Online Insurance Broker Waterdrop Makes Splash, Then Crash, in New York IPO

Company raises $360 million after pricing shares at the top of their range, only to see stock tank nearly 20% in trading debut Key points: Waterdrop’s position as a middleman insurance broker should help protect it from regulatory risk in China’s sensitive financial services sector The company’s strong IPO pricing, followed by a sharp selloff in its trading debut, reflect investor indecision about its growth prospects  By Doug Young Middlemen are creatures of little or no respect, often seen as parasites that profit from a gap between businesses and the…

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Used Car Specialist Uxin Gets Jump Start from Shifting Gears

Shares rally as company announces first results from its new business model and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC boosts stake Key points: Uxin is emerging from a major transformation to a direct seller of used cars from previous model as middleman for used-car sales While such a model carries higher margins and gives Uxin more control over the business, it also requires far more cash, which Uxin is trying to raise By Doug Young Nothing gets investors excited like a new story from an old company, together with a major…

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Conservative E-House Spruces Up With Modest Acquisition

Purchase of real estate data and services provider Tianji for $46 million is in line with approach that has kept company profitable through turbulent times Key Takeaways: E-House’s latest modest acquisition is in line with its longer-term conservative approach in China’s real estate services market That approach could protect the company from market volatility, but could also lead to its irrelevance as it gets overtaken by more aggressive peers By Doug Young China’s property market has boomed over the last two decades on the back of the country’s huge economic…

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Shared Bike Specialist Hello Inc. Could Meet Skeptical Reception on Wall Street

Company backed by Alibaba’s Ant Group continued to post large losses last year as its revenue growth slowed sharply Key Takeaways: Hello Inc.’s relatively high costs and standalone nature of its shared-bike service could make it difficult for the company to become profitable Those factors mean Hello could be valued at a medium-to-large discount compared to domestic peer Meituan and U.S. giant Uber By Doug Young Hope certainly seems to spring eternal for some people, especially those in the shared economy business. That’s one of the biggest messages coming from…

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Zepp or Huami? Wearable Device Maker in China-U.S. Identity Crisis

Company’s latest announcement of moving its user data to AWS reflects drive to separate itself from smartphone patron Xiaomi Key points: Zepp is taking further steps to distance itself from China and Xiaomi by announcing the movement of its data to Amazon Web Services The company’s valuation is quite low following a recent selloff, possibly over concerns about the chances for success in its drive to diversify from Xiaomi By Doug Young As the clock ticks down on China and the U.S. to resolve their differences over the auditing of…

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Baozun Aims to Ease Its Alibaba Addiction With New Growth Plan

Company aims to triple revenue and boost operating profit sixfold in next three to five years Key Takeaways Baozun’s new three- to five-year “profitable growth” strategy is designed to respond to rapid shifts in e-commerce buying habits Company’s diversification bid risks unsettling close ties with Alibaba and Tmall, which account for 75% of its business By Eric Auchard Alibaba may be a good business partner, but it’s nice to work with others as well – especially as Beijing cracks down on the e-commerce giant for its monopolistic practices. That’s the…

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Club Med Owner Fosun Tourism Sees Sunnier Skies, But Investors Unimpressed

Company’s shares sag 5% after it reports business at its tropical Hainan island mega-resort soared 161% in first quarter of 2020 Key takeaways: The latest data from Club Med owner Fosun Tourism provides further evidence of a strong tourism rebound when the pandemic subsides. A selloff of the company’s shares after the announcement reflects investor caution following a recent run-up in the stock By Doug Young Investors are starting to tire of the nonstop stream of optimistic forecasts coming from a global tourism sector that has been one of the…

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WeWork Imitator Ucommune Labors to Find New Value in Shared Workspaces

Despite positive results from its early efforts at finding a better business model, company offers no glimpse of when it might become profitable Key Points: •      Ucommune is focusing on an asset-light and services business model and lightening its own heavy asset load in a bid to become profitable •      Even though it has become profitable on an adjusted basis, there is still a long way to go to prove the shared workspace business model works. By Wang Chuan The global pandemic has accelerated the work-from-home trend at the expense…

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Autonomous Truck Startup TuSimple Navigates Difficult Terrain Between U.S. and China

Company’s bumpy New York trading debut reflects investor indecision as it becomes world’s first autonomous driving technology firm to list Key Takeaways: TuSimple’s biggest strengths are its strong business partners and early arrival to the relatively simple long-haul truck segment of the autonomous driving sector The company’s biggest vulnerabilities are its China ties, as well as competition from rivals backed by giants like Amazon, Alphabet and Baidu By Doug Young Life is anything but simple these days for TuSimple Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: TSP), the newly listed autonomous truck technology firm…

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Miniso Exports Its Impulse Shopping Experience to Italy

Japanese retail imitator opens its first shop in Rome ahead of expected rebound in its large global operations Key Takeaways: Miniso’s latest move into Italy is part of a rapid global expansion for its chain of small, flashy stores targeting impulse buyers  The company’s high valuation compared reflects its bigger growth potential, and its positioning as a hybrid retail-entertainment shopping venue By Doug Young Branded variety retailer Miniso Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: MNSO) deserves credit for staying the course throughout the global pandemic, even as Covid-19 wreaked havoc on its…

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