Posts tagged ‘China’

29/01/2015

China pledges to ‘regulate and revamp’ e-commerce sector amid Alibaba row | South China Morning Post

The Ministry of Commerce said it will boost regulation of China’s e-commerce sector amid the continuing row between Alibaba Group, over alleged sale of fake goods by its subsidiary Taobao.com, and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).

Alibaba's corporate headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Photo: Reuters

Shen Danyang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said on Thursday that the move was aimed at revamping the entire sector.

Last year, the ministry investigated more than 11,000 violations in the fast-growing e-commerce industry, and closed 3,400 websites, Shen said. The ministry would continue its campaign to build a safe and reliable market for consumers.

Online media company Sina reported on Thursday that a SAIC spokesperson denied they had received a formal complaint from Taobao.com against director Liu Hongliang, despite Taobao’s claim yesterday that they would do so.

An open letter was published on Taobao’s official Weibo account on Tuesday accusing SAIC director Liu of commissioning an “unfair” quality survey of goods sold on the platform, which resembles eBay of the US, and making public the results without giving online shop owners a chance to appeal.

Alibaba Group is due to release its quarterly earnings tonight.

via China pledges to ‘regulate and revamp’ e-commerce sector amid Alibaba row | South China Morning Post.

29/01/2015

China eyes mass innovation, entrepreneurship as new engine – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China’s State Council pledged to take various steps to create an amicable environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in order to power growth and generate jobs.

China should embrace the trend of mass entrepreneurship and innovation in the Internet age, a statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang said.

The statement said China will foster a platform offering low-cost services in a variety of areas to micro businesses and individual start-ups that show innovation.

The government will also step up policy support, such as simplifying registration procedures and giving subsidies, to innovative businesses. They will improve financing systems to give special support to start-up companies, according to the statement.

Although China’s broader economy is slowing, China’s young entrepreneurs are driving a wave of startups that has become a bright spot for the economic landscape and an important engine for future growth.

The number of newly founded companies in China surged almost 46 percent year on year to 3.65 million in 2014, the latest data showed.

via China eyes mass innovation, entrepreneurship as new engine – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

28/01/2015

Car ownership tops 154 million in China in 2014 – Xinhua | English.news.cn

China added a record 17 million new cars on the road in 2014 as car ownership reaches 154 million, said the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday.

Strong demand for cars has helped the automobile replace the motorcycle as the main method of transportation. Cars made up 58.6 percent of total motor vehicles, a sharp rise from 43.9 percent five years ago.

The number of people obtaining driving licenses also ballooned from 219 million in 2013 to 247 million as of the end of 2014, said the ministry, adding 29.7 million drivers have fewer than one year’s driving experience.

Of the 35 cities which have more than one million cars each, ten have more than two million cars, including Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Tianjin, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing.

The ministry said the number of passenger cars has reached 117 million, 90 percent of which are private cars. Beijing has the highest private car penetration, with 63 private cars for every 100 households, while the average is 25 private cars for every 100 households.

Carmakers have enjoyed strong sales over the years, with more middle-class customers placing orders for their first cars. But with frequent traffic jams, it is yet to be seen whether cars can still ride the booming tide in the years to come. More local governments have begun to limit car use, among them eight cities have quotas for new car plates.

via Car ownership tops 154 million in China in 2014 – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

28/01/2015

China plans to set 2015 growth target at ‘around 7 percent’ – sources | Reuters

China plans to cut its growth target to around 7 percent in 2015, its lowest goal in 11 years, sources said, as policymakers try to manage slowing growth, job creation and pursuing reforms intended to make the economy more driven by market forces.

The growth target, which is set to be announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual parliament session in March, was endorsed by top party leaders and policymakers at a closed-door Central Economic Conference in December, said a number of people with knowledge of the outcome of meeting who spoke to Reuters.

The target, which is in line with market expectations, has not been previously reported.

“This year’s economic growth target will be around 7 percent, but the 7 percent should be the bottom line,” said one of the sources, an influential economist who advises the government.

via Exclusive: China plans to set 2015 growth target at ‘around 7 percent’ – sources | Reuters.

27/01/2015

Taobao cries foul over study’s claim that it sells fake, substandard goods | South China Morning Post

China’s largest online shopping platform Taobao.com has hit back at the results of an official quality survey that accused it of selling fake and substandard goods, saying that the poll’s sampling methods were questionable and its test standards unfair.

Taobao cries foul over study’s claim that it sells fake, substandard goods

More than 60 per cent of products randomly chosen from Taobao failed to meet China’s retail-goods standards, according to a recent survey commissioned by the state commercial regulator and conducted by the China Consumers’ Association.

In an open letter published on Taobao’s Weibo account, the e-commerce giant said the survey selected only 51 products out of the more than 1 billion that it had on sale.

It also said it was unfair of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce to compare the quality of goods sold on Taobao – whose platform comprises millions of e-commerce businesses operated by individual sellers – with those sold by self-operated retailers.

One of China’s major self-operated e-commerce businesses is Taobao’s major rival, Jingdong Mall. It is also the country’s second largest online shopping platform. The survey results showed that 90 per cent of Jingdong Mall’s products met official standards.

About 80 per cent of goods sold on Yihaodian, a Chinese online grocery business controlled by Walmart, met standards.

Taobao’s open letter, titled “Don’t “Don’t make unfair calls, Director Liu Hongliang. You’ve crossed the line”, was penned by an anonymous employee, Taobao said on Weibo.

The letter addressed State Administration for Industry and Commerce director Liu Hongliang, accusing him of making public the survey results without giving the online shop owners a chance to appeal. The move violated China’s regulations on quality surveys, it said.

“Director Liu, is it appropriate to make use of your public power [like this]? It’s easy to ruin [the reputation of] Taobao, but please don’t ruin the spirit of private entrepreneurs simply because [you are angry with] Taobao,” the letter said.

Chinese officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, have over the past year repeatedly voiced support for the country’s burgeoning private enterprises, especially those in the e-commerce sector.

At least 350 million people have shopped online in China, with each spending at least 3,000 yuan (HK$3,770), according to official statistics.

via Taobao cries foul over study’s claim that it sells fake, substandard goods | South China Morning Post.

27/01/2015

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners – Chinadaily.com.cn

A room with a 360-degree road view

New highway encircles stubborn homeowners

If you can’t build through it, build around it – city planners seem to have taken this advice quite literally.

Motorway builders encircled the homes of three Chinese families with a four-lane flyover after they refused to make way for the bulldozers.

Demolition teams in Guangzhou had planned to destroy the houses in order to connect the city’s road network to a recently opened tunnel under the Pearl River.

A photograph of the so-called “nail houses” – so named because they proved difficult to move–completely surrounded by the flyover, proved popular on the Chinese Internet this week.

Some Internet users joked that authorities had given locals homes “with a 360-degree road view”.

via New highway encircles stubborn homeowners[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

27/01/2015

China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s top brand is no longer a state-owned company, nor is it e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.BABA +0.85% It’s technology player Tencent Holdings TCEHY +3.45%.

In a ranking of the top 100 most valuable Chinese brands by research from agency Millward Brown and media company WPP, Tencent,  China’s largest online-games and social-networking company, ranked No. 1 with a brand value of $66 billion, ahead of No. 2 Alibaba’s $59 billion. Tencent’s WeChat and QQ messaging services propelled it to the top of the list, said Doreen Wang, global head of Millward Brown’s BrandZ division.

Tencent’s rise unseats state-owned telecom giant China Mobile, which has held the top spot since the ranking’s launch in 2010. It also marks a sea change for China’s private-sector companies, which now account for 47% of the value of the top 100 brands. To calculate rankings, Millward Brown and WPP analyze financial data of listed companies’ brands, pairing it with survey data from more than two million consumers in over 30 countries.

China’s state-owned enterprises have long dominated China’s list of leading companies. In 2010, of the top 50 Chinese brands identified in the report, state-owned companies occupied a third of the list and accounted for an estimated 70-75% of the $280 billion total combined value of the top 50.

Today, it’s a different story. In the past year, the government as has pushed private sector reforms and talked about the need to let market forces play a “more decisive” role in the economy. Alibaba’s public listing last year also contributed to the jump in value for market-driven brands, Millward Brown said, adding that technology brands have also for the first time surpassed financial institutions, becoming the highest valued sector in the rankings, representing 23% of the top 100’s value. Search giant Baidu Inc.BIDU -1.66% ranked No. 5, behind China Mobile and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

Tencent now ranks fifth in the world for global technology leaders’ brand value, according to MIllward Brown. Google Inc. is No. 1 with $158.8 billion, with Apple Inc. holding the No. 2 spot, followed by International Business Machines Corp.and Microsoft Corp.

Yet, even with Alibaba’s record-setting IPO and Tencent’s various successes, Chinese brands haven’t gained global recognition, said Ms. Wang. Only 22% of consumers surveyed outside of China could recognize a Chinese brand in 2014, a slight rise from 20% the year earlier. Chinese brands need to clarify what they stand for and need to ensure that they can satisfy needs beyond the Chinese market for them to gain more recognition, said Ms. Wang. “They need to consider what kind of benefit they bring to global consumers,” she said.

via China’s Top 100 Brands: The Private Sector Reigns Supreme – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

27/01/2015

Apple supplier Foxconn to shrink workforce as sales growth stalls | Reuters

Is this the beginning of the end for off-shoring manufacturing?

Taiwan‘s Foxconn Technology Group, the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, will cut its massive workforce, the company told Reuters, as the Apple Inc (AAPL.O) supplier faces declining revenue growth and rising wages in China.

Employees work inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province in this May 26, 2010 file photo.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Under its flagship unit Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (2317.TW), the group currently employs about 1.3 million people during peak production times, making it one of the largest private employers in the world.

Special assistant to the chairman and group spokesman Louis Woo did not specify a timeframe or target for the reduction, but noted that labor costs had more than doubled since 2010, when the company faced intense media scrutiny following a spate of worker suicides.

“We’ve basically stabilized (our workforce) in the last three years,” Woo said. When asked if the company plans to reduce overall headcount, he responded “yes”.

Revenue growth at the conglomerate tumbled to 1.3 percent in 2013 and only partially recovered to 6.5 percent last year after a long string of double-digit increases from 2003 to 2012.

That decade saw the firm ride an explosion of popularity in PCs, smartphones and tablets, largely driven by its main client Apple, but now it is feeling the effects of falling growth and prices in the gadget markets it supplies, a trend that is expected to continue.

Growth in smartphone sales will halve this year from 26 percent in 2014, according to researcher IDC, while PC sales will contract by 3 percent.

Similarly, the average smartphone will sell for 19 percent less in 2018 than last year’s $297.

“Even if technology is improving, the price will still come down,” Woo said. “We’ve come to accept that, our customers have come to accept that.”

Automation will be key to keeping labor costs under control in the long-term, Woo said, as the company pushes to have robotic arms complete mundane tasks currently done by workers.

But Woo noted that company chairman Terry Gou‘s previously stated goal of 1 million robots was “a generic concept” rather than a firm target.”

via Exclusive: Apple supplier Foxconn to shrink workforce as sales growth stalls | Reuters.

26/01/2015

1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn

The Chinese government provided free legal aid services for nearly 1.39 million people in 2014 to help them safeguard their rights, the Economic Daily reported on Monday.

More than one-third of them are migrant workers who are vulnerable to job dismissal and withheld wages and know little about the legal system, the report said, quoting the Ministry of Justice.

The ministry’s statistics showed that about 10 percent more migrant workers than last year said they would like to seek legal assistance if their rights are violated.

Legal service centers have been springing up in streets, communities and prisons across China. The number of new legal service centers in 2014 totaled 70,000, the ministry said. The country will guide more legal service agencies to provide assistance to suspects and defendants in prisons.

It also promised to lower the eligibility standard for people to receive legal assistance and expand services for military personnel.

via 1.39 million Chinese receive legal assistance – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

26/01/2015

Govt sells off premium cars- Chinadaily.com.cn

The first group of premium government automobiles to be auctioned off amid the ongoing frugality campaign have gone under the hammer in Beijing.

Govt sells off premium cars

According to Zonto Auction, the 106 vehicles it sold on Sunday were from six central government departments including the China Insurance Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission and State Bureau for Letters and Calls.

The cars were without plates, which would have to be supplied by the purchasers.

A total of 505 bidders from around the country joined the auction, which brought in proceeds of 6.6 million yuan ($980,000).

The highest bid went to a Toyota cross country vehicle for 200,000 yuan.

Li Guanwen, 40, of Hebei province, bought a Skoda bus for 160,000 yuan.

“The market value of this bus is around 500,000 yuan,” said Li.

“I think the reform of official vehicles is a very good thing and is a very good approach to remind civil servants to cut costs and to serve the public well.”

In November 2013, public agencies were told to cut their vehicle fleets, as well as reduce receptions and overseas trips. The use of all vehicles, except those required for law enforcement, emergency duties and essential public services, were scrapped or severely reduced.

via Govt sells off premium cars[1]- Chinadaily.com.cn.

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