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Visitors browse in an unattended 10-yuan ($1.60) shop in Yiwu International Trade City in Zhejiang province on Wednesday. The price of everyday commodities such as combs, toys and tools is all 10 yuan. Zhang Jiancheng / For China Daily
Cement maker slides on short-seller's report
West China Cement Ltd plunged the most in two years in Hong Kong trading after the short-seller Glaucus Research Group questioned the company's corporate governance and financial statements. The company denied the accusations.
The cement maker dropped as much as 16 percent, headed for the biggest percentage decline since it started trading in Hong Kong in 2010.
The Xi'an-based company is the latest in the country to have its accounting and corporate governance standards questioned by short sellers, who seek to profit from declines in share prices. Sino-Forest Corp sought bankruptcy protection in Canada in March after Carson Block's Muddy Waters LLC said it overstated assets.
Glaucus's report on West China Cement contains "certain allegations or comments on the company, which are groundless or misstatements," the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Thursday.
Cathay Pacific may review Air China Cargo fleet
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd may review the fleet at a cargo venture with Air China Ltd after losses at the operations contributed to the Hong Kong carrier's first unprofitable half year since 2008.
Air China Cargo will have to assess what will be the right aircraft to make it profitable in the long term, Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Officer John Slosar said on Thursday.
The venture is taking four Boeing Co 747-400 freighters from Cathay, which the Hong Kong-based airline is replacing with newer models.
"Old, fuel-inefficient airplanes is a tough business model," Slosar said in an interview in the city on Thursday. "We'll have to look at that to see what is the right way forward in terms of the fleet."
The carrier agreed to buy a 49 percent stake in Air China's cargo unit in 2010. It's using the four 747-400 freighters, which were converted from passenger planes, to help pay for the investment. The new joint company began offering flights in March 2011.
Chinese company to buy 80% of US battery maker
China's Wanxiang Group, a leading auto-parts supplier, will take an 80 percent stake in the US battery maker A123 Systems, Reuters reported on Thursday.
A123, which makes high-tech auto batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles, said Wanxiang Group plans to invest up to $450 million in the company.
A123 on Wednesday reported a second-quarter loss of $82.9 million, or 56 cents per share, compared with a loss of $55.4 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.
It also warned last month that it had cash to pay for its operations for only the next four to five months.
The company said the deal should be complete before the end of the year, and a quick cash injection should help it get through the next several months, Reuters said.
Mercedes maintains strong sales in the first 7 months
German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz said on Wednesday that its sales in the first seven months increased 10 percent to 119,980 units in China, keeping strong market momentum in the world's largest automobile market.
The automaker delivered 14,760 vehicles under the Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach brands in July, a 2 percent increase over last year.
Its locally produced models had a strong market performance as the core model, the C-Class, showed a strong monthly growth of 134 percent in July, bringing the year-to-date increase rate to 26 percent for the seven-month period.
In addition, the locally produced E-Class also recorded a steady 17 percent year-on-year growth in the first seven months.
Mobile phone exports up 17.7% in the first half
China exported about 457 million mobile phones in the first half of the year, an increase of 17.7 percent year-on-year, according to a report from China International Business.
The sales of exported mobile phones reached $35.8 billion in the period, up 36 percent over the same period last year, the paper said.
Analysts expect the country to export more than 1.05 billion mobile phones this year, with a transaction amount of about $80 billion.
China is the world's biggest mobile phone manufacturer. The country shipped 535 million mobile phones to stores in the first half, a rise of 5.5 percent year-on-year.
Electronics expo to start in October in Suzhou
The 2012 Suzhou Electronic Manufacturers Exposition will take place in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, from Oct 18 to 21, offering IT businesses a platform to display their technologies.
Sheng Lei, deputy mayor of Suzhou, said on Wednesday that her city is ready to welcome more than 500 companies, including some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Lenovo Group Ltd, China Mobile Ltd and AsusTeK Computer Inc, at the exposition, which is the 11th of its kind.
Suzhou is home to more than 9,000 IT companies and has been crowned "China's Silicon Valley", according to Sheng.
The event is co-organized by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Sinopec to spend HK$10m on beach cleanup
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp is prepared to spend HK$10 million ($1.29 million) to clean up a beach in Hong Kong after plastic pellets were spilled into the city's waters, Lu Dapeng, a company spokesman, told reporters on Thursday.
Sinopec is willing to shoulder the liability and social responsibility of the spill, Lu said.
The company owns the 150 tons of plastic pellets that were spilled when Hong Kong was hit by a typhoon two weeks ago, the South China Morning Post reported.
Oil near 3-month high amid stimulus speculation
Oil traded near a three-month high in New York as speculation that China will take more steps to boost economic growth countered signs of weakening demand in the US.
Futures advanced as much as 0.4 percent. Growth in China's industrial production slowed while inflation cooled for a fourth straight month in July, providing more room for policies to stimulate the expansion of the world's second-biggest oil consumer. US petroleum consumption fell 1.1 percent last week, the first drop in four weeks, according to a report from the Energy Department on Wednesday.
"The market is in a mode where all that matters is the prospect of a central bank monetary stimulus," said Guy Wolf, a strategist at Marex Spectron Group Ltd, a London-based commodities broker who predicts Brent crude will be capped at $120 a barrel.
Sao Paulo firm starts China trials to reclaim desert
FuturaGene Plc began trials in Northwest China of the potential of using woody crops and shrubs to reclaim desert to help boost the economy for local farmers.
The company is working on four field trials in Gansu province to study whether the plants can fight desertification, enable soil regeneration and be used as biomass and in biofuel, the Sao Paulo-based FuturaGene said on Thursday. The trials will run for four years.
"We're dealing with very poor communities with very degraded agricultural land," FuturaGene CEO Stanley Hirsch said in London. "Farming practice in these places is very simple, and it's very difficult for these communities to actually derive a livelihood from agricultural land."
Desertification of land caused by factors such as wind and water erosion is a "major ecological" problem in China, with as much as 30 percent of land affected.
Vegetation in affected areas in northern China requires "significant improvement" to boost the local ecosystem and bring economic benefits, Hirsch said.
China may set new property controls soon
China may set new property controls as early as this month after the central government's inspection team returns to Beijing, the official China Securities Journal reported on Thursday.
The government has room to issue more policies, including raising the transaction tax on existing homes and expanding a property tax trial, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.
The policies will be based on inspection results and likely be this month as the government may want to avoid the traditional property-sales season in September and October, it said.
China's July car sales trail forecasts
China's passenger-vehicle sales trailed analysts' estimates for the first time in five months, as demand slowed with the economy and some consumers held back purchases in anticipation of government stimulus measures.
Wholesale deliveries, including multipurpose and sport utility vehicles, gained 11 percent to 1.12 million units last month, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement on Thursday.
Auto sales are slowing in the world's largest vehicle market as the economy expanded at its weakest pace in three years.
Consumers are postponing vehicle purchases in anticipation that the government will introduce subsidies to encourage demand, according to the industry researcher LMC Automotive.
(China Daily 08/10/2012 page14)