04/28/15

Permalink 11:16:53 am, by dacare, 442 words, 16 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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04/27/15

Permalink 01:45:28 pm, by dacare, 285 words, 46 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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04/24/15

Permalink 11:16:12 am, by dacare, 62 words, 122 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

China employment growth slows in new precedent

Growth in the number of people employed in China's urban areas slowed for the first time since the global financial crisis in the first quarter of 2015, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS) said on Friday.

January-March, China's employed rural population grew by 3.24 million, 200,000 less than the same period last year, MOHRSS spokesperson Li Zhong said at a press conference.

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04/23/15

Permalink 11:19:24 am, by dacare, 763 words, 81 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

FTZ to cut travel time within Pearl River Delta

Nansha to spearhead financial reforms, service sector growth, green urbanization in Guangdong

By 2017, it will take only 30 minutes to go from Nansha, which lies at the estuary of the Pearl River, to Hong Kong or Macao.

The area is improving its transportation infrastructure now that it has been designated as part of the China (Guangdong) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

Nansha, a southern coastal district of Guangzhou, the capital city of Guangdong province, is 70 kilometers from Hong Kong, 89 km from Macao and 111 km from downtown Guangzhou. With an area of 783 sq km, similar to Hong Kong or Singapore, it is located in the center of the Pearl River Delta Region, a major coastal economic center adjacent to the Yangtze River Delta Region.

Within the district, 60 sq km comprising seven separate sites have been designated as part of the Guangdong FTZ, which was approved by the State Council last December as one of the nation's four FTZs.

Nansha FTZ is the largest area among the three regions that form the Guangdong FTZ. The other two are Hengqin Island in Zhuhai and Qianhai in Shenzhen, with geographical proximity to Nansha.

"The positioning of Nansha as part of the Guangdong FTZ is that it will be built into the central business district in the Pearl River Delta Region connecting ... Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao," said Wang Wei, chief planner of the Nansha office of the Guangzhou city planning bureau.

According to Wang, 120 km of high-speed roads have already been completed, out of 200 km in the development plan of Nansha. Those roads include a ring road around Guangzhou, one that connects the area with Hong Kong and Macao, and a highway-rail bridge connecting Shenzhen and Maoming.

"The Nansha zone is going to be the experimental area of Guangdong's endeavor in industrial modernization, financial reform, service industry development and environment-oriented urbanization," noted Wang. "In particular, it is the central region for the integrated development with Hong Kong and Macao."

"By 2017, when most of the transportation routes have been built, it will take only half an hour to go from Nansha to Hong Kong or Macao," said Wang.

Jiaomenhe, an area in central Nansha that covers a mere 3 sq km, will be the service center for foreign investment in the FTZ. A total of 5 million square meters of floor space has been planned for companies' headquarters, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises.

"In my view, an FTZ should just be like Hong Kong," said Wu Yunyuan, the owner of an Australian wine import company, which registered in Nansha right after the Guangdong FTZ was approved by the central government in December 2014.

"One of the biggest attractions of Hong Kong is its duty-free products. I believe Nansha will soon offer duty-free products too," said Wu. "Moreover, I appreciate the efficiency of the FTZ in administration. It took only one workday for me to change my company's main business from wine import from various countries to exclusively from Australia."

The Nansha Harbor in the north, measuring 5 sq km, was originally developed in the 1990s by the late Henry Fok Ying-tung, a Hong Kong tycoon, into a leisure service area. The harbor has 300 yacht berths, and two cruise home ports are being planned.

According to Wang, the establishment of the Guangdong FTZ is driving demand for the office buildings under construction in Nansha.

"We noted surges in property sales in Nansha last November and December," said He Ling, head of the market research department of Savills Property Services (Guangzhou) Co.

"The FTZ is definitely going to benefit the housing market in Nansha in the long run if the planning and development are well implemented."

Guangdong is the first province that released a general development plan within the framework of the national "One Belt, One Road" strategy. The plan lists more than 10 projects for the first three years starting from 2015, including the construction of a power plant in Vietnam and metals investments in Australia.

"Nansha will benefit from the 'One Belt, One Road' strategy not in terms of economic growth but in terms of experiments that will be able to be carried out in the district," said Guangzhou Mayor Chen Jianhua.

The GDP of Nansha last year was 100 billion yuan ($16.3 billion), accounting for only one-17th of the overall GDP of Guangzhou province.

"However, it plays a crucial role in the province's economic modernization, particularly now that (there is) an FTZ. The new economic rules, the business environment, the transformation of industry and the introduction of international standards practiced in Nansha, if successful, will be quickly promoted in the rest of Guangdong province," said Chen.

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04/22/15

Permalink 10:50:01 am, by dacare, 311 words, 81 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Largest coal firm in NE China struggles to cut losses

The largest coal mining group in northeast China is struggling to reduce its losses and pay thousands of its employees.

Heilongjiang Longmay Mining Holding Group Co. Ltd., suffered around 5 billion yuan (815 million U.S. dollars) in losses last year due to the drop in coal prices, the exhaustion of mines and high production costs.

With 240,000 employees, the state-owned firm has subsidiaries in Jixi, Hegang, Shuangyashan and Qitaihe in Heilongjiang Province. The group started management restructuring last year in an attempt to give its subsidiaries more power to become self-operating market entities.

However, some managers have not been paid since last September, a senior executive of subsidiary Shuangyashan Mining Co. said on Tuesday.

Structural streamlining should be finished by August, which will reduce the number of administrative employees from 36,000 to 20,000.

The company will also expedite development of its coal-related chemical industries.

Longmay's difficulties reflect the wider economic slowdown in Heilongjiang, which only grew by 5.6 percent last year, much lower than the national rate of 7.4 percent.

Economic growth in Jilin and Liaoning province was also weaker than the national average.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang urged northeastern regions to offer preferential policies to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship; to promote systemic reform in major state-owned enterprises; and support the growth of micro, small and medium-sized firms, including private enterprises.

"Due to shrinking coal demand and the company's accumulated problems, Longmay faces losses and strained cash flow. However, it is thinking about ways to guarantee employees are paid," an executive of the group told Xinhua.

Song Yufei, acting chief accountant of Longmay Mining, said the group would reduce costs and losses by improving management and follow up outstanding payments totalling 4.8 billion yuan.

In April, the provincial government loaned 500 million yuan to Longmay Mining and earmarked a special unemployment insurance fund of 500 million yuan and another 100 million yuan for those laid-off to find new jobs.

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04/21/15

Permalink 10:23:24 am, by dacare, 87 words, 88 views   English (US)
Categories: News of China

Foreign seed producers to be saddled with tough regulations in China

Chinese lawmakers are looking at limiting foreign access to the country's seed production industry.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is now considering an amendment to make seed production part of the national security lexicon.

If passed, this would require seed producers or research firms with any foreign investment undergo new security assessments.

Foreign investment, mergers or technological cooperation by foreign companies with Chinese seed producers will also be strictly scrutinized.

The proposed changes come amid concerns in China about the production of genetically-modified foods.

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