Sinopec to upgrade Zhenhai refinery

Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Co, Sinopec’s largest refining unit, plans to transform itself into a major crude-processing base.

“If we want to play on a global stage, we should build ourselves into a world-class business. This means that we need a larger capacity for high-quality products,” said Zhang Yuming, general manager of the Zhenhai refinery.

Located in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang province, the Zhenhai refinery is the most profitable company under Sinopec, the world’s biggest refiner. Last year, Zhenhai said its profit almost tripled compared with the previous year, but did not reveal further details about the figure.

Zhang said the company is expected to invest about 16.9 billion yuan ($2.53 billion) before 2018 in restructuring and upgrading.


Cities try to cool real estate prices

More cities in China are expected to introduce restrictive measures to dampen speculative buying and curb soaring property prices.

On Sept 19, the eastern city of Hangzhou imposed limits on second home purchases for buyers without a city household registration.

Earlier this year, four other cities — Nanjing, Hefei, Suzhou and Xiamen — announced measures to cool the residential property market, such as increasing the down-payment requirements for second homes or even barring the purchase of second and third homes.

In these cities, the average price of commercial residences has been rising by more than 30 percent year-on-year, and the new package of restrictions could spread to other cities, said Ding Zuyu, an analyst with realty research firm CRIC Information Group.


Smart manufacturing to boost rocket maker

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the State-owned satellite and rocket maker, aims to “double or even triple” its annual production capacity by 2025 without adding new employees, according to the company’s chief engineer, Yang Haicheng.

Yang said that in the next five to 10 years the aerospace industry would see huge demand for rockets and satellites.

“If the annual orders triple from 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) to 300 billion yuan, it is impossible for us to triple the amount of employees,” he said on the sidelines of a manufacturing forum in Beijing on Sept 16.

“Instead, we must rely on smart manufacturing to accomplish these tasks.”


FAW Car to sell luxury Red Flag business

FAW Car Co plans to sell its Hongqi business, known for the Red Flag limousine used by Chinese political leaders, to its controlling parent automaker — hoping to reverse its $127 million loss by the end of the year.

“Hongqi, as a luxury brand, is in its introduction stage, and the lineups have not realized economies of scale,” the company said on Sept 19.

The targeted buyer of the business unit is its parent FAW Co, a State-owned carmaker. FAW Car has suffered large losses and plunging revenue. According to its interim report of Aug 27, its net profit plummeted 613.6 percent with a loss of 849.1 million yuan ($127 million) in the first half.


Bank to lend $450b to boost agriculture

The Agricultural Development Bank of China, one of the country’s main policy lenders, agreed to loan at least 3 trillion yuan ($450 billion) by 2020 for the modernization of China’s agriculture industry, state media said on Sept 18.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the bank, which lends in line with government policy, signed an agreement to protect national food security, support the sector doing business overseas and develop China’s seed industry, according to Xinhua News Agency.

It was not immediately clear whether this commitment is separate from the bank’s plan announced in May to lend 3 trillion yuan for poverty reduction via agricultural investments.

The bank will be responsible for managing financial services, including offering financial products and setting interest rates, said Xinhua.


Credit growth eases economy concerns

Better-than-expected credit growth in August eased some concerns over the momentum of the economy, while sluggish corporate lending points to the need for stronger fiscal policy, analysts said.

New credit growth in August registered 948.7 billion yuan ($142.3 billion), up by 17.1 percent year-on-year, according to data released on Sept 15 by the People’s Bank of China.

Total social financing, the central bank’s gauge of the broad measure of credit in the economy, was 1.47 trillion yuan in August — three times higher than the 487.9 billion yuan in the previous month.

“The higher-than-expected data eased some worries about the momentum of economic growth,” said Jiang Chao, chief economist with Haitong Securities.


Plan to turn Beijing into innovation hub

The State Council, China’s cabinet, has issued a plan to transform Beijing into a national scientific and technological innovation hub.

According to the document, China aims to make the hub a world leader in innovation, a growth pole for the economy, and a pool for talent.

The innovation hub is expected to become a powerful engine to boost the country’s innovation drive by 2030, the plan said.

The document stresses the key role of north Beijing’s high-tech zone Zhongguancun and neighboring regions of Tianjin municipality and Hebei province in supporting the technology innovation hub drive.

It also called for enhanced fundamental research in cutting-edge technology, improved personnel training and government services as well as a better policy environment for innovation.


Major steelmakers to merge listed units

Two of China’s biggest steelmakers have agreed to merge their listed units, moving a step closer to a union that would create the world’s second-biggest mill.

The publicly traded arm of Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp, China’s largest steel company, will swap shares with the listed unit of Wuhan Iron and Steel Group Corp, China’s sixth-largest steelmaker, the smaller company said in a statement on Sept 20.

The plan is part of the government’s push to consolidate the steel industry to combat overcapacity.

The merger is a major move in the transition from low-end supply to high quality manufacturing, said Li Xinchuang, president of the China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute.

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