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Smart screen protector helps the visually impaired use mobile phones

Findings released by a Chinese research lab have shown that using a unique AI “button” could make it easier for visually impaired people to use mobile phones, Science and Technology Daily reported on Monday.

Smart Touch, the new tactile feedback technology, together with the AI button, have connected voice and touch for the first time, according to Zhao Chen, a researcher from the Tsinghua University-Alibaba Joint Research Laboratory for Natural Interaction Experience.

To make Smart Touch work for the visually impaired, one needs to use a “smart” screen protector which has a specially designed button that enables the interaction between human and mobile phone, Zhao explained.

According to Zhao, after downloading the Smart Touch App and adding the “special button” to a specific area of the screen, the user is free to use all the functions provided by Smart Touch.

The button’s function changes according to the situation on the screen page, thus improving the interaction efficiency and user experience, Zhao noted.

The cost of the specially designed button is pretty low, said Zhao, explaining that the button is made of silica gel, because only in this way can they make it possible for visually impaired people to use the technology.

Zhao disclosed that they are going to enrich the physical functions of the button so that it gives clearer feedback and meet the needs of more apps. He added that they hope to provide the special screen protector for free in the future.

Currently, visually impaired people usually use mobile phones with the help of screen readers, a type of software that converts text into synthesized speech. However, screen readers have many problems, such as a lack of visual feedback, which means users are bombarded with a large amount of unnecessary information before getting what they want, said Yu Chun, a professor at Tsinghua University.

China’s central SOEs running over 3,000 projects under BRI

Chinese central government-run state-owned enterprises (SOEs) had undertaken 3,116 demonstration and influential projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, ranging from infrastructure construction to international cooperation on production capacity, the country’s state asset regulator said.

The central SOEs have taken up 50 percent of the infrastructure projects already underway or in the pipeline, with contract value of more than 70 percent, according to State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

According to the figures, central government-controlled SOEs had 10,791 overseas units in 185 countries and regions at the end of 2017, and their foreign assets totaled more than 7 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in the same period, with annual operating revenue and profit reaching 4.7 trillion yuan and 106.4 billion yuan respectively.

The SOEs are also trying to localize their operation overseas, along with protecting environment, actively serving the public, and improving local livelihoods. They’ve played an active role in promoting coordinated development and cultural exchanges in host countries.

About 85 percent employees working at these SOE units outside China are local citizens, with the figure increasing to over 90 percent at some enterprises.

Feature: From deaf-mute university student to deliveryman with zero negative reviews

(Photo/Red Star News)

Wang Xinglin now works in southwest China’s Chengdu as a deliveryman, after he graduated with a bachelor’s degree this summer, Red Star News reported on Nov. 12.

Born in Nanchong, a city near Chengdu, Wang lost his hearing at the age of two owing to a high fever. However, the deaf-mute boy persevered, doing extremely well throughout school. In 2014, he passed the college entrance examination for students with hearing impairment and was accepted to the special education college at central China’s Zhengzhou Normal University, where he spent four years studying computer science and technology specialized for deaf people.

After graduating this year, Wang moved back home for three months to be a math teacher at a special education school. Driven by the desire to experience a normal life, in September he moved to Chengdu and hunted for a job as a deliveryman.

Wang only completed 337 orders in the first month owing to his hearing and speaking difficulties, and received two poor evaluations. Besides, as a newcomer to the city, Wang generally spent more time than others finding addresses. To solve these challenges, Wang made full use of his rest time by exploring the city and getting familiar with roads.

Wang has now completed almost 1,000 orders, with no negative customer reviews in the last two months.

“I’ve created a clear picture of roads in my mind,” said Wang. Moreover, what makes him happy are the encouraging and warm messages from customers. He has taken many screenshots to motivate himself.

On the evening of Nov. 8, Wang Xinglin delivered a total of 23 orders, ranking third in terms of order numbers and winning the most likes among his peers. In a video call with a friend who is also deaf, Wang boasted about his achievements in sign language.

China, Papua New Guinea co-organize photo exhibition

(People’s Daily Online/Liu Hui)

A photo exhibition titled “Beautiful China, Beautiful Papua New Guinea” opened to the public in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on Nov. 12.

The exhibition is made up of three sections, with a large number of photos depicting the natural scenery, folk culture and friendly exchanges of both countries.

Papua New Guinea is a sincere friend and an important cooperative partner of China in the South Pacific region. The relationship between the two countries has become a model for China and Pacific island countries, said Guo Weimin, vice minister of the State Council Information Office (SCIO).

The photo exhibition is a highlight of bilateral friendly exchanges, said Guo. It’s hoped that people from Papua New Guinea can appreciate China’s beauty and the friendship and sincerity of the Chinese people through this exhibition.

The exhibition was co-organized by China Pictorial and the University of Papua New Guinea. The exhibition will run from Nov. 12 to 16 at the University of Papua New Guinea.

Premiere ceremony for CCTV documentary “Glamorous Papua New Guinea” and news program “Today” held in PNG

(People’s Daily Online/Liu Hui)

The premiere ceremony of documentary “Glamorous Papua New Guinea” and news program “Today” was held in Papua New Guinea on Nov. 12, 2018.

The documentary “Glamorous Papua New Guinea”, produced by China’s state television broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV), shows the mysterious and charming South Pacific country of Papua New Guinea through elements such as nature, nationalities, culture, and history.

“Today” is a 30-minute news program co-produced by CCTV+ and other overseas media organizations. Comprising of three parts: Local News, Chinese News, and International News, “Today” will be produced by CCTV alongside local media of Papua New Guinea.

Guo Weimin, deputy director of the State Council Information Office of China, attended and addressed the ceremony. He said that telling stories of friendship between China and Papua New Guinea via documentary and news program is of great significance to promote mutual trust, bilateral understanding, and people-to-people friendship between the two countries.

During the ceremony, Jerry Agus, chief executive officer of Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, said that China is an important potential tourism market of Papua New Guinea, and that they hope to draw more Chinese tourists to the country.

Papua New Guinea is now training local staff to provide better service to Chinese tourists, according to Agus, who said that they are all ready to welcome tourists from China.

Guo Weimin, deputy director of the State Council Information Office of China, addresses the ceremony. (People’s Daily Online/Liu Hui)

Xue Bing, Chinese ambassador to PNG, addresses the ceremony. (People’s Daily Online/Liu Hui)

Jerry Agus, chief executive officer of Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, addresses the ceremony. (People’s Daily Online/Liu Hui)

CIIE offers strong sense of gain

At the CIIE Consumer Electronics & Appliances exhibition area, a staff of an American company introduces smart cooking utensils and related products that can meet diverse user demands. (Photo by Ma Sichao from People’s Daily)

Both exhibitors and buyers have obtained the sense of gain at the ongoing first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

The exhibition booth of SKK, a cooking utensils producer from Germany, was flooded with visitors. The company signed contracts worth $97.3 million with nine new partners on Nov. 7 alone, according to Zhao Tianping, SKK’s agent in the Greater China.

Cargill, a US provider of food, agriculture and industrial products, started preparation for the CIIE as early as one year ago, and has held an activity when the event began its 100-day countdown.

Cargill signed cooperative agreements of $2.4 billion with a number of Chinese companies on Nov. 5, the first day of the CIIE. These contracts covered a wide range of areas including beef, cereals, food ingredients, cotton and iron ores.

China will continue to broaden market access, said President Xi Jinping when addressing the opening ceremony of the CIIE. In the coming 15 years, China’s import of goods and services are expected to exceed $30 trillion and $10 trillion respectively, Xi announced.

On the afternoon of Nov. 7, a large number of journalists crowded a company booth and turned their cameras towards a 10-karat emerald.

Zambia is the world’s second largest producer of high quality emeralds which are highly transparent and green, said Winnie Natala Chibesakunda, Zambian Ambassador to China, promoting the country’s specialty.

After visiting some Zambian booths at the expo, Ambassador Chibesakunda was told by Zambian entrepreneurs that they had received many orders, and would share the joy with their peers when coming back to Zambia.

Without the market, it will be hard to advance the industrialization in Africa, and China provides a broad market and many development opportunities for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Zambia, said the Ambassador.

She believed that more Zambian SMEs would participate in the import expo next year, and also suggested that the Zambian government build a national exhibition pavilion at the 2019 CIIE so as to make the Zambian enterprises and products more visible.

Ethiopian merchant Dejen Meskel said he has established relationships with not only Chinese businessmen, but also those from other countries. Purchasers from Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico all showed great interest in his agricultural products and he would surely come to the import expo the next year, he told People’s Daily.

“It is proved that the CIIE has promoted global trade liberalization and facilitation, helping us save time and costs, and more importantly, gain more benefits,” said Meskel.

The outcome of the CIIE was beyond expectation, many participants to the event told People’s Daily. Meskel, who often travels to agricultural products trade fairs around the world, said that the business opportunities created by the CIIE were unprecedented. He noted that he would do a research on Chinese purchasers’ demand, believing the performance of his company will embrace a steady growth.

After coming to China, Meskel learnt that China’s openness is wider than what he had heard before. A higher level of opening up proposed by President Xi will provide more opportunities for other countries, said Meskel, adding that Ethiopian enterprises will definitely ride on the train of China’s development.

Foreign exhibitors optimistic about Chinese market

Visitors taste featured beer of the Czech Republic at its booth in the Country Pavilion. (People’s Daily/Chen Bin)

As an important part of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), the Country Pavilion for Trade & Investment is designed for countries to showcase their achievements in economic and trade, as well as their featured and competitive products.

The Russian pavilion was packed with people. There was Russian dance that won warm applause from the crowd, as well as investment promotion activities of local governments getting a lot of inquiries from intentional buyers.

Russia’s participation in the expo is highlighted by the enthusiasm of local governments. The country sent delegates from 40 federal subjects for the event, which accounted for nearly half of all federal subjects

of Russia.

Russian local governments have been signing agreements and contracts with Chinese enterprises one after another, said Azad Kareev,director of the public relations department of Russian Convention Bureau.

Such strong willingness of firms from the two countries for investment has not only proven that local cooperation between China and Russia has great potential for further development, but also demonstrates that Russia attaches greater importance to the bilateral ties and hopes to seek common development with China, expressed the director.

There are around 100 Russian companies attending the event, with booths covering an area of 2,000 square meters, according to Anna Belyaeva, executive vice president for international business development of Russian Export Center Group.

Russian enterprises have seen great business opportunities from the expo, which is why they participated in the event enthusiastically, noted Belyaeva. She said that they have established a representative office in Shanghai, hoping to help more Russian companies enter the Chinese market and bring better products to Chinese consumers.

Kornel Heckenast, sales manager of R-Bag Hungary, expressed that they have a lot to bring to China. Bilateral economic and trade ties between China and Hungary are getting closer day by day, said Heckenast, adding that they have already carried out cooperation with Air China and witnessed steady growth in Hungary’s exports to China as well as the soaring of imports from China.

Heckenast believes that with the deepening of cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, there will be closer cooperation between R-Bag and China.

Heckenast visited business booths of many countries at the expo, including the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Slovak Republic.

Visitors take pictures in the Egypt pavilion at the first CIIE. (People’s Daily/Weng Qiyu)

He noted that Central European countries don’t have a great market size, but the potential of Chinese market is infinite, adding that in cooperation with China, Central European countries shouldn’t compete with each other, but collaborate with and complement each other.

With the glistening statue of Tutankhamun, awe-inspiring seats of Pharaoh ancient Egypt, beautiful lamps with delicate carvings, and fine accessories made of alabaster, the Egypt pavilion enjoys popularity at the first CIIE.

“I’ve always wanted to travel to Egypt to experience the ancient civilization by the Nile. I never thought that I could have a glimpse of it at the CIIE,” a deputy from the trade delegation of north China’s Hebei province said at the expo.

Egypt is among Chinese people’s favorite travel destinations. However, there aren’t many Egyptian products in Chinese market, said an Egyptian named Vigie Dina after her negotiation with Chinese customers.

Dina has received about a dozen batches of businessmen the whole day. Though her voice was a little hoarse, she was very excited about the event. She told People’s Daily that by taking part in this expo, they want to introduce more Egyptian products to Chinese market through cooperation on tourism and culture.

As the investment advisor of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Dina said her team came to the first CIIE to know more about the Chinese market and find out what kinds of Egyptian products suit Chinese consumers. They also want to draw Chinese firms to invest in the Suez Canal Economic Zone.

“China is a great partner for Egypt regarding exporting goods and attracting investments”, said Dina

CIIE creates new business opportunities

The China International Import Expo (CIIE), acting as a channel connecting both supply and requisitioning parties, is creating new business opportunities for the world.

Over 3,600 exhibitors and more than 400,000 buyers from home and abroad have been attracted to the first CIIE, in the hope of expanding their markets and searching for favored products.

“The CIIE is significant as it builds a large platform for global companies to know more about each other,” said Zhang Dongwei, Senior Vice President of Pactera Technology International, a global IT services provider.

By enhancing cooperation and promoting trade liberalization and facilitation, the CIIE was bringing quality products to Chinese market from overseas, he added.

During the import expo, online shopping burst with great power. Alibaba’s CEO Daniel Zhang has announced a large import plan on November 6, pledging to import $200 billion worth of goods over the next five years.

The Expo was a huge treasure for all brands and enterprises, said Zhang, adding that Alibaba would take the opportunity to help more global commodities reach Chinese consumers and support foreign enterprises in finding their way of digital development in the Chinese market.

Besides, the CIIE also provides a platform of cooperation and exchanges on technological innovation for both domestic and foreign enterprises.

China General Technology Group (Genertec) signed to cooperate on a batch of projects over the CIIE as a practical action to implement China’s policy of expanding imports as well as a demonstration of the company’s cooperation achievements over the years, said Wang Xusheng, deputy general manager of Genertec.

Wang added that Genertec would set up an international innovation and service center for smart devices and carry out wide technological exchanges and cooperation with other companies.

A large number of small and medium enterprises have become the most active participators  in technological innovation and cooperation.

“I have noticed that many industry leaders have brought their most advanced equipment and technologies to China during the CIIE, which fully indicated their confidence and eagerness in Chinese market”, said Li Yan, deputy general manager at Shaanxi Fast Auto Drive Co., Ltd, adding that equipment procurement and technological exchanges would bring more opportunities for companies to enhance their own strength.

Different countries and regions have different competitive resources and industries, and the CIIE serves as a platform for open cooperation among international and domestic enterprises.

Whirlpool expected to introduce more differentiated products to China and diversify product lines so as to cater to China’s upgrading consumption structure and stimulate market demand, Swain Shan, general manager of Laundry &Cooling in Whirlpool Corporation China, told People’s Daily.

Xi’an Aiju Grain and Oil Industrial Group, signing contract with companies from Kazakhstan, is planning to buy 100,000 tons of wheat and 100,000 tons of oilseeds.

Kazakhstan had the ideal oil, air and water resources to produce high-quality crops, introduced Jia Heyi, president of Aiju.

As the number of high-end and mid-end consumers was growing in China, quality agricultural products were more and more welcome by Chinese importers and the sales revenue would even double given the quality, price and market factors of these products, Jia noted, adding that the company, through contract farming, also helped local farmers to select proper crops and find proper market.

CIIE demonstrates China’s responsibility: Ambassador

The first China International Import Expo (CIIE) kicked off in Shanghai on November 5 amid high anticipation from the world. Held against the rising trade protectionism as well as the complicated and changing global economy, it is the world’s first national expo themed with import.

The CIIE demonstrates China’s responsibility and announces the country’s policy to contribute more solutions to the construction and development of an open world economy, the boosting of economic and trade exchanges among countries, and the promotion of global trade and economic growth.

The CIIE is a symbol of China’s efforts to build a new pattern of opening up. The report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has made it clear that China will take action to create a new landscape in all-round opening up.

On one hand, China is the world’s most populous country, as well as the second largest economy, and the second largest importing country. The country’s economy has stepped into a new phase of development featuring steady expansion of consumption. It enjoys large potential for both consumption and import.

On the other hand, to seek for trade surplus is never an intention of China. Instead, China pursues a balance between import and export and actively seeks to expand import. In the next five years, China is expected to import $10 trillion worth of goods and services, providing historical opportunities for enterprises from the world to enter the Chinese market.

The CIIE is an important platform for China and Russia to strengthen effective cooperation at various levels. Currently, the China-Russia relations are showing a strong momentum. In such a context, the CIIE has no doubt provided best opportunities and a broad platform for both sides to expand channels of bilaterally economic and trade cooperation and find new areas of further cooperation.

AS one of the largest participants at the CIIE, Russia has booked an exhibition area of 2,000 square meters that covers a variety of products such as food, agricultural products, garment, consumer goods, smart and high-end equipment, and medical instruments and health care products.

In recent years, China and Russia have attached great importance to the large-scale cooperation projects of strategic importance. Thanks to the docking of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, the two countries have achieved fruitful results in the promotion of overall cooperation quality by expanding trade scope, optimizing trade structure and exploring new cooperation highlights.

China has maintained the largest trading partner of Russia for eight years in a row. Bilateral trade between the two countries has been kept at a high growth rate since 2018, reaching $67.5 billion in the first eight months, up 25.7 percent from a year ago. The whole-year figure is expected to hit $100 billion.

Moreover, both sides are making active efforts to cultivate more new growth points in such fields as cross-border e-commerce, digital economy, SME cooperation, Far East development, Arctic exploitation.

The first CIIE has released a signal that China will open its door even wider to the world and see increasing demands for import. China welcomes all countries to ride on China’s fast train of economic development, and is willing to share its experience and achievements of economic development.

With joint efforts from all sides, it’s believed that the CIIE will live up to the expectation of all participants including Russian enterprises.

(Li Hui is the Chinese Ambassador to Russia.) 

Deaf-mute youth choir wows audience in Beijing

(Photo/We Media account (ID: onelight01)))

An artist and a musician from China have spent five years training deaf-mute children to sing and have finally succeeded, a We Media account (ID: onelight01) reported on Oct. 26, 2018..

On the evening of August 4, 2018, a choir made up of 14 deaf-mute Chinese children, ranging in age from 9 to 16, wowed their audience at the Beijing Concert Hall with a 12-minute performance.

The performance comprised of three parts, each with a different theme – silence, fun and games, and hope. The children made beautiful sounds pitched to varying levels in harmony with the music, and some even rapped during the second section, which encouraged the audience to clap and nod their heads in time with the music.

The audience were moved by the performance, applauding loudly and giving the performers a thumbs-up.

Behind this heart-touching performance, there is also a heart-warming story.

(Photo/We Media account (ID: onelight01)))

Five years ago, co-founders of the group, Li Bo and Zhang Yong, happened to hear a noise while walking through China’s capital Beijing. After tracking the noise down, the men were shocked to find that it came from a deaf-mute person.

The two men then decided to search for such sounds in deaf-mute schools, put them to music, and bring it to people that had never heard it before.

They arrived at a school specially designed for deaf-mute children in Lingyun county, Baise city of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and asked every student if they could make an “ah” sound.

Everyone used sign language to say no. The two men were disheartened, but just as they were about to leave, a 4-year-old girl reignited their confidence by making the sound perfectly. They quickly built a group, with the little girl, Yang Weiwei, as their youngest member.

As the first of its kind, the two men had to figure out a way to teach the children how to make the right sounds at the right pitch.

After painstaking efforts and repeated practice, trying everything from using ice cream sticks to tonometers, they trained the children to make different sounds, understand pitch levels, and finally how to harmonize.

Yang Weiwei, the youngest member (Photo/We Media account (ID: onelight01)))

The performance in Beijing Concert Hall brought the choir into the limelight, but Li Bo and Zhang Yong have since refused invitations for commercial performances, as they felt the students should continue to spend time on their studies.

The 14 children, on their return home from Beijing, got an entirely different reaction from those around them. The once “special” children have gradually become more confident and included.

Li Bo, an artist in Beijing, became famous in his youth. His paintings were allegedly sold for a million RMB each. He was praised as the best foreign artist by French art center Espace Pierre Cardin.

(Photo/We Media account (ID: onelight01)))

Zhang Yong was a rock musician from Xiamen, east China’s Fujian province, with his live show a favorite among young people.

“What’s most important is not the performance on stage, but that these children can live a better life and win more respect when they return home,” said the two men.