China - Economic Data & News 04 (Feb 10 - Sep 10)

Re: China - Economic Data & News 04 (Feb 10 - Sep 10)

Postby winston » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:52 pm

China says progress made on human rights

China said Sunday it has made progress on human rights, pointing in particular to improved living standards, but an international rights group quickly described the government's assessment as unrealistic.

Human Rights Watch said the government failed to mention that since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China has gotten tougher on freedom of speech, has stepped up restrictions on the media and Internet and cracked down on lawyers and activists.

In a report released Sunday titled "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2009," the government highlighted its 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) economic stimulus package that helped the country bounce back from the global financial crisis.

It said per capita income rose 8.5 percent in 2009 for rural residents and 9.8 percent for urban dwellers and that spending on health services and education has increased. It acknowledged that more needed to be done.

While the report focused less on increasing freedoms, it claimed Chinese people were able to exercise freedom of speech on the Internet, which it said has become an important channel for communication between the authorities and the people.

Human Rights Watch's Asia advocacy director Sophie Richardson said the report "is at best a missed opportunity and at worst a clumsy whitewash by failing to render a realistic assessment of China's human rights problems."

Richardson said China needs the political will to enforce the human rights already guaranteed by law and not tolerate officials who trample over those rights.

The group noted that last year, the government targeted several high-profile dissidents such as Liu Xiaobo, who wrote Charter 08, a daring appeal for expanded political freedom. Liu and other dissidents have been prosecuted and jailed on charges of inciting subversion or possession of "state secrets."

China, which is ruled by a one-party authoritarian regime, has long faced international criticism for falling short on basic rights like freedom of speech, religion and the right to a fair trial, even as it has aggressively promoted economic development.

Last year the government released its first human rights action plan that promised to do more to prevent illegal detention and torture, and to boost the overall living standard of minorities, women, the unemployed and the disabled.

Sunday's report said that plan has been "effectively implemented."

Source: AP News
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Re: China - Economic Data & News 04 (Feb 10 - Sep 10)

Postby Poles » Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:31 am

Since is West is buying less & less product....why not bring them to spend in China...
Probably , rmb will not rise to tap the tourist dollars........
p/s: probably Yip Man & Chen Zhen is part of teh coordinated efforst to bring the world to see China?? ... 8Cb02.html
China Business
Sep 28, 2010

China draws in hotel giants
By Bill Savadove

SHANGHAI - International hoteliers, with New York-listed Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Malaysia's Hong Leong Group to the fore, are riding the country's property boom to open new hotels at a dizzying pace, seduced by the potential of China and hurt by weak economies elsewhere.

Undeterred by talk of a growing property bubble, Chinese developers are building palace-like hotels - each competing to be larger and more luxurious than the last - and inviting international companies to manage them.

Mega-events like the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the ongoing World Expo in Shanghai and the upcoming Asian

Games in the southern city of Guangzhou have become an affirmation of the need for foreign hotel operators to have a presence in China, especially top-tier cities.

Among the most aggressive is Starwood Hotels and Resorts, whose brands include Sheraton and St Regis, which plans to open a total of 20 hotels in Greater China (including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau) this year. The company will open 81 hotels in the region over the next three to five years, up from the present total of 62.

"For international business, all of these events from the Olympics to the expo to the Asian Games, have continued to elevate China as a must-see kind of a place," said Nelli Yong, vice president for brand management for Asia-Pacific of Starwood. "We feel very positive about the continuing growth of the domestic business, leisure as well as for business."

Hotel operators believe international travelers will accept China as a luxury destination while Chinese are ready to pay more for a room with a view.

Starwood has just introduced its top luxury brand to China with the reopening of the Astor Hotel in the northern city of Tianjin following a 300 million yuan (US$44.8 million) renovation of the 150-year-old building.

Three more "Luxury Collection" hotels, all newly constructed, are planned for China in the near future, to be located in the commercial capital of Shanghai, the northern port city of Dalian and the resort city of Sanya, in the southern island province of Hainan. "When it comes to money, they [Chinese consumers] are absolutely ready. In terms of wanting the best, they know where they are and they want it," Yong said.

Starwood is not alone. Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which established its first hotel in San Francisco in 1907, recently entered the China market with the reopening of Shanghai's historic Peace Hotel in July after a three-year renovation. The Fairmont Peace Hotel, an art-deco landmark previously called the Cathay Hotel, dates to 1929. Fairmont followed with a hotel in Beijing and a resort in Jiangsu province near Shanghai.

Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong Group has joined the rush by opening its first hotel in China with a Shanghai property and plans to add another in Beijing next year. Hong Leong's Guoman Hotels Group, which has hotels in Britain and Malaysia, is promoting luxury and a "distinctively British flavor" including a fleet of London taxi cabs and butler services for guests.

"These elements will set our hotels apart," said Sanjay Nijhawan, Guoman's chief operating officer for international business.

Luxury, international hotel companies have largely ceded the budget-end to several homegrown Chinese brands, such as Home Inn and Motel 168/Motel 268, which are also making inroads into the business travel market.

But Chinese companies typically bring in foreign partners to manage their high-end hotels. The Astor Hotel is owned by the government-backed Tianjin Tourism Group, while the owner of the Fairmont Peace Hotel is Shanghai-based Jin Jiang International Group, itself a major hotel operator.

Despite high hopes, the Beijing Olympics was a bust for the hotel industry as government visa and security restrictions kept visitors away in droves. The World Expo has proved better than expected, helped both by a rebound in international travel and domestic visitors to the expo willing to spend more on lodging.

Business for the expo has proven so good that hotel operators are worried about the hangover after the event ends in October. Shanghai has at least 300 rated hotels, including around 100 with the top five- or four-star standing. The average occupancy rate was only 50% in 2009 due to the global economic slowdown, though the expo has pushed occupancy up this year.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration expects another 30 four- and five-star hotels to open next year with no major international events planned, at least on the scale of the expo. "This year business will be quite good. But everyone is wondering about next year," said an executive at an international hotel in Shanghai.

While Shanghai will struggle with hotel overcapacity after the expo, larger questions loom over the strength of the world economy and whether China's growth can continue at the current pace - both of which will impact the hospitality industry.

But the promise of the market is too big to ignore. "In China, there are not a lot of these very high-end hotels yet. But the fact that Chinese consumers have been experiencing these hotels outside of China means they will be looking for these kinds of hotels and resorts here as well," said Yong of Starwood.

Bill Savadove is a China-based journalist.
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Re: China - Economic Data & News 04 (Feb 10 - Sep 10)

Postby LenaHuat » Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:34 pm

Be careful about investments in Chinese hotels in 1-tiered cities. The Chinese have over-built and margins are low.
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