Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Showcase


Channel Catalog


older | 1 | .... | 102 | 103 | (Page 104) | 105 | 106 | .... | 114 | newer

    0 0

    Graph for Green investment in Asian cities: Lessons from China, Indonesia, and Japan

    Asia Pathways

    The concept of ‘green growth’ has been connected to the ‘green economy for sustainable development and poverty reduction’, which is the first theme of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).1 In addition, making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is becoming one of the 17 sustainable development goals proposed by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals2 targeted to replace the United Nations Millennium Development Goals3 which will expire in 2015.

    Green cities in Asia

    To achieve this green growth, low-carbon development should be started at multiple levels: international, regional, national, and subnational. Asia and the Pacific, home to the majority of the world’s population and economic growth, can show the global impact of sustainable development, partly due to the fact that this region includes an advanced economy in Japan and key emerging economies such as the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Indonesia.4 The United Nations declared that half the population was living in cities in 2008 and that this percentage would increase to 60 per cent by 2030. Furthermore, cities account for 90 per cent of global population growth, 80 per cent of wealth creation, and 60 to 80 per cent of the global energy consumption and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Thus, a low-carbon society could start from creating low-carbon cities.

    Several approaches have already been initiated to create low-carbon cities across Asia. Given their vast growth, cities require intensive urban infrastructure development. Constrained by the local government capabilities, the funding of urban infrastructure has become a critical issue. Against this background, several development projects are already exploring and examining new funding mechanisms with the engagement of various stakeholders such as public–private partnerships. Several cities in the PRC, Indonesia, and Japan have invested in initiatives in green cities.

    Among others, the project Low Carbon Urban Infrastructure Investment: Cases of China, Indonesia and Japan,5 funded by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN), attempts to address the pathways for investment in green infrastructure in those countries at the city level. This is also called smart investment, since by this type of investment a city might be able to boost its economic growth and reduce its GHG emissions. The outcomes will be used as guidance on how cities in selected countries can play a key role in the green growth agenda, by stimulating growth through smart investment in urban infrastructure, i.e. by building physical infrastructure, introducing financial and tax incentives, ensuring energy supply, and heightening awareness of a sustainable lifestyle. This should involve systematic institutional governance by improving coordination among involved institutions (national and local government, local communities, academics, and industries).

    Carbon trading in the People’s Republic of China

    This two-year project between 2013 and 2015 outlines the pathways to achieve a low-carbon city. In the PRC, we propose the following set of policy recommendations for the city of Shanghai:

    1. The central government and local governments of the PRC need to update current economic incentive policies. The process of approving green buildings needs to be simplified and also costs reduced.
    2. The energy performance contract can be a good way to involve private businesses.
    3. Carbon trading and carbon taxes can be adopted as part of economic incentive policies to enhance the development of green buildings.

    Carbon trading schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), can help the developers overcome investment barriers because the costs and risks of employing technologies and knowledge can be significantly reduced.

    The investors can pay off the initial extra costs within a manageable risk range by selling carbon reduction credits granted by implementing green building projects. In fact, different partners such as the developers, the energy companies, or even the real estate management companies can receive benefits under the carbon trading mechanism in the PRC building sector.

    Feed-in tariffs in Japan

    In Japan, Yokohama is one of the government ordinance-designated cities which display an increasing trend in terms of its population and energy consumption. In 2007, the city set up the execution plan for global warming countermeasures, and, based on the plan, set a 25 per cent reduction target for total GHG emissions by fiscal year 2020 from the 1990 level as the midterm target and an 80 per cent reduction target by 2050. To achieve the target, Yokohama initiated a series of activities using various financing methods focusing on the reduction of energy consumption in the household and commercial sectors. The case reveals that although feed-in-tariffs (FIT) and tax policies can help a company mitigate investment risks and gain returns from the renewables business, it is dependent not only on the rate of FIT and the installation costs but also on the framework of the FIT system. Thus, in order to accelerate the amount of investment toward renewable energy, further financing mechanisms, incentive mechanisms, and a review of the FIT system itself are needed.

    Energy efficiency in Indonesia

    In Indonesia, energy efficiency in industries, among others, brings about the largest cuts to GHG emissions in the Jakarta metropolitan area. From an institutional analysis perspective, the energy efficiency strategies are an insufficient requirement when confronted with the need for more fairness in developing well-being. This places a big demand on shared resources of the society. This is in line with Towards Green Growth in Southeast Asia,6 a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which states that the development trajectory for Jakarta is to enhance inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable energy security, transportation, human health, and settlement services.

    Lessons from the case studies

    As for Asia, the lessons learned from the three cities show that unplanned and unstructured urban growth will raise significant economic, social, and environmental costs. Funding for low-carbon infrastructure in cities could be started by incentivizing low-carbon technologies such as solar photovoltaic as well as fostering CDM and energy efficiency measures through market mechanisms and/or policy intervention such as happened in the Shanghai, Yokohama and Jakarta cases. This also corresponds with the findings of the New Climate Economy Report7 that some cities could provide powerful evidence that more compact and connected urban development, built around mass public transport, can create cities that are economically dynamic and healthier, and have lower GHG emissions.
    _____

    1 United Nations Office for Sustainable Development. 2011. The Future We Want. Outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20.
    2 United Nations, Division for Sustainable Development, UN-DESA. Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
    3 United Nations Millennium Development Goals webpage.
    4 J. Jupesta. 2011. Green Economy Transition in IndonesiaOur World Magazine, United Nations University. 17 October.
    5 APN. Low Carbon Urban Infrastructure Investment: Cases of China, Indonesia, and Japan
    6 OECD. 2014. Towards Green Growth in Southeast Asia: Solutions for Policy Makers. Paris.
    7 Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. 2014. Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report.

    This article was first published on Asia Pathways, the blog of the Asian Development Bank Institute, and is reproduced here with permission.
     

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    More compact and connected urban development can create cities that are economically dynamic, healthier and have lower greenhouse gas emissions

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    BEIJING-China is considering forging megamergers among its big state oil companies, seeking to create new national champions able to take on the likes of Exxon Mobil and produce greater efficiencies at a time of low prices. 

    At the request of China's leadership, government economic advisers are conducting a feasibility study of options for consolidation, according to officials with knowledge of the research. One involves potentially combining the country's largest oil companies, China National Petroleum Corp., or CNPC, and its main domestic rival, China Petrochemical Corp., or Sinopec, the officials said. Other options look at merging two other major energy companies, China National Offshore Oil Corp., or Cnooc, and Sinochem Group. 

    No timetable has been set for a decision on whether or when to proceed with the various proposed mergers, said the officials. Spokespeople for the four Chinese oil companies and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which oversees the largest state enterprises, declined to comment or didn't respond to queries. 

    The possible mergers would be the latest consolidation of state companies blessed by the government as it tries to regear a slowing economy for a new phase of growth. As part of that effort, President Xi Jinping, now more than two years in office, is trying to revamp major state firms to make them more competitive globally. 

    Though the government has taken some tentative steps to allow more private and foreign capital to flow into infrastructure, resources, banking and other areas long the preserve of state firms, Mr. Xi has said state companies remain an "important pillar of the national economy." The government "must ensure they thrive," Mr. Xi said in remarks in August. Bigger and stronger state companies, according to officials and scholars familiar with the leadership's thinking, are viewed by Mr. Xi as key to China's reclaiming its prominence in the world. 

    Mergers could also boost efficiencies in an economy increasingly burdened by excess capacity--a problem that has caused Chinese manufacturers to compete against one other by cutting prices. Late last year, the government announced a plan to merge the country's top two state-owned railcar makers with a goal of making the combined company capable of competing with Siemens AG in Germany and Canada's Bombardier Inc. 

    The four oil companies -- CNPC, Sinopec, Cnooc and Sinochem -- have long dominated every phase of the industry; for years each had a geographic or business area of specialty. For instance, CNPC focused on exploration and production, and Sinopec on refining. Over the past 15 years, in response to earlier reform plans to spur competition, they' have expanded into the others' turf, creating overlapping operations that span exploration, refining to running gas pumps. 

    "They're increasingly fighting among each other," said one of the officials with knowledge of the consolidation plan. "That has led to lots of waste and inefficiency." 

    With international oil prices having halved in less than a year, those problems have become more pronounced, giving reform new urgency. Combining and then streamlining the operations of the major Chinese oil producers could help reduce waste caused by redundant staff and projects, the officials said. A combined enterprise could then focus on building up a better-funded company to compete around the world. 

    Low oil prices have spurred talk of new deals activity across the globe, as stronger companies engage in opportunistic buying of weaker firms. Among big deals last year, Spain's Repsol SA agreed to acquire Canadian oil-and-gas producer Talisman Energy Inc. for $8.3bn. 

    "We want to create a big Chinese brand to better compete overseas," the Chinese official said. "We want our own Exxon Mobil." 

    The potential shake-up would cap what has been a tumultuous period for China's oil industry. Chinese oil giants--in particular CNPC--have been the focus of an antigraft campaign championed by President Xi. Leading industry executives have been detained for suspected graft, and added scrutiny has helped spur a huge pullback in new investment by wary executives. 

    A decision to consolidate China's oil sector by making big state firms even bigger could end up tamping competition at home and stymie market-oriented reforms, some analysts said. It is unclear whether a possible consolidation would be followed by reforms, such as lowering barriers that have marginalized independent oil-and-gas producers. 

    "If you are focused on the foreign market, you certainly want to consolidate because it's more competitive abroad," said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University. "But if just for the domestic market it's better to have more competition, because competition leads to efficiency." 

    Beijing has started inviting private capital into the oil industry. Sinopec last year sold a nearly 30 per cent stake in its retail sales-and-marketing unit to a group of 25 investors, mostly Chinese. But none of the initiatives involves selling a controlling stake to the private sector. 

    A bigger challenge is whether the government would allow the combined entities to improve performance by reducing their huge workforces or shedding assets, said Philip Andrews-Speed, an expert on energy governance in China at the National University of Singapore. "That will be the test of whether this is old state-ism ... or are they really looking for better performance," he said. 

    PetroChina Co., the listed arm of CNPC, has nearly 550,000 employees world-wide, more than seven times as big as Exxon Mobil Corp. The Chinese company delivered revenue of $361bn in 2013, compared with more than $420bn in sales and other revenue at Exxon. 

    These days, all of China's big oil companies have been under pressure from prices and from the government to cut costs and focus on improving returns. For example, Cnooc Ltd., the listed unit of China National Offshore Oil, says it will cut capital spending by as much as 35 per cent in 2015 as a result of falling global oil prices. Expenditures at PetroChina and Sinopec are also expected to fall this year. 

    Marrying CNPC and Sinopec would create one of the world's biggest companies. A combined entity at least in the short run could control a vast majority of China's onshore oil-and-gas production and would hold total assets of hundreds of billions of dollars. 

    In the case of Cnooc, a merger with Sinochem, would give it more refining operations, giving it more sources of revenue that over time could help shield it against oil-market volatility. Cnooc is regarded by analysts as the most vulnerable to the oil-and-gas price drop, in part because it expanded aggressively abroad, buying assets including Canadian oil-sands operator Nexen Inc. for $15.1bn in 2013 when prices were high. 

    This article was first published by Dow Jones and is reproduced here with permission.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    China is weighing up the benefits of merging some of the country's big state-owned oil conglomerates.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    Suburbs in Melbourne's east are among the most sought after postcodes for Chinese property buyers, according to Chinese-language property portal Myfun.com.
     
    The suburbs of Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Doncaster, Box Hill, Balwyn and South Yarra experienced the greatest demand from Chinese buyers. 

    Queensland is the second most popular state and, surprisingly, only one suburb from Sydney made into the top ten areas of attraction.
     
    Myfun.com is a portal owned by REA Group, a division of News Corp. (also the publisher of Business Spectator). 

    It is a property site designed for Chinese property hunters.
     
    Damian Moore, a real estate manager from Ray White's Glen Waverly branch, says the area and its neighboring suburbs are popular with Chinese buyers due to the presence of well-known schools.
     
    “There are two of Victoria’s best state schools in Glen Waverley Secondary School and Mt Waverley Secondary College, as well as two of Melbourne’s best private schools -- Wesley College and Caulfield Grammar -- having campuses in the area,” Mr Moore said.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Glen Waverley and Box Hill are two the most popular suburbs for Chinese house hunters looking to purchase property in Australia.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    During its 166-year history the AMP has undergone many transformations but none match the sheer breadth of what is currently taking place under Craig Meller.

    In his KGB interview (which we will feature on the website this weekend), Meller reveals just how this transformation is working. And If you step back and look at what the AMP is attempting, it is apparent that if it works, it is will transform Australia's view of Asian investment and our banking industry.

    Let's start with Asia. As I have been pointing out, Australian institutional analysts have never understood the potential of Asian expansion for Australian companies. Those companies who attempted Asian expansion found little value incorporated into their share prices. This was graphically revealed in the Toll takeover when the Japanese Post Office paid 50 per cent above the Australian share price to get Toll's Asian operation (The Toll takeover exposes our institutions' ignorance, February 18).

    There is no evidence that AMP analysts views about Toll or Asian investment were any different to the rest of the bunch but AMP itself is marching into China in partnership with China Life on a breathtaking scale.

    Give it a decade and AMP China has the chance to be much much larger than AMP Australia. The fact that this is happening to one of our key investment institutions will force all analysts, not just those at AMP, to understand the importance of Australian companies going to Asia.

    When Paul Keating deregulated the banking sector back in the 1980s, everyone expected that our largest life insurance office would become a major player in banking. But it never happened and the AMP Bank lay close to dormant for a long time. But the latest twist to the banking revolution is breathing new life into the bank and, in time, the big four will face a new and larger competitor who plays by different rules.

    An important part in the boom that has taken place in residential mortgages has been the attractive commissions banks give mortgage brokers. AMP has the biggest army of investment product sales people in the land -- they total about 3,800.

    In the old times life insurance sales people charged huge commissions and that led to a financial planning industry that was high cost. That is now changing. AMP has a major customer base of older people approaching retirement. It is now telling its sales force to go out and sell mortgages to younger people.

    The commissions on banking products are not unlike the old insurance policies, which is a joy to the sales people. But Meller says the AMP people do not pocket the booty but link in the mortgage charges into their agreed remuneration deals covering superannuation and other investment products.

    The customer gets cheaper loans. Residential mortgages issued by the AMP Bank grew 9 per cent in the latest period and the number sold by the sales force rose from just under 20 per cent to 25 per cent.

    The big banks went into investment products but struggled. AMP struggled in banking but now believes it can see a way forward and make a big difference to the banking system.

    AMP has also slashed its cost base so it can now compete in the low cost superannuation market. That will make it a much bigger player in Australia.

    The takeover of AXA in Australia gave it scale and access to the ‘North Platform’ which was very successful. The markets attention is focused on the scale transformation, in time it will understand China and banking.

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    If AMP succeeds in China, it will radically overhaul how Australian institutional analysts rate the potential gains that come from investing in Asia.

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    Independent MPs Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie are getting the jump on the federal government by introducing legislation for new food labelling rules.

    They want imported food to carry a warning to consumers: "This food has not been grown or processed under Australian health and hygiene standards and may be injurious to your health."

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ordered two of his senior ministers to prepare a submission for cabinet that recommends changes to country-of-origin labelling.

    The move follows an outbreak of hepatitis A linked to imported frozen berries and consumer concern about the lack of information on packaging.

    Mr Katter said Chinese officials check the quality of Australian food imports before they left the country.

    "If China is ahead of us in health and hygiene standards, there is something enormously wrong," he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

    The MPs say their proposed label is World Trade Organisation compliant.

    Cabinet is likely to consider the ministerial submission in late March at the earliest.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Independent MPs Bob Katter and Andrew Wilkie propose new food labelling rules.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    Chinese energy giant China Petrochemical Corp or Sinopec, has denied reports it will merge with domestic rival China National Petroleum Corp.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this month that authorities were considering combining state-owned oil companies to better compete with the world’s biggest producers.

    Citing officials with knowledge of a government study, the report said other options include merging China National Offshore Oil Corp, or CNOOC, and Sinochem Group.

    Speaking to Caixin, a Sinopec spokesperson denied any knowledge of a merger adding it’s "company policy to not comment on rumours." 

    The company’s PR department shared Caixin's story on Weibo with the comment:

    "Asked if we’re engaged to marry over lunar new year, come back from holidays and asked if we’re going to have a merger. Can’t we just enjoy ourselves a little?"

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Energy giant denies report it will merge with domestic rival China National Petroleum Corp.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0
  • 02/25/15--21:24: China business news digest
  • Click here to subscribe to the China Spectator daily newsletter.

    Your daily digest of the biggest business news in China, translated and summarized every day. China Spectator has not verified these stories.

    Number of Chinese students in the US skyrocketed

    There are 30,000 Chinese students studying in American high schools, an increase of 600 per cent from ten years ago, according to a newly released White Paper on Chinese students studying aboard.

    China has been the largest exporter of students to the US for the last five consecutive years. 32 per cent of high school students studying abroad have chosen Canada as their favourite place, followed by the US, Australia and Britain.

    350,000 students with degrees from abroad returned to China in 2013.

    (Sina)

    Shagang sells 55% of its shares for 4.5 billion yuan

    Shagang Group, China’s largest privately controlled and listed steel producer, just offloaded 55.12 per cent of its shares in its Jiangsu Shagang Group to nine private investors for 4.6 billion yuan.

    Despite the sell down, the parent company still remains the largest shareholder with 19.88 per cent of shares. 

    (Beijing News)

    State Council to pursue proactive fiscal policy

    China's State Council, the equivalent of the country's cabinet, has announced that it will cut fees, extend small business tax breaks and pursue a proactive fiscal policy.

    The series of measures, announced following a meeting on the first official day back at work after the Chinese New Year holiday period, are aimed at countering downward pressure on the economy and ensuring the economy operates within a reasonable range.

    The government said it would widen the scope of existing tax concessions and also lower fees, according to a report in today's Economic Information Daily.

    Following the introduction of the new measures, an additional 200,000 companies will be eligible for tax breaks and the one percentage point reduction in the rate of the 'unemployment insurance' levy will save firms a combined 40 billion yuan.

    The State Council also pledged to speed up construction of major water projects in central and western regions of the country. 

    (Economic Information Daily , State Council)

    Retail consumption up 11% over Spring Festival holidays 

    The combined sales of the retail and food and beverage industries reached 678 billion yuan over the seven days of the Chinese New Year holidays, according to a report carried by Caixin citing data from the Ministry of Commerce.

    Although the figure is an 11 per cent increase on sales in the same industries during the same holiday period last year, this is the fourth year in a row that the rate of increase has slowed.

    The value of sales in 2014 were 13.3 per cent higher than during the 2013 holidays. Spring Festival sales in 2013 were 14.7 per cent higher than the previous year.

    Sales in 2012 were up by 16.2 per cent and in 2011 Spring Festival retail sales rocketed up 19 per cent year on year.

    (Caixin)

    Release of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei development plan imminent 

    One year after President Xi Jinping announced that a plan to encourage economic development and cooperation in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei region was first announced as a "major national strategy", The overarching blueprint for the rollout of the plan is set to be announced, according to a China News Service report.

    The overall blueprint for the economic plan was reportedly recently approved by higher authorities and could be officially announced by the end of this month according to an Economic Information Daily report earlier this month.

    According to the most recent report, the plan will include breakthroughs in three main areas: transport, ecology and industry.

    (China News Service)

    Chinese steel exporters feel the pinch

    Chinese steel exporters are feeling the pinch following an export tax rebate cancellation, saying the move was too sudden reports the Economic Observer.

    Authorities ended an export tax rebate on the steel alloy boron in January.

    “Our excess product is just sitting in the ports and we can't get refunds for some contracts we have just signed. ” said one exporter according to the paper.

    Average annual total steel exports have fallen to their lowest point since 2007.

    Iron ore prices slumped 47 per cent in 2014, pulled lower by a global supply glut and weaker demand from a slowing China.

    (Economic Observer)

    Sinopec denies merger reports

    Chinese energy giant China Petrochemical Corp or Sinopec, has denied reports it will merge with domestic rival China National Petroleum Corp.

    The Wall Street Journal reported this month that authorities were considering combining state-owned oil companies to better compete with the world’s biggest producers.

    Citing officials with knowledge of a government study, the report said other options include merging China National Offshore Oil Corp, or CNOOC, and Sinochem Group.

    Speaking to Caixin, a Sinopec spokesperson denied any knowledge of a merger adding it’s "company policy to not comment on rumours." 

    The company’s PR department shared Caixin's story on Weibo with the comment:

    "Asked if we’re engaged to marry over lunar new year, come back from holidays and asked if we’re going to have a merger. Can’t we just enjoy ourselves a little?"

    China and Korea inch closer to trade agreement

    China and Korea are on track to seal a free trade deal in the first half of this year, following the signing of a draft version on Wednesday.

    The two countries have now agreed on a final version of the agreement text according to a statement on China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) website on Wednesday.

    The bilateral ‘free-trade agreement’ covers 17 fields and will see the removal of tariffs on 90 per cent of all products traded between China and South Korea said MOFCOM.

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    Retail consumption up 11% over Spring Festival holidays and Sinopec denies merger reports.

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather expects the number of Chinese visitors to Australia to soar in the coming years, particularly from regional cities.

    Sydney Airport made a net profit of $59.1 million in 2014, as passenger numbers lifted 1.7 per cent to 38.5 million.

    Chairman Max Moore Wilton also announced he will retire at the company's annual meeting in May, after nine years in the job.

    Ms Mather says China is the airport's largest international growth market, with visitor numbers up 16 per cent in 2014.

    She believes a new bilateral air services agreement between Australia and China, forged in January, will see passengers rise further.

    That agreement has lifted capacity to 53,000 seats per week, up from the previous agreement of 22,500.

    Capacity on flights between the countries will to hit 67,500 seats per week by the end of 2016.

    "That's a three-fold increase, which is fantastic," Ms Mather said.

    Under the new agreement, half the capacity is for major gateways such Shanghai and Beijing, while the other half is for what Ms Mather described as "regional cities".

    Cities like Chengdu, which has a large middle class, and Xian, home of the terracotta warriors, along with Qingdao, Shenyang and Fuzhou are targets for growth.

    "They represent the next stage of development in the Chinese market," Ms Mather said.

    "They've got large populations - all well in excess of Sydney - and are underserved, or unserved by local services."

    Though it will take time for the airlines to build up to the larger China-Australia travel capacity, as planes are built and routes are planned, she said.

    And Sydney Airport could handle the extra traffic, even with its night-flying curfew and 80 flights per hour cap on movements.

    "Our infrastructure can handle significantly more than the policy restrictions allow," Ms Mather said.

    The policy allows for 500,000 flight movements per year, while the airport is currently doing 327,000, she said.

    "We've got plenty of capacity."

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Chinese visitor numbers to Sydney Airport up 16 per cent in 2014.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    A surge in demand from Chinese tourists for western-style vitamins has helped Blackmores reap record sales and profits.

    The vitamins and nutritional supplements maker lifted its first half profit 54 per cent, while sales jumped by more than a fifth.

    Driving the growth was Blackmores's Australian division, with sales up 29 per cent and earnings up 61 per cent on the back of demand for vitamins from Chinese visitors.

    "When Chinese tourists come to Australia we see increasing demand for brands like ours, which they'd like to have more of in Asia," chief executive Christine Holgate said.

    "It underpins the importance of our Asia growth strategy."

    The opening of free trade zones in China last year is expected to encourage further growth in the second half of the 2014/15 financial year.

    "We're only really just starting to trade inside the free trade zone now, so it's a significant opportunity for the future," Ms Holgate said.

    "Particularly as we have secured a licence to directly trade within the zone."

    Blackmores's net profit for the six months to December 31 was a record $18.6 million, while sales rose 22 per cent to hit a fresh high of $206.4 million.

    Blackmores Asia delivered a five per cent sales increase but earnings fell 15 per cent, partly because of political turmoil in Thailand.

    Excluding Thailand, the division lifted sales by 17 per cent.

    With a new Thailand general manager in charge, Ms Holgate is confident about the country's medium term prospects.

    "Over the last 40 years we've seen eight periods of civil unrest. They're a very resilient community," she said.

    Blackmores's shares rose by $1.80, or 4.3 per cent, to $44.00.

    The stock has doubled in the past year and is just off its record high of $44.70.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Surge in demand from Chinese tourists helps vitamin maker reap record sales and profits.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    China’s coal consumption and production fell last year for the first time in 14 years, confirming a trend that has become one of the heaviest weights sinking the global coal market.

    The world’s largest coal producer shrank both its output and demand by nearly 3 per cent, according to fresh government data. The decline is an early sign of China’s success in joining countries around the world in trying to diminish air pollution and capitalize on falling oil and gas prices.

    But analysts said the trend also is part of a worst-case scenario for coal miners the world over, who had hoped Chinese coal imports would save them from collapsing markets in the West.

    The decrease puts China at or near an inflection point known as “peak coal,” at which a long-term decline in consumption of the mineral begins after decades of heavy use. The shift already is having knock-on effects, with coal prices world-wide falling to six-year lows, with mines closing throughout China and with some global mining companies facing insolvency.

    Miners previously had “predicted a straight line of continued growth in China. Now here we are,” said Lucas Pipes, an analyst at Brean Capital LLC, an investment bank and asset-management firm. “That is a sea change in the global coal market.”

    Data released by the government on Thursday show China used 5.9 per cent more crude oil and 8.6 per cent more natural gas in 2014. Coal output last year fell 2.5 per cent to 3.87 billion metric tons from a year ago, while coal consumption fell 2.9 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

    Economists had forecast China will hit peak coal around or slightly before 2020, but some analysts say there are signs that this has already happened. Coal demand in Europe and the U.S. is also shrinking, while growing economies like India aren’t importing enough to offset China’s outsize cutback.

    International benchmark prices for the mineral have fallen nearly 50 per cent to about $62 a metric ton and the U.S. benchmark has fallen 24 per cent to $52.90 from peaks levels in 2012, when U.S. exports hit their high, according to Platts, a pricing service of McGraw Hill Financial Inc. Prices for metallurgical coal, which is used to make steel, have tumbled 55 per cent from their 2012 peak to $102.8 a metric ton, as the Chinese government has moved to slow down its steel industry.

    Chinese coal imports last year fell 10.9 per cent from 2013 to 291.2 million tons, the bureau said.

    “There’s no question that a lot of U.S. companies in particular latched their hope to significant gains in China…almost into perpetuity,” said Mark Levin, an analyst at BB&T Corp. ’s capital-markets group. And given transportation costs, the U.S. miner is “the guy who gets priced out of Asia the fastest.”

    Coal’s troubles fit into larger struggles across the mining industry. Many companies boosted production to meet surging Chinese demand, only to oversupply the market. Miners have racked up major losses, but falling currencies and energy prices have cut costs and helped some producers keep ramping up production to compete for market share.

    The goal of coal mining companies is to survive until there is a rebound for coal, which is still by far the dominant energy source in China. Some analysts have said Chinese coal consumption could rise slightly in the coming years if concerns about the flagging economy grow and prices for oil and other fuels shoot up. Many are hopeful about demand in India and other emerging markets.

    The coal market is likely nearing a bottom, said Clive Burstow, a fund manager at Baring Asset Management Ltd. in London. His $10.1 million mining fund, part of $45.1 billion under management at Baring, looks for equities that can profit over three to five years. The coal market is clearly oversupplied now, but investments are slowing and emerging market demand is likely to lead a rebound in five years, he said. “Now is the time to be looking at coal companies,” Mr. Burstow said. “It does look very promising.”

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Last year’s trend is country’s first such decline in 14 years, frustrating mining companies.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    BEIJING—European technology and banking business groups have criticized China’s pending new cyber security rules, calling them a disguised technology-transfer program.

    In a letter, six European business groups called on the European Commission to keep Beijing from applying the new regulations, which require Chinese banks to switch to what the rules call “safe and controllable” technologies. The rules, the groups said, would in effect put their businesses in the Chinese market at risk by forcing them to turn over source codes and other proprietary information.

    These measures would “undermine the ability of European companies to participate in the IT market in China and to serve banks in general—and EU banks in particular,” said the letter, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

    These rules, they said “can be interpreted as a disguise to support local industry in China and represent a strong barrier to trade.”

    The letter, dated Wednesday, was the latest plea by Western businesses intended to pressure China to rethink new rules. Late last month, U.S. business groups called on Beijing to postpone introduction of the rules, voicing similar objections to requirements to hand over sensitive intellectual property to the Chinese government.

    Friction over the banking technologies has added to building tensions between Beijing and Western businesses and governments following disclosures by former U.S. contractor Edward Snowden of U.S. cyber spying efforts that involved major U.S. info-tech companies. In their wake, Beijing has stepped up measures to ensure the security of information networks, raising concerns that Western companies would be compelled to transfer critical technologies to retain access to the vast market.

    The current rules were first proposed by China’s banking regulator and, the European letter said, are believed to take effect in March. Though intended for Chinese banks, the U.S. and European groups are concerned they might be expanded to other sectors.

    The China Banking Regulatory Commission didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The European groups said the proposed rules call into question China’s commitments to existing international trade agreements and send a wrong signal at a time Beijing is in negotiations with the European Commission for a bilateral investment agreement. “These new policies in China do not, however, reflect a free trade spirit needed in these processes,” the groups wrote.

    While some Chinese technology companies have seen access to the U.S. market limited due to national security concerns, Chinese vendors have had more success in Europe. Last year, the European Commission and China amicably settled anti-dumping and antisubsidy investigations into the imports of mobile telecommunications networks and their parts from China. The settlement ensured Chinese exports of telecommunication network equipment to the EU market would continue.

    The letter’s signers included Business Europe, a Brussels-based group, TheCityUK, a group representing the U.K.-based financial industry, and the European Banking Federation in Brussels, which represents 32 national banking associations in Europe.

    The new measures require information technology products to undergo “intrusive” security testing, use Chinese-made technology such as domestic encryption codes and to meet security standards specific only to China, the trade groups said.

    Other requirements include the need for foreign technology companies to hand over source code and other proprietary information to the Chinese government and engineer their products such that data flowing in and out of the country would be restricted, the letter said.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Letter from six groups says cyber security measures raise questions about China’s commitment to free trade.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    HONG KONG—Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing ’s Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. continues to reduce its exposure to Hong Kong and China in favour of Europe as the ports-to-telecoms conglomerate seeks more predictable and lucrative returns.

    Hong Kong-based Hutchison said Thursday that its European business comprised 42 per cent of its operating profit last year, up from 37 per cent in 2013. That exceeded a combined contribution of 30 per cent from China and Hong Kong, with the gap in earnings between the two regions widening significantly when compared with previous years. Europe’s contribution surpassed Hong Kong and China’s for the first time in 2012.

    Some industry insiders say the move is part of a long-term succession plan by Mr. Li to shift investments away from riskier locations and sectors and into parts of the economy that produce more stable and reliable returns. Earlier this year, Mr. Li announced a string of deals in Europe that included takeover bids for a British train-car maker, a Dutch drugstore chain and a U.K. mobile-phone operator.

    Mr. Li said Thursday that he hasn’t set a date for his retirement but would consider stepping down when the group “moves to the next stage.”

    Even when the octogenarian does retire, he said he wouldn’t stop working. “I may consider being a special adviser after retirement,” he told reporters at an earnings news conference for his two listed flagship companies, Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. and Hutchison. He said he would like to give policy advice “when the group involves major investments.”

    Hutchison on Thursday reported net profit of 67.16 billion Hong Kong dollars ($8.7 billion), which more than doubled from a year earlier because of one-time gains such as the listing of its Hong Kong electricity business and a significant property revaluation. Excluding the gains, the company recorded net profit of 32.01 billion Hong Kong dollars, lower than an average forecast of 32.12 billion Hong Kong dollars in a poll of seven analysts by Thomson Reuters. Hutchison reported revenue of 421.47 billion Hong Kong dollars, up 2 per cent from the previous year.

    Mr. Li, 86 years old, is reorganizing Hutchison and Cheung Kong into two new companies and splitting his Hong Kong property assets from his internationally focused conglomerate. The reorganization aims to eliminate the current tiered holding structure of Cheung Kong’s 49.97 per cent stake in Hutchison. Hutchison’s business interests encompass ports, energy, property and retailing.

    Hutchison said in a statement that a slow property market in mainland China and a plunge in crude-oil prices weighed on earnings in the second half of 2014. However, those declines were offset by gains in the company’s retail businesses and European telecommunications operations.

    Speaking to reporters after the results, Hutchison’s managing director Canning Fok played down the importance of Europe compared with Hong Kong and China. Mr. Fok said there were simply better deal opportunities in Europe, especially in industries such as telecommunications, infrastructure and retail. Italy, for example, remains a country where Mr. Fok said he supports telecom consolidation. Hutchison previously failed to buy and merge Telecom Italia’s operations with its own mobile carrier there.

    In contrast, Hutchison said in a statement that it experienced slower property sales in first- and second-tier cities in China. The company said it would “strategically time” the completion and new sales of some projects pending an improvement in the market.

    In the case of Hong Kong, Mr. Fok said Hutchison already has saturated it with investments. “Already, people say that when they wake up, it’s Mr. Li, and when they sleep, it’s Mr. Li. I don’t think there’s really much more we can do—we have done a lot.”

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Conglomerate’s earnings from Europe outpace China, Hong Kong operations.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0
  • 02/26/15--18:27: Gold rises on Chinese demand
  • NEW YORK—Gold prices rose Thursday but pared their gains for most the day as a stronger dollar eroded support from signs of demand for the precious metal in China.

    Gold for April delivery, the most actively traded contract, rose $8.60, or 0.7 per cent, to $1,210.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the highest settlement since Feb. 13.

    Prices pulled back from a one-week intraday high of $1,219.90 as the dollar advanced against other currencies throughout the day. The WSJ Dollar Index was recently up 0.9 per cent at 85.93. Gold is traded in dollars and becomes more expensive for foreign buyers when the dollar strengthens against their home currencies.

    “Gold is clearly defying the dollar” by holding on to its gains, said Bill O’Neill , co-founder of commodities investment firm Logic Advisors LLC.

    The gold market also continued to benefit from the return of Chinese investors, who began trickling back to work on Wednesday as a week of Lunar New Year celebrations wrapped up. Analysts at Commerzbank said one sign of stronger demand is that prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange are $5 to $6 an ounce higher than international gold prices. The Shanghai prices were about $2 below international prices before the Lunar New Year break, the analysts said.

    China was the world’s second-largest gold consumer in 2014 after India.

    Recent data of China’s gold imports from Hong Kong, a proxy for Chinese demand for the precious metal, showed that shipments climbed to 71.8 metric tons in January from 58.8 tons in December, Mr. O’Neill said.

    “That’s evidence of a little interest coming into play,” he said, adding that signs of buying in China tend to spill over into increased demand from other countries in the region.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Firmer dollar, which advanced against other currencies on U.S. inflation data, trimmed some of gold’s gains.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    China’s push for more intense farming has kept its city dwellers well-fed and helped lift millions of rural workers out of poverty. But it has come at a cost. Ecosystems in what should be one of the country’s most fertile region have already been badly damaged – some beyond repair – and the consequences will be felt across the world.

    This is part of a long-running trade-off between rising levels of food production and a deteriorating environment, revealed in recent research I conducted with colleagues from China and the UK. Yields of crops and fish have risen over the past 60 years at several locations we studied in Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai Provinces in eastern China. But these are parallelled by long-term trends in poorer air and water quality, and reduced soil stability.

    You may ask if this a bad thing. After all, increasing agricultural productivity has been one of the factors responsible for lifting millions of rural Chinese out of poverty. Does it really matter that the natural environment has taken a bit of a hit?

    Well yes. For agriculture and aquaculture to be sustainable from one generation to the next, the natural processes that stabilise soils, purify water or store carbon have to be maintained in stable states. These natural processes represent benefits for society, known as ecosystem services.

    Indices of food/timber production (red) mapped against ecosystem services (green) across the lower Yangtze river basin.Zhang et al

    Throughout the latter half of the last century, these services were being lost relatively slowly through the cumulative, everyday actions of individual farmers. But the problems accelerated in the 1980s when farmers began to use more intensive methods, especially artificial fertilisers – and again after 2004 when subsidies were introduced.

    Worryingly, in some localities, the slow deterioration has turned into a rapid downward spiral. Some aquatic ecosystems have dropped over tipping points into new, undesirable states where clear lakes suddenly become dominated by green algae with losses of high-value fish. These new states are not just detrimental to the continued high-level production of crops and fish but are very difficult and expensive to restore.

    Pollution of Chao Lake is obvious - even from space.NASA

    These natural processes are degraded and destabilised to the point that they cannot be depended upon to support intensive agriculture in the near future. The whole region is losing its ability to withstand the impact of extreme events, from typhoons to global commodity prices.

    What can be done?

    National policy must prioritise sustainable agriculture. This will mean big changes on the farm: fertiliser and pesticides must be applied in the correct quantities at the right time of the year, cattle slurry and human sewage must be disposed of properly, chemicals getting into streams and rivers must be reduced, and fish feed has to be controlled.

    Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Farmers are still generally poor, badly educated and ageing. Good agricultural advice is lacking and big cities still tempt the younger farmers away from their fields. All these factors mean that rapid action is unlikely.

    Can you farm too much?EPA

    The recent introduction of the Land Circulation reform policy, allows farmers to rent their land to larger combines. The policy is designed to overcome the inefficiencies of small farm holdings but it may not be taken up widely in the more marginal landscapes where potential profits are low.

    All the evidence points to a need for a significantly improved system of information and technology transfer to individual smallholders, probably involving a more efficient coordination between agencies.

    Global problem

    But there’s a larger-scale context to this problem that may affect us all. China’s grain production has risen fivefold since the 1950s, outstripping the pace of population growth. Despite this, the nation is no longer self-sufficient. The shift towards more meat production has placed a demand for soybean and cereal animal feed that can no longer be met internally. In 2012, China imported more than 60% of all the world’s soybeans that were available for export, and cereal imports are also on the up.

    Reliance on imports to fill a shortfall in home produce is nothing new. But in China’s case, the additional risk that agriculture is increasingly unsustainable may amplify the demand. The potential scale of demand for imports is bound to have repercussions for global food production and food prices. Unless reforms are introduced quickly, the rest of the world may well find that they are sharing China’s trade-off with nature – through the weekly shopping bill.

    The Conversation

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    China’s push for more intense farming has kept its city dwellers well-fed, but it has come at a cost.

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    Almost half a million Chinese people visited Japan over the lunar new year period spending up to 6 billion yuan reports Shanghai Morning Post.

    Citing an unnamed Japanese television report, the paper says Chinese tourists went on a massive shopping spree buying up everything from heated toilet seats to stereo sets and refrigerators.

    Chinese tourists have continued to visit Japan despite a simmering territorial dispute between the two countries over islands in the East China Sea.

    According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, around 2.4 million Chinese visited the country in 2014, up 83 percent from the previous year.

    An editorial in the english-language edition of the Global Times this week said Chinese consumers penchant for Japanese toilet seats “makes a mockery of the Chinese boycott of Japanese goods over the past two years.”

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Almost half a million Chinese people visited Japan over the lunar new year period spending up to 6 billion yuan.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    Click here to subscribe to the China Spectator daily newsletter.

    The Conversation

    The US and China are increasingly rivals on the world stage, competing over resources, policy and influence. One region where China has spent years establishing a foothold is Africa. Now the US is also keen to reassert itself after years of economic neglect.

    The US fired the latest salvo late last year when it pledged to provide at least US$14 billion in public and private assistance in areas such as clean energy, energy, aviation and banking. President Barack Obama told leaders of 50 African countries attending the US-Africa Leaders Summit that Coca-Cola will provide clean water, General Electric will assist with infrastructure development, and Marriott will build more hotels.

    But there was a catch, as always. The governments who receive the investments must do more to bolster the rule of law, reform regulations and root out corruption.

    That’s a key difference between the US and China in their approaches to Africa and elsewhere. The US likes to attach strings, the Chinese just want to do business. And that’s why China’s economic footprint in Africa dwarfs that of the US. Indeed, it surpassed the US as the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

    About $200 billion of goods and services flowed between China and Africa in 2013, double the $85 billion in trade the US had with the continent.

    Africa still offers promise to both superpowers, one waxing, one waning, as a region not yet fully developed but boasting many fast-growing economies. In their pursuit of economic gain, the US and China eye Africa as a fertile land of opportunity. As they race to establish economic control on the continent, it is important to carefully examine the strategies they’re employing.

    While their economic goals are similar, their terms of engagement are diametrically opposed.

    One of China’s key areas of investment in Africa has been infrastructure.Reuters

    China’s model: investment without meddling

    China’s strategy in Africa diverges from the traditional model exemplified by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. That model, which has regulated the principles underlying international investment and trade for decades, aims to establish accountability and ethics at the center of economic cooperation. Critics contend this model is too Western-centric.

    China utilizes a “doing business” model that ostensibly treats African states as equal partners and steers clear of their internal affairs – a strategy that appeals to countries used to Western colonies and dictates.

    It’s built on three strategies that China has used successfully to achieve its African trade goals: flexibility, focusing on infrastructure and cementing partnerships with small businesses.

    Flexibility. China invests in Africa with a high degree of flexibility and pays little heed to the existence (or nonexistence) of credible financial institutions, contrary to the norm of American and European investment. Instead, its sole focus is on gaining access to natural resources such as copper and gold, with no interest in building up African institutions.

    While this approach draws criticism for its lack of accountability, China has managed to seduce many African governments such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with the notion of an equal partnership without internal meddling.

    Infrastructure. China has long been Africa’s top infrastructure partner. New roads, bridges, hydroelectric dams, schools and hospitals are going up across the country as a result, bolstering economic growth. This hasn’t been without criticism: many question the long-term viability of the structures being built and the fact that Chinese workers are imported to do most of the work. Thus while buildings and bridges may rise, few jobs are directly created.

    China has been criticized for generally using its own citizens rather than hiring locally.Reuters

    Small business. Lastly, small business owners in Africa and their Chinese counterparts have established strong ties, particularly in clothing and construction. Trade in these sectors has exploded. Yet again, the rapidity with which these partnerships have developed has created some unease among consumers and analysts. The quality of the Chinese products being imported is often low and comes with no warranty or other guarantee.

    Despite the problems and criticisms, these three strategies exemplify why the Chinese model has been successful in Africa.

    The US model: building strong institutions

    The US has a long history of engagement in Africa, particularly in terms of aid and political and military influence – the case of Rwanda since 1994 exemplifies this. In recent years the USA has been shifting toward building economic ties with the continent.

    That’s now accelerating as developing countries such as China and Brazil dominate growth in the global economy, prompting the Obama administration to launch the US-Africa partnership. Previous efforts were bilateral, this new framework has truly continental ambitions.

    The US strategy boils down to building strong institutions and focusing on macro projects.

    The US hopes its renewed focus on Africa will lead to closer economic ties.Reuters

    State building. The main thrust of US investment has long been made through development agencies and financial institutions such as the World Bank and IMF, following the traditional model promoted through structural adjustment mechanisms which focuses on poverty reduction, institutional reforms and free market with highly macro-economic focus in its implementation.

    With many countries on the continent still in the process of state-building such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa Republic, the US focus on institutional reforms and accountability as a precondition of aid should be encouraged. This approach not only facilitates monitoring and management of the funds distributed. It also helps establish a less corrupt economic space for private enterprise. That, in turn, attracts other foreign investors and makes the state more sustainable.

    Based on my personal experience, however, this strategy isn’t well received by Africans, who regard it as another symbol of an unequal partnership, with the US imposing its conditions. This inflexible and sometimes overbearing approach sometimes brings more frustration than interest in cooperation.

    Big projects. The second US strategy of targeting macro projects in energy, mining and other sectors also often falls flat. The rationale behind making such investments is valid but the idea that the benefits will trickle down has failed to bear fruit. The promotion of economic growth in Africa requires the creation of a stronger middle class, which in turn requires more small- and medium-sized businesses.

    On this, China gets it right. The US will need to reconsider this focus and do more to deal with Africans at the micro level if it wants to establish a long and lasting presence there.

    Additionally, the US tendency to interfere in the political affairs of many countries in Africa – such as Libya – gets in the way of cooperation.

    Economic cooperation needs to be based on mutual trust, and this is only be possible if the US is less forceful in its terms of partnership. Unless the US becomes more flexible, it is unlikely to rival China as Africa’s top partner.

    Everyone can win

    Both the Chinese and the American terms of engagement in Africa may be strategically and ideologically valid and justifiable. There are strengths and weaknesses to both approaches.

    China’s flexibility in contracts and everything else creates a fast win—win situation but does not promote good governance or state building, both of which are sorely needed in Africa.

    The US focus on the need for institutional reforms is important, but without a more flexible and adaptive approach this will not work.

    As the US shows a growing economic interest in Africa, a key question will be whether the Obama administration can establish a stronger partnership that focuses on business ties and not military force.

    Just as China can learn from the US emphasis on state building, the Americans should take a page from the Chinese playbook. The end result would be truly a win-win for everyone.

    The Conversation

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    Superpowers in Africa: The US attaches strings, but China just wants to do business.

    Media

    Type


    0 0
  • 02/26/15--21:44: China business news digest
  • Click here to subscribe to the China Spectator daily newsletter.

    Your daily digest of the biggest business news in China, translated and summarized every day. China Spectator has not verified these stories.

    Urbanisation rate increases almost 55% in 2014

    China's urbanisation rate increased to almost 55 per cent last year, according to data included in the Statistical Communiqué of the People's Republic of China on the 2014 National Economic and Social Development that was published by China's statistics office yesterday.

    The large data dump included figures on everything from wages to education and the weather (The average temperature in 2014 was 10.1℃ and China was hit by five typhoons in 2014).

    The data points that made headlines in China included the fact that the speed at which average disposable income was increasing had out paced overall GDP growth.

    In the business press, headlines focused on the fact that overall labour productivity had increased 7per cent year-on-year

    An English-language version of the document is available here.

    Other standout data points include the fact that coal consumption declined by 2.9 per cent; while natural gas consumption increased by 8.6 per cent.

    The consumption of coal accounted for 66.0 per cent of the total energy consumption, while clean energy consumption accounted for 16.9 per cent, according to the NBS.

    China's population also edged closer to 1.4 billion people, increasing by just over 7 million to 1.37 billion by the end of last year.

    (Xinhua News Agency)

    Local governments mulling policies aimed at rescuing property market

    Housing prices in different regions of the country are on varied trajectories as policy makers mull a third round of regulations aimed at 'saving' the market.

    'stable increases' and 'regional disparity' are likely to become the catch phrases that will come to describe China's property market this coming year, according to a report in today's Securities Daily.

    Citing January data on housing prices in 70 of China's largest cities, the article notes that declines in first-tier property markets have now halted and are now stabilising. In second-tier cities, housing prices are still continuing to fall on a monthly basis, though the pace of the declines has moderated. 

    While in third tier cities, prices are continuing to fall and that the pace of the declines is accelerating.

    In terms of annual figures, over the course of last year, only one of the 70 largest cities monitored experienced an increase in the price on newly-constructed houses, while on three cities saw increases in the price of existing homes.

    The article also says that some local governments might consider lowering the taxes and fees levied on property purchases or other kinds of subsidies in an effort to support the market.

    (Securities Daily)

    Chinese shoppers flock to Japan over Lunar New Year

    Almost half a million Chinese people visited Japan over the lunar New Year period spending up to 6 billion yuan reports Shanghai Morning Post.

    Citing an unnamed Japanese television report, the paper says Chinese tourists went on a massive shopping spree buying up everything from heated toilet seats to stereo sets and refrigerators.

    Chinese tourists have continued to visit Japan despite a simmering territorial dispute between the two countries over islands in the East China Sea.

    According to the Japan National Tourism Organisation, around 2.4 million Chinese visited the country in 2014, up 83 per cent from the previous year.

    An editorial in the English-language edition of the Global Times this week said Chinese consumers penchant for Japanese toilet seats “makes a mockery of the Chinese boycott of Japanese goods over the past two years.”

    (Shanghai Morning Post)

    CBRC: Banks liabilities on the rise

    Chinese banks and financial institutions debt reached 157.2 trillion yuan at the end of January, an increase of 13.4 per cent previously according to the industry regulator.

    According to the China Banking and Regulatory Commission (CBRC), total assets of 169.7 trillion yuan at the end of January, an increase of 13.9 per cent previously.

    Total assets for large commercial banks reached 68.04 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.9 per cent. Liabilities for large commercial banks  reached 62.7 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.2 per cent.

    (Economic Information)

    China's huge regional pay gap gradually shrinking

    The pay gap between more developed eastern regions of China and the less-developed central and western regions is gradually shrinking, according to a recent report on incomes published by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security's Labour Wages Office.

    In 2008, workers in the region with the highest average incomes were earning 2.69 times as much those employed in the area with the lowest average pay. This matched the ratio of the disparity in 1995, when the gap was 2.7 times, though in nominal terms the gap had expanded from 5,145 yuan to 35,565 yuan, according to an article in today's People's Daily that analyses the report.

    By 2012, the ratio of average disposal income in the best payed government region to the lowest paid had gradually fallen to 2.33. 

    China's provincial level regions can be split into roughly four camps, according to the article.

    The first tier consists of Beijing and Shanghai, where the average annual wages of employees in urban work units surpassed 70,000 yuan in 2012.

    The second grouping, in which average annual wages are in excess of 50,000 yuan, consists of Tianjin, Tibet, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Zhejiang

    The remaining 24 provincial level regions are pretty much evenly split between the third and fourth tiers, and with a couple of exceptions, the average annual wage in these areas is less than the national average.

    The report also noted that in most Chinese provinces, aggregate wages were equivalent to between 10 and 14 per cent of provincial GDP.

    Outliers included Beijing -- where wages were equivalent to over 33 per cent of GDP -- and Jiangsu, where aggregate wages were less than 8 per cent of provincial GDP in 2012.

    The report also noted that in around 77 per cent of Chinese regions, real wages had increased at a faster pace than real labour productivity gains.

    (People's Daily)

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    Urbanisation rate increases almost 55% in 2014 & almost half a million Chinese people visited Japan over the lunar New Year period .

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    Click here to subscribe to the China Spectator daily newsletter.

    East Asia Forum

    As China shifts its focus to curbing carbon emissions, hydropower is becoming central to its alternative energy plan. But while the potential for renewable power generation cannot be ignored, the potential for costly environmental degradation is also high.

    In late-2014, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping released a joint statement on climate change, announcing both countries’ intention to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The US will reduce overall emissions by at least 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. China will cap its carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030. This joint statement does not have the binding authority of a treaty, nor does it enjoy the support of the new Republican majority in both houses of the US Congress. So, while it has succeeded in raising the profile of climate change on the international agenda, it is too early to tell whether the statement will result in material changes to either country’s policies.

    But one thing is certain: reducing China’s carbon emissions will require weaning the nation’s economy away from fossil fuels, especially coal, which currently accounts for three-quarters of China’s electricity generation. Top Chinese officials appear willing to do just that. In its new Energy Development Strategy Plan, the State Council has laid out ambitious goals for developing alternative and renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower.

    Hydropower dams have become a centrepiece of the discussion on renewable energy. In addition to high-profile projects like the Three Gorges Dam, hydropower facilities have already been built on nearly all of China’s major river systems. Hydropower output is growing at an annual rate of 12.9 per cent, faster than any other electricity-generation source. Over the past several decades, China has far outpaced all other countries in hydropower development. It is now home to half of the world’s approximately 50,000 large dams.

    This poses a unique set of environmental and social challenges that must be addressed.

    When a dam is installed on a river it fragments the riparian ecosystem, changing a free-flowing river segment into an expanse of still water. In the process, it disrupts sensitive habitats, alters the temperature, chemistry and sediment load of the water, and changes the geomorphology of the river itself. The Three Parallel Rivers Region in Yunnan Province is a case in point. Dozens of dams are now under development on the Jinsha (the headwaters of the Yangtze), the Lancang (Upper Mekong) and the Nu (Salween), even as international NGOs mobilise to preserve the region’s estimated 6000 plant species and numerous rare, threatened or endangered animals.

    The social consequences are equally dire. In 2004, a Xinhua News report — based on research conducted by the Ministry of Water Resources — concluded that at least 15 million people in China have been displaced due to dam construction. This is the largest dam-related displaced population in the world. For the people who live along rivers targeted for hydropower development — many of whom belong to culturally or economically vulnerable groups — dams cause displacement and resettlement, lost farmland, unemployment, and disruption in social networks and community well-being.

    China’s steep escalation in hydropower development is unlikely to slow anytime soon. So, how can China develop hydropower in a way that best protects ecosystems and people?

    Here, the large body of research produced by ecological and social scientists, in China and elsewhere, over the past several decades is instructive. The research points to three basic principles on how to minimise or mitigate environmental and social costs.

    First, comprehensive river-basin planning that focuses on environmental protection and socioeconomic well-being, along with hydropower development, can minimise the impacts of dams on ecosystems and communities.

    Second, a clear process for social impact assessment can ensure that the needs of affected people and communities receive due consideration.

    Third, an enforceable legal and policy framework for land requisition can ensure that displaced people receive adequate compensation, enabling them to rebuild their lives and livelihoods.

    This is not just China’s problem. The repercussions of the current hydropower boom are being felt far beyond the country’s borders. Armed with the best hydropower engineering capacity in the world, and the backing of government financial institutions like China Exim Bank, Chinese firms are involved in the planning and construction of more than 300 dam projects in 70 countries, from Southeast Asia to sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. As hydropower development continues to build momentum as an important source of renewable energy, more public scrutiny is needed.

    Bryan Tilt is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oregon State University. He is the author of the new book Dams and Development in China: The Moral Economy of Water and Power.

    This article originally appeared on the East Asia Forum. Republished with permission.

    Categories:

    Status

    Published
    While the potential for renewable power generation cannot be ignored, the potential for costly environmental degradation is high.

    Media

    Type


    0 0

    Chinese regulators are planning to levy a 10 per cent capital-gains tax on the country's first foreign investors. 

    Any decision to enforce the tax, which has long been the subject of much uncertainty, is likely to deal a blow to some investors. But for funds that have already made provisions to pay, a move on the tax would provide much-needed clarity, allowing money managers to accurately value their stock holdings. 

    Officials from the Asset Management Association of China and the State Administration of Taxation told industry executives on Thursday that the tax would apply mostly to stock investments under the foreign currency-denominated Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors program and a similar, yuan-denominated scheme for the period between November 17, 2009, and November 16, 2014, according to people briefed on the discussions. 

    The program, known as QFII, grants foreign portfolio managers quotas to invest in mainland shares. 

    The discussions, which took place on Thursday at a seminar in Beijing, come as officials place increasing emphasis on a stock-trading link between Shanghai and Hong Kong, which was launched in November. The scheme, which essentially supersedes the 13-year-old QFII program, gives money managers investing in mainland China a break on income and business taxes. Domestic investors in China aren't subject to capital-gains taxes. 

    Profits made before November 17, 2009, in the QFII program won't be subject to the capital-gains tax, according to the authorities. Investors affected by the proposed rule need to file relevant documents by July 31, while the tax authorities will review the records from March 1 to September 30, said one of the people. 

    "The proposal will finally bring clarity to a key uncertainty long hanging over the industry, which is a positive development," said Shen Meng, executive director of Chanson Capital, a boutique investment bank. "The broader significance of this move is that, as a special scheme launched in the era of stricter capital controls, QFIIs are looking increasingly outdated." 

    Since the rollout of the $US30 billion ($A38.2bn) QFII scheme in 2002, Beijing had been vague about whether it will impose a capital-gains tax on foreign investors under the program. The uncertainty has prompted many investors to make special tax provisions, typically based on an assumed tax rate of 10 per cent, over the years. 

    However, market observers say some funds may already have returned that money to investors. It is unclear how fund managers would get that money back to pay the Chinese government. 

    Once the new tax is in place, the so-called QFIIs may have to claw back $US1.2bn from investors to pay in taxes, according to Z-Ben Advisors. However, the Shanghai-based research firm said the cost could triple or more if China doesn't allow investors to factor in losses against gains when calculating their taxes. 

    Many investors have already shifted to the Hong Kong-Shanghai stock link, which allows global portfolio managers, as well as individual investors, unprecedented access to the biggest stock market on mainland China. 

    "We cashed in all our investments under the QFII scheme shortly after the rollout of the stock link program, which offers more freedom," said Yuming Ying, managing director of Hong Kong-based China Eagle Asset Management, which has $US60 million worth of assets under management. 

    Unlike the QFII program that imposes a quota on each investor, the Shanghai-Hong Kong stock link program carries an overall and daily investment limit, with the numbers varying slightly for the southbound and northbound investors. 

    "The reality is that the stock connect program will make the QFII scheme meaningless in the long run," said Mr Ying. 

    China is also making preparations for the launch of a similar program linking the Hong Kong market and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, by far the smaller of the mainland's two bourses but one that hosts many innovative startup firms. 

    At the time of writing, the State Administration of Taxation has yet to respond to written queries from The Wall Street Journal, while representatives of the Asset Management Association of China couldn't immediately be reached for comment. 

    Author

    Quick Summary

    Scheme looks poised to supersede 13-year-old QFII program.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


    0 0

    China's central bank has announced that it will cut the benchmark deposit and loan interest rates by 25 basis points.

    The move, which is effective on Sunday, comes as authorities seek to prop up flagging growth in the world's second-largest economy.

    In a statement posted on its website on Saturday, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said it would slash its one-year rate for deposits to 2.5 per cent and its one-year lending rate to 5.35 per cent.

    The bank pointed to "historically low inflation" as among the factors behind the move.

    "The focus of the interest rate adjustment is to maintain real rate levels that are appropriate given the trends in economic growth, prices and employment," the bank said.

    "It does not represent a change in the orientation of our monetary policy," it added.

    The last round of cuts came in November, when the bank slashed deposit rates by 25 basis points and the one-year lending rate by 40 basis points.

    Author

    Quick Summary

    People's Bank of China moves on benchmark deposit rate to stimulate growth.

    Associated image

    Media

    Categories

    Primary category

    Status

    Published

    Content Channel


older | 1 | .... | 102 | 103 | (Page 104) | 105 | 106 | .... | 114 | newer