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E.g., 2017-09-22
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    Fathom China

    China Dairy: Mengniu Turns Sour, Yili Looks Creamy

    China’s dairy industry is dominated by two giants who together control 33% of the market: China Mengniu Dairy (“Mengniu”) and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group (“Yili”). Both face the twin problems of low milk prices and slow milk-consumption growth. The two seem to be converging from very different backgrounds. Mengniu started as a freewheeling private firm but was brought under government control; Yili started as a state-owned company but...

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    Online Lottery: Hoping The Ban Lifts

    China’s online lottery is forbidden fruit—juicy and banned. Selling online lottery products, including sports gambling, will almost certainly enable whatever companies receive a license to hit the revenue jackpot. The consensus opinion of people who profess to know the government’s thinking is that the 2015 ban will end, but when is anybody’s guess. Few expected it to last this long. Two companies will likely stand at the front of the line for...

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    LotSynergy: Clinging To A Contract

    The main business of China LotSynergy Holdings until 2015 was to supply video lottery terminals – basically slot machines – to China’s lottery. Then LotSynergy lost its exclusive supply contract amid a corruption scandal in which top lottery officials vanished into detention. LotSynergy says it has the right of first refusal when the contract opens up for tender but Fathom China is skeptical.

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    Man Wah: Bubba Goes To Beijing

    Man Wah Holdings (“Man Wah”) came from nowhere to dominate the US market for “motion upholstery,” otherwise known as reclining furniture. Family-run Man Wah operates vertically integrated furniture factories and sells under its own brand, Cheers. When its low-priced, innovative products hit US markets around 2007, they were just what American couch potatoes wanted, and revenue soared. Recent competition from Chinese rivals has forced Man Wah to...

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    China Lodging: Facing Angry Franchisees

    China’s second-biggest hotel chain, China Lodging Group (“China Lodging”) is well run and has a sound expansion plan. The company’s franchise model has allowed it to grow fast and meet strong demand for low-priced hotels; now it is moving into mid-priced hotels. Yet China Lodging faces a big new challenge: angry and empowered franchisees. The company’s franchisees in mid 2016 created a collective-bargaining organization and launched street...

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    Xinyi Solar: Sunny Year Ahead

    Xinyi Solar Holdings (“Xinyi Solar”) is China’s biggest maker of glass for solar cells, which are arrayed into solar panels to generate power from the sun. The company was in 2013 spun off from Xinyi Glass Holdings (“Xinyi Glass”), the subject of a related Fathom Profile in January 2017. Family-run Xinyi Solar is well managed and enjoys a good reputation, and its political connections run to the highest level of the Communist Party. Its clients...

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    Xinyi Glass: Strong Company, Fragile Market

    Xinyi Glass Holdings (“Xinyi Glass”) ranks among China’s top glass makers. Its main product is float glass, most of which is sold directly to construction companies. Some of Xinyi Glass’s float glass is also processed into higher-margin products such as insulated or tinted construction glass, or automobile glass. Family-run Xinyi Glass is well managed and enjoys a good reputation. Its main challenges are external – the float glass industry is...

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    51job: Waiting For Upstarts To Wither

    51job is China’s biggest online job-recruitment website, and one of its oldest. Its market share is shrinking due to competition from specialized websites, or “verticals,” that target specific industries. Yet thanks to fast growth in the online recruitment market, 51job’s revenue is expanding and its leading position in the industry looks secure in the short term. The company turned profitable in 2002 and now earns two-thirds of its revenue...

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    China Biologic: The Quest For More Plasma

    China Biologic Products (“China Biologic”) ranks among China’s biggest makers of plasma products in a nation with a severe shortage of a key raw material: human plasma. Raw plasma comes from paid donors and is converted into products that treat blood disorders. Donors are sadly few because of the stigma of poverty and the lingering effects of past health scandals. Yet two recent changes bode well. First, the government lifted price caps on...

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    Ctrip: Dominating A Changing Industry

    Ctrip.com International (“Ctrip”) stands as China’s unrivaled online travel agency, or OTA. The well-run company’s purchase of Qunar Cayman Islands (“Qunar,” pronounced CHOO-nar) in late 2015 neutralized a top rival and ended a profit-killing price war. Government regulations have led to big changes in the market. The country’s state-owned airlines want to direct ticket buyers away from agencies and OTAs and toward their own sites. Although that...

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    BYD: Subsidies Spark Electric Car Sales

    After years of false starts, BYD is China’s top seller of battery-powered passenger cars and a respectable number five in battery-powered buses. The big-talking private company, which also makes traditional cars and batteries, can thank the government for creating the market. But BYD faces many challenges. Fickle government subsidies to buyers have caused market havoc. Scams are rampant, with cities collecting subsidies for ghost fleets and...

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    On-Demand Services: Baidu Struggles

    This report examines China’s on-demand industry, sometimes referred to as “online-to-offline,” or O2O. Specifically, we assess the competitive prowess of Baidu in three categories: food takeout, restaurant coupons and movie ticketing. In all areas, we find that Baidu compares unfavorably to rivals backed by either e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding (“Alibaba”) or social-media king Tencent Holdings (“Tencent”). All well-funded Internet giants...

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    Sino Biopharmaceutical: Good Assets, Bad Disclosures

    Sino Biopharmaceutical (Sino Bio) is related to Thailand’s biggest company, agribusiness giant Charoen Pokphand (“CP Group”). Chairman Tse Ping is nephew to CP Group’s billionaire tycoon chairman. Sino Bio itself is a holding company that operates mostly through joint ventures with state-owned companies. Its most important firms are market leaders in drugs that combat hepatitis. The biggest of those companies enjoy good reputations and operate...

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    New Oriental Education: Facing The Test

    New Oriental Education and Technology Group (“New Oriental”) is China’s best-known tutoring company in a nation of compulsive students. It maintains a strong market position but its revenue sources are changing fast. New Oriental made its name helping older students prepare for overseas university entrance exams, yet such enrollment is in decline. Instead, half of New Oriental’s revenue now comes from students in kindergarten through 12th grade...

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    Profile: Kingsoft

    HK:3888—Thanks to Amazon, the US cloud-services industry is finally profitable. The company’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services (“AWS”), contributed more than half of Amazon’s operating profit in late 2015. Who might become the AWS of China? One commonly mentioned candidate is Kingsoft Cloud, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Kingsoft. This report examines Kingsoft Cloud’s role within Kingsoft and within the constellation of firms owned by Kingsoft...

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    Profile: Vipshop Holdings

    Vipshop has become the go-to online discount store for brands seeking to dump excess inventory. But the firm is now transitioning away from its initial business model, as it it increasingly also sells non-discounted, in-season clothing. So far, Vipshop’s shift does not appear to have alienated its mainly young and female customer base.

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    Profile: Alibaba Health Information Technology

    Ali Health, one of several offspring of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, plans to sell drugs online and provide cloud-based services for hospitals and patients. But because China’s health care system is dominated by powerful hospitals and overseen by weak regulators, Ali Health’s grand plans to take health care online have limited prospects.

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    Profile: JD.com

    JD.com is the biggest challenger to China’s undisputed heavyweight ecommerce champion, Alibaba Group. JD.com is a retailer rather than a platform for third-party sellers. This business model means JD.com is saddled with higher logistics costs, but also earns loyalty from customers who like its quick service and quality assurance.

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    Profile: China Huishan Dairy Holdings

    Huishan Dairy is one of many firms cashing on China’s surging demand for dairy products. Huishan says much of its growth comes from northeastern China, particularly its home province of Liaoning. We examined Huishan’s operations in Liaoning and found minimal evidence of the rapid growth that the company claims in its public statements.

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    Profile: Soufun Holdings

    Soufun Holdings

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