The Lunar New Year is being celebrated across Asia, not only in China, with hundreds of millions of people gathering with their families and friends to welcome the Year of the Rooster.
The New Year, which officially starts on Saturday, is the only holiday of the year for lots of Chinese people, and is traditionally marked by riotous displays of fireworks and countless firecrackers.
According to the Chinese zodiac, people born in the Year of the Rooster are brave, responsible and punctual.
For ordinary Chinese, the Chunwan or the New Year Evening Gala on CCTV is still the most watched and best entertainment although it has been widely criticized as being old-fashioned and a weird propaganda of the Red Party.
While Beijing was quieter than normal on new year eve, with the Government cracking down this year to prevent a recurrence of the smog that has chocked large parts of northern China this winter, millions of people still celebrated in the streets.
To avoid the air pollution, millions of Chinese have chosen to leave the country and spend their festival holiday overseas. And according to Xinhua, London alone would take in at least 11 million pounds of income from Chinese travelers.
In spite of the Chinese government’s efforts to prevent the cash flow overseas, many are still looking to invest in property in countries like the US and Australia. According to Juwai.com, a more complete picture of Chinese demand may only emerge after the Lunar New Year holiday, when wealthier buyers often combine overseas property hunting with sightseeing.
For a Mr. Zheng, the decision on whether to walk away from his Melbourne property or risk breaking China’s foreign-exchange rules is fast approaching. He’s scheduled to wire another 800,000 yuan to Australia in late February to cover the rest of his down payment, according to media.
According to Karen Maley of AFR, 2017 is a not so happy Chinese New Year of the Rooster. She added, “With the Chinese Lunar New Year set to kick off on on Saturday, analysts warn that the unexpectedly good fortune that Chinese firms enjoyed in 2016 could be about to ebb in the Year of the Rooster”.
“Figures released this week show that profits of China’s industrial firms jumped by 8.5 per cent in 2016, compared with the previous year, as Beijing’s huge stimulus programs and a surge in credit helped bolster activity in the world’s second largest economy”.
China has said that it will lower its 2017 economic growth target to around 6.5 percent from last year’s 6.5-7 percent, according to the closed-door Central Economic Work Conference in mid December, reinforcing a policy shift from supporting growth to pushing reforms to contain debt and housing risks.
There are signs that the operating conditions for Chinese corporates are getting decidedly tougher. Industrial profits grew by only 2.3 per cent in the year to December, a sharp drop from the 14.5 per cent growth notched up in November.
But Chinese investment is still active overseas. According to the Reuters, holiday company Club Med, owned by Chinese group Fosun, plans to open 15 new resorts worldwide in the next three years, including one in China and one in Japan in 2017, and to upgrade nine of its existing sites.
In France alone, still Club Med’s biggest market, the group plans to open one new mountain village resort each year until 2019, Chief Executive Henri Giscard d’Estaing told a news conference.
Just on the eve of the Lunar New Year, Ant Financial, the digital payments arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is buying US-based MoneyGram for $880m. MoneyGram has about 350,000 outlets in nearly 200 countries. Ant Financial has more than 630 million users.
Among business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, President Xi talked the language of global togetherness, and back home his Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily, lost no time in declaring the bankruptcy of Western politics.
“The emergence of capitalism’s social crisis is the most updated evidence to show the superiority of socialism and Marxism,” it said. BBC China editor Carrie Gracie says that China is gambling for global supremacy in era of Trump.
On the eve of the Lunar New Year, Chinese billionaires Guo Wengui appears on an interviews with Mirror Media and pledges corruption charges on more top Chinese leaders, including the Beijing Police head Fu Zhenghua and more members of the politburo.
There will be another big play on the Chinese New Year stage of Red Roosters Fighting.