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Chinese tea enterprises need to build world-class brands

Experts at the recently held 2nd China International Tea Expo called on Chinese tea enterprises to build world-class tea brands, to broaden their global influence.

China, as the world’s largest producer and consumer of tea, has a huge variety of quality tea. However, the profit margin of over 10,000 Chinese tea enterprises is behind that of the British tea brand Lipton.

Although China has beaten the rest of the world when it comes to both planting area and production of tea for 13 consecutive years, it does not have a world-class tea brand, Tang Ke, director of the market and economic information department of the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out.

A report released by the Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences also shows that among a sample group of 10,000 tea consumers from 10 Chinese cities, only 11 percent bought tea from the same company. Such a result reflects the lack of brand influence when it comes to Chinese tea.

Jiang Aiqin, an expert in the tea industry disclosed that this is due to many factors. As China’s tea industry is dominated by smallholders, they cannot obtain financial support to create brands.

In addition, despite the high standard of tea products in China, they aren’t well-received among consumers. It’s difficult to create a commercial tea brand with consumer trust, said Jiang.

Experts therefore suggest Chinese tea enterprises make efforts to build world-known tea brands by introducing capital, creating standards which will instigate consumer trust and combining Chinese tea culture with product promotion.

China to step up SCO investment

China is poised to increase investment in fellow Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states, offering billions of dollars in special loans that will boost infrastructure and industrial development in these countries, experts said, while also increasing economic and trade cooperation within the traditionally security-focused bloc.

During a speech at the SCO summit in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to set up a 30 billion yuan ($4.69 billion) special lending facility within the framework of the SCO Interbank Consortium, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi said that the special loan was announced in connection with his proposal for the SCO to build a “powerful engine to achieve common development and prosperity,” Xinhua reported.

The move is in line with China’s push for wider regional economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative and will provide much-needed funding to spearhead infrastructure and industrial projects in SCO member states, experts noted.

Fill the void

“There is massive demand for investment in infrastructure and industrial development within the SCO, especially after India and Pakistan joined the group,” said Liu Ying, a research fellow with the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

While SCO countries have long proposed linking their transportation networks to facilitate trade, implementation of the plan has stalled due to a lack of funding, according to Liu. “Building transport connections requires a huge amount of investment and these countries might not be able to fund it. China is better positioned to provide it,” she told the Global Times on Monday.

Apart from infrastructure projects, the special loan could also be used in industrial development in the SCO member states, according to Liu. Specifically, energy projects and industrial parks could receive funding, she noted.

China has already been investing heavily in infrastructure and industrial development projects in some of the SCO member states through the Belt and Road initiative. China Development Bank, a policy bank, said that it has invested a total of more than $100 billion in SCO member states so far, according to a Xinhua report on Thursday.

By setting up the special loan under the SCO Interbank Consortium, China is trying to promote an expansion of free trade among SCO member states, said Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

“The main purpose is trade facilitation because this is very important for the region,” Chen told the Global Times on Monday, noting that while the bloc has previously focused mainly on security cooperation, trade has become an increasingly critical issue in today’s world of rising trade disputes and protectionism.

“Trade facilitation is just the initial goal. The ultimate goal is for us to move toward a free trade pact,” Chen said. “That’s the right path for the SCO to become a prominent voice in global issues regarding both security and trade.”

Liu also noted that the special loan comes at a time when major economies, such as the US and EU, are continuing to tighten monetary policy, drawing waves of capital flows back toward them and depriving other countries, including those in the SCO, of investment.

“There is an element of risk prevention in [setting up the special loan]… because as global money supply is in retreat, [the loan] could address liquidity issues for these countries,” she said.

Source: Global Times


Chinese products make World Cup more entertaining and convenient

From elevators to mascot products, Chinese companies are gaining a higher degree of exposure at international sports events.

Products of World Cup mascot Zabivaka are all made by a Chinese manufacturer

Chinese football fans have bought more than 40,000 tickets for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the 9th biggest buyer among their global peers, according to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).

Other Chinese elements, such as sponsors, will also be present at the sporting event. According to statistics, of the 17 World Cup sponsors, five are Chinese companies including phone maker VIVO, Mengniu Dairy and Hisense.

Chinese enterprises have changed the previous situation in which U.S. and Japanese companies were the only sponsors of such events as the Olympic Games and World Cup.

A Chinese enterprise named Fude is the only authorized foreign manufacturer and seller of World Cup mascots outside of Russia. The silver commemorative coins of the World Cup are also made by a Chinese manufacturer.

Silver commemorative coins of the World Cup

China’s elevator company Bolinte has also won the bid to produce 67 elevators for two World Cup venues. The company has been infiltrating the Russian market leading up to the World Cup. It already has more than 2,700 elevators functioning inside various Russian buildings.

Therefore, the Chinese company had the upper hand before the bidding started. Like Russian agencies have said, they’ve learnt the strengths of the Chinese company based on the latter’s performance in their country.

Construction site of the Chinese-made elevator

In addition, some 100,000 Chinese crayfish are now on their way to Moscow to add extra Chinese flavor to the sporting event. However, that number may be insufficient for Chinese fans who will have to share them with football fans from other countries.

Nearly 39,000 Chinese football fans have reportedly applied for Fan IDs which will grant them visa-free entry to Russia during the World Cup.

To welcome Chinese fans, the Chinese and Russian sides have jointly built a China house, which will also introduce the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Games and present Chinese culture and food to the Russian people.

Chinese super high-speed rail is possible within ten years

A Chinese railway expert has said that China could develop a super high-speed rail from Shanghai to Hangzhou in the next 10 years, reported.

High-speed trains in China currently run at up to 420 kilometers per hour, with the test speed at 486 kilometers per hour. To operate at test speed, the issue of reducing noise and vibration needs further investigation, said He Huawu, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

He said Chinese experts who created the complicated high-speed railway system have seen it go from nothing to a strong player worldwide. However, they are still working on remaining issues to make sure that they do not fall behind.

Chinese experts experienced foreign high-speed railways and undersea tunnels in the 20th century and decided to produce their own high-speed railways using Chinese technologies.

Technologies promote expansion of China’s catering industry

Casual dining, which has been expanding across China since 2012, is being continuously promoted by new technologies, China Economic Net reported. In 2017, revenue of China’s catering industry reached 3.96 trillion yuan, 80 percent of which was contributed by casual dining.

A robot waitor in a restaurant in Haerbin, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province

The Internet, big data and cloud computing have played an important role in innovating the catering industry. According to statistics, China’s online food delivery market hit 204.6 billion yuan ($31.9 billion) in 2017, 23 percent more than the previous year.

Almost 300 million people have already used online services to order food, according to iiMedia Research, a global consulting agency.

Analysts have predicted that with the development of technology, it’s possible that some of the more tedious and repetitive aspects of the restaurant business may be taken over by robots. For instance, Chinese e-commerce giant JD has announced that its first smart restaurant will open to the public in August this year. All of the services at this pioneering restaurant will be carried out by robots.

Young people are also forcing the industry to innovate in order to meet more personalized and diverse demands. According to China’s major food delivery firm Meituan, 74 percent of orders are made by people aged between 20 and 35 years old.

The rapid expansion of the catering industry has driven the demand for young cooks. According to the Ministry of Education, the number of catering schools in China has increased from 85 in 2013 to 176 in 2018.

China grants permanent residency to 1,881 foreigners over last 2 months

China has granted permanent residency to 1,881 foreigners over the past two months, said the country’s State Immigration Administration.

The number is equivalent to the total that were granted in the whole of last year. The 1,881 permanent residents include Nobel Prize winners, researchers, doctoral supervisors, entrepreneurs, as well as their spouses and children.

The permanent residency mechanism for foreigners is an important scheme for China to attract global talents. The country will further improve the system and better facilitate those who want to be involved in its development.

Publication of controversial Japanese novel halted

The publication of a controversial Japanese light novel — New Life+: Young Again in Another World, which includes discriminatory content regarding China, has been put on hold, according to a report published on Wednesday by Asahi Shimbun.

The newspaper said that multiple voice actors for the novel’s anime adaptation also announced their withdrawal from the project.

The novel, which had recently been introduced in China, tells the story of a 94-year-old war criminal Renya Kunugi, who reincarnates in another world to live his second life after slaughtering more than 3,000 people in China during World War II.

The author of the novel once posted discriminatory remarks on Twitter, calling China and South Korea “wicked countries”.

The book has roused over 10,000 comments on Japanese textboard 2ch. Many people agree that Japan should stop publishing such anti-humanity novels whilst praising itself as a peaceful country.

An anonymous Japanese citizen told Chinese media outlet Global Times that anime is considered one of the best methods of communication between Japan and China, and it’s a shame this novel was published.

He said that the famous Japanese anime director Yutaka Yamamoto was once disqualified from an exchange program in China after saying that Japan had enriched occupied areas and educated local people during World War II.

The recent withdrawal of anime voice actors was welcomed by Japanese netizens, who said the actors had made the right decision on the correct side of history. However, some people also attributed the withdrawal to Japan’s huge Chinese anime market.

Efforts underway to clean world’s highest mountain

“The altitude below 6,500 meters is where most activities such as mountaineering and training take place, so it has the most waste,” said Nyima Tsering, director of the Tibet Sports Bureau.

The bureau has established an environmental protection squad and taken measures to tackle the high-altitude garbage issue, with the aim of giving visitors the best view of Mount Qomolangma, the world’s highest peak.

It becomes harder for volunteers to work as the altitude increases. Usually they carry four or five cans of oxygen to breathe, and even then, they have to be very careful while working.

There is a cleanup mechanism to help the volunteers do their job more efficiently, Nyima Tsering said.

Local herders are employed to collect rubbish in places below 6,500 meters, while professional guides and mountaineers do the work in higher places. Each mountaineer has to bring 8 kilograms of rubbish down from the mountain to be rewarded. Afterwards, the rubbish is sorted and delivered to Mount Qomolangma Nature Reserve management bureau for final disposal.

Dhondup is a doctor in a village at the foot of the mountain. When the mountaineering season arrives, he becomes a rubbish picker. He is also in charge of transporting the sorted garbage out of the Mount Qomolangma Nature Reserve.

Dhondup once climbed to areas above 6,500 meters, the highest altitude he has ever been. As he climbs to places between 5,800 and 6,500 meters once every three days, the 31-year-old man doesn’t think the work is that physically demanding.

Starting this year, the bureau renovated dry toilets on the mountain by installing simple storage tanks for easier packaging, disposal and transportation of human waste.

To step up the efforts, the bureau has involved more social forces in the cause. For instance, under the help of entrepreneurs and charity funds, the bureau initiated the Tibet Himalaya Mountain Environmental Protection Fund, the first of its kind in China.

The fund passed the authorities’ approval in March 2018. It will not only help protect Tibet’s alpine environment, but also inspire farmers and herders to get involved in the campaign and allow them to make money through environmental protection.

Mountaineering itself will also be strictly regulated. When the 2018 mountaineering season ends in autumn, the spot will not open again to hikers this year and places above 5,100 meters will close to tourists for better environment management.

Economist: China able to maintain 6.5 percent annual growth over next decade

It’s entirely possible that China will maintain an annual economic growth of 6.5 percent for the next 10 years, said Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist of the World Bank, China News Agency reported.

Lin made the remarks at a forum held at the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing.

China’s reform will always be on the road, Lin said. In the 40 years of reform and opening up, the country has followed its own path of economic development and become a medium-high income country.

The economist said China should continue deepening reform and give a decisive role to the market in allocating resources.

As new industries with higher added value will continue to emerge, the potential for a relatively high economic growth won’t change, Lin said. He added that through supply-side structural reform and optimizing industrial structures, China should expect to keep annual growth at around 6.5 percent over the next decade.

The economist believes the basis for mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation between China and the U.S. will not change.

Chinese-built rail puts Ethiopia on higher development track

For Muftah, a medical student in the city of Addis Ababa, getting to school used to take a lot of time and money, as traffic jams were an integral part of the chaotic city.

Now it takes less time to reach his school on the China-built light rail, and it’s also a more enjoyable journey. As Muftah explains,“The train cabins are clean and comfortable. I sometimes read books on the train.”

The 34.25-km light railway, with 39 stations across the city, was built by China Railway Engineering Corporation, which currently operates the rail together with the Shenzhen Metro Group, another Chinese company.

The railway transported some 129 million passengers between 2015 when it opened to traffic at the end of May 2018. It has reduced commuting expenses from 2 to 6 ETB ($0.07 to 0.14) for a one-way ticket, which is much lower than taking a taxi or even a bus.

“The railway has become a name card of Ethiopia. Its punctuality, safety, rapid speed and convenience have made it a first choice for Addis Ababa citizens. In addition to relieving traffic burden, the rail has also improved functions of the city, said Ethiopian Minister of Transport Workneh Gebeyehu.

The rail is also a symbol of friendship. The two Chinese companies have created a complete system for rail operation and management and transferred techniques and knowledge to the Ethiopian side according to the contract. For instance, local employees have now been trained to carry out most of the driving work.

The Chinese side have so far held 16 sessions of training on institution construction, 19 rounds of light rail technique training, compiled more than 200 supporting textbooks and launched a training system for the rail company.

Under the training, 791 Ethiopian students have obtained work qualification certificates.

An Ethiopian employee said he has learnt a lot from his Chinese co-workers, such as how to drive a train safely, and they have also built deep friendship and understanding while working together.

The railway has changed the development outlook of the city, said Wang Wei, general manager of Shenzhen Metro Group. Before the rail opened, the city’s nightlife ended around 8 p.m., but as the rail is now open until 10 p.m., shops and restaurants have since prolonged their opening hours.

After getting their first Pizza Hut restaurant because of the railway, the city is now welcoming another in a district along the railway.

Under the guidance of the Chinese, the Ethiopian transport authorities have compiled an enterprise standard system and an emergency rescue standard system.