China, From Within: Miami Real Estate in Investor Crosshairs; Plaudits for Zuck’s Mandarin; and Fearlessness of Ebola
A week of news the West missed from the world's most populous country.
Every day, FP's China team at the Tea Leaf Nation channel scours dozens of Chinese media outlets to find compelling stories unreported in Western mainstream press. This week, we bring you Miami as a future mecca for Chinese real estate bling, an anti-corruption sting in Nigeria, Alibaba’s booming e-health venture, the Chinese blogosphere on Mark Zuckerberg’s Chinese, Hong Kong pro-democracy celebrities, and a former World Bank executive on the virtues of China’s 7.3 percent economic growth.
Every day, FP‘s China team at the Tea Leaf Nation channel scours dozens of Chinese media outlets to find compelling stories unreported in Western mainstream press. This week, we bring you Miami as a future mecca for Chinese real estate bling, an anti-corruption sting in Nigeria, Alibaba’s booming e-health venture, the Chinese blogosphere on Mark Zuckerberg’s Chinese, Hong Kong pro-democracy celebrities, and a former World Bank executive on the virtues of China’s 7.3 percent economic growth.
Miami real estate could be seeing more Chinese money.
An Oct. 20 report in state-run China Economic Weekly sees the home of retirees, sun-baked beaches, and Miami Vice as the future mecca for Chinese home buyers and real estate investors. Miami homes cost only 40 percent of those in Beijing, the report argues; and the only reason Chinese buyers are overlooking the Florida seaside city is that Chinese buyers and investors simply don’t associate Miami with real estate in the same way that they do San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.
China’s anti-corruption taskforce isn’t afraid of anything — not even Ebola.
Operation Fox Hunt — the Chinese government campaign to hunt down, repatriate, and prosecute economic fugitives — held a sting operation in Nigeria in late August, in the middle of the (now quelled) Ebola outbreak there. The state-owned Beijing Times reported on Oct. 20 that undercover Chinese police, who "faced not only the threat of Ebola, malaria, and other diseases, but also the threat of the armed robbery ubiquitous in Nigeria," successfully apprehended a small-time criminal who fled China in 2006.
Mark Zuckerberg speaking Chinese was a pretty big deal on China’s Twitter, too.
Related posts on Weibo, China’s massive microblogging platform, garnered thousands of comments, though these were often of a different character than yesterday’s English-language Zuck-inspired media storm. Highly up-voted comments include: "Zuckerberg has already learned Chinese, meanwhile we on the mainland still can’t get on Facebook!" and "If China didn’t have so many limits, think of how many Zuckerbergs we could produce."
New Alibaba health firm shares soar.
Shares for the newly-named Alibaba Health jumped over 25 percent on Oct. 22. As China’s first licensed online prescription drug retailer, the firm’s big value-add lies in exclusively providing, monitoring, and tracking electronic identification codes for Chinese medicines, a system known as PIATS. This means Alibaba will get a complete set of drug data from production to distribution, an integral part of its "big data" plan. The state-run Global Times wrote that the stock price jump shows that "investors are bullish on the prospects for e-commerce for pharmaceutical products."
State media tells pro-democracy Hong Kong celebrities to be more like Jackie Chan.
And they don’t mean defeating bad guys with humor and kung-fu. The Hong Kong actor is known, and sometimes despised even on the mainland, for his ardent pro-Beijing views. After several Hong Kong artists and celebrities expressed support for pro-democracy protesters, leading states news agency Xinhua to pen a scathing Oct. 22 op-ed slamming the celebrities for being selfish, destructive, and unpatriotic, and telling them to emulate Chan, who recently espoused opposition to the protests, saying, "Without strength, a country cannot be rich."
Within 10 years China will become a high-income country, says former World Bank executive.
Lin Yifu, former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, wrote in an Oct. 24 op-ed for Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily that if China maintains a 7.3 percent GDP growth rate, within 10 years — right around the time President Xi Jinping leaves office — China will achieve the status of a high-income country. Lin’s prediction of 7.3 percent growth comes as at least one U.S.-based research group has predicted nearly the opposite: a dramatic slowdown in Chinese economic growth, to a rate of 4 percent after 2020. Lin, known for his strong pro-China stances, rejects that view, writing, "The current negative international environment presents major challenges, but if China can maintain its natural advantages, such as high-return investment opportunities, good government finance, a high savings rate, and favorable foreign exchange reserves … then 7.3 percent annual growth can be realized."
Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is a journalist covering China from Washington. She was previously an assistant editor and contributing reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @BethanyAllenEbr
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