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  • Catering sector set for full revival

    As dinnertime approached, food aficionados began to form a long line at the entrance of a popular crayfish restaurant in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province.After the resumption of dine-in service on March 16, Wenhoyo Superb, also began accepting online reservations. However, many diners still queue up at the gate.“Our business began to gradually recover after the resumption of work. The online booking service helps a lot to prevent long queues and attract more customers,” said Li Mingyue, a staffer.The COVID-19 epidemic hit the Chinese catering industry hard as it forced the temporary closure of many restaurants and saw customers stay home rather than dine out.According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s catering revenue was 1.46 trillion yuan (US$216 billion) in the first half of this year, down 32.8 percent year on year.With the epidemic generally contained, China’s catering industry is seeing clear signs of recovery. The catering revenue decline narrowed to 11 percent on year in July, and to 7 percent in August, data showed.“Catering consumption is expected to return to the pre-epidemic level by the end of the year,” said Liu Yan, of the China Hospitality Association.With the theme of “innovative integration, quality consumption,” the three-day 2020 China International Food & Catering Expo in Changsha concluded yesterday.More than 2,000 companies from home and abroad participated in the expo, aiming to seek potential partners, promote products and services, and revive their business.Given the epidemic’s impact, the expo served as a crucial platform to stabilize the market and boost orders of domestic food and catering firms.It is an excellent platform to promote Sino-British trade and also brings opportunities for British firms to explore the Chinese mainland market, said Tom Simpson, managing director of China operations of the China-Britain Business Council, at the opening ceremony.The epidemic has forced the catering sector to innovate, Zhao Jingqiao, a researcher of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said at the expo.Zhao said that development trends including market integration, industry digitalization and capitalization, as well as internationalization and specialization of the division of labor will bring more opportunities to the catering sector.Wenhoyo Superb has set up booths for other popular local food and beverage brands. While energizing other brands, the move helped attract more consumers and enrich their dining experience, said Li.Meituan Dianping, a major e-commerce platform for services, has launched a program to facilitate digital transformation of the catering industry post- epidemic, which is expected to benefit about 1 million merchants within one year.“Online catering platforms will help consumers make inquiries and reservations, and more accurately match supply and demand between consumers and catering enterprises,” said Jiao Weiming, director of Meituan’s consumption promotion center.As the nationwide “Clear your plate” campaign gains steam, many restaurants on Meituan have joined the movement and introduced “small-plate meals” to reduce food waste.Four associations, including the China Cuisine Association, have recently issued a joint proposal with Meituan, calling on catering firms to promote thrift and combat food waste.At the same time, a Meituan system is helping restaurants forecast their daily turnover, monitor their inventory in real time, and estimate their purchase quantity, all in a bid to reduce food waste.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • China’s US dollar debt defaults climb as coronavirus, US tensions hit firms’ bottom lines

    Defaults by Chinese firms on their US dollar-denominated debt have risen significantly this year as the coronavirus pandemic, a slump in oil prices and deteriorating US-China relations have hurt business and reduced their ability to repay.This environment has caused a decline in market confidence, triggering a shortage of dollar liquidity that is limiting some firms’ ability to borrow US dollars to pay back existing debt.US dollar bond defaults by Chinese firms have jumped threefold to US$12…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Jet with CIIE livery lands in Shanghai

    A LONG-HAUL passenger aircraft with China International Import Expo-themed livery landed at Hongqiao airport in Shanghai over the weekend.The China Southern Airlines Airbus 330-300  took off from Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and landed at  Hongqiao International Airport on Saturday afternoon.A water gate ceremony at Hongqiao airport celebrated the maiden flight of the CIIE-themed airliner.The plane, jointly launched by the CIIE bureau and China Southern, is painted white and blue with white-and-yellow stripes. It also features the CIIE mascot, Jinbao, along with the Expo’s slogan “New Era, Shared Future.”The aircraft aims to promote the CIIE and attract participants from across the world, according to the airline. The aircraft will operate various domestic and international flights to promote and serve the CIIE.On the maiden flight, the flight attendants launched quizzes about the CIIE and taught passengers to paint the CIIE mascot Jinbao.The third CIIE will be held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center between November 5 and 10. China Southern will serve as a core supporting enterprise, air carrier, buyer and service provider, the Guangzhou-based carrier said. China Southern’s deals during the first and second CIIEs ranked top among the nation’s top three carriers.The Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines has also unveiled passenger aircraft with CIIE-themed livery.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Rival or partner? Shenzhen turns 40 with busiest stock exchange eclipsing Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul

    Shenzhen turned 40 last month as a special economic zone. Fashioning itself after Silicon Valley, the mainland Chinese city is home to some of the world’s biggest companies such as Huawei Technology, Tencent Holdings and Ping An Insurance.Its financial sector has more to celebrate as the Shenzhen Stock Exchange approaches 30 in December. Some 670 billion yuan (US$98.9 billion) worth of stocks change hands on average every day this year, making it the busiest bourse in Asia.Since its inception…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • The yen is rising yet Japan’s economy is slumping. Call it pandemic economics

    Japan is the land of the rising yen even as its economy slumps. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Japan’s economy shrank by an annualised 27.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2020. Long-serving prime minister Shinzo Abe has stood down for health reasons while, more generally, it would logically seem that Japan, with its ageing population, is more vulnerable to a virus that is more dangerous to the elderly.One person in every 1,500 in Japan is now aged 100 or older, and 28 per cent of Japanese…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • TikTok unveils public listing plan

    TIKTOK Global plans to hold a public listing, its Chinese parent company ByteDance said yesterday, after announcing a deal over the weekend that would avert a shutdown of the popular app in the United States.

    The agreement, which has been approved by US President Donald Trump, sees Silicon Valley giant Oracle become the data partner for the video-sharing platform while Walmart becomes a commercial partner, creating a new US company called TikTok Global that will own most of the app’s operations worldwide.

    Yesterday, ByteDance said in a statement on social media that TikTok Global plans to launch a “small round of pre-IPO financing,” after which it would become an 80 percent-owned subsidiary of ByteDance.

    Oracle and Walmart have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global of 12.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively.

    “TikTok Global will also launch a listing plan to further enhance its corporate governance structure and transparency,” the statement said. It did not say how much it intended to raise or where it plans to list.

    Bloomberg News reported that Bytedance was seeking a valuation of US$60 billion for TikTok, citing a source.

    ByteDance in its statement also said it was a “rumor” that US investors would be TikTok Global’s majority owners and that ByteDance would lose control over TikTok.

    The Beijing-based firm said TikTok Global’s board of directors will include ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming as well as Walmart’s chief executive Doug McMillon and current directors of ByteDance. Oracle and Walmart said earlier that four out of the five board of directors will be Americans.

    Global phenomenon

    TikTok — which became a global phenomenon with its brand of short, addictive videos — has come under fire in recent months as tensions escalate between China and the US.

    Trump has claimed TikTok is collecting user data for Beijing, without providing evidence, and signed an executive order on August 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to sell TikTok. On Saturday, he said he supported a deal in principle that would allow TikTok to continue to operate in the US.

    The current plan for TikTok Global does not involve any transfer of algorithms or technologies, and Oracle will be able to inspect TikTok US’s source code, ByteDance said. This is akin to US companies such as Microsoft Corp sharing their source code with Chinese technology experts, ByteDance added.

    While Oracle has the authority to check the source code of TikTok in the US, ByteDance said displaying the source code is a way for multinationals to allay local data security concerns.

    ByteDance also said a US$5 billion payment of taxes TikTok Global is reportedly supposed to make to the US Treasury is based on estimated income and other taxes the company will need to pay over the next few years and has nothing to do with the weekend deal.

    Trump last week had said there would be a US$5 billion US education fund as part of the deal but ByteDance has said it was not aware of this.

    ByteDance owning the majority of TikTok Global and the algorithms means that ByteDance is “not out of the game” and has avoided the worst-case scenario, China’s Global Times said in an editorial published on Sunday.

    Shen Yi, a Fudan University professor, said in a separate article in the Global Times yesterday that Trump’s nod to the deal “could even been seen as a reversal of US President Donald Trump’s executive order issued in August” and that it was helped by a “concerted effort” by the Chinese government, ByteDance and US domestic forces.

    “If the Trump administration makes more moves to block the deal, it may encounter direct checks and balances from interest groups on Wall Street.”

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • Town drafts blueprint for development

    Zhaoxiang Town in Shanghai’s Qingpu District has released its blueprint for development through 2035.The town will undertake an industrial upgrade from traditional business and trade servicing of manufacturing, retail and catering to modern service industries highlighting software and information service.By 2035, the town will have 215.8 hectares of public green spaces, and its per capita greenery space will amount to 14.7 square meters from 7.2 square meters in 2016, according to the blueprint.The town aims to become an ecological and liveable town, with a cluster of world-leading modern service industries, highlighting the development of MICE and modern logistics.The town’s shortage of public service facilities, greenery spaces, sports and culture venues will be eased under combined measures.Agricultural tourism and production will be developed at Zhongbu, Hemu, Songze and Fangxia villages with B&B, culture as well as innovation industries near the Songze Culture Park.Rural revitalization, public service supply and greenery networks will be enhanced, providing more leisure venues and public facilities for residents.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

  • US House passes forced labour bill that would bar Xinjiang imports

    US lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would effectively ban imports from China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region because of suspected use of state-sponsored forced labour there.Currently, the US bans the import of any goods if there is evidence that forced labour was involved in their production.But the new legislation approved Tuesday would reverse that calculus for Xinjiang, meaning that importers could not source goods produced…

    Posted: by South China Morning Post

  • Weekly sales of new homes jump by 37.7%

    Shanghai’s new housing market has rebounded after a two-week slump as supply hit the second-highest weekly figure this year, with outlying areas the most sought-after.

    The total area of new residential properties sold, excluding government-funded affordable housing, jumped 37.7 percent week over week to 261,000 square meters in the seven days to Sunday, Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Co said its weekly report yesterday.

    “Sentiment among both home-buyers and real estate developers rebounded notably last week with 10 districts/regions recording sales of over 10,000 square meters each and new supply surging to the second highest weekly volume for the year-to-date,” said Lu Wenxi, Centaline’s senior researcher.

    “That would be enough to support sales for the next two weeks so we remain optimistic about September’s overall performance.”

    Suburban Nanhui, formerly a district and now part of the Pudong New Area, dwarfed all by selling 45,000 square meters. Pudong followed with 35,000 square meters. Qingpu District saw sales of around 33,000 square meters.

    About 343,000 square meters over 13 projects were released, compared with 134,000 square meters the previous week. The average price dropped 15 percent to 51,966 yuan (US$7,668) per square meter.

    Posted: by Shanghai Daily

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