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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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    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

    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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    Fathom China

    Hollysys: Beset By Challenges

    Hollysys Automation Technologies (“Hollysys”) makes systems that control industrial processes such as power plants, rail lines and petrochemicals. The former state-owned firm was privatized and taken public through a reverse merger. Hollysys faces stiff challenges. It earns much of its revenue from small to mid-sized coal-fired power plants that are under pressure to close, and its railway systems face strong competitive pressure. The company is...

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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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    Fathom China

    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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    Fathom China

    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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    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

    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

    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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    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

    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

    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: 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

    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

    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

    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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    Fathom China

    Profile: Soufun Holdings

    Soufun Holdings

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Biostime International Holdings

    Biostime is an up-and-coming leader in China’s infant-formula industry. Its has the most successful domestic brand at the high end of the market, and its new medium-priced brand is expanding quickly into lower-tier cities. Chinese consumers like Biostime’s products because they are imported—indeed, many buyers mistakenly think they are French.

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    Profile: Hanergy

    Hanergy Thin Film Power Group (“HTF”) is a much maligned company owned by China’s richest man. It produces equipment that makes thin-film solar panels. HTF sells nearly all its equipment to its parent company, Hanergy Holding Group (“Hanergy Holding”), which makes solar panels and sells them back to HTF for use on rooftops or solar farms. Such circular dealings leave many questions, including whether either company produces in quantities that it...

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    Profile: Youku Tudou

    Youku Tudou (Cayman) (“Youku”) is China’s best-known online video site. Do not confuse its services with those of YouTube, which provides mostly user-generated content like home videos. Youku is more like Netflix in emphasizing TV shows and movies. Youku faces serious new challenges. Increased competition has bid up the cost for premium content that viewers demand. Its most formidable competitors are part of big, rich conglomerates, whereas...

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    Profile: China Luxury Still Glitters

    Many observers believe that China’s luxury market, caught between the twin pincers of an anti-corruption campaign and an economic slowdown, faces a long-term decline. Our research does not support this view. To the contrary, China’s increasingly sophisticated consumers are spending more on a wide range of luxury products, with a few categories as exceptions. The change from several years ago is that much of this spending has moved overseas,...

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    Profile: Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holdings

    Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding

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    Profile: Great Wall Motor: Off The Road

    Great Wall Motor was once considered China’s most promising private car company. It had an excellent reputation, a strong and charismatic founder, a strong position in the fast-growing market for SUVs, and a head start in exporting cars to developed markets. Today, Great Wall risks losing its way.

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Wuxi PharmaTech (Cayman)

    Wuxi PharmaTech (Cayman)

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Jumei International Holding

    Jumei International Holding

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Due Diligence: Don't Get Fooled Again

    Many investors in Chinese firms check their skepticism at the border, and so have been easy prey for short sellers who benefit from exposing fraudulent companies. This report shows how investors can gain confidence that Chinese companies will be unlikely to come under successful short attacks. Solid due diligence can prevent a lot of pain.

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    Profile: Nu Skin Enterprises

    Nu Skin Enterprises

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Gome Electrical Appliances Holding

    Gome Electrical Appliances Holding

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Qihoo 360 Technology

    Qihoo 360 Technology

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    Profile: UnionPay: Breaking The Monopoly

    The way that billions of people pay for things is in flux across the world. No sooner had consumers grown accustomed to using bank cards instead of cash than the next big thing, online payments, swept onto the scene. In China, a giant state-owned firm called China UnionPay (“UnionPay”) has long straddled most payment channels as the only authorized bank card network. UnionPay is a government-controlled cousin to Visa or MasterCard, with its logo...

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    Profile: China Huishan Dairy Holdings

    China Huishan Dairy Holdings

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    Fathom China

    Profile: RexLot Holdings

    RexLot Holdings

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Great Wall Motor

    Great Wall

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Tingyi: Scale Vs Margins

    Two family-controlled companies from Taiwan are battling for supremacy in China’s fast-growing convenience food industry. Although both specialize in instant noodles and soft drinks, they have strikingly different strategies. The larger, Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding, distributes across China and focuses on scale. The smaller, Uni-President China Holdings, prefers to pursue high margins by limiting its distribution and promoting innovative new...

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    Fathom China

    Profile: NetEase

    NetEase

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Baidu: In Search Of A Mobile Strategy

    Baidu is heading into its toughest period of competition since Google withdrew from China in 2010. Of the country’s three internet giants, Baidu has been the slowest in adapting to the mobile internet. Its main competitors, Tencent and Alibaba, have market-altering mobile apps that can likely earn huge profits: Tencent with WeChat and Alibaba with its stake in Sina Weibo. Those two companies now dominate mobile e-commerce and social media,...

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    Fathom China

    Profile: InTime Retail Group

    InTime Retail Group

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Li Ning

    Li Ning

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Tencent: Winning At Games

    China’s biggest listed internet company, Tencent Holdings,stands nearly alone in figuring out how to earn money by offering freetechnology. Common online business models like advertising and e-commercecontribute little to Tencent, though they comprise nearly all revenue at itsChinese competitors along with global giants Google, Facebook and Amazon.Instead, Tencent earns billions of dollars selling virtual things, like clothesfor online game...

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Alibaba: Open, Says Ma

    From humble origins, Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group has grown to dominate one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing parts of China’s economy: e-commerce. Ma’s vision of remaking Chinese business through the leveling force of online transactions might have seemed grandiose a decade ago, but Alibaba isnow a household name and shopping online is as commonplace as it is in the US. About 80% of China’s consumer e-commerce transactions pass through its...

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holdings

    Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Belle International Holdings

    Belle International Holdings

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Ping An Insurance (Group)

    Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Subsidies: Public Funds For Private Firms

    Everyone knows that the Chinese government subsidizes companies. We tend to think those subsidies go mainly to state-owned firms. In reality, though, lots of private companies feed at the public trough. Today’s investigation by our friends at Fathom China found that 45 out of 50 big Chinese private firms listed in Hong Kong or New York enjoyed subsidy support, usually from local governments and generally to support capital investment. A few...

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    Fathom China

    Profile: China Mengniu Dairy

    China Mengniu Dairy

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    Fathom China

    Project A: Kingdee International Software Group

    Kingdee International Software Group

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    Fathom China

    Profile: Geely: The Swedish Gamble

    China’s love affair with the automobile over the past decade has led to two types of car companies: joint ventures between foreign brands and state enterprises, and upstart private-sector firms making cheap cars. In the second category, Geely ranks among the best. The company is run by a self-described peasant who maintains absolute control over a large number of auto makers and suppliers, some listed and some not. This report focuses on the...

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    Profile: Sany Heavy Industry: Coping With Collapse

    Good luck taking a snapshot anywhere in China without framing a bulldozer, excavator or crane. China’s 20-year construction orgy has meant boom times for makers of construction equipment, who have grown accustomed to 20% annual growth. Leading the way is Sany Heavy Industry, a spunky private company that has made dollar billionaires of its four entrepreneurial founders by producing many kinds of big outdoor construction machinery. But with...

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    Profile: Yurun Food: How Piggy Gets To Market

    In an increasingly carnivorous nation, you would expect China’s biggest private pork producer, China Yurun Food Group, to be in hog heaven. Instead, a series of food-safety and other scandals have left consumers afraid to buy Yurun’s meat and investors afraid to buy its stock. Given that Yurun’s marketing message has always emphasized that its sausages and meat cuts are safer than unbranded meat, the company’s safety problems will remain hard to...

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    Profile: Chinese Reverse Mergers: Ten Questions About Dodgy Deals

    Chinese reverse mergers: Ten questions about dodgy deals

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    Ten Questions About Dodgy Deals

    Everybody is afraid of Chinese stocks, and for good reason. So far in 2011, the value of Chinese companies listed in the US has fallen 25%, while Nasdaq’s overall valuation has remained flat. Driving down Chinese share prices was a series of high-profile fraud scandals involving Chinese firms that reached US exchanges without submitting to the scrutiny of an initial public offering. These “reverse-merger” companies have caught justifiable blame...

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    Profile: ENN Energy: Kiss My Gas

    ENN Energy: State competitors say, "Kiss my gas"

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    Profile: Ping An Insurance: Building A Financial Supermarket

    Ping An Insurance: Building a financial supermarket

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    Profile: Gome: From Landlord To Retailer

    Gome: From landlord to retailer

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    Profile: GCL Poly: Perfect Solar Timing

    GCL Poly: Perfect solar timing

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    Profile: Baidu: In Search Of A China Internet Strategy

    Baidu: In search of a China internet strategy

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    Profile: Peak Sport Products: Profiting In The Hinterland

    Athletic footwear maker Peak Sport Products Company Ltd found success by selling athletic shoes to a rising middle class in remote Chinese cities. Peak is not alone – at least four other sneaker makers from the same small city in eastern Fujian province have listed on overseas stock markets, and all started by stitching together millions of pairs of shoes for the likes of Nike, Adidas and other top-flight brands. These new Chinese arrivals,...

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    Profile: BYD: China's Electric Car Pioneer

    BYD: China's electric car pioneer

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