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News from China
Economic growth stable for first 4 months
16th May 2019

 China’s economic growth moderated in April but was stable over the first four months with steady production growth in the service sector, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

 
The service production index grew 7.4 percent year on year in April, 0.2 percentage points slower than the previous month but 0.1 percentage point faster than in the first two months. For January-April period, the index rose 7.4 percent from the same period last year, unchanged from the figure in the first quarter.
 
In April, the information transmission, software and information technology services sector, and the leasing and business services industry grew by 25 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, outpacing the national services production index by 17.6 and 0.7 percentage points. 
 
Industrial production growth fell to 5.4 percent year on year in April compared with the 8.5 percent in March, weaker than the market expectation of 6.5 percent, but up 0.1 percentage points from the January-February period. 
 
"The fluctuation in the month-on-month growth rate of industrial production was mainly due to the Spring Festival holiday, the adjustment of value-added tax rate and the change of base figure in the same period," said Jiang Yuan, a senior statistician at the bureau.
 
"However, from the point of view of the cumulative growth rate, the industrial production still ran steadily," Jiang added.
 
For the first four months, the value-added industrial output of major enterprises rose by 6.2 percent from a year earlier, flat from the pace for the whole of 2018.
 
Nomura said the year-on-year fall in April was mainly driven by mining and manufacturing sectors, where industrial output growth dropped to 2.9 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively, from 4.6 percent and 9 percent in March. The figure in the utilities sector rose to 9.5 percent year on year in April from 7.7 percent in the previous month.
 
The high-tech manufacturing sectors jumped 11.2 percent last month from the same period last year, 5.8 percentage points faster than the overall figure for the industrial production of major enterprises.
 
Retail sales of consumer goods in April totaled 3,058.6 billion yuan, up 7.2 percent year on year to post a 1.5 percentage points drop from the previous month.
 
"The decline was mainly affected by the Labor Day holiday. If excluding this factor, the consumer goods market will still maintain steady growth in general," said bureau statistician Zhang Min.
 
By major product, growth of auto sales remained sluggish to drop by 2.1 percent year on year in April, despite a rise from the 4.4 percent decline in March. 
 
Sales growth of oil and oil products slumped to 0.1 percent from 7.1 percent, partly driven by a recent moderation in year-on-year oil price inflation (Brent oil price inflation fell to negative 0.4 percent year on year in April from 0.4 percent in March), Nomura said.
 
Fixed asset investment growth slowed on weak manufacturing and infrastructure investment to 5.7 percent year on year last month, down from 6.4 percent in March, taking year-to-date growth down by 0.2 percentage points to 6.1 percent, unchanged from the January-February period but 0.2 percentage points faster than last year. 
 
Investment in high-tech manufacturing and services increased 11.4 percent and 15.5 percent respectively, outpacing the headline FAI by 5.3 percentage points and 9.4 percentage points, according to the bureau.
 
Meanwhile, property investment held up well in April, with a big jump in developers’ funding conditions, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group said.
 
Property investment growth rose to a new high since 2015 at 11.9 percent year on year over the first four months. During the same period, growth of developers’ funding, which holds the key to property investment, also jumped to 8.9 percent, the fastest in 20 months, as bank loans, advance payments, and mortgages grew at a quicker pace. 
 
"This is also consistent with our observations of the rebound in home sales, which increased 0.4 percent year on year in January-April, representing the first positive year-on-year growth this year," said Betty Wang, senior China economist at ANZ Group.
 
"We maintain our view that property investment in China will remain stable for 2019, despite recent tightening in a few cities."
 
Lu Ting, chief China economist at Nomura, expects headline activity data to slightly pick up in May due partially to front-loading of exports to the US as a response to a possible 25 percent tariff hike to the US$300 billion China’s exports to the US. 
 
"We expect Beijing to significantly ramp up easing or stimulus measures to stabilize financial markets and bolster growth," Lu said.
 
ANZ's Wang also expects China to roll out more supportive measures to shore up sentiment and maintain economic resilience. 
 
"However, rather than using broad-based monetary easing and policy rate cuts, we believe that Chinese policy-makers will favor targeted monetary policies, industrial subsidies, and fiscal policy including tax cuts to counter the downside risks," Wang said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 16, 2019
China's industrial output up 5.4% in April
15th May 2019

 China's value-added industrial output, an important economic indicator, expanded 5.4 percent year on year in April, official data showed Wednesday.

 
The rate was down by 3.1 percentage points from March, but 0.1 percentage points faster than the first two months, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement.
 
In the first four months, industrial output increased 6.2 percent year on year, the same pace as that for the whole year of 2018.
 
China's value-added industrial output is used to measure the output of large companies each with annual main business revenue of more than 20 million yuan (about US$2.9 million).
 
 In a breakdown by ownership, the output of state-controlled enterprises went up 6 percent last month, joint-stock companies up 6.3 percent, and that of overseas-invested enterprises increased by 2.5 percent.
 
In April, the output of high-tech manufacturing sector surged 11.2 percent, more than doubled the pace of overall industrial output growth.
 
The production of new energy vehicles and microcomputers grew 17.1 percent and 16.6 percent, respectively.
 
Last month, the manufacturing purchasing managers' index stood at 50.1, staying above the boom-bust line of 50. 
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 15, 2019
Chinese apps gain popularity across Asia
13th May 2019

 Mobile payment, online shopping, entertainment, dining and beyond — Chinese apps have been catching on with consumers across Asia.

 
App Annie, an analyst firm, said Chinese apps for e-commerce, social media and leisure have gained strong growth in Asian countries, and their users have been expanding.
 
In 2018, the number of downloads of shopping apps grew 54 percent compared with the figure in 2017, the firm said.
 
These technologies have facilitated exchange and dialogue between nations in Asia. Beijing will host the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations from May 15 to 22.
 
In August 2018 during the Asian Games, Beijing-based ByteDance, known for its short video sharing app TikTok, called on its users to publish videos to pass on the spirit of the Asian Games.
 
Since TikTok was launched in 2017, its users have grown exponentially in countries such as Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, the company said.
 
In the field of mobile payment, Ant Financial has cooperated with Paytm in India, Kakao Pay in the Republic of Korea, DANA in Indonesia and Easypaisa in Pakistan to serve users in these Asian countries.
 
Ant Financial executive chairman Jing Xiandong said China's experiences in e-commerce and digital economy can be replicated in many countries along the Belt and Road.
 
The number of Asian users on Aliexpress, the global retail platform, has also expanded rapidly.
 
Company data shows that over 20 million buyers in central and southern Asia make purchases on the platform. Buyers in Kyrgyzstan grew fourfold in three years. They mainly buy clothing, consumer electronics and cosmetics, Aliexpress said.
 
Another Chinese firm Meituan-Dianping, which specializes in group buying of consumer products and food delivery services, covered 4.23 million businesses in 380 cities along the Belt and Road, according to figures by April 11, 2019.
 
The company has helped restaurant owners in popular tourist destinations in Asia to renovate and attract customers.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 13, 2019
China's foreign trade up 4.3% in first 4 months
8th May 2019

 China's foreign trade of goods climbed 4.3 percent year on year in the first four months of this year to 9.51 trillion yuan (US$1.41 trillion), customs data showed Wednesday.

 
Exports increased by 5.7 percent year on year to 5.06 trillion yuan during this period, while imports went up by 2.9 percent to 4.45 trillion yuan, the General Administration of Customs said.
 
Trade surplus rose by 31.8 percent to 618.17 billion yuan during this period.
 
April trade expanded by 6.5 percent to reach 2.51 trillion yuan. Exports grew by 3.1 percent in yuan terms last month, while imports jumped by 10.3 percent, GAC data showed.
 
Trade surplus stood at 93.57 billion yuan in April, shrinking by 43.8 percent year on year.
Source: Shanghai Daily, May 8, 2019

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