Errand running business expands

Wang Shengnan, born after 1990, finds herself often relying on shopping agents when it comes to buying trustworthy foreign goods, such as clothes and cosmetics.

“Compared with me, they (shopping agents) are more professional,” said Wang, who works in Beijing’s Shunyi district.

Zhao Lili, an HR staff member, pays people for errand running services, such as sending documents required for visa applications to the visa center. “There is a long distance between my company and the visa center. To save time, I’d like to pay someone for delivering the documents on my behalf,” Zhao shared.

A designated driver works at night. (Photo/

For Liu Yong, from north China’s Hebei province, designated driving is very necessary when he drinks alcohol. “Only several minutes after being called, the designated driver arrives at the designated place. This is very convenient,” Liu said.

The phenomenon of letting other people do things on behalf of you while paying them for the service is actually a result of the deepening division of labor and the development of the economy, said Luo Laijun, an expert at Renmin University of China.

The development of mobile internet has also relieved the information imbalance between service providers and demanders. Because of the huge spillover and demonstration effects of the internet, more people are looking to satisfy their needs through the internet, noted Tan Jun with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

However, the development of the errand running business needs to be regulated, experts pointed out. For instance, users could ask for legal help if their legitimate rights are infringed and their personal information is leaked while entrusting other people to do things on their behalf.

In other cases where the services are considered illegal, such as hiring people to write a thesis, and fight or beat someone else for you, the service demanders commit an act against the administration of public security or even the criminal law.

According to Luo, this special business should not be put under too much pressure and deserves more room for development.

“The development of the sector could guide surplus labor force to the service industry, and stabilize and improve employment rate,” said Tan.

At the same time, it is very necessary to improve legislation and supervision of the sector by regulating relevant platforms and phasing out illegal ones. Experts advise the platforms should earnestly fulfill their responsibilities by warning users of possible risks.

Hi-tech makes flood prevention smarter

Cutting-edge technologies make flood prevention smarter
An emergency rescue volunteer has a drill with a rescue robot in a reservoir in Nuocheng, Jimo district, Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, June 21, 2020. (Photo by Liang Xiaopeng/People’s Daily Online)

Cutting-edge technologies, such as big data and AI, are making China’s flood prevention smarter, as they are applied to weather forecast, flood monitoring and warning.

Regions along the Yellow River, which officially entered flood season on July 1, are beneficiaries of these technologies.

The regime of the river is now being monitored and tracked by satellite remote sensing, and unmanned aerial vehicles are also employed to transmit real-time videos of the variation in the river’s discharge volumes.

So far, 346 large and medium-sized reservoirs in the Yellow River basin have been covered by real-time monitoring with over 1,000 video signals.

South China and the regions south of the Yangtze River were hit by the first round of heavy rains in June since they entered the rainy season, and these regions had been paid special attention to by the National Meteorological Center of China Meteorological Administration (NMCCMA) a week before the rains. While closely following the development of the weather, the NMCCMA also reminded relevant regions to prepare for possible floods.

Meteorological service represents the very first line of defense in disaster prevention and relief. China’s weather forecast technology has continuously upgraded, with its accuracy dramatically improved in recent years.

The accuracy of rainstorm warning rose to 88 percent in 2019, and severe convections can be forecasted 38 minutes in advance. The country also led the world in typhoon track prediction.

Hydrological monitoring offers important support for flood prevention.

The rainfall areas in East China has begun moving northward since July. Normally it is hard to forecast flood in North and Northeast China, because precipitation gathers quickly in small and medium-sized rivers in mountainous areas there, which may give rise to floods within a short period of time. Since these areas are more prone to risks of sudden torrential rains and floods, scientific supports are especially important.

“Thanks to these new technical methods, it only takes 10 to 15 minutes for the Ministry of Water Resources to collect the rainfall information from 120,000 flood-warning stations across the country. And it only takes dozens of minutes to forecast a flood,” said Liu Zhiyu, deputy director of Hydrological Forecast Center of the Ministry of Water Resources.

The efficient application of big data and AI in flood warning for small and medium-sized rivers has greatly improved China’s ability to forecast floods, Liu added.

These technologies have played a major part in this year’s flood prevention and control in China.

For instance, the technologies of 5G and VR have been introduced in the real-time water-level monitoring in Anqing, East China’s Anhui Province. The water condition filmed by panorama cameras can be transmitted to monitoring personnel through low-latency 5G signal. In addition, water levels can be observed by workers with VR glasses so that they can fully grasp the conditions of the river and the progress of disaster relief. As a result, the work efficiency has been significantly improved.

Thanks to the Internet of Things, urban drainage systems now have a “brain” to prevent waterlogging. In Fuzhou, Southeast China’s Fujian Province and Guiyang, Southwest China’s Guizhou Province, areas that are more likely to have waterlog are marked on an electrical map shown on a big screen, so that in times of a heavy rain, relevant staff members can have a clear picture easily.

Apart from the state-of-the-art equipment, drones and AI robots are also must-have items in flood prevention and control.

Drones enjoy a natural advantage in disaster prevention and relief, as they are agile and free from the topographic condition, and have quick response and a wide scope of monitoring.

They can transmit high resolution pictures and videos of disaster sites to command centers. Armed with other equipment, drones can also search, locate and rescue those trapped. If armed with a night vision system, they can work all day round, and even dispatch relief supplies to those trapped.

Recently, robots for water rescues have been put into use in many places in China. The robot resembles a light boat, and can be controlled by a tablet computer or a controller. It can save three to four people every time.

If someone is trapped in a position with a fast-moving current and far away from the shore, the robots are able to move toward the position in full speed under the command of the control personnel so the drowning can hold onto it.

New professions stabilize job market

New professions satisfy job seekers’ needs, help stabilize China’s job market
Photo taken on June 25 shows popular livestreaming hosts introducing a scenic spot in Haikou, capital of South China’s Hainan Province. (Photo by Zhang Mao/People’s Daily Online)

While traditional industries suffer from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging professions and new types of work are helping stabilizing China’s employment market by bringing about new job growth and filling gaps in the market.

Recently, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security planned to add 10 new professions, including online marketers, and eight new types of work, such as livestreaming salesperson, to its occupation list.

In fact, new professions in China have drawn great attention from the public since March, when the country gave official recognition of 16 new professions, including respiratory therapists and delivery personnel for online orders.

Employment is a barometer of the economy. These new professions reflect the vitality and resilience of the Chinese economy, and bring new vigor and hope.

China logged a 5.9-percent surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas in May, down 0.1 percentage point from the previous month.

The hard-won decline indicated that the country’s employment situation, though hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, remained stable.

Emerging professions, which open up new possibilities for job hunters, have played an important part in maintaining stable employment.

New businesses drive the birth of new professions, and new professions inject vitality into the job market.

It must be understood that new professions don’t come out of thin air. They are the natural results of the continuous growth of new driving forces of the Chinese economy.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world and has led to decline of overseas demand and rising downturn pressure on domestic economy, new businesses, models and industries have been emerging across China, together with new professions needed in various forms of businesses in engineering and technical field as well as the modern service industry.

In particular, as the country makes efforts to coordinate regular epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, digital economy represented by such activities as online education, livestream marketing, grocery e-commerce, and Internet-based medical services have witnessed a boom, bringing about a multitude of new professions and a rise in recruitment needs of enterprises in digital economy.

For instance, e-commerce livestreaming platforms create abundant job opportunities. Beside technicians for back-end operation and maintenance, these platforms also need hosts, agents, set designers, editors, and the people who select proper products. More importantly, the list is extending.

New as they are, many emerging professions are in great demand, represent elaborate division of labor, and have strict requirements for expertise, thus being particularly helpful for boosting employment.

New professions not only mean different work experiences, but also represent broader prospects for employment and more opportunities for career transition. Besides, they enrich the career choices of key job seekers such as college graduates.

A report has shown that the recruitment needs of China’s livestreaming industry had surged by about 134.5 percent year-on-year from January 1 to June 15.

All these emerging professions enjoy bright prospects for employment, whether they have arisen from the technical innovations of manufacturing and construction industry, or resulted from the rapid development of the modern service industry, or come from the enormous demand for health care services.

Since most of the new jobs are related to digital economy, they are typically free from the limitation of time and space.

At the same time, China is seeing new employment forms and relationships, with flexible employment and gig economy continuously gaining momentum and employment relationships based on cooperation becoming increasingly popular in China’s job market.

Such new professions as food deliverymen, designated drivers, online ride-hailing drivers, livestreaming hosts, short video producers, and shared employees, are all characterized by fragmented job tasks and flexible work arrangement, which makes them great opportunities for people who seek part-time jobs for better use of their spare time and fragmented time.

With encouragement and guidance from relevant authorities, these emerging professions and types of work can play a significant role in stabilizing employment.

As it’s believed that the fundamentals of China’s long-term stable and sound economic development remain unchanged and will not change, various local governments and departments across the country are intensifying efforts to give priority to employment, rolling out a series of policies on supporting enterprises and stabilizing employment.

With employment situation in traditional industries gradually becoming stable and new professions and new types of work continuously lifting employment figures in emerging industries, China is confident about and capable of guaranteeing adequate jobs for its people and maintaining overall stability in its job market.

AI “embedded” in various industries

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become “embedded” in various industries, such as medicine, finance, transportation and journalism, said an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in a recent speech.


Mao Junfa, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and vice president of Shanghai Jiaotong University, said that the embedding of AI will effectively help solve the problems faced by traditional industries, give full play to the value brought by large amounts of data, and empower their development.

“The essence of the development of AI is solving the deterministic problems in complete information and structured environment through algorithms, computing power and data,” Mao Junfa said, noting that with the further development of algorithms, computing power and data, the arrival of the era of intelligence of everything is bound to be accelerated.

According to Mao Junfa, in the future era of the Internet of Everything, the lives of ordinary people, industrial production and a country’s system of social governance will witness tremendous change.

First of all, smart devices will gradually become more miniaturized, portable, transparent, and will even be replaced by cloud devices. As long as personal authentication is successful, users can use terminals to connect to information centers anywhere.

Second, the reliability and stability of automated production will increase significantly, and the number of personnel directly engaged in production will be greatly reduced.

Finally, all kinds of information will be able to play an important role in analyzing and predicting the national economic and political development of a country, and its future policy formulation and direction planning. As personal information can be uploaded at any time, the handling of business procedures for many businesses will be greatly simplified.

“There is an urgent need to explore a new mode of training top-notch talents in AI basic research and cross-application of high-end talents,” Mao Junfa also pointed out.