Wandering China

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

China uses pickle index to track migrant flows [Straits Times/AFP] #RisingChina #InternalMigrantFlows

榨菜 (Zha Cai) literally means pressed vegetables. The now ubiquitous pickle that hails from Sichuan is not only a popular dish amongst migrant workers in China – it’s quite the staple with many Chinese worldwide too.

Also, see

‘Pickle index’ measures changing tide of Chinese migrant workers (South China Morning Post, August 14, 2013)

Sceptical of often unreliable provincial statistical data, China’s chief economic engineers have turned to a large, radish-like mustard tuber to measure the country’s urbanisation rate.

Consumption patterns of the preserved vegetable, a staple dish of migrant workers, helped researchers track labourers’ movement within China, an unnamed staffer of the planning department of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) told the Economic Observer.

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China uses pickle index to track migrant flows.
AFP
Source – Straits Times print edition, published Aug 14, 2013

20130815-071012.jpg

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Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, China Dream, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Food, Government & Policy, Infrastructure, Lifestyle, Mapping Feelings, Migrant Workers, Migration (Internal), Modernisation, People, Population, Poverty, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

Online retailer Alibaba eyes markets outside China [AsiaOne/AFP] #RisingChina #DigitalEconomy

Alibaba: Expanding its grasp on the digital marketplace by connecting first with its overseas Chinese to build on 500m existing users

Taobao is expected to be part of the listing vehicle for an expected initial public offer by Alibaba, which analysts say could value the group at between US$60 billion (S$74 billion) and US$100 billion, prompting comparisons with Facebook’s blockbuster IPO.

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Online retailer Alibaba eyes markets outside China
AFP
Source – AsiaOne, published May 10, 2012

20130512-090517.jpg

HANGZHOU, China – China’s online retail giant Alibaba aims to expand beyond its home market by targeting overseas Chinese through its flagship e-commerce website Taobao, an executive said Friday.

Taobao is China’s most popular e-shopping platform, and has more than 90 per cent of the online market for consumer-to-consumer transactions in the country. It had more than 800 million product listings and over 500 million registered users as of last year.

“We hope to provide services to markets of overseas Chinese consumers first so we can have the experience and ability to further promote Taobao in other markets of non-Chinese consumers,” said Daphne Lee, director of overseas business for Taobao.

Such a move could eventually make Taobao, which marks its 10th anniversary Friday, a threat to US giants eBay and Amazon.

Please click here to read the full article at AsiaOne.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Domestic Growth, Economics, History, Ideology, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Reform, Social, Technology, The Chinese Identity, Trade

World’s largest building nears completion [Sydney Morning Herald/AFP] #China #Chengdu #NewCenturyGlobalCentre

Ocean City built by man… just because they can?

The scale baffles and excites the mind as China continues to build its interior, at least a thousand of kilometres from any coast.

For one who has visited the Sydney Opera House on multiple occasions, to imagine that the New Century Global Centre would be able to contain twenty of the Opera Houses stretches the contours of the headspace. I will be visiting Chengdu shortly, and will post an update on the mammoth structure that will feature an artificial sun with an artificial 500m long beach.

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World’s largest building nears completion
AFP
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, published December 28, 2012

Source - Sydney Morning Herald 'CHINA CONSTRUCTS WORLD'S BIGGEST BUILDINGThe 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre in Chengdu is a symbol of the spread of China's boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.'  Photo: AFP

Source – Sydney Morning Herald ‘CHINA CONSTRUCTS WORLD’S BIGGEST BUILDING
The 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre in Chengdu is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.’ Photo: AFP

 

A thousand kilometres from the nearest coast, a towering glass wave rolls over the plains of Sichuan, the roof of what Chinese officials say will be the world’s largest standalone structure.

The 100-metre-high New Century Global Centre is a symbol of the spread of China’s boom, 500m long and 400m wide, with 1.7 million square metres of floor space, big enough to hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses, according to local authorities.

By comparison the Pentagon in Washington – still one of the world’s largest office buildings – is barely a third of the size with a mere 600,000 sq m of floor space.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at the source. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Bo Xilai, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Infrastructure, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Poverty, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism, , , , , , ,

China’s longest high-speed railway ‘to open Dec. 26’ [AFP] #China #Highspeedrail

Running across multiple broadsheets internationally through the AFP: China now has both the longest and fastest train link in the world despite initial hiccups. Utilising tech developed with foreign partners such as Seimens and Bombardier, this network of high speed lines are five years in the making after first being unveiled at about the time of the Beijing Olympics. In that time they have built 5,000 miles of high speed rail lines.

I had the opportunity to take the high speed rail from Shanghai to Hangzhou where it reached a top speed of about 321km/h, though that was prior to the deadly collision in July 2011.

As a point of comparison – average high speed rail speeds in leading countries (not maximum commercial speed):

Japan – 243km/h
Germany – 232km/h
France – 277km/h
U.S. – 135km/h – shared rails with conventional trains, however.

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China’s longest high-speed railway ‘to open Dec. 26’
AFP
Source – News Republic, published December 15, 2012

Source - AFP, 2012

Source – AFP, 2012

The world’s longest high-speed rail route, running from the Chinese capital Beijing to Guangzhou in the south, will open for business on December 26, state media said Saturday.

Travelling at an average speed of 300 kilometres (186 miles) per hour, the line will slash journey times linking Beijing in the north with the country’s southern economic hub from 22 hours to eight hours, the China Daily newspaper said.

The December opening means the 2,298 kilometre route, with 35 stops including major cities Zhengzhou, Wuhan and Changsha, will be operational for China’s Lunar New Year holiday period, in which hundreds of millions of people travel across the country in the world’s largest annual migration. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Domestic Growth, Economics, Environment, Government & Policy, High Speed Rail, Influence, Infrastructure, Modernisation, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Resources, Social, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, Trade, Uncategorized

Huawei calls US Congress report ‘China bashing’ [AFP/Sydney Morning Herald]

Agencies-AFP and digital soft power: US Congress report seen by world’s top and fourth ranked telecomms companies as ‘China Bashing‘ in a liminal space where network society vulnerabilities in the telecommunications supply chain are examined.

Click here for a PDF copy of the report, hosted by WSJ.

ZTE, formerly Zhongxing Telecommunication Equipment Corporation is a Shenzhen-based MNC telecomms equipment and systems maker is the world’s fourth largest mobile phone manufacturer by unit sales. Founded in 1985 by a group of SOEs with China’s Ministry of Aerospace, it can be hard to shake off the allusions manifesting in western critical discourse.

Indeed Huawei too, was founded by former military officer Ren Zhengfei (click for Forbes profile) having spent a decade in the PLA engineering corps.

These associations, though telling, must also factor in the fact that in pre-opening up China, the military was the most sure-fire way to get a strong-er foothold in socialist life then. It still remains an aspirant and express ticket to prosperity in the eyes of many Chinese contemporaries around my age.

The collective memory of a tried and tested path though SOE and the military still remain today. Perhaps I digress.

In a quick scan of dominant media, let us kick off with a response that is couched in a central theme of ‘fear‘ by the Global Times in the op-ed Why does US fear Chinese telecom giantsWashington is afraid that Chinese companies will bring competition and challenges to the US.  Its lack of self-confidence is astonishing. Out of fear, the US is becoming oversensitive to China and even suspects equipment makers such as Huawei and ZTE. (October 9, 2012)

The report comes at a time when Huawei is struggling to establish its credentials in the US Political rhetoric against Beijing is intensifying as the US presidential election nears and as China gains clout in global affairs. Huawei and ZTE refute US lawmakers’ claims, Cisco cancels ZTE order (The Australian, October 9, 2012)

Source – Wall Street Journal, 2012

Huawei, in a statement, denied the allegations made in the report. “Unfortunately, the Committee’s report not only ignored our proven track record of network security in the United States and globally, but also paid no attention to the large amount of facts that we have provided.” The company also expressed concerns about trade protectionism. “We have to suspect that the only purpose of such a report is to impede competition and obstruct Chinese ICT companies from entering the US market.” Report Threatens Huawei’s Growth Plans
(Wall Street Journal Online, October 8, 2012)

More on ZTE’s mobile phone/data devices, carrier network solutions and enterprise communication operations in Australia here.

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Huawei calls US Congress report ‘China bashing’
Source – Sydney Morning Herald, October 9, 2012

Chinese tech giant Huawei on Monday called a congressional report warning of security risks from its telecom equipment “an exercise in China-bashing” as US lawmakers held firm to their allegations.

A US spokesman for Huawei said the report by the House Intelligence Committee which warned of national security risks from equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese firm ZTE was “utterly lacking in substance.”

“Huawei unequivocally denies the allegations in the report,” the spokesman, William Plummer, told reporters on a conference call. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Censorship, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Cyberattack, Democracy, Economics, Education, Government & Policy, Influence, Infrastructure, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Soft Power, Strategy, Technology, The Australian, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S., , , , , , , , ,

China doubles loans to Africa to USD$20 billion [AsiaOne/AFP]

China has been the African continent’s largest investor since 2009 in my mind, for both resource and strategic reasons.  Trade amounted to US$166.3 billion last year and China has just made a pledge of a $20b credit line to Africa at the Beijing forum on China-Africa cooperation.

Despite competing claims – that on one hand, it made too aggressive an inroad causing friction with locals causing anti-Chinese sentiment to rise. And on the other, for politically treating African countries as equals. this means there are two polarised receiving ends to China’s policy of non-interference in its foreign policy.

I believe this is a key opportunity for China to set a clear benchmark on what they mean in being a responsible international leader. On paper, it seems, the ministerial conference seems set to fix existing problems, from inculcating social responsibility to its companies operating there to measures to expand out of the current unequal trade relationship.

If the wealth of the west in the colonial age was built on the back of the exploitation of Africa, will twenty-first century China prove to be different? Will it play the role of a fairer partner in its resource relationship with the second-largest and second-most-populous continent, by engaging in equivalent exchange instead of exploiter?

For more, see

President Hu: China to strive to open up new prospects for China-Africa strategic partnership (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2012)

– – – 

China doubles loans to Africa to $25 billion
AFP
Source – AsiaOne/AFP, published July 19, 2012

BEIJING – China said Thursday it would offer US$20 billion (S$25 billion) in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship’s growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.

Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

But its aggressive move into the continent has at times  -’caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.’ Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Africa, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Economics, Europe, Finance, Foreign aid, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity

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.

– – –

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 »

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

Chinese village experiments with democracy [AFP/AsiaOne]

Seemingly stimulated by the Wukan incident: China rolls out an official disclosure of democracy, perhaps a little ahead of time.

They’ve been having elections such as these for a while but the key difference is now the elections are no longer closed-doors.

– – –

Chinese village experiments with democracy
AFP
Source – AsiaOne, published February 12, 2012 

A Chinese man casts his vote as thousands of residents take part in the voting for their first-ever open democratic elections for the village committee in Wukan, in Shanwei city, south China's Guangdong province on February 1, 2012, after they protested for months in autumn in 2011 against their allegedly corrupt leaders. Residents in Wukan won rare concessions after they faced off with authorities for more than a week in December in a row over land and graft, including pledges to hold free village polls. Photo: AFP

SHANGHAI – A Chinese village which staged an extraordinary rebellion against authorities last year has taken a key step in a process to freely elect its own governing committee, residents said Sunday.

Thousands of residents of Wukan in the southern province of Guangdong voted Saturday for more than 100 representatives who will put forward candidates for a seven-member village committee to be elected in March, they said.

The move followed protests by the village last December when they faced off with authorities for more than a week in an uproar over land grabs. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, AsiaOne, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Corruption, Democracy, Government & Policy, Mapping Feelings, New Leadership, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Social, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Wukan

China’s Wen urges ‘open’, ‘fair’ village elections [AFP/Yahoo]

Today is the Shangyuan Festival (上元节), commonly known as the Yuanxiao Festival (元宵节). It marks the 15th and final day of the Chinese Lunar New Year, thus completing the run of the Spring Festival. This day to the Chinese culture, is about cultivating positive relationships between people, families and nature. This act is traditionally  believed to be responsible for returning the light to each year.

With the return of the light, today we witness a spark toward the paradigmatic shift in the organisation of the Chinese: The Wukan uprising has created a resounding gong upward the chain of command, insofar as international+overseas-Chinese media coverage and the attention that central government has had to pay on the matter, and the compromise they’ve had to yield to the peasants.

Perhaps it’s time for blanket value judgements of China as communist to be reconsidered as Wen pushes for open elections at the village level, a departure from the previously closed-door elections  ‘…because if there is no procedural democracy, then there is no real democracy.

It is also pertinent to note that despite the unrest that’s been generated from the social turmoil of the land grabs, the Wukan residents have at least been portrayed by both international and local media to still be supportive of the communist party.

For more on the elections, check out this Businessweek report here.

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China’s Wen urges ‘open’, ‘fair’ village elections
AFP
Source – Yahoo News, published Feb 6, 2012

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao called for open and democratic village elections in comments published Sunday, after unfair polls were part of the reason behind a rebellion against officials in south China.

Residents in Wukan village in the southern province of Guangdong faced off with authorities for more than a week in December in a row over land and corruption and won rare concessions including pledges to hold free village polls.

China — a one-party state where top leaders are not elected by the people — nevertheless allows villagers across the country to vote for a committee to represent them, but the process is often tainted with corruption and scandal. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, Government & Policy, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, Politics, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

‘VIP’ Chinese Pandas arrive for new life in France [AFP]

Chinese public diplomacy: Pandas as agents of diplomacy and proxies for international relations.

And now, the French get a piece of panda action despite repeatedly ‘hurting the feelings’ the Chinese in recent times. Threatening to snub the Beijing Olympics, the disturbance of the Paris leg of the torch relay by pro-Tibetan militants, and the making of the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen come to mind.

Panda diplomacy has existed as far back as the 7th century AD with Tang dynasty Empress Wu Zetian sending a pair to the Japanese emperor. One thing not reported here is that the Pandas are not ‘given’ for an indefinite period. They’re typically on ten year loans with a standard loan fee of $1m and a provision that any offspring during the loan are property of the PRC.

For more, check out Pat Nixon and Panda Diplomacy.

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‘VIP’ Chinese Pandas arrive for new life in France
AFP
Source – Yahoo News, published Jan 16, 2012

PARIS (AFP) – Two Chinese pandas got a red-carpet welcome Sunday when they arrived in Paris for a new life in a country zoo after Beijing put aside its differences with France and extended the hand of bear diplomacy.

The giant black and white bears — dubbed Very Important Pandas by the French media — arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport from Sichuan province in the “Panda Express”, a Boeing 777 specially decorated with a panda motif.

China’s ambassador to Paris, a French member of parliament and zoo staff were on hand to greet them before the pair were whisked off in a truck with a police escort to their new home among the chateaux of the Loire valley. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: AFP, Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, European Union, France, Government & Policy, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Media, Panda Diplomacy, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Tourism

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