Sep 6th, 2017 by Gao

Sidney Leng: China’s dirty little secret: its growing wealth gap (South China Morning Post)

China’s wealth gap has widened for the first time in five years, a fact Beijing chose not to mention in this year’s economic report.
The Gini coefficient, a gauge ranging between zero and one that measures income equality, increased slightly to 0.465 last year, from 0.462 in 2015, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) this week…
A study from Peking University last year found that the poorest 25 per cent of mainland households owned just 1 per cent of the country’s aggregate wealth, while the richest 1 per cent owned a third of the wealth.

He Huifeng: In China’s richest province, a yawning gap exists between the haves and the have-nots (South China Morning Post)

The coexistence of great wealth and abject poverty in Guangdong shows why narrowing the income gap is a priority of China’s leadership…
Shenzhen’s per capita GDP is now on par with Portugal’s, but the per capita GDP in Qingyuan … was less than a quarter of Shenzhen’s last year, and lower than the national average. Eleven other cities in Guangdong … were also below the national average last year, and in Meizhou, Heyuan, Shanwei and Yunfu per capita GDP was even lower than in Guizhou, China’s most impoverished province…
Guangdong’s wealth gap has grown in the past couple of years, according to Zheng Zizhen, a sociologist and economist with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, a government think-tank in Guangzhou.
“The wealth of families in [major] cities is soaring, driven by the rapid growth in residential property prices,” he said. “But the poorer areas of Guangdong lack the ability to attract enough capital and talent to bring an industrial boom.”
By the numbers, the Pearl River Delta, which includes some of China’s most developed cities, including Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan, covers only 23 per cent of the province but last year it accounted for 79.3 per cent of Guangdong’s economic output, according to official data, up from 79.1 in 2015. The province’s 12 impoverished cities reported average GDP growth of 7.4 per cent last year, according to the provincial development and reform commission, while the Pearl River Delta’s grew by 8.3 per cent.

Zhang Pinghui: Why Xi Jinping cares so much about ending poverty in China: the political significance behind the campaign (South China Morning Post)

Mrz 13th, 2017 by Gao

Sui-lee Wee: Chinese Lawmakers’ Wallets Have Grown Along With Xi’s Power / 习近平时代,人大代表的财富迅速增长 (New York Times)

Mao once branded capitalists enemies of the Chinese people. In the era of President Xi Jinping, those capitalists are billionaire lawmakers — and they’re getting even wealthier.
The combined fortune of the wealthiest members of China’s Parliament and its advisory body amounts to $500 billion, just below the annual economic output of Sweden. Among that group of 209 entrepreneurs and business tycoons, the 100 richest saw their net worth rise 64 percent in the four years since Mr. Xi took power, according to the Hurun Report, an organization based in Shanghai that tracked the wealth of the delegates, ahead of their annual joint sessions that start on Friday in Beijing.
Since he was anointed leader, Mr. Xi has pledged to tackle income inequality, alleviate poverty and crack down on corruption. Warning that graft could bring down the ruling Communists, Mr. Xi has ordered an end to alcohol-fueled banquets and bribery, which often takes the form of red packets filled with cash or luxury handbags.
The increasing wealth of lawmakers “tells us that political power and money have remained tightly intertwined in China: this is a structural issue that Xi cannot solve,” but only hide, said Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of Chinese politics at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Hurun Global Rich List 2017 (胡润百富)

The Hurun Global Rich List 2017 ranked 2,257 billionaires from 68 countries and from 1811 companies in another record-breaking year for the world’s billionaires.
Total wealth increased by 16% to US$8.0 trillion equivalent to 10.7% of global GDP, and up from 7% of global GDP five years ago. Hoogewerf said, “Global wealth is being concentrated in the hands of the billionaires at a rate far exceeding global growth.” …
Chinese billionaires led the USA for the second year running, with 609 compared with 552. Hoogewerf said “China and the USA have half the billionaires in the world.” …
The ‘Big Two’ are Greater China and the USA with 609 and 552 billionaires respectively, amounting to half of the billionaires on the planet. It has been a good year for Germany, which surged past India into third place. UAE and Indonesia broke into the Top 20 for the first time. Bangladesh contributed a billionaire for the first time, to take the countries that the billionaires reside in to 68 countries…
Greater China: No 1 with 609 billionaires, 41 more than last year. The combined net worth of the Chinese billionaires is US$1.6 trillion, 2.1% of the global GDP. Real Estate has generated most number of billionaires (120), followed by Manufacturing and TMT with 115 and 78 respectively. Led by Beijing, 5 Chinese cities make the top 10 cities and 7 the Top 20. Average age is 58, six years younger than the average of the list. China is the number 1 in the world in terms of generating self-made billionaires akin to “rags to riches” and is home to two-thirds of the world’s self-made female billionaires. A February IPO propelled Wang Wei, 46, of SF Express to third spot, with a five-fold growth in his wealth to US$27bn, just behind Wang Jianlin and Jack Ma. Corporate raider Yao Zhenhua of Baoneng saw the fastest growth on the list, rising almost eight-fold to US$15bn, but in February was barred from the insurance industry for ten years by the regulator…
New Entrants to Top 100. There were 23 new entrants to the Top 100, led by Chinese Express Delivery King Wang Wei of SF Express, whose February IPO saw his wealth shoot up five-fold to US$27bn, straight into 25 in the world. Others of note include former China Number One Ding Lei, 46, of Netease, and Elon Musk, who broke into the Top 100 for the first time. Lakshmi Mittal, 66, won back most of his losses from last year, on the back of a recovery in the global steel market…
Women. 15% of the list are women. Of the 152 self-made women, Chinese led the way with 121 (a staggering 79.6%), followed by 14 from the USA and 8 from the UK. The richest women are Liliane Bettencourt, 94, of L’Oreal with US$28bn, followed by Alice Walton of Wal-mart, Jacqueline Mars of Mars and Maria Franca Fissolo of Ferrero Rocher. The richest self-made woman in the world is Beijing Real Estate Queen Chen Lihua of FuHua with US$7.2bn. Hoogewerf said, “China is indisputably now the best place in the world to be a female entrepreneur.”…
Others include 115 Chinese billionaires with senior political appointments to the NPC and CPPC…
29% of billionaires are of Chinese origin, up 22 to 652 this year, and 252 new Chinese billionaires five years ago.

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank | Südchinesisches Meer | Arbeiterbewegung
Apr 2nd, 2015 by Gao

Norbert Hellmann: China setzt multilaterale Entwicklungsbank AIIB auf (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

China hebt eine neue multilaterale Entwicklungsbank aus der Taufe. Die von 21 Mitgliedsländern unterstützte Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) soll mit 50 Mrd. $ Kapital Infrastrukturprojekte in asiatischen Schwellenländern anstossen.
Die am Freitag mit einer Zeremonie in Peking ins Leben gerufene Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) soll sich primär mit Finanzierungen für Infrastrukturvorhaben in strukturschwachen asiatischen Ländern hervortun. Chinas Finanzminister Lou Jiwei und Delegierte von 21 asiatischen Ländern, die als vorläufige Gründungsmitglieder das Unterfangen unterstützen, unterzeichneten eine Absichtserklärung, die am Entstehen einer neuen multilateralen Entwicklungsbank nun keinen Zweifel mehr lässt. Bis zur Hälfte des auf 50 Mrd. $ veranschlagten Kapitals der Bank soll von China eingebracht werden, das sich damit eine weitgehend uneingeschränkte Führungsrolle sichern würde. …
Laut Medienberichten in den USA und Australien soll der amerikanische Aussenminister John Kerry zuletzt heftigen Druck ausgeübt haben, um dafür zu sorgen, dass US-Bündnispartner der AIIB-Gründung fernbleiben.

Patrick Welter: Wettstreit zwischen China und den USA (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Mit Südkorea schliesst sich ein weiterer amerikanischer Verbündeter der von China initiierten neuen Entwicklungsbank in Asien an. Die Regierung in Seoul verspricht sich davon mehr Einfluss in der Region, aber auch mehr Aufträge für koreanische Unternehmen.

Nikolaus Jilch: USA isolieren sich: China mischt die Weltordnung auf (Presse)

Die Welt hat eine neue Abkürzung: AIIB. Die Asiatische Infrastruktur-Bank, vor zwei Jahren vom chinesischen Präsidenten, Xi Jinping, vorgeschlagen, hat sich für China zu einem erstaunlichen Erfolg entwickelt. Wenn Dienstag die Deadline für die Anmeldung zu dieser neuen Kreditinstitution ausläuft, werden mindestens 44 Nationen dabei sein – möglicherweise sogar mehr, wenn noch ein paar Spätentschlossene dazukommen.

Deutschland als Gründungsanwärter für die AIIB genehmigt (
András Szigetvari: Lockruf aus China für Österreich unwiderstehlich (Standard)
Thomas Fuster: Die Schweiz will in die AIIB (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)
Thomas Fuster: Amerikas einsamer Kampf in China (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

Den USA ist die AIIB ein Dorn im Auge. Vordergründig wird dies mit Bedenken gegenüber den Standards bei der Entwicklungsfinanzierung begründet, zumal eine von China orchestrierte Bank bezüglich Good Governance oder Umweltschutz kaum allzu penibel auftreten dürfte. Letztlich geht es aber vor allem um die Wahrung politischer Interessen: Weder eine schleichende Verdrängung der Weltbank und ADB noch die stete Ausdehnung von Chinas Einflusssphären liegen im Interesse Washingtons. Der Appell zu kritischer Distanz gegenüber dem neuen Prestigeprojekt von Pekings Machthabern stösst bei Amerikas Verbündeten aber auf taube Ohren. So will sich nicht nur Grossbritannien der AIIB anschliessen; laut Medienberichten planen auch Frankreich, Deutschland und Italien den Schritt.

Felix Lee: Angst vor Dominanz Chinas (Neue Zürcher Zeitung)

AP: US Navy: Beijing creating a ‚great wall of sand‘ in South China Sea (Guardian)

Admiral Harry Harris Jr told a naval conference in Australia that competing territorial claims by several nations in the South China Sea are “increasing regional tensions and the potential for miscalculation”.
“But what’s really drawing a lot of concern in the here and now is the unprecedented land reclamation currently being conducted by China,” he said.
“China is building artificial land by pumping sand on to live coral reefs – some of them submerged – and paving over them with concrete. China has now created over 4 square kilometers (1.5 square miles) of artificial landmass,” he said.

Echo Hui, Heather Timmons: Workers at China’s largest athletic shoe maker are poised for another historic strike (Quartz)
Manfred Elfstrom: Whither China’s New Worker Militancy? (China Policy Institute)
China’s ageing construction workers and the urgent need for an industry overhaul (China Labour Bulletin)

In the 1980s and 90s, millions of young labourers from the Chinese countryside flooded into the cities to work on construction sites; building roads, bridges, airports, residential and commercial properties, as well as ostentatious new government offices.
During the 2000s, as population growth slowed, fewer and fewer young workers followed and soon the average age of construction workers started to climb. Today, it is virtually impossible to find anyone younger than 30 working on the construction sites of major cities. On some work sites in Shenzhen, for example, more than 90 percent of the workers are reportedly over 50-years-old.

Ian Talley: China Is “One of the Most Unequal Countries in the World,” IMF Paper Says (Wall Street Journal)

Although per-capita income has grown and the number of people living on less than a $1.25 a day has plummeted, income inequality has skyrocketed, the economists said. The top quintile of earners now pull in nearly half of total income while the poorest quintile of earners account for under 5%.
“China’s widening income inequality is largely a reflection of faster income growth among the rich, rather than stagnant living standards among the poor.”

The devil, or Mr Wang [Qishan] (Economist)

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