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China prods its biggest state firms to boost investment in crisis-hit Hong Kong, sources say – The Globe and Mail

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China has called on its biggest state firms to take a more active role in Hong Kong, including stepping up investment and asserting more control of companies in the financial hub, executives familiar with the matter said, as Beijing attempts to calm months of unrest in the city.

At a meeting this week in Shenzhen, the city bordering Hong Kong, senior representatives from nearly 100 of China’s largest state-run companies were urged to do their part to help cool China’s biggest political crisis in years, three executives, including one who was present, told Reuters.

At the meeting, the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) pledged to invest more in key Hong Kong industries including real estate and tourism in a bid to create jobs for local citizens and stabilize financial markets, two of the executives said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. No specific investments were discussed or agreed upon, they said.

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The SOEs in attendance included oil giant China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., or Sinopec, and conglomerate China Merchants Group, one of the sources said.

The meeting was organized by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), the powerful central body that oversees China’s sprawling state sector, which includes some of the world’s biggest companies in industries such as steel, energy, shipping and telecoms.

SASAC did not respond to a faxed request for comment. Officials at Sinopec and China Merchants Group did not respond to e-mailed requests for comment and calls to the two companies went unanswered.

Instead of simply holding stakes in Hong Kong companies, the Chinese SOEs were also urged to look to control companies and have decision-making power in them, one of the people familiar with the meeting said.

“The business elites in Hong Kong are certainly not doing enough. Most of them are just not one of us,” the SOE executive who was at the meeting told Reuters.

SASAC’s Communist Party chief, Hao Peng, appeared in Hong Kong on Wednesday at a forum for the Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and said that SOEs were looking for ways to co-operate in major projects in the city, according to a SASAC news release.

Mr. Hao, who was accompanied by a group of SOE executives, also met with Carrie Lam, the city’s Chief Executive.

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While China’s big state firms are for-profit enterprises and many are publicly traded, they have long been expected to do national service, including maintaining high levels of employment and helping Beijing execute initiatives such as its big Belt & Road infrastructure plan.

Months of huge and often-violent protests in Hong Kong were triggered by planned legislation that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland courts. The protests have been fuelled by what is seen by many in Hong Kong as creeping Chinese influence that is eroding the “one country, two system” model under which China has ruled Hong Kong since its handover from Britain in 1997.

Widening mainland influence in Hong Kong has included the purchase of corporate assets and real estate.

The Hong Kong economy was once dominated by British trading houses with roots in the 19th century. Local tycoons started to take over many of the businesses in the latter part of the 20th century, creating huge conglomerates such as Li Ka-shing’s CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.

Beijing has been willing to put pressure on Hong Kong businesses to be more patriotic, expressing unhappiness during an August meeting with the city’s business elites that they weren’t doing enough to quiet the protests, according to a report at the time by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

In the meeting last month with about 500 business leaders and pro-Beijing politicians from Hong Kong, Chinese authorities urged that they should “have no fears and stand up” to stop violence in the city, Xinhua reported.

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Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., a legacy of Hong Kong’s colonial era, has become the biggest corporate casualty of the protests after Beijing demanded it suspend staff who support the demonstrations. Its chairman announced plans to step down in November, less than three weeks after chief executive officer Rupert Hogg left amid mounting regulatory scrutiny.

Hong Kong subway operator MTR Corp. also bowed to pressure in August to get tough on anti-government protesters after Chinese state media expressed dismay at the firm for its perceived facilitation of the spread of violence by protesters.

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China proposes rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds – Reuters.com

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A Chinese national flag flutters near the building of China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) at the Financial Street area in Beijing, China July 16, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/Files

SHANGHAI, June 25 (Reuters) – China’s securities regulator proposed rules to regulate private pension investment via mutual funds, setting the criteria for qualified products and sales agents under a scheme that will channel fresh savings into the country’s capital markets.

The draft rules, published by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) late on Friday, came after Beijing in April launched a milestone private pension scheme to tackle challenges of aging population. read more

Under the scheme, eligible Chinese citizens can buy mutual funds, savings deposits and insurance products via their own individual pension accounts, potentially boosting a pension market that has lured foreign asset managers including Fidelity International and BlackRock.

The proposed rules “have set a relatively high bar for products and institutions, and are designed to ensure safety of pension fund investment and protect investors’ interest,” the CSRC said in a statement on its website.

Initially, pension target funds with at least 50 million yuan ($7.48 million) of assets over the past four quarters are eligible under the pilot pension scheme, the CSRC said.

Other types of retail funds with clear investment strategies and good long-term track records will be gradually added to the eligibility list as the scheme expands, the CSRC said.

Currently, there are 91 pension target funds that meet the CSRC’s criteria, according to TF Securities.

In addition, fund managers and sales agents participating in private pension business must set up internal control systems, adopt long-term incentives, and ensure independent operation of the pension assets, according to the rules.

Independent consultancies estimate China’s private pension market will grow to at least $1.7 trillion by 2025, from $300 billion currently.

In 20 years, 28% of China’s population will be more than 60 years old, up from 10% today, making it one of the most rapidly-aging populations in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

($1 = 6.6878 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Brenda Goh
Editing by Nick Zieminski

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Not gold or bank FD, Jefferies finds this asset as top investment by Indians | Mint – Mint

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Amid soaring inflation and slowdown worries, investors are busy finding out save haven for their money. While some are batting in favour of gold, some investors are favouring debt instruments for short term like bank fixed deposits (FDs) and other deposits. But, if we go by the Jefferies findings, around half of the Indian household savings in March 2022 has been invested in real estate properties whereas bank deposits and gold are distant second and third most preferred asset investment options among Indian households.

As per the Jefferies findings, out of $ 10.7 trillion Indian households assets in March 2022, whopping 49.4 per cent have been invested in real estate properties whereas 15.10 per cent went to band deposits 15 per cent of the Indian households savings were invested in gold. Impact of Covid-19 pandemic was also visible in this Jefferies report as Indian households invested 6.20 per cent of their net savings in insurance funds and it was fourth most preferred investment option by Indians.

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Photo: Courtesy Jefferies

Provident funds and pension is at 5th spot after receiving 5.70 per cent of $10.70 trillion Indian households savings in March 2022. Despite heavy FIIs selling at Indian equity markets, DIIs have remained net buyers since October 2021. However, in Jefferies report, equities has received 4.80 per cent of the net Indian households savings in March 2022 and it is 6th most preferred investment option among Indians. As Indian households has a habit of keeping some part of its savings in liquid form. 

Jefferies report has a mention about it as well. As per the Jefferies findings, 3.50 per cent of the net Indian households savings in this period has gone to cash or liquid segment and it an obvious least preferred option among the Indian households.

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HomeFirst Home Healthcare secures investment from Fulcrum – PE Hub

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Harpeth Ventures also participated in the investment.




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