More Chinese to pay for e-books with Kindle’s arrival

 

 

 

>>  More Chinese to pay for e-books with Kindle’s arrival

By Liu Lu and Qu Jing

Chinese publishing industry insiders said on Saturday of June 8 that with the official entrance of Amazon Kindle products into the country, more Chinese will start paying for e-books.

Huang Lei, senior manager of the Chinese branch of Amazon.com, said that the Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Fire HD e-readers were officially launched in China on June 7.

While many netizens have praised the arrival of the products, others have complained about their prices, which are higher than in some other countries.

Yu Dianli, general manager of Commercial Press, a major Chinese publishing house, said Kindle products will bring more choices for Chinese readers.

“Although a large number of domestic readers are not used to paying for e-books, growing demand and the guidance of relevant policies and regulations will help foster the habit,” said Yu.

In early June, Commercial Press published dictionaries for minority languages in both digital and paper forms so as to meet different readers’ needs.

According to a 2012 survey of 18,619 people in 28 provincial-level regions, Chinese people read 4.39 books, 77.20 newspapers, 6.56 magazines and 2.35 e-books on average, with the latter increasing by the most, 65.5 percent, year on year.

The survey, carried out by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, also showed that 40.1 percent of respondents who have read e-books before would be willing to pay for the books, down 1.7 percent year on year.

 

>>  China’s first worldwide cruise to debut

By Qian Chunxian and Liu Jie

A cruise ship will debut next year sailing from Shanghai across three oceans, five continents, stopping at 16 nations in 83 days, organizers said on Saturday of June 8.

The trip for Chinese travelers will set sail on March 22, 2014.

With a total of 2,680 passengers on board the Costa Atlantica, the ship will stop at Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Aman, Egypt, Greece, Italy, France and return to Shanghai on June 13, 2014.

The tour is being organized by Costa Cruise Company and Shanghai Air Tour International Company.

 

 

>>  Investors looking to China’s private healthcare: report

By Xu Feng and Rong Jiaojiao

Domestic and foreign funds have been pouring into China’s private healthcare firms to seek enormous opportunity as the country’s population becomes mature and more affluent, according to a report from Chinese business publication Caixin.

China’s three biggest private healthcare service providers — Ikang Guobin Healthcare Group, Ciming Health Checkup Management Group and Meinian Onehealth Healthcare (Group) Co. — have attracted significant amounts of investment in recent years, Caixin reported.

Ikang Guobin raised 100 million U.S. dollars in April from investment bank Goldman Sachs and Government of Singapore Investment Corp.(GIC),Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, according to the magazine. Beijing Carlyle Investment Center LP invested over 200 million yuan (32 million U.S. dollars) in Meinian Onehealth in August 2012.

While investors are eager to gain a foothold in the healthcare market, the market value of private healthcare firms has been overestimated and they face huge challenges ahead, Caixin said.

With their main business being physical checkups, private healthcare firms account for only 10 to 15 percent of the country’s physical exam market at present, while the lion’s share goes to state hospitals.

According to Caixin, the top three players have adopted different strategies to tackle the challenges. Ikang Guobin has made moves to collaborate with hospitals to bridge the gap between checkups and an appointment with a doctor in a hospital, while Meinian Onehealth has tried to incorporate the traditional Chinese medicine into its operations.

With the market share of state hospitals in the physical examination industry expected to head downward, private healthcare firms are poised to take up nearly half of the country’s checkup business in the future if their strategies prove effective, Caixin quoted an analyst as saying.  

 

 

>>  China revises management code on overseas-invested insurers

By Zhan Yan

China’s State Council, or the cabinet, on Saturday of June 8

announced changes in a code to manage overseas-invested insurers operating in the country.

Joint-venture insurers and overseas solely-owned insurers must have a minimum registered capital of 200 million yuan (32.47 million U.S. dollars) or freely convertible currencies of equivalent value, reads section one in article seven of the code.

It deleted “funds from overseas insurers should be freely convertible currencies” in the previous version.

Parent overseas corporations should give no less than “200 million yuan or freely convertible currencies of equivalent value” gratis to branches of overseas insurers as operation funds, reads section two in article seven of the code.

It changed the previous requirement that parent corporations should give no less than “200 million yuan worth of freely convertible currencies” gratis to branches of overseas insurers as operation funds.

The new version will take effect on Aug. 1 this year.

The code was first issued on Dec. 12, 2001 and took effect on February 1, 2002.

 

>>  Private sector essential to China’s economic health: economists

By Li Kun and Li Baojie 

The government’s support for and development of the private sector will be key to maintaining the health of China’s economy, according to economists attending the seventh China International Private Equity Forum.

Authorities should give more policy support to strategic new industries and private businesses, said Lian Ping, chief economist of the Bank of Communications.

Xia Bin, a counselor for the State Council and a former member of the monetary policy committee of China’s central bank, said China should give full play to the private sector and market forces, as well as open all sectors to private investment in order to reduce risks lurking in the economy.

China should focus on reform to tackle systemic risks related to local government financing platforms, possible real estate bubbles and shadow banking while maintaining the slowest growth rate it can tolerate in order to fend off risk, Xia said.

“The economic slowdown is reasonable and signals that China’s economic structure is being optimized, which can offer an opportunity for the private enterprises,” Xia said.

China’s economy grew 7.7 percent year on year in the first quarter, down from 7.9 percent in the fourth quarter of last year but still above the government target of 7.5 percent for the whole of 2013, official data showed.

Zhang Weiying, former president of the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, urged speeding up the privatization of less-efficient state-owned enterprises.

“This could help to optimize the economic structure and boost entrepreneurs’ confidence. It would be conducive to the sustainable and healthy growth of the economy,” Zhang said.

“Many unknown small companies have ultimately became influential international groups through mergers and acquisitions,” said Charles J. Morton, president of the Association for Corporate Growth (ACG), one of the hosts of the three-day forum, which ended on Saturday of June 8.

 

 

>>  China’s new yuan loans continue to fall

By Wang Yaguang

China’s new yuan-denominated lending fell to 667.4 billion yuan (107.65 billion U.S. dollars) in May, down from 792.9 billion yuan in April and 1.06 trillion yuan in March, according to data released by the central bank on Sunday of June 9.

The figure was also 125.8 billion yuan less than the same period last year, the People’s Bank of China said in a statement on its website.

The country’s social financing, a measure of funds raised by entities in the real economy, amounted to 1.19 trillion yuan last month, shrinking 576.3 billion yuan compared with that in April.

By the end of May the broad measure of money supply (M2), which covers cash in circulation and all deposits, rose 15.8 percent year on year to 104.21 trillion yuan. The increase was 0.3 percentage points lower than that registered in April, according to the central bank.

 

 

>>  Shanghai GM to recall over 200,000 Buick LaCrosse vehicles

By Wang Yaguang

Shanghai General Motors Co. will recall 207,766 Buick LaCrosse vehicles due to defective brake hoses, China’s top quality supervisor said Saturday of June 8.

The recall, which will begin on June 15, covers Buick LaCrosse vehicles produced between January 11, 2006 and September 1, 2009, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said, citing a recall plan filed by the company.

The company said the defect may cause brake fluid leaks, which in some cases may lead to decreased braking efficiency.

After the recall, the defective brake hoses will be changed free of charge, the company said, adding that users can call the company’s customer service hotline at 800-820-2020.

 

 

>>   Tibet to benefit from lottery cash

By Liu Jie

A total of 797 million yuan (129 million U.S. dollars) from lottery sales will be used to improve social welfare, sports and the well-being of handicapped people in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China’s Ministry of Finance said on Saturday of June 8.

China regularly uses money from lottery sales to help fund local welfare.

In the first four months of 2013, welfare lottery sales rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier, while sports lottery sales climbed 18.6 percent, according to the ministry.

 

 

>>  Reshuffle decision confirms Liu Tienan’s removal

By Zhou Fang

A decision to reshuffle China’s cabinet at vice ministerial level on Saturday of June 8 confirmed the removal of Liu Tienan as a vice minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner.

On May 14 the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee announced that Liu was dismissed from his post because of his “suspected involvement in serious disciplinary violations.”

Born in October 1954, Liu has served as a deputy head of the NDRC since 2008.

According to the reshuffle plan issued by the State Council, Liu Zhenmin and Zheng Zeguang were appointed vice foreign minister and assistant foreign minister, respectively.

Li Wei and Liu Yanping were appointed vice ministers of public security, and Liu Kun was appointed vice finance minister.

Gao Yan and Fang Aiqing became vice ministers of commerce, replacing Jiang Yaoping and Chen Jian. Yu Jianhua was appointed deputy representative for China’s international trade talks, replacing Chong Quan.

Ling Chengxing replaced Jiang Chengkang as the director of the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration.

A full list for the appointment and removal of the officials was published on the Chinese government’s official website www.gov.cn.

 

>>  Center formed to cultivate book restoration artisans

By Zhang Yunlong and Cui Jing

The National Library of China (NLC) on Saturday of June 8 unveiled a new center intended to train more ancient book restoration artisans.

It is the latest effort the library has made to preserve techniques for rare book repair and restoration and ensure that the techniques are passed down.

At a ceremony held on Saturday, Du Weisheng, an artisan reputed for his ancient book restoration skills, formally granted requests from eight library employees who wish to study under him.

On the same day, a special display was held at the library to showcase achievements made in completing the restoration of a number of ancient books.

The NLC has nearly 100 years of experience in ancient book restoration. It has trained more than 700 book restoration experts since it introduced a plan for ancient book protection in 2007.

 

 

>>  Institute founded to preserve names of ancient sites

By Zuo Yuanfeng and Cui Jing

A protection association was founded on Saturday of June 8 to ensure the continuous use of the original names of ancient sites.

The China Cultural Heritage Placenames Protection Promotion Association was set up to protect the names of historic areas that are vulnerable to having their names changed due to urban construction and resource development.

Figures released at Saturday’s founding ceremony revealed that 40 percent of the names of Beijing’s ancient alleyways and courtyards disappeared during a campaign to renovate the old parts of the city.

“The association will strive to protect the names of cultural heritage sites with obvious value and steer the management and protection of these names on a scientific and regulated path,” said Liu Baoquan, head of the organization.

Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Dai Junliang urged civil affairs departments at all levels to make concrete efforts to protect the names of the sites, as well as called for related social organizations to play a bigger role in the cause.

 

 

>>  China’s inflation grows 2.1 pct in May

By Zhan Yan and Jiang Guocheng 

China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, grew 2.1 percent year on year in May, down from 2.4 percent in April, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Sunday of June 9.

The NBS attributed the slow-down in growth mainly to falls in vegetable prices, which shrank 13.8 percent in May from April.

The rise is below the market forecast of around 2.5 percent, according to Wang Jun, analyst with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank.

In May, food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in China’s CPI, increased 3.2 percent year on year, NBS data showed.

On a monthly basis, the CPI in May edged down 0.6 percent from April, compared to a rise of 0.2 percent in April from March.

The data also showed China’s producer price index, which measures wholesale inflation, fell 2.9 percent year on year in May, marking the 15th straight month of decline and the steepest drop in seven months, pointing to continued weak market demand.

China aims to hold this year’s consumer inflation at around 3.5 percent.

 

 

>>  98,700 affected by NW China extreme weather

By Cai Guodong and Liang Saiyu

Torrential rain, hail and floods have affected about 98,717 residents in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since Tuesday, local authorities said on Sunday of June 9.

Strong rainfall began on Tuesday and has continued into Sunday morning,affecting Xinjiang’s northern and western areas of Altay, Aksu and Tacheng, the region’s civil affairs department said in a statement.

The rainstorm has damaged over 12,300 hectares of crops and killed 2,340 heads of livestock, while 303 houses have been toppled or damaged, forcing the evacuation of 939 people.

Direct economic losses are estimated to have reached 104 million yuan(about 17 million U.S.dollars), the department said.

The rainstorm has also triggered torrential floods, destroying parts of channels, sluices and infrastructure as well as electric wells, bridges and roads, it added.

 

 

>>  Flash flood traps people in SW China village

By Fang Ning and Li Bin

A flash flood caused by lingering rainstorm inundated several low-lying houses in a village in an autonomous county heavily populated by Miao ethnic group in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Sunday of June 9.

Firefighters are carrying out the rescue in Xiaorong Village, Rongshui County. The exact number of people trapped in the flood is not immediately available.

Rescuers have helped get three people out of the flooded houses.

 

 

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