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China expanding crackdown on companies

China expanding crackdown on companies

China’s powerful price regulator could target the petroleum, telecommunications, banking and auto sectors next in its investigations into violations of the country’s anti-trust laws, according to a report by Reuters, which said a senior official was quoted by a local TV station.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) would look at industries that have an impact on the lives of ordinary Chinese, according to Xu Kunlin, head of the anti-monopoly bureau at the NDRC.

The commission has launched nearly 20 pricing-related probes into domestic and foreign firms in the last three years, according to official media reports and research published by law firms.

Last week the NDRC fined six milk powder firms for anti-competitive behavior. It is also investigating 60 foreign and local pharmaceutical companies over pricing and costs.

Companies in the petroleum, telecommunications, banking and auto sectors were on the NDRC’s radar for future investigations, the television station’s official blog quoted Xu as saying.

Buffett groupie wins big on Asian stocks

Bloomberg reports that Zhao Danyang, the Chinese investor who won a charity lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett in 2008, led his hedge funds to post returns three times more than their Asian peers this year by shifting assets back to Chinese stocks.

Zhao’s Hong Kong-based Pureheart Capital Asia Ltd. has more than 80% of its US$217 million in Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong, Singapore, the US and at home from 50% at the start of 2013, said Jerrie Huang, its business development manager.

The US$162 million Pure Heart Value Investment Fund returned 24% in the year to July. By comparison, the Eurekahedge Asian Hedge Fund Index rose 8% in the first seven months.

Borrowing to get expensive in Asia

Governments and companies across Asia are facing an era of tighter credit that could impact the region’s growth prospects, says the Wall Street Journal.

Since the financial crisis, low global rates have been a significant motor of Asia’s developing economies. But rising US rates, amid expectations the Federal Reserve will taper its easy money policy, are making it harder for Asian issuers to raise funds cheaply.

Countries and companies across the region have had to pay higher rates to attract investors, or shelve bond issuances, as investors pulled US$6 billion out of regional debt in June and July.

New RMB coverage team for StanChart

Finance Asia says Standard Chartered has established a new renminbi coverage team to give clients advice across a broad spectrum of products from transaction banking to hedging, foreign exchange, hedging and debt capital markets.

New AMP boss sets stretch targets for Asia

Craig Meller, the new boss of AMP Ltd, has set aggressive targets for assets under management in Asia to reverse the declining trend. AsianInvestor says AMP Capital has suffered a 10% decline in AUM in the past six months. The company manages US$120 billion.

Ma scuppers Alibaba listing

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma’s manoeuvring to keep management control of the company he founded has  derailed plans for a possible US$15 billion listing of the firm’s shares in Hong Kong this year.

It could even see the company opt for a New York listing instead, investment bankers have told the South China Morning Post.

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