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Malaysia to Supply LNG to China worth US$25bil

October 30, 2006 - by Will

Petronas of Malaysia and China National Offshore Oil Corporation has sealed a deal today to supply up to 3.03 million metric tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually for 25 years worth US$25 billion.

According to an official statement issued by Petronas on October 30, 2006. the deal was jointly announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Premier of China, His Excellency Wen Jiabao in Nanning, China during the bilateral meeting on October 30.


With the sigining of the deal, it marked a significant breakthrough for Petronas into China's energy sector

The LNG will be supplied from Petronas' LNG Complex based in Bintulu, Sarawak, and will be channelled to Shanghai LNG's Receiving Terminal at Zhong Ximentang Island, Shengsi, Zhejiang Province, which is currently under development and targeted for completion by mid 2009.

The mentioned Bintulu Complex is reputed to be the world's largest integrated LNG facility at a single location with a combined production capacity of approximately 23 million tonnes per year (MTPA). - News Straits Times.

In another report by the Star, China's International Energy Agency had earlier stated it wanted to increase the country's demand for natural gas to 8% of its total energy consumption by 2010 from about 3% currently so as to reduce the use of coal and the resultant pollution.

The deal will definitely boost and further enhance the economic ties between Malaysia and China.

China Business 0 Comment October 31, 2006, 7:01 pm

A weak economy?

31 October 2006 - by Joi Kush

Since I am an international studies major, I have been assigned to read various articles in which intricately outline the possibility of China's economy surpassing the United States. Most of the articles argued that China's economyis growing at such a fast pace that that the United States could never catch up with the escalating GDP due to the United States rising trade deficit and outrageously large national debt. After reading fact after fact, I became convinced that China would create this transition of power sometime in my lifetime. However, now that I have witnessed and read about the vast inequalities between the rural and urban societies of China, I am now convinced that China has a long road to haul before they can supersede the United States.

It was not until a couple of weeks into my stay in Beijing that my skepticism engulfed my previous knowledge of China's economy. I remember walking through the streets of Beijing trying to associate myself better with my surroundings while reflecting on the environment around me. I found myself amazed by the disparity between one section of the city over the next. It seemed as if every other block I was transferred into a different time period of Chinese history, one block consisting of primarily degenerated buildings that lackedmodern innovation and one block consisting of high-tech postmodern skyscrapers.

My astonishment with the economic disproportion continued to grow as I traveled outside of Beijing to the province of Shanxi. During my stay in Taiyuan, Pingyao, and Datong I could not help but critically analyze the structure of the economy within these cities. I am not an economist, but it seemed as if these cities heavily depended upon a low-income industry which essentially hurttheir possibility of development within their regional economy due to lack of funds for reinvestment. However, I realized that this view was not an empirically researched thought; hence, could not be considered an educated valid analysis.

After I returned from my trip, I began to inquire about the differences in China's economy. It did not take long for me to find articles on the internet which emphasize the fact that the economic disparity in China is profound. For example, the current peasant makes an annual income of US $300 and a typical person from Shanghai makes US $4,000. In 2001, China reported that more than 29 million people were living off of less than one dollar (US) a day. Furthermore, China's current Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality on a scale of 0 to 1) of 0.45 has suggested that economic inequality has surpassed that of the US and UK. Most surprisingly, social protests on economic inequality throughout China have grown from 58,000 in 2005 to 74,000 in 2006. Paradoxically, many of these protests end up being non-influential in neither regional or national government decisions about the economy due to thefact that most protests are stopped through bribes. Hence, the issue is only delayed and not resolved.

Overall, China has made several strategic steps forward with economic reformation since the 1970s; however, the nation still falls short when doing a comparative analysis with the United States' economy. Perhaps one day, Chinaand the United States will be throat-to-throat in claiming economic supremacy; however, the United States still holds strong.

Ironically, even though China still remains a reforming nation, the United States still depends heavily upon Chinese investment in US dept. Perhaps when reflecting upon this fact one could ponder what really constitutes a weaker economy, one in which has a large economic disparity between the rural and urban populations or one in which has more than a trillion dollars worth of national debt and a rising trade deficit ratio?

Any thoughts?

China Blawg's thoughts 0 Comment October 31, 2006, 7:01 pm

100+ Beijing Lawyers Rendering Pro-Bono Advise

October 29, 2006 - by Will

According to a report from the Beijing Youth Daily, a group of Beijing based criminal lawyers volunteered their precious Sunday morning by participating in a street pro-bono legal consultations to the general public at Xidan Cultural Square. The said event was organized by the All China Lawyers Association.

The volunteer lawyers rendering advises with regard to criminal defense, procedures, trials as well as the rights of accused persons in general.

When interviewed, one of the organizers explained that the purpose of having such event is to raise the awareness of rights accorded to accused, for majority of the public are still pretty ignorant about the general criminal procedure in the mainland.

The theme of this event: "Understanding criminal defense, helping yourselves and others" includes activities like seminars, public lectures, entering to the community, one to one consultation from 9.00am to 4.00pm.

This is something which ought to be promoted amongst the legal practitioners, for law practice is not just about billable hours, it is good for the soul and mind of an individual being able to reach out to the society at large.

A big congratulations to those volunteers in sacrificing their precious time, a very noble deed worth learning!

China Law 0 Comment October 31, 2006, 2:39 pm

Life is measured by moments of happiness!

October 25, 2006 - by Natalia

I browsed casually through advertisements on a website, being curious about what is happening in Shanghai on that weekend and suddenly, among a bunch of unfamiliar names and clubs, a Russian household name caught my eye:

Vladimir Spivakov, together with the Moscow Virtuosi, will present masterpieces by Shnitke and Bach. 7.30pm. Shanghai Concert Hall.... Tickets 100-680.

All Russians are familiar with this name ¨C Vladimir Spivakov, the famous violinist and conductor. He is our pride, our genius and our culture. Tickets to his concerts are hard to get in Russia as his orchestra is on tour abroad most of the time. So it was to my surprise that here in Shanghai I could actually get tickets without the usual hassle even though only one single concert was staged, where Spivakov played the role of both a conductor and soloist.

Half of the hall was occupied by ¡°lucky¡± Russians. Women all dressed up with evening gowns, the smell of perfume, dim lights, magical music, a gray-haired man with a baton in hand and 20 musicians in front of him, his scholars, his virtuosos!

I arrived in Shanghai one month ago. A lot of things happen to me everyday, things that surprise me, shock me, please me and make me feel both happy and lonely in this great city. My mind is always preoccupied with everyday's problems that my new life in Shanghai presents. But when I was sitting in that concert hall listening to the music, out of the blue I came to comprehend what Maestro Spivakov meant as he once said: "Life is measured not by years but moments of happiness". That evening, that music, my new life in China, new expectations and hopes¡­those were the moments my life would be measured by.

China Blawg's thoughts 2 Comment October 26, 2006, 6:56 pm

Rome wasn't built in a day, BJ is trying anyways

October 26, 2006 - by Tim Cronin

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning when I intern at Lehman, Lee & Xu's Beijing office, I step out of the taxicab onto Liangmaqiao Road only to notice that the street has yet again transformed itself overnight. Today, fresh black pavement adorned with vibrant yellow paint glistened under the morning dew. Just two days ago I was greeted by newly lain brick sidewalk. These dailysurprises encouraged me to take a closer look at both the good and the bad sides of Beijing's rapid construction.

The obvious benefit of China's frantic preparations for the 2008 Olympics is that Beijing is modernizing at a pace the world has never seen. The Wall Street Journal reported that the government is spending nearly $40 billion in preparation for the games¡ªover three times the Athens 2004 tab. In addition to building 11 athletic venues from scratch (including the already famous 'Bird's Nest'), Beijing city planners are also on target to complete three additional subway lines by 2008.

The rapid developments certainly demonstrate China's determination to catch up with, or surpass, other world cities. In fact, the International Olympic Committee recently asked Beijing to curb the pace of construction in fear of buildings sitting dormant and profitless for too long.

Although impressive, the frenzy of construction does not come without a number of negative effects. For one thing, the noise pollution is deafening (right now I am trying to ignore the raucous of jackhammers and asphalt rakes coming from Liangmaqiao). But Beijing faces more serious problems than threatening office workers' personal comfort.

In this year alone, the Construction Ministry has reported 49 deaths in the building industry. A number that labor unions and NGOs cite as unrealistically low because of cover-ups. Patrick Poon, of China Labour Bulletin (Hong Kong) claims, "only between five and 10 per cent of workplace accidents are officially reported." Despite the doctored numbers, China ranks the highest worldwide in accidental occupational fatalities with over a quarter of the global tally.

The morbid statistics from China's construction industry do not prove Beijing's progress as undeserving of international praise. However, with international praise should also come international scrutiny. On Beijing's quest to modernize roads and subways, the government must also update safety and labor laws. When I reach the office every Tuesday and Thursday morning, I see not only recently paved streets and sidewalks, but also welders without eye protection and workers without hardhats. Olympic goers will also notice both sides of Beijing. Thus the city should take steps to ensure that by 2008, Beijing's residents can be proud of its advancements in modernizing both the quality of roads and the quality of life.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, China Daily, The Sunday Telegraph (London), The Globe and Mail (Canada)



China News 0 Comment October 26, 2006, 5:59 pm

Wal-Mart's US$1 Billion deal in China?

October 24, 2006 - by Will

According to reliable sources and quoting Wall Street Journal report, rumour had it that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is ready to splash US$1 billion to acquire China Retailer - "Hao You Duo" - Trust-Mart hypermarket chain.

Just about 2 months ago, Wal-Mart had taken a move to withdraw and exit from the German & South Korean market with its 85 existing retail stores and now, using the exact US$1 billion obtained from the said sales price and preparing its further expansion plan in China has no doubt created a lot of speculations of coincidence.

This transactions, although yet to obtain confirmation from either party, if successful, this could give the world's largest retailer the biggest food and department store network in China.

The deal for the Chinese hypermarkets of Trust-Mart, a closely held Taiwanese company, comes as foreign retailers look to tap China's fast-growing economy, large population and expanding middle class.

It was reported that Wal-Mart has defeated its arch rival, the French's Carrefour in their bid to acquire Trust-Mart, and if approved by the regulators, the transaction would vault Wal-Mart as the BOSS, in terms of number of hypermarkets in China.

Wal-Mart's acquisition of Trust-Mart, which rumour had it that the deal was concluded more than a month ago, requires regulatory approval from China's Ministry of Commerce.

The process to gain approval by the Chinese government authority for foreign companies can be complex and time consuming.

Some brief facts about Trust-Mart

Established since 1997, having approximately 100+ chain stores, total labor force of close to 30,000. At present, Trust-Mart has the most outlets / retails stores within the inner mainland. ...

China Business 0 Comment October 25, 2006, 3:01 pm

Cover Story: China Blawg - Relaunch

October 23, 2006 - by Robin

Finally the waiting is over. After several weeks of hard work behind the scenes by all involved, we are pleased to reveal that the ultimate information gateway to China has been revamped and redesigned with a fresh look. Our new blawg was specifically tailored to boast a new depth to its functionality, to enhance its accessibility to the largest possible number of visitors, and to offer a truly awesome blogging experience to our audiences.

China Blawg is basically a blawg developed for everyone and we will endeavor to make it as informative, educational, thought provoking and enthralling as possible. We hope that it will serve as our primary communication medium where we share our knowledge, ideas and experiences, and interact with you, wherever you are, whenever you want.

If you have something to shout about or if you wish to share your stories, please let us know. In addition, we welcome any feedback on our new site including comments and suggestions for improvement.

Happy blogging!



China Blawg (en) 1 Comment October 25, 2006, 2:42 pm

Sports event for Lehman Lee and Xu employees

On Thursday 14th of Sept, Lehman Lee and Xu gathered for the fist exciting badminton, table tennis and pool opening, for its employees, where such star player as Will Fung (foreign Counselor) took the spot light in badminton and Simon Chen (Legal Translator) at pool and Tim Meng (Partner) and Lillian Yang (office Manager) at table tennis. After such a satisfying gathering of talent ranging from ladies singles and doubles, to men's singles and doubles at armature to pro levels, Lehman lee and Xu will now be holding this for employees every week, please feel free to come and join us. smile.gif






Lehman Affairs 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 7:28 pm

TV station in court over IPR argument

GUANGZHOU: A local television station appeared in court yesterday for allegedly violating private intellectual property rights (IPR). The Guangzhou TV Station was asked to stop showing a popular TV beauty contest programme "Beauty in the Flower City" by Hua Cheng, who insisted he was the producer and owner of the programme.

"The programme has not been shown properly according to the initial plans and the station has violated the copyright," said Hua. Hua began working at the station in 1987, launched the programme in 1988 and left the station in 2000. "The programme was not assigned by the station and it was launched without any financial support from the station during the first session," Hua said. "I collected money through advertisements and produced the programme all by myself. As a result, it became a personal TV product," he insisted in Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court.

The station denied the charges in court yesterday, saying the programme's copyright should not belong to an individual. "The programme's copyright belongs to the station since Hua launched it in the name of the station," said lawyer Zhu Xiaobing of the station. According to Zhu, the station registered the programme's trademark in 2000.

However, the Guangdong Provincial Copyright Bureau said Hua registered the copyright of the programme in June this year.

The TV station was also asked by Hua to pay compensation of nearly 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million), believed to be the largest amount of its kind in the nation.

The court did not reach a verdict yesterday. "It was a typical IPR case involving trademark rights and a copyright dispute," said Zhou Yuzhong, a lawyer at a Guangzhou-based law consultation firm. According to Zhou, the programme should be thought of as a personal product if not supported financially by the station.

China Law 1 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:20 pm

Private Foreign Currency to be invested abroad

Securities firms are likely to be able to invest privately held hard foreign currency abroad under a new government rule. The new rule, which the government began public consultation on yesterday, should encourage capital outflow and reduce pressure for the yuan to appreciate.

"Securities firms can set out an asset management plan to raise tradable foreign currency domestically and invest it in financial products abroad," says the draft rule, released yesterday by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).

The rule has been posted on the regulator's website and public opinion will be sought until July 31.

"The rule will create diverse investment opportunities for domestic capital. Instead of being limited to the Chinese market, investors can now buy into international markets," said Li Yongsen, professor with Renmin University of China. "It will increase investors' investment portfolios and diminish risks."

"Hong Kong will be the first targeted market for domestic brokerages, due to its close connection with the mainland," said Jiang Jianrong, an analyst with Shanghai-based Shenyin Wanguo Securities.

The rule, while bringing brokerages more business, will also be a new challenge for securities firms, as domestic firms will have to familiarize themselves with the overseas market, in which many of them lack experience.

"Leading firms such as China International Capital Co Ltd and CITIC Securities will have an advantage in such business, as they have some overseas experience," said Li.
Besides allowing brokerages to raise funds for overseas investment, the draft rule also includes regulations for brokerages' asset management business.

"Brokerages can set out asset management plans to invest in stocks, bonds market and funds," the draft rule says.

"Asset management is actually a private equity activity, as brokerages are banned from advertising for clients through mass media," said Jiang, adding that the rule will be the country's first regulation on private equity activities.

The CSRC did allow some leading brokerages to pioneer asset management schemes as early as October 2004. Following the release of the rule, all qualified securities firms will be able to follow suit.

The rule, by encouraging capital outflows, is widely believed to be able to alleviate the yuan's pressure to appreciate.

The renminbi has gained 1.6 per cent since the government revalued it on July 21, 2005.

And the policy to allow qualified foreign institutional investors to invest in the domestic capital market in 2002, the so-called QFII scheme, also increased the supply of foreign currency, putting pressure on the yuan to rise.

To strike a balance, the government has relaxed controls on capital outflow, allowing fund management firms and insurers to invest abroad under the so-called qualified domestic institutional investors, or QDII, programme.

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange recently gave Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd and Bank of East Asia Ltd quotas worth a combined US$4.8 billion to convert yuan deposits into foreign currency for overseas investment on July 21.

"Now a new channel for foreign currency outflow will alleviate the pressure to appreciate the yuan," said Li.

The domestic stock market closed mostly flat yesterday despite the central bank's announcement of another 0.5 percentage point hike in bank reserve requirements on Friday.

The benchmark Shanghai composite index closed at 1,665.944 points, up 0.04 of a per cent, after falling as much as 2 per cent during the morning.

Turnover in Shanghai A shares was 17.2 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion).

According to Jiang, yesterday's draft rule also encouraged more subscriptions in the latest initial public offerings (IPOs) as it gave no limitations on how much such asset management plans can subscribe to in an IPO.

She emphasized that it was another break as brokerages will now be allowed to invest in stocks of the companies they underwrite, which was previously banned by the regulator.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:10 pm

Starbucks protects its trade mark!

In December, Starbucks sued the coffee shop chain Shanghai Xingbake for trademark infringement. Starbucks uses its American logo and name on storefronts, but its customers know the coffee company as Xingbake. "Xing" is pronounced shin and means "star" in Chinese, while bake is pronounced bah-kuh, which is the phonetic rendering of "bucks." In China, the first to register a copyright has traditionally prevailed in courts. After pressure from foreign companies, however, China passed a "well-known mark" exception to protect global brands. The law, however, doesn't give absolute criteria for what should be considered a well-known mark. And even if the Starbucks name is considered well-known, Xingbake is not. The Chinese system is consistent with the rest of the world. Perhaps an even bigger issue for Starbucks and other global brands in China is trade dress, or the visual appearance of a product or its packaging.

In China, it's not unusual for a company to imitate the look and feel of a global company's logo or the format of its stores, without recourse. Kentucky Fried Chicken has a Taiwanese competitor whose logo is so similar it includes an Asian-looking Colonel Sanders, minus the eyeglasses and beard. Such off-brands tend to operate city-by-city, making it hard and costly to keep track.

It's an important test case for China in which it could be demonstrated that the road is one of safety and preservation, and one of predictability, for companies that are coming into China for the first time. Companies must consider legal challenges and the fees that come with it, when they want to do business in China. The costs that come with should be considered before you enter China.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:08 pm

China's fixed asset investments slows marginally

Growth in China's fixed asset investments eased marginally in the first seven months of 2006, official data shows, offering further evidence that the economy may be starting to cool.

Urban fixed assets, a measure of investment in China's major infrastructure projects, totaled 4.47 trillion yuan (US$560 billion), up 30.5 percent from thesame period a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said. China's urbanfixed asset investments rose 31.3 percent in the first six months of the year,according to previously released figures.The level remains well above the official target of 18 percent growth for the year, although Qu Hongbin, an economist at HSBC in Hong Kong, said the very slight slowdown was positive. "It's a good thing," said Qu. "It means the tightening measures that have been introduced since March are starting to have an impact.

"But it is still far too early for the authorities to claim victory in its fight against overheating." China's economy expanded by 10.9 percent in the first six months of the year and 11.3 percent in the second quarter, driven by heavy investment especially in the provinces. The central bank has implemented a range of macro measures to try and slow economic growth, such as an interest rate hike in April and curbs on investment in key industries.

Other figures released this month have also pointed to a very mild deceleration in the economy, with year-on-year growth in industrial output for July slowing to 16.7 percent from 19.5 percent in June. Inflation slowed to 1.0 percent in July from 1.5 percent a month earlier. The nation's trade surplus soared over 40 percent from a year ago to 14.61 billion dollars in July to hit another record high although export growth of 22.6 percent was slightly lower than 23.3 percent recorded 12 months earlier.

However Anantha Nageswaran, an economist at Julius Baer investment bank in Singapore, was highly skeptical that the recent data could be relied upon to gauge the temperature of the Chinese economy. "The Chinese government announces a few tightening measures and, voila, we have slower industrial production and investment spending growth," Nageswaran told clients in a note. The true state of China's growth trajectory is a matter of belief (rather)than reliance on reported statistics." The fixed asset numbers released on Wednesday also appeared to reinforce government concerns that provincial authorities are not enacting measures to slow the economy as swiftly as Beijingwould like. The central government has repeatedly told the provinces to cool it but the country's key economic planner said last week the economies of three quarters of China's provinces expanded at 12 percent or more in the first six months.

Projects funded by provincial and local governments in the first seven months increased 31.1 percent to four trillion yuan, the statistics bureau said.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:07 pm

No Schedule for Property Tax Collection

The collection of property tax is in line with central government policy, but there is currently no timetable for implementing it, a central bank official said Monday. There will not be a uniform tax rate for the whole country, Yi Gang, assistant to governor of the People's Bank of China, told a symposium in Beijing.

He explained that the property tax will be collected by local governments, who will impose different rates.

The central government began mulling over the introduction of property taxes in October, 2003. Some economists suggest owners should pay an annual property tax according to the size of their homes and the government should collect transfer taxes to redistribute profits generated by rising home prices. The tax rates on the whole should be controlled, Yi said, adding that when property taxes are collected, taxes for property development and other real estate items should be lowered correspondingly.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:06 pm

China's first regional legislation in labor law

It is vitally important to use the law to protect migrant workers' rights and interests, says a signed article in Dazhong Daily. An excerpt follows:

The Labor and Social Security Bureau of Henan Province is soliciting public opinion on its newly drafted regulation on the protection of the rights and interests of migrant workers. It is said to be China's first regional legislation in this field. The draft regulation contains rules on labor contracts, wage payments, social insurance and labor use. It also clearly defines the rights of migrant workers and the obligations of employers. Judging from its contents, the regulation is quite rigorous.

The significance of this regulation goes far beyond the legal protection it can provide to migrant workers. The significance lies in its recognition of migrant laborers' status in cities. It acknowledges the various rights of migrant workers in a legal form and will help these drifting migrant workers gain equality with their urban counterparts. Migrant workers are a rather huge group in China. This group faces common problems such as high mobility, high risks, low incomes and difficulties in protecting their rights. Society should address the practical issue of protecting the rights of this disadvantaged group.

The state has issued laws and regulations recognizing and protecting migrant workers' rights and interests. But without specific provisions for their implementation, these laws and regulations have not functioned well in reality. To gain their due rights and interests, migrant workers, as well as the governments, have paid dearly. Disputes caused by defaulted payments to migrant workers have become a major social issue.

As Henan Province's regulation comes into effect, migrant workers will have a law that truly speaks for them. It will at least enable migrant laborers working in Henan to get strong legal support.

The new regulation shows that society has further realized the importance ofmigrant laborers. This regulation is not a special favor; it is something that has been due to migrant workers for quite some time.

We will hopefully see similar regulations issued in other areas in the near future.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:06 pm

China Revises Law in a Move to Reduce Energy Costs

China is revising a law to make it possible to impose harsher punishment on energy lavishment, the government said Sunday, at a time when fast economic growth is unabatedly costing excessive energy resources. The Financial and Economic Committee of the National People's Congress, or China's top legislature, and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) are jointly making a proposed revision for the Law on Saving Energy resources, which is expected to be completed later this year, an NDRC source told Xinhua.

The law was put into effect eight years ago, but has since banned no projects failing to meet energy-saving requirement. The government is worrying that it is difficult to reach this year's target of reducing energy costs for per unit gross domestic product. The revised law will feature strengthened enforcement and supervision and include both incentives for saving energies and punitive measures against energy-lavishing behavior, the NDRC said, without giving details.

It will typically target the construction sector, which now accounts for one-third of all energy costs in China. Construction projects that do not meet energy-use demands will be off-limits, the source said.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 2:00 pm

The top reasons for M&A in China

The country has achieved phenomenal economic development since 1978. China has realized an average real GDP growth rate of over 9 percent annually. 2005 GDP was USD 2.26 trillion and real GDP growth was 9.9 percent.

The total population of China is 1,350,000,000 according to the July 2006 estimate by the government. 50 million Chinese families (150-200 million people) are qualified as middle class, with per household annual income of US9,248, and USD 38,224 of assets on average. The number of middle class families in China is expected to reach 100 million by 2010.

The world's average adult literacy rate for all developing countries is 76.4 percent. China exceeds this figure by 14.5 percent. India has long been considered China's rival in terms of economic development. Yet, when examining adult literacy rates, China enjoys a superior position in comparison to India's 61.07 percent literacy rate.

In 2004, the trade volume between China and the U.S. reached over USD 152 billion, and over USD 151 billion between China and Japan. Japan is China's largest import partner as 16.8% of China's imports came from Japan in 2004. The trade volume has increased 34.66 percent on average with all top ten trading partners in 2004.

The government assigned top priority to the development of the transportation system in its 7th Five-Year Plan (1985 - 1990). China's telecommunications sector averaged an annual growth rate of 20 percent from 1997 to 2004. China's electricity generating capacity has been growing at 6 percent annually.

China's commitment to WTO rules and agreements has brought about significant changes. Previously off limits industries such as banking, insurance, and telecommunication are now gradually becoming more and more accessibe.

Investments often are granted tax breaks for up to two years, depending on the industry and location of the business. Various taxation incentive packages are available in free trade zones throughout the country. Free trade zones are designated cities and regions designed to attract foreign investment. Companies registered in these zones are exempt from complex customs regulations.

According to official statistics, China's labor productivity (the quantity of output produced by a given quantity of labor input) rose from 24.77 in 1995 to 60.54 in 2001. The current average labor productivity growth rate in China is 6.5 percent per year, exemplifying the productiveness of China's labor force.

Until recently, China's state-owned banks have been instructed by the government to lend to large failing state-owned enterprises (¡°SOEs¡±), while small or private businesses were unable to secure credit. This resulted insignificant portfolios of non-performing loans. After the reform, local financial institutes will have more funds available for promising new businesses.

Regulations and periodic updates regarding investment in China are now available on the website of the Ministry of Commerce (¡°MOFCOM¡±). In addition, WTO agreements also required that all notices of regulatory changes be accompanied with appropriate translation.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 1:55 pm

Energy Conservation Law to be Revised

China's legislature is studying how to revise the country's energy conservation law to meet the goals of both economic development and energy conservation, a senior Chinese legislator said on Monday.

Li Tieying, vice-chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said that the current energy conservation law no longer meets the country's development needs.

Li said that changing the focus of economic development from energy and resources consumption to energy saving will have a profound effect on relations between people, society and nature.

The NPC Standing Committee enacted the Energy Conservation Law of China in November 1997. It governs the administration of energy, the proper use of energy resources, promotion of energy-saving technology and protection of the environment.

Research into the effectiveness and enforcement of the law is being conducted by the NPC Standing Committee, he said. The NPC Standing Committee also wants to revise the Energy Conservation Law to secure a strong legal framework for building an energy-saving society, he said.

Li called for the law and policies to encourage economic growth and energy conservation, noting that economic development that features high energy consumption which results in serious pollution and waste is not sustainable.

Li made the remarks at a seminar on energy conservation and legislation. Li noted that development can not only be concerned with the growth of the GDP, it must also be in harmony with nature.

According to a report released by the Development Research Center of the State Council, energy supply uncertainties can be effectively addressed with a comprehensive national energy policy that stresses energy efficiency, renewable energy and a more market oriented oil and gas sector.

China should more aggressively promote energy efficiency and commercialization of its national oil and gas companies by opening the sector to international oil companies. This will attract investment and needed new technologies, said the report.

The country should clarify the security-enhancing roles of both international and national companies. This could lead to the creation of a market-oriented, multi-source, robust national energy economy that would provide an important basis for security of supply, the report said.

The "right mix" of a specific security of supply measures should be selected according to China's needs from a suite of measures that includes: maintaining spare domestic production capability; protection of its import oil transport channels; accumulated reserves; allocation and possibly rationing systems to share scare supplies equitably; and close international cooperation with trading partners for whom secure oil supplies are essential for their economic well being and with energy exporters who have a similar interest in secure markets, the report stressed.

Recognizing the country's interdependence in the global energy sector and incorporating security of supply into the country's long term strategy could be the first steps on the road towards a stable energy supply, which is one of the pillars of sustainable development for the sector and the overall economy during the coming decades, the report said.

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 23, 2006, 1:40 pm

Cheap labor in China

China's unemployed is forecast to grow by 14 million in 2006, and that this trend will continue until at least 2010.
A nation-wide government survey of the country's 120 million or so migrant worker...

China Blawg (en) 4 Comment October 20, 2006, 6:23 pm

Over 70,000 Passengers Take "Roof of the World"

The Qinghai Tibet Railway on the "roof of the world" has transported more than 70,000 passengers to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, since it opened to traffic on July 1, a railway...

China Blawg (en) 1 Comment October 20, 2006, 6:16 pm

ADR to be established in Shanghai

Alternative Dispute Resolution, commonly known as ADR, include a set of mechanisms of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration all designed to foster agreement among parties in a dispute in an effort t...

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 20, 2006, 6:11 pm

$3.5b overseas investment quotas been granted

China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has granted quotas worth 3.5 billion U.S. dollars to two Chinese commercial banks to buy overseas financial investment products on behalf of the...

China Blawg (en) 0 Comment October 20, 2006, 6:10 pm

New regulations for the real estate sector

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Podcast 0 Comment October 20, 2006, 6:07 pm

China's draft Labour Contract Law - the debate

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Podcast 1 Comment October 20, 2006, 2:52 pm

A major cracked down by the CPC

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Podcast 0 Comment October 20, 2006, 2:51 pm