China is the promised land for our revenue-challenged tech heroes: 1.2 billion consumers, economic growth several times that of the US, and companies splurging on IT. Layer the “cloud” on top, and China is corporate nirvana: a high-growth sector in a high-growth country. Or was nirvana, now that the NSA’s hyperactive spying practices have spilled out.
China’s phenomenal construction bubble, driven by local governments that must keep their economies growing, no matter what the costs, and funded by state-owned megabanks, has led to an equally phenomenal misallocation of capital, overbuilding, waste, ghost cities, empty shopping malls, and now an epidemic of shuttered luxury department stores.
China’s property and infrastructure bubbles, nurtured by limitless borrowed money, are still swelling up beautifully. Service industries are also growing. But hot air has been hissing out of manufacturing. Now Zhang Ruimin, CEO of China’s largest appliance maker Haier Group, put his finger on the problem. And it doesn’t look good for manufacturing in China.
The all-out effort by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to print money, stir up inflation, devalue the yen, blow asset bubbles, and pile on even more government debt – a newfangled religion called Abenomics – is bearing fruit. But the primary objective, creating a trade surplus to crank up the real economy, is failing miserably.
At first, it was just multinational drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline that allegedly paid bribes in China, including “sexual bribes,” to “government officials, medical associations, hospitals and doctors,” by using travel agencies as conduit. For a total of $489 million. Now more big drugmakers are on the hot seat for the same crimes in China – and in the US.
Contributed by Lee Adler, of The Wall Street Examiner. The Fed, ECB, BoJ, and BoE all deal with the same banks. Of the Fed’s 21 Primary Dealers, its sole counterparties, only seven are US domiciled. Three are Canadian, eight are European, including three British banks, and three are Japanese. All of them are major players in Europe and Japan.
The “Chinese dream” is the dream of the whole nation and also of every individual Chinese, explained Fu Ying, chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. The slogan had been coined by President Xi Jinping after he’d ascended to the throne of the Communist Party. It would benefit the world, she said. But for the richest Chinese, it has already come true.
“Yes, the industry is in collapse mode, but it is not all bad, it is just a healthy shakeup needed in a maturing industry,” an insider wrote in an email. Then he offered what he called “a slightly less gloomy take on the industry and with 50% more silver lining as well.”
The solar-panel price war waged by state-subsidized Chinese companies killed a slew of manufacturers worldwide. Now, much of solar-panel manufacturing takes place in China. To stay alive, they cut costs – and corners. Defects are ballooning. And “cheap” solar panels suddenly get very expensive. A cruel twist for an already threatened industry.
The solar-panel industry, once fattened by taxpayer subsidies and false hopes, has been in a death spiral around the world. In the US, a slew of photovoltaic standouts like Solyndra went under, taking billions of subsidies and investor capital with them. In Germany, it has been just as brutal. Even large companies are licking their wounds.