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Asian Games and 8-day holiday surging China's consumer and tourism markets

The ongoing Hangzhou Asian Games and the upcoming eight-day Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holiday period will fire China's consumer market, as well as the tourism market is expected to reach a peak, the cnr.cn reported on Monday. The 19th Asian Games was held in Hangzhou of Zhejiang province from Sept 23 to Oct 8. By Sept 20, the dine-in orders of the catering industry surged 380 percent from the same period in 2019, according to data from online platforms including Meituan and Dianping. The rooms of hotels and Minsu (Chinese-style bed-and-breakfast establishments) in the host city Hangzhou, as well as co-host cities including Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing, and Jinhua, almost have sold out. Now, Hangzhou has ranked among the top 10 popular railway destinations during the National Day holiday. By Sept 18, the booking number of air tickets to Hangzhou increased 20 percent compared with the same period of 2019 at travel portal Qunar during the Asian Games, the hotel booking number jumped 4.4 times, and the scenic spot ticket sales grew 20 percent. The Asian Games is driving tourism consumption in the host city and co-host cities. The search volume of Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua increased 2 times month-on-month in recent weeks, according to the Qunar. During the Asian Games, the hotel booking volume and entrance tickets in these co-host cities soared over 5 times and over 3 times compared with the same period of 2019. The Asian Games also bring sports fever to the country. As of Sept 20 the number of sports and fitness orders in Zhejiang province grew 150 percent year-on-year, with the popularity of ball sports and fitness centers rising the fastest. Catering is an essential element of mass tourism, and gourmet food is a rigid demand to well-off tourism, said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy, at a forum. Gourmet food has become a new driving force for facilitating tourism consumption and promoting tourism to high-quality development. This year, many young people turned their eyes to some small-crowd cities with characteristics for enjoying a leisurely holiday while having a good meal, as well as avoiding the surging tide during the eight-day holiday. According to a list of popular small-crowd tourism destinations from Mafengwo, a travel service and social networking platform, more than half of cities stand out for their gourmet food. Quanzhou of Fujian province, Taizhou of Zhejiang province, Leshan of Sichuan province, and Liuzhou of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, with gourmet food such as ancient flavor food, seafood, and luosifen (river snail rice noodles) are ranked in the list.




Hangzhou ready to host smart Asian Games

Hangzhou, along with five other cities in Zhejiang province, is ready to host a smart Asian Games, which will officially open on Saturday, said Chen Weiqiang, chief spokesman for the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Hangzhou Asian Para Games. Chen was addressing a news conference on Wednesday at the Main Media Center of the Games. He was joined by Mao Genhong and Xu Deqing, who are the other spokespersons for the event. "The Hangzhou Asian Games — the third Asiad to be hosted in China — is an Asian Games held in the new era. Many high-tech applications have been installed to deliver a smart Games," said Chen, who is also executive secretary-general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee. "We have overcome a lot of challenges and are now fully equipped to successfully hold the Games. All competition equipment and support and operation teams are in place," he added. The Asian Games, also called the Asiad, is a series of athletic events held for participants from Asian countries. The competition is held every four years. The 19th edition of the Games was originally scheduled in China in 2022, but deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 12,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions in Asia will vie for 481 gold medals in 40 sports at 56 competition venues in Hangzhou, Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua. There are sports such as wushu and sepaktakraw that are representative of the continent and emerging ones such as skateboarding and esports, which are popular with the young people. While preliminary matches of beach volleyball, volleyball, cricket and soccer began on Tuesday, the formal opening ceremony of the Games will take place on Saturday evening at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre. For the first time, "online torchbearers" from around the world will together light the "online flame" of the Games during the opening ceremony, Chen said. The digital torch relay was launched on June 15 in sync with the physical torch relay. More than 100 million netizens, who pass on the torch by shaking their mobile phones, have participated in the digital relay as of Wednesday. "We've opened a new era in our preparations for the Asiad; it is the era of digitalization," Chen said, adding that smart control systems, enabled by 5G technology, internet of things, big data and artificial intelligence, among others, have been installed at major competition venues. "Smart viewing" is on offer for those keen on having an immersive experience of the Games without buying a ticket, according to spokesman Mao Genhong, who is also deputy secretary-general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee. "Space is limited at the venues, so many of our audiences might want to watch the Games via online viewing platforms," Mao said. Tickets for the competitions were so much in demand that most of them were sold soon after the online ticketing window opened on July 8. When offline booths opened on Aug 23, there were not many tickets left to sell, according to Mao. Almost all the tickets released so far have been purchased, particularly those for popular competitions such as badminton. Chen Yufei, China's top-seeded women's badminton player and the reigning Olympic champion, is a Hangzhou native. She has been very busy honing her skills, and hasn't got a chance to meet her family. Her parents are desperately hoping to book seats at the stadium to watch her play. "The ticket sale is too hot. It is just hard to find seats," the player said. Photos




Expert: FX swings could shape rates

More stimulus steps possible on back of low inflation, negative output gap China would still have scope for more interest rate cuts in the coming months if the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, shows it is willing to tolerate and deal with more fluctuations of the renminbi exchange rate, said a leading currency expert. Guan Tao, global chief economist at BOC International, told China Daily the country has considerable leeway to ramp up fiscal and monetary stimuli given its domestic economic condition that is characterized by low inflation and a negative output gap (where the economy's actual output is less than its potential output). From an external perspective, however, cutting interest rates further may inevitably aggravate the downward pressure on the renminbi in the short term unless the cut can immediately improve market expectations and brighten economic prospects, said Guan, who had served as head of the Balance of Payments Department at the State Administration of Foreign Exchange in the past. "As dollar-denominated assets are high-yield assets, a widening US-China interest rate differential could still exert pressure on the renminbi even if the US Federal Reserve does not raise interest rates further," he said. The renminbi's future movements against the greenback, according to Guan, will hinge on changes in China's economic momentum, US monetary policy, the dollar's strength and the PBOC's foreign exchange policy. Meanwhile, financial market experts are keeping a close watch on how the PBOC will adjust its monetary policy to solidify a nascent pickup in economic momentum, amid lingering uncertainty over the US Fed's rate hikes. Most traders said they expect the Fed to hold rates unchanged next week, but are looking forward to US inflation data to be released on Wednesday to make their predictions. Despite the headwinds of the aggressive Fed's record interest rate hikes, the PBOC cut a key interest rate in June and August by 25 basis points in total, while using a variety of tools to prevent excessive renminbi depreciation, including allowing more foreign debt and releasing banks' foreign exchange required reserves. After the onshore renminbi hit a 16-year low of 7.3510 per dollar on Friday, the PBOC reiterated its intention to forestall any overshooting of the exchange rate and, in a statement on Monday, said that it won't hesitate to correct any one-sided, pro-cyclical behavior. "If previous renminbi exchange rate adjustments have fairly priced in various unfavorable factors, then the currency does not necessarily need a bottoming-out economy to stabilize," Guan said. "Even marginal improvements in expectations would still give a significant boost to exchange rates," he said, adding that a pickup in lending figures for August has helped fuel a rally in the renminbi on Monday, when the onshore renminbi strengthened by 509 basis points to close at 7.2906 per dollar. Echoing Guan's remarks, Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Investment Bank, said the renminbi could slightly strengthen against the greenback by the end of the year. More time is needed to judge the sustainability of recent marginal improvements in economic data, Guan said, adding that authorities' approach to tackling economic shocks now is fundamentally different from the one they had adopted in 2008 during the Global Financial Crisis. While the stimulus-led 2008 policy turbocharged short-term economic growth, it also resulted in long-term structural distortions, including debt pileup, overcapacity and asset bubbles, which the Chinese economy is still grappling with, he said. "Therefore, fewer strong stimulus measures were launched this time," Guan said. "The main focus now is on structural adjustments, with necessary fiscal and monetary support to protect the economy from sliding out of a reasonable range. But, aggressive moves like increasing fiscal deficits or issuing special treasury bonds are avoided." This approach will help the country to stay true to its commitment to high-quality development and lay a more solid foundation for long-term growth; yet, the price would be lower growth in the short term, Guan said. He further said recent measures taken to promote structural adjustments and nurture innovation-led new growth engines are crucial for China to fend off any potential risk of going down Japan's path to "the lost decades". "The Chinese economy is not facing the kind of risks that Japan had encountered, but we need to stay vigilant against the possibility of entering that sort of situation and take preemptive measures," Guan said.




Huawei set to make waves with advanced chip

Huawei Technologies is a front-runner again in the smartphone market with a new phone powered by an advanced chip despite sweeping US sanctions, which may have a ripple effect on both Chinese and US semiconductor industries, experts say. The new handset, Mate 60 Pro, uses a 5G application processor which represents "a made-in-China design and manufacturing milestone", according to a teardown by a team from industry research company TechInsights. The team believes the 7-nanometer processor was manufactured by China's leading chip foundry, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, or SMIC. It "demonstrates the technical progress China's semiconductor industry has been able to make without EUV (extreme-ultraviolet) lithography tools," said Dan Hutcheson, vice-chair of TechInsights. "The difficulty of this achievement also shows the resilience of the country's chip technological ability." The most cutting-edge EUV machines are used to manufacture advanced chips. SMIC has no access to EUV machines because of US export controls. Industry experts said it could use some older equipment to make advanced chips. Huawei has been on the United States Commerce Department's Entity List, which restricts its access to US technologies, since May 2019. The new phone's self-developed 5G chipset, the operating system HarmonyOS, and other technical differences from its competitors, show that "Huawei is back after three years in the wilderness", said George Koo, a retired international business adviser in Silicon Valley. Huawei has not disclosed how it has achieved the necessary technological advances. Koo believes the achievement would not be possible without partners in China and a domestic supply chain, from design software and semiconductor fabrication to essential chemicals and materials. What Huawei accomplished will ripple through China's semiconductor industry, Koo said. "Huawei's experience will facilitate and encourage others to follow. China's self-sufficiency in semiconductors will only increase." Tech breakthroughs Huawei's technological advances have prompted some US lawmakers to call for tougher restrictions. Wisconsin Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, chairman of the House Select Committee on Competition with China, suggested the US should end all its exports to both Huawei and SMIC — even those involving older technologies that are currently allowed under the law. California-based chip developer Qualcomm was able to obtain export licenses from the government to provide Huawei with older generation 4G chips. China accounts for roughly two-thirds of Qualcomm's revenue. Qualcomm's stock plunged 7.2 percent to $106.40 on Thursday on the latest news, alongside shares of other cellphone suppliers, Bloomberg reported. "America's shortsighted strategy to decouple from China will devastate the revenue of leading US providers of advanced chips such as Nvidia and Qualcomm and manufacturers of chipmaking equipment such as Applied Materials and Lam Research," said Koo. "These companies will see their comparative advantages dry up. In the near term, they are not allowed to sell to China. In the long term, China will not need to buy from them." The technological breakthrough was expected to help Huawei in its home market, especially in competition against Apple, according to Bank of America Securities. "If Huawei has the capability to supply and scale its homegrown Kirin 9000S (chip), we see the Mate series phone as an opportunity for Huawei to increase its shipments and regain its market share, potentially posing downside risk to iPhone sales, especially in the Asia-Pacific," analysts at BofA Securities wrote in a research note last week.




Welcome to participate in the 134th Canton Fair International Pavilion

Welcome to participate in the 134th Canton Fair International Pavilion


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