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I invest in U.S.-listed Chinese companies. My website is at www.chinesecompanyanalyst.com. I take long and short positions in the public securities of companies that I discuss on Seeking Alpha. Although I choose to remain anonymous, I provide full disclosure of my positions at the time of the... More
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Chinese Company Analyst
  • CHBT Store Verification Results Start Rolling In 70 comments
    Sep 1, 2010 9:06 AM | about stocks: CHBT, ONP

    Yesterday and throughout the night, I hired private investigators and other Shanghai residents to visit certain of the "stores" at the addresses provided by the company yesterday. These investigators were told to (i) visit the locations at the specified addresses, (ii) identify whether the addresses refer to standalone stores, (iii) take photos from outside the locations, (iv) enter the stores and request to see the company's nutritional supplements products, (v) to the extent possible, take photos of the locations of the company's products and (vi) write a brief account of each location in terms of what they saw.

    I will publish an initial account from one of these Shanghai residents below, who visited three of the addresses provided by the company. I have disclosed his name and email address to Seeking Alpha's editors for independent verification. I will publish additional accounts as they come in.

    But first, I want to address a note that came out from Robert Hsu last night responding to the post by Citron Research. I have little regard for the recommendations of and diligence performed by Robert Hsu. He wrote a similar piece on Orient Paper after Muddy Waters LLC published its initial report on ONP. Subsequent to his report, the leading business newspaper of China, 21st Century Business Herald, wrote a separate front-page article documenting Orient Paper's fraud, and adding additional relevant points indicating that Orient Paper is falsifying its SEC financial statements. We also found out that Orient Paper's top supplier is an empty shell owned by the company's CEO, and that as of June 2009, it somehow had acquired 2m shares of ONP, or about 4% of the company's outstanding shares.

    Ample evidence has come out demonstrating that Orient Paper is a fraud, and Robert Hsu's note did a disservice to investors subscribing to his newsletter. I see the same poor level of diligence in his latest note on China-Biotics.

    In particular, I'm concerned with his following unfounded comment, which, based on preliminary indications from our private investigators, will be demonstrated to be patently false by the end of the week.

    "This morning, the short seller continues to accuse that some of the stores listed on CHBT website are actually hotels or supermarkets. Actually, according to our source in Shanghai, CHBT places some stores in supermarkets or hotels, similar to how we sometimes see McDonald's in a Walmart or a Burger King in a shopping mall."

    That's just not true, Mr. Hsu. Not only does the company not own standalone stores at many of its disclosed locations, which is clearly what its SEC filings imply, but it doesn't even own stores-within-a-store at many of the locations.

    I will begin the day with the following account that I received last night from one of the Shanghai residents who investigated several of the stores for us. I have disclosed his name and contact information to Seeking Alpha editors.

    "I went to visit three locations so far. Mostly in Yangpu District and what I can confirm is there arent any retail outlets present for CHBT. There could be shelf space in the supermarket but that's a very different matter. Specifically, 102 Zhongyuan Road, Yangpu District and 1750 Changyang Road, Yangpu District are two super markets operated under the brand name Oushang.

    The supermarkets do have separate stores inside them that sells clothes, food, even nutritional products. I personally walked around those two stores thoroughly and could find no signs of CHBT stores. The one on Changyang Road is right by home so I frequent there all the time. While I could not find the Shining stores, I was able to find a store that's called Natural Elements, a direct brand name under Shanghai Jiaoda Onlly Corp. I had a phone conversation with one of the managers and am pretty sure the store has nothing to do with CHBT. Also btw, after talking with the sales clerk, she said they on average make 30-50k RMB on a monthly basis for revenue, that translates into 4-6k USD a month. Noted, that's a retail space not shelf space. The places I went are much more of a prime location with significant traffic flow and tons of ppl walking in the mall. I would really expect places in Baoshan and others to have much less flow therefore less revenue. So now you count on a quarterly basis, this store can generate maybe 15k, you need 100 of these to generate 1.5mil...the reported 25mil number, you would be looking at 1800 retail outlets in a city like Shanghai. That roughly illustrates on a scale's perspective, their operation through retail distribution is very much unlikely to build up revenues.

    Its a lot harder for me to prove the nonexistence of a retail store in a huge shopping mall of course other than putting my name behind this. But I think it's helpful to look at things from a scale's perspective. Even if they do have the 100 retail stores they claim to have, their revenue numbers are still unlikely at least from the conversations I had with the sales reps. In any case, I'm completely convinced that this company is a complete hoax. I took some photos but those are of the other brand name stores that are apparently unrelated, so I don't think it would be of any value for you guys. But i think you can upload it and cite the numbers I quoted you guys as a comp to illustrate the point.

    Also I'd like to point out for you guys the severe lack of seasonality in these numbers. In China, most of the sales of these types of products happens right around the Chinese new year when people go around to visit relatives. The sales should really account for a huge percentage of the annual sales just because thats when people actually buy that kind of stuff to give out as gifts. To have a roughly flat sales in the first and second quarter is simply telling, you will never see that if the reporting is regular.

    Again, given the difficulty of proving the nonexistence of a store, I think focusing on the ability of revenue generation will prove to be fruitful. Like I said, even if all the stores are real, which they are not, you still cannot be selling at that levels. To get credible verification however, you will need to get data from various supermarkets and see what volume of its products are actually being sold...but again, i cannot imagine a tiny shelf space in a supermarket or pharmacy can reasonably outsell a separate store inside."


    Below is a picture of one of the Yangpu District addresses that this Shanghai resident visited. For the avoidance of doubt, the products in the picture are not Shanghai Shining's.





    Disclosure: Short CHBT and ONP

    Stocks: CHBT, ONP
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Comments (70)
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  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    Why don't you call Shiwei Yin at +1 (646) 284-9474 or email him at shiwei.yin@grayling.com and participate in the Investor Day and then post your observations instead of posting messages overnight.

     

    Why are you in such a rush to post these comments, you can't wait till September 20th for some reason and write a full summary after meeting the management, seeing the plant, and visiting the stores?

     

    You do know these stores are only 8% of their revenues.... and you seem to focus on just that... again fishy business.

     

    Also... nice of you to throw a comment on ONP which has nothing to do with this topic - very unprofessional and questionable.
    1 Sep 2010, 09:28 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I'm fairly certain the company is a fraud - I don't need to go to the investor day. What would you expect me to do? Tell them that they shouldn't be a fraud?

     

    As for the stores being only 8% of revenue, I'm just addressing this 8% of revenue now. We'll get to other evidence that the company is a fraud over time. I published compelling evidence yesterday that CHBT is fabricating its numbers per the SEC-AIC comparison yesterday.

     

    The ONP reference was to Robert Hsu's memo. He's doing a disservice to you because he's not doing sufficient diligence. His comment about the stores is an outright lie. Our investigators visited over 30 stores yesterday. We'll be publishing the results once they're ready. He should have sent investigators to the stores prior to publishing his memo.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    " I'm fairly certain the company is a fraud - I don't need to go to the investor day. "

     

    On the other hand you can send multiple people wandering around Shanghai looking for stores, spend couple of thousand dollars, and write articles and post messages day after day.... something doesn't add up.

     

    This is how you conduct yourself as a "researcher"?

     

    You my friend are not doing anybody any favors (longs or shorts) - and certainly not to yourself.
    1 Sep 2010, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • jcreuter
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    Investor day is September 20...go to it!!!!!!!! Quit writing fictitous articles that no one can believe.
    1 Sep 2010, 09:49 AM Reply Like
  • Michael Anderson
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    Agreed, his purpose for posting these blogs is to try to profit from his short positions by continually distorting the truth. Then, he tries to through something in his blogs about his other shorts so that they appear on the other pages and if get published, sometimes show up as an article on the others. I do not know much about CHBT so I cannot comment on the specifics of the claims, but CCA continually follows suit after a random attack article comes out on a company.

     

    Also, if you look back on CCA's blogs and articles he states several times how ONP's AIC documents do not match the SEC filings and he has copies to prove it and he uses the AIC documents as proof of fraud. The thing is that ONP's AIC and SEC documents do match and that is why he will not bring up this issue with ONP anymore. Then in his latest article, he tries to discredit the office that ONP's AIC documents come from. At the same time, he created an article on ONP's top supplier Xushui County Dongfang Trading Company Limited and used their AIC filings, but I believe they come out of the same region.

     

    Then CCA wants to act as if ONP's top supplier does not exist yet in the document he provided for 2007(which is another topic), it shows the supplier with over $21 million in payables and over $28 million in total assets, but because he cannot access their info for 2008 and 2009 he wants to state they are a shell. Where did the $28 million in assets go? They obviously still exist and the auditor verfies their top customer.

     

    He continually states distorted facts and points of view to benefit himself and scare others. It is a joke and hopefully others are catching on to his and some of the other shorts games.
    1 Sep 2010, 09:53 AM Reply Like
  • Zirdu
    , contributor
    Comments (18) | Send Message
     
    You state: "So now you count on a quarterly basis, this store can generate maybe 15k, you need 100 of these to generate 1.5mil...the reported 25mil number, you would be looking at 1800 retail outlets in a city like Shanghai."

     

    So you argue that they would need 1800 retail stores to generate the 25 million in reported quarterly revenue. You neglect to take into account that only 7.8% of that 25 million in revenue is from the 111 retail outlet "stores." 7.8% of 25 million is 1.95 million. 111 times 15k is 1.67 million. Pretty close to your estimates.
    1 Sep 2010, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Those are somebody else's comments, not mine. I'm just publishing a full account of a store visit and someone's thoughts. I have not looked at those calculations, and I have no comment on that whatsoever. If you believe they are wrong, make sure to mention it on this board.

     

    The bigger point is that these "stores" for the most part don't exist. A handful do. Not anywhere close to 100. By "stores", the company means shelf space. Not "store within a store", but shelf space.

     

    Dislcosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • kurt10011
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    The fact that the only place you and Citron can find to base your short attack on is what type of retail 'store' is really a 'store' for a company that is winding down its 8% retail segment is a strong argument for CHBT. I mean this is it? Such a weak attack actually makes CHBT look stronger.
    1 Sep 2010, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » That's not true. Citron mentioned numerous other reasons in his article. I spent a long article and a couple thousand dollars acquiring and translating AIC documents to present an entirely non-store related case that CHBT is a fraud. I'll get to other evidence in the future.

     

    That said, saying that 8% of the revenue doesn't matter is silly. If 8% of the company is a fraud, that's not the best of signs for what the other 92% of the company is.

     

    Personally, I believe that CHBT is a complete hoax. It's not even like CMFO, which actually sells some product and showed $7m of revenue in its AIC filings. We're seeing less than $1m of revenue. Believe it or not, I don't think anyone's buying their probiotics shining essence nutritional supplements.

     

    They're trying to build a bulk additives business to put together a more sensible real business. But they used fabricated numbers from an extremely tiny nutritional supplements business to raise the money to build their bulk additives facility.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 10:35 AM Reply Like
  • Emerging Markets Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (141) | Send Message
     
    You source states: "after talking with the sales clerk, she said they on average make 30-50k RMB on a monthly basis for revenue, that translates into 4-6k USD a month." That actually translates into $4,400 to $7,360 per month.

     

    In the latest 10-Q, management states that their retail outlets were 13% of retail sales. Retail sales were 60% of overall sales in Q1. Overall sales in Q1 were $24.9 million. Therefore, retail sales were $14.96 million. Of the retail sales number, 13% came from outlet stores, for a total of $1.945 million in sales. There were 103 outlets at the end of June 30, which translates into $18,882 in sales per outlet during the quarter. If you take $18,882 and divide by 3 to get it a monthly basis, you get $6,294 in monthly sales per outlet, which is in the range of $4,400 to $7,360 per month described by your source. I guess your source just never realized that retail outlet stores only represented 7.8% of overall sales.
    1 Sep 2010, 10:18 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » I haven't verified my source's math, and I saw the same thing when he sent me the email.

     

    I'll get to the other 92% of sales. Right now, I'm focusing on a very obvious and blatant lie that the company has made: its claim that it owns more than 100 stores. It doesn't. By stores, it means "shelf space".

     

    I mean, come on, this is getting absurd. You're defending a company that says it owns 100 stores, but doesn't.

     

    I don't know how someone can say 'hey, the fact that 8% of their sales are fraudulent isn't relevant to the whole investment thesis'. There's numerous other questions about this company. The fact that their stores don't exist indicate whether they're fabricating other things in their SEC filings.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    somebody is doing their math wrong... 30,000-50,000 RMB is $4,400-$7,350. 100 stores for 3 months would be $1.3-2.2 million per quarter

     

    Spring Festival is during CHBT's Q4, which is normally their strongest quarter. In the last Q, 60% of sales were retail, and 13% of retail sales were direct sales. $1.95 million falls within the range.

     

    Think about this for a second... if Kellogg's cereal had stand alone stores outside of Walmart, which would do better? The shelf space in the cereal isle of Walmart or the stand alone store? of course its the shelf space. A point of sale is a point of sale.

     

    As for the rest of the retail business, it was never implied that all distribution stayed in Shanghai.
    1 Sep 2010, 10:31 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Yes, we've discussed that the math may be wrong. But the stores don't exist. That's the point.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    nobody ever claimed to own 100 stores. the words they use are "operating 103 retail outlets"
    1 Sep 2010, 11:01 AM Reply Like
  • Emerging Markets Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (141) | Send Message
     
    The source says "I'd like to point out for you guys the severe lack of seasonality in these numbers. In China, most of the sales of these types of products happens right around the Chinese new year when people go around to visit relatives. The sales should really account for a huge percentage of the annual sales just because thats when people actually buy that kind of stuff to give out as gifts."

     

    On page 24 of the Company's 10-Q, it clearly states: "Typically, 60% of our sales take place in the second half of the fiscal year because many of our customers purchase our products to give as gifts during the Chinese festivals that occur during this time of the year."

     

    This "source" clearly has no clue and had done no real homework on CHBT. The shorts are clearly scrambling to spread lies as quickly as they can. It is a shame that Seeking Alpha gives them this forum to do so.
    1 Sep 2010, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » The stores don't exist, except for a handful of 5-10. That's the point. The stores don't exist. I've got pictures and documentation for store visits for about 30 locations, and will be presenting them shortly. They don't exist.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 11:53 AM Reply Like
  • Nathan M
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    " The stores don't exist, except for a handful of 5-10. That's the point. The stores don't exist. I've got pictures and documentation for store visits for about 30 locations, and will be presenting them shortly. They don't exist.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT "

     

    That is quite the claim you have there CCA. So you posted that yesterday. If you claim to have all of this documentation, when are you going to post it? There has already been a report that the stores you "investigated" here do indeed sell Shining brand products. Also remember the Seeking Alpha terms of use. You agree to not:
    "Post or transmit any Content that you either know or should know is false, deceptive or misleading, or misrepresent or deceive others as to the source, accuracy, integrity or completeness of any comment you post."
    2 Sep 2010, 01:50 PM Reply Like
  • Nathan M
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    Two days have passed now, still waiting.
    3 Sep 2010, 01:29 PM Reply Like
  • chinastock
    , contributor
    Comments (3) | Send Message
     
    You may want to improve your detective and forensic analysis techniques before you publish your blog/articles. The whole "investigation" seem to be very rushed, primitive, and not convincing at all. You do not have to publish anything in such a rushed manner. Unless, your goal is not the truth but the time to cover your short.

     

    1) CHBT use the word sales "outlet" in their filings. Being traveled into China before, I mentally translated the word "outlet" into a counter or designated shelf within a store, which to me makes more sense from business model perspective. Why do you/Citron kept suggesting that the company uses stand-alone stores, and the discredited the company then you can not find them. Retail space in Shanghai is very expensive. CHBT is a small manufacture and even huge manufacturers in China do not own retail stores.
    2) Have you translated CHBT's name/brand into proper Chinese? CHBT, or even Shining are US English. When you talk to your Shanghai "investigators", what procedures do you take to prevent "lost in translations"?
    3). Have your "investigators" ever tried to call the company when they could not find the stores or counters? I was in Shanghai before and know how difficult it is to find a specific brand/store/counter in a crowded retail environment. To me it is a simple courtesy to make sure the accused to have a chance to help/respond.
    4) Timing - as other's mentioned, why not wait for investor's day. It is only 20 days from now.
    1 Sep 2010, 11:20 AM Reply Like
  • jcreuter
    , contributor
    Comments (12) | Send Message
     
    You hit the nail on the head. OUTLETS are not stores. Period. CHBT's 10-Q and 10-K never say stores. The outlets can be stores, but they can also be stand alone counters within a department or grocery store. I worked for a large retailer and the Cigarette companies actually rented (paid a lot of money) an area of the store to show off their product. Of course it was locked and we had the key to get the cig cartons. Many companies pay for counter space at big retail department stores.

     

    SO DON'T LOOK FOR STORE FRONTS like starbucks or gamestop.

     

    1 Sep 2010, 06:47 PM Reply Like
  • Nathan M
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    Hmm, I could have sworn when this article was first published it said something along the lines of : "Citron and I hired private investigators..." It has since been edited. What is your relationship with Citron, Chinese Company Analyst? Why was that edited out?

     

    Also, to the seeking alpha editors: Perhaps before giving a huge audience to serious allegations of fraud the accused should have a chance to respond. Why not send the article to the accused and allow three working days for a company to respond to any article that accuses a company of fraud? These shorts have gone after these companies in a very short time frame, and have gone onto the next target before the last was fully resolved.
    1 Sep 2010, 12:06 PM Reply Like
  • Chinese Company Analyst
    , contributor
    Comments (135) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Yes, that was edited out. I communicate with Citron, just like I communicate with other analysts, both long and short. I have emailed Jason Nevader and Eric Jackson, etc. I'm not some hermit in a box, and share notes with a lot of folks, including them.

     

    But only one person actually "hires" the investigators, so I just edited it out for more accuracy. I don't know if this is untoward, but I'll clearly state that I share my research with others, again both long and short. I emailed Jason Nevader a quote from a competitor who says they've vetted the company and essentially believes it's highly overstating its SEC financial statements, etc.

     

    The question isn't who I'm sharing my research with, but whether CHBT is falsifying its SEC financial statements.

     

    Disclosure: short CHBT
    1 Sep 2010, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    you just added a new piece of "evidence" - that seems to be vague:

     

    "I emailed Jason Nevader a quote from a competitor who says they've vetted the company and essentially believes it's highly overstating its SEC financial statements, etc. "

     

    So:
    1. Jason, what is your say? CSA claims to be in communication with you, and
    2. who is the competitor, name of contact, so that others can have access to this valuable DD on your part that you randomly put in the body of a blog comment?
    1 Sep 2010, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • Emerging Markets Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (141) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I did receive an email from CCA. He shared with me a quote that he said he received from a competitor. Of course, the quote was anonymous. I do not believe the quote as it made no sense to me. However, if CCA wants to provide me with a name and phone number, I will be happy to follow-up with any competitor to CHBT.
    1 Sep 2010, 03:36 PM Reply Like
  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    correct - citron was taken out!!!

     

    ....but this time not by the SS but by CSA:)
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
    had to add a bit of humor - hope no one was offended....

     

    I have already written to editors of Seeking Alpha and asked them to consider carefully allowing articles that use Seeking Alpha for credibility purposes: "I have disclosed his name and email address to Seeking Alpha's editors for independent verification"....
    1 Sep 2010, 12:15 PM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    SHA:600530

     

    Shanghai Jiaoda Onlly Co., Ltd

     

    PE 108

     

    so you are looking in the wrong place.

     

    I will be in Shanghai later this month, I'll let you know what I find
    1 Sep 2010, 12:24 PM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    by the way, gross margins for jiaoda are around 63%. not far off
    1 Sep 2010, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    The detective reported he could not find a store within a store in some supermarkets. He did not look to see if the store was a distribution outlet by checking for stock on the shelf.

     

    did not check the shelves for stock.

     

    couldnt disprove the the existence in malls either since your detective would "have to disclose his identity".

     

    So do you count those mall disrtibution outlets as fraud since it is hard to prove their non existence also?

     

    Good job!!!
    1 Sep 2010, 12:42 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    The "PI" checked 3 supermarkets for mini stores but never checked the supermarket shelf to verify if the market was as distribution outlet selling the product.

     

    The PI couldnt disprove the non existence of product distribution outlets in malls because he" would have to disclose his identity."

     

    Do you count those "unable to disprove locations" as phanton distribution outlets.

     

    My guess there is a language issue here . The stores do vary in nature and are probably all serviced and some owned without middlemen thus considered as direct outlets.

     

    Good job, nice analysis. LOL
    1 Sep 2010, 12:54 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    Seems that the longs are practicing revisionist history. CHBT has represented the sales channel frequently as being made up of stand alone retail outlets.

     

    2007 10-K......We opened our first store in Shanghai in March 2006, and plan to open additional Shining stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shenyang, Harbin and Heilongjiang. We intend to open over 300 stores over the next two years. At the end of March 2007, we had opened a total of nine stores in
    Shanghai.

     

    2008 10-K ....sale of our products to the other metropolitan cities in China through a combination of the traditional
    distribution channels and dedicated Shining stores. From March 2006, when we opened our first store in Shanghai,
    we have a total of 60 stores as of March 31, 2008......

     

    2009 10-K.....At March 2009, we had 106 Shining branded outlets in Shanghai and 12 other major
    cities in China.....

     

    Jason Nevader ...."As of March 31, 2010, the Company had 111 retail stores to sell its Shining branded probiotics supplements, which is an increase of 1 store from its 110 retail stores as of September 30, 2008."

     

    Jason "The Evader" Nevader...."Given the low sales volume of the retail stores, increasing lease costs, and higher labor costs, the company has continued to close retail stores in this quarter. "

     

    You will also notice that the link Jason had to the list of stores has been zapped and it looks like CHBT pulled the list of stores from the web site. Now we can't even find the store in their imagination.

     

    The retail outlets do not exist. They never did exist. All the revenue from earlier years was a complete fabrication. They had no earnings, they had no cash. Investors are the only customers they have.

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 02:46 PM Reply Like
  • Nathan M
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    The list is right there on the "about us" section of their website:
    www.chn-biotics.com/c4.../
    1 Sep 2010, 03:02 PM Reply Like
  • Emerging Markets Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (141) | Send Message
     
    Hey John,

     

    Thanks for the name calling -- really professional.

     

    I am sorry that I referred to "stores" in some of my prior Seeking Alpha articles. The correct term is "outlets" since there are a number of different formats. Tony did a great job showing the various formats on his blog:
    seekingalpha.com/insta...

     

    The list of outlets is still on the website:
    www.chn-biotics.com/c4...

     

    Jason
    1 Sep 2010, 03:39 PM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    John,

     

    www.chn-biotics.com/c4...

     

    The list is still very much there. You are delusional.
    1 Sep 2010, 03:03 PM Reply Like
  • Mark Situ
    , contributor
    Comments (42) | Send Message
     
    Robert sent his analyst to ONP annual meeting.
    Did you?

     

    Robert sent his analyst to CHBT for a site visit.
    Did you?

     

    Robert must send his analyst to the investor's day
    Will you?
    1 Sep 2010, 03:16 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    He isn't delusional .He is a liar. May soon get his ass in court.

     

    Doesn't matter what an outlet/ store is called. Is their product there ? If I was a retail jobber for example for CHBT, delivering to a store or warehouse stocking and ordering and billing , to me it is a store/ outlet.

     

    Chinahole fails to answer that question.

     

    He is making much to do over 7% of the business nomenclature as to a channel of distribution
    1 Sep 2010, 03:17 PM Reply Like
  • Value Bulldog
    , contributor
    Comments (112) | Send Message
     
    It is truly stunning that people seem to be satisfied with possible retail shelf space instead of an actual store. The company's disclosures clearly differentiate between retail shelf space (sold through distributors) and company-run outlets (where they sell directly to end users).

     

    From the company's most recent 10-K:

     

    "We have historically reached consumers by selling our products to large distributors, who then sell them through their networks to supermarkets, hypermarkets, such as Wal-Mart, and drug stores, where they are purchased by consumers. As of March 31, 2010, we had 111 Shining branded outlets in Shanghai and 12 other major cities in China where we sell our products directly to the end users. We believe owning distribution channels and having direct access to the end users will become a significant entry barrier in the future."
    1 Sep 2010, 03:38 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    When you don't use middlemen it is a a direct sale store. In retailing a direct store is one where the company buys from the manufacture shipped directly to them not a wholesaler or cooperative . When Kellogg's sells directly to Safeway ships to Safeway that is a direct store sale. When a small grocer buys a case of cornflakes from Certified Grocers of California , a huge cooperative for small grocers that is not a direct sale by Kellogg. That is the jargon of the trade. I think language is a barrier used in a short attack. The issue is a distribution shelf for product, not its name.

     

    If you are a salesman the issue is stores you have distribution in, not ownership
    1 Sep 2010, 03:51 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    I am wrong about the list of stores/...I mean outlets... being gone. It is still there. Right underneath the full color picture of what CHBT describes as a "retail outlet" . I was taken with the doors on the front of the space and large street signs. The display window has a very large smiley picture of (I am sure) healthy users. I kept looking but I can't seem to find the shelving. I am easily confused but why would they show a picture of a 400-500 square foot storefront location if they really meant that an "outlet" was 3 shelves?

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 04:09 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    Just a few more thoughts here regarding this subject and nomenclature. I have a business minor in Food Marketing Management from USC some years ago as well as a degree in accounting.

     

    I do think we have a trade language and communication barrier that is baring us to understand some of the raised concerns.

     

    Concerning retail outlets. You may not be aware that many isles in an Albertsons food store is rented to another retailer. It is not known publicly to the average shopper. All he sees in buying non foods items at Albertsons is the same UPC tag on the shelf from which he or she grabs. That is not a sale to Albertsons but the tenet accurately recorded by the scanner at the check stand.

     

    To the company who rents that space that is a direct retail outlet. What matters to owners is how many stores are we in and how are sales?

     

    As to branded products General Mills is concerned with market penetration of Cheerios- the percent of available outlets that carry its
    branded product Cheerios and its percent of total sales in the Cereal category. General mills may sell unbranded also such as Cosco round oats, a fictional example. CHBT may be selling unbranded products under private label . If so CHBT should exclude those sales from branded sales stores. I have no idea if the do any private label products for retailers.

     

    I think the distinction here, which really doesn't matter, as regards to total sales, is CHBTis distinguishing sales made thru distributors or brokers and retail accounts they service directly without broker or wholesaler taking a piece of the action. It appears that this activity takes many forms ,from some small storefronts to displays or shelf space in supermarkets etc. If they have special retail placement spots they probably pay rent for the premiere merchandising opportunity like many products do in American stores. You dont think Coke gets the end display cap for no consideration to the store owner do you.

     

    Market channels will change daily, some go up or down, but in the end, to the product manufacturer how many outlets are open and the volume of the sales per outlet matter. I will take 5 good bulk customers or a few dozen Walmarts over whatever direct outlet sales CHBT currently realizes. With wholesalers and bulk sales why complicate the business. Outsource it to the wholesalers!
    1 Sep 2010, 05:08 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    All good information but CHBT never described anything even vaguely resembling your scenario. The underlying issue is that CHBT lied about the existence of stores. It is a very pained contortion to now speculate that they were talking about anything other than stand alone store front dedicated retail outlets. They use exactly that language in describing what they operated. They prersent a full color picture on their web site with the tag "Retail Outlet" It is only now that the apologists see how obscure they can be to somehow make the previous CHBT claims fit the newly revealed reality.

     

    They are lying. They don't have the revenue. They don't have the money.

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Emerging Markets Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (141) | Send Message
     
    You can find more pictures of outlets on the retail website of China-Biotics. Tony has great links on his blog:
    seekingalpha.com/insta...
    1 Sep 2010, 06:12 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    And you will take note that they make it clear they own and operate the Yogurt STORE which has a front door, large brand posters, a clerk, and the general things that might be called store fixtures.

     

    In the second picture they clearly identify the object as a COUNTER. CHBT makes it transparently clear that they are making arrangements with the grocery chain for them to sell CHBT's product in a store that is not CHBT's.

     

    They are lying and you are scrambling to see how many variations of reality are in the thesaurus.

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 06:35 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    The description of the retail sales model has changed from the 2007 plan noted by Special K above to a new one described by CHBT itself in its more recent SEC filings. The strategy has changed focus to relying on distributors and bulk customers. It does not claim to have 103 unique branded Company owned storefronts.. It claims 103 branded outlets. To me it says in 103 places you can shop where we have "Shining" branded products on display and that we manage this product channel. My background doesn't imply to me they own 103 stores on July 30 2010. I recognize it is a distinction others may readily not pick up on. But CHBT does not claim to own 103 stores.

     

    If there are better methods to distribute product I hope they get out of this smaller channel and focus management on the growth areas.
    1 Sep 2010, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    You seem to ignore the fact that they specifically used the word STORE in the 2007 - 08 10-Ks. Jason Evander references 111 stores which I believe is from a CHBT presentation. Does your flexible mind believe that these stores have morphed into outlets and no longer exist? It is very kind of you to allow them to modify the claims they make as we move forward.

     

    Next year will your flexible mind accept "113 electrical outlets" in our new building where we "store" our product?

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 06:48 PM Reply Like
  • gcaterina
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    I own both ONP and CHBT so I followed the link to the “separate front-page article documenting Orient Paper's fraud” and got a picture of a Chinese language newspaper. I then went to en.21cbh.com , (21st-century Business Herald's english site) and did a search using the web site's own search box for the terms "Orient Paper" and "ONP". The search returned the result "did not match any documents".

     

    Everyone who uses this site reads English. If the article was not available on the English language site, why did ChineseCompanyAnalyst not provide a translation of the article from the Chinese?
    1 Sep 2010, 05:59 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    It is a Chinese publication. They do not have any of the content in English.

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 06:37 PM Reply Like
  • gcaterina
    , contributor
    Comments (7) | Send Message
     
    The ChineseCompanyAnalyst’s investigator took all the trouble to go to the supermarkets and did not check the shelves (“There could be shelf space in the supermarket but that's a very different matter”). Now that is a real thorough investigation.
    1 Sep 2010, 06:22 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    During the 2006 time period to 2010 my guess is they could have a 100% turnover of outlets as they developed an operating strategy from ground zero. I hope some of these early outlets are what we know as Kiosks.. For example,they could have owned/ rented 175 stores, tents, kiosks at one time and now own 20 directly and had ,on July 30, 83 other retail outlets selling the Shining brand in one form or another that they were responsible for, not a distributor. We don't know from the public data. We know one "PI " is having trouble finding them and doesn't bother to check the stores he visits for a shelf space channel check. Hiring a food broker to to the channel check would be more accurate as they know how to find product in stores. That Is what they do for a living.

     

    I think we should rely on current claims as to operations today ,not those as to a location location in 2006-2007. I don't think anyone is going to PI what outlets existed in 2007.

     

    Someone should go look at the tax collection records. That should clear up any doubts. Just don't go send that PI will you.
    1 Sep 2010, 07:14 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    Thats the ticket. They had 100 stores but they closed them all and replaced them with 100 outlets. You are brilliant. What a nimble management team CHBT is blessed with. Lets shut down the miraculously profitable Stores and replace them with shelves in somebody elses convenience store.

     

    You seem to forget the reason for this exercise. CHBT responds to Citron's charge that they have no stores by posting a list of 100 addresses. Someone (CCA) is having people go to each of those locations and take pictures. You are rhetorically excusing CHBT for whatever is found.

     

    Granted the size of the revenue is not crucial but the misleading presentation of the retail operation hints very strongly that the bulk sales are equally misrepresented.

     

    The ultimate issue is whether the sales occured or not and it is clear to me that CHBT does not sell the product they claim. Retail or wholesale.

     

    John
    1 Sep 2010, 07:56 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    I hope next year there are no retail outlets and the electronic business is the only retail channel other than wholesalers/ jobbers. Then the private eye could easily go to the Co with that statistical analysis random number generator software, pull the invoices and match to shippers and see if the data all spells "Mother".

     

    Getting close to an electrical outlet for distribution IS the way to go!!!
    1 Sep 2010, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    If I had been product constrained I would send it to whatever outlet was my future. Actually real Companies sell of or close profitable business for a different direction of focus or better opportunity.Remember HP selling off HP test equipment to focus the business better?. HP test equipment was the premier player in that space. Now it is Alliant.

     

    JP Morgan is closing its proprietary trading? Was that not profitable?

     

    See the deal is you don't know the company configuration of outlets was 4 years ago and neither do I. 4 years ago in a start up is a lifetime ago I have an investment in a Co operating 1500 Kiosk in China- they redeploy about 15-20 % after 6 months. Guess why? To make more money elsewhere. Learning. I think they are smart to do so.

     

    The best outcome is good volume sales without the management hassles of a retail store. Hard work. Use other distribution channels.They have told us due to supply and focus that is where they have been heading for some time.
    1 Sep 2010, 08:31 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    John I am with you on misreprentation. I also know in some parts of the world one mans castle isnt up to standards for me as a guest house for my mother-in law.

     

    There are cultural and language differences, verbal and non verbal that have a lot to do with the difference between yes-yes- and yes- really no. And both are as honest as hell answers.
    1 Sep 2010, 08:43 PM Reply Like
  • mmonday88
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    I requested to be added to the investor day event and I asked if I could bring a camera crew. 20 minutes later I received a call in my trading office from the PR firm. They wanted to know why I wanted to take a camera. I asked if that was a problem. They are checking on that. They also wanted to know why I was posting so much on the yahoo message board. I did not answer.

     

    As of this morning.
    1) I am no longer on the investor day list.
    2) There is no investor agenda prepared with only 18 days left.

     

    Anyone who gets an itenerary should share it because apparently I am asking too many questions.

     

    Jeffery Bennett
    Bennett Partner Funds, LP
    MicroCap Funds, LP
    7365 Quivira Rd
    Shawnee, KS 66216
    email: mmonday88@yahoo.com
    Trading desk : 913-248-2414
    2 Sep 2010, 11:44 AM Reply Like
  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    MM,

     

    I just spoke to both Shiwei Yin and Kevin Theiss and they told me you are on the list... in fact they are willing to conference you in on a phone call with me - so what gives?

     

    Also, they say the agenda will be out soon and they might have to make it a 2 day event because many people have registered...

     

    again feel free to call them like I did at +1-646-284-9474 just 5 minutes ago.
    2 Sep 2010, 12:18 PM Reply Like
  • mmonday88
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    Still waiting for the itinerary.
    Now down to 17 days to plan travel.

     

    Anyone have the agenda?

     

    I got a call from that PR firm and the guy who was on the other end told me he was preparing a PR for release after the close today.

     

    When I asked his name he said "Snow White".

     

    I immediately added to my PUTS.
    2 Sep 2010, 04:58 PM Reply Like
  • Idontlikemondays
    , contributor
    Comments (67) | Send Message
     
    Funny, the Address you gave is for a Re/Max office. The name and phone number come up as a real estate office. Manager - Jeffery Bennett of kchothomes.com.

     

    www.celinea.com/d-2148...

     

    So, what's the story, Jeffery? Do you split your workday? Is it an old, failed business? Why doesn't your listing turn up anything as far as investment services?
    2 Sep 2010, 05:16 PM Reply Like
  • mmonday88
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    We have the largest Fannie Mae foreclosure contract in Kansas City.
    We have 2 Hedge Funds.
    We manage property.
    We don't provide investment services. We are closed funds.

     

    Do you need anything else?
    2 Sep 2010, 05:23 PM Reply Like
  • Idontlikemondays
    , contributor
    Comments (67) | Send Message
     
    How about an admission that an itinerary (the basic itinerary is out there for anyone that can read English) doesn't take 17 days to complete?

     

    Best of luck working at re/max.
    2 Sep 2010, 05:36 PM Reply Like
  • mmonday88
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    Please post a link.
    I was told the "agenda" wasn't "ready".
    2 Sep 2010, 05:40 PM Reply Like
  • plivac
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    MM,

     

    you have no shame and are a fraud. Your complete disregard to my serious and honest reply is proof of that.

     

    I will never ever again reply to your posts or consider them . It is my error that I took you seriously in the first place.

     

    And Seeking Alpha should ban you, and others like you, from this blog that to the best of my knowledge tries to promote rational and meaningful exchange between its participants.
    2 Sep 2010, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • mmonday88
    , contributor
    Comments (10) | Send Message
     
    So I guess ur talking about the conference call?

     

    R they going to conference call every investor who has questions?

     

    Grayling has already called me and emailed me twice. I see no need to have a conference call with the Grayling guy who identified himself as Snow White.

     

    Soooo, go ruffle someone elses feathers cause you have no effect on me. Got any other stocks ur long on? I could use some more SHORTING ideas.
    2 Sep 2010, 07:36 PM Reply Like
  • Idontlikemondays
    , contributor
    Comments (67) | Send Message
     
    No response from mmonday. Not even some song and dance?
    Way to call him out and reveal his lies.

     

    I do suppose more lies may come, but when a liar speaks, he speaks lies.
    2 Sep 2010, 01:06 PM Reply Like
  • Nathan M
    , contributor
    Comments (35) | Send Message
     
    A poster on a yahoo finance board says she called these two stores and they verified that they do stock Shining brand probiotics.

     

    messages.finance.yahoo...

     

    If someone else would verify the phone #s posted in the thread and make a call to verify her post it would be nice. Perhaps also getting some clarification on whether it is an outlet or not would also be nice.
    2 Sep 2010, 01:42 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    The 2 locations are associated with the Auchun Grocery Store company
    translate.google.com/t...|en&tbb=1&ie=g...

     

    It would appear that they have numerous independent vendors using this same address and I would assume they rent space inside the store. CHBT is not among the sub-tenants listed. The sub-tenant list identifies several of the companies as having numerous outlets (obviously not all at this address) so the usefullness is somewhat limited.

     

    If you are long and a supporter this will certainly qualify as an outlet. If you aren't adequately forgiving of how "store" is defined this is trivial shelf space inadequate to generate any significant sales.

     

    The second location is not as helpful in suggesting subtenants. It does confirm that it is also a Auchun grocery. The phone number that was used to confirm the CHBT sales was not a store. It appears to be the main office for the regional? operation.

     

    translate.google.com/t...|en&tbb=1&ie=g...

     

    John
    2 Sep 2010, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    How do you know what is sufficient store space to generate meaningful revenue?

     

    For years the most lucrative revenue generating piece of real estate in the US supermarket was that 6 inch wide space on the shelf that stocked Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing in the foil pouch *you mix your own" stuff. That little space- highest revenue in the store per foot. Lots of high dollar sales in a small space.

     

    As you say it is not really the issue of nomenclature- it is the sales that is the bottom line.

     

    The "what is an outlet / store" is a red herring. I could care less if it was a pair of sawhorses and a sheet of plywood that constitutes an outlet. I am interested in branded products that gross big revenues per sale growing in demand.
    2 Sep 2010, 04:33 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    If the 10-Ks, press releases, company presentations, full color location shots, and star analysts had reflected a 6 inch display case next to the lettuce that would be fine. They didn't. They explicitly said stores not shelves. The 10-K identifies several hundred "retail" employees (who are very hard to fit on the shelf next to the dressing)

     

    In the final analysis the volume will be the test. In the mean time I can tell when someone is pissing on my boots and claiming it is rain. These guys told the world they had stores and now the apologists scramble away from the clear meaning of that word. Store morphs to counter to shelf to 6 inch tray. Soon your interpretation of store will include modified Chiclettes machines. CHBT could have easily and accurately described whatever in the hell they have and saved you major effort in salad dressing up the fibs.

     

    I still don't know what they consider an outlet? Apparently its anything you want it to be.

     

    Are we to expect this same type of discussion over semantics when it turns out there are no bulk sales contracts? And no customers. "Bulk is any size I care to define after the fact" "Sales don't have to be paid for, just sold." "Customers don't have to actually buy from us, they just have to buy. They are potential customers"

     

    John
    2 Sep 2010, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • Sedric
    , contributor
    Comments (2577) | Send Message
     
    The right way to solve this issue is to determine if approximately 1100 outlets can sell, on average about $1000 of wholesale priced product per week. That's not semantics, that is how it works at the bottom line. As I said any venue works for me. Waldo you seem the one to have the semantics problem inferring outlets should be stores.Seems you missed that in the financials statements. Whoops! Just trying to help you along here.

     

    How they bean count employees to is interesting. Doesn't change the bottom line .Do they use project accounting? Do they allocate all labor but for R@D and wholesale to the stores? Good question. Ask it at the Visit day. Write to them. Why did they add the new employees this year? To dress up a fraud or do they just park more cars in the lot each day.
    2 Sep 2010, 08:26 PM Reply Like
  • Waldo Mushman
    , contributor
    Comments (434) | Send Message
     
    Maybe we need to get an early start on the next round.

     

    What is a distributor?

     

    It seems that all the "outlets" in these grocery stores should have been originated by distributors. The 28 hard working distributors are getting cut out of the retail chain. It seems that we will now witness 28 distributors morph into outlets. Or is the other way around. An outlet is a distributor so the 110 outlets includes all of the 28 distributors?

     

    Since the topic is predictably next, do you want to speculate on why CHBT is in direct competition with the large distributors who generate 80+ of the business? How keen is the large distributor (selling to Wal-Mart no less) going to be when he discovers CHBT has created outlets/stores/shelves/6 inch racks in one of the local grocery chains, Auchun?

     

    Back when CHBT had stand alone stores/outlets with the highly trained retail staff of hundreds it was plausible that distributors would handle the multi thousand retail locations. Kind of like Sysco. The industry used to say that Sysco wore out a truck every day just getting Hidden Valley dressing to the 6 inch shelves.

     

    If CHBT is already in the grocery stores what are the 28 distributors doing all day long? Maybe they are limited to selling to bulk customers. Or ag customers. Or Hidden Valley.

     

    Don't distributors normally handle retail outlets like Auchun?

     

    John
    2 Sep 2010, 09:43 PM Reply Like
  • throwerw
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    Distribution in China is still very fragmented. There are many trading companies here engaged in the business of buying goods wholesale from manufacturers and selling them through retail outlets. I'm thinking about starting one myself. The difference is obvious... either CHBT oversees distribution to points of sale, or it sells to other companies that oversee distribution to points of sale. It's not that hard to understand. What do the distributors do all day? transport goods from the factory to various locations throughout the surrounding provinces.
    3 Sep 2010, 05:25 AM Reply Like
  • Old China Hand
    , contributor
    Comments (23) | Send Message
     
    Dear all,

     

    Thank you for your interest in China-Biotics’s Investor Day, which will be held on Monday, September 20, 2010 in Shanghai. Please find below an event schedule.

     

    Agenda

     

    07:15 a.m. Hotel pick-up at Hyatt on the Bund onto Pudong facility located in Jinqiao Industrial Park

     

    08:30 a.m. Management presentation and Q&A

     

    09:30 a.m. Distributors’ speech and Q&A

     

    10:00 a.m. Pudong Facility tour

     

    10:30 a.m. Depart for retail outlets tour

     

    12:00 p.m. Working lunch

     

    12:30 p.m. Continue retail outlets tour

     

    14:30 p.m. Bulk additives facility tour at Qingpu Industrial Park

     

    15:15 p.m. Bulk additives customers’ speech

     

    15:35 p.m. R&D director speech and Q&A

     

    16:00 p.m. Chairman's speech on bulk strategy plan and closing remarks on Investor Day

     

    17:00 p.m. Transportation back to Hyatt on the Bund

     

    Hotel Accommodation:

     

    We have reserved a large numbers of single occupancy rooms at Hyatt on the Bund (199 Huang Pu Road, Shanghai, P.R.China 200080). We have discounted rate of RMB1,400 per night including breakfast. This is a brand new 5 star hotel overseeing the skyline of Pudong. Should you choose to stay at Hyatt on the Bund, please confirm with me at your earliest convenience.

     

    Transportation:
    Overseas investors should choose Pudong International Airport (PVG) as their air travel destination. The Company provides ground transportation throughout the event, boarding at 07:15 a.m. at Hyatt on the Bund and leaving Qingpu to return to the hotel at 17:00 p.m.

     

    Person of Contact:

     

    Please feel free to reach out to me throughout the Investor Day.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    Shiwei Yin
    +1 646-284-9474
    shiwei.yin@grayling.com
    3 Sep 2010, 05:48 PM Reply Like
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