Battle for Vanke Control Ends
Wang Shi, founder of China’s real estate giant Vanke Co Ltd, stepped down as chairman and the company’s president Yu Liang took his place on June 30. Earlier in June, Shenzhen Metro became Vanke’s largest shareholder. This marks the end of a high-profile battle for control of the company that started in July 2015, when Baoneng Group began to buy Vanke shares.
The two-year battle, dominated by conflicts between capital and industry, corporate governance and public opinion, and business and politics, has profoundly changed Vanke, a company that achieved success under its professional executives. Cooperating with the original management and finding a way to balance top-down decision-making with delegating authority will be major challenges for Shenzhen Metro.
Ant Financial’s Opening-Up
Due to the many financial licenses it owned, Ant Financial was once thought to be moving towards becoming a financial holding group. But this year, the company has adjusted its relationship between technology and finance, saying that it will only work on technology going forward, and help financial institutions improve their offerings. Its ultimate goal is to become the open platform that best understands commerce and finance.
To build a comprehensive financial ecology integrating banking, securities, and insurance, Ant Financial needs to attract enough financial institutions to achieve mutually beneficial and balanced business cooperation. Given the fierce competitive environment and with traditional financial institutions still on high alert, Ant Financial’s opening-up still has a long way to go.
Revelation from Rainstorms
Hunan Province has suffered heavy rainfalls since June 22, 2017. The total amount of the precipitation, its intensity and duration, as well as the wide range of areas being affected has rarely been seen in the mountainous, central province. As of July 3, 27 people have died as a direct result of floods, and eight are missing. The number of people being affected reached 11.459 million.
Today’s Hunan is a microcosm of China. Floods that appear every rain season are a constant reminder for us: you reap what you sow. In addition to stopping the reclamation of lakes and starting dredging siltation in rivers and lakes, the long-term solution for flooding lies in the gradual recovery of the water ecosystem that has been damaged over hundreds of years.
Developing the Marine Economy
The “‘13th Five-Year Plan’ for National Development of Marine Economy” and “Ideas on Building Maritime Cooperation along ‘One Belt and One Road’” were both issued recently. The two documents propose to strengthen the development of marine services and to construct “global central marine cities,” which means China will participate in global competition by aiming for the highest standards worldwide in terms of marine industry clusters.
As new policies are released, China’s previous marine planning and management seem behind the times. Various levels of sea-related management systems and methods have also entered a phase of adjustment to avoid continuing down the old path of reclaiming the sea for growth and developing coastal industries.
Personal Pension Fund Nears Reform
After over four years of research and feasibility studies, the top-level design for a reformed pension system is nearing completion. But the future direction of personal pension accounts remains highly controversial. For a long time, money in personal pension accounts has been diverted to pay for annuities received by the current aging population. As a result, there is virtually no money left in personal pension accounts. It is estimated that by 2024, the amount of charges to personal pension accounts will exceed the size of public budget revenues.
No matter which reform plan is adopted, there are inevitably costs for restructuring. The pressure of paying into the system may be spread out across multiple generations, in order to achieve long-term sustainability.