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Want to work for a Chinese company? Make sure you understand this first

To succeed at a Chinese company, aim for unrealistic targets; be courageous in a new businesses; create as many new roles as needed; and aggressively go after market share.
Over the past decade and a half, I’ve advised many expatriate executives working for multinational companies in China. I have also advised Chinese executives working for local companies in the country.
But increasingly, I am finding myself counselling foreign executives working for Chinese bosses at Chinese companies. Most of these are privately-held Chinese companies, often founded and operated by an entrepreneurial Chairman.
One thing I’ve observed among the multinational executives that I’ve worked with is just how unprepared they are to deal with the many nuances of how Chinese companies really work.
Companies are constantly revisiting their business plans and projections. It’s an environment that rewards quick decisions and the agility to grab opportunities before the competition gets there first.
Nowhere is …

Your loss is your problem, China tells small investors as it tightens money rules

High-risk, high-return, yet state-protected products have warped prices and bred complacency
Retired Shanghai truck driver Shen Xipei shunned risky stocks and low-yielding deposits and instead put his life savings into a wealth management product (WMP) sold - and guaranteed - by a bank.
Soon, however, investors such as Mr Shen may start switching into other assets after Beijing published draft guidelines on Nov 17 to ban financial institutions from guaranteeing investors against losses, tightening supervision of what the central bank says is a US$9 trillion asset management industry.
A move away from bank WMPs by armies of Chinese investors - which some analysts expect - would likely trigger a seismic shift in China's asset management industry, with the new rules apparently favouring transparent mutual fund products.
"I bought the WMP because I trust banks. They don't run away with your money," said 63-year-old Mr Shen.
The product he bought from Industrial Bank pro…

MMP Resources - all 'snowed in'?

Among the endless heaps of never-give-up quotes out there, there is one that goes: "Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries".
That may not always be applicable in the corporate world as much as the personal realm. And sometimes, companies need to call it as they see it.
A reality check such as that may be long overdue for ailing MMP Resources. The mainboard-listed firm - which was listed in 2008, and until two years ago called itself Sino Construction - has barely had a good run.
That's putting it mildly. It began as a construction firm in China, then tried to venture into the mining business in South Africa (it didn't pan out) and later, shifted its focus to micro powerplants in South Korea (this was what had led to the company's name change but it would, ironically, exit the business a year later). Now its latest pursuit involves a ski business in Japan.
Last March, the company found itself on the Singapore Exchange's (SGX) watch li…

Ex-ISR director, David Rigoll, sells 14% stake for S$1.2m; no longer substantial shareholder

A former director of ISR Capital who quit over a pay dispute is no longer a substantial shareholder of the company after selling a 13.61 per cent stake for about S$1.2 million in total.
ISR, an investment services company, disclosed the transactions by David Rigoll on Tuesday before the market opened. Mr Rigoll was previously the company's largest shareholder.
On Nov 16, Mr Rigoll sold 27.37 million shares, or a 1.19 per cent stake, for S$136,850, or 0.5 Singapore cent per share share, on the open market.
On the same day, he sold 287.5 million shares, or a 12.42 per cent stake, for S$1.062 million, or 0.37 Singapore cent per share, through a married deal.
It was not clear from ISR's announcement whether the effective date of the open-market transaction referred to the day that the trades were settled or the day that the trades were matched. Market data from ShareInvestor.com showed just 1.6 million ISR shares changing hands on Nov 16. On Nov 14, however, 56.5 million ISR shar…

Alibaba's rise creates 10 billionaires not named Jack Ma

Jack Ma, who launched China's largest e-commerce company two decades ago and rode it to a US$47.6 billion fortune, turns out to have created billions of dollars of wealth for at least 10 others - a total of almost US$100 billion.
By investing directly in or partnering with companies that provide services for his online buying platforms - from payment systems to delivery companies - Mr Ma and his Alibaba Group Holding Ltd have minted a network of people whose combined fortunes total more than US$52 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
With Mr Ma's wealth included, the collective net worth is larger than the economies of 136 countries.
"Jack is a long-term visionary," said Duncan Clark, author of the book "Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built" and an early adviser to the company.
The network of companies all feeding Alibaba at the centre "is something Jack Ma envisioned and planned from a long time ago."
The fortunes have emerge…

Duo get much heftier fines for unauthorised share trading after MAS appeal

The High Court of Singapore has slapped heftier fines on two individuals for unauthorised share trading after an appeal by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
Mr Wang Boon Heng saw his fine doubled to S$150,000 from S$75,000, while Ms Foo Jee Chin will now have to pay S$75,000, up from S$50,000. The earlier civil penalties were doled out in March this year by the State Courts.
MAS felt that the original fines "did not adequately reflect the severity of the breaches and a higher civil penalty was needed to deter such misconduct", it said in a media release on Thursday (Nov 2).
Wang and Foo were further ordered to pay MAS S$21,000 for the legal costs and disbursements incurred by regulator for the appeal. This comes on top of S$58,636 in legal costs the duo were ordered to pay by the State Courts.
Wang carried out share trading for his own benefit in accounts opened in Foo's name with DMG & Partners and UOB Kay Hian, between September and December 2007. This wa…

Short seller Muddy Waters sues Google to unmask fake reporter seeking research

Short seller Carson Block's firm sued Google seeking to learn the names of people who used fake identities trying to gain access to confidential research, including someone who posed as a Wall Street Journal reporter.
Muddy Waters Capital said the attempts to gain information began after it published a series of research reports regarding the French supermarket operator Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA between December 2015 and March 2016, according to a lawsuit filed in New York state court on Wednesday. Muddy Waters said these people communicated through Gmail, and it wants Google to disclose their names, addresses and contact information.
Muddy Waters began its campaign in 2015 and has said Casino is using financial engineering to mask a deterioration of its core retail business and that owner Rallye SA has too much debt - allegations that Casino has dismissed. Casino's shares have suffered amid the attack. Standard & Poor's cut Casino's debt rating last year.
Mudd…

SGX to cut down on unusual trading activity queries by half

The number of queries issued by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on unusual trading activity will be going down by half from Wednesday.
Tan Boon Gin, chief executive of SGX RegCo, the bourse's regulatory unit, told The Business Times that the move will eliminate unnecessary queries over what he dubs "noise" in the market.
"Markets view (queries) as a chilling effect on share prices," he said. "I'd rather issue fewer, higher quality queries, than a higher volume."
A new system, which goes live on Nov 1, will be calibrated such as to allow prices and volumes to increase a bit more before a query is issued.
The robustness of the regulatory regime will not be compromised, Mr Tan said.
"We backtested this to make sure, with the benefit of hindsight, those cases we properly queried will still be queried under the new system. It's only those cases that we didn't need to query that will be (cut) from the system. As far as we're concerned, we…