China consortium ‘may bid for AIA’

A CONSORTIUM of leading Chinese companies including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., plans to bid for a 30 percent stake in American International Group (AIG) Ltd.’s Asian life insurance business, AIA.
 
That would mean an investment of about US$10 billion based on AIA’s estimated US$30 billion value, which was what British insurer Prudential Plc. last agreed to pay for AIA before its bid collapsed earlier this year.
Bailed out insurer AIG is planning to list American International Assurance (AIA) on the Hong Kong stock exchange later this year, which could raise about US$15 billion.
 

Geely completes Volvo acquisition

CHINESE carmaker Geely Holdings Group Co. Ltd. said yesterday it had completed its US$1.8 billion-buyout of Ford Motor Co.’s Volvo unit, in a landmark foreign acquisition by a Chinese company.
 
At a handover ceremony held in London, Ford delivered all of its Volvo assets to Geely Holdings Group, after the deal won approval from regulators in China, the United States and the European Union.
 
In a telephone interview with Xinhua, Li Shufu, chairman of Geely Group and Volvo Car Corporation, said he hoped to restore Volvo to a leading position in the global luxury auto market.
 

China Tightens Administration of Permanent Representative Offices of Foreign Enterprises

On January 4, 2010, the State Administration of Industry & Commerce (“SAIC”) and the Ministry of Public Security (“MPS”) jointly issued the Notice Regarding Further Strengthening the Registration and Administration of Permanent Representative Offices of Foreign Enterprises (the “Notice”). The Notice refers to the Administrative Measures on Registration of Permanent Representative Offices of Foreign Enterprises (the “Measures”), but imposes stricter requirements with respect to granting registration certificates and approving amendments for the permanent representative offices of foreign enterprises (“Representative Offices”), as well as imposing enhanced supervision and administration on the business activities of the Representative Offices. Although unclear, it appears the Notice is effective immediately.
 

Officials must report personal assets

CHINA issued new rules requiring officials in government and State companies to report everything from personal assets to the business activities of spouses and children, in a renewed attempt to stamp out corruption.
 
The new regulations, which went into effect Sunday, are similar to rules released in April governing senior Party officials, but have been expanded to include everyone from mid-level officials and up. Non-Party members and those working for State-owned business are now also required to submit their details.
The regulations are designed to prevent officials from hiding illicit income under the names of spouses, former spouses or other close family members.
 

China is cleaning up their legal system

al capone.jpgChina executed the former top justice official in Chongqing yesterday — the highest ranking person caught in a massive crackdown on violent gangs and corrupt officials who protect them.

Wen Qiang, 55, former director of the Chongqing Municipal Judicial Bureau, was convicted in April of corruption charges involving organized crime, according to the Chongqing court Web site.

Wen took bribes, shielded criminal gangs, hid his financial assets and raped a university student, the official Xinhua News Agency cited court documents as saying.

The Supreme People’s Court, which reviews all death penalty cases, rejected Wen’s appeal and upheld the sentence in May, the announcement said.

“The facts are quite clear, the evidence is concrete and abundant, the conviction is accurate and the punishment is proper,” it said.

Wen served as vice police chief of Chongqing from 1992 to 2008 and then as director of the justice bureau until his arrest in September 2009, Xinhua said.

Senior Government posts open to competition: Part II

The government released yesterday a shortlist of 27 candidates who will compete for eight senior governmentplease-vote-for-me.jpg posts as part of an experiment aimed at introducing elections for high-ranking government officials.

Most of the eight posts have three candidates in contention. At present, most city officials are appointed or elected with just one candidate in the offing.

Among the 27 candidates, four have doctoral degrees and 17 hold master’s degrees.

The youngest candidate, Zhang Zhihua, was born in 1977 and is deputy Party secretary of the Shenzhen Municipal Committee of the Communist Youth League. Zhang is competing to be head of the Shenzhen Disabled Persons’ Federation.

Shenzhen starts trial of green car subsidies

german_electric_car1.jpgSHENZHEN residents will receive up to 120,000 yuan (US$17,700) in subsidies if they buy electric or hybrid cars, according to a pilot program initiated yesterday.

The program, jointly promoted by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Science, Ministry of Industry and Information and the National Development and Reform Commission, also covers Hangzhou, Hefei, Changchun and Shanghai, in a bid to cut emissions in the world’s biggest auto market.

The State’s maximum subsidy for those who buy plug-in hybrid cars is 50,000 yuan while the subsidy for fully electric cars is 60,000 yuan, Zhang Shaochun, vice minister of finance, said at a launch ceremony in Shenzhen yesterday.

Local governments in the pilot cities have been encouraged to offer subsidies to promote green vehicles.

Chinese Diplomat elected to International Court of Justice

Xue Hanqin.jpgXUE HANQIN, a veteran Chinese diplomat and an expert in international law, was elected judge of the International Court of Justice on Tuesday.

Xue, a member of the International Law Commission, was elected by the U.N. General Assembly and the Security Council in separate votes.

Xue won all 15 Security Council votes, said Claude Heller, the Mexican U.N. ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for June.

Heller, at the open Council meeting, also read a letter from the president of the General Assembly, Ali Treki, who said that Xue won a majority of votes in the 192-nation U.N. body.

The election was conducted under the relevant Security Council resolution to fill the vacancy after Judge Shi Jiuyong, a Chinese, resigned May 28.

She is the only female among the 15 judges of the International Court of Justice, and the third Chinese national to serve on the court.

In December 2008, Xue was appointed as China’s first ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Foxconn + Apple + The China Price = A lack of common sense

foxxcon.jpgOk, I will acknowledge at the outset that this writing involves a bit of banging the drum on my part because everybody out there seems to be focusing on the wrong part of this equation.   

We live here in Shenzhen near the now notorious Foxconn campus so famous for suicides related to the assembly of Apple products. We have been here for coming on ten years running this law firm and we like it.  It's a great place to live, run a business, train Chinese lawyers and raise kids.  It is home.

But my complaint is this.  Apple does not seem to want to pay more for I-pads, I-pods or whatever because the consumer does not want to pay more for I-pods.

Shenzhen China - Senior Government posts open to competition

ballot_box.jpgThe weekend edition of the Shenzhen Daily has reported eight senior government posts will be up for competition for the first time, making the beginning of a low-profile yet ambitious experiment aimed at introducing open elections for high-ranking officials.

What? China!! Elections. But they are communist, right?  

It would seem that elections may be on the horizon.  The nominations for these eight posts can be from within the Government itself, but individuals are also allowed to nominate themselves too. The candidates will be interviewed by a 75 member panel who will vote on them with the ballot results announced instantly.  The entire process will be completed by mid-July 2010.

Apparently, Shenzhen has decided to place itself at the forefront of the country's political reform after almost 30 years of being on the cutting edge of economic reform.    

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