版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[Hungary's great expectations in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517046.htm

The 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties is a perfect time to further explore and strengthen relations

The year 2019 holds special significance for both China and Hungary because it not only marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, but is also the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. It is a time to not only reflect on the past, but to further explore the relationship and enhance common initiatives across a wide range of sectors.

The old Chinese proverb "stone from the other hill may serve to polish the jade here" holds true for Hungary, which has contributed to China's development in several ways. It was Laszlo Hudec, a Hungarian architect, who designed over 70 landmark buildings in Shanghai. Ideas contributed by Hungarian economists inspired Chinese reform and opening-up and the natural progression of traditions amicable to cooperative affairs. Ties between people of the countries kept improving also because of these interactions, and Hungarian-Chinese relations have never been better.

The bedrock of the two nations' flourishing political ties is the shared understanding of cooperation. In pursuit of a future-oriented foreign policy based on pragmatic cooperation and constructive dialogue, Hungary's capital of Budapest has seen frequent visits from high-level Chinese delegations. In the past five months alone, Hungary saw visits by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, National People's Congress Chairman Li Zhanshu and Industry and Information Technology Vice-Minister Chen Zhaoxiong.

Hungarian expertise lies in boosting innovation to produce high-quality agricultural products and offering professional services in the fields of water management, manufacturing, and beyond. As a result, bilateral relations in trade and investment are thriving and the trade flow between the nations exceeded $10 billion in 2018. A great number of Chinese enterprises are choosing Hungary as their regional or European base. For example, Bank of China moved its regional headquarters to Budapest; Huawei is managing its European distribution activities from Hungary; and BYD has also established its first European factory in Hungary.

People-to-people ties are increasing too. In 2018, a total of 256,000 Chinese tourists visited Hungary, an 11 percent increase year-on-year. In the same year, 23,600 Hungarian tourists visited China, up 5 percent year-on-year. Thanks to the increasing number of travelers, Hungary is doubling efforts to improve facilities. Direct flights are already operating between the two countries' capitals, and since this summer, a new Budapest-Shanghai route opened to make the travel experience unforgettable.

The Chinese people are encouraged to visit Hungary to experience the unique cultural heritage and immerse themselves in the spectacular thermal baths.

Such strengthening of relations would hardly have been possible without fresh impetus toward building closer ties with China under the aegis of the "Eastern Opening Policy" that the Hungarian government introduced earlier this decade. Since then, Hungary has been actively seeking synergies and ways to better integrate new policies with China's Belt and Road Initiative.

In fact, the most recent meeting of our Belt and Road working group in Budapest in July achieved good financial results, infrastructure, trade and people-to-people dialogue. In 2015, as the first European country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the promotion of the Belt and Road, Hungary recognized the renewed interest and significance of the ancient Silk Road. For Hungarians, the Silk Road has always been tempting. In the early 20th century, Hungarian geologists - among them the eminent scientist Lajos Loczy, who provided the earliest description of Chinese echinoderm fossils - joined expeditions all along the ancient road.

Hungarians are also known for their innovation skills. The very idea of establishing a cooperation platform between Central and Eastern European countries and China was conceived after an Economic and Trade Forum in Budapest. Hungary has since accommodated the first sectoral cooperation within the China-CEE countries framework, the China-CEEC Tourism Coordination Centre and, more recently, organized the very first China-CEEC Central Bank Governors' Meeting.

To top it off, China-CEEC cooperation's flagship project, refurbishment of the Hungarian section of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line, is now well on track and construction work will begin soon. Among future plans is the setting up of a China-CEEC Customs Information Centre in Hungary that will boost the flow of information related to customs procedures in order to energize business cooperation.

One can rest assured Hungary and China will profit from increasing interactions in a changing world. Besides, what is good for Hungary and China will also serve the best interests of countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the European Union and Europe itself. Therefore, exploring opportunities that will expand Chinese-European trade routes and benefit investment partnerships for both is paramount. Effective operation of Chinese technology firms, growing market demand and a favorable investment climate in Europe will no doubt result in a competitive edge like no other.

Hungary and China have come a long way in achieving remarkable socio-economic development. By building on decades of excellent political and economic relationships, backed by our comprehensive strategic partnership and the Five-point Development Plan, Hungary intends to continuously expand its bilateral ties with China.

Hungary has great expectations! It once again looks forward to attending the China International Import Expo in order to present the expertise that Hungarian companies bring the business community here. Opportunities for advancing bilateral relationship will continue to be sought, and we will contribute to safeguarding an open world economy.

The author is Hungary's ambassador to China. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[Ties with a poetic touch]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-10/20/content_37517045.htm

Opportunities and achievements galore for greater cooperation between China and Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan and China have ties that go back a long time, almost 2,000 years, when the two nations enjoyed trade and cultural relations via the Silk Road. In the Mediaeval Ages, popular Azerbaijani poets gave expression to our friendship in their poems that venerated the Chinese people and China's culture. Thanks to that solid foundation, friendship and cooperation between the two nations is even richer and more diverse today.

The Republic of Azerbaijan attaches special importance to bilateral ties with the People's Republic of China and is interested in deepening and broadening these relations in all spheres. At present, the ties are characterized as a multidimensional partnership based on friendship and mutual trust, with high growth dynamics. The high-level political dialogue that began during then Republic of Azerbaijan President Heydar Aliyev's official visit to China in March 1994, has been successfully taken forward by incumbent President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan upholds the One-China principle. China, in turn, supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity, sovereignty and inviolability of its borders, and settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions. Such active dialogue in the political, economic and humanitarian spheres creates fertile ground for implementation of large-scale projects in the energy, economic, trade, communication, transport-logistics, tourism and humanitarian spheres.

In December 2015, President Aliyev's state visit to China saw the signing of 10 intergovernmental documents, among them the Joint Declaration on Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the People's Republic of China and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Joint Promotion of the Silk Road Economic Belt. And it was the beginning of a new stage in development of relations between the two countries.

On Chinese President Xi Jinping's invitation, President Aliyev took part in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in April. The visit saw high level meetings between the two presidents and other high level officials.

The Belt and Road Initiative has been a very important and beneficial mechanism for participating countries ever since it was first proposed by President Xi in 2013. Azerbaijan is no exception, considering that trade turnover between Azerbaijan and China has doubled since 2013. Furthermore, the trade turnover with Azerbaijan formed 43 percent of China's total trade turnover with South Caucasus countries in 2018, making Azerbaijan China's main regional trade partner last year.

As one of the first countries to support the Initiative, Azerbaijan is making a significant contribution to its implementation with large transport and infrastructure projects. Thus, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and Baku International Sea Trade Port, initiated by Azerbaijan, form the Trans-Caspian East-West Transport Corridor, thereby providing a short and convenient alternative route for shipments from China to Europe.

The increasing and multi-faceted cooperation between the two nations is helping take Azerbaijan-China bilateral ties to a new level, that of a strategic partnership.

Today, Azerbaijan produces high quality products and is interested in increasing its exports to China. High-quality goods produced in Azerbaijan and bearing the "Made in Azerbaijan" stamp are likely to be appreciated in the Chinese market. Since September 2018, Azerbaijani trade and wine houses appeared in cities such as Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Luzhou in Sichuan province and Shanghai and the trend will continue. At the same time, Chinese investors intend to benefit from the investment climate and opportunities in Azerbaijan.

The economic and political dimension apart, no opportunity is spared to bring the people closer. People from Azerbaijan try and participate in different cultural festivals and fairs held in China. Also, there is active cooperation between the different regions of the two countries.

Culture and tourism are under the Azerbaijani government's special focus, thus holding great potential for cooperation between the two countries. The Memorandum of Understanding on the Facilitation of Group Travel of Chinese Tourists to the Republic of Azerbaijan signed on March 1, 2019, creates huge opportunities for expanding and deepening ties between the two countries.

There is no doubt that ties in the fields of education, health and culture within the Initiative's framework will give an additional impetus to strengthen people-to-people contact between Azerbaijan and China. Bilateral ties will continue to expand to new areas of cooperation and encourage more friendly exchanges.

In the past few years, China has risen to become the world's second-largest economy and continues its efforts to be considered a global power. The Communist Party of China's leadership is focusing on people and their well-being and happiness to make gains in all areas. It aims to deepen reforms for the sake of the Chinese people.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the friendly Chinese people on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and to express my best wishes for peace and progress in the country and for the prosperity and well-being of the friendly Chinese people.

The author is Azerbaijan's ambassador to China. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily.The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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2019-10-20 14:22:33
<![CDATA[China and the World in the New Era]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/28/content_37512966.htm

Editor's Note: The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published on Friday a white paper titled China and the World in the New Era. Following is the full text:

Contents

Preface

I. China Has Found a Development Path Suited to Its Actual Conditions

II. China's Development Is an Opportunity for the World

III. A Prosperous and Beautiful World Is the Common Aspiration of All Peoples

IV. China Contributes to a Better World

Conclusion

Preface

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Over the past 70 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the PRC has witnessed profound changes and achieved a miracle of development unprecedented in human history. In just a few decades, China has completed a course that took developed countries several hundred years. China has now become the world's second largest economy, taken care of the material needs of its nearly 1.4 billion people, and achieved moderate all-round prosperity. Its people enjoy dignity and rights previously unknown to them. This has brought tremendous change to China. It also represents remarkable progress for human society, and above all, a significant contribution on China's part to world peace and development.

China remains the world's largest developing country, with a large population and foundations that need to be further strengthened. Some of the fundamentals in China remain unchanged, and therefore China is still facing a raft of severe challenges. The Chinese people still have work to do.

Today's world is undergoing a level of profound change that has not been seen in a hundred years. Human society is full of both hope and challenges. Multipolarity, economic globalization, cultural diversity and information technology are extending their reach. Peace and development remain the themes of the times. At the same time, deep-seated problems are apparent throughout the world, with increasing instability and uncertainties. Building a global community of shared future and building a better world are the common aspirations of all peoples.

China has entered a new era of development. China now has an impact on the world that is ever more comprehensive, profound and long-lasting, and the world is paying ever greater attention to China. What path did China take? Where is China going? What are China's goals in shaping the world? How will the developing China interact with the rest of the world? On the occasion of this 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the Chinese government is publishing this white paper to respond to the world's questions about China, and to help the international community better understand China's development.

I. China Has Found a Development Path Suited to Its Actual Conditions

China is a large country with a 5,000-year-old civilization. Over a long period of history, it ranked among the most advanced countries in the world. In modern times, China was reduced to poverty and weakness, threatened by domestic strife and foreign aggression, and even confronted with complete demise. Through unrelenting struggle, the Chinese dream of prosperity and rejuvenation for their country, and happiness for the people. In 1949, under the CPC's leadership, they founded the PRC, turning a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society into a completely new one, and achieving national independence and the liberation of the people. China then entered a new epoch of development. Over the past 70 years it has been moving forward against all odds, and exploring its path to development. Based on the 5,000-year-old Chinese culture, the experience and lessons from the birth of socialism, the fall-to-rise turnaround of the Chinese nation in 170 years, and the history of revolution, construction and reform, the Chinese people have opened up the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and achieved remarkable outcomes.

1. China's development lies in self-reliance and hard work

In the early days of the PRC, following a century of war and chaos, the country and the people were in dire poverty, the industrial and agricultural foundations were weak, and the economy was on the verge of collapse. The people faced unimaginable difficulties in seeking survival and development. Over the seven decades that followed, through self-reliance and hard work they rebuilt the country from nothing, and have opened up new horizons.

China's economic strength has greatly increased. From 1952 to 2018, China's industrial added value increased from RMB12 billion to RMB30.5 trillion, up 970 times at constant prices, with an average annual growth rate of 11 percent. GDP increased from RMB67.9 billion to RMB90 trillion, up 174 times at constant prices, with an average annual growth rate of 8.1 percent, and per capita GDP increased from RMB119 to RMB64,644, up 70 times at constant prices. According to World Bank statistics, at market exchange rates China's economy in 2018 was worth US$13.6 trillion, second only to the US economy which was worth US$20.5 trillion. Currently, China is the only country that possesses all the sections in the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), with the output of many industrial products ranking first in the world.

China has made remarkable progress in technology. Significant achievements such as nuclear bombs, ballistic missiles, manmade satellites, manned spaceflight, super hybrid rice, supercomputers, synthetic bovine insulin, artemisinin, and high-speed rail, have provided strong support for social and economic development.

China's foreign trade has been increasing constantly. In 2009, China became the world's largest exporter of goods and second largest importer of goods; in 2013, China became the world's largest trader in goods. Since reform and opening up in 1978, foreign investment in China has seen a substantial increase, and China has become very attractive to global investment. China has become the world's second largest economy, largest manufacturer, largest trader in goods, second largest consumer of commodities, second largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), and largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.

The Chinese people's lives have been greatly improved. A persevering effort has provided the Chinese people with adequate food and clothing, and made it possible for them to live decent lives and move towards a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China's rural population living under the current poverty line decreased from 770 million in 1978 to 16.6 million in 2018, and China's rural poverty incidence dropped from 97.5 percent to 1.7 percent, down by 95.8 percentage points. This is an outstanding achievement in the history of poverty reduction (see Box 1).

Box 1 China's Achievements in Poverty Elimination

Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has launched targeted poverty alleviation and made notable progress. China's rural impoverished population was reduced from 99 million in 2012 to 16.6 million in 2018, a total reduction of 82.4 million, down by 13 million every year on average. China's poverty incidence dropped from 10.2 percent to 1.7 percent, down by nearly 9 percentage points. In 2019, China planned to help at least another 10 million poor and about 330 poor counties out of poverty.

Over more than 40 years of reform and opening up since 1978, according to the World Bank's international poverty line of US$1.9 per person per day, more than 800 million Chinese population have shaken off poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global figure over the same period. China has become the first developing country to realize the poverty reduction objective in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres praised China as the largest contributor to global poverty reduction. In 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on eliminating rural poverty, which included the concept and practice of targeted poverty alleviation initiated by China. China has provided a wealth of experience for the global fight against poverty.

China has established a preliminary social security system covering elderly care, medical care, minimum subsistence, housing, and education - the largest in scale and covering the largest population in the world. By the end of 2018:

Participants in urban workers' basic elderly care insurance numbered 419 million;

Participants in unemployment insurance numbered 196 million;

Participants in work injury compensation insurance numbered 239 million;

Basic elderly care insurance covered more than 900 million people;

Basic medical insurance covered more than 1.3 billion people, almost everyone in the country.

Over the past 70 years, China's life expectancy has increased from 35 in 1949 to 77 in 2018, higher than the world's average of 72. Over the past 70 years, the Chinese people have witnessed profound changes in their mindset. They have carried forward fine traditional Chinese culture, spread modern Chinese values, and enriched and invigorated their cultural life. According to a global wellbeing report released by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in 2018, in the past decade, China's ranking rose by 25 places, the fastest rate among the 152 countries covered.

China's international position and influence have greatly improved. In 1971, China recovered its legitimate seat in the United Nations and began to play a more active role in international affairs. In April and May 1980, China recovered its legitimate seats in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) and began to participate more extensively and deeply in international economic and trade exchanges and cooperation. China has been making friends in the international community, having established diplomatic relations with 179 countries, and 110 partnerships of various types. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has proposed a global community of shared future and the Belt and Road Initiative, which have been written into many UN resolutions and have won extensive recognition and a warm response from the international community.

China's successes have been achieved through hard work. A large country with a nearly 1.4 billion population, China cannot achieve prosperity by asking for assistance and waiting. The only option is hard work. China relied on the solid and unremitting efforts of generations of Chinese people, which is represented in the typical case of "800 million shirts in exchange for a Boeing airplane". China relied on fulfilling its own responsibility in good times and in adversity, without exporting or shifting problems elsewhere, and without seeking development by trading under coercion or exploiting other countries. China relied on a pioneering spirit, like crossing the river by feeling for stones, neither retracing the steps of imperialism and colonialism, nor copying the development model of Western countries, but blazing its own path with bold experiments, based on its own conditions, experience and lessons as well as the achievements of other civilizations.

2. China is developing through interaction with the world

China is a part of the world, and China's development is closely related to the rest of the world. In the early days after the founding of the PRC, China made great efforts to break an external blockade, actively conducting economic, trade and cultural exchanges with other countries. Since reform and opening up in 1978, following the trend of globalization and promoting opening up as a fundamental state policy, China has been seeking development with its door open. China has embraced the world, learned from the world, and contributed to the world, through positive interaction and shared development.

"Bringing in" on a large scale. Its door open, China is full of vigor. The international community takes an optimistic view of China. More and more countries are establishing cooperation with China; more and more foreign enterprises are injecting investments and starting businesses in China; more and more foreigners are coming to study, work and travel in China. From 1978 to 2018, China attracted a total of more than US$2 trillion in non-financial FDI, and nearly 1 million foreign-invested enterprises were set up in the country. In 2018, almost half a million foreign students came to study in China. Since its accession to the WTO in 2001, China's participation in economic globalization has delivered more substantial and speedy outcomes (see Box 2). From 2001 to 2018, China's imports of goods increased from US$244 billion to US$2.1 trillion. The rise was 13.6 percent per annum on average, 6.8 percentage points higher than the global average. China's imports of services increased from US$39.3 billion to US$525 billion, up by a yearly average of 16.5 percent and accounting for 9.4 percent of the global total.

Box 2 China's Position as a Trading Power Increasingly Strengthened

From 1978 to 2018, China's total imports and exports of goods increased by a factor of 223, and its total imports and exports of services increased by a factor of 147. By November 2018, China had trade relations with more than 230 countries and regions. It had signed 17 free trade agreements with 25 countries and regions, and joined almost all major international economic and financial organizations and multilateral economic mechanisms. According to WTO statistics, in 2017 China's share of the world's total imports and exports of goods were 10.2 percent and 12.8 percent; in 2018, the two figures were 10.8 percent and 12.8 percent. From 2001 to 2018, the two figures grew by a yearly average of 13.8 percent. The above figures confirm that China's position as the world's largest trader in goods has been further consolidated.

"Going out" in great strides. From economic and trade investment to cultural exchanges, from government cooperation to people-to-people exchanges, China has been conducting all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-level exchanges and cooperation with other countries, going global faster, further, and more extensively than ever before. China's foreign investment and cooperation has seen sound and sustained improvement in quality and scale. In 2018, China's overseas investment reached US$143 billion, up by a factor of 53 since 2002, a yearly average growth of 28.2 percent. China's foreign trade has been growing year by year. From 1978 to 2018, China's foreign trade amounted to US$52.2 trillion; in 2018, China's exports of goods were US$2.5 trillion and its exports of services US$267 billion. In recent years, China has maintained its position as the world's largest source of overseas tourists; in 2018, Chinese outbound tourists numbered nearly 150 million.

Developing the country while benefiting the world. Opening up has brought funds, advanced technologies and managerial experience to China, changed the mindset of the Chinese people and boosted their creativity, and helped China to modernize. At the same time, China's opening up has provided a broad market for other countries. The opening of China's investment and service trade has facilitated local economic growth and employment in the countries concerned. China has been an active participant in the international division of labor, resulting in more rational global resource allocation. China's high-quality exports have met international market demand, reduced living costs in recipient countries, and relieved their inflationary pressure. The Chinese people now travel all over the world, which has greatly enriched cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and other countries.

3. China has injected positive energy into world peace and development

China's development path has unique Chinese characteristics, and a broad and farsighted global vision. It is dedicated to the interests of all of humanity. Over the past 70 years, while working hard to realize their own development, the Chinese people have contributed to world peace and added momentum to the common development of all countries.

China contributes solutions to world peace and development. In the early days of the PRC, China established its independent foreign policy of peace, which contributed to global peace after World War II. In the 1950s, China, India and Myanmar jointly proposed the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence). These have become basic norms for international relations and fundamental principles of international law. China has safeguarded the interests of developing countries, playing an important role in building a fair and equitable international political and economic order. In recent years, China has proposed a raft of significant international concepts and initiatives, including a global community of shared future, a new model of international relations, the Belt and Road Initiative, the principle of upholding the greater good and pursuing shared interests, a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in global governance, and the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations. These proposals have contributed Chinese wisdom and solutions to protecting world peace and promoting common development.

China safeguards world peace through real actions. Over the past 70 years, China has not provoked a single war or conflict, nor invaded a single square of foreign land. Since reform and opening up in 1978, China has cut its armed forces by over 4 million. China has been an active participant of international arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation, opposing any arms race and safeguarding global strategic balance and stability. China has signed or joined more than 20 treaties on multilateral arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation, including the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. China has become the second largest contributor to both the regular and peacekeeping budgets of the UN, and the largest troop contributor among the permanent members of the UN Security Council (see Box 3). In 2015 China announced that it would set up a 10-year, US$1 billion China-UN Peace and Development Fund, which was officially put into operation in 2016. China has always been dedicated to resolving territorial and maritime delimitation disputes through negotiation and consultation. China has achieved full resolution of land border delimitation problems with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries, and delineated the China-Vietnam maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf. This has broken new ground for settling inter-country issues carried over from history as well as other international disputes. China has played a constructive role in settling major international and regional issues.

Box 3 China's Active Support for UN Peacekeeping Operations

China is a major contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest troop contributing country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. By December 2018, China had participated in 24 UN peacekeeping operations and dispatched more than 39,000 troops, of whom 13 laid down their lives while on duty. In September 2015, China announced its decision to join the new UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System and build a peacekeeping standby force of 8,000 troops. Since December 2008, implementing a UN Security Council resolution, China has been sending naval fleets to conduct regular escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. China has also dispatched troops on international disaster relief and humanitarian aid missions.

China promotes common development worldwide. As the world's largest developing country, China has always been an advocate, practitioner and promoter of global poverty reduction and development. In pursuit of these goals, China conducts South-South cooperation, providing to other developing countries assistance with no political conditions attached, and supporting and helping them, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs), in eliminating poverty.

Over the six decades since China began to provide foreign assistance in the early 1950s, it has provided 166 countries and international organizations with nearly RMB400 billion in aid, and dispatched over 600,000 aid workers, of whom more than 700 sacrificed their lives for the development of other countries. On seven occasions, China has canceled debt from interest-free government loans to heavily indebted poor countries and the LDCs. China has provided medical aid to 69 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania, and provided aid to more than 120 developing countries for implementing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

China has been actively engaged in the consultations on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring its full implementation of the agenda. It was the first country to issue a national plan and a progress report on implementation, and has achieved early outcomes in many fields. Within the framework of South-South cooperation, China has provided assistance to other developing countries for their implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Over the three years since the China-UN Peace and Development Fund went into operation in 2016, China has put in place 27 programs under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Sub-Fund, which have benefited 49 Asian, African and Latin American countries and added a powerful engine for the global implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In 2015, China announced that it would set up the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF). By 2018, in more than 30 Asian, African and American countries, China had launched over 200 development cooperation programs under the SSCAF on disaster relief, healthcare, protection of women and children, refugee relief, and environmental protection.

4. China's development path conforms to reality and the requirements of the times

The choice of path is critical to the successful development of a country. As a vast country with a nearly 1.4 billion population, China has no experience of modernization to borrow from in history, but has to blaze its own path. Over the past 70 years, China has achieved great success. The ultimate reason is that China has found and will continue on the right path - socialism with Chinese characteristics.

It is a path based on China's actual conditions. Reflecting on its reality and history, and through experimentation, China has drawn wisdom from its own culture and learned from the strengths of other cultures, both Eastern and Western. China sticks to its choice of path, but is never rigidly opposed to change; China borrows experience, but never copies unthinkingly.

It is a path prioritizing the people's interests. In the PRC, the people run the country in the real sense. For 70 years China has upheld a philosophy of people-centered development, directing all its undertakings towards fulfilling the people's aspiration for a better life and protecting their democratic rights. China seeks driving forces among the people, promoting development relying on the people, and benefiting the people through development.

It is a path of reform and innovation. There is no ready-made solution to the development issues facing China. Working diligently and exploring boldly, the Chinese people have resolved difficulties and challenges through reform and innovation, and removing institutional obstacles hindering development. The purpose is to unleash and develop productivity and social vitality, to improve and develop Chinese socialism, and to modernize China's system and capacity for governance.

It is a path of seeking common development through opening up. China upholds the fundamental state policy of opening up, and pursues a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. China has promoted interconnected development. While developing itself, China has shared its fruit with other countries and peoples. It has realized a historic evolutionary process from being completely closed, through being semi-closed, to being comprehensively open. China is an active participant and promoter of economic globalization, facilitating peace and development for humanity.

It is a path of law-based governance. China practices the rule of law as a fundamental principle in governing the country. China pursues coordinated progress in law-based governance of the country, law-based exercise of state power and law-based administration in the government. Rule of law is a fundamental, overall and long-lasting institutional guarantee for China's development. Rule of law ensures a vigorous and orderly society in times of profound change, and ensures lasting peace and stability.

Over the past 70 years, China's success boils down to the CPC's leadership. Due to China's vast territory and complicated national conditions, the governance of China is uniquely difficult. Without centralized, unified and firm leadership, China would have tended towards division and disintegration and caused widespread chaos beyond its own borders. The CPC is China's core leadership, ruling the country for long and supported by the people. The reason lies in its founding mission of pursuing happiness for the people, realizing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and promoting peace and development for humanity, rather than seeking its own interests. The reason lies in its capacity for self-improvement, and in its firm leadership core, effective theories, strict discipline and improved mechanisms for selecting upright and competent officials, which have ensured that the Party remains stable, progressive and clean. The reason lies in its strategic planning for the long-term development of the country and its competence in implementing specific policies. The reason lies in its open-minded ability to adapt to changing times, carrying forward its own heritage while absorbing the strengths of others, and in its ability to unite, organize and inspire the people.

Over the past 70 years, China has defused many risks and overcome many challenges, and marched forward step after step. In particular, since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has witnessed historic achievements and changes. The Chinese nation has risen and become prosperous, and is becoming strong, closer to the goal of national rejuvenation than ever before. China's development path will look on brighter and brighter prospects as time moves on (see Box 4).

Box 4 Positive Opinion in and Outside China on Its Future Development

The Chinese people have full confidence in China's prospects. According to a report of public opinion on the state of society released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in November 2018, Chinese respondents were optimistic about the future of their country, with 91.4 percent believing that China will make progress towards being a better society in the coming decade, scoring the highest degree of satisfaction among all countries covered by the survey, which covered 3,221 people in 50 countries and regions around the globe.

China's international image is improving. According to the results of a survey jointly released by German nonprofit association Atlantik-Brocke and German polling company Civey in March 2019, 42.3 percent of respondents believed that China is a more reliable partner for Germany than the US. According to "China National Image Global Survey 2018", a report covering 11,000 people from 22 countries on 5 continents, released by the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies (ACCWS) under China International Publishing Group in August 2019, overseas respondents gave China's overall image a score of 6.2 from 10, praising China's domestic and foreign policies, with significant recognition of China's domestic governance. The report reveals that China's image as a contributor to global development is becoming prominent, acknowledged by 48 percent of foreign respondents.

Through 70 years of development, China has achieved remarkable progress. However, the basic dimension of the Chinese context - that China is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism - has not changed. China's status as the world's largest developing country has not changed. If it is to relieve the strain between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life, and ensure that its nearly 1.4 billion people enjoy a decent level of prosperity, China still has a long road to travel.

II. China's Development Is an Opportunity for the World

With the rapid increase of China's comprehensive national strength and international influence, some people worry that China will fulfill the outdated expectation that a country will invariably seek hegemony when it grows strong, so they have created what they call the "China threat" theory. The causes of this theory include cognitive misunderstanding, deep-rooted prejudice, a psychological imbalance brought about by the prospect of falling power, and deliberate distortions by vested interests. To realize national prosperity, rejuvenation, and people's happiness is a dream shared by the Chinese with peoples of other countries. Rather than a threat or challenge, China's development is an opportunity for the world.

1. China is the main stabilizing force and power source of the world economy

From 1979 to 2018 China's economy grew rapidly at an average annual rate of 9.4 percent, and became an important engine of global economic growth. In 2008, the world suffered a serious financial crisis and the world economy was hit hard. Through a series of effective measures to deal with the crisis, China's economy recovered rapidly and continued to maintain a medium-and high-speed growth. As a result, China became the main stabilizing force and power source of the world economy.

China is the biggest contributor to world economic growth. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has implemented the concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. It has adapted to, steered, and led the new normal of economic development, strengthened supply-side structural reform, and maintained a sustainable and healthy economic development with increasing quality and efficiency. In the past three years, China's economic aggregate has exceeded RMB70, 80, and 90 trillion successively, accounting for nearly 16 percent of the world economy. From 2013 to 2018, China contributed more than 28 percent of world economic growth on average. Estimates show that without China, the average annual growth rate of the world economy from 2013 to 2016 would have slowed by 0.6 percentage point and the intensity of fluctuation would have increased by 5.2 percent. According to a report released by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the aggregate index of the world's exposure to China's economy gradually rose from 0.4 to 1.2 between 2000 and 2017, with China accounting for 35 percent of global manufacturing output.

China's scientific and technological innovations have injected new momentum into world economic growth. In recent years, investment in the field of science and technology in China has been increasing, and major scientific and technological innovations have emerged. In 2018, China's R&D spending accounted for 2.19 percent of GDP. According to the Global Innovation Index (GII) released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and other organizations, China continued its rise in 2019, moving from 17th in 2018 to 14th (see Box 5); it is the only middle-income economy in the top 20. In the field of high technology, China is catching up and getting ahead. Quantum communications, supercomputing, aerospace, artificial intelligence, fifth-generation mobile network technology (5G), mobile payment, new energy vehicles, high-speed rail, and financial technology are sectors in which China leads the world. China's innovations in science and technology have been widely applied, bringing more convenience to the work and daily life of people of other countries, and injecting new momentum into world economic growth.

Box 5 International Organizations and Foreign Institutions Make Positive Comments on China's Scientific and Technological Innovation

According to the 2019 GII report issued by WIPO and others, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum Survey, and the KPMG Technology Industry Innovation Survey, China continues to improve its global ranking in innovation.

First, China's capability in innovation has continuously improved. China's GII has risen for four years in a row, moving to 14th this year and being the only middle-income economy in the top 20, according to the GII report.

Second, China's science and technology clusters are rising collectively. Eighteen science and technology clusters in China are among the top 100 in the world, an increase of two over last year. This is second only to the United States, which has 26 clusters in the top 100. Among them, the Shenzhen-Hong Kong cluster ranks second and the Beijing cluster ranks fourth. The rankings of almost all Chinese clusters are on the rise compared with last year. According to a Bloomberg survey of global business professionals, 39 percent of respondents believe that Beijing will become the world's top tech city by 2035, and 26 percent believe that Shanghai will become the world's center of technological innovation in the future.

Third, the quality of innovation in China has further improved. The GII report points out that the focus of current global competition for innovation has shifted from quantity to quality. China ranks 15th in terms of innovation quality, and has ranked first among middle-income economies for the past seven years. It is also the only middle-income economy that has narrowed the gap with high-income economies in terms of the quality of universities, internationalization of local inventions, and the quality of scientific publications, measured by the number of citations that locally produced research documents receive abroad. The quality of Chinese universities ranks third only to the United States and the United Kingdom. China ranks first among the middle-income economies in international patents and the quality of scientific publications. Its innovation input-output performance is close to or higher than that of some high-income economies, and it is on a par with Germany, the UK, Finland, Israel and the US in terms of innovation output. China's industrial designs, trademark applications, and exports of high-tech and creative products are surging ahead. The number of patent applications for inventions in China has soared from 10,000 in 1990 to 1.38 million in 2017.

Fourth, China is more optimistic about technological innovation. The United States and China have the greatest potential to develop disruptive technology breakthroughs that will have a global impact, according to surveys by Bloomberg and KPMG. China is more optimistic about technological innovation, arguing that technology promotes the shaping of a better world, which is why China has been able to catch up with and surpass Western countries in some areas of technology.

In the future, China will become more prominent in its role as a stabilizing force and power source. Currently, the world economy lacks momentum for growth, and the solidity of the Chinese economy is becoming more and more important to the world. China's economy is changing from high-speed growth to high-quality development, and new industrialization, information technology application, urbanization and agricultural modernization are gathering speed. The economic structure is undergoing a profound adjustment, industrial upgrading is continuing, and new economic growth areas are constantly emerging. The urbanization rate of permanent residents reached 59.6 percent in 2018 and will increase steadily. The number of permanent urban residents will continue to increase. This will bring a wide range of needs in various areas, such as infrastructure, real estate, new retail, medical treatment and public health, education, culture and entertainment, and provide an important engine for economic development. New industries and business forms are emerging. In 2018, the added value of high-tech manufacturing increased by 11.7 percent over the previous year. Corresponding figures for strategic emerging industries and equipment manufacturing were 8.9 percent and 8.1 percent. New energy vehicles, intelligent televisions, lithium-ion batteries and integrated circuits increased by 66.2, 17.7, 12.9 and 11.2 percent, respectively. The growth rate of the information service industry is as high as 30.7 percent, and the growth rate of mobile games, online shopping, ride-sharing platforms, travel platforms, big data cloud computing and other sub-industries is 30 to 50 percent. Each sub-industry has given birth to a number of "unicorn" enterprises. According to an MGI report, by 2040, the integration between China and the rest of the world is expected to drive economic value of US$22 trillion to US$37 trillion, equivalent to 15 to 26 percent of global GDP. Strengthened cooperation between China and other countries will create enormous economic value.

China's economy and the world economy have undergone structural changes and are deeply integrated. China, which has a more stable economy, higher quality of growth, and promising growth prospects, contributes to the development of the world economy in the long run (see Box 6). It is both unrealistic and harmful to regard China's economic development as a "threat" or "challenge" and try to squeeze China out of the global industrial chain, supply chain and value chain so as to "detach" China from the world economy.

Box 6 International Institutions Are Optimistic About China's Economic Prospects

On July 4, 2019, Moody's, an international credit rating agency, confirmed China's sovereign credit rating as A1, with a stable economic outlook. The company believes that the focus of China's economic policy has shifted to improving the quality of growth, and that China has curbed the rise in overall economic leverage and maintained financial stability. China's huge foreign exchange reserves and the government's strategic management of the economy have helped to develop measures aimed at curbing financial risks. While the World Bank's "Global Economic Prospects" in June 2019 lowered its global economic growth forecast for 2019 and 2020, it maintained its forecast for China's economic growth this year, arguing that China has the ability to cope with external challenges and "headwinds".

2. All-round opening up creates more opportunities for all countries to share the benefits of China's development

China pursues a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up and strives to open up wider. A safe and stable political environment, large consumer groups with escalating needs, hard-working and well-qualified workers, sound and complete infrastructure, and an international and convenient business environment of fair competition under the rule of law, all provide countries with a broader market, more capital, richer products, and more opportunities for cooperation. China has always been an important promoter of global openness and a dynamic market for all countries to expand business opportunities.

China has the most promising consumer market in the world. It is not only "the world's factory", but also a global market. With a population of nearly 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of 400 million, China has the largest market in the world. The sustained and healthy development of China's economy has created extensive demand in many fields and provided an important engine for economic development. China has huge space and potential for consumption, which is clearly moving up market and making a growing contribution to the economy. The consumption growth rate has surpassed that of fixed asset investment, and its gradient effect is prominent (see Box 7). According to an MGI report, China is the world's largest market in many categories, including automobiles, alcohol and mobile phones, accounting for about 30 percent of global consumption. Its huge consumer demand provides an enormous market for countries all over the world. In the coming 15 years, China's imports of goods and services are expected to exceed US$30 trillion and US$10 trillion.

Box 7 Consumption Is Clearly Moving Up Market

Before reform and opening up started in 1978, urban and rural residents in China focused their spending on food and clothing. In 1978, the urban and rural Engel coefficients were as high as 57.5 percent and 67.7 percent. Since 1978, the level of consumption in China has greatly improved, and the cultural life of its people has become richer. In 2010, the urban and rural Engel coefficients fell to 31.9 percent and 37.9 percent. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, living standards have further improved and great strides have been made towards a moderately prosperous society in all respects. In 2018, the urban and rural Engel coefficients dropped to 27.7 percent and 30.1 percent. The following is a list of number of objects owned per 100 households:

33 cars, 95.3 percent up from 2013,

59.2 motorcycles, 49.9 percent up,

249.1 mobile phones, 22.6 percent up,

109.3 air conditioners, 55.3 percent up,

56.4 range hoods, 32.7 percent up; and

85 water heaters, 32.4 percent up.

China is the most attractive investment destination. It has a workforce of almost 900 million, and more than 700 million are employed. It has a talent bank of 170 million people who have received higher education or vocational education, and generates more than 8 million college graduates each year.

China continues to optimize its business environment, giving foreign manufacturers and investors a broader space and a better business environment (see Box 8). China has implemented a wide range of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation policies, formulated the Foreign Investment Law, and implemented the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list across the board. It continues to relax market access, and has made great efforts to establish pilots for opening wider to the world.

China has stepped up the protection of intellectual property rights. It has improved the relevant systems, mechanisms, laws and regulations, and enhanced the innovation protection system in line with international economic and trade rules, so as to provide more powerful and effective protection for the investors and IPR holders.

According to the "World Investment Report 2019" of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global FDI continued its slide in 2018, down by 13 percent from the previous year, but China achieved counter-trend growth and continued as the world's second largest recipient of FDI. In the first half of 2019, foreign investment in actual use in China was RMB478.33 billion, an increase of 7.2 percent over the same period last year; foreign investment in high-tech manufacturing and services grew especially fast.

Box 8 The Business Environment Continues to Improve

In the context of rising deglobalization and trade protectionism, China has firmly promoted reform and opening up. It launched a series of major opening-up measures in 2018, further improving the business environment.

First, the overall tariff rate has been reduced to 7.5 percent, involving 1,585 tax items, with an average reduction of about 26 percent. Of these, the tax rate on automobiles has been reduced from 25 to 15 percent, and the tax rate on auto parts has been reduced to 6 percent.

Second, China continues to relax market access and encourages competition. We will significantly ease market access for banking, securities and insurance industries, remove foreign ownership limits by 2020, and significantly expand the scope of business. We will give national treatment to foreign investors in industries such as business credit reporting, credit rating, bank card clearing, and non-bank payments. We will steadily promote the two-way opening of the capital market. Marked progress has been made in market access and business expansion for foreign-funded financial institutions, and foreign ownership limits on aircraft and shipbuilding industries have been lifted. Over the past three years, China has shortened the negative list for foreign investment three times, and the restrictive measures against foreign investment have been cut by 57 percent.

Third, we will speed up the development of pilot free trade zones and open up new prospects for reform and opening up at a higher level. We will explore the building of a free trade port in Hainan. We will set up a new area in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone to encourage and support Shanghai's innovative effort in promoting investment and trade liberalization and facilitation.

Fourth, we will improve the business environment. According to a World Bank report, China ranks 46th out of 190 economies in the world in terms of business environment, up by 32 places from the previous year. In ease for starting a business, obtaining electricity, registering assets, and execution of contracts, China ranks 28th, 14th, 27th and 6th, respectively.

China's further "going global" benefits more countries. Chinese enterprises actively participate in international competition and cooperation, carry out deeper and wider global trade and investment activities, and contribute to the economic growth of host countries and the expansion of local employment. A survey of Chinese investment in Africa by the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London shows that more than 90 percent of employees at construction sites and factories run by Chinese enterprises in Ethiopia are local residents. Chinese companies have created a large number of jobs in Africa. It is estimated that China's foreign trade in goods will reach US$25 trillion in the next five years. With the country opening ever wider to the world, more and more Chinese enterprises will invest abroad, and more Chinese will study, work and travel abroad. China has actively promoted the "going global" of scientific and technological innovation to the advantage of both China and the rest of the world, and more people can enjoy the convenience and benefits brought about by science and technology (see Box 9).

Box 9 China's Innovations in Science and Technology Benefit the World

Hybrid rice guarantees global food security. In the early 1990s, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations listed China's hybrid rice technology as one of the prime strategies to solve the food crisis in developing countries. Through the South-South Cooperation program under the FAO framework, China has made hybrid rice cultivation technologies available to 28 countries and regions around the world. By the end of 2018, more than 40 countries had planted over 7 million hectares of hybrid rice, providing an average annual yield increase of more than 20 percent over local rice. This increase could feed about 30 million people.

Artemisinin contributes to the fight against malaria. Artemisinin is an anti-malarial drug discovered by Chinese scientists in the 1970s. Artemisinin-based combination therapy is considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the best available treatment for malaria. Over the past 20 years, it has been widely used in malaria-endemic areas around the world. The WHO recognizes that the treatment has saved millions of lives worldwide and cured more than 100 million patients every year.

China's high-speed rail promotes world connectivity. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed, China's high-speed rail has entered foreign markets at a growing pace. It has reached dozens of countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and its overseas market share is growing steadily. It has promoted local economic development and employment.

China's communications technology bridges the global "digital gap". Chinese telecommunications enterprises actively "go global" and strive to promote global digitization, so as to benefit more people around the world. By 2018, Huawei was supporting more than 1,500 networks in more than 170 countries and regions, providing smooth communication to more than 3 billion people around the world. It had provided communication solutions to remote mountain areas in dozens of countries, including Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Algeria, serving a rural population of 40 million. As of June 2019, Huawei had secured 50 5G commercial contracts worldwide and delivered more than 150,000 base stations.

Opening up should be mutually beneficial rather than a zero-sum game. Only mutual benefit can endure. China is committed to further expanding imports, relaxing market access, improving the business environment, and strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights. Other countries should also open wider to the world and take corresponding measures to improve their business environment. Only by moving towards each other can we create a development environment that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, make the "cake" of development bigger, and form a mutually beneficial community of shared interests.

3. China is providing more public goods to the international community

The Chinese have always believed that "You yourself desire rank and standing; then help others to get rank and standing". We care for the people of the world and strive for the greater good while pursuing our own development. China has benefited from the international community for its development, and it has never forgotten to provide it with more and better public goods in return.

We will build a high-quality Belt and Road together with our partners. The Belt and Road Initiative is based on the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and is guided by the Silk Road spirit characterized by peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. With a focus on policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure, unimpeded trade, financial integration and closer people-to-people ties, it has transformed from ideas into action, from vision into reality, from a conceptual initiative into a globally popular public product (see Box 10). In November 2016, the United Nations adopted a resolution welcoming economic cooperation initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative. In March 2017, the United Nations Security Council called on all countries in its resolution to promote the initiative and the building of a global community of shared future. The Belt and Road Initiative originated in China, but the opportunities and achievements belong to the whole world. According to a World Bank research report, the initiative will help 7.6 million people out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty. It will increase trade in participating countries by 2.8 to 9.7 percent, global trade by 1.7 to 6.2 percent and global income by 0.7 to 2.9 percent. The initiative is a veritable road to resource sharing, shared prosperity and common development.

Box 10 Fruitful Results Have Been Achieved Since the Belt and Road Initiative Was Put Forward

The first is in policy coordination. Since the initiative was put forward, it has received positive responses from more than 160 countries, regions, and international organizations. By the end of August 2019, the Chinese government had signed 195 Belt and Road cooperation documents with 136 countries and 30 international organizations.

The second is in infrastructure connectivity. Great progress has been made in the construction of key interregional and intercontinental railway networks such as the China-Laos Railway, China-Thailand Railway, Hungary-Serbia Railway and Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway. By the end of June 2019, a total of 16,760 China-Europe freight trains had carried almost 1.5 million TEUs of goods, reaching 16 countries and 53 cities abroad.

The third is in unimpeded trade. China has set up 18 pilot free trade zones. Since the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2017, China and other countries along the routes have signed more than 100 customs inspection and quarantine cooperation documents and established more than 40 customs inspection and quarantine cooperation mechanisms. From 2013 to 2018, the imports and exports of goods between China and other Belt and Road countries totaled nearly US$6.5 trillion.

The fourth is in financial integration. The open, pluralistic and market-oriented investment and financing system has continuously improved. By the end of the first quarter of 2019, the People's Bank of China, the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the African Development Bank had jointly financed nearly 200 projects covering more than 70 countries and regions. By the end of 2018, Chinese enterprises had invested more than US$90 billion in Belt and Road countries, and the turnover of contracted projects had exceeded US$400 billion.

The fifth is in closer people-to-people ties. As of July 2019, of the 136 countries that had signed Belt and Road Initiative cooperation documents with China, China had concluded mutual visa exemption agreements with 113 countries covering different types of passports, and visa facilitation agreements or arrangements with 25 countries. Since the Belt and Road Initiative was launched in 2013, China has concluded mutual visa exemption agreements with 71 participating countries and visa facilitation agreements or arrangements with 11. Since the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China has provided RMB2 billion in emergency food assistance to developing countries along the routes, and has launched 100"happy home" projects, 100 poverty alleviation projects, and 100 healthcare and rehabilitation projects. In 2017, 38,700 people from countries along the routes studied in China on scholarships from the Chinese government. In 2018, China hosted 500 young scientists from other Belt and Road countries to conduct research exchanges.

China is building platforms for multilateral dialogue and cooperation. We firmly support multilateralism and advocate that international affairs should be discussed and handled by all countries. China has set up platforms for multilateral dialogue and cooperation in political, economic, security, cultural and other fields. To promote multilateral cooperation, we have established a number of global and regional multilateral platforms including:

Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,

China International Import Expo,

Hongqiao International Economic Forum,

Forum on China-Africa Cooperation,

China-Arab States Cooperation Forum,

China-CELAC Forum,

Boao Forum for Asia,

China-ASEAN Expo,

China-Arab States Expo,

China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo,

Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, and

World Internet Conference.

China has hosted the CICA Summit in Shanghai, APEC Leaders' Informal Meeting in Beijing, G20 Hangzhou Summit, BRICS Summit in Xiamen, and SCO Qingdao Summit, marking a series of pioneering, leading and institutional achievements. We have initiated the establishment of international financial cooperation institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank, making a growing contribution to the inclusive development of the world. The China-initiated SCO has played an important role in safeguarding regional and world peace and stability.

China actively participates in international and regional affairs. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China strives to contribute wisdom and strength to the settlement of major international and regional flashpoints. China has worked to promote the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula, Iran nuclear, Syria, and Afghanistan issues, and is committed to promoting dialogue and consultation and seeking solutions acceptable to all parties concerned. We have actively participated in the climate governance process of the United Nations and other multilateral platforms, and firmly supported and promoted the implementation of the Paris Agreement. We have promoted and implemented the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions, and actively participated in international counter-terrorism actions. We have strengthened international exchanges and cooperation in energy, food and network security, and in the polar regions, outer space and the oceans.

China has actively provided aid to countries in need. As a developing country itself, China identifies with other developing countries in terms of the poverty and suffering they are experiencing and provides them with assistance within its capacity. China upholds the greater good and pursues shared interests, adheres to the principles of mutual respect, equality, keeping promises, mutual benefit, and offering the utmost assistance within its capacity. It provides financial, technical, personnel and intellectual assistance to developing countries without any political strings attached, so as to help recipient countries strengthen their capacity for independent development, and to make a greater contribution to promoting their economic and social development and people's wellbeing and achieving the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

4. China's development provides experience and reference for other developing countries

It is not easy for a country to find a development path suited to its own national conditions. In the recent past, many developing countries have worked hard in the hope of making themselves prosperous and strong, but few have really found the right path and achieved good development. Some countries blindly copied or were forced to adopt the Western model, but they did not achieve economic development or political stability. Instead they fell into social unrest, economic crisis, governance paralysis, and even endless civil war.

Over decades of arduous exploration, China has always taken its own road and formed its own development path. China's success has boosted the confidence of other developing countries in their ability to achieve prosperity, expanded their routes towards modernization, and provided experience and reference to countries that want to speed up their development and maintain their independence, enabling them to choose a path in line with their own national conditions.

Copying or imitating other countries offers no way forward. The greatest inspiration from China's development is: What kind of path a country takes should be based on the experience of other countries, but more importantly on its own reality, and should be decided by its own people in accordance with its own history, cultural traditions, and level of economic and social development. There is no such thing as one single path or model that is universally applicable. Countries can learn from each other. But modernization is not equal to Westernization, and cannot be mechanically carried out or achieved through the same model. Whether the path of a country is the right one depends on whether this path can solve the historic and practical problems facing the country, whether it can improve people's wellbeing, and whether it can win the recognition and support of the people.

It is the right of every sovereign state to choose its own development path. No country can impose its own model on others, let alone forcibly subvert the governments and political systems of other countries. China respects the different paths chosen by other countries. It does not "import" foreign models, nor "export" the Chinese model, and will never require other countries to replicate its practices. By furthering its own experience, China will continue to explore the laws of modernization, governance and human society, strengthen exchanges with other countries in state governance, and share experience to jointly realize good governance.

5. China will never seek hegemony

It is true that in the past, countries that grew strong have sought hegemony, but this is not a historical law. The conclusion is bound to be absurd and distorted if one judges China against the experience of some Western powers and applies their logic to China. China's pursuit of peaceful development is not diplomatic rhetoric, or an act of expediency, or a strategic ambiguity. Rather, it showcases China's confidence in thought and readiness for practice, and represents China's unswerving strategic choice and solemn commitment. China will never pursue hegemony or expansion, nor will it seek to create spheres of influence, no matter how international situation changes, how China develops itself.

China takes the road of peaceful development, which comes from the profound heritage of Chinese civilization. Chinese civilization originated from inland and farming; it is a moderate and defensive civilization. With a history dating back more than 5,000 years, Chinese culture contains the cosmological view of the unity of man and nature, the international view of harmony between all countries, the social view of harmony in diversity, and the moral view of kindness and benevolence. Since ancient times, China has advocated that "the strong should not oppress the weak, and the rich should not abuse the poor", and "do not do to others what you do not want others to do to you", knowing that "a warlike state, however big it may be, will eventually perish". The Chinese nation does not have the gene to invade others and dominate the world. From the mid-19th century, China was abused by the Western powers and left with indelible memories of the suffering brought about by war and instability. It will never impose the suffering it has endured on other nations.

China's peaceful development comes from its understanding of the conditions for achieving development goals. Development is China's top priority. Over the past 70 years, China has benefited from a peaceful and stable external environment, and in the future it also needs such an external environment. The key to China's success lies in concentrating on running its own affairs well and realizing the mutual promotion of peace and development. Expansion and hegemony go against China's interests and the will of the people. It has always been China's unswerving national will to strive for a peaceful international environment favorable to its own development, and to better safeguard world peace and promote common development through its own.

China's peaceful development comes from a profound understanding of the general trend of world development. Today, countries are becoming a close-knit community of shared interests and future, and peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are the trends of the times. Any country, big or small, strong or weak, can achieve sustainable development only if it participates in international cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. In contrast, pursuing hegemony and militarism will only consume national strength and lead to decline. In human history, the struggle for hegemony of the major powers has resulted in frequent wars, loss of life, setbacks for humanity, and even the retrogression of human civilization. The lessons have been painful and profound. Peace, development and stability, rather than war, poverty and chaos, are the true aspirations of the people of all countries. China's path of peaceful development is in line with the trend of history and the general trend of the world.

China has the right to development, and its people have the right to pursue a better life. As a country that suffered abuse and humiliation in the past, China aims to win dignity, security and a better life for its people through its own development. China naturally develops and becomes stronger, but does not want to threaten, challenge or replace any other country in the process, nor will it seek hegemony. China's future is in its own hands. It is the Chinese people who decide their own destiny. No one can deprive the Chinese people of their right to pursue a better life. No one can stop China from moving forward.

China is firmly committed to peaceful development and hopes that all countries in the world will do likewise. Only when countries take peaceful development paths can we develop and live peacefully together. China will never develop itself at the expense of others, nor will it give up its legitimate rights and interests. No foreign country should expect China to trade its core interests or to accept anything that is damaging to China's own sovereignty, security and development interests.

III. A Prosperous and Beautiful World Is the Common Aspiration of All Peoples

Peace and development remain the underlying themes of our times. However, the world is facing many new problems and challenges. Unilateralism, protectionism, hegemonism, and power politics are some of the major factors affecting world peace and stability. It is a common aspiration of the peoples of all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity, and where everyone lives in peace and plenty.

1. The world is undergoing the greatest changes in a century

Humanity has made remarkable progress over the past century despite many bloody wars and the Cold War. The 21st century has witnessed growing economic globalization and a rapidly changing international political and economic landscape. Deep-seated problems in global development have become increasingly prominent. The international structures of power have been moving towards balance. The international order and global governance system have experienced further changes. All this shows that the world is in an era of major development, transformation and adjustment, and is undergoing the greatest changes in a century.

Change brings opportunities. One of the most notable changes is that the rise of China and other emerging market and developing countries is fundamentally altering the international structures of power. International politics and the economic system have been dominated by Western powers since the First Industrial Revolution. In more recent decades, emerging market and developing countries have realized rapid growth by seizing the historic opportunities presented by economic globalization. According to the latest data released by the IMF, the share of emerging market and developing economies in global output, measured by purchasing power parity, first surpassed that of advanced economies in 2008, and rose to 59% in 2018.

The world is moving rapidly towards multipolarity, diverse modern development models, and collaboration in global governance. It is now impossible for one single country or bloc of countries to exercise dominance in world affairs. Stability, peace and development have become the common aspirations of the international community. Science and technology is a leading force driving major changes. Advances in the new technological revolution and industrial transformation, and the widespread use of new-generation information technology, have generated new tools, industries, and forms of business, moving our productivity to a higher level.

Change brings risks and challenges. The profoundly evolving international landscape involves complex and intertwined changes, and the interaction of old and new factors, forces, and problems. It also means greatly reshaping the relations between major countries, the international order, regional security, the trends of thought, and the global governance system. Factors of instability and uncertainty are increasing. Deficits in governance, trust, peace and development are growing. The world is facing the danger of a relapse into fragmentation and even confrontation.

The world economy is slowing down for lack of impetus, and the gap between the rich and poor is widening as a consequence of capital's excessive pursuit of profit. Trade protectionism is on the rise. Global public and private debt is rising steeply. Some emerging economies have encountered major financial turbulence. The world economy is facing mounting downward pressure (see Box 11).

Box 11 The Slowing World Economy Faces Major Risks

Global economic growth is sluggish. In April the IMF projected a decline in growth in 2019 for 70 percent of the global economy. In July the IMF forecast a growth of 3.2 percent for the global economy in 2019, 1.9 percent for advanced economies, and 4.1 percent for emerging market and developing economies. Growth in the United States is expected to be 2.6 percent in 2019, moderating to 1.9 percent in 2020. Growth in 2019 is projected at 1.3 percent for the euro area and 0.9 percent for Japan. Growth in the BRICS countries in 2019 is forecast at 6.2 percent for China, 7 percent for India, 1.2 percent for Russia, 0.8 percent for Brazil, and 0.7 for South Africa.

Growth in global trade and investment is lower than forecast. The WTO expects the volume of world merchandise trade to grow by merely 2.6 percent in 2019, the lowest rate since the 2008 global financial crisis. Business confidence has weakened. Lower investment in emerging market and developing economies has hampered their efforts to catch up with the advanced economies.

Risks around debt are increasing. According to statistics from the Institute of International Finance (IIF), global debt in 2018 reached US$243.2 trillion, 317 percent of global GDP. The slowdown in major economies has dimmed the demand for bulk commodities and debt vulnerabilities have increased sharply.

The world is facing grave and complex security challenges. As strategic competition becomes more acute, the regional security situation remains tense. Global and regional security faces the combined effect of traditional and nontraditional threats, such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, cyberattacks, climate change, biohazards, organized crime, and major communicable diseases. The Cold War mentality of encirclement, constraint, confrontation and threat is resurfacing. Hegemonism and power politics are surging. The law of the jungle and zero-sum games have found new soil in which to breed. These challenges are grievously undermining the post-World War II international order. Some Western countries are facing serious difficulties in governance, populism is widespread, and attacks on globalization are intensifying. With a looming arms race, international arms control and disarmament have suffered setbacks. Damage to global strategic balance and stability and the escalation of some regional issues and conflicts have increased the chances of war. The breathtaking development of information technology and artificial intelligence creates ethical problems and poses visible threats to human lifestyles and even existence.

These profound changes have brought humanity to a crossroads. Hope and confidence are key to resolving difficulties and challenges. The global trend towards peace and development will remain unchanged despite growing uncertainties and instabilities. The global trend towards multipolarity will remain unchanged despite tremendous changes in the international landscape. The trend towards economic globalization will remain unchanged despite setbacks to free trade and multilateralism. Reform of the international system will not change its course despite the increasing intensity and complexity of the contest over the international order. Through making the best use of the historic opportunities presented by the transformation and working together to cope with crises and challenges, humanity can achieve further progress in the century to come.

2. Building a global community of shared future

What is happening to the world? What should humanity do? Confronted with unprecedented global change and governance and development challenges, humanity urgently needs to establish new approaches to development, build a fairer and more equitable international system and order, and open up brighter prospects for the future. China's proposal to build a global community of shared future aims to solve the practical issues facing the world today and realize the peaceful and sustainable development of humanity. The proposal pursues the goal of universal harmony and the principles of cooperation and mutual benefit, while opposing the law of the jungle, power politics and hegemonism. It looks beyond zero-sum games to the idea of blazing a new path of development based on win-win cooperation, joint contribution and shared benefits, offering a new option to the international community.

Building a global community of shared future is a well-rounded, systematic proposal. Politically, it advocates mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing, opposes the Cold War mentality and power politics, and embraces a new approach to state-to-state relations, one that features dialogue rather than confrontation and seeks partnerships rather than alliances.

In terms of security, the proposal calls for settling disputes through dialogue and resolving differences through consultation, coordinating responses to traditional and nontraditional threats, and opposing terrorism in all its forms. In the economic sphere, the proposal calls for a spirit of partnership in liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment, and making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

The proposal respects cultural diversity and approaches cross-cultural communication by replacing estrangement with exchange, clashes with mutual learning, and a sense of superiority with coexistence. The proposal emphasizes eco-friendliness, cooperation in tackling climate change, and the protection of our planet, the home for all humanity.

The idea of building a global community of shared future draws from the essence of traditional Chinese culture and the achievements of human society, and reflects the interdependence among all countries and the close interconnection of all humanity. The idea demonstrates the values shared by Chinese and other cultures and by all humanity, and the greatest common ground for building a better world. Building a community of shared future does not mean conformity to the same values by all countries or the implementation of unilateral proposals pushed by one country or a small minority of countries, nor does it mean the establishment of a single unitary actor around the globe, or the replacement of one system or culture by another. Rather, it calls for countries with different social systems, ideologies, histories, cultures, and levels of development to align their goals and interests, enjoy equal rights, and share all responsibilities in international activities for the progress of humanity as a whole.

The path to a global community of shared future is arduous and tortuous. However, it is the trend of history and the goal of human civilization to replace backwardness with progress, misfortune with happiness, and barbarity with civility. All countries should reach consensus that transcends ethnicity, beliefs, culture, and location, and work together to build a community of shared future and actualize the aspiration of all peoples for a better life.

3. Building a new model of international relations

Peace and cooperation benefit all while conflict and confrontation benefit none. Harmony among all countries brings universal peace while confrontation causes chaos. History shows that the pursuit of hegemony, alliance and confrontation and the abuse of power in international relations will induce chaos or even war.

In addition to development issues, the world is beset by serious crises of trust and threats to the international rules and order. Some long-standing international norms and ethics that have been widely recognized and observed are now abandoned and betrayed. Some international treaties and agreements with a bearing on global stability and wellbeing are ignored, torn up or damaged. In defiance of international truth certain countries overtly infringe the sovereignty and interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, and abuse the small and weak.

Amid international volatility, all countries should observe the rules, enhance trust, and maintain order while building a new model of international relations. We should embrace a new approach to state-to-state relations, one that features dialogue rather than confrontation and seeks partnerships rather than alliances. Our global village should become a stage for common development rather than an arena for fights.

A new model of international relations should be built on the principles of mutual respect, equity and justice, and mutually beneficial cooperation. Mutual respect is based on equality among all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor. Each country should respect other countries' political systems, their right to choose their own development paths, and their interests and concerns. All should oppose power politics, hegemony, and interference in other countries' domestic affairs.

In upholding equity and justice, we need to discard extreme materialism and excessive competition, and ensure that countries with different reserves of resources and levels of development have equal right and equal access to opportunities so as to narrow the gap in development. State-to-state relations should uphold the greater good and pursue shared interests, with priority given to the former, properly balancing their national interests and their contribution to the international community.

Mutually beneficial cooperation pursues win-win results rather than the maximization of self-interest, and discards the outdated practice of "winner takes all". Countries should address the legitimate concerns of other countries while pursuing their own interests, promote common development with their own development, and respect the security of other countries while safeguarding their own security. We should turn pressure into impetus, crises into opportunities, and conflict into cooperation.

Major countries are an important force for safeguarding world peace and stability, and key actors in building a new model of international relations. Major countries should fulfill their responsibilities commensurate with their status. The international status of a country is measured by its openness of mind, breadth of vision, and sense of responsibility rather than its size, strength or power. Major countries should direct their primary efforts to the future of humanity and assume greater responsibilities for world peace and development, rather than wielding their power to seek hegemony in international and regional affairs. The course of human history shows that for the strategies of major countries to be successful they must follow the trends of the times and win wide recognition from other countries and peoples.

Only through cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual benefit can major countries sustain human progress. Coordination and cooperation should be strengthened to build a stable and balanced framework of relations among major countries, which underpins world peace and stability. Major countries should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, build deeper mutual understanding, and settle differences and disputes through constructive communication and consultation.

Big countries should treat small ones as equals rather than acting as hegemons imposing their will on others. No country should create havoc by launching ill-considered and arbitrary wars or undermining the international rule of law. Disputes and problems should be settled through dialogue and consultation on an equal footing and with the maximum sincerity and patience.

4. Promoting a new model of economic globalization

Economic globalization is an irreversible consequence of global economic development. It conforms to the trend of the times towards development and cooperation. Economic globalization has greatly facilitated trade, investment, flows of people, and technological advances, and benefitted the peoples of all countries, making an important contribution to world economic development. However, it has also caused a number of problems and encountered some setbacks. The current model of economic globalization cannot reflect the voices or represent the interests of developing countries. The law of the jungle and zero-sum games featuring the practice of "winner-takes-all" have exacerbated the divide between the rich and poor, as evidenced by the widening gap between developed and developing countries, and the gap between the rich and poor within developed countries (see Box 12).

Box 12 Economic Globalization Is a Double-Edged Sword

Economic globalization has promoted world economic development. According to World Bank data, global GDP in current US dollars grew 25-fold from US$2.96 trillion in 1970 to US$74 trillion in 2015. WTO statistics show that global trade grew over 50-fold from US$300 billion in 1970 to US$16 trillion in 2016. According to UN statistics, the global population living in extreme poverty dropped from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 836 million in 2015, surpassing the target of reducing extreme poverty rates by half under the UN Millennium Development Goals.

It should also be noted that the world is faced with a growing economic imbalance characterized by a widening gap between the North and South and between the rich and poor. Many developing countries are beset with poverty and consequential social problems such as hunger, disease and conflict. According to "Global Wealth Report 2016" from the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI), the 3.5 billion adults at the bottom of the global wealth pyramid own a mere 2.4 percent of global wealth, less than US$10,000 per capita. An MGI 2016 report shows that about 70 percent of households in 25 advanced economies - the equivalent of more than 500 million people - experienced flat or falling incomes from 2005 to 2014. Globally, more than 700 million remain in extreme poverty, and the Gini coefficient has risen past the 0.6 threshold of very high income inequality to approximately 0.7.

Some countries have ascribed domestic governance problems to economic globalization or other countries, and resorted to unilateral, protectionist, and hegemonic actions. This approach has damaged the global value, supply and consumption chains, and caused turbulence and conflict in the current international trade order, driving the world economy towards the "recession trap".

We should not be intimidated by the problems encountered by economic globalization. Withdrawing from international organizations and treaties, decoupling foreign trade relations, and building border walls lead us nowhere. Our problems can only be solved through a process of reform and self-improvement. All countries should join forces to draw lessons from history, strengthen coordination, enhance governance, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

A new model of economic globalization should be developed and shaped by all countries. It should make innovations and improvements based on those rules and institutions that have proven effective in practice, such as trade liberalization and multilateral trade. It should eliminate hegemonism, power politics, the law of the jungle, and zero-sum games, uphold the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and realize democracy, equality, fairness and equity. It should help to build an open world economy, promote world peace and stability, and bring common development and prosperity.

The ongoing fourth technological revolution will have immeasurable impact on a new wave of economic globalization and on the development of human society, bringing unprecedented opportunities for development as well as serious challenges. All countries should join together and take prompt action in building a new framework for global governance with the vision of a global community of shared future. We need to establish relevant rules and standards that facilitate technological innovation and development while ensuring the bottom line of human security. We should accommodate the interests of all countries and in particular those of the developing countries. It is unfair to apply the standards and security rules of developed countries or individual countries to all the other countries. It is essential to respect the sovereignty of every country. No country should seek technological hegemony, interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries, or engage in, connive in, or shield technological activities that undermine other countries' security. Based on multilateralism, mutual respect and mutual trust, all countries should conduct extensive dialogue and cooperation, and build a system of technological rules and a framework for international cooperation that ensure peace, security, democracy, transparency, inclusiveness and benefits for all. It is necessary for all countries to uphold social equity and justice, place technological innovation under the rule of law and internationally recognized norms, and ensure that innovation is by the people, for the people, and consistent with human values.

5. Upholding the international system with the UN at its core

The international order underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter has accommodated the interests of the majority of countries and promoted world peace and development. Blatant violations of international law and the basic norms of international relations in pursuit of self-interest will plunge the world into a precarious situation characterized by chaos, confrontation and conflict. Hegemony will put justice in peril. The international community should work resolutely together to develop democratic international relations, safeguard the ethical and legal norms that are vital to human survival and development, and uphold international equity and justice.

The UN is at the core of the global governance system. The UN Charter is the fundamental cornerstone for maintaining stability of the international system and regulating relations among countries. The world is experiencing confrontation and injustice in many different forms, not because the purposes and principles of the UN Charter are outdated, but because they have not been effectively fulfilled. Upholding the authority and role of the UN is key to protecting the common interests of the international community and the legitimate interests of individual countries, and to shaping a bright future for humanity. Therefore, all countries should uphold the international system centered on the UN, international law and the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and the central role of the UN in international affairs.

The multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core is the cornerstone of international trade. It has played a crucial role in promoting global trade, building an open world economy, and improving the wellbeing of the peoples of all countries. Unilateral and protectionist trade policies, which run counter to the laws of the market, international rules, and the basic principles of the WTO, will lead to shrinking global trade and may even trigger global economic crises. All countries should join together in support of multilateralism while firmly opposing unilateralism and protectionism. In building an open world economy, we should safeguard the WTO's core role and basic principles and the multilateral trading system characterized by free trade, openness and non-discrimination, and protect the legitimate rights and development space of developing member states.

The Paris Agreement on climate change, the Convention on Nuclear Safety, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, and other international treaties and agreements are based on the consensus of all parties and in accord with the interests of all countries. All signatories have the obligation to fulfill their commitments fully rather than selectively. Willful withdrawal from international organizations and treaties goes against the spirit of contract and international ethics. The rules should be observed in fairness and be mutually binding, and must not be compromised by "pragmatism" and double standards.

6. Promoting exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations

Civilization is an essential attribute of human society. Diversity is a primary characteristic of human civilization. Exchanges and mutual learning have been a basic driving force for progress in civilizations throughout the history of humanity for thousands of years. The world has become what it is today through communication and fusion among different civilizations. Further human development entails stronger exchanges and mutual learning among cultures and deeper mutual understanding among the peoples of different countries and closer people-to-people ties. Cultural progress is just as important as economic and technological development in addressing the increasingly pressing challenges we face and in moving humanity towards a better future.

Human civilization should be open and inclusive, and based on equality and diversity. Civilization thrives in diversity. Every civilization represents the collective memory of a nation or a people. All civilizations in the world, including the Chinese civilization, are the fruit of human development. All civilizations are equal. No civilization is perfect on the planet. Nor is it devoid of merit. No single civilization can be judged superior to another. Human civilization is inclusive. As the fruit of human labor and wisdom, every culture deserves respect and is worth cherishing. Attempts to judge the superiority of one race or civilization to another, to transform or replace other civilizations, and to sow discord between civilizations, are absurd and disastrous. These attempts will only increase misunderstanding between civilizations and push the world towards fragmentation and confrontation.

Exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations should be strengthened. All countries should treat each other with respect and as equals. While discarding arrogance and prejudice, every country should enhance its awareness of the differences between its own civilization and other civilizations, increase dialogue between different cultures, and strive for harmonious coexistence. Every country should value its own civilization, appreciate that of others, and facilitate their development, and this will contribute to the flourishing of all civilizations. All civilizations should be open and inclusive, and promote common development by drawing from each other's strengths through exchanges and mutual learning. All civilizations should progress with the times and sustain their development through innovation.

IV. China Contributes to a Better World

China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, nor can the world as a whole maintain peace, development, prosperity and stability without China. China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. China continues to place its own development in the coordinate system of human development, seeing that its future is closely connected with that of the rest of the world and the interests of the Chinese people are integrated with the common interests of the peoples of other countries. China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a guardian of global order, contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to building a global community of shared future and developing a better world.

1. Promoting world peace and development through our own development

As the largest developing country in the world, we remain fully committed to following our own path and managing our own affairs well by pooling resources. This is how we can make our country more prosperous and our people happier, and infuse stability and certainty into the complex and volatile world. That in itself is our biggest contribution to world peace and development.

Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China will continue to forge ahead on its socialist path. We have committed to a people-centered approach and given top priority to development. We have implemented the five-sphere integrated plan to advance economic, political, cultural, social and ecological development, and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy to complete a moderately prosperous society in all respects, further reform, advance the rule of law and strengthen Party discipline. We should strive to build China into a strong, modern socialist country and march towards national rejuvenation.

China places economic development at the center of its national rejuvenation, promotes high-quality development and pursues with firmness of purpose the new vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. We will accelerate the modernization of our economy to better meet people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Comprehensive reform of the economic system will be furthered to make sure that the market plays a decisive role in resource allocation and the government performs its functions better. We will push forward supply-side structural reform to provide endogenous impetus for sound and sustained economic development. We will continue to implement the innovation-driven development strategy, grasp the development opportunities presented by digitalized, networked and intelligent development, increase protection of intellectual property rights, expand our capability and strength in innovation, and create new drivers of growth. China will advance science and technology to benefit more people, expand international cooperation to allow other countries to share its scientific and technological achievements, and bring more benefits to people across the world through technological innovation.

Seeking a better life for the Chinese people has always been the primary goal for China. We will intensify efforts to secure and improve standards of living, allowing all people to benefit more fairly and thoroughly from the fruits of reform and development. We will reinforce targeted poverty alleviation and elimination to ensure that extreme poverty is basically eliminated by the end of 2020, thus enabling the people to better enjoy the fruits of economic growth and making a new contribution to global poverty reduction. China actively follows the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, remains firm in its commitment to promoting green development, and speeds up the application of eco-friendly growth models and ways of life. It takes a leading role in international cooperation in response to climate change, advances green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development all over the world, and endeavors to protect the common homeland of humanity.

The Chinese military is a resolute defender of world peace. In the new era, China continues to pursue a defense policy that is defensive in nature, and stays committed to building a strong military with Chinese features, and solid national defense and armed forces that are commensurate with China's international status and in compliance with national security and development interests. The Chinese army faithfully adheres to the concept of a global community of shared future, actively fulfills the international responsibilities of the armed forces of a major country, and comprehensively advances international military cooperation in the new era. Therefore, the Chinese military serves as a strategic safeguard for world peace and development, and contributes to building a better world of lasting peace and common security.

2. Pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation and common development

Only through mutually beneficial cooperation and common development can we make significant and sustainable achievements that are beneficial to all. Some countries are getting richer while others are becoming poorer, which makes it impossible to maintain lasting peace and prosperity around the world. Our Chinese people hope for a better life not only for ourselves, but also for the people of the rest of the world. China will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries to promote exchanges and mutual learning, and narrow the development gap, embarking on a path leading to fair, open, comprehensive, innovative and shared progress.

Pursuing innovative development, interconnected growth and converging interests. China will seek to create new sources of economic growth and foster new drivers of growth through international exchanges and cooperation. We will further strengthen coordination on macro policies and connectivity in development plans with other countries to draw on each other's strengths, increase positive spillover effects, and reduce negative external impacts. We will advance opening up and cooperation in a more inclusive way, pursue both current and long-term interests, and give consideration to the interests of other countries while pursuing our own, making the cake bigger and sharing it fairly to ensure equity and justice. China will help rebalance the world economy and ensure that the gains made benefit more people. We welcome the people of other countries aboard the express train of China's development, and endeavor to help more emerging market and developing economies better integrate into the global industrial, supply and value chains, thus sharing the benefits of economic globalization.

Promoting high-quality development along the Belt and Road. The Belt and Road Initiative is a platform for building a global community of shared future, acting as a "boat" and "bridge" to promote world peace and development. China will join forces with all parties concerned to follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and uphold open and green development and clean government. We will pursue high standards, sustainability, and a better life for the people. In promoting high-quality development along the Belt and Road, we will jointly make this initiative an open, green, and innovative path to peace, prosperity and cultural exchanges. We aim to create opportunities for all countries and enable more people to enjoy a better life. The Belt and Road is an initiative for economic cooperation, not one for geopolitical or military alliance. It is an open and inclusive process that neither targets nor excludes any party. Rather than forming exclusionary blocks, it aims to help China and the rest of the world jointly seize opportunities and pursue common development. It is intended to avoid ideological demarcation, zero-sum games, or any of the "traps". We welcome any country which is willing to participate.

Advancing global poverty reduction. Eliminating poverty remains the biggest challenge facing the world today. To realize the UN goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, it is critical for all countries to make concerted efforts. China advocates that developed countries increase assistance to developing countries and the latter enhance endogenous impetus for development, so as to accelerate the process of global poverty reduction. We actively implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, enhance international cooperation in poverty reduction, support the UN and the World Bank in continuing their important role in global poverty reduction, and promote a mutually beneficial model of international exchanges and cooperation in poverty reduction. China concerns itself with the problems of poverty-stricken countries and wants to help those people living in hunger and poverty. It strives to help developing countries - especially the least developed - to improve their capacity for self-development by providing foreign aid and debt relief and increasing imports and investment. We will continue to contribute wisdom and strength to global issues including poverty alleviation and reduction, disease prevention and control, and refugee relief, letting the sunlight of common development dispel the shadow of poverty and backwardness and illuminate a future of shared prosperity.

3. Upholding and advancing economic globalization

China is an active participant in and a firm supporter of economic globalization. We are ready to join the international community in taking proactive measures and strengthening guidance to make the process of economic globalization more dynamic, more inclusive and more sustainable. China will follow a more proactive opening-up strategy, work to create a more comprehensive, diverse and deeper opening-up structure, achieve mutually beneficial progress in a broader way, and uphold and promote economic globalization through concrete actions.

Opposing unilateralism and protectionism. China is fully committed to a multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. It is keen to extend cooperation with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and to jointly maintain the stability and development of the global economy and trade. China advocates compliance with the WTO rules to address issues in international trade through dialogue and consultation based on mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, cooperation and good faith. Threats of a trade war and continuous tariff hikes will never help to resolve economic and trade issues. China is a mature economy with a complete industrial system and industrial chain, vast markets, and vibrant momentum for development. We can never be defeated or weakened by a trade war. China is confident of meeting challenges head on, turning risks into opportunities, and opening new chapters.

Opening wider to the outside world. Opening up has been key to China's economic growth over the past years. In the same vein, further growth in the future can only be achieved with greater openness. We have launched and will continue to implement a host of major opening-up measures, giving equal emphasis to "bringing in" and "going global", and making new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. With lower overall tariffs, a shorter negative list, easier market access, more transparent market rules, and a more attractive business environment, China will build an open economy of higher quality, bringing more opportunities for growth, transformation and innovation to the world. We welcome more foreign friends to study, work and travel in China. China will devote more energy to "going global", encourage more Chinese enterprises and institutions to invest and develop outside China, strengthen economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and build new platforms for mutually beneficial cooperation. China will continue to ensure the success of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and make every effort to develop a world-class China International Import Expo, fostering new demand and drivers for its opening up and global economic growth.

Moving faster to promote regional economic integration. China will speed up the implementation of its free trade zone strategy, and build a high-standard network of free trade zones that focuses on neighboring countries and regions, radiates out through the Belt and Road, and opens to the world. We will continue to help secure agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and speed up negotiations on the China-Japan-ROK Free Trade Agreement and the China-EU investment treaty. China will work on the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific and an East Asia economic community, support the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, advance regional economic integration, and promote liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, reinforcing the momentum for economic globalization.

Continuing internationalization of the Renminbi. The internationalization of the Renminbi has broadened monetary settlement options for global trade and promoted diversity in the international monetary system. It aims to supplement and improve rather than change the current system. It is a market-driven process based on the principle of respecting market demand and serving the real economy. While advancing the market-based reform of the Renminbi exchange rate and the opening of domestic capital and financial accounts in a prudent and orderly way, China will continue the internationalization of the Renminbi, raise financial standards, and further internationalize its financial sector, thus enhancing converging interests with other countries and contributing to international financial stability.

4. Developing global partnerships

China gives priority to expanding partnerships. Those who cherish the same ideals and follow the same path can be partners, and so can those who seek common ground while reserving differences. China will carry forward this spirit, remain committed to a new approach to state-to-state relations, one that features dialogue rather than confrontation, and seeks partnerships rather than alliances. We will work to build a framework for major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development, establish deeper relations with our neighbors, and strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. Guided by the principle of upholding the greater good and pursuing shared interests, China will expand the convergence of interests with other countries, add more value to partnerships, and enlarge its circle of friends worldwide.

The China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. China is the world's largest developing country and the United States is the largest developed country. Cooperation is the only correct choice for the two countries, and a mutually beneficial relationship is the only path to a better future. The US should treat our bilateral relations from a broad and rational perspective. China has no intention of challenging the United States, nor of replacing the US; the US is unable to force China's hand, and even less likely to halt China's development. The US cannot maintain its strength by attempting to contain and suppress other countries, or by transferring its own domestic stresses outward. The US should abandon the Cold War mentality, and develop a proper understanding of itself, China, and the world. It should adapt to the development and prosperity of other countries, and live in harmony with the rest of the world, which is the principle major countries should always follow. The Thucydides trap is not an unbreakable law. However, any serious strategic miscalculation between major countries risks turning conflict and confrontation into a self-fulfilling prophecy. For the wellbeing of the two nations and the rest of the world, China is ready to work with the US to shoulder their shared responsibilities as major countries, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, manage differences based on mutual respect, and jointly advance China-US relations focusing on coordination, cooperation and stability.

China and Russia have walked hand in hand through the past seven decades, each as the other's largest neighbor. They have withstood the test of changes in the world and set a good example in fostering a new model of international relations. Our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is mature, stable and solid, enjoying the highest level of mutual trust and coordination and the highest strategic value. The upgrade of the China-Russia relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era marks a brighter future for our bilateral relations. China has always prioritized its relations with Russia in its diplomatic agenda. China will work with Russia to build a deeper friendship between our two countries, support each other on issues concerning our core interests, closely coordinate with each other on major issues of mutual concern, enhance the connectivity of our development strategies, and push our bilateral relations to greater heights, wider fields and deeper levels. Our relationship will serve as both a ballast and a propeller in a complex and volatile international situation. A close partnership between China and Russia contributes to world peace, security and stability.

Europe is an important pillar in the world today, and also a comprehensive strategic partner to China. We endeavor to promote a partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization, connecting our strengths, markets and civilizations, and increasing the global influence of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. China will continue to support European integration, and a more important role in international affairs for a more united and stronger EU. The two sides will extend cooperation, make joint efforts to uphold multilateralism, and promote stability throughout the world.

China sees its neighboring countries as the foundation of its development and prosperity. It gives top priority to neighborhood diplomacy in foreign relations, and takes promoting regional peace, stability and development as its bounden duty. In accordance with the policy of forging friendships and partnerships with our neighbors based on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, we will continue to increase mutual trust and assistance, promote connectivity, further mutually beneficial cooperation, and ensure peace and tranquility, so that our development will bring even greater gains to our neighbors and gather strength for turning China and its neighbors into a community of shared future. China will continue to lead regional cooperation and safeguard regional peace and development.

China and other developing countries share the same aspiration for peace and development. Guided by the principle of upholding the greater good and pursuing shared interests, China strengthens solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries in a spirit of sincerity, affinity, and good faith. We will contribute to a closer community of shared future between China and Africa, further a comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and Latin American countries characterized by equality, mutual benefit and common development, reinforce a future-oriented strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and common development between China and the Arab states, and foster new drivers for South-South cooperation, helping the peoples of all developing countries achieve a better life.

5. Supporting multilateralism and upholding international equity and justice

Equity and justice are the eternal goals of human society and the ultimate purpose of building a global community of shared future. In today's world, equity and justice remain distant dreams. The future of the world should be decided by the peoples of all countries and international affairs should be managed by all countries through consultation. China will remain committed to multilateralism, uphold international equity and justice, and work with other countries to promote democracy, the rule of law and a proper balance in international relations.

Supporting multilateralism is the common aspiration of the international community. In today's world, all countries have converging interests and share weal and woe, making the global trend towards multipolarity and democratic international relations irresistible. Gone are the days when the strong had the final say. As a founding member of the UN, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and the largest developing country, China will continue to uphold the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and join forces with other countries in supporting multilateralism and opposing unilateralism. China advocates that whenever differences and disputes crop up between countries they should turn to consultation through multilateral frameworks or platforms, seek common ground while reserving differences, increase common interests while dissolving differences, and by doing so, broaden consensus and promote the peaceful settlement of differences and disputes. We oppose the calculated threat or use of force. China will remain committed to the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and oppose unilateral conduct such as erecting walls between nations, undermining others, or withdrawing into isolation. We give active support to the WHO, WIPO, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Labor Organization (ILO) in playing a better role in global governance.

Upholding equity and justice is China's basic principle in dealing with international issues. We respect the right of the peoples of all countries to choose their own development paths and social systems, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and oppose interference in others' domestic affairs. China will never impose its will on other countries, nor will it allow others to impose theirs on the Chinese people. We will never interfere in the domestic affairs of others, nor will we allow any country or force to interfere in ours. China stands for the equality of all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, and opposes the law of the jungle that leaves the weak at the mercy of the strong. We resolutely reject hegemonic thinking and power politics, and strive to increase the representation and voice of developing countries in international affairs. China will undertake more international responsibilities, work with other countries to safeguard human conscience and international truth, and uphold equity and justice in regional and international affairs. We will continue to advocate and implement our principles concerning major international and regional issues:

No country should interfere in other countries' internal affairs or impose its will on others;

Countries concerned should act in an impartial and objective manner and refrain from seeking selfish interests;

Political solutions, not the use of force, should be sought in addressing differences and disputes.

China believes that a fair judgment should be made on each issue on its own merits. We will promote peace talks, maintain stability, prevent disorder, exhibit no partiality, seek no selfish gains, and play a constructive role in ensuring regional and international peace and tranquility.

6. Taking a lead in reforming and developing the global governance system

It is the common aspiration of countries around the world to make global governance fairer and more equitable, and fulfill the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. As a major and responsible country, China will continue to enjoy its rights in balance with fulfilling its obligations, taking account of both its requirements of the world and the international community's expectations for China. We will take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system. As a participant in, builder of, and contributor to that system, China hopes to help the system move with the times through innovation and improvement, rather than reinvent the wheel.

This is a common cause of all countries and regions, so we must pursue the transformation of the global governance system by following the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. We must endeavor to turn sound proposals into consensus and concerted actions. What kind of international order and governance system best suits the world, and best suits the peoples of all countries? China advocates that it should be decided by all countries through consultation, and not by a single country or a small minority of countries. We will play an active role, strengthen coordination with all parties concerned, and promote peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, freedom and other common human values, making the global governance system better reflect changes to the international architecture and the will of the international community in a more balanced way.

China gives active support to reforming the UN, helping it better meet the new requirements of global governance in its underlying guidelines, organization and operations, better fulfill the responsibilities prescribed in the UN Charter, and better play an expanding role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. We support necessary reform of the WTO on the basis of equity and justice. China advocates that reform of the WTO should safeguard its core values and basic principles, especially the interests and policy space of developing countries. The WTO should promote trade liberalization and facilitation to make global trade more regulated, accessible and open, improve settlement mechanisms for trade disputes, and play a bigger role in developing an open and inclusive world economy. China will work with the international community to address global issues including climate change, terrorism, cyber security, energy security and severe natural disasters, and jointly protect our home planet.

China makes active efforts to advance the quota and governance reform of the IMF and the World Bank, better reflecting changes to the international architecture. We will promote the role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, and help it transform from a crisis-management body to a long-term and effective governance mechanism, making a bigger contribution to world economic growth and global economic governance. In leading and promoting an open world economy, China will push for new breakthroughs in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and ensure that more people embrace the spirit of an Asia-Pacific family and the idea of a community of shared future. We will ensure sustained and steady progress of the BRICS cooperation mechanism, so that it can play a greater role among international platforms.

We will actively promote innovative ideas in global governance, sum up the successful practice and experience of national governance, and explore values in our cultural tradition that remain relevant today as positive guides for good relations, trying to contribute Chinese wisdom, solutions and strength to global governance.

Conclusion

Looking back at the successes of the past seven decades, we Chinese people are proud of all our achievements. But we will not fall into complacency or stagnation. In this new era, China will not waver in its commitment to forging ahead on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, pursuing mutual learning and mutually beneficial cooperation, and working together with the rest of the world. In the future, China will embrace the world in a more open and inclusive manner, engage in more interactions with other countries, and bring more progress and prosperity to itself and the rest of the world.

In today's world we face an array of opportunities and hopes, of variables and challenges. The future of all countries has never been more closely connected. We each have a high stake in the future of all others. As long as we maintain the same goals and unite as one to share opportunities and meet challenges, we can build a global community of shared future and create a better and brighter world for all.

 

A peacekeeping police officer from China helps a local woman at a food relief center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.Xinhua

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2019-09-28 06:21:01
<![CDATA[An ode to the moon]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509925.htm Mid-Autumn Festival is a time when Chinese families embrace folk customs, Xu Lin reports.

Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, Mid-Autumn Festival - which falls on Sept 13 this year - is an occasion where Chinese people traditionally hold family reunions, enjoy mooncakes and marvel at the beauty of the large, round moon.

While folk customs differ from region to region, people across China like to celebrate the festival in their own way and pass on the festival spirit to the next generation.

Li Baoqi, pastry chef of Hua's Restaurant in Beijing, was busy teaching guests and their children how to make traditional Beijing-style fanmao (rolling feather) mooncakes ahead of the festival.

It's a pastry that was enjoyed by emperors at banquets during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Legend has it that Empress Dowager Cixi once pounded the table with her hand, causing the crust to "flutter" like feathers.

Packed with chopped walnuts and peanuts, each mooncake weighs 250 grams and has a white surface with a red stamp bearing an auspicious motif made of strawberry jam. Li says in order to cater to healthier dining habits, they reduced the amount of sugar and added more nuts. They started to sell fanmao mooncakes in 2014 to revive the ancient recipe. All ingredients are meticulously made by hand.

"Children have great fun at these events and learn a lot about the festival," says Yue Jingyan, who took her two daughters to the restaurant to learn how to make mooncakes.

In the past, children in Beijing offered mooncakes, fruit and flowers to Tu'er Ye, or the Rabbit God, on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival. In modern times, the 400-year-old Rabbit God has gradually become a toy for children to play with during the festival, which is both a symbol of Beijing's folk culture and a tourism souvenir.

With a suit of armor, the god with the head of a rabbit and a human body is often seen riding on a tiger, an elephant or a deer, or even sitting on a lotus leaf - which all have different auspicious meanings. Legend has it that the Rabbit God is the incarnation of Jade Rabbit that lives in a palace on the moon with the mythological goddess, Chang'e.

Traditional culture

In Lao She's novel Four Generations Under One Roof about the life of Beijing residents during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), an old man bought two Rabbit God statues for his grandchildren from a street vendor for Mid-Autumn Festival.

Lao She writes: "The small rabbit is indeed exquisitely made, with its smooth, pink face and delicate features. Even a 75-year-old man can't help loving it, just like a child."

Zhang Zhongqiang, 57, is an inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of making Rabbit God models in Beijing's Xicheng district.

"It's the best time for craftspeople, as the government is striving to revive traditional culture," he says.

"To understand the culture of Beijing, you have to delve into the history of the Rabbit God and try to make one yourself. For instance, in the Beijing dialect, there are some two-part allegorical sayings related to the Rabbit God."

Zhang sticks to the old method of making Rabbit God figurines, but also designs new versions that cater to modern aesthetics and younger people.

He says the variety of figurines has risen from five to more than 30, and the most common costumes are gold, red, yellow and green.

He teaches a course at a primary school in the city's Daxing district that combines making the figurines with classes on Beijing's culture, history and folk customs.

First, he presses pottery clay into a mold to form the shape before leaving it to dry for a week. He then polishes it and paints it white. The last step is to paint the different colors on the semifinished product, a process popular with locals and tourists alike.

He recalls a moment when he visited Taiwan on a cultural exchange several years ago, a man in his 90s who was originally from Beijing, burst into tears as childhood memories of his toy rabbit flooded back.

It's a long tradition for Chinese people to enjoy colorful lanterns out on the streets with their families during Spring Festival, Lantern Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival.

Cao Zhenrong, 75, from Nanjing, Jiangsu province, has been making Qinhuai lanterns since he was a child, learning the skills from his father. His calloused hands bear witness to his lantern-making career, and he's a provincial-level inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage.

Originating in Nanjing some 1,700 years ago, Qinhuai lanterns usually take the shape of flowers, birds, fish and other animals.

"The most difficult lanterns to make are the ones shaped like humans, as it takes a great deal of time and energy to re-create vivid facial expressions," he says.

He says he's glad that more people are becoming interested in Qinhuai lantern culture. He teaches different age groups to make lanterns, from kindergarten children to university students.

There are three steps to follow while making them: use thin strips of bamboo to form a frame, paste thin paper over it and then add decoration.

He has no time to observe Mid-Autumn Festival with his family since it's a busy time for craftspeople. The Imperial Examination Museum of China in Nanjing has invited him to teach parents and children to make lanterns. "Cute rabbit lanterns are popular during the festival."

Reviving old festivities

For lovers of hanfu, or traditional Chinese costume, Mid-Autumn Festival, together with other traditional festivals, are occasions to dress up in their favorite outfits and have a gettogether to revive old festivities.

Yu Mengting, president of the Beijing Mowu Tianxia Hanfu Association, says the group meets to make mooncakes and lanterns, hold a ceremony to honor the moon, enjoy guqin (seven-stringed lyre) performances, take turns to recite poems and play pitch-pot games.

She says in ancient times, Chinese people attached great importance to etiquette and made strict rules for the types of clothes worn on different occasions. Just as hanfu has been revived in recent years, other elements of traditional culture like incense have also been promoted.

"Hanfu and traditional festivals complement each other. We love hanfu as well as traditional culture, and we like to discover how ancient people celebrated their festivals," she says.

Yu says public awareness about hanfu has been greatly increased over the past decade.

"Passers-by will rarely size you up curiously when you wear hanfu now. It also means we're more confident about our culture," she says.

"Hanfu has become an integral part of my life. It's stylish, and I often match it with my modern clothes."

The average age of the members of her association is 26. They often hold activities in museums, parks or shopping malls to promote hanfu culture among the public.

Thanks to mobile internet, people often share short videos of their celebrations online, particularly in the Chaoshan area in Guangdong province.

For those working away from home, short videos about local operas or temple fairs often help to ease feelings of homesickness.

Last year, Zhang Tao started to post the traditional customs of the Chaoshan area on the short video platform Kuaishou, and now has over 100,000 fans.

"It's about recording my life and sharing it with people who share the same hobby," says Zhang Tao, a businessman from Shantou city in the same area.

"In Chaoshan, it's a tradition to build a pagoda-shaped kiln and burn it on the night of Mid-Autumn Festival to celebrate the harvest and pray for blessings. Locals gather to watch the ceremony, watch the moon and burn offerings, which I also film and post online."

Contact the writer at xulin@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Top: Women dress in hanfu robes at a reading event held by the Beijing Mowu Tianxia Hanfu Association in December. Above right: Mooncakes are usually the centerpiece of the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations. Photos Provided to China Daily. Above left: A typical Tu'er Ye figurine has the Rabbit God riding on a tiger. Yuan Yiting / For China Daily

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page3)

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2019-09-13 08:11:44
<![CDATA[Celebrating the season's ebb and flow with festival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/13/content_37509924.htm

While the celebrations for Mid-Autumn Festival have evolved over the centuries, its origins can be traced back to the ancient tradition of making offerings to the moon to solicit good fortune.

Since there was no night curfew in place during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Mid-Autumn Festival was a time for grand celebrations for the nobility, government officials and ordinary people alike.

People would dress up in their finery, visit night markets and stay up late to observe the moon while drinking alcohol and viewing colorful lanterns.

In Zhejiang province, residents still keep up one popular tradition from the Song era - watching the ebb and flow of the tides of the Qiantang River in Hangzhou.

"As well as being a good opportunity for a family reunion, Mid-Autumn Festival is also the time to celebrate a bountiful grain harvest. For farmers, it marks the transition from working in the fields in autumn to taking a rest during winter. It represents the dynamic balance between yin and yang," says author Guo Wenbin.

Guo's novel Lunar Calendar was nominated for the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2011. It offers an insight into how ordinary Chinese people celebrate traditional festivals like Mid-Autumn Festival over the years. Some are based on his childhood memories from his hometown, a small county in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

According to Guo, Ningxia people have always held a ceremony to honor the moon during the festival, where they make offerings of auspicious fruit like watermelon and apples. They also like to row along the river, recite poems, eat fruit and observe the moon. The festival is also an occasion for married men to visit their parents-in-law to show their gratitude and filial piety.

Compared with other traditional festivals, Guo says, Mid-Autumn Festival is the one most closely associated with literature, romance and poetic charm.

Many ancient poems have been written about the moon, and its symbolic significance varies as it waxes and wanes - evoking by turn sentiments of beauty, pureness, longing and homesickness.

"By observing traditional festivals, we are all reminded that humans are an integral part of nature. It helps to ease our anxieties and increase our sense of security and happiness, especially among people living in larger cities," he says.

"By marking the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, we also enhance our cultural identity and strengthen our national confidence. It highlights the inheritance of our traditional culture and showcases Chinese aesthetics."

(China Daily 09/13/2019 page3)

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2019-09-13 08:11:44
<![CDATA[Tianjin eyes high-tech led development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470880.htm Tianjin, a northern port city, made considerable progress in its efforts to achieve high-quality development last year and will continue to press ahead with more steps to unlock fresh growth seams, a top local government official said on Friday.

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Northern port city to tap fresh growth seams for industrial transformation

Tianjin, a northern port city, made considerable progress in its efforts to achieve high-quality development last year and will continue to press ahead with more steps to unlock fresh growth seams, a top local government official said on Friday.

"Tianjin is accelerating the push for high-quality development, aiming to build a big intelligent industrial innovation system and foster a big intelligent industrial cluster," said Cao Xiaohong, vice-mayor of Tianjin.

Cao made the remarks on Friday at the seventh session of Vision China, a series of talks hosted by China Daily.

"Tianjin is closely tied to the smart technologies sector through the annual World Intelligence Congress and will look to be a part of the new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation," Cao said.

The annual World Intelligence Congress, a global conference on leading technologies, will help further pursue the industrial upgrading and transformation as well as high-quality economic and social development, she said.

Tianjin is shifting from high-speed economic growth to high-quality development. During the first quarter of this year, value-added industrial output in the city grew 4.8 percent year-on-year to 216 billion yuan ($38 billion), 2.2 percentage points higher than the number in 2018. Value-added equipment manufacturing output surged 6.4 percent year-on-year, accounting for 33.1 percent of the city's total industrial output.

Zhang Guoqing, mayor of Tianjin, said the city is keeping its development on a healthy track and gearing up for high-quality development.

"We are focusing on industrial transformation and upgrading," Zhang said earlier this year during the Two Sessions in Beijing. "Our efforts may temporarily affect the current GDP growth rate, but we have the resolve to tackle problems and pursue green, sustainable development."

Tianjin is also shaping up to become a high-tech hub and has rolled out a series of supportive policies to develop the artificial intelligence sector, aiming to inject new impetus into the city's economic growth.

In December, Tianjin unveiled a three-year plan to boost the innovative development of seven AI-related industrial chains, including the independent and controllable information system, smart security, big data, advanced communications, intelligent connected vehicles, industrial robots and intelligent terminals.

According to the plan, the government will build Tianjin into an AI innovation center and make it a hub for AI industries and AI innovative applications by 2020.

Last May, Tianjin set up a 100 billion yuan fund to invest in AI technologies, focusing on emerging fields including robots, smart software and hardware as well as intelligent vehicles.

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470879.htm Today's event was very informative. I'm impressed by the level of organization. Today's speakers were true leaders and experts in their fields and because of that I feel honored to be able to participate in an event of this scale. I've learned that artificial intelligence is already surrounding our everyday lives and it really makes a difference. The thing that stuck in my mind the most is that we have to look at the bigger picture and focus not only on our selfish needs but innovate in a sustainable way. Overall I've really enjoyed this event.

Marek Dobrowolski, a postgraduate student at Tianjin University of Technology

It was an excellent event. The Tianjin vice-major's speech was very meaningful. I also liked the points about the underestimation of the long-term impacts of technology and the high costs behind innovation. While the previous industrial revolutions were about how to do something at the push of a button, the current initiative is to make a machine that can create these buttons by itself. What we need to do is to provide the right input for this machine to be able to learn. The increase of funding behind China's AI startups is also interesting. I am curious what products this will create in the coming decades and how these will influence our lives.

George Petruska, marketing manager at www.englishteachingjob.com

The most impressive point for me is the diversity of views. There are many young people here, audience and guests. They inspire me a lot. I think technology and AI have a great impact on people's daily lives. We can learn more about them as much as we can. Vision China is an excellent idea for other countries to know more about China. I look forward to more opportunities to share our views about other interesting topics.

John Evans, principal of Tianjin Yinghua Cambridge International School

I am an educator, and I knew a little about artificial intelligence before I came here. Obviously, it's making our lives more convenient. I have lived in Tianjin for 22 years. Every single year, the technology brings me many surprises. A lot of technologies applied in this city make our lives easier and safer. The last speaker impressed me most. He said that China is an innovator that is at the forefront in many areas. I have seen China's quick development, which makes me feel excited.

Michael Conway, secondary principal and deputy director, International School of Tianjin

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[New era requires responsible leadership]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470878.htm

The fourth industrial revolution involving intelligence calls for a more inclusive style of leadership, said Danil Kerimi, regional deputy head of a Beijing-based World Economic Forum affiliated center.

Kerimi said the new global governance operating system requires leaders to be responsible to people as well as responsive to their demands.

Kerimi, who works at the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution China, said leaders need to be cognizant of the changing social, political, and technological environment so that they will be able to "provide leadership under the new changed circumstances".

The center works as a platform aiming to bring together leaders at the highest level from government, business and other sectors of the society to advance global cooperation in the field of science and technology.

Taking the development of urban transportation systems as an example, Kerimi said the innovation and application of driver's licenses and traffic lights reflected the leadership's adaptability and responsiveness to the technological disruption of the time.

"Changes are coming so much faster these days than in the past. By the time you finish analyzing all the data you're given, it's too late to act," he said, adding that qualified leaders should be able to act in an environment of imperfect and incomplete information while quickly correcting the mistakes they have found in the decision-making process.

Kerimi also noted that the current industrial revolution, although driven by technology, is still human centric, and artificial intelligence, along with other technologies, will only be powerful when used to "augment human abilities".

"It (AI) will have a tremendous impact on all areas of production and consumption of life. But at the same time, it's important for us not to forget that human beings need to be in the driving seat."

Besides, Kerimi suggested governments and organizations work together to ensure AI and other advanced technologies can be applied across borders as many parts of the world do not have the capacity to develop their own intelligence solutions.

Together with a few other countries, he said China has taken an important and leading position in the development of advanced technology and its experience could provide a good example for the world to learn from.

"I believe that with human ingenuity and technological capabilities we will be able to solve all the challenges that we're facing today."

Kerimi joined the World Economic Forum in 2008 and was responsible for leading engagement with governments and business leaders in Europe and Asia as well as developing the global public sector outreach strategy for cyberspace.

Previously, he worked as an expert on Terrorism Prevention at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for four years, and was the legal expert of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

]]> 2019-05-18 07:38:15 <![CDATA[Q&A with Danil Kerimi]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470877.htm

What do you think are some of the biggest changes we can expect from the fourth industrial revolution? In particular, how do you think it will affect our everyday lives?

My personal opinion is that we sometimes overestimate the impact of technology in the short term, but underestimate it in the long term.

Some of these impacts we can see every day, like the changes to the way we work, play, order food or transportation. But some we can only see in retrospective such as the impact on our children, institutions, etc.

In the past, kids always had to come up with the story lines behind every toy. But now, the toys can create those stories. How does this affect the children's imagination? How does it affect their childhood? Those impacts cannot be seen in the short term.

What role will artificial intelligence play during the fourth industrial revolution, and how do you think AI will affect international relations?

AI is not the only technology driving the fourth industrial revolution, but definitely one of the most important ones. It's really the engine of progress.

There are certain countries that have less capabilities in developing cutting-edge technology. And it is our responsibility to make sure that we provide them certain ideas so they can leapfrog and not fall even further behind in their development strategy. Last year, there were 28 countries with AI strategies. This year there should be 193.

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Q&A with Qi Ye]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470876.htm

You talked about the dark side of innovation and all of the costs that come for the sake of innovation. So what is the solution or maybe a compromise to all of these costs that have come in the name of innovation?

Profit-making has been one of the main factors that drove innovation in the past. I think right now we do not need to worry about it any longer. As for creation of wealth, we can focus on sustainability and equality. I think we really need to change our ideas. I like this idea of human beings as a community of shared future and we need to work on that.

Can you tell us what role you see artificial intelligence is playing in the field of energy?

I think there's so much new technologies, like artificial intelligence, can help us with, such as building a global energy network and creating an energy distribution system in cities. Every house and every roof top will play a role in power generation. Thus, we can make electricity easily available for all in the future.

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Artificial intelligence key to a brighter future]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470875.htm

A young scientist-turned-businessman is exceedingly upbeat about China's leading role in developing the world's artificial intelligence industry due to its large amount of users and databases.

Li Jiwei, founder and CEO of Shannon.ai, a Beijing-based financial technology company, also said that China, following the trends of global powers, is supporting the industry by rolling out supportive policies, which has created a unique environment for the development of artificial intelligence technology at home.

"It's exciting to see more and more research results of AI landed and put into practice, and I do believe AI has become a crucial part of the rejuvenation of our country," said Li, who graduated from Stanford University in 2017 with a PhD in computer science.

Before coming back to China, Li worked at Microsoft Research and Facebook AI Research. He also appeared on the Forbes China 30 Under 30 list in 2018.

Li said Shannon.ai aims to use natural language processing technology to extract information from complex environments and achieve question-and-answer interactions for industry regulation, asset management and investment decisionmaking.

The young entrepreneur believes artificial intelligence is more like a universal intelligence whose application can penetrate and be put into various industries rather than being limited in certain fields, an advantage that allows artificial intelligence to take the lead in those ventures.

Such technology, he said, can collect and analyze data and information, predict the potential risks, and help investors make proper decisions.

"It is particularly important for overseas investment especially when the investors are not familiar with local markets, policies or even the political environment," he said. "It can be extremely time-consuming if we rely on ourselves to find out the solutions we need. But AI can achieve it within a short time and the results can be more accurate."

Li said the AI algorithms have been gradually put into practice in more fields over the past few years, which will largely affect people's daily lives and bring profound changes in production efficiency in the whole world.

"One of the obvious benefits AI will bring is to make life more convenient, and it has been noticed everywhere," he said. "If you try to remove everything related to AI from our life, you will find that life will be totally different and can be really hard."

Li said the intention of applying artificial intelligence is to make computers think and solve problems like human beings, thus improving productivity and supporting economic growth.

"AI can help replace a lot of simple but repetitive labor, so that people will have the time and energy to create and innovate more advanced technologies that can better promote the development of the society."

On the other hand, Li believes the application of AI can "make the world more equal" as it will help people effectively find the information they need.

He said the Web 1.0, in which people could use search engines, actually caused the information explosion and the inequality of access to information as some people did not have the capability to filter and identify messages. AI can quickly and accurately capture the information and knowledge people need.

]]> 2019-05-18 07:38:15 <![CDATA[Q&A with Li Jiwei]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470874.htm

Based on your personal experience, how do you think artificial intelligence can help us in the field of finance? Could you give us an example?

The financial industry is really about risk, and how you can predict risk in advance. And we can help avoid risk by using AI.

For example, to predict the risk, we need to collect data and information on what happens in the world. AI can do a perfect job as it can collect information comprehensively from all different resources and give you a very clear result.

As you know, the college entrance exam and the graduation season are approaching, so do you have any advice for a young student considering starting his or her career in the AI industry?

The first one is to always be open-minded. The world is changing so fast that it is hard to follow the latest changes. I think the younger generation should spend more time catching up with not only what is happening in the AI field, but also how this technology is being applied.

Second, especially for those who are studying abroad, there are lots of opportunities in China. So think about coming back.

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[China's innovation strides to propel global economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470873.htm

The Western world needs to change its mindset that China is a copycat and recognize that the country is now at the forefront of innovation in many areas, said David Gosset, the founder of the China-Europe Forum.

The Frenchman was one of the speakers at the Vision China event in Tianjin themed "Intelligence New Era: Progress, Planning and Opportunity". Vision China is a series of talks organized by China Daily. The previous session was held on April 27 in Beijing and was themed "Belt and Road, Shared Future".

"The progress that China has made in technological development has no equivalent in the world. I think it is time for the world to realize that China is not an imitator. When you look at China's history, China has always been a strong force for innovation," said Gosset.

"What I see today is an increasingly open and globalized China. The country is now a force of innovation and this is going to change our world."

Besides this topic, Gosset also talked about smart cities and the challenges related to sustainability as technology shapes the future at the seventh session of Vision China in Tianjin.

Gosset, who is also the founder of the New Silk Road Initiative, said that China can be a model for the world in terms of the planning and construction of smart cities. He pointed out that Shenzhen and Guangzhou are good examples of smart cities, though he believes that the Xiongan New Area will become the best in the country.

Spanning three counties in Hebei province that are located southwest of the Chinese capital, the Xiongan New Area will be where many of Beijing's noncapital functions and a considerable percentage of the population will be transferred or relocated in the future.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government approved the 2018-35 master plan for the site and emphasized that it would play a key role in driving high-quality development and building a modern economic system.

"Half of the Chinese population currently reside in cities and this will only increase in the coming years. It is imperative that China builds smart and sustainable cities that can better manage waste, water, energy, mobility and infrastructure," he said.

"I think China is avant-garde in terms of the planning and construction of smarter cities. I would like to invite everyone to pay attention to what is going to happen in Xiongan. I see Xiongan as a Shenzhen 2.0. It will be the smartest of all the smart cities."

Gosset also pointed out that a world power in the past used to be defined by four strategic dimensions - land, water, air and space - but there is now a fifth dimension: cyberspace. As such, China, which already has a vibrant and mature digital ecosystem, is poised to play a more influential role in the world.

"In cyberspace, China and the US reign. There is not one European company the size of Alibaba, JD or Amazon. When you have such a strong presence in cyberspace, you accumulate data. We now live in a world in which big data is the new gold or oil," he said.

"Which countries are going to be strong in artificial intelligence? It has to be China and the US, because they have the data. While Europe has excellent mathematicians to create algorithms, it lacks the data to power these algorithms," he said.

With regard to the challenges China and the rest of the world face in an increasingly digitized future, Gosset said that governments must find the balance between technology and wisdom and ensure that "human dignity is at the center of what we do".

"When we were in the Atomic Age, we had a United Nations body to ensure that we didn't do crazy things and destroy the planet. Now that we have AI, we need to create a similar entity to oversee the use of this technology.

"We are going to live in a world where the power of technology will be enormous. The biggest challenge of a more intelligent world is finding the balance between tech and wisdom. Some of those who lead very big companies are already warning us that we cannot live in a world where humans are enslaved to tech," he said.

]]> 2019-05-18 07:38:15 <![CDATA[Q&A with David Gosset]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470872.htm

The summit is themed Intelligence New Era: Progress, Planning and Opportunity. In your opinion, what should China do to prepare for a new era of intelligence?

Planning is important and China is doing very well. This is the strength (and) advantage of Chinese governance. It has to go with the very potent, lively, creative private sectors.

I think we can all agree that technological change has made the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese easier. High-speed rail, internet commerce and rental bikes are just three examples. How do you rate China's technological progress over the past 10 years?

We have never seen in the history of mankind such a change to lift millions of people out of poverty. I would like to take this opportunity to tackle some misconceptions: China is not an imitator, China is already an innovator.

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2019-05-18 07:38:15
<![CDATA[Sustainability and inclusiveness crucial for progress]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-05/18/content_37470871.htm

China has been shaping a top-down consensus to develop artificial intelligence application in restructuring its economy, said a leading public policy scholar.

"We have already reached such policy consensus (in developing artificial intelligence) and implementing decisions by taking a top-down approach will be effective," said Qi Ye, director of the Institute for Public Policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

In recent years, China has already rolled out policy packages in this area, following similar steps by the United States, the European Union, Japan and other global players, by turning itself into an innovation power.

"But we need to pay attention to regulations and the worldwide discussion in this direction should be heard," said Qi, who left Tsinghua University earlier this year to take up his new post.

Qi was director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy at Tsinghua University based in Beijing.

Qi suggested that there should be more discussions about regulating the development and application of intelligent technology in the future and that more problems will appear beyond the technical level with the continuous development of intelligent technology.

"Governments have insufficient understanding of intelligence, especially artificial intelligence, and the rule-making process falls far behind the development of the technology, which may bring risks in the future," he said.

For example, Qi said, there is plenty of research on applying intelligent technology for military purposes. However, the number of studies on what kind of rules should be used to regulate and govern the application is limited.

"Without effective control, it will have unimaginable consequences," he added. "Thus we must start to discuss the improvement of public policy to standardize our behavior."

Meanwhile, Qi suggested people should start to consider intelligent technology from a more ethical and philosophical perspective, such as its impact on society.

"In the era of mechanized production, machines replaced manual workers. Something similar may happen to those working in the service industry when it comes to the intelligence era," he said. "What about their future? How should we solve the employment issues?"

Speaking of the future, Qi said the new round of innovation featuring intelligence should benefit people as well as solve problems brought by the previous development processes.

Qi said, with the development of productivity, there are still a large number of people around the world living below the poverty line, and resources are still being wasted and destroyed.

"We must make good use of the development of intelligent technology, otherwise we might face a more terrible situation in the future," he said. "Thus, sustainability and inclusiveness should be the future direction and golden standard of innovation development."

Qi received his doctorate in Environmental Science in 1994, and taught ecosystem management and climate change science at the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley from 1996 through 2003.

Emphasizing sustainability, Qi admitted that intelligence is not yet being effectively applied in the protection of the natural environment and resources as it is "a costly field" that is unlikely to result in short-term economic benefits.

"I feel that we are still quite far away from being able to see the whole picture and the truth of the intelligent age," he said. "Then, the application will be extensive in this area."

]]> 2019-05-18 07:38:15 <![CDATA[Movies put in spotlight at forum]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107670.htm

Exchanges in film circles help to build a shared future for mankind

Cinema, which has a unique charm that carries it beyond borders, was one of the most highlighted themes during the annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, which held its first event on film on Friday.

In China, this year's box office haul had surpassed 50 billion yuan ($7.21 billion) by Oct 4, which was 47 days earlier than that figure was reached last year, according to the China Film Administration, the sector's top regulator.

With 58,530 screens in 10,417 cinemas, the most on Earth, China has inked film coproduction agreements with 21 countries, said Cao Yin, director of the program center at the China Movie Channel.

Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, said he hopes exchanges and cooperation in film circles will be further strengthened and contribute to the building of a community of a shared future for mankind.

China has become the world's second-largest movie market. Many genres of films are welcomed in China, and Chinese films have also seen an expansion in going abroad, he said.

Citing blockbusters such as Jackie Chan's Police Story series and Aamir Khan's Dangal, Zhou said a quality film always demonstrates a nation's unique charm from a special perspective.

"The more you exchange culture with the rest of the world, the more you will understand how insightful the proposition 'the more national, the more international' is," Zhou said. "What makes an excellent movie unforgettable is the convincing characters it depicts."

Khan, who also has won a huge fan base in China through such blockbusters as 3 Idiots, PK and Secret Superstar, shared a similar view.

With a filmmaking career spanning over three decades, Khan said his criteria in selecting a script involve not trying to estimate the audience's reaction, but determining whether the tale touches him.

"I feel the deeper you go into our own culture, the more international the film will be," said Khan.

The formula evidently works: Khan's interpretation of a stubborn, hard-bitten former wrestler has made Dangal the highest-grossing Indian film of all time in China, earning 1.3 billion yuan in 2017.

Khan said only a few Chinese films have been widely released in India, and he would like to see more Chinese films screened in his country to help locals get to know the culture and life of their neighboring country.

In what may come as a surprise even to his most diehard Chinese fans, Khan said he is fascinated with the story of Wei Xiaobao, a rags-to-riches protagonist created by martial arts novelist Louis Cha for his classic The Deer and the Cauldron.

Khan's attraction to Wei's fictional account, set during the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), is a good example of how a tale that examines the complexity of humanity can cross borders, said Yin Hong, a professor at Tsinghua University.

He said the most successful movies are not those tailored to cater to the market, but the stories that convey emotion and value.

In North America, the top-earning Chinese films remain Ang Lee's Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Zhang Yimou's martial arts epic Hero, said Yin.

Although it's no secret that martial arts flicks have earned a place for Chinese films in the West, Yin said those two films stand out for their reflection of Chinese moral values.

Hong Kong director Stanley Tong recalled he was hooked by Charlie Chaplin's emotional comedies when he was a child in 1960s.

"Love, fear and hatred, as well as respecting elders and protecting children, are shared and understood in all times in all countries, and they can all be told in films," Tong said.

]]> 2018-10-20 07:10:53 <![CDATA['Transcend barriers' for understanding]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107669.htm

More efforts are needed to strengthen the cooperation among countries and regions, step up global action to build mutual understanding and further boost economic globalization, according to scholars and cultural notables from home and abroad.

"To promote economic globalization, we need to transcend cultural barriers, build mutual understanding with shared values and foster stronger economic ties with each other," said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

Chen made the remark on Thursday at the fifth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum in Beijing. The forum concluded on Friday.

Chen said that after years of development, the Belt and Road Initiative has helped boost regional connectivity, promote economic links among countries and regions, reduce costs and increase productivity.

Nirj Deva, chairman of EU-China Friendship Group in the European Parliament, said the initiative is playing a significant role in fueling global economic growth.

According to Deva, it should be on the agenda for countries to work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind, especially when facing challenges of unprecedented proportions.

Thanks to the initiative, trade between China and markets participating in the Belt and Road Initiative hit $5.31 trillion yuan ($766 billion) in the first eight months this year, with 12 percent increase year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Chinese businesses directly invested $9.58 billion in economies taking part in the initiative, up almost 12 percent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

"China is such a significant economic player, and the Belt and Road Initiative could be globally transformational," said Deborah Lehr, CEO and founding partner of the US-based strategic business consulting firm Basilinna, speaking in an earlier interview with China Daily.

Romano Prodi, former prime minister of Italy and honorary chairman of the forum, said economic globalization has been successful in helping to alleviate poverty and boosting global cooperation and economic growth. He called for further global cooperation and positive steps to build mutual trust and understanding among countries, which will help in getting a better grip on current challenges.

 

Romano Prodi (front, second from right), former prime minister of Italy and honorary president of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, visits the Palace Museum on Friday along with other forum attendees.Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

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2018-10-20 07:10:53
<![CDATA[Rules sought for use of climate intervention]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107668.htm

International rules are needed to govern intentional large-scale interventions in the Earth's natural systems to cool the planet, given unknown risks and consequences, experts said. They discussed the issue while participating in the fifth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum in Beijing, which concluded on Friday.

The sizzling temperatures in the northern hemisphere over the summer have been a reminder of climate change, and the weather extremes may be only the beginning of what scientists have been warning of for years, they said.

"Some scientists are now warning of a 'hothouse Earth' scenario, in which breaching the Paris temperature goals may set in motion other climate events that could effectively render large parts of the planet uninhabitable," said Janos Pasztor, executive director of the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative, at a parallel event at the forum.

As the scale of the climate crisis becomes clearer, more senior policymakers are starting to ask whether humans can use large-scale interventions in the Earth's natural systems - such as large-scale carbon removal or solar geoengineering - to reduce the effects of climate change, Pasztor said.

Carbon removal involves removing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for long-term isolation from the atmosphere. Solar geoengineering involves introducing highly reflective particles into the atmosphere to reflect more radiant energy back into space.

Pasztor, also former United Nations assistant secretary-general on climate change, said employing any such method on a large scale would have major consequences for the entire planet.

"Some of those consequences could be good, some could be bad, but whatever they are, the whole world will feel their effects, and will have a stake in their development.

"Yet at present there are no comprehensive international rules to govern them. This is a serious challenge we need to address," he said.

Stratospheric aerosol injection is the most talked about technology for solar geoengineering. Deliberate injection of aerosols into the upper atmosphere is an issue with impacts across the globe, he said.

"Depending on how the work is done, however, there can be impacts on different parts of the world," he said, adding more negative impacts may occur than positive ones in some regions, and a global agreement on the risk and benefit is needed.

He also said such interventions are not alternatives to carbon emissions reduction, adding, "The emissions reduction is the number one priority."

Geoengineering has been talked about and researched since the 1980s. The world now needs a governance system for it, said Qi Ye, director of the Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy.

"In essence, geoengineering resorts to interventions to address natural problems. In the history of humanity, we can find many examples of how trying to solve a natural problem resulted in many more troubles," he said.

Geoengineering needs to be done on a large scale to make it work, Qi said. Such a large-scale intervention, however, is without precedent.

Pan Jiahua, director of Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said solar geoengineering is more cost-efficient than carbon emissions reduction or carbon removal.

The method, which is theoretically possible, holds many uncertainties and humans should be cautious about using it, he said. Yet if the stability of the Earth's natural systems is in danger because of increasing temperatures, the world may face a choice between using the method and collapse, he said.

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2018-10-20 07:10:53
<![CDATA[BRI revives value of ancient Silk Road connections]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107667.htm

A train is running through the Silk Road and at the end of the route lies harmony and peace. A group of countries are like carriages following the locomotive formed by both culture and economy.

The metaphor was brought up by Isa Habibbayli, vice-president of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences.

He was addressing a panel at the fifth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum, which concluded in Beijing on Friday.

Experts from Asia, Africa and Europe attended the panel to discuss the new cultural bridge that the Belt and Road Initiative has created to link nations and civilizations.

Chogjin, director of the Institute of Ethnic Literature of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a panel moderator, said while what often makes the news are economic benefits, cultural influences are more enduring and should also be emphasized. Chogjin, a Chinese of Mongolian ethnicity, uses a single name.

Habibbayli said China has introduced a fusion of economics and culture to promote the mutual development of all countries.

"Different countries can integrate various demands onto the train that Habibbayli has mentioned. It's a positive future prospect," said Chogjin.

The ancient Silk Road, which extended from China to as far as Europe and Africa, made possible a boom in trade and cultural exchanges. Today, people are still exploring the legacy and rediscovering its value, experts said.

Scholars from China, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, key points along the ancient Silk Road, traced their long history of economic and cultural exchanges.

Gohar Vardumyan, a researcher at the Institute of History of Armenia's National Academy of Sciences, pointed out the connections and phonetic similarities in languages of the civilizations as a legacy of historical exchanges.

Wang Siming, a professor at Nanjing Agricultural University, said Chinese rice, soybeans, silk and tea were spread around the world and at least 120 kinds of crops were introduced to China.

Duan Yu, a history professor at Sichuan Normal University, said trade along the southern route of the ancient Silk Road, which started at Chengdu, Sichuan province, and ran through Yunnan province to South and Southeast Asia, was prosperous but not so well-known. It promoted exchanges with Southeast Asian civilizations. Cultural exchanges simultaneously develop with political and business trust through the region, Duan said.

Essam Sharaf, former prime minister of Egypt, said restoring history is an efficient way to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, considering that Egypt and China, among the world's oldest civilizations, have a long history of trade, cultural interchanges and person-to-person exchanges.

People should be more patient when dealing with differences during cultural exchanges because importance comes along with difficulties, he said.

Charles Onunaiju, director of Center for China Studies in Abuja, Nigeria, said the distance between Nigeria and China should not be a barrier to cooperation and communication. He suggested mobilizing all kinds of resources to improve communications.

]]> 2018-10-20 07:10:53 <![CDATA[History provides guide for relations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/20/content_37107666.htm

Chinese, European and African history long ago traced the characteristics of a new type of international relations, experts said during the fifth annual conference of the Taihu World Cultural Forum in Beijing.

A discussion titled "New International Relations in the Course of Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind" was held on Thursday.

Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said ancient China made contributions on how to form the new international relations, showing that the focus should be more on domestic development and less on the use of force.

Shi said China always has paid close attention to domestic problems and minded its own business - invading and expanding were never a priority. Large amounts of resources are wasted when countries spend more time and effort on wars and conflicts, which they could have been used for social and economic development.

Yu Xintian, advisory committee chairman at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said establishing a new type of international relations should focus on people and cultural communication.

Yu said more Chinese people have gotten involved in international communication, especially during the 40 years of reform and opening-up.

"Chinese people are willing to learn and teach despite different ideologies, social systems or regions and cultures, which is a respectful attitude and practice worth learning," he said.

Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of the European Policy Center, said the world can learn from European history and the European Union how to build a community of a shared future. Zuleeg said failure to defend the common security - during two world wars - forced people to create a long-lasting community of a shared future based on cultural understanding rather than power.

Eugenio Bregolat, Spain's former ambassador to China, said what the world needs is not military alliance or fighting but peaceful partnership and communication.

Marius Llewellyn Fransman, former deputy minister of international relations and cooperation in South Africa, said Africans have learned that only through dialogue and cooperation can problems be solved.

]]> 2018-10-20 07:10:53 <![CDATA[Give me the rap - but without swearing, please]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027427.htm Hip-hop artist touched by death adopts a gentler touch

Six weeks or so ago, the Chinese rapper Ma Jun released a music video for his new song King is Back, which he co-wrote and co-directed. In the video, Ma pays tribute to the rappers of different generations from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

As he raps in Mandarin, Xinjiang rappers appear with slow-motion clips that highlight the sights of the region, from cities to sprawling deserts and soaring snow-capped mountains.

"If you want to understand the song, you need to watch the video," says Ma, who spent six months traveling throughout Xinjiang early this year to make the video. Within 48 hours of its release on Ma's Sina Weibo account it had been viewed more than 1 million times.

 

Rapper, songwriter and movie director Ma Jun. Provided to China Daily

 

"This is more than just a new song for me," Ma says. "It also shows how vibrant Xinjiang's hip-hop scene is. Some of the rappers in the video are no longer active, but they were the ones who laid the foundation for the growth of hip-hop in the region. This song is dedicated to them and the future of Xinjiang hip-hop music."

Wearing a loose red long-sleeved T-shirt, black shorts and a headband, Ma, who lives in Karamay, 300 kilometers northwest of Urumqi, sits in a meeting room in a Beijing office building. For the past few months he has been shuttling between Karamay and Beijing as he has taken part in the second season of the internet reality show The Rap of China, which premiered through the streaming media platform iQiyi in the summer of last year.

Since the first season of The Rap of China, rappers from Xinjiang have come to the attention of huge audiences. Ma was one of them.

The songs he performed in the show - including Max, which refers to his stage name and is a song of self-introduction, and Dong Cheng Xi Jiu (East Meets West), in which he portrays the dynamism of Xinjiang culture - are cleverly crafted amalgams of his Xinjiang heritage and hip-hop music.

At times relying on traditional Xinjiang musical instruments such as the rawap and the dutar, Ma vividly evokes the life, lives and character of the region. These include the pomegranate juice sold at the International Bazaar in Urumqi; Gulnazar and Dilraba, two popular young Chinese actresses from Xinjiang; and the unique cultural role the region plays sitting, as it does, along the ancient Silk Road as China's northwestern doorway to Central and West Asia.

"One of the best things about being in the show is meeting old friends and improvising together," Ma says. "We show off what we have and present Chinese hip-hop music in our own particular way. This isn't about winning; it's about showing people what I think about hip-hop music."

Ma, a member of the Hui ethnic group, was born and raised in Karamay. He came to hip-hop music by way of street dance, which was popular among young people in Xinjiang in the late 1990s. His father, a geological engineer, bought many DVDs of Western movies to learn English, which exposed Ma, then aged 12, to hip-hop music.

One of the movies Ma recalls is the US science-fiction action movie I, Robot, starring Will Smith, who rapped in it. Ma says that though he did not understand the language then, he was attracted to the beat. As a teenager he also used to dream about becoming a movie director, he says.

He formed a hip-hop duo with Xinjiang rapper A-Mac after enrolling to study advertising at North Minzu University in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui autonomous region, in 2006.

The duo, calling themselves 099X, represented one of Ma's first attempts at performing original hip-hop material and expressing his thoughts on the Western music genre.

"Hip-hop music seems to be full of anger and criticism," Ma says. "But rhyming lyrics with dirty language and unhealthy issues such as violence and drugs is not for me. I can show my attitude with proper words."

He is proud to rap in Chinese because it is profound and conveys myriad meanings with simple words, and it is at the same time witty and philosophical, he says.

He compares xiangsheng, or crosstalk, to rapping, both of which talk about social issues.

"Xiangsheng criticizes with humor, but it does not have to be dirty," Ma says.

He has a 5-year-old boy, he says, and he wants him to enjoy the songs, so is very careful about the language he uses.

In 2010 Ma had his biggest break as a rapper by winning the national freestyle competition, Iron Mic, which was launched in Shanghai in 2000.

Ma was considered a dark horse in the competition, standing out with his rapping minus the bad language.

"It was my first freestyle competition and was a life-changing experience because it made me confident about my music. Hip-hop music is open to different music elements and languages. It's about merging cultures. With my music I want to rap in a fresh way and with a deeper meaning rather than just superficial language."

After Ma graduated from university he gained a master's degree from the Beijing Film Academy, with a major in movie directing.

In 2011 his father-in-law was diagnosed with kidney cancer and Ma returned to Karamay to take care of his family. In July 2013 his father-in-law died, and four months later Ma's son was born.

"Life is a battle," Ma says. "I want my music and movie to be powerful because I have experienced a lot and I have a lot to say."

Before taking part in the second season of The Rap of China, Ma withdrew from the limelight as a rapper but he has continued writing original material.

He was occupied with the Chinese movie Dying to Survive, which was released on June 30 and grossed 150 million yuan ($22.6 million) in its first two days.

Ma worked as the assistant to movie director Wen Muye, a classmate of his at the Beijing Film Academy. The movie is about a pharmaceutical salesman who becomes a folk hero by helping people obtain cheaper cancer medicine.

"I had a real life experience like the one depicted in the movie, because my father-in-law used very expensive medication while he was battling cancer," says Ma, who played the leading role in Wen's movie Battle in 2012.

"My ultimate goal is to direct my own movies, and Dying to Survive raised the bar very high. I want to make movies and music that are thought-provoking and connect with people and real life."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

]]>
2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[Flourishing flower power gets a boost from internet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666346.htm Gone are the days when a lack of supply had the price of some succulent plants soaring into the stratosphere.

Zhou Jianqiao has no doubt about it: The flower power he now wields is largely attributable to pixel power.

"The popularity of succulent plants in China comes from the internet," says Zhou, founder of Zhejiang Wanxiang Flower Co Ltd, in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, said to be the largest succulents company in China.

"Thanks to the spread of the internet, the succulents market in China grew rapidly between 2011 and 2014," he says, adding that as more and more people began to learn about them they became "incredibly expensive" because they were in short supply.

"Since 2015 the market has become more stable and most prices have fallen to what you could call reasonable levels."

Zhou began to import succulents from South Korea and set up his company in 2014, when the Ministry of Agriculture authorized Chinese companies to import seeds.

Yang Xiaobing, the manager of Beijing Attraction Flower Co Ltd echoes Zhou's sentiments about prices. He set up in a business in January 2015 that has become the biggest succulents supply company in Beijing.

"The price of succulents grew crazily before 2015, and it was common for some species to cost thousands of yuan," Yang says. "Now, with the increasing supply, things are very different."

As an example he cites Graptopetalum mendozae, which he says fetched 60 yuan ($8.9; 7.5 euros; £6.7) in 2014, but which can now be bought for 5 yuan.

Though lower prices obviously reduce sellers' opportunities to make huge profits quickly, they also mean more people are likely to be drawn in by the succulents craze, bringing in more money to the business, and both Zhou and Yang say their sales are increasing steadily.

In 2015, Yang says, he sold 1 million succulents, and last year he sold 2.2 million. The plants he sells are delivered to Beijing and Tianjin, as well as cities in Hebei and Shanxi provinces.

So what exactly is it, apart from the beauty of these plants, that attracts buyers?

Some enjoy the process of cutting leaves and seeing them produce new life and many buy the plants to release pressure. They are particularly attractive to those who live in rented accommodations, given that they are easy to move. Still, there are buyers for whom the love of succulents never fully takes root, especially those who, despite giving the plants what they think is adequate attention, see their plants die.

Zhou's and Yang's companies offer training to reduce the risk of this happening. Yang started the training sessions in 2015 and they immediately became popular. His company delivers succulents to customers, giving on-site training on how to maintain them and how to promote their growth, and the care needed differing from plant to plant. He now puts on more than 100 activities a year in conjunction with schools, companies, hospitals and government departments and agencies.

Yang says people "love our activities" and many ask for repeat training and even long-term support.

The Potted Plant Branch of the China Flower Association set up its Succulent Plant Community in Qingzhou, Shandong province, in September last year, and held an exhibition in March over three days, attracting 206 companies from all over China.

On Jin Tianying's WeChat page, there are several group chat rooms where people auction their succulents.

"Many can fetch about 5,000 yuan and they once sold a Haworthia for 15,000 yuan, which was amazing," Jin says.

"If the plant died it would be heartbreaking."

Xing Yi contributed to this story.

jiangyijing@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[Growing support for a shining idea]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/29/content_36666345.htm Former French leader says President Xi's notion of a community with a shared future is a panacea for the globe's problems

Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin has offered his support for President Xi Jinping's idea that increasing cooperation between nations is the only way to solve the world's problems.

The 69-year-old, a regular visitor to China, believes Xi's concept of "a community with a shared future for mankind" offers hope for those who fear a return to 1930s-style protectionism.

 

Former French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin says President Xi Jinping's concept of "a community with a shared future for mankind" is an idea for everyone. Provided by CEIBS

"This primary objective laid out by Xi Jinping, which is a community for the future of humanity, is something that we all can share," Raffarin says.

"It is very closely linked to multilateralism. The fact that we have the commonality of a shared future means that we need to have multilateral governance."

Raffarin, speaking ahead of addressing an event at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, says the Belt and Road Initiative has in itself an important role in getting countries to work together.

"China is launching these cooperation-based initiatives because it is cooperation that is key to solving tensions on a global scale and also the path to creating a balance," he says.

"This balanced cooperation needs to be built in order to have better world governance."

Raffarin, who was prime minister from 2002 to 2005 when Jacques Chirac was president, sees US President Donald Trump's escalation of trade tensions as posing a major threat to global economic growth.

"We don't see this situation as just a spat between the United States and China, but rather as a unilateral position adopted by the Americans in order to change the terms of international trade. This not only puts at risk global growth, but that of the US, too," he says.

"I don't think anything positive will come out of the current tension. International trade will be the first victim."

Raffarin believes these current trade tensions make the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which this year marks its 15th anniversary, more important than ever.

"The transatlantic link between the US and Europe is not what it was, and perhaps President Trump is jeopardizing this historic Western priority," he says.

"Today we can see that priority is gradually shifting to the East. It might not be on an equal footing yet, but certainly some in Europe are saying we should look more to the East and that we don't look East enough."

Raffarin believes that China has so far shown a more constructive approach during the trade tensions, with Xi Jinping in his speech to the Boao Forum in Hainan in April demonstrating that China is prepared to be more open to foreign investment.

"We can see that with Xi's speech at the Boao Forum, and with China holding the first International Import Expo in November, that China wants to keep the door open and open it some more."

Raffarin believes the rest of the world needs to learn from the opening-up as demonstrated by the success of Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening-up, the 40th anniversary of which is being marked this year.

"A country like France needs reform and opening-up, and a great many other countries, too. The world is moving fast and we all need reform. What was initiated by Deng Xiaoping for China is now very important for the rest of the world," he says.

Raffarin believes there is already an understanding in the West of the significance of Deng's reform, even though some argue it is too often overshadowed by the end of apartheid in South Africa or the fall of the Soviet Union.

"I do think people in the West understand this event, even though they might not be fully aware of all the ins and outs. It is aware of the sheer power, intellectual, technological, and scientific, that has restored China to its original place as a world power."

Raffarin says France's relationship with China has always been very important politically at home.

Both Deng and former Chinese premier Zhou Enlai studied in France after WWI and France restored diplomatic relations with the country in 1964.

"It is a point for which there has been a total consensus among France's political leaders, and we see that now with Emmanuel Macron and his new generation coming up."

Raffarin sees cooperation in science and technology now being very important for France and China, with both countries having ambitions in artificial intelligence and other fields.

"Both France and China have invested a lot in innovation, and this is a both a priority for China and also for Macron."

The former prime minister says one area where France and China can work together is in Africa, where France still has a big colonial legacy.

"There is now tripartite cooperation between France, Africa and China, and we are working to strengthen this cooperation," he says.

Raffarin says France has maintained strong post-colonial commercial and political ties with Africa because of the way it views the world.

"We have many large companies installed in Africa in terms of communications and infrastructure. There are many bilateral ties between France and Africa, and there are many people with dual nationality who live in both places. So it brings us together," he says.

"France, if you like, has a more North-South relationship with the world, whereas the UK with the Commonwealth has a wider engagement.

Raffarin was appointed by former president Nicolas Sarkozy as his personal representative to promote the use of French internationally, Francophony, and he believes Africa is one of the keys to preserving this.

"The future of France and the French-speaking world is critical. We believe in France that French still has a future. French is a key part of the African continent and the use of French around the world."

He is concerned, however, about US President Donald Trump's seeming disrespect for French language and culture.

"President Trump appears to be as harsh on Canada as everywhere else in the world and, indeed, has criticized Canada's ambition to keep French as a language. Perhaps, however, that might unite our cause."

One of the debates about China is whether it is uniquely a civilization as well as a nation state. Some, such as former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, have dismissed this, pointing to France as being a civilization state, too.

Raffarin, however, says the roots of French culture go beyond its own borders and so cannot be wholly ascribed to France.

"I am not here to contradict Chris Patten, someone who I have good relations with. I believe, however, we obviously have a cultural background that is partly European, chiefly Christian, and not just French as such," he says.

He says it is always interesting to contrast European ideas with those of Chinese ones, and he points to the work of French contemporary philosopher Francois Jullien, who is both a Greek specialist and a Sinologist.

"He is always looking for the differences between French thought - and when I say French thought, it also includes Greek and Latin - and that of the Chinese," he says.

Raffarin is a supporter of President Macron's vision for a more federalist Europe, even though a number of European Union countries remain skeptical, insisting that military tensions around Europe and problems of migration will drive this.

"General de Gaulle, who is still an inspiration for French politics, said that circumstances often trigger decisions. President Macron's proposal, which is to have a more united Europe with closer governance around the eurozone, will be reinforced by events going on around us."

He believes that with the UK scheduled to leave the European Union in March next year, there will be opportunities for Paris to take business away from the City of London's powerfully influential financial center.

"We already have a number of financial flows that are being redirected to Paris. We are currently discussing with Shanghai, for instance, (whether) to strengthen our position in relation to China."

Raffarin, however, is adamant that it is important not to penalize the UK for its decision to leave the EU.

"We do not want to punish the UK, and we must respect the decision of the British people. We acknowledge there are a number of areas, such as in defense and science and technology, where we need to continue to work together," he says.

As an example of that, the Frenchman adds, his country is cooperating with China in the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, England.

Raffarin believes it is important for European countries to work with China, particularly with initiatives like the Belt and Road.

He says the Belt and Road Initiative is an initiative to which France is fully subscribed.

"So as testimony to that, we have taken part in the AIIB (Beijing-headquartered Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the Silk Road Fund, for which we have just signed our first agreement in Paris."

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-29 14:35:33
<![CDATA[FOOD, FITNESS AND HEAVENLY BODIES]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663887.htm Yu Min reckons the formula for being healthy boils down to just two figures: 70 and 30.

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The realization that you are not only what you eat but what you do is creating a new kind of business, where food meets muscle

Yu Min reckons the formula for being healthy boils down to just two figures: 70 and 30.

"Everybody knows that building a healthy body is 70 percent healthy eating and 30 percent exercise," says Yu, the owner of Tribe, a restaurant chain that vaunts itself on its healthy dishes and that has three outlets in Beijing and one in Shanghai.

"The least you can do if you can't find the time to exercise is to eat healthily."

Putting her 70/30 formula into practice, one Saturday morning Yu attends a yoga class in Shanghai and later, with a dozen of the class members, caps off the exercise with a brunch at her restaurant that may include gluten-free pumpkin bread combined with scrambled eggs, avocado, cheddar, onion, tomato and yogurt and coffee.

Yu says she enjoys to start the day like this, matching various kinds of morning exercises with a choice of healthy breakfast food.

Earlier, convincing Chinese about the importance of a balanced diet and good food had been an uphill battle, she says.

"Then a couple of years ago people suddenly seemed to start caring about healthy eating. At first fruit and vegetable juices were all the rage, then salad became very popular.

"We educated our customers about the importance of eating nutritionally balanced food with enough protein, and now they seem to have realized what real healthy food is."

Yu insists on using what she calls organic ingredients in all Tribe's food and asks chefs not to use artificial additives. All the sauces are freshly made, she says, and even chili oil comes from chili pepper ground by hand.

"White sugar is barred in my restaurant, and we use honey for sweetness. But the food does not just have to taste good; it needs to look good, too. I ask the chefs to make the most of presentation so that everything is colorful and nutritious as well."

In the four years that the Tribe Sanlitun outlet has been open, Yu says, it has sold more than 48,000 brunch salads using a total of more than 230 ingredients and more than 50,000 grain bowls, and served more than 30,000 cups of Americano coffee and more than 5,500 glasses of "green energy cold pressed juice".

"In addition to good eating, if you can do exercise at least once or twice a week it's going to be beneficial," says Yu, who organizes various kinds of exercise for customers.

Last year Tribe held an event combining healthy dining with exercises that included games of box jumping, kettlebell lifting and burpees (a push-up where the chest touches the ground followed by a jump in the air with both hands held behind their ears) and ended with an organic buffet.

Li Chen, who took up the habit of eating salad three years ago, says she practices yoga each morning and became familiar with the benefits of healthy eating three years ago when she joined a three-month training program organized by Sweetie Salad (now updated to Delight), a sub brunch of HAI, a brand in Shanghai and Beijing that offers dishes aimed at the health conscious and which offers a delivery service.

Over the three months the company offered a dozen volunteers free salad twice a day Monday to Friday and free training courses.

Li says she lost 7.5 kilograms while she was on the program, and since then eating salads has become second nature to her.

"I met a bunch of interesting people in the program and we became good friends. You realize that something that seemed impossible, such as eating salad for three whole months, is in fact doable. As my eating habits changed, so did my body. Apart from losing weight my skin has become healthier and I sleep a lot better.

Huo Tingkun, marketing director of HAI, says the aim in using the volunteers on the program three years ago was to find out how effective it was, and this entailed interviewing those taking part.

"We wanted to know how much weight they wanted to lose, to get them onto the program and then to hear their stories."

All volunteers managed to achieve their goals after three months, Huo says, and a photo shoot was arranged so that they could show off their trimmer bodies.

"Even I had not known how to eat correctly, and from then I started to learn about how to pair exercise with food."

HAI opened its first restaurant, Green Option, in Beijing in May and now takes orders for immediate delivery, whereas previously dishes needed to be ordered a day in advance.

Having a physical restaurant gives online customers a place to gather, Huo says, and Sweetie Salad is working with gyms offering free training courses for its customers.

Whilst restaurants specializing in healthy food are forming business partnerships with gyms or fitness studios, gyms are getting in the act by selling healthy food.

One such is A Plus Fitness, a chain in Beijing that opened a dining area in 2016 offering meals to members and walk-in customers.

One of the coaches at A Plus Fitness, Yu Xiang, says that in addition to his physical training duties he now asks members to take photos of each meal they eat and send them to him for comment.

"I give them advice on how to eat each day and amend their training plans according to how much and what they eat. Diet can help you lose weight, while training is aimed at making your body look better."

Members are getting more information than ever before about eating and exercise "but that does not mean that by themselves they can put that theory into practice", he says.

"I put training plans together for members according to their needs, whether it be losing weight or gaining muscles, and pairing that with proper eating advice."

Sometimes, before a member starts training, Yu asks Yuan Meng, chef in A Plus Fitness' canteen, to prepare a meal for the member to be eaten once training is over.

Yuan, who used to work for five-star hotels as a chef, says he started working out two year ago, losing about 35 kilograms by combining that with healthy eating.

"I've tried many light salads, but they lack flavor, and I reckoned I could do something better. So I took the job as a chef here. Anyone wanting to lose weight can cut back on how much they eat, but it's wrong to stop eating."

At the canteen, Yuan says, he continues to learn about nutrition and devising new dishes. He wants to dispel the common misconception that if you are dieting you are limited to eating the likes of boiled vegetables and chicken.

At A Plus Yuan likes to get out of the kitchen when he has the time and talk with members, even giving them training advice.

"The good thing is that unlike when I was working in restaurant kitchens, I can now chat with customers, and they are always giving me feedback on what the food is like."

A new gym-cum-restaurant, Mode-L, opened in the Wangjing area of Beijing in May, and its owner, Li Wen, says it is the first of its kind in the capital.

Li, who used to play soccer professionally, became an habitue of gyms after he retired eight years ago.

He started designing his own gym last year and decided that it must include an area for healthy eating.

"Like a washing machine or a restaurant, a gym should have all the features that I want as a customer," he says.

Mode-L recruited Brandon Trowbridge, an American chef who is an expert on vegan cuisine to design the menu - but which includes meat dishes for those who feel they need more protein.

All the meats are cooked and packaged in the central kitchen and delivered to the restaurant each day, so the restaurant's kitchen directly handles only vegan ingredients.

Li says it is more like running a community that brings all his members together to get fit and eat healthily, and organizing outdoor events for them such as skiing or surfing.

"This is not just about eating a bit of salad from the fridge. It's a new lifestyle in which you can have a proper meal or a cup of coffee after exercise."

liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

]]> 2018-07-28 07:14:26 <![CDATA[Getting the most out of salad days]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663886.htm There is no rule saying that to lose weight you have to restrict yourself to salad, says Fan Zhihong, a registered dietitian, a member of the board of directors of the Chinese Nutrition Society and an associate professor of nutrition and food safety at the China Agricultural University in Beijing.

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Often it is oil that will determine whether a diet plan succeeds or not, expert says

There is no rule saying that to lose weight you have to restrict yourself to salad, says Fan Zhihong, a registered dietitian, a member of the board of directors of the Chinese Nutrition Society and an associate professor of nutrition and food safety at the China Agricultural University in Beijing.

"There is no need to eat only boiled chicken and vegetables. That's the kind of thing that books on losing weight translated from English often espouse, and Chinese coaches and catering operators toe that line."

Fan reckons traditional Chinese cooking was low fat and that fried food has become common only in recent decades. "When I was a child, we only ate fried food during festivals. Most food was steamed, steam-fried, water boiled or oil-water boiled, which would be evaluated as healthy."

Westerners eat more meat and dairy products, so they need to add more vegetables when doing exercise, especially with less oil, Fan says, and the key rule is to keep on consuming adequate protein and reducing fat intake.

"If you only eat food with high protein and low fat you will have too much sulfur and phosphorus that raises your body's acid load, so you need more potassium, calcium and magnesium to balance it, which can be provided by vegetables."

Food safety is an imperative concern in salad preparation. Bacteria control of salad food is very challenging, as it is often prepared in advance and not pasteurized before consuming. Raw vegetables and fruits can carry pathogens such as listeria even after being washed thoroughly, she says.

On the other hand, compared with mayonnaise and thousand island sauce, ingredients such as crushed garlic and vinegar in DIY salad dressing are more effective in suppressing the growth of germs.

However, mayonnaise used in salad is bad because often more than 60 percent of it is fat, she says, so she recommends seasoning salads the Chinese way: with soy bean sauce, vinegar, salt and a little sesame oil or chili oil, which is both delicious and consists of less fat.

Pork is not that popular in Western countries, one reason being that is generally considered not to be as tasty as beef and it is more expensive than chicken. Pork is also more difficult to cook.

Pork has more fat and less leucine and isoleucine than beef, which are regarded as good for gaining muscle. The more delicious types of pig meat such as streaky pork or pork shoulder usually have more fat, whereas lean pork lacks flaver.

Fan says the key to a good diet is not whether the food is prepared in a Chinese way or a Western way, but controlling how much oil is used in its preparation.

"A good way of eating vegetables is to combine raw ones and cooked ones, because it's easy to polish off a plate of cooked vegetable, but chewing raw ones is much harder.

"However, frying vegetables the Chinese way involves too much oil, and that needs to be reduced."

The Chinese way of cooking meat such as braised beef with soy sauce is perfect for the health conscious because no oil is needed in the cooking, and in fact the meat discharges some fat while it is being cooked.

"There is no need to restrict yourself to Western salads," Fan says. "Cold vegetables with sauce and some lowfat cooked vegetables plus Chinese-style sauced meat, or steamed fish, is a good, nutritious and tasty meal."

"What matters is to make the most of a good combination of natural ingredients by efficient management of cooking oil, salt and added sugar."

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2018-07-28 07:14:26
<![CDATA[Slimming treat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/28/content_36663885.htm

One for the health conscious

Roast carrot and lentil salad

1 dried lentils

3 cups water

1 onion, quartered

2 cloves garlic

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

1 tbs olive oil

Soak and cook the lentils: Place the dried lentils in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with water and allow to soak overnight. Drain the lentils and place in a saucepan. Add 3 cups of water, the onion, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the lentils to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook the lentils for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a sieve and discard the onion, garlic and bay leaf. Place in a large serving bowl to cool. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.

2 bunches carrots

5 cloves garlic

2 tbs olive oil

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 red onion, sliced

Roast the vegetables: Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C. Slice the carrots into rounds and cut the radishes into quarters. Place the carrots on a large sheet pan with the garlic cloves and toss with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes or until pierced easily with a fork.

1 head frisee

5 breakfast radishes

Clean the greens: Remove old leaves from the frisee and chop then clean the remaining young tender leaves. Slice the radishes as thinly as possible.

1/4 c tahini paste

3 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs cilantro (coriander)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup water

Prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, cumin, cilantro, salt and pepper. It should be thick. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of hot water and whisk gently until smooth.

Put it together: In a medium-sized bow add the frisee, sliced radish, lentils, roast carrots and top with tahini dressing.

- China Daily

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2018-07-28 07:14:26
<![CDATA[How we fell in love with vlog]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/24/content_36443393.htm

Popular mini video makers explain why, these days, it pays for them to keep it brief

Chen Kangna

Vlog wasn't my first choice, actually. I was more into photography. But the reason why we started filming vlogs was that there were exciting moments that one photo could show only a second of, rather than capture them all. Although we could take amazing photos, when we showed them to our friends and family, they would say something like: "I really want to see more. Do you have a video of this?" That's the first reason we started vlogging - to capture more exciting stuff on our travels and share it with other people.

The second reason is that it is another way to remember our travels. There are many places we might just visit once in our whole lives, and we need something besides photos to remind us of it. The more we travel, the more we realize we need to start filming something.

Flypig

Vlogging was a good excuse for me to explain why I started talking directly to the camera and sharing videos online. Of course, vlogging is a great way to document daily life and express myself but, without such an excuse, such behavior could barely be justified for someone who's in his thirties, I guess.

After I started vlogging, 10 times more people started following me and interacting with me. Today's vlogs are more cinematic than video a decade ago. Vloggers apply film editing and storytelling skills they have learned from the film industry to their online videos.

I think vlog has already become a trend. People are joining the, but it is still at a very early stage.

Zhu Zi

It's a free way to express yourself.

Unlike the advertising and short-form videos I usually shoot, vlog doesn't need lighting or scripts, nor does it require a good camera and lens.

The way to film vlogs is to make it free and realistic. It can quickly capture the reactions of others and my personal feelings. Things presented on vlogs are "raw" and I quite enjoy that. It also helps me to think in a different way about shooting other types of short video.

I posted my first vlog in March 2016, when vlogs were rarely seen. With creativity and processing, "raw" vlogs show more respect for the audience, as well as the vlogger. At that time, I thought Chinese didn't know about vlogs, but if they became familiar with them they would love them.

I am very happy to see more and more excellent Chinese vloggers and interesting ideas. Vlog has liberated our brains and hands, to a certain extent, which is very interesting.

Wang Yisu

As an indoorsy girl, although I was inspired by the excellent foreign vloggers' passion for life, I didn't take my first step to shoot a video right away.

My first vlog was shot by accident, when I attended the Summer Sonic music festival last year. I started shooting vlogs for fun, sharing them with others and recording the process of growing up. I think this is what attracts me to vlogs.

What inspired me most is the happiness and self-encouragement I experienced in sharing with other people. It takes me out of my comfort zone, and by doing that I can see a whole different perspective on life.

When I devote myself to it, I feel like I'm growing together with my fans.

We are witnessing every precious moment of my life. It's like the slogan I set for my vlog: "Inspire self, inspire others."

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2018-06-24 14:46:57
<![CDATA[New hope for 'river goddess' cursed by man]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/03/content_36318169.htm

The baiji dolphin is believed to be extinct, but some observers claim to have sighted the freshwater mammal as recently as in April, as Luan Xiang reports for Xinhua China Features.

More than a decade has passed since the baiji freshwater dolphin was declared "functionally extinct."

Yet a recent image, believed to show the long-missing "Goddess of the Yangtze River", has sparked hopes for the mammal's reappearance as Asia's longest waterway recovers its ecological vitality.

Many observers believe the dolphin, a unique freshwater species only found in the middle and lower stretches of the Yangtze, is now extinct in the wild.

However, some environmental scientists have never stopped believing that somewhere within the vast drainage area of the world's third-longest river a few remaining members of the rare species may be fighting for survival, far from human activity.

In May, the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation released a photograph of a creature resembling a baiji taken in April on a stretch of the Yangtze near Wuhu, in the eastern province of Anhui.

Previously, two reports had circulated of fishermen spotting a small pod of the blueish-gray mammals that contained both adults and calves.

The foundation claimed that several researchers who have worked closely with the baiji, or specialize in studying it, have confirmed that the creature shown in the image was a surviving specimen.

"Though the baiji is very likely to have become extinct in the wild, the possibility remains that a few last surviving specimens could still be out there," says Wang Kexiong, a professor at the Institute of Hydrobiology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Wuhan, Hubei province.

The institute says it would be imprudent to identify the creature in the photograph without further evidence.

Nevertheless, some observers say it is too soon to label the species "extinct".

The proof goes beyond just one image, according to Su Fei, director of the Baiji Program at the foundation. For three years, the organization has been organizing observation trips in the hope of sighting the dolphin.

In May last year, several observers claimed to have witnessed the elegant mammal.

The baiji does not live in isolation, according to Li Xinyuan, an investigator and baiji enthusiast who was present when the photo was taken in April and described the encounter as "extremely emotional".

"For two days straight, our teammates witnessed the baiji, but it was gone before they could press the (camera) shutter. On the third day, the photographer Jiao Shaowen decided to use a camera lens rather than binoculars to observe the surface of the water, so he was able to take the shot the instant the baiji emerged," says Li, who led an ex-situ, or "off-site", conservation project on the mammal in the 1980s.

He believes that if a baiji was actually spotted, it's likely that a small pod was swimming nearby.

"It is noticeable that the river's water quality and ecosystem have improved in recent years, thanks to State-led protection efforts," he says, adding that many observers are optimistic about a reappearance of the baiji if the environmental improvement continues.

Hua Yuanyu, one of the first scientists to survey the species back in the 1980s, says: "To salvage the possible surviving baiji dolphins, emergency action needs to be taken using the country's best resources, talent and technology.

Waterborne transportation along the Yangtze ought to be properly managed to reduce the noise that has gravely affected the lives of these sonar-guided dolphins." The retired professor from the Life Science Institute at Nanjing Normal University, in Jiangsu province, condemns destructive fishing methods such as high-voltage electro-fishing, floating gill netting, and muro-ami, a technique in which encircling nets are fitted with "pounding devices" such as large rocks or concrete blocks that are designed to scare fish from hiding places.

These practices should be strictly forbidden, and any violation should be punished to protect both the dolphins and their prey, Hua says.

"The baiji is a mammal that uses lungs to breathe. If shocked by electricity, it may lose consciousness and drown," he says, criticizing the fishing practices as well as the discharge of waste into the waterway.

He calls for improved law enforcement and for local fishermen to be better educated to help them become protectors of the ecosystem.

"Protection of the Yangtze should include the water, the banks and the wetland along its path, because the ecosystem is one whole," he says.

He suggests that the protection zone for river dolphins should be extended to cover the habitat of the possible last few baiji in Wuhu.

"I am optimistic that if the environment continues to improve, the baiji will come back," says Hua, who invented a sonar orientation method that he and his team used to observe and deduce the size and distribution of the baiji population in 1986.

In the mid-1980s, there were still about 300 baiji living in 42 family-like pods along the river. Hua believes that these intelligent mammals have been hiding from human activity and river industries, quietly surviving in unexploited, serene waters.

The baiji flourished in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze for more than 20 million years.

However, in recent decades that peaceful existence was shattered by the rise of industrialized fishing and a transportation boom that pushed the species to the brink of extinction.

In ancient times, the mammal was regarded as a goddess that protected fishermen and sailors along the 6,380-kilometer-long waterway that rises in Qinghai province in Northwest China and enters the East China Sea at Shanghai.

Once described as "numerous," the last known captive baiji died in 2002. After an international expedition in late 2006 failed to find any proof of its continued existence, the species was declared "functionally extinct" the following year.

On the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, the baiji dolphin is designated as "critically endangered, possibly extinct".

In the absence of the "goddess", China has been making vigorous efforts to restore the ecosystem of the Yangtze.

The construction of an ecological civilization has even been written into the Constitution as a national development objective.

As a result, scientific surveys have confirmed a rise in numbers of the Yangtze finless porpoise, another of the river's mammalian residents.

The supposed reappearance of the baiji is more evidence of the ecological improvement of the Yangtze, according to Hua.

Wang, from the hydrobiology institute in Wuhan, says there is still a long way to go in the protection and restoration of the river's natural habitats for species such as the finless porpoise.

"But the current development strategy has been adjusted in the right direction," he says.

"Monitoring, protecting, revitalizing and restoring the ecology and natural habitats of the Yangtze River should be our main tasks for the next 50 years."

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2018-06-03 14:56:15
<![CDATA[THE PIRATES ARE DYING: LONG LIVE MUSIC]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/02/content_36317955.htm The alarm clock that pulled Su Wen from her sleep on April 30 signaled the start of a long and eventful day. It was 4:30 am, giving Su just enough time to dress and wash before heading to the main railway station in Jinan, Shandong province.

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China's recorded music industry is thriving as copyright protection strengthens and musical tastes diversify

The alarm clock that pulled Su Wen from her sleep on April 30 signaled the start of a long and eventful day. It was 4:30 am, giving Su just enough time to dress and wash before heading to the main railway station in Jinan, Shandong province.

The 21-year-old Shandong Normal University student caught the first train to Beijing and arrived just before 8 am, then boarded a subway train bound for Wangjing, in Beijing's north, where she would meet friends who would together drive to their destination.

That destination was 60 kilometers from downtown Beijing: Yuyang Ski Resort, where the Beijing Strawberry Music Festival was being held during the May Day long weekend, April 29 to May 1.

Those in the car were meeting each other for the first time, but their common love of music proved to be the perfect icebreaker as they enthusiastically discussed which singers they were looking forward to seeing and hearing at the festival and as they talked about music in general.

The Strawberry Music Festival, one of China's biggest outdoor music festivals, first held 10 years ago and organized by Modern Sky, the country's biggest indie music label. As for the music aficionado Su, this would be her debut appearance at the festival.

Her decision to give the first day of the festival a miss was a calculated one, based on the fact that many of her favorite performers would appear on day two, including the folk singer-songwriter Zhao Lei, who would be on stage at 2:20 pm.

Any Beijinger will tell you that getting out of the city by road, particularly if you have an appointment, can be a nerve-jangling affair at the best of times, and this day was no different. Throughout the journey, Su nervously put the finishing touches to her makeup - again and again - as she and her companions crawled along with other motorists and stewed on the possibility of being late for their date.

Finally, after nearly five hours on the road, they arrived, counting down the minutes to show time, and then having to line up with several hundred people waiting to have their tickets checked.

"The heat, the huge crowd and the sheer noise of the music were overwhelming," Su says. "I had never experienced anything like it. I just wanted to scream. I didn't want to miss Zhao Lei's performances.

Almost 10 hours after Su's day began she finally squeezed in among the crowds just as Zhao was about to start performing one of his most popular songs, Chengdu.

"As I watched him play the guitar and sing that song, I knew all the hassle in getting to the festival had been well worth it," Su says. "I had been to a few of his shows in Beijing and Jinan, but it is completely different to watch him perform at a music festival, where you've got tens of thousands of people sharing music together."

More than 150,000 music lovers-attended the Strawberry Music Festival, which took place in both Beijing and Shanghai over the May Day holiday weekend, Modern Sky says.

Neither traffic headaches nor rain seemed to be able to dampen the enthusiasm of the music lovers, who descended on both cities from around the country. The Beijing event included popular domestic pop stars such as the singer-songwriters Pu Shu and Li Zhi, as well as international musicians making their debut performances in China, including the British indie rock band Alt-J and the Japanese group Wednesday Campanella.

"Chinese audiences, especially young people, love music, and they keep up with the newest singles online," says Wuli Yasu, vice-president of Modern Sky.

"Each year when we plan the Strawberry Music Festival, the kind of music these fans want is uppermost in our minds."

The company says it will organize about 30 outdoor music festivals throughout the country this year, in first- second- and third-tier cities.

The country's booming music scene has reached new heights with more and more big-name musicians exploring the market. On April 30, on the other side of the capital, about 30,000 people enjoyed the first Grammy Festival at Beijing Changyang Music Theme Park, the headliners including the 11-time winner American rapper Pharrell Williams, the American soul singer-songwriter Macy Gray, the American singer and songwriter Daya and the French indie band Phoenix.

"I know hip-hop and jazz are growing in China," says Neil Portnow, chairman and chief executive of the Recording Academy, creator of the Grammy Awards, when he was in Beijing to announce the event last August.

"That's what we want to do - to discover next-generation musicians for different kinds of music, to encourage them that there is a good future in the industry."

In a recent report the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said the global recorded music market grew 8.1 percent last year, its third consecutive year of growth since the federation began tracking the market in 1997. China ranked 10th for the size of its music market last year, the first time it has been in the top 10.

"China's music market continues to be one of growth, challenges and innovation," the report said. "It also remains, fundamentally, a market of potential, gradually but determinedly being realized by record companies working together with local and global partners."

The Chinese music industry "is transitioning to transactional data to calculate the size of the Chinese market but not all companies have this data available", the report said.

Income from the country's music market last year was $292.3 million, the digital component being 90 percent, the report said. Revenue grew 35.3 percent, driven by a 26.5 percent rise in revenue for streaming music.

"After years of decline, which was mainly caused by piracy, finally we have some good news for everyone involved in the industry, especially the singer-songwriters and record companies," says Guo Biao, the federation's chief representative in China. The federation's Beijing office was set up in 1994.

"Global record companies are keen on investing in China, which is seen as a market for international artists as well as a place to discover new talent," Guo says.

"Chinese consumers' tastes have changed, and there is now more appetite for a wider range of genres than ever before."

What makes China a market of opportunity at both home and abroad is that the country has undergone a cultural shift in regard to the value and protection of copyright - a process driven by government regulation alongside the efforts of record companies and other rights holders.

In 2011 a landmark agreement was signed by three international record companies and the Chinese internet company Baidu. The agreement involved a settlement of anti-piracy litigation and a commitment by Baidu to close its service that allegedly infringed copyright.

That agreement paved the way for other internet companies as they changed their approach and became licensed.

In July 2015 the National Copyright Administration of China issued a notice saying that "online music delivery platforms must have all unauthorized musical works removed by July 31, 2015".

Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the copyright administration, said more than 2.2 million illegal songs had been removed within two months of the notice being issued.

One of the companies at the forefront of the revolution is the technology company Tencent, home to three of the country's leading streaming services: QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo.

In 2011 QQ Music, which has about 800 million registered users now, forged a partnership with many music labels, including Warner Music, Sony Music, Universal Music and independent labels. The move allowed QQ Music to become sole distributor for these labels in China and helped them fight piracy then.

In February QQ Music signed a deal with another Chinese technology company, NetEase, to share 99 percent of all content to which they respectively hold the rights. The agreement has propelled the growing movement toward a more competitive market, in which Tencent already sub-licenses music to, among others, Alibaba Music and Taihe Music Group.

"The entire music industry in China is developing rapidly and soundly," says Tencent Music Entertainment Group's vice president, Andy Ng.

"The copyright protection environment has greatly improved, users' awareness of the value of music is also greatly strengthened and high-quality music is emerging from Chinese artists. We believe that 2018 will see another significant turning point for Chinese music, and it will play an increasingly important role on the world stage."

Ng says consumers are heading toward the model of paid online streaming, and that Tencent's future "lies with fans not only listening to music, but also watching video, singing along and even creating their own music to share. Music is at the core of what we do, but we are building a pan-music entertainment ecology".

Adam Granite, Universal Music Group's executive vice president for market development, says: "There is considerable focus now on the evolution of the Chinese music market. It's impossible not to be excited at the opportunity, although it will take time and concerted effort to move a significant part of the population onto paid services."

Paying for online streaming and downloading legal music has been a contentious issue among online among consumers.

On Zhihu, the Chinese mainland's question-and-answer community version of the US-based Quora site, some fans say they would like to pay for music because it is natural that music creators should be rewarded for their work. However, there are also people saying that it's important to keep the transparency of the pay model and the price for each song is still debatable.

"I would like to pay for good music because the money will enable the singers and songwriters to keep on releasing good works. But now I have no idea about where the money goes to," says one internet user named Phillipe.

Another one, named Dong Nora, says that "I will pay if the price is fair".

Guo says that despite his optimism in China's music market, there are concerns. For example, he notes that China is still lacking the performance and broadcast rights which, if given, will significantly contribute toward greater investment in the development of the Chinese music market.

"Now thanks to our joint efforts, people know about the harm that pirated online music can do to the industry. We want to push and strengthen the legal safeguards, which need more government support," Guo says.

Another issue is discovering local new talent and investing in it. China's record companies were harmed in the early 2000s due to the internet and piracy. The number of Chinese record companies has dropped sharply, and over the past few years, with the recovery of the music market, new local record labels have begun to emerge.

"Once the business environment gets better, the market will boom very quickly," Guo says.

"We look forward to seeing China enter the top-five list over the coming three to five years."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-02 07:04:26
<![CDATA[DOORS OPEN FOR GREAT VINYL REVIVAL]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/02/content_36317954.htm Far removed from the ring roads and grand avenues that punctuate Beijing are its historic alleys, and in these you can stumble over well-hidden shopping gems.

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If you thought old-style phonographic recordings had gone the way of the dodo you are in for a surprise

Far removed from the ring roads and grand avenues that punctuate Beijing are its historic alleys, and in these you can stumble over well-hidden shopping gems.

Until a year ago one of these was a tiny shop called Free Sound, in the downtown area, which prided itself as an independent purveyor of vinyl records and other musical recordings.

Sixteen years ago the owner, Wang Zhuohui, quit his job in the hospitality industry and opened the shop, which specialized in domestic and international indie singer-songwriters of various styles.

The Beijing native says seeing people in the shop, no matter whether they were looking for something in particular or simply browsing, was a delight.

"I think people liked spending time there. It was a space where you could discover music, and I got to tell some of the customers about my ideas on music."

Wang, in his mid-40s, was introduced to music by his parents, who played vinyl records at home. One of his favorite singer-songwriters is the Chinese rock musician Cui Jian, and like many music lovers of his generation, Wang enjoyed going to record shops. It was in these that he spent much of his money, he says.

However, just as CDs all but killed off vinyl and cassettes as mediums for music, online streaming brought on by the internet revolution has virtually put paid to the traditional record shop.

Between 2002 and 2005 in particular, the fall in sales of CDs and other types of musical recordings in China was precipitous, mostly as the result of piracy and online streaming, and the customer base for record shops evaporated as people stopped buying physical records.

Over 15 years Free Sound sold about 300,000 records but last year Wang realized that his number was finally up, and the shop closed its doors for good.

The day that happened, in May, turned into something of a wake as many of the shop's clientele called in to pay their last respects, taking a few records with them, and leaving flowers behind.

"It's a memory many people share," Wang says.

However, any sense of despair these music lovers may have felt that day can be buried for this month Wang will open a new shop called Free Sound not that far from its predecessor. Located in an alley called Bingjiaokou Hutong, it will be bigger than the earlier version, offering space for shoppers and indie singer-songwriters to chat.

In fact, Wang says, this resurrection was largely preordained; it was an idea he had considered even before the doors of the first shop closed. For his loyal customers the good news means they and others will have the chance to enjoy the old yet classic way of listening to music.

"It started out as a dream for me and I feel so fortunate to have lived out that dream," Wang says.

April 21 marked Record Store Day, an annual international event that few people other than the most dyed-in-the-wool audiophiles will be familiar with. The industry uses the day to promote independent record shops that continue to support the industry as they battle tough times. The idea of a special day was that of an employee of the Bull Moose music store in the United States.

Two weeks after the 2018 Record Store Day, an event called Blue Union Vinyl Market, which attracted local record stores' owners, including Wang, was held at Blue Note Beijing, the first branch of New York's famous Blue Note Jazz Club in China.

The event's co-initiator Shi Jing says many young music lovers turned up to buy CDs and vinyls, which was a big surprise.

"Their interests are many and varied, from jazz, soul, hip-hop to rock. They embrace the traditional music culture. It's great to see that people are paying for music. It's possible for record stores to survive and thrive here."

One buyer of physical records is Zhang Yuanyuan, 24, a music lover in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.

Zhang says she loves the Taiwan pop singer Jay Chou and has bought all of Chou's CDs and vinyls since she was at high school. She also follows her idol's tours and buys the most expensive tickets.

"Only loyal fans buy physical records nowadays to add to their personal collection. It's a special connection between me as a fan and Chou. I also pay for online streaming and downloading. But compared with physical records, listening to music on my phone or computer is just pure entertainment."

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said in a recent report that revenue from physical formats fell 5.4 percent last year, compared with a fall of 4.4 percent in 2016. Consumption of physical formats fell in most markets, but revenue for physical recordings still accounted for 30 percent of the global market and a higher percentage of market share in countries such as Japan (72 percent) and Germany (43 percent). Globally, revenue from vinyl sales grew 22.3 percent and accounted for 3.7 percent of the total recorded music market last year.

"We are optimistic about the physical records market in China though it will take some time to recapture the glory years of the 1990s," says Hou Jun, vice-president of China Record Group Co Ltd, the biggest and oldest record company in the country.

"Many people are happy to listen to music on their smartphones and assume record stores can barely survive, but in fact the country, which used to be home to many local record companies and record stores catering to every taste and budget, is enjoying a revival, especially with the resurgence of vinyl."

In the 1990s the company sold about 10 million records, such as pop, folk, and classical music by Chinese singers and orchestras, Hou says. In the early 2000s the number dropped to no more than 10,000 copies, and the huge change in the way music was consumed led to many Chinese record companies closing down in the first 10 years of the millennium.

However, it now appears that some of those changes were not necessarily permanent. In the late 1990s China Record Group Co Ltd closed down its last vinyl production line because of the decline of the market of physical records. Several weeks ago, as the company celebrated the 110th year of its founding, it announced plans to revive vinyl production.

Fan Guobin, president of China Record Group Co Ltd, says the company has imported a production line from Germany that marks the start of the company's vinyl production, and the company has set up a vinyl records factory in Shanghai that has a complete production line.

"The completion of the factory shows that China's vinyl record production, which originated in Shanghai in the 1920s, is ready to take off again in the same city," Hou says.

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-02 07:04:26
<![CDATA[Tale of grit and survival]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/19/content_36233550.htm It is easy to be overwhelmed by the brutal, raw numbers that provide the backbone to the story of the Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008 - and in a strange way finally not to truly appreciate the scale of the catastrophe.

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Ten years after the Wenchuan earthquake its survivors continue to rebuild their lives

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the brutal, raw numbers that provide the backbone to the story of the Wenchuan earthquake of May 12, 2008 - and in a strange way finally not to truly appreciate the scale of the catastrophe.

We are told that when the magnitude 8 quake shook Sichuan province at 2.28 pm that day, and in the days and weeks that followed, over 69,000 people died, about 17,000 people were left unaccounted for and nearly 375,000 people were injured.

However, like the quake itself - which was felt as far afield as Japan, Thailand and Vietnam - its ripples directly touched millions of residents of Sichuan and beyond. Many of those fortunate enough to escape physical injury and not to lose any of their loved ones, lost their homes and livelihoods, and many lost their minds.

The previous biggest earthquake in China in terms of deaths had been that of Tangshan, Hebei province, in 1976, in which more than 242,000 people perished. Anyone from Tangshan, which marked the 40th anniversary of its catastrophe about two years ago, will tell you that not even four decades can fully wipe away the tears or remove the scars of such an event.

Ten years after the Wenchuan quake on May 8, when hundreds of doctors and volunteers from across China gathered for a ceremony in the town of Yingxiu in Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the quake, they marked a period of silence in memory of the victims. Many held white chrysanthemums in their hands.

This week, near the ruins of Xuankou Middle School, where 43 people lost their lives, it was the vibrant colors of blossoming peonies that held sway. A few hundred meters further on, three-story residential buildings, restaurants and shops have sprouted up, the clearest evidence that for all their pain the inhabitants of Yingxiu have taken huge strides in rebuilding their lives.

Here we tell the stories of four of those people, survivors whose optimism testifies to human resilience in the face of unimaginable adversity.

See more on pages 14 & 15

zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-19 08:04:34
<![CDATA['It was like an air force bombing a village']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/19/content_36233549.htm

For Zhang Maotang, May 12, 2008, was the day his personal apocalypse began. For almost nine weeks it seemed to him that day after day a relative of his would die, and it plunged him into what he says was madness.

His daughter and her husband were killed by rocks, and a cousin and two nephews died before his eyes.

"It was like an air force bombing a village," he says. "Houses had collapsed and there was rubble everywhere. I looked after my nephew for an hour before he finally died."

His wife, who herded sheep on a mountain, was missing. Even as aftershocks continued to shake the area, he ascended the mountain every day, calling out her name.

"I was fearless, but I had completely lost my mind," he says. "We had been married for more than 40 years and never quarreled or been in fights."

On the 48th day Zhang decided to risk carrying his search further afield, into a valley where rocks continued to fall. Trying to move any rocks that had come to a rest was not only physically difficult, but also highly dangerous. In one spot as he moved rocks around he saw the unmistakable sign of what had once been life: a human foot. Eventually, as he recognized his wife's clothing, he knew his search was over.

"I felt stabbing pains in my chest. I took off my coat, wrapped her up and took her home."

The magnitude-8 earthquake had destroyed Zhang's home, too, leaving him with 2 cows and 12 sheep.

His meager consolation was that his grandson had survived, and many people, including Xie Chunying, director-general of Luhuo County Health Bureau, tried to persuade him to adopt his orphaned grandson. He refused.

"All I wanted to do was kill myself, but as I considered my grandson I began to think straight. No matter what the challenges were, I was determined to raise him to continue the family line."

The family now lives in a three-story house, and that boy is a secondary school student.

"It has been 10 years since the earthquake struck, and I have worked hard every day to bring him up with the hope of a better life," Zhang says.

After the quake, Zhang received compensation of 20,000 yuan for the death of his wife, daughter, and son-in-law. As with other quake survivors, he and his children also received food and 300-yuan individual monthly transitional benefit from the government.

In the second year after the quake, Zhang says, he began spending most of his time on the mountain growing corn, keeping bees and raising chickens.

As the area recovered it was hit by another disaster. On July 10, 2013, a rainstorm swept Sichuan, causing severe floods and landslides affecting more than 800,000 people in Wenchuan county.

Roads and bridges were damaged, and power and telecommunications were cut, and as landslides struck, Zhang's house, barely five years old, collapsed.

Yet again he set out rebuilding his life, and with the help of government disaster relief grants and money borrowed from his nephew he rebuild his house from scratch.

"I looked at things optimistically. As long as people around me were safe it was easy enough to rebuild my house."

Over the past five years in China more than 66 million people have been pulled from poverty. In line with national goals on alleviating poverty, the local government in Wenchuan has implemented measures specific to poor households and individuals. For example, in 2015 Zhang was offered free plum saplings and technical support to work on his own plum plantation.

In addition to the income he derives from beekeeping and poultry farming, those plum trees are also now bearing fruit, and last year he made a profit of 12,000 yuan from them, he says. He plans to invest more in his plum growing, he says.

Zhang's optimism and resilience made him a household name in Miansi township in Wenchuan. Last year the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture government in Sichuan honored him with the annual Touching Aba award.

However, it is his grandchildren who remain his greatest motivators.

"As long as they live lives of joy I, too, feel happy. I want them to get into a good university and help others - just as others have done so much to help us."

zhangzefang@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A visitor mourns victims who died in the Wenchuan earthquake at the ruins of Xuankou Middle School on May 1. Photos By Zhang Zefeng / China Daily

 

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2018-05-19 08:04:34
<![CDATA['The earthquake turned my life upside down in an unimaginable way']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/19/content_36233548.htm

Nothing and no one was going to stop Li Xiaoxia going back to Yingxiu, epicenter of the earthquake, where her parents, husband and son, 2, were trapped in rubble.

When the earthquake struck, Li was on her way to Chengdu to buy her son some medicine.

"Hearing that my father was dead and my son missing I collapsed and lay prostrate, wracked with anxiety," she says.

Ignoring any dangers, Li decided to do all she could do to get back to Yingxiu, about 30 kilometers away. However, roads were blocked, and she would need to make the journey on foot over some extremely rugged territory, during which there were constant aftershocks, and the landscape was pitted with the bodies of earthquake victims. The whole journey took her more than 10 hours.

"I was quite feeble and disoriented. My body was stiff and my feet were covered with blisters."

The quake, which had killed 6,566 people in the town of Yingxiu, had leveled Li's home, and her father was buried in the rubble.

"I knew he was dead but I knelt down and called out his name again and again."

However, Li's mother, covered in blood, clung to life, lying with dozens of other victims in the open.

"Her face was disfigured and her ribs broken. I clasped her to my bosom, weeping loudly. A doctor came over and urged me to stop crying, saying this emotion could worsen my mother's condition. I tried to repress the sobs, but I could barely choke back my tears."

Li later found her husband, who was helping people set up makeshift tents, and a local was looking after their son.

"Seeing my son alive rekindled all my hopes. I love my parents, but at that very moment my son was the most important person to me."

The next day Li's mother was taken by helicopter to Nanjing for specialist treatment.

The earthquake wiped out her family property, which included an apartment and a beauty salon.

"We started everything from scratch," she says. "Most my savings were invested in the beauty salon."

To make ends meet, Li worked on several small businesses including retail tobaccos and selling noodles on the street, but none of them ended up being profitable. She also worked as a street barber.

However, after the quake, "people were less concerned about their looks," she says.

Over almost 10 years there has been a huge reconstruction effort in Sichuan's worst-hit areas. In the three years after the quake, 19 wealthy provinces and municipalities dispatched more than 2,700 officials, 310,000 construction workers and nearly 30,000 doctors, teachers and other workers to Sichuan.

In June 2009, Yingxiu was being rebuilt from the ground up, and Li and other Yingxiu residents were resettled in Chengdu, Li's family going to the city of Dujiangyan in Chengdu.

She is thankful for the financial aid she received from the government, but says that she still had many worries.

"I wasn't well educated and didn't have much professional experience. I didn't know what kind of job I could get to support my family."

Her husband also wanted to divorce her, she says, and she started to constantly suffer from severe headaches and insomnia. She was later diagnosed with moderate depression and severe anxiety and received treatment.

In 2010 work on the new Yingxiu was all but completed, and Li and many other residents moved back there. She applied for an interest-free loan and bought a house at what she says was a moderate price.

With the help of 1.7 billion yuan the central and provincial governments have invested in Yingxiu, it has been transformed from a small industrial town into a tourist city.

Li received professional training organized by the local government and landed a job as a tourist guide in 2012. Among her duties as a guide, she interprets quake-themed tourist attractions and local cultural heritage.

Two years later she paid off her debt and married a middle-school teacher, and they had a son a year later. This year her sons have turned 12 and 3.

Today, Li says, she still suffers from minor depression, but knows how to manage it.

"The earthquake turned my life upside down in an unimaginable way, but it also taught me how to be strong and tolerant. I have made peace with it."

zhangzefang@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-19 08:04:34
<![CDATA['I saw the dreadful terror in the eyes of those students']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/19/content_36233547.htm

It was, 2:28 pm, and most students were sitting in their classrooms waiting for their lessons to begin. Then, on this gray May 12 day, the earthquake struck.

Ma Liangxuan was having the afternoon off and was in her teachers' apartment on campus. The refrigerator in her apartment began "walking around", she says, and, half aware of what was happening, she raced downstairs.

"The walls were crumbling and chunks of plasters were tumbling down," says Ma, who was five months pregnant. "I was sure the apartment building was about to collapse."

However, both the apartment block and classroom building were largely spared, so it seemed that anyone inside them was safe and sound.

However, with the force of the quake a 5 cubic meter boulder was sent careening down a nearby mountain.

"After hitting a wall it ricocheted and crashed into the school building, hitting students who were fleeing from their classrooms," Ma says. Thirteen of them were killed.

"I saw the dreadful terror in the eyes of those students," she says.

Ma says she later learned that the earthquake had killed one of her students, Cao Wangyi, on campus, and orphaned two of her students and killed the mother and father of two more of her students

"Cao came from a small village. Academically he had a deprived background, but he was a very pleasant boy, and he worked extremely hard."

In the week after the quake, Ma and faculty members stayed at the school around the clock caring for students.

"Roads were blocked and communications were cut off, so none of us teachers knew what had happened to our families."

All kinds of rumors were swirling around, she says, but she maintained hope.

"I felt sure that my mother, brother and sister would be safe back in downtown Wenchuan."

The week seemed incredibly long, anxiety about the fate of her students and relatives meaning she got very little sleep, and she could barely eat.

"It was agonizing, and a lot of the time I found myself suddenly bursting into tears."

She eventually learned that her faith had been well placed, all of her relatives managing to survive unscathed.

Hu Zhengan, director of the Wenchuan county's education bureau, says that 374 of the county's 15,000 students and 28 of its 1,300 teachers died in the quake.

Ma says: "I realized how fragile life is and began to question the meaning of it all. I cried countless times, particularly when thinking about the quake and hearing any-thing about it."

The earthquake destroyed most of the classroom buildings in Wenchuan, leaving most students no place to study. To ensure students could safely return to lessons, most were resettled in different areas of China.

Ma's students and her husband, a schoolteacher, were resettled in Tianhui township, Chengdu.

In July 2008 she paid a visit to her husband in Chengdu. The road to it was still blocked, so Ma took a detour, which was a long and arduous journey.

After she returned home her child was stillborn.

"I bitterly rued my trip. I had wrongly thought my body could endure the long journey."

Ma has been told that she can no longer conceive children.

After the quake, psychologists throughout the country were engaged to help survivors.

Ma received long-term psychological counseling and training from organizations including the Li Ka Shing Foundation in 2009 and Beijing Normal University in 2010 and met the renowned academic and psychologist professor Lin Chongde.

"They offered us counseling to help us deal with our own painful memories and they gave us training so we could teach our students how to cope with theirs."

Ma says that the love and care her family and the public showed her have helped her immensely. In fact, for her, the earthquake, rather than being a constant reminder of pain and death, is more an affirmation of life.

Her devotion to teaching has never wavered, she says, and over the past 10 years she has shepherded 200 students toward graduation.

"Since the quake, teaching has become more than a profession through which I make a living. My students have become an extension of my own life."

zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise from top: White chrysanthemums placed by visitors at a memorial site in Yingxiu county, Sichuan; medical professionals pay tribute to the earthquake victims during a memorial service in Yingxiu on May 1; tourists visit the Xuankou Middle School earthquakememorial site on the 10th anniversary in Yingxiu. Photos By Zhang Zefeng / China Daily

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2018-05-19 08:04:34
<![CDATA['Had they got to me an hour later I would have been dead']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/19/content_36233546.htm

The sky seemed to darken, and a rumbling sound unlike anything Ma had ever heard before quickly grew louder and louder. Within seconds she was buried under the rubble of her newly built three-story home in Yingxiu, Wenchuan county.

Two huge slabs of concrete lay on her chest, and as the earth continued to shake in the minutes and hours that followed the rocks seemed to press down ever harder on her.

"My breathing became more difficult and faster," she says. "My body was numb. I felt no pain, and I had no strength to cry out."

After struggling for more than four hours in her dark hole she heard her sister-in-law calling out her name. The sister-in-law alerted several migrant workers of Ma's plight, urging them to help dig her out.

"Had they got to me an hour later I would have been dead," Ma says.

Ma, her face covered with dust, was traumatized and dehydrated, and five of her ribs were broken. She also had head and leg injuries.

"My mouth was parched and tongue scorched, and I had this terrible thirst."

She begged her rescuers for water, but fearing that she had internal injuries, they tried to withheld it from her.

Yingxiu was one of the worst-hit areas near the epicenter of the earthquake. The following day the Army mobilized 22 military and 12 civilian aircraft to ferry 11,420 soldiers to the province. By the morning of May 15 more than 130,000 soldiers were searching for survivors and going about the painstaking job of extricating them from rubble, as well as rapidly repairing roads to make the search and rescue effort easier.

Rain lingered over much of the quake-stricken areas over the following days. Once Ma was pulled from the rubble she was put in one of hundreds of makeshift tents, like thousands of other survivors. In many cases lying near them were the bodies of those who had not been as fortunate as them.

"I'm quite timid, and if anyone dies, I usually avoid going out at night," she says. "After the quake there were all these dead bodies lying next to me, but it did not bother. Ten years have gone by and I can finally recount this story without bursting into tears."

Quake survivors were ferried to hundreds of hospitals throughout China to receive professional medical treatment.

Months after the quake, in 2009, Sichuan authorities estimated that more than 4.45 million injured people were still being treated in the province. Another 143,367 had ben taken elsewhere for treatment. More than 7,000 people were said to be suffering from long-term physical or mental disablement.

"When the first helicopters arrived, they were rushed by hundreds of people wanting injured relatives to be treated urgently," Ma says."

A soldier eventually accompanied Ma to Huaxi Hospital, the largest clinic in Chengdu.

As she lay in hospital, Ma's daughter, a high school student, became increasingly desperate after hearing rumors that her mother had succumbed to her injuries.

She refused to eat or drink, Ma says, and tried to take her own life.

Her teacher and school friends rallied around her, and she regained a certain degree of composure, but, perhaps inevitably, she failed her college entrance examination.

Ma says that only after two years did she fully recover from her own physical injuries, but she bore many mental and emotional scars, too, and only with the help of relatives, friends and mental health professionals, did she finally regain full health.

A year later her daughter sat the college entrance exam again and passed, and she was admitted to Southwest Petroleum University in Chengdu.

Ma says she is now happy with life, her two daughters having found good jobs and her family having recently opened a hostel. Running the family business and taking care of her grandson keeps her extremely busy, she says.

Yet Ma and other survivors regularly band together to visit elderly people whose children died in the earthquake. She finds chatting with them and helping them with household chores fulfilling.

"I received a lot of generous help from people throughout the country, and am extremely grateful for that. Spending time (with those who were less fortunate than me) is the least I can do."

zhangzefeng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-19 08:04:34
<![CDATA[Pompeo in Pyongyang as diplomatic dance speeds up]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/10/content_36174839.htm

Trump says DPRK has released three US detainees

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday, landing at the center of a whirlwind of diplomacy ahead of a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jongun, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

In a sign of further progress between the sides, Trump said that the DPRK had released three US detainees, who would be returning with Pompeo.

"I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea (the DPRK) with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Trump added that Pompeo and Kim had a "good meeting".

Pompeo was dispatched on the visit - his second in weeks, but first as US top diplomat - to secure a framework for the leaders' meeting, the US Department of State said in a news release on Tuesday.

"Today we're hoping to nail some of those down to say - to put in place a framework for a successful summit" between Trump and Kim, he was quoted as saying to the media on a plane flying to the DPRK.

Kim was quoted as saying on Monday by Xinhua: "I hope to build mutual trust with the US through dialogue."

He added that a political resolution of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization should proceed in stages, with all sides moving in concert.

Pompeo's trip had not been publicly disclosed when he flew out of Washington under cover of darkness on Monday aboard an Air Force 757. Trump announced the mission on Tuesday afternoon. As for the specific date and location of the Trump-Kim meeting, Pompeo remained ambiguous, although Trump said last week that the date and location had been set.

When the flight arrived on Wednesday in Pyongyang, DPRK officials were on hand to greet Pompeo.

The rapid detente on the Korean Peninsula triggered by the Winter Olympics is a marked contrast from last year, when Trump and Kim traded insults and threats of war over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. "Plans are being made, relationships are building, hopefully a deal will happen and with the help of China, South Korea (the Republic of Korea) and Japan, a future of great prosperity and security can be achieved for everyone," Trump said as he announced Pompeo's visit.

At a historic meeting inside the Demilitarized Zone on April 27, Kim and ROK President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed their commitment to a "common goal" of "complete denuclearization" of the peninsula.

Trump has said that withdrawing US forces from the ROK is "not on the table". There are 28,500 US forces based in the nation, a military presence which came as a result of the Korean War ending in 1953 with an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

AFP, Xinhua and AP contributed to this story.

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2018-05-10 07:46:07
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/10/content_36174838.htm Dr Congo

New outbreak of Ebola kills 17

Seventeen people in the country have died from Ebola, the health ministry said on Tuesday, describing the fresh outbreak as a "public health emergency with international impact". The worst Ebola outbreak started in December 2013 in Guinea before spreading to Liberia and Sierra Leone. It killed more than 11,300 people.

Germany

Plans approved for class action suits

The government on Wednesday approved a draft law allowing US-style class action lawsuits, opening the door for drivers to seek compensation over Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating scam before the case expires. The Justice Ministry said on Wednesday that the new rules will take effect on Nov 1.

Australia

Five more MPs leave parliament

Five more lawmakers were forced from parliament on Wednesday in an ongoing legal wrangle over a 117-year-old constitutional ban on dual citizens standing for election. Dates for the by-elections have not been set officially but could be as early as mid-June.

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2018-05-10 07:46:07
<![CDATA[Malls look for new 'anchors' in storm]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072173.htm

Depicted in American popular culture as places where suburban "mall rats" loiter and outrun security guards - as in the 2009 film Paul Blart: Mall Cop - enclosed shopping malls, under siege with the ascent of e-commerce, are now being forced to reinvent themselves or fade away.

The mall's heyday may have been in the 1970s, but some of these sprawling complexes are finding that they don't have to just sit there and be bludgeoned by online giants such as Amazon in the United States and Alibaba in China (which, incidentally, are snapping up and/or opening their own physical stores). Rather, many malls are looking at mixed uses in the hope of a renaissance.

A coming together of physical and online seems to be unfolding, with virtual reality and artificial intelligence also coming into play. Entertainment and dining are major factors, too.

 

The striking facade of the Tai Koo Li mall in the trendy Sanlitun district of Beijing. Provided by Flickr and VCG / For China Daily

What malls can offer that online shopping can't is human interaction. Even if a mall can't give someone the lowest price for a flat-screen TV, it can provide a cozy cafe with free Wi-Fi, a 4-D movie theater, an aquarium and miniature golf.

Many malls also sit on prime real estate.

Industry experts say 25 percent of US malls are likely to close in the next five years - about 300 out of the existing 1,100, CNN Money reported.

China has nearly 4,450 shopping centers - four times the number in the US - and an additional 7,000 are expected to open by 2025. A 2016 report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences predicted that one-third of China's malls will be history by 2020, unless they transform.

While some malls in the US certainly are on life-support, the 10 most valuable complexes owned by real estate investment trusts are generating between $960 and$1,450 in sales per square foot and are quite valuable, research company Boenning & Scattergood told CNBC.

Four of the top 10 are in the Northeast. Two are in New York state, one is in New Jersey and another is in Pennsylvania. The Ala Moana Center in Honolulu tops the list. The open-air mall hauls in$1,450 per square foot and is worth $5.7 billion.

King of Prussia Mall, a 2.8 million-square-foot shopping center outside Philadelphia, is in a position to make a stand against online shopping.

The 50-year-old complex has more than 50 food venues and a concierge lounge. But a J.C. Penney department store closed in July, creating a hole in the anchor-store lineup. Simon Property Group is planning a mixed-used development for the 17-acre Penney site, part of a makeover that CEO David Simon has compared to Hudson Yards in Manhattan.

Rick Sokolov, Simon's president and COO, says,"I don't think people appreciate how dynamic these properties are and how they evolve over a long period of time."

Retail landlords have spent billions on changes that focus on experiences that can't be found online, brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle says.

King of Prussia is the second-largest mall in the US after the Mall of America in Minnesota, according to the Directory of Major Malls.

Indiana-based Simon is spending $1 billion a year to upgrade its properties, Sokolov says.

"We're spending money to make our properties incrementally more relevant and more attractive to retailers and generating returns while we do it," he says.

Triple Five Group of Canada is building a giant "anti-mall" in northern New Jersey, just west of Manhattan.

The $5 billion complex, called American Dream, is a massive hybrid between a shopping center and an amusement park.

"It will have less retail space than Mall of America and 60 percent more in entertainment offerings," Debbie Patire, Triple Five's senior VP of marketing, told philly.com. "But it really isn't about size these days. It is about the customer experience ... combined with best-in-class entertainment, attractions and restaurants."

Phase 1 of the mall is under construction next to MetLife Stadium, where the NFL's Giants and Jets play.

Among American Dream's planned attractions are a Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park and DreamWorks Waterpark; a Big Snow America 800-foot indoor ski slope; an observation wheel with 26 climate-controlled gondolas providing panoramic views of the New York skyline; a performing arts theater; a National Hockey League-size ice rink; a Cinemex X4D 1,400-seat complex with 12 double screens and in-movie dining; Sea Life and Merlin Legoland discovery centers(Sea Life will feature a tropical ocean tank with a walk-through underwater tunnel; Legoland, described as stepping into a giant box of Lego, is designed for families with young children); and there will be an 18-hole miniature golf course.

But it's not all entertainment. Future retail tenants lined up include Saks Fifth Avenue, Hermes, Microsoft, Lululemon, Old Navy, Victoria's Secret, H&M, Zara and Primark, among 450 stores, specialty shops and restaurants.

"A rich blend of global retail influenced by high streets from Bond Street in London to Soho in New York City", the mall's website exclaims.

But at any mall, the cash registers need to be ringing, and retail sales still play a key role.

US holiday sales in 2017 increased by 5.5 percent to $692 billion, as rising wages, employment and confidence put consumers in a spending mood, the National Retail Federation says. That number includes $138.4 billion in online and other nonstore sales, up by 11.5 percent.

"We knew going in that retailers were going to have a good holiday season, but the results are even better than anything we could have hoped for, especially given the misleading headlines of the past year," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says. "With this as a starting point and tax cuts putting more money into consumers' pockets, we are confident that retailers will have a very good year ahead."

And in places where malls have faltered, omnipresent Amazon has moved in.

"Ironically, a few abandoned malls I've shot in my hometown are now being used for Amazon fulfillment centers," Cleveland photojournalist Seph Lawless told China Daily.

"I've seen the inside of Amazon fulfillment centers; it's intense; I mean, if they wanted, they could have their robots doing everything inside those gigantic centers. They don't need any humans in their fulfillment centers," he says.

"Amazon is choosing to create jobs and choosing to pay good wages with benefits," Lawless says. "It's because of these factors no other retail giant or store can really follow that same model effectively."

Amazon also opened its first Amazon Go store in Seattle in January and plans another six in the US, according to recode.net, a tech news site. At the Go stores, the "Just Walk Out" app lets shoppers scan their phones upon entering and pick items off shelves. They are then charged electronically, with no need to line up.

Many malls in China

A giant Egyptian sphinx and a replica of the Arc de Triomphe, along with Venetian gondolas and an indoor rollercoaster, weren't enough to attract customers to China's largest mall - the New South China Mall - in Dongguan, a city with millions of migrant workers. But the "dead mall", at 7 million square feet twice as large as Mall of America, was revived when it focused on dining and entertainment.

China's mall-building also has been attributed to local governments looking to increase their tax bases.

Cities such as Qingdao, Chongqing and Dalian all saw large shopping malls shut down in August 2016, ECNS reported.

The North Star Shopping Center in the Asian Games Village in Beijing announced its closure on Jan 8.

Opened in 1990, the North Star was once the commercial pride of the capital. It was the first mainland mall to have indoor elevators, and the first to offer nonstop shopping during the Lunar New Year.

"When I first moved here, there were many shoppers and things were cheap. But later it started to sell pricey stuff and there were fewer and fewer people," says Wang Tao, 55, who lives nearby.

And since May 2017, stores have been pulling out of Sogo, one of the largest malls in central Beijing.

In China, if anyone has a say about the future of brick-and-mortar retail it will be the e-commerce behemoths.

"Major e-commerce giants like Alibaba and Tencent are moving to the offline space to grab a bigger slice of the retail sales pie (as online represents less than 15 percent of total China retail sales)," says Jason Yu, manager of market research company Kantar Worldpanel in Shanghai.

"Through further integration between offline facility/service and technology empowerment and big data-driven marketing, they hope to help to drive sales for the offline stores. ...

Most key retailers' position improved as they sought alliances and implemented O2O (online to offline) strategies," he says.

Competitors Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, worth a combined $1 trillion, are on a retail-buying binge, making merchants choose sides in a fight for shoppers' digital wallets, Reuters reported.

On April 9, Tencent and JD announced they were teaming up to purchase a stake in China's Better Life Commercial. Better Life operates 592 stores in China.

Since early 2017, Alibaba and Tencent have spent more than $10 billion combined on retail-focused deals.

Cash-rich, the two are looking to win over consumers and store operators to their competing payment, logistics, social media and data services.

Alibaba's Ant Financial leads in mobile payments, which is a nearly $13 trillion battleground with Tencent. Ant operates the top mobile-payment platform, Alipay, while Tencent's system is on its popular WeChat app.

Tencent is strong in social media, digital payment and gaming. It also has a stake in JD, as does US retail giant Walmart.

French grocer Carrefour has announced a potential investment from Tencent, which also has invested in Yonghui Superstores, retailers Vipshop Holdings and Heilan Home, mall operator Wanda Commercial and grocer Bubugao.

Alibaba has invested even more heavily in Suning.com, Intime Retail, Sanjiang Shopping Club, Lianhua Supermarket, Wanda Film and home-improvement store Easyhome.

Alibaba invested $486 million in a retail-focused big data company, saying it could "help brick-and-mortar retailers succeed in the digital age".

"Tie-ups with Alibaba or Tencent can help some of those malls transform themselves faster, providing superior retail experiences," Yu says. "Some of those malls can host Alibaba's new retail experiment Hema Fresh, but in general both Alibaba and Tencent can equip those malls with retail solutions driven by big data and modern retail technology. (Hema Fresh features self-checkout and cashless payments.)

The Hema supermarket has opened 25 outlets in seven Chinese cities, where consumers can shop for groceries and have food cooked under one roof. JD opened its first offline fresh food supermarket in January.

"In the industry reshuffle, new retail, which integrates online with offline shopping and provides a refreshing shopping experience, is taking hold," says Cao Lei, head of China's E-Commerce Research Center.

Alibaba has created a Buy+ app that offers a virtual shopping mall that customers can browse through, clicking on products they like.

"As users continue to engage with the platform in more meaningful ways, we are fostering next-generation consumption features, such as virtual reality, to transcend the overall user experience," Alibaba Chief Marketing Officer Chris Tung says.

Buy+ provides 360-degree views using a VR headset. Shoppers can even have virtual models showcase apparel and accessories on a catwalk.

Fun uses for tech

Mosaic Shanghai Mall recently broke ground on the Shanghai Dungeon, a local version of Madame Tussauds operator Merlin Entertainment's London Dungeon, to help its retail center pull in more crowds.

The Kunming Aegean Sea Shopping Park in Yunnan province has an equestrian school where patrons can ride, feed and groom horses.

The Beijing Mall on Wangfujing Street offers a Boeing 737 flight simulator experience for about$450.

Displays containing scannable "boyfriends" attracted crowds of shoppers in Haikou in December, hkwb.net reported. Photos from the Friendship Shopping Mall show six tall men in suits standing in doll-like boxes, each with a scannable code.

For 1 yuan, the paid escorts snap photos and keep their clients company for an hour, but physical contact is not permitted, signs read.

"I escorted four women on Christmas Eve. They were all in their 20s," says an escort surnamed Zhuang.

According to a recent report by US consulting company AT Kearney, young consumers prefer experiences to purchases. The company predicts that by 2030, young people in the US will allocate only half of their shopping spending on products; the rest will go to experiences or experiential products.

"Instead of a retailer, the anchor here is a compelling social experience - perhaps an indoor ski slope, rollercoaster, concert space or museum providing immersive, experience-based entertainment," the report said.

"Normal restaurants and cinemas will no longer guarantee their traffic and business success," says Yu of Kantar Worldpanel. "They have to identify some star tenant to draw consumers' attention, either those celebrity/KOL-(key opinion leader) endorsed stores, pop-up stores, popular exhibitions or popular milk tea shops (like Heytea). In short, they have to offer consumers a reason to visit them time after time."

Yu says shopping in China is "extremely competitive", and 900-plus more malls will open in 2018.

"I believe the revenue will increase, especially driven by the growth in the lower-tier cities. However, the new ones will gain at the expense of outdated malls," he says. "There will be more closure and transformation of the old ones, and revenue per mall is likely to fall due to oversupply.

"The malls will have to diversify ... offering distinctive features to shoppers. Otherwise, they won't be able to survive in an oversupply world," Yu says.

Reuters, Bloomberg and Xinhua contributed to this story.

Contact the writer at williamhennelly@chinadailysusa.com

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Snapping up the stories of America's 'ghost malls']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072172.htm

Seph Lawless is passionate about the shopping mall's place in American commercial lore.

The photojournalist from Cleveland, whose name is a pseudonym, has published three books documenting a range of abandoned buildings in the United States and is sentimental about the malls' contributions.

His haunting photos (http://sephlawless.com) leave one wondering how places once filled with joy and conviviality ended up filled with debris and even snow.

"I long for an America I once knew, and I fear that my images represent a forewarning of an America I never wanted to envision," Lawless tells China Daily.

"Personally, I hate to see these malls go, not for any other reason besides what they represented to me growing up. I know malls aren't economically sustainable or energy efficient," he says.

"People no longer want to park at a shopping mall, then walk into a mall to pass four to five stores to get what they want," he says."They would prefer to shop at an open mall (and) park directly in front of a store.

"It's really kind of sad," Lawless says. "People just bump into you as they stare down at their phones. We don't have many communal spaces left in America where you can look face-to-face with another person anymore."

Lawless also sees a socioeconomic element at work.

"I've seen more high-end malls or luxury malls thriving, seemingly unscathed by much of the declining mall culture, most of which is located in the suburbs. This has more to do with the economic rift between the rich and poor," he says.

"Over the past few years there's been a shift in the conceptual view of how to sustain a struggling shopping mall," he says."Those methods far exceed relying on anchor stores as the malls' lifeline."

Lawless believes malls should literally open up.

"I think the deconstruction of the shopping mall itself would be a good start. By removing the roof and opening it up, it creates a different shopping experience," he says. "I've also noticed an increase of open-designed shopping plazas dotted throughout US suburban cities that are flourishing.

"The US consumer has evolved and no longer wants to shop under bad fluorescent lighting. To be successful, property owners must adapt," he says.

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[The rise of intangibles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072168.htm

New technologies promise huge scalability for businesses in such industries as marketing, branding and software design, says economist

Jonathan Haskel says the rise in property values in China's cities is more down to the rise of the intangible economy than the attraction of tangible assets such as apartments and houses.

The economist says the factor behind the rise is people moving to the city to work in intangible industries such as marketing, branding and software design.

 

Economic professor Jonathan Haskel says the intangible economy is making society unequal. Nick J.B. Moore / For China Daily

"The types of people who benefit from the intangible economy are going to move into the cities. This has the effect of raising house prices, because property is in short supply," he says.

"The other thing it does is increase the social divide between city and rural dwellers, whose properties don't tend to rise in value. People there are not doing these innovative new jobs and they get left behind," he says.

Haskel, 54, who was speaking in the office of the futuristic campus of the Imperial College Business School in London, where he is professor of economics, is the author with Stian Westlake of a new book, Capitalism Without Capital, that has attracted significant attention in the West.

"I think with this book, we are pushing at an open door. People know from their everyday experience that business is just getting more and more intangible. It is, however, something that is more or less ignored in company accounts and also in national (government) accounts," he says

"There is just this disconnect between the sort of narrative people talk about in terms of a company's success and what they read when they get the hard numbers."

He cites as examples a company like Microsoft, where it is almost impossible to measure the value of investment in software development unless it has been developed and sold, and also airlines.

"Monarch Airlines, Britain's fifth-biggest airline, went bankrupt in October. It was an example of the fact that very few airlines own anything tangible anymore. Within 10 days, most of the fleet had been returned to the people who were leasing it," he says.

"What there was then was this huge long argument about the intangible assets of the business, which in Monarch's case were the landing slots at Britain's congested airports."

The book's ideas challenge those of the French economist Thomas Piketty, who in his best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century argued that it is those with assets who have been getting consistently wealthier over the past 250 years, compared with those without assets.

"The reason why we disagree with Piketty is that he takes a slightly old-fashioned Marxist view that the marquis or the duke can make a lot of money by just hording their assets," he says.

"The problem with this is that not all assets are rising. House prices may be going up in the cities, where the intangible workers move to, but if you, for example, took a place like Gateshead (a North East England town), which has been quite run down, they are not really rising at all. The same can be said also of Donald Trump's so-called Rust Belt."

Haskel says the intangible economy is not new, with most of the assets of companies like Coca-Cola, which dates back to the late 19th century, being intangible.

"The value of the company is in its actual recipe, the branding, the marketing and the advertising, whereas the bottling and the delivery is on the tangible side. Of course, the recipe cannot be patented because then everyone would know what the formula was."

The economist says new technologies have made it possible for intangible businesses to have huge scalability.

"If I am Bob's Taxis and want to carry more taxi passengers, I have to order more taxis, whereas if I am Uber or Didi, I don't have to make that kind of investment to scale up," he says.

Haskel says the real winners in the intangible economy are the managers and the organizational people who put everything together.

"When Steve Jobs passed away, Apple didn't appoint the best software programmer or chip engineer to replace him, but the supply-chain management guy Tim Cook, who was chief operating officer. People who can bring stuff together and coordinate a little bit are the ones now with the valuable skill sets," he says.

Haskel, who studied economics both at the University of Bristol and the London School of Economics, has spent most of his career in academia.

He has been at the Imperial College Business School since 2008, where he is now both professor of economics and academic director.

He also was an adviser at the Treasury when Gordon Brown was chancellor of the exchequer, and was a member of the reporting panel of the Competition Commission, which looks into competition issues in the UK, for most of the past decade.

Haskel is a particular critic of the euro, which he believes is doomed to fail.

"It is almost entirely political, it seems to me. The lesson from successful currency unions, like the US, for example, is that you not only need a single monetary authority, but you also need a single fiscal authority as well, or some way of having fiscal transfers, between the parties to the union," he says.

"In the US, Connecticut, for example, has been a net payer to Louisiana for decades. In Europe, we have to reach a situation where the Germans also have to be net payers to countries which aren't doing as well. That to me does not seem politically feasible. I don't therefore see any future for the euro."

Haskel also believes there are major risks to recovery 10 years after the global financial crisis.

"The developing countries are looking a little better in the sense that they keep going. The developed countries are clawing their way back. It does, however, seem to me that we haven't got the banking sector sorted out yet," he says.

Haskel says one unknown factor is the impact that artificial intelligence will have on jobs.

"The usual example economists will throw about is automatic teller machines. They will say that they created banking jobs because bank staff could now sell you financial advice and that kind of thing," he says.

"As anybody at MIT and places like that will tell you, the world of artificial intelligence has changed over the past 18 months or so, with advances in image recognition and all these technologies. The idea was that the university lecturer could be helped by AI, but it may be the machine will start giving lectures and indeed writing a book," he says.

As for China, he believes that the rise of the intangible economy could prove to be a boon for the world's second-largest economy.

"China is going from what was a very capital-driven innovation to a more knowledge-driven innovation, and that is another way of saying that intangibles are going to become much more important in driving growth," he says.

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Peppa Pig theme parks planned]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/21/content_36070526.htm

Peppa Pig theme parks may open in China just in time for the Year of the Pig in 2019.

The internationally popular British animated television show for young children has been a huge hit in China since launching there in 2015, and plans call for theme parks based on the show in Beijing and Shanghai.

The parks would be operated by Merlin Entertainments, headquartered in Poole, England, which is also responsible for Legoland Resorts, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Shanghai.

Last year, the company struck a partnership with Entertainment One, the British film and TV company that owns the Peppa Pig brand.

"We plan to launch the first two theme parks in Shanghai and Beijing next year," said Chen Jie, general manager of Merlin Entertainment China. "We will use Peppa Pig to design the indoor and outdoor playgrounds. This will contribute to our development in the Chinese market."

A Peppa Pig stage show also will tour China over the next three years and a number of branded pop-up and mall events are also in the pipeline.

Entertainment One also plans to expand Peppa Pig's presence in China later this year through a new toy line in a deal with Alpha Group, one of China's leading toy manufacturers.

"More and more families in China have fallen in love with Peppa Pig. Such collaboration will enable both parties to make the most of resources for a mutually beneficial partnership," said Kenny Cao, senior vice-president at Alpha Group.

Since the cartoon's first appearance on the China Central Television network in 2015, the show has attracted some 45 million views on multiple video on-demand platforms like Youku, iQiyi and Tencent.

According to Entertainment One, more than 40 million Peppa Pig books have been sold since April 2016. Three sets of Peppa-branded, animated emojis have been downloaded more than 20 million times and shared more than 210 million times.

"The accelerating popularity of Peppa Pig in China is testament to the brand's universal appeal and shows us what incredible growth is possible when the Chinese market gets behind a brand," said Andrew Carley, executive vice-president of global licensing, family and brands at Entertainment One.

Peppa's porcine empire began in 2004 and the show has been shown in more than 180 nations and territories and translated into 40 languages.

boleung@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-04-21 07:02:31
<![CDATA['Salute boy' stir now 'a thing of the past']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/21/content_36070574.htm Before the 10th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake, which took place on May 12, 2008 and claimed 69,227 lives and left 17,923 missing, Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Ren Jiarui once again met up with Lang Zheng, or "Salute Boy" who touched the nation's heart in the aftermath of the deadly quake. As Lang was lying on a stretcher among the rubble waiting to be moved, the 3-year-old gave a military salute to the People's Liberation Army soldiers as they approached. The moment was captured on camera, and prompted an outpouring of concern from people of all walks of life. Lang, who is currently studying in middle school, has enjoyed a happy childhood in his post-earthquake life.

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The child famous for saluting his PLA rescuers from the rubble of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake is happily looking toward the future

Before the 10th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake, which took place on May 12, 2008 and claimed 69,227 lives and left 17,923 missing, Southern Metropolis Daily reporter Ren Jiarui once again met up with Lang Zheng, or "Salute Boy" who touched the nation's heart in the aftermath of the deadly quake. As Lang was lying on a stretcher among the rubble waiting to be moved, the 3-year-old gave a military salute to the People's Liberation Army soldiers as they approached. The moment was captured on camera, and prompted an outpouring of concern from people of all walks of life. Lang, who is currently studying in middle school, has enjoyed a happy childhood in his post-earthquake life.

Ten years on and now a teenager, he is happy to be returning to lively campus life. "Extroverted" and "wild" are two words that Lang uses to describe himself. He is a cheerful boy who likes to play pranks, loves books, and is fascinated by basketball and football. Every weekend, he plays basketball with his father, taking up the position of shooting guard. His favorite sports star is David Beckham.

When Lang was young, he had aspired to become a policeman like his father. As a policeman at Beichuan county's public security bureau, his father Lang Hongdong had been working in the mountains at the time of the earthquake. It was not until a week after the event that he learned about Lang's rescue. At the time, Lang told the medical staff taking care of him: "I will also be a police officer and work with my father together to save people."

Lang's worship of his father and respect for his profession remains undiminished, but he now has a new vision for his future. Lang finds himself particularly interested in biology and hopes to be involved in biotechnology research in the future. The 13-year-old says: "The 'Salute Boy' sensation has become a thing of the past. We should all look forward."

Story provided by He Yushuai/Southern Metropolis Daily and Ren Jiarui/Department of Journalism, Shanghai University.

 

The very picture in which Lang gave a military salute touched the nation's heart in the aftermath of Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

 

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2018-04-21 07:05:41
<![CDATA[World of post-'90s adults]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/15/content_36034112.htm How many years of avocado toast abstinence does it take to buy an apartment in Shanghai? In a 60 Minutes US TV news interview in May last year, Australian property tycoon Tim Gurner said that middle-class indulgences like artisanal snacks and lattes were all that stood between today's young adults and their first home purchase.

As the multimillionaire's tirade gave birth to a million memes, a Twitter user quickly figured out that daily avo-toast avoidance would earn him a "bad house" in Los Angeles in 642 years. But, while avocado-based dishes are only beginning to enter Chinese consumers' orbits - imports of the fruit grew by 16,000 percent between 2012 and 2016 - millennials have long been feeling the squeeze of stagnating incomes and rising living expenses. In 20 of China's major cities, the housing price-to-income ratio has risen well above 10:1. Beijing (26.08), Shanghai (25.48), Shenzhen (32.44), Hangzhou (13.43), and Nanjing (12.36) are among the world's least-affordable cities.

Dai Weijie, a Shanghai college graduate born in 1993, estimates that, at his current salary, he will need to work 500 months to buy an apartment in his home city - that's 41 years, half a lifetime. Like many of his peers, Dai worked hard at school, landed a promising white-collar job after graduation - finance in his case - and has parents who saved throughout his life to help him afford a home. But even he isn't optimistic. "After those 500 months," he says, "housing prices are a lot higher again."

The post-'90s' generation grew up with unprecedented access to education, consumer goods, pop culture imports and, of course, technology and social media platforms. Photos Provided to China Daily

To their elders, who lived through war and famine and sacrificed individual ambitions to collective dreams, Dai's is known as the "lucky generation." Other than this, there is no real Chinese word for "millennials," the term that American pop historians coined for individuals born between the 1980s and the turn of the millennium. Though the direct translation is qianxi yidai, in China, it's more common to hear this demographic further broken down: the "post-'80s", "post-'90s" and "post-'00s".

Although separated by only a few years, these generational divides matter. This has everything to do with China's extraordinary speed of development since the reform and opening-up era. Children of China's economically restabilizing '90s, and adolescents in the politically confident millennium, the jiulinghou, have parents with just dim memories of the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) and who reached adulthood right after the 1978 market reforms. Compared with their "post-'80s" predecessors, the jiulinghou grew up with unprecedented access to education, consumer goods, pop culture imports and, of course, technology and social media platforms.

But the drastic and uneven changes tothe State, market and society have also given the jiulinghou whiplash. Unlike the balinghou, who came of age before the 2008 financial crisis, and compared to the still-youthful linglinghou, those of the post-'90s generation now find themselves in a bind: surrounded by "new world" goodies, but unable to afford them. Straddling the uncomfortable line between new ideals and old values, jiulinghou are coming of age, in a nation both trying to "re-emerge" as a global power and assert certain ideologies it feels are key to its stability and harmony at home.

On New Year's Eve 2017, the hashtag, shiba sui zhao, essentially "me at 18," began trending on Chinese social media platforms. Sharing photos of themselves at 18, Weibo and WeChat users welcomed the 18th year of the millennium with a nostalgic look back. It was also, noted China Daily, a bittersweet acknowledgement that, as of the new year, even the youngest jiulinghou will have become legal adults: The post-'90s are putting aside their adolescence, and the post-'00s taking it up.

For China's post-'90s generation, one term used to describe their journey into adulthood is "awkward" - or the Chinese busanbusi, literally "neither three nor four." A short article on China.com summed up the headaches of the post-'90s' generation as: "Too early to get married, yet too late to start dating. Play around? No time. Make some money instead? Too difficult. Spend money? None to spend. Too young to socialize with the post-'80s, yet too old to hang with the '00s."

"Neither three nor four," though, is also an apt description for the China into which these newly minted adults graduate, the product of an accelerated modernization.

"(Our) pressure often comes from the increasingly wider choices of ways to live, as traditional, modern, Eastern and Western lifestyles are presented to us," says Song Yu, a jiulinghou journalist living in Beijing, comparing the travails of his generation with those that came before. "It's hard to foresee the results of our individual choices, compared with the older generations whose lives were partly determined by society and Chinese traditions."

These traditions often intertwine with economics to create unique challenges - such as the property bubble. "There's a tradition in China of being 'settled'," says Song, who finally became owner of his own Beijing property this year. "Even if they have to empty their life savings, even if prices in first-tier cities never fall, any family that is able to will choose to buy an apartment." Renting, in his opinion, "can lead to disputes and trouble", and his par-post-'90s' generation as: "Too early to get married, yet too late to start dating. Play around? No time. Make some money instead? Too difficult. Spend money? None to spend. Too young to socialize with the post-'80s, yet too old to hang with the '00s."

"Neither three nor four," though, is also an apt description for the China into which these newly minted adults graduate, the product of an accelerated modernization.

"(Our) pressure often comes from the increasingly wider choices of ways to live, as traditional, modern, Eastern and Western lifestyles are presented to us," says Song Yu, a jiulinghou journalist living in Beijing, comparing the travails of his generation with those that came before. "It's hard to foresee the results of our individual choices, compared with the older generations whose lives were partly determined by society and Chinese traditions."

These traditions often intertwine with economics to create unique challenges - such as the property bubble. "There's a tradition in China of being 'settled'," says Song, who finally became owner of his own Beijing property this year. "Even if they have to empty their life savings, even if prices in first-tier cities never fall, any family that is able to will choose to buy an apartment." Renting, in his opinion, "can lead to disputes and trouble", and his parents, who live in a small city in Shandong province, "literally spent all their savings to cover my down payment, hoping this will reduce the burden of my monthly payments".

Settling, of course, implies marriage. With home-ownership considered a prerequisite before a couple gets hitched, and marriage before one's 30s a "familial duty", property becomes the wisest investment.

"Of course, I'm happy to own a home," says Song. "But it's more so that my parents can stop worrying."

Song says the Beijing hukou offered by his employer was a "major consideration" when weighing job offers after graduation, the "first step" in his journey to home ownership.

For Dai, the Shanghai grad born in 1993, the chips have fallen just right - Shanghai hukou, well-off parents, prestigious job.

"For the post-'80s," Dai reckons, "the housing prices (were) not (as) high at the time they wanted to get married." Meanwhile, the post-'00s seem to have more of a safety net, with parents - many of whom are balinghou - who already started climbing the property ladder.

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

For China Daily

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2018-04-15 14:09:38
<![CDATA[The parent]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/15/content_36034111.htm Shenzhen pediatric surgeon Pei Honggang has an alter ego: "Doctor Pei," an internet celebrity with 900,000 Weibo subscribers whose WeChat essays regularly clock more than a million reads.

Under the slogan "Let parents spend less, let children suffer less," Doctor Pei dispenses simple medical advice and parenting wisdom via essays, live broadcasts and online consultations in order to take what he calls "scientific child-rearing" into the age of the cloud.

Beijing mother Liu Yan (not her real name), 27, describes "smart" parenting via the likes of Doctor Pei as being all the rage for the post-'90s generation. Neither their elders' conventional wisdom nor China's overburdened hospital system quite cut it for today's young parents. "If our children have a runny nose, the first thing we would do is take out our phone," Liu says about her generation. "We have our own chat groups, and apps and doctors' WeChat accounts that help you really understand, instead of just solve a problem."

Pei ruffles conservative feathers with his reservations about traditional Chinese medicine or involving grandparents or "maternity matrons" in raising children. However, this increases his popularity with his base, who haven't shed their reputation for individualism - or, less flatteringly, hedonism - even as they begin to deal with expectations of marriage and family. A 2015 Peking University survey found that the greatest wish of post-'90s people was "traveling," selected by more than 50 percent of working-age millennials - far ahead of such options as career, relationships and wealth.

In a 2016 survey of 6,000 post-'90s mothers by research company MGCC, around 56 percent selected "loss of personal time" as the biggest challenge of parenthood, over "lack of experience," "lack of money," or "lack of time due to work." In terms of where millennials obtain parenting advice, "experts and doctors" and "personal experience" were chosen over family and peers.

Liu has had to defend her own parenting style. "My colleagues were surprised I was old enough to have a child," she says. Living with her in-laws, however, relieves her of childcare duties during the day.

Ji Kangli, a 27-year-old single mother from Hubei province, relies on both sets of grandparents to babysit her son in her hometown while she works full-time in Shenzhen. She says it's not an ideal arrangement but a necessary one, given the cost of living and the stress of her career.

Other young parents find ways to passively rebel. In December, a WeChat essay popularized the term "Buddhalike" to describe post-'90s adults who adopt a stoic attitude toward pressure and setbacks, rejecting both the materialism and idealism of earlier generations.

Liu agrees with these principles, citing her own overscheduled youth. "I want my child to grow up happier, with more freedom of self-expression," she says.

Ji thinks society is becoming more pluralistic toward parenting: "Everyone makes choices based on their circumstances. Even if I'm not with my son, his grandparents love him - isn't that a good environment for a child?"

For China Daily

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2018-04-15 14:09:38
<![CDATA[The bureaucrat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/15/content_36034110.htm The Publicity Department of Jiande, Zhejiang province, a mountain town with a population of 500,000, operates an unofficial graveyard shift starting at 10 pm, as netizens around China settle in for a night of browsing.

The shift has a staff of one: Cai Haoyang, who is 26. A government employee in Jiande for the past three years, Cai is seemingly on a quest to make his remote town go viral. A steady trickle of tourists has been coming up the mountains ever since a video of the area's wild cherry blossoms was picked up by Zhejiang TV early last year. Since then, Cai has kept the momentum going by offering homes for free to urban investors on Weibo, and being the writer, director, and groom in a mock "water wedding" staged at a nearby fishing village last spring.

Older colleagues praise Jiande's propaganda officer as a true patriot. Cai gave up a prosperous, middle-class city life to serve the people, according to a short profile published in his local newspaper. Cai actually had mixed feelings: "In college, I wanted work in a corporation - at Huawei, like many of my classmates," he says. "But my parents wanted me to take the civil service exam."

According to official data, the competition in China's annual qualifying exams for civil servants is at an all-time high: Almost 1.66 million people signed up for last December's exam. However, the proportion of withdrawals is also increasing, suggesting that real interest in this career path may be waning. Around 526,000 of those who registered for the exam dropped out in 2017, almost a third of the total. A 2016 survey by Shanghai Open University and Fudan University indicated that only eight percent of that year's graduating students wanted to become civil servants - a distant fifth choice behind multinationals (23 percent), entrepreneurship (21 percent), and private and State-owned enterprises (20 percent each).

Cai says, "It's no longer considered a 'golden rice bowl'" - embellishing on the "iron rice bowl" metaphor once applied to stable - if monotonous - State-sector jobs. Cai's generation, however, was born in the decade when many SOEs and government agencies were being dismantled or downsized.

Since he started his job, a few of Cai's young colleagues have quit. "They wanted to realize their dreams," he says. "Here, work is the same every day. Our generation likes a bit more freedom."

Cai concedes that learning the ropes at his job can take awhile. "As a young employee, you always want to achieve things. But the more you do, the more risk there is of mistakes, so you need guidance from more experienced colleagues and leaders."

Nonetheless, Cai says, "I do things that are meaningful to society, but also meaningful to me personally."

Some of those activities, however, take place on his own time - after a long day of driving to meetings and training sessions, drafting news releases or being roused at 5 am to perform seasonal labor like flood or forest fire prevention.

Cai says he's happy to do it all, at least for now. "I'm young, so I can still handle it."

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2018-04-15 14:09:38
<![CDATA[The worker]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/15/content_36034109.htm It was five days before Spring Festival, but at one Beijing chain restaurant, a whole section of the staff was nowhere to be found. "The 'post-'90s' workers have all gone home - only post-'70s and post-'80s 'aunties' will work during the holidays," the cashier, a woman in her 30s.

Not every demographic hankers after an apartment in a first-tier city or international travel. But for China's post-'90s, or jiulinghou, workers, the "generation gap" is not just a first-world problem. "My parents are farmers ... all they want for me is to learn a trade, get a 9-to-5 job in the local prefectural city and visit home a few times a week," says Wang Qunhong, a 28-year-old Ningbo saleswoman who is originally from Jiangxi province. "I preferred to do something with more money and more freedom."

The stereotypes can cut both ways. Song Yi, a documentary filmmaker on Beijing's post-'90s migrant workers, says the group faces the same condemnations as middle-class millennials: "Old workers say young workers can't 'eat bitterness.'"

"(The older generation's) views don't match reality," Wang retorts. Like everything in China, the economic prospects for China's internal migrants have changed dramatically since the 1980s, when the first rural workers began to arrive in factories and construction sites after Deng Xiaoping's market reforms. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, individuals born after the 1980s are becoming China's primary blue-collar workforce, accounting for 49.7 percent of the country's total of 2.8 million rural migrant workers as of 2016. Unofficial studies have put the figure as high as 80 percent in cities like Ningbo.

A joint study by the city's migrant labor office and the Academy of Social Sciences estimates that around 18 percent of Ningbo's migrant workers are jiulinghou. They congregate disproportionately in the low end of the "tertiary sector" - 82.2 are involved in the retail, hospitality and assorted service jobs - as opportunities shrink in manufacturing and construction. Compared with these traditional blue-collar sectors, though, wages in the service industry have stagnated.

China's jiulinghou migrants remain unfazed. In the Ningbo study, workers chose "expanding one's horizons" (22.5 percent) and "liking city life" (21.2 percent) as their top reasons for migrating, with few putting money first. Employers who were surveyed characterize their jiulinghou workers as higher educated on average - that is, have attended high school - and more demanding of advancement, fair wages and better working conditions.

Wang says it was a combination of boredom and financial need that took her to Beijing and later Ningbo at age 19, after finishing trade school to please her parents. "I felt like I should go 'out there' and challenge myself," she says. She cycled through various jobs before discovering one that met all her requirements. "I'm in sales now, and the pay is good, I get insurance, and my time is very flexible."

Post-90s migrant workers depart from Huaibei, Anhui province, to their jobs all over the country. Provided to China Daily

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2018-04-15 14:09:38
<![CDATA[Nation woos back Chinese studying overseas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/07/content_35986739.htm The number of Chinese doctoral and postdoctoral students in the US who are returning to China is growing, enticed by government support, a strong economy offering more jobs at higher pay and innovation-driven development, reports Zhang Ruinan in New York.

Lei Ting, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, has been flying back and forth between Beijing and the US this past year.

Planning to become a teacher at Peking University and continue his research project there, Lei is attracted to China because of its strong economy and rapid developments in innovation, as well as the country's constant efforts to support overseas talent willing to go back.

 

Students from China celebrate their graduation from Columbia University. Xinhua

Although there isn't a huge amount of Chinese doctoral and postdoctoral students returning to China from the US, the number is growing. They are returning for a variety of reasons, from being homesick to getting financial rewards from the government and opportunities for better jobs with higher pay.

In 2013, the American National Science Foundation reported that 92 percent of Chinese graduates who earned a PhD in America still lived in the US five years after graduation.

From 2008 to 2015, only 3.5 percent of returnees held doctoral degrees, according to the Report on Employment & Entrepreneurship of Chinese Returnees 2017 conducted by the Center for China and Globalization. In 2016, that figure was closer to 11 percent.

The term "sea turtle" has long been used in China to refer to people who have returned home after studying abroad for several years. These overseas-educated graduates make up a privileged cohort in Chinese society and have traditionally been difficult to attract back.

However, according to the latest statistics published by the Ministry of Education, about 540,000 Chinese went to study overseas in 2016, with about 430,000 returning. Compared to 2011, 2016 saw a 37.61 percent increase in the number of Chinese studying abroad and a 56.95 percent increase in returnees.

'Returning tide'

The repatriation of PhD students who have studied abroad is part of what's called the "third students' returning tide".

"In my opinion, China has more opportunities than the US regarding new technology," said Lei, the postdoctoral scholar who got his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Stanford under the "Thousand Talents Plan".

"In the past few years, I've been working on a research project that is based on a novel graphitic carbon material with an ultrahigh surface area," said Lei, who studies organic electronic-device fabrication.

"An extremely large and often still growing share of electronic and technology supply chains are anchored in China.

"Thus, China is the best place to get my project into production with strong government support for innovation and research and more opportunities for investment."

Lei's project has been funded by the Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation, which was founded by 14 of China's top colleges including Peking University, Tsinghua University and the University of Science and Technology of China. They have been joined by more than 100 industry-leading companies such as BOE Technology Group and ENN Energy Holdings with strong support from the city of Beijing.

According to a recent report by New York-based Preqin, a data-intelligence company, more than $65 billion in venture capital investment was made in China last year, a 35 percent increase year-on-year and an all-time high, second only to North America with $77 billion.

Besides China's funding for capital investments and the large potential market, Lei was also attracted by the Recruitment Program of Global Experts - known as the Thousand Talents Plan. It was initiated by the Chinese government at the end of 2008 and its aim is to bring top overseas talent to China over the next five to 10 years.

Programs such as the Made in China 2025 strategy and "the mass entrepreneurship and innovation" initiative are targeting elite overseas talent willing to return and launch their startups or businesses.

Lump sums of about $75,000 are being offered by the central government, with research subsidies ranging from $150,000 to $450,000 depending on the program's level and quality.

Lei said the talent plan offered him funding for his research and a competitive salary for a position at Peking University. "The salary is equal to $80,000 to $100,000, which is the amount you might earn as a teacher here in the US," he said, adding that more and more talent is being attracted by the programs.

"Six years ago, there were only hundreds of applicants for the Thousand Talents Plan and now there are thousands - the competition is fiercer."

Recruiting talent

"Although the environment for research in the US is still better than China, the government is making constant efforts to improve conditions for doing research," said Zhang Shiyi, who received his postdoctorate in biological and mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Zhang also benefited from the Thousand Talents Plan in 2015 and decided to join the nanobiomaterials department of Shanghai Jiao Tong University as a teacher and researcher.

"In the US, researchers and professors are facing funding shortfalls, but in China, they are facing the difficulty of recruiting talent," he said.

Zhang said many Chinese PhD candidates and postdoctoral scholars at US universities no longer see becoming a faculty member at a US university as their first option.

"I've been back in China for a year and I'm glad that I decided to return - especially since I have more time to spend with my family and friends now," he said.

Besides leadership, professional or technical positions in universities and research-and-development institutes, the Thousand Talents Plan also covers talented people willing to work at State-owned enterprises and State-owned commercial and financial institutions.

"While overseas Chinese students once coveted a full-time job in Silicon Valley and a green card, now they look to career opportunities back in China," said Jay Wu, the co-founder of Global Career Path, a startup based in Silicon Valley that specializes in matching talent in the US with Chinese businesses. "This is because the Chinese government has been heavily investing in technology and innovation, which encouraged lots of Chinese companies to expand globally and make efforts to develop their own technologies - where the top overseas talents are becoming a driving force and key factor," he said.

Global Career Path has been matching Chinese overseas talent in the US with Chinese tech titans such as JD, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei since 2015. "These companies are specifically looking for PhD students with strong technical backgrounds and engineers who have worked in Silicon Valley for an extended period of time," said Wu.

He said that while undergraduate and graduate programs at top Chinese universities are as well-developed as universities in the US, PhD programs and postdoctoral programs in the US are still more advanced than those in China.

"Students with a PhD or higher degrees are more attractive because they have more experience in research and development and they can also bring a global vision and thorough understanding of the most advanced cutting-edge technologies," Wu said. "And at the same time, they are also attracted by the Chinese government dangling financial incentives for technology innovations and the rapid development of Chinese tech giants."

A sense of home

"(Chinese companies) are offering faster-growing salaries, more opportunities to get to management level if you have obtained higher degrees such as a PhD or MBA, and at the same time you can be closer to your family and friends - a sense of home," said Jacky Chen, a PhD student in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, who has stayed in the US for about seven years since starting his undergraduate studies.

He said that China has made huge progress in technological innovation in the past few years. "Every time I went back to China, I saw so many changes - the rapid growth in mobile payment, share bikes, e-commerce and especially artificial intelligence ... I was surprised and also want to participate in it," Chen said.

As an engineer, he said what attracts him most about returning to China is the announcement that billions will be invested in artificial intelligence.

The total output of China's information-technology industry grew by 10 percent year-on-year in 2016. And while overall GDP growth has slowed in more recent months, large tech companies such as Tencent and Alibaba are still expanding exponentially. The two companies are now worth more than $1 trillion combined.

"Chinese companies are catching up really fast. One of my friends who graduated last year decided to take a position at Alibaba in Hangzhou because big companies like Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent are offering very competitive salaries - as much as Google and Amazon offer here in the US - to attract outstanding engineers to join their research and development departments," said Chen.

He said he had started to look for positions in China and attended several job fairs in the US hosted by Chinese companies.

"If I cannot find my dream job in China, I will consider applying for jobs with Tencent and Baidu's US labs, and then relocate to China, or join tech startups in China - they are growing really fast," Chen added.

"It's easy to find big career opportunities in China for PhD talent, especially at prestigious universities. The companies in IT, manufacturing, energy, medicine, (and the) chemical industry have a strong need for this sort of talent," said Ge Wei, a manager with Lockin China, an overseas recruitment company.

Contact the writer at ruinanzhang@chinadailyusa.com

Some students prefer to stay a little longer

Many Chinese PhD holders at top American universities want to stay in the US after they graduate, at least for a few years. Wang Minzhe is one of them.

"For students in our major, I think there are few students choosing to return directly after they graduate," said Wang, who is in his third year of a doctoral program at the University of Chicago. "I still prefer to stay in the US, at least for a few years to accumulate some working experience before I go back to China."

Wang obtained his undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics from Tsinghua University and a graduate degree in statistics from Stanford University. Now he works on topic modeling and nonnegative matrix factorization at the University of Chicago and hopes to become a data scientist after graduation.

"It's true that China has been catching up very fast with the US in terms of innovation and technology," he said.

"But still, the most cutting-edge research and developments are in the West, especially for technology innovations."

Wang said he thinks if he can work for a leading tech company in the US, it will give him more choices for his career development.

"Everyone knows there is a glass ceiling for Chinese employees in the US, especially in tech companies," he said. "But it's also true that for entry-level positions, the US companies offer more attractive salaries and benefits."

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2018-04-07 07:34:37
<![CDATA[Martial arts improving the welfare of students]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/07/content_35986738.htm Chinese discipline of wushu bringing hope and happiness, as well as greater self-confidence, to some of Liberia's most troubled youngsters

It's a little over two months since the Chinese Wushu School was officially opened in Monrovia, capital of the West African nation of Liberia, and its impact is already becoming apparent.

Several students, mostly from high schools, have already signed up to learn Chinese martial arts as the school seeks to share both the physical and cultural aspects of wushu.

 

Young students of the Chinese Wushu School in Monrovia prepare for a show piece.

Headmaster Pewee Russian says he is proud of the school, which is teaching discipline and hard work, steering youngsters away from delinquency.

"There's lot of challenges out there, especially for kids growing up in homes with a single parent, either their mother or father. It's a traumatic situation and a burden on them," says Russian, a former wushu champion.

"I do a lot of talking after training to give them courage, because most of them don't have courage or self-esteem.

"Most of the parents who bring their children to the school tell me that wushu is actually helping their child - based on the fact that their son or daughter wakes up in the morning and does household chores."

The value of wushu lies in the discipline it offers, which serves as a way of humbling those who learn it. A lot of benefit comes from physical training and discipline, building self-confidence and self-esteem, says Russian.

Introduced to Liberia in 2011, wushu has taken its place among several martial arts in the country. The new school, funded by the Confucius Institute and the Chinese embassy in Monrovia, trains and recruits young Liberians.

Liberia's Ministry of Youth and Sports believes the establishment of the school has strengthened cultural exchanges between the people of Liberia and China.

"The intention here is to bring our two countries closer together. Wushu is a major part of Chinese culture. The Confucius Institute is also helping to teach the language and culture of the Chinese people," former Liberian sports minister Saah N'tow said at the opening of the school in Monrovia in early January.

So far, the school has enrolled more than 30 students. Although a few are irregular attendees, many are showing commitment to learning the sport.

Euphemia Deemi, a 16-year-old college student, has been attending wushu classes since the school opened its doors. She came to love Chinese martial arts through watching movies from the age of 10.

"When I came to this school and started learning wushu, I became happy and every time I came for practice I saw the real me," she says.

"The reason I decided to join and practice wushu is because females need protection and learning wushu will make me be able to defend myself - not to physically harass people, but to be able to defend myself from bad people."

Another student, John Dehwen, 27, is upbeat that the school is helping him to adopt a healthy and disciplined lifestyle.

Dehwen recalls how watching Chinese movies inspired him to learn martial arts. Although he already has a black belt in taekwondo, enrolling at the wushu school is a dream come true for him.

"My love for Chinese martial arts is just exceptional and I have always wished that I could learn the Chinese culture and language," he says.

"One thing about learning wushu is the discipline that comes with it, because it encourages you to be non-violent, builds your confidence and makes you healthy."

Amos Sawyer, 20, started learning wushu in 2012, long before the new school opened. He's now preparing to graduate in March 2018.

In 2016, he represented Liberia in China at a major wushu competition and brought back two bronze medals.

"Wushu has taught me how to cultivate hard work and discipline and has made me a leader and a popular person," Sawyer says.

"I usually encourage people to join the class. I sometimes show them the photos I took in China and explain the importance of Chinese martial arts. Then they come to the school and join."

Sawyer and his friends are determined to see martial arts taught at schools across the country as a part of physical education.

Many Liberians will develop an interest in learning wushu if the sport is taken to high schools across the country, they say.

But the school does face challenges, including funding, before it can extend the program across the country.

"Thank God we have our new president who is a sportsman. I am looking forward to him using sports to develop our kids," says headmaster Russian, who is struggling to spread the word across the country due to a tight budget.

He is optimistic that cultural exchanges will play a crucial role in advancing ties between West Africa and the world's most populous nation.

"Chinese martial arts make you disciplined, helping you value yourself and other people. It is so peaceful and connects you with others, and I think it is helping Liberians understand China better," he says.

He considers himself a "living example of China's contribution to Liberia" after having studied at Henan University of Technology and Shandong Sports University and having visited the Shaolin Temple.

For China Daily

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2018-04-07 07:34:06
<![CDATA[Striking a blow for martial arts]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/07/content_35986737.htm No history of wushu in the West African state of Liberia would be complete without mentioning one man. He has devoted his life to Chinese martial arts.

As a young man and a martial arts fanatic, Pewee Russian was determined to change his country's perception of Chinese martial arts, seen by many as a violent foreign culture.

Against all odds, Russian dedicated his life to learning wushu and by the late 1990s he was becoming an expert. At that time, fewer than five people in the entire country were taking an interest in wushu, he says.

As a boy, Russian lived with his foster parents, who attempted to distract him from martial arts. He found it "tedious and challenging" to keep his mind on wushu.

They told him that learning martial arts was a dead end, but nevertheless he persisted.

When civil war began ravaging the country at the end of 1990, it proved a setback for his wushu studies.

"We had a Chinese master in Liberia who didn't stay too long in the country and when we started learning wushu we couldn't go too far because of the war," he recalls.

When the war was over, after more than 15 years, wushu was almost extinct. However, a resilient Russian still carried the passion in his heart.

"One of the things that really drew me closer to Chinese martial arts is the discipline, the culture - it makes your mind disciplined. I think wushu is my calling," he says.

In 2010, the Chinese embassy in Monrovia awarded him a short-term study course at the Shaolin Temple in China. That was the beginning of a comeback for the sport in his life.

When he returned to his country in 2011, Russian led efforts to establish the Liberia National Wushu Association. His persistence continued to attract interest from the Chinese embassy after he won an international medal on behalf of his country in 2016 at the Zhengzhou International Shaolin Wushu Festival.

Since then, as a master, he has been inspiring others to share his enthusiasm. But he continues to have difficulties, including his non-stop search for more support for the sport and his mission to inspire his compatriots who might be interested in Shaolin kung fu. Russian is now the face of martial arts in Liberia.

Every weekend morning, Russian trains over 100 people and his open gym is a magnet for those seeking physical fitness. His wushu school is teaching several children.

"I can assure you that in the next five years, wushu is going to be different," he says. "You are going to be seeing Chinese martial arts in all of the counties; you are going to be seeing wushu all over this country."

In fact, martial arts is the only individual sport that has won an international a ccolade for Liberia and Russian is confident that, once the sport gains more support from Liberians, it will thrive even more.

However, Russian still regrets failing to attend the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He was the third best martial artist on the African continent that year but lack of finance kept him away from the games.

To compensate for this lost opportunity, he is working diligently to train the next generation of champions, ensuring that he keeps the spirit of wushu alive in the country.

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2018-04-07 07:34:06
<![CDATA[Seniors embracing end-of-life planning]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/05/content_35982227.htm A growing number of people are organizing their own funerals, as Cao Chen reports from Shanghai.

Despite the Chinese tradition that topics related to death are taboo, Zhu Shanchang has already arranged his funeral service and cemetery allocation.

"I've ordered multiple services, including burial caskets, urns, flowers and other cremation receptacles and memorial items, by signing a preneed funeral and burial contract with a funeral service company last year," the 82-year-old Shanghai resident said.

Zhu made the decision after he caught a bad cold a few years ago, and coughed heavily and constantly for a long time. It took more than two weeks for him to recover properly, despite taking medication regularly.

"After that, I started to wonder where my body would lie after death," he said. "I would not go back to my hometown in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, because no family members are there. Equally, I don't want to trouble my son and daughter-in-law in Shanghai when my time comes."

Knowing their father's concern, last year, Zhu's son and daughter-in-law found the preneed funeral and burial service, which is provided by Fu Shou Yuan, a well-known funeral company.

"I feel at ease after ordering all the personalized services by myself, I deliberately chose a cemetery near my children's home to make it convenient if they want to visit."

For Zhu, it's not taboo to manage his funeral and burial service ahead of time, "but a part of one's life-planning for the future".

Certainly, he is not the only person in China who has accepted this concept of post-death care via a preneed funeral and burial contract.

According to statistics supplied by Fu Shou Yuan, more than 1,600 people in China have signed similar contracts with the company since it introduced the service in 2015.

Moreover, 1,174 of those contracts were signed after the company completed its pilot program in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, last year. It officially launched the service in 16 locations, including Chongqing and the provinces of Shandong and Jiangsu. More than 500 of those who have signed up are from Shanghai.

"The service provides elderly people with the opportunity to design every detail of the funeral and burial process themselves, such as the shape or material of urns or styles of clothing," said Zhao Xiaohu, manager of the Shanghai branch of Fu Shou Yuan.

"It's a combination of tradition and new service experiences."

According to Zhao, there is no time limit to the contract.

"Customers can choose different packages at the price of 6,800, 12,800 or 21,800 yuan ($1,100/$2,000/$3,470), based on their financial situation," he said.

"No extra money will be charged, regardless of any objective reasons in the future, including inflation and currency devaluation, once the contract has been signed."

He Kaili, a Shanghai resident, has just bought the service for her 68-year-old father.

Having overseen her mother's funeral a few weeks ago, the 38-year-old decided to sign the contract for her father to ease his burden.

"It was a tiring process, like mental and physical torture, to manage my mother's funeral and burial, while enduring the pain of losing her," she said. "The contract (for her father) is such a relief, especially for an only child like me. It's like insurance for the elderly, the same as other financial products, except one only receives the benefits after death."

Early stages

Xing Weidong, assistant of the manager at the business division of Fu Shou Yuan, said that although the popularization of the contract is still in the early stages in China, the practice has a history of more than 60 years overseas.

"More than 70 percent of Japanese people have accept-ed the contracts, and the percentage in the US is even higher, reaching 90 percent," Xing said.

For example, in 2014, preneed sales of funerals and cemetery plots generated revenue of $822 million and $688 million respectively at Service Corporation International, a provider of funeral and cemetery services headquartered in Texas, United States, according to its 2015 financial report.

Despite traditional considerations, attitudes toward death are changing as China becomes more open and developed.

A white paper published this month by the China Will Registration Center shows that a rising number of Chinese seniors are recognizing the importance of writing wills while they are physically and mentally healthy to avoid disputes and to simplify inheritance procedures.

More than 82,000 people ages 60 and older have written and stored their wills at the center, free of charge.

"Perceptions are gradually being transformed as more people discuss death and care with their families or with friends, and then seek professional help," Xing said.

"The preneed funeral and burial contract has been introduced just in time as a proper education about death."

Data from Fu Shou Yuan reveals that most contracts have been bought by people born in the 1970s and '80s for their parents after discussion, and they account for more than 90 percent of the company's consumers nationwide.

"People in their 30's and 40's are the exact generations born under the one-child policy in China, which means the burden of taking care of their children and four or more elderly people falls on just one couple," Xing said. "They are in urgent need of assistance from us."

The company's other customers are usually seniors ages 75 to 80 who are purchasing services for themselves or their spouses.

"It illustrates the Chinese pursuit of a unique, high-quality life both before and after death. It's our mission to help them design a nice farewell to this world," Xing said.

"China's population is aging, so demand will definitely rise."

Aging population

According to data from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, China was home to more than 22 million registered residents age 60 and older in 2015, accounting for more than 16 percent of the population. Moreover, more than 143 million people were age 65 and older, 10.5 percent of the total.

However, despite being faced with a large, promising market, the country's funeral and burial industry is still stuck at a point where supply cannot meet demand, Xing said.

"Most services lack strict management of sufficient infrastructure, strict regulation and fair pricing. The practitioners are usually individuals, and the choice of products offered to customers is limited," he added.

"The national provisions should be reformed to standardize and supervise the related services."

Zhao Yu, manager of Fu Shou Yuan's business division, said ensuring security of capital is a tough challenge.

"At Fu Shou Yuan, the revenue from contract services is held separately in the accounts of each branch in different cities," he said.

"To leverage its security, the company will create a unified, managed account especially for preneed funeral and burial contracts at the headquarters in Shanghai. We will also cooperate with trust institutions and banks to provide standardized management and supervision."

Wang Hongjie, vice-president of the China Funeral Federation, has been quoted in thepaper.com as saying promotion and publicity related to the preneed service is crucial for the industry's growth.

In 2011, for example, the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Service Center launched a preneed service contract program for elderly people in the city who have no children to take care of them, but only about 10 people have signed the contracts.

"The public is still the key factor to promoting this kind of service," Wang said.

Contact the writer at caochen@chinadaily.com.cn

Center offers crystal commemorations

Shanghai is promoting cremation jewelry as a way for people to pay tribute to deceased family members all year round, instead of just during the traditional peak seasons, such as the Qingming, or Tomb Sweeping Festival, in April, and Winter Solstice in December.

The Shanghai Funeral Service Center makes a single crystal from the deceased person's ashes for his or her family, as long as they agree not to pay visits to the grave during the peak seasons when traffic jams are frequent and the risk of fire is higher as a result of the burning of incense and paper money believed to be used in the underworld. Both issues have become major public concerns.

The service is provided by the center's seven subordinate cemeteries, such as Shanghai Seaside Cemetery and Shanghai West Xujing Cemetery.

Wei Chao, vice-director of the Shanghai Funeral Service Center, said the center hopes to use the service to promote an alternative to traditional mourning customs, while helping to alleviate travel chaos on days when Chinese people traditionally pay tribute to deceased relatives.

"We urge citizens to mourn the deceased on days such as Lantern Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, as a new funeral custom," Wei said.

Despite its popularity in the West, cremation jewelry remains a relatively new concept in China.

The Shanghai Funeral Service Center started offering the service in 2016 when the crystallization technology was introduced to the city. A single person's ashes can be made into about 100 crystals, which vary in appearance and size from person to person in accordance with their lifestyle and habits.

However, the total volume of crystals will be just 10 percent of the ashes, which means they can be housed in smaller urns than usual at home, or even carried by relatives.

If buried, the urns save a great deal of land and prevent bodily deterioration or damage.

While it costs more than 17,000 yuan ($2,704) to convert a whole person's ashes into several crystals, it costs around 1,000 yuan to make just one larger 'stone', Wei said.

"The service is designed for those who desire an everlasting connection to the one they have lost - as a unique heirloom in the family for generations," he said.

"The jewelry provides comfort and support when and where the customers need it to embrace the loved one's memory day by day, not just during the Qingming Festival and Winter Solstice."

A man who only gave his surname as Sun has recently chosen the cremation jewelry service for his 64-year-old father, who died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

He said he will be able to take the jewelry with him when he travels around the world, to honor a wish to travel that his father had expressed when he was alive.

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2018-04-05 07:46:21
<![CDATA[Students ignore social attitudes to attend burial studies course]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/05/content_35982226.htm Like most college students, Shen Xinyi works as an intern during the summer and winter vacations. However, her job is a far cry from the usual student work experience; she cleans, dress and applies makeup to corpses, so the deceased person will look good when relatives come to pay their last respects.

"I don't regard bodies as dreadful, because my father was a mortician and I saw many of them when I was younger. For me, it is a career. My former classmates all show respect for, and curiosity about, for my choice," said the 19-year-old, who studies corpse antisepsis and cosmetics at Changsha Social Work College in the central province of Hunan.

In 1995, when the college began provide funeral-related courses - such as how to write obituaries, cemetery design and embalming - there were no other majors of a similar nature anywhere in the country, and only 120 students were recruited, according to Xiong Ying, a professor at the college.

Now, though, more than 800 students at the college are studying funeral-related subjects, and about 300 graduate every year. Though there has been a surge in the number of students, employers still contend fiercely for the colleges' funeral major graduates.

Xiong said the graduates have ample choice when looking for work.

"Only 300 students graduate every year, but there are more than 1,600 job vacancies," she said.

Despite the popularity of the course among employers, social attitudes and human instincts work against recruitment. Sun Ruirui studies funeral services at the college in Changsha. Though her parents are supportive of her choice, the 22-year-old still has concerns about telling her former classmates about their college major.

"When my friends ask, I usually tell them I am studying how to host wedding ceremonies, but, in fact, I host funerals," she said.

Xiang Xu, 21, studies cemetery design and funeral culture. "If people are biased, I tell them I study design, but if they aren't, I tell them everything," he said.

To help freshmen identify with their future career and overcome any psychological resistance to the major, teachers at the college often talk about the significance of the work.

"Funeral services are not just about bodies. Through our jobs we can interpret the life of the deceased person and illustrate how unique they were. Only those with a loving heart can successfully serve the families of the deceased," Xiong, the professor, said.

She added that the college is planning a program of expansion to meet the high demand for quality practitioners.

"For this year's autumn recruitment, the college plans to raise the number of students on the course from 830 to more than 900," she said.

Contact the writers at fengzhiwei@chinadaily.com.cn

Students from Changsha Social Work College attend a volunteer activity at an ecological funeral at Yongan Cemetery in Tianjin. Provided to China Daily

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2018-04-05 07:46:21
<![CDATA['China's Silicon Valley' aids Beijing transformation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/02/content_35962287.htm Zhongguancun high-tech powerhouse boosts capital's profound innovation

Zhongguancun - the renowned high-tech business hub in Beijing that is often referred to as China's Silicon Valley - is giving a tremendous boost to the capital city's industrial upgrading, according to financial experts and local officials.

The city announced its industrial development initiative, focusing on 10 tech-intensive industries, at the end of 2017. The industries that will receive priority support from the city government include the new-generation information technology, artificial intelligence and integrated circuits industries.

"For Beijing, innovation is the only development path," said Cai Qi, Party secretary of the city.

As forerunners of the city's innovation-driven development strategy, high-tech businesses in Zhongguancun have established a deserved reputation for their strength in research and development.

Among them is chip designer and manufacturer Cambricon Technologies. The startup is a key business partner with telecommunications giant Huawei, providing the latter with its intellectual property relating to AI chips.

The neutral processing unit in the Kirin 970 - a so-called integrated circuit called a system on a chip or SoC - developed by Huawei for its Mate 10 smartphone launched last year, uses IP from Cambricon.

Integrating almost all components into a single silicon chip, a SoC usually contains a graphics processor, memory, a USB controller, power management circuits and wireless radios.

The new AI chips developed by Cambricon imitate the working mechanism of neutrons and synapses in a human brain, which can increase efficiency in processing orders by hundreds of times compared with conventional chips.

Cambricon also launched other new AI processors featuring deep learning capabilities similar to AlphaGo, a computer program developed by Google DeepMind that shot to fame for defeating human champions of the hugely complex ancient strategy board game Go.

The AI chips can be used for image recognition, security monitoring, intelligent driving, unmanned planes, automatic speech recognition, natural language and other applications, the company said.

Behind the achievements in technological innovations is the Zhongguancun administrative committee's strong support. The local authorities rolled out policies to encourage the development of the integrated circuit design sector in 2015.

Spurred by the favorable policies, the industry in the region reported marked R&D progress throughout last year.

Tsinghua Unigroup announced in March 2017 it would partner with UK-headquartered Dialog Semiconductor Plc, in a bid to develop smartphone chips.

Electronics manufacturer Xiaomi debuted its smartphone chipset Surge S1, developed by its subsidiary Pinecone, last year.

The move signaled that Xiaomi has become the fourth SoC manufacturer worldwide, after Samsung in South Korea with its Exynos, US tech behemoth Apple with its A series and Huawei with its own Kirin processor.

Sensoro developed the world's smallest low-power wide-area network chip in August 2017. At just 1-square-centimeter, the chip is capable of telecommunications within a distance of 10 kilometers.

In December 2017, Horizon Robotics, a startup company specializing in embedded AI technologies, launched its Journey 1.0 processor for smart driving and the Sunrise 1.0 processor for smart cameras, after two years of research.

The local integrated circuit or IC design sector is projected to generate more than 80 billion yuan ($12.68 billion) in annual business revenue in 2020. By then it will form the largest industrial cluster in the field in China, according to the Zhongguancun area's development plan.

In addition to IC design, Zhongguancun has also presided over a huge boom in AI commercial applications.

CloudMinds Technology Co Ltd uses cloud computing technologies to operate a robotic portal, which serves as a robotic brain and focuses on safety networks, intelligent machine learning, and research into robotic control technologies.

Another cutting-edge tech company, Remebot, developed a navigation and orientation robot for neurosurgery, the first of its kind to be successful in clinical applications in China.

Online retailer market JD has established an intelligent logistics center and internet giant Baidu unveiled Apollo 2.0 in early January, the updated version of an open sourced project for a driverless car operating system that the company released last year.

High-tech companies in Zhongguancun generated 5 trillion yuan in combined business revenue last year.

The area is home to 67 unicorns - startup companies valued at $1 billion plus. These are known for their high growth potential and strong innovation capacities - accounting for half of the country's total and almost one quarter of the world's total.

Industrial observers say the flourishing high-tech businesses are benefiting from an innovation-friendly environment in Zhongguancun, which boasts a great number of business incubators, industrial trade associations and university communities.

"Centering on Beijing's goal of building itself into a national technological innovation hub, we will continue to reform and improve the local business environment to encourage startups, cooperation in innovation, and commercialization of research achievements," said Zhai Lixin, director of Zhuangguancun's administrative committee.

The area's goal is to form industrial clusters of AI, biopharmaceuticals, new materials, and environmental protection, and to better position itself on the frontiers of the world of technology and related industries, Zhai added.

 

A medical robot conducting surgery amazes young visitors at the World Robot Conference in Beijing in August 2017.Li Xin / Xinhua

(China Daily 04/02/2018 page10)

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2018-04-02 07:14:55
<![CDATA[Development area flourishes as leading R&D center]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/02/content_35962286.htm A leading hub for technological businesses, the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, or Beijing E-Town, is flourishing and continues to focus on developing and upgrading innovative industries.

These tech-intensive sectors include the integrated circuits industry, new energy automobiles, robotics, and the aerospace and biological medicine industries.

According to government data, the area's GDP hit 133 billion yuan ($21.01 billion) in 2017, surging 12 percent on 2016.

Companies that have been granted national high-tech enterprise status account for around 4 percent of the groups located in Beijing E-Town, according to the area's 2018 annual work meeting held in January.

Ye Bin, head of Beijing E-Town's enterprise service bureau, said the hub's structure and leading industries fit right in with the capital city's plans to upgrade its industries - especially in the new generation of information technology, integrated circuits and new energy automobiles.

In December, the Beijing government issued a guideline on accelerating scientific and technological innovation. The aim is to build a sophisticated economic structure with advanced, competitive and cutting-edge industries.

Beijing E-Town will continue to work on the industrial upgrade and innovation, in a bid to promote the restructuring of the local economy, Ye said.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp settled in the area and since 2012 has been one of the largest and most advanced integrated circuit manufacturers in China, according to the company.

Zhang Xin, vice-president of SMIC, attributed its achievements to the combined efforts of various levels of governments and the industry.

Zhang said the integrated circuits field was a strategic emerging industry in China.

"As a pioneer in leading the industry, Beijing has made substantial progress," he added.

Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co, a State-owned investment and financing platform, serves the area's technological innovation and industrial transformation and upgrading. The company invested 2.4 billion yuan in overseas mergers and acquisitions in 2015.

Part of the investments were related to integrated circuits, including sensor chips and semiconductor equipment. To date, the area has formed a complete industry chain in the integrated circuits sector, ranging from materials and design to equipment and production.

In response to the Made in China 2025 strategy, Beijing E-Town has also sped up its push into artificial intelligence. Early this year, the area set up the nation's first cross-border e-commerce robot-controlled warehouse at its bonded logistics center.

Wang Guohua, general manager of Beijing E-Town Bonded Direct Purchase Center Co, said the highlight of the robot-controlled warehouse was the adoption of the latest technology for its operations and management.

At the warehouse, the procedures for the selection of items, sorting and inspection are automated. A robot can deal with over 10,000 packages in eight working hours, four times the quantity that can be handled by a human worker.

Beijing E-Town plans to build more scientific and technological centers, as part of its innovation development.

By 2020, its GDP is seen reaching 200 billion yuan and according to its plan it will build over 20 leading innovation hubs relating to such fields as new energy automobiles, biopharmaceuticals and information technology.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Visitors learn about research achievements at Centrin Data Systems in Beijing E-Town in 2017.Yang Kejia / China News Service

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2018-04-02 07:14:55
<![CDATA[Hub wields global influence as techies stream in from abroad]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/02/content_35962285.htm With its growing influence in the global innovation landscape, Zhongguancun - Beijing's high-tech business hub - is attracting increasing numbers of professionals from around the world to the city to develop their careers.

On the "Breakthrough Brands of 2017" list released by global brand consultancy Interbrand, three out of 40 companies were from China and they are all headquartered in Zhongguancun.

In the latest global top 10 startup ecosystems rankings, Beijing took second place just after Silicon Valley in the United States.

The ranking was unveiled by SparkLabs Group, a network comprising startup business accelerators and venture capital funds.

International media and ratings institutions have consistently been speaking highly of Beijing's progress in research and development said Zhai Lixin, director of Zhongguancun's administrative committee.

Zhai said this reflected the capital's successful efforts in building itself into a national hub of science and technology.

It also reflected Zhongguancun's major advances in encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship and "optimizing its industrial structure that features cutting-edge technologies", he said.

Professionals are the premier resource to tap into, to ensure Zhongguancun's continuing outstanding position in technological innovation, Zhai added.

More than 30,000 returned overseas Chinese experts and specialists have established over 8,000 companies in Zhongguancun, making the area a leading destination for startup businesses.

At Horizon Robotics, a technology company focusing on artificial intelligence chips in Zhongguancun, key members of its research and management teams almost all worked with top high-tech multinationals before, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Nokia.

Prior to founding Horizon Robotics in 2015, company CEO Yu Kai was a founder of the Baidu Institute of Deep Learning, reportedly the first AI lab in the domestic industry.

The internationally noted expert in deep learning and general AI took various key R&D roles in Germany and the US for 12 years, according to the company.

Yang Ming, co-founder and vice-president of software at the company, is one of the founding members of Facebook AI Research and a former senior researcher at NEC Labs America. Huang Chang, another co-founder and vice-president of algorithms at the company, was a principle scientist and architect at internet giant Baidu.

Horizon Robotics has secured heavy investments from China and abroad. Its investors include Yuri Milner, an investor from Silicon Valley, Wu Capital, and Tsing Capital.

Another example is BeiGene, a biopharmaceuticals company founded by biochemist Wang Xiaodong, who has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in the US since 2004.

The company has a nearly 140-strong research team, most of whom were previously involved in R&D with industry heavyweights including Pfizer, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lily and Co, and Novartis. More than 20 percent of its R&D staff have worked in the R&D sector for over a decade.

Its strong R&D team ensures the company has remained at the forefront of cancer research internationally since its founding, with proprietary intellectual property rights to its product portfolio.

In addition to returned overseas Chinese, foreign professionals are also seeking career opportunities in Zhongguancun. Last year alone, 12 percent of startup projects were initiated by experts from abroad.

As the professionals from abroad have streamed into Zhongguancun, local authorities have rolled out more tax concessions and incentives in financing and trading, and improved administrative services to attract and retain the high-level human resources.

Since March 2016, Zhongguancun has offered a one-stop service for foreign experts to apply for permanent residence in Beijing. More than 310 have made applications and 260 have so far been granted.

"Zhongguancun provides a promising place for budding entrepreneurs, where their businesses can get off the ground with their expertise and ambitions," Zhai said.

Backed by various R&D teams gathering in Zhongguancun, Beijing ranked No 1 among the top 10 tech hubs to live and work in worldwide last year, followed by Berlin and San Francisco, according to the ranking by Expert Market, a US-based market analysis company.

According to analysts, a city has proved its innovation capacity if there are four unicorns operating in it.

In the business world a unicorn does not refer to the mythical horse-like creature, but a startup company valued at more than $1 billion.

Zhongguancun is home to 67 unicorns worth $213.7 billion in total, including electronics manufacturer Xiaomi, ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, and group-buying portal Meituan.

With the second-largest number of unicorns in the world, just after Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun has secured more than $6.2 billion in combined investments flowing to local companies.

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2018-04-02 07:14:55
<![CDATA[Value innovation parks to upgrade, transform local economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/02/content_35962284.htm Guangzhou Development District has put its full support behind developing a new kind of industrial parks, called value innovation parks, to speed up the upgrading and transformation of the local economy.

The innovation-driven industrial parks were the focus of discussion when the GDD hosted a sub-forum at the 2018 Guangzhou Annual Investment Conference on March 28.

Five such parks, covering 21 square kilometers, are located in the GDD's Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City. They focus on the development of state-of-the-art technology in the sectors of artificial intelligence, biomedicine, new energy and materials, next-generation information technology, and innovation project incubation.

 

Government oficials, urban planners and corporate executives share their insights into the development of "value innovation parks" at a forum in Guangzhou, Guangdong province on Wednesday. Jia Zihao / For China Daily

At the sub-forum, government officials, urban planners and representatives from companies including heavyweight multinationals GE and Siemens took part to share their opinions on the development of the parks.

Hua Hong, deputy chief engineer at the fifth urban planning and design department in the Guangzhou Urban Planning & Design Survey Research Institute, said that what differentiates these new industrial parks from traditional ones is that they integrate the entire industrial chain under one roof.

"It will be a place that allows balanced development between production, life and ecology," Hua said. "It will also be a gathering place for premier resources in capital, technologies and professionals."

Leading companies will take a significant part in supporting the development of all involved, the chief engineer added.

At the innovation park dedicated to next-generation IT, 13 percent of its land area has been used to construct residential property and supporting facilities, while 40 percent is planned to be used for production.

Hong Qian, deputy district head of Huangpu district, where the GDD is located, has long been committed to developing a mechanism to support high-quality economic development.

The five parks, which will center on leading companies such as GE and Siemens, will play a significant role in supporting the growth of the local economy, Hong said.

"By developing those parks, we hope to build a new type of industrial gathering platform in the SSGKC, so the GDD can take a leading role in supporting global city development," Hong said.

"We also hope to explore a new industrial development path, which can support the construction of the Guangzhou-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area."

Leading companies such as GE, Siemens and Boston Consulting Group have decided to launch operations in the industrial parks. Their presence has become a key driver for businesses along the industrial chain to invest in the district.

In the biomedicine park, GE, which holds a strong position in the healthcare sector, is building factories. GE's presence has attracted BeiGene, a company specializing in the development of cancer treatment technology, to seal a 2.2 billion yuan ($349.26 million) investment project with the district.

In the next-generation IT park, industry giants such as China Unicom, China Telecom and Siemens have moved in.

Figures from local authorities show that the total investment in China Unicom's internet application innovation base, located in the park, will reach 3.3 billion yuan.

China Telecom also plans to invest 3.7 billion yuan to construct an innovation incubation facility in the district.

Apart from traditional industrial leaders, some startups with strong technological development capabilities see the district as an ideal investment destination.

JingChi, a mobility company established in April 2017, which focuses on AI and autonomous driving, settled its headquarters in the district in 2017.

"There are positive prospects for Guangzhou's IT, AI and biomedicine industries," said Han Yu, CEO of JingChi. "The government's support is a key factor that attracts me."

To ensure that along with the investment come good people, local companies have urged the district government to pay close attention to attracting professionals and maintaining training.

Li Qing, Greater China general manager of GE Healthcare, suggested that the district release more favorable policies to bring in high-level professionals and support the development of local universities.

"To maintain sustainable development, Guangzhou has to build top-level universities and become a top city in attracting professionals," Li said.

The GDD has vowed to continue to take measures to attract high-caliber professionals. Currently there are 83 experts working in the area that have been included in the Thousand Talents Plan, a national recruitment program.

According to local officials, the GDD has established a talent pool comprised of more than 300 industrial professionals.

tangzhihao@chinadaily.com.cn

GDD leads Guangzhou in high-tech development

Guangzhou Development District is making a name for itself in Guangdong province's capital as a strong catalyst for economic development.

Home to nearly 1,600 high-tech companies, or one-third of the city's total, the GDD contributed 40 percent of the city's total industrial output value in 2017.

Government data show that the GDD has built the largest business incubator cluster in South China, with 110 incubators covering more than 6 million square meters.

The district has long been exploring new models to attract investment and reported record high results in 2017, when more than 100 foreign companies agreed to move into the region.

Last year, 102 big investment deals were sealed with total investment exceeding 200 billion yuan ($31.76 billion). Of them, 44 are headquarters construction projects.

The district plays a key role in supporting Guangzhou's efforts in speeding up the development of industries of next-generation information technology, artificial intelligence and biotech - collectively known as IAB - as well as new energy and new materials development. The GDD has set a goal to contribute 80 percent of the total IAB industrial output value of Guangzhou by 2022.

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2018-04-02 07:33:32
<![CDATA[Demo bases, platforms launched to foster growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/02/content_35962283.htm To enhance the capital's innovation-driven economic development, Beijing launched a series of business demonstration platforms and bases in February.

A total of 35 small and medium-sized public service companies will demonstrate the new business development platform, rolled out across the city.

A further 35 microenterprises will act as new demonstration bases to help further their innovation capabilities.

The demonstration platforms and bases are expected to play a leading role in improving business services, gathering industrial resources and sharing information channels, as well as improving operating management and enhancing innovation development, according to officials at the Beijing Commission of Economy and Information Technology.

The first 35 demonstration platforms focus on financing, startups, information, management consulting and training services. They are located in eight districts of Beijing, 16 of them are in Haidian district and six in Chaoyang district.

The 35 demonstration bases are spread across nine districts in Beijing, covering intelligent hardware, biopharmaceuticals, electronic information and intelligent manufacturing sectors. Of them, 16 demonstration bases are located in Haidian district and five are in Changping district.

Under the national strategy of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei province integrated development, the capital will focus on developing 10 tech-intensive industries, including information technology, integrated circuits, medicine and healthcare, intelligent manufacturing, new energy vehicles, new materials and artificial intelligence, which coincide with the development plans of the demonstration bases.

Zhao Hong, vice-president of the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences and president of the Zhongguancun Research Institute for Innovation and Development, said that the bases and platforms highlight areas of specialism in different districts of the city.

"Zhongguancun Science Park, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Peking University in Haidian district have an innovative atmosphere and research and development capacity at an international level," Zhao said.

"Beijing has explored an innovative service model for several years and formed its own characteristics in the service industry. Professional services can better meet the demands of innovative startups and promote SMEs' development," he added.

Official statistics show that 6 million to 7 million small and microenterprises are set up nationwide each year, and the number is expected to increase.

Li Peng, vice-president of Nash Work, a shared workspace startup in Beijing, said: "Releasing the names of companies that have won honors in the demonstration platforms and bases is one of the important government measures in supporting the development of SMEs.

"SMEs should follow the government's policies, information and strategic plan to gain more development space."

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-02 07:14:55
<![CDATA[Herding makes strides on steppes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/01/content_35956959.htm Vast stretches of land along Inner Mongolia's Expressway 216 lie uninhabited. More animals than people can be found in this part of the autonomous region, where trucks carrying coal are often the only vehicles to be seen on the highway connecting urban Ordos to its rural Otog Front Banner, or administrative subdivision.

Other than coal - its reserves are among the world's largest - the region produces mutton, milk and cashmere. It has iron ore and rare earth and, among more modern industries, wind and solar power. Lately, it has also gotten into data mining.

Local herders and officials in two villages of the Otog Front Banner say that modernization of livestock production and management is underway. Traditional lifestyles of the once-nomadic people are changing.

The prefecture-level city of Ordos, located in the region's south, has an area of more than 85,000 square kilometers but a population of just 2 million or so. With a dominant Han population and around 11 percent Mongolian, the ethnic mix includes Manchu and Hui groups.

Ethnic Mongolians account for 30 percent of the banner's population of 78,000, with the majority estimated to be involved in raising livestock and agricultural activities. The banner, which was established in 1980, has 68 villages and four towns.

More than 2 million domestic animals, mostly sheep, are raised each year, according to local government officials.

The outside world has long associated Inner Mongolia with images of wild horses running through the grasslands. But horse racing, the popular sport in the region, today appears to be more relevant to the tourism industry than to society.

The banner had 2,913 horses in 2016, compared with more than 2 million in the region in 1975. However, the annual Naadam festival has kept Inner Mongolia's equestrian tradition alive.

A similar story is that of yurts, the tent dwellings that used to be made from a woolen fabric and wood. Many years ago, nomadic groups in the region would dismantle them and carry the parts from place to place as they explored the steppe.

Present-day yurts in the banner have concrete bases and serve as accommodations in summer where visitors experience Mongolian culture.

It is late afternoon in Tabantaolegai village when Wangchuge - some ethnic Mongolians use single names when translating into English - decides to survey the grounds on which his sheep are grazing. But instead of walking through sandy fields to gather the animals from different corners, he monitors them on a TV screen from inside a modern yurt.

The herder, who runs a family business raising sheep for meat and wool, says he sells an average of 300 sheep a year.

The video cameras he has placed on the roof of his house provide him with real-time footage of animal movements on his plot of land, which is large.

A phone app gives further assistance.

"Traditional ways of raising sheep have disappeared" in his village, says Wangchuge, 41, as he slices salted mutton, a Mongolian delicacy.

"The use of technology has helped me reduce both labor and time."

He owns six cows as well, but mainly for milk.

This village in the Otog Front Banner has 175 permanent resident families, many of whom keep sheep and grow corn and a special variety of rice.

Wangchuge says that somewhere on his farm he has set up containers with drinking water for his sheep that automatically adjust the temperature.

He is eager to develop a new type of earmark for his animals but doesn't say if it will be digital.

"After a sheep is born and earmarked, we will be able to keep a daily log of its intake of grass and water. This will make consumers feel safe about buying the meat," he says.

The banner is among 33 such administrative subdivisions in Inner Mongolia where livestock production is a major economic activity.

"We are trying to develop modern animal husbandry and agriculture that are both eco-friendly and profitable," says a senior local official, who asks not to be identified by name, since he is speaking on behalf of his team. He adds that the industries made 2.2 billion yuan ($345 million; 280 million euros; £245 million) in 2016.

An ecological concern has been the degradation of the grasslands, partly owing to overgrazing.

In 2013, the region launched protection measures and has since restricted active grazing to nine months a year.

Bixiriletu, a 40-year-old herder from Angsu, another village in the Otog Front Banner, grew up watching his parents herd their sheep to grasslands far from home. In the past few years, he has had to wake up nightly to check on the animals.

He now has tools for the job - a camera and a smartphone.

Bixiriletu has worked at a coal mine in the banner for much of his adult life. In 2012, he watched a TV program on artificial insemination of sheep. He says it gave him the idea of visiting a breeding facility in Ulanqab, which is also located in the region's south.

"The (sperm) donors are foreign," he says of the meat-producing Dorper, the South African hybrid sheep that was developed for arid conditions similar to Ordos.

The mixing of foreign and local breeds, Bixiriletu says, has meant shorter growth periods.

"It takes from six to seven months for the the meat-producing Dorper, the South African hybrid sheep that was developed for arid conditions similar to Ordos.

The mixing of foreign and local breeds, Bixiriletu says, has meant shorter growth periods.

"It takes from six to seven months for the local sheep to be ready for an abattoir (slaughterhouse), but for the hybrids, it's from four to five months."

Around 200 families live in Angsu. In the 1990s, Mengkebayaer, who is from the village, was a musician with a Mongolian folk troupe in Dalian, in Northeast China's Liaoning province. He got married and returned to Inner Mongolia in 2000, when his village didn't even have electricity.

His many siblings gave him 40 sheep to start his livestock business, and soon he saw profits start to roll in, he says.

His parents had settled down in Angsu in the 1940s, the same decade the autonomous region came into being.

"When I got married, I couldn't have imagined that my village would have electricity. Then we got it, then we got roads, and now online connectivity," says Mengkebayaer, 44.

The first light bulbs were lit in Angsu in 2006.

Mengkebayaer makes about 400,000 yuan a year from his various businesses, which include livestock, dairy items, selling corn and rice, and tourism.

"Irrigation can be controlled remotely," he says of the overhead water pipes installed on farmlands in the banner.

He aims to register a trademark to sell his products online. Meanwhile, he plays the shudraga, a Mongolian instrument, when he has the time.

More than a decade ago, Angsu also witnessed the arrival of seed-sowing machines. The village's Party chief, Suyalaqiqige, was among the early adopters, using the machines to plant corn and rice. She had been a traditional sheep herder in her teens.

While modernization of livestock management and agriculture has made her life easier, it has also led to the loss of human interaction, such as conversations with fellow herders while watching their sheep graze. Nonetheless, the old grazing method was time-consuming.

Sitting in her house underneath a portrait of Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire and the most revered figure in the ethnic Mongolian community in China, Suyalaqiqige says that, as she sees it, the biggest change in her village has been the mechanization of agriculture.

As a delegate to the Ordos People's Congress since 2013, her role includes helping local herders get better access to public services and promoting government policy. But despite her village's strides in modernization, she recognizes that some challenges remain.

"There are asphalt roads connecting villages (in the larger area) but not (connecting) all herders' families. If this is solved, it will be more convenient for them to travel and sell their products outside," says Suyalaqiqige, 51, speaking through a translator.

Many villagers hire trucks to transport goods to markets, and at times buyers come to the village, too.

Other than infrastructure and transportation requirements, protecting the grasslands is a priority.

Local herders have started to divide plots for their sheep to graze, and the emphasis is on quality breeds so that numbers can be reduced, she says.

Most of the herders interviewed in the Otog Front Banner come from families that once led nomadic lives.

Now, even as the present generations welcome changes in their work and lifestyle, they are still likely to continue to pursue their cultural traditions.

Lin Hong contributed to this story.

satarupa@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise from top: Modern yurts used for tourism in summer in rural Ordos; Suyalaqiqige, Party chief of Angsu village; a TV screen shows the movement of sheep in Tabantaolegai village of Otog Front Banner in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region; Mengkebayaer, a herder and businessman from Angsu village, roasts corn in a traditional wok in early March. Photos by Satarupa Bhattacharjya and Lin Hong / China Daily

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2018-04-01 14:29:08
<![CDATA[Amid change, Genghis Khan remains most revered figure]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/01/content_35956958.htm After a 15-hour overnight journey from Beijing on an old-fashioned green train, a colleague and I arrived at a station in Dongsheng district of the city of Ordos on a weekday morning in early March. The air outside felt cooler than that in the Chinese capital, but not as cold as I had expected Inner Mongolia to be at that time of the year.

I had gone prepared to encounter winter in China's far north but, as locals in rural Ordos informed us later, this year the season's weather wasn't fierce at all, despite its reputation. However, during our travels through the Otog Front Banner, which is in the autonomous region's southwest, we encountered sharp gusts of wind on the grasslands.

On our way to the banner - a four-hour road trip from Dongsheng - I spotted some houses, mostly painted white, as well as Mongolian grave sites in the villages. Large swaths along the expressway appeared uninhabited. Later, in the banner's main town where we spent a night, I realized how empty the streets were.

I hadn't seen so few people anywhere in China before, and the region's vastness seemed to emphasize its emptiness.

Dongsheng, the urban center of Ordos, has been replaced in real estate and public activity by Kangbashi in recent years. Even so, the prefecture-level city appeared less occupied. Its residents didn't have to worry about traffic jams during the day. Rows and rows of buildings stayed dark at night.

The countryside landscape by the highway is lined with electricity pylons, beneath which plenty of sheep were seen grazing, while cows and horses didn't appear as frequently during our visit of several days. Horse racing is a popular sport in Inner Mongolia but used mostly for tourism these days, as is the yurt, the traditional Mongolian house.

The grasslands are barren in winter, but some year-round shrubs that pop out of red sand dunes breathe life into the area's semiarid climate.

The Otog Front Banner is covered by 1.06 million hectares of grassland.

The banner has a relatively lower percentage of people living below the poverty line compared with some other parts of China. An advantage is that its total population of 78,000 live in a resource-rich region spread over 1.22 million hectares.

I didn't notice many vehicles on the highway other than trucks carrying coal. Inner Mongolia is among the world's largest coal-producing regions.

Described as the "wolf economy," the region, according to economists, has competed in prosperity with the southern Guangdong province over the years.

The modernization of livestock production and agriculture in Ordos aside, the lifestyles of the once nomadic groups in the ethnic Mongolian community have changed to the extent that local officials were unable to provide numbers of even seminomadic people present in the area. They said some such groups might live in the region's northeast.

But amid all the changes, Genghis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, has remained the community's most revered figure. His portrait adorns the walls of houses in rural Ordos. The city has a memorial hall dedicated to the "great unifier" of the steppe. Historical accounts say his remains have never been found. Excavations at possible burial sites in Mongolia, the country, have been halted in the past.

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2018-04-01 14:29:08
<![CDATA[Beijing streamlines services]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/23/content_35905883.htm Campaign to create business-friendly climate boosts administrative efficiency

Beijing's government is taking action to streamline administrative procedures, optimize government services and reduce costs amid a three-year campaign to construct a business-friendly environment, local officials said.

The campaign was launched earlier this year, rolling out a massive package of favorable policies, officials from different departments said at a news conference held on Sunday. The policies relate to issues such as company registration, taxation, financial credit, infrastructure and cross-border trade.

Aiming to build a service-oriented government and improve the local business climate, the campaign focuses on streamlining procedures, cutting costs, and increasing efficiency and transparency, said Yang Xuhui, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform.

"We hope to build Beijing into a world-class metropolis with an ideal business climate and a pioneer in the country's new economic system characterized by the opening-up," Yang said.

From the end of March onwards, it will only take five workdays for a new company to register in Beijing, whether funded by Chinese or overseas investors. In 2017, it took an average of 22 workdays to complete the same process, said Kuang Xu, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

"It's a challenging task to slash the processing time by almost 80 percent," he said. "But we are confident."

To reach that goal, the government is adopting online systems for registration and data sharing, he said.

To set up a business, applicants used to have to visit different government departments and fill out multiple forms. However, the city is establishing a special service window in each of its 16 districts to deal with all the application materials for various registration processes, as all the information an applicant has uploaded onto the government's database can be shared among various departments.

Thanks to the greater use of internet technologies in government affairs, more than 10,000 companies have acquired business licenses via electronic means in Beijing, government data show.

Since the public can check corporate names online, companies can get a valid name registered online in just 20 minutes, according to the industrial and commercial administration.

Han Jie, deputy director of the Beijing Bureau of Finance, said the city is employing innovative methods to optimize taxation-related affairs.

Taxpayers can authorize a third-party payment platform to pay their tax automatically. They can make an online appointment before visiting the office so that they don't have to wait in a long line. They can also learn the latest information via the WeChat social media app, and the bureau's website, hotline and app.

"The move is expected to save their time and make the process more convenient," Han said.

As a national center for international exchanges, Beijing puts emphasis on improving the efficiency of cross-border trading, said Ke Yongguo, deputy director of the Beijing Commission of Commerce.

In cooperation with customs and inspection authorities, the commission has reduced the automatic import or export license application processing period to one workday, down from three to five workdays previously. It will also further promote the online approval of customs declarations, documentation, inspections, taxation and clearance.

All the fees involved have been made open to the public, to ensure the whole process is transparent and fair, Ke added.

The Beijing government has offered training to its on-the-ground staff across the city, helping them to understand the rules and improve service levels, Yang said.

Such services benefit all business participants, from companies to individuals, and from industrial giants to small and medium-sized enterprises.

According to Shen Hong, spokesman of the Beijing Bureau of Financial Work, the improved processes will help to reduce financing costs for SMEs in Beijing, with 14 new policies concerning credit, loans and guaranteed mortgages.

Bank of Beijing cancelled about 100 charges, including financial consultancy fees, from 2013 to 2017. The reform has cut operational costs for SMEs and rural companies by 2.47 billion yuan ($390 million), Shen said.

He added that further moves are on the way, such as reducing security deposits as well as account and cash management fees for some clients.

"We will continue to encourage banks to reduce costs for customers," he said.

There is also good news for SMEs in terms of infrastructure services. State Grid Beijing Electric Power Co has provided services designed for SMEs since early February, including installing power systems, offering fee exemptions and streamlining the approval process.

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-23 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Reform galvanizes approval procedures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/23/content_35905882.htm Administration approval procedures at the Shijingshan district branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce have been streamlined and made more efficient after a series of improvements.

The reforms, which feature rolling several government departments into one, mean that procedures such as registering a business or processing tax payments, can all be done at the same place in much less time.

Min Xindi, a senior operations manager at Vstartup, a business incubator, recently completed all the administrative procedures for starting a new business in just five working days.

"It's an amazing experience," Min said. "In the past, it took me more than 20 days to go through all these procedures."

According to Min, in order to register a business previously it took at least five trips to different government departments, including the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce, the Beijing Municipal Office at the State Administration of Taxation and the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau.

After the reforms, Min now needs only to visit one place - the Business Starting Service Hall, no more than two times.

The comprehensive service center, established by the Shijingshan district government, is located in the lobby of the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce's Shijingshan branch.

Liu Xuejun, deputy director of the Shijingshan branch, said that various government agencies have all made a presence at the hall to offer one-stop services. They include the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce, the Beijing Municipal Office at the State Administration of Taxation, the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau and the Public Security Bureau.

According to Liu, the "dramatic changes" come after the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce initiated a campaign to improve its services.

"We are working to streamline the administrative procedures and improve Beijing's business environment," Liu said.

To further simplify the procedures for startups, a professional assistance team has been established to offer advice and guidance.

"The assistance team is made up of versatile and professional officers, who are familiar with all the working processes regarding the administration of industry and commerce, as well as taxation affairs," Liu said.

"Startup business representatives just need to go to one single service window to submit the required documents and their request lists. The subsequent procedures will be handled by the assistance team."

As soon as the assistance team finishes all the procedures, the startups will be able to receive their business licenses, official seals and invoices at the service hall. The whole working process just takes five working days.

Every step in the administrative process has substantially enhanced its work efficiency, Liu said.

Another factor in the increased efficiency at the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce has been its online business registration system, which has sharply reduced processing time.

Feng Weixia, an officer at the service hall, said, "The business registration can be completed in one to three days online, while it took eight days before."

According to the city's industrial and commercial administration, more than 10,000 enterprises in Beijing have been certificated with electronic business licenses online. It is the same case with tax registration.

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-23 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Government refreshes policies to reduce filing costs for private builders]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/23/content_35905881.htm Beijing has reformed its approval system for construction projects funded by non-government enterprises, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning, Land and Resources.

The commission and other related government departments issued a policy on further optimizing the city's business environment and reforming its administrative approval process for construction projects on March 15.

The policy aims to provide construction companies with more convenient administrative services and charge them less, as well as ensure more effective quality control on construction projects through innovative mechanisms.

Category-based management will be adopted in the streamlined approval process for construction projects, focusing on internal refurbishment, reconstruction of existing buildings and new construction.

As a result of the streamlining, the handling period for administrative procedures involving construction companies and government departments has been reduced to 29-44 working days, down from 109.

The reform helps builders to reduce their costs, as they are no longer required to submit bids for construction projects nor provide a proof of funds as before, and thanks to the one-stop working model, they don't have to visit multiple departments, according to Wang Wei, deputy director of the commission.

Through the whole-process supervision and regulation, from the acquisition of a construction project to planning permits, approval and completion, the government has changed its work style from previous passive acceptance to proactive and coordinated service, Wang added.

In addition, Beijing is further promoting the use of the internet in its administrative services for online reviews and registration approvals. The government hopes that the entire process can be completed online in the future.

Additionally, there are plans to set up an internet plus real estate registration system, appointment-making facilities on mobile devices and more expansive online inquiries.

In order to carry out the reform as smoothly as possible, Xiamen University's China Business Environment Research Center has been appointed as a third-party evaluator.

Xiong Yingzi, a senior researcher at the center, said that they have visited enterprises and administrative office halls in Beijing so as to provide objective and independent opinions on the reform.

"In the past, enterprises were plagued by long processing time, redundant formalities and plenty of materials," Xiong said. "The new policy can solve these problems and provides a fair, transparent and stable business environment for businesses."

Liu Zongbao, general manager of China Architecture Design Group Construction Engineering Consult Co, said that in the past builders had to visit many different government departments for approval, handing over project reports and records.

"But now, the new system the Beijing government is developing benefits construction companies, and involves creating a specific department to deal with application processes and greater interdepartmental cooperation," Liu said.

To ensure the quality of construction projects, professionals and senior examiners will cooperate with the government to set up a joint oversight mechanism to ensure quality construction, a local government official said.

In addition, a credit management mechanism for the local design industry will be established. The government will recommend organizations with high-level professional services and intensify scrutiny of designers offering poor services, officials said.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-23 08:04:07
<![CDATA[Battle for talent]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826795.htm Demand in artificial intelligence sector outstrips the number of graduates with relevant skills

In June, 365 master's candidates will graduate from the School of Electronic and Information Engineering at Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province. All of them have already found jobs, and more than half have landed jobs related to artificial intelligence.

They all received at least two offers, and some got as many as seven - working, for example, in engineering posts related to automatic-driving and speech recognition.

Their annual salary of at least 300,000 yuan ($47,580; 38,540 euros; £34,300) as AI engineers might astonish many, since that is more than 11 times China's per capita disposable income and almost four times the average annual salary last year for fresh graduates with master's degrees.

"The annual salary of one graduate-to-be even reached 480,000 yuan," says Liu Qia, who is in charge of employment promotion at the school.

So it's no wonder that, with an estimated shortage of 5 million in the sector, the popularity of graduates-to-be from the university in Shaanxi's provincial capital of Xi'an is just part of an escalating battle for AI talent in China that has been joined by overseas players.

"It has been more difficult for university graduates in the country to get jobs. But our school has never felt the difficulty in the past five years," says Liu.

However, she adds that she has never seen the battle for AI talent as fierce as it is now.

"It's usually after September that companies come to recruit. Last year, some companies came even in April," she says, adding that both the number of companies and the jobs they offer have been increasing rapidly. Almost 500 companies came last year.

Chinese search giant Baidu recruited 14 of the school's master's candidates this year. In 2013, the company recruited just one.

"In 2013, many well-noted AI companies would not recruit in Xi'an, since they could have recruited enough in East China where they have their headquarters," Liu says.

With the artificial intelligence industry booming, it's likely the technology will continue to be applied to an increasing number of traditional industries. One shoe manufacturer, for example, has turned to intelligent cameras that can tell how long each of its customers looks at each pair of shoes, and how many of them buy the shoes after trying them on.

However, Chinese universities haven't supplied enough graduates with relevant AI skills yet. This has resulted in the escalating battle for talent, says Wang Yixin, a senior vocational counselor at recruitment website Zhaopin.

From 2000 to 2016, 1,477 companies were established in the AI sector, and their financing reached about $2.8 billion, according to an AI report by the Wuzhen Institute, a Chinese think tank. It also said the financial scale of the AI industry in China was about 10 billion yuan in 2016 and is expected to reach about 34.4 billion yuan in 2019.

An official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology estimated in 2016 that China needs an estimated 5 million more workers with AI skills to meet the demand from the booming industry, according to a report in People's Daily.

Big data analysis of Zhaopin, which has 135 million users, found that the demand for AI talent in the third quarter of last year increased by 179 percent from the first quarter of 2016.

Many employers have no choice but to lower their recruitment threshold, considering the shortage, says Wang, the vocational counselor.

Zhaopin found that about 33 percent of companies that need AI talent have no requirement for work experience, and about the same percentage of companies require work experience of only three to five years. The threshold of education for 95 percent of companies that are hiring is a bachelor's degree or lower.

Despite the rapid development, China still lacks the innovative talent needed to make the country a world leader in the field by 2030, as called for in a central government guideline, experts say.

While the participation of international players may make the battle for talent even fiercer, they also might help a lot in training the core AI talent that the country needs, the experts say.

They also say abundant data resources and strong government support will help to attract and train talent and narrow China's gap with developed countries.

He Qing, deputy secretary-general of the Chinese Association for Artificial Intelligence, says that instead of focusing on innovation in the field, most Chinese companies are applying currently available AI technologies.

Most of the new AI workers in China have capabilities for applying available technologies, but innovative talent is scarce, says He.

Zhaopin says it has been difficult for AI enterprises to find high-end AI talent.

Currently, about 40 percent of AI engineers make 10,000 to 15,000 yuan a month. It's difficult for companies to find adequate talent for their senior posts, for which monthly salaries are generally from 15,000 to 35,000 yuan and sometimes higher, according to Zhaopin.

International giants have also joined the battle for AI talent. Late last year, Google announced the launch of an AI research center in Beijing.

The center will aim to employ local talent, says Li Feifei, chief scientist of Google Cloud AI and Machine Learning, on the Google blog website. "We've already hired some top experts and will be working to build the team in the months ahead," she says.

The Wuzhen Institute said international employers coming to China will benefit the country by training the talent it needs.

"Accomplished veterans might be scarce in China's AI industry. However, the country is rich with bright and hard-working computer-science graduates with expertise in machine learning and other AI-related fields, who are preferred by international giants," the institute said in a statement to China Daily.

The purpose of Microsoft and Google setting up a research institute or center in Beijing is to attract graduates from Tsinghua and Peking universities, two of China's top universities. "It's a good way to train these graduates if they work in these companies," the institute said.

China still falls behind the United States in many AI indicators, such as financing scale and number of patents, but it will be able to attract the talent it needs, considering its giant market and unparalleled data, the institute said.

The annual salary of experienced AI scientists at social media giants Tencent and Baidu has gone beyond $1 million, which was unimaginable five years ago, it said.

The huge market and data mean engineers can get more opportunities in training. "With this training, China will gradually get its core AI talent," it said.

It added, however, that China is still behind in AI talent cultivation. The institute's AI report lists the top 30 most influential universities in AI education, but none are in China.

"Universities are the most important place for talent cultivation. There is still an obvious gap of Chinese universities with their counterparts in developed countries in Europe and the United States in AI education. China still needs to increase investment in R&D in universities," the institute said.

Xin Jingming, deputy director of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at Xi'an Jiaotong University, says collaboration of universities and enterprises is key to China getting more AI talent.

"AI differs from all other sciences, since it can be applied to various industries in various sectors. There is not even a single sector that AI could not help," says Xin, adding that breakthroughs in the AI industry often result from ideas generated through cooperation of enterprises and the academic sector.

Xin says that AI is highly related to other industries, such as electronics and manufacturing. "Japan is more developed than China in AI development, thanks to strong support from other industries. This is a fact we have to confess."

China has its advantages, however, since the development of the AI industry has been a national strategy, Xin says. "It's a national commitment to promote AI development," he says, adding that China will enjoy a prosperous future in AI development.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a guideline on AI development in July. AI projects and other areas related to AI, including big data, cloud computing, quantum computing and brain science, have been included in the guideline.

The guideline set a goal for China to become a global innovation center in the field by 2030, and the total output value of the industry is expected to exceed 1 trillion yuan.

The Ministry of Education announced in January that AI and big data processing will be included in the syllabus of senior high school students.

Xin says it's important for China to strengthen international exchanges for AI talent cultivation.

"It's no use working behind closed doors," he says, adding that his institute employs foreign scholars and part-time foreign professors.

Meanwhile, the battle for AI talent is expected to continue in China and around the world.

The Wuzhen Institute estimated there are only 300,000 skilled AI workers worldwide, while the current global demand is for more than 1 million.

"Data and talent are the keys to AI development," the institute said in the statement to China Daily. "The battle for AI talent will continue all the time across the world," it said, adding that it will take time to make up for the shortage of talent.

 

A child meets police robots at Shenzhen North Railway Station, Guangdong province. Mao Siqian / Xinhua

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Coming of age of the 'me' generation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826794.htm On a freezing evening in late January, Han Dan and a female friend jumped into a taxi in Beijing.

Han sat in the back, and before long a conversation between her female friend in the front and the driver turned to the subject of marriage.

The driver was a middle-aged man from Yuncheng, Shanxi province, a medium-sized city whose main claim to fame is that it is where Chinese civilization is said to have originated.

"In my hometown, if a woman doesn't marry before she's 27 or 28, we reckon she must have a screw loose," the taxi driver said.

The female friend turned to Han, 31, in the back and laughed.

"Did you hear that? 'She must have a screw loose.'"

Han shrugged.

Han, 30, a cartoonist born and raised in Beijing, says she cannot envisage a day when she will get married.

"Whether you're married or single, they're just different lifestyles," she says.

Although traditional ideas about marriage and what it means continue to hold great sway over Chinese society, delaying marriage, or declaring one's intention not to marry at all, is becoming more common as material well-being improves, Han says, echoing the opinion of experts.

"It's also because women are becoming more economically independent," she adds.

In 2015, there were more than 200 million single adults in the country, the National Bureau of Statistics says, and the proportion of the population living alone had risen from 6 percent in 1990 to 14.6 percent in 2013, or more than 58 million people.

A survey by the market research company Euromonitor International in 2016 reckoned that the number of single adults between 20 and 39 years old in China had reached more than 50 million.

The great bulk of them live in cities of comparatively advanced social and economic status, such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the survey found.

One reason for the increasing trend of young people remaining single is a change of attitude toward marriage and its meaning in life, as many tend to pay more attention to their growth as individuals, says Gong Lanyun, 29, of Beijing.

"There are a lot of problems that marriage cannot solve. Originally men and women got married for economic reasons or to have children, not to satisfy two people's emotional needs. Generally, marriage cannot meet a couple's emotional needs. In modern society, it can't meet material needs, either, because many women earn more than men."

Gong, who has her own house in Beijing and recently quit her job with an IT company to pursue her dream of working in literature and the arts, says she is sticking to her lofty ideals about love and marriage, "as impractical as those in South Korean TV shows, in which one can die for his or her beloved", she says.

It may be one reason that she has never had a serious romantic relationship, either at Peking University where she studied psychology, or in the United States, where she continued her studies for four years.

"There was a time in the US when I quite enjoyed dressing up, dating guys and dancing with them, but for me it was still not the good way to find Mr Right.

"I am expecting someone who can grow together with me, both as a lover and a good friend, a highly matched soul mate, so it's very difficult. If it cannot be like that, what's the point of getting married?"

As society advances, the values and views of life that the sexes hold are becoming more disparate, which is why it is so hard for modern men and women, especially those living in first-tier cities, to find the right partner, says Chen Hao.

Chen, 32, a computer programmer who has lived in Beijing for more than five years, says that since breaking up with his last girlfriend more than a year ago, he has lived with a couple in a rented apartment.

"Things are heading in the right direction, but society should be more tolerant toward different models of relationships between the sexes," he says, adding, "I always believe that urban life to some extent will break family units down to lonely individuals who will pursue their freedom."

Apart from his onerous duties with an online education company, Chen spends a lot of his free time watching performances such as plays, symphonies and ballets, movies, attending reading clubs, traveling and trying well-rated restaurants.

"However, I don't really enjoy being alone. I have to fill my time with things or just sleep," he says. So he has been expecting a new romantic relationship.

But Chen says it is difficult to find Miss Right, because he has high requirements: good looking, well built and emotionally matched.

"Another reason is that I don't want anything to upset the apple cart."

Despite the downsides of being lonely, being single means you are free to do whatever you like without considering a girlfriend's or boyfriend's opinions, he says. On the other hand, there is no one to turn to as you face the pressures of city life and the irritants of work, not to mention no regular sex life, he adds.

Apart from having problems finding the ideal person, Chen also attributes delaying getting married to practical problems.

"I'm 33, I don't own a car, and I don't own a house, so I have few chips in the marriage market."

Li Yinhe, a sociologist, says that staying single is as much a trend in North America, Europe and East Asia as it is in China, and people in this country are delaying marriage because of "the very high price of divorcing, mentally and financially".

"So many people would rather simply live together and not get married. There are so many responsibilities in marriage, especially when couples bear children. For that, you have to sacrifice a lot, and in the main single people have an easier life.

"In addition, the social status of women has improved, so they have jobs with which they can pay their way, which is one important reason why they can delay getting married or just stay single."

In Shanghai, the average age for women to first get married was 27 in 2012, and 30 in 2016, according to Euromonitor International.

Han in Beijing says she enjoys being single. As a cartoonist, she spends her free time doing her art, watching movies, reading books, exercising, meeting friends or going for walks, which adds up to "so many things I can do".

"So I don't want a man to undermine my happiness, not to mention getting married or having children. We are the generation of the one-child policy, and we are so used to being alone. For me, living alone is a normal state."

Although they live interesting lives at the moment, Chen and Gong acknowledge that they fear aging.

Gong says she lived through a period of depression after returning from the US in 2014. Unable to work, she had to go back to her hometown in Guizhou province and live with her parents.

"At the time, I realized how terrible it is to face sickness and death alone," she says.

Chen says: "The biggest worry is my parents. They are getting old and they want me to have children. Then there is the fear of being sick and of dying alone."

However, Li, the sociologist, says that as China gradually ages, the eldercare industry is developing. As it grows, worries that single people have about aging will diminish, which means more people can choose to stay single, she says.

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Nation takes big strides in funding for AI]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826793.htm China is gradually shaping up to being a global leader in the field of artificial intelligence, since it has for the first time surpassed the United States in equity funding to AI startups, according to a recent report.

The report, released by US-based venture capital database CB Insights, said AI startups worldwide raised more than $15.2 billion (12.3 billion euros; £11 billion) in 2017, up by 141 percent from 2016. China's AI startups accounted for nearly 50 percent of the global funding, up from 11.3 percent of the total in 2016. The US was ranked second with 38 percent.

According to the report, China has also overtaken the US in AI-related patent publications. Chinese patent publications with the keywords "artificial intelligence" in the title and abstract increased from 328 in 2016 to 641 in 2017, compared with 108 and 130 for the US, respectively.

The US still leads in the number of AI startups and total equity deals, but it is gradually losing its global deal share, CB Insights said.

Hao Liyang, an analyst at China Internet Network Information Center, says China is ramping up efforts to increase its AI initiatives as it strives to gain key competitiveness.

"China has made significant progress in technological research and development as well as industrial applications. The rapid development further integrates AI with electronic terminals and is reshaping a wide range of sectors, including home appliances, robotics, healthcare, education, finance and agriculture," Hao says.

Specifically, two key technologies driving China's AI growth are facial recognition and AI chips, and companies are putting huge amounts of investment in the two sectors. The former promotes the government's ambitious national surveillance plans, and the latter directly challenges the US-made chip sector, CB Insights said in the report.

Chinese AI startup Megvii Technology, which reportedly had a unicorn valuation of more than $2 billion last year, has obtained access to 1.3 billion facial data records of Chinese citizens, according to the report. AI chip maker Cambricon Technologies, which raised $100 million from investors last year, is planning to have 1 billion devices using its AI intellectual properties in three years.

Last year, the Chinese government laid out plans to become a world leader in AI by 2030. The plan detailed a three-step roadmap, highlighting China's determination to make breakthroughs in key AI technologies and drive its application in manufacturing.

A report by New York-based consultancy Eurasia Group and Beijing-based Sinovation Ventures said that, while China lags behind the US in top AI talent, a huge army of young talent is amassing.

According to the report, with core advantages in huge data sets and flexibility to employ them in AI applications, China will rise to become an AI innovation center on a par with Silicon Valley.

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[I feel so lucky in my choice of career]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826792.htm Peng Bowen, 25, will join an AI company after leaving college later this year.

I am studying for a master's in communication technology and will leave the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China in Chengdu, Sichuan province, in the summer.

However, my field of research at the university has little to do with my future work in the artificial intelligence sector as an algorithm engineer with Pony.ai, a startup in Beijing that makes self-driving cars.

I am very interested in machine-learning algorithms, which is a relatively new subject that uses logic to solve problems. I have learned a lot by studying on my own and through actual practice in university.

This year, the employment situation in the AI sector has improved rapidly, because the number of startups has grown in response to rising market demand.

Between September and December, I applied to five companies and received job offers from three leading players, including Google.

I didn't send out many resumes, because I already had a job offer before the campus recruitment season in September. In June, I worked as an intern in the AI lab of Toutiao.com, a news aggregator, which also offered me a job.

However, I chose Pony.ai because I am keen to contribute to the development of self-driving cars, even though the startup might be a little risky compared with those "grownup" companies.

Pony.ai offers a pretax annual salary of about 400,000 yuan ($63,200; 51,300 euros; £45,800), a little higher than average, and the company has promised to provide a personal mentor for every new employee.

I believe that I am competitive in terms of self-study and problem solving, which is what employers value most.

When I was a junior student, I took part in the Asian edition of the International Collegiate Programming Contest, organized by the Association for Computing Machinery, and won a gold medal.

About 200 teams participated in the contest in Asia, and the top 15 received gold medals. The prize is widely recognized as an indicator of talent, and some companies even mention it in their job requirements.

My internship with Toutiao.com was good for my resume, but the experience taught me that I still have a lot to learn because my major is not related to AI. I am satisfied with my future job, and I feel so lucky because something I enjoy doing is being recognized by society. I will use the coming six months on campus to learn more and improve myself. The more I learn, the more I will be able to do after graduation.

Peng Bowen spoke with Zhang Yi.

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[United front needed to reach AI potential]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826791.htm Enterprise and education must combine to nurture artificial intelligence sector's development, says expert

Greater cooperation between universities and businesses is essential to nurture future generations of artificial intelligence talent in China, according to an expert.

In addition to accomplished AI specialists, the country also needs people capable of transforming the business model to make the development of AI sustainable, says Zheng Nanning, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"The development of AI rests on two fundamental factors: big data and excellent computational capability. Those things are difficult for universities to achieve, so we have to rely on help from businesses," says Zheng, a former president of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province.

Companies such as search engine giant Baidu accumulate huge amounts of data through their commercial activities, which will aid academics conducting AI research, he adds.

In June, Jiaotong University signed an agreement to form a strategic partnership with tech giant Microsoft, which will see trial classes launched in computer science and AI technology. "We are cooperating with Chinese businesses such as internet giants Alibaba Group and Baidu Inc, along with new companies such as Megvii Technology Inc (an internet startup that specializes in facial recognition equipment)," he says.

The collaboration features joint research and teaching programs, including course design and opportunities for students to work in advanced laboratories.

"We have to admit that businesses are far ahead of universities in many areas. Many of the technical papers we use are produced by Google Labs, and I also read papers by scientists involved with Facebook," Zheng adds.

In China, AI has become a buzzword, and the sector was even included in Premier Li Keqiang's 2017 Government Work Report. In July, the State Council, China's Cabinet, issued a blueprint aimed at making the country the world leader in AI technology and applications by 2030.

Zheng, one of 19 academicians who proposed the guideline, says the education sector has to transform the way it nurtures talent, especially by updating teaching methods and course content to meet the goal.

He also says there is a shortage of expert engineers and innovative people capable of leading the sector's development.

"However, we cannot simply say the lack of innovative AI talent will be the development bottleneck for the industry, because its development will require policy support from the government," he adds.

"The sustainable development of some of the latest technologies actually depends on the business model," he says, citing WeChat as an example.

When the instant-messaging platform was launched in 2011, many people felt its business model was poor and would hamper its chances of success. However, Pony Ma, chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings, which launched the platform, is now one of China's wealthiest people as a direct result of WeChat's dominance.

According to Zheng, China needs to transform traditional university majors by combining them with information and AI technologies.

Though the country has made few achievements in disruptive technologies - those that displace established technologies and redefine entire industries - its AI development has attracted attention from scientists, he says.

Meanwhile, the country's population of 1.4 billion will generate vast amounts of data that will provide impetus for the sector's development.

Zheng Jinqiang contributed to this story.

 

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Trax bets on tech to gain edge in China market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826790.htm Trax, a company that provides a digital connection between consumer goods companies and retailers by applying AI image recognition to retail management, has announced its entrance into the Chinese market.

The technology uses computer image recognition to analyze retail and consumer goods data, turning photographs of retail product shelves into insights. The results can be used to improve in-store sales strategies.

Based in Singapore, Trax has opened offices in the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America, and set up the Engineering and Computer Vision Centre of Excellence in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The company, established in 2011, has provided services for more than 175 clients and brands, including Coca-Cola, AB InBev, Nestle, Henkel and PepsiCo, in more than 50 countries.

"Trax is the only company in the world that has a fully automated, real-time platform for stock-keeping-unit level recognition that can work offline or online," says Joel Bar El, one of the co-founders and the CEO of Trax. "Using data and analysis generated by our image recognition technology, our clients see their out-of-stock rates reduced by 10 to 15 percent, and overall category sales increased by 3 to 5 percent on average."

Consider Coca-Cola, which is not only sold in supermarkets such as Carrefour, but in individually owned shops in small cities or counties, where it was difficult for The Coca-Cola Co to collect sales data such as stock-keeping unit, a type of merchandise number.

With Trax's platform, the work can be done directly by shop owners, by taking photographs of retail product shelves with an inexpensive camera provided by Trax for free, and uploading these to the platform. The data are collected by the platform, which is much more complex than what had previously been used by Coca-Cola, and can help improve its in-store execution strategies.

In June last year, Trax got $64 million (52 million euros; £46 million) during financing led by Warburg Pincus, a US private equity firm. With the strong support of its investors, Trax has grown quickly in the past 18 months, especially in the United States, and now has offices in San Francisco, New York and Atlanta. In January, the company finished its acquisition of Quri, a US supermarket cloud data firm.

"China is a fast-growing major global economy with a burgeoning retail sector, due to the size of its population," says Nancy Wang, managing director of Trax in China. "Retail is transforming rapidly in two specific areas: the shopping experience and technology adoption.

"Trax is ready to lead that transformation by helping retailers reshape their in-store execution and store-level shelf interaction using leading-edge, proven technology, which has already been field-tested in global markets," Wang adds.

The company is preparing to start its pre-IPO financing in the second quarter of this year and plans to go public in the US within the next year, according to CEO Bar El.

 

A woman shops in a supermarket in Tianjin which relies on digital payment and does not have cashiers. Provided to China Daily

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Robots will allow creativity to blossom]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826789.htm The coming era of artificial intelligence will free workers from unrewarding toil - if the profits generated are distributed fairly

Terry Guo, chairman of the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn, once said that his company planned to use a million robots to replace workers doing repetitive work on the company's production lines.

Actually, if the company plans to replace a million workers, about 330,000 robots will be enough, since robots will be able to work without food or rest for a whole day instead of doing an eight-hour shift. The number needed could be even smaller, considering the efficiency of robots.

The unmanned production lines could yield big profits - the so-called artificial intelligence dividend. There will be extreme income polarization if this dividend continues to be distributed based on the current income distribution system. As technology develops, workers will not be given wages or a share of the profits but will be dismissed. Only a small elite, those at the backbone of technological development and asset owners like Guo, will benefit.

As the law of social development shows, the productive relations in each era of human society always match with the natural laws that humans have mastered and the era's productive forces. From this point of view, production relations will have to be revised when society enters the era of artificial intelligence.

In the agricultural era, humans were the key to production because of the undeveloped productive forces at that time. With limited material wealth, most people could barely feed and clothe themselves. "The law of the jungle" and "power politics" were basic principles of society and, in China, the emperor had paramount supremacy. With advantages in productive forces, males dominated each family. In China, for example, females had to abide by the "three obediences" - a single woman obeyed her father, a married woman obeyed her husband and a widowed woman obeyed her son.

In the industrial era, there was a different story to tell. After the Industrial Revolution, a lot of work could be done with the help of machines, which greatly narrowed the gap in productive forces between males and females. As the "three obediences" were abandoned, the principle of women being equal to men was developed. The wage labor system also came into being in this era.

In the coming era of mechanization, work efficiency will be greatly improved and a huge amount of material wealth will be generated with the help of AI as a new productive force. Replaced by robots, laborers will have nowhere to work. In such a situation, it would not be proper if all the dividends generated by robots were distributed to an elite group of capitalists. As the dividends generated by AI technology grow, human society needs to come up with a new distribution system.

When the era of AI arrives, there is no way that Guo will get all of Foxconn's profits. The proportion he receives may be kept at the current level - maybe a little bit higher. The rest should be distributed to other people under an unconditional basic income system. The dividend will be distributed to everyone, employed or not. They will receive it from cradle to grave.

Some people worry about the threat of large-scale unemployment in the near future as AI develops. Some say 15 percent of workers will be laid off and this number will increase to 50 percent the year after next. I think such predictions are divorced from reality. A year after the concept first came out, in 1956, it was predicted that AI would be able to beat humans at all kinds of board games within 10 years. In fact, this didn't happen until 2016, 60 years after the prediction was first made.

I think it will be an extraordinary achievement if we can convert all the current industrial infrastructure for the AI era within 15 years. From this point of view, we don't have to worry about unemployment. Workers will, however, need to be prepared to change jobs. Before, they might have worked on the construction of ports, pipelines and expressways. In the future, they might have to work on wind-driven generators, solar panels and so on.

It may take even longer for the transformation to come about. In China, for example, a large part of the country hasn't yet joined the industrial era. In no way is large-scale unemployment and a change in employment structure going to happen in the near future. No robots have yet been invented that can bring about infrastructure transition. There will be changes, however, in the specific jobs workers do and vocational training needed to help them get used to the change.

Even after infrastructure transition, people will still have plenty of opportunities to do work that computers, robots and AI technologies can't do. According to Kurt Godel's incompleteness theorems, not everything in people's minds can be coded into zeros and ones. Computers cannot do things that cannot be coded.

When computers have done all the things that can be coded, people will have the freedom to devote themselves to irrational things - drawing, dancing and writing, for example. Most people have some kind of talent for such things, though they are currently often suppressed by the wage labor system. People are compelled to work under the principle of "he who does not work, neither shall he eat". In the AI era, work will not be something that is compulsory and people will be free to create and entertain instead of toiling to make a living and make profits.

The author is vice-president of the China Association for Employment Promotion and director of the China Institute for Occupation Research at Peking University. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Only the lonely? Cats, cuddly toys and those who keep them company]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/11/content_35826775.htm Single people are finding that human relationships are not always the ultimate in self-fulfillment

Two mobile games have recently become hugely popular in China. One is Love and Producer, in which girls can experience romantic relationships with four different handsome men. It beat Honor of King on the Apple Store's free download charts, but was soon supplanted by Tabikaeru: Journey Frog by the Japanese company Hit-Point.

The two games are said to be played mostly by single young women who desire romantic relationships or want to play the role of the mother of a frog who loves traveling and mailing postcards back as the only interaction with players. Some people spend a lot of money on the games.

These mobile games are just two examples of the rising consumer demand by the increasing single population in China, who tend to spend more money on themselves, and this is creating new businesses and economic opportunities.

You need only look at other economies, such as Japan and South Korea, which are experiencing similar trends, to get a glimpse of China's future.

In Japan, for instance, one-fourth of men and one-seventh of women stayed single all their life, according to a survey by Nikkei in 2015. The money that single women spent on food and clothes was 2.7 times that of married women, showing that single people pay more attention to their quality of life, the survey report said.

As early as 2007, a survey established by New Weekly magazine about singles in China took 1,024 samples from 16 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chengdu.

Of the respondents, 28.6 percent said they would buy luxury goods without much hesitation, and 16 percent said they frequented bars, including karaoke bars, at least once a week. About 31.6 percent said their biggest expense every month was entertainment, partying or other social occasions.

A travel report issued last year by the travel agency website Lvmama said bookings for people traveling alone were 1.8 times those of 2016. Usually 80 percent of customers, mainly from first-and second-tier cities, would book travel one or two days before departure for the May Day holiday, the National Day holiday and Spring Festival. On average, they spent 14 percent more money than married people.

Chen Zhiya, a student at Peking University, says that in a restaurant called New Yorker in the Zhongguancun area of Beijing recently, a diner sitting next to her asked her to take photos of him with a big toy bear that waiters usually place opposite diners who are alone.

"I found it all a bit embarrassing, but he looked happy," Chen says.

New Yorker is not the only restaurant that provides such a service. At one of the most popular hotpot chains, Haidilao, staff members also put fluffy toys across from diners, presumably to provide companionship.

Recently, Reflower, a service that regularly delivers bouquets of flowers with various themes to one's home or office, has become popular. The company says 78.8 percent of buyers are women, of whom 53.5 percent buy flowers for themselves.

Chris Guo, 36, who is in the IT industry in Beijing and says she lives alone, is one of Reflower's customers.

"There are times when everything goes wrong, but beautiful flowers can cheer me up, because from them you can see how great the world is, no matter how things are," she says.

Because of the development of social networks, singles are not as isolated as they used to be, but they inevitably feel lonely sometimes, which is why many are choosing to raise pets, especially cats.

"More and more people seem to be getting cats," says Charlotte Qiu, 34, who has done exactly that.

Qiu, of Suzhou, has her own home and lives alone, and the cat has become an important companion, she says.

"She's a bit noisy and clings to me a lot, but every morning when I open the bedroom door and see her sitting there waiting for me, it's such a wonderful feeling.

"At first I spent a lot of money on her, buying quality toys, food and other cat products, but now she has grown up and I know more about what she likes and dislikes, so I buy less."

China had more than 58 million pet cats and more than 27 million pet dogs by 2014, becoming the second-largest pet market after the United States, according to Zhiyan Consultancy in Beijing.

The market value of pet care in China will reach $2.6 billion (2.1 billion euros; £1.9 billion) next year, overtaking the United States as the world's largest market, according to market researcher Euromonitor International.

 

Young women use WeChat's "Shake it" option to link up with boys nearby on Jan 18 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Lian Guoqing / For China Daily

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2018-03-11 07:49:09
<![CDATA[Deliver me, oh sweet one]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/28/content_35597803.htm Every night before going to bed, Lu Yu takes a sip from a glass at her bedside. It's a habit she got into seven years ago in her first year at university, when she felt she needed a bit of alcohol-induced drowsiness to send her to sleep.

In those days, almost without exception, her drink of choice was red wine. But that has changed, the color red giving way to a clear white.

"Rice wine is as strong as alcohol, but it's got a mild, sweet taste," says the 25-year-old photographer.

 

Huatianxiangzi, one of the best-selling rice wines on Taobao. Provided to China Daily

What led to this drinking epiphany was a Chinese rice wine house that opened in the Sanlitun area of Beijing last summer in which Lu soon became a regular, enjoying time there with friends.

"I'd go there with my best friends because it's such a great place to relax," she says. "For most friends it would be whiskey or beer, but for very close female friends it would be rice wine."

Rice wine, or mijiu, is made from fermented glutinous rice in which the sugars are transformed into alcohol by yeast. It is a sweet wine of low alcoholic content that by many accounts goes well with seafood and meat.

Rice wine is a common drink south of the Yangtze River, but in northern China one of its best-known uses is as an aid to quick recovery after a woman gives birth.

Because all that is needed to brew rice wine is rice, water and yeast, those in the country's south who drink it usually make it themselves, and consequently there really has been little rice wine industry to speak of.

However, over the past two years that has begun to change, and all the signs are that, no matter where you are in China, if you still have not seen bottles of white rice wine on the shelves of a supermarket or small grocery store near you, you soon will.

Three years ago, only a few rice wine brands were available on the online shopping platform Taobao, with most of the vendors selling the homemade variety. Now a search for mijiu there brings up dozens of pages of results, most of which are brands of large producers.

One of the best-selling ones on Taobao is Huatianxiangzi, the value of whose sales on the platform was 5 million yuan ($772,000; 638,000 euros; £563,000) last year, says the brand's creator, Fan Yu.

Fan, of Xi'an, Shaanxi province, says his aim is to introduce Chinese rice wine to the world.

"Like cigars and chocolate, which both represent the culture of their countries of origin, I think rice wine has been well placed to represent China. I'm sure its light and sweet flavor will be favorably received everywhere. We want to promote rice wine and the Chinese lifestyle, even though sales of it in China are far lower than those of baijiu."

In 2016, the revenue from commercial sales of the white spirit baijiu was 613 billion yuan, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Fan founded Huatianxiangzi in 2013 after spending several years trying to come up with an ideally flavored rice wine. One of his target markets is young people, he says, and of course he would be delighted if they made it their regular choice among wines and liquors.

Apart from selling Huatianxiangzi online, Fan says, he is selling it to outlets of the Metro chain all over China.

"We want to learn from the experience of red wine and sake and compete with red wine in China, and see rice wine leap from the city to the country, and from wedding banquet tables to family dinner tables."

Soon after Fan set up his business, he started trying other new rice wines, but now there are so many that it is impossible to taste them all, he says.

The Beijing photographer Lu says her favorite rice wine brand is Nuoyan, founded in 2014 by Huang Yu, a winemaker and designer. Lu says she enjoys both its original and sparkling versions.

After three years' development, Huang, 41, has created 13 rice wines and a boutique winery in Fujian province, together with two wine shops in Beijing.

His aim is to redefine Chinese rice wine, he says, and he has poured more than 10 million yuan into developing rice wine products, each taking him an average of three years.

"Chinese wine should have a new representative, and rice wine should be it," he says.

"For thousands of years, Chinese rice wine has been a homemade product, and there has been innovation that has helped it develop to suit people's tastes. This wine can be served with dinners, and we reckon it has earned a right to be part of wine tastings."

Nuoyan is the only Chinese rice wine on the 1,000-wine list of the chain TRB. The chain's owner, Ignace Lecleir, says he came across Nuoyan original rice wine two years ago and loved it instantly.

"The nose and flavor are very different. When I smell the wine, I feel acidity, but then, on the palate, it tastes like peaches and pears."

A week after his first encounter with Nuoyan, Lecleir had it on his wine list, which comes with a recommendation to pair it with chocolate dessert or foie gras.

"Every time we present our wine to Chinese and foreign customers, they are really surprised, because they don't think you could make wine with rice," Lecleir says.

"When you say that it is made of rice, you can see they are a little bit skeptical. They are not so sure, but most of the time they want a refill."

Lecleir has also had Nuoyan in a blind tasting list, when some tasters have guessed it comes from France, after which he delights in telling them that they have just tasted Chinese rice wine.

The Belgian, who has lived in China for 10 years, says Chinese tastes in wine have changed, the preference for heavy strong ones shifting to lighter, refined ones.

Wang Dajun, 29, of Beijing, and originally of Jilin province, says that neither wine nor beer held any attraction for him until he gained an appreciation of rice wine, so much so that in June he set up Manmi, a rice wine maker.

As with Fan Yu and Huatianxiangzi, Wang sees great potential in young people as buyers.

"We are keen to show (them) that rice wine can be very fashionable, so our packaging draws on anime culture," he says.

Wang formed his team last April, with one partner focusing on anime culture and another on developing the product.

"My partner used to make rice wine at home, and her wines always sold out, so she wanted to bring them to commercial production, something I was also keen on," Wang says.

However, that is not a particularly easy task, the methods used to make a commercial product differing from those used in home brewing. For one thing, quality control is far easier when you are dealing with a single bottle of drink and quite another when you have to maintain quality standards in thousands of bottles.

"We've made a lot mistakes and wasted about 1 metric ton of rice, and it wasn't until a couple of months ago that we managed to gain some stability with our products."

Wang's team designed several cartoon images to help market the brand, and he says it sold 2,000 bottles by crowd funding on the e-commerce platform Suning and others.

"We're trying to make a rice wine that is fully in tune with the post-'90s generation most."

Wang says that in June last year, he received 1 million yuan from Alumin Scarlett, a Beijing investment company, for his brand.

Those who own the rice wine brand Shiwudao (Poetry 15), have chosen to sell their product directly to restaurants rather than online.

Lyu Zongkun, founder of Shiwudao, grew up with homemade rice wine, his mother and grandmother being well-known for making rice wine in his hometown of Chenzhou, Hunan province.

Wine culture in China has changed from the days when how much you drank was more important than the quality of what you were drinking, he says. Rice wine now has the chance to become known for premium products, as has been the case in the past few years with craft beers.

"Wine is like a lube for connecting people, and because of rice wine's low alcohol content and sweet flavor, it's the best tool on hand," Lyu says.

"We're keen to make it natural for anyone eating hotpot or Hunan and Sichuan cuisine to pair it with rice wine."

Shiwudao has been sold in more than 200 restaurants in Beijing, most of them specializing in spicy food, and most of the drink's rivals in restaurants are not other wines, but Coca-Cola and plum syrup, he says.

"We want our rice wine to go abroad with Sichuan cuisine, and to present Chinese culture."

liyingxue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-28 13:30:06
<![CDATA[Fledging capital economic circle takes shape in northern China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409695.htm Guide released for transfer of resources in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province

More and more industries and projects in Beijing have been relocated to Tianjin and Hebei province, in the wake of the integrated development of the three areas to create a regional economic powerhouse.

The accelerated push for integration comes three years after national leaders called for the coordination and integration of the economic zone surrounding Beijing in early 2014.

The planned super region embraces Beijing, Tianjin and part of Hebei province, a cluster inhabited by over 100 million people - three times the population Tokyo's megalopolis - and spanning an area of more than 200,000 square kilometers.

To guide the orderly transfer of resources, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integrated Development Office released an outline on Dec 20, providing details on how to redistribute the capital city's industrial resources.

"The outline clarifies two key destinations for the relocated resources - Tongzhou district in Beijing and Xiongan New Area in Hebei," said Liu Bozheng, deputy director of the Beijing Development and Reform Commission.

"The Caofeidian Integrated Development Zone in Hebei, the Beijing New Airport Economic Zone, the Tianjin Binhai New Area and the Zhangjiakou-Chengde Ecological Area in Hebei are the four key platforms to launch industrial cooperation projects," he noted.

To date, the Caofeidian zone has carried out 256 projects from Beijing and Tianjin. With a combined investment of 367.16 billion yuan ($55.97 billion), 129 of them are from Beijing.

Tianjin Binhai-Zhongguancun Science Park has attracted 316 companies since it was put into operation in November 2016.

The park integrates the innovation power of Zhongguancun, a technology hub in Beijing, to create an industrial cluster.

Construction on some key projects, such as the Baidu Binhai Innovation Center and the JD Binhai Cloud Space, launched by Chinese internet giants, has started in the park.

Bohai New Area Biopharmaceutical Industry Park has signed agreements with 102 pharmaceuticals companies, including 79 companies from Beijing and 13 from Tianjin.

In addition, the outline mapped out the creation of 46 professional industrial platforms: 15 for innovation, 20 for modern manufacturing, eight for services and three for agriculture.

The Beijing Development and Reform Commission's Liu said the government is also establishing a new system for creating policies on industrial redistribution and innovation.

The supportive policies in the areas of finance, land supply and environmental protection will be offered to help develop these regions in the future.

The coastal city of Tianjin will speed up the construction of industrial clusters and take over some of the capital's high-end projects from corporate headquarters, financial institutions and scientific research institutions.

That's according to Bai Xiangdong, director of a Tianjin branch of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integrated Development Office.

The city released a regulation to optimize the business environment for entrepreneurs on Nov 16. These included protection of property rights and initiatives in seven other fields.

Hebei is working closely with Beijing and Tianjin to build 55 scientific parks and 62 innovation centers, attracting 1,400 high-tech companies from the two cities.

Zhu Wenzhi, head of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integrated Development Office's Hebei branch, said that the province had signed agreements with 25,000 businessmen from Beijing and 10,150 have started operations in Hebei.

"We will continue to attract companies from high-tech industries, education, medical services, finance, research and design, and the cultural creative sector to Xiongan New Area and the surrounding regions," Zhu added.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-29 07:49:41
<![CDATA[Grand plan to boost sporting prowess of millions of juniors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409694.htm To promote the integrated development of junior sports, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province have strengthened their cooperative endeavors in the field of junior winter sports and its related training.

In the wake of the Beijing government's plan to encourage 8 million locals to participate in winter sports by 2022, the sports authorities of the three regions signed a framework agreement on Dec 22.

Qi Jingting, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, said that the agreement would pave the way for the sports resources of the three areas to be better shared and would stimulate the vitality of young people, enrich their sports lives and boost their physical abilities.

According to the agreement, the three regions will organize training camps over the summer and winter holidays and share their professional training venues.

They will also expand exchanges of coaches and young players, providing opportunities for them to learn from each other.

The three sports authorities announced that they will initiate a national sports event in the form of competitions, exhibitions and forums - to launch training, exchanges and scientific research on winter sports for the younger generation in the three regions.

Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will take turns to host the event every year.

"Beijing has a responsibility to lead the sports development of Tianjin and Hebei, and improve the athletic ability of junior players," said Su Jun, head of the Junior's Office at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports.

"In the future, sports authorities in the regions will regularly communicate and launch additional competitions and sports events in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei," he added.

To make full use of the venues of the 2022 Winter Olympics Games, the co-host cities of Beijing and Zhangjiakou in Hebei will build a Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei junior activity space to promote junior winter sports.

Tongzhou district in Beijing as the subcenter of the capital, and Xiongan New Area in Hebei as a national new area, will hold sports events to promote sports exchanges and deepen their cooperation over winter sports for juniors.

Joint teams from the three regions will participate in national competitions and international sports exchanges, in such sectors as winter sports, athletics, swimming and ball games.

Hosted by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports and the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, the first Youth Skiing Competition in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions kicks off on Friday at the Yuyang International Ski Resort in Beijing. It is expected to attract 700 professional young players and amateurs aged from 7 to 26.

"We will launch winter sports events in campuses, including the International Paralympics Winter School Day and winter sports knowledge classes," said Tian Jiangong, deputy director of the Hebei provincial sports administration.

"We will select 100 schools to launch 100 demonstration classes, involving 10,000 students and their families in Hebei every year," Tian added.

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2017-12-29 07:49:41
<![CDATA[Increasingly integrated development of three-pillar region underway]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409693.htm After three years of efforts, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province have made a number of achievements in advancing their integrated development, especially regarding transport links, social insurance and medical treatment.

The central government proposed the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integration plan in 2014, with the aim of promoting interconnectivity, coordinating industrial development and sharing resources.

As part of these efforts, an integrated public transportation network has been formed consisting of expressways, railways and urban transit systems.

The region's transport links are now being reviewed and some "corresponding adjustments" are being made, said Lyu Huizhe, an official at the Hebei provincial government's transportation department.

In November, Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei signed agreements on constructing the connections for six highways and adding new expressways to increase connectivity.

Currently an expressway linking Tianjin and Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, is under construction, and another line connecting Yanqing with Chongli is scheduled to be put into operation in 2019.

Over the past three years, Hebei has worked to make its dead-end highways, totaling more than 1,400 kilometers, connect with the transport networks of Beijing and Tianjin.

The plan is for a "one-hour commuting circle" to be established in the core areas of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region by 2020.

A new road - a section of the Beijing-Qinhuangdao Expressway at the junction of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei - will come into operation at the end of this year.

Residents in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei will be able to travel throughout the region using a single card for the integrated public transport system.

To date, the two metropolises and Hebei have developed an advanced transportation system that includes railways, aviation routes and ports, as well as roads.

Qi Yang, general manager of Hantangziyuan, a high-tech company that moved to the Tianjin (Binhai) Zhongguancun Science Park in November, said that the company was looking to leverage the location's proximity to both cities.

In 2016, Beijing and Tianjin signed an agreement to set up the science park to utilize the innovation strength of Zhongguancun, a high-tech hub in Beijing, and Binhai New Area in Tianjin in a bid to promote the relocation of high-tech enterprises and the industrialization of technological achievements.

"Binhai New Area's rich resources in education and technology, as well as favorable policies designed to attract professionals and experts, help offer a stable supply of qualified employees for companies," Qi said.

Employees who meet the requirements of Tianjin will enjoy priority in application for a permanent residential permit in Tianjin, said Zheng Yi, general manager of the operation service company of the science park.

"The science park has attracted attention from leading projects and companies. Its popularity is closely related to its development environment," said Xu Guang, deputy director of the administrative committee of the science park.

According to Xu, the science park plans to incorporate Beijing's social security system into that of Binhai.

Medical services are another highlight of the region's integration.

An increasing number of doctors have moved from Beijing to Hebei, offering their expertise to local residents, said Zhang Shaolian, director of the Health and Family Planning Commission of Hebei.

To date, more than 300 secondary medical institutions in Hebei have established various cooperative relations with Beijing and Tianjin hospitals.

Beijing has sent over 1,000 doctors to Hebei and has received about 70,000 clinical visits. Hebei has set up platforms to attract more Beijing medical teams and professionals, said Zhang.

"Our goal is to build Hebei into a pilot area for the transfer of Beijing's medical skills and technology to enhance the development of healthcare and medical services in the region," he said.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-29 07:49:41
<![CDATA[Chengdu releases policy to help new economy drivers take flight]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409692.htm Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, plans to construct a new economy industrial system that can compete on the global stage and promote regional development.

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City announces 10 billion yuan fund to boost creation of vital, high-tech modern industries

Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, plans to construct a new economy industrial system that can compete on the global stage and promote regional development.

According to an official document released by the local government earlier this month, Chengdu will focus on developing the digital, intelligent, green, innovative, data-focused and shared economies - together, the new economy. The document, which also lists representative industries in each category, is the first of its kind in China.

Zhang Xinyu, director of Chengdu's new economy committee, said the document defines the new economy from Chengdu's perspective.

The city's goal is clear: By 2020, its new economy is expected to stand at the national forefront. It will have more than 100,000 new-economy-related companies, seven unicorn companies and over 60 potential unicorn companies.

Within that timeframe, Chengdu will become a pioneer and an ideal city for the promotion of the new economy, which can explore many application possibilities, attract assets and professionals, and innovate its business environment, according to the plans.

The document lists seven demonstration projects related to the new economy: improving the city's capacity to serve the real economy, building an intelligent city, improving the efficiency of innovation and entrepreneurship platforms, matching human resources with assets, upgrading the consumption model, constructing a green and low-carbon environment and innovating the modern supply chain.

These development focuses will provide more opportunities for new economy-related companies in the city, thus promoting the development of new technologies, industries and business models, Zhang said.

Since new economy-related companies are often asset-light with both high growth potential and risk, the local government plans to welcome more venture capital and strengthen resources integration.

The document stipulates that the government will provide newly established or relocated domestic and overseas financial institutions allowances of up to 40 million yuan ($6.1 million), to enlarge the local financial scale.

The local government will also set aside initial funding of up to 200 million yuan and a development fund up to 10 billion yuan, to finance startups during their development process.

Credit rating agencies are encouraged to provide credit ratings for new economy-related companies with allowance from the government, as part of efforts to improve their ability to attract investment.

Commercialization of scientific achievements will be stressed by boosting cooperation with local colleges and innovative enterprises with special funds, Zhang added.

Huo Weidong, president of Beijing Geely University, said enterprises and investors would have more faith in the city because of these policies and services.

"I believe Chengdu will become a promising land for investors."

Li Xinyu, chief technology officer of Chengdu Idealsee Technology Co Ltd, said that some previous policies no longer meet the needs of new economy companies, whose growth path is different from traditional ones. The new policies give specific solutions to cultivate those companies at different stages of their development, Li said.

"We met many difficulties in the early stages and the government provided significant help and support," Li said. "The booming of the new economy is closely related to a good policy climate."

According to the document, the number of innovation service institutes is expected to surpass 400 by 2022. Investment in research and development across the city is forecast to reach 4.3 percent of its GDP.

The annual growth rate of medium and small-sized technology companies is expected to exceed 20 percent and the number of people involved in tech startups will surpass 280,000, it predicts.

The city will establish more than 100 new funds for startups and the scale of private equity investment will surpass 210 billion yuan, according to the document.

Young people try on virtual reality glasses produced by a Chengdu-based new economy enterprise.Photos provided to China Daily 

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2017-12-29 07:39:14
<![CDATA[Intelligent sectors see major boom]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409691.htm Research into the world's biggest commercial unmanned aerial vehicle was recently launched in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province.

The project is expected to take two years and the resulting drones are expected to debut in 2022, said Guo Liang, chairman of Sichuan Tengden Technology Co Ltd, a local company in charge of the project. He made the announcement at a recent UAV application and development forum.

Tengden is an innovative high-tech enterprise set up by Chinese aviation experts and a State-owned investment company, making it a prime example of military-civil integration.

Chen Hong, executive vice-president of Tengden, said it plans to build a whole UAV industrial chain in the city based on its strength in electronic information and software.

Chen added that during companies' development, especially those involved in the new economy, support from the local government is of great significance.

"It can help companies to hold a leading position in the market when competing with counterparts from other regions."

The output value of Chengdu's UAV industry is expected to reach 4.2 billion yuan ($640 million) in 2017, up 20 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the Chengdu government.

Currently, the city has 110 major UAV companies, including about 30 military and 40 private companies of a medium to large scale.

At the UAV forum, the Tianfu Intelligent Technology Research Institute, known as TIFO, announced it will settle in Jinniu district of Chengdu, with input from experts from 17 colleges and research institutions, including Harbin Engineering University and Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Lu Zikai, operations leader of TIFO, said the team consists of top-level professionals in domestic intelligent industries, including artificial intelligence, robotics, electronic engineering and material mechanics.

TIFO aims to commercialize cutting-edge technologies, cultivate innovative startups and promote the application of intelligent technologies in industrial, commercial and military fields, Lu said.

It has signed an agreement with Jinniu district, which will offer supportive policies for all of its projects.

Industrial funds of up to 9 billion yuan will be invested into the development of intelligent technologies.

The intelligent economy is one of the six forms of new economy Chengdu defined earlier this year. The city plans to construct a national scientific center and promote civil-military integration, so as to speed up development in the biological recognition, virtual reality and UAV sectors.

In early December, security service provider Venustech settled its first security operating center in Chengdu. Zhang Zhenyu, vice-president of the company, said it expects to become an important internet safety base in Southwest China, serving local efforts linked to the Belt and Road Initiative, and construction of an intelligent city, cloud platforms and artificial intelligent projects.

Zhang said internet safety is closely related to the new economy that Chengdu is emphasizing - the digital, intelligent, green, creative, data-focused and shared economy.

The company first established a presence in Chengdu more than 10 years ago, he said. He added the city is rich in professional resources in the security field, with graduates from many local IT universities.

Laboratories will be set up in Venustech's center to study big data, internet safeguarding and industrial control, to provide technological support for possible applications of intelligent city construction in Chengdu.

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2017-12-29 07:39:14
<![CDATA[Tianfu Greenway construction set to expand ecological development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/29/content_35409690.htm Chengdu has accelerated the pace of green development, building a harmonious and livable city by constructing the Tianfu Greenway, part of its efforts to promote a higher quality of life for local residents.

Construction projects have been pushed ahead to make the city's sky blue, water clear, and landscapes green.

As one of the biggest city greening projects, Chengdu will build the system of greenways that stretches nearly 20,000 kilometers. Of that, 1,920 km lies on the city's outskirts, more than 5,000 km is in urban areas and 1,000 km runs through communities.

Construction of the 240 km Jinjiang Greenway, encircling Jinjiang River which flows through Chengdu, started on Dec 1. It will cover 10 counties and districts, said Liu Jian, director of the landscape department of Chengdu's urban and rural construction commission.

Zhang Jing, chief architect and vice-president of the landscape school of China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute, said the Tianfu Greenway project will link parks, natural reserves, historical heritage sites and communities, creating one whole to provide space for residents to relax, exercise and socialize.

"It shows the city's philosophy of green development, boosting the coordinated development of industries, city and people," Zhang said.

Wang Xiaoqi, vice-president of Chengdu Institute of Planning and Design, said each greenway trail has great ecological value.

For example, when the Jincheng Greenway is completed, the city will have an ecological park measuring 133 square kilometers, a 20 sq km water system, a 24 sq m urban forest, and protected farmland totaling 35 sq km, according to Wang.

Seventy percent of the Panda Greenway has been completed, which contains a themed park and a modern trail stretching 102 km. It will function as a space for cultural exhibition, scientific education, slow transportation, ecological landscape sightseeing, entertainment and physical exercises.

Wang said the greenways will help the city to optimize its spatial structure and boost the economic development of towns, industrial parks and other nearby economic areas.

By 2020, the Jinjiang Greenway project will complete construction on a riverside corridor and an industrial axis that is sustainable and integrated with culture, commerce and tourism.

Up to 100 million tourists are expected to visit the greenway every year by that time, creating 300,000 job opportunities, according to official estimates.

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2017-12-29 07:39:14
<![CDATA[Jilin takes off as a leading tour destination for winter season]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/28/content_35399572.htm Province aims to be world-class player, attracting visitors from home and abroad in colder months

Jilin province has developed into one of the top winter tour destinations in China in recent years, with rapid growth in the number of its tourists and revenue.

According to the local tourism authority, the northeastern province welcomed about 62 million tourists in the winter season between 2016 and 2017, growing 19.36 percent from the previous winter.

Tourism revenue during the period reached 116 billion yuan ($17.7 billion), up 27. 12 percent from the winter of 2015-16. That number also accounted for more than 40 percent of Jilin's total annual tourism revenue.

The province's top two winter resorts - Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort and Vanke Songhua Lake Resort - both announced they received more than 300,000 tourists in the 2016-17 winter, ranking them as China's top two ski resorts.

Already one of the leaders in China's winter tour industry, Jilin province plans to become a world-class player in the field, according to local officials.

They regard the winter tour industry as a vital driver for boosting local economic growth.

"The emerging winter tour industry is one of the most competitive sectors in Jilin, which is crucial for its revitalization," said Bayin Chaolu, Party chief of Jilin.

He made the remarks during the first China International Ice and Snow Tourism Industry Expo, held in the provincial capital of Changchun in December 2016.

Earlier in 2016, the Jilin provincial government released a blueprint on strengthening the "ice and snow" industry. It plans to build top local destinations and top local brands, by mobilizing the competitive resources of various industries and diverse investors.

The guideline calls for building a comprehensive winter tourism industry chain. It will focus on winter tours, winter sports and a snow and ice culture - in the hope of making it a new, strategic growth engine by 2020.

Local officials have also identified bottlenecks that hindered the sector's growth and are trying to find solutions.

Yang Andi, the head of the Jilin Provincial Development and Reform Commission, said that the bottlenecks included insufficient infrastructure facilities, unbalanced development among different regions and a lack of efficient marketing.

The official said Jilin is using various industry shows and expositions to promote its winter tour-related infrastructure projects to potential investors, and make its attractions better known to tourists.

Promotional platform

The annual China International Ice and Snow Tourism Industry Expo, which held its first session in December last year, is one such efficient promotional platform.

The second expo is now underway, from December 2017 to March 2018 in Jilin City.

The event has become a prime venue for domestic and overseas businesses to identify opportunities in Jilin province.

Leading Chinese real estate developers, such as Vanke, Wanda and Luneng, have made huge investments in building high-end ski and other resorts in the province.

Local statistics show that 14 big winter tourism projects - each with investment of more than 100 million yuan ($15.5 million) - were under construction this year.

There is also increased investment in building or renovating airports, expressways and high-speed railways - with the aim of improving traffic access for winter tour destinations.

The province will continue to launch more winter tourism projects in the years to come. These include the construction and renovation of the Lianhua Mountain Ski Resort in Changchun, the Wanfeng Ski Resort in Tonghua, the Tianhe Valley Hot Spring Town in Songyuan and a four-season ski training center in Jilin City.

Investors from home and abroad are welcome to take part in these projects, according to local officials.

At present, the province's major winter tour products include tours of ski resorts and hot spring resorts, snow and ice sightseeing.

A lot to offer

Jilin has a lot to offer in the winter. Tourists can participate in various sports in the ski resorts in the east of Jilin, enjoy hot spring spas in the south and go winter fishing on icy Chagan Lake in the west.

Local officials said the province also employs resources from other industries to boost the growth of winter tourism.

Sports, culture, agriculture, education and even manufacturing are among the sectors that Jilin relies on for developing cross-industry winter tourism.

Ma Shaohong, head of the Jilin Provincial Culture Bureau, said that the cultural and creative industries can play an important role in making winter tours in Jilin more attractive.

"Creative cultural products are widely used in winter tourism-related shows and exhibitions," Ma said.

Zhang Zhenying, deputy chief of the Jilin Provincial Sports Bureau, said sports administrations throughout the province had organized a great number of events to attract winter sports enthusiasts to Jilin.

According to Zhang, the province organized more than 500 sports events during the winter of 2016-17, attracting more than 6 million participants.

Zhang Bojun, head of the Jilin Provincial Bureau of Education, said his bureau has worked with local sports authorities, providing training for students to expand their interest in winter sports.

"We are going to get more students into winter sports by organizing various training programs," Zhang Bojun said.

"The total number of students in Jilin that will be involved is expected to reach 800,000 by the end of 2018."

zhaoshijun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-28 07:27:39
<![CDATA[Expo is the icing on the cake, to promote frosty fun]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/28/content_35399571.htm The ongoing China (Jilin) International Snow and Ice Tourism Industry Expo has become a prime showcase for Jilin's winter tourism sector - and an ideal stage for cooperation - according to the event's organizers.

The expo, now in its second season, is being held in Jilin City in the center of Jilin province.

The opening ceremony for the event was held on Dec 15 and the event will last to March next year.

Jilin province's latest progress in the winter tourism industry is being showcased at the expo.

A China winter tourism development report for 2017 was released at the opening ceremony, ranking the top Chinese cities and resorts in their competitiveness in winter tourism.

A number of cities, resorts and events in the province were included in the top 10 lists.

For instance, Jilin City, Changchun and Yanbian prefecture were ranked among the top 10 cities and regions for winter tourism.

Three of the province's resorts - Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort, Vanke Songhua Lake Resort and Beidahu Ski Resort - were rated among the top 10 winter resorts in China.

The Jilin International Rime Ice and Snow Festival, the Chagan Lake Winter Fishing Festival and the Changchun Snow and Ice Tourism Festival - also known as the Jingyuetan International Vasa Ski Festival - were ranked among the most influential winter tourism events in China.

The rankings show that the northeastern province has become one of the top winter tour destinations in the country.

Focus on cooperation

Organizers said that regional cooperation is a highlight of the expo.

During the event, Jilin forged partnerships with several provinces and regions in China.

On Dec 15, Jilin and Heilongjiang launched a cooperation program for building a tourism alliance.

Jilin and neighboring Heilongjiang province - both in northeastern China - are the leaders in China's winter tourism sector.

The authorities of Jilin and Heilongjiang believe the two provinces share similarities in their winter tourism industries. That makes cross-regional cooperation attractive for sharing resources, branding and marketing efficiently.

The alliance is not only based on sharing resources, but is also the result of cultural synergies and personal links between the people of the two northeastern provinces, according to a Jilin official.

The governments of the two provinces agreed to establish regular meetings, to study the market situation and discuss concrete plans to cooperate.

Also on Dec 15, a joint promotional show for Jilin and Heilongjiang opened at the expo.

The show displays major winter attractions from the two provinces, using videos and pictures.

There are vivid exhibitions of snow and ice sculptures featured from the capital cities of Harbin and Changchun; snow-decorated villages from both provinces; the frozen lakes and waterfalls of Changbai Mountains in Jilin; the hot springs resorts scattered in the Changbai and Greater Xing'an mountains; and China's best ski resorts which are in the two provinces.

While winter fishing on Chagan Lake in western Jilin has already been popularized, through the China Central Television documentary A Bite of China, a similar story is also told about Jingpo Lake in Heilongjiang during the promotional show.

During the event, the two provinces also launched five inter-regional routes for winter tours.

Jilin had already began its partnership plans with other regions before the expo.

On Dec 14, a chartered plane carrying more than 160 tourists from Zhejiang province arrived in Changchun.

It carried the first batch of tourists, under a 10-million tourist exchange program between the two provinces. The agreement for the program, which was signed in September, also covers such areas as personnel training and promotions.

Rime festival

The second China (Jilin) International Snow and Ice Tourism Industry Expo takes place along with the Jilin International Rime Ice and Snow Festival, which opened on Dec 1 and will last to Feb 28, 2018.

The city of Jilin is known for its spectacular rime in winter.

Rime, also known as wusong, is a kind of frost that appears on trees in the winter. It can be frequently seen on both banks of the Songhua River after a sudden temperature drop, as this unusual phenomenon is the result of interaction between the cold air and warm vapors from the river.

The beautiful rime in Jilin City is regarded as one of China's four natural wonders - along with the landscape of mountains and waters in Guilin, the Stone Forest in Yunnan and the Three Gorges along the Yangtze River.

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2017-12-28 07:27:39
<![CDATA[Polymer maker keen to change perceptions of plastics industry]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/28/content_35399570.htm Covestro, a German high-tech polymer materials developer and supplier, has vowed to strengthen innovation and promote sustainability in the Chinese market to maintain long-term growth.

The company has reported significant growth in China over the past few years due to continuously booming market demand. Demonstrating Covestro's core business performance, its revenue in China was 2.23 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in the first nine months of 2017, topping the United States market revenue of 2.21 billion euros and making China the company's biggest market.

Covestro's core volume in China gained 9.7 percent year-on-year growth in the first nine months, while that of the US market added only 0.8 percent, in part hit by Hurricane Harvey.

"Our speed of growth is higher in China than in the rest of the world," said Bjoern Skogum, president of Covestro China.

Skogum said sales revenue from China now accounts for 21 percent of Covestro's global sales, up from about 10 percent a decade ago.

Supported by the strong demand in China for newly developed high-tech materials, Skogum said he expects Covestro will report "mid-to-high single-digit growth" in the Chinese market this year that is "on par or above the country's GDP growth rate".

In the third quarter, China registered year-on-year GDP growth of 6.8 percent, with combined growth in the first nine months coming in at 6.9 percent.

In upcoming years, Covestro plans to offer an extensive portfolio of material solutions in China, for instance, in the construction, automotive, electrical and electronics, furniture and healthcare industries. That is by working closely with customers to develop new products and improve existing ones to meet their changing needs.

In the energy industry, Covestro has with its partners developed a new material to make wind turbine blades lighter and therefore more efficient in power generation.

In the e-mobility sector, the company will strive to grasp the opportunities presented by the trend for car sharing and the development of smart technology.

More water-based coating and painting materials for furniture will be supplied to the Chinese market to better serve local demand, according to Skogum.

Promoting innovation

Covestro has long been promoting innovation to better serve local customers and support its growth in the Chinese market.

"Innovation is the core of the company," Skogum said. "Innovation for Covestro is not only about innovating new products or new applications. For us, innovation is in everything, including in the way we do business."

The company has established its Polymer Research and Development Center in Shanghai to support technical development for polyurethanes, polycarbonates, coatings, adhesives and specialty business units.

Apart from adding more innovation supporting facilities, Covestro is also keen to establish partnerships with local leading universities and academic institutions to promote its research and development and the commercialization of research results.

In May, Covestro and Tongji University held the 2017 Innovation Day and an inauguration ceremony for the Covestro-Tongji Innovation Academy, to promote innovation in the transportation and construction fields.

As well as innovative solutions, Skogum said his company also wants its products to be sustainable solutions.

"The perception about the chemicals industry and plastics industry is that plastics are something bad. We try to say that plastics are an essential part of our society and plastics are necessary to develop our society," added Skogum.

"It just has to be more sustainable. We do not want our plastics to end up in the ocean. We would like our plastics to be used in a way that creates sustainability for society, and hopefully for them to be reused afterwards."

tangzhihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-28 07:58:05
<![CDATA[Sweet flows of water transform lives in Beijing]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/27/content_35391217.htm Giant north-south program is turning arid, dry area into verdant enclave, Cao Yingying reports.

Since the first stage of the spectacular South-to-North Water Diversion Project was officially put into operation in December 2014, a virtual tidal wave of water - an estimated 3 billion cubic meters plus - has been carried into Beijing, benefiting more than 11 million residents in the capital.

Designed to transport water from southern China to the arid northern regions through separate channels, the South-to-North Water Diversion Project has added water flows to Beijing's supply for three years.

One of the most expensive engineering projects ever undertaken in the world, the scheme was first discussed by China's leaders in the 1950s - aiming to channel over 40 billion cu m of fresh water each year from the Yangtze River in southern China to the more arid and industrialized north.

In the second year of the project, Beijing received 1.1 billion cu m of water from southern regions, which exceeded the planned volume of water supply and achieved the five-year goal of the project ahead of schedule.

"The water entering Beijing not only increases total volumes of water resources and guarantees the local water supply, but also improves water conditions for local residents," said Sun Guosheng, director of the Beijing South-to-North Water Diversion Project office.

According to official statistics, Beijing, classified as a severely arid region, has had average annual precipitation of 585 millimeters and 3.74 billion cu m of average annual water resources for some years.

To solve the problem, the Beijing government set up eight plants with storage facilities to hold the water from southern China, which provide 3.7 million cu m to the city's central areas every day.

The diverted water from outside Beijing can reach 3.4 million cu m on average per day. Of that, 2.25 million cu m goes to the water plants, accounting for more than 70 percent of central area's daily supplies.

The project has served the city's central area and Daxing and Mentougou districts, as well as parts of Changping, Fengtai and Tongzhou districts.

With more water plants in the pipeline, more Beijing residents will benefit from the water diversion project.

The city government has set up a water delivery system especially for the water flows from the diversion project, routing the water around Beijing's fourth and fifth ring roads, and another water line to deliver water to the capital's eastern and western regions, as well as Miyun Reservoir.

These routes help to guarantee the safety in water deliveries, supply and use in Beijing and another ring road for water supply will be added in the future, government officials said.

In addition, the Beijing municipality has increased Miyun Reservoir's storage capacity to extend the terminal of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project to there.

The water stored at the reservoir is now over 2 billion cu m, which according to the data collected since 2000 is a record high. The facility, built in 1960 as a mountain valley reservoir, is the largest reservoir in Beijing area. Two main rivers, Chaohe and Baihe, flow into it.

The increased capacity expands the regions benefiting from southern water and increases the strategic reserve of water resources in Beijing, which has achieved a seamless convergence and switching between southern and local water, officials said.

To ensure the quality of water flowing in, the Beijing municipal government keeps a close watch on the diversion project's operations - especially at critical points in the water shipment process, including access to the city and to water plants - to deal with any water pollution emergencies.

Beijing Waterworks Group, a State-owned water supplier, has installed more than 500 online water quality monitors in the city's water supply network. This, officials said, helps to achieve real-time online monitoring of water quality from water sources to users' terminals.

The water diversion project has also moved to integrate with the city's push for ecological improvement, local officials added.

To promote exchanges in complementary resources between northern and southern China, 16 districts in Beijing have established cooperative relations with 16 counties in Henan and Hubei provinces and launched a series of exchange activities.

By the end of this year, their governments had set up 2 billion yuan ($302.87 million) in cooperative funds for 665 projects, including 118 water-related projects valued at 660 million yuan.

Beijing also released a cooperative plan at the beginning of this year, earmarking 500 million yuan to support the development of the water source areas every year.

Over the next five years, Beijing will continue to push to solve the problem of the water resources shortage, guarantee the safety of water sources and improve the environment to provide more convenience to Beijing residents, local officials said.

Contact the writer at caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Danjiangkou Reservoir in Central China's Hubei province is the start of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project's central route, from which water is diverted to Beijing.Zhang Xinjun / For China Daily

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2017-12-27 07:45:18
<![CDATA[Locals in fervent praise of aqua pura from the south]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/27/content_35391216.htm Wang Dongmei, a Beijing resident, spoke highly of the water that comes from the South-to-North Water Diversion Project and is available to her residential community.

"The quality of water here was poor before, with high alkali levels and heavy incrustation, so every family in the residential neighborhood had to install water purifiers or buy barreled water," she said.

But the huge national project, which diverts Yangtze River water into Beijing, changed all that, piping clear water into the region.

"Now the water quality has improved," Wang said.

Wang is among more than 11 million residents in Beijing who have benefited from the project over the past three years.

Before the initial phase of the project's central route was put into operation at the end of 2014, it took around three years to complete a raft of engineering projects to a tight schedule.

One of the projects is a 44.7-kilometer-long trunk canal built in the east of Beijing to carry water, which cost 9.17 billion yuan ($1.4 billion). After four years of preparation, its construction began in June 2012.

Despite geographical complexities, the underground canal runs beneath four railways, nine transit rail lines, nine expressways, 77 bridges and 31 highways. The project involves more than 600 underground pipelines.

With innovative designs and engineering expertise, the builders of the canal created many records in the construction of China's hydraulic projects.

The building teams involved have over the past five years completed four such water tunnels - at a total length of close to 300 km - as part of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

The tunnels joined a widespread waterway system, enabling the diverted water originating from Danjiangkou Reservoir in Hubei province to flow to Beijing after traveling 15 days.

The Beijing government has invested heavily in adding and renovating nine water plants, to better serve the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

They pipe in about 3.6 million cubic meters of water daily, according to the Beijing office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

The local authorities have also innovated Beijing's water delivery model with ring-road routes, which taps into surface water, diverted water from outside the city and groundwater, and connects them with major water plants.

Government data shows that 70 percent of the water from southern China to Beijing is used as tap water, 13 percent goes to reservoirs and 17 percent supplements groundwater, as well as lakes and rivers in Beijing's urban areas.

The water distribution network is aligned with Beijing's development plan. As Tongzhou district was designated as a sub-administrative center of Beijing in 2012, construction on Tongzhou Water Plant was given a priority as part of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

One of the first batch of infrastructure projects in the district, the initial phase of the plant was put into use ahead of schedule.

After its second and third phases are completed, the plant will be able to supply 600,000 cu m of water a day, meeting the demand for water for the entire 906 sq km district, local officials said.

As construction on a new airport is progressing in Daxing district in the south of Beijing, the Beijing and Hebei province authorities have decided to build a new water pipeline linking the two regions. This will add 100 million to 150 million cu m of water supply to Beijing a year.

In addition, with the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the three regions have started research into connectivity between Baiyangdian Lake in Hebei and Yongding River running through Beijing.

The project is expected to promote coordinated, highly efficient use of water resources in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, industry insiders said.

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2017-12-27 07:45:18
<![CDATA[Development ensures safe use of resources]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/27/content_35391215.htm Centering on Beijing's strategic development plan, the capital is advancing construction of the massive South-to-North Water Diversion Project to ensure safe water usage, according to a leading local official.

The project is a key national initiative to divert water flows in southern China - which has plenty of rivers and rainfall - to the more arid north of the country.

It will connect the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Huaihe River and Haihe River systems, and will benefit an estimated 438 million people along the routes in the east, center and west.

"It is our consistent commitment to the project to relieve the problem of water shortages and enable more people to have access to high-quality drinking water," said He Fengci, deputy director and spokeswoman of the Beijing office of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project.

The first phase of the central route began operating at the end of 2014. By mid-December this year, some 3 billion cubic meters of water had been piped from the south to Beijing, 2.4 billion cu m to Tianjin, 4 billion cu m to Henan province and 1.4 billion cu m to Hebei province.

Beijing has long been short of water, but the situation has changed greatly since the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, He said.

Starting in September 2008, water from neighboring Hebei was diverted to Beijing. From the end of 2014, the Yangtze River was added to Beijing's water sources.

It took nearly six years to pipe 1.6 billion cu m of water from Hebei to Beijing, while within just over two years, the amount of water flowing from the Yangtze River to the capital topped 2.6 billion cu m, she noted.

"In pursuit of innovation in technology, operating mechanisms and management - for improved quality, efficiency and safety - our team has gained rich experience in maintaining operations and handling emergencies, and created standard operational and management systems," the spokeswoman said.

She cited Daning Reservoir in Beijing as an example to illustrate how the project has changed the lives of locals.

The reservoir was built in 1985 to curb floods in the Yongding River. It was dried up in the 1990s, leaving its bottom exposed to rubble and sand, or overgrown with weeds. In windy spring and autumn days, nearby residents couldn't open their windows because of frequent sandstorms from the abandoned site.

The water project gave the reservoir a new lease on life, as southern water flowed through it.

The reservoir works not only for flood control, but also for water storage and environmental protection.

The reuse of the reservoir also helped recover one of eight classic attractions in ancient Beijing - a picturesque view of Lugou Bridge spanning Xiaoyue Lake in the moonlight - as water that was used to wash through the pipeline was recycled to be pumped into the lake.

Another highlight of the water diversion project is the addition of Guogongzhuang Water Plant in the south of Beijing to the city's water supply system.

Before the project, major water plants clustered in the north and west of the city. In contrast, the southern areas were weak in infrastructure for water supply.

With the water diversion project progressing, experts designed the new state-of-the-art plant, which will be able to supply 500,000 cu m of water on a daily basis.

In addition, Beijing No 10 Water Plant is under construction and Yizhuang Water Plant is in the pipeline for the east of Beijing.

He Fengci said the flowing of Yangtze River water into Beijing signaled an "optimization" of the city's water supply landscape.

The changes to Beijing's water plant network also relates to the city development strategy.

An exemplary project is Tongzhou Water Plant, which handles all its water from the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. The plant's initial phase went into operation in late August, nearly three years ahead of schedule.

The facility is located in Tongzhou district, where Beijing plans to build a lesser administrative center. The district is also in close proximity to Hebei province, and so seen of significance in promoting the planned integrated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

As one of the first batch of infrastructure projects, the water plant will improve local water quality and support the construction of the city's administrative center, He said.

Given the large gap between water demand and supply, there is still a long way to go for the national water diversion project, she added.

"In the future, we will continue to increase efficiency in management and water use, and promote restoration of the ecological system."

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2017-12-27 07:45:18
<![CDATA[Changsha takes off as key logistics hub in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/27/content_35391214.htm A plane carrying 2.6 metric tons of fresh seafood landed at Changsha Huanghua International Airport at 9:50 pm on Dec 2, after a three-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, marking the start of Hunan province's first international all-cargo scheduled route.

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The capital of Hunan province also emerging as core national transport center

A plane carrying 2.6 metric tons of fresh seafood landed at Changsha Huanghua International Airport at 9:50 pm on Dec 2, after a three-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, marking the start of Hunan province's first international all-cargo scheduled route.

Local officials said the launch of the Changsha-Ho Chi Minh international all-cargo flight was a prime example of Changsha's efforts to build itself into a national transportation and logistics center.

Changsha, the capital of Central China's Hunan province, has been carrying out the construction of a comprehensive transportation system - spanning air, water and land - for years.

It has formed a comprehensive transport network comprising an international airport, high-speed railways and modern highways and ports.

Hu Yuelong, head of the city's transportation bureau, said the local government issued a three-year action plan (2018-20) in July, according to which Changsha aims to become a national aviation, railway and highway hub and a major hub for inland water transport by 2020.

Changsha is a core city, both along the Belt and Road Initiative's trade routes, and in the Yangtze River Economic Zone. With such a favorable location, the city can reap major advantages by developing its transportation and logistics.

It is at the intersection of the Beijing-Guangzhou, Shanghai-Kunming and Chongqing-Xiamen high-speed railways. Departing from the Changsha South Railway Station, bullet trains deliver passengers directly to 16 provincial capitals and four municipalities.

And as one of the top 100 airports in the world, Changsha Huanghua International Airport is a key airport in China's central region.

In 2016, passenger throughput at the airport hit 20 million, ranking it No 1 in Central China. It is expected to handle 23.5 million passengers this year.

On the water transportation front, the third phase of Changsha New Port is under construction and is expected to be finished at the end of 2018.

"We plan to build six 2,000-ton berths and link the port with special train lines," said Tang Zhongliang, chairman of Hunan Changsha New Port Co.

From January to November, Changsha New Port handled 6.5 million tons of cargo throughput, an increase of 36 percent over the same period last year. Its container throughput reached nearly 140,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, representing 31.1 percent growth.

The city's convenient highway network has helped consolidate its position as a regional highway hub, featuring seven sections of expressways and an intelligent "highway port", the first of its kind in the city, which started trial operations at the end of 2016.

Changsha is the first city in Hunan to achieve the integration of urban and rural public transportation, with bus lines reaching every town and street in the region. It also boasts China's first middle and low-speed maglev train, built with homegrown technologies and independent intellectual property rights.

The Changsha Maglev Express, which stretches over 18.5 kilometers, can achieve a top speed of 100 km per hour.

The line started operation on May 6, 2016. It connects the Changsha South Railway Station and the Changsha Huanghua International Airport, stopping at three stations on its 20-minute journey.

The express route, as the longest maglev line of its kind in the world, has attracted experts from about 30 countries and regions to experience and investigate the project.

Changsha's increasingly developed transportation system has provided additional boosts to its logistics and cross-border e-commerce.

US logistics delivery giant UPS, for example, announced on March 28 that it would add six more stations to its multimodal container rail service between Europe and China.

UPS said the six new stations would be at Changsha, Chongqing, Suzhou and Wuhan in China, and Duisburg in Germany and Warsaw in Poland.

They would be added to the existing Chinese mainland stations of Zhengzhou and Chengdu, and the European stations of Lodz in Poland and Hamburg in Germany.

The improved transportation network has instilled new energy into Changsha's open economy.

According to the city's bureau of commerce, the total import and export volume between January and October surged 45.5 percent year-on-year to $10.63 billion in Changsha.

In the future, Changsha will focus on developing more passenger routes to the United States, Europe, Australia, Central Asia and Africa, and launching new cargo routes to Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Seattle, Moscow, Bangkok and Indonesia.

It plans to open at least one new international passenger route and one new all-cargo route annually.

haonan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise from top left: A Budapest-Changsha freight train departs from the Chinese city. A maglev train passes through the Changsha Huanghua Comprehensive Bonded Zone. SF Airlines launches a cargo fl ight from Changsha to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.Photos provided to China Daily

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2017-12-27 07:48:16
<![CDATA[City's rail link to Europe gives exports a boost]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/27/content_35391213.htm The Hunan-Europe Express Line will begin operating a daily freight train service from Changsha in 2018, according to officials from the Changsha transportation bureau. Return freight journeys are planned two or three times a week.

The international rail line, which stretches nearly 12,000 kilometers, began operating in October 2014.

For its debut run, two cargo trains loaded with containers of Chinese premium products, including porcelain and tea, departed Xia'ning Railway Port in the provincial capital Changsha to travel directly to Duisburg in Germany and Tashkent in Uzbekistan, respectively.

An inland region, Hunan used to mainly depend on ocean shipping for its international transportation, but this was unable to meet the rapid development needs of the province's export-oriented economy, said Xia Zhaohui, general manager of Hunan Xiang Ou Express Co.

"The launch of the international express line helped break Hunan's development bottleneck," Xia said.

As an operator of several train lines heading to European countries, Xiang Ou Express has played an important role in promoting the province's international trade and logistics.

Its business involves various fields such as electronics, clothes, chemicals, engineering equipment, tea and red wine.

The company exports nearly 100 kinds of goods in over 10 categories, including liquid crystal display panels, microwaves, hammocks, wooden products, toys and oatmeal.

The Hunan-Europe freight train line has one main route and two sub-routes.

The main route starts from Changsha, leaves China through the Alataw Pass in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and passes through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching Duisburg in Germany.

It takes 18 days to complete the journey.

With less travel time and cost, an increasing number of Hunan companies have chosen the line to export their products.

The rail company said from October 2014 to October 2017, the line delivered a total of 23,000 TEUs (twenty-foot-equivalent units), of goods worth $1.18 billion.

This year, the line opened new regular routes from Changsha to Minsk in Belarus and Budapest in Hungary, and return routes from Hamburg in Germany and Budapest to Changsha.

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2017-12-27 07:48:16
<![CDATA[Chinese auto market braces for speed hump]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375058.htm

 

Workers check cars at a Geely production line in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Shi Yu / For China Daily

Pace of growth for sector expected to slip into lower gear in 2018

The growth of China's auto market growth is set to slow down to a six-year low, and industry experts predict more sluggish times in 2018, with carmakers needing to make adjustments for a change of course in the sector toward high-quality development.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, or CAAM, said it expects total new vehicle sales volume to reach 29 million units by the end of 2017, for an annual growth rate of 3.5 percent year-on-year.

That's lower than the 5-percent prediction the association made at the start of the year, but confirmed an earlier China Daily report that the picture would be less rosy.

The association announced that the year-to-date vehicle sales volume reached 25.9 million units in the first 11 months of the current year, up 3.6 percent on the same period in 2016.

More than 700,000 new energy vehicles are set to be delivered by the end of the year, and the commercial vehicle market is set to experience double digit growth. According to Fu Yuwu, president of the Society of Automotive Engineers of China, speaking at the World's Top 10 Transmission Award ceremony organized by CarBingo in Beijing on Dec 17, some compact cars carrying Chinese brand names achieved volume of 200,000 units.

John Zeng, managing director of LMC Automotive Shanghai, found the nation's vehicle retail sales began to grow again in October, reversing the overall downward trend in the months of November and December.

CAAM Deputy Secretary-General Shi Jianhua said at the ceremony that the purchase tax deduction policy had overdrawn the customers' purchasing power in 2016, and "the impact was stronger than expected".

China began the purchase tax deduction from Oct 1, 2015 to accelerate the auto market expansion.

The purchase tax was halved to 5 percent of the car prices for buyers who purchase vehicles powered by an engine of 1.6-liter or smaller.

The favorable taxation policy stimulated six-year high growth of 13.7 percent in 2016, with total sales of 28 million units.

The purchase tax for those vehicles increased to 7.5 percent from Jan 1, 2017, and the deduction will come to an end by the end of 2017.

All buyers will pay a full 10 percent purchase tax from Jan 1, 2018, prompting industry experts to agree that the industry will now switch lanes and go into a moderate development phase.

Shi said the Chinese auto market's growth would expand at 3 percent, for total sales of 29.8 million units next year.

He said that in the current year the industry had reached such a huge size that whether growth came in at 3,4 or even 5 percent was not in itself significant.

"Even zero growth would not be a bad result: after all, the Chinese market contributed about one of third new car sales in the world," Shi said at the World's Top 10 Transmissions Award ceremony.

CarBingo organized the awards, the first and the only one of its kind in the world, and 28 mass-produced vehicles and transmissions participated.

High-quality development

"Our auto industry is going to grow slowly but steadily, and switch the focus from the sales quantity to high-quality development," said CAAM's Shi.

"What our automotive industry needs to seek is an approach of developing stronger, instead of bigger."

The Society of Automotive Engineers of China's Fu said it is not bad for a 30 million unit market to expand, but it is now going to pursue qualitative growth.

LMC Automotive's Zeng shared his views on the need for high-quality development of the automobile industry. He said that the mainstream product portfolios would undergo an upgrade and the low-end market would shrink, while maintaining stock levels at a reasonable level.

"Next year will open a gateway for Chinese auto makers to develop toward more premium positions. The market is going to be versatile, heading toward high-quality development," Zeng added. He said he was happy to see Geely Automobile and Great Wall Motor launching premium Link & Co and Wey respectively this year, to prepare for high-quality developments in the future.

But Zeng added that he believed Chinese carmakers needed to succeed with at least two generations of models, to consolidate their premium position in the local automobile industry.

"Their high-quality development deserves no shorter than a decade of devotion," he said.

"In case of failure in the second generation of new models, they will return to the starting point, even if the first generation wins the market." he added.

CAAM's Shi said the Chinese automotive industry and its carmakers used to attach great importance to the development of the vehicle products, but now that concept needed refinement.

"Stronger auto parts suppliers make automakers stronger; and stronger automakers make the auto industry stronger," said Shi.

He suggested that the transmission sector deserved a higher priority in the development of auto parts.

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[Goller dons CEO's helmet at BMW Group Region China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375057.htm Senior Vice-President of BMW Brilliance Automotive Co, Jochen Goller, will take over the position of president and CEO of BMW Group Region China - aiming to further strengthen the premium brand's market performance, the company announced.

Goller, 51, succeeds 62-year-old Olaf Kastner and will be responsible for the BMW Group's operations in China, including coordination with the local joint venture, effective Mar 1, 2018.

BMW Group announced the appointment on Wednesday, and said Kastner will continue to support the group on overarching issues in China.

"We are grateful to Olaf Kastner for his contribution during his tenure over the past eight years," said Harald Krueger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG, in a statement.

"We are confident that Jochen Goller will continue our successful development as he takes charge of guiding operations in BMW Group's largest market worldwide."

The company's news release said Goller has significant knowledge and experience of China and has demonstrated long-standing dedication and commitment to the market, which are the best prerequisites to take the operations in China to the next level.

Goller joined BMW Group in 1999 and served as the company's head of marketing in China from 2004 to 2009.

From 2009 to 2015, he led the Mini business initially in the United Kingdom and then globally.

Goller subsequently returned to the fast-moving Chinese market in 2015, to oversee sales and marketing as senior vice-president of BMW Brilliance Automotive Co.

Kastner led the business of BMW Group Region China over the last two years, after managing the Chinese venture's operations for six years. Since 2009, BMW Group and BMW Brilliance have jointly built vehicles, engines and high-voltage battery production facilities in Shenyang.

Sales volume of BMW and Mini cars reached a new high of 542,362 units in the first 11 months of this year.

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[Manufacturers raise the bar, responding to complaints]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375056.htm Carmakers in China are responding to complaints in a more active and faster way but they are still falling short of customer expectations, a recent report found.

Out of complaints filed from January to November, 87 percent were answered, according to the joint report from Car Research Consulting Beijing Co and 12365auto, a website that monitors car complaints.

Thanks to their efforts, complainants canceled 24.26 percent of their 45,178 complaints in the first 11 months of this year, while in the same period that figure was less than 20 percent.

That's according to the report, which predicts the industry will receive 51,000 complaints for the full year, a nearly 14 percent growth year-on-year.

However, there is a long way for carmakers to resolve the problems in a satisfactory way, said Zhang Yue, a senior vice-president of Car Research Consulting.

He said faultfinders hoped problems about their cars could be resolved in three months.

But the fact remained that only half of the problems were solved within the time range, and those resolved in a week accounted for only 18 percent of the total.

The report also found that at least 70 percent of customers harbored negative feelings about the brands they complained to, while half said they would never buy cars from those brands again.

In addition, it found that when complainants posted their stories on online forums, 70 percent of the readers tended to share their negative feelings.

The report suggested carmakers improve their methods of solving complaints favorably in ways that customers hoped for. It found that the top three responses that complainants wanted were getting their cars repaired at 4S stores, follow-ups and recalls.

Carmakers are stepping up their efforts to recall faulty cars in China, the world's largest car market.

So far, more than 10 million cars have been recalled this year, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which is the country's top quality watchdog.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Meeting customer expectations for car quality is one of the key issues for automakers in China. Provided to China Daily

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[Plight of pedestrians gets top priority in safety push]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375055.htm

 

Chinese carmakers are working hard to improve their safety measures to reduce road accidents. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

Statistics show one fifth of all road traffic accidents belong to category in focus

China is to make pedestrian protection a key part of overall efforts to improve safety - in its new car safety rating system, C-NCAP, starting from 2018.

That's according to a senior official at the China Automotive Technology & Research Center.

Gao Hesheng, deputy director of the center, unveiled the plan in his address to the 2017 International Seminar on Auto Pedestrian Protection, held last week in Tianjin.

He said it was urgent that this safety area be improved, because currently about 20 percent of all victims killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.

Statistics from the Ministry of Transportation showed a total of 63,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2016, ranking second only to India worldwide.

"China's road and traffic conditions are complicated, thus posing great risks to road users," said Gao.

Gao said China needed to catch up as Europe and Japan had long included protective measures for pedestrians in their respective car safety rating systems.

"We started studies into this aspect in 2009 and in 2016 we established a team with 25 carmakers to improve the level of pedestrian protection," Gao added.

Sun Zhendong, a top expert at the center, told the seminar that the increased protection would mainly focus on protecting pedestrians' heads and legs.

"We protect heads because head injuries kill people most easily, and we protect legs because leg injuries disable people most easily."

Franz Roth, a safety engineer at German carmaker Audi AG, said carmakers should focus on active safety measures, like automatic emergency braking systems.

These systems can warn drivers when nearby road users are detected, and if the driver does not act they automatically brake cars to prevent accidents.

Roth said studies showed that such measures fundamentally changed accident scenarios, and suggested authorities should demand carmakers give priority to such systems when drafting regulations.

Besides Audi, the system can be found in the models of many other carmakers, including Volvo and Ford. The seminar heard that Chinese carmakers have been working hard to improve their safety measures as well.

Zhang Lei, a senior researcher of the technology center at Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co, said: "We have been developing cars that meet the requirements of the safety rating systems both in China and in Europe. And on this basis, we are doing something new."

He said the carmaker was partnering with automotive supplier Bosch, on automatic braking systems, and was testing safety measures like a deployable hood.

The hood, which pops up under impact, is said to create more space to absorb head impact energy and reduce the severity of these injuries.

"We have spent more than 10 million yuan ($1.6 million) on it, and it will be introduced in our next-generation MPVs," Zhang added.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[Internet firms zoom into smart vehicle market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375054.htm

 

People gather at the stand of Chinese electric vehicle startup Nio, as it unveils its ES8 SUV. Provided to China Daily

SHANGHAI - Chinese internet firms are racing to launch car models with smart functions and are installing charging posts to make their cars run further.

Shanghai-based smart car developer NIO, considered by some to be "China's Tesla" and launched its NIO ES8 electric SUV model last Sunday.

The standard version of the ES8 is priced at 448,000 yuan ($69,404).

With subsidies, the ES8 is sold at 370,000 yuan, compared to the Tesla Model S - sold at 700,000 yuan with subsidies in the Chinese market.

The car boasts outstanding self-driving technology.

NIO Pilot, its automated piloting system, is internet-connected and equipped with 23 sensors.

Company founder and CEO Li Bin said the car is capable of producing a playlist of music by analyzing users' records. It can automatically shut car windows in case of rain, take a selfie for the driver, and turn on air purification based on weather conditions.

Delivery to customers is expected to begin after the model completes a 3-million-kilometer road test in the first half of next year.

Li said the company plans to build 1,100 battery-swap stations nationwide by 2020. Each station covers the space of three parking lots. It can swap electric vehicle batteries in just three minutes.

Drivers in China's first-tier cities will be able to find a battery-swap station within 3 km, Li said.

Less than one-third of Chinese urban households can install electric car chargers at home due to the lack of family-owed parking spaces.

Li said the company plans to work with the State Power Grid to link its chargers with the power network along highways, so that recharging electric vehicles is more convenient than filling up at gas stations.

Always-on, another new smart car developer, launched its SUV EX5 model in Shanghai last week. It focuses on smart driving. Priced at 200,000 yuan, the car will be available to customers in the second half of 2018. Chinese consumers have already been able to buy the EV 10, an electric car produced by Chinese Internet firm Deercc.

The company hopes to sell 2,000 EV10 cars this year.

The model is priced between 59,800 yuan to 67,800 yuan with subsidies.

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba has teamed up with car manufacturer SAIC to set up Banma (Zebra in English), to develop China's first internet car, the RX5.

The upgraded model, available in October, serves as a smart terminal allowing drivers to surf the internet free while offering a number of user-friendly remote-control functions.

Xinhua

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[Short Torque]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375053.htm Subaru CEO returns part of his salary

The CEO of Japanese automaker Subaru said he and all the other executives would return part of their pay until next March, following an inspection scandal at the company. Last month Subaru recalled 395,000 vehicles from its domestic market, after announcing in October that it had allowed uncertified staff to conduct inspections of some vehicles. Nine models, including a sports car that Subaru manufactures for Toyota, were recalled, but vehicles sold overseas were not affected. The recall is estimated to have cost 20 billion yen ($178 million), according to the automaker.

Renault, Ubisoft partner up in VR

The two companies announced on Dec 19 a joint venture which will allow drivers to experience virtual reality entertainment while their autonomous car drives itself. Ubisoft unveiled VR kit designed specifically for Renault's autonomous vehicle. The innovation extends from a partnership with the Renault Symbioz Demo Car project established last September. Ubisoft showcased its gear on a section of highway, north of Paris, where Renault road tested its Symbioz demonstration vehicle, in real-life conditions.

Transmission awards first of kind in world

The first World Top 10 Transmission Awards were given to automatic, continuously variable, dual-clutch and dedicated hybrid transmissions. Winners were the Great Wall 7-speed DCT, Volkswagen DQ380 and DQ 500 DSGs, Mercedes-Benz 9-speed G-Tronic, SAIC EDU DHT, ZF 9-speed AT, Honda ECVT, Shengrui 8-speed AT, GM 9-speed Hydra-Matic, and SAIC GM Electric Range Extender Vehicle system. Organized by CarBingo on Nov 11 in Beijing, the award is the first and the only one of its kind in the world. Twenty-eight mass-produced vehicles and transmissions involved this event, including. More than 10 experts from China, Germany, Japan and the United States evaluated the vehicles and transmissions on professional testing ground.

PSA replaces Asia chief after sales slump

PSA Group is replacing its head of Asian operations, as the maker of Peugeot and Citroen cars struggles to stem a sales slump in China. Denis Martin, 61, who managed the China and Southeast Asia region since 2016, is leaving to pursue "personal projects", and will be succeeded in the role by Carlos Gomes, who currently leads Latin America. The carmaker has been trying with little success to ditch its image as a budget brand with drab designs in China. The nation is a crucial counterweight for PSA, whose reliance on Europe pushed it to the brink of bankruptcy three years ago.

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[New arrivals]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/25/content_35375052.htm Huachen Zhonghua V6 SUV

The Huachen Zhonghua V6 SUV was launched on Friday in Beijing. The 5-seat SUV has two powertrain variants. With a 2.0-liter engine, it has a maximum output of 107 kilowatts and a top torque of 186 Newton meters. The model with a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine has a maximum output of 110 kW and a top torque of 220 Nm. The SUV has a class-leading 2,725 millimeters wheelbase and 1,922 mm in width. It offers a 1,041 mm legroom in the first row and 949 mm in the second row. The SUV also has a number of intelligent features. Among others, it enables the driver and passengers to interact with the car in 20 language dialects and to remote control the car, with remote functions including turning on its air-conditioning.

Acura TLX-L

The second premium model in the Acura marque launched the Chinese market on Tuesday in Guangdong province. GAC Honda Acura will offer five variants of the all-new TLX-L at suggested prices ranging from 279,800-379,800 yuan ($43,320-$58,802) from Thursday. The new model - jointly developed by GAC-Honda, HMCT and HRA-O - is the automaker's first exclusive China product with Chinese customers' demands fully considered. The car body is as long as 4,981 millimeters, with the wheelbase stretched to 2.9 meters, to provide the rear passenger leg room that is competitive in the segment. All of the variants come with a panoramic "moon roof" for an expanded view, and are equipped with the ELS sound system for hearing enjoyment. The joint venture will also start local production of the Acura CDX Hybrid and another all-new model in 2018.

Volvo XC60

The Swedish premium auto maker launched its first mid-size sport utility vehicle model, developed on the Scalable Platform Architecture, on Wednesday in Chengdu. The 4,688 millimeter-long Volvo XC60 will be manufactured in the Chengdu plant. The latest model is expected to lead the segment with the company's top-notch technologies in the Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, and IntelliSafe systems - that enables automated driving in some situations. The chassis is capable of adjusting its height while driving, to match various road surfaces and the driver's demands. That's thanks to the double wishbone suspension, applied for the first time in a mid-size car, besides the optional air suspensions. The new model's suggested price starts from 369,900 yuan ($57,270) for the T4 variant, to 609,900 yuan for the top configured T8 E-Drive hybrid variant, and the first 6,666 buyers will receive two years free insurance.

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2017-12-25 07:32:35
<![CDATA[The great reindeer tribe]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35269029.htm In a remote village in the northeastern district of Hulunbuir, in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, herders raise their reindeer the old-fashioned way, by keeping them half-wild in the forest.

The village of Aoluguya of the Ewenki ethnic group is known as the "home of the last hunting tribe" in China. But villagers have turned into guards as well, protecting the reindeer from hunters since August 2003, when the country called for "ecological migration" to better protect the forests along the Greater Hinggan Mountains.

In recent years, there have been only about 1,200 reindeer in the entire village. How to increase the population poses a great challenge for the Ewenki herders.

Their reindeer usually forage in the forests of the Greater Hinggan Mountains and return to the herders' tents every few days for salt.

From September to October each year is the mating season for reindeer. The males fight each other, and the victors guide the whole group deep into the mountains. The herders must go to the mountains to find and return the reindeer to ensure they won't be killed by poachers. The search process can be troubling and time-consuming.

The village has gained much attention recently on the internet, thanks to The Great Tribe, a documentary series that records 100 endangered villages in China. As the documentary points out, few young people today choose to stay in the forest with the reindeer. There are only 15 herders' tents in the village, guarded by the older generation.

Contact the writers through xiaoxiangyi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Wu Xusheng, 44, an Ewenki herder, lights up a mixture of bark, reindeer excrement and waste wood to call his reindeer. The smoke is a signal that guides the reindeer group to return home.

 

 

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[Chengdu An Ideal New Economy Hub]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35260277.htm Western megacity has many advantages in developing the next-generation globally competitive industrial system

Chengdu has formulated an answer to how a city can transform itself and stand out from the competition by developing the new economy.

The city announced plans to build a new, globally competitive industrial system that will promote regional prosperity at the New Economic Development Conference held in November.

The authorities said the output value of Chengdu's new economy is expected to reach up to 500 billion yuan ($75.6 billion) by 2022.

The conference consensus was that, driven by new technologies, comprising new organizations and supported by new industries, the new economy will make breakthroughs by establishing new models.

By 2022, Chengdu's scientific and technical strength is expected to top lists nationwide. A total of 4.3 percent of total government expenditure will be poured into research and development, putting the city's R&D strength at the forefront of the nation.

Chengdu plans to attract 100,000 new-economy-related companies, including seven unicorn enterprises - startup companies valued at over $1 billion - and more than 60 potential unicorn companies by 2022.

Six industrial clusters are to be formed by 2022, each with an annual output value of 100 billion yuan, in sectors such as biomedicine, automobile components, intelligent manufacturing, rail transportation, energy conservation and environmental protection, and cultural creativity.

E-commerce transaction volumes in the city are expected to reach 2.2 trillion yuan by 2022, and a group of shared economy platforms with transaction volumes surpassing 10 billion yuan each will be established.

Zhou Cheng is director of the policy research office of Chengdu's new economy committee founded earlier this year, the first such governmental organization in China. He said the city will focus on concepts such as digital, intelligent, green and creative, as well as on higher online traffic and the shared economy, based on its strong human resources and industrial foundation.

"Without specific applications, no technologies or strengths can be transformed into actual products or services," Zhou said.

Chengdu said it will construct an application-focused environment that encourages the development of the new economy, creating more opportunities for companies and markets, he said.

This environment will serve the real economy; promote the construction of a smart city, technological innovation and entrepreneurship; attract human resources; boost green development; upgrade consumption patterns, and innovative the modern supply chain.

Chengdu was named the top city among 15 of its peers for commercial charm by the China Business Network in May. It was also crowned the Best Performing Chinese City by the Milken Institute.

According to the 2016-17 Chinese cities competitiveness report released by CCID Consulting, Chengdu ranked No 1 among cities in central and western China.

Chengdu has many technological professionals, thanks to its 56 universities, 30 national scientific institutes and 318 military companies. Altogether there are about 5 million professionals in different fields living in the city.

It ranks No 3 among the most popular cities for overseas returnees to launch their own businesses, according to a report released by think tank Center for China & Globalization and online job-hunting platform Zhaopin in August.

As a city with a population that ranks No 4 nationwide, Chengdu has a vast consumer base.

Locals are quick to accept new consumption patterns, with higher adoption levels of internet wealth management, travel booking and online shopping than the national average.

The Chengdu New Economy Development Research Institute was founded in late September to provide advice for the city and the country.

Zhou Tao, executive president of the research institute and professor at the Chengdu-based University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said the city has varied industrial bases for developing electronic information, healthcare, modern finance and advanced manufacturing.

Unicorn companies are most likely to come from the healthcare, electronic information and modern finance sectors, he added.

Wu Jinxi, director of the strategic emerging industries research center at the school of social sciences of Tsinghua University, said he has much confidence in Chengdu, "a very energetic city". He said: "Its economic structure is moving toward a bright destination."

The six focuses of the new economy put forward by Chengdu represent the hot topics in global innovation, including information technology and new energy, which all have great potential, Wu said.

In addition, Chengdu has many companies in emerging new industries, including software, creativity and services, which may also boost the local economy, Wu said.

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[Businesses flock to innovative center]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35260276.htm The Chengdu city government announced at a conference on Nov 9 that it will develop the new economy as a strategic driving force for local growth, to build a modern economic system. Since then, a group of related projects have started to gather in the capital of Sichuan province.

Two weeks after the conference, nine projects were signed at the Chengdu Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, with a total investment of 18.86 billion yuan ($2.85 billion). They cover diverse fields, including new retail, big data, artificial intelligence and healthcare.

At the signing ceremony on Nov 23, Guoxiaomei, a startup focusing on building self-service convenience stores for companies, said it will invest 5 billion yuan to construct its national headquarters and an industrial center at the zone.

The construction project also includes an operations center, a customer service center, artificial intelligence labs, smart hardware and logistics, as well as 100,000 square meters of intelligent warehouse management and supply chain systems.

Less than six months after its establishment, Guoxiaomei has secured over 400 million yuan of financing from several top venture capital firms, such as Alibaba and IDG Capital. With about 200 employees, the company has provided services to more than 1,500 companies nationwide.

Cainiao Network Technology, the logistics arm of Alibaba, plans to invest 3 billion yuan to build a regional operations center to deal with businesses in western and southern China.

Li Jun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, announced the opening of a smart, internet-connected cars innovation center at the zone, with a total investment of 100 million yuan. It aims to build a new auto industry system highlighting the interaction among the drivers, the cars and the internet.

With its ideal environment for developing the new economy, Chengdu has been fostering a batch of potential unicorn companies - startups with a more than $1 billion market value.

The city is currently home to 31 potential unicorns. They cover nine industries such as healthcare, culture and entertainment, big data and new media, according to Greatwall Strategy Consultants.

Xgimi Technology, a company focusing on design, research and production of no-screen projector televisions, is one of them. Statistics from Beijing-based research firm Analysys showed that Xgimi ranked No 1 in 2015 in China's intelligent projection markets, with a 51.4 percent market share.

Zhong Bo, founder and CEO of the company, said Xgimi plans to build an international display technology research center and a precision optical device manufacturing center by working with its global leading partners.

Idealsee Technology, a virtual reality products company, moved its production plant from Shenzhen to Chengdu on Nov 2, with its 10 newly developed VR devices rolling off the production line that day at Aplus Labs, a business incubator in the city.

Since 2012, Idealsee has grown from a small firm of several employees into a company with about 200 staff members.

Li Xinyu, vice-president of the company, said he chose Chengdu because the city has a favorable business climate and can offer many high-quality employees due to its rich educational resources.

"The city government is willing to support companies to explore unknown and emerging fields, which is very valuable for startups," Li said.

By 2020, Chengdu plans to foster more than 100,000 new economy companies, including seven unicorns and 60 potential unicorns.

haonan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[City of Hibiscus puts creative thinking cap on to spur growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35260275.htm The development of the creative industry in Chengdu, also known as the City of Hibiscus, will be expanded to a new level, fueling overall economic growth, according to officials.

The city government said at a new economy conference held on Nov 9 that it will focus on the development of six major related sectors in the coming years, including the creative industry.

Chengdu plans to highlight the cultivation of the intellectual property economy in fields such as music making, mobile and video games, history and literature, and film and animation production.

Officials said it will continue to make efforts to become a model for the digital creative industry in China and a leading international music city, by organizing high-quality activities.

These will include the International Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Chengdu Creativity and Design Week, and the International Music Industry Expo.

The fourth Chengdu Creativity and Design Week was held from Nov 10-13 at the Chengdu Century City New International Convention and Exhibition Center.

A creativity index system was released at the event, revealing that Chengdu's cultural and creative industries are at the forefront of development and economic growth, ranking No 3 in the country, after Beijing and Shanghai.

The Chengdu Creativity and Design Week also ranked No 3 nationwide, showing a huge potential for future growth of the city's new economy.

This year's event attracted about 155,000 visitors, and contracts worth a total 3.56 billion yuan ($538.89 million) were signed.

It featured a raft of diverse activities, such as an industrial expo, an international design forum and the Golden Panda Cultural and Creative Design Award.

International pavilions were set up at the industrial expo for the first time, attracting nearly 1,000 designers and 700 agencies from over 20 countries and regions, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia and Sweden.

Su Tong, director of the Creative City Design Center's experts committee, believes Chengdu is an ideal place for designers and innovators.

"The city has obvious advantages in developing its cultural and creative industries, as it has been an important city throughout its history," Su said.

"Chengdu could become a development model of China's new economy by focusing on the creative industries as an important strategy for future growth," Su added.

Zhang Lan, public relations director at Skymoons, a local mobile game developer with an estimated value of $615 million, said he expected a stronger entertainment industry chain in Chengdu with increasing original content.

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[China Marine Economy Expo to float the boats of 2017 visitors]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35260274.htm The annual China Marine Economy Expo will swing into action again in Zhanjiang, Guangdong province, on Dec 14-17, to promote global marine industrial communications and development.

Hosted by the State Oceanic Administration and Guangdong provincial government, the expo is the only State-level comprehensive marine-themed expo in China.

This year, the fair is expected to attract more than 3,000 exhibitors and more than 50,000 professionals from both home and abroad. The total number of visitors should exceed 300,000, according to the event's organizers.

Organizers said that this year's fair will combine exhibitions with trade, compared with previous shows which focused purely on exhibitions.

The Zhanjiang government signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with the China Foreign Trade Center, the organizers of China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, in September, aimed at upgrading the annual grand gathering for the marine industry.

Officials said that Zhanjiang hoped the new partnership could turn the expo into a more professional and international event.

The 2017 fair will have five zones - the national pavilion zone, industrial pavilion zone, tourism and culture demonstration zone, a goods exhibition and trading zone as well as a zone for people to experience new products or services.

The show will focus on demonstrating the latest innovation in marine vessels, port logistic services, marine energy, marine engineering equipment, marine technology and tourism, as well as other areas.

It will also display state-of-the-art technologies in the marine services sector, such as maritime information, the application of big data, positioning and navigation.

Leading companies in the marine industry, including China Shipbuilding Industry Corp and China National Petroleum Corp, will display their latest products and industrial solutions in the four-day expo. Some financial service providers will also attend the exhibition.

Apart from showing visitors the latest products and services, the fair will provide information for people to learn about new trends in the marine industry.

The State Oceanic Administration will release a China Ocean Economic Development Index and invite leading industry figures to the expo, on the sidelines of the event.

An array of professional forums will be held during the expo. Government officials, experts and business leaders both from home and abroad will deliver keynote speeches and hold in-depth discussions on new models and approaches to the development of marine economy.

This year, expo organizers will upgrade the online platforms so people who cannot go to Zhanjiang can still participate in the online expo.

The official website and its WeChat account have also been upgraded to enhance the experience of visitors and participants.

The expo, launched in 2012, has become an important platform to promote China's Belt and Road Initiative, the marine economy and trade on the global stage.

Organizers say the event's strong brand awareness attracts increasing numbers of visitors and businesses from various countries.

Statistics from event organizers show representatives from 53 countries participated in the expo in 2016, up from 32 in 2014.

The number of exhibitors hit 3,100 in 2016, an increase from 1,300 in 2014. Last year the show's transaction volume totaled 43.9 billion yuan ($6.64 billion), an almost two-fold increase on the 2014 level.

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[GAC Motor provides fleet for Fortune Global Forum in major brand boost]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/10/content_35260273.htm GAC Motor has become the car and mobility provider for the 2017 Fortune Global Forum currently taking place in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, a sign of the Chinese carmaker's fast growth and rising brand recognition. The Guangzhou-headquartered carmaker is providing 380 GA8 sedans, GS8 SUVs and GM8 multi-purpose vehicles for participants of the forum, including government officials, senior business executives and leading economists.

"This has demonstrated GAC Motor's innovative spirit and the world's confidence in intelligent manufacturing in China," said Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor.

"The event will help to showcase our high-end products, enhance our brand awareness worldwide and lead China's intelligent manufacturing onto the global stage," he added.

GAC Motor is the first Chinese carmaker that has a full range of C-class models.

Its GA8 sedan, hailed as an example of China's high-end manufacturing, has received wide acclaim at a number of international summits, such as the Summer Davos, the G20 Summit and the China-ASEAN Exposition.

Thanks to its world-class quality, the GA8 has been a leader in Chinese-branded C-class sedans for months in a row, making GAC Motor even more confident to face foreign brands in the fiercely competitive car market.

The GS8 SUV is widely recognized as a landmark in Chinese brands' efforts to go up in the market.

It is one of the first Chinese SUVs to carry a price tag of more than 200,000 yuan ($30,250), a price that had previously been dubbed the ceiling for Chinese brands.

In November, thanks to an increase in transmission supplies, GAC Motor sold more than 10,000 GS8 SUVs.

That has helped the model to defeat some popular foreign brands, regaining its crown as the bestselling seven-seat SUV in China.

The GM8 is GAC Motor's first effort to tap into the high-end MPV market, which it considers to be very important to its future business growth.

Its target consumers are successful and family-oriented ones who have developed a demand for a quality family life, the carmaker said.

The MPV was unveiled last month at the Guangzhou auto show, with a pre-sale price from 180,000 to 270,000 yuan, a competitive price for consumers who have developed a taste for a higher quality MPV. It will hit the market in December.

Efforts paying of

To date, GAC Motor has released a full range of seven SUV models onto the market, including compact, mid-sized and large models, as well as an electric one.

Since its establishment, GAC Motor has targeted the medium and high-end market, and has been building up its core competitiveness by focusing on innovation, quality and international standards.

"The efforts have paid of," Yu said, adding that GAC Motor is one of the fastest growing carmakers in China, with an annual compound growth rate of 85 percent over the past six years.

It sold 468,313 cars in the first 11 months of this year, an increase of 38.2 percent year-on-year, much higher than the industry's average growth rate.

GAC Motor has set a goal of selling 500,000 vehicles in 2017 and 1 million in 2020, with the release of 20 to 30 sedan, SUV and MPV models in the years ahead.

The company is also planning to expand its sales in key markets in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Africa, with the introduction of its high-end GA8 and GS8 models to the overseas market.

Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, introduces the company's vision to the media during the 2017 Guangzhou auto show in November.Photos provided to China Daily 

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2017-12-10 14:29:53
<![CDATA[Chancheng district embraces high-tech in its bid to cut red tape]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250643.htm Chancheng district, the central district in Foshan in Guangdong province, has become a model for the successful integration of information technology and data processing within its administration, officials said.

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Officials say arrival of the age of information poses challenges that must be met

Chancheng district, the central district in Foshan in Guangdong province, has become a model for the successful integration of information technology and data processing within its administration, officials said.

That process has helped the district's public services to reach new levels of transparency and heightened efficiency.

District officials said that progress was the fruit of key initiatives made a few years ago.

In March 2014, Chancheng launched what it called a "one-gate" service - integrating data from the departments of industry and business, housing management, tax, public security, social insurance and civil administration - into one window at the district's services hall.

Big data and modern monitoring technology have been utilized to establish a comprehensive management platform, which provides solutions and courses of action to be taken in response to emergencies ranging from traffic accidents to street brawls.

In October, the district launched its app on mobile devices - named Lingpaotui - literally means zero legwork, which enables its users to access 20 public services at home.

Officials said the arrival of the age of information has brought a lot of challenges that need to be met.

Liu Donghao, Party secretary of Chancheng district, said the district must grasp the opportunities to be found in the new information age and the administration should catch up with the changes in society.

Liu said the one-gate service is a concrete measure Chancheng has undertaken to streamline its government authorities.

"It involves a transformation of the administration from a government-oriented to a services-oriented approach.

"Based on the needs of the people and markets we served, we delegated a part of the government's authority to an information processing system," he said.

"Before the reform, part of the administrative process depended on an individual understanding (of the system)," Liu said. "This, to some extent, made the administrative procedure and system impartial and rational." Liu added that after the change to the new streamlined system, information now could be collected through the service windows and the internet, making it unnecessary for people to run from one department to another. "The second highlight of our system is the utilization of information technology. Big data technology is used to confirm the unique identity of a person," Liu said.

In 2016, Chancheng launched a key project using blockchain technology, trying to build up a digital package for its people.

Blockchain utilizes a secure data structure that enables identifying and tracking transactions digitally and sharing the information across computer networks.

Officials said the Chancheng platform records information collected through the service windows, the mobile app and other channels and makes a profile of an individual's life.

Liu said the resultant, much improved, public services would contribute to an enhanced business environment for companies and business startups.

This, he said, could become a key tool to attract high-profile business leaders to launch their operations in Chancheng district. Next year is expected to see still deeper integration of the new data and information technology with the district's public services.

By then, there will be more services that can be finished at home on individuals' mobile devices.

Officials said companies would see faster and more convenient services in areas including administrative approvals, tax and business licenses.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Tech system aims to improve the lot of residents]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250642.htm An integral part of people's lives is their inexorable dealings with governmental departments, sometimes in a multitude of areas - be they taxes, residential registrations or marriage registrations.

Sometimes when a case involves different departments, they have to run the gamut of bureaucracy, traipsing across the city and tramping from building to building and office to office, lugging around all sorts of documents, so they can talk with different people about the same thing.

The obvious solution - which all too often remains a fantasy for those who dream of logical systems in a world overrun by red tape and chaos - is a one-stop, one size fits all, government portal.

In 2014, the district launched its "one-gate" services platform, which enables local citizens to access more than 600 services at one window in the district-level services hall. Besides less legwork, the average waiting time for people there has been reduced from up to 15 minutes to around five minutes. People now need to take appreciably less paperwork with them because the same documents are used repeatedly at the services window.

More added services are also realized in the self-help area. People can fill in forms, pay their car fines, redo their identity cards and apply for visas to Hong Kong and Macao on machines by themselves. "I plan to visit Hong Kong next month so I came here. The machine only took 30 seconds to get my visa ready," said Wu Qiaoqiao, a 55-year-old Chancheng resident.

According to a satisfaction poll released by the services hall, 99.93 percent of the people who used the one-gate service at the window thought it satisfactory.

Couples can also get their marriage registrations there in a special prepared hall, which caters for wedding pictures. To date, six one-gate service halls have been set up in the district.

Since September 2014, the platform has received a total of 5.79 million cases and more than half of them were completed on the spot. It takes only 10 minutes on average to successfully process a case, according to one official.

"The motto of the platform is not to let the information run," said Liu Donghao, Party secretary of Chancheng district.

"The core value underlying the platform is to streamline administration and to delegate power, which is realized through the information system."

The service platform also performs as a data collector of all the statistics recorded on the customers.

Based on the statistics, a rich data base of residents and companies in the district has taken form, which involves more than 300 million pieces of information.

The one-gate service platform won the award as a best example of innovative society management in 2015 and has been recognized nationally elsewhere.

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Startups get a boost from streamlined processes]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250641.htm Chancheng district in the city of Foshan is actively supporting startup businesses that are opening there with streamlined and simplified administrative procedures and a more attractive recruitment policy, according to a senior local government official.

The district took the initiative in 2014 when it launched a new registration process for businesses that wanted to be set up in the district, through its "one-gate" system.

Using its refined service system, applicants can hand in documents and finish all the registration procedures at one window in the district's services hall. The service utilizes information technology.

After classifying materials handed in by the applicants, the system can send out their information via the internet to the relevant government departments.

No matter how many departments are involved in dealing with a case, the data can be sent out quickly and accurately by the staff working at the window. The district initiated the reform of its industrial and commercial licenses system last October.

It integrated the business license, organization code certificate, tax certificate, social insurance certificate and statistical registration certificate into one application process.

Officials said that by the end of July this year, the district had issued a total of 39,499 integrated licenses for companies, the paperwork necessary to run a business in the district.

Besides the registration reforms, officials said the district is making a big effort to attract highly skilled staff.

It has introduced preferential treatment for their children to join local schools and handed out awards to employees who have made outstanding achievements and contributions.

In addition, the district has opened regional recruitment offices in major Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Wuhan, Xi'an, Changsha, Liuzhou and Jingdezhen - as well as overseas in countries including the United States, Japan and Ireland.

"The main strength of innovation and high-tech companies is the young generation," said Liu Donghao, Party secretary of the Chancheng district.

Liu said society should give younger people enough opportunities to realize their goals.

"Besides technological innovation, we should pay attention to institutional innovation," he added.

To upgrade its industrial structure and pursue greener development, Chancheng is currently moving to attract more high-tech-driven companies, ranging from intelligent manufacturing, information technology, new energy and materials to advanced equipment and the biomedical industry.

Foshan is located in Pearl River Delta, a one-hour drive by highway from Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. There is also a subway system connecting the two cities, which also takes around half an hour.

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Dynamic new govt services platform set for smartphones]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250640.htm Chancheng district in the city of Foshan launched an e-government services platform for smartphones on Oct 30, allowing citizens to receive 20 government services at anywhere at any time.

Those services range from personal insurance certificates, tax payments and elderly pensions, recruitment, and living allowances for disabled people.

The app is called Lingpaotui, which literally means zero legwork. Of the 20 government services, users can finish eight without the need to hand over any materials.

If users require a printed version, the app will contact the staff members in the relevant government organizations who print the materials out and send them by post.

Before using the Lingpaotui app, citizens need to download another app called IMI, short for intelligent multifunctional identity, which is used to help citizens to prove their identities over the internet.

Since 2014, the local government in Chancheng district has tested out a "one-gate" governmental service platform, which condenses all the administrative services otherwise performed by different governmental departments to one window in a district hall.

"But the catch is that people have to physically go to the window. People want to receive government services at home," said Liu Donghao, Party secretary of Chancheng district.

Liu said to make that happen, the major questions that had to be dealt with were identification of the user and the authenticity of the material being passed over the internet.

"If we can solve the two issues properly, there is no difference whether people come to the service windows in reality or not," Liu said.

"Blockchain technology is the key point of the solution." The app was designed with the support of blockchain - cutting-edge chain technology used for secure information transfers - and big data. The data collected through IMI is unalterable and safe when transmitted. The accuracy of the data is secured by mutual verification of separate data collectors.

The IMI app is an encrypted digital space for its users. Differing from fingerprints, face recognition or passwords, it cannot be misused or stolen by other people, which makes it the ideal tool to prove the uniqueness of an individual, according to Liu. Besides governmental services, the IMI app can be linked to local hospitals and libraries, saving a lot of time for citizens wanting to see their doctors, get their healthcare insurance or borrow books.

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[A magnet for foreign investments]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250639.htm Shanghai has always been at the forefront of economic reform and opening-up in China, and is one of the key bases for attracting foreign investment in the country.

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A good environment, large talent pool and efficient transport system make Shanghai a top business destination

Shanghai has always been at the forefront of economic reform and opening-up in China, and is one of the key bases for attracting foreign investment in the country.

According to statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, the city had attracted 90,900 foreign investment projects with a contracted investment value of $414 billion as of the end of October. Shanghai also accounts for one-seventh of all investments in China.

The city is also home to a large number of regional headquarters. As of the end of October, there were 616 multinational companies headquartered in Shanghai. Sixty-seven of them were established to oversee operations in the Asia Pacific region.

Shanghai's competitiveness

An excellent business environment, massive investments in innovation and a large, high quality talent pool are major factors that draw multinational giants to set up shops in Shanghai.

The city's extensive and efficient transportation network is another plus point. According to the authorities, more than 100 million people traveled from Shanghai's two airports last year. In addition, the city's container throughput reached 37 million twenty-foot equivalent units or TEU in 2016, topping the world rankings for the seventh consecutive year.

The Lujiazui Financial Zone in the city is today a vibrant platform for leading financial institutions in the world. By the end of 2016, 1,515 financial institutions were based in Shanghai, contributing to the yearly trading volume of 1,365 trillion yuan ($206.3 trillion).

One of the main reasons behind Shanghai's robust development is its openness to the outside world. The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, which was established in September 2013, is one of the prime examples.

China's first negative list for foreign investors, which was introduced to manage foreign capital in an internationally-recognized manner, was released in Shanghai.

Over the past few years, Shanghai has also introduced 54 measures to expand the scope of opening-up, and this has in turn attracted more than 2,300 projects to the FTZ, including the first wholly foreign-invested hospital in China. Another example of its commitment to openness is the plan to build a free trade port.

A keen focus on innovation, which is evidenced by the huge amounts of investment fl owing into this sector, is another key reason why foreign companies are entering Shanghai. In 2016, research and development expenditure in Shanghai hit 103 billion yuan, accounting for 3.8 percent of Shanghai's GDP.

An increasing number of foreign companies have built innovation facilities in Shanghai to better serve local clients. As of the end of October, there are 419 foreign-invested R&D centers in Shanghai that have trained more than 40,000 Chinese engineers, according to official statistics.

Officials from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce said that there is a new trend emerging where many foreign innovation centers are providing industrial solutions in Shanghai for the global market.

Shanghai presently has a large talent pool of about 200,000 R&D professionals. The city is also home to leading educational institutions such as Fudan University and Tongji University. About 100,000 university students graduate in the city every year.

Based on latest government figures, about 31 percent of workers in the city are recognized as highly skilled workers. Furthermore, the 46th WorldSkills Competition, one of the largest vocational skills competitions in the world, will take place in Shanghai in 2021. The event will encourage skilled workers in Shanghai to pay more attention to professional training.

To attract high-caliber professionals, Shanghai has been introducing a slew of measures, such as fast-track VISA approval and permanent residency permits.

Forging a better environment

Shanghai, which aims to be China's strongest magnet for foreign capital, has constantly strived to develop a world-class business environment for global investors.

In October, the Shanghai government released 16 policies to encourage foreign-funded R&D centers to support the city's efforts to be a world-class science and innovation hub. Earlier this year, authorities released updated policies to encourage multinational companies to launch regional headquarters in the city.

It also released a three-year action plan to encourage the manufacturing industry in Shanghai to utilize more foreign capital.

In the coming years, Shanghai will further expand its scope of opening-up and accelerate the building of a new system for an open economy.

More foreign capital will fl ow into the professional service fields as well as industries such as finance, telecommunication, culture, repair and maintenance and shipping service.

New standards will also be implemented in regional headquarters to serve multinational companies' changing needs. It will also encourage companies to upgrade their existing regional headquarters.

Foreign-funded R&D centers that can play a strategic role in the companies' global innovation networks will enjoy more support from the Shanghai government. The city is also encouraging foreign companies to develop new R&D models that can support the innovation drive by local enterprises.

Shanghai will encourage more foreign R&D centers to participate in government projects.

In the manufacturing sector, new emerging and product service industries will be welcoming foreign capital. More policy support will be given to businesses that promote technological upgrade and invest in commercial land.

Shanghai will take measures to improve the efficiency of trade so companies can more conveniently purchase products and service around the globe at lower costs.

The city is also focused on providing a sound legal system, particularly in the intellectual property rights field, to support technological innovation. This can be seen in the construction of the China (Pudong) Intellectual Property Protection Center, the first of its kind in China, which started in July. The center, which is approved by the State Intellectual Property Office, will provide quick patent checks and react quickly to intellectual property related disputes.

Shanghai will continue to streamline administrative procedures to raise efficiency levels. For instance, the review and approval process for setting up and making significant adjustments to foreign enterprises will soon be replaced by a simple filing process. These efforts will help businesses to lower their operational costs and aid long-term growth.

The city will also be looking for ways to open more fundraising channels for foreign companies. This year, two foreign companies were listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange while another company managed to raise 2.5 billion yuan by issuing corporate bonds in China.

 

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Unilever confident of future in China]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250638.htm Shanghai's efforts to enhance its business environment has strongly supported global consumer goods giant Unilever's development in China.

"Shanghai has a good business environment, efficient government service system and excellent infrastructure and is home to many first-class academic institutions, which make us confident about future development," said Rohit Jawa, executive vice-president of Unilever North Asia.

The company presently has more than 10 brands in the Chinese market, including tea brand Lipton, personal and beauty care brand Dove and food brand Wall's. Its products are consumed by more than 130 million families in China.

Since its entry into China in 1986, Unilever has always regarded the country as one of its most important markets in the world.

In 2006, the company set up its regional headquarters in Changning district of Shanghai. Many of the company's management departments were moved to the city.

Unilever then invested about $60 million into creating a new research and development center in Shanghai in 2009. The facility, which is one of six Unilever research centers worldwide, plays a strategic role in Unilever's extensive R&D network, spanning the entire spectrum of business streams.

One of the R&D center's key focus is on increasing the range of natural elements used in Unilever's products so as to better serve demand of local consumers. It plans to further strengthen its R&D efforts in Shanghai and leverage its global resources to better serve its "China for China" innovation strategy.

"Increasingly, we are able to develop products with unique qualities that are there for the Chinese markets. We have about 200 patents here. This is an R&D center that will continue to grow," Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, said when he visited Shanghai in June.

The regional base in Shanghai was upgraded to the North Asia headquarters in September 2011. It has been tasked with overseeing businesses in other countries such as Japan and South Korea.

To date, Unilever has invested up to $2 billion in the Chinese market, creating more than 23,000 job opportunities in China and hiring more than 7,000 local people. The company is also looking to strengthen its position in China by bolstering its localization efforts. Ninety percent of Unilever's managers are recruited and trained in China.

"Localized employees and management will have better knowledge about the demands of Chinese consumers," Jawa said.

Unilever is one of the first multinationals to enter Shanghai. For the past 30 years, Unilever has witnessed the opening-up, development and transformation of Shanghai.

"Unilever has a long-term commitment to the China market. We are very excited about the future of Shanghai, and we firmly hope to continue to participate in the Shanghai Master Plan toward 2040," Jawa said.

 

Unilever, one of the global consumer goods giants, first entered China in 1986.Provided to China Daily

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[General Electric hoping to play key role in city's growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250637.htm Streamlined administration and better service platforms from local governments have provided strong support in capturing the business opportunities that have emerged from China's economic transformation, according to United States-based digital industrial solutions provider, General Electric.

GE, which started conducting business in China back in 1906 and today has more than 20,000 employees across 40 cities in the country, has maintained a strong focus on local market capabilities as part of its China strategy.

It pinpointed localization, partnership and digitization as the three key initiatives to drive its future development by meeting the country's "mega-needs" in power, healthcare and aviation.

"All three of these industrial sectors are key areas that GE is focusing on. We have worked to strengthen our local market capabilities and increase our responsiveness to local needs, so that we can better serve the world's largest infrastructure market," said Rachel Duan, senior vice-president of GE, and president and CEO of GE China.

In light of China's Internet Plus and Made in China 2025 strategies, GE China launched its Digital Foundry in 2016 and GE Aviation Digital Repair Technology Development Center in 2017 - both located at its China headquarters in Shanghai.

"GE is optimistic about the opportunities present in Shanghai, and the launch of these two projects will play a significant role in supporting GE's future development," said Duan.

"The Shanghai government and related departments have provided strong support to GE for these projects, listening to our requirements and helping to solve problems."

She added that GE has taken advantage of Shanghai's efforts in opening-up and building a quality talent pool, noting that the city's premium talent service mechanisms are attractive to global professionals.

"The Shanghai government has been striving to make the business environment in Shanghai more predictable, transparent and stable, which has helped GE to lower operational costs," Duan said, noting that GE has enjoyed greater efficiencies after the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was launched in 2013.

"The new policies applied by administrative departments such as Shanghai Customs and the Shanghai Administration for Industry& Commerce bring real benefits to GE and our customers," Duan said.

GE also launched an Asia-Pacific distribution center in Shanghai's Waigaoqiao zone in December 2015. According to Duan, this decision was driven largely by the city's ideal geographical location and the favorable policies in place to support advanced logistic and supply chain management systems.

Duan said that GE will remain committed to its operations in Shanghai to support its Chinese customers.

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Foshan's real economy to fulfill its promise]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250636.htm Foshan in southern China's Guangdong province is pushing its real economy to go global, on the way to constructing an intelligent international manufacturing center, local officials said.

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Local companies encouraged to be more dynamic and imaginative in looking abroad

Foshan in southern China's Guangdong province is pushing its real economy to go global, on the way to constructing an intelligent international manufacturing center, local officials said.

"Local companies should transform from participants in the industrial chain to leaders, from followers of standards in technologies to become pioneers, and from manufacturers to innovators of self-owned and international brands," said Lu Yi, Party chief of Foshan.

From January to June, total overseas direct investment in Foshan reached about $8.5 billion, fl owing from about 310 companies or institutes, statistics from the city government show.

That represents a huge increase from investment levels of $3.45 billion from 2012 to 2016.

More local companies followed different paths in working with international investors including mergers and acquisitions, exploration of international markets, as well as construction and operation of overseas industrial parks, Lu said.

Foshan-based home appliances giant Midea, home building materials producer China Lesso Group and Guangdong Yizumi Precision Machinery, an injection molding and die casting machine-maker, have all made big moves to go global in recent years.

Their experiences have provided an example for others to learn from, Lu added.

Yizumi's German research center was set up last month, where engineers and experts will be hired to help to explore manufacturing of light auto parts, said General Manager Zhen Ronghui.

The company bought the intellectual property of the United States-based HPM and established technical service centers in more than 60 countries and regions in the world.

Its Indian factory went into operation in June and another new factory started in October, he said.

Foshan-based China Lesso, with a history spanning more than 30 years, was listed in Hong Kong as a major plastics piping producer.

It established a global online-to-offline sales platform in November last year, based on its production facilities, storage and logistics systems and shops in about 50 countries, said Zuo Manlun, president of the company.

Chinese home building materials companies can link with foreign purchasers through the platform with inspections, translations, legal and financial services provided by Lesso, he said.

The project could point the way forward for local companies to enter countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative, said Zhang Kaiji, former director of the bureau of commerce in Foshan.

Zuo added that his company also plans to build 13 building materials shopping centers in countries, including Australia, the US and Canada in five years, as part of its large-scale global chain project.

Lu said some private companies had made full use of the technologies and resources of others through mergers and acquisitions, and in return begun producing in the local market to cut costs, which was very efficient.

The GDP of Foshan grew from 670.9 billion yuan ($103.4 billion) in 2012 to 863 billion yuan in 2016, achieving an average annual growth rate of 8.6 percent, and ranking No 15 among Chinese cities, according to the Foshan government.

Midea and real estate company Country Garden were enrolled in the Fortune Global 500 list of the biggest companies in 2016.

And five local enterprises were among China's top 500 private companies, the government said.

To encourage local companies to go global, it allocated development funds.

In addition, official red tape was relaxed and companies can now complete applications for international trade at one office. An online channel for customs clearance is also accessible, the government said.

Zhu Wei, mayor of Foshan, said promoting the real economy to go global can help to promote the development of local brands, transform and upgrade the manufacturing industry, and lead to the construction of an open economy.

However, Zhu said, challenges still remained and M&A of advanced technologies and high-end brands are not enough.

"The related legal and management systems needed to be further improved." Lu said plans were being formulated. "In the future, the city will focus on introducing more technological innovative teams, high-level professionals, advanced technologies and modern management philosophy, to conform to the country's policies."

In addition, more breakthroughs in core technology were expected to play a role in setting standards and forming a flexible business environment, he added.

In 2017, Foshan is expected to reduce costs for local companies by 10 billion yuan.

It will also pour more than 500 million yuan next year into attracting high-skilled staff, he said.

"We will make Foshan manufacturing stronger through exporting local brands, technologies and services, and enlarging their operations in the global market," he said.

Design, logistics services, quality detection, marketing and supply chain management also needed to be improved to develop made-in-Foshan brands, he added.

 

Government officials and representatives from local companies signed investment agreements in Foshan, Guangdong province.Photos provided to China Daily

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Reform and opening-up policy yields top results]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250635.htm

In the wake of decades of rapid development, Foshan is playing a leading role in the economic and social landscape of Guangdong province.

Since the implementation of the national reform and opening-up policy, the GDP of Foshan has maintained an annual growth rate of 16 percent on average over the last four decades.

That makes it one of the Chinese cities with the most rapid economic development.

In 2016, Foshan's GDP was 863 billion yuan ($130.4 billion), ranking No 15 among Chinese cities and No 3 among the cities in the Pearl River Delta.

As one of the economic hubs in Guangdong, the city now is home to three major high-tech platforms.

These are the Foshan National Hi-tech Industrial Zone, the Sino-German Industrial Services Zone and the Guangdong Hi-tech Service Zone for Financial Institutions, which is a backup for developing advanced industries.

In recent years, it has actively implemented a strategy of innovation-driven development. It has integrated advanced industries in science, technology and finance, and has emphasized bringing in highly-skilled employees in targeted areas - with preferential policies and convenient transportation.

Located at the heart of the Pearl River Delta, Foshan is adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao.

Since the start of operations of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen high-speed railway and the Guangzhou-Zhuhai intercity railway, it has joined a regional transportation network.

Following the outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008-20), Foshan's government has made great efforts to promote regional integration.

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Tech, innovation centers help propel internationalization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250634.htm Companies in Foshan's Shunde district are accelerating their internationalization process by building technology and innovation centers overseas.

The Californian city of San Jose, known as the "heart of Silicon Valley", is home to a renowned group of high-tech giants including Apple, Intel and Google.

Midea Group, the leading electrical appliance manufacturer founded in Shunde in 1968, joined them this year by establishing a technology center there.

The inaugural ceremony of the Midea Emerging Technology Center was held in April.

The new facility, which has more than 930 square meters of floor space, will mainly focus on artificial intelligence, robotics, chips, sensors and other cutting-edge technologies. Midea plans to invest $250 million to support its innovation center in the next five years.

The facility currently has a team of 30 researchers led by Wang Dongyan, the first senior executive hired by Midea in Silicon Valley.

Wang, general manager of the center, is a Silicon Valley veteran with nearly 20 years of work experience at a number of international technology companies. Midea is the first Chinese company he has ever worked for.

Wang said the center had a rich choice of AI applications to explore, including computer vision, voice and natural language processing and analysis systems.

"It applies them to the fields of intelligent home appliances, manufacturing and robotics, as well as in business operations such as advertising, retail and supply chains," Wang said.

"It is a historic mission and opportunity, and I can contribute my years of AI-related work experience to the research and development of millions of smart devices and robots."

To date, the center has developed two types of intelligent household appliances and made several technological breakthroughs in the field.

The center is the second of its kind for Midea in the United States, after the Midea America Research Center was launched in January in Louisville, Kentucky.

Midea has established 17 research and development centers across the world. "We plan to allocate resources worldwide and invest more in the invisible areas - emerging sectors with potential markets - in the future," said Fang Hongbo, chairman and president of Midea Group.

Midea's acquisition of Germany's Kuka early this year is expected to inject new impetus into the Chinese company's innovation system.

A leading supplier of intelligent robotics and automation solutions, Kuka is working directly with Midea in two areas. One is to provide industrial robots to Midea to increase its manufacturing efficiency, and the other is to develop robots for households and medical services together with Midea.

Another Shunde firm, Yizumi Precision Machinery, said it plans to establish a research center at the Institute of Plastics Processing at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

The institute is the world's leading research and training institute in the field of plastics technology. Locating projects there, Yizumi expects to follow the latest development trends and learn more about cutting-edge technologies.

Hans Wobbe, Yizumi's chief strategy officer, said the first reform he planned to make was to improve the company's product quality, as internationally recognized quality was of great significance for the company's internationalization process.

Wobbe added that the company also needed to convince its international customers that it was capable of carrying out innovations in the new research center.

haonan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Strengthened ties with German businesses boost modernization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250633.htm As a strong manufacturing base in Guangdong province, Foshan has joined hands with German businesses to boost the promotion of bilateral industrial service companies.

The Sino-German Industrial Services Zone was set up in Foshan to serve as a platform to promote German industrial services and improve international exchanges.

In 2012, the Guangdong provincial government listed the services zone as one of six major cooperation platforms and a collaboration project between China and Germany.

"The services zone is a crucial window for the exchanges between companies both in China and Germany," said Guo Wenhai, Party secretary of Shunde district in Foshan.

An important economic hub, he said Foshan provided a huge boost for cooperation between companies from the two countries.

In recent years, Foshan has forged key business links with German companies.

These include the Guangdong Tanzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center set up by Hannover Milano Fairs China Ltd and Shunde district.

Elsewhere, the Robotation Academy in Foshan was founded with its counterpart in Hannover. The Industry 4.0 technology research center was also set up with RWTH Aachen University and has established an intelligent manufacturing industrial park.

In 2016, the services zone took a lead in establishing the Sino-German Industrial City Alliance, which has the aim of enhancing trade communications and business deals between cities in the two countries.

"The alliance plays a role in the dialogue between the Made in China 2025 strategy and the Germany's Industry 4.0 strategy," said Ou Bangmin, deputy secretary of the Foshan city Party committee.

He said the alliance would help to create more opportunities for the industrial development and strengthen cooperation between China and Germany.

Since 2016, the two parties have launched activities under the alliance.

These have involved mutual visits to companies, exhibitions held by the alliance and groups, and the staging of forums and conferences - achieving improved levels of cooperation in the process.

In addition, the alliance has implemented measures to improve information about services and guide companies in their moves to expand into international markets.

It has established a comprehensive information service platform to meet the needs of companies regarding investment, cooperation and purchasing.

It has set up a specialized collaboration council to integrate industry resources and collect information. The council has visited more than 80 German companies.

To date, the services zone has attracted a total of 14 German companies, including Osram, Allianz and Remondis. "There is huge potential for deals between small and medium-sized companies from China and Germany," said Zhu Xixiong, deputy director of the management office of the service zone. "The services zone is expected to realize a win-win outcome for all parties," Zhu added.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:35:35
<![CDATA[Guangzhou's Tianhe a modern, industrialized business district]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250632.htm Making use of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to become a hub

With its modern industrial system, Tianhe district in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong province, is seizing the opportunities brought about by the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to become an international first-class central business district, an international core area for innovation in science and technology, and a demonstration zone for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao cooperation.

Its solid industrial foundation and favorable business environment, as well as the government's strong policy support, attract large numbers of enterprises to the district.

By the end of November, 162 out of the Fortune Global 500 enterprises had invested in 228 projects in finance, science and technology, trade and commercial services in Tianhe. It is the city's center for headquarters, with 104, or 29 percent of the total across Guangzhou, making Tianhe's business district one of the three largest world-class central business districts in China. Among these, 95 percent of the headquarters in Tianhe are in the service sector and 25 headquarters are foreign-funded ventures.

In the first three quarters of 2017, Tianhe's GDP hit 304 billion yuan ($46 billion), up 9.5 percent year-on-year. Its GDP has been the highest among all the districts in Guangzhou for 10 years consecutively.

More importantly, experts said innovation, high-tech and service sectors have become the driving force of the district's economic growth. The district government focuses more on quality rather than quantity when it comes to the economy.

With 53 innovation platforms and 51 startup incubators above city level, the district government is carrying out what it calls its "super incubator" strategy. It is making use of old industrial parks, factory workshops and public sites collectively owned by villagers to provide a platform for startups and to foster local economic growth. So far, Tianhe has created 29 of this kind of incubators for startups and innovation, covering a total area of 1.11 million square meters. The district is also implementing a convenient "five-in-one" new business registration system.

As a center of finance and technology industries, Tianhe has 215 registered financial agencies and 33 enterprises listed on the stock market. It boasts 378 research and development institutes set up by enterprises, 86 institutes affiliated to universities and governments, and 239 engineering technology research centers.

Last year, 4,312 patent applications were submitted in Tianhe, 32 percent of the city's total and a rise of 45 percent year-on-year. Among these 1,158 patents were granted.

By the end of last year, Tianhe had 1,403 high and new-technology enterprises, as well as more than 50,000 science and technology enterprises.

The Tianhe government said it attaches great importance to optimizing the district's investment environment, developing its headquarters economy and upgrading key industries such as finance and technology. The government has enhanced its support for businesses in emerging industries, such as cloud computing, big data, the internet of things and the IAB industries - information technology, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceuticals.

Lin Daoping, Party chief of Tianhe, said: "As for the artificial intelligence industry, Tianhe would like to attract more R&D, sales and support centers. In manufacturing and biopharmaceuticals, Tianhe eyes more opportunities in advanced medical apparatus and instruments, health services, and stem cell and regenerative medicine among others.

"Finance is the blood for the IAB industries' development."

He said that's why Tianhe pays special attention to developing its financial industry. The district has formed three kinds of science and technology financing platform systems: venture capital investment, loans and multilevel capital market.

Quality education and medical care, a habitable environment, developed urban infrastructure and efficient public services in Tianhe are also important factors that attract professionals from around the world.

The new technology revolution is speeding up, presenting both opportunities and challenges, said the local official.

A combination of information and intelligence technologies can help to upgrade these industries, so as to improve the quality and efficiency of the supply side.

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2017-12-07 07:22:09
<![CDATA[Flourishing as southern center for the high-end]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250631.htm With its efficient layout, vibrant business climate and quality services, the Central Business District of Tianhe district in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, is developing into a cluster for advanced industries and a business center of southern China.

"It was not a tough decision for us to come to the CBD," said Andy Tan, general manager of Zurich General Insurance Co (China) Ltd Guangdong Branch.

"Since all the world-class financial institutions are here, the financial information is prompt and there is a rich pool of professional staff."

Zurich Insurance Group, a leading Fortune Global 500 insurer, was founded in 1872 and is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. With about 54,000 employees, it provides insurance services in over 210 countries and regions.

After setting up subsidiaries in Beijing and Shanghai, Zurich chose Guangzhou as the location for its third branch in China in 2016.

"The local government offers almost the best services that I ever had," he said. "The approval process, for example, is very simple."

In 2016, the GDP of the Guangzhou Tianhe Central Business District hit 270 billion yuan ($40.82 billion), up 9 percent year-on-year, statistics from Tianhe district showed.

A total of 140 Fortune Global 500 companies have established 184 offices in the CBD of Tianhe, according to the local government.

JPMorgan Chase & Co, Allianz, Zurich Insurance, Bank of America and many other institutions are there - offering advanced and professional financial services that account for 70 percent of Guangzhou's total financial institutions.

"It's Zurich's very first year in Guangdong," he said.

"Thanks to the important role Guangzhou plays in the Belt and Road Initiative, Zurich has cooperated with many involved countries, such as Russia, Thailand, the Philippines, Iraq, Turkey and Poland. It is a favorable beginning."

He added Zurich has strong interest in the IAB program put forward by the local government, covering information technology, artificial intelligence and biological medicine.

"Information technology has high risk and cyber security is what the nation pays close attention to," he said.

"Zurich is experienced in cyber attack insurance. We are convinced that there will be plenty of opportunities for business with the information technology industry."

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:22:09
<![CDATA[Harnessing IT, AI, biomedicine to propel innovation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250630.htm Tianhe district of Guangzhou, Guangdong province is striving to establish a technology innovation hub by focusing on the IAB industries: information technology, artificial intelligence and biomedicine.

"Tianhe is home to a national-level central business district, high-tech zone and software park, and is the first district to implement the Internet Plus strategy in Guangdong. The district provides a sound living environment for internet-related enterprises," said Huang Hao, rotating president of UC.

UC, a mobile internet company, was founded in Tianhe in 2004.

At its founding, the government of Tianhe provided the company with 100,000 yuan ($15,120) and helped it to settle into its offices.

"UC has benefited from the government's considerate services, the favorable business environment and the orderly urban life of the district in its long-term development," Huang said.

He added that, thanks to the sound business environment, the well-established internet industry supply chain and improved intellectual property protection, Tianhe plays a key role in the sustainable development of internet enterprises.

In accordance with the district's goal, UC will focus more on content, digitalization and globalization to become an international top technological innovation enterprise, according to the company.

Wang Meng, executive of the Guangdong Investment Promotion Association, said: "Tianhe is a window for Guangdong province. It demonstrates South China's high economic growth and innovation levels."

In recent years, Fortune 500 and domestic companies have swarmed into Tianhe, injecting momentum into the district's advanced modern services and technology innovation industries.

"The advanced modern service industry is crucial to developing advanced manufacturing and promoting the exchange of capital, technology, professionals and management," Wang said.

She said advanced service providers, such as consultants, lawyers and accountants, can offer specialized knowledge to help enterprises bring forth more innovation.

In 2015, the Tianhe government published a three-year action plan to support industrial development and technological innovation.

This year, the government has revised the plan to mainly focus on the IAB industries, by increasing the annual finance available for technology companies from 1 billion yuan to 2 billion yuan.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:22:09
<![CDATA[Spotlight shines on cultural epicenter]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250629.htm

The cultural and creative industry in Tianhe district in Guangzhou has made huge gains on the back of supportive policies, culture exchange platforms and a cluster of leading companies, experts said.

Broadly speaking, the cultural and creative economy comprises advertising, architecture, art, crafts, design, fashion, film, music, performing arts, publishing, research and development, software, toys and games, TV and radio, and video games.

"Tianhe district enjoys unparalleled advantages with its economic and cultural foundation and creative talent pool," said Zhao Haizhou, vice-president of Kugou Music, a major online music provider based in Guangzhou.

"So, it is the optimal location for the cultural and creative industry,"

In addition to Kugou Music, the district has gathered many other leading cultural companies including Fangsuo Commune, NetEase and UC Browser.

In 2016, the value added of Tianhe district's cultural and creative industry hit 28.35 billion yuan ($4.29 billion), 11.1 percent higher than 2015.

It accounts for 7.46 percent of the district's GDP and 29.7 percent of the total value added of Guangzhou's cultural and creative industry, ranking it No 1 in that sector in Guangzhou.

Mao Jihong, founder of Fangsuo, a creative bookstore which entered Guangzhou in 2011, said he was glad to have settled there.

Four hundred cultural exchange activities and 60 art exhibitions have been held there in the past six years. The number of visitors to the district is expected to hit 10 million in 2017, Mao said.

In 2017, Tianhe district issued a series of supportive policies to boost cultural and technological innovation there.

Every year, a specialized fund is used to support key cultural fields, including digital content and creative design as well as cultural and arts services, according to the local government.

The cultural and creative companies can get stipends of up to 500,000 yuan, it said.

"Tianhe district is open and inclusive enough to develop the cultural and creative industry," Mao said.

"The most inspiring thing has been to see the cluster of the cultural industry forming here."

Boosted by the Guangdong National Online Game and Animation Industry Base and the Guangdong National Digital Publishing Base, a large group of competitive cultural companies with independent innovative abilities have been established in the district.

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2017-12-07 07:22:09
<![CDATA[Biopharma spurs wider progress]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250628.htm The biopharmaceutical industry, one of the most dynamic fields in the world, lies at the heart of Shanghai's innovation progress, and the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is taking steps to establish a world-leading biopharma industrial cluster, with a number of breakthroughs in the industry.

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Zhangjiang's world-leading industry is a vital engine propelling city's overall innovation level

The biopharmaceutical industry, one of the most dynamic fields in the world, lies at the heart of Shanghai's innovation progress, and the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is taking steps to establish a world-leading biopharma industrial cluster, with a number of breakthroughs in the industry.

As an important engine driving Shanghai's innovation and a key part of the city's effort in building a globally influential technological innovation hub, Zhangjiang is now home to many major achievements in scientific and technological research and intellectual property.

The biopharma and IT industries in Zhangjiang allow the zone to access rich resources to commercialize high-end biomedicine technologies. At the same time, a big data service platform in the zone has reduced local companies' costs as they can share information.

Since 2014, the administration of the Zhangjiang zone has invested 620 million yuan ($89.8 million) to support 22 key projects through a specialized fund. Total investment in the projects is more than 1 billion yuan, with 11 of them launched during China's 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-15).

A medical genome big data public service platform is being improved in accordance with international standards.

It comprises three systems: a standardized clinical information and sample collecting and processing system; a multiomics research, development and application system; and a collective development system for large medical data.

Industry insiders said the three systems support each other and together form a big data center containing information on diseases, providing services for basic research, clinical use and industrial development.

The platform can be used to serve as a reference for hospitals, helping them to create innovative medical service models, to provide public services for major basic research projects and new drugs' development, and to offer services to medicine developers, promoting the industrialization of new products.

The platform has thus far been utilized by about 200 companies in Zhangjiang since it was launched two years ago. In that time, the zone introduced 50 overseas personnel, added 1,000 jobs and witnessed the release of 150 new products. Total sales revenue reached 240 million yuan over the period.

Based on the capsule endoscope robot production line project, which won financial support from Zhangjiang's special fund, an incubator platform for the medical robot industry has been formed.

The sector now has a production capacity of 1 million capsule endoscope robots annually, and has led to the development of a series of related businesses, with focuses including the cloud platform for digestive tract imaging and diagnosis, and high-end endoscopes.

Zhangjiang's administration is building a technology-sharing service platform for medical stem cell treatment to meet the huge demand for stem cell transplant therapy in China.

It will also apply new stem cell technology to the treatment of leukemia, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, immune system regulation, as well as damage to the spinal cord, bones, cartilage and ovarian and uterine tissues.

The platform includes a national stem cell bank to collect, prepare and test stem cells, creating a vast network for effective human leukocyte antigen matching.

The stem cell technology service platform is expected to attract more professionals and promote the development of regenerative medicine centering on stem cell technologies, to fortify Shanghai's leading position in the world's biopharma sector.

The sector is estimated to generate annual revenue of billions of yuan from stem cell preparation and storage over the next five years.

There are also platforms to facilitate the industrialization of innovative medical technologies and biopharmaceuticals.

They have integrated the advanced resources of many biopharma companies in Zhangjiang, allowing them to commercialize the research achievements of local hospitals. In turn, the hospitals use the companies' innovative products.

A biopharma industry fund will be set up to resolve innovators' challenges in financing, in addition to a series of other tailor-made financial services.

 

An illustration of the path of a micro-invasive medical instrument made in the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.Photos provided to China Daily

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[International professionals seen as key to success]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250627.htm A national biopharmaceutical center in Shanghai is stepping up efforts to accommodate foreign professionals living and working in the coastal hub.

Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has consistently explored effective ways to attract top professionals from around the world to play a critical role in boosting scientific innovation.

For example, Zhangjiang has established overseas recruitment bases in 34 countries and regions around the world, through which it selects high-end personnel for integration into the zone's technological resources, projects and capital.

As a result, more than 100 projects have been introduced to Zhangjiang via these overseas talent bases.

One of them, focusing on a method for cutting semiconductor wafers, led by Wang Zhongke, was a candidate for the R&D 100 Awards in the United States.

The team has finished developing prototypes in Singapore, and has now registered a company in the zone's Songjiang Hi-Tech park.

The zone has also gathered a large number of professionals through major scientific projects, including those focusing on stem cell research, quantum communications, medical big data and advanced sensors. More than 470 experts from both China and abroad have participated in these projects.

Another key model for cultivating skilled workers is the establishment of training and practice bases in the zone's key enterprises.

A total of 12 personnel training and practice bases have been established by the industry-leading companies throughout the zone, which aim to accelerate the development of professionals, technology and management.

More than 3,000 people have taken part in the training programs since the beginning of this year.

The demonstration zone also encourages close connections between academia and industry.

Through cooperation between universities and enterprises, 18 laboratories have been launched to develop professionals and integrate studying, research and production.

Under such a collaborative mechanism, university professors become research team leaders, and students working in the labs earn extra academic credits.

Universities and companies cooperate to commercialize their research achievements.

There are currently 18 such laboratories with 6,400 postgraduate students in the zone.

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Foreign experts welcome to participate in Shanghai's growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250626.htm The Zhangjiang entrepreneurship incubation base for high-level overseas experts said it will continuously expand its presence by doubling the number of its overseas liaison offices this year, in a move to help to attract more innovative professionals and projects to Zhangjiang.

The base was established in 2015 under the support of Shanghai municipality and the Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone.

It works as a platform to provide one-stop services and follow-up services for overseas professionals who intend to come to China and start their own businesses. The base is operated by Shanghai S&I Science and Technology Investment Co, a company under the Jingyuan Group.

It is Zhangjiang's only platform for high-level overseas talent and entrepreneurship project incubation.

"In recent years, we have seen many overseas professionals showing keen interest in seeking growth in China. But they often lack comprehensive understanding of domestic policies, financing channels and current industrial development, which means many of them fail to adapt to the country's environment," said Wang Yu, deputy general manager of Shanghai S&I Science and Technology Investment Co.

"Most startup projects are in the early stages and lack investment. The road to a successful startup, especially in the early stages, is very difficult," Wang said.

To help with this, the incubation base provides information and services pertaining to policy, IP, industry, market and investment to overseas countries before the professionals come to China.

Since 2015, the incubation base has established 18 liaison offices in overseas countries, such as the United States, Germany, Singapore, Belgium, Japan, Israel and Australia.

The base has also established a wide range of partnerships with more than 40 overseas organizations, such as Singpoli Group, the Technology Transfer Office of UCLA, the German Fraunhofer Institute, the Singapore-China Science and Technology Promotion Association and FEC International.

With the help of these overseas liaison offices and cooperative organizations, the base and the industrial parks in Zhangjiang launched several promotional activities to attract overseas professionals and projects to Zhangjiang.

So far, more than 60 overseas projects have been introduced and implemented, with another more than 100 potential projects waiting for further development. These projects cover the fields of intelligent manufacturing, biomedicine, the internet and modern services.

The incubation base has already helped Shanghai Xianghong Drone Navicontrol Techonolgies Co, a company focusing on the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicles, to introduce overseas technology teams.

"Our products have a very high technology barrier, which sets high requirements for the level and working experience of our technical staff. It is not easy to find the right experts to work for us in China, so we turned to the base for help," said Chang Ming, general manager of the company.

"With rich overseas resources and networks, the base soon helped us to find professionals to meet our demand," Chang said. "The base also gives us other services, allowing us to move on smoothly."

In addition to talent-hunting, the base also provides HR and financing, as well as IP services, financing and authorization and transfer of domestic patents, technology and projects.

The incubation base also helped a US research team focusing on specialized medicine to link up with a domestic investment organization. Together, the two parties established Shanghai Xinchen Biomedical Technology Co to carry out cancer screening through specialty medicine methods.

"Because of economic development and the fast pace of the aging process, the biomedicine industry has a very promising future. The incubation base helped us to find the research team and their project.

They provided us with related IP services, allowing us to better promote the medicine's R&D," said Qian Xinrong, deputy general manager of the company.

According to the incubation base, it will increase its efforts to expand Zhangjiang's influence and recognition in the world to attract more professionals and projects from overseas.

"We will regularly collect information and demand that industrial parks and enterprises from Zhangjiang expand the current talent and project pool, so as to find foreign talents and projects more precisely and quickly," Wang Yu said.

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Achieving Healthy China 2020 goals]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250625.htm Innovation is the trump card for the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, which actively supports the development of the medical industry and serves the national Healthy China 2020 plan.

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Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone drives progress in the medical, healthcare industries

Innovation is the trump card for the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone, which actively supports the development of the medical industry and serves the national Healthy China 2020 plan.

The zone is home to more than 70,000 scientific and technological companies, accounting for roughly 80 percent of the total number in Shanghai.

It is also home to more than 1,400 research institutes. Many of the companies and institutes are in the medical and healthcare industries.

Each year, the zone witnesses a number of scientific and technological innovation achievements. One of them in the medical technology industry is a magnetically controlled endoscope system for digestive tract examination.

Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare is a prime representative for scientific and technological innovation in Zhangjiang.

The company specializes in developing and manufacturing advanced medical products and providing innovative healthcare solutions.

It covers the entire healthcare cycle, from diagnostic imaging and radiation therapy, to medical IT solutions.

For quite a long time, high-end medical equipment in China's medical institutes mainly originated from multinational companies and usually involved high costs.

The high-end medical imaging industry itself has a higher threshold and is a multi-disciplinary industry, covering research and development, and manufacturing.

The industry has very high requirements in terms of machinery, mathematics, physics and fine processing, said Zhang Qiang, co-president of the company. For many years, the company experienced difficulties in attracting international professionals in medical imaging, he said.

Zhang said the R&D and manufacturing of imaging equipment in China have long been middle - or low-end.

The company wants to form its own advantages through innovation to close the gap with foreign medical equipment companies and meet global competition head-on.

Over the years, Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare has cultivated a series of key technologies in the high-end medical imaging equipment field, and independently developed and manufactured a batch of star products.

The company's CT, MI, MRI, and digital x-ray radiography products boast high-definition image quality.

They can assist medical professionals to make diagnoses and help patients to receive treatment, according to the company.

Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare develops and manufactures advanced radiotherapy equipment supported by real-time, high-definition imaging.

It offers solutions to provide treatment of lesions at an early stage, minimize damage to normal tissues and improve diagnosis and treatment results.

With the continuous innovation seen in domestic technology, the industry can expect a new round of product price reduction and more benefits for patients, industry experts said.

 

A researcher at Enchanted Power in the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. The zone is home to 70,000 scientific and technological companies.Photos provided to China Daily

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[IP service platform supports startups]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250624.htm Shanghai's Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone is expected to launch the largest intellectual property service platform in the country within three years.

The service platform will boast state-of-the-art planned improvement projects.

Its subsidiary is in charge of constructing and operating the platform.

To protect the intellectual property rights of innovation-oriented enterprises in Zhangjiang, Shanghai Jingyuan Group has been focusing on IP services and working to establish an IP-friendly environment for startups in the zone.

"This IP environment is essentially a community that offers IP-related services for newly established technology companies that don't have enough assets and capital to protect their core technologies," said Qiu Kejun, general manager of the Shanghai Jingyuan Group.

According to Qiu, this style of innovative IP service community assists its members with the creation, protection, management, to use and transfer of IP rights in all aspects.

It offers both online and offline whole-industry-chain services to members, setting it apart from traditional patent agencies.

Helping to commercialize smaller startups' IP for practical use is an important part of Jingyuan's IP services.

Qiu said there are a lot of potential projects, however, they are not well applied and are stuck in a dormant state.

In this situation, the platform has the role of identifying potential projects, especially those from newly launched enterprises, and trying to transform these IPs into products that benefit society, Qiu said.

The IP platform includes a financial mechanism that helps to solve any financial bottlenecks in startups' initial development stage.

This move can allow them to pay more attention to research and development around their innovative products.

The platform has extended its services to cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces. It has more than 40,000 registered members so far, including IP rights owners, service providers and buyers.

In addition, Jingyuan helps a number of domestic enterprises to export their technologies and IP rights, such as those related to intelligent manufacturing technologies, as well as solar and wind energy.

In the next three years, Jingyuan plans to serve 200,000 enterprises from all industries, offer training to over 15,000 IP professionals, attract over 300 overseas management personnel, and introduce and invest in more than 300 IP projects.

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Raft of innovative pilot policies improve investment, incentive models]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250623.htm The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has launched a new pilot program for equity and dividend incentives, as well as scientific research achievement disposal and benefit rights reforms and tax cuts.

Eight banks have also signed an agreement with the Zhangjiang administration to start a pilot venture loan service.

They will cooperate to develop innovative financing models by creating mechanisms to integrate investment, loans and insurance.

As one of China's first pilot areas for the drug marketing authorization holder mechanism, Zhangjiang now has six companies with eight products involved in the mechanism.

The administration is also promoting other cross-border research and development projects, such as new pharmaceuticals.

Inspection and quarantine reforms have been promoted to 28 local companies, with the time of administrative approval reduced by 75 percent and the period of validity of licenses extended from three months to a year.

All the policies are part of the zone's efforts to build "small government, big service".

The zone in Shanghai has launched a series of pilot administrative policies to facilitate innovation and entrepreneurship, optimize the industrial structure in the demonstration zone and improve the business climate.

The Shanghai government and the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs have signed an agreement to build Zhangjiang into a pilot zone for international professionals, and the administration is implementing 21 innovative policies in the zone to attract international professionals.

The exit and entry service has become more convenient, and 10 policies were introduced by the Ministry of Public Security in December to help Shanghai build a scientific innovation center. These grant the Zhangjiang administration the authority of qualification, recommendation and certification for the spouses and children of top overseas professionals working in Zhangjiang when they apply for permanent residence in China, and for overseas students when they look for jobs and apply for residence after graduation.

Based on those policies, the local authorities have now proposed 25 additional reforms aimed at supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[GAC Group shows Chinese carmakers are at forefront of mobility]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/07/content_35250622.htm Amid the sweeping changes transforming the automotive industry, Guangzhou Automobile Group Co Ltd is exploring the future of mobility at the 2017 Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

The Guangzhou-based carmaker will host a roundtable on Thursday to discuss current mobility developments and draw up a blueprint for the future. Participants include senior executives from Honda Motor Co, Bosch, internet giant Tencent Holdings Inc, and experts from the automotive industry.

The discussion is being held at a time when digitalization, automation and new business models are transforming the way people and goods move from A to B, with electric cars, autonomous driving and car-sharing as the catalysts.

Experts said the move by GAC Group, as a representative of Guangzhou's manufacturing strength, reflects the city's innovative, pragmatic and international image.

GAC Group said it will seize the opportunities of the new era and drive its business forward with innovation to take China's intelligent manufacturing onto the global stage.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, GAC Group has been one of the first Chinese companies to gear up for the changes in the automotive industry, positioning itself as a value creator of mobility instead of simply a carmaker.

The company said it is giving priority to new energy vehicles and will develop a lineup of electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020. The whole-year sales of such models will reach 200,000 vehicles, said its chairman Zeng Qinghong.

It has set up a wholly owned subsidiary dedicated to new energy vehicles and started construction of a 45 billion yuan ($6.8 billion) industrial park that will specialize in research and development, as well as the manufacturing of internet-connected new energy vehicles and their core components.

GAC Group has joined hands with a number of companies to develop internet-connected vehicles, intelligent driving, cloud platforms and big data, including Tencent, telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies and telecom operator China Mobile.

During the annual Guangzhou auto show in November, GAC Group unveiled its iSPACE electric concept car equipped with Tencent's AI in Car system, which allows drivers to better interact with the vehicles.

GAC Group has been one of the most innovative and successful carmakers in China. With annual sales revenue of some 280 billion yuan, it has been on the list of Fortune 500 companies for five years in a row.

It produced and sold about 1.65 million vehicles in the first 10 months of this year, a year-on-year increase of nearly 26 percent, some 20 percentage points higher than the industry's average growth rate.

Its subsidiary, GAC Motor, is growing even faster. As one of the fastest growing carmakers in China, it has seen an annual compound growth rate of 85 percent over the past six consecutive years.

GAC Motor is the first Chinese carmaker that has a full range of C-class models. Its GA8 sedans, GS8 SUVs and GM8 MPVs have been chosen as official cars for the Fortune Forum's participants including government heads, senior business executives and leading economists.

It has consolidated its leading position by retaining its position as the highest-ranking Chinese brand in the JD Power Asia Pacific's 2017 China Initial Quality Study, a title it has retained for the fifth consecutive year.

The company's best-selling innovative SUV model GS4 ranked No 1 in the study's compact SUV category of Chinese brands.

GAC Group has been well received globally for the world-class quality of its large lineup of products.

For three years in a row it has been exhibiting its models at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the United States. GAC Group has been the first Chinese carmaker to appear in the main halls of the show.

Rod Alberts, managing director of the show, extended an invitation to GAC Group to attend the show again in 2018 after learning about its plans at the Guangzhou auto show in November.

GAC Group is planning to further expand its overseas presence. Its subsidiary GAC Motor has built sales and service networks in 14 countries and regions including Kuwait, Chile, Cambodia and Nigeria.

It plans to make inroads into the US no later than 2019, and is already preparing for this in terms of products and dealerships.

Earlier this year, it held recruitment fairs in several cities in the US. It has built an R&D center in Silicon Valley and is planning to establish a design studio in Los Angeles.

It is expected that by 2020 GAC Motor's overseas sales revenue will account for 5 percent to 10 percent of its total sales.

GAC Group said that it will continue its efforts to enhance its brand recognition and influence so as to build itself into a world-class brand.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-07 07:34:42
<![CDATA[Cutting-edge knowledge city takes shape]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233534.htm Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City in Guangzhou - a smart eco technology center being developed to showcase the latest in sustainable development - will take measures to attract more leading companies and institutions, officials said.

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The Sino-Singapore center in Guangzhou aims to become a high-tech hub for South China, by attracting world-class companies

Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City in Guangzhou - a smart eco technology center being developed to showcase the latest in sustainable development - will take measures to attract more leading companies and institutions, officials said.

These will aim at developing the facility, a 123-square-kilometer green-field township in Guangzhou, into a high-tech hub in South China.

The knowledge city was selected as one of the core platforms that support the Guangzhou-Shenzhen science and technology innovation corridor construction in Guangdong province, which involves the cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan.

"As a core platform for constructing the corridor, SSGKC will enhance infrastructure construction and continue to expand its transportation network," said Xu Hui, deputy director of the development and construction office of SSGKC.

An extension of subway line 14, connecting SSGKC and other parts of Guangzhou, will go into operation by the end this month.

Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway and another three subway lines are under construction, laying foundations as a strategic node of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

"SSGKC will make efforts to build public facilities with international standards to create a good living and working environment for businesses and residents," said Tan Minghe, director of the development and construction office of SSGKC.

The construction of sports venues and ecological footpaths have started. Hospitals, schools, an international conference center, a museum and a library will be built soon.

More than 900 companies, with combined registered capital of 100 billion yuan ($15.4 billion), had committed to being in the new knowledge city as of the end of November.

The city is home to leading companies such as BeiGene and US giant General Electric.

Expanding cooperation

The Sino-Singapore International Joint Research Institute was established by SSGKC to strengthen Chinese and Singaporean cooperation in academic fields.

The South China University of Technology in Guangzhou and Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, founding members of the institution, will draw on their resources and experience in leading roles internationally to further develop its innovation and high-tech industries.

With the technological advantages of the two founding universities, the institute has launched the first phase of projects in pollution control, new energy, biomedical materials, artificial intelligence, green and smart architecture, food nutrition and safety .

Yu Long, director of the institute, said that the institute aims to transform high-tech research results into industrial products and bring about economic benefits.

To date, the institute has launched 24 industrial projects and 16 of them are collaborative projects between China and Singapore.

"The institute is an open platform that explores an advanced model for international cooperation, which is a win-win for industrial transformation," Yu said.

"In addition to the South China University of Technology and Nanyang Technological University, we will invite suitable international universities to join us in the future."

Designated as a national experimental zone for conducting comprehensive reforms on intellectual property right use and protection by the State Council, SSGKC will welcome an important partner, the Patent Examination Cooperation Center of the State Intellectual Property Office in Guangdong, in February.

The office is currently operating in the Guangzhou Development District.

The center performs patent invention application assessment, carries out international patent search and international preliminary examinations of applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

This provides technical and legal consultation services to companies regarding patent applications and protection.

The center can handle more than 150,000 cases every year covering machinery, electricity, communication, medicine, chemistry, optoelectronics and materials sectors.

"We also hope to provide consultation services to more small and medium-sized companies, to bring them more technological inspiration and help them improve their technology layout in the future," said Qiu Jiangwen, deputy director of the center.

On Nov 16, the Guangzhou International Intelligence Industry Center was officially established with the aim of building a government-enterprise joint service platform to help with brand promotion and attracting investment.

Eleven companies, including Xiuzheng Pharmaceutical Group and Neusoft Group, have signed cooperative agreements in the medical, finance, internet education and industrial design sectors.

Biopharma development

Echoing the Guangzhou government's promotion of information technology, artificial intelligence, biochemical, new energy and materials sectors, SSGKC has launched many new projects to promote the development of relevant industries.

Pioneer biotech company Hybribio, which started operations in SSKGC in 2013, is a leading provider of diagnostics in China. It has an integrated operation chain in research and development, manufacturing, sales and marketing as well as technical support services.

"Hybribio is devoting itself to building the first platform to check maternal and infant healthcare in China," said Kun Tit Sang, deputy general manager of the company.

The company is providing products and services to over 1,200 hospitals and medical institutes in China.

Last October, Hybribio's flow-through hybridization technology was awarded the 18th WIPO-SIPO joint China Patent Gold Medal, among 20 other leading companies including Sinopec and Huawei. It was the only molecular diagnostic enterpriser to receive the award.

"One of our goals is to foster a long-lasting cooperative relationship with our partners," said Zhou Xia, deputy director of Hybribio's marketing department.

"It is always our mission to provide the local community with a quality service and comprehensive testing."

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Sino-Singapore Guangzhou Knowledge City in Guangzhou is home to more than 900 companies, with registered capital of 100 billion yuan as of the end of November.Provided to China Daily

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[Midea makes its mark with research and development drive]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233533.htm Midea Group, one of the world's leading household appliance manufacturers, is ranked No 165 among the 1,000 largest corporate research and development spenders, according to a recent study released by the consulting firm Strategy&, a subsidiary of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Midea spent more than $900 million in the past year alone and has positioned itself as a world-leading technologies group in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; consumer appliances; robotics and automation systems, as well as smart supply chains.

The group is aiming to strengthen its market position through innovations, proprietary technologies, patents and technological know-how, said Paul Fang, chairman and CEO of Midea Group.

"Technological innovation and progress are our core long-term strategy," said Fang. "The group has invested generously in sectors such as human-machine interfaces, so we can seize more opportunities and capitalize on the fields of intelligent manufacturing and smart homes."

To implement this strategy, Midea has set up more than 20 R&D centers around the world, including in China, the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany and Austria, in order to apply the most advanced technologies.

Last year, it opened two R&D centers in Louisville and Silicon Valley in the US. Midea also set up an R&D center in Austria this year.

"Midea's research has gone far beyond its household appliance sector to reach the areas of artificial intelligence, microchips, sensors, and smart robots," said Fang.

To fulfill its ambitions, Midea has spared no efforts in attracting professionals. Part of its R&D spending is on leading researchers

Last year, the group offered 1 million yuan ($151,301) salary packages in a global search to recruit professionals holding PhD degrees, which made headlines in many local media.

Midea has attracted leading professionals from Germany, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the US, and as well as top researchers from renowned universities and research institutes all over the world.

Currently, more than 10,000 staff members work on Midea's R&D programs, about 10 percent of whom focus on the development of cutting-edge technologies.

Besides fostering its own talent pool, the group has set up high-level strategic partnerships with more than 100 world-renowned universities and research institutions for technological collaboration.

"Talented people, who are making technological breakthroughs and accelerating the development of top-notch technologies are crucial for Midea's future development," Fang said.

Apart from the generous spending on researchers and R&D, the group also attaches much importance to the application of technologies.

It has signed strategic agreements with many industry leaders, including Huawei Technologies and Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings.

It has established a full strategic partnership with Huawei Technologies in terms of smart homes and signed a multi-layer strategic agreement with Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings in the areas of robotics, medical devices, healthcare data application, a smart supply chain, healthcare investment, and intelligent manufacturing.

The group has also forged a multi-sector and multi-layer partnership with Country Garden, a Chinese leading real estate developer, and is exploring smart town projects, smart home appliances, smart home systems and overseas projects.

Midea is also working extensively with its subsidiaries Clivet, Kuka, and Servotronix, to share technologies and leverage each other's advantages.

"As China's only home appliance manufacturer in the Fortune 500, we will continue our investments in R&D to strengthen our core competiveness," Fang said.

chenhong@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[Successful transformation into a technology leader]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233532.htm

From a labor-intensive manufacturing leader to a talent-intensive innovation pioneer, Chinese home appliance maker Midea has transformed itself into a global technologies group.

To enter the robotics and automation industry, Midea has acquired Kuka, allied with Servotronix and partnered with Yaskawa Electric Corp over the past two years.

According to the company, robotics and automation are complementary to its existing strength in home appliances. It is developing a global operations system, including research and development, sales, aftersales services and promotions, to serve its different segments.

This, the company says, will make it more efficient and eliminate the overdependence on a certain product category or a certain activity in the value chain.

In fact, its manufacturing of household appliances still exhibits strong performance.

The company's figures show that Midea recorded revenue of more than $28 billion in the first three quarters of this year, shipping more than 300 million home appliances to global users, and the same number of core components to manufacturers worldwide.

As the only Chinese household appliance company to be included on the Fortune Global 500 list since 2016, Midea will partner with the Fortune Global Forum for the first time this year. The forum is being held in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, Dec 6-8.

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[Supporting investment in the real economy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233531.htm Since it was established 10 years ago, the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone in Foshan, Guangdong province, has made great achievements in supporting the real economy and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship with sound financial services.

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Authorities encourage companies to promote industrial development

Since it was established 10 years ago, the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone in Foshan, Guangdong province, has made great achievements in supporting the real economy and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship with sound financial services.

Founded in 2007, the zone has attracted 364 professional financial institutions and companies, with total investment volume reaching 70 billion yuan ($ 10.58 billion) at the end of November.

"The financial institutions include banks, insurance companies, bond providers, private venture capital, internet finance companies and service outsourcing companies, which serve and boost the real economy, especially the manufacturing industry," said Qiao Jifei, deputy head of Nanhai district, Foshan, where the zone is located.

Haisheng Financial Leasing Co, founded in 2016, is a typical example, Qiao said.

Haisheng is supporting advanced equipment manufacturing. Up to the end of October, the company had loaned 239 million yuan to 491 robot manufacturers in Foshan and other cities.

Haisheng has also granted credit to companies such as Zhongnan Aluminum Wheel to upgrade their manufacturing facilities.

Haisheng serves many other sectors, such as energy conservation and environmental protection, automobile manufacturing, medical apparatus and instruments and cultural and education industries.

Apart from encouraging professional financial companies to support local industrial development, the Foshan government has also established a support fund to help micro, small and medium - sized companies, Qiao said.

At most 20 million yuan can be provided to a qualified company for equity investment, risk compensation and financing assurance.

Meanwhile, the government has also been encouraging companies to obtain funds through direct financing over the past few years.

"Fifteen companies in Nanhai district have completed initial public offerings, and the number keeps rising," Qiao said.

Foshan launched a series of polices in 2015 to encourage companies to raise funds through bond markets. Among all the highlights of the financial services provided by the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone is the Thousand-lantern Lake VC Town, which was launched in July.

"So far, a large number of venture capital companies, financial institutions, accounting firms and rating agencies have showed a strong intent to settle in the town," Qiao said.

Eighty venture capital companies with total investment funds of 9.6 billion yuan have already signed contracts for a presence in the town.

"A group of leading venture capital companies - Technology Financial Group, Shenzhen Capital Group and IDG Capital Partners have decided to settle in the Thousand-lantern Lake VC Town, assisting the town in developing into the venture capital center of the west bank of the Pearl River," said Huang Zhihao, a member of the standing committee of the Foshan Party committee.

The Thousand-lantern Lake VC Town consists of five functional areas, for venture capital, innovative finance and intermediary services, integrated services exhibition, incubators and living.

Having a large amount of private capital and being equipped with professional financial services, the town will inject strong momentum into the real economy of Foshan and even Guangdong, Qiao added.

According to the government plan, the total investment funds of the Thousand-lantern Lake VC Town are projected to reach 70 billion yuan, of which 5 billion yuan will be invested in Foshan in the next five years to support its real economy.

As for the need for industrial upgrading, the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone has introduced measures to promote this.

The financing channels and structures in the zone will be further enriched, and the medium and long-term financing that the real economy needs most for transformation and upgrading will be strengthened, Huang said.

"We will establish a comprehensive social credit system to transform the financing model from mortgage-oriented to credit-centered."

The credit bureau of Nanhai district was founded in June under the instruction of the Guangdong Provincial Development and Reform Commission.

"The supervision and management of financing are being strengthened step by step. We will spare no efforts to crack down on illegal fund-raising, increasingly purifying the financial environment," said Qiao.

He also said that Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone is seeking to seize the opportunities presented by internet finance and has established incubators with experts and talents from research institutes and institutions of higher learning.

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[Financial zone helps to balance city's economic structure]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233530.htm The Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone, located in Nanhai district of Foshan, has played a significant role in supporting the optimization of the city's industrial structure over the past 10 years.

Since it was established 10 years ago, the zone has set the goals of being a financial center to serve local industrial upgrading and a financial back office base. Companies are welcome to establish back officer service facilities such as call centers and research and development centers in the zone.

At the end of November, there were 364 investment projects in the zone, including the People's Insurance Company (Group) of China's PICC Southern Information Center, Fujitsu Data Center and Kuehne+Nagel Asia Pacific Delivery Center.

Foshan is known for its traditional manufacturing industries and the zone is designed to provide innovative financial services to support the upgrading of these industries.

"The decision to develop the zone into a financial back office base and an industrial financial center to serve the upgrading and transformation of traditional industrial has proved to be wise," said Qiao Jifei, deputy head of Nanhai district. "The zone has allowed Foshan to expand its service industry and develop a more balanced industrial structure."

Statistics provided by the local authorities show that income from the financial industry accounted for 5.35 percent of Nanhai district's GDP in 2016, up from 3.41 percent in 2015.

The zone has become an important financial back office base serving the Asia-Pacific region. Its core region has attracted nearly 30 outsourcing services providers, which employ more than 30,000 people. Some call centers in the zone can provide services in seven languages to global clients.

The zone also reported breakthroughs in promoting the integration of finance, technology and industry. In 2014, Nanhai district was recognized as the Comprehensive Pilot Zone for Finance, Technology and Industry Integration, the first of its kind in Guangdong. It also launched the Foshan Civil Financial Street and the Guangdong Equity Exchange to help promote the upgrading and transformation of traditional industries.

The Foshan Civil Financial Street has attracted more than 60 companies, pooling over 100 billion yuan ($15.12 billion) in private capital.

The Guangdong Equity Exchange, established in 2013, has 3,359 registered and listed companies. Of them, over 50 percent are technology-driven small and medium-sized companies.

The zone administrators have long been committed to promoting innovation to maintain long-term development.

Foshan has also made efforts to grasp opportunities emerging from China's Internet Plus strategy. It has been included in one of Guangdong's Internet Plus pilot projects this year and has planned to cultivate more internet financing institutions and mobile internet application industries.

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[Foshan's efficient government a major draw for multinationals]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/06/content_35233529.htm Despite his tight work schedule, Pan Zhanguang, general manager of Capgemini Business Services (China), is used to taking a walk around the company's compound in his spare time. He enjoys looking at the tree which was planted when his business moved to the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone several years ago.

"I like the tree, because it grows along with our company," Pan said. "We made a wise choice to settle down in the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone."

In 2010, Capgemini Business Services (China) moved from the Tianhe district of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, to the zone in Foshan. At that time, the Guangzhou-Foshan Urban Integration Development Plan was in the pipeline and an inter-city subway line linking the two cities was under construction.

Neighboring Guangzhou, Foshan boasts much lower costs - the rents for office buildings in the zone in Nanhai district are much lower than those districts in Guangzhou - which is conducive to Capgemini's further expansion. Thus, the zone became the preferred destination for the company's relocation, Pan said.

The district's efficient, service-oriented government was another big draw to the company, he said.

Capgemini provides multinationals with financial and accounting services and thus its data processing and storage need a stable power supply.

"Our operation has been smooth in recent years, because of the efficient government services and the business-friendly environment the government has fostered," he said.

In Foshan, which has long been known as a manufacturing hub, founding the zone has helped to develop the local service industry, Pan said.

As one of the earliest businesses attracted to the financial zone, Capgemini has witnessed the influx of other service providers into the zone.

The competition with its peers has promoted Capgemini's improvements in services via technological innovation and streamlined procedures, he said.

"The zone is sure to boom, due to its geographic advantage, appealing environment and forward-thinking plans," he said.

Pan is not the only one to enjoy the convenient business environment in Foshan. Huang Wenchao, executive director of Inno Space, a startup incubator in the zone, also said it was a wise decision to set up in the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone.

The incubator, established in 2015, is one of the busiest incubators in the zone. It is now incubating more than 20 startups. About 80 startups have completed their incubation programs, Huang said.

"The local government works very efficiently and our communication with the government is smooth," Huang said. "I feel very relaxed in dealing with government officials."

Apart from expanding the incubator, Huang plans to partner with some leading companies to launch some professional training programs in the zone.

"The program will help people to start a new chapter in their careers," Huang said. "I also hope the program can help the zone to upgrade its talent pool so it can achieve better development in the future."

Huang said the relationship between local governments and Inno Space is more like a partnership which both parties will use to achieve a win-win situation.

 

Inno Space, set up in the Guangdong Financial High-tech Zone in Foshan in 2015, is one of the busiest incubators in the zone.Provided to China Daily

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2017-12-06 06:54:54
<![CDATA[BMW launches ReachNow car-sharing in China with EVCard]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/04/content_35197478.htm The German premium automaker's mobility service entered Asian markets with its debut in Chengdu, capital of Southwest China's Sichuan province, on Friday.

ReachNow has joined hands with EVCard, a Shanghai-based electric car-sharing company, to provide the station-based premium electric car-sharing mobility service ReachNow Powered by EVCard.

The debut of ReachNow in Asia is in line with the BMW Group's ACES strategy - autonomous, connected, electrified, services and shared. ReachNow Powered by EVCard provides a new and innovative individual mobility solution to Chinese customers at the price of 2 yuan (25 cents) per minute. Daily and weekend packages are also available, with 100 units of the electric BMW i3.

"The launch of ReachNow in China reflects BMW Group's vision for future mobility," said Bernhard Blaettel, vice-president of mobility and energy services at BMW Group.

"China and Chinese customers are playing a crucial role in the transformation of mobility. Together with our local partners, we aim to bring our worldwide experience in mobility services to this market, and strive to meet the ever-increasing demand from Chinese customers for convenient and sustainable mobility with our premium cars and services," he said.

The program will offer customers in Chengdu a high-end, intelligent and flexible on-demand mobility experience, and it represents a new milestone within the BMW Group's mobility services strategy.

"Chengdu is a great city that met our requirements for the launch of the service. We found the sharing business model is popular here, and Chengdu people enjoy a dynamic lifestyle and like to try new things," Blaettel told China Daily.

The combination of EVCard's mobile app with BMW Group's advanced car-sharing technology offers users car-use without a key, including car reservation, pick up, drop of, start and stop the engine, and payment. A 24-hour customer service hotline is available to support users in case of any questions.

Blaettel said: "We are providing premium cars with quality services to young customers who want clean and reliable cars in good condition. The BMW i3 cars are fun to drive, and they will empower customers with the use of a premium car without ownership."

The company believes this perfect combination of electric mobility and car-sharing will contribute to a sustainable and low-carbon lifestyle in urban areas of China.

By 2018, 25 stations will be available in Chengdu, which will be located around high-end areas such as premium residential and commercial areas, office buildings hosting large companies, government compounds and five-star hotels. Users will need to pick up and drop of the cars within the stations.

As a global leader in innovative mobility, BMW has gained rich experience in the operation of mobility services in Europe and the United States. In 2011, the BMW Group launched its first car-sharing service in Europe in partnership with the car rental company Sixt under the brand DriveNow.

The service is now active in 13 European cities with more than one million registered users and over 6,500 BMW and Mini vehicles in operation.

Based on this successful model, the BMW Group launched in April 2016 an enhanced car-sharing service in the US under the ReachNow brand, providing users with various individual mobility services such as car-sharing, driver services, long-term car rental including delivery of car, etc. EVCard, is a leading electric car-sharing service provider in China under Global Car-Sharing& Rental Co. Combining its local perspective and expertise in electric car-sharing with BMW's global experience, the BMW Group will be able to better fulfill Chinese customer's diverse and individual mobility needs.

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Executives of BMW Group and EVCard attend the ReachNow ceremony in Chengdu, Sichuan province.Photos Provided to China Daily

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2017-12-04 07:20:05
<![CDATA[Forum highlights companies' efforts to go global]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/04/content_35197477.htm Guangdong province, where China's opening-up policy was first implemented, has established a closer relationship with Belt and Road Initiative-related countries and regions in terms of foreign trade, investment, technology, culture and tourism.

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Zhuhai event draws attention to city's key role in province's growing influence along the Belt and Road routes

Guangdong province, where China's opening-up policy was first implemented, has established a closer relationship with Belt and Road Initiative-related countries and regions in terms of foreign trade, investment, technology, culture and tourism.

Officials, academics entrepreneurs and media leaders reached that consensus when attending the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Forum on International Communication and Chinese (Guangdong) Companies Going Global, held in Zhuhai last Wednesday.

Shen Haixiong, head of the Guangdong Provincial Publicity Department, said the province has attached great importance to cultural exchanges and cooperation over the years, which has enhanced understanding and trust in the global community.

The provincial government launched a series of tours and exhibitions to Russia, Germany and Belgium earlier this year to display Guangdong-branded products, such as drones, virtual reality devices and smart home appliances, to promote cultural and trade exchanges.

"Enterprises in Guangdong province are actively participating in the Belt and Road Initiative and pursuing overseas markets, which not only promotes their transformation and upgrade, but also instills new energy into Guangdong's open economy," said Zhang Jincheng, a research center official of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, or SASAC.

Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said the Belt and Road Initiative has the potential not only to benefit its neighboring countries but also to bring new opportunities to the European economy, such as improving employment, increasing wealth and promoting development.

Limburg, a province in Belgium, has witnessed frequent interaction with its twin province Guangdong over the past two years, by mutually dispatching political and business delegations, and via media tours, concerts and photo galleries, said its Vice-Governor Jean-Paul Peuskens. As a result, both sides have signed a package of agreements in terms of education and tourism, he noted.

Solomon Rutega, consul general of the Ugandan consulate in Guangzhou, said African countries have been important destinations for Chinese companies going global under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said Uganda would step up its collaboration with Guangdong in industrial connectivity, production, infrastructure construction and investment, while seeking better complementary opportunities in the sectors of healthcare, tourism and culture.

The forum took the theme of cooperation, communication and value and was sponsored by the Information Office of Guangdong Provincial Government and the Zhuhai government.

It aims to serve as a bridge to facilitate better cooperation between Guangdong and Belt and Road-related countries through dialogue, and to demonstrate Guangdong's sound business environment and social and business achievements.

Exploring overseas

Statistics show that Guangdong's imports and exports accounted for nearly one-fourth of the country's total in 2016, of which more than 20 percent was fulfilled with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

A report was released at the forum that depicts the efforts of Guangdong-based companies going global via the Belt and Road.

The report was compiled by the Information Office of the Guangdong Provincial Government, the SASAC research center and Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. According to the report, private enterprises in Guangdong are showing greater enthusiasm for investing overseas, which have gradually become the new force of the province's outbound investment.

The percentage of overseas-registered wholly owned subsidiaries and joint-stock enterprises or institutions that were set up by private enterprises in the province began to rise from 87.9 percent in 2011 to 95.4 percent in 2015, the report shows.

Actual foreign investment in Belt and Road-related economies expanded 44.7 percent year-on-year in 2015, 33.8 percentage points higher than the provincial average, it said. Growth of the region's investment in Indonesia, Vietnam, India and Pakistan reached more than 100 percent on an annual basis in the same year. Investment in Indonesia, for example, reached $134 million in 2015, representing a four fold increase from the previous year.

As of the end of 2016, 8,957 nonfinancial enterprises were set up in more than 100 countries and regions by Guangdong enterprises. Among them, 884 were established through agreements with economies along the Belt and Road routes.

"These companies are making contributions to the local communities they are investing in by improving infrastructure, increasing employment, promoting technological upgrades and practicing ecological civilization," Zhang of the SASAC said.

However, he added that the global industrial structure is undergoing profound adjustment, as a result of escalating competition led by transnational corporations, which will pose new challenges to Chinese companies that are going global.

"They could encounter risks arising from geopolitics, social or market pressures, law, finance and investment," Zhang said. He added that a globalized talent tool is important to improve core competitiveness in global markets.

Zhuhai is a city adjacent to Macao and is one of the origins of the Maritime Silk Road.

It has unique advantages to become a key hub amid China's new round of opening-up, according to Guo Yuanqiang, Party chief of Zhuhai. These advantages include the completion and operation of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the development of Hengqin Free Trade Zone, Guo said when addressing the forum.

chenhong@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-04 07:21:54
<![CDATA[Commerce set for big expansion]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/04/content_35197476.htm Advantages in logistics and payment services put southern Guangdong province in an ideal position to develop cross-border e-commerce business along the routes of the Belt and Road Initiative, academics and industry insiders said on Wednesday.

"In the cross-border e-commerce industry, there is a popular saying: 'the supply chain is king,'" said Zhang Li, director of the e-commerce department at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce.

Logistics and payment services are two vital parts to a sound supply chain, she said. "These two elements are exactly where Guangdong province's advantages lie," Zhang told a forum in Zhuhai on Wednesday, with the theme that the 21st century maritime silk road reshapes trade patterns.

The event was connected to the first 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Forum on International Communication and Chinese (Guangdong) Companies Going Global.

It was co-sponsored by the information office of the Guangdong provincial government and the Zhuhai government.

Guangdong is also taking the lead in the manufacturing of 3C products: computer, communications and consumer electronics, Zhang added.

"The province could integrate its core advantages in 3C manufacturing with its strengths in logistics and payments, to develop cross-border e-commerce business in Belt and Road countries and regions," Zhang said.

Driven by Chinese people's increasing income and growing demand for overseas commodities, cross-border e-commerce has grown rapidly in China in recent years.

According to official statistics, the market grew by 30 percent year-on-year on average from 2008 to 2015.

The market further expanded last year, as popularity for overseas online shopping platforms continues to rise. Turnover amounted to 6.3 trillion yuan ($954 billion) in 2016, with the number of Chinese shoppers on overseas platforms reaching 41 million.

Industry research firm CI Consulting predicted that China's cross-border e-commerce turnover will account for 37.6 percent of the country's total import and export volumes by 2020.

To achieve that, the Chinese government and domestic enterprises should bear their own responsibilities, according to Wang Zuo, vice-president and senior researcher of the China Society of Logistics Management.

"While the government needs to maintain supply chain security and protect Chinese enterprises' overseas assets, Chinese enterprises need to comply with the laws, regulations, religions, cultures and social customs in their host countries," he said.

Zhang Guangnan, a professor at the Institute of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Development Studies at Sun Yat-sun University, said it is important to see things from a broad perspective.

The construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will promote cross-border trade between China and Belt and Road countries and regions, but challenges remain in terms of risk control as the Chinese economy becomes more open, he noted.

"The government's adoption of the negative-list management model, allowing overseas investors to enter more fields, could welcome more opportunities brought about by openness, while at the same time creating potential for more risks," Zhang said.

"Risk management is an important issue we need to address in order to ensure trade grows healthily."

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2017-12-04 07:21:54
<![CDATA[Lasting legacy of men on mission]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-12/03/content_35181640.htm Li Xiumei loves snow. "It purifies and silences everything, especially in this part of the campus," says the associate law professor at the Beijing Administration Institute. "After one snowy night, I came here early in the morning to sink my footsteps into the spotless white spongecake - footsteps that took me to a group of men who have occupied my imagination and much of my time for the past decade."

To be precise, it is the repeated visits to the tombstones of these men that have kept Li in their thrall. The stones, standing quietly on a patch of land measuring about 200 square meters, are in tight formation. The intimacy is evocative because centuries ago, when those to whom the monuments are dedicated arrived in China after months, or even years, at sea, they were essentially alone, with almost no one to turn to but themselves and their God.

They were Jesuit missionaries who journeyed to China from countries including Portugal, Spain, Italy and France between the 16th and 19th centuries, and they had at least two things in common: undoubted talent - including personal and diplomatic skills - and an unwavering dedication to spreading the gospel message.

 

Zhang Xiping, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, who specializes in cultural exchanges between China and the West.

 

"The Society of Jesus, a religious order of the Catholic Church whose members are known as Jesuits, was founded by Ignatius of Loyola, a nobleman from northern Spain, in the mid-16th century," Li says. "Soon after, Francis Xavier, one of the society's core members, made the Jesuits' very first attempt to reach China."

Xavier never set foot on the mainland, dying only a year after arriving on the Chinese island of Shangchuan, off the country's southeastern coast. Missionary work would not resume until 30 years later and lasted until the mid-20th century.

"In that time, more than 1,000 Jesuits, not to mention other missionaries who had come under different banners within the Catholic Church, came to China," Li says. "But most of those buried here are either the forerunners of the Jesuit mission or its most active members."

Of all the 63 gravestones on the campus, three stand relatively apart, on a lot separated from the rest by a low wall. Their prominent position is indicated by symbolic earth mounds behind each monument.

"The middle one belongs to Matteo Ricci, the Italian believed to have been the first Jesuit to enter Beijing," Li says. "To its left is that of Johann Adam Schall von Bell, a German whose eventful life mirrors the tumults of his time; and to its right is that of Ferdinand Verbiest, a Belgian who became a de facto mentor for Kangxi, one of Chinese history's greatest emperors and a contemporary of the 'Sun King' of France (Louis XIV, 1638-1715).

"Among them they shared not only legends, myths and anecdotes, but also triumphs and travails, and here, their final resting place."

Zhang Xiping, a professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, has spent most of his academic life researching the cultural exchanges between China and the West and has published books on the Jesuit mission in the country's history.

"From the very beginning, they realized that in recruiting in the name of God they had to be very flexible, to 'become all things to all,' to use the words of Loyola himself," Zhang says.

Ricci, the Italian who, in the eyes of Emperor Kangxi, set an example for all missionaries who wished to stay in China, understood these words. Having learned Chinese in Macao, he went on to stay in Guangdong province, where Buddhism had a strong tradition, for more than a decade, before moving north to the cities of Nanchang and Nanjing, and ultimately to Beijing.

"Before reaching Nanchang, where he would acquaint himself with members of the local literati, Ricci slipped out of his monk's gown and into an official robe," Zhang says. "If nothing else, this provides a metaphor for his entire career in China, and for those who considered themselves his followers."

If a high level of adaptation is what the Western missionaries needed to disarm a people who Ricci believed deeply distrusted outsiders, then a demonstration that these men possessed the finest minds became necessary to break what the American historian Jonathan Spence has described as Chinese society's "serene indifference to foreigners".

"They needed to impress, and even to astonish," Zhang says. "Armed with knowledge gained from those 15th-century voyages that led to the discovery and colonization of the New World, and later from the invention of the telescope, they were ready to do exactly that."

But before any serious business, there was often a display of intellectual curiosities, including trinkets to tickle the imagination.

On one occasion, Ricci is believed to have given to the decadent Ming Emperor Wanli (1563-1620) three things: a portrait of the Virgin Mary, a tin musical instrument and a chime clock. "Wanli was so infatuated with the clock that when his mother, the empress dowager, asked to have a look, the emperor, fearing that he might have to surrender his newly gained fetish, had the clock's inbuilt mechanics removed before presenting it to the old lady," Li says.

"Not surprisingly, the empress dowager was wholly unimpressed and returned the clock to her son. I've also read that Ricci had previously tried to present the emperor with other things, through one of his eunuchs, of course. However, as shrewd as Ricci was, he failed to take into account the eunuch's greed."

Getting nothing in return, the angry eunuch is said to have managed to have Ricci thrown into prison, if only briefly, before taking everything for himself.

"If this anecdote is true, then it seems that the Western missionaries had a lot more to adapt to than they had imagined," Li says.

These attempts at gaining attention were followed by significant and often prolonged efforts aimed at "bringing down the arrogance of the Chinese and bringing them into God's fold", Li says.

When Emperor Chongzhen (1611-1644), the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), peered into the infinity of the universe through a telescope about 1641, with Schall von Bell at his side, the beleaguered man, whose vast empire was being eyed by powerful foes and who may have felt he needed heaven's help more than ever before, must have experienced moments of amazement and profound lamentation.

Seven decades later, when the French Jesuit missionaries, including Pierre Jartoux and Guillaume Bonjour-Favre, traveled all over what was then the Empire of Qing (1644-1911), working on the most comprehensive and accurate map ever produced of the Middle Kingdom, they may still have had their predecessors in mind.

"They were hard workers before they were 'shepherds', going about their job, be it making calendars or surveying land, with a passion and dedication just as impressive as the skills they harbored," Li says.

"And the way they worked - performing astronomical observations to verify and determine the latitudes and longitudes of various locations - ushered in a new era of cartography in China."

However, the iconoclastic nature of their work, especially in areas that directly challenged the conventional Chinese view of the cosmos, made them targets for attack, often by court officials who felt that their own hold on the emperor's imagination - and on power - was being undermined by these latecomers.

The suspicion and antagonism, once dipped in the gall of court politics, could be fatal. Late in his life, the Qing court sentenced Schall von Bell to death. This was after the death of Emperor Shunzi, father of Kangxi, who died at the young age of 23 and whose respect for Schall von Bell's counsel was such that he called the old man mafa, or grandpa.

The sentence was never carried out. An earthquake in Beijing sent an alarm to the powerful Empress Dowager Xiaozhuang, mother of Shunzi and grandmother of Kangxi, who intervened on Schall von Bell's behalf.

"The incident that ultimately led to Schall von Bell's death, soon after, in 1666, is believed to have had a lot to do with the intense power struggle triggered by the death of Emperor Shunzhi five years earlier," Li says. "A few years later, Schall von Bell saw a posthumous restoration of fame, partly thanks to his peer Ferdinand Verbiest, who came out triumphant in a showdown with the Chinese scholar and astrologist Yang Guangxian, and partly because of a change of the political climate at the court."

The contest, in which the two sides were required to predict the length of the sun's shadow at midday, went ahead at the order of Emperor Kangxi. Verbiest's win heralded a 200-year period during which Western missionaries, in effect, controlled what was known as the Qing Empire's Astro-Calendric Bureau.

It is worth noting that while the 74-year-old Schall von Bell was in prison, Verbiest was at his side. He still is today, since the tombstones of the pair are separated only by the one belonging to Ricci, in whose footsteps they all followed.

When I visited the tombstones, early on an autumn day, I was with Li. The plants were still lush and, viewed from a certain distance, the tiny walled graveyard resembled a little corner of Louis XIV's Versailles.

One type of tree at this spot is the little leaf box, a precious species believed to have been first planted here before appearing in other parts of Beijing. In about 2005, Li moved two ginkgo trees here, and when I was there a small patch of white flowers was in full bloom, half-hidden by broad leaves.

"Their color and shape resemble a jade hairpin, which of course is why they are called jade hairpin blossoms," Li says.

In that sense, they seem to be the perfect flowers for Giuseppe Castiglione, the Italian missionary buried here. In his five decades in China, he served mainly as a court painter for the Qing emperor Qianlong and his impeccably dressed and delicate-looking consorts and concubines.

Apart from the rustling of leaves, quietness reigned that morning. Occasionally a stray cat or two would come and curl up either on the low wall or beside the gravestones.

Castiglione left behind a sizable number of works but, for many buried here, the gravestones are the only physical reminder of their remarkable lives. On the day of my visit, blinding autumnal sun turned the stone monuments into gray canvasses for the interplay of light and shadow, which helped to accentuate the relief carving on the stones' surfaces.

While the centers of the tombstones are often inscribed - sometimes in both Chinese and Latin - with the name and major life events of the deceased, the heavily carved base often features traditional Chinese patterns of water and clouds, from which a winged horse like one from Western mythology might arise.

Almost without exception, the tops of the tombstones are occupied by two writhing dragons, the symbol of royal power. Just below, as if protected by the ferocious animals, is a cross.

zhaoxu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-12-03 14:35:12
<![CDATA[Paint runs through the veins of collector's family]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/26/content_35016080.htm For US writer and dealer, the business of art is very close to home

Private collecting has thrived on the Chinese mainland over the past 30 years. More people are buying artworks for cultural appreciation, to showcase their wealth and social rank, and as an investment.

However, there is another important role that art plays to which few collectors give attention: as a common language among family members and a glue that keeps them together.

 

Clockwise from top: Kenny Schachter's collection includes Vito Acconoci's works Face on the Earth and Study I; A Schachter family photo. Photos by Leon Chew / For China Daily

"Art is beyond a thing to hang, but rather ... a shared physical and mental means of communications between us," says Kenny Schachter, a US art writer, dealer and collector.

"The family that arts together stays forever."

That is from a foreword that Schachter wrote for Nuclear Family, an show at ART021, a contemporary art fair in Shanghai, held from Nov 8 to 12.

On display were selected works from Schatchter's collection, which has accompanied him, his wife and their four sons for years. Featured artists included Vito Acconoci of the United States, Sigmar Polka of Germany and the Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

"I chose the artists that most prominently figured in my career, my life; art and artists that I have long studied, admired, loved, collected, written and taught about," Schachter says.

There were also works by family members. Schatchter's wife, Ilona, is an artist in her own right, and his two eldest boys study at the School of Visual Arts in New York; they all exhibit internationally.

The exhibition was to provide a sample of how a family collection could be built and expanded and gradually become the heart of a family's culture and legacy.

Schachter says he tries to buy works every few weeks or so, and at least every month, although he says he has not calculated for a long time how many works are in his family collection.

"Sure, I have inventories of my possessions, although even that is not complete. I can still tally up the beads of the abacus by looking at how much my storage has expanded versus the previous years."

For Schachter, collecting is not only a "materialistic compulsion" but also "a way to engage with the aesthetics of culture and partake in the creative society" of the time, he says.

His collection will be a legacy for his family, "not for any type of private museum or preservation of my participation in the art world and market, but it constitutes the majority of their inheritance from me".

Schachter compares his family life to "a built-in studio critique session in an art university". Members argue about everything, he says, but when it comes to art, they mostly come to the same conclusion.

"We criticize, question, debate, discuss all, and from time to time one member sways another member to adjust their position. Art is openended, constantly evolving, changing and transforming. Art is a window into conceptual thoughts and visualizations.

"We are all hyper-opinionated, but of course I am the only one constantly right! I am joking.

"Art is like living with books being read aloud each and every day. Art unifies and focuses us, it's a family enterprise inasmuch as a good portion of our assets are in art."

And those who decide to make art so integral to their life need to be prepared to invest in "decades of dedication, care and thought", Schatchter says, because art is "a slow burning".

"What I love most about the process is the fact that art is never ending, always evolving each day."

linqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-11-26 14:58:44
<![CDATA[Interpreter of the Chinese Dream]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/26/content_35016051.htm After successfully staging Dream of the Red Chamber in China, impresario plans to take it on a major tour of Europe

As a Canadian classical music impresario, Wray Armstrong might cut an unlikely figure in the projection of China's soft power.

However, the 67-year-old was the man behind the recent, hugely successful staging in China of Dream of the Red Chamber, based on the classic Chinese novel.

He now plans to take it on a major tour of Europe in the summer of 2019.

 

Wray Armstrong, chairman of Armstrong Music& Arts, represents a number of the world's leading classical music artists. Wang Jing / China Daily

He believes it is the sort of project that fits in with the message about the importance of promoting Chinese culture sent out by General Secretary Xi Jinping in his report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.

"President Xi has been very strong about culture and soft power and, following on from the congress, we are looking at taking it to Europe," he says.

Armstrong, an imposingly tall figure, is sitting behind an enormous desk in his new offices in the North Pingod Arts Community. The table is made out of a 100-year-old Chinese country house door, which is now encased in toughened glass.

"I had it made by a carpenter in the Gaobeidian (area) of Beijing, where we get a lot of our props for historical dramas. They had to put it together in my office. It is a bit of an artistic statement," he says with a laugh.

Armstrong, chairman of Armstrong Music& Arts, which he founded in Beijing in 2009, represents a number of the world's leading classical music artists. Among them are the Polish composer and conductor Krzysztof Penderecki, the pianist Helene Grimaud and violinist Joshua Bell. He also represented the Czech conductor Jiri Belohlavek, who died in May.

Staging Dream of the Red Chamber in China, though, was his biggest success so far.

The production of the opera, composed by Chinese-American Bright Sheng and with a libretto by Sheng and David Henry Hwang, was initially intended for a US, not the Chinese, market.

"It wasn't produced for the China market but by San Francisco Opera, which has a strong commissioning program and tends to commission something by a Chinese artist every five years or so.

"Its board of directors really hoped it would come to China, and we were one of two or three agencies who bid on the project."

There were six performances in total - two each in Beijing, Wuhan and Changsha. The first performance at the last venue marked the opening of the Changsha Meixi Lake International Culture and Arts Center designed by the late British architect Zaha Hadid.

"In Changsha, the acoustics were brilliant and the look is completely different and wonderful. The center looks like orchid blossoms when seen from above," he says.

Although it was a US production, many of the artists had to be hired in China.

"The San Francisco orchestra was in season and they don't have a double orchestra or chorus like, say, Vienna (Philharmonic and State Opera). So we auditioned with the composer and hired the best young Chinese singers. They had all trained in London or worked in Berlin," he says.

All of the performances sold out, with Wuhan's being broadcast on local television. Now Armstrong is looking to stage the opera in Shanghai next year before heading for Europe the following year.

"If we could do between six and 10 centers, that would be unbelievable. We would like to do the music festivals in Berlin and Amsterdam, the Proms in London, although the Royal Albert Hall (the main Proms venue) is not an opera house, and maybe the Edinburgh Festival and the Proms in Warsaw," he says.

He says the San Francisco Opera prefers that his company stage a European tour, even though it is outside China.

"They know and we also know it would require an incredible fundraising effort, which would be easier inside China than organized from San Francisco. Both the Chinese Central Opera and the Hangzhou Philharmonic would be very interested in cooperating with us, and we hope we might get some government support."

Armstrong was brought up in a musical family in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. His mother was a good amateur pianist and his father played accordion and had a traditional dance band.

He studied languages at university and went on to be a translator for the Federal Translation Bureau in Ottawa.

"On the third day of the job as a translator I knew it wasn't going to work - just translating what people said with no viewpoint."

In the late 1970s, he managed to get a job as assistant manager at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, where he eventually became managing director working alongside musical director Sir Andrew Davis, now best known for his association with the Proms in London.

In the early 1990s, he became managing director of the London operations of the leading US arts management company ICM Artists, where he worked with Isaac Stern, who had made the film Mao to Mozart about classical music returning to China after the "cultural revolution" (1966-76).

In 1999, he moved to IMG Artists, where he headed up the key classical music projects for the Beijing Olympics.

He has had a close working relationship with the famous Chinese conductor Yu Long since the late 1990s and was an adviser and consultant to the Beijing Music Festival.

It was when IMG wanted to set up a Beijing office that he decided to go it alone and set up his own agency.

"I had a serious discussion with the head of IMG and decided I wouldn't work for him and that I would work for myself. They wanted me to operate here how the New York office thought, and that just wasn't right for China," he says.

Moving to China was a bold move for someone who was already in his late 50s, but it has proved successful.

"What was important was to have Chinese business partners who know how to deal with Chinese businesspeople. In the first few years I had a lot to learn," he says.

Bringing top orchestras to China can be a logistical nightmare in transporting artists and their instruments.

"The maestro always travels first class, and the players in the top orchestras business class. This often means they have to travel over two days because there is not enough room for them all in the business class of a single airliner," he says.

He believes Chinese orchestras are now bridging the talent gap between themselves and the major Western orchestras, as Japanese orchestras have succeeded in doing.

"Chinese orchestras are doing rather well now. For them to be the equivalent of the Berlin or Czech Philharmonic, we are probably still looking at 20 years from now," he says.

"The actual playing talent is strong everywhere. The only difference to me is the interpretation and the traditions of interpretation."

He says China also suffers from something of a brain drain of its musicians.

"Many Chinese youngsters go to the Curtis (Institute of Music in Philadelphia) or the Juilliard (School in New York) or the Royal Academy of Music in London and don't come back. There are top Chinese players in the Berlin and the New York philharmonic orchestras."

Armstrong says he continues to be impressed by the range and sheer number of music events across China.

"There is an incredible range of orchestras, chamber music, dance and also musicals being brought here right across China. It is a very exciting to be part of it all."

andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

Bio

Wray Armstrong

Chairman and founder, Armstrong

Music& Arts

Age: 67

Chairman and founder, Armstrong Music and Arts, 2009-present

Director, conductor and instrumentalist, IMG Artists, 1999-2008

Managing director (London office), ICM Artists, 1991-99

Managing director, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, 1985-1991

Assistant orchestra manager (1978-79), artistic administrator (1979-85) and managing director (1985-91), Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Artist manager, David Haber Artist Management, Toronto, 1977-78

Translator (French-English), Federal Translation Bureau, Ottawa, 1974-76

Education:

Bachelor of arts, University of Saskatchewan, 1971

Bachelor of applied science, Laurentian University, 1974

Book: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood "I read a broad spectrum of books but this is very powerful."

Music: Elektra by Richard Strauss "It brings the very essence of creativity altogether in just one work."

Film: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, directed by Ang Lee) "An amazing and astonishing film."

Food: Ile flottante (floating island). "It is a French dessert with meringue and creme anglaise. It's beautiful."

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2017-11-26 14:58:44
<![CDATA[Xi Jinping And His Era]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/18/content_34683261.htm On the morning of Oct 18, Xi Jinping, standing behind a lectern in the Great Hall of the People, delivered a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The 32,000-character report, the most significant of its kind in recent decades, drew more than 70 rounds of applause from delegates.

In the report, Xi said socialism with Chinese characteristics had crossed the threshold into a new era.

"This is a new historic juncture in China's development," he stated.

The report has been translated into 10 foreign languages. Most of the translators and foreign linguists involved used the word "powerful" to describe their first impressions.

"I was absorbed the first time I read it. I read from morning till midnight, even forgetting to have meals," said linguist Olga Migunova from Russia.

US expert on China studies and chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, said that with this political report and the congress, Xi, who is the core of the CPC Central Committee and of the whole Party, sees China as standing at a new historic starting point.

At the first plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee on Oct 25, Xi was re-elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee for a second term, a reflection of the will of the entire CPC. Media and observers, at home and abroad, see Xi as the right man to lead China from being "better-off" into a great modern country.

In 1949, Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People's Republic of China, marking the end to a century of humiliation at the hands of foreign aggressors.

Deng Xiaoping, who put forward the reform and opening-up policy, then paved the way for the nation to become rich.

The coming five years between the 19th and the 20th Party Congress is the period in which the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals will converge, Xi said when presenting the new CPC central leadership to the press.

"Not only must we deliver the first centenary goal, we must also embark on the journey toward the second," he said, promising to work diligently to "meet our duty, fulfill our mission and be worthy of CPC members' trust."

He stressed that Chinese Communists "must always have a youthful spirit, and forever be the servants of the people, the vanguard of the times and the backbone of our nation."

A MAN WHO MAKES THINGS HAPPEN

Five years ago, Xi, referred to by media as the first CPC chief of the social-media era, led the newly elected members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to meet the press.

"In just a few minutes, the man who will lead the world's most populous nation for the next 10 years laid out his agenda. In short: to make the Chinese nation great again, address the grievances of the people and root out corruption.... Mr Xi used simple language easily understood by non-Party members," said the Financial Times.

"He does seem to have the personality and political strength to start quickly and out of the box," the report quoted expert on Chinese politics at Boston University Joseph Fewsmith as saying.

While praising his relaxed and confident demeanor, five years ago many took a wait-and-see attitude, as the new Chinese leader faced a plethora of headaches: a slowing economy, a widening wealth gap, corruption, and environmental woes.

The waiting and seeing is now well and truly over. Already some speak of "historic change" when describing what happened in the ensuing 1,800-odd days.

A total of 360 major reform plans were put forward and over 1,500 reform measures launched, establishing a general framework for reform in major fields and lending greater impetus to growth.

The economy expanded at an average annual rate of 7.2 percent between 2013 and 2016, outstripping the 2.5-percent average global growth.

More than 60 million people have bid goodbye to poverty.

Hundreds of officials at or above provincial or corps level have been investigated for corruption and a campaign targeting undesirable working styles has ensured that the Party with over 89 million members stayed pure and grew stronger.

The 2 million-strong Chinese military has reshaped its way of thinking and work style, organizational form and armament.

The "strictest environmental protection system" was put in place and numbers of officials were punished for insufficient work in this regard.

Moreover, the country made major progress in scientific and technological fields, seeing successes with a space lab, submersible, radio telescope and quantum satellite.

For the first time in over six decades, leaders across the Taiwan Straits met in person.

China is developing a new type of relations between major countries with the United States and Russia.

The Chinese currency, the renminbi, or yuan, joined the IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDR) basket. A proposal regarding a community with a shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative were incorporated into UN documents.

None of these were easy, but Xi and his colleagues have made things happen, with Xi's unshakable will and commitment crucial to the cause.

"If the Party and people need us to devote ourselves, we shall do it with no hesitation.... If we cannot do it, then how can we ask others to do it?" Xi once said at a meeting attended by members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.

Xi's roadmap for China's future is inspiring: a two-step approach to becoming a "great modern socialist country," once a moderately prosperous society in all respects is established by 2020. Socialist modernization will be basically realized from 2020 to 2035. From 2035 to the middle of the century, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.

By then, China will be a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence. Prosperity for everyone will be basically achieved, a prospect that the Chinese nation has been longing for since the Opium War (1840-42).

At this point, Xi is the unrivalled helmsman who will steer China toward this great dream.

Xi has been described by the media as "energetic,""ambitious,""sober-minded," and a "pathfinder."

He received the highest rating among 10 world leaders in a survey published by the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He also topped the domestic ratings that respondents gave to their own leaders.

A Nikkei report on Oct 19 said Xi had drawn up the blueprint for the country's development over the next 30 or so years and was expected to ensure that China regains its status as a global power.

CPC CORE FORGED DURING 'GREAT STRUGGLE'

When Xi assumed office five years ago, his top priority was to ensure that the whole Party shall obey the Central Committee and uphold its authority and its centralized, unified leadership. The Party had to face up to its lack of drive, incompetence, disengagement from the people, inaction, and corruption. Of those failings, corruption became the biggest challenge. In Xi's opinion, if corruption got any worse, it would cause the collapse of the Party and the fall of the state. Achieving any target in the new era would be impossible.

The campaign against corruption was like no other in the 96-year CPC history, and remains as far-reaching and relentless as any such campaign anywhere in the world. One of the first "tigers" - senior corrupt officials - to fall was Li Chuncheng, former deputy secretary of the CPC Sichuan provincial committee. He had served as an alternate member of 18th CPC Central Committee for less than a month when he was put under investigation in December 2012. Soon, probes of centrally administered officials became an almost regular occurrence. Once as many as seven "tigers" fell under the gaze of investigators in a single month.

Even though the public had witnessed the full force of the campaign, the announcement in July 2014 that Zhou Yongkang, former member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, was under investigation came as a bolt from the blue. Previously, Chinese people had doubted that the CPC would investigate officials at such a high level. The international community had not expected that Xi, still quite new to his office, had the capability or resolve to take out such a "big tiger."

Over the past five years, a number of officials with "iron hats" - those who were considered powerful and not easily removed - have been felled for corruption. Besides Zhou Yongkang, there were Bo Xilai, Guo Boxiong, Xu Caihou, Sun Zhengcai and Ling Jihua. A total of 43 members and alternate members of the 18th CPC Central Committee as well as nine members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) have been investigated.

Dispelling any doubt, Xi said, "If we did not offend hundreds of corrupt officials, we would offend 1.3 billion Chinese people." To those who worried that corruption would impede economic development, Xi said, "As far as I see, the sky will not fall."

Xi's path has been far from smooth. Rather, it is one of "struggle," a word which appeared 23 times in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress.

In 2015, the anti-corruption drive was described as at "a stalemate." In 2016, the CPC was "gaining ground to overcome corruption." Today, the anti-corruption campaign has built into a crushing tide, is being consolidated, and continues to develop. Fugitives overseas have found themselves hunted down and captured. Domestically, thousands of officials confessed to disciplinary authorities on their own initiative.

While some suggested taking a breather as long as some progress has been made, Xi said the Party must not leave well enough alone in front of an early harvest. Rather, the Party must fight for a "sweeping victory" over corruption. A popular cartoon on the Internet shows Xi on top of a tiger and punching the beast with his fist.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, about 75 percent of Chinese people were satisfied with the anti-corruption efforts in 2012. The figure had risen to 92.9 percent by 2016.

Xi does not only rely on taking out "tigers" and swatting "flies" - low-level corrupt officials - to win people's support.

In early 2013, when Xi read an article, "Netizens call for curbing food waste" carried by Xinhua News Agency, he gave the instruction that "waste must be stopped." He stressed eradicating waste in public funds. After five years of hard work, the CPC checked the unhealthy trend, a mission once believed to be impossible.

Yang Xiaodu, deputy secretary of the CCDI, declared: "People said public funds spent on recreational activities like dinners and drinking could be about 200 billion yuan every year, but no one knew how to curtail it. With the eight-point regulation on frugality, the problem has been solved."

The regulation made explicit requirements on how officials should improve their work in eight aspects, focusing on rejecting extravagance and reducing bureaucratic meetings and empty talk.

"The eight-point regulation has changed China," Yang said.

"The people have granted power to us, so we must devote our lives to the Party and the country, and serve the Party and the country worthily. We must do what we should. If our work needs us to offend some people, we must offend them," Xi said.

Xi meant what he said. He relaunched the mass-line campaign to bring Party officials closer to the people. He urged officials to meet "strict" and "earnest" requirements: to be strict with oneself in practicing self-cultivation, using power, and exercising self-discipline; and to be earnest in one's thinking, work and behavior. The Party required all its members to have a solid understanding of the Party Constitution, Party regulations, and major policy addresses, and to meet Party standards of behavior.

The CPC will run a campaign on "staying true to our founding mission" to enable all the Party members to arm themselves with new Party theories and become more purposeful in working tirelessly to accomplish the historic Party mission.

The Party has revised its regulations on disciplinary punishments and code on honesty and self-discipline. Those keen on officialdom are losing power and influence. Over the past five years, more than 5,000"naked officials" - those whose spouses and children are overseas - have been removed from their posts. More than 22,000 officials at or above county-level had their posts rearranged on the basis of their performance.

Xi's status as the core of the CPC Central Committee and the whole Party was endorsed at the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. It is widely acknowledged that when such a big Party as the CPC governs such a big country, difficulties are inevitable. Without a strong core of leadership, it is hard to maintain unity of Party thinking and solidarity across the entire nation. Weak leadership makes any achievement impossible, not to mention victory in a "great struggle with many new contemporary features."

Xi's indomitable spirit originates from his faith in Marxism. One of his colleagues noted in an article that Xi's speeches "exuberate with firm belief in communism and socialism."

When visiting "The Road Toward Renewal" exhibition at the National Museum on Nov 29, 2012, Xi told a story about Chen Wangdao, who was so focused on translating The Communist Manifesto that he found himself eating ink instead of brown sugar. Xi quoted Chen's words: "The taste of truth is so sweet."

Xi also draws strength from his parents Xi Zhongxun and Qi Xin, both of whom participated in the revolution at young ages. In 1962, Xi Zhongxun's 16 years of suffering from political persecution began. However, he never gave in to adversity and ultimately helped clear the names of others who were persecuted.

When his father was wronged, Xi Jinping went through some tough times.

In one of his letters to his father, Xi Jinping noted that even when trapped in hard times, Xi Zhongxun still held "unswerving faith in communism and belief in the Party's greatness, correctness and glory."

"Your words and actions have pointed the correct direction for us to go forward," he wrote.

Xi also recollected that, when he was 5 or 6 years old, his mother bought him picture books about Yue Fei, a patriotic military commander of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and the story of how Yue's mother tattooed four Chinese characters on his back to remind him of devoting himself to the country.

"Jing Zhong Bao Guo (To serve the country with total loyalty): I have long remembered these four characters. It is the pursuit of my entire life," Xi said.

During his early life, Xi applied to join the Communist Youth League eight times and the CPC 10 times, before he finally joined the Party at the age of 20.

SERVANT OF THE PUBLIC

"Xi is a very great leader. He works not only in his office, but among the people," said Keovichith Lamngeun, a Laotian who worked as one of the nine foreign linguists on the translation of the 19th CPC National Congress report.

"From my observation, the general public likes Xi because he has brought about changes," said Peggy Cantave Fuyet, who was responsible for the French version of the report.

Many times over the last five years, the general secretary popped up in crowds of ordinary people amid roars of cheering and the sound of mobile phone camera shutters.

He queued and dined with members of the public in a roadside restaurant. He bought festival gifts himself before visiting old acquaintances in the village where he worked as an "educated youth." He stood in heavy rain talking with frontline workers.

He has walked into farmers' barns and kitchens, checked the menu at nursing homes and stressed virtue to young students.

He stayed overnight in a makeshift prefab during a visit to the scene of an earthquake.

He once visited Beijing's hutong in heavy smog, dropping in on residents to ask about their work, salaries, what they burned for cooking and heating, as well as how far their homes were from the nearest toilet.

Xi has visited all of the poorest areas suffering "abject poverty" in China.

At the 19th CPC National Congress, he was a delegate of southwest China's Guizhou province, one of the poorest regions in China, with per capita GDP of around 33,000 yuan ($4,980), close to 20,000 yuan lower than the national average in 2016.

When Xi sat down to talk with other delegates from the province in a panel discussion, no one was quite sure how the conversation would turn. Later, somewhat surprised delegates found themselves discussing pork delicacies, strong liquor and tourism with him, all of which are regarded as effective means to bring in extra income for locals.

Media reports of this discussion have drawn numerous clicks and many "thumbs-up" on the Internet.

The people always take the center stage in Xi's blueprint for "a great modern socialist country."

"The original aspiration and the mission of Chinese Communists is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation," Xi told more than 2,300 delegates at the congress.

In November 2013, during an inspection tour to the central province of Hunan, Xi visited Shibadong, a Miao minority village labeled "poor" at the time.

"What should I call you?" asked illiterate villager Shi Pazhuan, as she welcomed Xi into her home.

"I am a servant of the people," Xi introduced himself.

During that tour, Xi first put forward the concept of "targeted poverty alleviation," which refers to measures that include a system to keep track of every household and individual in poverty to verify that their treatment is having the desired effect.

For Shi, "targeted poverty alleviation" meant a government subsidy to finance a kiwi fruit plantation for her and her neighbors.

Xi was visibly pleased on learning later that people of Shibadong had finally shaken off poverty.

He has pledged to lift the country's remaining 40 million impoverished people out of their situation by 2020, a step against poverty unprecedented in human history.

Securing sustenance for all 1.3 billion people of China is, in itself, a huge accomplishment.

He is determined to bring about even more: better education, more stable jobs, higher incomes, more reliable social insurance, better medical services, more comfortable living conditions, a more beautiful environment and a richer cultural life.

As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, Xi said the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved into one "between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life."

To meet the needs of the people, Xi is striving to ensure equal access to quality education for every child in the country.

He presided over meetings of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform to discuss major medical reforms and made "Healthy China" a national strategy.

A property rights protection system is being improved to give people a greater sense of security.

Reform of household registration system will ensure equal access to public services for more people.

Xi is practicing the CPC principle of serving the people wholeheartedly. What makes him stand out may lie in his experiences of living and working as an "educated youth" - urban youth sent to remote rural areas to "learn from farmers" during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76). He stayed in Liangjiahe, a small village in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, from 1969 to 1975.

"At that time, I did all kinds of work - reclaiming wasteland, farming, hoeing, herding, hauling coal, mounding, and carrying manure," Xi recalled. "I came to understand what reality, seeking truth and the masses meant. These gave me an enduring inspiration in my life."

He is well qualified to be confident about his comprehension of ordinary people's life in this populous country. During his about 44 years in politics, he rose from grassroots Party chief to the CPC leader, from an ordinary citizen to the country's president, from an average military officer to the Central Military Commission chairman.

He has worked in Party, government and military units, holding posts at all levels from village-level to county-level and all the way through to provincial and central authorities. Wherever he works, he makes a remarkable impact.

He leads the CPC in serving the people's interests - usually long-term interests - with foresight and consideration for what can be carried through.

"I respect Xi. The Chinese leader has the qualities necessary for the new era," said Olga Migunova, the Russian linguist on the translation of the 19th CPC National Congress report.

STRATEGIST BEHIND CHINA'S REFORM

To push forward China's modernization in the 21st century, Xi has launched the world's largest-scale set of reforms.

About three weeks after assuming his post of CPC chief in 2012, Xi trod the same route that Deng Xiaoping took in 1992, to South China's Guangdong province, the frontline of reform more than 30 years ago.

There, Xi declared, "reform and opening up decide China's fate."

Being the top decision-maker now is no less challenging than it was in 1978. What remain after decades of economic miracles are the most obstinate barriers, such as outdated mentality, deeply-embedded institutional flaws and strong vested interests.

Many who questioned the country's future cobbled together a series of scenarios on China's outlook, ranging from an economic hardlanding to total collapse.

Xi was keenly aware of his responsibility.

"I have been anxious day and night for fear of failing the trust since being assigned the great task," said Xi shortly after taking office, quoting Zhuge Liang, a politician around 1,800 years ago, known for his strategic thinking and diligence.

Xi made his top-level design and strategic arrangements through the "five-sphere integrated plan" - promoting coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement - and the "four-pronged comprehensive strategy" - making comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance law-based governance and strengthen Party governance.

He defined the current phase of China's economic development as "the new normal," which called for new solutions to growth, structure and a new driving force for the economy.

From April 2013, he led a team of officials on producing a key report for the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, a document on deepening overall reform.

"We received more than 10,000 proposals from various departments and local governments. The difficulty was to prioritize them," recalled Zheng Xinli, former deputy director of the CPC Central Committee Policy Research Office. "It was Xi who made the final decision to focus on institutional weakness, the problems that triggered serious social conflict and those that the public most strongly petitioned against."

It was also Xi who made the final call about one of the major breakthroughs in the draft - the report rephrased the market's role in allocating resources, from "a basic role" that had been reiterated by Party documents since 1992, to "a decisive role," a great leap in the relationship between the market and government.

Whereafter, a string of reform projects were undertaken, touching on the most difficult and tangled areas, from state-owned enterprises, household registration, fiscal management and rural land to public hospitals.

Some of these programs used to be considered so sensitive as to be almost impossible.

The 2013 comprehensive reform plan included a policy change about residences provided for senior officials. For years they had been given permanent housing that they and their families could occupy even after retirement. Only accommodating incumbent officials had been discussed but not adopted until Xi's term.

Xi was called "our group leader" by the People's Daily, the CPC flagship newspaper, because, during the past five years, he has headed any number of leading groups covering key areas from overall reform, cyber security, military reform to finance and economic affairs. Xi also announced that the CPC would set up a central leading group for advancing law-based governance in all areas.

Xi was personally involved in the work of these groups, reviewing every draft of major policy sentence by sentence.

Sources close to him told Xinhua that all reports submitted to him, no matter how late in the evening, were returned with instructions the following morning.

Under Xi's leadership, a new-type modern economic system is taking shape in China, featuring large-scale supply-side structural reform, innovation, rural revitalization, co-ordinated regional development, the socialist market economy and new pattern of overall opening-up.

To help officials fully understand the necessity and urgency of supply-side structural reform, Xi told them stories of Chinese tourists traveling abroad to buy foreign-brand rice cookers and electronic toilet seats.

Xi's vision was embodied in the overall goal of deepening reform - improving and developing the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing the country's governance system and capacity.

Making institutional system more comprehensive, stable and effective was hailed as "the fifth modernization," an addition to the popular catchphrase of "four modernizations" - agriculture, industry, defense and science - first raised by the Party in the 1960s.

From law-based governance, environmental friendliness, core socialist values to cultural confidence, more components were added to China's grand modernization design.

Xi's vision of "a great modern socialist country," which aims for socialism's triumph over capitalism, not only guides China to avoiding the middle income trap but is a reference for the governance of other socialist countries.

TOP COMMANDER RESHAPING THE MILITARY

As chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), Xi is tasked with ensuring the world's largest military take a "crucial leap" in the new era from being simply large to being strong.

To achieve this, the commander-in-chief of an armed force of 2 million servicemen and women has outlined a two-step approach.

"We will make it our mission to see that by 2035, the modernization of our national defense and our forces is basically complete; and that by the mid-21st century our people's armed forces have been fully transformed into world-class forces," Xi said in the report to the 19th CPC National Congress.

Neither of these two goals is easy, and Xi has turned to reviving the army's revolutionary spirit of wartime to seek momentum.

At Xi's behest, a conference on the army's political work convened in 2014 in Gutian township, Fujian province, the very place where Mao Zedong presided over the gathering in 1929 which established the principle of the Party's absolute leadership of the army.

One of Mao's most famous dictums back then was that "political power comes from the barrel of a gun." In the new era, the army faces much different tasks and missions: from safeguarding the territorial sovereignty of a vast land, sea and airspace, to facilitating national unification; from protecting China's ever-increasing overseas interests, to counter-terrorism and disaster relief.

But for Xi, the top priority remains the same as it was eight decades ago - putting the entire military under unified and absolute command, and ensuring that the armed forces follow the orders of the Party.

In the new Gutian conference, Xi reaffirmed the People's Liberation Army (PLA)' s fine traditions and principles of political loyalty and leadership by the Party. He also indicated some outstanding problems which had to be resolved "right away," or the PLA risked degradation and deviation.

Since the 18th CPC National Congress, more than 100 PLA officers at or above the corps-level, including two former CMC vice-chairmen, have been investigated and punished. The number is even greater than that of army generals who died in the battlefield during revolutionary times.

A new disciplinary commission and a commission for political and legal affairs were set up under the CMC on the orders of Xi, and more than 40 military statutes and regulations were adopted in a bid to preserve exemplary PLA conduct, strict discipline and high morale.

Xi also ordered the military to relinquish all business activities, a move that touched upon considerable vested interests. Some had expressed reservations, but Xi went through with it.

"The army shall act like an army," he said.

All these have pressed the PLA to focus on the improvement of its combat capability which, according to Xi, should be the "only and fundamental" benchmark of the military.

Xi is well aware of the need to improve PLA combat capability. Back in 2012, he pointed out that the military was lacking in its capacity to win in modern warfare.

Lagging behind on the military front is lethal to the security of the country, Xi said. "I have read a lot on China's modern history, and it gives me great pain whenever I come across a time when we dropped back (in military building) and fell victim to invasions," he said.

To make sure that painful history does not repeat itself, Xi has spearheaded national defense and military reform since 2015.

Military organizations were revamped and the joint combat command mechanism was improved. The four military headquarters - staff, politics, logistics and armaments - were reorganized into 15 agencies, while the seven military area commands were regrouped into five theater commands.

In the meantime, the percentage of land forces' personnel among the entire PLA was cut to less than half for the first time, and the new Rocket Force and the Strategic Support Force were established.

The number of PLA officers was also reduced by 30 percent, and hundreds of generals switched posts.

Xi's uncompromising resolve yielded solid results. The past five years were witness to the greatest strides the PLA has ever made towards modernization.

A tiered combat command system including the CMC, theater commands and the troops was set up. In addition, a management system links the CMC to services and then to the troops.

Civil-military integration is now a national strategy, and science and innovation have been given greater gravitas.

In the past five years, China's first domestically built aircraft carrier was launched; new transport aircraft and stealth jets were commissioned; and the latest missiles were unveiled. Military hardware research made various breakthroughs.

The PLA is now a much leaner force with an optimized structure and more balanced services, one that takes strength less from its size, but more from its fighting capacity and efficacy.

Military experts believe the latest round of reform launched by Xi was the biggest change ever to the PLA.

Xi's affinity to the PLA dates back to his early days. Indeed, Xi is a PLA "veteran."

In 1979, straight after graduating from Tsinghua University, Xi joined the military, serving as secretary to the minister of national defense in the General Office of the CMC.

He was still often seen wearing his faded military uniform, sometimes with a matching kit bag, three years later when he became deputy Party chief of Zhengding county in Hebei province. As his work took him across the country in the following decades, Xi also held concurrent posts in the military. Even now, he still has a photo of himself in military uniform on his desk in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in downtown Beijing.

"Ever since I was young, I have learned much about PLA history and have admired the charm and charisma of the army's older generation of leaders," Xi once said. "My earnest attachment to the army dates back to my boyhood."

But Xi does not just command the PLA from behind a desk.

Over the past five years, he had sat in the cockpit of the air force's latest aircraft, boarded the navy's newest submarine, and watched the training programs of ship-borne PLA aircraft.

His domestic inspection tours have taken him to islands, remote border passes, as well as the harsh Gobi Desert, and everywhere he went, he paid his respects to local troops.

He dined with young soldiers, checked the temperature of their dormitory showers, and pressed them to get on with their delayed weddings.

In early 2014, Xi visited soldiers stationed in Inner Mongolia ahead of Chinese New Year. Against chilling winds and raging snow, he climbed the steep stairs to a sentry post and signed his name on the post's registration record.

"Today, I shall keep watch together with you," Xi told the soldiers.

Within five years, Xi had overseen two military parades. Late this July, clad in green military fatigues, he mounted an open-top camouflage jeep and drove past ranks of soldiers standing to attention in the Zhurihe military training base, just days before the 90th anniversary of the PLA.

The PLA rarely held field parades of this kind in the past.

The other parade was in 2015 when China commemorated the 70th anniversary of victory in the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.

Under his orders, more than 50 PLA generals made a rare appearance to lead foot formations and air echelons. Nearly 1,000 foreign troops from 17 countries, including Russia, also marched in the parade.

Before the parade, Xi announced a reduction in the number of military troops by 300,000, and highlighted China's aspirations for peace.

The announcement was the crystallization of China's national defense policy, which is defensive in nature. Behind the increase of PLA strength in both combat capability and command lies China's dedication to lasting peace across the globe.

In Xi's own words: "The only one who can end war is the one capable of war. The only one who can prevent war is the one ready for war. Those who cannot fight only leave themselves vulnerable to aggression."

A WORLD LEADER

In January 2017, President Xi went to Geneva, a place that has long been witness to the development of China's diplomacy, and delivered the speech "Work Together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind."

In 47 minutes, Xi won more than 30 rounds of ovation. At key parts of his speech, almost every sentence was greeted with applause.

He described this community of shared future as an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world with lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the United Nations would join China in promoting world peace and development, and in realizing the goal of a community of shared future for mankind.

In February, the 55th UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD) approved a resolution that called for more support for economic and social development in Africa by embracing the spirit of building "a human community with shared destiny."

It was the first time that a UN resolution incorporated the important Chinese concept.

In June 2016, at the arrival ceremony of a China-Europe freight train in Warsaw, Xi and Polish President Andrzej Duda tasted Polish apples together. Today, products like the apples are brought to China with the help of the Belt and Road Initiative.

As the chief architect of the initiative, Xi has provided an inclusive platform for countries to speed up their development. Over 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their support for, or participated in, the initiative.

In May 2017, Xi presided over the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the most prestigious international gathering China has ever initiated. Representatives from the world's major economies including all G7 countries were present.

To the international community, Xi is a firm advocate for economic globalization. He was the first Chinese head of state to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos.

His speech there was impressive: "Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war."

German newspaper Handelsblatt commented that the Chinese president was advocating a more just globalization in his speech. At Davos, the leader of the world's biggest Communist Party would become the biggest advocate for free trade.

Advocating shared growth through discussion and collaboration in global governance, Xi pushes for a more just and reasonable international order, and proposes upholding justice while pursuing shared interests.

He wants new thinking on common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security; open, innovative, and inclusive development that benefits everyone; and cross-cultural exchanges characterized by harmony within diversity, inclusiveness, and mutual learning.

These concepts were to the fore at the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, the G20 Hangzhou Summit, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing, the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia held in Shanghai, and other international podiums.

In the past five years, Xi has visited 57 countries and major international, regional organizations covering five continents; a combined travel distance equal to circling Earth 14 times. According to protocol officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his schedules for overseas visits are always tight and busy with one event closely following another.

When presiding over the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa, he was still attending bilateral meetings at midnight. During the BRICS Summit in Goa, India, he left the hotel at eight in the morning and did not return until almost one o'clock the next morning after his day's work.

He has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin over 20 times since taking on the mantle of president of China. Their solid friendship has led bilateral ties into the best time in history. He has had candid talks with both former and current US presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, enhancing trust while reducing suspicion and setting out the future of bilateral ties.

He is the first Chinese head of state to visit the headquarters of the European Union. He has visited all major European countries, exploring each one's special relationship with China. Europe is home to almost one third of the 57 founding members of the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

He proposed neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. He visited Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, advancing China's diplomacy on all fronts.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, "On the global stage, Mr Xi has portrayed China as an alternative to the West, with a unique political system and culture, and as a leader in areas including trade, inequality and climate change."

Many believe Xi's wisdom and solutions have helped avoid a "clash of civilizations," the so-called "Thucydides Trap" and "Kindleberger Trap."

At the 19th CPC National Congress, Xi said that major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics could "foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind."

This is a philosophy long held by Xi, out of an emotional commitment to serve people worldwide as his duty. It is a global vision and the undertaking of a major leader, combining China's own development with that of the whole world, transcending traditional Western schools of thought on international relations based on the zero-sum game and power politics.

Xi's extensive knowledge of literature and the arts makes him a consummate communicator in the international arena. When being interviewed, he named more than 10 Russian writers and a host of Russian masterpieces; when visiting Europe, he talked of several French and German cultural celebrities, bringing himself closer to the locals, and voicing his opinions with literary and artistic expression.

In describing "the Chinese road," he often uses vivid language - China is a peaceful, amicable, civilized lion; China is a big guy; China should not be compared to Mephisto. "Welcome aboard the fast train of China's development."

Xi treats everyone with sincerity, warmth, attentiveness, and forthrightness. Putin once said Xi sent him a birthday cake during the APEC meetings in 2013 and they "drank vodka with sandwiches." In July 2016, President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso visited China for the 14th time. Xi gave him a collection of over 70 photographs of his previous visits as a gift. As civil wars in Sassou Nguesso's country had damaged archives, he said that was the most precious gift he had ever received.

When presenting an award to a Russian veteran who fought for China during World War II, Xi saw the difficulty the old soldier had in moving and said at once, "Let me come over to you. You can stay there." He cherishes old friendships and honored his words with a visit to the family of a late friend, Jim Bacon, in Australia.

A selfie of football star Sergio Aguero and Xi drew a large number of views online. In Argentina, he happily accepted a No 10 jersey with his name on it. When being interviewed, Xi said he likes sports, including football, basketball, volleyball, and boxing. He also takes time out of his busy schedule to swim over 1,000 meters a time.

His wife Peng Liyuan accompanies the president on some trips abroad and has also become a star of China's diplomacy. In the autumn of 2015, Peng walked onto the podium of the United Nations and delivered two speeches in fluent English, one on her Chinese dream: "I hope all children, especially girls, can have access to good education. This is my Chinese dream." The other was about her stories with children orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

Details of their visits abroad show the warmth of a Chinese family. Whenever the cabin door of their plane opened, the couple always walked down the stairs hand in hand, with matching style and gestures. In June 2013, they visited a rural household in Costa Rica. When the host brought them snacks, Xi picked one up and said, "We two can share this one."

Countries often extend an exceptional welcome to Xi on his visits. The Russian Ministry of Defense and the command center of military force opened their gates to a foreign head of state for the first time in honor of Xi. The Queen Mother of Cambodia Norodom Monineath Sihanouk invited Xi to sit in the chair where late King Father Norodom Sihanouk often sat. The chair has been cherished by the royal family since the King Father's passing and had never been used until Xi's visit.

ARCHITECT OF MODERNIZATION FOR NEW ERA

The highlight of the 19th CPC National Congress was "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era," now written into the newly revised CPC Constitution, and a significant breakthrough of the sinicization of Marxism.

"Since the Party's 18th National Congress, Chinese Communists, with Comrade Xi Jinping as their chief representative, in response to contemporary developments and by integrating theory with practice, have systematically addressed the major question of our times: what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics the new era requires us to uphold and develop, and how we should uphold and develop it, thus giving shape to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era," reads the revised Constitution.

Under the guidance of Xi's thought, the CPC has led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to carry out a great struggle, develop a great project, advance a great cause, and realize a great dream, ushering in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The modernization model Xi proposes is distinct not only from the Western model of modernization through industrialization and colonization but also from the neo-liberal model advocated by the Washington Consensus.

About 150 years after Karl Marx's Das Kapital was published and 170 years after the Communist Manifesto was released, socialist China will soon celebrate the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era means that "scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high and proud for all to see," Xi said during his report at the opening session of the 19th CPC National Congress.

In September, Xi presided over a study session for members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau which reviewed the development of socialism over the past 500 years.

He studied China's failures in copying the political systems of other countries and the successes that came after choosing socialism, especially the experience of nearly 40 years of reform and opening up. He analyzed the development models of other countries.

"Only the wearer knows if the shoes fit or not," Xi said.

The Party must "neither retrace our steps to the rigidity and isolation of the past, nor take the wrong turn by changing our nature and abandoning our system."

In his report to the congress, Xi said: "The path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries and nations to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind."

Development of socialism in China, both in practice and theory, has shown that the country is able to avoid the historical cycle of rise and fall. Likewise, it could evade the "Tacitus Trap," which warns that when a government loses credibility, whether it tells the truth or a lie, it is inevitably thought to be lying.

China offers an alternative answer to such predictions as the "end of history," raised by Francis Fukuyama who argued for the inevitable triumph of Western liberal democracy, and has brought new meaning to the comprehensive development of human society.

Xi has led socialism with Chinese characteristics to a new era, a new era for entire humanity, as we stand together at the crossroads of new development paths.

Xinhua

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2017-11-18 07:13:41
<![CDATA[Remodelled as modern manufacturing center]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/17/content_34649568.htm Changsha, Hunan province, is looking to develop itself into a national intelligent manufacturing center, leading businessmen and top local officials said.

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Changsha's friendly business environment helps companies develop rapidly

Changsha, Hunan province, is looking to develop itself into a national intelligent manufacturing center, leading businessmen and top local officials said.

"Changsha has become fertile ground for developing the intelligent manufacturing industry," Sun Guozhong, president of Robert Bosch Starter Motors Generators (China), told Chinese media.

Sun said that it took less than one year for his company to begin operations there, which provided "convincing evidence" for his view.

The city's friendly business environment has helped the company to grow rapidly, he added.

As a key point on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as well as a crucial part of the city cluster in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, the provincial capital aspires to forge a competitive edge in the intelligent manufacturing industry, local officials said.

The city will make full use of the Made in China 2025 strategy to upgrade its manufacturing sector to be more advanced and more environmentally friendly, they added.

With a well-established industrial foundation, Changsha has joined the ranks of leading Chinese cities, each boasting at least 1 trillion yuan ($150.75 billion) in combined annual industrial output value.

Home to more than 3,000 medium-sized and large companies, the city witnessed its GDP increase more than fourfold from 2005 to 2015.

During the period, the city improved its national GDP ranking from 24th to 14th. Last year and in the first six months of 2017, Changsha maintained GDP growth at the forefront of the country.

The city also has strong research and development capabilities, which provide robust support for sustainable innovation in the sector.

Home to 68 State-level technological centers and labs, as well as 529 provincial and city-level research facilities, the city has won scores of national awards for R&D achievements.

In the wake of a series of major cutting-edge Changsha-created products which have been rolled out - including supercomputers, super hybrid rice and high-performance 3-D laser printers - technological innovation is increasingly seen as a pivotal driver to promote the manufacturing sector's transformation.

The State Intellectual Property Office gave the green light to establish the China (Changsha) Intellectual Property Protection Center in June, with a focus on the intelligent manufacturing sector.

The center is scheduled to start operations at the end of this year.

The official approval shows SIPO's recognition of Changsha's technological innovation in the industry, local officials said.

By the end of September, the average ownership of invention patents in Changsha was 25.64 per 10,000 people.

In addition, top universities provide a rich reservoir of technological and management professionals for the healthy, sustained growth of the intelligent manufacturing industry.

The city has also brought in technological experts in recent years, to work together with local research teams to develop a high-tech industrial cluster, covering production, promotion and demonstration, and testing.

One of three major demonstration zones for the application of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System in the country, Changsha boasts a massive industrial center, home to high-level professionals, and model industrial applications cluster.

The city's industries related to the Beidou system generate more than 10 billion yuan in annual industrial output value.

The new materials industry, as an upstream sector for advanced machinery manufacturing, has also maintained a robust growth in the city in recent years.

Its annual industrial output value topped 200 billion yuan in 2015 and grew to 230 billion yuan in 2016. The figure is projected to reach 250 to 260 billion yuan this year.

Changsha's comprehensive advantages in the intelligent manufacturing sector have attracted a group of industrial giants.

ZTE, a telecommunications company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, has invested heavily in its largest R&D and production center in Central China. This was put into operation in the city in August and is capable of producing 20,000 set-top boxes a day.

Clockwise from top left: German experts visit an intelligent manufacturing exhibition center in Changsha, Hunan province. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY A robot developed by Hunan University students interacts with a visitor. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY A drone installed with Beidou navigation system technologies is displayed at a high-tech fair. Yuan Luhua / For China Daily

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2017-11-17 08:54:43
<![CDATA[Targeted policies support intelligent industry growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/17/content_34649567.htm Favorable polices are helping Changsha's intelligent manufacturing industry to take off and grow healthily, experts said.

The capital of Hunan province in Central China enjoys enormous potential for developing the intelligent manufacturing industry, given its well-established industrial foundation and rich human resources, said Deng Ziwei, dean of the Changsha Intelligent Manufacturing Research Institute.

"However, what has surprised companies most is definitely the strong support in the form of policies issued by the local government," Deng said.

By 2020, Changsha aims to be home to a group of model companies in the industry and make breakthroughs in technologies and machinery manufacturing, according to the 2018-20 plan to establish the city as a national intelligent manufacturing center, released in July.

The targeted sectors include industrial robots, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, intelligent sensors and chips, and unmanned intelligent equipment. By that time, the annual output value of Changsha's intelligent manufacturing technology and equipment is projected to reach 100 billion yuan ($15 billion).

Huang Tao, Party chief of the Changsha Economic and Information Commission, said Changsha's intelligent manufacturing industry has made marked progress.

The city has been selected as one of the first group of 2025 pilot cities for developing the intelligent manufacturing industry. A total of 230 local companies have been named city-level demonstration enterprises for intelligent manufacturing.

That number is projected to increase to 530 by 2025. By then, more than 10 Changsha-based companies are expected to be granted the status of State-level model enterprises in the industry, Huang said.

About a month before the three-year plan was rolled out, local authorities released a policy to revitalize Changsha's industries and boost its real economy. The policy consists of 30 articles and so is dubbed the Changsha Industry 30 Articles.

Xiang Wenbo, president of Sany, an engineering machinery manufacturer, said: "The policy is a great encouragement and support for the real economy's transformation and upgrade.

"It has located the difficulties and pain points in developing the real economy and is extensive, supportive and feasible, offering local businesses a real bonus."

The policy incentives promote intelligent manufacturing, key components, research and development, and military-civil industrial integration, establishing a comprehensive service system serving local businesses' going global, which will stimulate Sany's innovation and transformation, Xiang added.

He said that, thanks to the incentives, Sany will greatly reduce its costs related to construction, operations and technological innovation, by tens of millions of yuan.

Sun Changjun, vice-president of Zoomlion, an agricultural and engineering machinery manufacturer, said: "The policy shows local authorities' strong sense of responsibility and resolution in boosting supply-side structural reform and helping enterprises to transform, upgrade and innovate."

These opinions were echoed by Zhong Shijun, corporate management director of Wasion Group, a leading supplier of energy measurement equipment in China.

The policy will strengthen the sustainable development of Changsha's economy, optimize its business environment and establish a long-term guarantee mechanism for the city's economy, Zhong said.

Local authorities decided in September 2016 that Changsha should seize the opportunities brought by the Made in China 2025 and Internet Plus strategies by establishing a service system to promote the intelligent manufacturing sector.

The city also needs to extend its industrial chain and attract more high-level professionals, in a bid to develop itself into a national intelligent manufacturing center and promote the sector's transformation, the authorities said.

Changsha's top officials are keen for the industry to be a future focal point for the city's industrial transformation.

They released a three-year action plan for the sector's growth in 2015, the first of its kind in the country, which provided a series of supportive policies benefiting related businesses.

Their goal is to achieve marked improvements in the use of intelligent equipment and machines in key sectors of the manufacturing industry by the end of 2018.

Another three-year action plan, which was released in Changsha in 2014, is targeted at industrial robotics, the foundation of the intelligent manufacturing industry, providing incentives for market promotion and investors.

Zhang Dandan contributed to this story.

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2017-11-17 08:54:43
<![CDATA[City rides the new economy expansion wave]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/17/content_34649566.htm Chengdu plans to develop its new economy, which can improve its competitiveness globally and drive regional growth by 2022, according to a conference held in early November.

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Thriving metropolis seeks to drive regional growth by 2022 and evolve into a national competitive hub

Chengdu plans to develop its new economy, which can improve its competitiveness globally and drive regional growth by 2022, according to a conference held in early November.

It also aims to build a pioneering city that has many resources, incubators and innovative clusters for the new economy.

The overall process of transitioning from heavy industry to a new-technology-based economy was described in the United States by Time magazine in a 1983 cover article called "The New Economy." By 1996 the leading magazine Businessweek was commonly using the term the "new economy".

Since then it has become popularized worldwide and the idea was incorporated in China in a government report by the State Council last year.

Local officials said Chengduhas an ideal environment for developing new economy. It has 56 higher-learning institutes, 30-plus national-level research institutions and nearly 5 million skilled laborers, as well as a large consumer's market and a creative and inclusive local culture.

Officials say that the new economy is bourgeoning in Chengdu with great vitality.

Many leading companies have been attracted to the city to find business opportunities, and more talented people have come for a bright future there.

Tech giant Tencent, for example, recently held its 2017 world partner conference in Chengdu. Smartisan Digital moved its headquarters to the city, while 58.com invested 3 billion yuan ($452 million) to build a new economy industrial park there.

According to the 2016-17 Chinese cities competitiveness report released by CCID Consulting, Chengdu ranked first among all the cities in central and western China.

New driving force

Zhou Cheng, director of the policy research office of Chengdu's new economy committee said the new economy was set to become a driving force.

Zhou said at the conference that Chengdu will take the new economy as an important strategy for future growth. It could also help to optimize the city's economic structure and improve competitiveness, he added.

The conference proposed the idea to develop a new economy that was driven by new technology and supported by new industries and new entities.

A total of 4.3 percent of total government expenditure will be poured into Chengdu's research and development, putting the city's R&D strength at the forefront of the nation, Zhou said.

The city plans to foster about 100,000 new-economy-related companies, including seven so-called unicorns - startups valued at over $1 billion - and more than 280,000 technical entrepreneurs by 2022. The city also plans to draw more shared economy companies with broader application of big data.

Six industrial clusters - in biomedicine, automobile equipment, intelligent manufacturing, locomotive production, energy conservation and environmental protection, and cultural creativity, are to be formed in 2022, each with an annual output value of 100 billion yuan, Zhou said.

He noted that the electronic information industry will be the most important of all, with an annual output value topping 1 trillion yuan in 2022.

He noted that Chengdu will develop more cutting-edge industries - including internet financing, online education, precision medicine and intellectual property business - as engines to develop the new economy.

E-commerce is expected to be used as a driving force for all industries, and online transaction volumes are expected to reach 2.2 trillion yuan by 2022.

He said Chengdu will adopt new modes to promote sharing services and draw more shared economy companies to establish branches. By 2022, the application of big data will be popularized and the scale of the shared economy will be enlarged.

"Chengdu will focus on intelligent, green, creative and shared economy to form a new economy system with global competitiveness," Zhou said.

"We will improve our capability to serve the real economy through new technology and financial service; build a smart city; promote technical innovation and entrepreneurship; drive market demand; attract human resources and capital; boost low-carbon growth and establish modern supply chains."

Chengdu will combine electronic information with its seven major industries, including intelligent manufacturing, digital entertainment, cultural creativity, big health and new finance, Zhou said.

Chengdu's strength

Zhou Tao, executive president of Chengdu New Economy Development Institute and professor of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, said the city had great potential to develop its new economy.

It has many universities that have programs serving the new economy, such as electronic information, communication technology and computer science in the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, biomedicine in Sichuan University and finance and applied economics in the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics.

In addition, it has varied industrial bases for developing electronic information, healthcare, modern finance and advanced manufacturing.

Chengdu's population was the fourth biggest among China's cities, which suggests a broad market space, he added.

Li Qiangqiang, vice-president of Aplus Labs, an incubator serving startups, said he was optimistic about the future of Chengdu because of its plan to develop a new economy.

"There are many institutes of higher-learning that are training professionals for the emerging industries," he said.

"Besides, many IT giants, including Intel, Foxconn, Lenovo and Dell, have operations here, providing more opportunities for expanding an IT industrial chain in the city."

Li said that all added to the potential to develop high-tech and intelligent manufacturing industries.

Idealsee, a VR product company, is one of the successful startups in Chengdu.

It has moved its production plant from Shenzhen to Chengdu. This month, a new version of its virtual reality device, with more than 300 patents, went online in the city.

Li Xinyu, vice-president of Idealsee, said since 2012, the company has developed from a small firm of several employees into a company with about 200 staff members.

A number of high-tech startups are bourgeoning in Chengdu with more professionals introduced in the city, covering such fields as electronic information, biomedicine, financial business and creative culture.

The output value of the new economy in Chengdu was expected to top 500 billion yuan by 2022, according to the city's plan.

Chen Meiling contributed to the story

 

A robot is exhibited at a show in Chengdu, a city that hopes to use smart technologies to upgrade its industries . Provided To China Daily

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2017-11-17 08:57:07
<![CDATA[It's bon appetit, as San Francisco's finest tuck into Chengdu's food]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/17/content_34649565.htm The city hall of San Francisco, California, was swirling with delectable Chinese aromas on the evening of Nov 1 at the launch of the 2017 Chengdu-San Francisco Food Festival, which drew more than 400 officials and business leaders.

The festival lasted two weeks, showcasing the Chengdu's innovative, elegant, inclusive and friendly culture. Delegates from Chengdu also discussed with their counterparts on cooperation opportunities in fields such as trade, culture and tourism.

Chefs from Chengdu, Sichuan province, prepared succulent varieties of the local cuisine to treat the guests.

In addition to an exhibition of Chengdu food, the opening ceremony had shows with local characteristics, including dances, a tea ceremony and kung fu.

The most stunning proved to be the artistry of the Chuanju Opera. The artists showed how they could quickly and dramatically transform their faces as they performed among guests, who responded by taking photos and gasping in surprise.

The event also included an award ceremony for a panda statue decoration contest, which involved 300 young students from five schools in the San Francisco Unified School District.

"The people of San Francisco and Chengdu share many cultural similarities, including a deep appreciation for great food," said Edwin M. Lee, mayor of San Francisco, at the opening ceremony of the food festival.

"We are excited to continue to expand our success from last year in promoting Sichuan cuisine. Food is a universal language that helps bring people from different places together," Lee said.

During the two-week food festival, government officials and companies from Chengdu and San Francisco held cultural, trade and tourism exchanges to seek new business opportunities.

The festival invited renowned Chinese-American chef and TV host Martin Yan to promote Chengdu food in the University of California, Berkeley and in Silicon Valley, the epicenter for US technology which lies in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area.

At the fair, which ran until Nov 18, people were able to experience Chengdu culture and learn how to cook Sichuan cuisine.

Yan said although his hometown was not Chengdu, he remained very passionate about Sichuan cuisine.

"Chengdu is a city you don't want to leave, and Sichuan cuisine has become a flag bearer for Chinese food," he said.

He said he is impressed by the popularity of Chengdu food overseas.

"Young people particularly love Chengdu food, and 80 percent of diners in San Francisco's restaurants are young people," he said.

Yan said that has an impact on the Sichuan cuisine enjoying the fastest growth in popularity among all Chinese food schools in overseas markets.

"My two grandsons are fond of Chengdu food, too," the celebrity chef added.

In Silicon Valley, Chengdu food promotion campaigns were held in many technology companies, including Microsoft, Cisco and Nvidia.

A promotion center for Sichuan cuisine was set up in semiconductor company Nvidia - whose CEO is billionaire Chinese-American Jensen Huang - the first Chinese food center in a Silicon Valley company.

An official from the Chengdu commission of commerce said they promoted not just Sichuan cuisine, but also the culture of innovation, elegance, fashion, optimism and friendliness in Silicon Valley.

At the promotion campaign at UC Berkeley on Nov 2, Yan and Chengdu local chefs demonstrated how to cook classic Sichuan cuisine. Some of the dishes will be included in the menu of the university's canteen after the promotion event.

Organizers said besides food and culture, Chengdu can also offer exchanges in the field of education with UC Berkeley, and Chengdu welcomed UC Berkeley students to visit for exchange programs.

A highlight of the festival was the unveiling of a promotion center for Pixian soybean paste and Sichuan cuisine ingredients at a popular Chinese restaurant in the city of Dublin, an hour's drive away from San Francisco.

Dublin's mayor David Haubert said he had stayed in China for more than 100 days over the past two years and visited many Chinese cities, but Chengdu was his favorite.

"I love Chengdu food, and I love the friendly Chengdu people," Haubert said.

zhangzhao@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A range of activities were held in various Californian cities, to introduce not only Chengdu's food but also its culture.

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2017-11-17 08:57:07
<![CDATA[Weichai aims for 200b yuan in sales revenue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231246.htm Company looks to honor 19th National Congress of CPC with record this year

Weichai Group, China's leading automobile and equipment manufacturer, has set itself the goal of achieving 200 billion yuan ($30.21 billion) in annual revenue this year, to pay tribute to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Tan Xuguang, chairman of State-owned Weichai, said that General Secretary Xi Jinping's report to the congress on Oct 18 is an action plan for the future.

Tan said Weichai's employees are encouraged by China's plans to deepen supply-side reform and speed up modern manufacturing industry development. Reform, innovation and big capital investments are key elements supporting Weichai's development, he added.

 

A Weichai worker operates an engine production line. Provided to China Daily

"Our research institute undertakes nearly 170 development projects every year," said Zhang Xiaoqing, director of the comprehensive administrative office of Weichai Engine Technology Research Institute.

Figures provided by the group show that more than 5 percent of its annual sales revenue is re-invested in research and development. Total investments in core technologies and enhancing product reliability reached 15 billion yuan over the past 10 years.

Weichai has established the only national key internal combustion reliability lab, national enterprise technology center and national commercial vehicle powertrain technology research center in the industry in China.

Weichai has achieved outstanding results in overseas exploration by implementing three international strategies - increasing export trade volume, global mergers and acquisitions, and building production plants in overseas markets.

In 2009, its subsidiary Weichai Power acquired French marine engine developer and producer Moteurs Baudouin.

In 2012, Weichai Power bought a 25 percent stake in German forklift-maker Kion for 467 million euros ($556.86 million) and a 70 percent controlling stake in Kion's subsidiary Linde Hydraulics, for 271 million euros.

In the same year, Weichai purchased a majority stake in Italian yacht-maker Ferretti, to tap into the luxury yacht sector.

"Weichai is developing an international, diversified, innovative and open business," said Claudio Operti, director for technology and engineering management at Weichai Power.

The group has maintained strong business growth since 1998. The State-owned enterprise's annual sales revenue surged from 10 billion yuan in 2004 to 100 billion yuan in 2013.

In the first three quarters of this year, Weichai's sales revenue hit 162.9 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 83 percent.

As the 19th National Congress of the CPC has guided the development direction of Weichai, Tan called on all employees to strive to achieve 200 billion yuan in sales revenue in 2017.

Wang Shijie, a Weichai employee who won the National May 1 Labor Medal in 2007, echoed Tan's call. He said the workers will spare no effort to achieve the 2017 sales target, while ensuring product quality.

Wang Weidong contributed to this story.

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2017-11-07 08:16:58
<![CDATA[Local government's guarantees boost financing options]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231245.htm Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone is providing more financial support to outstanding local businesses to boost their development.

The zone released a guideline in 2016, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises that have high growth potential in the region.

The zone's authorities then identified those SMEs that have financial needs and classified them into three types - A, B and C - according to their tax payment records, bank credit and other measurements.

"A-type businesses have independent intellectual property and sustainable research and development capacity. They have core competitiveness and strong growth potential," said Zhang Xia, director of the zone's investment and financing management service center. "Those companies are taking steps to find shareholders or list on a stock exchange. They have high credibility and have attracted investors."

Zhang said A-type companies will enjoy priority in obtaining government support, such as risk compensation and financial guarantees.

Two companies in the zone were listed as A-type companies.

HOACO Automation Technology, a precision equipment manufacturer, was one. Guaranteed by the zone, HOACO obtained a 20 million yuan ($3 million) bank loan in August this year.

"We achieved 50 percent production output value growth in 2016. However, we cannot serve market demand because we do not have sufficient production capacity," said Tian Rouxin, assistant to the general manager at the company.

Tian said that HOACO is an asset-light technology company that does not have much collateral to secure loans.

"We could obtain no more than a 4 million yuan bank loan even if we found guarantees, which could not solve our company's problems," Tian said.

Supported by the high-tech zone's government, HOACO finally received the necessary bank loans without collateral. The zone's finance office joined hands with a local privately-owned credit re-guarantee company to provide the guarantee for HOACO.

"We are the first company in the zone to obtain loans under this new model. We are satisfied with the results," Tian said.

Many companies in the zone have obtained funds under the zone's new service model.

"Model innovation is very important in supporting financial technology development," said Zhang. "We are exploring ways to give rational and professional support to promising businesses so we can better use limited government and financial resources."

Zhang said the zone works continuously to improve its business environment and develops new policies to serve companies' financial demands. The efforts will encourage businesses to participate in capital market exploration.

Guo Yajing contributed to this story.

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2017-11-07 08:16:58
<![CDATA[GoerTek's Party members support long-term growth, responsibility]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231244.htm GoerTek's Party-building work has strongly supported the company's long-term growth in the past 16 years, with Party-member employees aiding in its overseas expansion efforts.

GoerTek is a leading precision component and wearable-devices producer based in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone in Shandong province. Established in 2001, the company has 65 Party members on its management team. Among them, four are core company decision-makers. "Party members have made indelible contributions to GoerTek's development," said Jiang Bin, chairman of the company.

According to GoerTek, its growth could not have been achieved without the support from its Party members.

The company launched a large client-focused management strategy in 2003, aiming to expand its global market share. Party members such as Sun Hongbin and Gao Xiaoguang formed a team to explore the overseas markets at that time. The company's first targeted overseas client was LG in South Korea.

"LG has very strict supplier selection procedures. Normally, it takes the company a year to select a new supplier," said Sun, Party chief at GoerTek.

Sun recalled that foreign competitors achieved high daily production automation rates in 2003, while most of GoerTek's work relied on manual operation.

But, Sun and his team did not give up. They focused on enhancing product quality and establishing an automation system. Their efforts finally won recognition in South Korea's market. GoerTek then entered the United States and Japan, becoming a supplier for Samsung and Sony.

GoerTek has paid significant attention to strengthening its daily Party-building work. Employees are required to participate in outdoor training activities every week to better understand the importance of cooperation and learn how to better face challenges.

GoerTek's Party school was established in 2009 to provide training courses to employees. It has 17 Party branches to conduct activities for Party members.

"In recent years, GoerTek has focused on recruiting Party members among its high-ranking management members and research and development professionals," Sun said. "We want to change those white-collar workers into 'red-collar' workers to support the company's innovative development."

Liu Xiaolan, a Party branch head in GoerTek, has worked at the company for more than 10 years. She always takes a leading role in working overtime, supporting talent training and conducting talks with other staff members.

Liu started to work at GoerTek as an ordinary workshop employee. She passed her exams and became a student at GoerTek's Party school.

For many electronics manufacturers, how to retain employees has long been a problem.

"Serving employees' demands is our focus," said Xu Xiaofeng, deputy Party head of GoerTek.

The company has implemented employee share incentive plans and built residential communities in the past few years. It has invested more than 400 million yuan ($60.37 million) in constructing a Party activity support center, kindergartens, clinics and restaurants for employees.

GoerTek said it has been committed to strengthening its corporate social responsibility over the past few years. The company's total donations to date exceed 12 million yuan and it has launched more than 200 charity events.

Guo Yajing contributed to this story.

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2017-11-07 08:16:58
<![CDATA[Parks bring greenery to city living in tech zone]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231243.htm The Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone is adding more parks to the city map to upgrade local living standards and improve the environment.

The zone plans to build 38 small parks in urban areas this year, with a total investment of 55 million yuan ($8.31 million). Among them, 35 are pocket parks, which are tiny green areas usually built on irregular pieces of land. The other three will occupy larger areas and offer more supporting facilities, according to the local authorities.

Twenty-five pocket parks were put into use on Oct 15.

The park construction project is one of the first 16 livelihood enhancement projects promoted by the zone's administration this year. The parks will provide more space for local residents to exercise, will upgrade the local environment and will enhance people's quality of life.

"There was no park near my home in previous years. We had to walk along a large road, which was not safe and the air quality was bad," said a local woman surnamed Liu.

The park near Liu's home, named Zhiwei Park, involved 6 million yuan in investment. Being people-friendly and natural, and incorporating sponge city technology were key concepts considered in the design phase.

"I spend more than two hours in Zhiwei Park every day. It is a quiet and comfortable place," Liu said.

The zone applied high standards in the park construction processes. The parks not only have green land but also all the necessary facilities.

Landscapes in the Zhezhi Yuangui Park, a pocket park in the zone, were inspired by folded paper. The spaces for people and plants are integrated to ensure comfort.

In addition, the plants in the parks were selected to better decorate the city and roads, according to Wang Wei, a staff member from the greenery project office of the zone's Urban Construction Bureau.

"We will take measures to enhance the zone's living environment, upgrade city living standards and bring more happiness to local residents," said Wang Gang, deputy director of the bureau. "We will promote city image upgrade work with international thinking, to build an environmentally friendly high-tech zone."

Zhuang Jian contributed to this story.

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2017-11-07 08:16:58
<![CDATA[World Ocean Week in Xiamen helps to find blue economy partnerships]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231234.htm Global governance key to ensuring sustainable marine industries, protecting ecology, say officials

China aspires to build a sustainable marine ecological civilization, said Wang Hong, administrator of the State Oceanic Administration.

Wang made the remarks at the opening ceremony of the Blue Economy Partnership Forum during the 2017 World Ocean Week in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Friday. The event centered on the theme of global ocean governance for a blue economy.

"Blue" refers to reducing environmental risks and prioritizing ecological protection, as the ocean equivalent to "green".

 

Representatives of Portugal and China sign a partnership in Xiamen on Friday. Provided to China Daily

As part of the World Ocean Week in Xiamen from Nov 3 to 9, the forum aimed to build up blue partnerships, share blue economy practices and promote marine cooperation among China and other countries.

"We have focused more on coordinated development that balances the marine industry and ecological protection in recent years," Wang said.

"China is willing to build future-oriented, open, inclusive and concrete blue partnerships of mutual benefit with other countries and international organizations," he said.

The country wants to "establish a stable dialogue mechanism to develop mutual trust, expand cooperation areas, strengthen resource sharing and push the development of the blue economy", Wang added.

The establishment of a blue partnership between China and Portugal was the highlight of this year's event.

The State Oceanic Administration of China signed the Concept Paper on Blue Partnership and Joint Action Plan Framework with the Ministry of the Sea of Portugal on Friday, making Portugal the first country to officially launch a blue partnership with China.

"A sustainable ocean economy is important in promoting economic growth, to create jobs and investment and to generate wealth, but also to address some of the greatest societal challenges our planet faces today," said Ana Paula Vitorino, Portuguese minister of the sea.

"We must make the best use of the potential of the blue economy, while safeguarding the health of the oceans," Vitorino said in her speech at the forum.

"The agreement entitled 'Blue Partnership' aims at promoting marine cooperation in a wide range of areas, from improving our understanding of the ocean, honoring the international commitment made by both countries, and providing a leading model for global marine governance," she said.

Concrete activities are being planned and agreed, including research personnel exchanges, biodiversity restoration, port cooperation, and technology exchanges related to wave energy equipment and other fields.

The blue economy, the core of which is sustainable marine economic development, has become a key engine for innovation-oriented growth in the world's major maritime countries.

The United Nations has stressed on many occasions the important role of blue growth in achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

In 2014, the fourth APEC Ocean Ministerial Meeting adopted the Xiamen Declaration, reaching a consensus on deepening the Asia-Pacific blue economy cooperation.

At the ninth BRICS summit held in Xiamen in September 2017, the blue economy issue was included in the business forum's agenda.

In September, China adopted the Pingtan Declaration and explored the establishment of marine partnerships featuring the blue economy.

More than 200 representatives from over 40 countries attended the forum, 23 of whom gave a keynote speech in all matters related to ocean governing for a blue economy.

Fong Weng-Poorun, senior chief executive of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping of Mauritius, said it is the first time that her country had participated in the event.

"The blue economy has become an important pillar for development in many countries. The ocean week in Xiamen brings together many countries at different levels of implementing their blue economy, and we are going to share experiences," she said.

During the one-day forum, officials and scholars discussed issues relating to ocean governance, spanning strategy and policy for a blue economy, and cooperation in fields including technological innovation, disaster prevention and marine debris management.

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2017-11-07 08:15:27
<![CDATA[International cooperation the hot topic at forum]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231233.htm The ongoing World Ocean Week in Xiamen, Fujian province, aims to bolster the Belt and Road Initiative and advance international cooperation in marine fields, the organizers said.

With increasing influence worldwide, the event taking place from Nov 3 to 9 has attracted senior officials from nearly 40 countries and regions in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific region, as well as representatives of more than 10 international organizations.

The State Oceanic Administration released China's major policies, information, plans and research reports during the annual event.

This year, the State Oceanic Administration has briefed the audience on a marine cooperation initiative concerning Belt and Road construction.

China proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2013. Since then, international cooperation centering on the Belt and Road has increased in different fields.

The Belt and Road Initiative was a hot topic during the ninth BRICS Summit in Xiamen in September, where leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met to discuss common challenges and growth opportunities.

The issue has continued to be a highlight of the World Ocean Week, as the host city, Xiamen, is a key point on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Xiamen is building itself into a center of maritime cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and is working to promote pragmatic collaboration with ASEAN members.

During the weeklong event, a series of forums and symposiums discussed a variety of issues. They included South-South cooperation, oceanic islands' legal systems, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and marine disaster prevention and mitigation.

Government officials, noted scholars and experts, corporate executives from China and abroad, as well as representatives of international organizations, exchanged insights into marine legislation, integrated management, and resources development and protection at the forums.

Marine debris control was another highlight of the discussions and talks during the ocean week. A related international symposium addressed the issue under the framework of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Xiamen and San Francisco have also forged a partnership for oceanic debris prevention and control.

"Due to the interconnectivity of oceans and the mobility of marine debris, pollution is a global issue," said Chi Zhenghao, deputy director of the marine monitoring branch of the Ecological Environmental Protection Department of the State Oceanic Administration.

"International exchange and cooperation need to be strengthened to cope with the issue.

"We will continue to carry out bilateral and multilateral cooperation and exchanges related to marine debris and promote cooperation between Sino-United States Partner Cities to build Xiamen and Weihai into model cities for the prevention and control of marine debris," Chi said.

Further research on techniques will be carried out, such as standardized monitoring of marine debris, distribution of marine debris and impact assessment, he said.

Chen Yue, director of the department of international cooperation at the State Oceanic Administration, said: "China has worked positively and made remarkable achievements in reducing marine debris and promoting marine environmental protection in recent years.

"We have developed bilateral cooperation with the US, Japan and other economies by means of establishing the Marine Debris Sister Cities Partnership. We have tracked and participated in marine debris issues of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development as well as negotiating documents under the G20 framework, and have played a leading role in the establishment of a marine micro-plastics working group under the framework of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO."

Business activities

Part of the World Ocean Week, an array of trade shows are taking place to promote cooperation in the business community.

Among them is an annual international yachting exhibition that continues to promote yachting culture and industries this year. The event witnessed deals worth nearly 200 million yuan ($30 million) signed in 2016.

A growing number of business people participated in the commercialization fair of this year's World Ocean Week to explore cooperative probabilities.

To facilitate business cooperation, the organizers have introduced to the event service providers from the fields of finance, startups and technological commercialization.

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2017-11-07 08:15:27
<![CDATA[Sea-themed carnival draws thousands to Guanyin Mountain]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231232.htm Guanyin Mountain oceanic carnival was held in Xiamen, Fujian province from Friday to Sunday, showcasing the host city's rich resources and culture in ocean-themed tourism.

Part of the ongoing World Ocean Week in Xiamen, which kicked off on Nov 3, the three-day celebration featured a variety of events, including Fishermen's Cultural Day, a beach party, an international kite festival, seafood and beach soccer.

The Fishermen's Cultural Day revolved around the theme of beachcombing, offering participants more interactive experiences.

About 1,000 people participated in a beachcombing contest, collecting clams, crabs and other gifts from the beach of the Guanyin Mountain area after the tide went out.

The event brought joy especially to children, providing an ideal opportunity for family participants to increase their bonds, organizers said.

Typical local cultural elements were integrated into the events to share Fujian's maritime customs.

A traditional ceremony to pay tribute to the sea was performed during the event, representing local fishing villages' folk customs, which can be dated back to centuries ago.

The tradition included sounding a bugle to signal ships setting off and performing a lion dance.

After nightfall, the beach was still busy with a campfire party featuring music and culinary delights.

Continuing the leisure ambience, a beach music party held over the weekend offered a feast for the eyes and ears, as different styles of music, ranging from ballads and folk songs to popular melodies and rock, met different tastes.

In addition, an amateur five-player soccer tournament on the beach and on grass pitches gave sport fans another cause for revelry.

Gastronomic delights are an indispensable part of any carnival. As a coastal city, Xiamen boasts a wealth of seafood.

Jiangyoushui is a common cooking method in Xiamen that uses soy sauce and water to process fresh seafood. It formed a highlight of the oceanic carnival.

A huge pot catering for 1,000 diners was prepared on Friday, with a variety of jiangyoushui seafood shared among locals and tourists.

The celebrations took place not only on the beach, but also in the air.

An annual international kite festival attracted top players from China and abroad, as well as thousands of spectators.

This year, the top players included a team from Dalian, Liaoning province, which has won awards at an international stunt kite championship in France, and an internationally acclaimed team from Thailand.

The Guanyin Mountain coach resort served as the venue of the carnival. The resort receives more than 6 million visits every year on average. This year, total visitors topped 8 million.

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2017-11-07 08:15:27
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/07/content_34231231.htm We are quite aware that the ocean is tridimensional and borderless. That is the reason why we are very keen to cooperate and learn from other countries' experiences, in all ocean fields. Coordination and collaboration is a cornerstone of success for governments to achieve an efficient use of their resources. That is why it is so important to strengthen the coordination with mechanisms like the one we are preparing between China and Portugal.

Ana Paula Vitorino, minister of the sea of Portugal

It is the first time that my country had participated in this event. The "blue economy" has become an important pillar for development in many countries. The ocean week in Xiamen brings together many countries at different levels of implementing their blue economy and we are going to share experiences. China is very advanced in the development of the blue economy. We look forward to learning what China is doing and having a very good partnership with China.

Fong Weng-Poorun, senior chief executive of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping of Mauritius

The Chinese government stands ready to promote the establishment of blue partnerships with other countries in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win results; to promote blue partnerships with other countries; and facilitate economic globalization of an open, inclusive, balanced and win-win nature.

Zhang Zhanhai, director of the Department of Strategic Planning and Economic Development at the State Oceanic Administration

Oceans are closely related to the survival and development of mankind. With the acceleration of industrialization and urbanization, increasing marine debris has become a global marine environmental problem, seriously threatening marine ecological security, food safety and public health. As an emerging, marine debris has drawn great attention from countries and related international organizations.

Chen Yue, director of the Department of International Cooperation at the State Oceanic Administration

Xiamen is closely connected to the ocean. The city has been listed in China's first batch of pilot zones for marine ecology. To conserve the oceans is to protect Xiamen's future. Xiamen has pooled efforts in debris prevention and management in the conservation of the oceans. Xiamen is committed to contributing to the global marine environmental protection.

Huang Haining, an official of the Resource and Environmental Protection Department at the Oceans and Fisheries Bureau of Xiamen

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2017-11-07 08:15:27
<![CDATA[Govt's help shows its worth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/06/content_34189152.htm The central government has made poverty reduction a priority for the country, and Jiangxi province has made marked progress in this regard, with approximately 3.25 million people lifted out of poverty over the past five years.

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The local authorities in Jiangxi province have made marked progress in lifting people out of poverty

The central government has made poverty reduction a priority for the country, and Jiangxi province has made marked progress in this regard, with approximately 3.25 million people lifted out of poverty over the past five years.

The local government has used various means to alleviate poverty, such as developing specific industries, creating jobs, improving infrastructure and renovating villages and houses, relocating poor families, and expanding the education and healthcare services it provides.

People in economic difficulties, mostly living in rural areas, have also been encouraged to join in local agricultural cooperatives or other businesses to increase their incomes.

They have been supported in their efforts to tap into local resources and develop businesses, such as crop plantations, poultry raising, the processing of agricultural products and rural tourism.

All these efforts have paid off.

Data show that Jiangxi's impoverished population fell to 1.13 million at the end of 2016 from 4.38 million in 2011. The proportion of poor people in the total population in the province fell to 3.3 percent from 12.6 percent over the same period.

Rays of hope

Photovoltaic projects have been a highlight of the province's poverty reduction campaign.

Local governments in the province funded the installation of solar panels on the roofs of the dwellings of poor rural families. This has not only provided the villagers with power for their daily lives, but also helped them to increase their incomes directly, as the extra electricity can be sold to the national power grid.

To date, a photovoltaic network able to generate 940,000 kilowatts per hour has been established in the province, benefiting 160,000 families in nearly 1,900 poor villagers, with per capita income increasing by more than 3,000 yuan ($450) a year.

Rural tourism

Rural tourism is another source of income for villagers.

Jiangxi is home to 110 rural tourism sites ranked 4A or above, as well as 125 well-preserved ancient villages and 116 villages and towns known for their historical and cultural heritages.

Villages across Jiangxi received 263 million visits in 2016, representing a 38.53 percent increase from a year earlier and accounting for 56 percent of the total number of visits to the province last year.

Rural tourism generated more than 232.65 billion yuan in annual revenue in 2016, up about 29 percent, accounting for nearly 47 percent of the province's total tourism revenue.

The flourishing tourism in rural areas created jobs for 636,000 villagers and helped 150,000 farmers to escape from poverty last year.

E-commerce

As e-commerce is sweeping across the country and sparking entrepreneurship dreams, online businesses provide another approach to modernizing agriculture and reducing poverty especially in rural areas.

In Jiangxi, nearly 6,800 rural e-commerce centers designed for poverty relief had been set up by late August. They generated roughly 3.6 billion yuan in sales, 558 million yuan of this contributed by poor families.

The centers work to help nearby farmers, especially from poor families, to promote their produce online.

Local officials cooperated with China Post to launch a special postal service, facilitating delivery of agro-products to urban residents.

Renovation, relocation

For impoverished people tucked away deep in the mountains, reservoir zones or areas that are frequently hit by natural disasters, the tough environment has been a major contributor to their poverty.

Local officials have persuaded the inhabitants in these areas to move elsewhere and integrated their relocation into urban expansion plans.

The provincial government plans to relocate 137,000 poor residents during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20).

The quality of the new apartment buildings is monitored closely and the necessary infrastructure and services are provided to make sure the new occupants have a good living environment.

For those poor villagers in the province that do not need to be relocated, the provincial government has formulated a series of indicators for the quality of their living environment, including transportation, drinking water, housing, power, healthcare, infrastructure and public services.

Rural areas are urged to meet the standards. Of 2,900 poor villages across the province, more than 1,600 are expected to meet the environmental standards by the end of this year.

Education, healthcare

The provincial government provided subsidies of about 8.7 billion yuan for the education of more than 7.5 million poor students last year, ranging from pre-school children to graduate school students.

Each child of a poor family registered with local governments is granted 1,500 yuan in pre-school educational funds annually.

Since the fall, 2016, poor and disabled high school students have been exempt from school fees in the province.

To provide easier access to education, the provincial government has added, rebuilt and renovated 13,000 rural schools, including more than 1,090 junior boarding schools.

The province has also developed a comprehensive medical insurance system to help poor people to pay for their medical treatment. The insurance comprises basic insurance, major diseases, and medical aid.

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2017-11-06 08:36:11
<![CDATA[Rural workshops provide jobs for the poor]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/06/content_34189151.htm Given the growing number of rural residents seeking jobs in cities, how to help those left behind to increase their incomes is a common challenge facing local governments.

Jiangxi province is exploring an innovative path to address the issue, creating "workshops focused on poverty alleviation" in rural areas.

As Jiangxi is a major source of migrant workers, the majority of the province's young rural labor force has left in search of employment opportunities in cities over the years. Those left at home have been children, the elderly, the sick, the disabled or the poorly educated.

These vulnerable groups have difficulty earning a living, and in the past would have relied on relief. But to help them to fend for themselves, the provincial government has been encouraging local entrepreneurs to run labor-intensive workshops in villages to provide them with jobs.

The work in these poverty alleviation workshops is unskilled and the work hours are flexible.

Hu Yueming, deputy director of the Jiangxi Poverty Alleviation and Resettlement Office, cited Longnan county as an example of a place where the government has invested in an industrial park to attract companies to set up such poverty alleviation workshops.

In Shicheng county, shoes and garment companies have set up 42 plants in rural areas. In Nankang district of Ganzhou, a city in the south of the province, home furniture companies have established 100 plants employing more than 2,000 poor people, Hu said.

The workshops also cover other poverty alleviation businesses in Jiangxi, including oranges from the south of the province, pomelo from Ji'an, salted ducks from Suichuan county, tea from Shangrao, white lotus seeds from Guangchang county and pear from Jiujiang.

Villagers from poor families can join in picking up, categorizing and packaging activities within their villages, Hu said.

Traditional handicrafts and tourist souvenirs are also among the best-selling products produced by poverty alleviation workshops.

In Jinggangshan, poor villagers make Red Army shoes at home and are paid per piece by local tourism companies, Hu said.

To date, nearly 3,000 such rural workshops have been established across the province, providing work for 52,000 poor villagers.

Each establishment is required to provide jobs for at least five poor people, paying them no less than the local minimum standard.

The government will subsidize the workshop providers with 1,000 yuan ($150) a year for each poor person employed and offer each of the employees from poor families a monthly subsidy of 120 yuan to 150 yuan, as well as free training.

"The workshops provide employment for poor local residents and increase their incomes, and also help to meet companies' demand for labor while reducing their costs," Hu said. "Thus it is an approach to poverty relief that provides a sustained, win-win solution."

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2017-11-06 08:36:11
<![CDATA[Target initiatives prove effective means of aids]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/06/content_34189150.htm Jinggangshan became the first county-level economy to be removed from China's poverty area list in February. Its neighbor, Ji'an was removed from the list in October, becoming another feather in the cap of the government of Jiangxi province, which has been making great efforts to eliminate poverty in the province.

The local government leaders who are in charge of poverty alleviation work will continue to strive to improve the quality of life of poor families and increase their sense of well-being.

Jinggangshan, named after Jinggang Mountain, is known as the cradle of China's revolution. It was home to more than 16,930 people from nearly 4,640 families in 44 poor villages who were living in poverty in early 2014.

Because of its inconvenient transportation, poor infrastructure and a small economy, the area had yet to be developed.

As part of its poverty alleviation efforts, the local government invested heavily in expanding the road network.

Dec 18, 2016 was an unforgettable day for Shebei village in Mucun township, as a cement road was finally opened.

"Before the cement road, villagers had to carry cedar wood on their shoulders and back. In a day, they could ship at most half a cubic meter of wood out of the mountain," said Zou Weinan, deputy Party chief of Mucun. "After the road came into use, they can move 20 to 30 cubic meters of wood a day."

In Shenshan village of Maoping township, an expanded road system contributed to a boom in tourism and flourishing businesses of local peach and tea cooperatives.

The village is home to 54 families of whom 21 were previously living in poverty.

Huang Chengzhong, Party chief of the village, said: "Currently, 47 percent of the villagers are involved in tourism, which has helped to reduce the village's poor population to three people of two families."

Rural tourism has enabled the previously poor families to increase their incomes, with per capita income growing to 11,800 yuan ($1,780) a year, Huang said.

All villages with at least 25 households in Jinggangshan now have cement roads, are provided with tap water and have healthcare and cultural service centers.

Huang Changhui, an official at the Jinggangshan Poverty Alleviation and Resettlement Office, said: "Our poverty alleviation work needs to be targeted and can't be generalized."

After visiting villages across Jinggangshan, local officials recorded detailed information about the number of poverty-stricken inhabitants, analyzed the reasons for their poverty, and came up with specific solutions to lift them out of poverty.

Jinggangshan created a red-and-blue-card category mechanism to mark the poverty degree among poor families.

People registered on red cards are termed as impoverished and those on blue cards are categorized as poor.

The categorization helps to ensure that government policies, funds and investment projects will be used where they are needed most, local officials said.

The authorities have also established tea plantations covering 13,333 hectares, bamboo forests covering 20,000 hectares and fruit farms covering 6,667 hectares to create businesses and help poor villagers to increase their incomes.

The government also encourages local residents to do business online.

Huang Xiaohua, head of a rural e-commerce service center in Jinggangshan, said he has mailed more than 17,000 parcels worth more than 1.6 million yuan since the center began operations about a year ago.

Most of the shipments were products produced by poor local families, he added.

Such e-commerce service centers operating in 18 townships in Jinggangshan have helped nearly 2,450 poor villagers to increase their incomes.

As a historical revolutionary hub, Jinggangshan is emerging as a popular red tourism attraction and drawing an influx of visitors from around the country.

Last year alone, more than 40,000 people visited Bashang village in Maoping township to participate in a Red Army Soldier's Day experience program.

Xiao Fumin, one of the villagers, told Xinhua News Agency that his home received 850 visitors and he earned roughly 10,000 yuan in net income by providing them with accommodation in 2016.

In Ji'an, developing businesses, agricultural cooperatives and leading companies have been the key to helping to lift villagers out of poverty.

Li Xiaoming, a 45-year-old farmer in Tangli village in Ji'an, has three children and elderly parents to take care of. His wife is in poor health, so his family heavily relies on him and faces serious economic difficulties.

Since he began to receive priority support for poverty relief from the local government in 2013, he has been offered free pomelo seedlings and consultancy services for production and sales.

Each poor rural family in Ji'an is offered 30 pomelo seedlings, according to the city government. Farmers are also given free technical training in breeding and brand building.

Both Ji'an and Jinggangshan are models of successful poverty alleviation and their methods can be promoted in other regions, local officials said.

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2017-11-06 08:36:11
<![CDATA[Competition fuels BMW sales towards customer-oriented target]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-11/06/content_34189149.htm Targeting higher customer satisfaction through improved service, BMW has enlisted more than 8,000 elite sales employees in a comprehensive skills competition, a record amount of participants.

BMW National Sales Competition of Excellence 2017, the fifth of its series, wrapped up on Nov 1 in Shanghai. Local dealers' sales teams covered five core positions, with individual elites competing for five prizes and sales management teams for one top spot.

"We have been utilizing the competition to improve vocational knowledge and skills across the sales network, through recreated scenarios and flexible assessment since 2009," said Laura Wang, vice-president of BMW China Training Academy.

 

Liu Zhi (fifth right), president of BMW China Automotive Trading, gives awards to winners at BMW National Sales Competition of Excellence 2017. Photos Provided to China Daily

She added, "BMW National Sales Competition of Excellence will enhance the sales teams' customer-oriented service concept and further elevate overall competitiveness, to realize higher customer satisfaction and loyalty to BMW."

As part of the BMW China Training Academy program, the purpose of the national competition is to help the sales force increase their learning from peers, teach them to challenge themselves, increase their professional standards and raise customer satisfaction, according to the company.

BMW 7 Series sales consultants, used car sales managers, and sales management teams were among the contestants in this year's national competition.

The event was expanded to showcase their talent and encourage them to share their ideas and knowledge with each other.

The BMW 7 Series sales consultant individual champion, Zhao Sicong said: "This is a precious opportunity for me to learn from my colleagues by exchanging views. I feel extraordinarily honored. As a member of BMW's national sales force, I need to be sincere and honest with customers. Beyond selling cars to customers, it is service and professionalism we are providing."

The final of the national competition was witnessed by both President of BMW China Automotive Trading Liu Zhi and Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing Jochen Goller, who both noted their appreciation of the finalists' performances.

Qualified people in the BMW dealership network are the basis on which to build profitable retail partnerships and become No 1 for customer satisfaction in sales and after-sales, the company said.

BMW has four training centers operating in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou in Guangdong province and Xi'an in Shaanxi province, as well as a further 15 smaller-scale training bases throughout China. The company said it has established its extensive and efficient training network to cover all provinces in China, as it believes that skilled workers are key to the high performance of its retail partners.

As the first premium auto brand to provide such large-scale training to its dealers, BMW Group continues to provide long-term support to its dealer partners and to assist them in overcoming the challenges of fierce competition and economic changes.

BMW Group has established a principle to share its business development with its dealership partners.

It will consolidate its leadership in the Chinese market through enhancing dealers' profitability, boosting confidence in the brand for an undefeated, competitive position.

Thanks to the BMW Group's efforts and measures, the Chinese market has become a significant growth driver for its worldwide sales.

Local dealers performed particularly strongly in the first nine months, with a record-setting sales volume jump to 436,657 BMW and Mini models, 15.2 percent more than that in the same period last year.

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-11-06 07:41:14
<![CDATA[Reviving a brand]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/06/content_32913195.htm Dongeejiao, which makes donkey-hide gelatin, was once a household name. But due to various problems, including fewer animals, it fell on hard times. In recent years the time-honored brand is making a comeback

A tourist town, a museum and donkey ranch greet us when we reach Dongeejiao - also the name of a time-honored brand - after a two-hour drive from Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, in early September.

Dongeejiao, which makes donkey-hide gelatin, was once a household name.

The gelatin is a traditional Chinese tonic that is one of the three treasures, along with ginseng and pilos antler, in the bible of traditional Chinese medicine, the Compendium Of Materia Medica.

The gelatin is believed to help in treating blood deficiency, insomnia and lung diseases.

The Dongeejiao plant was founded in 1952 but the brand suffered a decline over the years thanks to fewer animals.

But now, hybrid black donkeys with oily skin roll on the ground at the plant's ranch, as the company has a new lease of life thanks to a plentiful supply of the animal.

The black donkey features a thick skin, says Li Mengqi, a tour guide with Dongeejiao.

Also, the height of the hybrids is 15 percent more as compared with the other animals, while the weight and hide is 30 percent more.

The feeding cycle for the hybrids is also shorter by three to six months, which means a 35-percent benefit for the company.

The number of donkeys in China is now 6 million and rising, according to the national animal husbandry authority.

But China used to have 9.4 million over 1996-2012, before the decline set in and affected gelatin output.

So, to ensure a steady supply of donkeys, Dongeejiao set up a total of 20 black donkey breeding sites across the country.

As donkeys do not reproduce as frequently, artificial insemination is resorted to, says Li.

"We manually collect sperm and preserve it in diluted yolk with liquid nitrogen.

"The sperm can be preserved for 10 years like this."

As of now, the ranch at Dongeejiao has 108 males, and each donkey produces enough sperm to ensure the birth of 800-1,000 donkeys a year.

Securing enough donkeys is just one of many steps the brand has taken to revive its past glory.

Qin Yufeng, president of Dongeejiao, says: "We have retained our traditions to ensure quality, but also try to boost efficiency where possible.

"For example, we use digital technology to control water content in the gelatin," he says.

Also, every donkey has an identity electric chip embedded in its neck.

The chip ensures that the donkey hide is traceable.

But certain processes are still traditional, says Qin, adding: "For instance, we still use coarse homespun cloth, dip it in highly purified water, and then hand-wipe the condensed gelatin to increase its luster."

In the drying process, workers also need to press down the gelatin when it curls due to lack of water content.

Then, the gelatin pieces are wrapped in brown paper and put in wooden box for storage.

"These things cannot be done by machines," he says.

Qin, who has rosy cheeks and good skin, says: "I owe my health to donkey hide gelatin,"

Qin, who joined Dongeejiao as a temporary worker at 16, says he learned the process from Liu Xuxiang, whose family had been in the business for several generations.

Everything was traditional when Qin began his career, he says.

Then, the hide had to be soaked in water and the fur had to be removed by hand before being dried.

Later, the hide had to be cut into squares before being put away for stewing.

The stewing of the hide was hard, he says, adding: "Steam filled the room, and you couldn't even see your hands. "My clothes would be drenched in sweat in winter, and I would smell bad."

Roughly 30 workers would take turns to watch a big pot, and control of the fire was the key in determining the quality. Then, when the hide turned into gelatin, it needed to be condensed.

The whole process could last from five months to a year. The difficult work conditions did not put Qin off as he believed the skills could help him going far.

The years of hard work eventually paid off when Qin rose to the top of the company.

To date, Dongeejiao has developed various products. "Now, we use biotechnology to make donkey hide syrup, and gelatin pastry and tablets," says Qin.

In the company's museum, one can learn about the history of donkey hide gelatin.

The donkey hide gelatin city resembles an ancient site with many old buildings.

"Our plant is a sightseeing spot," says Qin.

Dongeejiao received 300,000 visits in the first six months of 2017, and about 80 percent of visitors bought its products.

"Culture marketing is essential and can bring back value. We can grow stronger only when the whole industry prospers," he says.

To date, some classic brands, including Tongrentang in Beijing, have returned to the market to produce the donkey-hide gelatin.

Now, Qin has been charged with another responsibility of reviving other time-honored brands.

He was elected chair of a 170-member Shandong association, which was founded early this year.

At a Chinese brand expo in Shandong in early September, Qin shared Dongeejiao's experience and called upon his counterparts to embrace innovation.

As of now, 16 government ministries and commissions, including the Ministry of Commerce, have issued guidelines to boost the development of such companies.

Meanwhile, cities are being encouraged to build special business streets featuring such shops, products and services.

The Shandong government has proposed to take measures to ensure local brands earn at least 200 billion yuan a year by the end of 2020.

Qin says the support for such brands must come from the government even as he has set his sights on markets abroad.

For now, Dongeejiao has set up breeding sites in Australia, and two sites in Darwin each have more than 10,000 donkeys.

In the future, Qin plans to make inroads into Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.

Contact the writer at yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

Founded in 1952, the Dongeejiao plant is a two-hour drive from Jinan, the capital of Shandong province.Yang Feiyue / China Daily

 

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2017-10-06 08:16:33
<![CDATA[China steps up mobile phone security]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/03/content_32800879.htm Experts see roles for government, industry and individuals in staving off e-risks

For software hackers, personal computers are passe. Mobile phones are the new destination of viruses, worms and other malware. Cybersecurity experts are not amused.

In fact, the China Internet Network Information Center warned that the country needs to be constantly vigilant, given that the number of netizens rose 1.1 percent from 2016 to 751 million at June-end. Of them, 724 million, or 96.3 percent, are mobile phone users.

At a mobile safety summit forum in Beijing this year, Zhang Jian, deputy secretary-general of the Cybersecurity Association of China, said the massive user base and the booming mobile internet would mean smartphones will pose major cybersecurity issues.

Most users' smartphones double up as electronic wallets, thus becoming a leading target for hackers, who will seek payment transfer details, personal data and passwords, Zhang said.

China has already become a world leader in mobile payments. Transaction volumes of third-party mobile payments rose nearly fivefold last year to 58.8 trillion yuan ($8.9 trillion), according to consultancy iResearch.

Shi Xiansheng, deputy secretary-general of the Internet Society of China, said payment traps top cybersecurity threats - they affected 88.3 percent of mobile internet users last year.

Next were privacy violations (almost 76 percent). The third category included nuisance calls, unsolicited promotional or marketing calls and spam messages (almost 63 percent).

Some users of net-banking facility could lose money directly from their bank accounts if their mobile phones are compromised. Mining of information from smartphones and misuse of it is another threat.

A joint report released in July by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and the Data Center of China Internet showed that nearly 97 percent of Android apps had access to users' privacy. Around one-fourth of Android apps even violate users' privacy.

And almost 70 percent third-party iOS apps have access to private information and personal features on iPhones.

Shi said download-happy people need to be wary of apps, particularly image-editing apps, as some of them may invade their e-privacy.

"Of course, people should also be wary of many other types of apps that seek more permissions than required, and go on to collect more information than what they really need," Shi said.

Cyberattacks usually target open operating platforms such as Android as smartphone manufacturers allow downloads and installation of third-party programs and apps.

A report published in May by the Internet Society of China and the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China noted that more than 2 million malicious mobile internet programs were detected last year. And 99.9 percent of them targeted Android devices.

Zhang from the Cybersecurity Association of China said, "Normal apps would be infected with viruses. And some apps themselves are developed as malware."

Gong Wei, chief security officer of Shanghai Lantern Network Technology, said compared with insecure Wi-Fi hotspots, bigger threats came from insecure knockoff apps.

"While hackers can easily obtain personal data over public Wi-Fi hotspots, they can rarely access payment or money transfer details in the encrypted format over public Wi-Fi," Gong said.

"However, hackers can easily access all those data, including personal information and payment data, via insecure apps."

On June 27, China announced an emergency response plan for cybersecurity incidents to prevent and reduce the damage inflicted by them, protect public interest and safeguard national security.

The new plan divides cybersecurity incidents into six categories. Of them, three are key: pernicious procedural incidents, cyberattacks and information security incidents.

The plan also defines four levels of security warning and response systems, according to different threat conditions from "general" to "extremely serious".

Zhang said as mobile operating system vulnerabilities do exist and the critical ones would result in serious cyberattacks via remote access to the device, both the government, enterprises and individual users should prepare better for potential security risks.

There is a need for a better mechanism to manage e-virus infections as well, he said.

Agreed Zhou Yiqing, chairwoman of handset maker Sunshine Group. Smartphone makers need to have a long-term plan to improve their devices to better defend users from potential risks, she said.

Shi said, "When surfing the internet via smartphones, users should be careful to not leave too much personal information on online platforms.

"Users should also not download apps from insecure channels and should look through the user agreement to decide whether or not to give the permissions sought. Otherwise, hackers will be able to access personal data easily."

ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-10-03 07:45:50
<![CDATA[How to protect android phones from malware and hackers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/03/content_32800874.htm With Android system-based mobile phones coming under hacker attacks increasingly, users must use quality security apps to ward off risks, cybersecurity experts said.

Li Tiejun, a security engineer at Beijing-based Cheetah Mobile Inc, said, "In developed countries, Google Play commands a dominant position as a trustworthy marketplace for apps that help keep users' systems safe. However, China's Android app stores are dominated by different local players and these third-party marketplaces are often riddled with malicious software."

Thus, compared with Android users in developed countries, Chinese users have a greater need for security apps, he said.

Li said as iPhone users can download apps from only Apple Inc's official App Store, there is not much room for viruses to infect Apple devices, obviating the need for security apps in them.

A report released in May by the Internet Society of China and the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China revealed that among a total of over 2 million mobile internet malicious programs spotted in 2016, 99.9 percent targeted Android devices.

Another report published in March by internet research firm iiMedia Research showed that China had 539 million security app users by the fourth quarter last year.

According to the report, 97.3 percent of surveyed mobile users said they were concerned about their mobile phone security.

ChengXiao, 27, an architect based in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, owns an Android-based made-in-China smartphone. Cheng once used a wide range of third-party security apps, but now he uses only built-in security app offered by the manufacturer.

"When I began to use the Android-based mobile phone, I was really concerned about the security. Then I found the risks are usually from the installation software introduced by some downloaded apps, and basically what I need to do is recognize secure apps and download them from trustworthy channels."

Li said in order to have better protection over the mobile phones, security apps will often ask for a lot of permissions and some even require root permissions to have access to the entire operating system.

"Root access will bring security risks. I suggest people should not offer the root permission. If users download knockoff apps, the root permission will allow the malware to have access to all personal information on the smartphones."

According to app tracker Analysys Qianfan, Tencent Mobile Manager, from the company of the same name, has become the most popular security app on the market with 175 million active users in July this year, taking a market share of 48.47 percent.

And 360 Mobile Security by technology major Qihoo 360 Technology Cois the second most popular security app being run with a 40.19 percent share, with Baidu's Mobile Guard in third slot with 43.62 million active users in July, grasping a market share of 12.07 percent.

Gong Wei, chief security officer of Shanghai Lantern Network Technology, a free Wi-Fi access provider, said currently Android users still need to install security apps, and in the future the situation will gradually change.

"As time changes, users will be wary of offering permissions for security apps. I also believe phone manufacturers will gradually improve their products to offer a safer environment," Gong said.

ouyangshijia@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-10-03 07:46:26
<![CDATA[Protecting driverless cars from cyberattacks]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/03/content_32800873.htm Can driverless, internet-anchored, computer-driven cars get cyber-attacked, go berserk and jeopardize the auto industry?

The Fate of the Furious opens with a scene showing unattended cars getting hacked by anarchist Cipher and then rolling off New York high-rises, creating chaos. Reality could well mimic fiction, experts said.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport predicted that the market size of China's smart internet-connected vehicle industry will exceed 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) by 2020.

"We're entering a Big Security Era. Cybersecurity is no longer only about the internet. It's about almost every aspect of the offline world, and is thus an important part of national security," said Zhou Hongyi, chairman and CEO of Qihoo 360 Technology Co, China's biggest internet security company.

Agreed Zhang Zhiyong, founder and CEO of Wenfeng Automobile Consultancy. He said just like smartphones and personal computers, it is possible for a fleet of vehicles to get hacked at the same time.

"A number of autonomous vehicles used in a ride-sharing service would all run on the same system, receiving regular software updates. Through a process known as "subversion", a hacker or another organization could interfere with the update process and add in code that allows for remote access," Zhang said.

According to Zhou, automobiles could well be one of the next major targets of cyberattacks. To prepare for any such eventuality, Qihoo 360 unveiled a "security car" by partnering with WM Motor, an emerging e-carmarker, last month at the annual Cybersecurity Week, an event aimed at raising awareness of knowledge and policies related to cybersecurity.

The car is equipped with a whole set of security solutions that cover components, systems and chips.

The system can detect cyberattacks almost in real time, predict risks of being hacked by calculating existing data, and deliver repair codes to cars.

"In future, people can manage their vehicles in the same way they deal with computers," said Liu Jianhao, who is in charge of the internet-connected automobile security lab at Qihoo 360.

According to him, the Beijing-based company is offering both in-car and cloud-based solutions to better deal with cybersecurity issues.

At the cybersecurity event, Qihoo 360 also unveiled a slate of smart transportation solutions by ensuring safety among vehicle-to-human communication and interaction.

According to Zhang, a cyberattacker may slowly creep into software systems until the point of attack and taking control.

Qihoo predicts that by 2020, about 60 percent of automobiles will be connected to the internet, with vehicles becoming the third-largest segment connecting consumers with online services.

masi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-10-03 07:46:26
<![CDATA[Government leads in patriotic education]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/02/content_32762149.htm New measures are helping maintain love of country in the modern world

The past few years have witnessed changes in the education system aimed at further raising awareness of patriotism among young Chinese.

The National Anthem Law, approved in September by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, states that the national anthem should be played and sung at primary and middle schools nationwide.

"Schools should regard the national anthem as an important part of patriotic education for students," according to the law, which came into force on Oct 1. "They are obliged to teach students to sing the anthem, learn its history and the spirit it reflects and obey the etiquette of singing it."

Wearing Red Army uniforms, students from a primary school in Huaying city, Sichuan province, experience the Red Army's Long March by climbing a steep hill. Qiu Haiying / Xinhua

 

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education urged education departments across the country to revise textbooks for primary and middle schools by extending the duration of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression to 14 years (1931-45) from eight (1937-45).

The move was intended to not only uphold the spirit of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and China's struggle against the Japanese, which fell in September 2015, but also to strengthen patriotic education for the younger generation by allowing them to understand the history in a profound, all-around way, the ministry said.

Lyu Liangqiong, director of the student affairs office at the Shengli Experimental School in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, who is responsible for designing the related curriculum and organizing activities for the students, has noticed the changes and the growing emphasis on patriotic education.

"China has changed so much during recent years and is growing more influential in the world, so I think it's necessary to conduct patriotic education among young people, which will deepen their love for the country on the basis of better knowing and understanding," she said.

According to Lyu, patriotic education at her school started becoming regular and systematic in 2009, when construction of the campus was completed and the school decided to weave the content of such education into school activities.

"For example, we bring students to historical places during the annual spring outings. Before setting out, we give lectures about the background information; while there, we guide students to listen to stories told by the descendants of revolutionary martyrs at those places. After they return, we ask them to generate and deliver work - a short article, an exhibition board or other forms," she said.

"In the past, the spring event was purely an outing and just about having fun."

Efforts to boost patriotic education made by the authorities of the People's Republic of China can be dated back at least 35 years, when the country's constitution, passed in 1982, stated that Chinese citizens should "love the country and the people ... and receive education about patriotism, collectivism, internationalism and communism".

Apart from the constitution, other laws, such as those related to education, stipulate that the country must offer patriotic education to students at all levels. The Teachers' Law states that they have an obligation to conduct patriotic education for students.

President Xi Jinping has also stressed the significance of patriotism on a number of occasions in recent years.

For example, in a speech delivered at a collective group study among the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December 2015, Xi said patriotism is the spiritual core of the Chinese nation and patriotic education should run through the nation's entire education system.

"Efforts should be made to enrich the form and content of patriotic education and ensure good results," he said, suggesting that the great achievements in China's reform and development, memorial activities for historic events, patriotic education bases, and traditional festivals and celebrations should be fully exploited to help people's love for the country to grow.

New understanding

At Lyu's school, patriotic education has been particularly stressed since January last year, when the Ministry of Education issued a series of guidelines in which it said patriotic education should be integrated with the design of the curriculum, textbook compilation and the examination and evaluation of subjects taught at schools.

"That inspired my colleagues and me to consider how we could make patriotic education part of our daily lessons, and make it easily understood and well-accepted by the students," she said. "If we simply tell students to love the country, it may be too abstract and abstruse for them to understand."

Some schools, such as Qianmen Primary School in Beijing, brought students to patriotic education centers such as the Red Star Education Center in Daxing district, where children can simulate walking the paths of the Red Army's Long March and gain elementary impressions of what patriotism might be about. However, Lyu and her colleagues finally decided to start with a more practical approach.

They guide students to do things they are capable of: To love their families, teachers and classmates; to love the school by maintaining a clean and tidy campus; to love the city by appreciating its beautiful scenery; and to love traditional culture by - for instance - learning about the origins of each traditional festival.

"We believe that patriotism is not complicated. It can be perceived or interpreted through one minimal thing or another so even primary school students can make some contribution," Lyu said. "In this way, we are transforming patriotism from slogans into action, turning patriotic education from cramming into a kind of experiential learning."

Zhao Zhiwei, an associate professor of Chinese language and culture at East China Normal University, praised Lyu's interpretation of patriotism.

"It's sensible to let students know that patriotism is not far beyond their reach," he said, adding that patriotism is not necessarily about sacrificing one's life to guard the country, a sentiment frequently heard during wartime.

He said that in today's China, doing the right thing and behaving oneself is also a way of showing love for the country, as this contributes to the national harmony and development.

New forms urged

In 1994, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued a series of guidelines on how patriotic education should be conducted.

Following the guidelines, the following decade witnessed patriotic education carried out in various ways, such as organizing students to appreciate exhibitions, watch movies, visit historical places and take part in related speeches, knowledge and singing contests.

After being implemented for more than 20 years, the limitations of such forms of patriotic education have become increasingly obvious.

Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, said patriotic education delivered in these ways might help students to grasp some knowledge about the country, but in the meantime leave them bewildered about what patriotism really means and why they should engage.

"I would rather recommend students take part in social activities and get involved in voluntary services, which would cultivate their sense of social responsibility," he said.

The education authorities had also recognized the necessity of updating the form and content of patriotic education to keep pace with the times.

A notice released by the Ministry of Education in February last year encouraged schools at all levels to innovate the ways by which patriotic education is conducted.

"By deploying the internet and new media, such as micro blogs and WeChat, schools should try to make patriotic education more vivid and appealing," the notice said.

"A good atmosphere should be created on campuses to ensure that students will feel the spread of the patriotic spirit all the time, whether they are in or out of class, online or offline."

However, Xiong said "a good atmosphere" should not be interpreted simply as hanging banners carrying patriotic slogans or having rituals such as raising the national flag while playing the national anthem.

"Foremost is creating a social environment that gives all students an equal opportunity to develop themselves, so that they will feel that they are well-treated and respected," he said.

"People growing up in such an atmosphere will be grateful and spontaneously show their love for society and the country. And that's how patriotic education should work."

zhaoxinying@chinadaily.com.cn

Decades of development

August 1994: An outline on the implementation of patriotic education was issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, stressing the significance of patriotic education and introducing measures on how it should be provided. The outline said patriotic education should be universal and mainly targeted at teenagers. Displays and exhibitions should include Chinese history, traditional culture, the achievements of the country's socialist modernization, national conditions, socialist democracy and the legal system, among other things.

May 1995: Five ministries and committees, including the education and culture ministries, issued a circular recommending hundreds of books about patriotic education for teenagers to help raise their awareness of patriotism, strengthen their pride in the country and guide them to form a correct sense of value. The books included stories about Mao Zedong, an introduction to the four great inventions of ancient China, and the country's reform and opening-up policy. The circular also encouraged teenagers to watch patriotic movies and sing songs that praise the country.

October 1996: Jiang Zemin, then-general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, told the sixth plenary session of the 14th CPC Central Committee: "Patriotic education must be strengthened among people across the country, especially among the younger generation... we should let our people know that carrying on reform and opening-up, learning from other nations to improve our own abilities and promote the development of our country are important aspects of patriotism."

July 1997: The Central Committee of the CPC released, for the first time, a list of 100 patriotic education centers nationwide. Among them, 19 reflected China's ancient history and culture, nine showed the country's history of resisting foreign invaders, and 75 demonstrated the country's revolutionary struggle and socialist construction.

The list covered a number of famous places, such as Tian'anmen Square and the Palace Museum in Beijing, the September 18 Historical Museum in Shenyang, Liaoning province, and the Sun Yatsen Mausoleum in Nanjing, Jiangsu province.

June 2001: A list of the second batch of national patriotic education centers was released to the public. The sites, including the memorial hall of the Battle of Beiping - Tianjin (July - Aug 1937) and the Li Dazhao Martyrs Cemetery, dedicated to one of the founders of the CPC, mainly focused the Party's history. Another 140 centers were announced by the Central Committee of the CPC during the decade that followed.

March 2017: More than 40 sites were added into the list of national patriotic education centers, and the number of centers nationwide reached 428.

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2017-10-02 07:43:22
<![CDATA[Centers need to embrace modern display methods to draw crowds]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/02/content_32762135.htm While patriotic education is still considered highly important, some patriotic education centers, which aim to raise awareness through a range of activities, face problems.

Although they are crowded on special dates, some education centers receive very few visitors at other times.

One such example is the Li Dazhao Martyrs Cemetery in northwest Beijing, where Li, one of the founders of the Communist Party of China, is buried. It was listed as a national patriotic education center in 2001.

Guan Xiaolin, a security guard who has worked at the cemetery for three years, said that the record number of visitors, in his memory, was about 3,000, when a group of soldiers visited on a special day.

"Apart from occasions like that, the place is extremely quiet for most of the year, just as you see now - there's not even a single visitor," he said.

Other centers are experiencing similar situations.

One example is the former residence of Soong Ching Ling, the honorary chairwoman of the People's Republic of China in the 20th century, located near Houhai Lake in Beijing's downtown.

It was Soong's home from 1963 to 1981, and is now a patriotic education center.

"Mostly people come to visit on certain memorial days, such as National Day on Oct 1 and the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, which falls on July 1. Most visitors come in groups rather than individuals," said a 65-year-old volunteer at the residence, who asked only to be identified by her surname, Gao.

She added that the visitors vary greatly in age, and most come in the name of social groups or Party committees from across the country.

"But the number of individual visitors has risen a lot compared with years ago, thanks to the country's improved patriotic education in recent years and the official website of the residence, where visitors can access exhibition information," she said.

According to Beijing Daily, more than 200,000 visitors visited the residence last year, and the official website of the residence says it received an average of nearly 2,500 visitors a day during the seven-day National Day holiday last year.

In addition, some patriotic education centers fail to meet visitors' expectations because they lack diverse displays and exhibitions.

Tursongul Torgan, a primary school teacher from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in Northwest China, visited Soong's former residence soon after she arrived in Beijing with colleagues for a period of training in late September.

She said young people, especially children and teenagers, quickly become bored with exhibitions and listening to guides.

"Based on my experience, most children around me don't enjoy just reading information boards. They prefer modern displays, which they find more interesting," she added.

Sun Lu, a teacher of Chinese at Hefei No 42 Middle School in East China's Anhui province, said many patriotic education centers still display the history in dull ways, and are failing to keep pace with the times.

"Those centers should provide better services by utilizing modern technologies, such as VR glasses and 4-D films, which will not only attract the attention of teenagers, but also adults," she said.

Jiang Chenglong contributed to this story.

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2017-10-02 07:44:02
<![CDATA[The charmed life of Lucky Luke]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-10/01/content_32725456.htm From music to vintage apparel, shop owner revels in a life in which music and fashion are in harmony

'I've done just two big things in my life," Liu Ke says. "I played rock for five or six years, and I have run vintage clothes shops for the past 10 years."

Liu, 32, owns two shops in Beijing called Mega Vintage.

"If life's a great big book, I reckon that for me rock is the opening chapter."

Liu, who calls himself Lucky Luke, says he was immature and knew next to nothing when he was 15 years old, and rock music introduced him to the world.

Rock was a dream he pursued, he says, a foil he wielded to ensure the world did not limit him.

Thus, music - and he sees his type of music as youth culture - has had a defining influence on him. It reflects the society and culture of a particular time, he says.

Initially, the music of the 1970s was his forte and great passion, but as time passed he began to pay attention to the kinds of clothing that seemed to attach themselves to various music genres.

"Music provides a window on the popular culture of an era, and the clothes that performers wear play an important role in that."

He cites a United States military-type shirt that John Lennon wore on stage in the 1970s and says the former Beatle thus set a fashion trend.

"Even now, many brands reproduce the kind of gear Lennon wore."

In 2008, Liu the rocker branched out into fashion, opening his first Mega Vintage outlet in the Gulou area of Beijing.

As someone who had played '70s-style rock music, he wanted to dress like someone of that time. That steered him into the field of vintage clothing, he says, and eventually he would be consumed by his passion for fashion.

"Just because I stopped playing rock music does not mean the attitudes I nursed suddenly disappeared. In fact, I reckon I was following the same trajectory and was just carrying a different weapon."

Indeed, Liu reckons it is music that keeps him connected with vintage clothes. He has also spent a lot of time watching old movies, mostly Western ones, including Hollywood productions.

"I did not fall in love with vintage that easily. There were a million reasons for it and a persistent interest in it."

Vintage clothing is not a business in which you are going to have instant success but needs a great deal of devotion over a long time, he says. You have to research and understand the product, including the craft and story behind it.

"It's not the kind of business just anyone can handle. No way."

Vintage culture in Beijing went through a purple patch between 2011 and 2013, he says, when there were 14 vintage clothing shops in Gulou alone. However, all but four of those businesses have since folded, and Liu thinks he knows why.

He surmises that in the good economic times, the number of people who wrongly thought they could make a quick dollar rose and the number of people who realized that success can come only after a hard slog fell.

"Gulou is a popular area now, and there are openings in the vintage market in China. However, many people think they can just run a shop for a couple of years and then walk away with a bucket of cash. That's the fast-food way of doing business."

The tendency to blindly follow fads could be another reason for business failures, he says.

"For some people, running a vintage clothing business makes them cool and trendy."

Trends constantly change, he says, and many people try this thing and that, and barely stop to think about what is really good for them.

"They spend money and a lot of time trying to keep up with trends, afraid of being left out of the loop."

Liu says most people would not be obsessed with a certain way of dressing as the result of watching a movie. But he reckons one of the aims of movies is to disengage people from reality for an hour or two, and he likes to think that after watching a film, he will have learned something from it.

However, his business leaves him little spare time. One of the shop assistants who works for him, Lin Yuyang, says Liu once worked 30 days without a break, then decided he really did need a day or two off, but within 24 hours appeared in one of his shops.

Liu says: "I love to talk with vintage-clothes lovers in my shop, and I love the fact that this leaves an impression on them, and we can see eye to eye. It's really so cool."

He also enjoys spending time with the products he has discovered and presenting them to customers.

But ultimately, Liu counts himself fortunate that though this second chapter of his life is a little different from the first, in one way it is exactly the same: He is able to do something he loves.

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2017-10-01 15:00:19
<![CDATA[Where rivers are pure and the sacrificial ducks are plastic]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/17/content_32114063.htm It takes some effort to get to Huichang county, Jiangxi province, but it's worth it

It's unlikely to be on many people's list of "Ten places I must seen in China before I die."

In fact, Huichang county in Jiangxi province is so out of the way that it takes two hours to get there from the nearest big airport, in Ganzhou, and its inhabitants are generally perceived to be poverty-stricken.

However, once you set foot in Huichang you will find yourself surrounded by green mountains and rivers with clear water, breathing pristine air and getting a profound insight into China's Taoist culture.

Huichang county, which neighbors Fujian and Guangdong provinces, sits at the confluence of two waterways, which form the Ganjiang River, a major branch of the Yangtze River, in Nanchang, Jiangxi's capital. In ancient times people from northern China used these rivers to travel and trade.

The county covers about 2,700 square kilometers and has a population of 527,000. It is widely known as one of the old revolutionary bases, one that made a great contribution in the founding of the People's Republic of China.

In 1934 Mao Zedong lived in Huichang for a month and he climbed Huichang Mountain, which inspired him to write a poem in which he proclaimed that "the scenery here is uniquely good".

One of the best-known scenic spots is Hanxianyan, a mountainous region covering 42 sq km, which has about 100 tourist attractions.

It was here that Han Zhongli, a legendary Chinese character and one of the Eight Immortals of Taoism, lived. Its steep, rocky and wooden steps are popular with hikers.

One of the locals, Zhou Wenrong, 83, was in the news recently for offering tourists free cups of tea for 24 years.

Apart from its Taoism, what makes Huichang unique is its folk culture. About 95 percent of its people are members of the Hakka ethnic group, one of the highest concentrations in the country. Hakka is the Cantonese pronunciation of the Mandarin word kejia.

Since 2015, a big folk culture festival has been held in Huichang to celebrate its folk traditions and this naturally attracts tourists.

On Aug 26 an opening event was held at the Laigong Temple and thousands of Huichang residents attended. At the temple they worship the local god, Laigong, and pray for health and wealth. The worship of Laigong is a ritual that has been passed down over about 500 years.

After the folk performance and worship rituals there was a parade that took in the downtown area of the county.

Cai Weiping, an official of Huichang's publicity department, said one of the big events during the worship ceremony was ducks being sacrificed outside the temple. However, in 2015 local officials decided it was time to end the custom and ordered the manufacture of paper and plastic ducks to replace real ones.

The change was partially triggered by the US-born, Taiwan-based director and playwright Stan Lai, who for the past two years has been staging his plays in Huichang. The plays have enjoyed phenomenal success in the county, his father's hometown.

"To my amazement, they went ahead and made these plastic ducks and gave them to anyone who would vow not to kill their ducks, and so I saved the lives of about 35,000 ducks last year," Lai says.

Local officials have also made an effort to reduce the use of fireworks as a way of minimizing air pollution.

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2017-09-17 15:27:08
<![CDATA[Rich Natural Resources Put Northern Hebei On Scenic Map]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/15/content_32036403.htm Host Qinhuangdao promotes its transformation, restructuring and balanced development

With the Second Conference of Hebei Tourism Industrial Development around the corner, the host city Qinhuangdao is set to make full use of the opportunity to boost its tourism industry, local officials said.

The event is scheduled to be held from Sept 17 to 19 and is expected to attract about 1,000 participants, including representatives of the World Tourism Organization and other international groups. It will help to promote the city's tourism transformation, industrial restructuring and balanced development of urban and rural areas, they said.

With a great number of natural wonders and historical heritage sites, Qinhuangdao in Hebei province in North China has a wide range of tourism resources, including 162.7 kilometers of coastline and 223 km of the Great Wall.

Dubbed as the backyard of neighboring Beijing and Tianjin, the nearest coastal city to the country's capital receives more than 42 million tourists from China and abroad annually.

Most of them opt for seasonal visits to the coastal city for an escape from the summer heat.

To turn it into a hot tourist destination throughout the year, the city government has put an emphasis on developing new types of tourism, such as coastal resorts, marine entertainment, healthcare travel, mountain visits, cultural experiences and wine-themed leisure activities.

This year, 3.25 billion yuan ($497.5 million) has been spent on 18 key scenic sites in the city for their renovation and improvement, injecting new vigor into the old locales.

Strategic investors, including Overseas Chinese Town Group, a tourism property developer and operator, have signed deals with the city to build 23 new tourism projects.

They include a spring resort on an island, a coastal sand sculpture park, a grape-themed town and a wine-themed healthcare center.

The government has poured approximately 3 billion yuan into improving the infrastructure, while nearly 30 billion yuan in investments from other sectors has gone into local tourism.

And a 75-km-long road named after the Great Wall, meandering through the mountainous regions, and another 24-km-long highway began operation in May.

They link a series of scenic spots in six townships and scores of villages, providing tourists with a picturesque sightseeing corridor and facilitating the integrated development of rural and urban areas.

Another major attraction featuring the rural-urban connection and diverse highlights is a sightseeing rail tour.

It starts from a century-old wharf on the sea and runs into the Banchangyu scenic site, one of the top 10 rural tourism destinations in Qinhuangdao.

Along the 40-km-long route are sea and mountain landscapes, the Great Wall, forests, a sea of flowers, geological relics, and ancient villages and towns.

The rail tour is an exemplary "all-for-one tourism" case, where different sectors and various resources are involved to meet tourists' needs, local officials said.

To enable local people to benefit from tourism, the Qinhuangdao government stresses ecological recovery and protection.

A total of 3.1 million trees were planted, 150 km of new river networks were constructed and 23 mine pits were covered.

With tourism as a pillar of local economy, the city is seeking an eco-friendly, sustainable growth. Developing rural tourism and building themed town projects also help to extend the value chain, expand industrial clusters and relieve poverty, the officials said.

Cui Lisheng contributed to this story.

 

Shanhaiguan Pass in Qinhuangdao is a key section of the Great Wall.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2017-09-15 08:00:58
<![CDATA[Tourism event to showcase city's achievements]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/15/content_32036402.htm Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, will showcase the charm of its coastal, rural and health-related tourism to domestic and foreign attendees at the Second Conference of Hebei Tourism Industrial Development between Sept 17 and 19, local officials said.

The annual event - mainly organized by the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Hebei government - is designed to help the host city to increase global awareness, attract investment and support its tourism industry upgrade and transformation, according to the organizing committee.

 

A foreign tourist shows interest in ancient bricks displayed at an art museum in Qinhuangdao.

Located in northern Hebei province, Qinhuangdao is known for its rich marine resources, mountains, large wetland areas and villages.

Wang Xiaodong, vice-governor of Hebei province, said that the event will help to promote Qinhuangdao's experience in developing tourism among other cities through observation and discussion, making healthcare a new tourism brand for Hebei.

About 1,000 representatives from the World Tourism Organization, governments, businesses and academics are expected to share their latest findings and exchange opinions during the three-day conference.

The theme for this year's conference will be "construction of a top-level international coastal health resort", according to the event organizers.

Hebei officials will host a promotional event to introduce the province's resources, development and opportunities on Sept 17.

The province's plans, goals and supportive measures for developing "all-for-one" tourism will also be outlined to all participants.

The concept of all-for-one tourism was mentioned by Premier Li Keqiang in the 2017 Government Work Report in March, to cater for the country's growing demand for tourism products and services, as well as to help to boost its economic transition.

On Sept 18, attendees will visit major tourism projects to see Qinhuangdao's achievements in promoting all-for-one tourism, as well as other forms of themed tourism that are expanding there.

The participants will watch maritime sports, including yachting, kayaking and sailing, while enjoying the local food and arts that will be displayed and sold.

Xu Qin, governor of Hebei, said the province has many opportunities available to it, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei integrated development, construction of the Xiongan New Area and the 2020 Beijing-Zhangjiakou Winter Olympics.

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2017-09-15 08:00:58
<![CDATA[Healthcare industry takes off in serene Beidaihe district]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/15/content_32036401.htm Zhang Rui did not expect to spend about 20 days of his summer holiday in Beidaihe New District in Qinhuangdao, northern Hebei province.

"The chirping cicadas, the aroma of flowers, green trees, beach and sea - it has everything I want," he said.

Zhang said he initially saw the place as just one stop on a longer trip, until he found himself reluctant to leave.

Located to the west of Qinhuangdao, the district is near the Bohai Sea and Feicui Island, which features a seaside scenery with sand dunes. But, about 35 percent of the district is covered with forests.

Feng Zhiyong, deputy mayor of Qinhuangdao, said its unique climate offers cool air in summer and warmth in winter.

"You can see the sea, lakes, springs, mountains, wetlands and woods in just one hour's ride," he said. "The content of negative oxygen ion in the air is 10 to 20 times higher than ordinary cities, which is healthy."

Beidaihe New District has been included in the country's first batch of healthcare tourism demonstration centers. It has many sanatoriums that are open to domestic and international guests year-round.

A 55.4-square-kilometer international healthcare hub is taking shape in the district, focusing on the sectors of health management, healthcare services, biopharmaceuticals, medical device research and production, elderly care, sports and fitness, and health insurance.

Beidaihe is set to attract medical institutes from Beijing and become an international tourist destination featuring healthcare services, as well as an eco-friendly resort in North China, according to an industrial development plan released by the provincial government.

The district's goal is to develop an advanced and modernized international healthcare industrial chain, with the sector projected to generate 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) in annual industrial output value in 2020.

By then, the district's innovative growth is expected to provide an exemplary model, as a leader of the country's healthcare industry.

 

An international healthcare tourism center in Beidaihe, Qinhuangdao.

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2017-09-15 08:00:58
<![CDATA[Changchun pours funding into modern facelift]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/13/content_31941514.htm Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in Northeast China, has launched a campaign with the aim of speeding up the massive restoration of and improvements to the old city that began last June.

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Capital of Jilin province launches massive restoration campaign, benefiting millions of residents.

Changchun, the capital of Jilin province in Northeast China, has launched a campaign with the aim of speeding up the massive restoration of and improvements to the old city that began last June.

The Changchun Party committee and Changchun government acted to solve the problem of the city's poor functionality and environment, aiming to finish off the upgrade within two years.

 

Changchun acts to solve the problem of the city's poor functionality and environment.

The old city, within the Third Ring Road and covering 166 square kilometers, will be enhanced, bringing profound change to 2.02 million residents, accounting for 59 percent of the total population living in Changchun's urban area.

Priority was given to the optimization of major streets and roads in an effort to provide a new face for the city in 2016, according to Wang Shizhong, director of the Changchun Appearance, Environment and Sanitation Bureau.

The city invested 11.5 billion yuan ($1.77 billion) last year, with 10 projects launched to upgrade 260 roads, six business areas and 155 old residential communities.

The 10 projects focused on promoting an upgrade of the city's underground pipelines network, improvements to the street environment, maintenance of old communities, and improvements of business zones and traffic flows.

One of the oldest industrial centers in China, Changchun built its first underground water supply pipe in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). With the growth of its urban population and the passing of the years, the problem of an aging and overloaded underground pipe network became increasingly severe, Wang added.

Statistics provided by the Changchun government show that the total length of underground pipes in Changchun is 20,343 kilometers, of which 4,207 km are identified as old with a high risk of bursting.

Wang said that most of those pipes are in areas within the Third Ring Road and in 2016, a length of 454 km of underground pipes were upgraded.

Apart from the improved underground pipeline network, Changchun's residents are also set to see many other benefits flowing from the 10 projects. These include better traffic conditions, a more convenient public transportation service, increased green areas and a better mechanism to support the development of local culture.

Changchun has built a network of cycle paths. It has installed colorful pavements and decorated more than 2,000 street-side buildings.

The city also planted trees in 20 streets, establishing a new green area of 46 hectares, and six new community parks.

More plans for 2017

In 2017, Changchun plans to invest 16.78 billion yuan in 10 projects, to promote the improvement of road conditions, infrastructure, landscaping and transportation in the old city.

The work includes upgrading 161 old communities; removing 500,000 square meters of illegal structures; shanty town refurbishments and maintenance work on 340 streets within the Third Ring Road area.

The government has also taken measures to create more parking for residents. A total of 300,000 new parking lots in residential communities, as well as 20 new large multilevel car parks, will be built downtown.

In addition, illegal advertisement boards along the airport expressway were demolished to build a green entrance path. The public service facilities in Changchun Railway Station and West Station have been maintained and updated to bring more convenience to people, according to Changchun's government.

The reconstruction of the old city took into account local's opinions, so there was participation in the program by the general public.

The city is also strengthening the management of construction quality, with full-time supervision, and builders will be responsible for the overall quality of the buildings.

Changchun invited 36 leading design groups nationally to make plans for the reconstruction of the old city. Experts will review and evaluate the design schemes and make sure the plans meet with high professional standards.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2017-09-13 08:21:14
<![CDATA[Old area reborn following spruce up work]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/13/content_31941513.htm The reconstruction project of Changchun's old city has influenced and changed the lives of more than 2 million residents in the downtown area, in the process winning glowing praise from locals.

Changchun's government wanted to solve the problem of the poor infrastructure and housing environment, to boost the wellbeing and contentment of residents. To do so it followed a concept of being people-oriented.

Shanghai Road, an old street built in the 1920s and located in Changchun's downtown Nanguan district, was listed as a key reconstruction block.

Plans were made to take Changchun's traditional brick-red architecture as a foundation and create featured architecture in the nostalgic as well as the modern style.

Locals are happy with the outcome.

"In the past, the street was filthy: bricks were very damaged, the stairs were incomplete and telegraph poles were tilting," said Li Moru, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years.

"It was very dangerous to walk on the street and inconvenient to buy things there. But now, the reconstruction has brought more convenience to our lives."

Yang Xue, an officer of Changchun Nanguan District Urban and Rural Construction Committee detailed some of the work.

"We renovated some old shop signboards and resprayed the building surfaces to refresh its original historical appearance," Yang said.

In the Youdian residential area, located at the intersection of Changqing Street and Jinyihe Road, in Chaoyang district, a facelift of apartment buildings replaced previous illegal structures.

Yu Heping, an official of Chaoyang District Old City Reconstruction Office, said that they paid significant attention to improving infrastructure - such as water, power, heat and gas supplies - which is closely linked to people's daily lives.

Local authorities have listened to the opinions of residents, mending stairs, whitewashing corridors. They have established an effective long-term management system and added support facilities to the area, which include an installed video surveillance system.

The government also brought a cultural concept to the reconstruction of Youdian residential area, combining socialist core values to build a themed area.

Illegal constructions were always a problem in Changchun old city, which led to the dirty environment and potential risks, according to the government.

Places like Anyang Street in Lyuyuan district, also called Disappeared Street by locals, were filled with many stalls and steel shelters and attracted complaints for years.

To solve the problem, the government demolished 17,836 illegal buildings, 1.36 million square meters in total.

In addition to the reconstruction of its appearance, the government also attached great importance to problems lurking underground, such as faulty and broken drain-pipes that were seriously blocked - and causing a sewage runoff.

Locals complained about trenches that were filled with excrement and about corroded water pipelines. A resident said that they used to raise money in the community to repair the pipes, but it proved useless.

The underground pipeline system was complex, with intermixed natural gas lines and optical cables. It was also built many years ago, so related information and drawings were incomplete.

To solve the problem, the government reconstructed the underground pipes of 11 old apartments, with all the pipes stretching 40 kilometers in total.

"A few months ago, the street was impassable and dust was everywhere when the workers were reconstructing our buildings. I thought it is a sheer waste of people and money," said a resident, surnamed Zhou, from Sipinglu community.

"When it was completed we were surprised by the new look. Our building was rebuilt, the cables were channeled systematically in the ground and corridors were painted white, which made the local residents very satisfied."

Changchun's government wants to solve the problem of poor infrastructure and a housing environment, to boost the well-being and contentment of residents.Provided To China Daily 

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2017-09-13 08:21:14
<![CDATA[National Famous Historical and Cultural City status achieved]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/13/content_31941512.htm Restoring three historical precincts in Changchun, an important part of the old quarter's reconstruction, have helped make it a new cultural landmark and promoted the city's successful formal application to become a designated National Famous Historical and Cultural City.

That is according to the Changchun city government, which saw the city promoted to its new status on July 3.

China's State Council approved about a hundred National Famous Historical and Cultural Cities in batches in 1980s and early 1990s, and approved another series of cities subsequently.

A National Famous Historical and Cultural City is defined as a city with an unusual wealth of cultural relics of high historical value and major significance.

The three Changchun precincts behind the successful application are Dongtian Street in Nanguan district, as well as the eastern area and the western area of Beijing Street in Kuancheng district.

In line with the Changchun conservation plan, they are being restored with a strong sense of awareness of their cultural elements and cultural identity.

Liu Yansong, the vice-president of Changchun Institute of Urban Planning and Design, said that Dongtian Street was built as a commercial street, in an area totaling 1.84 hectares.

Under the restoration plans, the street will retain its original layout and style and develop businesses along the street, including a themed exhibition zone, entertainment zone, cultural experience zone and a central square.

"We will not only remove illegal buildings and restore the original appearance of the historical architecture, but also improve traditional courtyard spaces and add historical elements and modern functions," Liu said.

The western area of Beijing Street, located near the Jilin provincial government building, occupies an area of 4.14 hectares.

The reconstruction of this historical area is focused on the traditional-style architecture of buildings and their facades, and cultural relics during the "Manchukuo" period - a puppet regime set up in northeastern China by Japan in 1932-45.

Liu said that the repair work to the facades would retain historical materials. The buildings, when restored, will have multiple uses. These will include housing public services, as well as community, and communal facilities. There will be office areas and hotels will be established to promote the revival of the area.

Another precinct undergoing restoration, the eastern area of Beijing Street, occupying an area of 4.48 hectares, will change its purpose. It will move from being primarily residential to incorporating boutique hotels, offices and innovation industries. It will house cultural exhibitions, as well as have leisure and recreational functions.

Next to the Yitong River, formerly an important waterway for Changchun, and surrounded by historical relics, such as Wen Temple, also known as Confucius Temple, the community will form a cultural sightseeing belt, according to Liu.

In addition, Changchun City Planning and Changchun Sculpture Office selected a total of 28 artworks from Changchun World Sculpture Park, Jingyue Sculpture Park and Qikai Sculpture Park. It erected them on Changchun Cultural Square, Chongqing Road, Shanghai Road and downtown sites, according to Wang Mingshan, director of the Changchun World Sculpture Park.

In various important areas and public zones in Chongqing Road's commercial streets and in Jinjiang Square in Lyuyuan district, a number of permanent sculptures are to be placed.

"During the reconstruction of the old city, erecting sculptures and artworks on the streets creates a new spatial environment and enhances the quality of the urban culture," Wang added.

Shanghai Road in Changchun after being reconstructed.Provided To China Daily 

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2017-09-13 08:21:14
<![CDATA[ASEAN ties celebrated at 14th expo]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2017-09/13/content_31941511.htm The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is of great importance to the Belt and Road Initiative and China will continue building closer relations with the region, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli told the opening ceremony of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo on Tuesday.

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Nation vows to build on close relations with important group, whose influence continues to extend internationally

 

Officials from ASEAN member countries and China announce the opening of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo.Photos Provided To China Daily

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is of great importance to the Belt and Road Initiative and China will continue building closer relations with the region, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli told the opening ceremony of the 14th China-ASEAN Expo on Tuesday.

Under its theme "Jointly Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promoting Regional Economic Integration Through Tourism", the expo runs from September 12-15 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Brunei is this year's country of honor and Kazakhstan is the special partner at the expo.

In his speech, Zhang spoke highly of the achievements that China and ASEAN have made in recent years.

He said the two sides signed agreements on intergovernmental cooperation during the Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation this May.

 

From January to July this year, trade volumes between China and ASEAN increased 14.5 percent year-on-year, making China ASEAN's biggest trade partner for eight consecutive years.

Also in 2016, more than 38 million people traveled between the two sides.

Zhang said the fruitful results of cooperation have proven that the Belt and Road Initiative meets the development needs of China and ASEAN countries, serves the shared interests of relevant parties and is in line with the trend of regional and global cooperation.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and China has always regarded ASEAN as a priority in its neighboring diplomacy, as well as a focus in the Belt and Road Initiative, Zhang said.

He proposed building a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and writing a new chapter in building of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Zhang suggested that both sides deepen their political mutual trust, for stronger synergy in developmental strategies.

China and ASEAN should formulate the 2030 vision, agreed in May, for a strategic partnership to make a blueprint for future cooperation. They should work to enhance the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with ASEAN's regional development strategies.

He said China and ASEAN countries should deepen their cooperation on industrial capacity.

The two sides were encouraged to deepen economic relations.

Zhang said China was willing to work with ASEAN to implement cooperation initiatives for trade facilitation under the Belt and Road Initiative, expand imports from ASEAN countries, and promote the construction of cross-border economic cooperation parks.

China and ASEAN also needed to strengthen links to accelerate the construction of regional infrastructure, deepen cooperation in innovation to boost economic development, as well as encourage more people-to-people exchanges, according to Zhang.

Brunei's Sultan, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, delivered a speech marking China's contribution to ASEAN as well as global economic growth.

He said it was necessary to explore closer collaboration between ASEAN's 2025 Vision and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Bolkiah hoped to promote mutual communications and connectivity by tourism, since 2017 is the year of tourism.

He also noted that 2018 is the year of innovation for China-ASEAN and wished for the promotion of closer ties through innovation.

Samdech Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, said in his speech that the expo has great significance for promoting regional integration and will make ASEAN and even Asia an attractive and competitive region.

Tourism between China and ASEAN, he said, further promotes the process of regional integration and connectivity.

He believed that strengthening tourism cooperation would certainly boost the development of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The China-ASEAN Expo is an international economic and trade event jointly endorsed by the leaders of China and ASEAN.

Proposed by the Chinese government, the first expo was held in Nanning