China’s property market is suddenly looking a whole lot hotter.
A new housing index covers more cities than any other available gauge, reaching into many of the smaller towns where development has been most frenetic. And lo and behold it has produced a striking conclusion: that property prices are rising twice as fast as official data suggests. Continue reading »
When the White House created a petitioning website in 2011, it surely didn’t count on Barack Obama being asked to invade China, rule on the flavour of tofu and investigate a two-decade old Chinese poisoning case.
But that is exactly what has happened over the past week as Chinese people, motivated variously by a sense of justice, powerlessness or just plain humour, have flooded the White House “We the People” website. Continue reading »
When Wang Qishan (left) was made head of the Communist party’s anti-corruption agency, it was expected that he would put his tough-guy reputation to work in taking down high-ranking officials.
Nearly two months into the job, Wang has signed his first publicly reported investigation orders. Contrary to expectations, the targets are not big fish. Instead, they are a series of little-known bond traders. What explains Wang’s focus? Continue reading »
China’s capital markets have a most placid surface. Domestic bonds have never experienced a default and equities have traded in a narrow range for more than a year.
But still waters run deep. Events of the past week have exposed the strains, turmoil and alleged crimes seething beneath the calm. Continue reading »
Chinese sportswear company Qiaodan has long been seen as a copycat for its use of a name and imagery connected to basketball legend Michael Jordan. But in the domain of trademark law, it is nothing if not original in an increasingly bitter fight with Jordan. Continue reading »
Meet the world’s newest would-be mining giant: the Ganzhou Rare Earth Group.
It has yet to make any sales, but if all goes according to plan for government officials in China’s poor southern province of Jiangxi, it could control about a third of the world’s supply of rare earths, elements which are crucial in the manufacture of electronics. Continue reading »
In the pantheon of financial news, China’s decision to open its interbank bond market to foreign investors may seem a small item. But the announcement, made on Wednesday, is a big one for two reasons.
First, it gives foreign institutions access to a major asset class. Second, its timing signifies that China’s financial reform train is still very much in motion just a few days after the dust finally settled on the country’s leadership reshuffle. Continue reading »
The advance of the shadows in China’s banking system has slowed dramatically in recent weeks. The slowdown might simply be a seasonal blip, but it could be a more fundamental turning point for the country’s financial sector.
Regulators have been turning the screws on some of the dodgiest practices in shadow banking at the same time as customers have grown more aware of the risks. These twin developments won’t spell the end of Chinese shadow banking – but they could well spell the end of its torrid rise. Continue reading »
Most of the media coverage of China’s parliament, which opened on Tuesday, has been forward-looking, and understandably so. Wen Jiabao, the outgoing premier, laid out growth, inflation and budget targets for 2013.
But perhaps the most striking section in his annual report to the National People’s Congress was his review of the country’s economic accomplishments over the past five years. At the very time that much of the world was experiencing a lost half decade, China found spectacular growth. Continue reading »
Football leagues around the globe draw heavily on foreign imports as both players and coaches. But as ambassadors?
In China, where the sport is struggling to escape the taint of match fixing and bribery scandals, the masters of the football world have decided that their best representative is someone who has never played in the country’s league: David Beckham. Continue reading »
No, not that Carlyle. And not that Buffett. Welcome to the alternate universe of Chinese finance.
A Chinese investment firm going by the name of Carlyle has accused the investment adviser to a fund known as the Buffett No. 1 Plan of committing fraud. The adviser of the Chinese Buffett fund has in turn accused the Chinese Carlyle of money laundering. Both deny the allegations. Continue reading »
Is it party time again for Chinese distillers? It has been a rough few months for the makers of China’s fiery baijiu spirits. Their sales and stock prices slumped after Xi Jinping, the incoming president, railed against corruption and banned the boozy banquets loved by officials across the country.
But like a passed-out drinker getting a second wind, the distillers picked themselves off the floor in rousing fashion to end the week. The share prices of many of China’s biggest brands – Kweichou Moutai, Wuliangye and Jiugui – leaped 4-10 per cent over the last three days of the week, while the broader Chinese stock market fell 5 per cent, its worst week since mid-2011. Continue reading »
Every indication has been given – short of an actual announcement – that Zhou Xiaochuan’s tenure as Chinese central bank governor will come to an end soon. Last month he turned 65, the official retirement age. A book of his selected speeches has been published. And state-run newspapers have written paeans to his accomplishments.
Zhou (pictured) is the longest-serving governor in the history of the People’s Bank of China and he presided over a decade that produced exceptionally fast growth and low inflation. So, he leaves big shoes to fill. Just who is likely to succeed him? Continue reading »
China’s crackdown on corruption has spawned a new trend in the country’s real estate market: panic sale advertising.
“Civil servant is anxious, anxious, anxious!” screams one ad (pictured below). “Landlord faces asset investigation, desperate to sell” is the hook for another. A third reads: “Official anxious to dump property. First come first served. Five units in all. All are excellent. Absolutely great value. Continue reading »
Critics of lotteries the world over often describe them as taxes on the poor, and for good reason. From the US to Spain, lower-income citizens are the biggest buyers of lottery tickets, and, as a group, they will lose at least 35 per cent of what they spend.
In China, though, it is more accurate to describe the lottery as a tax on hope. Those buying tickets tend to earn more than average, but they have run into the chasm that is China’s wealth gap and see the lottery as their best bridge across it. Continue reading »