Date
23 November 2017
Images Of Petrochina Co. And Former Executives As China Probes State-Assets Head Jiang Jiemin with Widening Anti-Graft Campaign

The Big Picture: ANTI-GRAFT PROBE

China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) chief accountant Wen Qingshan {溫青山} has been detained for questioning in a corruption investigation, a mainland media report said Monday, citing sources from the state-owned oil and gas giant.

Wen, 55, assumed the post in July after nearly three decades with the group. His main duties include raising funds for CNPC’s east-west pipeline project in which the group has been investing 300 billion yuan (US$49.41 billion) a year, caixin.com reported.

Wen resigned as chairman of Kunlun Energy Co. Ltd. (00135.HK) and supervisor of PetroChina Co. Ltd. (00857.HK), according to two separate stock-exchange filings on Tuesday.  

The latest development is probably related to the previous investigations into PetroChina’s former chairman Jiang Jiemin {蔣潔敏} and four other senior managers. There is also a good chance that all these probes may be actually pointing at the officials’ ultimate boss - Zhou Yongkang {周永康}, a former public security chief and former member of the Communist Party politburo standing committee, observers say. 

Zhou has been placed under virtual arrest while being investigated for alleged corruption, Reuters reported on Dec. 12. He has had his freedom restricted and his movements monitored while the party undertakes an investigation into several accusations brought against him by political rivals, it said. 

Observers expect the anti-graft investigations to help push forward reform in the oil and gas sector as some state-owned energy giants might consider business reshuffle and asset sales.  

China Tian Lun Gas Holdings (01600.HK), a private natural gas distributor in the mainland, said in a previous interview that it is considering buying stakes in larger state-owned rivals as some of those company bosses are in trouble. Tian Lun aims to acquire assets from Kunlun Natural Gas Utilization Co., a unit of Kunlun Energy. 

Qianhai opens commercial site to foreign bidders

Shenzhen’s Qianhai new area will allow foreign companies to bid for a commercial site in the experimental zone, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday. The site covers 51,416 square meters, of which 477,000 square meters can be built on. More than 303,300 square meters are allocated for offices and 50,000 square meters for hotels, the report said. Bidding is open to domestic and foreign firms and they have until Jan. 23 to file their documents. The winners cannot sell or pledge their stakes in the development within three years after construction is completed.

China luxury spending growth seen cooling to 2%

Luxury spending growth in China is expected to come in at 2 percent this year, down from 7 percent last year and a whopping 30 percent in 2011, China Daily reported Wednesday, citing an annual China Luxury Goods Market Study from Bain & Co. Total luxury spending in the country is estimated at 116 billion yuan (US$19.1 billion), representing 7 percent of such sales worldwide. The slower growth has been attributed to the government’s anti-corruption and frugality campaign. 

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]

 

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