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   Honolulu Chinatown - Year of the Dragon 01-23-2012 Lion Dance w/Firework http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VoFfOglJuI

 President Obama's Lunar New Year Message - Year of the Dragon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6gfkYAo5gE

Under the Hawaii State Law "Asian Lunar New Year Commemoration Week" The one week period following the day of the Chinese New Year shall be known and designated as the "Asian Lunar New Year Week of Commemoration in Hawaii". This week is not and shall not be construed as a state holiday. [L 2007, c 48, §2] click for more details

VIDEO: Ready to say 'aloha' - More Direct Flights from China to Hawaii? http://www.vimeo.com/24808769 By Pamela Young on Jun 7 2011

May 27 2014

Group of 7,000 Chinese ends historic California tour By Cindy Liu in Los Angeles cindyliu@chinadailyusa.com

From left: Tom Tait, mayor of Anaheim, Guowei Xu, vice-chairman of Perfect China, Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California, and Kish Rajan, director of Office of Governor Edmund Brown Jr and Office of Business and Economic Development, attend the press conference on Tuesday at Anaheim convention center in California. 

After a week-long visit in various places in southern California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, the 7,000-person Perfect China group arrived in Anaheim and celebrated their visit on Tuesday at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Caroline Beteta, CEO of Visit California, hosted the press conference to celebrate the historic event with partners who worked on bringing this largest ever Chinese visitors group to California.

In an interview with China Daily, Beteta pointed out that it is consumer satisfaction that makes Chinese interested in coming to California. Chinese are number one among all international visitors every year to California. Among all Chinese tourists, California is number one on their list of American destinations.

Every year the number of Chinese visitors is increasing. Visit California is expecting a 63 percent increase in the amount of visitors from year 2013 to 2016. $2.2 billion are estimated to be spent in their travel to California including shopping, touring and transportation.

Visitor California also estimated that every attendee of 2014 Perfect China group spent $2,500 during their stay in California. "China's tourist group is considered to have the biggest buying power among all international visitors," Beteta said. "We are making sure this exceptionally important group of guests has their best experience ever in their stay here in California."

Tom Tait, mayor of Anaheim, gave a keynote speech at the conference. He expressed his appreciation to the China delegation for choosing Anaheim as their destination among all choices of cities. "I see Anaheim has a lot in common with Perfect China group," Mayor Tait said. "First, Anaheim is a perfect city. Second, Anaheim is the city of kindness. Just like compassion, the core value in Perfect China, Anaheim values people helping one another, which I hope will bring our Chinese guests great memories about their experience in Anaheim."

Guowei Xu, vice-chairman of Perfect China, told the audience that to many Chinese visitors, it is a "California dream come true". Even though 400 of the group members could not eventually come because of visa problems, the Perfect China group had a successful trip in California this year and will plan another trip next year. "We have taken 86 flights, stayed in 26 hotels, and according to Union Pay, our group attendees have spent $10,000 each this visit. We are making history," Guowei said.

Kish Rajan, director of the office of Governor Edmund G. Brown and the office of business and economic development, gave the credit for the 7,000 person group's success to the in-depth long term relationship of California and China in culture and economics.

"I witnessed the rich relationship of California and China in my last trip with the governor in April 2013," Rajan said. "The foundation of the cultural exchange and economic cooperation is already there, built by people of California and China. We are going to make it deeper by having this meaningful and incredible 7,000 perfect China group here."

The Conference and Visitors Bureau of Beverly Hills hosted more than 800 Chinese visitors of this Perfect China group, attracting them with their world famous luxury goods shopping areas. Mary Saunders De Hoyos, senior director of business development of the bureau, told China Daily that "We have launched our special China Ready programs to make Chinese visitors feel at home when they stay in the 5-star, 4-diamond hotels in Beverly Hills and go shopping on Rodeo Drive."

Disney Resorts, having been working with MICE group for many years for its international corporate clients such as, Samsung, Amway, Perfect, China Life, Johnson & Johnson and Mercedes Benz, received its biggest tour from China.

"We want to highlight that besides other cities like Los Angeles, Orange County is another good place to go because it is the heart of Southern California," said Bob Deuel, PR director for the Disneyland Resorts. A lot of Chinese tourists are FIT, or free individual tourists. Niki Tang, Asia Pacific sales director at Disneyland Resorts, said that Orange County is a better fit for these FIT guests because they have more time to spend when traveling.

"This event is important for people to know what Orange County is offering," Tang said. "It is also a perfect opportunity for Chinese guests to discover Disney culture."

Thomas D. See, vice-president of sales at Universal Studios Hollywood, said that the movie making process was a true attraction for Chinese visitors. "I hope our unique offering in seeing how films are made becomes the most beautiful memory of guests in Perfect China group," See said.

April 27 2014

Dominic Ng completes term as C-100 (Committee of 100) chairman By CHEN JIA in San Francisco

"SCA5 is a very good controversial issue, a very good "wake-up call" for Asian Americans thinking about "if you really want to protect your interest, you need to be actively involved in the political process" Ng said.

Dominic Ng, outgoing Chairman of Committee of 100 and President and CEO of the East West Bank, uses "busy, interesting and rewarding" to describe his three-year tenure with the national organization of Chinese Americans at its 23rd annual conference on Friday in San Francisco. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncJ4aRYwAxI 

Busy, interesting and rewarding. That's how Dominic Ng who completed his three-year term as chairman of the Committee of 100 (C-100) described his role in the organization that focuses on building constructive relations between the world's two largest economies. Looking back on his term, Ng said in an interview with China Daily on April 25 in San Francisco that he had regrets every day because C-100 should "have more resources to do more" for building the constructive relationship between the United States and China.

C-100's 23rd Annual Conference was held in the city on April 25-26. Clarence Kwan, a senior partner at Sino-Century China PE Partners, was elected the organization's seventh chairman, succeeding Ng.

"During the past three years, one great accomplishment for C-100 was the public survey about how people from China feel about US, and vice versa," Ng said. "I think that research was well received by not only all the leaders of both great nations but also media."

Another event that he highlighted was that C-100 helped then-US Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and California Congresswoman Judy Ch get legislation approved expressing a formal regret from Congress on the1882 Chinese Exclusion Act.

"As Chinese Americans, we feel proud that we can get this chapter behind us," he said.

Ng is a native of Hong Kong and lives in Pasadena, California. He got his bachelor's degree from the University of Houston, an honorary doctor of law degree from Occidental College and an honorary fellowship from Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

Before becoming CEO and chairman of East West Bank in 1991, he was a certified public accountant with Deloitte & Touche in Houston and Los Angeles for 10 years.

Los Angeles-based East West Bank is a commercial bank targeting the US and Greater China markets. In 1991, it was a small savings and loan association with $600 million in assets and a market capitalization of $40 million. Under Ng's leadership, East West Bank has grown to be a full-service commercial bank with assets of $27.4 billion, and capitalization of $5.2 billion. According to Forbes.com, East West Bank has been ranked in the top 10 of the "100 Best Banks" in America between 2010 and 2013.

As a major speaker on US-China relations, Ng has been frequently invited to China and has met with national leaders. Last fall, on a trip to China with other members of C-100, he met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who Ng called a "global, international leader".

In the spring of 2012, he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who impressed Ng as a "charismatic", "charming" leader, who also could be "very personable".

Through talks with Chinese leaders, Ng said he has a better understanding about the challenges and opportunities that China and the US face.

China and the US should continue to engage with one another because the results so far have been positive, Ng said. "Though there are always a lot of economic and political issues that may call us to disagree, both President Obama and President Xi are very much interested in getting to talk to each other as often as possible," he said.

Ng said that from a challenge point of view, the US strategy toward the Asia-Pacific region is going to be a change for China, and "I hope that somehow China would be able to find a way to also be part of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)".

Ng called on the Chinese Americans to get more involved with community affairs and pay more attention to civic and public affairs.

"I see more progress in the attitude and political awakening among the Chinese community, particularly the younger American Chinese who are substantially more interested in not only getting involved with politics, but also public service," he said.

More Chinese Americans are able to put their career in public life, participate in the political process and enter mainstream American society, he said.

For example, he said, SCA5 is a very good controversial issue, a very good "wake-up call" for Asian Americans thinking about "if you really want to protect your interest, you need to be actively involved in the political process", he said.

SCA5 was a proposed amendment to California's constitution that would have eliminated the state's Proposition 209 ban on the use race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in recruitment, admissions, and retention programs at the state's public universities and colleges. The state Senate passed the bill but it was but was withdrawn because of lack of support in the state Assembly.

October 10 2013

San Francisco trade group is off to China By Chen Jia of China Daily in San Francisco chenjia@chinadailyusa.com

In order to learn more about business opportunities in China and meet potential partners, about 80 business leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area paid a $6,000 participation fee to join a trade delegation that San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee will lead to China next week.

Sources told China Daily on Tuesday that the number of delegates had doubled since the initial announcement.

"I am very excited about the trip to build relationships with transportation delegates and assist with building relationships with China's transportation agencies and industry leaders," Walter Allen, president and CEO of Acumen Building Enterprise, told China Daily at a send-off on Tuesday night.

Yuan Nansheng, the consul general of China in San Francisco, hosted the reception for the delegation and Mayor Lee.

The group will arrive at China next Monday and stay until Oct 20, including two days in Beijing and four days in Shanghai.

"San Francisco has more than 25 percent Chinese residents, we have a strong historic relation with China's sister city," Lee told China Daily at the reception. "The China-US relationship is one of the most important relationships in the world."

As the first Chinese American mayor of San Francisco, Lee says he hopes to "expand the relationship, especially at the time I believe it's in our mutual interest to create jobs and reach environmental goals".

One of Lee's goals is to promote the sport business. The Golden Gate Warriors - San Francisco's NBA team - will take two games to Chinese basketball fans - one in Beijing, one in Shanghai - on Oct 15 and Oct 18 respectively.

"We will be with the Golden States Warriors basketball team. That's important because everybody knows Yao Ming, so I think we will have an exciting following," he said adding that this would be his "very first visit to Shanghai as mayor of San Francisco".

"We will promote economic trade through ChinaSF and Shanghai sister city, both are very important for San Francisco," he said.

In a move to vie for opportunities in the world's second-biggest economy, California reopened a trade office in Shanghai in April after a 10-year shutdown.

Kimberly Brandon, vice-president of the Port of San Francisco, told China Daily that she looks forward to participating in Mayor Lee's delegation visit to Shanghai to "greet old friends and foster new relationships in China".

She noted the Port of San Francisco has been a "Friendship Port" with the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority since 2007.

"Our two ports have exchanged ideas and information of cargo shipping as well as the growing international cruise industry market that has been seeing exceptional growth in Asia," she added.

"The Shanghai-San Francisco Sister City relationship is strong as it has been built up for over 30 years. The mutual respect and admiration of these two cities for each other is a clear indication that there are many more opportunities in the future," Thomas Escher, chairman of the Red and White Fleet (San Francisco Cruises), told China Daily.

"This Sister City relationship is continuing to build stronger ties between China and the USA with cultural, educational, business and social exchanges not only for the benefit of our two countries but also for the world," he said.

Boe Hayward, partner of Goodyear Peterson, a San Francisco-based public affairs consultancy, said he plans to leave for Beijing on Wednesday morning as he wanted to be there a few days ahead of the delegation.

"China is a priority market for many of our clients in San Francisco, which is a primary US gateway to the Pacific Rim," he said.

October 6 2013

Chinese flock to California to acquire real estate By Toh Han Shih - SCMP hanshih.toh@scmp.com 

US sites in favour with mainland Chinese investors, with west coast state the top choice - Potential Chinese homebuyers look at a house in Los Altos Hills, California. 

Mainland Chinese companies and individuals are ramping up purchases of property in California, accounting for an increasingly significant share of real estate deals in the Golden State.

Property agents in San Francisco and Los Angeles fly in groups of Chinese investors, sometimes as many as 50 people in one group, to buy property, said Robert Pearce, a director of Blackfish, a company that markets United States real estate. The Chinese end up buying property as well as top brands like Chanel, he said, adding: "What do mainland Chinese have? Cash."

Chinese buyers accounted for 18 per cent of the US$68.2 billion that foreigners spent on homes in the US during the 12 months to the end of March, according to the US National Association of Realtors. That is up from 11 per cent in 2011, 9 per cent in 2010 and 5 per cent in 2009.

California is the second most attractive state for foreign buyers of US property after Florida, said an Asia Society report. At present, more than half the homes sold to foreign buyers in California go to Chinese nationals, estimates CNN Money.

California, with its historical ties with Asia, has the biggest Chinese population in the US and accounts for more investment deals from China than any other US state. This puts it in a position to lead the US in attracting Chinese investment, said Charlie Rosier, director of Blackfish.

The Chinese go to the US for their children to be near schools and universities, clean air, and the American lifestyle, "which continues to be highly aspirational for Chinese buyers", said Andrew Gates, international realty associate broker at auction house Sotheby's.

The number of documented Chinese investments in US real estate has increased from virtually zero five years ago, said the Asia Society report. A new trend is of Chinese property firms acquiring projects in California, said Gregory Karns, a partner at US law firm Cox, Castle & Nicholson.

Shanghai-based Greenland Group acquired a site in Los Angeles in July with a planned total investment of US$1 billion.

"These Chinese groups see a flattening of their [domestic] market, and are looking to the US and California for greater returns," said Karns.

Two Californian cities, Stockton and San Bernardino, have gone bankrupt, said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, an economic consultancy, adding that the economy is otherwise resilient.

May 2 2013

San Francisco begins month of Asian-heritage recognition By Yu Wei in San Francisco Yuwei12@chinadailyusa.com

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee makes a speech at city hall on Thursday to mark the start of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. US President Barack Obama proclaimed the commemoration. 

San Franciscans kicked off the new month in style on Wednesday, with US President Barack Obama officially announcing May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Mayor Ed Lee praising the city's Asian leaders during an opening ceremony to celebrate the ethnic community's contributions to the city.

"As we recognize Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who are fulfilling that promise in every corner of our country, let us recommit to giving our children and grandchildren the same opportunity in the years ahead," Obama said in a statement.

Obama also said this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act's repeal, both "milestones that helped mend deep wounds of systemic discrimination".

In San Francisco, Lee praised the accomplishments of Asian organizations as achievements that have helped make San Francisco stronger and more successful.

The annual celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month began in 2005. The celebration started in the US in 1978 after then President Jimmy Carter approved a joint congressional resolution passed by Congress to commemorate the contributions of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in the US.

During this month's celebrations, San Franciscans can catch various Asian art performances and visit exhibitions offering dishes of Asian cuisine throughout the city.

"Now the celebration is in its 9th year in San Francisco. Every year we do this celebration, we have attracted a lot more people. There is more awareness of the month of May is APA heritage month," said Claudine Cheng, the founder and president of the Asian Pacific American Heritage Foundation. "This year we are honoring the achievements in the performing arts. It's a very unique area because Asians are normally not known for in the performing arts area, which is a very big area."

She said the foundation wants to raise awareness of the many talented Asian Americans in the performing arts.

"We focused not just on the performing arts, but how the performing arts can benefit the community," she said.

This year, there are three award categories for outstanding Asian American artists and organizations: inspirational leadership, lifetime achievement and community impact. The finalists will later perform at the newly open San Francisco Jazz Center on May 6.

Jon Jang, a pianist and composer and one of the finalists for this year's APA heritage awards for lifetime achievement, will perform at the jazz center on May 6. He said he was invited by the Obama administration to perform for the White House Forum on Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage in Washington on May 9.

"The piece that I'm going to perform on both events will honor the Chinese immigrant experience in the US especially from my grandparents' generation," Jang said, adding that his performance is also dedicated to the Boston bombing victims, including Chinese student Lu Lingzi. Jang said Lu was nearly the same age as his own daughter.

Born in the US, Jang considers himself a San Francisco native, but he and China are still inextricably linked.

"There is a whole history of struggle within my family from the Chinese immigrant experience and myself being an American-born Chinese. The Chinese immigrant experience in the US can help contribute to advance an American transformation," he said.

Jang said the honors he has garnered thus far in his career are not just individual honors.

"I'm representing my family, not only the American-born Chinese, but also the Chinese immigrants," he said.

Haipei Xue, president of the National Council of Chinese Americans, said President Obama's mentioning of the Chinese Exclusion Act is important because it is a direct response to a recent online petition from Chinese Americans requesting an apology from the US federal government.

He said as US legislators, both federal and state, discuss immigration reforms, Obama's commitment to make the US "a magnet for the best and brightest from all around the world, including Asia and the Pacific" is very important. He believes when immigration reforms pay more and more attention to attract highly educated immigrants, Asians will benefit greatly.

May 1 2013

鄺鐵誠:上海製勝過中國製 記者陳運璞舊金山報導

鄺鐵誠教授在舊金山大學管理學院開設「國際市場行銷」課程。

舊金山大學管理學院教授兼中國企業項目常務董事鄺鐵誠,日前隨同加州州長布朗訪問中國。

鄺鐵誠此行大談中國企業打造品牌有待加強之處,他說美國成功品牌
60%以上都是中國製造,美國民眾也購買很多標明「中國製造」的產品,但對中國品牌卻缺乏認識。華爾街日報「市場觀察」最近就報導,國際營銷公司HD貿易服務調查顯示,94%美國民眾說不出任何一個中國品牌。

鄺鐵誠認為,中國企業要塑造品牌形象,必須善用中國悠久的歷史文化長處。「就像保養品『佰草集』(
Herborist),在巴黎、柏林、米蘭銷路都好得不得了,就是行銷策略成功的一例。」

鄺鐵誠指出,「佰草集」標明「上海製造」而非「中國製造」,正是它第一個成功的策略。「因為『中國製造』給人仿冒、品質不夠好、不耐用的感覺。而上海現在已是國際大都市,『上海製造』給人不斷進步的印象。我認為另一個可以打品牌的是『青島製造』,青島給人清潔有序的印象。」

其次,「佰草集」標榜採用中藥材,具備本草綱目上列明的天然效用,讓歐洲仕女信服它的保養功效,這就是懂得利用中國文化優點的行銷手段。

鄺鐵誠又說,「佰草集」聘請的國際行銷專家很專業,知道要先從巴黎打開市場:「在巴黎賣得好,進入柏林就很容易,再到米蘭也沒問題。這幾個城市都賣得好,美國經銷商就來了。現在美國化妝品經銷商
Sephora已經宣稱要進口『佰草集』。」

鄺鐵誠表示,目前美國民眾知道較多的中國品牌是「聯想」,占
2.53%。「但其實聯想電腦早已打敗惠普跟戴爾,成為全球電腦的最大品牌。」

百度、華為、海爾、中國國航分居美國民眾認知的中國品牌二、三、四、五名。鄺鐵誠認為,中國產品要在美國提高品牌形象,應該讓產品「本土化」,了解美國消費者的心理。

「同樣的,外地產品進入中國,也要抓住中國消費者的心理。就像大同電鍋,給人印象就是老牌產品,所以我建議大同公司到中國的三線城市去賣,果然賣得很好。」

鄺鐵誠又舉服裝品牌為例說:「
Gap在中國有十多家分店,可是銷路不夠好,因為它的價位不上不下。中國消費者寧可多花點錢買亞曼尼(Armani Exchange),要不然就是買日本平價服裝店優衣庫的產品。」

有數十年行銷理論與實務經驗的鄺鐵誠強調,市場調查絕對不能忽略,了解消費者所好,才能找出產品的最佳定位。

April 13 2013

Jerry Brown in China - Chasing the dragon - An old relationship presents fresh opportunities Print Edition Los Angels

CALIFORNIA’S economy was almost twice the size of China’s when Jerry Brown last visited, in 1986. Today, the governor of America’s biggest state (and the world’s ninth-largest economy, down from seventh in 1986) is the first to admit that things look different, as he and a 90-strong business entourage embark on a week-long trade and investment tour of China. Chinese investors, reckons Mr Brown, have $400 billion-$500 billion burning a hole in their pockets. “They like our almonds, our wine, our brains,” he says. “Instead of buying T-bills in Washington, they should be investing in California.”

Under China’s so-called “going out” policy, outward direct investment grew from $5.5 billion in 2004 to $65 billion by 2011. That figure should continue to rise, as should the relatively small share enjoyed by America so far. California’s strong brand in China—everyone knows where Hollywood is, and the Lakers are fervently followed across the country—leave it well placed to take advantage. A new office in Shanghai aims to attract Chinese investors as much as to help Californian exporters.

The first Chinese to seek their fortunes in California came during the gold rush of the late 1840s. Tens of thousands followed in the next few decades to work on the state’s vast railway projects. More recently immigrants and investors have flocked to the San Gabriel Valley, east of Los Angeles, where Chinese banks and estate agents jostle for space with America’s finest dim sum restaurants. California’s universities, and some of its high schools, teem with Chinese students. This “connective tissue”, says Mickey Kantor, a California-based former commerce secretary, gives the state an edge over its rivals.

Yet only in the last year have state officials made serious efforts to forge connections with their Chinese counterparts, says Thilo Hanemann at the Rhodium Group, an economic-research firm. A Rhodium study found that California secured 156 Chinese deals between 2000 and 2011, more than any other state, but that the total value of these investments was less than other states hauled in. California has done a reasonable job of attracting private Chinese investment, perhaps because of its innovation-friendly reputation; it has had less success with state-owned enterprises and sovereign-wealth funds. And “That’s where the money is,” says Mr Hanemann.

Mr Brown will be looking for some of that money during his trip, particularly if he can direct it towards one of the two big infrastructure projects he sees as his legacy: the construction of a high-speed rail link between Los Angeles and San Francisco (the other is a tunnelling scheme to divert water from northern to southern California). The project is far from properly funded, and its costs are rising almost as quickly as its popularity is falling. Construction is supposed to begin this summer; an influx of Chinese cash could help revive the flagging momentum.

Renewables and clean technology also present opportunities. Green rules in California have contributed to a reputation for business-unfriendliness, but have also helped foster a market for technologies the Chinese are keen to buy: the country aims to spend $473 billion on clean energy during a five-year plan ending in 2015. The American arm of BYD, a Chinese electric-vehicle manufacturer, recently won a $12m contract to build ten buses for the city of Long Beach, south of Los Angeles.

But Chinese investments in the United States can jangle nerves. Security concerns in sectors like telecoms may be legitimate, but can also be used as a smokescreen for protectionist impulses. The memory of a state-owned Chinese firm’s attempt to buy Unocal, a Californian oil company, in 2005, is fresh among many Chinese executives, says Mr Hanemann. That bid collapsed after fierce opposition from American congressmen, including Californians.

As for Mr Brown, he evinces more frustration with his own state than with his hosts. He celebrates California’s achievements, from Apple to agriculture, but contrasts Chinese “dynamism” with the plodding focus on process at home. “We’ve lost the ability to build the space shuttle, the Golden Gate bridge,” says the man once known as Governor Moonbeam. “I want to be in the presence of people who build, who dream, who get shit done.”

*December 18 2012   

China's rich and skilled leave in record numbers By Peony Lui

San Francisco, California, is a popular destination for Chinese emigrants. 

More than 150,000 Chinese became permanent citizens in major immigrant countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand last year, topping the world’s list of overseas migration in absolute numbers, a recent report revealed.

The Centre for China and Globalization (CCD) and Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) School of Law jointly released their findings in the Chinese International Talents Annual Blue Book's International Migration Report (2012) on Monday, according to media reports.

Global migration increased from 195 million in 2005 to 214 million in 2010, constituting 3.1 per cent of the world's population, statistics showed.

International migration in and out of China spiked in the past decade. In 2010, the number of overseas Chinese reached 45 million, ranking first in the world.

Another report by Hurun Research Institute and Bank of China in 2011 found that 14 per cent of China’s high-net-worth individuals had either emigrated or were in the process of doing so.

In addition, 46 per cent were considering permanently moving overseas through various immigrant investor programs with real estate, foreign currency deposits and stocks being the primary areas of investment.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) declared that
41 per cent of total EB-5 Immigration Investor Program applicants were Chinese while the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship reported that 61.5 per cent of applicants for the Business Skilled Migration Program were Chinese.

China’s brain and wealth drain is increasing as highly-skilled professionals and wealthy individuals leave the country in record numbers in search of better education and services, secure investment environments and higher standards of living.

The report concluded by identifying six international migration development trends: increasing size and complexity of international migration – IOM forecasts the total number of international migrants to reach 405 million by 2050; increasing proportion of skilled migration; deepening integration of immigrants in host countries; rising environmental migration; increasing role of non-governmental organizations in the issue of modern international migration; and increasing complexity of irregular immigration issues.

*December 17 2012   

Golden opportunities for California By Chen Jia and Joseph Boris

Visitors enter an exhibit for Chinese solar energy companies at Intersolar North America 2011 in San Francisco, California, in July 2011. 

The state, now fifth in the United States in the value of investment from China, aims to climb higher by tapping its intrinsic strengths, Chen Jia and Joseph Boris report from Oakland, California.

With China a top target for US municipalities and states seeking foreign investment, one destination can put a number on its potential appeal to Chinese capital: $60 billion.

By 2020, California could attract that amount from China, according to an October report from Rhodium Group, a consulting firm in New York that tracks Chinese outward investment.

California accounts for more than a quarter of all Chinese investments in the United States, having notched 156 deals between 2000 and 2011. That was more than the other four top recipients - New York, Texas, Illinois and Michigan - combined.

But in terms of total investment value, California ranks fifth in the nation, with $1.3 billion from deals over the past 12 years, according to the report.

Through 2008, Chinese direct investment in the US was typically below $1 billion a year. Since soaring to just under $2 billion in 2009, activity has been growing at an unprecedented clip. From January to September, Rhodium said in a separate report, the figure hit $6.3 billion - eclipsing even the full-year record of 2010.

California in particular is poised to benefit from this upward trend. But it will have to grab a bigger chunk of Chinese investment on these shores to reach the Rhodium report's $60 billion target in eight years. That will happen only "if the state and private sector do a better job working together to attract Chinese capital", the report said.

"California is a good target for Chinese investors because we are looking for infrastructural development such as hotels and a baseball stadium," said Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland in northern California.

Quan expects increased investment from China, particularly in property development, which is so important to her city. This will be due in large part, she says, to US Congress' recent extension through September 2015 of the EB-5 visa program.

Under EB-5, an applicant is given permanent US residency if his investment of at least $1 million leads to 10 full-time jobs within two years. The threshold is just $500,000 if the jobs created are in a rural or high unemployment area of the US.

"This can guarantee a steady rate of return for stimulating purchases of bonds (for publicly funded development projects), and people are able to immigrate because of EB-5, so you'll see more of this in California," Quan said.

Competing for cash

Ed Lee, the Chinese-American mayor of San Francisco, is preparing to visit China next year, according to Darlene Chiu Bryant, executive director of ChinaSF, an economic development initiative of the city.

As more Chinese companies set up offices and expand operations in the US, San Francisco aims to guide those considering a move through each stage of decision-making and relocation. ChinaSF has a bilingual staff and offices in San Francisco, Shanghai and Beijing that support an exchange of ideas.

"Entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises value California for its advanced legal structures, openness to new products and partners, worldliness toward non-Americans and strong business facilitation services, among other advantages," according to the Rhodium Group report.

It highlights the efforts of public-private partnerships such as ChinaSF as well as business groups like the Bay Area Council and the California governor's GO-Biz agency, which aims to simplify companies' entry into the state.

Chinese investment in the US has taken various forms. One local politician even made it a key plank of his election platform.

Stewart Chen, a chiropractor who ran for one of two open seats on the city council in Alameda, near Oakland, lost his bid for office in the Nov 6 elections. But his third-place finish among voters could suggest support for his effort to involve Chinese investors in redeveloping Alameda Point, a former US navy air station in the city.

San Francisco media reports said talks have been underway for months between Miami-based home builder Lennar Corp and State-owned China Development Bank to invest $1.7 billion to restart the long-delayed conversion of two mothballed US naval bases, Treasure Island and Hunters Point, into large-scale housing.

"Chinese investment has helped spur growth in the California economy at a time when it was in the midst of a recession," said Kevin Johnson, dean of the law school at the University of California, Davis. "California political leaders at all levels realize this and are looking for investment into local economies. Investment, capital and jobs are all needed."

In February, Governor Jerry Brown announced at a US-China economic forum in Los Angeles his plan to form a China-California task force to spur cooperation, investment and trade.

Later in the year, Brown re-established a state trade and investment office in Shanghai. California had closed a dozen such offices around the world in a budget-cutting move eight years ago, including in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Restoring California's presence in China took place nearly 40 years after Brown, during his first two terms as governor (1975-83) called for "increased normalization" in US-China relations. Brown, who was out of politics until being elected to two terms as Oakland's mayor, has been serving again as governor since 2011.

China is the world's No 1 exporter and third-biggest importer, behind the US and the European Union. Most Chinese exports to the US go through California's ports, and nearly all US exports to China pass through the state.

In 2010, China surpassed Japan as California's No 3 export market, posting a 20 percent increase over the previous year.

Californian advantage

California has competitive advantages in high-tech sectors including software, information technology, electronics design and renewable energy. Historically strong cross-Pacific ties to China complement the state's other attributes, such as an ethnically diverse, highly educated workforce. If it were a country, California would have the eighth biggest economy in the world.

Although the Rhodium report sees Chinese direct investment in California soaring to between $50 billion and $60 billion by 2020, it cautions that the state will need a focused strategy to reach that goal.

"California ... is in a position to lead the nation in attracting Chinese investment in the decade to come," according to the report's authors, Daniel Rosen and Thilo Hanemann of Rhodium.

The state, they said, must pitch its assets: quality of life, a creative workforce and diverse economic centers in the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles areas. Other US states have been more aggressive in organizing trade missions and other forms of outreach, the report said.

China's escalating direct investment in the US, the report noted, "has rekindled old arguments about foreign firms and the national interest". It said that although screening of foreign investment on security grounds is necessary and legitimate, "concerns can be politicized for protectionist ends".

"California has more self-interest than any other state to offer solutions based on its experience with successful, and failed, deals and a sophisticated understanding of cutting-edge industries."

Robert Berring, a University of California, Berkeley, law professor, expressed concern that "parochial and backward interests within the United States may see increasing Chinese investment as a threat.

"Chinese capital can provide a much-needed boost for the California economy," he said. "If the 21st century is to be a good one, the US must see China as a partner in progress."

Chinese investment is a boon to the US economy and can help draw the two countries closer, Berring said.

Local officials in the US including Quan have said real estate investors from China's growing middle- and upper-income populations seem particularly interested in the visa program.

The 2008-09 financial crisis, spurred by the collapse of the US housing-market bubble, left banks and other lenders reluctant to finance residential or commercial developments, stalling projects including several in hard-hit California.

For municipal and state governments that slashed spending to deal with reduced tax revenue as property prices sank, foreign investors are increasingly sought as a financing source.

Oakland is an easy fit for Chinese investors, with hotels close to the city's predominantly Chinese-American neighborhoods and a large population of skilled, bilingual workers.

"There is a growing middle class and more tourism in China," Quan said. "Chinese understand exporting and importing, and there is more interest in import-export exchanges."

As an example, the mayor cited the deal for the Tribune Tower, a city landmark whose neon sign bears the name of Oakland's daily newspaper, a former tenant.

In late 2011 the 20-story, 8,175-square-meter building was bought in foreclosure for $8 million by a group of private investors assembled by businessman and Oakland native Tom Henderson. Henderson won't identify the investors by name, but he has said most are from China.

The Tribune Tower now houses CallSocket LLC, a call-center operator that Henderson co-founded, as well as another of his startups, San Francisco Regional Center LLC, which attempts to find prospective EB-5 immigrants who could help finance local development projects. The company - and Henderson - would take a stake in any deal and operate as a general partner on the project that's formed.

In addition, Henderson is investing $3 million to $4 million to renovate the building, helping to attract tenants, including a restaurant, for the rest of the building.

The businessman said that CallSocket, which so far has created 300 jobs in the city, could be a job-creation model through the immigrant-investor program.

"We are bringing in $100 million to Oakland alone. Over the next 18 months, we'll create 2,000 jobs in Oakland through the EB-5 program," said Henderson, who recently returned to California from China. The trip was his 19th to China since January 2011. He has offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.

Henderson's San Francisco Regional Center was established under the auspices of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government agency that created the EB-5 program in 1990.

About 95 percent of prospective EB-5 immigrants turn to regional centers to help navigate the visa-application process, a USCIS spokesman was quoted as telling The Wall Street Journal earlier this year.

There are 245 regional centers in the US, 61 of them in California, according to the USCIS website.

Mayor Quan said she's seeking EB-5 money from Chinese investors for either of two potential projects, Victory Court and Coliseum City, that would be home to Oakland's professional baseball, basketball and football teams.

Quan, Oakland's first woman mayor and the first Chinese-American to lead a major US city, headed a trade mission to China last year to spur investment in her largely working-class city across the bay from San Francisco.

*October 11 2012   

AB376 Shark Fin Ban is an unconstitional, discriminatory Law 

“This bill is discriminatory towards Chinese Americans

This bill does little to actually preserve the lives of sharks and banning the possession of only one part of the shark (the fin)....Why is traditional Chinese American Culture being singled out by this bill. This bill does not ban the killing of shark for other purposes such as meat for steaks and skin for wallets and other goods”-------NAACP, California Hawaii State Conference 

“This bills are unfairly discriminatory towards a minority group along ethnic lines

An ethnic minority will be banned from consuming shark fin. But the majority can still engage in a cultural practice of slaughtering a shark for lunch and the cultural practice of skinning a shark for a wallet, a belt, a purse, a lipstick case, a cigar case and a briefcase.”-----Ted Lieu, CA Senator

“The bill was introduced prior to an educational or other outreach to the effected community.

I strongly believe everyone, including the Legislature, would be well served to encourage more dialogue between the author and the Chinese American community before advancing this bill.” ----Wilma Chan, Alameda County Supervisor

“There is already legislation in place to protect shark in our water

The Shark Conservation Act and California Fish and Game code S. 7704 ban the practice of Shark Finning in Federal and California waters. Rather than create a new law, we advocate for stronger enforcement of pre-existing laws.”------ NAACP, California Hawaii State Conference

Chinese Community Leaders, Legislators and Officials oppose the Ban
State Senator : Ted Lieu, Leland Yee
State Assembly Member : Fiona Ma, Mike Eng
San Francisco Mayor : Ed Lee
Alameda County Supervisor : Wilma Chan
San Jose City Council : Kansen Chu
Cupertino City Council : Kris Wang

100+ Chinese Organizations from Southern to Northern of the State, including NAACP, American Federation of State, Country and Municipal Employees AFL-CIO
50 major San Francisco Chinatown Associations 

10,000+ signatures, 300 of opposing letter were collected within a weeks, in Bay Area only.
Chinese Americans Community has determined to sue the Ban all the way to US Supreme Court
The nature of the ban is unconstitional pertaining to US Supreme Court Statute. Lawsuits are on going in State Superior Court and in planning at US Federal Court. 

挑戰禁魚翅法案屋崙首度開庭 世界新聞記者李秀蘭屋崙報導



聯邦法院首次為華人社區的推翻禁魚翅法案訴訟開庭,原告團體組織華人到庭旁聽。

由兩個華人團體共同提出以挑戰禁魚翅法案(AB376)的訴訟,10日首度在屋崙聯邦法院開庭,華裔原告團體要求法官韓密爾頓(Phyllis Hamilton)頒布禁制令,禁止州府執行法案。聽取雙方辯詞後,韓密爾頓將於日後作出書面裁決。主審法官韓密爾頓在一小時的聽證會上,要求原告及兩被告單位解釋法案的內容是否有意歧視華人,以構成法案對原告人或華人社區已產生即時性傷害,需法庭頒布臨時禁制令保護。

提出訴訟的兩個華人團體包括「華埠街坊會」和「美亞正義聯盟」。聖他克拉拉縣州眾議員方文忠提出的AB376法案,由今年元月起生效,禁止任何人在加州買賣魚翅。但新法生效前購入的魚翅,可使用至2013年6月底。

兩原告團體於法案生效後向聯邦法院提出訴訟,指控AB376法案歧視華人,侵犯華裔社區的憲法權利。

兩華裔原告團體原在訴訟中只將州府列為被告,其後「美國人道協會」、「亞太裔海洋和諧聯盟」、「蒙特瑞海水族館」等三個團體要求加入成為被告,已獲法院核准。

兩華裔原告團體計畫先要求法庭頒布臨時禁制令,下令州府暫停執行法案,讓華裔魚翅業者可先復業,直至法庭對訴訟作出裁決為止。

法官韓密爾頓10日首次為該訴訟舉行聽證會,就申請臨時禁制令聽取雙方辯詞,一群華裔業者及支持者到庭旁聽。

原告律師比爾(Joe Breall)表示,AB376法案是完全針對華人社區而設計的法案,受影響的業者全是華裔,對華人社區帶來一定的傷害,包括經濟傷害。但法案提及的鯊魚瀕臨絕種的問題,不在美國水域內,聯邦政府已對美國水域內捕捉鯊魚及割取魚翅訂有嚴格的規定。

代表州長布朗的副州檢察官哥頓(Alexandra Gordon)在庭上否認AB376法案有任何歧視華人之意。她指出,州府通過AB376法案,目的是保護鯊魚,無意要傷害華人社區,即使在華人社區,也有許多反對食用魚翅或選擇不吃魚翅。

三個保護動物團體的代表律師魏曼(Bruce Wagman)指出,該三團體是法案的草擬者,原告只是斷章取義而指控法案歧視華人,但法案並無歧視意圖。另一方面,魚翅水銀含量過高,不利健康,在多種因素下而通過法案,與歧視華人無關。

*September 15 2012   

*August 22 2012   

More Area Schools Embrace Chinese-Immersion Method By Ben Worthen



Preschool teacher Ruth Chou hugged student Deavon Gao-Bradley, 3.

When kindergartners arrive at the Presidio Knolls School next week for their first day of class, they will be allowed to speak English only on the playground and at a few other times. Most classes will be taught in Chinese.

"There's a real demand for this kind of learning," says Alfonso Orsini, the head of the school, which is adding a kindergarten after several years as a Chinese-language preschool. Construction crews are working to finish the school's campus, a former run-down church on 10th Street. The plan calls for eventually enrolling students through eighth grade.

The Bay Area is now home to 23 such Mandarin Chinese-immersion schools, according to one count, many of which have opened in the last few years. Some of the schools are private—Presidio Knolls among them—while others are public. Still others are charter schools, which are privately operated but receive public funding.

There are approximately 125 Mandarin-Chinese immersion schools in the country, according to Beth Wiese, who runs a website for parents of Mandarin-immersion students. Five are in San Francisco, including Presidio Knolls and Aptos Middle School, which also begins a Mandarin-immersion program this fall, as well as a Cantonese-immersion school.

Proponents of language-immersion education say the students learn more about all subjects and are better prepared to learn in the future. There's little testing to substantiate the claim, but what exists shows that students may not perform as well in English early on but tend to perform better than their English-only peers in all subjects later.

Parents cite other benefits. "Everybody gets that China is going to be hugely important in this century," says Ms. Weise, who has a daughter at Starr King Elementary, a public school in San Francisco with a Mandarin-immersion program. "If your kid grows up speaking English and Chinese, they will have an advantage."

Chrissy Schwinn, a parent and board member at Yu Ming Charter School in Oakland, says she chose to send her daughter to the school because she and her husband "both traveled extensively and had noneffective language skills to participate in that culture."

Yu Ming opened last year. This year, it received four times as many applications as there were openings.

The Mandarin-immersion schools in the Bay Area have different styles and approaches. Some split the day between teaching in English and Chinese, while others teach exclusively in Chinese.

At Presidio Knolls, the goal is to combine language immersion with a teaching style that designs lessons around subjects the students choose to study. If students are interested in fishing, the class might travel to a pier and a fish market in Chinatown before dissecting a fish back at the school. On the first day of kindergarten, the plan is for the children to decorate the classroom.

"A lot of Chinese immersion takes a traditional approach to which there is a lot of merit but also a lot of problems for kids who want to live in this century," says Mr. Orsini.

As at many Chinese-immersion schools, the students at Presidio Knolls don't necessarily come from families of Chinese backgrounds.

About 20% of the students are children of native Mandarin speakers. About 10% are kids who were born in China but adopted by American parents. Others either have parents of Chinese heritage, but who may not speak the language themselves, or come from families with no connection to China.

Finding teachers fluent in Mandarin and interested in the educational techniques Presidio Knolls wants to use has been a challenge. Those who will teach the kindergartners this fall include a Ph.D. student in Chinese literature and a teacher from a Chinese-language school in Singapore.

Presidio Knolls opened as a Chinese-immersion preschool in 2008 with six children. Today, it has 150 preschoolers and will enroll 16 later this month in its first kindergarten class. It moved from the Presidio to its new home on the former church campus to accommodate the growth. Kindergarten will cost $21,500 a year and run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Getting the kindergarten open is largely the work of Wendy Xa, whose daughter will be one of the first students. Born in the U.S. and fluent in Mandarin, Ms. Xa a former financial services executive, quit her job four years ago to dedicate herself to opening the school.

The renovations to build the first classrooms cost about $630,000, most of which was donated by members of the school's board of directors, Ms. Xa says. She anticipates turning two other buildings on the campus into classrooms and other school space eventually, as well.

She hired Mr. Orsini, who was once her teacher at a New Jersey prep school, to run the place. He started in July. He says he speaks only rudimentary Chinese, but he doesn't expect that to be a handicap.

This month, crews were busy gutting one old building on the campus, hurrying to convert it into classrooms. They also are building a large deck outside the building that overlooks the school's courtyard and can serve a stage for plays and other gatherings.

Ms. Xa looks proudly at the transformation underway. "We're going to focus on the development of the children as well as the language," she says.

*August 5 2012  Share

Susie Lee, who has won the title of Miss Asian Global, is crowned during the 1st Miss Asian Global competition in San Francisco, the United States, Aug. 5, 2012. Twenty women from the United States, China, Indonesia and other countries, all of Asian origins, took part in the competition.

July 24 2012  Share

中國商務部訪金山 簽貿易協定

中國商業部副部長王超,24日率領100人代表團抵達舊金山,將於全美展開貿易促進活動。 在加州副州長紐森(後排右二)、舊金山市長李孟賢(後排左)、中國商業部副部長王超(後排左二),及加州眾議員馬世雲(後右)見證下,中美雙方代表簽訂多向農場品貿易協定。Chinese Ministry of Commerce Vice Minister Wang Chao

中國商業務部副部長王超24日率領代表團抵達舊金山訪問,於市府內舉行「中美省州經貿合作研討會」。受邀的官員包括加州副州長紐森、舊金山市長李孟賢、駐舊金山中領館總領事高占生等。隨後在官員見證下,簽訂進口加州開心果等貿易協定。

王超致詞時表示,中國已經成為美國第三大出口市場。未來在雙方繼續合作的同時,也期盼美國放寬對中國的貿易限制,平等對待中國企業。

王超表示,今年
2月中國國家副主席習近平訪問加州時,加州州長布朗曾表示希望加州成為中美商貿往來的門戶,並吸引更多中國企業到加州投資,促成了「中美省州經貿合作研討會」。他此次來金山,深刻感到雙邊對企業合作與成長的渴望,也期盼代表團能夠落實兩國領導人達成的共識,推動中國省與加州間的經貿合作。

訪美代表團共有
100名成員,除了各地官員外,還包括80多名來自中國各地40家企業的成員。王超特別提及,代表團中有多名基礎建設專業人員,希望能就加州高鐵、碼頭、機場、橋梁等進行合作。加州高鐵建設在即,代表團也將進行討論。

王超指出,加州在科技、生化、農業、觀光與環境保護都處於領先,
2000年到2011年間,加州對中國出口增加了300%。中美建交30多年來,貿易總額從不足25億元增長到2011年的4467億美元,包括大豆、棉花等美國農產品,中國都已經成為美國最大的單一海外市場。

紐森與李孟賢除歡迎代表團蒞臨,強調加州與舊金山擁有絕佳的人文與地理條件,期盼看到更多中國企業到加州投資。

代表團結束金山行程後,將前往伊利諾、內華達與阿拉斯加州舉行貿易投資促進活動。

July 19 2012  Share

For students of Chinese in San Francisco - tech tools offer fun and ease By Chen Jia in San Francisco

Michael Rowe, a 15-year old student at Palo Alto High School in California, shows his classmates how to use an iPad app to learn Chinese. 

Fifteen-year-old Michael Rowe had never studied Chinese before June. Two weeks into his course, he can tackle what's arguably the hardest part of the language: writing its intricate characters, thanks to a Chinese language learning app for Apple's iPad.

In the classroom at Northern California's Palo Alto High School where Michael is taking - voluntarily- a free introductory course in Mandarin during summer vacation, an overhead projector linked to his iPad shows the result:
, a character with eight strokes. Transcribed into English's Latin characters through the pinyin system, the word is xue, which means "study".

"So far it's really fun! I will take Chinese throughout high school, hopefully," Michael told China Daily. The teenager, who will be a sophomore this fall, has been spending over five hours each day just on the iPad portion of the course.

"If I could speak Chinese, it's like opening a door for me and that might change my life," he said. "Spanish and French aren't as useful as Chinese, because so many people worldwide speak Chinese."

His parents believe that knowing the language will better prepare Michael for a career.

Norman Masuda, Michael's instructor, says his school is in sync with the growing popularity of Chinese in the United States, as more Americans who speak and understand the language will be needed to conduct US business and diplomacy.

"Chinese has ranked among the top three popular foreign-language courses in Palo Alto High School, just behind Spanish and French," he said.

About 1,600 public and private middle schools and high schools in the US teach Chinese, up from 300 or so a decade ago, according to a 2010 survey by the Center for Applied Linguistics. Among the 27,500 schools that offer at least one foreign language, the proportion offering Chinese rose to 4 percent in 2008 from 1 percent in 1997, according to the survey, which was funded by the US Education Department.

The uptick is bolstered by curriculum publisher Better Chinese LLC, based in Palo Alto.

"We believe that there are as many as 120,000 students in the US Chinese-learning market, and these figures do not account for weekend schools for heritage learners," said Fiona Lee, associate editor for Better Chinese. Heritage learners are those who have been exposed to a language from an early age, usually through native-speaker parents.
"The Chinese-learner demographic has changed from heritage students to include more non-heritage speakers," Lee explained.

Another indicator of demand is the number of states that have ordered textbooks for Chinese-language instruction, she said. According to Lee, curricula developed by Better Chinese have been reviewed and adopted by boards of education in nine states - Texas, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Idaho.
Meanwhile, publishers are competing for the expanding market for Chinese-learning materials including new tools such as iPad apps for calligraphy and other skills.

Last year Better Chinese teamed up with Stanford University, the Palo Alto Unified School District and the National Security Agency's Startalk program to create an intensive summer course, Discovering Chinese, on the iPad for high school students in Silicon Valley.

Startalk was established in 2006 by President George W. Bush to bolster US national security through training in critical languages such as Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi and Urdu. Better Chinese was chosen as a program partner on the strength of its secondary- school curriculum, which the company said has been adopted by eight US states and over 400 schools worldwide.

The Discovering Chinese app was tested by Startalk during last year's summer intensive program at Palo Alto High. The positive response prompted Better Chinese to proceed with development of a complete iPad app for Volume 1 of the textbook series Discovering Chinese.

The Discovering Chinese iPad course has also been well-received in pilot programs at other schools in California, according to teachers quoted by the company.

"I was amazed when iPad apps held my students' attention so completely. They didn't want to turn it off even when class ended," Hilda Leung, who teaches at the Brentwood School, a private K-12 institution in Los Angeles, was quoted by Better Chinese as saying.

"Transforming our curriculum materials for the iPad environment optimizes Chinese-language learning in a way that we've never seen before," CEO James Lin said in a statement from the company.

Better Chinese has textbook materials from kindergarten through college levels in about 1,000 US schools and some 1,300 worldwide, Lin said. For the Discovering Chinese app, he said the company has had about 2,000 downloads since launching in early June.

"The iPad classroom provides a very fluid learning experience for Chinese learners and a seamless instructional delivery for teachers," said Jin Ying, a teacher in Cupertino, California. "With the Chinese app, students can learn at their own pace, check their answers, and turn the pinyin on and off to challenge themselves."

Besides the handwriting check that engrossed Michael Rowe, the app allows users to hear word pronunciations and ensure their recognition of characters using electronic flash cards, Jin said. The app approach has also helped teachers improve communication in Chinese with students, she added.

Kalim Winata, who works for Itsy Bitsy Stories LLC, said the publisher of online learning materials for children ages 2 to 9 offers storytelling apps for the iPad and Android tablets. The Oakland, California, company has introduced 123 Calling, an interactive-story program that uses the animals of the Chinese Zodiac to help kids learn counting and basic vocabulary in Mandarin.

"Our customers' feedback has shown broader and broader interest from a growing variety of teaching institutions," including preschool programs, elementary schools, museums, self-study guides and tutorials, Winata said.

July 18 2012  Share

High-speed rail is the right plan at the right time By: Steve Falk

Earlier this month, the state Legislature passed Senate Bill 1029, authorizing the issuance of $2.7 billion in state bonds to begin construction of the nation’s largest transportation project — California high-speed rail — as well as authorizing an additional $2 billion in bonds to match local and federal funds for related projects. This bold legislative action unlocks $3.2 billion in matching federal high-speed rail dollars, creates thousands of jobs and ushers in a new era of mobility for California.

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed SB 1029 in San Francisco on July 18. The project will create thousands of new jobs in California by modernizing regional transportation systems and linking them to the state's future high-speed rail line. The $4.7 billion investment will be matched by an additional $ 7.9 billion in federal and local dollars for statewide improvements to transportation in California. He made a speech in San Francisco at a construction site where will be the future site of the Transbay Transit Center.

At a time when statewide unemployment continues to linger at 11 percent, high-speed rail is the right plan for California. The revised business plan to build the system will create immediate jobs in an area where they are needed most. Construction of the first segment of the train in the Central Valley is projected to generate the equivalent of 20,000 full-time jobs annually. Building the segment of the system from the Bay Area to Southern California will create an estimated 66,000 jobs annually and directly employ 2,900 people.

The blended approach to building the system, which leverages existing track on the Peninsula and in the Los Angeles Basin, is not only the most cost-effective plan; it provides much-needed investment in existing urban rail systems that will ultimately connect with high-speed rail. In the Bay Area, these investments include: $600 million for Caltrain electrification, $61 million for Muni’s Central Subway extension and $140 million to help replace aging BART cars.

Critics of high-speed rail are concerned with the cost of building the first-in-the-nation system. But the argument that school funding would suffer because of high-speed rail bond payments is a bit of a stretch. Bonds will be issued over many years, the project doesn’t impact the current fiscal year, and as the economy grows, reserves will grow to pay for the state’s incremental growth in debt service.

California simply can’t afford not to build high-speed rail. Over the next two decades, the state’s population is expected to grow by more than 10 million people. By the year 2050, the population could reach 60 million. To accommodate this level of growth, California would need to build an estimated 2,300 miles of new highways, 115 new airport gates and four new runways — all at a combined cost of $170 billion. That’s more than $100 billion more than building high-speed rail.

The Chamber of Commerce is a firm advocate for fiscal prudence and government efficiency. We take very seriously any proposal that unnecessarily raises taxes and expense for local businesses and residents. When it comes to high-speed rail, our chamber is proud to be a leading champion. We were one of the first chambers of commerce to support the initiative. We actively supported Proposition 1A, which the voters approved in 2010.

We worked hard to ensure the passage of SB 1029. And as opponents file lawsuits and engage in efforts to derail the project, we will continue to make advancing high-speed rail a priority.

California high-speed rail is the right plan at the right time. The chamber applauds Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker John Perez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg for their commitment to our state’s future and for their tireless efforts to pass SB 1029 — an action that will have lasting economic, environmental and mobility benefits for California.

Steve Falk is president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.

加州高鐵80億經費 布朗簽署

加州州長布朗18日簽署高鐵首階段經費案。

加州州長布朗 (
Jerry Brown18日簽署「洛杉磯至舊金山高速鐵路首階段80億美金經費案(SB 1029)」,標誌著連接南北加州、總造價680億美元的美國首條高速鐵路開工在即。
18日上午10時許,洛杉磯市中心聯合車站人山人海,包括加州參議會議長史坦堡(Darrell Steinberg)、洛杉磯市市長維拉萊構沙(Antonio Villaraigosa)等州、市政府官員、建築工人及市民共同見證法案簽署。

布朗表示,高鐵每年將帶來
10萬個建築相關工作機會,未來25年將為全州提供45萬個工作崗位並吸引數以百萬計的新居民移居加州。「誰說加州的輝煌已一去不返,如今我們正在創造未來」。

史坦堡透露,加州預計在
2050年將迎來超過2000萬新住戶,而建造新公路、增加航班數量等方法與高鐵相比,對加州環境帶來污染更大。而高鐵聯通城市與郊區,不僅可以為人多城市分流,更為農村注入新生力量、帶動發展。

然而,提案的簽署並不意味著未來高鐵興建將一帆風順,除了聯邦政府「明年開工、
2017年前完成首期工程」的硬性要求外,高鐵建造還面臨來自共和黨反對人士、農業利益團體的極力反對。

參議院共和黨領袖夏樂柏(
Bob Huff)透露,加州赤字嚴重,如今還舉債興建高鐵,寧可學校關閉、福利經費裁減,卻用80億造高鐵,「不和邏輯」、「對民眾不負責任」。由於首期工程將穿越農業重地的中央山谷,許多農林業權益組織如今已向聯邦法院遞訴狀,譴責高鐵對環境帶來危害。

July 17 2012  Share

San Francisco Cruise terminal at Pier 27 topped off

Breaking ground on the Port of San Francisco’s James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 - 34th America´s Cup: Ground on the Port of San Francisco’s James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 officially broken

San Francisco's long-awaited cruise terminal at Pier 27 "topped out" Wednesday as workers, watched closely by Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials, put the final steel girder in place.

Coming just weeks after a similar ceremony at San Francisco General Hospital, it's another example of the city getting things done, the mayor said in brief remarks before the ceremony.

"I love these topping-offs because all of us want to see if the delivery is as real as the promises were," he said. "There has been a prolonged discussion as to whether we can deliver and this shows that, yes, we can."

The girder was topped with an American flag and the traditional evergreen tree and signed not only by the mayor and city and port officials, but also by many of the union workers involved in the project.

Even as the mayor spoke, the crash of hammers and sizzle of welding torches echoed in the background as workers continued their efforts on the structure, which is scheduled to welcome its first cruise ship in spring 2014.

But before that happens, the structure will serve as the hospitality center for the America's Cup yacht races next year. The area around Piers 27 and 29 will be the center of activity for the races, with the finish line just beyond the new terminal.

The finished terminal will include a 2.5-acre public park along the Embarcadero, designed to draw more people to the city's waterfront. The facility is expected to boost the city's cruise business, bringing in an additional $40 million a year to the city and creating 300 jobs.

In an "only in San Francisco" moment, Lee recalled the past unsuccessful efforts to build a new home for the cruise industry in San Francisco by thanking city and port officials for the "building consensus implementation phase of this project."

Whatever that means.

Ready for approval: The Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval Tuesday to San Francisco's first two-year budget, providing money to hire more firefighters, police officers and park gardeners, to bolster AIDS services, homeless programs and job training, and to give the city's nonprofit health and human services a 2 percent funding boost.

It was a budget where city officials fought over where to add money - not where to cut it - thanks largely to higher-than-expected tax revenue as the economy recovers.

"Our budget document that we put forward is really a document of what our priorities and values are," said Supervisor Jane Kim, who serves on the Budget and Finance Committee.

The budget also includes funding for a third aide for each of the 11 supervisors, at an annualized cost of $1.5 million. But two supervisors, west-side moderates Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu, got the board's permission to forgo the new staffers and instead use their share of the funding to pay for neighborhood services in their districts.

The budget calls for spending $7.2 billion in the fiscal year that began July 1 and $7.6 billion the following year. Tuesday's vote was 11-0, with final approval expected next week.

The budget is a slightly revised version of the spending plan proposed by Mayor Ed Lee. The mayor gave his endorsement.

"Of course no budget is perfect, and there's going to be pieces of such a large budget that we all disagree with, but overall I think the package is sound," said Chu, who chairs the board's budget panel.

新郵輪中心平頂 李孟賢描願景

金山市長李孟賢18日在27號碼頭新郵輪中心的最後一根鋼梁上,簽下自己的名字。

舊金山市長李孟賢
18日參加27號碼頭郵輪中心平頂儀式,強調經濟發展計畫絕非光說不練。估計未來郵輪中心每年可帶來4000萬元收入,並讓水岸更迷人。港務局長梅爾 (Monique Moyer) 則表示,這是睽違45年後港務局首度舉行平頂儀式。

李孟賢提到,過去不斷談及舉辦美洲盃的好處,隨著郵輪中心逐漸完工,讓市民真實感到受市府並非紙上談兵,更讓金山在商業領域上維持競爭力,不輸上海、倫敦等城市。

李孟賢提及郵輪中心工程目前已創造
300個工作機會。他說:「我愛這個平頂儀式,中心完工的同時,也象徵我的承諾說到做到。」

梅爾指出,目前郵輪中心設在
35號碼頭,是超過100年的老建築,興建時只設計來處理乘載 500人的郵輪。今日許多郵輪載客量達5000人,中心已經不敷使用。新的郵輪中心預定於20134月落成。

梅爾透露,未來郵輪中心將有
270度景觀窗,讓遊客飽覽水岸之美。港務局也將中心設計成可舉辦大型活動的場所。她興奮宣布,新中心將迎接的第一場大型活動,就是美洲盃帆船賽,賽事的起點與終點都在27號碼頭。

June 24 2012  Share

Chinese Target U.S. Homes - State Bank in Talks to Provide Lennar $1.7 Billion for Two Long-Stalled San Francisco Projects By Dinny McMahon and Robbie Whelan

A rendering of the Treasure Island project.

Lennar Corp., one of the U.S.'s largest home builders, is in talks with the China Development Bank for approximately $1.7 billion in capital to jump-start two long-delayed San Francisco projects that would transform two former naval bases into large-scale housing developments, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The negotiations aren't final and the financing arrangement could still fall through. But if completed, the deal would reflect a changing dynamic between the U.S. and Chinese economies, as an American company turns to China for help funding a long-delayed and partially publicly funded project that otherwise wouldn't get done.

The developments, Treasure Island and Hunters Point Shipyard, also have the potential to alter San Francisco's housing market by providing nearly 20,000 new homes, a sports arena and millions of square feet of office and retail space in a market that is land-constrained and has had limited new construction. The city has committed hundreds of millions of dollars, in the form of tax-increment bonds, to the projects, which in total are expected to cost $10.5 billion over the next few decades.

In recent years, Chinese state money—in large part provided by CDB and its counterpart the Export-Import Bank of China—has been pivotal in funding major infrastructure and resource projects around the world, but the bulk of that activity has been in developing countries in Africa, South America and Asia.

That has resulted in the construction of dams, airports, railways, highways and sports arenas that otherwise wouldn't get built, primarily in developing countries. Funding is typically conditional upon Chinese developers and contractors being used to build the projects. And in order to keep costs down, and in many cases to ensure the necessary expertise, at least a portion of the workforce is flown in from China.

This would be difficult or impossible in San Francisco, where local regulations and deals cut with local governments generally require developers to use local labor and pay prevailing wages.

The CDB and the Lennar partnership have been in discussions to include China Railway Construction Corp., 1186.HK -0.32% a state-run contractor, in the development of Treasure Island and Hunters Point, according to people familiar with the matter. While it is unclear what CRCC's role would be, the company could serve as an adviser or in an consulting role, or could possibly even invest in a local construction company that employs U.S. workers, these people said.

With Chinese firms increasingly eyeing opportunities in the U.S. and other developed markets, CDB will likely find itself being approached to fund more deals in the U.S. People familiar with the negotiations said CDB was using the Treasure Island and Hunters Point projects—which both include "green" building and affordable housing components that are of interest to Chinese builders—as a test case to become familiar with what's required for doing such deals in the U.S.

Miami-based Lennar, the third-largest U.S. home builder measured by the number of houses built, has a large presence in California, and is well known for its ability to put together complex financial deals, usually involving land.

A military history mural in a building on Treasure Island, where Lennar hopes to build up to 8,000 homes.

In 2007, at the height of the real-estate bubble, Lennar sold its stake in a complicated land venture known as LandSource to California's public pension system, for $660 million cash. Three months after the deal, LandSource filed for bankruptcy amid massive nationwide losses in real-estate values, and Lennar bought back much of the land in the venture for pennies on the dollar.

In 2009, Emile Haddad, Lennar's former chief financial officer and the person behind the LandSource deal, launched a land-development company, with Lennar as his majority investor, known as FivePoint Communities. FivePoint became the master developer for four big real-estate projects in California, including Hunters Point and Treasure Island.

"We have created a company that basically is in charge of [some] of the largest mixed-use land opportunities in the state of California," Mr. Haddad said in a 2011 interview. "We are creating the biggest urban development in San Francisco history."

Mr. Haddad declined to comment on Monday. A Lennar spokesman also declined to comment.

A shipyard since 1870, Hunters Point was an important shipbuilding site during World War II, after it was taken over by the Navy. In the years following the war, the area around the shipyard continued to grow as a community of mainly low-income African-American families, some of whom worked on the docks.

In 1999, long after the shipyard's closure, Lennar was selected to redevelop the site. The Hunters Point plan, which took over a decade to arrive at its final version, calls for 12,500 homes, a hotel, 3.5 million square feet of research-development and commercial space, and 800,000 square feet of retail space. Lennar, which is joining with a subsidiary of Estein and Associates USA, Ross Perot Jr.'s Hillwood Development Co. and Scala Real Estate Partners, is also planning to build an arena at nearby Candlestick Point.

About 2,500 people currently live on Treasure Island, a man-made island in the middle of San Francisco Bay that dates back to the late 1930s and is connected to San Francisco and Oakland by the Bay Bridge. In 1939 it was the site of the Golden Gate International Exposition, and later, the Navy operated a base there that was a major shipping-out point for sailors headed to the Pacific.

Lennar is joining with Wilson Meany, a San Francisco developer, along with Stockbridge Capital Group, Hillwood, Scala, Estein and Kenwood Investments, a real-estate fund founded by former Democratic lobbyist Darius Anderson, to build the Treasure Island project, which includes up to 8,000 homes, a 500-room hotel and about 300,000 square feet of commercial space.

On adjacent Yerba Buena Island, Lennar has plans for roughly 210 homes.

"We think it's one of the greatest opportunities certainly in the city," said Michael Tymoff, project director for the Treasure Island Development Authority, the city body overseeing the project. Mr. Tymoff declined to comment on a potential funding deal with China, saying he didn't know the details of Lennar's negotiations.

Negotiations between CDB and the Lennar partnership have been led by Kofi Bonner, a former deputy mayor of San Francisco who heads Lennar Urban, a Lennar division based in San Francisco. Mr. Bonner, along with the partnership's attorneys and Christopher Meany, a managing partner of Wilson Meany, have traveled to China over the past year to negotiate the deal, according to people familiar with the situation. Mr. Bonner, Mr. Meany and a representative for Stockbridge declined to comment.

CDB is one of three banks that are explicitly tasked with meeting policy goals of the Chinese government. While CDB's primary mandate is to support China's domestic development, with foreign currency-denominated lending accounting for only 21% of outstanding loans at the end of 2011, it is also tasked with supporting the development of China's interests overseas.

With Beijing traditionally having kept tight control over foreign exchange, CDB—and to a lesser extent the Export-Import Bank of China, a fellow policy bank—have dominated the funding of overseas projects and investments of Chinese firms.

According to a report earlier this year from the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington-based think tank, CDB accounts for 82% of publicly disclosed lending to Latin America by Chinese banks since 2005.

The potential deal pales in size to the $20 billion loans CDB made to Venezuela in 2010 and the $25 billion it agreed to lend to Russian oil producer Rosneft and Russian pipeline firm Transneft in 2009.

舊金山開發房產 中國找資金

華爾街日報報導,消息人士透露,美國最大的一家房屋建築商
Lennar Corp.正在與中國國家開發銀行 (China Development BankCDB)談判一筆約17億美元的貸款,以便獲得資金,啟動舊金山兩個擱置已久的建築項目,把兩個過去的海軍基地開發成兩個大型房地產區域。

此項談判仍未最後敲定,融資安排也可能無果而終。不過,如果最終達成,此項貸款協議會反映出美國和中國經濟實力對比的變化,因為一家美國公司轉向請求中國提供貸款,以完成兩項被擱置很長時間、而且市政府承諾提供一部分公共資助的建築項目。

相關的兩個開發項目名叫「金銀島」
(Treasure Island)和「獵人岬造船廠」(Hunters Point Shipyard),它們建成後將提供約2萬個單位的新住宅、一個運動場和數百萬平方呎的辦公室與零售空間,有可能改變舊金山的房產市場格局。舊金山的土地非常緊張,新建築空間極為有限。市政府已承諾以土地增值稅債券(tax-increment bonds)方式,為這兩個項目提供數億元資助。

近年來,中國國家的資金
(主要由CDB以及中國進出口銀行提供)已成為若干國家某些基礎設施及資源項目的重要資金,但這些項目主要在非洲、南美和亞洲的開發中國家,包括修建堤壩、機場、鐵路、高速路和運動場。資助條件一般必須由中國開發商與合約商承擔,許多項目至少部分建築工人來自中國。

但這種做法在舊金山將會很困難或不可能,因為當地的法規,要求與地方政府的商業交易一般要求開發商使用本地工人,並按照當地行情支付工資。

消息人士透露,
CDBLennar還在討論推動中國鐵建股份有限公司(China Railway Construction Co., 簡稱:中國鐵建)參與這兩個房地產項目的開發問題。消息人士表示,目前尚不清楚中國鐵建將扮演何種角色,它可能擔任顧問或提供諮詢,也可能直接投資一家舊金山當地的建築商。

June 20 2012  Share

Wealthy foreign buyers are California dreaming - As the US market finally rebounds in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage maelstrom, investors eye substantial returns from foreclosed homes

The super-rich investors responsible for the prime real estate bubble in London are adding California to their wish lists. They are being lured by bargains offering crisis-defying returns as an overdue churn in the US property market finally gets under way.

Wealthy European and Asian investors who have dominated the market for addresses in London's most fashionable neighborhoods are frequently outbidding locals for assets in the Golden State, US real estate brokers report.

And banks, long shackled by the volume of distressed property on their books, are looking to cut deals.

"It is now London and Los Angeles, not Shanghai or Moscow, that interests the cash-rich international investor," said Simon Lyons, managing director of global property group Enstar Capital, who is making regular trips to the US in search of bargains.

As uncertainty stifles global financial markets, real estate with strong rental prospects in key cities across the US is again becoming an asset of choice for the international investor.

Data released by the National Association of Realtors showed that international sales reached US$82.4 billion in the year to March 31, up from US$66.4 billion last year.

The Chinese are now the second-largest foreign buyers of US homes (behind Canadians), accounting for 11 per cent of sales in the year to March, up from 9 per cent.

Cash purchases accounted for 62 per cent of international sales and the average price paid by international buyers was US$400,000, against the overall US average of US$212,000.

As the US jobs market expands, there are signs that the worst may be over for the property market that spawned the sub-prime mortgage maelstrom and the deepest banking crisis since the Great Depression. To capitalize on rising confidence, Los Angeles-based asset manager TCW plans to raise up to US$250 million for a fund enabling investors to buy foreclosed homes from government agencies and lenders.

While lenders are still keen to avert foreclosures by extending loans, so-called distressed inventory is starting to sell because banks are now in a better position to absorb greater losses and free up capacity on their balance sheets.

David Parnes, a director at Bond Street Partners, a Los Angeles-based realtor, said LA was enjoying its biggest influx of foreign capital for years.

"Investors are now snapping up foreclosures in greater numbers because comparatively low property prices mean they are able to achieve strong returns," he said. "Prices in LA are showing to 60 to 70 per cent discounts against their equivalent in Manhattan."

Parnes points out many reasons to explain why the world's super-rich are heading for California.

The state is the financial hub of the US West Coast, with Los Angeles already home to the highest number of foreign-born billionaires outside New York.

Adam Fenner, an executive at California's Skyline Wilshire Investment Partners, said that overseas investors are again viewing the US as "a safer haven". He said: "The very existence of the euro zone is now in doubt, whereas investors believe that the US is fundamentally stable."

Parnes agrees. "From an investment standpoint, the view is even more positive: people are searching for returns which aren't available with other investments, and real estate yields are looking very attractive, given recent price adjustments."

June 11 2012  Share

President Obama Does Dim Sum in San Francisco Chinatown

Chalk it up to all the focus on U.S.-China relations this week: President Obama has developed a hankering for Chinese food.

Less than an hour after landing here for an afternoon and evening of re-election fundraisers, Obama directed the presidential motorcade to swing by the city’s Chinatown, where he made a surprise visit to the Great Eastern restaurant for lunch.

The president strolled into the Jackson Street restaurant, sans suit coat and with sleeves rolled up, startling patrons who were chowing on plates of lo mein and drawing shrieks of “Obama! Obama!” according to a press pool reporter on scene.

“How are you? Good to see you!” Obama said, greeting the mostly Chinese-American crowd.

At the counter in the back of the restaurant, Obama forked over five $20 bills at the register, leaving with two big plastic bags of food.

“I got a dim sum selection,” Obama told reporters on the scene before heading back outside to his ride.

Obama will spend the afternoon mingling behind closed doors with 20 affluent donors at the Intercontinental Hotel. Each paid $35,800 to attend.

Then, he heads to the Nob Hill Masonic Center for a large, 2,500-person fundraiser featuring a concert by Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell.

May 3 2012  Share

2010 Shark Finning Report to Congress http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/domes_fish/ReportsToCongress/SharkFinningReport10.pdf or http://hkchcc.org/sharkfinningreport10.pdf

In the United States, Shark Finning is protected under Federal Rules and Regulation. But many use "Shark Finning" as a mean to enact "Anti-Chinese" legislation disguised as animal rights and hide behind animal rights groups. The following is an excellent article to illustrate their game plans.

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 *News information are obtained through various sources: South China Morning Post, The Standard, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Hong Kong Government, Asia Society, Wall Street Journal, China Daily, Xinhua, World Journal, The Singtao Newspaper, TVB, CCTV Stations in China and others that are deemed reliable, but not guaranteed

 

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