Chian: Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHINE NEWS AGENCY OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

On Nanjing Road Trail

I started writing a series about Nanjing Road in 2017 after I took interest in the route from a 1929 map of Shanghai that highlighted the market value of different zones in the city. A blue-toned, T-shaped zone of Nanjing Road all the way to the Bund was the city’s most expensive area that year.

Nanjing Road was constructed in 1851 as “Park Lane” — from the Bund to the racecourse on today’s Henan Road. It was widely called “Da Malu” in Chinese, which means “Great Horse Road.” The great horse road was extended to Zhejiang Road in 1854 and stretched further to Xizang Road in 1862 as the racecourse was relocated twice — the last one in today’s People’s Square.

English missionary Walter Henry Medhurst suggested that “the settlement road names should be made intelligible to the tens of thousands of natives who had crowded into the area for safety from the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).” Thereafter, Park Lane was renamed Nanjing Road after the ancient Chinese capital city.

Bubbling Well Road

According to the book “The 140th Anniversary of Nanjing Road West (1862 to 2002),” Shanghai Race Club constructed a 2-mile-long road from today’s Xizang Road M. to Jing’an Temple in 1862. They named the extended road Bubbling Well Road after the renowned bubbling well fronting the temple, which had been filled up and buried underneath.

Archive of Shanghai Jing’an District / Ti Gong

Bubbling Well in front of Jing’an Temple in the 1940s.

Then muddy road was paved with stones in 1890, planted with plane trees in 1891 and finally included in the international settlement in 1899. In 1921, the road was further expanded to today’s Yan’an Road W.

In 1945, the local government renamed the former Bubbling Well Road as Nanjing Road W. — and the other end became Nanjing Road E. The entire stretch came to be known as Nanjing Road that stretched 5 kilometers. The street became so prominent that it came to symbolize old Shanghai, and nicknamed “Shi Li Yang Chang” or “10-mile-long foreign metropolis.”

Early last century the eastern part of Nanjing Road was upgraded to a world-class shopping street after Chinese merchants erected four modern department stores — concrete structures with modern equipment and high towers — along the street.

The western part also flourished with stylish shops, famous theaters and gorgeous garden villas built by foreign and Chinese tycoons.

According to Tongji University professor Qian Zonghao, author of the book “Nanking Road 1840s-1950s,” early Shanghai expatriates once said “if the Bund was like a bow, Nanjing Road was the arrow, flying westward which has been the direction that has guided Shanghai’s urban development for a long period of time.”

After exploring the bow-shaped Bund, I have followed “the arrow of Shanghai” and walked westward along Nanjing Road.

The first part of the journey focusing on the former Park Lane, today’s Nanjing Road E. (from the to Road) ends at The Sun Building, the youngest and most modern among the four big Chinese department stores on Nanjing Road.
Upon the much-exp four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai. four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai.

Now it’s time to walk further westward from the People’s Square to the ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing. ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing.

With the help of ’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.

IC / Ti Gong

Nestled along Nanjing Road W. is Jing’an Temple, which literally means “Temple of Peace and Tranquility.” The temple has a history of more than 800 years.

During recent research, I’m more than happy to learn that some of the newest technologies and devices, such as drones and architectural monitors, have been used to prevent the region’s historical buildings from been destroyed. The local government has learned a lesson from last year’s illegal demolition of 888 Julu Road, a garden villa designed by Laszlo Hudec nearly 100 years ago. These sub-district governments have also organized volunteer teams comprising experts and local heritage aficionados to monitor the conditions of architectural gems.

When researching for the series, I was strongly moved by life stories of two expatriates who had left relics and legacies along Nanjing Road W.

One was British millionaire Henry Lester, who made a fortune from old Shanghai’s real estate but donated almost all his assets to Chinese education. A medical institution built with his money still stands a few minutes’ walk from Nanjing Road W. The Lester Foundation sponsors Chinese scholars studying in the UK to this day.

The other was a German doctor named Erich Paulun. The former German navy doctor traveled thousands of miles to Shanghai and built a charitable hospital to treat poor Chinese patients for free, which later evolved to be today’s Changzheng Hospital and Tongji University. Though the old hospital buildings along Nanjing Road W. have been demolished, Paulun’s legacy has a lingering influence in Shanghai, China and Germany. In March next year, it will be 110 years since he died.

Both Lester and Paulun, who must have worked and walked along the Bubbling Well Road, were both buried in the Bubbling Well Road Cemetery, today’s Jing’an Park.

Their spirits and stories, as well as that of the stylish Nanjing Road W. are worth telling and remembering. So let’s continue to follow the arrow of Shanghai.

Zhang Xuefei / SHINE

Covered in lush tree canopies, Nanjing Road W. is the main artery of excitement in the flourishing downtown area of Shanghai.

Chinese brands outpace multinationals gaining new customers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S SHANGHAI NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Chinese brands outpace multinationals gaining new customers: study

Chinese consumer goods brands are posting faster growth in terms of consumer penetration and expansion of consumer base in the past year, a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel reveals.

P&G and Yili were the top two companies with the widest consumer bases, reporting 92.4 percent and 90.9 penetration among urban consumers respectively, according to the study which tracks urban shoppers’ purchasing behavior in 24 provinces and municipalities across more than 100 product categories.

Nongfu Spring, Haday and Dali are the fastest growing brands with more than 5 percent increase in penetration from a year ago.

Chinese companies continued to outpace multinationals in recruiting new shoppers faster through braver innovations, agile go-to-market capabilities and successful activation of omni-channel strategies.

“The brands with the biggest gains are those who have been innovating in ways most relevant to today’s Chinese consumers, making their lives healthier, happier and easier,” commented Kantar Worldpanel China general manager Jason Yu.

“In a challenging environment for brands and retailers, companies that constantly innovate and evolve within the new retail era are best placed to succeed,” he added.

Despite China’s aging population, winning the love of millennial consumers is critical for brands to thrive as the younger generation offer new opportunities to unlock future growth with more disposable income and desire to express their individuality.

For example, Nongfu Spring managed to grow its shopper base amongst young singles and couples by 30 percent in the last 12 months through the launch of their “Victory” vitamin water, which gained popularity through its sponsorship of popular reality show ‘Idol Producer.’

Similarly, Coca Cola is also seeking growth through smaller packages and new product lines such as fiber drinks to balance young consumers’ needs for both nutrition and good taste.

A total of 21 fast-moving consumer goods companies reached over 100 million urban households, 13 of which are local companies and eight are multinational brands.

The latest Kantar Worldpanel report indicates that companies successful in growing customer numbers are those who achieved balanced penetration gains across both online and offline channels.

Yili, for example, grew its online and offline buyers by 4 and 6 million respectively, and offline distribution channels brought more shopper growth for companies like Mengniu, Hengan and Dali.

Consumers now have plenty of choice regarding shopping channels as the boundary between online and offline channels are increasingly blurring.

Xi warns against rising protectionism, unilateralism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

(ISN’T THIS A CASE OF THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK? PRESIDENTS XI, PUTIN AND TRUMP, THESE THREE ARE THE ‘LARRY, CURLY AND MOE’ OF PROTECTIONISM IT SEEMS TO ME BY THEIR ACTIONS.)

Xi warns against rising protectionism, unilateralism at APEC CEO summit

Xinhua

AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives to make his keynote speech for the CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby on November 17, 2018.

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against the rising trend of protectionism and unilateralism in Port Moresby on Saturday.

As he delivered a keynote speech at the APEC CEO Summit in the capital of Papua New Guinea, Xi said that only openness and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development.

He called for firm efforts to safeguard the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core.

China posts faster industrial growth

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

China posts faster industrial growth

China’s economy posted steady growth in October with the industrial output enjoying a faster growth than September.

The value-added industrial output expanded 5.9 percent year on year in October, 0.1 percentage points faster than September, National Bureau of Statistics data showed yesterday.

On a monthly basis, output in October grew 0.48 percent from September, the bureau’s figures showed.

In the first 10 months of the year, industrial output rose 6.4 percent, flat with that for the first nine months.

Growth accelerated in most sectors last month. Twenty-five of the 41 main sectors grew faster than in September, accounting for 61 percent of the total. Among them, the electronics, iron and steel, gas supply industries maintained double-digit growth.

Output from the high-technology industry grew 12.4 percent in October, up 1.2 percentage points from September, and was 6.5 percentage points higher than the overall industrial output growth to account for 14 percent.

The strategic emerging industry also posted a year-on-year increase of 10.1 percent, which is 1.7 percentage points higher than last month, accounting for 19.1 percent in the overall figure, indicating optimization of the industrial structure.

“The industrial production continued to move up to medium and high ends,” said Liu Aihua, spokeswoman for the statistics bureau.

The service sector expanded 7.2 percent year on year in October, falling 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.

The information transmission, software and information technology service industry, and the leasing and business service sector increased by 35.7 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively, year on year.

The fixed-asset investment growth quickened to 5.7 percent year on year in the January-October period from 5.4 percent in the first three quarters, hitting a four-month high.

The country’s economic growth was operating within a reasonable range, and the trend for its long-term sound development remained unchanged, Liu said.

To ensure economic stability, China unveiled a flurry of policies that have paid off, she said.

Infrastructure investment posted a significant rebound to 3.7 percent year on year for the period from January to October, up from 3.3 percent in the first nine months, lifting the headline FAI figure by 0.8 percentage points. The pace of growth picked up for the first time this year.

Private-sector investment, which accounts for about 60 percent of the total fixed-asset investment, also expanded at a faster pace of 8.8 percent in the first 10 months, compared with an increase of 8.7 percent in the first three quarters.

“We believe that the momentum in infrastructure sector is likely to continue till the end of 2018,” said Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

However, property investment continued to cool as the government maintained its tightening measures to curb speculation in the market. Property investment growth fell to 7.7 percent year on year in October from 8.9 percent in September, taking year-to-date growth down to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent.

Growth of housing sales measured by floor area in October fell to the lowest in six months.

Looking ahead, both property and land transaction growth pointed to a further downside in property investment growth, analysts from China International Capital Corp said.

Retail sales growth slowed more than expected to 8.6 percent in October from 9.2 percent in September. It climbed 9.2 percent for the first 10 months.

Liu said the slower consumption growth was partly caused by the shift of Mid-Autumn Festival from October last year to September this year.

The country’s e-commerce giant Alibaba netted a record of 213.5 billion yuan (US$30.7 billion) in sales on Sunday, the Singles Day online shopping spree, exceeding the combined sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States.

CICC analysts said the weak retail sales in October also reflected softer discretionary consumption demand. Auto sales, which take up around 10 percent of total retail sales, plunged 6.4 percent last month and became one of the major drags.

Liu warned about downward pressure on the economy. However, with inflation being mild, fiscal deficit ratio at a low level, the government’s debt ratio within a reasonable range and foreign exchange reserves being sufficient, the country has ample room to maneuver its macro-economic policies, she said.

Earlier data showed consumer prices rose 2.5 percent year on year in October, unchanged from the previous month. While on a month-on-month basis, the Consumer Price Index grew 0.2 percent, 0.5 percentage points slower than September.

By category, prices of food, tobacco and alcohol rose by 2.9 percent year on year, housing prices went up by 2.5 percent, and prices of transportation and communications increased 3.2 percent.

From January to October, CPI rose 2.1 percent from a year ago.

China Is Now Dominate In World Tourism By Land, Air And Sea

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS AGENCY)

 

Cruising through a stretch of rough seas

SHINE

Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in Baoshan District

By land, by air and now by sea, the Chinese have come to dominate world tourism. Cruise lines are now capitalizing on that travel bug, despite some rough seas this year.

“China’s cruise industry is on the cusp of rapid growth that has enormous potential,” said Wang Younong, chairman of the Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal.

Last year, 18 cruise vessels were operating out of Chinese ports, carrying 2.4 million Chinese passengers. That was up from four vessels and 200,000 passengers in 2012.

Numbers, however, are expected to decrease to 14 vessels and 2 million passengers next year.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd, the second-largest cruise line worldwide, will operate its Spectrum of the Sea and Oasis of the Seas liners in China in the near future. Spectrum of the Seas will be the biggest and most expensive cruise ship in Asia, with industry cutting-edge technologies.

Costa Cruises, an arm of US-based Carnival Corp, plans to bring two tailor-made ships in 2019 and 2020 to China, according to Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. The company introduced cruising to China in 2006 and currently holds 26 percent of China’s cruise market.

MSC Cruise, the industry leader in the Mediterranean, South Africa and Brazil, will operate its MSC Bellissima, a cruise ship featuring rich entertainment, in China, and Genting Group will deploy two 204,000-ton cruise ships that can accommodate 9,500 passengers at the Shanghai port in 2021.

The commitments to the China market may be impressive, but there is an underside to the glowing prospects.

US-based Norwegian Cruise Line, a service with a history of more than 50 years, announced that it is withdrawing Norwegian Joy — the first-class cruise ship tailor-made for Chinese passengers — from the market after one year of operation here.

Cheng Juehao, deputy professor at the Shanghai Maritime University and deputy head of the Shanghai International Shipping Institute Cruise Economy Research Center, said some cruise companies may have miscalculated in their strategies for the China market.

“The Chinese cruise market saw soaring growth of similar products by almost all global cruise operators trying to expand their business here,” Cheng said. “In order to compete with each other, ticket prices nose-dived from 20 percent higher than sophisticated markets such as Europe and the United States, to between 30 percent and 40 percent lower.”

Low ticket prices are the results of sales channels, according to Ye Peng, vice director of sales for Costa.

In China, 90 percent of tickets are sold through cruise agents, who buy up all the berths on a ship and then redistribute tickets by various channels. However, in Western markets, 30 percent of tickets are sold through direct sales by cruise lines.

In China, travel agents make only about 6 percent profit from sales of cruise tickets, a much lower percentage than with other travel products.

As a result, some operators are finding it difficult to remain profitable, and the customer experience is being sacrificed to low expenditure.

SHINE

Costa Cruises, an arm of US-based Carnival Corp, entered the Chinese market in 2006 and currently holds 26 percent of the nation’s cruise market.

Industry officials in China said competition is undercutting business performance in the market. Only operators who improve the quality of cruises and cater to the needs of passengers will come out on top.

Zhang Zhendong, general manager of Tianjin International Cruise Home Port, said China’s cruise industry is in a period of transition.

“In 2017, the market entered adjustment phrase that will last until 2020,” he said. “That will be followed by a 10-year golden age of cruising. Next year may see a temporary trough in the market. However, the market is 10 times larger now than it was in 2012, and the compound growth rate is almost 30 percent, which is rare in the world.”

Roger Chen, chairman in China for Carnival Corp, said his company remains upbeat on the China cruise market.

“We are here to stay in China,” said Chen, speaking at the 13th China Cruise Shipping Conference and International Expo in Shenzhen earlier this month.

Market fluctuations this year are a bit exaggerated, he said, and it’s natural for any industry to have adjustment periods.

“We are collaborating with China State Shipbuilding Corp to build the largest made-in-China vessel as part of a joint venture, and we will operate this vessel in the Chinese market,” Chen added.

Costa China’s Ye said his company needs to advertise cruises as a lifestyle and spend time and effort building and differentiating its brands.

“When Chinese passengers leave the cruise vessels,” he said, “they often don’t even know the ship’s name. We have to work on the branding of the vessel and providing diversified choices.”

Underdeveloped African nations get a go at the China market

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS AGENCY)

 

Underdeveloped African nations get a go at the China market

China International Import Expo

Dong Jun / SHINE

Visitors to the import expo check out the pavilions of African countries.

South Sudanese businessman Kuyu Dhel picked up a few Chinese phrases as he manned a stall at the first China International Import Expo.

Bu neng chi, or “not edible,” were the words he uttered most frequently, he said, as Chinese visitors perusing his stand of nuts, dried flowers and sorghum puzzled over gum in small, irregularly shaped blocks.

They were looking at gum Arabic, which is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of two species of acacia trees. Translated from Arabic to Chinese, it’s called a la bo jiao. Dhel tried to explain to curious visitors that the gum is used as a food stabilizer.

Dhel’s business card lists him as a consultant for Ramciel Multipurpose Co-operative Society, and the company’s address is on Chinese Friendship Hospital Road. The company’s presence at expo is all down to the Chinese government.

“The Ministry of Commerce helped facilitate everything including a free booth,” Dhel told Shanghai Daily at his busy booth. “To the best of my knowledge, we are the first South Sudanese to come tapping on China’s door for a new market.”

President Xi Jinping said two months ago that the least developed African countries would be exempt from exhibition fees. He also pledged to increase China’s imports from the region, especially non-resource products.

The United Nations lists South Sudan as one of the 47 least developed countries, based on factors such as gross per capita national income and adult literacy. According to China National Radio, about 30 of the 47 countries on the list are participating at expo, many from Africa.

“The expo has built a very good platform for companies around the world, including those from Senegal,” said Alioune Sarr, Senegal’s minister of trade, consumer affairs and medium-sized enterprises.

He also praised China’s decision to focus on further opening up its markets to foreign goods and services.

Senegal and Ethiopia, both on the list of least developed countries, have national pavilions displaying specialty goods. Underdeveloped countries are mostly in the agricultural and food halls, offering products like tea, coffee, cocoa and grains. African nations have also brought along colorful handicrafts, fabrics, gems and diamonds.

China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years. By the end of 2017, the value of that trade was US$170 billion, 17-fold higher than that in 2000. Growth is expected to remain in double digits for the next five to 10 years.

Qian Keming, China’s deputy minister of commerce, told a media group in August that China exempts from duties about 97 percent of products from 33 less developed African countries.

When at home, Dhel watches the China Global Television Network (CGTN) program “Africa Live,” where he first learned about the import expo.

“President Xi’s idea of having this import fair in Shanghai is just great because this city has long been a commercial center,” he said.

Dhel, who speaks seven languages, studied and worked in Germany and traveled around Europe before returning to South Sudan to work on Ramciel food imports from Dubai, Kenya and Uganda.

“Our agricultural industry is new, but it is quickly growing,” he said of the young nation.

“I always thought of visiting China in terms of climbing the Great Wall, never thought of doing business here,” he said. “So many Chinese buyers have expressed interest in our products, and some were eager to do deals on the spot.”

He added, “I have been making observations and absorbing so that I can go home and digest all the information that will be useful for our business and for those companies that follow us into China.”

Dong Jun / SHINE

Zheng Qijun, a representative from a small private trading company in Guizhou discusses details of a purchase of nuts with South Sudanese businessman Franco Yousif Dobu.

Dong Jun / SHINE

The gum Arabic brought by Sudanese, which is a natural gum made from the hardened sap of two species of acacia trees.

Dhel’s colleague at expo, Ramciel Managing Director Franco Yousif Dobu, thinks it is also a good platform for Chinese traders.

“China has big opportunities for business with African countries,” he said. “Previously, people wanted to sell to America the most, but now many regard the China market on par with America.”

A Chinese buyer was eyeing Ramciel’s sample of nuts for sale as Dobu talked with Shanghai Daily. The two men quickly got into a serious business discussion, with the Chinese buyer expressing interest in purchasing one or two containers of the nuts. They discussed details of a letter of credit and transport through Mombasa port of Kenya.

“I have bought African products before because they are not genetically modified, but all through other traders,” said Zheng Qijun, who identified himself as a representative from a small private trading company in Guizhou. “I want to take advantage of this expo to see whether I can make some contacts and start some direct purchases.”

Zheng also got curious about gum Arabic. The South Sudanese explained to him that it is an African product that got its name from old Arabic merchants who were the first sell it globally.

Dhel asked Shanghai Daily, “What is tao jiao (peach gum)? Why are all the Chinese visitors asking me if gum Arabic is tao jiao?”

As the journalist explained that many Chinese women eat peach gum regularly as a beauty treatment, Dhel’s eyes lit up at a possible new business opportunity.

“I need to go back and see what we have,” he said.

Dong Jun / SHINE

Zambian participants bring high-quality gems to the expo.

Yuan’s international usage remains stable: report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Yuan’s international usage remains stable: report

Xinhua

International usage of Chinese currency renminbi, or the yuan, remains stable despite a sharp fall in the offshore exchange rate, according to a new report by Bank of China.

In June, the yuan remained in 5th place in the currency rankings for global payments with a share of 1.81 percent, BOC said in its Offshore RMB Express report citing data from SWIFT, a global financial institution network.

Currently, Hong Kong is the key offshore market for yuan payments, accounting for 75.98 percent of renminbi trading volume.

Total turnover via the Real Time Gross Settlements clearing system reached 21.46 trillion yuan (US$3.11 trillion), up 10 percent month on month and 38.7 percent year on year, the report showed.

China’s domestic capital market’s opening continues at a steady pace, BOC said.

As of July 31, the quota in the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors program came in at 622.1 billion yuan, data from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange showed.

So far, 19 countries and regions have obtained RQFII quotas, totaling 1.94 trillion yuan, according to the report.

China: New museums part of Yangpu’s ambitious plans

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

New museums part of Yangpu’s ambitious plans

Ti Gong

The century-old Yangshupu water plant on the Yangshupu Road in Yangpu District.

A “museum cluster” will be built around the 150-year-old Yangshupu Road in Yangpu District to highlight the city’s industrial and cultural heritage.

The 5-kilometer-long road where Shanghai’s earliest water, gas and energy plants were located, is undergoing a renovation to develop it into a city history museum, said Li Yueqi, the Party Secretary of Yangpu.

Apart from the existing water museum, the China Rescue & Salvage Exhibition Hall and the museum at Shanghai Ocean University, the district plans to build a print museum and martial arts museum on the road. A world-skill museum has also been planned for the Yangpu waterfront area along the road, Li said.

“The road itself is an outdoor history museum featuring the city’s early industries and cultures,” Li said in an interview with the city’s radio station.

Yangshupu Road was once dubbed the “No. 1 Road in East Shanghai” because many of China’s earliest industries were located along the Huangpu River on the southern section of the road, and because of the pipelines for water, gas, electricity and sewage that ran underneath it.

To better preserve its historical ambience, the district government has revoked an earlier plan to widen the four-lane road, according to the Yangpu government. More space on both sides of the road will be kept for the protection of historical buildings.

Apart from the industrial relics, several major historical cultural venues will also undergo major renovations and open to the public, Li said.

They include the former Shanghai Library, an 80-year-old structure on Heishan Road, where the radio interview with Li was held yesterday.

Expansion work will be completed by the end of September to realize the original vision of its architect, Dong Dayou (1899-1973), Li said. The completed section of the library is expected to open to the public in October, he added.

The Yangpu grand theater, built around in the 1990s, is being converted into a modern stage art theater named YOUNG. It will offer a platform for young artists, creative designers and private art groups, the government said.

Furthermore, Yangpu also aims to highlight its innovation and new shopping experiences, Li said.

The district plans to set up a Yangpu overseas innovation center in the US’s Silicon Valley later this year. The center will attract foreign professionals and gather creative ideas to serve China’s national strategy of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The University of New South Wales yesterday opened its China center at the Changyang Campus Creative Park in Yangpu. The university’s China headquarters will take charge of recruitment, cooperation, scientific research and knowledge exchange with local universities and enterprises, according to the district government.

To create an innovative shopping experience, the Yangpu government has planned three shopping hubs, themed on “fashion,” “Shanghai flavor” and “international” in Wujiaochang, Kongjiang Road and west Yangshupu Road.

As another highlight, a dozen Soviet-style houses built in the early 1950s at the 228 block of Changbai Subdistrict on Yanji Road E. will be preserved and turned into innovative stores, offices and exhibition halls.

The city government built 2,000 such buildings in downtown Putuo, Yangpu, Xuhui and Changning districts to hold 20,000 households in 1952 and 1953.

Ti Gong

The former Shanghai Library, an 80-year-old structure on Heishan Road, will open to public in October as the Yangpu Library.

Ti Gong

The Changyang Campus, a major innovative park of the city which is home to a number of startup companies.

Guatemala ‘fire’ volcano spews new hot mud

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Guatemala ‘fire’ volcano spews new hot mud

Shine

A hot flow of mud, ash and gas swept down from Guatemala’s Fuego volcano yesterday, after a new explosion in the morning interrupted disaster workers’ efforts in pulling out bodies from the brown sludge known as a pyroclastic flow that engulfed the village of El Rodeo.

The morning eruption also halted rescue efforts on the southern slopes of Fuego, Spanish for “fire.” The national disaster agency raised the death toll to 38 from 25 on Sunday, but it was unclear whether more bodies had been found or whether more people died in yesterday’s eruption.

The day after the volcano’s eruption, its biggest in more than four decades, residents in the capital Guatemala City woke to sweep ash from rooftops and streets. Technicians assessed whether the runway at the international airport was clear enough to restart commercial flights.

“The landscape on the volcano is totally changed, everything is totally destroyed,” government volcanologist Gustavo Chigna said on local radio.

A witness near the volcano said more people had been evacuated beyond an 8-kilometer perimeter from the site after the new explosion.

Fuego, one of several active volcanoes in the Central American country, is near the colonial city of Antigua, a UNESCO world heritage site that has survived several volcanic eruptions. The latest activity from Fuego is mostly on the far side of the volcano, facing the Pacific coast.

Around 300 people have been injured since the eruption on Sunday that sent columns ash and smoke 10km into the sky, dusting several regions with ash.

National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) shared a photo showing the flows of gas and mud sweeping down a mountainside and across a broad valley, engulfing a small village.

The Institute of Volcanology said the eruption on Sunday ended after over 16 hours of activity. The eruption of the 3,763-meter volcano sent ash billowing over the surrounding area, turning plants and trees gray and blanketing streets, cars and people.

Farmers covered in ash fled for their lives as civil defense workers tried to relocate them to shelters during the event.

“This time we were saved; in another (eruption) no,” said Efrain Gonzalez, 52, sitting on the floor of a shelter in the city of Escuintla, where he arrived with his wife and 1-year-old daughter after fleeing the hard-hit El Rodeo community.

Gonzalez was overwhelmed with despair, as two more of his children, aged 10 and 4, are missing.

They were trapped in their home, which was flooded with hot mud that descended from the volcano.

Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales and his government declared three days of mourning and a state of emergency for Escuintla, Chimaltenango and Sacatepequez, which must still be ratified by Congress.

Hundreds of personnel from the police, Red Cross and military have been dispatched to support emergency operations, Morales said.

The eruption is the second major one this year from the peak, following another that subsided at the beginning of February after sending ash towering 1.7km into the sky.

Chinese vice president pushes for closer partnership with Russia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA ‘SHINE’ NEWS AGENCY)

 

Chinese vice president pushes for closer partnership with Russia

Xinhua

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan wrapped up a productive trip on Sunday after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and addressing a plenary session of the 22nd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

During his stay in Russia’s “northern capital,” he reaffirmed China’s readiness to strengthen cooperation with Russia, called for a global effort against trade protectionism, and suggested that all countries build mutual trust and join hands for common development.

China-Russia partnership

Wang met with Putin on Thursday shortly after arriving in St. Petersburg in his first overseas trip as vice president. The two sides agreed to further boost bilateral cooperation for the benefit of both countries and the world.

In their meeting, Wang conveyed to Putin Chinese President Xi Jinping’s sincere greetings and best wishes, saying that Xi attaches great importance to China-Russia ties and cherishes his friendship with Putin.

The Chinese president, added Wang, looks forward to meeting Putin again to jointly chart the future course of bilateral relations as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which is scheduled to hold this year’s summit in June in China.

The heads of state of the two countries have made painstaking efforts for and injected robust energy into bilateral cooperation, continuously steering the China-Russia relationship forward, said Wang.

He pointed out that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is of great significance not only to the two countries themselves but to the world at large.

The two neighbors, he said, respect each other, trust each other, cooperate on the basis of equality, and enjoy mutual understanding and support on major international affairs.

In so doing, they have set a model of major-country relations in the current world and made great contribution to safeguarding global strategic stability and building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, added Wang.

The Chinese vice president stressed that it is a choice both of history and of the people that China and Russia steadfastly pursue development paths that suit their respective national realities.

Now the Chinese people, under Xi’s leadership, are vigorously pushing forward the building of a socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, said Wang, adding that China’s development is making rapid and remarkable progress.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side firmly believes that under Putin’s leadership, Russia will grow stronger and more prosperous, said the vice president.

China, he added, resolutely supports Russia’s development, and stands ready to carry out strategic and long-term cooperation with Russia, lift the level and quality of bilateral practical cooperation more swiftly, and achieve a deeper integration of interests, so as to bring more benefits to the two nations.

Putin, for his part, asked Wang to convey his sincere greetings and best wishes to the Chinese president, saying he is confident that Xi will lead the Chinese people to new achievements in China’s development.

The Russian leader added that he is looking forward to visiting China and meeting Xi again.

Russia-China ties continue to develop at a high level, he said, noting that political mutual trust is deepening, bilateral practical cooperation is strengthening, the structure of economic and trade relations is witnessing a sizable improvement, cooperation on large projects is speeding up, and exchanges and cooperation in people-to-people areas and at the local level are gathering steam.

Meanwhile, it serves as an important stabilizer in the world that the two countries maintain close communication and coordination as well as mutual support on major regional and global issues, said Putin.

The Russian side, he added, is willing to work with China to further deepen all-around cooperation, cement mutual understanding and support on international affairs, and keep lifting the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level.

Global development

Addressing a plenary session of SPIEF 2018 on Friday, Wang urged countries around the world to build trust and boost cooperation in order to tackle international challenges and cement the foundation for sustainable global growth.

Pointing out that no single country can cope with today’s challenges alone, Wang said building a trust economy that features equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit, inclusiveness and good faith between enterprises, markets and countries is an effective way to unleash the potential of global growth.

Building trust needs mutual understanding and mutual respect, and it also needs all parties to discover and solve their own problems and consolidate their self-confidence, he said at the event, whose key theme was “Building a Trust Economy.”

The Chinese vice president stressed that politicizing economic and trade issues and picking up the stick of economic sanctions at the slightest provocations will gravely impair market certainty.

No country should blame its own problems on others, and all countries should pursue development paths that suit their own realities and strive for common development through opening up and cooperation, Wang said.

He suggested that countries around the world join forces to chart the course forward with structural economic reforms and innovative development.

He also called for global unity in resisting trade protectionism and safeguarding the stable international economic order, particularly the authority of the multilateral trading regime.

Economic and trade disputes should be handled properly through communication and consultation, and different parties need to take care of each others’ major concerns, Wang added.

China, he said, is forging ahead under Xi’s leadership toward the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and will steadfastly stick to an opening-up policy that offers mutual benefits.

Other countries, he added, are welcome to take part in China’s economic development, share its market opportunities, and participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, which has now become a new platform for international cooperation.

Hailing Russia as a constructive player in global economic governance, Wang said China highly appreciates the socioeconomic achievements Russia has made under Putin’s leadership and firmly believes that Russia will realize its development goals over the next six years.

He added that with annual bilateral trade approaching US$100 billion, China stands ready to work with Russia to deepen their all-around cooperation, strengthen their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and make new contribution to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Launched in 1997, SPIEF has become one of the leading platforms for global brainstorming on key economic issues facing Russia and the world as a whole, and is now often referred to as Russia’s Davos.

Besides Wang, this year’s event was also attended by Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde.

Before leaving for Minsk to continue his two-nation trip, Wang also met with Igor Sechin, CEO of leading Russian oil company Rosneft, and Dmitry Mezentsev, chairman of the Russia-China Friendship Association, among other Russian dignitaries, and inspected the Pearl of the Baltic Sea project, China’s largest non-energy investment undertaking in Russia.