Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shenzhen officials intend this year to attract 1,800 professionals from overseas, including expats and Chinese nationals living abroad, which would bring the total number of professionals from overseas in Shenzhen to 24,000, Shenzhen’s human resources and social security bureau said.


To reach that goal, city officials will increase policies to help expats to work in the city and provide subsidies to help overseas Chinese professionals and students return to China and work in Shenzhen. To attract high-end professionals and research teams, the city will organize recruitment fairs overseas and utilize liaison and recruitment offices in the United States, Europe and Japan.

“We will use the national 1,000 Expat Experts Recruitment Plan to attract professionals to work in the city’s key fields and industries,” bureau chief Wang Min said.

Professionals at various levels will be eligible for cash and housing subsidies from the Shenzhen government.

The policies will give priority to professionals working in emerging industries and science, education, public health and sports, bureau members said.

Under an ambitious five-year Peacock Plan initiated last year, Shenzhen aims to attract 50 research teams and 10,000 high-end professionals to enhance its capability for independent innovation in pillar and emerging industries.

Two expats were accredited as high-end professionals under the Peacock Plan last year. Jeffrey S. Lehman, chancellor and founding dean of Beijing University School of Transnational Law, and Richard Jackson, president of Shenzhen Development Bank, received Level A accreditations from the city government. Each received a housing subsidy of 1.5 million yuan (US$240,000). A total of 61 professionals were accredited at three levels and received subsidies of different amounts.

The city attracted nine research teams and 1,747 professionals from overseas last year.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shanghai will continue to work on expanding financing channels for cash-tight small firms and on a program to let more market players to participate in margin trading.

Members of the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s board of directors discussed new initiatives this year at a recent working meeting, the bourse said in a statement reported by Shanghai Daily.

The exchange will work out a trial program to allow small firms to issue corporate bonds to selected investors on the bourse.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that Shenzhen’s GDP will rank 11th in the world in 2025, according to a research report by McKinsey & Company, a global management consultancy.

View of Shenzhen from bridging linking Hong Kong to Huanggang checkpoint

In addition to GDP, the report also predicts the top 25 cities in the world for 2025 in another six categories: per capita GDP, GDP growth rate, population, child population, household number and the number of households with a yearly income of over US$20,000.

The company released the report, “The City 600,” at the International Conference on Urban Development and Innovation, which concluded in Shenzhen on Friday, according to GZNews.com.

Shenzhen ranks sixth in terms of GDP growth rate and 21st in terms of the number of households with a yearly income of over US$20,000. Shenzhen is not in the top 25 in per capita GDP or child population.

Jonathan Woetzel, a Shanghai-based director with McKinsey & Company, said the per capita GDP is often high in comparatively small cities such as Macao and Doha. Meanwhile, the child population is to some degree decided by a government’s policy on population control.

However, Woetzel said Shenzhen, along with many other Chinese cities, has the potential to become a global metropolis by 2025.

“It is a major challenge for China to raise its efficiency and per capita GDP. We hope Shenzhen can achieve it,” said Woetzel.

Woetzel added that urbanization is the biggest factor in the global economic growth and the development of China’s cities has a large impact on the global economy.

In terms of GDP in 2025, New York and Tokyo come in the first two places, which are followed by Shanghai and London.

There will be more than 100 Chinese cities in the top 600, according to the report. By 2025, the top 600 cities in the world will contribute to more than 60 percent of the global GDP.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that the export growth of China’s electronic products slowed markedly last year to 11.9 percent, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on Monday.

The total export value last year reached 661.2 billion U.S. dollars, up 11.9 percent year-on-year. However, the growth rate was 17.4 percentage points lower than that of the previous year, the MIIT data showed.

The export value of electronic products accounted for nearly 35 percent of the nation’s total export value in 2011, according to the data. Computers and cell phones were the top two categories of exported electronic products.

In 2011, computer and mobile phone exports increased by 11.1 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively, to 105.88 billion U.S. dollars and 62.76 billion U.S. dollars, the data showed.

Meanwhile, the MIIT also announced that the country’s imports of electronic devices hit a new high of 468 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 11 percent year-on-year. However, the growth rate saw a sharp decrease of 23 percentage points in comparison with that of 2010.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that the popularity of smartphones and mobile devices, as well as the rising impact of social media, has shifted how ordinary readers have access to news stories.

Consumers’ attention is drawn towards all kinds of colorful applications on touch phones and tablets. How will traditional media ride on the waves of technological reform? Is the booming of social media a blessing or rather a misfortune for newspaper and magazine publishers?

Top media and advertising executives joined a recent Circle A salon to talk about what they’ve done to cope with the shift of reading habits, how they’re building new channels to reach more readers and how they’re riding on the new trend to make their stories more influential.

Circle A was initiated by AdChina in 2010, aimed at bringing together media, advertising and new media companies in an open platform to exchange views. Shanghai Daily is the co-host of the inaugural Circle A in Shanghai this month.

Philip Kuai says: We all know that Sina launched a successful promotion for its Weibo service several years ago. But it’s a company with huge capital and human resources. How do you promote your mobile applications with limited budgets and resources?

Jane Yu: We didn’t do any big-scale market promotions during the initial stage of iWeekly.

First we invited some “opinion leaders” to use the application and got some recommendations from them. Then we were featured by Apple in its App Store, which was a key step for us.

Apple will feature some valuable applications in every catalog and you should seize the opportunity to be recommended in the feature list.

Benjamin Wei: There are some methods like posting in forums or application recommendation websites. But the key thing is the app’s quality. If it’s really fascinating, it will get recommendations and be featured naturally.

Philip Kuai: The boom in mobile Internet and the smartphones and tablets has offered many new channels to distribute one’s content. Readers are getting so many choices, and to catch readers’ attention there has to be a very good convergence of high quality content and user experience.

I would like to hear how each of you are thinking about expanding new platforms and how to better combine new media platforms with existing content. How do you balance inputs on your own new media platform and social media platforms?

Daphne Wu: Social media platforms such as Sina Weibo has helped us to get our news stories delivered to a very large audience and wider than we have expected.

They have opened up many new channels to get our voices heard and our ideas communicated, but what matters for us content producers most is the agenda-setting process, the ability to produce high quality news stories with social impact.

A content producer is like a curator, and mobile applications provide a better way to present our stories and ideas. The most essential thing is to have our own platform in the mobile Internet sector and to keep our readers because readers are our core value.

We have to make sure our intellectual property rights don’t get infringed and at the same time get our stories presented through various new channels.

Jack Gao: In the Internet era, good news quality itself is the best advertising for publishers. However, digitalized media content and the digital way of selling will become the mainstream in the long run.

We have to keep in mind that running media in the digital age requires us to adapt to new consumer habits. Merely moving the newspaper stories to an iPad version won’t do much benefit because the digital editing process and publication procedures have changed completely.

There have been arguments whether those with high quality content or those with an excellent interactive experience on mobile devices could dominate the market. From the current experience, only by combining those two can one become a successful media company.

Courtesy of Shanghai Daily

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Feb 28

Chinw Watch Blog has learnt that China’s new export orders shrank in February the most in eight months, a preliminary HSBC business survey shows, defying expectations of a pick up after Lunar New Year holidays and a worrying sign of the impact of the euro area debt crisis.

Cosco Taicang port

A local newspaper reported that many analysts had expected some rebound in February after imports and exports fell the most in two years in January, when factories closed for several weeks for Lunar New Year holidays.

But HSBC’s February flash PMI, which showed the overall manufacturing sector shrinking for the fourth-straight month, suggested overseas demand was sliding even further.

“This suggests trade may continue to be disappointing and we cannot see any improvement in the near term,” Kevin Lai, senior economist at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong, was quoted as saying.

HSBC flash PMI, the earliest indicator of China’s industrial activity, rose to a four-month-high at 49.7 in February from 48.8 in January. The PMI has been below 50, which demarcates expansion from contraction, for most of the last eight months.

The new export orders sub-index dropped to 47.4 — the lowest in eight months — from 50.4 in January as the European debt crisis cast a shadow over Chinese exports. Overall new orders were flat at 49.1, a level that indicates they were falling.

An output sub-index rose to 50.1 in February from 47.6 in January.
HSBC said the data, based on 85-90 percent of responses to a monthly survey, suggested further policy easing was needed. The final PMI is subject to revision and will be released March 1.

“Growth remains on track for a slowdown, despite the marginal improvement in the headline flash PMI led by quickened production after the Chinese New Year,” said Qu Hongbin, HSBC’s chief economist for China.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that the World Bank has warned China that she could face an economic crisis unless the nation pushes its reforms to a much deeper level given its growth model, and the mainland was also urged to reduce the dominance of state-owned companies and promote free markets to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income society.

Shanghi Pudong TV tower

China’s sizzling economic growth over the past 30 years has come to a point where it is prone to an abrupt slowdown without any warning signs, a case of the “middle-income trap” encountered by many emerging economies, the World bank report said.

A sudden slowdown could worsen inherent problems affecting the banking sector and other industries and even bring about an economic crisis in the world’s second-largest economy, the report added.

The report’s emphasis on curbing state-owned businesses clashes with China’s strategy over the past decade of building government-owned champions in fields from banking to technology and is likely to provoke opposition.

“As China’s leaders know, the country’s current economic growth model is unsustainable,” said World Bank President Robert Zoellick at a conference about the report, co-authored with a Chinese Cabinet think tank, the Development Research Center. China has reached a “turning point” and needs to “redefine the role of the state,” Zoellick said.

The report highlights the fact that after three decades of reforms which allowed Chinese entrepreneurs to become world leaders in export-driven manufacturing, state companies still controll domestic industries from steel and airlines to oil and telecommunications.

Government companies are supported by low-cost credit from state banks and business groups complain regulators shield them from foreign and private competitors despite China’s market-opening pledges.

By adopting a new growth strategy, China will increase its stake to become the world’s largest economy before 2030, the report said.

In “China 2030,” the Washington-based bank said China should complete its transition to a market economy – through enterprise, land, labor and financial sector reform – strengthen its private sector, open its markets to greater competition and innovation, and ensure equality of opportunity.

The report highlights six strategic directions for China’s future: completing the transition to a market economy; accelerating the pace of open innovation; going “green” to transform environmental stresses into green growth as a driver for development; expanding opportunities and services such as health, education and access to jobs for all; modernizing and strengthening the domestic fiscal system; and seeking mutually beneficial relations with the world.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that senior Chinese legislators on Monday started their second deliberation on a draft amendment to the country’s Law on the Promotion of Clean Production.

The China Daily reported that at the three-day bimonthly session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), members are scheduled to review the newly submitted draft amendment, which has introduced a few key changes after several rounds of opinion gathering.

The new draft highlights a concise definition on the “excessive packaging of products” and a list of detailed conditions under which compulsory clean production checks should be imposed on enterprises.

Chinese legislators believe that the current law, which came into effect in 2003, needs to be revised to meet the requirements on energy conservation and emissions control in the country’s bid to build a greener and more sustainable economy.

The NPC Standing Committee’s review on the previous draft took place last October.

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Feb 28

China Watch Blog has learnt that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unlikely to close on a large scale this year, as they will receive 3 billion yuan ($475.6 million) annually in central government support for the next five years.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, since the first quarter of 2010, SMEs have faced such problems as high production and labor costs and an unfavorable international environment, and export-driven SMEs have been hurt by the weak global economy.

China Daily reported the State Council as urging local governments to offer support for the development of smaller companies.

On Feb 1, the council discussed the issue in an executive meeting and announced that the government would further support SMEs by establishing a 15-billion-yuan fund.

Small companies “serve as a significant channel for creating jobs, a major platform for the growth of entrepreneurship and an important force for scientific innovation”, according to a statement released on Feb 1 and reported by the Xinhua News Agency after the State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao.

“The Ministry of Finance will allocate 3 billion yuan every year over the next five years and the State Council will release policy documents on further development of SMEs in the near future,” said Zhu Hongren, spokesman and chief engineer at the industry and information technology ministry.

The ministry noted that exports had cooled, and industries’ export shipments had increased by just 16.6 percent last year, slower than in previous years.

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