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News from China
Hackers target users’ info security
26th June 2015

 CHINESE consumers should be more alert to information security risks in new gadgets and online services such as taxi-hailing applications, industry officials said at an Internet security forum yesterday.

Consumers have now become targets of hackers, Shanghai-based Internet security firm Keen said.

“Various O2O (online to offline) services have brought potential risks in people’s daily life,” said Wang Qi, chief executive of Keen, who used to work in Microsoft Corp.

Wang added that this situation creates a huge market potential for the information security industry.

Hackers, for example, are able to call more than 1,000 taxis at the same time or get information and other private data of thousands of users through loopholes present in Internet Plus apps like taxi-hailing and online housekeeping tools.

Besides smart devices like phones and computers, hackers can also target potential risks in new gadgets like drones and robots, according to experts who took part in a GeekPwn forum held by Keen and the Shanghai Youth League Committee.

A government-backed GeekPwn contest with total prize money of 5 million yuan (US$805,000) will be held in Shanghai in October.

Computer security experts, known as White Hats in the industry, will be asked to discover security weaknesses in new devices and apps as part of the contest.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 26, 2015
US$6.6t to meet greenhouse gas goals
25th June 2015

 IT will cost China more than US$6.6 trillion to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals it will lay out later this month in its strategy for United Nations climate negotiations, the country’s lead negotiator for the talks said.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change affairs, said the objectives the government will outline by the end of June will be “quite ambitious.”

Xie was taking part in a three-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue forum in Washington where he met counterparts in the Obama administration, including US climate negotiator Todd Stern, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

To meet its objectives, China, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, must reconfigure its coal-dependent energy mix and develop new energy sources, Xie said.

“We will need to carry out international cooperation and research and development to reduce the costs of relevant technologies and to innovate so that we can reach our objectives,” he told reporters at a State Department briefing.

On Monday, the United States and China said they will partner on two new carbon-capture, utilization and storage projects to help commercialize the technology.

While key details of China’s plan are not yet known, it is expected to include targets announced in November, when it reached a key climate change deal with Washington to cap its emissions by 2030 and fill 20 percent of its energy needs from zero-carbon sources.

Earlier this month, Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed the government’s commitment to hit a carbon emissions peak by “around 2030.”

The country’s coal consumption decreased for the first time in years in 2014, however, leading some to speculate that its emissions could reach their peak sooner.

Stern told reporters the plans China has already announced with Washington were “a quite strong contribution.” But he said he hopes a final agreement of all countries at this December’s key UN climate change conference in Paris contains “a strong set of ... contributions, which are updated periodically” to ensure more ambitious targets.

Stern said China does not expect public finance to support its climate goals and that it is likely to attract investment as it adopts new technologies.

Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang told a panel that 750,000 electric vehicles were sold in China last year, three times more than the year before, “giving great opportunities and profit to companies like Tesla and BYD (Auto).” “To tackle climate change is both a challenge and an opportunity,” Wang said.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 25, 2015
China’s factory activity still weak
24th June 2015

 CHINA’S manufacturing activity showed some stability but continued to be weak overall in June as it shrank for a fourth straight month, a survey showed yesterday.

The generally weak activity may pave the way for further government stimulus, according to market observers.

The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index, the earliest available indicator of China’s industrial sector, edged up to 49.6 this month from the final reading of 49.2 in May and 48.9 in April, HSBC and research firm Markit said.

The reading was still below the demarcation line of 50, and it was the fourth straight month activity contracted after a brief rebound in February.

Annabel Fiddes, an economist at Markit, said June’s reading provided a mixed picture.

“On the one hand, the manufacturing sector shows signs of improvement as production stabilized amid a slight pickup in total new work, while purchasing activity also rose slightly,” Fiddes said.

“On the other hand, manufacturers continued to cut their staff numbers, with the latest reduction the sharpest in more than six years.”

Fiddes said this suggested that companies have cut growth hopes due to subdued demand at home and abroad.

“The data add to evidence that the sector has lost growth momentum in the second quarter as a whole, and indicates that China may step up the efforts to stimulate growth and job creation in the second half of the year,” Fiddes said.

China has cut interest rates and reserve requirement ratio in the past few months, along with other fiscal stimulus, to bolster a softening economy.

Some economists forecast China’s economic growth may fall below the annual target of 7 percent after growing 7.4 percent in 2014.

“The new data, plus the soft figures for investment and trade released earlier, suggest that China’s economic growth could miss 7 percent in the second quarter,” said Zhou Hao, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

In the first three months, China’s economy rose 7 percent to notch the weakest quarterly growth in six years.

The World Bank Group said earlier that China’s economic growth will ease to around 7 percent this year. The Asian Development Bank forecast China’s growth may cool to 7.2 percent this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 24, 2015
Cooling prices see desire to buy homes
23rd June 2015

 CHINESE residents are happier about consumer prices in the second quarter and more willing to buy houses in the next three months even as the economy stays sluggish, a central bank survey said yesterday.

An index measuring satisfaction over consumer goods prices rose 0.7 percentage points from the first quarter to 28.4 percent, the People’s Bank of China said in a survey covering 20,000 bank customers in the second quarter.

The survey found 14.7 percent of respondents are prepared to buy a house in the next three months, up 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

The results were released as official data showed inflation in May was the slowest in four months at 1.2 percent, while the rise in home prices in more cities indicated a recovery in the real estate market.

Meanwhile, the survey found that an overall bullish stock market since the middle of last year has boosted residents’ interest in investment especially shares.

A total of 42.3 percent of respondents said they will increase their investment, up 7.3 percentage points from the first quarter.

Fund and wealth management products remained the most popular investment option, the survey found.

Separately in the PBOC’s quarterly surveys, an index measuring bankers’ confidence in the economy fell 4.1 percent from last quarter to 43.4 percent, and 59.5 percent of bankers saw the economy as “relatively cool,” up 4.9 percentage points from the last quarter.

A confidence index for business owners shed 0.9 percentage points from the last quarter to 58.3 percent in the second quarter.

Source: Shanghai Daily, June 23, 2015

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