Archive for ‘Hangzhou’

04/06/2019

Will China’s 600km/h maglev train bring air travellers down to earth?

  • Unveiled in Shandong, prototype will be a first step towards ground-breaking high-speed travel that will rival passenger jets, project engineer says
One possible future for rapid transport in China is unveiled in the form of a magnetic levitation train at Qingdao in Shandong province. Photo: Weibo
One possible future for rapid transport in China is unveiled in the form of a magnetic levitation train at Qingdao in Shandong province. Photo: Weibo
An experimental magnetic levitation train capable of travelling at 600km/h went on show at Qingdao in eastern Shandong province on Thursday, state media said.
Powerful electromagnets hold the Qingdao prototype at a thumb’s width from the rail, giving a quiet, smooth ride at speeds close to those involved in air travel, developers said.
While China operates the world’s fastest conventional train service, which can reach a speed of 350km/h, the Shanghai Maglev has been in commercial operation since the end of 2002 and can reach a top speed of 430km/h. It operates on one 30-kilometre (19-mile) line between two stations.
Ding Sansan, deputy chief engineer with developer the CRRC Sifang Corporation, said China achieved breakthroughs in maglev technology during the “three-year-battle” to build the new train that involved cooperation between more than 30 enterprises, universities and government research institutes.
The construction of a train body with ultra-lightweight, high-strength materials was a challenge, Ding said. Complex physical problems created by high speeds also needed to be solved in new ways if the Qingdao prototype was to reach peak performance.

China was a leader in technologies that included suspension, guidance, control and high-powered traction, Ding told Qingdao Daily.

“The test vehicle has been powered up and is in good order,” Ding was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Chinese maglev train capable of travelling at 600km/h on track for 2020 test run as design completed
The prototype promised to eliminate the advantages jet passenger planes had over ground vehicles over a distance of 1,500km, he said.

Taking Beijing-to-Shanghai by plane as an example, Ding suggested: “It takes about four-and-a-half hours by plane including preparation time for the journey; about five-and-a-half hours by high-speed rail, and [would] only [take] about three-and-a-half hours by maglev.”

While earlier reports suggested the prototype was expected to begin full-scale testing by 2020, it was unclear what Thursday’s unveiling meant for this timetable.

China’s latest prototype high-speed maglev train factors the comfort of paying customers into its test operations. Photo: Weibo
China’s latest prototype high-speed maglev train factors the comfort of paying customers into its test operations. Photo: Weibo

More maglevs would join the development project in the coming months, the team leader was quoted as saying, while mass production of the technology was likely by 2021.

In contrast to the optimism of the team at Qingdao, Chen Peihong, professor of economics at Beijing Jiaotong University and a transport analyst, was more circumspect about the future of maglev trains.

“The market has to be bigger. Technology alone cannot make [the concept] a success,” she said.

Plane or train: as high-speed rail link connects Hong Kong to 44 mainland Chinese cities, what are cheapest and fastest ways to get where you are going?

Public transport relied heavily on economies of scale, Chen said. Chinese cities including Jinan, Hangzhou and Chongqing were considering maglev lines, but even the longest – from Jinan to Taian – would not exceed 50 kilometres.

Chen said that electromagnetic fields from maglevs were greater than those from the lines that powered high-speed trains, while environmental worries might keep maglevs out of densely-populated areas.

There was a debate in China in the early 2000s about the benefits of a developing a maglev compared to high-speed rail, researchers on that project said. Rail was preferred by the government because it was an established technology and one that was cheaper to realise.

By the end of last year, China’s high-speed rail network extended to most of the country at a distance in excess of 29,000 kilometres, according to government figures, twice as long as the rest of the world’s high-speed rail lines combined. Spain’s high-speed AVE network was the second-longest at 3,100km.

Elsewhere, researchers in Chengdu, Sichuan province, said a vehicle inside a vacuum tube powered by a superconductor coil from a maglev train – a hyperlink – was in development. They expected the vehicle to reach speeds in excess of 1,000km/h as air was pumped from the tube and resistance to the speeding object gradually eliminated.

Source: SCMP

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20/05/2019

Across China: Beekeeping goes digital

HANGZHOU, May 19 (Xinhua) — Beekeepers in China’s high-tech powerhouse of Zhejiang Province have developed a smart way of using intelligent beehives to revolutionize bee farming.

Over 300 apiculture insiders and experts convened in Chun’an County on Saturday to witness the pilot.

More than 2,600 artificial beehives have been arranged in mountains in the western outskirts of Hangzhou, the provincial capital.

Chen Pinghua, chair of Qiandao Lake Mozhidao Biotechnology Co. Ltd., which operates the bee farm, said the smart hives were installed with sensors at the bottom, which can monitor and regulate the temperature and humidity and send the data on the number of times the bees enter and leave as well as the weight of the hive for technicians to determine whether the honey has matured.

Each hive is also pasted with a unique QR code that traces the source of the honey to ensure food safety, Chen said.

He said staff could open an app on their mobile phones to monitor the real-time data of each hive, which greatly improves efficiency.

Saturday coincided with World Honey Bee Day designated by the United Nations in 2017 to spread awareness on the significance of bees, which pollinate one-third of the world’s grain-producing plants.

“Beekeeping has a long history in China, but it has remained as a very low-end business without standards for hives and on how bees are raised and how honey is harvested,” said Yang Yibo, deputy secretary-general of the Eco-Apiculture Committee of the China Association for the Promotion of Quality.

He said the smart hive system had significance in digitizing the information of honey sources, bee colonies and beekeepers, and forming visualized big data to help analyze the quality in each procedure.

The annual output of honey in China exceeds 400,000 tonnes, and the country’s output of propolis, bee pollen and beeswax rank first in the world. More than 300,000 people are employed in the business.

Wang Fuchun, a veteran bee farmer in Chun’an, said with the high-tech bee farming, a hive could produce more than 30 kg of honey a year, almost quadrupling the amount produced in the traditional way.

The company plans to put 10,000 more smart hives in the mountain region this year.

Source: Xinhua

11/05/2019

Exclusive: China’s BAIC seeks to buy 5 percent Daimler stake – sources

BEIJING/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – China’s BAIC Group is seeking to buy a stake of up to 5 percent in Daimler as a way to secure its investment in Chinese Mercedes-Benz manufacturing company Beijing Benz Automotive, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

BAIC informed Daimler of its intention to buy a 4-5 percent stake in the German maker of Mercedes-Benz cars earlier this year, two of the three sources said.

BAIC has asked local authorities in Beijing to support a 4-5 percent stake purchase, two of these sources said.

BAIC has started acquiring Daimler shares on the open market, one source said.

“Daimler’s share price is currently being underpinned by a buyer who appears to be building a stake,” a person familiar with the matter said.

BAIC did not respond to repeated phone calls and text messages seeking comment outside regular business hours. Daimler declined to comment.

It remains unclear whether BAIC Group can raise the nearly 3 billion euros (£2.6 billion) that a 5 percent stake in Daimler would cost, based on the German carmaker’s closing market value on Friday of 57.6 billion euros, two of these sources said.

German regulatory filings do not show BAIC as a significant shareholder of Daimler. German takeover rules allow a buyer to acquire a stake of up to 3 percent before a regulatory disclosure is required.

Daimler has ruled out issuing new stock to help an outside party build a stake, forcing potential buyers to acquire shares on the market.

BAIC signalled its interest in buying a Daimler stake as far back as 2015, and has redoubled its effort after Li Shufu, chairman of rival Chinese carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group built a 9.69 percent stake in Stuttgart-based Daimler in early 2018.

By using Hong Kong shell companies, derivatives, bank financing and structured share options, Li kept the plan under wraps until he was able, at a stroke, to become Daimler’s single largest shareholder.

The Germans in March agreed to build the next generation of Smart-branded city cars together with Geely, which is based in Hangzhou. Daimler has also reassured BAIC that any new industrial alliances involving Mercedes and a Chinese partner would only happen after a consensus is found with BAIC.

Source: Reuters

15/04/2019

China’s online authors grow 3.82 mln in 3 years

HANGZHOU, April 14 (Xinhua) — China had 8.62 million online authors as of 2018, a significant increase from 4.8 million in 2015, according to a national conference on digital reading.

Among the digital reading materials, original online works took up 79.8 percent last year, up from 69 percent three years ago, while Liu Shu, vice president of Amazon China, said that e-book readers still love classic works.

An industry report released by the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association at the conference showed that the value of China’s digital reading market reached 25.4 billion yuan last year, a 19.6 percent yearly growth.

About 432 million Chinese read digital publications on electronic devices during the year, averaging 12.4 digital publications per person and 71.3 minutes per read, the report said.

Over 66 percent of the respondents of the report were willing to pay for digital publications, up from 60.3 percent in 2016.

Since 2015, the conference has been held annually in east China’s city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province before World Book Day, which falls on April 23.

Source: Xinhua

05/04/2019

China Focus: Funeral reform fosters new trends in China

BEIJING, April 5 (Xinhua) — “The air and environment in the cemetery have been notably improved, with less people burning joss paper,” said Wang Fang, a tomb sweeper from Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

This year’s Tomb Sweeping Day, which falls on Friday, witnesses more changes, as China has made various efforts to reform funeral traditions in recent years, and ecological burial and environmentally friendly tomb sweeping practices are increasingly popular.

GREENER BURIAL

In a tea garden in Hangzhou in east China’s Zhejiang Province, there stands a hidden cemetery where burial plots are built under tea trees in a bid to enlarge its green area as well as conserve land.

“It would be good to return to nature here after I pass away,” said a local resident surnamed Wu.

China has seen progress in ecological burials in recent years, especially in developed cities. The first model ecological cemetery of Beijing has been built in Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery, with a green coverage rate of nearly 90 percent.

Currently, ecological burials in first-tier cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, takes up more than 20 percent of the total. It is expected that by 2020, the share of ecological burial across the country reach over 50 percent.

In addition, tomb sweeping practices have become greener. Most tomb sweepers would rather present flowers at tombstones than burn joss paper to pay tribute to their deceased families and friends.

On Tomb Sweeping Day, some cemeteries hold cultural activities, such as calligraphy and painting exhibitions as well as poetry recitals as an alternative to tomb sweeping.

LAND CONSERVATIVE

Besides the “tea garden burial,” other ecological burial methods in China include tree, flower, wall and sea burials.

Replacing traditional tombstones with trees and flower beds, putting urns on shelves in walls or just dropping ashes into the sea requires less or even no land.

“At first people said it was for those in financial difficulties to save money, but as time changes, the popularity of ecological burials have increased,” said Zhao Quansheng, manager of a Yinchuan-based cemetery.

“A customer told us that his father voluntarily asked for an ecological burial to conserve land,” Zhao said.

Non-profit cemeteries are also thriving in places of separate burial traditions. In Yishui County, east China’s Shandong Province, 110 non-profit cemeteries have been built, leading to conservation of large areas of land that otherwise would be utilized for burial sites.

Xue Feng, Party secretary of Yishui, said it used to take about 20 to 27 hectares of land to accommodate all the private tombs in the county, but now it only needs 10 percent of that.

LESS MONEY

China has beefed up funeral infrastructure and public services, with the number of funeral parlours and cemeteries reaching 1,760 and 1,420, respectively.

Since 2009, the Ministry of Civil Affairs has pushed forward fee reduction in basic public funeral services as well as other preferential policies, benefiting low-income groups. For example, commercial cemeteries in Chongqing, Gansu and Ningxia were required to set aside part of their burial sites as non-profits for those with financial difficulties.

“Now the whole funeral is free, including the urn and burial site, which is a great help for households with low incomes like us,” said Yuan Li, a rural resident from Yishui, where funeral services have been free of charge since 2017.

Xue said the fee-reduction policy could save the public nearly 200 million yuan (about 30 million U.S. dollars) annually.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs issued a pilot plan for funeral reform in 2017, and released guidelines with another 14 authorities on further reform in 2018.

“The funeral reforms help encourage fine and up-to-date practices and trends, and make contributions to land and ecological conservation,” said Ma Guanghai, sociology professor of Shandong University. “It is an important aspect of social progress.”

Source: Xinhua

13/03/2019

Chinese woman pays $44,710 back to crowdfunders who helped her father and ‘gives 300 people a warm hug’

  • When truck driver dad needed money to compensate pedestrian after accident, Hai Lin raised it online in one night and she paid it back two years before her deadline
In 2015, Hai Lin posted an appeal for 300 donations of 1,000 yuan on WeChat with a promise to pay lenders back within five years. Photo: Xinhua
In 2015, Hai Lin posted an appeal for 300 donations of 1,000 yuan on WeChat with a promise to pay lenders back within five years. Photo: Xinhua
A woman from southeastern China has returned 300,000 yuan (US$44,710) to 300 people – many of them strangers – who donated money to a crowdfunding appeal she started four years ago.
In 2015, Hai Lin posted an appeal for 300 donations of 1,000 yuan on WeChat, with a promise to pay lenders back within five years. She kept her promise – and paid back all her loans two years early.
The internet was abuzz with the story of Hai’s crowdfunder, which was reported by Pearvideo.com on Tuesday. Many people said it warmed their hearts and restored their confidence in society.

Shortly before that, Hai’s mother was admitted to hospital with bleeding on the brain.

“The man [hit by her father] was in critical condition,” Hai, then 27 and from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, was quoted in the Pearvideo.com as saying. “We had to hide the accident from my mother so that her rehabilitation won’t be affected.”

‘Social media queen’ closes WeChat account after fake story outrage

Hai said the accident was a big blow and, for the first time in her life, she felt frightened.

“My father told me that if we couldn’t afford the compensation, he would run away to escape the debt,” said Hai. “I said I would try my best to keep that from happening.”

In her post on WeChat, she wrote that she was looking for 300 people to lend her 1,000 yuan each. She planned to pay back those debts in five years by returning money to five lenders each month.

“It’s because I couldn’t find someone who could lend me 300,000 yuan at a one time,” said Hai. “Some friends said they could have loaned me 100,000 yuan, but I refused their kindness because that was too big an amount.”

Resourceful Hai Lin asked 300 people online for 1,000 yuan each to help her father out and was true to her word in repaying the money. Photo: Weibo
Resourceful Hai Lin asked 300 people online for 1,000 yuan each to help her father out and was true to her word in repaying the money. Photo: Weibo

To her surprise, 300 WeChat contacts, many of whom were not acquaintances, came up with the funds in one night.

In July 2015, Hai began to pay back the money she had borrowed. By July of last year, two years ahead of schedule and thanks to pay rises and year-end bonuses, the debt was cleared.

Some creditors had deleted Hai’s WeChat details, so she had to track them down.

“Girl, thank you for restoring trust which I thought I’d lost and for warm feelings that will stay with me,” one of her creditors wrote on WeChat.

Another said that when he received Hai’s money transfer he thought someone was joking. After recalling Hai’s appeal, he said he was touched by her gesture.

“You gave us 300 people a warm hug,” he said on WeChat.

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The report on pearvideo.com has scored more than 40,000 “likes” on Sina Weibo, China’s

Twitter-like, while users added 10,000 combined reposts and comments.

“In her [Hai’s] mind there was a debt while other people would treat it as donation,” an internet user wrote. “I think many people wouldn’t expect her to return the money.”

“It shows this woman is a nice person in her everyday life and deserves credits. I would lend money to people like her,” another wrote.

One cautious Weibo user said: “I’ve never loaned money to people whom I never met face-to-face and only chatted with online.”

“Is it a big thing that you borrow money and pay it back?” asked another user. “You borrow 1,000 yuan from a person and return it years later. Is it something to feel proud of?”

Source: SCMP

18/02/2019

Wooden-bench dragon dance performed to celebrate Chinese Lantern Festival in east China’s Zhejiang

CHINA-HANGZHOU-LANTERN FESTIVAL-CELEBRATION

Aerial photo shows members of a rural female dancing team performing wooden-bench dragon dance to celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival, which falls on Feb. 19 this year, at Yaokou Village of Huyuan Township in Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang Province, on Feb. 17, 2019.

Yaokou Village is famous for its wooden-bench dragon dance, which is originated from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The wooden-bench dragon is 130 meters long with 58 wooden benches linked together, on which various lantern decorations are installed. People dressed in traditional costumes would dance the wooden-bench dragon at major festival events to pray for good luck in a new year. (Xinhua/Xu Yu)

Source: Xinhua

10/02/2019

Chinese children miss out on winter holiday as parents send them back to class

  • Manager of private tuition centre in eastern city of Hangzhou says demand from parents has been ‘overwhelming’
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 February, 2019, 6:12pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 February, 2019, 6:12pm
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While most schoolchildren in the east China city of Hangzhou spent last week’s Lunar New Year holiday visiting relatives and opening cash-filled red envelopes, others found themselves taking extra lessons at a privately run tuition centre.

The manager of the company, surnamed Wong, said business had been brisk over the holiday period.

“Usually students have a week’s break for Lunar New Year, but not those who are sitting the gaokao,” he said, using the informal name for the National Higher Education Entrance Examination.

Demand for extra tuition from parents whose children were preparing for the test had been “overwhelming”, he said.

The cost of lessons during the holiday period was 250 yuan (US$37) per hour, Wong said, adding that most students had four lessons a day.

Chinese schoolchildren get a month’s holiday in the winter, which incorporates the national Lunar New Year break.

Wong’s centre does not just cater for older children. According to a report by local newspaper Metro Express, a woman surnamed Lu paid for her son, who goes to primary school, to have extra lessons in mathematics and science.

“Many children spend their whole winter holiday studying,” she said, but added that she had allowed her son to have last week off.

Another woman was quoted in the report as saying she had signed her child, who also goes to primary school, up for nine classes.

There are no laws against the operation of private tuition centres in China but they are governed by certain regulations. For instance, they cannot recruit people whose primary job is as a teacher and they are not allowed to teach classes beyond what the children have already learned in school.

China’s education ministry last year launched a review of more than 400,000 tuition centres and found problems of one sort or another at 65 per cent of them.

In the wake of that assessment, authorities in the cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, and the provinces of Shanxi, Liaoning and Zhejiang said they had rectified the problem. Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang.

According to a report by Xinhua, a secondary school student from Shanghai, nicknamed Xiao Ma, said she had to get up at 6.30am every day during the winter holiday to get to her extra lessons by 8.30am.

“I don’t ask for a lot,” she said. “I just wish there were a few days when I could get a bit more sleep and have time to see my friends.”

Source: SCMP

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