Asia

It started with an unverified rumor from an obscure social media account: Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank was insolvent. Within hours of the post on Tuesday, more than 1,000 worried customers had lined up to withdraw their money, Bloomberg News reported. By Wednesday, a run on the bank had prompted local authorities to arrange more than 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) of liquidity injections. As branch staff sought to restore confidence, they displayed stacks of cash to convince depositors that there was enough to go around.

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The finance industry is in turmoil. Tax collections have hit stall speed. India’s credit and fiscal crises are joined at the hip. Consider the $13 billion in past fees that the government is asking from telecom operators, a Bloomberg View reported. It’s a desperate attempt to squeeze money from an industry in which most players have already vanished or gone bankrupt. The two old firms that are still standing amid intense price competition from newcomer Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. will bear the brunt of the recently court-approved demand. Among them, Vodafone Idea Ltd.

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China’s Fosun Tourism Group said on Friday it would acquire the Thomas Cook and related hotel brands for 11 million pounds ($14.25 million), in a bid to expand its presence in the tourism business, Reuters reported. The assets include trademarks, domain names, software applications and licenses of the British travel firm and related hotel brands, Hong Kong-listed Fosun said, adding that it did not plan to buy overseas assets or businesses related to Thomas Cook for the time being.

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Chinese conglomerate Fosun is close to acquiring Thomas Cook’s brand and its intellectual property assets, which could allow the business to be revived again as an online travel agent just months after collapsing into administration, the Financial Times reported. The deal to acquire the Thomas Cook assets could be announced as soon as this week, said two people briefed on the situation, although they cautioned that the deal had not been finalised. A number of other groups have been bidding, including rival travel agency, Tui.

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When Arun Sarin, Vodafone Group Plc’s India-born former CEO, was charting the British telecommunications firm’s expansion into emerging markets in the mid-2000s, his home country with more than a billion potential phone users seemed a compelling choice. Sarin wasn’t alone. Norway’s Telenor ASA, Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems PJSC and Malaysia’s Maxis Bhd were also among a slew of companies that flocked to this fast-growing market, Bloomberg News reported. The carriers banded with local partners, bid for airwaves and licenses, spending billions of dollars to prepare their networks.

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The government in India has pumped $37 billion into ailing banks in the past three years. Lenders have been forced into mergers, and the central bank has wrested more than a dozen companies from the control of tycoons who defaulted on their debt, Bloomberg News reported. But cleaning up the financial system has been like playing whack-a-mole. India’s banks still sit on the biggest pile of bad loans, relative to total loans, among the major economies. They’re about 9% of debts.

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The mysterious Malaysian financier at the center of an international money laundering scandal that toppled a prime minister and rocked Goldman Sachs has given up his claim to hundreds of millions of dollars in luxury apartments, yachts, jets and artwork that prosecutors say were bought with stolen money, the International New York Times reported.

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China has long been a nation of savers. For decades, its citizens socked away much more of their incomes than Americans do. The pool of capital that was created powered China’s economic rise, The Wall Street Journal reported. Banks used their bulging deposits to fund factories and roads. The government became a key global creditor, bankrolling infrastructure overseas and buying up more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury bonds. The savings also fueled tensions with other countries. Western leaders said China was discouraging spending to tilt the global economy in its favor.

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Hong Kong jeweler Jun Lam has already closed one shop. His remaining outlet sits in an almost deserted shopping mall at the heart of a district regularly hit by sometimes violent protests that have rocked the Chinese-ruled city since June, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Restaurants, hotels and retail outlets like Lam's, many of which cater to mostly mainland Chinese tourists, form a central pillar of a small business sector that employs more than one million people in the city.

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