Permalink 10:49:23 am, by dacare, 403 words, 32 views   English (US)
Categories: Manufacturing & Industry

More automation would boost productivity, won’t cause job losses

The remaking of China's manufacturing sector hinges on production with a higher degree of automation and artificial intelligence, experts said at a two-day manufacturing forum ended Saturday.

China's factory sector needs to undergo a gradual process of shifting away from its extensive reliance on labor, Luo Jun, CEO of the Asian Manufacturing Association, said on Friday at the Seventh Annual Conference of Asian Manufacturing Forum held in Weifang, East China's Shandong Province, as he advocated the modeling of Germany's implementation of "Industry 4.0."

The term Industry 4.0, first introduced at Hanover Fair in 2011, has since become the cornerstone of Germany's industrial strategy pushing for computerization of traditional industries including manufacturing.

With the application of new technologies in manufacturing, the Chinese economy will experience a new round of restructuring and recovery, Luo believes.

His comments mirror rising concerns over China's vast manufacturing sector, with recent data revealing worrisome prospects.

The official Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), covering mainly big State-owned enterprises, edged down to 51.1 for August from 51.7 the month before, while the HSBC PMI, focusing on smaller private enterprises, shrank to a three-month low of 50.2 in August.

Experts also downplayed concerns about the replacement of manpower by automation and robots in the world's most populous country.

Speaking in an interview with the Global Times during the forum on Friday, Bernhard Thies, chairman of the Board of Directors of the DKE, the official German expertise center for electro-technical standardization, also said the application of automation and artificial intelligence that will be seen in China's industry sector will not cause big job losses.

A robotized factory sector expected in the future may weigh on the unemployment rate during a specific period of time, but it is unlikely to be a cause of sustained unemployment as new ideas and professions would be created to tackle job losses due to the prevalence of automation, according to Thies.

"I don't think it could really be a problem, because for the time being I believe that these new trends will still be [happening in] niche industries," Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, director of Trade Capacity Building Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, told the Global Times in an interview Friday, trying to allay fears of the predominance of machine over man.

But he noted that in the meantime the government should be responsible for designing policies and measures that would foster job-creating activities as well as sustainable and inclusive development of the factory sector.

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Permalink 11:30:59 am, by dacare, 338 words, 126 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Higher demand lifts Pearl Delta exports

Business continued to improve for small and medium-sized exporters in the Pearl River Delta in August, lifted by increased overseas demand and government policies to support foreign trade, a report said on Tuesday.

Shenzhen Onetouch Business Service Co, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, found that exporters' confidence was positive in August.

The trade climate index stood at 102.65, with many Delta exporters reporting increased orders.

"The situation will continue to improve in the months ahead because overseas demand for Chinese goods increases at the end of each year," said Xiao Feng, deputy general manager of Shenzhen Onetouch.

Rising orders in the past two months and stable production, labor and exchange-rate conditions helped exporters make more profits, according to Xiao.

Xiao said that government trade-boosting incentives had proven effective.

"In particular, new business models such as cross-border e-commerce and comprehensive foreign trade services have helped exporters gain more orders," Xiao said.

The nation's total trade increased 4 percent year-on-year to $367.09 billion in August, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Exports to major markets including the United States, European Union and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased by 11.3 percent, 12.8 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.

"The increased value of foreign trade in the past two months was mainly due to implementation of a series of government policies to support the stable growth of foreign trade," said Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce.

The trade increase in August followed a surge of 14.5 percent in July.

According to Shen, export procedures have been streamlined and export rebates have been improved.

"We have also introduced measures to help companies tackle financing difficulties, with credit and insurance institutes providing financial services for about 25,000 small and medium-sized enterprises," Shen said at a press conference on Tuesday.

He said that cross-border e-commerce and comprehensive trade service business have had strong government support.

"But we are not sure that China's foreign trade can maintain this momentum ... as many uncertainties remain in the global and domestic markets and some companies face difficulties in exporting," Shen said.

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Permalink 05:44:12 pm, by dacare, 389 words, 109 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Global media's take on Alibaba's IPO

Alibaba's impending IPO is one of the most talked-about stories in the world. Here is a selection of quotes from international and Chinese media.

"...at the valuation currently being discussed, Alibaba would be more expensive than more-established and better-known companies such as Google Inc. or eBay Inc."

Alibaba IPO: a big deal, and, backers argue, a real steal

-- Wall Street Journal, on Sep 12

"The most critical task Alibaba faces: Reaching the 500 million Chinese consumers who shop, chat, play games and basically run their entire digital lives on smartphones."

Alibaba IPO: Jack Ma's scrappy start-up takes on US

-- USA Today, on Sep 12

"For Alibaba, it was part of a continuing effort to make the instant gratification of global e-commerce accessible to China's expanding middle class. If the biggest Internet company in the world's most populous nation succeeds, it will make everything from culinary delicacies to flashy luxury goods available with a few keystrokes.

The degree to which Alibaba can deliver on this promise will help determine how much the company is ultimately worth and to what extent it can open up the enormous Chinese market to both global retailers and small businesses in search of growth."

Alibaba is bringing luxury, fast, to China's middle class

-- New York Times, on Sep 11

"As so is told by many brokerages, there's always chance for [Chinese] retail investors to grab a bite of Alibaba's IPO. To secure this opportunity, one has to be well-loaded and have some luck.

If you want to be Alibaba's shareholder, most of brokerages will require $1 million as liquid asset in your account and a minimum subscription of $400,000. Still, no guarantee for a successful allocation."

How could retail investors grab a bite of Alibaba shares

-- Caixin, on Sep 12

"Though Chinese consumers have driven Alibaba's financial success, they'll largely be left out of the company's stock offering."

Chinese gripe at being left out of Alibaba's $21 billion IPO

-- Bloomberg, Sep 15

"Alibaba is a 'hybrid' under the context of globalization. It reveals the financial development in China and its immeasurable potentials, while at the same time exposes shortcomings of Chinese venture capitals and difficulties for companies to seek domestic financing. Alibaba is a real 'multinational' company in the internet age. It has been seeking best opportunities globally and grown into 'first of the world'."

-- Global Times, May 8

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Permalink 11:56:45 am, by dacare, 130 words, 122 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Whirlpool gets approval for acquisition of Hefei Sanyo

U.S. appliance-maker Whirlpool Corporation received approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to acquire a 51 percent stake in the Shanghai-listed Hefei Rongshida Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd (Hefei Sanyo), according to a Hefei Sanyo statement released on Monday night.

It is the final approval required for the acquisition process.

The transaction will cost Whirlpool 3.382 billion yuan (550 million U.S. dollars), according to the statement.

China will become the world's largest white goods market and is the focus of Whirlpool's global layout. The acquisition will combine Whirlpool's technologies with Hefei Sanyo's local market expertise to grow its market share, according to the statement.

Michigan-based Whirlpool, with an annual sales revenues of more than 18 billion U.S. dollars, entered into the Chinese market in 1994 but has lagged behind local brands like Haier.

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Permalink 11:55:52 am, by dacare, 820 words, 141 views   English (US)
Categories: Living & Working in China

All work, no play

Foreign job-seekers discuss work opportunities at the 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday.

Foreign job-seekers discuss work opportunities at the 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday.

With autumn just around the corner, recent university graduates are putting the carefree days of summer behind them and buckling down in their job search. For foreign job-seekers, Shanghai Expat, one of the city's most established online English-language communities, held its 4th Expat Job Fair Saturday, the second such event organized by the website this year.

Over 20 companies were in attendance at the fair to discuss open positions in fields such as education, healthcare, information technology, real estate, finance and catering. Over 1,300 job-seekers turned out as well, most of them overseas citizens. Many described the event as an invaluable opportunity where individuals and employers could meet face-to-face.

"Besides recruitment, companies can also take the opportunity to do branding promotion at the fair. For example, Fields China, an e-commerce company … is very popular among expats. The company not only recruits new staff at the job fair, they also promote their brand and business by providing free snacks," said Fan Yiting, brand manager from Ringier China, the media group that owns Shanghai Expat.

Some English education institutions saw the job fair as a chance to further their recruitment plans. One of the teaching companies present at the fair, EF Education First, will recruit 200 teachers or so between September and March.

"We do have multiple positions all across China, so we're looking forward to filling quite a few positions. Basically we're looking for teachers to work with kids and teens, or at our online center and face-to-face with adults. Our teachers definitely need to have some teaching experience, ideally two years," said Janice Hu, senior recruiter from EF Education First.

Hu added that the fair is also a good place to meet job-seekers who are already in China. "Lots of times we are dealing with people who are still overseas - maybe from the US or from the UK - and they are coming to China. But at this job fair, it's a nice chance to see who is already in the city and ready to start a new position," said Hu.

Some companies, on the other hand, were looking to recruit far fewer individuals.

"We have two open positions: one is for a sales adviser, the other is for an assistant," said Deanna Greer, senior consultant from Pacific Prime, a provider of insurance services. "The administrative job is more of something we do back at the office, so I'm here specifically looking for the sales position. I'm trying to fill that."

"We're looking for someone who obviously has a bachelor's degree … someone who has some time with other companies. We're looking for people who are really motivated, very ambitious and sales-driven," explained Greer, whose company attended the job fair organized by Shanghai Expat for the second time this year. Overall, Greer described her company's participation in the fair as a positive experience.

"Last year we hired two people from this job fair. They are still with the company today. They've been very successful," she explained.

Still, several employers explained that they regard the fair as merely a venue to connect with potential recruits. Most companies will conduct a more in-depth selection and review process after the fair to assess the candidate's qualifications.

"The people who want to apply with us have to be very international and bilingual," said Zhang Wenjing, an asset and tenancy management executive from Asia Pacific Properties. "They will not only face our clients from overseas, but also local people in Shanghai. And they need to have skills to negotiate with them."

Some employers also spoke about the impact new work visa policies were having on their recruitment plans.

"We want to recruit a few foreign managers for our restaurants," said Shi Hui, HR manager from Element Fresh. "Although there are many job-seekers here, we have to find some with catering industry experience. Because of tighter visa policies, now only people who have at least two years of full-time work experience in the same industry can apply for a work visa, so many candidates here are not qualified. This adds some difficulty to selecting candidates."

Harry Vuylsteke from Belgium has been in Shanghai for 13 months. He is looking into technical sales jobs. He has a master's degree in engineering as well as an MBA which he obtained in Shanghai.

"It would be great if there would be more companies," Vuylsteke remarked when asked about the employers who were present at the fair. "(The fair) definitely gives you an idea about possible positions in China. I've been looking for a job for three weeks. The main feedback I always get is you need to speak Putonghua, so it's really tough if you want to work in China." Nevertheless, Vuylsteke added that, "it is really a nice thing to see that there's a job fair for foreigners."

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Permalink 10:13:10 am, by dacare, 345 words, 234 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

ABB CEO stresses confidence in China's economic growth, market outlook

ABB Inc, a global grid equipments and automation technologies giant, Tuesday stressed its confidence on China's economic growth and market outlook, as they are continuously bolstered by industry upgrade, energy efficiency, automation applications, alongside with huge infrastructure programs.

Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive of ABB, said in a group interview in London that China is a very important market to ABB, as well as a significantly important platform for ABB to take the company to the next level.

Though China's economic growth is expected to decelerate in the future compared to its past 35-year performance, the country's ambitious blueprint on industry upgrade, energy efficiency , automation application, alongside with huge infrastructure programs are still able to boost its economic outlook and the rosy picture for the industries concerned, said Spiesshofer.

"We are very optimistic on China's long-term development in infrastructure programs," he said.

Spiesshofer also elaborated its understanding on China's "new normal" pattern of economic growth.

He said China has to tackle with the environmental pollution problems from economic growth, and this could happen in two ways, one is to cut down the energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product, the other one is to create environmental friendly technologies.

Spiesshofer added that ABB will collaborate with Chinese government for their action on anti-trust, a process that could incubate and optimize the competitive market environment,

On the same day at its annual Capital Market Day in London, Spiesshofer announced a surprising four billion U.S. dollars share buyback plan after the stock's dismal performance over the past year.

ABB also outlined the new long-term targets for the company, with plan to increase operational earnings per share by 10 to 15 percent on a compound annual basis from 2015 to 2020. And the like-for-like sales is expected to grow by four to seven percent per year over the same period.

On Friday last week, however, the world's largest power-grid maker announced a strategic collaboration with China's BYD Co., Ltd. to jointly develop new solutions for energy storage building.

The Switzerland-based ABB Group of companies operate in around 100 countries and employ about 145,000 people.

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