By becoming the first G7 member to join the Belt

Road Initiative, Italy has set an example for other European countries on how to strengthen cooperation with China in the future.As for C

hina and France, the two countries inked agreements on deepening joint development, part

icularly through industrial cooperation. The two sides also signed billions of dollars worth of contracts.Now tha

t French President Emmanuel Macron, a firm supporter of European integration, has taken measures to im

prove China-France cooperation, the healthy and fruitful progress of Sino-French ties can in turn promote better C

hina-EU relations. Macron has always emphasized France’s position in the European integration project and China sup

ports his efforts.By reaching agreements on cooperation, Xi and Macron have paved the way for not only deep

er Sino-French cooperation but also overall Sino-EU cooperation, which was highlighted during Xi’s meeting with Germ

an Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

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Hainan’s hybrid seeds sprout along Belt, Road

Island province ‘will ensure’ that Boao Forum continues to promote cooperation

The international exchanges and cooperative efforts prompted

by the Boao Forum for Asia are turning Hainan province into the Silicon Valley of seeds for co

untries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a Hainan government official.

More hybrid rice seeds cultivated by Chinese scientists at the Nanfan Scientific and Rese

arch Breeding Base in Hainan are being introduced to ASEAN countries. The total combined area of hyb

rid rice cultivation in India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Pakistan and Indonesia – major rice-growing countries – has reac

hed 4.28 million hectares, said Wang Sheng, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan province.

Wang spoke at a news conference on March 19 before the Boao For

um for Asia 2019 Annual Conference in Boao, Hainan, which ends on Friday.

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streamline certain fees related to ports, highways and airpo

he said. In addition, the ministry will step up its efforts to manage the effects of eliminating highway toll stations at provincial boundaries.

The ministry also called for small and medium-sized enterprises to forge alliances for common development to consolidate the fragmented logistics sector.

In recent years, China’s logistics industry has been experiencing consistent growth on the back of steady economic progress and a rising domestic market. Accor

ding to the National Development and Reform Commission, logistics expenditures rose 9.8 percent to 13.3 trillion yuan, am

ounting to 14.8 percent of last year’s national GDP. The share was slightly up from the previous year.

The logistics sector is of strategic importance in the development of the market econom

y, and the ministry has been making consistent efforts to reduce logistics costs and raise efficiency. It redu

ced logistics spending by 56 billion yuan in 2016, 68 billion yuan in 2017 and 98 billion yuan in 2018.

China ranked 12th last year in the World Bank’s logistics performan

ce index covering 160 countries and regions. China’s position has moved up 15 places since 2016.

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onfidence to tackle technology challenges risings better

Chinese business leaders are more confident and prepared in addressing the challenges brought by new technologies than

those in many other countries, said Cindy Hook, CEO of Deloitte Asia-Pacific, a global consultancy firm, on Thursday.

While many business leaders in the rest of the world take a protective approach to using technologies, Ch

ina’s leaders would like to “disrupt their sectors” and facilitate real changes, Hook said on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia.

“Chinese enterprises are looking at the technologies available-whet

her it’s artificial intelligence, big data or the like-to actually come up with whole-new busi

ness models and whole-new approaches to doing things, not just improving the old processes.”

With the readiness for technologies, China is likely to lead on many aspects of the unfol

ding Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as e-commerce, smart cities and the internet of things, Hook said.

The country’s impact on the revolution will be enlarged by its opening-up determina

tion, she added, citing the fresh opening-up measures announced by Premier Li Keqiang at the forum on Thursday.

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Xie Zenggang, commander of the 83rd Group Army who t

 took the examination, was quoted by China National Radio as saying that it had broade

ned his horizons and enabled him to gain a higher strategic perspective that can be used in planning future operations.

“It also reminded me of the necessity that as a commander, I not only need to take into consideration joint o

perations by various services in the PLA but also to think about joint campaigns with foreign militaries,” he said.

In June, the Ground Force organized a test for commanders of its 13 group armies – its la

rgest combat units. Since the start of this year, the Ground Force has conducted a wide range of exam

inations for almost all of its members to verify their professional knowledge and skills.

Geely and Daimler plan a 50-50 joint venture in China, which will develop and produce electric Smart br

anded vehicles and sell them globally starting from 2022, according to a deal the two signed earlier this week.

Representatives of the two carmakers said the Fi

nancial Times’ report of Daimler selling a 50 percent stake of Smart to Geely was not true.

Daimler, also owner of Mercedes-Benz, is currently prod

ucing the Smart branded vehicles in a plant in Hambach, France, but the plant will produc

e electric Mercedes-Benz models instead when the Chinese plant is finished. The location of the plant has not yet been disclosed.

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More appetite among Chinese, Asian collectors for Western art

hinese and Asian art collectors have become more knowledgeable, sophisticated and are branching out for m

ore Western works, said Francis Belin, president of Christie’s Asia, who is excited about the trend.

“Chinese clients have evolved from being very dedicated to Chinese arts to gaining increasing interest

in other categories and expanding the spectrum of the type of objects that they wish to collect,” Belin told

Xinhua in an interview in New York City during Christie’s Asian Art Week held on March 19-26.

Diversity of collecting is one of three “fundamental trends” the auction house has obse

rved among the Chinese and Asian buyers, Belin said, noting the increased appetite to collect across categories.

About 10 or 20 years ago, Asian collectors focused primarily on the art that relates to their own c

ulture, he said, “we’ve seen this evolved in the past years to be much more holistic in the collecting of our Asian buyers.”

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There is “more appetite” among them for western arts ac

oss the period, be they old masters’ paintings, impressionist, or modern and contemporary, he said.

The second trend is that Chinese and Asian markets continue to grow and flourish

despite short-term macroeconomic challenges the world is facing, Belin said.

“We continue to see strong appetite for collecting and strong growth.

We continue to see a very strong demand and we do see (in Asian Art Week here) very stro

ng buying appetite from our clients; a depth of biding that even surprised ourselves,” he said.

The third key trend in Asia is growing number of young collectors, Belin said.

“There are more young billionaires in Asia than we have in Europe and in the U.S., and that’s also reflected in collec

ting, which is very exciting for Christie’s, because we can bring our clients much earlier on the collecting journ

ey with the best art across the world. And we can accompany them for even longer time in their journey.”

The flourishing Chinese culture market represents “fantastic opportunities” for Christie’

s and the auction house always attaches greater importance to the Chinese market, said the senior industry leader.

Being the first international fine art auction house to be gran

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Europe alone is not what makes London the number one cen

ter for foreign exchange, for example. We clear more dollars than New York, and are the largest center for RMB trading outside greate

r China. London is strong and international,” she said. “The long-term fundamentals of London and the UK still remain strong.”

Alex De Ruyter, director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, echoed the

view of McGuinness, saying: “Whilst I think Brexit has clearly had a significant impact, it must be remembered that Lon

don is a global financial center and the majority of assets held by the financial services sector are outside of th

e EU, with the US, China, and other emerging economies particularly important markets.

“The 800 billion pounds figure only comprises about 10 percent of the estim

ated total assets of the UK banking sector,” he said. “So, the total volume of business affected has been relatively small.”

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hina to further improve business climate focusing on weak links

China will work harder this year for a more enabling business environment by tackling areas of weakness to better energize the market and stimulate social crea

tivity, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on March 26.

The Chinese government puts great emphasis on improving the business climate. General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the need to improve the investm

g said in the Government Work Report this year that the government will work to energize market entities, and mainta

in and increase their level of activity by improving the business environment and cutting institutional transaction costs.

The meeting on March 26 called for redoubled efforts to tackle the pressing issues an

d measure up to advanced standards in fighting the tough battle of improving the business environment.

The government will further streamline administration by cutting procedural requirements, includ

ing shortening the negative list on market entry, separating business licenses and operating permits, simplifying the review process for const

ruction projects, and reducing the types of industrial production permits. The goal is to cut the time required for starting a busines

s to within five working days, and for companies to access electricity service to within 45 working days before the end of this year.

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Dream lifestyles in Dali end in disappointment

“If you are not satisfied with your life and don’t know why you have lost your smile; if you are unhappy and don’t like being where you are, go west – with Dali your destination.”

These lyrics form part of a song in the Chinese blockbuster movie Breakup Buddies, wh

ich was shot mostly in Dali, an attractive city in Yunnan province, and released in 2014.

The film inspired many middle-income earners tired of the hustle and bustle of urban life to quit their jobs in big cities and move to Dali.

However, unlike in Breakup Buddies, many people’s dreams of finding a

better life in Dali – which has provided the perfect backdrop for romantic trysts in hun

dreds of movies – have not had happy endings, and they are beginning to leave for a variety of reasons.

Chu Xiaogui, an author of popular books who moved to Dali from Beijing with her husba

nd in December 2015, said she had since witnessed many friends leaving and returning to their hometowns.

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