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News from China
New infrastructure talent in short supply
26th May 2020

 There is a long-term shortage of core technical talent in the new infrastructure sector, which is expected to exceed 4 million by the end of the year, a new study finds.

While China is accelerating its 5G business and strengthening the construction of new infrastructure in fields such as artificial intelligence, industrial Internet and Internet of Things, talent for relevant industries has been in short supply in recent years, recruitment firm said.
Demand for information technology talent will continue to rise steadily and the talent gap will be further widened, with predicting that the sector will lack 4.17 million qualified applicants by the end of 2020.
In the first quarter, the most in-demand positions were mainly general technical talent in 5G, big data, artificial intelligence and other fields. Among them, Java development engineers have the best career prospects, as about three jobs are available for each job seeker.
Positions like system architecture designer and algorithm engineer earned about 24,277 yuan (US$3,402)/month and 19,124 yuan/month, respectively, in the January-to-March period.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 26, 2020
Volvo a pioneer in new trade zone easing
25th May 2020

 Volvo Construction Equipment, an arm of Sweden’s Volvo Group, said it plans to move its Asian headquarters from Singapore to Shanghai.

The reason for the shift is a new set of policies in China(Shanghai) Free Trade Zone, allowing foreign businesses headquartered in the zone to conduct offshore business.
Foreign companies used to set up operations in China focused only on business in the domestic market, but policy changes now permit them to engage in offshore trade.
Last year, the Shanghai arm of Volvo Construction Equipment was the first company in the trade zone to complete an offshore transaction, with coordination from the Shanghai government, supervisory authorities and banks.
It shipped two excavators from its South Korea factory to Nigeria as part of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative.” The machinery itself did not go through Shanghai, but all the paperwork, including orders, capital transfers and insurance, were arranged in Shanghai.
“Previously, policies here meant that we had to do offshore trade through Volvo Asia in Singapore,” said Zhan Xu, vice chief executive of Volvo Construction Equipment in China.
Sales of the Shanghai operations now account for more than half of Volvo Construction Equipment’s global revenue, and the company said it expects to increase its Shanghai-based offshore business.
The new policies are part of Shanghai’s ambition to become an international trade center.
In the case of Volvo Construction Equipment, they also deliver a 1-billion-yuan (US$140.8) tax bonus for Shanghai, Zhan said.
The Lingang Special Area set up last year as part of the free trade zone is designed to create a cluster of multinational headquarters to develop deeper international trade.
“In essence, the new development is offshore trade, with corporate headquarters integrated with international finance,” said Zhang Yong, a researcher with the Comprehensive Institute of China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone at Fudan University.
“For Shanghai, the aim is to attract multinationals to establish headquarters in Shanghai and conduct supply chain management here.”
Volvo’s Zhan said the company plans to move a whole set of related service industries, including legal affairs, tax and audit operation to Shanghai from Singapore.
“This is a typical benefit for Shanghai from offshore business, which will help the city improve its capacity of allocating global resources,” said Yang Chao, vice director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce.
To form a comprehensive offshore trade center, customs and the banks all have to undertake reform in their policies and work practices.
For example, if the goods could not be inspected by customs in the past, it was impossible for relevant certificates to be issued. Without them, banks could not conduct foreign-exchange transaction related to the goods.
The Volvo China example shows how Shanghai has come up with solutions.
Zhan cautions that the new offshore business is at an early stage and will need carefully nurturing form all involved parties.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 25, 2020
US Fed chief says COVID-19 inflicted hardships 'not evenly spread
22nd May 2020

 US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell on Thursday said the COVID-19-induced economic downturn has inflicted acute pain across the country, noting that the burden is not evenly spread.

"We are in the midst of an economic downturn without modern precedent. It was sudden, and it is severe," Powell said in his opening remarks at a Fed Listens event, themed "How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Community."
"It has already erased the job gains of the past decade and has inflicted acute pain across the country," said the central bank chief.
"And while the burden is widespread, it is not evenly spread," Powell said. "Those taking the brunt of the fallout are those least able to bear it."
Another 2.4 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to data released by the US Labor Department earlier in the day, bringing the nine-week total to more than 38.9 million.
Powell said last week that the job crisis disproportionately weighed on lower-income households and families.
Citing data from a recent Fed survey, the central bank chief said among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than US$40,000 a year lost a job in March.
In an interview with CBS News "60 Minutes" Sunday, Powell said unemployment rate could peak around 20 percent or 25 percent, while noting that the likely outcome is not another Great Depression.
When asked about the shrinkage of GDP in the second quarter, Powell said the numbers are going to be "very high" and it is hard to be precise.
Source: Shanghai Daily 22, 2020
Xi sends letter congratulating on International Tea Day
21st May 2020

 Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday sent a letter expressing warm congratulations on a series of activities marking the first International Tea Day.

Xi stressed that the United Nation's decision to set up the International Tea Day showed the international community's recognition of and emphasis on the value of tea, and the move 
is of great significance to revitalizing the tea industry and carrying forward tea culture.
Noting that tea originated in China and became popular in the world, Xi said China, a major producer and consumer of tea, is willing to work with all sides to nurture the sustained and healthy
 development of the global tea industry, deepen cultural exchanges on tea, and allow more people to relish lives accompanied by tea.
Tea is one of the three major drinks in the world, produced in more than 60 countries and regions worldwide and enjoyed by over 2 billion people. In December 2019, the United Nations declared May 21 the International Tea Day, in order to commend the economic, social and cultural value of tea and foster the sustainable development of global agriculture.
During celebrations for this year's International Tea Day, China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs will launch a series of promotional activities online in collaboration with the 
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the government of east China's Zhejiang Province.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 21, 2020

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