Category Archives: Chinafication

China and Canada in advanced talks to set up first North American renminbi trading hub

China, Canada in Talks to Set Up First North American Renminbi Trading Hub

Could Announce Tentative Deal on Renminbi Hub as Soon as Saturday, Sources Say

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China and Canada are in advanced talks to set up the first North American renminbi trading hub and could announce a tentative deal as soon as Saturday while Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is in China, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some hurdles remain before a final deal is struck, these people said, including determining which Canadian banks would participate. A renminbi hub, which must have the backing of the Chinese government, allows for the clearance and settling of transactions in the Chinese currency.

Canadian banks have been among those pushing for such a hub, which would lower financial costs for Canadian firms doing business with China, likely boost trade ties between the two countries, bolster Canadian banks’ foreign-exchange operations and allow Canadian institutional investors to add more renminbi-based assets.

China is Canada’s second-largest single-country trading partner, with two-way merchandise trade between the two countries reaching roughly 73 billion Canadian dollars ($63.89 billion), second only to trade between Canada and the U.S.

As of Friday, no formal deal had been reached, according to the people familiar with the matter, adding there was no guarantee that Mr. Harper would leave China with a commitment for a Canada-based hub. The announcement could involve a memorandum of understanding between the two countries to eventually reach a firm deal on establishing a hub, they said.

RICHMOND, B.C.: Mayoral contender Lifeng Wei wants to implement Chinese-style city policies

ELECTION 2014: Civic pay, Chinese signs focus of Richmond mayoral debate

Richmond mayoral candidates Malcolm Brodie, Richard Lee and Cliff Lifeng Wei.  - Matthew Hoekstra

Richmond mayoral candidates Malcolm Brodie, Richard Lee andCliff Lifeng Wei.

— Image Credit: Matthew Hoekstra

In the wake of a report documenting a rapid rise in municipal compensation, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie defended city workers’ salaries in a Thursday mayoral debate.

Brodie, campaigning for a seventh term in the Nov. 15 vote, said unionized workers’ pay is governed by negotiated agreements. As for management—who are paid too much according to an Ernst and Young report made public last month—Brodie said “it’s all relative.”

“If we don’t pay our management enough, then they go somewhere else,” he said in front of a Minoru Place Activity Centre crowd of approximately 250 people. “That’s a huge cost, when you lose a longtime employee and that person goes elsewhere. So you have to pay market rate to your employees, and it’s also a matter of fairness.”

To probe municipal pay, the province hired consultants Ernst and Young, whose report criticized cities for allowing pay levels to climb by 38 per cent—twice the rate of the provincial public service—from 2001-12. The report also suggested municipal managers are paid too much and recommended the province take strong action to curb the trend.

Richard Lee, who is making a second run at the mayor’s job and running with Richmond Reform, said staff are entitled to their current deals, but suggested there’s room for wage scrutiny.

“I believe in the free market, we could have and in the future we will under my leadership, to hire somebody at a reasonable rate, not at the alarming rate that was shared with us in that study…”

Richmond City Hall’s payroll has grown by $15 million in five years. The city’s top earner is chief administrative officer George Duncan, who made $291,250 last year. Department heads also score high on the pay scale, as five of six general managers topped the $200,000 mark in 2013.

Thursday’s short debate, organized by the Richmond Centre for Disability, served as a prelude to a much larger forum featuring 28 candidates running for councillor.

Mayoral candidates also waded into the contentious waters of Chinese-only signs. Lee said they’re “not a good thing.” Some will argue for freedom of expression, he said, but added “all rights are conditional.” Continue reading

BURNABY, B.C.: Mayoral candidate Sylvia Gung wants to ban any display of affection, from wedding kisses to holding hands

You may not kiss the bride.

That’s what grooms will be told at the altar if this Burnaby mayoral candidate wins the Nov. 15 election.

Sylvia Gung is running on a platform to create a “wholesome society,” which would mean banning any public displays of affection including wedding kisses and holding hands in public.

These behaviours “hurt public decorum and lead to further violence,” according to Gung’s profile on the city’s website.

This is Gung’s second run for the mayor’s seat.

She’s up against incumbent Mayor Derek Corrigan, who has held the position for 12 years. Corrigan is known for his adamant opposition to Kinder Morgan’s proposed pipeline expansion.

There are four other candidates vying for the city’s top job.

Helen Hee Soon Chang, who has been elected as a school trustee, organizes multicultural forums and would strive to boost safety and inclusivity.

Realtor Raj Gupta, who ran unsuccessfully for the B.C. Conservative Party in the 2013 provincial election, promises to cut property taxes and improve spending.

Entrepreneur Daren Hancott, leader of the Burnaby First party, pledges his management expertise will make him a capable leader at City Hall.

Allan Hutton, a longtime Burnaby resident and volunteer, wants to preserve the city’s natural areas and create an accountable government.

VANCOUVER: City’s real estate market invaded by millionaire Chinese immigrants

Vancouver’s real estate boom: The rising price of ‘heaven’

IAIN MARLOW AND BRENT JANG

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

 Qiqi Hong walks past her sleek, blue-tiled hot tub and an infinity pool that seems to disappear like a waterfall into the chilly air above West Vancouver. She leans on the patio railing and breathes in the majestic ocean view that takes in the towering Douglas firs of Stanley Park, the skyscrapers of Vancouver, the Asia-bound freighters anchored in English Bay and – way off in the misty distance – the faint, rugged outline of Gabriola Island.

“We’re in heaven,” says Ms. Hong. “I can’t find any house that can compare to my house.”

The serene West Coast lifestyle did not come cheaply: Ms. Hong’s home cost $6-million. But it is an investment she can easily afford. The irrepressible businesswoman founded a successful lighting-design business in Beijing that thrived in China’s building boom. It now has more than 100 employees. But tired of Beijing’s hectic pace and foul air, she decided to come to Vancouver – after looking in Switzerland, Germany and the United States – on the Canadian government’s immigrant investor program in 2011. She now also owns three other houses on Vancouver’s west side, each valued in excess of $1.3-million, as well as a downtown condo she uses on weekends and lends to visiting friends.

Demand from wealthy migrants from mainland China such as Ms. Hong has helped make the Vancouver area the most expensive real estate market in Canada. The average price of a single-family detached home is $1.26-million, higher than any other Canadian city. The rising flow of foreign capital – stemming from a long tradition of transpacific migration and investment – has turned Vancouver into a truly global real estate market. One large real estate firm calculated that roughly one-third of the detached homes it sold within the City of Vancouver last year went to buyers from China. Vancouver developers and real estate firms have hit the jackpot, and some have rushed to set up offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Some now say Vancouver is a bedroom community for the world.

The upscale Point Grey neighbourhood is on Vancouver’s west side, where benchmark prices for detached homes have soared. DARRYL DYCK FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

But Vancouver real estate prices have also become increasingly unhinged from local incomes, prompting concerns about affordability. It has led to middle– and even upper-middle class Vancouverites renting permanently or fleeing for cheaper suburbs such as Burnaby. There is a search for better data on foreign buyers, which is only haphazardly tracked. There is now a heated debate – that includes accusations of racism – about whether anything should be done to curb foreign buying, or if what is happening is simply an inevitable, and welcome, facet of globalization in a free market.

After all, the ebullient Ms. Hong hasn’t just bought houses here. She founded a charity with other wealthy migrants from China; the group just held a Thanksgiving lunch for 1,000 seniors and recently collected $250,000 for a local hospital and pet shelter. She has founded several businesses in Vancouver, including one in real estate, and drives to ESL classes. She’s learning English, and has even joined a protest, hitting the streets during the recent B.C. teachers’ strike. While she stays busy in Vancouver, her husband frequently flies to China to manage the firm.

In my opinion, I think it’s good for the economy,” Ms. Hong says, noting that the number of Chinese residents on her street has soared in recent years and that the local businessman she bought her house from made a cool $1.5-million more than he originally paid. “In Vancouver,” Ms. Hong says, “the house prices are perfect.”

(…)

B.C.: Chinese parents disagree with Canadian teachers’ right to strike

Chuck Chiang: Many Asian families place blame for strike firmly with teachers
BY CHUCK CHIANG, VANCOUVER SUN COLUMNIST SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

September is the month during which several East Asian countries — especially Chinese-speaking nations — celebrate Teachers’ Day. For international students in B.C. from those regions, the irony is impossible to ignore.

Students traditionally present gifts to their elementary or high school teachers on the various Teachers’ Days (the first Friday of September for Singapore, Sept. 10 in China and Hong Kong, and Sept. 28 in Taiwan).

In China, the gift giving has grown so lavish (think tablet computers, cosmetics and luxury apparel) that Beijing has had to crack down on the practice in conjunction with the anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping in 2012. Continue reading

B.C.: Government of China has stepped into B.C. teachers’ strike

The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers’ strike and that is raising concern about a major source of lucrative international…more
BY TRACY SHERLOCK, CHUCK CHIANG AND ROB SHAW, VANCOUVER SUN SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers’ strike and that is raising concern about a major source of lucrative international students for B.C. school boards.

Officials from the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver met recently with Education Ministry officials to express concerns about the teachers’ strike, which has delayed the start of the school year by nearly two weeks, with no end in sight.

Several Chinese parents asked the consulate to intervene, consulate officials said. They added that they met with B.C. officials on Friday to “relay the concerns of the parents to local administrators.” Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Chinese buyers fuelling seismic spike in Vancouver’s luxury housing market, realtors say

A wealthy Chinese immigrant family inspect a villa in the high-class neighboorhood of West Vancouver. Realtors say Asian buyers accounted for roughly 90% of sales of properties costing $5 million and more. Getty Images

 

 

Foreign buyers are fuelling a seismic spike in Vancouver’s luxury housing market, realtors say

 | September 11, 2014 | Last Updated: Sep 11 12:56 PM ET
More from Reuters

VANCOUVER — Chinese investors’ global hunt for prime real estate is helping drive Vancouver home prices to record highs and the city, long among top destinations for wealthy mainland buyers, is feeling the bonanza’s unwelcome side-effects.

(…)

The latest wave of Chinese money, linked in part to Beijing’s anti-graft crackdown, is flowing into luxury hot spots. But it has also started driving up housing costs elsewhere in a city which already ranks as North America’s least affordable urban market.

Happiness is arriving in Vancouver

For decades Vancouver, along with Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore and more recently New York and London has been attracting Chinese and other Asian buyers.

(…)

“In the last year there’s been the corruption crackdown in China and a lot of people have seen their wealth evaporate over there because of that,” said Dan Scarrow, a vice president at MacDonald Realty.
“So they want to put it somewhere they perceive as safe and there’s nowhere safer than the west.”

My market, the luxury real estate market, is primarily Asian buyers — mostly from mainland China

Andy Yan of Bing Thom Architects found that values for detached homes in the $2-5 million range have risen by 49% since 2009, making it the fastest growing segment in Vancouver’s housing market. Home values in a handful of luxury enclaves in Vancouver’s west climbed more than 50% over  that period, driving city-wide values up more than 35%.

Realtors are saying that more than half of buyers in prime markets are mainland Chinese.

“My market, the luxury real estate market, is primarily Asian buyers — mostly from mainland China,” said realtor Malcolm Hasman, a partner at Angell Hasman and Associates. Hasman said Asian buyers accounted for roughly 90% of sales of properties costing $5 million and more.

The impact of the latest inflow of foreign cash is particularly acute for Vancouver, its market already tight because of limited building space and a decade-long nationwide property bull run fuelled by low borrowing costs.

Condo towers are now built without a fourth floor, as that number is unlucky in Asian cultures, and wok kitchens are standard in most new homes Continue reading

Vancouver House Tower condos reserved for Asian buyers will have “asset management” program for absentee owners

 BY SAM COOPER, THE PROVINCE JULY 27, 2014

With its twisted sculptural design, the “iconic” $500-million Vancouver House is being marketed across Asia as a symbol of Vancouver’s future.

The 52-storey Westbank project alongside the north end of Granville Bridge is slated to open in 2018 and is being aggressively marketed in Asia, with up to half of the owners expected to buy from outside Canada.

According to the South China Morning Post, two sales offices were opened in Hong Kong in June.

Sales agents then visited China’s largest cities in search of buyers. And in July, Vancouver House units were marketed in Singapore. According to Singapore publications, Vancouver House condos were reserved for overseas buyers.

This week, Singapore-based website Property Guru reported there was an “overwhelming response” to the launch of Vancouver House, one of “Canada’s iconic buildings.”

“Vancouver House … saw more than 30 units transacted — far more than expected,” according to Property Guru.

“The response surprised us and surprised the developer,” an “excited” Singapore agent was quoted telling Property Guru, which reported a second “showcase” event was planned this week in Singapore. In mid-July The Business Times reported that of “388 units in the 52-storey tower, 30 units are reserved for the Singapore market, said Westbank’s marketing director Michael Braun.”

Westbank spokeswoman Jill Killeen said an initial September date to start selling to locals had been brought forward after Westbank received its disclosure statement last Thursday, ”making it legal to sell.”

“Our tracking indicates that more than 50 per cent of buyers will come from the Vancouver marketplace,” Killeen said in a prepared statement. Sales for local buyers will begin this week. Killeen said Westbank had been marketing to locals through print and television and had hosted an arts event under the bridge to generate interest.

In a story featuring an interview with Vancouver House developer Ian Gillespie, the South China Morning Post noted the building will have an “asset management” program for absentee owners, with staff periodically turning on taps and appliances in unoccupied units.

Gillespie said Vancouver House will be the most expensive building ever in Vancouver and units will be for art-collector-like buyers looking for “live-in sculpture.”

Vancouver House’s star architect, Bjarke Ingels, suggests the building — which will include revitalizing the space under the Granville Bridge at the 1400-block of Howe Street — is symbolic of “a giant curtain, at the moment of being pulled back to reveal the world to Vancouver and Vancouver to the world.” Continue reading

SFU student claims European Canada is a fiction

LABOVE: Holding tight to fiction of a European CanadaJOSH LABOVE / NORTH SHORE NEWS  JULY 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Xenophobe Brad Saltzberg has been on a bit of a media tear lately, as spokesperson for what can only be called a hate group for modern times, Putting Canada First.

Saltzberg and his cronies are largely dismissed by city councils and mainstream news media, but I would argue we need to take this group seriously as dangerously divisive and hateful. We should find their invocation of “Canada” and “European Canada” to be disturbing and hateful for the fictions such terms attempt to make of our multicultural, settler society.

Putting Canada First has powerfully worked to align the narrative of our hard-earned tax dollars to that of the greedy migrant. Saltzberg’s interviews attempt a dispassionate view of multiculturalism veiled as a waste of taxpayer resources, telling a Shaw Continue reading

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