10 major events in China to watch out for in 2018

1. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up

President Xi Jinping placed emphasis on his speech on next year’s 40th anniversary of reform and opening on September 3, 2017, at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum.

The 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of Communist Party of China (CPC) was held on December 18, 1978. The meeting decided to shift the country’s focus to economic construction and to implement the historic policy of reform and opening up. It was a profound and significant transition in the history of the CPC since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

2. “Two Sessions”

The 13th CPC National People’s Congress is scheduled for this March, at which time the country will elect a new leadership.

The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will also be held in Beijing this March.

3. 2nd Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee

The meeting is scheduled to be held this month. At the meeting, the Party will discuss a proposal about amending part of China’s Constitution.

4. Rural vitalization strategy

The strategy was first put forward in the report to the 19th CPC National Congress. It has been marked as one of the eight key working plans spelled out during the Central Economic Work Conference held in December 2017.

5. China’s diplomatic agenda

Boao Forum for Asia will be held in Boao, Hainan, from Apr. 8 to 11.

The 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit will kick off in Qingdao, Shandong, in June this year.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is currently under preparation.

The China International Import Expo 2018 will be held in Shanghai from Nov. 5 to 10.

6. National supervision law to be passed

The 31st session of the 12th NPC Standing Committee submitted the draft national supervision law to the upcoming 13th NPC Standing Committee.

The strategy will ensure full and strict governance over the Party, and is a critical measure for the country’s anti-corruption campaign.

7. Implementation of Environmental Protection Tax Law and eco-compensation system

China’s Environment Protection Tax Law went into full force on the first day of 2018, replacing the existing pollution discharge fee system with a new environmental protection tax.

In addition, China’s damage compensation pilot reform has been expanded nationwide to protect and improve its ecosystem.

8. Launching of the Chang’e 4 lunar probe

The probe is scheduled to be launched in 2018. It will explore the far side of the moon, a mysterious world that always faces away from Earth.

9. Command of Armed Police Force to be unified

The Armed Police Force was placed under the unified control of the CPC Central Committee and Central Military Commission starting on the first day of 2018, according to the CPC Central Committee.

10. 60th anniversary of the establishment of Guangxi and Ningxia autonomous regions

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Guangxi Zhuang and Ningxia Hui Autonomous regions. A series of projects, including livelihood and industrial projects, will be implemented in the two autonomous regions.

18,519 domestically-produced industrial robots sold in China in first half of 2017

China has sold 18,519 domestically-produced industrial robots in the first half of 2017, a 22.9% increase over last year, according to the China Robot Industry Conference recently held in Chongqing municipality.

“Homemade industrial robots have been applied in 37 industrial divisions and 102 sub-divisions,” said Qu Daokui, president of the China Robot Industry Alliance.

Industrial robots have been mostly applied to tasks involving lifting, loading, and unloading. A total of 11,879 robots have been introduced to this area, accounting for 64.1% of the total sales.

A total of 3,033 robots have been sold to the welding and brazing industries, the second largest domain of robots application in China.

Automobile manufacturing, computers, communications, and other electronic products manufacturing, general equipment manufacturing, and electric apparatus manufacturing are the major industries of robot application, according to statistics released by the conference.

Challenges set to hamper growth as govt focuses on curbing risks

China will face a series of economic challenges in 2018, such as a more volatile financial market, increasing local government debt and a slump in the real estate sector, experts said.

These challenges will put downward pressure on the country’s economic growth, and most experts the Global Times talked to on Monday predicted that China’s GDP growth would edge down in 2018 compared with 2017, though not by too much.

Signs of a slowdown emerged toward the end of 2017. China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index came in at 51.6 in December, compared with 51.8 in November, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Sunday.

The industrial sector also slowed around the end of 2017. The NBS data showed that in the first 11 months of 2017, major industrial enterprises achieved year-on-year growth of 21.9 percent, down 1.4 percentage points compared with the growth in the first 10 months.

Volatile financing

Experts said that challenges will occur in the domestic financial sector in 2018, resulting from both external and internal factors.

Liu Xuezhi, a senior macroeconomic expert at Bank of Communications, said that interest rate hikes in the US will not only drive up market interest rates in China, adding to the costs of financing, but will also increase the risk of capital outflows from China to the US.

Another potential spillover impact in the financial sector is the rising appetite around the world for speculative financial trading, such as virtual currency trading, which is increasing the risk of new financial crises, Cheng Shi, head of International Research at ICBC, told the Global Times Monday.

This could in turn trigger a plunge in some countries’ stock markets, especially in developing countries, Cheng said, adding that China’s A-share market could also be affected.

Apart from overseas influences, domestic factors are also a concern. Shao Yu, chief economist at Shanghai-based Oriental Securities, said the government’s continuous deleveraging efforts might cause liquidity supply to become too tight, which would cause losses in financial areas like bond investment.

Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, said Sunday that the government will stick to a bottom line of preventing systemic financial risks, according to a statement on the central bank’s website.

Rising government debt

According to Liu, the government has made a lot of efforts to tackle debt, especially at large domestic companies, but as company debts decrease, these efforts might shift to government and individual debt, in order to safeguard economic growth.

Rising debts among individuals would hurt overall consumption, Liu noted.

But Shao said that in general, the risks relating to government debt are controllable and the government is aware of the problem. “Some local infrastructure projects have been halted [to prevent debt risks],” he said.

Domestic local governments issued bonds worth 4.35 trillion yuan ($669 billion) by December 25, 2017, down from 6.05 trillion yuan in 2016, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on December 26, 2017.

The Ministry of Finance also said on December 23, 2017 that local governments must take responsibility for their own debts.

Apart from leveraging risks, the real estate sector will continue to edge down amid tightened regulations, Liu predicted, adding that this will have a negative impact on related industries like cement and steel.

High-quality GDP

However, Shao said that some of these challenges have been anticipated, and will be tolerated by the government.

“The government will sacrifice a certain level of economic growth for a more sustainable and high-quality economy,” he told the Global Times.

Liu also said that it is almost impossible to avoid an economic slowdown in 2018, but said the government can still take measures to improve economic quality, such as encouraging development of emerging industries such as high-end equipment manufacturing, increasing capital usage efficiency in fiscal policies and stimulating further reforms at State-owned enterprises.

Source: Global Times


Top 10 Global Tourism News of 2017

1.China and Other Countries Co-Launch Bilateral Tourism Year Programs, with Tourism Playing a Big Part in Public Diplomacy

On January 17, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard co-launched the China-Switzerland Tourism Year at Davos, followed by tourism year programs respectively between China and Australia, Denmark, ASEAN and Kazakhstan. Tourism has become a major part of public diplomacy.

(Source: global mainstream media)

2.Travel Continues Despite Terrorist Threats

On March 22, a terrorist attack near the Palace of Westminster in the UK resulted in five deaths and over 40 injuries. After that, the IPK International conducted a survey on “terrorist threats and tourism” in more than 20 tourist source markets across the world and found that the travel might be postponed, confined within one’s national borders, or rescheduled from “unsafe” destinations to “safe” ones, but would continue anyway.

(Source: Travel Daily UK, Strait Times in Singapore)

3.Russia Allows E-Visa Holders to Enter Far East

As an effort to simplify the visa policy, the Russian government allows foreign visitors holding an electronic visa to travel to the Far East from August on. From January 1, 2018, the e-visa holders will be allowed to travel to not just the Free Port of Vladivostok, but also the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Oblast.

(Source: Rossiiskaya Gazeta)

4.Caribbean Tourism Battered by Typhoon

On September 6, the typhoon Irma landed on Caribbean Islands, sweeping across many local tourist attractions and wreaking damages that were hard to recover in a short time. It also brings immeasurable loss to nearby tourist destinations such as Punta Cana, Cancun, Miami and Havana.

(Source: global mainstream media)

5.Zurab Pololikashvili Elected Secretary-General at the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly

From September 11 to 16, the 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) was convened in Chengdu, China. It was the biggest general assembly in the UNWTO’s history in terms of the number of delegates present. It elected Zurab Pololikashvili, former Georgian Ambassador to Spain, as its new Secretary-General.

(Source: www.eturbonews.com)

6.The World Tourism Alliance Established

On September 12, the World Tourism Alliance (WTA), initiated by China, was established. It is the world’s first global, non-governmental and non–profit tourism organization. Following the vision that “Better Tourism, Better World”, it aims at promoting economic development, poverty reduction and peace through tourism development, strengthening international tourism exchange, expanding consensus, sharing experience, deepening cooperation and facilitating sustainable, inclusive global tourism development.

(Source: http://www2.unwto.org/)

7.Chengdu Convenes B&R Tourism Ministerial Meeting

On September 13, the Tourism Ministers’ Meeting of Countries along the Belt and Road (B&R) was convened in Chengdu, China. It attracted the participation of tourism ministers from over 100 countries and regions, the heads of 41 international organizations and more than 1,000 delegates. It then issued the Chengdu Initiative on Tourism Cooperation along the Belt and Road. The number of Chinese tourists visiting other B&R countries and regions in 2017 is expected to exceed 25 million.

(Source: Jing Daily, etc.)

8.Chinese President Xi Calls for More Efforts to Promote the Toilet Revolution, Receiving Extensive World Attention

On November 21, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the nation to promote the Toilet Revolution nationwide, attracting extensive international attention. The move was reported and commented by global mainstream media including BBC, RFI, CNBC, Japanese Sankei, Zaobao, and The Economic Times of India. China’s Toilet Revolution has been a media sensation across the globe.

(Source: global mainstream media)

9.Tourism Contributes to over 10% of Global GDP and Employment

At the Conference on Jobs and Inclusive Growth: Partnerships for Sustainable Tourism on November 27 in Jamaca, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced that: in 2016, the tourism revenue amounted to USD 7.6 trillion, accounting for 10.2% of the global GDP and the tourism industry hired 292 million people, accounting for 10% of the global workforce. It shows that tourism is playing a growing role in global economic development.

(Source: http://www2.unwto.org/)

10.The U.S. Bans Travelers from Six Muslim-majority Countries

On December 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to enforce the travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, prohibiting the entry of travelers from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad into the U.S. On December 6, U.S. President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel, provoking widespread protests. The regional situation is still complex, casting shadow over global tourism development.

Source: China Tourism News

Top 10 China Tourism News of 2017

1. Chinese President Xi Jinping Gives Instructions on the Toilet Revolution and Tourism Development

On November 21, Chinese President Xi Jinping again gave instructions on how to promote the Toilet Revolution in the tourism industry: In the past couple of years, while advancing the Toilet Revolution, the Chinese tourism industry has demonstrated the down-to-earth attitude towards addressing practical issues. The tourism industry is a sunrise industry. We should keep improving the soft and hard environment for tourism development as we are doing with the Toilet Revolution. Toilet improvement is not a triviality, but key to the improvement of urban and rural environment. It should not be limited to scenic zones or urban areas, but should also be extended to rural areas as part of the efforts to revitalize the rural economy and improve rural living conditions. President Xi also stressed the need to produce substantial benefits and avoid formalism and luxury projects as well as the importance of post-construction management. Since 2015, the tourism industry has been advancing the Toilet Revolution in earnest accordance with the above instructions. So far, a total of 68,000 tourist toilets have been built or renovated, beating the three-year goal (57,000) by 19.3%.

2. China Initiates the World Tourism Alliance

The World Tourism Alliance (WTA) was founded on September 12, whose opening received a congratulatory message from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and was witnessed by 137 tourism ministers and their deputies as well as the heads of 41 international organizations. The WTA, initiated by the Chinese government, is the world’s first global, non-governmental and non-profit tourism organization. On December 17, the WTA signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the Provincial People’s Government of Zhejiang, declaring to base its headquarters in Xiaoshan, Hangzhou.

3. Integrated Tourism in Full Swing

Chinese President Xi Jinping once remarked, “We are right in the direction of integrated tourism development and let’s keep going.” In the government work report delivered on March 5, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed to “improve tourism facilities and services and vigorously develop rural tours, leisure tours and integrated tourism.” So far, China has more than 500 demonstration units in integrated tourism development, distributed across 31 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the central government and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Hainan, Ningxia, Shandong, Guizhou, Shaanxi, Hebei and Zhejiang have been successively recognized as provincial-level demonstration units in integrated tourism development.

4. With 25 Provincial Commissions on Tourism Development Established, the Institutional Reform Kicks off in the Tourism Industry

Active efforts have been made across China to reform the tourism administration and governance mechanisms in order to adapt to the latest changes in the integrated development and governance of tourism. On December 15, Chongqing established the municipal commission on tourism development. By then, a total of 25 Chinese provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities directly under the central government had had their own commissions on tourism development. In particular in Jiangxi, a three-tiered tourism governance system has been established, comprising provincial, municipal and county-level commissions on tourism development. Besides, a large number of cities and counties have set up their own tourist police, circuit courts for tourists and tourism branches of industry & commerce bureaus, making breakthroughs in the integrated institutional reform of the tourism industry.

5. As the Supply-side Structural Reform Advances, “Tourism +” Rises as the New Mode for Inter-Sector Development

On May 19, China announced her top 10 bases for technology tourism. Meanwhile, wetland tourism, TCM tourism, sports tourism, ice & snow tourism, industrial tourism, forest tourism and study tours have all been flourishing.

6. Poverty Alleviation through Tourism Development Further Promoted

On November 1 and 9, CNTA hosted a work conference on poverty alleviation through tourism development targeting at destitute areas in Southwest and Northwest China respectively, laying down action plans and launching projects of product development, training, communication, and the construction of demonstration areas. In 2017, more than 1,500 pioneers in rural tourism development, village officials and community-level tourism officials received training on poverty reduction through tourism development, and the Agricultural Development Bank of China and CITIC increased financial support in this regard.

7. Regulatory Trade Operations Keep the Tourism Market in Good Order

On February 23, CNTA co-launched the “Spring Operation” with the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce to administer the order of the tourism market. It was followed by the “Summer Vocation Operation” and the “Fall-and-Winter Operation” aimed at cracking down on “unreasonably low priced tours” and “the operation of unlicensed travel business.” Throughout the year, a total of 48,658 tourism companies were inspected, 2,595 cases were filed and penalties and forfeiture worth over RMB30 million issued.

8. Inbound Tourism Rebounds

On September 28, China Tourism Academy released the Annual Report on Inbound Tourism in China 2017. According to the report, China’s inbound tourism experienced comprehensive recovery in 2016, with the number of inbound tourists and the consumption expenditure both continuing to grow. In particular, the number of inbound tourists grew up by 8.3% from the previous year, the highest since the outbreak of the last international financial crisis. The number of inbound tourists is expected to hit 139 million in 2017, keeping the growth momentum.

9. The Tourism Industry Promotes Green Development and Environmental Protection in China

On April 24, CNTA and the Ministry of Environmental Protection co-launched the annual campaign of nominating national eco-tour demonstration zones. Since the nomination was initiated in 2013, the two have co-announced 110 national eco-tour demonstration zones. The tourism industry has played a big role in China’s environmental improvement.

10. Red Tourism Gains Popularity, Benefiting Local Residents

On November 10, China Red Tourism Promotion Alliance was established, serving as a platform for deepening the exchange and cooperation between red tourism zones. The year of 2017 marked the 96th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army and witnessed the 19th CPC National Congress. These historic events have fueled up the popularity of red tourism. For the 109 classic red tourism zones and 18 key cities for red tourism covered in the statistical survey, the number of visitors is expected to hit 750 million. Red tours allow people to reminisce the revolutionary years and remember revolutionary martyrs.

Source: China Tourism News