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Sunday, December 12, 2010



Investment in China by companies from Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the remedies to the imbalance of trade say Latin American trade experts.
Colombia ensured that their booth at the Business Summit
was both animated and attractive

The Inter American Development Bank publication “Ten Years After the Take-off – Taking Stock of China-Latin America and the Caribbean Economic Relations” researched by the Bank’s Integration and Trade Sector (ITS) says, “A greater presence by LAC firms in China would help them to diversify the region’s exports by reducing information and cultural barriers and by offering them the opportunity to exploit the peculiarities of China’s trade regime.”

The publication was published in time for the  4th China-LAC Business Summit held in Chengdu, China  from October 21-22, 2010. 

The ITS highlighted possible investment sectors by LAC companies in China as, “agriculture, mining, aeronautics, biofuels, private pension schemes and poverty alleviation programmes, which could take China a long way in addressing some of its growth constraints,” it concluded.

In its discussion, the ITS highlighted three companies that have experienced growth by reaching across the China Sea. Brasilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, entered the China market in 2000 after winning a contract to make five jets. They are now the marginal market leader in China for planes with no more than 120 seats. They opened a subsidiary in 2010 offering aviation consulting, logistics and technical services to Chinese aircraft companies.
IDB President addresses the
4th China-LAC Business Summit
Mexican baked goods company, Grupo Bimbo Foods bought a going concern in China in 2006 for US$10 million. Through careful attention to Chinese traditions and urban trends, their marketing campaign has yielded an increase in sales in China of 50% last year.

Chilean metals company, Molymet, bought 50% of the Chinese company LuoMo High Tech, a subsidiary of metals company China Moly, for US$37 million in March this year. “Molymet will gain a foothold in the China market, and integrate its distribution channels in China by leveraging China Moly’s existing distribution networks, reduce production cost by utilising Chin Moly’s facilities and infrastructure, and take advantage of China’s favourable export tariffs rate to expand the radiance spectrum of its products in the Asia Pacific region,” the article by ITS says.

These investments in China are considered to be valuable to the region as, “It could also be an effective way to circumvent the barriers imposed by China’s trade regime and to take advantage of its peculiarities such as the virtual free trade offered for goods imported in bond under processing trade, which accounts for 40% of China’s trade (WTO 2010),” the article says.

Crediting figures from the Ministry of Commerce of China, the ITS says that China contributed 0.1% of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the region in 2006 and 0.7% in 2010. These were mainly for metals and energy projects in South America’s Southern Cone (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay). In raw figures, Chinese investments climbed from US$60.06 million in 2006 to US$576.6 million in 2010.

On the other side of the coin, the ITS says that investment in China from the LAC was a total of US$584 for the entire period between 2006 and the first half of 2010. Investment from Brazil of US$234.83 million was more than half of that entire contribution.

The publication was presented at the recently concluded 4th China – LAC Business Summit that was held in the city of Chengdu, China from October 21-22. An outcome of the summit was a letter of intent signed by the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) and China Eximbank indicating a partnership that will finance up to $200 million worth of trade activity during any given period for an initial two-year period. 

Underscoring the importance of the trading relationships between the regions, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, said in his Summit message, “China joined the IDB in January of 2009, becoming the Bank’s 48th member country. Over the past decade China has become a major commercial partner for many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Trade between this region and China jumped 13-fold since 1995, from $8.4 billion to $110 billion in 2007. China is now the region’s second biggest trading partner after the United States.”

Two CARICOM member nations of the IDB, Jamaica and the Bahamas were represented at the Summit the theme of which was, Strength accumulated from cooperation, growth witnessed by harmonious development.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Mr Min Goes Home

Mr Min Goes Home

Mr Min Goes Home after two years
working in the Caribbean
A Site Manager of the Tamana Intech Park in Trinidad finishes his 2008-2010 tour of duty and happily heads home. We met Min Kuanding and two colleagues on Caribbean Airlines on December 1 on the leg between Barbados and St Maarten where he deplaned. His trip will take him through Paris and then Beijing before he reaches home to Nanjing, the capital of  Jiangsu province in the South of China.

Since 2003, Mr Min's company, China Jiangsu International Corp, has placed him on overseas projects. His first such assignment was in Malawi and then Zambia. He returned to Malawi for a second project and was then sent to Trinidad where he worked on the park, where the University of Trinidad and Tobago will be housed. He said that all of his overseas projects were for young people, such as schools. In Trinidad, the  roughly 200 construction workers that he supervises are all Chinese nationals, he says. In China, he would be supervising about 2,000 workers. This is his last overseas assignment as his wife is against him going overseas for work again.

CAL landing in St Maarten
While in Trinidad, he enjoyed relaxing at Maracas beach and viewing the beautiful spectacle of the annual Trinidad carnival. He preferred the food cooked by his company's Chinese cook to West Indian food, which he says he does not like at all.

Mr Min is proud to say that his son speaks and writes English well as he studied the language in school for four years. His son will start engineering studies at university next year.

He appreciated his stay in the Caribbean, he says, but will not be back for a vacation as it is too far away. Instead, he and his wife are looking forward to travelling across their own vast country and revisit Beijing and other major cities.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Gwyneth Harold Davidson,
Imagine a seven-minute Caribbean slot on China Central Television's (CCTV
) December 31 variety show where Jamaica Cultural Development Commission 2010 World Reggae Dance Champions, Anonymous, open for the Soca Queen Destra who is joined by entertainer, Beenie Man, in Caribbean 'fashion-over-style'.
Caribbean public relations professional, Colin Wiltshire, shares a moment with presenters at CDTV in Chengdu, China's Western Capital. The station is currently building 50 additional television studios to deliver content to attract an audience that demands a greater variety of programmes.

Unlike the Chinese New Year gala, the December 31 show is a huge television event that features foreign entertainers. Media is where the Caribbean can use the performing arts to attract the attention of Chinese consumers and open the door wider for trade.
According to China Daily, CCTV is the leading broadcaster in China with an audience of 1.2 billion across seven of China's top-10 television channels. Like all Chinese media, CCTV is state-owned, but advertising revenue plays a significant role in programming decisions.

Exposing Caribbean culture on Chinese websites is also not to be overlooked. The English departments of the Beijing-based news organisations China.org and Radio China, encourage Caribbean journalists to become correspondents and opinion writers, providing an opportunity for Caribbean content to be more available to a Chinese audience. This also overcomes a regional dearth of Chinese-speaking writers, agents and entrepreneurs. A report filed by a St Lucian journalist a few days following the recent devastation by Hurricane Tomas was carried by China.org.

Chinese broadcasters are also expanding into our media markets and will need to attract our viewership. Professor Tian Zhihui of the Communication University of China told Caribbean journalists participating in the Professional Programme for Journalists from Caribbean Countries in Beijing last October, that in 2003, China made a great leap towards making their media more prominent around the world.

Private company
"At the moment, the Chinese government would not allow any private company to come. And, what's more, the Chinese government would like to go out to invest money in the foreign media companies. The Government now has invested 900 billion yuan to explore the overseas market," Professor Tian added.
In the region, Suriname Chinese Television is already two years old and Professor Tian said that many more will emerge in Latin America within the next decade. It was announced in April that CCTV, already available on Jamaican cable, had indicated a strong interest in starting a radio and television station in Jamaica as a way to deepen appreciation between the cultures.
Professor Tian Zhihui of the Communication University of China says that the Government encourages officials to blog as a way to have more access with the public. Currently, Internet penetration in China is 31.8%.

Professor Tian said that although China filters content on the Internet available to its citizens, the Internet has had an undeniable impact in helping to advance openness in China. She quoted the China Internet Network Information Centre's, 2010 Statistical Report, that in June 2010 there were 420 million net citizens in China and 277 million using Internet on their mobile phones. A clear indication of the impact of the Internet is the adoption of the Chinese version of the Access to Information Act in May 2008.

Professor Tian says now public officials, including police officers, are encouraged to blog and be a part of the online conversations as a way to be in closer touch with their communities and social partners.
Chinese web-application developers currently benefit from an environment where they only compete against each other. The best of their products in online shopping services, social networking, music downloading and blogging thrive and support their domestic market. Caribbean content, again, can make a mark here if the correct market links are made to place them where Chinese consumers go online. Jamaican music has, for some time, benefited from Japanese entrepreneurs maintaining an online presence in their markets.

Expansion into global broadcasting and growth of Chinese domestic Internet is an opportunity for Caribbean content to find a space in China. Their media seek intriguing material for a public that desires to know the best of the world. The Internet flattened the globe, let us set sail and let our intangible cultural treasures attract trade with the East.

Gwyneth Harold is a journalist. Feedback may be sent to columns@gleanerjm.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Living Displays In Chengdu, The Land of Abundance

Living Displays in Chengdu, The Land of Abundance

October 25, 2010
From the subtle to the spectacular, floral displays feature prominently in the city of Chengdu, the leading city in China’s Sichuan province traditionally called The Land of Abundance. Their bounty comes from the clear waters of the Minjiang river which has irrigated their fields and quenched their thirst for thousands of years. A portion of the water is used to grow the flowers that decorate their city in spectacular displays.


The Western China International Expo in October 2010 was a perfect opportunity to use floral displays as billboards to promote the event to the world.

Potted annual flowers set in massive frames constructed up to two stories high, fully represented the province’s natural abundance. Chengdu has what has been called a sub-tropical climate, humid and cool for most of the year. The small gentle annuals grown for public displays include petunias, marigolds, poinsettias and chrysanthemums, flowers that are also widely grown Jamaica.

In addition to the living billboards, the city has growing floral arrangements placed along bare patches of grey pavement, and also in what would otherwise be monotonous green verges. This gives colour and life to spaces used by pedestrians and motorists who are travelling at the street level. Curbside planter boxes featuring poinsettia and Phalaenopsis orchids were a delightful combination. We spotted the croton whose leaves provided an exciting multicolour mosaic when placed within solid blocs of colour, a plant that is perhaps overlooked in Jamaican growing arrangements?

Although not in Chengdu, these massive floral displays were but merely a smaller version of the massive floral fountain in Tiananmen Square in the centre of the capital, Beijing. At night the display is lit, and if you visit Beijing during the National Day celebrations you will catch a spectacular lazer light show. Caribbean Eye On China did not see this on our trip, which means that a return visit must be carefully timed. 

Beijing, A Capital of Roses

Beijing, A Capital of Roses

October 24, 2010

Roses, and especially red roses, are one of the symbols of Beijing as appreciated by its residents as any of the significant buildings that make the city famous. In the financial and business districts, glorious beds of red roses feature in verges along major roads - the ring roads - and are expertly tended in private and corporate gardens. In the warmer months, trellises all across the city display abundant blooms of rambling roses. Now it is Autumn, and the bushes are producing the last of their flowers before winter, still adding vibrancy to the cityscape.


Jostling with more than 19 million people and their demands for roads, houses and factories, the citizens of this ancient city take delight in gardens and growing plants. Fresh water is recognised as a precious limited resource in Beijing but the authorities seem to plan for the water needs of the gardens. The China Foreign Affairs University has a plant nursery and several small rose gardens on the property are maintained as precious residents. Visitors at the university’s lodging are reminded by a sign in their guest room, “The flowers in the garden need your water, please use less water.”

It is Autumn, and the rose is losing its blooming prominence. In its place the flower of Autumn, the Chrysanthemum is gaining prominence in showy arrangements that keep the colours of nature visible in this bustling international city. With ongoing care, the roses will survive the winter and break with new buds in the spring.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


"e-commerce platforms give SMEs an opportunity to showcase their products to Chinese markets and to find the right logistics that can place their commodities."

Friday, November 5, 2010

Facing The Test Of The Great Wall

Article by Taneka Thompson of The Tribune in the Bahamas

"For most of us, the Great Wall was on top of our list of must-see attractions. It seemed as if fortune was on our side as well because the trip was greeted by a sunny,
clear sky and chilly but not unbearable

Caribbean Journalists take on the Great Wall in Ocotber 2010

Facing The Test of the Great Wall

Nobel Award Equivalent To Supporting Crime - Says China

Article by Vernon Davidson, Jamaica Observer Executive Editor-Publications

"the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiobo was equivalent to violating the country's laws" - China Foreign Affairs Spokesman
Nobel Award Equivalent To Supporting Crime - Says China

Local and International journalists covering a
press conference at the China Ministry of Foreign Affairs
hosted by Ministry Spokesman  Zhaoxu Ma in October 2010

China's Economic Reform Model Won't Necessarily Work for Cuba: China Scholar

Article by Vernon Davidson, Executive Editor - Publications

China's Economic Reform Model Won't Necessarily Work for Cuba: China Scholar

Professor Chu Guangyou of the
China Foreign Affairs University in conversation with
journalist Earl Bousquet
Founder of the St Lucia/ China Friendship Association
in October 2010

One Child Policy Cut Population Growth, but China Starting To Worry

Jamaica Observer article by Executive Editor - Publications Division, Vernon Davidson

"...policy's long-term negative effects, namely an ageing population, self-centred children and the burden placed on single offspring to take care of elderly relatives have spurred renewed debate..."
One Child Policy Cut Population Growth, but China Starting to Worry

Vernon Davidson speaks with
Professor Heng Xiojun, Vice-President of the
China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU) in
Beijing in October 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We Say China Still A Developing Country

Article by Taneka Thompson, journalist from The Tribune in the Bahamas.

We Say China Still A Developing Country
Taneka Thompson of The Tribune in the Bahamas
participated in a professional programme for
Caribbean journalists in Beijing, China during October 2010.

A Woman's Place Is In The...

A Woman’s Place Is In The …..

Colin Wiltshire of Barbados shares a moment on the set of a Chengdu
television station with two female presenters.

Wu Yi is the Deputy Premier of the China Communist Party and ranked as one of the most influential women today in the world. She represents the optimism that her country has for its future and of the meaningful participation of women in every area of national life.

Amoy (not her real name) is a tour guide in Beijing who escorted participants in the Professional Journalism Workshop in the Professional Programme for Journalists from Caribbean Countries in October. At age 28, Amoy has benefitted from China’s boom. She drives her own car and bought a studio apartment for several thousand Yuan in an upscale area in Changpin, a small city in China. She lives in Beijing as that is where she does most of her work and shares the rent of an apartment there while she collects rent from her studio. Amoy has a cosmopolitan flair. She has travelled abroad, her hair is professionally maintained and she dresses stylishly with quality garments.

This is a far cry from the experience of her parents. Amoy recalls stories that her parents told her of the 1980s where the total family spend of a month was no more than 50 Yuan. When her father got the news that his wife had a baby boy, he went out and bought fish, food they ate maybe once per year. The news of the birth was slightly wrong, the baby was a girl and not a boy. The Chinese preference for boy children influenced her parents to try again for a son, an offence when the one-child family planning policy came into force in 1980.

Despite the threat of punishment, Amoy’s mother went ahead with her second pregnancy and spent the gestation period dodging the government by living in different homes around their home city of Tianjin. Her cover story to the neighbours was that she moved out because she wanted a divorce from her husband. Luckily, they had their wish of a baby boy. The government then confiscated their black and white television set and electric flashlight as the couple could not pay the 500 Yuan fine.

A few years later, Amoy’s mother became pregnant again with a third child, a girl. By the time the government caught up with her, she was already five months pregnant, but they instructed her to visit the hospital and the pregnancy was terminated. Amoy said that the government would not give such an instruction today, but the current fine is upwards of 100,000 Yuan.

Recalling that one of China’s major challenges is its overpopulation, Amoy says that her parents never held bitter feelings against the government, but that her mother was very traditional and loved the idea of a family with children.

A woman and child enjoy a morning in Tiananmen Square
During Amoy’s coming-of-age, employment and educational opportunities in China increased rapidly and tens of millions of persons have been lifted out of poverty. Amoy said that women are doing especially well in today’s China. She says that many times women apply themselves very hard to their studies and careers and do better than their male counterparts. She enjoys equal pay and has equal opportunities for employment. In tribute to women, the government of China declared International Women’s Day as a public holiday for women only. Amoy also jokes that her friends now prefer to have a girl baby for their only child, as parents are expected to buy their sons a house so that he can take a wife – shades of a modern-day bride price.

As a graduate with a Degree in Tourism Management, Amoy enjoyed the privilege of being selected as an official liaison for corporate VIPs during the Beijing Olympics; her talent and professionalism were recognised! We asked Amoy about her dreams for the future, surely the sky is the limit.

She leaned close to the Flair reporter and levelled a steady gaze, “I want to be a housewife. Get married and have children.”

Although China is close to relaxing its one-child policy, she will not be allowed to have more than one child as she is a member of the Han ethnic majority and also that she herself is not an only child. Amoy says that she accepts the restrictive family planning policy as necessary for her country’s long term success. She however, has one major advantage towards her dream. China is unique as it is one of the few places where the population has more young men than women. The United Nations said that in 2005 there were 106.8 males to 100 females in China, one of the highest sex ratio imbalances in the world. This is good for Amoy as there are more eligible young men for marriage than ever before, making a good marriage match a very viable option for her.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello World - Blog from the Dominican Republic

Political Scientist, Luis Gonzalez, from the Dominican Republic created, World Nihao (Hello World), a blog that is dedicated to "A Wave of Society, Culture, Politics and Economy of China." Written in Spanish but blog apps translate to English. Stop by for his insights on China's rise and growing influence in the region.

Reception desk for journalists at a Ministry of Finance building in Beijing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Island Boy Sets His Eyes On The World

Island Boy Sets His Eyes On The World
China Foreign Affairs University Sophomore student, "Eric" with Colin Wiltshire of Barbados at the Great Wall at Badalang, China. Eric volunteered to be the student co-ordinator of the Professional Programme for Journalists from the Caribbean in October 2010

This Blogger visited visited China for two weeks and among the many wonderful encounters was making friends with China Foreign Affairs university sophomore, Huang Xiaochun, who is majoring in International Studies, including fluency in English and Spanish.

Xiaochun, tell us about your home?
“I am from the tropical resort island of Gulangyu in the South of China. I had to take a five-minute ferry to go to high school on the mainland. My father was a Customs official and my mother manages a 12-room guest house. We live in an apartment very near to the guest house. I can never sleep until late at home because the tourists walking past my bedroom window on their way to the beach make a lot of noise. Everyone walks or rides a bicycle as no private motor cars are allowed on the island. Only the police and emergency services have motor vehicles.”  

Do you have any siblings?
“My family is a member of the She ethnic minority group, so under China’s family planning policy, my parents were allowed to have two children. My sister is 16, four years younger than me.”

How did you get interested in a career in the foreign service?
“From I was 14 years old I helped my mother at the guest house. I liked meeting people, learning another language and learning about cultures. I decided to attend a foreign language high school and prepare myself to represent my country in the field of diplomacy. I did not have to do a university entrance exam because I graduated from this special school. I want to help my country to be developed, especially for the peasants who devote their whole lives providing food for us. While we enjoy our success we should remember them. We are in the same nation and the same world: one humanity.”

What do you do as a hobby?
“I like volunteering and I am a member of the Greenpeace NGO and of the global youth organisation AIESEC (AIESEC is Association Internationale de Etudiantes en Sciences, Economiques et Commerciales) at my university. I was selected as a volunteer coordinator for this Caribbean Professional Journalist Programme. I do not get paid for this and I still attend my classes.”

Do you do sports?
“I do not play on a team but I do many activities with my friends such as swimming, table tennis, cycling, football, basketball, and especially billiards. Billiards is very popular where I am from and we follow the professionals on Taiwan television. Of course I follow the career of the famous Chinese basketball player, Yao Ming, who plays for the Houston Rockets in the USA. I also follow English Professional Snooker Player, Ronnie "Rocket" O'Sullivan.”

Do you follow fashion?
“Not really. I buy for comfort and quality but do not follow brand names.”

What is your favourite music?
“I like the Taiwanese R&B/Rap entertainer Jay Chou and the American groups Cold Play and Green Day.”

What about reggae music?
“I have never heard about reggae music. Maybe I have heard it but I do not know the name. I listen to music but do not dance.”

Do you go clubbing?
“No. I do not know any. Nightclubs are not allowed near to schools and universities in Beijing.”

What is your favourite food?
“I do not have a favourite food but like to try Chinese dishes from different provinces. When I travel home for the holidays on the train my friends and we will come off along the way for a few hours and try new food.”

Favourite Movie Stars
“Tom Cruise, especially in the movie Top Gun. I also recently saw the movie Inception.”

Are you religious?
“My mother is Buddhist and prays a lot. She selected a scripture passage for me when I was going away to university to encourage me and I keep the text on my computer desktop. I think about the future a lot and try to make a plan.”

What are your dreams of family life?
“I would like to get married and have two children, hopefully a girl and a boy like my parents. My girlfriend and I were in high school together and we have been dating now for three years. She is attending another university in Beijing.”

Which countries would you like to visit?
“Our neighbour India, and also South Africa and the USA.”

Please explain the meaning of your first name.
“My name, Xiaochun, is made up of two Chinese characters. The first means knowledge and the second means a clean mind. My name therefore is that although I must gain a lot of knowledge about a lot of things, I must also keep my mind pure and clean.”