Wei's Feed
Mar 5, 2012
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Wen passes ball on China’s needed reforms

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By Wei Gu

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

Wen Jiabao didn’t throw any curveballs in his last government report as Chinese premier. Instead, his opening speech for China’s annual national parliament meeting focused on economic continuity. That gives a clear sign that big reforms will have to wait for the next generation of leaders, who take over in early 2013. By then, the cost of the necessary changes may be higher.

Feb 29, 2012
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“Buy China” auto drive not just protectionism

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By Wei Gu

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

Chinese bureaucrats’ love affair with the Audi may soon come to an end. Beijing’s new list of foreign car brands for government procurement contains not one foreign supplier. That may be a response to huge overproduction by local firms, and foreign rivals may read it as foul play. But the real lesson is that when growth slows, domestic concerns seem more important than keeping trade partners, or Audi-driving officials, happy.

Feb 27, 2012
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Alibaba.com minorities should hold out for more

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By Wei Gu

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

Alibaba.com’s minority shareholders should beware giving their treasures away too cheaply. The Chinese e-commerce provider’s founder, Jack Ma, is offering to buy back their shares at just a third the valuation at which Alibaba.com went public in 2007. Considering the company’s solid growth potential, and the market values of its main rivals, small investors should not yet open sesame.

Feb 22, 2012
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Alibaba $2.5 bln buyout looks opportunistic

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By Wei Gu

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

Jack Ma may have failed to buy back a stake in his e-commerce group Alibaba from U.S. partner Yahoo, but he has at least found a fallback plan. Ma has offered $2.5 billion to take his Hong Kong-listed unit, Alibaba.com private. The premium, 46 pct to the company’s last price before the deal was announced, is decent, and minority investors have no better options. But it still looks opportunistic.

Feb 21, 2012
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Apple needs more than a good lawyer in China

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

Apple has no problem getting Chinese consumers to desire its products, as a near-riot outside its Beijing store showed in January. But the U.S. tech giant has been beset by problems. As well as a rolling trademark battle, which has resulted in iPads being taken off the shelves in some cities, Apple’s market share is slipping, and the factory conditions at some of its Chinese partners are being questioned. It needs a new strategy.

Feb 15, 2012
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Alibaba and Yahoo could live unhappily ever after

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By Wei Gu

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

Talks on Alibaba buying back Yahoo’s stake in the Chinese e-commerce giant seem to have faltered. Valuation, structure and financing appear to be the key roadblocks. With more strain added to the unhappy relationship, Yahoo and Alibaba need to rebuild trust before heading back to the negotiation table.

Feb 14, 2012
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Dreamworks’ China deal won’t be access all areas

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

Dreamworks may soon get an exclusive ticket to China’s closely guarded film industry. The U.S. studio is likely to announce a joint venture with China-based investors during Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to California on Feb. 17, a person familiar with the situation has told Breakingviews. It should be a good deal for the creators of “Kung Fu Panda”, but does little to lower the Great Wall around film distribution in the People’s Republic.

Feb 8, 2012
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Multinationals tell real China growth story

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By Wei Gu

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

China’s official data isn’t always helpful. But the earnings statements of foreign multinationals give a good alternative reality check on the Chinese economy. Leaf through recent numbers from those with big businesses in the People’s Republic, such as Yum Brands, Siemens or Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, and three trends emerge.

Feb 7, 2012
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IMF takes too euro-centric view of China

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By Wei Gu

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

The International Monetary Fund misunderstands China. The latest China Economic Outlook estimates the effect of a severe euro zone crisis on the world’s second-largest economy – 2012 GDP growth would be 4 percentage points lower than the IMF’s base case of 8.2 percent. That’s not likely. And the fund’s analysis has other problems.

Feb 6, 2012
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Facebook needn’t envy life inside China firewall

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By Wei Gu

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

Befriending China’s 500 million Internet users sounds like a must if Facebook is to justify its hefty valuation. The world’s largest social network is seeking up to 27 times its 2011 revenue in an initial public offering in New York. But the China-shaped hole in its business model might not be worth filling. Google and Groupon have shown it’s hard to succeed inside the Great Firewall.