As Ecns.cn reports, the Australian government officially announced on Wednesday that the country will become a founding member of the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with a contribution of 930 million AU dollars (718 million U.S. dollars) as paid-in capital to the bank. Australia will be the sixth largest shareholder, said the statement.
The statement noted that there is an estimated infrastructure financing gap of around 8 trillion U.S. dollars in the Asian region over the current decade. "The AIIB will be part of the solution to closing this gap," it said.
The two ministers said in the statement that joining the AIIB presents Australia with great opportunities to work with Australia's neighbors and with its largest trading partner, China, to drive economic growth and jobs.
They noted that the AIIB will work closely with the private sector, paving the way for Australian businesses to take advantage of the growth in infrastructure in the region.
As for the governance of the AIIB, the statement said it will be based on best practice, ensuring that all members will be directly involved in the direction and decision making of the bank in an open and transparent manner.
As Ecns.cn reports, that the latest data released by China UnionPay indicates that the UnionPay cards international transactions reached 11.8 trillion yuan (about 1.9 trillion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2015, while the number of VISA is 1.75 trillion U.S. dollar over the same period, meaning that China Unionpay has become the world's largest bank card clearing organization.
Currently, UnionPay cards can be used in 150 countries and regions outside China. It is accepted by more than 26 million merchants in the world. About 1.8 million ATMs have been installed worldwide. The total number of UnionPay cards issued is more than 5 billion. 40 foreign countries and regions have issued the card.
As IBT reports, Silicon Valley's Marc Andreessen famously stated that software was eating the world, but who would have predicted it could consume the mighty corporatocracy of banks and financial services providers?
The metrics portend ominously for banks: some 30% of millennials (people under age of 35 who have grown up with technology) do not expect to have a bank account in five years. That is according to research from Goldman Sachs.
Add to that the billions of people who currently do not have access to a bank account but are connected via mobile phones to the internet – apparently we are poised to replace the banking system as we know it.
As Ecns.cn reports, the London Stock Exchange has expressed an interest in creating a stock-trading link with the Shanghai Stock Exchange, similar to the one between Shanghai and Hong Kong, to tap into opportunities as China's capital markets continue to open up. "We are working on it and trying to understand what might be involved," Nicolas Bertrand, head of equity and derivative markets of the London Stock Exchange Group, told a press briefing in Beijing.
Jon Edwards, its deputy head of primary markets and emerging markets, said the British exchange certainly sees opportunities for Chinese companies listing their overseas assets in London, under the government's "Belt and Road Initiative", which aims at reviving the ancient Silk Road trading routes.
To take advantage of London's status as the largest yuan market outside the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, the bourse is also aiming to launch more yuan-denominated trading products.
There are 32 yuan-denominated bonds, also known as dim-sum bonds, worth $35.9 billion currently traded in London.
Five exchange-traded funds that track Chinese A shares have also been launched and more are expected to offer investors greater exposure to the booming Chinese stock market.
As China.org.cn reports, China created 1 million new millionaires last year as the country's booming stock market bolstered the ranks of the wealthy, according to a global wealth report released on Monday.
The US maintained the largest number of millionaires last year at about 6.9 million. China was in second place with 3.6 million, followed by Japan with 1.1 million, according to the Global Wealth 2015: Winning the Growth Game, released by The Boston Consulting Group.
For the first time, Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) passed Europe in wealth, totaling $47.3 trillion to $42.5 trillion, the report showed. It predicted that the Asia-Pacific region will probably become the richest region in the world next year with an estimated $57 trillion of private wealth, surpassing North America's projected $56 trillion.
"When it comes to wealth, Asia is the place to be," said Federico Burgoni, partner and leader of BCG's asset and wealth management segment in the Asia-Pacific region. "China and India are speed driving the growth in Asia Pacific, but Indonesia and Thailand are also producing growth.
The report said current political and economic tensions, such as those in the Middle East and Latin America, continue to spur the wealthy to seek offshore locations to manage their wealth. As for offshore wealth booked in Asia Pacific, Singapore (31 percent) and Hong Kong (15 percent) remained the top destinations.
BCG said Switzerland will need to reinvent itself to turn back the threat from fast-developing Asian booking centers as preferred global locations for offshore wealth.
As Ecns.cn reports, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) is looking forward to cooperating closely with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Director General of ADB's Strategy and Policy Department Indu Bhushan said in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.
Bhushan said that the ADB is willing to cooperate with the AIIB, with possible co-financing in some projects. The Articles of Agreement (AOA) for AIIB has been finalized and should be ready for signing by the end of June.
The China-proposed bank is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year with planned authorized capital of 100 billion U.S. dollars.
"We hope AIIB's projects will provide maximum social and economic benefits to the countries it assists. In a recent meeting with Liqun Jin, secretary general of the Multilateral Interim Secretariat on Establishing the AIIB, both ADB and AIIB reaffirmed the importance of environmental and social safeguards for projects, " Bhushan said.
ADB provides support for infrastructure, education, finance, agriculture, and health sectors across the Asia-Pacific region.
As China.org.cn reports, the New Zealand government announced Monday that the country will invest NZ$125 million ($87.27 million) in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) paid over five years.
New Zealand has agreed to become a founding member of the AIIB, which is being established to invest in new infrastructure across Asia, Finance Minister Bill English said in a statement.
The bank aimed to address a significant gap in infrastructure investment in the Asian region, which would enhance the Asian region's growth and in turn be good for New Zealand, English said.
"New Zealand was the first Western developed nation to join negotiations to set up the bank and our membership will enhance our already strong economic, trade and investment links with the Asian region," said English.
As AsiaOne reports, Singapore has retained its top spot as the most important maritime capital.
It emerged first among 15 cities that were benchmarked in five categories: shipping centres, finance and law, technology, ports and logistics, and attractiveness and competitiveness.
Hamburg was ranked second in the report by Norwegian consulting firm Menon, followed by Oslo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
"With its business-friendly policies and being strategically located on the trade route between Europe and Asia, Singapore has gained a position in the global economy few would have predicted 40 years ago," said the report, which comprised of responses from 196 maritime professionals from 33 countries.
It added: "As recently as 10 years ago, Singapore lacked maritime research and education, and the lines between foreign and domestic companies were weak.
"Today, the city plays a key role in all aspects of the maritime industry." The inaugural Menon report three years ago also ranked Singapore in first place.
As Ecns.cn reports, real estates or luxury commodities are no longer satisfying the wealthy Chinese, as they head overseas to snap up islands, a new signature to mark their status, Cankao Xiaoxi (Reference News), a newspaper affiliated to Xinhua reported Tuesday.
Lin Dong, 42, a Guangdong entrepreneur who made his fortune from a medical equipment company, is one of a small but growing number of rich Chinese acquiring their own islands. Since acquiring his first island nine years ago, Lin has bought more than 30 islands for 30 million yuan ($4.83 million).
Lin has founded China's first association of island owners, China Island Owners Association, which currently has 53 members, two thirds of whom are from Chinese mainland and the rest are overseas Chinese.
There are at least 600 island owners in China, Lin estimates.
By the end of this month, around 70 wealthy Chinese assembled by Lin will head out to Fiji, Tuvalu and Tahiti to purchase islands in a group tour.
Islands in China come with many restrictions on their use and a lease of just 50 years while most overseas islands are sold freehold, part of the reason why foreign islands are a hot cake.
Lin said, there is an elite group that buys islands for pleasure alone, while some look at islands from an investment point of view, mostly corporations planning tourism or fishing development.
"Buying islands is on the top of the pyramid of luxury commodities, and wealthy Chinese are showing growing interest in overseas islands in recent years", said Lin.
In march, four islands in Fiji, Greece, the United Kingdom and Canada were put up for auction on China's largest online shopping platform Taobao, and three of them were sold within 12 hours. A construction magnate in Yunnan province bought islands in Greece for 6.2 million yuan and in Canada for 1.7 million yuan.
A wealthy Chinese woman recently purchased Slipper Island, one of New Zealand's few privately owned islands, as a gift for her daughter. The 224 hectare island was sold for nearly 35 million yuan.
As The Straits Times reports, central banks have a growing appetite for risk, wanting more exposure to the Chinese yuan,- a view that is also adopted by sovereign wealth funds around the world, a new survey has found.
While less than 1 per cent of central bank portfolios were invested in renminbi, 43 per cent of them were interested in gaining more exposure to the currency, an annual soverign asset management study said. Thirty-five per cent of global sovereign wealth funds reported that they were seeking renminbi exposure.
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