Author: Thomas Clouse

CNOOC TARGETS CANADIAN ENERGY ASSETS


By Thomas Clouse

Activity in China's Internet industry has heated up in recent weeks, as the country's leading online companies compete for the attention of China's 540 million Internet users.

Baidu, which operates China's most popular search engine, announced last month that it would offer an Internet browser for mobile devices and invest in cloud computing capabilities. The announcement comes amid a battle between Baidu and software developer Qihoo 360, which launched its own search engine service in August to challenge Baidu's dominance of the market. Meanwhile, online video content provider Youku announced the completion of its acquisition of its primary competitor Tudou in August.

China's state-owned energy company CNOOC officially filed a petition with the Canadian government in late August to purchase Calgary's oil and natural gas company Nexen. CNOOC has already received the support of Nexen's board of directors and has pledged to set up a regional headquarters in Calgary. In 2005, CNOOC offered to buy US energy company Unical, but US lawmakers rejected the bid due to national security concerns. If successful, CNOOC's $15 billion bid for Nexen will be the largest overseas energy acquisition by a Chinese company to date.

Two separate measures of manufacturing activity showed declines in August, the country's official Purchasing Managing Index, which fell to a nine month low of 49.2, and the independent HSBC PMI, which dropped to 47.6, its lowest reading since March 2009. For both indexes, a reading below 50 indicates a contraction in manufacturing activity.