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News from China
Rail freight volume drops 6.3% in 8 months
29th September 2016

 CHINA’S national rail freight volume, an indicator of economic activity, declined in the first eight months of the year, the country’s top economic planner said yesterday.

Rail freight volume between January and August dropped 6.3 percent year on year to 2.1 billion tons, compared with a 3.2 percent rise in the first seven months, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

In August, rail freight volume rose 0.1 percent year on year to 277 million tons, the commission said.

China’s economic growth held steady at 6.7 percent in the second quarter, still the lowest level since the 2009 global financial crisis but within the government’s target range for this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 27, 2016
Foreign service trade deficit widens
28th September 2016

 CHINA saw its foreign service trade deficit expand in August, according to statistics released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange yesterday.

Income from trade in services stood at US$22.8 billion last month, while expenditure was US$48.2 billion, resulting in a deficit of US$25.4 billion.

The deficit was higher than the July total of US$22.5 billion and the US$19.4 billion June deficit.

Distinct from merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transport, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.

China’s service trade volume grew from US$362.4 billion in 2010 to US$713 billion in 2015, doubling the average international growth speed in the sector.

The country is aiming to increase its service trade volume to more than US$1 trillion by 2020.

The State Council has pledged measures to improve the development of services trade, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture and medical sectors.

In August, China saw a surplus of US$52.7 billion in foreign merchandise trade, up from US$50 billion in July, according to SAFE.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 28, 2016
Global survey ranks city 16th among financial hubs
27th September 2016

 HANGHAI ranked 16th in a list of 87 global financial hubs, with Shenzhen at 22nd and Beijing at 26th place, a survey showed yesterday.

London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo were ranked in the top five, according to the Global Financial Centers Index report.

Shanghai stayed sixth in Asia rankings, a repeat of its position in the prior survey released in March. However, the city’s financial infrastructure gained higher points.

The index is compiled by the London-based Z/Yen Group and the non-official think tank China Development Institute. The index began the ranking in 2007, featuring five sub-indexes of human resources, business environment, entry barrier, infrastructure and general features.

Shanghai ranked fifth in 2011, but has since been surpassed by cities such as Los Angeles and Montreal, due to fast development of financial technology firms and better plans to deal with post-economic crisis problems.

“I believe Shanghai has real capacity,” said Mark Yeandle, associate director of the Z/Yen Group. “If we give it some true light in years to come, Shanghai might rank back among the top-10 centers though that’s with the expectation of how long it will take for the yuan to become truly internationalized.”

Shanghai aims to become an influential global financial center by 2020, “in accordance with China’s economic strength and a broader use of the yuan,” Zhen Yang, director-general of the Shanghai Financial Service Office, said in a speech yesterday.

The country’s currency will be included in the International Monetary Fund’s currency basket from October 1, holding a 10.9 percent weighting in the Special Drawing Rights administered by the fund, as China looks for a bigger say in the global market.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 27, 2016
Sany finds smart way to boost bottom line
26th September 2016

 SHANGHAI-LISTED machinery manufacturer Sany Heavy Industry Co is using smart manufacturing to narrow its losses, the company said at Pujiang Innovation Forum 2016 on Saturday.

Despite profits taking a dive last year, Sany remained the most profitable machinery manufacturer in China over the first half with a net profit of 138 million yuan (US$20.7 million) and total revenue of 11.2 billion yuan. Its competitor XCMG posted a 120 million yuan profit, while Zoomlion suffered an 837 million yuan net loss.

Sany’s profit fell 48.6 percent from the first half of last year, and plummeted 75.6 percent two years ago. “That’s because we are weathering the industry fluctuations by diversifying on smart manufacturing,” said He Dongdong, Sany’s senior vice president.

Apart from selling machinery products such as concrete machine and crane parts, “we are profiting on on-time maintenance for our customers,” He said.

Sany could now predict and tackle potential breakdowns on its machinery parts sold to customers based on a digital connection network after a 1 billion yuan investment over eight years.

The company designated more than 5,000 engineers on research and development, of which according to He, a big part of that revolved round its informatics team working on 48 analyzing parameters for machine maintenance and upgrading.

In its “smart factory” in Changsha, Hunan province, 20 percent of operational cost could be cut thanks to digitization, China Business Network reported on Tuesday.

Over the first half Sany cut 15.5 percent on sales costs from a year ago, and 8.9 percent on management costs, according to its annual report.

Beena Ammanath, head of Data Science Products at US-based General Electric, backed the cost of going smart. She said breakdown predictions based on data analysis would help to extend machines’ lifetime by 20 to 30 years, contributing to a long-term cost cut for manufacturers.

The machinery industry worldwide is suffering a downturn because of diminishing demand.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 26, 2016

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