42 streets named as "safe food streets"
The Shanghai Food and Drug Administration declared that 42 streets have been approved as "safe food streets", providing safe and hygienic food.
The 42 streets scattered in the city's 18 districts and involve 1,542 food outlets.
Through the evaluation of safe food streets, the food outlets' hygiene standards have improved, said officials with the administration.
Officials also said the evaluation is a part of the preparation for Expo 2010 to improve food safety. --(8/26)
China Pavilion puts measures in place to cope with visitor numbers
To avoid long queues, the Shanghai World Expo organizer will require most of the visitors to the China Pavilion to make reservations before their visits.
For anyone who can't get in during the event, the exhibition and the pavilion will remain on site after the 2010 event is over, a senior Expo organizer says.
The organizer expects 50,000 people to visit the China Pavilion every day while more than 400,000 visitors will visit the Expo site every day.
All the visitors to the Expo site may want to see the host country's pavilion, but only about 10 percent of them are able to enter the pavilion, says Chen Xianjin, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.
People will be able to make reservations at 200 machines on the Expo site on the day of their visits. Group visitors can reserve online several days beforehand.
The machines will indicate whether reservations are full.
The organizer is also considering not allowing holders of night tickets which cost 90 yuan (US$13.14) (standard ticket is 160 yuan) to enter the China Pavilion, Chen says.
Visitors need to take lifts to begin their journey in the pavilion and take escalators to leave.
The organizer is to compile some tips for visitors to the China Pavilion for publication. --(8/25)
Hot, stormy weather in the forecast
The temperature is expected to rise again this week even though the Chinese lunar calendar shows the summer heat should have passed.
Yesterday was Chu Shu, a date on the lunar calender that indicates the heat has passed. But the temperature didn't drop much as it reached 34 degrees Celsius yesterday.
The mercury is forecast to hit 35 degrees Celsius again this week and may rise even higher on Wednesday and Thursday, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said. The low will drop to about 25 degrees.
Thunderstorms will likely continue to soak the city this week under mainly cloudy skies, the bureau said.
The bureau said the temperature drop at the weekend was due to "a weak cold air front."
"The temperature will rise, especially on Wednesday and Thursday," said Chen Min, the bureau's chief service officer. --(8/24)
Train maker's Shanghai IPO gets a green light
China CNR Corporation Limited, one of the country's top two train makers, has got the regulatory approval to proceed with its initial public offering (IPO) in Shanghai, the securities regulator said in a statement posted on its Website late yesterday.
China Securities Regulatory Commission, the nation's stock regulator, reviewed CNR's IPO application yesterday.
CNR had posted the approval on its website, and calls to the company rang unanswered today.
According to its IPO prospectus, the company plans to issue no more than three billion A shares on the Shanghai bourse to fund projects worth 6.436 billion yuan (US$942 million).
The Beijing-based train maker said it would use the money mainly to upgrade technology for train making, including high-speed trains.
The company said capital gathered through the IPO will account for no more than 34.09 percent of CNR's total capital, and any proceeds exceeding the 6.436 billion will be used as working capital.
CNR and its rival China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corp (CSR), which is listed both in Shanghai and Hong Kong, are the two major train makers in China, taking up a combined more than 95 percent of the domestic market.
CNR has hired China International Capital Corp (CICC), Huatai Securities and Huarong Securities as underwriters for its Shanghai IPO.
CNR reported a net profit of 383.75 million yuan in the first half of the year, up 43.52 percent from a year ago. --(8/23)
Shanghai's railways and roads will carry more than 200,000 travelers each day in the National Day holidays from October 1 to 8. More ticket windows will be opened to the public with larger passenger flows expected than the same period last year. As predicted, travel peaks will occur on September 30, October 1 and October 4. --(8/22)
Emergency medical plan on the Expo agenda
The 2010 World Expo organizer said yesterday that they are working on a medical plan to handle emergencies in the lead up to the event after the Russian Pavilion's project manager had a heart attack on Wednesday afternoon.
Samakaev Rafael, 59, also a designer, was in stable condition at Shanghai East Hospital after receiving treatment. He will remain hospitalized for about one week for rehabilitation and further observation, hospital officials said yesterday.
The Expo organizer is making medical plans, including having doctors and ambulances, for officials who are preparing exhibits, said Fei Jinseng, director of the Visitors Service Center of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.
Once the Expo starts next May, the site will have five emergency medical stations. Red Cross volunteers will be on-site and helicopters will be used for emergencies, officials said. --(8/21)
City issues guideline
Shanghai has issued a new guideline to boost financial innovation and attract talent as the city continues its push to become a global financial hub by 2020, the local financial services office said yesterday.
The Shanghai government will set up an "awards" program to encourage people in the financial industry to adopt new methods in areas, including product design, operating techniques, provision of services and corporate management, the Shanghai Financial Services Office said yesterday, quoting the new guideline.
The city government will use cash awards to attract financial professionals to the city, according to the guideline. The awards will also ease the impact of the Shanghai tax rate, which is higher than in other Asian financial centers.
The city is also simplifying procedures for out-of-town professionals to obtain temporary residence cards and permanent residency to attract high quality talent. The city will also make it easier for the children of these professionals to go to school.
Shanghai will also offer a one-time cash incentive to overseas institutions that want to incorporate local subsidiaries in the city. The city will offer a one-time capital incentive to financial institutions to set up headquarters in Shanghai.
The city government will also offer follow-up funds to institutions that exhibit outstanding performance in Shanghai within five years of beginning operations. --(8/20)
'Safe' flu vaccine hailed
A chinese company has completed clinical tests on a new influenza vaccine against the H1N1 virus, which proves to be "safe and effective."
Sinovac Biotech Company, a Beijing-based pharmaceutical company, said yesterday that it was the world's first H1N1 vaccine to undergo successful testing on humans.
Researchers from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products conducted and supervised the test work in Beijing.
"Trials show that the first dose of vaccine triggers an immune response in the human body good enough to protect against the H1N1 virus strain," said Sinovac General Manager Yin Weidong.
Yin said there had been no severe adverse reactions reported after more than 1,600 volunteers aged above three received their first inoculations last Saturday.
"The occurrence of slight adverse reactions, such as pain at the site of injection, was similar to those of seasonal flu vaccines. This means the vaccine is safe," he said.
"This will lay a good foundation for future production and use of the vaccine, once we finish evaluations and obtain approval from the State Food and Drug Administration." --(8/19)
More foreign chain stores open in city
More than 80 percent of the 40 chain stores that opened in the city in the first half of this year are foreign owned, data from the Shanghai Commercial Economic Research Center shows.
The foreign companies used Shanghai as an avenue for tackling the global financial crisis, said researchers with the center.
Data shows that the fastest expansion was found among clothing brands such as Zara, H&M, Mango and Uniqlo.
Zara opened four new stores, H&M opened two, and Mango and Uniqlo opened three each.
Fast food chains including McDonald's, KFC and Costa Coffee also showed a rapid expansion.
About 82.5 percent of the new retail stores are in city's downtown. --(8/18)
Subsidies make goods cheaper
The first wave of government subsidies were given out over the weekend to locals who trade old home appliances to buy new ones.
Shanghai natives are entitled to a maximum 10 percent discount on new televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners and personal computers if they hand in an old one. The government subsidy is valid until May 31 next year. --(8/17)
Tribute to panda finder
Giant panda enthusiasts in China set out for a hike yesterday in southwestern Sichuan Province to retrace the steps of a French missionary who made the animal known to the West 140 years ago.
Twenty hikers from around the country departed from West China Medical School of Sichuan University in the provincial capital Chengdu.
They passed health checks before the 350-kilometer journey that will include not only beautiful views but also steep, dangerous mountain paths.
They are expected to arrive at their destination, the Ya'an Bifengxia Breeding Base of the China Giant Panda Protection and Research Center in Wolong Nature Reserve, on August 25.
Pere Jean Pierre Armand David, the French Catholic missionary, introduced the giant panda to the Western world after taking photographs of it in 1869 in Sichuan's Ya'an City.
"We hope to spread the knowledge of environmental protection and invite more people to join in protection of endangered giant pandas and other wild animals at large," said Yang Guang, the hike organizer.
As well as the hike, a festival of films featuring giant pandas and other wildlife will start in Ya'an on Wednesday to mark the 140th anniversary of their discovery by the outside world. --(8/16)
Happy Valley, a new amusement park in Songjiang District, will open for business tomorrow after repeated delays caused by bad weather and machinery problems. Officials will enforce a daily visitor limit of 30,000 to head off long queues. --(8/15)
Artistic face-lift for Metro stations
Shanghai's Metro operator wants to add a little culture to the city.
A project to make 51 downtown subway stations look more pleasant and artistic will be completed before the World Expo opens next May, said Shentong Group, the city's Metro operator.
Metro officials said 51 theme walls, using different materials to showcase local traditions, history, culture and landmark buildings, will be added inside stations.
Special lighting will also be used to highlight the walls.
Line 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10 will be involved in the project.
The future Shanghai Library Station on Line 10 will feature a wall displaying ancient China's movable type printing skill.
Descriptions in both Chinese and English will be added to help passengers understand the themes, said Metro officials. --(8/14)
Shanghai to build high-speed railway network
A high-speed railway network starting from Shanghai is set to be finished by 2012, cutting travel time to five hours to Xi'an, Xiamen and Beijing.
Travel time from Shanghai to main cities in the Yangtze Delta such as Nanjing, Hangzhou and Hefei will be cut to within two hours.
Nanjing, Hangzhou and Ningbo will be within 1 hour of the city; Hefei, Bengpu, Taizhou and Wenzhou within 2-3 hours Beijing, Fuzhou and Zhengzhou within 4-5 hours.
Stations in the Yangtze Delta will be turned into major transfer hubs. Constructions of the Shanghai Hongqiao, Nanjing South and Hefei South stations started this year. --(8/13)
36 bus lines exclusive for Expo
Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority revealed yesterday that the city would have an additional 36 temporary Expo bus lines during the event.
The lines will be revoked after the Expo period, said officials. The interchange discount and free travel for senior residents'transport card will apply on these 36 routes.
Apart from the new Expo bus lines, the city has added 120 other bus lines, revoked 18 and rearranged 190 others. --(8/12)
Expo accessible for the disabled
All Expo venues, including 51 Chinese pavilions, will have access for the disabled, officials said at a city's meeting on the construction of disabled access facilities yesterday.
Construction on disable access facilities at the Expo site has started, said Zhu Wei, deputy director of Site Planning Department of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.
Expo 2010 should be more accessible than previous ones.
The Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination has been compiling routes guides for disabled visitors and setting service standards.
Volunteers to assist disabled visitors will be called for from September. --(8/11)
Wind powers industry to new stage
Construction has started last Saturday on China's first 10-million-kilowatt wind power station in Jiuquan City, Gansu Province.
China's wind power industry was entering a new stage, said Zhang Guobao, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission and head of the National Energy Administration, at the ground-breaking ceremony.
With a 120-billion-yuan (US$17.57 billion) investment, the station was designed to have an installed capacity of 5.16 million kw by the end of next year and 12.71 million kw by the end of 2015. It will be China's largest wind power facility upon completion.
After years of growth, China's wind power installation ranked fourth in the world and subsidiary equipment manufacturing had turned into a booming industry, Zhang said.
But China's wind power sector was dampened by distribution imbalances between resources and markets, difficulties in connecting wind power to power grids and construction policies that produced stations of only small generation capacity, he said.
To solve the problems, the government decided to build the 10-million-kw wind power station, a "Three Gorges in the Air," to maximize wind power efficiency through large-scale construction and transmission, Zhang said.
China's installed wind power capacity topped 12.17 million kw at the end of last year, fourth in the world behind the United States, Germany and Spain. --(8/10)
Soccer kicks in as Expo backer
The World Expo Shanghai logo and its mascot "Haibao" will appear on billboards behind goals at Chinese Super League soccer matches for the rest of this season and all next season.
The high-profile exposure is linked to a deal signed yesterday in Shanghai by the top-tier professional league organizer and Expo.
More than 60 million people across the country are expected to see the "Better City, Better Life" Expo Shanghai logo while watching matches on TV or at the stadiums.
The Chinese Football Association will use all its resources to promote Expo and hoped to introduce Chinese football to the world via Expo, said Nan Yong, deputy chairman of the association.
Unlike many European leagues, the CSL starts in February-March and ends at November-December every year. There are 16 teams in the current season which Shandong Luneng won last year.
Twenty-six domestic TV stations carry live broadcasts of league games.
About 58 million viewers watched the first 16 rounds of games of the 2009 season on TV while about 20,000 people on average attended a match.
Also yesterday, the country's leading bakery chain, Christina Food, signed up to be the cake and bread provider for Expo.
The company that was founded in Shanghai in 1992 by T. A. Lo, one of the city's most prominent Taiwanese merchants, will open a dozen outlets on the Expo site.
The company will develop a series of healthy and nutritious bakery items especially for the event, Lo said. --(8/9)
Domestic auto sales speed up
Sales of China's domestically-made automobiles totaled 1.09 million units last month, up 63.57 percent from the same month of last year, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said yesterday.
It was the fifth month in a row that saw auto sales exceed 1 million units, CAAM said in a statement.
Over the January-July period, sales of domestically-made autos stood at more than 7.18 million units, a rise of 23.38 percent year on year, according to CAAM. The country produced more than 7.1 million units, up 20.23 percent.
The increase in July sales was boosted by surge in sales of passenger cars, which jumped 70.54 percent from a year earlier to 832,600 units last month, CAAM said.
From January to July, sales of passenger cars hit 5.37 million units, a jump of 30.91 percent from the same period of last year. A total of 5.27 million units of passenger cars were produced in the first seven months.
CAAM said the surge in sales was boosted by the improvement in the country's economy and the government's policies to stimulus car purchase. China cut the purchase tax on passenger cars to 5 percent for models with engine displacements of less than 1.6 liters.
In the first half of this year, auto sales hit 6.09 million units. The CAAM said earlier last month that it was "cautiously optimistic" about domestic auto sales in the second half of this year, predicting that China was expected to sell more than 11 million vehicles this year, higher than earlier prediction of 10.2 million vehicles. --(8/8)
Car sales accelerate to record
The government stimulus measures and a rebound in the Chinese economy propelled major car makers in China to post record sales last month.
The sizzling sales may signal that China's auto sales will accelerate to a new high in the traditionally non-prime sales season, following a 36-percent year-on-year increase to 1.14 million units in June.
Chang'an Ford Sales Co, the Chinese venture of Ford Motor Corp, yesterday said sales rose 54 percent last month to 19,486 units.
General Motors Co, which is striving to win back dominance in the United States market amid bankruptcy protection, has posted a 78-percent jump in sales in China last month.
It sold 144,593 units, representing the best ever result for July and also extended its single month sales record since January, the Detroit-based car maker said in a statement.
Most auto makers said their small car models drove up the robust sales amid government support for such cars and that their higher class segments also recovered thanks to the rebound in the Chinese economy.
A lower tax and subsidies for vehicle purchases launched in January have proved effective in sparking market demand and helped car makers to offset slumping sales in the US and Europe.
China's auto sales topped 1.14 million units in June, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. The official July sales will be released at the weekend.
Japan's Honda Motor Corp said sales for last month were a record high at 32,382 units in its passenger car venture Guangqi Honda Automobile Co. --(8/7)
Shanghai realty up and down
About 29,200 units of existing properties were sold in Shanghai last month at an average price of 12,760 yuan (US$1,868) per square meter, a drop of 6.6 percent in volume and an increase of 2.8 percent in price.
The figures came yesterday from Century 21 China Real Estate in its latest monthly report.
"The July correction in transaction volume was normal after the market gained strength for five consecutive months," said Zhang Weiping, general manager for Century 21's Shanghai operation, which runs the city's second-largest brokerage chain.
"A reiterated 40-percent down-payment rule on second homes and continuously soaring prices have jointly curbed some buyers' interest."
The company expects the market correction to last through the third quarter, with monthly transaction volumes hovering about 25,000 and 28,000 units on average.
It predicted that the fourth quarter might see a small rebound when monthly volume could reach between 26,000 and 29,000 units on average.
Across the city, only Huangpu and Luwan districts registered month-on-month volume growth and Jing'an and Yangpu districts, among the losers, suffered the mildest decrease, both less than 5 percent, according to the company's research.
A report released yesterday by Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Ltd found sales of existing luxury apartments, priced above 30,000 yuan per square meter, more than tripled during the second quarter.
A total of 129,100 square meters of high-end apartments changed hands in the city between April and June, a quarter-on-quarter increase of 220 percent.
The average price, meanwhile, climbed 3.5 percent to 40,986 yuan per square meter, the company said.
However, continuously rising home prices coupled with sluggish leasing demand has further cut the average return-on-investment ratio for the city's luxury apartments.
Average yield retreated to 2.66 percent between the April-June period from 2.79 percent in the first quarter, Centaline statistics showed. --(8/6)
Free pregnancy checks for Down's Syndrome
Shanghai's public health system started offering free pregnancy checks for Down's Syndrome from yesterday in Pudong New Area and Yangpu District.
The new service is expected to benefit more than 10,000 pregnant women in the area.
The free checks will be offered to all pregnant women within the city in three years. Further risk evaluation and medical consultation will be offered to women found at high risk following the checks.
Down's Syndrome is caused by malfunction of genes and can result in low IQ, poor health and even early death among infants. --(8/5)
Bus escape windows that push outward won the public's vote, the Shanghai Port and Transport Management Bureau said yesterday. The bureau put forward three escape designs for public opinion from July 23. The winning design will eventually be fitted on all buses. --(8/4)
Shanghai takes sci-fi spotlight
Famed Hong Kong art-house director Stanley Kwan is returning to film-making after a four-year break with a science-fiction movie about a group of Chinese acrobats from the 1930s who travel to the present.
The movie follows the acrobats' relationships with a group of acting students in 2009 Shanghai, Kwan told The Associated Press on Saturday from Shanghai, where he is shooting the 8 million yuan (US$1.2 million) production.
Australian-born Christopher Doyle, who helped craft the moody visuals of many Wong Kar-wai films, is the cinematographer.
The 52-year-old director said he crafted the project, which he describes as "The Matrix meets song and dance," to help a group of acting and music students he met while working on a musical. The film is called "Dancing With Your Heart" in Chinese but doesn't have an English title yet.
"Very few of the graduates of Chinese performing arts schools have the chance to start a career in performing arts," Kwan said. He said he is halfway through the shoot and expects to finish the movie late this month.
Kwan's last film was the 2005 romance "Everlasting Regret," starring Hong Kong pop star Sammi Cheng. He is best known for his 1987 drama "Rouge" and his 1992 biopic of late Chinese actress Ruan Lingyu, "Center Stage," which earned its star Maggie Cheung best actress honors at the Berlin International Film Festival.
During his break, Kwan developed projects for new Chinese production company J.A. Media and produced the 2008 Hong Kong-Taiwan romance "Miao Miao."
But after his stint on the business side of film-making, "I realized I like directing my own movies more," he said.
Like many fellow Hong Kong directors, Kwan is now shooting on the mainland, a booming movie market. He said working with mainland investors can be a difficult process because many are new to the film industry.
"Many of the investors are entrepreneurs. Their main line of business is real estate or coal mines or finance. They don't know about the work flow of a movie," he said. --(8/3)
City cuts tap water supplies
More than 58,000 people will have to stop using running water for three days as Chifeng City in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region sanitizes a tap water system.
The tap water supply will be resumed in 72 hours if water quality meets national standards within the period, said a notice issued yesterday by the city government.
Altogether 4,215 people have sought treatment for gastro-intestinal illness after the tap water supply was contaminated by rainfall on July 23. No death or serious illness had been reported as of yesterday. A contaminated well provides tap water for Chifeng's "new city center," a 17-square-kilometer area with a population of 58,000, said Zheng Fengjun, a local official. --(8/2)
Some things to complain about
Telecom services, online games and training are the products most complained about by local consumers this year.
The Shanghai Commission of Consumers' Rights and Interests Protection said consumers had problems with low-speed broadband, poor cell phone signals and unclear bills. Online games were described as unstable. Training institutes which didn't provide qualified lectures or even stopped lectures and refused refunds were another cause of consumer anger. --(8/1)