Archive for June, 2019

30/06/2019

China’s North-South economic divide is growing, away from the glare of the US trade war

  • China’s economic centre of gravity is shifting to the southern part of the country, home to hi-tech industries and coastal ports
  • Growing divide adds to economic pressure of trade war with the US and general slowdown in China
A worker walks past coal piles at a coal coking plant in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, one of China’s heavily industrial regions in the North. Photo: Reuters
A worker walks past coal piles at a coal coking plant in Yuncheng, Shanxi province, one of China’s heavily industrial regions in the North. Photo: Reuters
Wang Le, a Beijing native, moved to Shanghai in 2016 to open a Thai boxing club. As an entrepreneur, Wang said Shanghai in China’s South is more open to new things than Beijing, in the “conservative” North.
“You do not need to worry about being niche here, no matter what types of goods, consumers can find what they need, and these types of businesses can survive,” he said.

What struck Wang as the biggest difference is the culture of doing business. In the South, he said, abiding by rules is more rooted in people’s minds than in the North, where businessmen tend to give empty promises and spend their time building close relationships with those in power to facilitate business deals.

“In general, the south has a stronger sense of service than the North, no matter if they are a vegetable salesman or a government official. In such an environment, customers [in the South] have higher demands, or are more critical [of products or services they purchase],” said Wang, who added that this can be challenging for northern entrepreneurs to get used to, but that the rewards are worth it.
View of a container terminal at the Port of Dalian in Dalian city, northeast China's Liaoning province. Photo: Handout
View of a container terminal at the Port of Dalian in Dalian city, northeast China’s Liaoning province. Photo: Handout

“As long as you do it well, they will be willing to spend money in your place,” Wang said. “‘Willingness to consume’ is also a feature of Shanghai, they are willing to spend on quality goods.”

Wang embodies the growing schism between China’s North and South, which are culturally diverse and becoming more 

economically

unbalanced.

Geographically, China is split in two by the Qinling mountain range, also known as the Sichuan Alps, and the Huai River. In recent years, these features have also served to slice the country in two economically. To the South lies China’s most affluent regions, home to most of its innovation hubs and busiest ports.

Southern China has the Pearl River and the Yangtze River Deltas, the nation’s two manufacturing hubs, and has seen its economic importance rise, with output covering 61.5 per cent of national gross domestic product (GDP) last year.

To the North lies much of its heavy industries, such as coal, which helped fuel China’s economic miracle of recent decades, but which will soon be relics of the past.

The North-South divide is growing and has become increasingly apparent since 2013 when the North’s share of economic output fell to 38.5 per cent, having previously been higher than 40 per cent. This is despite containing 15 provinces, 42 per cent of country’s population and 60 per cent of its territory.

In 2013, the average annual income in the South was lower in the North, but in 2018, the South’s per capita GDP was at least five per cent higher than the North, according to calculations made by the South China Morning Post.

The divide can be seen in their

respective attractiveness

to skilled labour. Guangdong in the South and Shandong in the North are China’s two most populous provinces, each of which has more than 100 million regular residents, however, in 2018 Guangdong attracted inflows of more than 800,000 people, while Shandong lost an estimated 400,000 people to other places.

The trend is likely to worsen as the fight for skilled workers in China escalates. Employers in the affluent South often can offer higher wages and better career prospects than the North, which has found it increasingly difficult to retain local talent.

The disparity is also apparent in the North’s reliance on government funding. As China’s economy slows and its old industries dwindle, northern governments last year generated enough revenue to cover less than half their spending. The South, in contrast, was able to fund 55 per cent of its own outlay, according to a recent study from the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences, a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, the infrastructure of the South, including the ports, make it a natural destination for foreign capital. This has helped it grow exponentially, as the resource rich North struggled with commodity price fluctuations.

The foreign investment helped the South become an export hub and home to hi-tech industries. Its private sector boomed, with firms able to react more quickly to market forces than the state-owned enterprises in the North.

Liu Qingfeng is a businessman from Liaoning, a northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea and the Yellow Sea. Liu spent a decade in Shanghai and four years in Shenzhen, before moving to Beijing three years ago. He said that while businesspeople he dealt with from both China’s North and South are pragmatic and fast learners, those in the South are more “collegiate”. This attitude lends itself better to growing a private business, he thought.

“This means small and medium-sized family businesses in the south can expand to a bigger scale. The North cannot compete with that. If you read the story of successful entrepreneurs in the North, many of them are lonely heroes, fighting on their own,” Liu said.

A barge pushes a container ship to the dockyard in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province. Qingdao is one of the North’s most important cities, economically, but Shandong province as a whole is losing people to economic migration at an alarming rate. Photo: AP
A barge pushes a container ship to the dockyard in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. Qingdao is one of the North’s most important cities, economically, but Shandong province as a whole is losing people to economic migration at an alarming rate. Photo: AP

Reforms in China’s economy are serving to accentuate this generalisation, strengthening private enterprise in the South, while hollowing out the heavy industry in the North.

By 2018, close to two thirds of the 579 special districts set up by Beijing across the country as test beds for opening to foreign investment were in the South, according to a study by Tsinghua University.

“[Government] supply-side structural reforms, including cutting excessive industrial capacity, are a tough test for many provincial economies. But for the northern provinces, the test is more profound,” said Chen Shu, an analyst from the Atlantis Finance Research Institute.

In an interview in May with Qiushi, a political journal run by the Communist Party, Liu Shijin, former vice-president of the Development Research Centre under the State Council, said the development imbalance is not all negative.

“China is a very large country and its development has been unbalanced in the past. It is often seen as a shortcoming, but in some respects, we found it could also be an advantage,” Liu said. “For example, when [consumers] start to buy television sets and computers, orders come from areas with high income levels first, then from low-income areas. In this way, the manufacturer’s production and sales periods can be extended and the economy continues to grow.”

Most analysts, however, feel the North-South gap should be urgently addressed, but not in the way that China addressed the East-West gap in the past. Lu Ming, a professor of economics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said much of the central funding and subsidies for western and central China have been wasted on building new cities and industrial zones, which people are now leaving.

“I suggest we conduct an investment return assessment for high-speed rail projects that have been planned in the central and western regions, and consider replacing them with airports, which are more suitable for areas with low population densities and complex terrain,” Lu said.

He added that those regions experiencing an exodus of human capital should not be judged by economic growth, but per capita income, which he considers a more fair metric.

This would be a small step in addressing an economic imbalance, which is threatening to get wider.

Source: SCMP

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30/06/2019

No joy for corrupt officials as China announces amnesty to mark nation’s 70th anniversary

  • Veterans of Sino-Japanese war – which ended 74 years ago – among those likely to be set free, state media says
  • Nine categories of convicts will be pardoned, but actual numbers will not be disclosed until cases have been reviewed by the courts
China’s amnesty will be no benefit to people like Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss who was sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption in 2013. Photo: AFP
China’s amnesty will be no benefit to people like Bo Xilai, the former Chongqing party boss who was sentenced to life imprisonment for corruption in 2013. Photo: AFP
There will be no pardons for people jailed under President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign, Chinese state media said late Saturday after Beijing announced a prisoner amnesty as part of its celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, which falls on October 1.
While the report did not give any indication of how many people would be set free – the cases must first be reviewed by the courts – it said the amnesties would be granted to those who fell into one of nine categories.
These include convicts aged 75 and above who are suffering from a physical disability, people who fought in the Sino-Japanese war – which ended in 1945 – or in the Chinese civil war, which ended in 1949 and led to the creation of modern-day China.

Other categories include prisoners sentenced as minors to terms of not more than three years, and those who were convicted of a crime while acting in self-defence and, again, sentenced to a maximum of three years.

The Communist Party declared a “crushing victory” in Xi’s war on corruption. Photo: EPA-EFE
The Communist Party declared a “crushing victory” in Xi’s war on corruption. Photo: EPA-EFE

Anyone convicted of a serious or violent crime, including murder, rape, kidnapping, corruption, arson and drug trafficking is ineligible for the amnesty, the report said. This group also encompasses those who refused to confess to their crimes or show remorse, and anyone deemed still a threat to society.

The amnesty is the second of Xi’s presidency and ninth in the country’s history. The previous seven were all during Mao Zedong’s leadership.

China considers prisoner amnesty for 70th anniversary
In 2015, about

31,000 convicts were pardoned

to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Sino-Japanese war, which also marked the end of World War II. Though, as will be the case this time around, none of them were serving prison terms for corruption.

A spokesperson for the National People’s Congress, which approved the amnesty, was quoted by Xinhua as saying that Beijing hoped the pardons would have a positive political, legal and social impact.

“Considering the fight against corruption remains a challenge, and in order to maintain the pressure of the crackdown, it would be inappropriate to grant amnesties to corruption convicts,” the spokesperson said.

In December, the Communist Party declared a “crushing victory” in Xi’s war on corruption, which since 2012 has seen more than 1.3 million party officials – from powerful “tigers” to low-ranking “flies” – rounded up and convicted.

Meng Hongwei, the former president of Interpol, pleaded guilty earlier this month to taking bribes totalling more than US$2 million.
Meng Hongwei, the former president of Interpol, pleaded guilty earlier this month to taking bribes totalling more than US$2 million.
Among the most high profile officials to have been snared are former Politburo Standing Committee member and domestic security tsar

Zhou Yongkang

, former Politburo member

Sun Zhengcai

, and former vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission

Guo Boxiong

.

Former Politburo member and Chongqing party boss 
Bo Xilai

, who was detained just months before Xi rose to power in 2012, is also serving a life sentence for taking millions of US dollars in bribes.

Meng Hongwei

, the former president of Interpol, looks set to become the latest senior official to join the convicts’ club after pleading guilty in court earlier this month to taking bribes totalling more than 14 million yuan (US$2 million).

Source: SCMP
29/06/2019

Sam Manekshaw: Why is this Indian war hero trending?

Sam ManekshawImage copyright GETTY IMAGES

An announcement that a Bollywood film will be made on Indian war hero Sam Manekshaw has seen him trend on social media 11 years after his death.

Manekshaw is arguably India’s best known army general.

He was the chief of the Indian army during the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the creation of Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan.

He was also the first Indian army officer to be promoted to the rank of field marshal.

The film’s “first look” – a poster featuring lead actor Vicky Kaushal – was released on Thursday to coincide with Mankeshaw’s death anniversary.

It has generated chatter because of Kaushal’s “uncanny resemblance” to Manekshaw.

Presentational white space
Presentational white space

Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar told PTI news agency that while the film will be based on his life, it won’t necessarily be a biopic. “I’m looking at the man, his life and his times,” she said.

Kaushal also took to Twitter, saying he was “honoured and proud” to play the role of Manekshaw.

Who was Gen Manekshaw?

He was born in 1914 to Parsi parents in British India and began his military career in what was then known as the British Indian Army during World War Two.

He died in 2008, after a career that stretched over four decades and five wars, earning him the nickname of Sam Bahadur (which means Sam the Brave in Hindi).

Known as one of India’s greatest war heroes, Manekshaw was praised for his swift leadership during the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

Presentational white space
Presentational white space
Presentational white space

He is a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan – two of India’s highest civilian awards.

“Sam Manekshaw’s name will be etched in history as one of the greatest soldiers and minds India has ever seen,” Ronnie Screwvala, whose company RSVP is producing the film, told Indian media.

Source: The BBC

29/06/2019

Belt and Road Economic Information Partnership to build info bridge

BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) – Set to build an “information bridge” for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) construction, attendees of the Belt and Road Economic Information Partnership (BREIP) in Beijing believed it would reduce the “information deficit” between countries.

The partnership, designed to eliminate information asymmetry in implementing the BRI, offers demonstration, guidance and services to participants of the BRI, and create a new platform for international cooperation.

The platform of BRInfo, operated and maintained by China Economic Information Service (CEIS) under Xinhua News Agency, allows BREIP members to share information and conduct cooperation.

Alfred Schipke, IMF Senior Resident Representative for China, said it would be important to strengthen policy frameworks and foster capacity development in China and in partner countries.

“The effective sharing of information will be more and more important. Here, the BREIP could be a key platform,” Schipke said.

New commercial opportunities will surely be created with information from professional institutions and needs of enterprises brought together, so as to promote mutual understanding, said Liu Zhengrong, vice president of Xinhua News Agency.

The BREIP, offering news service and information assurance, has provided a platform of news and economic information for countries and regions to expand cooperation, noted Marat Abulkhatin, first deputy chief editor of TASS Russian News Agency.

Domestic information reports growing significance now in global market, and under the BRInfo mechanism, news agencies can help to further eliminate information asymmetry, said Raphael Juan, director of markets at Brazilian CMA News Agency.

Polish government and enterprises look forward to better understanding different market situations and making better decisions with the economic information shared on the BREIP, said Ryszard Marcin Nizewski, product director with Polish Press Agency.

The BRI has made great contributions to international trade and the international economy, and its achievements have far exceeded expectations. It is believed that the BREIP will also become a multi-faceted cooperation tool, according to Dzmitry Prymshyts, deputy director for Research and Innovation of the Institute of Economics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

This platform could decrease the “information deficit” between countries while growing into a timely, objective and solid source of information, Prymshyts said.

The BREIP, established in Beijing on Thursday, was initiated by Xinhua News Agency and co-founded by more than 30 institutions including well-known news agencies, information service providers, research institutions, chambers of commerce and associations from more than 20 countries and regions in Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and Oceania.

Source: Xinhua

29/06/2019

How China is trying to stop its deserts spreading

The deserts in China are constantly spreading, due in part to human activity. Now China is trying to reverse the negative impact the creeping sands are having on the environment.

 

Source: The BBC

29/06/2019

‘Back on track’: China and U.S. agree to restart trade talks

OSAKA (Reuters) – The United States and China agreed on Saturday to restart trade talks with Washington holding off new tariffs on Chinese exports, signalling a pause in the trade hostilities between the world’s two largest economies.

Commenting on a long-running dispute over China’s Huawei, President Donald Trump said U.S. firms would be able to sell components to the world’s biggest telecoms network gear maker where there was no national security problem.
The truce offered relief from a nearly year-long trade standoff in which the countries have slapped tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s imports, disrupting global supply lines, roiling markets and dragging on global economic growth.
“We’re right back on track and we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters after an 80-minute meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies in Osaka, western Japan.
Trump said while he would not lift existing import tariffs, he would refrain from slapping new levies on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods – which would have effectively extended tariffs to everything China exports to the America.
“We’re holding back on tariffs and they’re going to buy farm products,” he said at a news conference, without giving any details of China’s future agricultural product purchases.

“If we make a deal, it will be a very historic event.”

He gave no timeline for what he called a complex deal but said he was not in a rush. “I want to get it right.”

HUAWEI HOPES

On Huawei, Trump said the U.S. commerce department would meet in the next few days on whether to take it off a list of firms banned from buying components and technology from U.S. companies without government approval.

China welcomed the step.

“If the U.S. does what it says, then of course, we welcome it,” said Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese foreign ministry’s envoy for G20 affairs.

U.S. microchip makers also applauded the move.

“We are encouraged the talks are restarting and additional tariffs are on hold and we look forward to getting more detail on the president’s remarks on Huawei,” John Neuffer, president of the U.S. Semiconductor Association, said in a statement.

Huawei has come under mounting scrutiny for over a year, led by U.S. allegations that “back doors” in its routers, switches and other gear could allow China to spy on U.S. communications.

While the company has denied its products pose a security threat, the United States has pressed its allies to shun Huawei in their fifth generation, or 5G, networks and has also suggested it could be a factor in a trade deal.

RELIEF AND SCEPTICISM

In a lengthy statement on the two-way talks, China’s foreign ministry quoted Xi as telling Trump he hoped the United States could treat Chinese companies fairly.

On the issues of sovereignty and respect, China must safeguard its core interests, Xi was cited as saying.

“China is sincere about continuing negotiations with the United States … but negotiations should be equal and show mutual respect,” the foreign ministry quoted Xi as saying.

Trump had threatened to extend existing tariffs to almost all Chinese imports into the United States if the meeting brought no progress on wide-ranging U.S. demands for reforms.

Source: Reuters

Slideshow (4 Images)

Financial markets are likely to breathe a sigh of relief on news of the resumption in U.S.-China trade talks.

“Returning to negotiations is good news for the business community and breathes some much needed certainty into a slowly deteriorating relationship,” said Jacob Parker, a vice-president of China operations at the U.S.-China Business Council.

“Now comes the hard work of finding consensus on the most difficult issues in the relationship, but with a commitment from the top we’re hopeful this will put the two sides on a sustained path to resolution,” he said.

Some, however, warned the pause might not last.

“Even if a truce happens this weekend, a subsequent breakdown of talks followed by further escalation still seems likely,” Capital Economics said in a commentary on Friday.

The United States says China has been stealing American intellectual property for years, forces U.S. firms to share trade secrets as a condition for doing business in China, and subsidizes state-owned firms to dominate industries.

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China has said the United States is making unreasonable demands and must also make concessions.

Talks collapsed in May after Washington accused Beijing of reneging on reform pledges. Trump raised tariffs to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods, and China retaliated with levies on U.S. imports.

The U.S.-China feud had cast a pall over the two-day G20 gathering, with leaders pointing to the threat to global growth.

In their communique, the leaders warned of growing risks to the world economy but stopped short of denouncing protectionism, calling instead for a free, fair trade environment after talks some members described as difficult.

28/06/2019

India arrests after women’s heads shaved for resisting rape

The two women had their heads forcibly shavedImage copyright ANI

Two people have been arrested in India’s Bihar state after a group of men shaved the heads of two women as “punishment” for resisting rape.

The group, which included a local official, ambushed the mother and daughter in their home with the intent of raping them, police said.

When the women resisted, they assaulted them, shaved their heads and paraded them through the village.

Police say they are searching for five others involved in the incident.

“We were beaten with sticks very badly. I have injuries all over my body and my daughter also has some injuries,” the mother told the ANI news agency.

The women also said that their heads were shaved in front of the entire village.

“Some men entered the victims’ home and tried to molest the daughter,” a police officer told local media, adding that her mother helped her fight off the men.

The state’s women commission has also condemned the incident, saying that “further action” will be taken.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred in the state.

In April, a teenage girl was attacked with acid for resisting an attempted gang rape.

Public outrage over sexual violence in India rose dramatically after the 2012 gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus.

The issue became a political flashpoint again in 2018, after a string of high-profile attacks against children.

However incidents of rape and violence against women continue to be reported from across the country.

Source: The BBC

28/06/2019

India gets 24% below-average rainfall this week – weather office

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s monsoon rains were 24% below average in the week ended June 26, the weather office said on Thursday, as the seasonal rainfall was scanty over central and western parts of the country.

The rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth as about 55% of the south Asian nation’s arable land is rain-fed, and the farm sector makes up about 15% of a nearly $2.5-trillion economy that is Asia’s third-biggest.

The below-average rainfall has delayed sowing of summer-sown crop such rice, soybean and corn and threatens to curtail crop yields.

Monsoon has delivered 36% lower-than-normal rainfall since the start of the season on June 1, due to a delay in the onset of monsoon rains, according to data compiled by India Meteorological Department.

Monsoon rains arrived in the southern state of Kerala on June 8. However, Cyclone Vayu developed in the Arabian Sea drew moisture from the monsoon and weakened its progress.

Source: Reuters

28/06/2019

Xinhua Headlines: China-Africa trade expo to forge closer economic partnership

Xinhua Headlines: China-Africa trade expo to forge closer economic partnership

Justin Yifu Lin, former senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank, delivers a speech at the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo in Changsha, central China’s Hunan Province, June 27, 2019. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)

by Xinhua writers Cao Kai, Chu Yi, Yang Jian and Zhang Yujie

CHANGSHA, June 27 (Xinhua) — The first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo opened Thursday in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province, in a move to forge closer economic ties between the largest developing country and the largest developing continent.

The three-day event has attracted more than 10,000 guests and traders, including those from 53 African countries, according to the organizing committee.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has sent a congratulatory letter.

The expo, announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last September, was established to provide a platform for deepening economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, he stressed.

It is hoped that the two sides will strengthen coordination to better implement the eight major initiatives put forward at the Beijing summit of the FOCAC, actively explore new paths for cooperation, open up new points of growth for collaboration, and promote China-Africa economic and trade cooperation to a new level, Xi said.

“Industrial development and free trade amongst ourselves will foster faster growth for our mutual benefit,” said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the opening ceremony. “This Forum should, among others, enable us to devise ways of turning these rays of hope into a reality.”

Hailing the long-term friendship with Africa, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Qian Keming said at the expo that bilateral trade and economic cooperation should be practical and concrete to meet the development needs of African countries in areas such as infrastructure and talent cultivation.

China saw 3 percent year-on-year growth of foreign trade with African countries in the first five months this year, hitting 84.8 billion U.S. dollars. China’s direct investment to the continent has increased by 1.5 billion U.S. dollars in the past five months, up 20 percent year on year, according to Qian.

According to Assome Aminata Diatta, Senegal’s Minister of Trade and SMEs, China is an ideal partner for Africa to improve its capacity building when China is seeking higher-quality growth driven by innovation.

Bringing modern production lines to Africa, especially in the special economic zones, will likely provide tens of millions of jobs for Africa, accelerate its industrialization and improve the trade structure between China and Africa, Diatta said.

China has set a good example for other developing countries, especially those in Africa which, having a lot in common with China, may benefit from mutual complementarity in the area of development, said Justin Yifu Lin, former senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank.

The experience, wisdom and programs that China will offer are very good reference for African countries that are now eager to work themselves out of poverty and pursue development, Lin said.

After the opening ceremony, 13 cooperation projects involving eight African countries were signed, worth a total of more than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Conferences, seminars, forums and exhibitions focusing on agriculture, trade, investment and infrastructure construction will be held during the expo, with experts sharing views on closer bilateral exchanges.

The expo will feature exhibition areas covering more than 40,000 square meters, including national pavilions and display areas for enterprises that showcase the achievements and opportunities of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation.

TRADE AND INVESTMENT

With the theme “Win-Win Cooperation for Closer China-Africa Economic Partnership,” the expo, which will become a biennial event, will open a new chapter in the history of bilateral trade.

“Nigeria has a lot of non-oil products of high quality and we want China to buy more,” Uduak M. Etokowoh, an official with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, told Xinhua.

Nigerian gemstones, Namibian oysters, Kenyan coffee and tea as well as South African wine are attracting many Chinese visitors at the expo.

“We used to export leather materials to Italy and Spain, who now have a wobbling economy,” said Nigerian businessman Mustapha Tijjani Garo. “We are now looking east for the market.”

China has been the largest trading partner of Africa for ten consecutive years. In 2018, trade volume between China and Africa amounted to 204.2 billion U.S. dollars, up 20 percent year on year.

China’s imports of non-resource products from Africa have increased significantly. In 2018, China’s imports from Africa went up 32 percent year on year, with the imports of agricultural products up 22 percent.

“Namibian oysters are selling well in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,” said Rinouzeu Katjingisiua. “We are hoping to find more partners here.”

For Chinese businessmen, with mounting pressure on labor-intensive industries as cost is surging and industrial upgrading is urgently needed, Africa is a great destination.

Wang Lianfang, owner of Qiqihar Quanlian Heavy Forging Company Ltd. based in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, set up an assembling plant in Senegal two years ago to find new markets amid slump domestic demand on agriculture machinery.

“Africa has strong demand,” said Wang, who is selling seeders, tractors and harvesters in the west African country.

“The output is expected to reach 2 billion yuan (291 million U.S. dollars) within 5 years,” said Wang, adding that the company has been working hard for survival in the past three years.

The transfer of labor-intensive industries from China can also give a strong push to Africa’s industrialization and modernization. It will expedite the economic take-off of Africa in the same way as how the industrial transfer had benefited China, Justin Yifu Lin said.

AGRICULTURE AND POVERTY REDUCTION

With abundant resources, a large population and a vast market, Africa is still the poorest continent and falls behind in the overall context of development and is battling poverty and hunger.

For 11 years, paddy land has been Hu Yuefang’s battlefield in Madagascar to fight against poverty.

“Madagascar can reach the self-sufficiency in rice as long as 15 percent of its rice planting area belongs to hybrid varieties,” Hu Yuefang said, adding that the average yield of hybrid rice produced by Chinese technologies in Africa is two to three times more than that of local ones.

Buried in the field all day, the 61-year-old agriculture expert from Yuan Longping High-tech Agriculture Co. Ltd. (LPHT) has been on the frontier of closer agriculture cooperation between the two sides.

He said though he could not come to the scene, he expected fruitful results from the inaugural expo to help tackle challenges and bring shared benefits to China and Africa.

China took deliberate steps using the agriculture sector to transform its economy by setting up favorable agricultural policies, the experience of which can be learned by us to accelerate our development, according to Ugandan Minister of Agriculture Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja at the expo.

“We strongly believe that by working together with our Chinese friends through joint venture businesses, investment arrangements and win-win cooperation, the majority of African countries can quickly eradicate poverty,” he said.

Hunger has long been bothering African countries. To help relieve the grain shortage, Chinese agricultural enterprises and experts, like Yuan, have been devoted to the continent for years, sharing China’s wisdom and experience.

“We put red flags on the map to show our steps in promoting hybrid rice in Africa in recent years, which have covered nearly 20 countries in southeastern, western and northern parts of the continent,” said Yao Zhenqiu, LPHT’s deputy general manager.

Guided by Yuan Longping, China’s “Father of Hybrid Rice,” the LPHT expert team has successfully cultivated five kinds of high-yielding hybrid rice seeds suitable for the local soil and climate.

So far, Chinese experts and technicians have carried out more than 300 small-scale projects in nine African countries, promoted 450 agricultural technologies, and trained nearly 30,000 local farmers and technicians, according to Ma Youxiang, an official with China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, at the expo.

“We will continue to send high-level agricultural experts and vocational education teachers to African countries, to further expand training in Africa and help cultivate more talent in agriculture,” he said.

The World Food Programme (WFP), the food assistance branch of the United Nations, is also taking the expo as an opportunity to meet Chinese business society to tackle food problems in Africa.

WFP will work with China to help Africa achieve the goal of ‘Zero Hunger’, said Qu Sixi, WFP China Representative.

Source: Xinhua

28/06/2019

China, Russia to lift military relations to new high: defense ministry

BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) — China and Russia will bring their military relations to a new high under the strategic guidance of leaders of both countries, a spokesperson for the Chinese military said Thursday.

The two sides will enhance their mutual support on their respective core interests, and improve exchange and cooperation mechanisms at all levels and in different fields, Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense, said at a press conference.

The two militaries will deepen cooperation in high-level exchanges, practical training, equipment and technology development and counter-terrorism, and promote strategic cooperation, Ren said.

Source: Xinhua

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