Shanghai Disneyland received more than 11 million visitors in its first year, considerably more than the company’s expected visitor count. Disney expected two thirds of the visitors to come from the Shanghai area, but the theme park was popular with Chinese visitors from further afield in the country.
Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney, was quoted as saying, “We have no projections about what’s ahead except to say that this is being embraced by China in that 50 percent visiting are actually coming from outside the Shanghai region”.
Shanghai Disneyland took 17 years to complete from its conception and is one of Bob Iger’s legacies.
Since Chinese people have not grown up with Disney characters in the same way that people in the U.S. have the turnout is very welcome. It is hoped that the theme park will be an introduction to Disney’s other products such as its range of characters and both animated and real world movies.
Bob Iger, was further quoted as saying, “We’re pleased that we’re off to such a great start but we’ve got more to do here first before we really talk about or think about doing more elsewhere in China but I think over time there’s an inevitability to that.”
Expat Bankers retreat from Hong Kong as Chinese Bankers take their place.
With Western banks cutting back on lucrative expat jobs in Hong Kong, and with Chinese firms flourishing, a shift in the demographics of the banking community in the territory is taking place.
With tax rates lower in Hong Kong than Mainland China and with a number of other perks, Mainland bankers are finding that Hong Kong fits their needs well.
Hong Hao, a managing director at BOCOM International, was quoted as saying. “It has a much better environment than Beijing where I used to work.”
Much of the Chinese growth has been due to a steady flow of Chinese IPOs hitting the local markets.
At the same time foreign banks are retreating with fewer jobs available and more staff chasing them. Packages have become less attractive and many expats are returning home or chasing jobs with lower pay and fewer perks.
Chen Shuang, chief executive of China Everbright Ltd, the Hong Kong investment arm of state-owned China Everbright Group, was quoted as saying, “When I first joined the company 14 years ago, we could barely recruit the right people as we couldn’t offer a good salary,” adding, “But now, it’s much easier to recruit top talent, even those from large Wall Street banks, which was unimaginable in the past.”
Singapore property market shows confusing signs.
In Singapore, prices of property are still moderately falling, and supply is certainly not tight. Yet developers are paying ever-higher prices for land and the volume of transactions has picked up. On the one hand the property market looks to be still in a downturn, but on the other a recovery looks to be starting.
Winston Lee, regional head of special projects for property website PropertyGuru and a Singapore landlord, was quoted as saying, “Usually in a property cycle, in a down-cycle, the indicator of a bounce back does not start with price. It actually starts with the volume,” adding, “So that volume bounce back sent a certain signal and also gives a confidence booster to the property developers that the market in Singapore might have a bottomed out.”
Land holdings on the part of developers are at quite a low level and supply of new land is being held back. Some developers are looking to buy older buildings to demolish and them and rebuild on the existing site.
One driver of end user demand is the spectre of interest rate rises. While further downside in prices can’t be ruled out, buyers are keen to lock in low long-term mortgage rates. This may be driving the demand and it could be that supply will get tighter again in the near future.