Changing China

Giant on the move

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from Photographers' Blog:

Temple of Heaven

China's elderly find life and joy in exercise

By Grace Liang and Lucy Hornby

BEIJING - Gao Mingyuan has found joy at age 66.

Joy, in his case, consists of bending himself double and hooking his legs around a pole that runs behind his shoulders, in a Chinese meditative martial arts tradition.

Gao is one of many Chinese seniors, freed from the rigors of work and raising children, who are turning to martial arts such as tai chi, bopping to trendy beats or singing patriotic songs as they seek health and friends in parks across the country.

"We forget all our troubles when we practice," he said as he contorted himself at the Temple of Heaven, where seniors exercise beneath the gnarled trees at dawn.

China has over 140 million people over the age of 60. Many lost out on an education, thanks to the Cultural Revolution, and have retired early as state-owned factories went bust or to help care for grandchildren.

China mimic – birdsong in Beijing

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Bird’s singing, horses galloping, trains trundling along and even planes taking off are no challenge for Chinese professional mimic Cheng Jiaqiang.

He can imitate more than 100 noises, a skill he learned from his father, who in turn, learned it from his father.

A Hu-Ma summit in 2012?

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When Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou was elected ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman in July, pundits jumped on the idea that he would use his new title to help secure a meeting with China’s President Hu Jintao. The first-of-a-kind summit would follow six decades of strained relations including China’s threats of military force against the island.

Ma’s new job, which he will take in mid-October, allows him to meet Communist Party Chairman Hu in a party-to-party role, laying aside each side’s presidential title. China does not recognise Taiwan’s presidency or other government institutions as it claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island.

How cheap is cheap?

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How cheap is cheap?

That was the most frequently asked question among bankers and private equity experts attending a recent forum in Hong Kong, as they swapped strategies about how to pick up stressed assets during the financial crisis. 

When Lehman Brothers collapsed a year ago, everyone shared the same view: The global financial crisis was just beginning.

That’s right, Grandpa Wen!!

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China’s propaganda machine and Internet are once again agog over Premier Wen Jiabao, whose public comforting of Chinese earthquake victims last year cemented his reputation for having a common touch.

China’s Communist Party rarely admits mistakes, but Wen got kudos for facing up to his.

from Global News Journal:

North Korea’s Great Leader knew his cabbage

One of the primary aims of North Korea’s propaganda machine is to show its founder Kim Il-sung and current leader Kim Jong-il as all-knowing, parent-like (and at times god-like) figures who devote themselves entirely to bettering the lives of every citizen of the state.

Kim Il-sung, known as the "Great Leader" is also the eternal president of the state formed at the start of the Cold War. His son Kim Jong-il, who took over when his father died in 1994, is known as the "Dear Leader."

from Breakingviews:

Beijing gate-keeping disadvantages Chinese buyers

Hummer H3

Chinese regulators might think that a tough stance on takeovers prevents domestic bidders from overpaying for overseas targets. This approach has helped prevent unwise deals. But, as the takeover of General Motors Co's Hummer business shows, Chinese bidders may have to pay more to compensate for the regulatory risk at home.

Deep-pocketed Chinese buyers are increasingly appearing as potential buyers of assets overseas. But as well as grappling with protectionism in target countries, they also face unpredictable regulatory decisions at home. Foreign sellers are increasingly demanding that Chinese bidders pay more to compensate for these risks.

from Breakingviews:

China retail speculation adds risks to gold price

goldAs gold prices surge to a new record, China's retail investors are trading more of the yellow metal, often using borrowed money. This is further evidence that recent high prices may not be sustained.
Like investors around the world, Chinese individuals are buying gold because they are worried about inflation. After all, Beijing has already pumped an unprecedented amount of money into the system, sending asset prices higher. But Chinese retail investors are also known for their herd behaviour. Despite the recent sharp rise in gold prices, many have decided to jump in.

This is lucrative business for Chinese banks. During the first six months, mid-sized Xingye Bank, which offers gold trading business with Shanghai Gold Exchange, traded 20.9 billion yuan ($3 billion) worth of gold for its clients, almost three times as much as they did last year.
Other than earning a commission for buying and selling for their clients, the bank is also making a gamble itself. It traded 15.3 billion yuan ($2 billion) worth of gold on its own account, up 15 percent from last year.

from Commentaries:

A “Wynning” strategy of betting on VIPs

Wynn Macau Top-tier casino operator Wynn has always bet on VIP gamblers. Now it is adopting the same approach with its stock market flotation. Wynn is trying to trump half a dozen recent poor Hong Kong market debuts by shunning fickle retail investors and handpicking money managers who are likely to stay the distance. It remains to be seen whether this strategy can help justify its valuation premium.

Most Hong Kong retail investors sell their shares on the first day of trading for a quick profit. By putting 90 percent of the shares in the hands of institutional buyers, Wynn is aiming to avoid the hit when its shares start trading on Friday.

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