World Newsletter

5 January 2020


China will step up efforts to promote the transformation and upgrading of outsourced services, with the view to achieving better structure and higher quality of the services sector, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Friday.

Premier Li Keqiang stressed the significance of growing high-tech and high-value-added outsourced services in advancing structural adjustments and driving industrial upgrading.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows a sound momentum of growth in the outsourced services. Between January and July last year, Chinese firms signed service outsourcing contracts worth 722.58 billion yuan (about $102.62 billion), up by 7.4 percent year-on-year.

"Developing outsourced services helps keep foreign investment and employment stable, and also contributes to economic upgrading. Though our country started relatively late in outsourced services, we have made fairly fast progress and have our own advantages," Li said.

The Friday meeting decided on steps to build greater capacity in undertaking outsourced services at a faster pace as part of the effort to facilitate economic upgrading.

Information technology will be applied to promote "Services Plus." New service models such as crowdsourcing, cloud outsourcing and platform subcontracting, and new types of industry such as service-embedded manufacturing will be developed. Efforts will be made to enhance the competitiveness in undertaking outsourced services in pharmaceutical research and development, design and accounting, and to strengthen the capability of contracting and delivering such services.

Service outsourcing will be gradually included in the "single-window" in international trade. In the service outsourcing demonstration cities, materials imported for such service sectors as research and development, design, testing and maintenance shall be regulated as bonded goods on a trial basis.

"We must deepen the reform of government functions and further open up the outsourced services sector. A negative list for market access has been formulated. Areas off the list should be opened up as much as possible, and government oversight needs to be accommodating yet prudent to meet the fast-developing trend of the digital economy," Li said.

It was decided at the meeting to revise the catalog of key areas in outsourced services to promote the upgrading toward higher value-added outsourced services and create more jobs for young people, college graduates in particular.

"We must promptly summarize the experience gained in the pilot programs and expand their coverage," Li said.

"Good performance in outsourced services will also help build our domestic brands," Li said.



Chinese striker Wu Lei was the hero as he scored a late equalizing goal as the side bottom of the Liga Santander drew 2-2 with league leaders and local rivals FC Barcelona on Saturday night.

The forward's first league goal of the campaign also ensured that Espanyol's third coach of the season, Abelardo Fernandez got off to a positive start as the club seeks to avoid relegation

Espanyol looked to stifle Barca on the ball, but although the league leaders had plenty of possession they did little to threaten Espanyol before David Lopez put the home side ahead with a flicked header following a free kick from the right.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde looked to inject some more urgency into his side, replacing Ivan Rakitic with Arturo Vidal and he got his reward in the 50th minute when Suarez, who had earlier hit the post, produced a sharp finish at the near post.

The Uruguayan then produced the cross that allowed Vidal to head Barca in front in the 59th minute.

Espanyol keeper Diego Lopez twice saved well to deny Suarez a second goal of the night, before Frenkie de Jong was sent off with 15 minutes remaining after receiving his second booking of the game.

Wu Lei came on as a substitute for Espanyol a minute before De Jong's sending off and quickly tested Neto with a header which the keeper saved well

However, Neto could do nothing in the 88th minute when Wu Lei found space on the right of the Barca area and drilled a low shot into the corner of the net to spark wild celebrations in the stands.

Real Madrid had defender Raphael Varane and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to thank as they won 3-0 away to Gefate.

Varene headed in Madrid's two opening goals - the first with the collaboration of Getafe keeper, David Soria, while Courtois kept Getafe at bay with a series of impressive saves, before Luka Modric scored Madrid's third goal deep into injury time.

All of the goals came in the first 18 minutes as Atletico Madrid beat Levante 2-1 in the Wanda Metropolitano stadium.

Angel Correa opened the scoring in the 13th minute, only for Roger Marti to equalize for the visitors three minutes later with his ninth goal of the season.

Felipe Monteiro then netted the decisive goal two minutes later and Atletico were content to keep Levante at bay for the rest of the game, although the visitors almost snatched a point in the last seconds only for Jan Oblak to produce a stunning save to deny Enis Bardhi's header.

Maxi Gomez's 27th minute header gave Valencia three points at home to a hard-working Eibar and the visitors' day was made worse in injury time when defender Paulo Oliveira was sent off after seeing a second yellow card.

Friday saw two games with Sevilla held to a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Club Bilbao, who took the lead thanks to a first half goal from Ander Capa, only for Unai Nunez to put the ball into his own net while trying to cut out a dangerous cross on the hour.

Meanwhile Leganes' improvement continued under Javier Aguirre as the side from the south of Madrid took a 2-2 draw from their visit to Valladolid with Martin Braithwaite and Roque Mesa's goals for the visitors cancelled out by two goals from Enis Unal.



The State Council, China's cabinet, on Saturday appointed Luo Huining as the new liaison office chief in Hong Kong, replacing Wang Zhimin.

According to Xinhua, Wang was relieved from his post as director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong SAR.

Luo, a native of Yiwu city, East China's Zhejiang province, in 1954. Previously he held the post of governor of Northwest China's Qinghai province in 2010. He was appointed secretary of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China in 2016.

On Dec 28, Luo was appointed vice-chairman of the Financial and Economic Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress.

Wang has held the post since September 2017.



Zhao Zhengyong, former Party chief of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) over serious violations of Party disciplinary rules and laws, according to the country's top anti-graft body on Saturday.

He has been under investigation for almost one year by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission.

Zhao is not the only senior Shaanxi official facing punishment on the same day.

Chen Guoqiang, the province's former deputy governor, was expelled from the Party and dismissed from public office.

The watchdog said in a statement that Chen lost his ideals and convictions, was disloyal and dishonest to the Party, played up to people of power to seek personal promotion and resisted authorities' investigation.

Chen violated the eight-point code on Party and government conduct by accepting banquets invitation and free travels, said the statement, adding that he also sought profit for others in business operation and personnel promotion and illegally accepted huge amounts of property in return.

Chen violated the Party's political and organizational discipline and discipline on upholding integrity, and is suspected of taking bribes, said the statement, noting that he showed no signs of restraint even after the 18th CPC National Congress.

His qualification for delegate to the 13th CPC Shaanxi Provincial Congress was terminated, it said.

His illicit gains will be confiscated and the suspected crimes will be transferred to the procuratorate for further investigation and prosecution, said the statement.



China's banking regulator unveiled revised management regulations for foreign banks to advance opening up of the banking sector to a higher level and promote its high-quality development.

Foreign banks can establish branches and wholly foreign-owned banks at the same time on the Chinese mainland, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

The requirement on total assets for foreign banks to establish business institutions in China was eliminated, and the selection range of the Chinese major shareholder of the Sino-foreign joint venture banks was widened.

The regulations delegated and adjusted parts of the approval authority regarding the qualifications of the directors and the senior management personnel in foreign banks and the opening of the branches.

Review requirements related to equity management, anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing were also added in the regulations.



China's securities regulator has given the nod to the registration-based initial public offerings (IPOs) of three companies on the science and technology innovation board.

Zhejiang Orient Gene Biotech Co Ltd, Shenzhen Neoway Technology Co Ltd and Suzhou Zelgen Biopharmaceuticals Co Ltd will be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange's sci-tech innovation board, commonly known as the STAR market, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

It did not specify the total amount of funds to be raised.

The companies and their underwriters will confirm the IPO dates and publish their prospectuses following discussions with the stock exchange.

The STAR market, inaugurated in June and designed to support companies in the high-tech and strategic emerging sectors, eases the listing criteria but adopts higher requirements for information disclosure.



China's central bank continued to pump cash into the money market in December to meet liquidity demand from financial institutions.

A total of 600 billion yuan ($85.7 billion) was injected into the market via the medium-term lending facility (MLF) last month to maintain liquidity in the banking system at a reasonably sufficient level, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC).

The funds will mature in one year at an interest rate of 3.25 percent.

Total outstanding MLF loans reached 3.69 trillion yuan as of the end of December.

The MLF tool was introduced in 2014 to help commercial and policy banks maintain liquidity by allowing them to borrow from the central bank using securities as collateral.

In December, the PBOC also injected 60.5 billion yuan of funds through pledged supplementary lending to the China Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of China and the Agricultural Development Bank of China.

Another 106.02 billion yuan was lent to financial institutions through the standing lending facility to meet provisional liquidity demand.

The central bank has adopted open market operations more frequently to manage liquidity in a more flexible and targeted manner.

The country will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, according to the annual Central Economic Work Conference held in December 2019.



The introduction of the Company Law in 2006 prompted Chinese companies to pay greater attention to corporate social responsibility, especially when it is related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Corporate social responsibility was further strengthened when the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges issued guidelines for companies to disclose their CSR performance, with large companies such as CNPC, Sinopec and the State Grid publishing their CSR reports. In fact, between 2006 and 2009, Chinese companies issued nearly 1,600 such reports.

Despite that, only a limited number of companies issued CSR reports because it was not mandatory to do so. More important, no penalties were imposed on the companies not issuing such reports. Also, there were wide variations in the quality of the published CSR reports and the frequencies of their publication. In addition, many of the companies targeted by the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges did not publish such reports, while many not obliged to do so issued them voluntarily.

Both domestic and international factors have influenced companies to prepare their environmental, social and governance reports. Domestically, President Xi Jinping's emphasis on building an ecological civilization with Chinese characteristics was the main factor affecting the publication of such reports. The concept, first articulated in 2012, has received increasing importance over the years. As a result, despite economic growth remaining a national priority, it now has to be achieved without causing social and environmental damage.

But before that, many provincial governments continued to prioritize GDP growth over ESG considerations, which contributed to continued large investments in heavily polluting industries. For many provincial governments, genuine considerations of ESG requirements were an unnecessary distraction which contributed to lowering of their GDP growth rates. It seemed the central government's increasing focus on ESG issues was incompatible with many provincial governments' goal of achieving a high economic growth at any cost.



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