Cross-sea train route connects Hainan with railway network

(Photo/China Railway’s Weibo account)

During a typical commute in China, it’s not often that a passenger will get a glimpse of the sea from the comfort of their train seat. However, it’s not difficult for those who travel between Guangdong and Hainan, as the train is carried on a ship for part of the journey.

The Guangdong-Hainan Railway, or Yuehai Railway, is China’s first cross-sea train route. As its name suggests, the line operates between Guangdong and Hainan provinces, crossing the Qiongzhou Strait in between the two.

(Photo/China Railway’s Weibo account)

Heading southward, the train first hits the railway, boards a ship, and then disembarks to reconnect with the rail network after less than an hour at sea.

To the north and south of the strait, platforms have been built, which can be adjusted in height and location to allow the seamless motion from rail to sea.

Four ships are currently used for this cross-sea transportation. Generally, it takes 50 minutes to carry a train and other vehicles from one side of the straight to the other.

The cross-sea route plays an important role in joining Hainan into the national railway network.

Little New Year gala held on high-speed train in east China

Little New Year gala held on high-speed train in east China
 Little New Year gala held on high-speed train in east China
Little New Year gala held on high-speed train in east China
 Little New Year gala held on high-speed train in east China

The Hefei department of Shanghai Railway Administration brought passengers a Little New Year gala featuring Hui culture on high-speed train D5582 from Huangshan in east China’s Anhui Province to Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province on Jan. 28.

Jan. 28 marked this year’s Little New Year, or Xiao Nian in Chinese, which is a traditional festival when people across China tend to clean the house, worship the Kitchen God, and start shopping for the Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival.

Railway attendants performed tea art, Huangmei Opera, a local style of opera in Anhui, and asked passengers to taste some famous local Hui culture tea brands. Hui culture is one of three major regional cultures in China, which was born in China’s ancient Huizhou area, and is now included in Anhui Province and Zhejiang Province.

During the gala, passengers were also invited to take part in a general knowledge quiz about the Hangzhou-Huangshan high-speed train and Spring Festival travel rush.

“It’s great to bring happiness to passengers on Little New Year,” said the tea art performer Jing Jing, who disclosed that she had learned tea art from a professional two months before the gala.

Cheng Jinxia, the railway attendant who performed Huangmei Opera during the event, told People’s Daily that she hoped to bring this style of opera to more people through this gala.

Passengers on the train applauded the performances. A passenger named Lu Fen said, “It has been a pleasant surprise to enjoy the festive air created by the talented railway attendants on my journey home.”

Report: Average age of Chinese home buyer is 29.5

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

The average age of Chinese home buyers in 2018 was 29.5, a younger average compared with the rest of the world, suggested a recent report on a survey of Chinese home buyers in 2018, the Economic View app reported on Jan. 28.

The average per capita floor space of property purchased in 2018 was 27.8 square meters, while 24.3 percent purchased less than 20 square meters, according to the report released by a research institute focused on the real estate industry (research.ke.com).

Compared with other age groups, people born in the 1980s who have children of primary school age owned the least space, with a per capita floor space of 27 square meters, said the report.

According to the report, China’s property industry has witnessed an increase in sales of second-hand homes, with the report showing that two-bedroom houses were the most popular on the second-hand market.

“90 percent of first-time home buyers used loans to pay for houses in 2018, the highest proportion among all groups,” said the report.

Monthly payments made by first-time home buyers in 2018 accounted for an average of 42.9 percent of their income, while for most people, monthly repayments accounted for over 50 percent of their salaries.

The report indicated that since the majority of first-time buyers were from the post-80s and post-90s generations, many face higher pressure in regards to repayments, with the average percentage of income spent on housing payments by post-80s and post-90s buyers standing at 40.8 percent and 43.5 percent respectively.

Moreover, the average ratio between income and repayment for home buyers in China’s third- and fourth-tier cities was 42.4 percent, significantly higher than for homebuyers in higher-tier cities.

Under China’s continuous regulation and control of the property industry, the market witnessed tremendous changes throughout 2018. According to Xu Xiaole, chief analyst at research.ke.com, an obvious imbalance is visible in China’s property market, which will continue to be the primary focus for the country’s housing policy reform.

Chinese women work longer unpaid than men: report

Chinese women work for longer periods without pay than men, according to a survey by the National Bureau of Statistics published on Friday, China Securities Journal reported.

Compared with men, women spend an extra 81 minutes on housework, according to the report.

Chinese women undertake an average of 3 hours and 48 minutes of unpaid work every day, including housework and taking care of children and the elderly, and more than 3 hours and 35 minutes paid. Men, on the other hand, only work an average of one hour and 32 minutes unpaid and 5 hours and 15 minutes paid.

Top graduates now prefer private firms: report

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

More graduates from elite Chinese universities are being hired by private companies, according to a report on graduate employment quality of more than 30 universities in China, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Jan. 29.

In 2018, for the first time, more graduates from Tsinghua University chose to work at private companies rather than State-owned enterprises, according to the university’s 2018 data.

Only two out of 19 universities reported a higher graduate employment rate at State-owned companies.

Renowned private Chinese enterprises such as Huawei, JD, Tencent and Alibaba stood out as the preferred companies for graduates. For example, 263 of Southeast University’s 2018 graduates and 211 graduates of Wuhan University were recruited by Huawei, making the company the biggest graduate employer at both universities last year.

Work at the grassroots level, including in western regions, has also become an option for more graduates.

Magnificent giant panda-themed lantern show in southwest China’s Ya’an

Magnificent giant panda-themed lantern show in southwest China’s Ya’an
Magnificent giant panda-themed lantern show in southwest China’s Ya’an
Magnificent giant panda-themed lantern show in southwest China’s Ya’an
Magnificent giant panda-themed lantern show in southwest China’s Ya’an

A park in Yucheng District, Ya’an City of southwest China’s Sichuan Province has recently caught the attention of giant panda fans, as a giant panda-themed lantern show officially kicked off on the evening of Jan. 28, Chinanews.com reported yesterday.

As an important event in the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on Feb. 5 this year, this giant panda-themed lantern show is scheduled to last from Jan. 28 to Feb. 19, according to scol.com.cn.

Fabulous lanterns in various shapes and colors create a festive atmosphere. Lanterns in the forms of the Ya’an mascots – Ya Ya and An An, alongside a set featuring a giant panda figure named Pang Dun’er (an adorable giant panda) bring enormous joy to visitors. (Photo/Chinanews.com)

More Chinese people rent luxury items for Spring Festival

(Chinanews.com/Luo Yunfei)

With Spring Festival approaching, various platforms that provide rentals have seen a massive increase in orders, as more Chinese people prefer to rent rather than buy luxuries, including cars and drones, over the holiday period, Chinanews.com reported on Jan. 28.

Since young people don’t want to be annoyed with personal questions such as “how much do you earn”, “do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend”, or “have you bought a house/car”, many choose to rent luxuries to take to various gatherings during the holiday as a way to avoid unwanted remarks.

To meet the surging needs of young people during Spring Festival, various rental platforms such as Tanwu, SharePlay, and rrzuji.com provide consumers with a variety of products like watches, luxury handbags, game consoles, jewelry, and the latest iPhone.

Rentals for the Spring Festival holiday period have grown by over 100 percent year-on-year, according to credit firm Zhima Credit. Meanwhile, Zhou Xiaodong, founder of the Tanwu app, disclosed that order volume on Tanwu has increased by more than 200 percent compared with the same period last year.

Drones, game consoles, and cameras are the top three most popular categories on Tanwu, according to Zhou.

“I will have many class reunions and family reunions to attend during the Spring Festival, so I need a decent handbag. However, I think it’s unnecessary to buy one, as I don’t have many occasions to use it,” said a woman surnamed Liu, who has a white collar job in Shanghai. Liu has rented a handbag worth 20,000 yuan (about $2,968.55) for the Spring Festival.

Besides casual luxuries, car rentals are also popular during the Spring Festival, as it’s economical and practical for people who already own cars as well as those who cannot afford to buy one yet.

Renting a car can make people feel good about themselves in front of others, and can also solve the problem for those who cannot buy a train ticket during the travel rush. For those who do already own a car, renting a car can save their vehicle from wear and tear during the long trip.

Statistics from Chinese car rental platform dafang24.com indicate that over 60 percent of users booked cars for this year’s Spring Festival at least ten days in advance, while 30 percent of users reserved a vehicle one month ahead of schedule.

Another car rental platform zuzuche.com has witnessed reservations rise by three times in the last year.

Consumers favor spacious and comfortable medium-and-large-sized SUVs and MPVs on both dafang24.com and zuzuche.com.

Renting rather than buying is regarded as a new type of rational consumption and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

The 2019 New Renting Economy Report released on Jan. 15 by SIFL Institute, a non-profit research institute based in Shanghai, found that the consumption structure of Chinese people is transforming from subsistence consumption into quality-oriented consumption, while the new rental economy, one that advocates right of use rather than ownership, has moved into a fast lane of development.

Besides the people who enjoy renting things for special occasions, many people rent items to test before they buy.

“I admit that I always buy things on impulse. I’ve bought many branded handbags and shoes just because they were ‘new arrivals’, but most of them failed to keep my interest,” said Zhou Qingqing, a middle-level manager of a financial company in Shanghai, who now chooses to rent products to see how much she likes them before she actually buys them.

With the improvement in the consumption ability of Chinese people, their demand for higher quality products is growing, explained Fu Weigang, executive president of SIFL Institute, noting that since high quality usually means high price, renting instead of buying is helpful in making rational purchase decisions and thus avoiding waste.

China’s Fuxing bullet trains offer free WiFi to passengers

A Fuxing bullet trains is shown at an exhibition in Beijing on Monday. [Photo by Cheng Gong/China Daily]

Connect your mobile phone to the network “Gaotie WiFi”, download the “Zhangshanggaotie” app and log in, and then you can enjoy free WiFi on China’s Fuxing bullet trains, Beijing Daily App reported on Jan. 25.

The “Zhangshanggaotie” app has so far covered 274 Fuxing bullet trains, providing free WiFi to about 500,000 passengers every day while ensuring the safety of personal information.

Besides free WiFi, the “Zhangshanggaotie” app has another six features including a car-hailing service and a station map service.

Passengers can also connect their ticket information to the app, so that they can receive real-time warnings during their trips. They can also share trip information with their families and friends via WeChat, with the ability to share location and up-to-date information as to whether the train will arrive at the scheduled time.

China makes steady, sustained efforts in tobacco control

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

China has made steady progress in tobacco control, and this momentum will be maintained as further legislation is implemented in this field, industry insiders have said.

Police in Shenzhen recently fined an Internet café 30,000 yuan for failing to stop a customer from smoking on the premises. It was the first punishment targeted at an Internet café and the largest sum in its category in China.

Beijing’s efforts to ban smoking in public have also proven effective. Since June 2015, when the city rolled out its rigorous smoking ban, 1,917 companies have been fined a total of 5.44 million yuan, and 8,883 individuals have been punished.

East China’s Zhejiang province included e-cigarette liquid as an additional tobacco product to be banned in public starting Jan. 1, 2019. Smoking is also prohibited in public indoor spaces, workplaces and on public transportation in the province.

Wang Ke’an, former director of the Think Tank Research Center for Health Development, attributed the successful implementation of the campaign to wide public support.

Statistics released in 2015 indicated that 27.7 percent of people above the age of 15 smoke in China.

According to a guideline, that figure is meant to drop below 20 percent by 2030. It is a difficult task given China’s population and size.

Wang said the authorities need to properly handle the relationship between public health policies and the tobacco industry and enhance national legislation, which requires cooperation among various parties.

Some positive outcomes have been delivered through legislation regarding tobacco control in public areas, and national legislation is now at a mature stage, Wang disclosed.

He added that the country should make action plans to define targets, strategy, performance index, monitoring, evaluation and supporting measures so that guidelines will be better implemented.

Liao Wenke, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said tobacco use among youths also needs special attention.

Cities to become major arena for sustainable development: experts

The Forum on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was held in Shenzhen on Jan. 16. Experts attending the event agreed that innovation, transformation and rebuilding are essential for sustainable development, Science and Technology Daily reported on Jan. 22.

In March 2018, China approved Shenzhen, Taiyuan and Guilin as demonstration zones under the sustainable development agenda. If Shenzhen can create a new path to sustainability, it will set an example for the country and world in this field, said Wu Hongbo, Co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals at Tsinghua University.

Wu explained that the country needs international cooperation to implement sustainable development through technology, adding that in this regard, China has made unremitting efforts, such as its proposal to build a global energy network, and donating the world’s first 30-meter resolution global land cover data set to the United Nations (UN).

In the past four decades of reform and opening-up, China’s speed of development has surpassed that of developed countries, with rapid consumption of resources. To date, 74 Chinese cities are listed as resource-exhausted.

China released its national plan for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on Sept. 19, 2016.

To build socialism with Chinese characteristics, it is imperative for China to implement sustainable development strategies, said Qian Yi, an environmental professor at Tsinghua University.

By 2050, about 2.5 billion people will have moved into cities, meaning urban dwellers will make up 70 percent of the world’s total population, Wu said, noting that the fast speed of urbanization will make cities the significant areas to practice sustainable development.