A bullet train emerges from a tunnel in the Qinling Mountains on Wednesday. LIU XIAO/XINHUA
A new bullet train service linking Xi'an and Chengdu went into operation on Wednesday, reducing travel time between the two historic cities by almost two-thirds.
The 658-kilometer high-speed line is the first to pass through the Qinling Mountains, the dividing line between China's south and north, which boast a vast array of natural scenery and rare wildlife.
Thirty-eight trains will initially run along the railway, 19 each way, at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour, according to network operator China Railway Corp.
Travel by rail between Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, is now just over four hours, down from 11 hours using the standard train services. This is expected to drop by another 30 minutes or so in coming weeks.
However, faster travel comes at a cost. The cheapest ticket for a seat on the high-speed train costs 263 yuan ($39.80), double the price of a slow train.
The new line expands transportation capacity north of the Sichuan-Chongqing region, linking the Yangtze River region and the Bohai Sea rim, said Zhang Zongwei, head of the Sichuan section of the railway's construction team.
The region comprising Sichuan and Chongqing, called Shu in ancient China, is known for its challenging terrain. Li Bai, a poet of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), once wrote, "A journey to Shu is more difficult than a journey to climb to Heaven".
Yet the unique geography was seen as an advantage during World War II, and Chongqing was chosen as a wartime capital because it was seen as easy to defend and extremely hard to invade.
When the speed on the new line is increased, the travel time between Chengdu and Beijing will be cut to about eight hours, down from more than 14 hours, meaning the "journey to Shu" will no longer be so difficult.
The new line is an important part of China's high-speed railway network, linking three high-speed lines－Xuzhou-Lanzhou, Datong-Xi'an and Chengdu-Chongqing－according to CRC.
The Xuzhou-Lanzhou line links eastern and western China, the Datong-Xi'an line connects central and western China and the Chengdu-Chongqing line links two major cities in southwestern China.
The new line also runs through poverty-stricken areas in the Qinling Mountains and the Dabashan Mountain region.
"The new line will boost the economy along the railroad and help carry out the regional development strategy, boosting economic and social development along the line and also improving local people's well-being," said Song Ying, deputy head of the railway construction team's Shaanxi section.
China has a high-speed rail network with more than 22,000 km of track in use, accounting for 60 percent of the world's high-speed railways.
The nation issued an updated national railway development plan in November envisioning 30,000 km of high-speed railways by the end of 2020.
The plan also stated that more than 80 percent of big cities will be covered by high-speed railways by then.
By the end of 2020, railway travel time between Beijing and most capital cities will be reduced to two to eight hours, the plan said.
The government will spare no effort to boost private companies’ participation in the research, development and production of weapons and other military equipment, according to a senior official.
Long Hongshan, chief engineer at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, which oversees China’s defense industries, told a news conference on Wednesday that the administration will make a list of companies qualified to accept military contracts — regardless of their ownership — and will treat State-owned companies and private ones equally when allocating State funds.
The administration will produce regulations for public bidding and outsourcing of weapons, subsystems and components, Long said. He added that it will also streamline review procedures for applications from private companies and will allow them to design and make more kinds of military hardware and software that are currently out of their permitted scopes.
The official said his administration will work with military authorities to improve their websites that publish outsourcing information, noting it has required its local branches to collect information on private companies and report it to State-owned defense giants and the military.
Private companies are also encouraged to actively reach out to State-owned contractors and the military to make them aware of their capabilities, according to Long.
The administration held the news conference to brief reporters about its measures to implement the Guidelines on Deepening the Civil-Military Integration in the Defense Technology Industry, which was published by the State Council on Monday.
The guidelines were reviewed and passed by the second plenary session of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development in late September.
In China, the civil-military integration strategy generally refers to the military and defense industry transferring technologies to civilian sectors, and including private companies on the military’s suppliers list. So far, State-owned defense contractors still dominate the research, development and production of weapons and equipment for the People’s Liberation Army.
President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the significance of civil-military integration, and speaks of the matter each time he addresses an important military meeting.
In March, the president told military deputies to the national legislature that the PLA must take advantage of China’s achievements in science and technology to help modernize its weapons and equipment. He said that civilian and military technologies are increasingly connected. He also asked the military to pay more attention to science and technology and to speed up civilian-defense integration.
The PLA now publishes its needs in technology, equipment and services on a procurement website on a regular basis, saying qualified private companies are welcome to offer their products and services.
China Great Wall Industry Corp, the country's largest space contractor on the international market, is considering using existing overseas launch facilities or building new ones in foreign territories to lift Chinese carrier rockets, executives said.
Yin Liming, the company's president , said on the sidelines of the fifth China Space Forum held by the company in Beijing on Tuesday that working with foreign nations to use or construct launchpads or launch centers will strengthen China's international space cooperation.
He said that this will allow China to use launch facilities that have geographic advantages such as those located near the equator.
"The closer a launch site is to the equator, the bigger carrying capacity a rocket (to be lifted from the site) will have and the less fuel it will consume," Yin said. "This will hugely boost our rockets' competitiveness in the international market."
Fu Zhiheng, vice-president of Great Wall, said several foreign nations have asked his company to help them build space launch sites, which corresponds with the company's own aspiration, but this matter involves a lot of policy and diplomatic issues and must be handled with deliberation and discretion.
He said Great Wall is also collaborating with Chinese space authorities to make plans for the construction of a new commercial launch site.
China has been providing launch services to international clients since 1990, when a United States-made communications satellite was sent into space on a Long March 3 rocket. All 45 commercial launches in China－those paid by clients other than the Chinese government or the military－were fulfilled by Great Wall using the Jiuquan, Taiyuan, Xichang and Wenchang domestic launch centers.
These centers are administered by the government and are primarily tasked with serving State programs such as lunar explorations and manned spaceflight.
According to Hu Shengyun, a senior rocket designer at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, these government-run centers are too busy to handle the increasing commercial demands.
In another development, Fu said at Tuesday's forum that Great Wall has been working with the China Satellite Navigation Office to form a space-based augmentation system for China's Beidou positioning and navigation satellites. It will enhance the accuracy of Beidou's position and navigation services.
State Council leaders want to ease access for people and businesses
China will further integrate government information systems and enable more information to be disclosed on how public resources are distributed, according to a decision made at the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday.
The government will work to consolidate and integrate the national data sharing and exchange platform to enable connectivity across networks, data and administrative services, those at the meeting decided. This move is part of the government's effort to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and provide better and faster administrative services to the public.
Chinese leaders have stressed on multiple occasions the importance of integration, sharing and disclosure in the running of government information systems.
President Xi Jinping said that the integration of information resources should be pushed forward to break information silos and develop a national information resources sharing system.
Li said that the integration and sharing of government information systems should be accelerated to deliver better administrative services.
Meeting participants decided the contents and modality of data sharing across State Council departments will be clearly defined to ensure public access to information that can be released.
The 40 vertical information systems run by State Council bodies will be made open to governments at various levels by the end of this year, which will enable the sharing of service information on some 500 data items, from identity verification to tax payment certificates, real estate registration and academic degrees.
The security of information sharing also will be a priority. In the establishment of any new government information system, sharing will be a guiding principle to prevent duplication and new information silos.
"We should use the integration of government information systems to achieve connectivity of data and government services, and break the barriers to our reform to streamline administration, enhance compliance oversight and provide better services," the premier said.
A new guideline, which specifies a set of requirements for government information disclosure on the allocation of public resources, also was approved at the meeting.
The guideline, issued as part of the plan by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council to push forward government information disclosure comprehensively, has identified a number of key areas for information disclosure, including housing, transfer of State-owned land-use rights and transfer of mining rights.
Researchers believe deadly virus began in bats in Yunnan province
Chinese scientists believe they may have found the origin of the deadly SARS virus in a remote cave in Yunnan province, where they identified a single population of horseshoe bats that harbor virus strains with all the genetic building blocks.
The strain could easily have arisen from such bats, according to research published in PLoS Pathogens on Nov 30. Scientists also warned that the ingredients are in place for a similar disease to emerge again.
Two scientists, Shi Zhengli and Cui Jie from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Hubei province, led the research team, sampling thousands of wild horseshoe bats from nine provinces. Most caves are located in remote areas, according to Cui.
In one particular cave in Yunnan province, the research team found that the strains of coronavirus looked similar to human versions of SARS. It took five years for researchers to monitor the bats living in the cave.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, is a highly fatal viral disease characterized by fever, headache and respiratory symptoms including cough, difficulties breathing and pneumonia. It emerged in South China in 2002 and rapidly led to a global pandemic, killing almost 800 people worldwide.
The culprit was identified as a strain of coronavirus, and genetically similar viruses were found in masked palm civets that are sold in animal markets in Guangdong province.
Later, a large number of SARS-related coronaviruses were found in horseshoe bats. Scientists believe that the strain probably originated in the bats, and later passed through civets before reaching humans.
The report by the Wuhan team shows multiple incongruent associations between the phylogenies of horseshoe bats and their coronavirus.
"The result showed that host shifts have occurred in the recent evolutionary history of this group. It may be due to either virus biologic traits or host behavioral traits. This finding has implications for the emergence of SARS and for the potential future emergence of SARS-coronavirus or related viruses," the researchers wrote in the report.
Shi told Hubei Daily that wild animals such as bats and rats carry various viruses but spreading across species rarely happens. "There is no need to feel panic about it, but close contact with those wild animals should be prevented," she said.
In a recent interview with Nature Magazine, Tu Changchun, a virologist who directs the OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies in Changchun, Jilin province, said the results are only 99 percent persuasive.
He said he would like to see scientists demonstrate in the lab that the human SARS strain can jump from bats to another animal, such as a civet. Also, he questioned how a virus from bats in Yunnan could travel to animals and humans about 1,000 kilometers away in Guangdong, without causing any suspected cases in Yunnan.
According to Nature, Cui and Shi also conducted research on other bat populations that could have produced strains capable of infecting humans, and have isolated about 300 bat coronavirus sequences, most not yet published, with which they will continue to monitor the evolution of the virus.
The Ministry of Education demanded "immediate" action on Wednesday to ensure school classrooms are warm enough after media reports said a delayed heating supply in Hebei province resulted in students showing symptoms of frostbite.
China Youth Daily reported on Tuesday that the heating supply in some rural primary schools in Hebei's Quyang county has been delayed, forcing students to attend classes outside in the sun in a bid to keep warm.
Some primary school students were seen standing up reading books and others kneeling or sitting on the ground, using stools as desks, in a China Youth Daily video.
"We felt sorry for the children after reading the report and were worried about them," ministry spokeswoman Xu Mei said at a news conference in Beijing.
She said the ministry attaches great importance to the issue, and senior officials have demanded "practical" and "efficient" measures to urge local authorities to provide heating in these schools immediately.
The State Council's Office of Education Steering Committee has handed notifications to relevant provinces to supervise the handling of the issue and demanded these provinces ensure normal school services, she said.
"When it comes to children, nothing is trivial," she said.
The publicity department of the Quyang government said on Wednesday that heating had been supplied to students from 11 rural schools as promised by Quyang Party chief Wang Peng.
The delay in the heating supply occurred because some schools failed to transform coal-fueled heating facilities to electricity-fueled ones on time, which is part of a campaign to replace coal with clean energy as a heat source in the province.
Coal has long been burned for heating in northern China, but it is blamed for smog in winter. Hebei vowed in September last year to ban bulk coal consumption in 18 counties adjacent to Beijing by the end of this year.
Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in will make a four-day visit to China next week, a trip experts said bodes well for the nations jointly addressing the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful way.
The trip, which begins on Wednesday, also will take him to Chongqing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday.
“We hope this visit will play an active role in improving and developing the China-ROK relationship, as well as enhancing communication and coordination on issues including the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue,” he said at a daily news conference in Beijing.
Moon’s visit, the first since he took office in May, comes amid escalating tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs as well as indications of improving Beijing-Seoul ties.
Last week, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea test-fired its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Moon is expected to discuss with President Xi Jinping ways to peacefully resolve Pyongyang’s nuclear issue and ensure peace on the peninsula.
It will be their third meeting. They previously met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in July and at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November.
China and the ROK reached consensus on some points on the US deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in the ROK in October after setbacks.
Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said Moon’s trip marks a recovery in ties between the two countries, which is needed to create a dialogue that could lead to a resolution of the peninsula’s nuclear issue. However, it also will take time to see whether the ROK will honor its pledges concerning the deployment of THAAD, he added.
Huang Youfu, a Korean studies professor at Minzu University of China in Beijing, said Seoul has shared a view similar to that of Beijing on the solution to the peninsula issue since Moon took office.
TIANJIN -- North China's Tianjin Municipality is planning to build an intercity high-speed railway to connect with Xiongan New Area in north China's Hebei province.
The authorities are doing the preliminary work and will strive to start construction at an early date, said Song Liwei, head of the Tianjin Urban and Rural Construction Commission, Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Tianjin is scheduled to start construction of its sections of two high-speed railways linking Beijing with the Binhai New Area of Tianjin and Tangshan in Hebei next year, Song said.
Beijing also plans to build an expressway and two high-speed railways, including an intercity railway, to link with Xiongan.
In April, China announced plans to establish the new economic zone about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing. It covers Hebei's Xiongxian, Rongcheng and Anxin counties.
Following the success of the country's economic zones in the Pearl River Delta and Yangtze River Delta regions, Xiongan is expected to promote the formation of a world-class city cluster in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.
China plans to build Xiongan into a region led by innovation-driven development and a demonstration area for new urbanization in China. A number of administrative bodies, large enterprises, colleges and research institutions in Beijing are expected to move into the area.
XIAMEN -- Eight Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries on Wednesday held an anti-cyber-terrorism joint drill in Xiamen, Fujian Province, southeast China.
The drill was designed to improve coordination and share experiences among SCO members of counter cyber-terrorism efforts, ac cording to a statement from SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS).
Delegates from SCO members and the RATS executive committee took part in the drill, which was based on a scenario related to an international terrorist group that had infiltrated into SC0 countries.
Through the exercise, SCO members increased trust and improved counter-terrorism cooperation, said Shi Jun, vice minister of public security, at the drill.
It has been the first joint anti-terrorism drill attended by eight members since India and Pakistan joined the SCO in June, said Yevgeniy Sysoyev, director of the SCO RATS Executive Committee.
At the drill, SCO members displayed their resolve and ability to act against terrorism, separatism and extremism, which was of great significance for the region to actively respond to new challenges, Sysoyev said.
GENEVA -- Innovators around the world filed 3.1 million patent applications in 2016, up 8.3 percent in a seventh straight yearly increase, a World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) report showed Wednesday.
Worldwide filings for patents, trademarks and industrial designs reached record heights in 2016 due to soaring demand in China, according to WIPO's annual World Intellectual Property Indicators (WIPI) report.
China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) received the highest number of patent applications in 2016, a record total of 1.3 million. It was followed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (605,571), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) (318,381), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) (208,830) and the European Patent Office (EPO)(159,358), said the report.
China received about 236,600 of the nearly 240,600 additional patent filings, accounting for 98 percent of total growth, it said.
Trademark applications jumped by 16.4 percent to about 7 million, and worldwide industrial design applications grew by 10.4 percent to almost 1 million, both also driven by growth in China, it added.
"The latest figures charting a rise in demand for intellectual property rights confirm a decade-long trend, where developments in China increasingly leave their mark on the worldwide totals," WIPO Director General Francis Gurry told journalists.
"China is increasingly amongst the leaders in global innovation and branding," he said at a media conference, adding that "the numbers from China are quite extraordinary."
The WIPO head noted that that this is seventh straight year of growth for patents and trademarks which is "quite extraordinary...because compared to growth in the world economy that is a very different picture."
He observed that patent applications are an indicator of innovative output, but the innovation ecosystem is quite complex and involves a number of factors.
HONG KONG -- A foreign domestic helper in China's Hong Kong was charged on Wednesday after she allegedly broadcast a video on social media of three young children having a shower.
The 28-year old woman from Indonesia was arrested on Monday after her employer called the police.
She was charged with publishing child pornography and was due to appear in court on Thursday.
Local media reported that the children involved in the case are aged under eight.
Shanghai Disneyland will adjust its admission prices and add one pricing tier effective June 6, the company said on its website on Wednesday.
The theme park is set to have three pricing tiers, namely Regular, Peak and Peak Holiday, as it is about to enter into its third year of operation.
Regular price of admission is set at 399 yuan ($60.3), up from the current 370 yuan. Peak admission price for high-demand dates, which include summer holidays, weekends, and many of the designated holidays, is set at 575 yuan, up from 499 yuan now.
The newly-added Peak Holiday price of admission during two super peak holiday periods - Chinese New Year holiday and China National Day holiday - is set at 665 yuan.
Disney said that all tickets will continue to be date-specific and valid for admission only for the date purchased.
The Shanghai park announced last week that it’s slated to expand to include a seventh themed area, Disney Toy Story Land, by next summer, to add additional attractions and entertainment and attract more new and recurring guests.
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said on Wednesday that since China launched the Sky Net campaign, 3,587 fugitives were brought back from more than 90 countries and regions to face trial, thanks to global judicial efforts.
Meanwhile, Chinese police recovered 9.54 billion yuan in illicit assets through the end of October, according to the CCDI.
“China has strengthened law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries to fight against corrupt fugitives and offer no ‘safe heaven’ for them,” according to a statement from the CCDI.
Xiao made the remarks at the Reception in Celebration of the coming 14th International Anti-Corruption Day, which falls on Saturday.
In recent years, a number of Chinese fugitives suspected of corruption have escaped overseas, especially to Western countries to avoid legal punishment due to difference in laws and complicated procedures.
Meanwhile, they have sent billions of yuan in illicit assets to their foreign accounts through money laundering or underground banks.
Since April 2015, when the International Criminal Police Organization issued red notices on the 100 most–wanted Chinese fugitives accused of corruption, 51 have returned from more than 16 countries and regions to face justice.
Now, another 49 fugitives are still at large and many of them are hiding in Western countries, such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
According to the CCDI, China will deepen judicial cooperation with other countries, including information sharing and conducting joint investigations, to hunt down the fugitives and confiscate money they illegally took out of China.
On Wednesday, 156 foreign delegates from 122 embassies and international organizations stationed in China participated in the reception.
One of the world's longest glass-floored bridges will open to the public in Pingshan county, Hebei province, on Dec 24.
The structure stretches 488 meters, is 4 meters wide and hangs 218 meters above the valley floor between two steep cliffs in the Hongyagu Mountains Scenic Area.
It is paved with 1,077 panes of glass, each 4 centimeters thick, weighing a total of 70 metric tons. It can support up to 2,000 tourists, but is expected to normally hold 500.
According to tourism authorities, the sky bridge is designed to swing while visitors walk on it, creating a thrilling sensation.
Hongyagu boasts a unique geographic landscape with mountain views, natural waterfalls, ancient towns and temples.
It is about 15 kilometers from Xibaipo, a popular visitor spot for its revolutionary history. The leadership of the Communist Party of China was based there from May 1948 until early 1949.
Many glass-floored bridges and skywalks have been built around China.
A bridge 430 meters long and 6 meters wide opened last year in the Grand Canyon Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, setting many world records.
SHIJIAZHUANG -- Forest rangers in northern China's Saihanba Forest Farm recently received a prestigious UN environment award.
On Tuesday, Saihanba afforestation community in Inner Mongolia scooped the UN Champions of the Earth Award for its outstanding contribution to restoration of degraded landscapes.
"As an ordinary worker at the farm, I am immensely encouraged by the award," said fire-lookout Zhao Fuzhou.
"The award should be credited to three generations of foresters," said Zhao Zhenyu, 78, one of Saihanba's first foresters, who began planting trees on what was then a piece of barren land in the early 1960s.
After decades of hard work, Saihanba is now a vast forest covering about 93,000 hectares and an important ecological shield for Beijing and Tianjin.
Every year the forest in Saihanba purifies 137 million cubic meters of water and delivers half a million tons of oxygen.
"Fifty-five years of afforestation efforts tell us that when one generation of foresters after another spares no efforts to improve the environment they will succeed," Zhao Zhenyu said.
Erik Solheim, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hailed Saihanba community for its pioneering innovation, saying that cost effective grassroots initiatives could reclaim degraded landscapes.
"The Saihanba afforestation community has transformed degraded land into lush green paradise -- part of a new Great Wall of vegetation that will play a part in helping protect millions from air pollution and preserving precious water supplies," Solheim said.
The international acclaim has made Saihanba's foresters feel that they shoulder greater responsibilities in afforestation to contribute to a greener world.
"Winning acknowledgement from UNEP marked a new starting point for our work, and we will redouble our efforts to take good care of the green treasure," said An Changming, deputy Party chief of the Saihanba Forest Farm.
In 2016, the restored forest in Saihanba stimulated green sectors of the economy, generating an estimated 15.1 million U.S. dollars.
Looking ahead, foresters at the farm are aiming to unleash greater potential of the forest in areas such as tourism, wind power, and carbon trading, bringing more ecological, social and economic benefits to residents in the region and beyond.
The Grand Song of the Dong Ethnic Festival opened on Tuesday with hundreds of Dong ethnic singers harmonizing during the opening performance at the opening ceremony of the 7th Southeast Guizhou tourism industry conference in Congjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province.
Villagers perform the Grand Song of the Dong ethnic group during a local festival at Xiaohuang village in Congjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province, on Nov 28, 2016. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
There were 1,320 singers in 30 groups from 15 of the county's townships competing in the festival. The singers are aged from 4 to 80.
Dong Grand Song was listed on the masterpiece list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006. This musical form calls for no accompaniment, so the singers perform a cappella, or without instruments.
In Xiaohuang Village, there are more than 1,000 singers and some of them perform at different tour attractions in South China. The village has earned 20 million yuan from singing this year, or 4,260 yuan per capita. In 1986, they sang at an art show in Paris.
Besides a singing contest, the festival featured a cooking competition and an embroidery show to demonstrate traditional Dong ethnic culture in a bid to attract more tourists. A program has supported more than 16,000 embroidery craftswomen this year.
The Dong ethnic group, with a population of 2.87 million, lives mainly in Southwest China.Dong craftswomen compete during the festival. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
BEIJING - President Xi Jinping said Wednesday that the country will create more opportunities and make a greater contribution for the world.
Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, which opened in the city of Guangzhou Wednesday.
In his letter, Xi said China will develop the open economy to a higher level, promote the Belt and Road Initiative, and push for a new pattern of all-round opening up.
Looking forward, he said China will enjoy robust development momentum, the people will have a greater sense of gain and the country will be more integrated into the world.
The president said China's economy has the foundation, condition and impetus to maintain stable growth and sound momentum.
He reiterated that China will not close its door to the world, and it will only become more and more open, with its business environment becoming more open, transparent and regulated.
China will continue to forge global partnerships, expand the common interests with others countries, further liberalize and facilitate trade and investment, and push for an economic globalization that is more open and inclusive, more balanced, more equitable and beneficial to all, Xi said.
Xi welcomed global businesses to invest in China to share the opportunities brought by the country's reform and development.
The three-day 2017 Fortune Global Forum has chosen "Openness and Innovation: Shaping the Global Economy" as its theme, drawing 1,100 participants, mostly world business leaders, including senior executives from the world's top firms such as Alibaba, Tencent, Ford, HSBC and JP Morgan.
It is the fifth time that a Chinese city has hosted the forum. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Peter O'Neill addressed the opening.
Vice Premier Wang Yang delivered a keynote speech, in which he highlighted the significance of sticking to globalization, innovation and inclusive growth.
"China's economy is undergoing profound transformations, and the country's future development will prioritize quality and efficiency, which will be driven by innovation and openness," Wang said.
He attributed China's growth to opening-up and promised to stick to this path.
"China will substantially ease market access and formulate a timetable for opening up in key areas," Wang said, adding that country would protect the rights and interests of foreign businesses, and create a fair market environment.
Alan Murray, editor-in-chief of Fortune magazine, said the forum comes at a time when technology is reshaping the business world in ways never seen before, and rising nationalism and growing distrust in businesses and other institutions are posing a threat to globalization.
Jing Ulrich, managing director and vice chair of Asia Pacific at JPMorgan Chase, said it was very important for China to say it would hold on to developing an open economy, especially at a time when global protectionism is on the rise.
"Some countries turned to protectionism. By opening up, China asserts its leadership position as the world's second largest economy and a champion of globalization," she said, at the sidelines of the forum. "China shows the world a correct path to development."
Experts hail China's development as a global leader in online innovation
China is expected to provide new impetus for the development of internet technologies across the world, according to industry experts and entrepreneurs who participated in the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.
"China presents possibility of what we can do in our countries for eliminating the digital divide and how internet technologies can help us to gain an edge," said Thomas Kwesi Quartey, vice-chairman of the African Union, in his speech at the closing ceremony of the 4th World Internet Conference on Tuesday.
The conference this year was focused on digital economy development for openness and shared benefits and the building of a community with a common future in cyberspace.
"China's role in the digital economy is no longer a question, I am quite impressed by the country's openness, a role that will increasingly shape the century," said Fadi Chehade, co-chair of the advisory committee to the World Internet Conference.
Silvio Micali, a Turing Award laureate, believes that laws and courts have an integral role in cybersecurity.
"China has grown from being a beneficiary of internet development to being a contributor and leader in certain internet technologies," said Ren Xianliang, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China.
"Internet development should be more balanced, there are already sufficient technologies in some areas, but we can achieve more in others including education and healthcare," Micali said.
"China has achieved a lot in information and communications technologies in the past year. Some scientists have achieved major breakthroughs in quantum computer development," said Wu Hequan, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
He said although China is developed in areas such as e-commerce, the country still lags in the use of internet technologies in sectors like healthcare.
More than 1,500 scholars, entrepreneurs, and officials from around 80 countries and regions attended the conference, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.
The conference has become the window for peering into the future of Internet development and the world's most cutting edge technologies. It strives to build a platform of cooperation to promote connectivity, sharing, and mutual governance of the Internet," Ren said.
"An array of topics has been added to this year's conference, providing us with new perspectives toward hotly-discussed and cutting-edge topics such as artificial intelligence and targeted poverty alleviation, which have revolutionized and improved people's lives greatly," said Yao Jinbo, founder and CEO of 58.com, a major online marketplace operator.
Contact the writers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors listen to intelligent speakers at the Light of the Internet Exposition, which is part of the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.Zhu Xingxin / China Daily
(China Daily 12/06/2017 page5)
A robust expansion of China's services industries has offset weaker growth in the manufacturing sector to further stabilize economic growth momentum in November, according to economic indicators.
The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index rose to 51.9 in November from 51.2 in October, the fastest expansion in three months, said a report that was released on Tuesday.
The booming services sector has supported a rebound of a composite output index, which covers both manufacturing and service companies, to 51.6 from October's 16-month low of 51, the report said.
On Friday, a separate survey showed that the Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index dropped to 50.8 last month compared with 51 in October, because of a slower growth in new business orders along with companies' lower confidence in the business outlook.
For the indicators, a reading above 50 means expansion in business activities, while any reading below that means a contraction.
"The Caixin PMI readings in November showed the economy has maintained stability and there was no imminent risk of a significant decline in its growth rate," said Zhong Zhengsheng, director of macroeconomic analysis at CEBM Group, a subsidiary of Caixin Insight Group.
For the services sector, new business expanded at a rapid pace while input costs and prices charged continued to rise, said the economist.
"But we should be cautious because the economy may come under rising inflationary pressure at the start of next year due to continued price increases," he suggested.
The inflation pressure was shown by the three-month fastest growth in new orders received by services providers and the highest level of employment subindex since August. Meanwhile, the increase in input costs faced by service providers was the highest since May and the subindex of prices charged was the highest since July 2015, according to the report.
With a contribution of more than a half on the country's economic output, the services sector has became the major driving force of growth as the economic development model is shifting away from depending much on investment and exports.
The official data released by the National Bureau of Statistics last week said that the country's non-manufacturing PMI slightly climbed to 54.8 in November, up from 54.3 in October.
"The moderate rebound of the official PMI suggests growth momentum was stable in November," said Zhao Yang, Nomura chief China economist, despite an expectation that China's GDP growth would be slightly down to 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter compared with 6.8 percent during the July to September period.
(China Daily 12/06/2017 page5)
Financial technology, or fintech, should be given full play to energize the real economy and rein in potential risks, according to officials, executives and experts attending the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.
Serving the real economy is the "direction and operating guide" of the financial industry, said Liu Guoqiang, assistant governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank.
Profits from the financial industry could falter, burst into bubbles and even collapse, if the sector fails to provide services that are high-quality, efficient and cost-effective to businesses, he told a fintech panel during the three-day conference that ended on Tuesday.
Li Dongrong, president of the National Internet Finance Association of China shared similar views.
"Without the real economy, finance could only enter into a self-cycle that features over-expansion and irrational prosperity that could eventually lead to the financial crisis," he said.
Liu emphasized the role digital information technology can play in promoting inclusive finance through cost reduction and revamp of traditional models of the financial services.
"Through digital means, farmers and residents in far-flung areas can receive financial services that were once unattainable to them, such as getting remittances and small loans," Liu noted.
Technologies are empowering the under-banked and socially vulnerable groups, by giving them equal access to benefits and opportunities, said Lucy Peng, chairwoman of Ant Financial Services Group, a Chinese fintech giant.
Peng is leading an initiative to help lift women out of poverty by, for example, offering a slew of financial services they can leverage to start their own businesses.
Ant's services use big data analysis to pinpoint needs and automatically evaluate risks before giving out loans. Bad loan ratio of its Jiebei online small loan service stands below 1 percent, which is significantly lower than the 30 to 50 percent industry average, she said.
Search engine Baidu Inc stepped into the online finance arena by offering loans to credible businesses who advertise on its site, and adopted artificial intelligence into client sorting and assessment, said Zhu Guang, the company's senior vice-president.
(China Daily 12/06/2017 page5)