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    Fathom China

    Ping An Good Doctor: Living Off Its Parent

    Ping An Good Doctor seems like a candidate for a short attack. The company earns about half its money from related-party transactions with its parent. It also spent nearly US$100mn to buy a firm from its parent for reasons that are unclear, then recorded nearly all the assets as intangible. The structure of PAGD’s variable-interest entity in China was strange from the start, and now that the owners of the VIE have resigned from PAGD’s board, it...

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    Fathom China

    JD: Seeking A Growth Strategy

    China’s number-two e-commerce company is known for quick deliveries of genuine products, especially electronics. Yet JD’s traditional strengths provide fewer advantages today. Competitors who operate third-party platforms, like Alibaba Group Holding (“Alibaba”), provide more products, deliver almost as fast and have earned consumers’ trust. In response, JD wants to expand toward lower-income users in the countryside, and to promote its own third...

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    Fathom China

    Haitian Food: Tight Channels Impede Growth

    Several online sources of varying reliability have indicated that Foshan Haitian Flavoring and Food (“Haitian”), a maker of condiments that include soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil, has sold more product to its distributors than its distributors can sell to retailers—a practice known as “stuffing the channels.” Such practices would enable Haitian to hit revenue targets in the short term but would cause long-terms sales declines as...

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    Fathom China

    Baozun: Dominating A Low-Margin Industry

    Baozun is China’s biggest provider of end-to-end e-commerce services for major brands. It does everything companies need to run online stores—warehousing, marketing, call centers, web-page design and more. Baozun’s leading position looks secure as big foreign companies, which constitute most of its customers, appear pleased with its services.

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    Fathom China

    Alibaba: Making Nice With The State

    Many observers of China’s internet companies have a perception that Alibaba Group Holding (“Alibaba”) is in trouble with the government. We have heard concerns that Alibaba is too big to control, too rich at a time of looming economic hardship, and that now-retired founder Jack Ma is too powerful. Two developments support that theory: Ma’s resignation, and a new e-commerce law that took effect in January 2019. Yet Fathom China disagrees. We see...

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    Fathom China

    Baidu: Falling From The Ranks

    Baidu is falling from the ranks of the great powers. Unlike the other BAT companies, Alibaba Group Holding (“Alibaba”) and Tencent Holdings (“Tencent”), Baidu has not thrived on mobile phones or in markets outside its core search business. Instead, Baidu’s effort to scrape more income from search has alienated users, who increasingly find Baidu’s results irrelevant or even dangerous. Baidu has good prospects in the booming market of cloud...

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    Fathom China

    Dingli: Poised For A Lift

    Zhejiang Dingli Machinery (“Dingli”) enjoyed first-mover advantage in China’s soaring market for aerial work platforms—machinery like cherry pickers that allow workers to operate safely from several stories high. Dingli started early, built a technology advantage and has a strong distribution network. Although it is considered expensive in China, its equipment still sells at 20% less than that of foreign competitors. Dingli is poised to benefit...

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    Fathom China

    Han’s Laser: A Story With More Holes Than Swiss Cheese

    Han’s Laser Technology Industry Group (“Han’s Laser”) misled shareholders about a huge real-estate investment in Switzerland. The company bought a property in the ski village of Engelberg and called it a research center. As the small renovation budget swelled to US$140mn, Han’s Laser told a series of half-truths to hide its real plan: owning a tourism hotel. The investment creates manifold opportunities for undisclosed related-party transactions...

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    Fathom China

    Sino Biopharm: Industry Reforms Are A Tough Pill

    Sino Biopharmaceutical (“Sino Biopharm”) is one of China’s most successful drug makers, but it faces headwinds. The politically well-connected firm is a holding company with 30 subsidiaries, and this report focuses on the three most important. All are under pressure from government efforts to cut drug prices, and sales revenue is falling for many of Sino Biopharm’s top drugs. In search of new markets, Sino Biopharm is shifting from its...

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    Fathom China

    Kingdee: Leading The Transition To Cloud

    Kingdee International Software Group (“Kingdee”) is one of China’s largest suppliers of business process management software. Its products help businesses integrate and automate supply chain management, customer relations, human resources and other functions. Most revenue still comes from on-premise software that clients install on their own servers. The next step up in technology is to the cloud, where Kingdee’s main service is software-as-a-...

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    Fathom China

    Hengrui: Regulatory Reforms Create Uncertainties

    Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine (“Hengrui”) is a leading Chinese drug firm that grew by making generic medications whose patents have expired. An estimated 70% of its revenue comes from generics, especially those that fight cancer. Recent government reforms are driving down drug prices, threatening Hengrui’s margins and profits. Following a few years of market chaos, the company’s position should improve as small rivals drop out and unit sales increase...

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    Fathom China

    JD Logistics: Great Service At Great Expense

    China’s second-biggest e-commerce company, JD.com (“JD”), in 2016 launched a new business—it opened its logistics services to non-JD merchants. JD had long been known for its vertically integrated warehousing and deliveries, in contrast with industry leader Alibaba Group Holdings (“Alibaba”), which outsources both. JD tried to turn a cost center into a profit center in 2017 by creating JD Logistics (“JDL”). JDL will deliver pretty much anything...

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    Fathom China

    Yirendai: Strategic Retreat

    Yirendai ranks among China’s top companies in the troubled industry of online peer-to-peer lending, or P2P. Its platform puts together individual borrowers and lenders, and charges high fees. To protect consumers from usurious interest rates and Ponzi schemes, Beijing has passed a spate of regulations that are driving smaller firms out of business. Yirendai will likely rank among the survivors but with limited room for growth. The company’s...

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    Fathom China

    Tencent Games: Culture Industry Under Pressure

    The Chinese government in March 2018 stopped approving new online games. The cessation hurts Tencent Holdings (“Tencent”), which earns 37% of its revenue from games. A government restructuring that has clogged the approval pipeline is widely misunderstood. It is part of the Communist Party’s tightening grip on the audio-visual industry, including games. Game approvals will resume when the current phase of grip-tightening is complete, which is...

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    Fathom China

    Autobio: Solid Reputation, Tight Executive Group

    Autobio Diagnostics is poised to benefit from China’s booming healthcare services industry. The company has a good reputation but a few odd points. It has escaped controversy in an industry that is beset by scandal, although Fathom China thinks it should do a better job of explaining why its reported gross margins are so high.

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    Fathom China

    Dali Foods: Consumers Want More

    Dali Foods Group (“Dali Foods”) is a large family-controlled maker of snack foods and drinks. It is known as a copycat that develops inexpensive me-too products, promotes them with celebrity-based marketing campaigns, and distributes them to lower-income consumers across vast swathes of China. Yet Dali Foods’ target demographic is shrinking as incomes rise, and even lower-end consumers are now looking for higher-quality fresh and healthy foods....

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    Fathom China

    58.com: Strong Position In Online Listings

    Attached is our report on China’s leading online listings business, 58.com, sometimes called the Craigslist of China. The company is in a strong position. It faces no major competitors in its two main business lines: real estate and blue-collar recruitment. Management looks steady. A series of restructurings raised concerns but 58.com seems to have come through well. This is one of Fathom China’s more upbeat reports.

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    YY: Contending With Short Video

    Attached is our report on China’s pioneering livestreaming company, YY, which faces new challenges. The biggest is the quick rise of popular apps that share short videos and compete for eyeballs among YY’s user demographic. At the same time, more livestreaming competitors force YY to share more revenue with its hosts. Oddly, government crackdowns on livestreaming and short videos work to YY’s advantage by forcing its more adventurous competitors...

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    Fathom China

    BYD: New Subsidy Regime, New Battery Challenger

    The world’s biggest maker of battery-powered vehicles, BYD, faces a tricky transition. Markets for the private company’s electric vehicles, or EVs, have long been driven by government subsidies for buyers. Beijing is curtailing subsidies for buyers in favor of incentives to boost supply. If Beijing’s scheme succeeds, BYD will almost certainly benefit. If not, then BYD will face a setback just as pressure from other EV makers grows. Meanwhile,...

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    Fathom China

    Beijing Enterprises Water Group: Local Finance Faces Freeze

    Beijing Enterprises Water Group (“BEWG”) is China’s biggest water treatment company. The state-owned firm builds facilities to clean the water that flows into homes and factories, and to treat the sewage that flows out. It has also moved into restoring waterways that suffered heavy pollution during China’s 40-year industrial boom. Although state-owned, BEWG’s leaders come from an entrepreneurial private company acquired in 2008. Key to BEWG’s...

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