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Central bank drains 40b yuan from market

BEIJING - China's central bank drained 40 billion yuan ($5.82 billion) from the market on Thursday.

This marks the first day that the People's Bank of China drains liquidity from the market after it injected money into the market for five consecutive days.

On Thursday, the central bank conducted 20 billion yuan in seven-day reverse repos, 20 billion yuan in 14-day reverse repos and 10 billion yuan in 28-day reverse repos.

A reverse repo is a process by which central banks purchase securities from banks with an agreement to sell them back in the future.

With 90 billion yuan worth of reverse repos maturing on Thursday, the central bank effectively withdrew 40 billion yuan from the market.

The central bank said in a statement on Tuesday that it will extend a favorable policy that allows banks with big lending to small and agricultural firms to enjoy a lower cash reserve ratio.

The statement also showed a falling bad loan ratio and better profits for banks last year.

Chinese lenders saw the ratio of their non-performing loans fall to 1.74 percent at the end of 2016, slightly down from 1.76 percent a quarter ago.

Banks reported faster profit growth thanks to a firming economy. Net profits of commercial lenders increased 3.54 percent year on year, up 1.11 percentage points from a year ago.

China capable of ensuring stability in property market: Official

A housing project in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

BEIJING - The Chinese government is capable of maintaining stability in the property market, a senior official said on Thursday, as measures have reined in surging prices in major cities.

"Despite looming problems and uncertainties, there are more favorable conditions. We are capable of maintaining stable and healthy development of the property market this year," Chen Zhenggao, minister of housing and urban-rural development, said during a press conference.

His remarks came amid stabilizing signs in China's property sector, which has seen fluctuations in recent years.

Of 70 large and medium-sized cities surveyed, 45 saw prices for new residential housing climb month on month in January, down from 46 in December and 55 in November, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

In Beijing, new residential house prices remained flat month on month, while Shanghai prices fell 0.1 percent. House prices in Shenzhen, a southern metropolis neighboring Hong Kong, slid 0.5 percent.

"The momentum of excessive home price increases has been contained, showing the primary results of regulatory policies," Chen said.

Since October last year, dozens of Chinese cities have announced measures, including purchase limits and tightened mortgage restrictions, to prevent prices from rising out of control.

This round of restrictions and other measures came after two years of progressive policy easing stimulated home buying in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and other first-tier cities. In the meantime, developers in many small cities are still grappling with unsold homes.

SF Express set to complete listing in Shenzhen

Cargo aircrafts of SF Express at an airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Jan 30, 2015. [Photo/VCG]

SF Express, one of China's largest courier firms, is set to ring the bell and complete its back-door listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Friday.

After an asset swap that valued the express delivery giant at an estimated 44.8 billion yuan ($6.8 billion), its reverse merger partner Maanshan Dintai Rare Earth & New Materials Co will be officially renamed as SF Express, according to regulatory filings to the local bourse.

The listing will make SF Express the biggest Chinese courier company by market cap, surpassing its rival ZTO Express that went public in October at New York Stock Exchange, raising $1.4 billion.

The move also makes Wang Wei, SF Express's chairman and founder, worth more than 111.1 billion yuan, according to media outlet China Money Network, as he holds 64.6 percent of the merged company via an entity 99.9 percent owned by him.

Founded in 1993, SF Express is known to be backed by leading private equity players including CITIC Capital Holding, Oriza Holdings, China Merchants Group and Jade Capital.

Chinese securities watchdog approved the back-door listing deal in October.

SF Express's listing comes at a time when China's booming courier service sector reported a business revenue of 400 billion yuan last year. Officials of State Post Bureau expect this figure to grow into 500 billion yuan this year.

However, despite the backing of red hot e-commerce businesses, the sector is also plagued by rising labor cost and scandals of staff mistreatment.

 

HTC launches VR cloud data service for tourism sector

An attendee tries out a virtual reality game on HTC Corp's Vive headset at the 2016 Mobile World Congress Shanghai. [Photo/VCG]

Vive, the VR branch of the Taiwan-based smartphone company HTC, unveiled a virtual reality tourism cloud data service platform on Wednesday, dedicated to providing VR-related applications and cloud services for travel agencies in China.

The service platform, a joint effort between HTC Vive, China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and Renwoyou (Xiamen) Technology Development Co Ltd, is set to be launched in more than 200,000 travel agencies in the future. It will offer VR-enabled experiences, electronic visa application, foreign exchange and other services.

CNTA said at a news conference in December 2016 that China had become the world's largest outbound tourism market. The data shows that in 2015, China's total tourism revenue reached 4.13 trillion yuan, and tourists took 4 billion domestic trips, along with 117 million trips abroad.

"As China becomes the world's largest tourism market, we need to use new technologies, such as VR, to continuously facilitate tourism marketing strategies and better develop the market." said Xin Hongye, deputy director of the Information Center of CNTA.

To better serve the clients, the platform uses both VR and augmented reality technologies to plan the journey more seamless and interactive. Putting on a Vive headset, users can turn pages of a "book" to view different destinations via HTC's Vivepaper, an app offering interactive VR contents.

Alvin Wang Graylin, China regional president of HTC Vive, said both potential tourists and the tourism industry would benefit from the VR technology.

"Users can view 360-degree videos of different locations around the world, which will help them choose destinations."

He expects that the travel agencies will enjoy 200 to 300 percent growth in sales with the help of new technologies.

Victoria's Secret opens flagship store in Shanghai

The first flagship store of Victoria's Secret opens to invited customers in Shanghai, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

US fashion brand Victoria's Secret plans to get closer to the skin as it launches its first flagship store in Shanghai today, and its next full assortment store will lift the curtain in Chengdu, Sichuan province, soon.

The new stores provide full range of products compared with the previous concept stores that only sold accessories in the country.

The company also plans to hold its annual fashion show in Shanghai at the end of this year.

A woman explores the flagship store in Shanghai, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A one-piece that was showcased at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on display at Shanghai's flagship outlet, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

A one-piece that was showcased at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on display at Shanghai's flagship outlet, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Lingerie with wings that was showcased at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on display at Shanghai's flagship outlet, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Lingerie with wings that was showcased at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on display at Shanghai's flagship outlet, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Lingerie with wings that was showcased at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show on display at Shanghai's flagship outlet, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Women pose in front of the flagship store in Shanghai, Feb 22, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

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