Bullet train: fast track to higher worker productivity
Just five years after China’s high-speed train system opened, it is carrying nearly twice as many passengers each month as the country’s domestic airline industry.
The New York Times reports that, with traffic growing 28 percent a year for the last several years, China’s high-speed train network is an unexpected success story. Economists and transportation experts cite it as one reason for China’s continued economic growth when other emerging economies are faltering. A World Bank paper found that the 100 Chinese cities that currently are connected to the high-speed rail network, are likely to experience broad growth in worker productivity. The productivity gains occur when companies find themselves within a couple of hours’ train ride of tens of millions of potential customers, employees and rivals.
Free access, free competition in new Shanghai free-trade zone
China is about to lift a ban on internet access within the new Shanghai Free-trade Zone to certain foreign websites and internet services, including Facebook, Twitter and newspaper website The New York Times.
Furthermore, The South China Morning Post reports that the authority in charge of the new free-trade zone in Shanghai, the first such zone on the mainland, would also welcome bids from foreign telecommunications companies for licences to provide internet services within the new special economic zone. This means that China's large mainland telecommunications companies, will face competition as foreign companies are allowed to compete with them for business in the free-trade zone in Shanghai.
The launch of the new free-trade zone was approved in August. The zone will span 28.78 square kilometres in the city’s Pudong New Area, including the Waigaoqiao duty-free zone, Yangshan deepwater port, and the international airport area.
Movies – China’s new product
China’s richest man Wang Jianlin (owner of the Wanda conglomerate) has launched a plan to build an ambitious ($8.3 billion) studio complex in the eastern port city of Qingdao.
The investment is meant to boost the film industry in China and to become a large rival to Hollywood’s film industry. Film stars Nicole Kidman, Leonardo DiCaprio and Catherine Zeta-Jones travelled to Qingdao for the presentation of Oriental Movie Metropolis, set to span 376 hectares. The $8.3 billion complex will house 20 studios that will turn out 100 films a year, including 30 foreign productions. Last year Wanda already acquired US cinema chain AMC Entertainment to become China's third-biggest cinema operator and the world's largest cinema chain.
The Movie Metropolis complex is set to begin operations in 2016 and will also feature a 3,000-seat theatre and a shopping centre with seven hotels.