Even though basketball is one of the most popular sports in China the all star game last weekend was not so crowded. I expected much more people and better atmosphere. I was a bit angry when I found out that it is possible to buy tickets in front of the arena from resellers for about 20% of the original price. Yeah, and the North won CBA all star game in Beijing.
Thanks to great marketing basketball became extremely popular in China 100 years after it arrived in 1890s. The first professional team was established in Shenyang and The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) was formed in 1995. The most famous Chinese basketball player Yao Ming joined the NBA as a player of the Houston Rockets in 2002. About 300 million Chinese play basketball.
Photo below is from Sexpo or as they say in Chinese “Reproductive and Adult Health Expo”. I suppose it was very interesting exhibition according to audience faces. Unfortunately I missed the event :(
Sexpo China by Tiexue, via Shanghaiist
Chinese officials announced to spend about 1.3 trillion yuan ($197 billion) to build 10 million units of government subsidized housing this year.
Investment in real estate is very popular among Chinese as there are not many opportunities to invest for them. Therefore prices are booming despite estimates say there are 200 million housing units uninhabited.
According to statistics from China Index Academy, a Beijing-based property research institute, 10 big Chinese cities saw a year-on-year increase in property prices of at least 15 percent in February.
One of the largest developers in Beijing, Pan Shiyi – chairman of SOHO China, wrote at his blog: “The 36 million units of government-subsidized housing in the next few years will take half of the country’s real estate market, posing a great challenge to developers”.
Photo: Sanlitun SOHO, Beijing
Chinese Property: The Most Important Sector in the World
Yesterday I was at Eagles concert in Beijing. It was in Mastercard Arena (formerly Wukesong) which is Olympics basketball arena so it is pretty new.
The concert was sold out but there were many resellers trying to sell tickets in front of the arena. I did not see almost any free seat when I was inside so they were probably very successful or they were selling fake tickets.
At the entrance tickets were checked visually, ticket codes were checked with computer scanners and also infrared light. The security checkpoint was quite vague. They had metal scanners but some people were only checked with manual scanner. Photo and video cameras were allowed and also half meter long light tubes which I hate because it was very annoying during the concert.
The start time at the ticket said 19:30 and concert started at 19:45 which was surprising because I expected it to start about 1 hour later. There was no support band and when the lights were turned on Eagles just started to play Waiting In The Weeds and later they greeted fans in Chinese. Then they played their first number one single Best Of My Love and continued with their first million selling single Take It To The Limit which I liked very much. The audience was thrilled when Hotel California tunes started. After slow introduction more rock songs followed and I think 18 songs were played in total.
The encore consisted of Take It Easy, Rocky Mountain Way and the last song of the evening was Desperado. Eagles played for 2 hours and I still expected some other songs but the guys are too old :)
There were no standing tickets in the arena, only seats. Chinese authorities probably do not like huge standing crowds. There were many security officials outside and also inside.
Despite copyright announcement and camera restriction announcement many people were shooting with flashes, also video cameras were used. Camera flashes were distracting and I do not understand people who shoot with compact camera flash at concert, anyway the most annoying were flashing light tubes. Anybody did not care about camera restriction during the performance. First videos from the concert were online the same day, you can see Hotel California at Youku.com. Also Eagles branded souvenirs were sold in front of the arena but it did not look like official merchandise which was sold inside.
Visitors were mostly Chinese, maybe less than 10% were foreigners, I met feng shui architect from Taiwan and accountant from Beijing. This was my first big concert in China. It was quite well organised, there were no issues, place was nice and Eagles were great. I am looking forward to Bob Dylan who will be in Beijing in three weeks :)
Photo: Master Card Wukesong Arena Beijing
The number of Chinese mainland billionaires almost doubled from 64 to 115. The number of Asian billionaires (332) surpassed Europeans for the first time. The richest Chinese is Baidu founder & CEO Robin Li, who replaced Zong Qinghou (founder of soft drink firm Wahaha Group) on the list.
China plans to decrease import tariffs to boost the domestic consumption. Overseas consumption facilitated by China UnionPay’s network (the country’s only credit card network) hit 180 billion yuan ($27.4 billion) in 2010. Estimated consumption by Chinese residents is $100 billion. Harrods London accepts China UnionPay cards since February 2011.
According to the Forestry Ministry’s statistics China produces 57 billion pairs of chopsticks every year, which require the felling of around 3.8 million trees.
Chinese soldiers at Qianmen street in Beijing during The Lantern Festival on 17th February 2011
Piao is chinese website for online ticket booking. You can book tickets for Chinese opera which is once in a lifetime experience (you see it once and that’s more than enough) but Piao also offers tickets for concerts and sport events.