Developers and alternative sources of capital, March 3:
A recent conversation with an industry professional threw up several (of what must be many) ways of finding funds:
1) Often relying on well-placed contacts, developers go to a construction firm and say, “You have the cash flow so you cover all the costs. Once we start selling off the units, we’ll give you a cut of the profits.”
2) By putting down money for a property before it is completed, an investor obviously runs the risk of the project not being completed or being completed to a low standard.
3)The stellar returns on property investments in recent years have drawn in many an individual investor. The same is true of companies. Having got rich on exports, it’s not uncommon for a trading company to diversify into real estate – in fact, it is often a sensible and natural move.
Pander hugging, panda baiting, March 6:
In recent weeks, a trend in the US Democratic primaries has been the increased tough talk on globalization and its effects on America’s manufacturing sector. Senators Obama and Clinton have been one-upping each other in speeches and debates on the virtues of protectionism and the evils of NAFTA.
So where do the candidates stand on China? Obama said, “As president, I will immediately adopt a strong program to push the Chinese toward voluntary reform.” Mrs. Clinton said: “… As President, I will crack down on China’s unfair trade practices.”
Do either (or both) of them mean what they say? The pattern in past elections has been that candidates who talk tough on China soften their tone once they get into the White House (see: Clinton, William J.). Will that hold true this year? It will be interesting to watch, especially around Olympics time, when George W. Bush comes to Beijing. Campaign talk is one thing, but if the (hopefully nominated by then) Democratic candidate goes too far in denouncing Bush’s visit – say, by getting caught up in “genocide games” rhetoric – well, that might be harder to take back.