News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

Updated: 2015-02-27 11:25

(China Daily USA)

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Monday - February 23

Wanxiang to rebrand Fisker as Elux: sources

Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group will push back its planned relaunch of the defunct Fisker Karma hybrid sports car until mid-2016 and rebrand Fisker Automotive as Elux, two sources familiar with the plan said.

Wanxiang, which acquired the assets of California-based Fisker Automotive a year ago in a US bankruptcy auction, had hoped to revive the Karma this year.

The revised version of the Karma will be renamed Elux Karma and the Fisker name will be dropped, said the sources.

The sources said the revived gasoline-electric car will not be assembled in Finland as earlier planned. Wanxiang has not chosen a production site, the sources said. (Photo 1)

C919 passenger aircraft ready this year

China's C919 large passenger aircraft will roll off assembly lines this year, the manufacturer announced.

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China has completed basic assembly of the aircraft, the company said. The C919's first test flight is planned for this year.

Earlier this month, the C919's vertical fin and the back end of the rear fuselage were delivered to the state-owned aircraft maker from domestic manufacturers.

The company has secured orders for 450 C919 planes from 18 customers.

The C919 will compete with Boeing and Airbus in the medium-range aircraft sector.

China will become the world's largest domestic aviation market in the next decade, an Airbus forecast said. (Photo 2)

Tuesday - February 24

Tourism's niche segment attracts investors

China's tourism sector is fast becoming the sector of choice for prospective entrepreneurs because of the promise of quick, steady returns.

Over 19 billion yuan ($3.081 billion) was invested in tourism-related companies during 2014 and most of the investments came from entrepreneurs targeting the niche segment of specialized services, according to data from Inc, a company that tracks the online tourism sector.

The bigger companies are also charting strategies to grab or retain market share, the sources said. Travel services company International Inc is the market leader with a market share of about 54.3 percent in 2014. Sales and marketing costs of Ctrip was about $97 million in the third quarter of 2014, a 25 percent year-on-year growth.

Total spending by Chinese outbound tourists stood at $140 billion in 2014, an 8 percent year-on-year growth.

China again leads in patent applications

China recorded 928,000 invention patent applications in 2014, more than any other country for the fourth consecutive year, according to data released by the State Intellectual Property Office.

The office found that about 663,000 inventions had high quality and market value. About 4.9 patents per 10,000 population were filed, according to the data.

In 2014, about 485,000 invention patent applications were filed by enterprises, more than the number filed by individuals, academies or research institutes.

Market insiders said economic growth, as well as higher demand from industry and individual consumers, have pushed up the number of inventions.

Wednesday - February 25

National birthrate is expected to increase

A new peak in births is likely to occur as a result of China's relaxing its family planning policy and could continue for several years, according to experts.

They estimate that the number of babies born annually will rise by more than 1 million from current levels.

Last year, 16.87 million babies were born in China, 470,000 more than in 2013, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The number of births declined steadily between 1999, when more than 18 million babies were born, and 2006.

Since late 2013, 29 of the 31 provincial regions on the mainland have enacted policies that allow couples to have a second baby if either partner is a single child, according to government figures. (Photo 3)

Ctrip will offer staff loans for family-planning fines

Ctrip, an online travel agency, is offering interest-free loans to staff who have to pay fines because they break the family planning policy by having more than the permitted number of children.

Ctrip introduced the loans at the start of the year. The company's regulations say each loan should be no more than the central government's drafted social maintenance fees.

The loan should be no more than three times the level of the employee's after-tax income in the previous year, and should not exceed 200,000 yuan ($32,000). The repayment period should be no longer than 120 months.

Based on the average disposable income per household in Shanghai, a family is fined 160,000 yuan if it does not meet the qualifications to have a second child.

Thursday - February 26

Postal Savings Bank's IPO to raise $25 billion

Postal Savings Bank of China Co aims to raise up to $25 billion with an initial public offering next year, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The bank, which has the most outlets among Chinese lenders, is 100 percent owned by China Post Group Corp, the state-owned postal service provider. PSBC is bringing in outside investors as the nation aims to diversify the equity ownership of SOEs as part of the mixed-ownership model, thus improving the returns on state capital. PSBC also wants to increase its capital to meet the demands of development.

The bank had more than 5.57 trillion yuan ($891 billion) of assets at the end of 2013. Savings from individuals exceeded 5 trillion yuan on Dec 16, 2014.

The Financial Times reported that the bank is in talks with potential investors to sell minority stakes before its IPO, including Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group Co, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (Photo 4)

More than 100 million sent gift money on Alipay

More than 100 million people sent gift money via mobile apps during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, according to Alipay, the payment system run by Chinese Internet giant Alibaba.

The period from Feb 18, or Lunar New Year Eve, to Feb 21 was the peak for gift money with a total of 4 billion yuan (about $652 million) paid via the e-payment platform.

Giving "lucky money" in electronic form has become a trendy spin on the Chinese tradition of giving red envelopes, or hongbao, filled with money to children on Lunar New Year Eve. The custom is more than 1,000 years old.

Friday - February 27

China's population tops 1.36 billion

China's population at the end of 2014 was 1.3678 billion, up 5.21 percent from one year earlier, according to official data from Statistical Communique on China's 2014 National Economic and Social Development.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 7.1 million people were added to the national population in the past year. The data take into account the total number born, 16.87 million, and offsets it with the dead, 9.77 million.

The total number of urban residents reached 74.9 million, or 54.77 percent of the total.

Zero tolerance pledged on illegal ivory

China is committed to cooperating with the international community in stopping poaching and the ivory trade, according to a Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Beijing takes a zero-tolerance approach to the illegal ivory trade and efforts have been made in improving related laws and regulations to crack down on the buying and selling of ivory, Hong Lei said in response to an open letter asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to end China's involvement in the ivory trade.

According to the letter on the website of Action for Elephants UK, African elephants are dying every year in the tens of thousands to feed the appetite for ivory of consumers in China and elsewhere.

"We have conducted exchanges with countries where African elephants live, stepped up personnel training and funded activities aimed at protecting elephants," he said.

News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

Passengers returning home at the end of celebrating Spring Festival check in at the Railway Station in Southwest China's Chongqing municipality on Monday. Photo / Xinhua

News in review Monday, February 23 to Friday, February 27

A human body, whose internal organs were removed, was found concealed in an ancient Chinese Buddha statue after a CT scan was ordered on the statue by the Drents Museum in the Netherlands recently. Inside the statue, which has a history of more than 1,000 years, are the mummified remains of a monk in a state of meditation, who was believed to be the Buddhist master Liuquan of the Chinese Meditation School. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily USA 02/27/2015 page8)