Kingdom Holding buys $283m stake in UK-based insurer Phoenix Group

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China In-Focus — Stocks flat; Jack Ma to give up control of Ant Group; Asian giant targets $148bn in financing for cash-strapped developers

RIYADH: China stocks closed almost flat on Thursday, as investors awaited any clues on policy moves from an upcoming Politburo meeting, while Hong Kong shares dropped after the city’s central bank raised its base rate by 75 basis points.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was unchanged at 4,225.67, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2 percent to 3,282.58 points.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.2 percent, to 20,622.68, while the China Enterprises Index lost 0.1 percent, to 7,082.58 points.

Jack Ma plans to cede control of China’s Ant Group: WSJ

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma plans to give up control of financial technology company Ant Group Co. in an effort to move away from affiliate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

While Ma only owns a 10 percent stake in Ant, he exercises control over the company through related entities, according to Ant’s IPO prospectus. The Journal said he could cede control by transferring some of his voting power to Ant officials including CEO Eric Jing, said unnamed sources.

In April last year, Reuters reported that Ant Group was exploring options for Ma to divest his stake in the financial technology giant and give up control.

China targets $148 billion in financing for cash-strapped developers: FT

China will help property developers by issuing 1 trillion yuan ($148.2 billion) in loans for stalled developments, the Financial Times said on Thursday, as Beijing tries to revive the debt-stricken sector and relieve pressure on the economy.

The People’s Bank of China will initially issue about 200 billion yuan of low-interest loans, charging about 1.75 percent a year, to state commercial banks, the FT said, citing people involved in the discussions.

The plan, recently approved by China’s State Council, will permit banks to use the PBOC loans along with their own funds to refinance stalled real estate projects, the report added.

(With input from Reuters) 

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