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Katherine Peavy

In Due Time: China’s business environment makes the case for due diligence

The South China Morning Post headline jumped out at me: Steel Princessstrading company in liquidation. I leaned a little closer to my neighbor on Hong Kong’s Star Ferry to read over his shoulder. The article claimed that liquidators were looking for about US$500 million that the company should have had in the bank. “Yes!”I mentally fist-pumped. Some people might view a missing half-a-billion as a failure, for me the headline meant success. I had investigated the CEO of Pioneer Iron and Steel, dubbed the “Steel Princess”by the press, on behalf of a client.

Fortunately, occasions when front-page headlines support the analysis in a due diligence report remain rare. On this occasion, the bankruptcy of Pioneer Iron and Steel leading to transfers of company assets from the trading company to other entities owned by the Pioneer Metals Group fulfilled the worst-case risk scenario in a due diligence report I’d given to a client a few years before. The largest risk, depending on what business the client planned to do with Pioneer, was that the corporate structure allowed for undocumented asset transfers. I never expected to see the exact risk we’d documented on the front page of a newspaper.

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Henry Yu

China’s Currency Reforms from a Banker’s Perspective

China’s Currency Reforms from a Banker’s Perspective: A Conversation with Henry Yu, Managing Director of Fifth Third Bank, Atlanta, Georgia.

Introduction

As China’s economy moves ever closer to surpassing the U.S. in terms of purchasing power GDP, China’s currency system seems incompatible with its global economic status. China’s new leadership led by President Xi Jinping is pushing to modernize and marketize the currency system along with necessary concurrent reforms. The 2008 financial crisis was a wake-up call for many countries, demonstrating the heavy dependence of the global economy on the U.S. dollar. The vulnerability of the U.S. economy became everyone’s challenge. Reform of the Renminbi (RMB) became a priority in order to establish the Chinese currency as a global player and lessen China’s reliance on the U.S. dollar. Aside from the fallout from the financial crisis, the sheer size of China’s cross-border trade is creating demand for far more depth and flexibility in the currency markets.

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Murphree

The China Standards Engine

MurphreeChina’s accomplishments in economic modernization, urbanization, industrialization, and science and technology are legion. The question to which China watchers, as well as the Chinese state, have now turned is how will China spur and sustain its future economic development? Research and media reports have shown that the low-wage, capital-intensive, and export-oriented strategies using China as a final assembly platform are providing diminishing returns. Future growth will be both slower and more difficult. China must therefore find new engines for economic progress.

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Chen Li

China’s Push for Urbanization and Its Accompanying Challenges

Chen LiUrbanization has been the new buzzword in China ever since the opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (NCCPC) in November 2012. Former President Hu Jintao’s report outlined the tremendous growth in China since economic reforms started more than 30 years ago. For example, China now has the second-largest economy in the world. In 2012 its per capita GDP reached USD$6,100 (National Bureau of Statistics 2012).

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