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Below are the 4 most recent journal entries recorded in baidu's LiveJournal:

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005
2:30 pm
Bulk Home Purchase Syndicate Places First Order
Bulk Home Purchase Syndicate Places First Order

One of Shanghai's home-purchase syndicates has placed its first buy order, marking the initial success of the new buying method, Monday's China Business News reported.

On Saturday, about 80 buyers signed a deal for 22 apartments at a project in the Jiangqiao area of north Shanghai's Jiading District for a total 13 million yuan (US$1.6 million), the same report said.

The price per-square-meter is 5,200 yuan (US$642), a discount of 10 percent to the normal price.

Currently, projects along the Outer Ring Road, where this project is located, are priced between 5,000 yuan and 6,000 yuan.

Despite the lower offer, many group members are "disappointed" at the 10 percent discount, as their expecation was of 20-percent, according to a member quoted in the report. This person attended Saturday's negotiations, but in the end decided not to participate.

"If the developer had agreed to offer a 20-percent discount, more than 50 apartments would have been bought that day," he said.

Industry insiders echoed the opinion that developers are still standing firm on prices.

"Most developers are willing to only offer discounts of between 2 and 3 percent, because August housing prices are already low," commented Chen Ke, sales manager with the Da Hua Graceful Oasis housing project.

Offers of discounts of up to 30 percent, as some media have reported, are calculated based on the prices in March, when the local market was at its peak, he said.

In August, home prices have been heading down as a result of a series of government actions to rein-in the overheated housing market, he noted.

(Shanghai Daily)
2:29 pm
Ping An 1st Half Earnings Soar 49%
Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, China's second-biggest life insurer, said first-half profit rose 49 percent as it sold more profitable policies.

Net income rose to 2.24 billion yuan (US$276 million), or 0.36 yuan per share, in the six months to June 30, from 1.5 billion yuan (US$185.16 million), or 0.30 yuan per share, a year earlier, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement yesterday. That result beat analysts' estimates.

Ping An has been selling more individual life products and fewer investment products to improve profitability and meet increasing demand for protection as the nation reduces welfare benefits. China's total insurance premiums grew 14.2 percent to 271 billion yuan (US$33.46 billion) in the first half, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.

"Ping An sold more products, especially high-margin long- term life policies," Ken Yeung, an analyst at Sun Hung Kai Research in Hong Kong, said before the announcement. "The shift to more profitable products is helping drive earnings up."

Ping An's net earned premiums in the first half fell to 26.9 billion yuan (US$3.32 billion) from 29.2 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion) a year earlier as the company focused selling more profitable policies. Net investment income rose 32 percent to 4.5 billion yuan (US$555.56 million).

Ping An, which sells both life and non-life policies, has 13.4 percent of China's total insurance market.

The company, which holds about 95 percent of its investments in bonds and deposits, is buying more debt and cutting down on deposits, said Yeung.

Ping An held 62.3 percent of its investments in bonds as of June 30, up from 56 percent at the end of last year. Deposit holdings fell to 33 percent from 40 percent.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange T-Bond Index, which tracks the performance of government bonds, rose 10.2 percent in the year's first half, compared with a decline of 5.2 percent in the same period last year.

(China Daily)
Friday, July 29th, 2005
2:21 pm
Chinese FM stresses East Asian co-op
Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing at the meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers plus that from China, South Korea and Japan. (Xinhua Photo)

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing reiterated in Vientiane Wednesday (July 27) China's views and proposals on strengthening regional cooperation in East Asia under the new circumstance during a meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers plus that from China, South Korea and Japan.

Li affirmed the notable achievement made toward the intensification of East Asian regional cooperation over the past years. He said fruitful results had been achieved in deepening the relation between ASEAN and Plus Three countries, which further promoted the common development of East Asian nations.

Li pointed out that arduous efforts need to be made in realizing the long term target to build East Asian Community and proposed ASEAN Plus Three should be served as the main channel in reinforcing East Asian regional cooperation since it is the most dynamic and potential cooperation mechanism in the Asian region.

The ASEAN, as the initiator of East Asian cooperation, should play a major role in boosting cooperation among East Asian nations, which needs to be expanded in various fields under a "win-win" principle with economic cooperation as the core, said Li.

ASEAN Plus Three cooperation should be co-existed with other cooperation mechanism in the Asian region to boost the common development of the entire region.

The direction, key fields and specific development program of the ASEAN Plus Three need to be mapped out pragmatically with improvement on the mechanism, he suggested.

Li pledged that China would continue to support and participate in the East Asian cooperation and exert unremitting efforts in opening up a more bright cooperation prospect.

On Wednesday, Li also met Myanmar's Foreign Minister U Nyan Win and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon. Li and Nyan agreed to carry out the shared views of the two countries and deepen their comprehensive and multi-tier cooperation.

Consensus was also reached by Li and Ban Ki-Moon in pushing forward the fourth round of six-parties talks toward the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Li arrived here Tuesday evening to attend ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers' Meeting and pay an official visit to Laos.

Source:China View website
2:17 pm
China, Indonesia sign documents
BEIJING, July 28-- China and Indonesia signed series of MOUs or agreements here Thursday to boost cooperation in defence, economic and cultural sectors and to help rebuilding of tsunami-hit areas.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were present at the signing ceremony after their talks in the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

Those agreements include a MOU on research and development in defence technological cooperation, a MOU on rebuilding project in tsunami-hit areas funded by non-governmental donations of China.

The documents also include an agreement on grant assistance in relation to economic and technical cooperation, a general loan agreement of 100 million US dollars of preferential buyer's creditand an arrangement concerning Chinese language teaching.

Those documents will help to enrich the Sino-Indonesia strategic partnership, diplomatic sources said.

Susilo arrived in Beijing Wednesday afternoon for a four-day state visit to China as guest of Hu Jintao. This is his first visit to China after taking office last October.

Besides Beijing, Susilo, who was accompanied by a 100-member delegation, will also travel to China's special economic zone and an economic engine Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong Province. Enditem
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