Posts tagged ‘United States’

28/07/2015

Delta to buy 3.55 percent stake of China Eastern for $450 million | Reuters

Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) has agreed to buy 3.55 percent of China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd (600115.SS)(0670.HK), a move that would make it the first U.S. carrier to own part of a Chinese airline.

The deal may prompt Delta’s rivals to beef up partnerships with Chinese carriers in an effort to secure their place in a country that Delta expects to become the biggest market for travel from the United States.

Delta’s purchase challenges rival United Continental Holdings Inc (UAL.N), the leading U.S. airline for service to China. United Chief Executive Jeff Smisek said Thursday during an investor call that the airline would be “keenly interested” in exploring a Chinese joint venture once the United States and China negotiate an Open Skies agreement that would ease air route restrictions.

Atlanta-based Delta said it will invest $450 million in China Eastern’s Hong Kong-traded stock, which has nearly tripled over the past 12 months even as broader Chinese stock indexes have plunged.

Delta said it will get an “observer” seat on China Eastern’s board. The move may pave the way for Delta and China Eastern to seek approval to coordinate pricing and flight capacity.

However, larger tie-ups with antitrust immunity cannot happen until an Open Skies agreement is in place, which could take years. Currently, governments specify which airlines can fly which routes, and how often.

Chinese carriers have been “launching far too much capacity across the Pacific,” industry consultant Robert Mann said. “Everybody is looking for a stronger form of joint-venture partnership for the day when China and the U.S. have Open Skies.”

For now, Delta and China Eastern say they will invest in services so travelers have a seamless experience on the airlines, which share flight codes on 80 routes including subsidiary Shanghai Airlines. The partnership will grow Delta’s foothold in China Eastern’s Shanghai hub, a key market for business travel.

The transaction is subject to approval by each company’s board.

Delta is investing in foreign carriers, taking small stakes in one airline in Mexico and one in Brazil. It also owns 49 percent of Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd (VA.O) and has used its position to shift the UK carrier’s routes to Delta’s advantage.

via Delta to buy 3.55 percent stake of China Eastern for $450 million | Reuters.

21/07/2015

Indian Companies Invest Billions, Create Thousands of Jobs in the U.S. – The Numbers – WSJ

As India attempts to thaw its business environment and attract the interest of foreign companies, a hundred Indian firms have together made investments worth more than $15 billion in America, according to the findings of a new survey by the Confederation of Indian Industries and audit firm Grant Thornton International Ltd.

The findings, which were released in a report titled “Indian Roots, American Soil” on Tuesday, suggest that Indian companies in the U.S., most operating in the information-technology sector, have created thousands of jobs there and show a growing interest in hiring more American workers in the next few years.

Indian outsourcing companies in the U.S. have in recent months been criticized for depending too much on foreign staff — H1-B visa holders – instead of hiring locals.

The 100 Indian companies surveyed are spread across all 50 U.S. states, the report said. Here are the main numbers from the report.

91,000

The survey says Indian firms have created more than 91,000 jobs in the U.S., most of them concentrated in New Jersey, where they have hired over 9,000 people. In California, more than 8,000 people work for Indian companies.

$15.3 billion

The total value of tangible investments – for example in real estate or equipment — made in the U.S. by the surveyed companies. Texas has received the largest amount — almost $3.85 billion from 17 Indian companies, most in the information-technology and telecom sectors. The report didn’t give a timeframe for these investments.

40%

The percentage of surveyed companies that do information-technology business is 40%. The report also highlights the emergence of Indian companies in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors, which each accounted for 14% of the firms surveyed.

84%

That’s the proportion of companies in the survey that plan to make more investments in the U.S. in the next five years. California, New Jersey, New York and Texas are the “most promising states for expected future investment,” the report said.

90%

The forecast for hiring local U.S. employees is also encouraging, the survey reveals. Almost 90% of the companies responded positively when asked if they foresaw hiring locally in the coming five years.

via Indian Companies Invest Billions, Create Thousands of Jobs in the U.S. – The Numbers – WSJ.

13/07/2015

China says 75 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in June | Reuters

Nearly 75 percent of China’s big cities failed to meet air quality standards in June, the environment ministry said on Monday, an improvement over the same month last year, as the country continues to wage “war on pollution.”

General view of downtown Shanghai on a hazy night January 25, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song

Nineteen cities met air quality standards every day, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement on its website (www.mep.gov.cn), compared to five at the same time last year.

Air quality in the capital Beijing was subpar on almost 60 percent of the days in June and saw levels of PM2.5 – particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers that can penetrate deep into the lungs – rise 11 percent compared to the same period last year.

Amid growing public disquiet about smog and other environmental risks, China said last year it would “declare war on pollution” and it has started to eliminate substandard industrial capacity and reduce coal consumption.

Last year, nearly 90 percent of China’s 74 big cities failed to meet air quality standards.

The state standard is 35 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter, but the government does not expect to bring the national average down to that level before 2030.

In April, the vice minister for environmental protection announced a two-year inspection campaign to root out fake air quality data and accused some local governments of manipulating the data to meet national standards.

via China says 75 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in June | Reuters.

13/07/2015

Tales of the unexpected | The Economist

WEIJIA is a typical Chinese seven-year-old. He loves riding his bike and anything to do with cars; he is a badminton fanatic and has lessons twice a week. In a few months’ time, however, he will become rather less typical. He will have a brother or sister—something most urban Chinese children lack.

His parents are taking advantage of a relaxation in November 2013 of the country’s strict family-planning rules. Couples are now allowed to have a second baby if one parent is an only child. After more than 35 years of often brutal enforcement of the one-child-per-couple policy, some had expected a mini baby-boom to follow. The National Health and Family Planning Commission estimated that the new rules would allow 11m more couples to have a second child (there were already exemptions for some). It thought that 2m of them would try in the first year. But by the end of 2014 fewer than 1.1m people had applied for the necessary permit.

 

That worries the government, which has tweaked the rules not out of sympathy for lonely only children or for parents who want a spare heir, but because of a population crunch. The country is ageing rapidly. In 2012 its labour pool shrank for the first time in 50 years. In the largest cities the fertility rate—meaning the number of children an average woman is likely to have during her lifetime—is among the lowest in the world, at around one. For the country as a whole it is less than 1.6—far below the level of 2.1 needed to keep the population steady (see chart).

The one-child policy did not curb Chinese fertility as much as its boosters imagine. By the time it was introduced in 1979, the fertility rate had already fallen to 2.8 from 5.8 in under a decade, thanks to usually less coercive efforts to encourage fewer births. Ruthless enforcement of the new policy resulted in widespread forced abortions and infanticide. It inflicted misery on parents who wanted larger families. But its overall impact on births was limited. In most countries, rising affluence has led to fewer babies. India’s fertility rate fell steadily over the same period without such formal policies, even though its economy did not grow nearly as fast as China’s. In wealthy South Korea the birth rate has fallen to 1.3 children per woman, down from six in 1960.

China’s authorities have now changed tack, from relentlessly proclaiming the virtues of having only one child to encouraging eligible couples to “procreate legally”. But they should not be surprised that this is failing to achieve the desired effect.

Since the 1980s rural families whose first child was a girl have been allowed to try for another. More recently, couples who are both single children have been allowed to have a second. Yet the uptake has been low. Academics, including Cai Yong of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, conducted a study in 2007-10 in the coastal province of Jiangsu. They found that among 2,500 urban and rural women they surveyed who were entitled to have a second child, only 6.5% did so. Ethnic minorities (nearly a tenth of the population), have long been allowed to have two or more. But on average each ethnic-minority woman bears only about 1.5 children, according to a census in 2010.

Mr Cai believes that rising incomes have been a big cause of shrinking family size. “Development is the best contraceptive,” he says. Births would have plummeted even without the one-child policy, he reckons, though not as fast or as low. Families worry about the expense of having babies: good education and health care are increasingly pricey. A study by Credit Suisse in 2013 found that couples typically spend over 22,500 yuan ($3,600) a year to raise a child to the age of 18. That is more than three-quarters of the average annual disposable income per person of urban households. A government report in 2015 said that in the first five years of a child’s life, city parents spend twice as much as rural ones, even before the high cost of urban housing is included—particularly near the best schools (see article).

Chinese families want their offspring not only to get a good education, but also to gain an edge in the global jobs market. Hence Weijia’s parents spend nearly 15% of their annual income just on classes for him, including weekly English lessons. Over half of children under six take extra classes in addition to those at kindergarten, according to IResearch, a Chinese market-research company.

Grandparents help to reduce the cost of child care (they often live with their grown-up children). But since people marry and have children later than they used to, the age of live-in grandparents is rising too; fewer are sprightly enough to deal with two children. It has become so common in China to have only one child that society is no longer geared to handle multiple offspring: hotel rooms for two children cannot be booked online (parents must call); play vehicles in parks seat two adults and one youngster; toothbrush-holders in family bathrooms often have space for just three brushes.

Decades of propaganda about the benefits of single children have changed the way parents think, says Wang Feng of the University of California, Irvine. A belief that China has too many people is widely shared, as is a conviction that the country would have been far worse off without the one-child policy. Many Chinese are surprisingly willing to blame the country’s terrible traffic and its air and water pollution on overpopulation, rather than bad planning. Having just one child still has the whiff of the patriotic about it.

The government’s next step may be to allow all couples to have two children. There is much speculation that the country’s parliament will approve this next year. Family-planning bureaucrats still fret about what might happen if restrictions were to be lifted. But the same factors of cost and hassle will continue to suppress the birth rate, regardless of how fast the policy is adjusted. Growing numbers of young Chinese people now prefer not to marry or have children at all.

via Tales of the unexpected | The Economist.

01/07/2015

Foreign Brands Losing Luster in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Move over Western brands, Chinese companies are taking over.

China’s 1.34 billion-plus consumers are filling their shopping baskets with Chinese-branded toothpaste, laundry detergent, juice, cookies and more, according to a new study from consultancy Bain & Co.

Local Chinese companies have become more competitive and are leveraging their strength in smaller cities, where growth rates are higher than in top cities like Beijing and Shanghai, according to the study, which looked at the shopping habits of 40,000 consumers.

The result is that foreign brands are losing market share in large consumer goods categories–such as personal care, home care and packaged foods– all across China, from its biggest to smallest cities, Bain said. And sales growth, which is dwindling as China’s economy slows, is going primarily to Chinese companies, such as fabric-softener maker Guangzhou Liby Enterprise and juicer Tian Di No. 1 Beverage, it said.

While that’s good news for Chinese brands, it’s nothing to cheer about for global companies, which have been banking on Chinese shoppers to boost their sales. China’s economy is also slowing, meaning that the days of easy money in China are over and tireless boardroom references to “China’s emerging middle class” as the saving grace may soon be put to rest.

Some companies, like Best Buy Co. and Home Depot Inc., have either exited or are rethinking their goals in China. Best Buy Co. sold all its remaining stores in China last year, citing online competition.

But there’s still growth for many foreign brands. Foreign makers of beer, chewing gum and hair conditioner are still gaining traction and market share from Chinese companies, according to Bain.

Below are charts from Bain & Co and Kantar Worldpanel showing how Chinese companies are standing up against foreign rivals at retail and in consumer products.

via Foreign Brands Losing Luster in China – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

25/06/2015

China says economic losses from drug abuse hit $81 billion a year | Reuters

China on Wednesday gave its first-ever assessment of the scourge of drug abuse, saying it caused annual economic losses of 500 billion yuan ($80.54 billion) and as many as 49,000 deaths last year.

China has intensified a crackdown on drugs as the rise of a new urban class with greater disposable income has fueled a surge in the numbers of drug addicts.

In its fight on drug abuse, the government arrested a string of celebrities, including the son of Hong Kong kungfu movie star Jackie Chan. Jaycee Chan, 32, was released in February, after serving a six-month jail sentence on drug charges.

China has more than 14 million drug users, Liu Yuejin, assistant minister of public security, told a news conference.

“The direct economic losses caused by drug use in the entire country have hit 500 billion yuan annually,” Liu said.

Drug abuse had killed at least 49,000 registered users by the end of 2014 and fueled a rise in crimes such as murder, abduction and rape, Liu added.

China’s share of synthetic drug users eclipsed heroin users for the first time last year, according to an annual report on the drug situation.

By the end of 2014, China had about 1.2 million users of methamphetamine, up almost 41 percent from a year earlier.

Two major overseas drug sources for China are southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle,” where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet, and south Asia’s “Golden Crescent“, which includes Afghanistan and Pakistan, Liu said.

Heroin and methamphetamine are being smuggled into China’s southwestern province of Yunnan and region of Guangxi, which both border Southeast Asia, Liu added.

To fight this situation, China was strengthening law enforcement cooperation with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar and other countries, he said.

via China says economic losses from drug abuse hit $81 billion a year | Reuters.

18/06/2015

China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two more former senior officers were being investigated for corruption, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of senior people.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Kou Tie, former commander of the Heilongjiang military region in northern China, had been put under investigation last November for suspected “serious discipline violations”. He was handed over to military prosecutors last month.

The other officer was named as Liu Zhanqi, a former communications division commander for the paramilitary People’s Armed Police, also suspected of “serious discipline violations”, common wording for corruption. He was handed to military prosecutors last month as well.

The ministry gave no further details. Neither case had been reported before.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

via China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters.

09/06/2015

China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn

On the way toward the renaissance of its ancient glory, China is inspiring its people and the world with a new concept: the Chinese Dream.

Put forward by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, in November 2012, the Chinese Dream of Great Renewal has not only struck a chord with the Chinese people, but been, believe it or not, changing the world.

PROFOUND CHANGES IN CHINA, WORLD

The ancient Chinese civilization had a broad influence on the world. Now China is “coming back” as it is reemerging as a great power.

For this reason, many people began to read “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China”, a book that outlines the full political ideas of the top Chinese leadership.

Xi’s book has sold 4.5 million copies worldwide, with an overseas circulation of some 400,000, a record for any Chinese leader’s publication in nearly four decades.

It is becoming increasingly easy to pin down a definition of the Chinese Dream. On cabs and billboards, the Chinese Dream is described as “a prosperous country, a revitalized nation and a happy people”.

The Dream is also elaborated on as “two centenary goals” — to double the 2010GDPand per capita income of urban and rural residents and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society by 2020; and to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century.

If the development plan comes true, it will be one of the most earth-shaking developments since the First Opium War (1840-1842), not only for China but also for global history.

In a report published last year, London-based advertising company WPP said the Chinese Dream “enjoys a much higher level of awareness than the American Dream or British Dream.”

DREAMS OF 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE

China’s population outnumbers that of theUnited States, theEuropean UnionandJapancombined, accounting for about one fifth of the world’s total.

It is unprecedented in the history of human civilization for a country of such a scale to rejuvenate.

The Chinese Dream is the dream for every Chinese individual. In the Three Gorges reservoir region in central China’s Hubei Province, 35-year-old farmer Zhou Xingliang’s dream is quite ordinary: he wants his son to grow up healthy and go to a good college, and for he and his wife to be able to take good care of their parents.

Several hundred kilometers away, in Danjiangkou City, chicken farmer Tan Yong has different aspirations. Dreaming of inventing, the 44-year-old man made a two-tonne submarine with a red star painted on the cabin door. The sub can dive 10 meters below the water surface.

For the entrepreneurial Cantonese Zhang Qinwei, his dream of a “gold rush” in Dubai came true. In 12 years, Zhang expanded his business from a four-square meter shop to a wholesale mall of Chinese products.

As president of the Guangdong Chamber of Commerce in the United Arab Emirates, Zhang now dreams of helping more Chinese companies do businesses there.

via China Headlines: How is the Chinese Dream changing the world? – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

09/06/2015

China’s greenhouse gases could peak early, easing climate fears | Reuters

China’s greenhouse gas emissions could peak by 2025, five years earlier than indicated by Beijing, a development that could help limit the mounting risks of global warming, a study by the London School of Economics (LSE) showed on Monday.

A coal-burning power station can be seen behind migrant workers as they walk carrying their shovels on the construction site of a water canal, being built in a dried-up river bed located on the outskirts of Beijing October 22, 2010. REUTERS/David Gray

The report, more optimistic about curbing the use of fossil fuels than a Chinese industry forecast on Monday, noted that China’s “coal consumption fell in 2014, and fell further in the first quarter of 2015″.

“China’s greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to peak as late as 2030 – the upper limit set by President Xi Jinping in November 2014 – and are much more likely to peak by 2025,” the report said.

“They could peak even earlier than that,” write the authors Fergus Green and Nicholas Stern, both from the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.

China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases – that are linked to rising ocean levels, heat waves and downpours – said last year its emissions would peak “around 2030, with the intention to try to peak early”.

Wang Zhixuan, secretary general of the China Electricity Council, predicted in a research report on Monday that China’s emissions from the power sector would keep rising to 2030, spurred by lower prices of coal than natural gas.

The industrial association projected that coal-fired power capacity would rise next decade, to 1,450 gigawatts in 2030 from 1,100 in 2020.

The LSE authors estimated that China’s overall emissions could peak at the equivalent of between 12.5 and 14 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2025, up from about 10 billion around 2012.

That earlier-than-expected high point would help the world get on track for limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, they wrote, as long as China introduced sweeping reforms from cities to public transport.

Group of Seven leaders were meeting in Germany on Monday to discuss issues including climate change and how to achieve the 2C target, which many experts say is fast slipping out of reach.

And senior negotiators from almost 200 governments are meeting from June 1-11 in the German city of Bonn to work on a U.N. deal due in Paris in December to limit temperatures.

via China’s greenhouse gases could peak early, easing climate fears | Reuters.

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.

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