In case you hadn’t heard, China’s economy is in trouble. How much trouble is still open to debate, but that became a bit clearer (and more troubling) with the release of the November purchasing managers’ index, which fell by its largest margin since records began. Hu Jintao is certainly aware of the stakes. At a Politburo meeting on Saturday, he came right out and said that China’s competitive advantage is under threat, and that this would test the party’s “capacity to govern.”
Also under threat, though happier for the wider populace: dodgy businessmen. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) released details of its investigation into Huang Guangyu, founder of electronics retailer Gome, apparently responsible for “unusual movements” in the share prices of two companies that Gome had considered for takeover. It’s too bad for Huang that he could be separated for his billions before having a chance to entrust them to Bank of China’s new Swiss private banking and asset management arm.
More legal news came with China’s first ruling under its newish anti-monopoly law, and foreign investors won’t be celebrating with a refreshing Hoegaarden (we take ours straight, no lemon). Beijing has attached conditions to its approval of Belgian beer giant InBev’s takeover of American beer giant Anheuser-Busch, leading to fears that China will use the law to protect domestic industry. We’re guessing they’ll be more open to the investment of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, a private equity firm, in a Chinese dairy startup.