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Editorials

Electric Vehicles, a strategic emerging industry.

Electric Vehicles, a strategic emerging industry.

China is already the world's largest manufacturer of electric bicycles and electric tricycles but only 6,900 domestic-brand electric cars (EV`s) were sold in China in 2013, according to a new report on China’s EV production and sales. That’s in contrast to China’s total car sales for 2013 of 22 million, surpassing 15.6 million in the US. Little demand for EVs means the nation is far off it`s target, set in 2012, to sell 500,000 electric cars in 2015 and five million in 2020. The one caveat being in the booming demand for electric busses. Not to be perturbed the Government has released new incentives to promote what it sees as a strategic emerging industry.

 

Subsidies will continue for at least the next 6 years and from September the 10% purchase tax will be waived on all new EV`s. Whilst the main factor for the slow take up on EV`s is their price, lack of charging facilities and private investment have also been identified as crucial factors. With new partnerships, Tesla is set to build 40 new Supercharger stations across China.

 

Aside from the pricey Tesla, no foreign car company is selling an EV in China at the moment. Nissan plans to sell a Chinese version of its all-electric Leaf, which will be called the Donfeng-Nissan Venucia e30, in September. The top selling passenger EV in China last year was the BAIC E150 (pictured below), according to the Paglee report. The Ford Fiesta-sized car starts at a pricey RMB 195,000 (US$31,700) for the electric model, as opposed to just RMB 58,000 (US$9,430) for the identically-bodied petrol model with a 1.3-liter engine.

 

 

The Warren Buffet-backed BYD is struggling to generate interest in its growing range of EV`s. The auto-maker, known for its battery technology, aims to triple sales of EVs to 8,000 units this year, including 2,000 buses. But most of its electric cars will be sold to taxi fleets.

 

   

 

2014’s EV sales in China could get a much-needed boost from cash incentives put in place in last year and the new announcements. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) introduced hefty government subsidies to buyers of all-electric or plug-in hybrid cars. The largest subsidy option, of RMB 60,000 (US$9,450), is available to buyers of all-electric cars with a range of over 250 kilometers; the smallest is RMB 35,000 (US$5,690) for plug-in hybrid vehicles that go for over 50 kilometers. These are available only to buyers of domestic-brand cars. Many cities around China have also implemented local incentives in addition to the national subsidies to promote electric vehicles in their cities:

 

  • Beijing: Same as national subsidy + free license plate
  • Shanghai: CN¥40,000 ($6,504) + free license plate (a CN¥70,000 [$11,382] value)
  • Guangzhou: CN¥10,000 ($1,626) + free license plate
  • Shenzhen: Same as national subsidy
  • Hangzhou: Same as national subsidy
  • Hefei: CN¥20,000 ($3,252)
  • Changchun: CN¥35,000 ($5,691) to CN¥45,000 ($7,317)

 

But fundamental problems remain. One is that China’s urban middle class prefer foreign brands. The top-selling three models in China last year were the locally-manufactured versions of the Ford Focus, VW Lavida, and Buick Excelle. Another is that most urban residents in China live in gated apartment communities, meaning people have no personal garage in which to charge an EV. Homeowners in Shanghai can apply for installation of private charging facilities, but they must actually own a parking space inside their compound – which not all property owners do.

 

The Shanghai Daily reported earlier this year that Shanghai Power Company has received 140 applications for home-based charging ports, but has so far given the go-ahead for just 30 of them. These charging stations can cost as much as RMB 50,000 (US$8,000), which eradicates much of the savings people make from the EV subsidy. A further barrier is that not all real estate companies are open to such modifications being made to parking spots.

 

Beijing municipal authorities have published a ‘2014 to 2017 action plan’ for electric vehicles, according to Tencent Tech. The initiative centers around building 10,000 charging facilities across the capital by 2017. The first batch of 1,000 will be positioned within a five-kilometer radius of the city center, focused on major transport hubs. But what of the nation’s other cities? Only once a city has a charging infrastructure that’s even larger than its network of petrol stations might EV`s stand a chance of being seen as a viable alternative to petrol driven cars.

E-commerce & online payment trends for 2014.

E-commerce & online payment trends for 2014.

In a tech market that is moving as quickly as China`s, spotting the latest trends as they develop is crucial to reaching consumers and capturing sales. As of the first half of this year we have seen some interesting developments in both the sites that consumers use and how they pay for products. In China you can forget PayPal and Credit Cards its all about the likes of Alipay and Tenpay.

 

 

Only about 1 in 4 Chinese people own a credit card and they certainly don't use them to purchase goods on Tmall or Taobao, instead preferring to use one of the online payment services as below:

 

Payment Method Market Share
Alipay 48.7%
Tenpay 19.4%
Union Pay 11.2%
99Bill 6.7%
China PnR 5.8%
YeePay 3.4%
Huanxun IPS 2.9%
Others 1.9%

% transaction volumes in 2013, according to iResearch

 

China is certainly embracing e-commerce with enthusiasm: advertising from e-commerce companies and websites are filling every available space. Logistics companies are growing exponentially with deliverymen on bikes, trikes and vans lugging packages around every corner of the major cities. It would be interesting to survey how many office hours are lost annually to e-commerce shopping.

 

 

The rise of WeChat and the fall of Weibo.

Weibo continues to lose popularity among China’s netizens with users abandoning it in favor of WeChat. A couple of reasons for this being the tightening of registration requirements for Weibo (requiring real ID`s) along with the appeal to users who prefer a combination of Twitter-like communication with a native mobile chat app experience.

 

 

For companies the prevalence of fake Weibo accounts has taken away the allure of gaining “1 million followers’ since the current going rate is 5 RMB for 1,000 fans and combined with its limited functionality companies are now looking at other platforms to engage consumers. WeChat on the other continues to innovate and improve, now allowing you to pay for some services, call a cab or even make purchases.  WeChat has proven to be a superior marketing platform for business: merchants can advertise their products and send coupons by messaging directly to their subscribers.

 

 

Possibly the most significant development to watch will be the proliferation of more decentralized consumer finance integrated directly into smartphones. In recent months, China’s web giants, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have been applying for financial services licenses to be issued by the government. That will allow those companies to offer the same services that the banks do: savings portfolios, loans, insurance, and payment methods. Such new services would include savings and investment in funds like Alibaba’s Yuebao and Baidu’s Baifa, microfinance and peer-to-peer lending.

 

 

But who will process these payments: Alipay v`s Tenpay v`s Baidu.

Alibaba was the first to introduce its hugely popular Alipay system that today accounts for about 50% of all online transactions. It is currently the system used for buying products at the most popular online shopping sites and most importantly is trusted by consumers. However hot on its heals is Tenpay by Tencent which thanks to the popularity of Tencent’s WeChat platform, is projected to grow beyond that of Alipay due to its integration with the platform. Not to be left out Baidu was a late entrant to online payments with its Baidu Wallet. It focuses on mobile payments and the service will be integrated with other Baidu platforms and its 14 apps. Considering its 600 million users this should form a solid base for the system.

 

                           

 

With the continuing expansion of China`s 4G network smartphone users are experiencing faster connections and more bandwidth meaning the ability to receive richer content, such as HD videos, as well as faster loading times for ecommerce sites and apps. This can only translate into an even wider adoption of e-commerce, which is completely mobilized. A Ministry of Industry and Information Technology forecast, which regulates China’s internet, stated that it aims to double the value of China`s e-commerce sales to RMB 18 trillion (USD 2.86 trillion) by the end of 2015 which would imply there is ample room for growth for payment provides, E-commerce sites and the logistics companies that support them.

 

 

Vast amounts of venture capital has poured into the Chinese online retail industry over the last few years and we are now seeing the effects. With a current estimated 250 million e-shoppers and an annual increase of 30 million new users, China e-commerce market is something not to be ignored.

 

A diversified policy towards Africa.

A diversified policy towards Africa.

China’s policy towards Africa over the last year has shown several new trends that illustrate Beijing’s evolving priorities and strategies in the continent that will have significant implications for African Nations.


Peace & Security in Africa.

 

In an unusual shift in policy, China has assertively enhanced its direct involvement in Africa’s security affairs. Two months into Xi Jing ping`s reign, Beijing unprecedentedly dispatched 170 PLA combat troops to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali. This was in contrast to China`s policy of only contributing non combat troops to UN missions. It remains to be seen whether this move changes the PLA`s operating principle of “no combat troops on foreign soil”. China’s choice in dispatching combat troops for the first time in recent history does suggest rising interests, enhanced commitment and a direct role in maintaining peace and security of Africa.


In a further unprecedented and surprising move, China under Xi engaged in open intervention in the South Sudan conflict through direct mediation. In 2013, China’s envoy for African affairs, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, paid no less than 10 visits to Africa to coordinate positions and mediate in the South Sudan issue. Again, in January 2014, in a rare display of overt political intervention, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi publicly called for an immediate end of hostilities in South Sudan. At Ethiopia’s invitation, Wang Yi traveled to Addis Ababa to meet with rebel and government delegations. He openly urged “immediate cessation of hostilities and violence,” and publicly called for the international powers to back the Ethiopian-led mediation efforts. Given China’s considerable oil stake in South Sudan (China imported nearly 14 million barrels of oil from South Sudan in the initial 10 months of 2013), many believe that China is gradually abandoning its long-term “non-interference” principle to protect its overseas economic interests.


Under Xi Jinping, China has continued its naval missions in the Gulf of Aden whilst enhancing its security cooperation with Djibouti on such matters as local logistical supplies and emergency assistance. China has dispatched a total of 16 ships to the region and escorted over 5,300 ships.

 

 

China’s increasing direct involvement in the peace and security affairs of Africa is also reflected in its rising financial and military contribution to the main regional organization—the African Union (AU)—to help boost its security role in the continent. In 2013, China provided $1 million in assistance to the AU to support its mediation and coordination efforts in the Mali conflict. It has also provided military material assistance to African nations involved in the AU peacekeeping missions under the same framework.


China’s rising involvement in Africa’s security affairs is motivated by multiple considerations: primarily the instability and conflicts in Africa have increasingly become a direct challenge to China’s economic presence in Africa. China has reflected on its expensive lesson during the Libyan civil war in 2011, and is known attempting to take the initiative in preempting similar situations. Equally crucial is President Xi Jinping’s desire to build China’s leadership role and image on the international stage, peace and security issues in Africa being the perfect platform for such a goal.


New aspects of Chinese Economic Cooperation with Africa.


China has expanded its financing to Africa. In a little over a year, China has issued over $10 billion in loans to African nations, and promised a further $20 billion to be leant before 2015. The emphasis of these loans lies in China’s new priority of financing infrastructure, agricultural and manufacturing industries in Africa, a strategy that shifts away from its traditional investment in Africa’s extractive industries.

 

China is further strengthening its cooperation with African nations on developing their manufacturing industries. In the case of Ethiopia, the country is trying to become the center for manufacturing in Africa based on Chinese investment. This would serve to facilitate a shift in China’s own position in the world supply chain and transfer some of its manufacturing industries to Africa, which is eager for industrialization. Whilst this does not necessarily indicate an abandonment of the energy and natural resources Africa has to offer, it does suggest that China is trying to diversify its investment in Africa in pursuit of new investment models whilst defusing criticisms on China’s “exploitation” of African resources.

 


Diversifying the Chinese-African Political relationship.


In separate strategy to improve China’s image in Africa, Xi Jinping`s government is presently eagerly engaging the African media to propagate China’s virtues and beneficial investments in the continent. Under the “China-Africa People to People Friendship Action” plan, Chinese embassies across Africa are seeking collaborations with African NGO`s and have implemented dozens of projects. Although these projects are primarily implemented by NGO`s, they serve to diversify China’s aid model in Africa and promote exchanges and cooperation with society.


During his first year in office, Xi Jinping`s government has demonstrated a major new and diversified policy towards Africa and we wait to see the evolving relationship between the two.

 

Marketing Case studies: Middle Class Mum`s

Marketing Case studies: Middle Class Mum`s

With another 200 Million Chinese people expected to join the middle class by 2025, who will be making the purchasing decisions in these household and what will they be buying?

 

It`s the mothers. The highest percentage of a Chinese family’s disposable income is spent on their child after that it's the household. Mothers, by and large, decide how that money is spent and what brands they spend it on. This means that they control a very large portion of China consumer spending which is often much larger than their husband`s purchasing power. Any company attempting to sell consumer goods in China must understand this demographic and how they think. But what are the top priorities for mothers?

 

 

Health, Education, Household goods & Cars is what we believe mothers care about. Whilst middle class consumers have rising purchasing power and are increasingly willing to pay more for higher quality, brand names, and differentiated features, they are still price sensitive and recognizing who is doing the purchasing is essential to success in the marketplace. Brands need to connect emotionally and forge a strong brand position.

 

Health. The expansion of the middle class is not just stimulating investment in private hospitals but also in dental services, cosmetic specialties, rehabilitation services and elderly care. Spending that would previously have been seen as a luxury items is becoming a standard cost of living for the middle class. Patients usually want to go to clinics attached to the highest-reputation hospitals and private health insurance is now a necessity for many families to facilitate this.

 

Education. In a country as populated as China it`s all about differentiating yourself for the other thousands of equally qualified people and with the one child policy still in force the child is the center of the family. Academic achievement reflects successful parenting and tiger mothers often only allow their children to engage in activities that would help further their academic ambitions: Exam preparation classes, Foreign language lessons, Arts and music classes, role play centers for social education and physical exercises. No expense is too great to further the potential of the families child.

 

Household goods. Buying habits are changing in a subtle shift away from a focus on ‘Value for money” to quality and value added goods that have a track record for good safety. As urbanization accelerates, consumer spending is becoming more like that of the West’s middle class. Urban Chinese are shopping to meet emotional needs, driving a skyrocketing demand for middle-class goods, food, and entertainment.

 

Cars.  Nothing says you have made it better than a car. Demand simply keeps on rising for both domestic and foreign brands with China becoming BMW`s biggest market in 2013.  Increasingly it is women who now make the final decision about which car to purchase and forefront in their minds is Quality & Safety.

 

   

 

As marketers focus on China’s middle class they will also have to prepare to serve an even more affluent upper tier of that demographic which, in many cases, will be located outside of China’s first-tier cities. According to consulting firm McKinsey, China will soon undergo a shift from its current “mass middle class” to a new category of upper-middle-class Chinese consumers. Calling this cohort the “new mainstream,” the firm identifies them as consumers with household incomes between ¥106,000 and ¥229,000 ($16,000-$34,000). Perhaps even more striking, their numbers will swell from just 14 percent of urban households today to 54 percent by 2022, according to McKinsey’s estimates. It is not uncommon for women to keep the family bank accounts in their own names and give their husbands a weekly allowance hence it will be the mothers of this new mainstream that will be holding the purse strings and the demographic that must be catered to. Chinese women are emerging as one of the most confident bodies of consumers in the world. And they have the money to keep on spending.

 

Pictorial: China pre-1900.

Pictorial: China pre-1900.

A selection of incredible photographs from China Pre-1900 showing both the ordinary lives of Chinese people as well as the Empress Dowager Cixi and Foreign troops sent to quell the Boxer Rebellion. The imgaes are taken form the collections of: Albert Khan (1860-1940), John Thompson (1837-1921) and Jonathon Goforth (1859-1936) & China Magazine.

Thought Leadership more...

Report on the Diversification of China’s Education Industry 2014.

Report on the Diversification of China’s Education Industry 2014.

Date: 2014-06-16

Since the beginning of 2014, two hot issues have emerged in China’s private education sector. First, in March this year, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that “vocational education reforms should keep current with social progress”, emphasizing that “efforts should be made to develop vocational education and professionals that are suited to market needs, to create a merit-based but not diploma-oriented social atmosphere.” This statement opens up a new pathway for vocational education, serving as a beacon for the development of private and vocational schools in China. Second, an investment spree in the on-line education sector beginning the second half of 2013, has continued to make headlines in mainstream media. Internet behemoths are making inroads into this new business area, leading to turbocharged growth of the online education market. But a look at the private education market clearly shows that online education represents only a small proportion. In fact, the market is now growing at a slower pace, in its transition from “enclosure movement” to “intensive cultivation”. In this stage, How China’s private education groups diversify becomes especially vital.

 

 

Caged Tiger: The Transformation of the Asian Financial System.

Caged Tiger: The Transformation of the Asian Financial System.

Date: 2014-05-27

There will be no Asian Century without an Asian financial transformation.

The ‘Asian Century’ is upon us. Asia’s economy already accounts for a quarter of global economic output, up from 17% two decades ago. ANZ expects Asia’s share to rise to 35% in 2030 and to be over half the world economy by 2050. The United States (US) and Europe, which currently account for around half the world’s economic output, could see their share fall to less than a quarter by mid-century. This is a tectonic shift in the global economic landscape.

 

Yet with the exception of Japan and the newly industrialised economies, Asia’s rapid industrialisation of the past two decades has not been matched by an extensive development of its financial system. Many Asian countries have relatively closed and highly regulated financial systems, with a dominant bank sector and heavily managed exchange rates.

 

Litigating effectively: When in China, do as the Chinese do?

Litigating effectively: When in China, do as the Chinese do?

Date: 2014-04-02

Whenever a Western company loses a business dispute, it usually accepts the ruling of the court and pays up (assuming appeal is no longer possible). Chinese businessmen tend to hold a different view: it ain’t over until it’s over.

                 

When entering into a transaction with a Chinese counterpart, enforcement of the agreement should already be taken into account during negotiations. A (foreign) bank guarantee or escrow is of course a good solution, but this is often a non-starter for the Chinese side.

The Evolution of the 2nd & 3rd Tier Cities in China.

The Evolution of the 2nd & 3rd Tier Cities in China.

Date: 2014-01-06

There are 35 regional cities in China which account for approximately 16 percent of China’s population and 36 percent of China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The majority of regional cities are located on the east coast, particularly in the economically advanced regions of the Bohai Rim, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta, and a number of inter-connected ‘city clusters’. The remaining cities are more widely distributed through the country. Each one of these 35 featured cities offers foreign companies particular opportunities, as well as challenges, in a wide range of sectors. These regional cities are considered as the 2nd and 3rd tier cities of China. In general they have a population of more than 5 million people, have a provincial GDP of at least RMB 250 million and the key characteristics are rapid economic growth, lower input costs, large and developing consumer and industrial markets, strong local government support and policy momentum for regional economic development.

Finding faster growth. I eat therefore I am.

Finding faster growth. I eat therefore I am.

Date: 2013-12-16

As millions of Chinese emerge from poverty they use newly disposable incomes to define themselves through food. If they are to take advantage, brands must first understand why.

 

23 million members of the Chinese population will have money to spend on indulging themselves for the first time this year. By 2020, it’s likely that over 160 million more will be able to do the same.
 
 
New research from TNS proves that the vast majority of these newly disposable incomes will be spent on eating and drinking, enjoying new types and new quantities of food and beverages. For brands and manufacturers in these categories, no greater opportunity exists on earth

 

Repatriation Strategies – How can a SME get their profits out of China?

Repatriation Strategies – How can a SME get their profits out of China?

Date: 2013-12-09

In today’s environment, with China as an increasing consumer market, many companies have a respectable part of the total value chain in China. Quite often this results in having money “trapped’ in China. Through the appropriate business model, foreign investors can create solutions and structures to remit cash back to the shareholder or any other related company.

 

Profit repatriation is a delicate subject under China’s foreign direct investment regime. Various regulatory, formality and tax factors surrounding the issue make it worthwhile for investors to define carefully their repatriation strategies, so as to entail tax and profit outcome that they should be legally entitled to. These strategies may not necessarily be complex or costly, while their effects could be substantial.

Value-Added Tax (VAT) Reform in China

Value-Added Tax (VAT) Reform in China

Date: 2013-11-20

For many years, China has operated a dual system of indirect taxes, with VAT applicable to the domestic purchase and sale of goods as well as the importation of goods, typically at a rate of 17%. By contrast, most services have been subject to Business Tax (BT) at rates of either 3% or 5%. These reforms are taking place because BT is an inefficient turnover tax. It effectively taxes each stage of a supply chain, irrespective of the profit or “value-added” by each business in that supply chain. By contrast, VAT is a tax collected by businesses, but effectively borne by the end consumer.

 

Taxpayers should actively communicate with customers and suppliers and re-evaluate their business models, including but not limited to pricing, invoice issuance, previous arrangements for the purpose of avoiding repeated BT tax levy etc., to effectively reduce their VAT liabilities and optimize the cost savings benefits. Most importantly companies should meet with their direct tax officers to discuss the tax liabilities imposed upon them for various “services” in order to have a full understanding of the new VAT principles.

 

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) - Best Practices in China.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) - Best Practices in China.

Date: 2013-09-03

"If you can make it, they can fake it!” – A common phrase used in China. Intellectual property (IP) protection is one of the major concerns that western companies have while deciding whether to collaborate with Chinese companies or even enter the China market. The IP protection history in China is very short. For centuries, the Chinese people had not had any sense of protecting their own inventions or respecting the inventions of others. Not until 1984, when the Chinese government established its first patent law. The Chinese government has realized that creating a positive IP protection environment is not only important to protect the rights of foreign companies collaborating with their Chinese partners, but also critical to foster a creative environment for technology advancement of Chinese companies.

 

There are numerous internal and business policies that companies can undertake to reduce the exposure of IP misuse in the first place, including internal IP control; non-disclosure of trade secrets and know-how; careful selection and monitoring of business partners in China, including distributors and licensees; or avoidance of business partners. Although this may make market penetration more difficult, it will protect a company’s vital assets from being exploited. It is advisable for companies to seek advice on IP issues before entering the market.

 

Analysis of the competition strategy for MVNOs

Analysis of the competition strategy for MVNOs

Date: 2013-08-23

In May 2013, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued the Notice for the Launch of the MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) Pilot Program in China, allowing private enterprises to enter into the MVNO business. In a short period of time, we will start seeing MVNOs operating in China's telecom market.  Which types of enterprises have advantages in the MVNO area? When different types of enterprises enter the MNVO market, should they adopt different strategies? What are the potential opportunities and threats in the MVNO market?

LTL

Resources

Is China’s Economy Crashing? The Imminent Middle Income Trap.

Is China’s Economy Crashing? The Imminent Middle Income Trap.

China’s economy might indeed crash. Then again, it might not. Bearishness on China has gone viral. Two years ago, talk was of China’s economy saving the world. Today observers have swung to the opposite extreme, one expressed elegantly by Paul Krugman as “the Chinese model is about to hit its Great Wall, and the only question now is just how bad the crash will be.”

 

 

The following essay was written for the Boao Review by Professor Danny Quah of the LSE where he carefully dissects current predictions that the Chinese economy will either dramatically crash or else become ensnared in the ‘middle income trap’, please click here to open the full PDF.

 

Xining

Xining

Located near the geographical center of China but culturally part of Western China, Xining is the Capital of Qinghai province and at the heart of the governments Go West policy. With a population of about 2.25 million inhabitants about half of whom live in the main four urban areas, it is a prefectural level, third tier city with a GDP per capita of ¥19,494 RMB (US$2,800) in 2008, placing it roughly in the middle of all Chinese cities. Its main industries are currently wool spinning and textiles, fur, high altitude animal husbandry, dairy products, salt extraction & processing, Traditional Tibetan medicines, and light processing industries.

 

Xining has a relatively high percentage of ethnic minorities, the majority being Hui with also a sizeable Tibetan population. It is home to significant religious sites for both Muslims and Buddhists. Xining has a cold, semi-arid climate due to its high altitude.

 

 

Major Economic Indicators (2012)

 

 

Land Area (km2)

    7,665

   Population(million)

    2.25

   GDP (RMB billion)

    85.11

   

GDP Composition

 

          Primary Industry (Agriculture)

    3.66%

          Secondary Industry (Industry & Construction)

    51.64%

          Tertiary Industry (Service)

    44.7%

    GDP Per Capita (RMB)

    38,034

    Unemployment Rate

    3.47%

    Fixed Asset Investment (RMB billion)

    70.05

    Total Import & Export (USD million)

    934.17

          Export (USD million)

    662.14

          Import (USD million)

    272.03

    Sales of Social Consumer Goods (RMB billion)

    31.75

Source: Xining Economic and Social Development Report 2012

 

Xining has seen substantial economic growth over the past few years with 15% growth in GDP in 2012 from a year earlier. It’s GDP makes up nearly half of the total province (45.2% in 2012). In the same year, Xining’s value added industrial output rose 19.5% and foreign trade 14.5% year on year.

 

It is at the center of the so called Silk Road Economic Belt being a hub for both logistics and investment for increased economic ties with Central Asia. Key to this development plan is the currently ongoing Industrial Transfer process where manufacturing in the eastern costal cities are being actively encouraged to re-locate to the area, with a special focus on renewables.

 

   

 

One of the largest development projects in recent years was the Xining Economic and Technological Development Zone, completed in 2010. XETDZ lies in the east of Xining and is the first of its kind at the national level on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau as part of the country’s attempt to further develop the western region. XETDZ focuses on export-oriented industrial projects. It has an area of 12.8 square kilometers with a GDP over 18 billion in 2010.

 

Ferrosilicon, machine tools, bearings and cotton yarn are major exports of Xining. Japan, South Korea and the U.S. are the most important trading partners of the city.

 

The province is rich in natural resources, and current has an economy based on mineral extraction, hydropower, and Highland agro-husbandry. Oil and natural gas from the Chaidamu Basin have also been important contributors to the economy. Underdeveloped infrastructure however has thus far prohibited it from fully capitalizing on these advantages. For the future however, the focus will be very much on “Inclusive and Sustainable’ development revolving around solar, wind, and low-carbon energy projects.

 

Major Companies:

Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Group is a leading producer and distributor of potassium fertilizers. Headquartered in Xining, it posted RMB 5.9 billion in revenues and RMB 1.5 billion in net profits for 2010.

 

West Mining Co is a private company headquartered in Xining. It is engaged in the mining, smelting and trade of zinc, lead, copper and aluminum. It is China’s second-largest producer of lead concentrate. It posted RMB 18.51 billion in revenues and RMB 989.43 million in net profits for 2010. West Mining Co listed its A shares on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2007.

 

Xining Special Steel (Group) Co., Ltd. is the largest special steel enterprise in Northwest China with annual output of 400,000 tons. It produces steel bars and reinforced bars and machinery. It posted RMB 7.05 billion in revenues and RMB 233.12 million in net profits for 2010.

 

Qinghai Jinrui Mineral Development Co., Ltd. is principally engaged in the research, development, production, processing and sale of strontium products and castings. It was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in 1996 and has total assets worth over 1.3 billion as of 2012.

 

Xining New Energy Development Co., Ltd. is a high-tech and joint stocking enterprises and engages in solar energy power generation. It is the largest production base of household solar energy power generation system in China.

 

      Golmud 200 MW PV solar plant

 

Qinghai Supower Titanium Co., Ltd. is the only company in Qinghai which produces and processes titanium and titanium alloy. Located in XETDZ, the company employs about 200 people with an annual output of 8,000 tons of titanium. It was founded in 2008 and has a registered fund of RMB 240 million.

 

Qinghai Huanghe Hydropower Development Co. Ltd. is a comprehensive energy enterprise focused on the development and construction of power stations as well as the production and sale of silicon products and solar power generating equipment. It was established in 1999 under China Power Investment Corporation and now has total assets worth over 57 billion RMB.

 
 
 

Resources

Xining is rich in mineral resources. Its reserves of potassium, magnesium, lithium, iodine, natural sulfur, silica and asbestos rank the first in China.

 

Education

As a provincial capital, Xining is the center of education of the province. As of the end of 2012, the city had 9 colleges and universities with a total of 61,858 students. The major universities include Qinghai University, Qinghai Normal University, and Qinghai University for Nationalities.

 

Transportation

Xining's main station is the first stop on the Qinghai-Tibet train line. This line, completed in 2006, is the world’s highest railway. As a result, Xining has considerable tourism from travelers passing through on their way to Tibet, especially as this is considered the best place to start the journey in order to acclimate to the altitude. Xining is also the connecting point for trains heading the opposite way on the Lanzhou-Qinghai Railway.

 

The main station has almost been completed for the high-speed rail link to Lanzhou and Urumqi, with construction due to finish in August.

 

Xining Airport (IATA: XNN) is located about 30km east of downtown Xining. It has 13 airlines operating out of it heading to more than 20 domestic destinations and Hong Kong.

 

There are long distance buses out of Xining to about ten surrounding cities ranging from 4-20 hours away. These buses run on China National Highway 214 out of Xining.

 

Within the city there is a low-cost bus system (flat-rate 1 RMB) that runs until about 9 p.m., sometimes ending earlier in the winter.

 

Tourism

Xining is a popular tourist destination in the summer, especially as it is an important religious location with the Ta’er Monastery(one of six famous monasteries in the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism) and the Dongguan Mosque (one of the most famous mosques in the northwest region of China).

 

Tourism is also an important pillar in Xining. In 2012, it hosted 11.28 million tourists, with a tourist income of RMB 7.52 billion, up 33.9% year on year.

 

History and Culture

There are about 37 nationalities living in Xining, though only a few groups are numerically significant. According to the 2010 Census, Han Chinese make up 74.04 percent of the total population of Xining, while Hui (16.26 percent), Tibetan (5.51 percent) and Tu (2.6 percent) are the main minority groups in the city.

 

Xining has a history of over 2,100 years and was part of the Northern Silk Road. It was also significant as a western stronghold against foreign attacks in the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties.

 

Key Indicators on ASEAN-China Trade & Investment 2013

Key Indicators on ASEAN-China Trade & Investment 2013

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration. At present, China is the largest trading partner of ASEAN while ASEAN is China's third largest trading partner. From 2002 to 2012, China-ASEAN bilateral trade climbed 23.6 percent annually to its current 400 billion U.S. dollars. Mutual investment added up to over 100 billion dollars by the end 2012. Currently member countries and China are working to upgrade and deepend the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) that was established in 2010.

 

 

Key Indicators on ASEAN-China Relations (2013): Trade

 

Category

Contents

Ranking

Remarks

ASEAN-China Trade

443.6 billion USD

(ASEAN Importing 244.1 billion USD /Exporting 199.5 billion USD)

China is ASEAN's largest trade partner, and ASEAN is China's 3rd largest trade partner.

Increased by 10.9% from 2012

 China's Trade with Malaysia

 106.07 billion USD

(Malaysia Importing 45.93 billion USD /Exporting 60.14 billion USD)

 1st among ASEAN Member States

Increased by 11.9% from 2012
 China's Trade with Singapore

75.91 billion USD

(Singapore Importing 45.86 billion USD /Exporting 30.05 billion USD) 

2nd

 Increased by 9.6% from 2012
China's Trade with Thailand

71.26 billion USD

 (Thailand Importing 32.74 billion USD /Exporting 38.52 billion USD)

3rd

Increased by 2.2% from 2012

 China's Trade with Indonesia

 68.35 billion USD

(Indonesia Importing 36.93 billion USD /Exporting 31.42 billion USD)

 4th

Increased by 3.2% from 2012 
 China's Trade with Vietnam

 65.48 billion USD

(Vietnam Importing 48.59 billion USD /Exporting 16.89 billion USD)

 5th

Increased by 29.8% from 2012
China's Trade with the Philippines

38.07 billion USD

(the Philippines Importing 19.84 billion USD /Exporting 18.23 billion USD)

6th

Increased by 4.6% from 2012

Source: General Administration of Customs of China

 

Key Indicators on ASEAN-China Relations (2013): Investment

 

 ASEAN-China Investment Total: 14.09 billion USD

 

 ASEAN's Investment to China Total: 8.35 billion USD China's Investment to ASEAN Total: 5.74 billion USD 
Rank   Country  Investment    Rank  Country Investment
 1st among ASEAN Member States  Singapore  7.327 billion USD  1st among ASEAN Member States Singapore 2.4 billion USD
 2nd Thailand  480 million USD 2nd  Laos 800 million USD
 3rd  Malaysia  280 million USD  3rd  Indonesia  760 million USD

Source: Ministry of Commerce of China

 

Hanergy Solar Group

Hanergy Solar Group

Beijing based Hanergy is China`s largest, privately owned, producer of renewable energy. The group operates in the hydropower, wind power and the solar power fields, whilst it`s focus has now shifted towards the latter, the company has become the largest thin film solar panel producer in the world and has a presence in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. The company was recently featured in the MIT Technology Review’s “50 Smartest Companies of 2014” ranking, probably due to its almost 1000 patents, mostly related to photovoltaic innovation.

 

 

Currently Hanergy’s installed capacity for hydropower exceeds 6 GW, whilst the same figure for wind power stands at 131 MW according to the company’s reports. The company also has the world’s largest, privately built, power station, Jin’anqiao. Its Wind power plants are in Jiangsu and Ningxia provinces.

 

However, today, the core business and focus of the company is the development and production of photovoltaic panels. Hanergy has made striking progress in becoming a global leader in the field, considering it only started the development of its photovoltaic arm 5 years ago. Local media in Guangdong, province where Hanergy launched its solar panel operations, coined new term – “Hanergy speed”. The company claims its annual capacity for producing PV panels is now over 3 GW, which would translate to 4 billions kWh of electricity annually. The group has signed construction agreements for solar power plants with a 4 GW total capacity in Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Jiangsu, Hainan, Shandong, Hebei and other provinces, as well as in several European countries.

 

Hanergy focuses on thin film photovoltaic solar panels. Production line start-up costs are relatively high whilst efficiency is lower than traditional silicon panels, but the lower production costs and consistently improving transformation rate should increase thin film panels commercial attractiveness. Over supply in the solar industry forced numerous companies out of business, some of which were rescued by Hanergy Solar Group (HNS), in which Hanergy Group acquired a controlling stake in February this year.

 

Hanergy Group and Hanergy Solar Group have been aggressively expanding in both the domestic and international markets. It recently signed a partnership with IKEA, where it will furbish its retail stores with solar panels in the UK and China. Furthermore, by acquiring MiaSole and Global Solar Energy in the US and Solibro in Germany it has significantly strengthened its R&D capacity The latter has been working on improving conversion efficiency of Copper Indium Gallium and Selenium (CIGS) panels since the acquisition, with highest efficiency rate of patented panels being 15.5% conversion, while the latest lab tests are reaching 19.6% conversion: meaning about a fifth of sun’s radiation is being converted into electricity. Moreover, Hanergy has signed an agreement with Aston Martin Racing, and will explore possibilities of solar technology application in motorsports.

 

 

However, despite all positive news, Hanergy’s future plans seem to be both risky and reliant on Governmental patronage. The group’s investments into wind and solar farms are only 30% - 40% funded by the Hanergy itself, the rest of the capital usually coming from local governments. If Hanergy fulfills its expansion plans, it will have a solar panel production capacity of around 6.6 GW, while globally added capacity was just less than 40 GW last year, with a quarter of it coming from China. It believes that its markets success is dependent on it`s development and delivery to customers of its latest CIGS panels and considering Hanergy does not currently figure among the top sellers globally, all will indeed depend upon the volume of its CIGS panels shipped to end users.

 

China`s foreign aid budgets 2001-2013.

China`s foreign aid budgets 2001-2013.
This paper aims to estimate China’s net foreign aid from 2001 to 2013 as compared to net ODA figures which OECD DAC usually uses. First, a practical definition to capture China’s foreign aid activities as a proxy for China’s ODA was proposed. It consists of grants and interest-free loans (treated as grants), concessional loans as bilateral aid, and contributions to international development agencies as multilateral aid. Second, both net and gross disbursements of China’s foreign aid were estimated. The results showed that China’s net foreign aid has grown rapidly since 2004 and reached US$ 7.1 billion in 2013. The share of bilateral aid is much larger than that of multilateral aid. The difference between net and gross foreign aid is still small due to the fact that the repayment of concessional loans is still relatively limited.
 
 
Relevant points from the paper are:
 
  • Most Chinese aid is provided bilaterally. Only 15% is given as multilateral aid.
  • Concessional loans, provided by China Eximbank, now make up nearly half of the total aid.
  • There are more than 40 departments involved in some way.

The full paper is available here.

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