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News from China
Maglev trains bring new possibilities for China's future transportation
19th September 2019

 Technicians are busy examining a new magnetic levitation train prototype in a factory in Zhuzhou, central China's Hunan Province.

 
Zhuzhou, a city known as a forerunner of China's rail transit manufacturing industry, is fostering innovation and production of maglev trains.
 
"We have been pursuing independent research of maglev technology and manufacturing maglev trains with our own intellectual property rights," said Zhou Qinghe, president of CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co. Ltd. (ZLCL), a rail transit equipment maker and a subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. (CRRC).
 
Shanghai saw China's first commercial maglev system, a 30-km stretch between the downtown area and the city's Pudong airport, which was put into operation in 2003. But the system was based on German maglev technology.
 
Fully supported by its own technology, China's first medium-and-low speed maglev line with a design speed of 100 kph started operation in May 2016 in Changsha, Hunan Province.
 
As of the end of August, the Changsha maglev line had an operation mileage of 3.07 million km and has transported more than 10 million passengers.
 
According to Tong Laisheng, head of the maglev research institute of the CRRC ZLCL, they have been aiming for new breakthroughs and more advanced versions of commercial maglev trains.
 
The 2.0 version of the maglev, with a design speed of 160 kph, is being tested and a more advanced driverless maglev train with a top speed of 200 kph is being developed, Tong said.
 
"The driverless version can climb to the height of a four-story building in 100 meters, just like a roller coaster. It will be equipped with a communication-based train control system that combines big-data analysis, realizing real-time diagnosis of trains, maglev tracks and power supply," Tong said.
 
Liu Youmei, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said China has mastered the key and core technology for commercial maglev trains and established a system with intellectual property rights, ranging from research, manufacturing, test verification to commercial operation.
 
China has seen a rapid development of rail transit in recent years with its fast urbanization progress.
 
Statistics from the China Association of Metros showed that a total of 37 cities on the Chinese mainland had rail transit systems in operation as of June 30, with a total length of 6,126.82 km.
 
China's urban rail transit has not only achieved rapid growth in scale but also achieved high-quality development, said Xie Zhengguang, president of the association.
 
Tong is confident about the prospects of maglev trains as they offer an alternative to traditional rail and subway systems, which have their own advantages in urban transit.
 
Maglev trains create less noise since there is no wheel-rail friction. Besides, their minimum turning radius is only half that of a subway, allowing it to better bypass buildings in route planning and avoid relocation, Tong said.
 
It is also more economical, and the comprehensive cost per kilometer is only about a third of a subway and three-quarters of a light rail, Tong added.
 
Some Chinese cities such as Qingyuan in Guangdong Province have started maglev line projects, and more cities such as Chengdu in Sichuan Province and Jinan in Shandong Province are adding maglev lines into their transportation planning to connect city clusters and boost regional integration.
 
"More than 200 delegations from 35 countries and regions have come to Hunan Province to investigate our maglev lines. We will take into consideration the characteristics of different places, and design customized maglev trains in the future," Tong said.
 
Zhou said the fast development of maglev trains is expected to foster a strong industrial chain.
 
"More than 90 percent of the 10,000 types of components used in the medium-and-low maglev trains are now purchased in China, which will bring new opportunities for many relevant industries including machinery, electronics and new materials," Zhou said.
 
Apart from commercial operation of medium-and-low speed maglev lines, China is fostering research on more maglev train variants. A prototype of the high-speed maglev train with a design speed of 600 kph was unveiled in Qingdao, Shandong Province in May. The engineering prototype is scheduled for 2020 and is expected to finish integrated verification in 2021.
 
CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., the train builder, has cooperated with more than 30 companies, universities and research institutions in the project.
 
Ding Sansan, deputy chief engineer of the company, said the development of high-speed maglev trains entails several sub-systems including locomotive vehicles, traction, operational control and communication.
 
CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Co. Ltd., a company specializing in the production of motors, has developed the long-stator linear traction motor for the 600 kph maglev train prototype, dubbed as the "heart" of the train.
 
The National Innovation Center of High-Speed Train located in Qingdao has initiated the projects of high-speed maglev experimental center and test center to facilitate research and production.
 
In October 2020, the 25th International Conference on Magnetically Levitated Systems and Linear Drives (MAGLEV 2020) will be held in Changsha.
 
"China's maglev technology and the industry are increasingly recognized by its international counterparts," Zhou said.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily September 19, 2019
Ne Zha" given extended box office run on Chinese mainland
18th September 2019

 Chinese animation hit "Ne Zha" has been given another extended run at the Chinese mainland box office and will be screened until October 26, the film's official Weibo account announced.

 
Hitting screens on July 26, the film has raked in over 4.9 billion yuan (US$693 million), making it the second-highest-grossing film in Chinese box office history.
 
It is set to pass the 5-billion-yuan mark in the coming days, a milestone that has only been reached by the 2017 action film "Wolf Warrior 2."
 
The film managed to maintain its momentum after over 50 days of screening, grossing about 61.06 million yuan during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, which ran from Sept. 13 to 15.
 
Loosely based on the tale of Nezha, a mythological figure from Chinese legends, the film depicts Nezha as a mischievous boy with cute and ugly features instead of the attractive young figure that appeared in recent remakes.
 
"Ne Zha" has grossed over 3.3 million dollars at the North American box office. 
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 18, 2019
Trump says US reaches 'initial' trade deal with Japan
17th September 2019

 US President Donald Trump said on Monday that his administration has reached an "initial" trade deal regarding tariff barriers with Japan, indicating that the agreement doesn't need to be approved by the US Congress.

 
"I intend to enter into the agreement in the coming weeks," Trump said in a message to Congress released by the White House, adding that he will also be entering into an "executive agreement" with Japan regarding digital trade.
 
He said that his administration looks forward to "continued collaboration" with the Congress on further negotiations with Japan to achieve a comprehensive trade agreement that results in more fair and reciprocal trade between the two countries.
 
Trump cited the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, which allows the US president to proclaim reciprocal reductions in tariffs without congressional approval.
 
In October 2018, the Trump administration notified the Congress that it intended to initiate trade negotiations with Japan under the framework of the act.
 
In late August, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced at the summit of the Group of Seven (G7) in Biarritz, France that they had reached an agreement in principle to lower tariffs on agricultural and industrial goods, leaving out the auto sector.
 
When a Japanese reporter asked Trump whether he could rule out the possibility of US tariffs on Japan's auto industry, the US president didn't give the confirmation.
 
Earlier this year, Trump had threatened to impose tariffs on imported cars and auto parts on national security grounds, provoking backlash at home and abroad.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 17, 2019
China's holistic reform creating new synergy for high-quality growth
16th September 2019

 China has adopted a package of new reform measures for high-quality development as policy-makers set the tone for greater synergy of reform in different areas.

 
The 10th meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform decided to enhance synergy, coordination and efficiency in advancing reform and to make institutions in all areas more mature and in better shape.
 
China's reform measures over the past several years highlight the country's holistic approach in addressing institutional obstacles and obstruction and promoting policy innovation.
 
The meeting demanded efforts to promote the integration and co-existence of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, two sectors seen as increasingly interwoven in recent years.
 
"Integration between the manufacturing and services sectors can help strengthen the international competitiveness of Chinese manufacturing amid rising industrial resource costs," said Deng Zhou, an industrial economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
 
Official data showed companies providing services for manufacturers, in particular, engineering design, quality inspection and intellectual property rights maintained robust revenue growth between 2016 and 2018.
 
The meeting underscored more initiatives to promote high-quality development of trade, with a focus on jointly building the Belt and Road and vigorously optimizing the trade structure.
 
In the first eight months of 2019, the total trade between China and the European Union reached 3.15 trillion yuan (US$444.65 billion), up 9.7 percent year on year, while the total trade between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations amounted to 2.74 trillion yuan, up 11.7 percent year on year.
 
China's continuous efforts in improving the business environment and reducing taxes and fees led to greater vitality of enterprises. During the period, the imports and exports of private businesses totaled 8.49 trillion yuan, up 11.2 percent year on year, accounting for 42.2 percent of China's total trade volume.
 
The development of private businesses is indispensable for upgrading manufacturing and China's trade competitiveness, said Chi Fulin, head of the China Institute for Reform and Development. "Measures to advance fair competition such as lowering financing costs for small- and medium-sized enterprises are essential to reform."
 
In fact, China is now on the home stretch of implementing an extensive reform plan set out in 2013. By the end of 2018, 95 percent of the 336 major reform tasks in the plan had been implemented with concrete policy measures.
 
Over the years, China has laid the foundation and created strong momentum for comprehensive reform, and now entered a phase of reforms marked by synergy, coordination and efficiency.
 
By the end of 2018, more than 400 documents had been approved and 1,932 measures introduced throughout 40 meetings of the central leading group for deepening overall reform and five meetings of the central committee for deepening overall reform.
Source: Shanghai Daily, September 16, 2019

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