PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 02 Apr 2013 07:48

china:1 apple:0 - bawarchi apologises to chinese consumers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/techn ... ml?hp&_r=0

comment in NYT. can one of our chinese members say if this is true?

John KnoxCambridge
Apple in China is bordering on being a criminal organisation, and at least some of their executives should be in prison. China has been far too nice to Apple for much too long.

In China, Apple's warranty is only one year, compared to two years everywhere else.

In China, Apple charges for "warranty repairs", sometimes as much as 50% of the original cost of the item.

In China, Apple repairs defective items with used and reconditioned parts, and keeps the replaced parts to install in other "warranty repairs".

When the warranty calls for a replacement, Apple replaces only the insides but not the casing, because then it doesn't have to extend the warranty.

And there's more. Repairs are often so difficult as to be impossible to obtain. Apple absolutely treats its Chinese customers like trash.

All of the above are against the law in China, but Apple persists, and the Chinese government is reluctant to punish Apple severely because of all the bad foreign press it would receive.

But China is getting all the bad foreign press anyway, and should shut Apple down for 6 months until it learns to behave.

In the US, Apple purchased all iphone 4s at 50% of the original cost, so customers would purchase the new iphone 5s. But in China, Apple just collected the iphone 4s "for recycling", and no payment.

And yet Apple makes more profit in China than in the US.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby harbans » 02 Apr 2013 19:00

For example, the % of middle class, with income of USD 2000/ pm is just 10-15% more in CHINA than that in India.


I am interested in the source data for this range, particularly in the BRICS countries. Any links?

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby chola » 03 Apr 2013 08:17

harbans wrote:
For example, the % of middle class, with income of USD 2000/ pm is just 10-15% more in CHINA than that in India.


I am interested in the source data for this range, particularly in the BRICS countries. Any links?


Das does not believe in anything that does not come from a wiki source.

Look at sales figures for multi-nationals. They are in business across borders. They survive on making money not losing it.

Always trust the ones whose survival depends on getting things sold over those in government. Trust sales over GDP. Trust MNCs over governments.

Tata Motors is hemorrhaging money everywhere in the world, especially in its home market but it is growing massively in chiniland through Jaguar and Landrover.

Take any household item you can name and the PRC buys 10-20 times more of it as tabulated by American, European, Japanese and Korean firms.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby chola » 03 Apr 2013 08:18

Singha wrote:china:1 apple:0 - bawarchi apologises to chinese consumers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/techn ... ml?hp&_r=0

comment in NYT. can one of our chinese members say if this is true?

John KnoxCambridge
Apple in China is bordering on being a criminal organisation, and at least some of their executives should be in prison. China has been far too nice to Apple for much too long.

In China, Apple's warranty is only one year, compared to two years everywhere else.

In China, Apple charges for "warranty repairs", sometimes as much as 50% of the original cost of the item.

In China, Apple repairs defective items with used and reconditioned parts, and keeps the replaced parts to install in other "warranty repairs".

When the warranty calls for a replacement, Apple replaces only the insides but not the casing, because then it doesn't have to extend the warranty.

And there's more. Repairs are often so difficult as to be impossible to obtain. Apple absolutely treats its Chinese customers like trash.

All of the above are against the law in China, but Apple persists, and the Chinese government is reluctant to punish Apple severely because of all the bad foreign press it would receive.

But China is getting all the bad foreign press anyway, and should shut Apple down for 6 months until it learns to behave.

In the US, Apple purchased all iphone 4s at 50% of the original cost, so customers would purchase the new iphone 5s. But in China, Apple just collected the iphone 4s "for recycling", and no payment.

And yet Apple makes more profit in China than in the US.


Apple treats China no differently than the rest of Asia and the third world. Only the chinis are stupid enough to buy in such large quantities. They love goras even more than we.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 03 Apr 2013 08:55

street level observation from cheen visitor was people are indeed in love with the iphone there and will spend any money to get a proper one (not the knockoffs some of which come with icons that are inert and not links to apps!)

I do agree about the sale of consumer durable goods, the volumes in cheen are much more. it will be because their per capita income is multiple of ours so even the low end folks living in basements and modded shipping containers due to high rent can afford a TV, fridge, AC and washing machine...a local brands have made these very affordable as well.

we are not yet at the level where everyone can afford these things.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 03 Apr 2013 11:06

94 percent of Americans surveyed (about 1,500, surveyed online) could not name a single Chinese brand name

There are lots of reasons for this. One is that even though many Chinese brands rank among the most successful in the world, they tend to stay within their home country. Being fairly new to the world manufacturing scene, many of these brands either cater specifically to China (like China Telecom, Bank of China, and China Life Insurance) or are fairly new and still getting their feet under them (like ZTE and Huawei, both consumer electronics companies).

The more obvious problem is that by American standards--and we're saying "American" here rather than "non-Chinese" because the survey focused on Americans--Chinese goods are often kind of crappy. Brands like Haier, Tencent, Hisense, and Huawei have major presences at, for example, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. I've been going for years, and the only thing I remember about any of those brands is that a couple years ago, Haier had a Kinect ripoff which was more broken than most of the Kinect ripoffs I saw that year. These brands are enthusiastic, but, as The Verge nicely wrote here, haven't quite figured out the American market, both in terms of products and marketing.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 03 Apr 2013 11:14

they are trying to enter indian consumer market as brands. but need to step up spending steeply to cope with the ad budget and huge footprint of the two koreans. LG and Samsung dealers must be in every indian town with a population of 50,000 or more.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 03 Apr 2013 11:37

Although lower end brands like Micromax, Carbonn are a lot like cheap Chinese phones, they have a lot more reliability, better brand value and reputation than Chinese junk which may cost less than half. Chinese phones were very popular as recently as 2011, but even a rickshaw puller kind of guy will not buy them now.

Some of Indian brands like Spice are trying to corner a share in mid to high segment with some good models. Interesting times ahead

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby ashi » 03 Apr 2013 12:52

Bottoms up
Consumption in China may be much higher than official statistics suggest


Mr Garner and Ms Qiao draw on company reports and industry studies to fill gaps in the official data, which, they say, undercounted consumption by $1.6 trillion in 2012, more than Australia’s entire GDP. Their calculations echo earlier studies, which also found that official statistics undercount consumption, albeit by a smaller margin.

As well as stuff bought offshore, spending online is also undercounted, the two economists argue. On a single weekend in November, Chinese consumers spent more than $3 billion on two websites, Taobao and Tmall (both part of Alibaba, an online giant), in celebration of “singles’ day”, the bachelor’s equivalent of Valentine’s day. But official statistics have failed to keep pace with changing consumer habits, Ms Qiao argues, neglecting entire categories of e-spending. Online gaming, for example, is largely missing. Yet it amounted to 53 billion yuan ($8.5 billion) last year, according to Morgan Stanley’s tally of revenues earned by online gaming firms.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 03 Apr 2013 13:14

I know. But these phones have certain minimum quality standards and warranty which Chinese phones lack. Earlier, Cheeni phones came up with latest features like the biggest screen, loud speaker, touch, camera etc and cost only Rs 1500-4000 unlike branded ones which cost at least 10 time that amount. But as with all made in china stuff, they were (still are) of shoddy build quality, don't function anything like the original and die out within months. The Indian brands in comparison, perform much better. Even Nokia is doing really good in this segment.
As manufacturing in China is cheaper, it makes sense for them to get the components according to their own quality standards manufactured there then sell the assembled stuff elsewhere.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 03 Apr 2013 13:31

yes the chinese food chain is 'agile' enough to tailor the quality and QC to whatever you are willing to pay - from apple/samsung levels down to 3-month-MTBF.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 03 Apr 2013 19:17

harbans wrote:
For example, the % of middle class, with income of USD 2000/ pm is just 10-15% more in CHINA than that in India.


I am interested in the source data for this range, particularly in the BRICS countries. Any links?


See here http://www.globalsherpa.org/bric-emergi ... azil-india.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 03 Apr 2013 19:28

chola wrote:Das does not believe in anything that does not come from a wiki source.

Look at sales figures for multi-nationals. They are in business across borders. They survive on making money not losing it.

Always trust the ones whose survival depends on getting things sold over those in government. Trust sales over GDP. Trust MNCs over governments.

Tata Motors is hemorrhaging money everywhere in the world, especially in its home market but it is growing massively in chiniland through Jaguar and Landrover.

Take any household item you can name and the PRC buys 10-20 times more of it as tabulated by American, European, Japanese and Korean firms.


The figures are from IMF, World Bank and CIA fact books, made available by wiki. I am sure u will not hold the library responsible for the content of the books it keeps!

And regarding your faith on sales figure of MNC, these are shipment figures and not retail sale figures. In a country like CHINA, i will not be surprised if a large % of shipped items are diverted to CPC blued eye boys rather than the common customers. My theory is that CHINESE common folks can afford 2x Indian but not 10x and 20x as per economic indicators available in public forum. They simple cannot. U look around the pictures of rural china and sub urban china there is no evidence of 10x life style. I was seeing a recent TV documentary where the same theme was being echoed - new leadership is worried that common CHINSE folks living in villages or sub-urbs are angry that their consumption has not changed much but only the rich CCP folks are minting the fruits. So there is growth in CHINA but how inclusive it is a different question...

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 03 Apr 2013 19:34

Singha wrote:yes the chinese food chain is 'agile' enough to tailor the quality and QC to whatever you are willing to pay - from apple/samsung levels down to 3-month-MTBF.


yet they have not a single global product.. Why? Such an efficient supply chain should be ruling over the world with lots of products? Is it that they donot have the muscle to maket and sale ? Or is that they donot have the apetite to take the risk? Or is it that they cannot design and can only implement once it is designed by a MNC.

I can see a similarity with Indian coding industry here which has the efficiency to churn out any kind of code components from large ERP products to small mobile apps but not a single product worth the name.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 03 Apr 2013 19:56

jamwal wrote:Earlier, Cheeni phones came up with latest features like the biggest screen, loud speaker, touch, camera etc and cost only Rs 1500-4000 unlike branded ones which cost at least 10 time that amount. But as with all made in china stuff, they were (still are) of shoddy build quality, don't function anything like the original and die out within months.


Has anyone opened up a Chinese unit after it failed? I have. From touch pads to iphone knock offs. You would be shocked to find what is stuffed in there. There is tissue paper and a complete mish mash of cables squashed in there manually with no real planning of any kind. The knock off tycoons have not made even the most elementary move to figuring out how to design this stuff. They can put in a screen and slick plastic shell but the rest is tooth picks and chewing gum.

This is why Apple, Samsung, etc are not too worried about manufacturing in China. All the critical design info is kept close to their chest. The same problems have shown up with their king-long busses and even their HSR, the Japanese in particular were scathing of the Chinese HSR knock-offs. There was one Japanese type who was quoted as saying their HSR system will be a death trap once it starts aging.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 03 Apr 2013 20:12

True words.
On a related note, Reliance is enamoured with Cheeni maal, probably because of the ridiculously cheap loans for the crappy equipment. Makes me dhoti-shiver about Mumbai metro.

As with Pakis, jo Beijing me g**** wo ...

Man stole US cancer data to study in China

When three vials of a possible cancer-fighting compound disappeared recently from a professor's desk at the Medical College of Wisconsin, suspicion quickly fell on a research assistant who had been working in the scientist's lab.

Security video showed Hua Jun Zhao, who studied in China and whose wife lives there, was the only person who entered the professor's office that day. Investigators later found research results from another professor on Zhao's computer.

Zhao has been charged in a federal complaint with economic espionage, accused by prosecutors stealing academic research to pass off as his own in China. Prosecutors said he hoped to study the compound and other materials at Zhejiang University, one of several Chinese schools that have been troubled by plagiarism, fraud and academic misconduct.


Zhao traveled to China in December. Since his return in mid-February, he has claimed on his resume that he's an assistant professor at Zhejiang University, the complaint said. Zhejiang University has had previous problems with theft. He Haibo, an associate professor in its College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was fired in 2009 after it was discovered he had published papers with data stolen from a professor when he was a doctoral student at another Chinese university.


Academic plagiarism and fraud has been a problem in China, where some say professors are given an incentive to cheat because they're often evaluated on the number, rather than the quality, of papers published.


Zhao allowed the medical college to copy files from his personal laptop, a thumb drive and an external hard drive after he was placed on administrative leave. Investigators found 384 files related to Anderson's research, as well as research results from another professor from the school's cancer department.

Among the files was a grant application to a Chinese foundation that Zhao wrote in Mandarin. In the application he said he discovered the C-25 compound and that he was seeking funding to continue his research in China. Anderson told investigators the application was a verbatim translation of a grant application he himself had written several years earlier in English.

School security staff told FBI agents that on the day of his suspension Zhao also accessed school computers remotely and deleted files related to the C-25 research. The college was able to recover the files. Zhao denied accessing the server or deleting files and said he didn't understand the FBI agents' questions. :rotfl:

Federal authorities subsequently searched Zhao's home and found a receipt for shipment of a package to Zhao's wife along with two airline tickets from Chicago to China leaving Tuesday, as well as an application to the National Natural Science Foundation of China for research funding for C-25.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 03 Apr 2013 20:23

They may not have a prestige consumer electronic product like ipad that everyone can see, but in mining machinery, construction machinery, power tools, telecom gear, ships, marine structures, plastics they are a global power and getting better in many other areas.

Note i am talking of chinese owned brands like zoomlion and huawei.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Theo_Fidel » 03 Apr 2013 20:33

Singha wrote: power tools


I don't know about others but this is not true. Their power tools are stuck in the 1960's. Quality and, tolerances and product finish are horrible. A few months ago I saw a contractor get fired for using Chinese power tools be cause the finish quality was terrible.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 03 Apr 2013 20:48

ZTE , Huawei, Anda equipment may cost 20% of Nokia, Cisco etc but I'll not buy them at even 2% of the price asked for, if reliability is a factor.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 03 Apr 2013 22:00

Singha wrote:They may not have a prestige consumer electronic product like ipad that everyone can see, but in mining machinery, construction machinery, power tools, telecom gear, ships, marine structures, plastics they are a global power and getting better in many other areas.

Note i am talking of chinese owned brands like zoomlion and huawei.


Sure, a economy of CHINA size, should be good at some thing. Can u point us to some data points as to what % of the world market these companies hold. HUEWAI is probably the only name I can recall. I think, at least in India, Japanese, Korean and European brands rule the segments u mentioned.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby svinayak » 04 Apr 2013 03:13

They have LENOVO

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 04 Apr 2013 06:51

good or bad they are building footprint around the world. if something does not fly in london or SFO it will fly in mombasa or jeddah.
sure the euros/soko/jpn/usa still build overall better quality stuff but slowly they are being pushed out of price conscious developing markets where the future growth will be. case in point reliance taking advantage of vendor financing to buy all chinese telecom gear. or the millions of china made phone kits that have 30% market share in india. they are hardly likely now to change to any other vendor. once the footprint is established you become the imcumbent, develop contacts at CXO level and are hard to for any other vendor to manage. the price diffs quoted between US and Cheen telecom gear is in theory only. discounts of 50-90% on telecom gear is standard in Netz..without even asking.

while cheen -vs- {developed market vendors} debate can continue. the main point is missed - does india have similar vendors in every segment competing with cheen worldwide? the answer is a big NO - we have no presence in many segments at all. if we cant make and sell products worldwide there is no future for the indian economy ever becoming developed. even Soko started at bottom of the pile in mid 90s with weak hyundai cars.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby JE Menon » 04 Apr 2013 10:13

>>something does not fly in london or SFO it will fly in mombasa or jeddah.

Very true. Those on the ground can see this. Sometimes people will go for price over quality. Especially when they don't know any better...

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Sri » 04 Apr 2013 10:39

Singha wrote:good or bad they are building footprint around the world. if something does not fly in london or SFO it will fly in mombasa or jeddah.
sure the euros/soko/jpn/usa still build overall better quality stuff but slowly they are being pushed out of price conscious developing markets where the future growth will be. case in point reliance taking advantage of vendor financing to buy all chinese telecom gear. or the millions of china made phone kits that have 30% market share in india. they are hardly likely now to change to any other vendor. once the footprint is established you become the imcumbent, develop contacts at CXO level and are hard to for any other vendor to manage. the price diffs quoted between US and Cheen telecom gear is in theory only. discounts of 50-90% on telecom gear is standard in Netz..without even asking.

while cheen -vs- {developed market vendors} debate can continue. the main point is missed - does india have similar vendors in every segment competing with cheen worldwide? the answer is a big NO - we have no presence in many segments at all. if we cant make and sell products worldwide there is no future for the indian economy ever becoming developed. even Soko started at bottom of the pile in mid 90s with weak hyundai cars.


+1

We are totally absent from lot of product lines and segments. Atleast they get something out in the market and cater to a particular segment.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 04 Apr 2013 10:47

China stealing fish from overseas at 12 times the claimed figure
China is under-reporting its overseas fishing catch by more than an order of magnitude, according to a study1 published on 23 March. The problem is particularly acute in the rich fisheries of West Africa, where a lack of transparency in reporting is threatening efforts to evaluate the ecological health of the waters.

Fisheries experts have long suspected that the catches reported by China to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome are too low. From 2000 to 2011, the country reported an average overseas catch of 368,000 tonnes a year. Yet China claims to have the world’s biggest distant-water fishing fleet, implying a much larger haul, says the study, which was funded by the European Union (EU). Pauly and his colleagues estimate that the average catch for 2000–11 was in fact 4.6 million tonnes a year, more than 12 times the reported figure (see ‘A colossal catch’). Of that total, 2.9 million tonnes a year came from West Africa, one of the world’s most productive fishing grounds.


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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby member_20292 » 04 Apr 2013 18:27

chola wrote:Tata Motors is hemorrhaging money everywhere in the world, especially in its home market but it is growing massively in chiniland through Jaguar and Landrover.

Take any household item you can name and the PRC buys 10-20 times more of it as tabulated by American, European, Japanese and Korean firms.



Chola ji, do you think that there is a property bubble?

How do MNCs answer that question....they'll cross the bridge when they come it ??

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby member_20292 » 05 Apr 2013 23:40

this thread moves too slow....cholaji....seems like indians are not interested in making money off of the chinese!

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 06 Apr 2013 16:22


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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 06 Apr 2013 16:49

We are talking about CHINA and not INDIA. If INDIA is not present in all product segments then that is a debate in INDIAN manufacturing thread. I am still waiting to see a data source of CHINESE products and their % market share in CHINA and outside.So far none of u have provided that other than hot air about CHINESE products....

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby chola » 06 Apr 2013 19:04

mahadevbhu wrote:this thread moves too slow....cholaji....seems like indians are not interested in making money off of the chinese!



The thread's main purpose these days is to draw in the occasion drone and lambaste him. There is no really attempt here to learn anything of real value.

Thank goodness there are Indian companies in the real world that are interested in making money. Tata Motors for one. I hope their initiatives in chiniland were lead by bharatis. But I fear it is more the results of the goras in their Landrover and Jaguar divisions. At any rate, it is a fine thing to make money off rivals.

There are many more nations -- the US, S.Korea, Taiwan and Japan to name a few -- with far greater and longer rivalry with the PRC and yet everyone of them have a crushing present in the chinese market. They are hard-edged people with a clear eye on the world.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 06 Apr 2013 19:15

Per latest un report china has become the largest source of outbound foreign tourists, crossing over germany.
$102 billion in spending and 83 million in departures.

From grand canyon to colombo, chinese tourists are on the march.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby chola » 06 Apr 2013 19:18

mahadevbhu wrote:
Chola ji, do you think that there is a property bubble?

How do MNCs answer that question....they'll cross the bridge when they come it ??


The same way they answered the question when the US bubble burst and when the Japanese one blew up a decade ago.

They stayed put and made money. The world's largest markets will command the largest sales no matter what economic downturn happens.

We tend to make too much of a large consuming economy hitting a pothole because the Western press makes so much of it. We forget how wealthy those places are to begin with. A real estate bubble bursting will not knock them back to the stone age. Not by a long shot.

Japan has been in a recession of sorts for 12 or more years since the Tokyo RE market crashed. How many of BRICs or any of those fast growing economies can buy more BMWs or IPhones than the Japanese? Exactly one.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby PrasadZ » 07 Apr 2013 09:07

China, Destroyer-of-Worlds.
China at some points has had investment rates of in excess of 40% of GDP. For super-geeks this exceeds the Ramsey Rule at a zero discount rate. For non-geeks it means that there is no investment strategy under which this is the profitable thing to do.

Its always hard to tell but on balance I think the Chinese government is aware of this, yet is willing to lose money on its capital investments in order to provide jobs for people moving to the city. This is a smart move if you think cities produce agglomeration effects.

With apologies to the less wonkish, China is using physical capital as a loss leader in order to grow cities that will produce network effects will in turn foster the human capital that really makes a country rich.

In this way China has become like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, a Destroyer-of-Worlds.1 You can’t win a physical capital accumulation battle against someone whose plan is to overinvest and lose money on the physical capital.

And just as you there is no point even trying to fight a determined central bank on interest rate policy; there is no point fighting a determined China on Industrial policy. That leaves a huge swath of investment unavailable.

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby svinayak » 07 Apr 2013 09:59

There is a limit to everthing.
China is one gaint wallmart whihc needs to be taken care of

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 07 Apr 2013 10:47

The “China Dream” smothered by smog
http://www.firstpost.com/world/the-chin ... 89182.html

Republished from New America Media

by Andrew Lam

There’s an ongoing joke in China that both captures the long standing competitive nature between Beijing and Shanghai while tying it neatly with the country’s number one preoccupation: pollution. “In Beijing you just need to open your window, inhale and you’ll get the equivalent of having smoked three cigarettes,” a Beijing guest boasted at a dinner party, to which his Shanghai host responded, “Oh, that’s nothing: Here in Shanghai we turn on the hot water faucet and we get pig soup.”

Guests roar with laughter as both scenarios have become too real, if not too painful to take seriously.

The Shanghai Daily kept count of the rising number of dead pigs floating down the Huangpu as if tracking numbers on the stock exchange. At last count the number surpassed 13,000.

The pigs died of virus but upriver farmers, instead of burning or burying the carcasses, opted to toss them in the water to avoid a state probe that could force them to cull the rest of their stock. Instead, they hope to sell it off quickly, public safety be damned.

In Beijing the gray smog continued to shroud the cityscape and many a tourist new to the city mistook the sun for the moon in the morning. At a recent writers’ conference the conversation moved quickly from politics to pollution — what it would be like to raise your child indoors full time and what the best brand of air purifier is on the market. A billionaire had sent gifts of oxygen tanks to politicians and sold them in downtown Beijing as a stunt.

Xi Jinping was elected president of China in mid-March and his speech was titled “The Chinese Dream of National Rejuvenation.”

“The Chinese Dream, after all, is the dream of the people. We must realize it by depending on the people. We must constantly bring benefits to the people,” Xi said. Pigs in rivers and smog that shrouds the Forbidden City went unmentioned. Prosperity remained the key theme, much as it has been since Deng Xiaoping led China out of the Cold War by declaring: “to get rich quick is glorious.”

But the Chinese Dream of 2013 has run smack into London’s great smog of 1952, where people literally dropped dead from the soot in the air, and tens of thousands came down with lung infections. Smog pollution in Beijing reached its highest concentration in March, shocking even blasé locals. So alarming was the dark shroud that blocked city views that expats began leaving, no matter the good jobs and high incomes to be had.

After five years in Beijing, an American couple with a new baby is grappling with the health impacts of pollution. “We’re doing pretty well professionally,” the wife said, “but now we have to seriously rethink our strategy.” Their baby rarely leaves the house, where an air purifier is on round-the-clock. “If we stay we might have to equip her with an oxygen mask when we take her outside,” the husband remarked. “There’s probably a market for that kind of oxygen mask for children of the wealthy…You just don’t see kids playing outside in Beijing.”

Those who don’t have the option to leave China like the expat couple, take to the Internet to complain and speculate.

“Bureaucrats and corrupt officials are living the dream but for most people, it’s become a nightmare,” wrote one blogger on Weibo. “As vague as Xi’s ‘dream’ might be, it has prompted mass public speculation, expectation and has even become the butt of political jokes,” noted the South China Morning Post. It quoted a blogger named Longyi Sky Master, who wrote: “We’re 100 years early in realizing the Chinese dream! We now have the biggest, most beautiful and luxurious government offices in the world! Right now, what else could the Chinese people be dreaming of?”

Along with jokes and cynicism are popular memes: photo-shopped images of Chairman Mao’s portrait, the one that hangs on the wall of Tiananmen Square. One shows Mao’s comb blown asunder by the wind and the other shows him wearing a mask due to air pollution. It went viral on Weibo until it was censored but it was already too late. People text each other these images as a way of saying, ironically, “Welcome to Beijing,” or cryptically: “I’m not going out today for obvious reasons.” A picture in this case is worth 10,000 words.

Not only does the Chinese Dream of 2013 have to contend with the London Smog of 1952, it also needs to take a look at America’s gilded age. As China’s top 1 percent reach the highest stratosphere of wealth — with fleets of Ferraris and Mercedez Benzes and armies of servants and mansions around the world – these industrialists, reminiscent of America’s robber barons of yore, exert power and control over natural resources, buy government influence, pay extremely low wages and break any effort of workers to organize.

“The Chinese have a saying, once you climbed on the tiger’s back it’s very difficult to get back down,” a Chinese journalist in Shanghai commented in a private gathering. “We have no choice now but to keep growing. But how long can we stay on the tiger’s back?” Capitalism is roaring indeed in the largest nation on earth, and the authorities have no choice but to keep on pushing for greater wealth. As the journalist noted, “Once you fall, once the market falters, you’ll be eaten alive.”

In early 2011 the government erected a 31-foot bronze statue of Confucius near Tiananmen Square. The statue disappeared within 4 months time. It was yet another of China’ futile efforts to bring back traditional Chinese values, ones that Mao himself helped destroy. “Eager to fill the vacuum left by the fading of Maoist ideology, the party in recent years has been championing Confucianism as a national code of conduct, with special emphasis on tenets like ethical behavior, respect for the elderly, social harmony and obedience to authority,” The New York Times reported.

But the problem with Confucianism is that it also raises the specter of the mandate of heaven. When a ruler loses his way, falling prey to corruption and immorality, he loses heaven’s mandate and the right to rule. In ancient times earthquakes, famines or floods were seen as inevitable signs that the mandate had been withdrawn. It’s no wonder the old sage had to go.

Which leaves very little left for the Chinese Dream, itself derivative of President Herbert Hoover’s Great American Dream speech in 1928 promising a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage.” Luckily Hoover didn’t have to deal with a failing ecosystem and manmade pollution on a planetary scale.

Besides, the problem with the promise of wealth is that it is not really an ideology. Collective desire, after all, is not the same as collective strength; more often than not it leads to selfishness. Everyone wants a new car, which produces traffic jams and the burning of low-grade gasoline that leads to more smog; everyone wants air purifiers but it leads to more coal burning and facemasks, lung cancer and birth defects. The China Dream lacks at its core a larger purpose for the nation beyond consumerism.

The Chinese journalist in Shanghai who went to graduate school in the US said he is still committed to China. But he is “watching the government’s actions very closely.” There have been efforts to clean up, to deal with pollution and wrong doers, he said, “but the problem is huge. We have 1.3 billion people, not like in the US where there’s only 300 million with about the same landmass.”

Every night in his new home in the suburb, he watches for violators. In the old days people burned trash and no one stopped them, he said. “Now there’s a hot line. I called a few times when they burned trash with lots of plastic in it. Now the authorities show up.”

He loves his country but leaving is an option. “It depends on whether China is serious about clean up… whether it’s willing to deal with pollution while it still can.”

Andrew Lam is an editor at New America Media. His latest book, “Birds of Paradise Lost,” a collection of short stories about Vietnamese immigrants struggling to rebuild their lives in the Bay Area after a painful exodus, was recently published by Red Hen Press. He recently visited Shanghai and Beijing.

jamwal
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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby jamwal » 10 Apr 2013 10:55

A friend is going to attend Canton fair and will spend 1-2 days in Hong Kong as well. Anything worth buying there ? :oops:

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby subhamoy.das » 10 Apr 2013 13:51

Another thing i never understood, in this super rich country, consuming many things more than the comibined consumption of the workd, flues. All kind of flues, bird to chicken, originate in the middle king dom. Even now folks are dying of bird flue ...

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 10 Apr 2013 14:12

industrial animal farming is in general not good whether for the animals or for the quality of the meat looking at it from both ends. add to that chinese sector in that dept is likely much less regulated and safety conscious that EU/japan/US which are themselves not that great to start with. in recent days 1000s of dead pigs and ducks are floating down the yangtze river upto shanghai - victims of some disease - but farmers are scared if they report it and dispose in proper way, govt will cull their whole livestock, so throwing in the river.

cheen love their pork. CCP maintains a national pork reserve that is released in shortages like we keep a foodgrain reserve. chicken and duck are also served commonly in company cafeterias.

all visitors had better stay veg for the trip or go for deep fried KFC chicken nuggets if they must

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby krishnan » 10 Apr 2013 14:31

You mean REAL KFC chickens

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Re: PRC Economy - New Reflections : Dec 15 2011

Postby Singha » 10 Apr 2013 14:59



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