COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

26 November 2021 | Business

Tencent to get approval for new apps

Gaming and messaging giant Tencent has been told all its new apps and updates must be approved by the government, state media reported, as Beijing continues its domestic tech sector crackdown.

The Chinese government has moved to exert more authority over the industry in the past year, citing concerns that tech giants in the country have become too big and powerful.

This latest move against embattled Tencent comes after nine of the group's apps were found to have committed "violations" since the beginning of the year, prompting the need for "transitional administrative guidance measures", state media CCTV quoted the government as saying.

The company must submit any new apps or updates for inspection by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology before they can be uploaded or updated.

"After passing inspection, they can then be launched to users as usual," the ministry said, according to CCTV in a report Wednesday.

"We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps, and also have regular co-operation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance. Our apps remain functional and available for download," it said. -Nampa/AFP

Citigroup to split operations

Citigroup Inc is planning to split the operations and technology functions of its unit, Institutional Clients Group, which contributed about 63% of the Wall Street bank's total third-quarter revenue.

The reorganization plan for the unit that houses banking, markets, securities services among others was shared by the bank in an internal memo by unit Chief Executive Paco Ybarra on Wednesday. A Citi spokesperson confirmed the content in the memo when contacted by Reuters.

The operations and technology teams "will continue to work closely with our businesses to develop innovative solutions that make it simpler for our clients to work with us," Ybarra said in the memo.

Stuart Riley, who currently heads the operations and technology units at ICG, will now only manage the technology team.

Allison Szmulewicz, who was leading the unit's Latin American operations and technology functions, will now serve as the interim operations chief. -Nampa/Reuters

Kaisa seeks to extend bond maturity

China's Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd said on Thursday it wants to extend the maturity of a US$400 million bond by a year and a half - part of the property developer's efforts to avoid a messy default and resolve a liquidity crisis.

In a filing, Kaisa said it would exchange its 6.5% offshore bonds due Dec. 7 for new notes due June 6, 2023, at the same interest rate if at least 95% of holders accept.

Kaisa, which has the most offshore debt among Chinese developers after China Evergrande Group, missed coupon payments totalling $88.4 million due on Nov. 11 and 12. The payments have a 30-day grace period.

Shares in Kaisa, which resumed trading after suspension on Nov. 5, were up 19% in late-morning trade with investors cheered by the firm's attempt to solve payment problems. Kaisa said a sharp downturn in the financing environment has limited its funding sources to meet upcoming maturities.

"If the exchange offer and consent solicitation are not successfully consummated, we may not be able to repay the existing notes upon maturity on Dec. 7, and we may consider alternative debt restructuring exercise," it said in the filing. -Nampa/Reuters

Dyson dumps Malaysian supplier

High-tech home appliance maker Dyson Ltd told Reuters it had cut ties with supplier ATA IMS Bhd following an audit of the Malaysian company's labour practices and allegations by a whistle-blower, sending ATA shares plunging.

ATA, which is already being investigated by the United States over forced labour allegations, confirmed Dyson has terminated its contracts and that it has been in talks with its customer over the audit findings.

Shares in ATA, which makes parts for Dyson's vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, tumbled 30% to their lowest since April 2020 after the Reuters report. According to ATA, Dyson accounts for almost 80% of its revenue.

The termination is also a significant blow for Malaysia, a major electronics manufacturing hub that has faced scrutiny this year over claims migrant workers are being subjected to abusive working and living conditions.

Dyson, privately owned by British billionaire James Dyson, said it received the results of an audit of working conditions at ATA in early October. It said it had learned in September about allegations from a whistle-blower at an ATA factory and had commissioned a law firm to investigate those claims. -Nampa/Reuters

Ministry to take action against Mizuho

Japan's finance ministry is set to take punitive action against the banking arm of Mizuho Financial Group over a lack of compliance with the country's foreign exchange law, the Nikkei business daily reported late on Wednesday.

During the incident that took place on Sept. 30, Japan's third-largest lender failed to comply with anti-money laundering procedures necessary under the foreign exchange act in transacting overseas remittances, the Nikkei said.

While checks found no evidence of illegal money remittances, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) decided on the corrective action as Mizuho is one of Japan's largest banks, with a responsibility for payment systems, the Nikkei said.

A Mizuho spokesperson and a finance ministry official in charge of the foreign exchange law both declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

The finance ministry in August announced a three-year action plan that included tighter supervision of financial institutions in response to a report by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global financial crimes watchdog. -Nampa/Reuters

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