Rich Chinese tourists have been boosting tourist industries around the world, but that will soon change. The first 300 Chinese space tourists have booked flights to space via Taobao, the biggest online retailer in China, according to media reports, including WSJ and Shanghai List.
“Chinese e-commerce giant, Taobao, take their platform to new extremes as they provide an exclusive broker service for Dutch Space Expedition Corp’s (SXC)”,” according to Shanghai List.
Astro-tourists will have to pass certain criteria and tests before blast off: “People in good health over 18 years old, less than 2 meters in height and 125 kilograms in weight can apply for the space tour programs. But only after passing a medical exam and training programs can the applicants fly into space,” reported Escn.cn.

“We have published one the very first article about Space travel in the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine last year”, said Pierre Gervois, Publisher of China Elite Focus Magazines. “This first article was about Space Expedition Corporation, and we see today the result: this great company is now recognized by High Net Worth Chinese as the leading space travel organization”.
“Chinese consumers have a high appetite for ‘challenging’ tourism activities,” said Deng Weixian, SXC Asia Pacific chief executive, in the WSJ report. He added that space will be the new destination for these Chinese travelers with adventurous appetites.

Source: Chinagaze

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

China will become the world’s largest mobile phone market by revenue for the first time by year end, overtaking the United States, an industry report said. Internet guru Mary Meeker has identified the country as the most mobile nation in the world.

Phone sales will reach $87 billion in China during 2014, a jump of 53 percent year-on-year. That compares with $60 billion projected sales in the US, Strategy Analytics said.


Nation becoming top mobile phone marketTop 10 Chinese smartphone makers

Nation becoming top mobile phone marketSmartphones lift flat-panel sector

Smartphones dominate sales. Chinese shoppers will buy more than 400 million smartphones this year, according to local research company Analysys International. The amount is on track to break 500 million by 2016, it said.

Meeker acknowledged China’s role in the global mobile Internet sector. The world’s second-largest economy is moving swiftly to become a leader in mobile commerce, helped with applications installed on smartphones, according to Meeker. She is a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

As of last year, more than 500 million Chinese were using mobile devices – primarily smartphones – to connect to the Internet, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. The penetration rate of mobile Internet users rose to a record 81 percent in 2013.

China beat the US in terms of smartphone shipments in 2012.

The growth in mobile devices is driven by the country’s rapid shift to fourth-generation telecommunications technologies, analysts said.

Leading players, such as Samsung Electronics Co, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd, have pledged to expand their distribution channels, and a widening product offering is diversifying demand in China.

Although China leads the global mobile phone market in many ways, the Strategy Analytics report said the US is most likely to remain the most valuable market by profit for a while.

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

By Gao Yuan (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-30 06:59

“High average selling prices and huge operator subsidies will make the US a very profitable market for major device brands such as Apple and Samsung,” it said.

Nation becoming top mobile phone market

The world’s leading smartphone brands may find it difficult to maintain a high growth rate in China, where analysts said the high double-digit expansion may be nearing its end. Additionally, local players are vigorously expanding businesses on their home turf.

Lenovo, better known for its PC business outside China, is betting on smartphones for future profit. The Beijing-based company became the second-largest smartphone vendor in China by the end of the first quarter, data from Analysys International showed. Its 12.3 percent market share only lags behind Samsung.

Coolpad – Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific (Shenzhen) Co Ltd – as well as Huawei and Xiaomi Corp enjoyed near double-digit market share and Apple’s share dropped to less than 7 percent.

Bryan Wang, China head at consultancy Forrester Research Inc, said 4G is a necessary feature for companies such as Xiaomi to put into their portfolio as Chinese are eager for faster Internet speeds.


Nation becoming top mobile phone market Nation becoming top mobile phone market

Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong deal

Chinese regulators have given the go-ahead to Alibaba Group Holding’s online payment affiliate Alipay to take control of fast-growing fund firm Tianhong Asset Management Co as the e-commerce giant bulks up its push into online finance.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) approved Zhejiang Alibaba E-Commerce Co, the parent company of online payment company Alipay, to purchase 51 percent of Tianhong, according to a filing from Tianhong shareholder Inner Mongolia Junzheng Energy & Chemical Industry Co on Thursday.


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Alipay gets regulator nod for Tianhong dealAlibaba helps make China’s largest fund

Alibaba is gearing up for what could be the world’s biggest tech IPO, and online finance has become another battleground for the firm. Though the business unit will be largely kept separate from the offering, it could play an important role in the entire company’s future growth.

Tianhong has gone from near obscurity to running China’s biggest money market fund by assets under management (AUM) in just months after it launched fund platform Yu’e Bao, or “leftover treasure”, with Alipay in June last year.

Yu’e Bao’s one-year interest rates are higher than a bank’s regulator-restricted rates for one-year deposits, and are an incentive to deposit money with the platform.

Yu’e Bao, which people can run from their smartphones, is also linked to China’s biggest online payment platform Alipay, similar to PayPal. Users can dip directly into Yu’e Bao to buy products on Alibaba’s huge online shopping websites and anywhere else that takes Alipay.

Alipay’s investment, valued previously at 1.18 billion yuan ($189.11 million), will see the firm inject 262 million yuan in registered capital into the fund, according to the filing.

Tianhong had 554 billion yuan in AUM in the first quarter of 2014, from just 10.5 billion yuan a year earlier, according to Z-Ben Advisors, a Shanghai-based investment management consultancy.

Hong Kong, Shanghai world’s top shipping hubs

Hong Kong is the third-best shipping hub in the world and Shanghai seventh, according to a research report on international shipping centers released in Shanghai on Thursday.

Hong Kong, Shanghai world's top shipping hubsTop 10 most competitive countries and regions 

Hong Kong, Shanghai world's top shipping hubs

The study, “2014 Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Center Development Index Report”, has been compiled by Baltic Exchange and a research institute of China Finance Corporation. The index, which studied 46 shipping hubs globally, was assembled based on various aspects, including port conditions, shipping and comprehensive services, and then it was examined and evaluated by a research team of industry experts.

The top 10 shipping centers are Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Dubai, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York and Busan.

Ports in Asia took six places among the top 10, showing a revival of the sector in the region, experts said.

“An outstanding international shipping center requires more than a just big port. Today, it requires various services that help smooth business and operations, such as insurance, compliance, and management, which may be more important than just infrastructures,” said Marcus Lee, Chief Representative in China at The Baltic Exchange.

Top 10 attractive Chinese cities for realty investorsChina’s developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have been gaining luster for real estate developers and investors who are seeking safer bets amid a nationwide fear of prolonged slowdown in the housing market. Together with Shenzhen and Guangzhou, these mega cities have for the first time become the four highest-ranked cities for investment, according to a new report released by the Urban Land Institute. All but six of the 36 cities that were surveyed have experienced some decline in investment ratings; while only four cities’ ratings indicate they are “good” or “better” for investment prospects this year, down from seven last year.

China’s developed cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have been gaining luster for real estate developers and investors who are seeking safer bets amid a nationwide fear of prolonged slowdown in the housing market. Together with Shenzhen and Guangzhou, these mega cities have for the first time become the four highest-ranked cities for investment, according to a new report released by the Urban Land Institute.

All but six of the 36 cities that were surveyed have experienced some decline in investment ratings; while only four cities’ ratings indicate they are “good” or “better” for investment prospects this year, down from seven last year.

Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka jump 137.2%

COLOMBO – Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in the first six months of 2014 jumped a significant 137.2 percent to 52,230 compared to 22,023 in the same period last year, latest data from the State-run Tourism Development Authority revealed on Wednesday.

China remained the third largest market for tourists to Sri Lanka behind India and Britain, and also the fastest growing market to the South Asian island.

Since the end of a three decade war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have boomed, reaching over 1.2 million last year and attracting earnings of $1.7 billion , according to the Central Bank.

The tropical island is aiming to attract 2.5 million arrivals by 2016, buoyed by fast increasing tourist arrivals from China.

About 27,600 Chinese tourists arrived in Sri Lanka in 2012, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, but the arrivals nearly doubled to 54,288 last year.

This is largely due to massive advertising campaigns launched in China by the Sri Lankan government and greater engagement with Chinese media.

In the first six months of this year, a total of 727,353 tourists arrived in the island, marking a 24.6 percent increase from the same period of last year.


China Eastern unit shifts to budget carrier


Company takes low-price route to expand reach

After two years of preparations, China Eastern Airlines Co Ltd has officially announced that it’s converting China United Airlines Co Ltd, its Beijing-based subsidiary, into a low-cost carrier on Wednesday.

China United will be the first State-owned low-cost airline in China, making China Eastern the first of the top three airlines to take concrete action on moving into the low-cost market.

The average fare on China United will be 20 to 40 percent below current prices, a level made possible by improved efficiency and lower operating costs, said Zhang Lanhai, president of China United, who assumed the role this week amid the conversion.


China Eastern unit shifts to budget carrierChina Eastern Airlines orders 70 Airbus planes 

China Eastern unit shifts to budget carrierAirbus to increase share in Harbin venture 

The carrier is also building its own distribution channel, which can cut costs and provide value-added services, he said.

“Strategic or financial investors may be introduced to the budget carrier in the future, as well” Zhang added.

By the end of 2019, the new carrier aims to have 80 aircraft, Zhang said, compared with a fleet of 26 Boeing 737 aircraft at present. That will increase to 31 airplanes by the end of 2014.

The airline also hopes to carry “tens of millions” of passengers annually, he said.

New planes will be configured to have only economy-class seats, a hallmark of low-fare carriers. The current fleet will still have first-class cabins, said Tang Bing, chairman of China United. Those cabins will be the airline’s value-added services, Tang said.

Driven by market demand and government encouragement, major Chinese airlines – including the three State-owned giants – are showing an interest in low-fare carriers.

This kind of airline “will have explosive growth in China,” said Liu Shaoyong, general manager of China Eastern.

Many full-service airlines have started planning to launch low-cost carriers, Liu said, and budget airlines are developing faster in Asia in recent years. But budget carriers in China have only 7 percent of the air travel market, while the global average is 26 percent.

“The market potential is huge in China,” Liu said.

Among the three largest domestic carriers, China Eastern has been the early mover in setting up a budget line. It established a low-cost joint venture in Hong Kong in 2012, which is still waiting for regulatory approval to operate flights.

The other two State-owned airlines may convert some of their subsidiaries into budget carriers, but privately owned carriers are moving faster.

The low-cost market in China is dominated by Spring Airlines Co Ltd.

Shanghai Juneyao Airlines Co Ltd expects its Guangzhou-based low-cost subsidiary (Jiuyuan Airlines Co Ltd) to offer its first flight in August.

HNA Group Co Ltd, parent company of the fourth-largest carrier in China – Hainan Airlines Co Ltd – plans to convert all its aviation subsidiaries except for Hainan Airlines into budget carriers, said Wang Yingming, executive chairman and executive president of HNA Aviation Holding Co Ltd.

Cao Yunchun, a professor at the Civil Aviation University of China, said that budget airlines are in their infancy in China, but their development is necessary for the improvement of the whole aviation sector.