Archive for ‘Economics’

19/12/2014

What could happen in China in 2015? | McKinsey & Company

It seemed harder to prepare my “look ahead” this year. On reflection, I believe this is because political and economic leaders in China have clear plans and supporting policies that they are sticking to. You can debate the pace at which actions are being taken, but not really the direction in which the country is traveling. This means a number of the themes I highlighted for this year will remain relevant in 2015:

Improving productivity and efficiency will remain the key to maintaining profitability for many companies, given lower economic growth (overall and at a sector level) and the impact of producer price deflation on multiple sectors.

The impact of technology as it eliminates jobs in services and manufacturing will become even greater (but still not in government).

As a result, the government will keep a sharper focus on net job creation and the quality of those new positions. Companies will hire even more information technologists to keep up in the race to exploit technology better than their competitors.

The push to lower pollution, and now carbon emissions, will lead to even greater investment in domestic solar and wind farms, boosting the global position of Chinese producers.

High-speed-rail construction will continue domestically and increasingly abroad, as Chinese companies become the builder of choice for high-speed rail globally.

Beyond these, there are several additional themes that will be important in 2015. I describe them below.

via What could happen in China in 2015? | McKinsey & Company.

19/12/2014

China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China will begin construction of seven million apartments under the affordable housing program in 2015, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (MOHURD) announced on Friday.

MOHURD minister Chen Zhenggao revealed the target at a national conference on housing and urban-rural development. He said 4.8 million such homes should be completed next year.

The affordable housing program is aimed at providing cheap homes for eligible low-income earners. China began the construction of over seven million homes and completed 4.8 million in 2014.

Chen said China will also continue to push forward the shanty town renovation program extensively as “it can not only improve people’s livelihood but also spur economic growth“.

via China to construct 7 mln affordable homes in 2015 – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

19/12/2014

Chinese Banks Lure Deposits by Offering Goodies for Cash – Businessweek

Banks in the U.S. once gave away toasters and irons to lure depositors. Banks in China are upping the ante. With customers pulling out money and putting it into higher-yielding investments, they are offering Mercedes, iPhones, and daily deliveries of vegetables to sidestep interest rate caps and get people to stash some yuan in savings accounts.

Chinese Banks Offer Goodies for Cash

“Chinese banks are hemorrhaging their deposits,” says Rainy Yuan, an analyst at brokerage Masterlink Securities in Shanghai. China’s banks lost 950 billion yuan ($154 billion) of deposits in the three months through September, the first quarterly drop since 1999. In the first 11 months of the year, new deposits were 23 percent lower than in the same period last year, People’s Bank of China data show. Offering incentives to attract money is not the solution, Yuan says: “There is no fix for this. All the efforts they made to win savers back will only push up the costs, so it’s a losing battle to fight.”

Decline in new deposits in the first 11 months of 2014 vs. the same period last year

Savers seeking higher returns have been pouring money into online money-market funds offered by the e-commerce companies Alibaba Group (BABA) and Baidu (BIDU). One fund, Yu’E Bao, started last year by Alibaba affiliate Alipay, drew 535 billion yuan in its first 15 months of existence from 149 million customers, more than the populations of France and the U.K. combined. Users simply tapped a few buttons on their mobile phones to secure an annual rate of return that climbed as high as 6.8 percent before falling to about 4 percent recently.

Savers can also earn more on their money by moving to high-yield products, the fastest-growing part of the so-called shadow banking system. Households put 12.9 trillion yuan into high-yield trust products as of Sept. 30. Trust companies pool investor capital to put money in real estate and construction projects, or make corporate loans, and promise returns of more than 10 percent. Trust companies have seen assets under management rise more than tenfold since the start of 2009.

The Shanghai Composite Index’s 45 percent surge over the past six months has led people to shift money from banks to stocks. In the first week of December, Chinese investors opened almost 600,000 stock trading accounts, a 62 percent increase over the previous week, according to China Securities Depository & Clearing.

To stimulate the economy, China’s central bank on Nov. 21 announced a cut in benchmark interest rates for the first time in more than two years. That was offset by the central bank’s decision to raise the maximum interest rate banks can pay customers to 20 percent over the benchmark from 10 percent above it. Ping An Bank (000001:CH), China Citic Bank (601998:CH), and Bank of Ningbo (002142:CH) immediately alerted customers through text messages that they would offer the highest rate allowed.

via Chinese Banks Lure Deposits by Offering Goodies for Cash – Businessweek.

19/12/2014

Forget Wal-Mart: China Cuts Out the Middleman – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Wal-Mart and Amazon have become America’s main conduits for cheap, mass-produced goods from China’s factory floors. But who needs them anymore? As the WSJ’s Dennis K. Berman reports:

I am holding in my hands a men’s down jacket with fur trim, sent four days ago direct from a warehouse 67 miles west of Shanghai.

The $52.19 jacket won’t be confused for Prada. The fur appears to be “fur.” It came out of the box smelling like plastic and solvent.

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What the jacket represents is far more interesting: It’s the final and direct link between China’s manufacturers and the global consumer. In the same way Chinese companies took over the production of goods, they are now increasingly capable of merchandizing those goods, using the Web and modern freight transport. Bentonville, you are being outsourced to China, too.

This is in part why China’s Alibaba has a $268 billion market capitalization. And it’s why United Parcel Service Inc. recently bought a company called i-parcel, to help U.S. suppliers penetrate the thickets of customs, fraud and language that still exist.

The jacket came via LightInTheBox , a Beijing company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Run by Chinese with deep experience in America, the site can shapeshift into 27 different languages, from Arabic to Bahasa to Swedish, and ship goods piecemeal all over the world. For the 12 months ending in September, LightInTheBox sold $349 million of merchandise, a 25% increase from the year earlier. It is still far from profitable, posting significant operating and net losses. Its stock has fallen 23% this year.

LightInTheBox got its start selling wedding dresses, and it’s now selling about 800 different designs for under $200. It sells 400,000 a year. For wedding dresses, “the manufacture price in China is less than $100, but the store price in the U.S. or Europe was thousands of dollars,” company co-founder and CEO Quji “Alan” Guo said in an interview. “That was a category where there should have been better availability, but it was not there.”

via Forget Wal-Mart: China Cuts Out the Middleman – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

18/12/2014

Birla Said to Plan $1 Billion Aluminum Exports: Corporate India – Businessweek

Hindalco Industries Ltd. (HNDL), owned by Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla, is targeting a record $1 billion of aluminum exports by March 31 buoyed by rising U.S. and European demand, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Overseas shipments may triple to as much as 400,000 metric tons in the 12 months ending March 31 from the previous year, said two people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. The Mumbai-based company had exported less than half the target as of the middle of last month, the people said.

Stricter emission norms in the U.S. and Europe are prompting vehicle makers to choose the lighter alloy over steel, helping the owner of the world’s largest supplier of aluminum sheets to carmakers boost overseas sales and counter a domestic slowdown. The additional demand will aid Hindalco revive profit growth after five straight quarters of decline and find a market for its new capacity.

via Birla Said to Plan $1 Billion Aluminum Exports: Corporate India – Businessweek.

18/12/2014

India Power Lines to Get $1.2 Billion German Revamp With KfW – Businessweek

German state-owned bank KfW Group will spend 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) to refurbish India’s electricity network for carrying more renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind.

KfW agreed to loan Power Grid Corp of India Ltd. 500 million euros to build new power lines and signed deals with India’s government for two loans totaling 125 million euros for grid projects in Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, it said today in an e-mailed statement. The deals are part of a support package of 1 billion euros, it said.

“Demand for power in India is rising unremittingly,” said Norbert Kloppenburg, a KfW board member. “The expansion of transmission is the task of the moment because of the great potential of renewable energies.”

via India Power Lines to Get $1.2 Billion German Revamp With KfW – Businessweek.

18/12/2014

China Plans to Dethrone King Coal – Businessweek

China is, by far, the largest consumer of coal worldwide. In 2011, China accounted for nearly half the coal burned globally, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China is also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. That’s the bad news.

China's Coal Demand May Peak Before 2020

The good news is that China’s coal usage is “very likely to peak before 2020,” according to a report (PDF) published by the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). The author, Li Zhidong, a professor at Nagaoka University of Technology in Japan, examined data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics to find that the country’s appetite for coal is rising at a dramatically slower rate today than a few years ago. In 2011, China’s coal usage jumped 9 percent; last year, it rose only 2 percent.

Several factors are behind the trend. The first is simply that China’s manufacturing sector has slumped, meaning that factories required less additional electricity.

A more lasting factor, however, is that China’s push to expand renewable energy usage has made coal account for a declining share of power generation. In 2010, coal-fired power plants supplied 75.6 percent of China’s electricity; that dipped to 73.3 percent by 2013. Whether or not the economy picks up, the share of coal power is likely to continue to decline. In just the past three years, China has busily installed new dams, windmills, solar panels, and nuclear plants, adding 64 gigawatts of hydropower, 46 Gw of wind power, 15 Gw of solar power, and 4 Gw of nuclear power, according to NBR.

via China Plans to Dethrone King Coal – Businessweek.

18/12/2014

India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people | McKinsey & Company

Millions of Indians hope for a better future, with well-paying jobs and a decent standard of living. To meet these aspirations, the country needs broad-based economic growth and more effective public services. Technology can play an important role in enabling the growth India needs. The spread of digital technologies, as well as advances in energy and genomics, can raise the productivity of business and agriculture, redefine how services such as healthcare and education are delivered, and contribute to higher living standards for millions of Indians by raising education levels and improving healthcare outcomes.

India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people

Empowering technologies in India

McKinsey’s Noshir Kaka and Anu Madgavkar discuss how India could transform its economy by employing 12 technologies.

A dozen empowering technologies

A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report identifies a dozen technologies, ranging from the mobile Internet to cloud computing to advanced genomics, which could have a combined economic impact of $550 billion to $1 trillion a year in 2025. The selection of the 12 technologies for India was based on a similar process established by MGI’s earlier work on disruptive technologies.1 For India, we used additional criteria to identify the technologies that would have a direct impact on the country’s economic and social challenges in the coming decade. As a result, we include technologies such as electronic payments, which are well established in other parts of the world but not well developed in India. By 2025, however, electronic payments could help 300 million Indians join the country’s financial system.

We group the 12 technologies into three areas: digitizing life and work, smart physical systems, and energy technologies:

digitizing life and work—the mobile Internet, the cloud, the automation of knowledge work, digital payments, and verifiable digital identity

smart physical systems—the Internet of Things, intelligent transportation and distribution systems, advanced geographic information systems (GIS), and next-generation genomics

energy—unconventional oil and gas (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing), renewable energy, and advanced energy storage

Each of these technologies has the potential for rapid adoption in India between now and 2025 (exhibit) …

via India’s tech opportunity: Transforming work, empowering people | McKinsey & Company.

16/12/2014

Logistics Hold India’s E-Commerce Companies Back – Businessweek

Laxminarayan Krishnamurthy figured a Samsung (005930:KS) Galaxy Core 2 smartphone would make a perfect gift for his wife. So he ordered one from New Delhi-based e-retailer Snapdeal.com. When the package arrived, it contained a brick and a bar of soap but no phone. When he contacted the company, Krishnamurthy was told the phone was stolen by unscrupulous middlemen transporting the package. So he took his complaints to Facebook (FB).

Logistics Are Holding India’s E-Commerce Companies Back

“Had ordered a samsung mobile through snapdeal and we got a soap bar!!!” Krishnamurthy wrote. “The worst customer service ever received!!! Beware of snapdeal guys!!”

Anjana Swaminathan, a Snapdeal spokeswoman, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

via Logistics Hold India’s E-Commerce Companies Back – Businessweek.

16/12/2014

China Wants its Nuclear Reactors ‘Made in China’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ

When a unit of North Carolina’s Curtiss-Wright Corp. won a roughly $300 million deal in 2007 to supply components for new reactors in China, industry officials trumpeted China’s nuclear boom as good for U.S. business.

Today, Chinese companies are competing for that business—and foreign companies risk getting left out. Meanwhile, Curtiss-Wright’s contract is caught up in a legal dispute, while Chinese authorities blame the company in part for the delay of a landmark nuclear project. As the WSJ’s Brian Spegele reports:

U.S. and other foreign companies are now struggling to keep their hold in China, the industry’s biggest growth market and a rare bright spot more than three years after the Fukushima disaster in Japan put many of the world’s nuclear projects on hold. Yet China is increasingly turning to local companies to build crucial parts for multibillion-dollar nuclear projects, a result of Chinese industrial nationalism and frustration over U.S. supplier problems.

With the global nuclear industry focused on China, the Chinese government has used the heft of its huge market to secure transfers of key technology and gradually localize production. In the process, China is achieving a political aim to source sensitive manufacturing at home and satisfying a practical need to avoid complications posed by faraway suppliers.

One of those supplier issues has surfaced in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, where Pennsylvania’s Westinghouse Electric Co. is building the first of four of its most advanced, commercially available reactor, the AP1000, in China. Local authorities blame two-year delays in part on quality problems related to Curtiss-Wright. In a written statement, Curtiss-Wright said it has “refined and improved our design processes” as a result.

Still, despite the challenges, opportunities remain for international providers, said Rosemary Yeremian, president of Strategic Insights Inc., a Toronto-based consultancy. China is new to the global nuclear stage, and partnerships bring quality and other assurances, she said.

via China Wants its Nuclear Reactors ‘Made in China’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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