FOCAC: Beyond the Numbers

December’s Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been and gone, and the eagerly-awaited list of numbers has been released, digested, and analysed. China’s commitment of US$60 billion in financing for development across Africa is triple the amount pledged at the last summit three years ago, according to several mainstream media reports. Other calculations put this figure at closer to a 50%  increase in financial commitment. And, while it is this magic number that has since hogged the limelight, China’s important second policy toward Africa was released too.

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Tencent, Naspers’ biggest holding, is valued at approximately half of South Africa’s annual GDP

Media 24 Tencent imageNaspers, the multinational media giant with operations in internet services, pay-TV and print media, has been making headlines since the value of its shares shot up earlier this month. Headquartered in Cape Town and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), it has grown to become one of South Africa’s largest companies, with a market capitalization of R709.7 billion ($60.4 billion). Founded in 1915, the group is best known locally as one of the country’s oldest media companies, and for running Africa’s biggest pay-TV business, Multichoice. But it is Naspers’ interests in China’s biggest internet firm, Tencent Holdings, which transformed the company into a must-have in fund managers’ portfolios. Continue reading

WeBank: China’s first online-only bank

Chinese Yuan

“It’s one small step for WeBank, one giant step for financial reform” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the launch of the country’s first online-only bank, a joint venture headed by Tencent Holdings Limited, best-known outside China for its popular instant messaging and social networking app, WeChat. WeBank is the first private bank to pilot online operations after becoming one of six institutions that were granted licences to do so last year.

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Accusations over Alibaba’s political ties debunked

An article in The New York Times has drawn unwanted attention to the Alibaba Group and the “deep political connections” of some of its Chinese investors, shortly before the giant e-commerce goes public in the United States. The company filed for an IPO on 6 May, disclosing the owners of approximately 70 percent of its shares, among them Yahoo and Alibaba’s chairman, Jack Ma.

But less is known about other shareholders, whose sway may be significant even if their stakes are not. The situation raises questions about the transparency and operations of Alibaba, which is set to go public in the United States in the coming months.

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