Informercial Documentaries? — Friday W4

The story ‘My Place in History,’ Devised by Me is about an upcoming documentary about the movie Star Wars — “Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed.” The documentary is produced in association with Lucasfilm, the creator of the movie. We can’t help questioning the creditability of the opinions in the documentary. When the subject of the documentary is also the investor, can it be directed, edited and produced without biases?

As the report pointed out, the practice happens a lot in documentary productions because of financial pressure and copyright issues. For the documentary about films and other performances, it’s almost inevitable to include a large amount of original, copyrighted materials into the documentary. However, the copyright owners (Lucusfilm in this case) are usually reluctant to license their work unless they are also involved in the documentary production.

I personally don’t feel anything wrong with the financial relations between programmers and the subjects. Autobiography, in which the writer and the subject are almost always the same person, is one of the most popular book genre. The autobiography is devised it place in history by itself, and we don’t have any problem with that at all.

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China-U. S. Relations –A7

While the U.S. China Strategic Economic Dialogue is held in Washington, a lot of discussions about Chinese economy and U.S. China relationship are published in the Journal. As I recall, WSJ includes pet food scandal, trans-import and of course the “not-so-satisfactory” dialogue progress in recent reports. Today, they listed a series of numbers to sort out U.S. – China relations.

The U.S. trading deficit in goods with China is $232.6 billion ($287.8B import minus $55.2B export) is greater than the deficit with both European Union and OPEC, the second and third largest trading deficit  U.S. posts with. Among the $287.8 billion imports from China, 80% are consumer goods. The top four goods categories are computer parts, household goods, toys/recreation and computers, each accounts more than 10% of the total imports by value. China accounts 80% of US toy market by value, half of the footwear market and near half the TV and consumer-electronics market. Among U.S. exports to China, semiconductors, civilian aircraft, soybeans(!), plastic materials and raw cotton top the list.

Dollar dominated assets account about two-thirds of China’s $1.2 trillion foreign-exchange reserves. The $420 billion in treasury bills is about 20% of all the foreign-held debt of the U.S. government. China’s recent investment of $3 billion to the U.S. private equity firm Blackstone is widely reported by national and local news coverage.

Here are two quotes from the economic dialogue:

“There is a growing skepticism in each country about the other’s intentions. Unfortunately, in America this is manifesting itself as anti-China sentiment as China becomes a symbol of the real and imagined downside of global competition. ” — Henry Paulson, Treasury Secretary.

“We should not easily blame the other side for our own domestic problems. ” — Wu Yi, Chinese Vice Premier.

DELL goes retail, too — A3

Dell will start selling its PC in 3500 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores on June 10.

Dell was exceptionally successful with its direct sales strategy until recently. HP took the No.1 spot in the PC industry last year as Dell’s direct sale lost its momentum. Now consumers care not only how powerful but also how beautiful the PC is. It’s not very easy to sense the beauty of the laptop you’re buying over the phone or on the internet. Dell recognized the importance of brick & mortar stores and opened its own retail chains just like Apple. However, it seems that HP and acer’s strategy to sell within established general stores like Wal-Mart and electronics stores like Best Buy is an even better idea than Dell’s own B&M retail stores.

As a loyal Dell customer, I’m looking forward to the brighter future of the cooperation of two giants.

By the way, Lenovo was doing very well in the last fiscal quarter.  With the surging Thinkpad sales, Lenovo bounces back to profit. Especially, Lenovo’s America operations turned to profitability for the first time after the acquisition of IBM’s thinkpad brand.

Chinese Stock Market Investors — front page

An interesting story to reflect how immature Chinese stock market is.

Chinese investors are very glad to see 8s while buying stocks. Yan Caigen, featured in the front page story, bought Jilin Yatai Co. stocks just because the stock’s ticker number 600881 contains a double-eight. Fortunately, Yatai was doing very well after his purchase and earned him about $50000.

A lot of investors are feeling lucky now in China. With the booming stock market, it’s hard to pick a poor performing stock. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index is up 56% this year and quadruple its level at mid-2005. People are crazy about the bull market, and they are pulling money from the personal saving account, from real estate, or even from retirement saving to the stock market. Up to now, everybody seems happy with this. Individual investors make up 60% to 80% of trading in China. While I got my US dollars exchanged to RMB in one of Construction Bank branches in Beijing, an old lady next to me are buying the stock funds. While she has no idea about stock share, return, or even the transaction fee charged to her account, she didn’t hesitate at all to continue her investment with the help of the teller. Or I should say her gamble.

Back to the luck number, the kick-off time for Beijing Olympic Games is 8PM, on 8-8-2008. The three keys 6, 8 and 9 wear out first just because they have the best homonyms in Chinese. I guess I’m lucky too. My cell phone number 606-6876, randomly assigned to me by T-Mobile, may worth thousands of yuan with this many 6 and 8 in it.