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News from China
China's consumption to maintain strong growth in 2017
21st February 2017

 CHINA will maintain strong growth in consumption this year with deepening supply-side structural reform, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Tuesday.

 
The trend will persist between 2016 and 2020 and feature more online retail sales and consumption of more quality goods and services, he said at a news conference, citing stellar growth in these sectors.
 
Retail sales, a key indicator of consumption, have been growing at double-digit rates annually for years, he said, adding e-commerce has facilitated the spike in consumption.
 
The volume of online retail sales rose 26.2 percent to hit 5.2 trillion yuan (US$755.3 billion) in 2016 over the previous year, he said.
 
Consumption is shifting gears with Chinese consumers buying more expensive and premium products.
 
Over 28 million automobiles were sold in China last year, up 13.7 percent year on year, while new-energy vehicles posted growth of 53 percent, he said.
 
Consumption of services is growing faster than that of goods thanks to rapid expansion in sectors such as catering, housekeeping and care, he added.
 
Consumption has become the primary driver of China's economy since 2014, contributing 64.6 percent to China's GDP growth in 2016, up 4.9 percentage points than in 2015, Gao said.
 
The ongoing supply-side reform will narrow the discrepancy between the supply of goods and services and shifting market demands, unlocking more potential.
 
Retail sales of consumer goods are expected to jump by 10.2 percent year on year to exceed 37 trillion yuan in 2017, contributing more than 70 percent of the country's economic growth, according to an earlier report issued by the China General Chamber of Commerce.
 
In 2017, China will forge ahead with the supply-side structural reform by improving the supply structure and consumption environment, the minister said.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 21, 2017
Air Canada launches direct flight between Shanghai and Montreal
20th February 2017

 AIR Canada yesterday began operating the first direct flight between Shanghai and Montreal in a bid to cap the increasing demands of Chinese tourists traveling to North America.

 
The airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliner with Flight AC18 took off around 6pm from Pudong International Airport yesterday. It is scheduled to land at the Montreal Trudeau airport at 6:35pm local time to become the longest route of the Canadian airport with flying length of over 13.5 hours.
 
The Dreamliner to operate the new route will have 20 premier business-class seats that can be turned into flat beds as well as 21 luxury economy seats with ample private space. The aircraft has 210 economy class seats.
 
Passengers can transfer from Montreal to other Canadian and American destinations, the carrier said. The airline so far has about 30 direct flights between China and Canada. Other routes include Shanghai-Vancouver and Shanghai-Toronto.
 
The new flight became the 104th international route of the Pudong airport, the airport authority said yesterday.
 
The number of passengers from the Pudong airport to North American destinations has increased by 14.4 percent to 3.9 million annually from 2010 to 2016, the authority said.
 
The airport currently has 165 flights every week to North America, comparing with 74 in 2010.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 20, 2017
Lenovo sees ‘challenges’ as earnings decline 67%
17th February 2017

 CHINESE technology giant Lenovo yesterday said it faced “sizeable challenges” as it saw profit plunge by more than two thirds.

 
The Beijing-based company remains the world’s largest PC maker, but has been trying to broaden its smartphone business as the market for personal computers fizzles.
 
But it has struggled to keep pace with Apple and Android rivals.
 
Net profit fell by 67 percent year on year to US$98 million in the October-December quarter, the company said in a statement.
 
That came in well short of analysts’ estimates by Bloomberg News which on average predicted earnings of US$145.9million.
 
Revenues fell 6 percent from a year earlier.
 
“Lenovo faced sizeable challenges in its three main lines of business, namely data center, mobile devices, and PCs and smart devices,” the firm said.
 
The company is battling as consumers opt for smartphones instead of PCs.
 
Rising component prices are also weighing on profits.
 
Sales of the company’s Moto and Lenovo-branded phones slipped 23 percent year on year in the three months through December.
 
Sales of its data center business, which includes servers, storage, software and services, also tumbled 20 percent compared with the previous year.
 
However, Lenovo’s PC and smart device business, which includes tablets, still saw sales growth of 2 percent year on year. That was spurred by strong growth in North America, the company said.
 
US firms HP and Dell follow Lenovo as leaders in the global PC market. All three increased their share of the market in the final quarter of last year, according to industry trackers.
 
Lenovo said in January that it is launching a “Smart Assistant” which recognizes user’s voices to conduct tasks including web searches and playing music.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 17, 2017
China to keep monetary policy neutral: central bank official
16th February 2017

 CHINA should keep its monetary policy stable and neutral, a Chinese central bank official said Wednesday.

 
Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, made the remarks at the annual meeting of Chinese Economists 50 Forum (CE50) when responding to questions on China's monetary policy.
 
Top officials have set China's monetary policy in 2017 as "prudent and neutral" to keep appropriate liquidity levels and avoid large injections, as the government tries to maintain stable growth while avoiding risks.
 
Yi said that keeping monetary policy neutral meant not being too tight or loose.
 
Chinese banks extended 2.03 trillion yuan (about US$295 billion) of new yuan loans in January, doubling from a month earlier, a level that Yi described as "very appropriate."
 
In open market operations earlier this month, the central bank raised the lending rates to banks by 10 basis points, a move widely interpreted as a shift towards a more neutral monetary policy.
 
China's GDP grew 6.7 percent year on year in 2016, the lowest in nearly three decades, but within the government's target range.
 
Founded nearly two decades ago, the CE50 is a civil academic organization and think tank that brings together around 50 prominent Chinese economists, including officials and academics.
Source: Shanghai Daily, February 16, 2017

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