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News from China
EU mulls whether to abolish list
21st July 2016

 THE European Union is mulling whether to abolish its “non-market economy” list, on which China and 14 other countries are included, and set up a new “country-neutral” method to reform its anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.

The decision was made after the European Commission held the second orientation debate on the treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations as the 15-year-old “surrogate system” is set to expire in December.

“The colleagues have agreed to propose changes to the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation with the introduction of a new anti-dumping methodology,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said yesterday.

“We are eliminating the existing list of non-market economy countries,” Malmstrom said. “This is a new method, it will be country-neutral and will be applied equally to all WTO countries.”

This would see the EU creating an additional non-standard methodology. This new methodology would lead to approximately the same level of anti-dumping duties as the EU has today, he said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 21, 2016
Tap talent to turn city into global hub
20th July 2016

 SHANGHAI should tap its diverse talented professionals with overseas education background and business management skills to help the city become a global tech innovation center, said a report jointly released by LinkedIn and the local government.

Shanghai tops among all Chinese cities in a career development index due to its more than 1 million LinkedIn users and job opportunities.
More than 20.4 percent of the talents in Shanghai have overseas education experience, above the national average rate of 12.1 percent. Around 7.7 percent of the talents have MBA degrees, higher than the national average of 5.1 percent, according to the report released by LinkedIn and the Xuhui district government.
The majority of high-end talents work in multinational firms and top Chinese firms in Shanghai. This leaves local small and medium-sized firms difficulties in luring talents.
Cross-industry talents, like the fintech sector which is an integration between information technology and finance, are urgently needed in China, said speakers from Alibaba, Ctrip and Accenture at a conference.
Source: Shanghai Daily, July 20, 2016
China to lift reform to revitalize market
19th July 2016

 CHINA will overhaul its investment and financing system to stimulate market vitality amid the economic downturn, said a document released yesterday by the central authorities.

The government will cut red tape, improve supervision and encourage enterprises to invest, said a guideline jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council.

China will enhance private investment management, reinforce public investment, diversify corporate financing channels and accelerate the transformation of government functions, the guideline said.

It also urged implementation of the measures.

The document marked the latest effort by the central authorities to solve entrenched funding difficulties for small companies and encourage better use of private capital.

Private investment added only 2.8 percent in the first half of 2016, down from 3.9 percent growth in the first five months and 5.7 percent in the first quarter, official data showed.

Startups will see stronger financial support, while companies will be encouraged to raise funds through bond issuance, according to the document. Domestic firms and financial institutions will be granted easier access to foreign capital.

Controls on insurance capital will be relaxed to facilitate projects in infrastructure, livelihood and urbanization.

China will also launch pilots to allow financial institutions to hold corporate equities.

The government has started loosening its grip on investment and financing, with less investment subject to approval and more decision-making power given to enterprises.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 19, 2016
AI, robotic firms likely to find funding in China
18th July 2016

 STARTUPS looking for funding to develop next-generation technology like artificial intelligence and robotics are increasingly likely to find it in China.

Companies working on equipment to deliver parcels to the moon, robots to stock warehouse shelves, and computers capable of acquiring knowledge like a human are among more than 30 startups seeded by Comet Labs since its founding last year.

The venture capital firm, created by Chinese investment fund Legend Star, gave the media an introduction to its work this week. It provided only the briefest of glimpses into its investment portfolio, without disclosing further details on the seed companies, but it was enough to make clear the cutting-edge nature of their technology.

Legend Star is owned by Hong Kong-listed Legend Holdings, which is also the parent company of Chinese PC maker Lenovo. Comet Labs not only provides funding for startups, but also helps find them clients.

Comet Labs’ Managing Director Saman Farid said the startups it has backed have managed to secure a combined US$40 million in follow-up funding rounds that have also drawn investors including Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator.

“The world has been carried forward by waves of technology, from digitization to the Internet, then mobile Internet and we believe the next wave will be artificial intelligence,” said Farid.

Until recently, China had mostly been on the receiving end of venture capital from around the world as many of the country’s top Internet firms, from Alibaba and Tencent to Uber competitor Didi and smartphone maker Xiaomi, received backing from overseas.

But the outbound investment made by Chinese firms like Comet Labs could signal a reverse in the flow of capital, as investors in China look out for entrepreneurs tinkering with what could eventually evolve into technology that redefines industries.

Earlier this month, Zhongguancun Development Group, a state-backed investment firm based in Beijing’s tech hub Zhongguancun, also set up a fund to raise 10 to 20 million yuan (about US$1.5 to 3 million) to incubate startups focused on smart manufacturing in Germany.

In June, a group of Chinese investors, including Baidu, CICC Alpha, China Everbright and IDG also participated in the US$60 million financing round for US online cross-border payment startup Circle, which uses the block chain technology that many in the financial industry say has the potential to bring sweeping changes to the financial world.

This investment comes at a time when China’s vast manufacturing sector is wobbling. Industrial production growth has been slowing consistently, sinking to 6 percent for the first half of 2016, compared with double-digit rates couples of years ago.

Source: Shanghai Daily, July 18, 2016

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