Tasting Guangzhou: food tourism to drive rural revitalization

The first Guangzhou village gourmet gathering kicked off alongside the launching ceremony of the Zengcheng Cantonese cuisine workshop last Friday, attracting more than 30,000 tourists, people.cn recently reported.

With the theme of food tourism, the three-day event was held in Zengcheng district of Guangzhou. It presented tasty treats famous in Guangzhou, including wontons, sweet taro cake, tasty sticky rice noodles, and mouth-watering tortoise jelly.

There were nine other exhibitions, with stalls for local business and investment, agricultural and sideline products, folk custom, and farming culture also set up during the event.

The event has not only increased people’s understanding of Guangzhou gourmet, but also created a new driving force for local development.

An official from Zhengguo town said that hosting the event was a significant step for the local government in realizing rural revitalization. He added that the area will take the opportunity to build its own brand to elevate local tourism.

Set up on Dec. 14, 2018, the second Cantonese cuisine workshop in Guangdong focuses on popularizing local gourmet food and teaching cooking skills.

“Zhengguo town has a profound culinary culture and rich ingredients. I believe that by setting up the second workshop here, they will build it into a new platform to boost rural revitalization of Zengcheng district,” said an official from the Tourism Administration of Guangzhou Municipality.

While building the platform, Guangzhou also rolled out a new educational food project, called Cantonese Cuisine Chef.

“The project serves as an innovative approach to rural revitalization and inheritance of our food culture. It will benefit local people and bring new historical opportunities for food tourism in Guangdong,” the official said.

The official suggested that Guangzhou will now continue to develop food tourism through diversified modes to create more job opportunities, lead local people towards prosperity, and expand domestic and overseas influence of their food culture.

Is facial recognition the future of China’s mobile payment?


It’s easy to go cashless in China by simply scanning a QR code, a payment tool used by everyone from shopping centers to street side vendors. In the latest technological step, you don’t even need to get your mobile phone out of your pocket, as a single snap of your face can pay for everything in your shopping basket. However, is it safe to pay using facial recognition?

Alipay, China’s mobile payment giant, recently released its latest facial scanning payment product, Dragonfly, which directly reduced access and installation costs for merchants by 80 percent, Beijing Business Daily reported last Friday.

Seeing the huge potential in facial recognition payment, WeChat Pay and UnionPay, the other dominant players in the Chinese market, are also gearing up to seize their share of the market.

Xue Hongyan, director of the internet financial center under the Suning Financial Research Center, told Beijing Business Daily that facial payment could free users from their mobile phones and upgrade their consumption experience.

Some industry insiders predict that facial payment will see explosive growth in the next three years, as the industry threshold is continuously lowered.

While the facial payment market booms, the industry has also noticed rising user concerns over the safety of their bank accounts as well as their privacy.

Xue noted that compared with a QR code, facial recognition has higher hardware requirements and is affected by factors such as lighting, while privacy protection will also create difficulties for the promotion of the new payment method.

In general, different payment methods, having their respective advantages in convenience, safety, cost and user acceptability, are not likely to replace each other, Xue added.

Though widely applied in the lending industry, facial recognition is still at a preliminary stage when it comes to general consumption. While offering convenience, it also raises concerns that users’ name, gender, and age are all noted during the process. This type of information is easily leaked if not managed correctly.

Su Xiaorui, a researcher for the internet finance think tank Madai Institute, stressed that though a lot has already been done for facial recognition payment, there are still errors in the process which can lead to financial security issues. For this reason, the technology has mainly been implemented in low-risk fields, she added.

She stressed that “Payment tycoons need to establish a strict internal control system, encrypt users’ privacy, and comply with professional ethics.”

“Additionally, users should be given the right to choose. For those who are willing to pay via facial recognition but have doubts, combined verification is recommended to beef up the security of their bank accounts,” she suggested.

Guangdong senior citizens rocking fashion show


Ten senior citizens ages 81 to 105 offered a fantastic fashion show in Gongzhuang, Boluo county of Guangdong Province, a village known for the longevity of its people, on December 13, Chinanews.com reported.

Beautiful makeup, fancy dresses and dazzling runways aren’t just for young people these days. These grey-haired citizens can also take the audiences’ breath away with their brilliant performances.

95-year old Yang Dongying, one of the performers, told the reporter that performing on the runway was beyond her imagination.

When asked about the secret to longevity, Yang said that she has been practicing a consistent morning routine. She is also a vegetarian as she believes in Buddhism.

Studies indicate that pure water, clean air and richly endowed natural sources in Boluo also contribute to local residents’ longevity.

Statistics show that the average life expectancy in Boluo is 79 years, four years higher than that of China and eight years higher than that of the world.

Will China’s troubled sharing economy bounce back?


After seeing explosive growth early on, China’s sharing economy has been passing along a bumpy road as capital flow begins to recede.

1.5 billion yuan deposited by users has been lost on platforms for the sharing of bicycles, power banks and vehicles across the country within only a half year, according to a Worker’s Daily report on Thursday.

Such a loss stems from the anxiety of platform users who found it hard to protect their own interests.

Ai Chenmin, one of the earliest users of bike-sharing company Ofo, told the Worker’s Daily that he had been applying for a deposit refund for over 20 working days, but no progress has yet been made.

However, Ofo is not the only company that fails to refund deposit to users. China Consumers Association found that 34 out of China’s 70 bike-sharing service providers had gone bankrupt. Kuqi Bike, one of the bankrupted, received as many as 210,000 complaints alone, and 1 billion yuan in deposits could not be refunded to users.

A research report of Guoyuan Securities Co., Ltd. showed that the development of bicycle-sharing services hinged on capital investment. Once the capital flow stops, the users’ deposit would be moved to “rob Peter to pay Paul”.

“Shared bike was a huge convenience for the people when it first started, which drew both users and investment. However, the capital not only stimulated enterprises’ enthusiasm for the business, but also intensified competition,” said Dou Fan, a partner of a Beijing-based private-equity firm.

Statistics suggested that 190 firms in the sharing economy sector received financing totaling over 116 billion in 2017 in China, covering 11 hot-spot fields such as shared bikes, vehicles, and power banks.

However, as capital has been pulled away from the business this year, the industry is going through intense changes. As a result, many firms have even been knocked out.

As an emerging internet business, will the sharing economy bounce back without the capital?

Liu Daizong, director of China Transport Program of World Resources Institute, said that the deposit money collected by internet business is a way to prevent vandalism and maintain their running order, for which the establishment of systems for user credibility and encouragement measures could play a necessary role.

Chen Liteng, assistant analyst at China E-commerce Research Center, believes that given the limited market capacity and heavy investment in the early stage, separate directions will only lead to the decline of sharing economy and offer no way out for capital.

“If the sharing start-ups want to develop from a long-term perspective, they have to go back to the right business mode,” he said.

China’s per capita residential space surpasses 40 square meters

China’s per capita residential space has reached 40.8 square meters,  reported Economic Information Daily on Wednesday.

The figure for urban residents stood at only 6.7 square meters in 1978, but it has risen to more than 38 square meters during this year. The per capita floor area of rural residents already hit 45.8 square meters in 2016, said Ni Pengfei, director of the City and Competitiveness Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

24-year old Yang Qing has seen her living space expanding over the past years. She and her other four family members used to be packed in a small single room that had an area of only 40 square meters. But now they have moved into a 150-square-meter house.

“I have my own room now. We also have a library, living room and dining hall,” she said.

China has also made notable progress in improving people’s life quality. 39.1 million housing units in shanty areas have been rebuilt, and more than 100 million people have moved into new houses over the past 10 years, as indicated by the report of the CASS National Academy of Economic Strategy.

Researcher Jiang Xuemei at the CASS City and Competitiveness Research Center suggested that upon the second housing reform, the government should also take measures to tackle structural issues including the effective management of the rental market while building houses to improve livelihoods.

China’s largest shale gas production base expected to reach 4.2 billion cubic meters in 2018


PetroChina said on Dec. 24 that its shale gas base in southern Sichuan, China’s largest shale gas production base, has hit a daily production of 20.11 million cubic meters , accounting for about 4.2% of national daily output.

The base has produced 4.1 billion cubic meters of shale gas so far this year and is expected to reach 4.2 billion cubic meters by the end of 2018.

As one of China’s main production areas, the base has production facilities distributed in Yibin, Luzhou and Neijiang, all located in southern Sichuan. Exploration and development of shale gas poses many difficulties due to complex geological conditions although research suggests that China boasts the world’s largest shale gas reserves.

Since 2010, PetroChina has set up several national shale gas demonstration areas in southern Sichuan, including Changning and Weiyuan. It witnessed a sharp increase in its shale gas output thanks to reduction in exploitation cost and greater production capacity. Particularly, its base in southern Sichuan has seen exponential growth in terms of drilling machines, teams and workload this year.

Two captive-bred pandas to be released into wild

Little Walnut (Photo courtesy of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda)

Two captive-bred pandas will be released into the wild in Sichuan province after undergoing two years of training to prepare for the wild.

Little Walnut (Photo courtesy of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda)

The pandas, “Qinxin” and “Little Walnut”, will be sent to the Longxi-Hongkou National Nature Reserve with rich bamboo resources in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, on Thursday. They are the first captive-bred pandas to be sent into the region.

Qinxin (Photo courtesy of China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda)

Experts in the nature reserve will continue monitoring them after their release to ensure they are adapting to life in the wild.

Businessman endeavors to collect Chinese cultural relics in North America

Jack Li introduces his collection (Photot/People’s Daily Online)

Jack Li, a Chinese businessman in the United States, runs a private museum, a permanent home for more than 3,000 pieces of Chinese cultural relics collected from overseas private owners in Princeton, New Jersey, US.

Many of these treasures are Chinese cultural relics lost overseas since the Opium War in 1840, and cover a wide range of categories, including painting, calligraphy, porcelain, Buddhist art and ancient furniture.

Li has had strong interest in Chinese history and culture ever since childhood, particularly classical art and antiques. He began collecting some pieces of Chinese calligraphy and paintings and traditional furniture in mahogany from 2005 when he just started business without abundant financial resources. In 2009, his family moved to the US. Since then, he has devoted even more of his money, time and energy to collect more Chinese ancient artifacts.

There are many old private collectors with lost Chinese treasures in North America, whose offspring show less interest in collection or even sell them for urgent needs. They are introduced by connoisseurs to Li who embarks on the journey of collecting overseas Chinese cultural relics.

An 82-year-old female collector had a son born and raised in the US who showed no interest in collection. Upon hearing the news, Li immediately visited her, and told her that he intended to buy her family collection for carrying forward the Chinese culture. This coincided perfectly with the old woman’s idea of finding an ideal home for her family treasures, who finally sold all of them to Li.

With sharp eyes and sincerity, Li managed to collect treasures owned by private collectors for decades or even hundreds of years. He often travelled across North America to search for Chinese cultural relics.

About 1.67 million pieces of Chinese relics are housed in more than 200 museums in 47 countries, especially in the United Kingdom, France, the US and Japan, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. But those in the hands of private collectors are ten times higher.

For overseas Chinese, ancient Chinese cultural relics are non-renewable cultural resources reflecting China’s distinctive culture, said Li. He feels a strong sense of mission to protect valuable Chinese cultural relics lost overseas and let more people to understand China’s profound history and culture.

He also plans to establish a website to introduce these treasures to Americans.

Global investors optimistic about Chinese economy in 2019

Global institutions have expressed optimism regarding the Chinese economy for the coming year based on their analyses of the country’s economic policies as well as major economic indicators, Economic Daily reported on Dec. 25.

Standard Chartered stressed that undeniably China will be faced with stronger downward pressure in 2019, but observers should not be pessimistic about this.

First, the scale and dividends of China’s economic restructuring should not be underestimated, the bank said, explaining that new economy, accounting for 15.7 percent of the country’s GDP, is to be a beneficiary of the restructuring.

Besides new economy, retail trade, real estate, health care, commercial insurance, as well as other industries will all grow alongside consumption upgrades, and furthermore industrial upgrades will contribute to the growth of computer and electronic products, computer programming, and information technology.

The Chinese economy will embrace a 30 percent or above increase if the efficacy of the abovementioned sectors is elevated to the level of developed economies, the bank added.

In addition, the flexibility of the policies for macro-regulation should not be underestimated. Standard Chartered believes that China will be able to achieve growth of 6.4 percent, a figure higher than expectation.

Aberdeen Standard Investments, a London-listed global asset manager, said it will invest more in the A-share market considering the change of China’s economic growth mode, relatively balanced risks, and the price advantage brought by the long-term investment of some excellent enterprises, though the prices of A-shares experienced a slide this year.

Limited impact will be exerted on the Chinese economy because the growth mode has changed and the proportion of exports within GDP has continued to drop, Nicholas Yeo, head of China Equities at Aberdeen, was quoted as saying.

The Chinese government has recently rolled out a series of reform measures and the policies will be continued before the economic fundamentals are obviously improved, according to Goldman Sachs. It believes that a drastic drop of the Chinese economy will not occur.

Chinese film and TV productions attract an international audience

Feather Flies to The Sky

Film and TV works have become a highlight in the promotion of Chinese culture overseas in 2018. This year, a series of high-quality TV episodes were broadcasted in Portugal, the Philippines, and Panama, as well as other countries, bringing about positive feedback while effectively enhancing cooperations, Guangming Daily reported on Dec. 23.

Chinese TV drama “Feather Flies to The Sky,” which tells the story of Chinese entrepreneurs as life was decades ago, was translated into Filipino and broadcasted in the Philippines in August.

The TV series was the first Chinese film and TV series translated into the local language and aired by a local TV station in the Philippines. In three months of broadcasting, the TV drama attained an average audience of 15 percent of total viewership.

Entrepreneurial Age

Other TV series such as “Entrepreneurial Age” and “The Young Doctor”, and so on, are also being broadcasted on mainstream TV platforms in the Philippines.

In Panama, a variety of Chinese TV episodes are translated into local or Spanish languages, such as “Legend of Entrepreneurship”, which hit the Panamanian national broadcaster SERTV on Dec. 2.

Film and TV works are an important channel for strengthening mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and people from around the world.

TV drama “A Love So Beautiful”, which started to be aired on April 23 on ABS-CBN, the most influential private radio and television station in the Philippines, achieved an audience share of 15.9 percent, the highest among TV shows played during the same time.

A Love So Beautiful

Considering the popularity of the Chinese TV series, ABS-CBN took the initiative to cooperate with Huace Media, the producer of the “A Love So Beautiful”, as well as other Chinese film and TV companies, and expanded commercial cooperation with its Chinese counterparts.

To promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television guided the effort to translate 1,600 domestic movies and television productions into 36 languages over recent years, which have been or are being aired in more than 100 countries.