The advent of China's retail giant Suning Group as the majority shareholder of Inter Milan offers an opportunity for China to enhance its national soccer project, according to the management of the Italian club.
"Suning has already agreed to build its second academy in China, because now we only have one in Italy which is one of the best in Europe," Inter president Erick Thohir said. "It is interesting to build a second project in China, which hopefully can be done by March or April next year," he added.
The new academy, Thohir explained to Xinhua, will help talents from China become high-quality soccer players to be able to play in the Chinese national team and also in other parts of the world. "I really believe that China has the potential with its 1.3 billion population," he stressed.
A news conference was held in Italy's business capital Milan on Tuesday to officially unveil the Chinese shareholder to the local press.
Suning Sports, a newly established company under Suning Group, on June 6 announced the deal for 270 million euros (nearly 300 million U.S. dollars) sealing the acquisition of 68.55 percent stake of Inter Milan.
Indonesian businessman Thohir, who had previously owned the majority stake in the club, was staying on as the president with a 31.05 percent stake.
Suning, Thohir told Xinhua, will further help the financial restructuring of Inter Milan after "the debt that we had previously has being going down in the last two years, while revenues have been going up."
Thohir explained to Chinese media on the sidelines of Tuesday's news conference that a key reason why he chose a Chinese shareholder was because he was looking for a partner "with an entrepreneurial background, but who also loves soccer."
He noted that Suning has already proved to be able to build a good quality soccer, when it bought Jiangsu Sainty last December and poured in more than 100 million euros (over 110 million U.S. dollars) during the winter transfer window to create a star-studded squad in the Chinese Super League (CSL).
"Suning chairman Zhang Jindong believes in the project, and this is a new era that we can take off with the new partnership," Thohir pointed out.
The second reason why Thohir chose China was that "from 264 million fans, we have 194 million in Asia Pacific, and China is more than 100 million. It is a reality that we have to be there."
Inter Milan, Thohir went on saying, is the number one Serie A team in China in terms of fan number. Yet, "the philosophy of Inter Milan is not only business" so that "to be present in China also means be open to work with China to develop a healthy soccer environment in China," he added.
Inter Milan vice president Javier Zanetti also defined the entry of the Chinese shareholder as a great opportunity. "We have now to work all together in an aligned way to build a competitive team able to return to the highest level," he told Xinhua.
Founded in 1908, Inter Milan has won 18 domestic titles and three UEFA Champions League trophies.
Zanetti told journalists he was particularly hit by the enthusiasm of Inter Milan fans during his trips to China.
"China's football is developing and becoming increasingly important, and the relation with our club will further contribute to the growth of a sector with great potential," he highlighted.
Workers pack dog food at a factory in Qingdao, Shandong province. The growth rate in the value of fast-moving consumer goods in China was 3.5 percent in 2015.
The growth rate in the value of fast-moving consumer goods in China reached a five-year low of 3.5 percent in 2015, according to an industry report.
The fifth annual China Shopper Report, issued by Bain & Company and Kantar Worldpanel, suggests that the rise of the service sector in China and its higher paying jobs has helped boost growth among brands in premium categories, such as yogurt and pet food. It also says that foreign brands are continuing to lose battles to local brands in this sector.
Brands in categories that traditionally cater to blue-collar workers are suffering as many manufacturing jobs move to lower-cost countries. For example, in 2015, sales of instant noodles declined by 12.5 percent and beer by 3.6 percent.
Last year, local companies' sales grew by nearly 8 percent and continue to gain share over their foreign rivals. Their biggest advance occurred in skin care, baby diapers, hair conditioners, toothpaste and shampoo.
Foreign companies generated their greatest share increase in fabric softener, infant formula, instant noodles and beer. However, foreign brands overall declined by 1.4 percent in 2015.
"Local companies have wider distribution networks particularly in lower-tier cities where growth is higher. They can make faster decisions and are more adaptable in the digital environment than their foreign peers, achieving a higher growth rate," said Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China.
For example, Shanghai Jahwa uses its knowledge of Chinese herbal beauty therapy to win over consumers.
The country's retail landscape has also evolved with smaller formats continuing to gain momentum. Notably, convenience stores generated 13.2 percent growth in value last year, catering to cash-rich and time-poor urban consumers.
Online shopping continues to define the modern retail environment in China. Over the last four years, e-commerce in China has grown at an annual rate of about 37 percent and generated revenue of nearly 4 trillion yuan. The report has found that baby-related categories and skin care continue to dominate the e-commerce market.
Deloitte opens more offices around China to seek greater share of lucrative market
Deloitte, a global audit and advisory firm, will continue to set up new offices and build new partnerships with companies in China's central and western regions as the country is undergoing an industrial upgrading boom, said Gary Coleman, Deloitte's global industry and senior client advisor, on Monday.
Eager to enhance its earning ability, the company set up two new offices in Changsha and Hefei in the first half of this year, after establishing offices in Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing over the past few years.
Coleman said China's fast growing 4G network would build a solid foundation for its manufacturers. This in turn would benefit greener, more efficient and sustainable development.
Indeed, manufacturing will be a key factor in determining competitiveness. Many countries have identified digital, intelligent and green sectors in the drive to develop high-end manufacturing.
China has been implementing a plan titled "Made in China 2025", aiming to enhance the country's manufacturing capacity under the guidance of technological progress, knowledge-based transformation and green development. This will help the Chinese economy grow at a faster speed.
"Connected industrial operations will consume less energy, since they are organized to optimize machine usage, labor, and product and service delivery," Coleman said. "Large Chinese manufacturers are already in an upgrading boom, while small and medium-sized companies also have the chance to benefit from this transformation."
He said that to achieve these goals, advanced software and internet applications in the field of big data analysis have to be established so that all parts of the value chain can communicate with each other.
Deloitte will deploy more resources in China to meet fast-growing demand for these services, focusing on the country's central and southwestern regions.
Supported by more than 13,000 employees, the financial and industrial service provider currently has 24 offices in China including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
"Such a major shift in manufacturing philosophy will affect global industry for years to come, and China will not be immune to this development," said He Jingtong, a professor specialized in modern manufacturing management at Tianjin's Nankai University.
ZD's fully-electric two-seaters roll off the production line in the Lanzhou plant in Gansu province, Jan 11, 2015.
Geely Automobile Holding has opted to sell its interests in micro-sized electric carmaker Zhidou, to enable the company to operate as an independent entity as a prerequisite to get listed in the nation's new energy vehicle catalog.
The Hongkong-listed Geely Automobile said in the news release on Friday that getting its products listed under the brand ZD is imperative for Zhidou's future, and will allow it to compete independently in the market. Under current regulations and conditions, the product can only be referred to as Geely ZD.
Geely Automobile announced a framework agreement on June 22 to sell part or all of its 45 percent interests held by two subsidiaries, Zhejiang Jirun Automobile Co and Shanghai Maple Guorun Automobile Co, in Ninghai Zhidou Electric Vehicles Co to a China-listed company. Detailed terms of the agreement have yet to be determined.
Jia Xinguang, senior analyst with the China Automobile Dealers Association, said: "The move could be a strategic adjustment made when Geely found the mini-sized electric car project might not be in line with its long-term plan. Another possibility is that Zhidou is growing stronger and seeking independence."
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co planned for new-energy vehicles to make up 90 percent of its sales by 2020, and about two-thirds of Geely's new-energy vehicle sales will come from plug-in hybrids and gasoline-electric hybrids by the end of the decade, with the rest coming from battery-electric vehicles.
Geely Automobile joined with Taizhou Xindayang Group Co to establish Xindayang Electric Vehicle Technology Co in January 2015 to manufacture ZD-branded electric cars in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu province in northwestern China.
Local media reports cited industrial data which indicated that the ZD brand failed to close a single deal in the first four months of this year, after registering 25,300-unit sales in 2015.
The ZD brand was expected to achieve an annual sales volume of at least 500,000 by 2020, 20 times that of ZD's 2015 sales, according to Hu Hesong, a partner in the venture capital fund GSR Ventures, one of the investors in Xindayang EV.
There are now two mini-sized two-seater models being offered by the ZD brand, the D1 and D2, with prices ranging from around 30,000 to 50,000 yuan ($4,600 -$7,700) taking national and local subsidies into consideration. The ZD car models are eligible for an NEV plate in cities where gasoline car sales and usage are restricted.
ZD brand's annual production capacity totaled 300,000 units, a figure that also accounts for the integration of Xindayang Electric Vehicle Technology Co and the earlier establishing of Shandong Xindayang, according to the company.
Xindayang EV took over Geely Automobile's Lanzhou plant after a 300 million yuan-plus upgrade in 2014, with the aim of obtaining a permit to manufacture passenger vehicles.
Telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co is undertaking a confidential project to develop its own operating system (OS), domestic news portal sina.com reported on Thursday, a move expert said aims to reduce its reliance on Google's Android OS and capture overseas markets.
Technology news sites have reported rumors circulating in the industry that Google might strengthen its control of the Android system over third-party devices or restrict original equipment manufacturers' (OEMs') use of functions and supporting services within the Android system.
Android OS has been a free, open-source software for years, and Google allows OEMs to customize and adjust its functions as they wish.
If Google is changing its policy on Android, then Huawei should come up with an alternative to avoid being plunged into an embarrassing situation, the sina.com report noted.
That's a major reason for Huawei's reported pursuit of its own OS, and it also explains why South Korea-based Samsung has released a mobile OS called Tizen.
Also, Huawei is pursuing expansion in overseas markets, especially in the US and Europe, where it faces strong competitors like Apple and Samsung in the mobile industry, expert said.
"Huawei's increasing revenues give it the capital to develop a unique OS that is resembles neither Android nor [Apple's] iOS, while meeting the demand of Western consumers," Wang Yanhui, secretary-general of the Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday.
In line with the company's development goals, former Apple creative director, Abigail Brody was hired by Huawei in 2015 as the chief user experience designer.
Huawei didn't respond to an interview request from the Global Times as of press time.
Media reports indicate that the OS project is still in its infancy, with a team in Scandinavia that includes former Nokia engineers.
Although innovative strides made by Huawei make the project's future a bright one, Wang also warned that it will take time to develop an entirely new OS.
"Any mobile OS relies heavily on its ecosystem. Currently, almost all the mobile applications have two versions - Android and iOS. But are they willing to develop a new and unique version for Huawei?" Wang said.
"So Huawei will opt to apply the OS first on its smartwatches and bands, and then gradually to other consumer electronic products like set-top boxes and finally to its mobile," Wang noted.
In 2015, Huawei's research and development spending increased 46.1 percent year-on-year to 59.6 billion yuan ($9.2 billion), accounting for 15 percent of its sales revenue, its financial statements show.
The company also leads in terms of international corporate patent filings with a record of 3,898 filings in 2015, topping the global list for the second consecutive year, according to the Xinhua News Agency, which cited the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Fuyao Group boss says firm has long aimed at smart production
Industry 4.0 can only be successful when an enterprise has a solid manufacturing capacity, said Cao Dewang, chairman of Fuyao Group, the largest automotive glass supplier in China.
"Industry 4.0 is quite a popular concept at the moment. But my concern is that manufacturers may face the risk of failure if they don't have a strong manufacturing capacity. China's manufacturing industry is still not very advanced," said Cao.
The vision of Industry 4.0 is for "cyber-physical production systems" in which smart embedded devices work together wirelessly directly or through the internet of things. It is seen as the Fourth Industrial Revolution following the first three driven by steam engine, electricity and the personal computer.
Fuyao has adopted a slogan of "Make Industry 4.0 Take Root in Fuyao". The reason that Fuyao is ready for Industry 4.0 is because it has more than 20 years of developing strong manufacturing competence under a vision on intelligent production, according to Cao.
"I first came to the realization that intelligence is the future when one of my engineers reminded me that software would one day be more valuable than human power in 1988 when I first bought equipment from overseas," said Cao. "I have been aiming at a smart production process ever since."
Founded in Fuzhou in the eastern part of China in 1987, Fuyao Group (Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co Ltd) now has a 65 percent share of the domestic market. The company has manufacturing bases in nine countries, including the United States, Russia, and Germany.
Cao was named as manufacturing pioneer in China by Forbes magazine in 2015. It was the first on the 14-member list, followed by Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric Appliances Inc, Liang Wengen, chairman of Sany Group, and Zhang Ruimin, chairman of Haier Group.
Fuyao's information technology and automation system have taken the lead among its counterparts in the world, according to Forbes.
It has formulated a sophisticated data system in purchasing, logistics, services and other value-added production links.
Fuyao's average use of robots is more than 200 robots per 10,000 workers. The level is 300 in Japan and 100 in the U.S. in automotive glass manufacturers, according to Cao.
"The key to success for Industry 4.0 is to design a system that suits the enterprise' production process. If you don't know the details in production like the back of your hand, how can you design the system that works the best?" said Cao.
Other factors for the success of Industry 4.0 include large production capacity, good management, the employees' quality, and high demand for the product. The demand for high value added automotive glass that is more environment-friendly, energy saving, intelligent and integrated is rising fast.
Fuyao is moving up along the value chain by developing intelligent glass of sound proof rate of 90 percent, heat insulating, low energy consumption and auto light adjustment.
It is also developing a windshield that can function as a dash board.
Fuyao realized revenue of 13.6 billion yuan ($2.1 billion) in 2015, a 5 percent increase from the same period in 2014. Its net profit stood at 2.6 billion yuan in 2015, up 17 percent from the end of 2014.
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