Posted inAT Finance, Beijing, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Myanmar, North Korea, Northeast Asia, Taiwan, World

The Daily Brief for Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Property-London’s the one: London retook New York’s spot as the world’s hottest real estate center as investors – especially from Hong Kong and China – swooped onto bargains brought by the drops in sterling and prices since last year’s Brexit vote. Ben Richardson writes that Hong Kong buyers, who alone spent almost US$3 billion on UK properties during Q1, 2017 – up from US$842 million a year earlier – outspent global funds and all other foreign groups by a whopping margin of almost US$1.3 billion.

Beijing-Pyongyang-Washington, game playing: Beijing could shut down the Pyongyang regime in a week. Yet, writes Grant Newsham, there is scant real evidence that China wants to although it has always been clear about it’s ultimate regional objective — to displace the United States from its leading role in Asia.

Taipei’s Pyongyang links: Should the Trump administration be asking its new friends in Taipei about the businesses in Taiwan openly trading with Pyongyang, asks Wendell Minnick. United Nations sanctions bar most trade with North Korea owing to its nuclear weapons program but Taipei would appear to be home to a North Korean trade office.

Indonesia-mining, Freeport progress? The Indonesian government and American mining giant Freeport are finally taking tentative steps in quiet negotiations to end the impasse over the future of the world’s most profitable mine. John McBeth writes that to be successful, these talks must stay out of the public arena, where economic nationalists dominate the agenda.

Myanmar’s anti-Muslim problem: Aung San Suu Kyi’s studied silence amid a new rise in anti-Muslim sentiment is the latest mark on her elected government’s rights record. David Scott Mathieson writes that an issue appears to be that Suu Kyi views civil society not as valued allies who supported her nearly three decades long struggle against military rule but as unruly, unaccountable and a threat to national unity.

Posted inChina, Shanghai, Tianjin

China Digest for Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Property taxes are back on agenda

Research and preparatory work toward drafting a real estate law has made it onto the 2107 agenda of legislative work for the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, the Paper reported.

Asset managers approved in debt-for-equity program

The China Banking Regulatory Commission approved the establishment of two asset managers – Jinxing and Nongyin – to implement debt-for-equity swaps seen as key to deleveraging Chinese companies, Shanghai Securities Journal said on Wednesday.

Tianjin to let SOE workers own stock in their companies

Tianjin announced a pilot program on Tuesday to let employees of state-owned enterprises own shares in their companies, Yicai reported. SOE managers appointed by the government, however, will still be barred from owning shares in them, the report added.

Zhenjiang city scraps first-time buyer subsidy

The government of Zhenjiang, a port city in Jiangsu, cancelled the 1% subsidy for first-time property buyers in order to “stabilize market expectations” and promote healthy growth of the real estate market, the Paper reported, citing the government’s website.

Healthcare products market to hit 180b yuan by 2020

Sales of healthcare products will reach 180 billion yuan (US$26 billion) by 2020, according to a new study by consulting firm Roland Berger that was reported in Caixin. In 2015, the market was about 120 billion yuan, and 45 billion yuan a decade before that, it said.

Health insurance premiums now tax deductible

Up to 2,400 yuan a year in health insurance premiums will be tax deductible from July 1.

China to push reform on its financial market: SAFE

The central government will seek to facilitate cross-border trade and investment while at the same time preventing any sudden shocks from cross-border capital flows, so servicing the real economy and maintaining the stability of financial markets, Pan Gongsheng, Secretary General of SAFE, told a seminar on improving governance, according to Yicai.

Finance Minister throws department behind Xiongan plan

Minister of Finance Xiao Jie called on his department to come up with detailed proposals to support construction of the Xiongan New Area. Speaking at a conference in Shijiazhuang on Tuesday morning, Xiao also pledged to help Hebei province control air pollution and cut overcapacity. Hebei Daily reported.