Dec 30

China Watch Blog has learnt that China’s currency, the Renminbi, or the yuan, surged 148 basis points to hit a record high of 6.3009 against the US dollar on Friday, the last trading day of 2011.

Friday’s revaluation in the yuan’s central parity rate sealed the Chinese currency’s appreciation against the greenback at 4.86 percent this year, according to the China Foreign Exchange Trading System.

Calculated in terms of the central parity rate, the yuan has strengthened about 24 percent against the US dollar since China replaced its decade-long link between the yuan and the US dollar and switched to a basket of unspecified currencies, the China Daily reported.

The yuan remained strong in 2011 even though a weakening for 12 consecutive trading days in November had once triggered concerns that the Chinese currency might head toward a devaluation cycle.

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Dec 30

China Watch Blog has learnt that the Qihoo 360 Technology, an anti-virus company that claimed to offer free Internet security services to more than 300 million netizens, issued a red alert on Dec 22.

It says that the databases of many websites were hacked recently, causing the leakage of more than 50 million Internet users’ registered accounts and codes.

Chinese Software Develop Net (CSDN), one of China’s biggest online communities for IT programmers, admitted being hacked on Dec 21, leaving about 6 million users’ information leaked.

The Tianya.cn, one of China’s most popular online forums, was also reported to have been hacked, causing exposure of information related to as many as 40 million users.

Ning Caishen, a renowned screenwriter, complained on Sunday on his micro blog that his Tianya account had been hacked. Many other micro blog writers expressed similar concerns on the same day.

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Dec 26

China Watch Blog has learnt that, according to a People’s Daily report, the account information of more than 6 million registered users of China Software Developer Network (CSDN), China’s largest online community for programmers, was leaked on Dec. 21.

The user account information of several other popular websites in China such as Dodonew.com, 7K7K, Duowan.com, and 178.com has also been leaked.

On Dec. 21, 360 Security Guard said on its official microblog, “Some hackers today disclosed users’ account information in CSDN databases online, including more than 6 million e-mail addresses and passwords.” Shortly afterward, the user account information of several other popular Chinese websites was also reportedly leaked.

“Many Internet users have used the same passwords for their e-mail, microblog, online gaming and online payment accounts. If the server of one of the websites is hacked, their accounts and passwords on other websites would also be stolen,” said Qihoo 360’s Shi Xiaohong.

CSDN has issued a public apology, in which it urged relevant users to change their password immediately, and said that it has informed the police of the data leakage.

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Dec 26

China Watch Blog has learnt that the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Railway began operations yesterday (on Dec. 26).

The Guangzhou Railway (Group) Corporation said the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section connects Guangzhou East Station and Shenzhen North Station, with three stops in Qingsheng, Humen, and Shenzhen’s Guangming New Area. The section is 102 kilometers long, and supports a top speed of 300 kilometers per hour in the initial stages.

After the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section begins operations, the travel time between the two cities will be reduced to 35 minutes, about 34 minutes less than the current Guangzhou-Shenzhen railway costs.

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Dec 26

China Watch Blog has learnt that China’s largest rail vehicle maker, CSR Corp Ltd has launched over the weekend its first test train that features speeds reaching up to 500 km per hour.

The six-car train with a fairshaped head is the newest in the CRH series. It has a maximum tractive power of 22,800 kilowatts, compared with 9,600 kilowatts for the CRH380 trains currently in service on the Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway, which hold the world speed record of 300 km per hour, the China Daily reported.

The grey-color train carrying testing and data processing facilities was designed and produced by CSR Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co Ltd (Sifang Locomotive), a CSR subsidiary based in the coastal city of Qingdao in eastern Shandong province.

Ding Sansan, the company’s chief technician, said the concept of the the super-speed train design was inspired by China’s ancient sword. The bodywork uses plastic materials reinforced with carbon fiber.

Shen Zhiyun, a locomotive expert and academician with both the Chinese academies of sciences and engineering, said the testing of the super-speed train with speeds of up to 500 km per hour will provide useful reference for current high-speed railway operations.

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Dec 18

China Watch Blog has learnt that a slowdown in the country’s export growth could continue at least into the first quarter of next year with a “more severe” outlook, the Ministry of Commerce said.

But the government has confidence in keeping stable growth in foreign trade, said ministry spokesman Shen Danyang at a monthly news briefing.

With demand weakening from the European Union, China’s largest trade partner, overseas sales have been on the decline. In November, the nation’s exports increased by 13.8 percent from a year earlier, the smallest gain since 2009, according to the General Administration of Customs.

And things will probably get worse. “China may see negative export growth next year in some months although shipments for the year could rise 10 percent if there’s no world recession,” said Yu Bin, director of macroeconomic research at the State Council’s Development Research Center.

“It’s too early to predict the prospects of export for the whole year of 2012, but one thing is for sure, the first quarter will be very severe for China’s exports,” said Shen.

Besides shrinking worldwide demand, trade protectionist measures of various types are challenging Chinese exporters. On Thursday, the European Union imposed five-year tariffs as high as 71.9 percent on imports of steel pipes from China.

According to Shen, new measures to help China maintain export growth will be released during the annual China commerce work conference, to be held in early January.

The three-day Central Economic Work Conference, which closed on Wednesday, pointed out China will try to stabilize growth for exports next year, by stabilizing its foreign trade policies and promoting industrial transformation.

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Dec 16

China Watch Blog has learnt that Financial Secretary John Tsang has said that China can leverage Hong Kong’s effective financial resource allocation platform to facilitate the renminbi’s internationalisation as the territory is an important constituent of China’s financial market.

This was the key message in Tsang’s opening address at a seminar on implementation of the Central Government’s measures to support Hong Kong’s financial development.

“Funds may ‘come in’ and ‘go out’ in an orderly manner through the onshore and offshore fund circulation mechanism. An active renminbi liquidity is conducive to the introduction of more renminbi products in Hong Kong and would help to build a multi-layer financial market in China during the 12th five-year period. This would achieve the goal of promoting cross-border use of renminbi while safeguarding financial security of the nation,” Tsang said.

Renminbi direct investment and renminbi trade settlement measures had been implemented successfully, he added.

On October 14, the Ministry of Commerce and People’s Bank of China promulgated a notice on cross-border renminbi foreign direct investment and related renminbi foreign direct investment settlement rules, Mr Tsang said, adding wider use of renminbi for direct investment would lower the risk of currency exchange for Hong Kong enterprises.

He said the notice clearly set out the vetting criteria. This enables enterprises to gain greater confidence in issuing bonds in Hong Kong, enhances international investors’ interest in buying renminbi bonds in Hong Kong, and attracts more enterprises to make use of the renminbi fund-raising platform here for financing direct investment on the Mainland.

Hong Kong’s offshore renminbi business will be expanded, he added.

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Dec 14

China Watch Blog has learnt that the Hong Kong and Central Governments have agreed to boost economic and trade co-operation and exchange under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

Witnessed by Chief Executive Donald Tsang and other guests, Financial Secretary John Tsang and Vice-Minister of Commerce Jiang Yaoping signed Supplement VIII to CEPA.

Tsang said the agreement further opens the Mainland’s service-sector market to Hong Kong and enhances bilateral trade.

Supplement VIII provides for 32 services liberalisation and trade and investment facilitation measures, including 23 liberalisation measures in 16 service sectors, and strengthens co-operation in areas such as finance, tourism, innovation and technology.

Both sides also agreed to enhance origin criteria in trade in goods, and relax the definition and related requirements of Hong Kong service suppliers.

Of the 32 measures, 15 are related to the implementation of measures announced by Vice Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Hong Kong in August.

Supplement VIII allows Mainland banks to make use of Hong Kong’s international financial platform to develop their international businesses, and supports Hong Kong insurance companies entering the market through the setting up business institutions or capital participation, to participate and share in the development of the Mainland insurance market.

On construction, it allows Hong Kong professionals who have obtained Mainland qualifications through mutual recognition, to register and practise in Guangdong and enjoy the same treatment as Mainland counterparts.

On hospitals, the deal allows Hong Kong service suppliers to set up wholly-owned hospitals in all municipalities directly under the Central Government and provincial capitals.

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Dec 14

China Watch Blog has learnt that work on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will be speeded up so that it will be completed on time to meet its slated commissioning in 2016.

Speaking at the launch of the works for the Hong Kong boundary-crossing facilities of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, Chief Executive Donald Tsang says the local projects had been delayed about one year due to a judicial review case last year.

He said the administration would strengthen the manpower and adjust the construction methods to shorten the works programme, to complete the works as scheduled.

“The bridge is the first major cross-boundary infrastructure project jointly undertaken by Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. With the active participation and involvement of the governments of the three places, consensus has been reached in various areas such as construction, financing and operation arrangements, resulting in a multi-win proposal,” Tsang said.

The bridge will be the world’s longest dual three-lane carriageway in the form of a bridge-and-tunnel-structure sea-crossing, linking the three places.

Tsang said the bridge will save time and money for passengers and cargo shipments, and cities in the Pearl River Delta will fall within a three-hour commuting radius of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong boundary-crossing facilities include the construction of an artificial island of about 150 hectares in the waters northeast of Hong Kong International Airport.

To minimise the reclamation’s environmental impact, a non-dredge seawall construction method, used for the first time, will be adopted for the reclamation works. The amount of marine mud to be dredged and disposed of will be reduced by about 97%.

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Dec 10

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shenzhen, in solving lack of credibility of e-commerce will take action to break the ice, which is by means no easy task.

Currently, China SMEs (small and medium enterprises) Association, the electronic commerce credit management center is officially located in Shenzhen. The center will build the electronic commerce credit manage ment system from standard research, technology development, and application etc.

Meanwhile, Shenzhen will also build a public service platform includes identity verification, product information verification etc. to preliminarily establish the network credit system. And, as the first to make the credit ranking e-commerce platform, Tradetuber (http://www.tradetuber.com) settles in Shenzhen now.

Chinese SMEs Association’s leader, Lizibin indicated at e-commerce credit management center open ceremony that Shenzhen is creating the first model city of e-commerce. To reach the goal, the first thing is to make Shenzhen to the capital of trust e-commerce. Tradetuber has treated creditability development as its essence, it began to layout the network two years ago, until now, it has gathered 1,000 international verified suppliers and gold buyers of more than 5,000.

Liziben revealed the new center will introduce professionals, establish data center and promote platform, simultaneously evaluate the standard of credit. When the time does, there will draw up laws and regulations for e-commerce industry.

Through survey, credit problem has hindered e-commerce development, many websites using false name, address, product information cheated and mislead our consumers, so it makes users do not think highly of e-commerce not speak of take participation. To encourage more enterprises and individuals getting in e-commerce, Shenzhen is trying to build credit e-commerce system.

Market supervision and administration officials told reporters after investigation, their department start to connect other departments to join building e-commerce public service platform, through basic level, supporting service, application system, constructing a three-level relatively perfect credit management system.

Trust, as the soul of e-commerce, has become the core module of improvement of e-commerce development system, only in a healthy environment and system, e-commerce can get a high-speed and effective development, and provide real, accurate information to domestic and foreign trade partners, promote orderly development of international trade.

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