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Chinese tourists have shown an increased interest for the Russia World Cup

Major Chinese online travel agencies have confirmed that Chinese tourists are showing more and more interest in Russia, the host country for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

According to the agencies, the number of airline tickets reserved for major venues such as Moscow and St. Petersburg are up by 50% year-on-year for the period of 14 June – 15 July 2018.

Travel packages have increased, which means hotels around the 12 major arenas are being booked out, with less than a month to go before the world’s biggest soccer tournament kicks off.

According to the Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation, at least 1.5 million overseas visitors are expected in Russia during the tournament, with expenses amounting to over 140 million euros (USD 165 million).

The agencies also noted that Shanghai fans have placed the most orders for World Cup-related travel, followed by Beijing and Chengdu. About six of the top 10 cities with the largest number of World Cup game attendees are from second-tier cities.

Source: chinatravelnews.com

 

Japan exports improve more than it was expected

The value of Japan’s exports rose at the quickest clip in three months in April on increased. The rising volumes has suggested a healthy overseas demand that could help the economy recover quickly from a dip in the first quarter.

According to a Reuters poll, exports grew 7.8% in April from the same period a year ago, below the median estimate for an 8.1% annual increase expected. Meanwhile, in March, exports grew an annual 2.1 %.

In terms of volume, which strips away the impact of exchange rates, Japan’s exports rose an annual 4.6% in April, faster than the 1.8% annual increase seen in March.

The increased demand for manufacturing equipment, cars and car parts are likely to expand exports. However, Japan’s trade surplus with the United States makes it a potential target for U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies.

Senior economist Hiroshi Miyazaki at Mitsubishi UFJ, Morgan Stanley Securities said overseas economies are in a growth phase which mean the Japan’s exports will continue to grow.

“The U.S. government may turn its attention to Japan’s trade surplus, but there are steps Japan can take, especially given the close defence relationship between the two countries.”

Miyazaki noted that the rise in the volume of exports was another reason to be optimistic.

Exports to China are Japan’s largest trading partner, which rose an annual 10.9% in April, versus a 10.8% increase in the previous month, due to an increase of shipments of machines used to process metals and to make electronic components.

Japan’s exports to China often serve as a barometer of global demand because companies in China use materials and equipment from Japan to make goods for export to other countries.

Source: Reuters.com

 

China launches satellite as part of mission to explore moon’s dark side

China has launched a relay satellite early on Monday designed to establish a communication link between earth and a planned lunar probe that will explore the dark side of the moon.

According Reuters the satellite was launched at 5:28 a.m. (2128 GMT Sunday) on a Long March-4C rocket from the Xichang launch center in the southwest of the country.

“The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the moon,”  Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project.

The satellite is known as Queqiao, or Magpie Bridge, which will settle in an orbit about 455,000 km (282,555 miles) from earth and will be the world’s first communication satellite operating there.

China aims to catch up with Russia and the United States to become a major space power by 2030. The country is planning to launch construction of its own manned space station next year.

However, while China has insisted its ambitions are purely peaceful, the U.S. Defense Department has accused it of pursuing activities aimed at preventing other nations from using space-based assets during a crisis.

Source: reuters.com

 

China the largest contributor to Thailand tourism

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok has seen the largest number of holiday bookings compared to other overseas destinations.

According to MasterCard International, Bangkok has replaced London and Paris as the most frequented tourist destination in the world for two consecutive years.

In 2016, the city welcomed about 194 million tourists from around the world. Thailand was one of the earliest countries open to Chinese tourists, and it has always been a preferred travel destination for Chinese tourists.

Pongpanu Svetarundra, Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, said that last year Chinese tourists brought more than 520 billion baht in revenue to Thailand, becoming the largest contributor to the country’s tourism sector in terms of the number of arrivals and the size of profit.

At the beginning of this year, the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Thailand hit 350,000 – an increase of 113.8% from the previous year, according to statistics. That figure was more than a quarter of the total outbound Chinese tourism during the same period.

Source: http://www.ecns.cn

Public lecture on BRICS at the University of Limpopo

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has partnered with the University of Limpopo for this morning’s public lecture on South Africa’s hosting of the 10th BRICS Summit.

Taking place under the theme: “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration, Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, the lecture was presented by Prof Anil Sooklal, Deputy Director-General for Asia and Middle East at DIRCO and BRICS Sherpa.

Addressing students, Sooklal said: “Today, it is important that people know about BRICS because the people are at the forefront of BRICS. The organisation is focused on advancing the economy and the domestic interest of South Africa including the SADC region.”

Prof. Sooklal was joined by Mr Kenneth da Nobrega, Sous Sherpa for the Republic of Brazil and Mr Pavel Knyazev, Sous Sherpa for the Russian Federation. The meeting of the BRICS Sherpas will take place 24-26 April 2018 at the Mabula Lodge in Bela Bela, Limpopo.

Image: Embassy of Russia

DIRCO

[WATCH] Selection and election: How China chooses its leaders

China has developed a unique system of choosing its leaders, eschewing Western models for a process based on merit and broad support. Scholar Zhang Weiwei argues that while the system of “selection and election” is not perfect, it is a match for alternative models and has delivered for the Chinese people.

Copy & video: China Global Television Network

 

 

China to lighten the tax burden on individuals and businesses

China has vowed to cut the value-added tax rate on various sectors as of May 2018. The sectors affected include manufacturing, transportation, construction, telecommunication and agricultural sectors.

The motivation behind this decision is to lighten the tax burden on individuals and businesses. The government is also looking to boost domestic demand in a year of economic growth that slowed down in 2017.

According to Reuters, China’s State Council said VAT cutd are expected to save 240 billion yuan ($38 billion) in taxes this year.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the tax cuts for the manufacturing and transportation. The tax rate cut for the manufacturing sector will lower to 16% from 17%, while the rate for other industries will be cut to 10% from 11%.

The findings from Goldman Sachs research indicated that the tax cut is a positive move. “However, the magnitude of the cut is relatively small and is already factored into the official fiscal budget.”

The research also stated that the coming weeks will reveal details of other tax cut measures.

Source: Reuters

SA ready to chair the BRICS Business Council after signing Kigali Declaration

The growing motion on the African Continental Free Trade Area saw about 44 countries sign the AfCFTA deal this week in Kigali, Rwanda.

Several other countries, including South Africa, signed the Kigali Declaration which is devoted to the establishment of the African economic community, that seeks free movement of persons and goods to facilitate trade.
Chairman of the SA chapter of the BRICS Business Council, Dr Iqbal Survé said this is the best thing to happen to Africa in a very long time.

The AfCFTA agreement is figured to have the potential to bring together 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of over US$2.5 trillion if successfully implemented.

Survé said the AfCFTA would allow the BRICS grouping to attract further investment into Africa to create skilled jobs.

“The global norm for intra trade is 30 percent but Africa has not been trading with itself. But Africa is now set for a decade of unbelievable growth and prosperity.” Survé said.

The BRICS nations make up more than 40 percent of the global population and according to Survé the formation of BRICS has proven to be hugely beneficial to Africa as a whole.

“BRICS countries are now Africa’s biggest trade partners.”
Survé also pointed to the deepening of inter-BRICS relations in areas such as financial services, skills development, manufacturing, and the easing of travel restrictions.

“For Africa, of course, it is important that there is continued infrastructure investment and deepening investment,” added Survé.

Survé will be leading around 50 senior business executives from various sectors to the mid-term meeting that would take place next week in Shanghai, China.

Source: African News Agency/ANA

China Names Yi Gang as Its First New Central Bank Chief in 15 Years

China has appointed Yi Gang as the new head of People’s Bank of China.

The position was run by Zhou Xiaochuan for more than a decade, who is now set to retire at the age of 70.

He steered the institution through global financial crisis during his 15-year term.

The new leadership is said to come at a time of heightened awareness of the risks facing the economy, from a broader trade-war with the U.S. to a long-feared financial blow-up.

The appointment of Gang falls part of the country’s new economic team as President Xi Jinping kicks off his second term.

Sources : www.cnbs.com

President Xi Jinping remains ‘historic’ speeches are validated at Davos

Fu Jing in Davos, Switzerland
Displayed with permission from China Daily

Theme built on ‘shared future’ idea president unveiled in 2017

President Xi Jinping’s advocacy of a community with a shared future for mankind, an open economy, globalisation and fighting protectionism and isolationism has been widely welcomed and China has been transforming the proposals into action, said a senior Chinese official attending the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Liu He, a member of Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, addressed the four-day annual meeting, which ends on Friday. Last year, Xi made speeches that were considered historic in Davos and Geneva.

“President Xi came here last year and delivered a speech entitled Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth, in which he expounded on China’s firm support for economic globalisation,” said Liu, a top economic policy adviser as head of the General Office of the Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, responsible for mapping the country’s economic policies. “That speech was warmly received by the international community.”

Liu said that in line with Xi’s propositions in Davos, China has stood firm against all forms of protectionism in the past year.

He said China has strengthened protection of intellectual property rights, promoted fair competition, deepened the opening of financial markets and increased imports.

“With efforts to implement the Belt and Road Initiative, we are moving economic globalisation forward with concrete actions,” Liu said.

Liu said the theme of this year’s forum, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, is highly relevant.

He quoted Xi as saying, “As long as we keep to the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfil our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our people.”

While urging improved labour productivity and changes in the savings rate in large economies, Liu warned that deep-seated problems in the world economy have yet to be fixed and multiple risks and considerable uncertainties come from high debts, asset bubbles, protectionism and the escalation of regional and international hot spots.

“To meet these challenges, to keep the growth momentum, and to turn the cyclical recovery into sustainable growth, we need concerted global efforts,” Liu said. “History often repeats itself in different ways or keeps revisiting similar crossroads. It is crucial to make prudent and rational choices – choices that will serve mankind well.”

He advocated having an open mind and taking a strategic perspective in dealing with global challenges like climate change, disruptive technologies and terrorism.

“No country can cope with them alone. We need to enhance mutual understanding, tolerance and trust. And we must seek cooperation in a sensible and practical manner,” Liu said.

“We need to shape a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and build a community with a shared future for mankind. We believe this is the only way that will lead us to prosperity.”

Angus Deaton, an economics professor at Princeton University, told China Daily that Xi’s concept of a shared future for mankind is a great vision. “I think China is doing what they can to make it happen,” said Deaton, recipient of the 2015 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Rob Wainwright, director of Europol, the police authority based in The Hague, said Xi’s call for a shared future is significant.

“I work very much in Europe with US partners, but that is not enough. I am very pleased about the positive positions that China has taken so far,” Wainwright said.

In his speech, Liu also said that high-quality growth, instead of high-speed development, will predominate in China’s development in the coming years.

Liu said China is preparing a new reform package that will be announced when China celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up this year.

Liu has said that the financial sector, manufacturing and services industries, intellectual property rights and imports are the four key sectors for China’s reforms this year.

fujing@chinadaily.com.cn

 

Source: Repubhub/China Daily