GBA Briefs: 4/20/2020

Guangdong credit surges: Guangdong’s banks added 1.05 trillion yuan of loans to their balance sheets in the first three months of this year, up by nearly a third from the same period of last year. Driving this was short-term financing for companies hit by the coronavirus outbreak, which rose by 313.3 billion yuan from the beginning of the year. Manufacturing saw the biggest jump among companies of a designated size, with medium and longer-term loans to the sector up 43.8% YoY, while infrastructure loans rose 15.4% YoY. Smaller companies saw an even bigger jump, with microcredit to single-family enterprises of less than 5 million yuan jumping 105.5% YoY to 83.9 billion yuan. SCN.

Meituan coughs up: A high-profile dispute between a group of restaurants in Guangdong and China’s food-delivery giant, Meituan Dianping, appears to have been resolved. The Guangdong Food and Beverage Service Association and Meituan Takeaways released a joint statement on April 18, saying Meituan will increase its commission rebate rate for “high-quality catering takeout merchants” in Guangdong to 3% -6%. It will also expand its coverage, and extend the commission rebate period for at least two months. However, there are disgruntled voices among SMEs who say they have been left out of the deal. SCN.

Blockchain first: A power plant in Guangzhou has become the country’s first public utility to conduct a public tender using blockchain technology. The tender, for a design job at the city’s No. 5 Power Plant, attracted six bidders via an “E-link” trading platform. Two used the “Baixintong” smartphone app based on blockchain technology to log in via a QR code. The system  handled the submission and decryption of bid documents, as well as financial guarantees. SCN.

Foreign trade boost: Guangzhou has announced 27 supportive measures boost the city’s foreign trade. These include boosting the level of foreign participation in financial and taxation services; expanding export credit insurance to cover more SMEs; improving export tax rebate services while allowing foreign trade companies to declare tax refunds many times within a month; reducing the financing thresholds and costs of enterprises engaged in foreign trade, and establishing a “risk compensation mechanism” for loans from the city’s financial institutions. SCN.

Shantou rises: Shantou has joined a rare list of five “comprehensive bonded trade zones” in Guangdong. The city on the eastern side of the province, which has been a Free Trade Zone since 1993, appears to be a high priority for the provincial government as it is connecting Shantou to the Greater Bay Area via high-speed railways. Foreign trade more than doubled in the city last year. SCN.

New infrastructure: What is China’s emphasis on “new infrastructure” all about? Technode takes a closer look and finds it’s mostly about using the capability of 5G networks to boost new industries. This is particularly important in the development of “smart roads”, which will allow the AI-infused software behind autonomous vehicles to be improved in controlled settings. Technode.

 

HK legislative fiasco: Even Hong Kong’s top leaders might not fully grasp the legal status of Beijing’s offices dealing with the city, a pro-establishment heavyweight has said, as a row over the bodies’ roles in local affairs deepens. SCMP.

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