The Economist/FT global business barometer is a survey conducted four times a year by the Economist Intelligence Unit in order to gauge trends in business confidence. Based on the responses of more than 1,500 senior executives, it measures overall confidence by looking at the balance of those who think global business conditions will improve over the next six months against those who expect them to worsen. Our interactive barometer allows you to track business sentiment over time. You can look at the results by region or industry. The "in focus" section highlights responses to topical supplementary questions each quarter. Note: Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.
SHANGHAI’S first privately-owned bank will be set up soon in the pilot free trade zone, the local banking regulator said at a conference yesterday.
Earlier, the China Banking Regulatory Commission’s Chairman Shang Fulin said 10 private enterprises will establish five private banks under a trial that further relaxes market entry for private investors.
Market watchers expect Shanghai-based conglomerates Fosun Group and Juneyao Group to be the first to receive the green light to open a private bank in the FTZ.
The Shanghai Office of the CBRC yesterday unveiled detailed regulations for commercial banks to carry out FTZ business in a bid to innovate the market. A dedicated division of the CBRC will be set up in the FTZ to oversee banking operations within the zone.
The new CBRC rules allow bank headquarters to relax certain requirements for their FTZ outlets, such as the loan-to-deposit ratio that regulates the maximum amount of loans a lender can extend based on the deposits it holds for a certain period of time.
The rules also let banks in Shanghai without a presence in the zone carry out FTZ business, which is defined as financial services provided for companies based in the zone.
Bank branches within the zone should prioritize cross-border business that facilitates investment and trade although they can carry out both FTZ business and regular banking services.
Within the zone, domestic banks, locally-incorporated foreign banks, and foreign banks that have branches on China’s mainland do not need regulatory approval for senior executive appointment at the sub-branches.
They also are exempt from such approval to set up and close sub-branches but only if they have already set up a branch in the FTZ.
The Big-Five banks — the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, the Agricultural Bank of China, the Bank of China and the Bank of Communications — have set up branches in the zone.
TENCENT Holdings Ltd, China’s biggest listed technology company, is boosting its profits on smartphones as it transplants its strength in social networking and gaming onto mobile. Now it aims to repeat that for new business ventures.
At the moment, Shenzhen-based Tencent makes most of its money from the division which includes its video gaming business and sales of digital goods.
But Tencent has already spent more than US$1.2 billion in areas like e-commerce, real estate and digital mapping since the beginning of 2014, as it looks to develop mobile messaging app WeChat — Weixin in Chinese — as a gateway for all users’ needs on a smartphone.
Worth more than US$120 billion by market value, Tencent is China’s largest listed tech firm and has become the biggest potential rival to Alibaba Group Holding, the Chinese e-commerce giant readying itself for a blockbuster US listing.
“On Weixin they have an extremely strong presence on mobile and among consumers — they’ve taken care of their short game very well but if you look at the long game it looks great as well,” said Michael Clendenin, managing director of Shanghai-based RedTech Advisors.
“If investors have to wait two or three years for mobile commerce to take off that’s fine, because in the meantime social and gaming revenues are a pretty nice bridge to that.”
Tencent’s many investments include a March tie-up with JD.com Inc, ranked a distant second behind Alibaba in China online retail and now heading for its own New York listing which could raise as much as US$1.7 billion.
Many of its new investments are in mobile commerce, like hailing a taxi with an app or a service to find and book the nearest restaurant or cinema seats.
Tencent’s previous efforts at e-commerce didn’t fare well against competition from the likes of Alibaba, which has an iron grip on online shopping in China with an almost 80 percent market share. When Tencent invested in JD.com, it divested control of its e-commerce assets to the Alibaba rival.
That may be changing, as Tencent capitalizes on WeChat’s reach.
“Tencent has lots of ambition on mobile commerce,” said Wang Xiaofeng, a Beijing-based tech analyst with Forrester.
“I do think it has great market potential here because consumers and marketers want to use the WeChat platform to do mobile commerce,” Wang said.
Tencent said yesterday that its net income soared 60 percent to 6.46 billion yuan (US$1.04 billion) in the three months ended in March from 4.04 billion yuan a year earlier, its largest-ever quarterly profit and the fastest growth in three years. Analysts had forecast profit of 4.93 billion yuan.