Archive for ‘Economics’

30/07/2014

China Focus: Hukou reforms to help 100 mln Chinese – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China plans to help about 100 million people without urban ID records to settle in towns and cities by 2020, as part of reforms to phase out its dual-household registration system, the State Council, China’s cabinet, said on Wednesday.

It issued a circular aimed at accelerating reform of the nation’s household registration, or “hukou,” system.

The document said the government will remove the limits on hukou registration in townships and small cities, relax restrictions in medium-sized cities, and set qualifications for registration in big cities.

The rights and benefits of residents who do not have urban ID records in the city where they live should be safeguarded, the document added.

At a press conference on Wednesday, vice public security minister Huang Ming said different approaches will be applied in the hukou system, based on the size and population of a city.

Authorities will set no limits for those who want to settle in small cities and towns. “Anyone who has a legal residence can register for permanent residence, even temporary tenants,” Huang said.

Medium-sized cities with a population between one million and three million will have a low threshold, while megacities with more than five million residents will try to strictly control the influx of new citizens.

People wishing to settle in megacities like Beijing and Shanghai will have to qualify through a “points system” based on their seniority in employment, their accommodation and social security, according to Huang.

Megacities “face a lot population pressure, with an annual floating population of hundreds of thousands,” the official said.

via China Focus: Hukou reforms to help 100 mln Chinese – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

30/07/2014

Indian online retailer Flipkart raises $1 billion – Businessweek

India’s largest online e-commerce company, Flipkart, says it has raised $1 billion in new capital as the company gears up for competition with Amazon‘s push into the Indian market.

Flipkart Flipkart Flipkart!!

Flipkart Flipkart Flipkart!! (Photo credit: samratm)

The company says the funds will be used to invest in expansion, especially in mobile technology.

Flipkart is sometimes called the Amazon of India. It was founded by two Indian brothers who left Amazon and came home to found their own online retailer.

Flipkart says it has 22 million registered users and handles 5 million shipments per month.

Amazon’s India division has been making a big push in the country’s small but fast-growing online retail market. It has been running front-page advertisements in newspapers and touting one-day delivery.

Flipkart itself recently acquired Indian online fashion retailer Myntra to strengthen market share.

via Indian online retailer Flipkart raises $1 billion – Businessweek.

30/07/2014

US official vows to expand India trade, investment – Businessweek

The U.S. secretary of commerce has pledged to help expand investment in India’s infrastructure and to promote trade.

Penny Pritzker spoke Wednesday to business leaders in the Indian financial capital, Mumbai.

She said two-way trade has lagged in recent years but has still expanded by fivefold to $96 billion a year since 2000.

via US official vows to expand India trade, investment – Businessweek.

30/07/2014

China’s 1 Percent vs. America’s 1 Percent – Businessweek

A new study by Peking University’s Social Science Research Center pulls back the curtain a bit on China’s überwealthy. The richestpercent of Chinese households control more than a third of the country’s wealth, according to the July 26 study.

Most of that is tied up in real estate. In 2012, the study says, real estate accounted for 70 percent of all household wealth in China. (The bottom quarter of households, tellingly, control just 1 percent of China’s wealth.) The outsize reliance on real estate as an investment vehicle for both individuals and enterprises is troubling, given widespread concerns about a property bubble. In June, apartment prices fell in 55 of China’s 70 largest cities, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. In the southeastern city of Hangzhou, property prices dipped 1.7 percent that month.

But how do China’s rich stack up against America’s? The U.S. Internal Revenue Service analyzes income, not household net wealth, and in 2012, America’s richest 1 percent took home 19.3 percent of household income. But incomes rose almost 20 percent for the top 1 percent, whereas they inched up just 1 percent for the bottom 99 percent.

via China’s 1 Percent vs. America’s 1 Percent – Businessweek.

29/07/2014

Adani gets clearance for $16.5 billion coal mine in Australia

Adani gets environmental clearance for $16.5 billion coal mine in Australia

Despite serious environmental concerns, the Australian federal government approved the Adani group’s $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project. When completed, it will be one of the biggest coal mines in the world.

via Scroll.in – News. Politics. Culture..

29/07/2014

In Delhi, an unintended consequence of free parking: violent deaths

Rajender Bhatia was sitting in his ground floor apartment in central Delhi on Sunday morning when his neighbour turned up. Kartik, who lived on the second floor of the same building, had come to pick a bone with Bhatia about the parking situation around their building. The argument quickly escalated and, according to the police, a couple of other men also joined the fracas that turned into a proper scuffle.

Then suddenly the 55-year-old Bhatia collapsed, prompting the others to run away and his family to take him to the hospital. The doctors there declared Bhatia dead on arrival and a case was registered against Kartik and the other men, who have since been arrested and booked with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Bhatia, unfortunately, is not the first to have died in an argument over parking in Delhi: there have been seven other violent incidents related to it this year alone. And, considering the state of parking in the capital, it’s unlikely Bhatia’s case will be the last.

Police records suggest that 15 people have died in the capital over parking-related issues in the past five years, with many more incidents of violent clashes. Other than the capital’s generally high stress levels, which have given it the reputation of being particularly prone to violence and spats, the huge number of cars being added to the roads combined with limited space is mainly what is behind this unique category of crimes. It isn’t uncommon to see car tires being slashed or a parked car being keyed by angry residents who see it as a way to complain about parking.

via Scroll.in – News. Politics. Culture..

28/07/2014

Beijing gets tough on party officials who go private | The Times

China’s intensifying anti-corruption campaign has turned its guns on the people who link government and business, forcing nearly 230 senior Communist party officials to quit the company directorships they hold on the side.

China’s president Xi Jinping

The draconian orders, which have also affected tens of thousands of more junior officials moonlighting for corporate China, are said to have unleashed a mass “exodus” of independent directors from listed Chinese companies in recent months.

The government has promised there will be more to come. China’s state news agency warned that the authorities were planning another “detailed directive” that analysts believe would attempt to tighten further the restrictions on the roles officials can play in the private sector.

The rules are expected to crack down on the activities of retired officials: as the rules stand, they are able to take on company directorships if those positions do not relate to their former specialities as civil servants.

Sources believe that the new directives will broaden the terms of the ban in a way that could affect foreign companies in the mining, energy, banking and pharmaceutical sectors.

The same burst of anti-corruption propaganda also invited the public to “blow the whistle on violations”.

The crackdown began last autumn with a ban on senior government and party officials from working for outside companies. Although a few resignations followed that ban, the real purge did not begin until scores of listed companies were subjected to an inspection a few months later.

That inspection, according to Chinese state media, identified 229 officials at the ministerial or provincial level who were working for outside companies and 40,700 junior officials with a source of company income outside their civil servant salaries.

About 300 Chinese companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges have apparently been affected by the shakedown, losing the officials they specifically hired to build relationships with Beijing and bring the companies closer to the government.

The central role of those relationships within Chinese business has been laid bare over the past two years as details have emerged of the fabulous wealth amassed by the families of senior officials.

Also exposed has been the extent to which western companies operating in China have been convinced that their success can only be guaranteed by hiring either former officials or people with exceptionally strong personal links to the central and provincial governments.

via Beijing gets tough on party officials who go private | The Times.

25/07/2014

Ethiopia Vies for China’s Vanishing Factory Jobs – Businessweek

Ethiopian workers walking through the parking lot of Huajian Shoes’ factory outside Addis Ababa in June chose the wrong day to leave their shirts untucked. The company’s president, just arrived from China, spotted them through the window, sprang up, and ran outside. Zhang Huarong, a former People’s Liberation Army soldier, harangued them in Chinese, tugging at one man’s polo shirt and forcing another worker’s into his pants. Amazed, the workers stood silent until the eruption subsided.

Turning Ethiopia Into China's China

Zhang’s factory is part of the next wave of China’s investment in Africa. It started with infrastructure, especially the kind that helped the Chinese extract African oil, copper, and other raw materials to fuel China’s industrial complex. Now China is getting too expensive to do the low-tech work it’s known for. African nations such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania want their share of the 80 million manufacturing jobs that China is expected to export, according to Justin Lin Yifu, a former World Bank chief economist who teaches economics at Peking University. Weaker consumer spending in the U.S. and Europe has prompted global retailers to speed up their search for lower-cost producers.

Shaping up employees is one part of Zhang’s quest to squeeze more profit out of Huajian’s factory, where wages of about $40 a month are less than 10 percent of what comparable Chinese workers may make. Just as companies discovered with China when they began manufacturing there in the 1980s, Ethiopia’s workforce is untrained, its power supply is intermittent, and its roads are so bad that trips can take six times as long as they should. “Ethiopia is exactly like China 30 years ago,” says Zhang, 55, who quit the military in 1982 to make shoes from his home in Jiangxi province with three sewing machines. He now supplies such well-known brands as Nine West and Guess (GES).

Almost three years after Zhang began his Ethiopian adventure at the invitation of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, he says he’s unhappy with profits at the plant, frustrated by “widespread inefficiency” in the local bureaucracy, and struggling to raise productivity from a level that he says is about a third of China’s. Transportation and logistics that cost as much as four times what they do in China are prompting Huajian to set up its own trucking company, according to Zhang. That will free Huajian from using the inefficient local haulers, but it can’t fix the roads. It takes two hours to drive 30 kilometers (18 miles) to the Huajian factory from the capital along the main artery. Oil tankers and trucks stream along the bumpy, potholed, and at times unpaved road. Goats, donkeys, and cows wander along, occasionally straying into bumper-to-bumper traffic. Minibuses and dented taxis, mostly blue Ladas from Ethiopia’s past as a Soviet ally, weave through oncoming traffic, coughing exhaust.

via Ethiopia Vies for China’s Vanishing Factory Jobs – Businessweek.

25/07/2014

What Happened to India’s Girls? A New U.N. Report On Sex Selection Offers Some Answers – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s census data consistently shows two things: the country’s inexorably expanding population and its deep preference for sons over daughters.

A new United Nations study takes a deep look at how parents keep choosing boys over girls, despite laws that seek to block the use of ultrasounds and other pre-natal tests to determine the sex of an unborn child.

India’ child sex ratio – the number of girls for every 1,000 boys under the age of 6 — has deteriorated sharply over the past 20 years, dropping to 918 in 2011 from 945 in 1991.

India’s sex gap “demonstrates that the economic and social progress in the country has had minimum bearing on the status of women and daughters in our society,” said Lakshmi Puri, an Indian who is a U.N. assistant secretary general.

Here are five significant takeaways from the U.N. study, written by Mary E. John, a senior fellow at the New Delhi-based Centre for Women’s Development Studies.

Improvements in the Overall Sex Ratio are More Nuanced Than You Think

Since 1991, the number of women per 1,000 men has been rising, though it remains far below normal. In 1991, there were 927 women for every 1,000 men. In 2011, the year of the most recent census, that number had risen to 943. The U.N. study argues that much of the improvement isn’t because fewer girls are being born and surviving into adulthood. In India, in the past, women had a shorter life expectancy than men – unlike the situation in most of the rest of the world. That has changed. Indian women now outlive men, in part because of lifestyle changes and “diseases that take a greater toll on” men.

via What Happened to India’s Girls? A New U.N. Report On Sex Selection Offers Some Answers – India Real Time – WSJ.

25/07/2014

Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ

By some measures, China’s Internet dwarfs that of the United States.

China has the world’s largest Internet population with 618 million users, well over twice as many as in the U.S. China also has the world’s largest online retailing industry, with e-commerce giants like Alibaba that sprawl far larger than the likes of eBay EBAY +1.08%.

But a new study by the McKinsey Global Institute argues that enterprise use of the Internet is still lagging in China and that the country’s businesses will need to catch up in this area to unlock economic gains.

“The Web is just beginning to penetrate many Chinese businesses – and the most sweeping changes are yet to come,” said the report, which was published this week.

MGI estimates that increased adoption of Web technologies like cloud computing and big data by China’s enterprises can add 0.3 to 1.0 percentage points to China’s GDP growth rate. By 2025, it could translate to annual economic gains of between 4 trillion yuan ($645.5 billion) and 14 trillion yuan, the research firm said.

China’s Internet has outpaced the U.S. among consumers. Alibaba’s online shopping platforms Taobao and Tmall have nearly twice as many active buyers than the U.S. site eBay. Jonathan Woetzel, one of the MGI study’s authors and a partner of the firm, told The Wall Street Journal that Chinese consumers spend more time shopping online and make more purchases than their American counterparts.

“China’s consumer generation has shown up at the same time as the Internet,” he said. “They have the money, but the offline shopping platforms like malls haven’t been built up fast enough to accommodate their expectations and needs. So more of them shop online.”

But when it comes to China’s businesses, they still lag in use of Web technologies, he says. The typical Chinese company spends 2% of revenue on IT, half of the international average, according to an MGI survey of CIOs. The enterprise cloud adoption rate in China is 21% compared to 55%-63% in the U.S.

Some sectors that stand the most to benefit in China include the financial services, health care and automotive industries, MGI says. Big data can help financial firms manage risks and reduce non-performing loans, while remote monitoring of chronic diseases can save costs for the health care industry.

via Consumers Drive Chinese Internet But Enterprise Use Lags – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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