Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China to dictate world car design [The Age/AFP]

Source - BBC, 2012

Fancy a dragon-tattooed jeep?

On the back of the Auto China Show 2012 in Beijing, AFP reports that the world’s top auto market since 2009 is set to influence how cars are designed around the world. Is the world ready for automobiles that appeal to Chinese tastes first? Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise with bottom-line figures telling.

When it took over the US as top car market, it saw 13.5m cars and trucks roll out. Last year car sales were at 18.5m. Analysts believe this year will see an increase of 10%. 20m cars sold each year just sounds staggering.

Interestingly, the Chinese government requires foreign automobile makers to team up with domestic partners. This way they enter the market as a domestic producer than as an importer.

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China to dictate world car design
AFP
Source – The Age, published April 30, 2012

The sheer size of the Chinese car market is forcing Western car makers to think about restyling their cars to appeal to Chinese tastes first.

As more and more Chinese buy cars, car makers say consumer tastes in the Asian nation have a growing influence on vehicle design the world over.

China emerged as the world’s top car market in 2009, and though the sector stalled last year, with sales rising just 2.5 per cent to 18.51 million, carmakers are convinced it is where the industry’s future lies. Read the rest of this entry »

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Filed under: AFP, Automotive, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Soft Power, Strategy, The Age

Tokyo offer to buy Diaoyu Islands stirs public wrath [Global Times]

Sino-Japanese boundary: 5 inhabited islands + 3 barren rocks + once/still suspected US Sino-Japan proxy-war mine = The Diaoyu/Senkaku dispute. The latest chapter of this long-running dispute (since 1972) sees the Tokyo government come up with an unusual move to stir up again, questions of sovereignty.

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Tokyo offer to buy Diaoyu Islands stirs public wrath
By Yang Jingjie
Source – Global Times, published April 28, 2012

Chinese analysts and activists have lambasted an attempt by Japanese right-wing politicians to purchase the Diaoyu Islands, saying the unilateral action wouldn’t change the facts that the islands are under Chinese sovereignty.

Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishihara announced Friday that the metropolitan government had set up an account for people to send money to help it purchase the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea, the Japan Times reported.

“We’ve received so many phone calls (from citizens) saying they want to donate money … Some even sent us 100,000 yen ($1,240),” Ishihara said at a news press conference on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, global times, Government & Policy, Greater China, Influence, International Relations, japan, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Territorial Disputes, The Chinese Identity, U.S.

Foxconn workers get Taiwan vacation [China Post]

Foxconn: is the major supplier for Apple Inc. making amends or could it be public relations choreography? 216 Outstanding Foxconn workers get all-expenses paid (with vacation pay) seven-day trip to Taiwan. This comes as Hon Hai, its parent company posted ‘NT$789.94 billion (US$26.8 billion) in unconsolidated sales, up 42.59 percent from a year earlier’ (Taipei Times, April 23, 2012).

An incentive tourism group of Chinese workers from Foxconn arrive at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, yesterday. Source - CNA

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Foxconn workers get Taiwan vacation Source –  China Post, published April 23, 2012

TAIPEI–A group of Chinese workers from Foxconn Technology Group arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Sunday for a seven-day tour of the country, courtesy of their employer.

The 216 Foxconn employees from 17 provinces and 21 factories in China are scheduled to visit many popular tourist sites, including Taipei’s Shilin Night Market, Taipei 101, the National Palace Museum, the scenic Sun Moon Lake and Alishan in central Taiwan, and Kaohsiung’s Lioho night market.

Many of the employees expressed excitement upon arrival on their first visit to Taiwan, and thanked the company for providing such a wonderful opportunity to experience the country’s culture. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foxconn Suicides 2010, Human Rights, Migrant Workers, Trade

‘This city is so dangerous’: outrage in China over Sydney train assault [The Age]

Sydney: Unfortunate incident arises as alleged robbery of Chinese students on board a train may turn out as racial attack.

‘A Chinese student currently undertaking a Masters degree at the University of Technology took to the social media site Weibo claiming he and his friend had been victims of a brutal attack that included racial taunts’ (Yahoo7 News, April 24, 2012)

This will certainly be also a test for Sino-Australia relations as former foreign and prime minister Kevin Rudd steps in with a social media pledge (see screen grab below).

“They were calling us Asian dogs and pussies while they were beating us. When my friend tried to wipe blood from his nose, a teenaged girl stuffed my friend’s mouth with her tampon removed from her pants…” one of the victims.

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‘This city is so dangerous’: outrage in China over Sydney train assault
by Peter Cai
Source – The Age, published April 24, 2012

Will try to approach police ... a screen grab of Kevin Rudd's message on Weibo. Source - The Age

A terrifying gang assault on Sydney train passengers has left two international students seriously injured and caused a media storm in China.

The alleged robbery, including racist taunts, drew a social media pledge from former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd and led to emergency talks at Sydney’s Chinese consulate general.

Police said six people, aged 14 to 18, robbed passengers on a train between Central and Rockdale about 12.30am yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Australia, Chinese overseas, Culture, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Overseas Chinese, People, Politics, Social, The Age, The Chinese Identity

The Startling Plight of China’s Leftover Ladies [Foreign Policy]

Foreign Policy ‘The Sex Issue Special Report’: the emerging Sheng Nu (剩女) problem in focus as China’s new socio-economic dynamic and high GDP growth translates to what is translated as ‘Leftover Ladies‘. In some ways, it has some equivalence with the West’s ‘Bridget Jones’ meme.

A survey by the All-China Women’s Federation found in 2010 that ‘more than 90 percent of male respondents agreed that women should marry before age 27 or risk being forever undesired.’

That said, China is a country where ‘118 boys were born for every 100 girls in 2010, and by 2020 the number of men unable to find partners is expected to reach 24 million.’

Does it make sense that there should be any women left over? This report attempts to shed some light.

Further reading for local insights: My Chinese teacher discusses leftover men (Shanghaishiok, November 25, 2010) provides an interesting Venn diagram to explain the phenomenon.

Teacher Li's take on leftover women... and leftover men. Source - Shanghai Shiok, 2012

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The Startling Plight of China’s Leftover Ladies
China’s men far outnumber women. So why is it so hard to find a good husband?
by Christina Larson
Source – Foreign Policy Magazine, MAY/JUNE 2012 edition

Source - Foreign Policy, 2012

The Spicy Love Doctor was running late. A well-heeled crowd one recent Sunday afternoon had packed into the second-floor lounge of Beijing’s Trends Building — home to the publishing offices of several glossy magazines, including the Chinese editions of Cosmopolitan, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar — to hear Wu Di, a contributor to China’s Cosmopolitan and author of an alluring new book, I Know Why You’re Left. The poised, professional crowd, outfitted in black blazers, leather boots, and trendy thick-framed glasses, was composed mostly of women in their mid-20s to mid-30s — prime Cosmo readers and all there waiting patiently to hear Wu, who typically charges $160 an hour for “private romance counseling,” explain their surprising plight: being single women in a country with a startling excess of men. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foreign Policy Blogs, Foreign Policy Magazine, People, Population, Sheng Nu, Social, The Chinese Identity

Master of the Media Spotlight Is Now Its Victim in China [New York Times]

It sure is flooding the public sphere as the Bo Xilai saga continues. Perhaps it’s indicative of just how much the party wants him out. On the other hand, it’s probably a good time to find out which influences mind-share more – China’s time tested one-to-many propaganda machine choreographing a damning narrative, foreign media looking for gaps, or social media from within telling us things we don’t know first hand?

‘Not in decades has such a widespread and finely tuned propaganda campaign been rolled out during the purge of an official. In the last two major purges, in 2006 and 1995, party leaders did not flood the media with nearly so much propaganda. And not since the bloodshed of 1989 have editorials insisting that officials and cadres reaffirm fealty to the party appeared with such frequency and vehemence.’

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Master of the Media Spotlight Is Now Its Victim in China
Edward Wong, Jonathan Ansfield
Source – New York Times, published April 23, 2012

BEIJING — Intimidating and courting Chinese journalists, Bo Xilai, an ambitious Communist Party official, fueled his political career by ably shaping his public image and seizing the spotlight in a way no peer had as he governed a Chinese city. But with his purge from the party’s top ranks this month, Mr. Bo has suddenly found himself the target of the same media apparatus that he once so carefully manipulated, and that now vilifies him in the name of the party’s leaders.

As it announced the purge, the party unleashed the full arsenal of its propaganda machine against Mr. Bo, pressing news organizations across the nation into an extraordinary campaign urging support for the party’s decision to oust Mr. Bo, editors and media executives say. It has arguably been the greatest mobilization to support a decision by the party since the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

The campaign began on April 10, when the state news agency, Xinhua, announced that Mr. Bo had been suspended from the powerful Politburo and that his wife, Gu Kailai, was under investigation in the murder of a British businessman in November. Interviews with editors and media executives offer a glimpse of how the secretive party propaganda machinery has worked at a time of intense political tension. This week, the campaign is entering a more subtle phase as some news organizations veer away, at the behest of top propaganda officials, from running editorials emphasizing party loyalty and start to parse the significance of Mr. Bo’s case. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Bo Xilai, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Government & Policy, Influence, Media, New York Times, Politics, Strategy

Ford to Build Plant in China to Bolster Global Sales [New York Times]

Ford forges ahead on the Chinese automotive bandwagon with the largest factory expansion in 50 years.

This however, comes at a time of increased competition, with Japanese, European and American automakers plus fast-growing, low-cast local manufacturers. Can China’s market handle the intensity? After a decade of double-digit growth, Chinese auto sales rose just 2.5 percent in 2011. The first quarter of this year was the first decline in seven years when indicated sales were down 1.3 percent.

President of Ford’s operations in Asia howver indicates that ‘Ford had forecast in 2010 that the Chinese market would grow at a compound annual rate of 5 percent for the next decade.’

‘Until early this year, Ford had an annual manufacturing capacity in China of 450,000 cars, in what has become the world’s largest market, with annual sales of 18 million vehicles. But by 2015, it plans to have an annual capacity of 1.2 million cars.’

From Ford’s media site, Soundbites: New Hangzhou Assembly Plant in China 

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Ford to Build Plant in China to Bolster Global Sales
By KEITH BRADSHER
Source: New York Times, published April 19, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA — Ford Motor has chosen China for its largest factory expansion program in a half century, announcing on Thursday that it would build a $760 million assembly plant in Hangzhou, two weeks after announcing another $600 million plan to expand an assembly plant in Chongqing and less than six weeks after completing a third assembly plant in Chongqing.

Ford is late to China’s party, and its new factories will open in a slowing, increasingly competitive Chinese market. Rapid factory construction in China is a throwback to the company’s last big factory building campaign in the 1950s, when models like the Thunderbird captured the hearts and wallets of young Americans and when Ford was racing to increase capacity in postwar Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Auto sales in China rose just 2.5 percent last year, after a decade of double-digit annual growth. Sales were down 1.3 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year earlier, the first quarter to show a decline in seven years, according to official figures. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Automotive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, New York Times, Soft Power, Transport, U.S.

Sudan war ‘threatens China energy safety’ [Global Times]

Sudan: China attempts to mediate as war threatens China’s energy safety. China is Sudan’s largest economic partner, with a 40% share in Sudanese oil projects. Diplomatic relations go back to 1959. Today 5% of China’s oil imports come from Sudan.Commentators who subscribe to the label rogue states would find China-Sudan bilateral relations would find theirs an exemplar.

The whole region, before South Sudan seceded was one of China’s most successful overseas investments.

Li Weijian, director at the Center of Western Asian and African Studies of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies said, “China was not only the oil buyer but also invested in the whole oil industry chain as well as many infrastructure programs. Once the conflict intensifies, China will be affected…”

It might be useful to take notice of how China handles this. How will it flex its soft power muscles to get a desirable outcome?

Even when it comes to the matter of energy safety in sustaining comprehensive national power, it seems the Chinese independent foreign policy of peace  rhetoric continues to translate to dialogue and diplomacy, over sanctions. This, on the back of the Sino-Russian double veto during the Syria resolution back in February.

On the other hand, the UN Security Council discussed possible sanctions against Sudan and South Sudan on Tuesday as Sudan loses a third of its crude output at about 40,000 barrels when South Sudan took control of the Heglig border region.

See also – Sudan, South Sudan only one step from full-scale war (Global Times, April 20, 2012)

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Sudan war ‘threatens China energy safety’
by Liu Meng
Source – Global Times, published April 20, 2012

Addressing a rally of members of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum, the Sudanese president declared war on South Sudan on April 18. Photo: Xinhua

The war between Sudan and South Sudan threatens China’s energy security, and Beijing will continue to mediate a peace deal between the two sides, analysts said Thursday.

The comments came as Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir vowed Thursday to teach “a lesson by force” to the South Sudanese government over its seizure of the north’s main Heglig oil field.

“America will not invoke sanctions on them, and the (UN) Security Council will not, but the Sudanese people are going to punish them,” Bashir said at a rally of paramilitary troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Africa, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, military, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, Sudan, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

Insider’s Shocking Information On Xi’s Succession [New Tang Dynasty TV/Youtube]

Chinese power struggle drama: New Tang Dynasty TV adds to the Bo Xilai intrigue with an Epoch Times report suggesting Jiang Zemin’s choice for next leader was Bo.

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Insider’s Shocking Information On Xi’s Succession
New Tang Dynasty TV
Source – Youtube, published April 17, 2012

The Epoch Times report states that the intensive CCP power struggle is actually around Xi Jinping.
In fact Jiang Zemin secretly chose Bo Xilai to be the CCP’s next leader at the CCP’s 18th Congress, not Xi Jinping. But due to various factors within the CCP circle, Jiang Zemin was forced to choose Xi Jinping as a transition.

Filed under: 52 Unacceptable Practices, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Corruption, Crime, Government & Policy, Human Rights, Media, Nationalism, New Leadership, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Walt Disney to Co-Produce Iron Man 3 in China With DMG [Bloomberg]

Whilst one can argue that Americanisation is creeping into Chinese culture, perhaps it is not surprising they are milking the cow with a new level of product placement while they develop their own creative industries?

The agreement marks a milestone as “the first multibillion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China,” said Dan Mintz, chief executive officer of DMG. Chinese elements will be added to the film, he said.

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Walt Disney to Co-Produce Iron Man 3 in China With DMG
Stephanie Wong in Shanghai; Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles
Bloomberg, published April

Walt Disney Co. (DIS), the world’s largest entertainment company, plans to co-produce “Iron Man 3” with Beijing film studio DMG Entertainment as collaborations between Hollywood and Chinese studios increase.

The movie will have an investment of least 1 billion yuan ($158 million), DMG Chairman Peter Xiao told reporters in Beijing yesterday. The Chinese company will invest in the production and help distribute it in China, Burbank, California- based Disney said today in a statement.

The partnership is the latest in a wave of U.S.-Chinese deals as Western operators look for a larger role in one of the world’s fastest-growing movie markets. While China limits the number of foreign films allowed into the country, pictures co- produced with Chinese partners can skirt the quotas. China also has adjusted the revenue-sharing formula, giving foreign studios a bigger share of ticket sales. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Media, Peaceful Development, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, U.S.

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