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News from China
Small-town folks spend big in 618 festival
20th June 2019

 The 618 mid-year shopping festival which kicked off at the beginning of the month wrapped up this week, and all the evidence indicates that consumption remains strong.

 
JD.com’s transactions between June 1 and June 18 were 27 percent up on last year at 202 billion yuan (US$ 29 billion). Home appliance sales hit the 1 billion yuan mark in just 2 minutes and 36 seconds on June 18, last day of the festival and the ultimate price-slashing day.
 
Alibaba Group said its 18-day campaign helped more than 100 brands turnover more than 100 million yuan each. During last year’s Singles’ Day, more than 230 brands on Tmall made more than 100 million yuan in 24 hours.
 
A Bocom International research note suggested that overall online performance in the second quarter will improve due to enthusiasm for the mid-year campaign.
 
New marketing strategies are also driving sales, with live-streaming on Taobao allowing consumers get to know merchants. The merchants involved sold more than 13 billion yuan of their wares.
 
JD came up with the idea of a mid-year sale more than ten years ago and it has since become the second biggest shopping frenzy after Singles Day in November.
 
On-demand delivery platform Dada-JD Daojia, which sells groceries and fresh food for supermarkets including Walmart, Carrefour and Yonghui, said sales between June 15 and June 18 were double those of a year ago, with lower tier cities generating a lot of that increase. Pinduoduo’s orders hit 1.1 billion with 70 percent coming from lower tier cities.
 
As many as 48 percent of new products on Tmall during the event were purchased by customers outside first- and second-tier cities. Tmall’s Luxury Pavilion more than doubled its sales from last year.
 
Offline sales were also significant with JD’s experimental physical stores doing better than many online platforms.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 20, 2019
Tariffs on cell phones, computers harm US consumers: report
19th June 2019

 US additional tariffs on imports of consumer electronics products from China would have a "substantial negative impact" on American consumers, even after accounting for alternative sources of supply, said a US consulting firm.

 
Washington DC-based company Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC said this in a report as the White House is threatening to impose additional tariffs of 25 percent on US$300 billion in goods from China, including cell phones, laptops and tablets.
 
In the report prepared for the US Consumer Technology Association on Monday, the consulting firm estimated that if the new tariffs were imposed, the cost of cell phones imported from China would rise by 22 percent in the United States.
 
Also, the overall US prices for cell phones would rise by 14 percent, or nearly 70 dollars for the average retail price of a cell phone today, which will reduce the country's overall purchases by 28 percent, according to the report.
 
American consumers would pay over US$8.1 billion more for cell phones and it will be a net loss of US$4.5 billion for the US economy even after accounting for new tariff revenue, according to the report.
 
Plus, laptops and tablets will also see hikes across the board in both costs and prices. The cost of those imports from China will increase 21 percent while overall US prices will rise by 19 percent, or about US$120 for the average retail price of a laptop today and about US$50 for a tablet today.
 
American consumers would pay over US$8.2 billion more for laptops and tablets and it will be a net US$3.6 billion loss for the US economy even after accounting for new tariff revenue, according to the report.
 
The report also showed that shifting the supply to other countries will be difficult and cost a significant amount of money, with the burden carried mostly by US consumers.
 
China accounted for about 75 percent of the total cell phones and over 90 percent of the total laptops and tablets imported into the United States, according to Trade Partnership Worldwide.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 19,2018
China State Railway Group inaugurated
18th June 2019

 State Council has approved the restructuring of China Railway Corporation and renamed it the China State Railway Group Co Ltd in an effort to make the company more market-oriented.

 
With a registered capital of nearly 1.74 trillion yuan (US$252 billion), the company is run by the central government, and the Ministry of Finance performs the investor's duty on behalf of the State Council, according to a company statement released on Tuesday.
 
The group corporation with a board of directors is an authorized investment entity and can establish subsidiaries, branch companies and representative offices in line with business development needs, the statement said.
 
The move came after a series of institutional reforms had been made since 2017 to improve the corporate governance of the country's railway network.
 
Launched in 2013 upon the dissolving of the Railway Ministry, the China Railway Corporation has been in the forefront of the country's corporate reform with a goal to foster modern railway enterprises and separate government functions from business operation.
 
The inauguration of the new group corporation is conducive to enhancing capital utilization efficiency, market competitiveness and risk-preventing capabilities of the local railway industry.
 
It is also expected to make state-owned railway firms more market-oriented and more capable to provide better cargo and passenger transport services for the public, the sources said. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 18, 2019
US Chamber of Commerce reiterates opposition to tariffs on Chinese imports
17th June 2019

 The US Chamber of Commerce, a major lobbying organization in the country, on Friday reiterated opposition against the White House to impose additional tariffs on imports from China, as tariffs hurt American businesses, the economy and consumers.

 
"The existing 25 percent tariffs on US$250 billion of Chinese exports are already inflicting grave harm to US consumers, farmers, ranchers and businesses," Myron Brilliant, vice president and head of international affairs at the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
 
"Proposed tariffs on an additional US$300 billion of Chinese imports would only expand the damage to these groups and the broader economy," Brilliant said.
 
"We urge the administration to use the upcoming G20 meeting in Osaka to return to the negotiating table, with the aim of striking a high-standard, comprehensive, enforceable agreement soon that puts an end to tariffs already in place and forestalls further disruptions to all Americans," he said.
 
Brilliant's statement came as the Office of the US Trade Representative said on Friday that it will hold public hearings regarding proposed tariffs on approximately US$300 billion worth of Chinese products from June 17 to June 25, with more than 300 witnesses set to testify.
 
A total of 661 US companies and associations have signed a letter to President Donald Trump, urging his administration to abandon tariff hikes and reach a deal with China.
 
"We know firsthand that the additional tariffs will have a significant, negative and long-term impact on American businesses, farmers, families and the US economy," the groups said in a letter released Thursday by Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, a lobbying campaign against tariffs.
 
Combined with the impact of previously implemented tariffs and retaliation, the new tariffs on another US$300 billion worth of Chinese imports, if imposed, would result in the loss of more than 2 million US jobs, add more than US$2,000 in costs for an average American family of four, according to the letter.
 
"An escalated trade war is not in the country's best interest, and both sides will lose," the letter said.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 17, 2019

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