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  • Free trade zone offers 'breakthroughs'
    Financial innovation and liberalization is set to feature heavily in the pilot program of the free trade zone in the Pudong New Area, said a city official during the Lujiazui Forum.
    Jin Xingming, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai government, predicted "breakthroughs" for China's financial sector at the proposed zone.
    "At the center of the 'experiment' is the Chinese currency," Jin said. "How to make the yuan more international; how to accelerate reforms on freer interest rate and exchange rate; and how to initiate the program on convertible capital account."
    Jin declined to elaborate, as the scheme is still awaiting approval from the central government.
    Zhou Xiaochuan, head of the central bank, said the planned zone is a crucial component in the process of Shanghai becoming a global financial center.
    Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong revealed during the forum that Shanghai has applied for the pilot program to allow convertible capital accounts in the zone.--(6/30)

  • Stocks rebound as PBOC pledges to adjust liquidity
    Shanghai shares yesterday rebounded from a four-year low to end a seven-day losing streak as financial stocks climbed after the central bank pledged to adjust liquidity to maintain stability in the money market.
    The Shanghai Composite Index advanced 1.5 percent to 1,979.21 points. Even with the gain, the index dropped 13.97 percent this month - the biggest monthly decline since August 2009.
    Concern about a liquidity squeeze drove this month's slump as interbank borrowing costs surged to record highs, fueling worries economic growth will slow further.
    "The People's Bank of China will employ various tools and measures to adjust market liquidity and ensure market stability while continuing with a moderate monetary policy," its Governor Zhou Xiaochuan told the Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai yesterday.
    Meanwhile, Zhuang Xinyi, vice chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, said the regulator will strengthen supervision of market irregularities to end false disclosures and better protect investors.
    Zhuang also said the CSRC is not a supervisor of market pricing but will do everything it can to ensure a healthy market.
    Financial stocks recovered as interbank lending costs fell for a fifth consecutive day, a sign the liquidity crunch is easing.
    The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China rallied 5.5 percent, the most since November 2010, to 4.02 yuan (65 US cents).--(6/29)

  • Shanghai police: Avoid peak hours for passport service
    Shanghai Public Security Bureau's Exit-Entry Administration will release information about the number of passport applicants it serves each week as the peak holiday travel season is starting.
    The number of passport applicants surged last Friday and Saturday and this Monday, the busiest time was around noon and between 2pm and 3pm. Some people had to wait for more than one hour for service.
    The administration's main office on Minsheng Road received the biggest number of applicants in the past seven days, followed by offices in Putuo, Minhang, Xuhui, Yangpu and Hongkou districts.
    The administration also has offices in Zhangjiang, Waigaoqiao and Jiading for non-Shanghai residents. Taiwan residents can visit offices in Zhangjiang, Huangpu, Minhang, Jinshan and Songjiang for visa-related services.
    There are fewer applications before 10am each day. The administration advices people to come early and to avoid peak days like Saturday or go to offices that are less crowded.--(6/28)

  • Shanghai's land sales to exceed US$32.4b
    Land sales in Shanghai are likely to exceed 20 billion yuan (US$32.4 billion) in June, which may rank as the highest monthly value in nearly three years, latest data showed.
    As of yesterday, about 385,000 square meters of parcels, excluding those designated for relocated residents under urbanization programs, had been sold this month for about 12.67 billion yuan, Century 21 China Real Estate said in a report released yesterday.
    "With seven more parcels worth at least 9 billion yuan to be released during the remainder of the week, land sales in Shanghai should easily exceed 20 billion yuan in June," said Huang Hetao, a research manager at Century 21. "It is also likely that June's figure might hit the highest in 33 months."
    Yesterday, three plots in Changning and Minhang districts were sold for nearly 1.07 billion yuan.
    King Wai Group and Shanghai Gardens (Group) Co Ltd were the buyers of the plots.--(6/27)

  • Fisher opens innovation center in Shanghai
    Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, the world's largest maker of laboratory instruments, launched a US$9.5 million China innovation center in Shanghai to boost its research, development and training capabilities.
    The center in Jinqiao, Pudong New Area is expected to hire 200 to 300 engineers over the next two to three years.
    Michael Shafer, president of Thermo Fisher China, said the new facility will support the high-growth markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The company's sales in China grew 20 percent to US$735 million last year.
    The US$13 billion company serves customers ranging from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, research institutions and government agencies to those in environmental and process control industries.--(6/26)

  • Time running out for lottery winner
    The race is on to find a 7.05 million yuan (US$1.13million) lottery winner before the deadline of June 30. Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center said it has opened a 24-hour hotline for the winner to claim the jackpot.
    "If the winner contacts us, we will have staff to help him or her to claim the money immediately," said Wang Yulin, an official with the center.
    The center said the winning ticket was sold on May 2 on Yanji Road M. in Yangpu District. But more than a month has passed and the winner has not come forward.
    Under China's lottery management regulations, a prize must be claimed within 60 days of the winning number is drawn.
    The winner can cash out the winning ticket at the Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center at 321 Sichuan Road M. The money will be given to the social welfare fund if not claimed in time.
    In June 2011, a 10-million-yuan lottery prize went to the city's social welfare fund as the winner failed to show up.--(6/25)

  • Wet week ahead after drubbing by thunderstorm
    Wet, muggy weather is expected to continue this week, after thunderstorms delivered a deluge to parts of the city yesterday, causing traffic jams as drivers battled low visibility.
    Flights were delayed in the city's airports because of the sudden thunderstorm.
    Yellow alerts, the lowest level of alert, were issued for lightning and rainstorms from mid to late afternoon as meteorologists warned of precipitation of up to 20 millimeters per hour and gale-force winds. Rainfall in Jinshan District reached 71mm by 8pm, but was much weaker in downtown areas, as Xujiahui recorded 23.4mm.
    Thunderstorms are expected to return this week as a rain belt affects the lower reaches of Yangtze River, and temperature are likely to remain below 30 degrees Celsius for the next three to five days.
    Today is expected to be slightly cooler, with a high of around 29 degrees Celsius and a low of 25 degrees, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said. The high tomorrow and Wednesday is forecast to be 27, with a low of 24 tomorrow and a low of 23 on Wednesday.
    Residents may still perceive the weather as warm and muggy because of high humidity.
    Shanghai is still in the plum rain season, which is marked by weeks of rains and humidity. The season began on June 7 this year, 10 days earlier than usual. It usually lasts about 24 days. The season usually starts in mid-June and ends in early July in Shanghai. Chinese traditionally marked the season by the growth of plums.
    The city hit 36.4 degrees Celsius last Monday, making it the hottest June 17 since records began 140 years ago.
    The previous record was in 1953, at 35.3 degrees. --(6/24)

  • Offshore wind farms eyed
    Shanghai will begin building two more offshore wind farms in the East China Sea by early next year, officials said yesterday.
    After completion, a total of 600,000 residents will use wind power across the city. Construction will begin later this year on a new wind farm near Donghai Bridge while construction on another near the Lingang area in the Pudong New Area will start in early 2014, an official with Third Harbor Engineering Co of China Communication Construction told a forum.
    "A new jumbo windmill that will be the same height as a 50-story building will be used for the wind farm in Lingang," said Chen Danghui, vice president of Sinovel Wind Group Co, the maker of the windmill. Sinovel will make 17 such windmills, each with a capacity of 6 megawatts, and install them in the East China Sea. --(6/22)

  • Live poultry marts reopen as H7N9 bird flu ban lifted
    Live poultry will be allowed for sale in local markets starting today, almost 10 weeks after the city imposed a ban to prevent the spread of H7N9 bird flu.
    Live chickens, pigeons and quails will be for sale, while live ducks and geese still are prohibited, officials said yesterday. They did not say when other types of live poultry might be sold.
    Retail outlets qualified to sell live poultry must follow regulations strictly and disinfect their spaces regularly. The stores will be separated from the other sections of markets and have their own entrances.
    The number of live poultry retail stores in the city will shrink from 461 before the outbreak to 200. One of the three main wholesale poultry markets will remain closed while the two others, in the Pudong New Area and Songjiang District, will reopen after test results are accepted by authorities.
    The city is considering cutting back on live poultry sales every year between Spring Festival and the end of April. A preliminary proposal would ask designated retail outlets to close one day per week, while wholesale markets would close one or two days a week.
    A tracking system will keep a record of live poultry suppliers and origins of their birds, covering breeding, wholesaling and retailing. Tracking information will be stored by wholesale markets and sent to slaughterhouses and retailers. Residents will be able to search for information online about the poultry they buy with a tracking number.
    Frozen products, however, will continue to dominate the poultry market, officials said. Such poultry must pass strict inspections and are considered much cleaner and safer than fresh poultry. The live poultry trade will be gradually phased out due to hygiene problems.
    Many residents still prefer live poultry due to tradition and the belief that fresh poutry is more tender and delicious. They also worry about the safety of chilled chicken.

    "I prefer to buy live chicken," said Chen Ruanli, an older woman, said, "Now the food safety of frozen products is not so good. If the authorities can ensure the quality of chilled chicken, I may consider buying it."

    H7N9 avian flu first appeared in humans this year in February, as flu-like symptoms popped up in eastern China. The National Health and Family Planning Commission announced the discovery of the H7N9 virus on March 31.
    The flu caused 15 deaths in Shanghai but has abated this summer. The government closed all live poultry markets in Shanghai as of April 6, when China's death toll rose to six. --(6/20)

  • Metro riders to get refund for delay under new rules
    etro passengers can get a refund if their train is delayed for more than 15 minutes and those who use others' senior citizen cards and fake certificates to cheat for free ride will be punished and blacklisted, according to revised Metro Operation Regulations pending congress approval.
    Passengers can ask for refund with their tickets or transport cards if the train stalled for over 15 minutes due to a breakdown. The Metro operator must also provide a delay testimony for commuters, according to the new regulations submitted to lawmakers today.
    Currently, Metro passengers can only get a delay testimony after a train breaks down.
    "Local commuters are pressing the Metro operator to improve its service with timely information and quick response in the event of an accident,"said Sun Jianping, director of the Shanghai Transport and Port Administration.
    Shanghai currently has 12 Metro lines in operation, totaling 488 kilometers. The Metro system will serve about 8 million people a day by 2015, nearly half of the city's public transport users, Sun told lawmakers today.
    Ticket evaders will be fined 10 times the highest ticket price (9 yuan) when caught and their borrowed senior citizen cards will be confiscated. Those who use fake certificates will be handed over to the police, according to the new regulations.
    Ticket dodgers who jump over or slip under ticket turnstiles will be fined five times the highest ticket price. Their identities will be put on a blacklist linked to the city's personal credit system, the authorities said.
    The credit system was introduced this year to fight ticket evaders and those running traffic red lights. Those who are blacklisted in the system will find it hard to get loans, employment or government-subsidized housing, officials said.
    More than 100,000 ticket evaders were caught last year and fined about 500,000 yuan in total, the officials added. --(6/19)

  • City No. 2 nationally for box office
    Shanghai's film box office receipts ranked second among all Chinese mainland cities and it will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years with investment from US giants like Disney and DreamWorks, a report sponsored by the US Consulate General Shanghai said yesterday.
    The consulate also plans to contribute more to protecting intellectual property rights in film and TV, which will fuel the development of the local film and TV industry, said US Consul General Robert Griffiths.
    In 2012, Shanghai's box office reached 1.35 billion yuan (US$214.2 million), which represented yearly growth of 22.2 percent. That makes it No. 2 nationally behind Beijing with a 1.61 billion yuan box office last year.
    Shanghai has the most movie theaters at 122, ahead of Beijing's 120, according to Artisan Gateway, which produced the report for the consulate.
    "Shanghai has unique advantages suggesting the market still has a significant upside capacity,"said Rance Pow, president of Artisan Gateway.

    Shanghai is widely regarded as the birthplace of China's cinema industry with works dating back to 1913.
    Foreign interest in the city has been great. Walt Disney Co is spending almost US$4 billion on a Disneyland theme park in Shanghai. A DreamWorks Animation partnership will build Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai, planning a US$3.1 billion entertainment zone.
    Both Sino-US projects will boost development of the city's film industry, Griffiths said.
    But Shanghai's and China's film industries still lack income from home entertainment services, which contribute a big portion of the income of US film studios. The downloading of pirated content has made the local industry "miss a big piece of income,"so intellectual property rights should be strengthened, Griffiths said.
    Shanghai's film and TV industry contributed 53.5 billion yuan of gross economic output and 70,000 jobs last year, according to the report. --(6/18)

  • Rapid bus line to take shape
    Construction will begin this year on Shanghai's first Bus Rapid Transit system in Fengxian Districts and Pudong, officials said over the weekend.
    The new BRT system a faster and more efficient bus service with dedicated lanes inaccessible to other traffic, will cover Nanqiao New City in Fengxian and Oriental Sports Center in Pudong, Fengxian officials said at a news conference.
    Officials did not say when it might enter into service.
    The BRT line will be 32 kilometers long with 14 stations. It is expected to cut the drive between Nanqiao New City and Oriental Sports Center by half an hour to about 45 minutes and better serve more than 220,000 residents in the region.
    City traffic has continued to grow. An average of about 17 million people commute each day, and 45 percent take buses while 36.6 percent use the Metro.
    BRT systems, commonly seen in other cities such as Beijing and Xiamen, have been tough to get started in Shanghai despite being talked about a long time. The main problem is limited road space, especially downtown. So officials are starting the BRT in suburban areas.
    The city's current bus-only lanes are not segregated from other traffic.
    The 160km of lanes often are used by other vehicles during peak hours.
    Fengxian also plans to develop rail lines for modern trolley vehicles in Nanqiao New City. --(6/17)

  • Local index ends 8-day losing skid
    Shanghai stocks gained yesterday, led by small-cap firms, to rebound from a six-month low following eight straight losses.
    The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.64 percent to 2,162.04. The index ended the week down 2.21 percent, its second consecutive weekly drop.
    "The market is in prime territory for a technical rebound in the short term as valuations decreased after the recent selloff," a Hongyuan Securities report said. Data from Bloomberg News showed the Shanghai Composite Index traded at 8.8 times the 12-month estimated earnings yesterday, the lowest level since December 6.
    Media firms gained the most. China South Publishing and Media Group Co surged the daily limit of 10 percent to 10.10 yuan (US$1.65) after plunging 5.1 percent on Thursday. Bestv New Media Co rose 3.2 percent to 24.79 yuan.
    An annual report by Fidelity Worldwide Investment said media and advertising firms will benefit from increased consumer spending in China due to a growing middle class, accelerated urbanization, and the government's policy to restructure the economy toward domestic consumption. --(6/15)

  • Tradition draws the crowds during Dragon Boat Festival
    Tourist attractions in Shanghai's suburban areas which offered traditional festive events proved popular during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival, Shanghai Tourism Bureau said yesterday.
    Oriental Green Boat Park in Qingpu District invited tourists to take part in dragon boat racing and learn to make zongzi, a traditional festival food of rice wrapped in reed leaves. The park welcomed 19,500 visitors over the three-day holiday, more than double the number in the same period of last year.
    Fengjing Water Town in Jinshan District offered painting classes in the Jinshan farmers' style along with making zongzi and tasting yellow wine, another festival tradition. There were around 46,600 visitors over the three days, a rise of 19 percent.
    Gucun Park in Baoshan District, Shanghai Wildlife Park in the Pudong New Area, and Dongping Forest Park on Chongming Island also reported a big increase in visitors.
    Less popular, however, were venues in the former World Expo site with the Saudi Pavilion, renamed Moon Boat, and the Italy Center seeing numbers drop by 30 and 27 percent, respectively.
    Nanxun Water Town in Shanghai's neighboring Zhejiang Province, and Tongli Old Town and Qinhu Old Town in Jiangsu Province were the most popular short trips for city residents, the Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center said.
    Meanwhile, online shopping, food quality and prepaid services topped the number of complaints during the holiday period, the city's market watchdog said.
    The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau said it had received 20 complaints related to zongzi over the past three days.
    The bureau said that among the complaints was one from a customer whose zongzi voucher was rejected because a local outlet said no product was available.
    The bureau received 249 complaints during the holiday, 13 percent down on the year before, and they were being dealt with, officials said. --(6/13)

  • City prepares for annual peak of power usage
    The Shanghai government held a video conference yesterday to prepare for the peak in electricity usage this summer.
    The peak season is expected to last 100 days from June 15 to September 23, consuming up to 28.5 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. Power supply is sufficient unless high temperatures occur in some areas for several days in a run.
    Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhou Bo said power company employees should be well prepared and guarantee a stable supply of electricity this summer.
    Shanghai Municipal Electric Power Co Ltd said at the video conference that it has made all the preparations for the peak season and has completed maintenance of all the facilities.--(6/9)

  • Police seek approval for teacher's arrest
    Police have asked the Pudong District Prosecutors Office to approve the arrest of an American teacher over allegations he sexually assaulted children at a French school in Shanghai.
    Police said the suspect, only identified by his surname of McMahon, was detained on May 13 after a student at the Lycee Francais de Shanghai had gone to a police station in Pudong with her mother on May 12. The girl accused McMahon, a 32-year-old English teacher, of sexually abusing her several times at the school since last September. She claimed McMahon also sexually harassed other students.
    Police confirmed last night that six students at the school had filed accusations against the teacher. It is alleged that McMahon took the students separately to the school library or elsewhere in the name of checking their homework and then forced them to take off their clothes.
    Five of the students, between 6 and 10 years old, are French and one is Italian. Two are boys.
    The Shanghai Education Commission has asked the school to strengthen management of employees, assist police in their investigation and provide psychological counseling for students and parents.
    A former teacher at the school, also an American, was extradited to the United States at the end of last year on similar charges.
    The former teacher, said to be a friend of McMahon's, was extradited "following an investigation into sexual touching and violence against minors," the school said.
    He left the French school in 2011 and it said his alleged actions took place during individual classes at a private home when he was no longer on its staff.
    The private school, with about 1,600 pupils aged between three and 18, is part of an international network managed by the French government through the Agency for French Teaching Abroad.--(6/8)

  • IBM works with firms for cloud computing
    International Business Machines plans to invest heavily in cloud computing in China by working with local partners and establishing an eco-system for the industry, the Big Blue said yesterday in Shanghai.
    IBM's cloud computing services, which include storage, database and integration through online cloud servers, jumped 80 percent annually last year compared with the previous year. The services are set to generate a US$7 billion revenue globally from the cloud computing business.
    The cloud computing services include storage, database and integration through online cloud servers, which provides a less expensive and reliable way for people and enterprises to store and share data.
    "China is the emerging market of the new technology thanks to a rich database and developed information technology infrastructure in Internet, telecommunications and finance," said Wang Shenghang, IBM's cloud business unit director for China.
    IBM has cooperated with China Mobile and Ningbo in Zhejiang Province to provide both private cloud and public cloud services, which require a license in China.
    Last month Microsoft Corp said it has become the first multinational firm to directly provide public cloud computing services in China. Unlike Microsoft, IBM offers public cloud services via licensed partners, like China Mobile.
    Baidu, Alibaba and China Unicom are also providing cloud computing services.
    Cloud computing will create 4 million new jobs in China by 2015, according to International Data Corp.--(6/7)

  • Tea products with excessive packaging ordered off shelves
    Some supermarkets in the city were found selling tea leaves with excessive packaging, and the products have been removed from shelves, the city's quality watchdog said today.
    Some outlets of Century Mart, E-Mart, Lotus, NGS and Trust Mart, were involved. The products failed checks for containing too much empty space in the packaging.
    The producers, mostly in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, have been ordered to fix the problem. The supermarkets have been asked to stop selling products with unnecessary packaging or they will face a fine of up to 50,000 yuan (US$8,064), the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau said.
    A longjing tea product produced by Shanghai Tanlu Tea Co Ltd and sold at Shanghai Jiu Guang Department Store was also found to have excessive packaging.
    Of 142 tea leaf products checked, 43 were found with packaging problems.--(6/6)

  • Search for 7m yuan lottery winner
    The race is on to find a 7.05 million yuan (US$1.13million) lottery winner before the deadline at the end of this month.
    Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center says the winning ticket was sold on May 2 on Yanji Road M. in Yangpu District.
    But a month has since passed and the winner has not come forward.
    Under China's lottery management regulations, a prize must be claimed within 60 days of the winning number being drawn.
    The winner can claim their prize from the lottery center at 321 Sichuan Road M.
    The money will be given to the social welfare fund if not claimed.
    In June, 2011, a 10 million yuan lottery winner did not come forward and prize went to the social welfare fund.
    That ticket was believed to have been sold to a man in Jiading District.--(6/5)

  • Plan to ban food, drink on Metro put on ice
    The ban on food and drink on the Metro has been removed from a newly drafted subway regulation when the draft was handed over to local lawmakers for re-examination yesterday.
    Transport officials told the lawmakers the ban would be difficult to enforce.
    The food restriction, which raised public debate and concerns when it was proposed, was omitted as traffic authorities encountered difficulty in categorizing which types of food or drink should be banned, or deciding whether to ban all food and drink.
    Some lawmakers noted that similar clauses have been enforced in other cities, and said eating on subways causes all kinds of trouble. Some lawmakers said the ban should not be fully eliminated.
    There is no timetable for releasing the new regulation. Other issues like how to deal with urinating and sleeping on seats in the Metro system were not addressed in the regulation's penalties and also were discussed yesterday.
    The new regulation also is expected to call for heavier penalties on subway ticket evaders, with fines multiplied by 10 as well as payment of the original fare.--(6/4)

  • Line 16 will alternate stops, listen to public
    For the first time, a Metro line will operate alternating service from nonstop to stop-at-every-station, and residents are being asked to vote on which stations they consider their favorites.
    The new subway, Line 16, is expected to be put into use this year. It will run nonstop service, stop-at-big-stations service and it also will stop at every station in a new type of rotation, said officials.
    The public's opinions will be used for "better operational organization."
    Line 16 runs in the Pudong New Area from Lingang New City at the coast to Luoshan Road and will connect to future Line 11's extension at Luoshan Road. The line will have 11 stations, mainly in southwest Pudong.
    Online voting is open on Metro's Weibo microblog and had attracted more than 3,100 participants by yesterday.
    Participants are asked to choose stations where they would most likely begin their journey. Each participant can choose two stations as their favorites.
    Some stations like Xinchang had more than 700 votes by yesterday while some had as few as 60 votes.
    Metro staff and university volunteers also are handing out questionnaires in communities near the stations.
    The nonstop schedule will take about 34 minutes for the whole route while the stop-at-every-station service takes about 47 minutes.
    It is expected to eventually also provide interchanges to Metro lines 2, 7, 13 and 18.
    Some residents said there are communities along the line not fully occupied while others are relatively mature with more residents.
    The area near the coast has seen mounting complaints about a lack of public transportation for years despite plans to develop a satellite city in the Lingang area.
    A large university town is also located in the area, with hundreds of thousands of students lining up each week for shuttle buses to downtown.
    Kader Ibraham of Comoros, a sophomore at Shanghai Dianji University in the university town, said it took him "more than an hour by bus to reach central Pudong and then more for other subways."
    High-end international communities will be built in Pudong's Lingang New City, expected to attract top-level industries by 2020. The area is 75 kilometers from downtown Shanghai.--(6/3)

  • Get ready for a soggy weekend
    It will be a wet and cool weekend, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
    The forecast calls for light rain with temperatures ranging between 19 and 23 degrees Celsius today and tomorrow, the bureau said.
    "Shanghai should be under the north edge of a rain belt with drizzly weather and it should be humid this weekend," said Kong Chunyan, a chief service officer of the bureau.
    Forecasters said the high will be 29 degrees on Monday.
    The bureau predicted the annual plum rain season would start earlier than usual this year. It normally begins in mid June. It also predicted 24 high-temperature days this summer, the same as last year. The bureau considers it a high-temperature day when the mercury reaches 35 degrees or higher.--(6/1)



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