Food prices rise in October

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) released last month's monitoring results for retail food prices, and 80 percent of food products have seen a month-on-month rise, the Chongqing Evening News reported on Wednesday.

The survey considered 31 food products, and 24 had seen a price increase in October, the report said, adding that cucumbers and watermelons topped the list of price increases.

The price of Chinese cabbage and pork was flat in October, while the price of soybean oil, live chickens and eggplants dropped by a small margin, the NDRC reported.

The NDRC's survey covered 36 large and medium-sized cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, the report said.


Potato brings new wealth to W China

The potato, known as "foreign yam" in Chinese, was once planted in China as a life-saving food to survive famines.

But as China moves towards being the center of potato production in Asia, the humble potato is now bringing wealth to some in western China who had been living in poverty.

Chen Chunlan, a potato farmer in Dingxi in northwest China's Gansu province, now lives a satisfying life in her newly-built, well-furnished home.

Chen credits her potato fields for the improved standard of living -- they provide her with an annual income of 70,000 yuan ($10,400).

But Chen clearly recalls the hard times not long ago, when local peasants often had to worry about their next meal.

"We used to grow wheat, but the meager harvest could barely feed us, let alone allow us to save some money," said Chen.

In 2001, destitution even forced Chen to flee Dingxi to try to earn a living in another place.

Dingxi, with its cold and arid climate and hence low agricultural yield, has long been listed as one of China's poorest regions.

In 1995, a severe drought hit Dingxi, and almost everything in the fields withered. But to the locals' surprise, the potatoes survived the catastrophe.

"Potatoes are amazingly drought-resistant and can acclimatize well to Dingxi's agricultural conditions," explained Wang Yihang, the provincial potato expert.

Next year, the Dingxi government launched the "Potato Project" to popularize the cultivation of potatoes to guarantee basic food supply.

Dingxi grows more potatoes than any other city in China, boasting over 200,000 hectares of potato fields, or one third of the city's arable land.

Thanks to the edible tuber, the city no longer has a food supply problem, and attention has shifted to making the "food of the poor" a major export.

"Some freshly harvested potatoes are transported to wholesale markets all over China on special trains, while others are processed in local plants," said Yang Zixing, party secretary of Dingxi city, referring to the city's 20 large factories that turn the smaller, unsuited-for-sale potatoes into starch or potato chips. Previously, these potatoes would have been discarded or used for pig feed.

Some companies have struck deals with Simplot, McDonald's french-fries supplier, to grow and process high-quality potatoes.

The city's potato-processing factories are the source for 25 percent of the local farmers' income.

Dingxi's success story suggests a bright future for potato cultivation in China, as cultivation of the tiny tuber rapidly expands into China's western regions.

"Over 4.7 million hectares of arable land in China are now growing potatoes, up from 2.7 million in the 1980s," said Wang.

"Most of the increased potato cultivation is in China's poor western regions -- the provinces of Gansu, Shaanxi and Qinghai, and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region."

The potato has proven to be more suitable than rice and wheat for cultivation on western China's arid, barren lands, playing a major role in relieving starvation in these regions.

Furthermore, surging demand for potato products like starch can galvanize these less-developed regions to quickly industrialize.

"Potatoes can be made into materials or ingredients that are needed in food processing, papermaking, pharmaceuticals, textiles and many other industries," said Wang.

And although in China potatoes are traditionally not a staple food as they are in many other parts of the world, it is nevertheless an integral part of Chinese cuisine.

Potato-based snacks are also becoming popular in China, especially after western fast food giants like McDonald's and KFC began selling french fries.

Given the market potential and adaptability to arid areas, the potato may well be a new industrial star in China's west.


Made in China, read by the world

What started as a bold idea to radically revamp China Daily many months ago is now just seven days away from becoming a reality.

On March 1, we will launch a dynamic new version of China Daily.
A creative team of top Chinese and international journalists have worked tirelessly to deliver a new product that will better inform the world on Chinacentric and global events.

We have created a fresh visual look that gives you more engaging stories and easier access to information. It is a multicultural product that combines the best design techniques from newspapers, magazines and books in the East and West.

The new China Daily style uses sophisticated typography that combines styles of classicism and modernism in the font world. The fonts are modern versions of classic fonts, and have been specifically drawn for the newspaper medium.

In music, the silence between the notes is often as important as the notes themselves. This is a philosophy adopted in our new design. White space has been dramatically increased to make content easier to read.

Along with the revamped presentation, the editors at China Daily have also taken an introspective look at our content and have focused in on what you want. We will not only bring you the biggest stories in China, but also analyze the how and why, and explain what trends they might reflect and how they affect the world.

Among the many changes in China Daily's content shift you will notice "Cover Story", a daily in-depth report that will cast an investigative eye on China's and the world's most important and controversial topics.

While we examine the big picture, we will be looking at the smaller one, too. Another new feature, "China Face", will shed light on the diversity of China's culture. From villagers to rock stars, "China Face" tells the stories that make up the China.

Our new opinion pages are a place for diversity. We cherish opinions and commentary from all walks of life. This forum for debate, discourse and discussion is designed to help the world understand China and to help China understand the world.

As China continues to rise on the world stage, we will be sending news teams not only throughout China but also across the globe. New bureaus are in the works in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Although China Daily will be made in China, it will be read by the world.

Don't miss next Monday's issue of China Daily, which will include a comprehensive guide on how to navigate the new design and content. Join us for the start of an exciting new era on March 1, 2010.


Quality of China's agricultural produce improving

BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — The quality of China’s agricultural produce including vegetables, domestic animals and aquatics was improved in 2009, the Ministry of Agriculture said Monday.

The ministry released an annual report based on monitoring results of agricultural products, saying 96.4 percent of vegetables had met safety standards in 2009, up 0.1 percentage points year on year.

The rate was 99.5 percent for domestic animals, up 0.8 percentage points, and 97.2 percent for aquatic products, up 1.5 percentage points.

The monitoring of fruits, mushrooms and tea, for the first time in 2009, found 98 percent, 95.2 percent, and 94.8 percent of products in the three categories met standards.

In 2009, the inspections became more detailed, covered more categories, and were carried out in 259 large and medium-sized cities, compared with only 36 major cities previously, the ministry said.

The ministry said it would step up the control over the use of prohibited pesticides and veterinary drugs in 2010 in order to further improve the quality and safety of agricultural produce.


China Consumes 1/4 World's Luxury Goods

"China will replace the U.S. as the world's second largest luxury goods market this year," said Robert Polet, CEO of Gucci Group. "Last year, the wealthy from Chinese mainland purchased one quarter of the world's luxury goods."

Chinese customers are young and have strong consumption potential for the world's luxury brands. According to relevant statistics, Chinese customers purchased 60 percent of their luxury goods when they traveled overseas. "Traveling abroad has become the important factor boosting luxury goods consumption."

According to Liu Jinshan, director of the Economics Department of Jinan University, three factors accounted for the upward trends in luxury goods consumption in China. Firstly, there is a group of newly affluent people who seek high-level and personalized goods. Secondly, they set an example for huge numbers of white collar workers who are acting as loyal slaves to the luxury brands. Thirdly, children of these rich families can afford the high-end products with their parents’ financial support.

As for the development trend of China's luxury goods market, insiders estimate that Chinese people will spend up to 14.6 billion U.S. dollars on luxury goods in the next five years, marking China's status as the world's largest luxury goods market.


"Made-in-China" ad debuts on CNN Asia

A very special advertisement promoting the "Made-in-China" brand has already made its debut on CNN Asia, and it won't be long before it premieres in Europe and North America.

The 30-second ad uses only products that are "Made in China", from running shoes, high fashion, to even air planes. It will soon be aired to audiences in North America and Europe as part of a global campaign against common stereotypes about Chinese products.

Liu Libin, Director of China Advertising Association of Commerce said "We've had this idea for years, and we feel such an ad should improve the image of 'Made in China'. We've invested tens of million yuan on the whole process of filming and airing."

Brand study expert said "More countries have launched anti-dumping investigations since the beginning of this year. China's been through the most severe trade containment since entering the WTO."

The theme of the ad is "Made in China, made with the world". It aims to highlight how Chinese and overseas firms work together to produce high-quality goods. On show are products used in daily life involving cooperation between different firms. These include running shoes made with American sports technology, and an iPod player with software from Silicon valley, a French-designed fashion label and a European-designed refrigerator.


Freakish Design of Apparel in Beijing Fashion Week

It has become the the world's third-largest trading power, the biggest acquirer of foreign public debt and has been hailed the new super power marching its way to world domination.

But if the models marching down the catwalk in China are anything to go by, loss of economic control won't be the only domination the west will have to worry about.

Designers of the future showed off their collections at a graduation show during Fashion Week sporting the impractical, the hideous and the downright bizarre.

One thing is for sure though,the graduates of Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology have a vision - and although it doesn't necessarily include being able to see where you are going, it appears punctuality is paramount.

Sporting a clock-inspired all-in-one, you will never again be late for dinner, miss that all important meeting, or have to stop and ask for the time - because you will be wearing it.

Other designs at China Fashion Week in Beijing featured monochrome, geometric shapes and Darth Vader chic.

If you are unsure of what to do with a leftover Santa outfit this Christmas, the beard would make a good alternative to growing your locks.

The bi-annual fashion extravaganza showcases China's fashion houses and their latest collections to buyers all over the world.


New Opportunities for China Apparel Industry Growth

Rapid economic transformation and government efforts have made China a dominant player in the global textile and apparel trade. Chinese textile and apparel products now constitute an important segment of apparel and textile markets of various developed and developing economies. The country has gained a competitive edge on account of its favorable economic environment, government support, tariffs and tax incentives, SEZ culture, and low labor and raw material cost.

The changing retail industry landscape, coupled with rising purchasing power and increasing influence of Western culture, is also giving a new meaning to the domestic apparel market of China. The emergence of middle class, growing young population and rapid globalization of culture is fuelling the demand for branded apparel in the country. This is attracting the foreign and domestic players to tap the rising demand of branded (as well as mass) segment products.

The emergence of China as one of the largest consumer markets will spur the apparel consumption in coming years. Consumers will prefer more fashionable and branded products. Despite the rise in purchasing power and preference for branded products, mass segment products will continue dominating the apparel purchase in the country. Changing trends and rising consumption will give rise to a new era of apparel and textile industry in China, says “China Apparel Industry - New Opportunities for Growth”, a new research report by RNCOS. As per the report, global financial crisis of 2008 and changing market conditions worldwide will hardly affect China’s dominance in apparel and textile industry.

The research report critically evaluates the current and past performance of the industry and gives a detailed overview on it. It thoroughly discusses factors critical to the success of the apparel and textile industry in China. The report is aimed at offering clients a strategic insight into the concerned industry so that they can better analyze the opportunities which they can leverage to become the market leader.


China Biologic Products Revenue for 2008 increased 44.3%

China Biologic Products Revenue for 2008 increased 44.3%
China Biologic Products, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CBPO) ("China Biologic" or the "Company"), a biopharmaceutical company which is one of the leading plasma-based pharmaceutical companies in China, has reported a net income of $11.98m, or $0.56 per diluted share, for 2008, an increase of 46.5%, compared to $8.18m, or $0.37 per diluted share, for 2007.

Commencing January of 2008, the SFDA implemented stricter pharmaceutical GMP inspection standards designed to intensify supervision of drug producers and ensure drug quality. The new inspection standards include 259 articles, up from 225 articles in the previous standards, covering areas such as the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing processes, self-inspection processes at each stage of production and transportation.

The plasma-based industry has been immune from the impact of the ongoing global financial crisis as the demand for the products has out-paced supply. As a result, the Company's selling price, cost of revenue and operating expenses during 2008 were not impacted by the global financial turmoil.

Currently, China Biologic is the only approved manufacturer of plasma-based biopharmaceuticals in Shandong Province, which has a population of 93 million. China Biologic currently produces about 200 tons of plasma-based products per year and has 700 tons of annual production capacity. The Company is pursuing an aggressive acquisition strategy aimed at becoming the largest non-state-owned producer of plasma-based products in China.

Revenue for the full year 2008 increased 44.3% to $46.75m from $32.4m in 2007. The increase in revenues for 2008 is primarily attributable to a general increase in the price of plasma-based products which was partially offset by the sales volume decrease except for human immunoglobulin, and the foreign exchange translation, which accounted for 12.5% of the increase.

Chao Ming Zhao, CEO of China Biologic Products, said: "We are pleased to report strong revenue and net income results for 2008. We believe that our significant operating leverage demonstrates the success of the marketing strategies that we implemented in 2008. More recently, we were pleased to announce that our subsidiary, Shandong Taibang Biological Products, has completed the government approval process for the transfer of 35% equity interest in Xi'an Huitian Blood Products.

"We expect to close the Huitian acquisition, as well as the previously announced Qianfeng acquisition, in the near term. We expect that both of these acquisitions combined will transform China Biologic into the largest privately held plasma-based biopharmaceutical company in China."


China goods cheeper in Nepal due to truck fare decrease

China goods cheeper due to truck fare decrease

Due to a drastic decrease in transportation fare along the Lhasa-Kathmandu route, Chinese goods are becoming cheaper. The Lhasa-Kathmandu route includes the world's longest downhill run--a drop of 4200m in just over 160kms of heart-stopping descent Tibet is still one of the most remote regions in the world and any visit will be an adventure.

Rajan Thapaliya's is a case in point. A few months ago, he used to pay the trucker up to Rs. 250,000 for each truckload of goods imported to Kathmandu from Lhasa in Tibet. On Wednesday, however, a truckload of goods cost him just Rs. 35,000 in transport fare. Thapaliya's imported blanket costs Rs. 1,800 instead of Rs. 2000.

Truckers have been competing to transport goods at the lowest possible rate after the Chinese administration decided to allow more Nepali containers to enter its territory a month ago, Hari Dahal, General Secretary of the Nepal Truck Container Professionals' Organisation, says.

“We began importing goods via the sea route as the fare through the Tatopani route rose to a staggering Rs. 300,000 per container,” said General Secretary of the Nepal Trans-Himalayan Commerce Association Keshav Rayamajhi.

According to him, around 60 percent of Chinese goods needed for the summer are being imported through the sea routes. “It costs around Rs. 200,000 to bring in a container full of goods by sea,” says Rayamajhi.

Earlier, truckers and importers fixed Rs. 60,000 as the fare for transportation of each truckload of goods from Khasa to Kathmandu, but the NTCPO could not enforce the same, importers complained. High transportation cost has always been a bone of contention between truckers and importers.

Rayamajhi says the price of Chinese goods may go down by 10-15 percent if the fare remains steady for sometime.

Officials at the Tatopani Customs Office, however, claim that their measures, aimed at controlling smuggling, have paid off. “Earlier, truckers used to charge exorbitant fares for transportation of smuggled goods,” according to Chudamani Devkota, Chief of the Tatopani Customs Office.

He says the fare has gone down also because transporters have relaxed their turn-based transportation system.

According to Krishna Gaire, an importer of readymade garments, the fare decreased also due to decline in demand for garments, which is quite normal during off-season.


China Boosts Car Makers through New Stimulus Plan

China Boosts Car Makers through New Stimulus Plan
As the basic foundation for industrial and enterprise development, talent strategy is essential. At present, China is experiencing a critical period of auto industry development. In the scenario of global fierce competition, the shortage of talents has emerged as a "bottleneck" impeding rapid progress of the industry. Hence the key factor to sustainable development of automobile industry lies on talents.

China now has unveiled a wide-ranging stimulus plan to boost key industries as part of a series of measures designed to counter the effects of a global economic slowdown.

This package includes the halving of sales tax on small cars and subsidies designed to revive the country's car industry, one of the pillars of the world's third-largest economy.

For about 30 years of reform and opening up to the outside world, China's annual auto output increased to near 9 million from 150,000, together with ever-increased production scale. With the rapid development of auto industry, the talent force is continuously expanding.

On the 4th China Auto Human Resource Forum, the senior expert of the FAW Group Corporation said, with more highly skilled talents, we can promote industrial development and strive for automobile 'creative' big power from 'manufacturing' big power.

It is reported that more than 200 participants from different enterprises, colleges and universities, research institutions gathered at the forum and discussed the auto talent training and education, the cooperation mechanism among government, enterprise, college and university, research institutions.


More Recall of China-Made Cribs in U.S

China-made cribs

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and a Taiwanese crib distributor have recalled 56,450 more Chinese-made cribs sold nationwide for posing danger to infants and toddlers. There were a total 19 reports of wooden crib slats breaking and the gap created can trap and strangle babies.

The CPSC and Jardine Enterprises made the joint announcement of the recall Tuesday after receiving a report of a 22-month-old child falling through the gap between the crib slats when a slat broke. The child was not injured.

A US firm has recalled almost 1.6 million cribs made in China, Indonesia and Taiwan after two babies died.New York-based Delta Enterprises refused to give further details but a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry urged consumers and producers to report faulty products.
The China National Furniture Association said it was not aware of the recall, but said Chinese companies may not be the ones to blame.

'It's possible that the safety risks lay in the designs or standards made by clients, while Chinese companies were just following up.'

The crib recall is one of the largest in U.S. history and follows another recall of 2,000 cribs, also made in China, which was issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday.
The CPSC warned consumers not to use three models of the products, namely Dark Pine Olympia Lifetime Crib, Antique Walnut Capri Single Crib and White Capri Lifetime Crib. The recalled cribs were manufactured and exported from 2004 to 2007 and are sold at KidsWorld, Geoffrey Stores, Toys "R" Us, and Babies "R" Us stores nationwide, and at babiesrus.com.
It comes about a year after a massive recall of Chinese toys tainted with lead and sold by toy firm Mattel.

In June 2008, the CPSC and Jardine also voluntarily recalled 320,000 cribs that pose similar hazards to babies.


How to detect melamine in China food products

Melamine, a chemical normally used to make plastics and glues, is added to simulate acceptable protein levels. The chemical is at the centre of the latest tainted food scandal in China. Toxic ingredients from China killed or sickened thousands of dogs and cats in the US last year, prompting a public outcry. The WHO has said that as of Sept. 25, more than 54,000 infants and children in China had been taken to hospitals and clinics for treatment of urinary problems — such as renal tube blockages and kidney stones — related to the presence of melamine in infant formula and other dairy products. More than 14,000 infants had been hospitalized after ingesting the contaminated formula, of which a little less than 13,000 remained in hospitals. Some health experts said more must be done to ensure accuracy and overall food safety.

It is likely that the tainted milk was first diluted with water to increase its volume, and then had melamine added to boost nitrogen content, an indirect indicator of protein content. The chemical is not a substance used in any facet of food production.

People have to grind and homogenise the food samples, and then put them through a series of steps with an organic solvent to extract, clean and concentrate them before they analyse them for melamine.


The European Commission had recommended that all EU member states use gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze imports of wheat gluten and other raw materials from developing countries — in particular China. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) used the method to test for melamine and similar compounds in wheat gluten and pet food ingredients from China.

The samples are then separated into their parts using a process called Liquid Chromatography-tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).


Mass spectrometry, which can detect very low evels of a compound, is then used to analyse them. LC-MS/MS testing is capable of detecting melamine levels as low as 0.05 parts per million (ppm). LC-MS/MS is a more precise instrument than GC-MS. This method would be used to test for melamine in the raw materials imported for use in creamers, milk powder and baby formula.

The technique is 500 times more sensitive in detecting melamine than high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), which was previously favored by the health department.

But the method to test for melamine in other, finished products remained unclear.


China Food Melamine-free Label

China Food Melamine-free Label

Taipei Report 2008-9-27

The Department of Health said five labs certified to test for melamine had been working night and day to cope with the growing backlog of samples.

China Food Melamine-free Label

Newly Department of Health Minister Yeh Chin-chuan checks products containing milk powder that are still on sale at a Taipei supermarket yesterday. The store has displayed copies of certification to prove that the products have been tested and found to meet Department of Health regulations.


Meanwhile the DOH said yesterday that it would step up its random examination of food products from countries with dubious food safety standards.

“We have targeted products from certain countries with questionable standards and we do not rule out the possibility of carrying out the strictest batch-by-batch examinations of suspect products,” Yeh said, declining to name any countries.

Asked to comment on the scandal involving Pizza Hut, Yeh said it was only one case and that the source of the tainted ingredients had yet to be identified.

Pizza Hut on Friday reported to the DOH that 65,000 packets of cheese powder contaminated with up to 76.2ppm of melamine may have been consumed by its customers.

Pizza Hut has since recalled all unused cheese packets.

To date, five cases of kidney stones have been reported nationwide that could be linked to melamine.


The Department of Health (DOH) said the nation’s five laboratories certified for testing, including the Food Industry Research and Development Institute, had been working night and day to cope with the growing backlog of companies that need to have products tested.

The DOH said it planned to have another 16 labs certified by the Taiwan Accreditation Foundation to help with melamine testing.

The labs, when ready, will accept samples seven days a week, it said.

Yeh said yesterday that the DOH would meet local health authorities in 25 counties and cities tomorrow to coordinate inspection procedures.

On Tuesday, the DOH will contact experts in the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the EU to collaborate on standard inspection procedures and setting a threshold for melamine detection, he said.


Yeh said the government was responsible for screening all imported foodstuffs and that all agencies, including the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine and the Bureau of Food and Drug Analysis would “apply the strictest screening standards.”

In response to a report in the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) that customs personnel had not yet received lists of banned imports, Yeh said the task force had confirmed that instructions on banned products — including Chinese-made milk powder, other dairy products and vegetable-based proteins — had been issued as early as Tuesday.

Not one banned product has made it past Taiwan’s borders since, he said.


China government strengthens quality supervision on export goods and foods

China's Sanlu admits contamination of baby milk powder products

China government strengthens quality supervision on export goods and foods

Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Monday ordered its local agencies to step up quality supervision efforts targeted at export-oriented foods, dairy products, medicines, toys and furniture products.

This notice came after tainted dairy products sickened thousands of infants in the country.

China's tainted milk scandal spread beyond the mainland to Hong Kong, as doctors in the city discovered a kidney stone in a 3-year-old girl, Bloomberg reported. The girl's parents took her for a checkup after learning the milk she had been drinking for 15 months - made by mainland dairy firm Yili - may contain the chemical melamine. At least four children have died after consuming tainted milk products, and the number of hospitalized cases has risen almost ninefold to 12,892, according to CCTV, the state broadcaster. Of these, 104 patients are in a serious condition.

China's tainted milk scandal

A total of 39,965 children have visited clinics due to illness induced by the tainted products. Milk products made by Sanlu, the company first exposed in the scandal, are thought to be responsible for most of the hospitalizations so far. However, a further 21 Chinese dairy producers have been implicated, including the three largest: Yili, China Mengniu and Bright Dairy & Food.

The scandal was brought to light on Sept. 11 when the Beijing-based Ministry of Health said it found melamine in baby formula made by Sanlu Group Co., 43 percent owned by Auckland, New Zealand-based Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd.

Chinese quality-supervision authorities said on Sept. 19 that they had found melamine in 24 batches of liquid milk and yogurt. The Chinese and Hong Kong governments have set up telephone hotlines for distributing medical information to concerned parents and recalled milk products that tests show may contain melamine, a toxic chemical used for making plastics and tanning leather.

China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce had paid refunds for 304 tons of dairy products as of Sept. 20, according to Xinhua News Agency. In China, 39,965 children have visited clinics after falling ill from the powder, the official CCTV reported.

"Local commerce agencies should set up special quality supervision working groups and establish export-oriented product quality reporting system on those foods and goods that may affect consumers' health and safety," said the MOC in a notice on its website.

If serious export goods quality problems occur, local market watchdogs should report the issue to higher authorities without delaying. Manufacturers should be responsible for recalling all the problem products immediately, according to the ministry.

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