Hi everyone. I’m Stephanie LI.
Coming up on today’s program.
China issues a new five-year plan to curb plastic waste;
Retail sales of consumer goods went up 2.5% year on year in August;
Hong Kong expects to launch the Greater Bay Airlines as early as late October.
Here’s what you need to know about China in the past 24 hours
The war on plastic waste is on.
China will boost its plastic recycling and incineration capabilities, promote "green" plastic products and take action against the overuse of plastic in packaging and agriculture, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a 2021-2025 "five-year plan" published on Wednesday.
China is the world's biggest plastic producer and consumer. In 2019, China produced more than 80 million tons of plastic products, but its recycling rate is only around 30 percent.
Plastic waste can easily enter ecosystems and food chains – including our own, in the form of micro-plastics. Studies say that humans on average ingest 5 grams of plastic every week, roughly the weight of a credit card.
In 2008, China banned retailers from giving out free plastic bags, and enacted the waste import ban in 2017. Before that, China imported over half of the world's plastic waste. It has also encouraged major cities to introduce trash sorting policies, build industrial-scale recycling plants and ban restaurants and e-commerce platforms from using single-use products like plastic straws and shopping bags.
However, the fast expansion of express and food delivery industries has brought about new challenges. In 2018, China's courier sector handled over 50 billion parcels. The total length of plastic tape used topped 39.8 billion meters – enough to circle the Earth nearly 1,000 times. Moreover, the pandemic has massively increased the orders of takeaways, with plastic bags used in a single day covering at least 390 football fields.
To tackle the problem, the new five-year plan will encourage retailers and delivery firms to cut "unreasonable" plastic packaging and raise waste urban incineration rates to around 800,000 tons per day by 2025. The plan also bans the production of ultra-thin plastic bags nationwide, promote the use of alternative products, and boost recycling rates for agricultural plastic mulch to 85 percent.
Greater Bay Area, Greater Future
Greater Bay Airlines, a newly launched Hong Kong-based carrier, said it hopes to start operations in late October or early November after it obtained regulatory approval and the license necessary to operate passenger flights. It said it plans to apply the permit to fly to Beijing Capital International Airport as its inaugural flight from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.
Update on COVID-19
The Chinese mainland reported 50 new local cases yesterday, all from Fujian Province, in which 33 were in Putian and 12 in Xiamen.
Next on industry and company news
China’s output growth of industrial enterprises above designated size soared 13.1 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2021, and jumped 5.3 percent year-on-year in August, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Wednesday. The retail sales of consumer goods went up 2.5 percent in August, totalling around 3.44 trillion yuan.
China’s Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security jointly issued a document on Tuesday setting qualification requirements for teachers in after-school training institutions as teaching and research staff must be at least 50 percent of the total number of employees. The ministry also announced the very first “blacklist” system for managing teachers.
China Evergrande, currently besieged by negative news coverage, said Tuesday that it expected sales to drop further this month due to a lack of confidence. The Hong Kong listed real estate giant projected the group's revenue from contracts would extend the downward trend in September, making cash flow and liquidity under greater pressure.
Opening day tickets of Beijing’s Universal Studios theme park sold out within one minute on China’s biggest online travel site trip.com at midnight yesterday. All rooms for the same day in the Universal Studios Hotel were booked in 30 minutes.
Switching gears to the financial sector
German financial services group Allianz recently opened China’s first wholly foreign-owned insurance asset management company following licensing and months of preparation.
Wrapping up with a quick look at the stock market
Chinese stocks closed lower on Wednesday with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index down 0.17 percent, at 3656 points. The Shenzhen Component Index closed 0.61 percent lower at 14536 points. The Hang Seng Index closed 1.84 percent lower to stand at 25033 points.
Biz Word of the Day
Liquidity refers to the ease with which an asset, or security, can be converted into ready cash without affecting its market price. The most liquid asset of all is cash itself.
Executive Editor: Sonia YU
Editor: LI Yanxia
Host: Stephanie LI
Writer: Stephanie LI, ZHANG Ran, TIAN Chang
Producer: XIANG Xiufang
Sound Editor: ZHANG Ran, Andy YUAN
Graphic Designer: ZHENG Wenjing, LIAO Wanni
Co-produced by 21st Century Business Herald Dept. of Overseas News & SFC Audio/Video Dept.
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