One of China’s earliest automakers still vibrant

The first batch of Jiefang trucks roll off producton line. (Photo provided by First Automobile Works)

On July 13, 1956, the First Automobile Works (FAW) in Changchun, Jilin province assembled China’s first automobile, cracking the rumor that China couldn’t make cars.

The next day, the first 12 Jiefang cars rolled out the production line, marking the beginning of China’s automobile industry.

As the first generation of the Jiefang series, the CA10 truck was designed with Chinese characters “Jie Fang” on each vehicle nose.

When the production was suspended in 1986, 1,281,502 Jiefang cars had been manufactured. The number was almost half of the national total production during that period.

“Back then, one of every two cars on the street would be a Jiefang vehicle,” a former employee recalled.

In preparation for the first car, FAW produced 2,335 automobile parts and designed more than 100,000 non-standard blueprints.

“Before our own cars were produced, we only drove foreign vehicles. It was difficult to change gear. But Jiefang cars don’t have such problems,” said Yu Fengmian, who drove the first 12 Jiefang cars when they rolled off the assembly line.

A bronze statue of Jiefang truck (Photo provided by First Automobile Works)

Yu thinks the Jiefang car was designed to fit the driving habits of Chinese drivers, and that’s why it survived the market for a long time.

Jiefang has never stopped its steps forward. Last April, FAW Jiefang launched a series of automobiles and technologies, including automated driving vehicles, smart formation vehicles, unmanned sanitation vehicles and self-driving vehicles at ports.

By Nov. 30, 2018, 7 million Jiefang cars had been produced. Jiefang vehicles have been exported to more than 80 countries and regions.

The Jiefang brand initiated the development of a national automobile industry and Chinese brand. In modern society, it is still taking the lead in intelligent car production.

China’s catering industry is flourishing

From January to April, the income of China’s catering industry reached 1.4 trillion yuan with a 9.3 percent increase year-on-year. The catering income accounted for 10.8 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods in the period.

The catering industry will grow in a reasonable scope, and it will be able to sustain this development, according to China Cuisine Association (CCA). They believe that the sector will continue playing an important role in pushing healthy economic development.

Multiple organizations predicted that China’s 2019 catering income will reach 4.9 trillion yuan and the number will increase to 7 trillion yuan by 2023.

Takeaway services have become a driving force of the thriving catering industry. In 2018, the online market volume increased 112.5 percent and the number of take-out orders 200 percent compared with the year before.

Thanks to booming online sales and cold-chain logistics technology, catering companies are expected to see new points of growth, the association added.

Ambassadors work together to promote China-Russia friendship


On May 23, 2019, Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Li Hui, was presented the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin for his significant contribution to the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination.

Andrey Ivanovich Denisov, Li’s Russian counterpart, was among the first to send congratulations to Li.

Several Chinese diplomats have worked with Russia to promote bilateral relations between the two countries. Among them, Li is the most outstanding, Denisov said.

Li and Denisov have been working together to promote China-Russia friendship since they first engaged in the cause almost 50 years ago.

Denisov has been the Russian ambassador to China since 2013. Learning Chinese for almost 50 years, he has gained extensive knowledge about the country.

The two ambassadors were both born in the 1950s and have similar experience in the foreign affairs ministries. They have forged a close friendship fighting for the same cause.

“I’m honored to work with Li. We are fighting for the same cause though I’m based in Beijing and he is in Moscow,” Denisov said in a recent interview.

Li has served as the Chinese ambassador in Russia for almost 10 years. His positive and friendly manner has won him the respect of Russian people, Denisov noted.


The two ambassadors have made great efforts to push the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership into the golden age.

“Li’s service in Moscow is longer than mine in Beijing, and he has made a greater contribution to China-Russia relations over the last 10 years. I should learn from him,” said Denisov.

In Li Hui’s eyes, his old friend Denisov is modest and wise, with a sincere ambition to promote bilateral cooperation. “With the closer association between the heads of the two countries, we were able to meet and communicate on many important occasions. Together, we’ve witnessed several historic moments in the partnership,” he said.

Li still remembers when President Xi Jinping paid his first state visit to Russia after his election as Chinese president. To welcome him, President Putin held a grand welcoming ceremony in the Kremlin.


At the beginning of 2014, President Xi attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics held in Sochi, Russia. It was the first time that a Chinese head of state had been present at an international sports event held in a foreign country, recalled Li.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary since China and Russia established diplomatic relations. For Li and Denisov, their friendship is a mirror of the partnership between the two countries.

Looking back on the achievements over the past 70 years, Li outlined his vision for future cooperation in a recent interview.

“We should abide by the spirit of the China-Russia treaty of good-neighborliness, build a high level of political and strategic trust and stand behind each other on core interests, bringing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a deeper level,” said Li.

Domestic brands thrive at home and abroad

Rio’s ink-themed cocktail in a collaboration with Shanghai-based pen and ink producer Hero (Photo provided by Rio)

In recent years, domestic brands have made efforts to improve the quality of their products. As a result, they’ve not only become more popular among young Chinese consumers, but also with customers from all over the world.

Warrior, a Chinese footwear brand founded in 1927, grabbed a fair market share among young Chinese customers with its price advantage and the creative design which caters to the tastes of young people.

Back in 2008, sales of Warrior shoes slumped as many people thought the products were low-end and out of date. Later that same year, after a picture of Hollywood star Orlando Bloom wearing Warrior shoes went viral online, more Chinese stars began to buy into the brand, and in turn, so did their fans.

Warrior uses innovative materials, focusing on developing shoes for health and promoting its shoe culture among young Chinese, said Zhang Enqi, deputy general director of Shanghai Warrior Shoes Co Ltd.

According to statistics, sales of Warrior shoes hit 3.2 billion yuan in 2018.

Besides Warrior shoes, Chinese food, wine, and even sewing machines are gaining increasing popularity among consumers.

Statistics released last month by online retailer Suning indicated that the post-90s generation made up 35.64 percent of buyers of China-made goods. Another report has found that people born in the 2000s are more interested in home-made products.

The demand for made-in-China products brings enormous market potential, as well as challenges. Consumers tend to seek both quality and creativity, which has led to crossover cooperation between brands.

For example, Chinese alcopop brand Rio recently released an ink-themed cocktail in a collaboration with Shanghai-based pen and ink producer Hero. Statistics on May 16 showed that about 3,000 drink sets were sold in a single minute.

The Hero brand is a childhood memory for many people in China. With advancing technology, it is now more common to type on the computer instead of writing with a pen. The cooperation with Rio, however, has brought Hero back into the spotlight.

Some traditional brands have even spread overseas. Zhang Xiaoquan, a conventional brand of knives and scissors, has gained popularity among foreigners. The monthly sales of the products on Tmall reached 250,000 and 300,000 yuan, said Jiang Yong, e-commerce director of Zhang Xiaoquan.

In the eyes of most foreign customers, Zhang Xiaoquan products are of good quality and strong durability. The brand even introduced different products based on the preferences of customers from various regions.

More professionals needed to look after China’s aging population


There were less than half a million elderly care professionals in China in 2017, while only 20,000 of those were certified, according to a report from Beijing Normal University (BNU), China Youth Daily reported on June 3.

That number was far from meeting the demand among the country’s elderly population. With nearly 41 million disabled or semi-disabled senior citizens, the country should have at least 13 million elderly nursing staff according to international standards, the same report indicated.

The lack of colleges with a major in elderly care, inadequate social acceptance of the profession and low salary of about 4,000 to 5,000 yuan ($579 to 724) have led to a failure in attracting more people into this field.

The priority is to develop the elderly care service industry so that more young people look at care as a viable career option. Government support plays a significant role in the early stages of industry development, according to an industry insider.

In the 2019 government work report, Premier Li Keqiang pledged that the country would provide support to institutions offering services in communities, such as day care, rehabilitation, assisted meals and assisted mobility, using measures like tax reductions, fee cuts and exemptions, funding support, and reduced charges for water, electricity, gas and heating.

Fashion today reflects ancient Dunhuang mural paintings

A mural painting in the Mogao Grottoes (Yang Yanmin/

The thousand-year-old mural paintings in the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang, northwest China’s Gansu Province, have had an influence on modern fashion in recent years.

The Dunhuang Research Academy, a national institution responsible for the conservation and research of Dunhuang murals, is making efforts to publicize Dunhuang culture and infuse the mural elements into modern fashion.

Over recent years, the academy has cooperated with the College of Fashion and Design at Donghua University to research costumes depicted in mural paintings. Last year, they held an exhibition of Dunhuang consumes.

In August 2017, the academy founded the Dunhuang Costume Culture Research and Creative Design Center together with other institutes from home and abroad in an attempt to promote Dunhuang costume culture.

“The archives of Dunhuang murals are of great value to the innovation of modern clothes,” said Wang Jinyu, a researcher from the academy.

The murals had witnessed the development of Chinese costumes over the past thousand years, Wang said, adding that some of the modern styles can be traced back to the murals in the grottoes.

For example, in the murals from ancient China’s Tang dynasty (618-907), one appears to be able to see bell-bottoms, which became popular in the 1970s. Even modern clothing materials haven’t changed much since then.

Luo Wenjuan, a guide in the academy, said the half-sleeves from Tang murals in the Mogao Grottoes resemble the T-shirts that girls wear in summer today.

The paintings also recorded many foreign clothes. “In a painting, trousers that came from Persia are a little like overalls nowadays,” said Luo.

Other than Dunhuang-themed clothes, the academy also rolled out music and animation to connect the mural paintings to the modern day.

China’s growing toy market attracts foreign companies


The toy market in China is growing and has caught the attention of foreign enterprises in recent years.

In 2018, domestic toy sales hit over 70 billion yuan, up 9 percent on the previous year, while imports of traditional toys were worth about 649 million dollars, a year-on-year increase of 15.9 percent, according to China Toy and Juvenile Products Association.

“Since we entered the Chinese market in 2006, we’ve built more than 180 stores. In the next three to four years, we’re expected to have opened 400 stores,” Zhuge Min, managing director of Toys “R” Us in China, a multinational toy company, said in a recent interview.

The toy giant Lego is also optimistic about China’s toy market. A senior manager in the corporation said the company’s sales in China had increased rapidly in the last four years. Right now, there are 78 retail stores in China. That number will rise to 140 by the end of 2019.

In the future, Lego plans to expand its business by selling more products to rural children who find it harder to access toys compared to their urban counterparts.

The market potential is an opportunity as much as a challenge, which requires foreign brands to take measures to adapt to the ever-changing toy market.

Toys “R” Us cooperates with online platforms such as Tmall to promote online sales while Lego infuses traditional Chinese elements into the products to remain competitive in the toy market.

To meet the increasing demand for educational toys, the Chinese company Fosun Group has teamed up with Barbie doll maker Mattel to set up a network of “learn and play clubs” for children and families.

The toy market still has enormous potential with the increase of family income and the nation’s new two-child policy.

5G to add impetus to China’s growth

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China granted 5G licenses to China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Broadcasting Network Corp on June 6, marking a new chapter in China’s race to popularize 5G.

“The issuance of 5G licenses came at the right time. It sends a clear signal to the industry chain. Telecom operators are now able to gain value from the new technology,” said Ma Jihua, an expert in communication.

The commercial use of 5G will promote sustainable economic growth. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) predicts that by 2020-2025, China’s 5G commercial use will directly drive the total economic output of 10.6 trillion yuan, creating an added value of 3.3 trillion yuan.

The bright future of 5G technology has made headlines around the world. Statistics show that by November 2018, 136 operators from 66 countries and regions had tested the technology.

China has gained competitive advantages through innovation and cooperation. Gong Daning, a senior engineer with CAICT, said the key technologies such as flexible system design and new network architecture proposed by Chinese enterprises had become an essential part of international 5G standards.

By May 2019, Chinese enterprises accounted for more than 30 percent of the total number of 5G patent claims made by 20 companies around the world. China also took the lead in launching 5G technology R&D experiments and has accelerated the construction of base stations.

As a significant participant and facilitator of the 5G network, China is willing to cooperate with other countries to advance the industry. In 2013, China founded the IMT2020 (5G) Promotion Group, including many foreign enterprises such as Ericsson and Qualcomm in the group.

5G technology applied in various sectors

A visitor tries out an AR security device based on Nokia’s 5G technology at the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai, east China, Nov. 5, 2018. (Xinhua/Fang Zhe)

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently granted 5G licenses for commercial use. Already, 5G technology has been applied in some sectors.

5G for communication: faster transmission speed

China’s first 5G service hall has been established in Chaoyangmen area of Beijing, where citizens can now experience the 5G network.

In the service hall, staff can use a device to convert 5G mobile signal into WiFi so that citizens can experience the high-speed 5G network.

The unique test device indicated that multiple users’ FTP download speeds could peak at around 450 Mbps, averaging at 200Mbps, which means it is possible to download a 1GB HD film in just a few seconds.

5G for transportation: effective, smart operation and maintenance

Full 5G coverage has been realized for Yunba, a 1.5 km-long tram track at the Chinese carmaker BYD’s headquarters in Shenzhen. The self-driving system has achieved 24-hours of intelligent operation.

The application of 5G technology ensures unified management of all Yunba devices, and guarantees smart and effective project operation.

Thanks to the 5G network, staff can monitor dozens of high-definition videos in the control center in real-time. In the case of an abnormal situation, they can respond immediately to prevent potential risks.

5G for medical treatment: remote surgery made possible

A patient suffering from heart disease was saved thanks to remote surgery with the help of 5G technology.

A hospital in northern Guangdong’s remote Gaozhou city carried out the operation on April 3. Before the surgery, all the patient’s data was transmitted to the People’s Hospital of Guangdong Province 400 kilometers away.

Under the instructions of Professor Guo Huiming and his team at People’s Hospital of Guangdong Province using 5G technology, the surgeon He Yong, wearing a high-definition wireless probe on his head, started the operation at about 10 a.m.

During the operation, ultra-high-definition pictures were transmitted through the probe worn by the surgeon to the high-definition display at Guangdong Provincial People’s Hospital. Thanks to 5G live streaming, the remote surgery was completed successfully in three hours.

5G for manufacturing: smart production lines

The Hongxin 5G smart factory, a subsidiary of China Xinke Group located in Wuhan, is home to the first 5G intelligent manufacturing production line jointly established by the company and China Mobile’s Hubei branch.

The order and production data of the entire production line, the operating status of the equipment and monitoring videos are all displayed on the big screen of the information management platform.

Zhang Wei, the production manager, said that the data is collected in real time and connected with the 5G-based automated internet platform. Managers can ensure smart management through the platform or even by using the mobile app.

The system can directly identify any equipment failure, send alarms and define causes of the problems by analyzing different fault codes, shortening the information transmission and fault handling response time by 80 percent, which significantly improves the operation and maintenance efficiency, Zhang added.

Traditional brands make efforts to remain vibrant

China’s time-honored brands are back in favor with young consumers and bursting with vitality thanks to crossover collaboration, Xinhua reported on June 10.

White Rabbit, a traditional brand of candy, recently partnered with Chinese perfume store Scent Library to launch a new line of beauty products ranging from perfumes to body lotion.

White Rabbit perfumes (Photo/

More than 14,000 fragrance products sold out in 10 minutes upon release on Chinese online shopping platform Tmall.

White Rabbit products, including fridge stickers, pins and throw pillows, launched in Shanghai’s department stores, were also welcomed by consumers.

On June 8, the 110-year-old Chinese bakery brand Qiaojiashan opened an experience center in Shanghai, to both sell and display cakes and pastries.

“Our sales in 2018 reached 60 million yuan, and this year we expect to raise that figure to more than 100 million yuan,” said a senior company manager.

To quadruple its sales, Qianjiashan plans to open another 71 stores in the country, bringing the total number of stores to 100 in the next three years.

Traditional brands are also taking steps to cooperate with online platforms such as Taobao and Tmall. Chen Yin, a manager with Taobao, said that more than 70 percent of time-honored brands identified by the Ministry of Commerce had already opened online stores.

In the past year, more than 10 million consumers have bought at least three products from the online shops of traditional brands, and 3.2 million of them were people born after 1990.