A few home truths

Residential property ownership in Shanghai is not taking off as some of the newspaper headlines might suggest.

Ministers put business ties on a firmer footing

Russian-Chinese business relationsb look set to develop rapidly folowing a visit to China in late June by Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. This was preceded by the visit of Deputy-Premier Boris Nemtsov, co-chairman of the bilateral inter-governmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical co-operation, who was accompanied by other ministers and high-level officials.

Permanent showcase

China's first permanent trade mart opens in October and if it lives up to expectations, it could be the first of many.

An exclusive retreat

The first Shanghai Links residents should be moving into this luxurious new development by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a similar project in Beijing is being put on the drawing board.

Support for small firms

Swiss exports to China are dominated by machine tools and pharmaceuticals, but in recent years the machine tools sec-tor has been hit by a slump in the state-owned textile industry. The lack of cashflow among Chinese factories has coincided with a period when Chinese machinery producers were starting to flood the market with machines far cheaper than the more sophisticated imported products from Switzerland. This erosion of competitiveness has had a big impact on the trade balance (see table). During the same period, Chinese imports to Switzerland have grown steadily.

Advertising overdose

The novelty of advertising in China has quickly worn off and many consumers are now cynical about the value of advertising messages.

Grain becomes priority for foreign investment

The agricultural sector has been slow to attract foreign investment but with the government focus now on inland regions, incentives are starting to be introduced, writes China Concept. is this deal," says one banker close to it. "It says nothing about the rest of the picture, or what is or is not to follow."

The convenience factor

The serviced apartment business in China is a growth market for hotel groups. With more of these projects being developed, the choice of high-grade accommodation for expatriates is widening.

Remote possibilities

Media reports on Urumqi often overlook the economic gains that have been made in recent years but ethnic tensions pose a constant threat to regional stability.

Power to the people

The absence of institutional investors in China means that individual shareholders can exercise significant influence over listed companies.

More titles set to close

State subsidies to Chinese newspapers are being phased out but tight editorial restrictions remain in place. Unable to make a profit, many titles are likely to be forced to merge or shut down.

Moftec offers its opinion

China's approval authorities will be using a new internal document to guide them when considering foreign investment projects.

Footing the pension bill

This year's expected introduction of a unified national pension system seems certain to increase the welfare costs of foreign-invested enterprises. But how much extra cost?

Tax structuring for FIEs

Ernst & Young discusses some of the issues for international investors in structuring their investments into China. Here, it ,considers these issues from a Chinese tax perspective.

Austrian Airlines wins race to Shanghai

1997 will remain a landmark year for Austrian Airlines with the acquisition of 36% of Lauda Air and the May 28 opening service to the megalopolis on the Huang Pu River, Shanghai.

Unfair to compare

Detailed changes to the way that Australia and the EU treat anti-dumping cases threaten to shake up third-country comparisons restricting Chinese export prices.

Running to keep still

Shortages continue to plague China despite impressive additions to electric generation capacity. Rapid economic growth demands the building of new stations but lack of finance and environmental concerns are slowing development.

A bidding jamboree

The Three Gorges dam project is likely to be built as planned and foreign firms are jostling to win the lucrative contracts.

A new power base

Even before the handover, mainland Chinese companies had secured stakes in strategic industries in Hong Kong, a clear sign of where political influence now resides.

An industrial future?

Hong Kong has lost much of its manufacturing capacity to the mainland but opinion is divided as to whether it should try to recover lost output through investment in high-tech industries or continue as a service-based economy.

Sensitive partners

While trade and investment between China and Middle Eastern countries is growing, both sides continue to tread lightly around potentially divisive political issues.

New approval hurdles for project finance

China's government wants to encourage international project finance. International law firm Freshfields looks at a new set of regulations which will set the pace in 1997 and beyond.

A multi-market approach

China is a diverse market but advertisers have yet to exploit the differences, argues Andrew Green of Zenith Media.

Of gates and gatekeepers

The central government has been effective in controlling the proliferation and content of satellite television in China. Even selling programmes to local networks is a difficult process.

An acquired taste

Changing lifestyles in China are promoting demand for convenience foods, as SRG explains.

1997 and all that

Some questions and answers about the handover, supplied by Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia...

One country, one system

Shenzhen is offering foreign companies the same treatment as that afforded to domestic companies. What does this mean in practice and how quickly is the rest of China likely to follow?

Diamond sales sparkle

Gold is the favourite store of wealth among Chinese but diamonds are an increasingly popular jewellery item, writes SRG.

Less-skilled pay price of success

Shanghai may be wealthier as a result of the economic reforms, but at the cost of rising unemployment and social unrest.

Broker seeks wider role

Shenyin & Wanguo Securities has risen to prominence in China's emerging securities industry but it will face stiffer competition as it tries to expand regionally.


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