. citizenship for a Hong Kong passport. Though the move is largely for family reasons, it will also go down well with clients on the mainland. For Western financiers seeking a local edge, it’s the ultimate display of commitment.

Apr 16, 2013
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Weaker yen won’t halt Japan Inc’s overseas spree

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

A weaker yen won’t reverse Japan Inc’s overseas M&A drive. While a strong currency, low interest rates and a stagnant home market fuelled an international shopping spree in 2012, the promise of a domestic revival under new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has caused buyers to temporarily put away their wallets. But even so-called Abenomics can’t cure Japan’s ageing and shrinking population.

Mar 21, 2013
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Mining saga highlights pitfalls of Chinese M&A

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Sundance Resources is a case study in what ails Chinese-led takeovers. The Australian miner’s deal to sell itself to Hanlong Mining for $1.4 billion is under pressure after its suitor’s chairman was apparently arrested. The 18-month saga highlights the hurdles facing Chinese bidders, and explains why suitors are often met with scepticism.

Mar 7, 2013
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Goldman-Morgan rivalry gets personal in Asia

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are the Montagues and the Capulets of investment banking. It’s almost as unusual for a senior banker to quit one firm for the other as it was for members of Romeo and Juliet’s feuding clans to consider marriage. That gives Goldman’s poaching of Kate Richdale, Morgan Stanley’s head of investment banking in Asia, an added edge. But while it’s tempting to see the defection as evidence of a decisive shift in the balance of power in the region, the grudge match has proved surprisingly enduring.

Mar 6, 2013
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Global finance isn’t dead, only shrinking

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

The global financial system isn’t dead. But it might be shrinking. For the past four years, bankers have fretted that finance is retreating behind national borders, with dire consequences for trade and economic growth. The reality is that a diminution of the financial sector was overdue. And outside the euro zone, cross-border flows are still reasonably healthy.

Feb 25, 2013
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Asia’s property taxes are covert capital controls

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Asia’s city-states are experimenting with a new form of capital controls: property taxes. In its latest effort to cool the market, Hong Kong has hiked stamp duty for real-estate transactions, apart from those that involve local first-time buyers. Discriminating against foreign speculators may distort the market and have limited success in constraining prices. Yet its popular appeal is clear.

Feb 19, 2013
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Singapore kicks off necessary benchmark rate cull

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By Peter Thal Larsen

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

Singapore is kicking off a necessary cull of benchmark interest rates. The city-state is expected to kill off the U.S. dollar Singapore Interbank Offered Rate (Sibor) in order to focus on the weightier local-currency version. With alternatives on tap, the switch should be manageable. It will also be a useful test for London’s planned interest rate bonfire.

    • About Peter

      "Peter is Assistant Editor of Reuters Breakingviews, based in London. He oversees coverage of financial services and regulation. Prior to joining Reuters, Peter spent 10 years at the Financial Times. From 2004 to 2009 he was the FT’s banking editor, leading the paper’s award-winning coverage of global banking during the credit crunch. Between 2000 and 2004 Peter reported for the FT from New York. He played a leading role in the paper’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath. A Dutch national, Peter has degrees from Bristol University and the London School of Economics."
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