China’s Silk Road Fund starts operation

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese FM to chair UNSC open debate

By Tan Jingjing

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will preside over an open debate for the UN Security Council on Feb. 23 in the capacity of the council’s rotating president, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying in Beijing on Monday of February 16.

With China taking the rotating presidency of the council this month, it has proposed an open debate on Feb. 23, with the theme of maintenance of international peace and security to reflect on history, and reaffirming the commitment to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Hua said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, as well as the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

“The debate will offer a platform for various parties to reflect on history and face up to the future, and demonstrate to the world the council’s resolution in safeguarding world peace and security,” Hua said.

The debate also aims to promote the building of a new type of international relations focusing on cooperation and mutual benefit, and launch a series of activities marking the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, she added.

 

 

 

 

 

NEW YORK

>>  Political gamesmanship on China policy hurts U.S. interests

By Wang Fan

U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent greeting of the Dalai Lama at a religious event in Washington was an unwise move as it served nothing but to add needless and harmful ambiguities to his policy toward Beijing.

At the annual prayer breakfast in Washington on February 5, Obama, ignoring China’s opposition, greeted the Dalai Lama and called him “a good friend,” although the man, among his many self-claimed roles, has been a lifelong politician bent on separating Tibet from China.

The salute showed a gross disrespect for China’s core interests, and cast a chill on the relations between Washington and Beijing, which has long been unequivocally opposed to any meeting between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders.

Yet a chilly cross-Pacific relationship is clearly not something Washington wants. Just days later, the Obama administration invited Chinese President Xi Jinping for a state visit in September, in a move that was widely considered as in part a remedy for the Dalai Lama episode.

Scheduling a state visit seven months in advance is rare in diplomacy. It shows, to some extent, that Washington is keenly aware of the significance of China-U.S. interaction and the fact that it has more to gain from cooperation with Beijing.

Obama has a far better chance of making headway on a range of global foreign-policy challenges, from the Iranian and Korean Peninsula nuclear issues to terrorism and climate change, if the United States and China collaborate effectively.

There are plenty of reasons for optimism. For one thing, the two presidents have agreed to disagree and showed willingness to sort out the immediate causes of tensions in bilateral ties. This is the first step in resolving any differences.

For another, at last year’s APEC summit, Obama and Xi managed to strike a markedly improved tone and announced a number of solid achievements, including a landmark climate deal, a military accord designed to avert clashes, and an understanding to cut tariffs for technology products. That injected vitality into China-U.S. relations.

Now over the course of the next seven months, the two countries need to work ever more closely to further consolidate their relationship with more deliverables. The United States, in particular, should avert reckless political moves that could reverse the positive trend in bilateral ties.

Only in so doing will Xi’s state visit to the United States be able to fully play its due role as a historic opportunity to further promote positive engagement between the world’s top two economies and the cultivation of a new model of major-country relations.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers spoke for many when he said he could picture a 21st century in which both the United States and China prosper, or one in which both countries fail to prosper, but not one in which one country prospers and the other does not.

This is an important perspective Washington should heed. Obama needs to tread carefully in dealing with issues concerning China’s core interests and prevent the relations from suffering unnecessary hiccups.

 

 

 

 

 

LOS ANGELES

>>  New visa policy draws more Chinese tourists to U.S.

By Xue Ying

Chinese tourist Yu Hu felt relief when she got a 10-year multi-entry U.S. visa recently, which means she can visit the U.S. whenever she has time in the next 10 years.

“I rescheduled my trip, giving myself more time to enjoy staying at one place. I need not put many tourist attractions into one trip, as I can come whenever I like in the next 10 years,” she said.

The U.S. tourist visa used to be only one-year multi-entry, that’s why many Chinese tourists liked to visit as many places as they can during a several-day short trip. Tight schedule made them exhausted, but they had to, being afraid that when they have time to come again, their visa may be expired, and applying a new one means more time and money.

Two special occasions coincide in China this February: Chinese New Year holiday, the longest public holiday in a year, and the longest winter break in recent years of Chinese schools. More Chinese tourists are coming to the U.S. which can be felt from the crowded Chinese travel groups exiting the Los Angeles International Airport.

Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China who made great efforts to push both sides of China and the U.S. to extend the visa validity in his term, told Xinhua in a recent interview that by giving Chinese tourists a 10-year visa, it will encourage more trips by the Chinese people to the U.S. “That’s good for U.S. economy,” he said. “They will shop at U.S. stores, go to U.S. restaurants and hotels. That means more jobs.”

In 2013, 891,000 Chinese visitors entered California and spend 1.9 billion dollars, according to California tourism authority. The numbers in 2014 and 2015 are expected to grow, partly because of the extension of visa validity.

In addition, the numbers of Chinese students and people coming for business are also on the rise.

The number of Chinese students in the U.S. rose for the eighth consecutive year in 2014, reaching more than 886,000, a 16-percent increase over 2013, according to a U.S. report.

Investment of Chinese companies in the U.S. is getting larger in number and amount. Greenland, a Chinese company mainly doing business in real estate, began a one-billion-dollar project in downtown Los Angeles last year while Chinese auto-glass maker Fuyao invested 360 million dollars in a factory in Ohio.

As more people and money flew into the U.S. from China, U.S. service sector is making preparation.

To help managers of hotels, restaurants, attractions, shops and sightseeing transportation providers better understand Chinese culture and better serve Chinese visitors, Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Bureau started a “China Ready Training Program.”

Mariam Tonapetyan, group sale manager of the Langham Huntington hotel in Pasadena city of Los Angeles County, said the training course was very useful to her. She learned in the classes that Chinese people prefer to drink hot tea instead of ice water, so preparing an electric kettle in their room will make them feel better. If there are also a bowl of instant noodle and a pair of chopsticks in their room, it will be fantastic. She also learned that most Chinese use Baidu as their search engine instead of Google. They use Wechat instead of Twitter or Facebook … Langham now has even Chinese breakfast available for groups.

South Coast Plaza, the biggest luxury shopping center in the U. S. west coast, started its annual Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 12. Chinese traditional decoration and many cultural events will be avaiable in the shopping center until February 22, which may give Chinese tourists a flavor of being at home.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told Xinhua in a recent interview that “Our city is actually a’China Ready City.’We welcome more Chinese people coming to Los Angeles.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China calls on Yemen’s Houthis to implement UN resolution

By Bai Jie

China on Monday called on Yemen’s Shiite Houthi group to implement the United Nations Security Council resolution adopted on Sunday of February 15 which urged them to engage in UN-brokered negotiations and withdraw forces from government institutions.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a daily press briefing that China has paid close attention to the recent political and security situation in Yemen.

“We hope parties concerned in Yemen can implement the UN Security Council resolution and continue to maintain dialogue and solve disputes through negotiations to push forward the political transition process and restore national stability and order at an early date,” she said.

On Feb. 6, the Houthi group announced a unilateral move to dissolve the parliament of Yemen and form a presidential council to take power, which was rejected by Yemen’s political parties and denounced by the Gulf Arab states.

The security situation deteriorated in Yemen in January when the Shiite Houthi group seized the presidential palace in Sanaa after deadly clashes with presidential guards. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah submitted resignations on Jan. 22.

The Shiite Houthi group, also known as Ansarullah and based in the far northern province of Saada, has been expanding its influence southward since signing a UN-sponsored peace and power-sharing deal on Sept. 21, 2014 following deadly clashes.

 

 

 

 

 

LAGOS

>>  Chinese medical teams help to fight Ebola in Africa

By Elise Zoker and Zhang Baoping

When the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease picked up pace in West Africa, China has sent medical teams and experts to help.

In February 2014, an Ebola epidemic broke out in Guinea and later spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia, while other countries also reported infection cases.

The outbreak claimed thousands of lives in months and posed a great threat to those affected countries.

Since the outbreak, China has carried out its largest aid program in health area, providing several rounds of financial aids to Africa, sending hundreds of medical personnel and public health experts to the affected countries and training local medical workers on the continent.

The Chinese government has also pledged to perform its duty as a major developing country and do everything in its power to help the Ebola-hit countries along with the international community.

Chinese envoys in countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea reiterate that China will help African countries to develop its health safety system so that they could adapt to the post- Ebola era.

On Jan. 22 in Zurich, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan hailed China’s important role in the fight against the Ebola outbreak, calling it “exemplary” for the international community.

Chan said the fight against Ebola still faces huge challenges and she called on the international community and the virus-hit countries to work together to tackle it.

She added that the WHO stands ready to cooperate closely with China, raise the level of awareness and coordinate all sides to achieve the final victory.

In order to fight the largest ever outbreak of this disease, relevant countries have also made positive responses and the international community has offered them numerous aid, which has led to the alleviation of the epidemic situation.

China provided its aid in the first time and so far has sent successively several medical teams and four batches of emergency aid worth a total of 700 million yuan (around 112.2 million U.S. dollars) to the epidemic-hit countries, becoming one of the biggest donors to the infected areas and playing an important role in coping with the epidemic.

In Liberia, an Ebola diagnosis and treatment center, with the funding aid from the Chinese government, started operation on Nov. 25, 2014.

According to the WHO, Liberia has the highest death toll from Ebola in West Africa, which stood at 3,826 as of Feb.11, followed by Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The center, covering an area of over 20,000 square meters and a floor space of more than 5,800 square meters, is equipped with 100 beds for patients. It was built according to the high standard of hospital for infectious-disease prevention and treatment. A buffer area between the disinfected and infected areas was also built.

It is the best one among the treatment centers of its kind in Liberia to date.

The center is being temporarily run and managed by the Chinese side, and a Chinese medical team to Liberia, consisting of 163 medical staff from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, arrived in Liberia on Nov. 15, 2014 for the operation of the center.

On Jan. 12, the China-financed Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in Liberia discharged three Ebola patients after they all tested negative for the virus twice.

The three patients, two women and a seven-year-old boy, were found to be infected with the virus in December and after 20 days of treatment at the Chinese facility, all three were given the all- clear.

In response, Liberian Assistant Health and Social Welfare Minister Tolbert Nyenswah recounted and appreciated the long-term, selfless support that China has provided to Liberia.

The minister commended the rapid Chinese team for the high quality Ebola Treatment Unit constructed in the country which, the government said, has given them courage to feel safe during this Ebola crisis.

The Liberian government pledged to fully cooperate with their Chinese friends to ensure that their work at the ETU goes ahead without hindrance.

“Day by day, Liberia is moving toward its goal of zero case of Ebola. There are positive signs in many areas. Last week the Chinese Ebola Treatment Unit released its first three Ebola survivors. The Chinese ETU also reported that its medical team completed their rotation and a new team of health care workers was welcomed. We were happy to celebrate their success,” the Liberian government said in a statement issued to laud the Chinese team.

In the same vein, Celestine King, one of the Ebola survivor discharged and certificated by Chinese ETU, said her Church was hit by the virus in November 2014 and contracted Ebola after she took someone to the hospital but remembered an advice from a health worker to go to the Chinese ETU whenever she experienced Ebola symptoms.

“I was admitted at the observation ward where they did my test and my test result came that night and was told I was Ebola positive. From there I was taken to the treatment ward, she added. King was all but praise for the Chinese for her recovery.

“The fact that the Chinese left their country to come all the way to fight a disease without any cure is a gesture only a true friend is positioned to give a brother,” she said.

“I am so happy that the Chinese came at a time like this because I don’t think I would have been able to go to any other ETU. The Chinese ETU is clean, the staffs are friendly and you feel comfortable like you are home. I want to say thank you to the Chinese and the Liberian staff that are here,” the Liberian survivor told Xinhua.

On his part, the Commanding Officer of Chinese ETU, Col. Yang Haiwei believed his contingent is providing the best in the Ebola response in the country.

“The Chinese ETU is the best in Liberia for now. We have the best infrastructure and we have 154 members in our team in total working for the ETU. We have 80 Liberian staff working in this ETU, ” Yang said.

According to him, “By the WHO regulations, we have designed this place scientifically. Properly maintained, the Liberian government can keep this place for a long time. We have the triage center, the observation center and the treatment center. Also, we have the training area and the disinfection area,” Col. Yang said.

“Since November 25, 2014, we have tested 133 persons and we have taken in 81 persons, including 6 confirmed cases and 3 confirmed cases survived at last,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

CANBERRA

>>  Chinese ship captain to face court in Australia for traveling without pilot boat

By Matt Walsh

The captain of a Chinese coal ship is set to face court in Newcastle, Australia, on Monday of February 16, after being arrested for sailing through the Great Barrier Reef without a pilot ship.

The man, believed to be a Taiwanese national surnamed Lu, will plead guilty to being the master of a ship without a pilot in a marine park, an offense that carries a maximum fine of nearly 66, 000 U.S. dollars.

The ship, a 288-meter-long bulk carrier named China Steel Developer, is alleged to have to have sailed through Hydrographers Passage without a pilot boat, something which is required under Australian law for a ship to move through the route.

Around 4,000 ships traverse the paths through the Great Barrier Reef marine park every year.

 

 

 

 

 

TEHRAN

>>  Iran president calls for stronger ties with China

Iran wants to further advance its relations with China, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.

Steady development of bilateral ties is not only beneficial to Iran and China, but also to peace and prosperity of the world, Rouhani said in a meeting on Sunday with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Iran will actively take part in China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives and expand cooperation in sectors such as infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism, Rouhani said.

Rouhani described China’s role in the nuclear talks as just and positive, saying Iran wants to work closer with China to push toward an outcome satisfying to all.

Wang, for his part, said previous meetings between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Rouhani have set the direction for bilateral ties and that China wishes to jointly develop the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road with Iran, expanding cooperation in industry and manufacturing on the basis of existing cooperation in the energy sector.

Wang also called on Iran and the P5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) to seize the opportunity and overcome obstacles to reach a successful comprehensive deal on the nuclear issue as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

CHICAGO

>>  Chicago kicks off Chinese New Year celebrations with music concert

By Xu Jing

The Chicago Symphony Center on Sunday of February 16 unveiled the two-week Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Chicago with an all traditional Chinese music concert.

An audience of more than 2,000 listened to the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra performing a selection of Chinese folk music, most of which is composed by Ma Jiuyue, a well-known Chinese composer who participated in the Gala show for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and China’s Third Poem Festival.

The concert started with Chinese folk music “Dance of the Golden Snake”, and featured such Chinese well-known tones as “Horse Racing”, “Purple Bamboo Melody”, “Fisherman Song at Eventide”, “Joyful Celebration”, and “Elixir of Love.” When members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Chinese Traditional Orchestra jointly played “Huxuan Dance” composed by Ma Jiuyue, the concert came to a climax with cheers and applause from the audience lasting a long time.

The idea for a Chinese Lunar New Year concert began when Chicago Symphony Orchestra President Jeff Alexander decided to bring a little bit of China to Chicago.

“Different orchestras across North America are beginning to do this, and in Chicago there was no Chinese New Year concert presented by the Symphony Orchestra,” he told Xinhua, “In one of our planning sessions we decided just to give it a try. Obviously it’s going very well with the great attendance today and the great guest orchestra.”

Jeff plans to make the Chinese New Year concert an annual event.

Wang Yong, acting consul general of China in Chicago told Xinhua that he was excited to watch this excellent performance, “the performance is a perfect combination of first-grade place, first-grade ensemble and first-grade artists.”

Wang noted that many of the audience at Sunday’s concert are people other than Chinese origin, saying “quality Chinese cultural and artistic products are being accepted by more people in the United States.”

“I was absolutely overwhelmed, I didn”t know what to think,” said Tony Karman, President of Expo Chicago, “The blend of the traditional and the contemporary was really an ear opener, an eye opener for someone that knows a little about Chinese music.”

Steve Robinson, Executive Vice President of WFMT Radio Network, thought this was an absolutely wonderful concert, saying: “I loved everything, it’s hard to pick a single piece.”

Scott, from Chicago, told Xinhua: “I don’t know the instrument but there was a woman near the beginning who was playing a string instrument that was spectacular. The excitement she had for playing the instrument and her skill is spectacular. It was a wonderful concert.”

It was the first time for the Chicago Symphony Center to celebrate a Chinese Lunar New Year by staging a Chinese Lunar New Year Concert.

Chicago started to celebrate Chinese New Year in 2014. “This unique event will grow and expand over time until it is the largest in the North America,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. The festivities in 2015 are planned to be on a much larger scale than the previous year.

 

 

 

 

 

PIRAEUS

>>  Chinese naval escort fleet commences visit to Greece

The 18th Chinese naval escort fleet arrived in the Greek port of Piraeus on Monday morning of February 16, commencing a four-day goodwill visit after such visits to Greece in 2002 and 2010.

Rear Admiral George Leventis, the superintendent of the Hellenic Naval Academy, along with a Guard of Honour from the Hellenic Navy, held a welcome ceremony for the Chinese fleet. More than 300 Chinese, led by Chinese Ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli, greeted the arrival of the fleet.

During the visit, Rear Admiral Zhang Chuanshu, who is the Fleet Commander and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the South China Sea fleet, is scheduled to meet with Greek political heavyweights such as President Karolos Papoulias and the Hellenic Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis.

The guests will hold a reception commemorating the Chinese Lunar New Year, or the Spring Festival, on the deck of amphibious landing ship Changbaishan during the visit.

The Chinese fleet is also scheduled to brief on the Chinese Navy’s escort mission in the Gulf of Aden and the waters off Somalia. The Greek navy is expected to organise a visit aboard the vessel and have a friendly basketball game with Chinese naval officers and sailors.

Greece is the fifth and final stop of the 18th Chinese naval escort fleet’s five-nation European tour, with the fleet previously visiting Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France.

After the conclusion of the visit, the Chinese fleet will embark on a joint military drill with the Hellenic Navy before setting sail on the voyage home.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China to play constructive role in Myanmar peace process

By Hou Lijun

China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the peace process in Myanmar, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Monday of February 16.

China has always respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Myanmar, said spokesperson Hua Chunying at a routine press briefing.

She said China will never allow any organizations or individual using Chinese territory to undermine China-Myanmar relations as well as the stability of the border areas.

Hua made the remarks when asked to confirm whether China has links with the Kokang ethnic army.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) launched attacks on several government outposts in Kokang region, Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state, on Feb. 9.

The government terms MNDAA as Kokang renegade groups. The battlefield mainly covered areas of Laukkai and Kongyan.

During the week-long clashes, the government forces carried out five air strikes, claiming 47 of their forces lost their lives with 73 others being wounded in the heavy fighting with MNDAA over the past few days.

“We hope the conflicting parties in Myanmar to show restraint, avoid escalation of the situation, and try not to affect the stability of the China-Myanmar border and the security of the Chinese side,” said Hua.

China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the peace process in Myanmar according to the will of the Myanmar side, she said.

 

 

 

 

 

KUNMING

>>  China offers food, medicine to Myanmar refugees

By Zhou Yan and Wang Changshan

China has provided food and medical services to Myanmar refugees that fled to Yunnan Province, following armed conflicts in the Kokang region in Myanmar’s northeastern Shan state.

“Residents from Myanmar have crossed into China more than 30,000 times since Feb. 9,” the press office of Yunnan’s Lincang City said in a statement on Monday of February 16.

“The Chinese side provided necessary aid and supplies [...] offering them food, medicine and quarantine services,” said the document.

It said the local governments in Yunnan had also tightened patrols in the border area.

“The overall situation on the China-Myanmar border is stable. We hope the conflicting parties in Myanmar will settle their disputes by peaceful means and avoid disrupting the border region,” the statement said.

The Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) have launched attacks on several government outposts in Kokang since Feb. 9.

During the week-long clash, government forces carried out five air strikes, claiming 47 of their troops were killed and 73 others wounded in fights with MNDAA.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Monday that China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting peace in Myanmar.

“We hope the [...] situation does not affect the stability along the border and our domestic security,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a routine press briefing.

 

 

 

 

 

NAIROBI

>>  China-funded infrastructure projects to boost Kenya’s economy: official

By Ding Xiaoxi

Numerous infrastructural projects being financed by Chinese government as well as those undertaken by Chinese firms will help boost Kenya’s economic development, officials said.

Kenyan officials told Xinhua the loans from China for flagship projects such as the Nairobi super highway, Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) construction and the Nairobi Greenfield International Airport as well as other projects have set the benchmark for Kenya’s future economic takeoff.

When complete, the SGR is expected to significantly improve movement of goods from Mombasa to the hinterland including neighbouring countries that rely on the port of Mombasa for imports.

“China has vast experience building key infrastructure projects in Kenya and Africa as a whole. China has an intricate railway network that has powered industrial progress. We are partnering with China to rebuild railway networks,” Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) Corporate Affairs Manager Mary Oyuke told Xinhua.

Oyuke said China will remain a strategic partner with Kenya as the East African nation implements an ambitious infrastructure and industrial development agenda.

Oyuke added that Chinese technical prowess and financial support have powered modernization and expansion of Kenya’s transport infrastructure.

Oyuke noted that technology transfer will be enhanced during construction of the Standard Gauge Railway. The blossoming China- Kenya cooperation will have spin off effects across socio-economic spheres.

She said Kenya borrowed crucial lessons from China to revitalize investments in strategic infrastructure like roads, commuter trains and seaports and expressed confidence in China’s capacity to develop world class railway network connecting Kenya and the region.

Statistics by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that infrastructure development has in the recent past played a critical role in sustaining growth of Kenya’s economy.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, infrastructure spending by the government helped the construction industry grow 11 percent compared to 8.6 percent in 2013.

According to James Theuri, Project Coordinator at the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, Kenya intends to develop world class infrastructure across the country to transform key sectors of the economy like agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.

“Currently, the World Bank, China and African Development Bank have financed mega infrastructure projects. Concessional loans from China have made it possible for the government to develop new roads,” Theuri told Xinhua.

“China’s Import and Export Bank will provide the bulk of funds required to develop the SGR. This support is timely and will enable us to realize the vision of inter connectivity through rail transport,” he added.

This, Theuri said, proves that China and Chinese companies with the wealth of experience in railway development can accomplish the regional railway projects and thereby improve the current railway facilities.

The official said China has been a close development partner in many projects spanning railway, port, airports, road, energy and other sectors.

“Indications are clear that such partnership will continue in years to come, particularly in capital infrastructure projects that require huge investments. Kenya has invested a lot of faith and trust in such partnership,” he said.

Kenyan scholars were optimistic that partnership with China will spread benefits to future generations.

“At this juncture, Kenya and China cannot afford to sever ties, given our shared vision of economic renaissance and stability. China is financing our infrastructure projects and has opened markets for our commodities,” remarked Bethwell Kinuthia, an economist at the University of Nairobi.

 

 

 

 

 

YAOUNDE

>>  Chinese-built deep sea port to boost Cameroon’s economic growth: official

By Huang Yanan

The deep sea port built by China Harbor Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) in Cameroon’s port city of Kribi will accelerate the country’s economic growth after it is put into operation, a Cameroonian official has said.

The first phase of the Kribi deep sea port, which sits over 300 kilometers southwest of the capital Yaounde, concluded last year and is waiting to be handed over to the Cameroonian government.

Two berths have been built for the first phase, one container berth, the other bulk cargo berth.

Hand Bahiol Magloire, deputy coordinator in charge of technical for the Kribi Port project, told Xinhua that the Kribi Port will play a significant role in the economic development of Cameroon, as it will solve a bottleneck problem for its progress.

“After the port is put into operation, Cameroon’s economy will show a momentum of fast growth. CHEC is greatly appreciated for this fantastic work,” he said.

The current biggest port in Cameroon is located alongside the river in the economic capital of Douala, the country’s southwestern area.

The Douala Port handles 95 percent of Cameroon’s import and export. With the water depth being only 7 meters, the port is not suitable for loading big ships, thus requiring small boats pick up goods from big ships which anchor in the deep sea.

That has resulted in low working efficiency and a high cost of transport.

With the completion of Kribi Port, big ships will have their dock as the depth of water there is 16 meters, Magloire said.

He said the road connecting the port and Kribi city is almost finished and the high way linking it with the Douala high way which leads to capital Yaounde, will be built soon.

The Douala high way is being constructed by another Chinese company – China First Highway Engineering Co., Ltd.

“The Kribi Port will become an economic hub to promote economic growth in the southern region as well as the whole country,” he said.

Magloire said the infrastructure in Kribi has been improved a lot due to the port project, which also brought many employment opportunities for the locals.

“More than 700 people were employed at the peak time of the project,” he said, adding that a Kribi industrial zone will also be built as the deep sea port starts running.

Magloire also spoke highly of the cooperation between CHEC and the Cameroonian government,.

“Though there were disputes at the beginning, later on we found they were right, and we have 100 percent trust on them,” he said, calling CHEC an international and professional company.

“The company has done a lot of good things for the local people during the construction,” added Bisoga Antoine, Governor of Kribi’s Ocean Department.

CHEC started building the Kribi Port on June 11, 2011 and completed the project within 3 years. The Chinese company undertook the design, construction and procurement of the project.

The contract value for the first phase is 568 million U.S. dollars, out of them 85 percent is from the concessional loan by the Chinese government, 15 percent from the Cameroonian government.

Magloire said the second phase of the Kribi Port will be built soon with another two berths, and their final target is to complete 24 berths by 2040, realizing a handling capacity of 100 million tons.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Mercedes-Benz recalls vehicles in China

By Liu Xinyong

German luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz will recall 127,071 cars in China starting on March 13 due to a fire risk, China’s top quality watchdog said on Monday of February 16.

The recall involves the CLS-Class and E-Class vehicles imported to China, as well as some E-Class cars manufactured by the Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said in a statement.

It was issued after a sealing strip for the engine cabin was found coming loose in some vehicles, which could lead to an engine fire if the strip falls on hot engine parts, the statement said.

Affected vehicles were manufactured between 2012 and 2014. Mercedes-Benz China and Beijing Benz will check them and replace defective parts free of charge.

The AQSIQ said in a separate statement Monday that Mercedes-Benz China will also recall 705 of its G-Class luxury sport utility vehicles as of March 9 due to a steering problem.

 

 

 

 

 

SINGAPORE

>>  Singapore to build Singapore-Chinese Cultural Center

By Ma Yujie

Singapore’s KSH Holdings Limited announced on Monday of February 16 that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Kim Seng Heng Engineering Construction (Pte) Ltd., has won a 78.2-million Singapore dollar (57.8-million U.S. dollar) contract for the construction of the proposed 11-storey Singapore-Chinese Cultural Center at Shenton Way.

KSH Holdings Limited is a construction, property development and property management group.

The Singapore-Chinese Cultural Center will include an art gallery, a recital hall, a multi-purpose hall and a 530-seat auditorium, among other facilities. Activities such as arts and cultural performances, conferences and exhibitions will be held at the venue, located next to the Singapore Conference Hall, KSH said in a press release.

Construction is expected to commence after the Lunar New Year on March 2 and is targeted to be completed within 89 weeks after commencement, it said.

“We are pleased to have clinched this prestigious construction project, which is also our first win in 2015. The Singapore- Chinese Cultural Center is part of the government’s Downtown Core Planning Area which covers the Central Business District, City Hall, Bugis, and Marina Center zones, to create a vibrant commercial district with round-the-clock activities,” said Choo Chee Onn, executive chairman and managing director of KSH.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Chinese business delegation to visit Sri Lanka: Colombo

A 28-member business delegation from China will be visiting Sri Lanka next month, the island nation’s main trade body said on Monday of February 16.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the visit is organized by institutions from Tianjin city, one of China’s trade hubs, including the city’s commission of commerce and foreign affairs office.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said it will organize a business forum during the visit.

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the Chinese trade delegation is interested in cooperation in sectors including agriculture, infrastructure, logistics and manufacturing.

Sri Lanka and China are seeing strong economic relations with the Chinese investing heavily in Sri Lanka’s port, road and other development activities.

 

 

 

 

 

COLOMBO

>>  Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka grow 8.9 percent in January

Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka kicked off the new year positively, growing by 8.9 percent in January, latest data showed here on Monday of February 16.

In the first month of 2015, Chinese arrivals grew to 11,735 from 10,779 in January 2014 retaining their spot as the third highest source of tourists to Sri Lanka.

Chinese tourists to the tiny island country have risen rapidly over the last two years with 2014 ending at an all-time high. In 2013 only 54,288 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka but the numbers ballooned to 128,166 by the end of last year, growing an impressive 136.1 percent, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).

Only tourists from India and Britain outstrip numbers from China and experts say China will likely overtake Britain to the second run by the end of this year. China already has the highest growth rate of any country.

Since the end of a three-decade war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have boomed, reaching over 1.5 million last year and attracting earnings of 1.7 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Central Bank.

The tropical island country is aiming to attract 2.5 million arrivals by 2016.

Overall Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 6.6 percent in January this year compared to the same period last year, (SLTDA) data showed.

The month recorded 156,246 tourists arriving in the country compared to the 146,575 arrived in January 2014.

Tourist arrivals from East Asia increased marginally by 1.5 percent as 26,198 visited the country compared to the 25,823 visited in January 2014.

Arrivals from South Asia this year increased by 18.2 percent with 33,559 tourists visiting the country. Of those arrived from South Asia, 22,944 were from India corresponding to an increase of 28.3 percent this year.

 

 

 

 

 

MADRID

>>  Huawei, Orange present Car Wi-Fi system in Spain

By Paul Giblin

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei and French mobile network provider Orange here on Monday of February 16 jointly presented a new system Car-Wi-Fi, which allows users to connect a total of 10 different terminals, smartphones, tablets, etc in the same vehicle to Wi-Fi.

Huawei’s Car-WiFi system allows 4G connectivity, while weighing just 50 grams and with dimensions of just 59x49x88 millimeters and weight of just 50 grams and has an accessible price of just 99 euros (around 110 U.S. dollars).

Javier Palacios, the Director of Marketing at Huawei Device Spain said that “the connected car is an important opportunity for growth and with Huawei Car WiFI, we are not only maintaining our promise to make a better connected world possible, but also to enter into another segment of the market, which has a promising future.”

Meanwhile the Director of Residential Mobile Marketing of Orange, Spain, Mickael Faure explained that “with Car Wi-Fi, we once again show that we are the first to offer an exclusive and innovative solution to our clients. The question ‘are we there yet?’ that children always ask on journeys, will end with Car WiFi.”

 

 

 

 

 

LONDON

>>  British attractions given new Chinese names

By Xia Xiao

Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain released the new Chinese names of 101 famous places and tourist attractions in Britain on Monday, in an effort to capture more attention from Chinese visitors.

The 1.6-million-pounds (2.46 million U.S. dollars) campaign “GREAT names for GREAT Britain” has attracted the attention from nearly 300 million Chinese internet users via its social media accounts in China in the past ten weeks.

VisitBritain said more than 2 million people visited the campaign pages and nearly 30 million Chinese watched the launch video. Chinese people gave 13,000 new names for those listed places.

With a height of 309 meters, the Shard, the tallest skyscraper in the European Union, for example, has been suggested as Zhai Xing Ta, meaning a tower allowing people to pluck stars from the sky.

While the King’s Cross St Pancras has been given a magical name, Mo Fa Huo Che Zhan, or magic train station, as the station is one of the most famous landmarks in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series Harry Potter.

Savile Row, a street in Mayfair, central London, known for its traditional bespoke tailoring for men, has been suggested to be called Gao Fu Shuai Zhi Lu, which means a street for the tall, rich, and handsome, or Custom made rich people street.

A small island of Wales with a very long name, Llanfair-pwllgwyn-gyllgo-gery-chwyrn-drobwll-llanty-silio-gogo-goch, might be called Jian Fei Cun, meaning Healthy-lung village.

VisitBritain said all 101 places have been given their three most popular Chinese names, and the agency will work with those attractions in the coming weeks to decide which name they will use.

“We want Britain to be the most attractive and welcoming destination for Chinese travellers in Europe. The naming campaign has given these London locations and landmarks huge exposure across China and created a new affinity with potential tourists,” said Joss Croft, Marketing Director at VisitBritain

“We hope the points of interest involved will embrace their new Mandarin name and attract more high-spending tourists from this rapidly growing market,” he added.

Statistics showed that in the first nine months of 2014, about 156,000 Chinese people visited Britain, contributing 411 million pounds to Britain’s economy. Chinese tourists currently spend an average of 2,508 pounds per visit compared to the overall average spending of 640 pounds per visit.

VisitBritain said, as the world largest outbound market, Chinese visitors to Britain spend 500 million pounds annually, while the value of the market will be doubled by 2020. (1 pound = 1.54 U.S. dollars)

 

 

 

 

 

THE HAGUE

>>  Chinese insurer buys Dutch SNS Reaal’s insurance arm

By Jesse Wieten

China’s Anbang Insurance Group has acquired Dutch insurance company Vivat from nationalized banking group SNS Reaal, the Dutch Finance Ministry and the bank said on Monday of February 16.

Under the agreement, Anbang will pay 150 million euros (171 million U.S. dollars) for 100 percent of the shares of Vivat, formerly known as Reaal NV, SNS Reaal said in a statement.

In addition, the Chinese company will inject 770 million to 1 billion euros (879 million to 1.14 billion dollars) to recapitalize the insurer and pay off 552 million euros (630 million dollars) in internal loans to SNS Reaal.

“I am pleased with the results so far,” Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said in a separate statement.

“This agreement provides clear perspective on Reaal, its employees and its policyholders. They just remain customer of Reaal Insurance (Vivat) and preserve their rights. The agreement with the wealthy Anbang will strengthen the position of Reaal,” he added.

Due to major losses of its real estate branch Property Finance, SNS Reaal was nationalized by The Netherlands in early 2013.

As part of the restructuring plan, Property Finance was separated from SNS Reaal in December 2013. Since then, SNS Reaal has also been looking for a buyer of its insurance arm.

The deal between Anbang and SNS Reaal is subject to approval by Dutch and Chinese regulatory authorities, which is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese vice premier, U.S. treasury secretary discuss economic issues over phone

By Xiong Ping

Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang had a phone conversation with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew on Monday of February 16 on issues including Sino-U.S. economic ties and global economic situation.

 

 

 

 

 

COTONOU

>>  Ceremony to mark Chinese New Year held in Benin

By Sikula

The Chinese community living in Benin as well as Beninese nationals from various social groups met in the city of Cotonou on Saturday night of February 14 to celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year in Benin.

“The Chinese New Year is a period of joy and happiness for Chinese families. During the festival, family members meet to share a meal at the same table,” said director for Chinese Cultural Center in Cotonou, Bai Guangming.

In this regard, the Chinese and Beninese nationals who already make up a family, will enjoy the sumptuous Chinese cuisine, he continued.

The Chinese New Year which will be celebrated on Feb. 19 this year will be marked with several cultural activities in Benin, including opening ceremony of Chinese art exhibition, Chinese film week on the public television, presentations by a Chinese artistic troupe as well as sharing of Chinese food.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s Silk Road Fund starts operation

By Liu Xinyong

A Silk Road Fund designed to finance the China-proposed “Belt and Road” initiatives is now active, the central bank said in a statement on Monday of February 16.

“The priority [of The Silk Road Fund Co. Ltd] is to seek investment opportunities and provide monetary services throughout the Belt and Road Initiatives,” according to the statement released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).

“Belt and Road” refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiatives proposed by China in 2013 for improved cooperation with countries in a vast part of Asia, Europe and Africa.

President Xi Jinping announced the creation of the 40 billion U.S. dollar fund in November, and it was established on December 29, 2014.

The company will invest mainly in infrastructure, resource development, as well as industrial and financial cooperation, in an effort to achieve common development and prosperity.

“The Silk Road Fund welcomes [...] domestic and overseas investors,” the statement said.

The company was jointly backed by China’s foreign exchange reserves, the China Investment Corp., the Export-Import Bank of China and China Development Bank (CDB).

In the first phase, the company raised 10 billion U.S. dollars, with foreign exchange reserves taking up 65 percent, CDB 5 percent and the other two companies each investing 15 percent.

Other institutions can invest in the company’s second and third phase as long as they can make a long-term commitment, said PBOC governor Zhou Xiaochuan.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Spring festival gala ready for global show

By Li Zhihui

China’s annual Spring Festival gala TV show is ready to go international.

China Central Television (CCTV) said its hours-long gala including songs, traditional operas, comedies, talk shows, acrobatics and martial art will be broadcast live from 8 p.m. on February 18. on multiple channels, one of which is set for the international audience.

The performance will also be promoted through websites and more than 10 foreign broadcasters.

Liu Qibao, head of the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s Publicity Department, visited performers rehearsing for the final show at Monday night.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Former Yunnan, Hubei vice governors prosecuted for graft

By Wang Cong and Zhang Zewei

Two of China’s former vice provincial governors and a senior legislator are being prosecuted for graft amid unremitting anti-corruption efforts in the new year, China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) said on Monday of February 16.

Shen Peiping, former vice governor of southwest China’s Yunnan Province,was found taking advantage of his position to seek benefits for others and received “a huge amount” of money or gifts. He is being prosecuted by the No.1 branch of the Beijing Municipal Procuratorate for bribe taking, the SPP said.

Guo Youming, former vice governor of Hubei province in central China, is also facing prosecution for the same charges by the Nanyang city procuratorate in Henan province.

Both Shen and Guo were expelled from the Communist Party of China in August and April last year respectively.

In a separate statement, the SPP said Chen Anzhong, former vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Jiangxi Provincial People’s Congress in east China, is being prosecuted for bribe taking in east China’s Anhui Province.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Beijing may see firecracker-caused pollution in Spring Festival Holiday

By Ni Yuanjin and Wang Ruoyao

Beijing is likely to suffer serious pollution caused by firecrackers during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday, according to an air quality monitoring official.

The weather conditions from Feb. 18 to 20 in the capital will not effectively help disperse pollutants and therefore the massive burning of firecrackers and fireworks during the period may lead to serious pollution, Li Yunting with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on Monday of February 16.

Chinese people traditionally set off firecrackers to celebrate the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, especially on Lunar New Year’s eve, which is on Feb. 18 this year.

Beijing will see strong winds during the daytime of Feb. 18, but rising humidity and weak winds are forecast during the night, Li said.

Monitoring data shows burning of firecrackers contributes greatly to air pollution, Li said.

“The fewer firecrackers the better,” he said.

Beijing is expected to consume less firecrackers this year. Orders at local retailers are down 20 percent this year as authorities cut the number of permitted sales days and reduced retail spots amid pollution concerns.

The local government approved 942 firecracker retail spots this year, more than 100 fewer from a year ago. The city missed a key pollution reduction target last year and vowed more stringent efforts and fiscal support to curb air pollution this year.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese citizens to have credit records

By Cheng Zhuo

China is to establish a credit code system based on ID numbers and credit records, linked to criminal records.

A report on China National Radio on Monday of February 16 quoted Huang Ming, vice minister of public security, as saying the government will perfect a national database of basic information on each citizen for more efficient information sharing and crime prevention.

The adoption of the credit record system is expected to urge the citizens to be more trustworthy and to enhance the safety of some sectors such as courier service and online shopping with the use of a real-name registration system.

The overhaul of the public security system also abolishes the controversial temporary residence permit and moves forward changes to the household registration system.

The plans include a requirement to film and record all interrogations. Police officers will be subject to life-long accountability for criminal errors in handling cases.

 

 

 

 

 

HARBIN

>>  China’s major grain-yielding province increases output

By Cao Kai and Guan Jiantao

Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province, the country’s largest producer of commodity grain, increased annual output by 4 percent to 62.4 billion kg in 2014, local authorities said on Monday of February 16.

The additional 2.38 billion kg produced accounts for nearly half of the country’s newly added output in 2014, according to the provincial agriculture department.

China produced 607 billion kg of grain in 2014, 5.16 billion kg more than in 2013, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

As one of China’s biggest grain producers, Heilongjiang has seen consecutive growth of grain output over the past 11 years. It currently holds a grain cultivation area of 214 million mu (14 million hectares).

Heilongjiang beat central China’s Henan Province to become China’s top grain producer in 2011, accounting for a tenth of the country’s total.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China allows local refineries to import crude oil, conditionally

By Zhang Zhongkai, An Bei and Chen Weiwei

China will allow local resource-starved refineries to import crude oil, the country’s top economic planner said on Monday of February 16.

Qualified local refineries will only be allowed to import crude oil if they cut backward capacity or instal natural gas storage facilities, according to an announcement from the National Reform and Development Commission.

The new rule applies to local refineries already in production that have facilities with refining capacity of over two million tonnes and meet ecological, quality and energy-saving requirements.

China only allowed government-approved refineries to use imported crude oil in the past, however, the emergence of unregistered refineries has led to upgrades in the refinery sector.

The announcement also said that no new refineries or capacity expansion was allowed without government permission and called for equal treatment of state-owned and private refineries.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China set to bolster service trade

By Fang Dong and Wang Youling

The Chinese central government has vowed to shore up service trade to nurture new growth sources as the traditional goods trade has faltered amid a slowing economy.

China will boost combined service imports and exports to 1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020 and improve their proportion in total foreign trade, said a guideline released Saturday by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

It was the first time for central policy makers to set a specific target for the sector.

The guideline said China’s service trade is still less competitive in the global market despite years of rapid improvements, but the sector is important to ensure employment, boost economic quality and nurture new growth sources.

Both quality and quantity should be prioritized to develop service trade, said Bai Ming, researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

“China should grasp the opportunity and nurture a new advantage,” he added.

China will encourage high added value and technology services, import more capital and skill-intensive services and promote trade with emerging economies, the guideline said.

Services in transportation, communication, finance, R&D and environmental protection will be prioritized and services featuring Chinese culture such as entertainment and traditional Chinese medicine will be promoted, the guideline said.

In 2014, China’s service exports gained 7.6 percent to 222.21 billion U.S. dollars year on year, while imports expanded over 15 percent to 382.13 billion U.S. dollars, MOC data showed. The growth rates were markedly higher than total foreign trade, which only edged up by 3.4 percent.

However, service trade only took a minor share of total trade, accounting for 12.3 percent last year, up from 11.5 percent in 2013 and 10.8 percent in 2012. Experts believe the sector has room for improvement and needs policy support to open up.

The Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has piloted the opening of service trade since it was established in 2013, adopting “negative list” management and measures to facilitate investment and trade.

“The Shanghai FTZ has created favorable conditions to develop service trade and its experience should be promoted in other places,” Bai said.

In addition, policy makers promised to open up the service sector and loosen access for foreign investment in industries including child care, old-age care, architectural design, accounting, auditing, logistics and e-commerce.

The guideline marked the country’s latest efforts in a policy shift to develop the service sector from an old model favoring manufacturing.

Director of the China (Hainan) Institute for Reform and Development, Chi Fulin said China is laying the foundation for a service sector-led economy. J.P. Morgan Chase predicted the service sector will replace manufacturing, the traditional engine of growth, to drive economic growth in 2015.

China has become increasingly reliant on the sector to address downward pressures. The added value from the tertiary sector accounted for 48.2 percent of GDP in 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China aims for stabilizing growth speed, better quality: experts

By Li Yan

China is aiming for better quality and stabilization in its economic growth, while balancing medium-to-high growth, restructuring and risks, experts said at a top economic forum.

“The average pace of economic growth for the next five years is likely to be 7 percent, and a potential growth of 7 to 7.5 percent is also achievable,” Fan Gang, head of the National Economic Research Institute and former advisor to China’s central bank, said at the annual meeting of Chinese Economists 50 Forum over the weekend.

The meeting aimed to sketch out plans for the 13th Five-Year plan (2016-2020) under the new normal state, the Xinhua-run Shanghai Securities News said on Monday of February 16.

China’s growth rate during the next five years will most likely range from 6 to 7 percent. However, in order to maintain moderate growth, China must balance the relationship between medium-to-high growth speed and economic restructuring.

Experts agreed at the forum that a more efficient and comprehensive mode of economic development should replace the traditional one.

Xu Lin, director of the Department of Development Planning under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said economic growth for the next five years, under the state of new normal, should be aiming at higher quality and efficiency, driven by innovation, with a greener mentality.

Yang Weimin, vice minister of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Finance and Economic Affairs, said 10 big questions have to be answered in planning out the 13th Five-Year plan, including how to maintain steady economic growth, how to increase income, especially that of the low-income groups, how to reform the traditional development mode, as well as how to expand the scale of opening up.

Experts also discussed several topics related to industrial transformation, human resource construction, residents’ income and urbanization.

The five-year plan sets out an economic and social policy framework for the country, and needs to be approved by the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature.

The 13th Five-Year Plan, covering 2016 to 2020, is the country’s last five-year plan to complete the construction of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 and for achieving decisive results in deepening reforms.

Chinese Economists 50 Forum, or 50 Forum, is celebrated as one of the country’s top think tanks. It is an independent research entity that gathers the most famous and reputable Chinese economists with the vision to contribute to important issues in China’s modernization, economic development and reform.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China sees spike in inbound, outbound investments

By Jiang Xufeng, and Wang Youling

China saw a surge of foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country last month as investments in the service industry gained steam and Chinese firms going global led to a spike in outbound direct investment (ODI).

FDI in the Chinese mainland jumped 29.4 percent in January from a year earlier, settling at 13.92 billion U.S. dollars. The pace of growth quickened from a 1.7-percent uptick in 2014, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Monday of February 16.

A total of 9.18 billion dollars, around 66 percent of the FDI, went into China’s service sector last month, with the financial service industry seeing the biggest jump. The value represented an increase of 45.1 percent from the previous year, said MOC spokesman Shen Danyang.

Boosted by investments in the high-end manufacturing industry, combined FDI flowing into the manufacturing sector reached 3.95 billion dollars, accounting for 28.4 percent of the total, he added.

Last month also witnessed a spike of newly registered foreign-funded companies, with 2,266 such companies being set up, 31.8 percent more than a year ago.

Investments from China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Republic of Korea, Germany, Britain and Sweden all saw fast expansion, he said.

Investments from Japan reversed a declining trend from last year to post solid growth in January, with newly registered businesses by Japanese investors in China and FDI from Japan edging up 3.5 percent and 3.2 percent from a year ago, respectively.

“China was the world’s top FDI destination in 2014, which is a testimony to its great growth potential, sound infrastructure and good investment environment,” Shen told reporters, predicting FDI flowing into China will remain stable despite anemic global economic recovery.

“We are not sure whether China can continue to be the world’s top FDI host economy in 2015, but we are confident that China will be one of the top global FDI destinations this year,” said Shen, adding that China will enhance transparency and convenience of its investment environment.

Monday’s data also showed China’s outbound direct investment (ODI) by non-financial firms surged 40.6 percent to 10.17 billion dollars in January, with Hong Kong SAR, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and European Union as top investment destinations.

China has become a net capital exporter for the first time, with ODI outnumbering capital inflows in 2014.

The stronger-than-expected FDI and ODI data came after a string of figures pointed to weakening economic growth momentum in the world’s second largest economy.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Chinese stock market extends bull run

By Rong Jiaojiao and Zhao Xiaohui

Chinese stocks extended gains on Monday of February 16 with a surge of almost 4 percent on the ChiNext Index.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.58 percent to end at 3,222.36 points, while the Shenzhen Component Index gained 1.33 percent to end at 11,595.25 points.

Total turnover on the two bourses shrank to 541 billion yuan (88.4 billion U.S. dollars) from 563.8 billion yuan the previous trading day.

The ChiNext Index, tracking China’s Nasdaq-style board of growth enterprises, surged 3.9 percent to end at 1,896.63 points on Monday.

Li Hai, an analyst with CITIC Securities, said shares related to Internet finance ended the trading day with outstanding performances and still have huge potential.

Internet finance companies such as Iflytek and Yonyou Network Technology hit the daily increase limit of 10 percent.

The communications sector was also among those experiencing increase, despite authorities dismissing merger rumors for China’s telecom companies. China Unicom, one of China’s biggest phone companies, surged by the daily limit to 5.34 yuan per share.

The shares of construction and infrastructure were among the strongest sectors. China Railway Erju went up 7.45 percent to 17.17 yuan per share, and Longyuan Construction Group climbed up 5.69 percent to 8.91 yuan.

Li forecast further increase after more policies are eased following the coming Spring Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  Jan. FDI inflow jumps 29.4 pct

By Jiang Xufeng and Wang Youling

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Chinese mainland jumped 29.4 percent in January from a year earlier, settling at 13.92 billion U.S. dollars, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on Monday of February 16.

The pace of growth quickened from a 1.7-percent increase in 2014, as investment in the country’s service industry continued to pick up steam. ( A total of 9.18 billion dollars, around 66 percent of the FDI, went into China’s service sector last month. FDI into the manufacturing sector reached 3.95 billion dollars, accounting for 28.4 percent of the total, said MOC spokesman Shen Danyang.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s forex settlement deficit narrows in January

By Zhang Zhongkai and Jiang Lin

China continued to see a deficit in its foreign exchange settlement in January with narrowed volume, official data showed on Monday of February 16.

Chinese lenders bought 162 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of foreign currency and sold 170.2 billion U.S. dollars, resulting in a net sell of 8.2 billion U.S. dollars, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement.

The forex settlement deficit stood at 9.3 billion U.S. dollars in December and China continued to see a surplus in its foreign exchange settlement in 2014, but the volume narrowed significantly, indicating easing capital inflows.

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING

>>  China’s food poisoning deaths up slightly in 2014

By Wang Xiaopeng and Hu Hao

A total of 110 people died of food poisoning in China in 2014, a 0.9-percent increase from the previous year, according to statistics from the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

In a statement released Monday, the commission said the number of people who suffered from food poisoning last year also climbed by 1.8 percent to 5,657 in a total of 160 food poisoning incidents.

Microbe-related food poisoning led to the most illnesses, while poisonous animals and plants, including mushrooms, were the cause of most of the deaths, it said.

Most deaths occurred at home while public dining halls were where most people fell ill.

The commission called for strengthened risk evaluation and prevention, urging local food safety supervisors to intensify monitoring of canteens in schools and workplaces and banquets in rural areas.

It also called for more education about preventing food poisoning among the public.

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGCHUN

>>  Snow shuts down NE China airport, highways

By Cao Kai, Sun Renbin and Xu Yang

Heavy snow on Monday of February 16 brought an airport in northeast China’s Jilin Province to a standstill and a number of highways in Liaoning Province were impassable.

Changchun Longjia International Airport closed at about 3 p.m., it is expected to reopen at 7:35 p.m., according to Jilin Airports Group.

More than 50 flights were delayed, affecting thousands of passengers.

Heavy snow hit the region on Monday at noon, it is expected to last until Tuesday, according to the provincial meteorological station.

In Liaoning, more than 90 flights were delayed and over 2,000 passengers were stranded at Shenyang Taoxian International Airport.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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