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Female academics:Fashion about women

Le 26 janvier 2016, 04:46 dans Humeurs 0

Jonathan Wolff’s column about the way academics dress caused uproar on my Twitter and Facebook feeds this week. And rightly so. Despite occasionally acknowledging that some academics might be women, his comments betrayed his assumption that academics are male, for apparently their default uniform comprises trousers, a jacket, a shirt and a tie.

But the most galling thing about his assumption is that in one way, he’s right: masculine dress is the standard academic uniform, for academia remains an overtly male domain. As a result, female academics find their appearance scrutinised in ways a male colleague would rarely encounter.

It’s well known that the suit conveys authority and power in the workplace in overtly masculine ways. You only need to look at the tie, pointing insistently to the male crotch, to recognise this.

So when a man wears a suit, he is simply adopting the standard uniform of a conventional authoritative masculinity, as Grayson Perry recently noted in his description of the great white male. But if this form of dress is also the default academic uniform, what should a female academic wear? Buy taobao women clothes on agreetao.

In my experience, many choose to adopt feminine adaptations of the standard uniform: a shirt and jacket, with a smart skirt or trousers. This can be a help at conferences, when the obligatory name badges still tend to sit in holders designed to be clipped to a man’s jacket pocket or lapel, rather than hung from a lanyard around the neck. But I’ve been told by some women – particularly junior colleagues – that they dress like this in order to be “taken seriously”.

The implication is that dressing in a more conventionally feminine way is somehow more frivolous, and can undermine perceptions of a woman’s intellectual and professional skills. Dressing in order to be taken seriously indicates that the spectre of older, more explicit forms of sexism still hovers over us: a woman who adopts a more feminine style is too preoccupied with pretty things to be a serious academic, because a woman can’t be both attractive and intelligent – if indeed she can be intelligent at all.

But even when a woman wears a suit in the academic area, she’s not immune from similarly loaded and critical assumptions. I’ve overheard conversations at academic gatherings in which female colleagues have been described as “power-dressing” – coded language used to accuse a woman of asserting herself in overly-ambitious ways.

How different it is for a male academic! When he wears a suit, he’s simply perceived to be professionally and smartly dressed. He doesn’t need to “power-dress”: by virtue of his being a man, he is already powerful.

This is why a male academic can afford to look scruffy if he chooses: no one will question his intellectual or professional authority. Male academics who wear jeans, hoodies and t-shirts are “lads” to their students, and “good blokes” to their colleagues. Older men who wear scuffed shoes and a fraying tweed jacket, accidentally accessorized with a splodge of egg yolk down their tie, are “eccentric” or “distractedly intellectual”.

But a female academic who looks similarly casual, or scruffy, or unkempt, risks becoming the target of a range of sexist assumptions: she must be a student, or a mother distracted from the job by childcare, or a woman too old to need to bother about her appearance.

These assumptions are obviously not isolated. The unspoken dress-codes of academia are simply a reflection of the wider policing of women’s bodies in other professional contexts in western society. No matter what their occupation, women are still frequently held to account for their appearance, rather than only their expertise and experience.

Something About China property bonds

Le 13 janvier 2016, 06:59 dans Humeurs 0

To many global investors, bonds from China’s property sector are toxic nuclear waste, not to be touched at any cost. To others, they come with a more pragmatic “handle with care” warning. I belong to the latter camp.

From just a handful of bonds 10 years ago, the sector has grown to contribute 9.5% of the Asian US dollar bond market with US$51bn of bonds trading. That is nearly a third of all high-yield corporate bonds in the region.

Over this period, the sector has gone through three cycles of downturns and upturns. Several Chinese property companies have issued, redeemed and refinanced their offshore bonds. Companies with credit ratings ranging from Single A to Triple C have managed to issue bonds, which chinese trade credit actively in the secondary market. Yet, a feeling of unease persists.

Perhaps the first source of discomfort is the fact that offshore Chinese property bonds are deeply subordinated, since they are issued by offshore-incorporated entities, which inject the bond proceeds as equity into their onshore companies and service their debt only out of equity dividends received back from the mainland. The difficulties in repatriating equity funds out of China mean that the offshore principal effectively has to be refinanced. In case of bankruptcy, the onshore lenders have the first claim over the onshore assets.

While this structural weakness is undoubtedly true, it applies to every other bond issued by Chinese businesses, including investment-grade bonds far beyond the property sector, since the structure was born out of regulations prohibiting the issuance of debt or guarantees by mainland companies. (Only recently have the authorities begun to relax this prohibition, and the first few offshore bonds are now coming out with direct guarantees from mainland operating companies.)

ANOTHER SOURCE OF discomfort is the government’s meddling in the property sector through various measures, including the flow of credit to the builders, rules for financing land purchases, obtaining mortgages, and mortgage down-payment requirements. The harshest controls came in 2010 when the government restricted the number of apartments that an individual could purchase.

Property prices are a sensitive subject everywhere, and China is no exception. The government presses the brakes if the prices are speeding too fast and pushes the accelerator if property construction flags too much so as to threaten the overall economic growth.

This government intervention makes asset values volatile in both equity and debt markets, and raises the cost of capital to the sector.

Some investors have also been scared away by stories of oversupply and ghost cities. The property development business model, by definition, consists of a long operating cycle, and there may be genuine demand/supply imbalances, as in any other industry, but the overwhelming majority of Chinese properties are built in response to actual demand from a rapidly urbanising population. The same goes for talk of speculative buying, when the reality is that most of the properties are bought for self-occupation. Buyers have to put up a minimum 30% down-payment, they are not over-leveraged and there is no subprime lending.

WHEN IT COMES to investing in Chinese property bonds, one should realise that there has already been one level of filtering – only those companies large enough to go through a rating process and the expense of issuing offshore actually end up selling dollar bonds. They are all listed offshore, most of them in Hong Kong, and are subject to audits and disclosures that go with the listing status. The additional scrutiny from equity analysts and investors that comes with listing also offers additional information for bond investors.

There has not been a single default in the sector so far, and only two distressed exchanges in 2009, both at 80 cents to the dollar. Some companies did go through financial distress during previous sector downturns, but they managed to sell land or unfinished projects to stronger players and stave off default.

This is not to argue that we would never see a default in the sector. We will, sooner or later. But the sector has genuine fundamentals, strong and weak players, and saleable assets that can be realised in times of distress.

So, how should one approach investments in Chinese property bonds? First of all, investors need to be prepared for the volatility that comes with the regulatory changes. Any crash in value following a regulatory tightening offers an opportunity to pick up the higher-quality bonds at more attractive prices. In fact, such moves also enable the stronger players to buy out the weaker ones or to acquire assets from the struggling players, and increase their market share.

The current downturn in the market is no different. It is true that the stock of unsold property is running above average; that the leverage has increased in the last 12-18 months in response to slowing sales; that margins are under pressure due to the pressure to liquidate stock; and that some of the weaker companies are likely to experience a liquidity crunch in the next 12-18 months, unless they slow down their expansion. But the current downturn is also an opportunity to pick up bonds issued by stronger companies, which will benefit from the tight conditions in the sector. The challenge is reading the credit fundamentals carefully enough to identify the winners.

Several Simple Ways to Verify Chinese Suppliers

Le 6 janvier 2016, 02:51 dans Humeurs 0

One difficult task to do when sourcing in China is trying to verify the suppliers. For small and medium sized buyers, many of them can’t come to China to visit the supplier on the ground and face to face, so they could either use a third party verification service (such as Chinawhy) or do the verification themselves, using the following simple tips:

1. Check the bank account

If your suppliers have a foreign currency company account to accept your payment, and the bank account is opened in one of the state-run banks (Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank), this is positive. As we know, only companies with an import and export license can apply for a foreign currency company account in the state-run banks.

If your supplier doesn’t have an import and export license, they won’t have a foreign currency company account. But they should have an RMB company account in a Chinese bank. As foreign buyers, you can’t send RMB to China, but you could ask your agent in China to send a sample fee to their bank account to test if their RMB company account is real.

2. Be cautious of shell companies

When you see Hong Kong companies on Alibaba, with contact information in Shenzhen or Guangdong province (the address is in Shenzhen and/or the phone number start with 0755, not 852), that is a shell company, be cautious.

3. Secrets in the company name

If you see a company with “trading” or “trade” in its name, then it is obviously a trading company, not a factory.

If a company has “group” in its name, then it is a big corporate. So if you are small buyers, keep away from them.

According to Chinese law, all Chinese companies should add the geographical location in the company name. The geographical location is related with registered capital. In our province (Zhejiang), for registered capital less than 2 million RMB, you can’t use the prefecture-level cities in your name (for example, if a factory is in Ninghai county, Ningbo city, Zhejiang province, China).

Judging by the company name, you can tell the company size (or at least the registered capital):

China Mobile Limited (huge size)
Jiaoguang Group (big corporate)
Zhejiang XXX Co., Ltd. (big company but smaller than group company)
Ningbo XXX Co., Ltd. (decent company)
Ninghai XXX Co., Ltd. (ordinary or small size)

More imformation about verify chinese company , you can view Cnbizsearch:

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