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Building for a better tomorrow

Le 13 juillet 2017, 05:17 dans Humeurs 0

Song Yingqian is on a roll. She was desperate to live in an apartment in a new energy-saving building along with thousands of other property hopefuls.

 

The development was so popular that the "new tenants" were selected through a lottery process.

 

Luckily, Song's name popped out of the computer. Now, she can eventually buy the flat if she lives there for more than five years.

 

"I was so fortunate," the 32-year-old accountant, who works in Beijing, said.

 

Indeed, she is because her two-bedroom apartment, like all the others in the bloc, has the latest green technologies.

 

"Solar water heaters are in every apartment," Song said. "It will save me 450 yuan ($66.2) on my electricity bills annually.

 

"The building also has energy-efficient elevators and hallway lights in public areas," she added.

 

Gardens also surround the development in the northwest Haidian district of Beijing, with the tower blocks designed to maximize "sunlight and rainwater for irrigation".

 

Buildings such as the one Song will move into are the future in a city that suffers from congestion and pollution.

 

Data is sparse on the construction of green residental property. But overall the construction industry in China is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2020, with an annual growth rate of 4.7 percent.

 

"The proportion of green residential developments will also continue to increase during the same period," BMI Research stated, although again figures are scarce.

 

China has the largest construction sector in the world and is redoubling its efforts to create cleaner, smarter and safer buildings.

 

Green property tends to be environmentally friendly and energy efficient. This also includes the building materials and design.

 

In the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), China set out goals for green building construction and renovation. By 2020, at least 50 percent of new urban buildings have to be certified as "green".

 

To help jump-start this transformation, leading engineers and scientists in China, together with overseas experts, have been working closely on building technologies and solutions.

 

Among the list of priorities is energy and water reduction as well as carbon emissions from building sites.

 

In March, China's Center of Science and Technology and Industrialization Development, under the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, improved the labeling system for green buildings in the country.

 

The Green Building Evaluation Label, or Three-Star Rating System, evaluates projects based on six categories, including land, energy, water and material efficiency.

 

The rating system was built around software developed by International Financial Corp, a member of the World Bank Group. It also encouraged the use of geothermal, hydropower, wind, and biomass energy over traditional fossil fuel options such as coal.

 

"The initiative will create an international platform to enable continuous improvements of China's green building labeling system," said Song Ling, vice-director of the Green Building Development Department at CSTID.

 

Construction companies are also putting together partnerships to promote sustainable and green building practices.

A glimpse of China's mid-year online shopping spree

Le 22 juin 2017, 05:29 dans Humeurs 0

 Chinese internet users splurged on the mid-year online shopping spree on Sunday.

 

While November 11, or Single's Day, is the largest online shopping festival in China created by Alibaba's Tmall, June 18 ("6/18") shopping festival was launched by JD.com, Tmall's arch rival.

 

Other companies soon jumped on the bandwagon and began to offer special offers to get more customers.

 

On June 18, JD.com reported its first hour sales more than doubled from the same period last year. Tmall pocketed over 100 million yuan ($14.71 million) seven minutes after its opening. Another Chinese e-commerce heavyweight Suning.com saw its orders more than quadrupled from a year ago.

 

According to iResearch, a Beijing-based consultancy, while demand is high, Chinese consumers tend to be rational by caring more about quality instead of price.

 

The top five items on the shopping list of JD.com consumers are cell phone, air conditioner, flat panel computer, laptop and baby formula. Consumers are more selective in quality.

 

Kaola.com, a cross-border e-commerce platform, found consumers are becoming more critical in selecting big names, but were less interested in popular best-sellers SmarTone Care.

 

Cao Lei, director of China E-Commerce Research Center, said with consumer upgrade going on in China, e-commerce market has shifted from "price war" to responding to the demands of the affluent and sophisticated middle class.

 

Putting all those purchases into consumers' hands is a huge task.

 

To make fresh food reach consumers in the shortest period of time possible, Tmall's cold chain service is operating around the clock. Its daily delivery of fresh food totals near 500 tons.

 

By using smart warehouse, it takes only three minutes to move a parcel out of the depot through automated assembly lines saliva testing.

 

E-commerce platforms are using drones to make speedy deliveries. At this year's "6/18" shopping festival, Suning.com is using drones to get packages directly to shoppers in rural villages.

 

JD.com uses augmented reality and virtual reality to offer interactive shopping experiences and also employs robots, driverless cars and drones for deliveries.

 

Xu Lei, JD Group's chief marketing officer, said retail sales will be driven by changing consumer habits and technology upgrades Cantonese opera.

 

The mega-spending spree came as China's economy is slowing down as the world's second largest economy is transitioning from dependence on export and investment to consumer spending.

 

Growth of the property development investment slowed in May for the first time since November, but retail sales grew 10.7 percent year on year in May boosted by strong online sales, signaling continued consumption strength.

 

China is the world's largest online shopping market, with about 467 million online consumers spending about 26.1 trillion yuan last year, up 19.8 percent year on year.

Coffee with ... Pascal de Sarthe

Le 1 juin 2017, 05:29 dans Humeurs 0

French-born Pascal de Sarthe was self-taught and rose among the art dealer ranks in the 1980s to become one of the most recognized gallerists of the 21st century. He made Hong Kong his base in 2010 and today, with one gallery here and another in Beijing, he's clearly lost none of his passion for art

 

What made you decide to be based in Asia?

 

I have been coming to Asia since 1981, doing business first in Japan and Korea, then in the early '90s in Taiwan, China and Southeast Asia - Asia accounted for half of my business and I quickly started spending two weeks of every month in the region. I was approached by new collectors who were interested in both Western and Eastern art, who appreciated my long experience in dealing with artists of the Chinese diaspora such as Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun. In 2010, staying in Asia and opening a gallery in Hong Kong seemed like the natural thing to do.

 

Why Hong Kong?

 

Even though there was nothing to indicate that Hong Kong would become the center of the Asian art market, there was the geographical location, the tax advantages and the start of the art auctions - everything just came together.

 

Art Basel came to Hong Kong shortly after you did ...

 

There was already Art HK, but Art Basel recognized that the art market in Asia was becoming increasingly important and could possibly overtake the art market in America. For Art Basel, it made sense to take over Art HK and establish themselves here with a solid foundation.

 

Is Hong Kong's art market one of true art lovers or of speculators?

 

Things have changed a lot in the past seven years. At first, the speculators were operating in a market that was tailor-made for them - Hong Kong was a financial hub, with capital flooding in from all over the world, and the art market took advantage of this. Then came a generation of collectors who were interested in art. Collecting is like catching a bug; it's an addiction.

 

A person can initially take an interest in art in order to speculate, but in the long run if he doesn't develop a passion for it, then it's not much fun.

 

Does the gallery owner share the passion of the collector?

 

You can't sell paintings if you don't have a passion for art. Unfortunately, today more and more people are opening galleries as if they were luxury shops. They'll sell artists like fashion trends, which means the life cycle of these artists is limited. When you're representing an artist, he has to come first. You can't turn him into a commodity and then abandon him.

 

It's easy with handbags or clothes, but an artist is a human being. My son has a close relationship with his artists in Beijing, with a dynamic I haven't seen in a very long time. You can't put a price on that. That's how you create genuine art galleries and assume a genuine position in the art market.

 

What will you be exhibiting at Art Basel this year?

 

We'll be showing only postwar Asian artists and new-generation Beijing artists. At the same time, we'll be opening our new gallery in Wong Chuk Hang on the south side of Hong Kong Island fraxel.

 

You're leaving Central?

 

After six years in Central, I didn't want to stay there any longer. The area is an aberration for galleries - we don't have enough space, the ceilings aren't high enough and the rents per square meter are the most expensive in the world.

 

I knew Wong Chuk Hang a bit - I'd been there to visit some galleries - but I hadn't realized how important the place was. Today, with its 30 or so galleries, the artists, designers and architects who live there, the new MTR station and with rents one-fifth what they are in Central, this neighborhood is in the process of becoming the art district that didn't exist before in Hong Kong. I would readily compare it to Chelsea in New York. We've taken a 10,000sqft space with the kinds of volumes necessary for real gallery work, as if we were in New York.

 

What do you think of shows like the Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong Speed dating?

 

I think it's a very good thing, because contemporary art shouldn't be expensive. The market is manipulated in such a way that works of art are worth this or that amount, with no basis in reality.

 

With a few exceptions, a young artist who all of a sudden is priced at US$300,000 will be forgotten a few years later. I think it's very good for people to be able to buy works of art for a few hundred or a few thousand. It's fantastic - and it's how lots of collectors get started.

 

Any advice for future collectors Night Market in Hong Kong?

 

Don't buy anything just yet - educate yourself first. It's very important to establish a dialogue with a dealer to know what you're going to like or not like about an artist, and to understand the market. Obviously, when you know nothing about a market, you tend to follow the trends. Unfortunately, too many collectors buy with their ears, not their eyes.

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