Apr 19

China Watch Blog reports that Tianhe-2 has started to provide computing services to the public while in-system debugging is ongoing. The first beneficiaries are users of the previous pilot system.

Located in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, in Guangdong Province, Tainhe-2 is regarded as the world’s fastest supercomputer.

On November 18, 2013, Tianhe-2 topped the TOP500 list of the fastest supercomputers in the world. The computer beat the second-placed Titan by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. Titan is housed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Tianhe-2 was built by China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT).

Tianhe-2 possesses 16,000 computer nodes, carries 32,000 XeonE5 main processors and 48,000 XeonPhi coprocessors, and counts a total of 3,120,000 cores. It was delivered to the National Supercomputing Center in Guangzhou (NSCC-GZ) on the east campus of Sun Yat-sen University after the completion of the first installation.

Currently, the Tianhe-2 host system is undergoing commissioning and operation trials, and providing computing services to some users. Guangzhou Supercomputing Center will hold an application promotion and make preparations to formally provide computing services.

Successful exploitation of Tianhe-2 will require a large number of professionals, especially interdisciplinary talents who possess professional knowledge and understand supercomputing.

According to personnel from the Guangzhou Supercomputer Center, there is a shortage of supercomputing professionals in China. In addition to introducing overseas supercomputing talent, an interdisciplinary supercomputer application research institute will be established in Sun Yat-sen University in the future for the domestic training of interdisciplinary supercomputing professionals.

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Dec 16

Dear China Watch Blog readers
For years, we have been servicing you with all kinds of gems. Many have thanked us, others have bombarded us with SPAM, but NO ONE has even donated or sponsored us.
People want to receive for FREE, while the editors and contributors at China Watch Blog have had to bear with the rising costs year after year.
We are not even looking for profit, we just need HELP to run this site.
So please help. Those who hear us, please see the photo of the cup of coffee on the right hand-side of the home page and donate generously.
Thank you in advance.
Editors and contributors of China Watch Blog

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Oct 09

China Watch Blog has learnt that the number of US-dollar millionaires in Hong Kong has hit 100,000 – up nine percent from last year, a report says.

They include over 1,100 with wealth topping US$50 million, while the richest 500 are each worth more than US$100 million.

Credit Suisse — which produced the findings — says the number of millionaires is expected to rise by 68 percent from the present level to exceed 160,000 by 2018.

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Apr 26

China Watch Blog has learnt that Oil painter Zhou Chunya tops the Hurun Art List with sales of his auctioned works hitting US$75 million in 2012, according to a report.
Zhou, 58, is the youngest artist ever to top the list compiled by Hurun Report Inc based in Shanghai.

Zhou Chunya, oil painter

The value of Zhou’s work has more than doubled from last year when he ranked eighth, according to the report, best known for its annual Hurun China Rich List.

As many as 222 of Zhou’s paintings were sold in 2012. The most expensive one was a 1994 piece with stones as its theme, which was auctioned for 29.9 million yuan, XInhua reported.

Oil Painter Zeng Fanzhi, 49, came in second with US$73 million in sales last year.
Renowned Chinese ink painter and calligrapher Fan Zeng, 75, took third place with US$69 million in sales at public auctions last year.

The total turnover of the top 100 list fell 21 percent from last year to US$1.2 billion. The threshold for artists making the top 100 fell 11 percent from last year to US$2.4 million.

The average age of the artists is 66, three years older than last year. The youngest is 37-year-old Chinese ink painter and calligrapher Ren Zhong, whose work ranked 51st with US$7 million in sales in 2012.

The list also includes six female artists, more than any previous year, including 91-year-old Chen Peiqiu who had an annual turnover of US$22.4 million last year and is ranked 11th.

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Apr 22

China Watch Blog reports that Qantas and the NSW Government have announced a new $30 million partnership to promote Sydney and regional NSW to the world.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce signed the three-year agreement at Qantas’ facilities at Sydney Airport, marking the largest tourism and major events marketing partnership in the State’s history.

Qantas

Premier O’Farrell said the deal involved Qantas matching the NSW Government dollar for dollar to attract more international visitors particularly from the United States, United Kingdom, Continental Europe, China, South-East Asia, Japan and New Zealand.

“Nothing says Australia more than the unmistakeable red tail with the flying kangaroo and the home of Qantas is right here in Sydney,” O’Farrell said.

“This partnership with Qantas is the cornerstone of our strategy to increase tourism to NSW, providing a boost to our economy and helping to create more jobs.

“We will be aggressively targeting big spending leisure and business travellers from overseas which will be a boon for our hotels, restaurants and retail sector.

“This will build on our standing as the nation’s leader for international visitation and expenditure and the preferred destination for key emerging markets.

“We understand the importance of tourism to the State’s economy – that’s why we’re building a new convention and entertainment precinct at Darling Harbour and investing in partnerships like this with iconic brands like Qantas.”

Joyce said the time was right to elevate the partnership between Qantas and Destination NSW to a higher level.

“Qantas is Australia’s national airline, flying from Sydney to every continent on earth and to every corner of Australia,” Joyce said.

“Sydney is the gateway to Australia with more than 50 per cent of all international visitors to Australia arriving at Sydney Airport so it’s fitting this is the largest partnership we have ever entered into with a State Government.

“We have seen a fantastic and tangible response to work we have done with Destination NSW in the past and we think working more closely will result in more people visiting NSW and flying Qantas.”

The partnership – which sees both the NSW Government and Qantas invest $15 million each over the three years – will include international advertising and marketing campaigns, marketing activities around major events and joint public relations activities. There will be a strong focus on digital
platforms including online and social media.

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Mar 22

China Watch Blog reports that a woman flaunted a wad of renminbi notes to show her wealth, after her request to buy a grave for her dog was rejected by a cemetery.

“I have money!! If you think it is not enough, I can pay you more. It’s really simple, all I want to do is buy a grave in your cemetery for my dog,” a rich woman was quoted as saying to the principal of Ningbo’s Jiufeng Cemetery on March 18 by a Ningbo website.

According to reports, the lady, surnamed Li, went to the cemetery in her BMW. After her request to buy a grave in the cemetery for her pet dog was turned down by Mr. Wang, the principal of the Jiufeng Cemetery, she angrily threw a large sum of money on the desk.

“It is not just a matter of money. The cemetery was built to benefit people and your pet dog should be buried or cremated in strict accordance with the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law.” Mr. Wang explained patiently.

According to relevant departments, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has emphasized the strengthening of the public cemetery construction management to protect and improve the meeting of the basic requirements. Mr. Wang won the praise of his leaders rather than their criticism after the incident.

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Feb 11

China Watch Blog has learnt that under new taxation changes, foreigners in China will no longer enjoy exemptions from various investment taxes.

The State Council unveiled sweeping tax reform plans Tuesday to make the rich pay more and narrow the income gap between urban elites and the rural poor.

Included in the plans is a measure to cancel tax exemptions for foreign individuals who obtain dividends and bonuses from foreign-invested enterprises, according to a report in Caixin.

A tax rate of 20 percent currently applies to dividends and bonuses, according to China’s existing personal income tax law.

The Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation will begin making changes and modifications to relevant tax laws and regulations.

Chinese tax lawyer Liu Tianyong told Caixin that the abolition of tax benefits would be beneficial for anti-avoidance investigations and the fight against international tax avoidance.

“It was an outdated policy conceived during the period of planned economy. It should have been abolished a long time ago,” Liu said. “Tax breaks are especially unwise given that many foreign investors in China shift profits overseas. The new plan is more fair, as it ensures equal treatment of national and foreign investors.”

During its early period of economic reform and liberalization, China adopted tax incentives and special treatment to foreign enterprises and individuals to attract overseas investment. Since 2003, the government began to standardize taxation laws, especially in regard to foreign investors.

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Dec 08

China Watch Blog has learnt that at 10:26 a.m. on December 4, an office apartment put up for online auction by the Ningbo Beilun Court was successfully sold – the first real estate property to be sold in an online auction by the court in Ningbo.

The office apartment is located at the centre of Jiangdong district, and covers a total area of 82.3 square meters. The starting price for the apartments was 644,000 yuan, with potential buyers paying 80,000 yuan in advance.

In 2011 the original owner of the apartment, surnamed Zhu, signed an equity transfer agreement with another man, surnamed Fu. However, Fu was later taken to court as he failed to pay off the equity transfer money to Zhu. Zhu won the court appeal and Fu was ordered to pay 2.8 million yuan to Zhu. Due to financial difficulties, the office apartment under the name of Fu was confiscated by the court.

The Beilun Court published notices about the online auction on Taobao.com, a Chinese online market, and circulated it within the media on 12th November. Phone calls soon flooded in and some potential buyers even went to check out the apartment.

The online auction officially began at 10:00 a.m. on 3rd December, and soon attracted more than 60,000 netizens. After 16 bids a local buyer won the lot and bought the apartment for 690,000 yuan.

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Nov 06

China Watch Blog picked up this interesting article from Star Online quoting an international financial expert, Satyajit Das, who contends that the debt- fueled boom and “botox economics” of the past have come to a halt to make way for what will be, at least until global debt levels come down, a bleak future.

Gold, not a solution during difficult economic times

“The most difficult period will be the time it takes to wipe out the debt,” he said last week at a talk organised by the Malaysian Investment Banking Association. Das has over 30 years experience in capital markets and risk management and is now a consultant to banks, corporations and regulators.

In a sobering assessment of the health of the world economy, he likened the various pump-priming actions by governments and central banks to driving with the handbrake on.

From the current malaise, he sees three possible outcomes: a 75% chance of stagnation, 20% of a collapse, and 5% of belle epoque.

For the man on the street, he has this advice: “First I would pray. People asked me what I would buy in 2008. I said foodstuff, energy, and a gun to protect you. The world is going to look a very ugly place.”

Das, a former banker who published a book in 2006 anticipating the credit crash, thinks that in the future the top 10% of the population will rule the world and hire 20%, leaving 70% with nothing.

“You already see this with security and gated communities becoming more prevalent. I’ll be dead, thank god,” he laughed.

On what the ordinary person should do to protect his wealth, he said: “You need a trading mentality and to look very carefully at what other people are doing.

“My investment strategy now is very simply summed up. I don’t bother asking questions about fundamentals. What are other people thinking and doing?”

Das also dismissed the long-held notion that gold was a refuge in times of trouble.

“I don’t understand gold, it is an irrational asset. My mother, who is Indian, would buy gold whether it is valued at US$20, US$200 or US$2,000. It doesn’t make any difference to her because people have an innate desire to own gold.

“In my mind there is no difference between gold and paper currency. You still rely on someone to give you something in return it is a different act of faith. Gold is not a good investment after adjusting for inflation, but it can be a short-term tactical asset.”

Asked about Malaysia, Das said that as the global economy waned, the question was not whether the country would be affected but rather to what degree.

“Malaysia has natural resources. You have things people need, at least in the near term.

“But a lot of the growth is dependent on government spending. There is a need to get away from investment-driven growth.”

On Asean, he remarked that the 10-nation region was to an extent “trapped in the China story” as its suppliers and exporters, especially in the case of Singapore and Hong Kong which are trade-dependent economies.

However, Das pointed out that the world was not at the end of growth per se, just the end of “financially-engineered” growth.

“Real growth stems from a few things: population growth, productivity and innovation, and new markets.

“But they are limited. Besides North Korea, I can’t see any other country that has not been integrated into the global economy, unless the Martians start to trade with us,” he joked.

“The point is all those things will not bring us back to the growth of the past. We are in for a very long period of adjustment. To some extent we are going backwards.

“We are going to see not a great deal of forward progress, but a return to a more sustainable economy. That will be a long process.”

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Oct 25

China Watch Blog has learnt that Hong Kong experienced a 23% decrease in the number of financial services job opportunities in Q3 of 2012 compared to Q3 of 2011.

According to the latest quarterly Job Barometer from eFinancialCareers, a leading global career site network for professionals working in the investment banking, asset management and securities industries, the overall APAC region experienced a less dramatic decline (-16%) over the period with average job postings decreasing from 2,876 in Q3 of 2011 to 2,408 in Q3 of 2012. Singapore and Australia recorded decreases of -5% and -34% respectively.

Despite the slowdown, churn and a small amount of conservative expansion has kept the job market afloat in the last quarter. Comparing Q3 of 2012 with Q2 of 2012, APAC job opportunities fell only slightly (-2%). Singapore was the only market registering growth, with a modest 1% increase over the period. In comparison, job opportunities in Hong Kong and Australia decreased by 5% and 6% respectively.

“The last 12 months have taught us that even with the support of China as a major growth engine, Hong Kong is not immune to the redundancies that have swept through global financial services,” said George McFerran, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, eFinancialCareers. “With a slowdown in economic growth and a transition of political leadership expected for Mainland China, Hong Kong firms are taking a conservative approach to hiring with a focus on highly specialized positions in growth sectors such as capital markets, insurance and risk management.”

Asia Pacific Top Performing Sectors in Q3

Capital markets, insurance and risk management were the top performing sectors in the regions, with quarter-on-quarter growth of 30%, 23% and 19% respectively.

Capital markets – Capital markets saw quarter-on-quarter growth across APAC of 30%, with ongoing demand happening outside the front office – in risk, compliance, quantitative analytics and IT.

Insurance – The insurance sector remains a bright spot of hiring driven largely by growth recruitment, especially for labor-intensive agent, claims and underwriting positions. Recruitment plans for large insurance companies are ambitious in a region where growing prosperity is resulting in an expanding demand for insurance products. Recent natural disasters in the APAC region over the last two years have also reinforced the need for insurance professionals.

Risk management – As banks continue to come under scrutiny from shareholders and regulators, the operational risk job function is broadening in scope and job specifications are becoming more vigorous. Local talent shortages and internationally transferable skills mean overseas-based candidates are sometimes hired for these roles. Liquidity risk professionals are also in demand as banks strive to meet Basel III milestones and come under pressure from ratings agencies.

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