The election of a charismatic leader raises hopes for overdue change. Joko Widodo’s rise invites comparisons with India’s Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe in Japan. In some ways, Indonesia’s new president faces the more daunting challenge. But the rewards for faster reform are large.
Bank of Communications’ goal of compensating staff with shares sounds like progress. But as long as China’s lenders are state pawns, it’s unlikely that bosses will have much influence over valuations. At worst, dysfunctional banks with glum management could be the unhappy result.
China’s first global investment bank has seen better days, judging by poor returns and sliding league table positions. But a mooted IPO in Hong Kong might not be a bad solution. CICC’s connections are solid. What it lacks, like scale in lucrative margin trading, can be bought.
Market share is a big driver of value, but with so many ways to carve up a $308 bln sector, everyone seems to be number one for something. On the measures most relevant for shoppers, Alibaba is the clear victor. But JD.com looks better placed for a richer, more discerning China.
The dominant Chinese operator is using its $73 bln cash pile to hunt for growth overseas. The strategy has failed to create value for other telcos. Expansion may help to push Chinese technology, but rival governments may be wary about allowing China Mobile to take control.
President-elect Joko Widodo’s first big challenge will be to rethink the country’s $30 billion energy subsidy. Though higher fuel prices will be unpopular, the handout boosts the trade deficit. That makes Indonesia extra vulnerable to capital flight when U.S. interest rates rise.
The mining giant plans to hive off some assets into a new company. The prices of nickel and aluminium, two of its key products, are rising. Investors could use the new firm to follow the trends. But they probably won’t. There are purer plays and better-diversified producers.