The Financial Times reports (paywall) that Dongbei Special Steel, a state-owned enterprise based in the northeast province of Liaoning — which “has defaulted 10 times since last year on 7 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) worth of bonds held by more than 100 creditors,” entered formal bankruptcy, and recently lost its chairman to suicide — is going private.
- The FT says that Shen Wenrong 沈文荣, “one of the country’s most successful private steel tycoons has agreed to invest 4.5 billion yuan ($0.68 billion) as part of a restructuring and will take over as the largest shareholder.”
- In previous infusions of private capital into large state-owned firms, “the state has typically retained its controlling share,” so Shen’s investment is an interesting departure.
It is not clear whether Shen will “have a free hand to cut costs by laying off workers” or to what extent he will have to obey signals from the government rather than the market, but if the experiment works, look to see it replicated across China’s bloated and indebted state sector.
Alibaba’s earnings jump as China’s online shopping boom continues / NYT (paywall)
Financial regulation and stability
Zhou Xuedong rejoins central bank’s financial stability bureau as its chief / Caixin
Pharma and automation
Pharmacies run by robots mark Midea’s foray into health care / Bloomberg
China’s thirst for energy makes Red Bull rival a billionaire / Bloomberg
Chinese smartphones increasing market share in India in Q3: report / TechNode
India passes U.S. as second-largest smartphone market after China / Nikkei Asian Review (paywall)
The death of the phone-less camera
Nikon Closes a China Factory as Picture Worsens for Digital Cameras / Caixin
Big state-owned banks
Big four Chinese banks post double-digit gains in lending income / Bloomberg
My conversation with Zhang Yiming, founder of Toutiao / TechNode
Staples moves closer to exiting China; seeks bids for its 13-year-old business / WSJ (paywall)
Why the retail sector in India is surpassing China / TechNode