Chinese brands rank in 2019 Brand Finance Global 500 report


Many Chinese brands ranked among the world’s 500 most valuable, according to the Brand Finance Global 500 report released on Jan. 22 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reported on Jan. 30.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ranked as the world’s 8th most valuable brand, while Huawei, China’s leading global provider of information and communications technology infrastructure and smart devices, took 12th place. China Mobile, one of China’s major telecom firms, ranked 15th on the list.

China’s leading messaging and social media apps WeChat and QQ ranked 20th and 21st, while Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall both entered the list for the first time, ranking 23rd and 35th respectively.

iQiyi, China’s primary video streaming service provider, which has seen a whopping growth of 326 percent year on year, was recognized as the world’s fastest-growing brand of 2019.

Every year, Brand Finance, the world’s leading independent branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, values the world’s most significant brands and issues an annual report including the world’s 500 most valuable brands across all sectors and countries.

Besides brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of a brand using a balanced scorecard that covers marketing revenue, stockholder equity, and business performance.

Unusual school prizes in China spark online discussion

Pork, fish and green vegetables, these unusual prizes, given to outstanding students in Chinese schools during recent end of semester award ceremonies, sparked discussion online, a WeChat account (ID: youjian-university) reported on Jan. 25.



A few days ago, about 70 students at a school in Dudong Town, Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, were each awarded 1.5 kilograms of pork alongside a certificate of merit.

The pork was purchased from local poverty-stricken families, and the decision to give meat as a prize had been carefully considered by teachers.

The school has been buying pork from low-income families for the past year, and the decision to award locally sourced meat not only encouraged students but also helped low-income families from the surrounding area.

A similar case occurred in a junior middle school in Nan’an, Quanzhou City of southeast China’s Fujian Province. On Nov. 23, 2018, the school awarded between 1.5 kg and 2.5 kg of pork knuckle to students who got top marks in the midterm exams.

The Chinese character for pork knuckle “ti” sounds similar to the characters meaning “writing one’s name on an honor roll.” Therefore, according to the school management team, this gift symbolised placing a name at the top of the student list.

Moreover, a foreign language school in Dongguan City, south China’s Guangdong Province, has prized students with fish caught from the school pond, and Huixing middle school in Hangzhou City, east China’s Zhejiang Province, gave green vegetables, grown at school, as prizes.

Bargain prizes

It seems that many students are no longer satisfied with material prizes, with some asking to be awarded with bargaining chips, such as a card that exempts you from a piece of homework, or a medal that gives you the right to refuse to write weekly journals.

One class from Hangzhou’s Jingfang middle school asked their teacher to “call his/her parents in front of the whole class and compliment him/her for no less than 5 minutes”.

Furthermore, a primary school in Hangzhou encourages students to win “coupons” for good behavior. These coupons entitle students to various awards. Currently, “watching a movie with the headmaster” is the most popular prize.

Items of everyday use

Some Chinese schools awarded students with daily necessities such as body wash, laundry detergent, and paper handkerchiefs.

A university student who won first prize in an 800-meter race was awarded two family packs of body wash, which lasted him until graduation.

During one school sports day, students who came in first, second and third in the relay race were awarded an electric blanket, kettle and thermos set, and paper handkerchiefs.

A house and a marvelous amount of money

A student surnamed Wu, who received the highest Gaokao score among all science students in Enping City, Jiangmen City of Guangdong Province, was awarded an apartment with a floor area of 133 square meters in 2016.

In 2014, students in Enping who were accepted to China’s top universities, Tsinghua University and Beijing University, had the chance to win a prize of 1 million yuan (about $148,998).

Jincheng City of north China’s Shanxi Province also held a grand ancient-style ceremony in 2015 to recognize students who got the highest Gaokao score in their respective provinces. Ten outstanding students from many Chinese regions were awarded ancient-style titles, dictionaries, and enjoyed an imperial-style banquet.

The ten students, while dressed in traditional outfits of the Number One Scholar in ancient China’s highest imperial examination, joined a parade along the street on horseback, which was the way extraordinary scholars were recognised in ancient China.

China’s online Spring Festival gala uses AI hosts


The internet gala held by China Media Group in celebration of China’s Spring Festival, which is probably the most-watched TV program in the world, has this year introduced artificial intelligence (AI) hosts for the first time.

Four virtual hosts based on four different human figures were staged at the gala. These AI figures were not merely copies of the human hosts, as they had been incorporated with various AI technologies such as automatic learning, computer vision, natural language processing and voice synthesis. According to sources, the AI hosts could talk like real people, and what they said was not pre-programmed or dubbed.

After facial scanning of the human hosts and voice recording lasting half an hour, these virtual figures were created. This process enables the AI hosts to read or sing in the voices of their respective prototypes in up to four languages. With further data feeding, these virtual figures will acquire more skills and act more like their prototypes.

According to Nikhil Jain, CEO of developer ObEN, although the online Spring Festival gala showcased this new technology, he believes that “personal artificial intelligences” (PAIs) have even more potential, and could bring profound changes to society.

The company is currently creating AI-powered doctors, nurses, teachers and celebrities. For example, in medical services, virtual doctors and nurses could make suggestions and answer patient questions.

“Slow” train running on China’s northernmost railway

A 4182 train is ready to leave the station. (Photo/

People like to use the word fast to describe China’s rapid railway development. However, in some regions of the country, trains are still operating at a very slow speed, such as the 4182 train running on Yakeshi-Linhai Railway, China’s northernmost rail line.

A full fare on this train only costs 37 yuan ($5.5). When the region is covered in snow, the 4182 train is the first transportation choice for local people.


According to conductor Zhang Suoyou, the temperature inside the carriages stays at around 20 degree Celsius, despite the freezing cold outside.

A round trip burns 4.5 tons of coal, said Zhang, who has been working on the train for 14 years.

It’s warm in the carriage. (Photo/

The train makes 31 stops along its 523-kilometer route. Sometimes, only one passenger is waiting at the station, while sometimes there are none. However, the train still stops for one minute at each station.

The train route is sparsely populated. Therefore, the train serves as a school bus for children, and even as an ambulance on some occasions.

If a passenger suddenly becomes ill on board, train attendants turn into “emergency physicians.”

Studens in the carriage. (Photo/

Zhang said that he has been taking the train since he was a child. As long as the route continues to exist, he will keep on operating the train, he added.

Shared makeup booths pop up in major Chinese cities

A woman walks past a shared makeup booth in Beijing. (Photo/

Shared makeup booths, the latest trend to enter China’s booming sharing economy, are popping up in major Chinese cities at a growing rate.

Booths have arrived in shopping malls in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. The central city of Wuhan is now home to 15 shared makeup booths.

A survey indicated that nearly half of Chinese women believe it is necessary to put on makeup before going to work, and almost 40 percent of working women think cosmetics make them look more professional.

Shared makeup booths, like other sectors of the sharing economy, such as shared bikes and shared automobiles, are a result of modern times.

“I usually carry various cosmetics in my bag and touch up my make up in the restroom, which is inconvenient,” said Liu Xiaoqi, a woman from Beijing. She believes that the emergence of shared makeup pods brings significant benefits to women, saying she now often uses them.

However, problems always arise with innovation, and shared makeup booths are no exception. Concerns have been raised in regards to hygiene and product quality.

For instance, used tissues were found on the table of one booth, and packaging often becomes sticky if items aren’t closed correctly after use.

“Most cosmetics make contact with the skin, and I don’t want to share them with strangers,” said a citizen named Zheng Yanqing. She explains that bacteria exists on the packaging of shared cosmetics, and it’s not very hygienic to share with strangers.

Experts warned that sharing lipstick might spread viruses such as herpes, and contaminated facial cream and eye shadow could easily cause conjunctivitis.

One makeup pod operator responded that they would improve conditions and reinforce supervision to optimize user experience.

Preparations begin for second China International Import Expo

Not long after the curtain closed on the first China International Import Expo (CIIE), China has already started preparations for the second CIIE, which will be held from Nov. 5 to 10 this year in Shanghai, said Vice Minister of Commerce for China, Wang Bingnan, at a recent promotional conference.

According to Sun Haicheng, vice director of the China International Import Expo Bureau, the total exhibition area of the second CIIE will be bigger and more guests will be invited.

Additionally, new policies will be rolled out by relevant departments to support the latest trends and demands, Sun introduced.

Registration for the second CIIE has actually been running since last July. So far, promotional activities have been held in multiple countries including New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, the US, Brazil, Panama and Italy. A total of 100,000 square meters of exhibition space have already been booked.

Wang noted that more first-class Chinese enterprises would be invited to the second CIIE to expand trade and help global companies explore the Chinese market.

Zhou Lingyan, an employee of the China International Import Expo Bureau, explained that over 500 enterprises from 40 countries and regions have registered for the Business Exhibition sector, 70 of which are Fortune Global 500 companies and industry leaders. Eighty percent of them participated in the first CIIE and will expand their exhibition area this year.

Chinese consumers help James Dyson become richest person in UK

(Photo/Qianjiang Evening News)

Chinese women have significantly contributed to James Dyson’s new title – the wealthiest person in the UK. According to Bloomberg, the profits of Dyson Ltd. in Asia accounted for half of its total, and China stands as an important player in this region.

The hair styler Dyson Airwrap, released by the company last year, attracted millions of Chinese women, despite its price tag of 3,690 yuan ($548).

71-year-old Dyson, hailed as the “Steve Jobs of domestic appliances,” invented the vacuum cleaner, G-Force, in the 1980s. The Dual Cyclone technology used was considered the first breakthrough made since the birth of the vacuum cleaner in 1908.

Thanks to this invention, Dyson became a billionaire. According to a Dyson report, the company’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization hit 1.1 billion pounds ($1.42 billion) in 2018, with a sales volume growing 28 percent to 4.4 billion pounds.

Ninety-six percent of Dyson’s sales were made in regions outside of the UK. The company has witnessed a steep rise in sales since it first arrived in China six years ago. Its business expanded over three times in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and sales growth in China stood at 159 percent in 2017.

When the Dyson Airwrap debuted on T-mall, an online shopping site under Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, they sold out in just one second. It was also named the best beauty appliance on T-mall last year.

Dyson is confident about the potential of the Chinese market, saying the company would establish more flagship stores in China and get closer to consumers through physical shops.

Statistics indicated that Dyson’s vacuum cleaners were bestsellers in China last year, taking up 61 percent of the market share.

Chinese people buying more foreign goods for Spring Festival

Chinese consumers buy imported goods in Chongqing. (Photo/Xinhua)

For Li Lin in central China’s Henan province, shopping for the upcoming Spring Festival is different from previous years. This year, he bought foreign products such as French wine, Belgian chocolates, Australian olive oil and beef for Spring Festival.

“Before, imported goods were beyond my reach, but now they are available at shops almost everywhere in my city,” Li said.

The shopping center where Li went for his New Year goodies sells more than 100,000 different products from 70 countries including Russia, Germany, Italy, France and Japan. Many of the products were transported by China-Europe freight trains.

Yang Hua, head of a train station in Zhengzhou with the China Railway Zhengzhou Group, said the central Chinese city is now connected with 126 cities in 24 countries through the cargo lines, adding that a variety of cost-efficient commodities are now available in his city.

China-Europe freight trains also deliver Chinese goods to overseas Chinese people all over the world.

Recently, a cargo train carrying Spring Festival goods passed customs at Erlianhaote port, heading to Madrid to meet the demand for local specialties from overseas Chinese.

In 2018, the Erlianhaote port handled 13.14 million tonnes of imports and exports. A record number of 1,071 China-Europe cargo trains passed through the port, according to an employee of the China Railway Hohhot Group, which manages the Erlianhaote port.

According to the National Development and Reform Commission, by the end of 2018, a total of 13,000 China-Europe freight trains had completed journeys in 49 cities across 15 foreign countries.

China’s Internet industry needs to shift focus to progress

A recent report said that the consumption side of China’s Internet industry is highly digitalized, with new innovative applications and new business modes continuing to emerge. However, as a whole, the industry hasn’t reached a globally advanced level, reported on Jan. 30.

The report on China’s Internet industry was jointly released by Boston Consulting Group (BCG), AliResearch, and the Baidu Research and Development Center.

By March 2017, only 25 percent of Chinese factories were digital, compared with around 50 percent in the United States, according to a survey conducted by Capgemini, noting that China still lags behind other countries in core areas such as intelligent connectivity, information integration, data-driven decision-making and human-robot collaboration.

The survey indicated that despite considerable investment in industrial sensor manufacturing, China still has a long way to go before it catches up with the U.S.

However, industry insiders believe that China is expected to achieve significant progress in emerging technologies, such as automated driving. Data showed that in 2017, China ranked highly on a global scale regarding the size of start-ups, investment and number of talents.

Li Shu, a global partner of BCG, said the added value of China’s manufacturing industry accounts for only 21 percent of the total production value, while the figure in the U.S. stands at 37 percent.

A survey of 148 experts in the manufacturing industry in 6 countries indicated that the Chinese experts think business opportunities are created by providing better services and products for consumers, while German experts believe only the optimization of manufacturing can do that.

The BCG report also showed that the focus in China would shift to Internet-driven industries, which will require enterprises to switch their emphasis from boosting consumption and applications to developing the upper stream of the value chain.

China is home to most extensive expressways and high-speed rail in the world


By the end of 2017, the total mileage of China’s expressways reached 136,500 kilometers, covering 97 percent of Chinese cities with a population of more than 200,000.

Rural roads surpassed 4 million kilometers, covering almost all towns and administrative villages across the country.

By the end of 2017, the total mileage of roads in China had exceeded 4.77 million kilometers, an average year-on-year growth of 4.4 percent. The concentration of road per 100 square kilometers rose to 49.72 kilometers. About 832,500 bridges with a total length of 52 million meters were also built.

The density of China’s railway network is also increasing. The length of railway in service reached 131,000 km in 2018, up from 51,700 km in 1978. The mileage of high-speed railway reached 29,000 km, 30 percent more than the combined high-speed railway mileage in other countries.

In 2018, Chinese railways registered a passenger volume of 3.37 billion and a cargo volume of 4.02 billion tonnes. Freight transportation experienced explosive growth after China-Europe trains started to run in 2011. In 2018, China sent a record number of 6,300 cargo trains to Europe, 72 percent more than it did during the previous year.

By the end of 2018, the country had 235 airports, of which 37 had a handling capacity of 10 million passengers, while ten airports had a handling capacity of 30 million passengers. The number of domestic flights reached 3,420 by the end of 2018.

By the end of last year, China had 786 international flight routes, 105 of which were between China and Belt and Road countries.