Posts tagged ‘Great Recession’

21/12/2015

Panda power | The Economist

THE feeding frenzy for the pandas comes at nightfall. People furtively approach them, pouring bags of old clothes down their gullets.

By day, the trucks arrive to clean the bears out, leaving them empty for the next big meal. The pandas are plastic. They are large, bear-shaped receptacles, designed to entice people to donate their unwanted garments to those in need.

First deployed in 2012, there are now hundreds around Shanghai, often placed by entrances to apartment buildings. They swallowed about a million items of clothing last year. The procession of donors feeding trousers to pandas is impressive. But they usually do so under cover of darkness. Charitable giving is not yet a middle-class habit. Many people still feel awkward about it, despite their growing prosperity. China’s GDP per person is about one-seventh of America’s.

But in 2014 Chinese gave 104 billion yuan ($16 billion) to charity, about one-hundredth of what Americans donated per person (see chart). This is partly a legacy of attitudes formed during Mao’s rule, when the party liked to present itself as the source of all succour for the poor (to suggest otherwise was deemed counter-revolutionary). Even until more recent years the party was reluctant to encourage charities, worried that they might show up its failings.

The middle classes have worries too—that giving large amounts to charity may draw unwanted attention to their wealth. They do not want to fuel the envy of the have-nots or encourage tax collectors to pay them closer attention.

The top 100 philanthropists in China gave $3.2 billion last year, according to Hurun Report, a wealth-research firm based in Shanghai. That was less than the amount given by the top three in America.

In 2008 when a powerful earthquake hit the south-western province of Sichuan—the deadliest in China in more than 30 years—it seemed that one positive outcome would be a boom in charitable giving. Volunteers poured into the devastated region and donations filled the coffers of aid organisations. Problems soon arose, however. Embarrassed that private relief efforts were proving more effective than official ones, the government reined in citizen-led organisations.

Source: Panda power | The Economist

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02/11/2015

What Will the Two-Child Policy Mean for China’s Property Market? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s latest move to scrap its one-child policy buoyed property developer stocks Friday on hopes it could provide a boost to housing demand.

All Chinese couples will be allowed to have two children, Chinese official media said Thursday, after a meeting of top officials. While a timetable hasn’t been established, there are prospects that an increase in the size of Chinese households could raise demand for larger homes.

Shanghai housewife Tracy Li said she and her husband will be looking for a larger home once their two sons, one aged four and one who is almost a year, get older. They currently live in a two-bedroom apartment in Shanghai’s Minhang district. Like many Chinese parents, she doesn’t think it’s necessary for each child to have their own room but want to be able to accommodate grandparents, who in China are frequently deeply involved in childcare.

“When the children are older, it’s not too good for them to share a bedroom with their grandparents when they come over,” said the 34-year-old Ms. Li, who asked to be referred to by her English, rather than her Chinese, name. Finding a home in a good school district will take some time, said Ms. Li, who wants to move before her oldest son reaches school age.

Source: What Will the Two-Child Policy Mean for China’s Property Market? – China Real Time Report – WSJ

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