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The launch of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect on December 5, 2016 was an important next step in the liberalization of China’s capital markets. The platform will offer a new opportunity for foreign firms to access the Chinese capital markets through the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, which is prominent for its technology stocks and exhibits higher returns than the Shanghai Stock Exchange, partly because its listed companies are newer and smaller.

The inauguration of the new India International Exchange (INX) on January 9, 2017 by India’s Prime Minister Modi in a new finance zone, the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City or GIFT city, heralds the possible beginning of a new era in offshore financial centers in Asia.

On December 31st the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) of China announced more stringent rules on individual purchases of foreign currencies, alarming the Chinese citizens with increased restrictions on forex-related investments at the start of the New Year.

Leaders of the world's largest economies gathered at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China this past week. For the first time, 'Green Finance' was written into the agenda among other topics. Clearly, there is more that we could do as a global society to manage climate and environment change, a fact recognised by many of the attendees. The effort also showed China’s determination to move towards a low carbon and more sustainable development track.

Beijing has approved a new trading link between Shenzhen’s and Hong Kong’s stock markets to be opened by the end of the year. With the start of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong link, 880 companies will be added to the already available 567 through the Shanghai link that opened in 2014.

Inclusive finance is one of the most focused on issues for the Chinese government this year. In January, authorities issued a five-year plan for the development of inclusive finance in the country, and since then, the term has appeared multiple times in government reports and is still gaining traction.

One of the significant implications of the Brexit EU referendum is that over 40 years of political and commercial contracts and relationships will need to be reviewed. Once Article 50 of the 2007 Lisbon Treaty, which specifies the procedure for the exit from the EU, has been implemented, the UK will then have two years to negotiate its withdrawal as well as its participation in all of the existing UK-EU arrangements. Although the new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has stated will only happen next year, the UK will need to re-establish its current trading interests and create new ones. One of the most critical partnerships to be re-negotiated will be the one that it has with China.

Kapronasia was co-organizing the PitchIt part of the LendIt 2016 event in China and we had a chance to talk to a number of exciting fintech start-ups. Two of the pitching start-ups are targeting Chinese retail investors but they do this in a very different ways, which, in fact, tells us a lot about the mindset of retail investors in China; the start-up which understands the market better wins. 

According to a report filed by a leading business daily in India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has abandoned proposed regulations for the Indian crowd-funding industry. This is clearly a big boost for the fintech industry and in particular the P2P lending industry in India.

On May 27th, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) released the implementation details that will govern foreign investment in China’s interbank bond market. The new rules make it much easier for certain foreign investors to participate in Chinese bond market activities, such as borrowing/lending, futures/forwards, and swaps, including interest rate agreements. 

India's main regulator for capital markets, the Securities Exchange Board Of India (SEBI), has started implementing recommendations from the Special Investigation Team (SIT) appointed by Supreme Court of India to regulate Participatory-notes (P-notes).

On May 6th, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) changed its policy for investors in the interbank bond market. These modified regulations will open up the market to new types of investors including asset managers, housing provident funds, pension funds and charities.

Friday, May 20th was the first day when foreign commercial banks were allowed to trade yuan on the recently opened inter-bank forex market. The first batch of the banks will be able to trade both spot RMB and derivatives.

Last week in China, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) prohibited listed companies from raising capital earmarked for investment in the following four industries: Internet Finance, Video Games, Film and TV, and Virtual Reality. The new prohibition is an attempt to steer money into the real economy, which is defined as industries producing tangible products and services. Permissions for mergers, acquisitions, and refinancing in those ‘unreal industries’ have been halted, as well.

After a lull in investments and a lacklustre IPO, the Indian ecommerce market is heating up once again. While China-based Alibaba had earlier invested in Snapdeal (ranked #2 in India by market share) and Paytm, it recently announced a direct foray into the Indian market, making the entire ecommerce sector sit up and take notice. Now Japan’s Rakuten seems set to follow suit into India.

JP Morgan recently joined a long list of foreign Financial Institutions (FIs) that entered India with a lot of enthusiasm only to exit in a few years. The last 5 years have seen over 9 exits from asset management companies (AMCs) alone. India was the largest promise for some of these businesses outside of their playgrounds in the western hemisphere. So what went wrong?

China plans some new rules for the Qualified Domestic Institutional Investor program to further facilitate the cross-border investment and help the fundraising environment.

It will come as no surprise to the avid watchers of the Chinese stock market that China’s start to 2016 has not been a success by any means. The CSI 300 index of blue chip stocks plummeted by 5% on Thursday 7th January, prompting the newly implemented circuit breakers to kick in and suspend trading for 15 minutes in order to remediate market volatility.

The RMB-USD exchange rate has two different values: the onshore value, determined by the PBOC at markets opening, and the offshore value, which is market-driven and used in Hong Kong. These two rates were usually almost identical, until August 2015 when a surprise depreciation by the Chinese central bank caused an even deeper depreciation in the offshore value, with the spread between the two starting to become significant, especially towards the end of the year when the yuan continued to lose value in comparison to the US dollar.

When the Shanghai Stock Market first opened after the New Year’s holiday, everything quickly turned for the worst: a fast, large rout emerged, with the CSI300 Index losing 5 percentage points by 1 am. Then it stopped for 15 minutes, as trades were paused. After the break ended, the index kept going down, down in fact 7% on the previous trading day in just two minutes. At this point negotiations stopped again, but this time for the rest of the day.

Shanghai police have arrested 2 executives from a HK-owned High Frequency Trading (HFT) fund for irregular futures trading. This is actually the first public arrest of a non-mainland fund since the crackdown of HFT started a few weeks ago. According to the authorities, the case is still under investigation and two foreign nationals are involved in the case.

As in anything in the financial industry, there are winners and losers, although you could not be faulted for seeing more of the latter recently in China than the former. The market was up last week slightly, as it seems to be starting to shaking off the downward trend. It may not matter though, as there has been serious damage done.

The booming A-share market in China has attracted a lot of attention and capital over the past few months. Yet, the past few weeks have not been pretty as the market has fallen by over 40%. The government is pulling out all the stops to stop the decline.

UBS reported that it had purchased an additional 4.99% stake in its Mainland securities business from the International Finance Corporation, increasing its stake to 25% from 20%. The raised stake is a positive sign showing global investment banks are confident in China's capital markets.

Earlier this month, Zhongrong International Trust became China’s first issuer of offshore bonds, beginning the Chinese trust industry’s venture into international capital market. This exemplifies the great expansion the Chinese trust industry has experienced in recent years.

A growth enterprise board in China is a part of stock exchange that has lower listing requirements and allows smaller, often high-tech enterprises to trade shares and gain access to a transparent funding channel. ChiNext, a part of Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is the southern city's growth enterprise board, has been very successful at attracting investors and issuers. Beijing also has its New Third Board, and now Shanghai, Eastern China's innovation center, will provide a venue for small high-growth companies to raise money on the capital markets.

Want to unload that bad debt on your books? Now you can on Taobao. Cinda Asset Management, one of China’s Big 4 state-owned bad asset managers, has partnered with Taobao to sell RMB 4 billion-worth of creditor’s rights on the e-commerce company's asset disposal platform. This is seen as another potentially very successful cooperation between finance and internet industries as a large asset owner will have access to many new buyers through Taobao’s powerful channel.

The shares of three companies recently experienced an unprecedented slump, which nobody can precisely explain.

At a recent conference, the Asset Management of China (AMAC) declared that there are 713 hedge funds in Zhejiang province alone – a surprisingly large number, considering some of the statements by international experts as recent as 2014 that there are no more than ten hedge funds in China. Futures trading is also up 30% on the main exchanges in China - a strong correlation. 

Xiaomi teamed up with E Fund Management to offer a new money market fund last week. The fund will be available on the wealth management app installed on the Xiaomi operating system and will be similar to products offered by Alibaba and Tencent in that it offers higher-than traditional bank deposit rates and allows nearly instant liquidity.

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