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China’s movie box office revenue rose 9 percent in 2018 to 60.98 billion yuan ($8.87 billion), state media reported, a slower pace than the 13.45 percent clocked for the previous year.

Domestic films recorded ticket sales of 37.9 billion yuan in 2018, accounting for 62 percent of the total box office, the official Xinhua news agency said late on Monday, citing data from the State Film Administration.

Domestic films in 2017 accounted for 54 percent of total box office.

China is the second-largest movie market globally after the United States, though it already has more total movie screens after years of rapid expansion in theater networks.

The number of movie screens reached 60,079 across the country, an increase of 9,303 from 2017, Xinhua said. That compares to just over 40,000 screens in the United States, according to data from U.S.-based National Association of Theatre Owners.

China, which is on track to eventually overtake the North America film market, has become an increasingly important region for global producers looking to pump up their box office returns, despite a quota on imported films and strict censorship.

China has been seeking to promote home-grown productions to rival imported Hollywood films. But several big-budget Chinese films have flopped while more modest productions have done well, highlighting the challenges China faces.

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Oil tanker owner disagrees with US that mine caused blast near Iran

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An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019.

ISNA | Reuters

WASHINGTON – The Japanese owner of one of the oil tankers attacked near Iran on Thursday said that the vessel was struck by a projectile and not by a mine, which is what U.S. officials assessed as the source of the blast.

“We received reports that something flew towards the ship,” Yutaka Katada, president of Kokuka Sangyo said at a press conference Friday. “I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship,” he said, adding that a projectile landed above the waterline.

On Thursday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the Japanese oil tanker Kokuka Courageous had an “unexploded limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion.”

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

President Donald Trump said Friday that if Iran were to block the Strait of Hormuz, “it’s not going to be closed for long,” but did not elaborate on what potential steps the U.S. would take in response. “They’re not going to be closing [the strait],” Trump reiterated during a telephone interview on “Fox & Friends.”

Earlier this year, Iran threatened to close the strait in response to a U.S. decision to end waivers on reimposed sanctions for companies that export oil from Iran. The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point. It’s a gateway for almost a third of all seaborne crude oil.

America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks without citing specific evidence as to why Tehran was responsible.

“Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted,” Pompeo said Thursday. “No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.”

“The international community condemns Iran’s assault on the freedom of navigation and the targeting of innocent civilians,” he said, adding that the U.S. will defend its forces, interests and partners.

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Broadcom hurt by Trump move against Huawei on China trade

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Broadcom CEO Hock Tan is paying the price for misjudging President Donald Trump‘s resolve to “bring the Chinese to their knees,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Friday.

Trump feels he has to “sacrifice Broadcom on the alter of Huawei” to humble China in trade negotiations, Cramer argued. Last year, Broadcom received about $900 million in revenue from China-based Huawei, a major maker of smartphones and mobile networking gear.

“The president regards Huawei as the Achilles’ heel” of Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The calculation in effectively blacklisting Huawei from doing business with American companies is that China would never let one of its crown jewels of technology fail, the “Mad Money” host speculated.

Tan may be feeling hard done by Trump, said Cramer, pointing out that the Broadcom CEO in 2017 went to the White House, and joined the president, to announce he was relocating the Singapore-based company back to the United States.

In another knock, the Trump administration last year blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion bid to buy San Diego-based Qualcomm on national security grounds.

“What a kiss of death, if you’re a great friend with the president,” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street. “

“Broadcom is a remarkably good company and it’s going to be hurt” in the crossfire between the world’s two biggest economic superpowers, he explained.

Shares of Broadcom fell sharply at Friday’s open on Wall Street, after the semiconductor maker reported late Thursday weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue. It also announced a 2019 revenue forecast cut, predicting a slowdown in demand stemming from the conflicts between Washington and Beijing. This is being “driven by continued geopolitical uncertainties,” Tan said in a statement.

The company is also seeing the “effects of export restrictions on one of our largest customers,” Tan added, in a reference to the Trump administration last month barring Huawei, without special permission, from buying equipment from U.S. companies. However, the Commerce Department did put a 90-day hold on the move.

The White House has accused Huawei of being too closely tied to China’s communist government and expressed concern about Huawei technology being used for spying against the U.S. For its part, Huawei has repeatedly asserted that it is independent from the Chinese government.

A spokesperson for the White House was not immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Cramer’s remarks.

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Why Home Depot failed in China

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It seemed like a great opportunity.

In the 1990s, the Chinese government loosened regulations on its housing market, allowing its 1.2 billion citizens to own private homes for the first time since the communist revolution in 1949. Home improvement and furniture companies such as Sweden’s IKEA and the U.K.’s B&Q rushed in to meet the need.

In 2006, Home Depot bought the Chinese home improvement company Home Way and its 12 stores in the country. With its booming economy and strong real estate market, China seemed like it would be an easy win for America’s home improvement giant.

But by 2012, Home Depot closed the last seven of its 12 original stores. The company doesn’t break out sales data by country, but data from Euromonitor shows that China accounted for only about 0.3% of Home Depot’s annual net sales.

Analysts say that Home Depot failed to do its homework on the Chinese market, missing the mark on consumer needs and culture.

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