Foreign expert numbers soaring(1/31)
Some 81,000 foreign experts were working in Shanghai at the end of last year - a third more than in 2005, the local labor authority said yesterday.
Shanghai has more foreign experts - overseas professionals recognized by a government certificate - than any other city in China, said the local human resources and social security bureau.
Indeed, one in six of foreign experts in China are based in Shanghai.
Certified foreign experts mostly work in cultural, educational and research sectors.
This category does not include other foreigners legally hired to work locally on work permits.
At the end of 2010, some 210,000 foreign nationals were living in Shanghai, according to the latest population census.
Over the past five years, 370,000 foreign expert employment contacts were established or renewed, officials said.
Meanwhile, the city is attracting growing numbers of Chinese graduating from overseas institutes and returning to China to begin their careers.
The bureau said there are currently about 95,000 returned Chinese being employed or running their own businesses in Shanghai - up by more than 30,000 from 2005.
Officials said in recent years, Chinese graduates from overseas schools have set up 4,400 companies in Shanghai with investment of US$620 million.
The city is also aiming to attract 1,000 more senior professionals from foreign countries over the next five years.
Incentives will include supporting the opening of more international schools in Shanghai, lowering tuitions for children of foreign professionals and cutting visa red tape, officials said.
The government also plans to develop more hospitals accredited by foreign insurers so foreigners working in Shanghai can have local medical bills covered by insurance policies bought overseas. --(1/31)
Index may start Year of the Dragon bullishly
Shanghai's stock market may start the Year of the Dragon on a bullish note amid an improving liquidity situation although investors will keep a wary eye on the deteriorating European debt crisis, market watchers said.
After a week-long Spring Festival break the Shanghai Composite Index, which closed 1 percent up at 2,319.12 on January 20, is set to keep rising with renewed optimism over China's economy.
Chen Ruiming, an analyst at Haitong Securities, said investors expect more liquidity to be injected into the market in the first quarter of this year.
Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at Industrial Bank, said the People's Bank of China may cut the bank reserve requirement ratio in February to ease the money crunch.
But observers also warned of a global financial turbulence following the escalating sovereign debt crisis of the European Union. --(1/30)
Repair work at Hailun Road Station on Shanghai's Metro Line 4 was completed yesterday and normal operation will resume on the entire line today. The repairs, needed after uneven subsidence, were carried out during the Spring Festival due to a reduction in passenger volume. About 500 subway workers worked around the clock to ensure the repairs were finished on time. The final signal test was also conducted yesterday. --(1/29)
Snow, rain ... and work
Snow and rain are forecast in most parts of China's southern regions over the next three days as the Spring Festival holiday winds down and millions return to work in the cities, China's meteorological authority said yesterday.
China Meteorological Administration said that most parts of south China will see rain until Monday, with flurries of snow on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. A cold front will affect central and eastern regions until Monday, with temperatures down by as much as 6 degrees Celsius. --(1/28)
AIDS deaths reach 28,000
A total of 28,000 people died of HIV/AIDS in China in 2011, and another 48,000 were newly infected by the virus, according to an official publication yesterday.
The report on the HIV/AIDS situation in China, which was produced by China's Ministry of Health along with a joint program on HIV and AIDS by the United Nations and World Health Organization, said the number of people living with HIV/AIDS increased by 40,000 in two years from 2009. It added cases of new infections remained at a low level.
With about 780,000 people living with HIV/AIDS nationwide, including 154,000 AIDS patients, the total infection rate stands at 0.058 percent, the report said.
The rise in the number of AIDS patients is mostly due to the government's increasing efforts in prevention and intervention, which helped reduce deaths among such patients, the report said.
The report added that more than 136,000 AIDS patients had received anti-virus treatments by September 2011, bringing the treatment coverage rate to 73.5 percent, an increase of 11.5 percentage points compared to 2009.
Some new trends are emerging as imported and sexually transmitted cases keep increasing, according to the report.
It called for expanding the checking range in groups most at risk of becoming infected and further strengthening treatment among those with the virus.
It also recommended boosting health education and reducing social discrimination toward people with HIV or AIDS. --(1/22)
Shanghai posts record trade deficit
Shanghai reported a record trade deficit of US$17.9 billion in 2011, widening from US$7.3 billion in 2010, local customs said yesterday.
Shanghai's exports rose 16 percent year on year to US$209.8 billion while imports climbed at a faster pace of 21 percent to US$227.6 billion, Shanghai Customs said in a statement.
'The trade deficit showed China's opening-up has brought increased market opportunities for foreign businesses,' said Luo Zhisong, an official of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce. 'It also showed the strengths of China's economic growth and consumer spending.'
Shanghai has trade deficits for most of the past 10 years except 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The agricultural sector contributed to US$7.6 billion of the deficit. Shanghai imported 129,000 tons of pork last year, 2.9 times more than in 2010. The city also imported more wine, olive oil, chocolate and fruits.
Last year, the city imported 50 percent more high-end products. --(1/20)
Home price fall, slower GDP growth sink index
Shanghai's stock market tumbled yesterday as China's gross domestic product growth is expected to slow in 2012 while housing prices fell in December across the country.
The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.39 percent to 2,266.38 after its biggest rally in 27 months on Tuesday.
The United Nations predicted recently that China's GDP growth will ease to 8.7 percent this year from 9.2 percent last year while the Chinese Academy of Sciences forecast a slower expansion of 8.5 percent.
'The A-share market is expected to recover from its tumble in 2011, but China's economic slowdown and the global market instability will affect its performance,' the China Center for Market Value Management said in a report.
Energy stocks dropped amid concerns that the possible contraction of industrial activities will dampen demand for power use.
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, better known as Sinopec, slumped 2.07 percent to 7.58 yuan (US$1.20). China Shenhua Energy Co, the country's biggest coal producer, lost 1.83 percent to 26.88 yuan. Huaneng Power International, the listed unit of China's largest power group, fell 3.28 percent to 5.31 yuan.
Property developers also declined after new home prices fell for a third straight month in December. Poly Real Estate Group, China's second-largest listed developer, shed 2.22 percent to 10.12 yuan.
The average price dipped 0.3 percent from November, and 52 of 70 cities monitored saw price drops, the National Bureau of Statistics said yesterday. --(1/19)
10 Line 4 Metro stops off limits during holiday
Ten stations will be off limits to passengers on Line 4 of the Shanghai Metro during the Spring Festival holiday after the line's Hailun Road station is closed for repairs.
However, the stations will still be accessible as they are also stops on Line 3.
Hailun Road is also a station on Line 10 and that service will also be unaffected.
Repair work at the station, needed after uneven subsidence, will begin late on January 22, Chinese New Year's Eve, officials with Shanghai Shentong Metro Group said yesterday.
Line 4 will then operate as a C-shaped section with 16 stops from Yishan Road to Linping Road from January 23 to 28. Normal operations will resume after the holiday.
'We expect the repair work to be a relatively smooth operation,' said Zhang Lingxiang, deputy general manager of the Metro operation management center.
Passenger volume will be reduced because of the holiday and operators estimate a 40 percent drop at the station in passenger numbers.
Wang Rulu, chief engineer at the Metro maintenance center, said track, signals and the power supply system would be renovated at the Hailun Road station and repairs will be carried out 'around the clock' during the seven-day holiday.
Wang blamed the uneven subsidence on the loose earth structure beneath the station.
The situation at the station was complex, Wang said, as it was a transit section with both elevated and underground tracks.
Subsidence has long been a problem for Shanghai because of the city's rapid development and relatively loose earth structure and is one of the major threats to Metro operations.
Besides the Hailun Road station, three other Metro stations are subject to a high risk of subsidence and are under strict monitoring, said Wang. But he refused to disclose which they were or give further details.
The situation is stable at other stations on the city's booming underground network, construction and traffic authorities have said.
Metro operators have set up more than 200,000 monitoring points along the 425 kilometers of the Metro's 11 lines currently in service and three other lines under construction.
Engineers and experts have been warning of increasing risks as builders dig deeper to develop underground spaces and said future structures below ground required improved daily monitoring and more sophisticated engineering methods.
Many newly built Metro stations have reported frequent water leaks and cracks soon after they opened. Authorities attributed the problems to 'poor construction quality and the unstable state of the land.' --(1/18)
School bus standards passed by watchdog
Two mandatory safety standards for school buses passed a review by a national industry committee, China's industrial watchdog said yesterday.
This follows a string of recent accidents that aroused public fury.
Approval will be significant for improving school bus safety, said an official from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The standards cover school buses for preschoolers above the age of three and children who are receiving nine-year compulsory education, officials said.
One standard stipulates technological safety requirements for school buses, while the other lays out requirements for the size and quality of school bus seats, he said.
The two documents were passed by the National Technical Committee of Auto Standardization as national mandatory standards and have yet to be formally adopted.
The government began to seek public opinions on four drafts of safety standards for school buses last month, after school bus safety came under criticism following a series of deadly accidents.
A school bus overturned and fell into a ditch on December 12 last year in east China's Jiangsu Province, killing 15 people.
An initial probe indicated that the bus's driver was driving too fast and did not react correctly while trying to avoid a pedicab traveling in the opposite direction. --(1/14)
Metro station to close for repairs after subsidence
A Shanghai Metro station is to be closed during the Spring Festival because of uneven subsidence.
Metro Line 4's Hailun Road station will be off-limits to allow checks and repair work to be carried out, officials with the city's construction and transport department said yesterday.
Details of when the station will close and when it will reopen have not been released but would be announced soon, Metro officials said.
No similar problems have been detected at other stations on the city's booming underground network, said Huang Rong, director of the department.
But he said the authorities were 'keeping a close eye on some aged lines like Metro Line 1 that reported overwhelming passenger turnouts.'
The city government said that, together with Metro operator Shanghai Shentong Group, it was supervising all 11 lines in service and three lines under construction.
Subsidence has long been a problem for Shanghai because of the city's rapid development and relatively loose earth structure. --(1/13)
Cautious investors spook index
Shanghai's key stock index edged down yesterday, snapping a three-day advance, as investors turned cautious toward taking long positions ahead of the release of China's inflation data today.
The Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.42 percent to end at 2,276.05 points.
Investors had cold feet as they turned cautious over the unveiling of the Consumer Price Index, a general gauge of inflation, for December today, causing the stock market to level off from a three-day 6.4 percent winning streak.
Though the inflation may ease further in December, probably to 4 percent, from November's 4.2 percent, economists have warned of a possible rebound in inflation this year.
Banks were among the worst decliners yesterday because the central bank didn't cut the reserve requirement ratio as expected to ease their liquidity crunch. China Merchants Bank slid 0.6 percent to 12.49 yuan. China CITIC Bank lost 1.2 percent to 4.22 yuan.
Huaneng Power, the listed unit of China's largest power group, fell 1.8 percent to 5.39 yuan. GD Power Development Co, the largest electricity firm in northeast China, lost 1.8 percent to 2.76 yuan. Huadian Power International Corp, a unit of China's fourth-largest power firm, slid 1.2 percent to 3.31 yuan.
China's power-use growth may slow to 8.5 percent this year, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Yu Yanshan, vice director of the State Electricity Regulatory Commission. --(1/12)
Metro line stalls as material hits tracks
Operations on Metro Line 6 were affected yesterday morning after water-proof material became loose and entered the track, forcing a halt to the trains.
The incident was reported on Line 6's southern Pudong section about 10:45am, said the operator, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group.
A piece of joint filler was found on the track between Linyi Road Station and Shanghai Children's Medical Center Station, said Metro officials.
The joint fillers connect pieces of duct, which are used to prevent underground water from leaking to the track, according to the operator.
The operator said the train service 'had to be stopped as workers entered the track to clear out the stuff.'
By 11am the operator changed the operation model, using one track for both directions between six stations ¡ª from the medical center station to the Huaxia Road W. stop. The rest of the line operated as usual.
Trains were back to normal by about 11:30am, Metro officials said, adding that the investigation into the cause of the mishap is ongoing.
Similar incidents have halted other lines, such as Metro Line 10, several times within weeks as loose wires were found hanging in the tunnel. --(1/11)
Restaurants obeying no-smoking law
Over 95 percent of local restaurants covered by the city's anti-smoking law have set up smoking and non-smoking areas or ban smoking completely, while the rest are out of compliance and still must separate smokers and non-smokers, officials said yesterday.
Shanghai has 8,622 medium or large eateries, which are larger than 150 square meters or have more than 75 seats. They are required to set up proper smoking and non-smoking areas or make themselves entirely tobacco-free.
About 95.3 have set up smoking and non-smoking areas or ban smoking completely. 'Though there is no deadline for a full implementation of the law enacted in March 2010, the rest will become the major target of our monitoring,' said Lu Weida of the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration. --(1/10)
IKEA issues faulty highchair recall
An IKEA highchair ¡ª almost 20,000 of which were sold in Shanghai ¡ª is being recalled globally after injuries to several children.
The recall applies to IKEA's Antilop highchair, which comes in red, blue and white, and were produced between July 2006 and November 2009.
Only chairs with supplier number 17389 are affected, IKEA said.
IKEA said 60,374 Antilop highchairs are to be recalled in China, including 19,496 sold in Shanghai.
The high chairs were said to have faulty belts that 'open unexpectedly,' endangering children.
The furniture giant said it has received eight reports of belts opening and that children suffered minor injuries in three of these incidents.
Owners are urged to visit local IKEA stores or contact IKEA Customer Services toll-free at 400 800 2345 to receive a free replacement belt. Customers can identify whether their chair is from the faulty batch by checking the codes moulded into the underside of the seat. --(1/9)
Shanghai expatriates call for better medical services
Expatriates in Shanghai are satisfied with the city's infrastructure but believe services still need to be improved, according to a report released by Shanghai Jiao Tong University yesterday.
The survey found that expats are most satisfied with the transport network, recreational facilities and public safety, while they are least satisfied with intellectual property rights protection, medical services and employment opportunities.
The survey entitled The International Image of Shanghai was based on questionnaires completed by about 600 foreigners, including expat residents and tourists.
More than 80 percent of respondents said they are satisfied with international flights, airport services and hotel reservations in the city, which has the largest population of foreign nationals among all cities in China.
Following transport services, the city's restaurants, shops and tourist sites won more than 70 percent satisfaction among those surveyed.
'Expats speak highly of the city's infrastructure,' said Liu Kang, dean of Institute of Arts and Humanities of Jiao Tong University and organizer of the survey.
In comparison, only 20 percent of foreigners said they are satisfied with IPR protection as pirated books and videos can be purchased on streets around Shanghai.
Moreover, most foreigners are not satisfied with the city's medical, education and employment services.
Liu said these are important factors as Shanghai seeks to attract skilled professionals from around the world. --(1/8)
Writers set to take on Apple in copyright fight
A Beijing court has accepted a case filed by nine renowned Chinese writers against Apple Inc, demanding 11.91 million yuan (US$1.88 million) for the sale of illegal downloads of their work on its App Store.
Bei Zhicheng, an official with a writer rights protection alliance, told the Shanghai Morning Post that Apple is probably the only big Internet-related company in the country to directly earn money from selling illegal downloads of books.
Bei told the newspaper that on the App Store, Apple may take 30 percent of total sales of illegal copies sold by other companies on the platform.
Bei said this was "total theft."
The writers' alliance has urged Apple to follow Chinese laws to provide copyright certification of books being sold at the App Store, but the company has refused to do so, claimed Bei.
Around 20 million people in China using Apple products and its App Store, but many don't know the platform is selling illegal copies of books, said Bei.
He said the platform has severely impacted on the legal book market as some illegal copies of books have been downloaded several million times at the App Store, costing authors millions of dollars.
The nine authors - who include famous writers Han Han, Li Chengpeng, Murong Xuecun - plan to sue Apple for illegally selling 37 works.
In March, 2011, Baidu, China's biggest online search engine, has to delete 2.8 million unauthorized works of literature, following protests. --(1/7)
Housing index sees drop
Shanghai's existing housing index fell for the third straight month in December, with prices declining in 80 percent of the areas monitored.
The index, which tracks price fluctuations of the city's previously occupied homes, lost 6 points, or 0.22 percent, from November to 2,586, the Shanghai Existing House Index Office said yesterday.
'As austerity measures continued to persist, more property owners seemed willing to offer larger price cuts,' said Zhang Shu, an analyst at the index office. 'Particularly, some owners in outlying districts have offered a discount of about 15 percent to lure buyers after a number of developers in the same area began to give discounts of between 20 and 30 percent.'
The price cuts in prime areas, however, were still largely confined to mostly between 4 and 6 percent, the office said. --(1/6)
Colder weather coming to Shanghai
Temperatures are expected to drop further in Shanghai after the New Year's Day holiday with a cold front that has already influenced most areas of the country, forecasters said yesterday.
The mercury is forecast to plunge to minus 1 degree Celsius this morning and should not rise higher than 4 degrees during the day, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. The readings will touch a low of minus 1 degree again tomorrow morning, the bureau said. The mercury in suburban areas could be even lower.
Today is the first working day after the holiday, and the city is likely to experience a mix of sun and clouds with no rain. The sky should turn overcast tomorrow and drizzly on Friday and over the weekend.
The cold front caused some haze in the city yesterday, and the air quality danced around the critical point of air pollution, said the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center. --(1/3)
Fog forecast as cold grips
Heavy fog will continue to blanket the country's central and eastern parts this morning, China's weather authority said yesterday, while a cold spell will hold its grip on most regions, bringing rainfall and snow over the next two days.
Fog and haze will decrease visibility to less than 1,000 meters in north China and some southern areas, the National Meteorological Center said, urging people in these regions to drive slowly for safety reasons.
A cold front plowing through most parts of the country will cause rain and snow, dragging down temperatures by four to six degrees Celsius in central and eastern regions. In central China's Hunan Province, heavy fog shrouded the capital city of Changsha and traffic was hampered as visibility was lowered.
Rain and snow will fall in the northern parts of north China, Tibet, northwest China, southwest China and regions south of the Yangtze River over the next two days, the center said.
A snowstorm that began on Sunday night in the Tacheng Prefecture in northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region stranded hundreds of travelers on the road with heavy snow and gales reducing visibility to zero. --(1/2)
New Year delight for stores
The year-end shopping spree, one of the hottest New Year celebrations, provided a rich harvest for Shanghai's retailers.
Shops and commercial hubs which had extended business hours and launched discount promotions, experienced strong growth in both customer numbers and sales.
The Next Age Department Store in the Pudong New Area topped the league with sales worth 480 million yuan (US$76 million) on New Year's Eve, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce said yesterday.
During 18 hours of business on Saturday, the shop attracted more than 180,000 customers. Average sales per customer increased 34.3 percent from a year earlier to 2,667 yuan.
To address safety concerns, the shop prolonged its discount sales from one day to three days for the first time. Even so, many bargain hunters still queued outside the store from 5am on Saturday morning to purchase reservation coupons for gold, jewelry and iPads.
In addition to many branded cosmetics and gold products that sold out, costlier goods, such as Rolex watches, were also quick to go.
Store representatives said that although sales were not as high as last year's 550 million yuan, the shop remained confident of a higher sales performance over the three-day spree.
The New World Department Store on Nanjing Road E. took in 292 million yuan during their overnight shopping extravaganza on Saturday.
The Bailian Group said combined sales for its 30 subsidies reported an increase of 77 percent on Saturday including a 90 percent sales surge for its Oriental Shopping Center in Qingpu District, totaling 25 million yuan.
Retailers at Xujiahui commercial hubs offered New Year gift packages valued at 2,000 yuan to shoppers who spent a certain amount. In the period between 9pm and 11pm on Saturday, more than 900 packages were handed out as sales surged 33 percent to more than 20 million yuan.
Super Brand Mall in Pudong extended business hours to 2am yesterday and launched countdown events that helped attract more than 100,000 customers. It rang up 13.2 million yuan in overnight sales.
Consumers were also attracted by up to 50 percent discounts on televisions at home appliance giant Suning which had sales worth 7 million yuan at its Changning District branch. --(1/1)