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    Fathom China

    AAC Technologies: Assessing A Short Attack

    This Fathom China report assess a short-side attack on a Chinese firm. Fathom China has conducted no original research; our goal is instead to assess whether the attack has substance. Gotham City Research (“Gotham”) has issued two reports saying Shenzhen-based AAC Technologies Holdings (“AAC”) has used undisclosed related-party transactions to pad its margins. At the time this report was distributed, AAC had not responded to the accusations....

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    Fathom China

    Lens: Market Leader Has A Small Client Base

    Lens Technology (“Lens”) is a leading maker of protective glass covers for mobile phones. The company was founded by a legendary entrepreneur, a rare self-made woman in an industry dominated by men. The company’s strength lies in making a low-tech product at huge scale. The technology is changing and Lens is playing catch-up to the next big thing—curved glass covers appearing on high-end handsets. Handset giants Apple and Samsung are Lens’s...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Hikvision: Creating Incentives

    In an effort to spur executives to explore new industries, Hikvision creates an incentive plan that seems well balanced.

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    Fathom China

    Inovance: Expanding Into New Markets

    Shenzhen Inovance Technology (“Inovance”) is a leader in industrial automation control products for middle- to high-end manufacturers. The private company’s main product is an “inverter” that switches direct current to alternating current. The biggest market for Inovance’s inverters is elevators in buildings, and Inovance has also moved into more sophisticated devices such as motor-control components for battery-powered vehicles. Inovance stands...

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    Fathom China

    Baidu: Head Of Troubled Unit Sacked For Kickbacks

    In a sign of Baidu’s floundering effort to expand its business beyond search advertising, the company has sacked the head of Nuomi, its once high-flying platform for on-demand services similar to Yelp.

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Great Wall: Steering Through New Regulations

    China’s leading SUV maker could be hurt by changing regulations that encourage fuel-efficient cars, especially cars powered by batteries.

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    Fathom China

    Netease: Dividend Obstacles Surmountable

    The Chinese government has shown no inclination to block dividend payments by overseas listed firms, although Internet companies should make sure their main assets do not lie within variable-interest entities.

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    Fathom China

    iFlytek: The Product Is Sound

    iFlytek is China’s leading maker of speech software, which involves the advanced fields of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The firm licenses its technology to clients,such as makers of mobile phones who need Siri-like voice-activated command systems. iFlytek has not succeeded in selling consumers products of its own. Its academic approach to business, overseen by a stable corps of executives, has yielded terrific research but the...

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    Fathom China

    Yunnan Baiyao: New Shareholder’s Plans Under Wraps

    A leading state-run company making traditional medicine has fallen into the hands of a billionaire entrepreneur who failed to acquire the firm in 2009, and whose plans for his new prize remain hidden.

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Fang Holdings: Home Seller’s Business Needs Renovation

    Fathom China’s negative assessment in May 2015 of Fang Holdings holds up about as well as the online home-sales company’s strategy looks dilapidated, and aggrieved former clients are now enjoying the last laugh.

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Toread: Too Many Business Adventures

    Toread Holding Group (“Toread”) is China’s biggest brand of outdoor products including jackets, boots and tents. Sales have stagnated, forcing Toread to close many of its stores. Recent events suggest that franchisees may hold excess inventory. In an effort to find new markets, the ambitious family-run company has launched a multi-brand strategy for its outdoor gear, and expanded quickly into new businesses. It has invested heavily in travel...

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    Fathom China

    Huishan Dairy: Short Attack Looks Accurate

    A well-known short seller has accused Huishan Dairy of fraud, prompting Fathom China to review its reports on Huishan Dairy – and find that our earlier work revealed Huishan Dairy’s problems and vulnerabilities.

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Dali Foods Recalls Tainted French Bread

    A top snack-food maker has recalled its French bread for excessive bacteria, damaging the company’s reputation.

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    Fathom China

    Spring Airlines: Clear Skies For Budget Airline

    Spring Airlines is China’s first and biggest budget airline, focusing on flights in southern China. Budget carriers in China took to the air only in 2005, when the government first allowed private investment in airlines. Revenue at privately owned Spring Airlines is rising fast for its international routes but falling for domestic routes. One reason is that Spring Airlines is not price-competitive on its top domestic routes but is less expensive...

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    Fathom China

    Sifang Automation: The Local Challenge

    Beijing Sifang Automation (“Sifang Automation”) is a leading maker of hardware and software that helps transmit electricity. It faces some concentration risk as it derives around 80% of its revenue from the two state-run companies that operate China’s electrical grid. Sifang Automation faces a slow but steady decline in revenue in its most important product segment. The cause of the decline seems related to shifts in government spending on grid...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Han’s Laser: Focusing On Higher Power

    Han’s Laser Technology Industry Group (“Han’s Laser”) is China’s biggest maker of laser machines. Such machines use lasers to engrave, etch, cut or weld things like metal, plastic and leather.

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    Fathom China

    Tencent: Rising Fast In Mobile Payments

    Tencent’s fast-rising mobile payment system, Weixin Pay, is a boon to Tencent and threatens Alipay’s dominance of mobile online payments.

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    Fathom China

    BYD: Topping The List Of Illicit Subsidy Recipients

    Unverified online sources indicate that BYD received more in illicit subsidies than any other Chinese maker of battery-powered buses, although the company seems likely to escape punishment.

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    Fathom China

    Beingmate: Struggling With Its Formula

    Beingmate Baby & Child Food (“Beingmate”) is a well-known maker of infant formula that faces trouble from many directions. Revenue and profits have fallen each year since 2013, when Beingmate slashed prices following a price-fixing investigation. Efforts to expand beyond infant formula have been disappointing. Accounts receivable are high as Beingmate has extended credit to its distributors, cash is low, and the company has churned through...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    BYD: More Competition In Buses, A Forced Marriage In Batteries

    China’s biggest maker of battery-powered vehicles faces increased competition in its hometown stronghold of Shenzhen, but should benefit from a forced marriage with a battery-making subsidiary of Samsung Group.

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    Fathom China

    Sanan Optoelectronics: Seeking Brighter Markets

    Sanan Optoelectronics (“Sanan”), is China’s biggest maker of LED chips used in lighting systems. Based in coastal Fujian province, the private company grew quickly with strong government support. It is vertically integrated - it makes the semiconductor material used as the base of LED chips, LED chips themselves, and lights that use LED chips. A challenge facing the company is a glutted chip market and declining prices. Sanan is trying to climb...

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    Fathom China

    Yunnan Baiyao: Product Expansion Falters

    Yunnan Baiyao Group (“Yunnan Baiyao”) is a rare state-owned company that competes at the premium level against foreign brands. Located in remote Yunnan province, Yunnan Baiyao is well known for its traditional Chinese medicine remedies that use a herbal compound, baiyao, to stop bleeding in minor wounds. The company has expanded successfully into toothpaste and bandages and had grand ambitions for other personal-care products like shampoo and...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    TBEA: Power Politics On The New Silk Road

    TBEA builds power transmission equipment, power grids and solar farms, mostly in China’s west. The large private company has ridden the immense wave of development in China’s electric power industry over the last 20 years. It stands to gain further from China’s funding of development in neighboring Central Asia. Beijing’s Belt-and-Road Initiative, designed to help its inland neighbors build power grids and other marvels of heavy industry, will...

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    Fathom China

    Assessing The Risk Of FCPA Investigations

    The US government is investigating 24 listed companies on suspicion of bribing Chinese officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Such investigations usually result in bearable fines and little disruption. Yet Nu Skin derives a much larger share of its revenue from China than any other company being investigated, and could be more at risk.

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    Fathom China

    Heilan Home: Fast Growth Amid Accusations

    Heilan Home is a leading mass-market brand of men’s casual clothes. The company is tightly controlled by its founder, Zhou Jianping, 56, whose business interests extend far beyond men’s clothes and include an ultra-elite horse club. Heilan Home is a rare private firm on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, which it reached through a backdoor listing. The company seems to enjoy strong support from the provincial government of Jiangsu, and is audited by...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Midea: Romancing The Robots

    This special report comes in response to the bid by Midea Group (“Midea”) on May 19 to acquire the German company Kuka, one of the world’s top four robotics firms. Midea is China’s strongest maker of home appliances, and aspires to make both industrial robots that work in factories and service robots that work at home. It is well ahead of domestic home appliance makers in establishing relationships with two of the world’s four leading robotics...

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    Fathom China

    ChinaNetCenter: Comfy In The Cloud

    Shanghai Wangsu Science and Technology is China’s leading provider of the content delivery services that make China’s Internet work faster. The company is known outside China as ChinaNetCenter, and is referred to that way in this report. ChinaNetCenter has eclipsed its competition by staying close to its customers and emphasizing research. Its industry is expanding fast, and ChinaNetCenter seems able to expand with it.

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    Fathom China

    Baidu: Company And Government Manage PR Crisis

    A scandal involving Baidu’s dubious advertising practices will likely have a negligible long-term impact on the company’s bottom line.

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    Fathom China

    Rumors Of Listing Restrictions Roil Markets

    Rumors say China’s securities regulator will suspend domestic listings of Chinese companies that delist from US stock markets in hopes of listing in China at higher valuations.

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    Fathom China

    Shanghai Jahwa: More Than Cosmetic Problems

    Shanghai Jahwa United (“Shanghai Jahwa”) owns several well-known brands of face cream and other personal-care products. The company is struggling to recover from a disastrous boardroom brawl following the acquisition of its parent in 2011 by China’s biggest private insurer, Ping An Insurance (“Ping An”). Ping An forced out Shanghai Jahwa’s chairman and most senior executives after uncovering huge undisclosed related-party transactions. China’s...

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    Fathom China

    Tianneng: Accused Of Fabricating Numbers

    A writer in a reputable securities magazine says China’s biggest maker of vehicle batteries has jolted its books.

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    Fathom China

    BYD: Scams Cause Bus Subsidy Pain

    Beijing is expected to attack rampant subsidy scams by reducing grants for the purchase of electric buses, which would hurt BYD and other makers of battery-powered buses.

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    Fathom China

    Hikvision: Profiting From The Surveillance State

    Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology (“Hikvision”) is the world’s biggest seller of security cameras and surveillance equipment. It is by far China’s leader in the field, the market is booming, and it faces only one significant but much weaker competitor. Hikvision specializes in digital cameras and recording equipment for use in the public and private sectors, with a quarter of its sales coming from abroad. Its main shareholder, China...

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    Fathom China

    Women’s Shoe Seller Daphne Slips Up

    China’s second-biggest seller of women’s shoes has overbuilt its retail stores and now faces massive store closures.

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    Fathom China

    Vipshop Accused Of Selling Smuggled Bird Nests

    Vipshop faces accusations of illegally importing edible bird nests. Although the likelihood of punishment is small, the kerfuffle shows that Vipshop may be struggling as it moves away from clearance sales and toward everyday retail.

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    Fathom China

    Evergrande Sacks Its New Head Of Finance

    Real estate giant Evergrande has sacked the head of its high-profile finance unit in a move that suggests its new insurance business is on the rocks.

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    Fathom China

    Hundsun Technologies: Recovering From Disaster

    Hundsun Technologies (“Hundsun”) provides software and services to brokerages, insurance companies, stock exchanges and others involved in China’s capital markets. One of its most important and prestigious roles is providing the technology used to clear trades between the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges. Hundsun was hit with a huge fine for selling illegal products that exacerbated China’s stock market crash in July 2015, but the company...

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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    Jiangling Motors: Following Ford’s Lead

    Jiangling Motors Corp (“JMC”) is a joint venture with Ford Motor Company (“Ford”). JMC’s products are mostly small trucks and buses that carry the JMC or Ford brand names. JMC faces a tough market. Its most important segment is light trucks, and light truck sales are falling in China. The only vehicle segment in China that is booming is SUVs, yet JMC’s slate of SUVs is small and sales have been disappointing. The company hopes a new Ford model...

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    Gavekal Dragonomics

    Chasing The Recession In Shaanxi

    We all know that big swaths of China are suffering, especially areas dependent on the declining coal and steel industries. Matt spent his Chinese New Year break in a poor county of Shaanxi province to see what things are like on the ground. He did not find what he expected: conditions are neither as dire as he feared nor as good as he hoped.

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    Fathom China

    Short Report: Executive Departures At China Overseas Land

    A string of executive departures at China Overseas Land and Investment seems to have hurt operations.

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