Monthly Archives: March 2010
1. Cover story
2. Economy outlook
3. Financial strategy
4. Legal spotlight
5. Point of interest
7. Remark from editor
For people who are interested in speculating foreign exchanges, the tug of war on Renminbi (RMB) between China and the US is definitely a heart wrenching drama.
The 2009 Nobel Prize economics laureate Paul Krugman on March 12, 2010, at an Economic Policy Institute event in Washington, DC, USA, proposed that global economic growth would be about 1.5 percent higher if China stopped undervaluing its currency and running trade surpluses. He added China’s currency policy has a “depressing effect” on economic growth in the US, Europe and Japan. “If we could get some change in China’s currency policy, it would help the world,” Krugman said today. Krugman’s statement certainly added fuel to a much heated debate in recent years and especially in recent days.
This saga is definitely a tale of two nations. The pressure from the US side is mounting. US Senators including Charles Schumer and Lindsey Graham proposed legislation in mid March that would require the U.S. government to determine if a nation’s currency is undervalued and would make it easier to impose import duties if deemed so. The draft bill was proposed after 130 lawmakers wrote to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner demanding tariffs on Chinese imports. Geithner has been urged by some members of Congress, economists and labor and business groups to label China a “currency manipulator” on April 15 when he issues a semiannual review of world currency policies.
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency on December 27, 2009, “China would not yield to foreign pressure for the appreciation of its currency in any form,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said. He further stated: “A stable Chinese currency is good for the international community.……China will work together with other countries to curb trade protectionism and push forward with the Doha Round trade negotiations.……We all know this, but what we need now is the willingness to take action.….Chinese exporters need to upgrade their export systems and improve product quality in order to keep their global market share amid an unfavorable trade climate.”
More recently, on March 24, 2010, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Zhong Shan in a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce also said that the appreciation of RMB, the Chinese currency, is not “a good recipe” for solving US-China trade deficit because US-China trade deficit is caused by the shift in international division of labor and of industries against the backdrop of globalization.”
The following is the full text of the Report on the Work of the Government delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the Third Session of the Eleventh National People’s Congress on March 5, 2010 and adopted on March 14, 2010:
On behalf of the State Council, I now present to you my report on the work of the government for your deliberation and approval. I also invite the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) to provide comments and suggestions.
I. Review of Work in 2009
The year 2009 was the most difficult year for our country’s economic development since the beginning of the new century. This time last year the global financial crisis was still spreading, and the world economy was in a deep recession. Our economy was severely affected; our exports decreased significantly; a large number of enterprises had operating difficulties, and some even suspended production or closed down; the number of unemployed people increased significantly; many migrant workers had to return to their home villages; and the pace of our economic growth suddenly slowed down. In these unusually difficult circumstances, the people of all our ethnic groups fortified their confidence, tackled difficulties head on, worked tenaciously, and responded calmly to the impact of the global financial crisis under the firm leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Our economy was the first in the world to have made a turnaround, and we made major new achievements in reform and opening up as well as socialist modernization. GDP reached 33.5 trillion yuan, an increase of 8.7% over the previous year (here and below). Fiscal revenue was 6.85 trillion yuan, up 11.7%. Grain production was 530.82 million tons, a new record and an increase for the sixth consecutive year. A total of 11.02 million urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents was 17,175 yuan, and the net per capita income of rural residents was 5,153 yuan, up 9.8% and 8.5% respectively in real terms.
We took another steady step along the path of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Events again proved that no difficulties or obstacles can impede the course of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The past year was truly extraordinary and inspiring. We held a grand celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of New China. The outstanding achievements we made in that time have greatly boosted the confidence and pride of the people, strengthened the cohesiveness of the Chinese nation, and raised China’s international standing and influence. All this definitely encourages us to continue to forge ahead on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
ASUS at CeBIT 2010: Inspiring innovation for a better tomorrow-Green, gaming, multimedia, and cloud computing innovations
In CeBIT 2010, Hannover, Germany, ASUS showcased a wide spectrum of products and technological advances that embody the company’s “Inspiring Innovation-Persistent Perfection” ethos. Designed on the belief that information technology exists to enhance people’s lives, these innovations bolster, reinvent, or revolutionize the user experience in green, gaming, multimedia and cloud computing contexts.
Green from the inside out
At this year’s CeBIT, ASUS has set aside a special green design product zone to showcase the wide-ranging innovations that empower consumers keen on going green. The green innovations employed in the design, development and manufacturing of ASUS’ notebooks, Eee PC™ netbooks, EeeBox PCs, LED monitors and motherboards have garnered the company numerous eco-label certifications. ASUS, for example is the first notebook manufacturer to receive the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), Carbon Footprint and EU Flower certifications. The foremost of these green innovations include ASUS’ exclusive Super Hybrid Engine notebook and netbook power management technology that lowers energy consumption well under Energy Star V5.0 requirements, and the Energy Processing Unit (EPU) installed on ASUS motherboards that automatically monitors and adjusts the system’s power requirements to ensure maximum efficiency.
ASUS’ green advances also extend to material use—illustrated perfectly by the introduction of the U Series Bamboo Collection. U Series Bamboo notebooks take advantage of bamboo’s regenerative and resilient characteristics, reducing plastics usage by 20 percent while lending them an elegant, organic feel.
The choice of every gamer
From hardcore fans of the latest bleeding edge FPS and RPG games, to avid MMO gamers, to casual players of web-based games, ASUS recognizes that there are many different types of gamers—each with distinct needs. ASUS seeks to fulfill these specific needs through its diverse array of products, with the Republic of Gamers (ROG) lineup at the hardcore end of the spectrum, and the Eee PC™ at the casual end. ROG’s claim to fame is its unchallenged dominance in the areas of power, overclockability, and tweakability—rendering its multi-GPU ready motherboards, graphics cards and notebooks the choice of gaming and overclocking champions across the globe.
At CeBIT 2010, ASUS unveiled some of ROG’s most powerful offerings to date, led by the dual Radeon HD5870-sporting ARES, the fastest graphics card in the world, followed by the stealth fighter-inspired G73 notebook which boasts cutting edge specifications and design, and the G51JX 3D, the world’s first notebook to integrate NVIDIA® GeForce® 3D Vision™ for lifelike 3D gaming on the go. ASUS also lifted the curtain on the ASUS VG236H and PG276H, Full HD 3D displays that are set to blow gamers away with eye-popping visuals with sights previously exclusive to the cineplex.
Hearing is believing: ASUS sstablishes a new standard for notebook audio
Audio has always been an area of compromise with notebooks because of the sheer difficulty involved in improving their sonic capabilities. Sparing no expense, ASUS is the first notebook manufacturer to tackle this gap head on, and the result is ASUS SonicMaster. SonicMaster—the result of co-development by ASUS and Bang & Olufsen ICEpower—completely redraws notebook audio. It debuts on new ASUS N Series models (N43, N63 and N73), providing striking audio for people interested in affordable, unflinching quality. Top-line NX Series notebooks feature upgraded SonicMaster capabilities, replacing existing home entertainment hubs.
Poised to usher in the cloud era
Since the launch of the first Eee PC™ in 2007, ASUS has been at the vanguard of providing devices for users looking to get the most out of the cloud. Today, ASUS has solidified its position as the leader in cloud devices with a comprehensive range of netbooks, nettops, E-Readers, home servers, storage systems, media players and networking products that enable users to access and host cloud services, as well as seamlessly share files between devices. On show at CeBIT 2010 are the fourth generation of Eee PCs™—a bold, new collection that sports designs and feature sets tailored for different users, namely social elites, business professionals, everyday mobile Internet users, and tech fashionistas. Among the new models is a premium netbook crafted from aluminum, a first for the Eee PC™ line. Also showcased is the DR-900, a slim and chic 9″ E-Reader with Wi-Fi or optional 3G connectivity that displays crisp, paper-like pages for optimal reading comfort. The DR-900 boasts an incredibly long battery life, enabling users to read over 10,000 pages, or twenty 400-page novels, on a single charge.
In addition to Eee PCs™ and the DR-900 E-Reader, other ASUS devices designed for cloud computing include: Eee Series PCs: EeeKeyboard PC and EeeTop PC; Media playback: O!Play HD2, the world’s first USB 3.0 media player that provides access to a wealth of cloud infotainment; Networking and storage: TS mini home server, NAS-M25 network-attached storage and RT-N76U router.
On December 30, 2009, the 95th State Council Executive Meeting considered and adopted the Decision of the State Council to Amend the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Decision”). Premier Wen Jiabao signed Decree No. 569 of the State Council on January 9, 2010 which promulgated the Decision to enter into effect on February 1, 2010.
Provided below is relevant information on the amendments to the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the “Implementing Regulations”).
1. Background and Process of the Amendments to the Implementing Regulations.
On December 27, 2008, the sixth session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People’s Congress considered and adopted the Decision on Amending the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China. The Implementing Regulations is an important supporting legal document for the Patent Law, for the successful implementation of the amended version of which, corresponding amendments to the Implementing Regulations are necessary.
The State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) built upon its successful experience in amending the Patent Law and finished the Draft Amendments to the Implementing Regulations (for approval) which was submitted to the State Council for consideration on February 27, 2009 after themed researches by multiple taskforces and extensive solicitation of opinions from all sides. In the course of consideration, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council again extensively collected opinions from relevant central government agencies, governments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, relevant local-level courts, enterprises and public institutions, experts, scholars, patent agencies, and relevant trade associations as well as from the public over the Internet. It also sent joint research taskforces with the SIPO to Chengdu, Xi’an, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Luoyang; held discussions and consultations with the Supreme People’s Court, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Commission Office for Public Sector Reform. On top of all these efforts, the Legislative Affairs Office performed repeated studies and revisions on the draft amendments submitted for approval and worked out the Decision of the State Council to Amend the Implementing Regulations of the Patent Law of the People’s Republic of China (Draft).
2. Amendments to the Implementing Regulations
The amended Implementing Regulations has 9 new rules added, 5 old rules removed and 47 rules substantively amended, making these amendments a comprehensive overhaul of the original Implementing Regulations. It is of important significance to improve China’s patent regime.
The amended Implementing Regulations provides more detailed stipulations on the added and amended contents of the Patent Law for better implementation, and, on top of that, makes many improvements on the Implementing Regulations itself.
A brief introduction to the major amendments of the Implementing Regulations is provided below. Continue reading
Hong Kong is proud to uphold its place as one of the top tourist destinations in Asia, thanks to the city’s reputation for quality service. According to recent reports, the number of Hong Kong visitors increased by 18% in the first two months of 2010, compared to last year. Developing local creativity and maintaining service quality are keys to Hong Kong’s tourism. With that in mind, Hong Kong Disneyland launched its first Star Guest Program last year, creating a platform to encourage Cast Members to showcase their imagination by creating surprises and unique unforgettable Magical Moments for Guests.
This year, the Park will take this popular program to the next level by adding a series of new Magical Moments and three Star Exclusive Experiences. Over 3,000 frontline Cast Members are ready to fill the Guests’ day with unlimited surprises throughout the period from March 19 to May 23. Guests can express their appreciation to the important people in their lives by giving them the ultimate Star Guest Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland.
The Star Guests Program was very well received. Ninety percent of local Guests and Annual Pass holders who visited the Park during the program period rated their overall experience as very satisfactory, and said they intended to visit again. “The program is a perfect way to illustrate our dedication to providing quality service and creating magical experiences for Guests,” said Noble Coker, Vice President of Park Operations and Operations Development, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, “It’s important to first empower our Cast Members to have fun and create an environment that encourages creativity. They can come up with their own Magical Moment ideas and initiate them whenever appropriate in their everyday work, which gives them more opportunities to interact with our Guests.”
Guests are also given a chance to show their appreciation to Cast Members by giving them a specially designed recognition card, motivating them to do even better. “During the three-month program last year, Cast Members created over 450 new ways to bring Magical Moments to our Guests. In return, we received more than 43,000 guest recognition cards from our Guests. Our Cast Members were overwhelmed with the recognition from our Guests.” added Coker.
The innovative Star Guest Program was also well recognized by the industry, receiving the “2009 International Service Excellence Award” from the Customer Service Institute of America (CSIA) and the “Customer Service Excellence Award 2009 (Program-based) – Gold Award” from the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence (HKACE).
This year, the Park’s Cast Members are ready to create more surprises and amazing Magical Moments. From March 19 to May 23, the Park will once again launch the Star Guest Program. As Guests bring their beloved family and friends to the Park, they can delight and surprise their VIPs by simply picking up a Star Recognition Pack from City Hall on Main Street U.S.A. and turning them into Star Guests. This is a great way to show appreciation to the loved ones as these countless star experiences may be completely unexpected.
On stepping into the Park, Guests will be amazed by the delightful atmosphere and warm welcome from Disney friends and enthusiastic Cast Members. The Park has prepared a series of special Magical Moments for Guests. Guests and their VIPs may have the chance to participate in an exclusive meet & greet with Timon after the Lion King Show; ride the carousel with Cinderella; or be the Star Conductor of the Disneyland band.
Those who opt for even more exclusive experiences can purchase a Star Pass, at HK$80 or HK$120, and enjoy privileged entrance to different attractions and shows. The Star Tours are available from HK$1,388 up for Guests to join a tailor-made guided tour to various star experiences and exclusive character meet-and-greets with Disney friends.
On Fridays through Sundays, as well as on public holidays and the evenings before holidays, the Star Fireworks Dinner offers Guests and their VIPs an unforgettable experience; enjoy a pre-show cocktail and a photo moment with two Disney friends in Plaza Inn before viewing the fireworks at the VIP viewing area. The delicious Chinese dinner after the fireworks marks a memorable end to a magical day.
An unforgettable vacation would not be complete without a hotel stay! Hong Kong Residents can book various hotel packages starting at HK$676 per person. For an even more memorable celebration, Guests may simply book the Disney Celebration Package to enjoy a hotel stay that comes with themed room decoration, a celebration cake, a special photo moment with a Disney friend, a character dining buffet and park entry.
To take part in the Star Guest Program, Guests can purchase tickets at Ticket Booths at the Main Entrance of the Hong Kong Disneyland Park, front desks at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Hollywood Hotel, The Magic of Hong Kong Disneyland at Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong Disneyland Ticket Express at MTR Hong Kong Station and selected Circle K outlets.
Mr. Donald Tsang has been the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since 21 June 2005. He was re-elected on 25 March 2007 as the third-term Chief Executive, and was formally appointed by the Central People’s Government on 2 April 2007. His new term of office will run from 1 July 2007 to 30 June 2012.
Mr. Tsang became the Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government (HKSARG) on 1 May 2001. He was the leading Principal Official to support the Chief Executive in administering Hong Kong and to advise him on matters of policy.
On 1 July 2002, Mr. Tsang left the civil service and joined the team of Principal Officials under a new accountability system of government. He continued to occupy the position of the Chief Secretary for Administration until his resignation on 25 May 2005 to stand for election as Chief Executive.
Before becoming Chief Secretary, Mr. Tsang was Financial Secretary in the HKSARG. During his six-year tenure as Financial Secretary, Mr. Tsang steered Hong Kong through the Asian financial crisis that swept across the region in 1997 and 1998. He later masterminded rigorous reforms to enhance the local financial infrastructure.
Mr. Tsang joined the Civil Service in January 1967 and has held many positions in the Administration dealing with local administration, finance, trade and policies relating to the return of Hong Kong to China. In 1977, Mr. Tsang was attached to the Asian Development Bank in Manila for a year and worked on water supply and railway development projects in the Philippines and Bangladesh.
As Deputy Secretary of the General Duties Branch between 1985 and 1989, he was responsible for the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Between 1989 and 1991, Mr. Tsang was the Director of Administration. He was responsible for overseeing the effective functioning of the Government Secretariat. Mr. Tsang became the Director-General of Trade between 1991 and 1993, and was responsible for all facets of trade negotiation and administration affecting Hong Kong. In May 1993, he was promoted to Secretary for the Treasury, responsible for the overall resource allocation, the taxation systems and the cost effectiveness of the Hong Kong government.
In September 1995, Mr. Tsang was appointed Financial Secretary, the first Chinese to hold the position after 150 years of British incumbents. He became the first Financial Secretary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997. He received the Grand Bauhinia Medal from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in June 2002 and a knighthood (KBE) from the British Sovereign in June 1997 for his distinguished service to Hong Kong.
Mr. Tsang holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. He has received honorary doctorates from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the University of Hong Kong.
Mr. Tsang is married with two sons. His hobbies include hiking, swimming and birdwatching.
To be, or not to be, that is the question. Hamlet’s greatest soliloquy is probably the best-known quote in Shakespeare’s literature. The thorny question that was recently posed to China and US is disputes over currency exchange.
As indicated in the cover story, the US side is contemplating on how much pressure they are going to put on the Chinese. In contrast, the Chinese government is calculating how much heat they can take both domestically and internationally.
According to the Wikipedia, for most of its early history, the RMB was pegged to the U.S. dollar (USD) at 2.46 yuan per USD. The RMB was devalued in the 1980s in order to improve Chinese exports. The official RMB/USD exchange rate depreciated to 8.62 yuan by 1994. The Chinese government maintained a peg of 8.27 yuan per USD from 1997 to 2005. On 21 July 2005, the peg was lifted. The most recent trading exchange rate in the market is at 6.83.
Both sides have much at stake on this issue. The shortage of migrant workers in the costal cities emerged after the Chinese New Year will definitely make China more cautious about appreciating RMB for fear of losing export competitiveness once the labor cost has been driven up.
As shown by the history, the value of RMB is not stationary and also changes with time. Therefore, it will certainly fall and rise with the market if free trade continues to be encouraged both domestically and internationally. The problem left is merely when and how much. Both sides should refrain from pushing its counterpart over the edge, which is definitely not good for global trade.