Posts tagged ‘Hong Kong’

20/02/2015

Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s numerous fans of the novel “Cloud Atlas” will be familiar with author David Mitchell’s adage: There ain’t no journey what don’t you change you some.

As many in the world’s most populous country pack their bags this week and leave on jet planes for horizons far, authorities here are hoping that Chinese travelers, too, will transform – specifically by becoming more mannerly international travelers.

After a series of embarrassing recent incidents, China’s state-run media Xinhua recently did its part to help citizens discern good behavior from bad by publishing an online guide to overseas etiquette. “Who wants to be labeled uncivilized by foreigners?” asks the Xinhua article, published a few days ahead of this year’s Spring Festival Holiday.

To avoid that, the piece offers advice to travelers, including items tailored to specific destinations.

Doing Dubai? Don’t talk about pigs. And don’t wear items of clothing that have images of pigs on them. (Thanks for the fashion tip Xinhua.)

On Safari in Kenya? Please, get permission before posing and saying “cheese!” next to Masai warriors. And keep your hands off that ivory.

The same applies to coral: It belongs in Fiji and not on auntie’s shelf in Fujian province.

Vacationers from the People’s Republic have acquired a reputation for being unruly at times, and have lately made global headlines by attacking flight attendants, fighting in airplane aisles and opening emergency doors in non-emergency situations. Recent incidents have led China to consider establishing an air-passenger blacklist that would ban travelers who continually misbehave.

A relative newcomer to overseas vacations, China has been quick to catch the travel bug. According to the China National Tourism Administration, more than 100 million Chinese ventured abroad in the eleven month period ending November last year. By contrast, in 1998 that number was just 8.4 million. In a recent report, Hong Kong brokerage CLSA said it expects the total number of Chinese outbound travelers to hit 200 million in 2020.

via Don’t Wear Pig T-Shirts in Dubai: Xinhua’s Official Online Guide for Chinese Tourists – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

16/02/2015

China to prosecute former top parliament body official for graft | Reuters

China will prosecute a former vice-chairman of China’s top parliamentary advisory body for graft, including taking bribes and selling “ranks and titles”, the government said on Monday, the latest senior figure to fall in a deepening anti-corruption campaign.

Su Rong attends a group discussion during the National People's Congress in Beijing March 6, 2012.  REUTERS/Stringer

Su Rong had been one of the 23 vice-chairmen of the largely ceremonial but high-profile Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference until authorities began an investigation last year.

Su abused his power over personnel appointments and the operation of unidentified companies and took “an enormous amount of bribes”, said the ruling Communist Party’s graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

He “abused his power and caused great losses to state assets”, it said in a statement, without providing details.

“As a senior party official, Su Rong disregarded the party’s political rules … wantonly sold ranks and titles, led the official ranks astray and damaged the atmosphere in society,” the statement said.

His influence was “abominable” and he had been officially stripped of his title and expelled from the party, it said.

Details of Su’s case have been handed to judicial authorities, it said, and he will face prosecution in court.

Su previously served as Communist Party boss for the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Gansu.

Chinese media ha

via China to prosecute former top parliament body official for graft | Reuters.

14/02/2015

Jack Ma Tells Alibaba Staffers: No Red Packets This Year – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Instead of handing out envelopes of cash to Alibaba’s employees this Lunar New Year, Jack Ma is distributing a huge reality check.

Chinese companies typically hand out red envelopes – known as hongbao – stuffed with money to employees on the eve of the big Lunar New Year holiday, which begins Wednesday. Alibaba Group would seem to be good for a similar reward, given its $25 billion initial public offering bonanza in September.

But in a post on his personal microblog site Friday, Mr. Ma said such rewards are reserved only for exceptional results.

“The reason for not distributing red envelopes is that in the past year, Alibaba Group has not had exceptional results and not had any special surprises,” said Mr. Ma, the company’s founder and executive chairman. “The success of becoming listed should not be a surprise as it was the result of all of Alibaba’s employees’ work over 15 years. But aside from going public, objectively speaking, we haven’t been that satisfied with our results in 2014 that we should distribute red envelopes.

“We must objectively and calmly see our own results, rationally regard external views and not let ourselves be lost in illusory fame,” he said.

Ouch.

via Jack Ma Tells Alibaba Staffers: No Red Packets This Year – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

28/01/2015

China plans to set 2015 growth target at ‘around 7 percent’ – sources | Reuters

China plans to cut its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015, its lowest goal in 11 years, sources said, as policymakers try to manage slowing growth, job creation and pursuing reforms intended to make the economy more driven by market forces.

The growth target, which is set to be announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual parliament session in March, was endorsed by top party leaders and policymakers at a closed-door Central Economic Conference in December, said a number of people with knowledge of the outcome of meeting who spoke to Reuters.

The target, which is in line with market expectations, has not been previously reported.

“This year’s economic growth target will be around 7 percent, but the 7 percent should be the bottom line,” said one of the sources, an influential economist who advises the government.

via Exclusive: China plans to set 2015 growth target at ‘around 7 percent’ – sources | Reuters.

24/01/2015

China’s Risks in Shedding Debt-Fueled, Investment-Led Growth – Businessweek

Few Chinese leaders are as revered as Deng Xiaoping. His late-1970s modernization drive led to an unrivaled run of high-speed growth. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has big reform ambitions of his own, often evokes the memory of the paramount leader, who died in 1997. In 2012, shortly before he assumed the top government job, Xi signaled his own liberalization agenda by retracing Deng’s famous tour in 1992 of southern Guangdong province to promote economic reform. Last August, in a speech marking the 110th anniversary of the revolutionary leader’s birth, Xi, like his predecessors, recycled Deng-era slogans such as “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

Is China Coming Down to Earth?

Deng’s legacy as the architect of Chinese modernity rides on a record of 10 percent average annual growth from 1980 through 2012. Xi oversees an economy that’s decelerating and that grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest performance since 1990, when it grew 3.8 percent. The International Monetary Fund predicts that Chinese expansion will steadily decline to 6.8 percent this year and 6.3 percent in 2016, when archrival India is expected to eclipse China at 6.5 percent. All of which raises a question unthinkable a few years ago: Is the China growth miracle winding down for good?

China’s transformation from an agrarian backwater to a $9.2 trillion economy with globally competitive companies, including Xiaomi, Huawei, Baosteel, and Alibaba, has been remarkable. And plenty of countries would be thrilled with 6 percent growth. Yet China is also home to income inequality on par with that of Nigeria and Mexico, a rapidly aging populace, and a world-class environmental crisis. Years of politically driven investment with diminishing returns have led to too much debt and industrial overcapacity, as well as ghost cities with unfinished hotels and absurd ambitions. (You can soon visit Tianjin’s replica of Manhattan, provided you like your replica cities free of actual humans.) Loose credit conditions contributed to an unsustainable six-month, 63 percent stock price increase, prompting regulatory authorities on Jan. 19 to order the nation’s three biggest brokerages to stop adding new margin-trading accounts. The Shanghai Composite index tumbled 7.7 percent on Jan. 19, the biggest one-day drop since the financial crisis in 2008.

The total debt of the world’s No. 2 economy is roughly $18 trillion, or about 200 percent of GDP

China’s investment spending binge is packing less of a punch than it used to, according to the World Bank. From 1991 to 2011, it took $3.60 of investment to generate $1 of GDP growth. At the end of 2012 it required $5.40. Meanwhile, the country’s total debt—government, corporate, and household—is now roughly $18 trillion, or about 200 percent of total gross domestic product. “We’ve got the biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen, and credit is continuing to grow [about] twice as fast” as the Chinese economy, says credit analyst Charlene Chu, a partner with Autonomous Research Asia in Hong Kong. Chinese officialdom is keenly aware of the problem. The growth model that delivered productivity spurts in the late 1990s—powered by reforms of state-owned enterprises and new technology brought in by foreign investors after the country’s admission into the World Trade Organization in the early 2000s—has lost its edge. As early as 2007, China’s then-Premier Wen Jiabao described his economy to the National People’s Congress as “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable.”

Michael Pettis, a finance professor at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, says the Chinese experience has much in common with Brazil in the 1960s, the Soviet Union in the 1970s, and Japan in the 1980s. All resorted to what economists call the financial repression of households to accelerate development. Family savings were channeled primarily into bank accounts with regulated and below-market deposit rates. Banks then recycled the capital into low-interest loans for businesses to build factories at home and to export abroad.

When it works, and it did stupendously for China, the economy hits the fast lane and incomes grow so fast that consumers don’t mind getting low returns on their savings—or being ruled by an unaccountable one-party state. Unfortunately, research by Pettis shows, “every investment-led growth miracle in the last 100 years has broken down.”

Xi and Premier Li Keqiang are trying to avoid that fate by guiding China onto a more sustainable path that would bolster the role of consumer spending (about 34 percent of GDP, vs. 68 percent in the U.S. in 2013, the World Bank reports) and shift the economy to a more services-oriented model. They say they’ve mapped out more than 300 reforms that over time will reduce state intervention in the economy and energy price controls that favor manufacturers; the changes will also improve the social safety net and encourage market-driven deposit rates to get Chinese families saving less and spending more.

via China’s Risks in Shedding Debt-Fueled, Investment-Led Growth – Businessweek.

20/01/2015

China raises wages for govt workers at least 31 percent – document | Reuters

(Reuters) – China has raised the wages of government workers by at least 31 percent, according to a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday, as part of efforts to combat corruption and lift the spending power of millions as the country seeks to increase consumption.

The basic salaries of some civil servants would be almost tripled, according to the document distributed to China’s cabinet and dated Jan. 12. It said the increases would be effective from Oct. 1, 2014.

The change is part of a broad effort by Beijing to reform the compensation levels of government workers to improve efficiency, reduce graft and hold officials more accountable for their own performance.

Executives at some Chinese state-owned companies, notorious for their inefficiency, suffered pay cuts this month.

“The pay hike indicates Beijing’s goal of improving the quality of life for the average Chinese,” Nomura economists said in a note. They said it was the first wage rise in eight years for central government workers.

via China raises wages for govt workers at least 31 percent – document | Reuters.

19/12/2014

Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post

The former deputy chief of China’s Beijing Zoo – who claimed his 8 million yuan (about HK$10 million) fortune was earned from part-time jobs, including working as a taxi driver – was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Beijing court this morning.

Xiao Shaoxiang was jailed for life today after being found guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”. Photo: Xinhua

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Xiao Shaoxiang guilty of corruption, including taking bribes and “possessing huge assets of unknown origin”.

All his personal property would be confiscated, the Beijing-based newspaper, Mirror, reported on its official mainland microblogging Weibo website.

Prosecutors said six million yuan in cash, paintings and gold bullion from unknown sources were found in Xiao’s apartment – a cache worth a total of 8 million yuan, the court said during his trial in August.

He was charged with accepting bribes totalling more than 140 million yuan.

Xiao, 59, had denied all the charges during the trial.

He had defended himself by claiming that he had earned the money from moonlighting as an unlicensed cab driver after work at the zoo from 1991 to 1994.

via Beijing Zoo boss who put 8 million yuan fortune down to part-time taxi driving is jailed for life for corruption | South China Morning Post.

25/11/2014

# Chinese overseas acquisitions / investments – 25 November 2014

#          “China’s outbound direct investment is for the first time set to exceed investment into the country, highlighting the ongoing shift of global economic influence to the east.” – FT.com, 22 Oct, 2014 – http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/28f6b8d4-59cd-11e4-9787-00144feab7de.html#axzz3JzPW4Z3o

#          “Chinese enterprises completed a record 176 mergers and acquisitions (M&A) overseas in the first nine months of 2014, up 31 percent year-on-year, according to a report released by accounting firm PwC on Monday.

Among them, private enterprises completed 120 M&A transactions, more than doubling the number carried out by state-owned enterprises and making them the major force in the M&A market, according to the report.” – China Daily, 22 Oct 2014 – http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-10/27/content_18809601.htm

#          “The theme of outbound China M&A has changed. State-owned enterprises are no longer the only buyers going overseas, private companies in industries like consumer and technology have started doing high-profile acquisitions on the global stage in recent years,” said Stephen Gore, Asian-Pacific head of mergers and acquisitions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.” – WSJ, 21 Sept, 2014 – http://online.wsj.com/articles/chinese-overseas-buying-increasingly-shifts-to-private-from-state-1411335001

#          There are five kinds of Chinese overseas investments (or at least JVs) – which are not mutually exclusive – in rough order of priority:

  • Natural resources: oil and gas serving a growing need:
    • Chesapeake Energy – Sinopec(July 2013)
    • Wolfcamp shale exploration – stake by Sinochem (Jan 2013)
    • Pre-August 2012:
      • Oil and gas: (Sinopec, CNOOC and PetroChina have all been very active in several continents, including North America – Nexen, Canada),
      • coal, steel, minerals (incl Australia’s Sundance),
      • arable land (parts of Africa and South America).
  • Infrastructure and other tangibles which are ‘safer’ than holdings of US or Euro bonds and provides relatively predictable yields; they often also provide technology transfer at no additional cost:
    • Salov – Bright Foods( Oct 2014)
    • Tnuva – Bright Foods( May 2014)
    • AMC Entertainment cinemas – Wanda(Sept 2012)
    • Weetabix – Bright Foods(May 2012)
    • Smithfield Foods – Shuanghui Foods (May 2013)
    • Pre-August 2012:
      • manufacturing plants (Putzmeister),
      • oil refineries (INEOS’ Grangemouth (Scotland) and Lavéra (France),
      • utilities (Redes Energeticas Nacionais, Energias de Portugal, Thames Water; Brazilian electricity grid, Northumbrian Water), office blocks (Canary Wharf, London),
      • housing in the US;
      • construction – Spanish construction company; all sorts in parts of Africa and the Caribbean (sports stadium, holiday resorts, roads, ports, etc).
  • Technology: esp new and innovative building for the future:
    • Motorola – Lenova (Jan 2014)
    • Pre-August 2012:
  • Brands: especially luxury brands which reduces the outflow of currency and increases the inflow as the population gains affluence and demand for luxury goods continue to expand:
    • Waldorf Astoria – Anbang Insurance(June 2014)
    • Corum watches – Wanda (April 2014)
    • Pre-August 2012:
      • yachts (Ferretti),
      • high fashion (Cerruti, Sonia Rykiel),
      • essentials (Putzmeister);
      • soccer (Inter Milan).
  • Financial houses, esp owners/managers of funds (BlackRock) – which are not as ‘safe’ as resources and tangibles, but much safer that Euro and $ bonds.

 

07/11/2014

Myopia: Losing focus | The Economist

SPARKLY, spotted or Hello Kitty: every colour, theme, shape and size of frame is available at Eyeglass City in Beijing, a four-storey mall crammed only with spectacle shops. Within half an hour a pair of prescription eyeglasses is ready. That is impressive, but then the number of Chinese wearing glasses is rising. Most new adoptees are children.

In 1970 fewer than a third of 16- to 18-year-olds were deemed to be short-sighted (meaning that distant objects are blurred). Now nearly four-fifths are, and even more in some urban areas. A fifth of these have “high” myopia, that is, anything beyond 16 centimetres (just over six inches) is unclear. The fastest increase is among primaryschoolchildren, over 40% of whom are short-sighted, double the rate in 2000. That compares with less than 10% of this age group in America or Germany.

The incidence of myopia is high across East Asia, afflicting 80-90% of urban 18-year-olds in Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The problem is social rather than genetic. A 2012 study of 15,000 children in the Beijing area found that poor sight was significantly associated with more time spent studying, reading or using electronic devices—along with less time spent outdoors. These habits were more frequently found in higher-income families, says Guo Yin of Beijing Tongren Hospital, that is, those more likely to make their children study intensively. Across East Asia worsening eyesight has taken place alongside a rise in incomes and educational standards.

The biggest factor in short-sightedness is a lack of time spent outdoors. Exposure to daylight helps the retina to release a chemical that slows down an increase in the eye’s axial length, which is what most often causes myopia. A combination of not being outdoors and doing lots of work focusing up close (like writing characters or reading) worsens the problem. But if a child has enough time in the open, they can study all they like and their eyesight should not suffer, says Ian Morgan of Australian National University.

Yet China and many other East Asian countries do not prize time outdoors. At the age of six, children in China and Australia have similar rates of myopia. Once they start school, Chinese children spend about an hour a day outside, compared with three or four hours for Australian ones. Schoolchildren in China are often made to take a nap after lunch rather than play outside; they then go home to do far more homework than anywhere outside East Asia. The older children in China are, the more they stay indoors—and not because of the country’s notorious pollution.

via Myopia: Losing focus | The Economist.

07/11/2014

China vs. India? It’s India by a Nose, Roubini Says – Businessweek

Nouriel Roubini is an India optimist. The country may have spent years lagging behind fast-growing Asian neighbors, such as China, but the NYU professor and chairman of Roubini Global Economics sees a role switch ahead, he told Bloomberg Television today.

Nouriel Roubini: Indian Tortoise Will Soon Pass Chinese Hare

Economic growth in China, weighed down by an aging population and an obsolete investment-driven economic model, is going to fall to 6.5 percent next year and will drop below 6 percent in 2016, “while in India, with the right reforms, it could go to 7 percent,” he said. “So for the first time ever the tortoise becomes the hare and the hare becomes the tortoise.”

China’s leaders know the problems they face, according to Roubini, who is visiting Hong Kong for a Barclays-sponsored conference, but so far they have been reluctant to follow through on promises to address them. “The Chinese understand their growth model is unsustainable—too much fixed investment, not enough consumption,” Roubini said.

via China vs. India? It’s India by a Nose, Roubini Says – Businessweek.

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