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Zhang Fei

Zhang Fei
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  • Netflix jumps 12.7% on strong subscription growth [View news story]
    Some viewers like to watch TV series one episode at a time, day after day, without having to wait* a week between episodes. Netflix and Hulu cater to that audience. Movies are not why people subscribe to all you can eat on demand services like Netflix and Hulu. For all-you-can-eat movies, Netflix's DVD rental unit seems to have a monopoly on that segment.

    * People who feel they must watch the latest episode as soon as it is broadcast are obviously not part of Netflix's core customer base. That core consists of viewers who have no particular preference vis-a-vis keeping up with the TV-viewing Joneses, but do prefer to watch episodes on consecutive days so they can follow the plot and characters better, which obviously can't happen until that series's season is over.
    Apr 15, 2015. 07:30 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    Apparently now more than just speculation:

    If this is, as it appears to be, at the initiative of the local legislature, it's probably not that big a deal. The moment growth in Macau starts to flag, they'll raise the limit.
    Apr 15, 2015. 04:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    "It makes no sense to allow these companies to build the biggest Casinos in the world and then restrict people going to them."

    It cost the Chinese government nothing, and Macau's skyline now looks nice and new. Sticking it to foreign companies has been Xi's stock in trade. I wouldn't rule anything out. Some of it is an effort to become stronger than Deng by wiping out his rivals. But some of it is perhaps a sense of his own invincibility. Will Xi become China's capitalist Mao, complete with a cult of personality? Will he become its Hua Guofeng - pushed off the stage bloodlessly? Or will he become its Lin Biao - complete with mysterious death? The ruckus surrounding his succession has certainly made things more interesting.

    The previous consensus was that new leaders did not prosecute either their predecessors or their followers. Now that Xi has broken with that, future successions will become much more contentious.
    Apr 15, 2015. 03:56 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    So far, it's only speculation:
    Apr 15, 2015. 03:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    "But you have never mentioned the all too real risk that Sheldon Adelson will be indicted for money laundering. That has been the source of LVS China profits. If the US wants China to abide by our intellectual property rights laws, anti-dumping laws, human rights standards, etc, etc, why wouldn't we be cooperating on money laundering crimes? "

    The US has, in the past, cooperated with friendly countries in cases of terror- and drug-related money laundering. China is hardly a friendly country. And the money-laundering in Macau (and elsewhere) has to do with individuals trying to get around currency controls, and in many cases, trying to get their honestly-made money out of the reach of China's grabby bureaucrats, who have a several-thousand-year tradition of confiscating private property for any or no reason whatsoever. Just because they can (and some of the proceeds inevitably show up among the personal assets of the selfless crusading bureaucrats). In antiquity, Chinese entrepreneurs had nowhere else (outside of the Chinese empire) to shelter their assets from government expropriation. Now they do. And it's unlikely that the US will help the Chinese government stick it to its subjects.

    Here's the bottom line - the US is as unlikely to go after Chinese individuals getting their money out of China as it is to extradite Chinese defectors who come bearing Chinese state secrets. Wang Lijun (Bo Xilai's right hand man) was an exception - the problem being that he was in China proper*, and thus vulnerable to forcible extraction efforts. My guess is that he had so much unsavory material about senior Chinese government figures that the Chinese government was prepared to enter the US consulate to get him back.

    * While he was technically on US soil in Chungking's US Consulate, the Chinese government had surrounded it with a large force. No way the Marine detachment could have held off the Chinese, even if they had fired their weapons.
    Apr 14, 2015. 06:43 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Watch Companies To Fold Or New Boom? [View article]
    "The half Billion active iPhones around the world are owned by exactly the same demographic the Swiss target - wealthy, educated and with large disposable incomes."

    Apple sold 55m phones in the US in 2013. Assuming that the average user upgrades every 2 years, this would suggest that 110m Americans are wealthy, educated and have large disposable incomes. My experience is that dollar stores carry a large variety of Iphone covers. That would suggest that these wealthy, educated individuals with large disposable incomes shop at dollar stores. All that, and thrifty, too.
    Apr 14, 2015. 06:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    "i went to Macau on a recent trip and visited all of sands casino on a wednesday. The casino was not empty it was more than 60% full at 11 a.m. in the morning, by night time the crowds filled the casinos especially galaxy and even the other Sands own property."

    Very much expected. Unless China cracks down on exit visas to Macau, growth is virtually guaranteed. The money laundering thing is a one-time hit.
    Apr 8, 2015. 05:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    "It's hard to tell where this is going now, but people are way too bullish on Macau and it's possible the gig is up, and they become actual casino market, and then it's a totally different ball game."

    Your explanation makes a lot of sense. It was astonishing how China went from 0% to 1/3 of LVS's revenues. Still, on the one hand, while the Chinese simply don't have the travel dollars that the US consumer has, on the other, China does have a lot more Orientals (who seem to crave the adrenaline rush that comes from gambling) - 7.5m in the US (assuming only 1/2 of the Asian population are from the Far East) vs 1.3b in China. We'll find out soon enough the impact of money-laundering restrictions on casino revenues, but the potential really is massive, given Oriental proclivities.
    Apr 8, 2015. 06:34 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Las Vegas Sands: Patience Will Be Rewarded [View article]
    "Last time my wife and I were in Hong Kong and we tried to go to Macau, I was granted the visa but she, then a Chinese citizen (now US), was denied."

    How long ago was this? I'm wondering if this is one of Xi's reform initiatives.
    Apr 8, 2015. 06:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Bill Stiritz About To Throw In The Towel On Herbalife? [View article]
    "Prosecutors Interview People Tied to Ackman in Probe of Potential Herbalife Manipulation
    U.S. attorney’s office and FBI are probing remarks about Herbalife "
    Apr 6, 2015. 11:57 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Bill Stiritz About To Throw In The Towel On Herbalife? [View article]
    Rocco? Rocco Pendola? Is that you?
    Apr 6, 2015. 11:54 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alibaba: Building The Ecosystem One Piece At A Time [View article]
    "China is way ahead of the US in viewing streaming video."

    In what respect?
    Apr 6, 2015. 01:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Play Samsung S6 Sales [View article]
    "Differentiating on hardware without differentiating on software led to commoditization and 1% margins for the Windows PC makers"

    That's a given during any kind of price war. The winners in PC-compatibles made decent money. Dell made 4% net profits just before it was taken private. When Apple hit its nadir in the mid-90's before Jobs took the reins again, the company was losing money, even though it's clear that the flagship Mac platform wasn't part of the IBM PC-compatible universe. The fact is technology maturity affects everyone, and it's affected Apple in the past. The question isn't whether the commodization and price wars that come with product maturity will affect Apple - it's *when*.
    Apr 6, 2015. 01:18 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • How To Play Samsung S6 Sales [View article]
    Same reason people hold on their computers longer - performance and reliability have improved. $200 for the typical new phone, when bought on contract, isn't a lot of money*, but it's several steak dinners at a nice restaurant. Why buy a new phone if the old one works fine for your purposes? Plenty of other things to spend $200 on - clothing, movie tickets, Starbucks coffee, a half-dozen items at Whole Foods...

    * $700 without a contract, which in inflation-adjusted terms, is

    - the price of a Sony Walkman 40 years ago,
    - a 30Mb hard drive 30 years ago,
    - 20% of the price of a fully-loaded IBM PC 30 years ago (with 2 5.25 floppies and a top of the line green monochrome monitor)

    isn't a lot of money either, but when has anyone spent more money than he needed to, on electronics? Consumers follow the price curve down as technology matures, and dog-eat-dog price wars break out.
    Apr 6, 2015. 12:57 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Alibaba: Building The Ecosystem One Piece At A Time [View article]
    "What's e-commerce ? Its everything everybody spends their money on: food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, entertainment, information, finance, etc. One has to get beyond Amazon's model.

    What is the ecosystem ? It is the data set that knows everything about you, probably more than what you know about yourself. Whoever captures that knowledge will dominate the market."

    I'm comfortable betting on China's future growth. Assuming no civil disruptions, I'd expect Chinese nominal GDP per capita to catch up to Taiwan's current GDP at the very least. That's a 3-bagger right there, if BABA were to keep its Chinese market share and make no inroads abroad. The question is - can BABA avoid the Chinese regulatory/prosecutorial Sword of Damocles hanging over any non-SOE that gets too big for its britches?
    Apr 3, 2015. 08:05 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment