Political stability and security make China the best place to do business: Alibaba’s Jack Ma

Jack Ma speaks at the convention.

China has the best business environment in the world, said Chinese billionaire Jack Ma at the 4th World Zhejiang Entrepreneurs Convention on Nov. 29.

Ma, chairman of e-commerce giant Alibaba, attributed the favorable environment to China’s unique political stability and security. The high-speed annual growth of over 6% is also an important factor, he added.

Ma said his rich experience and repeated reading of the 19th CPC National Congress report helped him reach this conclusion.

He stressed the importance of globalization at the convention, calling it a must for all enterprises, even small- and middle-sized ones. He suggested these companies reach out to the world, since it is easy today to find global partners.

China sees 4% drop in carbon intensity in first three quarters of 2017

(File photo)

China is expected to over-fulfill its reduction target of greenhouse gases emission by 2020, given a 4-percent drop in the country’s carbon intensity in the first nine months of 2017, said Li Gao, an official with the department for climate change under China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

Li made the remarks at this year’s Asia-Pacific Forum on Low Carbon Technology held in Changsha, Hunan, on Nov. 29.

According to him, the annual growth of energy consumption, which stood at 5.1% from 2005 to 2015, had supported an average annual economic growth rate of 9.5% over the same period. The country has cut 4.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, preliminarily unhooking the connections between economic progress and carbon emissions.

In 2016, non-fossil energy accounted for 13.3% of the primary energy consumption, Li said, adding that energy consumption per GDP unit and carbon dioxide emissions have dropped 5% and 6.6%, respectively.

The carbon emission trading system will be initiated at the end of this year, and a national carbon market will be gradually established, Li noted.

He remarked that China will keep playing a constructive role in global climate governance and lead international cooperation on climate change.

Nanjing recovers 80,000 lost bricks for its ancient city wall

The Chinese city of Nanjing has recovered about 80,000 lost bricks for its ancient city wall after one year of the launching of a reclaiming campaign.

The construction of the City Wall of Nanjing started in 1366 and was completed in 1393. Some 350 million bricks had been laid by 280,000 workers from 152 counties in five provinces.

However, a lot of bricks were lost after some sections of the city wall had been destroyed due to historical reasons. Some of the lost bricks were treated as construction waste, while others were used by local citizens for the construction of their own houses.

In order to recover the lost bricks, related local departments launched a campaign last year encouraging citizens to return them. People who offer valuable information can also get a cash reward.

About 80,000 bricks have been recovered so far.

Chinese farmer creates 1:1 scale model of Airbus A320

A farmer from northeastern China’s Liaoning province has created a 1:1 scale model of an Airbus A320, Beijing Youth Daily reported. As a plane lover since childhood, the farmer, Zhu Yue, has always wanted to have an aircraft of his own.

The model is being built at a factory in an industrial park of Kaiyuan, in northeast China’s Liaoning. Being a 1:1 scale model of an Airbus A320, it is 37.84 meters in length, 36 meters in width, and 12 meters in height.

Zhu has used 40 tons of steel and spent over 800,000 RMB (about $121K) to date.

He has received various comments about his model plane from net users. Some people are inspired by this dream chaser, while others wonder if it is all hype.

Zhu explained that it is his childhood dream of making a plane that has prompted him to do this. “I was a farmer before and later engaged in different businesses, and I just want to realize my dream now that I am richer,” he said.

Zhu started building the model last October. With zero aerospace knowledge, he spent three months preparing, studying, and dismantling models, and searching for information.

He has made a rotatable engine to make the model more realistic. Though it is not able to take off, Zhu said he wants it to be the best A320 model in China.

The model is expected to be completed around May next year, but Zhu has not decided what to do with it. “Right now, I just want to finish it, but I will probably open a restaurant or hotel in the plane,” Zhu said.

China unveils new bomb disposal robot that can dismantle explosives

A new type of robot that can remove explosives fixed by screws and ropes was unveiled in China on Nov. 26, chinanews.com reported.

Unlike traditional explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robots that require manual control, the new model is able to do the removal task by itself. It is the first of its kind in the world.

In addition, the new robot is also equipped with an explosion-proof tank to isolate the dismantled explosive.

Under traditional manual operation, EOD personnel are at risk during the detection, disposal, transfer, and destruction of explosives.

“With this robot, EOD personnel can operate at locations 100 meters away from the site,” said Xiangli Xiaojun, a researcher at an EOD test center of the Public Security Department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

A dock to connect an interferometer is another highlight. Xiangli told chinanews.com that the interferometer must be turned on during removal in case the explosive detonates. This robot is the first robot to offer such a function.

China’s Internet remains open despite management

Despite criticism from the West over China’s Internet management, industry representatives said the country has maintained a largely open attitude toward the World Wide Web, which in turn has given birth to technological breakthroughs.

Over the past five years, the Chinese government has been focusing on strengthening cyber space management while encouraging openness and innovation, and the country now tops the number of Internet users, the market scale of a digital economy as well as online retail, Yang Shuzhen, president of the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies (CACS), said on Monday.

Yang unveiled the World Internet Report 2017 and China Internet Report 2017 at the 4th World Internet Conference, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday in Wuzhen, East China’s Zhejiang Province.

The reports set six benchmarks – infrastructure, innovation capability, industry development, Internet application, cyber security and cyber space management – to evaluate Internet development and ranked the US, China, South Korea, Japan and UK as the top five.

“The US has always been leading Internet development. As an emerging power, China is turning into an Internet-powered economy, with its own characteristics,” Li Yuxiao, vice president of CACS, told the audience.

Major Chinese Internet giants such as Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu Inc and JD.com Inc have been growing rapidly, he said, and among the top 10 global Internet firms, four are Chinese while six are American.

“Besides its large number of Internet users, infrastructure has been improving since 2013. For example, broadband network coverage has surpassed 98 percent,” said Gu Wenbin, an expert at CCID Consulting, which also contributed to the two reports.

From January to October, the total revenue of Chinese Internet firms grew 23.9 percent year-on-year to 511.4 billion yuan ($77.3 billion), people.com.cn reported on Monday.

Some Chinese Internet breakthroughs already lead the world, such as online payments, e-commerce and the Internet of Things (IoTs), Gu told the Global Times on Monday.

Chinese breakthroughs

Among 18 technological achievements unveiled on Sunday, more than half were developed by Chinese companies such as telecommunication services provider Huawei Technologies, car-hailing platform Didi Chuxing and bike-sharing firm Mobike.

“With the help of IoTs, big data and AI technologies, Mobike has connected 8.4 million smart bikes and built a global IoT platform that generates 30TB of data on people going out per day,” Davis Wang Xiaofeng, Mobike CEO, told the Global Times.

Allaying fears

Some foreign countries have doubts about the Chinese government’s special protective policies for the Internet sector, “which is not true, as China maintains an open attitude toward the Internet,” said Fu Sheng, CEO of Cheetah Mobile Inc, a Chinese mobile Internet firm listed in the New York Stock Exchange.

“For example, in terms of online payments, some countries have concerns over online financial risks, which prevents them from approving that service,” he noted.

At the early stages of Internet startup development, a large part of venture capital came from Silicon Valley and overseas investors. “Encouraged by the government, Chinese venture capital has been booming in recent years, which has also contributed to the thriving of the Internet,” said Wang Chaoyong, CEO of ChinaEquity Group.

Other major Chinese technological breakthroughs unveiled during the conference include Huawei’s 5G, supercomputer Sunway TaihuLight, and BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

While pushing forward Internet development, its safety should be assured, Xu Yunhong, executive assistant of CACS, told the audience. “We have to attach equal importance to Internet security and development, as a safe cyberspace makes its development more sustainable,” he said.

“Freedom is not free,” said Wang Yiwei, professor at the Renmin University of China. He noted that cyber security is based on cyber sovereignty.

In a congratulatory letter to the 4th World Internet Conference, Chinese President Xi Jinping said China hopes to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and carry forward the spirit of partnership to commonly advance development, safeguard security, participate in governance, and share the benefits.

Source: Global Times



Chinese make-up brands catch up with South Korean rivals

While a diplomatic spat between China and South Korea raged this year, many South Koreans as a result felt less welcome in their neighboring country; South Korean businesses were somehow shunned, K-pop concerts were canceled and tourist trade dried up.

But one group of South Koreans have very much been in demand: the executives and employees of South Korea’s top cosmetics companies, who are currently being lured by Chinese rivals as a battle for the top spot in China’s huge beauty market heats up.

Chinese make-up brands, including Jala, Proya and Suhu – which have long trailed behind South Korean rivals in terms of quality – are now hiring South Korean executives, spending money on research and buying overseas firms, industry executives and headhunters say, with those moves recently showing positive results.

Playing catch-up

Chinese brands, which compete with South Korean names from top-rated Amorepacific to nimble budget makers such as Clio, are quickly gaining market shares in the mid-range and premium cosmetics sector, where South Korea has traditionally outperformed China.

The rising competence of Chinese make-up brands has posed increasing challenges for foreign rivals, especially South Korean and Japanese ones.

At the end of October, Japanese cosmetics maker and seller Kose Corp announced a strategic shift to end production in China and instead return to domestic manufacturing to pursue middle- and high-level cosmetic production, a move that has been attributed to the company’s underperformance in the mass market in China.

Although Chinese companies have been gaining ground for some time, their sudden rise in strength seems to have accelerated this year due to Seoul’s decision to install a US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), causing the two countries to get stuck in months of tension and bilateral economic slowdown. In contrast, this has had a negative impact on South Korean companies, as their performances have shown weaknesses this year.

At stake is a bigger chunk of China’s $50.2 billion beauty and personal care market, which research firm Euromonitor predicts will grow to be worth $61.9 billion by 2020.

Jason Yu, Shanghai-based general manager of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel, said mid-tier or “masstige” South Korean brands were most exposed to Chinese brands that are improving their offerings this year. Meanwhile, high-end brands such as France’s L’Oreal and Japan’s Shiseido tended to attract wealthier buyers.

“In terms of the price position, they [South Korean brands] will be in more direct competition with emerging Chinese brands, which are [quickly] moving up the price ladder,” said Yu, adding that Chinese firms are “catching up very fast.”

Hiring spree

There are signs that recent diplomatic tensions between the two northeast Asian countries have played into the hands of local Chinese cosmetics brands in their battle with South Korean rivals.

Amorepacific’s sales fell 8 percent in the January to September period from a year earlier, while operating profit skidded 30 percent. Smaller budget makers were hit harder, with Clio’s operating profit falling nearly 70 percent.

While some Chinese make-up brands use South Korean stars or highlight South Korean links, others are referencing Chinese culture by using traditional Chinese medicine ingredients or using slogans about suiting Chinese skin, to quote two examples.

Zoe Zhuang, 24, an engineer working in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province, said she used to use cushion foundations and eye pencils from South Korea’s Etude brand but now uses more Chinese ones to “support local brands,” without referring to the dispute over the THAAD missile system.

“I actually don’t think Chinese makeup is that good yet, there is plenty of room for improvement,” she said.

Chinese cosmetics firms have been trying to close the quality gap by aggressively targeting South Korean executives.

“[Chinese cosmetics brands] are recruiting South Koreans in almost all areas, including brand managers, packaging design, store interiors, purchasing and marketing,” Choi Sun-hee, head of South Korean recruiting firm HR Biz Korea, told Reuters.

Some Chinese brands are willing to offer 50 percent higher wages and help with rent and flights home to woo South Korean workers, Choi added.

Guangzhou-based Suhu plans to double the number of its South Korean employees to 40, Choi said. It recently hired an executive from South Korea’s Nature Republic to oversee the recent launch of its Rojank brand, he added. Suhu declined to comment.

Chinese brand Proya, which owns the Uzero and Cats & Roses brands, hired South Korean Kim Hoi-joon from Clio in 2014 to launch its Hapsode brand, Kim told Reuters.

Another former Amorepacific official said Kim had lured him to Proya last year with a salary hike of about 50 percent. He said he was one of over 10 South Korean employees hired by Proya.

Proya declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Jala, one of China’s leading cosmetics firms, hired a South Korean executive earlier this year to revamp its mainstay Chando brand, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Jala also hired the former head of Amorepacific’s Etude brand, Kim Dong-young, they added. Kim, reached by phone, confirmed he had been working at Jala for about a year, but declined to comment further.

Jala’s press office was not available for comment.

This approach, however, is not limited to cosmetics. Chinese firms, from carmakers to flatscreen producers to smartphone vendors, have recently become more willing to hire foreign talent to help them gain a competitive edge, often taking market share from South Korean rivals.

But South Korean brands aren’t going down without a fight. Amorepacific said it was working with experts in seven Chinese cities to study local skin characteristics and develop products relevant to the local market.

“It is not that we are not worried about Chinese competition,” Rho Jee-hye, an Amorepacific senior vice president told Reuters. “As there is Estee Lauder in the United States, L’Oreal in France and Amorepacific in South Korea, an innovative Chinese company could [soon] emerge.”

Source: Reuters-Global Times

Financial jobs mostly likely to be replaced by AI: Deloitte

Finance employees are most likely to be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) in the future, said a research report by Deloitte on Nov. 30, China News reported.

The research investigated nearly 500 managerial staffs in different fields in China, of which more than 80 percent said that AI is most likely to be applied to financial work, and over three quarters said that AI could be used to provide assistance for their management work in five years.

According to the report, most of the respondents think jobs requiring carefulness and preciseness are more likely to use AI than those requiring professional knowledge, logical analysis, and communication and coordination skills.

Enterprises, therefore, should make full use of innovative technologies and tools such as big data and cognitive computing to get ready for both the opportunities and challenges to be brought by AI, said Xie An, a business partner of Deloitte.

Xie added that China’s education sector should also make appropriate adjustments to cultivate talents for the coming era of AI.

Shaanxi B&R language service and training center makes debut

Shaanxi B&R Intellectual Property Language Service and Training Center, co-funded by the Intellectual Property Office of Shaanxi Government, Xi’an International Studies University and Intellectual Property Publishing House Co., Ltd., marks its debut at the Parallel Session on Intellectual Property Language Service Talents Training in the Forum on Language Services for the Belt and Road Initiative and TAC Conference 2017.