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News from China
SOHO in US$526m Shanghai estate sale
27th June 2017

 SOHO China said yesterday that it had sold a mixed-use office and retail complex in Shanghai’s Hongkou District to a group of buyers through equity transaction for 3.6 billion yuan (US$526 million).

 
It comes as the Beijing-based office developer continues its strategy to focus on prime office properties in Beijing and Shanghai.
 
Keppel Land China Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Keppel Land Ltd, Alpha Investment Partners Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Capital Holdings Pte, as well as a co-investor, jointly bought Hongkou SOHO, a 90,000-square meter complex in the Sichuan Road N. commercial precinct.
 
The average selling price of the building, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, was around 51,000 yuan a square meter based on leasable gross floor area — 53 percent higher than the cost, SOHO China said in a statement.
 
Launched in the last quarter of 2015, Hongkou SOHO is 97 percent occupied with major tenants including Panasonic, China Pacific Insurance and SOHO China’s shared office brand SOHO 3Q.
 
“Shanghai has seen the need for more high-quality, well located developments in the city,” said Christina Tan, Keppel Capital CEO and managing director of Alpha.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 27, 2017
Digital coin sector expanding
23rd June 2017

 CHINA should closely monitor the increasing diversification of cryptocurrencies and establish itself as a strong global voice in the sector and its regulation, industry analysts said yesterday.

 
Bitcoin leads the market, but other digital coins, including Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple, are narrowing the gap with the leader in terms of market value.
 
Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple were top-three cryptocurrencies by market value at the end of March.
 
Ethereum’s market cap was roughly a quarter of Bitcoin’s US$40 billion in March, compared with less than one tenth a year earlier, according to Huobi, a major Bitcoin and Ethereum trading platform in China.
 
“The digital coin market has become diversified and complicated,” said Zhu Jiawei, chief operating officer of Huobi, which launched China’s first digital coin ranking list yesterday.
 
The ranking helps investors understand the value and risks of the growing number of digital coin products using blockchain.
 
Blockchain technology can be used in finance, insurance, auditing, logistics and many other sectors. Blockchain can also be used to simplify trading, clearing and settlement.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 23, 2017
At the vanguard of digital entertainment
22nd June 2017

 GAO Xiaosong, a popular musician in China, said he would lend his voice to the 200 million users of Qingting.fm as part of a partnership for a new online radio show.

“The music recording industry is fast disappearing as people turn online,” said Gao, who is also head of Alibaba’s digital entertainment business. “This new show will focus on voice again.”

No stranger to the Internet, Gao will be featured 156 times this year on Qingting, a Shanghai-based online radio platform. It is his first voice-only show online.

Online entertainment draws the majority of its income from video and games, but the industry is fast broadening its content to capture wider audiences. Firms like Baidu, Youku Tudou, iQiyi, Qingting and overseas media giants such as Discovery are at the vanguard of providing new formats.

The domestic entertainment industry is forecast to be valued at 1 trillion yuan (US$145 billion) by 2020, almost triple last year’s valuation, according to officials speaking at the ongoing Shanghai International Film and TV Festival.

New business formats include paid voice programs, personal talk shows and short videos. It’s all part of what is called “PAN entertainment” services. Its definition defies easy explanation. It comes from an acronym for “personal area network” and refers generally to diverse online entertainment through development of integrated content that may combine sports, travel, education and healthcare with media formats like games, animation, literature, film and television.

The government seems to welcome a “healthy and diversified” online culture after strengthening its regulation on entertainment media and personal blogs and after restricting content related to fantasy and so-called “emperor’s harem fight” dramas.

Qingting, with more than 200 million users, 9 million hours of online content and 15,000 licensed broadcasters, plans to invest heavily to establish a platform with qualified and diversified online audio services, including in-house productions like Gao’s show, said Zhang Qiang, Qingting’s chairman.

Children’s education, knowledge programs and talk shows covering hot social topics are popular among Qingting users, who seem willing to pay for high-quality content. Qingting aims to make money from both advertising and paid subscriptions, said Zhang.

In 2018, an estimated 292 million Chinese consumers will be paying for various online content, compared with 98 million in 2016, according to research firm iiMedia Data.

IQiyi has signed up with Netflix to introduce US dramas into China. It says its web drama format will become more diversified and put more emphasis on reality, moving away from the current focus on fantasy and fiction, said Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer of iQiyi.

Celebrities

During the Shanghai Film and TV Festival, Youku Tudou announced that more than 50 celebrities will participate in new online programs covering culture, finance, education, documentaries, science and charities.

The new content will feature celebrities like Ma Weidu, well-known art collector and founder of the Guanfu Museum, writer Wu Xiaobo and actress Wang Luodan. “People will want to watch,” said Yang Weidong, Youku Tudou’s president. “The shows are more interesting and accessible, thanks to our online video industry.”

For his part, Ma has promised to bring audiences a “carnival of knowledge” on his Youku Tudou show, including discussions about his own art collection, general Chinese culture and stories from his childhood.

Another “explosive” opportunity in China’s Internet landscape this year is the short video of 10 minutes or less. They are enhanced by improved network speeds, the mobile Internet, adequate investment and abundant content, companies involved in the sector said.

Indeed, investment in the short video industry is expected to top 10 billion yuan in 2018, up from 5.37 billion yuan last year, analysts said.

Baidu, the country’s biggest online search service provider, has set up a 500 million yuan fund for short videos, seeing the segment as a potential gold mine, said Hu Jie, general manager of Baidu Video.

Also this month, Discovery launched its new video platform Tanba with VS Media, a HK-based media platform with more than 120 million subscribers globally. It also provides customized short video content for the Chinese market.

The new formats are attuned to mobile users clocking in on the way to work or during lunch breaks, as well as audiences in the traditional TV evening segment. They offer “affordable lifestyle” content on cooking, travelling, make-up and other topics, said VS Media.

Discovery cares more about data than limited license fees. Data are valuable to media and advertisers for analyzing and management, said Arthur Bastings, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia Pacific.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 22, 2017
Domestic investors remaining cautious
21st June 2017

 CHINESE investors are expected to remain conservative this year as most of their investments are allocated to traditionally defensive asset classes, according to an investment survey released yesterday.

 
The survey, conducted by Legg Mason, a US-based asset management firm, said more than 68 percent of investments are allocated to traditionally defensive asset classes — cash (23.8 percent), fixed income (27.5 percent), investment real estate (10.7 percent) and gold or precious metals (6.4 percent).
 
Most investors are bullish on domestic assets and support the country’s measures to strengthen China’s economy.
 
“A significant portion of Chinese investors are bullish on domestic assets. Besides local business investment, Chinese investors also believe domestic stocks offer the best opportunities over the next 12 months,” said Freeman Tsang, director of business development of Legg Mason Global Asset Management.
 
Up to 44 percent of Chinese investors endorse ongoing reforms, 42 percent agree with efforts to support strong international trade, and 38 percent support continued infrastructure spending.
 
“Chinese investors are more interested in domestic investment than other investors. Around 88 percent of Chinese investors hold investments in their own country, compared with 80 percent of Asian investors and 76 percent of global investors,” Tsang said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 21, 2017

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