By Russell Flannery, Forbes Staff (Updates earlier post with details and today’s stock close) Wang Zhongjun, the chairman of Shenzhen-listed film maker Huayi Brothers Media, has joined the ranks of China’s movie industry billionaires. Huayi’s shares have climbed by more than 160% in the past year amid rising prospects for home-grown entertainment industry content in China. They gained 5.5% today at close at an all-time high of 42.2 yuan. Founded in Beijing in1994, Huayi produces films, television programs, music and other content. Wang, who also goes by the English name Dennis, owns a 26% stake in Huayi that is worth more than $1 billion; his brother, Wang Zhonglei, whose English name is James, holds 8% of the company. Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba Group and one of China’s richest Internet entrepreneurs, owns 5% of Huayi. Huayi’s stock has soared after the company last month projected net profit in the first half of 2013 would as much as triple from $17 million a year earlier on good box-office income. Investors have also bid up its shares after the company said on July 24 it would acquire 50.9% of mobile game developer Yinhan Technology for the equivalent of $109.5 million. …read more
Hours after a man with long-running grievances against officialdom set off a homemade explosive at Beijing’s airport, a singer-songwriter turned to the Internet to release her own sarcastic wish list of to-be-bombed targets. …read more
By Stephen Harner, Contributor Unable to use the Upper House elections as an excuse for further delay, and under increasing pressure from an exasperated Obama administration, the Abe government very publicly on July 29th dispatched the Japanese Vice Foreign Minister, Saiki Akitaka, to Beijing. …read more
Japan’s gaffe-prone deputy prime minister has said Tokyo could learn from Nazi Germany when it comes to constitutional reform, prompting a rebuke from a Jewish human rights group.
In a statement on its website late Tuesday, the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Center called on Taro Aso to clarify his comments that Tokyo, which is mulling a change to its pacifist constitution, should look to the way the Nazis quietly adopted reforms.
“First, mass media started to make noises (about Japan’s proposed reforms), and then China and South Korea followed suit,” Aso was quoted by Japanese media as saying in a speech Monday to a conservative think tank.
“The German Weimar constitution changed, without being noticed, to the Nazi German constitution. Why don’t we learn from their tactics?”
In response, the Jewish rights group said: “The only lessons on governance that the world should draw from the Nazi Third Reich is how those in positions of power should not behave”.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the Japanese government’s top spokesman, on Wednesday declined to answer media questions about the comments, saying “deputy prime minister Aso should answer that question”.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party has said it wants to revise the US-imposed pacifist constitution to define Japan’s defence forces as a full-fledged military force, amid territorial tensions with neighbours China and South Korea.
That has stirred strong emotions in Beijing and Seoul which have long maintained that Japan has never come to terms with its militaristic past.
Aso, who is also Japan’s finance minister, is known for his sometimes uncomfortable remarks, including saying earlier this year that elderly people should “hurry up and die” to avoid taxing the country’s medical system.
The production version of the BMW i3 was unveiled yesterday at three simultaneous events in New York City, London and Beijing. Given that the i3 grew out a BMW electric vehicle project called Megacity, the urban debut locations make a lot of sense. Since BMW literally spent years researching urban trends in the Megacity project, years when the competition was building and selling EVs already, there is a lot of pressure on the German automaker to come out with an EV that is the right fit for today’s cities.
BMW’s message is that the i3 actually represents the beginning of electric mobility for the company.
BMW had help in this from the Mini E and Active E electric vehicle pilot programs. One way you can see the company’s EV history is in the location of the charge port on the rear passenger side. Most plug-in vehicles today put the charging connector in the front, but both the Mini E and Active E had a rear charge port and BMW didn’t get enough complaints to change it for the i3. If you opt to pay the roughly $4,000 extra for the gas-powered range extender, then your i3 will be built with a second fuel door, this one on the right front of the car. Putting the ports in these locations cuts down on the amount of fuel lines and wires required in the car, which in turn contributes to the i3’s light weight (official figures are not yet available, but BMW estimates the i3 weighs around 2,700 pounds). It’s all connected.
Despite BMW’s years of testing and driver feedback on earlier EV programs, the official message in New York was that the i3 actually represents the beginning of electric mobility for the company. As Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, said in New York, “The car has existed for nearly 130 years. Today marks a shift – a change – in the future of mobility.
By Connie Guglielmo, Forbes Staff China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua met with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Beijing yesterday to discuss cooperation between the two companies, the Chinese telecom company said. …read more
The US may be one of the world’s most competitive markets, but tech giant Apple is quickly discovering that fast-growing China is far more complex for a wide range of reasons that are often more political than economic. CEO Tim Cook was in Beijing this week to address some of those issues, in what looks like a hastily arranged trip to put out a growing number of fires facing his firm in the world’s largest smartphone market. …read more
BEIJING — As more than 100,000 Chinese soldiers swarmed over far fewer American Marines and soldiers in subzero temperatures on treacherous terrain in one of the fiercest battles of the Korean War, two United States Navy pilots took off from an aircraft carrier to provide cover for their comrades on the ground.
One of the airmen, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, was the son of an African-American sharecropper from Mississippi. The other, Lt. Thomas J. Hudner Jr., was the son of a white patrician merchant family from Massachusetts.
An hour into the flight, Ensign Brown’s plane was hit by enemy fire, forcing him to crash land on the side of a mountain at Chosin, north of Pyongyang. Lieutenant Hudner brought his plane down nearby and found Ensign Brown, but could not rescue him.
On Monday, nearly 63 years after the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, Mr. Hudner, 88, arrived in Beijing after a 10-day visit to North Korea aimed at finding his friend’s remains….
A Chinese man went on trial Tuesday for poisoning frozen dumplings that were exported to Japan and made 10 people ill, state media reported, in a case that raised tensions between Beijing and Tokyo. …read more
The discovery of an “early modern human” dating from 40,000 years ago in a cave outside Beijing, and a comparison of the individual’s DNA with that of populations around the globe, are providing new pieces in the puzzle of how Homo sapiens left their African origins to expand across the continents. …read more
Sunday looked like a pretty clear day when I woke up yesterday in Beijing — one of the best we’ve had in a few weeks. However, when I checked my Air Quality Index (“AQI”) application, one that nearly all Beijingers have now installed on their cell phones, it stood at a decidedly “unhealthy” 145. So much for that leisurely al fresco lunch! …read more
By Russell Flannery, Forbes Staff Only 7% of China’s poor on-time flight record at domestic airports is connected to the country’s military, the state-published Shanghai Daily asserted today. Dismal airport service in China’s most important cities – Beijing and Shanghai — gained international attention this month after U.S.-based FlightStats ranked airports in the two at the bottom of an on-time and cancellation survey of the world’s top airports. Only 18% of Beijing flights managed to land on time last month, compared to an average of 69% among other airports covered by the research. The Shanghai Daily, reporting a broader domestic survey of 35 Chinese domestic airports, said a higher 75% of flights arrived on time last month, citing the China Aviation Administration. The figure was a five-year low, the paper said. It didn’t say which airports where included or what definition of on-time was used. Besides the 7% of delays owing to military activities, some 42% were due to carrier operations, and 26% were owed to air traffic control procedures. Weather was behind 21% of all flight delays, according to the newspaper. Other reports have cited military control of airspace as a major factor behind the delays for civilian flights. Videos of Chinese travelers frustrated by delays at the country’s major airports are regular fodder for global YouTube viewers, yet poor system management has only worsened of late. China’s main air carriers – Air China, China Southern and China Eastern—as well as its Shanghai and Beijing airports are all government controlled. — Follow me on Twitter @rflannerychina …read more
These days, Dwight Chapin shoots movies on his iPad. But in the Richard M. Nixon White House, he and his colleagues John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman were Super 8-wielding auteurs, capturing intimate moments that eluded the press corps: Tricia Nixon before her wedding; the president in Beijing enjoying a ballet about a workers’ insurrection; Pope Paul VI shot sideways (because Haldeman had smuggled his camera into the Vatican).
The images, surreptitious and otherwise, are included in “Our Nixon,” the impressionistic documentary directed by Penny Lane that has its premiere Thursday on CNN. The film makes use of hundreds of reels of home movies shot by Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mr. Chapin, some of which had been confiscated by the F.B.I. during the Watergate investigation. The footage remained largely unseen for 40 years.
“They weren’t being hidden,” Ms. Lane said. “They were being ignored.”
This Tuesday in the Delta Airlines Sky Lounge at JFK International in New York there was a guy from London who was two days off his Louisville bound travel schedule because Delta had canceled flights. A young woman in her twenties, standing in line with me to find out why my flight was now three hours late to Boston, said I shouldn’t feel bad: her flight was supposed to leave a day ago to Raleigh. Chalk it up to bad weather or — as George Carlin once said, “broken planes” — still, our airports are some of the best in the world for getting their passengers out on time. According to travel industry monitor, FlightStats, Chinese airports are the worst. The FlightStats figures showed that in June 2013, out of a worldwide analysis, Beijing and Shanghai airports came in last for on-time arrivals and departures. They had by far the worst record for on-time flights – 18.3% and 28.7% respectively leaving those busy airports on schedule. FlightStats came out with their report two weeks ago, but being stuck in JFK for three hours, and listening to people stuck because of delayed Delta flights , had me thinking twice about the reliability of U.S. airports. Truth is, they are not as bad as Americans tend to believe. And despite all the billions of dollars spent on new and modern airports in China, the air traffic controllers cannot get their planes in the air on time. Chinese airline performance makes Delta look like the best airline in the world. China United Airlines had just 27% of its flights arriving on time. Large national carriers like Air China and China Southern also reported massive delays along those same lines. Mainland experts attribute the problem to excessive military control of the airspace and poor urban planning, the South China Morning Post reported on July 12. …read more
Nissan is going to be leveraging the weight of the Chinese market by selling cars influenced by the People’s Republic in other markets around the globe. The influence of Chinese design is further proof of the country’s importance on a global scale. Nissan isn’t the only manufacturer that’s looking to leverage China’s burgeoning design talent, as BMW, Volkswagen, and General Motors have all set up facilities.
In fact, VW and GM have both used Chinese talent to design cars, in the Passat and Buick LaCrosse, respectively. Nissan has already tested the waters with its Beijing studios, penning the Friend-Me Concept from this year’s Shanghai Auto Show. Where GM and VW used their Shanghai-based studios as more consultancies than anything else, though, Nissan is aiming to have the Beijing studio design a global car.
According to Nissan’s global design head, Shiro Nakamura, that’s already happening. Nakamura told Reuters that Nissan is two years from launching a Chinese-designed global model that will see sales in both North America and Europe, in addition to its home market. While Nakamura wouldn’t elaborate on what the new model’s styling would entail, there’s a focus on what the Chinese call daqi.
A difficult to describe and translate word, daqi is what Chinese customers look for in their cars. Whether daqi translates to global markets remains to be seen, though. We’re cautiously optimistic, based on what we’ve seen over the years. The looks are more advanced, more dramatic and are rapidly leaving behind the photocopier designs which typified much of the country’s early design efforts.
If you’re still nervous about a Chinese-designed car, just know this – the design Nissan chose beat out competitors from London, San Diego, and Nissan’s home studio outside of Tokyo. That has us looking forward to what comes out of the People’s Republic.
U.S. stock index futures point to a higher open on Wall Street on Tuesday, ahead of the publication of the House Price Index and corporate earnings statements from tech majors Apple, AT&T and Electronic Arts.
Futures on the Dow Jones industrial average(^DJI) were up 0.3 percent, while futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index (^GSPC) were up 0.1 percent and those on the Nasdaq 100 index were up 0.3 percent.
Investors will also be turning their attention to the publication of the Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The index provides the monthly average change in house prices across the country or a certain area, using data provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The index is expected to nudge up to 0.8 percent in May, from 0.7 percent recorded in the previous month.
In addition, a number of major companies, including United Parcel Service (UPS), Altria Group (MO), Lockheed Martin (LMT), MGIC Investment (MTG), Wendy’s (WEN) will announce quarterly earnings before market hours. Altera (ALTR) and Broadcom (BRCM), along with Apple (AAPL), AT&T (T) and Electronic Arts (EA), will announce their earnings after markets close.
European markets were trading flat after climbing higher earlier Tuesday, as Asian markets rallied following recent reports from China indicating Beijing might take measures to support the country’s economic growth, and the Japanese government upgraded its outlook of the country’s economy for a third consecutive month.
The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.1 percent, London’s FTSE 100 was flat, Germany’s DAX-30 was up 0.1 percent and France’s CAC-40 was trading up 0.05 percent.
In Asia, Chinese stocks led a rally in the region’s markets, with the Shanghai Composite index surging 2 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index soared 2.3 percent. Shares jumped after several local media reported that Premier Li Keqiang, at a cabinet meeting last week, gave an assurance that the government won’t allow China’s economic growth to fall below 7 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei ended up 0.8 percent after the government said that the recovery in the world’s third-largest economy had turned self-sustaining, MarketWatch reported. South Korea’s KOSPI Composite index rallied 1.3 percent, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.3 percent and India’s BSE Sensex was trading up 0.8 percent in late-afternoon trade.