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Updated: 2013-05-22 05:36

(China Daily)

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SAFE sets up New York investment operation

The State Administration of Foreign Exchange has set up an operation in New York to make alternative investments in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported. The new operation, which will focus on private equity, real estate and other assets, is an effort by China's foreign-exchange reserves manager to diversify away from US government debt, the newspaper reported. SAFE has sought to vary its portfolio in the past year by buying European assets and Japanese stocks, the newspaper reported.

UBS downgrades 2013 GDP growth to 7.7 percent

UBS has downgraded China's GDP growth forecast from 8 percent to 7.7 percent in 2013 and 7.8 percent in 2014. Economic indicators have been relatively weak in 2013, it said in a research note, including lower rates of consumption, slower wage growth in recent quarters, the government's frugality campaign, a drop in export demand, and most importantly, strong credit expansion failing to generate expected increases in investment. "While some of the weakness may be transitory, increasing evidence suggests that growth will be weaker than previously envisaged," said Wang Tao, an economist with UBS.

Private companies seek telecom industry entry

More than 60 private companies in China have applied to enter the telecommunications industry, media reports said on Tuesday, adding that the first privately owned telecom provider is likely to begin operations in June. The applicants, most of them Internet companies, are looking for licenses to tap into value-added businesses, including data center and Internet-based services, said Economic Information Daily. The nation's top information technology giants, such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd, have passed a regulatory inspection, it added, citing an anonymous source.

Online customs data platform launched

An online platform of China's customs data was jointly launched by International Business Daily and America Full-Houses Investment Management Group to serve small and medium-sized enterprises, Guan Yanbin, deputy head of the newspaper, told a promotional event on Tuesday. Compared with the United States and Japan, China lags behind in marketing customs data and their use as valuable trade information, said Gary Ge, chairman of Full-Houses and executive president of the American Asia Trade Promotion Association.

Grade-A office rents in Beijing 'unchanged'

Grade-A office rents in Beijing remained unchanged in the first quarter while the vacancy rate edged up for two straight quarters, according to a report from international real estate specialists Knight Frank. The average monthly rent for grade-A offices in the capital remained unchanged at 396 yuan ($63.9) per sq meter, and the market vacancy rate increased by 1 percentage point to 4.8 percent, it said, adding that the limited new supply means a further increase is unlikely.

Property tax program set to expand this year

The second batch of cities for the pilot property tax program are likely to be announced this year, 21st Century Business Herald reported on Tuesday. Citing Wang Zhaocai, deputy director of the Financial Science Research Institute at the Ministry of Finance, the newspaper reported that the selection of the second batch of cities will be based primarily on their willingness to implement the program, adding that sources at Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development say the list will be published within the year.

Ministry to build distribution centers for farm produce

The Ministry of Commerce announced it would build several major distribution centers for the country's agricultural industry over the next three to five years. According to the ministry, the government will also set up a number of wholesale markets for agricultural produce while nurturing a cluster of nearby logistics companies. The government will provide favorable land use, finance and taxation policies for the newly built wholesale markets, the ministry said.

Trade fair to launch e-commerce service

Organizers of the China Processing Trade Products Fair will launch an e-commerce service to help domestic processing enterprises expand their business. Liu Xiaojie, deputy secretary-general of Guangdong provincial government, said the service would begin with the opening of the fair, which is scheduled for June 19-20 in Dongguan, a manufacturing base in the Pearl River Delta region.

Marine-based economy on wave of growth

China's marine-based economy was worth more than 5 trillion yuan ($820 billion) last year, accounting for 9.6 percent of the national economy, according to the China Ocean Development Report. The study, released by the China Institute for Marine Development Strategy of the State Oceanic Administration, analyzed all activities related to the sea. Coastal tourism experienced the fastest year-on-year growth of any related sector, 28.3 percent to reach 697.2 billion yuan, while the second was the ship industry, which rose 27.49 percent in value last year to 133.1 billion yuan.

China Daily - Agencies

(China Daily 05/22/2013 page14)