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Caixin: Chinese International Travelers Significantly Changed Their Spending Pattern

The well-known Chinese financial news media group Caixin recently reported that Chinese international travelers have been labeled as major spenders. The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 2016 numbers showed that Chinese consumer’s international spending reached US$261 billion, which was more than twice the U.S. total (the U.S. spending was ranked number two). However, international consulting company Oliver Wyman just released a study showing some significant changes in the pattern of Chinese’ international spending habits. The report showed that, starting in 2016, Chinese international tourists spent only 33 percent in their total overseas expenditures on buying physical products. The same number was 41 percent in 2015. The statistics also showed that those who are still interested in buying physical products are among the lower income population. The spending trend is shifting to the categories of “Sightseeing” (ranked number one) and “Entertainment” (ranked number two). The research also showed that Chinese travelers depend heavily on Chinese language website reviews and on security incident news about the destination countries.

Source: Caixin, July 12, 2017
http://international.caixin.com/2017-07-12/101114417.html

China’s First Overseas Military Base Caused U.S. Worries

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that China’s first military base outside China was officially established on July 11. The Chinese Naval Base at Djibouti is currently serving as a logistics supply provider for the Chinese Navy. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized that the Djibouti Base is only a small scale logistics base for peace-keeping missions. It cannot be compared with full-blown military bases that the U.S., France, and Japan have nearby. However, some Chinese analysts have been reading the language between the lines in the U.S. media such as the New York Times for concerns. The analysts expressed their belief that the U.S. was worried about the short distance to the nearby U.S. Camp Lemonnier, which is one of the largest U.S. permanent overseas military bases. Secondly, the U.S. may be worried about its dominant status in the region.

Source: Sina, July 12, 2017
http://dailynews.sina.com/bg/chn/chnpolitics/chinapress/20170712/08197951823.html

China’s SOEs Are the Largest Oil Drilling Contractors in Kuwait

According to an article that China.org published, China’s State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) broke through the domination that the U.S. and the European countries held and became the largest oil drilling contractors in Kuwait, which is considered a strategic partner of China’s “one belt one road” project. The SOEs have built 53 teams in Kuwait and employ over 3,000 Chinese and foreign workers. They own 53 drillers and hold 45 percent of the oil drilling market share. The article claimed that by the end of first quarter in 2017, China’s SOEs will be responsible for a total of 64 projects in the amount US$13.7 billion in Kuwait. The projects range from oilfield services, exploration, refinery, housing, and infrastructure, to telecommunications.

Source: China.org, July 16, 2017
http://news.china.com.cn/2017-07/16/content_41222830.htm

People’s Daily: Eleven Provinces and Cities had a Minimum Wage Increase in 2017

According to an article that People’s Daily published, by July 15, 2017, 11 provinces and cities had raised their minimum wage. The statistics disclosed that both the number of provinces that had a minimum wage increase and the rate of increase were lower than in the past. Take Beijing as an example. The rate of the increase in the minimum wage was only 5.8 percent this year while the rate of the increase in Shanghai was 5 percent. Most regions have minimum wage increases once every two years. Some regions have changed it to once every three years.

The article reported that, in 2012, 25 regions had wage increases that averaged 20.2 percent. In 2013, 27 regions had increases at a rate averaging 17 percent. In 2014 19 regions had increases that averaged 14.1 percent. In 2015 24 regions had increases of 14 percent. In 2016, 9 regions had increases that averaged 10.7 percent. The article cited the reasons for the reduced rate of the wage increases as slowed economic growth in recent years as well as the intent to ease the pressure on businesses in order to maintain their cost competitiveness. According to the list of the minimum wage in 31 regions mentioned in the article, the minimum wage gap varies between regions with those along the coastline ranked in the top five minimum wage regions including Shanghai, Tianjing, Beijing, Guangdong and Jiangsu. The regions in the Southwest, Northwest, and Northeast have a relatively lower minimum wage. The bottom two regions are Tibet and Guangxi Province where the minimum wage of the level 4 job category in Guangxi is only 1,000 yuan (US$141). That amount is less than half of the minimum wage in Shanghai which is 2,300 yuan (US$330).

Source: People’s Daily, July 16, 2017
http://society.people.com.cn/n1/2017/0716/c1008-29407521.html

Liu Xiaobo’s Ashes Cast into Ocean; Family Members “Thanked” Party at the Press Conference

According to articles that Radio Free Asia and Voice of America published, the body of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo was cremated on the morning of July 15 and his ashes were cast into the ocean right after the cremation. Six of Liu’s family members were at the funeral, including his wife. None of Liu’s friends were present. At 4:00 p.m. on the 15th, during the press conference that the Shen Yang Municipal office held, Liu’s brother read a written statement. He “thanked” the party and the government twice in his speech and also explained why they “chose” to cast Liu’s ashes into the ocean. Liu’s wife was said to be too weak to be at the press conference. Liu’s brother left after he finished reading the statement and didn’t answer any questions from the media. Liu’s wife and many of his friends received a warning from the security bureau not to attend the funeral. The photo taken at the funeral showed that most of the people at the funeral were government officials and members of the public security bureau. On the day prior to the funeral the spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters that China was against the Noble Peace Prize being awarded to Liu and asked the media not to make any prediction as to whether Liu’s wife will be allowed to travel to Norway to pick up the Nobel Peace Prize that Liu received in 2010. The Nobel Peace Prize committee chairman applied for a visa to come to China to attend Liu’s funeral. Her application was denied because she didn’t receive the invitation from Liu’s family. Ms. Anderson stated that Liu had passed away and she was not able to reach Liu’s wife.

Sources:
1. Voice of America
https://www.voachinese.com/a/liu-xiaobo-ashes-spread-at-the-sea/3945404.html
2. Radio Free Asia, July 15, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/renquanfazhi/ql1-07152017101602.html

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