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.

Provincial GDP comes in above national average

Of the 27 provinces that have released their third-quarter GDP data so far, 22 reported growth higher than China’s overall GDP level in the first three quarters.

Experts said China’s economic growth will remain stable, maybe with a slight fall in 2018, but growth of above 6.5 percent can be expected.

“Overall, China’s economic situation has shown clear improvement this year, especially in terms of structural changes,” Cong Yi, a professor at Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Of the 22 aforementioned provinces, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region both had GDP growth of 10.1 percent in the first three quarters, the highest growth level so far, the Beijing News reported on Thursday.

They were followed by Chongqing Municipality, also in Southwest China, which had GDP growth of 10 percent in the first three quarters.

Liu Dongliang, a senior analyst at China Merchants Bank, told the Global Times on Thursday that different provinces in Southwest China have different economic highlights, with Guizhou doing well in the Internet industry and Chongqing having strong fixed-assets investment.

China’s overall GDP growth reached 6.9 percent in the first three quarters this year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on October 20.

Better signs in Northeast China

According to the third-quarter GDP data released so far, there has also been an improvement in Northeast China, which has been burdened with strong downward pressure in recent years.

For example, Northeast China’s Liaoning saw GDP growth of 2.5 percent in the first three quarters this year, up from 2.1 percent growth in the first six months. The province’s GDP slumped by 2.5 percent in 2016.

The other two provinces in Northeast China, Heilongjiang and Jilin, have not yet disclosed their third-quarter GDP growth.

Liu said that Northeast China’s economic rebound comes along with a revival in upstream industries and a price rise for many raw materials like steel and coal.

“But the key economic problems in the area, such as imbalanced industrial structure and low efficiency, will not be solved in a short period of time,” he noted.

Cong said that Northeast China’s economy is highly dependent upon heavy industry, but it has been rather slow in upgrading in this area, so when industry performs poorly, so does the area’s economy.

“I think the [Northeast China] region needs to find a new engine for its economic growth,” Cong told the Global Times.

Economy to remain stable

The provincial GDP data released so far also demonstrated a slight economic slowdown recently, as nearly two-thirds of provinces saw their GDP growth fall in the first three quarters compared with the first half.

But both Liu and Cong said this was a normal economic fluctuation.

“Growth in the real estate sector has slowed as the effects of government regulatory policies have gradually manifested themselves.

The infrastructure sector has slowed as local government financing dwindled due to policy restrictions,” Liu said, forecasting that GDP growth is still likely to reach 6.8 percent in 2017.

“Next year, the economic slowdown will continue, but there won’t be a very sharp decline,” Liu noted. He predicted that GDP growth is likely to be around 6.7 percent for 2018.

Cong also said that China’s economy will remain stable. “GDP growth of above 6.5 percent is very likely to become the normal state in the long term,” he said, adding that domestic demand will become a strong pillar for China’s economy in future.

Source: Global Times

Chinese company unveils new type of smart electric buses

A new type of smart electric bus was recently unveiled in Qingdao, eastern China’s Shandong province, by Beijing North Vehicle Group Corporation under China North Industries Group Corporation.

Small, flexible charging facilities for the buses can be installed at existing transit hubs without the need for additional charging stations.

In addition, the buses can be charged through overhead wiring. A five-minute charge can keep the buses running for 40 kilometers thanks to the quick charge technology.

The buses are also equipped with automatic charging bows, which can charge the vehicles on the go.

A number of smart systems have been equipped on the electric buses to offer convenient and safe services, including automatic hazardous cargo detection, driver behavior monitoring, collision avoidance, blind guidance, mobile payment, facial recognition, and smart allocation.

Alibaba’s logistics arm helps Beats improve sales during upcoming online shopping craze

Beats audio products are likely to see bigger sales during the upcoming Chinese online shopping festival thanks to the company’s cooperation with Cainiao, the logistics arm of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Based on presale data and artificial intelligence prediction, Cainiao has transported the hottest products of the brand to warehouses in more than 20 major cities ahead of the shopping craze that begins on Nov. 11 in a bid to further shorten delivery time.

Turnover of the Beats online store on Tmall, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, is expected to increase during the shopping festival, but the operating officer of the store, Wu Miaoyu, does not see logistics as an issue.

The pre-allocation of the Beats products covers all the first- and second-tier cities, said Sun Wei, an employee of the Beats Tmall store.

According to Sun, Cainiao’s smart allocation system can realize a 99.99% accuracy rate this year, greatly reducing the number of mis-deliveries.

In addition, through artificial intelligence, Cainiao will, for the first time, realize real-time prediction of total shipment and transport capacity in order to avoid the busiest express delivery companies and thus possible delays.

After Beats’ cooperation with Cainiao, it only takes less than 24 hours for the customers to receive their orders.

On a recent promotion day, sales of Beats headsets on the Tmall store were several times higher than normal. However, Cainiao helped the store send out 70% of the orders on the same day, and 80% of the orders were received within 2 days.

“This was never imaginable before,” Wu said.

Faster delivery will improve the shopping experience of Beats followers, Wu noted, adding that it also means lower cost and higher efficiency for the merchants.

Shared medical mall emerges

An employee is standing behind the reception desk of Wellem, a pediatric clinic, at the shared medical mall in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province, on September 21, 2017. Photo: IC

The opening of a medical mall in East China’s Zhejiang Province is reaping the benefits of the trendy sharing economy. Experts said the new form of medical institution can help improve the overall quality of China’s healthcare services. However, it needs more time and better policies to properly take root.

The country’s first so-called medical mall, the latest edition to the red-hot sharing economy, recently opened in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang Province, Beijing-based Economic Information Daily (EID) reported on October 24.

The mall, situated in a building at a downtown commercial area, has attracted 13 medical institutions which will share medical services offered by a third party – Quancheng International Medical Center. The services, provided by technological departments run by Quancheng, will include such ones as basic check-ups, ultrasounds and medical images. They will also include shared pharmacies and surgery rooms.

The opening of the mall comes at a time when a string of sharing economy models are blossoming in the medical sector. In Guangzhou, capital of South China’s Guangdong Province, the local government set up a platform in July to allow as many as 2,000 doctors to conduct multi-site, on-the-ground practices.

Experts said such a model could reduce the cost of setting up and operating medical practices through private capital, yet it faces challenges from matters such as the country’s closed-off medical insurance system and gaining trust from patients, according to the EID report.

A new thing

The Hangzhou medical mall is situated at a major commercial complex, of which six stories in the lower part are occupied by retail shops and the upper 16 stories are occupied by medical institutions.

Out of the 13 institutions that have already moved in, 10 have started operating on a trial basis. The occupants include a facial surgery parlor, a pediatric institution and a traditional Chinese medicine pharmacy.

Yu Xinle, an official at the Health and Family Planning Commission of Zhejiang Province, was quoted as saying by the EID that the purpose of having a shared medical mall is to better improve the utilization rate of medical resources.

“The affiliate medical institutions that chose to move into the mall can be assets-light. Skilled and experienced doctors with a reputation can even set up their practices with only one suitcase,” Yu said.

“The prospect of a scarcity of resources had daunted our ambition to set up an offline clinic at other sites in Hangzhou,” said Zhang Qiang, founder of Shanghai-based Dr. Smile Medical Group.

“After moving in, we found that many other reputable specialized hospitals are also here,” Zhang said. “This pool of medical resources translated into a certain appeal to patients, and the sitting together with a commercial complex helped narrow down our patient target group – those with certain incomes and requirements.”

Compared with traditional hospitals across the country, those institutions operating in the medical mall offer a better environment and more privacy, and only receive clients via appointments, according to the EID report.

A pediatric clinic, for example, treats three to five children with pre-booked appointments on a daily basis, with a registered fee of 350 yuan ($52.79). To put that into perspective, the same fee at a top-class hospital in Beijing can cost as low as 10 yuan.

Challenges remain

Li Qing, an industry analyst, said medical malls have been in existence in developed countries including the US, Singapore and Japan since the 1980s.
It is a patchwork of multiple medical institutions that offer niche medical services with an emphasis on patient experience, thus putting pressure on traditional big hospitals, said Li, noting that such an existence can actually improve the quality of services in the overall medical sector.

Yu pointed out that development in the medical industry and the climate for innovation in Zhejiang Province were the prerequisites of the nation’s first medical mall.

Data from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Zhejiang Province shows that as of the end of 2016, there were 14,345 private-funded medical institutions across the province. A total of 693 private hospitals offered 62,766 beds, which accounted for 24.17 percent of the provincial total. And there were also 38,900 professional doctors working at these private-funded institutions, or 23.11 percent of the province’s total.

In September, Tencent Doctorwork, an online and offline medical institution invested by Internet giant Tencent Holdings, also announced its operation, adhering to its buzzword of the ”sharing economy”.

Thanks to the institution, patients can complete a number of self-run medical check-ups.

Experts reinforced that health and safety is the bottom line of medical institutions, which have the responsibility of ensuring public good. As such, they warned that these institutions should not prioritize generating profits.

Meanwhile, other industry insiders noted that nurturing trust among the general public is also a thorny subject for these independent medical institutions.

Ground-level implementation of multiple-site practice policies still needs improvement, and the current closed-off nature of China’s social security system means that clients are not able to pay for many of the services offered at the mall via their social security accounts, experts pointed out, according to the EID report.

The current regulations governing the medical system, which are pretty much devised to govern the incumbents, still do not harmonize with the sharing economy model, the report said, citing some opinions.

Yu said the mall is still a nouveau business. While the bottom line is guarded, it should be run on a trial-and-error basis and discover its highlights in good time, noted Yu.

Source: Global Times

China’s self-developed drilling platform finishes deep-sea test

China’s self-developed semi-submersible drilling platform A5000 recently finished deep-sea testing, marking the country’s further improvement in the manufacturing of high-end drilling equipment.

The drilling platform was manufactured by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation.

Starting from late September, the platform has passed all the examinations in six propelling systems, dynamic positioning system, unmanned engine room, and 11,000 alarm points at Dayaowan area of the Bohai Sea. It returned 20 days later on Oct. 20.

The A5000 is 104.5 meters in length, 70.5 meters in width, and 105.8 meters in height. As the world’s most advanced drilling platform, it can drill to a maximum depth of 9,144 meters at an operation depth of 1,500 meters.

Through technological innovation, the installed capacity of the platform has been expanded by 20% without additional cost. Wind-resistant performance has also been largely improved.

“Now we are able to develop the whole platform through our own technologies,” said Wang Housheng, project engineer of the A5000 platform.

After wrapping up, the drilling platform will be sent to conduct deep-sea operations

China holds leading position in research of space-based solar power

An artist’s rendition of a space-based solar power station

China now holds a leading position in the research of space-based solar power after decades of research which has narrowed the gap between itself and leading countries, Li Ming, research fellow of China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told Science and Technology Daily on Nov. 1.

China is expected to be the first country to build a practical space-based solar power station, as long as it continues investing in research and development, Li added.

Wang Li, another research fellow with CAST, noted that both Chinese and foreign experts are optimistic about China’s leading ability in this field.

Compared with traditional fossil energy, which has been increasingly exhausted and is responsible for severe environmental issues, space-based solar power is more efficient, sustainable, and clean. It can generate as much energy as a ground-based nuclear power plant.

However, the construction has long been a challenge for scientists, because its weight and size are way beyond the current carrying-capacity of spacecraft.

The US, Japan, and Russia have all made huge investment in this area, and the space departments of India, South Korea, and Europe are also conducting related research.

Taking space-based solar power as a key research program since 2008, China has made a number of major breakthroughs in wireless energy transmission and proposed various energy-collecting solutions.

The country has become a leader in and a major promoter of the development of space-based solar power.

Wang believes that leading in this area is an opportunity for China to further narrow its gap between itself and other major space powers.

Space-based solar power will ease environmental and energy pressure in China, and also spur the country’s innovation and emerging industries, Wang added.

Newly opened tourism train route connects China’s southernmost, northernmost provinces

A special tourism train route connecting the southernmost and northernmost provinces of China was opened on Oct. 30.

It takes 8 days to cover the whole section of the 4,100-kilometer route from Harbin to Hainan.

The route, specifically promoted for tourism, is currently the longest tourism train route in China. Being a sight-seeing railway, the train is equipped with large windows to offer a better experience.

According to a manager of Harbin Railway International Travel Service, the route crosses a number of provinces, including Liaoning, Hebei, Anhui, Hunan, Jiangxi, and Guangxi. Passengers can enjoy the beautiful sceneries of these provinces on a single trip.

Enriching tourists’ choices, the expanded north-south railway network will play an active role in promoting economic exchanges, cultural communication, and tourism development.