Chinese Tourists Earmark 65 Pct of Travel Budget to Shopping

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Chinese tourists continue to make headlines for their shopping spree.

In 2013, an estimated 98 million Chinese traveled abroad, an increase of about 14 million compared to the previous year, according to a report by the China Tourism Academy. Shopping is high on the agenda of these Chinese tourists. About 65 percent of their travel budgets go toward shopping.

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chinese_travel2_20140114Chinese travelers are enthralled by shopping holidays and there are plenty of them around the world. To help Chinese travelers plan their shop expedition, China Daily has put together a calendar of key months to shop in some of their preferred international destinations.

China’s Crazy Rich House Hunters

You almost want to call it a bubble, don’t you?

In the global real estate biz, China is the buzz. Every other week there is a story about how much money the Chinese are spending abroad on real estate. I’ve done them here a number of times myself. And it seems there are companies sprouting up designed to cater to China’s uber-rich; from Affinity China to Bomoda, there’s a savvy entrepreneur out there luring starry-eyed, super rich and a little impractical Chinese from buying a part of the Western dream.

Like Honiley Hall in Warwickshire in the U.K. It’s only about $15 million dollars. But that comes with 35 acres of land and a driveway that is bigger than most back yards at 1,312 feet long.  This isn’t a house for the curious to go look at it and dream big. This is by appointment only. This is a house for the rich. And judging by an ad from the Peter D. Warwick’s namesake luxury property firm PDW, it’s mostly for the Chinese with lots and lots of crazy cash to burn.

These guys are just over-the-top now, aren’t they?

If they’re not buying up Sunseeker yachts just because they are the ones seen in the latest Bond movie, they’re out spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on American style weddings.  Remember the Happy Meal toys and the dollar-a-day Chinese? Apparently, those people no longer exist in China. Everyone in China now is a millionaire and Americans and Europeans want to sell them the high life.

Starting this weekend, some 14,000 high-net worth Chinese will attend the Top Marques super luxury expo in Shanghai and guess who is going to be there? How about Miami real estate firms? How about realtors from the English countryside?

Miami real estate broker Jorge Martinez of Worldwide Properties, together with co-founder Roland Ortiz, and senior agent, Olimpia Zanardi, will be the first American real estate agents at the expo to showcase property alongside private jets and Ferraris. They’ll be touting their wares: $2 million South Beach penthouses at Venetian Way.

If you’re from Miami and thought your real estate values weren’t priced to match the state’s 7% unemployment rate, blame a rich foreigner.  This isn’t to incite riots, of course. But the rich love Miami, and the Chinese love Florida, second only to California as their go-to state for second or third homes.

“For wealthy Chinese, a Miami penthouse is as much a lifestyle purchase as a $500,000 car, luxury purse or a case of $5,000-per-bottle wine” said Martinez.  ”Our intention is to penetrate a new market. Chinese are investing in the U.S. more now than ever before and we want Worldwide Properties to be the agency that brings them to South Florida.”

Paradise Waters. If you have to ask where it is, it’s probably because you can’t afford it.

Top Marques is usually just for expensive toys. But this year, expensive housing is up for a look, too. It’s one more expression of how Chinese high-net-worth individuals have become so internationally sophisticated, and so wealthy, that they can pick up second homes in other countries like they would a designer purse or car. It is also a sign that Western real estate agents are waking up to the Chinese market, and starting to target these guys aggressively.

“Top Marques is a a very select audience,” said Andrew Taylor, CEO of Juwai.com, an internet portal helping Chinese buyers peruse international real estate listings. “At Top Marques, you know you are marketing to people who want the very best — and can afford it.”

Chinese buyers will spend $8.2 billion on American houses this year, according to the National Association of Realtors.  That translates into $492 million in commission for American real estate agents thanks to China.  Approximately 70% of Chinese buyers will pay cash.  And while most of them are not buying multi-million dollar manors, the U.S. is the number one destination for Chinese property investors in 2013, according to Juwai.com data.

The Miami Association of Realtors says Florida is “a top state” for foreigners, with Miami claiming the most investment. This year, the Association is traveling to China for property shows and business meetings in Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Kenneth Rapoza, Contributor

SouFun Tops ADR Plunge on New Property Measures: China Overnight

SouFun Tops ADR Plunge on New Property Measures: China Overnight

Chinese equities fell in New York for the first time in a week, led by property companies, on concern government steps to intensify a three-year effort to tame the real estate market will damp an economic rebound.

The Bloomberg China-US Equity Index (CH55BN) of the most-traded Chinese companies in the U.S. sank 1.3 percent to 92.86 yesterday after a four-day rally. SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN), the nation’s biggest real estate information website, tumbled the most in a year, and E-House China Holdings Ltd. (EJ) dropped to a two-month low. Suntech Power Holdings Co. slid after appointing a new chairwoman while Security software company NQ Mobile Inc. (NQ) jumped 17 percent on a partnership with America Movil SAB.

The China-US gauge’s retreat followed the Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index’s biggest decline since June 2008 as the Cabinet ordered more measures to cool real estate prices and after growth in the nation’s services industries slowed. China’s legislature will start its annual meeting today to set economic goals and elect new government leaders after the world’s second- largest economy emerged from its seven-quarter slowdown in the last three months of 2012.

“The property market is key to sentiment, so it’s important for the government not to create the idea among the public that they’re cracking down on property,” Christopher Palmer, who oversees about $2.5 billion as the London-based director of global emerging markets at Henderson Global Investors Ltd., said by phone yesterday. “If the market becomes unstable or property developers’ access to loans is cut off, they could have negative impact on the economy.”

ETF Plunges

The iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund (FXI), the largest Chinese exchange-traded fund in the U.S., sank 1.7 percent to $37.93, the lowest price since Dec. 4. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) climbed 0.5 percent to 1,525.20.

SouFun’s American depositary receipts tumbled 8.3 percent to $23.51, the biggest slump since February 2012. E-House slipped 2.9 percent to $4.3, the lowest level since Jan. 2.

Details on the property measures are “slightly stronger than expected and sooner than expected,” Matthew Sutherland, Senior Investment Director for Equities at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. “We are at the start of a tightening cycle which will make it hard for the property sector to outperform.”

Suntech Slides

Suntech, the world’s biggest solar-panel maker, slumped 3 percent to $1.27, after losing 10 percent last week.

The company, based in Wuxi of Jiangsu province, said yesterday Susan Wang, a director at Suntech since April 2009, was appointed chairwoman of the board, replacing Zhengrong Shi. Shi, who was chief executive officer until August, will remain as a director.

Youku Tudou Inc. (YOKU), formed from a merger of China’s biggest video websites in August, plunged 5.1 percent to $19.02, the lowest level this year.

It’ll take a year before the business shows actual synergy from the merger, and the effect will be more noticeable in the second half, Youku’s Chief Executive Officer Victor Koo said March 1 in an interview, according to a report on imeigu.com, which provides news of U.S.-traded companies.

NQ Mobile Inc., a Beijing-based mobile security software developer, had the biggest jump on record to $8.07. Trading volume was six times the daily average over the past three months. The ADRs led gains on the Bloomberg China-US gauge.

America Movil, the world’s third-largest mobile network operator, will offer three of NQ’s mobile security applications to the carrier’s 262 million subscribers in 18 countries, NQ said in a statement yesterday. The services will start from Mexico through its Telcel unit with about 68 million subscribers, NQ said.

Revenue Source

The deal with America Movil, which is controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, is “much more significant to NQ in terms of size” than its previous partnership with other operators, Andy Yeung, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York who rates NQ the equivalent of buy, said by phone yesterday. “It also opens a new revenue source for NQ, whose sales mainly came from application downloads and from phone manufacturers previously.”

The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI) lost 2.1 percent to 11,104.65 yesterday, the largest slump in a week, while the Shanghai Composite Index of domestic Chinese shares tumbled 3.7 percent to 2,273.40, sinking the most since August 2011.

Twelve-month non-deliverable forwards on the yuan weakened 0.1 percent to 6.3275 per dollar, the biggest retreat in two weeks. The currency was little changed at 6.2251 per dollar in Shanghai yesterday, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trade system.

To contact the reporter on this story: Belinda Cao in New York at lcao4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma O’Brien at eobrien6@bloomberg.net