China Billionaires

China gets a new billionaire every 5 days

Asia has reportedly produced a new billionaire every week.

Well, it turns out to be much faster than that.

A new report by UBS and PricewaterhouseCoopers found that one billionaire pops up in Asia every three days, outpacing all other regions in the world.

China accounted for 71% of Asia’s new billionaires in 2015, up from 35% in 2009, according to the report, which has analyzed data covering more than 1,300 billionaires over the past two decades.

Of 113 Asian entrepreneurs who reached billionaire status last year, 80 of them are from China, the report says. That’s more than half of the world’s total count, and means China gains a new billionaire every five days.

Last September, the government earmarked innovation reform as a priority. “Promoting entrepreneurship and innovation will offer college graduates opportunities for fair competition no matter where in the country they come from,” Premier Li Keqiang said in a meeting with tech companies.

This fosters a favorable environment for young Chinese entrepreneurs to get rich fast, according to the report.

Here is UBS-PwC:

“Almost half of these came from the technology (19%), consumer & retail (15%) and real estate (15%) sectors. E-commerce businesses are in the ascendancy. At the same time, many of the country’s wealthy are diversifying out of their existing businesses into real estate. Moreover, China’s urbanization and increasing consumer spending have fostered an environment where businesses are growing fast.”

Outside China, but still in Asia, Hong Kong and India had the highest number of new billionaires at 11 each, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Europe was home to 56 new billionaires. Most European billionaires inherited their wealth, which was almost unchanged from the previous year at $1.3 trillion.

The count of new US billionaires was relatively stagnant. While 41 people achieving billionaire status last year, 36 dropped out of the group, according to the report.

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Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

The man behind the push to bring the NHL to China

Zhou Yunjie is not the sort of person who needs to bow to other people very often.

He is a Chinese billionaire, a magnate of beer kegs and Red Bull tins who owns a vineyard in France, hobnobs with a Hungarian Olympic gold medalist fencer and gets into debates with his staff about how many factories he actually owns – they say 27, he says 29, spread across three countries.

But when it comes to slapping pucks, the kind of thing he once did with Justin Bieber, Mr. Zhou knows better than to put on airs as a Chinese person.

“We have to confess that when it comes to hockey, the NHL is our teacher,” he said. “And right now, we need to hire a very good teacher, so that we can learn how to get better faster.”

The NHL is about to make a historic push into China, a market where it has lagged far behind other professional sports leagues. On Thursday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will take the stage in Beijing to formally announce a pair of exhibition games in China later this year. The NHL has plans to invest in youth training and wants to help build Chinese hockey leagues; other organizations, including Hockey Canada, have similarly become active suddenly in the world’s most populous nation.

But what seems like an abrupt tack toward China has been years in the making, in part thanks to the prodding of Mr. Zhou, who began goaltending as an 11-year-old in Beijing in the 1970s, and is now signing a three-year deal to be the league’s strategic partner in China.

It’s a country that can today count only a few thousand hockey players – but stands ready, he believes, for astounding growth over the next decade.

“We can set our target at five million people playing hockey,” Mr. Zhou said in an interview Wednesday at a fencing club in Beijing that, his staff proudly says, is the only one in China to include a cavernous wine cellar in its basement, stocked with hundreds of bottles of his own Sunshine Creek brand of sparkling brut.

Mr. Zhou – or Mr. Joe, as he is known to the players who have met him – has big plans. He is in negotiations for his own rink in Beijing, which could be used to build a new generation of hockey players, establish an NHL museum and host exhibition games. His company, metal-can-making giant ORG Packaging Co., will be the presenting partner of the NHL China Games 2017, a pair of matchups between the Lose Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks planned for this September in Beijing and Shanghai.

Each of those games will be preceded by an intensive week of hockey activities; Mr. Zhou also wants to bring an NHL truck tour to China, with displays of league history.

“What I hope to do with the NHL is to jointly work on promoting the sport in China,” he said.

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China Billionaires

China poised to top global corporate patents

Applications surge 45% to challenge lead of US and Japan in international filings

Chinese patenting applications surged 45 per cent in 2016, according to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, putting the country on track to overtake Japan and the US to become the largest user of the international patent system within two years.

ZTE and Huawei, two of China’s largest telecoms and electronics companies, topped the 2016 rankings for corporate patenting compiled by the Geneva-based UN agency.

“China-based filers are behind much of the growth in international patent and trademark filings . . . as the country continues its journey from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’,” said Francis Gurry, Wipo director-general.

Wipo’s analysis covers international applications through the patent co-operation treaty, which tend to be of higher quality than purely domestic filings. If trends continue, China will move ahead of Japan this year and the US within two years to become the leader in the international patent system.

Chinese inventors made 43,000 international applications in 2016, while domestic filings make China’s patent office much the busiest in the world, handling more than 1m applications a year.

Since Huawei and ZTE started filing international patents in 2000 and 2002 respectively, their applications have risen quickly to take them comfortably to the top two positions in the global patenting table.

“The two Chinese companies are still in a big catch-up race with competitors elsewhere in the world,” said Frank Tietze of Cambridge university’s Centre for Technology Management. “They are filing, filing, filing to build up a big patent portfolio that they can use as a bargaining chip when negotiating with other companies.”

Japan and South Korea have also increased their international patent applications more rapidly than most European and North American companies, though not at the same pace as China. As a result, Asia accounted for 47.4 per cent of all applications last year, just short of the combined share of Europe (25.6 per cent) and North America (25.3 per cent).

“Japanese domestic filings have been declining for eight or nine years while international filings continue to grow strongly,” said Mr Gurry. “There is a clear strategy in Japan to concentrate on patenting and exploiting the best inventions as widely as possible.”

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China Digital Economy

China’s supercomputing advances

NSA, DOE say China’s supercomputing advances put U.S. at risk

China’s computing efforts are a threat to U.S. national security and may undermine profitable parts of the U.S. economy, a new report warns

Advanced computing experts at the National Security Agency and the Department of Energy are warning that China is “extremely likely” to take leadership in supercomputing as early as 2020, unless the U.S. acts quickly to increase spending.

China’s supercomputing advances are not only putting national security at risk, but also U.S. leadership in high-tech manufacturing. If China succeeds, it may “undermine profitable parts of the U.S. economy,” according to a report titled U.S. Leadership in High Performance Computing by HPC technical experts at the NSA, the DOE, the National Science Foundation and other agencies.

“To maintain U.S. leadership in HPC,” the report says, “a surge” of U.S. “investment and action is needed to address HPC priorities.”

Concern about China’s technical advances have been raised before by U.S. scientists and industry groups, but never in such striking terms — or by representatives of a spy agency.

The report stems from a workshop held in September that was attended by 60 people, many scientists, 40 of whom work in government, with the balance representing industry and academia. The report, which summarizes that meeting, was just posted online.

The threat from China is so acute that “absent aggressive action by the U.S. — the U.S. will lose leadership and not control its own future in HPC,” the report states.

[ To comment on this story, visit Computerworld’s Facebook page. ] Indeed, the report says that “assuming status quo conditions, the meeting participants believe that a change in HPC leadership was extremely likely, with only minor disagreement on the timescale; many suggested that China would be leading the U.S. as early as 2020.”

China supercomputing systems have been leading the Top 500 list, the global ranking of supercomputers, for several years. But that’s not a measure of supercomputing leadership alone.

One workshop attendee, Paul Messina, a computer scientist and distinguished fellow at Argonne National Labs and the head of its Exascale Computing Project, sketched out the HPC leadership criteria: It means leadership in producing and using systems, as well as “first mover advantage.” It also means staying in the lead at all times. The U.S. needs to control its HPC destiny and “can’t depend on other countries to sell us what we need,” he said in an email.

Something to keep in mind is that this report was written at a time when many assumed that supercomputing funding was not under threat. The report calls for more spending while the Trump administration, along with the Republican-controlled Congress, is planning major cuts in the federal budget.

“National security requires the best computing available, and loss of leadership in HPC will severely compromise our national security,” the report says. “Loss of leadership in HPC could significantly reduce the U.S. nuclear deterrence and the sophistication of our future weapons systems.”

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China wants Lobster by Mark Schlarbaum

China has a taste for lobster

China has finally developed a taste for lobster—and it’s keeping Maine fishermen flush with cash

Seafood is a classic luxury item in China. But until recently, people there weren’t big on lobster. The iconic, bright-red crustaceans were known as the “Boston lobster,” and were a rarity compared to other fancy oceanic eats like sea cucumbers or geoduck clams.

But the economic boom in China has given the country’s swelling ranks of rich people a chance to expand their culinary horizons. For Maine’s lobster industry, the crustacean craze couldn’t have come at a better time.

In 2016, Maine’s lobstermen landed more lobsters than ever in recorded history: 130 million pounds (59,000 tonnes), a haul that weighs as much as three Statues of Liberty.

But record catches aren’t necessarily great for lobstermen. In 2012, Maine caught 126 million pounds of lobsters, which at the time was off the charts. Prices promptly plunged. The luxury crustacean that typically retails for around $18 a pound was suddenly “cheaper than deli meats.” So desperate were lobstermen to offload their supply that lobster were selling for as little as $1.25 a pound—even though the break-even point is roughly $4 per pound. That was more than a little worrisome, given that the lobster industry contributes an estimated $1.7 billion to the Maine economy—roughly 3% of the state’s GDP.

Last year, Maine lobstermen landed around the same volume they had during the catastrophic glut of 2012. This time, however, prices per pound were comfortably above the break-even mark. The total haul brought in a record-breaking $533 million to the state’s lobster industry—nearly 50% more than the average of the previous 10 years, even after adjusting for inflation.

So how can Maine’s docks be crawling with lobsters without dragging down prices? It’s (mostly) thanks to China.
Back in 2010, China accounted for about 1% of US exports of American lobsters, by value. By last year, that figure had leapt to 15%. (Granted, not all of these were necessarily from Maine—about 17% of total US lobster landings come from elsewhere in New England.)

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Chinese brokerages see surging profits in 2015

China demand for infant milk formula

A2 sees 290 per cent profit surge on China demand for infant milk formula

Unlike some key local competitors, A2 Milk has boasted of “strong growth in demand” for its infant milk formula in China as it posted a 290 per cent surge in interim earnings. Its result also benefited from buoyant demand for its milk products as it pushes into new markets in the US and UK.

Net profit surged to $NZ39.38 million ($36.8 million) in the December half, from $NZ10.1 million a year earlier, the dairy products maker said in a statement to the ASX today.

The company pointed to rising sales in China in the December quarter, indicating strong sales during so-called ‘singles day’ when online Chinese retailer Alibaba fosters a popular sales event.

“Whilst the growth in demand was evident across the half-year, there was a marked increase in infant formula sales in the second quarter corresponding with the phasing of key sales events in China and an increase in market share in both Australia and China,” A2 Milk’s managing director Geoffrey Babidge said.

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“This was achieved whilst maintaining a prudent approach to the management of production and inventory in recognition of foreshadowed changes in regulations for infant formula sold in China.”

Revenues for A2’s infant formula product increased by 62 per cent and 348 per cent in Australia and China, respectively, and with the operating EBITDA doubling and soaring by 1021 per cent, respectively.

The rate of growth in part reflects inventory shortages experienced during the year-earlier period, it said.

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum, Ford, China

China is pickup country? Ford says yes!

The Ford F-Series, which has been the best selling vehicle in the U.S. for 33 straight years, is looking to conquer a new market — China.

Ford has begun shipping the F-150 Raptor to dealers in China, who will soon offer the pickup to buyers in the communist country.

“F-150 Raptor’s appeal and unmatched off-road performance has earned the truck a loyal following around the globe,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, The Americas. “Export to China enables us to bring a new group of enthusiasts into the Ford family.”

The move comes as the automaker faces pressure from President Donald Trump to manufacture more vehicles in the U.S. and hire more Americans.

Will exporting the F-150 Raptor to China move the needle and lead to more jobs at the Dearborn Assembly Plant where it’s built? No.

Still, Ford is committed to enhancing its reputation with buyers in China where it sold more than 1.25 million vehicles last year.

“Sales of the F-Series Raptor will be fairly limited in China, but the significance is not the overall volumes,” said James Chao, a consultant with IHS Automotive based in China. “As a halo vehicle, the Raptor can start to shape the image of Ford in China as an aggressive, even macho type of brand.”

While China may be the world’s largest auto market, it is far from becoming a pickup hotbed. In fact, pickups make up just about 1.5 percent of the country’s auto sales.

That’s primarily because the booming markets for autos in China have been cities where pickup trucks are not practical due to congestion. In addition, many metropolitan areas in China forbid the sale of pickups as they wrestle with how to cut pollution levels.

Finally, pickup trucks are primarily manufactured in North America, which means they carry a 25 percent tariff when imported into China to be sold.

Ford won’t say how many F-150 Raptors it expects to sell in China, but there are large areas of “inner China,” away from urban centers, where a sportier version of pickup truck could attract buyers.

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum Basketball

China’s uphill search for the next Stephon Marbury

As the first and only licensed foreign sports agent in China, Matt Beyer has a busy job. The Beijing-based Wisconsin native oversees a portfolio of foreign clients — many of whom play professional basketball in the country — managing their contracts and assisting with other aspects of their lives on foreign soil.

Beyer witnessed ex-New York Knicks star Stephon Marbury’s successful transformation from NBA castoff to revered Chinese basketball heavyweight. Now representing eight foreign players including 2016 Celtics first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele, Beyer is determined to find the next “Lao Ma” — Marbury’s Chinese nickname.

“China has become a destination for players who are looking to make a salary while enjoying a shorter season,” Beyer told ESPN.com.

However, Marbury still stands as one of a kind despite being nearly 40 years old. Many Chinese fans say that there are two kinds of foreign players: Marbury and everyone else.

That might sound extreme, but it gets at a greater truth: There likely won’t be another Marbury in China anytime soon.

“He’s a hard worker, which I think is the most important thing,” said Beyer, who doesn’t represent Marbury but has worked with him in the past. “He is also an extreme competitor. You don’t really see that type of tenacity and anger [among other foreign players in China]. He puts all of his skills and physical dedication into the game.”

Over the years, Chinese leagues — including the top-tier Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and other second-tier divisions — have developed a voracious appetite for foreign players, especially Americans, hoping that they can bring excitement to the game and boost ticket sales. Today, thanks to the teams’ deeper pockets and an increased willingness to spend, China has become a hotbed for former NBA players hoping to make some quick money before jumping to more competitive leagues.

“For foreign players to succeed in China, being competent is the first thing,” said Will Shao, a Chinese basketball insider and former reporter who closely followed Marbury in Beijing.

And for most Chinese teams, competency means getting buckets.

Every summer, Chinese team officials travel to the United States and Europe on aggressive scouting trips. But with the exploding salary cap in the NBA, many Chinese teams say it is becoming more difficult to find quality players at a price they can afford.

Du Feng, head coach of the CBA’s Guangdong Southern Tigers, has noticed a drop in overall quality.

“Many players who have proven themselves probably didn’t show up [in the CBA],” he said. “Maybe it’s related to the high salary in the NBA.”

“You are given a different role,” Beyer said. “[In China], guys are encouraged to score and to lead.”

The opportunity to put up big numbers comes with plenty of pressure, though.

“If you have two or three bad games in a row, you might get cut,” Beyer said. “The league cuts about 45 percent of foreign players in the middle of every season. You have to bring it every night and be tough.”

Similar to the NBA, the 20 teams in the CBA are located across the country. Long travel on commercial airlines and bus rides — on top of the three-games-a-week regular season schedule — weigh on foreign players, who also have a hard time finding comforting food and training facilities on the road.

When the likes of Tracy McGrady, Gilbert Arenas, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin embarked on their journeys to play in China, local fans couldn’t hide their excitement over another “Lao Ma” for their own city. But their stints were cut short by misfortunes such as injuries, difficulties adapting to the local lifestyle and internal issues with their teams.

Language, of course, is another barrier. Few Chinese players speak English well, making the teams’ translators often the go-to person for foreign players.

“Many CBA teams are in second-tier or third-tier cities,” Shao said. “Even if [foreign players] want to be more involved, the opportunities are not there. Some translators speak some English, but their lack of overseas experience makes it tough for players to communicate with them effectively.”

All of that, plus unfamiliar officiating rules and overwhelming expectations from fans and media, have made it difficult to replicate Marbury’s success in China.

“Most importantly, foreign players must have the willingness to blend in and be part of [everything],” Shao said. “Many teams now value this quality given Marbury’s story. Some players are willing to do everything to help their teams win while others — who have no intention to stay long in China — just focus on racking up stats for themselves so they can get another job later elsewhere.”
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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China Bitcoin - Mark Schlarbaum

China’s Big Bitcoin Traders Are All-In

What Central Bank? China’s Big Bitcoin Traders Are All-In On Bitcoin

Despite recent reports that suggest China’s central bank is casting a critical eye on domestic bitcoin exchanges, local traders remain largely unfazed.

In conversations with CoinDesk, members of the country’s bitcoin trading community, as well as cryptocurrency exchange operators who were not involved in the talks, expressed their belief that the increased oversight of the industry will be a boon for the technology in the long term.

Over-the-counter trader Zhao Dong, who says he trades 250 BTC (or about $150,000) in the digital currency daily, said in interview that he had “no worries” about the future of the tech.

Overall, he believes that, rather than hostile, the People’s Bank of China merely wants to limit investor risk, and that it has no intention of harming or otherwise limiting use of the technology.

Zhao told CoinDesk:

“It’s true that there is some panic selling , but old bitcoiners like me aren’t panicking at all. Actually it’s a good opportunity to make a profit.”

Zhou Shouji, the operator of FinTech Blockchain Group, a bitcoin hedge fund that claims to have amassed $20m in investments, stressed that, despite the “high volatility” in the market, local traders “are not worried” about any potential government actions.

“Everyone gets the message,” he added.

The statements come as the impact of the decision by the PBoC to make public its meetings with bitcoin exchanges BTCC, Huobi and OKCoin has left the bitcoin market in flux. (Yesterday, it hit its lowest point in one month).

At press time, the price of bitcoin was $770, a value that was roughly 40% below peak prices observed earlier this year.
Trading tapers

Yet, while confidence may still be high, some trading firms are reporting changes in customer behavior since the decline began.

Kong Gao, an employee at OTC trading firm Richfund, for example, noted that his firm had seen rapid new customer growth in the run up to the $1,153 price peak. Since then, though, he said this steady growth has declined.

The statements are notable given that OTC trading primarily appeals to larger investors, those who would otherwise influence the bitcoin price on exchanges with large purchases that can cause slippage.

“A rally like this one does have some impact on OTC volume,” Kong said. “Some of them have been anxious, but we have assured them this kind of volatility is not really uncommon in Bitcoinland.”

Kong declined to provide figures to support how much trading had been affected.

CHBTC, an exchange that sees roughly $115,000 in BTC/CNY trading daily, reported that it is still seeing new customers, even if activity is a little depressed.

“Most traders are holding back to see what happens next,” a spokesperson for the exchange said.

She added that CHBTC “welcomes” the regulation, echoing statements made by BTCC and OKCoin in the wake of last week’s news.
Fake volumes

But even after the initial news has subsided, there remains a worry that the government’s move could be followed by future enforcement actions.

Zhao Dong noted that there is a perception that Chinese exchanges display “fake volumes”, a criticism that has long been prevalent in the West, and that has contributed to a notable distrust of these firms.

Zhao, however, stressed that “not all volumes” are fake, and that there are “many speculators and arbitrageurs” in China that are responsible for contributing to the country’s volume. (Figures from CoinDesk Research project 95% of bitcoin trading volumes occur on China-based exchanges).

Harry Yeh, managing partner at US OTC firm Binary Financial, agreed that China’s market is “huge”, or at least larger than many people in the West think.

“I think people underestimate how big bitcoin is in China. Some of the biggest traders, the biggest miners are all based out of China,” he said.

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum on China Toilets

China Rates the Best Toilets for Tourists

China Rates the Best Toilets for Tourists (and Tells the Laggards to Clean Up)

HONG KONG — Smog and corruption are among the problems that the Chinese government has vowed to combat.

Now another problem, which lies right under many tourists’ noses, is in the authorities’ cross hairs: unsightly toilets.

The China National Tourism Administration, a government agency, announced a five-year plan in December to enhance the country’s tourism industry, including a project to build, expand and renovate 100,000 toilets in scenic areas and along tourist routes. The plan complements a campaign to add 57,000 modern public toilets nationwide by late 2017.

The agency’s chairman, Li Jinzao, has said that a failure to upgrade toilets could damage the reputation of China’s tourism industry, which the United Nations said earned $114 billion from international visitors in 2015, second only to the United States.

China should “advance the toilet revolution with the help of science and technology,” Mr. Li said in November at a conference in Beijing.

To help the revolution, the agency published a list of 10 scenic sites with exemplary toilets. The winner was Gubei Water Town, a resort complex of gray brick buildings with tiled roofs at the foot of the Great Wall on the outskirts of Beijing.

On a recent afternoon at Gubei Water Town, a visitor saw restrooms with sofas, potted plants and watercolor paintings. The urinals were exceptionally clean, and the stalls were stocked with what is often a rare commodity in China’s public facilities: toilet paper.

“One small step forward, one giant leap for civility,” a placard above each urinal said.

But the government is taking a hard line against stragglers. The tourism agency said in December that after recent inspections, it had delisted, downgraded or warned 367 A-rated scenic sites for a range of violations, including outdated or unsanitary restrooms.

One place that the government penalized last year was the Shenlong Gorge, a scenic area in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing known for its white-water rafting. Shenlong, which had been classified as 5A, the highest level in the five-tier ratings, was delisted last summer after inspectors conducted two undercover visits.

The National Tourism Administration said in a news release at the time that the Shenlong Gorge was a “prominent laggard of the toilet revolution, with messy toilet sanitation, filthy conditions, seriously bad odors and dirty toilet appliances.”

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum Soccer

Chinese pouring billions into football

The Great Ball of China: How Chinese president Xi Jinping is pouring billions into football to relegate the Premier League to the second division

With a new £5.1billion TV deal in place and Leicester winning a fairytale season last summer, the Premier League’s place as the richest and most exciting football league in the world seemed assured.

But – as the signings of two of global football’s most famous faces this week shows – England’s top league faces a new challenger in the Far East.

There was a time when the only competition for players, managers and TV viewers came from the top leagues in Italy, Spain and Germany.

But booming wealth in China, coupled with president Xi Jinping’s love of the beautiful game, means money is being pumped into the country’s Super League like never before.

Shanghai SIPG agreed to pay Chelsea £58million for Brazilian star Oscar this month and former Manchester City star Carlos Tevez is set to sign a £615,000-a-week deal with Shanghai Shenhua.

Oscar, Chinese football’s most expensive signing to date, will earn £400,000-a-week in Shanghai.

Tevez’s deal will elevate him above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s highest-paid player.

The huge offers being made to European and South American stars are possible because Chinese Super League teams have been bankrolled by massive corporate investment.

Attendances for the Chinese Super League are growing steadily and it is expected to enjoy a greater profile over the next five years on the back of a new £935m TV deal with China Media Capital.

Shanghai SIPG, Shanghai Shenhua, Jiangsu Suning and Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao – champions for the last six years – have been the biggest spenders, willing to pay over the market value to sign big-name stars.

China has also tried to raise its football profile abroad with West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa having received Chinese backing.

The world sat up and took notice at the start of this year after the Chinese transfer record was broken three times in the space of 10 days when Jiangsu Suning paid Shakhtar Donetsk £38.4m for Alex Teixeira, having signed Ramires from Chelsea for £25m and seen Guangzhou Evergrande up the ante with a £31m deal for Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid.

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum Irvine California

Why China Is Dominating the Solar Industry

Between 2008 and 2013, China’s fledgling solar-electric panel industry dropped world prices by 80 percent, a stunning achievement in a fiercely competitive high-tech market. China had leapfrogged from nursing a tiny, rural-oriented solar program in the 1990s to become the globe’s leader in what may soon be the world’s largest renewable energy source.

“They fundamentally changed the economics of solar all over the world,” said Amit Ronen, director of the Solar Institute of George Washington University, one of many scholars following the intense competition in the emerging $100 billion industry that supports the world’s growing solar energy demands.

China’s move eclipsed the leadership of the U.S. solar industry, which invented the technology, still holds many of the world’s patents and led the industry for more than three decades. Just how China accomplished that and why it did is still a matter of concern and debate among U.S. experts.
One clear result is that the U.S. solar industry was hit hard by plunging prices and can no longer supply more than a third of rapidly growing U.S. appetite for solar panels, according to a recent Department of Energy report exploring “opportunities and challenges” of solar manufacturing.
China’s new dominance of nearly all aspects of solar use and manufacturing—markets that are predicted to expand by 13 percent a year, according to the report—came through a “unique, complex and interdependent set of circumstances” that is not likely to be repeated.

But if the United States innovates, cuts costs and nurtures newer technologies, it might emerge as the world’s second largest solar panel manufacturer by 2020, the report concludes.

The timeline of China’s rise began in the late 1990s when Germany, overwhelmed by the domestic response to a government incentive program to promote rooftop solar panels, provided the capital, technology and experts to lure China into making solar panels to meet the German demand.
“The Chinese took it and basically ran with it,” said Donald Chung, one of the authors of the DOE report, who studies the solar industry for DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo.

AN INDUSTRY PROPELLED BY TAX CREDITS

China, according to Chung, had “dabbled” in solar energy only as a source of electricity to help impoverished rural areas remote from its power grid. But then some of its pioneering companies became intrigued by the income that manufacturing solar panels for export to Germany might bring in. When Spain and Italy began their own rapidly expanding solar incentives, adding to the demand, China began scouring the world, hiring more solar experts and shopping for machinery and polysilicon supplies to meet the expected surge of orders for solar panels.

According to some veterans in the U.S. solar industry, China bought solar companies and invited others to move to China, where they found cheap, skilled labor. Instead of paying taxes, they received tax credits.

Chung notes that China’s government was also generous in other ways. Making solar panels is difficult. To make them efficiently, the business requires large, semiautomated factories.

“It is not easy to add small bits of capacity to meet growing demands; you have to add it in big chunks,” he said. He called it a “yo-yo effect” that tends to create more and more capacity. That made solar still more attractive to China.

China’s solar companies have shareholders who want profits, Chung said. But the government “has other constituencies that are demanding jobs and factories to be put up.” That pressure came from provincial and local governments that found, according to DOE, that the federal government was willing to chip in as much as $47 billion to help build its solar manufacturing into what it calls a “strategic industry.”

Expanding renewable energy became one of seven categories of business that receive special attention including loans and tax incentives under China’s five-year plans.

The result was that in building up the world’s largest solar manufacturing industry, one that became the price leader in most aspects of the world’s market—beginning with cheaper solar panels—China had helped create a worldwide glut. There were roughly two panels being made for every one being ordered by an overseas customer.

According to Ronen, the expert from George Washington University, China then decided to follow Germany’s lead again, developing its own “feed-in tariff” that paid handsome prices for electricity generated by rooftop solar. The result was a surge in domestic demand for solar.

The demand was so great that in two years, by 2015, China’s domestic market bypassed Germany’s to be the largest in the world.

China tried to reduce the subsidy this year by setting a deadline for ending it, but that spurred another surge in domestic buying. “China put in 20 gigawatts in the first half of this year. The entire U.S. capacity is around 31 GW. The Chinese market appears enormous,” said Ronen.

‘THEY THINK THEY CAN WIPE OUT ALL THE COMPETITION’

China dominates the solar market in PV installation as well as total installed capacity, with the United States a distant third and fourth, respectively.

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About the Author

Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum Chicago Stock Market

China to buy Chicago Stock Exchange

China clears key hurdle to buy Chicago Stock Exchange

China just moved a step closer to acquiring one of America’s oldest stock exchanges, despite security concerns raised by some in Congress.

This week a U.S. panel that examines foreign deals for potential national security concerns cleared the purchase of the 134-year-old Chicago Stock Exchange by a China-led group of investors.

The Chicago Stock Exchange said the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) decided there are “no unresolved national security concerns” over the deal, which was first announced in February.

A U.S. Treasury spokesperson declined to comment, citing policy not to disclose information about specific CFIUS cases.

Representatives for CFIUS did not respond to a request for comment on the news, which was first reported by Reuters.

The acquisition by China’s Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group still faces SEC approval. If cleared, the deal would give China a foothold in the vast American stock market, the largest in the world.

The struggling Chicago Stock Exchange is far smaller than the Nasdaq (NDAQ) and the iconic New York Stock Exchange. Earlier this year it accounted for just 0.5% of U.S. trading.

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Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

Mark Schlarbaum China Defense Spending

China’s defense spending to double

China’s defense spending to double to $233 billion

China is set to nearly double its military spending this decade as an arms race heats up in Asia.

China’s defense spending will balloon to $233 billion in 2020, up from $123 billion in 2010, according to a new report by IHS Jane’s.

Regional power India is also on a spending spree. This year, $4 billion in additional defense funding pushed it ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia to rank among the top five global spenders for the first time.

Military spending across the Asia-Pacific region has boomed in recent years as regional economies have grown. Rising tensions around the South China Sea could be a catalyst to splash out more cash.

“A key trend in [Asia-Pacific] is the shift from a traditional focus on territorial defense towards power projection,” said Craig Caffrey, a principal analyst at IHS Jane’s. “This is new for the region and is likely to increase military-to-military contact between states.”

China is already the world’s number two spender on defense. But its growth trajectory means that by 2020 it will be spending four times more than the United Kingdom and its budget will top the combined outlays of western European powers.

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Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.

China Factory Prices Jump 3.3%, Lifting Global Inflation Outlook

China’s factory-gate inflation rose to the highest since late 2011, helping to sustain prices around the world. Consumer prices picked up on rising food costs.
Key Points

The producer-price index jumped 3.3 percent in November from a year earlier, exceeding all 47 estimates in a Bloomberg survey and the 1.2 percent gain in October
The consumer-price index rose 2.3 percent, versus forecast for 2.2 percent increase
PPI increased faster than CPI for the first time since 2011

Big Picture

The factory to the world may be poised to export inflation again, as prices boosted by rallying commodities and stronger demand would ripple through supply chain across Asia. Still, uncertainties remain on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s fiscal stimulus plan and policy making in China, where authorities are working to curb financial risks.
Economist Takeaways

“China has entered a new inflationary cycle,” said Raymond Yeung, chief greater China economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong. “The next move of the PBOC should be an interest rate hike, not a cut.”

“Higher prices are a positive for China’s corporates, making their debt mountain less formidable,” Tom Orlik, chief Asia economist at Bloomberg Intelligence in Beijing, wrote in a report. “For households, it’s worse news as spending power and savings value are eroded.”

PPI outpacing CPI is good for companies, according to Zhu Qibing, chief macro economy analyst at BOCI International (China) Ltd in Beijing. “CPI affects corporate costs while PPI affects sales prices,” Zhu said. “As long as the increase remains moderate, it’s good to keep industrial profits and improve the ability to pay off debt.”

“Global demand is pretty strong but the current supply strain is temporary,” said Ding Shuang, chief China economist at Standard Chartered Plc in Hong Kong, who had the closest November PPI forecast. “The excess capacity is still there.”

“It’s a ‘sparkle and fade’ type of short-lived reflation,” Robin Xing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong, wrote in a note. He raised his full-year 2017 PPI forecast to 1.5 percent from 0.9 percent and his 2017 CPI estimate to 1.9 percent from 1.6 percent.

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About the Author

Mark Schlarbaum

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Mark Schlarbaum: Building and Developing business relationships with main land Chinese investment professionals including Chinese brokerage firms, QDIE private funds, Chinese investment management firms. Mark Schlarbaum joins the 100000 Strong Foundation as its supporter.

Mark Schlarbaum resides and works in Irvine, California.