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News from China
China up to 15th in tourism ranking
7th April 2017

 China has risen two positions to 15th in the latest global tourism competitiveness ranking, released by the World Economic Forum yesterday.

The forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017 ranks 136 countries and regions across 14 dimensions, revealing how well countries could deliver sustainable economic and societal benefits through their travel and tourism sector.
While advanced economies, such as Spain, France and Germany, continue to top the rankings, 12 of the top 15 most improved countries are emerging markets, with Asia’s as exponents.
“The rise of Asia’s giants shows that the Asian Tourism Century is becoming a reality,” said Tiffany Misrahi, WEF’s community lead of the aviation, travel and tourism industries.
As one of Asia’s giants, China received nearly 57 million tourists in 2016, which took up over 20 percent of global arrivals in Asia, the report said.
It attributes the improvement of China’s tourism competitiveness ranking mainly to the country’s increased international openness, improved information and communications technology readiness and further investments in its tourist service infrastructure.
China’s increased prioritization of its travel and tourism industry has also supported its rise, the report said.
Meanwhile, the WEF report suggested more measures to support the country’s continued rise in the ranking, including creating more accommodation capacity beyond the larger cities, a more enabling environment for doing business, and environmental sustainability to ensure the preservation of its unique natural resources.
The report also sees China as a largest source market in the region with nearly 128 million departures registered in 2015. But the potential is still huge, as the report finds out that only 5 percent of China’s population hold a passport.
It also found that the increasingly protectionist global context, one that is hindering global trade, is not holding back global travel.
WEF’s statistics showed the global travel and tourism sector accounted for 10 percent of global GDP and provided one in 10 jobs worldwide.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 7, 2017
Shanghai’s Grade A offices stay stable in Q1
6th April 2017

 SHANGHAI’S Grade A office market remained stable in the first quarter of this year despite abundant new supply, real estate service provider JLL said in a report released yesterday.

Offices in the decentralized market again outperformed those in the existing central business districts, JLL added.
Rents in CBD areas were flat while those in the decentralized market edged up 1 percent quarter on quarter, driven by emerging CBDs in the clusters around the railway station and the North Bund.
“With net absorption exceeding 162,000 square meters, the decentralized market continued to see impressive leasing deals in the first three months of this year,” said Anny Zhang, head of markets for JLL Shanghai.
“Notable deals included PepsiCo’s 7,000 square meters’ lease in Gopher Center and Metlife’s 3,500 square meters’ lease in Landmark Center,” she added.
A record 528,000 square meters of Grade A office space spanning four projects, including Shanghai Tower in Lujiazui, were completed in the CBD areas in the January-March period while seven 
projects with a total gross floor area of 442,000 square meters entered the decentralized market during the same period, pushing vacancy rates higher across the city.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 6, 2017
CPIC to improve business quality through digitization
5th April 2017

 CHINA Pacific Insurance Group said it will continue to enhance digital channels and develop more protection types of insurance products as part of measures to improve business quality for the next three years under leadership of a new board, company officials said today.

The group has prioritized development of digital platforms as a major strategy for the next three years to “focus on core insurance businesses and pursue sustainable value growth, group chairman Gao Guofu said on a briefing.
The measures aim to improve customer experience, lower the company's business operational costs, improve efficiency and promote collaboration between the group's various units.
Efforts will be made in streamlining online-offline services and digitalizing business management processes to improve supply of products and services, according to Gao.
The strategy will enrich CPIC's current digital operations that already widely used in sales and claiming compensation in life and non-life insurance sectors.
The comments were made as CPIC reported its gross written premiums rising 15.1 percent year-on-year in 2016 to 234.02 billion yuan (US$ 33.96 billion), with group assets exceeding the 1 trillion yuan mark for the first time.
However, the insurer’s net profit declined 32 percent year-on-year to 12.06 billion yuan (US$1.75 billion) due to lower investment returns and changes in reserve discount rate.
Xu Jinghui, director of CPIC Life, said the current boom of life insurance market will continue in China and the company will focus on developing protection type of products and long term saving products to meet consumer needs and ensure business sustainability.
China's life insurance premiums rose 30 percent last year, contributing to half of the global increase, according to an Allianz report.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 5, 2017
Xi's visit to draw blueprint for China-Finland partnership
4th April 2017

 CHINESE President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Finland will enhance bilateral relations, advance China-Northern Europe cooperation and promote the building of the Sino-European partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization.

Xi's visit to Finland from Tuesday to Thursday will be his first trip to a European Union member state this year, and also his first visit to Northern Europe as China's head of state.
The trip will see the two states work out a new blueprint for the development of bilateral ties and sign a host of cooperative deals, highlighting the two countries' common wish to build greater consensus and synergize more cooperation efforts.
Although China and Finland are different in history and culture, social systems and development stages, the development of bilateral ties based on mutual trust, equality and common prosperity has played an exemplary role in boosting relations between China and Northern Europe, as well as Europe as a whole.
Finland was one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic ties with China, and the first Western nation to sign an inter-governmental trade agreement with China.
Currently, as anti-globalization rears its head and European integration suffers setbacks, China and Finland need to join hands in promoting trade liberalization and economic globalization, as well as advancing global governance and multilateralism.
Bilateral ties have been propelled forward by the exchange of high-level visits. During Finnish President Sauli Niinisto's visit to China in 2013, Xi and Niinisto reached important consensus on building and promoting a future-oriented new type of partnership between the two countries, which pointed the direction for the development of bilateral ties.
In the economic and trade sector, due to flagging international trade and uncertainty for the global economic recovery, bilateral trade volume stood at 5.27 billion U.S. dollars from January to October in 2016, marking a decrease of 11.9 percent from the same period of 2015.
However, it was estimated that China would remain Finland's biggest trading partner in Asia for 14 consecutive years in 2016, while Finland would remain China's major trading partner in Europe.
In 2015, Finland joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as a prospective founding member.
The AIIB is an institution that finances infrastructure construction and promotes regional connections and economic integration.
Given the fact that Finland is one of the most innovative countries in the world and China has decided to pursue an innovation-driven development strategy, the two countries have complementary advantages and huge potential for cooperation in many areas, including high technology, clean energy, innovation and Arctic research.
Finland is a traditional power in winter sports and China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, creating a golden opportunity for the two countries to strengthen exchange and cooperation in the field.
Finland has responded positively to the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.
"Finland is a firm supporter of initiatives which enhance connectivity between Europe and Asia," Finland Foreign Minister Timo Soini said in an interview with Xinhua in February.
President Xi's visit to Finland is sure to usher in a new era of partnership, and the sound development of bilateral ties will serve as an example for China-Europe cooperation.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 4, 2017

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