Maverick China analysts are regularly quoted in the Chinese and international media. Below is a collection of our latest media quotes.

China's SAFE slaps cap on overseas UnionPay cash withdrawal -- South China Morning Post

by Jing Yang and Don Weinland

Move reflects rising concerns over capital outflows, illicit money transfers

The gatekeeper of China's foreign exchange has moved to plug a loophole in the capital account by capping the value of overseas withdrawals on bank cards, amid rising concerns over capital outflows and illicit money transfers.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange has slapped an annual cap on overseas cash withdrawals for UnionPay cardholders at 100,000 yuan or its equivalent per card, effective next year, according to a circular sent to banks and seen by the South China Morning Post.

The new rules are in addition to the 10,000 yuan equivalent daily cap per UnionPay cardholder. Between October 1 and December 31, overseas withdrawals will be limited to 50,000 yuan equivalent.

SAFE requires banks to add accounts that exceed the cap to a watch-list and forbid further cash withdrawals outside of China. SAFE said the measures were designed to rein in potential money-laundering activities.

A source familiar with Chinese banking and capital markets regulation said the move was "aimed at fixing one of the loopholes in the existing regulatory regime".

Earlier this month, SAFE ordered banks to monitor "abnormal" accounts that register frequent cross-border fund transfers. Under current SAFE rules, Chinese nationals can apply to convert up to US$50,000 or equivalent every year, and carry cash up to 20,000 yuan or equivalent at border checkpoints. The absence of a stricter limit on cash withdrawals from overseas had been flagged as a problem.

"Theoretically, you could withdraw 3.65 million yuan a year from outside of China, circumventing the US$50,000 cap," said the source.

The cap follows circulars that SAFE issued earlier this month in which it ordered banks to step up vigilance on cross-border foreign exchange payments.

Still, the withdrawal cap did not address another obvious escape route, the number of cards for which an individual can apply, a matter that falls in the jurisdiction of the People's Bank of China. "The central bank is unlikely to step in for now, as it already has a full plate of issues to deal with," the source said.

Boaz Rottenberg, the chairman and founder of Maverick China Research, a consulting firm focused on payments in China, said banks had been clamping down on the number of cards that they issue to individuals, in an effort to rein in money laundering.

"It is getting more difficult to hold many cards," he said "Not sure if there are any regulations on this but banks are stricter than they used to be."

Bill Sims, a managing director at Stroz Friedberg (Asia), questions the effectiveness of the new limits on stamping out money laundering, the first step of which is to legitimise ill-gotten gains.

"The argument that curbing the amount of overseas withdrawals as a way to rein in potential money-laundering activities doesn't really apply as by that stage the money has arguably already become legitimate," Sims said.

"It would be far more effective to identify how the money got into the account, rather than to stop it leaving. This appears to be more about preventing capital outflows."

Click here for the original article

Bilateral trade with Israel grows -- China Daily

Ties tightened through visits, committee and increases in investments

By Boaz Rottenberg

Relations between China and Israel strengthened after a series of high-level visits over the past year, according to the Israel Chamber of Commerce in China. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China last year, followed by Israel’s Economy Minister, Naftali Bennet, in July, 2013 and President Shimon Peres last month. IsCham, a non-profit organization that promotes trade and investment between China and Israel, said the visits marked a turning point in Sino- Israeli economic relations as bilateral trade grows.

Read more: Bilateral trade with Israel grows -- China Daily

Reports highlights growth of mobile commerce in China -- Mobile Commerce Press

MOBILE PAYMENTS CONTINUE TO GROW IN CHINA

Maverick China Research, a market research firm based in China, has released a new report concerning mobile payments and the favor they garnered among consumers in 2013. Mobile commerce has become a powerful force in China, especially as ownership of smartphones and tablets continues to rise at a rapid pace. A growing number of people are showing a strong interest in shopping online, using their mobile devices to find and purchase products that they are interested in.

 

Read more: Reports highlights growth of mobile commerce in China -- Mobile Commerce Press

On the street, China's Jingdong aims to steal march on Alibaba -- Reuters

(Reuters) - Courier Chen Honglei packs boxes of clothing, appliances and utensils into his electric three-wheeler to deliver to customers in northwestern Beijing, helping China's second largest e-commerce company Jingdong maintain its logistics edge in a cut-throat market.

The Beijing-based firm, also known as JD.com, operates its own network of couriers and warehouses, a factor it says ensures timely and efficient delivery. Larger rivals Tmall and Taobao, the online marketplaces run by mega-firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, still depend on merchants and external courier firms for their logistics.

Read more: On the street, China's Jingdong aims to steal march on Alibaba -- Reuters

Alibaba to transform China's 'e-conomy' with $500 billion marketplace -- Thomson Reuters

(Reuters) - Alibaba Group's plans to revolutionize China's retail industry, investing $16 billion in logistics and support by 2020, will open up China's vast interior and bring access to hundreds of millions of potential new customers.

Read more: Alibaba to transform China's 'e-conomy' with $500 billion marketplace -- Thomson Reuters

UnionPay just woke up to China’s e-payment bonanza -- China Economic Review

An official at China UnionPay just searched "third party payment" on his computer and he's rubbing his sleep-filled eyes in disbelief.

Between April and June, a horde of non-financial firms channeled US$196 billion (RMB1.2 trillion) via online transactions, up 10% on the first three months of the year, according to Beijing-based consultancy iResearch. China's central bank grants UnionPay, a state-backed bank card monopoly, the right to take a cut of many of these transactions. Until now, however, many of the digital transactions are still processed under the company's nose as if it had been sleeping.

Read more: UnionPay just woke up to China’s e-payment bonanza -- China Economic Review

Transactional Banking and Mobile Payments in China: An Emerging Opportunity - Knowledge Wharton

When Chinese shoppers flocked to Apple stores for the new iPhone launch earlier this year, news reports highlighted the reaction as another sign of the dynamic and rapidly evolving mobile market in China. Indeed, analysts said, China is now not only largest overall mobile phone market in the world, with more than 900 million subscribers – it also is the largest smart-phone market in the world, moving past the U.S. Apple itself noted that iPhone sales in Greater China were up fivefold in the firstquarter of 2012, compared with a year ago.

Read more: Transactional Banking and Mobile Payments in China: An Emerging Opportunity - Knowledge Wharton

Visa, MC still face hurdles in China after WTO ruling - Reuters

(Reuters) U.S. bank card suppliers looking to take on China UnionPay in its home market after the WTO ruled Beijing illegally favors the state-owned network will be battling a deeply entrenched incumbent with 2.5 billion cards in circulation worldwide.

The likes of Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc and American Express could find themselves following the path of other foreign financial companies that have entered China with much fanfare but gained little traction.

"It's one more step in a very long process to get greater access for MasterCard and others," said Dave Carini, managing director at China Maverick Research. "But that process is going to take several years, and at the end of it they will still not have full and open access to the market they would like."

Read more: Visa, MC still face hurdles in China after WTO ruling - Reuters

Has China Online Video Story Run Its Course? -- Asian Venture Capital Journal

Maverick China Managing Director Dave Carini was recently quoted in Asian Venture Capital Journal. The article is about the future of China's online video industry, highlighting how the high increase in content and bandwidth costs is affecting the industry.

The merger of online video sites Youku and Tudou ensures market dominance, but they must still bring costs under control in a competitive environment. Investors are advised to sell up or stay out.

"Five years ago, you had close to 100% of streaming television series online coming from illegal uploads; today you can go onto the major online video sites and find a number of them legal provided by the content producers," says Dave Carini, co-founder of tech consultancy Maverick China Research. "Viewers will want more of this high-quality content in the future, meaning further cost increases for the video sites."

Click here for the April edition of the Asian Venture Capital Journal, where the full article can be found on page 10.

SIMpass: Is China's NFC Dream Doomed? -- The Biz Loft

Note: This article was originally published for the Italian-language tech site The Biz Loft; the excerpts below are from the automatic translation on the website. Click here for the original article.

That of the mobile payment market is one of the most greedy of next year. We all have at least one mobile phone and we all have to pay for what we buy. If we add to this the progressive dematerialization of money, strongly desired by many for various reasons, you get a clear picture: the first one will be able to impose a system that allows everyone to pay for everything with the phone will have, say, turned.

In fact, many people are trying to. And the nascent Chinese industry innovation tries to play a global role with a technology called SIMPass.

Read more: SIMpass: Is China's NFC Dream Doomed? -- The Biz Loft