Red carpet for Taiwan party head
Kuomintang leader Lien Chan is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon and will be splitting his time in town between talks with city officials and business people and tours of major sightseeing venues.
During his visit, Lien is scheduled to give a speech on cross-strait trade and development and hold talks with local entrepreneurs and Taiwan business people working in the city.
There are now about 300,000 Taiwanese living in Shanghai and neighboring areas.
Lien will also meet with Wang Daohan, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, according to the China Business Daily.
Before leaving on Tuesday, Lien also plans to visit the Shanghai Museum and the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall and take a sightseeing voyage on the Huangpu River in the evening.
City officials say the itinerary calls for the KMT leader to view the Chinese Ancient Bronze Hall and other exhibition areas at the Shanghai Museum, accompanied by Curator Chen Xiejun, on Monday.
At night, Lien will be treated to the scenes along the Huangpu River on a luxury yacht voyage.
The same tour has also been enjoyed by officials from the Bureau of International Expositions and chief executives who attended the Forbes Forum in 2003.
Though the route hasn't been fixed, Lien will surely see landmarks that include the Yangpu Bridge, Nanpu Bridge, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the stately old buildings along the Bund.--(4/30)
Railway link complete this year
A new railway-linked container transport terminal in Pudong, which is part of the under-construction Yangshan Deep-water Port, will be completed by the end of this year, the Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau announced yesterday.
The central and city governments are spending 1.5 billion yuan (US$180 million) on the new terminal, which will relay containers discharged from the future port and transport them to the city via the Donghai Bridge.--(4/29)
Discount drugstores go smaller
Even as local discount drugstores are finding it tough to do business, some pharmacies have changed tack from big supermarkets to small neighborhood stores.
The Shanghai Yifeng Chain Drugstore Co will open a comparatively small discount outlet on Zhongxing Road, Zhabei District, on May 8. It is the first time that a discount store will launch an outlet covering just 500 square meters. Presently, all discount stores - numbering 34 - have an area of at least 1,000 square meters each and are aimed for big business. But all of them are suffering losses.
"Shanghai is a different market from other cities, whose residents won't go all the way for cheap medicines without taking into account the cost on time and transport," said Liu Xiangyue, general manager of the Hunan Province-based Yifeng. "Neighborhood stores can be our new opportunity thanks to their convenience and discounted medicines."
Most neighborhood pharmacies tend to be as small as 40 to 50 square meters with no more than 1,000 kinds of medicine.
However, the new discount store is bigger and offers some 4,000 types of cheaper drugs, according to Liu.--(4/28)
Holiday warning issued
The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration issued a food safety warning yesterday, for the upcoming weeklong holiday starting from May 1. The administration said the holiday is a popular time for wedding ceremonies and many families in the city's outskirts are likely to prepare the dinner by themselves. The administration said food preparers must ensure the hygiene of all raw materials and food must be fully cooked and stored properly.--(4/27)
French students report on city
A group of French journalism students from the University of Strasbourg arrived in the city yesterday to spend a month putting together stories about Shanghai's water resources, architecture and housing market with their local peers.
The 38 French students will team up with their counterparts from Fudan and Tongji universities to complete their overseas workshop in the city until May 27.
The foreign reporters-to-be plan to write feature stories, and produce radio and TV programs after interviewing local government officials and ordinary residents together with Fudan and Tongji students.
Interview topics range from the city's water resources, and protection of old architecture to Shanghai's heated housing market.
The TV and radio programs they produce will be broadcast in France as well as on Shanghai Television stations, according to the program organizers.
Meanwhile, French students will also cover a Sino-France Architecture Symposium held at Tongji University next month by producing a newspaper supplement.
"It's a good cross-culture communication opportunity for our students to learn the latest developments in the fast-developing metropolis and exchange directly with their Chinese peers," said Alain Chanel, director of the University of Strasbourg's journalism education cent.--(4/26)
Tourist influx expected
Tourists are expected to flock to the city for the upcoming weeklong Labor Day holidays, according to the Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission.
Many people who have spent their holidays outside the country in the past will travel domestically this year, with local residents heading for nearby provinces or Hainan, the commission said.
Tours around the city should be more popular, with the unveiling of some new attractions such as the International Music Carnival at Century Park, the Mummy's Return Theme Park at Zhongshan Park and the Disney lantern festival at Changfeng Park, the commission added.
From January to March, 996,600 overseas tourists spent at least one night in the city, a 22.2 percent increase from the same period last year.
The number of locals traveling outside the country dropped during the same period, however, mainly due to the Indian Ocean tsunami and unusually low temperatures this spring, according to the commission.
To help tourists have a safe and satisfying holiday, the commission, together with some district tourism bureaus and 160 local business operators held tourist consultations at Nanjing Road, the Longhua Martyrs' Cemetery, Huaihai Park and Hongkou Park over the weekend.
nbound and outbound travel agencies, as well as scenic site operators provided information about various festivities and tour packages during the holidays.--(4/25)
Olympic promotion offered in city
A government delegation from Turin, Italy, launched tourist campaigns in the city on Friday to promote the 2006 Winter Olympic Games. They have printed up a Chinese guidebook, providing information on the various attractions in Turin.--(4/24)
Job hunting for strangers
Young undergraduate students at the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade will pound the pavement trying to help seniors at the school find jobs before they graduate this summer as part of a new employment promotion scheme.
The 100 association members, who are all first-year to third-year undergraduate students, will try to persuade employers to hire the school's seniors by talking directly with human resources managers at local companies.
Divided into eight groups, association members have searched the telephone directory for HR contacts at more than 1,500 local companies, mostly in the finance, trade and logistics sectors.
Volunteers will try to set up an appointment with HR staff at the various companies, and then present them with a CD-ROM that contains the resumes of 2,000 seniors at SIFT.
The volunteers will also attend large job fairs held at local employment centers each weekend to meet with more companies.
"Our responsibility is to try every means to find a suitable job for our seniors, just as if it was our own job-hunting affair," said Yuan Yiming, a student who helped set up the scheme.
Job hunting is hard, Yuan said, as many employers show no interest in either the employment promotion or hiring SIFT graduates at all. Students always have to be fully prepared for every frustration they might encounter.
Lou wei, SIFT's vice president, said the promotion was a good training program to help young students get accustomed to the fierce job market before they start looking for their own jobs.
To date, students have visited over 500 local firms since the program started in February. About 120 of those firms have shown interest in the program.
The volunteers don't receive any bonus for finding a job for one of the school's seniors.--(4/23)
More trains for May holiday
Shanghai Metro Operation Co Ltd yesterday said the operator is going to increase the transport capacity of two of the city's Metro lines prior to the May Day holiday.
Starting April 28, the interval between trains along the northern extension of Metro Line No. 1 will be shortened to nine minutes from 12, while the stretch between Shanghai Railway Station and Xinzhuang Station will retain the original three-minute interval. The move is expected to enhance the capacity of the extension by 33 percent. From April 26, Metro Line No. 2 will have 12 percent more capacity by shortening the interval to three minutes and 12 seconds from 3.5 minutes.--(4/22)
New book mall set to open
Local bookstores will soon be facing a strong new competitor as the Bookuu Book Mall is scheduled to open during the May 1 holiday.
Backed by a total investment of 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million) from the Zhejiang Xinhua Publishing Group, Bookuu has more than 10,000 square meters of sales space in its four-story outlet on Yishan Road in Xuhui District.
The store is expected to carry at least 200,000 books, which is about the same as the other big bookstore in town, Shanghai Book City.
Bookuu says local residents can read books at the mall and enjoy Internet access from 9am to 9pm each day.
Zhao Jianping, the general manager of Shanghai Book City, admitted that Bookuu will heat up the competition in the local market.
But Zhao isn't keen on Bookuu's location.
"What's more, few bookstores will be able to survive in the end," Zhao said, adding that the city's first 24-hour bookstore shut down recently after running at a deficit.--(4/21)
Foreign consuls visit Pudong
More than 50 local consuls from 27 countries visited Pudong yesterday, appreciating the great changes taking place in Pudong for the last 15 years.
"Facing such challenges as rising business costs and shrinking land resources, we will further improve industrial structure and innovation capabilities in the Pudong New Area," said Du Jiahao, Party Secretary of the Pudong District government.
Replying to a question on the real estate situation in Pudong raised by Mr. Chia Tuck Keong, Singapore Consul-General, Pudong Governor Zhang Xuebing said they will maintain a healthy and stable development in the local real estate market and offer plenty of mid and low-priced homes to avoid excessive speculation.--(4/20)
Shanghai Customs targets Pudong development
The Shanghai Customs Office yesterday celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Pudong Customs Office and the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone. Sun Yibiao, Shanghai Customs head, referring the measures needed for Pudong's further development, said that we must develop the Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park; track and categorize company performances so as to give favorable clearances to those with good record; increase the infrastructures joining ports and other areas; make studies at the Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone to make it more multifunctional; and Unify customs declarations, storage and supervision procedures for exhibits.--(4/19)
Car plate prices increase
Rebounding car sales sent the price of private license plates soaring to a one-year high at Saturday's monthly auction in the city.
The lowest winning price for a private car plate at the weekend auction was 36,800 yuan (US$4,433), a 7.2 percent increase from March, according to Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co, which organizes the monthly sale.
The average winning bid for the 5,000 plates on sale this month was 37,355 yuan, a 7.7 percent increase over last month.
Analysts said the rising price of license plates should be attributed by a rebound in car sales in March, when automakers try to appeal to buyers with new models and price discounts as the first marketing campaigns following the Chinese New Year.
"More buyers go to vehicle showrooms and stores to select their favorite models after the Lunar New Year," said Wang Jian, a 27-year-old auto salesman at one of the city's vehicle markets.
"Also many plan to get cars for traveling outside during the holiday, so they put in a high bid to assure they are successful," Wang told Shanghai Daily yesterday.
According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, the 39 carmakers it tracks reported record high sales of 256,000 vehicles in March, an increase of 72.9 percent from a month earlier and a jump of 2.48 percent from the same period last year, ending a slowdown that began in the middle of last year.
With sales slumping, the city has reduced the number of plates on sale at auctions so far this year. On average, the city has sold 4,000 plates a month this year, down from last year's average of 5,566 plates a month.
Plate prices hit their highest level ever last April, when they sold for 45,492 each on average. Prices dropped sharply in May when widely spread rumors said the city might scrap the monthly auction of plates. While prices later rebounded, they hovered under 30,000 yuan for most of the year.
Shanghai is the only city in the country that sells plates off at monthly auctions in order to control the number of cars on its streets.
Other cities sell plates for only a few hundred yuan, and have set up rules to prevent non-residents from buying plates.
Despite rumors the system would be scrapped, there have been no signs the city will cancel the auctions soon, Wang said.--(4/18)
Shanghai to improve services for foreigners
In order to make foreign visitors to the 2010 World Expo feel more welcome in the city, Shanghai should provide English language maps that include bus routes, survival guides and signs to help people find restaurants with English menus, 10 American students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggested yesterday after surveying the city for a week.
"The Expo as well as the Olympic Games will attract many foreigners to the city," said professor Zhao Xinshu from UNC, the group leader. "We are trying to help the city find out the weak points of its international service and give suggestions for improvement."
The suggestions were collected after nearly a week's survey of local restaurants, scenic spots and bus routes.
The students arrived in the city last Saturday from Beijing, where they conducted a similar survey.
Adam Rodman, who visited many Chinese and Western restaurants here over the past week, said he was pleased to see many restaurants have pictures on them, allowing him to order food easily.
"Such menus are clear and attractive," he said.
But he still found many restaurants didn't provide bilingual menus or English-speaking wait staff.
Rodman suggested those restaurants with English service put up signs so they are easy for tourists to find. Juliana Hanson pointed out she couldn't find any English maps that included bus routes in bookstores.
"Taking the bus in a big city is a unique experience and a good bus system will make foreigners feel more welcome and comfortable," she said.--(4/17)
Patent trade center to open
A patent exchange center will open in the city on April 25, allowing companies and individuals to buy and sell patented ideas, the city government announced yesterday.
The Shanghai Patent Exchange Center will be the first facility of its kind in the city.
"The center aims to quicken the steps of sharing and industrializing local patents," Gu Yonghua, a spokesman for the Shanghai Intellectual Property Administration, said yesterday.
The new center will be located at 2310 Yangshupu Road, home to the city's Intellectual Property Park. An exhibition center for displaying newly patented products will also open its door at the site this month.
"Many patented products and ideas can be used more efficiently if they are introduced to the public," Gu said.
Officials said the city has authorized more than 40,000 patents over the last five years, 70 percent of which were created by companies and have considerable industrial value if widely applied.
Many of the patents owned by individuals have never been commercialized, according to Gu.
The administration also announced a series of activities to mark World Intellectual Property Day, which falls on April 26.
An international seminar about protecting patented brands will be held on April 21.--(4/16)
Int'l music fest ready to entertain locals
Sixty-two shows will offer over 70 performances during the 2005 Shanghai Spring International Music Festival, an annual musical feast held in the city from May 5 to 15, according to a brief at the first press conference held by the organizers on April 14.
City leaders, including Yin Yicui, Wang Zhongwei and Yang Xiaodu, are serving as honorary deans of the organization committee.
The festival will contain seven events, including performances of excellent musical works by modern composers, a series of music shows by the local people, a series of performances of classical works, a competition for local amateur wind instrument players, a national contest of campus music works, a national contest of radio DJs. and an invitational theme song contest for the 2010 Shanghai Expo.--(4/15)
City urges credit checks
A trial regulation on the management of corporate credit rating firms will be effective in Shanghai from May 1 to cultivate a creditable environment to prevent operational risks for companies, Shanghai Spokeswoman Jiao Yang said at a regular press conference yesterday.
According to the regulation, local companies that want to know credit information from their business partners can entrust corporate credit rating firms with investigating on the partners. The credit rating firms will issue credit reports after investigating the worthiness of any companies without the permission from the companies to be checked, Jiao said.
Currently, more than 30 corporate credit rating firms in the city collect information on local companies' financial records, business status and other information related to the firms' credit, each can produce more than 6,000 credit reports every month.
However, the corporate credit rating firms should collect such information in a legal way, and are now allowed to do harm to the legal rights of companies or the social public benefits and security, Jiao stressed.
It is different from collecting information from individuals, which must get personal approval, Jiao added.
To date, up to 600,000 companies have had their credit information included in the city's credit information platform.--(4/14)
Foreigners granted green cards in Shanghai
Eighteen foreigners were granted "green cards" Tuesday by the Shanghai municipal government, becoming permanent residents of the east China industrial and commercial center.
Zhou Taitong, vice mayor of Shanghai, issued the permanent residential permits.
The "green card" system is part of China's reform and opening up police, Zhou said.
The municipal public security bureau began taking foreigners' application for the permanent residence since Aug. 23, 2004 and granted the "green cards" to 31 foreign people in last November.
Ma Zhendong, director of Shanghai Exit and Entry Administration, said before the implementation of the "green card" system, more than 130 foreigners acquired the residential permits in Shanghai, most of whom are the descendants of the overseas Chinese.--(4/13)
Work to begin on Chongming link
Work on the gigantic connection project between Pudong and Chongming Island will begin next month, the Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau announced yesterday.
The link to Chongming, the city's largest-ever urban project with the total investment of 12.3 billion yuan (US$1.48 billion), will be a combination of a tunnel and a bridge with a total distance of 25.5 kilometers.--(4/12)
Family exodus begins at World Expo zone
Hua Miaoqi(left) and her sister are all smiles as they get ready to leave their home in Pudong. The first batch of 100 families moved to new apartments yesterday to make way for World Expo construction.--(4/11)
New tours set out for Mideast, Ireland
The city's first group tour to Jordan and other parts of the Middle East takes off tomorrow.
And later in the month, the first package trip to Ireland will commence.
For the Middle East venture, 20 travelers are heading out on a 10-day excursion jointly offered by Shanghai International Travel Service, Shanghai China Travel Service and Spring International.
The tour includes some of the most famous destinations in Egypt and Jordan, such as the Temple of Karnak at Luxor, the Temple of Kom-Ombo, the Aswan High Dam, the ancient city of Petra and the Dead Sea.
"It will be the first time for local group tourists to view Petra, known as the 'rose red city,"' said Qin Yan of Spring International.
The city, settled in about 800 BC by the Nabataean tribe from northern Arabia, was once a fortress carved out of craggy rocks in an area that was nearly inaccessible.
The initial tour was priced at 14,000 yuan (US$1,687), 2,000 yuan cheaper than the route's regular price for subsequent excursions.
The discount was provided by the Qatar Airways, which will fly local tourists to Doha.
Separately, on April 19, the city's first tour group will set off to Ireland with 50 travelers.
The tour, which features three days in Ireland and eight days in the United Kingdom, is jointly organized by Shanghai CITS, Shanghai China Travel Service and Shanghai CYTS Tours and costs 18,500 yuan.
The stops include the Irish capital Dublin and Wicklow, considered the "garden of Ireland," as well as the country's second largest city, Cork.--(4/10)
Aussie warship visits city
A Chinese Navy band plays at Shanghai's Yangzijiang Pier yesterday as the Australian warship Canberra arrives for a goodwill visit.--(4/9)
Pudong vows double-digit GDP growth
Pudong New Area will maintain double-digit growth in its gross domestic product over the next five years, its governor announced yesterday at a news conference called to highlight Pudong's achievements since it opened in 1990.
Pudong's GDP jumped 16 percent last year from the previous year, reaching 179 billion yuan (US$21.57 billion) and accounting for 25 percent of the city's total. The average annual growth rate was 19.2 percent over the past 15 years.
So far, Pudong has attracted US$25.2 billion in contracted overseas investment. The gross import and export value exceeded US$80 billion last year - representing half of the city's total.
Pudong's state industrial zones have contributed greatly to the area's economic development, officials said.
The Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone has attracted 311 financial institutions, 45 regional headquarters of international companies and some 4,000 service organizations.
The Jinqiao Export Processing Zone achieved an industrial production value of 123.4 billion yuan and sales revenue of 180 billion yuan last year.
At the Zhangjiang High-tech Park, 139 research and development centers have set up shops, and more than 4,500 professionals from abroad are working there.
Pudong Governor Zhang Xuebing also said 1.8 million square meters of residential space will be built for people relocated by construction projects along with 1.2 million square meters of low and medium-priced homes.--(4/8)
Flower industry seen to blossom
German gardener Annegret Petasch showcases her skills in arranging flowers at the 7th Hortiflorexpo China at Intex Shanghai yesterday. Investors see a blooming flower industry in China due to rising living standards.--(4/7)
City gets tough on chemical transport
The city is beefing up its supervision of dangerous chemical transport locally, following a deadly chlorine gas leak from a crashed tanker in Jiangsu Province last Tuesday.
The shanghai Land Transport Administration said yesterday that 1,600-plus tankers for chemical transport must be equipped with a Global Positioning System before year-end.
At present, only 20 percent of all local tank trucks have the system.
Officials expect the high-tech equipment to benefit supervision and provide instant communication with the vehicles wherever they are.
The land transport authority also said it has launched a campaign to verify qualifications of entities carrying chemicals. The inspections also investigate if any chemical suppliers are paying unlicensed entities to transport their products.
Last tuesday's chlorine gas leak occurred near Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, when a tanker collided with a truck. The resulting leak killed 28 and injured more than 400.
The tanker was loaded with 35 tons of chlorine when it crashed around 7pm on the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway.
The emergency wasn't reported immediately as the tanker driver fled the site and the other driver died.
Deadly gas soon began to seep from the overturned tank. White fumes blanketed nearby villages and more than 10,000 residents living along the road had to flee.
A front tire that had burst on the chlorine tanker was later found as the cause of the deadly chain of mishaps that followed.--(4/6)
100 financial institutions set up offices in city
One hundred overseas financial institutions have set up offices in Shanghai, the local banking regulatory bureau said yesterday. The banking institutions are from 27 countries and regions, most of which are China's major trade partners, said a spokesman of the banking regulatory bureau.--(4/5)
The Shanghai Politics and Law Commission said legal authorities have launched traffic safety programs at 828 primary schools. Officials set up "watch out for children" signs in front of school gates and have closed illegal stalls near the schools to improve traffic conditions. The commission has also established a hot line (2311-6804) for complaints about safety problems.--(4/4)
New river walk
A new two-kilometer promenade has been completed along the Huangpu River, giving river watchers another option for a stroll. The new section, similar to the one in Pudong's Lujiazui area, is located on the east side of the river in the Shanghai Zizhu Science and Industrial Park, and features walkways and trees.--(4/3)
Farm products on display
Two women choose flowers at an exhibition promoting farm products from Yunnan Province at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on Friday. Manufacturers signed sales contracts worth US$102 million with buyers at the show, which closes today.--(4/3)
Expert has Net addiction cure
Professor Tao Hongkai, a well-known scholar and educator with Huazhong Normal University, revealed that solving the growing problem of Internet addiction is a task for the whole family.
"Actually this common problem among today's youngsters is curable, however, it demands cooperation from parents," said Tao, who has successfully helped more than 300 teenaged Internet addicts around China since last May.
The veteran gave a two-hour consultation for readers at the hot line center of the Wenxin Press Group in the city yesterday.
According to Tao, Internet addiction in students is evident if they lose control before the computer, get tired of school or are dishonest about their online activities.
The abuse of the Internet is particularly harmful for youngsters since they are at a golden phase of learning and their personalities are taking shape.
When a worried mother phoned Tao, asking him to help her rebellious 22-year-old son who has been an Internet addict for years, Tao advised her to conceal her anxiety and keep smiling when facing her son.
"Human emotions can be conveyed," he added. "Parents' anxiety and unhappiness will worsen their condition. A friendly relationship is a wise choice."
During his phone talk, Tao noted that beating, scolding or other compulsory methods will not solve the problem. What Internet addicts really need is sincere and calm communication, as well as a healthy new hobby.
Tao, a former visiting scholar to the University of Michigan, returned to his hometown in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in 2002 after 18 years in the United States.
He is scheduled to give two lectures - today and tomorrow - at the Shanghai Library.--(4/2)
Walk in most city parks now free
Card players and nature lovers flock to Shanghai People's Park yesterday as 23 more green spaces eliminate entrance fees.--(4/2)
Expo site families ink deals to move
The first batch of more than 3,100 families in Pudong, who will be relocated to make way for construction of the World Expo site, yesterday began signing relocation contracts.
With two more batches of residents to be relocated in May and September, more than 80 percent of the overall families within the Pudong section of the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site will move to their new houses in suburban Sanlin Town in Pudong or Pujiang Town in Minhang District.
"We are happy to move to the new house which is much bigger," said Huang Baoshu, 61, whose six-member family is now packed in a room of 30 square meters.
According to the city government, all the 17,000 families, who have to leave their houses for the World Expo with compensation from the city government, will be provided "budget apartments" in the suburbs.
Officials said all the families will be given "appropriate compensation" plus priority to buy a budget apartment in either of the two areas. But they have to make a commitment that they won't re-sell their flats within five years.
Normally, the size of each unit, mostly two-bedroom flats, is between 50 and 90 square meters.
Overall, the government also plans to complete 3 million square meters of budget apartments on the city's outskirts this year for those relocated because of urban projects, with the eventual purpose of building 14 million square meters of them by 2008. The World Expo will be held in 2010.--(4/1)
New garbage rules take effect
A new regulation requiring restaurants, food processing companies and canteens to turn their garbage over to the Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau for disposal goes into effect today. Anyone who gets rid of waste through unauthorized collectors will face a maximum fine of 30,000 yuan (US$3,614), the Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday.--(4/1)