News about the global financial industry with a focus on developments in Hong Kong and China.

Mastercard can finally set up shop in China
Mastercard has won Chinese government approval to enter China’s payments market. It’s a major step in the American company’s decades-long effort to reach the country’s 400 million middle-class consumers. China’s central bank on Tuesday said it had approved an application from Mastercard’s joint venture to set up a business to settle payments in yuan, the official Chinese currency. Beijing has long insisted on state control of key financial infrastructure despite Washington’s insistence on giving American companies wider access to the Chinese market. The approval by China was granted three weeks after Beijing and Washington signed their initial trade deal, in which China promised it would fur
A $4.57 million meal with Warren Buffett was ‘priceless,’ crypto founder says
The man who spent $4.57 million to have a meal with Warren Buffett finally got to enjoy his sit-down with the legendary investor.  Chinese cryptocurrency entrepreneur Justin Sun Yuchen had to postpone the lunch with the Berkshire Hathaway chairman last year because of a kidney stones issue. When they finally met, it was for dinner.  Sun's $4.57 million bid was enough to win the opportunity at a charity auction in June last year but postponed it, first citing health issues and then apologizing to the public for overhyping the plan to dine with one of the world’s richest people. Sun thanked Buffett for his dinner, wisdom and vision. “$4.56 million for a $515.05 dinner was money well spent! Th
China’s government needs to take its thumb off the economic scales
China’s economic growth is expected to have slowed to just over 6%, and it is unlikely to accelerate any time soon.  In fact, analysts generally agree that China’s economic performance last year – its worst in nearly 30 years – could be its best for at least the next decade. What observers cannot seem to agree on is how worried China should be, or what policymakers can do to improve growth prospects. Optimists point out that, given the size of China’s economy today, even a 6% growth in gross domestic product translates into larger gains than double-digit growth 25 years ago. That may be true, pessimists note, but slowing GDP growth hampers per capita income growth – bad news for a country a
Why Chinese banks are giving out free pork to new customers
Handing out servings of expensive pork as a reward for opening an account is the latest gimmick being used by a growing number of small local banks across China to lure new depositors. The fact that pork could be seen as a desirable reward for opening a bank account speaks to the country’s massive shortage of its favorite staple meat. On Monday, clients who deposited $1,430 or more in a three-month time deposit at the Linhai Rural Commercial Bank in Duqiao in Zhejiang province were then eligible to enter a lottery to win a portion of pork ranging from one to ten pounds. “The money is still my own, and the interest is good. I’m happy to receive a piece of pork in addition,” one female client,
China’s first bank takeover since 1998 flags hidden credit risk
The Chinese authorities on Friday took over Baoshang Bank, a private bank based in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, citing its “severe credit risks.” It was the first government takeover of a bank in China since 1998, and it highlights the credit risks hidden in China’s smaller banks. “The move shows that the problem with Baoshang is so serious that it could not be solved by the local authorities,” said Sun Wujun, a finance professor at Nanjing University. “Baoshang is just one case that reflects the credit risks hidden among China’s small and medium-size banks in their wild expansion over the past few years,” he said. Rural commercial banks, licensed to serve villages and smaller tow