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.
According to data from the People's Bank of China, by the end of 2014 China had 614,900 ATMs in operation across the country, up 18.25% from 2013. While certainly a rapid growth, it was actually slower than a year ago when the number of networked ATMs increased by 25.12%, and is significantly lower than its peak growth of 36.18% in 2008.
P2P woes continue in China as illegal fundraising through P2P platforms grew in both 2014 and 2015. When will the government intervene?
You would be forgiven for missing the news with most of the focus this week on Shanghai's never ending stock market run or the latest mention of liberialization and opening in the bank card clearing market, but now it appears that the insurance industry will be the next segment of China's transforming financial industry to be opened up to competition.
It appears, as the WSJ reported, that the implementation of China's controversial banking technology rules has been paused for the moment. But what can we expect in the future?
China's P2P industry, which is technically a shadow banking / lending channel, continued its explosive growth in 2014 as 1,200 new platforms launched and transaction volumes grew 2.39 times as compared to 2013. At the same time the number of platforms suffering serious problems was 275, up 260% from the year before.
Chinese investors continue to join the market rally at an unprecedented pace. Records were broken as 1.6 million accounts were opened from March 23rd and March 27th and only slightly less in the following week – 1.5 million...more than the population of a small city..., well a small city outside of China.
As China's bull market continues, new accounts are being opened and trading volume is growing. One unexpected outcome is that existing capital markets technology is being stress tested and it doesn't seem to be coping that well...
Alipay has already gotten into transport cards, bill payments and hospitals in China, now it's focused on public services again with local government partnerships.
A few days ago, the upstart Chinese manufacturer of android-based smartphones Xiaomi launched a public beta of their new online money-market fund. With Chinese tech companies furiously investing in and creating platforms bundling key products and services together, could we see Xiaomi competing directly with Alipay and Wechat in the near future?