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News from China
Sharp decline in imports of solid waste
1st April 2019

 China's imports of solid waste continued to drop in 2018 as the country tightened its ban on solid waste imports, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

Last year, imports of solid waste saw a sharp 46.5 percent decrease year on year, and the restricted solid waste imports slumped 51.5 percent, said Qiu Qiwen, a ministry official in charge of solid wastes and chemicals.
The ministry has jointly worked with relevant government departments, including the General Administration of Customs, to forge action plans, adjust solid waste import management categories and step up the restrictions of imports, he said.
China, by no means, will loosen its policy and restrictions on the imports of solid waste, Qiu said, adding that the country is determined to significantly reduce the amount and types of imported solid waste and basically realize the target of zero solid waste imports by 2020.
According to the customs data, plastic, paper and metal waste imports totaled 2.65 million tons for the first two months of 2019, down 22.9 percent from a year earlier.
China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world’s largest importer, despite its weak capacity in garbage disposal. Some companies illegally bring foreign waste into the country for profit, posing a threat to the environment and public health.
Given rising public awareness of environmental protection and China’s green development drive, the government decided to phase out and halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable. The government last year banned 32 types of solid waste, including plastics and paper, and has imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials.
Source: Shanghai Daily, April 1, 2019
Seasonal factors behind drop in industrial profits
28th March 2019

 China’s major industrial firms reported falling profits in the January-February period, due to price and seasonal factors, but continued to see progress in structural upgrading and deleveraging, data showed yesterday.

Combined profit of industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$3 million) dropped 14 percent year on year in the first two months of this year to 708.01 billion yuan, compared with the 16.1 percent growth in the same period of last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
Compared with the first two months in 2018, this year’s Spring Festival holiday had a longer impact on industrial production as it came earlier this year, said Zhu Hong, a senior statistician at the bureau. “After being adjusted for the Spring Festival factor, the profits of major industrial firms were basically flat or slightly down from the same period of last year,” Zhu said.
The automobile, petroleum processing, steel and chemical industries saw profits markedly pared by falling product prices, dragging the overall industrial profit growth down 14.2 percentage points, Zhu said.
In January and February, the factory-gate prices fell 0.4 percent year on year in the auto industry. The prices also dropped 1.3 percent in the petroleum processing industry, 2.5 percent in the steel sector, and 2.3 percent in the chemical industry.
Excluding the four industries, the overall industrial profit could have posted an increase of 0.2 percent year on year, according to the statistics bureau.
Apart from those factors, the profit decline was also a result of adjustments in the official statistical caliber and stronger efforts to ensure data quality, Huatai Securities said in a research note.
On the positive side, consumer product manufacturers and equipment producers maintained relatively fast profit growth, reflecting structural improvement. Profits of major consumer goods manufacturers rose 5.8 percent year on year. Major special-purpose equipment producers recorded a 14-percent profit growth, while electrical machinery and device producers’ profits climbed 10.9 percent.
The structural change was in line with a shift in China’s economic growth drivers from exports and investment to domestic consumption and high-end industries.
Yesterday’s data also showed progress in the country’s bid to help reduce corporate leverage through supply-side structural reform. The leverage ratio continued to fall as the debt-to-asset ratio fell 0.2 percentage points to 56.9 percent at the end of February, the bureau said.
Among them, the debt-to-asset ratio of state-owned industrial companies slipped 1 percentage points from a year earlier to 58.6 percent, indicating that the deleveraging of state-owned enterprises has achieved remarkable results, Zhu said.
Chinese authorities have pledged to stick with supply-side structural reform and rolled out a raft of measures to cut taxes and fees for firms.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 28, 2019
China's industrial profits fall in first 2 months
27th March 2019

 Profits of China's major industrial firms fell 14 percent year on year in the January-February period, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday.

Combined profits of industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (US$2.98 million) stood at 708.01 billion yuan in the first two months of 2019, the NBS data showed.
Zhu Hong, an NBS senior statistician, attributed the decline to lower profits at some major industries and disruptions caused by the Spring Festival holiday in February.
"After being adjusted for the Spring Festival factor, the profits of major industrial firms were basically flat or slightly down from the same period of last year," an NBS statement quoted Zhu as saying.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 27, 2019
A gift from Macron to Xi, a friend from afar
26th March 2019

 "It is a pleasure to have friends coming from afar," the ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius said in The Analects of Confucius, a collection of his ideas and sayings.

This Chinese classic has now been given to a friend from afar as a national gift of France. That friend is Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on a state visit to the European country.
The original French version of "An Introduction to The Analects of Confucius," published in 1688, was presented to Xi as a national gift by his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, when the two leaders met on Sunday in Nice, France.
Xi said he would take this precious gift back to China's National Library.
The early translations of The Analects of Confucius had inspired French thinkers Montesquieu and Voltaire, said Macron. The only other remaining book from this version is now kept at his country's Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts.
The soaring popularity of this Confucius classic in France is a good example of the long-standing cultural communication between the two countries.
Former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing once told Xinhua that he had read many Chinese classics, among which The Analects of Confucius would often be by his bedside.
Apart from economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges are also an important part of the France-China ties, he said.
At the Paris Phoenix bookstore, customers could easily find various Chinese books.
Florine Marechal, a bookstore staffer, said the French versions of books like The Analects of Confucius are popular among many French readers, including herself.
Marechal said she has been learning Chinese for seven years out of her passion for Chinese culture and literature, and gave herself a Chinese name, Fu Yating, which means elegance and grace.
She likes reading Chinese books like The Analects of Confucius, as well as the works of other modern Chinese writers like Lu Xun and Ba Jin.
Back in 2014, which marked the 50th anniversary of the China-France diplomatic ties, Xi wrote in a preface for a Chinese cultural relics exhibition in France that the enhancement of cultural exchanges of the two nations, both representing Eastern and Western civilizations, would consolidate public support for developing bilateral relations, improve the two cultures and forge diversified global civilizations.
In that same year, The Analects of Confucius was voted as one of the 10 most influential Chinese books in France.
According to Joel Bellassen, who involved in the voting as the general inspector of Chinese language at the French Ministry of National Education, the popularity of learning Chinese in France is closely related to historical bonds of the two countries.
Aside from the well-known collection, the emerging Confucius Institutes are also associated with this great Chinese philosopher by French or European people as 131 Confucius Institutes and 251 Confucius Classrooms have been established in the European Union, among which 16 Confucius Institutes and two Confucius Classrooms are in France.
The country is one of the earliest to bring Chinese language teaching into the national educational system under a teaching syllabus designed by its education authorities.
Source: Shanghai Daily, March 26, 2019

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