Archive for ‘Chindia Alert’


China-Europe railway relaunches – China –

A freight train on Wednesday began a journey from central China’s key city of Wuhan to Poland’s Lodz, restarting the Wuhan-Xijiang-Europe rail route after it was suspended for technical reasons.

Its 15-day journey will pass along the Silk Road economic belt through major cities in central and northwest China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus before arriving in the destination.

The rail trip is about one month quicker than the maritime alternative, and costs a fifth as much as air freight, according to the Wuhan Transport Committee.

“It will greatly improve the competitiveness of exports made in Wuhan and nearby regions,” said Yu Shiping, director of the committee.

He predicted that it will contribute to the realization of the Silk Road economic belt, the regional trade infrastructure proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The train is loaded with 41 40-foot containers holding goods valued at more than 12 million U.S. dollars.

Most of them are products made by Hon Hai/Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics contract manufacturer, which assembles products for Apple, Sony and Nokia in its plant in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province.

Although railway transport is costly compared to maritime transport, it is a superior option bearing in mind how wildly electronic products prices fluctuate. They are more sensitive to the time-cost in transportation, according to the Foxconn plant in Wuhan.

In a month, the export value of one consignment of electronic products might devalue by about two percent, about several tens of thousands of dollars.

via China-Europe railway relaunches – China –

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Disillusioned office workers: China’s losers | The Economist

ZHU GUANG, a 25-year-old product tester, projects casual cool in his red Adidas jacket and canvas shoes. He sports the shadowy wisps of a moustache and goatee, as if he has the ambition to grow a beard but not the ability. On paper he is one of the millions of up-and-coming winners of the Chinese economy: a university graduate, the only child of factory workers in Shanghai, working for Lenovo, one of China’s leading computer-makers.

Man wearing suit on escalator

But Mr Zhu considers himself a loser, not a winner. He earns 4,000 yuan ($650) a month after tax and says he feels like a faceless drone at work. He eats at the office canteen and goes home at night to a rented, 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) room in a shared flat, where he plays online games. He does not have a girlfriend or any prospect of finding one. “Lack of confidence”, he explains when asked why not. Like millions of others, he mockingly calls himself, in evocative modern street slang, a diaosi, the term for a loser that literally translates as “male pubic hair”. Figuratively it is a declaration of powerlessness in an economy where it is getting harder for the regular guy to succeed. Calling himself by this derisive nickname is a way of crying out, “like Gandhi”, says Mr Zhu, only partly in jest. “It is a quiet form of protest.”

via Disillusioned office workers: China’s losers | The Economist.

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China to Get the World’s Fastest Elevators: 95 Floors in 43 Seconds – Businessweek

It’s a country of superlatives: home to the world’s longest wall, largest population, and fastest-growing major economy. Soon, China will have the fastest elevators.

A rendering of the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre

Earlier this week, Hitachi (6501:JP) announced plans to deliver two of the world’s quickest-ascending elevators to a skyscraper now under construction in the southern city of Guangzhou, Guangdong. The 530-meter-high Guangzhou CTF Finance Center will be home to a hotel, offices, and residential space when it opens in 2016.

The ultra-high-speed elevators will travel at a pace of 1,200 meters per minute (44.7 miles per hour) up a 440-meter shaft, reaching the 95th floor in about 43 seconds. “Technologies to prevent lateral vibration and to reduce the sensation of ear blockage caused by air pressure differences,” and “brake equipment using braking materials with outstanding heat resistance to safely stop the elevator car ” will be used in the system, Hitachi said in an April 21 press release.

via China to Get the World’s Fastest Elevators: 95 Floors in 43 Seconds – Businessweek.

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Mumbai Shop Owners: Cut Taxes and Tame Corruption, Please – India Real Time – WSJ

As Mumbai’s traders hit the polls Thursday, many said they voted in favor of lower taxes and against corruption. High income and sales tax, import duty and rising prices have made it tougher to do business, many shop owners said.

Chetan Pishtoi at his plywood store, Sagar Ply, in South Mumbai. Shanoor Seervai/The Wall Street Journal

“In the past, I voted for the Congress,” says Chetan Pishtoi, a plywood-shop owner at Colaba market in South Mumbai, referring to the political party that currently leads India’s national government. “But now my eyes have opened. I see what [Narendra] Modi has done in Gujarat. If he wins, maybe he will do the same for India,” says Mr. Pishtoi, 30 years old.

Mr. Modi, the prime ministerial candidate of the rival Bharatiya Janata Party, is campaigning on the economic strength of the western state of Gujarat, where he is chief minister.

Mr. Pishtoi says food prices rose so much in recent years that he had to give his employees raises. “The public in Mumbai are sleeping hungry and the government hasn’t done anything about it,” Mr. Pishtoi says. Tomatoes and onions, he says, are priced beyond the reach of many.

Raju Lalwani at his men’s clothing store in Mumbai. Shanoor Seervai/The Wall Street Journal

Raju Lalwani, who runs a men’s clothes store, is also concerned about inflation. “Cloth has become so expensive, and even the tailors charge too much for stitching,” Mr. Lalwani says. “If the political party changes, maybe business will improve.”

His shop, Lovely Silk Stores, has been a family-run business for three generations. But the 58-year-old says his children won’t inherit the business. His son is studying to be an accountant, and his daughter is in grade 12.

via Mumbai Shop Owners: Cut Taxes and Tame Corruption, Please – India Real Time – WSJ.

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Chinese Travelers Breathe New Life Into Australian Tourism – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Chinese investors, done splurging on Australia’s once-booming mining industry, are sniffing around the country’s tourism market in search of bargains.

As Ross Kelly and Rebecca Thurlow report:

Their arrival promises to give a new lease of life to dilapidated resorts and properties stretching from Queensland state on the eastern coast to rural Western Australia.

Many investors are betting on an explosion in tourism Down Under, particularly from China—where people from the country’s expanding middle class are increasingly choosing to spend their holidays in countries that are considered exotic. Although Australia remains a relatively expensive destination, more Chinese are attracted each year to the country’s sunny beaches and unusual wildlife.

Sensing an opportunity, Chinese investors have begun snapping up hotels across the country at an unprecedented rate. They’re also weighing into casinos, a popular hangout for Chinese travelers, as well as experimenting with more offbeat attractions such as a China-themed amusement park.

Tourist arrivals in Australia surged by 10% in the 12 months through February, helped in part by a sudden pullback in the Australian dollar last year from historic highs. The number of Chinese traveling to Australia touched a record 748,000 people in the same period—up 16% from a year earlier, according to government figures.

If the current pace of growth in tourism continues, China may soon surpass neighbor New Zealand as Australia’s primary source of visitors, brokerage Commonwealth Securities predicts. Chinese visitors are already spending more in Australia than travelers from any other country, government data show.

via Chinese Travelers Breathe New Life Into Australian Tourism – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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Japan’s Mitsui pays China to release seized ship-court | Reuters

Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd paid about $29 million for the release of a ship seized by China over a dispute that dates back to the 1930s war between the countries, China’s Supreme Court said on Thursday.

The Baosteel Emotion, a 226,434 deadweight-ton ore carrier owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, is docked at the port of Maji Island, south of Shanghai April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The Chinese government has described the case as a simple business dispute unrelated to wartime compensation claims, but it has become a cause célèbre for activists in China seeking redress from Japan.

Mitsui paid about 2.92 billion yen ($28.5 million) in leasing fees, including interest and damages, China’s Supreme Court said in a statement on its official microblog. Mitsui also paid 2.4 million yuan ($385,000) in legal fees, the court said.

via Japan’s Mitsui pays China to release seized ship-court | Reuters.

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Energy-Hungry China Plans to Accelerate Approvals for New Nuclear Reactors – Businessweek

China slowed down the approval process for new nuclear power plants in the wake of Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster. Now it intends to speed things up again.

The construction site of the No. 2 reactor at the Changjiang Nuclear Power Plant on Hainan Island, China, on Sept. 25, 2012

On Friday, China’s State Energy Commission met in Beijing to review energy forecasts and discuss safety considerations regarding nuclear power. According to a statement released on the commission’s website on Sunday, it now intends to expedite the approval process for new reactors in China.

In 2013, China approved the construction of just two new nuclear reactors, with a combined generating capacity of 2.1 gigawatts. This year, it intends to green-light another 8.6 GW of nuclear energy, according to an article in Monday’s state-run China Daily newspaper.

via Energy-Hungry China Plans to Accelerate Approvals for New Nuclear Reactors – Businessweek.

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Xi’s Corruption Crackdown Hits China’s Restaurants – Businessweek

Dirty officials aren’t the only ones getting slammed as Xi Jinping continues his crackdown on corruption and waste. China’s restaurant industry grew 9 percent, to 2.56 trillion yuan ($411 billion), last year, its slowest growth in more than two decades, according to a report released by the China Cuisine Association on April 19.

Xi's Corruption Crackdown Hits China's Restaurants

Restaurants, particularly the pricier ones, have long been popular venues for China’s bureaucrats and the businessmen wanting to curry favor with them. “This is a sign that the central government’s antigraft campaign against waste and extravagance has been well implemented,” said Feng Enyuan, deputy chairman of the CCA, reported the China Daily on April 21.

Midrange and high-end restaurants have been particularly hard hit, according to the association. China Chuanjude Group, the 150-year-old state-owned roast duck chain, saw its revenue fall 2.13 percent, to 1.9 billion yuan, while net profit dropped 27.6 percent last year, to 110 million yuan. In response, the chain has tried to lure more families and friends, in part by adding more affordable dishes to its menu.

via Xi’s Corruption Crackdown Hits China’s Restaurants – Businessweek.

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Guns and Gowns: Documentary shows two faces of the Indian woman | India Insight

Cosmetic surgeon Jamuna Pai inspects the face of the Miss India contestant before her in Mumbai, furrows her brow and points to a blemish. The verdict: the young woman needs a botox injection in her chin because the “proportions are off by 0.6 percent.”

About 400 kilometres away in the town of Aurangabad, worlds apart from India’s financial capital, a middle-aged woman in a sari lectures adolescent girls about wanting careers.

“How can you deny 5,000 years of evidence that you are the weaker sex? Stop asking for equality,” she thunders to her audience of rapt teenagers in traditional Indian attire.

The two women in Mumbai and Aurangabad, and the subjects of their scrutiny are at the crux of Nisha Pahuja‘s film “The World Before Her,” which opens in Indian cinemas next month.

The documentary juxtaposes two training camps — one for the Durga Vahini (army of Durga), the women’s unit of the right-wing Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), and the other for the annual Miss India beauty pageant.

Pahuja said that she wanted to make a film that would explore a common theme in two worlds that at first look like they are opposites. What they have in common, Pahuja said, is that women are constantly being told, often by women themselves, that they are not good enough, whether they are being judged for their perfect legs or being pushed to give in to the patriarchal society.

“And that’s what makes it more dangerous, because it’s a combination of these two extreme perspectives and they are married to each other. That is terrifying. It is regressive ideology masquerading as progress. It will create this bubble, and people won’t be able to see beyond it,” the film-maker said.

“The World Before Her” shows girls at the Durga Vahini camp being taught martial arts and to fire a gun as part of self-defence training. The students are told these skills are essential if they are to defend Hinduism “against the threat of Islam and Christianity.”

Pahuja’s film also puts the spotlight on a boot camp for 19 women contesting in the country’s beauty pageant. Here, they are primped and pushed — often in ways they aren’t comfortable with — to make them fit the exacting standards of a contest winner.

Pahuja started work on the documentary in 2008, and didn’t complete it until four years later. The Canadian-born filmmaker said she wanted to make a documentary on the Miss India contest, but expanded the film’s scope when she heard of right-wing protests against the contest’s swimsuit round.

“It took me two years to get access to the Durga Vahini camp, but when I went there, and met Prachi (one of the camp instructors, a fiery 24-year-old who says she wants to be the next Sadhvi Pragya Singh, a Hindu woman accused of orchestrating terror attacks), I realized that this was a compelling part of the story of the Indian woman,” Pahuja, 46, told India Insight in an interview.

“The World Before Her,” won Best Feature at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, and a clutch of awards at other festivals. The documentary is backed by Indian film-maker Anurag Kashyap and actress Nandita Das.

Pahuja, who was raised in Toronto, said her film was evidence that the two ideologies — the perceived superficial consumerism of the pageant and the fundamentalism of right-wing Hindu groups — co-existed in India.

via Guns and Gowns: Documentary shows two faces of the Indian woman | India Insight.

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On the Fence: Will Indians Actually Vote Against Corruption, or Not? – India Real Time – WSJ

A report in today’s Wall Street Journal probes an important contradiction in the Indian electorate: People say they are fed up with corruption — but will they say it at the ballot box?

Political corruption is a defining issue in the national vote, which runs all month. The only issue that tops it is economic growth, according to a survey sponsored by the Lok Foundation. Indians rank political parties as the most corrupt institutions in the country, Transparency International says.

The Journal traveled to Karnataka to look at the parliamentary race in Shimoga, where B.S. Yeddyurappa — a seasoned politician who faces corruption allegations — is representing the Bharatiya Janata Party. Mr. Yeddyurappa, who is considered a front-runner in the race, denies the allegations.

From interviews with voters in and around Shimoga, two things are clear: Pretty much everyone knows about the allegations against Mr. Yeddyurappa. And pretty much everyone thinks all politicians are corrupt. As a result, many people said they will simply vote for the person who they feel will help him or her the most.

“Corruption needs to be eradicated,” said Manjula H.N., a young woman who lives in a village about a half-hour drive into the countryside.  But, she said, she is more worried about unemployment.

Bottom line: She was leaning toward voting for the BJP. “Yeddyurappa has done more good works” for locals than the other candidates, she said.

via On the Fence: Will Indians Actually Vote Against Corruption, or Not? – India Real Time – WSJ.

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