Shanghai Daily Business
Updated: 1 hour 43 min ago
CHINESE bike-sharing company ofo yesterday launched a service in the Thai tourist resort island of Phuket in collaboration with a local company.
Noppol Toochinda, general manager for ofo Thailand operation, said more than 1,000 bikes would be available at key locations, including hotels, universities and tourist attractions.
This Sunday is Phuket Car Free Day, Noppol said. “We would like to invite Phuket residents and tourists to be part of this activity by stop using cars and try ofo bicycle service.”
Ofo currently operates in more than 170 cities across nine countries, with more than 10 million bicycles available, generating more than 25 million daily transactions.
It launched its business in Thailand last month with 1,000 bikes at Thammasat University’s Rangsit Campus.
Ofo said it considers the country as a strategic area in expanding its service in Southeast Asia due to its population of over 70 million, with more than 700,000 students and more than 9 million Chinese tourists visiting the kingdom each year.
THE bike-sharing trend which has taken China by storm has arrived in the US capital with the launch of new services aimed at promoting two-wheeled travel without the hassle of a docking station.
China-based giant Mobike and California-based LimeBike each began deploying hundreds of bikes, which have GPS location tracking and are unlocked with a smartphone app, under an agreement with Washington transport officials.
On Wednesday, the bright-green LimeBikes started appearing in downtown Washington along with the orange-colored Mobikes, both offering 30-minute rides for US$1. A third startup, California-based Spin, is set to begin operating in the capital later this month.
By eliminating docking stations, the startups allow riders to locate and unlock a bike with a smartphone, and then drop it virtually anywhere.
The new systems will undercut the docked bike-sharing network by offering rides at half the price of the competition and free users from worrying about whether docking stations are available.
LimeBike, which is now in 10 US cities and has raised US$12 million since it was founded in early 2017, aims to be a complement in the transport system and will deploy 400 bicycles in Washington DC.
“It’s all about reducing barriers,” said LimeBike market launcher Jason Wilde, who was showcasing the new bikes on Farragut Square, a few blocks from the White House.
Even at US$1 per ride — with half-priced rides for students — and without a government subsidy, Wilde said the company is betting the model will be successful by expanding the market.
Until now, the only option for Washingtonians had been Capital Bikeshare, which has 440 stations with 3,700 bikes to be rented from US$2 for 30 minutes.
Wilde said Washington “is home to one of the most successful existing bike-share programs, but it has not reached as many people as it should.”
Washington is the first US city for Mobike, which has distributed some 7 million bicycles in China and elsewhere.
“We are thrilled to call Washington DC Mobike’s first home in North America,” Hu Weiwei, its co-founder and president, said as the company began deploying some 200 bikes.
“Mobike is committed to developing a global bike-share culture by collaborating closely with cities, and the US capital is key in achieving this.”
Mobike, which faces fierce competition in China, is eying other US cities, said Rachel Song, its US general manager.
Outside China, Mobike has launched in Thailand, Malaysia and a handful of British cities including London.
Mobike has recently raised US$600 million to fuel its global expansion.
Its orange bikes feature a chainless shaft transmission and airless tires, aiming to be maintenance-free for up to four years.
The dockless system has become a craze in China, with more than 10 million bikes in use.
But it has also led to a cluttering of city centers with broken or badly parked bikes.
BAIDU yesterday announced a US$1.5 billion investment in autonomous driving projects over the next three years, as it seeks to diversify its portfolio and compete with rivals such as Google.
Over the next three years, the “Apollo Fund” will invest 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) in over 100 autonomous driving projects, the company said in a press release.
Baidu’s search engine dominates the Chinese Internet, and online ads are a key revenue stream.
But since a crackdown by authorities on its online advertising business after a much-publicized scandal last year over the promotion of a fake medical treatment, “China’s Google” is seeking to focus on artificial intelligence, investing heavily in the sector.
Baidu hopes to be the first to develop a vehicle capable of driving itself via powerful software and sensors.
The technological coup would help the Chinese firm compete with Google parent company Alphabet and Waymo, its subsidiary specializing in self-driving cars, as well as US carmaker Tesla.
Baidu launched an initial version of an open-source autonomous driving platform known as “Apollo” in July.
At the time, CEO Robin Li took one of the semi-autonomous vehicles for a joy-ride on a Beijing highway, livestreaming his trip to a packed auditorium of developers and calling the ride “very smooth.”
Yesterday, Baidu announced a new version of the platform, “Apollo 1.5,” which enables cars to “perform autonomous driving capabilities in designated lanes, perfectly recognizing obstacles and passengers and making optimal driving decisions even at night.”
Chinese automaker BYD Co Ltd expects the country’s shift to cleaner new-energy vehicles to be complete in just over a decade, an aggressive timeframe that would challenge traditional carmakers in the world’s top auto market.All vehicles in the country will be “electrified” by 2030, which could range from full electric cars to mild hybrids, BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu said yesterday. BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, has already invested heavily in the NEV market.Carmakers around the world are grappling with government plans to shift away from petrol engine cars to newer, less polluting technologies — a trend that is creating one of the most seismic shifts the automotive industry has gone through.Earlier this month, a senior Chinese official said the country had begun studying when to ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels, without giving a timeframe. The UK and France have said they will ban new petrol and diesel cars from 2040.“We are very confident about all the timetables (to eliminate fossil fuel cars) and we think it will happen earlier than expected,” Wang said at an event in Shenzhen.
HUJIANG, Shanghai’s top online learning platform, said today that it will set up an online education fund with two partners, which aims to tap artificial intelligence.
Hujiang plans to invest heavily on AI to improve online learning experience with a new strategy “All in AI”, said Fu Cairui, chief executive and chairman of Hujiang.
The fund is set up by Hujiang, government-backed FTZ (Free Trade Zone) Fund and Wenxin Media.
The annual size of the online learning market in China is worth up to 200 billion yuan (US$30.8 billion), said industry insiders. The online language learning market grows by 20 percent annually, and “explosive growth” is possible by tapping new technologies like AI, said consulting firm iResearch.
GOOGLE is biting off a big piece of device manufacturer HTC for US$1.1 billion to expand its efforts to build phones, speakers and other gadgets equipped with its arsenal of digital services.
It’s buying the HTC engineering team that built the Pixel smartphone for Google in a cash deal, the companies said in a joint statement yesterday. Google is also getting a non-exclusive license for Taiwan-based HTC’s intellectual property to help support Pixel phones.
The deal underscores how serious Google is becoming about designing its own family of devices to compete against Apple and Amazon in a high-stakes battle to become the technological hub of people’s lives.
“We think this is a very important step for Google in our hardware efforts,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of hardware, said at a press conference in Taipei. “We’ve been focusing on building our core capabilities. But with this agreement, we’re taking a very large leap forward.”
The deal, which needs regulatory approval, is expected to close by early 2018.
Over the past decade, Google had focused on giving away its Android operating system to an array of device makers, including HTC, to ensure people would keep using its ubiquitous search engine, e-mail, maps, YouTube video service and other software on smartphones and other pieces of hardware.
But that changed last year when Google stamped its brand on a smartphone and Internet-connected speaker. HTC manufactured the Pixel phones that Google designed last year, paving the way for this deal to unfold.
HTC’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Shen said about 2,000 engineers will be transferred to Google, Taiwan’s official news agency reported. The staff are “primarily focused on research and development,” Osterloh said.
Although Android powers about four out of every five smartphones and other mobile devices in the world, the software can be altered in ways that result in Google’s services being de-emphasized or left out completely from the pre-installed set of apps.
That fragmentation threatens to undercut Google’s ability to increase the ad sales that bring in most of the revenue to its corporate parent, Alphabet Inc, as people spend more and more time on smartphones and other devices instead of personal computers.
Apple’s iPhone and other hardware products are also particularly popular among affluent consumers prized by advertisers, giving Google another incentive to develop its own high-priced phone as a mobile platform for its products and ads.
Google also wants to build more Internet-connected devices designed primarily for home usage, such as its voice-controlled speaker that’s trying to catch up with Amazon’s Echo. The Home speaker includes a digital concierge, called Google Assistant, that answers questions and helps manage people’s lives, much like the Alexa in Amazon’s Echo.
Google’s previous forays into hardware haven’t panned out to be big winners so far. It paid US$12.5 billion for smartphone maker Motorola Mobility five years ago, only to sell it off to Lenovo Group for under US$3 billion after struggling to make a dent in the market. And in 2014, Google paid over US$3 billion for home device maker Nest Labs, which is still struggling to make money under Alphabet’s ownership.
The latest purchase is a big gamble for Google Inc and parent company Alphabet Inc but analysts say this time it could pay off. That’s because it gives a financial lifeline to Google’s struggling Taiwanese partner while giving the Silicon Valley giant access to the strong R&D talent it needs in order to expand its share in the coveted premium smartphone market.
It’s “a business decision to have access to one of the best R&D teams,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research. But it’s also “a sort of emotional decision to save its close partners.”
HTC, which teamed up with Google in 2008, has seen its market share shrink dramatically in the past decade in the fiercely competitive smartphone market. Its share of the global smartphone market fell to below 1 percent last year from nearly 9 percent in 2011, according to Counterpoint data.
One risk, though, is that expanding into hardware threatens to further alienate Android-based device makers like Samsung Electronics, which has been forging closer ties with Google’s rival Facebook, and China’s Huawei.
Analysts also predicted Samsung could be the biggest loser as Pixel phones undercut the South Korean tech giant’s market-leading smartphone business as consumers potentially turned off by high priced Galaxy devices defect to the Pixel, which is slightly cheaper and has Google’s newest software.
THE US Federal Reserve left interest rates flat on Wednesday but signaled it still expects one more rise by the end of the year despite low inflation.
The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to cut its around US$4.2 trillion in holdings of US Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities acquired in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.
New economic projections released after the Fed’s two-day policy meeting showed 11 of 16 officials see the “appropriate” level for the federal funds rate, the central bank’s benchmark interest rate, to be in a range between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent by the end of 2017, or 0.25 percentage points above the current level.
US bond yields rose, pushing up the US dollar after the Fed’s decision, but US benchmark stock indexes were little changed.
US benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rose as far as 2.29 percent, the highest since August 8 — a move which helped push bank stock prices higher also.
“The Fed took another step on its path of beautiful normalization, announcing that the gradual balance sheet reduction will start next month and limiting revisions to both projections and policy guidance,” said Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, in California.
In its policy statement, the Fed cited low unemployment, growth in business investment, and an economic expansion that has been moderate but durable this year as justifying its decision. It added that the near-term risks to the economic outlook remained “roughly balanced” but said it was “closely” watching inflation.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the end of the meeting that the fall in inflation this year remained a mystery, adding that the central bank was ready to change the interest rate outlook if needed.
“What we need to figure out is whether the factors that have lowered inflation are likely to prove persistent,” she said. If they do, “it would require an alteration of monetary policy,” Yellen said.
While the interest rate outlook for next year remained largely unchanged in the Fed’s latest projections, with three rises envisioned in 2018, the central bank did slow the pace of anticipated monetary tightening expected thereafter.
It forecasts only two increases in 2019 and one in 2020. It also lowered again its estimated long-term “neutral” interest rate from 3.0 percent to 2.75 percent, reflecting concerns about overall economic vitality.
“The US Federal Reserve has firmly signaled that a December rate rise is still on the table,” said Luke Bartholomew, of Aberdeen Standard Investments Investment Strategist in London.
“Clearly the Fed still believes that lower unemployment will eventually translate into a pick-up in inflation, but if inflation continues to undershoot it is hard to see the Fed following through on a hike,” he said.
The Fed will resume rate hikes in December and raise borrowing costs three more times in 2018, a Reuters poll found on Wednesday.
The Fed will also cut the size of its asset stock pile by US$1.4 trillion over the next several years as it seeks to restore a normal environment for monetary policy, the poll of Wall Street’s top banks taken after the Fed’s latest policy meeting showed.
THE top securities regulator in the United States said Wednesday night that its computer system had been hacked last year, giving the attackers private information that could have been exploited for trading.
The disclosure, coming on the heels of a data breach at Equifax, the major consumer credit reporting firm, is likely to intensify concerns over potential computer vulnerabilities lurking among pillars of the American financial system.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said in a statement that it was still investigating the breach of its corporate filing system. The system, called Edgar, is used by firms to make legally required filings to the agency.
The agency said it learned in August that an incident detected last year “was exploited and resulted in access to nonpublic information.” It said the security vulnerability used in the attack had been patched shortly after it was discovered.
The hacking, it said, “may have provided the basis for illicit gain through trading.”
In its statement, the agency did not release further details of the attack, including whether it had resulted in disclosure of any information about particular companies.
The Equifax breach, which focused on a database that contained the personal information of 143 million Americans, focused attention on the vulnerabilities of private companies that handle sensitive personal financial information. The SEC sometimes handles its own sensitive information, including disclosures that companies are allowed to keep away from investors. Such information could give traders an edge.
The SEC may have presented a ripe target.
The Government Accountability Office in July released a 27-page report that found deficiencies in the SEC’s information systems that “limited the effectiveness of the SEC’s controls for protecting confidentiality, integrity and availability.” It also found that the SEC did not always encrypt information and had failed to fully implement recommendations from the General Accounting Office that would help detect intrusion.
In its response, the SEC said it agreed with the recommendations of the report but added that it had implemented a number of its suggestions.
CHINA’S Belt and Road Initiative is now showing signs of concrete results via cooperation which aims to benefit all parties, a senior government official said in Shanghai yesterday.
The B&R’s ultimate goal is to build a community of shared destiny based on win-win cooperation and an innovation-driven open economy, said Du Qinglin, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of China Economic and Social Council.
President Xi Jinping raised the B&R in 2013 as a channel to boost economic links between China and regions including the Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, Oceania and North Africa.
The initiative could help countries along the belt and road improve infrastructure, public welfare, and economic activities, Du told the 2017 China Economy and Society Forum, adding that greater cooperation among the countries will also boost cultural exchange for mutual understanding and respect.
Official data showed that more than 70 countries and international organizations have signed deals with China under the B&R.
Between 2014 and 2016, China's trade with B&R countries reached US$3 trillion while outbound investment exceeded US$50 billion.
Chinese companies set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries along the belt and road, contributing to above US$1 billion in tax revenue for the destination countries, the data showed.
The B&R could also help China further open up the economy, balance development between east and western regions, and upgrade industrial structure.
SHANGHAI stocks dipped, led by property developers and raw material firms.
The Shanghai Composite Index trimmed 0.24 percent to 3,357.81.
Real estate companies pulled the index lower amid concerns that further purchasing limits and a higher mortgage rate would hurt business.
Gemdale Corporation fell 2.74 percent to 12.41 yuan while Shanghai Shimao Co lost 2.6 percent to 5.63 yuan.
Lithium battery producers and new energy car related shares also gave up their gains. Shenzhen Desay Battery Technology Co shed 0.40 percent to 51.77 yuan, Guizhou Redstar Developing Co sank 9.52 percent to 14.45 yuan while Hengdian Group DMEGC Magnetics Co lost 9.02 percent to 11.09 yuan.
But financial shares gained following the US Federal Reserve's tightening moves which signaled that higher interest rates might push up earnings.
Bank of Communications jumped 2.21 percent to close at 6.94 yuan.
This file photo shows pedestrians carrying shopping bags in Oxford Street in central London. British retail sales grew far stronger than expected in August, surging 1 percent from the previous month, official data showed yesterday, despite rising prices fueled by Brexit.
JAPAN’S Toshiba Corp agreed yesterday to sell its prized semiconductor business to a group led by US private equity firm Bain Capital LP, a key step in keeping the struggling Japanese conglomerate listed on the Tokyo exchange.
In a last-minute twist to a long and highly contentious auction, Toshiba said in a late-night announcement through the exchange it agreed to sign a contract for the deal worth about 2 trillion yen (US$18 billion).
The decision to sell the world’s No. 2 producer of NAND memory chips was made at a board meeting earlier yesterday.
Late on Tuesday, sources had said Toshiba was leaning toward selling the business to its US joint venture partner Western Digital Corp.
It’s unclear whether the sale to the Bain Capital-led group will proceed smoothly, as Western Digital has previously initiated legal action against Toshiba, arguing that no deal can be done without its consent due to its position as Toshiba’s joint venture chip partner.
Toshiba said the agreement assumes the deal would weather legal challenges raised by Western Digital.
A Western Digital spokeswoman said the company did not have an immediate comment.
Toshiba said the sale will boost its finances by 740 billion yen after taxes. That would pull it out of negative shareholder equity, a key step it aims to achieve by March to remain listed.
Bain Capital has partnered with South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc and brought in US buyers of Toshiba chips such as Apple Inc and Dell Inc to bolster its bid. Memory product maker Kingston Technology and data storage firm Seagate Technology Plc are also part of the group.
The Toshiba announcement referred to a group with foreign companies, but did not cite SK Hynix. Rather, it said two Japanese state-backed investors — the Innovation Network Corp of Japan and the Development Bank of Japan — were considering a future capital tie-up. Bain had previously invited the two into the group, sources have said.
Without a sale, Toshiba won’t have the billions of dollars it needs to plug a hole in its finances caused by its now bankrupt US nuclear unit Westinghouse, and could be delisted.
INTERNET giants are gearing up for the Singles Day shopping spree in November, and service providers in the logistics sector are beefing up efforts to ensure smooth delivery of goods following the world's largest online shopping festival.
China Express Association expects the total number of packages in the week following Singles Day to reach 1 billion this year, an increase of nearly 50 percent from last year’s 657 million.
Sun Kang, secretary general of China Express Association, told an industry forum in Shanghai yesterday that the peak delivery season following the Singles Day shopping spree, which falls on November 11 each year, has become a major test for the domestic courier service industry.
Courier companies have invested in smart devices to allow for more efficient dispatch and delivery of packages, and Cainiao Network will also provide more detailed predictive figures so that courier companies can make preparations for their delivery capacity in advance.
Vice president of Cainiao Network, Shi Miao, said it will encourage all industry partners and companies to ensure the efficiency of the last-mile delivery of packages. It will allocate 1.5 billion yuan (US$227 million) in subsidies during the peak delivery season for vendors and logistics partners to leverage from its smart logistics network and to offer smooth delivery to consumers.
JD.com also said yesterday its logistics affiliate will offer 660 million yuan worth of subsidies and discounts for online vendors and courier companies to cut delivery costs for e-commerce sellers.
CHINA’S first online government-led bank taxation interactive platform, which seeks to help small and mid-size enterprises, to access loans easily was launched in Shanghai yesterday.
As the first online interactive platform co-developed by the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Local Taxation and the China Banking Regulatory Commission, it will benefit SMEs which have been long plagued by difficulties and higher cost in financing, said Zhang Guangping, a senior official from the CBRC Shanghai office.
With access to online big data shared by the taxation authority, banks can make loans within five minutes to the SMEs as long as they meet basic requirements and have a good record of paying taxes, said Li Junkun, chief accountant at the local taxation bureau.
Nineteen banks signed the bank-taxation interactive cooperation framework agreement yesterday with the local taxation bureau, bringing the number of members to 46 lenders.
SHANGHAI stocks closed up yesterday as market sentiment was boosted by the approaching National Day holiday and an improving macro-economic environment.
The Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.27 percent to close at 3,366.00 points.
Shares of non-ferrous metals, consumer, tourism, coal and steel producers were among the biggest gainers yesterday.
Consumer and tourism shares added 0.83 percent and 0.79 percent respectively today, as analysts said the market sentiment is likely to remain positive with the approach of the National Day holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Gao Ting, head of China strategy at UBS Securities, wrote in a report that there is a positive environment for Chinese equities in the consumer sector.
“I am bullish on several consumer-related sectors, including dairy, furniture, home appliances and duty free,” Gao added.
Investors are also optimistic on China’s improving macro-economic environment.
Chinese business leaders are positive for the next six months and large firms are relatively more optimistic, according to a latest report published by UBS Securities yesterday.
The report also mentioned that “high business confidence and capex intentions could help manufacturing investment stabilize in the second half of this year, in particular for research and development and equipment upgrading.”
Xinyu Iron&Steel Co Ltd rose 5.23 percent to end at 6.24 yuan (US$0.96), Jiangsu King’s Luck Brewery Joint–Stock Co Ltd added 4.02 percent to close at 16.58 yuan and China International Travel Service Co Ltd climbed 2.74 percent to finish at 34.11 yuan.
DONGFENG Peugeot Citroen Automobile will recall 2,317 defective automobiles with problematic tires, China’s consumer quality watchdog said yesterday.
The recall, starting yesterday, will involve Dongfeng Citroen C5 and C6 models and Dongfeng Peugeot automobiles produced between August 15-29 in 2017 the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement.
The reason for the recall is problems with the tires, the statement said, adding the company would replace the faulty tires free of charge.
Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen Automobile, a joint venture, was founded in 1992 by Dongfeng Motor Company and Citroen Auto Company, a subsidiary of the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group in France.
OVER 200 intellectual property issues from some 130 domestic and foreign culture enterprises were exhibited and traded at the annual Culture Licensing Fair of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone from yesterday.
The three-day event features artworks, intangible culture heritage, video games, film and television programs.
CHINA will set up more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in favor of trade facilitation to boost China’s global competitiveness, according to a decision made at a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang yesterday.
The meeting decided to extend the success of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to more cities with good infrastructure, strong trade and e-commerce development potential.
The original initiative was set in motion by the State Council in Hangzhou in 2015 before being expanded to another 12 cities, including Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing, from early 2016.
Some good practices are going national, such as the development of online comprehensive service platforms incorporating customs clearance, logistics, tax refunds, payments, fundraising and risk control services and offline industrial parks providing whole-industrial-chain services.
“We need to enable the healthy development of cross-border e-commerce and speed up the growth of new engines, making the foreign trade sector more adaptive to new circumstances and better endowed with new cutting edges,” Li said. “The prospect of cross-border e-commerce is very bright.”
Ministry of Commerce statistics show that 220 countries and regions across the world were covered by China’s cross-border e-commerce network as of 2016, with a turnover of 5.85 trillion yuan (US$890 billion), up by 28.2 percent year on year.
The total volume of foreign trade via cross-border e-commerce in the 13 pilot zones reached 163.7 billion yuan in 2016, up by more than 100 percent year on year. More than 400 third-party platforms and 20,000 cross-border e-commerce trade companies were established.
The government will further streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and improve service to boost efficiency and reduce costs.
Developing the value-chain of e-commerce will be support measures that include establishing overseas storage facilities covering key countries and markets and logistics networks.
“We need to expand and clone good experience and practices accumulated, and lay down the rules in a timely manner. The new growth drivers’ capacity to boost employment, extend the industry chain and buttress growth cannot be overestimated,” Li said.
The meeting also decided to support exploration and innovation efforts by pilot zones. Different online platforms will be integrated to better provide one-stop services to share information, regulatory credentials and enforcement resources.
Parallel efforts will be made to match online platforms with robust offline industrial cluster development and comprehensive service provision.
The government will also step up development of the credit system in the cross-border e-commerce sector and improve mechanisms to evaluate e-commerce sector, safeguard transactions, better protect consumers and IPR, and manage risks.
“Government oversight should be both enabling and prudent,” Li said.
AIRBUS yesterday inaugurated its first completion center for large aircraft in China, a new asset for the European manufacturer in heated competition with American rival Boeing.
China is one of the Western manufacturers’ key battlegrounds, with its travelers taking to the skies in ever-growing numbers.
In Tianjin, a port city 150 kilometers from Beijing, Airbus already has an assembly line for the single-aisle aircraft A319 and A320, the first of its kind outside Europe.
Now the same site hosts a completion center for long-haul A330 and its first aircraft was delivered to Tianjin Airlines yesterday, accompanied by the playing of cymbals and banging of drums.
“This is the perfect illustration of mutual trust” and “our willingness to embark on a new stage in the Franco-Chinese relationship,” said French junior finance minister Benjamin Griveaux, the first member of President Emmanuel Macron’s government to visit China.
The 200-million-euro (US$240 million) facility will receive A330s assembled in France and will prepare the cabins and apply exterior painting. Two aircraft will be delivered every month.
The A330, operated by nine Chinese airlines, is the most popular wide-body aircraft in the country.
“The inauguration of our (centre) in Tianjin, together with the first of many deliveries, marks a new milestone for Airbus’ international footprint,” Fabrice Bregier, Airbus chief operating office, said at one of the site’s giant halls alongside leaders of aviation manufacturer Avic, the European firm’s Chinese partner.
The majority of Airbus orders in China are its A320 single-aisle jetliner. But with about 200 A330s in the country’s skies, the aircraft manufacturer also controls 61 percent of the long-haul market.
According to the company, China will need about 6,000 airliners over the next two decades, and its demand for large carriers will be boosted by the explosion of Chinese passenger traffic abroad that is increasing at 14 percent per year, said Eric Chen, president of Airbus China.
Having doubled its market share in the space of a decade, Airbus is now on par with Boeing in China. But the American aircraft maker does not intend to be left behind. Next year it will open its own finishing center for the medium-haul B737 in China.
For its part, the Chinese state aircraft manufacturer COMAC intends to jostle the Airbus-Boeing duopoly with its medium-haul C919, which took its maiden flight in May.
SHANGHAI ranked No. 6 in the 22th Global Financial Centres Index, up from 13th last time, and a report ranked the the city's insurance industry as No. 1 in the world for the first time.
The 22th Global Financial Centres Index report, newly released by Z/Yen Group, a British commercial think-tank and the China Development Institute, revealed that Shanghai ranked in the top 10 global financial centers for the first time.
“Generally speaking, Shanghai has made great efforts in building a global financial center, especially with huge improvements in the financial infrastructure construction and regulatory environments,” said Mark Yeandle, lead writer of the GFCI report and vice president of Z/Yen.
The report showed that the overall scores of all the top 20 financial centers, including Shanghai, fell from six months ago. However, international financial experts were positive about the development of Shanghai as a financial center, which narrowed the gulf between Shanghai and the top 5 centers.
“Hong Kong and Singapore were the best global international centers in the Asia-Pacific region for several years before, way better than Shanghai,” Yeandle said, adding that “with the constant opening of Chinese financial services, Shanghai is closing the gap rapidly.”
Shanghai is narrowing the gap with Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo in developing a global financial center but Shanghai trails the other three cities in areas of business environment and reputation, the report said.
In fact the report recommended that Shanghai should persist in improving the business environment because research showed that the business environment is the most valued factor in professionals’ evaluation of financial centers.
The report also highlighted Shanghai’s insurance industry as No. 1 globally for the first time.
“This ranking represents the evaluation for Shanghai as a financial center from the experts of related industries, which means that specialists in the insurance industry are particularly positive about Shanghai,” Yeandle said.
The report also suggested that Shanghai needs to promote the city globally that it has the capabilities to be a leading international financial center and publicize its progress as it transforms itself into one.
Also, Shanghai needs to provide various channels for capital and flow of high quality financial talents. The report also recommended that Shanghai continue to develop a transparent rule of law, timely information and an excellent business environment to reduce uncertainties in financial trading and thereby trim transaction costs.
“Shanghai has to follow the national strategies such as the yuan internationalization and the One Belt One Road initiative, (and) further strengthen collaboration with developed global financial centers,” Yu Peng, senior researcher of the China Development Institute, said.
Yu also said that efforts should be made to open the finance industry wider to enhance the influence of Shanghai as a global financial hub.