BERNE, Switzerland - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang published on Thursday a signed article titled "Why Switzerland?" in Neue Zuricher Zeitung, a German-language Swiss daily ahead of his visit to the European country.
The following is the full text of the English translation of the article:
Switzerland is the first European destination on the list of countries I will visit after becoming China's premier. In Chinese culture, being "first" always carries symbolic meaning. My choice of Switzerland is in no way haphazard: we have got a few important things to do here. They are all landmark events in China's opening-up, and they all have something to do with Switzerland.
The first job is to secure progress in the building of China-Switzerland FTA. It was during my last visit in 2010 that the two countries agreed to speed up preparations for an FTA. Over the past three years and more, the relevant departments and agencies of the two countries have worked energetically in the negotiations, and reached the final conclusion after nine rounds of talks. With the advent of FTA, Switzerland will become the first country in continental Europe and the first of the world's top 20 economies to reach an FTA with China, the implications of which will be significant.
Last year, two-way trade reached 26.3 billion U.S. dollars, including 22.8 billion dollars of Swiss exports to China. That is to say, every Swiss man, woman and child exported 2,800 dollars to China. To conclude this high-quality FTA agreement with Switzerland, China has made tremendous effort. It fully demonstrates that China will not stall in its opening-up and that it is firmly committed to upholding the multilateral trading regime, vigorously promoting regional trade liberalization, and accelerating the implementation of the FTA strategy. Moreover, a high-quality FTA agreement between China and Switzerland will also set a good example. It will not only upgrade our business and investment cooperation but also send a powerful message to the rest of the world that we reject trade and investment protectionism and instead embrace trade liberalization and facilitation. It will inject fresh impetus into China-EU business ties, bring tangible benefits to consumers and businesses in both our countries, and contribute to world trade and economic recovery.
The second job is to step up financial exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. Switzerland boasts the highest density of banks. It has a strong financial industry and rich regulatory experience. Enhancing cooperation with Switzerland in financial regulation, macroeconomic policy making, capital market development and other areas is consistent with China's need for further development of its open economy. China is introducing more reform and opening-up to its financial sector, including steadily advancing market-oriented reform of the interest rate, making RMB convertible under the capital account, putting in place a system of overseas investment by individual investors, and improving financial regulatory regime. All this will provide new opportunities for interactions and growth of our financial firms. At the same time, China and Switzerland can work together at the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions, so as to make greater contribution to maintaining international financial stability and promoting world economic growth.
The third job is to enhance mutual trust and understanding. How high we can go in developing our relations and our practical cooperation hinges on our ability to seize new opportunities, and more importantly, on whether or not we can reach a higher level of mutual trust and understanding. Switzerland is among the first Western countries to have established diplomatic relations with New China. The very first industrial joint venture China entered into after the beginning of reform and opening up was one with Switzerland. Switzerland is also one of the first group of European countries that recognize China's market economy status. All these constitute the basis of our mutual trust. But to go still higher, we need to do a lot more. I hope my visit here will not only deepen the understanding and trust at the leadership level, but also increase the awareness and recognition at the public level of our respective countries, thus planting more seeds of friendship for exchanges between the two peoples.
As for what opportunities China's development can offer, I will let the figures speak for themselves: China's 2012 GDP, in comparable terms, more than doubled that of 2000, registering an increase of 3.2 times. To double the GDP of 2010 by 2020, China will need to sustain an annual growth rate of around 7 percent. Over the next five years, China will import some 10 trillion dollars worth of goods from the rest of the world, and its overseas investment will reach 500 billion dollars. By vigorously advancing urbanization in a steady manner, China will see hundreds of millions of its rural population turn into urban residents, unleashing increasing market demand along the way. All these underscore the enormous prospect of China's economic development and the growth opportunities it will bring to Switzerland and other countries.
As for the policies of the Chinese government, I just want to emphasize the following: domestically, we will make an all-around effort to deepen market-oriented reform, unleash the dividends of reform, continue to grow the economy, improve people's livelihood, promote social equity and ensure equal opportunities for all. Externally, we will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development and pursue a win-win strategy of opening-up. We will open up more areas and sectors, the services sector in particular, so as to facilitate China's reform, development and economic transformation.
For those who are still baffled by the differences between China and Switzerland, I just want to say that it is totally unnecessary. China is working to secure growth, protect human rights and promote rule of law. Due to diversity of history, cultural background and stage of development, it is hardly avoidable that the two countries have some differences. Just as a Chinese saying goes, an inch has its length and a foot sometimes falls short. Only through mutual learning can we draw on each other's comparative strength. We should always show mutual respect, increase communication and exchanges, enhance mutual understanding, look at each other with an open mind, and steadily expand our common interests for win-win results.
My last visit to Switzerland three years ago as China's vice premier remains fresh in my memory. During the four days, I had in-depth discussions with government leaders and meetings with entrepreneurs, and braving a heavy snow, I went to Davos for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The visit was both substantive and rewarding. Now that the shadow of the international financial crisis is still there, countries must continue to work in unison in this time of difficulties, refrain from adopting trade and investment protectionism, the frequent use of anti-dumping and countervailing measures in particular, and guard against the negative spillover effects of the monetary policy of quantitative easing.
As for the current visit, I have given it a lot of thoughts, and there are many things I wanted to do. But my time in Switzerland is limited, and it's impossible to do everything. For cooperation to deliver concrete results, we need the enterprises, the communities and the government of both countries to make joint efforts. Indeed, our two sides have already done very well in this respect, but we can do better.
That is why I have chosen to visit Switzerland.
BEIJING - The H7N9 bird flu virus has not been detected in poultry farms, with positive samples mainly coming from live poultry markets, China's Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) said Thursday.
The MOA said it has "basically" finished collecting and testing 899,758 samples from across most parts of the country.
Of the total, 53 samples were found positive with H7N9. Fifty-one positive samples were from 18 live poultry markets in Shanghai, Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Henan, Shandong, Guangdong, Jiangxi and Fujian, the MOA said in a statement.
The other two positive samples were from wild pigeons in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province and domestic pigeons in Nantong, in Jiangsu Province.
Experts believe live poultry markets pose more danger and farms should step up efforts to guard against the virus, the statement said.
The H7N9 virus is not lethal to chicken and ducks, according to research from the national bird flu reference laboratory.
Also, no pigs were found to have caught the virus, the MOA said.
The virus has killed 36 people on the Chinese mainland, said the National Health and Family Planning Commission on Monday.
BEIJING - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has agreed to accept China's advice by participating in dialogue with relevant parties, after senior Chinese leader Liu Yunshan met with a DPRK special envoy.
Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Central Committee, met in the Great Hall of the People with Choe Ryong Hae, the special envoy to DPRK leader Kim Jong Un Thursday afternoon.
Liu pointed out that peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula conform with the common interests of all countries in the region.
He expressed hope that all relevant parties should stick to the goal of denuclearization, persist on maintaining peace and stability of the peninsula and resolve problems through dialogue and consultation.
Liu called for the parties to adopt substantial actions to ease tensions, actively embark on dialogue and restart the six-party talks as soon as possible.
He urged the relevant parties to make unremitting effort to realize denuclearization of the peninsula and persistent peace and stability in the Northeast Asia region.
Choe said the DPRK highly appreciated the effort that the Chinese side has made in maintaining peace and stability of the peninsula and on pushing the Korean Peninsula issue back on the track of dialogue and consultation.
He said the DPRK hopes to concentrate its energy on developing its economy and improving people's livelihood and is ready to create a peaceful external environment for this.
Choe said the DPRK side is willing to accept advice from the Chinese side and carry out dialogue with relevant parties.
During the meeting, Liu said it is the consistent stance of the CPC and Chinese government to continuingly consolidate and develop friendly relations between the two countries.
He expressed the readiness to work with the DPRK side to enhance communication, increase common ground and advance China-DPRK relations in a healthy, stable way.
Choe said his visit as the special envoy of Kim is aimed to improve, consolidate and develop DPRK-China relations. He said the DPRK side is ready to work with the Chinese side to continuously push forward the development of bilateral relations.
Choe Ryong Hae, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People's Army and member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee, arrived in Beijing from Pyongyang Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Choe met with Wang Jiarui, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.
CHENGDU - President Xi Jinping has asked local governments in Southwest China's Sichuan province, which was hit by a strong earthquake last month, to shift their focus to rehabilitation.
During a visit to hard-hit Lushan County, Xi urged local governments to carefully evaluate the damage and draft a rehabilitation plan based on local conditions.
The rehabilitation program should not only consider local economic and social conditions, but also provide a chance for quake-hit areas to upgrade and realize sustainable growth, Xi said.
Local governments should create preferential rehabilitation policies targeting investment, taxation, land use, employment and social security, he said.
Rehabilitation should also include the participation of the private sector and local residents, he said.
"We should encourage local people's initiative to help themselves, to rebuild their local economy and improve their own livelihood," he said.
A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan on April 20, killing at least 196 people.
Currently, a major work of governments is to help local people get through the hard times by providing medical treatment, necessities, drinking water, food and temporary shelter, President Xi said at a meeting with local officials on Tuesday evening.
He stressed that efforts should be made to restore normality in schools, provide psychological counselling and maintain law and order.
The president acknowledged quake rescue and relief progress made by the Sichuan provincial government and the armed forces.
"A serious disaster tests the capacity of local Party organs and members, and also presents a chance to improve their performance," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Local CPC organs in quake-hit regions should educate officials and members and improve their working style, he said.
"Where there are dangers and difficulties, there are CPC members," Xi said.
China needs to put more effort into teaching young people not to use drugs, rather than just strengthening programs to help drug abusers, experts say.
Prevention and treatment is not keeping up with drug use trends in Asia, said Chris Chapleo, scientific & clinical affairs director, at the first conference of national youth substance abuse in China, an event organized by the China Association of Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment.
Statistics show that students in renowned middle and high schools are less accessible to drug dealers, thanks to the education campaign promoted by the government.
Wang Zengzhen, professor at Tongji Medical University, said more attention to and emotional intervention in pilot training programs have proved to be more efficient that doing nothing in the schooling system.
Recent years have seen an increasing number of young drug addicts in China using both traditional substances and newly invented ones. “It is not only the problems of young addicts, but their families,” said Zhao Min, vice president of Shanghai Mental Health Center.
Meanwhile, young people in Guangdong province, Fujian province and other regions of the country prefer cough syrup containing codeine and ephedrine, both of which are addictive substances.
“The youngsters store the cough syrup and condense the medicine to extract the drug they need,” said He Rihui, director of the youth addict treatment center at Wu Jing Zong Dui Hospital of Guangdong Province.
Eighty-seven percent of cough syrup addicts said they began substance abuse between the ages of 12 and 18. And because of the adverse effects on their health, 69 percent of cough syrup abusers are unable to work and stay at home.
“More professional staff are needed so that measurements can be more useful than they were in previous period of treatment and prevention,” said Shi Jianchun, deputy director of the Association of Drug Abuse Education in Beijing.
ZURICH, Switzerland - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's upcoming visit to Switzerland is not only expected to be a great push for bilateral economic exchanges, but also a demonstration of China's resolution in further opening up and participating in multilateral affairs.
Switzerland is the third leg of Li's first overseas trip as premier. He's currently on an official visit to Pakistan following a trip to India, and will also travel to Germany.
During his stay in Switzerland, Li will meet with a number of senior Swiss leaders including President Ueli Maurer, Vice President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and Head of Federal Department of Economic Affairs Johann Schneider-Ammann.
"Li's visit to Switzerland will push forward bilateral ties and make bilateral cooperation a model of friendly exchanges between countries with different social systems," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao told reporters in Beijing on May 16.
China has become Switzerland's largest trading partner in Asia while Switzerland is China's seventh-largest trading partner in Europe and its sixth-largest source of foreign investment.
Bilateral relations are facing new opportunities for development, Song said.
During Li's visit, Song said, China and Switzerland will sign a series of cooperation documents involving economics and trade, finance, education, culture and climate change.
DEEPENING BILATERAL RELATIONS
Swiss media have been enthusiastic in reporting on the progress of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between China and Switzerland.
After nine rounds of FTA negotiations, the two nations have narrowed their differences in rules of origin, trade facilitation, intellectual property and competition policy, among others.
Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping told reporters on May 16that the two countries have made clear their intentions to conclude the talks, and both hope to reach a mutually beneficial and high-quality agreement as soon as possible.
Experts say the Swiss pharmaceutical and chemical industry, the engineering and watch-making sectors, food producers and tourism stand to benefit from the FTA deal.
Despite the euro-zone sovereign debt crisis and uncertainties in the world economy, the two-way trade volume between China and Switzerland reached 26.3 billion dollars in 2012.
Cai Fangcai, commercial counselor of the Chinese embassy in Switzerland, told Xinhua that Beijing has attached great importance to economic and trade relations with Switzerland.
"Switzerland is located at the heart of Europe. As the nearest non-EU country to the European Union, it has specific geographic and competitive advantages," Cai said.
Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that the FTA negotiations between the two countries will set an example for similar negotiations between China and other European nations in the future.
Luzius Wasescha, a special advisor to the Swiss Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua that the two economies are very complementary and Switzerland also wants to attract more Chinese investment.
Roland Decorvet, chairman and CEO of Nestle Greater China, said Nestle has been a big supporter of closer relations between China and Switzerland.
Nestle has 33 factories in China with more to be opened in the coming years, mostly in the central and western regions. More than 90 percent of its products are made locally using local raw materials, Decorvet said.
"A closer relationship is in the best interest of both countries in a globalized environment," he said.
On the other hand, China is also learning the European way of doing business from Switzerland.
Zhang Yi, CEO of Addax Petroleum, a Sinopec Group subsidiary, said the development of bilateral relations will help boost the confidence and determination of Chinese businesses in Switzerland.
He said an FTA will help Addax better use the capital and human resources in both countries and further develop in Switzerland.
The deepening of bilateral relations can be witnessed in various fields, including tourism.
Switzerland attracted over 500,000 Chinese tourists in 2012, a 30-percent increase over 2011, which, among other factors, led to the opening of direct flights from Beijing to Geneva.
Isabel Rochat, who leads Geneva Airport's board of directors, said the flights are important to the diplomatic, political, economic and cultural development of the entire region.
The new flights will also help boost the development of tourism and Switzerland's hotel industry and the finance sector of the Canton of Geneva, said Rocha, who is also the state councilor of Geneva.
Patrick Odier, chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association, believed that Li's visit would surely "provide an additional impetus" to the financial sector of the two countries.
"Strengthened cooperation gives access to market intelligence and knowledge on current developments and future strategies, granting Switzerland a vantage point as a gateway to the Chinese market and economy," Odier told Xinhua.
CONNECTING THE WORLD
The New China made its debut on the world stage when late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai attended the Geneva Conference in 1954. Switzerland has been a significant place for China to engage in international affairs.
In 2010, then Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
In a speech, Li shared China's measures to cope with the global financial crisis with world leaders at the forum.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, told Xinhua that Switzerland is known for its political tradition of neutrality and has long been the seat of important international organizations.
"As such Switzerland is serving as a bridge between Europe and many other parts of the world," he said.
China is today a pillar of the global economy and a geopolitical actor of first rank. Further integration of China in the multilateral system and the engagement of its leaders in international organizations are therefore very important, Schwab said.
"And this is a mutual relationship: without China, no organization can claim to be truly global or do its work effectively. On the other hand, China will not be able to deal with major global challenges like climate change, international trade or regional security on its own," Schwab said.
Zhang from Addax Petroleum said that by being based in Geneva, it is convenient for his company to manage its oil and gas resources in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It is also a good location for attracting well-qualified international staff, he said.
Wasescha, who was Swiss ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 2007 to 2012, said a normal and more efficient dialogue could be built between China and the rest of the world to avoid conflicts in the process of establishing the new global balance.
JI'NAN - Five people have died and four others were injured in a road accident in East China's Shandong province on Thursday, local authorities said.
The accident happened around 4 a.m. on a highway in Chengwu County, sources with the county government said.
Two people died on the spot and seven others were injured after a three-wheel motorcycle they were in overturned after colliding with a farm truck.
Three of the injured died later after rescue efforts failed, while the remaining four are not in life-threatening condition.
The three-wheel motorcycle driver, Jia Aixian, who was unscathed in the accident, has been taken into police custody for inquiries.
Police are hunting the truck driver, who fled the scene after the accident.
BEIJING - Republic of Korea (ROK) president Park Geun-Hye will pay a state visit to China in late June at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said at a Thursday press briefing.
Since Park took office, the two heads of state have maintained communication and exchanges through multiple channels, Hong said.
"We believe that President Park Geun-Hye's state visit to China will bring China-ROK relations to a new and higher level," he said.
Former fund manager Li Xuli went on trial accused of insider trading at Shanghai Higher People’s Court on Thursday.
Li used to be chief investment officer at the Bank of Communications Schroder Fund Management.
He was previously given a four-year sentence and fined 18 million yuan ($2.93 million) for profiting from insider trading in November 2012.
An investigation by the China Securities Regulatory Commission found Li illegally used inside information to make more than 10 million yuan, from February to May 2009.
Li denied the charges in court on Thursday, arguing that the statement he made to investigators was given under threat.
China’s securities market has long been plagued by manipulation and “rat trading”, as some brokers and high-level managers of financial institutions use inside information to reap illicit gains and manipulate share prices.
A ruling in the case will be announced later, according to the court.
ISLAMABAD - The Chinese government will unswervingly stick to its friendly policy toward Pakistan and support the South Asian nation in realizing stability and better development, visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday.
Li was speaking during a meeting with Pakistani military leaders including Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Naval Staff Muhammad Asif Sandila and Chief of Air Staff Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt.
"The Pakistani military is not only an important force in maintaining security and stability in Pakistan, but also a firm supporter of the China-Pakistan friendship," said Li.
The friendship between China and Pakistan is unbreakable thanks to not only the efforts of generations of leaders of both sides and the fervent support of the two peoples, but also the in-depth development of the ties between the two militaries, Li said.
He urged the international community to help Pakistan overcome difficulties and cope with challenges under the premise of respecting its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As a good neighbor, friend and partner, China pays close attention to the development of situation in Pakistan and respects the development path chosen by the Pakistani people in accordance with their national situations, Li said.
China supports concerned parties in Pakistan to jointly contribute to maintaining political stability, developing economy and improving people's livelihood in the fundamental interests of the nation, Li said, adding China is willing to provide assistance to Pakistan within its capability.
China would like to deepen military relations, enhance communication in defense and constantly expand cooperation to new fields with Pakistan, Li said.
The Chinese premier also expressed the hope that the Pakistani military will continue to do its utmost to safeguard the security of Chinese agencies and staff in Pakistan.
For their part, the Pakistani military leaders said Li's trip reflected the special friendly relations between Pakistan and China.
They said the Pakistani military is proud to have China as its best friend, and will never forget the staunch support and selfless assistance provided by China.
Safeguarding the security of Chinese agencies and staff in Pakistan has been a divine duty of the Pakistani military, they added.
They said the Pakistani military is willing to work with China to strengthen bilateral communication, expand cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability so as to push for greater achievements in bilateral relations.
Li flew in on Wednesday from India, the first leg of his ongoing four-nation maiden trip abroad as Chinese premier. He will also travel to Switzerland and Germany.
The southern coastal province of Guangdong, which is frequently struck by typhoons, tornados, raging storms and other natural disasters, is planning to build the country’s first tornado research center in Foshan.
Luo Qiqing, deputy director of the Foshan meteorological agency, said the city is the right place to build the tornado research center as it is hit annually by many tornados and the economic losses caused by natural disasters are huge.
“We still cannot forecast the disasters correctly,” Luo was quoted as saying by Guangzhou-based Yangcheng Evening News.
Luo said his bureau has purchased many radars and other advanced equipment to help forecast disasters in recent years.
The establishment of the tornado research center will help Guangdong study and forecast natural disasters, he added.
Luo did not reveal when the center will be set up.
BEIJING - Chinese courts are hoping to double the number of citizen jurors in the next two years, a senior judge said Thursday.
The total number of citizen jurors, also known as people's jurors, will reach 200,000 in 2015, said Shen Deyong, executive vice president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), at a meeting on the development of the people's juror system.
Courts at all levels are encouraged to deploy more citizen jurors, Shen said.
Jurors should at least outnumber judges but the ratio can vary depending on local conditions, he said.
Busier courts at the lower levels whose jurisdiction encompasses a large geographic area or population should have twice as many jurors as judges, he said.
According to a report submitted by the SPC at the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) in March, the number of jurors increased by 52.7 percent to 85,000 from 2007 to 2012.
Selected from citizenry of all walks of life to work with professional judges at lower courts, jurors took part in over 1.49 million cases in 2012, up nearly 300 percent compared to 2007, the report said.
"We will ensure that ordinary citizens account for at least two-thirds of the newly added jurors," he said.
The courts will also provide more training programs for jurors so that they can effectively exercise their duties, he added.
The China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association said on Thursday that Qianlong No1 completed a successful dive of 4,159 meters in the South China Sea in May.
The dive was a major boost to efforts to explore the ocean floor and carry out research.
Qianlong No1 is 4.6 meters long and 1.6 meters wide, weighing about 1,500 kilograms.
The submersible is designed with a maximum diving depth of 6,000 meters and a continuous traveling time of 24 hours.
The vehicle can survey the sea floor and collect deep-sea data.
NANCHANG - Geologists have discovered a large tungsten mine in East China's Jiangxi province, officials said Thursday.
More than 1 million tonnes of tungsten and associated copper have been found at the mine in the Zhuxi mineral area of Fuliang county in the northeast part of the province, said Peng Zezhou, chief of the provincial geology and mineral resources exploration bureau.
The Ministry of Land and Resources confirmed the discovery on Wednesday on its website.
A maximum depth of 449 meters of tungsten and 30 meters of associated copper in the mine has been penetrated, said Peng.
The reserve explored is in the same province as the world's largest tungsten mine, which was found in Wuning county, Jiujiang city, Jiangxi. It holds tungsten reserves totalling 1.06 million tonnes.
Geologists said they expect to find more tungsten at the newly-discovered mine, which could oust the mine in Wuning County as the world's largest.
Chinese marine surveillance fleet – Haijian 66, 46 and 26 – is patrolling waters near Diaoyu Islands on Thursday, according to a statement released by the State Oceanic Administration.
China’s Ocean Development Report 2013 said the possibility of conflict between China and Japan over the Diaoyu Islands is increasing.
China has carried out consistent patrols in waters near the islands since September when Tokyo nationalized three of the islands. The State Oceanic Administration has been releasing updates on the patrols since then.
BEIJING - Chinese marine surveillance ships continued to conduct regular patrols of the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands on Thursday, the State Oceanic Administration said.
A fleet consisting of the Haijian 66, Haijian 46 and Haijian 26 carried out the mission, according to a statement on the administration's website.
"Haijian" is the Chinese equivalent of "marine surveillance."
Reebonz, a flash sales site dealing in high-end designer brands, raised $40 million in new investment funds from MediaCorp, one of Singapore’s largest media companies, CBN Daily reported.
It is the first time that MediaCorp has poured capital into an online shopping site. Reebonz was launched in 2009, providing service in China, South Korea, and other countries throughout southern Asia and other countries in the Pacific region. Along with the new investment capital, Reebonz raised $80 million in total, bringing its current overall value at $200 million.
The e-commerce market has great potential in the Asia-Pacific region. The strong competitive edge of the online retailer was the main reason MediaCorp invested in Reebonz.
According to statistics from eMarketer, transactions on the B2C (business-to-consumer) market will hit $1,300 billion which will account for 34 percent of that market worldwide. China is one of the largest emerging powers in the Asia-Pacific region, its B2C market has seen rapid development, reaching 133.12 billion yuan ($21.67 billion) in Q1 this year, up 96.3 percent year-on-year.
In fact, its model for online flash sales was initially taken by Vente-privee.com, a French e-commerce company that sales luxury designer brands only to members at discounted prices. At present, other than Reebonz, this kind of member-only shopping website is quite popular in China, which also includes online retailers such as Vipshop, Glamour-Sales, and Shangpin.com which has already raised $70 million.
The e-commerce market in China is changing fast and has been characterized by fierce competition. It was within this intense competitive environment that Reebonz mapped out an effective way to raise its level of localization by cooperating with domestic companies. On November 11, 2012, Reebonz first worked with Tianmao, the biggest player in China’s B2C market, and set off a massive promotions push. The promotion was called “Nov. 11 Event” by consumers. On that day almost all of its products were on sale with large discounts. Reebonz was no exception which offered a 60% discount on its items. The Reebonz promotion was well-received by Chinese consumers in a shockingly short amount of time.
There is no doubt that Reebonz’s development can help MediaCorp tap into the Asia-Pacific region.
The Beijing Rose Cultural Festival kicked off on Thursday.
Boasting thousands of varieties, the exhibition -- in the capital's Botanical Gardens, Taoranting Park and Tiantan Park -- will last until June 28.
"The festival will further promote the city's appeal and boost the flower industry," said Wang Genhai, deputy director of the forestry and landscape bureau's farm and flower industry office.
Rose exports from Beijing have increased in recent years, said Fu Li, another official with the office.
"The flowers are mainly exported to Japan, South Korea, Germany and Russia," she said. "As the city is doing a lot of independent research and development, the flowers, as well as related products, including essential oils, perfumes and cosmetics, are getting more popular than ever."
As well as the exhibition, residents can also learn flower arrangement and taste snacks made from roses.
China and Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in marine science and technology.
The memorandum was signed between Pakistan's Ministry of Science and Technology and China's ocean watchdog on Wednesday, the State Oceanic Administration said.
The memorandum covers, among others, marine research and investigation, climate change, marine energy and exploration, satellite application, accident prevention and an exchange of marine experts and officials.
Liu Cigui, head of the State Oceanic Administration, suggested establishing a long-term cooperation mechanism and launching the first China-Pakistan marine science and technology cooperation conference this year.
Liu added China will support the construction of an integrated marine observation station for both countries.
Police have intensified a campaign against candid photography, and acts of obscenity, on the Shanghai metro as the hot summer approaches.
Reinforced electronic surveillance and stepped-up patrols in the subway carriages and stations will be carried out.
A 24-year-old man was held in administrative detention by police on Monday after he tried to photograph a woman with his mobile phone.
Four cases of indecency and two cases involving intimate pictures of women have been investigated this year, statistics from the police showed.
Those who molest or expose their bodies in public will face being detained by the police.