Hong Kong stocks close 1.54% higher

Date Feb 09 2012 14:45:02 Source:SHMET

HONG KONG - Hong Kong stocks gained 319.27 points, or 1.54 percent, at 21,018.46 on Wednesday.

The benchmark Hang Seng Index traded between 21,023.33 and 20,755.73. Turnover totaled HK$76.09 billion ($9.81 billion).

Report by SHMET

Bank: No cats on 100-yuan note

Date Feb 09 2012 14:44:10 Source:SHMET
Feb.09,2012(SHMET)--BEIJING - The Chinese Internet is abuzz over what many believe to be an inconspicuous illustration of three cartoon cats on the 100-yuan ($16) note, though officials from the central bank claim people's imaginations are getting the better of them. 

Earlier this week, an online post said there is a design of three cartoon cats on the 100-yuan note beside the portrait of Chairman Mao Zedong. 

The post soon became a hot Internet topic. By Wednesday, 28,000 related comments had already been posted on Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese micro-blogging service. 

China has published five series of RMB since 1948. The currently circulated RMB note, which includes denominations up to 100 yuan, was put into use in 1999. 

If you rotate the 100-yuan bill 90 degrees, you will find the cat-like prints next to Mao Zedong's portrait, according to the post. 

"It indeed looks like three cats, one standing in the middle, the other two kneeling on both sides. That is funny. How is it that I have never noticed before?" said Liu Chen, 26, from Beijing. 

"I can only see the cat in the middle, and the kneeling cats on the sides are a little far-fetched," said Jian Biao, 26, also from Beijing. 

On Tuesday, the People's Bank of China released a statement saying the prints are not cartoon cats. According to the bank, the patterns are based on lacquerware dating back to the Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC). But the meaning of the prints remains unclear. 

"From the prints on the 100-yuan bill, it is hard to tell what is the exact meaning of the figure," said Zhang Tian'en, a researcher with the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archeology. 

Zhang said he has not seen similar patterns in his studies of ancient lacquerware and bronzeware. 

"The artistic concept looks a little like the State of Chu during the Warring States period, but it is different," Zhang said. 

"And the figure on the RMB only includes an independent part of the ancient design. Without the entire design, it is hard to tell where it is from." 

Li Xueqin, a historian and expert in ancient writing at Tsinghua University, said it is hard to ascertain what the illustration is because it is not completely clear. 

"But one thing for sure is that the figure has no relation to cats at all." 

Report by SHMET

Hedging to raise futures volume this year

Date Feb 09 2012 14:42:39 Source:SHMET

SHANGHAI - China's futures market will recover this year, after a plunge in trading volume last year dragged many brokers into the red, analysts said. 

New contracts and expanded corporate hedging will enliven trading, they said, but a continued clampdown on speculation and tight liquidity would prevent a full rebound. 

Last year, futures trading volume declined for the first time in five years, falling more than 30 percent, according to the China Futures Association. 

While trading in gold, wheat and cotton surged, other contracts such as those for soybeans and rubber saw activity contract sharply. Volume sank further last month, falling 34.4 percent year-on-year. 

The declines came amid an ongoing central government clampdown on speculation in the futures market, which it deemed too risky. 

In response to the government's campaign, exchanges nationwide increased margin requirements and suspended discounts for trading fees. They also acted to curb "abnormal" trades among related accounts, which further subdued trading volumes. 

"Last year was really a tough year, with the government imposing many negative policies on the futures market. It was the worst year in my career," said a broker with a futures brokerage company in Zhejiang province who declined to be identified, citing corporate policies. 

The broker added that last year had seen many brokerages' commission revenue cut in half. 

However, conditions are expected to improve this year with many major new contracts. 

The Shanghai Futures Exchange is expected to start the nation's first silver futures contracts, on the assumption that investors will transfer some of their passion for gold to silver. 

The Dalian Commodity Exchange plans to start trading iron ore futures, while the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange aims to introduce contracts for silk. 

More importantly, the China Financial Futures Exchange is likely to restart trading of government bond futures, which was suspended 17 years ago. 

Wang Jun, director of the research division of the Beijing subsidiary of China International Futures Co Ltd, said that financial institutions and mining companies would participate more actively in the futures market this year to hedge "systemic risks", which will help lift volume. 

He forecast trading volume will rise to about 1.2 billion lots this year from 1.05 billion lots last year. 

Analysts said the futures brokerage industry is facing a big reorganization in the face of declining commissions, the only source of income for most domestic futures brokerages. 

"2012 will be a year of consolidation for the futures brokerage industry," Jiang Changwu, general manager of Minmetals Futures Co Ltd, said. 

Report by SHMET

UnionPay extends online payment to Taiwan

Date Feb 09 2012 14:40:29 Source:SHMET

BEIJING - Holders of China UnionPay (CUP) bank cards will be able to use their cards in online stores in Taiwan following an agreement reached between CUP and Taiwanese authorities.

Su Ning, CUP chairman and authorities of Taiwan's credit card center announced the decision on Wednesday, allowing the extension of CUP payment services to online businesses. CUP services are already used by half of the island's merchants and 80 percent of its ATMs.

The agreement makes Taiwan's credit card center the first authorized institution in Taiwan to accept online CUP transactions.

Su said CUP transactions are rapidly developing in Taiwan, becoming a "most remarkable part" of financial cooperation between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. 

Report by SHMET

Newly-named Xinhua TV firm debuts in HK stock market

Date Feb 09 2012 14:39:38 Source:SHMET

BEIJING - CNC Holdings Limited, a newly-named company owned by the TV arm of China's state-run Xinhua News Agency, made its debut on Wednesday on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The debut came after a shareholders' meeting of the listing Tsun Yip Holdings Limited on January 16 decided to change its name to CNC Holdings Limited "based on the company's new business direction," while its stock code remained unchanged, a news release said.

Shareholders' rights will be unaffected by the name change, according to the release.

The website of the company has been changed from to as of Wednesday, while CNC's logo and symbol have been in use by the company since February 3.

According to CNC, three shareholders of its Asia Pacific's channel carrier, including CNC limited Co, APT Satellite Company Limited (APT) and Ao Rong Investment Corporation, had signed an agreement with Tsun Yip Holdings on September 6.

Under the agreement, Tsun Yip Holdings purchased all the shares of CNC Asia Pacific's channel carrier at a cost of HK$700 million ($90.27 million), with price of newly-issued shares being set at HK$0.196 per share.

After completing the transaction under legal procedures on December 9, CNC's HK branch held 28.5 percent stake in Tsun Yip Holdings, becoming its largest shareholder, and a new board of directors had been established, with Wu Jincai, CNC president and Xinhua's deputy editor-in-chief, as chairman.

With the move, CNC's overseas news service has gained support from the international capital market, a boost which can lay foundations for it to build a modernized media institution with global influence and competitiveness, the news release said.

Wu Jincai said that CNC aims to localize its services while extending its global reach, and will also seek to improve its news reporting and the quality of its programs.

Furthermore, CNC will build itself in accordance with the modern enterprise system into a world's first-class media organization, Wu added.

Established in 2009 as part of Xinhua's ambition to build a multimedia press institution, CNC kicked off its Chinese channel on January 1, 2010, and its English channel on July 1, 2010. Both channels target audiences of all over the world, available via satellite, cable TV, digital media, the Internet, and other platforms.

CNC's signal has reached nearly 60 countries and regions including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Thailand.

Report by SHMET