Ensuring food security via win-win trade –

Employees sort grain bags at a storage facility of COFCO Eastocean Oil and Grain Industries (Zhangjiagang) Co Ltd, a COFCO unit, in September. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

COFCO exploits import links with companies overseas, aids world’s economic recovery

COFCO Group, China’s largest foodstuff producer and grain trader by sales revenue, signed purchase deals worth over $10 billion with global partners during the third China International Import Expo held in Shanghai earlier this month.

The deals will allow COFCO to import farm produce such as grain, sugar, wine and edible oil.

As it has been meeting surging domestic demand for various foodstuffs, the centrally administered State-owned enterprise has seen the value of its purchases surge by 20 percent on a yearly basis from the last CIIE.

The Beijing-headquartered group was formed by the amalgamation of various subsidiaries that used to trade in oil, oilseeds, sugar, wine and spirits. Its shopping list includes common farm commodities like wheat, corn, sugar, cotton, and wine.

A three-time participant of the CIIE, COFCO bought such commodities as well as nuts, aquatic products and other non-staple foods, in large quantities over the past two expos.

The majority of these products will come from countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The imports have been consolidating COFCO’s business links with key grain and food producing regions, and will continue to stimulate more trade flows between China and other BRI economies, said Lyu Jun, COFCO’s chairman.

In terms of imports of traditional agricultural products, COFCO has expanded its sources of oil products like rapeseed, sunflower and palm oil. It now imports from countries like Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and Malaysia.

There has been a substantial increase in COFCO’s imports of corn, sorghum, barley, wheat and other traditional grain from France, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, Cambodia and Laos, Lyu said.

COFCO also purchases corn that is used as high-quality raw material to produce snacks like popcorn for sales at cinemas.

China’s main importer of sugar and cotton, COFCO relies on its deep knowledge of the world’s major production areas. It signed a contract to import more raw sugar from Brazil recently.

“Rising incomes and accelerating urbanization in China are driving demand for more diversified and convenient diets. Higher incomes have also increased the consumption of meat proteins and vegetable oils. COFCO sees Chinese consumers’ daily intake of calories, especially proteins, increasing in the future. Packaged food and beverage companies are likely to reap robust returns from China.”

Lyu said food consumption is a reflection of economic success. Food consumption is rising. The types of foods people eat are diversifying; foods are becoming more sophisticated and they need to be more convenient, so the whole business has dramatically transformed in China, he said.

PM Johnson is self-isolating after COVID-19 contact – World –

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks on after a service marking Armistice Day at Westminster Abbey in London, Britain Nov 11, 2020.[Photo/Agencies]

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, his Downing Street office said on Sunday.

Johnson, who was admitted to hospital with the novel coronavirus earlier this year, is well and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19, a spokesman for the prime minister said.

“He will carry on working from Downing Street, including on leading the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” the spokesman said. “The prime minister will follow the rules and is self-isolating.”

Johnson met a group of lawmakers in Downing Street on Thursday that included Lee Anderson, a Conservative Party member who subsequently developed COVID-19 symptoms and has tested positive.


Xi urges high-quality development of Yangtze River Economic Belt –

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, chairs a symposium on comprehensively advancing the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu province, Nov 14, 2020.[Photo/Xinhua]

NANJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping has stressed efforts to implement the spirit of the fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and promote the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks on Saturday in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, at a symposium he chaired on comprehensively advancing the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt.

He called for efforts to write a new chapter in prioritizing ecological conservation and boosting green development, create a new model for regional coordinated development, build a new height for high-level opening-up, foster new advantages in innovation-led development, and draw a new painting featuring harmony among the landscape, the people and the city.

Such efforts are aimed at turning the Yangtze River Economic Belt into the country’s main battlefield for green development, the main artery for a smooth “dual circulation” of domestic and international markets, and the main force spearheading high-quality economic development, he said.

China greenlights three ChiNext IPOs – Chinadaily.com.cn

BEIJING — China’s top securities regulator has allowed three companies to register for initial public offerings (IPOs) on the ChiNext, China’s Nasdaq-style board of fast-growing enterprises.

Zhejiang Runyang New Materials Technology Co., Ltd., Shenzhen Longtech Smart Control Co., Ltd. and Shanghai Hi-Road Food Technology Co., Ltd. will be listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s ChiNext board, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said in a statement.

The companies and their underwriters will confirm the IPO dates and publish their prospectuses following discussions with the stock exchange.

China introduced a series of measures in June to replace the approval-based IPO system with a registration-based one on the ChiNext.

Xinjiang shakes off absolute poverty –

Workers at a rural cooperative make embroidery works in Tekes county, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, on Aug 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

URUMQI — In a historic feat, Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has bidden farewell to absolute poverty.

The last 10 impoverished counties in Xinjiang have managed to end absolute poverty, the regional government announced Saturday.

The 10 counties, including Shache county, Moyu county and Akto county, are no longer impoverished counties by official standards, the local government said in an online statement.

All the 10 counties are in southern Xinjiang, where the country’s largest desert is located. Local people used to have limited access to stable income and public services due to the harsh natural environment and poor infrastructure.

Draft rules aim to curb monopolistic behavior of internet platforms –

China’s draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behavior of internet platforms will help regulate online economic activities, stop anticompetitive practices, promote fair competition in the market and safeguard consumer interests, experts said.

The State Administration for Market Regulation unveiled proposals on Tuesday that include guidelines on how anti-monopoly measures should be applied to internet companies. The authority is seeking reviews and feedback on the proposals from the public by Nov 30.

Dong Yizhi, a lawyer at Shanghai Joint Win Law Firm, said the draft rules reiterate that internet platform companies, including e-commerce marketplaces, must not abuse their dominant position to force merchants to “choose one platform over others” and block fair competition.

The antitrust regulations are aimed at promoting fair and free competition in the market and promoting innovation, he said.

The regulations target unfair price behavior, below-cost and tiein sales, restricted transactions and additional unreasonable trading conditions. It would also consider whether a transaction treats different customers in different ways based on big data, payment ability, consumption preferences and usage habits, said Dong.

Cui Zhijuan, a professor at the Beijing National Accounting Institute, said the platform economy is a new type of economy, field and mode, and some internet platforms may monopolize and control trading prices through setting rules and allocating information resources.

“The strengthened anti-monopoly supervision will play a positive and stable role in restricting improper operations of platform operators, protecting the legitimate interests of trading participants, as well as bolstering the healthy development of the platform economy,” said Cui.

The new rules may apply to major internet platforms such as e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD, technology behemoth Tencent and food delivery platform Meituan. Shares of these internet companies fell sharply on Tuesday.

The draft rules emphasize ensuring fair competition and bolstering innovation, and safeguarding the interests of all parties, Tencent Holdings Ltd said during a conference call after releasing its third quarter financial results. The company said it will comply with regulatory policies.

Tencent said such regulations are not new, nor are they unique to China. “As technology companies become bigger and contribute more to the economy, more regulations will reflect the new realities needed. It’s not just the case for China, it’s also the case globally,” it said.

The company said the authorities are very supportive of the internet and technology segment, especially the innovative development of the industry, with purpose of avoiding improper behavior and ensuring the long-term, healthy development of the industry.

“Our platform is naturally open and we work with lots of partners,” Tencent said, adding they become stronger because of competition, and there will be a good competition mechanism within the company. The rules tend to focus more on transaction-based platforms than on Tencent’s entertainment businesses.

Geng Shuai, partner of Shanghai Shenhe Law Firm, said the authorities have attached great importance to the healthy development of e-commerce platforms, and taken active measures to effectively regulate and adjust behavior that undermines the normal market order.

Geng said it is of great significance that the country has issued the guidelines to prevent monopolistic behavior among major internet platforms, which are fending off new rivals that are eating into their market share.

Xi stresses combination of diversion project, water-saving efforts –

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, learns about the planning and construction of the eastern route of the country’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project, and the operation of the Jiangdu Key Water Conservancy Project at a site of the water conservancy project in Yangzhou, East China’s Jiangsu province, Nov 13, 2020. Xi on Friday inspected the city of Yangzhou during his tour in Jiangsu. [Photo/Xinhua]

NANJING — Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, has urged rigorous combination of implementation of the country’s South-to-North Water Diversion Project and water-saving efforts in northern China.

Xi made the remarks Friday while visiting Jiangdu water control project in Yangzhou, where he learned about the east route of the diversion project, during his inspection tour in East China’s Jiangsu province.

The diversion project has to a certain extent alleviated water shortage in northern China, but the country’s distribution of water resources in general is still characterized by deficiency in the north and sufficiency in the south, Xi said.

Xi stressed guiding the development of cities and industries based on water capacities and making more efforts in water conservation, noting that more south-to-north water supply should not happen in tandem with willful water wastage.

Hainan aims to double foreign investment inflow – Chinadaily.com.cn

A man works at a construction site which will be built into an industrial park in Haikou, capital city of South China’s Hainan province on Oct 21, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Hainan province is expected to see its inflow of foreign investment double this year with the implementation of a slew of policies to facilitate trade, investment, and cross-border funds flow, Shen Danyang, vice-governor of Hainan, said on Saturday.

Shen said in a speech at the 86th International Forum on China Reform that the various policies rolled out by the country to support the province’s free trade port development is starting to pay off.

Inflow of foreign investment into the province has been up by 80 percent year-on-year so far this year, and is expected to double from that of last year, he said.

The number of market players in the province has reached 1.1 million, with the number having been up by 80 percent year-on-year starting from June, Shen said.

The province, which increased its annual offshore duty-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person starting from July, also saw its daily average sales of duty-free shops exceed 100 million yuan this year, he said.

Going forward, Shen pledged to expand opening up in the area of data, saying that businesses that are registered and have their service facilities located in the free trade port will be green-lighted to conduct services including online data processing and transaction processing.

Service, consumption to play greater role in economic recovery – Chinadaily.com.cn

A visitor takes a photo of a panda-shaped bread at the 3rd China International Import Expo in Shanghai, on Nov 6, 2020. [Photo by Yang Yang/chinadaily.com.cn]

China’s economic recovery has entered the second stage in which service industry and consumption will play greater role, according to the latest KPMG report.

The report said China’s economy has continued to recover, and the actual year-on-year GDP growth rate in the third quarter rose to 4.9 percent, up 1.7 percentage points from the second quarter.

Meanwhile, China’s GDP is expected to grow 2.2 percent in 2020 and 7.8 percent in 2021, according to the report.

China’s economic recovery after the epidemic can be roughly divided into three stages: in the first stage, manufacturing production, investment, and exports were the main forces driving the recovery.

Now, China’s economy has entered the second stage, and the recovery of service industry and consumption will play a greater role in this stage.

In the third stage, China will achieve high-quality economic development through the enhancement of technological innovation capabilities, a new “dual-circulation” development pattern, and a higher level of reform and opening-up.

In September, the manufacturing PMI reached 51.5 percent, and the service industry PMI hit 55.2 percent, indicating that the future economy will continue to pick up.

In the third quarter of this year, the contribution rate of final consumption expenditure to economic growth rebounded sharply to 34.9 percent, driving economic growth by 1.7 percentage points.

With the employment situation becoming more stable and residents’ income gradually recovering, it is expected that consumption will continue to recover, supporting further growth of the Chinese economy.

“Dual circulation” development pattern, in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, will be China’s medium- and long-term development strategy.

A better understanding of the pattern of “dual circulation” will be of great significance for enterprises to make strategic plan in Chinese market, the report said.

China’s record online shopping bonanza speaks of ‘dual circulation’ potential – Chinadaily.com.cn

Staff members promote sales of cosmetics via livestreaming at a shopping mall in Shijiazhuang, North China’s Hebei province, on Nov 10, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Entering its 12th year, China’s Singles Day shopping festival yet again shattered a string of records from total sales volume to orders placed per second at the peak to participating brands, offering a glimpse of the domestic demand potential of the world’s second-largest economy.

Having grown into the world’s biggest shopping event, this year’s e-commerce extravaganza was particularly observed by China watchers as the country’s consumption recovery has generally lagged behind industrial sectors.

Meanwhile, China’s leadership has also been looking to establish a new development pattern of “dual circulation,” in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.

The final sales figures revealed early Thursday showed that China’s potential in domestic demand remained promising, which was stressed as a strategic underpinning to establish the new paradigm.

At the shopping peak, 583,000 orders were placed in a single second on Alibaba’s business-to-customer platform Tmall, setting a new shopping record, while total sales on the platform surged to 498.2 billion yuan (about $74.1 billion) from Nov 1 to Nov 11.

More than 800 million shoppers, 250,000 brands and 5 million merchants participated in this year’s shopping spree, according to Tmall.

Another e-commerce giant JD.com, which started promotions from Nov 1, said it generated more than 271.5 billion yuan during the period.

“The Singles Day shopping festival is not simply an online shopping event but an important part of the internal circulation of the Chinese economy,” said Zhong Hongjun, an economist with Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Behind each online order is the offline participation of multiple parties, including factories, merchants and couriers, he said.

On Nov 11 alone, China’s express delivery firms handled 675 million parcels nationwide, up 26.16 percent year-on-year, while the total number of parcels handled from Nov 1 to 11 reached 3.965 billion, the State Post Bureau said.

While domestic retailers were doubling down on the shopping carnival, international players were also rushing in. For many overseas sellers, both internal and external circulations under China’s new development pattern translate into greater demand and more opportunities.

Taking the domestic circulation as the mainstay is by no means seeking development behind closed doors. Instead, it aims to forge stronger connectivity between internal and external markets and better capitalize on the resources of the two markets, the country’s leadership stressed.

With overseas purchases hampered by the pandemic, the online shopping carnival has offered an optimal opportunity for Chinese consumers to buy overseas products, and may significantly boost sales for global brands and merchants, said Weng Yi, a researcher with Chinese think tank Cathay Institute for Public Affairs.

To cater to the growing demand of Chinese consumers, Tmall Global, Alibaba’s cross-border e-commerce arm, has imported a huge variety of products from over 100 overseas farms, ranches, and wineries, including 1,000 metric tons of milk from Uruguay, 2.6 million bottles of French wine, and 2 tons of cubilose from Malaysia.

About 25,000 overseas businesses from more than 220 countries and regions participated in this year’s shopping spree on Tmall. Many of them seek to revive their sagging businesses amid the pandemic by tapping into the huge Chinese market.

While domestic buyers were snapping up overseas goods via cross-border e-commerce channels, Chinese products were also gaining popularity abroad. More than 4 million parcels are expected to be delivered to Europe via the China-Europe freight trains during the shopping spree.

Echoing Weng’s views, Zhang Monan, a research fellow of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said cross-border e-commerce has become an important channel for boosting the dual circulation of domestic and international markets.

Clues in bronze –

Unearthed relics like this bronze chariot apparatus indicate people buried in the site hailed from high aristocracy.[Photo by Jiang Dong/China Daily]

An exhibition reveals the influence of the Ni state on Shang Dynasty rulers, Lin Qi reports.

In the spring of 2015, after a series of small explosions occurred in Jiuwutou, a village outside Yuncheng city in Shanxi province, police caught some men suspected of raiding ancient tombs.

On-site investigations by police and archaeologists revealed that the attempt was to rob the cemetery of a noble family from the late Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century-11th century BC). It had been robbed more than once before. “Tomb raiders” had used dynamite and probe poles to create holes in the graves.

Excavations at the site found that four tombs had been looted of burial objects, with only pieces of broken pottery and bronzeware left behind.

Ma Sheng, deputy head of the Archaeology Institute of Shanxi Province at the time, recalls that he was “frustrated, desperate and furious” when he heard about the raids.

After that, archaeologists began a systematic excavation at the site. Their work, which took place over the course of a year, unveiled the face of a Shang state that had faded into history over 3,000 years ago.

Twelve tombs, with more than 500 artifacts of ceremonial bronzeware, jade, pottery and bones, were found in an area covering more than 5,500 square meters. And lying there were remains of the Ni clan members, the high-class nobles appointed by the Shang emperor to rule the state of Ni in today’s Jiuwutou.

Pudong celebrates progress over past 30 years –

President Xi Jinping addresses a grand gathering on Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the development and opening-up of Shanghai’s Pudong New Area. [WANG ZHUANGFEI/CHINA DAILY]

Area’s development provides ‘most vivid example’ of socialism’s strength, Xi says

President Xi Jinping laid out a new vision for the development and opening-up of Pudong New Area in Shanghai on Thursday as he called for the area to become the pioneer of the nation’s higher level opening-up and efforts to foster a new development paradigm.

In a speech delivered at a grand gathering in Shanghai to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the development and opening-up of Pudong, Xi urged the area to deepen high-level systemic opening-up and work toward gaining new strengths in international cooperation and competition.

The area must have the courage to shoulder the heaviest responsibilities and take on the most difficult challenges, strive to lead the nation’s development in socialist modernization and better showcase to the world the Chinese concept, Chinese spirit and Chinese path, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

In the speech, Xi recounted the historic process in which the area was transformed over the past 30 years from a rural suburban area of Shanghai to the city’s hub in finance, trade and innovation.

The area’s GDP rose from about 6 billion yuan ($906.2 million) in 1990 to 1.27 trillion yuan in 2019, with the per capita disposable income of residents reaching 71,647 yuan last year and their average life expectancy reaching 85 years.

“The remarkable achievements attained by Pudong’s development and opening-up over the past 30 years have provided the most vivid example of the systematic strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” Xi said.

Reform and opening-up is the inevitable course to adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, he said.

He highlighted the need for the area to make all-out efforts to harness the growth engine of innovation and develop itself into a new front-runner in terms of independent innovation.

It is important to focus on the frontiers of science and technology, the main areas of competition in the economy, the major demands of the nation and the health of the people in bolstering fundamental research, including for application purposes, and strengthening the research and development of key technologies, he said.

The transformation of outcomes in science and technology into real productivity must be accelerated, and the level of supply chains must be upgraded in order to make new contributions to the stability of national industrial and supply chains, he added.

Xi encouraged Pudong to focus on key areas to develop innovative industries, saying that the region must step up the development of world-class industry hubs in areas such as integrated circuits, biological medicine and artificial intelligence.

The area should actively take part in and lead the organization of international science plans and projects and conduct coordinated scientific and technological innovation globally, he said.

He reiterated the importance of opening-up as China’s basic national policy, saying that there should be no wavering from it at any time.

Any thought about seeking growth behind closed doors, any practice that shuns the outside world or any act of seeking hegemony and bullying will go against the trend of history, he said.

Xi said China welcomes all countries to share its development opportunities, adding that China is open to cooperation with any country, region and business.