Thursday, October 30, 2014

Charity, developing fast and maturing - Rupert Hoogewerf

Rupert Hoogewerf
Rupert Hoogewerf
Former prime minister Zhu Rongji is the first senior politician on the latest annual list of philanthropists, made by the Hurun Rich List. Many new names suggest the industry is developing fast and maturing, says Hurun founder Rupert Hoogerwerf to Radio Australia. Zhu contributed US$4 million in book royalties.

Radio Australia:
Chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun report, Rupert Hoogewerf, said Mr Zhu's contribution marks the first time a book royalty donation has made the list. 
The former premier is among 71 new philanthropists this year - the highest since records began in 2004. 
Mr Hoogewerf said the new names suggested charitable giving by the wealthy was still in its "early stages" in China. 
"It shows that charitable donations are still in the early stages, but the fact we are seeing so many new faces shows me that the industry is developing and maturing," he told the ABC. 
"Also, it is worth bearing in mind that many donations are made on a one-off basis and thereafter, it is the foundation that makes the annual donations." 
China's richest man and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, Jack Ma, ranked as China's most generous person, after he donated a 1.4 percent stake in his firm - worth about $2.4 billion - to set up an environment, healthcare and education charity.
More in Radio Australia.

Zhu Rongji
Rupert Hoogewerf is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´ request form.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Building brands with social media - Tom Doctoroff

Doctoroff01
+Tom Doctoroff 
Author Tom Doctoroff, Asia Pacific CEO of JWT, tries to close the abyss between social media and traditional branding in his latest book Twitter is Not a Strategy: Rediscovering the Art of Brand Marketing. In Thoughtful China he explains why branding on social media need the more traditional insights.

Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference, do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

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Why Tianhe got beaten for the wrong reasons - Paul Gillis

Paul Gillis
+Paul Gillis 
Accounting professor Paul Gillis has a look at research group Analysts Anonymous (AA), who attacked in September the Hong Kong listed Tianhe Chemicals Group Ltd. for allegedly fraudulent cash flow statements. On his weblog Gillis explains why AA might be wrong.

Paul Gillis:
Tianhe asked the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to immediately suspend trading. That can be a smart strategy since it prevents the shorts from covering while they continue to pay for borrowed stock. Trading resumed a month later after the company responded to the 20 page AA allegations with a 55 page response alleging that AA had fabricated documents, forged signatures, and hacked email. Shares dropped 40% on resumed trading. The company and AA have since trad-ed insults but the stock remains down 54% from its high, suggesting investors believe AA over management. 
One of the more interesting allegations (AA calls it the smoking gun) is that the company could not have paid the taxes they claim to have paid because they amount to more than the entire county in which the company is located collect-ed from all taxpayers. Tianhe has provided confirmation from the relevant tax bureaus that tax was paid, but AA has pointed out the statutory filings with the SAIC report a much smaller number.
Paul Gillis explains in the rest of his post why short selling research group AA might have misrepresented this accounting issue, but describes it as a mistake, rather than a purpose to attack the chemical company.

More at the China Accounting Weblog.

Paul Gillis is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

How to deal with China´s aging population - Zhang Lijia

Zhang Lijia
+Lijia Zhang 
Taking care of her aging father, author Zhang Lijia realized China is not ready to deal with its rapidly aging population. On for 1.6 percent care facilities are available. China became old before it got rich, unlike its neighbor Japan. From her weblog.

Zhang Lijia:
Traditionally, Chinese parents relied on their children for old-age care. My beloved grandmother, a courtesan turned concubine, suffered war, famine and other hardships in life. By the time she neared the end of her life, however, she regarded herself as a very fortunate woman as she was well cared for by her daughter’s family. For someone of her generation, having "three generations of the family under one roof" was the ultimate happiness. 
Today, rapid development, urbanisation, smaller families, a more mobile population and an ever more individualistic society have loosened family ties and broken the traditional elderly care system. 
According to research released last year by Peking University’s China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study, only 38 per cent of old people live with their offspring. Those who live away from their parents usually cannot manage frequent visits home due to work and other demands. Many of the millions of migrants labouring in the cities only have the time and money to visit home once a year – during the Lunar New Year
Those who can’t rely on their family to provide care may be dismayed to discover the appalling social provisions for the elderly. 
China’s care facilities can accommodate only around 1.6 per cent of its old people. It’s unrealistic to expect a sudden or massive investment by the government on the provisions. China, after all, is still a developing country. 
Here is another challenge: China became old before it got rich, unlike its neighbor Japan. Even if you are safely inside a care facility, it doesn’t mean you are home and dry. In my father’s hospice, caregivers are supposed to provide a 24-hour service, from changing nappies to feeding people and cleaning rooms. Weighed down with too many tasks, however, they cannot respond to each patient’s every need instantly. 
Once, my father’s roommate, a semi-paralysed, childless 80-year-old, was left in the corridor to do his business – his wheelchair also functions as a toilet. For hours, he sat in the grilling sun, clutching his trousers and grunting for attention whenever he saw a caregiver passing by. When you have so little control over your life, dignity shatters all too easily. 
My father is much luckier. His wife and three children take turns to be at his bedside. At one point, when my sister and her grown son were visiting, my sister half-joked: "Son, one day, you’ll have to treat me the same way I am treating my father." Her son scratched his head and smiled politely. 
The truth is that he may not be able to, even if he is willing. He and his wife, also a single child, will have to look after her parents as well. By 2053, some 35 per cent of the total population will enter the so-called "grey tide", compared with the world average of 20 per cent. 
This issue will have to be jointly dealt with by the government, society, family and individuals. In fact, an all-out war is needed. The government should build more affordable old people’s homes; communities should build leisure centres and other facilities for the elderly and train community nurses to provide basic medical care. 
Volunteers should be encouraged to visit the elderly. One of my father’s neighbours, a bed-bound old woman, told me that she hates the loneliness more than the physical suffering. In Nanjing, the local government is considering a new policy: to pay a family member to care for the old person at home, provided some criteria are met. Different levels of the government will all have to come up with more, similarly creative, ideas.
More at Zhang Lijia´s weblog. 

Zhang Lijia is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

Are you interested in more female speakers at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this recent list.  

How protectionism helped China´s internet players - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
+Shaun Rein 
Author Shaun Rein has to defend his book The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation, and Individualism in Asia, against the blockade of internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter in an interview with Richard Heffner. This is how China´s protectionism has helped domestic firms.

Richard Heffner´s Open Mind:
HEFFNER: But, but they’re closing off their innovation in the sense that it can’t be an international experience yet and, and Twittter can’t be born out of China because … 
REIN: Well, that’s where I disagree with you. Okay? And, and here’s why … the actual protectionism actually has helped proliferate innovation in China. So, in, in the Internet mobile space … especially mobile space, which is sort of the theme of my new book … The End of Copycat China … because the Chinese players didn’t have to compete against well-funded Twitter/Facebook, they were able to make mistakes. 
Initially they had inferior products, so you had companies like, you know, Sina, like Ren-Ren come up with virtual clones. Because they were protected, Chinese consumers had no choice, they had to use them. 
But over the last five years some of these firms have gotten really great at research and development and they’re actually more powerful than when you … then, then the American companies right now. 
Because they’ve been, you know, competing in a non-competitive environment. And they’ve now started to go abroad. So “WeChat” which is ten cents company, actually has replaced Facebook as the biggest social media population in Indonesia in less than ten months. 
I was in Indonesia in Q1 of 2013 … and Facebook was all the rage. Indonesians had never hear of “WeChat”. By the end of the year when I went back, everybody was using “WeChat”. 
I was in South Africa earlier this year, people everywhere in South Africa were using “WeChat”. So what we’re now …
Much more in Richard Heffner´s Open Mind.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´ request form.

Are you interested in more innovation experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check our recently updated list.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Defining the Chinese dream - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
+Shaun Rein 
Author Shaun Rein of The End of Copycat China explores at Richard Heffner's Open Mind a fast changing China. Twenty years ago Chinese had trouble to meet their basic needs, but now - as wealth has exploded - they start to redefine what is important in life,  their Chinese dream, as president Xi Jinping calls it.


Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

Are you interested in more stories by Shaun Rein? Check out our regularly updated list here. 

Analysts confused on China´s growth forecasts - Sara Hsu

Sara Hsu
+Sara Hsu 
The recent predictions on China´s economic development could not have been more different. The Conference Board predicts gloom. The Asia Society finds China is ready for sweeping reforms. Our financial analyst Sara Hsu see slower growth, but also room for reforms, she writes in the Diplomat.

Sara Hsu:
It appears as unlikely that China will maintain growth levels of 10 percent as that it will maintain growth levels below 5 percent in the coming decade, since the Chinese style of pragmatic experimentation has worked for more than thirty years. Although there is uncertainty in the air, it would be a mistake to underestimate China’s ability to rally its policy organs to implement change. The fact that China was able to transform from a virtually closed, impoverished nation to one of the most successful exporting nations in the world, and from a country that altogether rejected the private economy to one with a “market economy with Chinese characteristics” demonstrates the ongoing capacity of the state to alter the fundamental nature of the economy. 
Certainly, analysts who question China’s ability to continue its dramatic reform process point to the lackluster leadership of Hu Jintao. Hu was viewed as an anti-reformist fearful of social instability aroused by change. However, Xi put forth a strong agenda at the Third Plenum last October, and, along with Premier Li Keqiang, continues to underscore the need for economic change. Despite the presence of uncertainty right now, there is reason to believe that those low-ball growth numbers that assume no significant reforms have little basis in fact.
More in the Diplomat.

Sara Hsu is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How women billionaires differ from men - Rupert Hoogewerf

Rupert Hoogewerf
Rupert Hoogewerf
Finance and real estate produce most of the rich women in China, according tot the new 2014 Hurun China's Women Rich List, with Yang Huiyan for the fourth time as number one. Women billionaires differ from the men in several ways, Hurun founder Rupert Hoogewerf told in WomenofChina.

Rupert Hoogewerf:
"In fact, the list of wealthy women is different from other lists; China's richest woman pay more attention to real estate and financial investment. We can see that 28 percent of China's richest women primarily made their money in the real estate industry, while in the overall list this total is about 20 percent. Fourteen percent of women in the list are in the finance industry, but in the big list the percentage is lower than 10 percent. Many male billionaires are in the manufacturing industry but there are fewer women in this industry, around half the number of men. Women pay more attention to the healthy food and nutrition industry, and clothing, and account for 11 percent."...
According to the list, more women than men are self-made millionaires, and fewer inherit their fortune (although Yang Huiyan might be an exception).
Rupert Hoogewerf:
"We can see a change in the location the location of these women. A lot of them are working in Shenzhen, while that used to be Beijing. Now Shenzhen is the city that reflects the most of Chinese female entrepreneurs. We can also look at this from the age perspective.
"Women on the list are 48 years old on average, 5 years younger than overall rich list and 6 years younger than the male list. 70 percent of them are self made, out of 50 individuals 35 started from scratch, which is great. Especially this year a self-made woman who was born in the 80s made it into the top 50.​​
The list shows that 33-year-old Yang Huiyan, with 44 billion yuan (U.S. $7 billion), is once again the richest woman in China, and that 73-year-old Chan Laiwa of China's real estate group Fu Wah topped the self made rich list with 40 billion yuan (U.S. $6.1 billion) and 57-year-old Zhang Yin comes in third with 29 billion yuan (U.S. $5.1 billion).
More in Women of China.

Rupert Hoogewerf is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers request form.

Are you interested in more background of China´s wealthy? At the China Speakers Bureau, we have a list of experts on luxury goods here.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why China is investing in innovation - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
+Shaun Rein 
After his bestseller The End of Cheap China author Shaun Rein published this week his new book The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation, and Individualism in Asia. In five questions China Urban Development´s Adam Mayer asks him about innovation. A selection.

China Urban Development:
AM: The title of your new book The End of Copycat China also suggests the ‘end’ of something China is known for (intellectual property transfer in this case) as a signal for its next phase of development. Is the perception of China as a land of copycats still a reality? 
SR: Chinese firms were copycats for the most part of the last thirty years. The main reason was that there was so much low-hanging fruit to simply transfer technology from the West directly into China and to customize if needed for local markets. It was easy for well-connected (and corrupt) people to get land on the cheap and put up skyscrapers or secure long-term monopolies supplying various government agencies. But now that costs are so high and the public equity markets are giving high valuations to innovative Chinese firms like Alibaba and Tencent, Chinese companies are focusing on innovation more and more — it would be a mistake to discount their ability to innovate. This is a natural progression to what happening in South Korea and Japan. 
Yesterday I was at Lotte World Amusement Park in Seoul. From the term ‘cast members’ to Indiana Jones look-alikes, even Lotte is seemingly knocking off Disney and the George Lucas/ Stephen Spielberg franchise. 
Intellectual property was and remains a concern so it did not make sense for companies to invest millions of dollars in innovation because someone would likely steal it. When I interviewed top entrepreneurs in the book — and I interviewed the founders of JD.com, Qunar, Tudou for instance as well as the former CEO of Alibaba.com and an angel investor in Xiaomi — property rights and lack of enforced was an issue many brought up towards a barrier for innovation in China.  That said, the situation is getting better as the government is more likely to move to protect the interests of domestic Chinese firms hurt by copyright infringement than western players. 
AM: Is there now a broad consensus among policymakers and business leaders in China that the country must innovate in order to continue on its path of economic reform? What are some examples of businesses or policies you’ve come across in your research that align with this goal? 
SR: The Chinese government has definitely set the goal of innovative businesses taking up a larger part of the economy. Local governments are setting up innovation parks, like they did with the IT parks a business generation ago. Frankly, I am not sure that these initiatives will work as great innovation tends to occur in the private sector, often in small teams of entrepreneurs who think they can change the world. Chinese bureaucrats despite good intentions often do not understand and thus do not support new technologies which can hamper innovation. 
That said, one sector that the government actively supports for innovation and which is seeing great growth is the bio-tech sector. Probably more than any sector I interviewed, except maybe mobile, biotech entrepreneurs were the most optimistic in China precisely because of the support the Chinese government is giving the sector from funding, equipment and opportunity to cooperate with academic institutions. Many said that the climate is better in China than in the US because of Obama administration funding cutbacks.
More answers in China Urban Development.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´ request form.

Are you interested in more innovation experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check our latest list.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Exploring Chinese travel habits - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
+Shaun Rein 
Chinese have become avid international travelers, but they develop into a very different breed than other tourists. Business analyst Shaun Rein explains in his today released book The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation, and Individualism in Asia, how different China tourists are, and what they mean for the industry.

Shaun Rein:
I met Wang Yan one evening in 2014 in the ramshackle store from which she sells Nu Skin’s personal care products. She now earned $800 a month, almost double her earnings when she sold pirated DVDs in previous years. Originally from Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces, the 34-year-old Wang had jet black hair cut short and wore stylish blue jeans and a tight-fitting black T-shirt. 
As she sold face cream to an elderly woman, she said, “I want to see the world, see new cultures, and do things other Chinese have never done before.” She whipped out her mobile phone and showed me photos of exotic locales she had visited. 
She had been to Thailand, Cambodia, and France and now was saving up for her biggest trip yet. She was going to go either to Egypt or Mauritius; she hadn’t yet made up her mind, but she would definitely go to Africa. Considering how little she earned, I was surprised at how widely she traveled. 
Rising oil prices made transportation expensive. I asked how she traveled. “I always take the cheapest transportation available, whether red-eye flights or train. I even took a bus to Myanmar,” she answered. 
That made sense and explained why airlines schedule so many red-eye flights from China to Southeast Asia. Red-eyes save time and money—most workers get 5 to 10 vacation days a year in addition to 11 holidays but also save two nights’ hotel fare by sleeping on the plane. Budget travelers prefer spending on sight- seeing and buying products than on transportation. 
She said she always stayed in cheap hotels most nights—“I expect to be and out and about most days so [I] look for cheap hotels.” She continued, “But every trip, either the first or the last night, I spend extra for a night in a luxury hotel to indulge.” She said on a recent trip to Myanmar, she splurged on a $400-a-night room at the Shangri-La, equivalent to 50 percent of her monthly income. 
Wang Yan likes to plot out arrangements by herself. Traditionally Chinese traveled in groups, often forced to because of visa policies that prevented them from traveling alone but also because they had little experience abroad and were scared. But that is changing fast. CMR research has found Chinese under the age of 35 prefer to book their own trips, going where they want at the pace they desire. 
As I spoke with Wang Yan, spending habits for middle-class Chinese and Americans diverged. Instead of staying the whole trip in a three-star hotel, such as a Holiday Inn, as many Americans might, Chinese mixed staying in five-star and one- star hotels. 
(Ajai) Zechai does business development for General Hotel Management Limited (GHM), a stylish chain of hotels that include the Legian in Bali and the Chedi Dhapparu in the Maldives. Known for creating a distinctive lifestyle experience, with an emphasis on the land and local culture, the chain attracts only the most sophisticated and well-heeled tourists. 
The hotel industry runs in Zechai’s blood. His father, Adrian Zechai, was the founder of the Aman Resorts chain, one of the most exclusive resort chains in the world, and serves as nonexecutive chairman of GHM. 
“Cheers,” Ajai Zechai said, clinking my glass, and then we took a sip of Soju, a fiery Korean rice-based alcohol. Zechai divulged GHM’s China strategy: “We plan to open dozens of properties in China because we see the demand as more Chinese vacation at our properties in China and globally.” I asked whether Chinese like GHM’s brand position of more intimate experiences. 
“Developing a strategy for China is becoming one of our main priorities,” Zechai responded, because GHM has seen a huge increase of Chinese guests over the past few years—it even had a Chinese buy one of its multimillion-dollar apartments in Europe. 
“Chinese are becoming increasingly sophisticated and discerning in what they want,” Zechai explained, as I plopped a juicy, perfectly marbled piece of beef in my mouth. Nothing beats Korean barbecue, I think to myself. Zechai continued, “It is not just about bigger is better anymore but distinct experiences, which is exactly what GHM offers.” 
GHM is well positioned to grab the shift toward individual and localized experiences. Standardized properties that look the same in New York as they do in Bali or Milan are becoming passé for many Chinese who want to experience local culture in more intimate settings.
More in Red Luxury, where part of his book is excerpted.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

Are you interested in more stories by Shaun Rein? Check out this regularly updated list.

Manipulating financial data - Victor Shih

Victor Shih
Victor Shih
China has a long tradition of manipulating its financial data to meet its political needs. That ability is still prominently present, also today, says political scientist Victor Shih in the Global and Mail. China´s economy is much weaker than official figures suggest.

The Globe & Mail:
For investors, miners and even foreign governments whose revenues depend heavily on its demand, China has become the land of eternal economic sunshine. But nearly 40 years after it began to open to the rest of the world, it is increasingly beset by shadows. 
Officially, there is little to worry about. Government statistics show growth not far off a 7.5-per-cent gross domestic product increase target for this year. And come December, chances are “they will say, ‘oh guess what? We just made 7.5 through a series of fortunate circumstances’ – like our ability to manipulate data,” said a sarcastic Victor Shih, an associate professor at the University of California at San Diego who has for years raised alarms about the country’s economy. 
“At the end of the day, you have to rely on more objective data. And if steel and electricity consumption are both falling, it really suggests the Chinese economy is doing a lot weaker than what the official numbers suggest.”
More in the Globe&Mail.

Victor Shih is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers´request form.

Are you interested in more financial experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check our recently updated list.