First US beef by sea arrives in Shanghai
The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said on Sept 4 that the first shipment of US beef by sea had entered China on Sept 1, signifying the normalization of largescale imports of the product. The shipment of frozen beef weighed 15.1 metric tons and was valued at more than $300,000, according to the bureau, which opened a green channel for a faster approval procedure. China started imports of US beef in June after a 14-year absence. However, imports were limited to airfreight in June and July, which pushed up costs while failing to meet market demand. Data from Shanghai Customs showed the city’s beef imports reached 144,000 tons from January to July, mainly from Brazil, Australia, Uruguay and New Zealand. Russia’s Gazprom plans to supply around 4.6 billion cubic meters of gas to China via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline in 2020, Vsevolod Cherepanov, a member of Gazprom’s management board, said on Sept 6. He added that volumes from Gazprom, which is now building what is set to be Russia’s first gas pipeline to China, are set to gradually increase to 38 billion cu m by 2025. Top toy maker Lego Group will cut about 1,400 jobs, or around 8 percent of its total global workforce, after revenue fell by 5 percent for the first half of 2017, the company announced on Sept 5. Sales for the first six months of 2017 totaled 14.9 billion Danish kroner ($2.4 billion; 2 billion euros; £1.8 billion), down from 15.7 billion kroner for the same period last year, according to its half-yearly financial report. Operating profit for the first half of 2017 declined by 6 percent to 4.4 billion kroner, down from 4.7 billion kroner for the first half of 2016. Performance across the market regions was mixed. Though Lego saw revenue grow by double digits in such growing markets as China, its revenue declined in established markets such as the United States and parts of Europe. Chinese outbound tourism has witnessed “explosive growth” in the past 10 years, and the trend is likely to be maintained in the next decade, Ctrip CEO Sun Jie said on Sept 3. Chinese mainland travelers made more than 120 million outbound trips in 2015, 313 percent more than in 2005, according to a report released earlier by Ctrip, China’s leading online travel agency, and the think tank Center for China and Globalization. In the first half of 2017, 62 million overseas trips were made by Chinese tourists, the China National Tourism Administration said in a statement in August. “Their trips abroad have created, directly and indirectly, up to 100 million jobs worldwide,” according to Sun. China’s leading mobile and online payment service Alipay launched its operations in Norway on Sept 3 to boost Chinese customers’ shopping experience in the Nordic country. “The adoption of Alipay services of both payment and marketing will not only enhance the experience of Chinese consumers but also help Norwegian businesses reach out to their Chinese customers,” says Michael Chen, CEO of APay Nordic AS, a promotion and service partner of Alipay in the Nordic countries. Alipay, which currently has more than 520 million users and is operated by Ant Financial, part of Alibaba Group, is a combination of payment tools, financial services and marketing platforms. China is going to further open its insurance market to foreign investors, and regulators are striving to make it more attractive to foreign insurance institutions, said Chen Wenhui, vice-chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. Speaking at a meeting with executives of 10 foreign insurers in Beijing on Sept 5, Chen said institutions that have already been operating in the China market are encouraged to enter more sectors including casualty, retirement and healthcare insurance. The market environment will be further improved to help foreign insurers get more closely engaged in China’s insurance market. For insurers that have yet to enter the China market, regulators will further optimize policies to attract excellent players to the nation. So far, China has 57 foreign insurers from 16 countries and regions, with 1,800 branches and outlets. All of the insurers on the Fortune 500 list operate in China. The combined market share of foreign insurers has grown from less than 1 percent in 2001 to 5.19 percent at the end of 2016, and the combined assets of foreign insurers grew from 3 billion yuan ($195.8 million; 164.1 million euros; £150 million) to more than 1 trillion yuan by the end of July. China’s new energy vehicle industry has seen rapid growth in the past few years, with growing sales and an improved industry ecosystem, according to an industry association.