Experts: China has sufficient conditions to maintain stability of yuan exchange rate

The Chinese economy is generally stable while making good progress, and the country enjoys a fundamental equilibrium in the balance of international payments and has sufficient foreign exchange reserves. Therefore, it can maintain the stability of the yuan exchange rate, experts recently confirmed.

“Both the onshore and offshore exchange rate of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar broke the 7 yuan level on August 5, which was a reflection of the changes in market sentiment,” said Wen Bin, a chief researcher of China Minsheng Bank.

Wen explained that the global financial market had fluctuated drastically due to such factors as the U.S. plan to impose an additional 10 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) decision to cut interest rates.

China adheres to a market-oriented and floating exchange rate system which is formulated against a number of currencies, said Lian Ping, chief economist with the Bank of Communications.

As affected by market factors, the yuan has depreciated, but will most likely go up again in the future, said Lian, adding that these are all normal fluctuations under the floating exchange rate system, and there’s no need to pay too much attention to the “7 yuan level”.

Despite the recent depreciation of the yuan against the U.S. dollar, the value of the yuan has risen if viewed from a historical perspective.

From the beginning of 2005 to June 2019, the nominal effective exchange rate of yuan appreciated by 38 percent and the real effective exchange rate of the currency by 47 percent, making it the most reliable currency among all Group of 20 (G20) economies as well as witnessing one of the highest appreciation rates around the world, as revealed by data from the Bank for International Settlements.

Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank, said that the Chinese economy is generally stable while achieving progress, and that the economy has shown resilience, potential, and leeway.

Yi explained that as China enjoys an equilibrium in the balance of international payments and has sufficient foreign exchange reserves, more enterprises are becoming involved in the foreign exchange market, thus the interest rate gaps between China and major economies in the world are in an appropriate range. He added that these conditions guarantee the basic stability of the yuan exchange rate.

“At present, China sees a balance of international payments, generally controllable financial risks, and a stable yuan exchange rate index. On the contrary, the U.S. dollar index still has room to decline. The yuan is expected to continue to fluctuate in both directions against the U.S. dollar within a reasonable and balanced range,” said Wen.

“As a responsible major country, China will scrupulously abide by the commitments relevant to exchange rates made during the G20 summits, stick to the market-based exchange rate system, never pursue competitive devaluation or use the exchange rate as a tool to deal with external disturbances including economic and trade frictions,” stressed Yi.

“China didn’t attempt to gain additional advantages for trade during the 1997 Asian financial crisis or the 2008 global financial crisis through exchange depreciation. Instead, it adopted effective measures to stabilize the exchange rate, making great contributions to the recovery of the global economy,” said Zhao Qingming, chief economist of the derivative institute of the China Financial Futures Exchange.

Reform and opening-up is a fundamental state policy of China, and the country should stick to reform and opening-up in its foreign exchange management, so as to further improve cross-border trade and investment facilitation and better serve real economy, said an executive of the PBOC, stressing that policy orientation will not change despite recent events.

Cultural consumption new driver for expanding domestic demand in China

The cultural and creative industry has witnessed a boom in recent years. (Photo/Xinhua)

A boom in creative cultural products, increasing popularity of cultural tourism, and growing nighttime cultural consumption in China have revealed the tremendous potential of cultural consumption to drive domestic demand.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, Chinese enterprises above the designated size in the cultural industry witnessed a 7.9 percent rise in revenue during the first half of this year.

During this year’s “618” online shopping festival held around June 18 in China, book sales sold via Alibaba’s online shopping platform Tmall within the first hour of the festival grew 550 percent compared with the previous year.

Moreover, Tmall’s sales volume of books sold in the first three minutes of the 618 shopping festival this year surpassed the number sold in the first hour of the festival last year.

Besides books, various cultural products such as Terracotta Warrior garage kits, Sichuan Opera face masks, and sparkling water makers in the form of Long March rockets became must-have items.

These cultural products are the outcome of a project launched by Alibaba’s major e-commerce platform Taobao, which announced on May 21 that it would work with online shop owners and designers to develop over 100 intellectual property products based on China’s national treasures in the next three years, aiming to create a market worth over 10 billion yuan (about $1.42 billion).

During the recently concluded 12th China Art Festival, more than 5,700 kinds of creative cultural products were displayed, attracting over 50,000 visitors and generating a sales volume exceeding 340 million yuan within four days.

Cultural tourism is becoming a new fashion in China, especially culture-oriented travel to places such as museums and exhibitions halls.

According to big data on entrance tickets released by China’s online group purchase platform Meituan.com, searches for cultural tourism-related products including museums and exhibition halls has been growing at more than 200 percent year-on-year.

Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, disclosed that monitoring tourism during holidays in recent years showed that more than 90 percent of tourists now participate in various cultural activities, while 40 percent visit a museum while traveling.

Tourism has also stimulated consumption of such areas as bags and suitcases as well as cosmetics. In the first half of 2019, sales of bags and suitcases grew by 202 percent compared with the same period last year, while sales of sunblock products, lipstick, and face masks rose by 573 percent, 347 percent, and 242 percent respectively year-on-year, as shown by big data from Chinese e-commerce platform Suning.com.

In addition, China has been making efforts to boost supply-side reform for cultural consumption, with the nighttime economy a key target area.

On July 31, the 7th Beijing People Beneficial Cultural Consumption Season opened in China’s capital, Beijing. The event this year aimed to tap into the potential of nighttime cultural consumption and develop the nighttime economy by encouraging shopping malls, theaters, cinemas, and parks to extend business hours.

The call has so far received a wide response in Beijing. The National Museum of China extended business hours until 9 p.m. every Sunday, the Museum of Chinese Gardens and Landscape Architecture held an evening event from July 31 to August 4, and the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing extended its business hours until 9 p.m. from Friday to Sunday every week, with the number of nighttime visitors accounting for 10 percent of daily visits.

Today, watching films and shows has become a regularity for many Chinese people and a new highlight of China’s nighttime economy. According to China’s major online ticketing platform, Damai.cn, from May to August this year, a total of 19 concerts and music festivals were held in the northeast region of China, an increase of 110 percent when compared with the previous year.

Concerts and music festivals are expected to attract 350,000 spectators during the same period, up 25 percent from last year, while the events will generate a year-on-year growth of 15 percent at the box-office, suggested Damai.cn.

Since shows such as stage play, opera, and concerts are usually held between 19:00 and 22:00, such cultural consumption will become an essential part of the nighttime economy, said an expert, adding that leisure integrated into tourism has greater nighttime development space.

Things you may want to know about Huawei’s first 5G mobile phone

Chinese mobile giant Huawei launched its first 5G mobile phone for commercial use on July 26. While consumers can’t wait to buy the new product, they may still have some concerns about it.

1. Can the phone function normally under both standalone and non-standalone 5G networks?

Powered by the Balong 5000, Huawei’s first 7nm multi-code 5G chipset with Kirin 980, Huawei Mate 20 X (5G) is currently the world’s only dual-mode 5G cell phone that supports standalone/non-standalone (SA/NSA) simultaneously.

2. How is it different from the 4G mobile phone series?

The biggest difference lies in the speed. The peak data rate of Mate 20 X (5G) is over ten times that of 4G mobile phones, said He Gang, head of Huawei’s mobile phone division.

He downloaded the same movie with both the new product and a 4G mobile phone during the launch ceremony held in Shenzhen, south China’s Guangdong Province. While Mate 20 X (5G) registered a speed of 136 MB/s, the 4G mobile phone had only 9.22 MB/s.

Theoretically, the uplink peak rate of the product can reach 240 Mbps, the fastest in the world.

3. Will the high performance lead to shorter battery life?

Mate 20 X (5G) has a large battery capacity of 4200 mAh and can refuel to 70 percent power in just 30 minutes with the TÜV safety certified 40 W Huawei SuperCharge.

4. Can it be used under the current 4G network?

The cell phone is compatible with 4G or even 3G networks. Since China has not yet realized full coverage of 5G, the smart phone can still be used under the current 4G network.

Moreover, it supports dual SIM cards and allows users to switch between 5G and 4G cards based on their personal needs.

The handset is priced at 6,199 yuan (about 899 U.S. dollars) and will hit the market on Aug. 16.

Number of pediatricians reaches 230,000 in China

The ratio of pediatricians per 1,000 children in China reached 0.92 in 2018, as the number of pediatricians rose to 230,000 from 154,000 in the previous year, data from the National Center for Children’s Health revealed.

The increasing number of practitioners has relieved the demand-supply mismatch of children’s doctors, Ni Xin, director of the center, was quoted as saying by the Economic Daily on July 29.

As of last year, China had 228 children’s hospitals and over 20,000 general hospitals had pediatric departments. 42 Chinese universities have opened pediatrics majors and 586 medical bases were established to train pediatricians.

In rural areas, by the end of 2018, 32,765 children with congenital heart disease received treatment, of which 84.9 percent of the expense was covered by the national medical insurance. 19,348 children with leukemia received treatment, of which 85.5 percent of the expense was covered.

China’s per capita consumer spending reaches 10,330 yuan in H1

Shanghai city (Photo/Xinhua)

China’s per capita consumer spending increased by 7.5 percent year-on-year to reach 10,330 yuan ($1,500) in the first half of 2019. Nine provinces and cities exceeded the level, including Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, Zhejiang and Guangdong, official data showed.

Shanghai outperformed other regions with per capita consumer spending of 22,513 yuan. Beijing ranked second with 21,134 yuan.

Five of the nine cities and provinces are located in the southeastern region of the country, which has a relatively large consumer market. They have taken various measures to stimulate consumption.

For instance, Guangdong has released an implementation plan, which relaxed policies regarding public auctions and the lottery system to grant car license plates for those who want to buy cars in the provincial capital Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Consumers from the above provinces and cities spent money more on services such as catering and tourism. In the first half of the year, service consumption contributed to 70.4 percent of Beijing’s economic growth.

The strong purchasing power is related to the increasing per capita disposable income of the residents in these provinces. China’s per capita disposable income stood at 15,294 yuan ($4,165) in the first half of the year.

Chinese enterprise facilitates agricultural development in Brazil

China and Brazil have sought closer cooperation in agricultural technologies in recent years. In 2016, China’s Hunan Dakang International Food & Agriculture Company acquired a controlling stake in Brazilian grain company Fiagril Ltda, helping to facilitate agricultural development in Brazil.

In 2015, the soybean area in Amapá, a state located in northern Brazil, didn’t amount to 2,000 hectares, and the yield per hectare was only 1,980 kilograms, much lower than the nation’s average of 3,000 kg per hectare.

A manager with Fiagril explained that the soil in Amapá was not fertile and couldn’t produce soybeans on a large scale. To increase the soybean yield, the company developed chemical fertilizers based on local climate and soil conditions, while sending technicians to collect data about the land and crops to keep track of the planting process.

So far, the soybean area in the state has increased to 20,000 hectares, and the soybean yield stands at 2,880 kg per hectare. The company also enabled farmers to buy agricultural resources on credit so that the agricultural production could run more smoothly, the manager said.

Last year, Brazil produced 110 million tons of soybeans, becoming the second-largest producer of soybeans in the world.

Online food delivery platforms target elderly people

(Photo/Xinhua)

Online food ordering and delivery platforms are now in collaboration with restaurants to produce and deliver meals for seniors, as there is enormous market potential in this age bracket.

About 40 percent of seniors said they need healthy and nourishing meals in a recent survey conducted by the China National Committee on Aging.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China was home to 250 million people aged 60 years or above by the end of 2018, indicating the potential for online food ordering and delivery.

To make use of this opportunity, online platforms, such as Ele.me and Meituan, have teamed up with restaurants offering meal services for the elderly community.

Some cities have improved delivery services so that the food is sent to seniors customers in a timely manner.

For instance, Guangzhou recently released a guideline to guarantee that elderly residents can enjoy more efficient meal ordering and delivery services. The guideline requires urban planners to establish more delivery stations to reduce food delivery time.

The takeaway service has won the hearts of some seniors. A resident surnamed Zhang in southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality said that by using her mobile phone, dinner would be delivered to her doorstep in a matter of minutes. Before she had access to these services, it took a lot of work for her to cook a meal while taking care of her husband, who uses a wheelchair.

Despite the growing market, restaurants struggle to make a profit because they sell meals at a relatively low price to attract consumers, and they pay administrative fees to the platform.

Tong Jingsong, a researcher with the China Research Center on Aging, suggested online platforms provide a set of services including food delivery, housekeeping and nursing care to help increase their profits.

German city introduces online payment to attract Chinese tourists

Stuttgart launched a project to encourage local merchants to cooperate with Chinese online payment platforms such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. (Photo/People.cn)

In 2018, Stuttgart, a city located in southwest Germany, launched a project to encourage local merchants to cooperate with Chinese online payment platforms such as Alipay and WeChat Pay to help make travel more convenient for Chinese tourists.

So far, 75 merchants in the city have added mobile payment options, including Hotel Altbacher Hof and the CUBE restaurant.

The hotel introduced Alipay to bring convenience to Chinese tourists as well as help local people understand the advantages of e-payment, said the hotel’s general manager. The CUBE restaurant in the city center received 20 percent more Chinese tourists after it introduced Alipay.

Breuninger, a Stuttgart-based department store retailer, has introduced both Alipay and Wechat Pay to all 11 of its outlets. It’s crucial to adopt a more convenient pattern of payment for Chinese customers, as they account for 50 percent of the store’s foreign customers, explained the brand’s tourism marketing director.

An increasing number of Chinese tourists have visited Stuttgart in recent years. In 2018, the city received about 68,664 overnight Chinese visitors, up from just 10,000 back in 2001.

China exports more photovoltaic products

(Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese photovoltaic products saw a growing overseas market in the first half of 2019. The country’s export of photovoltaic products reached $10.61 billion, an increase of 31.7 percent compared with the same period last year. The export volume of battery chips exceeded that of the whole year in 2018.

The European market also showed signs of recovery. Exports of photovoltaic modules from China to major European countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Ukraine increased significantly.

In the first six months of this year, the country’s production of silicon wafers reached 63 gigawatts, an increase of 26 percent year-on-year. The production of solar cells stood at 51 gigawatts, up 30.8 percent.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research organization that provides insight and news about the energy sector, predicted that the global demand for photovoltaic products is expected to reach 123 gigawatts to 149 gigawatts this year.

Government acts to curb nearsightedness in children

(Photo.Chinanews.com)

Myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness, has become severe among Chinese children and teenagers in recent years, with more people being affected at a younger age. Last year, about 53.6 percent of children and teenagers had myopia.

The prevalence of severe eyesight problems is alarming, with 21.9 percent of high school students wearing glasses stronger than six diopters.

Excessive homework, insufficient outdoor exercise, and abuse or improper use of electronic devices are thought to be the major causes of myopia among Chinese children and teenagers.

The country has intensified efforts to prevent and combat nearsightedness among teenagers. It plans to reduce the overall myopia rate among teenagers by more than 0.5 percentage points per year from 2019 to 2030, according to a recently released health guideline.

The guideline requires schools to guarantee that students exercise for at least an hour a day at school, perform eye exercises regularly and read and write for no more than 40 minutes without a break both in the classroom and at home.

The Ministry of Education calls on parents to reduce the time their children spend using electronic devices to within one hour per day.