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The cost of promoting TDMA

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TDMA, or TD-SCDMA, is a Chinese domestic 3G standard (Wikipedia). China was not behind the west in terms of 2.5 GSM network and applications in recently years. Actually the development of mobile phones are so successful, the total users of China mobile phones users already exceeded half a billion (source: digitimes). China Mobile (NYSE: CHL), the largest mobile operator, has more than 400 millions customers at the end of 2008.

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Jim Rogers

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Jim Rogers is a fun guy, not the ordinary fun guy, but a millionare investor who used to work with George Soros (made a fortune). These days he is very bullish on China, although I don’t agree with him on a lot of his investment ideas. I liked his light-heartness and his passion for travel. Here is video he took at China Jia Yu Guan (last fortress west side of China Great Wall).

And Zhong Shan Lin (the memorial of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China). Since this is the memorial day in China, it’s also a fitting moment. The memorial is located in eastern China city of Nanjing (a sister city of St. Louis).

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Bank nationalization: II

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This is the second part of my thoughts on bank nationalization, I hope President Obama and his finance team can read my blog, as they are thinking through the “bank rescue”, the No. 1 issue facing this country, and the world economy for that matter.

As I said in my previous post, bank nationalization appears bad for the existing shareholders of bank common stocks, in the sense they will get wiped out or diluted. But I also said this is merely “mark to market” for them, whether they want to face it or not, the day of reckoning will come soon or later. In the mean time, when we are waiting for the eventual take over of some of the nation’s largest banks, consumers and business get scared, they either withdraw money and put under their mattress (consumers), or stopped investing and started hiring freeze/travel freeze/lay off (business). This will have spill over effect on the world, as we are living in a increasingly globalized economy. When the rumor of China new stimulus started, the US stock market started to rally. You got the idea.

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GM, China 3G standard

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We all know GM is in trouble financially. Its stock (NYSE:GM) is around $6, a 50 years low. A lot pundits made fun of GM and its stock on TV or the web space. But I have a different feeling for GM. Among many reasons, I think of two:

1) In graduate school I worked in project for an automotive supplier (supplier for the Detroit big three GM, Ford and Chrysler). I went to Detroit and the Renaissance center twice because of the project. I still remember the GM engineer always asks tough technical questions.

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Buffett CNBC interview

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When the Master speaks, we all listen. Here is what he said on CNBC “squawk on the street” Aug 22. Note I don’t pay attention to CNBC and “Squawk on the Street”, unless it’s someone like Buffett or Gross (Pimco) speaking. Here are the transcripts at CNBC. I read it from trader1688 first. Some interesting quotes:

What Chinese company got Buffett interested?
6:22 AM: Buffett reveals that Berkshire made a half-billion dollar bid on a Chinese stock that wasn’t accepted. He wouldn’t say what stock or what industry. He did say that under the right circumstances he could have a lot of money in China, but noted that there are government restrictions on foreign ownership that must be overcome.

Buffett left some money on the table
7:05 AM: Buffett confirms that he sold 60 percent of his Anheuser-Busch [BUD 67.79 0.03 (+0.04%) ] shares at prices around $61-$62 before the company agreed to a friendly merger with InBev at a sweetened price of $70. Buffett says at the time he wasn’t sure the deal would go through given Anheuser’s strong resistance to InBev’s original bid. “In retrospect, I was wrong,” but he says that often happens.

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Who to blame for current financial crisis?

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Greenspan (regulators): for he kept interest rate too low (1%) for too long, during the recession after dot com bubble.

Bush (politicians): for his failed Iraq war which cost American tax payers more than 500 billions so far. He asked American “go shopping” after 911, in addition to buying a car or a house. Democrats are no better in this aspect: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have deep roots in Democrats leadship.

(Video by LATimes: anxious customers on day 2 of IndyMac Fed takeover)

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Ted Koppel and Discovery China series

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Ted Koppel is on the top of the journalists I admire. He always asks tough questions in a polite manner, and he has very good insights on international matters. That’s why I was sad to see he leaving ABC NightLine a while ago; and yesterday I was glad to learn his latest project Koppel on Discovery, People’s Republic of Capitalism (PRC), will be shown from July 9 to 12, on Discover Channel each night 10 PM (ET). Here is an excerpt of the show.
We’ll trace the interconnected web of U.S./China trade, from Mexican migrant workers in North Carolina to a Chongqing teenager working on a boombox assembly line; quality control inspectors at Ethan Allen to a Chinese homemaker shopping at Wal-Mart in Chongqing; and laid-off workers from Briggs & Stratton’s Rolla, Missouri plant to the American who runs the Briggs & Stratton plant in Chongqing.
Hm, Rolla is where my Alma Mater University of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri S&T) is. Ethan Allen is one of the very first US stocks I bought (in 2002 🙂

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GDP and stock options

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GRE analogy problem
China GDP number: politicians vs.
Corporate earning: executives stock options

Hint: the local officials pump up the GDP numbers so that they can get promoted; the corporate CEO/CFO pump up the earning number so that their stock options will be more valuable.

Of course in an ideal world, when the law is enforced, those kind of things will not happen.

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A good Chinese article on Value Investing

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Buffett is in the news again yesterday. This time he is playing sidekick (financing) to help Mars to buy Wrigley (NYSE:WWY), the chewing gum company. One interesting Buffett comment I heard from CNBC is “I have doing taste testing of the Wrightly gum for 70 years”.

Fun aside, Buffett and value investing have also been very popular in China in recent years, thanks to the boom/bust of Chinese stock market. There are tons of books on Buffett and his investing strategy, either translated from English, or written by someone who really does not know value investing. I saw a guy (who admires Buffett and claims to be value investor) talked about how great PetroChina is, and encourage small investors to buy at CCTV-2. Now we all know how PetroChina (NYSE:PTR) A share (601857) did.

But I found this one (written by Jingzhou Lawyer, 锦州律师) to be different. I found he has a very good understanding of value investing, much better than many pros in China. So let me quote some:

任何人价值投资的理念是一个三合一的系统。缺少了任何一项都不是真正的价值投资。 价值投资就是:选择强势公司的股,以便宜的价格买入,不轻易交易。

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Random thoughts about China housing bubble

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All right, now the Chinese regulatory (People’s Bank, China banking regulatory commision, China Securities Regulatory Commission,…) got what they wished for this Christmas: after the cool down of the doemstic stock market, now housing market started take a turn (according to many experts including Vanke CEO Wang Shi). This is reflected in the sharp declining of home builder stocks in China (think Vanke 000002). And in the US, two China real estate ADRs, EJ and XIN, both lost more than 10% today.

I think most people will agree the existence of bubbles in China stock market and housing market. But many of us disagree how big it is; is it causing problem for the real economy (overheating), and introduce unecessary risks? I am not economist and do not pretend to be one. The interesting thing for me, is that the Chinese regulatory took the notes from the melt down of US sub-prime loans, and tried to be one step (or maybe many steps) ahead of the curve. (Below, E-House/EJ office on Changning Rd, Shanghai)


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