Dueling Sites: Xinhua and China Finance

Includes: JRJC, XFML
by: Tiernan Ray

Shares of China’s two answers to Barron’s Online (kinda)  traded in opposite directions today, as Xinhua Finance Media Limited (XFML) fell 11% TO $3.01, one of the biggest decliners on the Nasdaq, and China Finance Online (NASDAQ:JRJC) rose almost 16% to $23.80. Both companies are based in Beijing.

The precipitating event seems to be the announcement that Xinhua’s chief executive, Ms. Fredy Bush, has been demoted from CEO of the parent company, Xinhua Finance Ltd., which trades on the Japanese exchange, to just CEO of the subsidiary, Xinhua Finance Media, apparently to give “sharper focus” to her running of the subsidiary, according to the press release put out yesterday. Ms. Bush is replaced by Jae Lie, who has been with the parent company since 2000. Ms. Bush will remain executive vice chairman of the parent company.

My colleague, Barron’s magazine investigative reporter Bill Alpert, who wrote about Xinhua a year ago, and did a follow-up, offers that the “sharper focus” Ms. Bush will take may be taken as as negative for XFML stock by many. My conjecture is that investors may be trading into the competitor, China Finance, as the alternative bet on China’s rising desire for financial news. China Finance announces financial results for its first fiscal quarter on Thursday, after market close.