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  • 21 09 2017    Boom in e-commerce calls for online mediation services (BUSINESS)

    How to make legal documents via voice recognition technology and how to reach online settlements on e-commerce disputes were among topics discussed at a meeting on mediation held Tuesday in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. At the International Summit on Mediation, sponsored by China Council For The Promotion of International Trade, more than 400 legal experts and online firms from over 10 countries and regions agreed that the boom in e-commerce globally requires better online mediation and settlement services. "Online mediation and settlement suits the e-commerce era, and can greatly improve work efficiency and lower the cost of legal procedures," Peter Phillips, director of U.S. firm Business Conflict Management LLC said. Compared to conventional trade, many e-commerce businesses are smaller in scale and more likely to have business disputes, according to Yang Peng, a service director from Chinese Internet giant Alibaba. "Alibaba's online platforms have provided dispute appeal, mediation and settlement services for all contracted parties," he said. Alibaba is based in Hangzhou, China's e-commerce hub. The city has 60 million registered international e-commerce businesses. In the first half of this year, Hangzhou recorded 4.4 billion U.S. dollars in cross-border e-trade, up 20.85 percent year on year. The number of e-commerce cases makes up less than 0.2 percent of all cases handled by Hangzhou's West Lake District People's Court, but that number is growing, said Chen Liaomin, deputy director of the court. China inaugurated the country's first Internet court in Hangzhou in August, which specializes in handling Internet-related cases such as disputes concerning e-commerce trade, Internet finance, copyright of online publications and personal rights. Wang Jiangqiao, deputy head of the Internet court, gave a briefing of the court's functions at the forum and said that legal procedures can be initiated via the court's website He said for e-commerce disputes, the court requires three rounds of mediation before beginning judicial proceedings. Mediation can occur either via online and offline channels.
  • 15 09 2017    Chinese economy slower in expansion, steady in reforms (ECONOMY)

    Rather than adding to pure optimism, fresh official data released Thursday painted a realistic picture of the world's second largest economy that is slower in expansion but steady in reforms. China posted weaker-than-expected growth in key economic indicators in the first eight months of this year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Industrial output, a gauge of the activity of large enterprises, grew 6 percent year on year in August, down from the 6.4-percent pace a month earlier and retreating to the lowest level this year. Fixed asset investment fell short of expectations with a 7.8-percent rise in the January-August period, the weakest since 1999. Retail sales rose 10.1 percent last month, lower than market estimates of 10.5 percent and July's 10.4-percent rate. Private investment and property sales also registered slower growth. Thursday's data came after a strong economic rebound that features forecast-beating GDP expansion in the first two quarters and aroused concerns over the growth impetus of the economy. Bloomberg chief Asia economist Tom Orlik said in an e-mail that the data showed "a slightly sharper-than-expected loss of momentum," adding that headwinds against the economy are significant. "China still faces lurking problems and challenges" from external uncertainties and domestic transformation, NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said at a press conference, but dismissed worries that the lackluster performance will linger for the remainder of the year. "Short-term volatility can be triggered by non-economic factors, such as weather and comparison bases, and does not represents the overall trend," Liu said, adding that high temperatures and more rainfall disrupted factory activity this summer. Employment was stable and inflation was under control. The surveyed unemployment rate in 31 cities was under 5 percent last month and consumer prices rose 1.8 percent. Industrial enterprises saw their profits improve substantially in the first seven months. "The economy still stayed within a reasonable range," Liu said, predicting stability in the second half. China has targeted an annual economic growth of around 6.5 percent for 2017, down from the 6.7 percent pace recorded in 2016. The NBS data also pointed to solid progress in the country's economic rebalancing and industrial upgrades. With old growth engines losing steam, China is pressing forward with a new model of economic development that draws strength from consumption, services sector and innovation. Services maintained rapid expansion in August, with revenues of information and rental services logging double-digit growth. Investment into high-tech sectors jumped 19.5 percent in the first eight months, while the environmental protection industry saw investment up by 28.2 percent. The output of industrial robots surged 63 percent in the January-August period, and 25 percent more new energy vehicles rolled off assembly lines. "In the details, there were some positives for China's reform and rebalancing story, with most of the slowdown in production coming from investment and output of old-line industries," Orlik said. China has made headway in downsizing saturated sectors. Around 128 million tonnes of excess coal capacity was eliminated during the January-July period, while shoddy steel products were banned. Economic adjustments continued with improvements in quality and efficiency, Liu said.
  • 05 07 2017    Top 10 most business "friendly" cities in China (BUSINESS)

    Beijing is the most attractive city for business in China, followed by Shanghai and Guangzhou, a study by media outlet CBN Weekly showed. The ranking takes into account industrial clusters, transportation convenience, lifestyle diversity and future potential, according to the report "What makes a good city" released in June. The report ranks 338 prefecture-level cities in China based on data from 17 institutions and 160 companies. The Top 10 most business friendly cities in the country are listed below. 10. Tianjin, 76.57 9. Nanjing, 79.52 8. Chongqing, 80.51 7. Wuhan, 84.97 6. Hangzhou, 85.67 5. Chengdu, 98.97 4. Shenzhen, 111.54 3. Guangzhou, 117.85 2. Shanghai, 200.68 1. Beijing, 235.46
  • 05 06 2017    Liaoning FTZ trades on its strategic location (ECONOMY)

    The central government announced the launch of the China (Liaoning) Pilot Free Trade Zone over the weekend to revitalize the traditional industrial base in Northeast China and promote international economic and trade cooperation in Northeast Asia. Three northeastern provinces and eastern Inner Mongolia autonomous region account for 110 million people with GDP reaching 6 trillion yuan ($870.83 billion). Pillar industries include manufacturing, vehicles, coal and animal husbandry products, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. "With the implementation of the FTZ, Liaoning has become an integral part of the national strategy to build an open and new economic system and take major reform and opening up responsibility." said Li Xi, Liaoning provincial Party Secretary. "We should set up strategic thinking and global vision and push the work together with the Belt and Road Initiative." As early as 2015, Li, then the governor of Liaoning province started calling for the establishment of the Liaoning FTZ. "The biggest challenge for Liaoning and even the whole of northeast China, is the rigid institutional mechanism. The FTZ will be a breath of fresh air and force government to recreate the service system," said Song Yanlin, director of Liaoning Free Trade Zone. The FTZ will help accumulate a wide range of resources and prompt diversified investment, consumption and foreign trade, which would become a new engine for the local economy, suggested Lu Zhongchang, vice-president of the Dalian University of Technology. Liaoning FTZ consists of three parts in Dalian, Shenyang and Yingkou. Dalian will focus on port logistics and financial business; Shenyang will focus on equipment manufacturing, automotive and spare parts; and Yingkou will focus on business logistics and cross-border e-commerce. "The core function of FTA is to promote domestic and foreign trade. It can only succeed when a large number of small- and medium-sized companies from various countries can profit from this platform," said Yang Baowei, general manager of Neunn Technology Co, which is assisting the construction of data network in Shenyang FTZ. His view was echoed by Tu Ming, CFO of General Electric China. Tu said the simplified process and flexible policies help set up links between local business and the global market, which will greatly benefit the development of Liaoning. "In fact, we expect this will not only benefit our business in the northeastern region of China, but also GE's development in China." In addition to promoting the reform of government institutions, the Liaoning FTZ also undertakes the task of integrating international economic and trade cooperation in Northeast Asia. Shenyang is the transportation, trade, culture and political hub of northeast China. There are six countries setting up consulates here, including the United States, Japan, France and Germany. A number of transnational headquarters chose the city as their regional headquarters. In fact, 20 years ago, the United Nations Development Program launched the Tumen project to promote economic and trade cooperation between China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Russia and Mongolia. Japan Consul General Ishizuka Hideki said the FTZ will further accelerate the international business environment and enhance the attractiveness for foreign enterprises. "According to the statistics in 2015, Japan ranked as the largest export and second-largest import partner for Liaoning. We are very close partners in the economic and trade areas. The FTA will help deepen relations between Japan and Liaoning province and other regions in Northeast China. I, myself, and other Japanese companies that have invested or will invest all have big expectations from this." German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the then ROK Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn visited Shenyang last year. And in November, Yingkou Port Group Co, Ltd signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian Railways Co Ltd to implement the Belt and Road Initiative. Photo : 
  • 23 05 2017    China rises to 15th in global tourism competitiveness ranking: Report (ECONOMY)

    China has risen two positions to the 15th in the latest global tourism competitiveness ranking released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Thursday. The forum's Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks 136 countries and regions across 14 dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector. While advanced economies, such as Spain, France and Germany, continue to top the rankings, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets, with Asia's as exponents. […] As one of the Asia's giants, China received nearly 57 million tourists in 2016, which accounted for over 20 percent of international arrivals in Asia, says the report. It attributes the improvement of China's tourism competitiveness ranking mainly to the country's increased international openness, improved ICT (information and communications technology) readiness and further investments in its tourist service infrastructure. […] Meanwhile, the WEF report suggests more measures to support the country's continued rise in the ranking, including creating more accommodation capacity beyond the larger cities, a more enabling environment for doing business, and environmental sustainability to ensure the preservation of its unique natural resources. The report also sees China as a largest source market in the region with nearly 128 million departures registered in 2015. But the potential is still huge, as the report finds out that only 5 percent of China's population hold a passport. It also finds that the increasingly protectionist global context, one that is hindering global trade, is not holding back international travel. According to WEF's statistics, the global travel and tourism sector accounts for 10 percent of global GDP and provides one in 10 jobs worldwide. Photo: