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Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online payment affiliate Alipay

Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online paymentaffiliate Alipay to take control of fast-growing fund firm Tianhong Asset Management Co as thee-commerce giant bulks up its push into online finance.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Co, the parent company of online payment company Alipay, to purchase 51percent of Tianhong, according to a filing from Tianhong shareholder Inner MongoliaJunzheng Energy & Chemical Industry Co on Thursday.

 

Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba files for $1 billion IPO inUS
Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba helps make China’slargest fund

Alibaba is gearing up for what could be the world’s biggesttech IPO, and online finance has become anotherbattleground for the firm. Though the business unit will belargely kept separate from the offering, it could play animportant role in the entire company’s future growth. 

Tianhong has gone from near obscurity to running China’sbiggest money market fund by assets under management(AUM) in just months after it launched fund platform Yu’eBao, or “leftover treasure”, with Alipay in June last year.

Yu’e Bao’s one-year interest rates are higher than a bank’sregulator-restricted rates for one-year deposits, and are anincentive to deposit money with the platform.

Yu’e Bao, which people can run from their smartphones, isalso linked to China’s biggest online payment platformAlipay, similar to PayPal. Users can dip directly into Yu’eBao to buy products on Alibaba’s huge online shoppingwebsites and anywhere else that takes Alipay.

Alipay’s investment, valued previously at 1.18 billion yuan ($189.11 million), will see the firminject 262 million yuan in registered capital into the fund, according to the filing.

Tianhong had 554 billion yuan in AUM in the first quarter of 2014, from just 10.5 billion yuan ayear earlier, according to Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai-based investment managementconsultancy.

Chinese Tourists Earmark 65 Pct of Travel Budget to Shopping

hermes_20140114

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.

chinese_travel_20140114

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 Super Rich to Rise By 80% in Next Decade

china wealthy

According to a report by Knight Frank LLP, the number of Chinese super-wealthy, those who own more than US$30 million in assets (excluding their main residence), will grow by 80 percent over the next decade , Global Times reports.

China will have over 14,200 ultra-wealthy individuals by 2024, which will rank China 13th in the world in terms of the number of multi-millionaires. This would place Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing as third, fifth, and sixth, respectively, as the cities with the most ultra-wealthy people.

According to Thomas Lam, the head of research and consultancy at Knight Frank, “The Chinese mainland will have a growing presence on the list. And Hong Kong will enjoy the advantage of being the unofficial bridge that connects the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world in the next decade.”

The rise of the super-wealthy in China is also driving up the prices of luxury real estate both in China and abroad. In fact, high-end residences in Beijing increased in price 17 percent in 2013 to reach US$17,100 per square foot after only a 2 percent gain in 2012.

The high-end real estate boom has also carried over into international markets. According to Knight Frank, China’s super-rich contributed 13 percent of the United States’ and 30 percent of Australia’s inbound capital to each country’s property development markets in 2013.

“The economic meltdown in 2008 and 2009 dealt a hard blow to high-end residential and commercial properties in North America and the UK,” said Thomas Lam. “While a buyer needs to pay 70,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan per square meter for prime office space in Beijing, he only has to pay 30,000 yuan to 40,000 for a similar property in the US or Europe. That motivates multi-millionaires to buy abroad.”

So far, the Chinese real estate investments are concentrated in second-tier foreign cities such as Houston, Texas and Birmingham, England. The only thing holding back these investors is a lack of understanding of local property markets and laws, and many of these Chinese investors are looking for foreign partners for assistance in these areas.

Boom Times for Chinese Tourism in Los Angeles Suburb

city-los-angeles-luxury

About 12 miles east of Los Angeles, the suburb of San Gabriel is becoming a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Although San Gabriel, a city of 40,000, has “no beaches, no major landmarks and few A-list shops and restaurants” to speak of, its perks for Chinese visitors and residents alike are many. According to the Seattle Times, the suburb boasts a “thriving” array of Chinese restaurants, multilingual travel agencies, Asian banks, and Chinese-style hotels. And the list continues to grow. A 316-room Crowne Plaza Hotel is expected to open next to the town’s Hilton in 2015.

One of the town’s more prominent points of interest is 219,000-square-foot San Gabriel Square, which hosts so many luxury retailers that it is now informally known as the Great Mall of China.

“San Gabriel is famous in China. It has become a brand name destination,” said chief executive of Hing Wa Lee Group David Lee. Lee’s business recently opened a jewelry store in San Gabriel to cater to the city’s Chinese tourists, who form about 70 percent of the clientele.

Julie Tang, general manager of the San Gabriel travel agency Park Place International, echoed Lee’s comments, saying that San Gabriel’s “name recognition has become luxury.”

About a third of Chinese travelers in the United States visit Los Angeles, and, according to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Chinese tourists spend approximately $3,000 on each California trip, more than any other country.

What’s more, emigration to the United States is becoming a popular option for affluent Chinese with concerns about the future of their nation’s economy and environment. In fact, more than 60 percent of millionaires in China are considering emigration, according to the Hurun Report, a publication that documents wealth in the country.

The Chinese Domestic and Outbound Travel Surge Continues in 2014

Tourists taking their own photograph at Yu Yuan Garden, Huangpu District, Shanghai, China

The Chinese are on the move.

The number of Chinese traveling overseas in 2013 had exceeded expectation according to a report by the China Tourism Academy.

Chinese tourists took an estimated 98 million trips abroad last year, spending over US$120 billion on travel.

Eager to explore the globe, the Chinese are just as keen to discover their own country. China saw 3.3 billion domestic tourists, who spent 2.6 trillion yuan (US$429.7 billion) throughout the country in 2013, reports Want China Times.

For 2014, it is widely expected that both the number of tourists and their spending will soar. About 114 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad, up 16 percent from 2013, with a projected 18 percent hike in their spending. The number of tourists traveling in China is expected to grow to 3.58 billion, with spending forecasted at 3.2 trillion (US$528.8 billion).

The Chinese Domestic and Outbound Travel Surge Continues in 2014

The Chinese are on the move.

The number of Chinese traveling overseas in 2013 had exceeded expectation according to a report by the China Tourism Academy.

Chinese tourists took an estimated 98 million trips abroad last year, spending over US$120 billion on travel.

Eager to explore the globe, the Chinese are just as keen to discover their own country. China saw 3.3 billion domestic tourists, who spent 2.6 trillion yuan (US$429.7 billion) throughout the country in 2013, reports Want China Times.

For 2014, it is widely expected that both the number of tourists and their spending will soar. About 114 million Chinese are expected to travel abroad, up 16 percent from 2013, with a projected 18 percent hike in their spending. The number of tourists traveling in China is expected to grow to 3.58 billion, with spending forecasted at 3.2 trillion (US$528.8 billion).