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We mentioned earlier this week that there had been a sharp uptick in the Shanghai Interbank rate in the past month. This peaked last night at about 13%. With the attention, rightly so, that this is getting, it's worth taking a look at the issue and what's involved. 

According to China Mobile, China’s largest mobile network operator, its monthly mobile payment transaction value, for the first time, exceeded 10 billion RMB, reaching 11 billion in May – even larger than the total transaction value of 2011.

China Mobile Payments

 

Since China Mobile launched its mobile payment business in 2009, the number of transaction has rocketed at a staggering rate and it is expected that by the end of 2013 the total transaction value will hit 100 billion RMB. In the future, China Mobile will emphasize more on product innovation and customer services to reinforce its leading position in China’s mobile payment industry.

According to data released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the interbank lending rate (weighted average interest rate) increased from 2.55% in April 2013 to 2.92% in May which will affect banking liquidity requirements. The interbank lending rate decreased from 2.77% to 2.47% in March, and it started to increase in April and May. The interbank lending rate in May is 0.42% higher year on year. The total interbank lending turnover was 21.85 trillion yuan, and the daily turnover reached 993 billion yuan.

 

 

 

 

Based on CSRC’s data, about 268 firms queuing for IPO in A-share markets chose to quit the IPO process up until 31 May, 2013. 109 of these firms are supported by local VCs and PEs, which take about 41% of the total number of the firms who applied for IPOs in A-share markets. About RMB 8.45 bn investments from local VCs and PEs are locked into these pre-IPO firms, which is challenging for the VC and PE firms who might have been expecting an exit.

The tough supervision of the CSRC is one of the main reasons pre-IPO firms have left the process and only very few meet the standards and of those who did, the worry is that many have cooperated with local stock investment institutions to fake their financial performances to get them listed.

IPO Terminations in Shanghai A-share market

From the data released by People’s Bank of China for the first quarter 2013, the transaction volume of bankcards has reached to 100.27 trillion RMB, which is a 7.7% increase from the first quarter in 2012. The accumulated credit card issuance reached 343 million, which gives a credit card holding per capita is 0.26.

According to PBOC, at the end of 2013 Q1, China’s bankcard consumption transaction volume and value rose rapidly by 44% and 60%, respectively. Interbank transactions made up the majority of total transaction volume and value – accounting for 56% and 77%, respectively. At the end of 2013 Q1, the total circulation of bankcard in China reached 3.6 billion, increasing by 19% year-on-year, with 3.3 billion debit cards and 343 million credit cards. The average bankcard consumption per person increased by 60% to 4900 RMB.

A few weeks ago, we looked at the growth of wealth management in China – a big aspect of wealth management is the Trust industry, which we look at today.

Across multiple metrics, the Chinese futures market grew rapidly from 2006 to 2012. Total assets have grown by 6.5 times over the 6 years, net assets 7 fold and net profit growth by nearly 22 times in 2012 compared to 2006. So it is quite clear that Chinese futures industry is growing at a high speed during the past few years and it is highly likely to expand even faster due to the opening up of the markets.

Growth of China Futures Industry 2006-2012 

 

 

Based on data released from the PBOC, bank card issuance in Q1 has increased 4.5% compared to 2012 Q4 to reach a total of 3.69 billion cards issued. Within the issued 3.69 billion cards, the total number of debit cards issued was 3.65 billion and total credit card issuance reached to 0.34 billion. From Q1 2012, the issued bank cards have had a steady growing trend which indicates that bank cards have becoming more and more Important as a payment method in China. Domestically, 10.6 billion bank card transactions happened in Q1 2013, and the total transaction value was 100.27 trillion yuan which increased 23.9% and 19.3% compared to Q1 2012.

 

Chinese Bankcard issuance

According to iResearch, the total transaction value of China’s 3rd party online payment in 2013 Q, for the first time, declined slightly from last quarter’s 1,065 billion to 1,018 billion, -4.4% quarter-on-quarter. After the staggering growth over the last ten years, China’s 3rd party online payment market has entered a more mature stage of development. This dip largely resulted from the increasing commoditized and homogenous products and services – 3rd party players need more innovative products to improve their services and boost their revenue in the future.

Alipay is still the biggest 3rd party player, accounting for 48% market share, followed by China UnionPay with 20% market share.

China Online Payment Transactions by Value 

Based on the recent half-year performance of hedge funds, it appears that the average performance of all types of hedge funds outperformed the market return significantly with macro-economic hedge funds ranked first in returns from November of 2012 to the end of April of 2013.

Chinese Hedge Fund performance exceeded market returns 

 

 

According to the annual reports released by city commercial banks, a lot of city commercial banks’ net profit growth rates in 2012 have shown a slowing down trend compared to 2011. For example, in 2011, both net profit growth rates of Hankou Bank and Bank of Chengdu were close to 50%, however, both of them shown a dramatic decrease as the end of 2012. Also, the net profit growth of the two listed city commercial banks - Bank of Nanjing and Bank of Ningbo, are showing a significant decline in 2012.

Lower net profit is putting a lot of pressure to Chinese commercial banks in 2013, and the figures implies that city commercial banks have to seek for new business and products to reboot high profit in 2013.

 

 

The latest Chinese manufacturing PMI is 50.6, declining by 0.3 point from March. From May 2012 to April 2013, this PMI figure has hovered the important line of 50 which is the watershed between economic growth and shrinkage. It signals that the growth of Chinese manufacturing economy is still fluctuating, largely because of the transformation and reformation of Chinese manufacturing industries during this period. The trend is expected to continue in the future so we will likely see continued fluctuations.

China's PMI over the recent past

As the end of 2012, the total number of Chinese online banking registered users reached about 489 million. More specifically, according to the data released from Cebnet, CCB’s online banking customers increased to 119.26 million, jumping by 41% from 2011 to 2012. The number of BOC’s online banking customers has reached to 91.42 million, with a year-on-year growth rate of 66%.

Because of the dramatic increase in the number of online banking users, banks such as ICBC and CCB have launched more innovative personal banking services such as social insurance and wealth management services.

Number of Online banking users in China 

 

 

Recently, China UnionPay (CUP) and Xinhua News Agency jointly released the Xinhua • CUP Bankcard Consumer Confidence Index (BCCI) for March 2013. It shows that the BCCI is currently at 87.20, growing by 1% month-to-month and 0.43% year-on-year. Generally, the more consumption expenditure on non-necessities, the better macroeconomic situation and personal income reflected, and the more optimism consumers hold towards the future economic situation and personal income.

Based on the transaction information of bankcard consumption by urban residents, this BCCI reflects the confidence level of the consumers towards macro-economy by analyzing the changes to the structure of the bankcard consumption expenditure (mainly the change in the proportion of non-necessities to total consumption amount). Chinese government’s further push on domestic consumption will continue to drive the steady growth of BCCI.

 

 

 

According to Beijing’s government, the total transaction value of e-commerce in Beijing, one of biggest cities in China, grew by 45% to 550 billion RMB in 2012. Beijing’s e-commerce market is characterized by its high transaction volume, which has prompted half of China's top 10 e-commerce companies set up headquarters in Beijing in often in one of the two national e-commerce industry zones which attract a great number of small and medium e-commerce firms. Beijing’s government expects that its e-commerce transaction value will grow at 22% CAGR and hit 1 trillion RMB in 2015, which will account for 60% of Beijing’s GDP. 

 

According to the CBRC, China’s commercial banks announced a total net profit of 1.24 trillion RMB in 2012, with the total net profit of the 16 listed banks comprising 1.03 trillion of that total. Among these 16 listed banks, the five major banks ICBC, ABC, BOC, CCB, and BOCom earned 239, 145, 139, 194, and 58 billion RMB respectively in 2012. China Merchants Bank (CMB) made 45.3 billion RMB net profit in 2012, topping other joint-stock banks. Bank of Beijing, as the leading city commercial bank in China, earned 11.7 billion RMB net profit last year. However, the overall net profit growth rate of China’s commercial banks has declined compared to 2011 apparently due to the process of interest marketization which has deceased interest based revenue recently. 

Chinese Banks Net Profit 2013

 

 

 

 

 

There are two main sub-industry categories that QFIIs seem to be investing in in China's A-Share market: the mechanics and food & drink manufacturing industries. During the first quarter of 2013, there was a slight decline of 1.55% in the QFII shareholdings in the mechanics manufacturing industry and a 5.78% increase in the food & drink industry.

 

According to the PBOC, the value of new RMB loans in the first quarter of 2013 are at a three-year high. In the first quarter of 2013, the new lending is 2.76 trillion yuan, growing by 13%, compared with 2.46 trillion yuan in the same period of 2012. It signals that the financing demands in the market start are increasing and analysts believe the total new loans will reach 9 trillion yuan in 2013. More interestingly, among the newly increased loans, 30% of the loans are long-term loans, showing a sign of a strong economic rebound in China.

 

 

 

Wealth management refers to a type of financial analysis, financial planning and management service that banks provide to high net worth individuals. Banks have the obligation to return certain profit by managing customers' funds in an agreed period of time.

Recently, Alipay, China’s largest third-party payment company, released its sound wave payment mobile product, which is the first time that “sound payments” have been commercialized in China. Customers can now pay for goods from the vending machines deployed by Alipay in Beijing’s subway through the sound wave payment.

According to the China Securities Journal, the quality of credit assets is again appearing as an issue for Chinese banks. The latest annual report shows that the non-performing loan (NPL) balance and non-performing loan (NPL) ratio both increased in 2012, a sharp move from the “double decreasing” in both NPL balance and NPL ratio in the previous years.

The total NPL balance in the 11 listed banks was ¥385.38 billion in 2012 with a YOY growth rate of 8.1% compared to ¥356.6 billion in 2011. China Construction Bank believes the upward trend in NPL is due to the macroeconomic fluctuations in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate.

The trust industry is currently the fastest growing segment in China's asset management industry so far in 2013. In Q4 2012, the total trust AUM was about US$1.195 trillion. At the end of Q1 2013, this number had reached about US$1.395 trillion representing a growth rate of about 16.7%. That growth rate is actually faster than the growth rate of bank loans / deposits, market growth of the securities market, bonds, funds and insurance industry.

 

According to CCW Research, a local Chinese IT market research company, China’s financial industry IT software spend in 2012 grew to 49 billion RMB and the spending will keep a steady growth in 2013. Banking segment spend is a key driver, making up about 72% of total spend. Comprehensive risk management and big data are the main IT focus areas for banks.

As securities companies continuously launch new business, CCW estimates that IT spending on new business-related solutions in the securities sub-segment will increase considerably in future. 

For insurance companies, the overall IT infrastructure is still very nascent. Large players will invest more money into the development and update of core systems.

In order to facilitate the RMB’s cross-border settlement and promote the global use of the RMB, China’s central bank (the PBOC) is now building an international payment system called as CIPS (The China International Payment System). This CIPS is expected to take one or two years to launch and will make cross-border RMB trade settlement more efficient and safer.

Last month, China Mobile, the biggest mobile network operator (MNO) in China, and China UnionPay (CUP) unveiled their latest mobile payment product – “Mobile Wallet”- at MWC 2013 (Mobile Word Congress, the world’s premier mobile industry event).

Kapronasia's latest report Trading China - A Look at the Issues and Opportunities in China's Capital Markets is now available in the research reports section of the Kapronasia website. The report, sponsored by Equinix, is a detailed look at the challenges and opportunities in China's capital markets. The report is free, but does require registration to download. For more information on the report, please look in the research reports section of the website above. 

In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal wrote about how although mobile payments are slow to take off in China, telephone or 'fixed-line' payments are actually doing quite well and actually hugely dwarfs mobile payments. When you consider the history of the 5 major banks and their alignment with particular sectors, it's no surprise that the Agricultural Bank of China would be leveraging this kind of business model, but what is interesting is the way that the model completely avoids mobile payments. It's almost as if the bank (industry?) in China is saying 'ok, so no standards on mobile, we'll innovate with what we have.' Which is actually not tremendously different that what we're seeing in other markets where the adoption of a consistent mobile payments standard seems inconsistent at best...

The Hedge Fund Association, in conjunction with Bloomberg, hosted the HFA - Bloomberg Shanghai Hedge Fund Panel Discussion: International Hedge Funds and Direct Investment in China, in Shanghai on January 5th, 2013. During the event, three experts shared their insight into the challenges and opportunities in China’s hedge fund industry in 2013. I had the opportunity to attend on behalf of Kapronasia and summarized some of my conclusions from the event here:

The 2nd Annual eTail Conference was held from 27th to 28th November, 2012 in Shanghai. Kapronasia was invited to attend the event to speak on a few payment related topics along with other industry experts. The conference's topics included e-commerce trends and strategies, cross border shopping challenges, and IT implementation on e-payment.

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