Calendars scratch heads to seize market

As paper calendars have lost popularity, many people are turning to digital calendars on smartphones, with creative calendars featuring novel designs and Chinese cultural elements regaining popularity in China in recent years.

With the year 2021 approaching, several types of creative calendars have already hit the market.

A calendar themed on traditional Chinese poems features paintings of blooming flowers. (Photo/Liang Yuan)

The Palace Museum’s themed calendar for the next year features 365 collections of different types from various dynasties, specifically exhibiting Chinese farming culture.

The National Museum of China selected 365 collections from its over 1.4 million treasures, arranging them in chronological order for the themed calendar of 2021, using fonts originating from traditional Chinese calligraphy.

Both themed calendars of the Palace Museum and the National Museum of China introduce knowledge about China’s cultural relics, sharing cultural information along with historical dates.

Another popular calendar themed on select traditional Chinese poems in both Chinese and English, with the English versions translated by distinguished Chinese literature translator Xu Yuanchong, features works from an album of flower paintings by Italian painter Giuseppe Castiglione.

File photo: a page of the Palace Museum’s themed calendar for the year 2021. (Photo/Courtesy of the Palace Museum)

“The choice of a theme for a creative calendar is very important, requiring painstaking effort and relatively high production cost,” said Liang Yuan, an editor at the China Intercontinental Press.

The popularity of creative calendars also reflects a change in people’s consumption as they focus more on design, which is reflected in how delicate calendars will generally sell well despite their high price, Liang added.

According to data from an e-commerce platform, the latest calendar of the National Museum of China comes to the cost of 99 yuan (almost $15), while the price of the Palace Museum’s stands at 76 yuan (about $11).

China promotes common development

Photo taken on October 10 shows a dragon boat competition in Rong’an county, south China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. (People’s Daily Online/Gao Dongfeng)

China’s tourism sector witnessed a robust rebound during the combined Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday that lasted from October 1 to 8.

More than 600 million Chinese made domestic trips during the eight-day holiday, when the sales of key retail and catering firms monitored by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) totaled 1.6 trillion yuan (about $239 billion), with average daily sales rising 4.9 percent compared with the National Day holiday last year, data from the MOC showed.

Such figures mirrored the strong vitality of the domestic circulation of the country.

While global tourism is estimated to suffer from a loss of over $1 trillion this year, China’s tourism industry has almost returned to normal, said an article published on Hamburger Morgenpost, a daily German newspaper.

The whole country was on the move as hundreds of millions of Chinese visited their relatives and friends or took trips to tourist destinations during the past eight-day Golden Week holiday, a scene that was seen only 9 months after the global outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the article described.

Many international media outlets have also made similar comments about China recently.

China has injected dynamism into economic development by making efforts to facilitate the movement of people and goods. The experience could also be helpful for other countries.

China has speeded up creating a “dual circulation” development pattern whereby domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

It is a strategic decision made by the country in accordance with its development stage, environment, and conditions.

Facts have shown that China has continuously unleashed the potential of domestic demand and witnessed growing vitality of the domestic circulation. Meanwhile, international circulation has constantly gained new momentum as China has continued to expand opening-up.

China’s foreign trade rose 6 percent year on year in August, registering an increase for the fifth consecutive month.

The country has recently released a master plan for three new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in Beijing, Hunan province and Anhui province, and adopted a plan to expand the pilot FTZ in Zhejiang province, bringing the number of its pilot FTZs to 21.

On October 11, China issued a plan on implementing pilot reforms in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong province, intending to develop the city into a demonstration area of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the next five years.

By granting the city with greater autonomy in the reform of important areas and key links, China aims to advance higher-level reform and opening-up towards higher goals in Shenzhen.

Although economic globalization has been struck by headwinds, the world will never return to isolation, and no one can sever the ties between countries.

“We should pursue open and inclusive development, remain committed to building an open world economy, and uphold the multilateral trading regime with the World Trade Organization as the cornerstone. We should say no to unilateralism and protectionism, and work to ensure the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the General Debate of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

China has made it clear to the world that its sincerity and determination to cooperate with other countries for mutual benefits and common development have always remained the same.

By promoting high-quality development through high-level opening-up, China has brought new opportunities to the common development of China and the rest of the world, thus winning wide recognition and trust from the international community.

The country has continuously shortened its negative list for foreign investment and that in pilot free trade zones and officially cleared the negative list for foreign investment in financial sector.

The 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) has yielded rich fruits and the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in November is attracting more and more foreign enterprises.

It is widely acknowledged by the international community that joining hands with China means bright prospects for development.

It should be noted that despite the sharp decline in cross-border trade and investment, most multinational companies are still optimistic about China, and their strategy to secure long-term development in China has not changed.

From January to July, 18,838 new foreign-funded enterprises were established on the Chinese mainland, among which 415 were funded by Japanese, 860 by Americans, 849 by South Koreans, 584 by Singaporeans, 296 by British, and 245 by Germans.

About 92 percent of the respondents said that that they would continue to operate in China, according to a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai on more than 340 member companies.

Data from the European Business in China—Business Confidence Survey 2020 launched by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China suggest that about half of the members will invest 5 percent to 10 percent more of their annual revenue in China.

Nearly one-third will add more than 10 percent of their annual revenue to their investments in China, according to the survey.

A study carried out by the Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER) and Nikkei Inc., a Japanese company with newspaper businesses as its core, shows that nearly 70 percent of the respondents are confident in China’s robust consumer demand.

A majority of companies in semiconductor equipment and materials, as well as health care, are actually expanding Chinese production, said a Goldman Sachs report.

Bloomberg noted that as China’s financial sector opens wider, U.S. fund management companies are leading a new “gold fever” in China.

Numerous evidence has proved that international economic connectivity and exchanges are still the objective requirements of world economic growth, and the “magnetic effect” of openness and cooperation is objective existence driven by rules.

China today is more than the country itself; it is very much a part of the world. It is striving to achieve better quality, more efficient, fairer, more sustainable and safer development, which also represents the country’s efforts to promote the common development of all countries through open cooperation.

Proposing the new development pattern doesn’t mean that China will pursue development with its door closed. Instead, it will continue to open its door wider.

No matter how the international landscape changes, China, as always, will aim at achieving true common prosperity and following wide and open avenues for all countries so as to improve the common well-being of people in all countries and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Smart communities bring comfort to life

The application of a new generation of information technology such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence in communities across China is helping to deliver better services for residents, ensuring a more comfortable experience for them.

Staff members monitor the situation of a community through a platform based on big data in Anping, north China Hebei province on June 18, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)

A facial recognition system in place at a residential compound in Taiyuan, capital city of north China’s Shanxi province has made it easier and securer for residents to get in and out of the residential complex.

With the consent of residents, many smart communities in China have installed “contactless” facial recognition equipment, especially during the period of the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, as the equipment can reduce the risk of infection.

How to improve senior citizens’ wellbeing has become the focus of the construction of smart communities.

On June 10, a 74-year-old woman surnamed Wang living alone in a neighborhood in Tangshan, north China’s Hebei province, suddenly felt dizzy and dropped down on a bench during her morning exercise.

She immediately pressed the alarm button on her smart bracelet. Within a few minutes community workers arrived, along with doctors from a nearby health center, who saved her with high blood pressure caused by a sudden stretch and humid weather.

The neighborhood has given the seniors smart bracelets, which are connected with an intelligent community management platform, helping track their movement, monitor their health conditions and provide first aid, if necessary.

Other care services are also available in the smart community. For example, if a senior living alone does not leave their house after 24 hours, community workers will receive an alarm on their mobile phones and will then go to their residence for a wellness check.

Communities in China have also been exploring more application scenarios of smart technologies, such as installing surveillance cameras to curb high-rise littering, smart bins to assist garbage sorting, and intelligent security systems to ensure a safer living environment.

Many cities are accelerating the construction of smart communities. Qingdao in east China’s Shandong province is expected to build at least 28 pilot smart communities and 14 pilot smart blocks this year, turning 40 percent of its urban neighborhoods into smart communities in 2020.

Chengdu in southwest China’s Sichuan province will push forward the construction of pilot smart communities in 30 residential compounds this year, while Hefei in east China’s Anhui province plans to complete the construction of 557 smart communities in 2020.

China ups support on real economy

A woman picks apples in Xizhangcun township, Shanzhou district, Sanmenxia, central China’s Henan province, Oct. 6. (People’s Daily Online/ Wang Jiandong)

During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period, China continuously strengthened its monetary policies, offering sufficient capital support for its real economy.

According to statistics, loans issued by financial institutions to the real economy increased by 12.33 trillion yuan ($1.82 trillion) in the first half of this year, reaching a historical high.

Thanks to the fast approval of a 3-million-yuan loan, the machines in a forestry development company based in Suichuan county, east China’s Jiangxi province cranked up again. Zou Shiming, general manager of the company told People’s Daily that his company faced huge capital pressure this year, which made it hardly able to deliver placed orders. It was the loan provided by the Suichuan branch of Jiangxi Bank, a product stemming from the People’s Bank of China’s relending policies supporting the development of small- and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs), that alleviated the burden of the company. The low-interest loan came with a 13.5-percent interest subsidy, according to Zou.

“We don’t have any guaranty, and it costs too much finding one,” said Li Fei, general manager of a mould technology firm based in Wenzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province. What he said is also felt by many SMEs. Fortunately, the Wenzhou branch of the Agricultural Bank of China co-established a risk guaranty fund with local government this year to help solve SMEs’ financing problems. Li’s company received a loan of 1.5 million yuan, and the interest rate was only 4.15 percent. The new financing mechanism is bringing more confidence to the growing SMEs.

The manufacturing sector is a basis of the real economy, and SMEs are an important part of the real economy. In recent years, China has constantly adjusted its flow of credit, guiding financial institutions to invest more credit in the manufacturing sector and SMEs. As of the end of July, financial institutions had extended 1.6 trillion yuan in new loans to manufacturers across the country, nearly 60 percent of which went to high-tech manufacturers. The figure was larger than the total of the last year.

At present, financial institutions have launched a number of new financial products to help SMEs relieve financing pressure. By the end of July, the country’s outstanding loans to small businesses had reached 13.7 trillion yuan, growing 27.5 percent from a year ago and making new highs for five months in a row.

June is the time for harvesting summer crops. However, Zhang Yongchao, head of a grain company in southwest China’s Guangxi province was quite worried. The company wasn’t able to repay a 5-milllion-yuan loan that was due because it failed to collect payment from lower-stream partners. After the People’s Bank of China issued policies to allow deferring loan repayment deadlines for SMEs, Zhang was immediately informed that his repayment deadline was extended by three months by the bank to which he applied the loan. It ensured him to have a smooth summer harvest.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China has constantly innovated new monetary policy instruments, straightening its monetary transmission mechanism to finish the “last mile” of financing. The People’s Bank of China beefed up financial support for SMEs via new monetary policy instruments on June 1, allowing SMEs to apply for deferring their inclusive loan repayment and issuing a support plan of credit loans. The two initiatives are expected to save around 7 trillion yuan for SMEs and encourage local banks to issue 1 trillion yuan more of loans exclusive for SMEs.

The new instruments directly lead monetary policies to the real economy and livelihood, which is able to vitalize the entities in micro market, said Cheng Shi, chief economist with the ICBC International Holdings Limited.

This year, by lowering interest rate and reducing fees, financial department has practically alleviated burden for the real economy. In the first 7 months, more than 870 billion yuan in financial burdens were exempted for market entities thanks to the government’s supportive policies, and the whole-year figure is expected to reach 1.5 trillion yuan.

Serving the real economy is the bounden duty of the financial sector, said Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China. Facing severe economic situations, the financial sector shall improve their services, further enhance its support for market entities, and proactively adapt to new requirements, so as to ensure the implementation of monetary policy instruments that can directly stimulate the real economy and offer financial support for stabilizing enterprises, guaranteeing employment and developing the real economy, Yi said.