Category Archives: BUSINESS

Do Chinese women get half the credit for holding up half the sky?

Author: Jane Golley, ANU

A ‘moderately prosperous society’ with no Chinese individual left behind — that was the vision set out by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his epic speech to the 19th National Congress on 18 October 2017. He mentioned gender just once in the speech. It may have deserved more attention than that.

A woman reads ribbons at a wishing tree in Badachu park during Spring Festival celebrations marking Chinese New Year in Beijing, China, 17 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

” data-medium-file=”×267.jpg” data-large-file=”×400.jpg” title=”A woman reads ribbons at a wishing tree in Badachu park during Spring Festival celebrations marking Chinese New Year in Beijing, China, 17 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter). ” src=”×267.jpg” alt=”A woman reads ribbons at a wishing tree in Badachu park during Spring Festival celebrations marking Chinese New Year in Beijing, China, 17 February 2018 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter). ” width=”400″ height=”267″ srcset=”×267.jpg 400w,×100.jpg 150w,×512.jpg 768w,×400.jpg 600w,×200.jpg 300w,×67.jpg 100w,×333.jpg 500w” sizes=”(max-width: 400px) 100vw, 400px”>There have been marked improvements in the socio-economic status of Chinese women during the communist era. Under Mao, from 1949 to 1976, women were considered essential for socialist construction and said to ‘hold up half the sky’. In the post-Mao era, successive leaders — including Xi Jinping — have affirmed China’s commitment to equality.

But gender equality is much easier said than done.

Nothing illustrates this better than China’s ranking as the most gender imbalanced country in the world, with a sex-ratio-at-birth that rose steadily from the mid-1980s onwards, when (illegal) pre-natal gender tests and sex-selective abortion became widespread. The strong preference for sons became increasingly apparent in the sex-ratio-at-birth figures (peaking at 121.18 boys per 100 girls born in 2004, compared with a global norm of 106).

This has been coupled with the revival …continue reading


Sumitomo to redevelop former Floracion Hotel in Omotesando

Sumitomo Realty & Development has acquired the former Hotel Floracion Aoyama in Omotesando and plans to redevelop the site, although details on the future project have yet to be announced. Demolition of the 3 ~ 6 storey building is expected to take place between March and August.

The 5,700 sqm site is a 5 minute walk from Omotesando Station. A freehold land parcel of this size and this close to Omotesando Station is incredibly rare.

A block of land across the street had a government assessed land value (chika-koji) of 2,200,000 Yen/sqm in 2017, up 7.32% from 2016 and up 35.8% from 2012. Over the past 5 years, land values at this survey site have increased by around 7 ~ 8% per annum, which is still well below the 25 ~ 42% annual increases seen between 2006 and 2008.

The Hotel Floracion Aoyama (previously the Tokyo Aoyama Kaikan) was built in 1970 by the Japan Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers. Given the age of the hotel and the fact that it was built to the old earthquake codes (pre-1981), part of the structure required retrofitting and a refurbishment. However, the necessary funds to repair the building could not be raised and the hotel closed in December 2014. It has been boarded up for the past three years.


4-17 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Source: The Kentsu Shimbun, February 21, 2018.

…continue reading


Only 0.9% of new apartments supplied in Tokyo in 2017 were over 100 sqm (1,076 sq.ft) in size

Finding a large apartment to buy in Tokyo can be a lot more challenging than many foreign buyers may initially realize. This is due to the fact that the majority of Japanese developers focus on building smaller apartments to cater to domestic demand. A typical three bedroom apartment for a Japanese family would be around 70 sqm (753 sq.ft).

According to Tokyo Kantei, only 0.9% of the new apartments supplied across greater Tokyo in 2017 were over 100 sqm (1,076 sq.ft) in size, up 0.1 points from 2016 but down 0.5 points from 2015.

90.3% of the apartments were under 80 sqm (861 sq.ft) in size.

For apartments listed on the re-sale market in 2017, 3.9% were over 100 sqm in size, down 0.2 points from 2016 and down 0.6 points from 2015. 83.5% were under 80 sqm in size.

The average size for a brand new apartment in 2017 was 63.24 sqm (680 sq.ft), and 60.11 sqm (647 sq.ft) for an existing apartment. The average price of a new apartment across greater Tokyo was 877,000 Yen/sqm, up 5.7% from 2016 and up 43.4% from the bottom in 2010. For existing apartments on the resale market, the average asking price in greater Tokyo was 542,000 Yen/sqm, up 2.9% from 2016 and up 29.2% from the bottom in 2013.

In Tokyo’s 23 wards, apartments over 100 sqm represent approximately 4% of re-sale listings, while those over 120 sqm (1,291 sq.ft) account for 2% and those over 150 sqm (1,614 sq.ft) represent just 0.9% of listings. In the central wards of Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato and Shibuya, where there is demand for luxury housing, apartments over 100 sqm represent 10% of all resale listings, while those over 150 sqm represent 2.3% of listings.

Apartments over 100 sqm are considered a luxury in Japan and tend to carry a premium …continue reading


Construction starts on Omotesando public housing redevelopment

Construction on the Kita Aoyama 3 Chome District Project began on March 1. This is the redevelopment of the former Aoyama Kitamachi Apaato public housing complex located just behind Omotesando Station.

The redevelopment is being carried out under a joint venture between Tokyo Tatemono, Mitsui Fudosan, Mitsui Fudosan Residential and Kajima Corporation. The exterior has been designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates – the same architect as the nearby Olympic Stadium which is currently under construction.

The new 25-storey, 90-meter tall apartment building will include 229 rental-only apartments, 49 aged care rooms, a nursery school and retail facilities. Almost half of the 8,000 sqm site will be a public park and garden. Residential tenants will have access to a telework space, gym and bilingual concierge.

Completion is scheduled for May 2020.


3-4 Kita Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

The Nikkei Shimbun, March 1, 2018.
The Kensetsu Tsushin Shimbun, March 2, 2018.

…continue reading


Moving from defence to offence on trade strategy

Author: Editorial Board, East Asia Forum

The trade architecture in East Asia — the most dynamic region in the global economy — is up for grabs. The very system on which regional arrangements are built is under threat.

US President Donald Trump’s withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), his ‘America First’ agenda and his declaration last week of the first shots in a global trade war undermine the WTO and the global economic system that it underpins. Asia and the global community, including the United States, have relied upon and benefitted from that system for over 70 years.

A worker cycles near a factory at the Keihin industrial zone in Kawasaki, Japan, 8 March 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Toru Hanai).

Can East Asia put aside its differences and define a set of arrangements that protect its own economic security interests absent the United States? US leadership put this system in place and drove its expansion throughout the post-war years. Now the United States is generating the headwinds that threaten to unravel it. Just last week Trump announced the first salvo in what could be a trade war with a 25 per cent tariff on all steel imports and 10 per cent tariff on aluminium imports. The temptation for other countries is to retaliate with their own self-harm policies.

What’s at stake?

The multilateral trade regime provides the cement and ballast that makes it easier to manage tricky rivalries …continue reading