2010-10-27

謎語:猜香港新聞人物三

“我不仁 。。。”

打香港新聞人物三人。(粵語諧音格)

提示:“他禮義廉”

提示二:請小心取名。

2010-10-24

So what did Ma Ying-Jeou say?

Background see e.g., "Despite his clarification and similar statements by other officials, some commentators insisted that the AP report showed Ma's intention to start political negotiations with Beijing if he wins re-election." - Focus Taiwan

The full excerpt is now published (or here). This is what Ma actually said,
  • AP: So, do I understand you correctly that, if economic issues are
    resolved during your second term, during that term, you might move on
    to political questions?
    [00:32:17]
    President Ma: As I said, it depends on how fast we move, whether these
    issues are satisfactorily resolved, and of course all the policies regarding
    the mainland are very sensitive, and we certainly will also make decisions
    on generally whether the decision receives popular support. So usually
    when we lay out our general policy, we will say that: first of all, it has to
    be something needed by the country; secondly, it has to be supported by
    the people; and thirdly, that it will be supervised by the national
    parliament to make sure that this is a policy basically meeting the needs
    of the people
    .
This is what AP reported
  • In between the poles of union and separation, Ma said his government is prepared to discuss political agreements, including security issues, as soon as the priority economic issues are dealt with. He suggested that those political talks could start as early as a second four-year term if he wins re-election in 2012.
  • "We are not intentionally delaying the talks on political issues. Certainly the economic ones are more important to people here. People also support the idea (of) economy first, politics later," said Ma. Asked if he would move to political talks in a second term once economic issues are dealt with, Ma said "it depends on how fast we move." Political issues, he said, "will come after all the major economic issues are resolved."
Regarding the territorial dispute in the South China Sea, The AP reporter Hutzler has such a loaded question
  • [45:20]
    AP: Now, since you touched on the natural resources, the U.S. has voiced
    some concerns that, you know, there’s the Diaoyutai and then there’s the
    larger issue of the free passage of shipping through the South and East
    China seas and access to natural gas deposits or whatever might be down
    there on the ocean floor. And the U.S. has voiced concerns that the
    mainland is really trying to cut off access to foreign trade in that area,
    which would have, obviously, a poor effect on Taiwan, which really owes
    its existence to free access to those shipping lanes
    . So, do you share the
    concerns of the United States?
    [45:53]
    President Ma: Certainly. I think most of the waters in the South China
    Sea should be open waters, the so-called high seas according to the Law
    of the Sea.
    And they’re open to international traffic for sure. Actually, as I
    said, countries started to occupy and garrison those islands a long time
    ago. So this is not a very new issue. We sent our troops, our Marine Corps,
    to station on those islands as early as 1956. Just 10 years ago, we changed
    that with Coast Guard instead of the Marines. I served in our Navy more
    than 30 years ago, and my unit had the responsibility to supply all these
    islands. So I understand this issue well.
    AP: So is China trying to interfere with the open water policy?
    [46:52]
    President Ma: No. So far no. And I don’t think mainland China would do
    that.
    You know, when they are becoming a power in the region, they also
    become more careful about those issues. Certainly, it wants to maintain
    its sphere of influence but I don’t believe that will reach the level of
    interfering with international traffic
    .
    16
    [47:15]
    AP: They often raise objections to the passage of U.S. military ships
    through the South China Sea and they have, at times, taken measures to
    block those ships from passing through
    . The argument that some people
    in the mainland make is that free passage does not extend to military
    vessels
    , that that can be considered to be preparing the battlefield for the
    future. Does your government believe that these types of military
    surveillance activities are normal and should be allowed?
    President Ma: Well, certainly all the activities on the oceans, particularly
    in international waters, are regulated by the United Nations Convention
    on the Law of the Sea of 1982, which came into effect in 1994. It’s very
    important to note that there are rules of conduct. For instance, a warship
    is not supposed to sail through the territorial waters of other countries, but
    if the waters are too narrow in an international strait, then they certainly
    have to do certain things to make sure that it’s an innocent passage. There
    are rules. I think that each country should follow the rules.
No, Mr Hutzler , China did not object to free passage of international ships in the seas in question, not even US gunboats. China objects to US spy ships snooping some 20 miles by its mainland and main islands only, so far. This is what China's MoFA said regarding the "spy ship harassment" incident
  • "China has lodged a solemn representation to the United States as the USNS Impeccable conducted activities in China's special economic zone in the South China Sea without China's permission," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a regular news briefing. 
  • "We demand that the United States put an immediate stop to related activities and take effective measures to prevent similar acts from happening," Ma said.
Passage is not, and has never been, China's complaint. Especially, if it is passing in the open sea far away from its naval bases.China complained about the "activities", not the "passage".

Mr Hutzler, you need to do your homework before an interview, and you need to go back to school to study how to write a report.

2010-10-17

My twitter

Trying to tweet, link here. The link will also be posted on the right hand column, top of the "recommended reading" section.

2010-10-16

香港的集體失焦: 刻舟求劍 (之二) 發水樓陰招 房價繼續漲

Update: See also: C觀點 - 施永青 限制「發水」沒對症下藥

要簡化一個複雜的問題,需要找出一些容易量度的變量。

在香港房價的問題上,無論怎麼分析,供求還是最基本(fundamental)的變量。就是要看,整個市場裡一共有多少錢在追逐多少房子

政府最新公佈的政策,基本上還是與地產商狼狽為奸。而所謂的“發水樓”措施,只會使得樓價=漲得越快。因為
  1. 新土地供應根本沒有增加。甚至長期空置的啟德機場還是空置,只拿出2000個單位來做樓換樓,而且還是最快2017年後才能完成的事。這等於是向地產商和炒家保證,其餘的地將繼續空置!土地供應不會增加!
  2. 置屋計劃(資助置業也是,要2014年開始供應也就算,一共也就5000個單位,每年可能1000個(還不一定)。這些土地也不一定是增加供應,因為可能是從原來要拍賣的地轉換而來,沒人知道。
  3. 置屋計劃,或任何政府資助/貸款的購房方案,都是增加投入市場的現金,令到市面有更多的金錢去追逐同樣數量的房子。總的結果,就是進一步推高樓價。
  4. 要打擊欺騙消費者的發水建築面積,莫過於規定必須公佈實用面積。即使不能立即立法,也可由於消委會制定規則,而且因為目前的實用面積定義包括外牆,外牆數字需要列出。。可是政府根本無有確定的時間表,也沒有要求二手樓必須提供類似的數字作為比較,使得買樓花的消費者根本不知道買的房子其實有多大。市場資訊的不對稱,使得買家永遠處於劣勢。
  5. 不過,最奸狡的一招,莫過於發水樓的限制。所謂的限制窗台大小和把大堂面積計入樓積比率,結果是總的可使用面積的供應減少了。也就是同樣數量的金錢,去追逐更少的面積。根本就是暗推樓價的招數(分析見下)。假如政府真的有誠意,應該是不要去限制如何建房子,而是去要求這些地方不能作為樓面去賣。
要解決樓市泡沫的方法只須兩招
  1. 增加供應,並明確列出今後幾年的土地供應量。可以有一定(如10%)的調整空間,也可以逐步增加以降低衝擊。
  2. 規定所有成交必須列出實用面積,地產經紀也必須透露二手樓的實用面積(包括不實用的外牆所佔面積),使其成為市場標準。建築面積可以並列以資比較,不過應該把不同種類的建築面積(比如窗台、會所、樓梯、牆壁、其他公用空間等)列出。只要不許把不該算的地方算入“面積”定義,所謂發水樓的微觀管理(micromanagement)根本莫須有。
明明是在壓縮市民居住的空間,居然有臉說要提供優質生活 。這一刻,真懷念老懵懂。他做的唯一一件好事就是八萬五,卻因此得罪了香港的既得利益者。

大家放心炒樓吧,曾蔭權和李+X罩住你。 不過假如世界經濟戳破泡沫,則請別像1998-2003年間般抱怨。

---
附:發水樓假限制陰招分析。

這是昨天政府官員林鄭出示的發水樓實用與建築面積比較


現在“實用”面積還是785平方呎(應該已包括了室內的間隔牆),建築呎價賣8000元,該單位賣824萬。平均“實用”呎價高達10497元。若不算外牆,則是8240000/(785-132=653)=12618元,若出去窗台工作平台等,則“真正”實用呎價=8240000/(653-38=615)=13398元。
比較合理的算法,可以把 22+16+34=72平方呎三台的一半36平方呎算,估計實用呎價=824000/651=12657元


規管後的建築面積呢,可能不再是1030平方呎了,而是900或950(除外牆之外發水面積為233平方呎,估計減去100平方呎)。

仔細一點所,按文匯報報導
  • 為免「發水」項目令單位越見「縮水」,發展局決定收緊現行政策,包括降低停車場、露台、工作平台和會所的寬免比率,以及收緊窗台的可建面積,令窗台的「發 水」上限由以往平均15%降至10%;非結構預製外牆的寬免從300毫米減至150毫米、延伸窗台的深度從目前建築規格的500毫米減至100毫米。除了 強制性設施可獲得樓面寬免,當局決定撤銷郵件室、小型後勤服務室、尊貴式大堂的寬免。
窗台見1/3就是從34變成22。工作台則減80%就是剩下3平方呎!外牆及公共分攤相應減少,假設減30%好了。假設如下


絕對實用 露台 工作台 外牆 “實用面積” 窗台 公共 “建築面積”


















目前                   615            22            16          132                   785            34          211               1,030








76%









將來                   615            15              3            92                   725            23          148                   896








81%


由於追逐房子的金錢總額基本沒變(甚至由於置業計劃而增加了),買家間競爭(這就是這些年樓價一直漲的原因)的結果,你還是用824萬買這個單位(應該不會低於800萬,吧?),實用面積(按政府定義現在降到732平方呎,如工作台台等“半實用”地方不見了。分母基本不變,分子小了,平均“可用呎價”其實不降反升。

實用率是高了,81%。不過這是因為政府的所謂實用面積定義裡還有外牆所佔面積在內,實際遠低於此。呎價如何呢?假設房子賣800萬(讀者可以自己再做其他假設)


絕對實用 估計實用 “實用面積” “建築面積”
        8,240,000



平方呎                        615                        651                        785                     1,030
 呎價/元                   13,398                  12,657                  10,497                     8,000
        8,150,000



平方呎                        615                        635                        725                        896
 呎價/元                   13,252                  12,828                  11,235                     9,098

可見建築面積呎價肯定飆升,是不是有10%不得而知,不過這應該距離不遠。而“估計實用”面積呎價還是大同小異,幾乎沒變。 假如樓價是815萬的話,則‘估計實用’呎價已比之前增加,為12828元。這裡還有額外增加建築成本等因素

政府要是真的有誠意,就應該在禁止發水建築設計的同時,增加同樣比例的土地(樓面)供應,或在賣地時,增加樓積比率,增加總樓面供應量。否則,這一招其實就是在暗托樓價。

2010-10-14

Parag Khanna maps the future of countries (描绘各国的未来)

Parag Khanna maps the future of countries -- Ted.com

This is a great lecture on geopolitics, border of countries and trends and how to avoid border conflicts in future. You can also choose the subtitle in 12 different languages (a drop button in lower left corner), and view the subtitles as well (click interactive transcript). Enjoy!

描绘各国的未来
         
许多人认为地图上的边界线已经无关紧要,但是 却持不同观点。借助于过去和现在的地图,他对世界范围内边界冲突的根源进行了剖析,也向各方提出了简单但是充满智慧的解决方法。
                                  
我们生活在一个无国界的世界吗?      在您回答这个问题前,请看一下这张地图。      当代政治地图显示      世界上现有超过个国家。      这或许是多个世纪以来国家数目最多的时期。      或许很多人会表示反对。      那么这可能是一张更能说服你的地图。      你可以把它称作之图。      在之图上,没有任何国界,      只存在相互连接的区域和毫不相连的区域。      大部分在座的或许都生活在荧幕中图示的个点中的某个点上,      这些只是许多个点中的一部分,      而却代表了世界经济的。      而我们要知道, 世界人口中的      永远都不会离开自己的出生地。      对他们来说,民族、国家、分界线和国界仍然关系重大,      甚至是至关重要。      而在,我们试图解开科学中      和宇宙中一些伟大的谜团。      而在这里我们有一个根本问题有待解决:      我们基本的政治地理学。      我们在地球上是如何分布的?      这个问题很重要,因为边界冲突      让世界上如此之多的军工联合体的存在合理化。      边界冲突能让我们期盼的许多进展      偏离轨道。      因此,我认为我们需要更加深刻的思考,      人口、财富、权力、      宗教、文化、科技      是如何相互作用,从而改变世界地图的面貌的。      我们也可以试着预测这些改变,      将他们导引至一个更加具有建设性的方向。      我们来看一下一些过去的和现在的地图,      还有一些你们从未见过的地图,      来初步感受一下世界的走向。      我们首先来看一下年的地图。      年的时候,世界上正好有个国家。      二次世界大战后,欧洲元气大伤,      但是仍然占有大量的海外殖民地:      法属西非、英属东非和南亚,等等。      接着年代末期,      年代、年代、年代和年代,      脱离殖民运动开始风气云涌。      诞生了多个新的国家。      你可以看到非洲被打碎了。      印度、巴基斯坦、孟加拉、东南亚国家建立了起来。      之后冷战结束。      冷战结束和苏联的解体。      我们又见证了东欧一些新的国家的成立,      前南斯拉夫共和国和巴尔干半岛诸国,      以及中亚的一些斯坦国。      今天世界上有多个国家。      整个地球都被      自治区、独立国家洲等所覆盖。      这是不是说一些人的得必然是另外一些人的 失呢?      让我们将焦点对准世界上最具战略意义的地区,      欧亚大陆东部。      从地图上可以看到,      俄罗斯仍然是世界上最大的国家。      大家也知道,中国是人口最多的国家。      这两个国家中间有一条漫长的陆地疆界。      而大家从这张地图上看不见的是      俄罗斯亿人口中的大部分      都集中在西部      靠近欧洲的省份和地区。      仅有万人口居住在东部地区。      事实上,世界银行预测      俄罗斯的人口正在减少      逐渐减少至亿。      此外还有一件事大家也无法从地图上得知。      斯大林、克鲁晓夫和其他苏联的领导人      曾经强迫俄罗斯人移居远东地区      的古拉格、劳动集中营、      核试验基地,等等。      但随着油价的上升,      俄罗斯政府投资建设了基础设施      以联结东部和西部。      但是很难再像以前那样强蛮地      影响俄罗斯的人口分布了。      因为东部地区的那些居民一直都不愿意呆在那里,      他们登上火车和汽车      返回了西部地区。      结果呢,现在的俄罗斯远东地区,      虽然面积是印度的两倍,      却只剩下了万人口。      那么让我们来了解一下这个地区现在正在发生什么。      我们先看一下蒙古国,也有人称呼它为矿之国。      为什么这么称呼它呢?      因为在矿之国,中国公司开采      和拥有那里的大部分矿藏  铜矿、锌矿、金矿       他们将这些资源用卡车运回中国大陆的南部和东部。      中国并没有在征服蒙古。      而是在购买蒙古。      过去殖民地是征服得来的,而今天国家是购买得到的。      同样的法则也适用于西伯利亚。      许多人可能都会认为西伯利亚      是个寒冷、荒芜和不适合居住的地方。      但事实上,随着全球暖化和温度上升,      忽然之间,那里出现了大片的麦田      农业贸易和谷物。      那么这些农产品是给谁消费的呢?      就在漠河的另外一边,      就是中国的黑龙江等省      那里居住着超过亿的人口。      这比整个俄罗斯的人口都要多。      每年,至少在过去多年里都是如此,      都有万人口用他们的脚投票,      穿越边界,移民北方,居住在这些荒凉的地带。      他们建立起了他们自己的百货市场和医疗诊所。      他们还接手了伐木业,      将木材往东运回中国。      和在蒙古发生的一样,      中国并不是在征服俄罗斯。只是在租赁而已。      这就是我所称的中国式全球化。      也许这就是这个区域的地图      在至年后的样子。      但有意思的是,这张地图已经岁了。      这正是中国元代的地图,      由忽必烈汗统治的朝代,成吉思汗的孙子。      历史并不一定会重复,      但却会重演。      这只是让大家稍微了解了一下这个地区正在发生什么。      同样,中国式的全球化。      因为全球化为我们带来了多种多样的可能性      来变革我们思考政治地理的方式。      因此,事实上在东亚的历史中,      人们并没有太过关注国家和疆界。      而更在意帝权和统治,      通常是中国人和日本人。      现在又轮到中国了。      让我们看一下中国是如何再次建立起      它在远东地区的统治地位的。      它首先从全球性的区域中心开始。      记得刚刚那张夜间地图中的多个亮点吗?      这些亮点标示出了全球经济的聚集区。      当今东亚地区拥有全世界最多的经济聚集区      比世界上任何其他地区都多。      东京、首尔、北京、上海、      香港、新加坡和悉尼。      这些区域是全球资金的过滤网和漏斗。      每年有 数以 兆计 的资金流入这个区域。      其中很多都投向了中国。      还有贸易。      这些指向线和箭头代表      中国与区域内各国的贸易关系      史无前例地紧密。      尤其是它对日本、      韩国和澳大利亚的贸易,      这些国家都是美国的密切盟友。      例如澳大利亚,非常依赖      向中国出口铁矿石和天然气。      而在与贫穷国家交易时,中国降低关税      因而老挝和柬埔寨可以以更便宜的价格销售他们的商品      随之也对向中国的出口产生依赖。      许多人都在新闻中看到      大家都很期待中国      引领复苏,经济复苏,不仅仅是对亚洲,而可能是对全世界。      亚洲自由贸易区,几乎已经是自由贸易区了,正逐步显现。      贸易额超过了跨太平洋的贸易额。      因此中国正成为该地区经济的靠山。      这一策略的另外一个支柱是外交。      中国与该地区内的许多国家都签署了军事协议。      它已成为一些国际关系组织的中心      例如东亚共同体。      有些组织甚至      将美国排除在外。      这些国家间达成了一个互不干涉条约,      因而如果中国与美国之间发生冲突,      大部分国家都会宣誓中立,      包括韩国和澳大利亚等美国盟友。      该策略的另外一个支柱,      例如针对俄罗斯,是人口。      中国向外输出商人、保姆、学生、      和老师,在整个区域内教授中文,      彼此通婚,以及在各个经济体中占据      史无前例的主导性地位。      已经可以看到中国人      在马来西亚、泰国和印尼等国家中      成为了当地经济不容忽视的      关键因素和推动力。      中国人的自豪感在这个区域也      再次复苏。      例如新加坡,曾经一度禁止利用中文教学。      而现在却大力提倡。      让我们综合来看,大家会得出什么结论?      如果你还记得二战前      日本曾有一个梦想      建立日本大东亚共荣圈。      而今一个我们可以称之为      大中国共荣圈的形态正逐步显现。      因此不管地图上的分界线是如何区隔      出国家和划出疆界的,      在远东地区正在呈现的      国家文化,      却是在一个流动的帝国区域里互通的。      这些都是在不发一颗子弹的情况下发生的。      而在中东地区却大相径庭,      这里的国家仍然对欧洲殖民者留下的疆界      感到非常不满。      那么我们怎样能够换一种方式来看待这个区域的疆界问题呢?      我们应该关注地图上的哪些线呢?      我要向大家展示的是一个我称之为      渐进式国家建立的概念。      让我们从伊拉克谈起。      美国入侵伊拉克年后,      地图上的这个国家仍然是比现实中的完整很多。      石油原本是将伊拉克各派势力团结在一起的因素。      而现在石油却是导致国家分裂的根源。      原因是库尔德人。      库尔德人年来      一直进行着追求独立的斗争。      现在是他们可以最终获取独立的机会。      这些是输油管道,源头从库尔德开始,      这是一个石油资源富饶的地区。      今天,如果你去库尔德,      你会看到库尔德“自由斗士”      正对伊拉克逊尼派军队进行自卫攻击。      他们所要守护的是什么呢?      仅仅是地图上的一条疆界吗      当然不是。是输油管道。      如果库尔德人掌控了他们的输油管道,他们就可以起草      建立他们自己的国家。      那么我们应该为之感到难过吗?因为伊拉克可能会被分裂。      我认为不然。      伊拉克仍然会是世界上第二大产油国,      仅次于沙特阿拉伯。      而且我们有机会解决一个存在年的纷争。      不要忘记库尔德是一个被陆地包围的地区。      它必须循规蹈矩。      要从它的石油中获取利益,      它必须取道土耳其或者叙利亚输出石油,      以及别的国家,包括伊拉克。      因而它必须要和他们保持友好关系。      现在我们看一下这个地区另外一个连年不断的冲突。      显而易见,这就是巴勒斯坦。      巴勒斯坦从地图上看是一个畸形儿,      因为它由两部分巴勒斯坦和一部分以色列组成。      年的玫瑰花园外交      并没有给这里的区域冲突中带来和平。      那有其他办法吗?我认为要这个      问题可以通过基础工程建设来解决。      今天,捐助者正花费数十亿美金在此项目上。      这两个箭头连成一条弧线,      一条由客运火车线和其它基础设施连成的弧线      连接西岸和加沙地带。      如果加沙有一个运营的港口      跟西岸连通起来,那么就可以切实可行地成立一个巴勒斯坦国,      以及巴勒斯坦经济体。      我相信这一举措可以给这个区域带来和平。      库尔德和巴勒斯坦的教训是      独立本身,如果没有基础建设的支持,      是没有意义的。      那么试想整个这个区域会呈现怎样一个面貌呢?      如果我们也去关注地图上除了边界线之外的其他界线的话。      那时候不稳定因素会大幅减少吗。      上一次和平时期已经是      一个世纪以前的事了,在奥斯曼帝国时期。      这是铁路线。      铁路线从斯坦布尔出发,途经大马士革,抵达麦地那。      它甚至有一条支线可以抵达海法,      位于今天的以色列,紧靠地中海。      但是今天的铁路线破败不堪。      如果我们可以将地图上这些曲线重新建造起来的话,      这些基础建设,穿越这些直线  疆界,      我相信中东会成为一个远比现在和平的地区。      让我们将目光转到地球上的另外一个区域,      位于中亚地区的前苏联地区,这些斯坦国。      这些国家的边界线来自于斯大林颁布的法令。      他故意将这些国家分割得七零八落。      他想让不同种族混居      这样他就可以进行分裂和统治。      而对这些国家来说幸运的是,他们大部分的油气资源      是在苏联垮台之后发现的。      我知道你们中的一些人肯定在想,“石油,石油,又是石油,      为什么他老在说石油呢?”      请注意,以前我们讨论石油的方式和      现在我们所讨论的方式是大不相同的。      以前,我们会讨论我们如何控制他们的石油。      而现在是,他们怎样利用自己的石油。      我敢保证,现在对他们来说任何一滴石油都十分重要,      和曾经对于殖民统治者和帝国主义者那样同样重要。      这里是一些计划中的输油管道      和一些可能的情况      以及线路,也许会在未来的几十年内得以实现。      非常之多。      对这个区域的一些国家来说,      拥有输油管到就等同于拿到了加入全球经济体中的门票      这对他们很有意义,      加之边界对他们来存在变数。      让我们举一下阿塞拜疆的例子。      阿塞拜疆是高加索地区被遗忘一个的角落。      但是随着输油管道通往土耳其,      它已重新将自己标榜为西方的前哨。      还有土库曼斯坦,在许多人的印象里      它就是一个天寒地冻的毫无希望之地。      但是现在它正穿越里海将天然气      输往欧洲,      甚至有可能建造土库曼      阿富汗巴基斯坦印度输油管道。      还有哈萨克斯坦,之前甚至没有一个正式的名字。      在苏联时期它更多地被称作南西部利亚。      而现在大部分人都认为哈萨克斯坦      是一个新兴的地缘政治角色。为什么呢?      因为它机智地设计了穿越里海的输油管道,      往北进入俄罗斯的管道,甚至向西进入中国的管道。      管道越多意味着“丝绸之路”也越多,而不再是大博弈。      大博弈意味着一个国家对另外一个国家的主导。      而丝绸之路意味着独立和互信。      输油管道越多,那么丝绸之路也会越多,      世纪的主导权争夺战      也会越来越少。      让我们来看一下这个世界上唯一真正放弃了边界的地区,      以及这一举动如何让它自身变得更加强大。      当然,这就是欧洲。      欧盟仅起源于个煤炭和钢铁联盟的国家。      他们的主要目的实际上是为了帮助德国      通过和平的方式得以复苏。      但是却逐渐扩大到个国家。      这些国家就是欧盟旗帜上的颗星。      欧盟也成为了一个货币联盟,      它是世界上现今最强大的贸易联盟。      欧盟以平均每年吸纳一个新成员的速度扩张      自从冷战以来。      事实上,许多新成员都是同一天加入的。      年,个新成员国家加入了欧盟。      现在,一个由      个国家和亿人口组成的公认的和平区域      呈现在我们面前。      那么下一步是什么?欧盟的未来会是怎样?      这个浅蓝色区域,你可以看到至少      的地方依赖于      与欧盟国家的      贸易和投资。      这又能说明什么呢?贸易和投资告诉我们      欧洲并不是在纸上谈兵,而是付出了实际的行动。      即使这些区域不是欧盟成员国,      他们正逐渐加入欧盟影响圈。      例如巴尔干半岛国家、克罗地亚、塞尔维亚、      波斯尼亚,它们还不是欧盟成员国。      但是你如果登上一辆德国火车      几乎可以到达阿尔巴尼亚。      在波斯尼亚,你可以使用欧元,      也许这将是他们从此以后使用的唯一货币。      让我们看一下欧洲的外围,例如北非。      平均每年或者每两年,      会有一条新的石油或者天然气运输管道穿越地中海,      将北非与欧洲连接到一起。      这不仅仅帮助欧洲减少了      对俄罗斯在能源上的依赖,      而且如果你今天去北非旅游,你会听到越来越多的人说      他们并不属于中东地区。      也就是说,我非常认同法国总统萨克齐      关于地中海联盟的观点。      再来看一下土耳其,和高加索国家。      我之前提到过阿塞拜疆。      土耳其和高加索地区的那条走廊      已经成为欧洲能源供应的      通道。      土耳其难道非得要成为欧盟成员国吗?      我认为不然。我认为它已经是      欧洲土耳其这个结构中的一个超级力量了。      那么接下来呢?我们会在哪些地方看到边界线的改变      以及新国家的诞生?      南亚中心地区,西南亚地区      是一个很有可能的地方。      在美国入侵阿富汗年之后      这个地区仍然充满了巨大的不稳定因素。      巴基斯坦和阿富汗仍然如此脆弱      以至于他们都没有实质性地处理      普什图人的民族主义问题。      这是存在于万普什图人      心目中的国旗,      他们住在阿富汗和巴基斯坦边界线的两边。      不要忘了在南部还有叛乱。      俾路支。两周前,      俾路支叛军对巴基斯坦的一个军事守备部队进行了攻击      这就是他们在攻击时举起的旗帜。      后殖民时期国家解体      在全球发生并在加速。      我预期地图上如此的改变会      随着这些国家的分解而越来越多。      当然我们不能忘了非洲。      个国家,拥有世界地图上最多的充满      疑问的直线型疆界的地方。      如果我们全盘地看一下非洲,      我们可以毫无异议地看到比其他地方多得多的      诸如部落纷争之类的冲突。      我就举苏丹的例子,非洲第二大国家。      它有三场连绵不断的内战,      达尔福尔的种族灭绝战,这大家都知道,      这个国家东部的内战,      还有苏丹南部地区的内战。      南部苏丹将在年举行公投      很可能这次投票的结果将是独立。      往北,到北极圈附近      这里正上演着一场对北极海床底下能源的      争夺战。      谁会胜利?加拿大?俄罗斯?还是美国?      事实上格陵兰岛将是赢家。      数周前,格陵兰岛的万居民      投票表决,取得了从丹麦独立的      自治权。      因而丹麦将会缩小很多。      这里得出的教训是什么呢?      地缘政治是一个非常冷酷的学科。      它不断地改变世界      好似气候变化。      正如我们与生态系统的关系一样,      我们总在寻找一种平衡      我们如何在这个星球上分布。      我们害怕地图上的这些改变。      我们害怕战争、死亡,      以及熟悉新诞生的国家的名字等。      但我认为, 我们今天边界线要是一直存在下去的话      更糟糕,会带来更多的暴力。      问题是我们该如何改变这些边界线,      那些线条是我们要关注的?      我认为我们应该关注那些跨越边界的线,      那些基础设施建设的线条,      我们就能打造一个我们所畅想的世界,一个无国界的世界。      谢谢!      (掌声)

2010-10-02

Clarifying Western Media Accounts of “China Rare Earth Metal Ban” - Lisa Reisman, Metalminer

(Update) One note: many local papers falsely claimed that "China mines all 17 types of rare earths", or even "China is the only country that mines all 17 types". This is WRONG. To start with, there are only 16 elements to be mined, the Promethium is radioactive and decays quickly (the most stable isotope of Promethium lose half of its atoms every 17.7 years). So, nobody, including China, mines Promethium.



Watch Lisa Reisman on the alleged RRE "ban".

In fact, even from the mother of all rumours, this NYT report, this was not really a ban,
  • Industry officials said that mainland China’s customs agency had notified companies that they were not allowed to ship to Japan any rare earth oxides, rare earth salts or pure rare earth metals, although the shipments are still allowed to go to Hong Kong, Singapore and other destinations. But no ban has been imposed on the export to Japan of semi-processed alloys that combine rare earths with other materials, the officials said. China has been trying to expand its alloy industry to create higher-paying jobs in mining areas, instead of exporting raw materials for initial processing.
So if anything, China was just trying to extract more value-added. Since semi-processed alloys were exported with no disruption even from the NYT source. The alleged "ban" was merely second-handed distortion of the original report. And Reisman was correct that it may well be a general slow down in anything send to Japan (till the end of September).

Having reviewed this, it makes one wonders, if not for the rare earths, what made Japan released the captain in such an abrupt change of stance? IMO, as I wrote in Chinese a couple days earlier, there are two plausible explanations. (1) that the local prosecutor did reached this decision on his own, based on the circumstantial evidence; (2) that what Kan perceived was the determination of the PRC government in even risking a lose-lose fight in this issue, as it directly challenged its legitimacy domestically.

登月之旅的目标

via Danwei

(参阅:大国崛起

2010-10-01

失之交臂



我要收回之前一篇博文的结论,在此谨向我的读者致歉。

关于中海油二零零五年收购加州联合石油公司的商业决定和对价问题,我错了。

我当时不知道加州联合石油公司已在一九七七年八月全资收购了美国钼业公司。美国钼业拥有中国之外最大的稀土矿场之一,加州的山口矿。山口矿场的权益后来在2008年9月卖给了(私募基金投资的)钼企公司, 钼企公司的股价2010年7月IPO时是$14(上市筹了38000万美元,当时市值11亿),九月初$20,稀土禁运谣言传出以后,今天已达$28(公司市值超过23亿美元)。虽然,这谣言和对日出口控制,不排除是业界的炒作,特别是一间香港上市公司的主动“爆料”事情发生之后。

成功并购了加州联合石油的雪佛龙公司应该没有脱到鹿角,因为钼企公司的资产负债表上,列明购买矿产资产是花了2300万美元,总资产包括设备、土地和工厂(不知是否包括在内)共7000万,这应该是雪佛龙出售对价的上限(因为钼企公司后来也添置了1000多万的设备)。

假如当时中海油成功收购了加州联合石油,中国今天将控制了全世界百分之五十左右(中国36%,美国13%)的已知稀土存量。当时的估价可能没有人想到这一点。中海油当时是否有此考虑,美国保护主义者是否歪打正着,我们都不得而知。不过,中国对外投资的策略和方法,特别是如何绕过保护主义的壁垒,的确有重新考虑和调整的必要。

相关连接:
The rare earth element big squeeze - Salon
"Rare Earth Elements: The Global Supply Chain,"
"Rare Earth Materials in the Defense Supply Chain,"
China's Rare Earth Elements Industry: What Can the West Learn?"
Challenging China in Rare Earth Mining - NYT

Rare Earth Elements - what do they look like

Rare Earth Elements are essentially group IIIB elements in the periodic table. Being in the same group means having similar electronic configuration (in Neils Bohr's orbit paradigm) and hence similar chemical properties.

The official definition of Rare Earth include only the lighter elements, i.e. the periods (rows) 4-6 of group IIIB, although the 3rd set (period 6) actually contain 15 siblings, the lanthanides. The heaviest IIIB group, the actinides (period 7), which are mostly radioactive elements, are not referred to as "rare earth", though one would expect similar chemical and physical properties, they are unstable.

Since the chemical properties are very similar (and physical properties such as weight as well for the lanthanides), they are also very hard to be isolated by chemical (and physical) methods. The closeness in electronic configuration also means there are fine tuning in terms of their properties -- which made it easy for scientist to test hypothesis on the material properties, e.g. if one element is found to demonstrate certain property, with some undesirable defect, chances are that the neighboring element may demonstrate the similar property, and with luck, with that defect improved.
-- one technical detail, the lanthanides all have similar chemical properties despite the fact that the "exterior shell" electron number ranges from 0 to 15, is because this supposedly "exterior shell" got attracted into somewhere deeper, making the 2nd outermost shell the outermost shell.

The now mostly well known Mountain Pass mine (shut down but will be re-opened) in California is located midway between Los Angeles and Las Vegas on Interstate 15, about 15 miles before the State border at Primm. If you have drove passed that route, you may remember a sharp elevation passing a mountain on the Mojave Desert, that mountain pass is called the "Mountain Pass". Molycorp is located east of the highest elevation (at around 4600 feet) point -- the pass.

Below shows what they look like (3rd column from left, and 2nd row from below)



The chart above shows only 16 of the rare earth elements. The one with perhaps the most romantic (or Hellenic indeed) name, Promethium, is missing. Because this is the only element that is radioactive, hence unstable (actually very unstable - 17.7 year half life), and hence had decayed over the years and cannot be found in nature any more.

The chart below shows some rare earth elements plus some accompanying elements typically also found together in rare earth mines.


..and a very informative article by National Geographic.

Here is the chart of world reserve and production in REE, from fas.org .

A truer picture of China’s export machine - McKinsey

A truer picture of China’s export machine

China’s growth depends less on exports than conventional wisdom suggests.
SEPTEMBER 2010 • John Horn, Vivien Singer, and Jonathan Woetzel
Source: Strategy Practice

In This Article

Exhibit 1: Growth in exports contributed much less to China’s GDP growth than traditional export measures have indicated.

Exhibit 2: The contribution of exports, measured as DVAE, to overall growth has fluctuated significantly in recent years.

Is China’s economic growth largely dependent on exports, or is it becoming more domestically led? That’s a question economists are vigorously debating—and an important one for policy makers and executives alike. An increasingly consumption- and investment-focused Chinese economy could improve the chances of more balanced trading relationships with developed economies. At the same time, businesses operating in China or planning to enter it could find greater opportunities as the economy accelerated its transition from a manufacturing center to a key consumer market.

To shed light on this question, we developed a new way of measuring the role of export growth in China’s overall economic expansion. We found that exports have been a major driver, but not one as dominant as commonly believed. Indeed, there are clear signs that a shift toward domestically driven economic growth is well under way. The picture that emerges of the Chinese economy has implications for the growth and supply chain strategies of businesses in China and elsewhere.



A different way to measure exports

Arguments over the true nature of China’s economic reliance on exports have been rooted in the difficulty of appropriately measuring the export sector. The traditional measure governments and most analysts use is the growth of total exports as a share of GDP growth. This measure indicates that export growth has accounted, on average, for almost 40 percent of the total growth in real GDP since 1990—rising to almost 60 percent since 2000.

Yet these numbers, portraying a dominant and growing role of exports, are at odds with the fact that China was one of the few countries that escaped the great 2008–09 global downturn without a major economic slowdown—suggesting that internal growth played an important role. That’s one reason other economists have used a very different measure: growth in net exports (total exports minus total imports) as a share of GDP growth. By that metric, exports contributed only between 10 and 20 percent of China’s annual 10 percent GDP growth in recent years.

We contend that both measures are misleading. Using total exports neglects the fact that many of China’s export shipments include a fair number of imported goods that are reassembled, combined with domestic content, or otherwise modified before being exported. Failing to remove these imports from the total export figure overstates how much value exports contribute to GDP. On the other hand, a strict net export measure (exports minus imports) underestimates the contribution of exports to GDP, because many imports aren’t used in assembly and exported but rather sold to Chinese consumers and businesses.

We calculated a measure we call domestic value-added exports (DVAE) to assess more accurately the role of exports in GDP growth. DVAE is what you get after subtracting from total exports only those imports used in the production of goods and services that are subsequently exported. In automobiles, for example, finished imports are not subtracted from our measure of exports. But engine parts imported to manufacture motor bikes for export would be.



Governments usually don’t break out total imports into those used domestically (for production, investment, and consumption) and those used for exports, and China is no exception. So we estimated the country’s DVAE by using data from three different sources, each with its own strengths and limitations. The results were remarkably consistent—and collectively shed a powerful light on the evolution of supply chain strategies, Chinese consumption, and Chinese economic performance during the global downturn .

Supply chain shifts

On average, our analysis suggests that imported goods accounted for 40 to 55 percent of the value of total exports from 2002 to 2008. Put another way, roughly half of China’s exports represent domestic value added. Concurrently, DVAE’s share of exports generally has risen over time, suggesting that China has become less of a pure assembler of imported goods—a publicly stated government policy goal.
That has implications for many companies’ supply chains and business models. If your company is a manufacturer in China that is primarily processing intermediate components for reexport—a Taiwan-based original-design manufacturer (ODM) of household goods, for example—it’s probably time to consider alternative locations for the assembly work. With China moving up the value chain and beginning to export more skill-intensive goods and services, chances are that pure assembly will soon be less costly in other parts of Asia.

Exports, consumption, and strategy

We also applied our DVAE analysis to reassess the contribution of exports to GDP growth in the years for which we have overlapping data among our three metrics. We found that China’s export sector contributed 19 to 33 percent of total GDP growth between 2002 and 2008 (Exhibit 1). That’s only about half of the export contribution indicated by traditional total-exports measures.3

In other words, DVAE analysis suggests that exports have been an important driver of China’s growth, but not the dominant one, and that most common wisdom overestimates the role of exports while underestimating the role of domestic consumption for China’s growth. Any Chinese or multinational company that currently manufactures goods in China and primarily exports them to other countries should ask itself whether it needs to scale up its domestic strategy to get a bigger piece of the pie. This involves developing a more granular understanding of the Chinese market, making products that appeal to the Chinese consumer, and finding ways to market and distribute them effectively—all while contending with increasingly formidable Chinese competitors.4
China’s ‘downturn’ and the road ahead

A comparison between DVAE’s contribution to growth and that of other major macroeconomic components shows that DVAE topped private consumption, but was less important than investment, over the 2002–07 period (Exhibit 2). In the downturn years, 2008 and 2009,5 exports contributed much less to growth than other factors did, which explains why the Chinese economy could not fully match its GDP growth rates in the earlier part of the decade. However, the shift to a greater role for private consumption, investment, and finished imports explains how China could weather the downturn well and indicates movement toward a domestically focused economy, even though exports will probably continue to play an important role when the global economy picks up.

Of course, continued changes in the value of the renminbi in the coming years will also affect the evolution of Chinese trade. The more value-added-focused export sector suggested by our DVAE analysis implies that a greater share of exports will consist of higher-priced goods that compete more directly with those of developed nations. That, coupled with an appreciating Chinese currency, points to the creation of more balanced trading partnerships with the rest of the world—and an important shift in context when businesses consider future strategic moves in China.

About the Authors
John Horn is a consultant in McKinsey’s Washington, DC, office; Vivien Singer is a consultant with the McKinsey Global Institute; and Jonathan Woetzel is a director in the Shanghai office.

Notes
1 In this article, we address only national GDP, not employment or regional effects within China. Our interest is the overall health of the Chinese economy, and we leave aside the question of which groups or regions are better off because of any changes in the overall level of exports.
2 Calculated from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) China urbanization model.
3 Not surprising, exports measured by domestic value-added exports (DVAE) contributed more—almost two times more—to GDP growth than exports measured on a net basis. DVAE therefore represents a middle ground between total- and net-export measures.
4 See Jeff Galvin, Jimmy Hexter, and Martin Hirt, “Building a second home in China,” mckinseyquarterly.com, June 2010; and Yuval Atsmon et al., “2009 Annual Chinese Consumer Study, Part II: One Country, Many Markets—Targeting the Chinese Consumer with McKinsey ClusterMap,” McKinsey Insights China, September 2009.
5 The DVAE for 2009 is based on data from IHS Global Insight only.