Changing China

Giant on the move

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Don’t bank on mortgage spike

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By Michael Wei

Don’t count on a recent spike in home loans to greatly improve earnings at Chinese banks. That’s because they are still a relatively small part of overall lending.

“It is not expected to have a huge impact on banks’ overall earnings,” Gao Shanwen, Essence Securities’ chief economist said at the Reuters China Investment Summit, speaking about the rise in mortgage lending. Mortages make up only about 10 percent of total lending at present.

New lending in China has surged in recent months, and some of that has gone into the recovering housing market. Mortgages are considered quality loans in China because of their longer term
and relatively higher margins.

Gao said that such loans are one of the key areas that
commercial banks have been pushing during a lending surge in the first half of the year under a loose monetary policy.

Where others won’t go

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Chinese mining companies are expanding overseas because they are cost-effective and willing to work in dangerous and risky areas where others are unwilling to go, Yang Junmin, vice general
manager of Beijing Sinodrill, asserted at the Reuters China Investment Summit.

Some critics accuse Beijing of supporting corrupt regimes in Africa, the Middle East and Latin American, where Chinese companies are investing aggressively to secure access to raw materials to fuel the country’s rapid economic growth.

from Summit Notebook:

China’s evolving role from producer to consumer

Hardly a day goes by now without some Chinese firm striking a deal to buy assets overseas, but the country's best prospects for growth may be right in its own backyard. Vivi Lin in Beijing reports on how the world's workshop is fast becoming one of the world's top consumers.

The Other China Stimulus

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By Zhou Xin

As the world watches how Beijing’s $585 billion stimulus package can create opportunities for investors, they might be overlooking another mini-stimulus that is coming in a matter of weeks: the lavish celebration the government will be staging to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1.

On top of what is expected to be a huge military parade through central Beijing, massive firework displays are expected to light up the capital and other big cities around the country.

Supply Push?

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This is almost certainly not what Chinese policy makers had in mind when they started encouraging exporters to explore the domestic market to help make up for a drop in Western demand: sex toy makers opening flagship stores in Beijing.

But as an article and a video by my colleagues Ben Blanchard and Kitty Bu explore, that is just one of the side-effects the global slowdown is having on the world’s most populous country.

“The hidden danger of blogs”

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China’s government may be fretting about the vast new potential for leaking information opened up by the internet (see this Xinhua piece on planned revisions to the state secrets law).
   
But that hasn’t stopped the many bureaucrats who police the nebulous world of Chinese state secrets from wanting to leap headfirst into the online world.

The web is awash with the sites of state secrets bureaux, I discovered after a colleague dug up a report posted on one of them about the commercially and diplomatically sensitive detention of executives from mining giant Rio Tinto.

Love the Motherland, Love Statistics

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The next time anyone questions the reliability of Chinese statistics, they should first spare a thought for the sensitive, earnest souls who gather the data. The National Bureau of Statistics asked its employees to craft poems to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. 

Like Chinese growth surging beyond economists’ forecasts, their literary talents are sure to leave critics gasping for breath.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

‘Special One’ makes few friends in China

If Inter Milan were intending their trip to Beijing for last week's Italian Super Cup to be a China charm offensive, coach Jose Mourinho was obviously not kept in the loop.

The accepted form for European club officials on pre-season trips to China is to politely praise everything local and talk up the footballing potential of the world's most populous nation.

from India Insight:

India, China take a measure of each other at border row talks

China and India are sitting down for another round of talks this week on their unsettled border, a nearly 50-year festering row that in recent months seems to have gotten worse.

China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and India's National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan are unlikely to announce any agreement on the 3,500 km border, even a small one, but their talks this week may well signal how they intend to move forward on a relationship marked by a  deep, deep "trust deficit", as former Indian intelligence chief B. Raman puts it.

China’s infertile ground for (some) Western sports

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Soccer is in a tight spot in China — literally. Huge crowds roar for Manchester United but the national team is a laughing stock at 108th in FIFA world rankings. Poor coaching, lack of grassroots development, even corruption and violence are variously cited as reasons for the sport’s demise. But the real reason may be more basic: the fact of physical space, or the lack thereof, in China.

If geography is a determinant of economic development, then it is fair to extrapolate that urban geography underpins the development of sports. And here’s the rub for soccer, not to mention American football and baseball. With few parks, small concrete schoolyards and a dearth of quiet streets, urban China offers little of the space needed for the sprawling play that defines those sports. Soccer has deep roots in China, but playing space has been squeezed as cities sprawl and swallow land in big gulps.

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