Doom and Gloom of China's Economy

amoy

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Chinese manufacturers do face a heavier tax burden.
Fuyao Glass
Indeed, Fuyao must open factories abroad, since it's already seized more than 65% of the market in China. That puts it in a global dogfight. Decades of consolidation in the industry have concentrated automotive-glass production in four big players that have won more than 70% of the automakers' business worldwide. With a roughly 20% share, Fuyao narrowly trails the industry's long-reigning king, Japan's Asahi Glass, in the volume of automotive glass sold and narrowly leads Japan's Nippon Sheet Glass. "Fuyao is doing the right thing," says Ken Long, a glass specialist at the market researcherFreedonia Group in Cleveland.
China's manufacturing industry faces competition

Auto glass tycoon's U.S. plant natural part of overseas expansion: experts

Recent remarks by glass tycoon Cao Dewang about his U.S. plant have sparked a discussion that China is not only losing its manufacturing sector to Southeast Asian countries, but perhaps also to developed economies, like the U.S.

Cao is the founder and chairman of China's leading auto glass manufacturer Fuyao Group, which has a manufacturing plant in Ohio in the U.S. The plant, with a total investment of $600 million, began operations in October and is reportedly the world's largest auto glass manufacturing plant.

In a video interview with news portal yicai.com, Cao said that operating costs in the U.S., such as land, logistics, energy and tax, are much lower than those in China. For instance, electricity is half that of China and the price for natural gas is only one-fifth of what it is in China. In addition, overall tax cost for manufacturers in China is 35 percent higher than in the U.S.

Furthermore, Cao noted that with government subsidies, land is basically free in the U.S.


However, U.S. labor costs are higher than in China. The wage for a blue-collar worker is eight times of that in China and the wage for a white-collar worker is twice that in China, said Cao.

Despite these higher labor costs, the profit margin for the company's U.S. plant could be 10 percent higher than what it would be in China, he told yicai.com.

Increasing competition

U.S. President Barack Obama has been trying to revive the country's manufacturing sector and President-elect Donald Trump vowed to bring manufacturing jobs back to the country during his election campaign.

"The policy [for the manufacturing sector] has been very favorable in the U.S. in recent years, especially in some central states, thus the investment cost is lower and quite appealing to investors," Wang Danqing, a partner at Beijing-based consultancy ACG, told the Global Times on Monday.

Wang noted that the U.S. has been trying to rejuvenate its auto industry and that Cao seized an opportunity by setting up a plant there.

Chen Yao, an expert at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the Chinese manufacturing sector is indeed facing great competition. Developed economies are experiencing a process of "reindustrialization," while at the same time, lower labor costs in Southeast Asian countries and regions are also eating into China's manufacturing sector.

However, Chen noted that the overall cost in China is still lower than that in the U.S., and that China has created other advantages over years of development, such as innovation capability and an established industrial infrastructure.

Effects of expansion

Wang noted that it is quite natural for Chinese entrepreneurs to seek overseas presence as they further develop. "It will be a foreseeable trend for Chinese entrepreneurs to expand overseas," he said, adding that there will be more Chinese companies moving their manufacturing facilities abroad as China is suffering from severe overcapacity in many sectors.

Experts noted that the case of Fuyao Group is not necessarily a bad thing nor indicates that China is losing out to the U.S. in terms of its manufacturing advantage. In fact, the Fuyao Group is still expanding domestically. In November, the company announced it would build a plant in Benxi, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, with a total investment of 1 billion yuan ($144 million), according to media reports.

China has been calling for an industrial upgrade to its manufacturing sector and has been trying to weed out outdated capacity. "But it doesn't mean the country does not attach importance to the manufacturing sector or that we are witnessing deindustrialization," Chen said.

Chen noted that Chinese manufacturers do face a heavier tax burden, but that the government has stepped up efforts to cut taxes. Also, with supporting policies in terms of industrial upgrading, the manufacturing sector will see an improvement in quality and efficiency, he said.
 

amoy

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China's major east-west high-speed railway starts operation
(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-12-28 14:33:23

KUNMING - China on Wednesday put into operation one of the world's longest high-speed railways, linking the country's prosperous eastern coast to the less-developed southwest.

The Shanghai-Kunming line -- 2,252 km in length -- traverses the five provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Yunnan and cuts travel time from Shanghai to Kunming from 34 to 11 hours, according to China Railway Corporation.

The maximum speed is 330 km per hour, said Wang Jinda, a train driver.

The line is also the longest east-west high-speed railway in China. A longer rail line stretching north to south is the 2,298-km Beijing-Guangzhou line, put into operation in 2012.

China has built more than 20,000 km of high-speed rail lines. According to the government's plan, the mileage will increase to 45,000 km by 2030. The launch of the Shanghai-Kunming line means the country's high-speed rail grid has taken shape, connecting almost all provinces on the Chinese mainland.

 

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amoy

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World's highest bridge opens in Guizhou China
chinadaily.com.cn | 2016-12-29 14:56



An aerial view shows Beipanjing bridge rising high above the valley in Guizhou.[Photo/CCTV]

Infographic: Bridging the past and the present

Pictures: From the oldest to the longest…China’s most famous bridges

Soaring 565 meters above a river, Beipanjiang bridge in Guizhou opened to traffic on Thursday, making it the world's highest bridge, CCTV reported.

With a height equivalent to a 200-storey building, the structure spanning the Beipanjiang Valley, is part of a highway linking Hangzhou city in East China's Zhejiang province and Ruili city in Guizhou's neighboring Yunnan province.

The bridge cuts travel time from Liupanshui in Guizhou to Xuanwei in Yunnan from around five hours to less than two.

The construction of the 1,341-meter-long cable-stayed suspension bridge started in 2013, costing about 1 billion yuan (about $150 million).

An aerial view shows Beipanjing bridge rising high above the valley in Guizho


Aerial photo taken on September 10 of the Beipan River expressway bridge.[Photo/Chinanew

Photo taken on September 10 of the Beipan River expressway bridge in Bijie, Guizhou province. [Photo/VCG]
 

amoy

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China building world's highest-altitude ring road in Tibet
(People's Daily Online) 11:16, January 04, 2017

Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)

China is in the process of building the world's highest-altitude ring road in Lhasa, Tibet, the official Weibo of CCTV News reported.

The road, with a total length of nearly 100 kilometers, will feature seven tunnels and 27 bridges. Lhasa has an average elevation of more than 3,600 meters; thus, the ring road is designed with a speed limit of 60 km/h. It will take less than two hours to circle the city. The road is expected to be completed and open to traffic by June 2017.


Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)



Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)


Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)


Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)


Photo shows an effect drawing of the Lhasa ring road. (Photo/official weibo of CCTVNEWS)
 

amoy

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China develops its own ballpoint pen tips
Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-10 15:39




Ballpoint pens [Photo/IC]

TAIYUAN -- China, the world's biggest manufacturer of ballpoint pens, has finally developed its own pen tips, ending a long-term reliance on imported ones.

Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group), or TISCO, said it has mastered the production of steel components for pen tips after trying for five years.

The company told Xinhua Tuesday that China-made tips were ready for mass production and were expected to replace imports in the years to come,

Stationery manufacturers in China produce 38 billion ballpoint pens every year, but make less than 0.1 yuan on each pen, despite spending millions of dollars importing steel used to make the pen tips, at 120,000 yuan ($17,000) per tonne.

"The stainless steel used to make pen tips was all imported from Japan," said Xu Jundao, manager of Beifa Group, one of China's largest pen makers.

Though making a ballpoint pen may seem straightforward, producing a tiny tip with fluent writing effects requires over 20 processes. With machine precision down to the nearest micrometer, requirements for the quality of steel are high as it should be easy to cut but not liable to crack.

TISCO joined a national initiative to develop domestic ballpoint pen tips to move the industry up the value chain in 2011, but the R&D proved difficult.

Wang Huimian, a senior engineer at TISCO, told Xinhua that the toughest part of the work was finding the right formula.

Special microelements must be added to liquid steel to make a quality tip that is able to write continually for at least 800 meters, but the formula had long been kept a trade secret by foreign manufacturers, leaving imports the only option for Chinese pen makers.


Wang's team conducted numerous experiments to accumuluate data, adjusting parameters to find the formula.

"We finally made a breakthrough at the end of 2014. Instead of using lumpy additives, their usual shape, we tried to cut them into smaller, linear pieces to get a better chemical interaction to make the steel stronger," Wang said.

In June last year, the first Made-in-China ballpoint pen tips were produced.

"The pen tips were wear-proof with excellent writing effects and can completely be substituted for imported ones," said Hu Shengyang, director of Beifa Test Lab.

Beifa has ordered the first batch of domestic pen tips from TISCO, and the company expects to completely replace imported materials in two years.

The pen tip dilemma was first brought under the spotlight by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in January last year, and it gives a small insight into a larger problem faced by Chinese manufacturers -- weak competitiveness in core technology.

To move up to the upper level of the supply chain, China has implemented an innovation-driven strategy to create growth opportunities and upgrade traditional sectors.

A guideline published by the People's Publishing House last May said that China had pledged to become an "innovative nation" by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse of scientific and technological innovation by 2060.

Last November, an industry standard on steel pen tips, drafted by TISCO, was approved by CMSI, China's national steel standards committee, to spur more innovation.

"We are committed to become the leader in industrial steel materials through innovation," said Li Jianmin, technology director of TISCO.
 

amoy

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Seagate to Shut Down One of Its Largest HDD Assembly Plants
As a part of its cost-cutting efforts, Seagate has decided to shut down its HDD manufacturing plant in Suzhou, China. The factory is one of the company’s largest production assets and its closure will significantly reduce the company’s HDD output. Seagate intends to lay off ~2200 employees, but it is unclear what it intends to do with the facility, which it owns.

The factory in Suzhou, China, assemblies hard drives and performs their final testing before shipping. The plant does not produce HDD subassemblies and thus is not vertically integrated, but at 1.1 million square feet (102 thousand square meters), this is one of Seagate’s largest manufacturing assets and the largest drive assembly facility. The company got the factory from Maxtor, when it acquired it in 2006. According to a media report, the plant no longer makes products and the last employees will be laid off on January 18, 2017.

“As part of our continual optimization of operational efficiencies, Seagate has made the difficult decision to shut down its factory in Suzhou, China,” an alleged statement by Seagate reads. “We regret that our Suzhou employees will be affected by this action, which reflects our ongoing commitment to reduce Seagate’s global manufacturing footprint and better align the business with current and expected demand trends.”

Last year Seagate announced intentions to reduce its manufacturing capacities from around 55-60 million drives per quarter to approximately 35-40 million drives per quarter. In 2016, the company already fired about 8,000 employees from different locations, but that was only a part of the strategy. With the plan to shut down the plant in Suzhou, the company actually reduces its ability to produce the drives.



After Seagate shuts down its plant in Suzhou, China, it will have two vertically integrated HDD production facilities in Wuxi, China, and Korat, Thailand. Both factories product drive subassemblies and actual HDDs, hence, by using only these two plants the company optimizes logistics (as it no longer has to transport drive subassemblies to Suzhou) and cuts its per drive manufacturing costs. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen what happens to Seagate’s factories that only produce drive subassemblies (sliders and HGAs).
 

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Chinese scientists make quantum leap in computing
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Chinese scientists have built world's first quantum computing machine that goes beyond the early classical -- or conventional -- computers, paving the way to the ultimate realization of quantum computing beating classical computers.

Scientists announced their achievement at a press conference in the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Studies of University of Science and Technology of China on Wednesday.

Many scientists believe quantum computing could in some ways dwarf the processing power of today's supercomputers. The manipulation of multi-particle entanglement is the core of quantum computing technology and has been the focus of international competition in quantum computing research.

Recently, Chinese leading quantum physicist Pan Jianwei, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and his colleagues -- Lu Chaoyang and Zhu Xiaobo, of the University of Science and Technology of China, and Wang Haohua, of Zhejiang University -- set two international records in quantum control of the maximal numbers of entangled photonic quantum bits and entangled superconducting quantum bits.

Pan said quantum computers could, in principle, solve certain problems faster than classical computers. Despite substantial progress in the past two decades, building quantum machines that can actually outperform classical computers in some specific tasks -- an important milestone termed "quantum supremacy" -- remains challenging.

In the quest for quantum supremacy, Boson sampling, an intermediate (that is, non-universal) quantum computer model has received considerable attention, as it requires fewer physical resources than building universal optical quantum computers, Pan said.

Last year, Pan and Lu Chaoyang developed the world's best single photon source based on semiconductor quantum dots. Now, they are using the high-performance single photon source and electronically programmable photonic circuit to build a multi-photon quantum computing prototype to run the Boson sampling task.

The test results show the sampling rate of this prototype is at least 24,000 times faster than international counterparts, according to Pan's team.

At the same time, the prototype quantum computing machine is 10 to 100 times faster than the first electronic computer, ENIAC, and the first transistor computer, TRADIC, in running the classical algorithm, Pan said.

It is the first quantum computing machine based on single photons that goes beyond the early classical computer, and ultimately paves the way to a quantum computer that can beat classical computers. This achievement was published online in the latest issue of Nature Photonics this week.
 

amoy

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THE WORLD'S FIRST Automated containter terminal
in Port of Qingdao put into operation

Last Updated: 2017-05-12 07:52


Containership COSCO France berths at the automated containter terminal in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 10, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)


A shipping container is loaded onto an unmanned vehicle by the automated hoisting equipment in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 11, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)



Containership COSCO France berths at the automated containter terminal in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 10, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)



Containership COSCO France berths at the automated containter terminal in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 10, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)



A shipping container is loaded onto an unmanned vehicle by the automated hoisting equipment in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 11, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)



Containership COSCO France berths at the automated containter terminal in Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, May 10, 2017. With designed capacity reaching 5.2 million TEU and the ability to serve 24000 containerships every year, the automated phase 4 of Qingdao Qianwan Container Terminal was officially put into business operation on Thursday. (Xinhua/Zhu Zheng)
 

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