By Elaine Dunn
After a strong performance in 2013, sales of new homes in China fell 11 percent in May and 23 percent in the first six months of 2014 from a year ago, indicating a sustained downturn in the housing market. The average new home prices in 70 cities fell 0.15 percent month-on-month in May.
A survey by a real estate firm showed sales of new homes in 40 big cities fell to 89.6 million square meters in the first half of this year, compared to 116.3 million square meters in the same period last year.
Bitcoins have taken a beating ever since the late-February bankruptcy filing of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox exchange. From a peak value of $1,145.25 in December 2013, it’s fallen approximately 60 percent to $350 early-April, but has rebounded to $505 Easter weekend.
At a trading rate of 10,000 bitcoins per hour, China bitcoin trading far exceeds any other country. However, with renewed clampdown on the virtual currency from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), Chinese bitcoin exchanges are once again bracing themselves for another blow to their survival.
Compared with the current decree, PBOC’s December 2013 warning for financial institutions to stop dealing in bitcoins is lame. On March 27, PBOC was said to have notified banks and payment companies to close bitcoin trading accounts by April 15. This new directive prohibits clearing, account opening and other services for bitcoin exchanges. As a result, bitcoin prices dropped more than 10 percent that day.
Ancient Chinese bronzes are no longer alien to Western eyes. Fine Chinese bronzes and ceramics, often used in ceremonial and ancestor-worship rituals, command extraordinary prices these days. Auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams have raked in record-breaking prices for Chinese bronzes recently. Bloomberg reported a 3,000-year-old bronze ritual food vessel sold for US$12 million in London in October 2013. In Hong Kong, also in October 2013, a gilt-bronze seated Buddha sold for US$30.5 million at Sotheby’s. In March 2013, Christie’s collected US$1.26 million for a 5.5-inch bronze vessel from the Shang Dynasty and a circa 1700 8-inch pear-shaped vase with blue underglaze for US$3.82 million.
By Elaine Dunn
One evening in March 2013, in an unassuming establishment called Cheku Café (车库咖啡厅) in Beijing’s tech district, young university and tech types gathered in anticipation to discuss the night’s event: that an American student named Jake Smith asked
By Greg Hugh
Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese recycling tycoon and among China’s top 400 richest people, made headlines recently by announcing his intentions to purchase the legendary New York Times.
Shanghai literally means “going up to the sea.” It is China’s largest city and home to more than 23 million people. As such, it is now one of China’s four provincial-level municipalities. Contained within this municipality are 16 districts and one county.
By Pat Welsh, China Insight contributor
The denomination of China’s currency is the renminbi ( literally translated as “Peoples’ currency”). The major unit of the renminbi is the yuan. Many Americans believe that the yuan should strengthen further against our dollar. They cite as evidence the fact that the value of China exports to this country far exceeds that of our exports to China. In 2012, this deficit reached US$315 billion, much of which was because many of our products were priced too expensively in China. Also cited is that in dollar terms, the wages of Chinese workers are extremely low.
By Greg Hugh, staff writer
More than 500 guests recently attended a luncheon by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association to recognize its 2013 Award Honorees. Serving as the emcee for the luncheon was Fox 9 News reporter, Maury Glover, wih opening comments by Anthony Heredia, past MEDA board chair, who passed the gavel to Douglas Eden, current MEDA board chair. MEDA Executive Director Yvonne Cheung Ho along with Steve Weitz, MEDA board member commented about the past year and then began the awards presentation.
Award winners are . . .