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  • China's Real Estate - Ghost Town Story [View article]
    The newcomers will be renting at ridiculously low rates. You can rent a decently sized, fully furnished apartment in a tier 3 city for only $100 a month. And yes, labor workers from the rural area can make a good bit. Our maternity nurse makes $900 a month.

    Like Charlie mentioned above, the one child policy can be changed. In fact, it is already becoming more lax and less enforced, depending on the city and province.

    When I lived in the states, I bought into the whole Chinese RE bubble story and recommended my relatives to sell their properties. They scoffed at me; thank goodness they did. Each of them now sit on 3 to 5 properties that are very stable, have more than doubled or tripled in value and all paid for in cash. The market isn't liquid right now, but no one is rushing to sell.

    Benny, I know you're overall bearish on RE, but not everywhere is like the U.S.

    However, there definitely are commercial real estate bubbles in the tier 1 coastal cities, but not in residential.
    Apr 5 04:25 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • China's Real Estate - Ghost Town Story [View article]
    Finally, an article with common sense and doesn't try to compare an apple to an orange.

    I would say even the tier 3 cities' properties will get filled up. There are plenty of rural areas around tier 3 cities. I am currently in a tier 3 city right now and there is rapid urbanization year to year.
    Apr 5 04:14 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • China: The Next Bubble To Burst? [View article]
    The most profitable mining business in Mongolia right now is Iron Ore, not coal, copper, or gold.
    Mar 10 05:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China: The Next Bubble To Burst? [View article]
    I would not say there is a lack of other options. The average Chinese just don't know any better and like to invest in tangible assets such as real estate, gold, and cash savings. The business class investors are investing in private businesses among close friends. Many are buying real estate overseas for residency and for their kids' education and citizenship.

    The Chinese are already all over Myanmar and have propped up the prices in Yangon to ridiculous rates.

    I respectfully disagree as a Chinese who understands the mentality of the Chinese people. It would not get a completely different RE market. If the government loosens the restrictions and gradually floats the CNY, it would probably build confidence in the system and most of the money laundered overseas would return to mainland China.

    China still has much to learn from Singapore and HK.
    Mar 8 01:16 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • China: The Next Bubble To Burst? [View article]
    You are placing too much emphasis on luck. Do you consider Mark Cuban lucky for capitalizing on the tech boom? If it was so easy to accumulate prime apartments in Manhattan, why didn't everyone else do it?

    Brain is not the most important attribute for entrepreneurial success. It's mainly balls, perseverance and street smarts from experience.

    I know someone who dropped out of college to work as a sushi chef full time. Within 3 years he learned the ins and outs of the business and started his own sushi restaurant when the market was already saturated. However, he started his first restaurant in a developing redneck, blue collar city when all of the competitors were near universities and trendy modern areas. He ran the restaurant from the bottom to the top maximizing efficiency with top quality sushi and the best customer service. Now his restaurants are expanding like wildfire. He is not lucky.
    Mar 7 10:17 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China: The Next Bubble To Burst? [View article]
    1. 7.5% is not bad. Even China itself doesn't want to overheat and continue to grow at 10%.

    2. Most of China's residential properties are paid for in cash. The mortgages require a hefty down payment in cash, are not defaultable, have very strict requirements/limitations, and are assisted by government pensions for employees in SOEs.

    3. Yes, the 20% RE capital gains tax is silly. It will just make the market more illiquid. Most people hold onto their properties and are not looking to flip.

    China will inevitably experience a major recession or even a depression. All countries do. A RE bubble is when the government artificially stimulates the housing market by encouraging buyers to buy with zero down payment and institutions to over leverage their investments on these mortgages. China's government is trying to do the exact opposite. Real estate demand is real in China and it is mainly purchased with cash.

    To give a very good example of how the real estate market works: Arcadia, California has a Chinese population of over 60%. San Gabriel is over 70% Chinese. When the subprime mortgage crisis hit in 2008, real estate prices in these two cities did not drop at all.

    Investors should follow the trend and look for future cities in the U.S. where the well off and rich Chinese are building communities in.
    Mar 7 08:22 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Rise Of Robot: Is Industrial Automation The Next Big Secular Growth Driver? [View article]
    That's what the Luddites thought in the 1800's too.
    Mar 3 05:39 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Japan's Currency War: Much Discussed, But Hard To Find [View article]
    Absolutely correct, Ben Gee. Currency depreciation does not balance trade. The U.S. complained about this to Japan in the 60s. Japan appreciated the JPY, yet the trade surplus kept increasing.
    Mar 3 05:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Japan Prompting A 1930s-Like Currency War? [View article]
    It's really that easy. Allow drilling and oil exports in the U.S. and we would become the world's largest oil exporter. The U.S. can be competitive; it just doesn't want to.
    Mar 3 05:26 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why G7 Countries Should Not Bother About Japan's Currency War [View article]
    Japan has the highest corporate tax rate in the world along with the U.S.. Starting in 2014, capital gains taxes will be a flat rate of 20%. Coincidentally, Japan introduced the consumption tax of 3% in 1989, right before the stock market crash. The consumption tax is now set to be increased to 8% in 2014 and 10% in 2015. Japan has very tight and restrictive immigration laws and a drastically declining population.

    Japan's inflationary policies and tax increases will destroy the average citizen's purchasing power.
    Mar 3 05:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Can Industrial Automation Solve China's Demographic Challenge [View article]
    Can we just all agree that automation is great for society over the long term, but terrible for the displaced workers that are forced to adapt or die?
    Mar 1 04:25 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Did China Just End the Dollar's Reign? [View article]
    I'm in Mongolia and travel to China about every month now.
    Feb 25 02:31 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • European Auto Sales Plummet [View article]
    Thank you for the article, Marc. I completely agree with your four points that the Japanese car industry will not recover due to currency depreciation.
    Feb 19 02:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Last Chance To Sell Gold And Silver [View article]
    So when gold went 800% from 1976 to 1980, the value stayed constant? It was just the major currencies that inflated by 800%?
    Feb 19 08:50 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Last Chance To Sell Gold And Silver [View article]
    I agree with the fundamentals, but the market is irrational. I would not be surprised if gold begins to skyrocket between Q3 2013 to early 2014 for a few years. Once that happens, prepare to have all the gold bugs flame you endlessly. Short to mid term, gold has not bottom yet. We are likely to go through a 1975-1976 period for gold and reach new all-time highs similar to 1980.

    I disagree that we are living in deflationary times. Yes, housing prices in the U.S. have been stagnant, but what fuel and food prices? Shadow stats show that we are going through stagflation similar to the 70s when using pre 1980 mathematical models.
    Feb 19 06:35 AM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment