November 29th, 2015

PUCC Weekly Newsletter



Hi everyone! We hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. PUCC is thankful for everything we've been able to accomplish this year. With the semester gearing up once again, we are pleased to be delivering our newsletter to you all once again: 


Weekly Digest:


1. China Prepares to Rank its Citizens on 'Social Credit'


In China, government authorities at hard at work devising a database to rate each and every one of 1.3 billion citizens by 2020 using metrics that include whether they pay their bills on day, plagiarize schoolwork, break traffic laws, adhere to birth control regulations etc. Proponents of this "Social Credit System" claim that it will help China overcome some of its societal ills for which it has gained international ignominy such as food scandals, corruption, counterfeiting, tax evasion, academic cheating and even public defecation. But some fear that marrying this FICO style credit rating of citizens with employment, school enrollment, and other records will result in the ultimate Orwellian instrument of social control. 


2. China Cuts Natural Gas Prices to Spur Demand


China's government on Wednesday (Nov. 18th) moved to spur greater domestic demand of natural gas with deep cuts on prices. The cuts, announced by the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, slashed benchmark city-gate* prices by 0.7yuan ($0.11) per cubic meter for industry and commercial use. Analysts say the move, which has been anticipated for several months is equivalent to a 28% cut on average prices nationwide. The cut is significant as it signal's that China is serious about weaning its reliance on coal and could slow domestic exploration and and production of shale deposits in Western China.


(*city-gate prices refer to the prices local distributors pay to pipeline operators such as PetroChina Co.)


3. Baidu Announces Online Banking Joint Venture with Citic Bank


Baidu Inc. announced plans to establish Baixin Bank in a partnership with Citic Bank and to register for a direct banking license. Baidu is China's leading search engine company and the last of the three Chinese Internet giants to expand into banking. Alibaba's MyBank and Tencent's WeBank were launched earlier this year and are both privately-owned internet-only banks. In contrast, while the services offered will be very similar to those provided by MyBank and WeBank, Baidu's planned Baixin Bank will be a direct bank that will be able to use Citic Bank's branch network to expand its operations. Pending regulatory approval, the proposed private bank will have ¥2 billion ($313 million) in initial capital, with Baidu holding a 49% stake and Citic holding 51%.


4. Chinese Cash Floods U.S. Real Estate Market


Chinese families represented for the first time the largest group of overseas home buyers in the United States. Big spenders on new homes are helping prop up local economies in the Midwest. But in dense areas like San Francisco and Manhattan, they are also affecting the affordability and availability of housing, as demand outpaces supply and bidding wars ensue.


5. Chinese Report on Climate Change Depicts Somber Scenarios


The New York Times “There’s deepening awareness of the gravity of the problems,” Zhang Haibin, a professor at Peking University who was among some 550 experts who prepared the report, said in an interview. He noted a shift since the first such assessment was issued nine years ago. “From the first to the second to this third report, the negative impacts of climate change on China are increasingly apparent.”


Opportunities this Week:

PUCC will be holding its 3rd table talk "China's Financial System" this Wednesday December 2nd. The talk will be given by Yaxin Duan, a visiting professor and economist on the Federal Reserve Board. More details to come!


That's all for now. Stay tuned for more news and opportunities next week! 


Andrew Li and Julia Ni 

PUCC Newsletter Editors