|Bid||350.000 x 0|
|Ask||350.200 x 0|
|Day's Range||348.800 - 354.800|
|52 Week Range||251.400 - 400.400|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.56|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||36.88|
|Earnings Date||Aug 13, 2019 - Aug 19, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.00 (0.28%)|
|1y Target Est||388.16|
Carrefour, which is Europe's largest retailer, sold a majority 80% stake inits China-based business to Chinese retailer Suning, according to anannouncement made this weekend
(Bloomberg) -- Sign up for Next China, a weekly email on where the nation stands now and where it's going next.For years, companies like Oracle and International Business Machines invested heavily to build new markets in China for their industry-leading databases. Now, boosted in part by escalating U.S. tensions, one Chinese upstart is stepping in, winning over tech giants, startups and financial institutions to its enterprise software.Beijing-based PingCAP already counts more than 300 Chinese customers. Many, including food delivery giant Meituan, its bike-sharing service Mobike, video streaming site iQIYI Inc. and smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. are migrating away from Oracle and IBM’s services toward PingCAP’s, encapsulating a nation’s resurgent desire to Buy China.PingCAP’s ascendancy comes as the U.S. cuts Huawei Technologies Co. off from key technology, sending chills through the country’s largest entities while raising questions about the security of foreign-made products. That’s a key concern as Chinese companies modernize systems in every industry from finance and manufacturing to healthcare by connecting them to the internet.“A lot of firms that used to resort to Oracle or IBM thought replacing them was a distant milestone, they never thought it would happen tomorrow,” said Huang Dongxu, PingCAP’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “But now they are looking at plan B very seriously.” IBM, which gets over a fifth of its revenue from Asia, declined to comment. Oracle, which gets about 16%, didn’t respond to requests for comment.China has long tried to replace foreign with homegrown technology, particularly in sensitive hardware -- it imports more semiconductors than oil. That imperative has birthed global names like Huawei and Oppo and even carried over into software in recent years, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. expand into cloud services. That effort has gained urgency since Washington and Beijing began to square off over technology.“China has always wanted to use domestic tech and in areas like cloud, it’s been very successful,” said Julia Pan, a Shanghai-based analyst with UOB Kay Hian. “While it wants to use Chinese chips, its technology is just not there, but when it’s mature enough, they very likely will replace overseas chips with domestic ones.”Now, a coterie of up-and-coming startups are encouraging Chinese firms to go local. Customers use PingCAP to manage databases and improve efficiency, allowing them to store and locate data on everything from online banking transactions to the location of food delivery personnel.Backed by Matrix Partners China and Morningside Venture Capital, PingCAP is competing in a sector traditionally dominated by companies such as Oracle and IBM. The market is expected to grow an average 8% annually to $63 billion globally in the seven years through 2022.The startup is one of the newest members of a cohort of open-source database providers such as PostgreSQL and SQLite that are upending the market. Researcher Gartner forecasts that 70% of new, in-house applications worldwide will be developed on open-source database management systems by 2022.PingCAP -- mashing the term for verifying a web connection, ping, and the CAP computing theorem -- was founded by three programmers whose former employer, a mobile-apps company, was acquired by Alibaba. Inspired by Google’s Cloud Spanner, which pioneered the distributed database model, the trio -- Huang, Liu Qi and Cui Qiu -- began creating an open-source database management system that would allow companies to infinitely expand their data storage by simply linking more servers to existing ones.“Think of traditional database mangers like a fixed glass container, every time you run out of storage you have to get a bigger one,” said Huang. “What our system does is that you can link as many cups together as you want.”Their idea caught on with investors and venture fund hot shots including Matrix agreed to invest about 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) in 2015. To date the company has raised more than $71 million and has about 190 employees.PingCAP is working in a space where competition is fierce -- its database TiDB currently only ranks 121 among global peers, according to database rank compiler DB-Engines, which uses mostly mentions on social media and discussion forums as key metrics. Other open-source database managers such as PostgreSQL ranks 4th and its direct competitor CockroachDB, which also focuses on distributed database systems, leads PingCAP by 30 spots. The Chinese startup also operates in a market where it’s difficult to make money -- PingCAP only has a couple dozen paying customers in China and makes about 10 million yuan in revenue a year. Their best shot is to create successes that can be later replicated on a larger scale, said Owen Chen, an analyst with Gartner. “Work with the 10% early adopters free of charge, and make money off the 90% followers later,” he said.That’s why Huang is working with big names like the Bank of Beijing and Mobike -- so it can create templates for each sector. “Only one thing is certain, data will continue exploding,” said Richard Liu, a founding partner at Morningside Venture Capital. “We have the patience to wait before they figure out the best revenue model.”PingCAP has one thing going for it: Chinese customers are increasingly willing to experiment with technology. Data supplied by some 2,000 companies -- more than 300 in-production users and 1,500 who are testing its system -- will provide PingCAP with what Matrix Partner Kevin Xiong says is akin to a supply of ammunition.“You need bullets to train someone to become a stellar marksman, and PingCAP right now has a lot of bullets,” said Xiong, who invested in the company.Huang points to how PingCAP’s database helped tide over Chinese bike-sharing giant Mobike during stressful days when user and transaction numbers exploded on a daily basis -- at its peak in 2017 the company said it handled as many as 30 million rides a day.“It was a really challenging time for us, and [open-source database] MySQL was no longer able to meet our demands given the jump in data volume,” said Li Kai, a senior tech director at Mobike. “PingCAP really helped us big time.”Huang and his team also made it easy for IT departments to jump ship. With one key stroke, companies could export their entire database on MySQL over to PingCAP’s. Some are considering moving their most sensitive data including transactions and customer info over, Huang said without disclosing names.Yu Zhenhua, an IT manager at Bank of Beijing, said China is constantly trying to enhance information security while his industry wants to lower costs as it rapidly expands. “TiDB’s service meets the demands of what we want in a distributed database manager,” Yu said in a statement posted on PingCAP’s website. A representative for the lender didn’t respond to emailed queries about its collaboration.Longer term, PingCAP wants to venture beyond China -- but there, the geopolitical spat is proving an impediment. Earlier this year, PingCAP was ready to embark on an expansion into the U.S. and said it was already in discussions for getting some prominent tech startups to use its software. Now the prospects of winning over American clients are clouded.“We’re not seeing any immediate impact on our business in the U.S. but the trade war does force us to look at the long term uncertainties of getting important U.S. clients in finance or tech to move to our platform,” Huang said.(Updates with iQiyi as a client in the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Olivia Carville, Nico Grant, Lucas Shaw and Gao Yuan.To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum Murphy, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- K-pop sensation BTS has racked up a string of firsts over an astonishing six-year run. Now the seven-member group star in their own smartphone game, marrying two of South Korea’s most important exports.Netmarble Corp., South Korea’s biggest mobile-app publisher, has unveiled a game featuring global K-Pop sensation BTS, the latest attempt to wed the country’s tech and entertainment industries to drive economic growth.“BTS World” contains previously-undisclosed videos and photos of the boy band. The game takes players to pre-debut days to recruit and train the singers. Users can pay to speed up the process of guiding the seven young men to stardom. Created by local game developer Takeone Company Corp. and published by Netmarble, the game also features video and text chats with BTS members based on pre-written scripts.It’s the first major mobile game to focus exclusively on a K-Pop group, testament to the rapidly growing clout of two of Korea’s most promising exports -- games and K-Pop -- as Hyundai cars struggle to regain momentum and Samsung-made semiconductors undergo an industry downturn.BTS, or Bangtan Sonyeondan, which translates as Bulletproof Boy Scouts, has amassed millions of fans around the world thanks in large part to social media. In particular, the band’s Love Yourself campaign, which calls on people to take better care of themselves and encourages them to speak out on social issues, has resonated with young fans.“Managing BTS myself would make me feel closer to the members,” said Paik Ji-min, a 29-year-old South Korean fan who flew to London to attend a BTS concert and said she would be willing to spend about 50,000 won (around $43) playing the game. “Just the thought of it makes me smile ear to ear.”Netmarble already plans a sequel to BTS World, seeking to maximize profit from what has arguably become the biggest K-Pop success aside from singer Psy. BTS has 20 million followers on Twitter and has made television appearances on Saturday Night Live and Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show. This year, the band sold out London’s 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium in just 90 minutes.The company’s founder, Bang Jun-hyuk, teamed up with relative Bang Si-hyuk of Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind BTS, to develop the game. The entrepreneur is betting the recipe will re-energize growth at Netmarble, which trades about 20% lower than when it listed in 2017.BTS creator Bang Si-hyuk, who is also known as Hitman, told Bloomberg in 2017 that the company was diversifying into intellectual property-protected content that could possibly multiply its revenue. Big Hit is now worth an estimated $2 billion, according to the Hyundai Research Institute. The company is drawing on the popularity of the band to collaborate with Line Corp. for character merchandise and Mattel Inc. for dolls. The K-pop industry is worth about $5 billion, according to the government-affiliated Korea Creative Content Agency.Read More: High School Dropout Turns Billionaire on Games Firm IPONetmarble, whose titles include Lineage 2 Revolution and Marvel Future Fight, ranked 5th among publishers of Google Play and Apple iOS apps last year in terms of revenue, according to analytics firm App Annie. Founded in 2000, the Seoul-based company has drawn backing from Chinese giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and South Korean conglomerate CJ Group.Vey-Sern Ling, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst, said it may be relatively easy to generate money from players because they’re already fans who display a strong willingness to pay for BTS content.But the lifespan of the game could be limited. “Once the content is consumed there should be very little reason to play on, just like how you wouldn’t watch the same movie multiple times,” Ling said.Read More: ‘Hitman’ Worth $770 Million With K-Pop Craze Rocking the PlanetTo contact the reporters on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.com;Sam Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
BEIJING, June 24 (Reuters) - iQiyi, China's answer to Netflix, intends to push harder into overseas markets such as North America and Japan after the video-streaming service hit a milestone of 100 million paying subscribers this month, a senior executive said on Monday. The company, which has been locked in a cash-burning fight with Tencent's video site and Alibaba-backed Youku Tudou in China, wants to distribute more of its self-produced content in North America, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, where they were seeing growing interest in Chinese-language shows, iQiyi's President of Membership and Overseas Business, Yang Xianghua, told Reuters in an interview.
If a banker were to describe their dream consumer market, it would look a lot like Hong Kong. The chief beneficiary of this is HSBC, which has a 35 per cent share of the retail loan market, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs, via its own operation and Hang Seng Bank, a local lender it controls. It is so ubiquitous that residents refer to it simply as “the Hong Kong bank”.
PARIS/SINGAPORE/BEIJING, June 24 (Reuters) - Shares in France's Carrefour rose on Monday after it became the latest Western retailer to retreat from the Chinese market as fierce competition from domestic rivals and a growing online market puts pressure on foreign firms. Investors welcomed a long-awaited all-cash deal struck at what analysts said was a good enough price in view of Carrefour's falling sales and operating losses in China. Carrefour, which has been in China since 1995, agreed to sell 80% of its Chinese operations to electronics retailer Suning.com for 620 million euros ($705 million).
South Africa's Naspers has been forced to delay the multi-billion euro flotation of its international internet assets, including its lucrative stake in China's Tencent, after an admin error by a third party involved in the float. The company said a shareholders' meeting in Cape Town on June 28 to approve the flotation on Euronext Amsterdam, with a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), had been cancelled and reconvened for Aug. 23. Naspers said the third-party error meant some postal copies of the resolution for the meeting had been wrongly addressed.
(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd. delayed a planned listing of its international internet assets in Amsterdam until September after an error sending details to shareholders meant a vote on the deal can’t go ahead as planned next week.The announcement just minutes before the South African technology company released full-year earnings weighed on the shares, which fell as much as 3.1% in Johannesburg, the biggest drop in a month. The new company, which Naspers has named Prosus NV, the Latin word for forwards, was supposed to list in mid-July.The mistake was made by an external service provider and “was outside our control but still unfortunate,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Van Dijk said on a conference call with reporters. “We continue to be very excited by the opportunities for the group for our proposed listing.”The shares pared their decline and traded 0.8% lower at 3,450.23 rand as of 4:03 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 1.5 trillion rand ($105 billion).Naspers is planning to spin off assets including a $134 billion stake in Chinese games-maker Tencent Holdings Ltd. on the Euronext exchange in part to attract new investors and unlock value from the rest of the business, which has investments in internet ventures around the world. The classifieds unit edged into full-year profit in the 12 months though March, although the e-commerce division remains unprofitable. Naspers spun off its African pay-TV division, MultiChoice Group Ltd., in February.Prosus may be valued at a narrower discount to Tencent than its parent company following the listing, Naspers Chief Financial Officer Basil Sgourdos said on the call. Naspers will retain a 75% stake in the new business.The listing is also intended to reduce Naspers’s dominance of Johannesburg’s stock exchange, which has forced some investors to sell the stock. South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund, the company’s largest shareholder, is considering reducing its stake, Bloomberg News reported last week.Read More: Biggest Naspers Investor Mulls Cutting $16.5 Billion StakeThe administrative error that caused the delay concerned the incorrect labeling of circulars sent to shareholders, Naspers said. In some cases the name on the envelope did not match the address, which “could in some cases lead to confusion,” the company said. A vote on the listing will now take place on Aug. 23, the same day as the annual general meeting.Naspers said core headline earnings from continuing operations were $3 billion, up 26% on the previous year. That includes the performance of Tencent. The company also has interests in online food delivery in India and Brazil, and a stake in Russian social media giant Mail.ru Group Ltd.(Updates with CEO comments in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Loni Prinsloo in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org;Natalia Drozdiak in Brussels at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at firstname.lastname@example.org, John Bowker, Thomas PfeifferFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Alphachat sat down with economist and New York University Stern School of Business professor Nouriel Roubini last week to discuss his current diagnosis of the economy and the chances of a global recession in 2020. A number of geopolitical and financial risks are stalking global growth, he says, key among them being the US-China trade war and general protectionism in the global market. In a bid to keep it topical, Alphaville got in touch with Roubini on Thursday to get an update on his thoughts about Libra.
South Africa’s Naspers delayed its planned $100bn European listing of global internet assets, which includes a large stake in China’s Tencent, after the wrong envelopes were dispatched to shareholders. Johannesburg-listed Naspers said on Friday that it would postpone listing what is likely to be Europe’s biggest consumer internet group until September, following the administrative error by an external service provider. The listing on the Euronext Amsterdam, a landmark in the rise of Africa’s most valuable listed company as a global investor, was originally scheduled for July 17.
, reportedly has shelved plans for an international initial public offering (IPO) due to a trade-war-style battle over where its data is held. WeDoctor has been planning an overseas IPO in Hong Kong since 2017 with intentions to go public this year. The offering likely would go down very well with investors keen to access a Chinese healthcare market that is booming as China grows richer and older.
The South African company's shares have been trading at a major discount for technical reasons. Hiving off its global internet assets into a new company should help ease the pressure.
China is losing its global lead in games. This will mark the first time since 2015 that the U.S. will top the global gaming market, thanks to healthy domestic growth in consoles. China, on the other hand, suffered from a nine-month freeze on game licenses last year that significantly shrank the stream of new titles.
Souring sentiment in China has derailed plans for initial public offerings at facial recognition companies that also have government contracts. Alibaba-backed Megvii put plans to raise as much as $1bn in an IPO on ice this month.
(Bloomberg) -- The city of Suzhou, known as “the Venice of the East” for its web of intricate waterways, captured the imagination of Marco Polo when he journeyed through China more than seven centuries ago.Today it’s drawing attention for another grand project: a sprawling network of databases designed to track the behavior of China’s population. Sitting next to Shanghai with an economy larger than Finland’s, Suzhou was one of a dozen places chosen in 2018 by President Xi Jinping’s government to run a social-credit trial, which can reward or punish citizens for their behavior.The system, dubbed “Osmanthus” after the fragrant flower the city uses as an emblem, collects data on nearly two dozen metrics, including marital status, education level and social-security payments. Authorities have given it national awards even as Western politicians like U.S. Vice President Mike Pence lambaste social credit as ushering in an Orwellian dystopia that could serve as a model for authoritarian regimes around the globe. But dozens of interviews with the people most affected by the system paint a nuanced picture of the technology in its early stages. Few of the entrepreneurs, volunteers, public servants and other Suzhou residents surveyed said they had even heard of Osmanthus, which is supposed to help shape laws, regulations and standards across China by 2020.China’s Radical Plan to Judge Each Citizen’s Behavior: QuickTakeSuzhou’s experience raises questions about the dozens of similar scoring projects that local cities are now rolling out. If residents are unaware of a system designed to change their behavior for the better, then what’s the point of having it? And if it’s struggling to take off in a city lauded by authorities, what are the chances it can be implemented effectively across the nation anytime soon?“China has an interest in overstating its capacity to collect and analyze data, like they overstate their capacity to monitor with surveillance cameras and facial recognition,” said Jeremy Daum, a senior fellow at the Paul Tsai China Center at Yale Law School. “They want people to believe that misconduct will get caught.”A three-story brown and white building near the city center is the public face of Suzhou’s social-credit system. Here individuals can ask questions about their scores.On a recent Monday afternoon, the building was largely empty. Two staff shuffled papers and typed at computers, while six seats reserved for visitors were vacant. One woman who entered was lost and asked for directions. The lone self-service machine, emblazoned with logos for Osmanthus and state-owned telecoms company China Unicom, was unplugged.A female official in jeans and a t-shirt, who only gave her family name Xi, said about 10 people come in each day. Most are small-business owners who want to verify that they’ve been removed from a financial credit blacklist after paying off a debt. She said she’s hardly ever seen anyone come in to check their social-credit score.Proponents of the system says it hews closely to the financial scores pioneered by William Fair and Earl Isaac in the U.S. in the mid-1950s. Today, FICO scores form the basis of the vast majority of loans made to individuals in the U.S. — with occasional debates over how they’re formulated and whether consumers have enough access to them.“People could end up living in fear, worrying that they are being watched all the time.”But China’s social-credit scores arguably go a step further by using the country’s vast surveillance network — public CCTV cameras, payment systems and more — to monitor citizens. While good behavior — such as volunteering, paying bills on time or avoiding fines for littering — is supposed to be rewarded with financial perks, bad behavior can abruptly leave residents without access to financing and public services.Osmanthus collects data on individuals from around 20 government departments, including social security and civil affairs, according to the local administration. Citizens start out with a neutral 100 points and can build them up to a maximum of 200 through good behavior. Like many other provinces trialing the system, Suzhou hasn’t yet introduced rules to define bad behavior, or the number of points that can be deducted.But perks for good behavior also are unclear. Lu Wenting, a Suzhou resident who says she does about 24 hours of volunteer work each week, said that she had never heard of Osmanthus, even though it’s supposed to grant public transport benefits to those with high scores. She found out her own score was a healthy “123” after Bloomberg reporters helped her look it up on the WeChat app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd.About one in eight of the 13 million people monitored in Suzhou had a score above 100 as of last August, according to local media reports. Only 4,731 were below 100, and all were so-called defaulters who hadn’t paid back loans or had failed to obey court rulings. That leaves more than 11 million people with scores at the baseline.Still, the idea of punishment is already sparking worries. A citizen in Yiwu, a city in neighboring Zhejiang province that is also running a trial, said he was denied a bank loan because a traffic cop deducted three points from his score for failing to give way to pedestrians crossing a street. Residents with a score of at least 100 points qualify for “civilization loans” with favorable interest rates.“People from lower levels of society could break rules without knowing and find their scores lowered and get shut out of more and more opportunities,” said Chen Shicai, a resident in Suzhou, expressing worries that social credit could worsen inequality in a country that already grapples with huge wealth divisions.One problem is how to integrate social credit into existing legal systems to ensure there are checks and balances to prevent abuse. China’s use of technology and informants among the Uighur minority groups in the far western province of Xinjiang suggest that the programs could become more oppressive as they develop.“I worry that regulations may become too specific, such as parking in the wrong spot,” said Su Su, an insurance saleswoman in Suzhou. “People could end up living in fear, worrying that they are being watched all the time.” Five provinces or municipalities — Shanghai, Zhejiang, Hebei, Hubei and Shaanxi — have established local credit regulations, but there are no national rules. Zhejiang and Shanghai placed clear restrictions on data collection that exclude personal information on religious beliefs, genetics, fingerprints, blood types and medical history.“While most of the trials are leaning towards encouraging people with convenience and perks, local authorities need to exercise caution when it comes to punishment," said Han Jiaping, director of the Credit Research Institute affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce. “Government at all levels shouldn’t over-punish and infringe people’s privacy and legitimate rights.”Another wrinkle is that many residents see more value in competing systems. At the 105-year-old Suzhou Library, citizens with high Osmanthus scores are supposed to be able to get longer book loan periods. But library staff said most people checked out books using their Zhima Credit number, a private credit score from Alibaba Group’s Ant Financial. Few people even ask about their Osmanthus score.“It’s more like a vanity project,” said Diao Yun, a Suzhou resident who works for a private company. “There’s no promotion of the system in the city — no billboards, no ads or public campaign as far as I see. It’s distant from people’s daily lives.”Cities and officials looking to build and implement a social-credit system face a bewildering array of official guidelines and documents from the State Council and other central and regional government bodies. Those rules relate to everything from assessing creditworthiness to punishing cultural performances on the internet that have a “heinous” social impact.In Suzhou, the main roadblock to promoting the system is inter-department squabbling over data sharing and who will pay for perks, according to a report in the state-owned Suzhou Daily. The paper said only 30 of the 70 departments are sending data directly to the platform, with others worried about transferring information without a legal requirement.“People could end up living in fear, worrying that they are being watched all the time.”Those teething problems mean that many residents in Suzhou are unaware of the system. None of the staff questioned in the subway, parks and museum knew anything about the scoring system or alleged perks, such as priority non-emergency service at hospitals.Another problem is at the national level. Xi and his team are engaged in an escalating trade war with the Trump administration that threatens to further hurt growth as companies get caught in the line of fire.It’s not a priority among China’s top leaders to push through a nationwide social-credit scoring system now even if Suzhou and other localities can set up workable models, said Zhang Jian, an associate government professor at Peking University.“President Xi and his government have been caught up ‘fire fighting’ internal and external pressures since last year,” Zhang said. “I doubt the party leaders are willing to expend the time, energy and political capital to roll out the plan.” To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Dandan Li in Beijing at email@example.comSharon Chen in Singapore at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at email@example.com, Brendan ScottAdam MajendieAlice TruongFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Naspers Ltd.’s biggest shareholder is considering whether to reduce its 245 billion rand ($16.5 billion) stake in Africa’s biggest company because of concern it’s overexposed to a single stock, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund is being encouraged by its manager, the Public Investment Corp., to reduce its Naspers shareholding of about 16%, said three of the people, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private. Any decision is ultimately up to the GEPF.Naspers’s value has grown 72-fold since 2004 on the back of the success of an early-stage investment in Chinese games developer Tencent Holdings Ltd., which listed in Hong Kong that year. That’s turned Naspers, a Cape Town-based internet technology investor once focused on South African newspapers, into a 1.53 trillion rand ($101 billion) global entity. But it’s also made the company dependent on China, where it has little influence. The shares gained 2% in Johannesburg as Tencent gained in Hong Kong.“Naspers success is dependent on the Chinese government,” said Tahir Maepa, deputy general manager for members affairs of the Public Servants Association, whose 240,000-members make it the biggest labor union representing contributors to the GEPF. “It’s a huge risk, not only for the PIC, it’s a risk for the South African economy and the JSE,” he said, adding that the GEPF should “definitely” cut its stake.The rapid growth also means Naspers accounts for almost 25% of a shareholder-weighted index on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. While that will be reduced when the company spins off its Tencent stake and other internet-focused assets into a new vehicle listed in Amsterdam next month, its 73% holding in that entity, known as NewCo, will only cut its weighting in Johannesburg by about a quarter, according to Naspers. Furthermore, Naspers and NewCo are both reliant on the Tencent investment, which is worth more than the company as a whole.Tencent has been struggling with a Chinese government crackdown on addiction to computer games, and regulators are currently working on an overhaul to the approval process for new titles.Read More: China Outlines New Approval Process for World’s Top Games MarketNaspers currently makes up almost 21% of the value of the GEPF’s listed equity holdings, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. “The GEPF does review its benchmarks from time to time,” although “not all reviews lead to changes.” The pension fund didn’t answer a query about whether it has held talks with the PIC about the Naspers stake.Naspers declined to comment on discussions with specific investors. “The formation and listing of NewCo is in response to shareholder requests,” spokeswoman Shamiela Letsoalo said in an emailed response to questions. The move will allow investors to move “some of their weight off the JSE onto (Amsterdam’s) AEX index while at the same time continuing to lock in continued high returns,” she said. “This will likely result in shareholders having more balanced weightings and will help to reduce any overhang.”Read More: Naspers CEO Bets on Dutch Listing to Fix Tencent DiscountWhile Naspers acknowledges that the company’s assets and management will overlap with NewCo “there are also important differences,” Letsoalo said. The parent group will separately own news business Media24, online marketplace Takealot and “continue to invest in South Africa’s fast-growing ecommerce and internet segment,” she said. “These differences will cause many investors to view them separately within their portfolio.”NewCo will hold various internet businesses around the world, including Russian social-media network Mail.ru Group Ltd. and Indian food-delivery service Swiggy as well as Tencent.The debate over the stake in Naspers has been going on for months. One element being discussed is whether the GEPF should change its holding from an arrangement known as a full SWIX, or shareholder-weighted index, to one called a capped SWIX, where a single stock can make up a maximum of 10% of the funds, three of the people said. Any sell down would be done in phases, one of the people said.Phased SelldownLast October, another of the PIC’s clients, the Unemployment Insurance Fund, sold Naspers shares to switch from a full SWIX position to a capped one, the fund said in an emailed response to questions. Prior to this it had used derivatives to hedge the risk but found this too costly, it said.What to do with the GEPF’s Naspers stake is being considered by the fund’s board of trustees, one of the people said. Pierre Snyman, a member of the board and chairman of the Public Servants Association, declined to comment.Some senior members of the GEPF are opposing cutting the shareholding, said one of the people.“The PIC does not publicly discuss its strategy on specific investee companies,” Deon Botha, its head of Corporate Affairs, said in a response to queries.(Adds closing shares in third paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org;Loni Prinsloo in Johannesburg at email@example.com;Janice Kew in Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: John McCorry at email@example.com, ;Rebecca Penty at firstname.lastname@example.org, John BowkerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The Chinese super app is so sewn into the lives of people in China — who use it to work, play, pay and everything in between — that it is hard to last a day without it. Its messaging app WeChat boasts over 1bn accounts and users on average spend more than a couple of hours a day on it. Tencent chairman Pony Ma was “definitely looking at our WeChat messages every day”.
Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd launched its first overseas video streaming service in Thailand on Friday, as it ramps up its presence outside China. Tencent is diversifying from its core Chinese gaming business, which has been beset by regulatory problems, pushing revenue growth to its slowest-ever in the first quarter. Tencent's existing Thai user base made the country a good first target for its push into Southeast Asia, said Jeff Han, Senior Vice President of Tencent Penguin Pictures, which produces original content for the streaming business.
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(Bloomberg) -- Singapore ride-hailing giant Grab held talks to acquire payments provider 2C2P Pte and was turned down, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign of the ambitions Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup has in financial services.Grab was one of multiple possible bidders interested in 2C2P with preliminary offers ranging up to about $200 million, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The payments startup, also based in Singapore, decided instead to raise additional capital to keep expanding as an independent company, they said.Grab’s move underscores the growing interest in Asia’s burgeoning mobile payments market as more consumers move online to shop, order meals and book flight tickets and hotel rooms. Driven by the proliferation of new technologies and startups, the region’s financial services are undergoing a transformation, while governments across Southeast Asia are pushing ahead with efforts to create cashless economies.Representatives for Grab and 2C2P declined to comment.Grab, founded in 2012 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, is valued at $14 billion, according to CB Insights. To live up to that lofty figure, the company is expanding beyond ride-hailing with ambitions to create an an all-in-one “super app” in Southeast Asia, similar to Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat for China.Its GrabPay service allows consumers to pick up the tab for rides and order food, and it’s expanding into lending and insurance. In 2018, it debuted a financial technology platform and launched Grab Ventures to fund promising startups. Grab is also said to be considering applying for a digital banking license if Singapore’s regulator allows it.2C2P was founded in Bangkok in 2003 by Aung Kyaw Moe, a Myanmar-born computer programmer. The company counts Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., airlines and online marketplaces among its 350 large customers. 2C2P helps companies such as Thai Airways, Agoda, Traveloka, Lazada, Zara and Central Online Shopping accept different types of payments online from Southeast Asian customers.2C2P’s revenue grew 74% to $52 million in 2018, after more than doubling in 2017, according to the company’s filing with Singapore’s regulator.To contact the reporter on this story: Yoolim Lee in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
With the US-China tech war remaining the biggest story in town, we’ve got a scoop for you on how Huawei is aiming at the big new market of autonomous cars. Also singed by tech war fire is a Chinese company’s plan to become the first homegrown mass producer of DRAM chips. China’s warning to global tech giants marks a further salvo.
(Bloomberg) -- Follow Bloomberg on LINE messenger for all the business news and analysis you need.Japan’s Line Corp., which has been investing heavily into fintech operations, may see the new businesses break even in as early as one to two years, co-Chief Executive Officer Shin Jung-ho said in an interview.The services, which will eventually include banking, stock trading, loans and insurance, could turn a profit in three years, depending on how quickly the company can get the necessary licenses and attract users, Shin said. The next two to three years are a crucial window for figuring out user needs and the company is focusing on the home market and Taiwan first, he said.The operator of Japan’s most popular messaging platform, facing a stagnant user base and a business model that relies on advertising, is doubling down on payments to underpin other financial offerings and transform into an all-in-one app like Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat. The company last year raised 148 billion yen ($1.4 billion) in a convertible bond sale to help fund the expansion. Its shares fell to the lowest since the initial public offering in June on the prospects of losses ahead.“Fintech itself is a proven monetized model, the only problem is how fast we can secure a meaningful size of users,” Shin said in a interview with Bloomberg Television at the company’s Tokyo headquarters. “We need three to four years of investment to establish” the business, he said.Key InsightsSubscribers to financial services may eventually approach those users in its messaging service, Shin said. Line has 80 million monthly active users in Japan, 21 million in Taiwan, 44 million in Thailand and 19 million in Indonesia.Line is already the dominant player in payments in Taiwan.The company aims to start operations at Line Bank, a partnership with megabank Mizuho Financial Group Inc., in Japan next year, pending regulatory approval.Despite having an early foothold in many global markets, Line has focused its messaging operations on four Asia countries. Fintech service may serve as a vector for global expansion again, Shin said.“The messenger competition is over. Nowadays we need another innovation. Fintech can be that candidate.”\--With assistance from Adrian Wong.To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Engle in Beijing at email@example.com;Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.