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News in review

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04/21/2017 | 03:54 pm


____April 17

GDP growth at 6.9% in first quarter

China's gross domestic product in the first quarter rose 6.9 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. Improvements in industrial production, investment and exports have combined to bolster the economy in that period, the bureau said.

GDP growth in the first three months remained steady at 0.2 percentage point higher than a year ago, showing a stabilizing trend in the economy, analysts said.

Although consumption growth dropped slightly, increasing at 10 percent in the first three months, down by 0.4 percentage point compared with the whole of 2016, an uptick in infrastructure investment and a higher export growth have contributed to the stable growth.

Fixed-asset investment expanded at 9.2 percent year-on-year in the January-March period while export growth was 14.8 percent.

More cities impose restrictions on housing sales

The capital of southwest China's Sichuan province has joined 13 other cities in imposing restrictions on housing sales, as the country seeks to rein in the red-hot market, Securities Times reported.

Effective Thursday, newly-bought homes in restricted areas can only be resold three years after obtaining the property certificate, according to an announcement released by Chengdu's housing authority.

Last month, cities including Guangzhou, Zhuhai, Huizhou and Dongguan launched similar restrictions to dampen speculative purchases and curb soaring housing prices, according to the newspaper.

The move came as an intensified measure from a slew of steps ranging from tightened mortgages for second-home buyers to restrictions on non-residents making purchases.

Tuesday____April 18

Shanghai is No 1 for those moving from abroad

Shanghai has ranked as the "most attractive" city for foreign residents for the fifth consecutive year due to its international atmosphere and multicultural environment, according to an annual survey.

Beijing, the nation's capital, remained second, based on its advantages in healthcare and educational resources, while Hangzhou, the so-called "Heaven on Earth" in Zhejiang province, held onto third place.

The rankings were based on a survey of about 25,000 expatriates nationwide in December and January. The criteria ranged from the living environment and local culture to administrative services and favorable policies for foreign residents.

More than half of all respondents said the environment was the most important factor when considering staying long term, while preferential policies also were a major concern. (Photo 1)

More than 60% of Chinese read via WeChat

A total of 62.4 percent of Chinese adults read via the popular messaging app WeChat in 2016, up 10.5 percentage points year on year, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

About 68.2 percent of adults read digitally in 2016, up 4.2 percentage points from 2015, while 58.8 percent read paper books, only a 0.4 percentage-point increase, according to an annual poll on reading habits, which was carried out in 52 cities.

The survey, conducted by the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, revealed that 66.1 percent of respondents read on their mobile phones in 2016, up 6.1 points from the previous year.

On average, Chinese read 7.86 books per capita in 2016, including 3.21 e-books, the survey showed. (Photo 2)

Wednesday____April 19

Dalian Wanda chief tops China's rich list

Wang Jianlin, founder of Dalian Wanda Group, was No 1 on Forbes business magazine's annual Chinese billionaires list, with a fortune of $31.3 billion.

Chinese billionaires account for almost a quarter of the world's billionaires, according to Forbes.

Wang was closely followed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, with $31.2 billion.

SF Express's chairman Wang Wei rose to seventh on the list after the logistics company was listed on the A-share market this year, catapulting his personal wealth to $15.9 billion.

One of China's internet triumvirate known as BAT (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent), Baidu's controller Robin Li dropped out of the top 10, after his wealth slipped to $13.3 billion from $15.3 billion in 2015.

However, the heads of the other two BAT members, Alibaba's Jack Ma and Tencent's Ma Huateng, held their spots, increasing their wealth 24.7 percent to $28.3 billion and 54.7 percent to $24.9 billion, respectively. (Photo 3)

China becomes biggest later-stage R&D spender

China has become the biggest spender on later-stage research and development, according to a Boston Consulting Group study.

China is expected to invest up to twice as much as the US, or $658 billion (4.5 trillion yuan), in the back end of the research and development (R&D) chain by 2018, focusing on translating basic and applied research into commercial products and new manufacturing processes.

The report suggested academic research should align with the interests of manufacturing industries.

The surge in research spending comes as part of the country's decade-long efforts to upgrade its manufacturing sector.

Thursday____April 20

TCM's role in weight loss is identified

Chinese scientists have identified the chemical mechanism of celastrol, which they call one of the most potent natural weight-loss agents, marking another step toward its possible future development into a major weight-loss drug.

The compound is extracted from the roots of thunder god vine, a toxic herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to cure arthritis and autoimmune diseases. In TCM, however, it is used in tiny amounts, mainly to treat severe diseases, because of its potentially dangerous side effects.

A research team led by Zhang Xiaokun, the dean of the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, at Xiamen University, found celastrol can change a cell's metabolism by eliminating inflamed mitochondria, leading to weight loss. Mitochondria are the cell's "energy factory".

Zhang said his team will now focus on how celastrol regulates metabolism in greater detail and find ways to reduce the substance's toxicity while keeping its weight loss potency.

Survey: Bullying affects half of students

Younger students in Beijing experience school bullying more frequently than older ones, and male students are bullied more than their female peers, a survey found.

The 21st Century Education Research Institute, a think tank in Beijing, surveyed 1,003 students from 12 schools in the city - four primary schools, four middle schools and four high schools.

It found that nearly half of students had been intentionally bumped or knocked down by classmates. About 6 percent said they are targeted by bullies at school every day.

The survey also found that students from ordinary schools experienced more bullying than peers from key institutions, and children from poor families are more likely to be bullied at school.

Friday____April 21

China launches first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1

China on launched its first cargo spacecraft, Tianzhou-1, into space, a crucial step for the country in building a space station by approximately 2022.

Lifted by a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket, Tianzhou-1 was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan province on Thursday evening.

In space, the cargo ship will dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab, provide fuel and other supplies, and conduct space experiments before falling back to Earth.

China aims to build a permanent space station that is expected to orbit for at least 10 years, and the debut of the cargo ship is important as it acts as a courier to help maintain the space station.

United CEO to visit China after passenger incident

Facing a backlash over the incident this month involving an Asian-American passenger, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz is planning a visit to China.

Munoz has already stopped at the Chinese consulate in Chicago to try to smooth over the situation, with the company concerned the incident would affect bookings from Chinese customers.

United controls around 20 percent of the total US-China air traffic, and is also in a partnership with Chinese flag carrier, Air China, Reuters quotes analysts as saying.

Last week, Dr David Dao was forcibly dragged from his seat on a United flight as the crew attempted to clear space on the overbooked flight for crew members. Dao refused to give up his seat, citing an appointment with a patient the following day. He was then physically removed from the fight by security staff.

Willow catkins shroud parked vehicles and a fruit vendor on a street in Beijing's Chaoyang district on Monday. Xu Jingxing / China Daily

(China Daily USA 04/21/2017 page12)

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