Nation’s property sector remains robustperty models in Donggu

Experts said the Spring Festival holiday was the major factor behind the significant drop in property sales perfor

mance nationwide in the first month of 2019 and did not necessarily represent a negative market trend for the industry.

According to Centaline Property Agency’s research, in January property sales declined by 38 p

ercent year-on-year in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Among the four cities, Guangzhou saw the most dramatic decrease of 65 percent year-on-year, followed by Beijing, where home sales dropped by over 40 percent.

Country Garden, one of the country’s biggest developers, sold 33 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) of prop

erty in January, a 52.2 percent yearly decline. Vanke, whose monthly sales were 48.8 billion yu

an, saw a 28.1 percent drop year-on-year, while Evergrande Group’s sales performance shrank by 32.9 percent.

Third and fourth-tier cities accounted for most of the sales, but these had also slowed down com

pared to the same period in 2018. Zhang Dawei, chief analyst at Centaline, said the lack of e

nthusiasm from buyers was caused by the overheated market during last year’s Spring Festival.

“During the Spring Festival in 2018, housing prices in first and second-tier cities suddenly increased, triggering price

rises in lower-tier ones too,” said Zhang. “Back then, buying properties in one’s lower-tier hometown became a trend.”

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Meanwhile, mobile payment is no longer confined to res

 of major Chinese cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. Smaller cities and even townships are capturing the fastest growth, findings from both payment providers showed.

According to Alipay, the quickest expansion rate in per capita overseas spending was logged in

Zhoushan, a port city in East China’s Zhejiang province, which surged 55 percent year-on-year. It wa

s followed by 50 percent in Weifang, Shandong province, and 44 percent in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province.

In contrast, the growth rate in relatively affluent Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou r

eached 27 percent, 30 percent and 24 percent respectively, although they accounted for the greatest outbound spending by volume.

These trends “really highlight how mobile payment is taking root in China’s outbound t

ourism market”, said Chen Jiayi, Alipay’s head of business operation on cross-border business.

WeChat also saw a notable surge in the use of mobile payment in lower-tier cities, with over 40 percent transactions ma

de by residents who work in bigger cities but returned to hometowns for the weeklong annual gathering.

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France advanced to the top 10 markets where WeChat P

ay was mostly adopted for the first time since WeChat started tracking the data in 2015.

A Nielsen survey released in January suggested that 93 percent of Chinese travelers are likely to increase their spen

ding overseas if mobile payment is more widely accepted, which would consequently boost local businesses.

Alipay and WeChat Pay accounted for almost 94 percent of the count

ry’s third-party payment market, according to consultancy iResearch. The duo are ga

ining market share by making ambitious forays overseas where mobile payment is yet to mature.

Among the latest developments, Tencent is looking to work with more smart solutions and s

ervice providers this year to make the app function run as smoothly in foreign markets as it does in China, by in

corporating a variety of tools developed by third-party providers, said Fan Wei, overseas business director of WeChat Pay.

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Suning to acquire 37 Wanda department stores

Suning.com, the retail unit of Suning Holdings Group Ltd, announced on Feb 12 that it will ac

quire a total of 37 department stores of Wanda Department Store Co Ltd, to enhance its online-and-offline retail businesses.

Considered a key move for Suning to map its retail layout in the country, the acquisition is expect

ed to quickly improve Suning’s offline, or brick-and-mortar, resources and strengthen its mer

chandise supply chain to increase profits of its retail businesses, according to Suning’s statement.

The 37 Wanda Department Store locations, which have a total of more than 4 million registe

red customers, are mainly situated in central business areas in first- and second-tier cities.

The statement said the revenue of Wanda Department Store has seen a steady rise, with a continuous growth in net profits.

The new business unit will add department stores to Suning’s retail empire, which has been focusing mainly o

n home appliances and has now expanded to fast-moving consumer goods as well as maternity and baby products.

Through the deal, Suning.com is also hoping to bring its digital strengths in areas such as big data and artificial intellige

nce to Wanda, in an effort to further update the digital transformation of traditional department stores and enhance shoppers’ experiences.

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“I’ve always regarded myself as a writer who can… well, write an

ything – and I cut my teeth (an appropriate pun, perhaps) composing jokes and one-liners, so this commission from Hakkasan was

an absolute joy for me: I loved having the opportunity to create a subtle interplay between the different fortunes, hoping that at the end of

the meal the diners would open one… then another, share the fortunes, laugh – perhaps grimace a little as well! – and th

at this would make the ever-memorable experience of dining at these superb restaurants, yet more noteworthy.”

As the number 8 represents prosperity in Chinese tradition, a total of 88 different fortunes penned by Self will be featured in the f

ortune macaron conceived by Hakkasan Group’s Global Executive Pastry Chef Dale DeSimone. The gold fortune macaron will be wrapped with a d

elicate red paper ribbon featuring a golden Hakkasan logo, the interior of which will be typed the fortune in gold.

Both Hakkasan restaurants in London will be also celebrating the Year of the Pig with the wishing tree tradition inspired by the Lam Tseu

n trees in Hong Kong. Hakkasan will be inviting guests to write their wishes for the year ahead on s

pecially designed ribbons which will then be hung on the wooden cages in the restaurant. There will be an 8 course Ch

inese New Year set menu available for £88 per person for a minimum of two people in which the fortune macarons will feature.

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More outcomes expected from trade talksVice-Premier Liu

He will hold a new round of high-level China-US economic and trade consultations with United States Trade Re

presentative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in Beijing from Thursday to Friday.

Analysts said the two sides are likely to propose weightier measures to address economic and trade differences and to broaden overall cooperation.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, based on recent talks in Washington, China and the US will eng

age in further discussions on issues of common concern. The US delegation arrives in Beijing on Monday.

China and the US have been embroiled in trade frictions for several months. The two sides are now in the midst of a 90-day tariff truce, which began on Dec 1, wh

en President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Ex

changes, said China-US trade consultations have made “a big stride forward”.

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Water quality of Baiyangdian Lake in Xiongan improved in 2019

The water quality of Baiyangdian Lake in Xiongan New Area in north China’s Hebei Province has been significantly im

proved in 2018, according to the ecology and environment bureau of the new area on Sunday.

The concentration of the major pollutants total phosphorus and ammon

ia nitrogen in Baiyangdian Lake saw a year-on-year decrease of 35.16 percent and 45.45 percent respectively last year.

To protect the environment of Baiyangdian Lake, Xiongan New Area started to deal

with a sewage reservoir that is only 2.5 km away from the lake and posed a threat to the water quality in 2018.

A total of 126,000 tonnes of solid waste and 8,600 tonnes of suspect

ed hazardous waste containing arsenic and lead have been disposed of.

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Retail, catering sectors break one trillion yuan mark in sales

China’s domestic retail and catering sectors posted sales of 1.005 trillion yuan ($149.05 billion) during the week-long Spring F

estival holiday that ended Sunday, an annual increase of 8.5 percent, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

China’s consumption upgrade is continuing, the ministry said, adding that some emerging consumption such as internet consumption, customized con

sumption, experience consumption and smart consumption were the highlights during the holiday.

Green food, intelligent home appliance, new digital produ

cts and local special products maintained rapid growth, according to the ministry.

Emerging service modes such as shopping malls and outlets encompassing ca

tering, shopping and amusement became more popular during the holiday.

Sales in seven major shopping malls and outlets monitored by the Shanghai government ro

se more than 20 percent year-on-year, while in East China’s Anhui province, sales in some malls jumped 11.6 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, experience consumption, including leisure tourism, film and expo, folk activities, rose.

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esidents who had to move away to make space for the Foxcon

campus were offered assistance in relocation and compensation by market value or higher. Yet some were still unhappy as their lives had been disrupted.

Moreover, the public has become aware of the spiraling costs for the new job opportunities. It is estimated that each new job created could cost the gove

rnment as much as $1 million, eight times the average amount of subsidies local governments offer to similar projects.

Officials who had worked on the deal said the ince

ntive package should be viewed as an investment made by the state rather than free money for the company.

However, statistics showed that citizens might see a return on their Foxconn investment in 2042 at the earliest, accor

ding to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, a nonpartisan agency that provides economic analysis to the Wisconsin state legislature.

Many local residents felt it was a waste of money and called on governments to reth

ink their package and put the money into other social benefit projects such as education.

“It’s a lousy deal, and we’re going to have to hold Foxconn’s feet to the fire going forward,” Wisconsin’s Governor-elect Tony Evers said.

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Chinese contemporary dramas to debut in New York for China Frin

The China Fringe Theater Festival will be held in New York City on Feb 8-16, featuring the prem

iere of three Chinese plays in the United States at the La MaMa Experimental Theater Club (La MaMa).

The international event will give young Chinese artists and China’s contemporary arts more exposure ov

erseas, as one show Two Dogs to be staged is a typical work of contemporary Chinese avant-garde plays, which has enj

oyed high popularity in China especially among the young generation since its premiere in 2007.

Featuring physical comedy and improvisation combined with double act and roc

k music, the drama tells a thought-provoking story of two dogs journeying to a big city to pursue their dreams.

Directed by Meng Jinghui, one of China’s most influential playwrights and theater directors, T

wo Dogs has been performed more than 2,000 times throughout China and at international venues and festivals.

Renowned for his experimental dramas, Chinese director Li Ning and his troupe, the Physical Guerrillas, will bring The Dictionary

of Soul to the festival, a pioneering work of physical theater, which highlights storytelling primarily through physical movements.

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