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A new airport is under construction on reclaimed land off the shore of Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, people.com.cn reported. The Jinzhouwan International Airport will cover nearly 21 square kilometers, costing 26.3 billion yuan ($4.3 billion). It will be the world's largest offshore airport and can load the biggest passenger jet Airbus A380.
However, according to some media reports published one year ago, the project did not go through related procedures or receive the approval from the national authorities. Though the project was unveiled in 2012, some staff members of the project and villagers living nearby said the land reclaiming already started in 2011. Some experts warned the runway built on reclaimed land is fragile and the cost of construction and maintenance is 20 times higher than inland airports.
Heavy duty trucks are used to transport earth and stones removed from mountain to construction site of an offshore airport in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province on September 14, 2014. The new airport is under construction on reclaimed land off the shore of the port city. With an investment over 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), the offshore airport will be built as the world’s largest one in five years. [Photo/China News Service]
Heavy duty trucks are used to transport earth and stones removed from mountain to construction site of an offshore airport inDalian, Northeast China'sLiaoningprovince on September 14, 2014. The new airport is under construction on reclaimed land off the shore of the port city. With an investment over 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), the offshore airport will be built as the world’s largest one in five years. [Photo/China News Service]
Heavy duty trucks are used to transport earth and stones removed from mountain to construction site of an offshore airport inDalian, Northeast China'sLiaoningprovince on September 14, 2014. The new airport is under construction on reclaimed land off the shore of the port city. With an investment over 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), the offshore airport will be built as the world’s largest one in five years. [Photo/China News Service]
The entrance to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Pudong New Area in Shanghai. The FTZ is under official and third-party evaluations before its first anniversary. REUTERS
Dai Haibo, deputy chief of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone's management committee, has been removed from his post because of alleged disciplinary violations, State media reported on Monday.
The Xinhua News Agency said that Dai "no longer serves as the Communist Party chief and executive deputy director of the administrative committee" of the FTZ.
The 52-year-old will remain deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai municipal government, Xinhua said. The report did not disclose the reason for Dai's removal from the FTZ post or other details.
Dai Haibo, former deputy head of the Shanghai FTZ. CHINA DAILYThe administrative committee could not be reached for comment.
Dai has served as the deputy head of the Shanghai FTZ and was in charge of daily operations in the pilot zone since its official launch in September 2013.
The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post on Monday quoted five unidentified sources, including Shanghai government officials, as saying that Dai was suspected of disciplinary violations.
Observers said the concerns over Dai might be related to positions that he held before his FTZ role. "The Shanghai FTZ was under the spotlight of the entire country and the entire world. A rational man will not try to misbehave in the FTZ," the Economic Observer quoted an unidentified municipal government official as saying.
Dai's official resume showed that prior to his job at the FTZ, he served as the head of the State-owned developer Zhangjiang Group Co Ltd and as a senior official in the Pudong New Area government.
His most recent public appearance was at a port conference on Friday, but Dai's title as FTZ deputy chief was not used, which suggested that he had already been removed at that point.
The 21st Century Business Herald said an investigation into Dai's activities will focus on his "unusual number of properties".
Dai's removal came ahead of the first anniversary of the Shanghai FTZ, which raised concerns over the prospects of China's best-known reform pilot zone.
"He knows what needs to be done to welcome foreign funds, and he has a good command of economics and industries," the SCMP quoted an official with the Pudong government as saying. "His departure or sacking could somewhat slow progress in developing the free trade zone."
But the central government will not deny the achievements of the Shanghai FTZ over the past year. "Not in a million years," said the official with the municipal government, while adding that the reforms will proceed steadily as planned.
During last week's Summer Davos forum in Tianjin, Premier Li Keqiang said that it is time for another investigation trip to the Shanghai FTZ.
"Our schedule is to summarize on the first anniversary and make the Shanghai experience replicable for other places as well," said Li.
The Shanghai FTZ is undergoing official and third-party evaluations. The pilot zone was known for pioneering several financial reforms and broadening foreign companies' access to China's service sector over the past year, though many potential investors say the pledged liberalized regulatory framework has yet to materialize.
More than 10,000 businesses have registered in the zone, according to official data.
The booth of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd at an exhibition in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, last Tuesday. Alibaba's IPO in the United States has been forecast to raise as much as $24 billion. LONG WEI/CHINA DAILY
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's high-profile initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange is just days away, with trading expected to commence on Friday.
The IPO has been forecast to raise as much as $24 billion, which will make the IPO the largest in history.
Investor attention and probable attraction has been heightened by the relatively conservative initial share price set at $60 to $66.
Alibaba could be valued at about $170 billion and sit firmly in the top 25 companies in the S&P 500 index.
But amid the impressive figures and the frenzy surrounding this flotation, would it not pay for the investment community to take a rather cautious and wary approach?
Simon Xie: Jack Ma's unassuming lieutenant at Alibaba In the very short term, it is difficult to foresee anything other than a sizable gain on any investment.
The initial share price, which could rise slightly shortly before the float, is widely regarded as a deliberate move to raise investment interest.
But once the euphoria fades and attention switches to rational analysis, major concerns over Alibaba's medium- to long-term competitiveness may emerge.
One of the major concerns is the complex and opaque nature of Alibaba's ownership structure and accounting practices.
For example, what are the real relationships among the 29 companies Alibaba has bought during the past two years and the group's overall, impressive profit record?
Market growth is also slowing in China, and Alibaba's initial, tentative overseas forays have not yet led to major success.
The rapid growth in market share and profitability enjoyed by Alibaba may be replaced by far more modest gains where consolidation takes priority over entrepreneurial endeavor.
Alibaba's success in the Chinese mainland has been built on an "architecture of trust" that has empowered consumers and businesses with its reliable online payments and related services.
China's e-commerce industry is still hampered by deep mistrust, except for Alibaba.
However, things are very different in the lucrative United States and European markets where strong competitors such as Amazon.com Inc already have well-entrenched market positions and strong corporate brands.
Many Chinese companies that have global ambitions also have low brand awareness among foreign consumers, and Alibaba is no exception.
Most consumers in other countries who are aware of the Alibaba brand mostly think of its charismatic leader and co-founder, Jack Ma.
Ma's undoubted charm and ability to attract media attention with his passion for business will probably boost Alibaba's initial listing and may well lead to a short-term burst on the NYSE.
But is this style of leadership most suitable for the analysis and planning now needed to secure successful entry and growth in increasingly competitive markets?
The fears of investors looking at the longer term will only be assuaged if Ma can be seen to quickly build a senior management team based on international market knowledge and experience.
Clearly, Alibaba's IPO will generate tremendous excitement, but long-term growth prospects remain cloudy, and investors should proceed with caution.
The author is a visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing and a senior lecturer on marketing at Southampton Solent University's School of Business. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, arrives for a roadshow in Hong Kong on Monday to promote the company’s initial public offering. The company is expected to raise up to $24 billion in the US IPO. PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY
E-commerce giant may lift top price for the long-anticipated public offering
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, made an unscheduled appearance at the company's roadshow in Hong Kong on Monday, although there was little need to woo the big Hong Kong investors that have allocated huge sums to subscribe to the e-commerce company's initial public offering.
Bankers and fund managers crammed the ornate Diamond Hall of The Ritz-Carlton hotel to hear Ma tell them how he loved Hong Kong. Alibaba's original IPO plan was to list in Hong Kong, but the issue was rejected by the stock exchange over its corporate structure. Instead, the company turned to the New York Stock Exchange.
Attendees were eager for hints on whether the biggest-ever IPO in US history will offer a bargain for investors and what the company's growth strategy is.
A source with an underwriter said investors are pouring big money into the subscription, much of which originated from large investors on the Chinese mainland. Larger banks and brokerages set a minimum subscription bid at $8 million, while their smaller counterparts would take an offer for as low as $2 million.
"It is absolutely phenomenal. No one wants to be late," an equity research director with an overseas brokerage said on condition of anonymity.
Bloomberg News cited an anonymous source as saying on Monday afternoon that Alibaba plans to lift the top end of a marketed price range for the sale to above $70, which is $4 up from the former ceiling.
The company is marketing 320 million American depositary receipts, according to its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Alibaba's current business deserves the original pricing, in terms of valuation. I think it is better that they do not raise the price now as investors are buying growth. They could leave some room for price growth after the IPO," said Yi Huanhuan, deputy general manager and Internet analyst at Beijing-based Hongyuan Securities Co Ltd.
Under the original ceiling of $66 per share, Alibaba was to raise up to $24 billion. The stock price would be roughly 29 times analysts' estimates for current-year earnings. That is "conservative" compared with Chinese Internet peers Baidu Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd, which trade at about 35 times earnings.
A similar valuation would imply a price of nearly $80 for Alibaba, according to Bloomberg.
Most market observers said they believe the price was set conservatively to protect the company from a controversial debut such as what Facebook Inc encountered in 2012, when its price sank after the IPO.
The IPO price is set by demand from investors, while the performance of the shares will be largely decided by the growth of Alibaba and whether it can tap demand around the world.
"Alibaba's rival Tencent jumped by 100 times from its IPO, and how Alibaba will perform is closely tied to the macro trends of consumption and the Internet industry in China," said Yi.
Ma said he has global ambitions. "We are an international company. We are an international company that happened to be in China," Ma told reporters before entering the roadshow hall, stressing the company is ready to expand into the US and European markets after its IPO.
Transactions in China have generated 85 percent of Alibaba's revenue so far this year, but the company has invested in six US startups in the past year as it seeks strategies to grow globally, according to research firm CB Insights.
Alibaba is expected to set the IPO price and start selling shares on Thursday. The following day, shares are to begin trading on the NYSE under the symbol BABA.
Premier Li Keqiang assured Western companies on Monday that China welcomes overseas firms competing in China's market under the principle of fairness.
His comments come as a string of antitrust investigations has prompted speculation that China no longer welcomes Western investors.
"China's door will only open wider. We are committed to taking our opening-up policy to a higher level and we advocate trade liberalization," Li said at the China Quality Conference, attended by dozens of foreign corporate leaders and foreign experts on quality management.
The premier told overseas investors that China welcomes foreign companies competing in its market and mutually benefiting in collaboration with Chinese counterparts.
China's door 'will never be closed again' Economists upbeat on China "We hope your collaboration will not only be in research, production and sales, but also in quality management. Through working with Western counterparts, Chinese manufacturers can also improve the quality of their products," Li said.
It is the second time in less than a week that Li has emphasized the consistency of China's opening-up policy. On Wednesday, at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, he dismissed the concerns of foreign corporate leaders that China's anti-monopoly probes are targeting foreign companies and reassured them that China's door will never be closed.
China's antitrust authorities have conducted probes since July. Most major global automakers, including General Motors, BMW, the Audi division of FAW-Volkswagen, Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and Honda, have been the subject of the probes.
Twelve Japanese auto suppliers were fined a total of 1.24 billion yuan ($202 million) by the National Development and Reform Commission for manipulating prices.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in August that although the antitrust law is "beneficial for developing a healthy market economy in China", the chamber had a number of concerns about the recent moves.
In Monday's speech, Li also promised to continue expanding imports and to give more foreign companies access to China's service industry.
China's imports in August continued to contract and stood at $159 billion, a year-on-year decline of 2.4 percent, compared with a 1.6 percent drop in July and a market expectation of a 3 percent rise.
For the first eight months, imports rose by 0.6 percent to $1.28 trillion dollars, while exports gained by 3.8 percent.
Premier Li Keqiang greets foreign representatives during the China Quality Conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily
Premier says nation's technology less competitive on global market
Premier Li Keqiang called for promoting the quality of Chinese products to help set off the side effects of decelerating economic growth.
He made the remark at the China Quality Conference on Monday, the first meeting of its kind held in China.
His call followed a National Bureau of Statistics report over the weekend that value-added industrial output — a major indicator of the condition of China's economy — expanded by 6.9 percent year-on-year in August, the slowest pace in six years. The slowdown has prompted concerns that the world's second-largest economy is losing steam.
At Monday's conference, Li said that the miracle of the Chinese economy has to rely more on the improvement of quality, instead of speed, as the country is losing its traditional advantages to support economic growth.
"Our economic structure is far from balanced, and our innovation and high technology are often less competitive on the global market. So we have to put quality management in a more important position as we strive toward economic upgrading," Li said.
"In other words, if quality cannot be ensured, our economy will lose the support of further growth."
Li emphasized the essential role of companies in quality management and the need for less government intervention to give companies the freedom to decide what to produce. He also stressed the importance of developing a pool of educated laborers and a compulsory recall system.
Worries are mounting that the world's factory is losing its competitiveness to Southeast Asia and Latin America because of the rising costs of labor and materials.
A string of quality scandals has dented consumer confidence in Chinese products and brands.
In a recent case, Shanghai Husi Food, a supplier for a number of global brands such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, was found to have used expired meat as well as forged production dates to extend shelf time.
Carlos Gutierrez, former US secretary of commerce, echoed Li's view that the main responsibility for the improvement of products and services lies with companies.
"It means that the whole company, every employee, needs to know that quality is the key of products," Gutierrez said at the conference.
Gutierrez said that enterprises should establish a system that allows workers to report defects.
"We have to give the workers the confidence that if they see a problem in a product they can bring it forward. That makes a great company," he said.
Quality is also crucial to transforming China's export-led economy to one led by consumption and innovation, he said.
Zhou Ji, president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said quality management is key to improving the manufacturing sector, one of the major drivers of economic growth.
He noted that major quality problems in the manufacturing sector include a high reject ratio of products, low reliability of key parts and lack of name brands.
"The quality improvement of made-in-China products is lagging behind the expansion of the economy. If China wants to build a strong manufacturing sector, it must start from the quality management of products," he said.
To improve the quality of products, the country needs to encourage enterprises to build a top-to-bottom quality management system and encourage the development of name brands, he said.
Instant noodle company Master Kong has admitted that one of its products was made with poor-quality edible oil.
The product, Roasted Pork Noodle, was made and sold by Wei Chuan Corp in Taiwan under the authority of Master Kong's holding company, Ting Hsin International Group.
A statement issued by Master Kong on Sunday said the tainted oil came from a contracted supplier.
This is the second time the brand has been involved in oil safety issues - in November 2013 it was reported to be linked to a counterfeit olive oil scandal in Taiwan
Wei Ying-chung, chairman of Wei Chuan Corp, said the company will adopt stricter quality control measures and safety rules to prevent similar scandals happening again.
Master Kong is the most popular instant noodle brand in the Chinese market, with a 44 percent market share in 2013.
China's stem cell industry is expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead, as more preferential policies are issued to support industry development, industrial insiders said.
"The stem cell industry will be greatly supported by the government's policies as the country has already seen a boom in the development of scientific research on the industry," said Chen Haijia, founder and chairman of the Guangzhou Saliai Stem Cell Science and Technology Co.
China has about 100 companies engaged in stem cell research and development. Its sales revenue will reach 30 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) in 2015, according to the Guangzhou-based company.
"But China still lags behind in the downstream chain development of the stem cell industry due to lack of the government's preferential policies to support the industrial development in the past," Chen said.
Globally, the market value of the stem cell industry exceeded $40 billion in 2013, with North America and Western Europe becoming the most competitive markets in the industry.
"China's stem cell industry is being greatly challenged by their overseas counterparts as there are not many stem cell products available in the domestic market," Chen said.
The Guangzhou-based company recently became China's first stem cell company to be listed in the new third board market.
"Being a new third board-listed company will help us to benefit more from the expected policies, which are very helpful to drive a healthy industrial development," Chen said.
The company has invested more than 100 million yuan to collaborate with a local university to develop an anti-aging and health research laboratory, aiming to build a stem cell data base in South China.
On Monday, Alibaba Group kicked off its Asia roadshow in Hong Kong where the Chinese Internet behemoth was earlier refused listing due to its partnership structure.
The investor meeting in the city was part of Alibaba's 10-day campaign to pitch for its initial public offering in the US that could raise more than $20 billion and claim a global record.
"To me, Alibaba missed the opportunity to list in Hong Kong. I speak from my heart. I love Hong Kong," said Ma at Ritz Carlton hotel before a luncheon with institutional investors.
He added that he respects the decision Hong Kong regulatory authority took and understands and agrees that it will not change listing rules for a specific company.
"But Hong Kong will change for itself and for the young, as the world is changing," said Ma.
Hong Kong earlier refused to accept Alibaba's partnership structure, which allows Ma and other executives to nominate a majority of the company's directors, as it challenged its "one share, one vote" rules.
Alibaba later announced its plan to list in New York.
After Hong Kong, the next stop for Alibaba executives is Singapore, where they will host a lunch event and meet investors on Tuesday, Wall Street Journal reported.
Alibaba starts NY investor session Who's who of Alibaba's inner circle
Prior to this month's planned listing on the New York Stock Exchange , Alibaba Group had pulled out of the Hong Kong stock exchange 2 years ago. Experts say the Hangzhou-based internet giant, is due for more changes as it acclimatizes to a new regulatory environment in the US.
In 2011, a US Trade Representative listed Taobao.com, a website owned by Alibaba, as "one of the biggest online fake sources around the world".
But with Alibaba planning a listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this month, experts say the company should be ready for possible consequences.
"Alibaba will face a different legal regulatory environment after its IPO in US. Though it is listed as a company under Chinese jurisdiction, it will fall under US scrutiny after the IPO and be subject to the same requirements of US companies for lawsuits,” Ran Ruixue, lawyer with Junhe Law Firm In Beijing, said.
With Alibaba's competitors vying for market share in the increasingly competitive mainland market, the company's US IPO is set to fuel expansion for e-commerce growth outside China.
Back home, Internet portal Tencent and search engine Baidu are teaming up with property and leisure conglomerate Dalian Wanda, to launch an e-commerce joint venture. The tie-up is intended to have consumers purchase physical goods within a close proximity via the use of smartphones, in a practice known as the online to off-line market.
Alibaba's mobile monthly active users are 188 million, while Tencent claims half a billion users on its QQ smart platform which are able to support online payments. Separately Its messaging platforms wechat have more than 400 million users.
"The competition is getting increasingly fierce, and companies will be battling each other to advance technological innovation, and secure the loyalty of customers," Prof. Hu Bin with Chinese Academy Of Social Sciences said.
But Alibaba is still playing a dominant role in the market. In the second quarter period for this year compared to 2013, it saw a ten fold increase in online sales from mobile devices, which drived revenues to 46 percent higher, and contributed to a third of overall sales in the same period.
The IPO is expected to start later this month, with BABA as the ticker symbol.
Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, waves as he leaves the company's IPO roadshow launch in New York City on Monday. Brendan McDermid / Reuters
In nine months following the installation of the panels, the 22-year-old has made more than 900 yuan selling the excess power back to the state grid, with overall revenues reaching 1,400 yuan.
Wen, who works at a PV company in Shizuishan City of Northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region, invested 20,000 yuan last December building the simple distribution PV generation unit.
The 2-kilowatt generation unit has so far produced more than 2,000 kilowatt hours(kwh) of electricity, with the extra energy produced sold for 0.59 yuan per kwh to the state grid, earning an extra 60 percent from the deals in the form of a subsidy from the central government. The current price for household electricity is 0.45 yuan per kwh.
Wen plans to expand the capacity of his rooftop power generation unit to 5 kw as the central government continues encouraging the development of distributed PV generation units, normally installed on the roofs of residential and commercial buildings.
China's National Energy Administration (NEA) issued a statement on Sept 2, asking local governments to facilitate the construction of distributed PV generation units by reducing taxes for those using them and encouraging banks to help provide financing.
The administration also asked the state grid to offer the same price for the electricity as they would for large-sized PV power stations. That means Wen can get prices as high as 0.9 yuan per kwh, boosting annual revenues to 5,000 yuan.
Wen is not the only one cashing in on rooftop power generation.
Zhu Qijie, a villager in Yangzhou City of east China's Jiangsu Province, made 4,449 yuan in profits within one year generating 6,000 kwh of electricity through a rooftop PV unit by the end of June.
In Jiangxi province, about 2,000 households have applied to install distributed PV generation units after the province began the promotion in June 2013.
According to NEA data, 990,000 kw distributed PV capacity were added to the state grid in the first half of this year, more than that in the whole year of 2013.
The NEA unveiled its PV development targets for 2014 in August, vowing to install 13 gigawatts of new PV power capacity this year.
The target is more ambitious than the State Council guideline released in July 2013, which outlined plans to install 10 gigawatts of PV power capacity every year from 2013 to 2015.
To boost the sagging solar power industry, China has turned to distributed PV power generation and rolled out a string of preferential policies, including subsidies and tax reduction.
However, promoting doesn't always equate power production.
Huge initial investment and long cost recovery time affect people's enthusiasm to build the distributed PV generation units, said Kang Hailong, general manager of Ningxia Photoelectricity Construction Engineering Co Ltd, which is building PV facilities in residential compounds in the region.
For Wen, it will be 10 years before he can reclaim his cost under current earnings level. The average lifespan of a distributed PV unit is roughly 25 years.
"It takes too long to recover the cost," said Kang. "Those who have no thorough understanding of PV power generation would have no confidence."
Unlike residential generators, for companies that hope to develop the distributed PV generation units on a larger scale, installing panels on the roof also involves problems of property rights. Sharing profits with the roof owners and management also pose potential risks, said Kang.
"Due to risk control, banks are not quite interested in lending on the distributed PV generation programs, which has restricted the development of the PV industry," he said.
BEIJING -- China's largest producer of offshore oil and gas CNOOC said Monday that CNOOC 981, the country's first deepwater drilling rig, has reported its first deepwater gasfield discovery below the South China Sea.
The newly-discovered Lingshui 17-2 gasfield is located 150 kilometers south of the Hainan Island. Its average operational depth was 1,500 meters below the sea surface, the company said in a statement. Sinopec retail plans on track CNOOC adds floating oil production units
Xie Yuhong, a manager with CNOOC, said the Lingshui 17-2 gas well was tested to produce 56.5 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, equal to about 9,400 barrels of liquid oil per day.
It was the highest daily flow of all CNOOC's gas wells during testing, he said.
The Lingshui 17-2 well is also the first significant deepwater gas and oil discovery by semi-submersible CNOOC 981, which started operations in May of 2012.
It took 6 billion yuan ($975 million) and more than three years for China State Shipbuilding Corp. (CSSC), the contractor, to build the CNOOC 981 rig for CNOOC.
The platform is 114 meters long, 90 meters wide and 137.8 meters high, and weighs 31,000 tonnes.
With a deck the size of a standard football field, the rig is capable of undertaking an offshore operation at a maximum water depth of 3,000 meters and drilling a depth of 12,000 meters, according to CSSC.
NANNING -- China has signed an agreement with Malaysia to establish a sister port partnership between two major shipping cities as the two countries seeks to rejuvenate the ancient maritime Silk Road.
The Qinzhou Port in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region has become a sister port of Kuantan, a port city in Malaysia, following an agreement signed in Nanning city, capital of Guangxi on Monday.
Taking immediate effect, the two ports will cooperate in various fields including shared shipping lanes, logistics, information exchange and talent training, said Li Xinyuan, mayor of Qinzhou city.
The sister partnership between the two ports is part of a plan to establish a network of cooperation among port cities in ASEAN members, Li said.
The two port cities have close economic and trade relationships. China and Malaysia have been constructing sister industrial parks in Qinzhou and Kuantan respectively since 2011. Building sister industrial parks is regarded as an innovative experiment by China and Malaysia in rebuilding the maritime Silk Road.
Southeast Asia has long been an important hub in the historic maritime Silk Road, a commercial route on which China sold silk, ceramics and tea to overseas markets.
Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a 21st century maritime Silk Road during his visit to Indonesia last October.
Qinzhou, the most important container hub on China's southwestern coast, will become a leading city along the 21st century maritime Silk Road, Li said.
With increased interest in organic and healthy living, a group of city dwellers in China have turned to vegetable gardening, hoping this will bring supplements to the diet of their families. Food grown in the vegetable gardens consumes little and the growers know what exactly was used to grow it.
Yuan Chuanhua, 78, has a vegetable garden on the roof which provides his family and neighbors with quality food.[PHoto/cntv.cn]
A vegetable garden on the roof of Jiashan Market in Shanghai. [Photo/cntv.cn]
Liu Guoyun reads newspapers in his roof garden in Zhengzhou, Central China's Henan province. [Photo/cntv.cn]
Farmers tend a vegetable garden on a roof of a textile plant in Shaoxing, East China's Zhejiang province. The roof garden which functions as a layer of heat insulation in summer provides the workers with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits. [Photo/cntv.cn]
A mannequin is used in the vegetable garden to discourage birds from disturbing and feeding on recently cast seed and crops. [Photo/cntv.cn]
A man shows the lettuce and zucchini grown in the vegetable garden on the roof in Shanghai. [Photo/cntv.cn]
Zheng Junkui has been growing vegetables in the roof garden since 1997. The roof plantings provide him with food and help to control temperature. [Photo/cntv.cn]
The residents cultivate vegetables and grains in Meihua Park, located in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong province. Zhuhai locals can rent a plot in the vegetable garden which covers an area of more than 3800 square metres in Meihua Park. [Photo/cntv.cn]
BEIJING -- Beijing's municipal government has announced a new employment standard for foreigners, lifting the threshold for acquiring a job in the city.
Announced on Sunday, the new standard stipulates that non-Chinese citizens who wish to work in Beijing should meet four requirements:
-- Aged between 18 to 60, with no criminal record.
-- Bachelor's degree or above with at least two years of relevant work experience. Teaching requires at least five years of relevant experience.
-- Have a specific name for employer and a valid passport or other valid international travel documents.
-- Hold a valid work permit, or a residence certificate for work.
However, the age limit for candidates applying for programs recruiting senior foreign experts to work in China is up to 65 years old.
According to statistics from the municipal government, more than 37,000 foreign citizens from the United States, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Germany and Australia, among others, now work in Beijing, with 95 percent holding a bachelor degree or above.
They mainly work in the fields of information, computer science, education, consulting and science and technology.
Alibaba's impending IPO is one of the most talked-about stories in the world. Here is a selection of quotes from international and Chinese media.
"...at the valuation currently being discussed, Alibaba would be more expensive than more-established and better-known companies such as Google Inc. or eBay Inc."
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding, leaves following the company's road show in New York Sep 8, 2014. [Photo / Agencies]Alibaba IPO: a big deal, and, backers argue, a real steal
-- Wall Street Journal, on Sep 12
"The most critical task Alibaba faces: Reaching the 500 million Chinese consumers who shop, chat, play games and basically run their entire digital lives on smartphones."
Alibaba IPO: Jack Ma's scrappy start-up takes on US
-- USA Today, on Sep 12
"For Alibaba, it was part of a continuing effort to make the instant gratification of global e-commerce accessible to China's expanding middle class. If the biggest Internet company in the world's most populous nation succeeds, it will make everything from culinary delicacies to flashy luxury goods available with a few keystrokes.
The degree to which Alibaba can deliver on this promise will help determine how much the company is ultimately worth and to what extent it can open up the enormous Chinese market to both global retailers and small businesses in search of growth."
Alibaba is bringing luxury, fast, to China's middle class
-- New York Times, on Sep 11
"As so is told by many brokerages, there's always chance for [Chinese] retail investors to grab a bite of Alibaba's IPO. To secure this opportunity, one has to be well-loaded and have some luck.
If you want to be Alibaba's shareholder, most of brokerages will require $1 million as liquid asset in your account and a minimum subscription of $400,000. Still, no guarantee for a successful allocation."
How could retail investors grab a bite of Alibaba shares
-- Caixin, on Sep 12
"Though Chinese consumers have driven Alibaba's financial success, they'll largely be left out of the company's stock offering."
Chinese gripe at being left out of Alibaba's $21 billion IPO
-- Bloomberg, Sep 15
"Alibaba is a 'hybrid' under the context of globalization. It reveals the financial development in China and its immeasurable potentials, while at the same time exposes shortcomings of Chinese venture capitals and difficulties for companies to seek domestic financing. Alibaba is a real 'multinational' company in the internet age. It has been seeking best opportunities globally and grown into 'first of the world'."
-- Global Times, May 8
From farmers to consumers and everyone in between, more efforts are needed to ensure food in and from China is safe
"An apple a day keeps the doctor away", is an English idiom that encourages people to eat fresh fruit and vegetables to stay healthy. But how do you know if that apple is really healthy or whether it might send you to hospital with a dose of poison from the chemicals it contains?
We all depend on the produce of farmers for the high quality, cheap and plentiful food we expect to see in shops and markets. But spare a thought for the farmers who put it there. Farming is not an easy business. Farmers must make a living and they depend heavily on un-controllable natural processes. Farmers do their best to improve the situation and mitigate possible problems, because they want to maximize yield and get the best price for their produce. Fertilizers help to improve plant nutrition, irrigation keeps drought at bay and pesticides help control pests and diseases.
I lead a program at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that helps countries to manage pests and pesticides in ways that will protect crops while also protecting the health of farmers, consumers and the environment. I have witnessed how the national and provincial authorities in China control pesticides, monitor pesticide residues in food and deal with problems such as unauthorized or excessive pesticide use.
China is among the top 3 percent of countries in the world that have a pesticide regulatory service with enough people, equipment and budget to permit it to function effectively. I have seen laboratories with the latest equipment to analyze residues in food. These machines can detect pesticides at concentrations in parts per billion. I have seen basic equipment given to farming cooperatives so that they can check whether their produce contains unexpected levels of pesticides before they send it to market. I have never seen such a system operating anywhere else, and it adds a valuable safeguard to the supply chain.
However, food safety does not and cannot only depend on government controls. The government cannot check the safety of every item, so they take samples randomly or target foods they know to be problematic. But there are others with important roles in ensuring food safety. Farmers must obey the rules so that they can keep selling their produce, because problematic batches of food can be traced to the farmer who grew them, who could lose his livelihood. Retailers too, want to ensure that the food they sell is safe so that customers will trust them. The bigger retailers carry out their own tests for food safety, and in some cases, have direct relationships with growers and can instruct them not to use certain pesticides to increase confidence in the safety of their produce.
Consumers have played a critical role in improving food safety in Europe and the United States and are beginning to act in China. Organized consumers have the power to demand safe food, to pressure retailers to provide it, to force farmers to comply with the rules, to work with government to tighten regulations and enforcement and even to get industry to change its products.
Chinese agricultural produce is not only consumed locally - it is also exported. Any produce that fails to meet safety standards in the country to which it is exported is sent back to the supplier or destroyed at the supplier's expense. If it happens more than once, the supplier is blacklisted and loses their market. It is therefore imperative that export produce meets safety standards, and the same should be true for produce destined for local markets.
Ensuring food safety requires a collaborative alliance. Farmers, agro-chemical producers and sellers, food wholesalers, retailers and processers, government authorities, and consumers - can all add constructively to this complex process. Farmers can follow the rules and only use authorized pesticides in the right doses at the right time. Pesticide companies can ensure that their products are of good quality and that appropriate products are available to farmers when they need them. Food traders and processors can guide farmers to comply with rules, and can do their own testing to demonstrate compliance and increase consumer confidence. The government must set realistic rules that farmers and industry can comply with, and must enforce those rules effectively and fairly, so that those who comply are rewarded while transgressors are punished. Finally consumers must demand safe food for all and should pressure all parties to ensure that this happens.
Once we have enough to eat, our next concern is whether the food we eat is safe and of good quality. In a market the size of China there are bound to be occasional slip-ups in food safety. Without excusing those who break the rules, such incidences should help to bring stakeholders closer together so that they can collaborate more closely in achieving universal food safety and building confidence that food in and from China is safe.
The author is senior officer of pesticide risk reduction, plant production and protection division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
The shockwaves caused by the problematic cooking oil recycled from kitchen waste in Taiwan have yet to create ripples on the mainland although it has been revealed that some food made with such oil may have crossed the Straits. Yet, there is no reason for consumers on the mainland to be optimistic about the food safety situation and neither is there any reason for watchdogs to relax their vigilance against substandard or unsafe food products.
The impact this scandal has caused is unprecedented. That thousands of food manufacturers on the island and in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions are involved is beyond our imagination because mainlanders usually believe supervision over food safety is tighter in these regions.
This scandal again verifies the fact that self-discipline based on conscience is not reliable. The temptation of greater profits can always lead people astray.
Earlier this month, a workshop was discovered in suburban Beijing where pigs' feet were soaked in a hydrogen peroxide solution and caustic soda. This increased their weight and made them look nicer, but made them unsafe to eat.
From problematic baby formula to poisonous duck eggs to chemicals used to feed pigs to make the meat leaner and to problematic cooking oil recycled from kitchen waste and grease from animal skin, as well as the recent scandal of expired meat products used by fast food restaurants, there seems to be no end to the revelations of the lengths unscrupulous producers, dealers and retailers will go to in search of greater profits.
There is no telling what new ways will be conceived to adulterate the food we eat by heartless people who are willing to risk the health and lives at others in their pursuit of personal gain. But it is certain they will find some as long as they think there is more money to make.
This sensational cooking oil scandal in Taiwan should serve as a reminder to the food safety watchdogs that part of their job is to narrow the space that illegal dealers can use to push unsafe or even poisonous foods into the market. It is also a reminder to quarantine officers in customs that quarantine and testing of imported food should never be slackened to allow unsafe food into the domestic market.
There must be unceasing vigilance as it is a battlefield where each piece of ground that is won is of the greatest importance.
More shocking than the rampancy of gutter oil is the fact that it passed the tests of supervising departments. The scandal calls for a mechanism in which the food we get can be traced back to original producers and ingredient suppliers. The move might involve a huge cost, but it would be worth it because it might save the health of thousands of people.
takungpao.com, Sept 11
Supervision over food must be strictly implemented to ensure its safety, because any single incident might involve the health, even lives, of thousands. But illegal traders are always developing new ways to get bad food past the tests. Therefore, consumers need to raise the alert, as well, and consult experts or call supervisors whenever they sense the food they get is abnormal. Food safety concerns all and needs the cooperation of all.
BeijingNews, Sept 10
The authorities said they tested the gutter oil involved but did not find any problem. According to chemical experts, their tests emphasized the smell, acidity and the percentage of compounds in the sample, but illegal traders can make all these appear normal.
What the authorities need to do is test the percentages of acrylamide and similar carcinogens in the samples, as these increase every time the oil is heated. The illegal traders are improving their technologies and the supervisors need to catch up.
ettoday.net, Sept 12
In Japan and some other countries, only special, authorized agencies may recycle waste grease or kitchen garbage, with clear records of each of their deals, which prevents the oil from returning to the dining table. As early as 2001, Taiwan introduced a law covering waste, but it lacks detailed executable measures concerning waste grease or kitchen garbage. The latest gutter oil incident reveals this is a loop-hole that needs to be filled.
hsw.cn, Sept 12
With the gutter oil scandal being uncovered, Yeh Wen-hsiang, the co-chairman of Chang Guann Co, kneeled at the press conference to apologize and was detained. Many similar scandals have happened on the Chinese mainland, but in very few cases have those involved apologized, let alone been punished by law. We need stricter law enforcement to prevent more food scandals.
Yang Anjin, lawyer, on Sinamicro blog