Baijiu beer and other things

Business & Technology

Baijiu in wine makes you feel fine?

Treasury Wine Estates, the Australian company behind Penfolds and other famous antipodean wine brands, “is gambling on China’s traditional passion for [baijiu], the source of some of the worst hangovers in history, and a more recent love affair with red wine with its latest concoction,” reports Australian Financial Review (paywall). The company has “infused a barossa fortified shiraz with baijiu.”

If that terrifies you, this may be even more frightening: there is a company that is making or planning to make craft beer from baijiu!

Solar energy troubles

Hanergy Mobile Energy Holding, whose chairman Lǐ Héjūn 李河君 “was briefly China’s richest man before falling foul of regulators, is offering HKD210.7 billion ($26.9 billion) to privatise its Hong Kong listed arm, whose shares were suspended three years ago,” reports the South China Morning Post.

  • Li was an early enthusiast of solar energy, and “in 2012 moved into the thin-film solar panels industry, a niche market most mainstream panel makers chose not to pursue.”
  • His Hong Kong-listed company “was once the darling of investors… But it all came crashing down — along with Li’s reputation — in 2015 when the stock lost almost half its value in a little over an hour and Li found himself under investigation for incompetence and negligence in his duties.”

Little Red Podcast on Xinjiang, part 2

A few weeks ago, the Australia-based Little Red Podcast did an excellent show on Xinjiang featuring interviews with exiled Uyghurs with family members in internment camps. They’ve followed up with a second show on the topic, including a discussion with scholars David Brophy and Tom Cliff, as well as another difficult-to-listen-to interview with a traumatized Uyghur emigré.

And then they came for the bankers

Citigroup asks private bankers to rethink China travel as UBS lifts curbs,” reports Bloomberg (porous paywall).

  • Citibank “and some other international firms are asking their wealth managers to reconsider travel to China… The moves come after a UBS wealth manager’s departure from China was delayed last week.”
  • Over the weekend, UBS had asked its wealth management staff “to reconsider any travel plans to China,” but today Reuters reports that the Swiss bank has changed its tone: “‘UBS would like to confirm that we allow all our staff to travel freely in and out of the country and it is business as usual for us in China,’ the bank said in a statement issued to Reuters on Tuesday.”
  • “Risk and return go together, as any good investment manager will tell you. That’s the dilemma facing overseas private bankers serving China: Household wealth of $29 trillion presents an unmissable opportunity, but the hazards of tapping it may also be unusually high.” That’s a comment on the affair from Nisha Gopalan of Bloomberg (porous paywall).