Huazhu Founder Steps Down as CEO a Third Time, as Hotelier Bounces Back from Covid

Ji Qi’s resignation as CEO comes as leading Chinese hotel operator reports strong rebound in first half of 2021 Key Takeaways: Huazhu founder Ji Qi is stepping down as the company’s CEO for the third time, following its latest period of adjustment Observers believe that despite relinquishing the CEO title, Ji will continue to call the shots from behind the scenes in his remaining role as chairman By M.C. Ho With its Covid-19 outbreak under control, China’s hotel industry has largely recovered on a steady track. Against a backdrop of…

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Podcast Leader Ximalaya Mounts New IPO Bid Closer to Home in Hong Kong

Company could be valued at around $3 billion when it floats shares, following the official scrapping of its original New York listing plan Key points: Ximalaya’s ditching of its New York listing plan in favor of Hong Kong could mark the start of a new trend for Chinese tech firms that previously favored the U.S. Company could be valued at a relatively high level due to its dominant position with more than two-thirds of the Chinese podcast market By Doug Young What will happen to the roughly half-dozen Chinese IPOs…

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Online Travel Agent Tongcheng-Elong Gets Lift from T. Rowe Price

Company reports second-quarter revenue rose 78% year-on-year, as US fund manager separately discloses its purchase of a 5% stake Key Takeaways: Tongcheng-Elong has rebounded from the pandemic more quickly than the larger Trip.com due to its focus on domestic China market Company’s shares look modestly valued compared to domestic and global peers due to its stronger growth potential over next one to two years  By Doug Young Online travel agent Tongcheng-Elong Holdings Ltd. (0780.HK) looks like a company on the move, with a name change on the horizon and a…

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Online Information Expert Zhihu Finds Gold in Sponsored Content

Company often called the Quora of China got a third of its revenue from sponsored activity in its latest quarter, up from just 5% a year earlier Key points: Zhihu’s revenue rose 144% year-on-year in its latest quarterly results, fueled by a big increase in ‘content commerce solutions’ One of the company’s biggest challenges will be maintaining its credibility as it allows a growing volume of sponsored content onto its platform By Doug Young The latest earnings from Zhihu Inc. (ZH.US) are quite full of numbers and messages, as this…

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Clubhouse Tech Partner Agora Gets Wings Clipped in China Crossfire

Company’s shares have tumbled more than two-thirds from a February high on concerns related to its China roots Key Takeaways: Agora’s latest quarterly results show shortfalls in its earnings and margins due to rising expenses A year after a sparkling IPO, company’s stock has been hobbled by high-profile setbacks related to audio chat app Clubhouse and education giant New Oriental By Eric Auchard Agora Inc. (API.US), the Silicon Valley-based interactive video toolmaker with Chinese roots, was riding high, growing in myriad markets that powered a quadrupling of its stock between…

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Pop Retailer Miniso Sees Riches in Vending Machines, ‘Blind Boxes’

Company rolls out its first vending machines in Singapore, following rival Pop Mart into lucrative niche for trendy collectible toys Key points: Miniso is moving into sales using vending machines and product lines based on third party-licensed IP Company’s stock is highly valued compared with traditional retailers, but its PE is just half that of domestic collectible toy rival Pop Mart By Doug Young It started out as a miniature, low-cost knockoff of trendy Japanese retailer Muji, known for its brightly lit stores featuring a wide array of daily household…

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Sohu Sets Stage for Potential NY Exit with Return to Profitability

Internet stalwart reports its third consecutive quarterly profit, paving the way for its first profitable year since 2015 Key points: Sohu’s sale of its underperforming Sogou search engine has allowed it to return to profitability after years of losses The Sogou sale has halved Sohu’s revenue and could set the stage for a sale of the company or a management-led buyout and delisting from New York By Doug Young After years of losses, internet stalwart Sohu.com Ltd. (Nasdaq: SOHU) is finally remembering what it’s like to be profitable again without…

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Dating App Momo Seeks Image Makeover With Name Change

Adoption of new Hello Group name comes as U.S.-listed Chinese shares get pressured by ominous signals from Beijing Key points: Momo’s name change to Hello Group may reflect a change in its business mix, and also a bid to sound friendlier to U.S. investors The company trades at a weak valuation compared to global peers, but is hoping for improvement after a major overhaul of its Tantan unit By Doug Young What’s in a name? For China’s Momo, it may hope Hello will sound sweeter to buyers of its U.S.-listed…

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Despite Good News, ‘Sauerkraut Fish’ Specialist Jiumaojiu Leaves Investors Hungry

Restaurant operator says it returned to profitability in the first half of 2021 as it resumed an aggressive expansion for its popular Tai Er chain Key Takeaways: Jiumaojiu has resumed an aggressive expansion of its popular Tai Er restaurant chain as it returned to profitability in the first half of the year from a year-ago loss. While the entire sector suffered during the pandemic, Jiumaojiu appears to be more favored by investors due to its big post-pandemic growth. By Thomas Zhang “Sauerkraut fish” may be pleasing Chinese pallets these days…

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Hotel Operator Greentree Getting Ready to Check Out of New York?

Company releases latest results two months later than usual, blaming delay on its recent exploration of ‘alternative listings’ Key points: Greentree’s exploration of ‘alternative listings’ reflects Beijing’s recent signals of displeasure at Chinese companies listing in New York Company is sharply undervalued compared with peers, despite business surpassing pre-Covid levels in June By Doug Young The latest quarterly results from hotel operator Greentree Hospitality Group Ltd. (GHG.US) show that China’s hotel industry is well on the road to recovery as the nation’s Covid-19 situation remains under control. But the more…

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