POW Wow Goes East?

It seems like Spiderman may be climbing the Great Wall China in the near future.  Apparently, as reported in a recent Google news article, POW Entertainment creator Stan Lee has just joined up with an investment company in Hong Kong “that aims to roll out a new superhero franchise targeted at Chinese and foreign audiences.”  Magic Storm Entertainment is the name of the new company that is set to work on its “first film project later this summer.”  Lee is incredibly excited, and commented in a statement, “I have been eagerly awaiting this great opportunity — a chance to combine the best of American superhero epics with the best of Chinese and Asian classical filmmaking for a motion picture that would be excitedly received worldwide.”


New Characters for China?


There is no news right now if there will be a development of new characters for the new movie or if a new story will be written for this “flagship characters, many of which have already been adapted for the big screen.”  Right now no one knows if the movie will feature real actors or be an animation either.  Time will tell.


Getting Down to Business


In terms of business, the partnership will take place between Panda Media Partners and Ricco Capital Holdings as well as a conjoining of POW! Entertainment with Fidelis Global Enterprises, headed by Eric Mika (former Hollywood Reporter publisher) a media consulting company.  It’s likely to be a success given historical statistics of Lee’s company.  Indeed, over 2 million comic books “have been published in 75 nations and in 25 languages,” so clearly this is a good sign for the new Chinese venture.


Or is it?  Maybe not. Apparently, according to the Google article, they “do not appear to have a big following in mainland China.”  Does that mean all hope is lost?  Absolutely not.  Lee’s characters have been adapted in movies that have “done strong business in China, which is “fast becoming one of Hollywood’s key markets despite a quota that effectively limits the country to 20 major foreign productions a year. Lee’s strategy is likely to capitalize on the popularity of those movies.”


No Nickel and Diming


At the end of the day, the $$$s speak for themselves.  There is no fear of lack of success when Spiderman climbs the Great Wall of China.  And this is because of how successful Spiderman I, II and III have been in China, reaping a combined $30m.  It seems like that simple statistic is all the data Lee will need before he starts enjoying a plate of deep-fried rice and bowl of wonton soup.

Chinese Seek Out Investment Opportunities

China: Challenge and Opportunity

According to Jhal Nath Khanal, Prime Minister of Nepal, “Chinese investors are looking for investment opportunities in every nook and corner of the globe.” Addressing a Trans-Himalayan Border Commerce Association yesterday, he added a request that “the business community furnish details of the prospective areas wherein we can invite Chinese investments in our country.” He sees being a neighbor to China as “both a challenge and opportunity for us.” This was a rather interesting choice of language since in Chinese, the symbol for challenge is the same as that for opportunity. Geographically, he noted, Nepal has the opportunity to greatly benefit “from the development taking place” there.

At the same time however, Nepal recognizes its need to “attain anything that is closer to stupendous Chinese development.”

According to an article in the Nepal Telegraph, there will be an expansion of the Kathmandu-Tatopani Kodari highway and once the border point of Rasuwagadi starts operating to full capacity, “trade between Nepal and China will increase substantially.” Further, Durga Bahadur Shrestha (Trans-Himalayan Border Commerce Association chair) demanded that the Prime Minister “immediately initiate widening the Kordari highway,” with the “existing link being converted to a six lane highway.”

Of course, all geographical improvements and additions in these areas will have a positive impact on trade which will then in turn, improve the situation for potential investors. The more access there is to each place, the easier things are for any kind of trade and investment and this is what Nepal is counting on.

China to Invest in Cambodia?

According to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, a group of Yunnan province investors (in China) has been looking into Cambodian investment opportunities and has found the possibilities most favorable there. The delegation, led by deputy chief of China International Economic Development and Cooperation Office, Cao Junde, met with Cham Parasidh, the Cambodian Minister of Commerce and Vice Chair of the Council for the Development of Cambodia. According to an article in China Daily, the Ministry said that “some of the investors have showed their interest in investing in mining, oil and gas exploration, rice mill and hydro-electricity in Cambodia.” Anyway today, China is Cambodia’s largest foreign investor, with figures reaching $8bn by the end of last year. So it seems like it’s worth the two countries developing better ties as well.

Other Chinese Investments

In other areas of China, investments are being made in Cambodia too. The country’s east Jiangsu province has been looking into investment opportunities there also. The country’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, is currently visiting China for five days and met with the secretary of the Jiangsu Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in Nanjing, Luo Zhijun. Jiangsu has a lot to be proud of, having successfully worked hard to get China out of the global financial crisis. The rapid growth of China’s economy has also been beneficial to Cambodia. As well, according to a report in China Daily, Hun Sen said that the “Hongdou Group Co., Ltd., a Jiangsu-based enterprise in clothing, tire, biological pharmacy and real estate, is building an industrial park in Sihanoukville Province, southern Cambodia.” The PM is hopeful that both parties can work together “to develop the industrial park.”

Hun Sen has been working hard to establish and develop good relations between the two countries, especially in regards to “friendly communication, bilateral exchanges and cooperation.” Of course, the PM’s visit will only lead to a further development of “mutual understanding, promote pragmatic cooperation and establish a win-win relationship between the two countries.”

Chinese Goes East

It seems like there are going to be increased investment opportunities in Russia for China since the former country is in the process of “restructur[ing] its economy and reduc[ing] its reliance on commodities.” This can be seen through Fuyao Glass Industries Co. Ltd., which is one of the world’s biggest auto glassmakers which is now planning on investing $200m in a Russian glass factory. It actually marks Fuyao Glass’ first time branching out onto foreign soil. According to the company’s chairman Cao Dewang, production is set to begin at the end of 2011 and supply glass for over 3 million cars each year.

Increased Business Opportunities

There could be even more business opportunities for Russia with further deregulation of its domestic market which will be good for foreign enterprises. This is already being witnessed by China Investment Corp’s investment plans in Russian “infrastructure, negotiable securities and real estate.” Russia is definitely happy about Chinese investments that according to Federal Financial Markets Service head Vladimir Milovidov will “promote bilateral cooperation on trade and finance.” As well, Russia sees how good China’s financial market supervision policies are for their country.

Great Financial Plans Ahead

Since things are going so well in Russia and China doesn’t want to miss out, the latter country plans to invest $12bn in its market to “boost bilateral trade” by the year 2020. In the first six months of 2010, China invested $260m in Russia which was “58.5 percent higher than the same period of the previous year.” But former Russian ambassador to China Igor Rogachev pointed out some realities: “although China has become Russia's biggest trading partner, China is still not a major investor in the Russian market.”

India Investments Encouraged in China

Beijing Seminar Good for Investment

At a seminar today held in Beijing, India invited Chinese companies to come and make investments in China. The seminar, entitled, ‘India-China Business & Investment Seminar- Opportunities in IT, Engineering & Allied Sectors,’ was organized by Municipal Government of Yangzhou and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Indian Consulate in Shanghai. The aim of the seminar is to encourage Chinese companies to make investments in India while giving them an overview of the country’s “FDI policy, basic tax and business laws, financing options,” facilitating a more informed decision prior to making the investment.

According to an article reporting on the seminar, attendees at the conference included: “Chief Representatives, CEOs and senior executives of Aditya Birla Group, BHEL, ICICI Bank Ltd , Infosys, Jiangsu Sterlite Tongguang Fiber Co Ltd, Elgi Equipments, L&T, MphasiS, Mahindra Satyam, NIIT, PTC Global, SBI, TCS, Tata Steel , Thermax, Wipro Infrastructure Engineering and CII.”

Increased Indian-Chinese Cooperation

It is hoped that there will be further cooperation between the two countries in the following areas: IT and Engineering, and more. According to Vice-Mayor of Municipal Government of Yangzhou Wen Daocai, this “joint initiative [is] offering a unique opportunity to Yangzhou based companies to engage with Indian companies.” New policies will be encouraging Chinese companies through helpful policies, fast approval and financial aid. In addition, through various components like growth, manpower and macro-economic stability to name but a few, India is now able to offer “attractive returns to prospective Chinese investors.”

Anticipated Investments

There are many opportunities these days for Chinese companies to invest in India, especially in the areas of infrastructure, freight, subway and SEZs and currently there is an anticipated trillion dollars worth of such investments. At the seminar, both Indian and Chinese companies were given the opportunity to “forge new business alliances as well as promote two-way investments.”

Chinese Investment in Africa

Arab Spring Ramifications

China is showing less “enthusiasm” for making investments in various parts of Africa which has likely been caused by the “ramifications of the Arab spring.” Investments in the past have been extremely popular, due to what has been seen as very attractive conditions such as “lots of autocrats and presidents-for-life, very few rules and regulations, little concern for life or environmental impact.” According to a recent article on the matter, pretty much anything has been possible “as long as the money kept showing up in the appropriate offshore accounts.”

But this was the situation in the past and things are now changing. With a new five-year plan from the country’s Ministry of Commerce (which is still being finalized), investing in Asia just isn’t “what it used to be, according to a quote from the Economic Observer. For example, it is just much harder now to open a mine there as factors such as the environment, employment and economy need to be taken into consideration.

China in Libya

Looking to Libyan investment (which has been a more recent popular jaunt for Chinese investment), there is an anticipated expected surplus of $3bn loss due to the repatriation of approximately 36,000 Chinese employees. As well, over the last four years, Libya has “contracted some 50 engineering projects to Chinese companies, including several image projects to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1969 revolution.” According to the article, being a contractor however, China has been able to manage its “direct losses in the unrest.” Nonetheless, some of its assets in Libya (such as Sinopec) did encounter destruction in the aftermath of the Libyan unrest. In general however, Beijing has had to somehow cope with a big mess of “compensation claims, third party debts and the re-employment of all returned workers.”

Chinese Investment Drop

Figures released from the Ministry of Commerce have shown a huge plummet of new Chinese contracts in North African countries for the first quarter. In Algeria this drop was 70.8 percent and in Libya, 46.9 percent for the same timeframe of 2010.

Asian Mega Wealth

Rich Get Richer in China

It seems if you want to go where the wealth is, China is where it’s at. Today there are over a million millionaires living there; financial growth having escalated in the last year, alongside a thriving currency. Statistics from a BCG Global Wealth Survey show an increase in China of 31 percent of millionaires to 1.11 million from the previous year, placing China “in third place for millionaire households.” In addition, in worldwide figures, China is at number 8 vis-à-vis households having assets at a value of more than $100m.

Inaccurate Stats?

These figures however, only give part of the picture since monies earned from private businesses did not figure in the survey, nor did yachts, art, or fine wines. According to a partner at Hong Kong BCG, Tjun Tang, “this grossly underestimates true overall wealth in China.” As well, only around 5 percent of wealth is held offshore and there is a limit on the amount of products that international wealth management companies are able to offer inside the country.

Asian Affluence

Singapore isn’t a bad place to live either if you want to be bringing in the money. A staggering 15.5 percent of those living in Singapore are millionaires. Qatar came in at 8.9 percent which isn’t anything to be ashamed of either. In general, if you are anywhere in the Asia-Pacific region, the rate for growth wealth has an anticipated growth of 11.4 percent in the next four years. When compared to worldwide figures for the same time-frame, the growth rate is around half of this. Japan wasn’t included in the Asian anticipated economic growth for these years. India isn’t doing too badly either, coming in ahead of Canada with its 190,000 millionaires. Things are going to be getting even better for India too, with an anticipated wealth increase of 14 percent per year over the next five years alongside China’s 18 percent. But China seems to look good no matter which way you turn, as, according to the Bloomberg Economic Momentum Index for Developing Asia, it ranks “first among 22 emerging Asian economies as the country most likely to maintain steady and rapid growth over the next five years.

Good Times Ahead for China

Property Peaks in Beijing

It looks like China is set to witness a property peak in the few months. According to experts in foreign real estate funds, this sector is due to “tighten” during this time frame. Grosvenor Asia Pacific manages $16b in assets and is setting out to raise “at least $270 million for a fund that will invest in Chinese properties as part of its expansion in Asia.” According to CEO of Savills Greater China, Raymond Lee, “a good opportunity will emerge for long-term investors in the coming six to 12 months, and what foreign real estate funds are doing now is finding a legal fund vehicle that can get their money into the country.” Indeed, substantial funding is expected to get to China before 2012 as well.

Increase in Investment

News from the Commerce Ministry is the increase in “utilized foreign investment” by 27 percent, reaching $17.8b by February 2011. Of this, $4.15b was in the real estate sector. In an effort to curb this, local authorities were ordered to “halt the approval of some foreign property investments to stop speculative purchases, it said in a Nov 22 statement.” Local authorities will have to “strengthen their reviews of foreign exchange inflows for real estate transactions and documentation for land rights.” Right now there are two principal channels for foreign capital that “flow into the Chinese mainland’s property market”: participating in development with local partners and cooperating with Hong Kong-listed real estate companies.

Real Estate Firms Future

According to President of CB Richard Ellis China, small- and medium-sized real estate firms are likely to feel an additional squeeze by June that will result in more “equity investment opportunities for foreign institutional investors.” This is due to banks making it harder to borrow money and dropping property sales. Prices of residential projects will be “more competitive.” As well, for those medium- and high-end homes which witnessed “excess short-term price growth,” are being impacted by government real estate “tightening” policies. The advice by experts thus is to avoid these sectors to protect your investment. Ultimately, even though foreign investors have expressed concern about the potential risks in China, a “clear long-term picture through the 12th Five-Year Plan” is still what’s keeping confidence high and bringing investors back to China all the time.

New Zealand New Hotspot

Chinese NZ Investment

New Zealand is becoming an increasingly more attractive to investors. This has been especially evident in China which has been purchasing more NZ bonds than ever. Recent reports show that investments from China could amount to $6b which will have an impact on the kiwi dollar that could increase to 81 cents (which would be a three year peak) “against the greenback.” According to Craigs Investment Partners market analyst Peter McIntyre, “there have been reports that the Chinese foreign exchange reserves are looking to diversify around about 1.5 percent of their assets into New Zealand denominated assets like government bonds, companies and dairy farms.”

Nice New Zealand

That is one way of describing the country. Nice. New Zealand is definitely “nice” for investors since in terms of financial security, it is very stable. There is also a “high domestic inflation rate” with large returns too. It seems to be the whole region is finding New Zealand attractive, most notably Singapore and Hong Kong which are looking into government bonds.

These changes have been happening for a few years now. Countries in Asia are boasting “very large reserves.” There is likely to be additional investments ahead too. China will see an increase in investment from BUD, the Brazilian-Belgium owned Anheuser-Busch InBev and intends to establish a “brewery to make Budweiser in the mainland by the third quarter,” according to Carlos Brito, CEO of the company. The intention is to put in “several hundred million dollars this year.”

Better Beer

The three “top-priority markets” set to “drive the volume growth of the global beer industry,” are: Brazil, China and the USA. Indeed, China alone drinks around 30 liters of beer per annum, rendering it “responsible for around 25 percent of global beer consumption.” Just last week the first brewery was launched by AB InBev in Sichuan, a southwest China province, which according to the company’s Asia Pacific president Miguel Patricio, “aims to better serve the 200 million consumers in the region.” So if you happen to be visiting the Great Wall, consider quenching your thirst with a barrel of beer.

Plunge into Pakistan

Gilani Asks for Chinese Investors

Just a few days ago, Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, asked firms in China to “invest in his country’s energy sector,” in an attempt to boost his suffering economy that is facing crisis following last year’s massive floods as well as in general, “weak Western investment.” But he’s not asking this from a charitable point of view. Gilani believes that Chinese companies can really benefit from making this investment, according to what he said last Thursday at a joint business forum held in Beijing. He added that, “joint ventures, with equity participation of Chinese corporations and financial institutions, can transform Pakistan’s economic landscape and would certainly prove to be a win-win scenario.” He also mentioned how beneficial it would be for these Chinese firms to look to Pakistan when developing their business strategies.

Osama’s Unraveling

Gilani made these statements on the third day of his China trip which is just a few weeks after Osama bin Laden was killed on Pakistani soil. This in and of itself is significant since it “rattled US-Pakistan ties and pushed Islamabad closer to Beijing.” Gilani met with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao last Wednesday and the two have both been pushing the development of mutual ties between the countries at a time when his country is feeling the “pressure about whether its security services knew where bin Laden was.”

Economic Excellence

At the end of the day, there is also great potential for trading and profits between China and Pakistan. Indeed, just looking at figures for last year, trade between the day reached $8.7bn which was an increase of 27.7 percent on-year. There has also been substantial collaboration in the energy sector between the two countries. Indeed, just over a week ago, a nuclear power plant that was built with China was opened in Pakistan and Beijing has signed a contract to build an additional two reactors in an attempt to facilitate energy shortages. Since Pakistan has been dealing with substantial power shortages, production has been limited to approximately 80 percent of the country’s needs. Thus these kind of energy agreements are vital for boosting the economy.