Posts tagged ‘Tianjin’

21/12/2015

Successor to Saab announces $12 billion China electric car deal | Reuters

If this initiative gathers momentum, China will do more for electric cars (and for climate change) than the rest of the world put together!

“The China-focussed consortium that bought bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab – and bet on going all electric – unveiled its first major deal on Thursday, a mammoth $12 billion (8 billion pounds) order for electric cars for a Chinese leasing company.

NEVS electric car

The single order for 250,000 electric vehicles, including 150,000 cars based on the Saab 9-3 sedan, appeared to be all but unprecedented. There were just 665,000 electric cars in the world and 83,000 in China as of the end of 2014, according to the International Energy Agency.

National Electric Vehicle Sweden (Nevs) said it would swiftly hire hundreds of workers in Sweden to start building cars for Panda New Energy, a Chinese firm it said leases zero-emission vehicles to chauffeur-driven fleets.

Those based on the Saab 9-3 compact sedan will have a new chassis for electric drive, with bodies built and painted in Sweden and sent to China for final assembly. No details were given about the other 100,000 but a company spokesman said they would primarily be built in China.

Nevs bought the assets of the bankrupt 70-year-old Swedish automaker in 2012 with the aim of transforming it into a leading global producer of electric cars. It exited corporate reorganisation procedures in April.

“This is a strategic collaboration for Nevs not only in terms of the numbers of vehicles, but it is also an important step to implement our vision and new business plan,” Nevs Vice Chairman Stefan Tilk said in a statement.

“Cooperating with many chauffeured car service platforms in China, Panda aims to become one of the biggest electric vehicle leasing companies in the world,” Nevs said of its customer.

Nevs, which was created in 2012, has so far sold only a limited number of gasoline-powered cars based on Saab’s latest model. The deal is the first it has signed in line with its plans to go electric.

“It will be a huge challenge to produce that many cars. Their around 800 suppliers will make up a substantial part of that challenge,” said Skovde University business administration professor Mikael Wickelgren.

Nevs is co-owned by a holding company called National Modern Energy Holdings, as well as the Beijing State Research Information Technology Co. (SRIT) and Chinese industrial park Tianjin Binhai Hi-tech industrial Development Area (THT).

Nevs said at the time of the purchase of Saab’s assets that it would convert the Saab 9-3 to electric power, while simultaneously developing an all-new model to produce in Sweden for the European market and in China for the Chinese market.

($1 = 6.4822 Chinese yuan renminbi)”

Source: Successor to Saab announces $12 billion China electric car deal | Reuters

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21/08/2015

China gets Chariots of Fire sequel up and running

The much-loved British film Chariots of Fire about the Scottish runner and missionary Eric Liddell is getting a sequel thanks to his many fans in China.

Ian Charleston as Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire

Joseph Fiennes will play Riddell in a new movie filmed in China, co-written and directed by the Hong Kong director Stephen Shin with Canadian director Michael Parker.

It will be distributed by the Hong Kong-based Alibaba Pictures, who this morning also announced that they are to back the fifth Mission Impossible film.

Chariots of Fire, which won four Oscars in 1982, starred Ian Charleson as Liddell, a devout Christian who had to choose between his sport and religious beliefs at the 1924 Paris Olympics. Months before the Olympics took place, Liddell had to drop his plans to enter his preferred 100m race because the heats took place on a Sunday. Instead, he trained for the 400m and succeeded in taking the gold medal for Great Britain.

The Independent reports that the Chinese-born Liddell is regarded as a hero in China, partly for his sporting prowess but also for his actions in the Japanese internship camp where he died aged 43. Liddell was thought to have organised the smuggling of food in to prisoners.

Born in China to missionary parents, he returned to that country after his Olympic victory to continue his parents’ work. In 1934 he married fellow missionary Florence Mackenzie with whom he had three children.

Liddell remained in China after Japan invaded in 1937. In 1943, he was held in an internment camp in Weifang, and died of a brain tumour two years later, aged 43. In 2008, shortly before the Beijing Olympics, it was revealed that Winston Churchill had negotiated his release through a prisoner swap, which Liddell turned down so that a pregnant inmate could gain freedom instead.

China allows only 34 non-Chinese films to be shown in its mainland cinemas each year. Alibaba Pictures says that it “should” get such a release.

Such a focus on religion is unusual for a film in China, where the Communist government promotes atheism.

via China gets Chariots of Fire sequel up and running.

22/07/2015

Airbus China plant plans to deliver first A330 plane in 2018 | Reuters

Airbus’ (AIR.PA) China plant is expected to deliver its first A330 wide-body passenger jet in 2018, one of the European planemaker’s Chinese partners said on Wednesday.

A worker uses a drill to screw bolts into the wing of an A320 plane that is under construction at the Airbus factory located in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin September 14, 2010.  REUTERS/David Gray

Airbus earlier this month signed an agreement to establish an A330 ‘cabin completion center’ in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, where the firm already has a final assembly plant for smaller A320 jets.

The agreement was signed with the Aviation Industry Corp of China [SASADY.UL] and the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone. Airbus hopes the increased presence in China would lead to more demand for the profitable but ageing wide-body A330 jets.

In a statement posted on its website, the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone, said it expects construction of the plant to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2017, with the first plane to be delivered to customers in early 2018.

The plant will help further China’s goal of building its own jets to cater to what is expected to become the world’s biggest air transport market. Currently it depends mostly on imported jets from Airbus and Boeing (BA.N).

Facilities for cabin decoration, painting, and flight testing of the A330 series would also be established in the next 10 years, the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone said.

The agreement to build the A330 plant, which will be capable of fitting out 2 planes a month, came after China placed an order for 45 A330 aircraft worth at least $11 billion, together with provisional purchases of another 30 planes.

via Airbus China plant plans to deliver first A330 plane in 2018 | Reuters.

26/01/2015

Urbanisation: The great sprawl of China | The Economist

IN ANCIENT times, Beijing built towering city walls that helped to prevent undefendable sprawl. These days it builds ring roads, stretching built-up areas ever outwards. Near Langfang, a city halfway between the capital and its giant neighbour Tianjin, diggers dip their heads and cement mixers churn, paving the next circular expressway. When complete, the 900km (560-mile) Seventh Ring Road will surround Beijing at such a distance that most of it will run through the neighbouring province of Hebei, to which Langfang belongs, rather than the capital itself. Parts of it are 175km from Beijing’s centre (see map).

The Seventh Ring Road (really the sixth, but for obscure reasons there is no First Ring Road) is emblematic of modern Chinese cities: giant, sprawling and dominated by cars. Even before it is completed in a year or two (and its use assessed), another, even longer, orbital is being plotted. Like many of China’s infrastructure projects, the new road displays engineering prowess. The country’s successes in urban planning are less evident.

Breakneck urban growth has propelled China’s rise in the past three decades. Migration from the countryside has helped expand the urban population by 500m—the biggest movement of humanity the planet has seen in such a short time. Over half the population is now urban. Some live in the basements of apartment blocks, or in shacks built in courtyards. But Chinese cities have mostly avoided the squalor of many developing-world ones.

The result of this urban growth is not just that China has many large cities—more than 100 of them have more than a million people—but that some are supersized. At the end of last year the government at last acknowledged the special nature of these, introducing the term “megacity” to describe those whose populations, including that of their satellite towns, exceed 10m. Of the 30 cities worldwide that match this definition, six are in China: Shanghai (23m), Beijing (19.5m), Chongqing (13m), Guangzhou (12m), Shenzhen (11m) and Tianjin (11m). A further ten Chinese cities contain 5m-10m people. At least one of these, Wuhan, will pass 10m within a decade.

China depends on its cities for economic growth and innovation. But it is failing to make the most of its largest conurbations. Medium-sized agglomerations of 1.5m-6.5m are outperforming bigger ones in terms of environmental protection, economic development, efficient use of resources and the provision of welfare, says McKinsey, a consultancy. Residents are beginning to question whether their quality of life, which for many has improved by leaps and bounds, will continue to do so. The giant cities are polluted, pricey and congested. Average travel speed in Beijing is half that in New York or Singapore.

Most of China’s cities share the legacy of a central-planning mindset in which all life and work was centred on a single “work unit”. Cities were “built as producer centres rather than consumer ones”, says Tom Miller, author of “China’s Urban Billion”. Their planning focus was on industry; not commerce, services or even community. The work units are gone but the tradition of dehumanising architecture persists. Most new developments are built on giant blocks 400-800 metres long.

China has swapped its socialist dream for an American-style one of cars and sprawling suburbs. The number of cars has increased more than tenfold in the past decade, to 64m. The combination of superblocks and car-lust often adds up to a giant jam. Large blocks mean fewer roads to disperse traffic. Guidelines require a main urban road every 500 metres and an eight-lane road every kilometre. In the case of Beijing, a ring and radial system was also created, with the aim of providing speedy road access in and out of town, bypassing city traffic and linking satellite towns. Not a bad idea, except that workplaces have remained concentrated in the centre. The expressways funnel traffic into gridlock.

The ill-defined ownership rights of farmers have encouraged the sprawl. Officials can expropriate rural land easily and at little cost. Doing so is far cheaper than redeveloping existing urban areas. Industrial land is heavily subsidised, so factories have remained in urban areas rather than move to cheaper sites on city outskirts. The amount of land classified as urban has more than doubled since 2000—40% of new urbanites became so when cities engulfed their villages.

Sprawl has resulted in populations becoming more thinly spread. China’s megacities are less dense than equivalents elsewhere in the world (see chart). Guangzhou could contain another 4m people if it was as packed as Seoul in South Korea; Shenzhen could be larger by 5m. Extending outward takes a toll: slow commutes from far-flung suburbs increase fuel consumption and cut productivity.

Massive spending on infrastructure has hugely improved connections within and between cities. Since 1992 China has spent 8.5% of its national income on infrastructure each year, far more than Europe and America (2.6%) or India (3.9%). Yet city residents still complain. Subways are often built as engineering projects, with stops at set distances, rather than where people want them to be, says Sean Chiao of Aecom, an infrastructure firm. Buses, metros and rail networks are poorly integrated because separate agencies manage them.

via Urbanisation: The great sprawl of China | The Economist.

11/11/2014

Airbus aims to double China component sourcing value to $1 billion by 2020 | Reuters

European jet maker Airbus Group NV (AIR.PA) aims to double the annual value of aircraft components it sources from China to $1 billion by 2020, the firm’s China Chief Operating Officer, Rafael Gonzalez-Ripoll-Garzon, said on Tuesday.

A flight test engineer holds an Airbus Group flag after the first flight of the Airbus A320neo (New Engine Option) in Colomiers near Toulouse, southwestern France, September 25, 2014.  REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

The Airbus executive’s comment, made on the sidelines of China’s premier airshow in Zhuhai, came as the European firm’s chief rival Boeing (BA.N) said it’s also seeking to ramp up China component sourcing.

Kent Fisher, Boeing Commercial Airplane’s vice-president and general manager of supplier management, said that over the next few years his company is looking to double the $2 billion worth of aircraft parts it has sourced from China in total over the last 30 years. Fisher was speaking at a separate press briefing at the air show and didn’t provide further details.

Boeing also said it had signed a deal with Aviation Industry Corporation of China to produce composite tail parts for the Boeing 777 program, beginning in 2017.

Airbus and Boeing have been competing fiercely in China, which will need over 6,020 new planes worth $870 million the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s latest forecast.

Both have been increasing their sourcing in China, using locally made composite materials and parts like emergency doors in aircraft like the Airbus A330 and Boeing B787 jets.

via Airbus aims to double China component sourcing value to $1 billion by 2020 | Reuters.

30/09/2014

Water consumption: A canal too far | The Economist

THREE years ago the residents of Hualiba village in central China’s Henan province were moved 10km (six miles) from their homes into squat, yellow houses far from any source of work or their newly allocated fields. These days only the very young and very old live there. Close to their old farms, a giant concrete canal now cuts a swathe. From October 31st the channel will gush with water flowing from China’s lush south to the parched north.

The new waterway is part of the biggest water-diversion scheme in the world: the second arm of what is known as the South-North Water Diversion Project. This is designed to solve an age-old imbalance. The north of China has only a fifth of the country’s naturally available fresh water but two-thirds of the farmland. The problem has grown in recent decades because of rapid urban growth and heavy pollution of scarce water supplies.

The result is a chronic shortage. The World Bank defines water scarcity as less than 1,000 cubic metres (35,300 cubic feet) of fresh water per person per year. Eleven of China’s 31 provinces are dryer than this. Each Beijing resident has only 145 cubic metres a year of available fresh water. In 2009 the government said that nearly half the water in seven main rivers in China was unfit for human consumption. All this has encouraged ever greater use of groundwater. Much of this is now polluted too.

In 1952 Mao Zedong suggested the north could “borrow” water from the south. After his death China’s economic boom boosted demand for such a scheme and provided the cash to enable it. In 2002 the diversion project got under way. An initial phase was completed last year. This involved deepening and broadening the existing Grand Canal, which was built some 1,400 years ago, to take 14.8 billion cubic metres of water a year more than 1,100km northward from the Yangzi river basin towards the port city of Tianjin.

In late October the second, far more ambitious and costly route is due to open. This new watercourse, over a decade in the making, will push 13 billion cubic metres of water more than 1,200km from the Danjiangkou dam in the central province of Hubei to the capital, Beijing. The aim is to allow industry and agriculture to keep functioning; already in 2008 Beijing started pumping in emergency supplies from its neighbouring province, Hebei. The new canal will help avert an imminent crisis. But the gap between water supply and demand will remain large and keep growing.

The transfer will supply about a third of Beijing’s annual demand. A spur of the canal will provide an even greater proportion of Tianjin’s. But these shares will shrink over time. Even if people use less water, population growth, the expansion of cities and industrialisation will increase China’s overall demand. By lubricating further water-intensive growth the current project may even end up exacerbating water stress in the north.

Shifting billions of cubic metres across the country has caused huge disruption. The government says it has moved 330,000 people to make way for the central route. Laixiang Sun of the University of Maryland in America reckons the number uprooted is at least half a million. There will also be health and environmental costs. Diverting river-water northward could promote the spread of diseases common in the south, particularly schistosomiasis, a debilitating snail-borne disease. Reduced flow in the Yangzi may make coastal water supplies vulnerable to intrusion by seawater and increase the potential for drought.

The financial cost is also high. Mr Sun puts the cost of the project at more than $62 billion—far higher than the original $15 billion price tag. His estimate does not include the running of the project or the building of 13 new water-treatment plants to clean the water.

By increasing supply, the government is failing to confront the real source of the problem: high demand for water and inefficient use of it. Chinese industry uses ten times more water per unit of production than the average in industrialised countries, according to a report by the World Bank in 2009. A big reason for this is that water in China is far too cheap. In May 2014 Beijing introduced a new system that makes tap water more expensive the more people use. But prices are still far from market levels. Officials turn a blind eye to widespread extraction of un-tariffed groundwater by city dwellers and farmers, despite plummeting groundwater levels.

Raising the price would cut demand and encourage more efficient use. It should also help lure industry away from water-scarce areas where prices would be set at higher rates. Arid areas that are forced by the government to pipe water into desiccated cities like Beijing could offset their losses by charging higher tariffs.

via Water consumption: A canal too far | The Economist.

13/08/2014

Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

Beijing cut coal consumption by 7 percent in the first half of 2014 as part of its efforts to tackle smog, the city’s environmental protection bureau said.

Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year

Beijing is at the front line of a “war on pollution” declared by the central government earlier this year in a bid to head off public unrest about the growing environmental costs of economic development.

The city has already started to close or relocate hundreds of factories and industrial plants.

The coal-fired power generators at Beijing’s Gaojing Thermal Power Plant are decommissioned on July 23. Provided to China Daily

It will also raise vehicle fuel standards and is mulling the introduction of a congestion charge.

To reduce coal consumption, it is in the process of shutting down all of its aging coal-fired power plants and replacing them with cleaner natural gas-fired capacity or with power delivered via the grid.

Based on last year’s coal consumption level of 19 million metric tons, the 7 percent cut would amount to around 1.33 million tons per year.

Beijing has said previously that it plans to reduce total coal use by 2.6 million tons in 2014, and aims to slash consumption to less than 10 million tons per year by 2017.

The Beijing environmental bureau said the city had cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 5.4 percent over the first six months of the year.

It also took 176,000 substandard vehicles off the road.

Previous data issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection showed that concentrations of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 stood at 91.6 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing in the first half of the year, down 11.2 percent year-on-year but still more than twice the recommended national limit of 35 mcg.

Much of the pollution that hits Beijing drifts in from the surrounding province of Hebei, a major industrial region that is home to seven of China’s 10 most polluted cities.

Under new plans to integrate Beijing with Hebei and the port city of Tianjin, the region will be treated as a “single entity” with unified industrial and emission standards.

Hebei said last week that it had cut coal consumption by 7.53 million tons in the first half of 2014, amounting to just over half of its target of 15 million tons for the year.

The province agreed last year to cut coal use by 40 million tons by 2017, and it is also planning to shed at least 60 million tons of excess steel capacity over the same period.

via Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

01/04/2014

Almost 10,000 Divorces Each Day in China’s Breakup Boom – Businessweek

China is facing a boom in breakups. Almost 10,000 marriages end in divorce every day, a figure that has been growing for the past decade, according to a report in China Daily citing Zhang Shifeng, head of the department of social affairs at the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Almost 10,000 Divorces Each Day in China's Breakup Boom

In 2012, the last year for which figures were available, China counted 3.1 million divorces, up 133 percent over 2003. Big cities are the epicenter of China’s new wave of “conscious uncoupling,” including Shanghai, Tianjin, and Beijing. In the capital, 164,000 couples tied the knot in 2012, while one-third as many dissolved their marriages—pushing the number of divorces up 65 percent since 2011.

In most cases the irreconcilable differences at the root of China’s rising divorces are common ones around the world: Top of the list are extramarital affairs, domestic violence, and an inability to communicate, said Du Huanghai, a Shanghai attorney cited in the China Daily report. Urbanites in their 20s and 30s “lack the patience to adapt to each other or make the necessary compromises, so their marriages are often in a fragile state,” Du said.

via Almost 10,000 Divorces Each Day in China’s Breakup Boom – Businessweek.

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23/01/2014

China approves 12 more free trade zones |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn

China\’s central government has given the nod to 12 free trade zones (FTZs) following the one in Shanghai, amid a spurt of nationwide enthusiasm for such schemes.

Tianjin Municipality and Guangdong Province have been green-lit to set up FTZs, a source with knowledge of the approval told Xinhua-run Economic Information Daily on Wednesday, refusing to leak the remaining 10.

After consent from the cabinet, a group of central government departments will conduct a joint survey of the proposed zones, and hammer out specific establishment plans in a process that may last more than a year, said the source.

So far, Tianjin and Guangdong have completed the survey part, which the other 10 have just started, according to the source.

Provincial regions including Zhejiang, Shandong, Liaoning, Henan, Fujian, Sichuan, Guangxi and Yunnan, and cities including Suzhou, Wuxi and Hefei have all said that filing FTZ applications is high up their 2014 priority list.

\”China sets no limits on FTZ numbers and no timetables on building them, as long as they meet the requirements of an FTZ,\” added the source.

Huo Jianguo, head of a research institute with China\’s Commerce Ministry, said the emerging FTZs could be testing grounds for further opening-up policies, and serve as the bright spot of the country\’s economic development.

Last September, China established the Shanghai FTZ, the first of its kind, as a national strategic trial to further tap market forces and push market-oriented trade and investment reforms.

via China approves 12 more free trade zones |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn.

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16/01/2014

China’s Hebei closes more than 8,000 polluting firms in 2013 | Reuters

China shut down 8,347 heavily polluting companies last year in northern Hebei province, which has the worst air in the country, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday, as the government moves to tackle a problem that has been a source of discontent.

Residents ride bicycles along a street amid heavy haze in Xingtai, Hebei province November 3, 2013. Dense smog has periodically shrouded major cities in north and northeast China in recent years, raising increasing public discontent, Xinhua News Agency reported. REUTERS/China Daily

Local authorities will block new projects and punish officials in regions where pollution is severe due to lax enforcement, Xinhua cited Yang Zhiming, deputy director of the Hebei provincial bureau of environmental protection, as saying.

High pollution levels have sparked widespread public anger and officials concerned about social unrest have responded by implementing tougher policies.

Hebei, the country\’s biggest steel producer, is home to as many as seven of its 10 most polluted cities, Xinhua said, citing statistics published monthly by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Pollution in Hebei often spreads to neighboring Beijing and Tianjin. On Thursday, Beijing was blanketed in its worst smog in months. An index measuring PM2.5 particles, especially bad for health, reached 500 in much of the capital in the early hours.

Some small high-polluting plants are being relocated to remote areas to avoid oversight, Xinhua quoted Yang as saying. He said the government would \”beef up the industrial crackdown\”.

China has drawn up dozens of laws and guidelines to improve the environment but has struggled to enforce them in the face of powerful enterprises.

via China’s Hebei closes more than 8,000 polluting firms in 2013 | Reuters.

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