Want to operate a satellite? All you need is Alibaba’s Taobao!

Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace will auction various rights to buyers who wish to get close to the world’s first manmade interactive satellite, iwshang.com reported.

The platform’s first auction of a manmade satellite will take place on May 19, with a starting bid of 10,000 yuan ($1,570). In addition, bidders have to pay a 1,000 yuan deposit for the auction.

The winning bidder will be invited to the launch ceremony later this year at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and will be given access to operate and interact with the satellite.

The lucky winner will be invited to the launch center to operate the satellite for 95 minutes, the time it takes the satellite to complete one full orbit of the Earth.

He or she will be entitled to broadcast the launch via a live streaming platform. After the experience, they will also receive a “space license” from the auctioneer.

The satellite, weighing a mere 8 kilograms, was developed by two commercial spaceflight startups LaserFleet and Spacety.

The satellite will be visible to the naked human eye, according to Pan Yunbin, the person in charge of LaserFleet.

Its main mission will be to test laser communication links with the ground.

An enterprise buyer will have more rights, such as naming brands after the satellite, taking their products into space and conducting space experiments via the satellite.

A manager of a technology company described what a fantastic opportunity it would be to bear his company’s logo or stock code on the satellite.

His vision could be realized by using laser technology to engrave company information on the surface of the satellite, Pan said.

Yang Feng, CEO of Spacety, said designers have left enough room for the satellite to perform other functions than what was originally planned. He further explained that in the future, commercial satellites could be used in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, unmanned driving, entertainment and even new energy resources. a

China’s giant radio telescope will soon see further into space

China’s Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, known as FAST, will shortly complete its latest upgrade. The upgrade will help the telescope see even further into space.

The upgrade of FAST, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope, includes adding an advanced 19-beam receiver system to replace the current single-beam version. The new device is expected to be ready in early June.

Jointly developed by Chinese and Australian scientists, the receiver system is the first device of its kind in the world. Weighing 1.2 tons, it is worth more than 20 million yuan ($3.14 million).

The new receiver will be at least five times more accurate than the old model.

According to Jin Chengjin, chief engineer of the 19-beam receiver system, the receiver will greatly improve the efficiency of the FAST radio telescope, playing a significant role in pulsar-searching and spectral line observation.

With the help of the advanced device, the FAST radio telescope will be able to detect more pulsars and observe the neutral 1.4GHz spectrum from different distances and directions. It could even detect possible alien civilization.

2018 Chengdu Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair officially opens

The 2018 Chengdu Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fair (CGIEF) has officially opened in Chengdu this Friday, May 18.

With an aim of integrating global resources of innovation and entrepreneurship, the fair will forge a new exhibition and trade platform with international influence.

The CGIEF is this year joined by Nobel Prize winners, university presidents from over 10 countries, and senior management officials from 30 unicorn enterprises (start-up companies with a current valuation at over $1 billion) including Alibaba Cloud, bike sharing service provider Mobike, and internet giant Sogou.

The 2018 CGIEF is a showcase of Chengdu’s environment, capability and potential for new economic development. Multiple dialogues will be held among high-level scholars and experts, as an inspiration for the city’s future development.

Chengdu is currently establishing a database for new economic enterprises in a bid to further promote “engine-like” companies with an industrial link. Now it has made a list of enterprises that have unicorn possibilities. These enterprises mainly come from big data, smart health care, smart logistics, smart hardware, artificial intelligence and virtual reality industries.

A series of favorable policies have been adopted by the city to offer capital support for emerging enterprises, such as subsidies and reduction of office rent.

In the future, the city will offer more services to accelerate the development of a new economy and nurture a favorable environment for enterprises.

China’s tea export hits new high in 2017

Both China’s tea export and sales volume saw a growth of over 8 percent in 2017, hitting a new high, according to Guangdong Tea Profession Association statistics, released on May 16.

The statistics indicate that China’s total tea export in 2017 reached 355,000 tons, up 8.1 percent since 2016. The export value hit $1.61 billion, a growth of 8.7 percent in the same timeframe.

The tea was exported to 128 countries and regions, among which 12 welcomed a tea import of more than 10,000 tons from China, accounting for 64.8 percent of the country’s total tea export last year.

Zhang Liming, deputy president of the association, explained that although China’s tea export saw an increase to Belt and Road countries, it is predicted to remain at about 300,000 tons this year.

Last year, the total planting area of tea on the Chinese mainland reached about 45.89 million mu (3.06 million hectares), achieving an output of standard semi-finished tea of about 2.6 million tons. The tea consumption on the Chinese mainland reached 1.9 million tons, creating a sales volume of 235.3 billion yuan.

China’s energy imports see continuous growth in 2018

China’s energy imports haven’t stopped growing this year, which is sure to bring benefits to the world economy, says a Chinese energy expert, the official Weibo account of China News Agency reported.

Statistics published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate that China’s crude oil import reached 39.46 million tons in April, a year-on-year increase of 14.7 percent. The import of natural gas hit 6.82 million tons, up 34.2 percent from the previous year.

China has become the world’s largest importer of crude oil and the second largest importer of liquefied natural gas. From January to April, China’s import of natural gas, crude oil and coal saw a year-on-year growth of 36.4 percent, 8.9 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively.

China’s energy import mainly includes oil and natural gas, said Lin Boqiang, director of China Energy Economics Research Center, Xiamen University, adding that the import increase in natural gas is closely related to China’s policy to encourage use of natural gas.

Zhou Dadi, a senior researcher at the China Energy Research Society, noted that China’s oil import will not continue to grow at such a high speed, as the country is adopting various measures to reduce domestic oil consumption.

Among all global crude oil suppliers, Russia has been China’s largest supplier for 13 consecutive months.

China’s General Administration of Customs statistics show that Russia exported 5.79 million tons of crude oil to China in March, indicating 1.36 million barrels per day on average.

In addition, Lin pointed out that China’s import of crude oil from the U.S. is expected to increase in the future, as the cost of import is currently seeing a gradual decrease.

J-20 will definitely be patrolled over Taiwan says expert

China’s fighter jet J-20, a warcraft acting as both “spear” and “commander” in battle, will definitely conduct patrols over the island of Taiwan, said military expert Wang Mingliang during an interview with China Central Television.

A J-20 stealth fighter is seen at a 2016 air show in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. (Photo/China Daily)

The China-developed stealth jets have recently begun their first-ever combat training over the ocean, confirmed Shen Jinke, spokesman for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force on May 9.

The training will help the air force better fulfill its sacred duty of safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, the spokesperson said.

According to Wang, combats over sea areas are a focus of China’s military deployment, and moving the training field of the J-20 from land to ocean will help the jets adjust to battle in sea areas.

Only by withstanding the tests of the maritime environment can China’s newest type of warcraft develop high combat capability, Wang noted.

He said that the training marked an important step for the J-20’s comprehensive combat capabilities, further enhancing such capabilities after conducting adaptive training in the future.

Chasing a better life

Tran Van Deo from Tinh Lai Chau, a province in the northwestern region of Vietnam, heads to an employment agency in Pingxiang to get his paperwork approved for a Chinese work visa.

“This is my second time applying for a work visa in China… I live a poor life in my hometown and it’s very hard to earn money there,” Deo told the Global Times.

With the prospect of making more money to secure a better life, the 23-year-old Vietnamese man was motivated to travel about 360 kilometers to the small Chinese city, which sits along the China-Vietnam border in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He now happily works as a logger cutting down trees in mountainous areas nearby.

“If I worked very hard back in my hometown in Vietnam, I would make about 5 million to 6 million Vietnamese dong per month, which is roughly 1,700 to 1,800 yuan [$267.9 to $283.6], and this is the highest salary level there. Here in China, I can make about 3,000 yuan per month,” he said.

Pingxiang, a town adjacent to the Vietnamese town of Dong Dang just across the border, has been witnessing an inflow of Vietnamese workers over the past few years thanks to the boom in border trade. And some Chinese and Vietnamese towns near the border areas even share some dialects.

However, many Vietnamese who come to China to work illegally have also exacerbated issues such as drug dealing and human trafficking within the border town, noted a local resident who prefers not to be identified.

“Many Vietnamese workers have day jobs in the town, and go back to Vietnam at night, with some illegal activities usually taking place in remote and mountainous areas,” he said.

In Pingxiang, anti-drug campaign slogans are displayed in the streets, and hotels also distribute brochures to advise guests on how to protect themselves from catching HIV/AIDS, which is more common in regions near Asia’s Golden Triangle drug hotspot.

The Golden Triangle is the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers.

“Also, some illegal immigrants carry guns with them, which poses a danger to Chinese society,” the anonymous source said.

To clamp down on illegal workers, the town launched a border workforce cooperation scheme in mid-2017, noted Zhang Tianjun, deputy director of the Bureau of Human Resources and Social Security in Pingxiang.

“Local labor-intensive industries such as mahogany furniture and sugar production are all facing shrinking local labor forces, but Vietnamese workers can help fill this gap,” Zhang said.

Legalized workforce

In February 2017, the Guangxi regional government approved Pingxiang and another border city called Dongxing as pilot places to carry out the workforce scheme designed to tackle the shortage of labor in border areas.

Pingxiang has also set up a cross-border workforce management center to help streamline visa application processes, covering health checkups, entries and exits as well as insurance.

After factories that need workers report their requests to the local employment agencies, representatives from those agencies begin recruiting suitable workers and helping them get their paperwork ready for the work visa application process.

On a regular Thursday morning, hundreds of Vietnamese workers wait in the workforce management center. When their employment agency representatives finish registering them with customs, the police, the exit-entry administration and insurance agencies, the Vietnamese workers are assigned to different factories based on their skills and experience.

“In order to build strong cooperation and trust among all of these authorities, we screen out some workers who have a criminal background,” said Zhang.

The average monthly salary for a Vietnamese worker is about 2,200 yuan to 2,800 yuan, which is about 10 percent lower than their Chinese counterparts, he noted.

When the scheme took effect in mid-2017, “work visas became effective for 30 days, and now we’re trying to expand it to 180 days,” Zhang said.

On average, the cross-border workforce management center approves about 500 work visas every day for Vietnamese people. “The number surged to around 5,000 to 6,000 shortly after the Chinese New Year – a peak recruitment period… One day, we saw about 8,854 Vietnamese workers arriving in Pingxiang,” he said.

The increasing number of Vietnamese workers in the border town also reflects the rising demand for manpower in labor-intensive industries, especially as local authorities have been working on several projects to expand the cargo-handling capacity of the Pingxiang land port.

Growing appetite

In a border inspection zone four kilometers away from the Pingxiang Friendship Gate – a gateway to Vietnam – dozens of Vietnamese women are busy unloading onions in bags from trucks, which would later be transported to Vietnam. Some have already finished their day of work and sit on the other side of the zone, counting the money they have made.

“They all come from Vietnam, about 500 workers every day,” said Lin Quan, a manager in the zone.

But the thriving border trade between China and Vietnam has beefed up traffic jams at the border area.

Thankfully, local authorities have been on a mission to expand cargo inspection zones since 2012, with results being realized in 2016.

That year, Pingxiang port recorded a fruit trade volume of 2.04 million tons, accounting for one-quarter of the total volume in China, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. Pingxiang has also remained the largest import-export fruit market in China for the fifth consecutive year.

As more vegetables are shipped from China to Vietnam, traders at the border have also hired Vietnamese workers to unload and upload cargos. “We import about 1,500 TEUs [twenty-foot equivalent units] of watermelon, 1,000 TEUs of litchi and hundreds of TEUs of dragonfruit every year from Vietnam, and annual growth is estimated to reach 20 to 30 percent [this year],” said Chen Huiyun, manager at trading company Xingyi.

“Sometimes, we hire more than 10 Vietnamese workers. Compared to Chinese workers, Vietnamese workers have turned out to be more hard-working and have team-building spirits. Also, they have little requests for their employers in terms of salary and accommodation,” Chen said.

Work in China has become a trendy thing in Vietnam, noted Deo. “Coming to work here to earn more money, for a better life, is widely spoken about where I come from,” he said.

Source: Global Times


Over 100 5G base stations to be built in Shanghai this year

China Mobile says it plans to build more than 100 5G base stations in Shanghai by the end of 2018, as a step toward its goal of achieving large-scale commercial 5G deployment by 2020, The Paper.cn reported.

The company has already built two 5G base stations in Shanghai alongside opening a 5G lab to explore possible commercial applications with its partners, said Yan Jun, general manager of the planning and development department of China Mobile Shanghai branch.

Yan said the newest 5G network applications will be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress to be held in Shanghai this June.

He said China Mobile’s partners are currently dedicating more time and effort into applying 5G to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and have so far seen progress in experiments of real-time image transmission. In the future, they will test the 5G network on UVA security defense and logistics.

Yan said the existing base stations can support broadband operations such as rapid transmissions of virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D holographic images.

He said 5G is currently only on display and it will take some time before it reaches consumers.

AIIB keeps expanding “circle of friends”

(Xinhua File Photo)

With Kenya and Papua New Guinea as its newest approved applicants, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has now expanded its membership to 86.

The two prospective members will officially join the bank once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit their first capital installment with the bank.

Kenya is the sixth African country to have joined the AIIB. As was reported by Kenya’s newspaper Business Daily Africa, the move is expected to open a new channel for cheaper financing of Nairobi’s huge spending requirements.

According to Henry Rotich, the Finance Minister of Kenya, the country is facing a funding deficit of $180 billion in infrastructure each year based on conservative estimates. Joining AIIB would be a wise choice for African countries as the bank would strive to improve their infrastructure, a Kenyan economist told People’s Daily during an interview.

Wilson Kamau, head of Africa Governance Institute (Kenya Chapter) believes that Kenya is communicating to China that “We are with you for the long haul”. “The gains that Kenya has made because of Chinese assistance have been massive,” he stressed, adding that its a benefit Kenya could not have gained from Western partners.

A report released by Ipsos, a global market research and consulting firm, showed that 34% of the interviewees in Kenya consider the China-Kenya tie as the country’s most important bilateral relationship.

Papua New Guinea is the latest Oceanian country to join the AIIB following New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu. As the largest developing country in the Oceanian region, Papua New Guinea also sees a large funding gap in its infrastructure despite sound development over the past few years.

The country joining the AIIB is seen as major progress that will definitely play a vital role in accelerating its construction of infrastructure, said Peter Drysdale, a professor from Australian National University.

Drysdale believes its a smart move for the country to join AIIB, because it can both introduce capital to build high-standard infrastructure and integrate domestic and international resources to tap into the potential of its national economy.

AIIB was established with the purpose of developing infrastructures in Asia, but non-regional investment is also allowed by its policies.

Algeria’s first Chinese automobile assembly plant open for production

The first heavy truck of Shaanxi Automobile Group recently rolled off the production line in Algeria, recognized as the country’s first Chinese automobile assembly plant in production.

The plant, occupying a space of 20,000 square meters, was jointly built by the Chinese company and its Algerian partner Mazouz Trade Group in the eastern province of Setif. Production was launched this May as the first automobile assembly plant under a Chinese brand in Algeria.

About 3,000 trucks under the brand of Shacman are expected to be assembled and manufactured at the plant each year. The vehicles, apart from meeting local needs, will also be sold to surrounding countries such as Tunisia and Mali.

Due to its high quality at a reasonable price, Shacman is fast becoming the most popular brand of heavy trucks in Algeria. Statistics indicate that over 40,000 vehicles have been exported to Algeria since 2007, occupying 80 percent of the country’s engineering truck market.

Moreover, the Chinese company cooperates with Algeria on talent training to help the country with infrastructure construction.

Zhang Lei, a manager of the company, stated that they have launched a special program to cultivate talent in automobile creation for Algeria with Chang’an University, one of China’s top universities, by offering scholarships and education opportunities to Algerian teenagers.

Construction of the plant not only directly creates 1,200 jobs for local people, but also plays a significant role in introducing Chinese manufacturing technologies to Algeria, said Ahmed Mazouz, CEO of the Algerian group.

The CEO added that Chinese products have left a deep impression on him since he started business with China in the 1990s.