Tmall.com, the business-to-consumer platform owned by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, rolled out a financing service on Wednesday to help car purchasers in China get unsecured loans of up to 60,000 yuan ($9,606).

The new service underscored the Hangzhou-based e-commerce conglomerate’s strong ambition to conquer a new sector – the online car market.

Tmall has gained fame mainly through the sales of clothes and shoes online.

“China is the world’s largest car market with a total sales of more than 20 million units last year. The number of cars sold through online platforms is quite small compared with the giant size of the market,” said Wang Licheng, a senior executive of Tmall, which allows brands to sell directly to customers.

Vehicle shoppers can apply for interest-free loans that allow them to pay off their balances over as long as 18 months, depending on their shopping records and creditworthiness on Tmall and Taobao, Alibaba’s online marketplace.

Participating automakers include Shanghai General Motors, which operates Tmall.com flagship stores for the Chevrolet and Buickbrands,andSAICMotorCorpLtd,formerlyShanghaiAutomotiveIndustryCorp.

The program is the latest move by Alibaba to leverage its strengths in data and finance to tap into new markets. On Tuesday, Alibaba introduced a program that provides loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in China.

The car loan program is run by the Small and Micro Financial Services Group, a company spun out of Alibaba Group that includes Alipay. It operates the popular Yu’ebao money market fund. Rather than funding the loans itself, Small and Micro Financial Services acts as an intermediary to verify the creditworthiness of loan applicants.

During a promotion from July 25 to Aug 11 last year, 17 vehicle brands with Tmall.com storefronts sold 3,400 cars valued at 80 million yuan through the website.

However, most of the online vehicle transactions do not really qualify as pure e-commerce, because the buyers generally make down payments online, then go to physical locations to make the remaining payments, said Pan Wei, analyst with the Beijing-based Internet consultancy Analysys International.

There are many online platforms that aim to build automobile e-commerce “empires”, but most merely serve as online media outlets that feed vehicle-related information to potential buyers, said Pan.

Autohome Inc, a leading online portal for vehicle information, formed a strategic partnership with JD.com, Alibaba’s largest competitor in China, in June to develop automobile e-commerce and to facilitate real transactions online.

Pan said that Alibaba enjoys a strong advantage in automobile e-commerce as it has integrated financing service on its online platform.

“But the move doesn’t guarantee a promising future as most people still aren’t used to buying high-priced items such as cars online,” he said, adding that it will take a lot of time for consumers to form this habit and for online retailers to create new methods to increase user loyalty.

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

China will become the world’s largest mobile phone market by revenue for the first time by year end, overtaking the United States, an industry report said. Internet guru Mary Meeker has identified the country as the most mobile nation in the world.

Phone sales will reach $87 billion in China during 2014, a jump of 53 percent year-on-year. That compares with $60 billion projected sales in the US, Strategy Analytics said.

 

Nation becoming top mobile phone marketTop 10 Chinese smartphone makers

Nation becoming top mobile phone marketSmartphones lift flat-panel sector

Smartphones dominate sales. Chinese shoppers will buy more than 400 million smartphones this year, according to local research company Analysys International. The amount is on track to break 500 million by 2016, it said.

Meeker acknowledged China’s role in the global mobile Internet sector. The world’s second-largest economy is moving swiftly to become a leader in mobile commerce, helped with applications installed on smartphones, according to Meeker. She is a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

As of last year, more than 500 million Chinese were using mobile devices – primarily smartphones – to connect to the Internet, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The penetration rate of mobile Internet users rose to a record 81 percent in 2013.

China beat the US in terms of smartphone shipments in 2012.

The growth in mobile devices is driven by the country’s rapid shift to fourth-generation telecommunications technologies, analysts said.

Leading players, such as Samsung Electronics Co, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd, have pledged to expand their distribution channels, and a widening product offering is diversifying demand in China.

Although China leads the global mobile phone market in many ways, the Strategy Analytics report said the US is most likely to remain the most valuable market by profit for a while.

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-30 06:59

“High average selling prices and huge operator subsidies will make the US a very profitable market for major device brands such as Apple and Samsung,” it said.

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

The world’s leading smartphone brands may find it difficult to maintain a high growth rate in China, where analysts said the high double-digit expansion may be nearing its end. Additionally, local players are vigorously expanding businesses on their home turf.

Lenovo, better known for its PC business outside China, is betting on smartphones for future profit. The Beijing-based company became the second-largest smartphone vendor in China by the end of the first quarter, data from Analysys International showed. Its 12.3 percent market share only lags behind Samsung.

Coolpad – Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co Ltd – as well as Huawei and Xiaomi Corp enjoyed near double-digit market share and Apple’s share dropped to less than 7 percent.

Bryan Wang, China head at consultancy Forrester Research Inc, said 4G is a necessary feature for companies such as Xiaomi to put into their portfolio as Chinese are eager for faster Internet speeds.

 

Nation becoming top mobile phone market Nation becoming top mobile phone market

Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong deal

Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online payment affiliate Alipay to take control of fast-growing fund firm Tianhong Asset Management Co as the e-commerce giant bulks up its push into online finance.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Co, the parent company of online payment company Alipay, to purchase 51 percent of Tianhong, according to a filing from Tianhong shareholder Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy & Chemical Industry Co on Thursday.

 

Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba files for $1 billion IPO in US
Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba helps make China’s largest fund

Alibaba is gearing up for what could be the world’s biggest tech IPO, and online finance has become another battleground for the firm. Though the business unit will be largely kept separate from the offering, it could play an important role in the entire company’s future growth.

Tianhong has gone from near obscurity to running China’s biggest money market fund by assets under management (AUM) in just months after it launched fund platform Yu’e Bao, or “leftover treasure”, with Alipay in June last year.

Yu’e Bao’s one-year interest rates are higher than a bank’s regulator-restricted rates for one-year deposits, and are an incentive to deposit money with the platform.

Yu’e Bao, which people can run from their smartphones, is also linked to China’s biggest online payment platform Alipay, similar to PayPal. Users can dip directly into Yu’e Bao to buy products on Alibaba’s huge online shopping websites and anywhere else that takes Alipay.

Alipay’s investment, valued previously at 1.18 billion yuan ($189.11 million), will see the firm inject 262 million yuan in registered capital into the fund, according to the filing.

Tianhong had 554 billion yuan in AUM in the first quarter of 2014, from just 10.5 billion yuan a year earlier, according to Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai-based investment management consultancy.

Hong Kong, Shanghai world’s top shipping hubs

Hong Kong is the third-best shipping hub in the world and Shanghai seventh, according to a research report on international shipping centers released in Shanghai on Thursday.

Hong Kong, Shanghai world's top shipping hubsTop 10 most competitive countries and regions 

Hong Kong, Shanghai world's top shipping hubs

The study, “2014 Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Center Development Index Report”, has been compiled by Baltic Exchange and a research institute of China Finance Corporation. The index, which studied 46 shipping hubs globally, was assembled based on various aspects, including port conditions, shipping and comprehensive services, and then it was examined and evaluated by a research team of industry experts.

The top 10 shipping centers are Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Dubai, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York and Busan.

Ports in Asia took six places among the top 10, showing a revival of the sector in the region, experts said.

“An outstanding international shipping center requires more than a just big port. Today, it requires various services that help smooth business and operations, such as insurance, compliance, and management, which may be more important than just infrastructures,” said Marcus Lee, Chief Representative in China at The Baltic Exchange.

Craiglist-like Ganji transfers business to Tianjin www.Ganji.com

TIANJIN – China’s largest classifieds website decided to transfer its key business to Tianjin municipality on Tuesday, a new move to boost coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

The Beijing-based Ganji.com signed a cooperation agreement with Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area to transfer its key business, including recruitment, property rentals and the second-hand market, to the area.

“The company hopes to develop itself further, enhance competitiveness, and boost business in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to provide better services for more users,” said the firm’s CEO, Yang Haoyong.

The Craigslist-like Ganji.com, established in 2005, has opened branches in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. It covers recruitment, housing rentals, educational training, speed dating, and other lifestyle-related fields.

Since President Xi Jinping called for integrated and coordinated development of the region around Beijing in February, many Internet companies like 58.com, Tencent and Douban.com have all settled in Tianjin.

China’s leading portal Sohu also moved its video business to Tianjin.

Boasting cloud computing platforms, information portals, high-end e-commerce, and information security, the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Area plays a major role in the region’s coordinated development.

Top 10 S. Korean companies operating in China

President Xi Jinping arrived in Seoul on July 3 at the start of his first visit to South Korea since taking office last year.

Upon arrival in Seoul, President Xi said he looks forward to exchanging in-depth views with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and jointly mapping out the future of bilateral cooperation.

China is South Korea’s leading export destination and source of imports – and it is thus South Korea’s largest trading partner. Two-way trade hit $274.2 billion in 2013, a 55-fold increase since 1992 – the year the two countries established diplomatic ties.

South Korea is China’s third biggest trading partner, and its investment in China rose 87.9 percent in the first five months this year.

The following list concerns details about the top 10 South Korean companies that have contributed the most to trade ties between the two countries.

Source: Fortune Global 500 2013 list

 

No. 10: S-Oil

China office location: Shanghai municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 371

CEO: Nasser Al-Mahasher

Employees: 2,691

Revenues: $30,829.9 million

Profits: $519.5 million

Assets: $11,674.9 million

No. 9: Korea Gas Corporation

China business unit location: Hong Kong SAR

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 365

CEO: Kangsoo Choo

Employees: 2,976

Revenues: $31,103.40 million

Profits: $325.6 million

Assets: $37,948.3 million

 

No. 8: Kia Motors Corporation

China headquarters location: Shanghai municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 252

CEO: Hyoung-Keun Lee

Employees: 47,083

Revenues: $41,945.8 million

Profits: $3,431.4 million

Assets: $30,266.1 million

 

No. 7: GS Caltex Corporation

China business unit location: Shandong province

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 239

CEO: Jin-Soo Huh

Employees: 4,535

Revenues: $43,407.6 million

Profits: $651.8 million

Assets: $21,060.4 million

 

No. 6: Korea Electric Power Corporation

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 235

CEO: Hwan-Eik Cho

Employees: 38,611

Revenues: $43,612.9 million

Profits: $-2,811.6 million

Assets: $136,534 million

 

No. 5: LG Electronics Inc

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank 225

CEO: Bon-Joon Koo

Employees: 86,697

Revenues: $45,246.1 million

Profits $59.3 million

Assets $29,387.1 million

 

No. 4: POSCO (Pohang Iron and Steel Company)

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 167

CEO Joon-Yang Chung

Employees 35094

Revenues: $56,472.5 million

Profits: $2,186 million

Assets: $74,049.1 million

 

No. 3: Hyundai Motor Company

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 104

CEO: Mong-Koo Chung

Employees: 98,348

Revenue: $74,998.5 million

Profits: $7601.8 million

Assets: $113,539 million

 

No. 2: SK Holdings Co Ltd

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 57

CEO: Tae-won Chey

Employees: 78,593

Revenue: $106,258.8 million

Profits: $931.3 million

Assets: $84,679.5 million

 

No. 1: Samsung Electronics Co Ltd

China headquarters location: Beijing municipality

Fortune Global 500 2013 rank: 14

CEO: Oh-Hyun Kwon

Employees: 236,000

Revenue: 178,554.80 million

Profits: $20,585.7 million

Assets: $169,154.6 million

Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online payment affiliate Alipay

Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online paymentaffiliate Alipay to take control of fast-growing fund firm Tianhong Asset Management Co as thee-commerce giant bulks up its push into online finance.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Co, the parent company of online payment company Alipay, to purchase 51percent of Tianhong, according to a filing from Tianhong shareholder Inner MongoliaJunzheng Energy & Chemical Industry Co on Thursday.

 

Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba files for $1 billion IPO inUS
Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba helps make China’slargest fund

Alibaba is gearing up for what could be the world’s biggesttech IPO, and online finance has become anotherbattleground for the firm. Though the business unit will belargely kept separate from the offering, it could play animportant role in the entire company’s future growth. 

Tianhong has gone from near obscurity to running China’sbiggest money market fund by assets under management(AUM) in just months after it launched fund platform Yu’eBao, or “leftover treasure”, with Alipay in June last year.

Yu’e Bao’s one-year interest rates are higher than a bank’sregulator-restricted rates for one-year deposits, and are anincentive to deposit money with the platform.

Yu’e Bao, which people can run from their smartphones, isalso linked to China’s biggest online payment platformAlipay, similar to PayPal. Users can dip directly into Yu’eBao to buy products on Alibaba’s huge online shoppingwebsites and anywhere else that takes Alipay.

Alipay’s investment, valued previously at 1.18 billion yuan ($189.11 million), will see the firminject 262 million yuan in registered capital into the fund, according to the filing.

Tianhong had 554 billion yuan in AUM in the first quarter of 2014, from just 10.5 billion yuan ayear earlier, according to Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai-based investment managementconsultancy.