Today's Shanghai | News(2010)
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  • Special taxi line: 96822
    Visitors needing a ride to the World Expo site may call a special Expo taxi hotline, 96822, starting tomorrow.
    You'll be able to get a green-technology Expo taxi - a cab that's permitted to enter a 7-square-kilometer controlled area of the Expo site 24 hours a day. Ordinary cabs will be barred from the areas between 7am and 9pm.
    "Language will not be an obstacle for foreign visitors to call the cabs, because the hotline will provide both English and Chinese services," said an official with the hotline firm Shanghai Dazhong Co.
    "Also, all the Expo cab drivers can speak daily English quite well, so the visitors don't have to worry about being misunderstood."
    Visitors looking for further language help will be able to dial another hotline, 962288.
    The 4,000 designated cabs - 3,650 Volkswagen Tourans and 350 Buick LaCrosse Hybrids - began hitting the roads at the beginning of the month. All are equipped with the latest GPS devices and should save about 15 percent of petrol and reduce about 15 percent of emissions, compared with ordinary taxis.--(4/14)

  • Hangzhou plans its own version of Expo
    The 12th West Lake International Expo is going to be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, from October 16 to November 6, dovetailing with the Shanghai World Expo.
    A series of activities and galas is planned, such as the International Folk Music Festival, Clown Carnival, World Drift Series, the West Lake Art Expo, Dragon Boat Culture Festival in the Xixi Wetland, Wushan Temple Fair, Chao Mountain Plum Blossom Festival.
    Seeing the Shanghai World Expo as an opportunity for Hangzhou's travel and convention industries, the city labeled many of its festivals "World Expo."
    A forum on "harmonious city life," echoing the World Expo Shanghai, will be launched in Hangzhou during the West Lake Expo, co-hosted by United Nations Human Settlements Program, the National Ministry of Housing and Construction, Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination and Hangzhou People's Government.
    In Hangzhou's exhibit at the Shanghai Expo, local government will publicize 10 classic Hangzhou tourism routes. Visitors can get travel coupons with discounts.
    These include some of the most famous natural attractions of the city, such as the West Lake, the Xixi Wetland and the Grant Canal, idyllic village life - such as Longmen Old Town and Fuyang Village famous for making rice paper (Chinese art paper) - ancient cultural sights such as the China Tea Museum and Royal Street of the Southern Song Dynasty.
    Hangzhou and Shanghai together are planning shuttle bus services between the two cities during World Expo.
    Meanwhile, the local tourism bureau will set up more than 100 information desks around Hangzhou's scenic spots, offering information and help for hotel and restaurant bookings. --(4/13)

  • Transport and telecom plans revealed
    The Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination announced a transport blueprint covering the three main forms of transport within the Expo site yesterday.
    Metro Line 13, five bus routes and five ferry tours will carry the main burden of public transport inside the Expo site.
    Most of that will be free except for two tour bus routes (10 yuan) and three sightseeing ferry routes (minimum 60 yuan) which take visitors out of the site at night to south of the Bund.
    The distances between transport stops are about 200 to 300 meters.
    It's estimated that 70 million visitors will come to the 184-day Expo, with a daily turnout of about 400,000. Up to 90 percent of the daily visitors are expected to reach the Expo site on public transport.
    In addition, unlicensed wireless equipment, except for cell phones, cameras and vehicle keys, will be banded from the Expo site. People can apply for licenses at the exhibition service center but the equipment involved will be tested. --(4/12)

  • Price cuts see car sales up 56%
    China's auto sales accelerated 56 percent to a three-month high in March, driven by price discounts, according to some dealers.
    A total of 1.73 million vehicles were sold in China last month, with passenger cars surging 63 percent to 1.26 million units and commercial vehicles climbing 75 percent to 470,200 units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
    First-quarter sales revved up 76 percent to 3.52 million units, the association said.
    CAAM expects the domestic auto market to grow 15 percent this year.
    But some dealers said the number of visitors to showrooms has started to reverse since March and new orders have declined, prompting them to offer price discounts to spur demand.
    Analysts expect the growth in autos to slow this year as smaller tax incentives may weaken demand.
    A report by CAAM showed sales of passenger vehicles with capacity of 1.6 liters or less accounted for 69 percent of the total passenger car segment, 3 percentage points lower from a month earlier.
    Stocks also rose to 303,900 units by March, with a 48,100-unit increase for cars.
    "When the market started to cool, bigger price cuts are expected amid heated competition," said a dealer surnamed Chen who sells GM Buicks.
    GM's March sales rose 68 percent to 230,048 vehicles in China, a record for the 15th consecutive month.--(4/10)

  • City's latest subway hits tracks tomorrow
    Long-awaited Metro Line 10 will be open and ready for riders tomorrow, the operator said yesterday.
    The subway, dubbed the "golden line," will run through several of the city's main business hubs - Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road, Yuyuan Garden, Wujiaochang and the Shanghai Library - and connects to five existing subways.
    "We expect a passenger surge soon after it opens," said Zhu Xiaojie, general manager of the operating company.
    The trains will run from 9am to 4pm daily, gradually extending to rush hours before the World Expo starts next month. The wait between trains will be eight minutes.
    Stretching from the northeast to west sections of city, the line will stretch 29.6 kilometers with 27 stations.
    But four other stations, from Shanghai Zoo Station to further three down the line linking to the under-construction Hongqiao Transport Hub, won't open until October.
    The line, expected to connect to Line 2 inside the hub, will stop at the two terminals of Hongqiao International Airport and at a railway station.
    With Line 10 up and running, the city will have 11 lines on 420 kilometers of track - the country's longest Metro network.
    Shanghai got its first subway, Metro Line 1, in 1995.
    To prevent annoying noise and vibration when Line 10 trains are downtown, eight kilometers of track have been equipped with special track beds, costing about 80 million yuan (US$11.7 million).
    The new line should help relieve crowding on Line 8, which has a similar route in the city's north neighborhoods.
    A new naming system, supplementing the existing Chinese and English characters, will be tested on the subway. For example, the line's Nanjing Road E. Station will be dubbed "L10/16." That means: 16th station of Line 10.
    If the testing is a hit with the public, the system will go into broad use.--(4/9)

  • Media centers set to go
    The three media centers inside the Expo site will go into service on April 27, providing working facilities for more than 100,000 print, TV and radio journalists from around the world.
    More than 13,000 journalists, including 3,500 from overseas media, have applied to cover the Expo.
    The Expo bureau expects more than 20,000 journalists from both home and abroad to come to the Expo site to cover the 184-day event.
    The 2008 Beijing Olympics attracted more than 11,000 reporters, including about 5,000 from abroad.
    Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Expo volunteer service stations around the city will open on April 20.
    Each will be equipped with first-aid kits, fire extinguishers and free booklets about Shanghai and the Expo.
    They'll be in Metro stations, the Pudong and Hongqiao international airports, hotels, commercial streets and tourist attraction.--(4/8)

  • Speedier entry, exit for visitors
    Shanghai will set up speedy entry and departure procedures for World Expo workers, exhibition personnel and visitors during the six-month event, Expo organizers said yesterday.
    Foreign visitors and personnel and their families will be able to get their visa or residence permit applications at an office set up near the Pudong section of the Expo site.
    And they can get their visas and permits in three working days, two days faster than normal.
    At the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration Bureau, an English system equipped with an automatic application machine will be available to foreigners applying for their visas or residence permits for the second time or more.
    And Expo staff will be able to clear customs through special lines at the Pudong and Hongqiao airports.
    Tourist groups visiting the Expo can apply for a group visa if they have three or more foreigners, instead of the usual minimum of five.
    The city's exit-entry bureau will release more detailed information later.
    People lacking a valid ID card or visa can go to special sites across the city or the exit-entry bureau for validation when they want to check in at hotels.
    Travelers from 32 foreign countries will not be required to receive a transit visa if they stop at Hongqiao or Pudong airport for less than 48 hours during the Expo, which starts May 1.
    A Chinese-English bilingual 24-hour hotline will offer exit-entry information.--(4/7)

  • Crowds fight fog, holiday traffic
    The last day of the Qingming Festival holiday met with heavy fog and a flood of cemetery visitors.
    Around 2.3 million people went to suburban areas or neighboring provinces to visit the tombs of their deceased family members yesterday, the highest volume of the three-day holiday, but about a 10 percent drop from last year, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
    They went in 197,000 vehicles, about 8 percent fewer than last year, officials said.
    The fog limited visibility to less than 500 meters all over the city, and to less than 150 meters in hardest-hit Qingpu District, Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
    The bureau issued a yellow heavy fog alert, lowest of the three-level system, at 5:20am, and visibility was low during the tomb-sweeping rush yesterday morning, but the conditions didn't affect traffic on the city's expressways.
    The fog faded as the temperature rose and the alert was lifted at 9:05am.
    The fog postponed or canceled the schedules of 111 ships at the Yangshan Deep-Water Port yesterday morning, according to the Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration.
    Li Jinyu, one of the chief service officers of the meteorological bureau, said the fog was caused by high relative humidity, low winds and few clouds. "The warmth was also a reason," Li said.
    Li said such heavy fog was expected again this morning but should not appear tomorrow, when the forecast is for rain and lower temperatures.
    Today should be cloudy to slightly rainy with a low temperature of 11 degrees Celsius and a high of 17.--(4/6)

  • Stocks seen stable
    Shanghai stocks are set to remain stable this week with little change in macroeconomic policies while continuing signs of economic recovery are expected to raise investor confidence, market watchers said.
    The Shanghai Composite Index gained a total of 2.66 percent last week to close at 3,157.96. "The launch of derivatives, including margin trading and index futures, will give blue chips and heavily weighted shares a boost and the market will generally stay stable as the central bank's monetary policy committee has reiterated its stance to maintain the stable monetary policy," Qian Qimin, an analyst at Shenyin & Wanguo Securities, wrote in a note.
    The purchasing managers' index, an indicator for economic activity, rose to 55.1 in March from 52.0 in February, the 13th consecutive month of growth in China.
    "Investors are more confident in the economic recovery," Galaxy Securities' analyst Yi Xiaobin said. "It may take a while for the index to climb above 3,200 points but improved earnings of listed companies will provide solid support for the market."--(4/5)

  • Vehicle limits renewed
    Beijing will adopt another vehicle restriction rule after the current limits expire next week, according to municipal authorities.
    A new two-year vehicle use limit will become effective on April 11, immediately after the current one-year restriction ends, a Beijing Traffic Management Bureau spokesman said on Friday.
    The new rule will mirror the current one, he added. The restriction bans private cars in Beijing's urban areas one work day a week.
    It is based on the last digit of the license plate with, for example, vehicles with a last digit of 2 or 7 having to be off the road on Monday.
    Details are on the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau's Website,
    More than 90 percent of 2,562 Beijing residents surveyed in a poll, including 1,549 car owners and 1,013 non-owners, supported the restrictions, according to pollsters Horizon Research.
    Among the car owners, 87.6 percent backed the rule, while the approval rate of non-car owners was 94.8 percent, the survey showed.
    Most of those polled supported the limits for helping to relieve traffic jams and benefiting the environment.
    The average rush hour driving speed in Beijing has risen by about 15 percent under the restrictions, said Beijing Transportation research official Guo Jifu.--(4/4)

  • Sales of luxury homes tumble over 50%
    Sales of luxury houses in Shanghai plunged more than 50 percent in the first quarter of this year from the previous three months, but the average price continued to soar.
    A total of 338 units, or 86,700 square meters, of luxury residential properties costing more than 50,000 yuan (US$7,320) per square meter were sold across the city between January and March, a tumble of 51.5 percent on a quarterly basis, China Real Estate Information Corp (CRIC), a property information, consulting and online services provider, said yesterday.
    "While sales volume (of luxury homes) fell by more than half compared with the previous three-month period, the luxury housing market still outperformed the city's overall residential market during the same period, which witnessed a more than 64 percent drop in first-quarter volume from the last quarter of 2009," said Xue Jianxiong, a CRIC analyst.
    By value, Seasons Villas by Hutchison Whampoa reaped a total of 980 million yuan during the first three months after selling 37 units, or an average unit price of 26.5 million yuan. By space, 13,735 square meters, or 106 units, at Yanlord Town, a development by Yanlord Group from Singapore, were transacted during the period -- the most among all luxury housing projects in the city.
    The prices of most luxury homes in the city grew sharply from three months ago.
    Seasons Villas homes were sold at an average 83,800 yuan per square meter in the fourth quarter of 2009 but the average price increased to 93,600 yuan per square meter in March.
    Homes at Yanlord Town recorded a quarterly price gain of more than 20 percent.--(4/3)

  • Hongqiao hub to get more shopping
    Lots more shops and restaurants are coming to the newly opened Hongqiao Transport Hub, operator officials said yesterday.
    By July 1, when a new high-speed railway line opens, the number of commercial outlets will grow to 160 from the current 26.
    The upcoming outlets will feature brand-name shops and restaurants, offering food and goods at the same prices as their downtown locations, said officials with Shanghai Rainbow (Shenhong) Investment Co, the hub's operator.
    "Those who would set the price higher will receive severe punishment," said Wang Jianjun, a manager.
    Higher rents inside terminals usually mean higher prices. But that's been changing at Hongqiao International Airport.
    Authorities said they introduced some convenience stores and fast-food chain restaurants into the hub when Terminal 2 of the Hongqiao airport opened on March 16.
    High-end shops and restaurants as well as Expo souvenir shops will be coming next.
    The new commercial area, covering 36,000 square meters, will have a large dining area.
    The hub, connecting a railway station, the Metro and a long-distance bus station with the airport, is expected eventually to handle more than 1 million passengers a day, authorities said.--(4/2)

  • Blood help
    Shanghai Blood Center is recruiting overseas volunteers who can promote knowledge of blood donations and assist medical staff in collecting blood among expatriates during the World Expo, which is expected to attract many foreign visitors. Call the hotline at 6275-8257 or 135-6463-0123.--(4/1)



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