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Chinese brands are rising globally
By Mike Bastin (China Daily)

Domestic firms have gained consumer trust with their competitive goods in world markets

It is that time of year again, when the annual BrandZ report on the most valuable global brands is published. The highlights this year are not too dissimilar to those of previous years: The rise of Chinese brands globally and the impressive purchasing power of Chinese consumers.

Both of these represent great news for European brands, with whom increasingly competitive Chinese brands are seeking to form alliances to continue to expand internationally. At the same time, alliances with Chinese brands will enable European brands to penetrate the Chinese market and cash in on the purchasing power of Chinese consumers.

Specifically, BrandZ 2015 places 14 Chinese brands in the world's top 100 most valuable brands. Ten years ago, only one Chinese brand made the top 100.

This international expansion is all the more spectacular for the following BrandZ findings: 25 percent of this year's top risers are Chinese brands, and three of this year's seven new entrants are Chinese brands. The newcomers perhaps exemplify the rapid rise internationally of Chinese brands, as well as the changing nature of the Chinese economy, away from low-cost manufacturing and heavy industry to technology and innovation-focused privately-owned brands.

Highest-ranked of this year's new entrants is Alibaba, which splashes in at 13th, two places behind Tencent, the highest ranked Chinese brand overall. Tencent, whose many offerings include the social messaging app WeChat and a range of e-commerce services and multiplayer online games, and Alibaba, China's e-commerce behemoth that raised $21.8 billion at its New York initial public offering late last year, are prime examples that typify the new, emerging Chinese economy in which private companies with modern, market-oriented business models are increasingly dominant.

Huawei and China Telecom, another two Chinese brands that have entered the top 100 for the first time this year, ranked 70th and 99th, respectively, provide further, demonstrable proof of a sizeable shift toward technology and entrepreneurship across Chinese industry.

In particular, Huawei, a leading multinational networking and telecommunications equipment company whose headquarters are in Shenzhen, has expanded most impressively internationally. In 2012, for example, Huawei overtook Ericsson to become the largest telecoms equipment manufacturer in the world, and now sells products and services in more than 140 countries.

Of particular note to European firms should be Huawei's international expansion strategy, which is based solidly on long-term alliances. Huawei serves 45 of the world's 50 largest telecoms operators.

Huawei is the second highest-ranked newcomer, behind Alibaba.

Among China's now numerous technology companies that have achieved international success recently is Baidu, the Internet search engine, which has been listed on the Nasdaq for several years. BrandZ 2015 ranks Baidu as the 21st most valuable brand in the world, up four places on last year, with a 35 percent increase in brand value year-on-year.

Baidu's international expansion activities appear to be behind its recent brand value increase. European potential partners should be aware of the now global vision at Baidu and many Chinese companies. Baidu's takeover late last year of Brazilian company Peixe Urbano, the Brazilian equivalent of Groupon, exemplifies its global expansion strategy.

Chinese brands are also leading the way compared with other fast-growing regions and countries. Only one of the highest-valued Asian brands is not Chinese, and only seven other Asian brands find themselves in the world's most valuable 100, alongside 14 Chinese brands.

Furthermore, despite China's recent economic slowdown, its brands contribute eight of the top 10 ranked Asian brands, the other two being Samsung (6th) and Toyota (8th).

BrandZ also reports on the growth of brands across emerging nations such as Brazil, Russia, India and China (along with South Africa they make up the BRICS bloc), the four countries often cited as the new engine of global economic growth. China and its brands also shine brightly here. None of the top Brazilian brands have made it into the BrandZ 2015 top 100.

BrandZ 2015 provides a separate section on the BRICS in which it is made clear that Russian brands remain relatively weak compared with Chinese competitors, and even Indian brands have struggled to grow internationally. No Indian or Russian brands appear in the top 100.

This year's BrandZ report cites the robust purchasing power of Chinese consumers as one of the key drivers of brand value growth, despite the relative slowdown in the Chinese economy. Combined with the increased competitiveness of Chinese brands, this provides huge opportunities for European brands and their penetration plans for the Chinese market.

BrandZ 2015 also researched perceptions of "Made in China" and "Brand China", looking at the image associated with China-made products and Chinese brands around the world.

It found that North American and Western European consumers' perceptions of Chinese brands have changed markedly in recent years. In particular, technology brands are no longer tainted with the low-cost, low-quality image that had dogged many Chinese companies for many years.

However, it is also important for many British and European brand producers to take note of the BrandZ 2015 findings on changes in the behavior of Chinese consumers. Consistent with my research in recent years, BrandZ reveals that Western brands have lost their mystique and the automatic allure they once commanded in the minds of many Chinese consumers. Improved competitiveness among many Chinese brands has contributed to the typical Chinese consumer now taking longer and thinking more rationally over many brand choices. Western brands such as Chanel and other previously invincible brands are no longer perceived as automatically superior.

BrandZ also reports that Chinese consumers, via careful consideration of the Chinese Dream, now engage and identify more with brands that build an image in the consumers' minds based on Chinese brand associations.

As a result, BrandZ 2015 is perhaps pointing more and more to the need for more Sino-European brand tie-ups, where a symbiotic relationship should help both partners penetrate each other's geographic market.

Above all, BrandZ 2015 forecasts the continued international rise of Chinese brands as well as the growing importance of Chinese consumers' purchasing power.

The message to European brand producers, therefore, is clear: Identify a suitable Chinese brand partner and consider a Chinese image for the Chinese market.
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Phones and drones - China's risk-takers who rule the world

BEIJING - From a company founded by a college student in 2006 to a global leader in the civilian drone industry, the story of Da-Jiang Innovations (DJI) illustrates just what a true commitment to innovation can do.

"The key to innovation is not 1-to-n, it's the 0-to-1 part that makes all the difference," said Wang Tao, DJI's founder.

"First-mover advantages are difficult to lose when you are in the market with groundbreaking technology." he said.

In 2010, DJI sales were a respectable 3 million yuan ($460,000). In 2014, that number jumped to nearly 3 billion yuan. DJI is on track to make a billion dollars in 2015.

The Shenzhen company sells nearly 70 percent of the world's civilian drones, and 80 percent of its revenue is generated outside China.

DJI's success story is not an isolated case. Xiaomi, a mobile phone firm founded in 2010 became the third-biggest seller of mobile phones worldwide in 2014, the same year that Xiaomi came 35th on a list of the world's most innovative companies compiled by The Boston Consulting Group.

Aside from its low price, Xiaomi's popularity can be explained by its innovative MIUI OS which was more smooth than the original Android OS.

As Xiaomi took the phone market by storm, it continually looked to the future and now offers a diverse range of Internet of Things products that interact with its mobiles including an air purifier, bathroom scales, blood pressure monitors, light bulbs, TVs and a webcam.

The success of Xiaomi and DJI boils down to continually reinventing themselves. The search for new technology and new ideas has become a palpable tide in China as the era of cheap labor and fast exports is washed away.

Innovation was put in first place in China's plan for the next five years, a plan with the grand goal of doubling 2010 GDP and per capita income of both urban and rural residents.

The government set aside 40 billion yuan last year to nurture startups. In the first three quarters of 2015, 10,000 new companies were registered each day.

As China becomes prosperous and more families, even those from rural backwaters, have access to higher education, people are becoming more confident risk-takers. Stable government jobs have gradually lost their shine with the chance of making a new product and reaping rich rewards within the reach of many.

In 2014, venture capitalists pumped a record 100 billion yuan into startups. The figure for 2011 was 30 billion yuan, but there is still ample room for improvement.

Despite being the world's second biggest gross R&D spender behind the United States, China still lags behind developed countries which normally spend 3 to 4 percent of their GDP on R&D. Last year, expenditure in research and development reached 1.3 trillion yuan, up 9.9 percent from 2014, and more than 2 percent of GDP, only the second straight year above the 2-percent mark.
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Chinese tech companies chip away at foreign rivals
By Gao Yuan (China Daily)Updated: 2016-01-04 07:25

Home-grown firms seek to develop their own mobile processors and operating systems

One of the positive outcomes of the government's decision to support local innovation is that many Chinese firms have announced plans to make their own chips and software products for mobile devices.

Chinese firms, it seems, are intent on gaining market share in these areas where they have been lagging for long.

The development follows Chinese tech majors' taking of nearly 80 percent share of the country's smartphone market.

Telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, which is also China's biggest smartphone vendor by shipments, is the staunchest advocate of made-in-China chips.

Huawei has already used a home-made processor, the Kirin 950, in its latest flagship device Mate 8, a 3,000-yuan smartphone which is trying to take on the iPhone 6S and Samsung Electronics Co's Galaxy series.

In November, Kirin 950 was one of the hottest topics at the Mate 8 launch. "The processing power of Mate 8 will make other vendors' devices look weak," said Yu Chengdong, head of Huawei's consumer division.

Kirin 950 was produced by HiSilicon Technologies Co Ltd, a chipmaking subsidiary of Huawei. The long-awaited chip received the market's thumbs-up because of its processing speed and power-efficient design.

But Huawei is looking for more than positive reviews. The company hopes the Kirin series will become a top contender in the mobile chip market, challenging Qualcomm Inc of the United States and MediaTek Inc of Taiwan, which dominate the market now.

Qualcomm has been the biggest high-end mobile chip supplier to Chinese handset makers, including Xiaomi Corp and Lenovo Group Ltd. MediaTek used to focus on the lower-end market, but it, too, has begun producing chipsets for high-end devices.

The two giants accounted for about 60 percent share of Android devices in 2015, according to AnTuTu, a smartphone performance review company.

HiSilicon, whose biggest customer was its parent Huawei, had a 7.73 percent share of the chip market in 2015, said AnTuTu, adding the corresponding figure for 2014 was less than 3 percent.

Besides Qualcomm and MediaTek, two other foreign chip-makers are prominent in China: Samsung and Intel.

The rapid growth in HiSilicon's market share was because of the high level of shipments of Huawei's premium devices, AnTuTu said in a report.

In the July-September quarter, Huawei emerged the biggest smartphone vendor in China overtaking Xiaomi, according to research firm Canalys. The Shenzhen, Guangdong-based Huawei registered 81-percent year-on-year growth in shipments, while Xiaomi's shipments shrank, Canalys said.

Information security concerns will likely give Chinese-made chips a bigger room in 2016.

Which is why, Spreadtrum Communications Inc, a chip-maker under the State-owned phones have the power (to hold personal data, shape opinions and publish views), it is not safe (to have foreign-made chips in them). That is why, we have to develop our own chipsets."

The Chinese company has plans to spend 300 billion yuan ($46.4 billion) in the next five years to become the world's third-largest chipmaker.

Ye Tianchun, director of the Institute of Microelectronics, which is under the aegis of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said Chinese chip-making industry is growing its presence in the global market fast as China has announced plans to boost technology upgradation.

"Chip-making is a critical technology for many areas, including smartphones. China is set to grow a strong chip sector, so we don't need to beg other countries for key chipsets," Ye said

Besides chips, device operating systems are getting Chinese technology firms' attention.

For instance, ZTE Corp said in late 2015 it is planning to develop its own operating system based on Linux. Sources familiar with the company's smartphone project said the Chinese company is also working on a system-on-a-chip processor to fight off overseas providers.

ZTE is pinning hopes on government procurement deals. Some of its devices are already used by the government as gifts for dignitaries. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, an e-commerce giant, is hopeful that YunOS, its cloud-based mobile operating system, will receive government deals.

YunOS has been already adopted by a number of local firms such as Meizu Telecom Equipment Co Ltd and Ningbo Bird Co Ltd. It has been the only China-made mobile operating system to have successfully cleared a government quality and security test.

In China, only software products that receive government approval can be sold to government bodies and State-owned enterprises.

Huawei moves into top three globally

Huawei Technologies Co. shipped more than 100 million smartphones this year as a drive to attract higher-end customers helped defy an industry slowdown that hit rival Chinese vendors.

China's largest mobile brand boosted shipments by 33 percent and moved into the top three globally, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement on its website. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc are the world's two biggest producers.

Huawei, which debuted its first Android device in 2009 to complement its main business of making networking equipment, is pushing into markets from the United States to Europe to take on Apple and Samsung. Expanding beyond China, where slowing market growth has hurt Xiaomi Corp and Lenovo Group Ltd, is part of a goal to sell 60 percent of smartphones overseas and generate about $16 billion of revenue from phones in 2015.

The company bets on "the trend among consumers to upgrade to higher-end devices from entry-level smartphones," said John Butler and Matthew Kanterman, analysts with Bloomberg Intelligence. "Huawei is likely to maintain this tack in 2016, as it invests in expanding its mid-range and high-end smartphone product suite."

A third of the smartphones shipped by Huawei in the third quarter cost more than 2,000 yuan ($309) each, the company said.

Growth at Huawei, founded by former Chinese army engineer Ren Zhengfei, comes as IDC forecasts Chinese market growth will slow to the low single-digits in 2015. That has rippled through a domestic industry crowded with brands such as Gionee, OnePlus, Oppo and Meizu, backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Xiaomi is in danger of missing its target of selling 80 million smartphones in 2015, people with knowledge of its production plans said earlier last year. The startup founded by Lei Jun saw domestic shipments drop in the third quarter in their first-ever decline, according to researchers at Canalys and IHS. Through the first nine months of 2015, Xiaomi moved about 53 million smartphones.

Lenovo meanwhile is struggling to turn around the Motorola brand it acquired in 2014. The company is taking $900 million of charges to cut costs and restructure the division.

Still, the Chinese market has proven volatile in past years. Xiaomi once led local vendors through viral marketing and crafting a social-media experience for its users. It's now ranked fifth globally, behind Lenovo.

Huawei accounted for 7.5 percent of all phones shipped globally in the third quarter of 2015, behind Apple's 13.5 percent and Samsung's leading 24 percent, according to IDC.

"We hope to be able to sustain our growth in 2016," He Gang, Huawei's smartphone products president, said in the statement.
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Future goes on display at Las Vegas tech show
By Gao Yuan in Beijing and Hezi Jiang in New York (China Daily)

Chinese firms set the tone for a new era of tech innovation at top exhibition

From futuristic electric cars to the thinnest laptops in the world, Chinese tech companies are showing their muscle at the first major technology expo in 2016 that is set to open in the United States later this week.

Two days before the official kickoff of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the competition for eyeballs is already on.

Future goes on display at Las Vegas tech show

More than 1,100 Chinese companies making up more than a quarter of the 3,600 exhibitors will be present at this year's CES.

Last year's event attracted at least 550 Chinese companies. About 470 were from Shenzhen, Guangdong province. The city, which borders Hong Kong, has been the world's largest electronics manufacturing hub, making smartphones, tablets and wearables for international buyers.

With a strong manufacturing power waiting for orders, Chinese companies are turning the technology show into a trade event.

Companies from China have taken out sprawling booths on the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Major TV makers like Hisense Co Ltd and Sichuan Changhong Electric Co Ltd have stalls next to Intel Corp, the US semiconductor giant, in prime locations of the main hall at the convention center.

"CES is a weather vane for the consumer electronics technologies and that is why we have been participating in this event for 11 years," Qingdao, Shandong-based appliances vendor Haier Group said in a statement. The company aims to introduce a robot that can detect dangers such as gas leaks in kitchen.

"Make no mistake, the Chinese have arrived," Tim Bajarin, president of research firm Creative Strategies Inc, wrote on He said the increased presence of Chinese companies resembles how Japanese players embraced CES in the early 1990s.

But for top-tier companies, CES remains a good opportunity to showcase their technology advantages.

Faraday Future, an electric automobile startup backed by Beijing-based LeTV Holdings Co Ltd, unveiled a concept car that looks like a mix of a Bugatti Veyron and Batman's armored motor vehicle the Batmobile-a fit for an event designed to showcase the next-generation technologies.

Standing in a massive temporary tent opposite the pyramid-shaped Luxor Hotel, FF's senior vice-president Nick Sampson said the technologies introduced this year will drive the company to challenge existing electric carmakers such as Tesla Motors Inc in the future.

"We are embarking on nothing less than a complete rethink of what mobility means," Sampson said. He added it is building a new factory in Nevada that will hire 4,500 employees and its first retail version vehicle will be a few years away.

Also on Tuesday, the world's largest personal computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd put on stage a convertible made of carbon fiber that is as thin as 12.8 millimeters and weighs 999 grams.

The Chinese company, which is eyeing overseas sales for more than half of its revenue, has a tradition of displaying latest flagship products during the CES that is packed with global investors, analysts and reporters.
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Kingsoft looks to the clouds, aiming to be second largest operator

CEO says it aims to become the world's 2nd-largest operator after Amazon Web

One of the country's leading antivirus software and Internet services companies is aiming to lead the ever-growing domestic cloud-computing market, after experiencing dramatic growth since launching its cloud operations in 2012.

Zhang Hongjiang, chief executive officer of Kingsoft Corp Ltd, said its Kingsoft Cloud offshoot also has its sights firmly on becoming second globally, behind Amazon Web Services Inc, the world's largest cloud provider.

Kingsoft Cloud has maintained annual growth of around 80 percent in its first three years, and during the second half of last year, the growth soared to 300 percent, after receiving a new round of funding worth $67 million in March.

The company has also been assured of 1 billion yuan ($153 million) in investment by Kingsoft's group Chairman Lei Jun over the next three years, Zhang said, which gives him full confidence of achieving and maintaining a market leader in China.

When Kingsoft first embarked on developing cloud services, Zhang said, it planned to focus on developing infrastructure rather than software.

But as the market has developed, more firms have started targeting the former.

"The timing for us to enter the industry was just right," said Zhang, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft China R&D Group and managing director of Microsoft Advanced Technology Center, before joining Kingsoft in 2011.

"The first layer of companies has now formed, meaning it is very difficult for newly established firms to enter the cloud-computing industry right now, especially those wanting to focus on infrastructure, which is expensive and highly technical."

Zhang said Kingsoft entered the digital gaming industry in 2014. Last year it expanded into the online video industry too, which helped push that impressive H2 growth.

Zhang puts the business's success down to overcoming three major barriers: technology, scale and service quality. With its processes firmly in place, it is now moving into other areas of cloud services, such as medical, government administration and smart cities.

"To apply cloud technologies to such areas, especially traditional industries, we need more efficient system integrators to tailor-make applications using our technology.

"This level of system integration expertise is in short supply in China right now, and developing even more reliable integrators is likely to be our major target in 2016," he said.

Kingsoft Cloud also started looking globally last year, opening two centers in Hong Kong and the United States, which will serve its expansion into Southeast Asia and North America by both sourcing international clients, and finding the best ways to service them.
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Wanda plans 'substantial' deals as property sales slump

Dalian Wanda Group Co, the property-to-entertainment conglomerate headed by Asia's richest man, is planning five "substantial" acquisitions this year as the company braces for a drop in sales.

Wanda, led by billionaire Wang Jianlin, is aiming to complete three overseas purchases and two domestic ones, excluding cinema chains, it said in an e-mail on Monday.

Separately, Wanda forecast that sales will fall 12 percent in 2016 as slumping revenue from its main real estate business overshadows gains from the burgeoning entertainment operations, the first time it is seeing a drop since at least 2009, when the firm started disclosing annual targets.

Wang is increasingly looking toward entertainment to account for a greater slice of his business empire as China's slowing economy ripples through his other businesses. Last week, Wanda announced it will buy Legendary Entertainment, the United States-based producer of Godzilla, for $3.5 billion in cash, paving the way for Wang to become the first Chinese person to control a Hollywood film company.

In a November interview with Caixin, Wang said that his firm is diversifying as it is "risky" to rely solely on property investments, adding that it is a sector where long-term and stable capital flows cannot be maintained.
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Wanda signs $10b investment deal to build park in India
By Zheng Xin and Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)Updated: 2016-01-26 07:26

Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin's Dalian Wanda Group Co has agreed to invest up to $10 billion in India to build an industrial park in the northern part of the country, its latest efforts in expanding overseas.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding in Beijing on Friday to build the Wanda Industrial New City, an industrial zone in the northern Indian state of Haryana.

According to sources from the Haryana government, the first phase of the project will be spread over 13 square kilometers covering an entertainment park and industrial park that houses companies in software, automotive manufacturing, machinery, healthcare education and other industries.

Wanda is mainly responsible for investing in the initial infrastructure and the real estate developer will attract other companies from home and abroad to get involved with the project, while a Wanda Cultural Tourism City and a residential district is also part of the blueprint, according to a statement issued by the Chinese company.

While many Chinese real estate developers are heading for developed countries on the European and American continents, eyeing potential wealthy buyers from China to invest abroad, Wanda's foray into India's property market is considered more of overseas expansion and brand export, said experts.

Xie Yifeng, the president of the Realty Association of Asia-Pacific Cities, said: "Wanda's advantage lies in its low-cost operation, mature development mode and rich operation management experience in investing in India."

However, he also warned of possible market, political and policy risks, saying large-scale commercial development has always been a contentious issue in India, where it takes several years to complete the land acquisition process.

The project, a result of negotiations between billionaire Wang Jianlin and Haryana State Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar since last June, will kick off this year, Wanda said.

The investment is the largest foreign investment into India, Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director for South Asia at Cushman & Wakefield Inc in Mumbai was quoted by Bloomberg.

Wanda, however, is not the only Chinese real estate company interested in expanding in India. China Fortune Land Development Co Ltd, a listed property developer specializing on building industrial parks, on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding with the Haryana government to build industrial parks, through which more Chinese enterprises will enter the India market.

"India's strong economic growth momentum, its demographic structure, low labor cost and stable exchange rate all make it a lucrative market for us," said Li Hui, operations head of Carrier Midea India Private Ltd, a joint venture between Midea and Carrier.

India's GDP growth is expected to reach 7.5 percent to 8 percent, and its young people (aged under 27) accounted for more than 40 percent among its population, Li said.

Midea's India business maintained an annual growth rate of 30 percent to 40 percent since 2013, while sales revenue has more than doubled during the same period, according to Li.
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Global presence alone won't make companies multinationals, say experts

As Chinese companies ramp up their presence on the international stage with a string of headline-grabbing acquisitions catapulting them to global fame, some experts urge caution: Most still cannot be called true multinationals.

"I think there are a small number of Chinese companies that are already global companies, but it is a very small number, like Lenovo and Huawei," said Stephen Phillips, chief executive of the China-Britain Business Council.

"Some Chinese banks have a very significant international presence as well, but they mostly serve the Chinese customer base, rather than serve the international customer base, so they are only part of the way to becoming truly global in my view."

Despite many State-owned enterprises that have an international presence and private sector companies that are beginning to internationalize quite rapidly, there are very few that are globally recognized.

"But it is changing really quickly, much more quickly than probably any other country," he said.

Phillips said the world will continue to see more and more Chinese companies internationalizing, and they need to do it for at least two reasons: one is to diversify markets and the other is, if they genuinely want to be leaders in that field, they need to be exposed to global competition, whether in services or products, and by going outside the home market and competing with the best of the world.

"If companies manage that in that process, both accessing new markets and moving up the value curve, then they are going to be very successful, but not all of them will succeed. It is not easy, it is very competitive."

Zhang Yang, a senior consultant with Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search and leadership consultancy, said that increasing overseas assets and income are only partial parameters of internationalization.

"If a company just invests in cheap resources overseas and then makes profit out of it, it is not truly internationalization, because they may not be a global company that adopts international standards and rules."

She said international companies have different strategies and targets for different markets, and operate globally. Their management systems, governance and diverse talent would be important measuring standards. But if Chinese companies are gauged by these aspects, most of them would get low grades.

She cited talent as an example. In many multinational companies, about 20 to 40 percent of the senior executive positions are held by talent sought globally, but in Chinese companies, the percentage is usually quite low: less than 10 percent.

Qiao Jian, vice-president of the world's largest personal computer maker, Lenovo Group, said that globalization is not just products or capital going global, but a global enterprise's culture and leadership are key, which is what she learned from Lenovo's failed experiences in the past.

She said that in the first four to five years after Lenovo acquired the personal computer business of IBM, its business met great setbacks.

"When we reflect on it, at that time, we paid a lot of attention to products and strategy, but ignored the culture and leadership components," she said. "Managing people from different countries is not merely relying on policies and regulations but more about winning recognition from local customers, executives and employees culturally, so that we do business holding the same values."

She said since 2008, Lenovo has made great efforts in global enterprise culture building, and its revenue is 15 times that of 10 years ago.

Sun Yongfu, former head of the department of European affairs in the Ministry of Commerce, said that a company's ability to integrate with the cultural and social environment in a given country is an important part of successful internationalization.

"We have seen many unsuccessful cases of Chinese companies going global, and the key is the differences in cultures, standards and concepts between the home country and the destination countries," he said.

"We are used to some ways of operating in China and would bring them to Europe and other parts of the world, but their culture, traditions and laws are quite different from us," he says. For example, Chinese employees would work overtime to get double pay, but Europeans might not hold the same view, he said.

He said that Chinese companies should be able to adopt the destination country's ways of operating and managing companies.

"They need to integrate with the local culture, respect local rules, get familiar with their management ways, do good in local communities and strengthen corporate social responsibilities. Currently, many companies are still deficient in these aspects."
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Alipay, Uber ally to ease Chinese payment overseas

Ride-hailing company Uber China and e-commerce giant Alibaba's financial arm Ant Financial Service Group jointly announced cooperation regarding online payment on Monday, allowing Chinese mainland Uber users to use the car-hailing services overseas and pay in renminbi.

Starting from Monday, the overseas payment function of Alibaba's payment tool Alipay was activated within Uber. Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will be the first places to roll out such services before Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 8 this year.

The connection among the three places, and the large number of mainland visitors coming every year for business or sightseeing purposes are the major reasons prompting the two companies' latest decision.

According to official statistics provided by the China National Tourism Administration, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan were the top 10 most popular tourist destinations among mainland tourists in 2015.

Eric Alexander, Uber's Asia head, said that the cooperation with Alipay on a global scale was aimed at enhancing mainland users' payment experiences when they travel overseas.

So far, more than 5,000 stores in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are now connected to Alipay. An additional 50,000 stores in Asia, Europe and Australia accept Alipay payment.

Peng Yijie, president of Ant Financial's international business, said that Alipay has been providing transportation reservation services in some parts of the world. But the cooperation with Uber will win it increased recognition among a larger group of consumers.

Alipay was connected to Uber as early as 2014. But before Monday's cooperation, Chinese mainland users have to link their Uber account to renminbi-US dollar dual-currency credit cards and pay only in US dollars.

Financial services provider CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets said that 125 million mainland tourists traveled overseas in 2015. The number is expected to grow fast to reach 200 million by 2020.

Chen Jie, a procurement manager at a Shanghai-based multinational manufacturing company, traveled to the United States in January. Before her trip, she had to link her Uber account to a credit card so that she could use the service while in the US.

"Honestly it is not too much trouble to key in some information before the trip. But for consumers, it is always the easier, the better," she said.
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Alibaba needs to think big on world stage

If it is to emerge as a genuine global company it is essential that large overseas targets are acquired

Once again Alibaba, never far away from front page news, is the subject of intense speculation. Right now it is the recent takeover of South China Morning Post, the Hong Kong newspaper, that has set tongues wagging again.

The talk appears to center on the latest acquisition and how this fits with Alibaba's overall direction and continued emergence as a potential global corporate brand.

But is this particular takeover that significant for Alibaba's future? Or is this focus actually an oversight which misses the real issues and challenges facing Alibaba?

If Alibaba is to emerge as a genuine global company capable of dealing with competitive threats from anywhere in the world, it is essential that larger targets are acquired but these targets have to be overseas companies, preferably large, established European and/or US corporate global giants.

Such an audacious strike is the only path to sustainable, global expansion and serious international market credibility.

In so doing Alibaba will join a growing list of Chinese companies in their quest to internationalize and modernize.

It is only recently that China's household appliance giant Haier announced a $5.4 billion takeover of General Electric's appliance business. It is difficult to see how Haier's penetration of the lucrative US market could have followed any other strategy than growth via overseas acquisitions.

Alibaba's SCMP takeover, which appears to make sense in this digital media era, does represent advancement and should strengthen the company's reputation but it also begs the question: When is this internationally-aspiring giant going to make an announcement similar to Haier's GE takeover?

Haier's announcement is not an isolated case and should Alibaba finally land a major US or European corporate catch it will join a sizeable list of Chinese companies that have leapt to international prominence using the same route.

In 2005, computer giant Lenovo announced an agreement to take over IBM's PC division, news that shook the global computer industry at the time. A few years later, Chinese auto industry player Geely bought out the Volvo brand.

More recently world-famous overseas brands such as London's toy store Hamleys and UK breakfast cereal brand Weetabix were also the subject of Chinese company takeovers.

A similar move by Alibaba will contribute considerably to establish a credible reputation as a global brand.

Certainly, listing on the US stock exchange not that long ago represents a major step in the right direction for Alibaba. But the investment community need to witness an audacious overseas takeover in order to be convinced of Alibaba's intent.

Should an overseas company takeover occur soon, it is also crucial that Alibaba follow up such an announcement with clear post-acquisition integration plans that involve a genuine mix of managerial talent at the top.

Global markets will not be conquered without a suitable mix of talented professionals at the helm from a range of different cultural backgrounds. This will not dilute Alibaba's Chinese identity, nor should it, but will lead to much-needed modernization of Alibaba's corporate culture and a more transparent approach to international business generally.

Alibaba's SCMP takeover is news but hardly big news. A multi-billion-dollar overseas company takeover represents the only way forward.
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SCMP deal just another step for Alibaba's media empire dream

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's headline-grabbing HK$2.06 billion ($266 million) deal to acquire the media assets of SCMP Group, including the South China Morning Post, is probably just another step in its quest to build a media empire, Hong Kong-based analysts said on Monday.
"The SCMP acquisition is just one of the building blocks, if not a vital one, for Alibaba's growing media empire and ecosystem," said Hanna Li Wai-han, a strategist at UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong) Ltd. "(Alibaba founder-chairman) Jack Ma himself has long taken a keen personal interest in media assets, given the e-commerce behemoth's fruitful track record of buying media properties."

Statistics show that at least 24 media organizations, from mainland financial news outlet China Business Network to online video giant Youku Tudou Inc, are owned or invested in by Alibaba and its affiliate companies.

The flagship Hong Kong-based newspaper group in a statement on Monday announced the purchase by Alibaba, a move reminiscent of Amazon Inc founder Jeff Bezos' $250 million buyout of The Washington Post in 2013.

This is not the first buyout of a century-old newspaper seen this year. In July, Japan's biggest media company Nikkei Inc agreed to buy the 127-year Financial Times from Pearson Plc for $1.3 billion.

These headline-making deals confirmed the trend of corporates owning media outlets, said Ben Kwong Man-bun, the Hong Kong-based executive director and head of research at brokerage firm KGI Asia.

Li said Alibaba's all-cash purchase of SCMP's media assets constitutes just a tiny part of its massive business landscape and will have little impact on its financial situation and earning performance.

It may be noted that the SCMP, with its 112-year history as a prestigious English-language daily and once the envy of the industry in terms of profitability, has been feeling the pinch in recent years amid the rampant rise of free online publications.

The struggling traditional media group, which used to rely on foreign advertisers as revenue generators, may in fact see this buyout as "financially positive", as it can expect to capitalize on Alibaba's network to get easier access to many more cash-rich mainland advertisers, added Li
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Alibaba payment company forms alliance with Russia's VTB bank
By Cecily Liu (China Daily Europe)

Russia's leading bank, VTB is now the foreign exchange provider for e-commerce transactions carried out in Russia on the Alibaba business-to-consumer website The strategic partnership between the two parties was signed on Thursday during the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Riccardo Orcel, deputy CEO of VTB Group, said that VTB formed a strategic alliance with Ant Financial Services Group for the Russian market, and both companies will work closely on payment and banking services in Russia, to provide a comprehensive and reliable shopping experience for Russian consumers. However, there are more potential opportunities in emerging economies for cooperation in the future between the two companies. 

The ceremony was attended by VTB Group President and Chairman Andrey Kostin, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma and Chief Executive Officer of Ant Financial Services Group, Lucy Peng. Ant Financial is a New York Stock Exchange listed company, and was founded as the financial service provider of Alibaba.

"Alibaba is not just an e-commerce company, they have impressive financial services technology that they are already deploying, with recent investments in The Post Office of Singapore for example. And they are of course a leader in e-commerce, supported by their significant logistics network that delivers products to their growing client base," Orcel said. 

Orcel explained that it is not only through competitive pricing that e-commerce gaining ground against competitors, but also through providing a high quality, broad product base and ensuring reliable and speedy delivery. Alibaba has a demonstrated track record and this is ensuring quick success in Russia.

VTB is partnering with China's largest e-commerce company and the landmark agreement will help to ensure that Ant Financial's and Alibaba's business potential is maximized by providing best price of the transactions, settlement services and best choice of financial instruments.

Orcel said he is impressed with Alibaba's growth in Russia through its business-to-consumer platform

Although the platform is only two years old in Russia, it is one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms in the country, and ranks around seventh in terms of the number of website visitors.

"Alibaba is number one in the world, and Russian consumers will benefit from the company's growth plans in the country. E-commerce continues to grow and this is a secular trend that goes beyond economic cycles,”
Orcel said.

His team is also looking for opportunities to work with Ant Financial in other countries, using VTB's international operations and experience to help Ant Financial with commercial, corporate and investment banking services.

VTB Group's investment banking operations for China operate from Hong Kong, and the bank has a fully licensed branch in Shanghai. It is the only Russian bank on the Chinese mainland and represents a priority for VTB's international growth plans.

Orcel said, he believes Russia-China trade and investment relationships have great potential to grow, and VTB hopes to play a significant role in financing these opportunities.

He said key sectors for cooperation include energy, power, and infrastructure, where Chinese investors are keen to invest in Russian projects with good returns. Russian companies are turning towards Chinese products in several sectors including for example technology and telephone equipment provided by global leaders in the sector such as Huawei.

To contact the reporter: [email protected]
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Alibaba to invest $1.25b in food delivery app

E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is said to have invested $1.25 billion in, becoming the biggest shareholder of the food delivery application.

According to a report from on Friday, the two parties have already reached an agreement but the deal is expected to be completed after China's Spring Festival in February 2016.

The investment is expected to give Alibaba about a 30 percent stake in, which announced its latest fundraising of $630 million in August, is expected to see its estimated value boost to $4.5 billion after Alibaba's cash injection.

Both Alibaba and, when reached by China Daily on Friday, said they could not comment on market speculation.

Analysts said that it is important for to land investment as the online food delivery market in China requires cash-burning competition to gain market share. The deal is also able to help Alibaba gain a stronger foothold in China's online-to-offline dining market., which was launched in Shanghai in 2009, is a major player in China's booming online food delivery market. According to a report released by iResearch Consulting Group, the online food delivery market, which had overall transactions of 9.51 billion yuan ($1.47 billion) in 2014, has huge potential in China.
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Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and the world's largest media company The Walt Disney Co have launched an over the top service through an Internet television setting that offers Disney entertainment content to local consumers as well as Disney resort ticket booking systems.

OTT refers to the delivery of audio, video and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content.

The service, DisneyLife, is a TV box set resembling Mickey Mouse. It is priced at 799 yuan ($124) and was available at, the online retail unit of Alibaba, from Tuesday, inclusive of a one-year subscription to DisneyLife.

The multiyear license agreement between the two sides features a collection of Disney and Pixar's movies, animation series, games, e-books, songs, travel services and Disney theme park and resort information.

For example, consumers can plan their visit to Hong Kong Disneyland, and Shanghai Disney Resort when it opens in 2016, and they can access Disney merchandise through this service on Tmall. All content offered and served is through Wasu Media Network Co Ltd, an Internet TV provider backed by Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma.

Luke Kang, managing director of The Walt Disney Co in China, said: "Disney and Alibaba share an ambition to exceed our audience's expectations. DisneyLife directly connects us to China's digital population and provides millions of kids and families the ability to explore and engage with Disney."

The TV box, targeted mainly at children and families, can select content through settings based on children's age, with a time limit for watching TV.

Disney opened its Disney Store in Shanghai this May. Shanghai Disney Resort, a joint venture with Shanghai Shendi Group, is due to open in spring 2016.

In the 2015 fiscal year, Disney in China sold consumer products worth 1.2 billion yuan. Its film box office received 3.8 billion yuan.

Alibaba, Disney team up for content services over Internet

Ma Shicong, an analyst at Analysys International, said families are the most important target for Internet content distribution as they generally spend more time watching television than using mobile terminals, and they have great consumption power. Alibaba will benefit from external collaboration and investment, particularly with Disney, a strong brand that adds more value when the theme parks open next year, Ma said.
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Huawei launches new 2-in-1 style laptop at Barcelona Congress

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei launched a 2-in-1 product that combines the mobility of a smartphone and productivity of a laptop at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona on Sunday, marking the firm's latest step to expand its consumer business.

The device, called the Huawei MateBook, retails from 799 euros in the European market and $699 in the US market. It will be made available across international markets from April onwards through both retail and e-commerce channels.

The core device of the MateBook is a tablet with a detachable keyboard much like Apple's iPad Pro, and runs Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 10.

It weighs 640 grams, compared to 713 grams for Apple’s iPad Pro and the 766 grams of Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, both of which are portable tablets known for their lightweight design. It has a 12-inch screen.

The Huawei MateBook has a high-density lithium battery, which lasts for 10 hours once fully charged. The product features a sixth generation Intel Core m-series processor aimed at handling the most rigorous business demands.

Built to operate on Windows 10, the MateBook also delivers tools and features offered by Microsoft Corp, including its latest browser, Microsoft Edge, and the Cortana digital personal assistant.

"We have decided to launch this product to answer the needs of business users. What makes our MateBook unique are are its compatibility and huge variety of functions," said Glory Zhang, chief marketing officer of Huawei Consumer Business.

Although MateBook is being launched later than other comparable tablets, Zhang said it is no cause for concern because Huawei's strategy is to bring to market products once the technology involved can best satisfy consumer needs.

"We are not so concerned about being the first in a market. For example, when we launched our smartphone, the market was already filled with many smartphone makers, but our high quality allowed us to win market share."

"We have made good use of cutting edge technologies that we developed for our smartphone in our MateBook, which gives us a competitive strength," Zhang says.

Huawei, founded in Shenzhen in 1987, has three core business areas. Its carrier business provides telecommunications services to operators like O2 and Telefonica, and it provides telecommunications services to corporate clients. Its third business area is consumer products.

In recent years its consumer business has picked up and has become a key factor in helping build the firm's brand across international markets. Its core products include the Huawei smartphone and Huawei Watch.

Huawei is now the third-biggest player in the smartphone market after Apple and Samsung, and shipped 108 million smartphones in 2015, which represents a 44 percent increase in sales compared to 2014.

Now Huawei is looking to make a major play in the tablet sector. Globally, tablet shipments fell 13.7 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015, while shipments for detachable tablets reached an all-time high of 8.1 million devices, more than double from the same period in 2014, according to the research firm International Data Corporation.

The Huawei MateBook is being launched alongside the MatePen, which is used to write and draw on the MateBook. It has high sensitivity, can support graphics and mathematic functions and can be used as a laser pointer for delivering presentations.

The MateBook also has a one-touch unlocking system, which Huawei says is the fastest fingerprint recognition technology in the industry. Its technology supports 360 degrees sensitive identification, which leads to fewer identification failures than competitor technology.

The keyboard that accompanies MateBook features 1.5 millimeter keystroke and a Chiclet keycap design, which allows for larger key surfaces to minimize typing errors. The built-in touchpad uses multi-touch technology that supports finger movement and effectively combines comfort with function.
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ZTE introduces Spro Plus smart projector

ZTE Mobile Devices unveiled the Spro Plus portable smart projector, a new category of the Spro family, on Sunday in Barcelona, one day ahead the Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Spro Plus provides services such as voice conference, projection, touch-screen and innovative visual design features. The external USB camera also allows for multi-party video communication via applications like Skype.

"The Spro Plus is ZTE Mobile Devices' latest example of igniting digital life with imagination," said Adam Zeng, CEO, ZTE Mobile Devices. "We're proud of the Spro Plus, which showcases a pioneering technology as a first-rate product and delivers an even more intuitive user experience. This allows our users to have unlimited business and entertainment opportunities."

One of the Spro Plus' highlights is a larger, 8.4-inch Android AMOLED touch-screen with 2K resolution, paired with a 12100mAH battery for an enhanced user experience. The Spro Plus will be available in both a Wi-Fi-only version as well as a Wi-Fi and 4G LTE version.

According to the company, Spro Plus helps users work smart and play hard. Its visual capabilities include its vertical and horizontal keystone correction, which is its ability to project onto any place in any direction without distorting the image. Its autofocus keeps the image sharp and clear.

It uniquely uses laser instead of LED technology to project at 500lm, the ideal luminescence for either broad daylight or dark rooms, ensuring the best visual experience for users. This generation of Spro comes with an improved projection ratio. Placing the Spro Plus 2.4 meters away from any surface will project an image up to 80 inches across.

Spro Plus follows the Spro 1 and 2, both of which saw sales of over 500,000 units worldwide and is currently nominated for GSMA's 2016 Glomo Awards in the 'Best Connected Consumer Electronic Device' category. The original ZTE Spro won in the same category in 2015.

The device will be available globally by summer 2016, according to the company
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Tech giants reveal 5G innovations in Barcelona
By GAO YUAN (China Daily)

A month after Chinese top technology vendors stole the limelight at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, they are taking center stage once again at the Mobile World Congress-the world's biggest exhibition for the mobile industry, being held in Barcelona this week.

Technologies to be used in fifth-generation telecom networks are attracting the biggest interest at the event, which is running from Monday to Thursday, with Chinese companies showcasing products alongside global giants including Samsung Electronics Co and Nokia Corp.

ZTE Corp, the Guangdong-based telecom equipment maker, is demonstrating its high-frequency prototype and other key 5G technologies.

The company is hoping to take a lead in technology development, so when 5G starts commercial use in five years from now, it will enjoy a technology edge, said industry observers.

China Mobile Communications Co, the country's largest carrier by subscriber, is also aiming at the 5G market, despite only kicking off its 4G services a little more than two years ago.

It has teamed up with Nokia to give audiences a peek at how the next-generation of communications technology can allow a computer to remotely control a robot that balances a ball on a moving board.

Huang Yuhong, vice-president of China Mobile's research institute, said 5G technology can execute tasks that were impossible using 4G or earlier technologies, because it has ultra-high capacity and ultra-low latency.

"Autonomous manufacturing with massive use of robots is one use. 5G technology will provide the network infrastructure to support China's manufacturing upgrading initiative," Huang said.

Other Chinese companies are also bringing their flagship devices and new services to the MWC.

Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's biggest personal computer maker, is introducing a global wireless roaming service called Lenovo Connect in Barcelona.

Users will no longer need to buy a locally issued SIM card when traveling abroad, but instead, the service provides Internet connection in more than 110 countries.

Wang Shuai, Lenovo's vice-president, said: "The telecom market is expected to grow exponentially with 5G and other machine-to-machine communications technologies around the corner."

Xiaomi Corp, the Beijing-based smartphone maker, is also preparing for a brand announcement at the MWC.

The company, which claimed the Chinese smartphone market top spot last year, will debut its 2016 flagship Mi 5 device on Wednesday, which it claims is its fastest ever, and will be used to expand its overseas business.

Chinese companies have become increasing visible at international tech events to showcase their latest developments, particularly smartphones, wearables, drones and smart home applications.

More than 1,100 joined this year's CES in Las Vegas in January, double last year's number, making up a third of all exhibitors.
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Lenovo Group Ltd, the world's biggest personal computer maker, is introducing a global wireless roaming service called Lenovo Connect in Barcelona.

Users will no longer need to buy a locally issued SIM card when traveling abroad, but instead, the service provides Internet connection in more than 110 countries.

The sooner the better
Wang Jianlin boosts Chinese management philosophy with English version of book
By Chris Peterson (

Wang Jianlin, head of Dalian Wanda Group and China's wealthiest man, said he wants the world to come to understand Chinese management philosophy and culture through his book, 'The Wanda Way,' which was launched in English in London on Monday.

"I hope people can get to know Chinese culture and philosophy. A country is strong when its companies are strong," he told a selected audience at the British Museum.

The book has already been reprinted 15 times and has sold 1 million copies in its original Mandarin, after its launch in China in 2015.

"I think this is a milestone event, not just for myself, or Wanda Group, but for Chinese companies," he said.

"China has begun to export our management philosophies. China exports have shifted from home appliances to cars and machinery, and our high-speed rail technology has been exported abroad," he added.

The UK Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport John Whittingdale told the audience:"We have much to celebrate in this new golden era of the UK-China relationship.

"China and Britain can work together for our mutual benefit," he added.

Jin Xu, minister counsellor at the Chinese embassy in London, said in his address that "you can learn a lot about China, China policy and China entrepreneurs from this book. After you've read it, get a visa for China."

According to the Hurun report, Wang is the 26th richest man in the world and the richest in China, with a personal fortune of $25 billion.

His company, Dalian Wanda Group, is China's largest private property developer, generating revenues of $40 billion a year from its global operations. Its three core areas are culture, private property and finance.

Dalian Wanda Group has invested 1.2 billion pounds in the UK, with a hotel and residences on a site in London on the south bank of the River Thames, not far from the gleaming glass building the houses MI5, Britain's intelligence service.

He also acquired Sunseeker,a UK-based luxury yachtmaker, and his company now employs 1,200 people across the UK.

Wang is due to head to Oxford on Tuesday to deliver an address at the University's Said School of Business Studies.
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China's richest man lays out his Plans for Europe, UK
By Chris Peterson in Oxford ( 2016-02-24 09:48


**The UK has always been part of Europe, and it will not leave the European Union after a referendum on continued membership on June 29, said Wang.

**China is going through the challenge of an economic transformation. There are difficulties for traditional industries, but sectors such as tourism, sport and entertainment offer opportunities, said Wang.

**Dalian Wanda Group has invested 1.2 billion pounds in the UK, building a hotel and residences on a site in London on the south bank of the River Thames.

Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group and the richest man in China, said his organization is hoping to set up its European headquarters in the UK and outlined plans for investment and in Europe.

He said he was currently negotiating a large project, which would generate about 10,000 jobs, although he wouldn't say where or give any further details.

Wang also said Dalian Wanda would be making a major announcement of a large project in Europe, although again he wouldn't give any details.

Wang said it was his personal judgment that Britain will not leave the European Union after a referendum on continued membership on June 29.

He told an audience of mainly Chinese business students at the Said Business School, part of Oxford University, that he didn't believe it would happen.

"I don't think Britain will leave. That is my judgment. The UK has always been part of Europe, and it cannot live by itself. Don't listen to politicians – it is easy to exit, much more difficult to re-enter," Wang said during a half hour discourse.

"It would be difficult for Chinese visitors. It would affect the UK economy. So Britain will not leave. That is my personal judgment," he added.

Dalian Wanda Group has invested 1.2 billion pounds in the UK, building a hotel and residences on a site in London on the south bank of the River Thames, not far from the gleaming glass building the houses MI5, Britain's intelligence service.

He also acquired Sunseeker, a UK-based luxury yachtmaker, and his company now employs 1,200 people across the UK.

"Soon we will be employing 3,000 people here," Wang said.

He said he was currently negotiating a large retail project.

Dalian Wanda is China's largest property developer, with much of its early investment made in shopping malls and retail parks, and now generates about 40 billion dollars in revenue globally each year.

He characterized the US and the UK as being important. "The US is the biggest market, but the UK is a freer market. Here you have no approvals procedure, but the US has many approval procedures, and they can take back your license at any time over 50 years," he said.

"The UK has a good legal framework," Wang added.

Dalian Wanda has now become a multi-industry enterprise, with three main divisions – property, finance and culture.

Last year Dalian Wanda became the biggest cinema chain operator in the world, when it acquired AMC Entertainment, a US-based movie theatre chain, as well as buying Swiss-based Infront Sports and Media, a sports marketing company, for $1.2 billion.

It also announced in January it would be paying $3.5 billion to acquire Hollywood studio Legendary Entertainment.

On the finance side, Wang said Wanda Finance operated a fund for startups, and his advice to his audience was not to seek too much funding, "because then you wouldn't be a startup."

Asked if he had any worries about the slowing down of China's economy, he said the country was going through the challenge of an economic transformation.

"We have to face the challenges. In Chinese we say risks equal opportunities. There are a lot of risks, but there are also a lot of opportunities. There are difficulties for traditional industries, but sectors such as tourism, sport and entertainment offer opportunities," Wang said.

Asked about future plans, he said "we are exploring long-term investment in the UK, but in a couple of days we are going to announce a major project in another EU country," although he wouldn't give any specific details.

He also gave some insight into his company's way of operating. English, he said, was vital, and the group planned to hire bilingual staff as part of their globalization plan.

He hinted that he would be making a contribution to Oxford University, but wouldn't say any more.

"I am going to support more startups," he added.

Wang also expanded further on his rule for doing business. It was an invariable rule that Dalian Wanda took a modular approach.

Executives had to complete the first module successfully, earning a green light before moving on in sequence to the next module. If at any time something wasn't right, then an amber light would happen, followed by a red one if the problem wasn't solved.

His objective was to make Dalian Wanda a world-class leader. "We're not actually there yet, maybe by 2020, or 2019."

By then he plans to have assets of 200 billion dollars, a market capitalization of $200 billion, revenues of $100 billion and net profits of $10 billion.

He joked that he sometimes thought of what he called semi-retirement, but "it's too early. There's always another target. This time it's to become a world-class organization."

Wang was recently estimated to be worth $25 billion by the Hurun report, making him the 26th richest man in the world.

The lecture had its lighter moments – one Chinese girl, invited to ask a question, said Wang had already answered all the things she wanted to know, so did Dalian Wanda have a website where she could apply for a multi-lingual job? Her reward was a signed coped of Wang's book, "The Wanda Way," in English, and an invitation to apply for a job.

Another student was so enthusiastic he jumped onto the stage and gave Wang a hug, much to the consternation of a rather large bodyguard. But it all ended in smiles – and another signed copy of the English version of his book.
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Chinese companies attract lots of interest at Barcelona congress

Chinese companies are attracting high visitor interest with their new product launches and advanced technology displays at the 2016 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs between February 22-25.

Chinese exhibitors range from telecommunications giants like Huawei and ZTE, to operators like China Mobile, and traditional white goods makers like Haier and Hisense that are fast moving into the digital space.

Huawei grabbed visitor attention with the launch of its MateBook at MWC, a 2-in-1 tablet that also functions as a laptop when attached to a keyboard. The device, which champions its small size and large function range as competitive strengths, will be made available internationally from April onwards.

ZTE's new product is its Spro Plus, a smart projector that combines the functions of a smartphone, projector, mobile hotspot, and USB battery. It can be used in schools, the office, or as a household device, and sale will start in the second half of 2016.

White goods giant Haier is exhibiting its Haier Watch, a new product that functions much like Apple's iWatch, with connection to the Haier smartphone, meaning users can read messages, answer calls and control phone cameras on their watches.

Haier launched its smartphone in Europe three years ago, and the Haier Watch will be available in the second half of 2016. Haier's smartphone and smart watch expansions across European markets represent the brand's reputation building strategy in Europe, paving the way for the brand's total home solution strategy roll out across Europe.

The concept of total home solution refers to increasing connectivity between household appliances like refrigerators and televisions, with devices like smartphones and tablets, so that household appliances can be controlled remotely to provide users flexibility and convenience.
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