Archive for April 5th, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reverse Auctions to adjust Property Market?

The Ministry of Land and Resources (国土资源部) has recently invited real estate developers and experts for participation in a real estate forum which is said to focus on a reform of the current land auctioneering system. A set of first-tier and several second- and third-tier cities shall be chosen as testing grounds for such a reform, writes Nanfang Daily, republished by China Accounting School Online (中华会计网校). Currently, a  landuse transfer goes to the highest bidder (土地出让“价高者得”). This system is now questioned for pushing the prices for such transfers, thus indirectly causing rising housing prices.

Instead of the highest bid, the lowest bid should count as the final bid (出价最低者将最终中标), suggests Li Yining (厉以宁), president of Guanghua Management College at Beijing University, and deputy director of the Economic Commission under the 11th National Committee of the CPPCC. Li seems to be advocating a reverse auction model, in which the sellers place their bids (i. e. offering landuse rights) – and the seller who quotes the lowest price will be chosen by the buyer.

Opponents warn that this could lead to low-quality delivered by the developers, and that such a new approach could breed more corruption. Nanfang Daily also mentions a possible loss of state assets, if landuse rights become cheaper – after all, the state is the owner of the land (hence “buying landuse rights”, rather than “buying land”). But Zhang Yunwen (张运文), Guangdong’s Provincial Real Estate Association’s deputy secretary-general, believes that although the income losses for city governments may not be small, stable housing prices were a government’s responsibility towards society.

Xinhua released six commentaries criticizing China’s high real estate prices, reports CCTV. Then again, Li Yining had issued warnings at the beginning of Beijing’s Two-Sessions season this year, too, and one may wonder if the struggle for stabilizing the housing market will be more efficient than the eternal one against corruption. If Victor Shih (史宗瀚), assistant professor of political science at Northwestern University, was right in March this year, the provincial and local governments will carry the day, which would torpedo the Ministry of Land and Resources’s goals. There is no reason to expect that the provincial governments will love the idea of reverse auctions any better than increases in property tax rates.

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Related
Singapore Academic Zheng Yongnian about Farmland Reform, October 17, 2008

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tianjin Minimum Wages Adjustments

Employers working on April 5 (Tomb Sweeping Day) must be paid 300% of their regular daily earnings, in addition to their regular income, Enorth quotes Tianjin’s Human Resources and Social Security departments (人力资源和社会保障部门). For working on April 3 or 4, an addition of 200% of the regular earnings is required. [On April 3 and 4, taking days off later on account of overtime was apparently an alternative to paying overtime.]

With effect in all of Tianjin’s districts and counties from April 1, the uniform minimum wages are adjusted to 920 Yuan RMB per month.

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Related
[U.S.] Away from Consumption, towards Production…, China Financial Markets, April 2, 2010
Local governments to raise minimum wages, Global Times, January 28, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

“Poor Julius” and the state of the ANC

[…] At the same time that he uses the racist language of the past, Malema illegitimately tries to link the DA to apartheid, which the DA’s predecessor parties opposed and fought. He forgets that the leaders of the apartheid party, the New National Party are now in the bosom of the ANC.  He stated that “people like Zille represent… the apartheid system [and] colonisers”. He does this because, like others in the ANC power elite, he must find scapegoats (usually “apartheid” or “colonialists” or “imperialists”) to distract attention from their own failings.  Bereft of ideas and ability, Malema must prey on racialised notions of victimhood and fear to cover up for what the ANC has failed to deliver after 15 years in power.  Mugabe also mobilised his voters on this basis  —  and the vast majority of them deeply regret it now. […]

Helen Zille, the Western Cape’s premier and the Democratic Alliance’s chairwoman, about Julius Malema, president of the African National Congress Youth League, in February 2009.

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