Daily News-20191023

 |  Xinhua / China Daily

Today's point


China to further open up agricultural markets


Tighter regulation expected in e-cigarette market


Vietnam to export first milk batch to China


McDonald's eyes faster expansion in lower-tier cities



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1. China to further open up agricultural markets

Villagers dry corn in Zhangye, Gansu province, in September. WANG JIANG / FOR CHINA DAILY

China will further open up its markets to overseas agricultural businesses by slashing trade barriers and promoting technological exchanges, an official said on Tuesday.

Xie Jianmin, a Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs official who oversees international cooperation, said China will continue to make trade easier with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, offering shortcuts for the express import of fresh produce and hosting fairs and exhibitions.

He promised to roll out a consultation system to facilitate exchanges of farm technologies in key areas, and step up technological assistance for developing countries in order to bolster their production capacities.

"We'll work with other countries to reduce trade barriers, to establish stable and reliable partnerships and a free and convenient business environment," he said, while speaking at the 3rd International Agricultural Research Conference, which opened on Tuesday in Beijing.

The moves came as China looks overseas for quality farm produce to boost domestic supply, and for new technologies to modernize its agricultural sector that feeds nearly one-fifth of the world's population with only 10 percent of the global arable land.

It also came against the backdrop of an African swine fever outbreak in recent years that has reduced the production of the food staple for Chinese customers.

China has seen a marked increase in agricultural trade volume, reaching $216.8 billion last year, a year-on-year increase of 7.7 percent, he said.

(source: China Daily)


2. Tighter regulation expected in e-cigarette market

A visitor checks out an e-cigarette during an exhibition in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Doubts arise as health scare shrouds future of segment that investors back

Investors backing Chinese firms involved in the manufacturing, sales and distribution of electronic cigarettes may want to be cautious as regulations could be tightened in the wake of recent health scares, experts warned.

A report from Tsinghua University showed China produces 95 percent and exports 90 percent of e-cigarettes in the world, which determines its pricing power in the global market.

E-cigarette makers had attracted a lot of capital in the Chinese market in recent times. However, signs of a crisis appeared after the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1,299 lung disease cases and 26 deaths by Oct 8 were possibly caused by e-cigarettes.

An e-cigarette uses battery-powered cartridges to produce a flavored vapor that often contains nicotine. The faddish practice of inhaling and exhaling such vapor is called vaping.

Compared with the traditional cigarette, e-cigarette is "less harmful" and "helps smokers quit smoking", their producers have often claimed.

Young people are the major e-cigarette smokers in China, according to a report in May from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Liao Wenke, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, told National Business Daily that many producers use stylish designs, various flavors or invite celebrities as brand-endorsers to attract young consumers.

(source: China Daily)


3. Vietnam to export first milk batch to China

HANOI, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- A launching ceremony was held in Hanoi on Tuesday to announce the export of Vietnam's first batch of milk products to China under a protocol signed earlier this year.

On Oct. 16, the General Administration of Customs of China officially announced its approval for the import of milk products from Vietnam. TH Group, a local leading dairy producer became the first Vietnamese enterprise granted transaction codes to export milk products to China.

Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said that China, with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, is a huge market with tremendous potential and has great demand for agricultural products such as dairy ones.

As a neighboring country, Vietnam also needs many products in which China has production advantages. The two countries' agricultural products are mutually complementary, and it is expected that in the near future, more Vietnamese companies will be allowed to export agricultural products to the Chinese market, Cuong noted.

Xiong Bo, Chinese ambassador to Vietnam, said at the ceremony that the realization of Vietnamese dairy exporting to China is an important achievement in economic and trade cooperation between the two countries.

China and Vietnam have been strengthening cooperation in fields such as trade and economy, said the ambassador, adding that the parties and governments of both countries attach great importance to developing agriculture and improving people's livelihood.

(source: Xinhua)


4. McDonald's eyes faster expansion in lower-tier cities

McDonald's China is expected to speed up its expansion to lower-tier cites to attract new customers and to update its menu with more nutritious and iconic food items, a top executive of the world largest fast-food chain said.

McDonald's China CEO Phyllis Cheung said the company opened 423 new restaurants in China last year and the number of new outlets in 2019 is expected to equal or slightly exceed last year's level. The speed at which those stores are being opened is going to surpass the company's five year goal by 2022 to add 2,000 restaurants from the 2,500 outlets it had in 2017.

Cheung said nearly half of the new restaurants are located in third-or fourth-tier cities and McDonald's will continue to penetrate more cities in their expansion to gain new customers and increase the brand awareness among those potential customers.

In 2017, the US chain sold most of its businesses in the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong to CITIC and private equity group Carlyle for up to $2.1 billion. CITIC took the majority stake of 52 percent in McDonald's China operations. The deal has given the fast-food giant more localized resources and access to Chinese consumers.

"McDonald's has to gain their growth from expansion when their market saturation is high in first-and second-tier cities," said Zhu Danpeng, an independent food and beverage analyst.

(source: China Daily)

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