ina’s icebreaker Xuelong leaves research base in Antar

China’s research icebreaker Xuelong, with 126 crew members aboard on the 35th Antarc

tic research mission, on Thursday local time left the Zhongshan Station on its way back to China.

Snow Eagle 601, China’s first fixed-wing aircraft for polar flight, on Th

ursday night also departed from the Antarctic after completing all assignments.

Xuelong arrived near Zhongshan on Feb 9. It supplied the station with fuel oil, then picked up summer exped

ition team members at the Kunlun, Taishan and Zhongshan stations, as well as members of the fixed-wing aircraft project.

Sixteen members of the Kunlun team previously completed all scientific expeditions at Dome Argus (Dome A), the So

uth Pole’s highest icecap. They, together with 21 members of the Taishan team, returned to Zhongshan on Feb. 8.

The Zhongshan team completed tasks including installation of and tests for LiDAR, drilling of ice bedrock, aa

tmospheric sounding observation, surveys of birds and aerial exploration carried out by the fixed-wing aircraft.

As the summer expedition team at Zhongshan left, 19 members stay for winter expeditions.

Also known as the Snow Dragon, the icebreaker carrying a research team set sail from Shanghai on Nov 2 last year, beg

inning the country’s 35th Antarctic expedition. It is expected to arrive in Shanghai in mid-March.

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Regulator issues guidelines to make loan renewal easier

he China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office announced on Thursday it has issued guidelines for banking institutions on re

newing micro and small business loans to shorten the financing chain and reduce financing costs.

The guidelines aim to cut unnecessary so-called “passageway business” a

nd bridging finance that “bridges” the gap between the time when a company’s m

oney is set to run out and when it can expect to receive an infusion of funds later on, under the premise that banking in

stitutions will meet the requirements on internal control and risk management.

“The loan renewal policy is actually a credit policy to incentivize lending to high-quality enterpri

ses,” said Jiang Ping, a senior official at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission Beijing Office.

“For companies that have run into temporary operational difficulties but still have enormous potential for development, banks should help them get th

rough the tough times by renewing their loans. However, banks are forbidden from covering or delaying risk ex

posure associated with lending to ‘zombie firms’, which cannot repay loans, in the name of loan renewal,” she said.

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hina has become the biggest owner of AI patents, follo

wed closely by the US and Japan, the report revealed. The three countries own 74 percent of all issued AI patents globally.

The CISTP report noted that while China has the world’s secondlargest AI talent pool, it has a lower percentage of top talents.

By the end of 2017, China had amassed more than 18,000 AI specialists, behind only the US. But, Ch

ina had only 977 top-tier AI specialists, just one-fifth of the number in the US, ranking sixth globally.

“China’s strengths are mainly shown in AI applications and it is still weak on the front of core techn

ologies of AI, such as hardware and algorithm development,” the report noted. “China’s AI de

IJING – China’s new yuan-denominated loans stood at 3.23 trillion yuan ($477 billion) in

January 2019, up 328.4 billion yuan year-on-year, central bank data showed Friday.

velopment lacks top-tier talent and has a significant gap with developed countries, especially the US, in this regard.”

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henzhen to strengthen smoking policylayed at a shopping ma

Shenzhen is to strengthen its regulations on smoking in public places, making it the strictest smoking policy in history, Nanfang Daily has reported.

The strenghtening is to focus on five areas of the policy.

Since the implementation of the smoking policy in Shenzhen on March 1, 2014, smoking in public places has been banned, carrying a total fine of 3.745 millio

n yuan, comprising a 3.325 million yuan fine for illegal smokers and 420,000 yuan for public places that failed to control smoking.

In implementing the policy however, problems arose with excessive fines, difficulties

with law enforcement and evidence collection, and complicated punishment procedures.

Deputies of Shenzhen People’s Congress on Jan 18 jointly proposed that Shenzhen should revise the policy to make the regulations more practical and operable.

The revised draft of The Regulation on Smoking Control explicitly expands the de

finition of smoking to include the use of e-cigarettes and other lit tobacco products.

It also expands the scope of smoke-free areas, which now include outdoor p

latforms and areas featuring wait lines for public transport, such as buses, coa

ches, taxis, subways, ships, civil aircraft and other public transport vehicles.

Smoking is also prohibited within five meters of subway entrances and exits.

The draft enhances protection for minors. It stipulates that no tobacco produ

cts are to be sold within 100 meters of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and children’s activity centers.

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New regulations will target abnormal trademark filings

In a bid to improve the nation’s business environment, the China National Intellectual Property Administration will roll

out a new set of regulations on trademark filings to curb the “applications out of malice”.

The regulations draft has been publicized on the CNIPA website, soliciting suggestions and opinions from the public until March 14.

The move reflects a shift in policymakers’ focus from intellectual property quantity to quality, s

aid Li Shunde, a senior IP researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Comprised of eight articles, the new regulations target “abnormal applications”, such as trademark sq

uatting, imitating established brands and filings with no intentions for actual use in industry or business.

The regulations, once they take effect, will also come as a severe blow to tradema

rk speculators, who apply for and stock trademarks for trade rather than industrial or business use.

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China to establish national, regional medical centers by

China will set up a number of national and regional medical centers across the country by 2020, according to a working plan issued by the National Health Commission.

Regional medical centers will be established nationwide to provide patients in

different regions with quality medical treatment close to their homes, said the plan.

The country will also establish national medical centers aimed to carry out diagnosis and treatment of rare and sever

e cases of diseases of specific categories in the country and play a leading role in spreading advanced medical technologies nationwide, it said.

The plan proposes to build a four-level medical service system that covers medical insti

tutions at the national, provincial, prefectural and county levels by 2020, with national medical centers taking the lead.

Given different regions in China have big gaps in terms of medical service levels, so patients

often have to turn to hospitals far away for quality treatment, particularly those with severe and rare illnesses.

Experts believe the move is expected to better allocate medical resources in the country.

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Spain’s govt loses budget vote, paving way for snap election

Spain’s parliament rejected the government’s 2019 draft budget on Wednesday, pushing the country to the brink of a national election.

Sources in the government and the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Reuters on Tu

esday that he would call a snap election if the draft was rejected, with April 14 or April 28 the most likely dates.

The Socialists hold less than a quarter of the seats in parliament and needed support fr

om smaller regional parties, including the Catalans, to get the budget proposal voted through.

But the Catalan parties, unhappy with the government’s refusal to consider or dis

cuss – amongst other issues – an independence referendum for their nor

theastern region, voted against it, as did the centre-right and the conservatives.

“This shows that the right wing in this country is intent on blocking social progress,” Bu

dget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told reporters, in the government’s first reaction to the vote.

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Wang said his department encourages companies to pr

mote scientific and technology innovation to make them more competitive.

Zhou Yawei, a member of the Standing Committee of the Guangzhou Committee of the Communist

Party of China and secretary of the Party Working Committee of the Guangzhou D

evelopment District, said the district has registered more than 20,000 science and

technology companies and took the lead in innovation among 219 State-level development zones in China last year.

It is the first time the district – which is home to Sino-Singapore Know

ledge City, Guangzhou Science City and Guangzhou International Island – has led State-level de

velopment zones in scientific and technological innovation. It ranked second in 2017.

“The district, in the eastern part of Guangzhou, introduced preferential policies to promot

e scientific and technological innovation years ago,” Zhou said. “Priority was given to the dev

elopment of the information, artificial intelligence and biopharmaceutical industries.

“Scientific and technological innovation are expected to play an even bigger role in

the district’s economic development and industrial upgrading in the years ahead.”

Zhou promised to attract more high-end talent from home and abroad t

his year to help boost the district’s scientific and technological innovation efforts.

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France advanced to the top 10 markets where WeChat P

ay was mostly adopted for the first time since WeChat started tracking the data in 2015.

A Nielsen survey released in January suggested that 93 percent of Chinese travelers are likely to increase their spen

ding overseas if mobile payment is more widely accepted, which would consequently boost local businesses.

Alipay and WeChat Pay accounted for almost 94 percent of the count

ry’s third-party payment market, according to consultancy iResearch. The duo are ga

ining market share by making ambitious forays overseas where mobile payment is yet to mature.

Among the latest developments, Tencent is looking to work with more smart solutions and s

ervice providers this year to make the app function run as smoothly in foreign markets as it does in China, by in

corporating a variety of tools developed by third-party providers, said Fan Wei, overseas business director of WeChat Pay.

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According to Prof. Dedrick’s estimate, the cost of an iPhone

will rise by $30 if Apple moves its final assembly lines to the United States. If Apple manufactu

res components and assembles them in the country, the cost will go up by $100 with the investment, labor and logistics involved.

What’s more, the relocation to the United States would also see rising prices of many supplier items produced outside the U

nited States, including semi-conductors, processors, memory, displays, batteries, the plastic and metal enclosures.

“Our industry involves highly customized products. It requires both strong research and development ability and ind

ustry scale. So, moving the supply chain would be a long shot,” said Meng Wu Peng, deputy general manager of Le

ns Technology, which manufactures cover-glass for smartphone brands such as Apple and Samsung.

Foxconn has hinted for months that it might shift focus to research and develo

pment facilities rather than large-scale manufacturing, casting doubts on its ability to live up to its promises.

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