And we think Amazon Prime Day is a big deal.
On Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce site, you can buy anything you need (or don’t need), just like on Amazon here in the states. However, in China “everything” includes distressed debt from Chinese corporations that have defaulted on their payments.
According to Bloomberg, a Zhejiang-based steelmaker is selling its defaulted debt on the platform thanks to a collaboration between Taobao’s parent company, Alibaba, and China Cinda Asset Management Co., a distressed debt firm.
So for $US610,000 you can bid on the steelmaker’s defaulted debt. Ultimately you do have to contact Cinda and have them evaluate you to finish the transaction. Once you do, though, BAM. You’re a distressed debt investor.
What a time to be alive.
Bloomberg reports that situations like this have become more common in China. Twenty financial firms have signed deals to sell products on Taobao, and that isn’t surprising. The country is using the current moment of global economic stability to tackle the debt that has built up in its corporate and banking systems, and the government wants financial firms to do as much of it as possible themselves.
This has turned distressed corporate debt into the hottest financial product in the country, with both foreign and domestic buyers. Prices are up 30% this year, according to Belos Capital Asia.
Of course, the question is whether or not passing non-performing loans on to retail investors should be part of the solution to this problem. Beijing is likely wondering the same thing.
Earlier this month authorities finally admitted that they had taken Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of massive insurance firm Anbang Insurance, into custody for questioning.
Anbang has become known in recent years for high-profile overseas acquisitions, beating out several peers in China’s market doing the very same thing. But Anbang is different in one way. It has “the closest relationship with retail investors through its insurance products,” according to a recent Credit Suisse report. It also owns a 20% stake in the country’s largest private bank, China Minsheng Bank.
In other words, any product that’s making its way down to everyday Chinese consumers is getting the eye from Beijing.
Enjoy your Prime Day, buy something nice.