China created 40,000 new millionaires in 2013, bringing the total to 1.09 million, according to a new study
CNBC reports: The growth of 3.8 percent is a bit of an improvement from last year’s 3 percent gain. But it’s still only about half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011, suggesting that China’s economic slowdown and the government’s crackdown on corruption is slowing its millionaire manufacturing machine.
“Beijing and Guangdong have the most millionaires, with 192,000 and 180,000 respectively, followed by Shanghai with 159,000.”
According to the Hurun Research Institute, the number of people in China with personal wealth of 10 million yuan—or $1.6 million—in mainland China reached 1,090,000, up from 1,050,000 in 2012.
The number of people in China worth 100 million yuan, or $16 million, increased by 2,500 people to 67,000.
[We also celebrate the scandalous pleasure of obscenely affordable luxury items]
The slower millionaire growth comes as sales of high-end luxury goods in China—everything from watches and wine to handbags and Lamborghinis—have also cooled. But Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, said this year’s millionaire growth was still solid.
“Although we have been seeing a slowdown in spending, the money is still very much there,” he said in the report. Read the rest of this entry »
From Austrian Archive: Shaman Dancers, Tea Houses, Arms Traders, Urban Dwellers, Coolies and Suffragettes
When a relative of a long dead Austro-Hungarian navy soldier approached Gerd Kaminski, a China scholar in Vienna, in 2007, she pointed him towards a treasure trove of thousands of photos of Beijing, many of which were a century old.
Kaminski, director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies in Vienna, worked his way through the photos and published a selection along with other photos he was given by descendants of Austrian diplomats and traders in imperial China.
“These photos give precious insights into daily urban life in Beijing a century ago,” he said. “Many of the buildings don’t exist anymore and traditions seen in the photos have been lost in time.”
In 2011, Erwan Rambourg was a six-year veteran of the luxury industry as an analyst for HSBC, based in Paris, a city that many high-end brands call home.
“The balance is story-telling. Luxury consumers are like kids. Brands are a dream, an aspiration.”
That year, he moved to Hong. While the brands were European, the consumption was shifting eastward toward China. “The reason I moved to Hong Kong was to try to understand better the trend and how the Chinese were consuming,” he said.
After three years of observation, the 41-year-old Mr. Rambourg, who continues to cover the sector for HSBC, has put together his insights into the industry in a new book, “Bling Dynasty: Why the Reign of the Chinese Luxury Shoppers Has Only Begun.”
“If you get the impression that you’re the only one, that you’re unique and being the only one told the story, you’ll pay up. If you feel like everyone else, you won’t.”
He recently spoke with China Real Time about how China’s luxury consumption is different, why the corruption crackdown is a good thing and how Chinese and American consumers are becoming more alike.
“You have to develop the illusion or reality of scarcity.”
Take us back to when you first arrived in Asia. What was the luxury landscape like?
The luxury sector 20 years ago was driven by European consumers. Ten years ago, it was driven Japanese consumers, with the hope that Chinese consumers would eventually take over. Today, the Chinese are the key driver. In 2015, Chinese consumers will become 35% of luxury consumes.
The development of the Chinese luxury market is often compared to that of Japan. But you see vast differences.
They’re considered similar by investors but the differences lie in culture and how the markets are built. First, gender: The Japanese market was centered on the office lady. These are secretary-types who were living with parents, allocating most of their income to their next handbag.
The Chinese market was built by men. The core consumer was male, businessman, a lot of corporate gifting, instead of self-purchasing.
Today, the core consumer in Japan is female and aging. The core consumer in China is diverse. You still have the businessmen, but you have the emergence of young, female shoppers and a whole diversity of consumer profiles you don’t see in Japan.
Currently in Japan, there’s a move away from luxury and brands. They’re looking for more holistic experiences: Instead of a handbag, they’re going to a spa. Read the rest of this entry »
The territory’s citizens must not give up demanding full democracy—for their sake and for China’s
Chinese officials have called it a “leap forward” for democracy in Hong Kong. Yet their announcement on August 31st of plans to allow, for the first time, every Hong Kong citizen to vote for the territory’s leader has met only anger and indifference. Joy was conspicuously absent. This is not because Hong Kong’s citizens care little for the right to vote, but because China has made it abundantly clear that the next election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, due in 2017, will be rigged. The only candidates allowed to stand will be those approved by the Communist Party in Beijing, half a continent away.
“Xi Jinping, the party chief and president, had the opportunity to use Hong Kong as a test-bed for political change in China. Had he taken this opportunity, he might have gone down in history as a true reformer. Instead, he has squandered it.”
At its worst, this risks provoking a disaster which even China cannot want. Democrats are planning protests. It is unclear how many people will join in, but the fear is that the territory’s long history of peaceful campaigning for political reform will give way to skirmishes with police, mass arrests and possibly even intervention by the People’s Liberation Army. That would disrupt one of Asia’s wealthiest and most orderly economies, and set China against the West. But even if, as is likely, such a calamity is avoided, this leap sideways is a huge missed opportunity not just for Hong Kong but also for the mainland. A chance to experiment with the sort of local democracy that might have benefited all of China has been missed. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on China Daily Mail:
People in Japan overwhelmingly have a poor opinion of China and vice versa, according to new polls, although Chinese views of Japan have become slightly less chilly.
The percentage of Japanese respondents who said they had a negative impression of China increased to 93% from 90% a year earlier, according to a poll by Genron NPO, a Tokyo-based nonprofit group. In a parallel poll conducted by China Daily, 87% of respondents said they had an unfavorable impression of Japan, a slight improvement from last year’s record high of 93%.
More than half of Japanese respondents who had a negative impression of China thought the country’s actions were incompatible with international rules.
Disputes over the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands, controlled by Japan and claimed by…
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HONG KONG—The Hong Kong protest movement Occupy Central plans to launch a civil-disobedience campaign in early October to protest Beijing’s decision to effectively control who can run for the city’s top post, said a person close to the group.
“Many people, including professors who were previously against Occupy Central, are now in support of the movement, whether through direct participation or donations.”
– Chan Kin-man, a co-founder of Occupy Central
The group last week had indicated a loss of momentum following the announcement of the Chinese decision on Aug. 31.
The person close to Occupy Central said holding the protest a full month after Beijing’s decision was aimed at giving supporters ample time to “decide for themselves” whether to join the cause in a “coolheaded” fashion. The person said detailed protest plans were still being made.
The person denied that the timing was chosen to coincide with the weeklong holiday around China’s National Day on Oct. 1. That is traditionally one of the biggest shopping weeks of the year in Hong Kong, when a lot of mainlanders visit the city. Read the rest of this entry »
“In his post, Lo comments in Chinese: ‘A super quick way to wash a dog: soak, clean, and dry. All done. Clean and quick!'”
For South China Morning Post, Hazel Parry reports: A man being investigated over a Facebook post featuring photographs of a dog churning in a washing machine claims to have fled to the mainland. The man, who goes by the name of Jacky Lo, posted a status update yesterday in which he bragged that he was on his way out of Hong Kong as pressure mounted for him to be punished.
“In response to a comment underneath asking if the dog was dead, Lo answers: ‘Yes! Do you want to see it!'”
The post included a link to the online petition urging the police to bring him to justice, with Lo commenting: “Wanted?? This afternoon I’m going back to China. See ya later.”
“His latest remarks have brought more criticism online, with people calling him a ‘weak bully’, ‘shameless’, ‘sick’ and a ‘monster’.”
The pictures, which show a small white dog submerged in water and being spun around helplessly in the washing machine, have sparked outrage, with about 14,000 people signing the petition.
In his post, Lo comments in Chinese: “A super quick way to wash a dog: soak, clean, and dry. All done. Clean and quick!”
He then add a smiley icon and the words “feeling content” in English.
BEIJING— Brian Spegele reports: Police detained at least two editors and other employees at a major Chinese business news website and placed them under investigation for suspected extortion, state media reported, as the government steps up its scrutiny of journalists.
“Authorities have issued a series of orders in recent months to enforce greater control over media by demanding reporters heed the government line.”
State broadcaster China Central Television said two editors from the 21st Century Business Herald website were among eight people placed into custody Wednesday. At least two public-relations companies were also facing scrutiny as part of the investigation, CCTV said.
Police in Shanghai, who are leading the investigation, didn’t answer telephone calls seeking comment.
The news website, in a statement posted to its microblog account, said it would “actively cooperate with public security organs in their investigation work.” Guangdong Twenty-First Century Media Co., a major Chinese publisher of business newspapers and magazines and controller of the site, declined to comment. Read the rest of this entry »
“China became the world’s largest industrial robot market in 2013 with 37,000 industrial robots sold in the country, accounting for 20 percent of the global market.”
SIASUN Robot and Automation Co. Ltd. will be the first to jump start China’s industrial robot production with an annual capacity of 5,000. Their facilities will produce robots applied in welding, hauling, assembling, stacking, grinding and polishing, according to Qu Daokui, the company’s CEO.
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“Rising labor costs and aging population have prompted the application of industrial robots in China”
He said the production line is undergoing tests and the exact date of operation is yet to be announced. The application of robots has expanded from the high-end industries such as automobile and electronics manufacturing to traditional industries, including metal processing, bathroom hardware, food and drinks, said Qu, who is also director general of China Robot Industry Alliance. Read the rest of this entry »
One of the many things I love about being in HK is the discovery of novel flavors. Like osmanthus! Its fragrant, sweet-smelling flowers (native to east Asia) are often dried and gently folded into florally nuanced desserts like osmanthus jelly, which also often contains wolfberries (goji berries – so it must be healthy!) and usually serves as a finishing touch after a belly-swelling dim sum session. Think of it as a refined, prettier, tastier Jell-O…(read more)
TOKYO, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – The number of Japanese nationals, who may have been abducted in North Korea, has risen to 883, Kyodo News Agency reported Tuesday, citing a high-profile security official.
“We are saying that there could be as many as 860 abductees. The government’s policy is to retrieve every single abductee.”
Japan cannot exclude the possibility of the abduction of a further 23 Japanese nationals by Pyongyang, making the total number 883, the country’s National Public Safety Commission Chairman Keiji Furuya was quoted as saying.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 2, 2014
WSJ’s Jeffrey Ng reports: Beijing’s plans to allow Hong Kong people to elect their next leader—albeit only from among prescreened candidates and effectively denying an open vote—will need approval of two-thirds of the city’s 70-member strong legislature.
What happens if the reform package gets voted down?
By constituting a bloc of more than a third, the city’s 27 pro-democratic legislators hold the veto on any such plans. On Monday, these legislators voiced their disapproval by interrupting a speech by a senior Chinese official, chanting slogans while holding up banners condemning China’s decision as “shameful,” before storming out of a briefing session on political reform. Read the rest of this entry »
“The police started using pepper spray on us without any warning. We are here to protest in a peaceful manner.”
– Kit, a social worker and activist
HONG KONG—Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong Monday said police used pepper spray against demonstrators outside a news conference given by a top Chinese official on Beijing‘s decision on how the city should elect its leader.
“Since the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the sovereignty, security and development interests of the country are at stake, there is a need to proceed in a prudent and steady manner.”
– From Beijing’s ruling Sunday
Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, gave a briefing at the AsiaWorld-Expo, near Hong Kong’s airport, to explain the decision to chaotic scenes of protests both inside and outside the venue.
Outside, a 21-year-old social worker identifying himself only as Kit said he and four others in his group of activist were pepper-sprayed by police. Read the rest of this entry »
From this weekend’s WSJ opinion pages:
The people of Hong Kong can plead or protest for democracy all they want, but they can only hold a sham election for Chief Executive in 2017. That was the ruling of China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress on Sunday.
“The threat to Hong Kong’s capitalism comes not from democracy, but from the cronyism and erosion of the rule of law that are infiltrating from the mainland.”
Moderates on both sides of the political spectrum in Hong Kong had urged compromise. They proposed nomination procedures that would satisfy Beijing’s concerns while still allowing the free election that China promised in 1997 when it made the city a self-governing special administrative region for 50 years.
“The tragedy for both Hong Kong and China is that the conflict is unnecessary.”
Beijing not only rejected these ideas, it seems they were never seriously considered. The Communist Party insists on absolute veto power over the choice of candidates. The result will be more frustration in Hong Kong.
“The city is manifestly ready for democracy, which would give Beijing fewer headaches rather than more.”
Since the handover from British rule, the city has suffered under mediocre leaders weakened by their lack of a popular mandate. This has angered parts of the population, particularly the young, and some are promising acts of civil disobedience. Read the rest of this entry »
…Another iconic HK treat is the slyly named ‘pineapple bun’, containing no pineapple (false advertising alert!) but reflecting just the pineapple-like appearance of that extra-golden, puckered, crunchy top that never fails to crumble into a delightful mess. In case you seek a cholesterol boost (beyond the lard that is part of the crunchy top – good luck wiping that from your memory!), most cha chaan tengs serving these local treats can’t leave well enough alone – but instead insert a slab (not a sliver) of butter to melt inside…(read more)
A Sea of Phones Illuminating Tamar Park, Connecting the Executive and Legislative Hearts of Hong KongPosted: August 31, 2014
A sea of phones illuminating Tamar Park, connecting the executive and legislative hearts of Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/ZTMqM39U5t
— Alan Wong (@byAlanWong) August 31, 2014
— GlobalPost (@GlobalPost) August 31, 2014
Occupy Central has threatened to shut down the city’s financial district with a massive sit-in if Beijing doesn’t allow completely open elections for chief executive
BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature on Sunday ruled against allowing open nominations in elections for Hong Kong’s chief executive, a decision that promises to ignite political tensions in the Asian financial hub.
Left: Jimmy Lai, Chairman and Founder of Next Media (Reuters)
The legislature’s powerful Standing Committee ruled that all candidates for chief executive must receive more than half
of votes from a special nominating body before going before voters. Hong Kong democracy activists have held massive protests demanding that Chinese leaders let the city’s voters choose their chief executive from an open list of candidates.
Activists have also decried the nominating committee held up by Beijing as beholden to Chinese leaders and were mobilizing to stage massive protests against the decision.
“Since the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the sovereignty, security and development interests of the country are at stake, there is a need to proceed in a prudent and steady manner,” the Standing Committee said in their decision. Read the rest of this entry »
Japan’s Defense Ministry Asks for Record Budget Increase in Response to China’s Heightened Military AggressionPosted: August 31, 2014
TOKYO—Took Sekiguchi reports: Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested a budget of ¥4.899 trillion ($47.1 billion) for the coming fiscal year starting April 1, a 2.4% increase over the amount for the current year. If granted, it would be the third year in a row Japan has expanded its military spending following a decade of cuts.
“We have an immediate neighbor whose military expenditures are at least twice as large as Japan’s and second only to the U.S. defense budget.”
– Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
The figure, requested by ministry Friday, doesn’t include spending related to U.S. bases in Japan, or for the purchase of a new government airplane for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If these items are included, the total budget request would be ¥5.054 trillion, the largest ever for the ministry. It would also come as Mr. Abe continues his program to beef up the country’s defense capabilities.
“So call me a right-wing militarist if you want..”
Citing the continuing need for ocean surveillance amid tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry is requesting 20 patrol planes and five patrol helicopters. It is also looking into acquiring an early-warning radar system and aerial drones. Read the rest of this entry »