More than 300 Chinese firms including Meituan Dianping, China’s largest food delivery company, and smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp are seeking bank loans totaling at least 57.4 billion yuan ($8.2 billion) to soften the impact of the coronavirus.
The firms were either involved in the control of the epidemic or had been hardest hit, the sources told Reuters on Monday.
China is struggling to contain the epidemic, which has killed more than 900 people, the vast majority on the mainland, and infected over 40,000 people.
The companies seeking loans in the Chinese capital are likely to get fast-track approvals and preferential rates, said the sources, who received copies of two lists of company names sent to banks in Beijing by the city government’s finance bureau.
There are no official data so far showing the total loans Chinese companies are seeking nationwide to weather the outbreak.
The two lists also contained the size of loans sought by the firms, which include pharmaceutical firms and restaurants. The bureau had earlier said firms seeking financial support could ask for its help.
“Banks will have the final say on lending decisions,” one of the sources said. “The interest rates are likely to be on par with those offered to banks’ top clients.”
Keystone Bank Limited has re-emphasised its commitment to the growth and development of the Africa’s creative industry as the lender recently partnered with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and other multilateral agencies to host the maiden edition of the Creative Africa Exchange Weekend (CAX WKND) in Kigali, Rwanda.
According to the organizers, the Creative Africa Exchange Weekend is Africa’s first continental event dedicated to promoting exchange within the creative and cultural industry.
“CAX is a consolidated marketplace for the creative and cultural industry. It was developed as the catalyst that brings together the identified assets and resources within the creative industry’s ecosystem, enabled by cutting-edge technology to consolidate the resources that create a viable, monetizable and impactful African creative and cultural economy.
“CAX aims to facilitate investments into the industry through trade, industrialization and provision of critical infrastructure to support the transformation of Africa through mobilizing continental initiatives such as African Continental Free Trade Agreements,” it stated.
Commenting on the bank’s involvement, Keystone Bank executive director, Adeyemi Odusanya said: “There is a misconception of ‘mistrust’ between creative industry practitioners and the banking community, rather the issue is, both parties need to seek better understanding of their respective peculiarities.
“For instance, creative industry practitioners are concerned of the stringent conditions of accessing finances from banks, while the bankers intend to comply with their mandate of protecting depositors’ assets, provide optimum return on investment to investors as much as reducing their cost of risk.
“These concerns call for greater partnership/collaborations between both parties with putting together structures and platform that address the issues of intellectual properties, legal systems as well as the protection of the value chain framework for ease of advocacy and execution of common goals.
“In the motion industry, most finances are targeted at content development and production (which ideally should be financed by equity, while the real obstacles are the packaging, marketing and distribution stages which might require financing for the real heavy lifting for that business.
“Hence, focus should be on developing a platform (like physical/virtual room) and structure for knowledge sharing and collaboration.”
On its part, at the event, Afreximbank announced a $500 million support for the production and trade of African cultural and creative products over the next two years.
President of the bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, told guests that the funds, which would build on what the bank was already doing, would be accessible as lines of credit to banks, direct financing to operators and as guarantees. He said the creative economy was increasingly recognized as a significant sector and meaningful contributor to Africa’s gross domestic product and that the cultural and creative industries catalysed economic growth by steering more inclusive, connected and collaborative societies.
Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.
The British government has declared the new coronavirus a serious and imminent threat to public health, giving the government additional powers to isolate those suspected of being infected.
Britain has recorded four cases of coronavirus so far while British nationals, who have been flown back from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the epidemic broke out, are being quarantined for 14 days.
The virus has killed more than 900 people, all but two in mainland China, and has spread to at least 27 countries and territories.
Britain’s health ministry said new measures were aimed at delaying or preventing further transmission of the coronavirus.
“We are strengthening our regulations so we can keep individuals in supported isolation for their own safety and if public health professionals consider they may be at risk of spreading the virus to other members of the public,” a health ministry spokesman said.
Arrowe Park Hospital, near Liverpool in northern England, and Kents Hill Park, in Milton Keynes, have been designated as isolation facilities.