Internet enterprises roll out courses to help merchants amid epidemic

Many Internet enterprises in China have set up open-ended online “universities”, providing targeted courses to help business owners survive the pandemic.

Chang Yupeng, a deliveryman with Meituan, tells his story in an online course. (Photo via Meituan)

The wide range of courses offered, which include epidemic prevention, catering, food delivery, e-commerce and live broadcasts, are tailor-made for merchants’ needs and have turned out to be very popular.

Since March, the online university of Meituan Dianping, China’s food delivery giant, has invited a number of catering brands to share their experience in embracing digitalization and reducing the impact of the epidemic, something that all catering businesses can benefit from.

“The pandemic has speeded up online education for many industries,” said Chen Rongkai, Vice President of Meituan Dianping, adding that the company’s university aims to provide training for food deliverymen and other personnel while helping merchants improve their digital operations and prepare for the future market.

Meituan Dianping has rolled out over 3,000 courses in the forms of pictures, videos and live broadcasts over the past three months, with the courses’ page views exceeding 90 million, according to data from the company.

The popularity of such courses is also evident in Tencent Class, an online vocational education platform under China’s tech giant Tencent. Data released by the platform shows that the total duration of online vocational education at Tencent Class went up 3.5 times during the outbreak.

The most popular courses include those on professional skills, programming, Internet products, practical English, medicine and health.

Online learning, which is usually inexpensive and has low requirement thresholds, can be promoted among all employees in enterprises, making the learning new skills a daily practice for them, said Ye Ting, operations director at the university under the online market platform Taobao.

By introducing open-ended “universities”, these enterprises have shown brand image and public service capabilities, which will also drive the growth of related companies in the ecological chain, noted Miu Rong, a chief researcher at the China Enterprise Confederation.

Chinese colleges pick up the pace, offers live broadcast e-commerce major

The development of live streaming e-commerce, especially amid the pneumonia outbreak, has prompted universities and colleges in China to cultivate professionals in the field.

A student with the Yangzhou Polytechnic Institute sells oranges through livestreaming. (Photo/Wang Biao)

Meeting the growing need, The Yangzhou Polytechnic Institute established the school of live streaming e-commerce in December 2019, the first of its kind in China, setting up an e-commerce major in live broadcast.

As numerous enterprises have resumed work online amid the pandemic, live streaming e-commerce is believed to usher in new opportunities, which means that industries will be lacking professionals in the next few years, said Yan Zhengying, director of the s chool of innovation and entrepreneurship, Yangzhou Polytechnic Institute.

The industry not only lacks hosts, but professionals for the whole chain, including copywriters and operators for the live broadcasts, Yan pointed out.

Considering this, the institute has developed courses varying from marketing and planning, short video production, media operations and music data analysis, calligraphy and floral design.

“We hope to cultivate the market insights and professional abilities of the students and equip them with skills so that they could better suit the market,” Yan said.

Working with over 10 brands, the institute has built 47 broadcasting studios so that the students could enhance and sharpen their abilities

The live streaming e-commerce major of the institute provides professional courses, attracting about 30 students, and amateur courses, bringing in roughly 300 students.

The market scale of China’s live streaming e-commerce industry reached 433.8 billion yuan ($61.2 billion) in 2019, according to data from iiMedia Research, a Chinese firm specializing in data analysis for new economic industries.

With the growing demand, the number of live streaming users is expected to rise to 524 million this year, with the market exceeding 900 billion yuan ($127 billion).

China, West Asia, and North Africa stick together, strengthen friendship amid pandemic

The onslaught from the COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the international community witnessing all kinds of evil actions that challenge the bottom line of civilization, undermine international order, and jeopardize global solidarity and cooperation. Luckily, this natural disaster has also made the world more determined to work together to overcome difficulties.

Amid the pandemic, China and countries in West Asia and North Africa have supported one another, demonstrating their deep friendship and cherishing the value of a community of shared future for mankind.

Burj Khalifa in Dubai is lit up in the colors of China’s national flag.

On Jan. 23, China locked down Wuhan, Hubei province, in a bid to curb the epidemic. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, tweeted a message in Chinese on Jan. 24, saying “Human beings are members of a whole, since in their creation they are of one essence. When the conditions of the time bring pain to one member, the other members will suffer from discomfort. As a Chinese poem goes ‘Are you not battle-dressed? Let’s share the plate for breast!’ Iran stands firmly with China whenever and wherever.”

Officials from 23 countries in the two regions have expressed support for China through letters or phone calls.

Not only have countries in these regions including Iran, Turkey, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar donated medical masks, gloves and protective clothing to China, but people in West Asia and North Africa have also been cheering on the Chinese nation through videos and songs.

A team of Chinese anti-epidemic experts arrive in Iran on Feb. 29, 2020.

Meanwhile, landmarks in these regions, including the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai; the Citadel of Saladin, Luxor and Karnak Temples in Cairo; the Freedom Tower in Tehran, were illuminated with China’s national flag to boost the country’s spirits.

On its part, China has remembered the kindness of these countries and returned the favor when the novel coronavirus began spreading rapidly in West Asia and North Africa in the middle of February.

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone with the leaders of Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia among others to express his sympathy over the pandemic. “At the most difficult moment in our fight against the outbreak, China received assistance and help from many members of the global community,” he said at the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on March 26, adding that such expressions of friendship will always be remembered and cherished by the Chinese people.

Health experts from China and countries in West Asia and North Africa hold a video conference on the novel coronavirus epidemic on March 27, 2020.

Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to provide assistance where it can to countries hit by the growing outbreak, Xi pointed out.

He also called on the international community to strengthen its confidence, act with unity and work together in a collective response so that humanity as one can win the battle against this major infectious disease.

Under the principle of building a community of a shared future for mankind, the Chinese government, enterprises and organizations have assisted West Asian and North African countries through donations of medical supplies, while experts in China have either been fighting the virus on the frontline or sharing anti-pandemic formulas via video conference, helping locals treat diseases as well as giving people a boost of confidence.

But while China’s contributions to the cause of human health have largely been acknowledged by the international community, some people, out of ulterior motives, have distorted the truth, discredited China’s efforts and even tried to blackmail China.

China hands anti-epidemic supplies over to Sudan at Khartoum International Airport on April 15, 2020.

Under these circumstances, countries in West Asia and North Africa have voiced support for the truth, defended China and upheld justice.

The Egyptian government and people firmly support China and believe that China, an ancient civilization, is capable of defeating the pandemic, said Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt.

His words were echoed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, who highly appreciated the strong measures taken by the Chinese government in response to the outbreak, and believed that China will win this battle.

Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, pointed out that the anti-pandemic measures taken by the Chinese government are impressive and the Iranian government and people are willing to cooperate with China to defeat the disease.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that the war against COVID-19 is one that all of humanity is facing. He expressed admiration for the heroic efforts through which the Chinese people have defeated the outbreak, adding that China has set a fine example for the world, and its unconditional donations of medical supplies to the world have been a great inspiration to the international community.

Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Mauritania, gave high praise to China at the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held online in May for providing medical supplies to and sharing anti-pandemic experience with the country, and opposed any attempt to discredit the efforts and achievements of specific countries and organizations.

Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of Sudan, said the Sudanese side appreciates China’s positive role in promoting international COVID-19 containment cooperation, and opposes any acts to stigmatize any country.

China’s anti-virus progress sets an example for other nations and brings hope to their people, said Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister of the UAE, adding that without China’s efforts and contributions, the virus’s global spread would be much worse than it is.

Ahcene Boukhelfa, Algerian ambassador to China, pointed out that China’s support for his country in the fight against the epidemic is a concrete practice of building a community of shared future for mankind.

Despite being threatened by the novel coronavirus and some “political viruses”, China, West Asia and North Africa have always supported and helped each other. It is believed that the countries involved will grow closer after the pandemic and strengthen the belief in building a community of shared future.

Local protects endangered species in SW China: sees population increase

Yu Wenwu, a resident in the Weixi Lisu Autonomous County, southwest China’s Yunnan province, has made endeavors to protect the black snub-nosed monkey, referred to as the Yunnan golden hair monkey by locals, at the Baima Snow Mountain Nature Reserve.

Yu Wenwu and a researcher conduct survey on the black snub-nosed monkey. (Photo/Lai Jiandong)

Since 2011, Yu has fed the monkeys on complementary food mainly consisting of Chinese usnea and cabbage in the morning, pumpkin seeds and peanuts in the afternoon, so that they could become healthier and stronger under the care of the staff members at the nature reserve.

“I need to feed them in various places to suit their habits of foraging and try to distribute the food in case the animals get into fights for it,” Yu said.

Along with feeding the monkeys, Yu also needs to collect and test the feces of the animals in order to keep track of their physical conditions and provide proper treatment if necessary.

(Photo via Yunnan Forestry and Grassland Administration)

Female monkeys usually conceive every two years, which is not an easy thing for the endangered species, but with the efforts of Yu and other workers there has been an increase in births.

The number of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys in the Weixi Lisu Autonomous County under the nature reserve has risen to over 1,300 from about 300 or 400 at the very beginning, Yu pointed out.

While protecting the species, Yu has also received steady income from the work.

According to Yu, with a monthly income of 1,700 yuan for taking care of the monkeys and an annual subsidy of 9,000 yuan for protecting the forest, he is able to lift his family out of poverty.

Self-driving tours on the rise in China

Under the attack of the pneumonia outbreak, more and more travelers choose to drive to tourist destinations, a way considered more convenient and less risky.


Statistics show that self-driving tours accounted for over 60 percent of the trips made during the Labor Day holiday that fell on May 1 to 5 in China this year.

Automobile accessory sales surged by 256 percent month-on-month from April 29 to May 4, according to data from China’s leading retailer Suning. Customer demand for tents, picnic blankets and sunscreen also registered a huge growth.

Self-driving tours have been developing in recent years, said Liu Hanqi, secretary-general of the Self-Driving Tour and Camping & Caravanning Association, explaining that self-driving tours not only enable travelers to better enjoy the local scenery and customs, but can lessen the pressure of tourist flow in the scenic areas.

With the popularity of self-driving tours, car-renting travel, which features a comfortable, clean and private experience, has become one of the best restored traveling businesses amid the pandemic, allowing people to sightsee an itinerary at their own pace.

This rising mode of travel has also generated new types of occupations, such as guides for self-driving travelers, a mechanic to fix the cars, tailored plans for the road trip etc.

“Universities should set up related majors and courses to train professionals in the field and meet the demands of the market,” said Xiu Xuejun, chairman of the China Federation of Camping and Caravanning.

Xiu also pointed out that the future for self-driving tours lie in caravanning travel and called on special camps and official agencies to be established to facilitate the development of the industry.

Chinese academicians help with agricultural process amid the pandemic

To ensure agricultural production amid the pandemic, academicians in agricultural science at the Chinese Academy of Engineering have made their own efforts in various ways.

Yuan Longping (Photo/Xinhua)

Despite the epidemic, Chinese agricultural expert Yuan Longping has continued with his four-month-long scientific research, just like he has every year before.

To achieve the large-scale application of the third-generation hybrid rice, Yuan has been busy making a comprehensive plan and guiding the team members, aiming to develop super-high hybrid rice and saline-alkali tolerant rice in this year.

Under the support of the local government, in January academician Zou Xuexiao discussed with other researchers online and formulated a guideline on ensuring the supply of vegetables in Hunan province amid the epidemic.

After the epidemic gradually curbed in China, Zou visited the vegetable demonstration bases in Hunan, providing instructions for the farmers.

Although in the hospital for gout at 82-years-old, academician Guan Chunyun went to the demonstration base at the Hunan Agricultural University to examine the conditions of the agricultural products at the beginning of March, providing guidance for agricultural technicians.

Guan will focus the attention on breeding and promoting high-quality oilseed rape, bringing more nutritive colleseed oil to people, said his assistant, Guan Mei.

Besides giving instructions to tea farmers, Liu Zhonghua, an academician on tea growing, has hosted live broadcasts to introduce and sell tea leaves for the farmers.

After visiting a collection of tea gardens to infuse confidence into farmers in poverty-stricken areas, Liu said, “As the epidemic has attacked the tea industry, I want to make an effort to facilitate the sales and benefit the tea farmers.”

China brings 5G coverage to Mount Qomolangma

Telecom giant China Mobile, along with the tech company Huawei, has recently completed 5G construction on Mount Qomolangma, the highest peak in the world, marking a milestone in the building of the technology’s infrastructure.

Technicians build a 5G station at Mount Qomolangma. (Photo via Huawei)

“Although faced with many difficulties such as a tight schedule, high altitudes and a tough environment, we managed to complete the task in about one month,” said Su Xiaodi, the manager in charge of 5G promotion at Huawei.

The company not only formulated the blueprint for 5G construction on the mountain in just three days, but also sent a technical team to the mountains to ensure the proper functioning of the 5G network, according to Su.

The 5G signal on the mountain makes it possible for people to appreciate the peak through high-definition VR or AR broadcasts, Su noted. By April 23, over 13 million netizens were able to enjoy an online view of Mount Qomolangma broadcast live via the 5G signal.

In addition to Mount Qomolangma, 5G base stations have been built in a series of landmarks around China, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Many cities’ subway networks are also covered by 5G signal.

In fact, China had established 198,000 5G base stations by the end of March, with the number of 5G package users exceeding 50 million, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

“China is able to achieve its goal of building 500,000 new 5G base stations this year,” said Wen Ku, head of the department of information and communications development of the MIIT, adding that the ministry will continue to promote 5G construction and inject new impetus into economic growth.

Companies roll out CIIE products ahead of schedule to warm up market

A staff member shows Panini at the booth of TNUVA from Israel at Food and Agricultural Products exhibition area during the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, Nov. 9, 2019. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Metro AG, a German wholesaler, has introduced into supermarkets some of its exhibits for the third CIIE, such as Spanish ham and pumpkin from New Zealand, in an attempt to facilitate the supply chain and logistics and prepare for the exhibition.

“Metro is optimistic about the Chinese market and will continue to expand its business in China,” said Claude Sarrailh, CEO of Metro China, adding that the company has brought nearly 500 imported products from more than 30 countries and regions at the 2020 Shanghai Imported Goods Festival launched on Tuesday.

With the help of live broadcasts, Per Linden, board director of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in China, recently helped sell Swedish sunflower honey that was supposed to be launched at this year’s CIIE.

In fact, foreigners like Per Linden have introduced nearly 1,000 products slated for this year’s CIIE in advance though live broadcasts at the Greenland Global Commodity Trading Hub, a permanent exhibition and trade platform in Shanghai.

The hub has recently rolled out an online platform with 3D animation technology, which not only allows consumers to buy imported goods online, but also enables them to learn about the local environment, customs and practices, said Zhang Yuliang, chairman and president at Greenland Holdings Group Co. Ltd.

Zhang pointed out that nearly 10,000 exotic products and over 30 virtual country pavilions are expected to enter the platform before the third CIIE.

China, Latin America to usher in greater economic and trade cooperation

China and Latin America have seen vibrant trade amid the pneumonia outbreak, with trade between the two sides totaling 477.2 billion yuan in the first quarter of 2020, according to data from the General Administration of Customs in China.

An agricultural products trading company in Brazil. Photo/People’s Daily)

Although trade declined year on year due to the disease, bilateral cooperation should see greater growth as both parties gradually shake off the impact of the pandemic, experts pointed out.

China, as an important trading partner of Latin America, has helped ease the export pressure in Latin American countries amid the pandemic.

Brazil’s trade surplus with China reached $4.3 billion during the first three months of the year, accounting for 77.9 percent of the country’s total trade surplus.

Exports of Brazilian soybeans, chicken and beef to China registered growth over the period, according to the Brazilian Agriculture and Livestock Confederation.

Meanwhile, cross-border e-commerce business continued its momentum during the pneumonia outbreak, with an increasing number of high-quality goods from Latin America such as cherries and blueberries entering Chinese e-commerce platforms.

Experts believe that as China picks up speed in bringing back economic and social order amid the pandemic, it will become more involved in Latin America’s economic construction and promote bilateral cooperation in areas including AI, pharmaceuticals and 5G technology.

China and Latin America enjoy complementary advantages and sound economic and trade relations in the long run, noted Alicia Bárcena Ibarra, executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, adding that the bilateral trade is resilient in the face of challenges and has broad room for development.