Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Can China’s middle class spend the world out of recession? [BBC] #RisingChina #WorldsBiggestMiddleClass

Again, the fact that China’s urban population has only just surpassed its rural equivalent is an important consideration. Zooming in – In a way, it also depends on what this generation of young parents imbue their young with to keep up the next leg of China’s revival. The current generation X and Y retain the lineage of the family-centric worldview of consolidation and growth. When they spend its often with family at the forefront of major decisions.

A pal of mine foots a huge bill raising his daughter in Chengdu. With his wife they make a decent living but raising a child in the urban centers becomes possible only by extended family effort. On top of that, the scarcity of experienced healthcare staff make a grim overview to what should otherwise be a great time to raise a child along with China’s step up. The price of everything has gone up, impacting all demographics.

Along with the optimism, perhaps certain teething problems can be addressed and sorted out with this crop. The root of what others often misunderstand is to the Chinese, a simple act of reciprocating to benefactors and family. It will be hard to go away. The form may change, but the function remains.

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Can China’s middle class spend the world out of recession?
By John Sudworth
Source – BBC News,
Zhengzhou, China,
published 19 June 2013

Meet the Zhangs, one of China’s new middle-class families who some economists believe are going to spend their way to a revival of the global economy.

Zhang Dongyang runs his own construction company in Zhengzhou, one of China’s fastest growing cities.

His wife, Zhang Min, is a hospital administrator, and together they earn about $40,000 (£25,000) a year.


My parents didn’t even have enough to eat, and enough to eat, and weren’t that keen on children’s education. We can afford almost anything we want” Zhang Min, Hospital administrator

They own their own apartment, mortgage free, drive a Japanese-made Lexus car and will, they say, soon start taking not one, but two holidays a year.

Their six-year-old son, Zhang Zhiye, attends a private school.

“Yes I do feel middle class,” Mr Zhang tells me, adding that it’s now become acceptable to admit it.

“People who are more capable rise to the top. This is natural. It is the survival of the fittest.”

Please clIck here to read the full article at the BBC website.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: BBC, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Communications, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Finance, Government & Policy, Green China, Health, History, Ideology, Inflation, Influence, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Population, Poverty, Property, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction [Foreign Policy]

Is China’s return to superpower status predicated on the same conditions as America? America ascended as a new-found identity with recent memory of empire. This is, according to some historians, China’s fourth rise as a world power. In a sense, it has four times as much experience in its collective memory.

Foreign Policy has Peter Calthorpe, architect and thinker on sustainable building paint broad dystopian brushstrokes. Perhaps as a fundamental starting point, Calthorpe leaves out the difference in scale in comparing the two – Self-inflicted, or regulated depending on how you see it, or otherwise, China has four times more mouths to feed, and the article sees little emphasis on what it is getting right with its green efforts (Nat Geo, 2011: Can China go Green?). Anyone who has been to Hangzhou for example, will see where they have got it right. The challenge is to replicate that model consistently.

China has just about the 80th densest population in the world.

At around 140/km2 it also has 4 times the number of individuals than the United States, with both about the same in terms of land area.

The US is 178th with about 34/km2.

Singapore where I was born has the 2nd largest population density for an independent country with about 8,000/km2 – it’s a sardine can compared to those numbers.

Maybe this provides a clue into Chinese long-term thinking –  what are the empty forts/cities (Daily Mail, 2011) around China are for? Classic 36 strategem misdirection. Fair assessment perhaps if China is a developed country. It isn’t. Half developed at best at the moment , based on just a urbanisation benchmark. Perhaps China’s push to develop inland to re-route its socio-economic arteries hasn’t caught his attention yet. This frame of thinking in the piece assumes that China is simply going to build more rings around its existing cities.

If anything, due to China’s high population density, the Chinese urban reckoning will be even more severe than America’s. Already, traffic in Beijing is frequently at a standstill despite the incredible pace of road construction (a “solution” akin to trying to lose weight by loosening your belt). The situation is so dire that Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai are using a lottery to allocate a limited number of vehicle registrations. In August 2010, a 60-mile traffic jam stopped a highway outside Beijing for 11 days. There’s a reason no high-density city has ever been designed around the car: It simply doesn’t work. Peter Calthorpe

China in my mind, simply isn’t done rechanneling, yet. Looking at the speed policy translates to fiscal, infrastructural manifestations in China, China’s weakness is weak policy with insufficient foresight bearing in mind the global condition and neighbourly concerns.

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Weapons of Mass Urban Destruction China’s cities are making the same mistake America made on the path to superpower status. By Peter Calthorpe | SEPT/OCT 2012 Source – Foreign Policy, published August 13, 2012

Image Source – Foreign Policy, 2012

In the last five years, China has built 20,000 miles of expressways, finishing the construction of 12 national highways a whopping 13 years ahead of schedule and at a pace four times faster than the United States built its interstate highway system. Over the last decade, Shanghai alone has built some 1,500 miles of road, the equivalent of three Manhattans. China’s urban population is projected to grow by 350 million people by 2020, effectively adding today’s entire U.S. population to its cities in less than a decade. China has already passed the United States as the world’s largest car market, and by 2025, the country will need to pave up to an estimated 5 billion square meters of road just to keep moving.

China’s love affair with the car has blossomed into a torrid romance. In April, nearly a million people poured into the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition to coo over the latest Audis, BMWs, and Toyotas. But China is in danger of making the same mistakes the United States made on its way to superpower status — mistakes that have left Americans reliant on foreign oil from unstable parts of the world, staggering under the cost of unhealthy patterns of living, and struggling to overcome the urban legacy of decades of inner-city decay.

The choices China makes in the years ahead will have an immense impact not only on the long-term viability, livability, and energy efficiency of its cities, but also on the health of the entire planet. Unfortunately, much of what China is building is based on outdated Western planning ideas that put its cars at the center of urban life, rather than its people. And the bill will be paid in the form of larger waistlines, reduced quality of life, and choking pollution and congestion. The Chinese may get fat and unhappy before they get rich. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Foreign Policy Magazine, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, Media, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Population, Property, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , , ,

When Growth Outpaces Happiness [New York Times]

New York Times: Richard Easterlin weighs in on the China debate with twenty years of data. Is happiness in a rapidly developing socio-economic sphere such as China’s a moving goalpost? His research focuses on the relation of economic growth to happiness, happiness in the transition from socialism to capitalism and life cycle happiness amongst others. Will things get better with the current five-year plan set on spreading more equitable wealth as iron rice bowls, a feature of central planning are being phased out? Restructuring its SOEs for example, some still cumbersome relics from a past era is not going to be complete overnight.

Also – having spent time travelling through twelve different cities in China I’ve come to realise much of the problems lie in the local level of government – my ancestral city of Shantou, despite being one of the first to open up, for example seems in disarray compared to the farmers in a primary industry region I saw in Jiangsu province who live in multi-storied mansions across the board.

See the paper China’s life sastisfaction: 1990 to 2010 here with data collected from five survey organisations, with one of them Chinese as it studies the trend of subjective well-being (SWB) of the Chinese population in transit from socialism to capitalism.

More on Professor Easterlin here.

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When Growth Outpaces Happiness
By Richard A. Easterlin
Source – New York Times, published September 27, 2012

Source – New York Times, 2012

CHINA’s new leaders, who will be anointed next month at the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress in Beijing, might want to rethink the Faustian bargain their predecessors embraced some 20 years ago: namely, that social stability could be bought by rapid economic growth.

As the recent riots at a Foxconn factory in northern China demonstrate, growth alone, even at sustained, spectacular rates, has not produced the kind of life satisfaction crucial to a stable society — an experience that shows how critically important good jobs and a strong social safety net are to people’s happiness.

Starting in 1990, as China moved to a free-market economy, real per-capita consumption and gross domestic product doubled, then doubled again. Most households now have at least one color TV. Refrigerators and washing machines — rare before 1990 — are common in cities. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), New York Times, People, Politics, Population, Poverty, Property, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , , , , , , , ,

The Ten Grave Problems Facing China [The China Story]

From the Australian Centre for China in the World.

Back in 1956, confronted with the task of making a new China, Mao in the speech  ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系 outlined the challenges that faced the CCP’s transformation of China.

Fast forward to 2012, the once-in-a-decade leadership transition sees Deng Yewen, senior editor of the Party mouthpiece Study Times frame a wide spanning ‘The Ten Grave Problems’ as an urgent agenda that demands the attention of the incoming leaders.

This piece by the centre also provides some history into Chinese intelligentsia and their vying to provide intellectual and strategic advice to the contenders for power. Suggestive that the party is not filled with automatons or reinforcing of the idea that the Chinese collective has always been a dynamic process?

China’s Hu and Wen blasted by party paper editor (China Daily Mail, September 4, 2012) provides an interesting perspective on faction and solidarity challenges right at the top.

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The Ten Grave Problems Facing China
by Geremie R Barmé
Source – The China Story by the Australian Centre for China in the World, published September 8, 2012

In April 1956, Mao Zedong gave a speech to the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party titled ‘On the Ten Great Relationships’ 论十大关系. It was a decisive period for New China. The initial surge of nationalisation that saw the country’s industry and agriculture come under state control was building into a tidal wave of radical socialism that would dominate the country for the next two decades. In the build up to this next stage of dirigisme Mao thought it essential to articulate the problems facing the fledgling People’s Republic. He listed ten issues that underlined social, economic, regional and national policy; he was in reality outlining the challenges that faced the Communist Party’s experiment in transforming China.

A popular observation about political uncertainty in Chinese holds that ‘when evil prognosticators appear in all quarters it is a sign of the end of days’ 末世征兆,妖孽四起. Elsewhere we have noted the dire warnings issued by left-leaning critics of China’s Communist Party such as the Children of Yan’an and the latter-day red fundamentalists of the Utopia group. In recent days, an editor with the journal Study Times 学习时报 has published a lengthy article in which he outlines ‘The Ten Grave Problems Facing China’.

During the once-in-a-decade ‘transition year’ of 2012-2013 which will see a change of party-state leadership, Communist Party propagandists have set the tone and require media outlets to celebrate clamorously the ‘ten golden years’ of rule under President/Party General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao (for an example of these hosannas, see People’s Daily, ‘The Reasons for China’s “Glorious Decade” ’, in our China Story Yearbook 2012: Red Rising, Red Eclipse, ‘From Victory to Victory’). It is a time of extreme tension and high stakes, one in which China faces major political decisions that may well determine its direction not only for the next few years, but, as many feel, for long into the future. At this juncture a more lowly Party member than the late Chairman has offered his version of the problems facing the restive and fractured nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Chinese Model, Corruption, Crime, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Economics, Education, Environment, Fu Er Dai 富二代, Government & Policy, Great Firewall, Green China, History, Human Rights, Inflation, Influence, Infrastructure, Intellectual Property, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Migration (Internal), military, Modernisation, Nationalism, Natural Disasters, Peaceful Development, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Property, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Chinese Population [Visua.Ly/Chinainfographics.com]

This infographic was recently picked up by Business Insider, and it has been trending in social media. A little dated however, as this was produced in 2010. Data for Chinese cities were from 2007 while western city data was estimated from 2009. Nevertheless, helpful as a visualizer  to see size of Chinese cities relative to each other and some of those in the west.

During the last, and sixth census in 2010 by the National Bureau of Statistics of People’s Republic of China a staggering six million census workers (poignant in itself as this is more than the population for about half of the world’s countries) attempted to visit 400 million households, it was found Shanghai now stands at about 20.8 million while Beijing is about 17.3 million.

Check out a China Daily ‘Factbox’ on the census here.

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The long tail of 60 Chinese cities with an urban area population of more than one million.
Source – Visual.ly (by Chinainfographic), n.d.

Source – Visua.ly, n.d.

If you have ever been to China, you know just how crowded it is with people. However, it may still shock you to see the actual numbers behind the people of China living in its major cities. Here is a look at 60 Chinese cities whose populations are upward of one million people. Blurp from Visual.ly

Filed under: 2010 National Census, Beijing Consensus, China Daily, Chinese Model, Civil Engineering, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Finance, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Population, Property, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , , , ,

Fewer Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore [AsiaOne]

Singapore: additional buyer’s stamp duty and a slowing Chinese economy sees drop in Chinese nationals buying homes in the city state.

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Fewer Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore
By Paul Lim
Source – AsiaOne, published August 6, 2012

The number of Chinese nationals buying homes in Singapore has fallen.

The Straits Times reported Monday that hefty new stamp duty and a slowing Chinese economy are deterring them from buying property here.

Caveats lodged with the Urban Redevelopment Authority said the Chinese fell to second place behind the Indonesians, buying 259 homes in the first six months compared to 372 homes bought by the latter. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Property, Social, The Chinese Identity, , , ,

[China’s] Unliveable Cities: China’s megalopolises may seem impressive on paper, but they are awful places to live. [Foreign Policy]

Foreign Policy: associate editor Isaac Fish on China’s monolithic ‘model of endless fractal Beijings’. One one hand, this penchance for megalopolises seem to be emblems for party legitimacy, one couched in projecting national identity at the expense of social utility.

A compelling read especially since Fish has physically been to 21 of 22 provinces and all of the Autonomous Regions. This overarching proposition echoes China’s vice minister of construction Qiu Baoxing who lamented in 2007, “It’s like a thousand cities having the same appearance.”

Perhaps this identifies the trapping of the model of Chinese characteristics.

Three decades of supercharged catching up after a century of humiliation. The twentieth century it spent trying to find an ideological fit amidst civil war, and then reform and systemically imposed ideological homogeneity. But all along, hung the spectre of 5,000 years of leftover memories of the grandiose, ones that perhaps the everyday Chinese too cling onto – and it is this image state media is constantly churning, through cultural capital in its well-funded tv programmes and film – one it recognises as a pillar industry in its current five-year plan.

And… massive building projects have always been a hallmark of the Chinese dynasties rising in power back through antiquity. Today they will keep doing the same, and  they expanded on this to help others do likewise. Their building of parliamentary buildings and sports stadiums as part of foreign aid to African nations in exchange for keys for access to their natural resources as an example.

On the other hand – outside the penchance for the grandiose, it was only until recently that images that represented China bore the individual’s narrative. The advert that ran in Times Square in 2011 is a case in point. The messages the American audience derived from that however, is another long discussion.

So for a long time, the messages sent to both domestic and foreign audience were of largely based on Chinese symbolism – from its inventions, scholarship and , to the Great Wall and Forbidden Palace.

Also consider what’s left factoring in the knowledge lost through the books burnt and cultural artefacts destroyed or misplaced through dynastic attempts at centralisation and the prior communist model. So, what they are left with are remnant, selected works that continue to exist in the mainstream as they had utilitarian purpose in organising the state in its affairs of governance and framework for high culture.

All that said, one only has to tune into Chinese television programmes to see that with their great cities, the Chinese people are becoming increasingly conversant, cognizant of the ways of the world. The difference is the discourse seldom exists outside the overriding system of stability as fewer and fewer want to give up the economic benefits they are reaping. They have, like many developed populaces, participants in the progress trap.

So the proposition that Fish poses at the end of his article is pertinent. How will the Chinese, and the party that leads them figure out how to work together to make all this come to equitable fruition, and thus magnificent?

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Unliveable Cities
China’s megalopolises may seem impressive on paper, but they are awful places to live.
by Isaac Stone Fish
Source – Foreign Policy Magazine, published August 13, 2012

Source – Foreign Policy

In Invisible Cities, the novel by the great Italian writer Italo Calvino, Marco Polo dazzles the emperor of China, Kublai Khan, with 55 stories of cities he has visited, places where “the buildings have spiral staircases encrusted with spiral seashells,” a city of “zigzag” where the inhabitants “are spared the boredom of following the same streets every day,” and another with the option to “sleep, make tools, cook, accumulate gold, disrobe, reign, sell, question oracles.” The trick, it turns out, is that Polo’s Venice is so richly textured and dense that all his stories are about just one city.

A modern European ruler listening to a visitor from China describe the country’s fabled rise would be better served with the opposite approach: As the traveler exits a train station, a woman hawks instant noodles and packaged chicken feet from a dingy metal cart, in front of concrete steps emptying out into a square flanked by ramshackle hotels and massed with peasants sitting on artificial cobblestones and chewing watermelon seeds. The air smells of coal. Then the buildings appear: Boxlike structures, so gray as to appear colorless, line the road. If the city is poor, the Bank of China tower will be made with hideous blue glass; if it’s wealthy, our traveler will marvel at monstrous prestige projects of glass and copper. The station bisects Shanghai Road or Peace Avenue, which then leads to Yat-sen Street, named for the Republic of China’s first president, eventually intersecting with Ancient Building Avenue. Our traveler does not know whether he is in Changsha, Xiamen, or Hefei — he is in the city Calvino describes as so unremarkable that “only the name of the airport changes.” Or, as China’s vice minister of construction, Qiu Baoxing, lamented in 2007, “It’s like a thousand cities having the same appearance.”

Why are Chinese cities so monolithic? The answer lies in the country’s fractured history. In the 1930s, China was a failed state: Warlords controlled large swaths of territory, and the Japanese had colonized the northeast. Shanghai was a foreign pleasure den, but life expectancy hovered around 30. Tibetans, Uighurs, and other minorities largely governed themselves. When Mao Zedong unified China in 1949, much of the country was in ruins, and his Communist Party rebuilt it under a unifying theme. Besides promulgating a single language and national laws, they subscribed to the Soviet idea of what a city should be like: wide boulevards, oppressively squat, functional buildings, dormitory-style housing. Cities weren’t conceived of as places to live, but as building blocks needed to build a strong and prosperous nation; in other words, they were constructed for the benefit of the party and the country, not the people. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Corruption, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Foreign Policy Magazine, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Pollution, Population, Poverty, Property, Resources, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, , , , , , , ,

Repost and update: China’s Ghost Cities [Youtube/SBS]

Repost and update: Australia’s public service broadcaster SBS tackles the question of China’s overheated domestic economy.

Do these ghost cities hint at domestic growth or domestic waste? Do they allude to a paradigm sift in the Chinese mind? This is probably uncharacteristically ‘not’ frugal. Have they taken the ‘capitalist road’ too far and learnt to be comfortable with excess?

Professor Zhou Xiao Sheng, prominent Chinese sociologist sends a reminder in the video – ‘If it leads to polarisation, then reform has failed…’.

An honest question has to be asked here as it is now well known that China is unable to continue relying on infrastructure investments to spur its economy. It knows its previously lax approach to housing did not work. Genuine Chinese home buyers were quickly priced out of the market in a rapid property bubble upswing. With requirements of up to 50% deposits, genuine buyers sure had a lot to put at stake.

Tie that to the reality of overambitious construction forecasts and we have a strange situation.

64 million (correct as of April 2011) apartments empty while many Chinese youth can’t afford to buy a home (admitted here in state media), something some of them argue as a basic human right. Surely this is a sign of a growing social divide, as forewarned.

This is staggeringly, a number that easily dwarves the number of empty homes in the US (though not by ratio) at 16.8m  (Reuters data in 2009 revealed 1 in 9 homes then were unoccupied).

Unguided zeal more than a veneer of a booming consumer culture? Probably. All eyes on China to learn to make things better.
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Filed under: Australia, Back to China, Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Modernisation, Population, Property, SBS, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Shanghaied Home Buyers Turn Protesters as Shattered Dreams Vex Government [Bloomberg]

From the chats I’ve had with the Chinese when I visited, I know first-hand that housing in the developed coastal cities is unaffordable to most. Housing prices in places such as Hangzhou and Shanghai are so high it is more affordable to rent over a lifetime, considering middle income earners struggle to even hit  USD$1000 (about 5000 yuan) monthly. I have a friend who lectures at a university making 2000 yuan a month. The only way to enter the property market is to bite the bullet. So there is some level of risk.

Two key takeaways from this report:

1. China’s property reforms to stop its housing bubble really need to kick in while managing repeating incidents like this. Especially since the 30% deposit regulation which was meant to minimise speculators means a lot of cash has to be coughed up, at least for genuine buyers.

2. The urban Chinese youth in the middle class bracket are getting less likely to take things they do not agree with, lying down. At the least, they’re not afraid to air their views. Without the conditioning of the Cultural Revolution, and more worldly-wise, the ruling party needs to figure out how to keep them on their side.

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Shanghaied Home Buyers Turn Protesters as Shattered Dreams Vex Government
Fan Wenxin and Shai Oster
Source – Bloomberg, published November 30, 2011 

Danny Deng and his bride-to-be dreamed of their lives together as they walked through the showroom for a Shanghai housing project almost three months ago. Pooling his own and his parents’ savings, a loan from his boss and a 1.1 million yuan ($172,000) mortgage, he bought an apartment and secured his fiancee’s hand.

On Nov. 19, Deng faced off a ring of security guards three rows deep wearing camouflage and carrying shields as he joined more than 100 homeowners rallying in front of the development’s sales office. His transformation from newlywed to street protester came after China Vanke Co. (000002) slashed prices for future buyers at the Qinglinjing complex, erasing about 20 percent of the value of his three-bedroom unit overnight.

“If I’d paid for it all myself, the price cut wouldn’t bother me as much, but there’s a lifetime of my parent’s blood and sweat in it,” said Deng, a 30-year-old electrical systems salesman. “Developers’ profits are outrageous. The price they set when the housing market kept going up was far more than the real value.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Bloomberg, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Inflation, Lifestyle, Migrant Workers, Modernisation, Politics, Population, Property, Reform, Social

China’s rich swoop on homes overseas [China Daily]

According to this report, the newfound wealth of the Chinese has not had its full impact yet. In the past six months alone, Colliers reports that ‘Chinese spent 1.3 billion yuan ($200 million) through Colliers’ international property department, with Canada, the UK and Australia topping the buying list.‘ The Chinese push had also contributed to driving the average price of a Greater Vancouver home up 12 percent in 2010. Demand from mainland immigrants now accounts for almost 30 percent of new homes in Vancouver.

And the clincher?

It has only just begun. Now this is a facet of public image China will need to manage if it continues to change the complexion of foreign communities in such ways.

The biggest increase in global billionaires since 2007 has occurred in China and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). While CIS buying activity has been strong, accounting for 15 percent of prime central London purchases by value, Chinese billionaires have yet to have a real impact, accounting for just 3 percent of prime central London resale purchases by value.

And why? – Yolande Barnes, head of Savills residential research –  “The issue at present is that Chinese buyers aren’t taking, or can’t take, their money out of China.”

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China’s rich swoop on homes overseas
By Hu Yuanyuan
Source – China Daily, published June 21, 2011

BEIJING – An increasing number of China’s rich are snapping up properties overseas in the expectation that domestic inflation will continue to rise after the consumer price index reached a 34-month high in May.

According to Colliers International, a real estate service provider, the proportion of Chinese buyers in Vancouver’s property market is on the rise. At the end of the first quarter this year, it increased to 29 percent of all homebuyers.

In the past six months, Chinese spent 1.3 billion yuan ($200 million) through Colliers’ international property department, with Canada, the UK and Australia topping the buying list. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Beijing Consensus, Canada, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, International Relations, Media, Overseas Chinese, People, Population, Property, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.K.

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