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China Trade Unions to increase role at foreign firms

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NEWS - China IT/Telecom

Friday, 10 September 2010 16:26

Sept. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The All China Federation of Trade Unions will work to increase the power of workers unions to negotiate wages at private and foreign companies in the nation, the China Daily reported today, citing Guo Chen, deputy division chief of the capacity building department of the federation.

Strikes that affected production by Japanese automakers and suicides at Foxconn Technology Group’s factory in Shenzhen showed that their unions were "not efficient,” Guo was cited as saying. The democratic election of union leaders is a good way to ensure better functioning unions, the newspaper cited Guo as saying.

At the end of last year, 79 percent of overseas-funded companies in China had unions and 78.5 percent of private companies had unions, according to the report. The federation aims for 90 percent of China’s companies to have unions by 2012, the newspaper reported, citing Guo.


China’s property market: Marriages and mergers

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NEWS - China Trade

Monday, 16 January 2012 13:31

Could the arrival of the year of the dragon rescue the country’s beleaguered property developers? As Chinese new year approaches later this month, tens of thousands of couples are preparing to marry under what is considered an auspicious sign. To win over a bride in a country undersupplied with women, it helps a lot if the aspiring groom first proves his worth by buying a home.
China’s developers need all the help they can get. Keen to cool overheating residential-property markets, the central government has restricted purchases of multiple homes, demanded larger down-payments and curtailed opportunities for speculators to “flip”, or quickly sell on, properties. It has curbed developers’ access to bank lending and cut off credit from new trust companies. It is also encouraging the use of property taxes like those introduced in Shanghai and Chongqing last year. The government remains committed to policies of this ilk.
Taken together, these measures have splashed cold water on the market. Price growth has been slowing since early 2010. Analysis by Soufun Holdings, the country’s largest property website, suggests that prices fell during December 2011 in 60 of the 100 cities it monitors. Land prices are falling fast, too. A recent survey of leading developers by Standard Chartered indicates that land prices are a third off their peaks of late 2010. There are also reports of land auctions run by local governments—a prime source of assets for developers and of funding for local exchequers—failing across the country. All of which presages an overdue consolidation of the industry.

One harbinger of the bloodshed to come is a row that erupted in Shanghai just after Christmas. SOHO China, a big developer, announced that it would buy a 50% stake in prime property near the city’s Bund promenade. It agreed to pay roughly 1 billion yuan ($158m) to Greentown China Holdings and nearly 3 billion yuan to Shanghai Zendai Property, two smaller developers. This outraged Fosun International, a conglomerate that owns the other half of the property, which claimed it had the right of first refusal and is now threatening legal action.
The row is revealing for several reasons, and not only because such public brawls are unusual in China. It serves as a good example of past excess: the property in dispute became the city’s most expensive when, in 2010, Shanghai Zendai paid 9.2 billion yuan for it in an auction. That the two smaller firms agreed to sell their crown jewel hints at the liquidity squeeze now facing weaker developers. And the squabble between the bigger players shows that there are cash-rich developers primed to take advantage of the tumult.
The scope for consolidation is huge. There are over 30,000 property developers in China. Many of these are small local firms that cannot command the access to credit, economies of scale or geographic diversification that big firms can. Analysts at Citibank estimate that the biggest 100 or so firms control only a quarter of the sector, with the next 500 firms commanding perhaps 10% to 15% more. But consolidation is gathering pace.
The obvious losers from this process will be firms that are heavily leveraged. HSBC estimates that the average gearing for leading listed developers rose from 47% in 2010 to 56% last year (before tightening measures hit home). That average masks wide variations, however: China Overseas Land & Investment (COLI), a state-run goliath, has a leverage ratio of only 36%, whereas Shimao, a smaller rival, has one of 77%. Analysts from Standard & Poor’s, a ratings agency, have run stress tests on the balance-sheets of leading developers and conclude that a 30% drop in contract sales from 2011 levels could push many weaker firms to the brink.
What about the winners? Conventional wisdom maintains that the big listed developers will best the unlisted developers, which are seen as having murky accounts and weak access to capital markets. Not necessarily, argues Andrew Lawrence of Barclays Capital. He sees an analogy with Britain’s frothy property market in the 1960s, when it was the flashy listed firms that overloaded their balance-sheets with debt, whereas the unlisted firms stayed trim and came out on top. He thinks much the same may happen in China.
Another bit of conventional wisdom holds that property developers focused on booming provincial cities will do much better than those with eyes on the biggest “Tier-1” markets like Beijing and Shanghai. One reason to think so is that the edicts issued by the federal government to curb market fervour are enforced with vigour only in the largest cities.
But it is just possible that the downturn could lead to a reversal of fortunes. Markets outside the big cities are often very thin, with few secondary buyers and little investment from other parts of the country. A sharp drop in prices and confidence could lead to a frightening freefall. Privately built housing in peripheral markets is also more vulnerable to cannibalisation by the vast amount of subsidised “social housing” being built by the government.
Pointing to Beijing’s speedy rebound from an earlier property downturn in 2008, analysts at Citibank argue that the leading markets may have a natural floor for prices even in the worst environment. If so, firms like China Resources, Longfor and COLI, which are well positioned in the big cities, may weather the storm better. This is especially true if there is a flight to quality. As the number of defaults and failed projects increases, buyers (who typically pay for homes before they are built) may well favour bigger developers with strong brands and stronger balance-sheets.
In any contraction, big and diversified firms that have little debt and access to cheap capital will come out on top. On that basis, the biggest winners of the coming shake-out are likely to be firms that are state-owned or that have strong links to the government. The likes of COLI and Poly Real Estate Group enjoy official patronage and access to subsidised credit. Of the 20 biggest developers, as measured by yuan sales, ten are wholly or partially controlled by state entities. That share will rise.


Foreign Companies Sound off on Business Policies

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NEWS - China Law

Thursday, 22 July 2010 10:40

The heads of some leading U.S. and European multinationals have publicly questioned recently whether new Chinese policies and regulations are making China a more difficult place for foreign firms to do business.

Over the weekend, the leaders of two large German companies with major investments in China -- the Siemens conglomerate and the chemical firm BASF -- challenged Premier Wen Jiabao about the country's deteriorating business climate during a meeting in Beijing attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Their criticisms come after similar remarks from the chief executive of Microsoft, who complained recently about China's treatment of intellectual property, and from the head of General Electric, who voiced concern about the country's business climate. Earlier this year, the Internet giant Google threatened to shut down its Chinese search engine, saying that a server had been hacked and that it could no longer abide by Chinese censorship rules.

In a survey of 183 world economies this month, the International Finance Corp., part of the World Bank, ranked China's business climate 89th -- a drop of three places since last year.

The American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China reported in its 2010 business-climate survey in April that most U.S. firms remain optimistic about China for the medium term. But that outlook is tempered by "worry that China's regulatory environment is becoming increasingly difficult," the survey found.

What is new, analysts say, is that some top executives doing business here are voicing their discontent openly, a significant shift from the traditional pattern of keeping a low public profile to avoid angering Chinese officials -- and risking retaliation.

"For them to come out and publicly deliver a tongue-lashing to Chinese officials is extremely significant," said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of GaveKal Dragonomics, an economics research firm in Beijing.

The foreign companies' biggest concern, observers said, is a set of policies known as "indigenous innovation," which essentially requires firms operating here to transfer their latest technology to China; it also favors homegrown Chinese companies for government business and contracts.

A foreign company here "has to register its technology in China, innovate in China and, in some cases, make it in China," said Murray King, managing director for greater China at Apco Worldwide, a corporate advisory and public affairs firm.

Without what U.S. and European firms consider adequate safeguards of intellectual property, some foreign business leaders are worried that Chinese companies will copy their technology and use it to compete against the foreign firms in the global marketplace.

Business analysts said that, for the most part, concern about a deteriorating business climate has been largely confined to those companies hit hardest by being forced to transfer their technology. Foreign firms in the retail sector are finding China to be a booming market at a time when the United States and Europe are still shaking off the global recession. The Gap clothing store is planning to open its first Chinese branches this year, in Beijing and Shanghai. Apple opened a new, cylindrical, 16,000-square-foot store in Shanghai this month. China has given General Motors a badly needed boost in car sales. And fast-food chains and companies selling luxury goods and consumer gadgets here are thriving.

In contrast, the more technology-based multinational firms -- particularly those involved in telecommunications, aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and alternative energy -- are finding China increasingly assertive and more interested than ever in acquiring their know-how. "Companies operating in those sectors are finding some significant head winds," King said.

U.S. and European banking and financial services companies have also voiced complaints about strict government controls of that sector, even as they open new branches in China.

Analysts said both developments -- China's new assertiveness toward multinationals and the firms' new willingness to protest publicly -- reflect the changing power dynamics as the country becomes more prosperous and self-assured.

"For a long time, multinationals had a significant degree of market power -- cash and technology," said Dragonomics' Kroeber. "Now China is bigger and more powerful. . . . They don't need cash anymore. They can drive a harder bargain."

Song Hong, a researcher with the Institute of World Economics and Politics, agreed. "The era when the foreign investor was treated as God in China passed," he said, adding that as a result, many foreign enterprises "now feel that they are not welcome."

In the weekend session with the German delegation, Wen, the premier, pushed back against that perception, calling it "untrue," according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xinhua, in an editorial, said Wen's reply may have been undiplomatic but was "the right and no-nonsense answer" to the growing chorus of doubt about China's business climate. Despite the complaints, Xinhua said, citing Commerce Ministry figures, foreign investment in China rose 19.6 percent for the first half of 2010 compared with last year.



China Welcomes WTO Finding Against EU

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NEWS - China Trade

Monday, 18 July 2011 11:42

China welcomed findings by the World Trade Organization's Appellate Body in a Chinese antidumping case against the European Union, China's Commerce Ministry said Saturday.

The Appellate Body supported China's position on the EU's application of antidumping tariffs to imports of certain metal fasteners from China. Both the EU and China had filed appeals after the WTO in December condemned the tariffs, handing Beijing its biggest legal victory so far at the WTO.

"China hopes Europe as quickly as possible eliminates the legislation and discriminatory antidumping policies that are inconsistent with WTO rules," the Commerce Ministry said in a statement. "China's victory in this case is very meaningful and will help improve the competitive environment for Chinese companies in international markets including the EU".

A spokesman for EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht declined to comment.

The WTO on Friday said the Appellate Body upheld earlier findings that part of the EU's dumping rules were inconsistent with WTO rules.

China joined the WTO in 2001. Its exports to the rich world immediately soared, leading to tensions over currency values, public contracts, access to the Chinese market by Western companies and charges of "dumping," or exporting to a foreign country below cost.

The EU and the U.S. have made extensive use of WTO rules that allow countries to impose tariffs on dumped goods, frequently targeting countries where the state plays a large role in the economy, such as China or India. But China has also begun systematically challenging EU and U.S. tariff increases against its exports.


Business Tianjin OUT! June 2019 Edition

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NEWS - Tianjin Finance

Written by Helen Monday, 03 June 2019 12:49

BT 201906 340X458BT 201906 QR PDFChina’s economy looked to have had its growth slow sharply in April, before new US trade war tariffs took effect, with both industrial production and retail sales growth showing significant declines. The big picture is that China’s economy is losing the momentum it gained in the first quarter. China’s stimulus measures may be starting to wear off, and the central government had engaged in multiple rounds of rate cuts for banks, encouraging the flow of lending into the economy.

GEA is one of the largest technology suppliers for food processing and a wide range of other industries. Employing over 18000 employees worldwide, the global group specializes in machinery plants, as well as process technology and components.

We were given the opportunity to interview Mr Alexander Krausse, Vice President of Supply Chain & Production APAC of GEA, a company that provides sustainable solutions for sophisticated production processes in diverse end user markets and offers a comprehensive service portfolio.

Whether you are a marketer or just a regular web surfer, video is already part of your life and most likely you will just be having more of it in the future. When we read or hear about video marketing, but the truth is that video is everywhere. For many people around the world, it is not possible to let a day go by without watching a single video and you might start to wonder why is that.

The Dragon Boat Festival gives us some life’s lessons. When you are under pressure, you must learn how to focus your attention and stick to your goals. You need to paddle up and persevere! Enjoy Dragon Boat Festival on 7th of June of this year.

Michael Hart, who has spent more than 20 years in China in the commercial real estate industry and over a decade of that time in Tianjin, provides to us again an excellent article of how to interpret city rankings.

Our column Last Words is dedicated to people that decide to leave their country to start a new professional career in China. Dorothy shares with us her experience and feeling of this important moment of her life.

Visit our website www.businesstianjin.com and follow us on our official Wechat account (ID: business_tianjin) for a complete list of articles and information.

Mary Smith

Managing Editor | Business Tianjin Magazine

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

GEA集团是全球领先的食品加工及众多工业领域技术供应商之一。作为国际技术集团,GEA集团专注于机械制造,生产运营,工艺技术及其设备组件。GEA集团致力于为不同最终用户市场的复杂生产过程提供可持续的解决方案,并提供全面的服务组合。本期"封面故事"栏目对GEA集团亚太区供应链与生产副总裁Alexander Krausse先生进行了专访, 深入了解他在这个行业里有哪些独到的经历与经验。



Michael Hart在中国商业房地产行业工作了20多年,在天津工作了十多年,再次为我们提供了一篇如何解读城市排名的优秀文章。





10 ECONOMY: Growth slows sharply

BT 201906 economy 0112 FEATURE STORY: Knowledge Sharing Apps

A child tries out an audio book at a Ximalaya booth during a book fair in Shenzhen14 COVER STORY: Engineering for a Better World

BT 201906 cover 0119 NUMBERS

20 FOCUS: The future of Medicine in China

BT 201906 focus 0122 TRAVEL: The views from Table Mountain. Cape Town in South Africa

BT 201906 travel24 IN DEPTH: World Electric Vehicles Leadership being played in China

BT 201906 in depth 0126 INSPIRATION: You can do anything if you put your mind to it Anything is possible

BT 201906 inspiration 0128 INVESTMENT: Huazhu Group Limited (former China Lodging Group)

BT 201906 investment 0130 E-BIZ: Optimize Mobile Marketing for Ecommerce Shops

BT 201906 e biz 0132 REAL ESTATE: How to Interpret City Rankings?

BT 201906 real 0135 BUSINESS NEWS

40 TAX & FINANCE: Regulations on Individual Income Tax (IIT) to improve the talent mobility

BT 201906 tax 0144 Legal Assistance: About the PRC Foreign Investment Law. Things Foreign Investors Should Know

BT 201906 LEGAL 0148 TECH: 3D Bioprinting

BT 201906 TECH 0150 MARKETING: Why Video Marketing is so Powerful

BT 201906 MARKETING 0152 HR: Biometric Time Tracking and Security in HR

BT 201906 hr 0154 CHAMBER REPORTS


62 ART & LEISURE: What is the Origin of the Dragon Boat Festival?

BT 201906 art 0164 BOOK REVIEW: The Alibaba Way

BT 201906 book 0165 LAST WORDS: An interesting exit from a well-trampled roadBT 201906 last 01


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