Archive for ‘yuan’

13/03/2019

China’s coastal province Shandong unveils bln-dollar infrastructure plan

JINAN, March 13 (Xinhua) — Transport authorities in east China’s Shandong Province announced that it plans to invest 162.2 billion yuan (about 24.2 billion U.S. dollars) on roads, railways, ports and airports this year.

The investment is aimed at building an integrated infrastructure network in the province, said Jiang Cheng, head of the provincial transport department.

Last year, fixed asset investment in Shandong’s transportation sector reached 160 billion yuan, among which 115.8 billion yuan was spent on roads, highways and waterways, up 28 percent year on year.

This year, 61 percent of the investment will be on roads, Jiang said.

Shandong has set a target for its expressway mileage to reach 7,400 km by 2020. By the end of this year, the total will hit 6,400 km, he said.

More roads, bridges, and stations will be built in rural areas, he added.

About 10 railway projects are under construction in the province this year, with a total planned investment of 32 billion yuan (4.7 billion dollars). Upon completion, the province will be better connected with big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin.

Shandong had a permanent population of 100.4 million at the end of 2018. It is one of the most populous provinces in China. An improved infrastructure network will better meet economic and social needs.

Source: Xinhua

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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.

Travel nightmares and how strangers crowdfund for injured tourists

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

10/03/2019

Wuhan to invest 40 bln yuan in high-tech infrastructure

WUHAN, March 9 (Xinhua) — The city of Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, will invest 40 billion yuan (about 6 billion U.S. dollars) to provide key support to the development of high-tech infrastructure by 2022, local authorities said.

The province and its capital will forge ahead with high-tech industries by raising a 10-billion-yuan fund per year for major projects, platforms, industrial parks, equipment and talent teams, from 2019 to 2022.

So far, a research facility of precise gravity measurement, a national major science and technology infrastructure, is under construction in the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan.

In the past few years, the city has completed a pulsed high magnetic field facility and opened China’s first national bio-safety level four lab, which requires the highest level of biological safety.

Wuhan will work with universities, institutes and enterprises to achieve great breakthroughs in various fields including integrated electromagnetic energy, optoelectronics, microelectronics, geomatics, and new materials, as well as build national laboratories.

Data released at the city’s science and technology conference for 2019 on Friday showed that the value added of the hi-tech industries in Wuhan exceeded 300 billion yuan last year, accounting for 20.56 percent of the city’s gross domestic product.

With 3,536 high-tech enterprises in total, the city is making efforts to build itself into a tech hub of the country.

Source: Xinhua

10/03/2019

China’s wealthy families are turning to long holidays abroad as their efforts emigrate overseas are halted

  • Foreign lifestyle experiences are becoming more popular as citizens seek to escape pollution, food and medicine safety worries and authoritarian government controls
  • Citizens encountering more barriers to their dreams of travelling abroad, with severe limits on moving money overseas and restrictions on visiting foreign countries
Thailand, including the likes of Chiang Mai, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand are popular destinations for Chinese families. Photo: Shutteratock
Thailand, including the likes of Chiang Mai, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand are popular destinations for Chinese families. Photo: Shutteratock

Xu Zhangle and her husband and their two children are a typical middle-class couple from Shenzhen, and along with 60 other Chinese families, they are going on an extended holiday to Thailand in July, where they hope to enjoy an immigrant-like life experience.

The family have paid a travel agent around 50,000 yuan (US$7,473) for the stay in Chiang Mai in the mountainous north of the country, including transport, a three-week summer camp for their daughters at a local international school, rent for a serviced apartment and daily expenses.

Zhangle loves Chiang Mai’s relaxed lifestyle and easy atmosphere and wants to live as a local for a month or even longer, instead of having to rush through a short-term holiday.

“It would not be just [tourist] travelling but rather a life away from the mainland.” she said.

Recently, upper middle-class citizens have increased their efforts to safeguard their wealth and achieve more freedom by spending more time abroad.

They have invested considerable amounts of money in overseas properties and applied for long-stay visas, although many of their attempts have ended in failure.

Chinese citizens are encountering more barriers to their dreams of travelling abroad, with severe limits on moving money overseas and restrictions on visiting foreign countries.

Still, growing anxieties about air pollution, food and medicine safety and an increasingly authoritarian political climate are pushing middle class families to look for new ways to circumvent the obstacles so they can live outside China.

Among the options, there is growing demand for sojourns abroad of a month or more, to enjoy a foreign lifestyle for a brief period to make up for the fact that their emigration dreams may have stalled.

“I think this is becoming a trend. Chinese middle-class families are facing increasing difficulties to emigrate and own homes overseas. On the other hand, they still yearn for more freedom, for a better quality of life than what is found in first-tier cities in China.

They are eager to seek alternatives to give themselves and their children a global lifestyle,” said Cai Mingdong, founder of Zhejiang Newway, an online tour and education operator in Ningbo, south of Shanghai.

“First, the availability of multiple-entry tourist visas and the sharp drop in air ticket prices have made it convenient and practical to stay abroad for from a few weeks to up to three months each year.”

Blacklist labels millions of Chinese citizens and businesses untrustworthy

Now, many well-to-do Chinese middle class families can get a tourist visa for five or even 10 years that allows them to stay in a number of countries — including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Asian countries — for up to six months at a time.

“In 2011, a round-trip air ticket from Shanghai to New Zealand cost 14,000 yuan (US$2,000), but now is about 4,000 (US$598),” added Cai.

This opens up the possibility for many middle-class families who are not eligible to emigrate, to live abroad for short periods of time.

Many wealthy Chinese middle class families can get a tourist visa for five or even 10 years that allows them to stay in several countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Asian countries, for up to six months at a time. Photo: AP
Many wealthy Chinese middle class families can get a tourist visa for five or even 10 years that allows them to stay in several countries including the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other Asian countries, for up to six months at a time. Photo: AP

Chinese tourists made more than 140 million trips outside the country in 2018, a 13.5 per cent increase from the previous year, spending an estimated US$120 billion, according to the China Tourism Academy, an official research institute under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

“In [the Thai cities of] Bangkok and Chiang Mai, there are more and more Chinese who stay there to experience the local lifestyle, which is different from theirs in China. The life there is very different from that in China,” said Owen Zhu, who now lives in the Bangkok condo he bought last year.

“The freedom, culture and community are diversified. The quality of air, food and services are much higher than in first-tier cities in China, but the prices are more affordable.

“In Bangkok, in many international apartment complexes where foreigners live, the monthly rent for a one-bedroom [apartment] is about 2,000 (US$298) to 3,000 yuan.”

China’s richest regions are also home to the most blacklisted firms
A one-bedroom apartment in Shenzhen in southern China is twice as expensive, with rents continuing to rise rapidly.

There are global goods, and it is easy to socialise with different people from around the world,” Zhu added

“Many Chinese people around me, really, come to Thailand to live for a while and go back to China, but then come back again after a few months.”

Both Cai and Zhu said they discovered the new phenomenon among China’s middle class and decided it was a business opportunity.

Growing anxieties about air pollution, food and medicine safety and an increasingly authoritarian political climate are pushing middle class families to look for new ways to circumvent the obstacles so they can live outside China. Photo: AP
Growing anxieties about air pollution, food and medicine safety and an increasingly authoritarian political climate are pushing middle class families to look for new ways to circumvent the obstacles so they can live outside China. Photo: AP

Zhu is in the process of registering a company in Bangkok and plans to build an online platform to service the needs of Chinese citizens living abroad who do not own property or have immigration status, especially members of the LGBT community.

Cai said dozens of Chinese families in the Yangtze River Delta had paid him to send their children to schools in New Zealand or Europe for around three or four weeks in the middle of the school year, while the parents rent villas in the area, with New Zealand and Toronto in Canada among the most popular destinations.

Last year, Zheng Feng, a single mother and freelance writer from Beijing, rented a small villa in Australia for a month for them, a friend and their children to escape Beijing’s pollution and experience life overseas.

“To be honest, I don’t have enough money to invest in a property or a green card in Australia. But it’s very affordable for me and my son to pay about 30,000 yuan (US$4,484) to live abroad for one or two months.” Zheng said.

China says 2018 growth was worth more than Australia’s whole GDP

Zheng will join the Xu family in Chiang Mai later this year and she is also planning a similar trip to England next year.

Zheng’s friend, Alice Yu, invested in an American EB-5 investor visa a few years ago, and plans to make one or two month-long trips abroad each year until her family is finally able to move to the United States.

Demand for the EB-5 investor visa in China seems to be waning given heightened uncertainty about the future of the programme and US immigration law in general under US President Donald Trump.

Approval for the visa can now take up to 10 years, resulting in a huge backlog that has further dampened interest and led to a significant dip in investment inflows into the US from foreign individuals.

A one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok can cost around bout 2,000 (US$298) to 3,000 yuan a month. Photo: AFP
A one-bedroom apartment in Bangkok can cost around bout 2,000 (US$298) to 3,000 yuan a month. Photo: AFP

“Maybe it will soon become standard for a real Chinese middle-class family to have the time and money to enjoy a long stay at a countryside villa overseas,” said Yu.

“Regardless of whether we can get a long-term visa for the United States, I want my children grow up in a global lifestyle and with more freedom than just growing up on the mainland. So do all wealthy and middle class Chinese families, I think.”

Karen Gao’s son started studying at an international school in Chiang Mai in June, at the cost of about 70,000 yuan (US$10,462) a year, after she quit her job as a public relations manager in Shenzhen and moved to Thailand on a tourist visa.

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“A few months each year for good air, good food and no censorship and internet control, but cheaper living costs compared to Beijing, it sounds like a really good deal to go,” said Gao, who has now been offered a guardian visa to accompany her son, who has already been given a student visa.

“In Shenzhen, I wasn’t able to get him into school because I had no [local] residence permit.

“It would be the best choice for us because we feel so uncertain and worried about investing and living in the mainland.”

Last year, Gao, like thousands of other private investors mostly middle class people living in first-tier cities, suffered significant losses when their investments in hotels and inns in Dali, Yunnan province, were demolished amid the local government’s campaign to curb pollution and improve the environment around Lake Erhai.

“We were robbed by the officials without proper compensation,” Gao said.

Source: SCMP

10/03/2019

China central bank pledges more policy support as bank lending slides

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank on Sunday pledged to further support the slowing economy by spurring loans and lowering borrowing costs, following data that showed a sharp drop in February’s bank lending due to seasonal factors.

The central bank is widely expected to ease monetary policy further this year to encourage lending especially to small and private firms vital for growth and job creation.

The central bank’s “prudent” monetary policy will emphasize on counter-cyclical adjustments, said People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Yi Gang, using a phrase that implies the need to fight an economic slowdown.

“The global economy still faces some downward pressure and China faces many risks and challenges in its economy and financial sector,” Yi said at a press conference on the sidelines of the country’s annual meeting of parliament.

There is still some room for the PBOC to cut reserve requirement ratios (RRRs), although the amount of room is less compared with a few years ago, Yi said.

Chinese banks made 885.8 billion yuan ($131.81 billion) in net new yuan loans in February, down sharply from a record 3.23 trillion yuan in January, when several other key credit gauges also picked up modestly in response to the central bank’s policy easing.

Yi said combined January-February new loans and total social financing (TSF), a broad measure of credit and liquidity in the economy, could paint a more accurate picture as they showed a rise of 374.8 billion yuan and 1.05 trillion yuan from a year earlier, respectively.

DEBT DEFAULTS

Analysts say China needs to revive weak credit growth to help head off a sharper economic slowdown this year, but investors are worried about a further jump in corporate debt and the risk to banks as they relax their lending standards.

Corporate bond defaults hit a record last year, while banks’ non-performing loan ratio notched a 10-year high.

Pan Gongsheng, a vice governor at the PBOC, told the same briefing that China will control the amount of bond defaults in 2019, using both legal and market means.

Pan conceded that bond defaults increased last year, but the level of defaults was not high compared with China’s average bad loan ratio.

Premier Li Keqiang told parliament on Tuesday that monetary policy would be “neither too tight nor too loose”. Li also pledged to push for market-based reforms to lower real interest rates.

Chinese policymakers have repeatedly vowed not to open the credit floodgates in an economy already saddled with piles of debt – a legacy of massive stimulus during the global financial crisis in 2008-09 and subsequent downturns.

Sources have told Reuters the central bank is not ready to cut benchmark interest rates just yet, but is likely to cut market-based rates.

Yi said the downward trend in TSF has been initially curbed and broad M2 money supply growth will be more or less in line with nominal gross domestic product growth in 2019, Yi added.

Central bank data showed growth of outstanding TSF, a rough gauge of broad credit conditions, slowed to 10.1 percent in February from January’s 10.4 percent, versus a record low of 9.8 percent in December.

M2 money supply grew 8.0 percent in February from a year earlier, missing forecasts, the central bank data showed. Yi said China’s macro leverage ratio, or the amount of debt relative to GDP, was at 249.4 percent at the end of 2018, a fall of 1.5 percentage points from a year earlier, Yi said.
Analysts note there is a time lag before a jump in lending will translate into growth, suggesting business conditions may get worse before they get better.
Most economists expect a rocky first half before conditions begin to stabilize around mid-year as support measures begin to have a greater impact.
China’s economic growth is expected to cool to around 6.2 percent this year, a 29-year low, according to Reuters polls.
Growth slowed to 6.6 percent last year, with domestic demand curbed by higher borrowing rates and tighter credit conditions and exporters hit by the escalating trade war with the United States.
Source: Reuters
26/02/2019

China’s service trade hits record high in 2018

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) — China’s service trade rose 11.5 percent year-on-year and hit a record high in 2018, the Ministry of Commerce said Tuesday.

Imports and exports of services totaled 5.24 trillion yuan (about 782.1 billion U.S. dollars) last year, ranking the world’s second largest for five years in a row, the Ministry of Commerce said on its website after a national meeting on service trade.

As the country continued to transition its economy, the service sector prospered and contributed to nearly 60 percent of GDP growth.

The country will move to expand service exports, boost service consumption and push poverty reduction through development of the household service industry, according to the ministry.

The country will also work to promote high-quality development of the service trade and commercial service sector, and expand the overseas service market with a focus on countries along the Belt and Road, Xian Guoyi, a ministry official, said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Source: Xinhua

23/02/2019

Trump says he’s inclined to extend China trade deadline and meet Xi soon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday there was “a very good chance” the United States would strike a deal with China to end their trade war and that he was inclined to extend his March 1 tariff deadline and meet soon with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“I think that we both feel there’s a very good chance a deal will happen,” Trump said.

Liu agreed there had been “great progress”.

“From China, we believe that (it) is very likely that it will happen and we hope that ultimately we’ll have a deal. And the Chinese side is ready to make our utmost effort,” he said at the White House.

The Republican president said he probably would meet with Xi in March in Florida to decide on the most important terms of a trade deal.

 

Optimism that the two sides will find a way to end the trade war lifted stocks, especially technology shares. The S&P 500 stock index reached its highest closing level since Nov. 8. Oil prices rose to their highest since mid-November, with Brent crude reaching a high of $67.73 a barrel. [.N] [O/R]

CURRENCY AGREEMENT

Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the two sides had reached an agreement on currency. Trump declined to provide details, but U.S. officials long have expressed concerns that China’s yuan is undervalued, giving China a trade advantage and partly offsetting U.S. tariffs.

Announcement of a pact aimed at limiting yuan depreciation was putting “the currency cart before the trade horse,” but would likely be positive for Asian emerging market currencies, said Alan Ruskin, global head of currency strategy at Deutsche Bank in New York.

“How can you agree to avoid excessive Chinese yuan depreciation or volatility if you have not made an agreement on trade that could have huge FX implications?” Ruskin asked in a note to clients.

In a letter to Trump read aloud by an aide to Liu at the White House, Xi called on negotiators to work hard to strike a deal that benefits both country.

Trump said a deal with China may extend beyond trade to encompass Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp.

The Justice Department has accused Huawei of conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran and of stealing robotic technology from T-Mobile US Inc.

Chinese peer ZTE was last year prevented from buying essential components from U.S. firms after pleading guilty to similar charges, crippling its operations.

MEMORANDUMS NO MORE

Trump appeared at odds with his top negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, on the preliminary terms that his team is outlining in memorandums of understanding for a deal with China. Trump said he did not like MOUs because they are short term, and he wanted a long-term deal.

“I don’t like MOUs because they don’t mean anything,” Trump said. “Either you are going to make a deal or you’re not.”

Lighthizer responded testily that MOUs were binding, but that he would never use the term again.

Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that the two sides were drafting the language for six MOUs covering the most difficult issues in the trade talks that would require structural economic change in China.

Negotiators have struggled this week to agree on specific language within those memorandums to address tough U.S. demands, according to sources familiar with the talks. The six memorandums include cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade, including subsidies.

An industry source briefed on the talks said both sides have narrowed differences on intellectual property rights, market access and narrowing a nearly $400 billion U.S. trade deficit with China. But bigger differences remain on changes to China’s treatment of state-owned enterprises, subsidies, forced technology transfers and cyber theft of U.S. trade secrets.

Lighthizer pushed back when questioned on forced technology transfers, saying the two sides made “a lot of progress” on the issue, but did not elaborate.

The United States has said foreign firms in China are often coerced to transfer their technology to Chinese firms if they want to operate there. China denies this.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Friday urged the U.S. government to ensure the deal was comprehensive and addressed core issues, rather than one based on more Chinese short-term purchases of goods.

China has pledged to increase purchases of agricultural produce, energy, semiconductors and industrial goods to reduce its trade surplus with the United States.

China committed to buying an additional 10 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans on Friday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Twitter. China bought about 32 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in 2017. The commitments are a “show of good faith by the Chinese” and “indications of more good news to come,” Perdue wrote.

China was the top buyer of U.S. soybeans before the trade war, but Beijing’s retaliatory tariffs on U.S. soybeans slashed business that had been worth $12 billion annually.

Source: Reuters

13/01/2019

Bank of China to enable payment in yuan on U.S. e-commerce platforms: Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) – Bank of China’s New York branch will enable Chinese firms to receive payment in yuan rather than dollars from their sales on U.S. e-commerce platforms this year, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Pledging to introduce more services for small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in cross-border trade between the United States and China, executives from the branch said payment in yuan would be possible by tapping new functions of e-MPay, a cross-border payment system launched by the branch in 2016.

The branch is developing a system using an existing platform to “facilitate trade finance for e-commerce players,” said Xu Chen, president and chief executive officer of Bank of China USA, Xinhua reported, without providing further details.

The system will adhere to U.S. anti-money laundering rules through artificial intelligence and cyber security technologies, Xu added.

A unit of fellow state-owned bank Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) last year settled money laundering charges in the United States.

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