China’s Box-Office Expected to Hit 2 Billion During the New Year Holiday

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Driven by the ‪‎Spring Festival‬ period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum

The ‪Chinese New Year‬ is approaching an end, but the country’s ‪movie‬ industry boom seems to have just begun, thanks to record high box-office sales during the New Year holiday.

Statistics show that across the country there were over nine million Chinese going to the movies during that period. On the first day of the Spring Festival, there was a record high intake of 356 million yuan or about $57 million at the ‪‎box office‬. That’s about 44 percent up on the same day last year.

Even on New Year’s Eve, a time traditionally devoted to family reunions, home banquets and the grand CCTV gala, Chinese moviegoers still spent 21 million yuan ($3.5 mln) in the country’s cinemas.

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By Sunday, box offices for the Spring Festival holiday reached 924 million yuan ($154 mln), a 42.15% increase from last year. Industry experts say that China’s movie market is expected to gross nearly 2 billion yuan ($300 mln) during the period.

There were 7 new movies released on the first day of the Chinese New Year, which could be one reason for the high sales.

The costume action movie “Dragon Blade” starring Chinese Kungfu star Jackie Chan leads the box office charts, creating about one third of the total income. It’s followed by Chow Yun-Fat’s family comedy “The Man from Macao II” and fantasy adventure “Zhongkui: Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal”.

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Rao Shuguang, the secretary-general of the China Film Association, says the recorded growth is also partly to do with the increased number of screens across the country, now at over 24,900.

Driven by the ‪‎Spring Festival‬ period, one of the golden times for Chinese productions, China’s domestic movies are gaining more momentum. Last year, Chinese domestic box-office revenue hit $4.7 billion, ranking the second largest in the world. Made-in-China movies accounted for 55 percent of the total. Read the rest of this entry »


China’s Shadow Currency

Image Credit: REUTERS/Chance Chan

Image Credit: REUTERS/Chance Chan

Matthew Lowenstein writes:  China’s economy is straining to keep up a semblance of its former growth rate. The surest sign is the way a shadow market in bank paper has evolved to substitute the commodity that China is increasingly running short of: cash.

Bankers are passing around their own ersatz currency, stimulating trade with what, in effect, are off-the-books loans. As in the wildcat currency era of the United States, the antebellum period before America had a national currency, this paper trades at a discount from province to province. It is increasingly used for speculative purposes, is potentially inflationary, and is hard to regulate. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been unable or unwilling to crack down, lest it provoke a serious slowdown. But when the world’s second largest economy must resort to passing around IOUs, the financial community should take note.

Bankers acceptance notes (BANs) are nothing more than a post-dated check with a bank guarantee. For example, a buyer in Chongqing might have a hard time passing checks to vendors in Shanghai. But if the purchaser gets his paper signed by, say, Bank of China, his check now has the guarantee of a major financial institution: it is money good. BANs facilitate trade by obviating the need for vendors to assess the creditworthiness of purchasers. But in China, this prosaic instrument of commerce has become a kind of shadow currency that allows under-reserved banks to purchase deposits, fuels speculation, and undermines the central bank’s control over the money supply.

“From the bank’s point of view, Banker’s Acceptance Notes are all about getting deposits,” explains a banker in Zhengzhou. In a typical transaction, a customer with cash in his pocket can put down 100 RMB as a security deposit and walk away with double that amount in BANs. The bank is pleased because it receives hard currency in return for its own funny money. The customer is delighted: he has turned 100 RMB in cash into 200 RMB in something almost as good. In effect, the bank has given the customer a 200 RMB loan without using a cent of cash.

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A man filmed Shanghai from his 23rd floor apartment over 2 years and the result is this amazing time-lapse [VIDEO]

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Joe Nafis shares with us a collection of time-lapses taken over the course of two years from the 23rd floor of his apartment in Shanghai, beautifully capturing the vibrant, bustling and ever-evolving landscape of our favorite city. Watch and be amazed. [VIDEO]

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Video: Shanghaiist


Why China Wants to Dump the Dollar

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Chriss W. Street writes:  China’s Dagong credit rating agency on October 17th downgraded its United States sovereign credit rating to A- and maintained its negative outlook on America’s solvency. Dagong warned that despite Washington’s last-minute resolution of the debt ceiling deadlock, “The fundamental situation that the debt growth rate significantly outpaces that of fiscal income and gross domestic product remains unchanged.”

China’s official state-run news agency, Xinhua, reiterated its statements that because of the continuing risk of a U.S. debt default, it is “a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.” This language is code for China wanting to abandon the U.S. dollar as the world’s “reserve currency” and move international financial transactions to the renminbi, the currency of the People’s Republic of China.

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China’s Unquenchable Thirst For Oil Could Be A Currency-Market Gamechanger

china-renminbi-12Rob Wile writes: For years, many have complained that China manipulates its currency, the renminbi (RMB), to keep it low against the U.S.  dollar to make its goods more competitive in foreign markets.

But the U.S. energy production boom is bringing a sea of change to the currency markets.

In September, China officially surpassed the U.S. as the world\’s largest oil importer — 6.30 million barrels a day versus America’s 6.24 million. The IEA now says Chinese oil demand will grow 3.9% in 2014.

The AEI’s Derek Scissors raises the prospect that China’s role in oil markets becomes so great that oil trades start getting priced in RMB, at the expense of the greenback.

But, it would also mean China is finally forced to take its thumb off the currency scale:

Within a few years, China could not only pass the US for the lead, it could be far in front, as American shale production continues to rise. Will oil pricing then start to move to RMB? Only when the RMB is made fully convertible — a choice Beijing has struggled with for years. It may struggle for a good while longer, but when the decision is finally made, oil will give the RMB a strong claim to be a truly global currency.

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