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Chinese Investment in Myanmar: a perspective.

Chinese Investment in Myanmar: a perspective.

Myanmar’s pushback against China, which is trying to widen its influence through the China Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), among other issues has been influenced by Pakistan’s experience in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Sri Lanka's Hambantota Port project. Myanmar’s all-powerful generals have drawn lessons from these experiences and highlighted reservations against the Chinese investment.

 

 

The CPEC model, which has led to Pakistan’s structural dependence on China, is now being felt in the CMEC, according to an opinion piece ‘Rescuing Myanmar From the Chinese Debt Trap’ recently published in Myanmar’s leading English media outlet The Irrawaddy.

 

 

In terms of geography, the Chinese have proposed that the CMEC (part of BRI) would start from China’s pivotal Yunnan province, which shares borders with Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. From Ruili city on the China-Myanmar border, the corridor would head towards Mandalay, Myanmar’s former royal capital on the banks of the Irrawaddy River in the northern part of the country. From there, it could extend towards the east and west to Yangon New City and the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone, in the western Rakhine province. During Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Myanmar in January, two agreements were signed - establishing the Kyaukphyu Deep Sea Port (KDSP) and setting up the Special Economic Zone (SEZ). By setting up the KDSP, the Chinese are hoping to lower their dependence on the Straits of Malacca, which is China’s main trade artery, linking the Indian and the Pacific oceans: an over-reliance on which leaves China vulnerable to geo-political outside factors.

 

 

The Kyaukphyu Deep Sea Port is also critical for China’s energy security. The port houses an oil and gas pipeline, supplying energy to Yunnan. It is estimated that under an elaborate plan, China is targeting a massive investment of around $100 billion in Myanmar’s economy—a figure is over and above $62 billion funding for CPEC. China has proposed 38 projects under CMEC but Myanmar so far has approved only nine (six are outlined below). Since last year Myanmar has decided that it will only implement the projects that will be mutually beneficial.

 

Looking back at the last three decades, Chinese investment in Myanmar reached its peak during the 2010-2011 fiscal years after President Thein Sein’s government took office. In the 2011-2012 fiscal years, Chinese investment began a rapid decline after the controversial $3.6 billion China-backed Myitsone hydropower project was suspended amid public outcry over the dam’s social and environmental impacts. Myanmar continues to suspend the construction of Myitsone Dam. The dam is one of seven hydropower projects planned for the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy River as well as the Mali and N’Mai rivers, at whose confluence the Irrawaddy begins.

 

 

It is certain that China will remain to be a decisive economic influence for Myanmar which is also a potentially crucial partner in its BRI and other economic plans. In terms of foreign investment figures, China is now Myanmar’s largest investor as well as biggest trade partner.

 

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Source: The Irriawaddy, The Economic Times.

China How To: Design a website for China

China How To: Design a website for China

Given the capital and time-intensive process of establishing a physical office in China, online channels are a popular option for international retailers and especially SME’s to reach Chinese     consumers. E-commerce platforms such as Tmall are a popular entry point for international consumer brands to test market demand, develop brand penetration and outsource operations, including online payment and customer delivery. Listing on a Chinese e-commerce platform offers   enormous market potential for overseas brands. Meanwhile, given that low barriers to entry (in comparison to offline retail) and growing competition, brand trust  and reputation are  becoming  increasingly more important than country of origin in determining long-term success. Chinese consumers pay a considerable amount of attention to product quality, safety and brand reputation.  As a result, new customers typically crosscheck and browse multiple touch points before buying a   product or service. Popular touch points include online forums, social media channels, online   question and answer platforms, family and friends, and of course the brands’ official website.

 

 

Having a company website optimized for China is a vital touch point to build trust and improve   online and offline conversions. As Chinese customers are thousands of miles away from your production facilities or offices, having a China-friendly website is one way to validate that your business is legitimate and to communicate your brands credentials. Remember it’s not uncommon for potential clients to want to visit your offices, simply to check you really exist and have a business licence.

 

 

What is a China-ready website?

 

A China-ready website is a dedicated online portal with localized content for Chinese consumers to access information about your business or brand. Your China website should ideally be a stand-alone   website with a China (.cn) domain name, integrated with  at least one Chinese social media account   and hosted on a China-based hosting server (or Hong Kong server is you don’t have a legal presence in China) for optimal performance. At China Web Designers, we can arrange the optimal set up to get your business or brand in front of your potential clients.

 

 Can I just add a few pages translated into Chinese to my current website?

 

This is an alternative option and works as a quick fix from a content perspective.  However you will run into a series of compatibility and design issues. Firstly, many foreign website use technology that is simply incompatible with China, namely the Google API.  Secondly, websites which are integrated with Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Fonts etc. will experience delayed load speed as these elements are inaccessible in China. This can have an adverse effect on the user experience and aesthetics of your website. Thirdly, your website load speed in China will be delayed if your website is hosted outside of China, and especially if hosted outside of Asia. Finally, website design fundamentals differ widely between western and Chinese websites: clean minimalistic design, is not the norm, Chinese users expect very detailed orientated websites, focusing on content. Take a look at what we did for London Designer Outlets as an example of this:  

 

 

Website platforms.

 

Popular international website building platforms such as Wordpress, Drupal, WooCommerce, are all accessible in China. However if you want to use a website builder such as WIX with integrated web hosting, you will run into trouble. These days, Wordpress and WooCommerce are the two best   international options to create an expandable China business or e-commerce site. Strikingly has a   strong emphasis on mobile design and offers the option of integrated China hosting. Wordpress can also be used as a website builder but hosted on a third-party web hosting platform in China.   Magento, Strikingly and Wordpress are our suggested platforms for building an e-commerce integrated website. However, for all of these you will need to ensure that you disable the Google API. English Heritage and SAM Labs China are a couple of examples of optimised Wordpress sites for China.

 

                             

 

Website design

 

Website design priorities are somewhat different when catering to a Chinese audience. Chinese   corporate websites tend to veer from minimalistic website design found in the West, and instead  focus on content-heavy designs, as well as vibrant colours with traditional significance and Flash  promotional banners. We at China Web Designers, generally try to find a middle ground, focusing on content but maintaining Western design principles. James Cropper Paper is a site we particularly like for this, also Brand Energies.

 

 

Chinese consumers tend to trust corporate websites based on the depth and authority of the content provided rather than on navigational and aesthetic design. As an international business your main focus should be building a website that    communicates your brand credentials and values to potential customers.  Important features to highlight via text, images and video include your business registration, compliance certificates, awards, government relationships, customer testimonies, strategic partners and memberships of industry-based organizations.

 

Translations

When translating content into Chinese characters it is important that you use a quality translation service to translate and localize your content. Machine translations are simply not good enough yet to provide fluid and colloquial/formal texts. 

 

Localising your website design and content for a Chinese audience may seem daunting and time-consuming, but it all adds up to a competitive edge over rival brands in China. As mentioned,     Chinese consumers are extremely street-smart  and detail orientated when it comes to brand and company research, skipping corners on your online presence can cost your company potential   business. In order to build trust and generate enquiries from your website, it pays to employ a professional service provider to assist with design, content editing, translations, social media integration and SEO optimization.

 

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By Saurav Bhattacharyya

Managing Director, China Web Designers.

contact@chinawebdesigners.com

3 Trees Group, an Olympic Sponsor

3 Trees Group, an Olympic Sponsor

Sankeshu Paint will serve as the official exclusive paint supplier of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Established in 2003 Sankeshu is part of the Three Trees Group.

 

 

Chairman and President of Three Trees Hong Jie, says his company's mission of “making homes healthier and cities more beautiful” connects with Beijing 2022’s concept of “delivering a green Olympic Winter Games”. Sankeshu becomes the seventh official exclusive supplier for Beijing 2022. We have a look at company below:

 

 

SKSHU Paint Co., Ltd. (“3TREES”) has been committed to building healthy homes by providing an integrated 6-in-1 one-stop system of green construction materials and services, encompassing interior and exterior wall coatings, waterproofing products, insulation materials, auxiliary materials, floor coatings and construction. 3TREES went public on the A-share Main Board of Shanghai Stock Exchange in 2016, being the first national paint company that issued stocks. The brand value was worth 23.985 billion yuan in 2019 and became a coating enterprise among the "Top 500 Private Enterprises in China". Headquartered in Putian, Fujian Province, has a center in Shanghai and has or is constructing 9 production bases in Sichuan, Henan, Tianjin, Anhui, Hebei, Guangdong, Hubei and other places, 3TREES is now an enterprise group with 20 wholly owned or controlling companies.

 

 

Company Snapshot for SKSHU Paint Co., Ltd.

  • EMPLOYEES (All Sites): 3,899
  • ASSETS (MIL USD): 807
  • REVENUE (MIL USD): 848.84
  • TICKER SYMBOL: 603737
  • FISCAL YEAR END: DEC
  • SALES GROWTH %: 66.64%
  • NET INCOME GROWTH: 82.55%
  • ADDRESS: 518 Liyuan North Avenue Licheng District Putian, 351100. China

 

 

Key Company personel

  • Jie Hong, Chairperson
  • Dedian Lin, Director
  • Guoqin Fang, Director
  • Lizhong Lin, Director

 

 

Its international website is found at https://www.3treespaint.com and China website at https://www.skshu.com.cn

As one of the top 30 paint manufacturing enterprises in the world, the company heavily promotes its  ecological culture, green brand and healthy products from a modern eco-friendly plant.

Who is funding the China Start Ups?

Who is funding the China Start Ups?

In 2019, 8 internet giants newly invested in over 400 startups in China and overseas. They have become more conservative about investing in B2C & startups since 2018. They eye on the next blue ocean market, i.e. B2B business.

 



Baidu - invested mainly on enterprise services, and medical & health
Alibaba - invested mainly on enterprise services, finance, IT, and media & entertainment
Tencent - invested mainly on enterprise services, finance, transport, and media & entertainment
Xiaomi - IT, and lifestyle services

 

The very detailed full reprort is avaialble from the Fung Business Intelligence website here:  https://lnkd.in/grkRuy9

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai set to produc...

Tesla Gigafactory Shanghai set to produce 100,000 units in 2020.

It appears that Tesla’s expansion into the Chinese EV market is maintaining its momentum, with data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CPCA) revealing that the American electric car maker has sold 11,041 vehicles last month. Such numbers allowed Tesla to become China’s leading electric car maker in July 2020.

 

 

Local reports indicate that the majority of Tesla’s July sales in China were comprised of Made-in-China Model 3, which were produced at Gigafactory Shanghai. This is quite encouraging, as it shows that the locally-produced all-electric sedan is starting to get embraced by the mainstream market. If Tesla could maintain this pace, the company could be a familiar sight in the local market even before it ramps the Made-in-China Model Y, a vehicle that would likely outsell the Model 3.

 

 

Tesla has so far exhibited strength in China this year, with its vehicle sales maintaining a healthy level despite the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Reports also indicate that the production of the Model 3 in Gigafactory Shanghai continues to get optimized, with speculations pointing to a production rate of more than 4,000 vehicles per week. This milestone was reportedly achieved by the facility’s Phase 1 zone with only two working shifts.

 

 

As China pushes for electrification, industry watcher and researcher @DKurac noted that the country’s New Energy Vehicle sales estimate for the year remains unchanged at about 1.1 million units for 2020, a 10% decline year-over-year. Yet interestingly enough, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) has also noted that Tesla sales for 2020 are estimated at about 100,000 vehicles. Such a feat would be impressive for Tesla, especially since consumer deliveries for the Model 3 only started this January.

 

 

Tesla’s push into the Chinese EV market is now hitting its stride, and this is represented by the rapid buildout of the Model Y factory in the Phase 2 area of the Gigafactory Shanghai complex. Over the past months, workers have been pushing to complete the new facility as quickly as possible, and so far, great progress has been made. Recent drone flyovers of the Gigafactory Shanghai complex show that the Model Y factory’s exterior is all but completed, and work is now focused on equipping the facility with production equipment.

 

 

If Tesla continues this pace, it would not be surprising to see the Made-in-China Model Y entering trial production later this year. This could pave the way for a serious production ramp of the all-electric crossover by the first quarter of next year, allowing Tesla to extend its reach into the country even further. The Model Y is a crossover, after all, and it competes in the highly-lucrative and popular crossover market.

 

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By Simon Alvares for Teslarati

Tianwen-1 launches for Mars.

Tianwen-1 launches for Mars.

China’s Tianwen-1 Mars mission launched successfully Thursday, initiating a phase of deep space and interplanetary exploration. A Long March 5 rocket launched the Tianwen-1 orbiter and rover from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center at 12:41 a.m. Eastern. Successful Trans-Mars injection was confirmed around 40 minutes later by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.

The flight path took the Long March 5 over the Philippines and close to the capital Manila. Spent stages were planned to drop into the surrounding seas. China’s Yuanwang-class tracking ships assisted launch operations, along with support from the European Space Agency’s ESTRACK facilities. First acquisition of the spacecraft as it separated from its Long March 5 launcher was expected to be made by the 15-meter antenna in Kourou, French Guiana. The roughly five metric ton wet mass spacecraft is now on a seven-month journey to the Red Planet. 

 

 

“The Tianwen-1 mission is a major landmark project in the process of building China’s aerospace power , and a milestone project for China’s aerospace to go further and deeper into space,” mission deputy commander Wu Yansheng said in a CASC statement.

Tianwen-1 is due to arrive at Mars in February 2021, entering a highly elliptical orbit. The spacecraft will then move to a near-polar orbit with a periapsis of 265 kilometers for 2-3 months before the rover landing attempt. The orbiter and rover together carry 13 science payloads for a range of detections of the Martian atmosphere, magnetosphere, surface, subsurface and climate.Tianwen-1 is China’s first independent interplanetary mission. Missions to near-Earth objects, a Mars sample return, possible Voyager-like probes and a Jupiter system orbiter are planned for the decade ahead. 

 

 

Delayed landing attempt

The delay will allow the orbiter to survey the candidate landing sites with its cameras and provide the lander with the data required to make its landing attempt. China has selected a portion of Utopia Planitia, south of Viking 2, as the landing area for the 240-kilogram rover. The selection was made based on science goals and engineering constraints, which include low elevation to provide more atmosphere and time to slow the lander’s descent as well as the solar power needs of the rover. The landing ellipsis will be 100 by 20 kilometres.

The early part of the lander’s entry and descent will be aided by aeroshell and parachute know-how from the Shenzhou human spaceflight missions. A blunt-body aeroshell will help slow the speed of the entry vehicle from around 4.8 kilometers per second to 460 meters per second over the course of 290 seconds. A disk-band-gap supersonic parachute will then further slow the craft to a speed of 95 meters per second over the next minute and a half. Retropropulsion systems from China’s lunar landers will then do the rest of the work. Technologies proven on the Chang’e-3 and -4 missions China sent to the moon in 2013 and 2019, respectively, will provide altimetry and hazard avoidance.

 

 

Tianwen-1 Science goals

The orbiter carries seven science payloads including medium- and high-resolution cameras, the latter comparable to HiRise on NASA’s 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. It also carries a magnetometer, a sounding radar and instruments for atmospheric and ionosphere detections. The orbiter, which will also perform a relay function, is designed to operate for one Mars year, or 687 Earth days.

The rover, designed to last 90 Mars days, carries six instruments, including a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy experiment similar to that carried by NASA’s Curiosity rover for detecting surface elements, minerals and rock types. As well as topography and multispectral imagers, the vehicle has payloads related to climate and magnetic field detections. The rover also carries a ground-penetrating radar. Elena Pettinelli of Roma Tre University, Italy, who was involved in the ground-penetrating radar experiments on the Chang’e-3 and -4 rovers, says the instruments on orbiter and rover could potentially provide a lot of new information.

 

 

Into deep space

Tianwen-1 is designated as the first in a new series of interplanetary and deep space exploration. The missions build upon on China’s Chang’e lunar exploration exploits and plans. Next is the tentatively named ZhengHe mission, which aims to collect samples from near-Earth asteroid 2016HO3/469219 Kamo’oalewa and return these to Earth before heading to main belt comet 133P/Elst-Pizarro. The mission profile requires launch to take place in 2022.

A mission featuring two “Interstellar Heliosphere Probes” is also being pushed. Two launches would use a Jupiter assist to follow up on the discoveries of the Voyagers. In addition, concepts for missions to Jupiter are being studied for launch in 2030, which could complement the studies of the Jovian system by NASA’s Europa Clipper and ESA’s JUICE missions.

 

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Source: By Andrew Jones for Sapce News

Chinese Banks: growing globally.

Chinese Banks: growing globally.

Chinese banks are already huge. Their total assets now surpass those of American and European banks. They are also providing more cross-border credit, the bread and butter of international banks. The sum they lend overseas has grown by 11% a year since 2016. More surprising to outsiders, they are gaining clout in the sophisticated universe of capital markets, too. Last year Chinese banks earned three times more investment-banking fees than all Asian rivals combined (excluding Japan).

 

 

Chinese banks have long been absorbed by their home market, where they have a 98% share, however in recent years Banks have followed their corporate clients, themselves inclined to grow beyond their saturated home market. They finance trade, take local deposits from local subsidiaries and serve their mundane needs, like cash management or foreign exchange.

 

 

They also fund Chinese-built infrastructure in emerging markets. Thanks to huge balance-sheets and inside knowledge of contractors’ history, they often outcompete foreign peers. The Big Four (Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China Construction Bank and Agricultural Bank of China) now have a total of 618 branches outside the mainland. Foreign assets account for 9% of their books. Their footprint differs from that of Western peers: Chinese banks supply two-thirds of all cross-border lending within emerging markets. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a huge catalyst for them. Chinese banks have lent nearly $600bn to 820 official BRI projects since 2013, reckons RWR, a consultancy. Unofficial sums are probably bigger.

 

 

Last year regulators cleared the way for full foreign takeovers of local banks. They then allowed outsiders to control wealth-management firms, pension-fund managers and brokers. In April foreign-ownership caps were also removed on securities firms. The world’s A-team of money managers is teaming up with locals or seeding subsidiaries in the hope of grabbing a slice of China’s $45trn financial-services market.

 

 

 

 

Banks of Mainland China

Policy Banks:

Agricultural Development Bank of China

中国农业发展银行

 

China Development Bank

国家开发银行

 

Exim Bank of China

中国进出口银行

 

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank*     亚洲基础设施投资银行

*Not strictly a  Chinese bank it is multilateral development bank that aims to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia. The bank currently has 103 members and is headquartered in Beijing.

 

 

State Owned Commercial Banks:

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China  

ICBC

中国工商银行

   

China Construction Bank  

CCB

中国建设银行

   

Bank of China

BOC

中国银行

   

Agricultural Bank of China  

ABC

中国农业银行

   

Bank of Communications

BoCom

交通银行

 

 

Postal Savings Bank of China

PSBC

中国邮政储蓄银行

   

 

 

Commercial Banks:

China Merchants Bank

招商银行

 

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank

上海浦东发展银行

 

Industrial Bank

兴业银行

 

China CITIC Bank

中信银行

 

China Minsheng Bank

中国民生银行

 

China Everbright Bank

中国光大银行

 

Ping An Bank

平安银行

 

Huaxia Bank

华夏银行

 

China Guangfa Bank

广发银行

 

China Zheshang Bank

浙商银行

 

China Bohai Bank

渤海银行

 

Hengfeng Bank / Evergrowing Bank

恒丰银行

 

 

 

Internet & Private Banks:

WeBank (Shenzhen) - The first private bank and Internet bank in China, initiated by Tencent.

MYbank (Hangzhou) - Internet bank in China, established by ANT Financial Services Group.

Shanghai Huarui Bank

Wenzhou Minshang Bank

Liaoning Zhenxing Bank

 

 

China’s Relations with Saudi Arabia:...

China’s Relations with Saudi Arabia: Economic & Strategic

Saudi Arabia did not recognise the PRC in 1949 and maintained diplomatic and trade relations with Taiwan (Republic of China [ROC]). Relations started to improve during the 1980s due to economic reforms in China which emphasised the modernisation and industrialisation of China and required China to look for new sources of energy, turning its attention to the Persian Gulf including Saudi Arabia. Diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and China were established in July 1990 and within the next decades grew into a strategic friendship in 2008 and a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016.

 

 

Economic & Political Ties

China sees Saudi Arabia as the largest economy in the Arab world which is a reliable large-volume oil supplier since its position is stable and not subject to international isolation and sanctions like Iran. Saudi Arabia is perceived as a reliable political partner now supporting the One China policy. China also values Saudi political support for the Chinese fight against East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) terrorism in Xinjiang due to the Saudi religious legitimacy among the global Muslim community. Changes in mutual perception have been intensified by increased cultural cooperation since the 1990s. These include tourism, student exchanges, and cultural cooperation within the BRI framework such as the people-to-people exchanges within the Saudi–Chinese Youth Forum. Political and diplomatic relations intensified after 9/11, when both countries joined the US war on terror, and after the “Arab Spring” which both China and Saudi Arabia opposed on principle, with Saudi Arabia fearing instability in the Gulf and China fearing the rise of Muslim extremism in Xinjiang province.

 

 

Trade

Saudi Arabia exports mostly oil and natural gas, petrochemicals, raw materials, and minerals to China. The latest report published by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics in February 2019 indicates that China is the top country for non-oil exports for Saudi Arabia as well as the top partner country for Saudi imports.  As a part of the BRI, Saudi companies are also investing in the north-western Hui Muslim provinces in China. China’s exports to Saudi Arabia focus mostly on machinery, infrastructure, construction industry, information technology, car industry, banking, telecommunication, and health services. In 2015, there were 158 Chinese companies established in the Saudi market and about 20,000 Chinese expats living in Saudi Arabia.

 

 

Chinese investments in Saudi Arabia as a part of the BRI include construction projects, infrastructure building, investments in joint research, and training facilities in telecommunications. The most significant projects implemented by Chinese companies in Saudi Arabia included the agreement concluded in 2009 to construct the Mecca Light Metro (MLM) by the China Railroad Construction Company. The MLM was put into operation in only sixteen months, providing a significant ease of transport for millions of Muslims joining the 2011 hajj. The project became a major success in the Muslim world and its cultural contribution to Sino–Saudi cooperation thus clearly exceeded its economic value.

 

 

Oil plays a special role in Sino–Saudi mutual relations. In March 2019, the Saudi oil exports to China surpassed those of Russia (since in 2014 it has supplied 16 per cent of China’s oil imports). China pays special attention to the comprehensive strategic development of its Saudi energy relations, focusing on Chinese investments in refineries in Saudi Arabia, Saudi investments in oil facilities in China, and Chinese participation in geological surveys in Saudi Arabia. Cooperation and joint investments between the Chinese state-owned Sinopec company and the Saudi oil company Aramco include joint exploration of natural gas in Section B in the Rub Alkhali Basin since 2004. Chinese investments in Saudi Arabia include development of the Ghawar oil field and the Yanbu joint refinery project of Aramco and Sinopec at the Red Sea launched in 2012. This project is of special importance for China given the regional instability in the Gulf as it enables it to export oil from Saudi Arabia’s west coast, without having to pass through the contested Strait of Hormuz, thus avoiding the local tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

 

 

Energy cooperation also includes Chinese assistance to the Saudi nuclear programme. China should help Saudis to build nuclear reactors based on the Sino–Saudi agreement from 2016: the first should be functioning by 2022 and fifteen more by 2032. Although their purpose is officially peaceful with the aim to provide an alternative source of energy to oil, they also have political importance in hedging against the Iranian nuclear programme.

 

 

China’s Persian Gulf Economic Diplomacy

Although China seeks to hedge its economic bets in the Persian Gulf, it is becoming much more difficult for China to balance its relationship with Iran and its partnership with Saudi Arabia. It is clear that Iran and Saudi Arabia are both competing for Chinese support in their regional aims. Trade data published by the World Bank and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development show that in 2017 total Chinese exports to Iran and Saudi Arabia were almost at the same level, USD 18.58 billion and USD 18.38 billion, respectively. Although imports from Saudi Arabia were higher than those from Iran, USD 31.76 billion versus USD 18.55 billion respectively (WITS, 2019a) In terms of oil, Saudi Arabia is the more significant supplier since in 2014 it supplied 16 per cent of China’s oil imports compared to Iran’s 9 per cent (EIA, 2015), which accounts for much of the higher level of Chinese imports from Saudi Arabia.

 

 

Outlook

China has every reason to hedge its bets in case its oil imports from one supplier or the other are impeded. Such an eventuality could easily arise from further intensification of the mid-2019 tensions in the Strait of Hormuz, which included several seizures by Iran of foreign oil tankers. The September 2019 drone attacks which cut Saudi oil output by half and temporarily reduced the global oil supply by 5 per cent thus demonstrate the need for China to ensure diversification in its suppliers and to maintain good relations with Iran as well as Saudi Arabia. Hence China is forced to continue with its strategic hedging policy in the Persian Gulf as it strives to implement the regional connectivity and national economic security goals of the BRI. By seeking to acquire more influence with Iran and Saudi Arabia and build up its economic interests in the Persian Gulf, China is steadily eroding US regional hegemony. Of crucial importance are the implementation of the BRI and the attainment of China’s comprehensive national security goals, including continued levels of energy imports from Iran and Saudi Arabia.

 

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Source: This article was originally part of a longer article from the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs: China’s “Belt and Road” Economic Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf: Strategic Hedging amidst Saudi–Iranian Regional Rivalry

How the internet is changing rural China...

How the internet is changing rural China.

The development of the internet as an information super-highway can be compared to the impact of road building in past times. National road networks allowed people to travel to see friends, do business and receive supplies. They were accessible to all who could reach them, if in different ways. Today, they offer a form of conspicuous consumption, where those fortunate to have a luxury automobile can whisk along in style, yet the humble ox cart, the bicycle and even walkers could make use of those roads.

 

 

In a similar way, the internet, with ever-faster speeds, can be used by those sporting the latest, lightest laptop and 5G folding tablets as well as by those with a basic smartphone or access to a computer in a library. What matters is that the infrastructure exists to bring internet connectivity to all parts of the country. Thus, people living in poor and remote parts of the country have access to markets, to a means of earning a living and to goods and services. Advanced technology companies have been crucial in interacting with the internet, providing previously unavailable opportunities through their e-commerce platforms and distribution networks.

 

 

These technology opportunities include potential drone deliveries and 3D printing of items. Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in China, has seen rural e-commerce develop rapidly in recent years, as exemplified by the sharp increase in the number of "Taobao Villages", mostly concentrated in moderately developed provinces with a track record of high levels of private entrepreneurship.

 

 

Increasingly, e-commerce is paying greater attention to rural areas. This is a strong model as income generated from activities in rural areas, with products shipped to urban areas, in turn enables access to goods that were previously beyond local incomes or difficult to obtain. As an example, the Chinese online food delivery and ticketing service provider Meituan Dianping has leveraged its platform to work with local governments, farmers, produce suppliers and restaurants to buy highland barley from the Tibetan Plateau and then turn it into food that gets promoted online. The internet has started to level up not just earning opportunities and access to goods, but also access to education, training and healthcare online. Rural and lower income urban areas have struggled for easy access to schools and medical clinics, but online courses are increasingly available and medical information and consultations can be provided virtually.

 

 

The online rural population in 2019 was estimated at 225 million, representing over 25 percent of all netizens in China. Over 700 million people in China enjoy watching livestreams or short videos on apps like TikTok, with a rising number tuning in to watch people living rustic and culturally fascinating lives in China's lower-tier towns and cities. Some rural participants have become online stars, livestreaming stories and videos as well as even comfortably selling rural produce online, a practice known as "daihuo" or "sneaking goods", one supported by the additional infrastructure of regional distribution centers and delivery services. Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region is a good example of using e-commerce to boost the local economy, with farmers introducing their cotton, walnut and rice products to the rest of China.

 

 

The Chinese government is continuing to play a key role. President Xi has formally encouraged online services to have an increasing impact on reducing poverty and unequal access. "Broadband China" and "Internet Plus" are initiatives launched by the authorities in recent years. The role out of the 5G network is the latest opportunity for strong and reliable connectivity.

 

 

There are further plans, released jointly by the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission, to extend the role of the internet and big data in poverty reduction. Twenty-one major tasks have been identified, including the expansion of internet access, piloting more e-commerce projects in rural areas, expanding internet-based healthcare and even encouraging more internet companies to take part directly in poverty alleviation efforts. The government has instructed local officials to construct numerous signal towers and lay miles of fiber-optic cables in an effort to ensure 99 percent of rural areas have internet access by the end of 2020.

 

 

As of October 2019, more than 98 percent of China's administrative villages had been connected with fiber-optic networks and 4G networks, and 99 percent of the impoverished villages had been linked with broadband internet services. The internet has clearly not only boosted the sales of agricultural products, but also profoundly changed the lives of poor people.

 

 

To provide quality online education to children, in 2018, the Chinese government announced a boost to internet speeds in all rural schools. As an example, there are more than a thousand rural schools in Gansu province that have less than five enrolled students. Thanks to high-bandwidth internet technology, almost all classrooms in remote parts of China's countryside are now connected and accessing supplementary learning.

 

 

The internet is not just directly reducing rural poverty. It is also helping to create jobs for hundreds of thousands across China by enabling the growth of mega businesses like Alibaba and Tencent. In addition, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) estimates that 5G will create more than 8 million jobs by 2030. Thus, the whole economy is boosted, making it possible to devote extra resources to rural development. This trend will continue.

 

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Source: Colin Speakman, economist and an international educator with CAPA

China How To: Accounting.

China How To: Accounting.

Accounting Standards

The accountancy standards for companies were put into effect by the Ministry of Finances (MOF). China established its first complete standards specific to accountancy in 1997 and the MOF promulgated an additional 13 standards more specific to accountancy since then.

Chinese Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises (ASBEs) are mandatory for listed Chinese enterprises. Other Chinese enterprises are encouraged to apply the ASBEs, which are substantially in line with IFRS, except for certain modifications that reflect China’s circumstances and environment. China is committed to converge with IFRS.

 

Foreign Invested Enterprises (FIE) may prepare financial statements in accordance with other accounting standards or in other languages for global consolidation purposes. However, the Chinese authorities will only recognise and accept accounts in Chinese that are prepared based on Chinese accounting standards.


 

Accounting Regulation Bodies

Ministry of Finance
CASC
CICPA

 

Accounting Reports

Audit reports normally contain a paragraph defining the 'task' or 'scope' and a paragraph of opinion. The paragraph of opinion aims to establish if the accounts were prepared according to the appropriate rules/regulations and any reservations in opinion must be elaborated above.

Statements of financial accounts or reports should comprise a balance sheet, profit and loss accounts, a report of gross self-financing margin, notes on the accounts and an account for appropriation of profits and losses.

For more information consult the website of China Accounting operating under the Ministry of Finance.

 

Publication Requirements

Annual publication

 

Professional Accountancy Bodies

CICPA , Chinese Institute of Chartered Accountants website

 

Certification and Auditing

Chinese law requires representative offices and foreign-invested enterprises to utilise the services of accountants registered in China to prepare official submissions of annual financial statements and other specified financial documents. Only Chinese accountants and joint venture accounting firms may provide these services. Companies must seek a statutory auditor to conduct an annual audit of the financial health of their organisation. To find an auditor, contact the National Audit Office of China (CNAO).

 

 

What is the Ice Silk Road? The China...

What is the Ice Silk Road? The China perspective

Russia and China are becoming closer strategic partners, and the Arctic is gradually becoming an area where the two sides can potentially carry out their long-term cooperation. In 2017 Chinese and Russian leaders jointly proposed the "Ice Silk Road (ISR)," with an aim to promote cooperation and development in the Arctic within the context of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

 

China considers the Arctic a shorter and safer route connecting the Chinese mainland with Europe, it’s white paper on its Arctic policy states that the BRI should provide opportunities for parties interested in creating the Arctic Silk Road, sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic.

 

The ISR is an open initiative that abandons classical geopolitical thinking and advocates cooperation and a Chinese win-win perspective. Against the backdrop of geopolitical conflicts in the Arctic and bottlenecks in regional governance and cooperation, the ISR and the cooperation of countries under this framework are the highlight of current Arctic cooperation and represent a new direction for future Arctic governance and cooperation.

 

 

China's Policies and Positions on Participating in Arctic Affairs

1. Deepening the exploration and understanding of the Arctic

2. Protecting the eco-environment of the Arctic and addressing climate chang

3. Utilizing Arctic Resources in a Lawful and Rational Manner

4. Participating Actively in Arctic governance and international cooperation

5. Promoting peace and stability in the Arctic Conclusion

 

 

The Chinese vision of the Ice Silk Road involves the development of scientific, trade and economic cooperation with all Arctic countries in different directions. However, while developing cooperation with various Arctic countries on joint research and development of the Arctic, China is giving priority to Russia. In the foreseeable future, the main stimulus for the development of the "Ice Road" in this part of the Arctic will be economic projects in the North of Russia. The main regional project, whose fate is closely connected with the development of the ISR, is the development of the fuel and energy wealth of the Yamal Peninsula.

 

 

Ice Silk Road (ISR) projects include:

 

China-Russia Yamal LNG

Partners: China, Russia, France

Status: Production commenced December 2017

 

The world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, this is China and Russia's first joint Ice Silk Road (ISR) venture. Partners in the project include Russia's Novatek, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), French firm Total, and China's Silk Road Fund. Together, CNPC and the Silk Road Fund hold a 30-percent stake.

 

 

Payakha oilfield

Partners: China, Russia

Status: Deal signed

 

In June 2019, the China National Chemical Engineering Group and Russian firm Neftegazholding signed a deal on developing the Payakha oilfield, promising investment of USD5 billion over four years.

 

This is Russia and China's second Ice Silk Road (ISR) energy project after Yamal. Payakha lies on the Taymyr peninsula in the region of Krasnoyarsk. According to reports, the project includes the construction of six crude oil processing facilities, a crude oil port capable of handling 50 million tonnes a year, 410 kilometres of pressurized oil pipelines, a 750-megawatt power station and an oil storage facility.

 

 

Zarubino port

Partners: China, Russia

Status: Deal signed, progressing

 

Located just southwest of Vladivostok and close to the Chinese border, the port of Zarubino is ice free year-round. In 2014, the government of Jilin province, the China Merchants Group and Russia's largest port operator signed a framework deal to develop Zarubino into the biggest port in northeast Asia over 18 years, with capacity to handle 60 million tonnes of goods a year. Railways linking the port with inland regions of China will also be built.

 

In September 2018, as the first stage of this project, a shipping route started running from Hunchun on the Tumen river in Jilin to Zarubino and then on to Zhoushan in Zhejiang province. The new Zarubino port will strengthen links between northeast China and the rest of the world, and aid development in Russia's far east. It will also be a key link on the northeast passage trade route to Europe.

 

 

Arkhangelsk deepwater port

Partners: China, Russia

Status: Planning

 

Arkhangelsk is the largest city on Russia's northern coast, situated on the country's European side close to Finland. The new deepwater port has been planned for over a decade. It will be located 55 kilometres from Arkhangelsk on the island of Mud'yug, which lies in the Dvina river delta close to existing port infrastructure. Linking up with Russia's railway network, the port will help develop a combined sea-land transportation system, and improve links to Siberia.

 

The local government predicts the new port and associated railways will create 40,000 jobs in the region. According to one expert, the China Poly Group signed an agreement of intent in 2016, earmarking investment of 550 million yuan (USD79 million). The China Ocean Shipping Company has also made its interest in the project clear.

 

 

China-Finland Arctic Monitoring and Research Centre

Partners: China, Finland

Status: Deal signed

 

In April 2018, China's Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth signed an agreement with Finland’s Arctic Space Centre to establish a new monitoring and research centre for the polar region. The facility, based in northern Finland's Sodankylä, will collect, process and share satellite data, providing an open international platform to support climate research, environmental monitoring and Arctic navigation.

 

The centre will contribute to China's "Digital Silk Road" plan, which aims to create a spatial information system for regions covered by the BRI. It will also promote the Chinese Academy of Sciences' "Global Three Poles Environment" project, which aims to better understand global climate change.

 

The project was inaugurated in October 2018.

 

 

China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory

Partners: China, Iceland

Status: Operating since late 2018

 

In October 2018, the China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory was officially opened in the city of Karholl in northern Iceland.

 

Set up to monitor climate and environmental change in the Arctic, the observatory is managed by the Polar Research Institute of China and Iceland's Institute of Research Centres. It can accommodate 15 people and will also be open to researchers from third countries.

 

The partnership started in 2012 when the two governments signed a deal on Arctic cooperation. That year also saw a memorandum of understanding signed between organisations from the two countries on a joint aurora observatory. Plans were expanded in 2017, with work at the observatory now covering the atmosphere, the oceans, glaciers, geophysics, remote sensing and biology.

Chinese shipping firms handle LNG cargos bound for China. In July 2018, seven months after operations started, the first shipment of LNG from Yamal arrived in Jiangsu province's Nantong. A second phase of the project is now being constructed on the Gydan peninsula, to the east of Yamal, and due to begin operating in 2023.

 

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Source; Xinhua Silk Road Information Service

AliExpress coming to a mobile near ...

AliExpress coming to a mobile near you

AliExpress is Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce platform, which facilitates trade and brings sellers and buyers together. AliExpress does not sell directly, but provides a platform for safe transactions between sellers and buyers. AliExpress was founded in 2010, and is today one of the top cross-border B2C platforms. Alibaba’s mission is to make it easy to do business anywhere. AliExpress not just serves consumers from all over the world (it is currently available in: Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, Hebrew, Polish) but also enables small and medium-sized businesses to grow locally and globally.

 

 

AliExpress is available to ship in more than 200 countries and regions, and recently launched their selling program to include overseas sellers, limited to some countries: from Italy, Spain, Russia and Turkey.  AliExpress was previously only open for Chinese sellers accessing international consumers. Now, they are exploring a change to their business model by opening its marketplace to non-Chinese sellers, which means they will be better positioned to compete against Amazon and leverage AliExpress as a platform to sell their products.

 

 

Leveraging Alibaba Group’s technology and expertise in commerce, AliExpress has built infrastructure to provide the best experience for consumers and sellers, including four key components – a well-established platform, localized payment options, an efficient logistics network through local partnerships and a money back guarantee if the item you received is not as described, or if the item is not delivered within the Buyer Protection period.

 

 

AliExpress have been offering a livestreaming service for more than 1 year, and the penetration keeps increasing. They have quite a few merchants who have enjoyed a better result via livestreaming. In China this has been growing year on year, and is now estimated to account for about 9 percent of total e-commerce sales in China. Brands use livestreaming, broadcasting in real-time, as a tool to promote products and engage better with their potential customers.

 

 

They have also launched a brand new platform called AliExpress Connect, which is designed to create opportunity for both brands and influencers: as the world moves increasingly toward online shopping. It offers new income sources and job opportunities for influencers and content creators, helping them to scale and digitalize their business. While for brands, it opens up the opportunity to attract new customers. Anybody interested in joining the program, you could email to the following: aesocial@aliexpress.com or go directly to: https://connect.aliexpress.com/

 

 

Whilst their website is not as user friendly as Amazon’s they are positioning themselves to better positioned in developing e-commerce markets to compete against Amazon.

The Belt and Road Initiative Progress...

The Belt and Road Initiative Progress 2019

Since 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative, with policy coordination, connectivity of infrastructure, unimpeded trade, financial integration and closer people-to-people ties as its main goals, has advanced in solid steps. Significant progress has been made, including a number of landmark early results. Participating countries have obtained tangible benefits, and their appreciation of and participation in the initiative is growing.

 

 

1. Policy coordination

Policy coordination is an important guarantee for this initiative, and an essential precondition for joint actions. Over the past five years or so, China has engaged in thorough communication and coordination with participating countries and international organizations, and reached a broad consensus on international cooperation for building the Belt and Road.

 

 

1) The Belt and Road Initiative has been incorporated into important documents of international organizations. The initiative and its core concepts have been written into documents from the United Nations, G20, APEC and other international and regional organizations. In July 2015, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization issued the "Ufa Declaration of the Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization", showing support for the Silk Road Economic Belt initiative. In September 2016, the "G20 Leaders' Communiqué" adopted at the G20 Hangzhou Summit endorsed an initiative to establish the Global Infrastructure Connectivity Alliance. In November 2016, the 193 UN member states adopted by consensus a resolution, welcoming the Belt and Road Initiative and other economic cooperation initiatives and urging the international community to ensure a secure environment for these initiatives. In March 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2344, calling on the international community to strengthen regional economic cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative and other development initiatives, while for the first time enshrining the concept of "a community of shared future for mankind". In January 2018, the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was held in Santiago and adopted the "Special Declaration on the Belt and Road Initiative". In July the same year, the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) was convened in Beijing, which adopted the "Declaration of Action on China-Arab States Belt and Road Cooperation". In September the FOCAC Beijing Summit adopted the "Beijing Declaration - Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future" and the "Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021)".

 

 

2) More and more countries and international organizations have signed intergovernmental cooperation agreements on the Belt and Road Initiative. In the B&R framework, all participating countries and international organizations, based on the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences, have exchanged views on economic development plans and policies and discussed and agreed economic cooperation plans and measures. By the end of March 2019, the Chinese government had signed 173 cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organizations. The Belt and Road has expanded from Asia and Europe to include more new participants in Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific.

 

 

3) Coordination and cooperation in specific fields of the Belt and Road Initiative have progressed steadily. The Digital Silk Road has become an important part of the Belt and Road Initiative. China has launched the "Belt and Road Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative" with Egypt, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. It has signed cooperation agreements with 16 countries to strengthen the construction of the Digital Silk Road. China issued the "Action Plan on Belt and Road Standard Connectivity (2018-2020)". It has signed 85 standardization cooperation agreements with 49 countries and regions. The long-term mechanism for tax cooperation between B&R countries is maturing. China co-organized the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Cooperation Conference (BRITCC) in May 2018, which published the "Astana Proposal by BRITCC Participating Jurisdictions for Enhancing Cooperation in Tax Matters", signaling that the cooperation network has expanded to 111 countries and regions. China and 49 B&R countries published the "Joint Statement on Pragmatic Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property Among Countries Along the Belt and Road" in August 2018. In July 2018 China hosted the Forum on the Belt and Road Legal Cooperation, which published the "Statement of the Co-Chairs of the Forum on the Belt and Road Legal Cooperation". In October 2018 China hosted the Belt and Road Energy Ministerial Conference and 18 countries jointly announced building the B&R energy partnership. In addition, China published the "Vision and Action on Jointly Promoting Agricultural Cooperation on the Belt and Road" in May 2017 and the "Vision for Maritime Cooperation Under the Belt and Road Initiative" in June the same year. China has been a strong proponent of the establishment of international commercial courts and a "one-stop" diversified resolution mechanism for international commercial disputes.

 

 

2. Infrastructure connectivity

Infrastructure connectivity is high on the B&R agenda. While committed to respecting the sovereignty and security concerns of all relevant countries, B&R countries have made concerted efforts to build an all-round, multi-level, and composite infrastructure framework centered on railways, roads, shipping, aviation, pipelines, and integrated space information networks. This framework is taking shape rapidly. It has greatly reduced the transaction costs of products, capital, information, and technologies flowing between regions, and effectively promoted the orderly flow and optimal allocation of resources among different regions. Thus it will help achieve mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.

 

 

1) Significant progress has been made in the construction of international economic cooperation corridors and passageways. The six major corridors for international economic cooperation - the New Eurasian Land Bridge, and the China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Central Asia-West Asia, China-Indochina Peninsula, China-Pakistan, and Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridors - connect the Asian economic circle with the European economic circle. They have played an important role in establishing and strengthening connectivity partnerships between participating countries and building an efficient and smooth Eurasian market.

 

 

- New Eurasian Land Bridge. Over the past five years or so, regional cooperation through the New Eurasian Land Bridge has widened, enhancing partnerships featuring openness, inclusiveness, and mutual benefits to a higher level and driving forward economic and trade exchanges between Asia and Europe. The "Budapest Guidelines for Cooperation Between China and Central and Eastern European Countries" and the "Sofia Guidelines for Cooperation Between China and Central and Eastern European Countries" have been published, showing that steady progress is being made in pragmatic cooperation in the frameworks of the China-EU Connectivity Platform and the Investment Plan for Europe. Construction has started on the Belgrade-Stara Pazova section of the Hungary-Serbia Railway in Serbia. The Western China-Western European International Expressway connecting western China, Kazakhstan, Russia and Western Europe is basically complete.

 

 

- China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor. China, Mongolia, and Russia have made positive efforts to build a cross-border infrastructure connectivity network consisting mainly of railways, roads and border ports. In 2018, the three countries signed the "Memorandum of Understanding on Establishing a Joint Mechanism for Advancing the China-Mongolia-Russia Economic Corridor", making further progress in improving the working mechanism of the tripartite cooperation. China's side of the Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye railway bridge was completed in October 2018. Construction of the Heihe-Blagoveshchensk road bridge is progressing smoothly. A Sino-Russian enterprise consortium has completed preliminary design of the Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Railway. The "Intergovernmental Agreement on International Road Transport Along the Asian Highway Network" signed and approved by the three countries has entered into force. The China-Mongolia-Russia cross-border terrestrial cable system has been completed.

 

 

- China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor. Over the past five years or so, cooperation has advanced in energy, infrastructure connectivity, economy and trade, and industrial capacity in this corridor's framework. China has signed bilateral agreements on international road transport with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and other countries, as well as China-Pakistan-Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan, China-Kazakhstan-Russia, China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, and some other multilateral agreements on international road transport, constantly improving infrastructure construction in Central Asia and West Asia. The China-Saudi Arabia Investment Cooperation Forum has promoted industrial complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and Saudi Vision 2030, and has concluded cooperation agreements worth more than US$28 billion. China and Iran have drawn on their strengths in various fields and are strengthening their combined forces in the fields of roads, infrastructure and energy.

 

 

- China-Indochina Peninsula Economic Corridor. Over the past five years or so, progress has been made in infrastructure connectivity and construction of cross-border economic cooperation zones through this corridor. The Kunming-Bangkok Expressway has been completed, while the China-Laos and China-Thailand railways and some other projects are well underway. Cooperation has started in building the China-Laos Economic Corridor. More intensive efforts have been made to dovetail Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor and the Belt and Road Initiative. Economic cooperation between China and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Viet Nam and Thailand is advancing steadily. Positive roles for the China-ASEAN (10+1) cooperation mechanism, Lancang-Mekong cooperation mechanism, and Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Economic Cooperation are becoming clearer.

 

 

- China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. A cooperation plan focusing on energy, transportation infrastructure, industrial park cooperation, and Gwadar Port has been implemented in the framework of this corridor. China and Pakistan have established the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which meets regularly. Smooth progress has been made in a number of projects. Key projects, such as the road to the Gwadar Port, Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Sukkur-Multan section), Karakoram Highway Phase II (Havelian-Thakot section), Lahore Orange Line Metro, and 1,320MW Coal-Fired Power Plants at Port Qasim have been launched. Some projects have already brought benefits. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is open to third parties for cooperation, and more countries have joined or expressed a willingness to participate.

 

 

- Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. Over the past five years or so, the four countries have worked together to build this corridor in the framework of joint working groups, and have planned a number of major projects in institutional development, infrastructure connectivity, cooperation in trade and industrial parks, cooperation and opening up in the financial market, cultural exchange, and cooperation in enhancing people's wellbeing. A Joint Committee of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor has been established. The two countries have also signed an MoU on building the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, as well as papers on a feasibility study for the Muse-Mandalay Railway, and the Framework Agreement on the Kyauk Phyu Special Economic Zone Deep-Sea Port Project.

 

 

 Infrastructure connectivity has been remarkably enhanced. "Access to roads will enable all sectors of the economy to prosper." Insufficient infrastructure investment is a bottleneck for economic development in developing countries. Accelerating infrastructure connectivity is a key area and core goal of the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

 

- Railways

Major progress has been made in building inter-regional and intercontinental railway networks focusing on such cooperation projects as the China-Laos Railway, China-Thailand Railway, Hungary-Serbia Railway, and Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway.

 

 

Preliminary research has advanced on the eastern route of the Pan-Asia Railway Network, the upgrade of Pakistan's Karachi-Peshawar Railway Line (also referred to as Main Line 1 or ML-1), and the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Railway. A pre-feasibility study on a China-Nepal cross-border railway has been completed.

 

 

After preliminary work on China Railway Express cargo trains, an international railway operation mechanism with cooperation among multiple countries has been established. Railway companies of China, Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland, and Russia have signed an agreement on deeper cooperation in China-Europe rail service. By the end of 2018, China-Europe rail service had connected 108 cities in 16 countries in Asia and Europe. A total of 13,000 trains had carried more than 1.1 million TEUs. Among the trains starting from China, 94 percent were fully loaded; and among those arriving in China, 71 percent were fully loaded.

 

China has cooperated with other B&R countries in customs clearance to make it more convenient and efficient for the operation of the trains. The average inspection rate and customs clearance turnover time have both decreased by 50 percent.

 

 

- Roads

Trial operations have been carried out on nonstop transport on the China-Mongolia-Russia, China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan, China-Russia (Dalian-Novosibirsk) and China-Viet Nam roads. In February 2018, regular operation began on the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan highway. China-Viet Nam Beilun River Bridge II has been completed and opened to traffic.

 

 

China formally joined the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention). It has signed 18 bilateral and multilateral international transport facilitation agreements with 15 B&R countries, including the "Intergovernmental Agreement of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States on the Facilitation of International Road Transport". Positive progress has been made in implementing the GMS "Agreement for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Goods and People".

 

 

- Ports

In Pakistan's Gwadar Port, routes for regular container liners have been opened and supporting facilities in the starting area of the Gwadar Free Trade Zone completed, attracting more than 30 companies into the area. Preliminary work has been completed for Sri Lanka's Hamban-tota Port Special Economic Zone, including defining the zone's industrial functions and making conceptual plans. An important transit hub has been completed at the Port of Piraeus in Greece, and Phase III construction is to be completed. Khalifa Port Container Terminal Phase II in the United Arab Emirates officially opened in December 2018. China has signed 38 bilateral and regional shipping agreements with 47 B&R countries. China's Ningbo Shipping Exchange has made constant efforts to improve the Maritime Silk Road Freight Index and released the China-CEEC Trade Index (CCTI) and the Ningbo Port Index.

 

 

- Air transport

China has signed bilateral intergovernmental air transport agreements with 126 countries and regions. It has expanded arrangements for air traffic rights with Luxembourg, Russia, Armenia, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Israel, Mongolia, Malaysia, and Egypt. Over the past five years or so, 1,239 new international routes have opened between China and other B&R countries, accounting for 69.1 percent of the total of China's new international routes over that period.

 

 

- Energy facilities

China has signed a large number of cooperation framework agreements and MoUs with other B&R countries, and has carried out extensive cooperation in the fields of electricity, oil and gas, nuclear power, new energy, and coal. It works with relevant countries to ensure the safe operation of oil and gas pipeline networks and optimize the configuration of energy resources between countries and regions.

The China-Russia crude oil pipeline and the China-Central Asia natural gas pipeline have maintained stable operation. Certain sections of the eastern route of the China-Russia natural gas pipeline will enter service in December 2019 and the entire eastern route will be completed and enter service in 2024. China-Myanmar oil and gas pipelines have been completed.

 

 

- Communication facilities

Significant progress has been made in the construction of China-Myanmar, China-Pakistan, China-Kyrgyzstan, and China-Russia cross-border fiber optic cables for information transmission. China and the International Telecommunication Union signed a "Letter of Intent to Strengthen Cooperation on Telecommunications and Information Net works Within the Framework of the Belt and Road Initiative". China has also signed cooperation agreements with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan on fiber optic cables, which represent the practical launch of the Silk Road Fiber Optic Cable project.

 

 

3. Unimpeded trade

Unimpeded trade is an important goal of the Belt and Road Initiative. The efforts invested in the initiative have liberalized and facilitated trade and investment in the participating countries and regions, lowered the costs of trade and business, and released growth potential, enabling the participants to engage in broader and deeper economic globalization.

 

 

1) Greater liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. China has issued the "Initiative on Promoting Unimpeded Trade Cooperation Along the Belt and Road", to which 83 countries and international organizations have subscribed. Cooperation in border inspection and quarantine has deepened. Since the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017, China has signed more than 100 cooperation agreements with other B&R countries, granting access to some 50 types of agricultural products and food after inspection and quarantine. Express customs clearance services for agricultural products between China and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan have reduced the clearance time by 90 percent. China has further expanded sectors accepting foreign investment to create a business environment of high international standards. It has opened 12 pilot free trade zones for global business and experimented with free trade ports to attract investment from participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative. China's average tariffs have dropped from 15.3 percent when it joined the World Trade Organization to 7.5 percent today. China has signed or upgraded free trade agreements with ASEAN,

 

 

Singapore, Pakistan, Georgia and other countries and regions, and signed an economic and trade cooperation agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union. A network of free trade areas involving China and other B&R countries has taken shape.

 

 

2) Expanding trade. From 2013 to 2018 the value of trade between China and other B&R countries surpassed US$6 trillion, accounting for 27.4 percent of China's total trade in goods and growing faster than the country's overall foreign trade. In 2018 the value of trade in goods between China and other B&R countries reached US$1.3 trillion, growing by 16.4 percent year on year. Trade in services between China and other B&R countries has seen steady progress, growing by 18.4 percent from 2016 to reach US$97.76 billion in 2017. The figure accounted for 14.1 percent of China's total trade in services, 1.6 percentage points higher than in 2016. According to a World Bank study that analyzes the impact of the Belt and Road Initiative on trade in 71 potentially participating countries, the initiative increases trade flows among participating countries by up to 4.1 percent.

 

 

3) Faster pace of trade model innovation. New trade models such as cross-border e-commerce are becoming an important driver of trade. In 2018 the total value of retail goods imported and exported through the cross-border e-commerce platform of China Customs reached US$20.3 billion, growing by 50 percent year on year. Exports were US$8.48 billion, growing by 67 percent year on year, and imports were US$11.87 billion, growing by 39.8 percent year on year. As Silk Road e-commerce prospers, China has established cooperation mechanisms for bilateral e-commerce with 17 countries, created agreements on e-commerce cooperation under the BRICS and other multilateral frameworks, and made solid progress in finding overseas partners for Chinese businesses and developing Chinese brands.

 

 

4. Financial integration

Financial integration is an important pillar of the Belt and Road Initiative. Exploring investment and financing models, international multilateral financial institutions and commercial banks have played an innovative role in expanding the channels of diversified financing, providing stable, transparent and quality financial support for the Belt and Road Initiative.

 

 

1) Exploring new models of international investment and financing. Boasting huge cooperation potential in infrastructure construction and industrial capacity, the Belt and Road Initiative is in urgent need of finance. The sovereign wealth funds and investment funds of the participating countries are playing a bigger part. In recent years the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority of the UAE, China Investment Corporation and other sovereign wealth funds have markedly increased investment in major emerging economies participating in the initiative. The China-EU Joint Investment Fund, which began operation in July 2018 with an injected capital of EUR500 million from the Silk Road Fund and the European Investment Fund, has helped the Belt and Road Initiative to dovetail with the Investment Plan for Europe.

 

 

2) Growing support from multilateral financial cooperation. China's Ministry of Finance and its counterparts in 27 countries including Argentina, Russia, Indonesia, the UK, and Singapore have endorsed the "Guiding Principles on Financing the Development of the Belt and Road". According to the Principles, the countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative support channeling of financial resources to serve the real economy of countries and regions involved, with priority given to such areas as infrastructure connectivity, trade and investment, and industrial cooperation, among others. The People's Bank of China has rolled out joint financing programs with the International Finance Corporation under the World Bank Group, Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and other multilateral development institutions. By the end of 2018 these institutions had invested in more than 100 programs in over 70 countries and regions. Established in November 2017, the China-CEEC Bank Consortium includes 14 financial institutions from China, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, and nine other Central and Eastern European countries. In July 2018 the China-Arab States Bank Consortium was founded, followed by the China-Africa Financial Cooperation Consortium established in September; each was the first multilateral financial cooperation mechanism between China and the respective area.

 

 

3) Closer cooperation between financial institutions. In building the Belt and Road, policy-backed export credit insurance, which has wide coverage, plays a special role in supporting infrastructure and basic industries. The strengths of commercial banks lie in taking deposits from wider sources, corporate financing, financial products, trade agency, and trust services. By the end of 2018 the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation had endorsed US$600 billion on export to and investment in the participating countries. Chinese-financed banks, such as the Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, and China Construction Bank, have formed extensive agent banking relations with the participating countries. Commerzbank became the first German bank to join the banking mechanism of the Belt and Road Initiative when it signed an MoU on cooperation with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

 

 

4) Improved financial market system. The initiative's participating countries have made continued efforts to consolidate and improve financial cooperation for long-term benefits and win-win outcomes. With a steady supply of innovative financial products, channels for financing the Belt and Road Initiative have expanded substantially. China has continued to open up its interbank bond market. By the end of 2018 about RMB200 billion of Panda bonds had been issued. The Export-Import Bank of China issued a RMB2 billion green bond for global investors, and the BRICS New Development Bank issued a RMB3 billion green bond to support the green development of the Belt and Road Initiative. Stock equity, business and technical cooperation between securities and futures exchanges has advanced. The Shanghai Stock Exchange, Deutsche B?rse Group, and China Financial Futures Exchange jointly founded the China Europe International Exchange in 2015, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange and Astana International Financial Center Authority of Kazakhstan have signed an agreement to co-invest in building the Astana International Exchange.

 

 

5) Deeper financial connectivity. Eleven Chinese-funded banks have set up 76 first-grade institutions in 28 B&R countries, and 50 banks from 22 B&R countries have opened 7 corporate banks, 19 branches, and 34 representative offices in China. Two Chinese-funded securities firms have established joint ventures in Singapore and Laos. China has made bilateral currency swap arrangements with more than 20 B&R countries and Renminbi clearing arrangements with 7 B&R countries, and signed cooperation agreements with the financial supervision authorities of 35 B&R countries. The Reminbi's functions as a currency for international payment, investment, trade, and reserve have been strengthened. The Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) now covers some 40 countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative. The China-IMF Capacity Development Center and the Research Center for the Belt and Road Financial and Economic Development have been founded.

 

 

5. Closer people-to-people ties

People-to-people ties are the cultural foundation for building the Belt and Road. It is the common dream of all peoples to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous life. Over the past five years or so, the B&R countries have carried out diplomatic activities and cultural exchanges of various forms in wide fields, enhancing mutual understanding and recognition and laying a solid cultural foundation for furthering the initiative.

 

 

1) Diverse forms of cultural exchange. China and other B&R countries have hosted events such as arts festivals, film festivals, music festivals, cultural relics exhibitions, and book fairs, and have jointly launched new publishing, radio, film and television programs, as well as translating and introducing each other's media programs. The Silk Road International League of Theaters, Silk Road International Museum Alliance, Network of Silk Road Arts Festivals, Silk Road International Library Alliance, and Silk Road International Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries have been established. China, CEE countries, ASEAN countries, Russia, Nepal, Greece, Egypt, and South Africa have hosted activities to celebrate the cultures of B&R countries in different years, and developed about a dozen cultural exchange brands such as the "Silk Road Tour" and "Chinese/African Cultures in Focus". Major cultural festivals and expos have been launched such as the Silk Road (Dunhuang) International Cultural Expo, Silk Road International Arts Festival, and Maritime Silk Road International Arts Festival, and 17 Chinese culture centers have been set up in B&R countries. China has signed cooperation agreements on the protection of cultural heritage with Indonesia, Myanmar, Serbia, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. Through a combined effort from China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Silk Roads: The Routes Network of Chang'an-Tian Shan Corridor has become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Steady progress has been made in the Belt and Road News Alliance. The Silk Road NGO Cooperation Network, with 310 members, has become an important platform for non-governmental cooperation.

 

 

2) Fruitful results in education and training. The Chinese Government Scholarship - Silk Road Program has been set up, and China has signed agreements with 24 B&R countries on the mutual recognition of higher education degrees. In 2017, 38,700 students from other B&R countries studied in China on scholarships provided by the Chinese government, accounting for 66 percent of all students receiving such scholarships. Other B&R scholarships are provided in the Hong Kong and Macao SARs. China has opened 153 Confucius Institutes and 149 Confucius Classrooms in 54 B&R countries. The Chinese Academy of Sciences offers scholarships in Master's and Doctorate programs to other B&R countries, and runs science and technology training courses which have trained some 5,000 students from other B&R countries.

 

 

3) Expanding cooperation in tourism. China has held joint year of tourism with many other B&R countries, initiating cooperation mechanisms such as the Silk Road Tourism Promotion Union, Maritime Silk Road Tourism Promotion Alliance, and Tea Road International Tourism Alliance. China has signed mutual visa exemption agreements for different types of passport with 57 B&R countries, and concluded 19 agreements or arrangements to streamline visa application procedures with 15 countries. In 2018 outbound Chinese tourists numbered 150 million, and inbound foreign tourists numbered 30.54 million. Russia, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Mongolia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore were the main sources of tourists for China.

 

 

4) Deeper cooperation in health and medicine. Since the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China has signed 56 agreements on cooperation in the health sector with countries such as Mongolia and Afghanistan, international organizations such as the World Health Organization, and NGOs such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In August 2017 the Belt and Road High-Level Meeting for Health Cooperation: Towards a Health Silk Road was held in Beijing, which issued the "Beijing Communiqué of the Belt and Road Health Cooperation". China has carried out cooperation on the prevention and control of AIDS, malaria, dengue, flu, and tuberculosis with Lancang-Mekong countries; on the prevention and control of echinococcosis, plague and other zoonoses with Central Asian countries; and on the prevention and control of polio with Western Asian countries. China has dispatched ophthalmology teams to Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Sri Lanka to carry out the "Brightness Action" program, and shortterm medical teams to island countries such as Fiji, Tonga, Micronesia, and Vanuatu in the Pacific. It has established traditional Chinese medicine centers in 35 B&R countries, and 43 international TCM cooperation bases.

 

 

5) Ongoing effort in disaster relief, assistance, and poverty alleviation. Since the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, China has provided RMB2 billion in emergency food assistance to developing countries participating in the initiative, injected an additional US$1 billion to the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund, and implemented 100 Happy Home Projects, 100 Anti-Poverty Projects, and 100 Health Recovery Projects. China has participated in 8 joint programs for the protection of cultural relics with 6 countries, and 15 joint archeological activities with 12 countries. China has provided Laos and other countries with seismic monitoring equipment to improve their early warning and disaster alleviation capacity. China has initiated 24 cooperation programs with civil society organizations in Cambodia and Nepal, in an effort to improve the lives of local people.

 

 

6. Industrial cooperation

The Belt and Road Initiative draws investment from diverse sources, encourages third-party market cooperation, and aims to build industry, supply, service, and value chains that benefit all and are shared by all, so as to provide new growth drivers for faster development in the participating countries.

 

 

1) Stable growth in China's direct investment in B&R countries. From 2013 to 2018 China's direct investment in B&R countries surpassed US$90 billion, realizing a turnover of US$400 billion in foreign contracted projects in these countries. In 2018 Chinese businesses made a total of US$15.6 billion in non-financial direct investment in B&R countries, growing by 8.9 percent year on year and accounting for 13 percent of China's total non-financial FDI during the same period. The turnover of foreign contracted projects in B&R countries reached US$89.3 billion, or 53 percent of the total turnover of foreign contracted projects in the same period. According to a World Bank study, the transportation network proposed by the Belt and Road Initiative can lead to a 4.97-percent increase in total FDI flows to B&R countries, a 4.36-percent increase in FDI flows within B&R countries, a 4.63-percent increase in FDI flows from OECD countries, and a 5.75-percent increase in FDI flows from non-B&R countries.

 

 

2) Steady progress in international cooperation on industrial development and third-party markets. As faster growth in B&R countries has generated huge market demands on international industrial cooperation, China has taken active measures to boost market-oriented industrial cooperation with relevant countries in all areas, so as to upgrade the industrial structure and raise the level of industries in these countries. Currently China has signed agreements on industrial cooperation with more than 40 countries including Kazakhstan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Brazil. It has dovetailed industrial cooperation programs with regional organizations such as the ASEAN, African Union, and CELAC. China has signed third-party market cooperation agreements with France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Portugal.

 

 

3) Vigorous development in cooperation parks and zones. Applying market principles and complying with laws, Chinese businesses of all types have joined in the development of cooperation parks and zones in other B&R countries, sharing China's best practices and the experience it has gained in development zones and industrial parks during reform and opening up. In addition to promoting the local economy, these have also created new sources of tax revenue and jobs in the countries involved. China has established the China-Kazakhstan Khorgos International Border Cooperation Center, and the China-Laos Mohan-Boten Cross-Border Economic Cooperation Zone; more cross-border economic cooperation zones with other countries are being planned or built.

 

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Source: This article is an English version summary of the full text of a report titled "The Belt and Road Initiative: Progress, Contributions and Prospects" released by the Office of the Leading Group for Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative, April 2019.

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