Hong Kong (CNN) – While China has become the world's second largest economy, doing business in China is now perceived to be more corrupt, according to Transparency International.
China dropped five spots to 80th place out of 176 countries surveyed in the 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index. "The world's leading economies should lead by example, making sure that their institutions are fully transparent and their leaders are held accountable. This is crucial since their institutions play a significant role in preventing corruption from flourishing globally," said Cobus de Swardt, managing director of the Berlin-based corruption watchdog.
Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore topped the list as the cleanest countries to do business in the world, according to the survey released Wednesday. Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Myanmar ranked at the bottom.
The United States was ranked 19th in the world, below Japan and the UK and ahead of Chile and Uruguay.
Shanghai (CNN) - The only souvenir that Xie Jinghua has from her stay at a Holiday Inn Express located in a vast tourism park alongside the East China Sea is a room key.
The 52-year-old said she was not able to buy any of the beach toys in the lobby, walk around a lake nearby, or enjoy the ocean just outside of her window. Xie was there, she said, because she was forced to be – held in a hotel room for eight days after she and her 56-year-old husband, Ma Haiming, traveled to Beijing in March to protest the compensation they were given for the demolition of the family's farmhouse to make way for the expansion of Shanghai's PudongInternationalAirport in 2005. When the couple arrived in Beijing, Xie said they were picked up by plain clothes police and forced to travel hundreds of miles back to Shanghai, then held separately at the hotel.
"I really felt quite sick inside," said Xie, who now lives in a tiny apartment near the airport where her son works as a janitor. Xie said she tried to escape from her third floor hotel room on March 10 via its balcony but was stopped by at least seven guards who, she said, "put me on the bed and used the bedspread" to hold her down. She said she stole the room key when a guard was not looking.
Xie and her husband were not alone. Three other people have told CNN they were held against their will at the Holiday Inn Express Nanhuizui – located in Lingang New City on the outskirts of Shanghai – to keep them from airing grievances to the central government during the 10-day annual meeting of China's legislature in March. The hotel management and owners deny their claims.
(CNN) – China unveiled the elite group of seven who will set the agenda for the next decade. Leading the group: Xi Jinping, now the nation's most powerful man.
Now that China’s Communist Party has officially put its stamp on its new leaders, political scientist Willy Lam offers this analysis:
“By and large, we have a conservative team,” Lam told CNN. “We can expect no substantial or meaningful movement toward political reform, in favor of staying the course, maintaining political stability and defusing challenges to the party’s authority.”
Reformers are concerned that two protégés of former President Hu Jintao – Liu Yuanchao and Wang Yang – weren’t selected. “Liu and Wang were considered to be pro-reform, so for those hoping for reform this is quite a disappointment,” Lam said.
(CNN) – News that Disney has purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas – creator of the Star Wars saga – for $4 billion drew immediate reaction online, which was quickly populated with Darth Vader masks and Death Stars adorned with Mickey Mouse ears.
Or as someone who with the Twitter handle “Yoda” wrote: “Bought Lucasfilm, Disney did. Replace me with Mickey Mouse, they cannot.”
Disney is planning to throw the full weight of its empire behind relaunching the Star Wars franchise, which saw its last installment in 2005 with “Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.”
Hong Kong (CNN) – Figures last month out of China for Japanese auto companies paint a pretty stark picture of the impact on sales of anti-Japanese sentiment over a group of disputed islands.
Sales for Toyota vehicles in the world’s largest car market fell 40% year-on-year in September, mimicking similar declines for Mazda and Nissan. Meanwhile, General Motors had record car sales in China last month, as did South Korean carmaker Hyundai.
All of which suggest calls by Chinese nationalists to stop buying Japanese products are taking a bite out of Tokyo profits. But do economic boycotts really work?
(CNN) - A new survey shows one in five Spaniards want to quit the euro and return to the peseta.
Spain's "El Pais" newspaper published a poll from Metroscopia Sunday that found 21% want to leave the euro currency, which Spain abandoned a decade ago to join the eurozone.
The poll also found that 72% of those polled believed the Spain, the eurozone’s fourth largest economy, would need a full bailout from the European Union, up from 62% a month ago, Reuters reported.
(CNN) – Another week, another round of news that suggests it’s a bad time to be a banker.
First came news Deutsche Bank became the first global bank to that could claw back payouts. Deutsche Bank's clawback rules allow it to take away from newly hired senior staff the un-vested equity bonuses earned at previous employers - if they were turned into Deutsche Bank shares. This is a significant tightening of bonus rules by Europe's largest lender, CNN’s Jim Boulden says. Pay consultants say the rule is unusual in the banking world and comes as European banks now hold employees accountable for questionable behavior.
But the question remains: Will other banks follow? And will the new rules give Deutsche Bank trouble recruiting?
(CNN) - The share price of Samsung Electronics dropped more than 7% in early trading Monday morning as investors had their first opportunity to react to Friday's more than $1 billion decision against the Korean electronics giant by a California jury for infringing on Apple patents.
Samsung dropped 6.3% at the open of South Korea's Kospi index and was down about 7% at noon Seoul time, after dropping as much as 7.7%. The tumble erased $12 billion from the company's market value Monday morning.
Samsung is planning to appeal Friday's decision of a U.S. federal jury which awarded Apple $1.05 billion for copying the look and feel of iPhones and iPad design. The jury rejected Samsung's counterclaims against Apple.
A senior Samsung executive told the Korea Times the decision was "absolutely the worst scenario for us" as he was heading into an emergency meeting at the company's Seoul headquarters on Sunday.
Hong Kong (CNN) - A group representing international companies in China has warned members that police in Beijing, Hebei and Shandong have required international firms to purchase Internet monitoring devices or risk having their connections cut.
The Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC), a group aimed at safeguarding intellectual property rights in China, sent an email to its 216 members late last month warning of the police visits, saying it "would cause serious concerns from our members."
The emailed alert, copies of which were provided to CNN, raise particular concerns for international businesses operating in China because many companies often use private networks that allow employees to skirt China's so-called "Great Firewall" of censors. But, based on the QBPC alert, it appears firms in some areas are being asked to install a device within their private systems to track all internet activity– and that information must be made available to police, looking for "illegal activity."
Hong Kong (CNN) – The glitz and prestige of New York’s 5th Avenue makes it one of the most famous streets on the planet. But a torrent of mainland China visitors and a rental war among global brands will soon push the property prices in Hong Kong’s Central district higher than New York’s most expensive address.
As CNN’s Ramy Inocencio reports, Colliers predicts that by 2014, the average retail space in Hong Kong’s Central district (pictured above, left) will eclipse the $2,600 square foot price of New York’s 5th Avenue (pictured above, right). Presently, the average price is about $1,800 per square foot in Central, but prices have been zooming higher as retail brands jostle for prime real estate in this tightly packed territory.
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