Can anything stop ‘Gray rhino’ HNA’s overseas spending spree? - SupChina

Can anything stop ‘Gray rhino’ HNA’s overseas spending spree?

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Faced with falling bond prices and unwillingness by foreign banks to do business with it, HNA this week sought to offer reassurances that it is “among the best-quality client of banks” after speaking to eight Chinese lenders about extending its credit, the New York Times reports (paywall). The big-spending conglomerate, one of China’s “gray rhinos,” plans to complete $3 billion worth of pending deals this year, for a total spend of $12 billion, even though it faces pressure from Beijing to curb wasteful activity and growing scrutiny of its deals from overseas regulators.


Overseas automakers expressed worries that Beijing is using concerns about national security to hinder their work on autonomous driving technology in China, where they already face significant restrictions that require them to work with a limited number of local partners who are licensed to engage in high-definition mapping.

The U.S. internet giant announced that it is opening an artificial intelligence research center in Beijing. And although the company famously shut down its mainland China search engine in 2010 amid concerns over censorship and hacking, it never fully exited the country, as it continued to do business in less sensitive areas such as ad sales.

An insufficiently thought-out push to limit coal use has left many across China freezing. In addition to backtracking on some of the restrictions on coal, Beijing ordered a four-month shutdown of chemical plants in western China as a way of ensuring that more supplies of natural gas would be available for heating.

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Sky Canaves

Sky Canaves previously reported for The Wall Street Journal in Beijing and Hong Kong, where she covered media, culture, social issues, and legal affairs, and served as the founding editor and lead writer of the WSJ’s China Real Time site. Prior to becoming a journalist, Sky worked in the China corporate law practice of Baker & McKenzie, and she has also taught journalism and media law at the University of Hong Kong. She speaks Mandarin and has accumulated more than a decade's experience living, studying and working in China.

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