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Belt and Road Initiative means opportunities for China-Malaysia relations: Ambassador

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian delivers an opening speech at the China-Malaysia Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation on July 29 in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo/Huanqiu.com)

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) means opportunities for bilateral ties between China and Malaysia, Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said on July 29 in his opening speech at the China-Malaysia Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation.

“Many Malaysian friends ask me what BRI means to China-Malaysia relations. To put it simply, it means opportunities,” Bai said at the forum, which kicked off on July 29 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital.

Malaysia is closely connected to the China-proposed BRI, said Bai, explaining that the country was an important stop along the ancient Silk Road, and that the story of China’s famous Ming Dynasty voyager Zheng He is still widely circulated in Malaysia today.

“Malaysia was among the first countries to respond to and support the BRI since Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed it in 2013,” Bai said, adding that “BRI has brought opportunities for broader and closer pragmatic cooperation between China and Malaysia, and has served as an opportunity for better mutual understanding between the two peoples.”

Elaborating on specific goals and requirements in China’s plan to put forward the BRI promoting high-quality development, Bai said these goals and requirements will ensure that the future cooperation under the BRI will be carried out more solidly and smoothly, stressing that this will surely generate more tangible interests for the participants of the BRI including Malaysia.

“Boosting BRI construction is an important sign of sticking to and safeguarding openness, inclusiveness, and multilateralism. Malaysia has made its choices concerning such issues as the BRI, China-U.S. trade war, the 5G network and Huawei, which we highly appreciate,” said Bai.

“China and Malaysia both advocate free trade and multilateral trade systems, and have been committed to promoting the establishment of a fairer and more rational international political and economic order,” said Bai, noting that the two countries “have much in common and share many international partners that they can combine in efforts to surmount difficulties and pursue common development.”

Calling on China and Malaysia to promote all-dimensional friendly cooperation, Bai said more competitive Malaysian products are welcome to expand business in the Chinese market.

As one of the BRI-themed forum series on people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries, the China-Malaysia Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation was jointly hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia, and Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia.

The forum was organized by China’s media outlet Global Times Online, and got the support of the Malaysia-China Business Council, LKK Health Products Group, National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, and the Confucius Institute at the University of Malaya.

Former Philippine President Arroyo: It’s fitting to call the Belt and Road Initiative ‘Globalization 2.0’

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo delivers a keynote speech at the Belt and Road China-Philippines Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation held in Manila. (Photo/Huanqiu.com)

It’s fitting that today scholars describe the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as “Globalization 2.0”, former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said in her keynote speech at Belt and Road China-Philippines Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation, which kicked off on July 26 in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

“I appreciate that China is now developing into a powerful advocate for safeguarding and developing an open world economy. This is significant in the face of the rise of anti-globalization in favor of old-style nationalism,” Arroyo said at the forum, which attracted over 200 dignitaries, experts and industry leaders from China and the Philippines.

“Scholars point out that ‘Globalization 2.0’ is more about investment, infrastructure and development rather than just trade in the old times”, noted Arroyo, who said that the BRI is “China’s broadest platform for collaboration and cooperation”.

Pointing out that trade and investments relationships, such as those governed by regional agreements, are like the software that provide a framework for world trade and investments, Arroyo added, “but we also need the hardware, and this is where the Belt and Road Initiative comes in to provide the brick and mortar infrastructures, without which international trade and investments cannot flourish.”

“The Belt and Road Initiative fits in very nicely with the Philippines’ ‘Build, Build, Build’ project,” said Arroyo, stressing that the Philippines can play a role in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and that “some China-funded infrastructure projects have already started in the Philippines.”

“From the point of view of the Philippines, as an economist and former president, I dare say that we would greatly appreciate and benefit from increased flows of capital and technology from China, in areas ranging from agriculture to digital advancements,” said Arroyo.

Belt and Road China-Philippines Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation held in Manila. (Photo/Huanqiu.com)

Aiming to promote people-to-people as well as economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between China and the Philippines, the Belt and Road China-Philippines Forum on People-to-People Exchanges and Economic Cooperation consisted of a main forum and three sub-forums on think tank and media dialogue, infrastructure cooperation, and culture and health industry cooperation respectively.

The forum was jointly hosted by China Public Diplomacy Association and Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines, co-organized by Global Times Online and Confucius Institute at the Ateneo De Manila University, and supported by the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Philippine Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce, and LKK Health Products Group, while the Embassy of China in the Republic of the Philippines also offered special support for the forum.

The forum held in Manila was the first stop of the Belt and Road-themed forum series on people-to-people exchanges and economic cooperation between China and Southeast Asian countries. Each of the forums comprises of a main forum and several sub-forums on different subjects.

Chinese cities roll out measures to boost nighttime economy

(Photo provided by Beijing Municipal Commerce Bureau )

Cities in China have taken measures to develop nighttime economy, building a diversified late-night consumption market that covers industries such as catering, tourism and entertainment.

Beijing decided to start with some well-known business districts in the city, such as Huaxi Live Wukesong and Sanlitun. It plans to set up a set of well-managed and distinctive nighttime landmarks, business districts and living areas by the end of 2021.

Shanghai issued an official document promoting the nighttime economy in April, including 24-hour movie theaters. Grand Theater and Cathay Theater became the first two theaters that open after midnight in July.

Some cities combine the nighttime economy with local sites. Nanjing in east China’s Jiangsu province held activities at night to attract tourists to the Confucius Temple and Qinhuai scenic areas.

Developing nighttime economy will stimulate consumption and bring new job opportunities, said Lai Youwei, head of Meituan Research Institute, Meituan-Dianping, China’s leading provider of on-demand services.

Data from Meituan show that in 2018, the business volume of nighttime catering increased by 47 percent compared with the previous year, 2 percentage points higher than that in the daytime.

Consumers who book tickets on the platform to visit the theme parks at night doubled this summer and the page views of related products rose by nearly 40 percent.

Han Yuanjun, a scholar with China Tourism Academy, said that the nighttime economy continues to develop because consumers grow fond of late-night pastimes, especially in summer. Meanwhile, stores and restaurants hope to increase their revenues by doing business at night.

To facilitate the nighttime economy, the government needs to improve the relevant infrastructure and services such as public transportation. Beijing extended operations of the subway Line 1 and Line 2 after midnight on Fridays and Saturdays starting from July 19. The new timetable will run from May to October.

China’s large equipment gains an increased foothold in global market

A train runs on the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway during an operational test near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Oct 3, 2016. (Photo/Xinhua)

China’s large equipment industry, such as railways and nuclear power plants, is now gaining an increased foothold in the global market.

Contracted by China Railway Group and China Railway Construction Corporation, the first electrified railway in Africa connecting Addis Ababa and Djibouti officially started commercial operations in 2018. China is also constructing the railway linking Yuxi, southwest China’s Yunnan province with Vientiane, capital city of Laos.

China’s ability to build nuclear power plants is acknowledged by both developing and developed countries. In 2016, China General Nuclear Power Engineering Company, China’s largest nuclear power producer, and Electricite De France, a nuclear power giant in France, signed contracts to construct the Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C nuclear power stations in the UK.

The export of large equipment helps Chinese manufacturers develop overseas as well as bringing job opportunities in the importing countries and stimulating the local economy, said Zhang Jianping, a researcher at Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

China possesses some advantages in exporting large-scale equipment. As the world’s largest manufacturer, China has gained much experience in constructing domestic infrastructure, such as bridges and roads.

Moreover, China provides high quality products with relatively low prices, which meets the expectations of developing countries in Asia and Africa. Chinese enterprises have also built many R&D centers and after-sales maintaining branches overseas, ensuring individualized services there.

Many machinery and power generation equipment manufacturers have established industrial parks to build complete industrial chains in the overseas countries, which sets good examples for other enterprises, said Zhang.

Zhang also mentioned that Chinese manufacturers should develop technologies, improve the quality of products and services, and build brands to become more competitive in the global market.

China brings agricultural technologies to Sudan

Chinese and Sudanese experts visit a cotton demonstration center of CSI (Photo/Xinhua)

Sudan’s agriculture, the second largest economic backbone of the country, was previously restrained by limited productivity and lack of technologies. In recent years, China has provided advanced technologies to Sudan in order to help it revitalize its agriculture industry.

China began to offer a new round of technical assistance to Sudan in 2008. China Shandong International Economic & Technical Cooperation Group Ltd. (CSI) and Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences established an agricultural technology demonstration center to help Sudan raise its agricultural productivity.

The cotton yields were 50 to 70 kg per mu (a unit area used in China equals to about 0.067 ha) due to poor resistance to pests. The demonstration center developed new cotton strains that are more resistant to pests and increased the yields to 200 to 300 kg per mu, said Qu Lei, director of the center.

In 2018, the CSI helped plant a total 210,000 mu of cotton in Sudan. It provided jobs for more than 50,000 locals and lifted 5,000 families out of poverty.

A Sudanese who worked in the cotton factory said that many local farmers like him couldn’t find jobs and struggled to support their families in the past. They are better off since Chinese enterprises began providing stable jobs and relatively high salaries.

Cotton growers saw an average income increase of over 80 percent, said a Sudanese manager. He mentioned that after working with Chinese technicians, a cotton farmer not only moved to a new house, but also had savings to send his kids to schools.

China has also trained professional technicians to help Sudan sustain its agricultural development. Qu said that the center has trained 720 local agro-technicians and taught over 5,000 cotton growers how to operate the equipment in the fields.

Agriculture accounts for 46 percent of Sudan’s total GDP. It is expected to grow stronger with the help of China and support the national economy, said Babikir Osman, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Sudan.

Learning mandarin online becomes popular

(Photo provided by Mandarin House)

Many foreign learners are studying mandarin through online courses as a number of training institutions have gone online.

A mandarin learner named Ayra said she prefers online courses because the teacher understands her needs and will tailor a teaching method suitable for her.

Wang Ru, manager of a mandarin teaching school based in Beijing, said her company has introduced online courses to enable foreign students to learn mandarin anytime and anywhere, even when they go back to their own countries.

Li Ying, a teacher from the online mandarin learning platform Italki, said the teaching models are more flexible online than in the classroom as teachers rely less on books and are able to formulate an effective teaching method of their own.

The students of Wang Ru’s school mainly come from the United States and European countries, and 70 percent of them are adults. A survey conducted by the company shows that the students learn mandarin out of mere interest or for business purposes.

“60 percent of our students learning online have studied in the classroom. Satisfied with the outcomes of online teaching, they continued learning mandarin on our online platform after they left China,” Wang said.

Wang is confident that online learning is bound to become more popular among mandarin learners.

Chinese economy experiences profound structural changes over past 7 decades: report

A worker operates a robot in a company producing electric mechanical products in Langfang, Hebei province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Since 1949, China has gone through profound changes in its industry and demand structures and substantially promoted its economy, according to a report issued by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) earlier this month.

The added-value of the service sector accounted for 52.2 percent of China’s total GDP in 2018, up 23.5 percentage points than that in 1952. 46.3 percent of the country’s workforce was employed in the tertiary industry, 37.2 percentage points higher than that in 1952.

The service sector contributed to 59.7 percent of China’s economic growth, 23.6 percentage points higher than that of the secondary industry, said Du Xishuang, head of the Department of Service Statistics under the NBS.

The upgraded industrial structure, together with new technologies such as e-commerce and supply chain, facilitated the growth of emerging services. For example, the country handled a total of 50.7 billion express parcels in 2018, up 26.6 percent year-on-year.

China’s reform in trade structure has also made progress. Primary products accounted for more than 80 percent of China’s exports back when the country was founded. However, the proportion dropped to 5.4 percent and that of manufactured goods increased to 94.6 percent last year.

Meanwhile, the consumption potential of China was further unleashed, with consumption contributing 76.2 percent to economic growth last year.

“Approximately 140 million Chinese families of three enjoy an annual income of between 100,000 and 500,000 yuan, meaning they can afford cars, houses and leisure travel, which projects promising market potential,” said Ning Jizhe, head of NBS.

Central SOEs maintained stable growth

Central State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in China registered steady growth in the first half of 2019. From January to June, their revenue reached 14.5 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.9 percent, while the net profit rose 8.6 percent to 703.8 billion yuan, statistics from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) showed.

Central enterprise fix-asset investment maintained a growth rate of over 7 percent. Central SOEs paid a total of 1.3 trillion yuan in taxes and fees in the first half of the year, up by 2.7 percent year-on-year.

The country’s efforts to reform central SOEs have yielded some fruits. An effective governance structure for the central SOEs has been built and the central SOEs are now more market-oriented.

The country also encourages innovation-driven central SOEs to list on the science and technology innovation board to boost their vitality. China Railway Signal & Communication Corporation Ltd., for instance, has already been registered on China’s science and technology innovation board.

The SASAC has encouraged more central SOEs that abide by national development strategies, have made breakthroughs in core technologies and are well received by the market to apply to list on the science and technology innovation board.

As of May this year, the country had cut 14,000 subsidiary legal entities and improved the productivity of central SOEs by 20 percent.

China makes progress in green logistics

(Photo/Chinanews.com)

China has achieved results in its efforts to deal with packaging waste and pollution due to the booming express delivery industry.

The country delivered a total of 27.8 billion parcels from January to June, up 25.7 percent year-on-year. The gross business revenue of the sector increased 23.7 percent to hit 339.7 billion yuan, data from the State Post Bureau showed.

Along with the expanding industry came problems such as packaging waste and pollution. To build a green industry, the country encouraged express delivery firms to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable packaging.

Currently, about 95 percent of delivery packages use electronic waybills to reduce the use of paper sheets. China Post has started to use green packaging boxes in 30 provinces, and has introduced degradable packaging materials in Beijing and central China’s Henan province. E-commerce giant JD.com has encouraged the use of biodegradable materials to package fresh products.

Chinese companies have also started to use recyclable packaging materials. JD has launched a recyclable packaging box in cities, including Beijing and Shanghai. The boxes have been used over 10 million times.

Hong Kong determined to build a smart airport with 5G technology

(Photo/Hong Kong International Airport)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is now accelerating the application of 5G technologies to build a more intelligent airport, as part of the region’s ambition to create a smart city.

The Hong Kong International Airport is preparing for the construction of 5G base stations to build a 5G network.

The airport has increased the number of areas covered by a high-speed Wi-Fi network from 15 to 30. The network speed could reach 400 megabits per second. With the 5G network coming soon, the airport will provide a high-quality network experience for passengers.

The airport has introduced a facial-recognition system launched by mobile payment giant Alipay at the duty-free store. It has applied a real-time detection system that can automatically identify and remove foreign objects on runways. A full runway check takes just 2 minutes, with an accuracy rating of 95 percent.

Last year, the airport’s annual passenger and freight transportation volume reached a record high. The airport was recognized as Global Airport of the Year by Air Transport World, a magazine focused on the global air transportation industry.

Airport authorities are determined to adopt advanced technologies to manage the airport more efficiently and bring convenience to passengers, said an official with the HKSAR transportation bureau.

The airport is currently testing unmanned cargo and baggage cars. Once applied, the innovation will significantly improve transportation efficiency.