16/09/2014

Almost Half of China’s Rich Want to Emigrate – Businessweek

Even as the number of Chinese millionaires grows, the number of those aiming to leave China is getting ever larger.

A shopper at Lee Gardens mall in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong

About half of China’s wealthy are considering moving to a new country within five years, says a just-released report by U.K.-based bank Barclays. The survey of more than 2,000 individuals around the world, all with personal wealth over $1.5 million, showed Chinese are more eager to emigrate than the very well-off in any other region.

Forty-seven percent of rich Chinese planned to move abroad in the next half-decade. That compared with 23 percent in Singapore and 16 percent in Hong Kong. One-fifth of rich Brits intended to emigrate, while only 6 percent of Americans and 5 percent of Indians had that plan, reported the South China Morning Post today, citing the report.

Not surprisingly, given China’s high-pressure, exam-based school system, bettering children’s education and improving their future job prospects were named as the main reasons to emigrate by 78 percent of respondents. A better economic situation was mentioned by 73 percent, while health care and social services were cited by 18 percent; the U.S. and Europe were the favored destinations.

“The reality is that most ultra-high net worth individuals in China are probably making money in China right now,” noted Liam Bailey, head of residential research at London brokerage Knight Frank, in the report. “So, for business reasons, they need to be relatively close. That might prevent some of them going further afield.”

via Almost Half of China’s Rich Want to Emigrate – Businessweek.

16/09/2014

BJP Fares Poorly in By-Elections in India’s Most-Populous State – India Real Time – WSJ

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s landslide victory in national elections a few months ago spawned predictions of an unstoppable political juggernaut. But results of by-elections show cracks in the BJP’s dominance.

India’s governing party held onto only three of 11 seats that went to the polls for the legislative assembly of Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most-populous state. The BJP had won all these seats in the last state elections in 2012.

The regional Samajwadi Party, which governs the state but suffered a big blow in national elections, won the remaining eight seats, according to India’s Election Commission.

Just four months ago, the BJP won a historic 72 of 80 seats for the national Parliament from Uttar Pradesh on the back of a wave of support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This result helped propel the party to a majority in the lower house of Parliament, with 282 of 543 seats.

The magnitude of the win raised expectations that the BJP would come out on top in the by-polls, which are mid-term elections held for those seats that have fallen vacant since the previous election.

The results showed that while Mr. Modi had swung the national election by making it a presidential-style vote for or against his leadership, his charisma might not be enough to carry his party to power in state elections, where local issues and caste equations dominate the vote. It also raised questions about the BJP’s prospects in crucial upcoming state elections in Maharashtra and Haryana.

Some also saw the outcome as fallout from a polarizing BJP campaign that critics say sought to consolidate Hindu votes in Uttar Pradesh by spreading animosity against Muslims – and marked a return by the party, which has roots in India’s Hindu nationalist movement, to the religious agenda that defined its strategy a decade ago.

via BJP Fares Poorly in By-Elections in India’s Most-Populous State – India Real Time – WSJ.

16/09/2014

Give the public a role in Clean Ganga project, says Rajendra Pachauri

India’s holiest river is due for a clean-up, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking personal responsibility for restoring the Ganga and ridding the 2,500 km long river of industrial effluents and untreated sewage.

Uma Bharti, Modi’s minister for water resources and Ganges rejuvenation, has said the river would be clean in three years. Earlier this month, India’s Supreme Court asked the government for a roadmap on the project so that the court could monitor it.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), spoke to Reuters on the Ganga project, the need for transparency and how the public could help.

via India Insight.

16/09/2014

India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit | Reuters

More than 200 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army crossed into what India considers its territory in Ladakh in the western Himalayas last week, and used cranes, bulldozers and a Hummer vehicle to build a 2-km (1.2-mile) road within it, the Hindustan Times said.

A dog rests on the Indian side of the Indo-China border at Bumla, in the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, November 11, 2009. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Indian soldiers challenged the Chinese troops and asked them to withdraw, the newspaper said. Then, on the night of September 10, soldiers demolished a temporary track built by Chinese forces.

There was no immediate comment by India’s defense ministry.

Both China and India are trying to put a positive spin on Xi’s first summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the Indian leader took office in May. He arrives on Wednesday after touring the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

The two countries are expected to ramp up commercial ties and open the way for Chinese investment in Indian infrastructure, including railways, but the contested border remains a stumbling block to better political ties.

via India says to defend China border after standoff ahead of Xi visit | Reuters.

15/09/2014

India’s Economy Looks a Lot Like China’s — In 2001 – India Real Time – WSJ

India today doesn’t look quite like the economic dynamo that, just a few years ago, some predicted would overtake China as emerging-markets champion.

But the race looks a lot closer if you account for one key fact: China got a 13-year head start on India in opening its economy and giving companies greater freedom to invest and produce. In exports, capital spending and foreign investment, India today is remarkably similar to China circa 2001.

That should both console and concern India as it gets back on its feet after three years of weak growth and high inflation. Console, since it suggests the country’s economy could remain on a China-like trajectory for years to come. But concern, because India’s delay could mean that the country has missed out on some big advantages that catalyzed China’s boom.

The latter point is especially worth considering given how assiduously India’s recently elected prime minister, Narendra Modi, is working to follow the blueprint for China’s export- and investment-driven success.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Indian capital this week he will encounter a recipe for economic revival that ought to look very familiar. Delhi is aiming to boost exports and raise India’s share in world trade by 50% over the next five years. “Sell anywhere,” Mr. Modi said in an Independence Day exhortation to global business last month. “But manufacture here.”

via India’s Economy Looks a Lot Like China’s — In 2001 – India Real Time – WSJ.

15/09/2014

Chinese City Launches Special Lane for Cellphone Addicts – China Real Time Report – WSJ

If you’re tired of walking behind someone who’s trudging along as they text, has this Chinese city got the sidewalk for you.

Last week, the city of Chongqing unveiled a lane specially designated for people who want to walk as they use their cellphones. “Cellphones, walk in this lane at your own risk” is printed in the lane in white lettering. The adjoining lane reads “No cellphones.”

On Monday, Weibo users reacted to the news with a mixture of amusement and scorn. “It’s such a lazy design. Shouldn’t the cellphone lane be placed [farther from the road]? It is not practical at all,” wrote one user.

Another dismissed the innovation, writing, “It’s just another imitation of foreign inventions,” the user wrote, referring to a similar experiment launched in Washington, D.C., earlier this year. “Besides, it seems only to be serving as a tourist attraction,” the user wrote of the road, which is located in a Chongqing tourist area called “Foreign Street Park.”

Still another wondered whether the road would make anything safer. “Is the goal here to encourage still more people to use their cellphones while walking?”

via Chinese City Launches Special Lane for Cellphone Addicts – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

15/09/2014

China on track to develop Indian railways as Xi heads to South Asia | Reuters

China will pledge to invest billions of dollars in India’s rail network during a visit by President Xi Jinping this week, bringing more than diplomatic nicety to the neighbors’ first summit since Narendra Modi became prime minister in May.

China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro at Miraflores Palace in Caracas in this July 20, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Files

The leaders of Asia’s three biggest economies – China, India and Japan – have crisscrossed the region this month, lobbying for strategic influence, building defense ties, and seeking new business opportunities.

Beijing’s bid to ramp up commercial ties in India comes despite a territorial dispute that has flared anew in recent years, raising concerns in New Delhi, where memories of a humiliating border war defeat in 1962 run deep.

It follows a pledge by Japan to invest $35 billion in India over the next five years – including the introduction of bullet trains – and a drive to deepen security ties during talks earlier this month between Modi and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

India and China are expected to sign a pact that will open the way for Chinese participation in new rail tracks, automated signaling for faster trains and modern stations that India’s British-built rail system desperately needs, having barely added 11,000 km of track in the 67 years since independence.

China, which added 14,000 km of track in the five years to 2011, is also pushing for a share of the lucrative high-speed train market in India, which it says would be cheaper than Japanese proposals.

“India has a strong, real desire to increase its cooperation with China and other countries to perfect and develop its rail system, and has concrete cooperation ideas,” Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao told reporters ahead of Xi’s trip.

“India is considering building high-speed railways, and China has a positive attitude towards this.”

China’s consul general in Mumbai, Liu Youfa, told the Times of India last week that Chinese investment in the modernization of India’s railways could eventually touch $50 billion.

Beijing is looking to invest another $50 billion in building India’s ports, roads and a project to link rivers, part of an infrastructure push that Modi has said is his top priority to crank up economic growth.

Chinese investment will also help narrow a trade deficit with India that hit $31 billion in 2013.

via China on track to develop Indian railways as Xi heads to South Asia | Reuters.

15/09/2014

With eye on China, Modi’s India to develop disputed border region | Reuters

India has eased restrictions on building roads and military facilities along its disputed border with China, as the new government seeks to close the gap on its neighbor’s superior transport network and take a stronger stance on Beijing.

Indian environment minister Prakash Javadekar told Reuters he had relaxed environmental rules within 100 km (62 miles) of the contested border in remote Arunachal Pradesh in order to speed up construction of some 6,000 km of roads.

The move, which also allows for the construction of army stations, arms depots, schools and hospitals in the sparsely populated Himalayan region, was announced days before Chinese President Xi Jinping visits India on Sept. 17-18.

“This is about defense preparedness,” said Javadekar. “On the Chinese side of the border, not only have they built good roads, they are building up their railway network. Our army faces problems because of the bad quality of roads,” he added.

Work on the roads will start in the coming months.

via With eye on China, Modi’s India to develop disputed border region | Reuters.

12/09/2014

Soft power: Confucius says | The Economist

“HARMONY is the most valuable of all things,” said the Chinese philosopher Confucius two and a half millennia ago. There is little of it in evidence in the frosty relationship between the woman who was the founding director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Oregon, Bryna Goodman, and her fellow historian, Glenn May. Their offices are separated by a ten-second walk, but the scholars do not exchange visits. Their palpable ill feeling reflects growing discord among Western scholars about a decade-old push by China to open government-funded cultural centres in schools and universities abroad. Intended to boost China’s “soft power”, the centres take the name of the peace-espousing sage. They tap into growing global demand for Chinese-language teaching. But they are also fuelling anxiety about academic freedom.

In America the Confucius programme has been widely welcomed by universities and school districts, which often do not have enough money to provide Chinese-language teachers for all who need them. But critics like Mr May believe China’s funding comes at a price: that Confucius Institutes (as those established on university campuses are known) and school-based Confucius Classrooms restrain freedom of speech by steering discussion of China away from sensitive subjects.

In June the American Association of University Professors called for universities to end or revise their contracts with Confucius Institutes (America has 100 of them) because they “function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore academic freedom”. Mr May has been asking the University of Oregon to close its institute, to no avail. Ms Goodman (who is no longer the institute’s director) says that in funding its interests China is like any other donor to American universities. She says that the institutes have become lodestones of what she calls a “China fear”.

When China opened its first Confucius Institute in 2004 in Seoul, it hoped the new effort would prove as uncontroversial as cultural-outreach programmes sponsored by Western governments, such as the British Council, the Alliance Française and Germany’s Goethe-Institut. The idea was to counter fears of China’s rise by raising awareness of a culture that is often described by Chinese as steeped in traditions of peace.

Through the Hanban, a government entity, China provides the centres with paid-for instructors and sponsors cultural events at them. Its spending is considerable, and growing rapidly. In 2013 it was $278m, more than six times as much as in 2006. China’s funding for Confucius Institutes amounts to about $100,000-200,000 a year on many campuses, and sometimes more (Oregon received nearly $188,000 in the last academic year). By the end of 2013 China had established 440 institutes and 646 classrooms serving 850,000 registered students. They are scattered across more than 100 countries, with America hosting more than 40% of the combined total. There are plans for another 60 institutes and 350 classrooms to be opened worldwide by the end of 2015.

Chinese officials express satisfaction. In June Liu Yunshan, who is in charge of the Communist Party’s vast propaganda apparatus, said Confucius Institutes had “emerged at the right moment”. He described them as a “spiritual high-speed rail”, promoting friendship by connecting Chinese dreams with those of the rest of the world.

Others are less sanguine, however. In America criticism has recently grown stronger. Earlier this year more than 100 members of the faculty at the University of Chicago complained that Confucius Institutes were compromising academic integrity. In an article published in 2013 by Nation magazine, one of the university’s academics, Marshall Sahlins, listed cases in several countries involving what appeared to be deference to the political sensitivities of Confucius Institutes. These included a couple of occasions when universities had invited the Dalai Lama to speak and then either cancelled the invitation or received him off-campus.

In one case, at North Carolina State University in 2009, the provost said after the cancellation of a Dalai Lama visit that the Confucius Institute had indicated the exiled Tibetan’s presence could cause problems with China. This year Steven Levine, an honorary professor at the University of Montana, wrote to hundreds of Confucius Institutes around the world asking them to mark the 25th anniversary in June of the violent suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests. None of them agreed. Global Times, a Beijing newspaper, recently called the protests of foreign academics “a continuation of McCarthyism”.

Ms Goodman argues that the study of China needs all the funding it can get, even if that means taking money from countries with vital interests at stake—whether China, Taiwan, or the United States. She says that if China were ever to meddle politically in Oregon’s institute, the Confucius programme would be quickly shut down.

Such assurances do not address a big concern of critics—that the political influence of Confucius programmes is often subtle and slow-acting. If the critics are right, it is very subtle indeed. Surveys suggest that in many countries China’s image has not markedly improved over the past decade. The Pew Research Centre, an American polling organisation, says 42% of Americans viewed China favourably in 2007. Last year only 37% did. The political dividends of China’s soft-power spending are far from obvious.

via Soft power: Confucius says | The Economist.

12/09/2014

Schumpeter: The China wave | The Economist

MANAGEMENT thinkers have paid surprisingly little attention to how Chinese firms are run. They routinely ascribe those firms’ rapid growth in recent years to their copious supply of cheap labour, or to generous financial backing from the state, rather than inventiveness. They have much more time for India, particularly its knack for frugal innovation, with all those colourful stories of banks putting cash machines on bikes and taking them into the countryside, and companies building water purifiers out of coconut husks.

However, it seems unlikely that China’s companies have come as far as they have just by applying lots of labour and capital. It is also hard to imagine that the huge expansion of China’s education system and its technology industries is not producing fresh management thinking. Western companies knew little about Japan’s system of lean production until its carmakers gobbled up their markets. The danger is that the same will happen with Chinese management ideas.

There are, however, signs that these are now getting the attention they deserve. The MIT Sloan Management Review devotes much of its current issue to examining innovation and management lessons from China. Peter Williamson and Eden Yin of Cambridge University’s Judge Business School contribute a fascinating essay on “Accelerated Innovation: the New Challenge from China”. The latest issue of the Harvard Business Review has a piece on “A Chinese Approach to Management” by Thomas Hout of the Monterey Institute of International Studies and David Michael of the Boston Consulting Group.

The first article suggests that the Chinese, like the post-war Japanese, have been doing a great deal of innovation under the radar. The second demonstrates that they are becoming more creative as they seek to solve the problems of a rapidly advancing consumer economy.

Messrs Williamson and Yin focus on the way that many Chinese companies are using mass-production techniques to speed up not just the manufacture but also the development of products. They break up the innovation process into a large number of small steps and then assign (often sizeable) teams to work on each step. For example, WuXiAppTec, a drug company, divided the search for a new treatment for chronic hepatitis C into eight steps, assigning dozens of people to each. The firm also adapted German software that was designed for managing assembly lines to co-ordinate the innovation process. Whereas a Western software firm typically releases an early “beta” version of a product only to a select group of guinea-pigs, Chinese firms are more likely to launch theirs straight into the market: they use consumers as co-creators, seeking their feedback and then rapidly adjusting their products.

This sort of accelerated innovation may not generate stunning breakthroughs. But that is not what it is for. China’s success has depended on its ability to be a “fast follower”, copying foreign ideas and turning them into mass-market products. Messrs Williamson and Yin argue that the Chinese can now apply accelerated innovation in lots of areas; and that the technique helps them make better use of one of the country’s most important resources—a pool of competent but unexceptional technicians.

Messrs Hout and Michael are also struck by Chinese companies’ emphasis on speed, and their willingness to throw things at the market. Goodbaby, which makes prams and car seats, introduces about 100 new products each quarter. Broad Group, a construction firm, puts up buildings rapidly by breaking them up into modules, fabricating those modules in factories, pre-loaded with utilities, and then plugging them together: an idea long talked about in the rich world but not much implemented.

However, their paper’s focus is broader—on how Chinese entrepreneurs are coping with the speed at which technology-related industries are changing. They note that even big companies delegate lots of authority to preserve flexibility: Haier, a home-appliances giant, consists of thousands of mini-companies, each of which reports directly to the chairman. That is an interesting contrast with Japanese firms’ obsession with seniority and consensus-building.

Messrs Hout and Michael also highlight the creativity of some Chinese companies when faced with the need to build entire ecosystems out of thin air, from supply chains to labour pools. Hai Di Lao, a hotpot restaurant chain, deals with one of its biggest problems—recruiting and retaining young people to train as branch managers—by offering them housing, schooling for their children and trips abroad. This sort of imaginative thinking on how to attract good workers will increasingly be needed now that China has used up most of its surplus rural labour.

via Schumpeter: The China wave | The Economist.

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