Buyout Group Slashes Offer for 51Job, Others to Follow?

Human resources stalwart announces new privatization bid at $57.25 per ADS, down sharply from previous offer of $79.05 Key Takeaways: A buyout group attempting to privatize 51Job has slashed its offer by 28% in light of economic and regulatory challenges Other companies in the process of similar privatizations, such as So-Young, iClick and Fanhua, could follow with similar reduced offers By Doug Young Brother, can you spare $22? That variation to the famous line from the Great Depression-era song could well be the latest mantra from online human resources stalwart…

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Coming Soon to Your Nearby Nayuki: Pricier Premium Tea Served by Robots

Beverage chain is squarely focused on higher end of competitive market, with 45% of its stores now labeled with its upmarket Nayuki PRO sub-brand Key Takeaways: Nayuki accelerated its aggressive expansion in the fourth quarter, with a sharp focus on its higher-end PRO-branded premium tea stores Company trialed automated tea-making machines at end of last year’s fourth quarter, and plans broader rollout in this year’s third quarter By Doug Young Who needs people? That’s one of the subtler messages in a new business update from premium tea chain Nayuki Holdings…

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ZhongAn Subtly Touts Its Investment Chops Without Help of Big-Name Parent

Online insurer’s investment income has grown solidly even as it reduces its reliance on Ping An Insurance to manage its assets Key takeaways: ZhongAn Insurance says it renewed an asset management services agreement with Ping An Insurance, one of its three parents While the cap on fees ZhongAn can pay to Ping An annually was unchanged in the new agreement, the company hasn’t fully utilized the quota in recent years By Warren Yang As ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co. Ltd. (6060.HK) matures into a force in its own right, China’s…

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Zepp Health Stuck in Rut as Global Chip Shortage, Covid Weigh

Smart wearables maker cuts fourth-quarter revenue guidance, but expects to stay profitable, as competition intensifies Key takeaways: Zepp Health has cut its fourth-quarter revenue guidance, sending its shares to near all-time lows, as its shipments fall due to overreliance on Xiaomi relationship Global chip shortage and fresh Covid restrictions are also weighing on company as it tries to gain share in the crowded global smartwatch space By Mia Shanley Smart wearable device maker Zepp Health’s (ZEPP.US) efforts to carve out a niche in the crowded global smartwatch space are being…

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Niu Passes 1 Million Scooter Milestone on Surging Overseas Sales

Electric scooter maker’s international sales more than double in the fourth quarter, even as its domestic growth slowed sharply amid rising competition Key takeaways: Niu Technologies’ domestic sales growth slowed to 49% in the fourth quarter, even as international sales surged on strong demand for its new kick scooter models Company’s shares sank 5% after release of the fourth-quarter data, though stock still remains relatively strongly valued compared with peers By Doug Young The latest quarterly update issued Wednesday by electric scooter maker Niu Technologies (NIU.US) looks quite encouraging at…

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Mild Manner Coffee Takes on Starbucks in China With ‘Street Coffee’

Newer chains like the ByteDance-backed startup are using small-store format to change the big game in China’s vibrant coffee market Key takeaways: Manner Coffee is at the forefront of a new generation of boutique Chinese coffee chains that are attracting major investment dollars Newcomers are challenging Starbucks with small-store format that slashes rent, labor costs By Jose Qian China’s booming coffee business has made it the second most important market for global giant Starbucks (SBUX.US), behind only its home U.S. market. But it’s also providing fertile ground for new and…

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Covid Variant Trips Up Topsports, Catching Investors Off Guard

Retailing partner for Nike, Adidas in China reports surprise 20-30% year-on-year sales decline in latest three-month period Key takeaways: Topsports’ sales contracted in its latest three-month period due to Covid-related disruptions The sports shoe retailer is undervalued compared to its peers, with one major bank setting its target 36% above company’s current stock price By Jony Ho Omicron may be the Covid-19 variant of the moment, but it was Delta that put a big damper on Chinese consumption during the third quarter. More than half of China’s provinces and many…

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Kaixin’s Electric Vehicle Bet Wins Major Customer as It Shifts Gears to Manufacturing

Shares in operator of used car dealerships surge after it wins a $500 million order for its new electric vehicle-making business Key takeaways: •      Kaixin said it won a $500 million order to sell 10,000 electric trucks to an automotive logistics company over the next five years •      The deal comes months after the struggling Kaixin expanded into electric vehicles by acquiring a manufacturer and changing ownership By Warren Yang Used car dealer Kaixin Auto Holdings (Nasdaq: KXIN) wants to reignite growth by powering into electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. That…

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Yixin Fires on All Cylinders in a Troubled Auto Market

The Internet auto financier’s car transactions rose 27% year-over-year in the third quarter, far outperforming the sputtering market Key takeaways: Yixin has posted solid transaction volume growth following its transformation into a car loan broker New car shortage caused by tight global chip supply may pose challenges to the company By Jony Ho China’s GDP grew just 4.9% year-on-year in the third quarter amid a new round of Covid-19 outbreaks, with total retail sales up just 4.4% in September. The consumer spending growth was much lower than the 16.4% growth…

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Svolt Charges Up Global EV Battery Race with $943 Million in New Funding

Latest round brings 3-year-old battery maker’s fundraising this year to $3.1 billion, all from Chinese sources Key points: Svolt Energy has just announced a new 6 billion yuan funding, bringing its total this year to nearly 20 billion yuan State-owned company has raised its target to 600 GWh of capacity by 2025, up sixfold from a 100 GWh target announced just a year ago By Doug Young Watch out world, here comes Svolt. The name may not be familiar to many, but China’s recently minted electric vehicle (EV) battery maker,…

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