China construction

By Andy Rothman, Matthews Asia

China’s housing market is one of the most important parts of its economy, and also one of the most misunderstood. This sector is important because residential real estate together with construction last year accounted directly for about 10 per cent of GDP, 18 per cent of fixed-asset investment, 10 per cent of urban employment and more than 15 per cent of bank loans. It is also misunderstood because few observers appear to grasp the structure of China’s residential market. Read more

By John Zhu, HSBC

China has been a favoured destination for foreign direct investment since its economy opened up more than three decades ago. However, the country’s own investments abroad will soon overtake inflows. This is good for China and the rest of the world: China stands to make better returns on its foreign reserves while generating demand for its exports, while countries in need of investment can tap into a new and fast-growing source of funding.

How China exports its excess savings abroad will be a major theme driving flows into different countries and sectors. Read more

China invented printing several centuries before Gutenberg’s mechanical press in Germany. Now a Chinese company in Shanghai appears to have stolen a march over Europe in the race to build the world’s first 3D printed house.

A Shanghai company, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, says it made 10 3D printed houses (see photos) each costing $4,800 each in less than 24 hours, according to 3ders, a 3D printing industry website. Read more

A Chinese company broke ground this week on the world’s tallest skyscraper only to stumble at the first hurdle when the government halted the project, saying building permission hadn’t been obtained.

The wild ambitions of Broad Group, which wanted to complete the skyscraper in less than a year, and the administrative edict blocking it make for a good story in their own right. But they also serve as a parable about the distorted development of the Chinese economy. Read more

A seasonal gift from Beijing for canny, or lucky, investors in Hong Kong. China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), the state-owned contractor, saw its shares leap by as much as 19 per cent as it made its HKSE debut on Friday.

With Asian markets generally weak on Washington’s failure to reach a fiscal cliff deal, CMEC’s soaraway $500m initial public offering was a surprise bonus on an otherwise dull day. Read more

Hong Kong’s market for new stock listings has taken a sickly turn as concerns about the eurozone and a sharper than expected slowdown in China have rattled nerves. IPOs for Graff of London and several Chinese companies including car dealers China Yongda have been pulled in the past few days.

One sector seems especially unlikely to achieve its hoped-for HK listings: the construction machinery business. Read more

Buying Putzmeister, the former market leader in concrete pumps, was a statement of intent by Sany, the Chinese construction equipment maker. In an interview with Tang Xiuguo, Sany president, the FT’s Peter Marsh examines the implications of the deal for the company, the industry and manufacturing at large.

Hengqin Island used to be known for one thing, and one thing only: oysters. But today, its many oyster shacks and fish farms are being demolished to make way for highways and skyscrapers.

The Chinese island located next to the casino town of Macao is being transformed into a special economic zone offering business concessions not found anywhere else in the country. Read more