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Conch Group Continues to Be the Leading Company in Anhui’s Listed Enterprises

    Several days ago, 109 Anhuis listed enterprises have published annual reports in 2019. According to statistics, by the end of the reporting period, 99 companies achieved profits. Among them, Conch Group continues to be the leading company, of which the operating income and net profit both ranked the first in Anhuis listed enterprises.


    As recently as May 13th, Forbes released its 2020 Forbes Global 2000 list, among the 367 Chinese companies, Conch Group ranking 312, up 95 places from its ranking in 2019. 


    In 2019, Conch Group adhered to the international, intelligent and green development, and its economic benefits and production and sales volume kept rising. The company’s total market value exceeded 300 billion yuan. The company insists on promoting the green transformation of traditional manufacturing industry with technological innovation, and takes the lead in building an intelligent cement factory with production of  whole process in the industry, which has truly realized the “green mine, intelligent production, strong efficiency and excellent service”. China took the lead in building the world’s first carbon dioxide capture and purification demonstration project, and realized the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and commercial conversion and utilization of cement industry. The company also further expands the green industrial chain, and actively explores the green upgrading of traditional industries.

Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

Construction of Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou High-Speed Railway Enters “Countdown”

The reporter learned that recently, the preliminary design of the Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou High-Speed Railway was approved. In addition, the first phase of the high-speed railway (Huzhou to Huzhou East) began to carry out construction bidding, the planned construction period of 4 years. After the completion of this high-speed railway, Wuhu will have a second high-speed rail channel to Shanghai, and the operation time between the two cities will be further shortened.

Reporters learned that the Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou High-Speed Railway is an extension of the Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou High-Speed Railway to Shanghai, which will form a new railway passenger channel connecting the Yangtze river delta area with central and western regions such as Anhui Province. Wuhu is one of the important stations on this high-speed railway. Hefei to Huzhou section of the Shangqiu-Hefei-Hangzhou High-Speed Railway will soon be opened to traffic. Wuhu will have a second high-speed rail corridor to Shanghai after the Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou High-Speed Railway is completed and put into operation.

Then high-speed trains from Wuhu to Shanghai will be able to run from Xuancheng, Huzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai as well as from Maanshan, Nanjing, Wuxi, Suzhou and Shanghai. The running mileage of the line between two cities will also be reduced.


 In addition, since the ShangqiuHefei-Hangzhou and Shanghai-Suzhou-Huzhou high-speed trains are designed at a speed of 350 km/h, the operation time between wuhu and suzhou, Shanghai will be greatly shortened, and the number of high-speed trains running between the two regions is expected to increase.

Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

Chinese Automaker Chery Sales Rebound in April

HEFEI — Chinese automaker Chery Holdings Co Ltd saw its sales rebound in April compared with March as demand warms up.


Last month, Chery sold 40,079 vehicles, a month-on-month growth of 15.4 percent. Sales of new energy vehicles surged by 112.5 percent month on month, according to a sales report by the company.


Chery also saw bullish export markets in countries including Russia and Brazil, delivering 31,845 vehicles in the first four months of this year, up 67.5 percent year on year.

Wuhu City’s Total Revenue of Tourism Reached 540 Million Yuan During the May Day Holiday

   During the May Day holiday, the city’s cultural tourism market and scenic spots are well-ordered with colorful tourist activities. According to statistics, the city received a total of 1.15 million tourists, with tourism revenue reaching 540 million yuan.


    During the holiday, Wuhu City’s A-level tourist attractions strictly implemented the spirit of relevant instructions to control the number of the tourists, to maintain the order of the scenic spots and to strictly prevent disorder and congestion. During this holiday, in Wuhu Fanta tourist area and the citys other scenic spots, the flow of tourists is stable and well-organized, and none of them received tourists more than 30%.    


    During this holiday, the city’s major scenic spots have carried out various forms of activities, and issued a variety of preferential ticket policies, which further enriched the city’s tourism market and accelerated the recovery process of the tourism industry. Under the influence of favorable factors such as continuous fine weather, rural tourism is popular. Many citizens began to go out to enjoy the scenery nearby. Peripheral tour, spring outing tour, self-driving tour, rural tour and other short and medium routes are most popular with tourists, and the trend of recovery in the tourism market around the city is obvious. According to incomplete statistics, 340,700 tourists visited rural area of our city during the holiday, including 16,280,000 tourists in Maren Qifeng scenic spot, with ticket income of 1,798,800 yuan.

                                                             Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

Wuhu City’s Autumn And Winter Air Quality Continued to Improve

Recently, Ministry of Ecology and Environment released the completion of environmental air quality targets for key regions in the autumn and winter of 2019-2020. The reporter saw that the city’s average PM2.5 concentration in the autumn and winter of 2019-2020 was 47 micrograms per cubic meter, falling 24.2% year on year, ranking the fourth in the province, the eighth among the 41 cities in the Yangtze river delta region and exceeding the national target of 4% reduction. The number of days with heavy pollution was reduced to 1 day from 4 days in the autumn and winter of 2018, achieving the target of continuous improvement.


During the autumn and winter period from 2019 to 2020, our city continuously promoted the “five control” measures of coal control, gas control, vehicle control, dust control and combustion control, closely centering on the requirements of the action plan for comprehensive treatment of air pollution, with 60 major tasks completed on schedule.


To win the blue-sky battle, action and persistence are important. In the final year of the battle, Wuhu City has planned ahead of time and fully deployed. We will adhere to the original direction and efforts to continue to promote the upgrading of key industries, prevent and control the diesel truck pollution, renovate industrial furnaces and boilers and strengthen the capacity of early warning and forecasting so as to achieve precise, scientific and law-based pollution control, resolutely win the blue-sky battle and help the city achieve high-quality and green development.

                                                        Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

China’s Excavators Back on Track as Infrastructure Construction Accelerates

 


HEFEI, May 6 (Xinhua) — As various pieces of engineering machinery rumbled on a construction site along the Yangtze River, a cross-river tunnel in the city of Wuhu, east China’s Anhui Province, was under construction.


 


The tunnel, with an investment of 5.4 billion yuan (about 762.6 million U.S. dollars), will be the first cross-river tunnel in Anhui Province. Since it resumed operation on April 15 as the epidemic wanes, some eight big excavators have been steadily rolling through the site.


  


As the novel coronavirus has been largely contained in China and the production resumption of companies and factories accelerated, the demand for excavators rose substantially in March, said the China Construction Mach inery Association.


 


Data from the association showed that excavator sales, an important indicator of infrastructure development, hit a record high of 46,610 in March, up 11.2 percent year on year.


 


Sun Binbin, a sales manager of a company selling engineering machinery in Wuhu has seen a rise in sales in the first quarter.


 


According to Sun, the sales of excavators produced by the leading construction gear maker Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. in his company hit 50 in the first three months, an increase of more than 20 percent over the previous year.


 


“It costs about 700,000 yuan to buy a big excavator while most customers are still willing to purchase it even with a mortgage as they are positive about the infrastructure construction this year,” said Sun, adding that excavator drivers have also become sought-after, with their salary reaching over 10,000 yuan per month.


 


In Sun’s view, the accelerating work resumption of large-scale engineering projects just like the cross-river tunnel in Wuhu is an important factor contributing to the soaring excavator sales.


 


Xiang Wenbo, president of Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. said that the infrastructure construction around the country is speeding up the recovery as the excavator operation rate nationwide reached 58.36 percent on April 16 while that of east China’s Zhejiang Province and Anhui Province were both up to 69 percent.


 


Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that a total of 11,998 new projects were launched in March, increasing by 9,497 from the first two months.


 


On the same day when the construction on the tunnel in Wuhu resumed, 270 major projects involving vehicles, intelligent manufacturing and new energy kicked off in Anhui, with an investment totaling 152.34 billion yuan.


 


As workers get back to construction sites and government bond issuance accelerates, infrastructure investments will return to growth by the end of the second quarter, said Li Chao, an analyst with Zheshang Securities, predicting that infrastructure investments will grow by 10 to 15 percent this year.


 


Except for major construction projects, the recovery of new rural construction and some municipal engineering has driven the popularity of small excavators.


 


Figures from the China Construction Machinery Association showed that the sales of small excavators in March reached 31,616, up 18.49 percent compared with the previous year, accounting for over 90 percent of the total sales.


 


“There are more than 10 small excavators on this construction site as more people are willing to purchase and learn how to drive small ones,” said Liu Yong, an excavator driver working in a scenic renovation project in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, for over 10 days.


 


“We expect to have more work this year after finishing this project,” he added.

The First Female Police Guard in Wuhu City Was Established Yesterday

    On 26th, April, the forth, fifth and sixth grades in primary schools and the first and second grades in high schools in Wuhu City started resumption. On the same day, the first female police guard of the Traffic Police Detachment of the Public Security Bureau of Wuhu City was officially established and went on duty.


    On that day, Traffic Police Detachment of Wuhu Public Security Bureau held the unveiling ceremony for the establishment of the first female police guard in the west campus of Primary School Affiliated to Anhui Normal University. Subsequently, 6 female traffic police officers formally took up their duties, becoming a beautiful scenery line for guarding the campus. It is understood that the first female police guard was organized by Yijiang Brigade under the Traffic Police Detachment of the Public Security Bureau of Wuhu City. At present, there are 6 female police officers with an average age of 26 years old in this post, mainly undertaking tasks of road safety education and students protection around this primary school in the morning, afternoon and evening school rush hours to ensure the traffic safety of the students. It is known that other schools also arranged traffic police guards at school gates.

Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

Municipal Leaders Supervise and Inspect the Work of Epidemic Prevention and Control

On 24th, April, vice mayor, He Dong, visited schools, communities and health service centers to supervise and inspect the prevention and control of the epidemic, conducting on-site check of school resumption preparation and daily prevention and management measures, carefully understanding the situation of community joint prevention and control and people from overseas and focus areas, and seriously inquired about the daily follow-up and diagnosis and treatment situation.


 


He Dong pointed out that to consolidate the results of the prevention and control, we must always tighten the string and make unremitting efforts to implement various measures to prevent external imported cases and internal rebounds. We need to ensure that people from overseas and focus areas are under whole-process control and closed management, adjusting, optimizing and normalizing prevention and control measures at key sites, key units and key groups. In the key fields of social life and production, such as the resumption of work, business and school, prevention and control measures are strictly required. In particular, the May Day holiday is coming. We need to make preparations in advance, strengthen guidance, and make careful and proper arrangements to prevent and control the epidemic in people’s travel and tourism.

Translated by Yuan Mengwen from Foreign Affairs Office of Wuhu Municipal People’s Government

The Economist: China’s mid-sized cities are enjoying a property boom

FOR years Wuhu, a city (pictured) in the poor central province of Anhui, was on the front line of a national effort to reduce a glut of unsold homes. New property developments stretched into the haze along the Yangzi river on the town’s western edge. But buyers were scarce: although Anhui has a population about the size of Italy’s, many of its people have long preferred to work in richer parts of the country. Officials in Wuhu tried to entice locals to buy homes, offering tax breaks. At one point they even promised to subsidise the cost, an act of desperation that made Wuhu an emblem of China’s real-estate woes.

Since early 2016, however, the city’s property prices have soared by more than 30%. Earlier this month the city sharply changed tack, introducing measures to curb speculation. For example, it required that buyers of new homes wait at least two years before selling. Developers were ordered to set prices within predetermined ranges. The city also vowed to expand the land available for development. The glut of unsold homes is, in other words, no more. A shortage is the new concern.

The striking improvement in Wuhu’s property market has echoes around the country. It is one of the 60 or so cities deemed to be “third tier”. The designation refers not just to their political ranking and size (medium by China’s standards, with populations of roughly 1m-3m); until recently it also summed up prevailing sentiment about their prospects. Analysts and investors have generally been positive about China’s first-tier megacities (Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou) and its second-tier giants, especially those in good locations such as Hangzhou in the east and Foshan in the south. But there was less enthusiasm for cities ranked in the third tier and below. They were seen as suffering from weak industrial bases, flimsy social services and a steady brain-drain as their most educated residents left for more exciting places.

Yet a rally in China’s property market, which began in its big cities in 2015, is filtering down to these also-rans. Housing prices in third-tier cities are up by 7% over the past year on average, and by much more in the best performers (see chart). Their markets have remained hot this year, even while their bigger peers have cooled off. This has helped to reduce the stock of unsold homes. The amount of housing for sale has fallen almost continuously for the past 14 months, the longest sustained decline since records began in 2001.


That would seem to be unambiguously good news. But a closer look at third-tier cities suggests caution is in order. Speculation has played a large role in their new-found prominence. Capital controls, progressively tightened over the past two years, have trapped cash in the country. After a stockmarket collapse in 2015, housing became the most appealing asset—all the more so when, to boost the economy, the government began encouraging state-run banks to increase their mortgage lending to homebuyers. After a run-up in prices in big cities, investors looked to smaller markets for bargains.

Recent government efforts to douse the fervour in big cities had a similar effect. When Hefei, Anhui’s capital, started restricting purchases last year, buyers rushed elsewhere, including to Wuhu. Li Guochang, head of a property-research institute in Anhui, estimates that people from outside Wuhu account for more than a quarter of purchases this year, up from the normal level of about a tenth. There are now roughly 20% more homes owned in Wuhu than there are households in the city, he says. As he puts it: “This doesn’t seem very healthy.”

Nevertheless, it is too easy to treat the rally in third-tier cities as froth. Owner-occupiers make up a majority of the market. Many are locals who have the means to move to nicer homes, tired of the shabby six-floor walk-ups that still dominate many old city-centres. As for speculators, they might just know a thing or two. It has been striking that the price surge in third-tier cities has not been evenly spread around China, but rather concentrated in markets that have better locations. Places that fall within the gravitational pull of the most prosperous cities, particularly in the east and south, have fared the best. But thanks to better infrastructure links, there are many more locations that can be defined as good. Wuhu used to be a backwater. Today it is less than three hours from Shanghai by high-speed rail. In the north and west of China, well away from its glittering coast, housing prices are about the same as they were five years ago.

Homeward bound

A cascade of development has also changed the economies of mid-sized cities. As land prices and wages have risen along the coast, companies have moved inland. Wuhu, for example, now boasts numerous robotics firms. Population flows are changing, too. Anhui is one of the main sources of the migrants who staff factories and work on construction sites around the country. But its permanent population has risen by 1.7m since 2014, buoyed by the return of some of its migrant workers.

Similar reversals are also occurring in two other big out-migration provinces: Sichuan in the south-west and Hunan, Anhui’s neighbour. Some migrants are returning because of old age—the government restricts their access to health care and other benefits in places other than where they were born (to control prices, some cities have recently limited their ability to buy homes, too). Others are lured by an improvement in job opportunities. A teacher at a vocational college in Wuhu says most of his students now stay put.

The central government wants to promote this trend: it believes it will help it achieve its goal of curbing the growth of the biggest cities. Shanghai’s population has nearly doubled since 1990, to 24m. Between now and 2040, the city is aiming for a maximum of 1m more residents. Smaller cities, meanwhile, are being encouraged to attract outsiders. Some, such as Wuhu, offer special grants to university graduates who choose to live in them.

China’s campaign to control city sizes may end up causing economic harm, placing artificial limits on the most productive urban centres. It is also deeply unfair to migrants from the countryside who have toiled for years in big cities but who have little hope of settling down permanently in them . But Wuhu and its third-tier brethren are not complaining: the restrictions, loathed by so many, are helping to give them life.

Let’s all go green and explore its real economic benefits

Girls in traditional Chinese costumes enjoy a spring tour in Fantawild park in Wuhu, Anhui province. (Lai Xinlin / For China Daily)
Prose writer Liu Liangcheng wrote his book In Xinjiang with a tribute to the ancient town of Kuqa, claiming that “in this field, grass can grow old heartily without worries of being eradicated. A tree does not need to worry about choosing a wrong place for growth … Birds nest in the branches and catch insects in the wheat fields underneath.”

But, he laments, “in many places, people have been too diligent, changing the Earth to an unearthly state that only suits themselves for a living … There, except for the edible grain, the land no longer has any right to grow anything else.”

Much so in an era of industrialization and urbanization, so I tried to find an example which goes against this trend, and got one: Wuhu, a city in Anhui province sitting on both banks of the Yangtze River.

This past spring, I toured its God Mountain Park. Strolling around, I could hear birds chirping, see many people walking, playing or doing exercises, and encounter lakes dotted with lotuses and reeds, five mountain ridges flanked by trees, flowers and weeds, as well as small rivers abuzz with fish and insects.

I told the city’s information office chief Ma Tao, who accompanied me on the trip, that the city must have forgone a lot in preserving this 326-hectare parkland, as the area might have been packed with many cash-earning high-rises, as Wuhu is renowned for its Chery cars, Conch cement, Fantawild travel and booming industrial and high-tech zones.

He nodded, adding: “But you can see so many people enjoying themselves here. On weekends, there are more. Their enjoyment and ensuing improved health are our gains. We all know that for everything forgone, there’s a gain.”

So that’s their gain. By forgoing a trade-off of possible high-rises, they gained pleasure and better health.

Years ago, when I read Thomas Sowell’s A Citizen’s Guide to Economics, I was deeply impressed by its quotation from Ann Landers: “You can’t have it all. Where would you put it?”

Wuhu gave us an answer. And so do numerous other places. Nanjing’s Translations magazine reported recently that in the German city of Hanover, local residents have fought for more than 600 years to protect the Waldstation Eilenriede, a 600-hectare sea of forests from occupiers, logging thieves, builders, designers and even the city government. They eventually saved this forest sanctuary for them to seek enjoyment and peace.

The Christian Science Monitor reported the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Oct 25 completed the establishment of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge, including 15,000 acres of land mainly consisting of shrubland teeming with animals and insects. It will be the country’s 566th, joining a network of protected areas covering over 150 million acres of land.

But, are there real gains behind green economics?

Wuhu information office chief Ma pointed out residents’ enjoyment and their ensuing improved health, which I believe might lead to reduced medical bills.

The U.S. group Defenders of Wildlife said that the major benefit of the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge would be that it would attract birdwatchers and other visitors.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cited a 2013 national report, saying that spending by visitors to the refuge generated nearly $343 million in local, county, state, and federal tax revenue in 2011, while supporting more than 35,000 jobs.

In Guangdong province, seven villages at the foot of Luofu Mountain have transformed themselves into a “sea” of flowers-instead of planting crops-since 2015, attracting urban dwellers to take weekend tours there.

Nanfang Daily reported that the villagers’ gains are obvious. During the May Day holiday this year, they attracted around 80,000 visitors, netting 5.6 million yuan ($836,000) from fruit and vegetable sales, and catering.

So that’s real. Let’s all go green, and fully explore what it can bring.

By MA CHENGUANG