Posts tagged ‘United States’

26/03/2015

India Takes Top Spot In Producing Wealthy Households – India Real Time – WSJ

India’s affluent-household club is growing quickly.

Over the next five years, the number of such households–meaning those with financial assets of $100,000 to $2 million –is expected to jump 10-fold, to 4.9 million, according to an Economist Intelligence Unit study. In percentage terms, India ranked first among the 32 nations covered in the report.

By that same year,  the total financial assets in these households should reach $879 billion, driven by significant “economic reforms, attention to infrastructure, a stable political outlook and positive investor sentiment,” according to the report.

via Report: India Takes Top Spot In Producing Wealthy Households – India Real Time – WSJ.

14/03/2015

China’s greener energy efforts help global carbon emissions stall after almost 40 years of gains | South China Morning Post

China burned less coal and generated more electricity from renewable sources last year, which helped halt the rise in global carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector.

China burned less coal last year and generated more electricity from renewable sources to help halt the global rise in  carbon dioxide emissions. Photo: Reuters

Emissions of carbon dioxide were flat at 32.3 billion tonnes last year, as they were in 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA)  reported yesterday.

It ended steady gains over the past four decades except in years with an economic downturn.

“This is both a welcome surprise and a significant one,” IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said in a statement.

“This gives me even more hope that humankind will be able to work together to combat climate change, the most important threat facing us today.”

The IEA, which is based in France, and advises governments of developed nations, said the halt in emissions growth was linked to greener patterns of energy consumption in China – the top carbon emitter ahead of the United States – and in developed nations.

“In China, [last year] saw greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal,” it said.

via China’s greener energy efforts help global carbon emissions stall after almost 40 years of gains | South China Morning Post.

11/03/2015

India’s Millionaires Have Been Leaving the Country in Droves – India Real Time – WSJ

India may have been minting millionaires at an unprecedented rate over the past decade, but it has also seen many of its seven-figured-citizens escape to other countries.

The latest Knight Frank’s annual Wealth Report–which looks at the spending habits of the rich, the superrich and the “I have my own Boeing but forgot where I parked it,” rich—estimates that more than 43,000 Indian millionaires left the country to settle elsewhere in the past 10 years. That is second only to China, which saw a private-plane drain of more than 76,000 people, according to estimates from property company Knight Frank and immigration consultancy Fragomen.

While Indians tended to take their railway cars full of rupees to other English-speaking countries, government restrictions have slowed the flow of Indian millionaire money in recent years, said Liam Bailey, global head of research at Knight Frank

“High net-worth Indians are a big part of the prime market in places like London and that has been slightly undermined in the last two years by the tightening of capital controls (in India) making it much more difficult to export capital,” he said.

China lost the most rich migrants as 76,200 of its millionaires left to settle in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and Australia. After the two billion-person emerging markets, the biggest losers in terms of millionaire migrants were France, Italy, Russia, Switzerland and Indonesia. You wouldn’t think the rich and famous would be so anxious to leave Europe but apparently high taxes on the high earners encouraged many to leave.

In terms of the countries that attracted the most millionaire migrants, the United Kingdom was the leader by a huge margin. Around 114,000 rich folks from elsewhere settled in the quaint island nation during the 10 years through 2014. It was followed by Singapore, which attracted more than 45,000 new, rich citizens, the U.S., which welcomed 42,000 elite expats and Australia, which became home to 22,000 rich newcomers. Finishing up the list of the seven most-popular countries for millionaires to escape to, were Hong Kong, Canada and United Arab Emirates.

Despite the exodus, many of the people Knight Frank has dubbed “ultra-high-net-worth individuals” remained in India.

Last year, Mumbai was home to the most, with 619 UHNWIs, who Knight Frank describes as people worth at least $30 million. Delhi was a distant second with only 157 as wealthy, followed by Bangalore with 75, Chennai with 49, Hyderabad with 39 and Ahmedabad with 20. Kolkata was not mentioned in the report.

via India’s Millionaires Have Been Leaving the Country in Droves – India Real Time – WSJ.

09/03/2015

China hints Japan to be invited to war memorial parade | Reuters

China will welcome all national leaders to a military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two, the foreign minister said on Sunday, the strongest sign yet that it could invite wartime enemy Japan.

Sino-Japan relations have long been poisoned by what China sees as Japan’s failure to atone for its occupation of parts of the country before and during the war, and it rarely misses an opportunity to remind its people and the world of this.

In the last two years, ties have also deteriorated sharply because of a dispute over a chain of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea, though Chinese and Japanese leaders met last year in Beijing to try to reset relations.

But the remarks by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi come as the two countries plan to hold their first security talks in four years in Tokyo on March 19, an indication of a possible improvement in strained ties.

“Our goal is to remember history, commemorate the martyrs, cherish peace and look to the future,” Wang said of the parade at a briefing on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament.

“We will extend the invitation to the leaders of all relevant countries and international organizations. No matter who it is, as long as they come in sincerity, we welcome them,” Wang said in response to a question about whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would be invited.

via China hints Japan to be invited to war memorial parade | Reuters.

04/03/2015

Harrods Hopes Prince William Hoopla in China Will Bring a Boost – China Real Time Report – WSJ

For every five pounds spent by a Chinese tourist in the United Kingdom, just over one quid is spent at upscale department store Harrods.

No wonder, then, that company managing director Michael Ward is in Shanghai this week, hoping the hoopla around Britain’s Prince William’s four-day visit to China will bring even more Chinese shoppers through Harrods’ doors.

“It’s a hugely important part of our business,” Mr. Ward told China Real Time Tuesday. He said such tourists would become increasingly important as outbound tourism from China takes off.

Hong Kong brokerage firm CLSA expects the total number of Chinese outbound travelers to hit 200 million annually in 2020—that’s around double last year’s figures.

Mr. Ward declined to share specific figures for Chinese tourists, but he said by nationality, they top the league of store visitors in terms of spending.

By contrast, Americans barely scraped into the top ten—far behind shoppers from countries such as Nigeria and Thailand, he said.

While Chinese tourists may top the list of spenders at high-end Harrods, a report issued last year by British bank Barclays saBCS -2.61%id Chinese tourists ranked tenth in terms of tourist spending in the U.K, spending around £550 million in 2013 (around $850 million),. Barclay’s forecasted that by 2017, Chinese tourists would have moved up to fifth place with annual total spending in the U.K. in excess of £1 billion.

Still, the chilling effects of China’s current economic woes are being felt in faraway Harrods of London. “This year we’ve seen a much slower takeup,” said Mr. Ward.

via Harrods Hopes Prince William Hoopla in China Will Bring a Boost – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

03/03/2015

Marks & Spencer to close five Shanghai stores, Asia head quits | Reuters

British retailer Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) has decided to close five stores in the greater Shanghai region following a review of its plans for China that will nevertheless see it stick to a commitment to expand into the country’s other large cities.

Clothes are displayed on hangers in an M&S shop in northwest London July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

M&S also said on Monday that Bruce Findlay, its regional director for Asia, was quitting the firm after less than two years in the role to take up a position with another retailer.

The company entered China in 2008 with a store in Shanghai, and it now has 15 in the greater Shanghai region. But it has struggled to make a major impact in a country that it said on Monday remains one of its priority international markets along with India, Russia and the Middle East.

For the long term the group is in the process of evaluating potential local partners to expand in China, a path taken by other British retailers such as supermarkets group Tesco (TSCO.L) and home improvements firm Kingfisher (KGF.L).

Updating on its plans for the country following a review announced last April, M&S said it would continue to invest in its existing flagship store portfolio with the complete modernisation of its West Nanjing Road store in Shanghai in the autumn.

However, five of its supporting stores in the greater Shanghai region will close by August. Some 60 jobs will be effected. M&S also plans to reduce the size of its Shanghai head office.

M&S said it has a firm intent to enter other cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou over the next year, while further expansion online would enhance its brand across China.

via Marks & Spencer to close five Shanghai stores, Asia head quits | Reuters.

28/02/2015

China to spend 26 billion yuan to register rights ahead of rural reforms | South China Morning Post

China will spend about 26 billion yuan (HK$33 billion) to help identify and register the contractual rights over the nation’s arable land to pave the way for rural reforms.

Uygur farmers prepare potato beds in Xinjiang province. Photo: Reuters

More than 200 million rural households around the nation will be interviewed to help prepare the accurate record of farming rights.

Calling the task a “massive systematic project”, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Friday that clarifying land tenure and issuing certificates to farmers would form the basis of a series of expected reforms which aimed to help free up the rural land market.

Nearly 200,000 villages around the country – or one third of the total – have begun with the task, by aerial photography or site measurement, said MOA officials in a press conference.

Zhao Kun, a deputy inspector of the ministry’s rural economic system department, said local governments had appropriated a total of 8 billion yuan to carry out the job.

The central government has promised to provide 10 yuan for each mu of arable land – the Chinese unit of land area, which measures 666 square metres – a total of 18 billion yuan according to official data that states the mainland had 1.82 billion mu of farmland up to the end of 2011.

The Land Administration Law states that the ownership of rural land belongs to village collectives, with farmers given contractual rights to the land they farm for 30 years.

The central authorities decided to increase the security of land tenure in 2008. A directive issued that year said that contractual land management rights for farmers should “remain unchanged for a very long time”.

However, unlike urban home owners, rural residents do not yet hold any certification to prove their legal rights to their homes and farmland.

This makes it hard for them to transfer the land, which is forbidden by existing regulations but now being reformed in order to encourage larger scale farming and improve utilization efficiency of rural land.

Zhang Hongyu, head of the rural economic system department, said when farmers were given contractual rights of farmland in the first round of rural reform a few of decades ago, there were only rough estimates made about the size of their land plots owing to limitations over measuring methods at the time.

“Any related document the farmers previously had – either a contract or some other sort of certificate – showed different figures from what we are now finding,” he said.

Zhao said the project was not only a technical issue of measurement.

“It also involves interviews with each of the more than 200 million rural households [around the nation], which are really important for farmers as they need to know how big their plots are and where they’re located,” he said.

via China to spend 26 billion yuan to register rights ahead of rural reforms | South China Morning Post.

28/02/2015

What the Budget Means for Regular Indians – India Real Time – WSJ

The Modi government’s budget offered some sops for middle-class tax payers and a series of steps aimed at boosting social security for the country’s poor.

Tax Breaks on Health Insurance, Travel: Individuals will be allowed to deduct up to 25,000 rupees ($400) annually in health-insurance premiums from their taxes. That is an increase from the current 15,000-rupee deduction. For people 60 years or older, the deduction will be 30,000 rupees.

Mr. Jaitley also proposed increasing the amount of transportation expenses individuals can deduct to 1,600 rupees a month, up from 800 rupees a month now.

Pension Deduction: Individuals can now claim an additional tax deduction of up to 50,000 rupees ($800) if they put the money in the government’s New Pension Scheme. “This will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society,” said Mr. Jaitley.

Social Security programs: In a bid to provide a social safety net, Mr. Jaitley said the state will provide accidental death insurance of 200,000 rupees for a premium of just one rupee a month. State insurers will also offer policies covering natural and accidental death for 330 rupees a year.

Though available to all, the relatively small size of the insurance cover implies these will likely be used mostly by the poor.

The government will also encourage individuals to set up pension accounts under a new program. For individuals who open such an account by Dec. 31, the government will match individual contributions up to 1,000 rupees a year, for five years.

Tax-Free bonds:  Mr. Jaitley plans to allow government agencies and others to issue tax-free infrastructure bonds to fund roads, railways and irrigation. Details weren’t disclosed but typically interest on such bonds is tax free.

Service Tax: Now for the bad news: your restaurant and phone bills will soon go up, because the government will raise the service tax to 14% from 12.4%. Individuals indirectly pay this tax on a wide range of services, including on insurance premiums, hotel bills and electricity bills.

Gold Bonds: Since Indians won’t give up their love for gold, Mr. Jaitley tried to come up with ways to at least get it out of people’s homes and into banks. He introduced a plan that he said would make it easier for people keep gold in a bank, earn interest on it and borrow against it.

Mr. Jaitley also proposed a “Sovereign Gold Bond” that would act as an alternate to owning physical gold. These bonds would have a fixed rate of interest and “be redeemable in cash in terms of the face value of the gold,” he said.

Unaccounted-for Money: Mr. Jaitley said the government would introduce more stringent requirements for people to declare assets held overseas and make it harder for people to buy real-estate with cash in an effort to tax evasion.

via What the Budget Means for Regular Indians – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/02/2015

To Combat Crowds, India’s McDonald’s Now Lets Diners Order at the Table – India Real Time – WSJ

Tired of having to elbow your way through pushy crowds to get your fast-food fix? McDonald’s MCD +3.87% in India has a solution for you: Skip the long lines and order a Maharaja Mac from your table.

The more than 350 McDonald’s outlets in India each get about 4,000 customers a day on average. That’s twice the number of customers that come to the average Mickey D branches in the rest of the world. As part of an experiment in crowd control, one franchisee has started allowing burger fans to order and pay through roaming cashiers who take orders and payments on Wi-Fi enabled tablets and credit-card machines.

The queue-quelling technology is already being tested at the McDonald’s at Mumbai’s Phoenix Mills mall. It will be rolled out in 200 more branches this year, said Amit Jatia, who runs most of the McDonald’s in India.

“India is changing,” he said. “You have to keep evolving with the changing needs of the consumer.”

Mr. Jatia’s Hardcastle Restaurants runs 202 McDonald’s outlets in western and southern India, while another group controls 166 restaurants in northern and eastern India.

via To Combat Crowds, India’s McDonald’s Now Lets Diners Order at the Table – India Real Time – WSJ.

26/02/2015

China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters

China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.

Zhou Qiang, President of China's Supreme People's Court, attends National People's Congress (NPC) in Beijing, March 7, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.

It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.

Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping‘s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.

China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.

He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court‘s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.

“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.

The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.

via China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform | Reuters.

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