Daily Archives: September 18, 2009

Art Funds Feel A Revival As Global Economy Warms Up

More Fund Managers Eyeing Art Investments — But Will They Rely On The “Old Favorites” Or Buy Art From Emerging Art Powerhouses Like China?

 
Wang Jin, Knocking at the door, 1995 © Wang Jin

Wang Jin, Knocking at the door, 1995 © Wang Jin

The New York Times recently wrote on art funds becoming a popular option for investors looking to diversify their asset holdings as the global economic crisis eases and investors crave more diverse investment destinations. Art funds, which dipped in popularity as the crisis took hold, have actually increased in number over the years, with many focusing only on one type of art or period. As the author points out, individuals who had been burned by risky investments in the pre-recession years are again looking at art as a wise investment:

“The art market has taken in the corrections. People are confident at today’s price levels,” said Anders Petterson, founder of ArtTactic, a London-based art market research firm, in a comment posted on the company’s Web site. “We are reaching the bottom, assuming the stock market does not dip again.”

Reflecting the new hesitance to put money towards the great-risk-but-great-rewards-maybe investments of the world like real estate, art investment funds are now getting more creative. Some funds are going against the grain, putting money toward assets that are not expected to bring quick, huge returns yet are expected to appreciate over time and — perhaps most importantly — outpace inflation. Since massive global spending on stimulus packages and the like are expected to bring at least SOME measure of inflation into the picture, investors are looking at assets that will keep their money in check, and allow it to grow at a sustainable pace. Continue reading

China’s Balancing Act: Moving Inland For Sustainable Development

Foreign Investors Look To China’s Underserved Interior For New Opportunities For Expansion, Tapping Vast Potential

China's coastal east has benefitted most from the country's 30 years of dramatic growth. But the inland west may be catching up (albeit slowly)

China's coastal east has benefitted most from the country's 30 years of dramatic growth. But the inland west may be catching up (albeit slowly)

The images that many in the world conjure up when thinking of 21st century China are a mixed bag of glittering metropolises (concentrated in the coastal east) and ancient sites like the Great Wall and Forbidden City. But these two extremes really don’t paint an accurate picture of the country as a whole, which is both vast and by-and-large underdeveloped. Although the Chinese government has worked to improve infrastructure and build up the country’s inland areas through the ongoing “Go West” campaign and stimulus spending, many smaller urban areas in China remain untapped resources for domestic and foreign investors looking to build their brands or expand their current operations in China.

This week, the Global Supply Chain Council looks at several areas in China  likely to become prime targets for foreign investment, as inland regions are further developed and median incomes grow. According to their findings, areas like the Midwest and even the restive Northwest are “blank slates” with real long-term potential:

Xinjiang, China’s largest autonomous region and a former key stop on the ancient Silk Road, has once again become a choice of investment in recent years despite simmering ethnic instability.

The giant French retailer Carrefour Group pioneered the trend, becoming the first multinational company in the region when it opened one of its supermarkets in Urumqi in 2004. Even as the region recovers from a recent ethnic clash on July 5, government newspaper People’s Daily reported that Jean Luc Lhuillier, vice-president of Carrefour China, said the group plans to invest more in Xinjiang.

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Lenovo Planning High-Tech, High-End “iPhone Killer”

Company Developing Handset Aimed At Luxury Market In China, Featuring 3G and Operating System By China Mobile

Will Lenovo really be able to rival the iPhone in China?

Will Lenovo really be able to rival the iPhone in China?

As the world’s largest mobile phone market, constant innovation is a must for Chinese handset makers who want to compete on quality and features rather than low price. As we wrote several months ago, some of these high-end handsets — like the VEVA S90 — are designed to appeal to the luxury market more for their styling and exclusivity, but as Computerworld‘s Owen Fletcher writes today, Chinese tech companies like Lenovo are beginning to see the value in developing higher-profit models that use proprietary technologies.

With Apple’s iPhone expected to enter the Chinese market some time in the fourth quarter of this year, Chinese handset makers will have to intensify their efforts to create a touchscreen 3G phone with the features that consumers really want. So will Lenovo’s O1 be able to do what phones like the Palm Pre and Android G1 have not — topple the iPhone’s dominance in the smartphone market, if only in China?

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