Another year begins, and we’re looking at some of the highflyers. LeEco’s CEO Jia Yueting is the United States and has decided so far to ignore an order to come home. He’s clearly re-organizing assets in the US and in Hong Kong that are beyond the direct grasp of Those in Command. Watch this space.
Meanwhile, HNA Group, another massive name in outward bound investment in the past couple of years, is reported to be having trouble coverage its payments due, which is big implications if it relates to fundamental problems. Golden boy Jack Ma has hit some trouble too. His bid to have Ant Financial take over a US money transfer firm – MoneyGram – was turned down by the US authorities, and domestically, Chinese users of Alipay – a subsidiary of Ant – faced an uproar from users when it became known that Alipay was handing on information about users to its own credit-rating system. Some considerable naivite obviously in the uproar, as anything available to the machine, of which everything Jack does is a part, is obviously potentially going to be shared around. Never mind. It was mostly interesting because of a sense that Chinese people actually do care about this issue of being monitored, and another highflyer – the CEO of Geely – said WeChat was storing user chats. No!!! It can’t be!!! Tencent denied it. Ho ho.
In other news, sources say the GDP growth target for this year will be 6.5%, which is a fail because they were supposed to be abandoning GDP targets. Sometimes habits are hard to kick. Have a good weekend.