Shanghai Daily Business
Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago
Labor productivity or wages have not improved amid a global economic growth and the labor market is under pressure due to a rising mismatch between the skills workers possess and those required by employers, according to report released by recruiting firm Hays plc.The global labor market was under strain in 2017 as the Hays Global Skills Index measuring the ability of companies to access skilled workers rose slightly from 5.3 to 5.4, the report, co-published yesterday by Hays and Oxford Economics, said. The skills index examines professional employment markets across 33 countries and regions and allocates a score for each country/region of between 0 and 10. An overall score above 5 indicates the labor market is “tighter” than normal while a score below 5 points to a “looser” market.The main factor behind the tighter market is the growing mismatch between the skills workers possess and those required by employers, Hays said. The trend was seen across almost half of the markets assessed (16 out of 33), with the European markets of Austria, France and Belgium showing the largest rises in the mismatch of skills.The report indicated that many countries across Europe, the Middle East and the Americas are stuck in a low growth trap suffering from weak productivity growth that has led to reduced investment in labor and capital, which further weakened overall productivity levels. Hays noted that this stagnation may be part of a longer-term trend.The fast-changing work environment has led to the global labor force failing to develop the skills required to fill today’s roles, Hays said. To bridge this gap, education and on-the-job training need to be prioritized, the report said.“We are at a critical junction, where if we don’t seek to address these issues in the very near future, then the skills crisis risks spiraling out of control and the global labor market will struggle to keep up and provide the skills the world needs,” said Alistair Cox, CEO of Hays plc.
The China International Import Expo in November will offer visitors an upgraded network that can provide Internet access for 300,000 smartphones simultaneously, 4G plus speed up to 170 megabits per second, multi-language hotline services and free Wi-Fi for the whole exhibition, Shanghai Daily learned yesterday.China Mobile, the world’s biggest mobile carrier, has spent over three months to upgrade the network at the exhibition. In a recent test, the network was able to provide Internet access to 300,000 smartphones at a peak speed of 170 mbps.The mobile carrier has also upgraded telecommunications services at airports and railway stations. In the Hongqiao railway station, the daily mobile capacity is now 250 gigabytes, up nearly 40 percent year on year.During the expo, held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10, China Mobile Shanghai branch will open multiple language hotline services in English, Japanese, Korean, German, French and Spanish.
SHANGHAI’S new housing market rebounded moderately last week despite an overall sluggish sentiment, latest market data showed.
The area of new homes sold, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, rose 28.1 percent to 175,000 square meters during the seven-day period ending Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said in a report released yesterday.
Outlying Nanhui in the Pudong New Area outperformed all districts with weekly sales of 56,000 square meters amid an abundant supply. That was in sharp contrast with its downtown counterparts where most sold no more than 3,000 square meters.
“Despite the recovery, the general buying momentum was still rather low even though September is the traditional strong month for property sales,” said Lu Wenxi, senior manager of research at Centaline. “However, as new home supply rebounded as well, we could expect sales to improve during the last week of this month.”
The average cost of a new home fell again to 48,678 yuan (US$7,081) per square meter, a weekly drop of 4.5 percent and the lowest in about two months, according to Centaline data.
Three of the top four most sought-after projects cost under 30,000 yuan per square meter, with a residential development in Nanhui leading with weekly sales of 43,983 square meters, or 462 units, for an average 25,845 yuan per square meter.
The high-end segment saw three housing projects in downtown Yangpu, Huangpu and Putuo districts each asking for over 100,000 yuan per square meter, while units in another development in Zhabei sold for above 95,000 yuan per square meter each.
Around 168,000 square meters of new homes spanning five projects, mostly in the medium to low-end segment, were released locally, up 16.5 percent week over week, Centaline data showed.
The 20th China International Industry Fair, a five-day event where foreign and domestic companies meet and display their technologies, attracted a record 174,000 visitors this month.The fair also highlighted the development priorities of Shanghai’s technologies and new manufacturing trends.Shanghai officials who participated in the fair’s forums stressed the city’s role as a leading light in efforts to integrate manufacturing development in the Yangtze River Delta, which includes Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces.The Yangtze River Delta Smart Manufacturing and Cooperative Innovation Development Initiative, formulated this year, emphasizes that cooperative development, adhering to a development map set forth by the Communist Party Central Committee. It proposes nine areas of development in “smart” manufacturing in the delta.An alliance for the development initiative was launched on September 20. It is in line with a national strategy directed by President Xi Jinping. The alliance will act as a public service platform, focusing on building high-quality industry clusters.The 7th China Robot Industry Summit, one of the development forums at this year’s fair, focused on enhancing cooperation in the development of the robotics industry in the delta.At the robotics show, more than 60 new robot products were seen for the first time. According to Ma Chunlei, director of Shanghai Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the production capacity of robots in the delta currently accounts for 50 percent of production in China.The forum attracted leading companies, both foreign and domestic, including major robotics companies such as Siasun Robot & Automation Co. Representatives of university research institutions were also on hand to discuss industry development.Another forum was the 2018 World Autonomous Vehicle Ecosystem Conference, under the theme “New Integration, New Power.” Shanghai and representatives from the three delta provinces reached a consensus about the integration of intelligent, connected vehicles, including testing and certification systems.One of the standout features of the fair was the emphasis on manufacturing that is smart and green.A key element is the development of industries related to the Internet of Things. By integrating manufacturing and the Internet, enabling production data connected to the cloud, manufacturing will aim to become smarter and more attuned to public demand.For example, Haire displayed its independent research and development platform related to the Internet of Things. Thousands of sensors in Haire’s factory carry data to the cloud and then analyze and modify production accordingly.Eco-friendly manufacturing was also at the forefront of the fair.This year, 18 companies from the European Union participated in the fair for the first time, displaying products related to everything from green architecture and recycling to carbon emissions and recovery.At the New Energy Auto Show, 100 new energy and intelligent connected vehicles were on display. Visitors were able to purchase vehicles at the fair, receiving an extra subsidy of 1,000 yuan (US$146) apart from the normal government subsidy.At the Energy Show, Shanghai Electric displayed technologies that are environmentally friendly, part of the city’s plans to turn itself into a smart energy city.China’s manufacturing industries have increased output 13-fold in the last 20 years to rank first in the world. The export of mechanical and electrical products alone increased 17 times during the time.
Sweden-based Volvo Construction Equipment is a pioneer in tapping the opportunities of the five-year-old Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone, with the creation of the zone’s first financial leasing company.Under preferential policies initiated in the zone, Volvo Financial Leasing (China) Co was allowed to engage in a sideline commercial factoring business relevant to its main business.Factoring refers to a type of debt finance in which a business sells its accounts receivable to a third party, or factor, at a discount to raise cash.As one of Volvo’s four major headquarters, Jinqiao-based Volvo Construction Equipment accounts for about a fourth of the group’s global business around the world.“Allowing financial leasing companies to engage in sideline commercial factoring business is a major breakthrough in the FTZ’s financial innovation,” said Zhan Xu, vice president and director of Volvo Construction Equipment. “It raises the level of financial leasing services and expands the scope of business.”In the field of health care, the zone’s opportunities are also producing breakthrough results.A drug to treat cancer has flowed to the China market quickly after its developer tapped the so-called Marketing Authorization Holder program. Fruquintinib capsules, developed by Hutchison MediPharma, or Chi-Med, in the Zhangjiang Pharma Valley, is China’s first independently developed drug for the treatment of metastatic colon cancer. It was approved for public use by the National Medical Products Administration earlier this month.The marketing authorization program was initiated in the free trade zone to enable pharma research and development groups to use contract manufacturers to produce drugs in China. Previously, those groups had to build their own production facilities or transfer the technology if they lacked the funds to do so. In essence, a license to manufacture drugs was tied to drug approval, a system that brought low returns to developers of new drugs. “Without the new system, Fruquintinib would not have reached the shelves so readily,” said Dr Zhenping Wu, vice president of Chi-med. The free trade zone has indeed been at the forefront of economic reform and decentralization.A pioneerBy the end of June, 2,620 business projects had been launched there. Further opening-up in industries such as financial leasing, engineering design and travel agencies has made notable progress. Among those achievements were China’s first reinsurance broker, the first foreign-funded vocational training institute, the first wholly foreign-owned yacht design company, the first foreign medical institute, the first wholly foreign-owned engineering design firm and the first foreign certification company to adopt international food safety standards.Even cutting-edge electric car manufacturer Tesla Inc landed a deal with Chinese authorities to build a new auto plant in Lingang on the southeastern tip of the free trade zone. The plant will be the first factory outside the US for the California-based company and will double Tesla’s global manufacturing capability.The free trade zone reported 1.35 trillion yuan (US$197 billion) of exports last year, up 15 percent from a year earlier. That accounted for 38.6 percent of Shanghai’s exports during the period. Annual container throughput at the Yangshan and Waigaoqiao ports totaled 36.38 million twenty-foot equivalent units, a measure of container cargo. That ranked Shanghai as the world’s largest container port for an eighth year.More than 54,000 companies are registered in the free trade zone, with nearly 10,000 of them foreign-invested. The “negative list” that restricts foreign investment has been shortened from 190 items in 2013 when the free trade zone was established to 45 this year. The approval process for companies in the zone has been shortened to three days from the previous three to six months. By the end of last year, the zone recorded more than 1,900 foreign investment projects.A system has been implemented which provides for overseas shipments to enter the country without immediate customs clearance.Logistics companies operating in the zone enjoy simplified customs, immigration and quarantine procedures. That reduces warehousing and logistics costs. Never content to stand still, the free trade zone issued 25 rules in June to test the ground for further liberalization of the financial sector.Under the rules, commercial banks would be allowed to form financial asset investment and management companies without any cap on foreign ownership, and foreigners would be allowed to take majority stakes in domestic life insurance companies based in the zone. The zone will also issue intellectual property protection rules for the development of Internet, e-commerce, big data and related areas and accelerate the Shanghai-London Stock Connect.President Xi Jinping has praised the Shanghai Free Trade Zone for significant progress. “In general,” he said, “the original intention has been achieved.”
CHINA’S manufacturing activity edged down in December, official data showed yesterday, but largely maintained momentum despite curbs on heavy industry aimed at taming the country’s chronic air pollution.
The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a gauge of factory conditions, stood at 51.6 last month, the National Bureau of Statistics said, compared to 51.8 in November.
Anything above 50 is considered growth, while under 50 points to contraction.
China has curbed activity in heavy industries in the northeast to reduce surplus capacity and the heavy smog that typically blankets the region in late autumn and winter.
The index in December is on par with the annual average, still pointing to a strong resilience in China’s growth, according to NBS senior statistician Zhao Qinghe.
Sub-indexes for production and new orders came in at 54 and 53.4, respectively. However, the sub-index of raw material inventory stood at 48 in December, down 0.4 percentage points from November, indicating continuously decreasing raw material inventory in the manufacturing sector.
China’s manufacturing PMI has been in positive territory for 17 months in a row.
The data also showed that the country’s non-manufacturing sector expanded faster in December, with non-manufacturing PMI at 55 in December, up from 54.8 in November.
The service sector continued steady growth, with business activity index standing at 53.4 in December.
“Early indicators for December show China’s economy pushing into 2018 with growth steady, if unspectacular,” said Tom Orlik, Bloomberg chief Asia economist, as “the official purchasing managers’ indexes show the manufacturing sector slowing slightly and non-manufacturing sector picking up.”
“Growth remains remarkably robust, underpinned by resurgent global demand, stimulus-boosted infrastructure spending, and a deleveraging program that remains more honored in the breach than the observance.”
CHINA is firmly committed to safeguarding its national dignity and core interests, advancing the sound development of China-US economic and trade relations and protecting the lawful rights and interests of foreign businesses in China.
The US is a major source of foreign investment for China. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, by the end of 2017, there were approximately 68,000 US-funded enterprises in China with actualized investment of more than US$83 billion.
China and the US have both reaped enormous benefits from trade and economic cooperation.
American companies have played an exemplary role in China for their Chinese peers in terms of technological innovation, marketing management, and institutional innovation. They have promoted market competition and motivated Chinese firms to improve their technology and management.
At the same time, the US has gained access to a wide range of business opportunities such as cross-border investment and entry into the China market, which have played a big part in driving economic growth, improving consumer welfare, and upgrading the economic structure in the US.
China respects international business practices, observes the rules of the WTO, and treats all businesses registered in China equally.
THE trade bullyism practices of the United States have shaken the foundations of the global multilateral trading regime, which will ultimately hurt its long-term interests.
The new US administration has practiced unilateralism and economic hegemony with a narrow focus on “America First” since taking office.
This has not only undermined the interests of China and other countries, but also jeopardized the international reputation of the US itself, the white paper said.
The United States unilaterally provokes trade friction on the pretext of its domestic law.
The white paper said the US, citing industrial injuries and protection of intellectual property rights, regularly circumvented the dispute settlement system of the WTO and provoked international trade friction merely using US domestic law as a pretext, initiating a host of investigations under the auspices of Section 232, Section 201 and Section 301.
“Such unilateralist actions have harmed the interests of China and other WTO members. More importantly, they have undermined the authority of the WTO and its dispute settlement system,” the white paper said.
It notes that the US uses “long-arm jurisdiction” and imposes sanctions against other countries based on domestic laws.
The math says it all about China’s campaign to become a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence. The recent World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai drew 335 top scientists and business executives, 146 technology exhibitors, 40,000 visitors and a welcoming letter from President Xi Jinping.For foreign giants like Amazon, ARM and Microsoft, the event was an opportunity to unveil new strategies and announce expanded investment in China. For Chinese firms, including AI startups, it provided an international platform for them to flex their tech muscles. “AI has already become a major driving force in a new round of the technology and industrial revolution, which is widening its profound impact on the world economy, social progress and people’s daily life,” said a blue book released during the conference.Shanghai wants to be a major player in the revolution. It launched a new round of policies to make that happen, with aims of developing artificial intelligence into a 100-billion-yuan (US$14.8 billion) industry by 2020. That would be a big jump from industry value of about 70 billion yuan last year.“It’s an important measure in promoting the deep integration of the Internet, big data and AI with the real economy,” according to the blue book released by Gartner and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.Indeed, players in the field regard China as the place to be.Amazon, ARM, Microsoft, SAP and other overseas companies all announced new China investment and industry strategies during the conference.“China is going to play a big role in this field,” said Alain Crozier, chairman and chief executive of Microsoft China. “China’s adoption of AI is very active, with small companies and big players alike building AI practices with vivid application scenarios.”During the event, Microsoft opened a new AI center in Shanghai, making China’s research team the largest outside of the United States.Microsoft has expanded its partnership network with companies including Lilly, Lingang Group and Jinmao Group. It covers artificial intelligence applications in such fields as health care, park management and smart homes.For example, a link-up between Lilly China and Microsoft China, is looking at real-time monitoring and evaluation of personal health, early warning systems on disease and active intervention procedures.Amazon, which just became the second firm with a market value of more than US$1 trillion after Apple, announced it will open a new AI lab in Shanghai and will add Mandarin language support for Amazon Polly, a machine learning service that turns text into lifelike speech. The new language support will allow Chinese users to create applications that talk and build new categories of speech-enabled products.ARM, which has core intellectual property in the AI industry map, launched a new embedded development kit in Shanghai that will help give developers easier access to AI.Representatives from top technology companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi gave speeches at the opening forum of the conference.Some AI firms have raised billions of dollars in capital markets, and many startups are entering the industry. During the conference new partnerships and investment plans were unveiled, and exhibits showcased technologies related to chip design, algorithms and classified AI applications.Vivo, the No.3 smartphone brand in China, announced it will establish a global AI research center related to smartphones and the Internet of Things. “The smartphone will become a device with self-learning ability within two or three years,” Zhou Wei, vice president of Vivo, said during a forum at the event. SenseTime, the world’s most valuable privately owned AI firm after raising US$620 million in May, announced it will invest 800 million yuan to build an AI supercomputer center in Shanghai. The center is expected to be the biggest one in Asia when it starts operation in 2020.AI technologies are key to the development of online finance, risk control, customer identification, robo-advisors and intelligent customer services, according to Shanghai-based startup Xinyan.AI applications are becoming “diversified and precise” in the finance industry, said Zhao Yang, Xinyan’s chief operating officer. The company has established a joint AI lab with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to develop machine-learning technology that will be able to “predict” future risks and resources from huge volumes of data.Shanghai was a fitting city to host the conference. Participants at the event cited its high level of government support, talent pool and rich spaces to land AI applications.During the event, the city announced 22 new policies in five categories to boost AI development. They cover talent, synergy innovation, industrial concentration and government-led financing investment, said Chen Mingbo, director of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Information Technology.The city will also launch a fund for developing the artificial intelligence industry. Major projects will be eligible for financial support of up to 100 million yuan, and AI companies will also be granted access to data resources in areas including education, health care and tourism.Some 20 AI-related agreements were signed during the conference, involving companies that included Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, JD.com, Huawei, SenseTime, Microsoft, ARM and Amazon.
The relentless urban rat race means that a large number of overworked city dwellers are battling health issues. Some may even be at risk of karoshi, or death caused by overwork, without even knowing it.A host of intelligent wearable devices has sprung up in the form of wristbands and smart watches. With functions like monitoring heartbeat and calculating paces, they are proving to be a hit with joggers and health-conscious yuppies.Zhu Jiping, founder and chief executive of LIF, a company based in Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, is one of the many who are taking advantage of the burgeoning market.Founded in 2010, LIF started out making wristbands and watches, gradually diversifying its product line to include a pendant and a clip-on that can be attached to a belt or suit lapel.Zhu, 53, a US-educated engineer and former Wall Street investor, proudly told Shanghai Daily at the 2018 China International Industry Fair that ended on Sunday that even the earliest LIF products were “superior to the latest models from tech giants like Apple and Xiaomi.”His confidence is not just idle boasting. LIF products are designed to respond immediately to life-threatening situations, like when the user has a stroke or is immobilized after a stumble.Apple’s latest gadgets require users themselves to decide if their conditions are “critical” enough to warrant immediate medical attention and a call for an ambulance. By comparison, Zhu said equivalent products from LIF are capable of sending out an SOS and arranging for emergency rescue based on automatic analysis of specific vital signs.“If the user passes out, a manual help-seeking function is meaningless,” said Zhu.Technologies such as geofencing, which is often applied to stem the random and illegal parking of shared bikes, have also been incorporated into LIF products to set up a perimeter for users with Alzheimer’s or dementia.Their custodians or care-givers will be alerted at once if the patients, limited to moving within a certain radius of homes or hospitals, stray from the designated “geofenced” area.Following a series of upgrades, LIF products have expanded the scope of health indicators to be monitored, from heartbeat, length of sleep and skin temperature to electrocardio signals and ambulatory blood pressure.At the recent fair in Shanghai, hype quickly began to build around LIF products equipped with the latest 3D positioning technology. Traditional two-dimensional positioning used in car navigation is unable to locate a person or object in vertical terms. “Whether he is on the elevated highway or on the ground, you cannot tell,” said Zhu.3D positioningBut 3D positioning can immediately reveal the position of a person in need of help, while drastically reducing the margin of error to dozens of centimeters.In Zhu’s words, knowing exactly which floor of a building the patient is on is critical, saving a “tremendous amount of time in getting to and rescuing him.”All these technological superiorities combine to offer Zhu’s company unique leverage in the US market, where it made its debut in 2014.The company has established a client base of over 30,000 and joined forces with a dozen partners to help distribute its products in the US.But the ambitions of this entrepreneurship won’t stop at manufacturing. Instead, Zhu has set his sights on the goal of building a “closed loop” health monitoring and pre-warning system.The biggest failings in Xiaomi and Apple wearables, he said, are that they provide only numbers, leaving users to scratch their heads. Seldom do big tech firms follow up with valuable health advice or action.“What’s the point of giving users information they can barely make sense of?” he asked. “What do changes in their pulse rate or blood pressure tell them about their health? It’s your job to tell them.”To change what he sees as a lack of post-sale services in the wearables market, Zhu and his co-workers at LIF collaborated with American doctors and therapists several years ago, culling data from a wealth of clinical studies.Through big data analysis, they developed a four-grade monitoring and pre-warning system whereby personal health conditions are divided into four levels: healthy, sub-healthy, ill and life-threatening.The system proceeds to take precautionary measures accordingly, from dispensing advice on a healthy lifestyle to contacting doctors to intervene — before it’s too late.For example, a person considered “sub-healthy” will receive notices suggesting, say, to take more vitamins or get more sleep. Symptoms indicative of potentially fatal conditions will lead to emergency calls to doctors or medical institutions in partnership with LIF to provide help.That’s what sets his business apart from the rest of players in the market, big or small.“They sell hardware, I sell services,” Zhu said.LIF has woven together a health service network comprising hospitals, nursing homes, social rescue bodies and volunteer groups in the US. In addition, it also operates a call center dealing with emergency SOS requests sent from its products and passes them on to the nearest rescuers on the ground.Zhu recalled a conversation with a grateful user who became aware of his potentially fatal sleep apnea syndrome only after being alerted by the LIF pendant he wore. “Customer testimonials like these gave us confidence,” said Zhu, who said his company views itself as “guardian of health.”Two tragic deathsThat vision took shape because of two tragic deaths in 2010. In the first, Zhu had an appointment with a body-building friend in Beijing, only to be told that he had died of a heart attack the previous night at age 36. Still grief-stricken, Zhu learned in December that an investor friend from Hangzhou died in his sleep after a dinner party in Shanghai. He was only 29.These two incidents prompted him to rethink his career as an investor and motivated his career switch to the smart health industry.Such a switch might appear difficult, but for Zhu, there is an element of consistency in what he once did and what he is doing now. Back in the States, he was a celebrated engineer responsible for research on ABS, or antilock brake systems designed for vehicle driving safety.“My previous role was to guarantee the safety of motorists and passengers” he told Shanghai Daily. “Now it’s to safeguard the health of people.”The reason he tested his entrepreneurial idea first in the US had to do with a demographic trend. The US population aged rapidly in the 1980s, giving rise to a senior care industry and growing demand for related products.The other two obvious explanations for LIF’s US debut are relative familiarity with the market there as well as the knowledge that what works in the US — a more mature and thus “difficult” market — tends to be applicable elsewhere.Zhu said he is gearing up for an entry into the China market later this year. It has been delayed. in large part, to a shortage of production capacity.He plans to adopt a two-pronged strategy in China: partnership with hospitals and other institutional players on the one hand, and online and offline retail sales on the other.Zhu noted an interesting finding reported by his American partners, indicating that at least half of the SOS requests they handled came from the elderly, not because they were necessarily ill, but often because they lived alone and yearned to talk to someone.Zhu drew an important business lesson from that finding.“Our services must be adequately customized to cope with the varied needs of clients, in China as well as in the US,” he said.In tapping the China market, the entrepreneur is hatching plans to not just “be there,” like many other foreign players. Rather, his stated aim is to create a lot of noise by changing the rules of game in the segment of senior care insurance products, but he didn’t disclose details.In the long run, the company’s mission is to further enrich the variety of its products by rolling out more ubiquitous wearable items like socks, shoes and clothing. Talks are already ongoing with a renowned Italian haute couture brand.When will all this likely happen?“I don’t know,” Zhu said, with a sly smile, “but our current pursuit is to monitor health every step of the way.”
Beijing is on its way to becoming the first city to stage both the summer and winter Olympic Games, underscoring China’s rising position as a global sports powerhouse. According to a Nielsen survey, 59 percent of China’s urban population are sports fans and 82 percent of them are aged between 26 and 45. More than a third of those fans come from households with annual incomes of 200,000 yuan (US$29,411) or more. The State Council, China’s cabinet, is bent on accelerating the development of sports, with the aim of creating a sports industry valued at 5 trillion yuan by 2025. The national plan seeks to improve the fitness of every citizen, encourage foreign investment and develop sports from the grassroots to elite athletes.The prospects tantalize those in the sports industry, like Germany-based adidas, the world’s second-largest manufacturer of athletic shoes, clothing and accessories. Colin Currie, managing director of adidas Asia Pacific, talked with Shanghai Daily in an exclusive interview about the company’s role in China’s sports development. Currie joined adidas in 2005 as managing director of the company’s Hong Kong operations. He has heading up China operators since 2011. Prior to 2011, adidas’ China business was less than 1 billion euros (US$1.17 billion). Last year, sales grew to 3.7 billion euros. Q: What’s the biggest change in the industry since China reformed and opened up its economy to the world? A: The reform and opening up has brought sports and exercise closer to people’s lives. People have more access to sports facilities, more variety of sports to play and follow, and more choice in athletic apparel and products.We set up our regional headquarters in China in 1997. At that time, not many foreign sports brands were present here, and people were just starting to become familiar with foreign brands. As the economy developed and the government prioritized building public sports facilities and promoting sports education, sports became more accessible, not only through sports events but also through accessibility for billions of people in their everyday lives.Q: What’s your strategy here in China? A: I think the turning point for the industry was 2008. Whereas previously there were only five to 10 major brands, the marketplace became much more competitive and saturated with a lot of different brands after that year. We now need to ensure we can deliver the right product to the right consumer instead of just opening doors and displaying our existing merchandise. The sportswear industry has become blurred in recent years. Fast fashion brands such as Zara and Uniqlo as well as luxury brands are making sneakers. We realize there’s a big sports casual market, where consumers want to wear our products on the street, at home and in their communities. Sports-performance products are still the majority of our business, but we’ve seen where sportswear is also more widely accepted in different occasions. I believe the strategy we’ve taken to go after the “athleisure” trend in the last three or four years is right for the market. We want to stick to our roots as a sports company, which is to provide the best products and services for the athlete to perform better on court. But we also need to grab the trend that consumers want to wear sports products in everyday use. Q: How do you tailor your retail strategy to the local market? A: Later this year we’re opening our new brand center in Shanghai on Nanjing Road E., one of the biggest stores in China. It will serve as a beacon of our brand experience. We want to allow consumers to be more creative and individual, and to sign up for exercise classes as well as to develop product and encourage their interaction.Consumer data are also critical. We’re connected with nearly 11,000 stores and get data about the best-selling articles so we can track consumers’ preferences. Q: How do you manage your relationship with distributors? What challenges do you face? A: We need to be flexible to operate in a market like China, which has different geographical regions, and to stay on top of what consumers are thinking or we will get left behind. Consumers in lower-tier cities are also adopting the new trends and learning much more quickly than those in key metropolises like Shanghai and Beijing did 10 years ago. We’re still mainly a franchise distribution business and we operate our own stores to allow shoppers a consistent brand experience. We regard our brand centers as the laboratories of new retail concept so that we can then scale it to other cities in the future by working with distributors. Talent is also a challenge when we manage our business on such a large scale, with so many people having good competency and capability, but every company wants good people.Q: Will you participate in the China International Import Expo later this year in Shanghai? A: We are excited for the opportunity to showcase our creativity in products and in operations at the expo. This is an opportunity for consumers, industry leaders and policymakers to get to know adidas and the hundreds of companies that will be taking part in the expo.I also expect to see hundreds of global brands showcasing the best of what they have to offer to China. It’s an opportunity for everyone to get to know these brands better and think about ways to better serve the China market.
In a China famous for gleaming skyscrapers, China Baowu Steel Group can boast that up to seven of 10 super tall buildings are constructed with its steel.In the Lujiazui area of Pudong, Shanghai’s financial heartland, China’s largest steelmaker provided the integral component in construction of the Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai Tower and the Jin Mao Tower, among other now famous buildings.The company also boasts a role in bringing down the price of steel. “In 2015, the price of steel was 1.8 yuan per kilogram, compared with the price of Chinese cabbage at 10 yuan per kilo,” said Chen Derong, chairman of Baowu. “How could that happen? It indicates that the cost efficiency of steel production has improved.”The company is headquartered in the Expo area of Pudong, one of Shanghai’s most striking examples of modern development. In a sense, Baowu’s history has flowed from China’s rapid economic development over four decades.In the late 1970s, when China was embarking on economic revitalization, the government authorized the founding of a large, integrated steel factory in Shanghai. It was called Baoshan Iron & Steel, and under state control it had access to the best engineers, technologies and government building projects. Competition eventually emerged from both foreign and domestic rivals, and Baoshan was forced to expand into steel exports to buttress the bottom line. In 1998, the steelmaker absorbed the Shanghai Metallurgical Holding Group and came to be called Shanghai Baosteel Group. The new conglomerate was the largest steel producer in the country, with annual output of 20 million tons of steel. In 2000, a subsidiary, Baoshan Iron & Steel, was formed to list on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It raised 7.7 billion yuan (US$1.13 billion) in the initial public offering.Baoshan’s growth also came from mergers and acquisitions amid a government-orchestrated industry consolidation. Its 2016 merger with Wuhan Iron & Steel gave the company its current name and created the world’s second-largest steelmaker.Last year, Baowu reported operating revenue of more than 400 billion yuan, with net profit doubling to 14.2 billion yuan. Steel output was 70 million tons. The company has been at the forefront of steel industry modernization that drove out unprofitable steelmakers, reduced excess capacity, encouraged consolidation and brought in the latest, most advanced technologies.“In the past, steel was the apple of China’s eye,” said Chen. “We can recall when steelworkers always marched in National Day parades. However, times have changed. Nowadays, many people don’t want steelworks in their backyards because of pollution concerns. In fact, it’s an unfair assessment of Baowu.”Indeed, “green” manufacturing has become a watchword of Baowu. The company has spent 450 million yuan on energy-saving technologies and 2.3 billion yuan on environmental protection programs.The company’s high-end steel was much in demand when Lujiazui, sometimes called “the Wall Street of China,” was undergoing development. Baowu’s role in that development greatly enhanced the coffers and stature of the company. “Pudong was fertile ground for the development of Baowu,” Chen said. “In 1998, we were one of the first group of state-owned enterprises to locate their headquarters there. Since then, we have benefited from the opportunities provided by Pudong. For example, thanks to favorable conditions brought about by the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Pudong, we were able to establish a trading platform for bulk commodities.”The area of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo lies along core waterfront of central Shanghai — an area of finance, culture, tourism and eco-friendly communities.“Services enterprises account for 91 percent of companies now in the area, nearly a third increase since 2016,” said Wu Hai, director of the Management Bureau of the Expo area.Chronology of Baowu Steel history1978: The construction of Baosteel started in Wusongkou, Shanghai.1985: The first-stage project of Baosteel went into operation.1992: Mintage steel produced by Baosteel’s rolling plant was used to make the first Chinese coin issued by the People’s Bank of China.1998: Baosteel acquired and reorganized steel enterprises of Shanghai.2002: The Majishan Port in Zhejiang Province built by Baosteel, which can guarantee imported iron ore, opened to service.2007: Baosteel began its acquisition and reorganization of steel enterprises nationwide, acquiring Bayi Steel, Ningbo Steel and so on while implemented its “high-quality and large-scale” development strategy.2016: China Baowu Steel Group Corporation Limited was set up on December 1, 2016.
Meituan Dianping, online food delivery-to-ticketing services firm, closed 5.29 percent higher on its trading debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday as investors were confident that such platforms would continue to expand.Meituan priced its initial public offering at HK$69 (US$8.80) per share and aimed to raise US$4.9 billion as investors were banking on the growth potential of the online lifestyle services platform. At the listing ceremony in Hong Kong yesterday, Wang Xing, Meituan’s chief executive officer, praised the role of the company’s almost 600,000 delivery persons and 50,000 employees in fueling its growth.“I also want to thank Steve Jobs, thank Apple, without iPhone, without mobile Internet, everything we do today wouldn’t have been possible,” he said.Founded in 2010 by Wang Xing, Meituan merged in 2015 with its then main rival Dianping.In 2017, the Meituan Dianping platform generated over 5.8 billion transactions, with total transaction volume of 357 billion yuan. Meituan’s total revenue in 2017 amounted to 33.9 billion yuan from 13 billion yuan the year before.In the 12 months ended April, Meituan saw more than 6.9 billion transactions valued at 410 billion yuan. It has been expanding services from food delivery to ordering groceries, booking hotels, paying bills and bike rentals. Wang pointed out that the firm has expanded the search and booking of restaurants to include online information for entertainment services and food delivery. The overall market size of China’s on-demand food delivery is projected at 360 billion yuan by the end of this year, according to mobile Internet research firm Trustdata. The battle for consumer services e-commerce is intensifying after Alibaba said last month it raised US$3 billion for its local services unit, which incorporates on-demand delivery site Ele.me with the Koubei online consumer service. Chen Liteng, an analyst with private consultancy China E-commerce Research Center, said Meituan should “provide supply chain management and technology solutions to merchants” as it is another opportunity for future growth. To differentiate their service, some analysts suggest the firms target behavior of various consumer groups. “For example, co-branding campaigns with video or gaming platforms could be a good idea, as ordering delivery usually means people choose to stay at home to binge-watch dramas or play video games,” Angie Wong, managing director of Leo Burnett Shanghai, said.
The yuan is set to stay relatively stable as China’s economy is in good shape although the currencies of some emerging economies may worsen due to their economic and social weakness, analysts said.“The biggest challenge for the world economy now is the weakness in the emerging markets,” said Jameel Ahmad, global head of currency strategy and market research at FXTM. “From Turkey, Brazil to Indonesia and India, some countries are suffering from huge current account deficits or in political disorder, which caused a sharp plunge in the value of their currencies.”He said it was hard to predict how deep the current crisis in emerging markets will become or how soon the world economy may see positive signs, but China and some other markets, including Singapore and Malaysia, are less likely to see a big decline due to their sound fiscal and financial position.Andy Seaman, partner and chief investment officer at Stratton Street, said one key reason currencies in emerging markets have plunged is their cumulative current account position, or net foreign assets.Seaman sees the currencies of Turkey, Hungary and New Zealand as likely to perform badly while those of Singapore, Switzerland, Japan and China are seen as good performers.
Chinese banks’ profits grew faster during the first half of 2018, but they still need to rein in risks in asset quality, PwC warns in a latest report.The report, covering the interim financial results of 15 A-share and H-share listed banks, found that their combined assets totaled 153.88 trillion yuan (US$22.46 trillion) as of the end of June, up 3.56 percent year on year but it slowed from the previous year’s 4.09 percent growth.Total net profit for the 15 listed banks was 824.942 billion yuan during the same period, up 6.39 percent from a year ago. The growth figure is faster than the 4.11 percent expansion posted in the first six months of 2017.“The expansion of China’s large commercial banks’ interest-generating assets, along with increasing loan yields, contributed to the growth of net interest income and drove profit growth,” said Jimmy Leung, PwC’s China financial services leader .For the first half, the non-performing loan ratios for the lenders have continued to fall. By end-June, their average NPL ratio was 1.53 percent, down 0.04 percentage points from the end of 2017. However, the overdue loan ratio rose by one basis point to 2.01 percent. This implies that uncertainty around asset quality still persists.
Shanghai’s hosting of the 2018 China International Industrial Fair after the World Artificial Intelligence Conference indicates the importance the city places on the development of high-end manufacturing. Li Qiang, Shanghai’s Party secretary, told the opening ceremony of the 2018 CIIF that in order to promote the development of intelligent manufacturing, the city will focus on integrating manufacturing with information by tapping information technologies such as the Internet, big data and artificial intelligence. Vice Mayor Zhou Bo said that Shanghai’s strongest advantage is that it is an open city welcoming new ideas, innovation and talent from all over the world.(Yuan Luhang)
Here comes the season for harvest, and L’Avenue — a landmark shopping center in Shanghai — invites you to share the happiness when it is to celebrates its 5th anniversary on September 19.Located in the Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, L’Avenue has become a magnet for fashionable luxury and classy lifestyle brands. It has been leading the transformation of the Hongqiao commercial district into a new international consumer landmark over the past five years.To celebrate the special occasion, L’Avenue has prepared a bunch of special events. Starting this month, a series of celebrations, named “Hi Five,” has been launched and people are cordially invited to take part in the big birthday party, with plenty of gifts, delicious food and big “red envelopes” that can’t be missed.If you are lucky to visit the center in the next couple of weeks, you will find a lot of interesting attractions there in sectors of “Hi Shopping” that offer big discounts for trendy products, “Hi Foodie” to whet the tongue of gourmets, “Hi Energy” for intriguing exercises for a healthy life, “Hi Melody” with music of sharply different styles and “Hi VIP” for loyal lovers of L’Avenue.Positioning itself to be classy and luxurious, L’Avenue is the place for people to find all of the best-known names of high fashion — including Louis Vuitton, Dior, BVLGARI, Loro Piana and CELINE — with beauty, clothing and home decor additions to round off a whole elegant lifestyle theme. L’Avenue embraces more “youthful” brands to entertain customers with a unique approach. Brands like Twinkle, A+PlayLab and Little Space create space for intimate parent-child interactions. Selective catering brands including Jumbo Seafood, Okazaki house, Din Tai Fung, Deep Pure, TNINE and Thai+ provide consumers with sassy treats. With more brands in the pipeline aiming at a healthier lifestyle and exquisite social experience, consumers could explore themselves fully surrounded by chic brands including RAINS, Lafuma, THANN, La Biosthetique, ZE, GUGYCLE and the likes.L’Avenue was designed by the famed Japanese architect Jun Aoki as a piece of art. The unique shape building is shaped like an elegant dress where people will recognize from distance.Steps from scenic Hongqiao Park, L’Avenue is surrounded by exhibition halls, many consulates, including those of Japan, Singapore, India and Denmark, banks and upscale neighborhoods and hotels. It is within walking distance of Metro lines 2, 3, 4 and 10. Hongqiao International Airport and Hongqiao Railway Station are also a mere 10- to 15-minute drive away.In 2017, L’Avenue recorded a jump in sales of 30 percent — with sales of luxury brands posting an even sharper rise of 45 percent, forming part of the “big three” of Shanghai’s luxury shopping centers.L’Avenue has won many awards in recent years including the 2017 annual fashion landmark award from the Shanghai Changning District Commercial Commission, the most iconic and high-quality fashion product award 2018 from the Shanghai Top Retail Ranking and is on top of the 2017-18 Shanghai-Global debut destination popularity list.L’Avenue is dedicated to providing the best luxury services to its clients via its VIP system. Its online and O2O business also ensures that functions such as online VIP points collection and validation, information sharing, entertainment and car-parking will also be delivered.Global shopping platforms and international concierge service providers are also among the potential partners of L’Avenue in the rest of this year.This year, L’Avenue will keep on improving arrangements and the layout of brands and enhancing its creativity and innovation in marketing.It intends to be at the forefront of luxury shopping centers in the western part of Shanghai and be the first stop on a shopping tour, including for visitors from Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.For the next five years, L’Avenue will continue its efforts on innovation and bringing the best shopping experiences to consumers with new retail formats, more fashionable products and increasingly interesting events to lead the way on innovation.
The West Bund of Shanghai’s Xuhui District, where the World Artificial Intelligence Conference was held recently, will be powered by an AI-featured urban management system, SenseTime, said the developer yesterday.A 10.4-square-kilometer area along the Huangpu River will tap the system to help find lost children easily while illegal parking can be automatically reported and traffic flow of people and vehicles can be better managed through various “sensing” AI technologies, according to SenseTime, a strategy partner of WAIC.“It’s a milestone for SenseTime to develop in Shanghai and contribute to the city’s AI highland strategy by 2020,” said Zhang Wen, president of SenseTime.The new system to be used in Shanghai will boast AI technologies in facial recognition, motion capture and data-driven prediction, the company said. It’s an effective tool to ensure public safety, improve urban management efficiency on resources and space planning, as well as bring more accessible and “warm” services to citizens, said Zhang.With AI algorithm and improved computing capacity, the smart urban management system can be localized for use in different regions, said Zhang.With huge population, it’s an urgent task for every Chinese metropolis to integrate IT systems and data with AI, to improve public safety, avoid waste of resources and offer more one-stop services to citizens, said consulting firm iResearch.SenseTime’s system is fueled by algorithms and a new AI super computer center in Shanghai. SenseTime announced during WAIC that it will invest 800 million yuan (US$117.6 million) in the AI super computer center in Shanghai. Expected to start operations in 2020 after construction is completed, the center is said to be the biggest in Asia.In Shanghai, SenseTime has signed cooperation deals with Shentong Subway, Shanghai Lingang and Shanghai Inesa to develop AI in the Metro network and harbor management, as well as in devices used to track food quality.SenseTime said it had raised US$620 million investment in May, making it the world’s most valuable AI firm. Its technologies are used in smart cities, smartphones, Internet, smart driving, finance and retail industries.The three-day WAIC ended on Wednesday after holding one main forum, 33 themed forums, five brainstorming discussions and 22 kick-off events. The world’s top AI platform for cooperation and exchange brought 335 speakers ranging from top science experts to business executives.
CHINA has stepped up efforts to increase effective investment to address the inadequacy in transportation and agricultural infrastructure.
Measures will be taken to ensure targeted and accurate investment in infrastructure, including simplifying the investment project review process and quickening the issuance and usage of 1.35 trillion yuan (US$200 billion) worth of special government bonds.
Public-private partnerships will be promoted to help financing, and barriers for the private sector to enter key investment projects will be lowered, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
“As infrastructure investment growth slows and investment in new projects plunges, it is necessary to ramp up the effort to fix weak areas in infrastructure and ensure stable and effective investment,” Liu Shihu, an investment official at NDRC, told a press conference.
In the first eight months of 2018, China’s fixed-asset investment was up 5.3 percent from the same period of last year, slowing from 5.5 percent in the January-July period. Planned investment in new projects and infrastructure is down 18.3 percent and 28.1 percent, respectively.
Stable investment is significant in maintaining economic growth, optimizing supply structure and improving long-term competitiveness, Liu said.
An array of new transportation projects are speeding up, like the construction of the Baotou-Yinchuan railway and the expansion of the airport in Urumqi.
Rural areas are another investment highlight. Areas with effective irrigation and high-quality farmland will reach approximately 67 million hectares by 2022. In the meantime, China will foster the concerted development of industry and services in rural areas and improve environmental protection and recovery.
Despite the increased investment, Liu stressed that China will work to fend off risks in local governments’ debt with rigorous measures.
The central government earmarked 537.6 billion yuan to support major projects in areas including affordable housing, rural development, infrastructure and environmental protection this year.
DIALOGUE and consultations based on equality, sincerity and mutual respect are the only viable way out from the current China-US trade friction, a foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday.
After Washington announced its latest tariff offensive against China, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told media that their intention was to have a constructive dialogue with China. As to when and whether the two sides would hold such dialogue is up to China.
In response, spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing that sending out talks invitations on one hand, while on the other hand keeping up maximum pressure has become a routine US trick, which China has seen clearly and taken on calmly.
“Not long ago, China received an invitation from the US to hold trade negotiations, and the two sides had been in discussion about the details,” Geng said. “However, the US on Tuesday announced additional tariffs to be levied on US$200 billion worth of Chinese goods, and threatened to adopt further tariff escalation measures.”
Geng also mentioned two similar cases that occurred in June and August. “Threats, intimidation and blackmail against China are useless,” the spokesman said, adding that China would continue to steadfastly advance reform and opening-up in line with its own timetable and roadmap while continuing to firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.
“The essence of China-US trade cooperation is mutual benefit,” he said, adding that it is not terrible if there are differences, while dialogue and negotiations based on equality, sincerity and mutual respect are the only correct way to resolve China-US trade issues. “We hope the US side will demonstrate goodwill and sincerity.”