Archive for March, 2014


China’s Huawei books quickest profit growth in four years on smartphone demand | Reuters

China’s Huawei Technologies Ltd, the world’s No.2 telecommunications equipment maker, reported its fastest profit growth in four years as expansion in enterprise and consumer revenue far exceeded growth in its network building division.

A man looks at a Huawei mobile phone as he shops at an electronic market in Shanghai January 22, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The unlisted company has benefited from companies investing heavily in cloud and mobile computing, while it has shipped so many mobile handsets that it became the world’s third-biggest smartphone manufacturer last year.

Shenzhen-based Huawei is now looking for revenue from Chinese mobile phone operators switching to fourth-generation networks to cushion the impact of a slowdown in network spending abroad.

In 2013, net profit rose 34.4 percent to 21 billion yuan ($3.38 billion), the company said in a statement on Monday.

Operating profit was 29.1 billion yuan, compared with the company’s forecast range of 28.6 billion yuan to 29.4 billion yuan.

via China’s Huawei books quickest profit growth in four years on smartphone demand | Reuters.

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10 Vital Things Politicians Should Talk About – WSJ


Indian politics is disconnected from what India actually wants. A week before the largest democracy on Earth goes to the polls, here are 10 things the electorate is talking about even though most politicians aren’t.

1.     Unfulfilled Aspiration

If there is one thing two decades of liberalization has given us, it was a sense of hope that things can get better, but not at any cost. People want cheaper food, not cheap food. They want cheaper education, not cheap education. When people in villages have a little money, they prefer to send their children to a private school where there children are taught in English over public school where they learn in Hindi, staff are often absent and standards are low. People across India are aspirational.

They will give their vote to whoever taps into a person’s desire for a better future.

2.     Employability

India’s problem is no longer about employment, it is about employability. The trade association, National Association for Software and Services Companies says 75% of technical graduates and 80% of general studies graduates don’t have the skills to get a technical or call center jobs in a country where more than half of the 1.2 billion population is under the age of 25.

Young people want their lives to get better through the jobs they get. But we have to improve their skill sets first. The government has to take a step back and look at the lack of standards and quality that has overtaken our education system. Why are people still flocking to unaccredited colleges and institutes? Because they don’t have a better choice. It is easy to see where their frustrations come from. Unless someone fixes the lack of skills, a demographic nightmare is on its way.

3.     Food wastage and underweight children

Let us connect the dots between India’s inability to build granaries and cold storage centers and the hunger that exists in large parts of the country. India has the largest number of underweight and malnourished children in the world but it also wastes as much wheat each year  as Australia produces – 21 million tonnes.

People want someone to say they will fix this imbalance. Has a single candidate talked about this? You cannot argue that India cannot fix these things in the 21st century.

4.     Drinking Water

In 2012, the Water Resources Ministry essentially told Parliament that in time,groundwater will not be fit for human consumption. The aquifers are drying up and underground water is increasingly polluted or going saline. With India being the world’s largest user of ground water, there is a huge scarcity in the offing.

Add to that, 80% of untreated sewage in India flows straight to into drinking water sources such as rivers and groundwater.  Be it farmers or people living in the cities, access to clean water is by far one of the biggest issues for people across the country. There are ways to address this, such as rain water harvesting, but has a politician promised that on a war footing we can solve it?

5.     Electricity

Three hundred million Indians have never had access to electricity. So when theblackout in 2012 plunged nearly 600 million in darkness – for at least about half of them, it was just another day.

Meanwhile, in a coal abundant nation, all we have heard about energy in the last two years is that the mismanagement of the allocation of coal blocks to private companies resulted in a presumed loss of 1.85 trillion rupees ($31 billion) to the exchequer.

6.     Healthcare

India has barely one hospital bed per 1,000 population compared to the global average of nearly three beds per 1,000. We have one operating theater per 1,000 people. This at a time when the World Health Organization estimates that India is one of the few countries in the world where people have to pay the maximum proportion of their wages for private healthcare – and the Harvard School of Public Health calculates that the country’s economic losses due to non-communicable disease between 2012 and 2030 will be $6.2 trillion. There is an unprecedented crisis of public health and it cannot be resolved in a hurry.

7.     The Disease Burden

Our disease burden is one of the largest in the world. We lost 9.2 million productive years to heart disease in 2000. By 2030, the number is likely to rise to 17.9 million productive years. There are no immediate solutions for India and it spells potentially huge economic losses.

8.     Civilian Safety

Gun violence is one of the biggest killers in India. Nearly 40 million Indians own guns. Barely 15% of these are registered weapons. India has the second largest civilian ownership of guns, second only to the United States. Around 80% of all murders in India are carried out using these illegal guns. This is one of the biggest security challenges of India – but it is hardly addressed because many of those guns are connected to politics and politicians.

9.     Outdated Justice System

There are 30 million court cases pending in courts across India and a backlog of 66,000 cases in the Supreme Court. The system is sluggish. People don’t feel there is a justice system that can back them up or give them any sense of closure. India needs at least 75,000 new judges in the next 35 years and Indians want a government that can create more courts and hire more judges.

  1.  Inefficient bureaucracy

Communicating with an Indian bureaucrat is a terrible experience. They are unapproachable. You have to argue for your rights. Citizens want a voice and any way for them to be heard now is entirely absent.

Other than the elections, there is no other way for the electorate to show their frustration towards a system that is willfully unresponsive; that does not care about accountability. There is incredible frustration here – people, and businesses, are not willing to put up with such inefficiency much longer.

Hindol Sengupta is a senior editor at Fortune India magazine and author of “100 Things To Know And Debate Before You Vote” (Harper Collins). Follow India Real Time on Twitter @WSJIndia


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Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

The number of applicants for civil service jobs has dropped in most places so far this year, according to information released by provincial-level governments.

Sixteen of the 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions that released employment information on Thursday saw a decrease in applicants year-on-year.

The number of applicants in Zhejiang province was down 37 percent from 360,000 last year to 227,000 this year, according to the human resources and social security department.

Most other provinces saw a decrease of between 10 and 30 percent this year, the Beijing News reported.

Only Shaanxi province and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region have seen increases in the number of applicants this year.

Meanwhile, 15 provincial-level governments have cut the number of civil service positions available. The number of posts in Zhejiang province, for example, is about 1,500 less than last year.

Civil service jobs have long been deemed ideal for many college graduates. The central authorities, provincial-level governments and city governments respectively recruit civil servants once a year.

In 2013, for example, 1.52 million graduates took the national civil service exam. On average, about 77 applicants competed for each available position. The most desirable posts saw a competitive ratio of 7,192 to 1.

Gu Ruocun, a graduate from Shandong Normal University who works for a private company, said that more than half of his classmates applied for positions in the provincial government last year.

“In my opinion, civil service is a decent job with decent pay,” he said, adding that he is preparing for this year’s application exam after failing a year ago.

Xu Yaotong, a professor of public administration at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said that the central government has begun reforms to streamline public agencies. Local governments will tend to follow suit to decrease the number of new civil posts, Xu said.

The decrease in applicants this year shows that the public has been changing its attitude toward such jobs, he said, adding that it is good news that more young people want to work outside of the government.

via Civil service jobs in less demand – China –

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Americans Must Adjust to a World Dominated by China – Fed’s Bullard – China Real Time Report – WSJ

This post originally appeared on Real Time Economics.

It won’t be long until the U.S. is eclipsed economically by China—and Americans need to start thinking about how to adjust to such a world.

That’s according to Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis President James Bullard, who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on the sidelines of a conference during a recent visit to Hong Kong.

“Attitudes in the U.S. are going to have to change, because the U.S. will not permanently be the global leader,” Mr. Bullard said.

China is already the largest economy in the world after the United States, and is growing much faster than the U.S. Not too far in the future — estimates range from as soon as 2016 to as “distant” as 2028 — it will surpass the American economy in size.

Most likely, China will eventually match the U.S. in per capita income terms as well. With a population about four times as large as America’s, that would imply a massive shift in the global balance of power.

In that case, “the U.S. would be playing a role to China similar to the role the U.K. plays to the U.S. today,” Mr. Bullard said. “People think it’s 50-75 years away but it’s probably only 25 or 20 years away, something like that.”

China’s economy currently is a little more than half the size of America’s, IMF data show, clocking in at $8.9 trillion in 2013 versus $16.7 trillion for the U.S.

But China’s economy is growing much more quickly, targeting growth of about 7.5% this year. In contrast, the U.S. economy will be lucky to grow by 3%.

Then there’s India, another economy of a billion-plus people that’s also growing quickly. Eventually, Mr. Bullard said, he can foresee a tri-polar world in which China and India are the major economic powers, counterbalanced by a bloc of the United States, Europe and Japan, whose populations together will total about one billion people.

“We’ve said the U.S. is a superpower, an economic superpower. But these are giants, they’re bigger than a superpower,” he said. “What would that world be like, both economically and politically? I think that’s really hard to understand. How much would the Western bloc be willing to cooperate politically to be a counterbalance to China and India?”

Mr. Bullard offered few specifics of what such a world would look like, but did acknowledge that it might require some adjustment on the part of ordinary Americans like those he serves in the heartland.

via Americans Must Adjust to a World Dominated by China – Fed’s Bullard – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

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Accomplished women in India face higher risk of domestic violence: study | India Insight

Women in India who are more educated than their husbands, earn more or are the sole earners in their families face a higher risk of domestic violence than women who are more dependent on their partners, according to a new study.

Much of India is still deeply patriarchal and there are wide gaps in the status of men and women. And this form of violence could be a way for men to reassert their power or maintain social control over their wives to preserve the “status quo” in the relationship, said the study’s author Abigail Weitzman.

Weitzman, a graduate student at New York University, looked at data from the female-only module of India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) collected between 2005 and 2006, concentrating on married women.

The study found that compared to women less educated than their husbands, women with more education face 1.4 times the risk of violence from their partners, 1.54 times the risk of frequent violence, and 1.36 times the risk of severe violence.

The study appeared in the latest issue of the Population and Development Review, a peer-reviewed journal published by the Population Council, an international non-profit organization that conducts research on development issues.

“The result of such violent responses may in turn prevent some women from pursuing employment or greater earnings opportunities either because they have been injured or because the material benefits of such opportunities no longer outweigh the physical costs at home,” the study said.

via Accomplished women in India face higher risk of domestic violence: study | India Insight.

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Germany, China say renminbi hub in Frankfurt will boost trade | Reuters

A decision by Germany and China to make Frankfurt a European hub for financial transactions in the Chinese currency will give new momentum to trade between the two economic powers, Chinese President Xi Jinping and a German minister said on Saturday.

China's President Xi Jinping waves to media following a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel after an agreement signing, at the Chancellery in Berlin March 28, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

In a speech to politicians and business leaders in the city of Duesseldorf, Xi said setting up the hub for the renminbi in Germany “represents an important step on the road of the internationalisation of our currency,” according to a translation.

The Bundesbank and the People’s Bank of China signed an agreement on Friday to facilitate transactions in the Chinese currency in Frankfurt and to cooperate more closely in clearing and settlement arrangements of renminbi payments.

Up to now, transactions in China’s currency, the renminbi or yuan, have been impractical for all but very large European companies that are able to involve China’s central bank in a deal, because the renminbi is not freely convertible.

via Germany, China say renminbi hub in Frankfurt will boost trade | Reuters.

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Exclusive: China seizes $14.5 billion assets from family, associates of ex-security chief – sources | Reuters

Chinese authorities have seized assets worth at least 90 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) from family members and associates of retired domestic security tsar Zhou Yongkang, who is at the centre of China’s biggest corruption scandal in more than six decades, two sources said.

China's Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang reacts as he attends the Hebei delegation discussion sessions at the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing in this October 16, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files

More than 300 of Zhou’s relatives, political allies, proteges and staff have also been taken into custody or questioned in the past four months, the sources, who have been briefed on the investigation, told Reuters.

The sheer size of the asset seizures and the scale of the investigations into the people around Zhou – both unreported until now – make the corruption probe unprecedented in modern China and would appear to show that President Xi Jinping is tackling graft at the highest levels.

But it may also be driven partly by political payback after Zhou angered leaders such as Xi by opposing the ouster of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, who was jailed for life in September for corruption and abuse of power.

Zhou, 71, has been under virtual house arrest since authorities began formally investigating him late last year. He is the most senior Chinese politician to be ensnared in a corruption investigation since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949.

“It’s the ugliest in the history of the New China,” said one of the sources, who has ties to the leadership, requesting anonymity to avoid repercussions for speaking to the foreign media about elite politics.

The government has yet to make any official statement about Zhou or the case against him and it has not been possible to contact Zhou, his family, associates or staff for comment. It is not clear if any of them have lawyers.

via Exclusive: China seizes $14.5 billion assets from family, associates of ex-security chief – sources | Reuters.

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This is why Germany doesn’t want China anywhere near Berlin’s holocaust memorial

China Daily Mail

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to students during the welcoming ceremony by German President Joachim Gauck at Bellevue palace in Berlin Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to students during the welcoming ceremony by German President Joachim Gauck at Bellevue palace in Berlin

Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Germany for the next two days, meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other German officials. It’s the third leg of Xi’s European Union trip, and an important one – as Deutsche Welle notes, Germany is China’s most important trade partner in Europe.

There is, however, once place that Xi isn’t wanted during his time in Germany: Berlin‘s famous Holocaust memorial. Der Spiegel reported this month that German authorities had refused a request from Xi’s entourage for an official visit to the site. While the Chinese president may visit the site on his own, it will not be a part of the official itinerary and Merkel will not accompany him.

Visits to the Holocaust memorial, officially known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews…

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Fashion contest the focus of ‘first lady diplomacy’ during Michelle Obama’s China visit | South China Morning Post

The closely watched day spent together by the first ladies of China and the United States have sparked lively online discussions this week. Comparison of the two women kicked off the moment Peng Liyuan, the glamorous singer wife of Xi Jinping, welcomed her counterpart Michelle Obama at a Beijing high school on Friday morning.

That the two have much in common is obvious: both women, in their early 50s, are lauded for their sense of style, are highly-educated and managed successful careers before their husbands became leaders. Both are active in charity initiatives in public health, and both have daughters.

Commenting on everything from their choice of outfits to the details of their visits, the curious online public were amazed by the juxtaposition of these two women with strong personalities.

Thomas Ye, a widely followed fashion blogger on Chinese social media platforms who tweets under “Gogoboi”, graded their attire:

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C) and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) show the way to US first lady Michelle Obama (L) as they proceed to a meeting room at a guest house in Beijing on March 21, 2014. Photo: AFP

“Fashion contest first round: Michelle Obama’s casual black waistcoat, shirt and wide-legged trousers were eclipsed by a dignified Peng, exemplified by her formal navy blue suit, decorated with a red purse. Top points to Peng,” he wrote on Sina Weibo over the weekend.

The second round, however, went to Obama, who “hit back” with a joyful red dress by designer designer Naeem Khan  when she showed up for a banquet at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Friday evening.

Several official media outlets joined the discussion.

The official China Daily said in a photo caption showing their dresses: “The first ladies of China and the US … have much in common: They are symbols of glamour in their own countries and stand uneclipsed by their more powerful husbands. They are loved by the public not because of their spouses but for who they are. Each woman has created a ‘power centre’ – a kind of soft power – from a combination of femininity and self-assertion”.

China once again embraced the idea of “first lady diplomacy” since Xi Jinping took power in 2013, in the hope of giving a soft touch to the country’s rising assertiveness. The country’s last visible “first lady” was the charismatic Wang Guangmei, wife of Liu Shaoqi, who held the presidency between 1959 and 1966.

Peng’s increasing popularity with the public – thanks to her gracious manners and elegant style gained through her years as a professional performer – raises questions about the extent of her role.

via Fashion contest the focus of ‘first lady diplomacy’ during Michelle Obama’s China visit | South China Morning Post.

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2nd-child policy hurts female job application – China –

China has loosened its family planning policy by allowing couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child. Unfortunately, the policy has resulted in discrimination against some married women who are looking for jobs or are already employed, according to the Xinhua News agency.

2nd-child policy hurts female job application

Xia Fang, a Changsha local who gave birth to her first child 10 months ago, said that during job interviews she is always asked if she is an only child or if she plans to have a second child.

“I don’t plan to have a second child. But when potential employers learn that my first child is a girl, they think I’m likely to have another baby,” said Xia.

Before the second-child policy was introduced, married women with children and work experience had an advantage in the job market, but now they are being confronted with gender discrimination again, Xia added.

Female employees of child-bearing age are being affected, as well. A white collar worker surnamed Liu said she was passed over for a promotion that went to a young man, because her boss thought she might plan to have a second child.

“Women have to work harder to be given equal status in the workplace. And many face pressure from their families to have second children, which can affect their career prospects,” Liu said.

“Companies can predict the cost of a female employee’s maternity leave when they’re allowed to give birth to only one child,” said Li Bin, a professor of sociology at Zhongnan University. “But some middle and small-sized companies can’t bear the costs of two leaves in a few years.”

via 2nd-child policy hurts female job application – China –

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