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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  SHENZHEN STOCK EXCHANGE  >  Visual China Group Co Ltd    000681   CNE000000BW8

VISUAL CHINA GROUP CO LTD

(000681)
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Visual China : Furore over 'black hole' photo forces China's largest image provider to shut

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04/12/2019 | 03:09am EST

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's largest stock images provider, Visual China Group, shut its website and apologised on Friday after it falsely claimed copyright of images such as the first photo of a black hole and China's national flag.

The company, which partners with U.S. photo agency Getty Images, said in a post on its official Weibo account the incident revealed its weak management and that it was cooperating with authorities investigating the matter.

Shares in the company slumped by the maximum 10 percent allowed.

The topic "Visual China apologises" was among the most-read items on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform on Friday, with over 250 million views. According to its website, Visual China has over 40 million editorial images and 1.25 million videos.

Criticism of the company mounted earlier this week after Visual China put its logo over the first photo of a black hole, which was the work of a team of 200 scientists known as the Event Horizon Telescope project.

The company said it had obtained a non-exclusive editing licence from the project for media use.

Other users also questioned why the company was asking for payment for the use of images like China's flag and logos of Chinese companies such as Baidu.

The Tianjin city branch of China's internet watchdog said on Weibo that it had met the company's leaders on Thursday evening and ordered them to rectify its website.

Visual China acknowledged that its website had issues with non-compliant pictures which it said had been provided by contractors, and pledged to "learn from these lessons".

IP RIGHTS

Political control of the internet has tightened under President Xi Jinping, with demands that companies tighten oversight of "harmful information" which could range from vulgar to politically sensitive content.

The country's leaders have also pledged to do more to protect intellectual property rights amid complaints by the United States and other key trading partners about the theft of such assets.

Elliot Papageorgiou, the Shanghai-based head of the IP practice at law firm Clyde & Co., said Visual China's use of the black hole image was embarrassing due to the photo's high profile.

"It comes at an inconvenient time because China is trying hard to get recognition for some positive steps it is taking to protect intellectual property," he said.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; Additional Reporting by Michael Martina and Yawen Chen in Beijing; Editing by Stephen Coates)

By Brenda Goh

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Financials (CNY)
Sales 2019 913 M
EBIT 2019 390 M
Net income 2019 325 M
Finance 2019 368 M
Yield 2019 0,22%
P/E ratio 2019 41,5x
P/E ratio 2020 32,6x
EV / Sales2019 14,3x
EV / Sales2020 11,0x
Capitalization 13 451 M
Income Statement Evolution
Consensus
Sell
Buy
Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 7
Average target price 21,88  CNY
Last Close Price 19,20  CNY
Spread / Highest target 26,0%
Spread / Average Target 13,9%
Spread / Lowest Target -0,52%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Jun Liang President & Director
Jie Liao Chairman
Ji Jun Chai Board Secretary, Director, VP & Chief Editor
Yun Dong Zhou Director
Di Sheng Zhang Independent Director
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