China In-Focus – Banking, home stocks slump; Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff

China In-Focus – Banking, home stocks slump; Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff
The CSI300 Bank index fell as much as 3.3 percent, hitting its lowest level since March 2020.
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Updated 14 July 2022

China In-Focus – Banking, home stocks slump; Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff

China In-Focus – Banking, home stocks slump; Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff

RIYADH:  Investors dumped China’s banking and real estate stocks on Thursday, fearing deepening trouble in the property sector would begin to hit the financial system as a wave of homebuyers refused to repay mortgage loans for delayed projects.


Bonds of Chinese developers were also sold off, as confidence in the sector, already wrecked by the Evergrande Group crisis, continues to wane.

Over the past few weeks, a growing number of homebuyers across China have collectively threatened to halt mortgage payments to banks until developers resume construction of pre-sold homes, according to official newspapers and social media.

The CSI300 Bank index fell as much as 3.3 percent, hitting its lowest level since March 2020, while Hong Kong’s financial shares lost 1.5 percent. 

China Merchants Bank and Industrial Bank dropped as much as 6.3 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.

China-listed developers Gemdale and Greenland Holdings slumped more than 4 percent, while Hong Kong-listed Longfor Group tumbled 5.4 percent to a four-month low.

The CSI Real Estate Bond Index fell to the lowest level in nearly four years, while an index tracking Chinese high-yield bonds hit record lows.

Alibaba cuts a third of deals team staff after regulatory crackdown

Alibaba Group is cutting over a third of staff in its in-house deals team, four people with knowledge of the matter said, after Beijing’s sweeping regulatory crackdown sharply slowed the Chinese e-commerce behemoth’s deal-making pace.

Alibaba plans to reduce its strategic investment team of more than 110 people, mainly based in mainland China, to about 70, said two of the people, adding the company has already informed a bulk of staffers of their redundancy.

The job cuts mainly involve mid-level and senior people in the mainland, said the two people, declining to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the media. The company’s deals team also has staff in Hong Kong, they added.

China summer wheat output rises 1 percent on extra acreage, yields

China’s summer wheat output rose 1 percent this year, official data showed on Thursday, boosted by additional acreage in a traditional cotton-growing region and higher yields.

Summer wheat output in the world’s top grower of the grain reached 135.76 million tons in 2022, the National Statistics Bureau said, helped by a 0.7 percent increase in yields and a slight gain in acreage.

Prices of wheat harvested in China rose to their highest levels on record last month, despite stable demand, pushed up by surging farming costs, tight stocks and concerns that heavy rains last year would lead to a smaller crop.

The agriculture ministry, however, had recently said its winter wheat crop improved more than expected.

(With input from Reuters) 

 


Saudi Arabia calls on African mining industry to invest in Kingdom’s ‘rich, vast natural resources’

Saudi Arabia calls on African mining industry to invest in Kingdom’s ‘rich, vast natural resources’
Updated 08 February 2023

Saudi Arabia calls on African mining industry to invest in Kingdom’s ‘rich, vast natural resources’

Saudi Arabia calls on African mining industry to invest in Kingdom’s ‘rich, vast natural resources’
  • Khalid Al-Mudayfer, deputy minister for mining affairs, told the African Mining Conference in Cape Town the value of the Kingdom’s mineral wealth is estimated at $1.3 trillion

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia called on leading stakeholders in the mining industry across Africa to work together and benefit from the Kingdom’s rich and vast natural resources, to help support economic growth and social development.

Speaking during the African Mining Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, Khalid Al-Mudayfer, the Saudi deputy minister for mining affairs, said the value of the Kingdom’s mineral wealth is estimated at $1.3 trillion, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

He reviewed investment opportunities offered by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, along with the infrastructure and legislative capabilities of the Kingdom, which he said positions Saudi Arabia as the leading global destination for investment in the mining sector.

Al-Mudayfer, who inaugurated a meeting organized by the ministry for potential investors, highlighted the great opportunities he said were available in the Kingdom, and its efforts to develop its mining sector.

He spoke about the modernization of the mining investment system, which includes regulatory infrastructure for the sector and a clear, transparent and simple environment for investors, along with the availability of geological data for investors, improvements to basic infrastructure, and incentives for those who invest.

The Saudi delegation at the four-day exhibition included representatives from the Ministry of Investment, the National Industry Development and Logistics Program, the Saudi Geological Survey, and the National Center for Industrial Development.

The Saudi pavilion at the event showcases the Kingdom’s continual efforts to develop its mining sector by facilitating access to geological data and updating regulations and legislation to attract investors, build the foundations for sustainability, and develop a mining sector based on integrated value chains.


LEAP investment workshop uses Lego to encourage entrepreneurial culture change

LEAP investment workshop uses Lego to encourage entrepreneurial culture change
Updated 08 February 2023

LEAP investment workshop uses Lego to encourage entrepreneurial culture change

LEAP investment workshop uses Lego to encourage entrepreneurial culture change
  • David Gram-Hanssen of Diplomatic Rebels underscored importance of innovation and change while anticipating resistance
  • Workshop used Lego building blocks to demonstrate how a more experimental and entrepreneurial culture can be adopted

RIYADH: Interactive investment workshops were featured on the second day of LEAP’s second edition, with the spotlight falling on David Gram-Hanssen, co-founder of Diplomatic Rebels.

His workshop utilized Lego building blocks to help participants focus on the changes they can create in the future as they become diplomatic rebels in their respective industries.

He said: “Future success depends on the ability to explore and experiment. We all need to become even better at adapting to change.

“There’s a perfect storm of change happening right now geopolitically, environmentally, business-wise. Everything seems to be sort of moving, and over time that speed is only going to pick up.”

Diplomatic Rebels was a concept created out of the work of Lego’s radical innovation department, Future Lab.

It turned into a system and a way of thought that helped people navigate the bureaucracy of companies, sparking change in their offices and communities.

Gram-Hanssen, who previously worked at Lego Ventures, said companies needed to adopt this entrepreneurial culture.

He added: “At Lego we started saying as a mantra, radical is normal. It means that radical change and radical innovation is the new normal.

“We constantly have to move along and experiment and explore what is happening out there.”

He discussed what it means to be a diplomatic rebel, sparking innovation and positive change while anticipating resistance.

He said: “One of the things at Lego that we understood over time was when you’re working with radical innovation and trying to change things, it’s really hard work.

“One aspect to be mindful of is creating the necessary resilience in the teams you are working with.”

He explained that most entrepreneurs feel like they are constantly fighting the immune system of that existing environment.

He added: “They are trying to do something that doesn’t compute in the existing system.”

Gram-Hanssen gave his audience the task of building a Lego model to represent their work today and their vision for the future.

He also explained the concept of a “pretotype,” a predecessor of a prototype, which aims to gather data to aid faster testing, encouraging participants at the session to implement the concept in their daily lives.

He said: “The right question is not so much what is going to change and when, because it’s hard to foresee.

“Maybe the right question to ask is how do we take a lead on this change? What is it? What do we want to see in the world, and how do we put ourselves in front of this change?”

 


Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world
Updated 07 February 2023

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

Nuclear energy offers ‘a golden opportunity’ to build a clean world

RIYADH: Being a cost-effective and low-carbon solution, nuclear energy “offers a golden opportunity” to help build a clean world, according to the director general of the World Nuclear Association.

Sama Bilbao y Leon was speaking as a keynote speaker at the 44th IAEE International Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday. The top official said nuclear energy offers an opportunity to build a cleaner and more equitable world in which everyone has access to “clean, abundant and affordable round-the-clock energy and high quality of life.”

“As a low-carbon energy source, nuclear power can play a very important role, decarbonizing other difficult-to-able sectors,” she said.

The official said nuclear energy is certainly a cost-effective, low-carbon solution and a catalyst for economic development. It is more efficient than other sources when we think of energy transition, she added.

She, however, cautioned saying that much work is needed to deploy nuclear power with determination and speed.

Leon also pointed out that the current energy market is unstable, and there is a need to take a step back and adopt scientific approaches to make the sustainable energy transition a success.

Yousef Al-Ghamdi, executive director of strategic planning at the Saudi Electricity Co. noted that renewable energy will play an important role in energy transition, especially hydrogen energy.

Shihab Elborai, a partner at Strategy& Middle East, underscored the importance of technological advances to meet the challenges of climate change. He said recycling can help mitigate the climate effect and reduce carbon in the environment, therefore countries should invest in efficient technologies to improve the energy sector.

Peter Hartley, the George A. Peterkin Professor of Economics at Rice University, said natural gas is cheaper and a better option and as an energy source is going to stay. He added that nuclear energy is a costly affair.

Ayad Alamri, executive director for business development, at ACWA Power, said that PVC has a key role in clean energy management and distribution as we are aiming at a net-zero future.


Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

Saudi, Hong Kong bourses sign MoU to explore listing opportunities

RIYADH: Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Co. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing to work together to explore listing opportunities and collaborate in sectors such as fintech and environmental, social and governance, according to a tweet by the parent company of the Saudi Exchange.

The MoU reflected the HKEX’s “ongoing commitment to driving global connectivity and shaping a successful shared sustainable future,” said Nicolas Aguzin, CEO of the Hong Kong bourse operator.

“This MoU brings us one step closer toward enabling cross listings and other areas of collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong,” Tadawul CEO Khalid Al-Hussan was quoted as saying by the Chinese media.

“As we seek to position the Saudi capital market as an investment hub between East and West, we are seeing increased interest from issuers and investors in Asia.”

 

 


Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP
Updated 07 February 2023

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association launched at LEAP

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneur Association was launched at the LEAP 2023 conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

The association — comprising over 100 Saudi and Chinese businesses, government entities, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions — seeks to boost cooperation between the private sectors on both sides along with bilateral ties at the government level. 

The nonprofit organization is supported by the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. It will be operated by eWTP Arabia Capital.

“In line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, SCEA will enable cross-border investments and valuable collaborations,” said Jerry Li, founder and managing partner of eWTPA. 

The organization also plans to promote investment, encourage innovation, and develop social responsibility and public welfare.  

“China is a strategic partner for Saudi Arabia in terms of technology and innovation. Having worked closely with Alibaba and eWTPA for the last three years, I highly appreciate their efforts in contributing to the development of our local digital ecosystem,” said Faisal Al-Khamisi, chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones. 

Al-Khamisi added: “This association will take our collaboration to the next level and provide the broader Saudi-China business community with a forum to share valuable experiences.”