Southern Chinese cities see significant population inflow

Photo taken shows the night scenery in Hangzhou. (Photo/Xinhua)

Last year, the population inflow in nine Chinese cities surpassed 200,000, while Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Hangzhou witnessed inflows exceeding 300,000, according to a report recently released by

Nearly 500,000 people migrated to Shenzhen and more than 400,000 to Guangzhou, following the trend of a continuous increase between 2015 and 2018 in both cities.

Analysts say the scenario has reflected the growing attractiveness of the Greater Bay Area, where both cities are located.

Beijing and Shanghai have rolled out policies to control population growth and move specific industries elsewhere. As a result, more people are choosing Guangzhou and Shenzhen to live and work.

Last year, Xi’an in northwest China saw a permanent resident population of more than 10 million for the first time, an increase of 387,000.

Such rapid growth is attributed to the city’s economic development and measures it rolled out to ease hukou restrictions. Last year, Xi’an’s GDP reached 800 billion yuan.

By the end of 2018, the number of permanent residents in Hangzhou stood at 9.8 million.

The rapid economic growth of Hangzhou has played a significant role in attracting new residents. The added value of core digital industries was estimated at 332 billion yuan last year, an increase of 15 percent year-on-year.

Analysts have pointed out that cities in the south of China now see higher population inflows than those in the north.

Industry plays a vital role in attracting talented people and keeping them, said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst of Centaline Property, adding that second-tier cities should accelerate industrial development and upgrading to help retain talents.

Last year, 811,900 people became registered residents of Xi’an, but only 387,000 of them were permanent residents as the rest didn’t work in the city.

Other northern Chinese cities, except Zhengzhou, which also saw a population growth of more than 150,000 for the eighth consecutive year last year, were incomparable with Xi’an in this respect.

Countdown: Global guests to gather at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel for talk on cooperation, development

The Global Bay Areas Cooperation and Development Forum (GBAF), an international gathering which aims to deepen cooperation between global bay areas, will be held at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel on March 29, 2019.

San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel enjoys a long history and worldwide reputation. Numerous international gatherings have taken place at the venue, including the signing of the Charter of the United Nations in 1945, and the debut of the legendary American singer Tony Bennett’s song, I left my heart in San Francisco, in 1962.

The San Francisco Bay Area has the most frequent economic exchanges with China in North America, especially with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Bearing such significance, the Fairmont Hotel is bound to make the GBAF an international gathering of vital importance.

In pics: Hydropower project to build Laos into ‘battery of Southeast Asia’

Photo taken on Jan. 16, 2019 shows the construction site of a dam of the Nam Ou drainage basin hydropower project in Luang Prabang, Laos. The seven-dam cascade project is the first overseas project of Power Construction Corporation of China, on a build-operate-transfer basis. It aims to build Laos into “the battery of Southeast Asia” and improve the livelihood of people in Laos. Photo courtesy of the Laos company of Powerchina Resources Ltd.

Photo taken on Jan. 16, 2019 shows the construction site of a dam of the Nam Ou drainage basin hydropower project in Luang Prabang, Laos. The seven-dam cascade project is the first overseas project of Power Construction Corporation of China, on a build-operate-transfer basis. It aims to build Laos into “the battery of Southeast Asia” and improve the livelihood of people in Laos. Photo courtesy of the Laos company of Powerchina Resources Ltd.

Photo taken on Jan. 16, 2019 shows the construction site of a dam of the Nam Ou drainage basin hydropower project in Luang Prabang, Laos. The seven-dam cascade project is the first overseas project of Power Construction Corporation of China, on a build-operate-transfer basis. It aims to build Laos into “the battery of Southeast Asia” and improve the livelihood of people in Laos. Photo courtesy of the Laos company of Powerchina Resources Ltd.


Memorial park for donors under construction in E China’s Zhejiang

(Photo/Qianjiang Evening News)

A memorial park for organ donors is under construction at Qianjiang Cemetery in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, for relatives and friends to pay tribute to their loved ones, Qianjiang Evening News reported on March 25.

16-year-old Xu Yuwen died of glioblastoma seven years ago. After her death, her organs were donated by her parents, which saved the lives of four people and helped two blind people regain their sight.

Two months later, Xu’s parents, who live in the Hangzhou countryside, also signed up to be organ donors after their death, to help more people in need.

Statistics indicated that by the end of February 2019, more than 20,000 people in Hangzhou had signed documents saying they were willing to donate their organs after death.

So far, 1,106 donations have been made, including 3,365 major organs and 1,700 corneas.

Hospitals in Guangdong are paying for feces

A doctor in a hospital in Nanchang takes samples of fecal bacteria. (Photo provided by the interviewee)

Guangdong hospitals are now collecting feces from healthy people in the name of research, compensating 500 yuan ($74) to every person who donates, The Beijing News reported on March 26.

The hospitals will use the excrement to rebuild the intestinal flora of patients by transplanting fecal bacteria donated by healthy people. The feces are filtered and screened before being given to patients by capsule or through fluid infusion.

Doctors explained that the principle is to use the helpful intestinal bacteria of healthy people to replace the unbalanced bacteria in the stomachs of the ill.

The hospitals require that volunteers must not have an infection and must not have taken antibiotics in the last three months. Doctors are also studying the use of human excrement in the treatment of heart disease and diabetes.

Alipay begins charging commission on credit card payments

On March 26, Alipay started charging users a service fee of 0.1 percent on credit card bill payments above 2,000 yuan ($294) each month through the app, Guangzhou Daily reported.


Alipay explained that the adjustment is due to a rise in its operational costs as the digital wallet service has been subsidizing the commission charge for each credit card repayment transaction.

WeChat already made two adjustments last year. Firstly, it added a service fee of 0.1 percent for credit card bill repayments over 5,000 yuan, and then later, the company began to charge 0.1 percent for all credit card bill repayments, regardless of the amount.

Statistics indicated that the value of China’s third-party payment market reached 43.8 trillion yuan in 2018, about 92.5 percent of which was dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay.

They have grown beyond providing subsidies to enhance user loyalty. Instead, they are now starting to categorize users, to provide high-quality services to those with stronger consumption power.

Op-ed: Foreign investment law to further boost opening-up

China’s national legislature passed the foreign investment law at the closing meeting of its annual session on March 15.

Foreign media described the approval as “extremely important” and the “largest highlight of the annual session of the national legislature”, believing that the decision has showcased China’s confidence to open its arms wider to the world, and its sincere hope for openness, mutual benefit and win-win results.

The approval is a display of China’s strong determination to further expand opening up. As it is said by a senior manager of a multinational corporation who took part in the discussion of the draft law and the solicitation of opinions, the unified foreign investment law represents a major step of China toward a deeper level of institutional opening-up.

A Financial Times report also pointed out that the law will soothe foreign businesses’ concerns, protect their legitimate rights in China and keep investment flowing into the country.

Some foreign scholars said that the Chinese market is getting more mature and interacting with the world better, saying that the Chinese economy is becoming more and more confident.

China has taken a slew of measures to facilitate opening up, such as jointly building the Belt and Road, establishing the pilot free trade zones (FTZs), promoting the establishment of a free trade port with Chinese characteristics, and holding the first China International Import Expo and preparing for the second one.

These efforts mark that China has embarked on a historic journey of opening-up, and is furthering reform and opening up in a comprehensive way. The new measures once again indicate that China will open wider to the world.

The approval the foreign investment law reflects China’s quickened steps toward pursuing high-quality development through reform. The law signifies a fundamental change in China’s management of foreign investment, said the Associated Press.

Chinese economy has transitioned from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. Promoting and protecting foreign investment by enacting a national law is a natural step toward upgrading opening-up, and promoting high-quality economic development.

China witnessed expanding foreign investment since the reform and opening up, and remains the second largest destination of foreign capital in-flows.

The foreign investment law is a summary of China’s experiences in exploring a legal system for foreign investment over the past four decades and adapts to the demand for development in the new era.

Keeping pace with China’s opening steps, it is also a proactive move to grasp and follow the law of the development of history and time.

The approval provides the world with historic opportunities to board China’s express train of development. Investment environment is like the air, and only clean air can attract more investment.

According to the Doing Business 2019 report released by the World Bank, China moved up 32 spots to the 46th place in the Doing Business Rankings in 2018 compared with the last year.

With greater sincerity, China has attracted a batch of foreign enterprises, including Germany’s chemical producer BASF Group, British Telecom, Exxon Mobil Corporation, BMW, Tesla and Airbus.

It was voted again as the most promising place for business development by Japanese multinational manufacturers in a report by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

In January and February this year, 147.11 billion yuan of foreign investment was used by China, growing 5.5 percent. The performance was achieved following the hard-won 3-percent growth of foreign direct investment last year. The above figures indicate that China is still a hotbed for global investment and opportunities.

China, by developing on a high-quality basis and cooperating with the world for win-win results, is attracting worldwide attention, and the newly approved foreign investment law will only expand the focus.

For foreign companies, an open China is the largest attraction, said a manager of a multinational corporation.

The continuous introduction of new opening up measures is the reason for the confidence in China of the international community, and also the charm of the Chinese economy.

(Zhong Sheng, a homonym in Chinese for “voice of China”, is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.) 

Shanghai builds CIIE into constant trading platform

Shanghai is currently digging more potential of the China International Import Expo (CIIE), turning the 6-day event into an all-year-round trading platform.

The photo shows the exterior of Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center. (Photo provided by the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District)

The first CIIE attracted 3,617 foreign exhibitors to Shanghai within only 6 days last November, and generated total trading value of $57.8 billion. To sustain the performance, Shanghai opened an import commodity exhibition and trading center a month after the conclusion of the event, bearing a hope to turn exhibits into commodities.

So far, over 20 commodities that were popular at the first CIIE have been introduced to the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, including Spanish cured ham, Australian wines and Japanese rice.

The center provides a package of services including bonded exhibition, transaction, logistics and storage, and customs clearance.

Bonded trading has two major advantages when compared with the traditional mode in which duties are usually paid before transaction. On one hand, it enables merchants to pay their duties after the sales, which grants the merchants more flexibility of cash flow by lowering capital occupation; on the other hand, the commodities, if failing to find the proper markets, can be returned to the bonded warehouses and shipped to other destinations without paying duties.

A rice brand from Japan’s Hokkaido witnessed huge popularity at the first CIIE. Its products later completed debut in the Chinese market under the bonded exhibition trading service by Shanghai Pushihui Import and Export Co. Ltd.

Under the innovative mode, the rice is directly transported to a bonded warehouse beside the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, and duties will be collected at the end of each month after the products are sold. Thus, the price of the rice is 10 percent lower thanks to the cut of cost.

The import commodity exhibition and trading center, as a pilot platform of bonded trading, was established under the cross-department efforts of Shanghai Customs, Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce and the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District.

The platform reviews the information of applying merchants and adopts dynamic supervision, and takes control of the commodity quality through access threshold and withdrawal mechanism.

Furthermore, the platform offers preferential prices of rent, “zero charge” of bonded warehouse and information services, as well as duty-assessment on actual prices, in a bid to save logistics and capital cost for enterprises.

More than 400 brands and 8,000 commodities from over 50 countries have entered the first phase of the Hongqiao Import Commodity Exhibition and Trading Center, according to an official from the Administration Committee of Shanghai Hongqiao Central Business District.

Now the planning of the second-phase project has been completed, and a bonded logistics center for multi-users will be put into use at the second CIIE, the official introduced.

To make full use of the spillover effect of the CIIE, Shanghai is speeding up in building a new mechanism for an open economy at a higher level.

A slew of innovative mechanisms have been rolled out, such as the acceptance of inspection results for imported commodities, the pilot program of overseas pre-inspection for products to be debuted in Shanghai, and the pre-classification mechanism for newly released products.

By doing so, Shanghai aims to build itself into a globally renowned shopping center, a major destination of first launches, a prioritized destination for high-end brands, and a hub for original brands.

In addition, the city has set up relevant standards to attract brands to stage “world debuts” of products and to open world’s first flagship franchises in Shanghai. It enhanced efforts on the protection of trademarks of “first-launch” products, and included qualified brands debuting their products in Shanghai in a key protection list.

Owing to the policies and regulations in the past, time and places of foreign brands’ marketing campaigns and promotions were always limited, which resulted in a weak motivation for internationally renowned brands to debut their products in Shanghai.

To change the situation, Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau opened a “green channel” to build the city into a destination for more “world debut” activities.

Statistics indicated that in 2017, a total of 1,265 domestic and foreign brands chose Shanghai as the place to make the initial launch of their products. The figure doubled between Jan. and Oct. 2018, with 2,890 renowned brands organizing “world debut” activities in the city.

Facial recognition now available at Chinese smart parcel pickup stations


Now in China, you can simply stand in front of a self-service parcel pickup machine to allow it to scan your face, and the correct storage cabinet will pop open, allowing you to pick up your online purchases.

Chinese logistics company Cainiao recently announced that facial scanning is now available at all of its parcel pickup stations. This function is hailed as the final piece of unmanned logistics.

“The application of the technology came from the breakthrough made in facial recognition,” said an expert with Alibaba Turing Lab. According to him, outdoor facial recognition requires high adaptability of the devices as the pickup stations must work through the day and night.

Additionally, most of the stations do not have perfect lighting conditions, and a user’s height could also have an impact on recognition accuracy.

“The Cainiao pickup stations have been tested over a million times during the pilot process, and gone through many technical updates,” said Zhao Deshan, senior engineer of the Cainiao smart pickup station program. So far, no mistake has been recorded during the tests, he noted.

Chinese learning leads Italian students into a new world

Studying Chinese is leading students from an Italian Chinese-language international scientific high school into a new world, as the oriental language is opening a new window for them to know more about China.

Students of Italian boarding school Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II read a Chinese book. (Photo by Guan Kejiang from People’s Daily)

The Chinese-language international scientific high school, located at the fourth floor of the boarding school Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, is the only public high school that lists Chinese as a compulsory course in Italy. It also has Italy’s largest Confucius Classroom.

Posters made by the students can be seen on the wall of the school corridor. Filling with Chinese culture elements, these posters present a beautiful picture together with the peach blossoms of the schoolyard in early March.

Paolo M. Reale, president of the Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II, and eight students of the school wrote a letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping before the Chinese leader’s upcoming state visit to Italy, expressing their willingness to promote friendship between Italy and China.

“The students are eager to share their experiences in learning Chinese language with President Xi Jinping,” said Reale, adding that the students are very enthusiastic about China and its culture.

Immersive learning, summer camps in China and short-term overseas study tours have brought them closer with China, which further increased their passion for the country, Reale told People’s Daily.

In the letter to the Chinese President, the students expressed their willingness to work hard to promote dialogue of minds, cultural exchanges, and mutual learning with their Chinese peers.

Alesslo Treggiari, a fifth-grader from the school and also one of the eight students writing the letter, told People’s Daily that learning Chinese has broadened his horizon, and helped him build the habit of thinking from a global perspective. He plans to come to China for graduate study and work for Chinese enterprises when he returns home.

“Learning Chinese has guided us into a new world,” said Giovanni Stoppoloni, also a 5th-grade student.

He told People’s Daily that he always wanted to know more about China when he learned Chinese.

A student of Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II practices Chinese calligraphy. (Photo provided by Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II)

Last year, the boy went on a study tour to Shanghai with his classmates and witnessed the development achievements and vitality of the oriental country. He was impressed by the vastness and splendor of the world.

“I wrote a poem for President Xi to share my Chinese learning experiences in the past 5 years. In the poem, I used a metaphor to describe how China adheres to virtuous traditions and sticks to innovative development,” he said. Stoppoloni believes that his future will be closely linked with China.

The Chinese-language international scientific high school under the Rome Convitto Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the 6 Confucius Classrooms affiliated to the Confucius Institute at Sapienza University of Rome.

Thanks to the high-quality education, each year half of the school’s students would pass the level 5 exam of the Chinese Proficiency Test even before they graduate.

In the past 10 years since its establishment, the number of students at the high school increased from 28 to over 250 in 5 grades. A total of over 100 students from the school have studied in China self-funded for 6 to 12 months, and about a dozen of the school’s graduates have been admitted to Chinese universities.

“Only by learning languages can the students better understand other cultures,” said Reale, noting that the notion of the high school is to introduce Chinese culture to more young Italians, develop a global perspective for the students and let them become ambassadors of Italy-China friendly cooperation and East-West cultural exchange.

Because of the continuous social and economic development of China, more Italians are willing to strengthen all-round cooperation between Italy and China and make good use of China’s development opportunities to develop themselves, said Reale.

“The young people, by learning Chinese, not only open a window for Italy-China cultural exchange, but also enhance their competitiveness in future career.”

Last Christmas, Reale received an greeting card sent from Shanghai by former Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. The former diplomat expressed his gratitude toward Reale for making his child fall in love with Chinese culture through learning Chinese at the high school. Alfano’s child later decided to go to China for study.

Reale introduced that Chinese courses were well-received by local people and boosted their confidence. He said the school will actively share teaching experiences with its peers to further promote Chinese teaching in Italy, and make new contribution to Italy-China cultural exchange.