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Shopping in China

Le 16 février 2016, 02:47 dans Humeurs 0

Where to buy cheap and reasonable quality stuff in China through the internet?  Check out the following online shopping websites recommended by Rong.

Taobao
Everyone in China knows Taobao and it sells everything.
"Chinese eBay" Set up in 2003, Taobao is the biggest online shopping platform in China, accounting for over 80% of domestic online business. Most shop owners are individuals, however, more and more big-brands are opening their official shops on Taobao Mall (Tmall).
The nasty part is everything is in Chinese and most of the owners can't chat with you in other language than Chinese. Maybe this could be a motivation for some of you to learn Chinese .Or you can view online shopping taobao english-Agreetao.

How to use taobao?
1. Set up an account.  An email address would be required.
2. Search items. Type in things you want to buy in the searching bar either in characters or pinyin (yes, you can use pinyin as well!!!).
You can set some search requirements as well, such as arrange the items bases on price or popularity, choose the places where the shop is located ( this affects the delivery time)
3. Purchase. You don't have to bargain over Taobao. Once you see something you want, just click the "buy" button.Then you need to fill in your address and contacts.
4. Pay. The payment part is the most complicated: you need to have a Chinese bank account and make sure it has the online payment service. Then you need to set up an Alipay account (like "paypal", but completely FREE!!! So much better). The fascinating part is almost all the online shopping websites can be paid through Alipay afterwards.

If u want to buy books...
1. Dangdang  is "Chinese version of Amazon" .You can find almost every book published within 30 years in Mainland China on Dangdang and with a discount. The best part is no delivery fee is charged once your purchase is over 29 RMB(4.75USD) and also you can choose to pay when goods are delivered.

2. Kongfuzi
As the biggest second-hand Chinese book online platform, it's the best place for you to find an ancient or limited-edition book. Most of the bookstores are owned by private owners, therefore sometimes the delivery fee can be a bit expensive.

3. Taobao
You can find a lot of Ebooks (especially English ones or acedemic ones ) on Taobao for about 5 RMB (82cents) per one. I don't think they have the digital copyrights, but it is so cheap that it's hard not to be tempted. And sometime it's the only fast way you can get a book for your thesis.

How To Choose Your Running Shoes

Le 1 février 2016, 02:58 dans Humeurs 0

Whether you're an Olympic competitor or an occasional asphalt pounder, happy feet can make a huge difference. For most runners, choosing the right running shoes is similar to acquiring a house or a car; you're going to invest a ton of time in them, so you need something you truly like. In addition to a comfortable ride, shoes can play a huge role in keeping you strong and healthy.
My Story With Running Shoes

The first time I searched for a pair of running shoes for my first halfmarathon I failed to make the right decision. I’m a slight over pronator and I bought a pair of running shoes for supinators. I didn’t know “the theory” and, most importantly, I didn’t know how to choose the right running shoes for me.

You are most likely to be like me. I’m the kind of guy who wants everything to be just fine and can’t sit and relax until he knows everything is in order. So I did some research.

Running shoes are, without a doubt, the foremost vital piece of kit that any runner - whether or not they are simply taking their first steps into the sport or whether they are seasoned athletes - can buy. Choosing the proper running shoes can make the difference between having a great experience or a crappy one.

Shoe technology has changed and improved dramatically during the last decades: nowadays, there are taobao sports shoes for every foot type, every running style and every environment. There are women-specific shoes, shoes for incresing the pace - there are even shoes specific to different kinds of pavements/bitumen.

Pronation Explained

The term 'pronation‘ is pretty talked over in any conversation about buying running shoes. Pronation is the rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. Pronation is actually a good thing because it helps your feet absorb the shock. But the excessive pronation can cause increased injury risks. That's called over-pronation, and the answer to it is choosing a running shoe with gomotion/move control.
Supination Explained

A much less frequent problem is supination. Runners who do this tend to have inflexible feet (and, often, high arches, too) and when they land, their feet don't make much of a turning-in move. The result is a lot of pounding force and they need a shoe with plenty of cushioning or support in order to absorb the shock.

Once you've established what type of shoe you'll need, it all gets to choosing a brand. You may have a personal favourite, but it‘s worth keeping an open mind about your shoe choice because there are different technologies and they just fit differently on your feet. You have to be open minded to make the right decision.

 You Have to Experiment

Many runners experiment with different brands and models until they find just the light ?t. Ultimately, a proper ?t is the most important step in finding the right running shoe. A shoe that fits is going to protect enough, but it won’t be too tight.

Enough with the talking, let’s see which are the most important parts in choosing the perfect running shoes.

 How Much Should You Expect To Pay for Running Shoes?

Only a few runners need the most expensive running shoes available on the market – the pros. But I have good news for you. The more efficient a runner you are, the less probable you may to need all the sustain and guidance features of the trendy new shoes.

At the highest end of the pyramid, shoes are probable to be within the $200-400 group; a mid-price shoe will be $100-200; and therefore the cheapest, under $80 - of course, if you don't necessarily want this season's colours and trends. If you’re willing to wear last year's model, there are a number of retailers who sell discounted versions of what is, essentially, the same shoe.

Companies tend to tweak their shoe ranges twice a year. It's actually a bit like buying a car or smartphone - if you want the most recent model, you'll pay the highest price; if you're willing to go for something that's been available for longer, you could get a true discount.

Something About China property bonds

Le 15 janvier 2016, 03:34 dans Humeurs 0

To many global investors, bonds from China’s property sector are toxic nuclear waste, not to be touched at any cost. To others, they come with a more pragmatic “handle with care” warning. I belong to the latter camp.

From just a handful of bonds 10 years ago, the sector has grown to contribute 9.5% of the Asian US dollar bond market with US$51bn of bonds trading. That is nearly a third of all high-yield corporate bonds in the region.

Over this period, the sector has gone through three cycles of downturns and upturns. Several Chinese property companies have issued, redeemed and refinanced their offshore bonds. Companies with credit ratings ranging from Single A to Triple C have managed to issue bonds, which chinese trade credit actively in the secondary market. Yet, a feeling of unease persists.

Perhaps the first source of discomfort is the fact that offshore Chinese property bonds are deeply subordinated, since they are issued by offshore-incorporated entities, which inject the bond proceeds as equity into their onshore companies and service their debt only out of equity dividends received back from the mainland. The difficulties in repatriating equity funds out of China mean that the offshore principal effectively has to be refinanced. In case of bankruptcy, the onshore lenders have the first claim over the onshore assets.

While this structural weakness is undoubtedly true, it applies to every other bond issued by Chinese businesses, including investment-grade bonds far beyond the property sector, since the structure was born out of regulations prohibiting the issuance of debt or guarantees by mainland companies. (Only recently have the authorities begun to relax this prohibition, and the first few offshore bonds are now coming out with direct guarantees from mainland operating companies.)

ANOTHER SOURCE OF discomfort is the government’s meddling in the property sector through various measures, including the flow of credit to the builders, rules for financing land purchases, obtaining mortgages, and mortgage down-payment requirements. The harshest controls came in 2010 when the government restricted the number of apartments that an individual could purchase.

Property prices are a sensitive subject everywhere, and China is no exception. The government presses the brakes if the prices are speeding too fast and pushes the accelerator if property construction flags too much so as to threaten the overall economic growth.

This government intervention makes asset values volatile in both equity and debt markets, and raises the cost of capital to the sector.

Some investors have also been scared away by stories of oversupply and ghost cities. The property development business model, by definition, consists of a long operating cycle, and there may be genuine demand/supply imbalances, as in any other industry, but the overwhelming majority of Chinese properties are built in response to actual demand from a rapidly urbanising population. The same goes for talk of speculative buying, when the reality is that most of the properties are bought for self-occupation. Buyers have to put up a minimum 30% down-payment, they are not over-leveraged and there is no subprime lending.

WHEN IT COMES to investing in Chinese property bonds, one should realise that there has already been one level of filtering – only those companies large enough to go through a rating process and the expense of issuing offshore actually end up selling dollar bonds. They are all listed offshore, most of them in Hong Kong, and are subject to audits and disclosures that go with the listing status. The additional scrutiny from equity analysts and investors that comes with listing also offers additional information for bond investors.

There has not been a single default in the sector so far, and only two distressed exchanges in 2009, both at 80 cents to the dollar. Some companies did go through financial distress during previous sector downturns, but they managed to sell land or unfinished projects to stronger players and stave off default.

This is not to argue that we would never see a default in the sector. We will, sooner or later. But the sector has genuine fundamentals, strong and weak players, and saleable assets that can be realised in times of distress.

So, how should one approach investments in Chinese property bonds? First of all, investors need to be prepared for the volatility that comes with the regulatory changes. Any crash in value following a regulatory tightening offers an opportunity to pick up the higher-quality bonds at more attractive prices. In fact, such moves also enable the stronger players to buy out the weaker ones or to acquire assets from the struggling players, and increase their market share.

The current downturn in the market is no different. It is true that the stock of unsold property is running above average; that the leverage has increased in the last 12-18 months in response to slowing sales; that margins are under pressure due to the pressure to liquidate stock; and that some of the weaker companies are likely to experience a liquidity crunch in the next 12-18 months, unless they slow down their expansion. But the current downturn is also an opportunity to pick up bonds issued by stronger companies, which will benefit from the tight conditions in the sector. The challenge is reading the credit fundamentals carefully enough to identify the winners.

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