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Old September 15th, 2009, 07:38 PM   #1
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CHENGDU | Projects & Construction

Chengdu to get a version of Hong Kong nightlife
September 15, 2009

HONG KONG (AFP) - Allan Zeman, the founder of one of Hong Kong's most popular nightlife hubs, said Monday he is setting up a similar district in the mainland Chinese city of Chengdu.

The Hong Kong entrepreneur has bought a riverside neighbourhood in Jinjiang, the business district of the fast-growing capital of Sichuan province, and is now signing up restaurants, bars and shops to fill it.

Unlike Hong Kong's Lan Kwai Fong, which draws a mainly expatriate crowd, the Chengdu version, due to open in March, will target newly moneyed locals.

"I was blown away by what was going on in the city, which is a hub of activity," Zeman told AFP.

"And unlike in Shanghai and Beijing, the people in Chengdu work hard but they also tend to enjoy themselves in a more relaxed way."

Zeman declined to say how much he had paid for the area, which at 43,000 square metres (462,848 square feet) is about 18 times bigger than Lan Kwai Fong.

Zeman, dubbed the "Father of Lan Kwai Fong" by Hong Kong media, said a flow of government reconstruction money after the Sichuan earthquake last year was boosting the local economy.

Initially reluctant when approached with the idea by the Jinjiang district government, Zeman said he was impressed by Chengdu's bustling restaurant and bar scene when he visited the city after the Beijing Olympics last year.

Brighter economic growth prospects in mainland China than in Hong Kong also convinced him to take on the project, Zeman said.

"I believe China is the future," he added.

Chengdu, with a population of more than 10 million, is seen as a gateway to western China and an IT and financial services hub.

Regulars of the original Lan Kwai Fong will find some of their old favourites in Chengdu, including branches of restaurants California and Baci Pizza, Zeman said.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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Chengdu-Chongqing High-speed Railway to Break Earth in 2010
4 January 2010

CHONGQING, January 4, SinoCast -- The high-speed railway between Chengdu and Chongqingwill break earth in 2010, and the 308.59-kilometer railway will shorten the travel between the two southwestern Chinese cities to less than one hour.

The construction will last four years, and the total investment is estimated at CNY 39.89 billion. If the railway starts service, it will become an important inter-city line connecting the two cities, and play a significant role in speeding up the local sustainable economic growth.

At that time, a multiple unit will start every three to five minutes at least, and in 2030, more than 200 pairs of multiple units will be in service each day and the yearly passenger traffic volume can reach 60 million at most.

The new railway will start from the Chengdu Dongke Station in the west, and go eastward through Jianyang, Ziyang, Zizhong, Neijing, and Longchang, and reach Chongqing. Inside Chongqing, it will pass through Rongchang, Dazu, Yongchuan, Bishan, and Shanpingba, and finally arrive at the Chongqing Sation.

After three to five years of hard work, the southwestern province of Sichuan will preliminarily form a railway network with its capital Chengdu as the center. New railways from Sichuan to other regions will be designed with an hourly speed of more than 200 kilometers at most.

The province has spent much on railway construction and upgrade in recent years. In July 2009, the Dazhou-Chengdu Railway came into operation after the second line between Sanhui County and Suining was completed.

With a total length of 318 kilometers, the railway is one of the key projects that the Chinese central government kicked off in a bid to vitalize less-developed western areas.

Along with the second line of the Xiangfan-Chongqing Railway, the Dazhou-Chengdu Railway is expected to serve as a major traffic aisle in mountainous Sichuan.

The traffic aisle is expected to promote the economy in western China, improve the railway network in western areas, and help victims of the devastating earthquake rebuild their homes.

Across the country, fixed-assets investment in railways jumped 66.4 percent year on year to about CNY 507.288 billion in the first eleven months of 2009, including nearly CNY 449.26 million in the infrastructure construction with a 79 percent surge.

In the period, the total passenger traffic volume inched up 4.4 percent to about 1.413 billion, and state-owned railways contributed 1.398 billion to the total passenger traffic volume, going up 4.5 percent from a year earlier. And the passenger turnover increased 1.65 percent to approximately 733.865 billion-passenger-kilometer.

The country aggregately transported 3.022 billion tons of cargo by rail, slipping 0.7 percent, and the cargo turnover inched down 1.1 percent to about 2.265 trillion-ton-kilometer.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 12:34 PM   #3
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Aggressive bidding at site auctions shows developers remain bullish
9 January 2010
SCMP

Developers have signalled continued confidence in the mainland property market by taking part in aggressive bidding at land auctions yesterday.

The bullishness of both mainland and Hong Kong developers comes despite the market being clouded by possible cooling measures by Beijing.

Chengdu, the second-tier city located in the southwest, yesterday sold six commercial and residential sites for a total of about 2.76 billion yuan (HK$3.13 billion). The land prices were in line with market expectation.

The most prominent site, located in Chen Mu Po in Qingyang district, was sold to Wharf (Holdings) for about 1.56 billion yuan, 24 per cent higher than the opening bid.

The site is located in the city centre and could provide a total gross floor area of 322,146 square metres. It also attracted bids from Poly Real Estate Group and China Merchants Property Development.

The average land price of the site is 4,837 yuan per square metre.

The other sites in the city were sold to local developers.

Terence Chong, managing director at Centaline (China) in Chengdu, said prices of property in three- to five-year-old housing estates in the area ranged between 8,000 and 10,000 yuan per square metre. He expects Wharf to fetch more than 10,000 yuan per square metre for its project.

David Ng, head of regional property research at Royal Bank of Scotland, believes developers would continue to bid for sites aggressively in the first half of the year as the government is unlikely to introduce cooling measures.

China Vanke also bought a residential site yesterday, paying 858.6 million yuan for a 95,242 square metre site in Yinzhou district in Ningbo.

Meanwhile, China Railway Construction Corp spent about 1.99 billion yuan to buy a residential site in Beijing's Fengtai district, 56 per cent higher than the opening bid.

The site provides a gross floor area of 247,620 square metres and has an accommodation value of 8,016 yuan per square metre.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:29 PM   #4
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China to build Xi'an-Chengdu high-speed railway
18 January 2010
Copyright 2010 China Daily Information Company. All Rights Reserved.

A high-speed railway linking Xi'an with Chengdu has won approval from the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planning agency, the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute said on January 15.

The railway has a designed speed of over 250km/h. It will help to cut the travel time between the two major cities in western China to less than three hours from current 13 hours, the designer said.

It includes a 519-km section between Xi'an, home to the terracotta warriors in Shaanxi province, and Jiangyou in Sichuan province, and another 130-km section linking Jiangyou with Chengdu, the Sichuan provincial capital.

Construction on the Xi'an-Jiangyou line will start this year, the institute said, without giving a timetable. The Jiangyou-Chengdu line has been under construction for over a year.

The Xi'an-Chengdu railway, which costs about 68.8 billion yuan ($10 billion), is the first rail route to run through the Qinling Mountains, and is scheduled to be completed in 2014, the designer said. It will have 135 km traversing the Qinling Mountains area, including 127 km tunnels.
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Old January 19th, 2010, 11:45 AM   #5
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Pueblo County’s decision to use concrete instead of asphalt on an airport industrial park road not only saved money but also earned a major national award for the way the project turned out.

The county’s Public Works Department has been recognized for several achievement awards related to the extension and improvement of William White Boulevard.

The project was part of the much larger Defense Access Road program, funded mainly by the federal government. The purpose was to improve the roads through the industrial park and provide a second access point besides Paul Harvey Boulevard for the numerous trucks and commuters who will be working at the chemical demilitarization plant.

When it came time to extend William White to Colorado 47, high oil prices made concrete more economical than asphalt.

The work won the outstanding project award within its region and category by the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association at its annual conference. It later was selected as the gold level national winner of the ACPA National 20th Annual Excellence in Concrete Pavement Award in the category of County Roads, making it the best concrete paved road in the nation. Pueblo County was led by Greg Severance, public works director and Rich Simpson, project manager. The contractor was Castle Rock Construction Co. and the design and project management consultant was Short Elliott Hendrickson.
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Old July 7th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #6
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Swire Properties 2010 Core Net To Rise At Least 10%
19 April 2010

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Swire Properties Ltd., the Swire Pacific Ltd. (0019.HK) property unit that is set to be spun off via a listing on the Hong Kong bourse this year, said Monday it expects its underlying net profit to grow by at least 10% in 2010, and hopes to strengthen its presence in China by expanding into Chengdu city and tapping China's residential property market.

Swire Pacific's decision to spin off its property unit is part of its plan to raise funds for new projects in Hong Kong and China, where property prices surged last year. Swire Properties plans to increase capital expenditure to HK$4.74 billion (US$607.7 million) in 2010 from the HK$3.87 billion spent in 2009, and aims to spend 83% of capex on its China operations. The company said capex will gradually decline to HK$3.24 billion in 2011 and HK$1.98 billion in 2012.

Swire Pacific has received regulatory approval to spin off Swire Properties, and people familiar with the matter said it could raise up to US$3 billion via the initial public offering. The deal has been closely watched by bankers and investors. because it is likely to be the second-largest IPO in the Asia-Pacific region so far this year after Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co.'s US$10.99 billion IPO in Japan earlier this month, according to data from Dealogic.

Swire Properties, which was originally listed in 1977 before it was taken private in 1984, expects to post an underlying net profit of at least HK$4.23 billion for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, up from HK$3.83 billion in 2009.

It said it plans to issue dividends, which will average around 50% of its underlying net profit over an economic cycle.

The company said it expects net profit for the year to be at least HK$7.14 billion, down from HK$15.39 billion in 2009.

"We intend to grow our business by continuing to focus on the development of mixed use commercial properties," Swire properties said, adding it plans to strengthen its presence in Hong Kong and some regions and cities in China.

Swire Properties, which has projects in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, said it intends to expand its operations to Chengdu, which could serve as a base for its operations in western China as the capital city of Sichuan province has a large population, strong economic growth and spending power. The company plans to acquire a site in Chengdu, which it expects to be offered in an auction in the second quarter, via a 50-50 joint venture with mainland property developer Sino Ocean-Land Holdings (3377.HK).

The site, which spans around 78,000 square meters and is located in a shopping district and a planned financial street, could be developed into a project comprising retail space, office space and a hotel.

Swire Properties only has commercial projects in China, but said it may expand into the country's residential market, targeting the luxury sector.

As of March 31, Swire Properties had an attributable aggregate gross floor area of about 27.1 million square feet valued at HK$183.8 billion. Completed investment properties in Hong Kong accounted for 75.9% of the total value, and investment properties in China represented 11.6%.

On Saturday, it agreed to sell an investment property at The Peak, a prime residential district on Hong Kong Island, for HK$1.10 billion.

Swire Properties owns a variety of investment properties, including the Pacific Place commercial complexes in Admiralty and office space at Island East in Quarry Bay, plus interests in hotels.

It derived HK$7.43 billion, or 91%, of its HK$8.19 billion revenue in 2009 from gross rental income from its office, retail and residential spaces.

Swire Properties is scheduled to begin the roadshow for its IPO on April 26 and is expected to list on the Hong Kong bourse May 14, people familiar with the situation said Friday.

HSBC Holdings PLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., and Morgan Stanley have been appointed to handle the deal.
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Old July 29th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #7
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Chinese village takes baby steps to organic farming
25 May 2010
Charleston Gazette

ANLONG, China - This small village on the Zouma River - inside the municipal boundaries of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province - is the site of a fascinating effort to fight one of China's biggest problems: the dangerous levels of pollution in its rivers and streams.

"In the last 30 years, China's economic miracle has helped pull millions from poverty, but has put tremendous pressure on its ecosystems," said Ma Jun, whose 1999 book "China's Water Crisis" has been compared to Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." "Sixty percent of our rivers are polluted," and "300 million rural residents have no clean drinking water."

China's leadership has recognized the problem and adopted new regulations on industrial and agricultural pollution. But that doesn't guarantee that all local officials - let alone polluters - will follow the rules.

That's why some government officials, hard-pressed to meet the new standards, may support Chinese nongovernmental organizations that work to clean up the environment. And that's how I came to be hurtling down a country road to look at a project run by the Chengdu Urban Rivers Association, or CURA, which works to persuade the public of the need to save the rivers.

I have a special interest in this area. On my first trip to China, in 1986, I visited a village outside Chengdu shortly after communist communes had been disbanded, freeing peasants to farm on their own. Now farmers are making the water problem worse.

"Half of our problem is agricultural pollution," said Tian Jun, CURA's energetic general secretary, who formerly worked for the government on projects to treat two terribly polluted rivers running through Chengdu. Despite progress, officials faced a continuing problem of runoff from chemical pesticide used by farmers living upstream from Chengdu.

So Tian left government and helped form CURA to try to strengthen environmental awareness in the rural communities living on waterways that feed the city's rivers. The group received support from Chengdu's mayor and about $14,000 in seed money contributed by local real estate developers who didn't want Chengdu's rivers to be smelly. (It now receives support from other individual donors, a Hong Kong NGO, and the local government.)

The group focused on Anlong and two adjacent villages, which form a collection of whitewashed bungalows - with concrete floors, tile roofs, modest furnishings, and indoor toilets - dispersed among trees and riverside farmland. Their goal: to end the farmers' "addiction" to chemical fertilizers and encourage organic farming. They also wanted to promote an alternative energy cycle in which farmers would use human and animal waste to produce methane gas for cooking (heating huge woks from below), as well as for fertilizer.

The going was rough: 100 families (out of 1,000 in a three-village cluster) are now using bio-gas, but only four of the 20 families who tried organic farming are still committed to it.

The reason: Organic farming is more labor-intensive, and the land takes three to five years to recover from chemical fertilizers, meaning farmers' incomes drop in the short term.

But conversations with the organic farmers give insights into rural life and values. In the Gao family, daughter Qing Rong, who returned home after 10 years as a migrant factory worker, says her new work gives her "more dignity." She is reading a Chinese translation of "Silent Spring."

Her brother, Gao Hai, a former disc jockey in Shanghai, cooked up an organic feast for journalists from the Johns Hopkins School of International Studies' International Reporting Project.

When asked whether she minded earning less, the Gaos' mother, Li Zhilan, responded: "We don't think about this. We think organic food is good for us to eat, good for the soil, and good for the people who eat what we grow."

Tian Jun hopes CURA can promote this model to other areas and develop a "river protection belt." Officials from other towns have already come to examine the project.

Anlong is a special case, helped by an energetic NGO, and it's not clear that it can be widely replicated. But CURA's experiment gives a glimpse of what happens when Chinese officials let local energies, and NGOs, flourish. And it's a reminder of how far China has come since my visit, 24 years ago.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 06:22 PM   #8
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The Dark Side of the Boom - Chinese Fight Property Seizures by the State
3 August 2010
Spiegel Online International

Local authorities in China are using brutal means to expropriate ordinary people in a bid to profit from the country's construction boom. Some desperate citizens have commited suicide, while others vow to defend their properties with their lives.

Businessman Gu Kui, 55, looks into the rearview mirror of his SUV. He is desperately trying to lose the blue car that's been following him for hours. Gu is so nervous that he almost rear-ends the car in front of him. He slams on the brakes and sharply turns the steering wheel. His vehicle makes a 180-degree turn and comes to a stop in the opposite direction on the highway.

Gu's near-accident in the western Chinese city of Chengdu ends without any injuries or damage to the vehicle. With his dangerous maneuver, Gu has managed to shake the people who have been tailing him -- for today, at least. The driver of the car that was following him, with its five thuggish passengers, has no choice but to remain in the flow of traffic and drive past Gu.

Gu has become accustomed to such chases and nerve-wracking encounters since he tangled with local officials in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. A former owner of an auto parts market, Gu is part of a growing group of dissatisfied Chinese citizens. They are becoming increasingly bold in their opposition to the practices of Communist urban planners as they seek to effectively expropriate property and resell it to real estate sharks, in a bid to benefit from China's overheated construction boom.

'I Had to Look on as Bulldozers Demolished My Property'

Gu's former property is conveniently located near a highway access road. On the roughly five-hectare (12.3-acre) piece of land where he once operated a used-car and car parts business, construction cranes and crews are now hard at work erecting new apartment buildings. Red banners advertise the future apartments to potential buyers.

The district government had leased the property to him for 30 years. In the People's Republic, all land belongs to the state, which awards usage rights for fixed terms: up to 70 years for residential properties and 50 years for industrial operations. But other rules apply in rural areas, as in Gu's case. In any event, local officials decided that they could earn more money by driving Gu off the land and offering it to real estate developers instead.

Gu remembers the day they destroyed his livelihood. He says that hundreds of heavily armed police officers and thugs in civilian clothing appeared at the site, bringing along three ambulances as a precaution. "I had to look on as bulldozers demolished my property," he recalls.

As the pace of modernization in China's economy picks up, people are increasingly clinging to their property and standing up to the government's arbitrary practices. In the eastern Chinese city of Zhengzhou, a 45-year-old woman was killed in May when an excavator dragged her out of the upper floor of her restaurant, where she had barricaded herself in to protect her property.

Gu is now suing the Chengdu city government. The case -- which, bizarrely enough, is being funded by local functionaries, apparently in a bid to get rid of him -- has even attracted attention in faraway Beijing.

In the Public Interest

The reason Gu's case is garnering so much attention is because he isn't just suing for damages. In a petition to the central government and China's legislature, the National People's Congress, his attorney, Zhang Xinkui, is also fundamentally challenging the authority of local governments to heat up the real estate market through the arbitrary seizure and resale of properties.

The lawsuit calls the entire practice of Chinese state capitalism into question. For local governments and their often corrupt officials, buying and selling real estate has become a lucrative source of income to augment tight funds. Many of them, warns Liu Jiayi, the country's auditor general, face "heavy debt pressures."

But according to Zhang, China's municipalities are violating the national constitution with their real estate deals. Under the constitution, the authorities can only seize property if it is to be used in the public interest. Although "public interest" is an elastic term in Chinese communism, Zhang argues that the government, in its dual role as overseer and market player, is unnecessarily boosting speculation and exacerbating social injustices.

In 2007, China's National People's Congress enacted a law to protect private property -- with the exception of land. But in the course of rapid urbanization, planners, intent on promoting economic growth, often pay little attention to the rights of established residents and business owners. And contrary to the directives from Beijing, many local officials tend to promote the construction of luxury condominiums above everything else.

Suicides and Torture

Yang Youde, for example, comes from three generations of farmers. Until recently, he was growing melons and cotton, and raising fish, on the outskirts of Wuhan, a city of 9 million people. Today weeds run rampant on his fields, and almost all the fish in his large pond have starved to death. The 56-year-old spends almost all of his time defending his property against seizure by local authorities and speculators.

The facades of new luxury apartment buildings are getting closer to Yang's property, and most of his neighbors have already capitulated. Yang reports that one desperate man and his wife set themselves on fire, while others have drowned themselves in their ponds.

Yang's property, which consists of brick huts, looks like a fortress. He has built a perch above the shed where he keeps watch. He says that in August 2009, after he had submitted a petition against the planned seizure of his farm, the police came and dragged him away to one of China's notorious so-called "black jails," where he was held for 51 days. "They strung me up by my hands and put out cigarettes on my skin," he says.

Now he intends to defend his farm with the one thing he has left: his life.
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Old August 14th, 2010, 05:03 PM   #9
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China OKed 9 Subway & City Rail Projects
11 August 2010

BEIJING, August 11, SinoCast -- China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), yesterday announced on its website that from January to July, it approved nine subway and city rail projects in total.

Currently, 33 Chinese cities are making preparations for construction of the first batch of or more subways, and 26 of them have gained green light. By now, 10 cities have had their own subways.

In the first seven months of this year, the NDRC said yes to such projects as the first phase of the No. 2 line in Ningbo, the No. 1 line in Fuzhou, the No. 3 line in Qingdao, the No. 7 line, the No. 4 line, and the Changping line in Beijing, the No. 1 and 2 lines in Kunming, and the second phase of the No. 2 line in Chengdu.

In addition to construction of domestic rails, Chinese companies have been striving to seek opportunities overseas. China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), under the wing of China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) has won a contract building railway lines in Libya valued about USD 805 million.
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Old August 23rd, 2010, 04:32 PM   #10
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China's second-tier cities power ahead of Big Four
7 August 2010
Straits Times

Provincial capitals benefit from stimulus spending and foreign investment

BEIJING: Move aside, Shanghai. Lesser-known Chinese cities are making a name for themselves these days with their spectacular growth.

While China's Big Four of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen may have powered the country's economic growth in the past three decades, it is the lower-profile cities that are now spearheading its remarkable recovery from the global financial crisis.

Compare the numbers. The first-tier megacities chalked up impressive growth of 12 per cent on average in the first half of this year.

Their less famous cousins such as Changchun, Yinchuan and Hefei, on the other hand, scored 18.5 per cent and more - rates which the Big Four registered more than a decade ago. In fact, the three provincial capitals are the fastest-growing cities in China, their phenomenal growth rates far outstripping the Chinese economy's overall rate of 11.1 per cent.

These resource-rich cities benefited from the deluge of government stimulus spending to build infrastructure, encourage domestic consumption and speed up development of the inland economies.

This, in turn, drove up demand for commodities such as steel and coal - and further stoked the Chinese consumers' appetite for food, state-subsidised cars and electronics, as well as property.

One beneficiary is Changchun - the capital of Jilin province, which is known as the golden corn belt of China. Not surprisingly, the city's key industries of car manufacturing, petrochemicals and food processing have been in overdrive this year to satisfy surging demand.

Meanwhile, cities like Yinchuan, Chongqing and Chengdu, which are seen as gateways to the western provinces, have attracted fresh investments after Beijing ramped up its 'Go West' campaign this year to stimulate the region's development.

Many smaller cities are also benefiting from multinational companies shifting their operations from first-tier cities to cheaper locations like Tianjin. The port city's Binhai New Area, which houses high-tech companies, has been 'especially outstanding' as a magnet for foreign investment, including Singapore's joint-venture Eco-city project, said Professor Zhao Xijun of Renmin University.

So these lesser-known cities are hogging the limelight - and deservedly so. After all, they are punching well above their weight: 15 of these cities account for just 6 per cent of China's 1.3 billion population, but contribute about half of its total foreign direct investment, according to Mr Danny Ng, a Beijing-based director at Force Research, a market research firm.

Yet despite their solid performance so far this year, some analysts worry about how they will fare in the second half of the year.

Chinese Academy of Social Sciences professor Yuan Gangming singled out the island province of Hainan and its capital Haikou as a 'potential disaster for the national economy'. Haikou's breathtaking 27 per cent jump in first-quarter growth was largely driven by a property-buying frenzy.

'The whole country's speculative property bubble this year was first sparked by Hainan, and now it is starting to collapse,' said Prof Yuan.

Another concern is that the smaller cities' growth rates are propped up by government support - and may even have been inflated.

As the Chinese economy slows down in the second half of the year and as the stimulus measures start to wear off, cracks in these lower-tier cities' economies will begin to show, analysts warned.

Prof Zhao said: 'These areas' growth has been so influenced by government policy that it is hard to predict what will happen afterwards.'

In this respect, the more mature first-tier cities that are forced to keep up by transforming their economic models have done quite well this year.

The megacities have moved into tertiary industries like financial services. They have also been rebranding themselves. MNCs' regional headquarters hub? That will be Beijing.

Shanghai is Asia's financial hub, Guangdong is the investment gateway to Asia, and Shenzhen is the world's largest IT manufacturing base.

Shanghai-based business consultant Li Jingwei said: 'The first-tier cities are moving along the path that mature economies like Singapore have taken - attracting investors with their high-tech base and top talent.

'But the lower-tier cities will be the ones in the spotlight as they have so much growth potential.'
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Old October 30th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #11
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Is Chongqing a 2nd Tier city?

I know it is a National Central City (along with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Tianjin) and a Direct Municipality (along with those except Guangzhou).

Maybe Chongqing is the lowest/newest rung of the 1st Tier, but I thought all the listed were also 1st Tier cities.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 07:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Rod View Post
Is Chongqing a 2nd Tier city?

I know it is a National Central City (along with Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Tianjin) and a Direct Municipality (along with those except Guangzhou).

Maybe Chongqing is the lowest/newest rung of the 1st Tier, but I thought all the listed were also 1st Tier cities.
Yes - likely a 2nd tier city since the 1st tier are coastal cities.
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Old November 4th, 2010, 11:03 AM   #13
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China OKs high speed rail link for Chengdu-Xi'an; project to cut through rugged mountain range
2 November 2010

SHANGHAI (AP) - China has approved plans for a 70.8 billion yuan ($10.6 billion) link to connect its inland cities of Chengdu and Xi'an just days after inaugurating what it says is the world's fastest intercity high-speed rail line.

The National Development and Reform Commission okayed the Xi'an-Chengdu high speed rail plan last week and construction is due to begin later this year, the China Railway First Survey and Design Institute said in a notice seen on its website.

The 510-kilometer (320 mile) railway, one-quarter of which will run through tunnels, will cut travel time between the two cities to about two hours from the current 13, it said.

Running through the rugged Qinling mountains, it is expected to carry some 70 million passengers a year once it is finished in four years.

The Xi'an-Chengdu high-speed railway will run at 250 kilometers per hour (156 miles per hour), slower than the super rapid Shanghai-Hangzhou link, which operates at a maximum 350 kph (220 mph) and opened for business last week.

Xi'an, capital of north-central China's Shaanxi province, will be a hub for several high-speed rail lines, part of an effort to improve infrastructure in vast inland regions that have lagged behind China's affluent coastal areas.

China already has the world's longest high-speed rail network and aims to more than double its length to 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 03:22 AM   #14
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The head, heart and tail of Zaha's Chengdu art centre
12 November 2010
Building Design
http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/the-h...008910.article





Zaha Hadid Architects has unveiled its plans for the largest cultural building in China, the Chengdu Contemporary Art Centre in Sichuan province.

The Yin Yang-shaped 200,000sq m complex includes three huge auditoriums, an art museum, an exhibition centre, a conference centre, a learning centre, bars, restaurants and shops, all housed within a single sculptural form.

The building, which Hadid won in competition in 2007, is also the largest standalone structure the practice has ever designed.

Project architect Markus Planteu said the centre comprises three main elements: a "head" which, makes up the cultural component, the "tail" which contains the conference and exhibition facilities and the central "heart" which includes circulation space and a lobby with a span of 50m.

"You could bring up to 20,000 people at the same time into the building," he said.

The centre is surrounded by a 140,000sq m landscaped area and is part of a larger development, which includes a 1.3 million sq m theme park and leisure complex.
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Old November 28th, 2010, 07:02 AM   #15
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Hong Kong’s bar impresario wants to bring party culture to China’s interior
China’s King of ‘the Fong’ looks westward; Hong Kong’s bar impresario wants to bring party culture to China’s interior
25 November 2010
MarketWatch

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — Hong Kong’s billionaire nightlife king Allan Zeman is making a leveraged bet on China’s inland growth story.

Frequently described in the Hong Kong press as the “Father of Lan Kwai Fong” — a famous area of bars and restaurants in the city’s financial district — 62-year-old Zeman is now seeking to create a similar scene in the capital city of Sichuan province, Chengdu.

Boasting a population of 10.5 million, along with a growing status as an electronics hub (it recently attracted iPhone-maker Foxconn to set up new production facilities), Chengdu is seen as gateway that bridges China’s affluent east coast and its poorer inland west.

The region is also a key beneficiary from Beijing’s efforts to coax new investment to the interior, in order to help even out regional income disparities.

“The west is like the new south of the old days,” says Zeman, referring to Beijing’s efforts in the 1980s to spark development by designating special economic zones in Guangdong province, which eventually grew into today’s global manufacturing hubs.

Montreal-raised Zeman — who made a fortune exporting women’s fashions and later used cash flow from bars and restaurants to become landlord to Hong Kong’s trendiest party district — sees potential as China looks outward.

Though consumers in Chengdu don’t yet have the spending power of their Hong Kong cousins, he says that salaries are rising, as is the appetite for Western-style entertainment and nightlife among the new generation.

A fact-finding visit to the site at the invitation of Chengdu authorities in 2008 was a perception-changing event for Zeman. Hummers crowded the drop-off bay of the ritzy hotel where he stayed, while a nearby Bentley showroom offered more clues.

“It’s unbelievable: There is strong spending power,” Zeman said, who made the visit on a return journey after attending the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics. “I came away with the idea that this could really work.”

Chengdu’s municipal government had pushed ahead with the development as part of plans for a new financial district, and following its completion, they sought out Zeman in a drive to privatize the site and transfer management to an experienced hand.

He eventually secured a deal to buy most of the 19 buildings on the Chengdu site, and signed options on the remainder. Zeman says he’s actually buying the 550,000 square foot project from its builder, a state-owned construction company.

The collection of three-story buildings are situated along the Jinjiang River, part of the integrated entertainment area that was designed by a Chinese architect.

The site is about one and a half times bigger than the cluster of bars along Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong Street — a lane once known for its flower stalls and spousal match-making. But according to Zeman, the Chengdu project site is already about 90% leased ahead of its formal launch next month.

Zeman declined to state how much he paid for the site, saying only that it’s part of a long-term investment story.

Learning locally

In signing up tenants, Zeman — who also sits on the board of casino group Wynn Resorts (WYNN, US) (1128, HK) , as well as serving as chairman for his bar and restaurant group Lan Kwai Fong Developments — said he borrowed from his experience with Chinese consumers.

He opted for a mix of different food and beverage operators from Shanghai and Hong Kong, as well as some from Chengdu. The approach was to cater to local tastes. In general, he says, working with the culture can be easier than trying to win consumers over to new preferences too quickly.

The first thing I always recommend to people is to understand your customer, spend some time in the city, observe the habits of the people, what they like, what they don’t,” Zeman says.

He points to a U.S. restaurant chain that opened in July — which he wouldn’t name — as one of the Chengdu tenants that don’t appear have the right approach. He says the restaurant is struggling because its barbecue rib sauce is likely too sweet for local palates, which favor spicy cuisine.

There are successes too. A nightclub run by a Hong Kong group is enjoying wild success and a “license to print money,” Zeman says.

Still, it’s also important to push new experiences. A Halloween-related promotion found traction, he says, because it was tweaked to use ghosts taken from Chinese folklore. Other planned celebrations will highlight both Western and Chinese festivals.

Another thing to remember, Zeman says, is that much of the wealth in China’s “second-tier” cities like Chengdu is tied to factory jobs, rather than the administration and banking sectors that dominate in Beijing and Shanghai.

That means second-tier-city dwellers can be a little dumbfounded when encountering a flashy club or restaurant for the first time. “They are not as exposed to the things the primary cities have,” Zeman said.

And what about spending power?

The average person heading out for a night in Chengdu can’t afford Hong Kong drink prices, which fetch upwards of $12 — or more than the daily wages for many of China’s lowest paid workers — concedes Zeman.

Though this can make things difficult, he says that the pluses and minuses tend to balance out financially, thanks in part to lower leasing costs than in Hong Kong and a more free-spending spirit that permeates Chengdu’s culture. Also, he says, China is sincere about readjusting its economy so that consumer spending accounts about 25% of growth.

Real-estate play

Zeman’s bet on Chengdu is also based on a longer-term view of China’s real-estate market, reworking a strategy that underpinned Zeman’s fortunes in Hong Kong.

In 1983, Zeman — himself a teetotaler — opened his first restaurant and bar in the Lan Kwai Fong area inside a former grocery store. It was among a new generation of American-influenced bars to offer an alternative to the buttoned-down, colonial ambience of the city’s watering holes, many of which were then based in hotels.

The following year Zeman bought the building.

“I always felt that as a businessman, if after a couple of years the restaurant doesn’t do well, there is nothing to sell, just tables and chairs,” he said.

He continued to amass property holdings throughout the 1980s, shortly before Hong Kong prices would steal the torch from Japan to become the world’s most expensive — and also before that same Hong Kong market burst in the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

In September, Zeman closed down two towers in the center of Lan Kwai Fong, leaving the location of his original restaurant a vacant shell draped in bamboo scaffolding. A new 25-story tower on the site, scheduled for completion at the end of 2012, will be worth about 3 billion Hong Kong dollars ($386.7 million), Zeman said.

His home and native land

Zeman stirred controversy among Canadian expatriates in 2008 by renouncing his Canadian citizenship to take to take a Hong Kong passport. The move broke hearts in a community which had touted Zeman as being one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs in Asia.

Born to Canadian parents, Zeman said he feels no guilt over his decision, as he really lost touch after living abroad for more than 40 years.

Political figures in Hong Kong and Beijing backed the idea, elevating Zeman to among the few Westerners born outside China ever to be granted national identity documents and the visa-free access that goes with them. In October 2009, he attended ceremonies in Tiananmen Square marking the 60th anniversary of the Communist Party.

He says he admires China’s ability to make big decisions and is proud of its economic achievements. For example, he says that by 2015, Hong Kong will be part of a high-speed rail network that will link 400 million people within a two-hour travel radius.

“I’m loving it. I’m living during history,” Zeman says, adding that he speaks Cantonese, the local Chinese dialect in Hong Kong, about as well as he speaks French, the main language in his hometown.

Somewhat ironically, Zeman credits Lan Kwai Fong’s success in part to the exodus of Hong Kongers to foreign-passport-granting havens, such as Vancouver and Sydney, that was sparked by fears Beijing would restrict civil liberties when the British colony reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Many of those drawn back to city following a smooth transition to Chinese rule were more accustomed to drinking and socializing in Western bars, thanks to their time overseas.

However, Zeman’s earlier attempts to build out his brand haven’t always been successful. A deal to build a Lan Kwai Fong-style district in Shenzhen, a fast-growing city just outside Hong Kong, fizzled out in the final hours due to legal issues.

He also missed out in Shanghai, where Hong Kong-listed developer Shui On Land (272, HK) (SOLLY, US) transformed a historic area in that city into trendy a bar and restaurant area. For a time, Zeman did operate a club in Shanghai — purportedly once visited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton during a state trip — but he says he eventually pulled out due to a cluttered market that already had too many bars and restaurants.

Putting together something on the scale necessary to create critical mass in places like Shanghai is nearly impossible today, given China’s soaring land prices, Zeman says.

“In order to do a ‘Lan Kwai Fong,’ you need at least 19 blocks,” Zeman said. “Unless you are with the government, it’s hard to own an area.”

Closer political ties may be a factor in boosting some of his recent ventures. In one recent example, Zeman was selected by municipal authorities in the southern city of Guangzhou to replace a German group in overseeing a state-owned shopping mall, slated to open next year and expected to draw between 800,000 and 1 million visitors a day.

Among others under consideration is a Fisherman’s Wharf-style project near the central business district of Hangzhou — an affluent mid-sized city about two hours south of Shanghai. Zeman said he’s in talks with authorities about taking part, potentially as a joint-venture partner or in another ownership structure.

“They showed me the designs, wanted my critique,” Zeman said, adding he will submit a proposal on “a similar kind of concept to Lan Kwai Fong.”

Zeman also says he’s increasing being called upon by Western institutions for views on China. For instance, he recently shared his outlook with a U.S. pension fund that’s considering investing in the region for the first time.

“Suddenly China is the rich relative in the world,” he says.
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Old December 3rd, 2010, 09:38 AM   #16
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China Biggest Biochip Base to Settle in Chengdu
29 November 2010

CHENGDU, November 29, SinoCast -- The largest biochip production base in China is to settle in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan Province, southwest China.

In order to promote the biochip technology, Chengdu is to build a chip production base with an area of 110 mu (1 mu = 667 square meters), with CapitalBio Corporation, a Beijing-headquartered life science firm, which is expected to become the largest biochip production base in the nation. The base is to start construction two months later, with phase I covering a land area of 60 to 70 mu. Currently, all biochips used in Chengdu are provided by the Beijing headquarters of CapitalBio.

CapitalBio Corporation Pioneer Cheng Jing told journalists that before the company's foray into Chengdu, the company has surveyed many places such as Nanjing, Wuhan, Wuxi, Changsha, and Chongqing. They found hat Chengdu does not possess transport advantage, but also have eligible industry supporting facilities as well as abundant technical staff. So the company initially planned to set up its only independent medical laboratory in Chengdu.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 02:23 PM   #17
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Swire Properties Bought Land in Chengdu

CHENGDU, Jan 10, SinoCast -- In partnership with Hong Kong-listed Sino-Ocean Land (3377.HK), Swire Properties (0962.HK) successfully bought land in China for the first time.

Covering the areas of over 100 mu (1 mu = 667 square meters), the land is located in Jinjiang District, Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Southwest China. As planned, Swire Properties is going to build an upscale department store, a fancy hotel, and an office building on the land. Sino-Ocean Land and Swire Properties jointly paid CNY 2 billion for the land, and each of them takes a 50% stake.

As early as the start of 2009, Swire Properties had contacted Jinjiang District Government and by the end of October 2009, the Hong Kong-listed developer obtained the primary approval for its development project. Last March, Swire Properties reached the framework agreement on strategic cooperation with Beijing-based Sino-Ocean Land.

Actually, both sides had started cooperating with each other as early as 2008, on a real estate project in Beijing; and then they established the long-term partnership. Swire Properties has strong capital strength and rich experience in operating the commercial estate; while Sino-Ocean Land has rich experience in bidding for land and adequate customer resources.

Over the past several years, Swire Properties has entered Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where it owns the urban complex projects. In the past, the company adopted the approach of either M&A or cooperating with local enterprises.

Having entered Chengdu for more than five years, Swire Properties failed for three times in buying local land. As a result, Swire Properties decided to change the style of doing business in China. Last year, Swire Properties became listed in Hong Kong via HKD-23-billion IPO. In addition, the company began attracting more domestic capital of China's Mainland.

For instance, the four projects in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing will cost about CNY 20 billion. Under related regulatory restriction, Swire Properties chose to borrow CNY 8 billion financing loans for its Shanghai project. Also, the foreign developer applied for CNY 2.5 billion worth of loans for the project in Beijing. Bank of China is one of the lenders during the two-time loan offering to Swire Properties.

With foreign developers' penetration into the Chinese market, they actually are in stiffer competition. This on the other hand enables the regional governments to have wider space of choices, thus causing many uncertainties for foreign developers to operating business in the country, according to a domestic investment consulting firm.

(USD 1 = CNY 6.62)
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 02:11 PM   #18
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Volvo: New home in Chengdu
28 February 2011
China Daily - Hong Kong Edition

A year after Geely's big buy, carmaker announces plans for China production

BEIJING - Volvo Cars Corp, the Swedish automaker acquired by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co last year, announced on Feb 25 that it will build its first Chinese plant in the western city of Chengdu and aims to sell 200,000 cars in 2015.

"China is the key to the successful future of Volvo", said Volvo CEO Stefan Jacoby at a news conference in Beijing, when the company released its China business strategy.

Volvo's blueprint envisions a 20 percent market share in China's luxury car segment in 2015 as the company increases its sales six-fold from just 30,000 cars in 2010.

To support the ambitious goal, Volvo has been preparing for local production in China.

Jacoby announced Volvo will construct its first plant in Chengdu and is discussing plans to build factory in the northeastern city of Daqing.

Previous media reports said Volvo will lay the cornerstone of its Chengdu plant in March and begin production two years later with an annual capacity of 100,000 cars.

Freeman Shen, senior vice-president of Volvo Cars and chairman of Volvo's China operations, said the Chengdu production site will include assembly, engine and transmission plants.

Chengdu will also be home to Volvo's new centers for research, parts procurement and sales in western China, according to Shen.

He didn't disclose what models the new plant will produce, only saying "anything that Chinese customers will like - we will try to make them here".

Volvo makes its S40 and S80L models in China at a joint venture between Ford Motor Co and Chongqing Chang'an Automobile Co under two contracts that will expire in 2015 and 2018.

Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely and also chairman of Volvo, said the company will honor the contracts despite its new production facility in Chengdu.

Volvo established its China headquarters in Shanghai a month ago. The company said it will also build an R&D center in the city that will focus on the design and development of premium cars as well as electric and new-energy vehicles.

Volvo also plans to greatly expand its dealer network in China to 220 outlets, up from 106 at present, it said at the news briefing.

China's luxury car market is now dominated by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, all of which have local production facilities with Chinese partners. Combined sales of the three German manufacturers were about 540,000 units last year, comprising 80 percent of the premium market.

"The biggest difference between us and our competitors is that we don't have the limitation of (setting up) joint ventures - we are one enterprise and have one united goal in China," Shen said.

According to market research firm JD Power and Associates, the size of China's luxury car market will more than double to 1.5 million units by 2015, up from 680,000 last year.
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Old March 19th, 2011, 05:11 AM   #19
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NDRC is revising devleopment plan for Chengdu - Chongqing economic zone, Zhang Ping

BEIJING, Mar. 6 (Xinhua) – The National Development and Reform Commission is revising and improving the development plans of Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone, said Zhang Ping, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at a press conference Sunday.

Zhang said that Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone boasts great potential for development in terms of existing economic strength, infrastructure conditions, technology innovation, and good human resources.

The development of Chengdu-Chongqing economic zone can lead west China and explore a route for the sound and fast development of west China, added Zhang.
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 07:18 PM   #20
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Not sure what projects these are. Perhaps some local forumers can fill in this information.

By 昆仑神 from a Chinese photography forum :





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