China Mobile in Talks for iPhone Deal
China Mobile Ltd (NYSE: CHL, HKG: 0941), the world's largest wireless carrier by subscribers, said it plans to set aside ¥20 billion this year, up from ¥17 billion last year, offering free handsets to those subscribing to some of its 3G services as the company presses ahead with talks with Apple Inc (NASDAQ: APPL) to be an authorized Chinese direct retailer of the iPhone series, chairman Wang Jianzhou said. China Mobile, the only one of the nation's three telecom firms that has not signed iPhone deals, is working with Apple to clear technical impediments for the smartphone. Wang said the company's 2G networks are currently serving 15 million iPhone users, without revealing more details. Citibank predicts China Mobile will start selling the iPhone by the end of 2012 at the earliest. China Mobile's net profit rose 5.2% to ¥125.9 billion last year, or ¥345 million per day.
Name Registration Will Help Sina's Weibo Profit
Real-name registration with Sina Corp's (NASDAQ: SINA) Weibo microblog service will not significantly reduce user activities but will probably spur its ad revenues, analysts argue, believing that the requirement will filter inactive accounts and offer precious user information that will interest advertisers. Sina, a leading web portal and China's fourth biggest ad platform, expects its Weibo service to monetize this year after three years of heavy investment. The Beijing city government has required the service to check user IDs and those without proper registration will be barred from posting. It is expected that Shanghai and Guangzhou will follow suit.
Sinopec's Zhanjiang Plant May Begin Working Ahead of Schedule
Sinopec Corp (NYSE: SNP, SHA: 600028, HKG: 0386) said its joint venture refinery with Kuwait Petroleum Corp in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province will start importing and processing crude oil from Kuwait in 2014, earlier than expected. Once operational the project is expected to process 15 million tons, or 300,000 barrels of crude oil, per day and one million tons of ethylene per year.
7 Days Hopes to Run 2,000 Hotels by 2014
7 Days Group Holdings Ltd (NYSE: SVN), China's second biggest budget hotel chain by number of hotels, plans to open more higher-end hotels and operate at least 2,000 locations by the end of 2014, up from just over 1,000 at present, CEO Zheng Nanyan said. The company was founded in 2005 and its number of hotels has grown 400% annually over the past three years.
Bank of Comm Plans ¥57b Rights Offer
Bank of Communications Co (SHA: 601328, HKG: 3328), China's fifth largest bank, plans to raise ¥56.6 billion in what will be the world's biggest additional offering in almost a year. Among the subscribers of its shares will be China's Ministry of Finance and HSBC Holdings PLC (NYSE: HBC), two of the largest shareholders of the Shanghai-based lender. China's banking regulator is considering toughening capital requirements to battle increasing credit risks.
Ping An Net Earnings Jump 12.5%
Ping An Insurance Group Co of China (SHA: 601318, HKG: 2318), the nation's second biggest insurer, said its net profit grew 12.5% to ¥19.48 billion in 2011, where net profit from life insurance was up 18.5% to ¥9.97 billion and net profit from property insurance was up 28.8% to ¥4.98 billion.
BBVA, Citic Bank in Talks for JV Pension Fund
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, a Spanish lender, is in talks with China Citic Bank Co (SHA: 601998, HKG: 0998) to set up and co-manage a pension fund in Latin America, the South China Morning Post reported. BBVA, which oversees 90% of the pension funds in the region, owns 15% of Citic Bank.
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