Keeping an eye on Communist, Totalitarian China, and its influence both globally, and we as Canadians. I have come to the opinion that we are rarely privy to truth regarding the real goal, the agenda of Red China, and it's implications for Canada [and North America as a whole]. No more can we rely on our media as more and more information on China is actively being swept under the carpet - not for consumption.
Chinese site to start marketing new Vancouver condosto millions of potential Chinese buyers
At left, JD.com general manager of real esatte Fuhu Zeng. At right, Carrie Law, CEO of Juwai.com, an international property partner in China.
A Chinese website that markets international property to buyers in the People’s Republic has just struck a partnership that could potentially expose 300 million new customers to real estate in Vancouver.
Juwai.com, which describes itself as the “No. 1 Chinese international property portal,” has joined with Chinese online retailer JD.com, a competitor to Amazon, to market real estate in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia to its customer base.
The arrangement will see Juwai’s listings appear on JD.com, allowing online shoppers to browse real estate alongside items such as shoes, watches and electronics.
“We are truly excited to be launching this partnership with JD.com, which is not just one of China’s but one of the globe’s most advanced commerce and e-commerce companies,” Carrie Law, Juwai.com CEO, said in a news release.
The arrangement will add an audience of almost 300 million to the existing 2.2 million monthly users who currently visit Juwai.com.
It will see “selected Canadian listings” marketed on JD.com.
The retailer asked specifically that Canadian property be included among listings because they see such strong demand for it.
Vancouver and Toronto have been prime destinations for real estate investors from other countries, with the impact of investor immigrants alone (many of whom come from China) estimated at over half a billion dollars per year.
A listing for a Vancouver property on Juwai.com.
But in an email to Global News, Law said Vancouver is just one city, “albeit a popular one,” and that she “wouldn’t expect Vancouver properties to be predominant by any means.”
Nevertheless, she expected that the partnership with JD.com would be “useful in helping sell the Vancouver property that we market on that platform.”
Law went on to say that Juwai.com and JD.com are going for “quality rather than quantity,” and will only list apartments from new developments.
“There will be a real value add for developers and agents of specific projects, but the impact on the Vancouver market overall will be minimal,” she said.
Anyone hoping to invest in Vancouver real estate via JD.com will find themselves facing a host of new taxes that were introduced by the BC NDP government in February.
They include additional property transfer tax and school tax on homes worth more than $3 million, a speculation tax targeting homes owned by people who don’t earn income in B.C., and hikes to the property transfer tax targeting foreign buyers from 15 per cent to 20 per cent, as well as extending it to areas such as Victoria, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan and Nanaimo.
But in an email, Juwai.com’s Law said she didn’t think the partnership with JD.com would have a “great impact market wide because we will not be putting large numbers of Vancouver projects” on the site.
“We believe it will be of measurable benefit to those projects that are marketed, but most projects will not be.”
The partnership is expected to launch officially in April.
Billions in B.C. assets caught up in high-profile Chinese fraud case
China says the former chairman of Beijing-based Anbang Insurance Group defrauded mom-and-pop retail investors of more than US$10 billion and the company used that money to buy trophy assets overseas, including prime office towers in downtown Vancouver and a major B.C. seniors’ care company.
The allegation puts these B.C. deals, which each exceeded $1 billion, into the world of what is emerging as one of China’s biggest financial crime trials, with pundits trying to parse out Beijing’s desire to crack down on rising debt levels versus its political motivations for going after Wu Xiaohui and Anbang.
“It’s so interesting,” says Christine Duhaime, a Vancouver-based lawyer. “Goodness knows what it means for the Vancouver assets other than there will be a fire sale to get rid of them.”
She’s been watching Anbang’s activities in Vancouver since it first got the green light from the federal government in 2016 to buy the Bentall Centre office towers and retail mall in two transactions for over $1 billion, even though it wasn’t clear how Ottawa was able to tick off basic ownership questions about Anbang when no one else in the world could.
She also drew attention to the speed at which Anbang’s $1 billion-plus purchase of Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, a seniors’ care company, was approved by the federal government in 2017, considering the layers of ownership and the sheer task of translating verifying supporting documents from Chinese to English.
Now, the visual of what is being suggested by the Chinese government’s allegations against Wu and Anbang should be a wake-up call, according to Alesia Nahirny, executive director of Transparency International Canada.
Nahirny says she wouldn’t categorize Anbang’s funds as necessarily being illicit. That’s normally a description reserved for money that is tied to nefarious and organized crime, but she says it’s a problem if Anbang has been diverting funds into deals in Canada that it raised by aggressively promoting risky wealth-management products to unsophisticated investors in China.
“(Money from) practices that happen elsewhere is coming to us. We are connected to it. If we are not putting the proper measures in place, we are complicit,” says Nahirny.
Anbang has distanced itself from Wu’s trial in Shanghai court, but it’s fair to say dealmakers around the world are waiting to see what Anbang will sell. Musings began in 2016 when Wu was first arrested by Chinese authorities, and escalated when Beijing’s insurance regulator took over control of Anbang in February 2017
In Vancouver, commercial real estate broker Jim Szabo, vice-chairman at CBRE Ltd., who was involved with the sale of both the Bentall Centre property and the Fairmont Hotel at YVR to Anbang-related companies, said in an email that “with China putting in regulators, we only know what we have read in the press.”
While the B.C. government recently said it is asking questions about how care for seniors will be maintained at Retirement Concepts, Mike Old, co-ordinator of policy and planning for the Hospital Employees’ Union, said, “it’s prudent to prepare for fallout,” which could include Anbang “extracting revenue” by selling off some of its nursing homes or contracting out work.
“There has been a lack of transparency (for parties) on both sides of the Pacific. On that side, it has been for small investors. On this side, it’s average workers and seniors.”
La Trobe Valley's Loy Yang B coal-fired power station sold to Chinese-owned company
The role of brown coal in Victoria's energy supply has been bolstered by the sale of the La Trobe Valley's Loy Yang B station for an estimated $1 billion to Chinese-owned Alinta Energy after six months on the market.
The 1000 megawatt station, which generates 17 per cent of Victoria's energy needs, was offloaded by Japan's Mitsui and French energy giant Engie, the company that closed its ageing Hazelwood station in April this year as part of its long-term scheme to divest itself of coal-fueled assets.
Here's what you need to know about the National Energy Guarantee - the government's newest energy policy.
The Hazelwood closure instantly removed 20 per cent of Victoria's energy generation capabilities, contributing to power price surges across the state.
The sale came only a day before the Coalition of Australian Governments meet in Tasmania, to discuss the implementation of the National Energy Guarantee, which places greater importance on the use of coal in power generation.
Alinta confirmed that the deal has been ticked off by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
The acquisition is a return to coal for Alinta, following the closure of its Northern and Playford coal-fired power stations in South Australia in 2015.
Alinta Energy chief executive Jeff Dimery told Fairfax Media that the Loy Yang B purchase "is very exciting".
"We were attracted to Loy Yang B by the fact it is the newest brown coal generator, so it is likely to be one of the last operating; it is also one of the more efficient power stations and is very reliable," he said.
While Victoria's state government is on an ambitious drive to boost its renewable energy supply from more than 10 per cent today to 40 per cent by 2025, the sale of the plant provides reassurances about coal's role in the state's energy mix.
The purchase of the plant comes as Victoria is set to face its first summer without a reliable supply if electricity from Hazelwood, which once supplied 20 per cent of the state's electricity.
Two temporary malfunctions at the Loy Yang and Yallourn stations have recently reduced Victoria's energy capacity by about 1300 megawatts and drained the state of more than 10 per cent of its peak period energy supply.
The drop in available coal-fired power has forced Victoria to import large amounts of energy from South Australia, Tasmania and NSW this week and to burn more gas, contributing to spikes in the wholesale energy price in the past week.
The sale of Loy Yang B met with muted response from the state government, as it "is not expected to have any implications for electricity supply in Victoria or the National Electricity Market," according to a statement from a spokesman for Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio.
Loy Yang B has been slated to shut down in 2043.
When asked if the government's National Energy Guarantee policy - which requires more coal-fired power generation to ensure reliability in the energy system - will change this end date, Mr Dimery said it was unlikely.
"The reality is Loy Yang B takes its supply from Loy Yang A, so when Loy Yang A closes we will close, or take over the [Loy Yang coal] mine," he said.
The acquisition is part of the company's plan to expand its presence along the east coast. By buying Loy Yang B, it can now provide energy to this customer base.
"What we needed was to serve energy to underpin our growth rate," Mr Dimery said.
While he declined to confirm a sale value, "from Alinta's perspective we feel the acquisition of this asset is very competitively priced", he said.
Engie also declined to reveal a sale value, however, the company has previously stated that the sale would lead to a €666 million ($996 million) reduction of its debt.
A source familiar with the deal put the sale price at just over $1.1 billion, Reuters reports.
Commenting on the deal on Thursday, Engie stated that its motivation for the sale was to reduce its exposure to coal-fired power.
"This transaction confirms Engie's positioning in low-carbon generation, energy infrastructures and integrated customer solutions," its chief executive Isabelle Kocher said.
Engie held a 70 per cent stake in Loy Yang B, with Japanese firm Mitsui holding the remaining 30 per cent.
Alinta Energy is owned by Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and was touted as a front-runner in the acquisition process, which is believed to have included China Resources Power Holdings and a joint bid from NSW coal-fired power station operator Delta Electricity and private equity firm Apollo Management.