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News from China
China sets up VR industry alliance
30th September 2016

 CHINA’S first government-endorsed virtual reality industry alliance was founded yesterday in Beijing, which is expected to establish industry standards and a strong VR ecosystem in the country.

The Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance, or IVRA, which is supported by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, aims to enhance the development of the VR ecosystem in China by promoting innovation in technology, formulating industry standards, bridging hardware, software, content, platforms and industrial application.

More than 170 enterprises and institutions have joined IVRA, such as companies including HTC, Alibaba, Huawei, JD.com, NetEase, LeEco, iQiYi, Samsung, Nokia, AMD, NVIDIA and ARM; research centers and education institutions like Peking University, Zhejiang University, Columbia University, Stanford University and the University of Washington.

Industrial parks and investment institutions such as China Nanchang VR Industrial Base, Shanghai Jinqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone and VR Venture also joined IVRA.

HTC is committed to promoting VR technology innovation in China, Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO of HTC, said in a statement. It will also assist MIIT to formulate industry standards.

China has great market potential for VR device makers, smartphone vendors and content providers, with the market value expected to be 55 billion yuan (US$8.3 billion) by 2020, or a 36-fold jump from 2014, according to iResearch, a Shanghai-based research firm.

VR devices including HTC’s Vive and Sony PlayStation VR are already available in China.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 30,2016
Rail freight volume drops 6.3% in 8 months
29th September 2016

 CHINA’S national rail freight volume, an indicator of economic activity, declined in the first eight months of the year, the country’s top economic planner said yesterday.

Rail freight volume between January and August dropped 6.3 percent year on year to 2.1 billion tons, compared with a 3.2 percent rise in the first seven months, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

In August, rail freight volume rose 0.1 percent year on year to 277 million tons, the commission said.

China’s economic growth held steady at 6.7 percent in the second quarter, still the lowest level since the 2009 global financial crisis but within the government’s target range for this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 27, 2016
Foreign service trade deficit widens
28th September 2016

 CHINA saw its foreign service trade deficit expand in August, according to statistics released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange yesterday.

Income from trade in services stood at US$22.8 billion last month, while expenditure was US$48.2 billion, resulting in a deficit of US$25.4 billion.

The deficit was higher than the July total of US$22.5 billion and the US$19.4 billion June deficit.

Distinct from merchandise trade, trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of intangible products such as transport, tourism, telecommunications, construction, advertising, computing and accounting.

China’s service trade volume grew from US$362.4 billion in 2010 to US$713 billion in 2015, doubling the average international growth speed in the sector.

The country is aiming to increase its service trade volume to more than US$1 trillion by 2020.

The State Council has pledged measures to improve the development of services trade, including gradually opening up the finance, education, culture and medical sectors.

In August, China saw a surplus of US$52.7 billion in foreign merchandise trade, up from US$50 billion in July, according to SAFE.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 28, 2016
Global survey ranks city 16th among financial hubs
27th September 2016

 HANGHAI ranked 16th in a list of 87 global financial hubs, with Shenzhen at 22nd and Beijing at 26th place, a survey showed yesterday.

London, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo were ranked in the top five, according to the Global Financial Centers Index report.

Shanghai stayed sixth in Asia rankings, a repeat of its position in the prior survey released in March. However, the city’s financial infrastructure gained higher points.

The index is compiled by the London-based Z/Yen Group and the non-official think tank China Development Institute. The index began the ranking in 2007, featuring five sub-indexes of human resources, business environment, entry barrier, infrastructure and general features.

Shanghai ranked fifth in 2011, but has since been surpassed by cities such as Los Angeles and Montreal, due to fast development of financial technology firms and better plans to deal with post-economic crisis problems.

“I believe Shanghai has real capacity,” said Mark Yeandle, associate director of the Z/Yen Group. “If we give it some true light in years to come, Shanghai might rank back among the top-10 centers though that’s with the expectation of how long it will take for the yuan to become truly internationalized.”

Shanghai aims to become an influential global financial center by 2020, “in accordance with China’s economic strength and a broader use of the yuan,” Zhen Yang, director-general of the Shanghai Financial Service Office, said in a speech yesterday.

The country’s currency will be included in the International Monetary Fund’s currency basket from October 1, holding a 10.9 percent weighting in the Special Drawing Rights administered by the fund, as China looks for a bigger say in the global market.

Source: Shanghai Daily, September 27, 2016

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