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News from China
Chinese firm to build Nepal power plant
6th June 2017

 NEPAL has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to build the largest hydroelectric plant in the impoverished landlocked country, which suffers from a chronic energy shortage.

 
Nepal’s energy minister Janardan Sharma on Sunday signed the agreement for the China Gezhouba Group Corporation to build the long-mooted 1,200 megawatt Budhi-Gandaki hydroelectric project.
 
Estimates put the project cost at US$2.5 billion. A financing agreement will be signed later, ministry spokesman Dinesh Kumar Ghimire said.
 
Water-rich Nepal has a mountain river system that could make it an energy-producing powerhouse, but instead it imports much of its electricity from neighboring India.
 
Experts say it could be generating 83,000 megawatts, but its total installed generation capacity currently stands at less than two percent of that.
 
Demand for electricity has long outstripped supply in Nepal due to chronic under-investment and inefficiencies in the power network.
 
The result has been crippling for domestic industry and deterred foreign investment. India and China are both pumping money into Nepal through large-scale infrastructure projects.
 
CGGC is currently building three smaller hydropower plants in Nepal and has completed another one.
 
Nepal’s government is also currently building a 750 megawatt plant with China’s backing.
 
Meanwhile, construction of two large India-backed projects — each with a price tag of over US$1 billion — is expected to begin later this year after years of delays.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 6, 2017
Online giants eye mid-year shopping
5th June 2017

 

 
ONLINE marketplaces in China are busy preparing for the mid-year online shopping event as they must work harder to woo consumers.
 
Initiated by leading e-commerce platform JD.com, “6/18” was first launched in 2010 to celebrate the company’s anniversary on June 18. It joins the Singles’ Day sale on November 11 and has become one of China’s largest online shopping sprees.
 
Other companies soon jumped on the bandwagon and began to offer special offers to get more customers.
 
Chinese tend to purchase based on quality and brands on 6/18, compared with price and delivery during Singles’ Day, a survey from JD.com showed.
 
JD.com will use technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality to offer interactive shopping experiences and will also employ robots, driverless cars and drones for deliveries.
 
Xiaomi also started a promotion campaign offering discounts for most of its products, while Alibaba’s Tmall decided to launch both online and offline activities to promote itself as a green, smart and ideal lifestyle platform.
 
Almost all Chinese e-commerce platforms are developing a “New Retail” model, which not only features online and offline retail, but also one-stop and streamlined service from shopping to payment and delivery.
 
China is the world’s largest online shopping market, with about 467 million online consumers spending around 26.1 trillion yuan (US$3.83 trillion) last year, up 19.8 percent year on year.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 5, 2017
China to launch local land reserve bonds
2nd June 2017

 CHINA will roll out local land reserve bonds this year to further unify local governments’ financing behavior, an official statement said yesterday.

 
The move came after the country banned local governments from borrowing from banks to finance land purchases and preparations for property development last year.
 
Provincial governments will be allowed to issue local land reserve bonds for their reasonable financing needs, according to the statement, which was jointly issued by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Land and Resources.
 
By issuing the bonds, authorities will be able to plug leaks in the system of local financing platforms such as fake land transactions and land reserve capital embezzlement, according to officials with the ministries.
 
Across China, land sales were once a major source of local governments’ fiscal revenue. Land reserves, which were funded through bank loans before 2015, have been effective methods for local governments to stabilize the land market.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 2, 2017
Eurozone posts lower inflation of 1.4% in May
1st June 2017

 EUROZONE inflation slowed to a lower than expected 1.4 percent in May, as volatile energy prices sapped the intended effects of the European Central Bank’s massive stimulus plan, EU data showed yesterday.

 
Eurozone unemployment in April kept an encouraging trend, inching lower to 9.3 percent, at its lowest rate since March 2009, Eurostat said.
 
The fall in inflation will provide backing to ECB head Mario Draghi, who on Monday said the central bank remained “firmly convinced” it must maintain its massive interventions in the eurozone economy to avoid undermining a gathering recovery.
 
Analysts at Factset had expected 1.5 percent inflation after prices jumped 1.9 percent in April. Factset had predicted no change for eurozone unemployment in April.
 
Inflation is a key indicator of underlying consumer demand and the ECB works toward a 2.0 percent target with the aim of ensuring a modest but sustained increased in prices, the sign of a healthy economy.
 
To achieve this, the ECB has set interest rates at historic lows, offered cheap loans to banks, and buys tens of billions of euros in bonds each month.
 
But an accelerating eurozone recovery and a spike in inflation earlier this year strengthened voices within the ECB for an end to the bond-buying, especially from powerful Germany, which sees it as an unfair subsidy to overspending eurozone partners.
 
Observers are looking to next week’s ECB council meeting for hints that the end is on the way, although most believe any concrete action to wind the programme down is still months away at least.
 
During the worst of the debt crisis, unemployment in the single currency bloc peaked at 12.1 percent with 19.3 million people looking for work in April 2013.
 
Last month, the number of unemployed stood at just over 15 million, according to the Eurostat.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 1, 2017

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