Property prices show more decline in growth

China’s buoyant property market showed further signs of cooling down, according to official data released on Aug 18.

Data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the pace of price growth of new homes in 15 key cities across China continued to slow in July, and second- and third-tier cities showed a clear decline in price growth.

Liu Jianwei, senior statistician at the NBS, said home prices in first-tier cities were stable, while price growth in lower-tier cities slowed down obviously in July.

“Home price growth in the 15 key cities narrowed by somewhere between 0.8 and 4.9 percentage points year-on-year,” Liu said, interpreting the NBS research which monitors home prices in 70 cities on a monthly basis.

Month-on-month, 10 of the 15 key cities experienced declines in new home prices, or maintained prices at the same level as that in June. 


Big-ticket investments record increase in July

China approved big-ticket investments for 22 fixed-asset projects in July, up from 11 in June, and launched new bonds in an attempt to maintain stable economic growth, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on Aug 18.

The State planner said it will also renew efforts to boost private investment.

Analysts said the moves will help offset the effect of financial regulatory tightening and real estate cool-off and help the country maintain stable growth in the coming months.

The 22 projects are valued at 165.5 billion yuan ($24.8 billion) and mainly in the energy, water conservancy, transport and high-tech sectors.

They are expected to drive high-quality growth and better meet public demand for infrastructure and facilities, said Meng Wei, spokeswoman of the NDRC, at a news conference.

The value of projects also rose from June. The 11 projects approved in June were valued at 29.6 billion yuan.


Smartphone market to face slowdown: Report

After years of booming sales, China’s smartphone market is showing signs of saturation, according to a recent report showing that growth in the market slowed in the first half of this year.

The report, released by market researcher and consulting company GfK Retail and Technology China Co, estimated that the smartphone market in China will continue to see a slowdown in overall sales volume growth throughout 2017.

The growth in sales revenue of smartphones is much higher than the corresponding rate of sales volume, but that is because the average price of smartphones is rising this year, said the company.

In the first half of this year, the sales by volume of smartphones reached 232 million units, a year-on-year increase of only 0.4 percent, while revenue jumped by more than 10 percent compared with the same period last year, the company said.


Nation sees highest uptake of fintech

China ranks top among 20 world markets in terms of financial technology adoption, with 69 percent of surveyed consumer respondents saying they are actively using fintech services, 33 percentage points higher than the global average.

According to the report by consultancy services provider EY, based on more than 22,000 online interviews in 2017, global fintech adoption has been growing fast since 2015 when EY did its first study on the issue.

Money transfer and payment services are major drivers of the fast growth, said the report.

Around 64 percent of fintech users said they prefer using digital channels to manage “all aspects of their life”. And 13 percent of polled consumers said they are regular users of five or even more fintech services, which include money transfer and fintech, wealth planning, deposit and investment, borrowing and insurance.


First direct bank gets nod from regulator

China’s top banking regulator has approved the commencement of business of the first direct bank that will operate as an independent legal entity in China.

The bank — which will not have any branch network, and offers its services remotely via online banking — will officially open within six months after it obtained a business license, according to banking regulations.

Jointly founded by China CITIC Bank Corp and Chinese Internet search giant Baidu with registered capital of 2 billion yuan ($300 million), CITIC aiBank Corp will mainly target individuals as well as micro and small companies.

China CITIC Bank, a national joint-stock commercial lender, will hold 70 percent of its shares, and Fujian Baidu Bo Rui Netcom Science and Technology Co will hold the remaining 30 percent.


Wanda drops plan to invest in London site

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda has pulled out of plans to buy part of the Nine Elms Square site in central London, which comes hot on the heels of the Chinese government’s latest rules on investment in overseas deals.

The company said it has transferred its interest in the 470-million-pound ($603 million) development to Hong Kong-listed R&F Properties and CC Land.

Under the new rules issued by the State Council on Aug 18, investments in property, hotel, film, entertainment and sports are restricted. The policy came as the government increased scrutiny of overseas investment and reined in speculative deals by Chinese companies in some industries and sectors, such as equity investment funds, and the defense sector.

“It is very hard for the company to get government approval and the outward remittance will also be a problem,” said an industry analyst who declined to be named.


Excavator sales set to jump 50% in 2017

Chinese excavator manufacturers are expected to see a 50 percent year-on-year jump in sales in 2017, despite the low stocks available due to the quiet market in the past five years, officials said on Aug 23.

The excavator branch of the China Construction Machinery Association reported that the country’s major construction machinery makers sold 82,725 units to both domestic and overseas markets between January and July, up 101.3 percent year-on-year.

The figure for the first seven months of this year outperformed the total annual sales of 70,320 units last year.

Both domestic and overseas markets have shown growing demand for excavators, with 77,814 units sold at home, up 111.7 percent year-on-year, and 4,884 units sold abroad, up 14 percent.

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