What were some of the cash flows into the coin market last year?

A few independent reports have trickled in regarding the amount of real money that came into the cryptocurrency market last year.

One estimate is from Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou at JP Morgan entitled “Flows & Liquidity: The emergence of cryptocurrencies.”  According to his analysis:

The net flow into cryptocurrencies is very much a function of coin creation which is controlled by computer algorithms and in the case of bitcoin is diminishing over time. Figure 6 shows the net amount of money invested every year since 2009. The cumulative amount has totaled around $6bn since 2009, well below the current market cap of $300bn.

He illustrates this over time with the bar chart below:

A cumulative $6 billion figure is a little less than the next estimate below.

Note: that Panigirzoglou’s analysis above was published last month.  It is unclear how much his calculation(s) may adjust upward given the fervent energy through the holiday season.

Robin Wigglesworth, a reporter with the Financial Times, posted a new note from Citi research about a week ago entited: “Cryptocurrencies are the answer; what is the question?”  A couple bullet points from the note:

  • In 2017, cryptocurrencies grew from a market cap of less than $20bn to around $500bn. We estimate this surge was driven by net inflows of less than $10bn.
  • We think current prices require inflows of approximately $25bn/year to be sustainable. For 2018, this seems likely to be exceeded. We would expect bitcoin to continue to make gains but for larger alt-coins, particularly ripple and ethereum, to outperform.

They don’t give a range, but less than $10 billion could sync with the JP Morgan analysis depending on which spot exchanges and OTC service providers they spoke with (in addition to the market data they may have used).

I typically don’t write about price action, however, the price of bitcoin has been especially volatile the past few weeks.  It has declined about $5,000 (~25%) since its most recent all-time high last month.  And both ether and XRP have recently seen new highs.  Will this last throughout the rest of the year?

Note: I was quoted in The Wall Street Journal last month saying this is some kind of bubble:

The most recent moves brought bitcoin’s year-to-date gain to about 1,560%. For many skeptics, though, that is proof that bitcoin is a massive bubble.

“It’s clear that people are putting money in simply because they think other people are going to put in money,” said Tim Swanson, the founder and research director at Post Oak Labs, a San Francisco advisory firm. “We’re seeing the actual illustration of speculation. Somebody should take a snapshot of this and put it in the dictionary.”

Let’s check back in a few months to see if there are any more cash flow estimates.

Update: Chainalysis posted an explanation for the post-December price decline which looks at ‘net inflow’ at exchanges.  See also: J.P. Morgan Perspectives: “Decrypting Cryptocurrencies: Technology, Applications and Challenges” (pdf)

Stat of the day: animation in China

Apparently animation companies receive lots of preferential treatment and subsidies which had unintended consequences, from HuXiu:

In 2011, China produced more than 260,000-minutes-long tv episodes of animation, which is 180,000 minutes more than Japan, the second biggest animation-output country of the world. In 2012, a total of 117-thousand-hours-long animation was aired in China.


As a result, fake companies and fake projects arise in the animation industry, taking advantage of the favorable policies by enjoying the generous subsidies while contribute nothing. More than 30 animation festivals were planned in eight months, and more than 20 cities claim they are working on becoming “the City of Animation (动漫之都)”.

Stat of the day: Chinese tourism abroad

According to Chasing the Chinese Tourist Yuan from The Wall Street Journal:

But in the aggregate, Chinese tourists have now passed Germans and Americans to become the biggest spenders abroad. About half of the 83 million Chinese who traveled outside the mainland in 2012 spent more than $5,000 per trip, according to British payment processor WorldPay.


Chinese authorities expect the number of travelers going overseas to hit 100 million next year. But that will still leave 93% of the population at home—potential travelers. The travel industry, hoping that the number of Chinese travelers keeps climbing, is preparing to serve the next wave.

Stat of the day: foreign students in China

With a goal of attracting 500,000 foreign students annually by 2020, the mid-way point has now been crossed.   According to CNN:

About 290,000 studied in China in 2011, compared to just over 60,000 in 2001, according to the MOE. South Koreans (62,442) were the largest group of foreign students studying in China in 2011, followed by Americans (23,292). The Japanese (17,961), Russians (13,340), Indonesians (10,957) and Indians (9,370) also have large student populations, while almost 50,000 Europeans undertook some form of tertiary study in China in 2011, led by France (7,592) and Germany (5,451).

In contrast, there were roughly 194,000 Chinese students in the US last year and nearly 1 million foreign students altogether.

Stat of the day: WWII movies and TV shows in China

Last year alone, Chinese movie studios (nearly all of which are state-owned) produced more than 200 anti-Japanese films.  Why?  Because it’s one of the few areas that isn’t completely censored due in part to the lengthy occupation of the mainland.

As Reuters recently reported:

Some film reviewers in China say that with the censors declaring so many other subjects off limits, it is only natural that the war dominates story-telling in a competitive market for viewers and advertising.

“Only anti-Japanese themes aren’t limited,” says Zhu Dake, an outspoken culture critic and professor at Shanghai’s Tongji University. “The people who make TV think that only through anti-Japanese themes will they be applauded by the narrow-minded patriots who like it.”

Zhu estimates war stories make up about 70 percent of drama on Chinese television. The state administrator approved 69 anti-Japanese television series for production last year and about 100 films. Reports in the state-controlled media said up to 40 of these were shot at Hengdian alone. State television reported in April that more than 30 series about the war were filming or in planning by the end of March.

Stat of the day: Inbound tourism and expats in China

Inbound tourists who stay overnight in China:

The number of British expats working in China has risen 18%, growing from 31,160 in 2006/07 to 38,000 in 2010/11.  As of June 2012 there were about 70,000 American’s in China.  There are 600,000 foreigners who are permanent residents and 220,000 foreigners legally working on the mainland.

Stat of the day: Consumer spending in China

Consumer spending as a proportion of GDP:

*The 2012 number is debatable as some sources measure it as low as 35% yet others at 55% and even 65%.  See China’s Golden Rule of Consumption by Yukon Huang and China unlocks right kind of growth from Financial Times and Chinese shoppers are thriving from Financial Times

Stat of the day: Yum! success in China

Yum! is the parent company of several large fast-food chains including KFC and Pizza Hut — both of which are very popular in China.  In terms of profit and revenue, consider the following:

Global Yum! (source: annual report)

  • 2010 – $1.769 billion operating profit from $11.343 billion revenue
  • 2011 – $1.815 operating profit from $12.626 billion revenue
  • 2012 – $2.294 billion operating profit from $13.633 billion in revenue

As I mention in Chapter 16, since their first store opened in 1987, KFC now operates approximately 5,000 restaurant outlets in 700 Chinese cities and is on pace to open one new store everyday of the year – with a goal of opening 15,000 across China including 700 more in 2013.1 And despite a food scare regarding antibiotics in chicken suppliers mentioned in Chapter 3, they plan to continue this expansion.2 A large reason why they have been successful is as noted above in the HBR study: adapting to local tastes with foods such as fried dough, sweet potato buns and fishball soup.  Furthermore, its parent company, Yum Brands, now operates 5,400 stores on the mainland (including Pizza Hut restaurants); more than double what it had five years ago.3 As a consequence, China now represents for over half of Yum’s operating profit and sales globally.4 In fact, in 2010, KFC China for the first time had surpassed the US market in revenue.  In contrast, McDonald’s has a mere 1,464 outlets and 16% of the fast-food restaurant market share.5

  1. Yum Brands Says The Chinese Still Love KFC from The Wall Street Journal []
  2. See Yum Brands Rebounds From Chicken Antibiotic China Scare from Bloomberg, Yum stumbles badly in China, warns on profit from Reuters and ‘Kentucky Fried China’ no more? from Reuters []
  3. Yum’s Yuck Factor in China from The Wall Street Journal []
  4. ‘Kentucky Fried China’ no more? from Reuters []
  5. KFC’s Big Game of Chicken from BusinessWeek []

Stat of the day: GM car sales in China

China has been the largest vehicle market globally since it overtook the US in 2009.  GM, which has a partnership with SAIC, continues to sell enormous amounts of vehicles as well.  Below are some annual figures to give you an idea of the volume & revenue.

Overall GM globally

  • 2010 – $4.7 billion annual profit from $135.59 billion revenue (source)
  • 2011 – $7.6 billion annual profit from $150.28 billion revenue (source)
  • 2012 – $4.9 billion annual profit from $152.3 billion in revenue (source)

GM in China specifically

  • 2010 – Sold 2,351,610 vehicles in China (28.8% increase YoY) (source)
  • 2011 – Sold 2,547,171 vehicles in China (8.3% increase YoY) (source)
  • 2012 – Sold 2,836,128 vehicles in China (11.3% increase YoY) (source)

As I mention in Chapter 1, approximately 19.3 million automobiles were sold in China in 2012.1 By 2015 it is estimated that the Chinese car market will be larger than the US, Japan and Germany combined.234 And by 2016, McKinsey & Company – a global management consulting company – estimates that China will surpass the US as top luxury car market.5 There are now 240 million vehicles on the mainland and 20 million more vehicles will be sold this year.6 Furthermore, according to Michael Dunne, an Asian-based car market consultant, “[of] the projected 2.3 million American-branded cars Chinese will buy this year [2012], an astonishing 96% will be made in China.”7 And this growth rate has largely occurred in less than a decade.  For example, in 2004, the market for Land Rover vehicles on the mainland was a mere 1% yet has subsequently surged to 20% of Land Rovers total sales last year.89

  1. Vehicle sales overtake Europe in 2012 from China Daily and 2012: Slowing growth, maturing market from China Daily []
  2.  An estimated 20.65 million automobiles are expected to be sold in 2013.  See China 2013 Auto Sales May Accelerate This Year to Top 20 Million from BloombergChina Slowing Auto Sales Still Eclipse U.S.-Japan-Germany: Cars from Bloomberg and China’s vehicle sales remain in doldrums fromFinancial Times []
  3. One of the issues facing policy makers is traffic congestion.  Each city handles it differently, some auctioning off license plates to residents.  The cost of license plates has increased as cities have become denser and more affluent.  In Shanghai for example, in the recent license plate auction held in January 2013, the average price for a plate was $12,000.  See Shanghai’s Newest Luxury Item: The License Plate from The Wall Street Journal and Shanghai licence plates ‘precious as gold,’ says vice mayor from South China Morning Post []
  4. Used car sales are increasing faster than new car sales on the mainland and may be an opportunity for foreign auto dealers with experience in this segment.  4.8 million used cars were sold in China in 2012 compared with 15.5 million new cars.  Used car sales are expected to double to 10 million in the next three years.  For comparison, in the US the used car market is four times the size of new cars.  See Coming of age: China’s used car market outpaces new sales growth from Reuters []
  5. China to surpass US as top luxury car market: study from Agence France-Presse []
  6. China Vehicle Population Hits 240 Million as Smog Engulfs Cities from Bloomberg []
  7. ‘Imported From Detroit’ Is a Good Idea in China, if Only… from The Wall Street Journal []
  8. Modern facilities, global reach for Jaguar Land Rover from China Daily []
  9. Many other luxury cars continue to sell well on the mainland.  For example, in 2011 Chinese consumers overtook the US in purchases of Rolls Royce vehicles; although in 2012 US consumers retook the “torch” which may again be handed off in 2013.  See U.S. Overtakes China as World’s No. 1 Buyer of Rolls-Royce from The Wall Street Journal []

Stat of the day: internet speeds in China

As mentioned in Chapter 9, according to their Q3 2012 speed survey, ChinaCache, the largest domestic content delivery network (CDN), notes that while the overall speeds are a little slower than previous speed rankings, Shanghai currently leads the country in average speeds at roughly 3.44 Mb/s and Beijing is 10th at around 2.5 Mb/s.12 Akamai Technologies (a global  content delivery network provider) ranked China’s average internet-connection speed at 94th globally, at 1.6 Mb/s.3

Here is a new estimate from Qihoo 360 (in mb/s):


Via Tech In Asia

  1. ChinaCache Releases Third Quarter 2012 China Internet Connection Speed Rankings from China Web Report []
  2. For comparison, the average download bandwidth in the US is 11.6 Mb/s.  See International Broadband Data Report (Third) from the Federal Communications Commission []
  3. China’s ‘Wall’ Hits Business from The Wall Street JournalI []

Stat of the day: American’s in China

While the number may have increased this past year, as of June 2012 there are around 70,000 American’s in the Middle Kingdom:

There are about seventy thousand Americans living in mainland China today, according to the Chinese and US governments. A lot of the Americans in China only stay for a few years, but then there are others — American ex-pats who’ve lived in China for a decade or more with no foreseeable plans to come home. Who are they? And how Chinese do they become? Evan Osnos has this story, which starts with an ex-pat named Kaiser Kuo. Evan is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he writes the column Letter from China.

From Chicago Public Media’s This American Life

Stat of the day: agricultural growth over the past few decades

Despite several current issues facing some of China’s farmland (e.g., shrinking arable land, soil pollution, toxic water), a substantial amount of progress has been made in the past three decades of reform:

The trajectory of rising agricultural productivity was similar in post-Mao China. China’s population doubled, and its GDP rose 45-fold. While the amount of land harvested for corn in China also doubled, each acre produced 4.5 times more than it did in 1960. Ausubel and his colleagues calculate that rising Chinese corn productivity spared 120 million hectares (an area more than twice the size of Texas) that would otherwise have been plowed up. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization reports that Chinese forests expanded 30 percent between 1990 and 2010.

Via: Peak Farmland?   See also: Ch 3 & 18

Stat of the day: 10.26 million HNWI

According to a new list of individuals with assets between $100,000 to $1 million, or high networth individuals (HNWI), Forbes estimates there are 10.26 million HNWI on the mainland; a number that will increase to 12 million by the end of the year.  More details from SCMP:

More than a third of them were born in the 1970s and the top three industries they were involved in are finance, trade and manufacturing, its study said.

Three-quarters of respondents surveyed said they had no plan to emigrate, but the same percentage expressed a wish to send their children to study overseas. The United States was their first option.

For more about consumer behavior of this demographic segment, see Chapter 9 and 11.

Stat of the day: Movie screens

The significant ratio is in the last paragraph 13,188 screens (in China) versus 39,500 screens (in the US).  China is now the 2nd largest market for cinematic movies and if businesses like Wanda (the 5th largest private company on the mainland) continue to build theater complexes, Ernst & Young estimates that the mainland market will surpass the US within a decade.

Why the Majority of Chinese Films Never Make it to Theaters from The Wall Street Journal:

Among the 745 feature films produced in China last year, only 315 – or 42% — played in cinemas, media-research firm Entgroup says in its recently released annual survey of the country’s film industry.

That number puts China far behind the U.S., where nearly three quarters of the 818 feature films produced in 2011 were released in theaters, according to the most recent statistics from the Motion Picture Association of America (pdf).


But the failure of so many Chinese films to make it into theaters serves as a reminder of the limitations the industry still faces, analysts and observers say.

Among the most basic of those limitations, according to Entgroup researcher Kady Yang, is a shortage of screens. “The capacity of China’s cinemas is very limited and their movie schedules are tight,” Ms. Yang said, noting that China is home to 3,680 cinemas with 13,118 total screens. The U.S. has more than 39,500 screens, according to the MPAA.

See Chapter 14 for more details.

Stat of the day: PC gaming

According to their new annual report from the PC Gaming Alliance (an industry trade group):

China continues to be the largest and fastest growing market for PC games with record 2012 revenue of US$6.8 billion.  Mature game markets in Korea, Japan, U.S., U.K. and Germany all showed growth in 2012. Together these markets also increased revenue in 2012, to $8.4 billion.

Altogether PC game sales reached $20 billion globally last year.  Be sure to also check out Chapter 14 for more info about the gaming and entertainment industry in China

Stat of the day: 11% or $9 billion

Chinese purchases of US real estate accounted for 11% of all foreign purchases or some $9 billion worth of real estate last year.  If you are a real estate agent or home owner, you may be able to cater to new clients, especially at the top end.  See Chapter 4 as well.

You can read more at Woman Buys US 65m Manhattan Apartment for Two Year Old Daughter from SCMP.  And you can also watch a CCTV video about it over at Sina: 视频:中国妈妈为2岁女儿买650万美元豪宅 (English-speaking is in the middle of the segment).

Via Sinocism and Shanghaiist