Permalink 10:56:08 am, by dacare, 118 words, 58 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China sees travel boom in May Day holiday

Heavy rain in some parts of China during the three-day May Day holiday did not dampen the enthusiasm of holidaymakers, with the number of travellers by rail and road both up from a year earlier.

Some 41 million trips were taken by train between April 30 and May 3, an increase of 10.9 percent from the previous year, with 1,505 extra trains running during the period, said the China Railway Corporation.

On May 1, the first day of the public holiday, 11.9 million trips were taken by rail, setting a daily record.

The toll fee exemption during the holiday boosted travellers hitting the road, with traffic on the nation's 10 most important highways growing 2.8 percent from the previous year, data from the Ministry of Transport revealed.

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Permalink 11:37:57 am, by dacare, 447 words, 55 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Home prices fall slightly nationwide in April

Reduced decrease in 100 big cities a sign of market recovery: analysts

Housing prices in 100 of China's major cities dropped by 0.01 percent month-on-month in April, 0.14 percentage points lower than that in March, data showed Friday, a sign that the housing market is warming up.

The average price of a new home in the 100 cities was 10,522 yuan ($1,695) per square meter in April, data from property research organization China Index Academy (CIA) showed.

For the 10 biggest cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, new home prices increased 0.12 percent month-on-month to 18,961 yuan per square meter in the month, CIA data showed.

Shenzhen recorded the highest monthly growth rate of 1.09 percent among the 10 biggest cities in April, according to the CIA.

Home transactions have been picking up after the central government loosened the housing down-payment policy on March 30, Li Zhanjun, analyst from Shanghai-based housing market research firm E-house China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

On March 30, the People's Bank of China (PBC), the country's central bank, together with the housing and banking authorities, announced a relaxation on loan requirements.

For home buyers with an outstanding mortgage who are applying for a mortgage for a second home, the minimum down payment was cut to 40 percent, from the previous level of 60 to 70 percent.

Meanwhile, the minimum down-payment rate for first-home buyers who use the public housing funds has been cut to 20 percent from 30 percent.

Zhang Dawei, analyst from Beijing-based Centaline Property Research Center, said that the housing market is recovering more quickly in first-tier cities like Shenzhen and Beijing, where more people plan to buy a second home and could benefit from the lowered second-home mortgage rate.

Though China's second and third-tier cities are still suffering from oversupply in the housing sector, analysts noted that smaller cities would also see local housing market recovery after the policy boost.

"Local governments will launch more policies to support the housing market as a way to boost the economy," Li noted.

The Bureau of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of Foshan, South China's Guangdong Province, decided to stop reviews of home buyers' qualifications starting on Friday, according to Guangzhou-based newspaper Nanfang Daily's report Thursday, making Foshan the first city in Guangdong to lift the home purchase restrictions, the report said.

Also, the central bank announced to lower the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 1 percentage point on April 19, the second time it has cut the RRR this year. The move was also seen as a positive step in helping real estate companies obtain financing, according to the CIA's report.

The PBC has also cut the interest rate once this year.

Zhang said the home prices will continue to rebound in the next few months under these supportive policies.

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Permalink 10:20:02 am, by dacare, 354 words, 130 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Wal-Mart to open 115 new stores in China

U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to open 115 new outlets by 2017 and remodel more than 50 others this year to offset slowing growth in China, a top company executive said on Wednesday.

"Over the next three years, we will increase investment across our business operations in China, as the country is a top priority for us," Chief Executive Doug McMillon told reporters at a news conference in Beijing.

The expansion of Wal-Mart, almost one-third by presence in China, is part of the company's multi-format strategy, which will include super centers and Sam's Club formats in cities such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan from 2015 to 2017, creating more than 30,000 jobs.

The U.S. retail chain has spent 600 million yuan ($96.8 million) to remodel more than 90 stores and now plans to invest more than 370 million yuan to upgrade 50 stores this year to better serve the Chinese customers, McMillon said.

The move came after top global retail giants such as the United Kingdom-based Tesco Plc and France's Carrefour SA, found the going tough in China, especially due to slowing economic growth and hot competition from online grocery stores.

Last year, Carrefour closed eight stores, while German retail giant Metro AG said it was closing its consumer electronics business in China. Tesco reported 5.74 billion pounds ($8.6 billion) of net losses, its biggest annual loss in its 96-year history.

Though online grocery businesses have changed the way consumers shop for goods, McMillon said he believes that physical stores would continue to prosper. "Some people may prefer to shop online, but some shop for fun, and they like to select fresh food for themselves, or maybe they want to go out anyway," he said.

Raymond Bracy, Wal-Mart China's senior vice-president of corporate affairs, said that an expanding middle class is encouraging for Wal-Mart to move into the emerging third-and fourth-tier cities, adding that the company would also push for further development of e-commerce.

The retail giant's purchase of a majority stake in the Chinese e-commerce company Yihaodian has been approved by regulators in August.

Since its entry into China in 1996, Wal-Mart has opened 412 stores in 165 cities and partnered with nearly 20,000 local suppliers.

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Permalink 11:52:33 am, by dacare, 111 words, 70 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China to adjust resource tax and fees

China will reform the resource tax of several natural resources and cut unnecessary fees starting from May, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

Resource taxes of rare earth, tungsten and molybdenum will be levied according to price instead of quantity. Reasonable tax rates will be worked out with no more tax burdens on enterprises.

Meanwhile, the central government will exempt mineral resources compensation fees, and ban illegal charges on the three resources by local governments below the provincial level.

The three resources will also be exempt from export tariffs from May,the Ministry of Finance announced last Thursday.

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Permalink 11:16:53 am, by dacare, 442 words, 76 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Nepal quake may dampen China trade

Tibet exports to South Asia affected by blocked route

The 8.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday and killed over 4,000 people may dampen the Sino-Nepalese bilateral trade, an expert said on Monday.[Special coverage]

Sino-Nepalese bilateral trade might substantially decline in the short term, as a major trade route between China and Nepal had become blocked after the earthquake, said Hu Shisheng, director of Institute of Asian and African Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

The trade route, namely the Sino-Nepalese Highway and opened to traffic in the 1960s, connects Lhasa, capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.

The Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday that a section of the highway, from Nielamu to Khasa, two towns on the border of Nepal and Tibet, had been blocked by landslides caused by the earthquake.

Hu told the Global Times on Monday that the possible slide in the Sino-Nepalese bilateral trade would not strongly affect Nepal's economy, but it might seriously impact Tibet's economy.

Hu said that Nepal might increase reliance on Indian imports to make up for the loss of imports from China. But "most of the commodities in Tibet have been exported to South Asia via Nepal. When the major route between Tibet and Nepal is cut off, Tibet's export market will be almost completely destroyed," said Hu.

The Xinhua News Agency reported in January that Tibet's exports to Nepal had reached 10.65 billion yuan ($1.72 billion), which accounted for 91.15 percent of the overall trade value in Tibet.

However, an employee of the board of trade of the Tibet local government told the Global Times on Monday that the earthquake "has had little impact" on the bilateral trade between Tibet and Nepal.

Apart from the Sino-Nepalese Highway, another roadway between Jilong, a Tibetan town and Rasuwa, a Nepal district, had also been affected by the earthquake.

The roadway was officially put into use in December 2014 and could connect Tibet and Kathmandu.

But the National Development and Reform Commission released a message on Sunday that a section of the Jilong-Rasuwa roadway had been reopened.

Hu said the Jilong-Rasuwa roadway was in better condition than the Sino-Nepalese Highway. He suggested that the roadway should be improved so it could replace the Sino-Nepalese Highway in trade.

He also said that China's humanitarian aid to quake-hit Nepal could be seen as an opportunity for China to increase infrastructure investment in Nepal in the future.

According to a China Trade News report on April 24, Sino-Nepalese bilateral trade had reached $2.33 billion in 2014, up 3.38 percent year-on-year. China's exports to Nepal surged 3.28 percent to $2.283 billion in 2014, while Nepal's exports to China rose 8.5 percent to $47 million.

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Permalink 01:45:28 pm, by dacare, 285 words, 85 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Alibaba, China Telecom tie up to sell phones

Chinese e-commerce leader Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and State-owned China Telecom Corp Ltd have tied up to sell inexpensive smartphones aimed at boosting mobile commerce in smaller cities and rural areas.

The phones, dubbed "Tianyi Taobao Shopping Handsets," will come installed with either an app for easy access to Alibaba's flagship Taobao online shopping platform or its home-grown YunOS mobile operating system, Alibaba said in a statement late on Friday. Buyers will be eligible for four months of free 2G data service.

The partnership is a bid to deepen Alibaba's e-commerce base in less developed parts of the country and promote its mobile operating system in a shrinking, cutthroat handset market.

Six models produced by Coolpad, Hisense and TCL will come with the Mobile Taobao app pre-installed.

Mobile Taobao is China's most popular mobile shopping app with more than 200 million monthly active users, the statement said.

Another eight models, made by less-known brands including Uniscope, Ctyon and Kingsun, will run YunOS, providing buyers with an Alibaba account for shopping and cloud-based storage, and other services, the statement said.

Some 557 million people in China access the Internet via mobile devices, according to government data.

But shipments in China were 389 million phones in 2014, down from 423 million the previous year, according to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

In January, Alibaba said the number of mobile monthly active users nearly doubled in the third quarter from the same period the previous year to 265 million.

The proportion of its gross merchandise volume derived from mobile also grew.

Alibaba says it has an 86 percent share of China's mobile commerce market.

In February, Alibaba announced that it was taking a $590 million stake in Meizu, a relatively obscure domestic smartphone maker.

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