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20 September 2012

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Macro View

Complexities abound

The Big Call

Insuring against serious illnesses

A scheme pushed by Beijing appears set to make headway against several obstacles in providing insurance cover against serious illnesses, with significant implications for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries – and the future of consumer spending.

Consumer China

Convenience stores – the street-corner battle for China’s urban consumers

Foreign convenience-store chains are leading the charge to tap into the vast new market created by the hectic lifestyles of China’s new urban consumers, but have yet to overcome their biggest challenge – turning a profit in China

Chengdu Hongqi – success for leading regional player

Sichuan’s leading convenience store operator has benefited from strong distribution and plans to use the proceeds from its recent IPO to fund further regional expansion.

7-Eleven – hoping for a franchise boost

The world’s largest convenience store chain is hoping that a new focus on franchised store expansion can help it see off stiff competition from domestic and multinational competitors in its China markets.

Quik – ailing homegrown brand cedes share to multinationals

Small stores, limited product selection and perceived poor service have seen the domestic convenience store chain lose market share to multinational rivals in recent years.

Lawson – back on track

The parent company’s recent decision to reclaim a controlling stake in its China joint-venture has re-energised the Japanese chain’s expansion plans in China following years of stagnant growth and declining market share.

FamilyMart – aggressive expansion, but still no profit

Family Mart plans to quadruple its number of China stores over the next four years to become the leading convenience-store chain in the country, but it is yet to turn a profit seven years after entering the mainland market.

Financial China

Income squeeze casts doubt on local investment plans

Despite unveiling ambitious Rmb17tn investment plans in recent months, a shortfall in income from land sales and bank loans means that local governments lack the funding to support another 2009-style jump in local investments.

Selected financial charts

A selection of key financial data over the past fortnight

Capital Intensive China

Real estate developers spring back into action

Developers have increased land purchases and construction activity in recent weeks, reflecting a renewed focus on rising demand from first-time buyers.

Best of Chinese Commentators

Anti-Japanese protests escalate

Economists have been debating the likelihood and impact of prolonged Sino-Japanese trade disruption following recent violent anti-Japanese protests in a number of Chinese cities.

US tariffs on Chinese tyres expire

Commentators discuss the likely impact of the expiration of US import tariffs for China’s tyre manufacturers.

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