March

Shanghai’s crazy Real Estate prices!!!

Crazy Frenzied property buying in Shanghai has set alarm bells ringing that a new bubble is forming, just months after China’s frothy stock markets crashed, raising fears about a replay of the real estate bust that has hit the country’s growth since 2012.  The rich are all selling there properties and the working class is buying.  At this rate when the music stops the rich will of cashed out leaving the poor working class with housing that is over priced and then they will have a problem paying the mortgage.

Home prices in the city, China’s biggest financial hub, climbed 3.6 percent in February from the previous month, according to a survey by CRIC, extending the 17.5 percent annual gain it recorded in January, which was seven times faster than the country as a whole.  After Chinese New Year the prices sky rocked.

The property revival has coincided with investors’ abrupt loss of faith in China’s share markets, which had soared 150 percent in the year to mid-2015, only to give up fourth fifths of those gains since the summer.  The market is goes up and down and no one knows where it will stop.

“The (property) market seems crazy again. I have no idea why it’s crazy, but it should be the right time to buy,” said Wang Zhongcai, a 50-year-old clerk, who was queuing, among many others, to register ownership of a small investment apartment he had bought.

From 2005 to 2011, property prices in China soared, buoyed by ready credit, migration into the cities, and government stimulus measures after the global financial crisis.

As developers poured money into new builds and unrelated companies set up property arms, residential housing development as a share of economic output tripled in a decade, until government measures to cool the market ended the frenzy.

Chastened by the impact of that bust, which left a huge stock of unsold apartments across China and hammered industries supplying construction materials, Beijing has for the last 18 months been trying to soften the blow, cutting interest rates, down payment requirements and property transaction taxes.

 

FIRST-TIER FIRST

The government’s principal goal was not to help the bigger cities but the smaller ones where unfinished, abandoned developments remain a very visible reminder of the market failure.

But the big cities appear to be drawing the lion’s share of new investment – and warnings from economists.

“In first-tier (cities) the prices are certainly rising too fast. Every time when there are control policies, most resources focus on first tier,” said Lan Shen, Standard Chartered’s China economist in Beijing.  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer and the middle class die!!!

“Going forward the policies will be more aiming at the lower tiers; very selective measures, not broad-based to create a bigger bubble in the first tier,” Lan said.  That doesn’t include all the ghost towns in China.

But as China loosens the credit environment to support growth, which slipped to its weakest in 25 years in 2015, speculators are following the investment logic, not Beijing’s goals.

“First-tier cities have a more sophisticated environment (for speculation). Investors see room for prices to rise because there’s a lot of demand yet limited supply,” said Clement Luk, chief executive officer for eastern China at realtor Centaline.

He added that Shenzhen, a booming major city in southwest China, was blazing the trail for Shanghai.

“People think since Shenzhen has gone up 50 to 60 percent last year while Shanghai was up only 20 percent, it should be now Shanghai’s turn.”

Hong Kong developer Shui On Land said last month it sold out a new residential development in north-central Shanghai on the day of launch at an average price of about $1,140 per square foot.

The largest unit was an 1,800 sq ft apartment that fetched more than $2.2 million, and the agent said prices would “definitely go up” when they start selling a new phase of the development in May.

Wang Wenwen at real estate agency Sinyi said sellers could see the market heating up and were now playing catch-up with each other in raising prices.

An official at Shimao Property, which last October launched a project in a less central part of Shanghai averaging 41,000 yuan per metre, said the company was planning to raise prices for its new launches this month and next.

Shanghai is already trying to alleviate the pressure, issuing new rules last month to increase the supply of small and medium-sized apartments.

But the history of China’s booms and busts and Beijing’s efforts to cap the highs and cushion the lows has made some investors wary that what goes up too fast comes down as speedily.

“This rally is too crazy,” said a property agent who gave his last name as Xu. “I own three units in Shanghai and I’m planning to sell them. I think a chill wind is blowing to the first-tier city, and I worry that the government will implement cooling measure soon.”

Another bubble looking for the pop!!!

Shanghai Waldorf Astoria

Shanghai Waldorf Astoria

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February

Happy Chinese New Year

Hopefully some where in March the site will be running at 100% and I will up load all the pictures of the last few months. Come back and check. D.D’s adventures still continue!!

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December

Almost year end

I haven’t been blogging lately because I’ve been using we chat.  For those who do not know we chat it’s the facebook of China!  Hopefully in the new year i will start adding stuff again.  I haven’t added any pictures because I can’t get back into the photo program.  I will be working on that too.  Hope to see all in the New Year!!

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April

Chinese No. 1 buyer of Manhattan flats for 1st time, Yes another first for China

FOR the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers estimate, taking the mantle from the Russians whose activity has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the US.

It will be very interesting because the Chinese are not accustomed to paying Real Estate taxes.   It’s easy to buy but hard to swallow paying 10’s and thousands in taxs.

Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education in the West.

The Chinese ranked first in both volume and value of sales in all estimates of foreign buyers in New York City by five of the top real estate brokerages. Opinions differed on just how the Russians, Europeans and South Americans stacked up next.

There are no official figures collected on the national and ethnic backgrounds of home buyers because of US fair housing laws, designed to protect against discrimination.

The Chinese interest is mainly a valuation play, real estate experts say. After the US housing bust in 2007-2010, home prices in major American cities fell to levels that made them attractive. While US prices have been recovering, they are still appealingly low by comparison with many other parts of the world.

Many Chinese buyers are switching their interest away from markets like Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore amid fears that prices have soared to frothy levels in those cities. Hong Kong has the second-most costly housing market globally, behind Monaco, with Manhattan trailing in sixth place, according to British real estate research firm Knight Frank.

The brokers say that many Chinese buyers are also investing abroad so they can own property near major educational institutions. Some are buying homes near top colleges — even though their children are so little they can’t walk yet. More than 80 percent of wealthy Chinese want to send their children overseas to school, according to the Hurun Report, a Shanghai-based publication.

Another reason is when you see what you can buy for a million USD compared to what you get in China for a million USD’s it’s not hard to think why the Chinese want to buy in the United States.

“By far and away, the Chinese are the fastest growing demographic,” said Dean Jones, a US-based broker with Sotheby’s International. “They are the top consumer for real estate, and New York is front and center.”

Pamela Liebman, CEO of the Corcoran Group, one of the best known New York real estate firms, added: “In sheer numbers, the Chinese outspend the Russians in every segment of the market.”

In Manhattan, it wasn’t long ago that Russian oligarchs dominated the gilded world of real estate, gobbling up status-heavy, marquee properties, such as an US$88 million, Robert A.M. Stern-designed penthouse and a US$75 million mansion with a ballroom and a rooftop aerie.

Now, many brokers say, Russian buyers have become scarce largely because of fears that the struggle over Ukraine will worsen leading to increasingly tough US sanctions on politically-connected and wealthy Russians.

Moving up market

The Chinese grew to 28.5 percent of Field’s international business in the first quarter of 2014, up from 19 percent last year. “We’ve only scratched the surface with Chinese demand,” Field said.

Chinese buyers typically used to pick up properties in the US$1-5 million range in New York, often buying two and three at a time for investment purposes, the brokers said.

But lately they have been moving up market, brokers say. The current in-vogue building among the Chinese is Central Park’s One57, a new skyscraper designed by Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Christian de Portzamparc, where they can spend US$18.85 million for a three-bedroom or US$55 million for an apartment taking up the entire 81st floor. The building comes with all of the amenities of a five-star hotel.

They are also venturing out to Long Island, where they are buying Gatsby-esque mansions set atop rolling greens.

Broker Shawn Elliott ferries around groups of Chinese buyers in Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz cars every week, often catering to entire families at a time.

“They’re looking for trophy properties,” said Elliott. “They’re looking for their children to be comfortable, and to be near Columbia or New York University.”

Some Chinese aren’t even bothering to come to the US at all, going so far as to pick up multi-million-dollar properties sight unseen.

One Chinese buyer recently bought two properties, worth US$13 million, at the Baccarat Hotels & Residences in New York. The deal was done via the Chinese social networking application WeChat, said the broker who did the deal, Douglas Elliman’s Emma Hao.

New York isn’t alone.

Chinese mainlander’s were the top foreign investors in Australian real estate last year, according to Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

In London, robust property laws and British universities are a big draw for the Chinese. They became the city’s No. 1 foreign buyer last year, according to Knight Frank, accounting for 6 percent of all purchases over 1 million pounds (US$1.68 million). The Russians accounted for 5.2 percent.

 

 

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April

Guangzhou to get world’s fastest elevators, yes another fastest thing in the world in China

TOKYO – Japan’s Hitachi said Monday it will provide the world’s fastest elevators, which can clock speeds of up to 72 kilometers (45 miles) per hour, to a high-rise building in China.

The lifts will be delivered to the 111-storey, 530-meter (1,740-foot)-tall Guangzhou CTF Financial Centre due to be opened in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou in 2016, the electronics and engineering firm said in a press release.

They will be able to travel the length of the 440 meter shaft — from the first to 95th floor — in a stomach-churning 43 seconds.

Hitachi will install a total of 95 elevators at the tower, including two of the superfast lifts, as well as slower machines such as double-decker lifts, the statement said.

The centre will be the tallest building in Guangzhou, complete with office, hotel and residential space.

The world’s fastest elevator uses a newly developed permanent magnet motor that achieves both a thin profile and a high output, the statement said.

It is also equipped with a braking system capable of withstanding the terrific heat that might be generated if a malfunction ever develops.

China accounts for about 60 percent of global demand for elevators and is at the centre of fierce competition among the world’s elevator makers, a Hitachi official said.

The world’s fastest elevator currently in operation is the 60.6 kilometer per hour lift at Taipei 101, in Taiwan’s main city, he said.

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April

1,000 Shanghai police to carry guns

More than 1,000 police officers in Shanghai will now be armed when on patrol.  Is this really a good idea?

According to the city’s public security bureau, the decision to arm officers was made in the wake of a fatal knife attack in Kunming, Yunnan Province last month which left 29 people dead.

“Violent crime and the extreme behavior of some individuals have become real threats to public security and people’s safety,” said city police official Rui Minghua.

“From now on, Shanghai police can open fire to stop violent crime if faced with situations like the Kunming attack.”

The 9mm revolver issued to the officers yesterday was specially designed by the Ministry of Public Security and can shoot both real and rubber bullets.

Police officials said the gun will never jam and its power is moderate to help reduce accidental injuries.

It also has three safety measures built in to ensure that it won’t fire accidentally, even if dropped on the ground.

The police bureau said that more than 1,000 officers had passed strict evaluations to carry guns on patrol from a pool of 4,000.

Each revolver, printed with a unique 10-digit code, is linked to one officer only for both training and work.

Officers will carry the guns while on duty and return them to their police station after their shift ends.

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February

Shanghai New York City Pizza review

B/F, Email Fashion Plaza,
1699 Nanjing Xi Lu,
near Huashan Lu
南京西路1699号,
近华山路

I have had this pizza for years, but I have to draw a line in the sane today. I have ordered this pizza from the same place for the last few yeas. It was fairly good for Shanghai. It is one of the best New York city pizza’a around. I say again New York style pizza.

The pizza I ordered just before I headed to NY was a disaster, I called around 9:30 at night and the said they still do delivery. I ordered, and the pizza came at 10:30 and the guy did not tell me he dropped it. When I opened it, the cheese was all on the top cover of the box. I called the next day and all they said was sorry.

I came back to Shanghai and ordered again, this time the guy making the pizza must of been trying to save the cheese, the cheese was paper thin and you can see the base of the pizza. The cheese was 3 inches from the crust of the pizza. That’s crazy.

Well I went over a friends house and they ordered from NYC Pizza and when they opened the box they couldn’t help but laugh, where’s the cheese!!. It was paper thin crust with a little red color tomato sauce and tissue paper cheese, and yes 3 inches in from the crust the cheese came.

So now we know the new standard of New York city Pizza. Don’t order from them. Your better off getting pizza from papa John’s, at least that comes with cheese.

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January

More Affordable housing still key priority in Shanghai

Shanghai will proceed with its affordable housing program this year as the city continues to make efforts to improve the living standards of middle to low-income households.

Construction of 11 million square meters of affordable housing will begin in the city this year, Liu Haisheng, director of the Shanghai Housing Support and Building Administration Bureau, told a municipal conference yesterday.

Budget homes will account for 53,000 units, homes for relocated residents will total 42,800 units and there will be 40,000 units of public rent apartments.

The city’s affordable housing program mainly consists of budget homes, houses built for relocated residents, public housing units for rental as well as some low-rent apartments catering to low-income families.

Under the plan, a total of 90,000 affordable housing units are supposed to be completed this year in Shanghai. The new supply of such houses to hit the market should reach 7.7 million square meters, or 110,000 units, in 2012. More properties are planned for Shanghai next year too.

The city has been working hard to increase the supply of affordable housing as high home prices have priced many out of the market. Some many Shanghainese think the Shanghai real estate prices are out of control.

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November

New crimes in Shanghai Expat in new theft of contact details

New crimes in Shanghai Expat in new theft of contact details
A thief, believed to be one of the three expats caught on camera stealing a reservations book from an Italian restaurant last week “Da’Marco” , has been seen again stealing another one containing 4,000-plus customer contact details from a popular wine bar.

Karen Ma, owner of the Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen on Jiangyin Road, Huangpu District, complained to Shanghai Daily that its reservation book was stolen “in the blink of an eye” on Monday.

Ma said a surveillance camera showed the book was stolen by a thief, believed by the bar to be one of the trio caught on video stealing a reservations book from the Da Marco Italian restaurant last week.

I hope she adds to the reward, D’Marco has put out a free dinner for 2 for information on who they are. Since it’s Marco, I think it was an offer for dead or alive in Shanghai.

Ma said: “Our video shows he wore the same suit, the same shoes and even ran away with the book in the same way as the thief who appeared in Da Marco’s video.” They are probably friends or partners in a business in Shanghai, trying to steal customers from doing cold calls.

She said the book contained more than 4,000 contacts, about half Chinese and half expats. The bar believes the book was stolen by thieves hired by a consultancy that advertises or sells by cold-calling.

“We are desperate to ensure our customers are not bothered by cold-callers,” said Ma.

This is the latest in a string of such thefts. Three expats stole a reservations book containing hundreds of contacts from the Da Marco last week, and in October last year a reservations book containing several thousand contacts was stolen from another Italian restaurant, VaBene, according to a restaurant official.

As a result at least 5,000 customer contact details are believed to have been leaked by way of book thefts, but police will not initiate an investigation because they say the books have little face value. So we hope everyone will help out and we will police ourselves. Find the criminal and give them some lumps and find out the business they own and boycott it till they close.

Ma said: “The book itself is not valuable, but it contains valuable information.”

Matteo, a Shanghai Da Marco staffer, yesterday provided Shanghai Daily with the name of a company and one of its senior officials who he believes is behind the thefts, claiming an Englishman once phoned the restaurant to apologize for the theft.

But when the Shanghai Daily confronted the company on Nanjing Road W., the manager protested its innocence, claiming the culprits could be other small companies faking their identity.

According to local lawyer Wu Dong, the thefts reveal a loophole in China’s laws protecting privacy, as a theft case can be established only when the value of goods stolen reaches a certain value or the goods constitute a business secret. Wu said the thieves may face charges of selling private information only when evidence shows they have sold or passed on the contact details. Another lawyer, Wang Zhan, said it would be hard to provide such evidence.

Both said if the bars can provide evidence that the same thieves stole books repeatedly, and emphasized the huge number of people that might become victims, the police should detain and fine them for disturbing social order.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Pei Zhen suggested the bar and restaurants report the case to local prosecutors if police refuse to pursue it.

He also suggested people who have dined at those venues should be careful when taking phone calls from cold-callers. Pei said: “They should record such callers’ names and their companies and report them to police as evidence that their contact details have been traded.”

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October

What to Buy Here and What Not to buy in China.

What to Buy Here and What Not to buy in China. Looking for the best deals in Shanghai.

You often hear people, usually tourists, comment on how cheap everything is in China. And in a large majority of cases, that is quite true – China has a wide variety of products you can find for much less than you can in most of the Western world. But as is true with most everything in life, there are exceptions. While some items may be exponentially cheaper in China, you’ll often find that the quality is not the same (sometimes not even close).

Or you’ll occasionally run into items that are much more expensive here than they are back in your home country. These inconsistencies occur for various reasons and with seemingly random products. Below is a list of items you can buy in China that are relative bargains but that still give you good – or at the very least decent – value for your money. This is followed by a list of products that are best bought outside of China, both for price and quality considerations. While China is certainly still a shopping paradise for many items, it’s ultimately better to pick and choose what to buy here.

Shop in China for:
1) Custom-made clothing
While Vietnam is giving it a run for its money, China still has a firm grip on the custom-made clothing market. It’s not hard to find custom tailors and seamstresses who are willing and able to make your clothing dreams come true. Men’s dress shirts can range anywhere from 90 RMB to 150 RMB, while ladies’ dresses tend to run a bit more depending on the intricacy and length. Choose from the abundance of fabric these markets have on hand, or bring your own from an independent fabric shop to save even more. Just remember the golden rule – negotiate! Shanghai has many great places to have your custom made cloths.

2) DVD’s
This one requires a disclaimer – I’m not talking about those DVD’s you see sold on wooden carts scattered on the sidewalks throughout town. No, I’m referring to those DVD’s you can purchase in an actual shop. Granted, they’re all illegally downloaded and copied regardless of where you buy them, but the store-bought ones are of infinitely higher quality and only tend to run a few renminbi more than the street side ones. Plus, if for some reason you find yourself with a dud, most stores are willing to replace the DVD with a new one (or, if they no longer carry that particular title, they’ll swap it with another one of your choice). Just remember, don’t try to bring them all home. Like most countries, U.S in particular. The fine is 500 USD for each fake and if you have lots your looking at jail time.

3) (Fake) Luxury brands
When people speak of how cheap China is, chances are that they have these fake markets in mind. Louis Vuitton handbags, Jimmy Choo heels, Apple iPhones, Rosetta Stone language learning discs… you can find all of these brands and more practically anywhere you turn in China – that is, you can find fake versions of them. Some markets have impressively decent fakes, while others are quite obviously not the real thing. Regardless, it’s certainly the best – and cheapest – way to stock your wardrobe and house with the latest “brand name” items!. Thought of the day pay what you want and don’t be pressured to buy. Also pay peanuts get moneys, copies comes in grades, the cheaper it is the worse the grade.

4) Food
While expats often wax nostalgic over their favorite goodies from home, if you embrace the Chinese culinary traditions, you’ll find that you can eat quite cheap both at home and in restaurants. Fresh produce is a fraction of the cost that it is in other countries, while ingredients to make your favorite Chinese dishes will never break the bank (a stack of over 100 baozi skins, for example, runs about 1 RMB). Or visit your local noodle shop for a hearty portion of la mian for less than you would probably pay for a soda back home.

5) Medicine
While it’s always a good idea to bring your personal medication from home (at least initially), it is possible – and often profitable – to look for that medication here in China. Certain medications that are prescription only in Western countries (such as birth control) are available over the counter here – and at much lower prices. Additionally, if a medicine does need a prescription, you don’t necessarily need to go to one of those expensive international doctors for a refill. If you can find the exact name of your medication in Chinese, you can often just go to a local hospital, show it to a doctor, and he or she will write out a prescription for you without any need for an examination.

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