What next for China’s property market

Exactly what does Wang Shi founder and chairman of China Vanke the mobile phone industry’s greatest home builder by revenue model of Chinas overheated property market?

When prospective purchasers go into the 900home development Seaside Home along a method of Grecian posts their eyes are intended to be attracted to 3 sports athletes chiselled from fake bronze

At Starry Olympic City another development at the statues have pouting art deco women

If this involves putting the frozen town of Yingkou close to the border with North Korea around the style map the designers aren’t lacking ambition

Only one factor is missing

There arent any prospective purchasers Actually you will find no people here whatsoever

No cars around the eightlane streets nobody within the Olympicthemed sports center As dark descends light stands out only in the Happy Pizza Hut Yingkous brush with western cuisine Whole apartment blocks are black

Nobody wants to reside about this side from the river describes a homeowner from the nearby old town Its too not even close to everything You will find no jobs Its an entire waste of cash

Among Yingkous designers ambition has provided method to desperation They admit independently theyve only offered a small fraction of their stock

None would risk speaking openly however i obtain a rare chance to sit down lower with Wang Shi founder and chairman of Vanke the mobile phone industry’s biggest home builder by sales

Its a genuine problem he concedes Many metropolitan areas come with an oversupply of housing

Wangs company Vanke also offers an improvement at Yingkou

Harbour City promises a life-style more sunkissed California than bleak northeast China You simply live once You’ll need a holiday teases a billboard

Wang confesses the work has faced difficulties but demands sales arent bad though my request to go searching was nicely rejected

To some greater or lesser extent every Chinese city is ringed by empty developments Many will eventually become filled as well as the likes of Yingkou thats surely impossible

Chinas housing binge during the last couple of years continues to be without parallel in history For some time it compensated off as construction drove breakneck economic growth But way too much was built as well as in the incorrect places

Wang Shi appears unconcerned

In the western world if your city faces financial hardships itll go under However in China metropolitan areas is going to be subsidised through the Secretary of state for Finance So some small , mediumsized metropolitan areas arent concerned about going bankrupt They figure the central government will assist them out

It is really an remarkable assertion from the major Chinese developer: that companies and native government authorities can spend safe within the understanding that Beijing will open its wallet when they encounter difficulty

However this free investing by local government authorities has assisted inflate the greatest debt bubble in world history also it cant continue forever

Now Wang Shi calls on China to deal with its economic problems And that he wants his company Vanke to assist develop a better future

We’ve influence That prompts now you ask , this influence there to create an item to promote? Or will it mean social responsibility assisting to shape the way forward for the marketplace?

Vankes headquarters in Shenzhen in southeast China provides a taste of Wangs vision A vertical glass and steel skyscraper: leading edge radical low carbon Hes pioneering the introduction of prefabricated and lowcarbon structures

My next goal is perfect for Shenzhen to get the type of environmentallyfriendly and sustainable development

1951: Born in 1951 Guangxi Province China

1977: Graduated having a bachelor’s degree in the Water Supply and Drainage Faculty from the College of Lanzhou

1984: Established the Shenzhen Modern Scientific Education Equipment Distribution Center the predecessor of China Vanke

1988: Grew to become chairman and gm of China Vanke

1999: Resigned as gm of China Vanke but continued to be as chairman

2003: Arrived at the summit of Mount Everest the earliest Chinese national to do this

2005: Effectively trekked towards the South and north Rods

2010: Arrived at the summit of Mount Everest again breaking their own record

20112013: Going to scholar at Harvard

Its a shrewd move making use of the increasing frustration gone through by Chinas urban middle-class at increasing pollution levels

But because problems mount across Chinas property market Vankes profits have slowed down Their borrowing cost is rising recommending loan companies will also be now more careful

But Vanke is within rude health in comparison with other more compact designers In Yingkou Seaside Home continues to be left like a bare concrete spend never completed Local people the developer fled wanted through the police Character is claiming back the Grecian posts and also the sports athletes

Eventually our exterminator will come a place where designers banks and native government authorities have to understand that an essential part from the existing inventory [of empty housing] must be removed states Credit Suisses China property analyst Jinsong Du

But clearly which will have implications for the entire economic climate Unhealthy debt held by many people Chinese banks will skyrocket considerably

As the chance of a banking crisis develops its no real surprise that Wang Shi is searching for new possibilities abroad

He confesses he’s motivated partially by the requirement for safer opportunities to balance his higherrisk Chinese ones Hes also reacting towards the demands of Chinese clients looking forward to houses in western marketplaces

We’re creating an worldwide network: Bay Area New You are able to London Berlin Paris We’re focusing on china market because they buy overseas

The organization has purchased a stake within the Stage a 40floor development around the fringe of the town based in london Wanda another major Chinese developer is building among the highest residential structures in the european union at Nine Elms in South London

But tend to this rush of Chinese property investment be harmful for that United kingdom deepening British contact with the next Chinese property crash?

Credit Suisses Jinsong Du states this can be a valid concern though he thinks china government will honor warranties its greatest designers when they encounter difficulty

However for just how much longer? The danger for overseas property marketplaces is the fact that Chinese traders might include hidden strings attached reaching completely to the ghost cities of China

Our Planet: The Truly Amazing Chinese Crash? With Robert Peston is on BBC Two on Wednesday 17 Feb at 22:00 GMT or see it through the BBC iPlayer

North Korea’s biggest export giant statues

North Korea doesnt have much the world wants to buy but one very successful export has been its art The BBCs Lawrence Pollard looks at an unlikely story of North Korean cultural influence and its success in Africa in particular

It may surprise you to know that North Korea would love to carry out your artistic commissions How about a mural a tapestry or a jewel painting coloured with powdered semi-precious stones?

Or something a bit more imposing like a giant bronze statue of that dictator or liberator close to your heart? The Mansudae Art Studio is keen to hear from you

Founded in 1959 it caters for North Koreas considerable domestic propaganda needs The huge statues murals and banners you see being dutifully applauded at military processions – as well as the poster images that surround North Korean daily life – are all made by its 4000 staff

Its in the heart of Pyongyang Mansudae is the name of the district says Pier Luigi Cecioni an Italian who is the sole representative of the art factory to the outside world Actually its more of a campus than a factory more of a studio the biggest in the world

Theyve just produced a giant embroidery for the Benetton fashion family and fitted out a museum in Cambodia but its in Africa that Mansudae Overseas Projects (MOP) has found the keenest appetite for its work

The export of this bold direct firmly authoritarian style began in the early 1980s as a diplomatic gift to socialist or non-aligned countries from their North Korean brothers More recently its become a valuable source of hard currency with artists and craftsmen from MOP working in Angola Benin Chad the Democratic Republic of Congo Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia and Togo Local media in Zimbabwe report there are two giant Robert Mugabes in storage waiting to commemorate his death And most famously in Senegal the giant African Renaissance Monument was cast on site by Mansudae craftsmen and dedicated in 2010 Its estimated that the studio has earned tens of millions of dollars in this way

North Korean art seems to appeal to African leaders for two reasons First because the price is right Senegal paid for its 49m-high (161ft) statue by giving some land to the North Koreans – who immediately sold it for cash

The second reason is the style The Russians and Chinese dont make that kind of stuff any more says art critic William Feaver The appeal is in the statement of the obvious – and of course size is everything He sees enthusiasm for the style as part of a nation-building process You could think of Mount Rushmore as the American version performing a similar celebration of founding fathers for a relatively new nation keen to assert itself in the world

Just outside the Namibian capital Windhoek is a vast parade ground grandstand and war memorial to that countrys independence struggle – Heroes Acre is another Mansudae Overseas Project Its a giant obelisk above an 11m-high (36ft) bronze statue of the Unknown Soldier – bearing a strong resemblance to Namibias first President Sam Nujoma says the BBCs Frauke Jensen No visitors no tourist buses just a solitary baboon sitting on the side running away as I approached the steps up to the monument

President Nujoma would of course have had a hand in the decision to honour the Unknown Soldier so maybe its a case of killing two birds with one bronze

Whoever he looks like at least the Unknown Soldier looks African The then Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade complained that the giant figures in Dakar initially looked too Asian and had them redone The recent (2011) statue of Samora Machel in Maputo Mozambique isnt thought to be a good portrait and Laurent Kabila in Kinshasha DRC (2001) seems to wear an outfit from the Kims tailor

These statues look like theyre made to be toppled says historian Adrian Tinniswood And they look weirdly North Korean Theyre statements of liberation but they represent a failure of confidence – where are the African designers and African sculptors whod be better representing African consciousness?

But what of those North Korean designers and North Korean sculptors and their consciousness? Are they frustrated Picassos forced to churn out party-line art?

Pier Luigi Cecioni has taken some of them round major Italian galleries They know a lot about the classics he says Abstract and conceptual art they find amusing Theyre not scornful or anything like that they just dont see it as necessary They have an enviable position you know – unlike a Western artist they dont have to worry about selling their work they have a salary They are recognised and have privileges The ones I know they seem to live happily they feel part of something

You get a glimpse of their world through the website run by Cecioni It shows quite a variety of medium and subject matter with a bias towards flowers and soldiers These highly skilled craftsmen largely anonymous working for a higher good and not interested in profit inhabit a very different world from artists elsewhere – and not one many would envy

But if your taste – ironic or otherwise – leads you to want a statue in the classic bronze-giant-hailing-a-taxicab pose then who you gonna call?

Mansudae

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