Here is the third installment in our new blog series: bi-weekly news round-ups from China. If you’re interested in doing business or traveling in China, but your Chinese is not up to reading directly from Chinese news sources, this is a great insider view of what’s in the headlines with summaries and links to articles covering the same stories in English, from our Chinese language experts.
Here are 3 stories from China we found interesting recently:
Chinese tourist spending goes sky-high
Chinese international travelers, swelled by a wave of individualistic millennials joining the middle class, are likely to be spending more on their trips overseas by 2025 than their counterparts from Germany, the UK and France combined, according to research by Oxford Economics, a consultancy, and Visa, the payments company based on households that earn at least $20,000 per year.
Wayne Best, chief economist at Visa Inc, said that the ease of overseas travel will receive a fillip from some 340 new airports that are expected to be built over the next decade. Similarly, internet connectivity makes it easier for potential travelers to book their itineraries and check out what attractions look like before they commit to the expense. An ageing global population will also see more silver-haired travelers hitting the road.
FT Confidential Research (FTCR), a unit of the Financial Times, found in a survey of preferences this year that Chinese travelers — long famous for high-octane shopping sprees while abroad — increasingly sought individualized itineraries rather than simply traipsing from tourist trap to tourist trap. They are putting much more emphasis on buying experiences and are spending more on dining out, a comfortable hotel and high-quality relaxation.
Made-in-China regional jet starts commercial operation
Now you can experience flying on China’s first independently designed regional jet! Chengdu Airlines became the first commercial airline to use the jet ARJ21-700 on Southwest China’s Chengdu to Shanghai route on June 28, marking the official launch of the aircraft’s commercial operation. The plane, made by Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC), is China’s first regional jet manufactured according to international standards and was delivered to Chengdu Airlines in Nov 2015 after more than 5,000 hours of test flights and passing 398 certification procedures in seven years. Aviation officials, executives and journalists were among the first passengers aboard. The ARJ21, or Advanced Regional Jet for the 21st century, can carry 90 passengers and has a range of about 2,000 kilometers. ARJ-21 flights between Chengdu and Shanghai will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Analysts and industry experts say that the development of the ARJ-21 shows China has mastered the research and design capabilities to produce regional jets.
China’s foreign policy “One Belt One Road”: Reshaping a good part of the world economy
The first revival of the Silk Road—a vast and ancient network of trade routes linking China’s merchants with those of Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe—took place in the seventh century, after war had made it unusable for hundreds of years. Xi Jinping, China’s president, looks back on that era as a golden age and wants a revival of the Silk Road and the glory that went with it. Chinese officials call that policy “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR). The road refers to ancient maritime routes between China and Europe, while the belt describes the Silk Road’s better-known trails overland. Mr Xi first spoke of a new Silk Road during a visit to Kazakhstan in 2013, a year after he took power. The first contracts bearing OBOR’s name—about 300 of them, including a huge hydropower plant in Pakistan—followed in 2014. The past two years have seen a frenzy of institution-building.
OBOR matters for three big reasons. First, the projects are vast. Official figures say there are 900 deals under way, worth $890 billion, such as a gas pipeline from the Bay of Bengal through Myanmar to south-west China and a rail link between Beijing and Duisburg, a transport hub in Germany. A cumulative $4 trillion in OBOR countries is expected to be invested. Next, OBOR (the new Silk Road) is seen as a way of extending China’s commercial tentacles and soft power. Third, OBOR is a challenge to the United States and its traditional way of thinking about world trade. OBOR treats Asia and Europe as a single space, and China, not the United States, is the focal point of the new trading bloc.
Photo credit: Zoetnet via Flickr