Archive for ‘China alert’

26/05/2015

Coal-fired plants in Beijing on way out with new ban|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

Beijing will ban new coal-fired thermal power plants after the four existing ones are expected to be replaced by gas-fired plants by 2017, according to the municipal economic planner.

The replacement is being made in an attempt to reduce coal consumption to achieve better air quality.

“The closure of the coal-fired power plants will greatly improve air quality, considering that 22 percent of air pollutants are from coal consumption,” said Zhang Wangcai, deputy director of the Beijing Development and Reform Commission’s Energy Bureau.

Two gas-fired thermal power plants have been operating since October and have reduced coal consumption by 3.95 metric tons annually, he said.

Beijing has also restricted coal consumption by companies and households for heating in the past two years by supplying them with gas or other cleaner fuels instead.

“By the end of this year, we will reduce coal consumption by 8 million tons,” Zhang said, adding that a reduction of 7.1 million tons has already been achieved.

Li Xiang, deputy head of atmospheric environment management at the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said the reduction of coal consumption at the two power plants has been a major reason for the better air quality in the capital in the first four months of this year.

She said people in the capital have seen a distinct improvement in air quality in the first four months, during which there were 57 days when the quality was better than the national standard – eight days more than during the same period last year.

The concentration of PM2.5 – air particles of 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter that can penetrate the lungs and harm health – has been lowered by 19 percent and the number of days with serious pollution reduced by 42 percent year-on-year.

On Thursday, authorities launched efforts to reduce air pollution in support of the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Zhang said the government will make further efforts to reduce emissions of air pollutants, including restricting coal consumption as planned, which will further improve air quality.

In addition to the two thermal power plants already operating, another will start working in July and a fourth will be ready to operate in November next year, he said.

By 2017, Beijing will have all its power generated by clean-energy gas, and coal consumption will be cut by 9.2 million tons annually – the equivalent amount used for the four coal-burning thermal power plants.

Gas consumption will increase to 24 billion cubic meters in 2017, of which 98 percent will be supplied through a variety of channels including foreign countries, Zhang said, adding that Beijing consumed 11.3 billion cubic meters of gas last year.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection released the list of air quality in April in the 74 major cities on Monday.

In April, seven of the 10 cities with the worst air pollution were in Hebei province, but the region of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province has witnessed a clear improvement in air quality, said Luo Yi, head of the ministry’s Environmental Supervision Bureau.

The PM2.5 concentration in the region has been reduced on average by 18.3 percent year-on-year and was 16.3 percent lower in April than in March, he said.

via Coal-fired plants in Beijing on way out with new ban|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

26/05/2015

Taiwan offers South China Sea peace plan | Reuters

Taiwan proposed a peace initiative on Tuesday to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea that it says will reduce tensions that have put Beijing at odds with its neighbors and the United States.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou arrives at Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council in Taipei, Taiwan, April 29, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

The South China Sea Peace Initiative announced by President Ma Ying-jeou called on claimants to temporarily shelve their disagreements to enable negotiations on sharing resources.

Ma’s plan is similar to a 2012 proposal for the East China Sea, which allowed Taiwan and Japan to jointly fish in the contested waters.

However it appeared unlikely the plan would be accepted by China, which claims most of the South China Sea and has rebuffed earlier attempts at multilateral negotiations.

“We believe Chinese people on both sides of the Strait have a duty to jointly protect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests and safeguard the stability of the South China Sea region,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, when asked about the plan on Tuesday.

China views self-governed Taiwan as a renegade province.

Taiwan has so far played a marginal role in disputes between China and its neighbors in the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei all have overlapping claims in the South China Sea. China said on Monday it had lodged a complaint with the United States over a U.S. spy plane that flew over parts of the disputed sea.

Ma’s remarks in a keynote speech at an international law conference in Taipei were the most public comments by Taiwan since the United States, its biggest ally, raised concerns over the speed and breadth of China’s land reclamation in the area.

“We demand that freedom of navigation and overflight be respected in the South China Sea,” said Ma, who urged a peaceful resolution “before a major conflict breaks out”.

Taiwan normally maintains a low-key approach to such issues but has coast guard and military facilities in the area, including an airstrip and soon-to-be-completed port on Taiping Island, also known as Itu Abu, the largest natural land mass in the disputed Spratlys archipelago.

“I believe the mainland side understands the spirit and principle of our South China Sea peace initiative,” Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin told reporters after Ma’s speech.

The rival claims by Taiwan and China go back to before they split in a civil war in 1949 after the defeated Nationalists fled to the island from the Communists.

via Taiwan offers South China Sea peace plan | Reuters.

21/05/2015

Patent applications lead the world|Focus|chinadaily.com.cn

China recorded 928,000 invention patent applications in 2014, more than that of any other country, for the fourth consecutive year, according to data released by the State Intellectual Property Office on Monday.

Patent applications lead the world

The office found that about 663,000 inventions had high quality and market value. About 4.9 patents per 10,000 population were filed, according to the data.

Enterprises have been pillars of research and the development of new technologies and products, according to the office.

In 2014, about 485,000 invention patent applications were filed by enterprises, more than the number filed by individuals, academies or research institutes.

“It shows that China has already established a new technological innovation system that is strongly bolstered by enterprises,” said Gan Shaoning, deputy head of the office.

Huawei Technologies, the world’s biggest maker of telecommunications equipment, was granted 2,409 invention patents in 2014, according to the SIPO data.

China’s inventors need to raise the quality of their inventions in order to catch up with world’s best, Gan said.

Market insiders said economic growth, as well as higher demand from industry and individual consumers, have pushed up the number of inventions.

“New inventions enable businesses to run at lower cost, with greater efficiency and with more care for the environment. For customers, inventions simply mean a better life and more choices,” said Zhang Ming, a Shanghai-based patent consultant.

In 2014, applications for invention patents accounted for 39.3 percent of all applications, exceeding that of so-called utility model applications – mainly cosmetic design or appearance – which stood at 36.8 percent, a recent SIPO circular said.

One of China’s priorities has been to boost innovation by improving protections for intellectual property, an effort that has induced many intellectual property rights firms to expand business here.

The country also plans to set up a standardized IPR service system by 2020, according to a guideline jointly released by the SIPO, the Standardization Administration, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the National Copyright Administration.

Awapatent, a consultancy firm specializing in intellectual property, launched its Asian arm this month in Beijing and Hong Kong – AWA Asia – in response to increasingly frequent calls from clients in the region.

via Patent applications lead the world|Focus|chinadaily.com.cn.

21/05/2015

China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn

China will have 30 million kilowatts (KW) of nuclear power capacity by the end of 2015, said Xu Yuming, deputy director of the China Nuclear Energy Association on Thursday.

Currently there are 23 nuclear power units operating in China, with a combined capacity of 21.4 million kilowatts. Twenty-nine units are being built or planned, Xu said.

The government plans to increase China’s total nuclear power capacity to 58 million kilowatts by 2020, a rise of 170 percent over the current level.

Xu estimates that this will require 100 billion yuan ($16.34 billion) of investment every year.

It is expected that China’s electricity usage will double by 2030, Xu said, adding efforts should be made to promote clean energy including nuclear power.

Last month, China approved the construction of pilot nuclear power units using the Hualong One technology, a domestically-developed third generation reactor design drawing on the world’s leading design philosophy. The homegrown technology will help contribute to industrial upgrades and steady economic growth.

via China’s nuclear power capacity to reach 30m kilowatts by year end|Society|chinadaily.com.cn.

20/05/2015

China Unveils Blueprint to Upgrade Manufacturing Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China unveiled an ambitious plan to enhance the competitiveness of its manufacturing sector by encouraging innovation and raising efficiency in an effort to boost economic growth. As the WSJ reports:

The blueprint, titled “Made in China 2025,” comes as China’s factories are struggling with sluggish demand, increasing competition from other developing economies and a slowing domestic economy.

The manufacturing sector is facing new challenges: bigger constraints from the environment and resources, rising labor costs and a notable slowdown in investment and exports, the State Council, or cabinet, said on the main government website Tuesday.

“The key to creating a new driver of economic growth…lies in the manufacturing sector,” it said.

The government vowed to boost 10 high-technology industrial sectors including robotics, aerospace, new-energy vehicles and advanced transport.

via China Unveils Blueprint to Upgrade Manufacturing Sector – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

19/05/2015

Tata Motors Faces Shades of Gray in China – India Real Time – WSJ

China’s car market is getting less luxurious, and among the firms feeling most uncomfortable is India’s Tata Motors.

Tata’s Jaguar and Land Rover unit wasn’t so long ago the darling of affluent Chinese car buyers. It is now a brand in a tailspin. China sales fell 21% between January and April from the year before.

Some of that is a national car market in retreat, especially the luxury segment. But JLR’s problems are more serious, partly because JLR is bearing the brunt of a governmentcampaign to force luxury car makers to lower prices. Last year, officials began encouraging so-called parallel imports of luxury cars, gray-market vehicles not authorized by the car maker that are sold in China below the official sticker price.

via Tata Motors Faces Shades of Gray in China – India Real Time – WSJ.

17/05/2015

The wrong direction | The Economist

THE total value of support given by the Chinese government to farmers exceeds that of any other country. In 2012, the most recent year for which comparative data exist, China paid out $165 billion in direct and indirect agricultural subsidies. The next highest totals were those of Japan at $65 billion and America at just over $30 billion, according to research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

On a relative basis, however, China’s support is more in line with global norms. Subsidies as a share of farm income are about 17%, rapidly catching up with the average for the OECD, a group of wealthier countries. The most lavish spenders include Japan, South Korea and Switzerland, where subsidies account for more than half of farm income.

More troubling is the trajectory (see chart). Among major emerging markets tracked by the OECD, China is second only to Indonesia in the rate of its subsidy growth. China’s farm support rose from 1.4% of GDP in 1995-97 to 2.3% in 2010-12. It is moving in the opposite direction from developed countries, which are gradually reducing such support. Average spending on it in the OECD countries fell from 1.6% of GDP in 1995-97 to 0.9% in 2010-12.

There are also concerns about the kind of support provided by China. Even those who advocate less intervention in farming by governments acknowledge that it can play a useful role in mitigating boom-bust cycles. The challenge is to design support that minimises distortions. Schemes that lead to more investment in yield enhancements or that provide flat subsidies, regardless of production levels, are best. Those that encourage farmers to plant crops even if real demand is weak are harmful.

The OECD calculates that nearly 70% of Chinese subsidies are of the most distorting sort. For example, the government guarantees minimum purchase-prices, currently well above global levels, to grain growers. Other Asian countries are worse offenders. In Indonesia, the most problematic forms of subsidies account for nearly all of the government’s agricultural spending. But given China’s size, its interventions and the mismanagement of its food reserves are likely to have more far-reaching consequences for global markets.

via The wrong direction | The Economist.

17/05/2015

China, India sign more than $22 billion in deals: Indian embassy | Reuters

China and India signed 26 business deals worth more than $22 billion in areas including renewable energy, ports, financing and industrial parks, an Indian embassy official said on Saturday.

Namgya C. Khampa, of the Indian Embassy in Beijing, made the remarks at the end of a three-day visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which he sought to boost economic ties and quell anxiety over a border dispute between the neighbors.

“The agreements have a bilateral commercial engagement in sectors like renewable energy, industrial parks, power, steel, logistics finance and media and entertainment,” Khampa said.

At the same event, Modi encouraged Chinese companies to embrace opportunities in India in manufacturing, processing and infrastructure, announcing “now India is ready for business” with an improved regulatory environment.

“You are the ‘factory of the world’ whereas we are the ‘back office of the world’,” Modi said.

via China, India sign more than $22 billion in deals: Indian embassy | Reuters.

14/05/2015

Chinese firms give thousands of employees free trips in Thailand, France[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn

Two Chinese direct-sales companies made global headlines recently for taking thousands of employees on all-paid tour to separate foreign destinations – Thailand and France.

Chinese firms give thousands of employees free trips in Thailand, France

Both firms, Infinitus and Tiens, are among the top direct-sellers in terms of sales on the Chinese mainland, following international giants like Amway of the United States and Perfect China of Malaysia.

Infinitus (China) Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company that specializes in health care, skin care and household products, recently took its 12,700 employees on a six-night package to Bangkok and Pattaya in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reported on Wednesday.

They are set to travel in groups of 2,000-3,000 each from May 10-26, spending three nights in Bangkok and another three in Pattaya – at four- to five-star hotels. The first group arrived there on Sunday, said the newspaper citing the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

TAT acting governor Juthaporn Rerngronasa said the company’s incentive tour, a boost to the country’s low-season market, is expected to generate around 600 million baht ($17.9 million) in Thailand’s tourism revenue this year.

China has been Thailand’s biggest source of tourists over the past few years, with expectations of six million arrivals from the country this year, according to media reports citing Kasian Watanachaopisut, president of the Thai-Chinese Tourism Alliance Association.

via Chinese firms give thousands of employees free trips in Thailand, France[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

14/05/2015

5 Gaps That Define the India-China Relationship, in Charts and Maps – WSJ

1 Trade Gap

To better understand why there is a gaping trade deficit between India and China, take a look at the list of things each country exports to the other.

Some of China’s biggest exports to India are telecommunications equipment, computer hardware, industrial machinery and other manufactured goods. India sends back mostly raw materials such as cotton yarn, copper, petroleum products and iron ore.

As India has grown its consumers and corporations have been importing an increasing amount of China’s affordable products but India’s exports to China have not kept pace.

During his visit to China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be seeking better access to Chinese markets to correct the widening trade imbalance.

“The visit is going to be crucial because our trade deficit with China is very huge compared to other countries,” says N.R. Bhanumurthy, an economist at think-tank National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

While China has a cost advantage in most products, analysts say India is very competitive in the pharmaceutical, textile and some services sectors. That is where it needs more access if it wants to start to rectify the skewed trade balance.

2 The 13-Year Gap

Even though India is now growing faster than China (see number 4)  the world’s largest democracy still has a way to go to catch up with the size of the economy in the world’s most populous nation.

China, though, got a 13-year head start on India in opening its economy and giving companies greater freedom to invest and produce. In exports, capital spending and foreign investment, India today is remarkably similar to China circa 2001.

That should both console and concern India as it gets back on its feet after three years of weak growth and high inflation. Console, since it suggests the country’s economy could remain on a China-like trajectory for years to come. But concern, because India’s delay could mean that the country has missed out on some big advantages that catalyzed China’s boom.

3 The Border Perception Gap

Friction along the two nations’ 2,200-mile-long border, much of which is undefined and contested, has mounted in recent years, India says. And it poses a serious hurdle to improving relations between Delhi and Beijing.

Part of the problem, Indian officials say, is that India and China have “differing perceptions” of their de facto border, known as the Line of Actual Control. Both sides patrol up to their respective perceptions of the border, leading to frequent claims of transgressions.

Without a clearly demarcated border, “it is quite natural for some incidents to happen,” Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col.Geng Yansheng said in September during a border confrontation between the two countries.

4 The GDP Growth Rate Gap

Everyone from the World Bank to Goldman Sachs had predicted it wouldn’t happen for another two years but recent recalculations indicate that India has already dethroned China as the world’s fastest-growing big economy.

5 The FDI Gap

While Chinese companies have been great at peddling their products in India, they have been surprisingly reluctant to invest here. China has invested less in India than even Poland, Malaysia or Canada have.

via 5 Gaps That Define the India-China Relationship, in Charts and Maps – WSJ.

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