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Issue 552 9-1-2011
Summary:1. Migrant Workers and Scalpers Harmed by New Train Ticketing System
2. Real Estate Policy in 2012
3. Mengniu Milk for Mongolians and Other Olympic Deals

Highlight's from This Week's Issue of The Economic Observer:
Jan 9, 2012
Translated by Zhu Na and Song Chunling

New Train Ticketing System Beats Scalpers but Complicates New Year Travel for Poorer Migrants    

News, cover

~With the approach of the busiest week of train travel anywhere in the world, China’s Spring Festival, the country’s railways stations are being swamped. A new ticketing system makes it much harder to swap tickets, since each one now has the buyer’s name printed on the front and checked against passengers’ identification cards. Furthermore, the Ministry of Railway’s launch of telephone and online sales online has it even tougher for made tickets even scarcer for the many migrant workers without internet access.

~ The mass migration puts huge pressure on China Railways’ staff. Beijing Station has taken on five hundred temporary workers, says Huang Jifei (黄吉飞), an employee at the rail hub, which is just one of the several arrival points for trains to the capital. Special counters have been set up devoted to students and migrant workers and the station will spend an extra 10 million yuan to handle the surge in customers.

~Two tickets buyers told the EO of their experiences:  21-year-old Zhengxiaotian (郑啸天) logged onto the website, but only after a dozen unsuccessful attempts. He then had to submit his order another twenty times before it was accepted by the system. Laozhou (老周), one of the few migrant workers who can use the internet, was less fortunate. He spent the whole morning in an internet bar trying to order a ticket home to Gansu, before giving up and heading to the migrant worker counter at the train station, where he finally got one.

~Travellers are often forced to resort to scalpers for tickets over the Spring Festival, but Laozhou says that resellers are harder to find this year. One experienced scalper, Jiang Kai, says he and his peers have only found one way around the identification system, which involves using their connections with the ticket sellers and inspector. The scalpers pay off their contacts within three days

Original article
: [Chinese]




Beijing Likely to Maintain Property Purchase Restrictions in 2012
News, cover

~Real estate sector analysts only expect the government to make minor changes to its policies of guaranteeing subsidized housing and dampening speculation.

~With the central bank maintaining its prudent monetary policy, any relaxation of real estate regulation in 2012 is unlikely to provide the same boost as in 2009.

~The four major state-owned lenders, helped by the central bank’s recent loosening of the reserve ratio, are clearing mortgage application faster than before, says Li Wei (李维), an executive at China SCE Property Holdings Ltd.

~However, for local governments, the restrictions on real estate transactions have brought under huge financial pressure. For example, Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei province has had to suspend construction of highways.

~The contraction of the real estate sector would threaten tens of millions of people whose jobs depend on the industry, and Standard Chartered economist Li Wei (李伟) says the government will react to any serious deterioration by lifting the real estate restrictions. Peking Univestity’s Feng Ke (冯科) expects changes after the two sessions, the annual meetings of China's two top legislative bodies that is held each March.

Original article:


2011 Investment in Water Projects Falls Shorts of Target

News, page 2

~ China fell short of its 2011 target to invest 360 billion yuan in water projects. The Ministry of Water Resources said that only 334 billion yuan was invested, with one official putting the shortfall down to local governments’ failure to channel the required 10% of their land revenue into such projects.

~The official said the investment target for 2012 is also 360 billion yuan.

Original article: [Chinese


2012 Trade Volumes Likely to Beat Government's 10% Forecast

News, page 3

~ China’s commerce ministry expects 2011’s trade surplus to shrink to $160 billion, with the total trade volume growing by more than 20% to $3.6 trillion.

~ “The foreign trade situation in the first quarter of 2012 will be still tough,” said one official from the ministry.

~As in previous years, the ministry is projecting trade growth of 10% in 2012. This is forecast is deliberately conservative forecast says the official, who thinks growth of between 15% and 20% is more likely.

~A director at the ministry, Wang Shouwen (王受文), recently said that he doesn’t expect the pressure on Chinese exports to lift in 2012, given the prospects for the U.S. and European markets and rising domestic production costs.

~ The ministry this month held a conference on measures to stimulate domestic consumption. One official who was there said that five big concepts were discussed, including improving logistics and online retail, and that they will require collaboration from other ministries.

Original article: [Chinese


Mengniu Milk for Mongolians and Other Chinese Sponsorship Deals for London 2012
Corporation, page 26
~Chinese car makers and consumer goods companies are rushing to get sponsorship and marketing deals for the London Olympics in 2012.

~State-owner food company COFCO has set aside a 200 million yuan budget for the games. Li-Ning, the sports apparel maker named after its Olympian founder, and peer Anta Sports are expanding their marketing budgets to compete with the likes of Nike and Adidas, who have been working on deals with the Chinese teams ever since the end of the Beijing games.

~China’s companies are focused on media exposure rather than backing winning teams and some of the nation’s brands are targeting teams whose athletes will be seen competing with the Chinese. Peak will sponsor the New Zealand team, ERKE is sponsoring South Africa and Qiaodan is designing the kit to be worn on the medals podium by Kazakh, Turkmen and Mongolian competitors.

~ The Mongolians will be provided with milk by Mengniu, one of the companies whose melamine-rich milk left babies with kidney damage around the time of the most recent games in Beijing.

Original article:

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