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Mobike upgrades in Shenzhen

After clocking up 280 million hours of ridership in the city of Shenzhen, Mobike has decided to relaunch its local fleet with 80,000 new yellow-colored bicycles.

The bicycle-sharing company that seems to have emerged triumphant from the industry’s recent consolidation wars began replacement work on October 16. It is the third time Mobike, which is was acquired by the tech conglomerate Meituan, has done a full replacement since it entered Shenzhen three years ago. Cai Junlian, area manager of Meituan Bike, said the company will ship all of its old bikes out of Shenzhen.

This is Mobike’s fifth upgrade, and its new models are a big improvement in terms of comfort, durability, and safety (better braking). Moreover, now riders can use the Meituan app, which means they do not have to pay a deposit. Users switching over from the original Mobike account will keep their balance and other information.

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Foshan plans for end of ‘demographic dividend’

Foshan has just updated its population plan. Setting goals that stretch until 2030, Foshan has no ambitions to become a “mega city” of more than 10 million people, like Dongguan does. Yet it will continue to grow in a measured pace and cross the 8.1 million mark in the next three years. 

This equates to a healthy growth of 6% from the last time a census was conducted in 2017, or more than 450,000 people. That is an acceleration, as it took the city seven years to grow by roughly the same number, in 2010-2017.

Why isn’t Foshan as ambitious as Dongguan? It is a question that the population development blueprint does not answer. An educated guess is because Foshan does not have as much available land as Dongguan. Moreover, Foshan is doing everything it can to integrate more closely with Guangzhou. “Guangfo” is a description used for many joint projects, such as the Intercity Railway line connecting its six main townships to the Guangzhou South station. 

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Shenzhen opens new ‘rent control’ housing

Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau opened applications online this week for 248 sets of renovated apartments in Tanglang City Plaza. These are not just any kind of apartments, however: their rents are set at a monthly baseline averaging RMB110 per sqm (slightly adjustable for bigger units and higher floors), which is significantly below the market average of RMB139.6 per sqm in the surrounding Nanshan district, home to many of the city’s tech companies.

Moreover, here’s the kicker: rents in these units will be controlled. Annual fluctuations will not exceed 5%, up or down. Successful applicants can take leases of 1-3 years, which can be renewed, but for a maximum total of five years.

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In HK, ‘the brink’ has been passed

Reaction to Carrie Lam’s Policy Address has been largely predictable. In general, it has been called “too little” by a wide cross-section of the political spectrum, even supposedly staunch pro-establishment figures. 

Most of this criticism is fair. Aside from the rabid yelps of legislators who think Lam only needs to step down and all will be well, and the mindless provocations of journalists, thoughtful commentators have put up plenty of logical objections. It isn’t only protesters who are angry, disappointed that Lam didn’t hand over a roadmap for the resumption of the political reform process. Plenty of others are miffed by her proposed solutions to economic challenges, too.

The Hong Kong Chief Executive’s speech was, indeed, underwhelming. Yet too much of the criticism has been focused on the details. That is not the speech’s biggest shortcoming.

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Brazil seeks Macau’s ‘advice’ on resorts

Is Brazil about to open up to casinos? The idea was raised in a more than casual way at a forum being held in Macau this week.

As reported by Macau Daily Times, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, asked for feedback at the Global Tourism Economy Forum on his country’s plans to invite investors to open resorts and theme parks. In response, MGM China’s chairperson, Pansy Ho, said that from a gaming operator’s perspective, Brazil has all the basic requirements to open an integrated resort industry.

Ho, who is one of the chief organizers of the conference, made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday. According to Ho, Brazil should be able to develop similar types of integrated resorts to those built in Macau.

“I’m quite sure there will be some of the existing gaming operators that would be clearly interested [in investing],” she said.

That is possibly the understatement of the year. Although a staunchly Catholic country like, er, the Philippines, Brazil would be lucrative for Macau’s casinos, who are currently having to wait around for what seems like forever while Japan figures out what it wants them to do.

Read more details on MDT.

Guangzhou commercial market stabilizes

Guangzhou’s commercial property market picked up in Q3 as supply eased and transactions rose, latest data quoted by local media show. Apartments and shops were strong, while offices were still hampered by oversupply.

Apartment transactions rose 40% YoY, while those for shops were up a whopping 70%. Office transactions, however, fell 20% YoY, although Q3 was a sequential improvement over Q2 (+20%).

Broken down by month, September showed an acceleration, especially in offices. Fewer office buildings have been coming onto the market in recent months, while apartments and shops continue to surge. In September, only 49,000 sqm of new office space was released.

Read more.

Macau, Zhuhai to set up GBA tourism institute

Macau and Zhuhai are to jointly establish a new Greater Bay Area tourism-focused institute, based in Zhuhai.

According to a report by Xinhua, the new institute will be jointly managed by Macau’s Institute of Tourism (known by its Portuguese acronym, IFT), the Zhuhai Cultural Broadcasting and Sports Bureau, and the Zhuguang Group, a major state-owned enterprise with a presence in both cities. The three parties signed a cooperative framework agreement yesterday.

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GBA’s land sales surge in September

September saw signs of a strong recovery in the Greater Bay Area’s real estate market, as developers bought 39 new land parcels worth RMB 38.7 billion, nearly a 50% jump over August.

Leading the way was the “Guangfo” megalopolis of Guangzhou and Foshan, with 16 plots sold in total by the two adjoining municipalities, which between them have a population of more than 20 million. Shenzhen and Zhongshan, where available land supply is scarce, both sold only one plot. Zhuhai has more available land, but sold only one plot as well. Dongguan saw probably the hottest competition, as one popular plot generated 91 rounds of bids.

The plots will yield a saleable area of over 2.13 million sqm, up from 1.37 million sqm in August, and were worth RMB 38.7 billion, up 46.6% from RMB 26.45 billion.

Among the leading developers, Vanke, Jinmao, Jindi, Poly, Agile, Oct, Hejing Futai, and China Resources were active as usual, but they were often teamed up rather than going alone. Most prominent were Vanke & Zhongtian, Jialin Group & Zhongnan Property Holdings, Hongyu Group & Junming Group.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of local real-estate promoter leju.com, for the nine GBA cities inside Guangdong. Continue reading GBA’s land sales surge in September

HK shouldn’t scoff at Macau’s stock exchange plan

Reaction to news of Macau’s plan to open a new stock exchange has been predictable. Hong Kong commentators, accustomed to looking down their noses at the other SAR, have been mostly pointing out blindingly obvious reasons why it will be difficult for Macau to build a RMB-denominated stock exchange. What they are not prepared to consider is that Macau’s plan is unlikely to be for next year, or even the year after that, but is a long-term proposal that is designed to cater to a structural shift in the Chinese economy.

That shift is evident to anyone watching what is going on beyond the Lowu and Lok Ma Chau checkpoints. Or to anyone who may have read the speech by the key Guangdong official who let the cat out of the bag on Saturday. 

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Shenzhen’s emerging marine industries fuel growth

Shenzhen’s marine industry has been touted as a key part of the city’s economic development blueprint, which is why local media have been buzzing this week about the China Marine Economy Expo underway at the convention and exhibition center in Futian district.

Unsurprisingly for the tech-obsessed city, “emerging marine industries” are now driving growth overall for the industry. According to the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Ocean and Fishery, the output of emerging marine industries in the first half of this year rose 6.7% YoY, exceeding the overall growth rate of marine industries in the city. 

A large number of Shenzhen enterprises in high-end marine equipment, marine electronic information, marine biomedicine and other related fields are presenting their wares at the expo, which runs until Thursday. 

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