Asia-Latin America Round Up — 14 Jul 2017


ASRR’s Asian partners want out at Miami Arts & Entertainment District site — The Real Deal
One month after ASRR Capital announced plans to build a massive 1.7 million-square-foot complex on a block-long swath of land in Miami’s Arts & Entertainment District, its Asian partners want out. Citing filings on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the Real Deal says Chinese construction company CNMB International and the Hong Kong-based G-Resources are looking to sell the site, or their stake. ASRR stated that it will consider buying its partners out.

Hollywood Circle, largely funded by Chinese EB-5 investors, scores $60M loan — The Real Deal
The Hollywood Circle mixed-use project under construction in downtown Hollywood, FL, has received $60m in financing from City National Bank of Florida. Hollywood Circle is largely funded (70%) by Chinese EB-5 investors, who invested $125 million. Located north of Hollywood Boulevard and east of U.S. 1, the development will offer 397 rental apartments and a 104-room boutique hotel, a 10,000 sqf restaurant and a 46,744 sqf Publix.

The Accelerating Disruption of China’s Economy — Fortune
According to Fortune, the impact of the online-to-offline (or “O2O”) revolution is being highly underestimated and stands to take legacy retailers almost completely by surprise: 

Starting in 2016, Alibaba’s Jack Ma advocated the concept of “New Retail”—in his words, “the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.” Considering that Alibaba already accounts for more than one-tenth of China’s total retail sales (including 75% of online sales)…

And the integration of O2O is only going to continue:

In February, Alibaba announced a strategic alliance with Bailian Group, the state-owned supermarket, mall and department store chain, which boasts massive amounts of underused retail space in Shanghai and on the eastern seaboard. The new partners will share offline retail branches, merchandising capability, logistics and technology. They are already designing new retail outlets together and developing retail technologies incorporating big data and artificial intelligence.


Asia-Latin America

Chile receives 12 bids for value-added lithium projects — Reuters
The companies that have applied to the program include China's Sichuan Fulin Industrial Group Co, SinoVenture Chile, Gansu Daxiang Energy Technology Co, and a joint venture of Shenzheng Metal Tech Co and Jiangmen Kanhoo Industry Co.; as well as South Korea's Samsung SDI Co.

Israel’s Eco Wave Power building 4.1MW project in Mexico — Israel21c
The Israeli company Eco Wave Power announced that it will build its first energy-generating station in Mexico, a 4.1MW project that will be located in the Cuyutlán-Tepalcates beach area of Manzanillo in the state of Colima. Eco Wave Power’s proprietary technology extracts energy from ocean and sea waves and converts it into electricity. The Tel Aviv-based company has raised the first $1 million toward completing the Mexican project and intends to raise an additional $12 million by the end of 2017.


China Econ/Policy

Tencent Dominates in China. Next Challenge Is Rest of the World — Bloomberg
The owner of the WeChat app (and lesser-known QQ) is trying to figure out how to leverage it’s dominance of it’s home market — WeChat alone has 937.8 million active users, more than a third of whom spend in excess of four hours a day on the service — into a global presence. That global push is coming through WeChat Pay, the acquisition of Clash Royale app game, and that according to Bloomberg, "Tencent’s greatest hope for overseas expansion rests with the increasing number of its Chinese users moving or traveling abroad and carrying the gospel of WeChat with them."

Wanda Signals Retreat on Debt-Fueled Acquisition Binge — NYT
Wanda Sells Theme Parks and 76 Hotels to Sunac — Mingtiandi
The rebalancing of China’s big four private companies under official sector pressure continues. Wanda has announced it is selling a 91 percent stake in its 13 “Cultural Tourism City” theme park projects, along with 76 hotels, to Tianjin-based builder Sunac for RMB 63.18b ($9.3b) asset. This appears to be China’s largest ever real estate transaction. Wanda chief Wang Jianlin says the proceeds from the deal will be used to reimburse most of the company’s bank loans, in a plan to relist the company’s equity onshore in China.

China's URWork to Open Co-Working Center in NYC — Mingtiandi
URWork Lands in Fosun's 28 Liberty in Manhattan — Mingtiandi
China’s URWork — the $1.3b Beijing-based startup that aims to be China’s answer to WeWork — has partnered with New York-based Serendipity Labs to set up a 34,000 sqf space at 28 Liberty St. The coworking space in a financial district building owned by Chinese investment conglomerate Fosun will open in October.

China’s $800 Billion Sovereign Wealth Fund Seeks More U.S. Access — NYT
China Investment Corporation is urging American authorities to allow it better access to the market, at a time when Chinese deals are facing more scrutiny. CIC is particularly focused on infrastructure, an area where the Trump administration has been pushing for private players to invest more money, and it says that sovereign wealth funds are a good source of financing for such major, long-term deals. However it is concerned that current restrictions on foreign ownership, and mooted plans to strengthen the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), could hamstring it.

Chinese real estate industry is set for an insane level of consolidation — The Real Deal
Analysts at Citigroup say that there is a wave of consolidations washing over the Chinese real estate industry, and they predict that the country’s 10 biggest developers will increase their joint share of sales from 20 percent in 2016 to 28 percent by the end of the year. And by 2020, that share is expected to grow to 35 percent.

The Top Cities for Minority Entrepreneurs — Entrepreneur
Miami places second, coming in second for start-up density, having the third highest rate of new entrepreneurs, and having the twelfth best economic opportunities for minorities.

Apple to set up its first data centre in China — FT
Apple is opening its first iCloud data center on the mainland, after Beijing’s introduction last month of tighter cyber security rules. The new facility in Guizhou will be jointly operated with a Chinese internet company, as part of a $1bn investment in the southwestern province. However Apple continues to state it is keeping user information secure: “As our customers know, Apple has strong data privacy and security protections in place and no backdoors will be created into any of our systems,” it said in a statement. 

How Alibaba is reinventing a 114-year-old newspaper in Hong Kong — Quartz
Alibaba bought Hong Kong’s English-language South China Morning Post (SCMP) about a year-and-a-half ago in a $266m deal. Alibaba has said it wants to transform the SCMP into a media company that is more relevant in the digital era. But in recent years, the paper has been accused of self-censorship and toeing a pro-Beijing line, and that remains a concern. Going forward, Joseph Tsai, Alibaba’s co-founder and vice chairman says it has a: 

10-year “gestation period” for the paper–a “general philosophy” that he said he applies to every single Alibaba business. The first three years should be focused on creating a product that people like. The focus between the third and fifth year is to come up with a revenue model. Year five to seven is about walking down a path to profitability. “Beyond year seven, you try to harvest. But after year ten, you have to go back and reinvent yourself,” Tsai said.

Alibaba Just Beat Out Amazon in Race to Have Stores With No Cashiers — The Street
Alibaba's Taobao launched a pop-up cashier-less café in Hangzhou, China, that functions almost exactly like the Amazon Go stores. Customers scan the Taobao app on their smartphone when they walk in, grab what they want from inside the store and step out through a door with computer sensors that can detect what the customer took from shelves. The bill for those items is sent directly to the customer's phone via Alibaba's Taobao e-commerce app. While the Amazon Go store is currently only for the company’s employees, the Taobao store is open to all clients.

Massive Metropolis condo complex ushers in a new era of residential development in downtown L.A. — LA Times
The first condominium tower in Metropolis, one of the biggest real estate developments in Los Angeles history, officially opened Thursday. The $1b luxury condo-and-hotel complex is one of a handful of mega projects being built by Chinese real estate companies looking to make a splash in Los Angeles and establish themselves as global brands. The new tower stands 38 stories and has 308 units, 80% of which have been sold or are in escrow, according to Metropolis. The second condo tower of 40 stories is expected to be finished next May, and the third condo tower of 56 stories is set to open in October 2019. Built by the US subsidiary of Shanghai-based Greenland, Metropolis will be one of the largest mixed-use developments in the West at 3.5 million square feet on 6.33 acres.

10 Chinese Megacities to See Before You Die — Bloomberg
Dean of the omnivores Tyler Cowen does a quick tour of Chinese megacities that usually escape the attention of Western visitors, including Qingdao, which he describes as: "well-groomed and set on the water, with a lot of open space."

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