版权所有 - 中国日报�(ChinaDaily) China Daily <![CDATA[Cloudy outlook brings sunshine to online group]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/15/content_37510006.htm Avid followers of sky phenomena keep their feet on the ground as they look to the heavens

Clouds are often depicted in dramatic ways. Storm clouds gathering can be an ominous sign, white fluffy ones show that all is well with the world. It is not surprising then that a group of cloud spotters in China formed a WeChat group to share their images.

They send out alerts that a certain type of cloud has been seen or is expected at certain locations, allowing people nearby to grab the opportunity of taking a photo or recording it.

Ji Yun, 32, is a Beijing freelance cloud chaser and set up the online group in 2013.

 

Dark clouds gather over the Yangtze River to herald the arrival of Typhoon Lekima in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, last month. Provided to China Daily

In October that year, he received a message from a friend, saying there were rare cloud formations drifting toward southeastern Beijing. He then boarded a high-speed train to chase them.

"As soon as I got the information, I rushed out of my home. I took some pictures, but the clouds drifted away quickly. After guessing where they were likely to head, I took a train to Tianjin and finally managed to take several wonderful pictures in the Wuqing district," he said.

What he was chasing after were Asperitus clouds. These clouds are dark and suggest an approaching storm, but strangely they almost always dissipate without one.

They are particularly common in the Plains states of the United States, often during the morning or midday hours following thunderstorm activity.

"This is an extremely rare type of cloud. As far as I know, they have only been spotted in China a couple of times. So it is worthy of chasing and recording," Ji said.

Why clouds form in certain ways can also tell us a lot about the weather. This is vital for people who make their living at sea or farmers, he said.

The online group has more than 900 fans nationwide.

The group invented a game in which all the members were divided into two teams, south and north, based on their location.

If a member in one of the southern provinces sends a picture of clouds, the south team score and vice-versa.

The game sparks discussion and team members feel engaged with all areas of the country, Ji said.

"Quite a few times some members inadvertently shared a photo in our group which we realized was a particularly rare phenomenon. Other members would congratulate those who 'witnessed history' in the group," he said.

In 2014, a photographer in the group took a picture of a twin rainbow in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and sent it. Ji put it on his website and offered an explanation that sparked an immediate response overseas.

Alexandar Haussmann, a rainbow expert at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, noticed it online and contacted the group via email. The expert said that this twin rainbow photo should be deemed one of the most valuable records of its kind.

Wei Xiaojun, a 24-year-old photographer in Beijing, joined this group in 2015. He has sent about 40 photos of clouds to the group.

"I always carry a small camera with me. If I look up and find something, I will take a snap. I don't have enough knowledge about what kind of cloud it is, so I would send it to the group and wait for professional analysis," he said.

Ji said that he hoped that the model of real-time cloud reporting should be promoted and refined to attract more people to join.

"People in all major cities across the country should gather to form a local live observation group. Anyone who discovers a new cloud can report its movement and let the people in the downstream of the cloud prepare to observe it. In that way, all kinds of celestial phenomena and events can be recorded comprehensively, scientifically and accurately," he said.

Ji knows what type of clouds may form over certain geographic locations.

For example, in the bitter cold of North China, it is possible to see ice halos. These are formed when light interacts with ice.

In southwestern area, with high humidity levels, rainbows are common while in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Qinghai province in Northwest China, some rare or strange celestial phenomena are more likely to appear due to the extreme nature and complexity of the climate.

Ji's cloud group is not alone. In 2005, Gavin Pretor-Pinney launched the Cloud Appreciation Society in Britain. This is a nonprofit association for cloud lovers. Its members are drawn from 120 countries.

They are all united, Gavin Pretor-Pinney said, in the belief that clouds are the most dynamic, evocative and poetic aspect of nature. And in a Ted speech in 2013, he pointed out that clouds can often bring a sense of happiness.

Zhang Chao, an editor of an astronomical science publication in Beijing, said clouds may look friendly and pretty, but their formation is due to real science that must be understood.

"Clouds often form in unexpected ways. I once spotted a horseshoe-shaped cloud. I stared at it and felt every moment was precious and amazing. The cloud changed fast, just in three or five seconds, into different shapes that you could never imagine. It was a joy to see this rare thing."

Just watching clouds float above people and change shapes allows them to feel poetic and appreciate the beauty of our world, Zhang said.

lihongyang@chinadaily.com.cn  

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2019-09-15 12:46:09
<![CDATA[Sky of delight provides treats for those ready to gaze upward]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/15/content_37510005.htm Wang Chen, a 38-year-old popular science writer

The first time that I felt a sense of happiness and serenity watching clouds was in primary school. My neighbor also gave me a number of comics and one of them had a yellow-brown cover. It was called Judge Weather by Clouds.

I liked it, not just because of the clouds, but because of sayings and poems about the clouds in it. "Clouds of a hook shape in the sky, rain will fall on the ground" was one that I remember and another was "When chaotic clouds are stirred up, strong wind and heavy rain will show up". They sounded cool. These have stayed in my mind and heart rather than, say, Tang poetry, or the multiplication table.

One day about two years before the college entrance exam, on my way to school, I saw a quite strange and beautiful rainbow. I felt it was magical. It was small and short with a sharp arc. Catching sight of it was lucky. It made me think that youth is like this rainbow; beautiful and precious. Then I wrote my first song named The Rainbow in the Cloud.

In 2003 I started to take some cloud pictures, and decided to collect and organize them in an album in 2006. This is a long goal and hobby of quiet passion. It cannot be rushed.

At that time, I was not very clear about the types of clouds, because I had never read a professional book. I always confused with some types.

Then I came up with an idea that no matter what clouds I saw, I would take photos first, as a record. It is advice I would give to any cloud spotter.

In recent years, I feel that Chinese people's interest in clouds has increased, with a growing number of enthusiasts going online to discuss it.

I think that one reason for this may be technology. Mobile phones can now take excellent pictures, so most people have a phone with them and can take a shot of a cloud that fascinates them and share it with others.

In addition, there is a greater appreciation of the natural sciences. Clouds are an important natural phenomenon.

Another important reason is that the country has increasingly realized the importance of educating people on the natural world and the importance it has on the economy.

For example, more science books have been published with support from the government. This tends to be good for the environment, and I value it very much.

Wang Chen spoke with Li Hongyang.

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2019-09-15 12:46:09
<![CDATA[Yulin puts weight behind quality development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-09/07/content_37508581.htm

Yulin in Shaanxi province is striving for high-quality development in its energy industry utilizing the city's solid economic foundation, rich resources and wider cooperation with the outside world, said a senior official at an energy industry expo.

Li Chunlin, mayor of Yulin, said at the 14th Yulin International Coal and High-end Energy Chemical Industry Expo held on Wednesday that the city is a land of opportunity for development with a profound history, diverse cultural legacies and abundant resources.

"Over the past two decades, Yulin has built itself as one of China's key bases for coal, coal-fired power, chloralkali and coal chemical industries and the world's largest production base for magnesium and semi-coke," Li said.

"It has become one of the four national-level demonstration zones for the coal chemical industry in China."

Li said he hopes that this year's expo brings ideas for resource-based cities' transformation and promotes more international cooperation and development in the energy industry.

Carrying the central themes of high-end, green, innovation, opening-up and sharing, the three-day expo displayed the latest materials, technologies and equipment in the field with an array of exhibitions, forums and performances.

A total of 402 enterprises attended, 13 of which were international companies including Kennametal, Betek and Continental. Domestic companies including China Energy, Yanchang Petroleum and Hualu Engineering and Technology also took part.

Five exhibition areas and nearly 800 booths were set up, covering more than 3.7 hectares.

This year's expo also focused on related industries such as digital information, 5G, water treatment, photovoltaic engineering and safety technology.

Statistics show the expo generated around 430 million yuan ($60.11 million) in turnover. A total of 127 contracts were signed, totaling 37.31 billion yuan in value.

Last year, the Yulin government proposed a new strategic plan for the high-end development of the coal and chemical industry.

Guided by the plan, Yulin is cooperating with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to build a research and innovation base, and is promoting industrial upgrading.

It is also accelerating the implementation of major projects such as the ethylene glycol project of Shaanxi Coal and Chemical Industry Group. A total of 42 projects will be launched in three years, with a combined investment of up to 619.5 billion yuan, officials said.

According to the government's blueprint, the output value of Yulin's coal and chemical industry will exceed 200 billion yuan by 2022. A batch of the world's top 50 chemical enterprises will settle in the city and Yulin will play a leading role among national coal and chemical industry demonstration areas.

Besides industrial production, Yulin has also made great progress in infrastructure construction and public welfare projects.

Transportation has reached a new level with an advanced transport system of roads, railways and air routes, which enhances Yulin's connections with other cities across the country.

To date, the total length of railways in Yulin reaches 1,000 kilometers and that of highways is 1,068 km, ranking first in Shaanxi province. With 26 routes opened, the Yuyang Airport has an annual passenger throughput of more than 2 million people.

Areas of social welfare including electricity, medical treatment, employment and education have all been greatly improved, local officials said.

As for environmental protection, the city has been transformed from previously having a quite rugged and harsh environment to having one that features more greenery.

Decades ago, Yulin was a region suffering from severe desertification, with a forest coverage rate of only 0.9 percent. In order to repel the desert and build a sound environment, the people of Yulin began planting trees.

Some of those people have become models for desertification control in China, such as Niu Yuqin and Li Shoulin.

Official statistics show the city's forest coverage rate has increased to 33 percent, with a forest conservation area of around 1.44 million hectares. With all these achievements, Yulin has embraced its rapid economic development.

Last year, the GDP of the city reached 384.86 billion yuan, 7,700 times the figure 70 years ago.

The per capita GDP has risen from 158 yuan in the early days of reform and opening-up to 112,845 yuan in 2018, which is comparable to some cities in coastal developed areas such as Shanghai and Tianjin.

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2019-09-07 06:45:46
<![CDATA[A rise and a fall, on the wings of a bat]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-01/12/content_37426194.htm If there is one animal that best captures the cultural differences between China and the West, it is the bat. The winged, mouse-like, nocturnal animal was portrayed as a spy in an English textbook story I read in middle school. But then, 20 years on, as I, an English language student, rediscovered the beauty and nuances of my own cultural heritage, I realized that bat was worshipped by my ancestors.

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Palace holds a tale of ambition, power and humiliation

If there is one animal that best captures the cultural differences between China and the West, it is the bat. The winged, mouse-like, nocturnal animal was portrayed as a spy in an English textbook story I read in middle school. But then, 20 years on, as I, an English language student, rediscovered the beauty and nuances of my own cultural heritage, I realized that bat was worshipped by my ancestors.

The reason is simple. In Chinese, the word for bat is a homophone of the word for blissfulness or felicity. When this pronunciation-based association emerged is unknown, but throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries it had become so popular as to enjoy a visual domination in lives both privileged and ordinary.

It took a casual visitor like me five minutes to recognize that, once stepping into the sumptuous garden abode known as Gong Wang Fu, or Prince Gong's Mansion, inside the Second Ring Road in Beijing, just northwest to the city's axle. First built in the late 18th century, it is today the best preserved mansion for any prince from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), China's last feudal dynasty.

The mansion features a bat pond, a bat hall and numerous colorfully painted, bat-inspired architectural details. Both the pond and the hall resemble a bat with extended wings in the aerial view.

It was clear that fu was what the successive owners of the mansion, some of whom were overshadowed by the fame of this place, had always wanted. Yet fu had proved to be elusive, at least for those whose personal fortunes were contingent on emperors' goodwill, as well as for those caught in the vortex of their times.

The construction of Prince Gong's Mansion, occupying 60,000 square meters, was believed to have begun around 1776, more than 70 years before it got its current name. The first owner of the grand abode - so grand indeed that it eventually contributed to its owner's demise - was Niuhuru Heshen (Niuhuru is the Manchu surname of the man, more widely known simply as Heshen.)

Heshen has gone down in history as someone corrupted by power and greed, and is often portrayed in Chinese period dramas as a cunning, plump and slightly hilarious man with a flair for flattery. Cunning, for sure; plump, no way!

According to the official history of Qing, Heshen in his early days was handsome and hard-learning, attentive and alert. With a knack for sensing what his master wanted and an aptitude to satisfy that wish, the young officer soon earned the favor of Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), favor that proved to be lasting.

For more than a decade before the emperor's death, Heshen was the most powerful man at the Qing court, effectively in control of the state's military and finance, as well as officials' promotion and demotion.

Speaking of finance, Heshen was reputed for finding ways to finance Emperor Qianlong's extravagant trip to southeastern China without having to draw a penny from the state coffer. The local governments and businesses along the trip's route paid for it, presumably thanks to Heshen's cajolery and coercion.

The man was utterly resourceful in amassing personal wealth, the scale of which became clear only after his fall from grace.

Around 1776, construction of Heshen's new residence, which was to become Prince Gong's Mansion, began. At the time Heshen was merely 26 yet already a rising political star. The work took nearly a decade to complete and the result was a regally designed, sumptuously realized residential compound that covers 60,000 square meters. It would have lived up to any comparison with the residence of a real court prince at the time.

Heshen lived there for 11 years, together with his eldest son, who married the youngest and most beloved daughter of Emperor Qianlong.

In February 1799 Qianlong died. (Officially, the emperor had handed the crown to his son, Emperor Jiaqing, three years earlier. But the old man loosened his grip on power only at the very last moment of his life.) Fifteen days later, Heshen was imprisoned and forced to commit suicide by Emperor Jiaqing, on multiple charges topped by corruption. (His total personal wealth was estimated at nearly 15 times that of the Qing court's annual income.)

The grand abode, once a sign of royal favor, ultimately only served to bring him shame. According to Heshen's accusers, the arrangement of one room inside closely resembled that of a palace in the Forbidden City, the royal residence for successive Qing emperors. And that was considered a serious transgression.

On Heshen's death, the compound was partly handed over by Emperor Jiaqing to his younger brother Aisingioro Yonglin (Aisin-gioro is the royal family's surname). But Yonglin, known for his hedonism, had to share it with Heshen's eldest son, who, thanks to his marriage to the princess, Jiaqing's youngest half-sister, was spared from prosecution.

The princess died in 1823, 13 years after her husband's death in 1810 and three years after the death of Yonglin in 1820. After that the mansion was inhabited by Yonglin's offspring until 1850.

In 1850 the mansion, having slipped gradually into disrepair, was given by the then reigning EmperorXianfeng (Xianfeng was the grandson of Emperor Jiaqing.) to his brother Aisin-gioro Yixin, a former contender for the throne whom Xianfeng believed needed appeasement.

Gong is the royal title for the prince, meaning being respectful and dutiful. Thus the place became known as Prince Gong's Mansion. Remaining in the center of power - and power struggle - for the next 48 years, Prince Gong had enough time and money to put on a renovation, one that restored to the mansion its long-lost splendor.

But splendor was no more for the ailing empire. Within those years the Qing Dynasty, first founded in 1644, suffered miserably and humiliatingly at the hands of the Western powers. Battles were fought and lost. As a result, unequal treaties were signed and in many cases - the Treaty of Beijing signed by China and Britain and China and France is an example - Yixin, or Prince Gong, was the one in charge of the negotiations.

In 1861, less than 10 months after the Treaty of Beijing was signed, Emperor Xianfeng died. A month later Yixin staged a palace coup together with two empress dowagers. The aim was to grab power from the "eight consuls", whom the dying emperor had entrusted to guide the new ruler, the five-year-old Emperor Tongzhi.

The coup succeeded. The empress dowagers, especially Empress Dowager Xici, who was the new emperor's birth mother, came to power. Yixin was rewarded handsomely. But that was hardly a guarantee of safety: over the following decades, Yixin gingerly negotiated the immensely complicated political waters of the Qing Dynasty in its twilight years, only to have himself reduced gradually to a shadow of his former self, with little courage for change.

Once at the helm of a movement aimed at empowering the empire mainly through introducing science, technology and manufacturing from the West, Yixin stood on the opposite side of the reformers as they sought to more fundamentally change China's political, cultural and educational systems. It was recorded that when the reformed-minded Emperor Guangxu, who was his nephew, pleaded with him, he resorted "only to silence".

That silence was symbolic. Yixin died in May 1898, barely four months before the reformers were slaughtered by the Cixi-headed conservative group and 13 years before the fall of Qing, replaced by a republic.

But Prince Gong's Mansion still belonged to Yixin's family and successors, until 1932, when the prince's grandson, knee deep in debt, sold it to a Catholic university in Beijing.

After the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the mansion was put to various uses at various times. At one time in the early 1980, the entire compound was divided up between more than 200 occupants.

Relocation and restoration started in the mid 1980s. In 2008, the mansion was officially opened to the public, and since then was hailed for "housing half of the Qing history".

One thing that a tour guide never fails to point out for a visitor is a Chinese character, fu, carved in stone and hidden in a cave underneath a manmade hill inside the mansion's garden. (The mansion is split in two: a more formal frontal part and a back garden.) It is believed that the character was originally written by Emperor Kangxi, grandfather of Emperor Qianlong, before it was inscribed on stone.

How the fu-bearing stone stele ended up in the mansion no one knows. Like the bats and bat-inspired architectural designs, it was expected to protect the owners of the mansion from harm, and to imbue their life, and hopefully afterlife, with fortune. Fortune they certainly had had, before it dissolved in the acid of lust and was swept away by the currents of history.

zhaoxu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Prince Gong's Mansion, witness to the history of China's Qing Dynasty. Photos Guan Xin / For China Daily

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2019-01-12 07:14:51
<![CDATA[Chains to increase market share]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-01/12/content_37426186.htm More family inns and independent hotels will join chain brands in the Chinese market in the future, to improve their operational efficiency and attract more customers, according to industry analysts and observers.

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Industry observers see trend in hotels in China evolving toward pattern set internationally

More family inns and independent hotels will join chain brands in the Chinese market in the future, to improve their operational efficiency and attract more customers, according to industry analysts and observers.

China has about 15 million guest rooms, about 77 percent of which have no brand. In the United States, the proportion is about 30 percent, Qin Yu, professor at the School of Tourism Science at the Beijing International Studies University, told a forum on Thursday.

Hotel chain brands have more strength in infrastructural construction, personnel training, client management, membership management and market influence. That's why such a model continues to evolve well in developed countries, he said.

"The maximum capacity of the Chinese market would be 20 million guest rooms, which means the space for newly established hotels is limited," he said.

"The future opportunity lies in the inventory of existing hotels, especially in non-first-tier cities."

According to Qin, it is estimated that about 50 to 60 percent of guest rooms in China - compared with 23 percent as of now - will join chain brands in the next 10 to 15 years.

Qin shared his insights at the 2018 China Daily My Choice Hotel Award held in Beijing, an annual event for the public to select their favorite hotels based on such considerations as hotel management, accommodation, conference services, artistic design and social responsibility.

Zhang Baolong, vice-president of Lvyue Group, a strategic investment company, which is a subsidiary of Ctrip, China's biggest online travel agency, told the event that customers expect better beds, bathroom amenities and tailored services.

The established trust and fame of a hotel chain brand can help tourists choose their travel accommodation more easily as they can match the brand with a promise of experience in terms of quality and feelings, he said.

The company operates three brands - Floral, Sucha and Vyluk - for family inns and independent hotels in travel destinations or urban areas.

The Floral brand, for example, covers about 600 of 4A and 5A travel attractions and scenic spots nationwide. The company helps to renovate infrastructure and provides consultancy services for individual operators.

"The hotel chain brand can reduce costs for them both in operation and marketing," he said. "For example, we are likely to be given a deep discount when purchasing materials."

Zhang added that a mattress may cost an independent hotel 10,000 yuan ($1,470) to buy, while the price could be reduced to 1,000 yuan for chain brands.

According to Tao Xuexuan, senior product director of Meituan Hotels, a subsidiary of Meituan, China's major life service e-commerce platform, about 70 percent of hotel customers using the online portal are younger than 30 years old, and demand from post-1990s and post-2000s customers is growing rapidly.

She said younger people have a stronger demand for product quality, personalized experiences, unique designs and one-stop services in accommodation, catering, entertainment, shopping and sightseeing.

"The key criterion for consumers to choose a branded hotel is whether it can offer services that meet their expectations," she added.

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise from top: Industrial experts share their insights into trends in the hospitality industry, at a forum in Beijing on Thursday. Senior hoteliers discuss hot industry issues at the forum. Qin Yu, professor at the School of Tourism Science at the Beijing International Studies University, delivers a keynote speech at the event.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2019-01-12 06:07:21
<![CDATA[Robust demand for Spring Festival in Japan]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-01/12/content_37426185.htm CHONGQING - Japan ranks as the leading destination for Chinese tourists from the mainland for the incoming Spring Festival holiday, according to a report.

The report, released by online travel agency Lvmama on Tuesday, shows that Japan tops the tourist destination chart for overseas travels during the upcoming holiday.

This year's Spring Festival falls on Feb 5.

Despite the Japanese yen's appreciation and Japan's tax on international tourists, demand for travel to the country remains robust, with group tours on Lvmama showing solid sales, according to the website.

Zou Qingling, an executive at Lvmama, said that easy access to visas and flights, close location, abundant attractions such as hot springs and ice and snow entertainment, as well as the impact of Japanese culture, made Japan a desirable destination for mainland tourists.

Data released by Japanese tourism authorities showed that more than 30 million tourists visited the country in 2018, including more than 8 million from China.

To attract more overseas tourists, Japan has made plans. On Monday it began collecting a departure tax of 1,000 yen ($9) from individual travelers departing the country.

The new departure tax is applicable to those departing Japan by plane or ship. Children aged under 2 and those transiting within 24 hours are exempt.

For the first time since record keeping began, the Japan Tourism Agency said that inbound tourists topped 30 million in 2018. The government aims to see that rise to 40 million by 2020.

Visitor numbers from China have been strong, as well as those from South Korea. In addition, the Japanese government also aims to attract more tourists from Europe.

Xinhua

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2019-01-12 06:07:21
<![CDATA[Hoteliers unite against growing danger posed by computer hackers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2019-01/12/content_37426184.htm SHANGHAI - Chinese and international hotel and travel groups have jointly founded a platform to fight against cyber risks, the China Hotel Association said last week.

The platform, the Security Response Center of China Hospitality Industry, is sponsored by the association and the China Hospitality Technology Alliance.

Hotels under Chinese and international brands, such as Huazhu, Jinjiang, New Century, IHG, Marriott, Four Seasons and Shangri-La as well as online travel agency Ctrip, have joined.

On the platform, any potential or suspected data leaks or other cyber threats found by computer security experts would be quickly shared by member hotels, which would then be asked to assess and take action. Meanwhile, advanced solutions to prevent data leaks will be shared.

Information safety has become one of the top concerns in China's hospitality industry, with several data leaks or suspected leaks being reported across the world in recent years.

China's hospitality industry, both local and international operators, should team up to fight against cyber threats, said Zhang Xingguo, chief consultant for the Information Committee of the China Hotel Association.

"China's related laws and regulations have been steadily improving, and people's awareness of information security is constantly rising, which encourages hotels to increase their efforts in information protection," Zhang said.

Xinhua

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2019-01-12 06:07:21
<![CDATA[Graft fight maintains momentum]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027462.htm Blue book cites an 'overwhelming victory' as corruption effectively curbed across China

China's fight against corruption has won an "overwhelming victory", and multiple reforms are helping to control and prevent graft, starting at the source, according to a blue book released on Sept 28.

The latest version of the Blue Book of Combating Corruption and Upholding Integrity, compiled by the China Anti-Corruption Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, concluded that while corruption has been decreasing and has been effectively curbed across China, the crackdown's momentum and strength have remained unchanged.

China's anti-graft bodies investigated 302,000 corruption-related cases and punished 240,000 people in the first half of this year. The total number of cases probed is expected to surpass that of 2017 - 527,000 - growing for the sixth year in a row, the book said.

"The overall trend of the anti-corruption campaign is getting better and better," says Jiang Laiyong, the book's executive editor. "Our survey showed that 80 percent of urban and rural residents believed corruption has been reduced over the past year."

The book pointed out that the number of officials who were investigated for suspected graft has decreased since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October last year.

Sixteen officials directly under the management of the CPC Central Committee's organization department, most at or above ministerial level, were investigated between November and August, compared with an average of 88 such people each year between the 18th CPC National Congress in November 2012 and October last year, according to the book.

It also said the deepening of reforms has helped control and prevent corruption and other unhealthy trends at the source, and official power has been more constrained.

"Reforms of financial management, the audit system and the oversight system have been carried out steadily. We've seen a more transparent budget system, and the number of inspections and the efficiency of anti-corruption work have also increased," says Jiang, who is also the secretary-general of the research center.

He says anti-corruption efforts have also been a feature in protecting the people's interests, alleviating poverty and winning public favor.

Apart from detailing the progress of China's anti-corruption campaign, the book also called for making the building of an honest and upright country a national strategy, and made such recommendations as including crimes of corruption in the country's credit evaluation system.

Wang Jingqing, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, says the book objectively documents the development of Party discipline.

"Purity is the essential attribute of the Party. A clean government is part of the philosophy - and the goal - of the Party's governance," he says. "We must actively take steps to make new achievements in building up an honest and upright China."

zhangyangfei@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027461.htm "Our culture, scenery and history are among the many reasons Chinese visitors are coming to the UK in record numbers. We are also home to world-class incentive travel experiences and events infrastructure, and we are committed to expanding this important economic market."

MICHAEL ELLIS, the UK's tourism minister.

"It's our responsibility to maintain, consolidate and develop the relationship between China and the European Union."

WANG YI, State councilor and foreign minister.

Since 2010, the government has taken more measures to improve the security of medical workers and has encouraged resolving disputes through legal means. Over the past few years, medical disputes in China have decreased."

DENG LIQIANG, director of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association's Legal Affairs Department.

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-10/07/content_37027460.htm

 

The China-made amphibious aircraft AG600 completes its first high-speed taxiing test in Jingmen, Hubei province, on Oct 1. Xinhua

Nation's ecology called 'grim', despite progress

China's top environmental authority has called for an update to the country's laws and regulations on the conservation of natural reserves after an intensive law enforcement effort uncovered lingering environmental violations in protected areas. China has seen continuous improvement in its natural environment, with fewer areas plagued by pollution and other degradation. Even so, dramatic harm has been done in some areas because of mining, development and the expansion of urban and farming areas, according to a report on changes in the nation's ecological status. "The ecological environment in the country remains fragile. The situation for the ecology is still grim. The conflicts between conservation and development are as serious as ever," according to the report, which was released on Sept 29 by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Beidou navigation system serves Tibet

Beidou, a domestically engineered satellite navigation system of China, started to serve its second-largest provincial region of Tibet on Oct 1. A Beidou-supported information platform made its debut in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region. It is expected to provide services in disaster alert and relief, emergency rescue, transportation, agriculture, forestry and water conservation, as well as targeted poverty reduction and smart travel. "We will accelerate the development of the Beidou navigation industry and its application in Tibet," says Qin Zhenhua, chairman of Tibet Xingchuan Beidou Satellite Navigation Platform Co Ltd.

Variations in density of ozone layer discovered

Chinese scientists have discovered variations in the density of the ozone layer, which they say could greatly affect the global environment, ecology and climate. Tang Chaoli, along with his team at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed this theory by analyzing and scanning atmospheric data collected by satellite observations more than 4.4 million times over a period of 15 years starting in 2002. The data, which shows the impact of variations in ozone density on solar activity, was obtained by the team at different latitudes of the atmosphere. Tang says that due to this interference with solar activity, the hole in the ozone layer over the Antarctic is now bigger than the hole above the Arctic. The team of scientists also found that these density variations in the ozone layer, which protects Earth from sun damage, significantly correlate with such growing issues as solar radiation and atomic oxygen density.

Giant Buddha of Leshan to undergo examination

The giant Buddha in Southwest China's Sichuan province will undergo a four-month examination as part of research for its repair plan. The statue, which is 71 meters high and believed to be the world's largest Buddha statue, is outside the city of Leshan. It has cracks and damage on its chest and abdomen, according to the management committee of the Leishan Buddha Scenic Area. During the examination, which will start on Oct 8, the main body of the Buddha statue will be partially or completely covered. The examination will be overseen by dozens of cultural relic experts and involve the use of cutting-edge technology such as 3D laser scanning, infrared thermal imaging and a drone aerial survey. The Buddha statue, carved into a cliff in Leshan Mountain and overlooking three converging rivers, was built over a 90-year period starting in 713, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The statue, part of a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, has undergone several repairs and checks.

Traffic on roads rises on second day of holiday

Road traffic around major tourist destinations in China increased sharply on the second day of the weeklong National Day holiday, the Ministry of Public Security said on Oct 2. The ministry cited Mount Wutai, a famous Buddhist mountain in North China's Shanxi province, and several other mountainous areas in eastern, central and southwestern China, which reported a more than 50 percent rise in traffic flow over Oct 1. Traffic police across the country were ordered to step up security control, publish the latest traffic information and send more officers to major expressways and tourist destinations, the ministry said.

Crackdown tightens on radio, TV commercials

Chinese authorities have launched a three-month-long campaign to crack down on radio and TV commercials violating laws and regulations. According to the State Administration of Radio and Television, the crackdown targets commercials with vulgar, exaggerated, false or misleading content, as well as those exceeding stipulated time limits and causing harm to juveniles' physical or mental health. The watchdog called for strict enforcement of the laws on advertisements and juvenile protection, as well as relevant regulations. Radio and TV stations that fail to broadcast enough public service announcements will also be punished, the administration said. The campaign will focus on commercials including those for drugs, healthcare products, cosmetics and financial products.

Settling of medical disputes to improve

China's National Health Commission, along with five other departments, has vowed to further improve the mechanisms for settling medical disputes. Ma Xiaowei, head of the commission, has called for comprehensive implementation of a government regulation on preventing and settling medical disputes, which went into effect on Oct 1. Local governments and relevant departments should draw up measures to support the regulation, Ma said.

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2018-10-07 12:41:45
<![CDATA[Investing in Africa forum to enhance cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/09/content_36882048.htm Hunan province and Africa work together to develop an ever-stronger relationship

The fourth Investing in Africa Forum, which is being held in Changsha, capital of Hunan province, from Thursday to Saturday, is expected to promote sustainable growth and shared prosperity through enhanced China-Africa cooperation.

In 2015, the first session of the forum was held in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. The next two forums were held in Dakar, capital of Senegal and Guangzhou in South China's Guangdong province.

 

An expressway in Algeria is under construction. Hunan's Shaoyang Roads and Bridges Corp is one of the contractors. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

This year's event aims at sharing the experiences in development between China and Africa, and encouraging more Chinese companies to invest in the African continent. Major topics at the forum include the modernization of agriculture, culture and education, climate change, new energy, medical and heath care, digital economy and innovation.

Leaders and senior officials from African countries and China, the World Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and other international organizations, financial institutes, companies and think tanks will attend the forum.

The event is organized by the Chinese Ministry of Finance, the Hunan provincial government, China Development Bank and the World Bank.

Over three days, roundtable conferences, panels, promotional events for investment projects, a news conference and the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.

Officials from the Hunan government said that the province's major industries are easily able to meet the demands of Africa in agriculture, mining, infrastructure construction and equipment manufacturing.

Hunan has strong technological competence in such fields as hybrid rice, high-speed and maglev trains, and supercomputing, where research, development and production have reached globally advanced levels.

From 2008 to 2017, companies in Hunan invested about $7.96 billion in Africa. A total of 91 local companies have investment projects in Africa.

The Hunan Industrial Park in Ethiopia, which opened in the city of Adama, has attracted many projects in manufacturing, construction and agriculture so far.

The province has also hosted many business matching and friendly exchange events since 2015 for companies and entrepreneurs from Hunan and Africa.

Of all Chinese provinces and regions, Hunan has carried out the largest number of training programs for developing countries. In 2017, the number of overseas trainees surpassed 4,000, with more than 75 percent from Africa.

Data from the local government showed that exports from Hunan to Africa reached about $1.2 billion last year, 2.5 times higher than in 2008; imports from Africa grew 4.7 times to surpass $870 million during the same period.

"African people and Hunan people are old friends. The cooperation between Hunan and Africa has a long history and promises a bright future," said Guo Xiuhong, deputy Party chief of the Hunan Provincial Department of Finance.

In recent years, senior officials from the two regions have had frequent communications. The forum will dig deeper into the potential of future collaboration that will help to realize win-win results, Guo added.

Hunan province is about 211,000 square kilometers in area, ranking seventh nationwide. Its economic aggregate exceeded 3 trillion yuan ($438 billion) last year.

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2018-09-09 15:26:14
<![CDATA[Sany makes major moves on continent]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-09/09/content_36882047.htm Sany Group, a renowned equipment manufacturer based in Hunan province, is accelerating its business expansion in Africa to help improve the construction of local infrastructure.

As one of China's first construction machinery companies to enter the African market in 2002, Sany has participated in the construction of a number of large projects, including a building with the world's tallest minaret in Algeria, the large-scale Dangote oil refinery, the Kusile thermal power plant and a stadium built for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Total sales of its equipment exported to Africa have surpassed 10 billion yuan ($1.46 billion), ranking first among China's construction machinery companies. Sany's major products include crane, excavator, road roller and concrete machinery.

Its sales in the African continent doubled last year to reach 1 billion yuan. The demand for construction equipment is still strong due to the underdeveloped infrastructure in many countries, Sany's executives said.

With the implementation of China's Belt and Road Initiative, the company has enhanced cooperation with other State-owned enterprises in China to develop together in overseas markets.

There is a particular priority placed on localization in Africa, instead of merely selling machines to the market.

In June 2016, Sany signed an agreement to operate at the Hunan Machinery Equipment Manufacturing Park in Adama, Ethiopia, together with Changsha Economic and Technical Development Group, CGC Overseas Construction Group, the Hunan Department of Commerce and companies in Ethiopia.

The park aims to promote the modernization of equipment production in four major industries by 2020 - building machinery, power equipment, automobiles and parts, and general equipment.

Sany has also launched cooperation programs with African countries in advanced manufacturing, clean power generation and large-scale infrastructure construction.

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2018-09-09 15:26:14
<![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/19/content_36788516.htm "African countries are not only the natural extension of the Belt and Road, but also important participants in the initiative."

LIU YONGFU, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

"Increases of capital inflows are just the beginning of a longterm trend in which China will receive more attention from foreign investors."

ZHU HAIBIN, chief China economist and head of China equity strategy at J.P. Morgan.

"The gaokao will replace the SAT or ACT (for Chinese students). However, admissions standards have not changed, and they remain high. ... Only students who meet the university's expectations and demonstrate a readiness for university-level work will be accepted."

ERIKA MANTZ, executive director of media relations at the University of New Hampshire. This year the University of New Hampshire will join other schools - such as Brigham Young University, the University of San Francisco and the Illinois Institute of Technology - in accepting gaokao scores in lieu of SAT or ACT (American College Testing) qualifications as entry criteria.

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2018-08-19 14:52:25
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/19/content_36788514.htm

 

He Yong, a farmer in Pingliang, Gansu province, is also a carpenter. He made his wooden bicycle using no metal parts. Fan Peikun / Xinhua

Media registration site opens at expo

Online media registration for the China International Import Expo will be available at media.ciie.org from Aug 15 to Sept 15. Information regarding media cards will be released on the expo's website, www.ciie.org. The inaugural event will be held in Shanghai from Nov 5 to 10. Currently, more than 180 Fortune Global 500 companies have signed agreements with the organizers confirming their attendance at the event. Companies from more than 130 countries and regions are expected to attend the exhibition, and the organizers are looking to attract more than 150,000 domestic and overseas buyers over the next few months.

Scottish school opens branch in Shenzhen

British boarding schools setting up operations in China are on the rise as more expatriate families and wealthy Chinese parents choose to send their children to international institutions. For some Chinese, it's a symbol of prestige. Later this month, Merchiston International School will open its doors as the first school in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, to offer student living arrangements along with a British education. The school is the first overseas campus for the 185-year-old Merchiston Castle School, a top-ranked independent school in Scotland's capital, Edinburgh.

Tougher curbs urged to fix dog problems

Experts are calling for more specific regulations and stricter enforcement of laws on dog management as a way to prevent people from using such extreme measures as poison to deal with problems with canines. The comments were prompted by a WeChat post that triggered heated discussions as it professed to teach people how to use drugs to kill unleashed dogs. The post claimed that it was the only way dog owners could be forced to put a leash and muzzle on their dogs and handle their dogs according to the law, according to the post, which has since been deleted. Guan Xinping, a professor at the Social Construction and Management School at Nankai University in Tianjin, says most cities in China have regulations on handling dogs stipulating that owners will be punished if their pets are not registered or are running free outside or if their enclosures are not cleaned. "But the local regulations are not comprehensive and have unclear penalties," he says. "Some owners who don't abide by the regulations, such as having dogs unleashed, have received no warnings or punishments at all."

Tanzania to attend ASEAN expo

The China-ASEAN Expo will welcome Tanzania as a special partner of the upcoming 15th expo, a Tanzanian diplomat announced on Aug 13 in Beijing. It will be the first time for an African country to participate in the annual gathering hosted by China and 10 countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This year's event will be held from Sept 12 to 15 in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Mbelwa Kairuki, Tanzania's ambassador to China, said the participation of an African country is a clear indication of China's commitment to the continent.

1,000-year-old silk fabrics shown

Fifty-eight silk fabric specimens dating to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) are on display in Nanjing, Jiangsu province. After 10 years of restoration, the silk fabrics - including handkerchiefs with inscriptions written by Buddhists and long-sleeve shirts with patterns of flowers and birds - are being displayed at the Grand Baoen Temple Heritage Park in Nanjing. The exhibition will last until October.

Probe begins after falling sign kills 3

The Shanghai city government said on Aug 13 that it will launch an inspection on the potential risk of falling objects after a sign fell off a shop on East Nanjing Road, killing three people and injuring six on the night of Aug 12. A thorough inspection and renovation of various building attachments, including billboards, external air conditioner units, lightboxes, glass curtain walls and high-rise decorations will be conducted, according to a notice issued on Aug 13. Shanghai's work safety watchdog said it has launched an investigation into the accident.

New training aircraft to help with carrier skills

China's latest trainer aircraft, delivered recently to the People's Liberation Army Navy, is expected to help improve the training of pilots based on aircraft carriers. The PLA Navy said in a statement last week that its Naval Aviation University in Shandong province had held a commissioning ceremony for a new type of trainer jet at an unidentified naval airport along the Bohai Sea. The statement said the aircraft is a third-generation trainer jet developed by Aviation Industry Corp of China's Hongdu Aviation Industry Group in Nanchang, Jiangxi province. Rear Admiral Wang Jundong, political commissar of the university, was quoted in the statement as saying at the ceremony that the service of the new trainer jet will complement the university's trainer fleet and enable pilots to get more realistic experience for air combat. Though the statement did not identify the new aircraft, pictures published by the university showed it is a Hongdu Aviation Industry L-15 advanced trainer jet. At least 12 L-15s were delivered at the ceremony.

Anthrax may have spread to 8 people

Eight people may have been infected with anthrax in Tongliao, the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, during a suspected outbreak in cattle, local authorities said. Nine head of cattle in Shengli village, in the city's Keerqin district, died of unknown causes, though anthrax is suspected, according to a statement released by the district government on Aug 12. Eight people might have been infected by anthrax. They were in the hospital and in stable condition, the statement said. Local authorities have provided vaccinations to cattle. The disease is under control, it said.

Spacecraft to extend lifespan of satellites

Chinese satellite experts are designing a new type of spacecraft that will be capable of moving a de-orbiting satellite back into its intended orbit, thus extending its period of service. The China Academy of Space Technology, part of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, said in a statement that its engineers are conducting research and development on the proposed spacecraft, which would help bring satellites that have run short on fuel or experienced technical problems back to their designed trajectories. The new spacecraft is engineered to connect to a target satellite via robotic arms and then provide attitude control assistance and push the satellite back into its proper orbit, according to the academy. Once it finishes a life-extension task with a satellite, the service spacecraft will undock from the target and autonomously fly toward the next satellite that requires assistance. The spacecraft's R&D will take about two years to complete. Once the vehicle enters service, it is expected to bring at least 10 years of extra operational time to multiple satellites, the academy said.

Nation to promote blockchain sector

China will create a better environment to promote the healthy development of the rising blockchain industry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. The blockchain is a digital ledger system that uses sophisticated cryptographic techniques to create a permanent, unchangeable and transparent record of exchanges to trace each transaction. The technology has a wide range of applications, including in finance, credit reporting, smart manufacturing and supply-chain management, the ministry said.

Ancient kiln relics unearthed

Archaeologists recently found a large number of kiln relics dating back to the Sui Dynasty (581-618) in Jinan, Shandong province. The discovery was made at a site in Ningyang county. Nearly 10,000 pieces of kiln equipment and 1,000 items of porcelain were unearthed. Xing Qi, a researcher at the provincial archaeological research institute, said the porcelain - including bowls, cups, plates and pots - was mostly for daily use, but there were also some higher-end pieces. Experts say the discoveries offer valuable research material for the study of China's porcelain industry in the Sui Dynasty.

Beer fest opens in Kunming

A 16-day beer festival opened in Kunming on Aug 10 for the third consecutive year, featuring German beer, cuisine and performances. The event will run until Aug 25 at the Kunming International Convention and Exhibition Center in the capital of Yunnan province. An area of 12,600 square meters has been set aside for the event, including a 4,000-square-meter canopied area that can accommodate about 3,000 people.

Russian wins Chinese language contest

Russian student Ruslan Ustinov, 19, was crowned champion of the 17th Chinese Bridge, a Chinese-language competition for foreign college students, in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, on Aug 4. More than 150 contestants from more than 100 countries - the best Chinese-speaking students in their homelands - took part in this year's contest, combining language, culture and fun.

Ranch helps lost bear cub gain 5 kg

A lost black bear cub in Ankang, Shaanxi province, gained more than 5 kilograms after being taken in by a ranch. The local animal protection authority said on July 31 the bear will be released back into the wild after it learns to hunt.

Survey explores why workers quit

About 23 percent of Chinese between age 18 and 35 quit their jobs without having a new one to go to, according to a recent survey conducted by China Youth Daily. Nearly half of the 1,972 respondents said they had considered resigning without landing a new job, but had not done so. Dissatisfaction with salaries and company management styles were the main reasons the respondents gave for quitting.

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2018-08-19 14:52:25
<![CDATA[SMEs take a bow at globally important Guangzhou fair]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/19/content_36788513.htm An increasing number of small and medium-sized enterprises are stepping outside of their own countries and regions to reach global markets with the help of an important annual fair in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong province.

The China International SME Fair - which has focused on establishing a platform for displays of transactions, exchanges and cooperation among SMEs around the world since 2004 - will be held Oct 10-13 in Poly World Trade Expo Center this year, according to the event's organizer.

"We have designed a series of activities to bring substantial benefits and business opportunities to international SME exhibitors, so that they can better participate in the industrial and economic chains of the world," said He Zuoxian, deputy director-general of the Guangdong SME Bureau and director-general of the China International SME Fair Bureau.

 

Business representatives explore cooperation opportunities during the China International SME Fair in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, in 2017. Provided to China Daily

He, speaking at a media briefing Tuesday, said activities at the fair would include cross-border business matchmaking events, a promotional tour along the Belt and Road countries and regions, investment and funds sourcing promotions especially for overseas delegations, as well as procurement meetings.

So far, delegations from 28 countries, regions and international organizations have confirmed they are attending, with reservations for almost 1,100 stands - accounting for about 45 percent of all booths at the October fair, according to the organizer.

The United Arab Emirates is the co-host country of the fair for the first time, said He, bringing the total number of foreign co-hosts to 18 since the show was launched.

As a major economy and an important trade hub for its region, the UAE has become the largest export market and second largest trade partner among Arabian countries to China.

"As a co-host country, the UAE will play a more important role in pushing forward SME exchanges and cooperation between China and the Middle Eastern countries - as well as deepen bilateral economic and trade relations between China and the UAE," He noted.

The UAE delegation will comprise some 75 SMEs from a broad range of sectors: agri-products, trade and retail, innovation, technology, hospitality, industries and manufacturing. These will cover a total exhibition area of 800 square meters, said Rahma Alshamsi, UAE consul general in Guangzhou.

A number of countries - including Bulgaria, Mexico, Brazil, the Philippines, Laos and Myanmar - have shown great interest in co-hosting the fair in the future and will hold talks with the organizers during the event, He said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, which co-hosted the fair last year, has agreed to take the role for the next five years starting from this year.

He said the move would give impetus to the consistent development of SMEs across the globe.

Zhang Linhe, head of the business unit in the Office of Japan External Organization in Guangzhou, told the briefing that 29 companies from a variety of industries - including food, beauty products, fashion and metalware - would join the Japanese delegation. Zhang said 17 of these are new to the event.

"Japanese companies have attached more importance to Guangdong's market. They are looking for local partners and intend to use the fair to take bigger market shares," Zhang said.

Vasin Ruangprateepsaeng, consul general of Thailand in Guangzhou, said the fair not only served to strengthen business and trade cooperation between his homeland and the province, but also provided a platform for countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We have carefully selected some 50 companies from more than 100 candidates, to bring quality commodities, food and artworks with traditional Thai techniques to the people in Guangdong," he said.

According to statistics from the organizers, more than 8,850 SMEs from abroad have participated in the fair over the past 14 years, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all the exhibitors.

chenhong@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-19 14:52:25
<![CDATA[Best bets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748005.htm NCPA Opera Commission Fang Zhimin

Date: Aug 15-18 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The opera follows the keynote of the 1930s' revolutionist Fang Zhimin's masterpiece Lovely China, and bridges two space-times of "the Present" and "the Past" by means of characters' ideological conflicts and emotional impacts. "The Present" highlights that Fang Zhimin continues the fight in another "more tenacious way" in jail: in the face of torture and trial in jail, Fang Zhimin is always unyielding, especially when military judge Hu Yi attempts to "destroy Fang's faith" or lures him by "meeting with Fang's wife MiaoMin in jail". "The Past" focuses on the events with greatest impact on Fang Zhimin at different stages to form his personality. In the last moments of his life, space-times of "the Present" and "the Past" blend in one. At the same time, Fang Zhimin's dream in Lovely China with striking literary grace has already come true one by one in today's China.

Klimt Experience

Date: Aug 11-Oct 13 - 10 am

Venue: Hongqiao Art Center

The figures and landscapes of Klimt's art are the absolute protagonists of this immersive representation dedicated to the founding father of the Vienna Secession, who, together with other artists, cultivated the myth of the total work of art and the dream of a democratization of creativity and that which is beautiful. Works such as The Kiss, The Tree of Life, or Judith I, have become part of popular culture, but Klimt is still an artist about whom there is much to discover and, above all, to recount. This is the aim of the show: to entertain, intrigue and amaze a public young and old, inviting them to delve into the knowledge of the man and the artist, about his work and style, with the spectacular display of details and pictorial technique. Forty-five minutes in which images, lights, colors, music, and sound envelop the audience, bonding with the allure of the location. Thus a fusion of technology and architecture is achieved, capable of giving the illusion of being transported on an incredible journey through Klimt's work.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in Concert

Date: Aug 11-12 - 7:15 pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater

Experience classic films with live orchestral accompaniment in the spectacular surroundings of the Shanghai Grand Theatre. A score played live by a full orchestra is probably the closest you will ever get to feeling like part of the film. Audiences will be able to relive the magical adventure of Harry Potter's second year at school like never before. This concert features Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in high-definition. Experience the wonder of talking spiders, scolding letters, and giant snakes all over again.

Three-Body Problem in Shenzhen

Date: Oct 12-14 - 8 pm

Venue: Friendship Theater

During the "culture revolution" (1966-76), astronomer Ye Wenjie after going through all the hardships of life is recruited into "Red Coast Base", a top-secret military base. She uses the sun as a transmitter and sends a message to the Universe, making a breakthrough in the search for extraterrestrial civilization. Three stars move unpredictably, so for four light years Trisolaran civilization underwent total destruction and rebirth and now forced to flee from their parent star. Just at this time, they receive a message from the Earth. Ye Wenjie, who lost her hope for humankind, exposes the Earth coordinates to Trisolarans, thus absolutely changing the fate of mankind! Thirty-six years later, the Earth's basic scientific research faces abnormal interference. Nanomaterials researcher Wang Miao tries to find the answers by playing a mystical online game called "Three-body". While participating at player's meeting, he finds out that the Earth is awaiting the arrival of Trisolarans and they established a secret organization ETO (Earth-Trisolaris Organization), approaching the truth of Trisolaran world step by step.

Wagner Opera: Der fliegende Hollander

Date: Shanghai Grand Theater

Venue: Sept 13-15 - 7:15 pm

Der fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) was Richard Wagner's fourth full-length opera and his first considered masterpiece. And it's fitting that the opera that helped to cement the controversial composer's legacy deals with a familiar maritime tale - the legend of the Flying Dutchman. Wagner's version retells the haunting story of an undead ship captain doomed to an endless journey across the seas. His wandering will not cease until he can find and keep a faithful and true love - an accomplishment put even further out of reach, considering he can only come ashore once every seven years. Wagner was just 29 when he conducted the world premiere of Der Fliegende Hollander in Dresden. But as his compositional skills had continued to develop, he would revisit his earlier masterpiece several times for revisions. As Berger points out, Hollander is a great example of a work that indicates a vastly different creative period of the composer - while still bearing the unmistakable marks of that composer's creativity. He makes a deft comparison to the creative trajectory of The Beatles, drawing a parallel between their earliest album and their later boundary-pushing output. Der Fliegende Hollander and Der Ring des Nibelungen, much like an early and later Beatles album, "are two different art forms and yet you can tell they're the same people," says Berger."

World of Ghibli in China

Date: Aug 11-Oct 7 - 10 am

Venue: Shanghai World Financial Center

The exhibition, which will run till Oct 7, comprises two sectors: "the artistic world of Ghibli - in memory of the 30th anniversary of the release of My Neighbor Totoro, and Castle in the Sky - Ghibli's flying dreams. During the exhibition, visitors can admire the 285 paintings and manuscripts made by the studio's masters, ride in the Tatsuo's bus featured in My Neighbor Totoro, be a guest to Satsuki and Mei's house - a half-size replica of the building described in the original works for My Neighbor Totoro, and view the 8-meter-long airship featured in Castle in the Sky. Befitting the exhibition's sky-high venue on the 94th floor of the iconic tower, the "World of Ghibli in China" features a number of the studio's high-flying creations, including an 8-meter-long replica of the airship in "Castle in the Sky." Also on display is a history of human flight in Ghibli's trademark cartoon style.

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2018-08-11 07:29:45
<![CDATA[Which long suit to make Trumps?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748004.htm Noel Coward, who had a good sense of humor, said, "I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me."

In bridge, we fairly often have a long suit. When you and your partner have different long suits, how should you decide which to make trumps? Look at the auction in today's deal. When East overcalled one heart, South was not strong enough to respond two diamonds, but, not wanting to pass with seven points, he compromised with one no-trump. West competed with two hearts, knowing that his side could not have game values if the opponents were honest. Now North overbid slightly with three clubs, but he wished to confirm the six-card suit. Then it could have been right for South to pass, but he knew that if each minor were a 6-1 fit, it was usually right to make the weaker hand's suit trumps. The opener's high cards will still win tricks, but to get value from the weaker hand, it needs to generate trump tricks. So, South rebid three diamonds. What happens to each minor-suit contract? Three clubs has five top losers: two spades, one diamond and two clubs. To achieve down two, East has to get a diamond or spade ruff. That is not easy to realize. Three diamonds is tougher to defeat. West must start with two rounds of trumps to kill the heart ruff on the board. At the table, after a heart lead, declarer won with dummy's ace, played a heart to the king, ruffed his last heart and played dummy's second trump. He lost only three spades and one heart.

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2018-08-11 07:29:45
<![CDATA[Shows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748003.htm National Theater& NTC: War Horse

Date: Aug 11-Sept 9 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Theater of China

A collaboration between the National Theatre of the UK and the National Theatre of China brings the Mandarin version of War Horse to Beijing, with a starring-role puppet you can't believe is made of cane and nylon. At the outbreak of World War I, Joey, young Albert's beloved horse, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. He's soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man's land. Albert, who remained on his parents' Devon farm, cannot forget Joey. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home. Based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, this powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness. At its heart are astonishing life-size horses by South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

Stereoptik Dark Circus

Date: Aug 11-12 - 2:30 pm/7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Art

In this sad circus the catastrophes pile up, one number after another. The trapezist crashes to the ground, the animal trainer is devoured by his lion, the human cannonball never returns from outer space. Luckily there's a clumsy juggler to breathe a little color into the proceedings. If the circus is dark, the tone is light. Music and images accompany the action and the story is laced with poetic moments and a healthy dose of irony: "Come for the show, stay for the woe." The ink drawings that provide the backdrop for Dark Circus, thick and black, resemble photographs in their use of light and contrast. The various techniques used onstage create images of extraordinary beauty and inventiveness. Here, the visual magic of the theater meets the childlike wonder of the circus. Before our eyes, an urban landscape of buildings and streets transforms into a crowd-filled tent. Lit from above, a drum set becomes a runway to the stars, the neck of a guitar morphs into a stern animal trainer. A few flicks of an eraser and a wild horse is liberated from the ring, spreading poetry in his wake.

NCPA Drama The Tempest

Date: Aug 11-15 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The five-act play The Tempest is the last play Shakespeare wrote by himself, demonstrating his vision of the future of humanity in the late stages of his works. He depicts the sadness and joy in the world in his work and calls for the spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation, and charity. The peacefulness and atmosphere that it exhibits, as well as its desire for the future of mankind make it even more an immortal classic in literary history. As the NCPA's fourth production of Shakespeare's masterpieces following A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet and King Lear, this production also assembles a group of outstanding creative and actor teams. The well-known drama and film director, Tim Supple will be the director of the play, and the famous Chinese performing artist, PU Cunxin will play the role of the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero.

The Metropolitan Opera Eugene Onegin

Date: Aug 18 - 1:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

Eugene Onegin is a dandy from Saint Petersburg and leads a life of extravagance like other young aristocrats. Fed up with the empty and frivolous ways of the upper classes, Onegin heads to a village for a new life. Sadly, his unpractical noble education proves to be of no help. Onegin finds his life purposeless, miserable, and confused, and he becomes very depressed. In his estate in the country, Onegin becomes good friends with Lensky and his fiancee Olga. Olga's naive and romantic sister Tatyana falls in love with Onegin. She bravely pours out her feeling in a letter to Onegin, only to be rejected. Years later, Onegin and Tatyana meet again in a ball. He realizes how much he loves her, but it is too late now. Everything has changed.

Beijing Art Theatre for Children My Primitive Famliy

Date: Aug 17-19 - 2:30 pm/7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

The story takes place in a "primitive" modern family. The father, who has a one track-mind and is indecisive, fears changes and proves his presence by lifting weights. The mother, who is a collector of bones, always talks about bones, but doesn't concern herself with anything else. The son, born imaginative, cannot accept his parents' lifestyles, neither can he receive recognition from them. He feels depressed, and admires his friends' life. The sharp contradictions and estrangement between the parents and son are broken by the nephew with his arrival. The nephew comes with something, which throws the whole family into a crisis. In the crisis, the family members give full play to their own abilities, but can they pull through together? Where is the key that can help unlock a solution to the dilemma?

Damien Sargue Live Concert

Date: Aug 11 - 2 pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square

Five French musical stars: Damien Sargue, Laurent Ban, Mikelangelo Loconte, Robert Marien and Hiba Tawaji joined together to bring 30 of the most classical music pieces in French music in 2017. This year, showcasing the essence of romance in French musicals, Damien Sargue will once again take to the stage and bring an unforgettable and romantic evening. Having started his career as a singer in 1992, Damien Sargue has graced the stage as iconic characters: Romeo in Romeo et Juliette de la haine a l'Amour and Roul in The Phantom of the Opera.

2018 Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition Quarter-Final Round

Date: Aug 11-14 - 10 am/1:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Symphony Hall

Founded in 2015, Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition (SISIVC) is Shanghai's first world-class violin competition. The competition takes its name from Isaac Stern to commemorate the musical spirit of Maestro Stern by which a young generation of musicians can be inspired and motivated. Along with a grand prize of $100,000 - the highest monetary award of an international music competition, a jury of renowned artists and a unique performance process, the competition leverages the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra platform with extensive resources around the world - including close cooperation with famous orchestras, such as China Philharmonic Orchestra, Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, etc. The Competition also provides promising contestants with great opportunities including arranging concert tours, album recording and introductions to world-class music agencies, enabling prosperous careers and encouraging winners to embrace their artistic dreams.

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2018-08-11 07:29:45
<![CDATA[Nightlife & Activities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748002.htm Why Don't We: The Invitation Tour Live in Shanghai

Date: Aug 21 - 8 pm

Venue: Modern Sky Lab

International pop stars Why Don't We are coming to Shanghai for the first time ever as part of their most extensive healing tour to date! They kicked off the new year with the release of "Trust Fund Baby", written by global superstar and Atlantic label mate Ed Sheeran - the track shot to No 3 on iTunes' and No 2 in Pop. They've overtaken Post Malone, Bruno Mars, and One Direction in the charts - which means they've gotta be doing something right. And hey, any friend of Ed is a friend of ours.

Physical Theater by Hand Made Theater: Time for Fun in Shanghai

Date: Aug 17-Sept 2 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Art Space for Kids

Time for Fun is a plastic representation. It was created in 2007 by a director, an Honored Artist of Russian Federation Andrey Kniazkov in cooperation with the Hand Made theater company. Leading parts and decorations are all presented by the actors' hands. Hands and fingers turn into objects and symbols, depict people and animals; characters turn up out of nowhere, they float and dance in the air. And every gesture, every plastic sketch has its own drama, its own history. This dynamic and bright performance is easy to understand for everyone, no matter what age or nationality. The show is a huge success during Hand Made's every tour.

Erth's Dinosaur Zoo Live!

Date: Aug 17-17 - 10:30 am/2:30 pm/7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Children's Art Theater

Direct from Australia, Erth's Dinosaur Zoo brings these awesome prehistoric creatures to the stage as you've never seen them before, up close and personal. From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, meet the most recent addition to the Dinosaur Zoo, a carnivorous theropod known as the Australovenator, the most complete meat-eating dinosaur skeleton yet found in Australia. Observe and interact with these extraordinary lifelike dinosaurs in this entertaining and highly imaginative live show.

The Egg House Pop-Up in Shanghai

Date: Aug 11-oct 18 - 10 am

Venue: 3F, North Building, Joy City

The Egg House is an egg-themed pop-up space in Shanghai. With six rooms of immersive installations and interactive experience, The Egg House is a place full of dreams and fantasies. When Egg House opened in New York, it received massive popularity and huge exposure on social media such as Facebook and Instagram. It quickly became the new "it" spot for fashion icons and celebrities worldwide.

Neighborhood Earth in Shenzhen

Date: Aug 11-Sept 2 - 10:30 am

Venue: UpperHills

Dedicated to exploration on the galactic scale of our solar system, Neighborhood Earth is developed in partnership with US Space & Rocket Center, the Official Visitor's Center for NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, designed and produced by Chronica Creative. The exhibition gives the visitor the opportunity to zoom through the solar system with a 360-degree cinematic experience along with the spacecraft and robotics that explore our celestial neighborhood, and further our knowledge of the worlds around us. These astonishing images come from NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, constructing a 30-minute film that gives the visitor a 360-degree look at the solar system. Besides, the accompanying sound effect and narrative voice-over provide an opportunity for a comprehensive understanding of our neighbor planets.

Spiritual Unbecoming: Three Manifestations

Date: Aug 11-2 pm

Venue: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

UCCA collaborates with young artists and thinkers to present a series of "Performance Lectures," designed to think topics related to art using various theoretical frameworks, blurring the borders between art-as-medium and theory-as-tool. Artists and researchers will use texts, images, sounds, speeches, and actions as material for a live performance, turning knowledge production into something visceral and immediate. To this end, UCCA and Long March Project have invited three performers, whose boundary-pushing work interrogates contemporary technology in unique ways. Focusing on the cultural - and spiritual possibilities of a materialist interpretation of accelerationism, they will each "perform" their knowledge for the audience.

Scraps of Tape Will to Brun China Tour 2018 in Beijing

Date: Aug 12 - 8:30 pm

Venue: Yugong Yishan

Swedish post-rock act Scraps of Tape takes the stage at Yugong Yishan as part of their cross-China Will to Brun tour. Together since 2001, the group is a collective of musicians and friends who demand to do things their own way, creating a noisy, but melodious sound in tracks that can go over 20 minutes. Discover Sweden's best-kept secret on Aug 12.

Etienne Charles Quintet

Date: Aug 11-19 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai

Etienne Charles with its exciting performance, the creation of the shock and the close interaction with the audience, was the jazz times as "bold and exquisite and improvisational musicians, touch the hearts of lyric poet". As a trumpet soloist, he has mastered the essence of New Orleans jazz, and can fully feel the cheerful, free and lively melody in his works. Charles, an educator and conductor, taught at Juilliard College, Stanford university in California, Columbia college in Chicago and is now an associate professor of jazz trumpet at Michigan State University. The Lincoln jazz center, based in New York, was founded in 1987. By world famous Lincoln many jazz orchestra and guest artists, each year to jazz as the theme of all kinds of music program, education popularization and live performance, rich connotation of the jazz art and entertainment to all over the world.

Stars on Ice World Class Figure Skating Show

Date: Sept 16 - 3 pm

Venue: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Shanghai

Stars on Ice, The most popular figure skating show in the world, was founded in 1986, USA. There are over 1500 shows played globally for 32 years. 14 world class athletes and more than 6 Olympic medalists participated in each performance, which with superb skating skill and artistic expression. Evgeni Plushenko, the most popular ice star in the world. Zhenya Medvedeva, the Russian figure skating goddess. Yuzuru Hanyu, the super figure skating star of Japan. Nathan Chen, the most talented American born Chinese, Chen Lu, Chinese first world champion, Shen Xue/Zhao Hongbo, the first Olympic champion of pair in China, and Pang Qing/Tong Jian, the Chinese figure skating couple stars. They had been invited to show on the stage of Stars on Ice globally. To respect the 3rd anniversary on success of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. The show of Shanghai will be specially set up for the Olympic classic programs, the stars will present the splendid Olympic classics they have shown.

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2018-08-11 07:29:45
<![CDATA[TUNDRA AND LIGHTNING]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748001.htm Three leading acts from Tuva are set to electrify audiences in both Beijing and Shanghai with their exotic sounds at this year's Stallion World Music Festival

Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88) dreamed about visiting Tuva but never managed to get there. He once gave American ethnomusicologist Ted Levin recordings of Tuvan khoomei, a unique throat-singing technique where the performer produces two or more notes simultaneously. Overwhelmed by this mysterious sound, Levin then traveled to Tuva in 1987 where he met the four musicians who would go on to form the group Huun-Huur-Tu.

Formed in 1992, Huun-Huur-Tu, which means "sunshine" in Tuvinian, released their first album 60 Horses in My Herd in 1993, and made their debut in the United States later the same year, thanks largely to Levi's efforts. This helped the band gain global recognition and set them up to become ambassadors for the little-known region.

With more than 200 performances worldwide now annually, Huun-Huur-Tu made their debut tour in China in 2014 and have been frequent visitors to the country ever since.

The band will join in the upcoming Stallion World Music Festival which will be held jointly in Beijing and Shanghai this September. The band will also perform in Xi'an, Shaanxi province, Zhuhai, Guangdong province, and Hohhot, Inner Mongolia autonomous region in the same month.

"We are inspired by nature. Our music makes you strong and peaceful," Sayan Bapa, 56, one of the founding members of the band, tells China Daily via email. "The lyrics are poetic and like maps of Tuva, portray the sky, mountains and air. If you have never been to Tuva, you can imagine its landscapes just by listening to our songs."

Part of the Russian Federation, the autonomous republic of Tuva is located in southern Siberia on the border with Mongolia, and has a population of just 300,000. The region has a rich ancient history based around nomadic life and hunting.

Bapa was born to a Tuvan father and Russian mother in the industrial town of Ak-Dovurakthe. He learned traditional Tuvan songs and khoomei from his family and friends, "who are not professional singers, but sing very well".

"We are grateful that our ancestors gave this powerful gift to us," says Bapa, who also plays a three-stringed doshpuluur (Tuvan lute). He also adds that the technique of khoomei also has a practical purpose, which is said to calm their herding animals or attract wild animals during a hunt.

Huun-Huur-Tu's three other musicians are all masters of different styles of khoomei and Tuvan traditional musical instruments. Radik Tulush plays the four-stringed byzaanchi and flute-like shoor, Kaigal-ool Khovalyg plays his bowed two-stringed igil, while Alexei Saryglar plays the shaman drum.

The band has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, such as the US string quartet Kronos Quartet in 1997, and a DJ remix, Spirits From Tuva, in 2003. In 2004, the group was nominated for a BBC World Music Award, the most prestigious award for ethnic music.

Huun-Huur-Tu's China tour promoter and the organizer of the upcoming Stallion World Music Festival, Liu Zhao says the band's shows in China sold quickly because their music is popular with fans who are either passionate about world music or are attracted to exotic sounds. The band has given nearly 100 performances in more than 20 Chinese cities since 2014, Liu says.

Liu's company, Stellion Era Cultural Communication, represents a number of world music artists, both from China and abroad. For the first Stallion World Music Festival, Liu invited two other groups of musicians from Tuva: Yat-Kha, a band led by Albert Kuvezin, and folk singer Sainkho Namtchylak, both of whom have performed in China before and have an established fan base.

Besides live performances given by the three bands, documentaries and photo exhibitions about Tuvan culture will be showcased in both locations during the course of the music festival.

"We want to present world music from one unique culture each year during the Stallion World Music Festival," adds Liu.

Sainkho Namtchylak, 61, is well-known for her voice that spans seven octaves and her performance of khoomei - a style only performed by men when she began singing. Her music not only contains traditional influences but also elements of avant-jazz, electronic music and modern compositions. Namtchylak has collaborated with the Moscow State Orchestra, the Moscow-based jazz ensemble Tri-O and many other avant-garde musicians from Europe. She has been a resident of Vienna since 1997.

Her band, Sainkho Kosmos, are a group of educated instrumentalists and jazz musicians. The songs she will perform in the upcoming festival will include some old traditional Tuva songs and her songs from published albums as well as new unpublished songs.

All the songs are performed in Tuvan, Russian or English. She has also added songs written by Samm Bennett, the band's drummer who is also a singer-songwriter, into the program.

"His emotional and powerful way of singing is like a volcano of male energy," Namtchylak says.

"I like to give live improvisations during my shows, because studio recordings are an absolutely different way of creating music. In the studio you can stop each time and have many takes since there is no audience. In a live show there is only one chance and you have to keep the spirit of the music within a lively, floating atmosphere and give your best to the audience," she adds.

A founding member of Huun-Huur-Tu, Albert Kuvezin left to start his own band, Yat-Kha, in the early 1990s, with the goal of combining traditional Tuvan throat-singing with rock 'n' roll.

He says that he always pays attention to the sounds and effects used by rock musicians. He also got interested in traditional music and throat singing while trying to find an organic mixture of rock and traditional music.

Since visiting China in 1998 to perform at a music festival in Hong Kong, Kuvezin has performed in the country several times as a solo artist, as well as with Yat-Kha.

"Our musicians love to perform here. Personally, I like the Chinese instrument, the guzheng (Chinese zither) very much," says Kuvezin, who is a master of khoomei and plays the dopshuur as well as a number of other instruments such as the guitar, bass, piano, jaw harp and balalaika.

If you go

Sainkho Kosmos, Sept 14, concert hall of National Library of China, Beijing

Yat-Kha, Sept 16, Mao Livehouse, Beijing

Huun-Huur-Tu, Sept 27, concert hall of National Library, Beijing

Yat-Kha, Sept 14, MIFA 1862 Art Center, Shanghai

Sainkho Kosmos, Sept 15, MIFA 1862 Art Center, Shanghai

Huun-Huur-Tu, Sept16, MIFA 1862 Art Center, Shanghai

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-08-11 07:33:27
<![CDATA[Veteran Hong Kong pop star finally ready to show L.O.V.E.]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36748000.htm When the numbers appeared on the screen above the stage, Eason Chan Yik-shun covered his mouth with his hands, a look of disbelief etched on his face.

Since his career started in 1995, the Hong Kong pop singer has released 89 records - sales of which have totaled in excess of 20 million copies - performed more than 300 solo concerts in over 80 cities worldwide, and received 170 awards for Best Male Singer, including three prestigious Golden Melody Awards.

He has also launched his own music label, EAS Music, and one of the first artists he signed was Hong Kong singer-songwriter and producer, Eric Wai-leung, who also writes songs for other Cantonese pop stars, including Chan himself.

"I was so shocked when I saw the numbers," Chan said at a press conference in Hong Kong last week. "I never realized that I had done so much in my career.

"I've been in the music industry for a long time, but I didn't realize how popular I had become until I saw fans at my concerts. They give me instant feedback there," he observed.

"However, when I return home, I am just the same person my childhood friends knew. I am not a star."

This year, Chan is gong to release a new album, entitled L.O.V.E., that was originally slated for release back in 2013, but it was sidelined when he began to suffer from depression.

Prior to that, between 2010 to 2012, Chan was touring the world, including his second visit to London, where he played the massive O2 Arena - making him the first Asian artist to perform at the venue.

On stage, he was delivering shows with enthusiasm and zeal, but after the two-year-long tour, he felt empty.

"After the tour, I didn't know what to do. I spent a week in London and I was supposed to record the album. However, I found myself doing nothing at home but watching videos of my previous concerts," recalled Chan. "I was not in the right mood for another new album then.

"I started going to the gym and taking jobs, such as coaching or judging on some singing competition TV shows. Gradually, I recovered," Chan said.

Born in Hong Kong, he graduated from Kingston University with a degree in architecture and later trained in vocals at the Royal Academy of Music in UK, the 44-year-old kicked off his music career after winning a singing competition in Hong Kong in 1995.

At that time, he was considered as one of the biggest new stars, regularly compared to Canto-pop icon, Jacky Cheung.

"I can still remember how nervous I was when I performed at that singing competition," Chan said. "My hands were tight. My shoulders were tight. I thought winning it was the end, but it was just a beginning."

However, his musical path was not always smooth, despite the fame and recognition from both his fans and critics.

Chan felt frustrated when his former record company asked him to sing love ballads, following the same music styles as those performed by Cheung.

He also remembers that he had high expectations of winning the Album of the Year award at the Jade Solid Gold Best Ten Music Awards Presentation, one of the biggest annual pop music awards in Hong Kong, with his Cantonese album U87 released in 2005.

However, it wasn't to be.

"You could see how embarrassed I was on the screen, then, but now, I am over 40 years old and I consider my career differently," Can concluded, "music brings me lots of fun. I enjoy it."

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2018-08-11 07:33:27
<![CDATA[FIGHTING FIT]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-08/11/content_36747999.htm The Asian Games in Jakarta is just around the corner, and the Chinese judo team is making final preparations. This time, the Chinese judo team will comprise a total of 25 men and women, who are young and raring to go. However, despite their enthusiasm, it is very evident that they lack international experience.

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This time the Chinese judo team for the Asian Games will comprise a total of 25 men and women

The Asian Games in Jakarta is just around the corner, and the Chinese judo team is making final preparations. This time, the Chinese judo team will comprise a total of 25 men and women, who are young and raring to go. However, despite their enthusiasm, it is very evident that they lack international experience.

To prepare for the Asian Games, the national judo team conducted targeted training for the athletes.

At the Incheon Asian Games four years ago, the Chinese judo team won one gold medal, one silver and two bronze, all in the women's category. And now, four years later, in Jakarta, the focus of the team is heavy weight (over 78 kg), half heavy weight (under 78 kg) and half middle weight (under 63 kg).

As for the Chinese men, at the last Asian Games they managed three seventh places. So, in order to improve, the men's team hired former South Korean judo Olympic champion Song Dae Nam as their coach.

The men's team is now aiming to do well in the under 66 kg, under 73 kg and under 90 kg class.

Speaking about team's prospects, Chinese head coach Xian Dongmei says: "After more than half a year's training and competition, our players have adapted to the new rules.

"The team's attack speed has been boosted, and the success rate of each attack is better."

But, there is a big difference between daily training and competition.

Whether these young athletes can adjust to the new rules at the Asian Games will prove the difference between victory and defeat.

Photos By Wang Jing

China Daily

 

A large drop of sweat falls off Xiao Fei's face. As a member of the Chinese national judo team, he practices frequently at Beijing Olympic Sports Center.

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2018-08-11 07:33:08
<![CDATA[Event praised for improving dialogue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628884.htm Conference provides stage for communication and connections

The 2018 TESOL China Assembly in Shanghai, intended to strengthen dialogue in English education and exchanges between China and the rest of the world, concluded on Sunday, winning great acclaim from leading education experts and other participants.

The event gathered the latest concepts and practices in the field of English-language education from across the world and offered contributions and wisdom from frontline Chinese teachers and educators to the world, experts said.

The event, which had the theme "English Education in China: Striding into a New Era", was attended by more than 1,800 English teachers and experts from home and abroad.

It was hosted by the TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) International Association, an organization in the United States that is committed to promoting excellence in English-language teaching, China Daily and Shanghai International Studies University.

At the closing ceremony on Sunday, Christopher Powers, executive director at the association, said, "By focusing on cultivating students' intercultural communication capabilities, the assembly itself serves as a stage for communication and connection to bridge language, cultural and geographical divides."

Next year, the assembly will be held in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, which hosted the G20 Summit in 2016 and will host the 2022 Asian Games.

"The high-end and highly international TESOL China Assembly tallies with the positioning and industrial development of Hangzhou," said Zhuo Chao, deputy director of the publicity department of the Hangzhou Committee of the Communist Party of China.

"We anticipate that more people skilled in the English language will choose Hangzhou as a work destination to promote the development of local English education, elevate the city's image regarding internationalization and help realize the goal of becoming a world-class cultural city with its own characteristics and charm."

The closing ceremony included a declaration to better spread the event's achievements and provide sustainable action to inject impetus into English education in China in the new era.

During the assembly, nearly 100 activities covering 15 topics - including English education and whole-person development, education policy, information-based foreign language teaching and teacher training and development - were held in various forms, such as keynote speeches, seminars, workshops and classroom teaching demonstrations.

Experts said it was a historic breakthrough that such a large-scale TESOL assembly was held in China.

"Teachers brought together their research results, especially the most cutting-edge ideas, teaching examples, and even examples of confusion, and looked for solutions," said Gong Yafu, director-general of the National Association of Foreign Language Education at the Chinese Society of Education, who has more than 30 years' experience as an English teacher.

Mei Deming, a professor of English and linguistics at Shanghai International Studies University, said that it was significant that the assembly worked as a platform to allow English-language educators in China to understand the world and vice versa.

"Only in this way will we better promote communication between China and other countries and raise foreign-language education in China to a new level," he said.

Participants said the assembly was a good opportunity to get a wide variety of English teachers together, and they believed some of the experiences shared at the conference would be taken back to their respective schools.

Zhao Juan, a teacher at Tangshan Kailuan No 2 High School in Hebei province, said she was most inspired by a professor who said in a lecture that if some students doze off in class, teachers should ask themselves if they have done enough to motivate those students.

"He suggested activities such as inviting one student to express an English word with body language while another tried to guess the meaning as a way to optimize learning in class. I will definitely try this method in my classroom when I return," she said.

zhouwenting@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-23 07:49:42
<![CDATA[China's teachers urged to offer advice]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628883.htm Chinese teachers and researchers of English should share their experience of teaching the language with the world by publishing more papers in international journals, according to teachers and experts attending the 2018 TESOL China Assembly.

The three-day conference, which attracted more than 1,800 English teachers and experts from home and abroad, concluded on Sunday. Attendees gained insights into modern trends in English, and called for more international exchanges in English-language learning and teaching.

Han Baocheng, English professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that in recent years English-language scholars in China have made great achievements in research into the acquisition of second languages and teaching methods, and have published many papers in renowned journals.

Their research has provided firsthand material to help foreign scholars understand the unique characteristics of the vast number of students learning English in China, and, as a result, have promoted more international academic exchanges and led to the healthy development of English education as a whole, he added.

Joy Egbert, editor of TESOL Journal, said, "I invite submissions of well-conducted research from teachers and professors to our journal right away, and we will apply to print a special issue for the TESOL China Assembly.

"We all benefit by having more conversations about what works in our classroom teaching. With so many people in China speaking English so well, something really good is going on in the country, which can inform people around the world."

The journal has always accepted submissions from Chinese researchers and has published a number of insightful papers from Chinese teachers, she said.

"They have been innovative, well-expressed and really made a difference," she said.

Many countries are moving from teacher-centered tuition to learner-centered tuition, and advice from Chinese teachers in the field would be particularly valuable to teachers around the world, she added.

Liu Jianda, vice-president of Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, said China has made great achievements in research into innovative teaching methods and language assessment.

The country's first English proficiency evaluation standard, "China's Standards for English Language Ability", was published in April.

It stipulates detailed requirements for listening, speaking, reading and writing, he said, adding that the measure also includes assessment of practical skills, such as translation, where standards are rare worldwide.

Katherine Lobo, professor at Brandeis University and Lesley University in Massachusetts, said the context of teaching English in China is quite different from other countries because of the large population.

Sharing best practices globally, learning from what others have done and being inspired are very important, she said. "We are a family of educators and a family of speakers of English."

Lynn Mallory, professional development manager at Oxford University Press (China), said: "I have seen a huge jump in the development of research from China and I am really impressed with the depth of research that comes out of China nowadays. The government's policy of building world-class universities has really made a difference and prompted the academic community in China to undertake research, which will benefit the world."

zoushuo@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-23 07:49:42
<![CDATA[Speakers explore whole-person development]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628882.htm

English education should not only include language training, but also character development and key competencies for the development of the "whole person", experts said during the 2018 TESOL China Assembly, which concluded on Sunday.

The three-day event in Shanghai was the first time the TESOL International Association, an English-language teaching organization from the United States, had held its assembly in China. The event attracted more than 1,800 teachers from home and abroad who listened to experts' speeches and panels, and participated in discussions.

In his keynote speech "Reconceptualizing Communication - Going beyond Language and Culture", Gong Yafu, director-general of the National Association of Foreign Language Education at the Chinese Society of Education, said the focus of China's English education should shift from language ability to whole-person development.

"Really good communication depends not only on what we say, but also on our value system and behavior," said Gong, who has more than 30 years' experience in the teaching profession.

"Therefore, as teachers, we need to think about what character strengths and qualities students need, and what mindset and thinking skills they will require in the future," he said.

"Maybe it's time for TESOL to consider changing its name from 'Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages' to 'Teaching English to Students for the Orientation of Life,'" he added, with a smile.

Gong suggested a change in the content, approach and assessment of language education to include the teaching of problem-solving skills and good behavior, as well as helping students develop good qualities and critical thinking.

In fact, the change started in January when the Ministry of Education published a new regulation called "English Curriculum Standards for General Senior High Schools".

Mei Deming, professor of English and linguistics at Shanghai International Studies University and chief designer of the standard, said the new curriculum was designed to develop students' key competencies in the areas of linguistic ability, quality of thought, cultural consciousness and learning capabilities.

xingyi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-23 07:49:42
<![CDATA[Declaration puts onus on sustainable action]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628881.htm A declaration has been issued to provide more-sustainable action and inject impetus into English education in China in the new era, and better spread the achievements of an international conference on teaching the language which concluded on Sunday.

The Shanghai Declaration of the 2018 TESOL China Assembly said English-language educators and teachers will guide students to raise their cross-cultural awareness and establish consciousness of the need to respond to the Belt and Road Initiative and the aim of "creating a common community with a shared future for mankind".

Teachers will also guide students to appreciate the diversity and richness of cultures around the globe, recognize the importance of people-to-people connections and build stronger cultural confidence, the declaration said.

"With socialism with Chinese characteristics having entered a new era, it is necessary to improve our ability to participate in global governance. A large number of passionate professionals, a global perspective, the skilled use of foreign languages, knowledge of international rules and expertise in international negotiations will be needed for this," the declaration said.

China's English education experts provided valuable suggestions and amendments during the two-month-long drafting process of the declaration.

Chen Lin, a professor of English tuition at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said he especially appreciated the declaration's determination that educators will be committed to creating a streamlined model for English education to coordinate efforts from elementary to tertiary education.

Cai Jigang, a professor at the college of foreign languages and literature of Fudan University, applauded the declaration because it put forward a positive initiative for the teaching of English in China.

However, he noted that the educational philosophies and objectives of the talent cultivation process in primary schools and universities are not the same.

"English education in primary and middle schools focuses on general English skills and contributes to students' overall development, while tertiary English teaching should shift to English for academic purposes and equip college students with the ability to access the latest information in their respective disciplines," said Cai, who is also president of the China English for Academic Purposes Association.

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2018-07-23 07:49:42
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/23/content_36628880.htm My first trip to China was in 1982. At that time, almost no one spoke English. Now, 30-plus years later, almost no one in China only speaks Chinese. Over the past few days, English-language teachers and researchers from across China and the world have shared and understood up-to-date policies and practices in English teaching and learning. There is no one right way to teach and learn a language. Communication and being able to use language to do things and to enrich our lives are very important. I am really looking forward to seeing everyone again next year at the assembly in Hangzhou.

Katherine Lobo, professor at Brandeis University and Lesley University in Massachusetts

It was amazing to me how professionally hosted the assembly was - from the incredible signage everywhere to the availability of rides and snacks and friendly helpers. Another thing was the passion of the Chinese speakers and their enthusiasm and commitment to the future of English education. My favorite thing was just the opportunity to network, to learn from smart and talented teachers and researchers with whom I have things in common but also things to learn.

Joy Egbert, professor at Washington State University and editor of the TESOL Journal

The assembly was a great success. Speaking as someone with more than 30 years' experience of teaching in primary and secondary schools, there used to be few exchanges among teachers from primary and secondary schools and universities. This assembly offered a great opportunity to facilitate exchanges between teachers at different levels, as well as teachers from China and around the world. These exchanges will lead to the healthy development of English education as a whole.

Gong Yafu, director-general of the National Association of Foreign Language Education at the Chinese Society of Education

The assembly offered great learning opportunities from the cultural and educational perspective. As a foreign teacher who lives in China and teaches English, I was able to gain some insight into English education and the direction it is taking in China, make connections and start relationships. I will take back the notes I have made and things I have learned and implement them in future classroom teaching.

Matthew Jellick, English teacher at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, Guangdong province

The assembly was wonderful, innovative, international and inspirational. It gathered together many renowned experts from home and abroad and offered me a number of rare learning experiences. I took many notes during the assembly. I feel that the lectures and speeches given during the assembly will inspire classroom teaching and academic research. There should be more promotional activities in the future, so that more teachers will have the opportunity to attend the assembly next year.

Yang Jia, English teacher at Taiyuan University, Shanxi province

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2018-07-23 07:49:42
<![CDATA[The gold standard for the silver screen]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622493.htm Experts from the Shanghai Vancouver Film School, the only institute in China where courses are of world-class standards, talk about the history and development of the domestic movie industry

China's impact on the global film industry has never been more apparent.

Eager to tap into the increasing spending level of the country's middle class, Hollywood productions have been introducing Chinese actors into their casts to draw more viewers from China.

In 2014, Fan Bingbing, one of China's most famous actresses, became the first Asian character in the world of the X-Men when she starred in the film X-Men: Days of Future Past. Angela Yeung, better known by her stage name Angelababy, made an appearance in Independence Day: Resurgence in 2016, while veteran Chinese actors Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen flew the China flag in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that same year.

Despite bombing in other markets, the highly anticipated 2016 action fantasy movie Warcraft was ultimately a commercial success, thanks to massive box office takings in China. Meanwhile, Dalian Wanda Group's $3.5 billion (2.6 billion euros; £2.3 billion) acquisition of Hollywood production company Legendary Entertainment in 2016 raised eyebrows around the world.

However, Chinese movies have not been able to achieve the same impact in overseas markets.

"I always judge a movie based on how well the story is told, the technical aspects and the level of creativity," says Liu Haibo, vice-president of the Shanghai Vancouver Film School. "Right now, Chinese movies are still lacking in these areas."

The need to produce better films has become more pressing in recent times. In December, the Shanghai municipal government announced that it would aim to develop the city into a global cultural and creative hub by 2035.

It also released a document containing 50 measures to boost the cultural and creative industry, among which is the plan to build a high-tech film production base in Songjiang district within the next few years. The base would consolidate the city's filmmaking resources, which are currently scattered across districts such as Jing'an, Putuo and Xuhui.

Another measure involves the enhancement of talent training in the city. Government officials have pointed out that the Shanghai Vancouver Film School, along with other institutes such as the Shanghai Film Art Academy and the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, will play a key role in this aspect.

Established in 2014, the film school is branded as the only institute in the country that adheres to Hollywood standards. It is a joint venture between Shanghai University and the Vancouver Film School, which is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious entertainment arts institutions in the world.

Among Vancouver Film School's roster of graduates is Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Neill Blomkamp, who directed the highly successful 2009 science fiction movie District 9.

According to Liu, the school currently has 50 professors, half of whom are foreigners who are experts in the filmmaking industry. In addition, professionals from Hollywood are often invited to teach and share their experiences with the students.

Luis Calandre, vice-president of education at the Shanghai Vancouver Film School, pointed out that the school has experienced significant growth despite being around for such a short time. For example, enrollment has grown from 80 students in its first year to the current 200, and there is now an additional enrollment intake in spring. Previously, students could only apply in the fall.

"Today, the SHVFS brand is considered one of the most prestigious in China, and this is in part due to the effectiveness of our courses and the quality of our instructors," says the Spaniard.

"By combining specialized programs with an intense learning environment, state-of-the-art technology and teachers who are experts in their fields, we impart valuable skills to our students that allow them to hit the ground running on entering the industry. Employers tell us that SHVFS students have much more knowledge and capacity to adapt to the working environment than others," he adds.

Liu says the nature of their students also lends credence to the quality of their courses.

"Many of our students are post-graduates who are over 35. Some of them already have degrees or careers in filmmaking, but they know that they can improve even further if they study at SHVFS," he says.

History of moviemaking

The move by Shanghai authorities to turn the city into a film production hub comes as no surprise, considering how the city has traditionally been known as the movie capital of China. The industry's roots can be traced back to the late 1890s, when Shanghai became the first city in China to screen films on a regular basis.

The domestic movie industry soon expanded rapidly and, by 1930, Shanghai had become the home of most of the country's film production companies. Such was the city's reputation that it was even dubbed "The Hollywood of the East" starting in the late 1920s.

Chinese classics such as Legend of Tianyun Mountain, Evening Rain and The Herdsman were produced in Shanghai. The city's reputation for filmmaking flourished till the 1990s, when it became the first Chinese city to have its own international film festival.

However, Shanghai's movie output over the past few decades has been a far cry from its glory days. Liu points out that the city is today better known as a place where filmmakers can find investment dollars rather than produce movies. The problem, he says, lies in the shortage of production talent.

"In the 1990s, the television industry boomed and was more profitable than the movie sector, so many film professionals crossed over. The gaps left by these people were never filled," says Liu.

According to a 2016 report by Oxford Economics, China's TV industry directly employed 865,000 people that year. In contrast, the film production and distribution sector only had 79,000 workers. Exacerbating matters is the fact that many of these film workers lack the necessary training.

"Apart from the creative team, everyone on a Chinese film set today are just unskilled laborers," said acclaimed director Feng Xiaogang during the 2016 China Film Investment Summit Forum.

Too fast, too furious

Another challenge the Chinese movie industry faces is finding a balance between its rapid growth and the rate at which talent is being produced. Driven by the growing consumption levels of the middle class, Chinese filmmakers have been churning out films to meet the burgeoning demand. Box office takings have grown from 920 million yuan ($111.3 million; 95.7 million euros; £85 million) in 2002 to a whopping 55.9 billion yuan last year.

But with so many movies being made and so little talent available, it was only a matter of time before the lack of quality became obvious.

"China produces about 700 movies every year, but only 300 are good enough to be screened in the cinemas. Furthermore, only about 50 are profitable, while just 20 can be considered to be of good quality by international standards. There is still much room for improvement," says Liu.

This lack of quality is an issue that has been raised by several parties over the past few years. In 2016, People's Daily criticized the domestic film industry, saying: "Some well-known directors have recently come out with terrible films.... If it's too easy to make money, it's too easy for the finished product to be mediocre.

Highly acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou also came under fire that year for The Great Wall. Though the film was a financial success, grossing more than $300 million against a budget of $150 million, its reception among Chinese viewers was generally poor. On Douban, a leading Chinese movie review site, the movie has an average rating of 5.1 out of 10, based on more than 243,000 reviews.

Pursuit of quality

Calandre points out that although the definition of quality is ultimately subjective, Hollywood has done a good job at setting the benchmarks. The Spaniard says Chinese authorities can spur progress in the domestic movie industry by adopting a similar approach.

"One of the ways to define quality - and the Americans have done this very well - is to have experts make a judgment. Some people in the industry say that one of the best things the Americans have done is create an Academy Award for the best foreign film. By doing so, they become the ones who get to decide what's good or what's bad, not just in Hollywood, but in the world," he says.

"One thing the government can do is create an important award that defines what high quality is. In order to do that, they need to appoint credible global experts and give them the freedom to decide."

He Qi in Shanghai contributed to this story.

alywin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[China's movie market gaining new ground]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622492.htm China has become a power house in the global film market in terms of box office growth, according to the 2018 Chinese Film Industry report released at the Shanghai International Film Festival, or SIFF.

The festival, which is the only category A international film festival in China and one of the largest in Asia, staged its 21st iteration on June 16-25, showcasing 500 movies from around the world in 45 theaters in Shanghai.

China's box office takings totaled 20 billion yuan ($3.08 billion; 2.6 billion euros; £2.6 billion) in the first three months of 2018, topping the $2.89 billion raked in by the United States. This is the first time China led the global film box earnings, according to Zhang Hong, vice chairman of the China Film Association, the institution behind the report.

The association has been compiling the report on China's film industry for 12 consecutive years, and this was the first time an international edition was released to introduce China's film industry to foreign peers.

China's film industry has been gradually catching up with the US in recent years. In 2017, box offices in North America grossed $11.1 billion, falling by 2.3 percent year-on-year. By contrast China's box offices earned $8.53 billion, a jump of 13.45 percent on 2016.

Veteran Hollywood film producer Jeff Robinov, who collaborated with China's Fosun Group and Sony Pictures to set up multiplatform media company Studio 8, suggested that one of the factors behind China's rise was the aggressive marketing undertaken to promote interest in domestic movies.

Robinov, president of Warner Bros from 2007 to 2013, pointed out that Chinese corporations were also playing a part in this growth, leveraging their resources to bring more overseas films to China, as well as introducing Chinese artists and productions to the global market.

Over the past decade, production costs have surged and this has resulted in films being financed by multiple studios instead of a single entity, Robinov said.

Studio 8, for example, was just one of the many parties - including The Ink Factory, TriStar Production, LStar Capital and Bona Film Group - that backed American Chinese director Ang Lee's experimental film Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk in 2016.

Shot at 120 frames per second, resulting in extreme clarity, the film tanked at the box office. It raked in just $30 million worldwide against its $40 million budget. By contrast, most films are shot at 24 frames per second.

However, Li Haifeng, senior vice-president of Fosun International and president of Fosun Film Group, said the movie was far from being a failure.

"We identify with Ang Lee's dedication to continuously exploring new possibilities of filmmaking, and hope to have a long-term collaboration with the director," Li added.

Industry players have said that the craze for pumping investment dollars into the movie industry is already cooling down in China, as investors realize that only a few of the 600 or so films made every year turn in a tidy profit. Though the domestic blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 made history by earning a whopping 5.6 billion yuan in box offices to become the bestselling Chinese film ever, many local productions fail to make an impact.

During a SIFF forum Wang Changtian, president of leading Chinese film production company Beijing Enlight Media Co, said that he foresaw challenges for the local film industry.

"Quite a number of film studios are having difficulty raising funds," he said. "Meanwhile, production costs have continued to grow, while copyright sales are falling."

Fosun's Li, meanwhile, noted that it was natural for the capital market to undergo periods of highs and lows and he urged industry players to focus on quality instead of quantity.

"There is a gap in the industry that small to medium-sized films can fill, and that's in the lower budget genre film segment - this is where we can fit in," Robinov said.

After all, there have been instances where low-budget Chinese films have achieved success. In 2017, Twenty-Two, which documents stories about comfort women, became the first Chinese documentary to take 100 million yuan at the box office. Another example, Seventy-Seven Days, a film aimed at outdoor enthusiasts and art-lovers, earned in excess of 100 million yuan.

"In recent years, more and more Chinese audiences are calling for diversified movie content," Li Jifeng, producer of Seventy-Seven Days, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

zhangkun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Ex-fund manager shows that in film, like life, one's never too old for school]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/22/content_36622491.htm By all accounts, Zhang Xiaodong was quite unlike his classmates at the Shanghai Vancouver Film School, or SHVFS.

Besides being much older than everyone, the 54-year-old also comes from a background that has nothing to do with filmmaking. A math major in college, Zhang went on to get a master's degree in international politics and economics. For most of his career, he worked as a fund manager in China and the United States.

"I knew nothing about filmmaking. It was my love for movies that drove me to enroll in SHVFS," he says. Zhang adds that he was curious about learning the theories and techniques of film production.

"Before I turned 50, my business motivations were the most important (thing). Now, it's the opposite - I want to explore my interests in life."

Zhang points out that the decision to take up film production classes stemmed from his interest in the subject, as well as his growing disillusion with volatile stock markets. After graduating from the one-year course at SHVFS, Zhang took on several production roles in more than 30 short films. He is currently a producer and director at Shanghai Yu Xiang Culture Media Co.

One of the films he helped produce was Shanghai Story, about a middle-aged foreign couple who fall in love with each other after meeting in the great city. The film used an international crew.

Zhang is currently working with two of his former classmates on a musical about a group of illiterate tea growers who decide to learn how to make instruments and create music. He notes that most of the production positions for the film are filled by fellow SHVFS alumni.

Zhang says he prefers to produce thought-provoking projects, such as his favorite movie, Forrest Gump, an Academy Award-winning film about a dull-witted boy who goes on to achieve great success in life.

Another former SHVFS student who left his career for filmmaking is Bu Lianpeng. Driven by his love and passion for films, the 26-year-old quit his job as a mechanical engineer to study at the school. Like Zhang, Bu has also been involved in numerous films since graduation. Some of his own shorts, such as Borderline and Vending Machine, have won awards.

Bu says the massive inflow of funds into the sector and the increasing demands of increasingly sophisticated audiences will result in an overall improvement.

"But it's going to take time before we have a more mature industry."

heqi@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-22 14:20:06
<![CDATA[Write way to keep in touch]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/15/content_36577710.htm Old ways die hard when it comes to communicating and more people are finding that where there's a quill, there's a way

You may have thought that in a world of tweets and emoticons, where slipshod and snappy trumps elegant and erudite, handwritten letters would have had their day.

But don't throw away that fountain pen, inkwell and blotting paper just yet. And keep hold of those postage stamps, too.

It seems that as most of us float with the technological zeitgeist, a large group of people is swimming against the tide, its members treasuring what they regard as the special way that handwritten letters link people - and they are doing their darnedest to ensure that what apparently began with hieroglyphics stays with us for a few millennia yet.

"I enjoy writing and sharing my ideas," wrote Ren Shuangjiang recently on Douban, a popular user-based cultural and social website in China.

"I'm keen on making good pen pals with whom I can communicate using paper and pen, and sharing my true feelings through words on the paper."

Ren, of Fuzhou, Fujian province, a junior college student, is one of the many enthusiasts who scout on Douban for pen pals on a forum dedicated to topics about handwritten letters.

Ren says he values the intimacy and individuality of handwriting, and the uninterrupted "soul to soul" exchanges in the form of traditional letters.

"Modern technology has reduced the distance between people in many ways, but in some way it has alienated us emotionally, and writing letters is a means of strengthening such connections," says Ren, who has found a couple of pen pals to correspond with regularly.

"You can almost read a person's feelings through their handwriting, and everything beyond words tells you something, too. You can't see that in digital messaging."

Today, very few people write personal letters, even though many who have got used to instant communication tools such as emails, instant messaging or phone apps are nostalgic for the days of pen and paper.

Initiatives such as writing letters have been taken up enthusiastically by people who originally linked up with one another using the internet but want to try to interact in the more traditional way of personal letters.

On Douban are dozens of such interest groups, some with thousands of members and with long threads of topics related to the art and practice of handwriting.

The topics are often started by individuals willing to receive traditional letters from strangers, with their street addresses provided. Others compare their experiences, including the excitement of receiving a special letter or unusual personal stories from the "age of correspondence".

Some of the many topics continue to draw responses even years after the contribution that got the discussion going.

On other platforms such as Sina Weibo, a large online social platform in China, people interested in letter writing can chat with one another and share ideas. This includes participants displaying pictures of letters received in bygone years and talking of the memories they have related to them.

While some people are satisfied with taking a walk down memory lane and leaving their letters there, others maintain letter writing as an art form and a way of life.

"A letter is not only about the words it contains," says Wei Guangying, 22, of Qingdao, Shandong province.

"It's a complete experience. The paper stock, the doodles, the handwriting and how the letter is eventually delivered all matter.

"I'll never forget the moment I received my first letter. It was so wonderful. Traditional letters offer a special, romantic experience of waiting for something important, and digital tools deprive us of that joy."

Wei says he started writing letters and postcards when he was at primary school. He often used his pocket money to buy attractive paper or cards from street stalls. On these he would write lines of his favorite poetry or his everyday thoughts and mail them to friends or classmates.

He has kept up correspondence with a few pen pals over the years, he says, and with the letters he sometimes includes items such as some of his own watercolor painted cards, a flower or a souvenir from his travels.

The letter paper, the envelopes and the stamps are just as important as the other contents because they can send different messages, he says.

His recipients include former teachers whose addresses he has made a point of keeping, especially for occasions such as Teachers' Day.

Ma Ben of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, says she started writing letters when she was an undergraduate student in Nanjing, under the influence of her Australian English-language teacher, himself a keen advocate of letter writing.

Later, when she studied in Britain in 2012, she was surprised to find that sending letters or postcards was still popular there, especially at times of celebration.

"The pretty stamps in Britain were additional attractions for me. So I started to write more letters, and have kept that up with friends since I returned home."

She is keen for each letter she writes to be unique, and that includes spraying them with perfume, changing writing styles or including a little gift. The importance of putting in that extra effort is clear when she herself receives a letter.

"When an envelope finally reaches me after traveling from afar it immediately lifts my spirits."

Shi Languang, a junior university student in Nanjing who started to write letters three years ago, says he enjoys the traditional way of communication.

He was troubled by the fact that he often got nervous when he talked to a girl he liked in person, and sometimes there were misunderstandings, so he decided to communicate with her by letter, he says.

"I can take my time and don't have to worry about failing to correctly express myself .... The receiver gets a more accurate idea of what I am saying, too. I reckon handwritten letters can express more feelings than words can on a screen."

Even sending the letter is something to savor, he says.

"When my carefully written letter drops into the mailbox I'm thinking about what the person receiving it will feel and look forward to receiving the reply."

Completely counter to the impatience that the world of instant messaging can engender, some aficionados of the handwritten letter find that waiting for the reply is part of its pleasure. As they wait, thoughts and emotions have time to develop and become clearer.

Zeng Jinlan, who works in a beauty salon in Nanchang, Jiangxi province, is another of those who swears by the power of the handwritten word.

She often writes to her regular customers on the occasion of festivals to express her gratitude, she says, sometimes mentioning something they have experienced together.

Some customers return the thanks and post pictures of her notes on their WeChat "moments" page.

Her letters have also helped to melt the ice with some customers with whom she did not quite see eye to eye, she says.

On Taobao, the online shopping platform, many sellers are also taking advantage of the power of traditional letters to win loyalty and favorable reviews from customers.

Many buyers who come across a handwritten letter with a parcel they receive say how much they appreciate it.

Ma Lele, a Taobao user, says he was surprised recently when he found a red envelope containing five yuan and a long handwritten note of thanks with a parcel from a Taobao shop.

"I couldn't believe that the first letter I received after all these years was from a Taobao seller, and I was very touched. There are few chances to write, or receive, letters nowadays, and I think people miss that time when people dealt with each other through letters and handwritten words."

Nevertheless, a nostalgia by many for handwritten letters does not mean people necessarily want to turn back the clock, and traditional letters can barely fulfill today's communication needs as they used to, says Xu Mintong, a cultural scholar who regularly comments on cultural and social issues on media.

On the other hand, while digital channels can speed up communications, they reduce people's investment emotionally and in time, and communication is often done with fragmented information, he says.

The nostalgia phenomenon can be understood as a desire for a return to a more slow-paced life, waiting and feeling that, in seeing someone's handwritten words, the recipient is in fact meeting the sender.

"The art of letters represents a more 'serious' age, and its demise means the death of certain traditional cultural spirit," Xu says. "Now there is a collective call for such a cultural spirit, and that's a good thing."

In addition to the impact of modern tools, the decline of public infrastructure to support private exchange is another factor that has contributed to the decrease of personal letters.

Mu Dongnuan, of Guiyang, Guizhou province, says it is increasingly difficult to write letters as it gets more difficult to find the necessary materials and to mail them.

When he went back to his hometown in Bijie, Guizhou province, recently, he was disappointed to find that the local stationer no longer sold postage stamps.

"Will there come a day when I cannot mail a letter, even if I can write one?" Mu asks.

"Some of my friends even thought that a postal service for ordinary letters had disappeared and that postage stamps were just collectors' items."

Yu Chengqian, who lives in Beijing, says people's frequent changes of address, especially those in the cities, also make it difficult to maintain correspondence.

Another possible reason for the disappearance of traditional letters is that people are often embarrassed by their handwriting skills, the decline of which is a result of the prevalence of typing.

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2018-07-15 10:53:11
<![CDATA[Mightier than the sword, and still going strong]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/15/content_36577709.htm A television program called Letters Alive has been wildly popular since it was first broadcast both online and on TV at the end of 2016.

The program, aimed at promoting reading by inviting entertainment celebrities to read letters, has now run for two seasons.

It aimed to open a window into history with the letters, and to rediscover the spirit and wisdom of traditional Chinese life, the program's introduction says.

Celebrities such as the actor Zhang Guoli and the actress Zhou Xun have read letters on the program and told the stories behind the letters.

The program makers selected nearly 100 letters by writers from different historical periods, from as early as 2,000 years ago to the early 20th century and the present day.

Through the letters, either between family members or friends, the audience can learn about Chinese history, how famous figures dealt with each other, and about the lives of ordinary people.

Zhang Bing, of Guangzhou, Guangdong province, who admires the program, says it has awakened in him and many other people a love for letters.

"When a letter is read I feel like I am in that scene and living in the age. The writer's mood and the social background all come to me vividly with the writer's words."

He wrote a letter to his mother after watching one episode, he says.

"The letter is one of the most important achievements in traditional culture. It can open up people's hearts in the most sincere way."

Other television programs drawing inspiration from letters, such as Trust in China, which was first broadcast on China Central Television early this year, and that have focused on letters of more recent vintage, have also been well received.

Zhu Anshun, an expert on traditional culture based in Beijing, says it is important for people to understand and value a heritage of correspondence.

As a form of traditional culture, letters have a long history and have played an important role in traditional Chinese life, he says.

There used to be people whose profession was letter writing, who were paid to write for those who couldn't read and write, and a Chinese saying gives an idea of the esteem in which written correspondence was held: "A letter from home is worth 10,000 pieces of gold."

A great many specialized terminologies, such as terms for different periods of the year, for addressing or greeting people of different ages and identities, were developed in the epistolary art.

"It was not only an important way by which people were connected, but was also a literary phenomenon," Zhu says.

Many personal letters, from early ones written on bamboo slips to those on paper, have been passed down. Some have become important sources for historical research, and others have been well known by generations of Chinese as literary gems, excellent calligraphy works, or simply famous specimens of a certain person's handwriting, Zhu says.

In modern times, some of the better-known literary works come in the form of private letters, too, such as Letters Between Two, the correspondence between Lu Xun, China's greatest modern writer, and his wife Xu Guangping from 1925 to 1929.

Readers can trace in them the gradual change in their relationship, and they also reveal their thoughts on literature, education, politics and their outlook on life.

"These are evidence of personal letters' significance in expressing human feelings," Zhu says.

Letters as a traditional way of communication should be encouraged in the modern age, as they have a lasting appeal and cultural significance, he says.

Huo Chongqing, a calligraphy aficionado of Wuhan, Hubei province, says he often writes letters using a brush and sometimes in classical Chinese, and uses a lot of traditionally used terms and expressions, too.

"There is a lot of culture in letter writing. You can find beautiful rhetorical expression and poetic language in the traditional letters, and they should not be lost."

 

There used to be people whose profession was letter writing, who were paid to write for those who couldn't read and write.

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2018-07-15 10:53:11
<![CDATA[Are floral infusions your cup of tea?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/01/content_36488559.htm Editor's note: Traditional and fusion cooking styles, regional and international ingredients and a new awareness of healthy eating are all factors contributing to an exciting time for Chinese cuisine. We explore the possibilities.

Keeping cool in summer is a full-time job - and there's no better way to beat the heat than with a jug of iced tea, full of tinkling ice cubes. Only in China, that dewy glass of cool brew may be made with a vast variety of flowers and leaves.

The easiest drinks are made from jasmine-infused wulong tea leaves, or longjing tea, harvested in early spring before Qingming, Tomb Sweeping Day. These are instant coolers, whether drunk hot or cold. Green or semi-fermented teas are the best thirst-quenchers, and the stronger flavors of aged, fermented teas such as pu'er are best reserved for cooler weather in autumn and winter.

 

A cup of pretty floral tea with jasmine and roselle blooming. Provided to China Daily

Besides the Beijing favorite, huacha or jasmine tea, there is also a selection of fruit-and flower-infused teas to choose from. A summer favorite is the beautifully elegant guihua wulong, scented with dried osmanthus flowers.

There is also tea that is brewed with pieces of dried peach, or roselle, the hibiscus fruit. These tangy teas are refreshing and flavorful and often drunk sweetened with honey.

But the stars of these summer drinks have to be the flower infusions, and the best comes from Yunnan province, the garden of China.

Honeysuckle, marigold, globe amaranth, chrysanthemums, jasmine, roses, magnolia, lilies, narcissus, lotus buds, lavender, osmanthus are all part of the great bouquet of flavors.

Flower infusions have many medical benefits and this is where the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine can be tapped. Individual flowers have different healing properties, and by combining several, your long cool drink can be tailored to your health needs.

For example, honeysuckle and chrysanthemum are antiseptic and antibacterial, so they are good for those susceptible to summer sniffles. The flowers are added to green tea and may be spiced up with a stick of cinnamon. The overly "cool" property of the raw tea is neutralized by the warmth of the spice and TCM also recommends raw sugars like cane sugar or rock sugar, or honey.

Some floral teas have pimple-clearing properties.

Roses, globe amaranth, narcissus and jasmine are all reputedly used in detox concoctions and great for those who care about skin health.

Wulong tea leaves form a better base for these flowers as the semi-fermented tea has its own fragrance to add to the floral scents. It is also more suitable for ladies with weaker constitutions.

For those already suffering from an outbreak of acne, lotus seed shoots added to chrysanthemum tea is a useful cleansing combination. The intensely bitter brew is a traditional cure for pimples, and if the tea doesn't cure you, the bitterness will at least induce a good sweat.

Summer ulcers in the mouth often plague the hot-blooded, and a cooling infusion of mint leaves, green tea and honeysuckle is recommended.

The combinations are endless once you master the basic principles.

There are many ready-packed flower teas on the market, but you shouldn't buy more than you can drink. Flower teas tend to lose their scent over time, since most are organically dried and have no preservatives.

It is better to buy small quantities and make up your own, mixing and matching tea and flowers.

There are beautiful glass tea sets especially made for flower teas. Often, they may also come with a little spirit burner.

The little glass teacups are insulated with a double layer so you can drink your teas piping hot and admire the ingredients at the same time. The little ritual involves adding the flowers, herbs and tea leaves to the boiling water and allowing it to simmer. Then the tea is poured into a "fragrance cup", a little glass jug that comes with the set.

The finished brew is then served in little glass bowls. This process allows the tea to be enjoyed without the stray petals and leaves getting in the way.

Of course, you need to have either green or wulong tea at hand. These tea leaves can be kept in tightly lidded containers and used when necessary. Just remember that these are more perishable than the fermented teas and will lose their fragrance over time.

Organic dried flowers for the floral teas are available online, and there is a great variety to choose from. Herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme and dried fruits such as wolfberries, jujubes and dried hawthorn are very flavorful.

The process of brewing a pot of flower tea can be very relaxing, especially on a leisurely summer weekend. You may have a stash of ice available to make a long cool drink, but sipping a hot scented cup slowly also has its pleasures.

paulined@chinadaily.com.cn

Recipe

Chrysanthemum, Wolfberry and Honey Tea

(The best chrysanthemums are the dried buds of white chrysanthemums from Hangzhou.)

Place about 10 chrysanthemum buds in a teapot and pour boiling water over them.

Allow to infuse for five minutes. Add about 10 dried wolfberries into the infusion and sweeten with honey. Do not boil the wolfberries as they will turn brown and lose their nutrients and sweetness.

Rose, Roselle and Hawthorn Tea

(This is especially pretty as a summer cooler. Roselle are the fruits of a hibiscus and full of vitamins. They give this tea its main flavor profile. Roses add fragrance, and the hawthorn slices increase the tanginess of this thirst quencher. Make up a large jug and chill well.)

50g roselle fruits

20 dried wild rose buds

4-6 dried hawthorn slices

2 tablespoons wulong-tea leaves

Rock sugar to taste

Place all the ingredients into a large tea pot and pour boiling water over. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, stir well, strain into a jug and chill.

Pimple Tea

(Both dried lotus leaves and lotus shoots are available from Chinese medicine shops. They can also be ordered online. My grandmother used to feed me this whenever I had pimples on my forehead.

This is not an easy drink, but it is very effective as an acne cure. My theory is that your body reacts to the bitterness by breaking into a sweat, and that clears the clogged pores. The ginseng just makes it taste a little better.)

2-3 squares of dried lotus pads, cut into strips

30g lotus shoots

4-6 slices American ginseng

Place ingredients into boiling water and allow to steep for a while. Drink it piping hot because it tastes awful when cold. Think of it as herbal medicine for a baby-smooth complexion.

Osmanthus Green Tea with Globe Amaranth

Place a teaspoon of green tea in each cup, and add one dried globe amaranth flower. Pour boiling water over and sprinkle over a pinch of osmanthus flowers.

This is a very pretty floral tea. The flat green tea leaves will bloom and float beside the purple globe amaranth. The osmanthus will release their fragrance as they slowly sink.

Enjoy the different layers of fragrance.

Golden Camilla and Lemon Grass Tea

(The golden camilla is part of the tea leaf family, but it is very rare. Camilla flowers are mostly red, pink or white, but this is a beautiful buttery yellow. It only grows in China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and is valued for its anti-oxidant properties, )

2-3 whole dried golden camilla flowers

1 tablespoon dried lemon grass flakes

Honey to taste

Pour hot water over and infuse for a few minutes. You can repeat the infusion at least three times.

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2018-07-01 11:27:28
<![CDATA[Cooperatives easing poverty in rural areas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/01/content_36488558.htm Operations backed by government or started by entrepreneurs aim to improve the sales of farm produce

Rural cooperatives are playing an increasing role in China's war on poverty.

The latest central government data suggest that more than 30 million Chinese live below the national poverty line, which is set at per capita annual income of 2,300 yuan ($345; 300 euros; £265), with the worst-hit areas being in the Tibet autonomous region, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan and Qinghai.

 

The small village of Xiadang in Ningde prefecture of Fujian province has drawn 128 of 300 resident families so far into a tea cooperative that was set up in 2016. The initiative provides fertilizers to the growers and assists in the sale of tea. Photos by Satarupa Bhattacharjya

China is seeking to end extreme poverty by 2020.

Fujian, a province of 38.7 million people on the country's east coast, saw significant poverty reduction in its inland areas in the past year that many local officials and rural residents largely attribute to farm cooperatives. The province's north is relatively poorer than its south but claims it has few people left in absolute poverty today.

China Daily took part in a recent media group tour of villages and towns governed by the prefecture-level cities of Ningde and Nanping, each with a population of around 3 million.

Hundreds of rural cooperatives for small-scale enterprises related to grain, fruit, tea, vegetables, flowers, edible fungi, animal husbandry and seafood have been registered in recent times in Ningde, according to local officials. The purpose of such "household communes" - strictly organized collectives - is to help farm produce sell better.

The operations are mostly government-backed, but some are initiated by entrepreneurs themselves.

In this part of Fujian, as is the case with some other places in rural China, the lack of access to markets has traditionally contributed to poverty along with remote locations, disabilities and illnesses among people, natural calamities and uneven regional development over the decades.

"We want to develop industry and tourism in the countryside and boost agricultural e-commerce," says Lin Wenfang, deputy Party chief of Ningde.

In Ningde's small yet stunning village of Xiadang, through which a green river flows under an age-old wooden bridge, a cooperative has drawn 128 of the 300 or so resident families since it was formed in 2016. Other than providing fertilizers to the growers, the cooperative attempts to sell unprocessed tea of three main varieties: white, red and green.

Wang Guangchao, an elderly member of the cooperative, says a kilogram of tea fetches up to 20 yuan.

"We use a phone app to monitor tea growth in the gardens," he says, clarifying that younger members of the cooperative mostly use it.

The village, which is tucked away in a mist-covered, hilly corner of Ningde and has many species of butterflies and other insects, aspires to earn from tourism as well.

But first, more hotels will have to be built nearby, village official Xiang Zhonghong says.

While many of Xiadang's young people are migrant workers elsewhere, more local jobs could mean an opportunity for them to return.

In the larger county of Shouning, where the village is located, a makerspace has been established to facilitate the marketing of tea and other agricultural items such as mushrooms, dried bamboo shoots, red beans and sweet potato vermicelli for cooperatives across a dozen villages and towns.

A few years ago in another county named Pingnan, a private cooperative was set up by seven people in the village of Lingxia. Now, 12 poor resident families are part of the initiative, which includes breeding snails and carp in lotus ponds that also serve as a base for lotus seeds - eaten as a snack in China.

Lu Dayong, president of the Pingnan Lingxia Plantation Cooperative, says the blooming lotuses bring tourists to the village but the outfit requires more technological support.

Analysts have previously commented in field journals that cooperatives will need further attention if China is to achieve its "green society" objective, not just for poverty alleviation.

A part of Nanping's rural earnings came from cooperatives in 2017. The collective income of its 1,632 villages, according to officials, was around 290 million yuan.

"Last year, 13,000 poor families joined cooperatives related to agriculture and agricultural tourism," says Wang Bin, the city's deputy mayor.

More than 6,000 such collective farms were launched.

China's history of rural cooperatives dates back to the 1930s, when both nationalists and communists encouraged the model. After a lull, it has witnessed a revival in the past decade, partly owing to the limitations of conventional farming in the face of industrialization.

Chen Changzhen, a 47-year-old resident of Cikou village in Nanping, says raising livestock was not productive, so he founded a bamboo cooperative. Around 1,300 people live in his village, where bamboo groves are in abundance. The bamboo shoots from his cooperative are sold in the more affluent Zhejiang province and in Shanghai.

Nanping has shut down some polluting husbandry businesses lately to protect its large forested area.

"We are working to enhance quality testing for agricultural products," says Wang, the deputy mayor, adding that branding was also being emphasized.

The local government is looking to boost a cottage liquor industry in the countryside through cooperatives.

Chen Changxing, 62, a resident of Nanping's Zhangdun village, makes liquor at home from grapes grown in the village under a poverty alleviation program.

"A cooperative helps me sell the bottles in Shenzhen (a city in southern China)," he says.

China was expected to provide more than 100 billion yuan for poverty relief this year, according to earlier media reports.

Xing Wen contributed to this story.

satarupa@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-07-01 11:27:28
<![CDATA[Sustainable ground]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/01/content_36488557.htm An initiative started by a leading fast food company has transformed the way farmers in Yunnan source, manage and harvest truffles, Zhang Lei reports

Sixty-year-old Duan Chaowen, a forest ranger and head of Duanjia village in a remote area of Yunnan province, spends his days patrolling the mountains near his home in Yongbei town, Yongsheng county. In one valley, which he knows so well that he can practically retrace it from memory, lies a rare kind of black truffle.

Like many local villagers, Duan is a veteran wild truffle hunter. Despite his best efforts over the past two decades in harvesting the valuable fungus, he has been unable to maintain a constant crop of this rare delicacy, which is dwindling rapidly by the year.

For decades, the destructive methods used by truffle hunters have continued to damage their natural habitat, leading to an incremental decline in their yields. A decade ago, the annual output of truffles from Yongsheng county was somewhere between 500 and 800 metric tons - or around 20 percent of the province's total output. After more than 10 years of destructive hunting and picking practices, the current output has dropped by as much as 80 to 90 percent of that figure.

"Seven or eight years ago, I could pick more than 30 kilograms of truffles around one pond, and the largest single truffle would weigh around 350 grams. Now it is more normal to find just a few hundred grams of truffles around one pond," says Duan. "Although truffle prices have increased, there's just not as much for us to harvest, since the damage we have caused is too severe."

Duan's concern about the dwindling numbers of black truffles in Yunnan is very real. While many local farmers want to address the situation, they lack the knowledge and means to do so.

However, things started to turn around in February. Professor Liu Peigui, a researcher at the Kunming Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and president of the Wild Fungus Conservation and Development Association of Yunnan province, traveled to Yongsheng to host three training sessions for more than 300 people, including Duan Chaowen, about the science of sourcing truffles.

Initiated by Yum China, the training sessions were part of the fast food company's recent Yum China Pizza Hut Grow Local Initiative, which placed Yongsheng's truffles at the top of its list of priorities.

For Duan, the two-day training course was similar to the timely arrival of rain after a long drought. He not only learned about how to source truffles in a scientific and environmentally friendly manner, but also acquired a deeper understanding of how to better protect this precious treasure in his hometown.

The type of truffle that accounts for the highest percentage of total output in Yongsheng is Tuber indicum. Its maturity season usually ranges from mid-November to late February or later. However, due to a lack of understanding of the truffles' growth patterns, local farmers used to start harvesting them as early as July.

Immature truffles are typically small and poor in quality, and their sale tends to weaken their competitiveness and lower their prices in the international market. However, most important, using the wrong harvesting methods can "kill the goose that laid the golden egg," resulting in a chronic waste of resources and ever-dwindling numbers of truffles found growing in the wild. This can eventually lead to a sharp decline in yields and have an adverse effect on the income levels of local farmers.

To address this problem, Yum China partnered with the local government and invited agricultural experts to invest money and resources into providing local farmers with long-term and multifaceted guidance in the form of training sessions, both online and offline. These sessions were designed to help farmers to transform the way they harvest and source truffles.

The training session that took place in February was part of this initiative, and Duan Chaowen was the first beneficiary of the project. It has given him hope that he will be able to continue to drive the sustainable sourcing of truffles in his hometown.

Liu says: "It is very important to complete this scientific training and education. The production of truffles not only has enormous scientific and economic value, but also, and perhaps more important, ecological value.

Accompanying Liu at the course were a police officer and a search dog from the Kunming Police Dog Base. The course also included truffle-hunting training for dogs and on-the-ground demonstrations of how to source truffles. In the past, pigs were typically used to locate truffles. However, the use of dogs can actually be more efficient and scientifically viable. Dogs are less likely to damage the truffles, as they generally have a more stable temperament and a better ability to understand instructions more clearly.

In the meantime, Yum China has created a number of new products that include truffles and has helped local companies to improve their standards to meet Yum China's procurement requirements. The procurement of truffles from Yunnan not only delivers economic benefits to the local area, but also helps food outlets like Yum China create more innovative menus. Since April, more than 2,200 Pizza Hut restaurants nationwide have featured pizza products containing high-end truffles from Yunnan.

Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China, says, "By enhancing local farmers' expertise and knowledge, and connecting them with our national customer base, we hope the Grow Local Initiative will improve local economic and living conditions and support the sustainable expansion of the truffle industry in Yunnan."

President Xi Jinping has said poverty alleviation initiatives need to be implemented in different ways and should be designed to encourage society to play an active role in reducing poverty.

Alice Wang, chief public affairs officer at Yum China, says the success of corporate social responsibility projects lies in perseverance. "The power of companies is not infinite. Only by combining the core advantages of companies and the strength of industries and society can we successfully drive sustainable development."

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2018-07-01 11:27:28
<![CDATA[Bad romance]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-07/01/content_36488556.htm At some point, we've all come across someone who seems to think life is a soap opera - and they're the star: Every breakup, minor setback and work spat calls for drama and despair.

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The melodramatic writings of Qiong Yao have inspired a whole slew of slushy satire

At some point, we've all come across someone who seems to think life is a soap opera - and they're the star: Every breakup, minor setback and work spat calls for drama and despair.

Fortunately, there's a handy way to stop them from chewing the scenery too much. Next time your friend has an emotional outburst, try asking:

Why are you suddenly so Qiong Yao?

Nǐ zěn me tū rán qióng yáo qǐ lái le?

你怎么突然琼瑶起来了?

Known as the "godmother of romance", Taiwan author Qiong Yao (Chiung Yao) is not just one of the best-selling romance writers of all time, she's also a cultural phenomenon. Born in 1938, Qiong Yao, whose real name is Chen Zhe, published her first novel at 25 and has produced over 60 works since, most famously Princess Pearl, the basis of the hit 1998 TV series. In 2018, the series was rebroadcast by Hunan TV and, even 20 years after its premiere, once again became daytime TV's top-rated show, as viewers relished the nostalgia of Qiong Yao hallmarks - melodramatic plots, love triangles and, most important, sappy dialogue.

The Barbara Cartland of Asia's personal style is so familiar that the author's pen name, meaning "precious jade", has become a byword for sentimentality. Thanks to mass media, dialogue from Qiong Yao's works has become widespread and are parodied online as "Qiong Yaostyle lines". Take the following scene from Princess Pearl, in which the lovers Fu Erkang and Xia Ziwei share honeyed words:

Ziwei: I'm begging you, could you please stop being so dashing?

Wǒ qiú qiu nǐ, bù yào zhè me shuài qì hǎo ma?

我求求你,不要这么帅气好吗?

Erkang: I'm begging you too, could you please stop being so sweet?

Wǒ yě qiú qiu nǐ, bù yào zhè me wēn róu hǎo ma?

我也求求你,不要这么温柔好吗?

Overhearing such a conversation in most real-life romance would make one's flesh crawl; but between friends, this exchange can be used sarcastically to express a false depth of gratitude for some routine favor:

A: Here, I picked up your package for you.

Nǐ de kuài dì, wǒ bāng nǐ lǐng le.

你的快递,我帮你领了。

B: I'm begging you, could you please stop being so nice to me?

Wǒ qiú qiu nǐ, bù yào duì wǒ zhè me hǎo xíng ma?

我求求你,不要对我这么好行吗?

Of course, romance is not only about sweet words. Even (or especially) the closest couples quarrel occasionally. When this happens, take note of the clever way that Ziwei deals with a jealous outburst from Erkang:

Z: You're overreacting!

Nǐ hǎo guò fèn o!

你好过分哦!

Z [shyly]: But I like your overreaction very much.

Dàn wǒ hǎo xǐ huan nǐ de guò fèn.

但我好喜欢你的过分。

Another mushy Qiong Yao hit is Romance in the Rain, the 2001 TV adaptation of which starred the same principals as Princess Pearl. In one of its most well-known scenes, heroine Lu Yiping reunites with the hero, He Shuhuan, at the railway station when the latter returns from war. Now, even if just meeting a friend for a movie, there's no reason why you must stick with a conventional greeting - instead, like Yiping, why not shout from a distance?

Shuhuan, don't come to me! Let me fly to you!

Shū huán, nǐ bù yào guò lái, ràng wǒ fēi bēn guò qù!

书桓,你不要过来,让我飞奔过去!

Besides dramatic reunions, Yiping and Shuhuan are known for their many verbal clashes in the course of their (probably emotionally abusive) amour fou. When the two decide to point fingers at each other, they show no mercy:

Shuhuan: You're heartless, you're cruel, you're unreasonable.

Nǐ wú qíng, nǐ cán kù, nǐ wú lǐ qǔ nào.

你无情,你残酷,你无理取闹。

Yiping: Are you not also heartless, cruel and unreasonable?

Nà nǐ jiù bù wú qíng? Bù cán kù? Bù wú lǐ qǔ nào?

那你就不无情?不残酷?不无理取闹?

Shuhuan: How am I heartless? How am I cruel? How am I unreasonable?

Wǒ nǎ lǐ wú qíng? Nǎ lǐ cán kù? Nǎ lǐ wú lǐ qǔ nào?

我哪里无情?哪里残酷?哪里无理取闹?

Yiping: How aren't you heartless? How aren't you cruel? How aren't you unreasonable?

Nǐ nǎ lǐ bù wú qíng? Nǎ lǐ bù cán kù? Nǎ lǐ bù wú lǐ qǔ nào?

你哪里不无情?哪里不残酷?哪里不无理取闹?

OK, enough: The debate goes on for another half-page, but luckily, the exchange is so iconic that, as long as you include the three key phrases, most people will immediately get the reference:

A: I am sorry, but I have to take a rain check on our dinner.

Duì bu qǐ, wǒ men chī fàn zhǐ néng gǎi tiān le.

对不起,我们吃饭只能改天了。

B: You are heartless, you are cruel, you are unreasonable.

Nǐ wú qíng, nǐ cán kù, nǐ wú lǐ qǔ nào.

你无情,你残酷,你无理取闹。

It seems that writing quarrels is Qiong Yao's secret to inflating her page count. In Princess Pearl, Ziwei and Erkang also have a long, repetitive fight.

Ziwei: She says you went to see the snow and the stars and the moon together, and talked (about things ranging) from poetry to song to philosophy.

Tā shuō nǐ men yī qǐ kàn xuě kàn xīng xing kàn yuè liang, cóng shī cí gē fù tán dào rén shēng zhé xué.

她说你们一起看雪看星星看月亮,从诗词歌赋谈到人生哲学。

Ziwei: But I've never seen the snow and the stars and the moon with you, nor talked from poetry to song to philosophy.

Wǒ dōu méi yǒu hé nǐ yī qǐ kàn xuě kàn xīng xing kàn yuè liang, cóng shī cí gē fù tán dào rén shēng zhé xué.

我都没有和你一起看雪看星星看月亮,从诗词歌赋谈到人生哲学。

Erkang: It's all my fault. I shouldn't have gone to see the snow and the stars and the moon with her, nor talk from poetry to song to philosophy.

Dōu shì wǒ de cuò, wǒ bù gāi hé tā yī qǐ kàn xuě kàn xīng xing kàn yuè liang, cóng shī cí gē fù tán dào rén shēng zhé xué.

都是我的错,我不该和她一起看雪看星星看月亮,从诗词歌赋谈到人生哲学。

Erkang: I promise, from now on, I will only see the snow and the stars and the moon, and talk from poetry to song to philosophy, with you.

Wǒ dā ying nǐ jīn hòu zhī hé nǐ yī qǐ kàn xuě kàn xīng xing kàn yuè liang, cóng shī cí gē fù tán dào rén shēng zhé xué.

我答应你今后只和你一起看雪看星星看月亮,从诗词歌赋谈到人生哲学。

Like life, love is full of ups and downs: Qiong Yao's lovers inevitably experience various vicissitudes in life - accidents, separation and even death - yet always manage to inject their misfortunes with pathos. In one episode of Princess Pearl, Ziwei becomes temporarily blind, and weeps to Erkang, who is himself seriously injured and comatose:

How can a shattered me save a shattered you?

Yī gè pò suì de wǒ yào zěn me zhěng jiù yī gè pò suì de nǐ?

一个破碎的我要怎么拯救一个破碎的你?

So next time someone asks for a favor but you are busy with your own issues, simply reply:

"Sorry, but a shattered me cannot save a shattered you."

Duì bu qǐ, dàn yī gè pò suì de wǒ wú fǎ zhěng jiù yī gè pò suì de nǐ a.

对不起,但一个破碎的我无法拯救一个破碎的你啊。

Yiping, on the other hand, is better at talking than writing. When her boyfriend Shuhuan returns to his hometown, she vents to her diary:

Day 1 after Shuhuan left: Miss him.

Shū huán zǒu de dì yī tiān, xiǎng tā.

书桓走的第一天,想他。

Day 2 after Shuhuan left: Miss him, miss him.

Shū huán zǒu de dì èr tiān, xiǎng tā, xiǎng tā.

书桓走的第二天,想他,想他。

Day 3 after Shuhuan left: Miss him, miss him, miss him.

Shū huán zǒu de dì sān tiān, xiǎng tā, xiǎng tā, xiǎng tā.

书桓走的第三天,想他,想他,想他。

And so forth. Qiong Yao's heroine may not be good writer (albeit, she is a fine mathematician), but this template is pretty useful. Two years ago, when the NBA's Kobe Bryant retired, one of his fans wrote on social media: "It's day one after Kobe left. Miss him."

Though Qiong Yao's success in romance writing is unmatched, her works are frequently criticized for promoting the wrong values, with moral guardians even labeling some of her lines as literary "poison". In Fantasies Behind the Pearly Curtain, the heroine Ziling falls in love with her sister Luping's fiance, Chu Lian, and they have an affair. Chu decides to come clean to Luping, but before he can do so, Luping, a dancer, loses her leg in a car accident.

Chu then marries Luping out of guilt, and when she finds out the truth, Luping takes revenge on the whole family. At this point, Ziling's husband, Fei Yunfan, calls out Luping in one of Qiong Yao's most notorious lines:

You just lost a leg, but what about Ziling? She lost half her life! Not to mention the love she threw away for you.

Nǐ zhī bù guò shì shī qù le yī tiáo tuǐ. Zǐ líng ne? Tā shī qù le bàn tiáo mìng! Gèng bù yào shuō tā wèi nǐ gē shě diào de ài qíng.

你只不过是失去了一条腿。紫菱呢?她失去了半条命!更不要说她为你割舍掉的爱情。

This line is usually quoted as evidence of Qiong Yao's "incorrect" views on love and life. In the show, Luping becomes speechless in the face of such impassioned criticism. But perhaps she should have just replied: "You are heartless, you are cruel, you are unreasonable!"

Courtesy of The World of Chinese; www.theworldofchinese.com.cn

The World of Chinese

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2018-07-01 11:27:28
<![CDATA[Best bets]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486394.htm Drama The Father starring Zhao Lixin and Jin Xing

Date: July 6-8 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

If you ask me which country's fathers are happiest, I will without hesitation tell you they are fathers in Sweden, who can enjoy 16 months of parental leave. Relishing the joys of family life for 480 days, while collecting a federal stipend, is their world sweet enough? They say research has shown that men who take paternity leave do live longer. But, let's take a closer look at a Swedish father, who is supporting his family, in addition to a disavowing a mother-in-law, and missing out on paternal bliss amid allegations that his wife is having an affair. The mighty three stars of his captain's insignia do not carry much weight at home anymore, while the problem is eating him alive. Zhao Lixin is an actor, director, screenwriter, and has been praised as a factotum among China's actors. He graduated from the State Film Academy of Russia, is fluent in four languages, and has directed and acted at the Swedish National Theatre. Jin Xing is a renowned Chinese modern dancer, actress and talk show host.

NCPA Dance Drama Commission The Railway to Tibet

Date: June 30-July 3 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

In 2007, bulldozers, drilling rigs, cranes and other large-sized machinery and equipment march toward Guanjiao Mountain slowly from a distance on the horizon. Under tumultuous background sounds, a group of railway builders arrive at Guanjiao Mountain and break ground for the new Guanjiao Tunnel in Qinghai province. Passing by piles of rocks, the railway builders happen to meet a middle-aged Tibetan woman (Yangchen) and her younger brother (Suolang). They hold butter lamps in their hands, and scatter a handful of highland barley to piles of rocks and ground as if they hold a memorial ceremony for someone. Catching sight of railway builders, Suolang inexplicably bubbles over with enthusiasm and speaks Tibetan language beyond railway builders' understanding. He rushes to stop them from drawing close to piles of rocks. Yangchen calmly and affectionately stares at the piles of rocks scattered around her, whispering something with a sophisticate's low and deep voice. Everyone listens to her story and time seems to travel back to 30 years ago.

Teatro di San Carlo Ballet Company: Cinderella

Date: July 6-8 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

Cinderella Op 87, is a ballet composed by Sergei Prokofiev to a scenario by Nikolai Volkov. It is one of his most popular and melodious compositions, and has inspired a great many choreographers since its inception. The piece was composed between 1940 and 1944. The Teatro di San Carlo is the oldest of the Italian theaters. It was built in 1737 by King Charles of Bourbon (41 years before La Scala, 51 years before the Phoenix). Considered "the most beautiful in the world" for the splendor of its main hall, it has acquired a prominent place in the history of music over the centuries, contributing to the formation of the Italian opera, from the eighteenth-century "opera seria" to the nineteenth-century romantic melodrama. However, San Carlo has also made a decisive contribution to the art of dance.

Vadim Repin Violin Recital

Date: July 2 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

Born in Siberia in 1971, Vadim Repin was 11 when he won the gold medal in all age categories in the Wienawski Competition and gave his recital debuts in Moscow and St Petersburg. At 14, he made his debut in Tokyo, Munich, Berlin and Helsinki, and a year later in Carnegie Hall. At 17 he was the youngest-ever winner of the Reine Elisabeth Concours. Andrei Korobeinikov is a one-of-a-kind pianist, with a unique and singular touch which combines power and technical mastery with an outstanding boldness and sensibility. Upon winning more than 20 international prizes, Korobeinikov was awarded the First Prize of the Scriabine International Piano Competition in 2004, and a year later, the Second & Audience Prize at Los Angeles' Rachmaninoff Competition. A typical artist, he offers personal programs in which poetry and literature meet music.

Drama A Song of Guangling

Date: July 14-15 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

During the Wei and Jin Dynasties, a group of scholars gathered in Shanyang. The sentimental, upright and unconstrained scholars took pleasure in touring across the landscapes, who are hailed as "Seven Saints of Bamboo Groves" in history. Nevertheless, in the context of the rise and fall of dynasties, celebrity Ji Kang, who is a prestigious leader of literary circles, is greatly scrupled by tyrannical clan surnamed Sima in power. When his friend Lyu An is framed and sent to jail, Ji Kang never hesitates to kick against the pricks, and comes out to argue in favor of Lyu An. Accordingly, Ji Kang falls into a long-standing trap under conspiratorial plots, and has to embark on the road of no return. Just before his execution, Ji Kang calmly plays the guqin (a seven-stringed musical instrument), looks up to heaven and sighs: "Guanglingsan (his most famous melody) disappears from now on!" Ji Kang achieves his immortality when walking toward the execution ground. The play is produced with Tang Ling as playwright, Zhou Long as director, Xu Ying as artistic director and famous composer Guo Wenjing as original music creator. Artistic creators of different backgrounds have produced an original full-scale drama with Chinese aesthetic features and performance characteristics concerning the spiritual essence of the Chinese people.

The 12 Cellists of Berliner Philharmoniker

Date: July 3 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

They are unique. Naturally, every symphony orchestra has its cello section. But nowhere else in the world have the deeper, larger strings joined together to form an independent ensemble - an orchestra within an orchestra - meeting with success after success. That is why every music lover knows immediately where the "12 Cellists" come from, even if they cannot name their orchestra. They are an institution. They have played together since 1972, appearing as an ensemble, occasionally in Berlin, often elsewhere, and quite often traveling great distances. Even their premiere concert, with its evening-long program, took place not in Berlin, but instead in Tokyo, the Japanese capital, a city with which they are still closely associated.

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2018-06-30 07:42:38
<![CDATA[Can you squeeze out an extra winner]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486393.htm In "Through the Looking Glass", Lewis Carroll wrote a song for the White Knight that includes the couplet, "Or madly squeeze a right-hand foot/Into a left-hand shoe." Many bridge players feel that way about squeeze plays; that they work only when in an expert's hand. But sometimes one will occur inexorably, without declarer having to do anything more than cash winners and watch the one specific card.

How does that apply in this seven-heart deal after West leads the diamond king? South's two-heart rebid promised a six-card or longer suit. So North jumped straight into Roman Key Card Blackwood to learn that his partner had the club ace and heart king-queen. With many chances for a 13th winner, North plunged into seven hearts. When the dummy came down, South saw that he had only 12 tricks: two spades, six hearts, one diamond and three clubs. But maybe clubs were 3-3; or if West had at least four clubs, he would be the victim of a madly squeeze! South won with dummy's diamond ace, drew trumps, played off the top spades, crossed to his hand with a club and cashed the rest of his trumps, just keeping an eye open for the diamond queen.

With five cards left, dummy had the diamond jack and four clubs. South held one heart, one diamond and three clubs. West retained the diamond queen and four clubs. But what could he discard on the last heart? He was squeezed. When he threw a club, declarer discarded dummy's diamond jack, then ran the clubs.

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2018-06-30 07:42:38
<![CDATA[Shows]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486392.htm China Film Symphony Orchestra

Date: July 6 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

China Film Symphony Orchestra is one of the outstanding national orchestras founded earliest in the People's Public of China. Over 60 years, along with the development of China's film and television music arts, the Orchestra has performed music for nearly 2,000 films, TV dramas, and documentaries. The Orchestra also performed music in more than 40 countries and regions, and played symphonic concerts, opera and ballets with international conductors, composers, musicians and dancers for many times to promote Chinese music development and international cultural exchange.

Peter Rosel Piano Recital

Date: July 8 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

Born in Dresden as the son of a conductor and a singer, Peter Rosel had his first piano lessons at the age of six. He completed a five-year study at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow with Dmitri Bashkirov and Lev Oborin. At that time, he became not only the first German prize winner at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition and the Montreal Piano Competition, but he also started an international career, which has taken him to the music centers of all continents. In 2011, Peter Rosel continued his recital series performing all 32 Ludwig van Beethoven sonatas within a period of four years. The artist presented this series in Japan, Germany and Switzerland, and was enthusiastically acclaimed at the Prague Spring Festival.

NCPA Dance Drama Commission The Railway to Tibet

Date: June 30-July 3 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

In 2007, bulldozers, drilling rigs, cranes and other large-sized machinery and equipment march toward Guanjiao Mountain slowly from a distance on the horizon. Under tumultuous background sounds, a group of railway builders arrive at Guanjiao Mountain and break ground for the new Guanjiao Tunnel in Qinghai province. Passing by piles of rocks, the railway builders happen to meet a middle-aged Tibetan woman (Yangchen) and her younger brother (Suolang). They hold butter lamps in their hands, and scatter a handful of highland barley to piles of rocks and ground as if they hold a memorial ceremony for someone. Catching sight of railway builders, Suolang inexplicably bubbles over with enthusiasm and speaks Tibetan language beyond railway builders' understanding. He rushes to stop them from drawing close to piles of rocks. Yangchen calmly and affectionately stares at the piles of rocks scattered around her, whispering something with a sophisticate's low and deep voice. Everyone listens to her story and time seems to travel back to 30 years ago.

Music in the Summer Air: Velvet Underground 50th Anniversary Memorial Concert in Shanghai

Date: July 11 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Symphony Hall

The Velvet Underground are an avantgarde New York City band whose unconventional and screeching sounds paved and shaped the roads of "underground" rock 'n' roll. Beginning in small clubs, the band originally enjoyed a cultlike following of dedicated fans, who rejoiced in a sound that, at the time, was deemed "undanceable". Eventually, the band emerged from the cracks and shadows of Greenwich Village to form a union with the infamous Andy Warhol, whose notoriety catapulted the group of experimentalists to new and unseen heights. As they linked up to travel the Unites States, they overwhelmed audiences everywhere with a surreal concoction of images, films, lighting effects, and music, known as the Exploding Plastic Inevitable tour. With not only a rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame induction under their belt but also four albums in the Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of all Time, The Velvet Underground still influences a younger generation of artists, who one can only hope will uphold the underground's tradition of challenging and piercing the conventional boundaries of not only music, but creativity as a whole.

Musical: Kinky Boots in Shanghai

Date: July 11-22 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Culture Square

The winner of six 2013 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Kinky Boots features a Tony Award-winning score by Cyndi Lauper, a book by Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein, and direction and choreography by Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell. Inspired by true events, it takes you from a gentlemen's shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father's expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory's future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos. This joyous musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind. It has won every major Best Musical Award and is represented around the world with the Tony Award-winning Broadway company now in its fifth year.

Teater Refleksion: The Way Back Home

Date: June 30-July 8 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Shanghai Children Art Theatre

When the boy discovers a single-propeller airplane in his closet, he does what any young adventurer would do: He flies into outer space! This wonderful story explores the boundless imagination of children. Through puppet animation and wonderful music we tell the story of one boy's adventure into outer space and the quest he must undertake to help his new friend. "Oliver Jeffers' book jumps off the page and into space in this beautiful stage adaptation." - Irish Times Produced in association with Baboro International Arts Festival for Children. Teater Refleksion creates performances for children and adults alike. They have during the past 25 years created a unique knowledge and skills in puppetry and animation theatre. The performances are created in an intense production work where every detail and every movement is refined and perfected. It requires great precision and attention to create the illusion that the puppet has life. When seeing one of Teater Refleksion's performances one has to devote oneself to a concentrated presence and intense attention. To them the content is of great importance - they strive for universality in the choice of story or theme. At its best the performance can be enjoyed by both adults and children. If the performances are able to inspire the audiences to live their lives with courage and engagement, then they succeed in our aim to touch and challenge.

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2018-06-30 07:42:38
<![CDATA[Nightlife & Activities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486391.htm Chinese Shadow Puppet Masterpieces

Date: Aug 5 - 10:30 am

Venue: Bandai Namco Shanghai Base

In 2011, China shadow puppet was officially listed in representatives of human intangible cultural heritage. Masterpieces is a compulsory course for all Chinese children. In 5,000 years of Chinese history, masterpiece classics and fantasy myths, all of them contain profound art education. Worried boring text? Worried about the depth of the plot? There is no need to worry about. The omnipotent stage allows the classic deeply imprinted on the children's hearts. Here, monsters, carriages, horses and sedans can be made. Cutting mountains, pouring the sea into the earth, flying and penetrating into the ground can be shown. Coupled with all kinds of shadow special effects and sound and light effects, it is more than "incisively and vividly".

Hans Christian Anderson: Life's A Fairytale

Date: July 26-29 - 7:30 pm

Venue: National Centre for the Performing Arts

Led by famous Danish director Steen Koerner, dance superstars combine contemporary acrobatics and various dances to give a brandnew interpretation of fairy tales written by Hans Christian Andersen. The performance is offered to audiences of all ages. From the elderly, children to parents, all family members can enjoy a joyful feast together. It's characterized by bold visual effects, super soundtracks, extraordinary sound effects and top-grade stage effects. They can enjoy the wonderful singing melodies by singers along with various stunt performances, which end with Andersen fairy tale, The Ugly Duckling. Six Andersen tales, i.e., The Nightingale, The Unwise Hans, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Princess and the Pea, Little Match Girl and The Ugly Duckling, are familiar to one and all. On the basis of various elements such as the theatre, dance, latest acrobatics, video, animation, music and singing, supplemented by narration and singers' earnest melody, a dozen dancers and acrobats showcase their talents. The meticulously-designed physical form creates a stunning three-dimensional lighting sculpture and presents a fantasy world that is true to nature. Multiple projectors cover the stage, while front and rear areas are projected for full animation from beginning to end. The stage scenery is tailored so that dance jumping from one scene to another achieves the best stage effect. Flying lifting rope is another stage prop.

Hello, My Name is Paul Smith

Date: June 30-Oct 7 - 10 am

Venue: Today Art Museum, Beijing

British fashion designer Paul Smith brings his simply titled "Hello, My Name is Paul Smith" exhibition to Beijing this June. Brought to you by Beijing Chuanbao Technology, the exhibition will be held in the Today Art Museum from June 8 to Oct 7. The exhibition is a touring exhibition showcasing the fashion designer's journey in building his company, as well as his stylistic tastes and eye for design. It combines the artistic and the business aspects of running a fashion brand and gives the audience a glimpse into the designer's world, helping people understand the interactions between operating within an industry as a business and within the fashion world as a designer and artist. From his company's modest beginnings in Nottingham to its international prominence today, this exhibition reveals how Paul Smith's intuitive take on design, together with an understanding of the roles of designer and retailer, have laid the foundations for lasting success and offers a unique insight into the magnificent mind of Paul Smith.

The Shadows Thief AuMents Malasombra Visual Theater Dance

Date: Aug 22-26 - 7:30 pm

Venue: Beijing Tianqiao Performance Art Center

An emotionally dark, richly visual fairytale for adults and heavy-metal kids. How would you feel if your shadow took over your soul and began exploring its own desires and urges? What would you do? How could you get it back? Are self-confidence and friendship with others enough to defeat the evil of the shadowy Mister Malasombra? Internationally acclaimed Spanish company auMents combines visual theater, dance, video art, object theater, experimental shadow theater and rock music to create a beautiful, exciting, fantastical journey through a collective fantasy, plunging us through the human soul's darkness and light. Malasombra is a production that was developed for the stage in collaboration with auMents dance theater (Spain); cartoonist Max (Spain) winner of the National Comic Book Award 2007. Max was responsible for the dramaturgy and the project's artistic implementation inspired by the world of shadows.

Art Book in China at M Woods in Beijing

Date: June 30-July 6 - 12 pm

Venue: M Woods

Check out books, magazines, zines and art from a variety of imprints and artists with special spotlights on Indiemags from Germany, Japanese photo editions from Einstein Studio and the Desktop Art Fair.

UCCA Art Film Screenings This Is Now: Film and Video After Punk in Beijing

Date: June 30-July 1 - 1:30 pm

Venue: Ullens Center for Contemporary Art

UCCA brings This is Now: Film and Video After Punk, a major new touring project that looks at artists' film and video from the post-punk era (1979-85). These programs focus on work from the early 1980s that explore the blurred lines between media images and identity, creating new dialogues between the self and the world. It was an uncertain, politically contentious time, a time in which - very much like today with the internet - technology appeared to ease life, yet also created gaps between people. Artists considered what images and technology could mean and be in their fullest sense. Works will be screened in English with subtitles.

Play: Equus

Date: June 30-July 16 - 7:30 pm

Venue: The Capital Theatre - Renyi Experiment Theatre

Dr. Martin Dysart, a dissatisfied and disaffected psychiatrist, is faced with a unique case when a young man, Alan Strang, is brought to him for treatment. Alan, a passionate and obsessive horse lover, has blinded six horses, to the horror and surprise of his family. In his efforts to coax Alan out of his shell and treat him, Dr. Dysart begins to unravel the complex psychological puzzle of Alan's obsessions. Underneath Alan's complacent manner, Dr. Dysart discovers a fervent, passionate, almost religious power that has both the power to destroy Alan, and perhaps, to save the doctor himself. English playwright Sir Peter Shaffer's international hit is a dazzling, complex, and thrilling look at passion, sex, religion, and sanity.

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2018-06-30 07:42:38
<![CDATA[VETERAN CHINESE SINGER SET FOR COMEBACK]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486390.htm Among the many fans who watched C��line Dion's June 2 performance at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was a musician who enjoys the same level of fame back in her home of China.

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Hang Tianqi commemorates her 30-year-long career with three new singles and a national tour

Among the many fans who watched C��line Dion's June 2 performance at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was a musician who enjoys the same level of fame back in her home of China.

Hang Tianqi, a veteran in the Chinese music scene who has released more than 20 full-length albums throughout her career, flew all the way to Las Vegas from Shanghai just to catch the performance.

"There were thousands of audiences of all ages and from different cultures watching the singer performing her biggest hits. Her voice is powerful and she hit every note perfectly. I was really inspired by the performance," said Hang, who is preparing to make a comeback to the music scene after a long absence.

Hang says that she plans to release three new singles and embark on a five-city tour across the country to commemorate her 30-year-long career. The first single I Still Love You, which was released on June 26, features a collaboration between Hang and the China Philharmonic Orchestra.

"I decided to return as a singer because I still love singing," said Hang.

"I am in a very comfortable phase in my life (right now) and when I recorded the song, I noticed that my way of singing has changed. It's very smooth and it's like telling a story."

During her absence from the music scene, Hang has been conducting vocal training for young students at her music school in Shanghai.

"I still have shows from time to time so I never feel too far away from the stage. My role as a teacher also keeps me updated about the latest trends in the music scene. In fact, I even find inspiration from my young students," she says.

Born into an intellectual family, Hang was introduced to music by her father, an electronic engineer who played the vinyl at home and made her an electronic organ. She recalls how her father loves listening to classical music, especially Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's creations, because of his study experience in the Soviet Union.

Recalling the milestones in her illustrious career, Hang says that she will never forget the day she applied to the CCTV National Young Singers Competition.

"Before the CCTV National Young Singers Competition, I had never participated in any singing competition because I didn't believe that art could be judged," she says.

Hang, who was then a 22-year-old vocal student of the Beijing-based Capital Normal University, chose to compete in the pop music category as she wanted to challenge herself - she grew up learning traditional Chinese folk songs and classical music.

But she almost failed to submit her application as she arrived late at the office. Thankfully, a familiar face helped her out.

"Just when I was about to leave, a staff member called out my name. I realized that she was a senior student in my university and we had met a couple of times on campus. She helped me file the application form and gave me the chance to do the first round of audition," Hang recalls.

Hang went on to beat thousands of others in the competition to secure a spot in the final where she performed two pop songs, My Beloved Hometown and Yellow Earth of the High Plateau, both of which feature folk music styles native to northwestern China. She eventually finished second in the competition.

With her wide vocal range and expressive singing style, Hang rose to fame as a household name and became a solo singer in a song and dance troupe of the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army.

"All of a sudden, people recognized me when I walked on street and I had the opportunity to release my solo albums," recalls Hang. "It was overwhelming and exciting for a young singer."

While she had a passion for pop songs, such as those by Taiwan singer Teresa Teng (1953-1995), Hang only sang them in private because her teachers considered such music frivolous compared to classical music.

In 1989, she made her debut performance at CCTV's Spring Festival gala, one of the most-watched television shows in the country. Such was her magnetism that she went on to perform at the gala for nine consecutive years.

In 1990, she performed the song Black Hair in the Air for the 11th Asian Games. The song later became one of Hang's most popular hits.

"My schedule was hectic. Unlike today's singers, who have many team members to take care of them, I traveled alone to perform at cities across the country. The good thing was that I managed to build long-lasting friendships with other singers who shared stages with me then," Hang recalls.

Hang slowed the pace of her career in the 2000s after getting married and giving birth to her children.

"I am lucky because I've witnessed the golden era of original Chinese music in the 1990s, which gave birth to lots of timeless songs," Hang says.

"Today, the music industry has totally changed. I am now ready to meet some new fans during my tour."

chennan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-30 07:42:12
<![CDATA[Love Letters to debut in Beijing in August]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/30/content_36486389.htm She was one of the most well-known TV hosts of the country, appearing in national galas such as CCTV's annual Spring Festival gala and the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Despite racking up these achievements, Zhou Tao quit her job at CCTV in 2016 to embark on a new career as the performing director of the Beijing Performing Arts Group.

The 50-year-old will now return to the stage, albeit one of a different nature, for her debut performance in the theatrical production Love Letters.

Since its premiere in April in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, the play has toured 18 Chinese cities including Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Chongqing and Zhuhai, Guangdong province. The play will debut in Beijing on Aug 16.

Directed by Russian dramatist Yury Eremin, Love Letters revolves around the romance of two characters which spans from 1975 to 2015. After meeting one another in middle school, the couple becomes separated due to their respective career pursuits.

"This play allows me to dream," says Zhou. "I play the role of Lu Jiajia from her teenage days to when she becomes an adult. The age difference is challenging. I had to recall my youth to portray the role."

Zhou's hometown, Anhui province, is known for huangmeixi, a traditional Chinese opera with a history dating back to the ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907). As such, she grew up with a passion for theater and received acting training in high school.

After graduating from China Communication University, Zhou worked for three years at Beijing Television and 23 years at CCTV.

"I always wanted to perform in theater. If I didn't quit my job at CCTV, I wouldn't have had the chance to play the role and fulfill my dream of becoming a theater actress," Zhou says.

According to Wang Keran, the producer and one of the scriptwriters of Love Letters, the play also mirrors the country's transformation since its opening-up in 1978.

The pair recorded the key moments when their lives were affected by changes in society in their love letters to one another. Some of the events mentioned include the restarting of the national college entrance exam in 1977, the coming of the Internet age in the early 2000s and the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.

"We wanted to depict the relationship against the backdrop of the country's changes," says Wang. "In this way, the audience can relate to the play because they have also experienced the same events like the two leading characters."

Chinese actor Sun Qiang plays the role of Zhang Mingliang, the other leading character. Sun has performed in various movies and TV series as well as in Taiwan director Stan Lai's eight-hour epic play A Dream Like A Dream.

"I was attracted by the story of Love Letters because it reminded me of my days in school," says Sun.

One of the most unforgettable moments from his time in school was when his house was burned down in a fire on March 31, 1983.

"I felt so terrified at that moment. When I came to school the day after the fire, many classmates came over to me and sent me lots of gifts. It was very touching," recalls Sun.

"Among the students who presented me gifts was a girl I had crush on. She gave me a pencil box and a notebook and I was so excited. All those feelings are vividly depicted when I play the role of Zhang Mingliang."

If you go

Time 7:30pm, Aug 16 to 19.

Address: Poly Theater, 14 Dongzhimennan Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing.

Tel: 400-600-4100

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2018-06-30 07:42:12
<![CDATA[Sinotruk makes inroads, achieves success in global marketplace]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358388.htm The China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, also known as Sinotruk, is eyeing opportunities created by the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit held in Qingdao and making inroads into the markets of its members.

In February, the company won a vehicle procurement bidding contract to become the sole heavy duty truck provider for road construction projects totaling 710 kilometers in Kazakhstan by China Xinxing Construction and Development General Corporation.

Sinotruk will provide a first batch of 146 dump trucks and tractors for the project, according to the contract.

Employees of the China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, also known as Sinotruk, are flanked by trucks that have been exported to Kazakhstan. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

Wang Bozhi, chairman of Sinotruk, led a delegation to visit Xinxing after the contract signing, and expressed the company's willingness to strengthen cooperation with Xinxing in other projects around the world.

To prepare for the vehicle procurement bidding in Kazakhstan, Sinotruk sent overseas representatives to conduct detailed market research on the prices of sand and gravel, earthwork transport costs, local workers' wages and tax policies.

Sinotruk initiated its communication with Xinxing after winning the bid for its construction projects three years ago, providing Xinxing with details about its sales, network and after-sales services solutions and bespoke projects.

The company said that it had won Xinxing's trust with its sales data, after-sales services network and product quality, adding that winning the bid was testimony to its brand and market competitiveness in the largest Central Asian country by area.

The project will show Sinotruk's capabilities for large-scale infrastructure construction projects in the region, the company said.

This is another major deal that Sinotruk has reached in SCO member markets.

Sinotruk signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with the administration and the operator of Gwadar Port in Pakistan in August 2017, another important step forward in the company's global expansion.

It has exported a total of nearly 50,000 trucks to SCO members, and remained China's largest seller of heavy duty trucks in Central Asia and South Asia, where it has realized a full coverage of its sales, services, and parts-supply networks, according to the company.

Headquartered in Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong province, Sinotruk has representative ofices in other SCO member countries - Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and India.

It has a total of 350 market development and maintenance employees working in these countries. Also, Sinotruk has registered new companies in Russia and Kazakhstan and employs locals in company management.

Sinotruk said it looks forward to taking advantage of the SCO platform to promote industrial capacity cooperation with foreign countries and localize its assembling operation. It is currently engaged in three knocked-down assembly projects with SCO members, which will create jobs for locals, enhance the competitiveness of its products and boost relevant industrial upgrading and development in the host countries.

Sinotruk exported 12,004 heavy duty trucks from January to April, up 30 percent yearon-year, the fastest growth period in the company's history.

Sinotruk's heavy duty trucks, which have reached Euro V emission standards, have entered the markets of Ireland, Brazil, New Zealand and China's Hong Kong.

It is the first Chinese truck brand that has not only entered the Western European market, but also assembled trucks according to its knocked-down model in the region.

Last year, Sinotruk exported 33,700 heavy duty trucks, up 26.8 percent compared with 2016, which accounted for 49.2 percent of China's heavy duty truck exports, up 2.3 percentage points year-on-year. Some 11 percent of its total sales went to international markets.

According to comparable statistics, Sinotruk's revenue from exports (export delivery value) in 2017 was 10.09 billion yuan ($1.58 billion), up 15.7 percent year-on-year, which has made Sinotruk the largest heavy duty truck exporter in China for the past 13 years.

Founded in 1956, Sinotruk produced China's first ever heavy-duty truck. It introduced a heavy-duty truck project from Steyr, Austria, in 1983, becoming China's first company to import heavy-truck manufacturing technologies from abroad. The company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007.

Over the past decade, the company has expanded its business from just a truck manufacturer to an exporter and international service provider. It has set up six regional headquarters, covering Southeast Asia, the Middle East, South Africa, North Africa, Central Asia and South America.

The company has more than 590 service centers, 72 representative offices and 15 knocked-down assembly factories in its overseas sales network, covering more than 100 countries and regions.

It is betting big on the overseas market, with the expectation that half of its total sales will come from outside of China by 2020, according to the company. The rising demand in Africa and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has played an important role in beefing up its exports.

"We made it a corporate strategy to go global as early as 2004, and we have been China's largest heavy truck exporter for 13 years in a row, totaling more than 300,000 units," said Yang Zhengxu, president of Sinotruk International, a subsidiary dedicated to its overseas operations.

Lan Junjie, general manager of the manufacturer's international department, said Sinotruk has set a firm goal to increase its presence in developed countries.

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2018-06-09 07:22:07
<![CDATA[Development parks fuel new economic drivers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358387.htm Jiaozhou rides economic high on the back of special industrial zones

The city of Jiaozhou in East China's Shandong province is riding an economic high on the back of its five functional development parks and making the most of new economic drivers.

"Jiaozhou has made great economic achievements in recent years, and the five development parks are the crucial backbones for the economy," said Sun Yonghong, Party chief of Jiaozhou.

Performers from a local arts inheritance and protection center stage yangko, a form of Chinese folk dance that is popular in Jiaozhou. Wang Binghui / For China Daily

The five development parks are the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay International Logistics Park, the Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, the Qingdao Jiaodong Airport Economic Demonstration Zone, the Qingdao Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park, and the Dagu River Ecotourism Resort.

Well connected

The Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay International Logistics Park, established in January 2003, covers an area of 6.87 square kilometers and is among the first batch of State-level logistics parks.

It takes half an hour to drive to Qingdao Liuting International Airport and the Qingdao Qianwan Port from the logistics park.

The Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport is just 7 kilometers away from the park.

Three highways and four railways run around the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay International Logistics Park.

Meanwhile, the Qingdao center for CRIntermodal rail container logistics in the logistics park is developing five international train routes to connect Russia, Mongolia, Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the ASEAN countries.

With its all-round logistics network, the Qingdao Jiaozhou Bay International Logistics Park has already forged itself into the only multimodal transportation center that integrates marine, railway and highway transportation among the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, according to local officials.

In addition, the park is equipped with professional support service centers, such as a customs supervision center, a bonded logistics center, a commodity trading center and a comprehensive service center.

The customs supervision center is taking the lead in China in establishing a customs information sharing platform, which largely simplifies customs clearance procedures.

The clearance time for commodities imported from the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative has been shortened by 13 hours.

As for exported commodities, it only takes one working day to complete customs clearance.

Smart and high-tech

The Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone is innovating in smart manufacturing, smart cold chains, smart homes, biomedicines, supply chain logistics, e-commerce and science and technology.

In the past five years, the development zone has introduced 132 companies, including China International Marine Containers Group, Qingdao TGOOD Electronic Co and e-commerce giant JD.

The investment for the zone's 132 projects has totaled 151 billion yuan ($23.52 billion).

The Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone has made progress in terms of city and industry integration.

In the past few years, an array of supporting facilities have settled in the development zone.

They are Qingdao University Jiaozhou Campus, the Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, the Huahong Bay International Tourism Resort, the Liqun Group commercial complex, ecological wetland parks and apartments for academicians and experts.

Natural beauty

The Dagu River Ecotourism Resort, another functional development park helping boost Jiaozhou's economy, covers an area of 31.8 sq km and enjoys a temperate climate. Without freezing winters or blistering summers, the resort is a holiday paradise.

After a decade of development, the resort has turned over a new leaf, evolving into a provincial-level ecotourism resort, national water park, national wetland park and a national 4A scenic area.

The resort attracted 1.3 million tourists last year.

Taking to the skies

The Qingdao Jiaodong Airport Economic Demonstration Zone will forge itself into a modern, smart and ecologically-friendly area.

Taking full advantage of the new airport, the airport economic zone will focus on developing high-end aviation-related industries and strengthening trade with the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Crossing continents

The Qingdao Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park is paying a lot of attention to cross-border trade and cooperation.

Looking ahead, the industrial park is proactively applying to establish the Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, aiming to enhance cooperation with SCO countries, according to Zhu Nini, chief of the administrative approval section of the Jiaozhou Bureau of Commerce.

To forge new economic drivers, Jiaozhou is devoting itself to introducing emerging, high-end industries and enhancing science and technological innovation, according to an official at the publicity department of Jiaozhou.

This comes as the city also makes efforts to attract high-quality investment, promoting the gathering of modern logistics, Internet Plus, high-end equipment manufacturing and aviation-related industries.

Jiaozhou introduced 267 major projects last year, valued at 179.5 billion yuan in total.

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[Sights set sky-high for airport industry]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358386.htm Jiaozhou's fortunes are about to fly, as the Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport nears opening.

"The Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport, located in Jiaozhou on the outskirts of Qingdao, is scheduled to go into service by the end of 2019," said Zhang Peiyu, head of the policy studies department of the Qingdao Jiaodong Airport Economic Demonstration Zone Administration.

"By then, the new airport will have 131 domestic routes, 25 international routes, connecting Jiaozhou with 99 domestic and overseas destinations. The Jiaodong airport is ranked as 4F, the internationally highest level for an airport. Big civil aviation aircraft like the Airbus 380 and Boeing 787 can take off and land at this new airport," Zhang added.

"It will be the pivot of domestic routes and the Northeast Asia's routes."

The first phase of construction is due to be completed by 2025. It is projected to handle 35 million passengers and 500,000 metric tons of cargo annually. In total, 298,000 air flights are scheduled to take off and land at the airport every year.

When the project is fully finished in 2045, the Jiaodong airport should be able to serve 55 million passengers, one million tons of cargo and 452,000 air planes annually.

The new airport will continue to focus on developing and enhancing international flights to Europe, North America and Oceania.

"Relying on the new airport, the Qingdao Jiaozhou Airport Economic Demonstration Zone is advancing its plans to develop into a modern, ecologically-friendly airport city, featuring an aviation hub, high-level airport industry and smart city," Zhang said.

According to the official plan, the 149-square-kilometer economic demonstration zone consists of several areas, such as an international airport area, airport service area, bonded logistics area, commercial area and land port area.

To forge a new economic driver for Shandong, the demonstration zone is paying close attention to attracting industries and enterprises.

"We have extremely high standards for introducing enterprises. The high-tech manufacturing industry, high-end service industry, key aviation industry and environmentally friendly industry are preferred," Zhang said.

Currently, 90 quality enterprises intend to do business with the economic demonstration zone, according to the Qingdao Jiaodong Airport Economic Demonstration Zone Administration.

"By virtue of its flights, advanced bonded area and land port, the economic demonstration zone will play an important role in the Belt and Road Initiative," Zhang said.

The airport bonded area, covering an area of 1.49 sq km and with total investment of 6.5 billion yuan ($1.02 billion), will focus on developing bonded logistics, international trade, bonded processing and bonded warehousing services.

The land port of the economic zone will cooperate with the Qingdao center for CRIntermodal rail container logistics to establish a three-dimensional logistics network, integrating sea, land and air transportation.

"Building up this multimodal transportation logistics system will help Qingdao to become a world-class central terminal station and strengthen its cooperation and trade with member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization," Zhang added.

To promote the streamlined experience in establishing airport economic zones, the Civil Aviation University of China has set up the China Airport Economic Demonstration Zone Development League in Jiaozhou.

The Qingdao Jiaodong Airport Economic Demonstration Zone will share its experience with other founding members and foster the integrated development of domestic airport economic demonstration zones.

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[City facilitates Eurasian cooperation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358385.htm The Qingdao Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park has thrust Jiaozhou into a more important role in the Belt and Road Initiative and among member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, according to local officials.

The first phase of the industrial park covers an area of 8.28 square kilometers and is located in the Jiaozhou Economic and Technological Development Zone, a State-level development zone in the city.

The industrial park has applied to establish the Economic and Trade Cooperation Demonstration Zone of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has been received positively by the Ministry of Commerce.

Zhu Nini, chief of the administrative approval section of the Jiaozhou Bureau of Commerce, said: "The industrial park will have access to cooperate with Central Asia, South Asia and SCO countries in terms of bidirectional investment, trade logistics, port transportation, international capacity and development area cross-border cooperation."

In fact, the industrial park has accumulated rich experience in foreign trade with the countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative already, Zhu added.

Relying on the Port of Qingdao and the Qingdao center for CRIntermodal rail container logistics, the industrial park has strong commercial exchanges with the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The center, one of 18 terminals operated by CRIntermodal, is located at Jiaozhou.

With a total investment of 525 million yuan ($81.89 million), the logistics center is capable of handling 1.18 million twenty-foot equivalent units annually.

"The logistics center offers five international train services, connecting Northeast Asia with Europe, fostering Jiaozhou to go ahead in developing the Silk Road Economic Belt," said Zhang Zhaoyu, manager of the marketing department of the Qingdao center for CRIntermodal rail container logistics.

Servicing international trains, the logistics center handled 980,000 TEU from 2015 to 2017, witnessing an increase of 786.7 percent when compared with the previous three years.

"The Qingdao Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park has also gained plenty of achievements in attracting foreign projects and assisting Chinese enterprises in going global," Zhu said.

To date, 33 key projects have settled in the industrial park with a combined investment totaling 41.8 billion yuan.

The industrial park has a good cooperative relationship with SCO countries, such as Russia and Kazakhstan, according to Zhu.

By establishing overseas industrial parks, the Qingdao Eurasian Economic and Trade Cooperation Industrial Park is helping qualified Chinese enterprises go global, including Haier and Hisense, she added.

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[Qingdao's Laoshan streamlines, boosts its business environment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358384.htm Laoshan district in the city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong province has made great progress in optimizing its business environment, in the wake of the local government's innovative launch of one-to-one personalized services for companies - as well as action taken to tackle and solve the problems of local enterprises, officials said.

They said the Laoshan government identified 328 problem areas and made 599 adjustments to cut red tape, to improve services for local enterprises.

Qingdao Yufang Robot Industry Co is one of the beneficiaries. With increasing numbers of orders this year, the company felt restricted by its limited production area and planned to move out of Laoshan.

A floral display decorates the roadside in Laoshan district of Qingdao, Shandong province, to greet attendees of the ongoing SCO Summit. Provided to China Daily

 

After learning about the situation, Huang Yingsheng, deputy head of Laoshan district, and officials from the economic development bureau and scientific innovation committee visited the company to find out more about its difficulties and needs, arranging a larger 1,700-square-meter production site.

To create a more efficient environment for businesses, Laoshan district has repealed 13 of its nonvital inspection and approval procedures.

The local authorities have taken steps to speed up inspections and reduce paperwork for businesses pursuing projects. Currently only nine items are needed for examination, down from the previous 22, before approvals can be granted.

According to Lin Haixia, an official at the Laoshan market supervision bureau, companies in the district can now register their businesses in an office hall, seven regulatory offices and various banks, as the bureau cooperates with banks and has opened registration windows in their branches to make it easier for companies.

The business registration office hall has six zones, including a business processing zone, consultation and guidance zone and a network service zone.

"Our aim is to make it convenient and comfortable for companies, and serve Laoshan's businesses efficiently," Lin said.

Qi Yuguo, director of the market supervision bureau in Laoshan district, said intelligent robots are now used to serve locals, responding to voice or text questions.

The robots answer questions about a businesses' registration, advertising, management, trademark applications, consumer rights protection and other related areas.

In addition, the district will put a WeChat remote identity authentication system into practice. Through face recognition and authentication technology, the identity information of the legal representatives and shareholders of companies can be checked and a business registration authorized remotely.

The system also avoids the risks of fraudulent use of identity information in obtaining industrial and commercial registrations.

Through the support and effort of the Laoshan government, the number of different types of businesses have increased dramatically in the district, reaching more than 2,500 businesses in the first quarter of this year, a 17.8 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

There are 569 companies in Laoshan district, each with registered capital greater than 100 million yuan ($15.9 million). The number of enterprises in the district ranks second of all districts in Qingdao.

With a registered capital of 630 million yuan, the new local unit of global furniture giant Ikea settled in Laoshan district in October.

Specialists at the market supervision bureau assisted the Swedish company to handle the registration materials, answered its questions and utilized an intelligent government-enterprise registration system to check Ikea's registration documents online.

When Ikea staff submitted materials at the Laoshan district administrative hall, it only took 10 minutes to complete the entire process.

The company plans to invest 1.4 billion yuan in total there in Laoshan and is expected to generate 400 million yuan in annual sales from the local outlet, which is still under construction.

In March, executives from home appliances maker Haier's intelligent manufacturing cloud platform, Cosmo, signed an agreement with Laoshan to lead the development of the district's intelligent manufacturing sector.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

Hub district eyes greater growth

Laoshan Mountain, the highest coastal mountain in China with the highest peak of 1,132.7 meters, is located near the East China Sea on the southeastern coastline of the Shandong Peninsula.

The mountain is culturally significant due to its long and enduring links to Taoism, and is regarded as one of the cradles of the religion.

Laoshan, in eastern Qingdao, is a new and modern district suitable for living and business. The district attaches great importance to the development of innovation and promotes emerging and service industries.

In recent years, it has become the leading district for high-end industry in Qingdao.

The finance sector is a pillar of emerging industries in Laoshan.

The Jinjialing Financial District in Laoshan is a center for national wealth management and a comprehensive financial reform and experimental area in Qingdao, providing preferential policies and professional incentive systems for the financial industry.

Since 2012, Jinjialing Financial District has promoted the building of a financial ecosystem, support facilities and risk prevention and control systems. During that time, the average annual growth rate of added value in the financial sector has reached 20 percent.

According to the district's three-year construction plan, it's designed to become an international wealth management base, a leading financial science and technology area and a financial security demonstration zone.

The added value of financial sector is expected to reach 17.5 billion yuan by 2020, accounting for 25 percent of the district's GDP.

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2018-06-09 07:22:07
<![CDATA[Companies go on the hunt for international partners]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358383.htm Strategic cooperation seen as key factor for groups to achieve better growth

Companies in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone are looking for international partners in order to strengthen their long-term development, and officials and business leaders there said they were making good progress.

Chinese equipment manufacturer Weichai Group, headquartered in the zone and currently in a key phase of its business upgrade and transformation, hosted the first suppliers gathering there since it was established, aiming to deepening cooperation with companies overseas.

A technician with Shengrui Transmission examines a front-drive eight-gears auto transmission unit produced by the company. Located in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, the company is a winner of the National Science and Technology Progress Award in January last year. Photos Provided to China Daily

More than 220 representatives from more than 100 companies participated in the meeting on Feb 26. Officials said that Weichai Group in recent years has taken on great responsibilities in supporting Shandong's efforts to replace old economic development drivers with new ones.

The company has announced an ambitious plan to achieve annual sales revenue of more than $100 billion in the upcoming years, compared with sales of about 220 billion yuan ($34.4 billion) last year. For both Weichai and its suppliers, that kind of exponential growth means tremendous business opportunities will spring up.

In line with that, Weichai is building an industrial park in the zone to support its production and upgrade.

Global vehicle parts suppliers and service providers are encouraged to set up production facilities in the park.

Meanwhile, Weichai's German supplier, Mann+Hummel has decided to utilize its know-how to enhance the speed of its responses to Weichai's requests and apply better controls on its costs to support Weichai's development plan.

Strategic cooperation is considered a key factor for companies in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone to achieve better growth. Apart from Weichai, automotive manufacturer Foton and some local manufacturing giants have also partnered with international companies to boost their core competitiveness. The local giants include GoerTek, an audio equipment developer, Shengrui Transmission, the developer of the world's first front-engine, front-drive eight-gear auto transmission, and Weifang Special Steel.

Shengrui Transmission won the National Science and Technology Progress Award in January last year. The award is one of the top prizes devised by the State Council in recognition of scientific contributions made by both companies and individuals.

It is the first time a vehicle component maker in China has won such an award. Since its establishment, the company has been committed to integrating its overseas resources to support its growth.

Shengrui has established research and development centers in Germany and the United Kingdom to support its new product development. Shengrui claims its products have leading German design, UK engineering technologies and China's industrial production technologies.

Shengrui also claims intellectual property rights for products developed through partnerships with German companies. "We required our partners to disclose the complete development process. Our engineers stayed in foreign countries for three years," said Zhang Guanghan, deputy director of Shengrui's Engineering and Technology Research Institute.

Zhang was assigned to work in leading companies and labs in Germany and Italy, to learn about their technologies and methods in dealing with matters over the years. Shengrui has built an industrial park and invited some leading transmission component makers to launch operations there.

The park is now home to nine companies, including two listed companies and one State-owned enterprise.

The zone has long been committed to encouraging leading companies, such as Weichai and GoerTek to strengthen communications with famous universities and institutes to expand local R&D capacity.

The zone has set out a goal to have 50 famous universities, institutes and other campuses set up representative offices there by 2020. And it is estimated that the output value of its high-tech industry by 2020 will account for 80 percent of overall output value of the zone. Officials said they aim to have two companies established there with annual sales revenue of more than 100 billion yuan by 2020.

Zhou Jinjiang contributed to this story.

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[Weichai Power buys into nascent global solid fuel cell market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358382.htm Weichai Power, the subsidiary of Weichai Group, has signed a strategic agreement with the United Kingdom's solid oxide fuel cell supplier Ceres Power - to strengthen its position in the new energy power supply industry.

The move means Weichai Power is breaking into the cutting-edge solid oxide fuel cell, or SOFC market, and is a major step in the company's efforts to adopt new power sources.

Weichai agreed on May 16 to buy a 20 percent stake in Ceres Power for 40 million ($53.26 million). It will also establish a joint venture with Ceres Power before 2020 in Weifang.

Initial plans are for the parties to work together to develop a 30 kilowatt SteelCell SOFC fuel cell range extender system for the Chinese market in early 2019, utilizing compressed natural gas technology.

The joint venture will be the only authorized company in China to use the SteelCell technology, which is a low-cost SOFC technology developed by Ceres Power.

According to Ceres Power, its unique patented SteelCell technology generates power from widely available fuels at high efficiency and is manufactured using standard processing equipment and conventional materials such as steel, meaning that it can be mass produced at an affordable price for domestic and business use.

Weichai Group, a leading heavy truck and components developer and manufacturer in China, is set to build a new energy industrial park, supporting Shandong province's efforts to replace old economic development drivers with new ones.

The industrial park will have a complete new energy vehicle production industrial chain, including complete vehicles, powertrain systems, batteries and engines. The investment for the industrial park will total 50 billion yuan ($7.81 billion), according to the company.

"Weichai, one of the leading companies in China's equipment manufacturing industry, has responsibilities and confidence to bring important resources, leading experts and the state-of-the-art technologies to China to support Shandong's economic upgrade plans and China's environment protection efforts," said Weichai Power Chairman Tan Xuguang.

Tan said the partnership with Ceres Power was a key step in advancing Weichai's development plan and supporting the construction of its industrial park.

"We look forward to progressing our partnership with Ceres Power to bring more solutions to China's new energy industry," Tan said.

Phil Caldwell, CEO of Ceres Power, said that the partnership marked a milestone in Ceres Power's development by providing it access to the Chinese market, the world's fastest-growing market for fuel cells.

"We are delighted to be working with Weichai in a partnership that provides access to the Chinese market for our SteelCell technology and also scale-up capital for our growth in the UK," Caldwell said.

Caldwell said Weichai has a successful track record of partnerships with international companies, which made his company confident about future cooperation.

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[Links to leading research and development bodies yield top results]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358381.htm The Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone is encouraging companies to partner with leading research and development institutes to strengthen their technological innovation capabilities.

Weifang Wanlong Electric Co Ltd, a traditional electrical products manufacturer in the zone, on April 3 joined forces with the Chinese Academy of Sciences to launch a new institute aimed at speeding up its work on thermoacoustics - a type of energy generation using heat to create sound, and sound to create electricity - and the commercialization of that technology.

On the same day, Wanlong also obtained 1 million yuan ($156,156) in funding from the zone to support its recruitment plans for the institute.

It is not the first time a firm has partnered with the CAS to boost its innovation. With support from the zone, Wanlong set up a joint venture company in 2016 with the academy to focus on developing electroacoustic technologies.

Liu Lin, chairman of Wanlong, revealed that the company has reached a preliminary agreement with China's leading home appliance maker Haier to supply five million units of thermoacoustic refrigerators to Haier. Currently, Haier is undertaking reliability tests of Wanlong's products.

The zone hosted a meeting on April 20 and invited representatives from Wanlong to share the company's experiences in partnering with leading research institutes to support its business upgrade and its transformation.

"It is painful to perform industrial transformation. We invested a lot in seeking the right people and advanced technologies," Liu said.

Liu said Wanlong used profits generated from its traditional businesses to support the development of new projects.

Sun Dexiu, chairman of Shandong Hangwei Orthopedics Medical Instrument Co, said that the meeting was inspiring for businesses.

"Companies need to have courage to enhance their core competitiveness. They should not begrudge the money spent on innovation," Sun said.

The zone's authority decided to regularly host gatherings for companies that have successfully accomplished industrial upgrades, so business managers can have more opportunities to exchange ideas and solve problems.

"We hope the business and institute cooperation model can be adopted by other businesses in the zone, so as to support the zone's long-term industrial growth," said Guo Deyong, head of the Commission for Discipline Inspection in the zone's Economic Development Bureau.

Establishing collaboration between companies and leading research institutes is a practical way to maintain local economic growth, according to the zone's official.

In addition to its existing recruitment and training policies, more personalized policies will be rolled out to lure professionals to the zone to support business innovation, according to zone officials.

Guo said the zone will soon release two policies to encourage high-growth and technically driven small and medium-sized enterprises, paying more attention to enhancing research, innovation, technological upgrades and design capabilities.

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2018-06-09 07:23:32
<![CDATA[Dynamic site of SCO summit illustrates benefits of trade]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358380.htm Positioned at junction of historic Silk, Maritime Roads, region boosts links with diverse nations belonging to Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Yuan Shenggao reports.

East China's Shandong province is going all out to support this year's summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which takes place in the coastal city of Qingdao on Saturday and Sunday.

Provincial officials expect the meeting to strengthen trade ties between Shandong and member nations in the SCO, a political, economic and military group comprising eight countries. The organization, created in 2001, has expanded last year to include India and Pakistan.

Located in eastern China, Shandong province has vowed to strengthen trade ties with Shanghai Cooperation Organization nations. Provided to China Daily

 

Shandong is ideally positioned to boost trade ties, especially in light of the China-inspired Belt and Road Initiative. The province, sits at the intersection of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, has already achieved outstanding results in promoting cultural and economic exchanges and people-to-people communications.

The summit, officials said, will be an opportunity to review the "Shanghai Spirit", strengthening solidarity, mutual trust and all-round cooperation, and forging a closer community with a shared future among the SCO nations, which are Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

"The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit is an important diplomatic gathering held in China. Shandong will spare no efforts in providing quality services and support," said Liu Jiayi, Party chief of Shandong province. "Shandong will continue to boost the opening-up by taking advantage from this summit."

Statistics from the Department of Commerce of Shandong province show that the trade volume between Shandong and SCO member countries reached 118.6 billion yuan ($18.72 billion) in 2017, of which exports were 68.2 billion yuan and imports were 50.4 billion yuan. Direct investment from SCO members, mainly Russia and India, hit 1.25 billion yuan in 2017. Shandong's direct investment in SCO countries was 440 million yuan in 2017.

The positive trend continued in the first quarter of 2018, with the import and export volume between Shandong and SCO countries reaching 28.7 billion yuan. The import volume was 14 billion yuan. Shandong's direct investment in SCO countries was 30 million yuan.

She Chunming, head of the Department of Commerce in Shandong province, said that the economies of Shandong and SCO countries are mutually complementary, which is a key reason for the strengthened trade ties.

According to local authorities, cooperation in the energy sector plays an especially important role in supporting trade between Shandong and SCO countries.

Shandong, home to many refineries, has a growing demand for natural gas and crude oil. Businesses in Shandong imported crude oil valued at 10.03 billion yuan from SCO countries in Q1 this year, up 25.6 percent year-on-year, according to authorities.

Shandong, a traditional agriculture-supply hub in China, also serves an important role in helping some SCO countries, which have modest number of crops, to expand their agricultural products offerings.

Farmers in Daotian town in Shouguang, Weifang, have established an association to manage vegetable exports and related matters. Each year, about one-fourth of the whole vegetable output from Daotian is exported to Russia.

Xisen Potato Industry Group in Dezhou was assigned to cultivate new varieties of potatoes for Kazakhstan. The company said that some varieties have been planted in Kazakhstan for one year and are set to be promoted in the country soon.

"Those new varieties of potatoes have better resistance to drought and diseases. They are popular among local farmers because they have higher output volume than traditional varieties in Kazakhstan," said Hu Baigeng, general manager of Xisen.

Hu also said Xisen has signed cooperation agreements with institutes in Kazakhstan to deepen potato-growing research in fields such as drought resistance and stress resistance.

In 2017, the value of Shandong's agricultural products exported to and imported from SCO countries was 11.07 billion yuan. In addition to that commitment, Shandong also exported some of its advanced agricultural machines and technologies to those countries.

Agreements have been signed with many countries along the Belt and Road such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to promote bilateral technologies commercialization and trade. Shandong will also organize companies to participate in exhibitions, launch product demonstrations and sales centers and build warehouses in SCO countries.

The China-Asia Express Rail was launched in Qingdao in July 2015 to better connect Shandong with surrounding countries and regions. After a few years' network expansion, nine cities including Weifang, Qingdao and Linyi have launched such transportation services.

China-Asia Express Rail service made its debut in Jinan, capital of Shandong, on April 13. The first train, which carried 54 containers, took 13 days to arrive in Uzbekistan, compared to about 20 days in traditional transportation mode. Shandong used to send goods to central Asian countries via road transport, which took a much longer time than train.

Shandong now has eight international freight train service routes. In the first quarter of 2018, China-Asia Express Rail made 56 journeys and China-European Express Rail has made 14 journeys from their points of origin in Shandong.

Aiming to promote industrial cluster development in foreign countries, Shandong has built nine economic and trade cooperative zones. Among these, Pakistan Haier and Ruba Economic Zone, China-Russia Tomsk State Wood Industry and Trade Cooperation Zone, Central European Trade and Logistics Cooperation Center in Hungry and the Sino-Hungarian Borsod Industrial Zone are national-level industrial parks.

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2018-06-09 07:22:53
<![CDATA[Internationalization key to businesses' global outreach]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358379.htm Shandong has achieved outstanding results in promoting internationalization and will continue to do so, officials said.

The province, which covers an area of 155,800 square kilometers, is known for its abundant natural, cultural and economic resources. It is the birthplace of Confucius and the home of Taishan Mountain. The Yellow River estuary also lies in Shandong.

The legendary Confucius has made a profound impact on Chinese society and the rest of the world. Official statistics show that 525 Confucius Institutes and 1,113 Confucius related courses have been launched in 146 countries and regions worldwide by the end of December.

Taishan Mountain, meanwhile, is a place of profound cultural significance and was a place of worship in ancient China. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

Shandong, which boasts invaluable culture and natural resources, is also economically one of the most prosperous regions in China.

It reported a GDP of 7.27 trillion yuan ($1.15 trillion) in 2017, ranking it third among the provinces and municipal cities in China. It also has a strong position in industries such as engineering machinery, transportation equipment, textiles and apparel.

Haier, headquartered in Qingdao, is one of the biggest home appliance producers and developers in the world. Its products are traded in more than 100 countries and regions.

The province's Tsingtao Beer is also a major global player. Established more than 100 years ago, it has expanded its sales network to more than 90 countries and regions.

Local corporate, China National Heavy Duty Truck Group Co, or Sinotruk, has successfully extended its sales network to more than 100 countries and regions. It has built 15 joint ventures in countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Sinotruk's products have gained high recognition in developing countries," said Chairman Wang Bozhi. "We are exploring opportunities in some high-end markets and have entered Australia, New Zealand and Brazil."

Shandong is also home to high-speed train developer and manufacturer CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co.

Shandong is taking a significant role in supporting the nation's economic upgrade. The region became the first comprehensive pilot zone in China to replace old economic growth drivers with new ones. A fund to do so, with 40 billion yuan in capital, was established by the Shandong government.

According to Shandong's latest regional development plan, closer attention will be paid to five emerging sectors: the next generation of information technology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy and new materials, the ocean economy and healthcare. It will also promote high-end chemicals manufacturing, modern agriculture, culture and creative endeavors, quality tourism and the development of modern financial industries.

Shandong, with strong manufacturing potential, has become an ideal investment hub for Fortune 500-listed companies such as Google and Apple.

Fortune-500 listed companies launched 63 new projects in Shandong in 2017, with total investments of 28 billion yuan. These companies, from 14 countries and regions, are engaged in industries such as modern services, high-end equipment manufacturing and environmental protection.

Statistics from the Department of Commerce in Shandong province show that the influx of foreign capital reached 78.7 billion yuan in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 8.5 percent.

Shandong has been actively promoting the Belt and Road Initiative over the past few years.

"At the intersection of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Shandong has unique advantages in promoting China's opening-up and strengthened cooperation with domestic partners," said She Chunming, head of Shandong's Department of Commerce.

"The Belt and Road Initiative builds a new platform for companies in Shandong to seek opportunities in global markets," She said.

The official revealed that Shandong invested 10.06 billion yuan in countries and regions involved in Belt and Road Initiative in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 81.7 percent.

Shandong officials said that the province will build a number of infrastructure and cooperation platforms by 2020, to encourage the arrival of more multinational companies and establish some overseas industrial parks.

They estimated that in the coming years the average annual growth rate for exports and imports between Shandong and countries taking part in Belt and Road Initiative would be 5 percent. Shandong's direct investment would also grow about 15 percent per year in upcoming years, officials added.

tangzhihao@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-09 07:22:53
<![CDATA[Cultural exchanges spur strengthened ties among organization's countries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358378.htm Blessed with a wealth of history, Shandong has been playing its part in promoting cultural exchanges and strengthening friendships with countries involved with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

In 2017, artists from 67 cultural communications teams from Shandong participated in a total of 892 visits to countries and regions all over the world. Among which, 41 teams visited countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In return, 427 foreign culture exchange teams consisting of thousands of artists visited China last year, according to officials.

Wang Tingqi, deputy director of the Shandong Provincial Department of Culture, said that the countries and regions along the Belt and Road are blessed with unique features due to their diverse cultures, ethnic religions and beliefs.

"Shandong will seek common ground while marking differences and showing respect to every cultural tradition. For different countries and regions, we will plan different and unique activities," Wang said.

Shandong's efforts are a reflection of the Silk Road Spirit - peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit - and the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations and the pursuit of common development, Wang added.

Last April, Shandong's Department of Culture released measures to better support the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Shandong will develop high-end communications platforms, activity brands and cooperation facilities to speed up construction of a Belt and Road cultural cooperation and communications center," Wang said.

Shandong will sign more cultural cooperation agreements, annual implementation plans and memorandums of understanding with countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, to build cultural cooperation mechanisms and to promote communication between governments and non-government bodies, Wang revealed.

A range of Confucianism-related activities, such as the annual International Confucius Cultural Festival, World Confucian Conference and Nishan Forum, have been staged and have become high-end platforms to communicate with countries and regions along the Belt and Road. Nishan in Qufu, Shandong province, is the birthplace of Confucius.

In addition to the commitment, Shandong has launched a project to build a cultural exchange system that can integrate cultural resources in different regions in the province under one roof, to enhance its capabilities in cultural exchange.

Wen Shanchang, an official in charge of foreign affairs at the Shandong's Department of Culture, said: "Shandong has become one of the most active provinces in China in promoting cultural exchanges through various activities in countries and regions along the Belt and Road.

"The culture, art and history of Shandong have been promoted in countries such as Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Lithuania, Japan, Serbia and South Africa."

In August 2017, the Belt and Road Book Fair in Shandong attracted 96 overseas publishing houses from 35 countries, 51 domestic publishing houses and four copyright agencies.

In September last year, the province staged Shandong Week at the China Pavilion of Expo 2017 Astana, Kazakhstan.

Audiences had the chance to appreciate Shandong's traditional art performances and intangible cultural heritage, such as Weifang kite flying, wood engraving and Caozhou flour sculpture.

The 31st Nishan Book House was established in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, last April. Operated by Shandong Publishing Group, the mini libraries have provided over 10,000 Shandong-produced books in countries such as Malta, Russia and Poland.

The Shandong authorities are also keen to introduce more of the culture of SCO countries to local residents.

Russia's top performance troupes regularly appear in shows at Shandong Grand Theatre in Jinan, capital of Shandong province.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-09 07:22:53
<![CDATA[Maritime industry rides waves of modernization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358377.htm Shandong has vowed to establish world-class seaports, perfect its modern maritime industry and enhance its sustainable maritime environment - to forge core competitiveness and global influence.

Shandong Peninsula has a coastal area of 159,000 square kilometers and a coastline of 3,345 kilometers, which accounts for one-sixth of the whole coastline of the country.

It is home to the Port of Qingdao, Yantai Port and Rizhao Port, each with an annual handling capacity of more than 400 million metric tons.

Liu Jiayi, Party chief of Shandong, said that the province has to leverage its own geographical advantage on the oceans to forge an all-round openness and upgraded business environment.

The Port of Qingdao, China's second largest port for foreign trade, has an annual handling capacity of 500 million tons and can berth the world's largest bulk freighters.

An automatic container handling terminal developed by the Port of Qingdao was put into use on May 11. The port claims the proprietary intellectual property rights for the terminal, which can handle 42.9 containers per hour - a world record.

Yantai Port, which has been operating since 1861, has transported goods to more than 100 ports in over 70 countries and regions, and imports the most bauxite, used in the production of aluminum, in China.

The port has established a terminal in Guinea as well as opened its own shipping line, which allows the direct shipment of bauxite from the West Africa country to Yantai. It imports 30 million tons of bauxite from Guinea annually.

Shandong also has five other ports, namely Rizhao Port, Weihai Port, Dongying Port, Weifang Port and China Binzhou Port.

In May, Shandong integrated China Binzhou Port, Dongying Port and Weifang Port, so that they could develop faster and cooperate with one another.

"This is just the first step for Shandong to restructure and upgrade its ports, which shows the province is about to forge itself into a strong hub for the maritime economy," said Wang Zhongwu, professor at Shandong University.

Shandong's efforts in developing a modern maritime industrial chain have generated positive results. Strong foundations have been built in maritime ecology, high-end equipment, seawater desalination and green maritime chemicals engineering.

Thanks to the development, a batch of renowned enterprises, such as China International Maritime Containers Raffles, or CIMC Raffles, and Shandong Oriental Ocean Group Co, has sprung up.

CIMC Raffles, a maritime engineering equipment supplier, is a leader in Shandong's high-end maritime manufacturing industry.

The company has constructed one of the largest maritime drilling platforms in the world, which has a height of nearly 37 floors. It can operate in waters as deep as 3,000 meters and can drill as deep as 15,200 meters.

CIMC Raffles' drilling platforms are used across the world's main oil production regions, including the North Sea off the coast of Norway.

The traditional maritime industry of Shandong is also showing signs of development potential.

Shandong Xingfa Fishery, an aquatic products company, processes and cans tuna from the Indian Ocean and exports it to Europe, America, Japan and South Korea.

"In the past, we could only process and export raw materials for primary production, the prices of which were quite low. But after updating our technology, we are now capable of producing products with extremely high-added value," said Gao Feiyue, manager of Shandong Xingfa Fishery.

Shandong is in the process of establishing a maritime economy reform and development zone, aimed at consolidating competitive maritime industries, accelerating high-tech maritime industries and enhancing maritime services, according to the local government.

In accordance with a government plan, the added value of Shandong's modern maritime industry is expected to hit 2.3 trillion yuan ($362.37 billion) by 2022.

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-09 07:22:53
<![CDATA[Success sought across Belt and Road Initiative]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-06/09/content_36358376.htm Shandong is taking measures to support enterprises seeking business opportunities in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as fostering its brands abroad.

"Countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative have relatively low business costs and abundant raw materials, and so have become a major destination for companies from Shandong," said Zhang Xingcheng, an official from the province's Department of Commerce.

Zhang said that key business projects between Shandong and countries along the Belt and Road have made some positive progress, and that currently, cooperation is mainly concentrated on rubber tires, textiles and clothing, machinery and equipment, and electronic and electrical appliances.

Statistics from the Department of Commerce in Shandong province show that companies in the province invested 2.51 billion yuan ($395.57 million) in countries along the Belt and Road in the first quarter of 2018, up 96.1 percent year-on-year.

Twenty-two enterprises and organizations in Shandong obtained approvals from the authorities to invest in countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative. Total investment contributed by Chinese investors in Q1 amounted to 3.14 billion yuan, an increase of 47.7 percent year-on-year.

China has approved the building of 20 national-level overseas economic and trade cooperative zones in the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, of which four are being developed by Shandong.

The Sino-Hungarian Borsod Industrial Zone, developed by Yantai Wanhua Group, is a national-level overseas economic and trade cooperation zone in China's chemicals industry. The zone plays an important role in supporting Shandong to build an industrial cluster abroad. By the end of 2017, the cooperation zone reported a total production value of $1.9 billion.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization nations, which play a significant role in supporting the Belt and Road Initiative, have long been attractive business destinations for Shandong companies. Taking Qingdao as an example, companies from the coastal city had invested in 74 projects in SCO countries as of the end of 2017, with total investment reaching 3.2 billion yuan.

Qingdao-based home appliance producer Haier's production base in Russia achieved 40 percent sales revenue growth year-on-year last year, according to the company's statistics. It also created nearly 2,000 jobs in Russia.

Weichai Group's India factory, put into operation in 2013, is the first production facility built by the heavy truck engine and component manufacturer in a foreign country. It reported positive profits in its first year of operation.

Through this plant, Weichai has introduced marine and hydraulic products and high-power generator sets to South Asian markets.

Kerui Petroleum, a high-end oil equipment manufacturer in Shandong province, has been continuously expanding its market in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other Central Asian countries, as well as Turkey and Russia.

Kerui has also built natural gas filling stations in Uzbekistan to promote green development.

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-06-09 07:22:53
<![CDATA[Wenchuan prospers from decade of growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305840.htm

 

Clockwise from top left: Women taste cherries from Koushan village in Wenchuan county, Sichuan province. Planting cherries has become a pillar industry of the agricultural economy in northern area of Wenchuan. Women in Yingxiu town of Wenchuan embroider traditional designs of the Qiang ethnic group. Shuimo town of Wenchuan is overlooked by snow-capped peaks in winter. Photos Provided to China Daily

Area's economy transformed, towns and villages rebuilt to become must-visit destinations

A decade after the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, the remote area of Sichuan province now welcomes millions of tourists a year, bringing wealth to the locals.

Yang Yungang, 53, operates a restaurant in Yingxiu town, near the epicenter of the disaster.

"We have 12 round tables in the restaurant and several tables across the street, but at peak times there is always a long queue," he said.

More than half of a total of 12,000 locals died during the earthquake that struck on May 12, 2008. Yang and his family were among the survivors.

Yingxiu town locals now live in specially designed houses built to withstand earthquakes, funded by a 1.71 billion yuan ($267 million) investment from Dongguan, Guangdong province, as part of the national policy for cities to help each other in difficult times.

More than 1,000 residents have opened shops, homestays and restaurants, as well as those who have found work as tour guides or sightseeing coach drivers.

"We were born and grew up here. No one wants to leave. We want to work together to build a new Yingxiu," Yang said.

A former truck driver, Yang opened his restaurant in 2012, which has quickly become well known for its crispy pork and tofu pudding. Last year, the restaurant's net profit was 250,000 yuan.

Over 2.56 million people visited the town in 2017, helping to generate a revenue of 174 million yuan for Yingxiu's services industry and an average annual wage of more than 20,000 yuan per person, according to data from the local authority.

Rural revitalization was a major topic of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October.

Ten kilometers down the road from Yingxiu is Shuimo town.

Before the 2008 earthquake, Shuimo was highly polluted from the 60-plus factories located there.

During the post-earthquake reconstruction program, all heavy industries were removed and replaced with tourism based on the traditions and culture of the Qiang ethnic group.

Today, more than 300 shops, built in a traditional style, sell specialty foods and handicrafts. The town has become a bustling tourist attraction.

"In the past, when we went outdoors, our faces would become covered in dust from the pollution," said one local official. "But now, the environment has changed. Visitors have come. We have opened shops, restaurants and homestays. Some have become guides, and local income has improved."

During the Labor Day holiday in 2011, more than 70,000 people visited the small town, overwhelming many other local businesses.

"There was people mountain, people sea. As soon as any dish left the kitchen, it was grabbed by a hungry quest, and we ran out of plates," said one restaurant owner.

Shuimo town was declared a "lighthouse of post-disaster reconstruction" by the United Nations that year. Tourism revenue regularly tops 600 million yuan annually, according to the town authority.

Koushan village of Wenchuan is predominantly inhabited by people of the Qiang ethnic group. Before 2008, locals made a living by simple farming. Today, it has a developed tourism industry based around agriculture, and improved wealth and social welfare for locals.

Yu Fahong, director of the village, said it plants almost a square kilometer of green plums and red cherries and produces 500 metric tons of fruit annually.

The average income for the village of just 725 people regularly surpasses 100,000 yuan, according to the village authority.

Planting cherries has become a pillar industry of the agricultural economy in the northern area of Wenchuan. By 2017, annual production of the surrounding five regions was about 9,000 tons valued at 270 million yuan.

A newly-constructed highway has made Koushan village more accessible to outsiders. It too has begun developing a rural tourism industry featuring Qiang culture tourism.

Wang Na, deputy Party chief and head of Wenchuan, said many of the once industry-focused towns have transformed to tourism-driven economy after the earthquake.

Data from local authorities show the number of visitors to Wenchuan has surged 100-fold from 2008 to 2018. In 2017, more than 6 million people visited, spending 2.7 billion yuan in the local area. Wang said she expected visitor numbers to reach 8 million. this year.

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2018-05-31 07:37:51
<![CDATA[Tourism provides new lease of life, improves local social welfare]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305839.htm Southwest China's Sichuan province is expected to welcome more than 100 million visitors and generate a revenue of 50 billion yuan ($7.83 billion) in the "red tourism" sector this year, said Lyu Zhijun, deputy inspector of the Sichuan Tourism Development Committee.

The term refers to tourism centered around prominent sites from China's revolutionary period.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up and the Year of Red Tourism of Sichuan province.

The province attaches great importance to the innovative development of high-quality travel routes, services and marketing of the red tourism industry this year.

The province not only aims to honor the country's history and make tourism resources more available, but in doing so, hopes to help alleviate poverty and contribute to building a more beautiful, prosperous and harmonious Sichuan.

In the meantime, Sichuan will promote cooperation with France, Germany and other countries with rich red tourism resources to build famous international tourism routes and products and improve international influence of the province.

According to the Sichuan government, the province will launch an initial five red tourism integrated development demonstration zones and continue the construction of a Sichuan tourism park to accelerate the integration of culture and tourism.

Working with universities and scientific research institutions, Sichuan officials will build innovative development and research bases to boost the potential of red tourism.

Sichuan will promote the construction of tourism infrastructure at nine classic red tourism sites, develop new red tourism routes and integrate red tourism with education and culture, as well as the agriculture and technology sectors.

Yuan Yuan, deputy director of Sichuan Tourism Development Commission's industry development office, said that the Sichuan red tourism sites include Liangshan, the Long March in Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, residence of famous people in history, and northeastern regions in the province, which are important areas of inheritance of the red spirit.

Guang'an city, as the hometown of Deng Xiaoping, "chief designer" of China's reform and opening-up, will launch Deng Xiaoping memorial exhibition.

The 2018 Huaying mountain tourism culture festival will include a Deng Xiaoping-themed day to cherish memory of the leader on Aug 22, Deng's birthday.

During the three-day May Day holiday, the Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall launched events, such as offering flowers to remember Deng, providing free films that attracted a large number of tourists.

According to official statistics, a total of 107,500 tourists visited Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall, far more than the number of people who have visited Guang'an in previous years.

In addition, Guang'an is strengthening its cooperation with Chongqing to build a Huaying mountain tourism development integrated mechanism and plans to open a Guang'an-Chongqing red tourism train.

Two regions will launch photographic exhibition of the five-year achievements of Guang'an and Hechuan district in Chongqing and red travel activities including the Zhazi Cave Prison and Baigongguan Prison of Chongqing, the Deng Xiaoping Memorial Hall and Huaying mountain of Guang'an.

Sichuan's Panzhihua, the old iron and steel industrial city, holds rich cultural heritages.

Yang Jun, director of the Panzhihua city cultural broadcasting press and publication bureau, said the city often invites experts and scholars to discuss heritage protection, inheritance, development and utilization of Panzhihua's cultural resources.

Panzhihua has made efforts to apply for national historical cultural city status and promotes integrated development and health care-related industries to assist the transformation of the city.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

 

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2018-05-31 07:37:51
<![CDATA[Alibaba, Beijing join hands to create new retail city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305838.htm Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is showcasing its technological achievements in the new retail sector to global participants at the ongoing fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

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E-commerce giant uses strength in technology to lead in shopping revolution

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is showcasing its technological achievements in the new retail sector to global participants at the ongoing fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

New retail, a combination of offline and online experiences, features the use of big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the new retail sector with the Beijing Commission of Commerce on Monday to upgrade the consumer market and build the capital into a new retail city.

Last month, Alibaba rolled out its New Retail City initiative, with Xi'an in Shaanxi province, Wuhan in Hubei province, Chengdu in Sichuan province, as well as Tianjin and other cities, joining the program.

Beijing, as the latest participant, is expected to see roughly 5,000 traditional shops go online, as part of the plan.

Alibaba's mapping unit, AutoNavi Software Co, also known as Gaode Map, will share geographic information with the Beijing Commission of Commerce.

Beijing residents will be able to find nearby vegetable markets, convenience stores and nursing rooms, as well as snack bars and restaurants at any time via the Gaode Map app.

"As part of Alibaba's infrastructure, Gaode will utilize its innovation capacities of developing internet products to serve users out and about and provide data for businesses, becoming a professional living map," said Liu Zhenfei, the new president of Gaode Map.

Five Hema stores, an emerging online-to-offline supermarket backed by Alibaba, have opened in Beijing, and 30 more are in the pipeline to open this year. Imported fresh fruit and seafood on Hema's shelves are all shipped to China directly from their countries of origin to ensure the product quality.

As an exemplar of Alibaba's new retail project, the Hema stores provide customers an option to shop or order online via the Hema app and have their orders delivered to their homes within half an hour.

In addition, thousands of supermarkets in Beijing are now listed on Ele.me, an online food delivery platform, which allows Ele.me drivers to deliver not only takeaway food but also fresh vegetables and other commodities to buyers at home.

Alibaba's online grocery store Tmall Supermarket has made efforts to promote the sales of time-honored brands in China, including Daoxiangcun pastries, Wuyutai tea and Beibingyang soda.

Statistics show that the sales of Beijing's time-honored brands in Tmall increased 90 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

The number of online buyers has jumped by more than 85 percent year-on-year, most of whom are non-local young people, the company said.

Jiang Xinjie, a senior expert of the new retail engineering department at Alibaba, said that the company has a strategic layout in the new retail sector and is providing a set of solutions needed by customers, as each of Alibaba's arms have complementary advantages in their businesses.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A visitor holds a lobster taken from a water tank at the Hema-branded seafood section of Alibaba's exhibition area at the ongoing China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services. Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

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2018-05-31 07:36:49
<![CDATA[IT service providers seek international cooperation partners]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305837.htm China's information technology service is marching its way into the world of smart manufacturing with growing cross-border cooperation in the industry, experts said.

As part of the fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, the 2018 Smart Service Summit and the sixth Matchmaking Conference for International Software and Information Enterprises were launched on Wednesday, focusing on the development of a manufacturing industry that features smart services.

At the summit, software developers and IT service suppliers from home and abroad involved in big data, cloud computing, internet of things and artificial intelligence took part in exchanges with representatives of the manufacturing industry in sectors such as automobiles and electronics.

"Over the past 30 years, China's manufacturing industry has grown fast but not strong enough," said Zhong Mingbo, director of the Beijing Association of Sourcing Services, a co-organizer of the summit.

IT tends to be integrated into business processes, he said. "The manufacturing requires the IT support to become stronger."

Thunder Software Technology, a high-tech enterprise in Beijing, also known as ThunderSoft, is seeking international cooperation in the areas of smart vehicles and IoT. The combination of IT and manufacturing is an inevitable choice for enterprises and is consistent with the country's strategy, said Zhu Hongqin, vice-president of ThunderSoft.

In the past, China had advantages because of its demographic dividend and low-cost labor force, she said. "Now we have our own technology and intellectual property, and accessing the biggest market relies on independent research and development.

"The automobile industry and IoT are the most promising sectors at the present and in the future," Zhu said. "We hope to become a top provider of smart technologies through cross-border cooperation."

Beijing Mingyue Software Technology, a high-tech company that provides IT services, was founded in 2017. It is displaying its IT-enabled static traffic products at CIFTIS.

The current problem of road traffic in urban areas is the lack of IT management, especially in the first- and second-tier cities, said Zhang Luchuan, vice-president of the company.

"In the heart of the first-tier cities, the construction and maintenance of parking lots has high costs and cannot keep up with the rising demand," he said.

In order to reduce those costs and make it easier for drivers to find a parking space, the company has developed an intelligent parking space lock. The smart lock can share information about a parking spaces status, whether it is occupied or vacant, and also provides drivers with the ability to book the space via a smart phone app.

"The parking problems are mostly about time and space. Thus we developed a product to realize remote control, information and payment in real time," Zhang said.

By installing the lock, owners of a parking space's can rent it out to others by using Beijing Mingyue Software Technology's app or through WeChat.

"With the proposal of green commuting, we hope this product can help to save time for drivers," Zhang added.

Overseas institutions including the Japan Information Technology Services Industry Association and India's National Association of Software and Services Companies also took part in the discussions on international cooperation between IT and manufacturing industries.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-31 07:36:49
<![CDATA[Hong Kong facilitates link between markets in mainland, overseas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305836.htm Hong Kong is helping to push the development of Chinese enterprises in overseas markets as part of its role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

That was the consensus at the Chinese mainland-Hong Kong Services Industry Symposium held on Tuesday during the fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a key strategy for national development and its connecting infrastructure should be a priority in building a solid foundation for bringing more investment projects and trade, said Stephen Liang, assistant executive director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

"Hong Kong possesses a geographical advantage with sound financial infrastructure and diversified services, and the Belt and Road Initiative has provided us a clear idea to play a role in the trade service," he said.

In 2017, the council combined with the National Development and Reform Commission to sign the official working agreement on the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, aiming to promote Chinese mainland enterprises' efforts to go abroad.

Hong Kong features an export-oriented economy and knows more about the international market, thus can help Chinese mainland enterprises to connect with overseas markets and resources, Liang said.

"Chinese mainland enterprises have enormous business scale, especially in the research and development of technological products," he said.

Hong Kong is actively carrying out measures to boost cooperation with the Chinese mainland, including setting up a Belt and Road portal to provide the latest news and insights, as well as signing the ASEAN-Hong Kong Trade Agreement.

Chinese enterprises may encounter some problems in the process of developing into overseas markets, such as Britain and France, who operate to different standards, said Wang Lijun, vice-general manager of the China Road and Bridge Corporation.

"With support of national funds, our country's standards can go out with the business and we can try to adapt China's standards locally," he said.

During CIFTIS, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council set up the Hong Kong Pavilion themed "Collaborate for Success", introducing its professional services and experience related to finance, investment, brand management, intellectual property protection, maritime logistics and risk analysis.

Hong Kong plays a significant role in financial services under the Belt and Road Initiative in fields such as risk management, and credit and loan, said Aaron Chow, general manager of the Asia-Pacific business department of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) in Hong Kong.

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2018-05-31 07:36:49
<![CDATA[Philippines to work with Chinese firms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305835.htm

A delegation from the Philippines is seeking cooperation opportunities in the service sector at the ongoing China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

The Philippines hosted a partnership seminar with Chinese companies on Thursday, with diplomats from the Philippine embassy in China and representatives of the Philippine Software Industry Association delivering speeches.

Bilateral relations between China and the Philippines are currently positive and CIFTIS is an important platform for promoting increased and deeper cooperation in trade and investment in services, said Glenn G. Penaranda, commercial counselor of the Philippine embassy in China.

The Philippines is an ideal location for services because of a good availability of professionals, competitive costs, and a business-friendly environment with sound infrastructure, said Penaranda, adding that the strong service orientation of its workforce also makes the country competitive globally.

According to official statistics, the Philippines' information technology services industry has generated $23 billion in revenue and provided employment for 1.2 million locals.

"China is much ahead in terms of innovation and technology, while the Philippines has exhibited an impressive track record in the information technology and business process management industry," said Jonathan Defensor De Luzuriaga, president of the Philippine Software Industry Association and CEO of Spring Valley Corporation.

"China could leverage the Philippines' familiarity with Western markets while the Philippines would provide China an alternative venue for high-tech manufacturing and research and development centers," he added.

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2018-05-31 07:36:49
<![CDATA[Music industry conference hits the right note]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/31/content_36305834.htm

The 2018 China (Beijing) Music Industry Conference will open on Thursday, as part of the ongoing China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services.

The meeting is a gala to gather worldwide business insiders in the music industry, promoting Chinese music to give it greater recognition overseas, organizers said.

The event also showcases the entire industrial chain of the Chinese music industry, reflecting its current development and sharing insights on its future.

Participants have an unrivalled opportunity to network with some of the most prestigious players in the industry, from operators of music-themed tourism towns, music training and education centers, to businesses involved in musical theater.

Represented by its subsidiary - CPAA Theatres, China Arts and Entertainment Group, one of the organizers of the conference, is taking part in the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services for the first time.

The Silk Road International League of Theaters, an international platform specializing in performance arts, was initiated by CPAA Theatres in 2016.

Aiming to build itself into a major platform for cultural exchanges, the league pledges to provide more opportunities and boost the cooperation and trade with countries all over the world, encouraging exchanges and communication in different languages and among different groups of people from different countries.

At present, the league has 89 members from 33 countries and regions and two international organizations, giving it plentiful music industry resources.

At the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, the league is holding an exhibition to showcase the cultural highlights and achievements generated by its members, especially the countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Marco Polo, an original play about the legendary traveler produced by the league's members, will have its world premiere in Guangzhou, Guangdong province very soon, said Wan Zhiyong, director of management center of the league, adding that he hoped it can also be staged in Venice, Italy, Marco Polo's hometown.

Through the channels constructed by the league, a total of 10 new foreign plays will be staged in China this year.

"In recent years, we have seen more and more investors looking for new opportunities in the music industry," said Zhang Li, general manager of CPAA Theaters.

"Through such exhibitions and conferences, we hope to build up an international platform for cultural cooperation, helping the Chinese music industry to stand proud on the global stage."

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-31 07:36:49
<![CDATA[Outstanding research, advances headline big data expo in Guiyang]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299241.htm Extravaganza closes on a high as over $5 billion in transactions and deals sealed

China International Big Data Industry Expo 2018, closed on Tuesday in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, attracted 120,000 visitors as well as 388 exhibiting companies - record-high numbers compared with previous sessions.

More than 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) worth of transactions and deals were sealed at the four-day event. And more than 1,000 new products and solution packages were launched, organizers said on Tuesday.

Upholding the principle of "data connecting and driving the innovation of everything", the expo highlighted leading research and technological achievements in the field of big data.

Those achievements cover solutions for poverty alleviation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fifth-generation communications technologies and their applications, which affect people's everyday lives.

A total of 536 foreign delegates from 28 countries and regions came to the expo, sharing their expertise during eight high-profile dialogues and 56 forums.

"The integration of data with the real world is the most prominent achievement of big data in the new era, which can provide countless possibilities for new ideas to take shape and develop," said Sun Zhigang, Party secretary of Guizhou province.

"It will open up new opportunities for people to understand the world and change the world, and it will have profound influence on the model of industrialization, our way of life and the model of social governance."

Futuristic tech

A list of 11 outstanding examples of "futuristic technologies" developed in recent years was released during the expo.

Selected from 526 scientific achievements under the topic of big data around the world, these items covered a wide range of internationally cutting-edge technologies, new products and business models.

Among those on the list was the Xiaoi Robot, developed by Xiaoi Corp, a unit of tech giant Xiaomi.

By integrating the technologies of semantic analysis, knowledge engineering, big data and AI, the Xiaoi robot is capable of recognizing and executing vocal orders issued by users.

A virtual assistant based on AI technology, it can be applied to many electronic devices including mobile phones, televisions and AI sound boxes.

At the expo, Xiaoi's technology was showcased on the display screens standing in front of the conference halls. By 'talking' with visitors and providing requested information, Xiaoi caught people's attention.

"The development of AI is closely related to big data. Deep learning technology, regarded as the hottest topic in the field of AI, is developed based on big data technology," said Zhu Pinpin, founder and CEO of Xiaoi.

To bolster its booming big data technology, the province of Guizhou launched a series of supporting policies for local enterprises during the expo, aiming to support them in both finance and human resources.

Special funds

Guiyang High-tech Industrial Development Zone announced it would establish a fund worth 50 million yuan to back AI projects.

In addition, the zone will set up another 100-million-yuan fund, for the overall development of the AI-based industry.

This will focus on fields including intelligent robots, intelligent hardware and software, smart sensors, virtual reality and smart cars.

The first national big data talent promotion association was also launched during the expo. A not-for-profit organization, its members comprise experts and academics from companies, universities and research institutes engaged in big data.

Hangzhou-based Yingna Group, a company specializing in technology and finance, joined forces with local Guizhou company Manbang Group, the truck-hailing outfit, to exploit big data. They plan to mine and analyze useful data generated from truck drivers, and then provide customized financial services for those drivers.

"The new generation of information technology represented by big data and AI could generate great value through their application in the financial field, which could in turn provide more efficient and accurate services for those people engaged in traditional industries," according to Ye Jinwu, founder of Yingna Group.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

 

A swirl of activities at this year's big data expo attract more than 120,000 visitors from Guizhou and the rest of the world.Provided To China Daily

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2018-05-30 07:14:23
<![CDATA[What they say]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299240.htm During the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2018, which closed on Tuesday in Guiyang, Guizhou province, experts and industry insiders from China and abroad shared their opinions on Guizhou's big data industry and other development issues at the various forums and conferences.

I see Guizhou and Guiyang actively developing cutting-edge technology and the big data industry. Their actions can help protect lush mountains and rivers and can provide hope to impoverished areas. I believe Guizhou and Guiyang will be one of the richest places in China in the future, because they know the truth of future. They are willing to challenge what others do not dare to. This is the most hopeful part in poverty alleviation. Poverty alleviation is to give hope, not just money.

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group

In the past four years, there have been many changes in Guiyang. The most prominent part is that the city is becoming more energetic. According to the analysis of statistics acquired by WeChat and QQ during Spring Festival, the proportion of young users aged between 16 and 35 were very high among the whole population of Guiyang. We also observed that after Spring Festival, there were still a lot of young users coming to Guiyang from other cities. It shows that Guiyang has become a young and attractive city.

Ma Huateng, CEO of Tencent

As part of a national strategy, the big data industry receives great priority from the central government. President Xi Jinping has addressed the significance of developing big data on many occasions. The value and potential of big data has become recognized by society, and a large number of enterprises, funds and venture capital firms have poured investment into the big data field. At present, big data is in a healthy development period.

Mei Hong, academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences

The 2018 China International Big Data Expo is fantastic from a global perspective. It shows that China has taken a leading position in that field. I think the rest of the world is watching closely what is happening here as well as what is going to be happening in several years in the light of applications of big data. I am personally very excited about it and I think this is such a great opportunity to transform many things we do.

 

Troy Hanies, vice-president of SAS Institute Inc based in the United States

Earlier this year, our prime minister visited China to further enhance this golden era of the relations between the two countries. The collaboration between the United Kingdom and Guizhou is particularly strong and active. We have been actively engaged in the Big Data Expo in Guizhou since the very first event in 2015. The UK remains steadfast in our support for Guizhou and continues to develop a big data strategy in China and overseas.

Cecille El Beleidi, British consul-general in Chongqing

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2018-05-30 07:14:23
<![CDATA[Dynamic provincial capital blazes the way in developing blockchain]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299239.htm The city of Guiyang believes that opening and sharing of big data, big data security and blockchain technology are three key areas in the big data industry.

That view was aired by Wang Yuxiang, deputy mayor of Guiyang, at the 2018 China International Big Data Expo, which concluded on Tuesday in Guiyang.

The second session of a blockchain finance international summit forum - and several high-level dialogues and forums on blockchain technology - took place during the expo from Saturday to Tuesday.

Many leading experts and academics, representatives from leading companies and overseas specialists swapped ideas and opinions on the evolution and prospects for blockchain technology - and some of the great achievements and progress that Guiyang has made in this field were also highlighted during the expo.

Blockchain is a digital ledger system that uses sophisticated cryptographic techniques to create a permanent, unchangeable and transparent record of exchanges to trace each transaction.

A book tilted Guiyang's Big Data and Blockchain Industries, edited by the Guiyang government about the city's practices and achievements in blockchain technology since 2014, was officially released at the blockchain summit forum.

"This is the first book focusing on a city's practices and experience in blockchain technology, and some experts believe that this book provides good examples for other cities to develop big data and technology finance," Wang said.

Guiyang has become something of a role model in the field of blockchain technology.

Starting in 2015, the city worked with Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank to apply blockchain technology to the transaction of bills, enhancing the security of the trading process, reducing transaction costs and improving supervision and risk controls, according to Wang.

The mayor added that Guiyang also published a white paper in December 2016 to explain how the government could use blockchain technology to optimize governance, especially in targeting poverty alleviation and managing State-owned assets.

Xiaomi-backed XW Bank, based in Chengdu, signed a cooperation agreement with the finance office of the Guiyang government at the summit forum.

"This is an important move to promote economic development in Guiyang and improve financial services," said Liu Wenxian, president of the Guiyang Crowdfunding Finance Exchange.

The Guiyang Blockchain Lab, located in Guiyang Hi-tech Industrial Development Area, made an important move in blockchain recently.

Focused on blockchain technology and applications, and jointly built by the Guiyang government and the Institute of Software of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the research center on May 28 launched a cloud service platform named Reactive Permission Chain - or RepChain.

The RepChain platform offers secure channels for various trading operations and aims to provide a safe, reliable and flexible technical solution for companies.

"We believed that blockchain will become an indispensable part of finance and the internet in the future," said Yang Dong, an economics professor at Beijing-based Renmin University.

"And it can help the government to improve efficiency and reduce costs, boost economic growth and improve people's livelihoods in the coming years."

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Industry insiders attend a blockchain forum during the 2018 China International Big Data Industry Expo.Provided To China Daily

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2018-05-30 07:14:23
<![CDATA[European tech companies eye Chinese opportunities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299238.htm Chamber seeks to ease firms' entry into important market

High-tech enterprises from Europe planning to enter the Chinese market need to learn more about the local business environment, government policies and initiatives, according to Florian von Tucher, chairman of the European Technology Chamber.

"They (companies) should make themselves fit into the big picture of Chinese policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative and Made in China 2025 and adapt to local partners," von Tucher said.

Founded in 2008, the European Technology Chamber is aimed at helping European high-tech companies expand their international activities and achieve success in emerging markets.

"China, for European companies right now, is a very important market. China is just starting a golden age," von Tucher said.

However, some European companies are hesitant to enter the Chinese market due to a lack of knowledge about it.

"Every challenge of China can be an opportunity for Europe," said von Tucher, adding that the focus of the chamber is to interpret the current issues and challenges in China to a language that can be easily understood by European high-tech companies.

The fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, being held at the China National Convention Center in the Chinese capital from Monday to Friday, is an event aimed at introducing the Chinese market to foreign companies.

The European Technology Chamber and CIFTIS have invited over 25 people from 13 of Europe's leading technology companies to attend the event sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing government.

At CIFTIS, the goal of the European Technology Chamber is to help communicate with potential customers and partners to explain detailed situations in the Chinese market, as well as provide project information to potential stakeholders.

"Our experts have analyzed the industry data and market information to help make the visit to CIFTIS a great opportunity for the companies exhibiting," von Tucher said.

"By 2050, the Chinese market will be bigger than the European market and American market combined," said von Tucher, adding that for European companies, it is the ideal place to start their business.

The European Technology Chamber cooperates with the companies from the sectors of sustainable urbanization, life sciences and industry 4.0 and focuses on cutting-edge fields such as environment, construction, energy, transportation, nutrition, healthcare, new materials and advanced products.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Representatives of the European Technology Chamber talk with visitors about exploring business opportunities at the ongoing China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services. Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

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2018-05-30 07:20:59
<![CDATA[Armenia excited about kicking off CIFTIS debut]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299237.htm

Armenia treasures the fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services as a great opportunity to boost communications and cooperation with China, according to Hrant Abajyan, trade representative of the Armenian Embassy in China.

The fair, being held in the China National Convention Center in Beijing this week, is a leading international exhibition and conference of trade in services, according to the organizing committee.

"My colleagues and I all actively prepared for the big event, since all of us were excited about our debut at CIFTIS," Abajyan said.

On Monday, Armenian ambassador to China, Sergey Manassarian, delivered an opening speech at CIFTIS.

Abajyan said his country's presentation focuses on Armenia's economic situation, investment climate and tourism.

Armenia, a landlocked country, is bordered by Georgia, Iran, Turkey and Azerbaijan, and covers 29,800 square kilometers with a population of around 3 million.

"Although it is not a large country with a large population, Armenia's economy has had stable growth," the trade representative said.

"In 2017, Armenia had 7.5 percent growth in GDP, which is quite an impressive figure for us. Furthermore, Armenia has recorded unprecedented GDP growth of 10.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018."

When it comes to the momentum driving the economic growth, he said that Aremenia was a gateway for the Islamic Republic of Iran to the European Economic Union and vice versa.

"The common border and the visa free policy opens up a market of 80 million consumers," Abajyan said.

"Meanwhile Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, which gives access to a market with 180 million people," he added.

Exports from Armenia last year grew by 25.2 percent to an estimated $2.3 billion. China was one of the major export destinations for Armenia, according to the trade representative.

"The trade turnover between China and Armenia balanced at $600 million in 2017, with year-on-year growth of 33 percent.

"The main products exported from Armenia to China are mining products, precious and semi-precious stones, alcohol and non-alcolholic drinks," Abajyan said.

With Armenia's support of the Belt and Road Initiative from the very beginning, many Chinese companies have been involved in Armenia's economy. These include Huawei, ZTE, China International Trust and Investment Corporation Group and FMD, a Chinese pharma concern, the trade representative said.

Looking ahead he said: "Chinese enterprises commonly have interests in Armenia's natural resources, mining products, agricultural products and renewable resources. At the same time, China's electric vehicles are yearning for more potential markets.

"So we are looking forward to more mutually beneficial cooperation being achieved at this fair."

Armenia has also paid a great deal of attention to China's tourism market, offering arrival visas and electronic visas to Chinese citizens, according to Abajyan.

"Looking at the almost 80 percent growth in Chinese tourists coming to Armenia in 2017, I am convinced that Armenia will become a very attractive destination for more and more Chinese," the trade representative concluded.

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-30 07:20:59
<![CDATA[Grenada touts high quality food, tourist attractions at event]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299236.htm Grenada, West Indies is taking part in the China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services for the third time, in the hope of drawing more people to invest in the country and its products.

Grenada, an island country in the southeastern Caribbean Sea, consists of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands.

"Covering 344 square kilometers, Grenada is not a large country, but it has plenty of quality goods and investment opportunities," said Denis G. Antoine, ambassador of Grenada to China.

"But they are unfortunately less well known" than similar items from other countries, he said. "Therefore, we see CIFTIS as a significant platform to present Grenada to more people.

"Grenada abounds in spice, cocoa, rum and chocolate. They all enjoy high quality. Unfortunately, few people know this and few import these goods from Grenada.

"To decrease its trade deficits, Grenada is willing to bring these high-quality foods to CIFTIS and seek more trade opportunities," Antoine added.

Tourism is another pillar industry of Grenada and has developed the sector steadily with the government's strong support, according to the ambassador.

"Grenada has world-class beaches, cultural heritage and many fabulous festivals, such as the annual chocolate festival and the great carnival, which is celebrated during the whole of August every year.

"With an extremely low crime rate, Grenada is rated as one of the safest countries in the world. It's an ideal destination for people who are pursuing a peaceful living," Antoine said.

To stimulate its tourism, Grenada has implemented a visa-free policy for Chinese tourists since 2013, according to the ambassador.

At CIFTIS, Grenada is offering displays of its resorts to attendees, further promoting Grenada's tourism resources.

In addition, Grenada is introducing its investment climate and opportunities at the event.

"Since its independence in 1974, Grenada elects the president for a five-year term of office. The stable government benefits foreign investment in Grenada," the ambassador said.

He added that Grenada welcomes environmentally friendly investment, such as crop farming, service industry, education, food processing and aquaculture.

"To perfect its tourism services, Grenada is talking with China's airlines to open new routes, connecting China and the Caribbean region directly. And we are anticipating that CIFTIS will offer more cooperation options for us," Antoine said.

As for the food processing industry, the ambassador said that Grenada is just capable of producing the raw materials and primary processing of the food. To increase the added value of its food, Grenada would welcome China's food processing enterprises to invest in the country, he added.

"Grenada has the best medical school in the Western Hemisphere - the medical school of St. George's University, which passed the accreditation of the Ministry of Education of China last year," he said.

"We hope we can have more cooperation in education with China and more Chinese students can come to study in Grenada," the ambassador said.

To encourage foreign investment in the country, Grenada unveiled its incentive policies.

For instance, investors with favorable backgrounds and certain investment funds are entitled to get Grenadian citizenship, according to the ambassador.

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2018-05-30 07:20:59
<![CDATA[Irish welcome growth in China connections]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299235.htm China's Belt and Road Initiative and Ireland's traditions share the same idea of connectivity, according to Thomas Bellew, head of the economic section at the Embassy of Ireland.

"Ireland is on the western edge of Europe," Bellew said at the Ireland exhibition area at the Fifth China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services, which opened in Beijing on Monday. "We've been all about connecting with people from other nations for all of our history."

The Belt and Road Initiative is all about connectivity, he said. "We see the Belt and Road as a modern day equivalent of what Ireland has been doing for thousands of years. We love to hear other people's stories; we love to tell our story, as well; we love to interact with other people. It's in our blood. It's in our history."

Connections between the two countries are getting closer as two direct flights from China to Ireland will be launched in June.

James Kenny, China Country manager at Tourism Ireland, explained that the flights should help to raise a lot of awareness about Ireland, making it convenient for Chinese who want to visit or study there.

According to John Lynam, first secretary in charge of education at the Embassy of Ireland, there are now 3,500 Chinese students undertaking full-time education in Ireland and the number has increased dramatically in the past three or four years.

Chinese students can also stay in Ireland for an additional one or two years, "working in world-class multinational companies, which is an opportunity to practice and bring back experience to China", Lynam said.

Noting Ireland's strengths in such sectors as education, tourism, financial tech and green tech, Bellew expressed his willingness to bring Irish companies to China, investing in Chinese projects as Chinese firms are already doing in Ireland.

"When we invest in each other, we can come away with both of us winners," Bellew said.

gaomeng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-30 07:20:59
<![CDATA[Bahraini business environment gives it edge]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/30/content_36299234.htm

The island nation of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf is attracting more and more business interest from around the world due to its competitive advantages, according to Jiang Yun, Bahrain Economic Development Board's representative for China.

The country has a unique location, good transport links, large numbers of professional workers, rich natural resources, a highly-developed financial industry and beautiful scenery, Jiang said.

To better develop and utilize its own advantages, and increase its competitiveness in the Middle East, Bahrain is focusing on the development of its manufacturing, finance and high-tech industries, providing lower investment costs, and a free business environment for companies, he added.

Jiang said that compared with other countries in the Gulf, Bahrain has advantages in its infrastructure, which can reduce company running costs.

The cost of leasing offices and hiring employees in Bahrain is lower than in Dubai and Qatar, and the island nation has first-class logistics infrastructure and lower costs for transportation than other countries in the Gulf, he said.

Bahrain also provides a favorable tax system for enterprises and employees, with no corporate or personal income tax, and no capital gains or inheritance tax, according to Jiang

Trade that takes place in the area of the Gulf Cooperation Council is exempt from tariffs because of current free trade agreements.

Bahrain's trade liberalization ranked 18 among the 178 countries in the world and ranked the top in the Middle East and North Africa in the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom reported by the United States-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

Companies can be 100 percent foreign owned in Bahrain and have no restrictions on capital, profits and dividends, which applies to the whole international community.

In addition, Bahrain provides effective protection for different business philosophies with a free attitude toward business and culture. Through close cooperation between the government and regulators, Bahrain has created a high-quality business environment with the lowest level of interference, according to Jiang.

Having sustained economic growth, low inflation and stable prices, Bahrain is one of the largest financial service centers in the Middle East, with more than 400 well-regulated financial services companies and many financial institutions that have regional headquarters in the country.

Investors have a great number of opportunities in Bahrain's mature and sizeable business system and its global transparent mechanism and strong regulatory system also provides strong support.

Since the King of Bahrain visited China in 2013, the two sides have launched a large number of economic and trade investments. Chinese companies registered in Bahrain have increased from 60 in 2013 to about 600 currently, and the total investment has increased from $50 million to $400 million.

For many years, as a commercial port, Bahrain has been greeting guests from all over the world with full enthusiasm, Jiang said. With the vigorous development of logistics and the central position of the Gulf, Bahrain allows companies to quickly and easily connect with other markets and attract more opportunities.

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-30 07:20:59
<![CDATA[Big data expo puts Guizhou under world spotlight]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/28/content_36284906.htm The latest 5G technology and the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the world's largest radio telescope, were two of the highlights of the 2018 China International Big Data Expo held in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province from Saturday to Tuesday.

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Province to develop innovative, digital economy and become a role model for future industry

The latest 5G technology and the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the world's largest radio telescope, were two of the highlights of the 2018 China International Big Data Expo held in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province from Saturday to Tuesday.

The global event exhibited 51 cutting-edge scientific and technological achievements and more than 1,000 cutting-edge products and technologies.

Held for the forth time since 2015, the expo attracted a record 47,000 representatives, including 536 overseas attendees from 28 countries and 388 big data companies to exhibit, according to Sun Zhigang, secretary of CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of Guizhou Provincial People's Congress.

President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a congratulatory letter to the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2018.

China attaches great importance to the development of big data, Xi said.

The Chinese president said he expects expo attendees to exchange views and pool wisdom in order to promote the big data sector's innovative development to benefit all people and facilitate the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, according to a report from Xinhua.

Sun said that Guizhou has been focusing on the development of big data and attracting a large number of big data enterprises, high-tech enterprises and various kinds of talents from home and abroad, making great achievements on the integration of big data and real economy.

Guizhou Huaxintong Semiconductor Technology Co, a joint venture between the United States chip major Qualcomm and the Guizhou provincial government, exhibited the application of the first-generation server chip to the public at the expo, according to Cristiano R. Amon, president of the Qualcomm.

He said that the first-generation server chip has been built using the advanced chip manufacturing process with an accuracy of 10 nanometers and can be applied to high-performance computers to handle large amounts of data.

In addition, the joint venture has begun the development on a second-generation server chip.

"We aim to improve the competitiveness of the big data industry in Guizhou and promote the development of the integrated circuit industry in China, and Qualcomm will continue to provide technology and funds for the big data industry development in Guizhou province," Amon said.

Chen Zhaoxiong, vice minister of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, said that Guizhou province has been firmly developing its big data industry and has taken a leading position in promoting the construction of the national big data demonstration center in Guiyang in recent years.

Guizhou has established an innovative way to develop digital economy and made the data expo a role model for the big data industry, he added.

The inauguration ceremony of the Apple iCloud China (Gui'an) Data Center Project was held in Guian New Area on Friday.

This is the first data center for Apple Inc in China, as the United States tech giant steps up efforts to meet local consumers' growing demand for iCloud services.

Apple will invest a total of $1 billion in the project and the data center will be operated by Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry Co Ltd, an enterprise owned by the Guizhou provincial government. Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry will also become the sole operating partner of Apple's iCloud service on the Chinese mainland.

Ge Yue, vice president of Apple and managing director of Apple China, said that it was an important decision to develop big data in Guizhou and as the first data center for Apple to set up in China, it proves the important partnership between the company and Guizhou province.

She added that Guizhou province has helped a lot in the data center's establishment, and Apple will promote greater cooperation with the Guizhou-Cloud Big Data Industry to make contributions to big data development in Guizhou province.

Li Zaiyong, a member of the standing committee of the CPC Guizhou provincial committee and Guizhou's executive deputy governor, said that Guizhou has more than 8,900 big data enterprises with a total output value exceeding 110 billion yuan ($17.22 billion ).

Guizhou province announced 100 key investment projects at the third round of the big data with real economy business-to-business match meeting on Saturday, with a total investment of 168.86 billion yuan.

The projects involve various sectors of the real economy.

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Visitors experience virtual reality technologies at the 2018 China International Big Data Expo held in Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province. Photos By Yang Jun / China Daily

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2018-05-28 07:34:30
<![CDATA[Facial recognition project takes top spot in contest]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/28/content_36284905.htm Sensingtech Corporation won first prize in the final round of the 2018 China International Big Data Fusion Innovation and Artificial Intelligence Global Competition on Friday, an important event of the 2018 China International Big Data Expo.

Held in Guiyang, capital of the Guizhou province, the Chinese high-tech company beat out 10 excellent teams from around the globe to claim the top prize.

Lu Zhen, president of Sensingtech, said the company is dedicated to developing facial recognition and big data technologies for public security applications, serving a safe environment in Guiyang.

Based on deep learning and artificial intelligence, Sensingtech offers real-time personnel track analysis and prediction for public security, and there are 17 provincial and municipal level public security organizations in China using their products.

Using Sensingtech's technology recently, a fugitive was caught at a concert of Jacky Cheung, a well-known Hong Kong singer. The technology was used to scan the audience, identifying people rapidly and connecting with a police database.

"The policy support from the government and the understanding of big data improve efficiency, and help to promote our AI products in Guiyang, which attracted us to move our company here," Lu said.

The projects in the final competition represent the highest quality in the fields of AI, cloud computing, intelligent manufacturing, medical, education and agriculture, said Deng Zhidong, professor of Tsinghua University.

The Cocoon Cam from the United States, one of the top 10 competition teams, is a project that focuses on real-time monitoring of a baby's breathing, with users being able to use their mobile phone to view the data anywhere and anytime.

According to the organizing committee of the AI global competition, a total of 62 teams have applied to join its open AI innovation platform.

Jointly built by Intel Corporation, Guiyang and the China AI industry innovation alliance, the open AI innovation platform will provide a safe and reliable research and development platform for all kinds of AI innovation and entrepreneurship teams, enterprises and social organizations all over the world.

In addition, the platform has the technology support from Intel Corporation and 10 fields of data resources in Guiyang, said Song Jiqiang, head of the Intel China Research Center.

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2018-05-28 07:34:30
<![CDATA[Guiyang deepens international cooperation for education, high-tech]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/28/content_36284904.htm Guiyang city government signed a framework agreement with United States-based University of California, Berkeley for cooperation in education.

The agreement was signed on Friday, during the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2018 in the Guizhou province capital.

The high-quality resources of UCB constitute what is needed to build up China's "digital valley" in Guiyang, Chen Yan, mayor of Guiyang said at the signing ceremony.

UCB is an excellent university with a good reputation for research and innovation in big data, with many teachers and professors as well as fruitful academic achievements, Chen said.

Cooperation between Guiyang and UCB dates back to 2016 when the two parties along with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology established the Guizhou Berkeley Big Data Innovation Research Center in Guiyang High-tech Industrial Development Zone.

Since the center has been in operation, it has developed big data curriculums, personnel training, scientific research and the commercialization of research outcomes.

In the past two years, Guiyang and UCB have worked out a mature cooperation model and performed efficient communication, and the cooperation is in line with the global trend, said Xu Hao, executive vice-mayor of Guiyang.

"Higher education plays a key role in scientific innovation," said Tsu-Jae King Liu, vice-president of UCB, adding that education cooperation on a global stage is very helpful for students to improve their intercultural communication and their standard of innovation and research.

Guizhou Berkeley Big Data Innovation Research Center is a successful example to showcase the global cooperation in scientific research made in UCB and the center looks forward to seeing that such a project can bolster the big data industry in Guiyang and Guizhou, the vice-president said.

At the signing ceremony between Guiyang and UCB, Guiyang also announced that it will join hands with the city of Berkeley, in a bid to foster more cooperation in the booming big data industry at the city level.

On the same day, an agreement to establish a collaborative lab by Guiyang High-tech Industrial Development Zone and Imperial College London was also signed, with a string of promotion activities provided for companies from the United Kingdom at the scene.

Meng Qiliang, deputy secretary of the Party committee of Guizhou province, said that big data is a free resource in industrial society. The one who can master the data, either he or she, can take the initiative.

The UK government takes a leading position in the openness of data and it enjoys a strong support from the country's professionals.

The signing ceremony is an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the two sides and provide an impetus for mutual development, Meng said.

Since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, Guizhou has been promoting the development of its big data industry. The local government has been introducing well-known big data enterprises from home and abroad.

At present, seven of the world's top 10 internet companies have visited Guizhou and 25 Fortune 500 companies have launched their business in the city.

The province will continue to cooperate with big data research institutes all over the world and introduce worldwide talent by establishing more R&D centers. Guizhou has also set the goal to attract more investment from companies engaged in the major fields of electronic engineering and information technology, biology and new medicine, new materials, high-end equipment manufacturing, new energy, resources and environment as well as high-end services.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Guizhou aims to attract more investments from companies in the fields of electronic engineering and information technology, biology and new medicine.

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2018-05-28 07:34:30
<![CDATA[Changsha's rich legacy, interplay of history and culture take a bow]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/21/content_36241797.htm Global festival celebrates enduring influences of the past, and scopes out an exciting future

Expectation and excitement is building in Changsha, capital of central Hunan province, as it is about to play host to the 2018 Changsha International Media Culture Festival that runs from May 20 to 23.

The event is a gala affair, to present the city's history and its culture - as well a gathering of key decision makers and leaders in the creative cultural industry.

The three-day extravaganza will showcase Changsha's rich past, examine and reflect on its current diverse culture, as well as provide an insight into the city's future development.

Attendees can anticipate multiple opportunities to network with the most creative young players in the cultural industry, from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

On Nov 1 last year Changsha became the first Chinese city to be recognized as a UNESCO Creative City in the media arts.

The international recognition for Changsha, announced in Paris, was for its efforts in cultural creativity, innovation and the media arts.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network was created in 2004 and was established to promote links between cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for their sustainable urban development.

The UCCN covers seven creative fields, namely crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, music and the media arts. Changsha has an extraordinary history and culture that spans more than 3,000 years. Its ancient relics continue to inspire contemporary creative cultural endeavors.

Among them is the Mawangdui Han Dynasty tomb (206 BCAD 220), the Changsha Bamboo Slips Museum which houses more than 100,000 bamboo slips and wooden tablets dating back over 1,700 years, as well as the Yuelu Academy which was one of the four great institutions of higher learning during the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Even today, some streets and lanes in Changsha still retain their original layout of more than 2,000 years ago.

This year, the city remodeled and reopened one of its historical lanes as a tourist spot.

The 560-meter meandering lane - now sided by elegant bamboo trees, white walls and black tiles - connects with famous historical sites in the city.

A total of 64 kilometers of historical lanes are in the pipeline to be remodeled, with the aim of recreating the feel of Changsha's old town. For residents and visitors alike, Changsha has plenty to offer for those on the hunt for local history and culture, with opera and film centers and major tourism projects.

In August last year, the city unveiled the Meixihu International Culture and Art Center. As a result, Changsha's citizens can have a taste of international culture, such as the English version of the opera The Dream of the Red Chamber and the opera-ballet Beauty and the Beast.

The rise of the city's creative cultural industry has also had a wider positive effect.

With the development of new technologies - such as big data, cloud computing, the internet of things, virtual reality and artificial intelligence - the creative cultural industry has become one of the most active players in the development of the local economy.

In 2016, the output from Changsha's creative and cultural industries was worth an estimated 258.14 billion yuan ($39.67 billion), with the added value totaling 81.12 billion yuan, making it the most dynamic part of the city's economy.

Changsha now plays home to more than 10,000 companies in the creative cultural industry, which has attracted creative professionals and financial support for its development.

In recent years, a large number of influential cultural companies and industrial projects have been launched in Changsha.

The mobile internet as a representative technology has been widely adopted in new media, visual effects and digital media production. Digital media technology is an emerging industry in Changsha, playing a more important role in upgrading existing sectors such as the exhibition industry.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

 

With its profound history and culture that spans more than 3,000 years, Changsha in Hunan province is recognized worldwide for its efforts in cultural creativity, innovation and the media arts.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2018-05-21 07:29:28
<![CDATA[Hunan's capital spreads its wings to B&R countries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/21/content_36241796.htm Hunan provincial capital Changsha is taking active steps to share its unique history, culture and traditions with countries involved in Belt and Road Initiative, by incubating and developing its cultural creative industry.

The city has formed an advanced multiplatform multimedia export system covering print, radio, television, animation, performing arts, and crafts.

The treasures of Changsha's culture and history have long been appreciated by locals, but now the city is spreading the fruits of its civilization to the rest of the world, led by cultural export enterprises such as China South Publishing and Media Group (CNS) and Liuyang Fireworks.

They are joined by animation enterprises and companies producing famous national brands such as Hunan embroidery and porcelain. CNS, a large comprehensive publishing and media group based in Changsha, was endorsed by capital markets on May 15 this year, when it was added to MSCI's market indexes. MSCI Inc is the world's top index provider.

Via its vast multimedia and publishing network, CNS has been expanding the scale and scope of its cultural output and exchange through cooperation with well-known international publishing and media enterprises, such as Kadokawa in Japan, and McGraw-Hill Education in the United States.

Ding Shuangping, director and general manager of CNS, said that besides its acquisition of quality resources, CNS is promoting the research and development of new cultural products and the building of new platforms.

The fireworks produced in Liuyang, Changsha, occupy a leading position in the global market and are used at various galas and festivals the world over during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Liuyang fireworks were used at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai World Expo. According to the data provided by the Liuyang Municipal Fireworks and Firecrackers Administration Bureau, the total output value of the fireworks industry in Liuyang was 22.82 billion yuan ($3.59 billion) in 2017, an increase of 9.7 percent year-on-year, with export sales of 3.15 billion yuan, an increase of 14.1 percent over the same period of 2016.

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-21 07:29:28
<![CDATA[City becomes an international star with UNESCO recognition]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/21/content_36241795.htm Changsha's eye-catching achievements in cultural creativity and the media arts received global recognition when a few months ago it was granted membership of the Creative Cities Network launched by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The Creative Cities Network ranks among UNESCO's most influential and top-level cultural flagship projects, and has attracted more than 100 cities worldwide to join in.  

Changsha in November not only joined the UNESCO network, but was also recognized as a City of Media Arts - previously awarded to Lyon in France, York in the United Kingdom and Austin in the United States.

It was a singular honor for Changsha, which became the first city in China awarded with the UNESCO title.

That appellation has become something of a useful "business card" for Changsha, helping it turn over a new chapter in the development of the city's media and arts industries. "With higher standards, more substantial measures and more international views, Changsha is scheduled to further promote its development as a City of Media Arts," said Hu Henghua, Party chief of Changsha.

Changsha has seen the growth of locally-based online video platform giant, Mango TV, which continues to grow its already impressive audiences. A raft of excellent TV programs have also sprung up in Changsha, such as Happy Camp, Day Day Up, Super Girl and I am a Singer.

Meanwhile, Changsha has produced a number of compelling TV series like Kangxi Dynasty, For the Sake of the Republic of China, and Dream of Youth, which have been successful both at home and abroad.

Officials say the city is also paying close attention to international communications and cooperation in terms of cultural creativity and the media arts.

A series of international cultural events have allowed Changsha to play an increasingly important role in international cultural cooperation.

The events include but are not limited to the China (Changsha) International Sculpture Festival, the Meixihu International Culture and Arts Week, China Golden Eagle TV Art Festival, China (Orange Isle) International Photography Cultural Festival and the Culture City of East Asia 2017 - all held in Changsha.

In addition, Changsha reportedly created a stir with international and domestic visitors to the 14th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair, held from May 10 to 14.

zhangdandan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-21 07:29:28
<![CDATA[VW says local people matter]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/21/content_36241794.htm Volkswagen Group China said the people are the focus of all its activities in the country, its biggest market worldwide.

"Volkswagen focuses on creating a livable future for all the people here in China," said Jochem Heizmann, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

"We want to provide the best mobility solutions for people for now and the future," he added.

The German company was one of the first international carmakers to come to China and is the best-selling one in the country. Last year, it delivered more than 4 million cars to Chinese customers.

Heizmann said Volkswagen's achievement is not limited to car manufacturing and sales, but it also tries its best to contribute to the sustainable development of China's society.

"Volkswagen aims to be a really responsible and reliable partner of society in China, where we are living," he said.

In 2014 the carmaker set up a 100 million yuan ($15.9 million) fund for corporate social responsibility programs, to help improve the welfare of local people.

Heizmann said what Volkswagen is concerned about is how efficient its efforts are in that area of endeavor.

"It doesn't make sense to invest a lot of money in a few people. Efficiency means really reaching as many people as possible and doing something for them."

He said the overarching topic in Volkswagen's corporate social responsibility programs was young people "because they are the future."

Based on its resources and advantages, the company focuses on the four pillars of road safety, environmental protection, sports development and cultural exchanges.

Volkswagen started its child safety initiative in 2013 with its two Chinese joint ventures: SAIC Volkswagen and FAW-Volkswagen.

By the end of 2017, the company had built experience centers in 13 Chinese cities where it had manufacturing facilities, and attracted more than 360,000 children and parents to learn about child safety.

Heizmann said this was an example of how its programs were efficiency oriented.

He said donating safety seats might be a more direct means to promoting child safety, but it would benefit fewer people.

Starting from 2016, Volkswagen began organizing a program to raise awareness of environmental protection among kindergarten, primary and middle-school students.

But to maximize the impact, the program trains teachers instead.

So far, some 6,000 teachers from across the country have participated in the effort, who then have shared what they have learnt with nearly 3 million students.

Volkswagen adopted a similar approach to its youth football program which started in 2015.

Leveraging its resources in the sport back in Germany, the project is designed to promote the development of football among the young, the carmaker said.

In addition to organizing football camps for children, it has invited German coaches to share methods with Chinese counterparts on how to train young footballers.

Volkswagen has also compiled China's first book on nutrition and injury prevention for young footballers.

Starting in 2016, the company also launched a cultural project called PACE, which stands for participation, connection, education and exchange.

Within its framework, Volkswagen has been organizing the Artistic Engagement Program-China campaign with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.

The event has attracted some 50,000 participants so far. Volkswagen said AEP-China not only helps and educates young musicians but also ignites the interest of more people in art. Via social media, it has reached more than 10 million people in the country, according to the company.

Through these programs, Volkswagen said it wants to make its contribution in promoting Chinese society's sustainable development and progress. "We are not only producing good cars, but are also a responsible company caring for the environment and caring for society," said Heizmann.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Jochem Heizmann (second left), president and CEO of Volkswagen Group China, visits a booth that shows the German carmaker's efforts in environmental education in China. Provided to China Daily

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2018-05-21 07:52:59
<![CDATA[Cross-border e-commerce cements city's role as an opening-up pioneer]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/12/content_36188757.htm Chengdu should rely on its booming e-commerce industry to become an opening-up hub for China's inland region, experts and industrial leaders said at the 2018 Global Cross-border E-Commerce Conference, which took place in the city in late April.

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Industry experts voice optimism about sector's high potential in Chengdu at recent global forum

Chengdu should rely on its booming e-commerce industry to become an opening-up hub for China's inland region, experts and industrial leaders said at the 2018 Global Cross-border E-Commerce Conference, which took place in the city in late April.

As a southwestern metropolis and one of the country's cross-border pilot zones, Chengdu is a strong engine for the development of cross-border e-commerce in Sichuan province, with its developed information and logistics network, active online business activities and booming regional economy, said Yang Chunxuan, deputy director of the Sichuan Provincial Department of Commerce.

Now, Chengdu has six cross-border e-commerce industrial parks and over 100 companies operating in the sector. The city's e-commerce transaction scale surpassed 5 billion yuan ($788 million) last year, growing 117 percent year-on-year and contributing 85 percent to the total across the province. That number is expected to reach 10 billion yuan this year, Yang said.

Yin Jian, deputy director of the Chengdu Commission of Commerce, said the city's goal is to build a service and resource center for the global cross-border e-commerce industry.

International trade has turned from seafaring to land-based transport, so as an inland city, Chengdu has become a hot spot for cross-border e-commerce because of its well-established overland transportation facilities, Yin said.

He said that, from a global point of view, the industry is burgeoning in emerging markets, such as Russia, Central Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia, instead of the European and American markets as it was previously.

"Two years ago, Sichuan released a plan to build Chengdu into a western gateway to overseas markets in e-commerce," Zheng Min, an e-commerce researcher from the Ministry of Commerce, said at the forum.

"The city is also an important part of the Sichuan Pilot Free Trade Zone, which was approved by the State Council last year. With the further opening-up of Chengdu, there is great potential in cross-border e-commerce here," he added.

Zheng said Chengdu has all the advantages necessary for developing cross-border e-commerce, as it has a complete system of logistics infrastructure with two international airports and a railway transportation hub.

"There are all kinds of resources that Chengdu can rely on, including sufficient funding from venture capital investors, talented professionals, innovative e-commerce operators and competitive products," Zheng said.

Chengdu has a number of locally made products with global competitiveness, including women's shoes and industrial commodities.

The e-commerce business also requires policy support from the government. Chengdu's preferential policies for companies include a bonded area and improved customs clearance.

Cheng Jun, deputy director of the general office of Chengdu, said the local government has released a series of policies since early 2016 to help expand and optimize the business environment.

According to Chen, the Chengdu customs house has launched 14 innovative methods to streamline inspection and quarantine procedures.

Because of the improving business climate, Chengdu's six cross-border e-commerce parks have attracted over 300 companies.

The city is also home to a number of offline-to-online experience shops and imported goods exhibition centers with total floor area of 60,000 square meters, to supplement the online operations.

Total registered assets of the 123 enterprises engaged in cross-border e-commerce have reached 2 billion yuan, which reflects Chengdu's strength in the industry, Zheng of the Ministry of Commerce said.

There are also more manufacturers doing business through cross-border e-commerce platforms than before, including those engaged in machine building equipment production, clothing and shoe making, as well as chemicals, which shows local, traditional manufacturers have shifted their focus onto e-commerce.

The booming e-commerce industry has generated growing demand for human resources. Local businesses recently advertised 620 job positions for cross-border specialists.

Li Wei, CEO of logistics service provider SprintPack China, said Chengdu has obvious geographical advantages for doing e-commerce business.

"Compared to coastal cities, it has complete highway and railway transportation networks, which link the city to Europe," he said.

As a hub city in western China, Chengdu can gather all varieties of goods from surrounding regions and send them to the world.

Qu Jing, vice-president of fashion company Winmex Group, said his business expects to develop new brands with local clothing manufacturing companies and sell clothes produced in Chengdu to foreign customers through e-commerce.

Many cooperative projects were signed during the global e-commerce forum.

The Chengdu Cross-Border E-commerce Comprehensive Pilot Area and the Warsaw branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China signed an agreement to finance local e-commerce companies' operations in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Online shopping service platform Daling Family agreed to establish its headquarters in Wuhou New City of Chengdu.

Osell, a Hong Kong-based cross-border e-commerce site, signed cooperation agreements with Qingbaijiang district of Chengdu.

The city announced it will set up liaison offices in eight overseas cities, including Tokyo, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam and Bangkok.

Yin of the Chengdu commission of commerce said the offices will cover Australia, Europe and Southeast Asia, to back the establishment of a global network for Chengdu's cross-border e-commerce sector.

An e-commerce platform for exports of Sichuan-made products is launched during the global forum. Photos provided to China Daily 

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2018-05-12 07:28:23
<![CDATA[Big roadshow features rich cornucopia of local products]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/12/content_36188756.htm In the wake of Chengdu's further opening-up to the world, a rich cornucopia of its products are being showcased on national and international tours to expand their reach and promote trade.

The grand marketing initiative kicked off at a food expo held in Beijing from April 8-10. Business delegations from Chengdu's Pidu and Qingbaijiang districts displayed their food and beverage products at the event.

The show of Chengdu's products in Beijing marked the beginning of a "made-in-Chengdu" campaign consisting of a number of promotional events, nationwide and globally.

The tour will involve the staging of a series of nearly 20 events in major Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan.

During the Beijing show, the Yunqiao Village Vegetable Cooperative from Pidu district signed an agreement with Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market for selling locally produced organic turnips.

"Yunqiao is a renowned turnip production area in Chengdu," said a business representative of the coopertive.

The cooperative was founded in 2010 to help farmers to develop a larger industry for growing and selling turnips.

More than 40 enterprises from Pidu, mostly engaged in agricultural products, attended the show in Beijing, to promote local produce to Beijing's residents as well as dealers from all over the world.

Contracts worth 12 million yuan ($1.89 million) were signed between suppliers from Pidu and dealers in Beijing.

Pidu's soybean paste producers signed contracts worth 7.1 million yuan with dealers in Beijing. Lancaihong, an farming company from the district, signed agreements with Beijing dealer Jinrongke for supplying fresh fruits and vegetables.

At the same time as the Chinese roadshow, Chengdu is taking its local products to Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia, helping the city and its leading businesses to go global.

According to an official from the Chengdu committee of commerce, the "made-in-Chengdu" roadshow is a government-lead initiative, aiming to offer an effective marketing platform for local producers to expand nationally and internationally.

The city's officials said Chengdu's transportation advantages make it an increasingly important player in international markets.

The city is one of the hubs of the Sino-Europe freight train service.

The first train from Chengdu to Vienna, the capital of Austria, was launched last month in the Sichuan capital. Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz attended the opening ceremony.

Chinese exported goods, including LED displays, tires, lamps, decoration materials and daily necessities, were carried in 41 containers. The train left China at Khorgas land port, traveling all the way to Kazakhstan, Russia and Slovakia and reaching Vienna in 13 days.

The Sino-European freight train service is connected to 16 railway lines and reaches cities including Nuremberg, Tilburg, Moscow, Istanbul, Minsk, Almaty, Tomsk, Tashkent, Prague, Ghent and Milan.

In 2017, a total of 1,012 express freight trains went from Chengdu to Europe, the most to the continent from any Chinese city.

That impressive logistics performance isn't only by land. As the country's fourth-biggest aviation hub, Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has 106 international and regional routes, the biggest set of routes among all airports in central and western China.

The Chengdu Tianfu International Airport is also under construction. When completed it will bring more made-in-Chengdu products to the world and help boost its local e-commerce industry with a convenient and efficient port and logistics system.

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2018-05-12 07:28:23
<![CDATA[China Import Expo blazes trail in electronics, high-tech industries]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/11/content_36183026.htm Global corporate giants from China, the US and elsewhere participating, Cao Yingying reports.

The 2018 China Import Expo to be held in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, will showcase the city's strength in the electronics industry and provide platforms for global companies to seek out more business opportunities, said organizers.

The expo, to be held at Kunshan's Huaqiao International Expo Center, runs from May 16 to 18.

It is hosted by the Ministry of Commerce, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the Jiangsu provincial government. To offer a high-end, intelligent and environmentally friendly expo, the organizers have replaced the previous consumer goods exhibits with new photoelectronics, semiconductor and electrical equipment exhibits this year.

According to officials of the fair's organizing committee, a total of 400 international companies will display their photoelectronics and semiconductor products during the expo.

These include multinationals such as Microsoft, Fujitsu, Keyence, Osaka Transformer and Chinese technology companies including telecom giant Huawei, Huatian Technology (Kunshan) Electronics and Kunshan Govisionox Optoelectronics.

The exhibition will consist of three main parts.

The first one is the intelligent manufacturing exhibition area, which will showcase products related to artificial intelligence, precision machines and industrial automation - as well as numerical control equipment, pharmaceuticals and environmental protection equipment.

The second exhibition area will display semiconductor equipment and materials, integrated circuit sensors and chip manufacturing processes.

The third exhibition area will display electric motors as well as related equipment, key components and parts, computer integrated manufacturing systems and related technologies.

To boost cooperation between companies from China and the world, this year's China Import Expo - or CIE - will host the first Sino-US(Kunshan) Intelligent Manufacturing Cooperation Forum, the seventh World Business Leaders (Kunshan) Conference and different themed matchmaking meetings.

International industry leaders are invited to discuss hot topics such as e-commerce, Internet Plus, industrial transformation and upgrading, and solutions to problems related to these areas will be provided during the expo.

Some of the big names attending the forum include Zhang Yujing, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products, Zhang Kelin, vice-president of the China Machinery Industry Federation, Sun Bo, general manager of JD Logistics - the logistics arm of China's e-commerce giant JD. They will be joined by many more industrial leaders in China.

In addition to Chinese business leaders and officials, the United States Consul-General in Shanghai Sean Stein, Verinda Fike, the manager of North East Asia at the US Trade and Development Agency and other leaders of US companies, such as GE, IBM and Microsoft, are expected to share their opinions at the forum.

The seventh World Business Leaders (Kunshan) Conference, hosted by the China Chamber of International Commerce, will focus on innovative development and aims to promote global industrial and commercial cooperation.

Top international figures will attend the conference.

They include Roger Fisk, the globally renowned strategist who was director of former US President Barack Obama's presidential campaign; Zhang Xingping, senior vice-president of ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, Omar Ahmad Adi Al Bitar, ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to China and the leaders of other companies.

To improve service quality and promote communications between exhibitors and buyers, this year's CIE will launch several matchmaking events for enterprises with different themes.

These themes include intelligent equipment and accessories, Sino-US intelligent manufacturing, Sino-Japanese semiconductors, automation and the robot industries.

Organizers will arrange representative companies in related industries to talk with each other face to face, to offer more opportunities for cooperation.

According to officials, the expo will also set up special stands for financial leasing services.

Last month, the Kunshan city government released new policies to promote financial leasing and equipment trade, to help the technical development of local companies.

The policies are seen stimulating more transactions of related products, equipment and services at the expo.

"The 2018 CIE will continue to make efforts to help Kunshan attract influential financial leasing companies and professionals and promote integrated development between financial leasing companies and local manufacturers," said an official in the event's organizing committee.

Lei Shing Hong Leasing, China Development International Leasing, Kunshan Zhonghongxin Leasing and another eight leasing companies will attend the exhibition.

The CIE - one of China's most important and professional trade shows for imports - was launched in 2012.

According to official statistics, during the last six years, the annual expos have attracted 4,243 companies from 46 countries and regions, including the US, Japan, Germany and Australia.

Organizers said the events served 287,200 professional visitors and the exhibition area totaled 430,000 square meters over the past years.

Contact the writer at caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-11 07:56:26
<![CDATA[Eco-friendly and intelligent exhibits take center stage]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/11/content_36183025.htm In order to host a unique, eco-friendly and intelligent expo this year, organizers of the 2018 China Import Expo and exhibitors will provide new head-turning features and facilities to wow visitors.

One star of the show will be a cutting-edge humanoid robot which has never been displayed outside Japan.

Another example at this year's expo - which is also known as CIE - is exhibitor Kangbeike Equipment (Kunshan) Co.

It will provide an innovative garbage collection device to users, which not only collects different kinds of drink cans and plastic bottles, but also recycles printed coupons.

In addition to many eco-friendly devices, environmental equipment is one of the key displays at the 2018 CIE's intelligent manufacturing exhibition area.

Emerson InSinkErator, the leading international high-tech garbage disposal unit maker, will showcase its products at CIE.

The company's food processors grind food waste into small particles using advanced technology, allowing it to be discharged through sewage pipelines.

The product can solve the problems related to kitchen waste treatment for families, including kitchen garbage cleaning and sorting.

The company's instant hot water system provides healthy and high-quality drinking water. Its instant hot water dispensers provide near-boiling water right at the sink, which can be used for making coffee and tea.

Also being showcased at CIE are environmental equipment and technologies in the sectors of air pollution treatment, water pollution control, disposal of solid waste, and ecological restoration and protection.

Organizers said these products are in great demand from manufacturers.

Robotic products will be another highlight of this year's expo, with one of the stars on display being a humanoid robot.

The robot has the shape and appearance of a middle-aged man. Standing 175 centimeters tall and weighing 80 kilograms, it was created by Kawasaki, the world-leading robot manufacturing company based in Japan.

Organizers said it will be the first time for the robot to go on display outside its home country.

The robot is made of a cutting-edge material, which cannot easily be destroyed in hazardous situations including fire and in environments contaminated by high levels of radiation.

The developer of the robot aims to expand its scope for potential applications, to help human beings to deal with various tasks in extreme conditions.

In the future, the robot is expected to work in environments dangerous for human beings, including workplaces where there is radiation or high temperatures.

The robot can also wear firefighters protective clothing to provide rescue services at disaster-hit spots.

Another four models of Kawasaki's latest robots - the RS007, duAro, CX210 and CP700 units, whose mass production began in last November - will be showcased at the China Import Expo later this month in Kunshan.

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2018-05-11 07:56:26
<![CDATA[Capital bolsters business-friendly environment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/11/content_36183024.htm Government departments in Beijing have launched a series of innovative measures to improve the capital's business environment.

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Streamlined processes for registrations, licenses to improve service efficiency

Government departments in Beijing have launched a series of innovative measures to improve the capital's business environment.

One such way that the city is fostering growth is by cutting red tape in the retail sector.

Beijing's industry and commerce administration, and the commission of commerce have implemented a new business registration policy making it easier for operators of convenience store to open new branches. A total of 17 chain store brands, including Haolinju Supermarket, OurHours, Wumart and 7-Eleven, are covered by the initiative.

In a bid to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the policy enables the chain store operators to open new branches without having to apply for a new business license each time.

Instead, operators of chain convenience stores need only assign a business license to one of their branches in each district, with all other branches in the district operating under that license.

The policy applies to all new stores as long as they have valid supporting documents and operate in line with current laws and regulations, according to the city government.

On April 16, a new branch of Bianlifeng, a 24-hour chain convenience store, in Guangcai Road, Fengtai district became the first store to benefit from the policy.

Streamlined business registration is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the efforts the city government is making to optimize the business-friendly environment, according to officials.

The industry and commerce administration has also recently adopted an online system for business registration and data sharing.

To start a new business, applicants can use the new system to submit all application materials for registration processes, with the uploaded information shared among various departments such as the tax administration and the public security bureau, freeing the applicants from having to visit different websites of government agencies.

Applicants can also apply for official seals and invoices via the platform at the same time.

Since the e-platform went online in April, the city has handled a total of 12,600 business registration applications with 9,533 of them filed via the platform, accounting for nearly 80 percent of the total.

Another way in which the industry and commerce administration has sought to improve efficiency is to open its electronic database of corporate names to the public. It allows companies in the fields of science and technology, culture, business services and sports to more easily choose and register corporate names online.

Beijing has also established dedicated business startup service halls in each district to provide all business registration services under one roof. All government agencies of industry and commerce are represented in the halls to process applications and to offer guidance.

Applicants need only to visit a single service window to submit all the required documents for opening a business. The city now has 122 such service windows, with more than 200 related officials working there.

As a result of the new system, applicants are able to receive a business license in just one to three working days, down from the eight working days it took previously. In total, administrative procedures for starting a new business have been shortened to five working days from 24 working days previously.

Gao Huijun, a legal representative for an eco-technology company in Fengtai district, experienced the new service after it was launched to the public on March 26, and finished all the required administrative procedures in three days.

"It's amazing really, I thought it would take a month to get the business license, official seals and invoices," Gao said.

Li Yin, general manager of China Aviation Emergency Rescue Alliance Technology Co, said the streamlined administration approval procedures have helped his company retrieve a potential economic loss of hundreds of thousands of yuan.

"We had canceled the registration of our company because we planned to change the registration address, but a client was adamant in requesting receipts before we had time to finish registering the new company," Li said. "If we failed to provide the receipts on time, the bill would have turned into a bad debt."

After being informed of the company's dilemma, industry and commerce administrative officials in the Yizhuang development area, where the company is now located, offered to help Li file an online registration application. As a result of the speedy process, Li obtained the new business license, official seals and invoices four days later.

Beijing is also currently offering official seals for startup companies free of charge to further incentivize those wishing to go into business. In 2017, about 194,000 startups were founded in the city, saving related costs of nearly 60 million yuan ($9.41 million).

haonan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Clockwise from left: An offi cial at the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce off ers consultancy services to a business representative. Staff members at the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce 12315 hotline service center deal with consumer complaints and log suspected infringements. As a growing number of companies use the online administrative service system launched by the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, the administration’s offi ce buildings are less crowded than before. Photos provided to China Daily

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2018-05-11 08:21:43
<![CDATA[Efforts increased to crack down on counterfeits]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/11/content_36183023.htm As the watchdog of the local market, the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce has launched a series of special operations to maintain market order.

With the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia approaching, enforcement officials are paying special attention to sports businesses to prevent and curb infringements.

BAIC's Dongcheng district branch has recently checked sports businesses across its jurisdiction, both online and offline, and enhanced its supervision over the use of logo, trademarks and graphics related to the soccer gala.

During one check, enforcement officials found an online travel agency offering sports tickets highlighting terms such as "World Cup" and "Russia 2018" on its websites, which indicate the 2018 FIFA event.

The expressions may infringe on trademarks owned by FIFA, the international soccer governing body, said the enforcement officials at the Dongcheng branch. The travel agency is now under investigation.

The officials said they will strike a blow for intellectual property protection and increase cross-regional, multi-department cooperation.

Well-known trademarks have long been a key group under supervision on the agenda of BAIC. Its Xicheng district branch has initiated four special operations targeted at Apple-branded copycats, after receiving information from consumers.

The enforcement officials raided 12 Apple stores across the district and seized 156 accessories carrying the Apple logo. The seizure worth more than 200,000 yuan ($31,407) included batteries, smartphone and tablet covers, headsets, USB cables and power adapters.

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2018-05-11 08:21:43
<![CDATA[Beijing market watchdog rolls out new initiative series]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/11/content_36183022.htm The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce has launched new initiatives to help create a business-friendly environment.

The efforts are being rolled out at an administrative center that integrates market supervision and taxation services.

The center was unveiled in Beijing's Daxing district in June 2017. Since its inauguration, the center has introduced a series of new policies.

They include the ability to make appointments on WeChat, a social media platform, delivery of certificates and other documents by mail, and expanded services online.

Also, a staff member of the center will be dedicated to following the entire business registration process for each applicant.

The center's officials said the facility includes a service section tailor-made for new businesses, which has reduced the approval period of new business registration to five working days.

The streamlined approval process has been applied to the entire city.

Sun Jialin, head of the business registration department at BAIC's Daxing branch, told Beijing Morning Post that his team has begun to offer online services to founders of limited companies.

Those services include filing applications, submitting required documents, confirming shareholders' electronic signatures and generating electronic business licenses.

An applicant only needs half a day to secure an electronic business license after his or her application, Sun added.

The Daxing branch has issued nearly 600 electronic business licenses in the first quarter of this year, doubling the number issued last year, according to Sun.

At an administrative service center of BAIC's Chaoyang district branch, a one-stop service window designed for new business registration, began to accept filings in late March.

Applicants can file for business registration online, corporate seals funded by the Beijing government, and taxation invoices.

More than 80 percent of new businesses opt for the online administrative services, said Deng Huimin, chief of the business registration department at BAIC.

 

The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce has reduced the business registration period to five working days. Provided to China Daily

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2018-05-11 08:21:43
<![CDATA[Tourism booms as visitors flock to historic Yongzhou]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/10/content_36174890.htm

 

Clear sky reflects on the surface of river in Xiangling Mountain, a scenic spot in Yongzhou.

Local service industry flourishes as visitors pour in to explore great wealth of Hunan heritage and culture

Booming tourism centered on traditional Hunan province's heritage and culture has breathed new life into the historical city of Yongzhou and helped it to foster a vibrant local tourism industry.

Yongzhou, located in the south of Hunan province, has an enviable history that stretches back more than 2,100 years, and is reputed as one of the most famous and influential counties of the Han (206 BC-AD 220) and Tang (618-907) dynasties.

Because of its historical importance, Yongzhou is home to many important relics from ancient times, including the village of Shanggantang, the Lingling Zhou family courtyard and the Xintian Long family courtyard.

Popular historic sites in and around the city have led to a large increase in visitors in recent times. In 2017, more than 49 million people visited Yongzhou, generating tourism revenue of 40.67 billion yuan ($6.38 billion), an increase of 17.67 percent and 78.24 percent respectively on the previous year.

Ancient towns flourish

Attracting large numbers of visitors from both home and abroad is the village of Goulanyao in Jiangyong town, which is home to a vast number of ancient dwellings.

The biggest draw in Goulanyao is the Shuilong ancestral shrine, which is decorated with delicate and colorful frescos that are among the largest and oldest in southern China, according to Hu Binbin, a Chinese specialist in ancient towns from Central South University.

The village is popular with tourists because it takes them on a journey back in time to a period when pastoral living was the only way of life in a land surrounded by mountains and clear water, said Ouyang Mingjun, chief of Goulanyao.

He added that the stone slab road that passes through the village is the remains of the Xiaohe ancient road, one of the main travel routes that connected the central areas of China, such as Guangdong province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in ancient times.

The rise in tourism has brought with it more opportunities for local people to prosper in the service industry with many establishing homestays, restaurants and local specialty shops.

"A large number of tourists want to stay overnight in the village," Ouyang said. "We are going to build 17 wooden houses near the valley. So far, we have finished the construction of their foundations."

Investment in the local services industry has also led to the improvement in the livelihoods of many of the people living in these areas.

"We earned more than 10,000 yuan last year by selling our local snack Suozibaba cake, and we hope this year the business will be even better," said Tian Duohua, a Goulanyao local.

Creative projects

Zhou Dunyi, a famous philosopher during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), was born in Daoxian county in Yongzhou. His masterpiece, Ode to the Lotus Flower, is still well known today.

Taking advantage of Daoxian county's strong association with lotus flowers, Lianxi Jinfeng Agriculture Group is building what it calls its "lotus town" project.

General manager of the company, Peng Weicheng, a Daoxian county local, said he looks forward to turning the iconic lotus into a cultural heritage asset of the county.

Lianxi Jinfeng Agriculture Group has cooperated with the local government since 2015, and the "lotus town" is beginning to take shape.

"This year we introduced more than 300 lotus varieties to the town. The lotuses will bloom from May to December. In half a month's time, the town's ponds will be filled with lotus flowers," Peng said.

"More than 27 hectares of lotus have been planted throughout the land rented from local villagers, and I will continue to expand the planting scale in the following years. This place will gather the most complete lotus varieties around the world," he added.

It's not just locals that are benefitting from Yongzhou's tourism boom, more and more investors from across the country are taking an interest, according to city officials.

The investors are being attracted by the city's wealth in unspoiled natural landscapes as well as its heritage and culture, which is another factor in why so many people are choosing to visit Yongzhou.

The city's eight national-level forest parks, four national nature reserves and eight national-level wetland parks make it one of the most ecologically diverse cities in southern China.

There are more than 3,000 species of wild animals and plants recorded in Yongzhou, which has a forest coverage of 64.7 percent - which is around 40 percentage points higher than the national average.

To exploit this natural advantage, city officials have said they are expanding the tourism industry across the board to include forest, culture, leisure, healthcare and even science tourism.

"All-for-one" tourism

Aiming to speed up the industrial transformation and upgrade in its tourism industry, Yongzhou recently released a guideline for "all-for-one" tourism.

The core value of all-for-one tourism is a partial shift from scenic spots tourism to cater to the region's growing demand for tourism products and services, said a local official.

To carry out the development plan, Yongzhou has created a route to better utilize tourism resources around its central town area, Lingling ancient town, Jiuyi Mountain, Xiaoshui River and its north, central and south regions.

Officials from the Yongzhou Tourism Foreign Affairs Bureau said that by 2020, the number of tourists arriving from home and abroad will exceed 50 million, and will generate more than 50 billion yuan in revenue.

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2018-05-10 07:21:50
<![CDATA[Favorable policies lure firms to settle down in well-connected city]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/10/content_36174889.htm Investment in Yongzhou is expected to make great strides in the years to come, thanks to a rollout of policies aimed at making it much easier for businesses to settle in the Hunan province city, according to local officials.

One such enterprise that has sought to take advantage of the favorable policies and investment environment is Guangzhou Jiuheng Group, which established a manufacturing base in Yongzhou's economic development zone in 2013.

The group, which specializes in producing customized barcodes, printing and packaging materials, was able to get itself up and running in just four months.

"The factory in Yongzhou started operation in April 2014, taking just 120 days before our first batch of products were ready," said Yin Jianping, vice-president of Jiuheng Group.

Jiuheng's speedy establishment came about due to the local government's focus on streamlining applications and procedures for business establishment and registration. However, the group's initial interest in Yongzhou stemmed from its location.

Situated in the south of Hunan bordering the southern bank of the Xiangjiang River, Yongzhou is nestled strategically between Guangdong province and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, providing it with excellent transport links.

The location and favorable policies for new businesses encouraged Jiuheng Group to increase its investment in Yongzhou, Yin said.

Jiuheng Group is just one example of how the current economic climate in Yongzhou is focused on opening-up.

In recent years, the city has sought to expand its coastal industry as well as its transportation network domestically and overseas, but most important of all it has targeted fostering a good environment for starting businesses and attracting investment.

One of the most significant factors that drive people to invest in Yongzhou is that there is no need to run all the administrative examinations and approval procedures in person, said Yu Gui, chairman of the Guide Group, a company that has invested in Yongzhou's optoelectronics industry.

The administrative department simply releases a list of required documents and guides investors to finish the procedures in time, Yu added.

Party Secretary of Yongzhou Li Hui said that Yongzhou is the only prefecture-level city in Hunan that has the strategic advantage of connecting Guangdong and Guangxi.

"We should not just construct good traffic facilities, but more importantly, we must work in an interactive way, sticking to the current situation in the economy.

"We should carry out the opening policy in every aspect of our work, using an open mind to treat all businesspeople who invest in Yongzhou well," Li said.

Besides streamlining the administrative procedure, the city has also focused on international trade.

Relying on major projects initiated by the local government and companies, some of the economic development zones in Qiyang, Jianghua, Lengshuitan, Dong'an, Ningyuan, Daoxian, Lanshan and Lingling have generated 10-billion-yuan industrial clusters.

In the past two years, a large number of industrial giants have established operations in Yongzhou, including telecommunications group Huawei and China State Construction Engineering Corp, both of which are listed as Fortune 500 companies.

Such big names have brought with them greater global trade. As of the end of 2017, there were 171 enterprises that operate import and export business in Yongzhou, an increase of 46 from the previous year.

In 2018, Yongzhou will continue to improve its investment environment through a series of promotion conferences such as the promotion week with Shanghai, the north Hunan promotion conference, growing a larger-scale industrial cluster and more incentive policies, according to the city government.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-10 07:21:50
<![CDATA[US farmer buoyed by China's market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168447.htm ATLANTIC, Iowa - A trip to China in February has boosted the confidence of Bill Pellett, a farmer in the US state of Iowa, in selling more of his farm's prime beef to Chinese customers.

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Beef exporter is optimistic over the trade tension between two countries

ATLANTIC, Iowa - A trip to China in February has boosted the confidence of Bill Pellett, a farmer in the US state of Iowa, in selling more of his farm's prime beef to Chinese customers.

During his one-week stay in China, Pellett met with representatives from seven to 10 different companies that have plans for importing US beef, including a hotel chain and JD.com, a major online retailer in China.

"We talked a lot about the quality and the safety of the product and tried to give as many insurances that this was the safest product from anywhere in the world. I think that's important to the Chinese people," Pellett said.

In June, Pellett's beef was in the first boxes of US beef shipped to China shortly after the United States and China reached a deal to reopen the Chinese market to US beef. The beef was shipped by Pellett's exporter Greater Omaha Packing Co.

China banned US beef in December 2003 after the mad cow disease struck US cattle. Before the ban, the US used to be China's top foreign supplier of beef.

Although Pellett's foreign clients are primarily European nations, including Germany, Italy and Switzerland, he sees good potential of expanding business with China.

"There will be a slow building of the demand for our product because of the quality and the health insurances," he said, highlighting the need to change the way their beef is presented and make it better fit the Chinese lifestyle and customs.

Though only a small quantity is being exported to China, the US beef is "something that will gain popularity as time goes on", Pellett said.

He is now feeding around 900 head of cattle on his farm while growing hundreds of acres of corn and soybeans in the Midwestern state. A portion of the grain will hopefully make its way into the Chinese market someday, he said.

During his first and only trip to China, Pellett visited Beijing and Shanghai, and had a chance to travel on a high-speed train.

He was amazed by what he saw. "I was very impressed by the infrastructure because I did not expect it to be as good as it was. Just the ability and the potential of the country was very, very surprising to me," he said.

The trip, he said, was "very fruitful" in that it helped him learn more about the Chinese people, business dealings in China and how to effectively present US beef.

Citing other farmers from his community, Pellett said they are highly interested in the huge opportunities that such a large and growing market as China could bring.

"They want the (Chinese) market to happen. ... We don't know a lot about China, but we want to know more. We don't want politicians to get in the way of what's best for both countries," he said.

Aware of fellow farmers' concerns over the current US-China trade tension, Pellett said he is optimistic about the prospect.

He said: "The needs of the people will come to the surface," adding that arrangements will be made accordingly to ensure that people get what they want.

Xinhua

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[New tax urged to help millennials]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168446.htm Britain's baby-boom generation should be clobbered with higher taxes, so more money can be channeled toward the young, according to the findings of a new study conducted by an influential think tank.

The Resolution Foundation, a research and policy organization, wants older Britons to finance a one-off 10,000-pound ($13,500) payment to United Kingdom residents as they turn 25.

The foundation said the money would help fix the "broken" relationship between the post-Generation X cohort - so-called millennials - and the first generation born after World War II. That older group, which is known as the babyboom generation, is often seen as relatively wealthy because it benefitted from a strong social welfare system, cheap housing, plentiful work, and economic stability.

The BBC reported that David Willetts, executive chairman of the Resolution Foundation, fears younger Britons will become "increasingly angry" if money is not better distributed.

"We've got a very serious problem of ensuring there's a fair deal across the generations," Willetts told the broadcaster. "Older people are worried about a properly funded healthcare system, people in middle age still haven't been able to buy their own home, and, for younger people, their pay is no better than it was 10 or 15 years ago. So, the different generations in the UK all face different pressures."

The study, which took two years to complete, is also calling on the government to scrap council tax, which is collected by local governments, and replace it with a new property tax that targets wealthier homeowners.

And it would like the government to collect more taxes from the over-65s, who currently do not pay the income-based tax used to fund social security provisions that is known as national insurance. The Bloomberg news agency said those extra contributions could be worth 2.3 billion pounds to the state-funded National Health Service.

Willets said the payment to people turning 25, which the Sun newspaper said could cost 7 billion pounds, would be funded by a revamped, tougher version of inheritance tax and would be used by young people to buy a home, start a business, or improve their education or skill sets.

earle@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Game pads answer call of duty in disaster missions]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168445.htm TOKYO - Video game pads have found another more serious use: to manipulate robots engaged in decommissioning work at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No 1 nuclear power plant.

Younger workers who have used game pads to play video games at home can operate them easily and take full command of tricky operations, such as in areas humans cannot reach.

"They're relatively cheap and available for several thousand yen, plus they easily cope with small movements," said Hiroaki Anekawa, 60, senior project manager at Mitsubishi's Advanced Nuclear Plant & Fuel Cycle Engineering Department.

"Young workers in their 20s and 30s are good at handling them."

Atox Co, a nuclear power plant maintenance company, is currently developing a robotic arm for removing obstacles from reactor buildings and has started using a game pad to maneuver the arm.

"We can develop[the game pad] at a low cost, rather than creating one from scratch," a senior employee said.

A robot that inspected the containment vessels at the Fukushima plant's Nos 2 and 3 reactors was operated by a game pad. According to Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corp, "it helped stabilize the robot's posture in underwater operations by allowing the user to subtly moderate the pressure being applied by their finger".

Shigeo Hirose, a professor emeritus at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and robotics specialist, said: "The thing about game pads is that they ergonomically fit people's hands, meaning they're good for maneuvering things like robots."

Useful for disaster relief

Game pads are also shining in disaster-relief missions and military operations.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency and electronics maker Mitsubishi Electric TOKKI Systems Corp jointly developed a research robot that can be dispatched to disaster sites. A store-bought game pad maneuvers a camera and poisonous gas detector.

The United States Navy's USS Colorado fast-attack submarine, which went into service in March, features a camera that works as a periscope. It is maneuvered via a game pad from Microsoft's Xbox game console.

The game pad is popular with younger sailors who play Xbox video games.

The US Navy's official blog notes, "Colorado is the first submarine operating from the start with the gaming controllers".

The Japan News/ann

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Disease threat in Kenya as floods continue]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168444.htm NAIROBI - Kenya could be staring at a health crisis as raging floods that have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country threaten to unleash a wave of communicable diseases like cholera, typhoid, malaria and influenza.

The Ministry of Health and relief agencies have sounded alarm over possible outbreaks in low lying parts of the country and major cities grappling with the aftermath of heavy rains.

So far, the ministry has directed county governments to allocate funds toward reducing the threat of waterborne diseases.

In its latest briefing, the Kenya Red Cross revealed that 112 people had died as a result of floods since mid-March, when the rains began.

Abbas Gullet, the Secretary-General at the Kenya Red Cross, said at a media briefing on Friday that an estimated 260,000 people displaced by floods were at risk of disease.

"We are monitoring the situation in the camps for people displaced by floods to ward off outbreaks. Our volunteers have been providing purification gadgets in flooded regions to keep water-borne diseases at bay," said Gullet.

The Kenya Red Cross has already made a $5 million appeal for local and international aid to help provide emergency assistance to 150,000 flood victims in the western, northeastern and coastal regions.

Gullet said the bulk of the money will be earmarked for food, clean drinking water and medical kits to families marooned by floods in low-lying plains.

"Our immediate areas of intervention include supply of water treatment chemicals to prevent a cholera outbreak in flooded regions," said Gullet, adding that people will also be supplied with mosquito nets to minimize the risk of contracting malaria.

Kenya and its neighbors in the greater eastern African region such as Rwanda and Somalia have been experiencing extreme rainfall accompanied by flash floods, which have left many people dead and destroyed transport, power and communications infrastructure as well as hospitals and schools.

In Kenya, both the central government and relief agencies have scaled up emergency interventions in regions affected by flooding to prevent a humanitarian crisis.

Local media reports indicate that counties in the west and the coastal region have sought additional financial support from central government and relief agencies to procure essential drugs and promote environmental hygiene in the wake of heavy flooding.

Xinhua

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[A chance to chart post-IS future in Iraq]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168443.htm BAGHDAD - Iraqis head to the polls this weekend for the first time since the government declared victory against the Islamic State extremist group.

The May 12 election, the fourth since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, will be dominated by the same leaders and factions that emerged 15 years ago. But the atrocities committed by IS against fellow Sunnis, the hard-fought national campaign against the extremist group and new rifts among the dominant Shiite blocs seem to have eased the sectarian tensions that marked past votes.

The main fault-line is between Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has deftly balanced influences of the United States and Iran, and other Shiite politicians seen as closer to Iran.

Iraqis, meanwhile, expect little from what is sure to be another fractious coalition government. Fifteen years after the US invasion, the country still suffers from widespread power outages and poor public services, and low oil prices have further eviscerated the economy.

In Sunni-majority areas, where the war against the IS group destroyed vital infrastructure and countless homes, the challenges are even greater.

The contenders

Nearly 7,000 candidates are vying for 329 parliament seats. No single alliance appears capable of winning a majority, so the eventual government will be formed after horse-trading that could drag on for months. After the elections in 2010, it took eight months to form a new government.

The candidates leading the most powerful alliances are al-Abadi, former prime minister Nuri al-Maliki and Hadi al-Amiri, a former minister of transport who also led paramilitary fighters against IS.

Abadi, who assumed office shortly after IS swept across much of northern and western Iraq, presided over the campaign that eventually drove the group from virtually all the territory it once controlled. He's seen as an urbane technocrat who has maintained good relations with Washington and Teheran.

He also appears best placed to reach beyond the country's Shiite majority and court Sunni votes, which could provide a margin of victory in a close-fought race.

Maliki, who governed Iraq for eight years, remains a powerful figure despite having stepped aside in disgrace when the military crumbled in the face of IS.

Amiri was a commander in the Popular Mobilization Forces, the mostly Shiite militias who helped push back the extremists.

As with previous elections, Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who also commands a state-sanctioned militia, is expected to translate his popular following into enough votes to make him a key player during government formation negotiations. His fighters once battled US troops, and he remains opposed to any US presence in Iraq.

The US-led coalition played a key role in the defeat of IS. But since Abadi declared victory over the group last year, there have been mounting calls for the US to withdraw.

About 5,200 US troops remain in Iraq, according to figures released by the Pentagon in December.

Associated Press

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Trump to decide fate of Iran nuke deal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168442.htm It is clear that the traditional animosity between the United States and Iran has returned for the foreseeable future, experts said, as US President Donald Trump was scheduled to announce on Tuesday whether he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

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Teheran seeks world powers' help in nuke deal if US quits

It is clear that the traditional animosity between the United States and Iran has returned for the foreseeable future, experts said, as US President Donald Trump was scheduled to announce on Tuesday whether he will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump has repeatedly critized the deal, which eased economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Teheran limiting its nuclear program, unless France, Germany and Britain - which also signed the agreement - fix what he has called its flaws.

A senior US official said the European allies had moved significantly in Trump's direction on what he sees as the defects - the failure to address Iran's alleged ballistic missile program, the terms under which international inspectors visit suspected Iranian sites and "sunset" clauses under which some terms expire.

The official did not know if the Europeans had done enough to convince Trump to remain in the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA.

European diplomats said privately they expected Trump to effectively withdraw from the agreement, which was struck by six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - and Iran in July 2015.

"It's pretty obvious to me that unless something changes in the next few days, I believe the president will not waive the sanctions," one European diplomat said.

European leaders have warned that Trump's withdrawal would strike a blow to the alliance between Western Europe and the US.

Iran has ruled out renegotiating the accord and threatened to retaliate if the US pulls out.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that the possible withdrawal would have harmful consequences.

Trump gave no indication of which way he was leaning on Monday, saying only in a Twitter post that he would announce his decision at 2 pm (local time) on Tuesday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned on Tuesday the country could face "some problems" if the US withdraws.

"It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this," he said, stressing Iran wants to keep "working with the world and constructive engagement with the world".

Tasnim news agency on Monday quoted Rouhani as saying that "we have our own plan. If what we demand from the JCPOA is fulfilled by the non-American (parties in the deal), the US withdrawal will be the removal of a trouble".

Allies' commitment

Britain, France and Germany remain committed to the accord and, in an effort to address US complaints, want to open talks on Iran's ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 - when pivotal provisions of the deal expire - and its role in the wars in Syria and Yemen.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, in Washington this week, said the deal's weaknesses could be remedied.

"At this moment, Britain is working alongside the US and our French and German allies to ensure that they are," he said in a commentary in The New York Times.

Ardavan Amir-Aslani, an author and international lawyer with an office in Teheran, said: "the smart move would be to wait out the end of Trump's mandate, stay in the nuclear deal and build up something with the Europeans, however limited. Wait until this blows over."

"That's what they should do - but we'll see."

Reuters, Xinhua and AP contributed to this story.

Online

See more on www.chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Latin America urged not to move Israeli embassies]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168441.htm Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has urged Latin American countries not to emulate the controversial US decision to move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem.

The United States is pushing ahead with plans to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv on May 14, a move that has sparked major protests by Palestinians, who consider East Jerusalem the capital of their future state.

"We hope that some countries across Latin America won't go moving their embassies to Jerusalem, because that is against international law," Abbas said during a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.

The Palestinian leader thanked Maduro for rejecting Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate its embassy, reversing decades of US policy in the region.

Guatemala has already announced it will relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, two days after the US shifts its mission.

In Jerusalem, the US Embassy road signs went up on Monday before next week's opening of the mission.

Trump said he was making good on US legislation and presidential pledges dating back decades. Other world powers have not done so, sidestepping one of the thorniest disputes between Israel and Palestine.

But he will not attend the opening. The US delegation will include Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as US Ambassador David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, Trump's Middle East peace negotiator, the White House said on Monday. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the delegation.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The last round of peace talks on a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip collapsed in 2014.

Relations between Palestine and the US reached an all-time low when Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and ordered to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv on Dec 6.

On Monday, Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, urged the international community to boycott the opening of the US embassy.

The PLO official said that "those who attend the ceremony will send an ominous message, a message that encourages flagrant violations of international law and the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people".

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said: "This (embassy) move is not only illegal but will also thwart the achievement of a just and lasting peace between two sovereign and democratic states on the 1967 borders, Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace and security."

AFP, Reuters and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Japan and DPRK should talk, Moon says]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168440.htm Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should begin talks to normalize relations between the two countries and contribute to peace and stability in the region, Moon Jae-in, president of the Republic of Korea, told a Japanese newspaper on Tuesday.

"In particular, I think dialogue between Tokyo and Pyongyang should be resumed," Moon said in the interview with the Yomiuri newspaper.

"If their relations are normalized, that would greatly contribute to peace and security in Northeast Asia beyond the Korean Peninsula," he said in written answers to questions from the newspaper.

At Moon's summit last month with DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un, both sides agreed to work toward denuclearization. Kim said during that meeting he was "ready to have a dialogue with Japan anytime", Moon told the newspaper.

There was no immediate comment from the Japanese government, which has called Pyongyang's nuclear weapons and missile programs the toughest security threat facing Japan since World War II.

In Seoul, a positive image of Kim spread among ROK college students after the third inter-Korean summit, a poll showed on Tuesday.

According to the Kookmin University survey, 48.3 percent of respondents had a positive image toward Kim. It was more than 10-fold of the 4.7-percent rate tallied before the inter-Korean summit on April 27 in the border village of Panmunjom.

The summit was broadcast live to the entire world. After the summit, the students described Kim as being frank, broad-minded and humorous.

Moon's interview was conducted ahead of a summit on Wednesday between Moon, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Tokyo.

Pyongyang was expected to be high on the agenda but a diplomat said last week the talks were about regional cooperation and not focused on the Korean Peninsula.

Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Dalian in northeast China on Tuesday. The DPRK leader also visited Beijing in March and met Xi. He was also scheduled to meet with US President Donald Trump in the coming weeks.

In the interview, Moon said Kim's desire for "complete denuclearization" laid the groundwork for the future summit between the United States and the DPRK, although it remained to be seen if concrete steps were agreed at the talks.

Trump has said he will maintain sanctions and pressure on the North and "not repeat the mistakes of past administrations", and has said his tough stance had led to the breakthrough.

Moon said Kim was "a very open and practical person" and both leaders had a mutual goal for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"From now on, based on our deep mutual trust, we'll make bold steps toward peace and prosperity, and unification," Moon said.

Reuters and Xinhua contributed to this story

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[NAFTA talks resume amid fears of 'zombie' accord]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168439.htm

WASHINGTON - Senior officials from Canada, the United States and Mexico were trying to rescue slow-moving talks to update the NAFTA trade pact met on Monday in a new bid to resolve key issues before regional elections complicate the process.

With time fast running out to strike some kind of deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the three member nations are still far apart on major points.

Discussions in Washington will center on one particularly contentious area - the US demand for tougher rules of origin governing what percentage of a car needs to be built in the NAFTA region to avoid tariffs.

Other challenges include the future of the pact's dispute-resolution mechanism and a US proposal for a sunset clause that could automatically kill the deal after five years.

"We will be working all week on this," Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters after talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Sources close to the talks suggest there is a creeping feeling of pessimism going into the new round of negotiations because of gridlock on critical matters.

Guajardo earlier told El Heraldo newspaper that if a deal could not be reached, "we would be operating what some analysts have called 'Zombie NAFTA'... (one) that isn't dead and isn't modernized".

Business executives complain that uncertainty over the future of the 1994 agreement is hurting investment.

Lighthizer said last week that if the talks took too long, approval by the Republican-controlled US Congress may be on "thin ice". The aim is to complete a vote during the "lame-duck" period before a new Congress is seated after November's congressional elections.

Mexico holds its presidential election on July 1 and the front-runner, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, says he wants a hand in redrafting NAFTA if he wins.

At the heart of the NAFTA revamp is US President Donald Trump's desire to retool rules for the automotive sector in order to try to bring jobs and investment back north from lower-cost Mexico.

Mexico's main auto sector lobby has described the latest US demands, which include raising the North American content to 75 percent from the current 62.5 percent over a period of four years for light vehicles, as "not acceptable".

Reuters

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/09/content_36168438.htm Lebanon

Hezbollah, allies score major gains

The leader of the Hezbollah group declared "mission accomplished" on Monday after scoring major gains in parliamentary elections, as the faction headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri lost a third of its seats. Hariri acknowledged the losses at a news conference in Beirut on Monday, but said "it's not the end of the world". Hezbollah and its political allies gained at least 43 seats of the legislature's 128 seats. Hariri's Future Movement won 21 seats.

United Kingdom

Johnson attacks customs plan

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has attacked Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for a customs partnership with the European Union after the UK leaves the bloc the latest sign of dissent within her Cabinet. Johnson told the Daily Mail newspaper that the partnership idea was "crazy" and would create a "whole new web of bureaucracy". It after May's Cabinet last week failed to agree on a preferred option for Britain's future customs relationship with EU.

Syria

2 dead in Russian helicopter crash

A Russian Ka-52 helicopter crashed in Syria on Monday, killing both pilots, Moscow's Defence Ministry said in a statement. The incident was the Russian army's second deadly crash in Syria in less than a week. On May 3, a Russian fighter jet crashed after taking off from an air base, killing both pilots.

Nigeria

Military rescues 1,000 hostages

More than 1,000 people held captive in Nigeria by Boko Haram extremist have been rescued, Nigeria's military said on Monday. The hostages, who were mainly women and children, were rescued from four villages in the Bama area of Borno State, military spokesman Texas Chukwu said. Among the rescued were some men who had been forced to become Boko Haram fighters, he said.

Germany

At least 2 dead as trains collide

At least two people were killed and several others were hurt when two trains collided on Monday in Germany, the national rail company said. The Deutsche Bahn network operator said that a commuter service hit a freight train between Ingolstadt and Augsburg in Germany's southern Bavaria region.

Ap - China Daily - Afp

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2018-05-09 07:30:29
<![CDATA[Govt to woo voters in new budget]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161491.htm

Tax cuts and infrastructure spending among core of document

CANBERRA - Personal income tax cuts, a crackdown on illicit tobacco, funding for space exploration and a heavy investment in infrastructure will form the core of the Australian government's budget announcement on Tuesday.

The budget is expected to be the last one before Australians head to the polls at the next federal election, and experts have predicted the government will attempt to entice voters on Tuesday with a series of financial measures.

These will include personal income tax cuts, which are expected to form the centerpiece of the plans.

Treasurer Scott Morrison has promised that revenue as a proportion of the economy will never rise above 23.9 percent of GDP and in order to facilitate this, the government must lower the current tax levels.

However, Morrison said these cuts will not be "mammoth" and are able to be implemented as a result of a forecast surplus over the next two years.

Mathias Cormann, Australia's Finance Minister, announced at the weekend that tax cuts will be aimed at people in the lower tax brackets.

"What I can say to you is that we will be prioritizing low and middle-income earners in the first instance, but there will be a phased approach moving forward," Cormann said on Sunday.

The federal budget, which will be announced by Morrison on Tuesday, is an annual document which outlines the government's proposed expenditure and savings over the next four years.

It is expected to include heavy investment in infrastructure, mainly transport and roads as the government looks to reduce congestion and boost the economy.

The government has set aside more than $18 billion to fund projects across the country, including a $3.7 billion Airport Rail Link in Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, and more than $1 billion allocated to roads and transport in South Australia.

"The investment in road, rail and public transport projects will reduce congestion, keep our roads safe, connect people to jobs and get our produce to market," Morrison told reporters on Sunday.

He has also announced plans to crack down on the illicit tobacco industry, which is expected to raise almost $3 billion over four years, by preventing the sale of 864 tons of illegal tobacco.

Under the policy, the Australian Taxation Office will be given expanded powers to apply taxes when tobacco enters Australia rather than when products such as cigarettes leave a licensed warehouse.

The government has also confirmed federal funding will also be made available for the establishment of Australia's first space agency, which will be responsible for coordinating the country's aeronautical projects.

Xinhua

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Second teen raped, burned]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161490.htm NEW DELHI - A 17-year-old battled for her life on Monday after being raped, doused in kerosene and set on fire, the second such case to shake India as it battles an increase in sexual crimes.

The teenager was attacked on the same day and in the same eastern state of Jharkhand as a 16-year-old who was raped and burned to death.

"The girl has suffered 70 percent first-degree burns. There is a chance that she will survive," Shailendra Barnwal, said police superintendent of Pakur district.

Police have arrested a 19-year-old man who lives in the same neighborhood as the latest victim.

"He poured kerosene on the girl and set her on fire," Barnwal said.

The incident happened on Friday, the same day as the similar case in Jharkhand's Chatra district, which 15 people have been detained over.

The main suspect in the first case is said to have been angered by a village council decision that he should do 100 situps and pay a $750 fine for raping the girl, and attacked the girl's parents and set their house on fire with the teenager inside.

The two cases have shone a spotlight on the treatment of rape in India, where some 40,000 cases were reported in 2016.

The country had already been agonizing over the brutal gang-rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl in India-controlled Kashmir, which is to be raised in the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Eight Hindus have been accused over the abduction, repeated rape and killing of the Muslim girl.

Hindu activists have staged angry protests claiming that the police inquiry was biased.

The Supreme Court is to give a ruling on whether the flashpoint trial should be moved away from the Hindu-majority region of the Muslim-dominated state.

The debate has been heightened further by new police figures indicating that more than five women were raped every day in the Indian capital this year.

As many as 578 rape cases were reported up to April 15, against 563 in 2017 during the same period, police said.

Indian authorities have faced renewed pressure to act over sexual assault since the killing of the Muslim girl in India-controlled Kashmir.

Amid mounting outrage, the government has changed the law to allow execution for child rapists.

Agence France-presse

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[French govt urges Air France to pursue reforms as strikes bite]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161489.htm PARIS - The French finance minister has raised the pressure on Air France managers and unions to resolve a standoff over wages, saying the government would not ride to the carrier's rescue as it grapples with worker strikes and a leadership vacuum.

The dispute at Air France-KLM's French arm intensified on Friday when staff rejected a pay deal, prompting the group's chief executive to resign and raising questions over the airline's capacity to cut costs and reform.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged the company and workers to resume talks, delivering a blunt assessment of the airline's future as he warned the state's 14 percent Air France-KLM stake was no guarantee it would pick up the pieces.

"If Air France does not make efforts to become more competitive, allowing this flagship to be at the same level at Lufthansa and other airline companies, Air France will disappear," Le Maire told BFM television.

"We're minority shareholders, ... those that think that whatever happens the state will come to Air France's rescue and soak up Air France's losses are mistaken," Le Maire said.

Air France-KLM CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac, who will stay on until May 15, had been battling to cut costs to keep up with competition from Gulf carriers and low-cost airlines.

Rivals like British Airways and Lufthansa have already gone through painful restructurings to cope.

Air France-KLM, which reported widening losses in the first quarter even as profits at Dutch carrier KLM improved, has reined in growth expectations for 2018 after walkouts at the French airline.

Strikes have already cost the company $359 million and stoppages by pilots, ground staff and other workers are due to resume on May 7 and May 8. Close to 85 percent of flights were likely to run on Monday, the carrier said.

Delta Airlines and China Eastern both hold 9 percent of Air France-KLM.

Until new management plans are in place, Air France executives lack a mandate to continue negotiations with unions, prolonging the dispute.

Some worker representatives hit back at Le Maire on Sunday, after he called their demands unjustified.

Unions had been calling for a salary hike of 5.1 percent in 2018 alone, and staff rejected a management pay deal offering 7 percent wage increase over four years.

"Our demands are far from astronomical," Yannick Floc'h, vice-president of the SNPL pilots union, told BFM TV later in the day, adding there was room to find middle ground between the two sides. "I think we can find a way out."

Transport misery

French travelers have faced transport misery since early April, and Le Maire said the drag on economic growth from the strikes stood at around 0.1 percentage points of output as tourism and the transport of raw materials took a hit.

Representatives from Air France unions are due to meet on Monday. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is also due to meet rail unions for talks over the SNCF standoff.

Reuters - Afp

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Survey closes lid on hidden rooms in Tut's tomb]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161488.htm

CAIRO - New radar scans have provided conclusive evidence that there are no hidden rooms inside King Tutankhamun's burial chamber, Egypt's antiquities ministry said on Sunday, bringing a disappointing end to years of excitement over the prospect.

Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said an Italian team conducted extensive studies with ground-penetrating radar that showed the tomb did not contain any hidden, manmade blocking walls as was earlier suspected.

Francesco Porcelli of the Polytechnic University of Turin presented the findings at an international conference in Cairo.

"Our work shows in a conclusive manner that there are no hidden chambers, no corridors adjacent to Tutankhamun's tomb," Porcelli said. "As you know there was a theory that argued the possible existence of these chambers but unfortunately our work is not supporting this theory."

In 2015, British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves proposed, after analysis of high-definition laser scans, that queen Nefertiti's tomb could be concealed behind wall paintings in the famed boy king's burial chamber.

The discovery ignited massive interest, with officials first rushing to support the theory but then later distancing themselves and ultimately rejecting it.

The ministry says two previous scans by Japanese and US scientists had proved inconclusive, but insists this latest ground-penetrating radar data closes the lid on the tomb having such hidden secrets.

A new museum

The ministry has been gradually moving King Tut's belongings to a new museum outside Cairo near the Giza Pyramids to undergo restoration before they are put on display. The transfer of the priceless belongings has become a particularly sensitive issue. In 2014, the beard attached to the ancient Egyptian monarch's golden mask was accidentally knocked off and hastily reattached with an epoxy glue compound, sparking uproar among archaeologists.

The fourth International Tutankhamen Conference in Cairo, where Porcelli presented the findings, the most extensive radar survey of the site to date, was attended by a wide range of Egyptologists and archaeologists from across the world.

During the conference, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said that the first phase of the new museum, including King Tut's halls, will be completed by the end of this year but the date for the museum's "soft opening" has yet to be decided.

The museum currently hosts more than 43,200 artifacts, of which more than 4,500 belong to King Tut alone. Its grand opening is planned for 2022.

Associated Press

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[US accused of misleading over denuclearization]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161487.htm

PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Sunday accused the United States of misleading world opinion by saying that the DPRK's commitment to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula was the outcome of international sanctions and pressure.

The Korean Central News Agency quoted a spokesman for the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that Washington is deliberately provoking the DPRK despite the improvement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

"Recently, the US is misleading public opinion, arguing as if the DPRK's clarification of its intention for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula made through the Panmunjom Declaration adopted at the recent historic summit is the result of so-called sanctions and pressure," the spokesman said.

He slammed the US for saying that it would not ease the sanctions and pressure until the DPRK gives up its nuclear weapons completely.

"The US is also moving to aggravate the situation on the Korean Peninsula by deploying strategic assets on the Peninsula and increasing its attempt of taking up the 'human rights' issue against the DPRK," the spokesman said.

"This act cannot be construed otherwise than a dangerous attempt to ruin the hard-won atmosphere of dialogue and bring the situation back to square one," he added.

He warned that if Washington miscalculates the peace-loving intention of the DPRK as a sign of weakness and continues to pursue its pressure and military threats against the latter, it would be counter-effective to addressing the nuclear issue on the peninsula.

The DPRK and the Republic of Korea issued a joint declaration on April 27, saying the two sides are committed to the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, during a historic summit meeting between DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un and ROK President Moon Jae-in.

Xinhua

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Facebook users stick with platform despite scandal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161486.htm

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO - Most of Facebook's users in the United States have remained loyal to the social network despite revelations that a political consultancy collected information about millions of accounts without owners' permission, a poll released on Sunday showed.

Facebook has faced pressure from regulators, privacy advocates and shareholders since it said in March that political consultant Cambridge Analytica wrongly obtained personal data through a quiz app connected to Facebook. US lawmakers grilled Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg for two days on the matter.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll adds to other indications that Facebook has so far suffered no ill effects from the episode, other than a public relations headache.

The national online poll, conducted on April 26-30, found that about half of Facebook's US users said they had not recently changed the amount that they used the site, and another quarter said they were using it more.

The remaining quarter said that they were using it less recently, had stopped using it or deleted their account.

That means that the people using Facebook less were roughly balanced by those using it more, with no clear net loss or gain in use.

Among all adults, 64 percent said they use Facebook at least once a day, down slightly from 68 percent who said so in a similar poll in late March, shortly after news organizations reported Cambridge Analytica's activity.

Analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said Facebook is lucky the data apparently has been used only for political ads and not more nefarious purposes.

"I have yet to read an article that says a single person has been harmed by the breach," he said. "Nobody's outraged on a visceral level."

Facebook declined to comment. Its executives have apologized for the data-harvesting, pledged to investigate others who collected Facebook user data and reduced the amount of data available to similar app developers now.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal broke on March 16, sparking interest online in the hashtag#deletefacebook. In its first quarter results, however, Facebook said the number of monthly users in the US and Canada rose to 241 million on March 31 from 239 million on Dec 31, growth that was roughly in line with recent years.

According to the poll, more Facebook users said they knew how to guard their personal information on the site than users of other social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Reuters

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Li's visit to Japan will boost relations]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161485.htm TOKYO - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming trip to Japan is of great significance to bilateral relations as well as regional cooperation and prosperity, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said in a recent article.

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The trip will be first one by a Chinese premier in eight years

TOKYO - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming trip to Japan is of great significance to bilateral relations as well as regional cooperation and prosperity, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua said in a recent article.

Li's visit to Japan will be the first by a Chinese premier in eight years. He will also attend the seventh leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, a trilateral mechanism that is being resumed after two and a half years.

The trip, the ambassador said, is expected to further consolidate the warming-up trend in China-Japan relations and enhance China-Japan-ROK cooperation.

The China-Japan relationship went through twists and turns in the opening years of this decade, which seriously damaged the political mutual trust and practical interests of the two countries, Cheng said.

In November 2014, the two sides reached a four-point agreement that reaffirmed the principles for them to properly handle historical, territorial and other issues, and bilateral ties began to improve, he said.

The momentum, Cheng said, has further increased since Chinese President Xi Jinping met in May 2017 in Beijing with Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, who led the Japanese delegation to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

Noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Cheng said the two neighbors are highly complementary in economy and closely connected in culture. Both positive and negative historical experiences have proved that China and Japan should stick to peace, friendship and cooperation, which is not only the sole correct choice for the two sides, but also the common aspiration of the international community, especially the Asian countries, he said.

At present, bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields are being steadily restored and developed. Last year, bilateral trade returned to above the $300 billion level and personnel exchanges increased to a record high of 10 million, noted the ambassador.

With profound changes at home and abroad, China and Japan are sharing more and more common interests, said Cheng, adding that as two important players in Asia and beyond, the two countries also shoulder the common responsibility of maintaining peace and development in the region and the world at large.

The two sides, he suggested, should seize the opportunity to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields, continuously expand their common interests, and work together to lead Asia toward prosperity.

Against this backdrop, Li's official visit to Japan and attendance at the trilateral leaders' meeting are worth looking forward to, the ambassador said.

"I believe that with the joint efforts of the two sides, this visit will help bring China-Japan relations back to the right track so that they can realize sound and stable development," Cheng said.

Xinhua

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Johnson in US to urge Trump to back Iran nuclear deal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161484.htm

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is the latest international figure to urge US President Donald Trump to support the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump has made it clear he is no fan of the arrangement, which was negotiated in 2015 by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and which offers Iran eased economic sanctions in return for commitments that it will abandon its quest for nuclear weapons.

Trump has called the deal "insane" and has strongly hinted he will not sign an order due on May 12 that continues to suspend US sanctions. Should Trump not continue to support the nation's relaxation of sanctions, Iran might then resume its nuclear program.

AFP reported that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said the United States will face "historic regret" if it pulls out of the deal, which was signed in July 2015 by the US, China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain, Iran and representatives from the EU.

In a live speech on state television, Rouhani said: "Today all political factions, whether they be from the right, the left, the conservatives, reformers and moderates, are united."

China has called for the Iran nuclear deal to remain intact and be treated seriously. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on April 27 that "China calls for all related parties to strengthen dialogue and coordination over the situation facing the Iran nuclear deal, to keep the deal intact and treat it seriously".

China will continue to safeguard and implement the deal in an objective, fair, and responsible manner, she said.

In recent weeks, several world leaders and senior diplomats - including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres - have attempted to persuade Trump not to walk away from the deal.

Open letter

While Johnson is not expected to meet Trump face-to-face while in the US, he has written an open letter published in The New York Times in which he says the deal, while imperfect, is better than the alternatives.

"At this delicate juncture," Johnson wrote. "It would be a mistake to walk away from the nuclear agreement and remove the restraints that it places on Iran."

He said inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency now have additional powers to monitor Iran's nuclear facilities, "increasing the likelihood that they would spot any attempt to build a weapon".

Johnson said ensuring Iran remained unable to develop a nuclear program was the best way to ensure it did not display "aggressive regional behavior".

And he noted that "only Iran would gain" from abandoning nuclear restrictions. The BBC reported that the UK's ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, has also weighed in on the issue, telling US media: "We think that we can find some language, produce some action that meets the president's concerns."

earle@mail.chinadaily.com

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Hawaiians race home for pets, essentials]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161483.htm PAHOA, Hawaii - Hawaiians forced to flee repeated eruptions of the Kilauea volcano, which has already destroyed 26 homes as it spews rivers of lava and fountains of toxic gases into residential areas, were allowed to make a quick visits home on Sunday to rescue pets, medication and other essentials.

More lava fissures and vents opened overnight in the Leilani Estates area, where lava leapt up to 70 meters into the air but no new explosions were reported on Sunday from Kilauea, the state's most active volcano. Lava has spread around 36,000 square meters surrounding the most active fissure.

So far, no fatalities or major injuries have been reported from the volcano, which began erupting on Thursday but at least 26 homes have been destroyed, according to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

"As a realtor, I can tell you that people move here thinking it's paradise, and what they learn is that it's something different," said Jessica Gauthier, 47, who sells properties and manages vacation rentals on the Big Island.

"It's a beautiful place to live, but it's not for the faint of heart," Gauthier said.

With an apparent lull in the action on Sunday, some of the nearly 2,000 people forced to evacuate their homes when the eruptions began were allowed to return during a 10-hour window, although some neighborhoods remained off-limits due to dangerous volcanic gasses.

"This is not the time for sightseeing," the civil defense agency said on social media, urging others to stay away from the community about 19 kilometers from where the Kilauea volcano erupted on Thursday.

The southeast corner of the island was rocked by a powerful magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the volcano's south flank on Friday, the strongest tremor since 1975, and more earthquakes and eruptions were forecast, perhaps for months to come.

Lava of 1,150 C

Although no significant lava flows have yet formed, additional outbreaks of lava, which can reach temperatures of about 1,150 C, were expected.

The rest of the island and state were conducting business as usual with no impact to flights to tourism centers, state officials said.

"The area where lava is coming to the surface is very far from resort areas," said George Szigeti, president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Petra Wiesenbauer, owner of Hale Moana Hawaii Bed and Breakfast, evacuated on Friday evening with her two teenage children and pets.

"Now we are just trying to make plans for the future," she said. "There is no telling when or if we'll ever be able to go back in."

US Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a Democrat, called on federal officials to quickly respond to needs such as short-and long-term housing and infrastructure repairs.

Kilauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes and one of five on the island, has been in constant eruption for 35 years. It predominantly erupts basaltic lava in effusive eruptions that mostly flow into the ocean but occasionally experiences explosive eruptions.

Reuters - Ap

 

A helicopter flies above destruction amid advancing lava in the Leilani Estates neighborhood in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on Sunday.Mario Tama / Getty Images Via Agence Francepresse

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Bombing at mosque kills 14 as wave of attacks continues]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161482.htm KABUL - A bomb blast inside a mosque in eastern Afghanistan that was being used as a voter registration center killed at least 14 people and wounded 33, officials said.

Habib Shah Ansari, the provincial head of public health, confirmed the toll from the attack, which took place in the city of Khost, the capital of the province of the same name.

Talib Mangal, spokesman for the provincial governor in Khost, said that there was one female among those killed in the attack.

"The blast happened while people were busy with prayers, meanwhile in other part of the mosque people had gathered to get their voter registration cards for the election," he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and sent his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, said his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The UN chief extended his solidarity to Afghan citizens seeking to exercise their constitutional rights and take part in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, Dujarric added.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Taliban and a local Islamic State group affiliate reject democratic elections and have targeted them in the past. The IS group is not known to have a presence in Khost, but has expanded its footprint into other areas in recent years.

Last month, an IS group suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Kabul, killing 60 people and wounding at least 130 others.

Afghanistan plans to hold elections in October, the first since 2014.

The Taliban and the IS group have launched a relentless wave of attacks since the start of the year, killing scores of civilians in the capital, Kabul, and elsewhere. Afghan security forces have struggled to combat the groups since the US and NATO concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014, switching to a counterterrorism and support role.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a vehicle carrying shopkeepers on their way to a market struck a roadside bomb in the northern Faryab province, killing seven of them.

Police spokesman Karim Yuresh said another civilian was wounded in Sunday's attack, in an area where both the Taliban and IS are active.

In the eastern Paktia province, a car bomb killed two people and wounded another three. Abdullah Hsart, the provincial governor's spokesman, said the attack late on Saturday targeted Hazart Mohammad Rodwal, a district chief, who was among the wounded. The Taliban claimed the attack.

Ap - Xinhua

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/08/content_36161481.htm India

13 states on high storm alert

India has put about 13 states and two central government-territories on high storm alert for the next 48 hours. In an advisory, the Indian Home Ministry has said thunderstorms and rains are likely to occur in these areas on Monday and Tuesday, asking local governments to take all necessary precautions. The alert, citing a weather department prediction, came after rains, thunderstorms, dust storms and lightning claimed the lives of over 125 people in five states last week.

Nigeria

45 dead as militia, bandits clash

Fighting between armed bandits and militiamen left 45 dead in northern Nigeria, police and a local militia said on Sunday, amid escalating rural violence often involving cattle rustling, robbery and kidnappings. "The 45 bodies were found scattered in the bush. The bandits pursued residents who mobilized to defend the village after overpowering them," said a vigilante who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.

The Philippines

Military drills with US kick off

Troops from the Philippines and the United States kicked off on Monday a series of joint military exercises designed to hone their interoperability skills in fighting terrorism and humanitarian assistance. About 5,000 marines, sailors and airmen from the Philippines, and 3,000 US troops are participating in this year's 12-day "Balikatan 2018" drills that will be conducted in several locations in the Philippine main Luzon island, authorities said.

Iraq

IS group claims assassination

The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the assassination on Monday of a candidate in Iraq's parliamentary election just days ahead of the polls. Faruq Zarzur al-Juburi, a candidate loyal to Vice-President Ayad Allawi, was shot dead by gunmen at his home near Mosul, the former IS bastion in northern Iraq, a local official said. IS had threatened to attack polling stations and voters during the parliamentary election that will be held on Saturday, in a statement last month by its spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir.

United Kingdom

Divorces go digital with online move

Couples may utter those immortal words "I Do" when they marry in churches and registry offices. But a change in the rules has for the first time enabled estranged couples in England and Wales to untie the marital knot online. Fully digital divorce applications have been by launched in England and Wales since May, the Ministry of Justice announced on Sunday. The MoJ said the stress of applying for a divorce could be eased thanks to the new online service that removes the need for any paper forms.

Xinhua - Afp - Ap

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2018-05-08 07:25:16
<![CDATA[Hawaii braces for long upheaval]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153665.htm PAHOA, Hawaii - The number of homes destroyed by lava shooting out of openings in the ground created by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano climbed to five as some of the more than 1,700 people who evacuated prepared for the possibility they may not return for quite some time.

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Scientists remain wary despite volcano shows signs of calming

PAHOA, Hawaii - The number of homes destroyed by lava shooting out of openings in the ground created by Hawaii's Kilauea volcano climbed to five as some of the more than 1,700 people who evacuated prepared for the possibility they may not return for quite some time.

"I have no idea how soon we can get back," said Todd Corrigan, who left his home in Leilani Estates with his wife on Friday as lava burst through the ground three or four blocks from their home. They spent the night on the beach in their car and began looking for a vacation rental.

The Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory said eight vents, each several hundred meters long, opened in the neighborhood since Thursday. By late Saturday, the fissures had quieted down and were only releasing steam and gas.

Scientists said Kilauea was likely to release more lava through additional vents, but they were unable to predict exactly where. Leilani Estates, a subdivision in the mostly rural district of Puna, is at greatest risk. Authorities ordered more than 1,700 residents to evacuate from there and nearby Lanipuna Gardens.

Hundreds of small earthquakes continued to rumble through the area on Saturday, one day after a magnitude-6.9 temblor hit the largest earthquake to hit Hawaii in more than 40 years. Magma moving through Kilauea set off the earthquakes, said geologists, who warned of aftershocks.

Authorities cautioned sulfuric gas pouring out of the vents also posed dangers, particularly to elderly and people with respiratory problems. Hawaii County spokeswoman Kanani Aton said some residents may be allowed to return home briefly to pick up medicine or take care of pets if sulfur dioxide levels drop as a result of the calming vents.

Tesha "Mirah" Montoya, 45, said the threat of toxic fumes wasn't enough to make her family evacuate, but the tipping point was the earthquakes.

"I felt like the whole side of our hill was going to explode," she said. "The earthquake was what made us start running and start throwing guinea pigs and bunnies in the car."

Montoya, her husband and daughter don't know how long they will be away from the three-story octagonal house they built nearly 20 years ago in a patch of "raw jungle".

"My heart and soul's there," she said in a phone interview from a cabin on the north side of the Big Island, where the family had hunkered down. "I'm nothing without the land. It's part of my being."

Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983 and is one of the world's most active volcanoes. In 2014, lava burned a house and smothered a cemetery as it approached Pahoa, the town closest to Leilani Estates. But this flow stalled just before it reached Pahoa's main road.

Ap - Afp

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Tens of thousands rally at Paris protest over reforms]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153664.htm PARIS - Depicting the object of their ire as Napoleon, Dracula, Jupiter, a banker-king and Margaret Thatcher, tens of thousands marched through central Paris on Saturday to protest against President Emmanuel Macron's sweeping reforms, a year after he took office.

Some 2,000 security officials, including riot police, were deployed just in case a generally good-natured rally went the same way as May Day protests hijacked by anarchists.

Marchers gathered from midday in warm early summer sunshine in the central Opera square for a protest dubbed a "Party for Macron", a tongue-in-cheek "celebration" of the 40-year-old centrist and former Rothschild banker's first anniversary in power.

Paris police put the number of marchers at 40,000 but organizers said it was 160,000.

"It was not the huge influx that they had predicted," Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, denouncing what he called an "attack" on an outside broadcast van of Franceinfo radio in the eastern quarter of Bastille, where the march ended.

One of its windows was smashed and a smoke bomb thrown inside the vehicle.

"Luckily no journalist was inside when the smoke bomb was thrown," Collomb said.

Smaller rallies took place in the southern cities of Toulouse and Bordeaux while the Paris one kicked off with a mass picnic which drew numerous families.

Security concerns

Organizers had urged participants to attend in a party mood - but the high security owed much to hundreds of black-clad youths having torched cars and a McDonald's restaurant during traditional May 1 demonstrations in the capital, prompting fears that more "black bloc" protesters could hijack Saturday's event.

Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux had expressed fears on Friday that the demonstration could turn violent, hence the high security.

He said the protest's name, the "Fete a Macron", can have a double meaning in French - either celebrating someone, or trying to do them harm.

Some supporters of the left-wing populist La France Insoumise party, or LFI, brandished anti-Macron banners with slogans including "down with the president of the rich", "no to a social coup d'etat" and "for a Sixth Republic".

The protest is the latest in a series of large street demonstrations against Macron, whose overhauls of everything from the education system to the state rail operator have been causing friction with various groups.

It was organized by firebrand LFI lawmaker Francois Ruffin and other ex-members of the Nuit Debout (Up All Night) leftist movement that staged nocturnal rallies across France in 2016.

Ruffin said this week that Macron may have won a democratic election last May but "democracy does not mean shutting up for five years".

Some university faculties remain blocked by protests against Macron's plans to make university access more selective, causing major disruption to students starting their summer exams.

Agence France-presse

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Lebanese vote in first general election in nine years]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153663.htm

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Polling stations opened on Sunday as voters cast their ballots in the first parliamentary election in nine years, amid calls for change and hope for a better future.

A long queue formed in the early morning at the polling station set up in the Omar Fakhuri Primary School in southern Beirut, the capital, as dozens of voters waited patiently for their turn to vote.

This year's election saw a lot of young voters, estimated at 800,000, who were hoping for a major change.

"Speaking as a college student, we need jobs, we need more respect, we need to be cured, we need to be helped, we hope to have everything new, everything better than before," said Jalal Bukhari, a 23-year college student.

Lebanese Interior Ministry statistics showed that about 3.7 million registered voters are eligible to cast their votes this year. There are 976 registered candidates, including 111 women, running for the 128 seats in this year's election, which adopts a new system of proportional representation to replace the traditional winner-takes-all principle.

Major players in the election include the Future Movement, led by incumbent Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri; the Free Patriotic Movement, founded by incumbent Christian President Michel Aoun and led by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil; the Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed powerful Shiite political faction in Lebanon; the Amal Movement, led by incumbent Speaker Nabih Berri who has been in office since 1992; and the Lebanese Forces, a Christian opponent of Hezbollah.

Though having enjoyed relative peace due to the delicate political balance reached among the Christians, Muslims and the Hezbollah since the 1975-90 civil war, Lebanon has long been ruled by traditional powers including previous warlords and influential families.

Declining public services

In recent years, the Lebanese public has been voicing discontent over the declining public services, as illustrated by constant water and power cuts as well as corruption, and the rising number of Syrian refugees in the country.

Despite the popular prediction that this year's election is unlikely to fundamentally change the political division as most of the old guard is expected to retain power, many voters are still upbeat about it and the country's future.

Samira Hejazi, 70, said that she voted for Hariri.

Though complaining about the "complicated" political system and divergent opinions in this small but religiously diverse country, Hejazi said she still hopes this election would bring about some new changes.

"I'm optimistic about the future. Lebanon is a great country, and Lebanese people are very good people," she said.

To ensure the fairness of the election and prevent voting fraud, Lebanon has invited the European Union and the US-based National Democratic Institute to monitor the voting on Sunday.

A group of 36 short-time EU monitors were deployed on Friday across Lebanon to monitor the voting, in addition to 24 long-term EU monitors and 40 Beirut-based staff members from the embassies of EU member states.

Xinhua

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[US reactivates Atlantic 2nd Fleet]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153662.htm WASHINGTON - A top US Navy admiral has announced the re-establishment of the US Second Fleet - a Cold War command disbanded in 2011 - to patrol the North Atlantic.

Admiral John Richardson, the chief of US Naval Operations, made the announcement during a change-of-command ceremony on Friday at the Atlantic naval port of Norfolk, Virginia.

"Our national defense strategy makes clear that we're back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex," said Richardson.

"That's why today, we're standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the North Atlantic."

The Second Fleet command was disbanded as a cost-saving measure in 2011, and its assets and personnel were dispersed within the navy.

The new command will be responsible for US naval forces along the US eastern coast as well as the North Atlantic region, a navy statement said.

Before it was disbanded the Second Fleet played a key role during the Cold War, with operations in the North Atlantic and supporting US naval forces in the Mediterranean.

Russian planes and ships have in recent months made multiple sailings in the North Atlantic close to the airspace and territorial waters of US' NATO allies, including the United Kingdom.

NATO naval officials in late 2017 also reported Russian submarines probing undersea data cables in the North Atlantic.

The Second Fleet command currently exists only on paper, but according to USNI News, a publication of the US Naval Institute, the command will open for business on July 1 with 11 officers and four enlisted personnel.

'Growing threats'

The command will eventually grow to 256 personnel - 85 officers, 164 enlisted and seven civilians - USNI reported, citing a memo signed earlier in the week by US Navy Secretary Richard Spencer.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in January that the United States is facing "growing threats", and warned that the US military's advantages have eroded in recent years.

"Our military is still strong, yet our competitive edge has eroded in every domain of warfare," he said as he unveiled the Pentagon's national defense strategy.

Agence France-presse

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Man arrested after teen raped]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153661.htm NEW DELHI - Indian police said on Sunday that they have arrested the main suspect in the gang rape and gruesome murder of a teenage girl, in the latest of several high-profile sexual assault cases in the country.

The local village chief has also been detained while the 16-year-old victim's family have been given special police protection.

Dhanu Bhuiyan was found at a relative's house where he was hiding after he and accomplices allegedly burned the girl alive on Friday in a remote district of the eastern state of Jharkhand.

Police said Bhuiyan became enraged after the local village council ordered him to do 100 situps and pay a 50,000 rupee ($750) fine for the victim's gang rape. Bhuiyan and his accomplices allegedly attacked the girl's parents before setting their house on fire with the girl inside.

"The main suspect has been arrested from a relative's place where he was hiding. We have also set up a medical board which will conduct the (victim's) post-mortem," police Inspector General Shambhu Thakur said.

"We are on the case and we promise the family that the guilty won't be spared."

Thakur said the village head has also been arrested since he "announced a punishment that led to the murder".

Village councils of local elders often settle disputes in rural India, bypassing a lengthy and expensive judicial system. Although they carry no legal weight, they exert massive influence over village communities.

So far, 15 people have been arrested in the case, Thakur said, adding that the accused and the victim seemed to know each other.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has called for stringent punishment and announced compensation of 100,000 rupees for the victim's family.

He has condemned the killing as "barbaric".

Indian authorities have faced renewed pressure to act in the wake of several horrific sexual assault cases, including the recent gang rape and murder of an 8-year-old Muslim girl by a group of Hindus.

Amid mounting outrage, the government has changed the law to allow execution for child rapists.

India has been shaken by a series of sexual assaults since 2012, when a student was gang-raped and murdered on a moving New Delhi bus, a crime that triggered mass protests.

About 40,000 rape cases were reported in 2016, with many more believed to go unreported because of stigma attached to sex crimes in deeply patriarchal India.

Afp - Reuters - Ap

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[China, ROK, Japan can benefit from mutual trust]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153660.htm Both territorial and historical issues remain the most serious dilemmas

SEOUL - China, the Republic of Korea and Japan can achieve peace and prosperity in Northeast Asia based on mutual trust and understanding, an expert said ahead of a key trilateral leaders' meeting.

The Wednesday meeting in Japan will be attended by Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and ROK President Moon Jae-in.

"The three countries are advocating peace, stability and prosperity. They should step up efforts to cast away doubts (of) each other's diplomatic strategy," Lee Jongheon, secretary-general at the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat, said on Friday.

Lee said the trio should try to understand one another's policy and strategy.

Mutual trust and understanding as well as diplomatic efforts will be important to deepen their cooperation, as Northeast Asia has been relatively unstable for several reasons such as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the US influence on the region, he said.

Territorial and historical issues remain the most serious dilemmas since they are politically sensitive and emotionally unacceptable to the people of the three countries, he said.

The leaders should show their foresight and determination, while the people of the three countries should try to understand one another and increase communication, he said.

Regarding the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Lee said it has been one of the biggest factors impeding a deeper trilateral cooperation. However, now with detente on the peninsula, Northeast Asia is facing an "enormously good opportunity" to deepen cooperation.

ROK President Moon and Kim Jong-un, the top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, met on April 27, agreeing to complete denuclearization and transforming the current armistice agreement into a peace treaty by the end of this year.

Based on political trust, the three countries can deepen economic cooperation, including the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and resolve the rising unemployment rate, the TCS chief said. China, Japan and the ROK are the world's second, third and 11th largest economies respectively in terms of GDP.

Connectivity with ASEAN

The trilateral cooperation can also boost cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Lee said.

"Northeast Asia and the ASEAN will inevitably follow a process of mutual connectivity, mutual interaction and mutual positive influence ... to eventually form an East Asia Economic Community," he said.

Lee said the three countries have benefited from free trade and their growth has been driven by export. They should support free trade with one voice to help Asia maintain its growth momentum though the United States was retreating from free trade.

Noting that the cooperation among the three countries has developed rapidly despite challenges, he forecast that they would be able to bring trust and cooperation to Northeast Asia though it would take time.

"The three countries, being geographically close, have taken (crises) such as the 1997 Asian foreign exchange crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis, as an opportunity to come together and discuss ways to overcome them," he said.

The trilateral cooperation was launched under the ASEAN Plus Three mechanism in 1999, when Asia was mired in a foreign exchange crisis.

Lee said foundations for the cooperation were laid in 1992 when Beijing and Seoul set up diplomatic relations.

Beijing and Tokyo established diplomatic relations in 1972. Seoul and Tokyo normalized diplomatic ties in 1965.

Xinhua

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Putin set to begin fourth term in Kremlin]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153659.htm Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated on Monday for his fourth term as president of Russia under the shadow of strained ties with the West.

Putin, who has ruled Russia for 18 years, has promised to improve living standards at home during his next Kremlin stint.

But he has remained silent on the issue of his succession - despite this being an inevitable concern as the constitution bars him from running again when his fourth term ends in 2024.

Putin has struggled to revive an economy that crashed after Moscow was hit with Western sanctions in 2014, followed by a fall in global oil prices in 2016.

Despite this, his victory in the March election was never in question.

This year, officials are reportedly planning a fairly low-key inauguration ceremony that will not include a lavish reception.

This time, he was only expected to meet volunteers who took part in his election campaign.

Political analysts said that Moscow's attitude toward the West - which has only hardened over the crises in Ukraine and Syria, as well as accusations of spy poisoning in the United Kingdom and alleged election meddling in the United States - was unlikely to change during Putin's fourth term.

"For Putin, any concession is a sign of weakness, so there shouldn't be any expectation of a change in foreign policy," said Konstantin Kalachev, head of the Political Expert Group think tank in Moscow.

"Also, foreign policy is one of the main foundations of his support within the country. Putin needs to guarantee national unity."

On Saturday, opposition leader Navalny was held along with nearly 300 of his supporters during an unauthorized rally in Moscow.

Navalny and his ally Nikolai Lyaskin were detained for organizing the event and taken to the district police department to "resolve the issue of bringing them to justice in accordance with the law", Moscow City Police said.

Around 200 people were detained in St. Petersburg during another unauthorized rally held by Navalny's supporters and will face administrative charges, the local police department said.

A total of 3,500 people took part in unauthorized actions in Moscow and St. Petersburg and a further 2,000 in similar rallies in more than 20 cities across the country, the Russian Interior Ministry said in a statement.

AFP and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Britain in latest bid to save Iran deal]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153658.htm

Britain's top diplomat is visiting the United States for two days of talks with the Trump administration as President Donald Trump decides whether to pull out of the multinational nuclear agreement with Iran.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is a strong proponent of the deal. Trump has given Britain, France and Germany a May 12 deadline to fix what he views as the deal's flaws - its failure to address Iran's ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors visit suspect Iranian sites, and "sunset" clauses under which some of its terms expire - or he will reimpose US sanctions.

The agreement itself isn't cited as a discussion point in a statement on the trip from Britain's Foreign Office. But Iran is listed as one of the international issues Johnson is to discuss along with the Korean Peninsula and Syria.

The statement said Johnson was expected to meet with US Vice-President Mike Pence, National Security Adviser John Bolton and other senior administration officials as well as congressional foreign policy leaders.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that he was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow to discuss regional issues.

It will be the eighth meeting between the two leaders in the past two years, in addition to at least 12 phone talks, according to Israeli media.

Israel has been lobbying world powers to "fix or nix" the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a May 12 deadline set by Trump approaches.

Israel is also concerned that Iran is establishing a military presence in Syria, and it has attacked Iranian targets there.

On Thursday, Israel's defense minister reminded Russia of his government's decision not to join Western sanctions against it, and asked that Moscow reciprocate with a more pro-Israel approach over Syria and Iran issues.

Moscow has repeatedly said it wants the Iran nuclear deal left intact. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday that Russia would deem any changes to the deal to be unacceptable.

On Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Teheran had prepared plans to respond to any decision by Trump to end the nuclear agreement and the Washington would regret such a decision.

"We have plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord," Rouhani said in a speech carried live by state television. "If America leaves the nuclear accord, this will entail historic remorse for it."

Reuters, AP and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Concern in UK, France at Trump's speech to NRA]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153657.htm PARIS/LONDON - Trauma surgeons in London said US President Donald Trump had missed the point after he linked a wave of knife crime in the British capital to a ban on handguns.

Anger also flared in France after Trump, in a speech to the National Rifle Association, used his hands in a gesture to mimic the shooting of victims in Paris in 2015.

Trump, who was scheduled to visit Britain on July 13, told members of the NRA in Dallas, Texas, on Friday that a "once very prestigious" London hospital, which he did not name, had become overwhelmed with victims of knife attacks.

"They don't have guns. They have knives and instead there's blood all over the floors of this hospital," he said. "They say it's as bad as a military war zone hospital. Knives, knives, knives, knives," he added, making stabbing gestures.

London suffered a spike in knife crime in the early part of this year, and the total number of murders during February and March exceeded that in New York.

Last month, trauma surgeon Martin Griffiths told the BBC that some of his colleagues had likened the Royal London Hospital in east London where he works to the former British military base Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

"Some of my military colleagues have described their practice here as being similar to being at Bastion," he said. "About a quarter of what we see in our practice is knife and gun injury. And it's now we're doing major lifesaving cases on a daily basis."

But on Saturday he implied Trump had drawn the wrong conclusion from his remarks, saying on Twitter that he would be happy to invite Trump to his "prestigious" hospital to discuss London's efforts to reduce violence.

Griffiths posted his comment next to an animation of a stick figure with the phrase "The Point" flying over its head, and also linked to a statement on the hospital's website by a fellow trauma surgeon, Karim Brohi.

"There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair," Brohi said in the statement on Saturday.

Britain's government effectively banned handgun ownership in England, Scotland and Wales after a school shooting in 1996.

Diane Abbott, the opposition Labour Party's spokeswoman for home affairs, said she could "hardly see how violent crime in London justifies the licensing of guns in the US".

Trump's comments have caused upset before in Britain, which views itself as the United States' closest ally. Relations with British Prime Minister Theresa May cooled last year after she criticized him for retweeting anti-Islam videos by a British far-right group.

Trump's NRA speech also drew anger in France on Saturday, after the US president, using his hand in a gun gesture, acted out how a gunman had killed hostages one by one during an attack in Paris in November 2015.

Trump said a civilian could have stopped the massacre at the Bataclan concert hall, where 90 of the 130 victims of the attack died, had they had a gun.

Former French president Francois Hollande, who was head of state at the time, said on Twitter that Trump's comments and antics were "shameful" and "obscene".

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Trump's portrayal of the 2015 attacks was "contemptuous and unworthy".

Reuters - Ap

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-05/07/content_36153656.htm Pakistan

23 killed in twin coal mine collapses

Twenty-three people were killed and 11 wounded after gas explosions tore through two neighboring coal mines, officials said on Sunday. Shortly before midday on Saturday, a buildup of methane caused an explosion and tunnel collapse at a mine in Marwaarh, Balochistan. Three hours later, another mine collapsed in similar circumstances, killing seven of the nine miners inside.

Spain

476 migrants rescued at sea

Spain's maritime rescue service said it had saved 476 migrants in a two-day span who were attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from African shores. The service said it pulled the migrants from 15 small boats on Friday and Saturday. There were no reported casualties. Favorable weather in the Strait of Gibraltar appears to have sparked the surge in sea crossings.

United Kingdom

Pictures of newborn prince released

Britain's royal family on Sunday released two pictures of its newest arrival, Prince Louis, taken by his mother Kate. In one touching image, three-year-old Princess Charlotte is kissing her sleeping brother, while the other shows the royal baby propped against a cushion.

Afp - Ap

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2018-05-07 07:20:29
<![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116156.htm "The ZTE incident is a wake-up call for China to shed reliance on foreign technologies and give careful attention to currently stalled efforts to improve domestic chip design."

MIAO QIGUANG, a professor at the School of Computer Science and Technology at Xidian University.

"We hope the institute will work as a platform to involve lawmaking and law enforcement agencies, law professors, domestic and foreign experts in IP protection and those from platform governance and legal affairs departments of Alibaba to look at problems that e-commerce platforms encounter, and to find solutions."

SUN JUNGONG, vice-president of Alibaba. E-commerce giant Alibaba Group has created an institute for intellectual property. The institute aims to help establish new rules for IP protection in the age of the internet and globalization.

"Only about 2 percent of people in China receive flu vaccinations, and a major reason is that the vaccines are not free. ... We hope the government will include flu vaccines in its national immunization program so that more people are covered by the service."

ZUO SHUYAN, a vaccine researcher at the World Health Organization's China office in Beijing.

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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116155.htm

 

The 2018 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition kicks off on April 25, with international carmakers applauding recent opening-up decisions by the government. China plans to scrap the decades-old 50 percent cap on foreign equity in automotive ventures by 2022. Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily

Details of planned space station made public

China has disclosed details of its future space station, following the construction of one of its key parts by engineers. The Chinese multimodule space station, named Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, will be com-posed mainly of three parts - a core module attached to two space labs - having a combined weight of 66 metric tons, says Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the nation's manned space program. The station will become heavier with the gradual installation of equipment for experiments and docking by visiting spacecraft. It will be capable of docking with up to three spacecraft at a time. The designer says that once the station begins operations in orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth, it will have three astronauts on shifts lasting several months. During handovers between shifts, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts.

Shanghai may pioneer financial civil court

China is considering the use of a specialized court to handle finance-related lawsuits in Shanghai to improve the country's judicial capability and better prevent financial risks. The proposed establishment of the Shanghai Financial Court was submitted to the Standing Commit-tee of the National People's Congress for deliberation as the top legislature began its bimonthly session on April 25. The civil court, which would deal with financial disputes in the city, aims to bolster the international influence of China's financial jurisprudence, forestall financial risks and steer the financial sector toward serving the real economy, as well as building Shanghai into an international financial center by 2020, says Zhou Qiang, president of the Supreme People's Court, who briefed the lawmakers.

Giant mosquito found in Chengdu

A Chinese entomologist has discovered a giant mosquito with a wing-span of 11.15 centimeters. Zhao Li, curator of the Insect Museum of West China, says the insect, which belongs to the world's largest mosquito species, Holorusia mikado, was found in August last year during a field trip to Mount Qingcheng in Chengdu. A wingspan of about 8 cm is typical for the species. "These mosquitoes look horrendous, but do not feed on blood. The adults mainly feed on nectar," Zhao says.

Billions in taxes being cut for entrepreneurs

China will cut taxes by another 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion; 7.7 billion euros; £6.8 billion) to reduce the cost of innovation and entrepreneurship, energize small and micro businesses and spur job creation. In an effort to implement blueprints set out by the Central Economic Work Conference and the Government Work Report, the annual taxable income threshold of small and micro businesses eligible for halved income tax will be raised from 500,000 to 1 million yuan. The per unit value of newly purchased R&D instruments and equipment eligible for one-time tax deductions will be raised from 1 million yuan to 5 million yuan. The two measures will be in place from Jan 1, 2018, to Dec 31, 2020.

New Guangzhou air terminal opens

The new terminal at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangdong province, which opened on April 26, is expected to improve capacity and add momentum to the construction of a world-class aviation hub in the provincial capital. The first phase of the Terminal 2 area, which will have floor space of 880,700 square meters, will be able to handle more than 45 million passengers a year. It includes the terminal building, a traffic center and related supplemental facilities. According to a statement from airport authorities on April 23, T2 will be the largest single airport terminal building on the Chinese mainland. It will include both international and domestic exit and arrival processing and related customs and security check facilities, along with 58 passenger-boarding jet-ways.

China, Russia to boost crime fight

China and Russia will enhance law enforcement cooperation to target cross-border crimes, according to Chinese authorities on April 24. The countries will deepen judicial cooperation to fight transnational safety threats, including terrorist attacks, cybercrimes and drug trafficking, to maintain regional safety and stability, says Guo Shengkun, chief of the committee for political and legal affairs of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. The Russian side also said it will work closely with China to cope with challenges.

Rare 500-kg bell discovered

An old iron bell has been discovered in Hebei province's Cixian county. The bell, weighing about 500 kilograms, was found by a local resident. Archaeologists say it is more than 420 years old. The dark brown bell is about 123 centimeters tall and belonged to a local temple. "Bells have a long history in China, but this one is particularly rare because of its weight," says Wang Zhiqiang, head of the local cultural relics protection institute.

27% growth for internet copyright industry

China's internet copyright industry was worth 636.5 billion yuan ($101 billion; 82 billion euros; £72 billion) in 2017, a 27 percent increase from 2016, as new industrial forms emerge. The finding, which relates to online videos, games and apps, comes from a report released on April 23 by the Internet Copyright Industry Research Center ahead of World Intellectual Property Day, which falls on April 26. The internet copyright industry contributed 0.77 to China's GDP last year, according to the report. The value has tripled since 2013.

Centers to shorten time for patent reviews

Beijing will establish two intellectual property protection centers this year that are expected to shorten the pat-ent review cycle for certain sectors from one year to six months, according to the information office of the Beijing government. The two centers will mainly serve information technology, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials and biomedicine, says Pan Xinsheng, deputy director of the Beijing intellectual property office.

China to launch new satellite in May

China is to launch Gaofen 5, a hyper-spectral imaging satellite for Earth observation, at the beginning of May. The new satellite, capable of obtaining spectral information from ultra-violet to long-wave infrared radiation, can be used to survey inland waters and mineral resources, said Tong Xudong, director of the Earth Observation System and Data Center of the China National Space Administration, at a conference on April 23. The satellite can also monitor air pollutants, green-house gases and aerosol particles. To make the best use of observational data and serve countries covered by the Belt and Road Initiative, the CNSA released an international cooperation plan for Gaofen 5, specifying fields that will be open for cooperation and commercial service.

Genome sequence of tea plant completed

Chinese scientists have completed high-quality genome sequencing of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, the Chinese-type tea plant, which sheds light upon the genes that determine tea quality and diversity. The study was jointly conducted by the tea plant biology laboratory of east China's Anhui Agricultural University, the Shenzhen-based BGI Genomics Institute and the National Center for Gene Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The results showed that divergence of tea plants and kiwi-fruit lineages occurred about 80 million years ago, while divergence between the two major tea plant groups - the Chinese-type and Camellia sinensis var. assamica, known as the Assam type - is calculated to have taken place 380,000 to 1.54 million years ago. This genome sequence will facilitate understanding of tea plant evolution and help to produce improved tea varieties, experts say.

Two pandas meet the public in Guiyang

Two giant pandas, born in Japan and Spain, met the public in Guizhou province on April 22. The two males, Hai Bang and Xing Bao, live at Qianlingshan Park in Guiyang. Hai Bang and his twin were born in Japan in 2010, while Xing Bao was born in Spain in 2013.

5G test network enters operation in Chongqing

The first 5G test network was launched in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing on April 23, another step toward 5G commercialization in China. Chongqing is among the first group of cities to build and test-run 5G networks in China. According to China Mobile's Chongqing branch, the test network has started operating in the municipality's Liangjiang New Area and will be expanded to the whole city step by step. The test network is open to individuals and companies that have the intention of jointly carrying out 5G innovations, including in areas such as the inter-net of vehicles, automatic driving, smart cities and online AR/VR -augmented reality and virtual reality. The test period will last until the official 5G commercialization.

China develops ducted fan drone

China has developed its first civilian unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, with a ducted fan system. The drone, which looks like a rice cooker, made its debut and soon became one of the stars at the 19th Hobby Expo China, held in Beijing from April 20 to 22. Developed by China Aerospace Science and Industry Co, the drone weighs just 280 grams and is small enough to fit in the palm of the hand. He Yu, an engineer at CASIC, says the duct-ed fan system enables the drone to take off vertically and land in a narrow space. Developers also located the drone's rotor inside the duct, which can prevent it from being damaged during flight.

'Chinese Bridge' contestants set record

The 15th "Chinese Bridge" competition, a contest for foreign students on their Chinese proficiency, concluded April 24 at the University of Latvia with a record number of contestants. With 68 contestants, the competition was divided into three groups - adult, secondary school and elementary school. The secondary school group attracted the most, with 32 contestants, followed by the elementary group with 19 and the adultgroup with 17. It shows that more people have started to learn Chinese at a younger age.

China delivers 57 MA series planes

China had delivered 57 MA series regional aircraft to 18 Belt and Road countries by the end of 2017, according to AVIC International Aero-Development Corp. The MA series planes have been operating on more than 200 air routes in these countries, and have transported around 11 million passengers, AVIC International said. AVIC International is a subsidiary of the State-owned aviation giant China Aviation Industry Corp, which focuses on overseas sales and promotion of China's aviation products. The turboprop MA series is manufactured by AVIC Xi'an Aircraft Industry Co in North-west China's Xi'an, the starting point of the ancient Silk Road.

Underwater glider sets dive record

Haiyan, the advanced, automated underwater glider developed by China, set a world record by diving 8,213 meters, almost 1,900 meters deeper than the previous best, engineers said on April 22. Experts said the dive rep-resents a major milestone in the development of China's underwater research equipment, which will collect valuable data for scientific, economic and military purposes. Haiyan, which is Chinese for storm petrel, a kind of seabird, made the dive in the Mariana Trench, a scythe-shaped cleft in the western Pacific Ocean floor that plunges nearly 11 kilometers, Wang Yanhui, the glider's project director, told China Central Television. The dive was one of the experiments carried out by crew members aboard the scientific survey ship Xiangyanghong 18 during a 30-day voyage. The ship returned to Qingdao, Shandong province, on April 21.

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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA[Peppa Pig theme parks are planned]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116154.htm First two are expected to launch in Shanghai and Beijing next year, and a stage show will tour China

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, based 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," says 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," says 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 around 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," says 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 countries and regions and translated into 40 languages.

boleung@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA['Salute boy' stir now 'a thing of the past']]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116123.htm The child famous for saluting his PLA rescuers from the rubble of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake is happily looking to the future

Before the 10th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake, which occurred on May 12, 2008, claiming 69,227 lives and leaving 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 amid 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, prompting an outpouring of concern from people of all walks of life. Lang, who is now 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 soccer. 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 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, the boy 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 great admiration for 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 of Southern Metropolis Daily and Ren Jiarui of the Department of Journalism at Shanghai University.

 

The picture in which Lang gave a military salute touched the nation's heart in the aftermath of Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. Photos by Yang Weihua and He Yushuai / Southern Metropolis Daily

 
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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA[Big picture]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116122.htm

 

We do: A group wedding ceremony is held in Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province, on April 21. The 108 couples, from different parts of China, live and work in Hangzhou. Lian Guoqing / For China Daily

 

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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA[Questionnaire]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/29/content_36116121.htm

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2018-04-29 15:09:03
<![CDATA[Moutai blends European cocktail culture with increased brand awareness]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072166.htm

Chinese distiller moves to conquer other continents with its focus firmly set on the fashionable French liquor market

The fiery Chinese liquor brand Moutai has made strong inroads in France, with efforts to acquaint drinkers with the unique taste of baijiu, which literally translates to "white liquor".

Lin Xuyang, vice-president of Cammy France Development, the sole distributor of Moutai in France, said the company sold around 60,000 bottles of the spirit last year, an increase of 30 percent year-on-year.

"This is an enormous improvement compared with when we first entered the French market in 2009," Lin said. "It was very di, cult at the beginning to sell a strong Chinese liquor in a country that is renowned for and proud of its wine."

Moutai is a popular brand of baijiu, which is distilled from locally grown high-quality sorghum and contains 53 percent alcohol by volume. It is a mainstay at every festival occasion in China, from New Year dinners and wedding receptions, to business banquets.

Because of Moutai's Chinese roots, Lin said the company's strategy in France focuses heavily on the Chinese community in the country, which accounts for 90 percent of total Moutai sales in France.

In recent years, the brand has grown in popularity among locals, as drinkers look for something new and different.

Nicolas Julhes, founder of boutique liquor store Julhes Paris, first encountered Moutai at a Chinese New Year tasting event in the French capital. "When I first tried Moutai, the taste was very impressive because I had never experienced such strong flavor before.

"As someone who works in the alcohol industry, I have tried a lot of fiery spirits before, but Moutai, as a strong white liquor, offers a unique taste and aroma," Julhes said. "What amazes me is that the texture of Moutai possesses the beauty of harmony.

"Under its strong kick, it has a complex texture, but also is permeated with a unique fragrance of sorghum."

Julhes said he likes to drink Moutai neat, as it often has a persistent, flamboyant, exotic essence that brings excitement to the table.

For the French to accept Moutai, it is as much about introducing the taste as about telling its story, Lin said, as the French are very particular about alcohol and usually tend to know the history behind a drink.

As a result, in 2017 Lin led a group of spirit experts - eight French, one German and one British - to the distiller in the town of Maotai in Southwest China's Guizhou province. Julhes was among the guests in the group.

"The trip to Moutai's place of origin was unforgettable, as it deepened my understanding of the Chinese culture. At the same time it has given me the opportunity to see the second-to-none manufacturing process of Moutai," said Julhes, who from that point on has been a fan of the fiery Chinese spirit.

Lin noted that bringing alcohol specialists to see how Moutai is produced is a good way to promote the drink in France, as it created a ripple effect across the industry. This year, he plans to take an even bigger group to the distiller in China, including drink specialists, bloggers and journalists.

Lin said Moutai's brand awareness in France was aided by its presence at Paris Cocktail Week, during which sommeliers and bartenders could find out more about the liquor, which is not widely known outside China, but is the most widely drunk alcohol in the world.

Moutai is well on its way to creating a strong presence in Europe.

In December 2016, State-owned Kweichow Moutai Group launched its iconic Moutai brand in Hamburg, Germany. About 300 guests were served the sorghum-derived liquor in three cocktails designed by a local bar catering service.

"Moutai has a smell and taste of cocoa, so in one cocktail we combined it with a chocolate vodka and chocolate bitters," said Alexander Brittnacher, founder of Next Level Cocktails.

"In another we looked for food pairing partners and we found that blackberries are a good combination."

The growing popularity of Moutai-based cocktails has extends to London. Paul Mathew, owner of the Arbitrager and the Hide cocktail bars in the British capital, said Moutai's strong aroma is tricky to compliment, so he likes to use things such as pomelo, strong teas, pear or smoky flavors to mix Moutai cocktails. The distinctive character of the spirit adds a complexity to drinks when mixed well, he added.

Lin said that Moutai's popularity abroad is helped by global events such as World Baijiu Day.

The event was launched in 2015 by Jim Boyce, who has run the nightlife blog Beijing Boyce and wine blog Grape Wall of China for nearly a decade, and has written about China's wine industry for both trade and mainstream publications.

It is a day on which innovative bars from all over the world create something imaginative with baijiu to improve brand awareness internationally. The informal theme is "beyond ganbei (bottoms up)" and participating venues in more than 20 cities have embraced the event, offering everything from cocktails, infusions and liqueurs to baijiu-inspired pizzas, beer and ice cream, and even food pairings.

To meet rising demand from home and abroad, Chinese liquor producer Kweichow Moutai Group will launch a new project that will produce 6,600 metric tons of liquor in 2018. The company plans to produce 136,000 tons of alcoholic beverages in 2023, including 56,000 tons of Moutai liquor.

In the first 10 months of 2017, Moutai exported 1,623 tons of alcoholic beverages and earned $281 million. The group's sales revenue is estimated to have exceeded 60 billion yuan ($9.5 billion, 7.8 billion euros, £6.7 billion) in 2017, with profits of 30 billion yuan, said Yuan Renguo, chairman of Kweichow Moutai Group.

By 2020, the amount of Moutai liquor sold overseas will account for at least 10 percent of the company's total production, according to the group's strategy.

wangmingjie@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Chengdu's love affair endures for giant pandas]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072165.htm

New park to extend operations to protect, celebrate much-adored exotic animal

Chengdu, the capital of the province of Sichuan and renowned in China and throughout the world as the home of the giant panda, is taking its love affair with the exotic animal to a new level.

Officials said the city will further promote its unique and extensive cultural activities involving the giant panda and the development of its associated tourism industry, to strengthen its position as a cultural and creative hub in western China.

 

A visitor takes photos of giant panda toys in Chengdu, the ancient hometown of the giant panda. Photos Provided to China Daily

In ancient times, the habitats of the giant panda were mainly distributed in the mountains in mid-western China in several provinces, but in Sichuan, the number of pandas is the largest.

Now, a new giant panda-centered park, named the Sino-France Chengdu Giant Panda Ecological and Creative Industrial Park, will be built in Chengdu to expand the provincial capital's panda operations even further.

French scientific and educational institution Deyrolle, Chengdu Culture& Tourism Development Group and Guangdong Fangsuo Cultural Investment and Development Co have partnered to build and operate the park, according to a cooperation framework agreement signed in early 2018.

The park neighbors the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, one of the most important giant panda research centers in China, and will cover some 5,257 mu (350 hectares).

When completed, it will focus on developing panda-related media products, supporting giant panda breeding, providing education and training services and promoting panda culture tourism. It will also develop giant panda-related intellectual properties resources.

According to the plan, the first stage of the park will comprise eight centers, including an interactive museum for the natural sciences and the arts, an intellectual property research and development center for the giant panda and an agriculture center and educational center for sustainable development.

Deyrolle and its owner, Louis Albert de Broglie, will be responsible for designing the eight centers. The facility is set to be completed in 2021.

"The project will mobilize knowhow from companies and institutions in France and China, to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting nature and the need to protect biodiversity," Broglie said.

"The giant panda is already a symbol of this imperative around the world," he added.

The facility will be the only panda-themed park in the world that focuses on promoting the relationship between man and nature, the sciences and arts, entertainment and education, life and the green biology industry, according to tourism officials.

"The project will expand the awareness of China's panda culture in the world and help deepen cooperation between China and France in fields such as the arts and natural sciences," said Jiang Weiwei, general manager of Chengdu Culture & Tourism Development Group.

The planned park will not be the only facility in Chengdu that promote the development of the culture surrounding the giant panda.

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, home to more than 100 giant pandas, has long been committed to building itself into a mecca for the protection of the vulnerable species in China. It has arranged different types of activities, so that people have a greater chance to interact with and learn more about pandas.

In January last year, 23 panda cubs in the facility were presented together in an initiative by the park to send Spring Festival greetings to all its visitors, attracting wide praise.

In March this year, the facility launched a plan to upgrade its panda operations so that the public could obtain more knowledge about the animal. It plans to partner with companies and institutes to make documentaries, films and videos to attract more attention in society to the need to protect the pandas.

Sichuan, the ancient home of the giant panda, has developed many locations that allow people to get up close and personal with pandas.

Wolong National Nature Reserve, about 130 kilometers from Chengdu, is the largest protected zone in Sichuan in terms of area and the most complex in terms of natural conditions.

It also tops the list in terms of the varieties of precious plants and animals. Designated an International Biosphere Preserve by the United Nations, the reserve is home to more than 100 giant pandas.

It has built a giant panda research center and observation stations which allow experts to monitor pandas in the wild. It also has a large-scale giant panda breeding center. In addition, it has built a pioneering panda-themed museum in China.

Apart from the reserve, a giant panda disease control and rescue center in Dujiangyan in Chengdu is also contributing to their protection. The center, which covers 51 hectares, is the result of a total investment of 230 million yuan ($36.7 million; 29.6 million euros; £25.8 million).

The Dujiangyan center has become one of three demonstration platforms in Chengdu that are committed to of - site conservation as well as in situ preservation.

Baoxing county of Yaan in Sichuan, where the first wild panda in the world was spotted, has to date made huge investments to become a panda-themed tourism city. When completed, the investment is expected to total around 1.6 billion yuan.

Officials say that pandas from Baoxing also serve to play a wider role, making a significant contribution to promoting friendship between China and the rest of the world.

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Sichuan expands its push to open up, reach overseas tourists]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072164.htm

Sichuan province in Southwest China is to continue to promote its opening-up to the world and boost its services, to strengthen its position in international tourism markets, according to officials.

Last year, Sichuan focused on improving its tourism brand, increasing the quality of its services, and promoting the province's internationalization and modernization.

Officials said the province organized a series of promotional events under the banner "Beautiful China, more than pandas" - targeting foreign tourists.

According to statistics from the province's authorities, earnings from tourism in Sichuan reached 892.3 billion yuan ($142.2 billion; 114.9 billion euros; £100.2 billion) in 2017, a year-on-year increase of 16.1 percent from 2016.

In March, the Sichuan government hosted a major get-together of the tourism industry and gave a total of 1.55 million yuan in bonuses to 10 travel agencies for their outstanding contributions in attracting foreign tourism to Sichuan in 2016.

Plans to improve the promotion of Sichuan's tourism products in international markets were also introduced at the meeting.

In addition to Sichuan's existing tourism resources - including the giant panda, its food and Mount Emei - the province plans to introduce some sports, healthcare and biological travel-centered tourism products to better serve travelers' varying demands.

Sichuan has spared no effort in improving the quality of services offered by its tourism industry.

The province has rolled out a multi-lingual marketing campaign for its tourism products, to better promote them in international markets. It has also arranged many large-scaled promotional events under the banner of "Sichuan, more than pandas", in the United States, European countries, Australia, New Zealand, some Southeast Asian countries and countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2018, promotional events under the banner "Beautiful China, more than pandas" - first unveiled in the German capital of Berlin in 2016 - will continue to be staged around the world. Tourism industry representatives from Sichuan will visit countries including Turkey, Israel, the United States, Mexico, Germany and Japan this year. Over the past two years, Sichuan promoted its tourism industry in 20 cities in 12 countries, officials said.

The Chengdu-Europe Express Rail, which connects Chengdu to 14 cities in Europe, has also served an important role in promoting Sichuan's tourism industry since the end of 2017. Images of cartoon pandas were painted on the cargo train, enabling more people abroad to learn about Sichuan.

Sichuan is not only the ancient home of the giant panda. It also has diversified tourism resources including its snow-clad mountains, sparkling lakes and world heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.

These include Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area and Mount Emei Scenic Area which includes the Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area.

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Western hub welcomes Austrian delegation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072163.htm

Chengdu an important destination, say visiting international leaders

More international leaders are choosing Chengdu as an important stop during their visits to China, as the southwestern hub city opens up further to the world.

Following visits by such important figures as former British prime minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, two top leaders from Austria visited Chengdu earlier this month.

 

Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen (left) and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (third from left) head a delegation to arrive in Chengdu on April 11. Photos Provided to China Daily

From April 11-13, Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz headed a delegation to Chengdu, after their visits to Beijing and Hainan earlier this month.

The two leaders attended the opening of Austria's consulate general in Chengdu, a Sino-Austrian trade fair and the launch of the direct freight train service between Chengdu and Vienna.

Their trip also covered the Dujiangyan Water Conservation Project, Mount Qingcheng and Tianfu New Area. They visited the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center, where the Austria-born panda Fubao now lives.

It was the first time that Austria's head of state and government leader visited a country at the same time. The 100-plus-member delegation they headed included the president's wife, government officials and business and cultural sector insiders.

Witnessed by the president and chancellor, the Austrian consulate in Chengdu opened on April 11. With its services covering Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces and Chongqing municipality, this is the third consulate Austria has opened in China after those in Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said the establishment of the consulate is not a "coincidence", as Chengdu and Austria have a long history of cooperation.

Chengdu and Linz have long been sister cities. The two sides have had fruitful cooperation in fields including smart city and biomedicine in the past 35 years.

She mentioned Austria's investment collaboration with Chengdu's Tianfu New Area.

"The new area, which will be home to millions of residents in five years, will have an exemplary role in Sino-Austrian cooperation in smart city development. We are happy to see that Austria's involvement is boosting Chengdu's prosperity," the foreign minister said.

She added that the new consulate will be devoted to promoting Austria's ties with Sichuan and China as well, in the fields of diplomacy, economy, science and culture, and especially people-to-people exchanges.

"The opening of the consulate is the most important agenda for our trip in Chengdu," President van der Bellen said, adding that he hopes the establishment can further contribute to Sino-Austrian exchanges.

He said the two nations have already seen successful exchanges in the fields of economy, and music, as well as other cultural undertakings.

Chancellor Kurz said that the consulate will be a strong start for cooperation in the fields of economy, culture, science and technology.

A number of countries have chosen Chengdu as the location of their consulates, including New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic and Switzerland, eyeing the city as a hub for their cooperation in the west of China.

To date, a total of 17 consulates have been approved in Chengdu, ranking it fi rst among all cities in the nation's central and western regions.

Austria's delegates talked about their impressions of Chengdu.

Kurz said he was told that Chengdu was a city with a slow pace of life.

"This time, however, I see a dynamic, livable city with strong growth momentum," he said.

He said he believes Sichuan and its capital city Chengdu can play a greater role in Sino-Austrian economic ties.

In addition to the consulate, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber also has an of ce in the city. The two organizations will work together to help boost Austria's economic links with Chengdu, according to Kurz.

During a trade fair held on April 11, business representatives from both countries signed agreements in fields such as equipment manufacturing, tourism, rail transit and vocational education.

President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber Christopher Leitl, who is from Linz, said Chengdu is a technology-focused and innovation-driven city that is opening up to the world.

"Its fast, innovation-driven growth has attracted the attention of many Austrian companies," Leitl said, adding that they are planning to deepen cooperation.

Chengdu is implementing a development model focusing on new economy, with a number of experimental zones that can offer many incentives to attract overseas companies and professionals.

In 2017, Chengdu had 33,000 enterprises in fields related to new economy, ranking it No 4 among all the cities in China. Some 281 Fortune Global 500 companies have invested in operations in the city, the largest number in central and western China.

On April 12, the Austrian president, prime minister and other delegates met panda Fubao at the research base in Dujiangyan in the north of Chengdu.

Fubao was born in Austria in 2013. His parents have lived in the country since 2003. He returned to China in 2015.

"We are glad to see him again," said van der Bellen.

Kurz said the Austrian people regard this Austria-born panda as a symbol of Austria-China friendship.

The latest survey shows that Chengdu is home to 73 pandas living in the wild. The Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Research Center also had 184 pandas in pens by the end of 2017.

Based on its world-leading breeding technologies, the center has research cooperation with 16 countries and regions.

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[City making tracks in opening-up with European freight service]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/22/content_36072162.htm

Witnessed by the visiting Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a freight train with a full load of goods departed from Chengdu on April 12, set to run all the way to Vienna.

The Chengdu-Europe freight service launched in April 2013 aiming to deepen business ties with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

On board this particular Chengdu-Vienna train were displays, tires, daily commodities, machines and many other goods.

Covering 9,800 kilometers, the train will take about 13 days to arrive in Vienna.

During the launch ceremony of the train service, the cargo unit of Austria's national railway company signed an agreement with China International Railway Port to explore further cooperation.

Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl said the direct freight train service is of great significance for the business ties between the two countries.

"Compared with ocean shipping, the travel time of the Chengdu-Vienna train can be greatly shortened," she said, adding that this route is "tailored to the inland country of Austria".

Chengdu's railway port executives said the route is expected to become regular with trade increasing between China and Austria.

To date, the Chengdu-Europe freight train service has included 16 routes, linking cities including Lodz, Nuremberg and Moscow. Inside China, the service has also been extended to 14 cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. This wide coverage has made Chengdu a hub for international railway transportation.

Li Muyuan, an official at China Communications and Transportation Association, said Chengdu is at the meeting point of the Yangtze River Economic Belt and Silk Road Economic Belt. He said the international freight train service is expected to further promote Chengdu's opening-up and strengthen its role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

He said the advantages of opening-up do not belong only to the coastal cities any more, as inland cities like Chengdu are rapidly growing into opening-up frontiers for the Eurasian continent.

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2018-04-22 12:22:30
<![CDATA[Customized travel takes to the skies in Chinese tourist market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/21/content_36070568.htm China's customized travel market - which crafts holidays tailor-made to meet the special needs of increasingly affluent and demanding tourists - grew fast last year, according to a new industry report.

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Experts say rapidly increasing sector provides unique business opportunities

China's customized travel market - which crafts holidays tailor-made to meet the special needs of increasingly affluent and demanding tourists - grew fast last year, according to a new industry report.

Experts said that dynamic growth is expected to continue throughout 2018.

The industry report found that some 40 percent of customized travel by Chinese tourists in 2017 was overseas, with Europe accounting for 10 percent of total outbound travel.

The report was released Monday by online tour operator Ctrip and the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, at the first Business Summit of Ctrip Customized Travel held in the Hungarian capital, Budapest.

The joint report, entitled Customized Travels of Chinese Visitors to Europe, detailed the growth in demand for bespoke travel to Europe in 2017.

"China's travel market is booming, which offers a new business model and opportunities for products and services in customized travel," said Ctrip Customized Travel CEO Kane Xu.

With year-on-year growth of 130 percent in 2017, Europe has seen increasing numbers of Chinese travelers opting for unique, personalized travel experiences.

The report found that apart from being tailor-made, the main requirements for these trips were that they be in-depth, private, niche, conducted at a slow pace and be more focused on leisure.

Ctrip's travel data showed that 2017 saw more than 6 million Chinese take their first trips to Europe.

A total of 9.3 percent of Chinese travelers chose Europe as their outbound destination, making it the second most popular continent for Chinese travelers. Females traveled more than males and 23 percent of total outbound tourists to Europe were aged 50 and above.

The top five European countries for customized travel were Britain, Italy, France, Russia and Greece. On average, tailor-made trips to Europe lasted around 12 days, with tours not exceeding two countries.

"The demand for and consumption of customized travel by Chinese consumers is unique and represents a leading global market segment," said travel expert Wolfgang Georg Arlt.

Arlt, director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, a leading independent research body on China's rapidly growing outbound tourism sector, said the customized travel market was characterized by its "popularity, youthfulness and high growth rates".

Last year Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou were the top three departure cities for customized travel. Second-tier cities - such as Harbin, Wuhan, Fuzhou, Nanjing and Hangzhou - made up 50 percent of tailored trips, but were among the fastest-growing cities with year-on-year growth exceeding 100 percent.

Personalized demands and themes - from gastronomy to wedding photography, to study tours to honeymoons, to specific sporting interests and activities - can now be met through Ctrip's vast resources and selections.

According to the industry report, the sheer size of Europe provided a huge variety of options for Chinese tourists.

At a recent forum during the China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market held in Beijing last week, industry experts said that Chinese tourists were showing ever-increasing demand for outbound travel experiences.

The forum was also told the majority of tourists wanted to enjoy customized travel products and high-quality services.

Matt Thompson, project director at Tarsus Group, the host of the annual event, said China had become the biggest source of inbound tourists for a growing number of countries including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Russia.

According to data from the China Tourism Academy, the country's tourists made more than 130 million overseas visits and spent a total of $115.29 billion during their travels last year.

Global management consulting company Mckinsey has forecast that 44 percent of total international spending on premier, customized holidays will come from China in 2025.

Currently about 120 million Chinese people have passports, just 9 percent of the country's total population, according to government data. In contrast, in the United States, passport holders account for 36 percent of the population.

The comparison indicates that there will be sustained growth in China's outbound tourism market, Tarsus Group's Thompson said.

Other factors, such as renminbi appreciation and a growing number of countries agreeing to visa-free or landing visa services for Chinese tourists, or dealing with visa applications online, will also spur the growth in the outbound tourism market, he added.

Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, said China's outbound tourism market continued its growth momentum in 2017, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

Family trips are increasingly becoming a key segment in the market, he noted.

"Consumers are more and more valuing safety and quality experiences in their travels," he said.

"They need a convincing reason why they should share the destination with their family members or friends, so in the future, what children like will be an important consideration to tourism companies."

China Daily - Xinhua

 

Chinese tourists take a photo in front of Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood in central St. Petersburg, Russia.Olga Maltseva / Agence France-presse

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2018-04-21 07:02:56
<![CDATA[Afternoon tea given a floral flourish at Ritz-Carlton]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/21/content_36070567.htm The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street has joined hands with Mizu Botanical Laboratory, a local flower shop, to launch a new afternoon tea in early April.

Running until April 30, the two sides have come together to provide guests with a unique afternoon tea experience of cakes, sandwiches and tea combined with a flower arranging lesson.

Mizu Botanical Laboratory, founded in 2015, specializes in floral design and arranging.

"We hope to promote plants to people from all walks of life," said Ma Tiantian, a founder of the shop." That includes those that like having afternoon tea at a hotel."

Ma added that the Ritz-Carlton was looking for a new and unique theme to go along with its afternoon tea. "We use our plants to inspire their dessert chef and offer floral inspired courses for the guests," she said.

Tang Shushu, director of public relations at the hotel, said: "Our hotel serves ladies and gentlemen in an elegant style. We create differently themed afternoon teas every month by searching for and matching elements."

"Mizu is a unique partner for us," said Tang, adding the flower specialists combine natural beauty with scientific elements for people to experience, which is perfect for spring.

Apart from the flower arranging workshops, the afternoon tea will feature imported coffee, and delicate sweets and savories such as flower and jelly cheesecake, red berry trifles, white chocolate citrus tart, and brioche with egg salad and black truffle.

There are two options for the afternoon tea. One is priced at 477 yuan ($80) for two people, and comes with two complimentary fragrance essential oil cards. The other is priced at 588 yuan for one person, and includes the workshops which run from 2 pm to 5 pm on April 21 and 22.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

 

The Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street offers its April afternoon tea, revolving around the theme of plants.Photos Provided To China Daily

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2018-04-21 07:02:56
<![CDATA[Le Meridien brings Shenyang culture to life through artwork]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/21/content_36070566.htm French hotel brand Le Meridien is integrating its romantic, artistic approach with the local culture of Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, providing an innovative experience when guests explore the city during their stay at Shenyang Heping Le Meridien Hotel.

In cooperation with Chutima Treearayapong, a young Thai artist, the hotel is showcasing videos and photos taken at popular tourist destinations in Shenyang, enabling visitors to get a glimpse of the city from the photographer's creative perspective.

The exhibition at the hotel's Le Meridien Hub is part of the brand's Follow Me program, a visual journey created by global artists for all Le Meridien hotels. The event runs from April 3 to the end of May.

Treearayapong created the artworks last December after she visited Shenyang Palace Museum, 1905 Cultural and Creative Park, Shenyang Aviation Museum and Zhongshan Road, a landmark in the city's Heping district.

Shenyang Palace Museum is the former imperial palace of the Manchu ethnic rulers from 1625-44, before they emerged from Northeast China with their armies, swept across the entire country and founded the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Beijing.

Today, modern commercial streets and shopping malls line the palace walls. "I felt the balance of Shenyang integrating the new and the old, which impressed me a lot," Treearayapong said.

Kong Yue, brand and marketing director of Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts in Asia Pacific, said: "With more hotels being established worldwide, Le Meridien will always focus on exploring the culture, art and cuisine of every destination."

"The Follow Me program can enrich guests' arrival experience when they walk in the hotel hub," Kong said.

In addition to the program, Le Meridien also partners with cultural centers in the destination city to offer culturally curious guests a free visit, called the Unlock Art program.

Guests at Shenyang Le Meridien enjoy free entry to Shenyang Aviation Museum when they show their room cards.

Xiao Ling, senior manager of brand and marketing at Marriott International in China, said: "The room card can open not only the door of the guest room, but also the gateway to art."

Jiang Nan, general manager of Shenyang Heping Le Meridien, said that the hotel not only provides classic French food and drinks, but also integrates elements from the local cuisine.

An example is the combination of Shenyang's traditional finger-shaped bacon puffs, a dessert originating from 19th-century France.

"In the Shenyang Le Meridien hotel, guests can enjoy the salty and spicy puffs, which they can't have in another hotel," Jiang said.

The hotel, which opened last November, is the first property operating under the French hospitality brand Le Meridien in Northeast China and the 15th across the country.

Marriott International, one of the largest hotel companies around the world, has owned the brand since 2016.

caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

 

From left: One of the pictures on display at Shenyang Heping Le Meridien Hotel. The creation by Thai artist Chutima Treearayapong depicts Shenyang Palace Museum. A suite’s living room at the hotel in Shenyang, Liaoning province.Provided To China Daily

 

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2018-04-21 07:02:56
<![CDATA[Children's author victorious in rights case after long legal battle]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/12/content_36019315.htm A recent administrative ruling on the cancellation of a trademark, which was named after a classic cartoon character Pipilu, has enabled its creator Zheng Yuanjie to see the light at the end of the tunnel, after a 14-year bitter wrangle with unauthorized businesses.

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Zheng Yuanjie has fought to protect his creations from unauthorized use for more than a decade

A recent administrative ruling on the cancellation of a trademark, which was named after a classic cartoon character Pipilu, has enabled its creator Zheng Yuanjie to see the light at the end of the tunnel, after a 14-year bitter wrangle with unauthorized businesses.

Responding to the notice of the decision issued by the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, the renowned author posted on his personal microblog on Monday that the move "shows China's increasing protection of intellectual property".

Zheng, now in his 60s, has spent decades writing mostly for children, publishing a monthly magazine - The King of Fairy Tales, a collection of children's stories - since the 1980s.

Pipilu is a naughty and adventurous boy who is the hero of a series of stories written by Zheng. The image does not conform to the usual Chinese stereotype of a "good boy" at school, but rather one who likes fantasy and invention.

The character, among other successful images created by the author, has been popular with generations of young Chinese readers and has become a household name in the country.

In 1997, Zheng discovered that a Western-style restaurant in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, had been trading using the name Pipilu. This led to complaints coming the way of Zheng from patrons of the restaurant who believed him to be its owner.

Pipilu Restaurant is operated by Li Feipeng, who was the owner of the Pipilu trademark in question, which was granted in 2004 and cancelled at the end February this year.

Zheng said he hoped the restaurant would change its name. Otherwise, he would claim his rights with the market supervision authorities, or resort to legal action.

Li has operated the restaurant for roughly 20 years. The restaurant's name originated from an Italian hero, rather than the Chinese character, he told Henan Business Daily.

"The restaurant didn't take a free ride, or the trademark application couldn't be approved," Li said, adding that he would discuss it with other investors for a further move.

Zheng said that it is out of the question that Li knew nothing about Pipilu, as related stories had sold nearly 200 million books when the trademark was registered.

An expert on trademarks, who asked not to be named, told the Henan newspaper he doubted the claim that the restaurant didn't want to take advantage of the influence of Zheng's creation.

"The trademark registration came under the suspicion of taking a free ride, at least at the very beginning," he said.

But over the past two decades, the restaurant has established a reputation for its service and quality and won the hearts of local customers, the expert added. "Now speaking of Pipilu Restaurant, what comes to the mind of young consumers in Zhengzhou is not the book character, but the catering business itself."

For the restaurant, the next step may be to sit at the table and negotiate with Zheng to license the use of Pipilu, and come up with a solution beneficial to both parties, or to completely change its name, the expert said.

The other option is that the restaurant could file a complaint with a court against the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, seeking to revoke the administrative decision, he said. "The court ruling, when it comes in force, has the final say."

After a court announces its ruling, the losing party in the case can lodge an appeal within 15 days. The ruling will take effect, without an appeal in the given period.

Zheng said he had contacted Li for possible cooperation, but was rejected back in the 1990s.

The author also filed a trademark cancellation application with the trademark review board in 2014. However the government agency didn't agree, under the legal framework at the time.

Zheng said that he was aware of some businesses using popular characters he created as trademarks or business names without authorization around 1990.

As a result, he commissioned an agency to file five trademarks using the most popular images in his books, including Pipilu, in a bid to defend his own rights, costing him 3,000 yuan ($480) each at the time.

However, his resolution failed to prevent the misuse of his creations, because the relevant trademark applications would have to cover 45 different categories.

Zheng face yet more challenges with the possibility that a trademark can be revoked if it is not in use for three years after its registration.

"As a fairy tales author, I have to say my imagination ran out, while picturing such a scene: I'm engaged in writing but have to become versatile to play multiple roles in life, such as a munitions merchant, machine manufacturer and blanket supplier," said Zheng, tongue-in-cheek in a public speech last year.

The situation tuned around when the Supreme People's Court decided in January 2017 that courts should support owners of characters in creations that have established a reputation when they claim related rights via legal procedures.

Zheng then re-applied to the trademark review board to have the restaurant owner's Pipilu trademark revoked in February 2017.

"The board's recent decision on the trademark has given me a hope," Zheng said, adding that he would continue to defend his rights in another 191 trademark cases involving his creations.

Wang Jianbing, an attorney at law firm Crown & Rights, told Beijing Youth Daily that creators of literary characters can protect their rights by challenging trademark filings during the statutory objection period.

The supreme court's policy has confirmed the creators' rights, he said. "Behind the trademark-squatting are enormous commercial interests. It would be unfair to creators, without protection of their benefits."

Zheng said such disputes have cost him a great deal of time and energy, getting in the way of his work.

He plans to write a book based on his battles and disputes. Already have film and television directors showed interest in making adaptations. "It will be even more engaging than a fiction," Zheng said of the book.

wangxin@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-12 08:21:26
<![CDATA[Intangible culture becomes the star]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/12/content_36019314.htm An inspired tourism sector is engaging highly innovative and unusual methods to promote China's intangible cultural heritage - so successfully that it's boosting the entire industry, according to industry insiders.

During this year's Tomb Sweeping Day holiday on April 5-7, the country's tourist spots attracted a total of 101 million visits, generating revenue of 42.1 billion yuan ($6.7 billion).

Tomb Sweeping Day lies within the 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese solar calendar - used by people to mark the days and hours and keep track of their agricultural year - which were included into the list of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage in 2016.

"A distinctive culture has become a source of tourism," said Xiang Yong, vice-president of a cultural industry institute at Peking University.

"Most regions with rich resources in and a strong ambience of intangible cultural heritage have grown to be popular tourist destinations," Xiang told Guangming Daily.

China has a variety of ethnic groups and boasts rich distinguished cultures and local customs spanning its different regions. There are more than 870,000 intangible cultural heritage assets across the country, the Beijing-based Guangming Daily quoted experts as saying.

Danzhai Wanda Village is a new tourism project that successfully celebrates some of them, and has become a huge draw for visitors. The new tourism area was funded and constructed by Wanda Group and sited in Guizhou province in Southwest China.

Danzhai is considered one of the poorest counties in China and the tourism project was part of a charitable initiative by Wanda to alleviate its poverty and revitalize its economy.

Seven national-level and 16 provincial-level intangible cultural heritage displays and activities were introduced into it for tourists to experience and enjoy, focusing on the Miao and Dong ethnic cultures. Among these are batik fabric and cloth techniques and bark paper making.

Celebrating the ethnic cultures, the village was especially designed to integrate them with leisure, tourism and business, immersing visitors in traditional craftsman activities.

In Huzhu county, in northwestern Qinghai province, women from the Tu ethnic group employ cloth in a spectrum of colors to make their garments. This has earned them the reputation of being people dressed in "rainbow costumes". Their homeland is also dubbed as the home of the rainbow.

Because of the complexity of their embroidery skills - a national intangible cultural heritage item - it takes them much longer time to complete a garment than other methods. As a result, few young people are willing to learn them, although the finished costumes are both durable and feature exquisitely complicated patterns.

Xi Yuxiu, a local embroidery worker, introduced the traditional embroidery elements into her designs of name card holders, handbags, lampshades and smartphone covers.

She encouraged other embroidery workers living nearby to produce the innovative tourism products, which became a hit and helped local residents boost their incomes.

Thus the flourishing business has attracted more young people to join them and learn the traditional embroidery.

Intangible cultural heritage can remain its vitality, only if it finds a way to integrate itself with the present day and showcase its influence and charm, experts said.

However, they warned against the over-design of the heritage and said the essence of the tradition must be kept.

Wu Yuanxin is an exponent of the white-and-blue textile dyeing skills originating in Nantong, Jiangsu province.

Wu said that while the heritage's traditional techniques and historical role need to be respected, how to innovate designs to attract more attention for their survival should also be given consideration.

"Without the market or demand, it would be a vacuum for developing our intangible cultural heritage," he said.

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2018-04-12 08:21:26
<![CDATA[IP scene]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/12/content_36019313.htm Inner Mongolia

Court ruling upholds restaurant name

The Hohhot Intermediate People's Court recently made a ruling in a trademark case, which involved long-standing catering business Maixiangcun in Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. The identically-named restaurant founded in 1933 has long used the Chinese mark Maixiangcun, which literally means wheat fragrance village, extensively in its business, without the assent by the trademark owner Jia Guolong, who also founded Xibei Restaurant, a fast food chain specializing in the cuisines of Northwest China, in 1988. The court ruled that Maixiangcun restaurant can continue to use the trademark within its "existing scope" due to its prior use, but ordered it to add another mark to distinguish itself from Xibei.

People's Court Daily

Beijing

Iwncomm prevails in patent lawsuit

The Beijing High People's Court upheld the Beijing Intellectual Property Court's ruling in favor of Iwncomm, a network security access provider and developer based in Xi'an, Shaanxi province in a patent dispute with Sony Mobile Communications (China). Iwncomm initiated the legal procedures against Sony with the IP court in 2015, claiming the latter infringed on one of its standard essential patents, and prevailed in the case in March 2017. SEP refers to the patents that are required to be used to conform to the industry technical standards. Sony later lodged an appeal with the high court which was dismissed in late March.

China Intellectual Property News

Guangdong

Satellite navigation alliance formed

An intellectual property alliance for the satellite navigation industry in Guangdong province was established on Tuesday at the 2018 China Information Technology Expo in Shenzhen. Founding members of the alliance include government agencies, leading companies in the industry and IP service providers. The alliance will integrate resources and help companies along the industrial chain to cooperate and improve their IP capacities.

News.cnstock.com

Zhejiang

IT, new energy service center approved

The Zhejiang Service Center for Intellectual Property Protection was recently approved by the State Intellectual Property Office to become the 16th such center nationwide. Focusing on next-generation information technology and new energy industries, it is designed to provide quick channels for patent examination, rights recognition and protection. Local officials said the center will also help to improve local companies' innovation ability and optimize IP environment.

Zjol.com.cn

Henan

Trademark applications to speed up

The Zhengzhou trademark examination cooperation center, the fifth of its kind in China, was recently approved. The center covers more than 10,000 square meters and is expected to receive 1.5 million trademark applications a year. When it is completed, companies based in Henan and six nearby provinces can go to the new center instead of Beijing to apply for trademarks, and the examination period will be reduced from nine months to six months.

Dahe Daily

Hebei

Brand festival to be held in Tangshan

The 2018 China Trademark Festival is to be held in Tangshan from Aug 31 to Sept 3, with the theme of creation, protection and utilization, according to a recent news conference of the China Trademark Association, a co-organizer of the event. As the largest and most influential annual international event for trademarks and brands in the nation, the festival will include 18 forums, an exposition, a trademark design contest and other related activities.

China Industry & Commerce News

Plant auction nets $4.3 million

More than 27 million yuan ($4.3 million) worth of deals were made at the third Auction on New Cultivars and Technology of Ornamental Plants in China, which was held in Baoding on March 31. A total of 166 items, representing 88 new plant varieties and new technologies from 43 companies and institutions, were involved in the auction, and 51 items were dealt.

China Green Times

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2018-04-12 08:21:26
<![CDATA[Pace of FTA talks picks up]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/10/content_36004654.htm

 

A model of a China-made commercial airplane is displayed at the Singapore Airshow in February. Deng Zhiwei / Xinhua

Significant upgrade of trade between two nations is the glittering prize

China and Singapore are set for a new and exciting phase of enhanced trading, following extensive talks, according to leading officials.

They said both sides were speeding up negotiations for a planned upgrade of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

This would create strong momentum for the development of trade in the service and financial sectors between the two countries, as well as significantly improved regional connectivity, they said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping witnessed the launch of the negotiations to upgrade the FTA back in 2015, while on a state visit to the Southeast Asian nation.

The two sides completed the fourth round of bilateral FTA upgrade talks in Singapore in October last year.

They discussed topics including trade in services, investment, customs procedures and trade facilitation and remedies, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

When China and Singapore signed the FTA in 2008, the agreement focused heavily on accelerating the liberalization of the trade in goods, on the basis of the Agreement on Trade in Goods of the China-ASEAN FTA signed in 2004.

At the time, extensive agreements were not covered on services and investment within the FTA framework, officials said.

Eager to further deepen economic ties, the China-Singapore FTA Upgrading Negotiations were officially launched in November 2015.

Vice-Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Wang Jinzhen, said new ground needed to be covered.

Wang said that in comparison with the China-South Korea and China-Australia FTAs signed in 2015 - which had specific articles describing trade in services and investment conditions - the present China-Singapore FTA was not as advanced as free trade deals sealed in recent years.

Although limited by its land size and natural resources, Singapore is proficient in trading in services and related industries including logistics, tourism, shipping, healthcare, education, finance and smart city developments.

"Singaporean companies want to see the China-Singapore FTA enriched and extended by a more service and investment-driven economic development model as soon as possible," Wang said.

China remains Singapore's top trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2017 totaled $79.24 billion, up 12.4 percent on a year-on-year basis.

The volume of trade also jumped in the first two months of this year, up 14 percent year-on-year to $12.9 billion, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.

China's exports to Singapore mainly comprise construction materials and machinery, agricultural products, computers, raw materials, electronics, furniture, toys, textiles, garments and household appliances.

Supported by its strong transit trade development model, Singapore mainly ships electromechanical equipment, chemicals and mineral products to China.

Dong Liwan, a shipping industry professor at Shanghai Maritime University, said Singapore has always served as a gateway for business between China and its fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations members, because it has developed itself into a major logistics and shipping center for Asia.

Even though China has seven of the world's top 10 largest container ports by handling capacity - such as the Port of Shanghai or the Port of Ningbo-Zhoushan - many container vessels choose to fuel in Singapore due to keener fuel prices compared to China as well as extra services.

Dong said China's domestic bonded oil price was between $15-$20 higher per ton than that of Singapore's.

"As Chinese companies are keen to carry out the Going Global strategy, they can certainly take advantage of Singapore's status as a regional financial center to access financing, consulting, insurance and risk management services, before they enter other national or regional markets," said Li Gang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing.

"Upgrading the current China-Singapore FTA will offer promising impetus to optimize the industrial and trading structures of the two countries in the long run."

zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-10 07:31:34
<![CDATA[Tangible B&R results to generate wave of growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/10/content_36004653.htm Tangible results from developing the Belt and Road Initiative will generate new momentum for growth between China and Singapore in the current year - especially in the fields of investment, financial services and people-to-people exchanges, leading business experts said.

The Belt and Road Initiative has ignited new waves of development and business interests for countries and regions related to the initiative, including Singapore.

That's according to Ho Chee Hin, group director for China of Enterprise Singapore, based in Shanghai.

Enterprise Singapore is a Singaporean government agency that works with companies to build up their capabilities, innovate and internationalize them, as well as support the growth of Singapore as a hub for global trading and startups.

"Singaporean companies are no strangers to large-scale urban infrastructure projects, with deep expertise especially in Southeast Asia and China," Ho said.

For example, Singaporean urban developer Sembcorp operates seven industrial parks in Vietnam, and is now working with the Vietnamese government on the eighth. Sembcorp has also worked with the Chinese government for over two decades, investing in four industrial parks including the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park.

Ho said Singaporean and Chinese companies could jointly develop more parks in markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative, in order to seek new market growth points.

Proposed by China in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

It aims to build a trade, investment and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

The initiative so far has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations. More than 80 nations and international bodies have signed cooperation agreements with China within the framework.

As one of the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a Beijing-headquartered multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond, Singapore has committed $25 million to the AIIB.

"Singapore and China have always enjoyed strong bilateral commercial ties," Ho said. "For the past five years, China has remained Singapore's largest trading partner and Singapore has been one of China's top foreign investors."

Singapore and China also signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing last year, to strengthen economic collaboration and people-to-people exchanges.

"Singapore, moreover, is a major offshore hub for the Chinese currency, the renminbi," said Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Society for WTO Studies.

"The fast development of the Belt and Road Initiative has opened up opportunities for the country with the globalization of the renminbi and overseas investment of Chinese companies."

In addition, Xue said the ability to understand and navigate the complex regulatory landscapes of different countries was also critical for developing big-ticket projects involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Singapore's legal service providers are familiar with the regulations in both China and Southeast Asia to guide companies," he said.

"With its neutrality and transparent rule of law, the country can serve as an ideal dispute resolution center for both Chinese and other companies engaging in projects related to the initiative."

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2018-04-10 07:31:34
<![CDATA[Trade links strengthen on exports]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/10/content_36004637.htm Ties with wider Europe set to deepen thanks to Belt and Road Initiative boost

China and Austria will continue to diversify economic cooperation and build stronger trade ties in 2018, as their products are complementary and they have already agreed to develop the Belt and Road Initiative and the Central and Eastern European market, officials said.

"The enhanced trade ties between China and Austria will bring about a win-win situation as China has a profound market for imports from Austria, which can pull up local employment," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

He said both countries have more space to expand trade and investment, and to deepen cooperation in such fields as advanced manufacturing, modern services, environmental protection and urbanization this year.

The trade volume between China and Austria jumped 15.5 percent year-on-year to $8.39 billion in 2017, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.

China exports mainly construction machinery, computers, transport equipment, chemical products, raw materials, electronics, textiles, garments and household appliances to Austria.

Austrian shipments to China are largely auto and machinery parts, food and agricultural products, raw materials, integrated circuits, pharmaceuticals and steel products.

Austria's strategic location at the center of Europe, innovation-based economic development model and supportive policies to develop markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative can certainly be used as a basis for cooperation with China, said Friedrich Stift, the Austrian ambassador to China.

Eager to further promote free trade and accelerate investment inflows via a wider platform, in 2013 China proposed the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road to build infrastructure, service and trade networks connecting more than 60 countries and regions in Asia, Europe and Africa.

Known as the Belt and Road Initiative, it aspires to improve the lives of around 4.4 billion people, or 63 percent of the world's population.

The initiative has gained support from over 100 economies and international organizations, with nearly 50 cooperation agreements signed between governments since 2013.

"Austria can provide expertise via intelligent infrastructure solutions to the implementation of the initiative, such as in transport, logistics, green technologies and energy solutions," said Gu Xuebin, vice-president of the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

He said numerous Austrian technologies can be exported to China, from automation, nanotechnology, robotics, green technology and aspects of healthcare such as nursing, to more specifically local industries such as wood and cable cars, as well as other winter sports equipment ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Backed by strong business and political ties, China had signed 2,183 technology import contracts with Austria with a total contract value of $6.08 billion by the end of 2017, data from the Ministry of Commerce show.

Zhang Wei, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said many countries related to the Silk Road Economic Belt have relatively poor infrastructure and thus have the need for improved railway, airport and harbor systems.

"Both China and Europe should work together here to stabilize this corridor, which would also allow the specific countries in question to profit from improved infrastructure, leading to a better overall business environment and increased prosperity for people living there," he said.

Austria has close ties with CEE countries and has developed networks with strong contacts and available business opportunities in these countries, Zhang said, adding Austrian businesses have also been leading investors in CEE countries, and have established market networks there.

Official data show Chinese companies invested a total of $850 million in Austria by the end of 2017, while foreign direct investment made by Austrian businesses in China amounted to $1.99 billion.

zhongnan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-10 07:15:49
<![CDATA[Cultural 'superpower' attracts more Chinese]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/10/content_36004636.htm Improved political and business ties - supported by factors including cultural and music events, and new business models - will further boost people-to-people exchanges and tourism between China and Austria in the long run, according to experts.

More than 881,000 Chinese tourists visited Austria in 2017, while about 67,000 Austrian visitors came to China, setting a record since the two governments signed a tourism cooperation agreement in 2010, data from the China Tourism Academy showed.

In addition, a total of 18 pairs of Chinese and Austrian regions and cities have established sister relations.

"Austria has an excellent reputation in China as a cultural superpower, and deservedly so," said Dai Bin, head of the Beijing-based academy, adding that the signs were good for that reputation to continue to spread.

Dai said many Austrian orchestras perform regularly in China, and Austrian artists hold many successful exhibitions in China, showcasing artworks, from both the past to the present day.

"As 2018 is the European Union-China Tourism Year, it will not only help increase tourist flows between China and Austria, but also provide better understanding between the two cultures, as well as create new investment opportunities for the retail, logistics, aviation and hospitality sectors," Dai said.

Research undertaken by Beijing Normal University and published in March forecasts that about 1 million Chinese tourists will visit Austria in 2018.

According to the research, the majority of the Chinese tourists heading overseas have middle to high incomes, with three-fourths spending between 5,000 yuan to 20,000 yuan ($760-$3,040) on their travels this year. They prefer medium-priced or budget hotels and tend to choose self-planned, customized vacations.

Zhang Yuxin, a business professor at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that much of the growth in Austria's tourism sector was being driven by visitors from Asia.

These included tourists from China, South Korea and India in recent years, and thanks to their growing disposable incomes the demand was growing for more wide-ranging travel, not just to major cities, but also to popular towns and the countryside.

"The rapid advance in technology in recent years means even cheap mobile phones are effectively palm-top computers, giving Chinese users instant access to real-time information on almost any topic," he said.

Austria has already started to develop its peer-to-peer economy and new online payment approaches to better cater to Chinese tourists.

China's popular bike sharing giant, Ofo, shipped 2,000 bikes to Vienna in December last year to serve more Chinese tourists and local residents in a rapidly growing market, as the city strives to promote green transport to cut emissions.

Its signature bright yellow bikes can be found at both iconic landmarks and tranquil street corners around the city, and are quickly gaining popularity among locals and tourists alike.

"Austria is the 16th country where our company is present," said Ofo's co-founder Zhang Yanqi.

"We will soon launch our service in two other Austrian cities."

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2018-04-10 07:15:49
<![CDATA[Raiffeisen bank connects Chinese firms to overseas opportunities]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/10/content_36004625.htm As Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen is visiting China, Vienna-based Raiffeisen Bank International AG said it hopes for the complete success of this state visit with many fruitful results, benefiting the further development of both countries.

The Austrian president's visit, accompanied by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and several ministers, will lead to a further deepening of the Sino-Austrian relationship and create many opportunities between the two countries, the company said.

During the state visit, large Chinese telecom corporation Huawei Technologies and a large Chinese policy bank will sign financing cooperation agreements with RBI in relation to business in Central and Eastern Europe and to further deepen their relationship, an RBI source said.

"With consolidated profit of 1.1 billion euros ($1.35 billion) - more than double the previous year's - 2017 was a very good year for RBI," said Helmut Breit, the bank's senior managing director and a member of the Austrian delegation to China. "There was also a positive trend in our rating development, with a Moody's long-term rating of A3."

Moody's provides credit ratings in nine-levels ranging from Aaa, the highest credit quality and lowest credit risk, to C. Level A is the third-highest in the Moody's rating system.

"Chinese corporations investing in Austria and Central and Eastern Europe can certainly trust RBI for granting the best services, especially in the fields of leasing finance, cash management and trade financing, as well as mergers and acquisitions advisory and financing.

"With the support of the RBI Beijing team, we established financing for or account relationships with subsidiaries of about 50 Chinese groups in our home market Austria and CEE," Breit said.

"Our network units in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Serbia financed several large investment projects by leading Chinese groups, and they are looking forward to growing further in that region under the Belt and Road Initiative," he said.

RBI has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 2005. Its balance sheet total was 135 billion euros at the end of 2017. The bank said it regards Austria, where it is a leading corporation and investment bank, as well as CEE as its home market.

Just recently billed as the "Best Bank in Central and Eastern Europe" for the 12th time in 15 years by Global Finance magazine, RBI maintains 14 subsidiary banks in CEE, with 2,400 outlets in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Kosovo, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Additionally, RBI Group comprises numerous other financial service providers, for instance in leasing, asset management or M&A.

With its dedicated staff of nearly 50,000 bankers, RBI caters for around 16.5 million customers in the areas of corporate business, small and medium-sized enterprises and private individuals, as well as financial institutions and sovereigns.

RBI established a branch in Beijing in 1999 as the first and only bank in Austria with an operational presence in China, thereby enhancing Chinese enterprises' access to CEE through its extensive network and expertise in the local market.

RBI facilitates investments in high-tech areas and also finances production capacity investments in mass consumer areas.

The company enables large Chinese enterprises to participate in infrastructure construction projects - such as harbors, airports, all kinds of interchanges, traffic hubs, the creation of bonded areas and development zones, designing and building of railroads and highways - by means of introducing suitable projects, financing, or offering M&A services, including post-acquisition finance.

RBI, almost like no other bank, offers refinancing in local currencies in the CEE area, the company said.

During last year's Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, RBI entered into strategic cooperation agreements with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Sino CEE Fund and the China Development Bank.

For more information, please visit: www.rbinternational.com

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2018-04-10 07:16:00
<![CDATA[Regulations cement foundation for e-mobility]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997630.htm China to reduce the models eligible for purchase tax exemption and introduce stronger oversight to bolster long-term viability, Hao Yan reports.

Standards and regulations are being introduced in China's new energy vehicle sector to provide a strong bedrock for future growth and speed up the popularity of electric cars.

To start, the world's largest car market is removing purchase tax exemptions on new energy vehicles that fail to be put into mass production or achieve import sales within one year, according to an announcement made earlier this month by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

 

A representative shows how to charge up a BMW i3 electric car at an auto show in Shanghai. Pei Xin / Xinhua

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that it will also enforce stricter supervision and inspection on new energy vehicle manufacturers, as well as penalize companies that do not comply with the new regulations.

These regulations have been seen by industrial experts as a move to clean up zombie companies and those that are not mass manufacturing vehicles for the market.

It is believed that China is laying down these fundamentals in order to attract domestic and foreign investment into the new energy vehicle sector as well as ensuring better development in the future.

Zhang Junyi, a partner at Nio Capital, a Wuhan-based new energy industrial investment enterprise, said that the stricter regulations are welcome and that obsolete production in the sector needs to be dropped.

"The country is encouraging the application of the latest technologies and techniques in producing green vehicles," Zhang said.

"The obsolete production is based on out-of-date facilities and many of them cost much more to be upgraded or rejuvenated, than to build a brand new plant."

China has been the world's largest market for fully-electric and plug-in electric vehicles since 2015.

More than 770,000 new energy vehicles were sold in China last year, up 53.3 percent year-on-year, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Miao Wei, the minister for Industry and Information Technology, called for the strengthening of policy and regulation systems for new energy vehicles, as well as an improved development environment in a speech made in January this year.

At the end of March, the ministry issued the Key Working Points of New Energy Vehicle Standardization for 2018. The working points are aimed at promoting and facilitating the development standards for batteries, charging interfaces, recycling and reuse, as well as standards internationalization.

It is the ministry's first integrated guideline looking after the entire value chain of the new energy vehicle industry, despite related policies and regulations having been issued before. The industrial standards are essential for the country's auto making industry to develop towards a strong enough industry to compete internationally, according to the ministry.

"China took the lead for its early start in fully electric vehicle development," Zhang said.

"The top level competition is the competition of standards, and it is decided by the popularity of the vehicles applying the standards."

The popularity of new energy vehicles, in terms of sales volume, will in turn be boosted by the standardization work, according to Zhu Lin, project manager at consultancy firm Roland Berger.

Zhu said that the sales volume of electric vehicles will receive a boost when the standards are implemented.

"The future customer will make their electric car purchase decision more easily, for won't have to face the current concerns that hurdled the possible purchase," she said.

For example, the standards will unify the plug-in positions for charging interfaces so that all new energy vehicles can recharge easily at charging poles, just as conventional cars are refilled at service stations.

Research by Roland Berger has found a low satisfaction level among current users of electric vehicles, caused in part by a lack of charging compatibility. "Without considering installing a private facility, the users will find their demands are more satisfied when everything is standardized," Zhu said.

Contact the writer at haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[In self-driving cars, drivers and standards are coming up short]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997629.htm

 

A test driver removes his hands from the steering wheel of a Tesla Model S electric vehicle fitted with self-driving technology. Andreas Arnold / Bloomberg

Autonomous cars should be required to improve their ability to detect potential hazards and better ways are needed to keep their human drivers ready to assume control, auto safety and technology experts said after fatal crashes involving Uber Technologies Inc and Tesla Inc vehicles in the United States.

"Humans don't have the ability to take over the vehicle as quickly as may be expected" in those situations, said self-driving expert and investor Evangelos Simoudis.

In the Uber crash last month, the ride services company was testing a fully driverless system intended for commercial use when the prototype vehicle struck and killed a woman walking across a road in Arizona, the United States.

Video of the crash, taken from inside the vehicle, shows the driver at the wheel, who appears to be looking down and not at the road. Just before the video stops, the driver looks upwards toward the road and suddenly looks shocked.

In the Tesla incident last month, which involved a car that any consumer can buy, a Model X vehicle was in semi-autonomous Autopilot mode when it crashed, killing its driver. The driver had received earlier warnings to put his hands on the wheel, Tesla said.

Some semi-automated cars, like the Tesla, employ different technologies to help drivers stay in their lane or maintain a certain distance behind the vehicle in front. Those systems rely on alerts - beeping noises or a vibrating steering wheel - to get drivers' attention.

Immature technology

Duke University mechanical engineering professor Missy Cummings said the recent Uber and Tesla crashes show the "technology they are using is immature."

Tesla says its technology is statistically proven to save lives through better driving. In a response to Reuters on Tuesday, Tesla said drivers have a "responsibility to maintain control of the car" whenever they enable Autopilot and need to be ready to respond to "audible and visual cues".

An Uber spokesperson said "safety is our primary concern every step of the way".

A consumer group, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, says a bill on self-driving cars now stalled in the US Senate is an opportunity to improve safety, quite different from the bill's original intent to quickly allow testing of self-driving cars without human controls on public roads.

The group has proposed amending the bill, the AV START Act, to set standards for those vehicles, for instance, requiring a "vision test" for automated vehicles to test what their different sensors actually see.

The group believes the bill should also cover semi-automated systems like Tesla's Autopilot - a lower level of technology than what is included in the current proposed legislation.

Other groups have also put forth proposals on self-driving cars, including requiring the vehicles and even semiautomated systems to meet performance targets, greater transparency and data from makers and operators of the vehicles, increased regulatory oversight, and better monitoring of and engagement with human drivers.

Others want to focus on the human driver. In November, Consumer Reports magazine called on automakers for responsible labeling "to help consumers fully understand" their vehicles' autonomous functions.

Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' head of automotive testing, said human drivers "are bad at paying attention to automation and this technology is not capable of reacting to all types of emergencies.

"It's like being a passenger with a toddler driving the car," he said.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is doing tests using semi-automated vehicles including models from Tesla, Volvo, Jaguar Land Rover and General Motors.

The aim is to see how drivers use semi-autonomous technology - some watch the road with their hands above the wheel, others do not - and which warnings get their attention.

"We just don't know enough about how drivers use any of these systems in the wild," said MIT research scientist Bryan Reimer.

Timothy Carone, an autonomous systems expert and professor at Notre Dame University's Mendoza College of Business, said autonomous technology's proponents must "find the right balance so the technology is tested right, but it isn't hampered or halted". "Because in the long run it will save lives," he said.

Reuters

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[BMW flagship store launched on JD e-commerce platform]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997628.htm

 

The launch ceremony of BMW's flagship store on JD.com takes place on Tuesday, offering maintenance and after sales services through e-commerce channels. Provided to China Daily

BMW has launched a targeted e-commerce store focused on bringing customers a better user experience, while also directing online customers to brick-and-mortar stores to benefit the brand's dealers.

The German automaker's flagship store on JD.com launched on Tuesday, making BMW the only premium autobrand to offer maintenance and after sales services via e-commerce channels.

The online store has a wide range of items and services available, including car parts, lifestyle collections, car care products, and maintenance and repair services.

"The e-commerce business will help our dealers to generate more revenue," said Sean Green, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at BMW Brilliance Automotive, the German carmaker's Chinese joint venture.

"BMW's online channel has become dealers' another revenue source, as it better maintains the customers in our network instead of losing price-sensitive users," he said.

About 128,000 BMW service coupons were sold by online third-party platforms in 2017, directing 500 million yuan ($79 million) in offline revenues to dealers, according to the company's data.

Green noted that BMW's dealers are not only important partners, but also a major pillar to support the brand's development in the Chinese market.

"By providing digital channels through the BMW JD store, we can join hands to better serve our customers and achieve win-win results together," Green said.

The dealerships will benefit from the digital management system through the recently launched BMW JD's flagship store for enhanced customer satisfaction, according to the company. BMW dealers can now respond more quickly to orders and improve customer service efficiency by utilizing big data based on JD's analysis of consumer preferences.

Online purchases are linked with the nearest authorized dealer and maintenance and repair services will also attract customers to physical dealers, thus expanding their customer base. When customers redeem vouchers at BMW-authorized dealerships, they will enjoy the brand's high-quality after sales services, with benefits including genuine parts and components, professional services from certified BMW technicians and an exclusive VIP environment, according to the company.

These benefits are achieved thanks to JD's powerful technologies. Based on intelligent supply and demand estimates, the e-commerce platform is able to help BMW to make better decisions and so greatly increase efficiency along its supply chain.

The cooperation marks the German auto brand's latest major move in digital services and JD's significant breakthrough in the premium automotive aftermarket. Both companies said they expect the online store's enhanced customer service experience to set the benchmark for premium auto brands' online retailing.

"BMW needs to keep innovating and meeting customer needs and market demands together with our partners," Green said.

The transparent pricing and greater convenience of BMW's after sales services are among the benefits the brand's JD's flagship store can provide customers, thanks to this new stress-free digital shopping experience, according to the company.

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[Higher trade tariffs could hit United States auto exports]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997627.htm

 

GM Cadillac CT6 V-Sport is displayed during the 2018 New York International Auto Show. Mark Kauzlarich / Bloomberg

Tax on imports to China set to affect marques that have not yet localized

Cars imported from the United States might soon lose their appeal, as China has decided to impose an additional 25 percent tariff on a list of 106 items, which includes automobiles, in a retaliatory response to the Trump administration's tariff proposals.

With an overall 50 percent tariff, cars originating from the US would see their competitive edge undermined in the world's largest car market, where some 28 million cars were sold last year, according to analysts.

China imported 280,000 cars valued at $13 billion from the US last year, accounting for more than a fifth of China's total car imports, according to statistics from the China Passenger Car Association.

Imported marques include Tesla, Lincoln, Chrysler, Ford, GM, as well as some models from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Ford's premium arm Lincoln and Tesla would be affected most, as they do not have local production facilities in China, while other brands already manufacture some models in the country, said Li Yanwei, an analyst at the China Automobile Dealers Association.

Tesla sold 17,030 cars in China last year, accounting for 16.5 percent of its global sales, while Lincoln, as one of the fastest-growing premium brands in the country, delivered 54,124 cars to Chinese customers, according to Li.

Tesla did not comment on the possible effects on its China performance, but told China Daily that there has been no change to its plan to start localization efforts in China around the end of the decade.

Ford, GM and the latter's luxury arm Cadillac will stand almost unscathed as the absolute majority of their cars sold in China are locally produced.

Ford sold some 1.2 million cars last year in China, with 8 percent of them imported, while GM and Cadillac together sold 4 million vehicles in the country, almost all of them locally produced, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

Yet, both the major US carmakers have called for efforts to settle the matter in a peaceful way. GM China said it supports a positive trade relationship between the US and China, and urged both countries to continue to engage in constructive dialogue and pursue sustainable trade policies.

"We continue to believe both countries value a vibrant auto industry and understand the interdependence between the world's two largest automotive markets," the carmaker said in a statement.

Ford China said it encourages both the governments of the US and China to work together to resolve any issues between these two important economies.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[Short Torque]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997626.htm AAM car parts joint venture announced

Leading auto parts manufacturer American Axle & Manufacturing has announced it will launch a joint venture with China's Liuzhou Wuling Automobile Industry Co to make components despite protectionist rhetoric coming out of Washington. The joint venture will start production later this year and is expected to achieve yearly revenue of 300 million yuan ($47.6 million) by 2020. The rear axles and other components the joint venture will manufacture are to meet the needs of the fast-growing segments of multipurpose vehicles and crossovers, including vans, mini vans and SUVs in the Chinese automotive market.

Regulator greenlights CATL's IPO plans

China's securities regulator has approved an initial public offering application submitted by lithium battery producer CATL, which supplies batteries for new energy vehicles. The China Securities Regulatory Commission gave the application the green light at a meeting held on Wednesday, according to the CSRC website. The approval came less than a month after CATL updated its prospectus, as the CSRC is encouraging new listings by unicorn companies - startups valued at more than $1 billion.

Toyota and Suzuki to share models in India expansion

Toyota and Suzuki have confirmed an agreement to cooperate in providing hybrid and other vehicles for the Indian market. Specifically, Suzuki will supply its Baleno and Vitara Brezza models to Toyota, while Toyota will supply the Corolla model to Suzuki, the companies said. The vehicles will be sold by the respective subsidiaries of Toyota and Suzuki based in India through their sales networks. The companies said the move is aimed at invigorating the Indian automotive market to further enhance their respective products and services.

Tesla Model 3 production rises, but misses targets

Electric car maker Tesla Inc said it produced just under 9,800 Model 3s from January through March, four times the figure achieved in the fourth quarter of last year, but it's still only a fraction of the 20,000 per month that CEO Elon Musk promised when Tesla first started making the car. Tesla says it made just under 35,000 vehicles in the quarter, including the Models S and X, a 40 percent increase from last year's fourth quarter. But the Model 3, with a starting price of around $35,000, is the car that's most important to Tesla's future.

Mercedes-Benz reports record global sales

Mercedes-Benz reported the past three months marked its best quarter yet, with its global sales growing 6 percent to 594,304 vehicles. The carmaker said the biggest sales driver worldwide was China, with a new record of 169,932 deliveries from January to March, up 17.2 percent year-on-year. More than two thirds of all the cars sold in China were also produced locally. The company said SUVs constituted the most popular segment in the first quarter. In March, more than 80,000 SUVs were sold in one single month for the first time, up nearly 14 percent.

Chery launches 1st fully electric SUV, Tiggo 3xe

The Chinese automaker began offering a battery electric Tiggo 3xe 400 at a price tag starting from 89,800 to 102,800 yuan ($14,250-$16,320) from the end of March. As the pure electric version of the Tiggo 3x, the new model is driven by a 90 kilowatt electric motor outputting 276 Newton meters of peak torque. The 4.2-meter-long subcompact SUV has a wheelbase of 2,555 millimeters, with a ground clearance of 150 mm. The 49-kilowatt-hour lithium battery enables the vehicle to run 351 kilometers on one charge in comprehensive driving conditions, and 445 km at a constant speed of 60 kilometers an hour.

Motoring - Agencies

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[Area builds up new economic drivers]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997625.htm Policy initiatives, including an 'innovation coupon', support emerging industries, Yuan Shenggao reports.

The Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, a national economic development zone launched in 1991, has established a strong position among such zones in China over the past 20 years.

The zone ranked No 22 among 147 national-level development zones in terms of comprehensive development strength in 2017, an improvement on its ranking of No 23 in 2015.

The zone focused on deepening reform and promoting innovation in the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2010-15), vowing to continue to strengthen its economic position in China.

It has long been striving to maintain regional competitiveness. The zone has created an atmosphere in which staff members freely share opinions and turn ideas into reality in their daily work.

Over the past few years, the zone initiated a series of projects to create an ideal environment for both residents and businesses.

For instance, government officials are required to establish direct contact with businesses to help companies to solve problems in an effective manner. In addition to this commitment, efforts have been made to promote urban upgrades, as well as social and industrial development, to enhance security, quality of life and government service quality.

The zone has provided different types of support to businesses so they can be more focused on technological innovation.

Companies in the zone are provided with an "innovation coupon", a form of financial support, to reduce research and development costs.

In 2017, the zone lent a hand to support Shengrui Transmission's hybrid transmissions development projects by providing the company with the coupon. The coupon helped Shengrui to save significant R&D expenses, according to the company.

"The innovation coupon is a form of financial support provided to companies for free to encourage business innovation. We have been providing more support for more companies in recent years," said Chen Zhe, deputy director of Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone's technology bureau.

Chen said the innovation coupon is tailor-made based on companies' real life needs. It will help small and microenterprises to grow rapidly, help the zone to form an industrial cluster and promote industrial upgrading.

In return, companies in the zone are striving to provide strong support to the zone in the process of replacing old economic drivers with new ones.

Weichai Group is a heavy truck engine and component developer and manufacturer based in the zone. It sold 620,000 engines and achieved more than 220 billion yuan ($34.99 billion) in sales revenue in 2017. The company has identified new energy as a new sector to explore in the next few years.

Tan Xuguang, president of Weichai, who is also president of Shandong Heavy Industry Group, said that the latter is responsible for Weichai New Energy Industrial Park's construction. The park is a key project in promoting Shandong province's effort to replace old economic development drivers with new ones.

The industrial park is set to be the largest new energy motor production base, a world-leading hydrogen-power battery production base, a commercial vehicle new energy power train system production base, a world-leading new energy forklift production base, a light new energy commercial vehicle production base and a new energy visual reality innovation center, according to the local authorities.

Supported by big projects, leading companies and a premier business environment, the zone said it is confident about achieving outstanding results in promoting industrial upgrading and transformation.

Figures from the zone show that the industrial upgrading 13 projects of companies such as Shengrui and GoerTek, have been listed in provincial-level plans about replacing old economic growth drivers with new ones. Seventeen projects have been included in the first batch of 600 provincial-level key projects to promote the replacement of economic drivers.

The zone now has 337 big projects with total investment exceeding 200 billion yuan.

Sun Wenfeng, director of the zone's economic development bureau, said that the zone will continue to promote the development of a modern industrial system that allows coordinated development among the real economy, technology innovation, modern finance and human resources. The zone will focus on replacing economic drivers, accelerating smart industrial upgrades, striving to build an export-oriented economy and developing new competitive factors in the service sector.

Looking ahead, the local authorities said the zone will continue to seek development opportunities, upgrade traditional industries and promote new emerging industries, aiming for a bright future in the upcoming years.

Zhou Jinjiang contributed to this story.

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2018-04-09 07:33:12
<![CDATA[Dynamic Weichai Group releases bus with latest powertrain system]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997624.htm Weichai Group - a company specializing in the design, manufacturing and sales of diesel engines - has just released a tour bus equipped with its new powertrain system that meets exacting Euro VI emission standards.

The Euro VI standards were issued by the European Union to reduce levels of harmful exhaust emissions, both from petrol and diesel automobiles.

The powertrain of an automobile comprises the engine, exhaust system, transmission, drive shaft, suspension and wheels.

The company, headquartered in the Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, in the city of Weifang in Shandong province, released the bus in Hong Kong on March 28.

It is Weichai's latest efforts to speed up its provision of customized high-end products to the international market.

The first tour bus, produced by its subsidiary Xiamen Fengtai Bus and Coach International, was delivered to Hong Kong's Great Leader Bus Holdings during the release ceremony.

Weichai Group President Tan Xuguang and more than 100 international clients from the public transportation, tourism and long-distance bus services sectors participated in the ceremony.

Fengtai is the Weichai Group unit which focuses on developing new energy hybrid coaches, pure electric coaches and low emission luxury coaches that meet the Euro V and Euro VI emission standards.

All its products are supplied to developed countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Tan said his group developed the first powertrain for commercial vehicles in the world in 2005, and in so doing changed a "difficult situation" for China which up until then had no control over the core technologies related to heavy-duty powertrains.

Tan said the debut of the new powertrain system in Hong Kong marked a new stage, in that a Chinese company now controlled the most advanced powertrain development technologies and would lead the market in their development in the coming years.

Tan said the three core components in the powertrain - engine, transmission and axles - were all produced in China.

He said Weichai had paid close attention to refining their technologies over the past decade, investing a total of 15 billion yuan ($2.39 billion) on engine development.

In addition to that major financial commitment, the company has also strived to improve its customer services. The company has established an effective automotive aftermarket service platform that undertakes to provide aftersales services throughout the life cycle of its products.

Weichai has established 31 overseas offices and 398 service centers internationally, to provide repair and maintenance services to global clients.

According to Weichai, the 12-meter tour bus delivered on March 28 was tailor-made to the requirements of its client, Hong Kong bus services provider Great Leader Bus Holdings Ltd.

The bus is lightweight, and its other features include high safety and reliability, fuel economy, and a big interior space.

"Weichai and Fengtai's core competitiveness is that we can accurately understand our clients needs and provide a quick response to their demands," said Lin Jian, deputy general manager of Fengtai.

Dick Yip, general manager of Great Leader, who drove the bus at its March 28 release, said that Fengtai's buses had strong competitiveness in overall performance and were more cost-effective compared with some European brands.

"The tour bus was tailor-made so it can perform well in Hong Kong, which is known for its hilly landscapes and humid climate," Lin said.

"They were produced to compete with first-tier brands such as Mercedes-Benz."

Fengtai has established a research and development team consisting of experts from the US, Canada, Australia and countries in Europe. Those engineers not only bring in advanced design idea, but also bring the latest production technologies to Fengtai, deputy general manager Lin Jian said.

Nowadays, Fengtai has a product portfolio covering 26 categories with 140 types of vehicle models.

Lin added that Fengtai plans to introduce 8 meter and 12-meter high-end tour buses to Hong Kong in the upcoming years.

In 2007, Fengtai delivered 500 customized buses to overseas markets and generated over 20 million yuan in profits.

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2018-04-09 07:33:12
<![CDATA[Better services improve businesses' satisfaction]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997623.htm

Weifang Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone sent representatives to visit Shandong Newocean Software in January, in order to find out how the area could improve and provide better services for businesses located there.

"We had a long talk and focused on discussing how to better the zone's business environment," said Wang Shukun, chairman of the board of Shandong Newocean Software. "Companies do need this type of one-on-one talk."

Newocean is not the only company to be visited by representatives from the zone this year. Staff members from 18 government departments at the high-tech zone spent two weeks visiting 328 companies to collect their opinions on the local business environment in January.

Statistics from the zone show that 280 companies were satisfied, while 35 companies were not.

It is not the first time for the zone to collect companies' feedback on its business environment. At the end of 2017, the zone, one of the first national economic development zones in China, carried out a telephone survey and an online evaluation to collect opinions about its business environment.

A total of 292 companies participated in the telephone interview, giving feedback on seven sectors: policy, government service, market, legal, finance and social aspects and the new business-government relationship.

The zone also invited 538 companies to participate in the online evaluation to assess the performance of 53 government departments. The evaluation covered five areas - working efficiency, service quality, service attitude, law-based administration and working style.

It was revealed that 73 companies expressed dissatisfaction through the telephone interview and online evaluation.

The heads of the relevant government departments were required to visit those companies which expressed dissatisfaction in 2017 and 2018 to learn more about the businesses' demands and solve problems in the most effective manner.

Shandong Newocean Software chairman Wang was satisfied with the zone's efforts in creating such a communication mechanism.

"The supporting activities offered us chances to share our opinions. I hope there are more such activities," Wang said. "We also hope the zone will be more fault-tolerant of problems emerging in our development process."

Deng Laiqing, deputy Party chief at Weifang Software Innovation and Startups Service Center, visited 12 companies in January.

"Market, finance and professionals are the most common factors considered by local businesses," Deng said.

Companies have different demands on services and resources, requiring the government to provide professional services based on firms' real demand, he added.

"Better service brings better development," said Guo Hui, deputy head of the zone's performance evaluation office. "We launched those visiting activities to enable government departments to become aware of their shortcomings so as to create a first-class business environment for companies."

Liu Yinghong contributed to this story.

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2018-04-09 07:33:12
<![CDATA[High-tech groups stimulate expansion in medical equipment]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997618.htm The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has become a global hub for the development of medical devices.

Its total industrial output value for medical device manufacturing reached 11.43 billion yuan ($1.81 billion) in 2016, an increase of 5.2 percent compared with 2015, according to the zone.

Some 70,000 high-tech companies and startups are located in the 531-square-kilometer zone, engaging in sectors such as biomedicine, high-end equipment manufacturing and information technology. Many of them have established a strong position in the medical care sector.

Ankon Technologies Co in the zone is a pioneer in medical capsule robotic development and production, and has developed an endoscope system for gastric examination using robotics. Made of polymer medical materials, its robots can be used in the early detection of gastrointestinal diseases affecting the stomach and small intestine.

Integrated with more than 300 precise components, the robots have been developed using more than 80 patents for technological innovation.

Ankon Technologies has adhered to independent research and generated a number of patents involving magnetic field control, optical imaging and chip integration.

The capsule robots were approved to be used in clinical practice by the China Food and Drug Administration in 2013 and today have been adopted by nearly 1,000 hospitals and medical institutes across the country.

In 2014, the company established a production line with an annual output capacity of 1 million units with support of the administrators of the Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone. Ankon Technologies has currently expanded its service network to countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom.

Ankon Technologies' products were displayed in an exhibition of China's outstanding achievements over the past five years in Beijing last year, along with other innovative products such as the world's largest radio telescope Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, also known as FAST and Fuxing bullet trains. The exhibition attracted thousands of visitors last year.

Besides the detection of gastrointestinal diseases, the capsule robots can also be used to help detect cardiovascular diseases. The company is now researching more than 10 kinds of different capsule robots that can be used in other areas.

The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has witnessed the rise of high-tech manufacturing industry, and today the number of its science and technology enterprises accounts for 80 percent of Shanghai's total. By the end of 2017, a total of 375 Fortune 500-listed companies had settled in the zone.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Ankon Technologies displays its products at an exhibition of China's outstanding achievements over the past five years in Beijing in 2017.

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2018-04-09 07:34:43
<![CDATA[Demonstration area powers tech and economic progress]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997617.htm The Zhangjiang National Innovation Demonstration Zone has become one of Shanghai's most powerful engines of economic and technological development.

The zone, which has been at the forefront of China's innovation and reform, is home to nearly 70,000 enterprises, including 3,759 high-tech companies. Spread across its 531-square-kilometer area is 22 industrial parks which serve different industries such as healthcare and software.

There are more than 1,700 research and development centers and more than 300 public service platforms and 42 academic institutes in the zone. Over 80 percent of Shanghai's high-caliber professionals have chosen to settle in Zhangjiang.

The zone is a gathering place for global experts who are keen to contribute their expertise in promoting innovation. They include 176 academicians from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, 586 professionals who have been included in the Thousand Talents Plan and some 45,000 overseas returnees and foreign experts.

In order to explore new ways to attract top professionals from around the world, the zone aims to continuously increase its capability in scientific innovation.

Overseas recruitment facilities have been built in 34 countries and regions around the world, through which Zhangjiang can select top personnel for integration into the zone's technological resources, projects and capital.

More than 100 projects have been introduced to Zhangjiang via these overseas recruitment centers, according to the zone.

Another key model for developing skilled staff is the establishment of training and practice facilities in the zone's key enterprises.

Statistics from the zone show that a total of 12 personnel training and practice facilities have been established by industry-leading companies, which aim to accelerate the development of professionals, technology and management.

Established in 1991, today the zone has nine industrial clusters covering pharmaceuticals, information technology, energy saving, high-end equipment manufacturing, new materials, new energy, new energy vehicles, culture and technology integrated industries and modern services.

Zhangjiang has also paid close attention to promoting the protection of intellectual property rights, with its IP rights service platform set to become the largest of its kind in the country within three years.

In 2017, key companies in Zhangjiang recorded 4.25 trillion yuan ($672.12 billion) in total income. Total profits of those companies hit 282 billion yuan.

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2018-04-09 07:34:43
<![CDATA[Zeiss launches latest solutions focused on eye care innovation]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997616.htm

 

Matthias Metz, president and CEO of Zeiss Vision Care, speaks at the 18th China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair. Provided to China Daily

German precision optics manufacturer Zeiss launched its latest innovations for eyecare experts at the 18th China (Shanghai) International Optics Fair, including the Zeiss Myopia Management and Zeiss UVProtect technology.

"The North Star of Zeiss is the success of our customers", said Matthias Metz, president and CEO of Zeiss Vision Care.

"Zeiss has been pioneering optics for more than 170 years. Research and development teams work intensively to deliver solutions that are tailored to the needs of our customers."

As one of the world's leading eyeglass lens manufacturers, Zeiss Vision Care combines medical and ophthalmological expertise in a unique way. "Thus we serve eyeglass lens wearers with innovations that provide them with the best possible vision experience and solutions for healthy eyes," Metz said.

Zeiss opticians are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for eye exams, refraction, centration and lens consultation.

"The whole process from vision test, lens calculation and manufacturing to fitting the lens into the frame can be done with Zeiss precision technology. So we ensure that the consumer really gets his or her individually optimized vision experience," Metz said.

In 2018, Zeiss will launch a myopia management lens portfolio and Zeiss UVProtect for all clear lenses, both innovations for clear sight and healthy eyes, demonstrating the company's ability to combine medical and optical expertise in state-of-the-art products.

Myopia, especially progressive myopia, has become an epidemic, especially among young people below the age of 20 in China and across Asia, negatively affecting quality of life, education and well-being.

The causes of myopia are manifold, but modern lifestyles and the extensive use of digital devices and artificial light lead to increased prevalence of the condition.

Zeiss invests heavily in the development of myopia management solutions. Considering that children need special care for healthy eye development and the good development of their vision, Zeiss has launched a portfolio of myopia management lenses specially designed for children aged 6 to 12 years. Zeiss MyoKids and Zeiss MyoVision Pro were designed to help manage myopia and progressive myopia.

Peng Wei, managing director of Zeiss Vision Care China, said that parents need to be aware of their children's quality of vision and should have their eyes tested regularly to prevent conditions such as myopia occurring or becoming more severe.

For myopic children, the next step is to make sure that they get the right, individually optimized glasses, Peng said.

It is scientifically proven that a lack of time outdoors and exposure to natural light in combination with the long use of smartphones and other digital devices are risk factors for myopia. Therefore it is recommended for children to spend some time outdoors daily to reduce the risk of myopia progression.

One of the biggest threats to long-term eye health is ultraviolet radiation, which can cause cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis.

According to the company, common industry standards for UV protection do not cover the full range of exposure, extending to only 380 nanometers, when 40 percent of all exposure comes within the range of 380 to 400 nanometers. Many consumers believe that UV is only a threat during sunshine, but UV rays reach the earth and eyes also when it is cloudy or overcast.

Zeiss has integrated UVProtect technology in all of its clear organic lenses so that consumers are fully UV protected anytime they wear Zeiss lenses, be they clear or tinted lenses.

Especially remarkable about Zeiss UVProtect is the fact that the lenses are fully transparent and ensure natural vision. This sets a new standard for all clear spectacle lenses and helps millions of people to protect their eyes and to avoid the harm of UV rays on their sight and eyes.

"Our solutions focus on enabling our customers, the eye care professionals, to provide consumers with individually perfect vision,

"Our solutions include a complete set of devices and software platforms for subjective and objective refraction, for eye exam and precise positioning of lenses into the frame, which are supported by software systems so that the eye care professional has all data and consumer consultation tools at hand on his tablet," Peng said.

Zeiss develops and markets functional lenses to meet different needs and help people to see better. For instance, Zeiss DriveSafe is an all-day lens especially optimized for car drivers, Zeiss EnergizeMe is a special design for contact lens wearers and ZeissDigital Lenses are designed for the everyday digital life for the elderly with pre-presbyopic conditions.

"Along with the changing needs of customers in their daily work or entertainment, we can tailor our products into various fields such as learning, sports and fitness," Peng said.

Zeiss, founded in 1846, has long been regarded as a global technology leader and is active in semiconductor manufacturing technology, industrial measurement, microscopy, medical technology and vision care.

Since 1912, the company has been developing and manufacturing medical technology and vision care solutions. Many groundbreaking innovations have been introduced by Zeiss in this time, for instance precision lenses, anti-reflection coating, wave front technology for objective eye refraction and, in 1992, the first digital centration device for the optical store.

The Zeiss Group is 100 percent owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation, established in 1889, which is committed to supporting and funding societal and scientific progress. Zeiss has been practicing responsibility regarding products, value chain and customers, but also fostering social and scientific development as well as preserving the environment for more than 100 years.

liyou@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-04-09 07:28:38
<![CDATA[Volkswagen's New e-Golf sets tone for future green energy plans]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/09/content_35997615.htm

 

Axel Schroeder, managing director of Volkswagen Import, is optimistic about China's new energy car market. Photos Provided to China Daily

   
Volkswagen Import has introduced the New e-Golf into China as new energy cars are gaining traction in the world's largest car market.

China sold 777,000 new energy cars in 2017, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The association estimated that sales will exceed 1 million this year.

"We have always believed, and are now witnessing, that China is and will continue to be the world's greatest new energy car market," said Axel Schroeder, managing director of Volkswagen Import.

The company used its Electric Up! model in 2014 to gauge the market response and later introduced its first plug-in hybrid, the Golf GTE, in 2015.

"Today we have the New e-Golf, heralding a new dawn for us to understand the market more deeply, and for the public to know more about Volkswagen e-mobility," Schroeder said.

"The New e-Golf is critical in setting the tone for our future brand strategy, with new energy cars as our key product offerings in the coming years."

He said the model will help the company to better understand the market and will herald more new energy vehicles from the German carmaker.

Volkswagen Import will introduce the Volkswagen Variant GTE into China later this year, which is set to be followed by the Touareg GTE in the near future.

From 2020 onward, it will start to offer models based on the more advanced MEB platform, which was designed specifically for the drive of electric cars only.

"Our strategy is very much in line with the Chinese government's policies regarding the promotion of such cars," Schroeder said.

China overtook the United States as the world's largest new energy car market in 2015 and has set itself ambitious goals.

It expects annual sales of new energy cars to reach 2 million in 2020 and to account for 20 percent of all new cars sales by 2025, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

By the end of 2017, China had around 1.8 million new energy cars on its roads, about half of the total number of such cars worldwide.

Brand's best-selling e-car

The e-Golf is Volkswagen's best-selling electric model globally, according to the company.

With its design efficiency and impressive performance, as well as cutting-edge digitalization and connectivity, it's clear to see why, Schroeder said.

The model - which has a top torque of 290 Newton meters - delivers premium German engineering and matches the needs of Chinese consumers on affordability without sacrificing performance or quality.

"Speaking of performance, the New e-Golf's is quite impressive: as an electric car, it has a great capability for everyday driving," Schroeder said.

"In terms of handling, it offers much more than you'd expect from a Golf. The XDS Differential, often used in sports cars, enables a safer and more precise drive, especially when cornering."

According to Volkswagen Import, the model has a 255-kilometer range and can reach 80 percent of its charging capacity within 40 minutes using a fast charging network.

With a 7.2 kilowatt charging box, it takes five hours to fully charge.

"From the exterior, you can tell this model is a very special Golf," Schroeder said.

Its all-LED lights, including the C-shaped daytime running lamps, make the model instantly recognizable.

Blue trim extensions and sharp body lines reinforce its young, sporty and eco-friendly identity.

The company said these design elements don't just look good - they are also aimed to ensure greater energy efficiency.

The 16-inch "Astana" alloy wheels use optimized aerodynamics with rolling resistance contact surfaces.

The rear spoilers and side flaps reduce air resistance to enhance the New e-Golf's aerodynamic performance.

Besides its design and performance, the New e-Golf is also distinguished by its digital innovations and connectivity.

The company said it is the only car in its segment with a 12.3-inch digital display. There is also all-new 8-inch touch screen.

In terms of connectivity, the New e-Golf features a system called "Car-Net" function, which allows the driver to see the car's condition via his or her smartphone.

The system also helps drivers to easily find available charging stations and pay through Alibaba's mobile payment tool Alipay.

Volkswagen Car-Net offers several other functions as well, such as online services and call center services.

The model also features App-Connect, which allows customers to mirror their smart mobile devices on the touch screen, for greater convenience.

App-Connect is compatible with a range of mobile platforms, including Mirror-Link, Apple CarPlay and Baidu CarLife, offering customers a range of ecosystems.

"Put simply, this is our most innovative and eco-friendly Golf ever," Schroeder said.

"And with all of these great features, I'm sure that it will be very competitive in China's compact new energy car segment."

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2018-04-09 07:29:22
<![CDATA[Chinese stories captivate the world]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/08/content_35989993.htm First came the blockbuster trilogy that has been an international sensation - and now get ready for the TV series that is likely to make the Chinese writer Liu Cixin a very wealthy man.

The trilogy in question is, of course, the science fiction novel The Three-Body Problem, and if the UK's Financial Times newspaper is to be believed, Amazon is about to invest $1 billion (810 million euros; £710 million) to adapt two parts of it into TV shows.

Even though Amazon has not confirmed this, and the recent Financial Times report provided no details on when the project would start, the mere whisper of such a deal has sent a frisson through the Chinese publishing industry.

Chen Feng of China Educational Publications Import & Export Co Ltd, one of the two agencies that owns the books' copyright, says they have been translated into more than 12 languages, including English, French, German, Italian and Russian.

In China, at least 8 million copies have been sold.

And since the English version of the first book was published in 2015 and won the Hugo Award for Best Novel that year, about 760,000 copies have been sold, Chen says. About 100,000 copies of the German version of the first book, published this year, have been sold.

In recent years, as the government has worked hard to promote Chinese contemporary literature to the world, Chinese fantasies, espionage fiction, children's books and mystery novels have received growing acclaim among overseas readers, thanks to the authors' wild imaginations, great storytelling skills and the allure of Chinese culture, experts say.

In February, the English-language version of the Chinese martial arts classic by Jin Yong, A Hero Born: Legends of the Condor Heroes, volume one, translated by Anna Holmwood, came out in Britain.

Its editor, Paul Engles, has been working with MacLehose Press in London for seven years, mainly editing translations of, for example, crime fiction and literary fiction, as well as works by English-language authors and nonfiction.

Within a month of its publication, the book had gone through seven print runs.

"The Jin Yong project is perhaps the most exciting I have been part of, because his books mean so much to so many people," Engles says.

"I'm happy to say that the critical response has been very favorable in the UK. The series has not yet started to come out in the United States, and rights have seen sold to Germany, Italy, Finland, Portugal and Hungary."

Since the story was serialized in newspapers in the 1950s, A Hero Born has been a must-read martial arts novel among many Chinese worldwide.

But whether a translation can succeed depends on many factors, including the quality of the translation and readers' interest in another culture.

For example, without Ken Liu's fine translation of The Three-Body Problem, it might not have won the Hugo Award, let alone won over so many English-language readers, including former US president Barack Obama and Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, both of whom gave it a marketing fillip by recommending it on social media.

Holmwood said in a previous interview that she translated the first volume of A Hero Born: Legends of Condor Heroes in a humble spirit because she was aware of the important place Jin Yong occupied in the hearts of many readers.

Before translating A Hero Born, she had translated other Chinese fiction, including Under a Hawthorn Tree and A Perfect Crime, but Jin Yong's work had been the most difficult one, she said, because of the abundant historical background, customs, characters, food and traditional Chinese medicine, as well as the various matchless magical kung fu and martial arts movements.

How to translate them accurately was a "headache" for her, she said in the interview, adding that she tried to present the vividness between the lines of the original work in smooth English.

She seems to have done a good job. After reading a sample of her translation the publisher decided to give it a go. The Economist called it a "spirited translation".

"Jin Yong is one of the world's bestselling authors," Engles says. "He had not been published successfully in English, but nonetheless it seemed to be a huge opportunity," he says, explaining why MacLehose Press wanted to publish the English version.

He says he did not worry so much that cultural differences would be a barrier because, having read the sample and then the translation, "I told myself that Legends of the Condor Heroes has much in common with books by authors such as Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas, which have been enjoyed for centuries by English readers.

"I think British people are very interested in Chinese culture. When there is an exhibition about the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or the Terracotta Warriors at the British Museum, it is all anyone talks about."

After reading the first two volumes, Engles' favorite character is Lotus Hoang, a smart and cheeky girl who later marries the hero, Guo Jing.

Another Chinese novel that has drawn much attention in recent years is Decoded by Mai Jia, which has been published by Penguin Classics and translated into about 33 languages, including English, French, German, Spanish and Hebrew.

In 2014, the Chinese version sold more than 3 million copies.

In the same year as the English version came out, The Economist listed it as one of the top 10 fiction works of the year, and last year, The Daily Telegraph named it as one of "the 20 best spy novels of all time", together with Rudyard Kipling's Kim, John le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Graham Greene's Our Man in Havana.

"Decoded is riddling, dreamlike and digressive, in the manner of classical Chinese fiction, but you end up wanting to decipher its mysteries as fervently as its protagonist tackles his code," The Daily Telegraph says.

Apart from the wild imagination, intricate plots and interesting characterization, what seem to attract foreign readers most in such literary works are the Chinese elements.

For Engles, apart from battle and fight scenes, the most fascinating thing about A Hero Born is the history behind the story: the Jin Empire and the Song, and how they interacted with the Mongols, he says.

"Jin Yong evokes the period so well. I can really imagine being there, whether it's on the Grand Canal or in Jiaxing or in the fortress city of Kalgan (now Zhangjiakou, Hebei province)."

In East Asia and Southeast Asia, cultural similarity and familiarity attract many readers to Chinese fiction.

The first book of the Tang Mystery series was published on the Chinese mainland in 2016, and now the copyright of the series has been sold in Taiwan, as well as Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam.

On the mainland, more than 350,000 sets of the series have been sold, and in Taiwan more than 500,000 sets have been sold.

"Publishers from Japan and the United States also showed interest," says Liang Yuefeng, copyright editor of the book.

"Overseas publishers are interested in the fiction because of the prosperous Tang Dynasty (618-907), especially in the neighborhood of Asia.

"The Thai version has come out. When we introduced ourselves, the publisher decided to publish it immediately."

European and US readers are becoming increasingly interested in Chinese culture, and literary works can offer them a channel to look at the flourishing age in ancient China, she says.

The Tang Mystery books are mystery fiction built on four different cultural symbols during that time, such as Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion, by the calligraphy master Wang Xizhi, and The Everlasting Regret, a poem that recounts the love between Emperor Li Longji and his concubine Yang Yuhuan, by the great poet Bai Juyi.

"Some US publishers contacted us after learning about the books' performance on Amazon," Liang says.

Tang Yin, the author, says the mystery novel genre makes it easier for overseas readers to follow the storytelling, in contrast to very serious highbrow literary works that may discuss profound social problems or human nature.

Combining Chinese culture with intriguing narration has also become a trend in children's books in China, and this has attracted overseas publishers.

One example is Monsters in the Forbidden City by Chang Yi.

Twelve volumes are planned, half of which have come out. Since the first book was published in 2015, more than 1 million copies have been sold.

As one of the best-selling children's books, Monsters in the Forbidden City also attracts publishers from overseas because "it's about both China and the world", says Liu Jinshuang, editor with Encyclopedia of China Publishing House.

"It's rooted in Chinese mythology and legends, so readers can learn about these ancient Chinese stories and more about the Forbidden City. It also tells about universal values: goodness, integrity, faith, love and responsibility."

Its copyright has now been sold in Hong Kong, as well as Malaysia, Mongolia, Romania, South Korea, Thailand and Arabic-speaking countries.

"If my memory serves me correctly, the first contract is for the Arabic version," Chang says.

"The translator said she was excited to find an Arab character in a Chinese book about the Forbidden City."

At the 2017 Beijing International Book Fair, where Chang hosted a recommendation meeting, translators from Hungary and Japan also showed their interest. Some took the first three books back for their children. But they need to find a publisher first if they want to publish them, she says.

With the success of The Three-Body Problem, Mai Jia's Decoded and now the promising A Hero Born, will overseas publishers want to publish more excellent Chinese literary works that are usually not considered highbrow but are extremely popular in China?

"Yes, I think they will," Engles says. "Publishers will always try to replicate what has proved successful. One successful author from any given country can make all the difference to how publishers perceive books from that market. And publishers are more open than ever to publishing genre fiction in translation, whether that's crime, sci fi or fantasy."

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2018-04-08 11:05:39
<![CDATA[Mystery writer mines the riches of an ancient dynasty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/08/content_35989992.htm Moonlighting produces a popular fictional detective

Ten years ago, when Tang Yin was a computer programmer in Shanghai, the TV series Amazing Detective Di Renjie was extremely popular in China.

Tang, a big fan of detective novels such as the Judge Dee mysteries by Robert van Gulik, was fascinated by the TV shows. After watching all of them, she went on an online forum and found that some people were posting fan fiction there.

She was unimpressed by the standard of writing and, after reading all of it, decided to write something herself, she says.

She then quickly completed her first novel. It was so popular online that she continued to write, completing another four novels under the title Amazing Detective Di Renjie. In 18 months, she wrote about 1.2 million characters, even as she continued to hold down a regular job.

In writing about Di Renjie, she did a great deal of research about the Tang Dynasty (618-907) period. The more she researched, the more fascinated she became, she says.

It was one of the most prosperous times in China's long history, a highly open society connected by the busy Silk Road to the rest of the known world. The Tang Empire may have had the busiest Silk Road in China's history. It is said that one-tenth of the 1 million people in Chang'an (now Xi'an, Shaanxi province), then the capital, were foreigners, from countries such as Japan in the East and Persia in the West.

Two issues that particularly charmed Tang Yin were the great cultural prosperity and the freedom women had.

"It was a time when the greatest Chinese poets such as Li Bai, Bai Juyi, Du Fu and Li He lived. All of society respected literature and arts."

It was also the dynasty in which women could choose to occupy themselves with matters other than housework, such as becoming the empress or acting as government officials.

After writing about Di Renjie and churning out the usual detective novel fare such as the issue of identifying bodies and coming up with plausible alibis, Tang hankered after something else.

"I wanted to create a female detective, and to make the cultural elements the basic framework of the story. To find the answers, you have to look for clues in paintings, poems or music."

That was the genesis of Tang Mystery, featuring a beautiful female detective Pei Xuanjing, who is physically frail but mentally acute.

Pei solved the mysteries in the four books of the series with clues hidden in literature and arts, such as Wang Xizhi's calligraphy masterpiece Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion and Bai Juyi's poem Everlasting Regret.

In addition, Tang managed to paint such a mysterious picture that readers were left wondering whether the events written about really happened during the Tang Dynasty.

"All the big historical events in the books actually happened more than 1,000 years ago," Tang says. "But in the blanks between that had never been recorded I used my imagination. So I am really happy that many readers are confused about what is fact and what is fiction."

The charming cultural elements have helped make the series one of the best-selling books in China. More than 330,000 copies have been sold on the mainland, and in Taiwan it has gone through its 52nd printing, with more than 500,000 copies sold. The copyright has been sold to South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Tang says it is exhausting to write detective stories woven with abundant cultural elements.

"It's interesting, but exhausting for both writers and readers."

So after Tang Mystery, Tang says she wants to try to combine ghost stories with detective fiction.

"There were a lot of very interesting ghost stories in the Tang Dynasty. It's interesting to write detective novels like the Japanese (writer) Natsuhiko Kyogoku did in his book The Wicked and the Damned."

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2018-04-08 11:05:39
<![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/01/content_35957010.htm "In the past, we had to rely on foreign data and vaccines. Now we can take the initiative in combating outbreaks and share our knowledge to help other countries."

XU JIANGUO, deputy chief engineer of China's national project to combat infectious diseases

"With its high altitude, little rain and light winds, the conditions for observation are better in Tibet than any other region."

REN XIAODONG, head of the starry sky committee of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation.

"The delivery drivers should have safe and civilized travel. They should wear helmets and refrain from making phone calls or looking at WeChat while driving. They should follow the traffic rules and park their electric bicycles in designated parking spaces."

MINISTRY OF PUBLIC SECURITY On March 26, the ministry's Traffic Management Bureau and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing jointly issued a proposal for delivery enterprises.

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2018-04-01 14:29:08
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-04/01/content_35957009.htm

 

Performers pick spring tea in an outdoor show featuring the tea culture of the Song Dynasty in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on March 27. Hangzhou is famous for Longjing green tea, which is best picked from the end of March to early April. Lian Guoqing / For China Daily

University achieves a big step for robots

A robotic biped developed at Guangdong University of Technology is able to take a big step while maintaining balance, thanks to ducted fans fixed to its feet. Jet-HR1, the robot, resembles the lower part of a human body. It is 65 centimeters tall and weighs 6.5 kilograms. It can cross a gap of 45 cm, or 97 percent of its leg length, making a move like doing the splits. This results in higher efficiency than the 20 percent of leg length commonly seen in other humanoid robots, says Huang Zhifeng, the vice-dean of the university's Department of Automation who has led the research in the past two years. The robot was featured in a recent article published in IEEE Spectrum, the flagship magazine of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a major international professional organization.

Fujian has open arms for people of Taiwan

Cities in Fujian province, which borders the Taiwan Straits, have considered detailed measures to put into practice the country's newly unveiled 31-article policy offering equal treatment to residents on both sides of the straits. The measures discussed include encouraging local institutions that offer guarantees to small and medium-sized enterprises to include Taiwan businesses in their financing services, supporting professors and teachers from Taiwan in applying for research projects and inspiring technical talent from Taiwan to join local professional associations, city officials said during the recent national legislative session. Altogether, 22 of the 31 measures have been implemented in Fujian, which has long been a window of exchange and cooperation between people on the two sides of the straits, according to Zhong Zhigang, deputy director of the Fujian Provincial Taiwan Affairs Office. Other measures will be carried out soon as part of a maximum effort to include Taiwan residents in the local public services system, including education, employment and residency, he said.

Zimbabwe leader to visit China

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the president of Zimbabwe, will make a state visit to China from April 2 to 6 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on March 27.

Over 9,000 punished for breaking rules

A total of 9,231 officials were punished for breaches of Communist Party of China rules in the first two months of the year. The figure was gathered from 31 provincial divisions, 139 central Party and State departments, 97 State-owned enterprises and 15 financial institutions supervised by the central government, as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an economic and semi-military organization stationed in Xinjiang, according to the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Smash-and-grab suspects arrested in HK

Hong Kong police have arrested all three suspects who they said smashed jewelry shop windows and grabbed goods worth more than HK$40 million ($5.1 million; 4.1 million euros; £3.6 million) in one of the city's busiest commercial districts. A 39-year-old man was arrested on March 26 just 600 meters from the scene, and most of the stolen goods were found, said Sin Kwok-ming, chief inspector of the Police Regional Crime Unit of Hong Kong Island. The other two suspects, ages 38 and 45, were arrested at Shenzhen Bay Port later on March 26 as they were attempting to flee to the Chinese mainland on separate cross-border buses, a police spokeswoman said. The three had entered Hong Kong on tourist visas, she said. The theft took place at around 11 am at the Treasure Jewellery store on the ground floor of Duke Wellington House in the Central district.

Hukou rules clarified for overseas residents

Chinese people who live abroad and have not renounced their Chinese citizenship can keep their Shanghai hukou (household registration) intact, at least for now, according to the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. Updated regulations on the registration system will take effect on May 1. The announcement was made by the bureau on March 25, after publication of the updated regulations two weeks ago raised public concerns. A clause required those living outside China or those who have renounced their Chinese nationality to report to the bureau and give up their hukou within one month after the regulations take effect.

Self-service 'smart' hotel reports zero thefts

A "smart" hotel in Chengdu, open for three months, has reported that not one item has been stolen from its guest rooms. Minor theft is common in the hotel industry, with towels, ashtrays and cups often going missing. The self-service hotel uses facial recognition technology and requires guests to scan their ID cards at check-in, with room numbers and verification codes then sent to their mobile phones. Almost all hotel services at the hotel rely on artificial intelligence, and only two human staff members are on site - a supervisor and a cleaner.

Policy to help companies hire foreign lawyers

Shanghai is drafting guidelines that will allow local law firms to employ foreign attorneys, as the eastern metropolis aims to boost legal services for overseas investors, it was announced on March 28. The city's Justice Bureau, which is drawing up the rules, said it is ironing out procedures for recruiting legal professionals from overseas and their qualification requirements. "As an incentive, we may also provide policy support to assist expat lawyers in obtaining residence permits in Shanghai, as well as receiving social welfare and social security," said Lu Weidong, director of the bureau. Another approach to providing legal services of higher quality to foreign businesses and individuals is to promote joint ventures between local and foreign law firms, he said.

Rare brown panda caught on camera

A brown giant panda has been spotted on camera in a nature reserve in northwest China's Shaanxi province, the provincial forestry administration said on March 29. The panda was captured on camera in the Changqing National Nature Reserve in Yangxian county, Shaanxi, on March 11. The world's first brown panda was discovered in 1985 in the Qinling Mountains. The Qinling giant panda is a subspecies of giant panda first recognized in 2005. It has a smaller and rounder skull, shorter snout and less fur than the more familiar Sichuan subspecies.

'Looted' bronze vessel goes for auction

A rare Chinese bronze water vessel thought to have been taken during the looting of Beijing's Summer Palace in 1860 has been discovered in Kent, southeast England. The relic will go on sale at The Canterbury Auction Galleries on April 11 at an estimated price of £120,000 to £200,000 ($170,000 to $285,000; 137,000 euros to 231,000 euros). According to The Canterbury Auction Galleries, only six similar vessels, known as ying, are said to exist, and five of them are in museums. China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage said in a statement that it is looking into the auction, adding that it opposes the sale and purchase of stolen cultural relics.

Ancient Silk Road port found in Saudi Arabia

The prosperity of an ancient seaport on the Maritime Silk Road near Mecca, Saudi Arabia, will soon be unveiled, thanks to an upcoming China-Saudi Arabia joint archaeological excavation. Five Chinese archaeologists with the National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage, which is affiliated with the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, are set to conduct field research of the ruins, known as al-Serrian, from March 26 to April 13. It will be the first Chinese archaeological mission on the Arabian Peninsula, and additional research at the site will follow within the next five years. The Chinese archaeologists will join six counterparts from the antiquities and museums sector of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, including one trained by China as the first certificated underwater archaeologist in Saudi Arabia.

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2018-04-01 14:29:08
<![CDATA[Summer's night tales gave birth to monsters]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/31/content_35954549.htm When Chang Yi was a little girl her father, an editor with People's Literature Publishing House, got her to read ancient Chinese classics.

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Forgotten creatures of the Forbidden City come alive for the young

When Chang Yi was a little girl her father, an editor with People's Literature Publishing House, got her to read ancient Chinese classics.

It was hard work for one so young, but she managed to find fun in it.

In reading those books she often came across monsters that she had heard about from old people in the neighborhood where her grandfather lived.

It was not far from the Forbidden City in Beijing, and many residents in the hutong worked in the ancient palace. About 30 years ago the palace was a big park for little Chang. It took her only three minutes to walk from her grandfather's to Donghuamen, the east gate of the palace. The Forbidden City was Chinese imperial palace from 1420 to 1911.

On summer nights, when people living nearby gathered outside to keep cool, the grandmothers and grandfathers, many of whom used to be craftspeople in the palace, told legends, tales of horror and of monsters in the Forbidden City. Many of the monsters appeared as statues there.

Chang was fascinated by these monsters, and she was eager to find about their truth in ancient books, which became a great hobby of hers.

Some of her uncles worked in the ancient books department of the publishing house, so she was able to read books that could not be seen outside. As she grew up she amassed a great deal of knowledge about Chinese mythological monsters and their stories.

After she gave birth to a son she wanted to tell him those wonderful stories of the monsters that had gradually been forgotten by most Chinese people.

Once she was in the Forbidden City and heard a boy ask his grandfather about the little copper monsters on the red doors, and the grandfather said they were lions guarding the entrance.

"I couldn't help telling them they were not lions, but Jiao Tu, one of the nine sons of loong, a Chinese dragon (a mythological beast of tremendous power that gave birth to the Chinese nation) in ancient Chinese myths," she says.

When talk turns to the monsters, Chang becomes excited.

"Jiaotu was a quiet monster and disliked visitors or visiting other people," she says. "Its defensive power was so strong that few ghosts or evil spirits could match it, so in ancient times Chinese people liked to put them on doors to guard their houses."

After that experience, Chang found that while many people visit the Forbidden City every day, few notice those monsters or are aware of their stories, and many misidentify them.

In fact, through movies and TV many Chinese know more about monsters from Europe and the United States, she says. Others love Japanese monsters, which "in fact came from China",

Growing up reading and hearing about such mythological monsters, Chang decided to write their stories to give children a chance to learn about legends that have been passed on for thousands of years.

"I hope with my books that when children go to the Forbidden City they will find pleasure by relating the statues with their legends."

She started a series called Monsters in the Forbidden City in 2014, planning to write 12 books about the adventures of a girl named Li Xiaoyu. In the story, Li is a grade three primary school student. Her mother works in the palace, so she often plays alone there after school before her mother's work day ends.

The story begins with Li picking up a magical stone that gives her the ability to understand the languages of animals and the mythological monsters, which are nocturnal, like the toys in Pixar Animation's Toy Story movies.

Now the first six books have come out, and more than 1 million copies have sold in the Chinese mainland. They have become some of the most best-selling children's books in China, publishers from countries such as Thailand, Mongolia and South Korea have bought the copyright, and this summer there will be a stage musical adaptation. The remaining six books will come out next year.

Chang started writing another series of monster stories in 2016, titled Talks of Monsters in Forbidden City. The first three of these nine books have been published, and in one week more than 10,000 copies were sold.

In Monsters in the Forbidden City one monster is introduced in each chapter, but in the new series a whole story will be devoted to each of them, as in JK Rowling's Harry Potter books.

The new stories will focus on more monsters in the palace, which were invisible to people because "they lived in the city's underground".

"These are also stories I heard when I was young," Chang says. "Grandma Wang told a lot of very scary stories about those monsters underground. Not all of them were good. Actually many were very vicious."

Monsters in Monsters in the Forbidden City are mainly benevolent because "I don't know whether children can accept scary monsters, so it's a try in the market," Chang says.

That is to say, the new series of nine books will be darker and suit older children.

Below the layer of "gold bricks" under the palace were various vicious Chinese ancient mythological monsters, Chang says.

The bricks are not really made of gold, Chang says, but because it took two to three years to make them from a special clay in Suzhou, they were very expensive and sounded as though they were made of mental when knocked.

"And they were magical bricks," she says, suddenly sounding mysterious again.

"The Forbidden City used to contain arguably the best things in the world, the most precious jewelry, antiques, paintings, calligraphy, the most beautiful women and the most brilliant heads.

"Where there is light there is shadow. Since it is a most precious place it needs special security against the most vicious things.

The "gold bricks" were thus used by ancient architects to build a barrier that suppressed all the evil underground.

"Now, big villains will step on stage in the new books - evil spirits. I love them because they have very strong personalities."

yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-31 07:57:38
<![CDATA[Writer mines the riches of an ancient dynasty]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/31/content_35954548.htm Ten years ago, when Tang Yin was a computer programmer in Shanghai, the TV series Amazing Detective Di Renjie was extremely popular in China.

Tang, a big fan of detective novels such as Judge Dee Mysteries by Robert van Gulik, was fascinated by the TV plays. After watching all of them, she went on an online forum and found that some people were posting fan fiction there.

She was unimpressed by the standard of writing, and after reading all of it, decided to write something herself, she says.

She then quickly completed her first novel. It was so popular online that she continued to write, completing another four novels under the title Amazing Detective Di Renjie. In 18 months she wrote about 1.2 million characters, even as she continued to hold down a regular job.

In writing about Di Renjie, she did a great deal of research about the Tang Dynasty (618-907) period. The more she researched, the more fascinated she became, she says.

It was one of the most prosperous times in China's long history, a highly open society connected by the busy Silk Road with the rest of the known world. The Tang Empire may have had the busiest Silk Road in China's history. It is said that one-tenth of the 1 million people in Chang'an (now Xi'an in Shaanxi province), the then capital, were foreigners, from countries such as Japan in the east and Persia in the west.

Two issues that particularly charmed Tang Yin were the great cultural prosperity and the freedom women had.

"It was a time when the greatest Chinese poets such as Li Bai, Bai Juyi, Du Fu and Li He lived. All of society respected literature and arts."

It was also the dynasty in which women could choose to occupy themselves with matters other than housework, such as becoming the empress or acting as government officials.

After having created Di Renjie and churning out the usual detective novel fare such as the issue of identifying bodies and coming up with plausible alibis, Tang hankered after something else.

"I wanted to create a female detective, and to make the cultural elements the basic framework of the story. To find the answers you have to look for clues in paintings, poems or music."

That was the genesis of Tang Mystery, featuring a beautiful female detective, Pei Xuanjing, who is physically frail but mentally acute.

Pei solved the mysteries in the four books of the series with clues hidden in literature and arts, such as Wang Xizhi's calligraphy masterpiece The Preface to the Orchid Pavilion Poems Collection, and Bai Juyi's poem Everlasting Regret.

In addition, Tang managed to paint such a mysterious picture that readers were left wondering whether the events written of really happened during the Tang Dynasty.

"All the big historical events in the books actually happened more than 1,000 years ago," Tang says. "But in the blanks between that had never been recorded I used my imagination. So I am really happy that many readers are confused about what is fact and what is fiction."

The charming cultural elements have helped make the series one of the best-selling books in China. More than 330,000 copies have been sold in the mainland, and in Taiwan it has gone through its 52nd printing, with more than 500,000 copies sold. The copyright has been sold to South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

Tang says that it is exhausting to write detective stories woven with abundant cultural elements.

"It's interesting, but exhausting for both writers and readers."

So after Tang Mystery, Tang says she wants to try to combine ghost stories with detective fiction.

"There were a lot of very interesting ghost stories in the Tang Dynasty. It's interesting to write detective novels like the Japanese Natsuhiko Kyogoku did in his book The Wicked and the Damned."

yangyangs@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-31 07:57:38
<![CDATA[HRS eases global business travel]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/31/content_35954543.htm Germany-based hotel comparison service provider to localize efforts in Chinese market

China's business travel market requires more localized services and innovation among hotel information suppliers, senior executives of HRS said at a recent news conference.

"China is a very special market. It is a crucial base for HRS as a global enterprise," said Jiang Jun, vice-president of HRS in the Asia-Pacific region.

The German travel agency portal provides hotel reservation services, among others. It entered China in 2002 and has strived to develop its Chinese business via market analysis and innovative services over the past 16 years.

Since 2000, China's business travel market has maintained an average annual growth rate of more than 15 percent, with the sector hitting $318 billion in scale in 2017. It is set to increase by 8 percent in 2018, according to the Global Business Travel Association Business Travel Index Outlook 2017-21.

"More Chinese enterprises have significantly sped up their expansion in overseas markets, and we must refresh ourselves to localize our services in China," Jiang said.

Since 2007, the company has shifted its role from catering to foreign companies' business travel in China to serving all kinds of enterprises in the country.

In China, the growing demand for business travel data transparency, cost saving and employee satisfaction are all factors guiding HRS' pursuit of greater localization, Jiang said.

Shi Nanfei, managing director of HRS in China, said more than 95 percent of hotels in China are independent, and they cluster around second and third-tier cities.

"It's challenging for us to put our limited energy into integrating hotel services and meeting customers' needs in such a complicated market," he said.

To date, the company has launched a string of solutions based on big data and artificial intelligence, which offer solutions ranging from intelligent sourcing, search and booking to central billing payment and risk management.

In 2012, HRS initiated an intelligent sourcing solution through big data analysis. The company can now collect information on hotels globally and make automatic comparisons, identify the most suitable hotels for travelers, and so save them time and money, Shi said.

"We possess huge amounts of data after more than 40 years of development," he said. "Using machines to analyze data increases efficiency and helps travel managers to better collate hotels' details and offers."

In 2016, HRS established its Asia-Pacific research and development center in Shanghai to accelerate the development and upgrading of new products and to boost new technologies.

This year, the company released a product that allows localized central billing payment process.

With the support of AI technology and big data, the system offers hotels a digital payment service to allow business travel without payment in advance and provides a collective invoice by collecting booking, payment and invoice data.

"This payment solution can increase transparency, reduce workloads and enhance the satisfaction of business travelers through its streamlined process," Shi said.

"The core of our business is focused on building a bridge between hotels and companies through technology and localized solutions, in the hope of aiding domestic enterprises to go abroad," he added.

According to the company's executives, HRS is set to announce an outsourcing solution for companies in May to further simplify business travel and better serve the Chinese market.

liangkaiyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-03-31 07:18:13
<![CDATA[Viennese waltz comes to Beijing at Kempinski]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-03/31/content_35954542.htm Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center has announced it will hold its annual waltz gala, the Kempinski Vienna Ball Beijing, on April 21, to bring a jewel of Austrian culture to China.

The hotel has organized the grand event annually for the last three years. This year, the ball will again uphold Austrian tradition in Beijing and establish a bridge for cultural exchanges between the two countries.

On the night of April 21, the Original Wiener Strauss Capelle, an Austrian orchestra with hundreds of years of history, will stage a live performance, and former principal dancers of the Vienna State Ballet will act as art directors.

Celebrated dance instructor and former state opera solo dancer Heinz Heidenreich will provide his professional guidance for guests and help them to perform the waltz on the night. Heidenreich will teach every step of the amusing dance to those who want to try it out themselves.

The exclusive ball will be accompanied by a gourmet feast. The gala dinner will feature rare and traditional Austrian cuisine. Premium Austrian wines and snacks will be on offer throughout the event.

Vienna is a European city with a long history and rich culture. The waltz, coffee and music are regarded as the "three treasures" of the city.

Since the 16th century, the tradition of holding balls has been deeply rooted in people's lives. Each year in January and February, more than 450 balls are held all over the city. At least one ball is held in the city every night during the period. They are regarded as common as carnivals among residents.

Vienna Mayor Michael Haeupl and his wife will join in this year's Kempinski Vienna Ball Beijing, according to Friedrich Stift, the ambassador of Austria to China.

Torsten Dressler, managing director of Kempinski Hotel Beijing Lufthansa Center, said the hotel is deeply rooted in the European tradition.

"For us, to organize such a Vienna ball and to team up with the city of Vienna is a perfect match in our understanding of our tradition," Dressler said.

He added that he hopes many people in Beijing will take this opportunity to experience Viennese culture during the wonderful night, taste the differences between the Chinese and European cultures, and develop friendships with people coming together.

liyou@chinadaily.con.cn

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2018-03-31 07:18:13
<![CDATA[Going digital crucial for travel industry]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/25/content_35737371.htm Social media presence is a must for any brand or destination wishing to reach out to a Chinese audience

Chinese tourists were the second-largest group of travelers in most European countries in 2017. Thus, many companies wish to attract and cater to them. To reach out to these travelers, upmarket European players must put social media at the very center of their marketing.

This means working with relevant bloggers, micro-bloggers and celebrity bloggers who can influence travelers when they select travel destinations, hotels and restaurants. This is also an opportunity to talk directly to customers in their homes in China.

The Chinese are curious, and Chinese tourists are thirsty for knowledge. They wish to learn about the craft and history behind luxury boutiques. Chinese travelers are becoming a more diverse consumer group and now have higher expectations of their stays in Europe. Instead of taking information from perceived "official sources", they now crosscheck this information with bloggers' personal opinions and other sources of information on the internet.

This reflects the level of sophistication of Chinese travelers, who now prefer bespoke travel offers. They search for unique experiences and unique destinations. According to the Austrian tourism board, the majority of Chinese travelers in Austria are "experienced travelers without language handicap, on a foreign independent tour interested in local culture and local food".

Travel companies need to cater to a more diverse audience looking for niche destinations and travel experiences. While some of the larger players from the hotel and restaurant industry have not yet made real efforts to be welcoming and make Chinese guests feel comfortable and at home, some independent players have gone the extra mile and cater to every need of their Chinese guests. The Ritz in London has Mandarin speakers throughout the hotel, and it offers Chinese newspapers, Chinese TV channels, Chinese breakfast and runs yearly digital campaigns in China with a number of local celebrity bloggers to promote its services on Chinese social media.

Companies also need to cater to an increasingly young Chinese audience. Half of Chinese travelers to the UK in 2016 were 25 to 44 years old, according to VisitBritain, the country's official tourism website, while 54 percent of Chinese travelers to France that year were 26 to 35 years old. This generation of Chinese is digital-savvy and lives, breathes, shops and communicates via Sina Weibo and Wechat. Existing in the digital space in China is a must for any brand or destination wishing to reach out to a Chinese audience today. VisitBritain is a front-runner in the digital space in China, with more than 140,000 followers on WeChat, explaining part of the record-breaking 47 percent growth seen in Chinese visitors in the first half of 2017 compared with the same period a year earlier.

In China, those in the 25-to-35 age group, unlike their parents, are looking for less-conventional locations and experiences when traveling to Europe. For their next holiday, they are replacing package tours with self-planned trips and are prepared to spend a significant amount of time researching information to ensure they get the best out of their European stay.

Thanks to their rich culinary culture, Chinese people enjoy gourmet experiences. A successful niche culinary and hospitality service was developed by a Bordeaux winery in France. "We have made wine for over 350 years at Chateau Caronne, but we just started offering bespoke luxury wine tourism experiences in our estate one year ago, thanks to demand from the CEO of a Chinese bank, who then posted photos and comments of his experience on his WeChat profile," says Francois Nony, chairman of Chateau Caronne Ste Gemme. "Then we started receiving requests for similar experiences at our estate from several Chinese CEOs. China's passion for our history and culture combined with social media have opened a new avenue for our winery."

Interestingly enough, those destinations that seem to go the extra mile to cater to the needs of Chinese travelers are the smaller players. The exclusive ski resort Lech Zurs in Austria, for example, has opened WeChat and Youku accounts, where it keeps Chinese users updated with the ski season opening, its Christmas market and classical music concerts. It describes the Chinese market as a "tender plant which we care a lot for", representing less than 5 percent of its international clientele, but steadily increasing every year.

Companies and destinations doing well with Chinese travelers are those that have invested in digital campaigns and platforms and engaged with a millennials' mindset, because it means they truly understand their clients.

The author is managing partner of E-Notam, a marketing company in London. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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2018-02-25 15:03:14
<![CDATA[Partners in a new chapter for Africa]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/25/content_35737369.htm It was crystal clear as the second China-Africa Investment Forum wrapped up in late November at the Four Seasons Resort in Marrakech, Morocco, that the economic partnership between China and Africa was about to begin a new chapter that will be equitable and beneficial for both sides.

This followed expression of keen interest, by the more than 500 high-profile delegates who attended the two-day event, in improving bilateral trade and business relations between the two partners. The delegates from Africa and China were drawn from various fields, including politics, business and academics.

From the discussions, it was evident that, despite Chinese investors being present in every sector in Africa, either traditional or innovative, the relationship between the two partners has not reached its full potential.

 

Moulay Elalamy (fourth from left), Moroccan minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy, with Chinese investors at the Second China-Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco on Nov 28. Edith Mutethya / China Daily

According to McKinsey & Co, a worldwide management consulting company, revenues generated in Africa by Chinese companies could increase by 144 percent by 2025, an indication that the time is ripe to start the new chapter of partnership.

Additionally, with more than 1 billion people and competitive labor costs, Africa is seen as epitomizing the future of industry and the perfect place for welcoming the Chinese industry, at a time when global value chains are evolving.

The rise of global value chains - the people and processes that are part of production of goods or service as well as the international supply and distribution processes - enables developing countries to become part of the production chain without having to produce a final product. As a result, developing countries can export value-added manufacturing.

To fully exploit Africa's growth potential in the framework of China-Africa relations, the delegates agreed that there is a need to promote partnerships in new growth-enhancing sectors and to encourage coproduction and local industrial sourcing. This is in addition to creating financial and legal frameworks that promote trade and industrial success, they agreed.

Moulay Elalamy, the Moroccan minister of industry, investment, trade and digital economy, says Chinese and Africans share the same quest for development, and their strategic interests seem to converge. Africa is looking to China in order to realize economic development and job creation, while China needs Africa in order to improve its competitiveness as well as gain access to the market of more than 1 billion people, Elalamy says.

The African population is expected to double by 2025, with one in every five people globally expected to be an African. Urbanization, a growth engine, is also expected to grow significantly. It has been estimated that 50 percent of Africans will be living in cities by 2030.

"Because of its potential and the multiplicity of its needs, Africa is undoubtedly a development force for China," Elalamy says.

As an economic powerhouse and a strategic global player, China is undergoing economic structural changes, including increased emphasis on domestic consumption.

Additionally, the relocation of part of Chinese industry is seen as becoming increasingly necessary, in efforts to conserve the country's competitiveness. The growth of the technology sectors and those related to the emergence of the country's middle class is also booming.

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October, General Secretary Xi Jinping said China was committed to the coordinated development of new types of industrialization, computerization, urbanization and agricultural modernization.

This is in addition to promoting economic globalization, with the aim of participating in it, and developing a high-level open economy. These structural changes are seen as presenting great opportunities for Africa.

To take full advantage of the opportunities, Elalamy says, Africa should work on industrializing and restructuring its exports, in order to reduce the prevalence of raw materials, which accounts for 80 percent of its exports.

"The China-Africa partnership has reached a maturity stage that allows it to migrate to a more strategic stage, in line with the opportunities and prevailing challenges," Elalamy says.

Paul Obambi, the founder and CEO of Sapro Group, an advertising company based in the Republic of Congo, says Africa is undoubtedly the next frontier and there is a need to open up the continent to partnerships with China, among other global partnerships.

He says the African partnership with China should focus on the private sector, which he sees as essential for economic growth. The African private sector should also take full advantage of the opportunities in the Chinese market, he adds.

Obambi says policymakers should establish a framework for the partnership that ensures that investments are mutually supported by government policy. Policymakers should also support Africa's private sector, he says.

"Similarly to the Chinese government, which fully supports its private sector investors venturing into Africa, African states should support its private sector in terms of structure and financing," Obambi says.

Mustapha Bakkoury, the council president of the Casablanca-Settat region in Morocco, says China is an ideal partner for Africa because the country has a positive trade balance with Africa and has developed technological know-how. This will ensure that the two partners will work toward a win-win situation and greater shared prosperity, Bakkoury says.

Despite the fact that China can serve as an industrial accelerator on the African continent, Bakkoury says there are certain principles that are central to development of any country, including having and valuing resources, human capital and financing. If a country lacks any of these, it must bring a partner like China on board to fill the gap, he adds.

Nevertheless, Bakkoury says, Africa should raise its game and bring itself closer to the development level across the world, which will be facilitated by new technology.

"If Africa is to realize its development potential, it has to provide a more comprehensive industrial policy that allows better evaluation of its natural resources and also capture part of the value-added by-processing, in order to finance its other needs like health, education and infrastructure," he says.

He says that since Africa consists of a rich variety of countries, Chinese investors should not approach the continent as one territory.

Bakkoury says African diversity should be addressed and the continent transformed into a source of inclusion and comprehensiveness, considering its exceptional demographic role over the near future.

"Despite the strong demographic growth and the expected doubling of the African population within the next few years, we need to bear in mind that population density is quite low and it comes with a set of challenges in terms of development. We therefore need to find infrastructure development frameworks that are adaptable for economic, general and specific industrial development," he says.

According to Bakkoury, African countries should consider regional approaches in their development initiatives.

Hakim Abdelmoumen, president of the Moroccan Industry and Automotive Trade Association, says Africa should define its strategies in order to reap the full benefits of its partnership with China.

"Within the Sino-African framework, China has defined its strategies very well. It is time for Africa to improve on its strategies at the national, subregional and continental levels," Abdelmoumen says.

Noting that China is committed to helping its private sector to expand in Africa, Abdelmoumen says the continent should leverage on geography in support of development goals, seeing Asia, the Middle East and Europe as the end point and Morocco as the entry gate. This would be a strong African strategy, Abdelmoumen says.

One of the unused opportunities in Africa, Abdelmoumen says, is the potential to produce agricultural products throughout the year because of its geographical location both north and south of the equator.

This point was echoed by MD Ramesh, the director of Singapore-based Olam International's South and East Africa regions, who says Africa should learn from China how it helped its small-scale farmers to increase productivity.

"Despite having good weather and human capital, Africa's yields ... compel the continent to import food to feed its population. Farming should be the first step toward industrialization, and China is willing to help the continent navigate through the challenges," he says

Ramesh says the next step should be adding value to agricultural produce. In addition, China can transfer cheap technology to be addressed and the continent transformed into a source of inclusion and comprehensiveness, considering its exceptional demographic role over the near future.

"Despite the strong demographic growth and the expected doubling of the African population within the next few years, we need to bear in mind that population density is quite low and it comes with a set of challenges in terms of development. We therefore need to find infrastructure development frameworks that are adaptable for economic, general and specific industrial development," he says.

According to Bakkoury, African countries should consider regional approaches in their development initiatives.

Hakim Abdelmoumen, president of the Moroccan Industry and Automotive Trade Association, says Africa should define its strategies in order to reap the full benefits of its partnership with China.

"Within the Sino-African framework, China has defined its strategies very well. It is time for Africa to improve on its strategies at the national, subregional and continental levels," Abdelmoumen says.

Noting that China is committed to helping its private sector to expand in Africa, Abdelmoumen says the continent should leverage on geography in support of development goals, seeing Asia, the Middle East and Europe as the end point and Morocco as the entry gate. This would be a strong African strategy, Abdelmoumen says.

One of the unused opportunities in Africa, Abdelmoumen says, is the potential to produce agricultural products throughout the year because of its geographical location both north and south of the equator.

This point was echoed by MD Ramesh, the director of Singapore-based Olam International's South and East Africa regions, who says Africa should learn from China how it helped its small-scale farmers to increase productivity.

"Despite having good weather and human capital, Africa's yields ... compel the continent to import food to feed its population. Farming should be the first step toward industrialization, and China is willing to help the continent navigate through the challenges," he says

Ramesh says the next step should be adding value to agricultural produce. In addition, China can transfer cheap technology to Africa that can play a key role in improving the sector, and the continent's food distribution should be improved, he says.

"Africa can use Chinese mastery in farming, adding value to cheap technology as well as logistics and storage," he says.

Chen Jianhua, executive director of overseas investments for China-based Joyvio Group, says China has drawn experiences and lessons from its 30 years of opening-up and is willing to share these experiences with Africa.

"It is good that African governments provide Chinese investors with a consistent and reliable policy framework where everybody plays on the same level field. I believe Africa is full of quality entrepreneurs waiting for the opportunity to participate in economic development," Chen says.

He adds that Chinese private-sector investors will only be attracted to Africa if they are assured of a conducive business environment. With this in place, African governments will have done a lot to set the stage for businesses to flourish, he adds.

"We are ready to offer suggestions to African governments on good governance policies for supporting business, community and the country," Chen says.

Meanwhile, Helen Hai, CEO of the Made in Africa Initiative, says Africa should not worry about loss of jobs due to industrialization. She says that if jobs were to be affected, that would occur 15 years from now and would affect the service industry but not labor-intensive industries.

She urges African countries to borrow a page from China in pursuing their industrialization.

In 1978, the GDP per capita in India was 20 percent higher than China's, she says, but today China's GDP per capita is five times that of India's. Hai says this resulted from the two countries taking different development paths.

India took a service based development approach, growing at 4 to 5 percent per year, while China took the industrialization development path, growing at more than double digits, she says.

Hai says that because China's GDP per capita is expected to double by 2025, the country will be a high-income nation by then, at which point labor-intensive jobs will leave China. This will be a golden opportunity for Africa to position itself to absorb the jobs, she says.

edithmutethya@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-02-25 15:03:14
<![CDATA[Taking the pole position]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/25/content_35737368.htm From vehicle manufacturing and sales to battery production, China is racing ahead in the electric car industry

The inexorable shift from fossil fuels to electric power continues to gather pace on the roads as carmakers and countries alike make new moves in the development of electric vehicle initiatives.

Renub Research, a market research and consulting company, said in a report in May that the EV sector is set to exceed $100 billion (84.9 billion euros; 74.5 billion) worldwide by 2020.

According to a report by China International Capital Corp, the large-scale production of electric vehicles and a bigger market share in the overall mobility market are inevitable in the next few years.

Norway and the Netherlands have announced that they will end sales of gasoline cars in 2025. Germany and India will do so in 2030, and the UK and France in 2040.

Indonesia recently announced incentives for companies developing EVs, while Malaysia has pledged to have 100,000 such cars on the road by 2030.

"Ending sales of gasoline cars is a global trend, and China is not going to fall behind," the report said.

The groundswell of support for electric cars is steadily increasing, quicker in some countries, including China, than in others.

In its latest E-mobility Index survey, consultancy Roland Berger tracked the uptake of EVs in seven major countries.

"In terms of the market, China has seen a sharp increase in demand and now moves into second place - behind France - which has a bigger market share despite its considerably lower absolute volumes. In third place comes the United States," the survey report says.

With 352,000 new EV registrations in 2016, electric car sales in China more than doubled those of the previous year.

The growth looks set to continue as the Chinese government forecasts that 800,000 green energy vehicles will be sold this year, made up of both fully electric and hybrid (electric and fuel powered) vehicles.

According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a total of 507,000 fully electric and hybrid vehicles were sold in the country in 2016. Sales of fully electric vehicles registered by the end of this year are estimated to reach around 555,000.

"Policymakers are setting ambitious goals for further expanding the market share of electric vehicles in the entire mobility sector," says Gao Xiaobing, assistant to the president of Shenzhen Gaogong Industry Research Co.

A plan set by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says the market share of electric vehicles will increase to 5 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2025.

Policies have been encouraging the purchase and use of e-vehicles in China. For example, buyers are offered free license plates in megacities. In contrast, gasoline car owners might need to pay more than 80,000 yuan ($12,100; 10,260 euros; 9,020) for a plate at auctions in Shanghai.

Such incentives will likely further help to increase the market share of e-vehicles, Gao says.

While Germany takes the top spot for EV technology in the Roland Berger survey, China takes the lead in industry.

"In industry, China has confirmed its pole position. The reason for this is the continuing rapid growth of the market, more than 90 percent of which is supplied with lithium-ion cells produced locally. This high local share is partly due to the fact that subsidies only apply where there is local value creation," the Roland Berger report says.

Across the globe, however, the uptake of electric versus fossil fuel powered vehicles still has a long way to go. Other than China, France is the only country to have more than 1 percent electric car ownership.

Still, China is seen as extremely well placed as the switch to EVs gathers pace.

Simon Moores, managing director of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, says "there is no doubt China is the global hub for the electric vehicle revolution".

"China is producing its own electric vehicles, but the export vehicles are first likely to be Western-branded ones.

"For example, (US electric-car maker) Tesla is looking to make batteries in a new "Gigafactory" near Shanghai. This is the first step in making Tesla EVs in China for the domestic and export market," he says, adding that Volkswagen "has similar grand plans".

For foreign car manufacturers to have power in the EV market, "they need to be in China", Moores says.

BMW has successfully partnered early with Chinese EV makers, he says, but VW's involvement will bring a major boost to the market.

"While (VW) has been slow at entering this EV space, once it gets going the group will shape the future of auto mobility. And for that, it will need to be in China in a big way."

In other developments, Volvo recently announced that all of its new vehicles will be electric or hybrid from 2019. Chinese carmaker Geely is Volvo's parent company.

Moores believes carmakers' plans to go electric are justified and that a recent drop in the oil price will not have a long-term impact on the growing market.

"While the oil price has some short-term incentivizing impact on EVs, the reality is that people are starting to buy them not because they are electric but because they are more desirable, cheaper and better priced.

"This will be the trend going forward, and soon, maybe from 2020 onward, the oil price will become irrelevant."

China is also well positioned in the production and export of lithium-ion batteries typically used to power electric cars.

"China already produces the bulk of lithium-ion battery cathode material," says Moores.

"It is locking up the lithium supply chain through Ganfeng Lithium and to a lesser extent Tianqi Lithium. It controls cobalt supply and battery grade refining and produces the vast majority of the world's graphite anode material."

Nearly 70 percent of all new lithium-ion battery capacity being built in new megafactory structures will be based in China, he adds.

"These are being constructed by Chinese battery majors like CATL and Lishen, as well as Japanese and South Korean joint ventures with Samsung SDI, LG Chem and Panasonic," says Moores.

In real terms, China's lithium-ion battery capacity in 2016 was 28 gigawatt-hours. By 2020, this is expected to leap to 174 GWh, according to data from Visual Capitalist, a Canadian digital media brand.

It is likely that Chinese EV makers with robust battery production will be headed for greater success.

"There is no doubt that to date, BYD (a Chinese manufacturer of rechargeable batteries and automobiles) has led the world in EV production by sheer numbers. However, the sway of industrial power will lie with those that produce battery cells and packs and control the lithium-ion battery supply chain," Moores says.

Ron Zheng, a Shanghai-based partner with Roland Berger, says a number of Chinese EV makers can carve up market share among themselves, particularly in the neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) market.

NEVs are compact, electric-powered cars, typically with a top speed of around 40 kilometers per hour - considered ideal for inner-city driving.

Zheng says local Chinese automakers hold a 90 percent market share of China's NEV market, since they "started the NEV business early and already had some of the top-selling models".

"Carmakers SAIC, BYD, BAIC and Geely are the current leaders, as they possess strong technology capabilities, while Chery, JAC, Zotye, Changan and GAC are also showing great potential," Zheng says.

"The competitive landscape will change again with new entrants such as NextEV launching their products after 2018. These fancy-looking and fully connected cars will attract customers with good buying power."

Zheng adds that by 2020, market share will be a mix of traditional players (49 percent), joint ventures (37 percent), new entrants (10 percent) and imports, dominated by Tesla (around 4 percent).

Environmental concerns aside, overall cost is also a key factor in China.

"Consumers have a very complex buying decision-making process," says Zheng. "They will go through comparing the NEV and internal combustion engine vehicles on purchasing cost, which is decided by the NEV price, subsidy, purchasing tax discount and license plate fees in some cities, such as Shanghai.

"In addition, total cost of ownership is a vital factor, which is decided by the price gap between gasoline and electricity, maintenance cost and residual value."

He adds that driver satisfaction is also important, and this will be improved by a better range on a single charge and wider coverage with battery-charging infrastructure.

Zheng adds that government policy also has an impact on the desirability of EVs in China.

"Incentives are very important for the industry to boost at the beginning, but subsidies are unsustainable due to government budget control and the intention of developing local original equipment manufacturers' capabilities."

Such a shift of the industry from government-driven to market-driven is inevitable, he says.

Zhang Junyi, a partner of Nio Capital, a Wuhan-based investment firm co-established by electric vehicle company NextEV, Sequoia Capital and Hillhouse Capital, says that the Chinese government has also been supporting the construction of public charging stations. Since last year, related documents have called for charging facilities at every newly constructed building.

"Many private investors also started operating public charging stations, so we think that by 2020, in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, charging for electric cars won't be a problem for the owners," he says.

Moving up in scale, electric-powered public buses are also likely to become the norm, and China is forging ahead.

Central China's Hubei province became the first place in the world to have driverless bus services, according to the local economy and information technology commission.

Services will be launched in selected areas using electric vehicles developed by Dongfeng Xiangyang Touring Car Co and the Beijing Institute of Technology. The commission said the buses are undergoing final testing in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. According to the information provided, the vehicles are 6.7 meters long and can carry 25 passengers. Their maximum speed is 40 kilometers an hour, and they can travel 150 km on a fully charged battery.

Moores of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence says China has considerable focus in the often overlooked electric-bus sector.

He pointed to China-based battery manufacturer CATL, which plans to expand its cell capacity from 8 GWh to 100 GWh by 2020 to meet expected demand.

"The numbers are staggering. But that shows the (increase) needed to supply electric vehicles and buses."

Contact the writers at chenyingqun@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily European Weekly 12/15/2017 page1)

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2018-02-25 15:03:14
<![CDATA[Man of steel backs cutting-edge technology]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/25/content_35737367.htm Chairman of leading producer sees big future, with more high-end uses

Gao Haijian believes it is vital for even traditional industries to be at the cutting edge of technology. The 60-year-old chairman of Magang Group, China's seventh-largest steelmaker, has led a transformation of the business, which is based in Ma'anshan, Anhui province.

Not only does it now have the largest train wheel production line in the world, but it also competes head-on in international markets on quality, and not just price, in a number of specialist steel areas.

"If you upgrade the quality of your steel, then you have a good name in the market and your steel can be used for more high-end applications," he says.

Gao, speaking in the boardroom of the company's head office in Ma'anshan in eastern Anhui, is an enthusiastic supporter of the government's Made in China 2025 strategy. Hefei, Anhui's provincial capital, was made a pilot city for the initiative this year.

"It is as much applicable to a business such as ours as to those in new industry areas. For a business like ours to succeed in international markets, we need to invest in technology and be ahead of the game."

It was being ahead of the game that allowed it to sign a contract on Nov 2 with Deutsche Bundesbahn, a German railway company, to provide 4,200 wheel sets - two wheels and an axle - for its trains.

Train wheels are now a major part of the group's business. It supplies 90 percent of the wheels for the cars of China's traditional non-high-speed trains.

It has also completed a 600,000-kilometer test at the China Railway Test and Certification Center to supply wheels for China's high-speed rail network, the largest in the world.

"This is a major opportunity for the company," says Gao. "We are finally succeeding in getting the license, after which we will be able to supply them the wheels that meet their requirements.

"High-speed rail is a very important industry for China, and there is a lot of expansion in the network to come."

Magang Group, which was established in 1958, dominates its home city, employing more than 43,400, many of them local people.

"We say that Chairman Mao decided to build a plant here and then build a city for the company," jokes Gao.

In the first 10 months of this year, the group achieved sales of 64.6 billion yuan ($9.8 billion; 8.2 billion euros; 7.3 billion), with a net profit of 4.3 billion yuan.

This was ahead of what it achieved for the whole of last year, when it returned a net profit of 1.07 billion yuan on a turnover of 54.41 billion yuan. This year's performance so far is the best since 2009.

Internationally, the steel industry has been recovering from a slump in prices in 2015 that was blamed by some Western steel producers on what they said was Chinese dumping.

"Chinese producers were falsely accused, although it is not new. Some years ago we had to deal with an anti-dumping case from the United States over HB steel, which is a product for high-level construction of skyscrapers and even used in vehicles. There was a long investigation, but we eventually won that," Gao says.

"There is a view of Chinese steel presented in the newspapers that is not quite right. We can compete fairly under the market laws like anyone else."

Gao says that when steel fell below 1,500 yuan per ton in December 2015, it was a real challenge to steel producers.

"It was terrible. At those sorts of prices, an assembly cannot run. It was nonsense. Look at steel now. It is back to 4,000 yuan per ton," he says.

As a result of the lower prices, Magang is in the process of cutting its annual capacity by 4 million metric tons, from 26 million in 2016 to 22 million in 2022.

"Things are a lot more stable now. The demand in the developed world and in the emerging markets picked up in the first half of this year."

Gao does not deny there has been a problem of private, often illegal, steel producers in the Chinese market in the past, and he says he welcomes government moves to bring in tough new standards this year.

"The problem operators haven't got a license. Some of them put up production in the middle of the night and melt steel with very poor equipment. They damage the market, and also some of this steel can enter the construction market. Certain regions of the country can have small earthquakes causing big cracks in their steel. People can lose their lives."

Gao, however, sees a big future for steel and steel products, with many more uses being found for the product, particularly at the specialist end of the market.

"One encouraging trend is housing construction in places like the UK, the United States, Japan and even Sweden with more and more houses built with steel structures rather than concrete.

"There is also an increasing demand for very thin specialist steel that can be used in furniture such as the back of armchairs or tables."

Gao, a larger-than-life personality who is a well-known business figure in China, is a steel man through and through.

He was born in Shanghai, but his parents moved to Ma'anshan when he was 6. His father, who had retired from the army, was chief of staff of the administration in the steel company, and his mother worked in the management office.

During the "cultural revolution" (1966-76), Gao was sent to the countryside nearby.

"It was just over the Yangtze River. I worked as a farmer, blacksmith and teacher. I was just a kid, really, and it was a very difficult time."

After it was over, he studied steelmaking at the local university before joining Magang in 1982 as a junior engineer, and he spent more than 15 years on the production line.

"I was involved in many areas like production management, engineering and technical aspects as well as project management," he says.

He became deputy general manager of the group, where he had primary responsibility for sales, among other aspects of the business, in 1997.

"I felt I was too young to be in such a high position. I was just 40. I felt there were so many other people better than me. I asked myself why I was given such a position.

"It was my personal philosophy not to be complacent, and it drove me to equip myself for the job."

He went on to become secretary of the company in 2008 before becoming chairman in 2013.

Gao, who also has an executive MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing, says he is very interested in bringing ideas into the company.

He both travels - regularly attending the major steel conferences - and reads widely. Some of his recent reading has included Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and Thomas Piketty's critique of modern capitalism, Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

"I read a lot, although it is mainly articles actually rather than books. They are a source of ideas.

"When I eventually retire, I would like to go into teaching again, perhaps teaching my grandchildren."

Some believe the future for Chinese steel companies might be in producing steel for the construction work taking place in Central Asia and elsewhere as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.

However, Gao, while welcoming the government's move, says it can present a lot of challenges.

"We recently received an African delegation and wondered whether producing steel in their country would be worthwhile. Sometimes you feel there is a lack of understanding of what is involved in steel production. You need supplies of water and electricity, obviously, but you often don't feel you have the support from the local government or legal protection. The basic environmental conditions do not often support steelmaking."

He also believes that many of the Chinese construction companies in Central Asia will be forced to import steel rather than have it produced locally.

"Steel production takes a long time to set up, and as a result, it might be they have to pay a high price for imported steel in order to have the necessary steel at hand."

In the meantime, he remains encouraged that Anhui will benefit from being a part of the Made in China 2025 strategy, which he believes could add impetus to the inland province.

"Certainly this will remain a good place to make steel. We have the Yangtze, good natural resources and transportation. Steel is in the very makeup of the people here."

Contact the writer at andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-02-25 15:03:14
<![CDATA[Shaping pottery can help you get into shape]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/16/content_35707926.htm Multi-activity park in Beijing is one of a growing number of establishments that are combining tourism with the pursuit of good health

Pottery of various shapes and sizes grabs your attention when you step into Sunrise Pottery Park.

Dogs play with one another on stone slabs set in pebbles, and chickens and ducks peck away at their food amid the lush grass and trees that surround the park.

Quan Guirui founded the park, in Qinglonghu town of southwestern Beijing, seven years ago.

"In those days it was little more than wasteland," Quan says.

The park has evolved into a pastoral getaway where you can let off steam and bring your body and mind back into balance.

It covers about 6,700 hectares and is tucked away in a vast forest.

In the park, visitors can go hiking, pick fruit, savor tea, read and make pottery.

Green vegetables have also been planted, offering healthy eating.

"We're trying to provide a healthy lifestyle that helps people stay in touch with nature and get a break from the fatigue of work," Quan says.

The park attracts about 5,000 visitors a year, most of whom go there through word-of-mouth recommendation, Quan says. Her customers range from government officials to corporate employees and Chinese and foreign students.

Quan is one of many businesspeople who have ridden the wave of the increasing popularity of health tourism on the mainland, spurred on by the health of the national economy. Last year, five national government bodies, including the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the National Tourism Administration and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, issued guidelines on how health tourism should be promoted.

The guidelines call for health tourism facilities with distinctive elements to be developed by 2020. The aim is for the government to support medical, health management and leisure facilities to develop health products. Policies in favor of health tourism information, insurance and infrastructure investment development will be in place.

Health tourism is not just about offering cures but also includes elements related to maintaining good health, says Yang Honghao, deputy director of the China Tourism Academy's tourism industry operation and enterprise development research organ.

"The industry is huge worldwide, and it is growing rapidly."

The value of the health tourism industry has grown by 9 percent a year on average since 2014 and was expected to be worth $740 billion (602.8 billion euros; £532.7 billion) in 2017, Yang says.

The booming domestic travel market and the demand for healthier lifestyles have given the domestic health tourism development a shot in the arm, he says.

In the first six months of last year, the mainland received 2.5 billion visits by travelers, up by 13.5 percent year-on-year, the National Tourism Administration says.

By 2020, China's tourism industry is forecast to be worth 7 trillion yuan ($1.08 trillion; 905.9 billion euros; £800.6 billion) a year, and health services worth 8 trillion yuan, says Zhang Jilin, head of the tourism administration's planning and finance division.

"There's great potential in the integrated development of health and tourism," Zhang said at the first Beijing International Health Tourism Expo in December.

It focused on creating a healthy tourism market that brings together academic research, research and development of products, the advertising and promotion of products and industrial partnerships.

It attracted more than 200 domestic and foreign exhibitors, including tourism and medical facilities, traditional Chinese medicine health tourism demonstration zones and health preservation and cosmetic medicine companies.

Guokaiyuan Wohu mountain villa, in the Changping district in north Beijing, has become popular with those seeking leisure and traditional Chinese medicine treatment.

Yanshan and Wohu mountains and Shisanling Reservoir are near the villa, which can now take 200 to 300 people a day in the peak period, says Zhang Zihao, an information official for the villa, who was at the expo.

"Most of the people who visit the villa are in poor shape, and they generally choose our traditional Chinese medicine massage and special healthy cooking."

The villa also offers TCM diagnosis and treatment, with guests usually staying for two or three days, at a cost of about 1,000 yuan.

Thirteen health tourism demonstration facilities now operate nationwide, including in Beidaihe in Hebei province, Jiuhuashan in Anhui province, Sanya in Hainan province and Guilin in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Some regions began combining health and tourism several years ago. Nanjing, in Jiangsu province, established an international TCM health and tourism program in 2015, with activities including TCM lectures and treatment and TCM tea drinking at the Nanjing National Medical Hall.

Guiping, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, opened the Xishanquan International Health Tourism and Cultural Complex, aimed at promoting health tourism, in November 2014. It covers about 50 hectares and has as its backdrop tranquil mountain and river scenery. There are also wetlands and hot springs, and activities include meditation sessions.

Zhuoda Daping International Tourism Resort in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, was first planned in 2014, with an area of 120 square kilometers. The aim was to take advantage of the Tianmenshan National Forest Park to offer a high-end retirement service, mountain sports and modern agricultural sightseeing experiences.

Quan, the Sunrise Pottery Park founder, says the health industry's bright prospects have convinced her that she made the right choice in opening the park. One of her plans is to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy doing farm work.

"We'd encourage them to plow, plant food, pull out weeds and apply fertilizer with us."

She looks forward to working with the local government to popularize pottery, she says.

"I would like to continue to bring health tourism and Chinese culture together," she says.

yangfeiyue@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-02-16 12:14:51
<![CDATA[A lifetime searching for cures]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/16/content_35707925.htm Veteran researcher from long line of TCM practitioners is devoted to finding treatments for malaria and cancer

Although he will be 82 years old this year, Li Guoqiao still works late into the nights on his lifelong quest to apply compounds derived from traditional Chinese medicine to treating malaria and cancer. He works so late that he says coffee is his favorite food.

"My father, my grandfather and my great-grandfather were TCM practitioners," says Li, chief professor at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. "TCM is based on thousands of years of experience and is effective against specific diseases. Malaria is the number one killer in infectious diseases, and cancer is number one in noncommunicable diseases. So I chose applying TCM to these two as my lifetime target.

 

Professor Li Guoqiao receives the Order of the Green Cross of the Comoros from Fouad Mohadji, vice-president of Comoros; Li's recent book (below right) on artemisinin. Photos Provided to China Daily

 

"I have seen many poor families die of malaria in Hainan and Yunnan, plus in Cambodia and the Comoros and throughout Africa. The disease takes the lives of young children. It tears families apart. I felt I must find the quickest and cheapest way to eliminate it," Li says.

In the late 1960s, Vietnam requested help from the Chinese government to fight malaria. In 1967, a research program called Project 523 tested many compounds and approaches based on TCM. Eventually, the team was able to isolate the active ingredient artemisinin from the sweet wormwood shrub, which traditionally has been used to treat malaria.

In the early stages of Project 523, artemisinin was shown to be effective in clearing the malaria parasite from laboratory rats. Li's major contribution was to show that artemisinin was highly effective in curing human malaria patients, especially those infected with strains of the malaria parasite that were resistant to previous front-line drugs. Artemisin quickly cleared the parasites from the blood of malaria patients - more rapidly than any other anti-malarial drug. A key factor is that it was able to pass the blood-brain barrier and cure patients infected with often-fatal cerebral malaria.

Li, who taught acupuncture at the university from 1961 to 1967, was initially assigned to examine whether acupuncture could be effective against malaria. After 1969, he even infected himself with malaria, but found that acupuncture was ineffective.

"I turned to doing research on cerebral malaria patients for four years and found some new ideas that were not even in the textbooks," he says.

"In October 1974, the director of the 523 project went to the county in Yunnan where I worked and handed the project of researching the clinical effects of artemisinin to my team. We quickly confirmed its effectiveness, after which I was engaged in the research of artemisinin for the treatment of cerebral malaria for years, and I was the first one to do clinical tests of it," Li says.

He recalls an especially memorable case from that time: "At 9 pm, I received a call from a hospital in Gengma county, a remote part of Yunnan province. The patient had cerebral malaria and had a stillbirth at noon. She had lost a lot of blood and could not be transfused. She had been given a dose of artemisinin, but was still near death. Maternal cerebral malaria has the highest fatality rate.

"A lab technician and I spent the night preparing blood serum and drugs. We caught a bus at 5 am and arrived at the foot of the mountain at 8 am. We hiked up the mountain and finally arrived at the hospital at 9 pm and continued the artemisinin treatment. The patient came out of the coma 50 hours later and was found to be negative for the malaria bacteria within 72 hours."

Traditional methods of dealing with malaria focus on mosquitoes - either trying to eliminate them or stopping them from biting people by using indoor spraying or distributing insecticide-infused sleeping nets.

Li has been a pioneer in applying an alternative approach called mass drug administration, which aims to eliminate the malaria parasite directly from the human population. The idea is to give artemisinin to all (or, as much as possible) of the population at one time - thus eliminating malaria within a target region. Since malaria is not carried by animals, eliminating it from humans can get rid of the disease. Artemisinin is usually administered in a compound with another anti-malaria drug, because malaria is unlikely to be resistant to both.

He first tried mass drug administration in South China's Hainan province. "From 1975 to 1980, I engaged in research on MDA in Hainan, as it is the hottest zone in China. We handed medicine to patients three times a year in order to control the morbidity. But the effect was not very good, because only 60 to 70 percent of the people took the treatment. A lot of the elderly and children did not know we were sending out medicine, so they would not line up for it. Plus, at that time, the side effects of the medicine were relatively strong."

Cambodia is the second place where Li and his team tested the mass administration of artemisin compound therapy. He found high rates of uncontrolled malaria in the Mekong region. "At that time, the traditional way to control malaria was by eradicating mosquitoes, but I thought the key was to eradicating the plasmodium that humans carried. In the hot areas, over half of the people carried the parasite, reaching 80 to 90 percent in some regions."

"In 2004, there was an epidemic outbreak of malaria in Cambodia, so they allowed me to do a test. At that time I tried a method to hire one person with a high school education as 'head warder' in every village. He registered all households, found out how many people were infected, then took the medicine house-to-house," Li says. In three years, the malaria rate fell by 95 percent. However, people brought in malaria from outside the target area, so the rate of infection rose again.

In 2006, Li and his team began a mass drug administration program in the island country of Comoros in East Africa. Li worked on the program there until 2008, when he had to return to China after having a stroke.

In a test case on the small Comoran island of Moheli, the cases of malaria fell by 94 percent within two months. Li also found that the malaria parasite had been greatly reduced both in humans and in mosquitoes: "The humans that carried the malaria parasite fell from 23 percent to 1 or 2 percent, and the portion of mosquitos carrying the parasite fell from 3 percent to nearly zero," Li says.

After applying mass drug administration of an artemisinin combination therapy to the Comoros' two other major islands, malaria cases fell from 103,000 - around one-eighth of the population - in 2010 to fewer than 2,000 cases in 2014. Deaths fell from 54 to zero, according to data from the Comoros Ministry of Health.

However, Li says his task is not finished. Without further work, malaria could come back.

"Studies in Cambodia and the Comoros show that (mass drug administration) is the only way to control malaria quickly, but it failed to eliminate malaria," Li says.

"The first important point I proved in the Comoros was that the number of plasmodium-carried mosquitoes reduced as the number of human plasmodium-carriers decreased. The second point is, even after the MDA, there are still five to eight malaria patients every month. Though the number is small, there is a risk that the malaria could come back," Li says.

So Li continues his lifelong work. He and the team at Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine are now working on a method, called PCR (polymerase chain reaction), that they have shown can effectively test for malaria using only one drop of blood.

"The cost of using PCR was $10 per person, which was too expensive for the local people. My team started to research our own reagent and succeeded. We reduced the cost from $10 to $1 a person, which makes PCR a popular, safe, fast and cheap way to check for malaria and ensure it does not come back" after mass drug administration, Li says.

Contact the writers through davidblair@chinadaily.com.cn.

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2018-02-16 12:14:51
<![CDATA[Encouraging words]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/15/content_35705632.htm With a program to make 5,000 UK teenagers fluent in Mandarin by 2020, students are learning the language, reports Wang Mingjie in London.

It is Wednesday evening and Sarah Evans' friends are enjoying a drink at a pub but the 25-year-old, who works for a hedge fund company in the City of London, does not join them because she is at her weekly Mandarin class.

"I think to be able to speak Mandarin fluently is very important to me as it can undoubtedly give me an edge at my job," said Evans, who is already able to make good conversation in Chinese.

 

Pupils taking part in the Mandarin Excellence Program participate in a classroom activity at UCL Institute of Education in London on July 14. Photos Provided to China Daily

Her story is one example of the growing interest in Britain in learning Mandarin. As relations between China and the United Kingdom have improved during the last 45 years, learning Mandarin has become increasingly popular.

According to the British Council, the number of people taking Mandarin exams at the General Certificate of Secondary Education level increased by 92 percent over the past five years to 4,044 students in 2016.

There are about 130,000 British students of all age groups studying Mandarin at the moment, according to figures from the Chinese embassy.

Wang Yongli, minister counselor for education at the Chinese embassy in London, said Mandarin was of little interest to British people decades ago, but the expansion of the Confucius Institutes and the smaller Confucius Classrooms, with support from local governments and universities, has played an important role in the rise of Mandarin in the country.

"They are seen as centers of excellence to provide great support to teachers and schools in Mandarin teaching through a wide network. To date, there are 29 Confucius Institutes and 135 Confucius Classrooms in the UK," Wang said.

His view was echoed by the UK's Minister of State for School Standards, Nick Gibb, who believes that a high level of fluency in Mandarin will become increasingly important in the competitive global economy.

"As part of our drive to extend opportunity, we want to give young people the opportunity to study the language and to acquire fluency in both spoken and written Mandarin," Gibb said.

In 2016, the British government launched its 10-million-pound ($13 million) Mandarin Excellence Program, which aims to get 5,000 students on the way to fluency in the language by 2020.

The program is being run by UCL's Institute of Education and the British Council. On average, the students study Mandarin for eight hours a week.

Progress test results in October indicated that the first cohort of almost 400 pupils from 14 schools across England are excelling when it comes to learning Mandarin Chinese. The majority of pupils achieved marks of 80 percent or higher across specially created tests in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Katharine Carruthers, director of the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute, said: "This program provides a real boost and unique opportunity for more motivated pupils to be on track toward fluency in Mandarin, and intensive learning is an important part of that. All of the pupils who attended this innovative teaching day are clearly benefiting from being part of the program."

Chijioke Davies, 12, from Dartford Grammar School in Kent, joined the program because he wanted to have a bigger challenge than regular Chinese lessons.

"The best thing about being part of the (program) is that I have something to be proud of and I can say that I am good at a language," he said, adding "if anyone is thinking about joining the program, I would say that they should join because it is an amazing experience."

Speaking about her experience of the program, 12-year-old Carla Turbides from the Anglo European School said: "The best thing about the Mandarin Excellence Program is learning about another language and culture, and doing it together with your friends. It's a great program that offers amazing opportunities for the future."

In 2013, the British Council introduced its Generation UK campaign, which aims to increase the number of British students and interns with placements in China to 80,000 by 2020.

Carma Elliot, director of the British Council in China, said there are now some 7,500 young British people gaining experience in China. This number has grown by around 40 percent in the last three years.

British students' ambition to excel in Mandarin follows strong interest among Chinese students to learn English, which began in the late 1970s. As a result, China now boasts the largest English-learning population in the world, with an estimated 200 million students. In China, most students take their first English lesson during the first or third year of primary school.

While there has been a surge in the number of Britons learning Mandarin, the number of Chinese students studying at British universities has also continued to rise during the past four decades, making Britain the most popular destination in the European Union.

More than 90,000 Chinese students were enrolled at UK colleges and universities in 201516, which was up 94 percent on the number from a decade ago (46,960).

Contact the writer at wangmingjie@mail.chinadailyuk.com

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2018-02-15 08:24:13
<![CDATA[It's a rap: Teacher finds method in music]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/15/content_35705631.htm

Mandarin can be a massive challenge for people trying to pick it up as a second language, but a London teacher has introduced a novel way to teach it - by rapping in Chinese to make classes memorable and fun.

Adam Moorman, a teacher at Fortismere School in North London, said rapping makes things easy to remember, and Chinese has a good rhythm, so it is natural to combine them.

"As Chinese words are monosyllabic, and there's a very limited number of sounds in Chinese, many words rhyme with each other. If you discount tones, there are about 400 sounds in Chinese, compared with more than 10,000 in English, so it's easier to come up with rhymes in Chinese than in English," he said.

Moorman first got his class to rap in Mandarin as a way to prepare students for their speaking exams. He said rap made it easier to memorize longer pieces of text. Writing and performing rap gives students motivation to find new ideas, learn new words and express their meaning. Rapping requires students to be creative and independent, all of which helps fluency.

Tamzin Sherzad, a sixth-form student at Fortismere, likes the new way of learning.

"Through the process of creating rap lyrics, I have familiarized myself with so many new, popular phrases and I feel that I have really extended my vocabulary of the modern language Chinese young people use," she said.

As a result, Sherzad feels more confident chatting with her Chinese friends and feels better prepared and excited about her gap year in China.

Moorman said that introducing rap to sixth-form students improves their fluency "by combining rhythm, rhymes and repetition in an enjoyable and memorable way that shifts the focus from painstaking book-based learning, but achieves the rewards of independent research, drafting and practicing".

Keisha Asare, another student who has studied Mandarin for five years, said: "In order to write the rap I had to learn and search for new vocabulary that I otherwise would not have known. The raps are also very catchy and this makes it easier to remember the new phrases and vocabulary that I learned."

Asare believes rapping and listening to raps in Mandarin can benefit students who are learning Mandarin, "because whilst creating the raps, students can expand their vocabulary and better their tone as I did".

So far, Moorman has been able to compile an album of 12 original tracks, all featuring raps on varied topics such as healthy lifestyle, social media and the environment.

With the funding he recently won from the London Teacher Innovation Fund, which is financed by the Mayor of London and run by education charity Shine, Moorman launched the Mandarin Rap Podcast to help students learn Chinese with rap.

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2018-02-15 08:24:13
<![CDATA[Children make early start on China classes as schools launch lessons]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/15/content_35705630.htm In a bright new classroom on the second floor of a West London building, Christie counts to 10 confidently and then identifies parts of the body when prompted by her teacher.

Not bad for a 3-year-old, but Christie is carrying out the tasks in Mandarin rather than English.

She didn't speak a word of Chinese until eight weeks ago, when her parents enrolled her at Kensington Wade in London, the first prep school in the United Kingdom to offer English and Chinese education to pupils aged 3 to 11.

Jo Wallace, the headmistress, said she hopes her students will be able to live and work comfortably with Chinese people.

"What we aim to give our students is not only just a bilingual brain but also the ability to speak Chinese and understand Chinese culture," she said.

The school opened in September, with 16 pupils, half of whom are from families from the UK, the United States, Russia, South America and elsewhere in Europe. Half of the class comprises children with some kind of Chinese background.

"The common factor with all these families is that most of them are international and have an international understanding about China," Wallace said. "Most of them speak two languages and they know the importance of being bilingual and how great it is."

The school charges fees of 17,000 pounds ($22,435) a year and aims to blend the rigor and efficiency of the Chinese teaching style with the creativity and imagination of the British system. Pupils move between an English and a Mandarin classroom throughout the day.

Kensington Wade was the brainchild of Hugo de Burgh, a Chinese media specialist, who named the school after Sir Thomas Wade, a 19th century diplomat who wrote the first Chinese-English textbook, which was published in the 1860s.

De Burgh said: "The desire to open a school of this kind has been founded on the belief that future generations of British opinion formers and decision-makers will benefit greatly from learning Chinese at an early age."

He said being able to speak the language will give them an edge because China has become influential.

"China now is the biggest trading partner for 124 countries, while the United States is the biggest trading partner for 58 countries, and parents see the growing influence of China economically and culturally," he said.

Michael Pritchett, the father of 3-year-old Kasper, said being bilingual expands the learning capacity of the brain and studying Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world, could open up all sorts of possibilities for further cultural study, secondary school and university.

Pritchett said he was delighted when his son started talking to a waitress in Chinatown in Chinese, and he likes to hear his son singing in Chinese while playing with toys.

"The immersion thing is obviously kept up at home," he said.

The Pritchett family chose Kensington Wade so their son could learn a second language but Stephanie Tsang, another parent, decided to send her son Harry to the school because of his Chinese roots.

Tsang's family just moved back to London from Beijing, and she said that, while China is perceived as the future by many people, she also wants it to be the present.

"We want to have it as a now thing, because I want him to understand Chinese, and be able to talk to his grandma and grandpa," she said.

'Confident and capable'

For parents who want their children to learn Mandarin even earlier, there is Hatching Dragons, the UK's first Chinese-English nursery school in central London. Its founder, Cennydd John, set up the nursery because he wanted his son to learn the language.

John said he hopes to get children to break down prejudices and understand that there is much more that joins them than divides them. He read modern Chinese studies at the University of Edinburgh and went on to work as a China consultant.

"I want to help children be globally confident and capable in a changing world," he said, "We cannot deny the fact that there are 1.37 billion people in China who will be globally integrating in some way."

John's concept seems to be working. This year, he launched a second nursery, in Southwest London's Twickenham, two years after the Barbican branch opened. He is planning to open a third, in Westminster, next year.

The interest in learning Mandarin in the UK aligns with UK government policy. In 2015, the government launched its 10-million-pound Mandarin Excellence Program, which aims to get 5,000 students on the way to fluency in the language by 2020.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State for School Standards, said: "A high level of fluency in Mandarin will become increasingly important in our globally competitive economy."

 

Staff help children with their artwork at Hatching Dragons, the UK's first Chinese-English nursery school.

 

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2018-02-15 08:24:13
<![CDATA[When comedy is no laughing matter]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/11/content_35685726.htm Xi Jiangyue has one of the hardest jobs of the evening. As show host, he has to break the ice with what may be a demanding audience, getting them into the right mood for the comedians who will appear later. After the pleasantries come the inevitable gags.

"I went to this barber once. He said to me, 'Giving you a trim is exhausting work. It's like mowing grass in the desert. I run all over the place, but anywhere I look I can't find a single patch of growth. I'm having a hell of a hard job.'"

As the laughter dies down, a shallow smile settles on bald Xi's face, and from the front row you can almost hear his eyes shouting out that he really is not enjoying this.

"I don't want to do stand-up comedy myself and I don't want to try other forms of comedy," Xi, a well-known comedian and founder of Beijing Talk Show Club, the biggest stand-up comedy club in Beijing, says later.

"For me, comedy has become a bore, which is why I now only host shows.

"A lot of money has poured into stand-up comedy in the past few years, and now comedians don't think the way they used to. In fact, the best performers seem to have disappeared."

Xi sees 2013 as having been a watershed year, one in which comedians dazzled the Chinese performing world with their brand-new content and completely different style.

Like these new arrivals, Xi saw bright lights on the horizon. After graduating from a university in Gansu province, he started businesses in the wholesaling, decorating and logistics industries.

One after another, his companies went bankrupt, and he eventually decided to do something completely different. Since his days as a high school student he had been an admirer of stand-up comedy and, in 2010, he traveled to Beijing, aiming to pour his enthusiasm into a new enterprise.

He and a partner founded the club, which would eventually have 30 writers and nine performers and organize more than 1,000 gigs, sometimes as many as five a week, over seven years.

"I'll engage all kinds of comics, polite or rude, decent or obscene, as long as they can make people laugh," Xi says. "One of the club's principles is originality. Comics aren't allowed to lift stuff from the internet."

However, from a commercial perspective, coming up with new material can be problematic, he says.

"There are some people in an audience who don't like new jokes because there's little resonance, and they just don't work. At times we comedians have become a bunch of oddballs, rabbiting on about inconsequential guff that nobody really cares about."

As if Xi thinks you have not cottoned on to the fact that he is disillusioned, he then gripes about how Chinese stand-up comedy has become distorted in the way it has grown, because money has become more important than performances and many in the industry have become greedy.

"The industry really has not come of age. I have not seen one Chinese performer who has hit the mark."

Chinese stand-up comedians lag behind their foreign competitors by at least 10 years, he says.

"Our performers are tied up making money rather than honing their craft, let alone creating new jokes."

Xi also attributes the poverty of Chinese stand-up comedy to culture, saying that in a country in which the collective spirit prevails, it is difficult for a one-person show to prosper.

He cites the roast, a form of stand-up comedy, as an example.

"The roast, as a forum for critiquing and poking fun at people, does not sit well in China because our culture is that of the gentleman rather than the critic."

Then, as if to convince you that he really is not having fun, Xi says: "Stand-up comedy in China is meaningless. It's just something to help people relax."

Xi's often somber view of his industry contrasts sharply with the bouncy optimism of one of his rivals, the highly successful comedian Shi Laoban, with whom he often crosses paths as they peddle their wares.

"I'm really upbeat," Shi says.

"I reckon this business will soon be turning a good profit."

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2018-02-11 14:40:26
<![CDATA[The secret life of a shadow in the spotlight]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/11/content_35685725.htm Quiet, introverted and timid in front of strangers, twice a week she decides to hop out of her cozy cocoon - and the person who emerges, commanding center stage, is a performer named Xiao Wu, a rare woman in the tough world of Beijing stand-up comedy.

"I don't force people to understand this part-time job," Xiao says. "I just want to do what I like and keep it low-key."

Xiao, 27, who holds down a 9-to-5 job as an accountant for a university, is a graduate of the Central University of Finance and Economics, China's leading university of finance and economics. Several years ago, she took up the university post, a job offering an urban Beijing hukou (household registration certificate), a good salary and loose schedule.

"You may well discover that in your job you are not realizing your true potential," Xiao says, adding that she has long yearned for something more meaningful than a desk job.

"It may end up being a lot different from what you imagined when you graduated from school."

She reckons she is more humorous than her peers, whom she always makes laugh.

So she decided to get serious with her humor, and her first plan was to be a gag writer.

"When the Chinese sketch comedy series Diors Man went viral, I thought it would be cool to write jokes for a comedy like that," she says.

However, a campus comedy tour changed her mind.

"Like most Chinese people, I confused stand-up comedy with talk shows and I went to see the show." There were 14 stand-up comedians, including Dashan, China's most Mandarin-fluent foreigner. The show was such a success that she decided to try doing a routine herself, signing up for an open mic event in early 2015.

After a week of preparation, her five-minute debut was an utter flop, met with a deafening silence from the audience - but she decided to press on.

"I gave myself 10 tries, which was a lot," she says.

She honed the material, and her second performance was better. Some people actually laughed. By the third, almost every gag worked and she then received an invitation to perform from Beijing Talk Show Club.

Since then she has done more than 100 commercial shows at various venues, including bars, pubs and colleges. There is usually an audience of 50 to 70 people who come and listen to her observations on life.

"I'm after meaningful lines. Laughing is a physical reaction, but I hope those in the audience laugh out loud in a heartfelt way."

As one of the few women in the Beijing comedy lineup, she now has three years' experience of performing, but her quiet reserve means that her onstage antics are unknown to many of those closest to her.

"Few of my friends know I'm a comedian and, in fact, even my parents don't know."

She jealously guards her privacy, requesting that for this article only her stage name be used, and she asks show hosts not to reveal the identity of her employer, for fear that someone from the university will be in the audience and her secret will be exposed.

"In her, quietness and humor walk side-by-side," says Xi Jiangyue, founder of Beijing Talk Show Club. "That's her edge. She cracks great jokes and calmly waits for the reaction."

Xiao herself believes that her reserved nature may be a powerful ingredient that contributes to her success.

"Perhaps timidity enables me to observe life more deeply," she says.

However, as with most live performers in any genre, nervousness is a constant in her routine.

"I've performed more than 100 times and I still get nervous at times," she says.

An audience member once complimented her on her smooth delivery and the power of her jokes, "but you are just too nervous", he said.

"Making an audience laugh is not like doing sports," Xiao says. "It isn't relaxing; it's challenging."

Asked if she would like to be a full-time comedian - and paid quite a bit more - she replies that she definitely would. The earnings from each gig she does now are modest, between 200 yuan and 300 yuan (about $38), and Xiao has her feet firmly on the ground, saying she never dreams of fame and fortune.

"I am happy doing what I am interested in, and that's enough."

For the moment, comedy "just makes life a little more precious".

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2018-02-11 14:40:26
<![CDATA[Summit centers on university cooperation with urban growth]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/09/content_35677151.htm Research universities are playing a more important role in sharpening cities' competitiveness and serving their industrial development, leading educators agreed in a summit in Shenzhen.

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Chen Shiyi (far right), president of Southern University of Science and Technology, also known as SUSTech, hosts a discussion session at the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2018 held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province from Monday to Wednesday. Photos provided to China Daily

SUSTech, Times Higher Education co-host influential education gathering, Chen Hong reports.

Research universities are playing a more important role in sharpening cities' competitiveness and serving their industrial development, leading educators agreed in a summit in Shenzhen.

"Cities and universities both prosper through greater interconnectivity and mobility," said Chen Shiyi, president of Southern University of Science and Technology, also known as SUSTech.

He was speaking at the opening of the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2018 on Tuesday.

The summit, which among other things announced the results of the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2018, ran from Feb 5-7 in Shenzhen.

"Collaboratively, they construct the trajectory of a learning society and knowledge economy, and tackle the challenges faced by the world," Chen said.

Some 400 participants from 29 countries and regions attended the summit to discuss, debate and discover how Asian research universities are transforming the future, including 25 renowned university presidents from China and abroad delivering speeches. They convened to seek solutions for building regional alliances, working with local businesses and facilitating entrepreneurship.

The summit was hosted by SUSTech and Times Higher Education or THE - the pre-eminent London-based magazine, formerly known as The Times Higher Education Supplement, that covers news and issues related to higher education.

THE provides one of the world's most influential and respected university rankings.

The summit's guiding theme was "connecting cities, changing the world: research universities building Asia".

University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft said the event was a landmark, as it was the first time that it took place in a Chinese mainland city. "It's very important for universities to work together to make life better for people all around the world, as well as for us, and to provide a better-educated workforce for companies and industry," she said.

Shenzhen, the southern Chinese host city of the summit, is a "big and terrific city with a lot of industries", Genshaft noted.

"They look to the universities for knowledge, for solutions, for a workforce and for new discoveries," she said.

Serving the city

University campuses can be experimental and transformational places that address major issues facing local governments, with the application of new technologies, according to some of the speakers.

President of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, Subra Suresh, said the latest technologies - including artificial intelligence, data analysis and sensors - have been used on its campuses for improving the city-state's efficiency and environment.

He said many of his university's campuses have adopted new materials in their buildings and new energy-saving measures for the exploration of the properties of green buildings.

As a result, the campuses have been turned "smart" to help Singapore get "smarter", he added.

University of Macao Rector Song Yonghua said the university was collaborating with the government in smart energy, smart transportation and smart tourism.

The Macao Special Administrative Region government is also seeking solutions from the university to diversify its commercial base - which currently relies heavily on entertainment, gaming and gambling - according to Song, a world-renowned scholar in electrical engineering who assumed the office of rector in early January.

Chinese University of Hong Kong President Rocky S. Tuan said universities in big cities should provide a timely response to the needs of local residents.

"Government and universities should work together to address the fundamental problems of the city, such as the aging problem," Tuan said.

They can also work together on the "smart society", including smart mobility, smart environment, smart economy and smart buildings, low-carbon transportation, climate change, medical services and innovation, he said.

The government must have farsighted policies on educational development, while universities should develop their own workforce, rather than depend on recruiting professionals from other regions, and nurture their own culture, he noted.

Government support

Wang Weizhong, Party chief of Shenzhen, said the technology-driven city has always given priority to developing education and an excellent workforce.

"We have brought in a great number of educators, famous professors and academic leaders with international experience over the years, who contributed to building top-ranking universities and disciplines for the city," Wang said.

Shenzhen generated 2.24 trillion yuan ($357.5 billion) in GDP last year, ranking it third biggest among Chinese mainland cities, of which 4.13 percent went into research and development, according to official figures.

"We will develop more positive, more open and more efficient recruitment policies to attract talent around the world," Wang said. "We also invite famous universities across the globe to set up a presence in Shenzhen."

Wang praised the progress made by SUSTech, an experimental university launched in 2010. "From its establishment, it aimed to be a world top-ranking research university. It has provided a successful model for fast growth for local universities."

SUSTech President Chen said the resources provided by the city fed the engine that in turn propelled the growth of the university.

"The relationship between higher education and the city's development is a critical issue, especially at a time when China has demonstrated strong economic performance," Chen said.

"I firmly believe that economic development can better support educational development, while advances in higher education can serve as the engine to drive the local economy."

Contact the writer at chenhong@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-02-09 08:52:27
<![CDATA[Chinese institutions' grades up in regional academic rankings]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/09/content_35677150.htm

Chinese mainland universities have benefited from the government's consistent funding programs to improve their performance in world rankings.

On the full list of the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2018, announced on Wednesday, Chinese universities have taken up five spots of the top 10 universities in Asia category.

Of the 350 universities from 25 countries and regions in Asia covered in the rankings, Chinese mainland universities accounted for nearly one-fifth of the total, second only to Japan.

Tsinghua University has moved one place up from last year to become the runner-up in the rankings, just behind the National University of Singapore, with Peking University taking third place.

The University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology rank fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong, which was not included in the top 10 in 2017, jumped four spots to occupy seventh place this year.

"The Chinese mainland has seen wonderful success based on the commitment of government funding and investment in universities," said Phil Baty, editorial director of Times Higher Education.

"Two decades of investment and funding have been essential.

"But we have also seen a commitment to reform. We have seen a brilliant campaign to attract Chinese scholars back to China, with their expertise and experience building wonderful laboratories, building great research teams."

Greater international collaboration will take China to the next level, said Baty, adding that if Chinese universities could improve their international collaboration and international links, it would lead to a rise in the quality of their performance.

The results are based on 13 separate performance indicators, covering research excellence, teaching excellence, international activity and industrial relations.

The other four universities in the top 10 list this year are Nanyang Technological University in Singapore which came sixth; the University of Tokyo in Japan, eighth; Seoul National University, ninth; and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, 10th.

The rankings were released in Shenzhen on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2018, held at the Southern University of Science and Technology, also known as SUSTech.

Baty praised Shenzhen for its efforts in improving higher-level education. The Chinese southern coastal city is an emerging as a phenomenal global hub for talent and innovation, he said.

"One of the great strengths of Shenzhen, I believe, is its commitment to technological and business innovation, for the universities are very closely integrated with industry.

"We are seeing Shenzhen becoming a knowledge hub. In combination with Hong Kong, where we have six very highly ranked universities, and the wider Pearl River Delta area, Shenzhen is becoming the heart of a really emerging global innovation hub," Baty said.

SUSTech, which is located in Shenzhen, is "a very rapidly emerging powerhouse". Though the university is young, its research output is improving rapidly, he added.

The university is not included in this year's Asia university rankings.

Baty predicted that once the university enters the rankings, it will be placed "at a very high position, maybe in the top 30 of Asia".

With a more internationalized environment, heavy investment from the local region and a high degree of autonomy, SUSTech has great potential and will be a rising star in the rankings, he said.

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2018-02-09 08:52:27
<![CDATA[Grand alliance forged to advance Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area cause]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/09/content_35677149.htm Top universities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have forged an alliance to advance regional integration and innovation while providing intelligence to the emerging bay area.

The alliance includes three universities: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Macao and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.

"We are happy to be a part of the alliance, at a time when the development of the bay area has been included in a national strategy," said CUHK President Rocky S. Tuan.

He made his remarks while attending the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2018 in Shenzhen, also in Guangdong province, on Tuesday.

"We look forward to contributing our experience in bringing China and Western countries closer in the future," Tuan said.

The universities and the industries in the bay area should sit down and discuss the most critical issues that the area faces, and find solutions, the president said.

For example, Tuan said he found that Shenzhen, which is one of China's top innovation hubs, has a weakness in the medical sector, which universities could work with businesses to improve.

The Guangdong-HK-Macao Greater Bay Area, located in southern China, is ultimately designed to compete with the world's most advanced bay areas, such as the New York Bay Area and the Tokyo Bay Area.

Currently, its area has a combined population of about 66 million and its GDP amounted to about $1.5 trillion in 2017, or nearly two-thirds that of the Tokyo Bay Area.

Song Yonghua, rector of UM, said the alliance could deepen regional integration, which would be helpful for the internationalization of the region.

University of Washington President Anna Mari Cauce said in her speech to the summit that a country's business centers and its developed bay areas - like the Shenzhen, Shanghai, Boston and San Francisco bay areas - needed at least one research university or university alliance to spur economic development.

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2018-02-09 08:52:27
<![CDATA[Jaguar Land Rover grips Chinese market]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/01/content_35626853.htm

 

Ralf Speth (left), CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, Pan Qing (second from right), executive director of Jaguar Land Rover China and Chen Anning (right), chairman of the board of Chery Jaguar Land Rover, pose for a photo at the 2017 Shanghai Auto Show.

British premium automaker is driving to success in China, thanks in part to local focus

Q&A

As the world's largest car market, China is a magnet for international automotive brands. Yet in terms of localization, few of them have been as thorough as British premium automaker Jaguar Land Rover.

Since its arrival in 2010, Jaguar Land Rover has developed rapidly through its in-depth understanding of China and efforts to cater to local demands. Sales have grown six-fold since its establishment with sales in 2017 reaching record highs.

One of the most important driving forces of its rapid development has been localization. Its 10.9 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) joint venture with China's Chery Automotive has led to a manufacturing facility in Changshu that is already producing four Jaguar and Land Rover models; and an advanced Ingenium engine plant, Jaguar Land Rover's only overseas engine plant.

China Daily interviewed Jaguar Land Rover CEO, Ralf Speth, to discuss the automaker's success in China and its vision for the future:

Jaguar Land Rover has been successful in China in the past years, with its sales hitting a record of 146,399 units in 2017, what do you think are the most important factors that underlie the company's success story in China?

Our success in China cannot be attributed to just one factor.

Over the last 10 years, we have invested in China, creating a manufacturing plant, building our retailer network and bringing more exciting vehicles tailored to our Chinese customers.

With the premium automotive segment growing in China, Jaguar Land Rover plans to introduce more models, giving our customers more choice.

Our joint venture partnership with Chery has been a key factor in building our business.

We have one of the fastest growing automotive joint ventures in China.

Since the launch of production less than three years ago, we have introduced four new models to the plant in Changshu and later this year, we will add the Jaguar E-PACE to the production plant.

In addition, our ambitious plans saw the expansion of the factory to include China's first all-aluminum body shop and our first overseas engine manufacturing center.

More broadly, we have launched products customized to the needs of the Chinese customer, and continued to improve our product portfolio.

In 2017, we launched the New Discovery, Range Rover Velar, Jaguar XEL, Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV.

In 2018, we will introduce more products to our extensive portfolio, like the Jaguar E-PACE and our first electric vehicle the Jaguar I-PACE, and give customers even greater choice.

China is an exciting country for Jaguar Land Rover, and our success here is only possible as a result of the hard work of our entire team - from employees to retailers and partners.

China has been Jaguar Land Rover's largest market. Besides a major driving force of its sales growth, what role do you expect China to play in Jaguar Land Rover's future development?

China is important for Jaguar Land Rover and, as our largest single market, has a vital role to play in our future business strategy.

We have a long-term commitment to the Chinese market and will continue to provide customers with an exciting range of vehicles and powertrain options.

Electrification is a hot topic in China and worldwide. Could you please share with us Jaguar Land Rover's plan in this aspect?

We are working towards a cleaner future and from 2020, all new carlines will have the option of electrification, giving customers even more choices.

We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale later this year in China.

We will deliver technologies that are relevant, accessible and affordable in a Jaguar Land Rover way, because the desire to drive fun, sporty, capable cars won't diminish in the years to come.

We will continue our efforts to improve emissions and fuel economy by increased use of light-weighting technologies, vehicle energy conservation and engine downsizing.

First Chinese board member

The carmaker made history when it appointed Pan Qing to its global board of management, as executive director of China operations and also board member of the brand's joint venture, Chery Jaguar Land Rover.

This is the first time that a Chinese mainland-born national has sat on the board of an international automaker.

In the forthcoming new age of mobility, Pan believes that China will play an important role and continue to be a driving force of global growth.

Following Pan's China strategy, the country will become a comprehensive source of resources for Jaguar Land Rover Global, covering production, research and development, innovation, procurement and talent cultivation.

Pan said, "The China market is full of innovation and possibilities, and continues to be an engine of world growth. Jaguar Land Rover is benefiting from this growth and I am confident that China can maintain its position as the leading single-country market."

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2018-02-01 07:17:05
<![CDATA[All JLR models to have electric engine options by 2020]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/01/content_35626852.htm

British premium automaker, Jaguar Land Rover, has been inspired by the rapid growth of the new energy sector. It is capitalizing on opportunities in this market by evolving into a technology company, with a clear roadmap for new energy vehicle development, and is committed to a more beautiful, cleaner and high-tech future.

Having already deployed its new energy strategies with the introduction of the Range Rover PHEV and Range Rover Sport PHEV, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth has outlined the automaker's new energy strategy: "We are working towards a cleaner future and from 2020, all new carlines will have the option of electrification, giving customers even more choice.

"We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles. Our first fully electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-PACE, goes on sale later this year in China."

As the industry enters a new age of future mobility, Jaguar Land Rover's venture capital arm, InMotion Ventures, completed investments in 12 technology startups, including Lyft, fostering technology development in mobility services, data analytics, travel, lifestyle, fintech and insurtech. The automaker says that these new collaborations are part of Jaguar Land Rover's sustainable global development.

"We will deliver technologies that are relevant, accessible and affordable in a Jaguar Land Rover way, because the desire to drive fun, sporty, capable cars won't diminish in the years to come," Speth said.

In the future, the automaker says it is aiming for zero emissions, zero accidents and zero waste. They have also launched their autonomous driving FUTURE-TYPE concept model, housing its first concept steering wheel, Sayer, focusing on trends after 2040.

As the automotive industry advances and new competitors join, Pan Qing, executive director of Jaguar Land Rover China, believes that China's consumers will push the automaker's innovative development and global standing.

Compared to global consumers, Pan believes that Chinese consumers are younger, more technology-savvy and ready for the most advanced and future-oriented products.

Pan said, "We stand on the edge of the mobility revolution, where China will continue to be a driving force in the global auto market. The impact of the changes we are about to face will be huge across all sectors of our economy and every section of society. The opportunities are great, and Jaguar and Land Rover are ready."

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2018-02-01 07:17:05
<![CDATA[UK carmaker gives back in corporate responsibility drive]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-02/01/content_35626851.htm

There has been a public outpour of donations since the story of "Snowflake Boy" came to light. The story has also drawn attention to those living in poor conditions and the suffering of left-behind children.

Jaguar Land Rover is no stranger to the impact of these poor living conditions and for the past three years, they have done what they can to support those in need. This year's "Warming Winter Action 2018" program is one in a long history of programs organized by Jaguar Land Rover to give back to the community and help those in need.

Jaguar Land Rover employees have personally stepped up to help and donate to the program which closes the gap between left-behind children and their parents.

Pan Qing, executive director of Jaguar Land Rover said: "We aren't just concerned with understanding the market, we are dedicated to understanding the needs of our community. We wholeheartedly believe that it is our duty to give back to these communities and support China's next generations."

As part of these community efforts, the British automaker joined hands with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation back in 2014 to establish the Jaguar Land Rover China Children & Youth Dream Fund to support the development of young people.

In three years, the fund has invested 50 million yuan ($7.9 million), benefitting more than 250,000 people in Phase I. Dream Fund programs are aligned with China's national strategies, and have been recognized by local government partners; received widespread coverage from media outlets, and have been honored with several awards.

Looking forward to the future Phase II of the Dream Fund, Jaguar Land Rover aims to leverage its corporate resources as a British company, and collaborate with even more partners to develop improved programs and increase the beneficial impact of these widely-acclaimed initiatives.

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2018-02-01 07:17:05
<![CDATA[Chery Jaguar Land Rover in world's biggest car market zooms into fast lane]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/31/content_35620486.htm Established in 2012, Chery Jaguar Land Rover is among the newest auto joint ventures in China - yet it is also one of the fastest-growing ones in the world's biggest car market.

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Chery Jaguar Land Rover celebrates its fi fth anniversary in November 2017. The joint venture is poised to “team up with excellence” in the following fi ve years. Photos provided to China Daily

China-made models boast top quality, British refinement and ensure an extreme driving experience, Li Fusheng reports.

Established in 2012, Chery Jaguar Land Rover is among the newest auto joint ventures in China - yet it is also one of the fastest-growing ones in the world's biggest car market.

"As the first Sino-British premium automotive joint venture, we are working to provide the Chinese market with world-class products with a unique British lineage," said Murray Dietsch, president of the joint venture between China's Chery Automotive and British iconic brand Jaguar Land Rover.

"Over the past five years, we have been striving for excellence through the latest technologies and products," he said.

One important criterion for evaluating a joint venture is how well its products have been received in the market.

Chery Jaguar Land Rover, manufacturing and selling cars under two brands, has earned a well-regarded reputation for both Jaguar and Land Rover cars.

It has localized four models - the Range Rover Evoque, Land Rover Discovery Sport, Jaguar XFL and Jaguar XEL - and 180,000 cars had rolled off its production lines by the end of 2017.

"Based on our strict quality control standards, all four models have become the quality benchmark in the Jaguar Land Rover system," Dietsch said.

The joint venture sold a record number of 83,888 vehicles last year, a 35.2 percent rise year-on-year, accounting for almost 60 percent of Jaguar Land Rover's total annual sales in China.

The core competence lies in its globally standardized manufacturing capabilities, outstanding purchasing and logistics - as well as dedicated local research and development, and excellent talent strategy, according to the company.

Its more than 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) manufacturing plant was finished in just 22 months of the joint venture's establishment, a pace unrivalled in China's automotive industry.

The plant is the first of Jaguar Land Rover's car manufacturing facilities outside the United Kingdom. Equipped with world-class, full-scale production facilities and technologies, it is also one of Jaguar Land Rover's most advanced and efficient manufacturing sites in the world.

Abiding by "One Jaguar Land Rover, One Standard", the China-made models boast world-class quality, reflect genuine British refinement and ensure an extreme driving experience, the carmaker said.

Through its build-to-order system, the plant can handle up to 300,000 optional configurations, better meeting Chinese customers' growing demand for customization.

The carmaker said it has taken the lead in applying the "industrial internet" to realize the creation of a smart and excellent operation system.

"By implementing a full set of world-leading IT solutions, an SAP (Systems Applications and Products) system has been built covering R&D, manufacturing, logistics, finance, purchasing, sales and after sales, setting a best SAP practice record in China," said Chris Chen, deputy president of Chery Jaguar Land Rover.

The Changshu plant has also introduced Jaguar Land Rover's world-leading aluminum technology and China's first purpose-built aluminum body shop.

Featuring 340 robots, the shop produces aluminum bodies for the two Jaguar models. Using aluminum enables faster acceleration, more accurate control, shorter braking distance and better fuel efficiency, said the joint venture.

The site is also home to Jaguar Land Rover's only engine plant outside the UK. Unveiled in July, it produces Ingenium 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines for localized models.

The facility set another record when the engine plant started production within 32 months of vehicle production on the same site.

Besides its manufacturing capabilities, Chery Jaguar Land Rover has complete R&D, purchasing, quality control, sales and after-sales systems.

The R&D center is responsible for developing conventional cars, improving emissions and engines, as well as new energy car development.

The joint venture has built a globalized purchase system, so guaranteeing a pipeline of world-class products.

It has a globalized logistics system as well, which enables Chery Jaguar Land Rover to coordinate components from the UK and Europe as a whole, but also leverage local supplies in China.

For China, for the world

Close observation of China's premium car market has enabled Chery Jaguar Land Rover to introduce a series of state-of-the-art products that Chinese customers feel most excited about.

"The ever-growing sales verify our accurate insights and understanding about the China market," Chen said.

The joint venture has not just introduced products and technologies from the UK, but also imported its recruiting strategy.

The company sends technicians in key positions to the UK for training, and uses a modern staff development system based on the UK's apprentice system for today's market.

Such a system helps train local automotive professionals, from both the management and technical fields, to support healthy growth of the company and for the industry as a whole.

These talent strategies, along with financial, cultural and professional measures designed to best retain and encourage experts and specialists, helped Chery Jaguar Land Rover bring home again the accolade of "Best Employer in China" in 2017.

"Chery Jaguar Land Rover is not a joint venture in the traditional sense," Chen said.

"Besides making investment, we join hands in its operations - we discuss, we negotiate and we explore its future hand-in-hand."

The start of 2018 marks the beginning of the second Chery Jaguar Land Rover five-year plan in China and the joint venture is poised to further strengthen its localization strategy.

Chen said the localized compact SUV, the Jaguar E-PACE, will hit the market this year, fulfilling its commitment of launching five models in the Chinese market within three years.

As its goal of expanding production capacity has been achieved, the plant will see its capacity rise 50 percent to 200,000 cars a year.

Chery Jaguar Land Rover said the upgraded intelligent manufacturing system is a powerful testimony to Chery Jaguar Land Rover's commitment to support the Chinese government's Made in China 2025 initiative.

"We are now standing at a new starting point, and will strive to keep our mid-and-long-term competitiveness and lead the Chinese market," Chen said.

Contact the writer at lifusheng@chinadaily.com.

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2018-01-31 07:52:04
<![CDATA[Key events]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/31/content_35620485.htm Apr 2011

Chery Automotive and Jaguar Land Rover sign a letter of intent to team up in China.

Dec 2011

The two sign a contract to build the joint venture Chery Jaguar Land Rover.

Nov 2012

The joint venture holds a foundation-laying ceremony and releases its logo.

May 2014

CJLR and JLR China announce the establishment of an Integrated Marketing Sales and Service.

Oct 2014

CJLR opens its Changshu plant in Jiangsu province and the first localized Range Rover Evoque rolls off the assembly line.

Feb 2015

CJLR launches its first ever localized model, the Range Rover Evoque.

Oct 2015

CJLR launches its second localized model, the Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Apr 2016

CJLR unveils China's first purpose-built aluminum body shop.

Aug 2016

CJLR launches its first localized Jaguar model, the all-new XFL, which is the third model that the Changshu plant produces.

Feb 2017

The 100,000th vehicle from CJLR, a Jaguar XFL, rolls off the assembly line at the Changshu plant.

July 2017

CJLR unveils its new engine plant, which is the only engine facility that JLR has outside the United Kingdom.

CJLR announces a plan to produce the Jaguar E-PACE SUV, which will be the first Jaguar SUV to be localized in China.

Sep 2017

Localized models at CJLR - the Land Rover Evoque, the Land Rover Discovery Sport and the Jaguar XFL - are relaunched with China-made all-new Ingenium 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

Dec 2017

CJLR launches its fourth model, the all-new Jaguar XEL.

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2018-01-31 07:52:04
<![CDATA[Infrastructure, environment benefit from rising spending]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611698.htm The Beijing government has invested heavily in improving infrastructure, housing and environmental protection.

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Government investment leads to improved living standards in capital

The Beijing government has invested heavily in improving infrastructure, housing and environmental protection.

Data from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development show that 278.19 billion yuan ($44 billion) was spent on key construction projects in the city last year.

Close to half of the expenditure, 126.95 billion yuan, was used to build apartments for low-income groups, improve shantytowns, and add new public amenities and services.

The amount was 117.4 percent of what was originally planned in early 2017 and occupied the lion's share of the city government's yearly investment.

Government data show that 49,540 households in shantytowns benefited from the government initiative to increase residents' well-being last year, a 37.6 percent surge from the planned 36,000 households.

More than 100,000 families in the city, covering 9.56 million square meters, became beneficiaries of an improved heat supply network.

The city government finished 30 key projects closely related to improving locals' quality of life in 2017.

In transportation, three new subway lines started operations at the end of last year and 12 roads totaling 1.35 million sq m were renovated.

A total of 24 new bus service lines were launched and 16 routes were optimized.

Local authorities also redesigned transportation hubs and improved administration in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.

In environmental protection, more than 900 villages began to use clean energy, 29 streams and rivers were cleaned up, and 44,700 sq m of green coverage was added.

That included 10 parks and another 10 forest demonstration sites which are home to 46,667 hectares of trees.

Three green areas, which cover a total of 101,000 sq m, were developed, where roughly 50 new tree species were introduced.

When it comes to public services, the Beijing government built and renovated more than 1,200 service centers in residential communities to facilitate vegetable supplies and offer services including catering, convenience stores, housekeeping, hairdressing, washing and deliveries.

In tourism attractions, such as the Olympic Park and Prince Kung's Mansion, 120 public toilets were installed with an improved heat network or drainage system.

To meet the growing demand for new energy vehicles, more than 280 power stations with a total of 3,037 charging pillars were added across the city.

As Beijing is promoting information technology-based services, 651 public venues including the popular tourist destination Temple of Heaven have provided free Wi-Fi service access. In addition, a growing number of administrative services went online.

To expand its cultural services, the government handed out online coupons worth 50 million yuan, for stage dramas, books, videos, and other cultural and sports events.

In addition, 71 bookstores received government aid worth 18 million yuan in total to upgrade facilities, add books and host reading events.

Facing growing demand from the aging population, the city has built 230 eldercare service centers in residential communities, with a focus on those living alone or disabled.

Meanwhile, the city government is advancing a cross-regional healthcare promotional program, which involves more than 2,000 traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and health management experts, 150 service teams and 80 service institutions from seven districts including Dongcheng and Haidian. Over 130,000 chronic disease patients benefited from the program last year.

To reduce safety risks, the government had 3,000 elevators in old buildings checked for safety, repaired 45 sites with hazards at 22 scenic spots and replaced gas cookers for more than 81,000 low-income families.

Local authorities also increased welfare benefits, such as pensions, unemployment benefits, compensation for injuries and damages at work, and government aid for low-income households and vulnerable groups.

The government also created 122,000 jobs and granted allowances for nearly 17,490 rural teachers.

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2018-01-30 08:00:19
<![CDATA[High-tech care for aging population to reduce burden]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611697.htm

An intelligent elderly care service center opened in Beijing's Shunyi district on Jan 20, which explores a new high-tech model of looking after senior citizens in residential communities.

Using state-of-art health management devices and equipment, the center can remotely monitor seniors' health and offer advice adapting houses so that they are more elderly-friendly.

The new facility provides traditional Chinese medicine therapies, chronic disease management, sleep monitoring and treatment, and risk profiles for potential diseases.

To date, approximately 380 elderly care service centers operate in Beijing, said Li Hongbing, spokesperson for the city's Civil Affairs Bureau, at a news conference in mid-January.

Of them, 230 began operating last year.

Government data show that Beijing has a population of 3.5 million people aged over 60, and 9.8 percent of them are living alone.

Beijing will expand its elderly care service network, integrating service providers at different levels of districts, townships and communities. The government will roll out a specific plan on developing the network soon.

Local governments in Beijing are now required to conduct weekly home visits to elderly residents who live in their own homes.

Li said that those aged over 80 who live alone should be prioritized, as well as those caring for disabled dependents.

Home visits should be provided to at least 50,000 senior citizens this year, he said.

He said that the home visits will help to address the needs of the elderly and provide information on their health conditions.

The visits should be done by the sub-district offices, township governments, or elderly care organizations entrusted by them, he added.

The Beijing government has taken a series of additional measures to improve the at-home care of senior citizens.

These include funding the installation of safety facilities, such as handrails, elevators big enough for wheelchairs and emergency call devices, as the city currently does not have sufficient nursing homes to meet the needs of its aging population.

In addition, elderly care in rural areas is another priority on the government's agenda, Li said.

Beijing's rural areas account for 90 percent of its total. Of the capital's total population, 10 percent are farmers. Especially deep in the mountains, public service supervision is hard to get.

Attending to elderly parents at home is a tradition in China. Making better use of internet technologies to provide professional skills for home care is another approach.

Local authorities will increase government spending, leverage various resources from the government, families and collectives to aid elderly care services in rural areas in the future, Li added.

China Daily - Xinhua

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2018-01-30 08:00:19
<![CDATA[New beefed up food safety is plat du jour]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611696.htm

The Beijing municipal government is seeing real progress from the Sunshine Catering program - to improve the quality of the industry and make people more comfortable and satisfied with food safety and hygiene.

The State Council in April said China would improve the legal system on food safety issues and lift food safety standards to international levels.

The initiative provides food safety information to the general public about catering service providers, from such things as the processes behind their operations to even their credit evaluations.

By doing so, it aims to improve the transparency of food processing from providing raw materials to fine dining.

It also welcomes public supervision and helps promote the upgrade of the catering industry, said Duan Zhiyong, head of the food services supervision department at the Beijing Food and Drug Administration.

"In response to the State Council's call on improving food hygiene standards, we are committed to carrying out improving the quality of the catering industry, as part of efforts to build a food safety demonstration city," Duan said.

Duan added that success meant residents being able to eat better, more comfortably and more healthily.

The initiative aims to cover all the canteens of companies, institutions and construction sites by the end of 2019.

To date, a total of 21,842 food service units have joined the catering project, including canteens of primary and secondary schools and nurseries.

The move to toughen supervision on food safety focuses on improving the transparency in information, food processing, evaluation, management and punishment.

Participating service providers are required to publicize their food safety information, including food suppliers, and the health certificates of staff.

Experts say transparency in food processing can be achieved by using glass walls in kitchens, or large screens in restaurants that show what is going on during food preparation.

An online meal ordering portal in Beijing employs a smartphone application, so users can monitor the kitchens of hospitality service providers via live broadcasts.

Recently, the first batch of more than 1,500 catering companies appeared on the live broadcast platform.

Consumers are encouraged to comment about the catering service units, helping others to choose restaurants efficiently and law enforcement agencies to target problems.

The project is helping to improve the safety and quality of the catering sector, Duan said.

In addition, the initiative has beefed up punishment and will expose breaches of food and safety standards to the public, strengthening the supervision of catering services.

Duan said that the initiative had taken a problem-oriented and people-oriented approach, to build a comprehensive system involving companies, consumers, online ordering platforms, industry associations, third party evaluation institutions and the media for common progress and wider supervision.

Beijing's Shibao Street is among the first batch of demonstration streets participating in the catering project.

The garden-style pedestrian street is located in Haidian district and covers more than 20,000 square meters.

There are 79 catering businesses in the street, including popular brands and well-known chain restaurants, of which more than half are startups.

Yan Yunlong, deputy director of the food and drug administration of Haidian district, said that, some businesses in Shibao Street were supplied food from street vendors that could not meet hygiene standards.

With the help of the Beijing Glorious Oriental Group, the developer of the street and owner of catering sites there, these stalls were transformed into conventional shops in line with national health and safety standards.

That boosted overall sales and meant that the street's food culture could also be better preserved, Yan said.

Li Guijie, president of Beijing Glorious Oriental Group, said Shibao Street had responded positively to the measures.

All the catering units in the street have a business license. They are regularly inspected and receive training by the food and drug supervision departments.

Shibao Street encourages the catering companies to improve their food safety management, and strengthen quality and safety control, Li said.

For example, catering firms are required to buy food in line the regulations and qualified and licensed food suppliers must be registered. It is forbidden to use raw material from unknown sources.

Shibao Street will regularly shutdown catering outlets that ignore food safety management, or fail to implement changes, in a bid to ensure the quality of services in the street, Li said.

A manager of a barbecue restaurant in Shibao Street said his kitchen had been equipped with glass walls so customers could clearly see food preparations.

That ensured management of food and materials was more standardized and they could enhance the quality of food under supervision, he said.

Since December 2016, the daily flow of visitors to Shibao Street has reached nearly 50,000 people from around 10,000 in previous years.

Locals say the street has also become a successful incubator for many small and micro catering companies.

hanlu@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-30 08:00:19
<![CDATA[Mercedes-Benz Star Fund forges CSR partnership with Palace Museum]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611695.htm

 

Representatives from Mercedes-Benz Star Fund and the Palace Museum attend the signing ceremony of the partnership. Photos Provided to China Daily

Meeting amidst a charming winter scene at the Palace Museum, Mercedes-Benz Star Fund and the Palace Museum formally achieved a partnership to collaborate on a range of projects from conservation and education to international exchange of the renowned World Heritage Site, also known as the Forbidden City by visitors and locals.

The partnership is being actualized through the joint hands of Mercedes-Benz's long-term CSR platform in China, the Mercedes-Benz Star Fund and the Forbidden City Cultural Heritage Conservation Foundation.

Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co Ltd, and Shan Jixiang, the director of the Palace Museum, represented both parties at the signing ceremony.

"Heritage is something we value tremendously at Mercedes-Benz," Speeks said at the ceremony.

"It is the mission of our generation to nurture our cultural heritage and to carry it to the next generation. We always take it as part of our responsibilities to contribute to social development.

"Through the CSR strategic partnership with the Palace Museum, we wish to support this great nation to tell its fascinating stories on the international stage."

In 2017, Mercedes-Benz in China became the first market in its worldwide history to break the 600-thousand-unit record. Repeated by Speeks that China has become the second home to Mercedes-Benz brand.

With such recognition of the significance of the market, and commitment to the Chinese society, the brand consciously convey its value in a way that resonates in a Chinese cultural context.

The partnership with the Palace Museum reflects and amplifies that principle, and opens a new platform to further engage the public and wide audience.

Traditional culture promotion

Established in 1925 on the site of the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911), the Palace Museum is one of the world's largest and most recognizable classical palaces.

While the Palace Museum is definitely regarded as one of the symbols of Chinese traditional culture, the past decade has seen it revolutionize the way it showcases collections and exhibits to visitors.

By integrating Internet Plus into various aspects of the museum experience, by cooperating with various enterprises and organizations, and by stepping into the e-commerce area, the palace is becoming more involved with people's daily lives.

The CSR strategic partnership between Mercedes-Benz Star Fund and the Palace Museum further reinforces the museum's embrace of this new era.

The first phase of this CSR strategic partnership commences from the January 2018 with a three-year commitment, mainly dedicated in the areas of relic repair and preservation, cultural education and cultural exchange.

First and foremost, the continued restoration of ancient relics and antiquities located within the Palace Museum will be prioritized.

By incorporating modern technologies, the partnership will endeavor to solve the urgent restorative obstacles pointed out by the museum, such as additional studies of its brick and stonework.

An additional aim of the initiative is to raise public awareness of China's traditional culture, ensuring that its history and culture can be passed down through the generations.

Targeting students in primary and secondary schools, creative curriculum on traditional culture and arts will be introduced to children of school age and especially, the Hope Schools supported by the Star Fund.

The rich history of the Forbidden City will also accelerate the spread of Chinese heritage across the world, facilitating the achievement of the Chinese dream.

Social commitment

Mercedes-Benz has long been dedicated to fulfilling its social responsibilities, and was one of the first automotive manufacturers to launch CSR programs in China.

The auto manufacturer firmly believes that the success of its business operations and the strength of its corporate social responsibility program are inextricably linked.

As the most significant CSR platform of Mercedes-Benz, the Star Fund has played a significant role throughout the years.

Since 2010, the Star Fund has received over 100 million yuan ($15.8 million) in donations from Mercedes-Benz. Under the slogan "Nurturing the Best of All Our Tomorrows", the Mercedes-Benz Star Fund has been striving to promote environmental protection, spread the culture of driving, assist education support, facilitate the development of arts and sports, and also to provide social care services.

Mercedes-Benz is also making sure it moves with the times.

In 2017, the Mercedes-Benz Star Fund launched the Star Scholarship program to support under privileged students.

It also introduced the World Heritage Sites Sustainable Livelihood program to create better livelihoods for residents while protecting the environment, with an eventual goal of harmonious development between humans and nature.

The principles of the Mercedes-Benz Star Fund CSR platform proactively echoed the national strategies of strengthening modern education and taking targeted measures in poverty alleviation, highlighted at the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

Now in 2018, Mercedes-Benz CSR starts its second decade with this CSR strategic partnership with the Palace Museum, marking an expansion into other fields of humanity. Mercedes-Benz CSR is committed to traditional culture inheritance and re-innovation, and further contributing to the sustainable development of Chinese society.

This view was shared by Li Hongpeng, chairman of the Mercedes-Benz Star Fund Management Committee and senior executive vice-president of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Services Co Ltd.

He said: "CSR has become an important part of Mercedes-Benz's corporate culture. By joining hands with our employees, dealers, customers and many CSR partners, we can help to create a strong basis for a great and sustainable future.

"Entering our second decade, our CSR program will continue to advance with the times, undertaking new responsibilities, exploring new areas and opening up new patterns. The partnership with the Palace Museum marks a significant step for Mercedes-Benz in upgrading its CSR strategy in China," Li said.

Future outlook

The dawn of the 21st century was marked by the start of an ambitious ancient architecture restoration project at the Palace Museum. Approved by the State Council and the largest such program of its kind in China, the Palace Museum Restoration Project is scheduled to be completed by 2020, coinciding with the 600th Anniversary of the Forbidden City.

According to Shan, the Palace Museum is dedicated to preserving the Forbidden City to "ensure its magnificence for the next 600 years", just as it has held the citizens of Beijing in awe for the previous six centuries. "Mercedes-Benz honors the efforts and shares these values, as we always have taken it as our responsibility to contribute to traditional cultural heritage, even if we play just a small part," Speeks added.

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2018-01-30 07:38:20
<![CDATA[Bilateral ties achieve common objectives]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611694.htm China and Angola have witnessed tremendous progress since establishing diplomatic relations in 1983 and entering into a strategic partner relationship in 2010.

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Erusa Borges is a successful Angolan table tennis player trained in China, as a result of fruitful people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.Yan Xiaoqing / For China Daily

Both countries to push ahead with strategic relationship as the pair celebrates 35 years of diplomatic relations, Cao Yingying reports.

China and Angola have witnessed tremendous progress since establishing diplomatic relations in 1983 and entering into a strategic partner relationship in 2010.

Senior officials of the two countries said that they will further strengthen communications later this year.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China is willing to promote bilateral relationships with Angola to a new stage when he met with Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Luanda, Angola's capital, on Jan 13, according to reports of Xinhua News Agency.

Wang recently visited the country to celebrate the 35th anniversary of China's establishment of diplomatic ties with Angola and hailed the good bilateral relations marked by long-time mutual trust, understanding and support.

China supports Angola in pursuing a development path that suits its own conditions, promoting its economic diversification strategy and enhancing its self-development capacity, Wang said.

He added that China will also continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Angola and launch more projects, while pointing out that the legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises should be protected according to law.

China has helped Angola to build more than 20,000 kilometers of highways, 2,800 km of rail roads as well as 100 schools and 50 hospitals, contributing to the improvement of the living conditions of residents, according to Wang.

Xinhua quoted Angolan President Joao Lourenco as saying that bilateral cooperation has borne fruitful results during the years since the two sides established diplomatic relations.

Important role

Lourenco thanked China for its investment and financing support, which have played a very important role in the peaceful reconstruction of postwar Angola after a 27-year civil war ended in 2002.

He further hoped that China will continue to support Angola in large-scale infrastructure construction and welcomed Chinese enterprises to cooperate with Angola in the fields of mining, agriculture, animal husbandry and tourism.

Angola will quicken its pace to improve investment and the business environment, so as to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, the president said.

Luisa Damian, a politburo member of the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola - the ruling party of the country - and also a member of the country's parliament, said that her country is happy with its relationship with China, according to Xinhua reports.

She said China has contributed to Angola's economic development.

"China is helping us to develop our country and our economy, and we have already started seeing the benefits of this cooperation between China and Angola. We hope that this relationship between us will continue to develop," Damian said.

As a result of fruitful educational and cultural exchanges between the two countries, many Angolan students that have studied in China have already started participating in the development of sub-Saharan Africa's third-biggest economy, according to Damian.

She added that the Communist Party of China and the People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola share the same ideas about peace, prosperity and improvement of the wellbeing of citizens.

Common objectives

"We have the same common objectives of ameliorating the lives of our people in our respective countries," Damian said, adding that Angola looks forward to China's support for its modernization.

The Angolan lawmaker said that as Africa's second-largest oil producer, the country is trying its best to rid itself of corruption.

"We are also working to fight against corruption just like China," Damian said. "Our main goal is to improve what we are doing well and to correct what is wrong. This is proof that our Party has acknowledged that there are many things that need to be corrected. One of those things is corruption."

China is Angola's largest trading partner and Angola is China's second-largest trading partner in Africa as well as the largest source country of imports in Africa, Chinese Ambassador to Angola Cui Aimin told local newspaper Jornal de Angola.

According to statistics from Chinese Customs, in the first three quarters of 2017, bilateral trade between China and Angola reached $17.13 billion, surging 45.37 percent compared with the same period in the previous year. Exports from China to Angola totaled $1.65 billion with an increase of 33.65 percent year-on-year. The goods China imported from Angola were valued at $15.47 billion, growing by 46.75 percent year-on-year.

During the past 35 years since the countries established diplomatic ties, China has provided loans to Angola worth more than $60 billion, for the construction of infrastructure facilities such as power plants, roads, bridges and hospitals, according to Cui.

Contact the writer through caoyingying@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-30 08:00:55
<![CDATA[Huawei, Angola dial up big success in telecoms network improvement]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611693.htm

Chinese company Huawei Technologies, a leading global information and communications technology solutions provider, has contributed to the economic development of the African nation of Angola by providing it with better technologies, services and job opportunities.

Huawei first entered the telecommunications market in Angola in 1998 and founded its first branch office in the country in 2006.

The company provides internet services for one-third of Angola's population and paid more than $10 million in tax in the country from 2013 to 2016.

Huawei has given technological support to local e-government programs and online education sharing platforms to expand more internet access for Angolan teenagers.

In addition, its online medical care project was launched in Hospital Geral De Luanda in the country's capital city of Luanda.

Such has been Huawei's impact felt in the Angolan market. Its smart phones have ranked top in sales for the past three years since 2015, according to GFK, an international market research institute.

The company has established cooperation with local partners, including Angola Telecom, Unitel, Movicel, Netone and MST, to help build a better telecommunications network in the country.

Huawei has highlighted its localization in Angola by transferring technologies and knowledge to local operators, training Angolans and creating job and business opportunities.

Its localization strategy has ensured that local management teams can shoulder more operational responsibilities from end to end.

Of Huawei's 100-plus employees in Angola, 70 percent are local people.

To date, the company has trained about 1,000 local engineers for various ICT companies. It has also created more than 500 job opportunities in the country since 2006.

In a key project of Huawei's global corporate social responsibility framework, the company has already financed 10 young Angolans to take ICT training lessons in China.

Huawei aims to promote and increase interest in the ICT industry, encourage greater participation in the construction of digital communities, and acquire skills that people need in work.

The company said the project, under the support of local telecommunications and higher education departments, will benefit more young people in the future.

In 2013, Huawei donated internet equipment to schools in 18 provinces in Angola, providing multimedia classrooms to serve more than 18,000 students.

It donated educational equipment for School Oscar Ribas and nutritional food for three communities in the city of Cazenga in 2016 to help in poverty alleviation.

Ranked 83rd among Fortune Global 500 companies, Huawei now has entered more than 170 countries and has 180,000 employees.

As a digital society enabler, Huawei has consistently invested over 10 percent of its revenue in research and development every year. It says its vison is "bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world".

chenmeiling@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-30 08:00:55
<![CDATA[Chinese group powers ahead as world leader in engineering projects]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/30/content_35611692.htm

A Chinese company has developed into one of the pace-setting contractors for global engineering projects, thanks to its success internationally over three decades.

Founded in 1978, China Machinery Engineering Corp is a conglomerate with operations ranging from engineering project contacting to trade, research and development and international services.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce for many consecutive years ranked CMEC among the nation's top 10 contractors by business turnover from overseas projects.

CMEC has remained a leader in the international contracting market, achieving a number of China's firsts in many international projects in the power sector, according to the company.

It became the first Chinese company to contract a power project in Pakistan in the 1980s, with the 210-megawatt Guddu Thermal Power Station.

In the new century, it first introduced the China-made 600MW supercritical coal-fired power plant to the international market, which has been successfully connected to grids for power generation.

It has also made great strides in other sectors, including building a national radio and television center in Africa.

According to a report by the Paris-based market research firm Ipsos, CMEC ranked fourth among Chinese contractors in terms of revenue from international power and energy projects.

In 2013 the company won China's annual Luban award for overseas projects, for its supercritical coal-fired power plant in Turkey, making it the first coal-fired power plant to win the prize.

In November 2012, the first-phase project of its Puttalam power plant project in Sri Lanka was awarded the China Project Management Achievement Award by the China Project Management Research Committee.

With more than 30 years experience in the engineering industry, CMEC said it has developed the capacity to provide one-stop, customized, complete plant solutions. These span preliminary planning, engineering procurement construction, financing, operation and maintenance.

It has expanded its business presence to 47 countries and regions in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America, forming a project contracting system focusing on electric power and covering such fields as transportation, telecoms, waterworks, building materials and cement.

Since 2002, CMEC has been involved in a large number of projects in the power sector in Angola.

These include the rehabilitation and expansion of the electricity network in Luanda, and the construction of north-south and east-west transmission lines and substations.

CMEC has also built the biggest gas turbine power plant in Angola, namely the Soyo I Combined Cycle Power Plant, which consists of two sets of gas turbine-combined cycle generators with total installed capacity of 750 megawatts.

By the end of 2017, it had completed three gas turbines in Angola.

The group said that over the years it has developed a capable project team in carrying out power projects in Angola, with a deep understanding of the local language, culture and full respect of local customs.

The company said it always prioritizes the use of local goods, services and the labor force to promote local economic growth and improve local quality of life.

It has set up a complete system for quality, environment and occupational health management, to ensure the high standard and quality of its products and services.

Through years of development, CMEC has built itself into an international brand, with business interests in more than 150 countries and regions across all five continents.

As China's leading engineering contractor and service provider with an international reputation, CMEC said it embraces its philosophy of "Create Ideas, Achieve Dreams."

To achieve happier lives for people around the world, CMEC said it was committed to providing top-quality services with high added value and returns. It said it is also committed to mutual benefit, common development and progress in making the world a better place.

zhaoshijun@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-30 08:00:55
<![CDATA[New energy to succeed 'with or without' subsidy]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603485.htm

Drivers charge their electric cars at a public charging station in Beijing. Photos Provided to China Daily

Reduced government funding to spur innovation in new energy cars

China's new energy vehicle industry is set to embrace the future with, or even without, reduced government subsidies, and automakers are promising to offer customers value for money and low power consumption.

The adjustment in the current new energy vehicle subsidy scheme is "imperative", according to a speech by Miao Wei, minister of the Industry and Information Technology, at the China EV100 Forum 2018 last week in Beijing.

Miao said: "Compared to postponing the subsidies until the year-end of 2020 with a one-off adjustment, it's better to slow the subsidies in steps to smooth the impact."

He added that future tasks include guiding the local fiscal subsidies towards encouraging the construction of charging facilities and charging service expenditures.

Another future task for the new energy vehicle industry is to support new energy vehicle makers' innovation in terms of platforms and integration, and further elevate vehicles' overall performance to the level of conventional fuel vehicles, or even beyond, according to Miao.

The cash allowance is set to fade out by the end of 2020, according to the ministry's announcement made in August 2016, and the national subsidies given to fully-electric passenger cars dropped by 40 percent from 2017. New energy vehicle experts suggest that industry players are well prepared for the yet-to-come policy changes and the reshuffle around 2020, since the industry has been expecting a gradual subsidy fade-out beginning from this year.

While the industry expects a gradual drop in the government subsidies that compensate less in terms of retail price, new energy vehicle makers have to offer value for money to the customers, Wang Binggang, an expert leading the National New Energy Vehicle Innovative Engineering Projects, told a group of reporters.

He suggested that electric cars in compact and smaller segments match the cost performance of their gasoline powered peers by 2020.

Wang said: "Compact electric cars are well accepted in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou because they can still carry five people. The mini-size cars are preferred by buyers in many tier-two and three cities scattered across the country."

About 11,000 new energy vehicles, with mini-size electric cars contributing a large proportion, were sold in the last four months in Liuzhou, a tier-three city in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The local government in Liuzhou did not spend much on promotion for the vehicles, but instead paved the way to purchases by adding incentives such as free parking, charging facilities and other favorable conditions, according to Wang.

Mini-size electric cars accounted for about 67 percent of the total sales of new energy passenger vehicles last year, and around 25 percent of them were compact models, according to industrial data.

The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers' statistics showed the sales volume of new energy passenger vehicles has jumped 72 percent from a year ago to 578,000 units. Small-and mini-size electric cars have no need for a very long driving range like 400 km or a very large battery pack built for affluent subsidies, according to Ouyang Minggao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"The users' real demands on these models are only for short-range commuting and urban trips," Ouyang said.

He also predicted that the common cost for an average pure electric passenger car would be cut to 0.8 yuan per watt hour (12 cents per Wh) by 2020, and further lowered to 0.6 yuan per Wh by 2025.

Chen Qingtai, an automobile expert with the Development Research Center of the State Council, shared his vision that fully-electric vehicles will have a cost performance better than conventional fuel vehicles no later than 2025.

Minister of Science and Technology Wan Gang said in his speech at the forum that: "Fully-electric vehicles still have shortfalls in the performance and piling up batteries to increase the driving range is not a viable option.

"When the batteries are added, the weight goes up. As a result, the energy consumption surges."

Wang told China Daily that, "The added weight not only consumes more energy, but also creates more emissions of carbon dioxide.

"Through my analysis, electric vehicles with very high power consumption, could emit more carbon dioxide than conventional fuel vehicles. We should be devoted to the research and development of batteries, while lowering the cost."

Ouyang said that the approach of piling up battery packs for more subsidies will come to an end as increasing the driving range of electric vehicles becomes much more important. "A new energy vehicle maker should not dump all the responsibility of extending driving range to the battery maker.

"Only when the power consumption is lowered can an electric car run farther at low cost. It's the optimum path," he said at the forum.

Targeted at cutting the power consumption to 10 kWh per 100 km for a 4.5-meter-long blade electric car by 2020, one of the nation's key special projects is underway at Chang'an Automobile Co in Chongqing.

Ouyang named the BMW i3 as a model to learn from, as the German-made new energy hatch-back has realized low power consumption via a lightweight strategy applied in body design. Its main car body is made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer, about 250 to 350 kg lighter when compared with an aluminum alloy body, which helped BMW reduce the i3's weight to 1,224 kg.

BMW adopt a holistic approach towards electric-mobility ecosystems, including battery research and development, production, recycling, electric service, and has set up the largest public charging network, according to Jochen Goller, who will take the position of President and CEO of BMW Group China from Mar 1.

The so-called electric sports car, Tesla Model S, serves as a negative example with more excessive power consumption than fuel vehicles.

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
<![CDATA[Jetour line aims to meet growing customer demand]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603484.htm A new line of models is seen boosting Chery Commercial Vehicle Co's expansion into the passenger car market, to meet the growing demand for bigger vehicles.

The Anhui-based commercial vehicle maker last week launched the new series, Jetour, which targets Chinese families with a second child and those drivers who frequently use their car.

"The line-up is for customers who are keen on traveling, and for bigger families, especially those with a second child," said Bao Siyu, president of Jetour and vice-president of Chery Holding Co.

The Jetour family will have four sport utility vehicles and three multi-purpose vehicles. Together with new energy models, the complete Jetour range will number 14 models.

Li Xueyong, general manager of Jetour marketing center, said that with higher demand for mid-size and bigger SUV cars, Chinese rival producers had made significant inroads into the segments.

He believed the new Jetour series would complement the existing auto offering by Chery Holding, because Chery Automobile Co has been focusing on compacts and smaller segment vehicles.

Chinese local media reported that the entire Jetour range would be no smaller than midsize units, with options for 5, 6, or 7-seat configurations, besides fully electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen versions.

The SUV is the only segment that has realized solid growth. Last year SUV sales surged 15.2 percent year-on-year, while sedans declined by 3.2 percent. Multi-purpose vehicle sales dropped 18.3 percent, and mini vans decreased by 21.4 percent, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association.

Cui Dongshu, the association's secretary-general, confirmed the latest line-up was an upgraded offering aimed at the heating-up SUV market.

"It's a new sub-brand to differentiate Chery from the Chinese local peers, with value for money products offered to customers," Cui told China Daily.

The marketing opportunities for Chinese-branded SUVs largely lies chiefly in tier-three and tier-four cities, because consumers are reluctant to pay a premium for the international brands, according to Li Qingwen, president of the Car-Bingo Academy.

"The Chinese SUVs are preferred for their value for money, for their better price to quality and a performance that is continuously improving," Li said.

Yin Tongyao, president of Chery Holding, said: "We have bet on the sales of the Jetour line-up." The first models from the line-up made their debut at the launch ceremony in Beijing. The mid-size Jetour X70 and its sports version, the X70S, carry Jetour badges on the front grilles, tailgates, steering wheels, and wheel rims.

The mass-production Jetour X70 SUV will hit the local market in June this year, according to the news release.

The Jetour X70 is built on a new chassis called the iPeL - or intelligent platform of e-network and lightweight - powered by a third generation Chery 1.5-liter turbocharged ACTECO engine that has an output of 201 Newton meters, according to the company.

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
<![CDATA['Make-or-break' opportunities in electric auto market, says BAIC Group]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603483.htm

New energy cars and AI are presenting make-or-break opportunities for the automotive industry, said Xu Heyi, chairman of the State-owned Beijing Automotive Group Co, who warned that carmakers that do not seize them may end up losing it all.

The government has released a series of policies to stimulate the growth of new energy cars, and there will be no other way to go if Chinese carmakers do not work on such vehicles, said Xu at a recent media roundtable.

China is the world's largest market for new energy autos, with around 1.7 million such vehicles on its road as of the end of 2017, according to statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Xu said his group has set a goal to sell 650,000 new energy cars in 2020, with 500,000 of them from its own brands. The figure is expected to rise to 1.5 million by 2025, of which 300,000 will be exported.

BAIC Group is also one of the first traditional carmakers to release plans to phase out conventional cars under its brand. It is planning to stop its conventional car sales in Beijing by 2020 and phase them out nationwide by 2025.

In addition to its own BAIC-branded cars, the group also has manufacturing joint ventures with South Korean automaker Hyundai and Germany's Daimler AG, owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

BAIC Group and Daimler have reached a deal to invest a total of 5 billion yuan ($790.6 million) to localize electric Mercedes-Benz cars in Beijing. The group was one of the early birds to develop new energy cars, and its arm BJEV is now one of the most popular new energy car makers in the country.

Statistics show that BJEV sold a total of 103,199 electric vehicles in 2017, a year-on-year growth of 98 percent, becoming the country's largest electric carmaker by sales.

To support of its new energy vehicles, BJEV has installed 46,000 public charging poles and 32,000 private ones.

BJEV, which is valued at $4.5 billion, is also expected to become the first State-owned new energy carmaker to go public, according to Reuters.

An analyst said it is a good time for BJEV become listed in A-shares right now as investors have very positive views on electric car development in China going forward, with all markets convinced on an electrified future.

BAIC Group is also building a new energy car technology and innovation center in Beijing in cooperation with a number of institutions, including Tsinghua University and battery maker CATL.

The facility is expected to build an open platform that will better mobilize global innovative resources and facilitate cooperation among companies, universities, research facilities and users.

In terms of AI, BAIC Group is teaming up with Baidu, China's largest search engine operator, to work on autonomous cars.

As the market develops, it is something inevitable that manufacturing and AI become integrated, Xu said.

Xu said BAIC Group will roll out cars with Level 2, or hands-off, functions in 2018. Cars that enable drivers to take their eyes off the road will be on the market in 2019 and those that feature mind-off functions will be unveiled in 2022.

lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
<![CDATA[VW wants clearer rules on greener cars]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603482.htm

Guests photograph the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta as it is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in January this year. Provided to China Daily

German automaker calls for details about the future of China's new energy vehicles, Li Fusheng reports.

Volkswagen AG is calling for a quicker and clearer automotive roadmap in China as the country pushes to shift its focus from conventional cars to new energy vehicles, saying that carmakers need a lot of time to get prepared technologically.

Jochem Heizmann, the German carmaker's China chief, said one thing on his wish-list is for China to release specific targets soon about such things as electric car quotas, their credits and fuel consumption standards after 2020.

China promulgated a plan in September to promote the development of new energy vehicles, which demands that carmakers amass credits for such cars equivalent to 10 percent of their annual sales in 2019.

The number would rise to 12 percent in 2020 but the authorities have not spelled out requirements later. China also demands that passenger carmakers cut their average fuel consumption level to 5 liters per 100 kilometers by 2020.

"In Europe it is relatively clear what the legal framework looks like after 2020. I would like to have a more clearly legal framework as well and early enough in China," Heizmann said.

"I think the automotive industry is a high investment industry, and we need time to do the right, efficient things. This is my wish. Otherwise, you are just wasting money. Yeah, wasting money."

Nevertheless Volkswagen is betting heavily on China's new energy car sector with a 10-billion-euro ($12.5 billion) budget and up to 40 models in the pipeline.

"We are fully on the way with our new energy vehicle strategy Roadmap E, which means our plan for 2020 is to sell around 400,000 new energy cars in China and in 2025, 1.5 million," Heizmann said.

Volkswagen's 2020 target accounts for a fifth of China's overall sales plan for the year released in 2017 by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"For that, we need a broad offer of different models: notchback cars, SUV cars, smaller cars, bigger cars. So in the next seven to eight years, we will launch around 40 new energy vehicles," he added.

"Together with our Chinese joint ventures, for the industrialization of the new energy vehicle offensive, we are investing about 10 billion euros in the coming years till 2025."

Besides introducing models into its long-time joint ventures FAW-Volkswagen and SAIC Volkswagen, the German carmaker has built a joint venture dedicated to producing mass-market electric cars. Its first model will be a small sub-compact SUV, with larger ones to follow soon after.

Heizmann said the biggest challenge facing carmakers is not to produce new energy cars but to sell them, as people will consider such factors as driving ranges and total ownership costs.

He said Volkswagen will start in China with models that have a range of 300 kilometers, with the range rising up to 500 km in around 2021 as it puts into the use the modular electrification toolkit platform designed for new energy cars.

Heizmann did not give a schedule when such cars from Volkswagen will have a comparable ownership cost to its gasoline ones, but added that its specially designed platform and scale effects will make it competitive in the market.

Volkswagen delivered 4.18 million cars in China in 2017, up 5 percent year-on-year, outselling all other carmakers in the country.

"Notably, this result has been achieved with a portfolio of models largely covering traditional segments. With the roll-out of our SUVs and a particularly strong end to the year, the outlook for 2018 is very positive," Heizmann said.

SAIC Volkswagen, one of its joint ventures, unveiled the Teramont and all-new Tiguan under the Volkswagen brand as well as Kodiaq under the smaller Czech brand Skoda last year.

It will also launch the Skoda Koraq this year.

Another joint venture, FAW-Volkswagen, will bring to the market SUVs under both Audi and Volkswagen brands in 2018. "We are up to now underrepresented in the SUV market. You know the biggest growth rate (of the Chinese market as a whole) is in SUVs, especially the budget SUV segment where we do not have offerings at present," Heizmann said.

Contact the writer at lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
<![CDATA[As China's Didi looks abroad, challenges spring up at home]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603481.htm

A staff member walks at Didi Chuxing's booth at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2017 in Beijing, China on April 28, 2017. Jason Lee / Reuters

BEIJING - Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi Chuxing is on a roll overseas, snapping up assets in South America and flexing its financial muscles to drive growth.

At home, however, the road is bumpier. New rivals have cropped up since Didi vanquished Uber in China two years ago.

Drivers complain that reduced subsidies mean they are working longer hours for the less pay. And increased attention from regulators and police has made it harder for the company to grow.

Didi, valued at more than $50 billion, is banking on its huge volume of rides in China as it squares off against Uber and other competitors globally. Any threat to its home dominance could take the gloss off its appeal for investors.

"Didi has to improve its profitability inside the Chinese market and expand overseas if it wants to make its story more convincing to investors, as the Chinese market is kind of reaching the roof," said Mo Jia, a Shanghai-based analyst at Canalys.

Didi, which has $12 billion in cash reserves following a recent $4 billion funding round, is pouring money into overseas expansion and projects like artificial intelligence.

This month, it acquired control of 99, a Brazilian ride-hailing company. It has also started hiring in Mexico as part of a plan to enter the country this year and is looking to make inroads in Taiwan.

The company still holds more than 87 percent of the Chinese private ride-share market, but in the first weeks of 2018 several companies have signalled their intention to mount a challenge, including $30 billion valued on-demand services platform Meituan Dianping.

Didi is also dealing with the fallout of a costly subsidy battle with Uber in China.

The company said it cut subsidies after the deal with its rival; drivers confirmed their incomes suffered as a result.

"In 2016 (Uber) and Didi were fighting like dogs. If you earned 100 yuan, they gave you 100 yuan in subsidies," said one Beijing driver, surnamed Hu, who said he took out a loan to buy his Honda Civic that year when earning more than 18,000 yuan a month.

"Now I still work eight hours a day, six days a week, but if I'm lucky I earn 6,000 yuan," Hu said, adding that he had only managed to pay off the loan in December with help from his wife's family.

New rivals

In China, the number of rides per day on Didi's platform rose from 14 million to 20 million following the August 2016 deal with Uber.

New regulations and a drop in subsidies caused a slump in the company's ride growth soon afterward, but company data shows rides bounced back to 20 million a day, then edged up to 25 million at the end of 2017.

But competitors are pressing in.

Meituan Dianping, backed by Sequoia Capital and Tencent Holdings Ltd, launched its first ride-hailing project in Nanjing last year and is rolling out seven more pilot projects in 2018, including in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu, a spokeswoman said.

"My hope is that (Meituan Dianping) will pay a lot of attention to attracting drivers," said a 28-year-old Beijing Didi driver surnamed Zhou, who says he has been too lazy to switch employers until now.

"If there are subsidies around their early launch then I'll definitely go to Meituan," Zhou said. "I want to try something new."

The internet company, better known for its ticketing and restaurant services, is hoping to gain an advantage from its sophisticated location-based technology, and lure drivers like Zhou, whose loyalty to Didi has suffered as pay has fallen.

Cao Cao, another platform backed by automotive giant Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which owns Swedish car brand Volvo, raised 1 billion yuan in funding this month and now has around 10 million users across 17 cities.

Popular bike sharing platform Mobike, also backed by Tencent, announced this month it would launch its own car ride-sharing platform in Guizhou province, backed by investors such as FAW Car Co Ltd. Didi says it has an advantage in technically complex services, such as the car-pooling feature that now makes up roughly 30 percent of its total private car rides and cuts down on the number of drivers required.

"This market is not about burning cash, it's not about subsidies anymore. People want reasonable wait times (and) reliable service," a Didi spokeswoman said.

Tougher rules, 'fast' passengers

All the companies will have to grapple with tightening Chinese regulations, already slowing growth in larger, congested cities.

Migrant drivers, for example, cannot get a permit to work and live - called a hukou - in major urban centers such as Beijing and Shanghai.

And cars used for ride-hailing services in those cities must be registered there.

"It has made the barrier to entry higher for all the ride-sharing players," Jia said.

Drivers who evade the regulations can face big fines. Statistics released by Didi showed that drivers accepted 13 to 40 percent fewer ride calls in some densely populated areas across China's largest cities. Two drivers in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou said sting operations involving police are common, where drivers are hailed by police and photographed.

"There's a couple of solutions," said one driver surnamed Deng, 41, who has been working as a Didi driver for four years in Guangzhou, even though his car is registered elsewhere.

"You can put the trunk of your car up so they don't see your number plate, or instead of stopping you can drive very slowly past and the passenger gets in quickly" to avoid police noticing a waiting car, Deng said.

"Times are tough," he added. "So these 'fast passengers' make me especially happy."

Reuters

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
<![CDATA[Short Torque]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/29/content_35603480.htm Daimler, BMW set to merge car-sharing

Daimler and BMW are planning to merge their rival car-sharing services, according to German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The newspaper reported Wednesday that the companies could announce a merger of their car2Go and DriveNow services in February. BMW and Daimler declined to comment on the report. Car-sharing services are popular with young, urban drivers unwilling or unable to buy their own car. DriveNow, which is part-owned by rental firm Sixt, has one million registered users worldwide and operates in 13 European cities. Car2go, in which Europcar has a stake, has 2.8 million members worldwide and operates in 26 cities across Europe, North America and China.

Dongfeng Motors misses 2017 growth target

China's Dongfeng Motor Corporation said Wednesday it had fallen short of its 2017 growth target, as sales at its ventures with PSA Group and Kia Motors had slipped. Vehicle sales by Dongfeng Motor hit 4.1 million units last year, compared with its annual target of 4.5 million units, but sales revenue and profit rose year-on-year, the company said. The joint venture with France's PSA, Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile Company Ltd, sold 378,000 cars last year, a 37-percent drop year-on-year. Dongfeng's venture with Kia suffered a 45-percent fall in sales.

Hyundai Motor annual profit plunges 20.5%

South Korea's biggest automaker Hyundai saw profits slump last year, it said Thursday, as it was battered by tougher competition. Hyundai Motor's 2017 net profit plunged 20.5 percent year-on-year to 4.55 trillion won ($4.28 billion), even though sales grew 2.9 percent to 96.3 trillion. "The strong won, tougher competition with rivals in major markets such as China and increased marketing costs hit the bottom line," the company said in a statement. Hyundai Motor sales in China slumped 31 percent year-on-year to 785,006 vehicles, while Kia Motors Corp's sales plunged 44.61 percent to 360,006 units.

Toyota recalls 700,000 vehicles in South Africa

Toyota Motors has issued a notice recalling more than 700,000 vehicles in South Africa, over airbag safety concerns. It said the recall was needed to replace front airbag inflators produced by parts firm Takata that had been found to have a potential for moisture intrusion, which could cause them to burst. "In the event of an inflator rupture, metal fragments could pass through the airbag cushion material, striking and possibly injuring the occupants in the event of an accident," a statement said. The company said no injuries or fatalities had been caused by the fault.

Tesla acquires Perbix to boost production

Tesla Inc has acquired Perbix, a closely held maker of automated machines used for manufacturing, as the electric-car maker struggles to boost production of its most important new model. Perbix has been a supplier to the automaker led by Elon Musk for almost three years, according to a Tesla spokesperson, who declined to disclose the terms of the deal. James Dudley, Perbix's president, will receive about $10.5 million in Tesla stock, according to a regulatory filing. Musk last week alluded to automation challenges as among the reasons the Model 3 sedan has gotten off to a bumpy start.

Czech auto industry output hits new record

Passenger car production in the Czech Republic rose to a new record high of 1.414 million vehicles in 2017, making it Europe's fifth biggest carmaker, according to the Automotive Industry Association. The EU member is home to three large car plants - Volkswagen's Skoda Auto, South Korea's Hyundai, and TPCA, a joint venture of Japan's Toyota and France's PSA Peugeot Citroen. Skoda raised output by 12.2 percent to a record-high 858,103 units, Hyundai saw a drop of 0.5 percent to 356,700 cars and TPCA registered a 9.8-percent decline to 199,078 cars.

Motoring - Agencies

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2018-01-29 08:08:23
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2018-01-28 13:30:06
<![CDATA[Quotable]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/28/content_35597838.htm "With the Chinese economy expanding in scale, new changes and features of the country's economy keep emerging, while its complexity is also increasing. This has laid out new requirements for social governance and economic guidance."

PREMIER LI KEQIANG, speaking while chairing a seminar on Jan 22 at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound that solicited suggestions for the draft of this year's Government Work Report.

"The agenda-setters of the World Economic Forum are responsible for deciding the theme. Of course, they took important points out of President Xi's speech and developed them into the theme of this year's meeting of the World Economic Forum."

TARZISIUS CAVIEZEL, mayor of Davos, in an exclusive interview on Jan 23.

"The increased number and sectors covered are our steps to implement the central leadership's requirement last year, which urges government departments to use new or social media platforms to post information, serve residents, respond to hot issues and improve the ability of governance."

FANG NAN, director of the mobile and internet bureau with China's Cyberspace Administration.

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2018-01-28 13:30:06
<![CDATA[IN BRIEF]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/28/content_35597837.htm

 

Workers print festive symbols on lanterns being made in Wuyi county, Zhejiang province, on Jan 22. The factory has received orders for 200,000 pairs of lanterns as Spring Festival approaches. The county, near Yiwu, has more than 2,000 factories producing small goods and more than 30,000 people in the industry. Zhang Jiancheng / For China Daily

Process eyed to solve Belt, Road disputes

China may create a procedure and organization to handle the resolution of disputes arising from issues related to the Belt and Road Initiative, the second meeting of the Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform concluded on Jan 23. The meeting, chaired by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, approved a guideline about establishing such a procedure and organization. The goal is to lawfully settle commercial, trade and investment disputes regarding the Belt and Road Initiative, protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese and foreign individuals on equal footing and create a stable, fair and transparent business environment with the rule of law, those at the meeting decided. Efforts to set up the procedure and the organization to handle disputes should follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and should be based on China's existing judicial, arbitration and mediation institutions, the leaders agreed.

Skilled workers' status, pay on track for a raise

China plans to improve the salaries and social status of skilled workers as increasing demand has resulted in a human resources shortage. The central government has invested more than 2 billion yuan ($311.8 million; 254 million euros; £223 million) to enhance the country's capability for training skilled talent, and improvements have been made in their work. Currently, there are 476 State-level training bases for highly skilled talent and 594 specially established workshops for masters who can train apprentices. The number of highly skilled people in the country reached more than 47.9 million by the end of 2016, according to a statement from the Professional Capacity Building Department of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

Beijing to defend against US tariffs

China will defend its legitimate interests with other members of the World Trade Organization after the United States announced tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines, the Ministry of Commerce said on Jan 23. The move, approved by the US government on Jan 22, is in line with the Trump administration's "America First" trade policy designed to protect domestic producers. China expressed its strong dissatisfaction with the US for enacting such a broad measure, which it called an abuse of trade remedies. Wang Hejun, head of the Trade Remedy and Investigation Bureau at the Ministry of Commerce, said this decision not only aroused the concern of many trading partners but is also strongly opposed by many local governments and downstream businesses inside the US that benefit from inexpensive and efficient imported products.

FM invites Americas to Belt, Road

Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for joint efforts with Latin American and Caribbean countries to collaborate on the Belt and Road Initiative on Jan 22 amid China's effort to boost interconnectivity around the world. Wang sought the cooperation in his address during the opening ceremony of the second ministerial meeting of the China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States Forum in Santiago, Chile. Wang proposed that China and the group build a massive ocean passage to connect continents. China will help build infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean and sign more agreements under the Belt and Road framework in the region, he said. Wang called for cultivating an open, mutually beneficial and big market with a total population of 2 billion people.

China hopes to work with Japan on ties

China said on Jan 23 that it hopes Japan will work with it to develop bilateral ties along the right track, after Japan voiced its hope to improve relations. Healthy, stable development of ties aligns with the interests of both peoples and will aid regional peace and development, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a daily news conference after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a speech to parliament on Jan 22. Abe vowed to realize reciprocal visits between the leaders of the two countries as soon as possible, and said Japan "will seek to meet the expectations of the international community by developing friendly relations (with China) in a stable manner", Kyodo News reported. Japan should use the anniversary's opportunity to base itself on the four political documents and four-point principled agreement between the two countries to increase mutual trust and handle differences properly, Hua said.

Guide to improve e-sales deliveries

A more comprehensive and better regulated data-sharing system is expected to be set up among e-commerce and delivery businesses for concerted development of the two industries following the issuance of a guideline by the General Office under the State Council on Jan 23. The guideline stresses that while both types of businesses are developing quickly, the two have become increasingly intertwined in recent years, and contradictions have emerged in regulations governing the two industries, limiting the development of both. Rules in data sharing and protection in both e-commerce and delivery services will be more comprehensive. Risk evaluation systems will be set up regarding issues such as miscommunication and loss of data. Data and other information in the two industries will be better exchanged and shared to improve efficiency as long as consumers' personal information is protected, according to the guideline.

Beijing's 2022 Games taking shape this year

Beijing has stepped up its preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, with all the competition venues to be completed and mascots unveiled next year. Though most of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics venues are idle in winter, a construction site on the north end of the Olympic Park is bustling with workers and machines busy preparing a large site for the new National Speed Skating Oval, a permanent venue that will be used for the 2022 Winter Games. Soon, the foundation will be laid and the structure will begin to rise at the venue, dubbed the Ice Ribbon for its appearance. It will be completed by the end of 2019 for speed skating test events in 2020, according to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Shanghai lowers GDP growth goal

Shanghai has lowered its gross domestic product growth target for the next five years while increasing investment in research and key new industries to achieve stable, healthy and sustainable development. The city has set its GDP target at about 6.5 percent for the next five years, Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong said in the municipal government work report during the ongoing annual session of the Shanghai People's Congress on Jan 23. The target is lower than the average annual increase of 7.1 percent that the city achieved in the past five years. Successes in deepened reforms in the free trade zone, enhanced innovation and the improved quality of economic development were considered among the most significant achievements during the period.

New visa rules to help Chinese 'return home'

Ethnic Chinese living overseas will be able to apply for a Chinese visa starting next month that will be valid for multiple entries over five years, the Ministry of Public Security said on Jan 22. Under current rules, those in this group can apply for a visa with a maximum period of one year. The ministry also will extend the validity period of residency permits for the group from three years to five, the ministry said. The move aims to streamline the process for overseas Chinese to "return home" and to make it easy for them to visit families, conduct business and cultural exchanges and run personal errands in China, the ministry said.

Security, stability called top priorities in Xinjiang

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will step up border control measures this year to create a "Great Wall" along its 5,700-kilometer border to prevent the penetration of extremism, separatism and terrorism from abroad, the region's chairman said on Jan 22. "We will try our best to leave no gaps or blind spots in social security management and ensure the key areas remain absolutely safe," Shokrat Zakir, the chairman, said as he delivered the government work report during the annual session of the 13th Regional People's Congress, which kicked off in the capital, Urumqi, on Jan 22. The region will step up security measures in key areas and border areas as well as enforce internet management to maintain social stability in Xinjiang, which remains complicated, he said. It will further rely on technology to enhance frontline border control and improve infrastructure in border areas, such as improving road conditions, he said.

Beijing may give OK to expats' maids

Authorities in Beijing are considering changes to the rules on foreign domestic workers, which would make it easier for high-end overseas talent to settle in the Chinese capital. The city's Commission of Commerce has said departments are weighing a proposal to offer work and residential permits to the maids of foreign executives as well as some workers from Hong Kong and Macao. Permits will last for the duration of their contracts with their employers, as long as they can provide personal guarantees, the authority said. If the move is approved, Beijing will become only the second mainland city to allow overseas domestic workers, following Shanghai, which introduced the measure within its Pudong district in 2017.

Video sites told to clean up cartoons

China has ordered video sites to clean up cartoons recently uploaded online that use iconic cartoon characters in sexual and violent situations. The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said in a statement on Jan 22 that it had launched a nationwide campaign to crack down on the videos. Beijing authorities, including the Public Security Bureau and Cyberspace Administration, also asked search engines on Jan 22 to block related keywords. Chinese video companies Tencent video, iQIYI and Youku announced that they have started the cleanup campaign and welcomed tips from the public.

Proposal for draft filed for review

The proposal to amend some parts of the Constitution and the draft amendment to the law will be submitted to a session of China's top legislative body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, for discussion, Xinhua News Agency reported on Jan 22. The two-day session will be held on Jan 29 and 30 in Beijing, according to the report. A draft bill on holding the First Session of the 13th NPC will be also submitted to the legislature for review, it added.

Amount of Beijing's diverted water disclosed

Beijing authorities said on Jan 22 that the city received 1.077 billion cubic meters of diverted water from the Yangtze River in 2017. Since the south-to-north water diversion project began operation in December 2014, a total of 3 billion cubic meters of water has been diverted to Beijing. Around 70 percent of the city's urban residential water supply is from the Yangtze, according to the Beijing Commission of Development and Reform.

Shenzhen to build mangrove museum

A mangrove museum will be built in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the provincial forestry authority said on Jan 22. The museum, which will cover 61,800 square meters, will be built by the State Forestry Administration and the city government. It is expected to receive about 2 million visitors annually. It will showcase China's achievements in protecting and studying the plants.

Official micro blogs allow for faster responses

Chinese authorities have given quicker responses and solved emergencies in more transparent ways over the past year, thanks to stronger microblogging services. A report released by People's Daily and Sina Weibo on Jan 23 says that 173,569 micro blogs have been verified as posting government information and providing public services by the end of 2017, an increase of 9,047 over 2016. The micro blogs covered all kinds of government sectors such as justice, medical care, transportation and city management, it added.

Modified rice clears US import hurdle

The insect-resistant rice Huahui 1, a type of genetically modified rice bred in China, has passed safety inspections by the United States Food and Drug Administration, paving the way for it to be exported to the country, Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, Hubei province, said in a statement on Jan 21. The university received the notification on Jan 20, it said. Previously, the rice had passed safety inspections by the US Environmental Protection Agency on pesticide residue levels, the university said. Huahui 1 was successfully bred by the university in 1998 and was awarded with a biosafety certificate by China's Ministry of Agriculture in 2009, following safety evaluations that lasted nearly 10 years, according to the university.

China develops edge in satellite technology

China has become a leader in the cutting-edge technology of space-based, high-speed information transmission thanks to an advanced satellite, according to the National Space Administration. The Shijian 13 communication satellite has conducted the world's first experiment on high-orbit laser communication, a technology crucial to enabling a spacecraft to send, receive and transmit a large quantity of data with ground stations, the administration said in a statement on Jan 23. The experiment was one of the 11 technological demonstration programs made by Shijian 13, which is orbiting nearly 40,000 kilometers above Earth, since it was lifted atop a Long March 3B carrier rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province in April. It proved that the satellite is capable of carrying out steady, high-speed and high-quality transmission of information with the ground.

PLA, courier company launch cargo flight

Delivery company SF Express has opened a cargo flight to the Tibet autonomous region with the help of the People's Liberation Army, according to PLA Daily on Jan 23. The debut flight took off from Chengdu, Sichuan province, and landed in Lhasa in Tibet on Jan 22. The flight will reserve space for the PLA, providing it with new means to airlift military cargo in and out of Tibet, a military official was quoted as saying.

Rules set to protect overseas memorials

A regulation on the protection of overseas martyr memorials has been released for public opinion, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Jan 22. The memorials include cemeteries, memorial halls, monuments and statues. Authorities are tasked with searching for remains, protecting and building memorial facilities, maintenance and memorial activities.

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2018-01-28 13:30:06
<![CDATA[Partners in wildlife protection]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/28/content_35597836.htm China's comprehensive ban on trading in ivory started on the last day of 2017. But the protection of wildlife also made another move forward when Beijing Zoo and the African Wildlife Foundation signed a memoranda of understanding on January 22 in Beijing.

Their partnership aims to enhance the sustainable conservation of Africa's wildlife and wildlands.

Up to 35,000 elephants were killed on the African continent last year. Rhinos are critically endangered, having lost 97.6 percent of their population since 1960. In 10 years, the population of lions has fallen from 50,000 in 2005 to around 23,000 today, according to Kaddu Sebunya, president of the AWF.

"For the first time, Africa's largest conservation organization is entering a partnership with the world's largest zoo (in terms of daily visitors) to protect the continent's abundant but fragile resources and guarantee longterm socioeconomic stability for our people," he says.

Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa's unique conservation needs, the AWF is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa.

Through the memorandum, Beijing Zoo will collaborate with the AWF to provide targeted information to enhance the visitor experience while raising the Chinese public's awareness regarding African wildlife. This effort will ultimately serve to reduce the illegal trade of African flora and fauna throughout the Asian continent.

The AWF will also share best practices with Beijing Zoo regarding African species and habitat conservation, endangered species, anti-poaching and trafficking, conservation finance and enterprise development.

China has set an example in the protection of wildlife. For example, starting from the first day of 2018, the country banned all commercial trade in ivory. The State Forestry Administration said on its Weibo account that this would be a New Year's present for elephants.

According to statistics from the World Wide Fund for Nature, the number of elephants in Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Gabon has dropped by 66 percent from 2008 to 2016.

liuxuan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-28 13:30:06
<![CDATA[Bright future predicted for new energy cars]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555273.htm

 

Visitors take part in a new energy auto show in Haikou, Hainan province. Guo Cheng / Xinhua

Chinese NEV manufacturers urged to innovate to survive in growing market

New energy vehicles have great potential in China, despite the gradual withdrawal of subsidies, with the numbers of electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars expected to account for half of car sales in China by 2030, according to a top expert.

Wang Binggang, an electric vehicle specialist who leads the National 863 Energy-saving and New Energy Vehicle Project, made the remarks when he addressed a forum held last week by the China Automotive Technology & Research Center in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

China has at least 1.6 million new energy cars on its roads, said Wang, citing statistics from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the country overtaking the United States in 2015 as the world's largest market for such vehicles.

"Now we have a number of outstanding players," Wang said. "Globally there were 22 carmakers which produced more than 10,000 such cars last year, and 11 of them were Chinese."

BAIC BJEV, BAIC Group's electric car making arm, saw its sales in 2017 almost double to 103,199 vehicles. BYD sold 113,669 new energy cars last year, up 13.4 percent.

"The years from 2016 to 2020 will be a crucial period for new energy vehicles to jump up and the issue of how to promote them nationwide should be well considered," Wang said.

He added the time frame because China has announced its plan to stop subsidies on new energy cars by the end of 2020.

China has been offering financial incentives since 2010 to stimulate the popularity of new energy cars.

Wu Zhixin, vice-president of the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, said a subsidy-cutting plan is about to be released, adding that small and uncompetitive players will be wiped out faster than expected but outstanding performers would not be affected much.

"Good selling brands have good bargains from suppliers, and some are raising the prices of their cars a little bit, but the customers still love them."

China has 230 new energy car makers which combined are producing nearly 4,000 models, but less than 100 of them sell more than 1,000 units per year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"What we want to see is a small number of outstanding carmakers that sell many cars instead of a large number of carmakers each selling few cars," Wu said.

"So cutting subsidies means pressure for poor performers, but it presents opportunities for innovative ones."

The picture Wu paints is almost the same case as in the sector for power batteries, with CATL and BYD taking the lead far ahead their competitors.

Yet Wu expects a lot more smaller manufacturers to die out in three to five years when the Chinese government stops its subsidies to them.

But after the fall, the market will start to gain momentum and rise again thanks to technological breakthroughs, said Wang Haoyong, vice-director of GAC New Energy Co's technological center.

He expects that by 2020 the mileage of electric cars to reach 600 km on one charge and that their costs will come close to conventional cars.

Like Chinese brands, international carmakers are also making big bets on China's growing market for new energy cars.

Volkswagen is planning to sell 400,000 units in 2020, with its first localized electric car to roll off the assembly later this year.

At least 15 new electric vehicles will be on offer from Ford and Lincoln by 2025, and its new joint venture with Chinese carmaker Zotye will deliver a range of affordable electric cars under a new brand.

Talking about the head-on competition between manufacturers, Ni Shaoyong, dean of Chery New Energy Automobile Research Institute, said that technologically Chinese cars will not necessarily lag behind, but he urged carmakers to build better brands.

"It can be that even the same car will have different prices when they bear different logos. In terms of branding, we still have much to do."

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[Ministry drafts policies to promote self-driving vehicles]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555272.htm

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is working on a draft document on autonomous driving, which is part of China's efforts to promote the cutting-edge technology, according to a source close to the matter.

"The central government is eager to do it," Wu Zhixin, vice-president of the China Automotive Technology & Research Center, told China Daily in an interview last week.

"The Beijing city government has released one and the central government will promulgate that before any local government will follow Beijing's example."

China expects smart cars with partial or fully autonomous functions to account for 50 percent of new vehicles sold in the country by 2020, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

The Beijing guideline on autonomous driving, which was released in late December, is the first document of its kind in the country.

It applies to independent entities registered in China, allowing them to test at most five vehicles at a time, but before conducting road tests they must first complete tests in designated closed zones, according to the guideline.

Wu said specific requirements about tests in closed zones have not been finished and his center will organize experts in the field to conduct a comprehensive study soon.

"It is like we obtain our driving licenses. We must pass tests in closed zones before we are allowed to hit the road," he said.

For the technology's development, he suggested that a large scale of lower-level functions, or advanced driving assist systems, should be promoted first.

"We should start from the basics, like autonomous parking, which is easy to realize in simple scenarios like parking lots," said Wu.

"We promote them, and then more people will use them. When more people use them, carmakers will have returns on investments so they will have the money to invest further."

A lot of carmakers and tech companies have been pushing forward autonomous driving.

Baidu Inc has been moving ahead with the research and development of autonomous driving technology. In April 2017, it launched Apollo, an open platform on which its technologies can be shared with developers and automakers.

It also announced plans to unveil Level 3, or eye-of functions, in mass-produced cars by 2019 in cooperation with Chinese carmakers including JAC Motors and BAIC Motor.

China's SAIC Motor is teaming up with Intel to develop autonomous cars based on its Mobileye technology.

Zhu Jun, general manager of Shanghai E-propulsion Auto Technology Co, a SAIC subsidiary that that develops electric and hybrid propulsion technologies, is cautious. He does not expect affordable cars with real autonomy, which means at Level 4 or above, to drive into daily life within 10 years because of technological issues and costs.

A Level 4 vehicle can drive itself almost exclusively without any human interaction, and a Level 5 vehicle can drive itself without human interaction on any road.

Zhu's estimate is in line with the view of PwC consultancy subsidiary Strategy&, which predicts that from around 2027 highly or fully autonomous cars will become a reality in daily lives.

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[Mobility services to put an end to private auto ownership?]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555271.htm Chang, a 37-year-old from Beijing is looking at selling his compact sedan, a vehicle with 30,000 km mileage, that he has owned for the past eight years.

The young Beijinger is one of many people in China who are reconsidering their vehicle ownership in favor of cheaper and more convenient mobility service options.

Currently, Chang's car just sits idle in his community because it is cheaper for him to use mobility services to get to and from work and go out, than it is to drive himself.

"These services cost less than driving my own car. The parking lots around our office building charge me about 80 yuan ($12.3) for eight working hours, and there's also fuel cost to pay," Chang said.

With the rise of shared mobility, including short-time car rental, namely car sharing, and chauffeured car hailing, an irreversible trend is being revealed - owning a car is no longer a must for many individuals in major cities.

United States management consulting company Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,528 car owners from 18 Chinese cities throughout 2016, and found only 84 percent of existing car owners are still willing to buy and own a car if the shared mobility options are well-established.

"Mobility services give more economic choice when it comes to the overall expenditures," Xu Gang, Shanghai-based partner of BCG and managing director of BCG's Automotive Practice Greater China, told China Daily.

To take a 20-km journey lasting approximately 1 hour as an example, Didi Chuxing's Kuaiche ride sharing service charges less than 30 yuan, but the trip could be rerouted to pick up another passenger. A similar trip costs about 45 yuan when using Shanghai-based EVCard.

Last week, Beijing headquartered CAR Inc challenged the market with an even keener budget pricing strategy expecting to create a benchmark in the market. CAR Inc's vehicle sharing, set to be available from Mar 28, will charge just 31 yuan for 20 km driving in 1 hour.

Shared mobility's low costs will make an impact on weaker brands and low-end models, as they meet the customers' fundamental needs that also could be fulfilled without owning a car, according to Xu.

"The brand is key to attracting the future purchase. Customers will attach more emotions and feelings to a strong brand, and will be more willing to own a car carrying that brand," Xu said.

For those customers who still choose to buy and own a car, they would like their future vehicles bigger and better-branded to better meet their specific needs - something that shared mobility services have no way to fulfill, according to BCG's report. When comparing across the automobile industry, many local volume brands are perceived as weaker than those international brands from Europe, the United States, Japan, and South Korea.

Chinese volume brands have taken the majority market share for basic and economy products priced lower than 80,000 yuan.

In the meantime, many shared mobility services are offering similar vehicles and sometimes even better. EVCard has Roewe, Chery, Chang'an, and BMW in its fleet at varied costs, while CAR will offer major international brands at unified prices, and will add Land Rover to the list later.

Lu Zhengyao, chairman and CEO of CAR Inc, said: "Imagine you experience a Land Rover luxury SUV for a cost of 0.19 yuan a minute and 0.99 yuan each kilometer."

He also said that the low-price strategy in car-sharing won't make huge profit for the company, and that services do not have a business model that proved to be effective and profitable, so many of the players couldn't survive in the market.

"CAR is building a service platform targeting the future 10-year development and tackling the current issues on a big-data basis to better match our supplies and the customers' demands," Lu said.

Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Car Association, agreed that the price advantages of mobility services have weakened the customers' purchase willingness, but significant influence won't come to fruition in the near future. He said: "Despite younger Chinese customers' preference for mobility services, there are a large amount of elderly people who would like to own a car. They see the car as a possession or an icon of wealth, instead of merely transportation."

haoyan@chinadaily.com.cn

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[Audi still top in premium sector]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555270.htm

 

FAW-Volkswagen displays a localized Audi A4L at the Guangzhou auto show in November. Provided to China Daily

German marque sees off rivals as fight for market dominance goes down to the wire, Li Fusheng reports.

Audi has defended its position as the best-selling premium car brand in China last year, a title the German carmaker has kept for three decades.

China's premium car segment, where about 2.4 million cars were sold last year, is like a Hollywood-style blockbuster starring three German giants - Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Earlier in the year it looked as if Audi might lose its crown to one of its German rivals, but a strong close to the year meant that King Audi once again reigned supreme.

Mercedes-Benz gained a good start of the line in January 2017, with its sales surging by 39 percent, BMW followed in a close second, while Audi slipped to third place.

The two kept their advantage well into the year. Although Audi started to see acceleration in monthly sales starting June, it had lagged behind in the accumulative sales, bolstering observers' confidence in a shakeup.

"It would be hard to say which brand will succeed this year until the very last minute," said one analyst in November, who asked not to be identified.

None of them would relent their efforts in the closest ever race and Audi, with its 482 authorized dealerships in 203 cities, would not let go of the championship title it has enjoyed for three decades.

Its efforts paid off. With a stunning 68,948 cars sold in December, Audi's China sales totaled 595,288 cars, edging up 1.1 percent year-on-year, according to FAW-Volkswagen's Audi sales division.

As Audi is part of Volkswagen AG, the joint venture FAW-Volkswagen has been producing Audi models in China, where the majority of Audi cars sold were localized.

"Never before had so many Chinese customers taken delivery of an Audi in a single month," said Audi AG in a statement exuding relief and joy.

With this new all-time high, it maintains its lead in the Chinese premium car market, narrowly overtaking Mercedes-Benz's 587,868 units, not taking into account its Smart-branded cars, and BMW's 594,388 units even including its Mini-branded hatchbacks. Despite the victory, Audi is seeing its arch rivals rapidly closing up the gaps behind and gaining pace in its slipstream.

BMW AG sold 1,000 cars less than Audi last year, with the number being some 75,000 in 2015. Mercedes-Benz saw a shortfall of 8,000 of its namesake vehicles, but it became the first premium carmaker to sell more than 600,000 cars a year in China if coupled with its sibling Smart cars.

Premium brands from other countries, despite their small volumes, have been growing faster, eroding the big three's shares.

General Motors sold 175,489 Cadillac-branded cars last year in China, a 51 percent jump year-on-year.

That figures means China has surpassed the United States as the premium brand's largest market worldwide. Sales of Cadillac's popular XT5 SUV totaled more than 6,000 units in December alone, a decent bite of the segment that Audi's Q5 has dominated.

British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, which sold 146,399 units in China last year, has long thrown down the gauntlet, attempting to make inroads with its localized Jaguar XFL into the segment of business sedans where Audi A6 and Mercedes-Benz E-class have so far dominated.

Toyota's Lexus and Geely's Volvo are growing a larger following too, with their sales growing over 20 percent to more than 100,000 units in China. Facing a rat race of competition, Audi must remain vigilant this year and prepare for another tough-fought defense of its market-leading position in the world's largest car market.

"The year 2018 will be a bountiful year for us in terms of both product launches and branding initiatives," said Jing Qingchun, executive vice-general manager of FAW-Volkswagen's Audi sales division.

Among others, Audi plans to launch 16 new models, including the A8L and the new generation Q5L, into the Chinese market this year.

The A8L will be the world's first mass-produced car that boasts partial autonomous driving functions allowing the car to monitor the driving environment around it.

Audi says it is worth noting that such a system represents one of the top innovations for the brand which no other competitor offers.

Its upcoming full-size SUV, the Q8, will also make its world debut in China this year.

Audi said it would consider the needs of Chinese customers in its research and development as the country has been one of the fastest-evolving car markets worldwide, where new services and newly founded brands dedicated to electric cars are mushrooming.

"Premium brands will feel the impact of new players in a sense, and customers are renewing their requirements about branding, technology and services," said Hu Shaohang, vice-general manager of FAW-Volkswagen's Audi sales division, in a recent interview.

Contact the writer at lifusheng@chinadaily.com.cn 

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[Daimler, Bosch hit by walkouts in industry-wide labor dispute]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555269.htm

 

An employee prepares to install a fuel tank to a Mercedes-Benz S-Class automobile at Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz factory in Sindelfingen, Germany. Krisztian Bocsi / Bloomberg

FRANKFURT - Some 44,000 German workers at companies, including Mercedes maker Daimler and automotive supplier Bosch, took part in industrial action on Thursday as powerful labor union IG Metall and employers held regional wage talks.

Citing robust German economic growth and record low joblessness, IG Metall union is demanding 6 percent more pay for 3.9 million metals and engineering workers across Germany.

It has also embarked on its first major campaign for shorter working hours in more than three decades, demanding that workers gain the right to reduce their weekly hours to 28 from 35 to care for children or elderly or sick relatives, and then return to full-time employment after two years.

Employers have so far offered a 2 percent pay rise plus a one-of 200-euro ($239) payment in the first quarter.

They have rejected demands for a shorter working week unless hours could be increased temporarily so as not to put output at risk.

Three rounds of regional talks have failed to result in agreement.

"A further escalation of the conflict with 24-hour warning strikes can therefore no longer be ruled out," said Knut Giesler, head of IG Metall in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state.

He said that employers had not presented an improved pay offer and even refused to talk about working-hour reductions as outlined by the union. "However, IG Metall will not come out of these talks without presenting solutions for the whole set of demands."

A fourth round of talks begins in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to Daimler and sports car maker Porsche, on Jan 24. Any deal in Baden-Wuerttemberg would typically be applied in other states as well.

If the two sides remain at loggerheads, IG Metall's leadership may decide at a meeting on Jan 26 to call for 24-hour walkouts or ballot the union's members for extended strikes.

More than half a million workers at hundreds of metals and engineering companies have taken part in industrial action this month to support IG Metall's wage claim.

On Thursday, as talks were held in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's industrial heartland, some 4,000 workers at Daimler near Stuttgart downed their tools, and over 1,000 employees of Bosch in the Bavarian town of Ansbach took action.

Forklift truck maker Jungheinrich, Thyssenkrupp's system engineering and elevator businesses and premium carmaker BMW were also among the nearly 200 companies affected.

Such industrial action is common in Germany during sector-wide pay negotiations, and similar walkouts took place in 2015 and 2016.

Reuters

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[Short Torque]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/22/content_35555268.htm European car sales rise high on Peugeot, Renault SUVs

European car sales reached a 10-year high in 2017 as widening economic growth boosted consumer confidence, with SUVs from French manufacturers Peugeot and Renault, Italian competitor Alfa Romeo and Japanese rival Toyota propelling demand. Registrations last year increased by 3.3 percent to 15.6 million vehicles, the Brussels-based European Automobile Manufacturers' Association, said Wednesday in a statement. The figure was the highest since a record 16 million autos were delivered in 2007. SUVs that gained customers in 2017 included Renault SA's Captur and the Logan MCV Stepway from the company's Dacia division, and the Peugeot 5008 and Citroen C3 Aircross from PSA Group and Alfa Romeo's Stelvio.

France's PSA Group to offer 40 electric models by 2025

The CEO of France-based automaker PSA Group says it will offer 40 electric models across its lineup by 2025, and it plans to sell vehicles in the US within 10 years. Carlos Tavares said on Wednesday that PSA already offers mobility services in the US and soon will start car-sharing in some major cities. It will use its experience to learn the market and return to US sales. Such an approach "will minimize the risk of not understanding what the US consumer is expecting from us," he said. The company plans to start meeting with auto dealers in the US this year as it considers how it will distribute its vehicles.

Uber nearing autonomous cars without human backup

Uber plans to carry passengers in autonomous vehicles without human backup drivers in about the same timeframe as competitors, which expect to be on the road at the latest sometime next year, the service's autonomous vehicle chief said Wednesday. Advanced Technology Group leader Eric Meyhofer wouldn't give a specific start date but he said Uber won't deploy the driverless cars without human backups unless they are proved safe. "Once we can check that box, which we call passing the robot driver's license test, that's when we can remove the vehicle operator," Meyhofer said.

Big portion of future GM electric vehicles for China

General Motors Co's China unit will sell a "substantial portion" of the automaker's future electric vehicles, GM China President Matt Tsien said on Wednesday. Tsien said: "China is at the heart of our electrification strategy." He did not say which GM brands would sell electric vehicles in China. But Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen said the luxury brand "will play a central role" in GM's electrification strategy, including China. Cadillac will be "the technology spearhead for General Motors," de Nysschen said, adding the brand will be "at the forefront" of rolling out new electric vehicles in the United States and China.

Volkswagen sells record 10m vehicles in 2017

German automaker Volkswagen had record sales of 10.74 million vehicles last year, but its bid to remain the world's largest carmaker was disputed by rival Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi. Volkswagen's sales rose 4.3 percent from 10.30 million in 2016, when the company passed Japan's Toyota to become the globe's largest auto producer for that year. The figures show the Wolfsburg-based company continuing its effort to move past a scandal that broke in September 2015 over cars it had rigged to cheat on diesel emissions tests. Sales last year were boosted by a strong December, when sales rose 8.5 percent.

Mercedes plots more SUVs after compacts expand lead

Mercedes-Benz will respond to burgeoning demand for sport utility vehicles by expanding its lineup with more models, most likely in the fast-growing compact segment. SUVs recorded an almost 10 percent jump in total sales last year, expanding the Daimler AG unit's lead over BMW AG. Voracious appetite for the compact GLA and GLC crossovers made Mercedes the world's biggest luxury carmaker for a second consecutive year. "We see strong demand across our SUV range," said Britta Seeger, who heads Mercedes sales and marketing. "We have more ideas to add new products to our portfolio, though maybe not so much at the upper end of the SUV range for now."

Motoring - Agencies

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2018-01-22 07:22:41
<![CDATA[GAC Motor nails the NAIAS with cutting-edge models]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/18/content_35532597.htm

 

From left: Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor, Ryan La Fontaine, chairman of 2018 NAIAS, Feng Xingya, president of GAC Group, Rick Snyder, governor of state of Michigan, Zhang Qingsong, vice-president of GAC Group and Wang Qiujing, president of GAC Engineering are pictured at the North American International Auto Show held from Jan 14 to 28. Photos Provided to China Daily

Innovative enterprise on a roll, in ambitious drive to build world-class brand

GAC Motor - the cutting-edge subsidiary of Guangzhou Automobile Group - unveiled two new models of the GA4 and the electric concept car Enverge to acclaim at the North American International Auto Show.

They demonstrated the company's innovation in research, achievements in manufacturing and its determination to build a world-class brand.

It was the fourth year that the Chinese carmaker displayed its brands and products at the NAIAS, one of the world's most prestigious auto shows, which opened on Jan 14.

According to the company, GAC Motor's various models will officially enter the US market in 2019.

The GA4 is a brand new compact sedan, independently developed by GAC Motor for the A-class sedan market, with the design displaying a grand and fashionable vision with ample interior space and excellent driving comfort.

The company said the introduction of the GA4 further enriches its product matrix, which covers the A-level to C-level sedan market.

The group is bringing the new sedan to Chinese market on Jan 18 in Shanghai.

Adding to the action, GAC Motor unveiled its first compact sport-utility new energy concept vehicle, the Enverge, to demonstrate its innovative leadership in core environmental technologies.

The Enverge is GAC's latest exploration in the field of crossover electric vehicles. Featuring many technological achievements, the Enverge demonstrates the innovative allure of NEVs and the group promises that it creates a new driving experience for energetic young drivers.

GAC Motor's high-end strategic models - the GA8, GS8, and GM8 - are also at 2018 NAIAS, to demonstrate the company's product strength together with other signature models, including the GS3, GS4, GS7 and GA6.

The high-end sedan GA8 starred at several recent international events, including the 2017 World Economic Forum, the G20 summit, and the Fortune Global Forum, which were held last year. It has been hailed as a symbol of Chinese high-end manufacturing.

The flagship luxury seven-seat GS8 SUV has been well received by global customers and has broken sales records in the spacious large-sized SUV segment. This prime SUV model enables GAC Motor to deliver high quality, exceptional performance vehicles with an excellent user experience that exceed the expectations of global consumers.

As GAC Motor's first high-end minivan, the GM8 integrates the company's self-developed cutting-edge technologies and aims to meet the growing demand from consumers for a better driving experience for families and commercial clients.

GAC Motor said it is delivering to its target consumers exceptional quality and safety with the GM8, which was released at the end of 2017 and is making its first overseas appearance at the 2018 NAIAS.

"With the release of GA8, GS8, and GM8 models, GAC Motor has covered the high-end sedan, SUV and minivan market with a complete rollout of luxury C-Class vehicles," said Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor.

These three models highlight why GAC Motor has been continually recognized as China's most innovative automaker. It is a major milestone for GAC Motor - as the company begins to transit to a new era of Chinese-led global products, according to Yu.

GAC Motor aspires to take an active part in integrating China into the tide of the global auto industry. The company represents the significant achievements of Chinese brands in terms of quality improvement.

In 2017, GAC Motor established its North American R&D center in Silicon Valley and hosted job fairs in Silicon Valley, Detroit and Boston. In January 2018, GAC Motor began another round of on-campus and social recruitment programs in the US, to attract emerging talent in diverse fields.

GAC Motor is also expanding its efforts to raise brand awareness and increase its influence. Later this year, GAC Motor will announce a new branding strategy to the world, as well as a new English brand name to better serve its global consumers, according to Yu.

"Our strategic goal is to create a world-class brand that excels in research, manufacturing and sales," Yu added.

GAC Motor North America Sales Company - the new corporate entity which is set to be established in 2018 - will attend the annual convention of the National Automobile Dealers Association in Las Vegas this March.

The event will further expand its distribution network and dealership resources to better prepare for entering the North American market in the fourth quarter of 2019.

"In pursuit of the North American market, GAC Motor stands ready to share our high-quality products and work with local organizations to create a better life of mobility," Yu said.

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2018-01-18 07:59:57
<![CDATA[China's entrant to top market sees major upside in bold move]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/18/content_35532596.htm

Entering the North American market will help drive GAC Motor, a major Chinese homegrown carmaker, to improve its research and development, product quality, brand influence and business management, according to the company's president.

"Entering developed auto markets will also enable us to integrate resources in global markets and further share our thoughts for the good of the international auto industry and its consumers," said Yu Jun, president of GAC Motor.

Yu made the remarks during the North American International Auto Show, which was held from Jan 14 to 28, at the Cobo Center in Detroit.

GAC Motor, headquartered in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, presented its elite vehicle lineup featuring its existing sedan, SUV, minivan and NEV at the NAIAS, one of the leading auto shows in the world.

"The presentation of our complete product lineup at the auto show will showcase our strength as an international automaker," Yu said.

According to the business chief, the Chinese automaker will enter the North American market in 2019.

Participating for four years as the only Chinese automaker in the NAIAS gained widespread interest for GAC Motor and allowed it to become more familiar to local consumers as well as better understand their needs, according to Yu.

"As we are here to unveil new vehicles, our brand's product lineup is more comprehensive than ever, paving the way for us to further explore global markets while demonstrating our advanced and upgraded capabilities in designing and manufacturing high-end vehicles," he added.

According to Yu, GAC Motor aims to define future mobility with products of supreme quality and personalized design.

"GAC Motor is proud to showcase our bold additions to the SUV, sedan and minivan fields at the world's leading auto shows," Yu said.

Prior to entering the US market, GAC Motor has established its sales network in 14 countries and regions over the past few years.

"The US market has very strict standards, laws and regulations. So entering it is a challenge as well as a test for GAC Motor's quality, technology and R&D capabilities," Yu said.

As a highly-trusted Chinese homegrown brand, GAC Motor has been rated as the highest-ranking Chinese brand in J.D. Power Asia Pacific China Initial Quality Study, also known as IQS, for five consecutive years.

"As we execute on our strategy of becoming an automaker with global reach, we will continue to design products that will meet the different needs of customers worldwide," the executive said.

GAC Motor, which was established in 2008, met its target of an annual sales volume of 500,000 in China in 2017, with a 37.2 percent year-on-year increase, blazing a path of high-quality and sustainable development.

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2018-01-18 07:59:57
<![CDATA[New arrivals]]> http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/kindle/2018-01/18/content_35532595.htm

Signature models in GAC Motor's lineup - including the brand new GA4 sedan and GAC Motor's world debut concept car, the Enverge - are on display at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which runs from Jan 14 to 28. They demonstrate the company's innovations in research and achievements in manufacturing.

GA4

The GA4, an all-new signature sedan unveiled at the 2018 N