Food production increases steadily in China


(Photo/The Economic Daily)

China’s food production has maintained a healthy trend toward stable growth. In 2019, the country’s summer grain output reached 141.8 billion kilograms, underpinning the sufficient supply of major agricultural products.

Stable food production and food safety lay a solid foundation for economic and social development and give the country more confidence to cope with external challenges and risks, said Han Changfu, the Chinese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

China’s per capita grain possession now exceeds 470 kilograms, higher than the world’s average. The country’s self-sufficiency rates of rice, wheat, and corn all stand above 98 percent.

China plays an active role in safeguarding global food safety, as the country can feed 20 percent of the world’s population with only 9 percent of the world’s arable land and 6.4 percent of its water resources.

The country has taken various measures to protect farmland, including designating permanent basic cropland, cultivating high-quality farmland and expanding trials in crop rotation.

The country aims to build 800 million mu (53 million hectares) of high-quality farmland by 2020. By the end of 2018, about 640 million mu of high-quality farmland had already been cultivated.

Technology has helped to improve grain production. China has increased technological input, applied modern technologies to farming, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence, and intensified farmer training. As a result, the overall level of mechanization in plowing, sowing, and harvesting is growing substantially.

Last year, the advances in agricultural science and technology contributed to 58.3 percent of China’s agricultural production. The grain yield per mu increased to 375 kilograms in 2018 from 170 kilograms 40 years ago. Moreover, about 90 percent of China’s agrarian brands are domestically developed.

The country encourages farmers to work together to reduce costs, increase production and embrace the market. Currently, the country has 2.2 million registered agricultural cooperatives. Last year, it allocated 42.8 billion yuan to encourage farming in certain provinces.

China experiences huge changes in transportation, postal services, communication in 70 years

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

On Tuesday, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released data revealing the drastic changes the country has made since the founding of the People’s Republic of China 70 years ago, especially after the implementation of reform and opening up in 1978.

According to NBS, China’s total operating mileage of high-speed rails had hit 30,000 kilometers by the end of 2018, accounting for over two-thirds of the global total and ranking first in the world.

The country is also home to 143,000 kilometers of expressways, with an annual growth rate of 25.8 percent. Among the world’s top 10 container ports regarding handling capacity last year, seven were in China.

Over the past 70 years, China has continuously expanded its network of air routes and airports. By the end of 2018, the country had 4,945 regular air routes, 412.1 times the number in 1950.

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the country has also been working hard to improve and reform its postal system. From a country where no express delivery service existed, it has become the world’s largest express delivery market. Statistics indicated that by the end of 2018, the number of postal business outlets stood at 275,000, 10.4 times more than in 1949.

The country handled a total of 5.07 billion postal parcels last year, up from 1.53 million in 1988. The express delivery industry of the country generated revenue of 603.8 billion yuan last year, accounting for 76.4 percent of the total revenue of postal services.

Moreover, China also witnessed considerable improvements in communication. Starting in 2014, the country quickly established the world’s largest and broadest-covering 4G network in just a few years. By the end of 2018, the country had 1.17 billion 4G users, accounting for 74.4 percent of total mobile users.

The number of internet users also grew 40.9 percent annually from 620,000 in 1997 to 830 million in 2018.

China’s construction industry grows rapidly since 1949

China’s construction industry has seen rapid growth since 1949, according to a report issued by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The output value of the industry totaled 23.5 trillion yuan in 2018, 4,124 times that of 1952. The average annual growth rate reached 13.4 percent, said the report.

The added value accounted for 8.2 percent of the country’s GDP last year, 6.8 percentage points higher than in 1979.

Construction enterprises have increased alongside the booming industry, with more than 1.2 million enterprises in the sector last year.

Meanwhile, corporate strength has improved significantly. In 2018, 69 Chinese mainland companies were included in the list of the top 250 international contractors released by Engineering News-Record (ENR), an American weekly magazine on the construction industry, ranking first among global countries for the fourth time in a row.

The fast-growing industry has boosted employment. By the end of 2018, 55.63 million people were employed in the sector, accounting for 7.2 percent of the nation’s total, an increase of 5.6 percentage points over the 1980 figure.

With the maturing of technologies and an improvement in skills, Chinese enterprises have completed world-class construction projects at home, such as the Three Gorges Dam and the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

They have also expanded their business overseas. China-Myanmar oil pipelines and the Mohammed VI Bridge in Morocco and other facilities built by Chinese enterprises have won widespread praise in recent years.

China maintains stable employment over the past 70 years: report

China has seen stable employment over the past 70 years, according to a report released on Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The report noted that the number of employees increased from 180 million in 1949 to 780 million in 2018, of which 430 million were urban employees, 27.3 times that of 1949.

Job structure also improved. In 1949, urban jobs only accounted for 8.5 percent of all jobs in China, while the proportion of urban employment hit 56 percent in 2018. Last year, employees in the primary, secondary, and tertiary industries accounted for 26.1 percent, 27.6 percent and 46.3 percent, respectively.

The report indicated that non-public sectors have developed into the main channel for urban employment. In 2018, the proportion of urban jobs in non-public sectors increased from 0.2 percent in 1978 to 83.6 percent.

The quality of employment was also significantly improved. The average annual wage for employees in the urban non-private sector increased to 82,461 yuan in 2018, 134 times that of 1978, representing an average yearly increase of 13 percent.

From 2013 to 2018, more than 13 million urban jobs were created every year in China. In addition, the surveyed urban unemployment rate remained at a relatively low level of around 5 percent. The country also confined the registered urban unemployment rate to about 4 percent.

The report further noted that China still needs to work hard to achieve fuller employment and create better quality jobs as it is still an arduous, long-term task.

Cartoon companies facilitate industry development

A poster for Ne Zha (Photo/worker.cn)

October Meng Ma, an animation producer participating in post-production of the animated blockbuster Ne Zha, earned little profit from the film, which brought in 2.8 billion yuan in box office revenue after hitting cinemas.

October Meng Ma and other companies, all based in Suzhou, east China, completed 400 visual effect shots in Ne Zha. These other companies, like October Meng Ma, didn’t make much money.

Industry insiders said that the average profit of each sector of the film and television supply chain is more than 20 percent, but the post-production of special effects hovered in the region of 5 percent.

To climb out of this low-profit dilemma, Suzhou cartoon companies started to produce original animations with the support of investors instead of merely providing post-production services.

Statistics show that China’s animation industry saw 65 financing activities in 2018. Several cartoon producers in the Suzhou Xiangcheng film and television industrial park have raised funds from major enterprises such as Enlight Media and have made over 20 animated cartoons.

“It takes at least three years to design and release an animation. We need to take action to help upgrade the animation industry,” said Qiu Jiawei, head of October Meng Ma.

The Suzhou industrial park has also infused animations into the game industry, with over 100 cartoon game companies bringing an annual output value of 7.5 billion yuan.

Chinese museums see increased demand for cultural and creative products

Chinese museums have seen rapid growth in the market for cultural and creative products in recent years, according to a report released on Thursday.

(Photo/Xinhua)

Statistics from Tmall, China’s largest online retail platform, suggest that the transaction size of creative products with traditional cultural elements in 2019 quadrupled from 2017.

Chinese people are now more confident in their traditional culture with the rapid development of China and the rising of its international status.

Keyword searches related to traditional elements exceeded 12.6 billion on Tmall alone in 2018, the report said.

Online buyers of traditional Hanfu clothing increased by over 100 percent in 2018 compared with the previous year.

The report pointed out that many museums started to develop and sell their own cultural and creative products since the traditional operating model of merely displaying collections couldn’t satisfy the increasing demand.

As a forerunner in cultural innovation, the Palace Museum in Beijing received an income of 1.5 billion yuan by selling creative products back in 2017.

Vegetarian meat mooncakes to hit Chinese market

(Photo/Xinhua)

A mooncake stuffed with vegetarian meat will enter the Chinese market for the first time in September, Chongqing Morning Post reported.

The artificial meat, made from soy protein, is designed to imitate animal meat in its color, smell, taste and texture, said Li Jian, leader of the research team with Beijing Technology and Business University that co-developed the mooncake with Starfield, a plant-based meat brand.

The first batch of 3,000 mooncakes will be sold at Starfield outlets in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Sept. 13 this year.

About 34.4 percent of the total 44,000 respondents said they would like to try the mooncake, according to a poll conducted on Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging website.

Replacing animal meat with artificial meat will reduce the consumption of natural resources brought by animal husbandry and guide consumers towards a healthier diet.

Such substitutes are necessary because animal meat can’t suffice the growing global population, which is expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, according to United Nations estimations.

China rolls out policies to facilitate e-sports industry

The Chinese government has rolled out policies to encourage the e-sports industry to develop in a professional and healthy way.

A young female player competes in an e-sports event in Taicang, Jiangsu province.[Photo by Ji Haixin/China Daily]

Back in 2003, e-sports was included as a formal sports event by the General Administration of Sport. In 2017, the administration issued an official document to encourage Chinese cities to hold e-sports activities.

Reports confirmed that the industry is short of between 500,000 and 1 million professionals. To address the problem, the Ministry of Education incorporated e-sports as a major in universities.

From 2017 to 2018, the number of educational institutions running e-sports majors increased from 18 to 51. Meanwhile, e-sports operators and e-sportsmen were listed as new occupations by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security earlier this year to encourage more talents in the industry.

The Shanghai government promised to provide funds and train talents in the e-sports sector. Moreover, Hainan province established a special fund of one billion yuan to support the industry.

Insiders pointed out that the government needs to optimize industry organizations, competition systems and rules, as well as improve certification procedures for practitioners to promote sustainable development of the industry.

In the first half of this year, the actual sales revenue of e-sports reached 51.3 billion yuan, and 440,000 people were employed in the industry.

Lebanese company introduces Chinese books to the world

Digital Future, a leading publishing company headquartered in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, has translated and published more than 200 Chinese books and sold a total of more than 1 million copies, contributing to the cultural communication between China and other countries.

These books, covering a variety of topics, including politics, economy, society, culture and education, have been translated into Arabic, English, French and German among others, said Mohamad Elkhatib, president of the company.

Elkhatib started to bring Chinese books to Lebanon and other Arab countries more than 10 years ago, when he first picked up a children’s storybook at a bookstore in Shenzhen, China’s Guangdong province.

He believes it’s necessary to translate Chinese books into Arabic since hundreds of millions of people in the world speak Arabic and more Arab readers are becoming interested in Chinese culture with the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Up to now, the company has cooperated with over 10 Chinese publishers, including China Renmin University Press and Anhui Children’s Publishing House.

The children’s books published by the company are popular among Arab kids. Some are even included on must-read lists created by primary and high school teachers.

The company is joining hands with educational institutions and schools in Arab countries to promote academic and educational Chinese books to the students, said Elkhatib.

Elkhatib also said that the company would translate and publish an encyclopedia about China in the near future, which he thinks will help Arab readers have an in-depth understanding of China. He hopes Arab countries can learn from the experience of China’s economic development through these books.

Concerted efforts required to curb game addiction

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China’s online game users reached 484 million by the end of 2018, according to a report released by the China Internet Network Information Center.

Alongside this surge in users, addiction to gaming has become a real problem, especially among teenagers, who often have less self-control than their adult counterparts. A study shows that 27.5 percent of teenagers aged between 12 and 16 years old suffer from gaming addiction.

A lack of other interests, outdoor activities and good communication with parents and schoolmates prompts teenagers to spend too much time playing games, reasoned Lu Lin, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Beijing Huilongguan Hospital established a specialized medical center in 2018 to treat teenagers addicted to video games. This year, the hospital set up rooms equipped with sports and recreation facilities to help patients beat addiction in a relaxed environment.

Experts pointed out that dealing with video game addiction requires the government, schools, families and gaming companies to work together.

The State Council encouraged gaming companies to develop both educational and enjoyable video games for teenagers in an official paper released in July. The document is intended to curb the number of online games available to children and limit their time playing games.

Parents should communicate more often with their children and keep them company. They could also help kids manage their time better and avoid overindulgence in video gaming. Schools need to teach students about the negative impacts of addiction and show them that playing video games isn’t harmful if done in moderation.