World’s first tactile exoskeleton unveiled at industry fair in Shanghai

The world’s first tactile exoskeleton was unveiled at the ongoing 2017 China International Industry Fair (CIIF) in Shanghai.

The 5-day event, which kicked off today, exhibits a series of cutting-edge technologies, such as an artificial heart with magnetic levitation, a non-surgical hearing loss device that transmits sound via the teeth, and 3D metal printing.

The exoskeleton Fourier X1 is the world’s first tactile lower-body robot. It is able to adjust the gait through force feedback. The assistance it offers could help people with both hemiplegia and lower-limb amputations regain the ability to walk.

The exoskeleton is currently going through clinical tests to check its safety and reliability, a staff of the exhibition said, adding that it is expected to be available in the next year or two.

More of the latest scientific innovations and applications will also be presented at the fair, such as the world’s first artificial intelligence chip for smart phones, the most advanced facial recognition technology, and China’s self-developed deep-learning laboratory.

U.S. retiree volunteers to teach English in Chengdu

A 68-year-old man from the U.S. has been offering free English classes in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, to make his own contribution to the local community, Huaxi City Daily reported on Nov. 6.

The retiree surnamed James was an architectural engineer from Washington D.C., and his wife is a retired college teacher in Sichuan.

His students come from all walks of life, ranging from 24 to 60. The 1-hour classes are always extended because of the students’ passion for learning.

“This is a class with human kindness,” said Luo Lixian, one of the students.

The social community-based English class has gathered a group of people who used to be strangers to each other, turning them into friends and boosting their confidence.

“The most important thing is that we are touched by the volunteering spirit of James and have followed him to make our own contribution to the community,” said Xiong Shan, director of the community.

According to James, the community’s people-oriented services are what struck him the most after he moved to Pidu District, Chengdu, in 2015. The service center for international residents has not only helped him fit in with the local people, but also improved his Chinese skills. In addition, he has acquired a Chinese driving license with the help of local residents.

“The community has helped me a lot, so I need to do something with my competence to contribute to it,” said James.

James established an online chat group for his class, and over 100 local residents have joined so far.

James’s humorous teaching style has won him a great reputation among his students. In addition to oral English, he also patiently explains all kinds of problems related with English.

“I’m very happy to be learning together with the local residents,” he said. He has become a local celebrity and is hailed as the “most beautiful neighbor” by his students.

In the wake of Cellon’s controversial report, experts look into Jiangxi’s business environment

An investigation report which blames the local government in Gongqingcheng, East China’s Jiangxi Province, of directly causing communication services provider Cellon to fall has gone viral. In the wake of the report, an increasing number of investors ponder whether Jiangxi is a good destination to invest. The Global Times recently spoke with businessmen and experts to figure out what Jiangxi’s investment environment is currently like in terms of governance, policy consistency and government supportive measures.

The government in Gongqingcheng, East China’s Jiangxi Province, was thrown into the limelight in recent days over a widely circulated and controversial report, which accused the local government of directly causing the “sudden demise” of Cellon Communications Technology, a local communications services provider.

While details of the case still hang in limbo, the Chinese public is hotly debating whether domestic investors should seek business opportunities in Jiangxi, as some claim that Cellon’s failure is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the “strained and frictional” relations between the local government and private enterprises.

Largely unknown to the general public, Cellon, headquartered in Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, was in fact once a prominent R&D company in the mobile phone sector, counting domestic handset-makers including Huawei and Xiaomi, and some foreign companies such as Motorola, among its clients.

The recent media investigations provide insight into how the tech pioneer boomed and burst in Gongqingcheng, a city of around 200,000 residents, and what role the government played in its bankruptcy.

Cellon’s rise and fall

In September 2010, at the invitation of the local government, Cellon invested 300 million yuan ($45.2 million) to establish a subsidiary in Gongqingcheng. During the first three years, Cellon was a local star, and was also among the biggest corporate taxpayers in the city, the Beijing News reported on Wednesday.

But from October 2013, the company was mired in a capital crunch after “local authorities ordered financial institutions to stop issuing loans to the tech company because of its cash flow problems,” said another report by technology industry website TMTPost.

Then, several attempts by Dai Xiaoquan, the founder and chairman of Cellon, to bring in new investors also failed due to “local government interference,” the report noted.

Later, Zhan Zheng, the then-deputy mayor of Gongqingcheng, reportedly ordered Dai be detained and forced him to transfer shares to him and then-Party secretary Huang Bin, or otherwise he would “be jailed permanently.”

Dai was released two months later after he finally agreed to the officials’ request, according to the report.

In July 2017, Dai was sentenced by the local court to two years in prison on charges of tax evasion involving 3.39 million yuan, said the report.

But the Gongqingcheng government tells a different story from the media reports, denying the accusations and attributing Cellon’s bankruptcy to its own management problems.

“Cellon’s operation had been experiencing a freefall since early 2013 after it lost orders from Motorola, its major client, which caused the company to cease operation in October 2013,” said a statement published by the Gongqingcheng government on its official Weibo account on Tuesday.

“So far, Cellon still owes banks and other business entities in Jiangxi Province 736 million yuan,” the post continued.

Jiangxi provincial commerce department and the bureau of commerce of Jiujiang, a prefecture-level city in northwest Jiangxi which has jurisdiction over Gongqingcheng, refused to further comment when contacted by the Global Times.

Cellon could not be reached for comment either.

Quantity over quality

While Cellon’s failure still needs to be further investigated in order to clarify details and identify the responsible party, public discussions surrounding the case continue, with the Jiangxi government adding fuel to the fire in recent days.

Some investors pointed out that the case reflects the unfavorable business environment in Jiangxi, the result of the so-called “bigger-is-better” local government.

“I’m not surprised about Cellon’s woes,” a Jiangxi resident, who only gave his surname as Shou, told the Global Times.

Shou had run some small businesses in Jiangxi prior to 2014, but later left the province “due to disappointments with the local government” and instead founded a tech start-up in Shenzhen.

He said that the local government’s heavy hand has led to most of the once-populous industrial parks in Jiangxi to be left abandoned.

In 2013, the Jiangxi government unveiled a plan that aimed to ensure the province’s industry income would reach 1 trillion yuan by 2020.

To accomplish the goal, various local authorities were assigned the mission of attracting investors, another Jiangxi businessman, who only spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Global Times over the weekend.

As a result, “the local government’s moves [to attract investors] were motivated by completing tasks instead of vitalizing the economy,” Shou said.

But after successfully persuading investors to set up factories in Jiangxi, follow-up measures could not immediately be carried out to ensure the safety of their businesses, said the anonymous Jiangxi businessman.

Path to recovery

Despite the controversy, the local investment environment in Jiangxi has actually been improving thanks to recent and various measures taken by local authorities, Li Shicai, dean of the Department of Finance at Jiangxi Normal University, told the Global Times.

In August, Jiujiang ranked as the 80th Chinese city out of 334 in terms of the cities with the most thriving business environment, climbing from 99th in June, according to a report issued by consultancy Kuaizhan.com.

The province’s latest improvements are also marked as a result of the construction of the 25-square-kilometer Nanchang Aerospace Industry Town, which boasts investment totaling 30 billion yuan and is located in the northeastern part of Nanchang, the provincial capital, experts said.

They also noted that the center will soon build up a solid foundation for aviation and high-tech related industries. For example, the base’s first phase has already been put into operation, the most successful achievement of that so far being the delivery of the C919’s main body, the first Chinese-manufactured jumbo aircraft.

Hu Qifeng, chairman of Zonjli, an intelligent electronic weighing supplier based in the Nanchang National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone, a national semiconductor illumination base, also took note of Jiangxi authorities’ recent supportive policies in high-tech industries.

Hu, who came to invest in Jiangxi in 1999, told the Global Times that a number of policies have been carried out by authorities to stimulate innovation in R&D.

For example, since early this year, the industrial development zone offered to refund an extra 0.5 percent in R&D expenses as incentives so that companies could invest more in R&D, according to Hu.

“I’m satisfied with the business environment [in Jiangxi]. The innovation-driven strategy has been carried out, governance is getting more and more law-based, and the approval process here is efficient,” Hu noted.

Source: Global Times

China ranks second in world as expat destination for career progression: HSBC report

China ranks second in the world as an expat destination for career progression, only after the U.S., said the Expat Explorer Survey recently issued by HSBC.

The survey invited more than 27,500 expats in over 150 countries and regions this year to share their experiences in different areas ranging from personal finance to living conditions.

More than 70% of the foreigners living in China believe that the country has offered a broader vocational prospect for them, up 16% since last year.

Half of the foreigners said they have developed new skills after coming to the country, and 55% of them had their disposable income raised.

Higher income is the reason why Indian software engineer surnamed Jayanth decided to work here. “I don’t have to compete much thanks to the rich public resources here,” he said, adding that he will have more opportunities when he returns to his home country because of his working experience in China.

Dominic Morgan, who comes from UK and now works in the media industry in Shanghai, noted that China is set to become the most important country and market in the world and that Chinese enterprises would also become very strong in overseas markets.

Though his income is less in China than that in the UK, the cost of living is much lower here, Morgan said, adding that his life experiences have also been enriched.

Thanks to the rapid development, China is gradually narrowing the gap between itself and the developed countries, said Chen Wei, head of Zhangjiang Platform Economy Research Institute. The country is offering more opportunities for foreigners with improved environment and policies, Chen added.

Shanghai, for instance, has always been one of the hottest cities in China for foreign talents. By the first half of this year, a total of 896 high-level foreign talents in the city have been recruited by the Thousand Talents Plan, a recruitment program for global experts.

In addition, more than 140,000 foreigners are currently working and studying in Shanghai, and the city has become a permanent residence for 93,000 foreign experts.

China expected to complete first sea launch for commercial payloads in 2018

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lands on a drone ship at sea. (File photo)

China is expected to complete its first sea launch for commercial payloads in 2018, said Yang Baohua, vice general manager of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASTC).

Yang made the remarks at an annual academic conference on space science held from November 1 to 2 in Beijing.

The service will also be provided in other regions in addition to its four major sites in Jiuquan, Taiyuan, Xichang, and Wenchang, Yang noted.

At the conference, Yang introduced the company’s experience, competence, and advantages, as well as its on-going commercial aerospace programs, and also evaluated the prospects of the commercial space industry.

“CASTC is dedicated to offering various commercial launching solutions to meet the market demands of low cost and fast preparation,” Yang said.

Key technological tests will be conducted for the sea launch of the Long-march rocket family this year, according to Tang Yagang, deputy director of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.

The commercial service is expected to be available for international users in 2018. By then, the Long-march rockets will be able to send 500-kilogram satellites to an altitude of 500 kilometers above Earth, at an inclination of 0-10 degrees.

In recent years, with the growing demand for launching near-equatorial and low-inclination satellites from countries near the equator, sea launch service has become an area of fierce competition among space powers.

China’s papermaking industry experiences make-over, becomes more environmentally friendly

China’s papermaking industry has become more environmentally friendly after years of efforts, Jia Feng, director of the Center of Environmental Education and Communications of Ministry of Environmental Protection, said in Beijing on Nov. 3.

Jia made the remarks at the 2017 China Paper Industry Sustainability Forum. According to him, China’s paper industry has experienced a make-over after two decades of development.

Papermaking enterprises used to take environmental protection as an approach to meet regulations and consumers’ needs, Jia said. Nowadays, these enterprises see green development as important for the future of the industry.

The emission of chemical oxygen demand (COD) per 10,000 RMB ($1,510) of paper productivity stood at 54 kilograms in 2006, said Zhao Wei, chief secretary of China Paper Association. By 2016, it dropped below 5 kilograms, a reduction of over 90%.

“The paper industry accounted for more than 50% of China’s COD reduction, making a remarkable contribution to the country’s emission reduction,” the chief secretary noted.

Given stricter environmental policies, raised emission standards, and enhanced environmental supervision, enterprises that failed to meet the national requirements have been shut down.

In addition, the raised threshold of environmental protection is also forcing papermakers to change their production mode.

APP-China, short for Sinar Mas Paper (China) Investment Co., Limited, is one of the largest papermakers in China, with over 30 pulp and paper enterprises and 18 forestry companies. According to Vice President Zhai Jingli, 40% of the company’s investment this year has been spent on environmental protection. The company has invested tens of billions of RMB on effective utilization and environmental innovation.

Jia said that green manufacturing is a long path, adding that some small-scaled paper enterprises with outdated technologies and ideas still have to further accelerate their pace.

China builds more than 800,000 bridges

Tongling Yangtze River Bridge in Anhui province.

China has built 805,300 highway bridges and 10,000 kilometers of high-speed rail bridges, said Zhou Wei, chief engineer from the Ministry of Transport.

Zhou made the remarks at an international bridge expo held in Wuhan, central China’s Hubei Province on Nov. 5.

He said seven of the longest cable-stayed bridges, six of the longest suspension bridges, six of the longest arch bridges, and five of the longest beam bridges are in China.

China’s bridge construction has already become a name card for its “go global” strategy, the chief engineer said.

The country’s construction of railway bridges also achieved major progress in recent years, said Yan Hexiang, director of the technology and law division of the National Railway Administration.

China has built 22,000 kilometers of high-speed rail, and bridges accounted for more than half of this mileage.

In addition, China has built 135 bridges across the main course of the Yangtze River, 32 of which are currently under construction, said Liu Ziming, president of China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group.

China’s first comprehensive climatic lab expected to be put into use in 2018

China’s first comprehensive climatic laboratory is expected to be put into use in 2018, according to a forum on aircraft-technology development held in Shanghai on Nov. 4

By then, aircraft climatic testing will no longer be limited to airports with particular environments, and most of the tests can be performed at the lab.

The C919, China’s first domestically developed large passenger jet, will be tested in the climatic laboratory.

China’s Aviation Industry Aircraft Strength Research Institute (AIASRI) prepared for the lab three years ago. Located in Xi’an, northwestern China’s Shaanxi province, it has a gross area of 13,000 square meters.

The lab is able to simulate various extreme weather conditions through refrigeration, heating, air conditioning, and controlling technologies, offering testing environments for any season, location, or time.

“The aircraft will be tested in a number of weather conditions,” said Yang Hai, a senior research fellow with AIASRI. For instance, the aircraft will be placed in the lab for 48 hours where the temperature will be lowered to minus 50 degrees Celsius to see whether it can still function, he added.

Many aircraft are currently waiting to undergo testing in the lab, including the C919, he said. In

“139-year-old” whiskey sold to Chinese writer was fake

Sandro Bernascon and Zhang Wei

A bottle of “139-year-old” whiskey sold to a Chinese writer for 9,999 Swiss francs ($10,000) in August at a Swiss hotel has turned out to be a fake.

The owner of the hotel, Sandro Bernascon, flew to China and apologized to the customer after confirming that the bottle was indeed made between 1970 and 1972.

It is reported that the Chinese customer, Zhang Wei, who is a famous Internet writer in China, had spent a total of 70,000 RMB at the hotel’s Devil’s Place Whisky Bar in August.

However, doubts were raised over the authenticity of the super expensive Macallan whiskey.

Bernascon, who placed huge importance on this matter, invited whiskey experts to check the spirit, and it was later proved to be fake.

According to the website 20Minuten, the hotel accepted the result and decided to reimburse Zhang. “Zhang was not angry at this message, and he appreciated our honesty,” Bernascon said.

The owner of the hotel told the Chinese writer that the Swiss are honest and won’t cheat their customers.

It is reported that the bottle of whiskey was bought by Bernascon’s father 25 years ago. They had never doubted the authenticity of it before, Bernascon noted.