Category Archives: Hangzhou

Creating a new international tourism slogan for the city of Hangzhou

Accurate Group – Hangzhou Tourism Commission Briefing Document

Topic:            ‘The key elements of a city slogan’ – Hangzhou Tourism Commission Brand / Slogan Seminar
Speaker:       Niall O’Reilly, Managing Director Accurate Group Limited (Niall@accuratelimited.com)
Location:       2 Floor, Zhangming Music Library, Hangzhou West Lake 6th Park
Date:              20th February 2014

Dear ……

Thank you for inviting me here today.  I am Niall O’Reilly, Managing Director of Accurate GroupChina Market Makers –, and Director for China, Irish Exporters Association. This is my 25th year in China, the last 8 years of which I have been based in Hangzhou.  Previously I have been responsible for Asia Pacific marketing for two leading USA-based multi-nationals. One of the Asia Pacific marketing campaigns I directed with global advertising agency BBDO won a gold medal at the Malaysia advertising awards.

How to capture the appeal of Hangzhou in one slogan? Read the tea leaves - Hangzhou's Longing (Dragon Well) Tea

How to capture the appeal of Hangzhou in one slogan? Read the tea leaves – Hangzhou’s Longing (Dragon Well) Tea

Impressions of Hangzhou’s Tourism Product

Hangzhou has enormous foreign tourism potential.

  • Some 4 million foreign tourists visited Hangzhou in 2012.
  • Cathay Pacific / Dragonair (Hong Kong), Qatar Airways (Middle East), Ethiopian Airlines (Africa), KLM / Air France (Europe), EVA Air (Taiwan), ANA (Japan) and Asiana Airlines (Korea) now offer direct flights to Hangzhou’s Xiaoshan International Airport.
  • In 2015 China is expected to overtake France as the world’s top tourist destination

It is against such a backdrop that ever pioneering Hangzhou was the first mainland China city to put into practice an ‘open door’ global policy of promoting its tourism industry to more than a dozen new markets including United Kingdom, Germany, France and United States.

Nevertheless, foreign tourists will only be attracted to travel by the quality of Hangzhou’s tourism product which would need to be amongst the very best in China. We would note, for example, while Hangzhou was once a stronghold for Islam in China, with historic Arab connections dating back 900 years, Hangzhou’s tourist product offering for high-spending visitors from the Middle East and the Gulf States arriving in Hangzhou by way of 5 Star airline Qatar Airways is far from world-class.

Moreover, to break into these new markets Hangzhou tourism planners would first need to invest in focused programs which both highlight competitive strengths and positioning and have a track record for consistently delivering outstanding and innovative experiences. The resulting niche tourism products would likely be targeted at high value foreign tourists, encouraging them to either start or end their China trips in Hangzhou.

Hangzhou has strengths in key niche areas of tourism, which, if effectively marketed, will certainly entice this high-spending foreign tourism segment.

  • Cuisine
  • Medical tourism
  • Meeting, convention and exhibition facilities
  • Outdoor adventure
  • Historic and cultural heritage

All of which are covered by Hangzhou’s proximity to Shanghai and the city’s Number 1 attraction: Four seasons of spectacular scenery.

Creating a new tourism catchphrase for Hangzhou

According to the book “Creative Advertising” by Charles Whittier:

“A slogan should be a statement of such merit about a product or service that is worthy of continuous repetitive advertising; is worthwhile for the public to remember; and is phrased in such a way that the public is likely to remember it.”

However, it’s a difficult job to capture the appeal of a destination such as Hangzhou and plug it into a hard-hitting, effective slogan.

Some slogans become real hits

  • Egypt, where it all begins” is the impressive tourism slogan of Egypt, which intends to highlight Egypt’s historic status as a cradle of civilisations
  • It’s more fun in the Philippines” is the cheery / happy travel slogan of the Philippines.
  • 100% pure New Zealand” is the marketing slogan of Tourism New Zealand, which reflects New Zealand’s image as a clean, green, adventure playground.
  • Jump into Ireland, the tourism slogan of Tourism Ireland (north and south) is designed to convey a sense of playfulness and to reflect the stimulating nature of a holiday in Ireland with unforgettable experiences and warm, friendly people.
Other effective slogans which we like are
  • Mauritius – It’s a pleasure” – clean and simple
  • Brazil – Sensational!”

 Some slogans can be vague, unclear and even disturbing

  • I Love (heart) New York” is the travel slogan many others try to emulate, but what does this catchphrase really convey about New York?
  • South Africa: It’s Possible!” is South Africa’s tourism slogan. This slogan gives you no reason to visit South Africa
  • Visit Bangladesh Before Tourists Comewas the tourism slogan of Bangladesh!
  • Colombia: The Only Risk Is Wanting to Stay”, Columbia’s tourism slogan, could potentially cause more harm than good, by highlighting the reality of “risk

Clearly some of these slogans’ unfortunate suggestions could have been caught early with international testing, and I therefore applaud the Hangzhou Tourism Commission and the Hangzhou Office of Foreign Affairs officials who have invited long-time foreign friends of Hangzhou here today to sound out our opinions regarding the four suggested new slogans for marketing Hangzhou in these new markets.

In my opinion, when developing a great inspirational slogan for Hangzhou — I am thinking along the lines of, for example, Subway’s ‘Eat Fresh’, Nike’s ‘Just Do It!; Sony’s ‘Make. Believe’ etc — five key elements need be adhered to:

  1. Recognition. An effective slogan for Hangzhou must stay consistent with the Hangzhou brand name either obviously stated or strongly implied. It’s better to include the name of Hangzhou in it.By putting the Hangzhou name in the slogan, every time people hear it and see it, they re-imprint it and keep it top-of-mind. People identify with the name.
  2. Unforgettable. Some of the best slogans, such as those just highlighted, are still being used today, even though they were launched more than a few years ago.  Such slogans are memorable.
  3. Useful. The chosen slogan should show Hangzhou’s intention and benefits of the tourism product by conveying the message in consumer language. Imply the risk of not using the product. Create a positive feeling for the consumers. – Such a slogan should be beneficial.
  4. Differentiation. In an overcrowded tourism market, brands in the same industry need to set themselves apart through a creative and original slogan.
  5. And finally, keep it simple. Use proven words and short keywords.  Seven words or less: One word is usually not enough.

4 Final Slogans for Promoting Hangzhou Overseas

A diverse representation of 15 foreigners – including company owners, hotel managers, magazine editors and teachers – living in Hangzhou from periods of a year to over twenty years, were assembled by the Hangzhou Tourism Commission and Hangzhou Foreign Affairs Office to choose which one of the following four final slogans created by Shanghai Advertising Company would be best suited to promoting sophisticated brand image of Hangzhou overseas (in particular to reach tourists in Europe and the Americas).

  • Infinitely Hangzhou!
  • Authentic Hangzhou!
  • Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate
  • Hangzhou: A Living Poetry

The Shanghai Advertising Company account manager urged those present to consider each slogan in terms of four aspects:

  • “Relevance with Hangzhou City”
  • “Words elegancy”
  • “Pronunciation”
  • “Sense of Picture”

Infinitely Hangzhou!

Even against an appropriate setting of iconic Hangzhou panoramas, similar to “Brazil -Sensational!” or “Mauritius – It’s a pleasure”, for the intrepid tourist planning his/her first trip to China, having already ticked Beijing, Shanghai, and possibly Xian or Guilin, “Infinitely Hangzhou” comes across as rather vague.  Infinitely what? Infinitely full of surprises or infinitely full of hope? What does “Infinitely Hangzhou” have to do with anything?

Of course, to those of us with even a basic knowledge of Hangzhou, simple “Infinitely Hangzhou” suggests a city of unlimited cultural expression.  Yet, it will take first-rate emotionally appealing photographic backdrops to disarm “Infinitely Hangzhou” of its mind-numbing blandness. Hangzhou is an inviting and truly diverse city for those tourists that endeavour to discover its appeal.  With respect to Hangzhou, a single word slogan will not generate an effective emotional impact.

Authentic Hangzhou!

With China’s heritage disappearing at an alarming rate in the race for modernisation, authenticity is a much sought-after, and increasingly elusive, quality that rates high with foreign tourists. As such, the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” stakes Hangzhou’s claim to a rich historical past which continues to be alive and well. “Authentic Hangzhou” can also refer to Hangzhou’s natural landscape while underscoring the genuineness of its people.

Yet the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” manages at the same time to be boring, nebulous and almost superfluous. Hangzhou may be the first Chinese city to start promoting itself to European and American markets, but soon numerous cities throughout China boasting an international airport will be getting in on the act, which begs the question: How effective will the slogan “Authentic Hangzhou” be in adequately articulating the unique attributes of Hangzhou, including the authentic experiences of Hangzhou’s history, architecture, cuisine and culture? Doubtless the tagline will be paired with colourful images, but it’s unclear whether visitors will make the connection between the slogan and the city’s emphasis on authentic experiences.

Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate

While “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” is the first to clearly state to spell out specific benefits of Hangzhou’s tourist product offering, the three ‘Rs’ make it sound like a catchy spa slogan. If truth be told the tagline does define what a vacation is all about, but in this case is more suggestive of warm beaches bathed in year-round sunshine, when in fact Hangzhou has four distinct seasons.  Moreover, Hangzhou purists would argue that the tagline “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” completely negates seven thousand years of history.

On the positive side Hangzhou with its close proximity to Shanghai and growing direct international access via Xiaoshan International Airport is the ideal place for visitors to either China and relax prior to traipsing around the country and for unwinding following a hectic cross China sight-seeing schedule. If this is indeed the intended message of “Hangzhou: Relax, Recharge, Rejuvenate” then the slogan needs re-working, not least because “recharge” and “rejuvenate” are quite unoriginal and are more or less tantamount to the same meaning.

Hangzhou: Living Poetry

Hangzhou’s natural beauty and historic treasures, which embrace many aspects of Chinese culture, have been a source of inspiration for poets and painters throughout Chinese history. In contrast with modernising cities across China, including Shanghai, although Hangzhou has been through many recent urban developments, much of the city’s natural, historical and cultural heritage remains unchanged from what has been depicted in literature for centuries. As such,  the slogan “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” asserts that in essence nothing has changed about Hangzhou’s enduring allure, even if the city is China’s fourth largest metropolitan area, an appeal which, if properly packaged, would have to be enticing to China-bound European and American tourists. 

Moreover, by portraying Hangzhou as a poetry in motion, “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” comfortably encompasses the notions of “infinitely”, “authentic” and “relax, recharge, rejuvenate” as set out in the previous three taglines.

As such “Hangzhou: A Living Poetry” proved to be the most popular of the four slogans, although tweaked a little to make it more Now: “Hangzhou: Living Poetry”.

Hangzhou: Living Poetry” – A simple, yet memorable, slogan for marketing the Hangzhou brand image to European and American tourists that people will identify with and which, by demonstrating the benefits of the city’s own matchless tourist product, clearly differentiates Hangzhou from would be competitors.

Hangzhou: Living Poetry

Hangzhou: Living Poetry

Source: http://accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=QmaR0u99uCk=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

2016

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Business as usual is not an option: Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Discussion paper presented by Niall O’Reilly at 6th International ‘Life & Development Forum’ – “We Make Life Better – Hangzhou, White Horse Lake Jianguo Hotel , November 8-9, 2013.

                                                                                                       *****
 

Well-being

Well-being

Sustainable development is a continuous, guided process of economic, environmental and social change aimed at promoting the well-being of citizens now and in the future. To realise this requires creating a sustainable and resource efficient economy founded on a fair and just society, which respects the ecological limits and carrying capacity of the natural environment (Source: Wikipedia)

In 2013, the economic situation in Ireland is dramatically different to the earlier part of the last decade, when Ireland was known as The Celtic Tiger. Measured against the standard indicators of GDP, and GNP – trends for economic development, new housing output, tax revenues, and employment levels have dropped sharply.

We have also seen rising unemployment, a banking crisis and a collapse in the property market after a sustained, if unsustainable, boom in the property market.  A number of factors drove these unsustainable trends, including: rapid growth in employment, large scale inward migration (annual immigration rose sharply from 52,600 persons in 2000 to peak at 109,500 in 2007) (2), rapid natural population growth (17% increase between 1996 and 2006), fiscal incentives for the construction sector, rising car ownership and weakness in the strategic approach to spatial planning.

At a time of rapidly rising prosperity and development, the existing structures and controls were not strong enough to withstand the pressures that unavoidably arose.

This legacy leaves Ireland facing huge challenges in the period ahead, challenges that are all the more serious when set against the backdrop of a global economic downturn.

The sustainability pressures on the economy continue to be high and while some progress has been made, there is still a distance to travel before Ireland can fully remove itself from what is the most serious fiscal and economic crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland.

*****

In meeting the challenge, the Irish Government is implementing a radical Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland – a national recovery agenda, which seeks to integrate sustainable development principles into policy making across all sectors, for the purpose of stimulating:

  • the transformation of public services
  • economic growth based on knowledge and innovation
  • an inclusive, high employment society
  • a greener low carbon economy
  • and a good quality natural and built-environment so that Ireland can once again prosper on a competitive global stage.

Lessons must be learnt from Ireland’s recent experience and Ireland will have to ensure structures and systems are put in place that are strong enough to survive periods of pressure which might threaten to weaken sustainable growth and fiscal stability.

It is widely accepted that economic growth, social unity and environmental protection are equally important targets for meeting the prime objective of delivering well-being in a diverse multi-cultured society that promotes participation, a society in which everyone takes responsibility for the environment.

While the establishment of a more sustainable pattern of development for Ireland is one of the key challenges of government and ultimately for society, there is also a clear consensus that a return to ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

*****

At a global level there is a growing consensus that the world’s systems of production and consumption cannot be sustained without posing a huge threat to the environment and to human health. Water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, resource depletion and irreversible biodiversity loss are problems that have to be tackled as a matter of priority.

Consensus is now focusing around the need to put economies on a more sustainable, green growth path on the basis that the cost of sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services is lower than the cost of allowing biodiversity and ecosystem services to decline.

For Ireland ‘green growth’ and the ‘green economy’ are now fundamental aspects of Government policy as the country shifts away from the ‘brown economy’ on the road to becoming a low-carbon, competitive, resource efficient and climate resilient country, policy which will ultimately improve its citizens’ well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

Economic, environmental and social progress are mutually related.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Blue sky living

Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development

This Framework contains measures to help meet the overall goal of achieving continuous improvement of quality of life both for current and for future generations.

The following set of 7 principles for sustainable development are the central aspects of this Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland:

  1. In relation to “economy”, the principle seeks “to promote an innovative, competitive and low carbon economy with the aim of achieving smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and to reduce pressure on natural resources
  2. In relation to “satisfaction of human needs by the efficient use of resourcesthe key objectives are that:

(a) “Prices should reflect the real costs to society of production and consumption activities and polluters should pay for the damage they cause to human health and the environment

(b) “The needs of current generations should be addressed without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”

(c) “Resources should be used within the capacity for regeneration

3. In relation to “respect for ecological integrity and biodiversity” the Framework seeks to ensure that “the abundance of wildlife and extent of habitats should be maintained, improved and restored where necessary, through sustainable management

4. In relation to social equity the main principle is that “social inclusion should be promoted to ensure an improved quality of life for all”

5. In relation to “respect for cultural heritage and diversity” the Framework will ensure that “the quality of landscapes, the heritage of the man-made environment and historic and cultural resources should be maintained and improved.

6. In relation to “Equity between countries and regions” Ireland will:

(a) “promote fundamental rights, by combating all forms of discrimination and contributing to the reduction of poverty”

(b) “promote consistency between local, regional, national, European Union (EU) and global actions in order to increase their contribution to sustainable development”

7. The 7th and final theme of Ireland’s Framework for Sustainable Development relates to good “decision-making”. In this regard, the framework will aim to:

(a) Guarantee citizens’ rights of access to information and public participation procedures.

(b) Ensure citizens’ access to review mechanisms.

(c) Develop adequate consultation with all interested parties, including citizens, businesses and social partners (such as trade unions), and develop participatory channels for all such interested parties.

Of course there are challenges.

Ireland’s Sustainable Development Framework catagorises 12 the key challenges under the following themes:

  1. Sustainability of public finances and economic resilience.
  2. Sustainable consumption and production.
  3. Conservation and management of natural resources.
  4. Climate change and clean energy.
  5. Sustainable agriculture.
  6. Sustainable transport.
  7. Social inclusion, sustainable communities and spatial planning.
  8. Public health.
  9. Education, communication and behaviour change.
  10. Innovation, research and development
  11. Skills and training
  12. The 12th challenge is how to address global poverty and sustainable development.

I will now briefly explain Government-led initiatives regarding two of these themes: sustainable transport and public health

Smarter Travel – A Sustainable Transport Future

Transport, which is a key element of a sustainable development strategy, should be closely aligned to land use planning and the need to create more sustainable communities.

Sustainable transport is central to Ireland’s efforts to combat climate change, air pollution and other negative environmental and social impacts.

Transport trends in Ireland from the mid 1990’s onwards are unsustainable. The main problems associated with transport in Ireland are:

  • Rising pollution – greenhouse gases and particular air pollutants which are detrimental to health and the environment such as nitrous oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Increasing congestion on roads that lengthens journey times, adversely impacts on family, leisure time, and community life, contributes to the growing problem of obesity, and adds to pollution and costs at many levels including affecting Ireland’s national competitiveness. In Ireland there is a clear appetite to abandon the car for commuter driver, if only this were practical.
  • Safety also remains a key issue despite the steadily decreasing numbers of road deaths.
  • In addition, a key characteristic that distinguishes energy use in transport in Ireland is the almost total dependence on oil as a fuel and on import dependency, over 99% in both cases.

Without intervention, congestion will get worse, economic competitiveness will suffer, quality of life will deteriorate and carbon emissions from the transport sector will grow.

In order to achieve a sustainable travel and transport system by 2020, Ireland needs to change its unsustainable behaviour and habits as a nation and as individuals.

Sustainable and smarter transport measures currently being implemented by the Government under the Framework for Sustainable Development are set out in four key goals:

Goal 1 – to “reduce overall travel demand and the distance traveled by private car” and encourage smarter travel, including

  • focusing population and employment growth in sustainable compact forms, which reduce the need to travel for employment and services
  • using pricing mechanisms or fiscal measures to encourage behaviour change and discourage people from using the car unnecessarily.

Goal 2 – to “maximise the efficiency of the transport network” by ensuring that alternatives to the car are more widely available mainly through a radically improved public transport service and investment in cycling and walking.

Goal 3 – to reduce reliance on foss1il fuels and emissions by improving the fuel efficiency of motorised transport through

  • improved fleet structure
  • energy efficient driving
  • alternative driving.

Goal 4 – to improve accessibility to transport.

To achieve these goals the Government is pursuing a number of key targets such as:

  • Dramatically improving the placement of spatial and transport planning to stop urban sprawl, and urban-generated one-off housing in non-urban areas
  • Encouraging e-working through better broadband provision
  • 500,000 more people will take alternative means to commute to work (200,000 people will switch to cycling and walking) to the extent that the total share of car commuting will drop from 65% to 45%
  • Alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport will be supported and provided to the extent that these will rise to 55% of total commuter journeys to work
  • The total kilometres travelled by the car fleet in 2020 will not increase significantly from current levels
  • A reduction will be achieved on the 2005 figure for greenhouse gas emissions from the transport

These key targets are ambitious. However, they are necessary to improve the quality of life of Ireland’s citizens, to secure future energy supply, and to ensure that the transport sector substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the need for all developed nations to do so. These targets represent a complete turnaround in the current trends. They mean that the Irish public must radically alter how they travel, and that Government priorities in the transport sector must move towards more sustainable modes.

Smarter Travel and Sustainable Transport Ideas:

  • Specification of a maximum permitted level of car parking for Government offices and commercial sites, which have suitable public transport facilities and are within walking/ cycling distance to amenities
  • The adoption of flexible working policies. The Government has provided leadership in promoting such flexible policies in the public sector
  • Ensuring that every school and college in Ireland has a school travel plan to encourage students to take alternatives to the car.
  • Government commitment to a culture of walking in Ireland
  • A car-sharing website which will help employers to encourage such initiatives in the workforce.
  • One smart-card to pay for all forms of public transport
  • Conversion of taxi and public bus fleet to alternative fuels. 
Natural resources

Natural resources

A Healthy Ireland

Public health protection is an essential goal for society in delivering well-being and quality of life. Ireland has made significant progress in regard to the health of its population, but some key challenges remain.

The rise in life expectancy in Ireland during the past decade has been unmatched by any other country in Europe with the greatest gains in the older age groups reflecting decreasing mortality rates from major diseases.

In fact, the most important statistic from a health perspective is the number of people over the age of 65 which is projected to increase from over 500,000 now to over 1,300,000 in the next 30 years with the greatest proportional increases occurring in the 85+ age group.

However, Ireland’s ageing population, together with negative trends in obesity (60% of adults are obese), diet, exercise and other risk factors – such as smoking [6,000 deaths a year), and alcohol abuse (related road accidents cost over Euro 600 million a year) means that the level of chronic health conditions will certainly increase.

In addition, there are a range of social determinants of health, for example social exclusion, education, health services, the built environment and lifestyle choices:

People who are less well off or who belong to socially excluded groups tend to fare badly in relation to these social determinants

A healthy environment is also absolutely linked to the health of Ireland’s population which relies for survival on clean air and water and the crops we are able to grow in uncontaminated soil. Public amenities such as forest parks provide opportunities for recreation and add to our understanding of the environment thus supporting healthier lifestyles while contributing to our well-being.

The Irish Government’s Healthy Ireland framework is about taking important steps towards making Ireland a healthier and more prosperous country in which the whole population enjoys the best possible health and well-being.

It is designed to include Government Departments, local authorities and public bodies, businesses and employers, sports and voluntary groups, communities and families.

Initiatives within the Healthy Ireland Framework have four goals:

Goal 1: Increase the proportion of people who are healthy at all stages of life:

This means addressing risk factors and promoting protective factors at every stage of life – from pre-natal, through early childhood, adolescence, adulthood and into old age, to support lifelong health and well-being.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the number of adults (by 5%) and children (6%) with a healthy weight by 2019
  • Increasing by 20% the proportion of adults eating the recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day
  • Reducing smoking among young people by 1% a year
  • Decreasing levels of self-harm across all life stages
  • Increasing by 20% of proportion of the population undertaking regular physical activity

Goal 2: Reduce health inequalities:

Health and well-being are not evenly distributed across Irish society. This goal requires not only interventions to target particular health risks, but also a broad focus on addressing the wider social determinants of health – the circumstances in which people are born, grow, live, work and age – to create economic, social, cultural and physical environments that foster healthy living.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing the ‘stay at school’ rates of students in second-level schools
  • Reducing the % of the population in consistent poverty from current 6% to 2% or less by 2020.
  • Increasing self-reported happiness and well-being across socio-economic groups.

Goal 3: Protect the public from threats to health and well-being:

The Healthy Ireland Framework is designed to ensure effective strategies and interventions to protect the public from new and emerging threats to health and well-being are implemented. Being prepared to prevent, respond to, and rapidly recover from public health threats through collaborative working is critical for protecting and securing the population’s health.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Increasing immunization rates for children to 95% uptake
  • Reducing prevalence of food-borne infections in compliance with Ireland and EU legislation
  • Complying with indicators defined in International Health Regulations, World Health Organisation (WHO).

Goal 4: Create an environment where every individual and sector of society can play their  part in achieving a Healthy Ireland:

It is beyond the capability of any one Government Department or organisation to promote society-wide health and well-being. This can only be done through society-wide involvement in and engagement with health and well-being promotion and improvement activities – from individuals making positive lifestyle choices and projects run by community and local groups, to policy and legislative changes at the highest level of government.

Initiatives in this context include:

  • Establishing key indicators measuring the level, range and effectiveness of cross government collaboration and effectiveness of structures.
  • Increasing percentage of people participating in informal, unpaid charitable work.

The current health status of people living in Ireland, lifestyle trends and inequalities in health outcomes are leading Ireland toward a future that is dangerously unhealthy and very likely unaffordable. The work that is underway to build a health service that is accessible and fair will only succeed if Ireland builds an environment that supports people and their families to lead healthier lifestyles.

Evidence and experience from around the world clearly shows that to create positive and sustainable change in health and well-being, it takes the involvement of the whole community, the whole of Government, all of society working in unison.

In conclusion, having endured the worst crisis in the history of the Republic of Ireland, by placing Sustainable Development as a critical component in Ireland’s Agenda for National Recovery the Government is clearly focused on pursuing coherent policies and sustainable actions for the health and well-being of the country’s most valuable asset: Its people.

Given Ireland’s present economic condition investment in the necessary infrastructure elements of the Framework for Sustainable Development will be challenging. However, the real challenge is to change mindsets, so that Ireland’s institutions and individual citizens realise the benefits from altering their behaviour for the common good.

END.

Business as usual is not an option - Sustainable development is a critical factor in Ireland’s agenda for national recovery

Bio-diversity

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group Ireland China Market Makers (Route to Market, Export, Import, Partner Due Diligence)

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Accurate Group China, Hangzhou – O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Accurate Ireland, Dublin – O: +353-1271-1830

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Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market

Niall O’Reilly, who organised the Hangzhou leg of the Irish Exporters’ Association trip to China which we reported on last month, says an offer by Wahaha chief Zong Qinghou to attend the company’s annual internal distributor exhibition marks a “very rare China market opportunity not to be missed”.

China’s richest man, with almost €9 billion in personal assets, Zong is trying to diversify his company, the country’s biggest domestic beverage group, by opening 18 self-run shopping malls, 35 franchising malls and a further 300 franchising stores by the end of 2015.

Wahaha has a nationwide distribution network of about 10,000 distributors, over 100,000 wholesaler and three million sales terminals. It employs more than 60,000 people, has 150 subsidiary companies and 60 manufacturing bases scattered throughout China.

At the meeting with the Irish Exporters Association, Zong, invited Irish producers of milk powder, UHT milk, goat milk powder, tea, fruit drink concentrates, sweets, Irish whiskies and spirits, and, curiously, Irish tweed and knitwear products to attend the Wahaha European Premium Commodities Exhibition in Hangzhou from July 25th to July 28th.

While noting the short time to the exhibition, Zong thought the exhibition would be a great opportunity to showcase Irish products to Wahaha’s key distributors.

Exports showcase offers ‘rare’ opportunity for Irish products in growing China market - Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha and Niall O'Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers

China’s wealthiest man, Zong Qing Hou Chairman Hangzhou Wahaha – China’s most admired company – welcomes Niall O’Reilly Managing Director Accurate Group China Business Advisers to Wahaha’s HQ in Hangzhou

“This is a man whose primary interest in working with foreign companies is to bring into China products which Chinese companies are poor at making. If he likes a product, his nod is as good as a wink to Wahaha’s distribution network,” said O’Reilly, head of the Accurate Group.

China is set to become Ireland’s fourth largest export market in the next decade, and the retail sector offers huge market potential for Irish foodbeverage and clothing companies. Over 300 million people in China now have disposable income to purchase on non-essential goods that was not possible even back in the 1990s, while Chinese government policies aim to double household incomes by 2020.

Sources / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/exports-showcase-offers-rare-opportunity-in-growing-market-1.1456741

http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=i84nUxS5ONA=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yuhang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

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Irish Exporters Association trade mission to ‘paradise’ meets China’s richest man

Irish Times, Asia Briefing, 2nd July, 2013

“And so to the prosperous east of China, to the cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, where the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) organised a trade mission that included a meeting with mainland China’s richest man: Zong Qinghou.

There is a Chinese proverb: “In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou.”

As well as being pleasant cities, they are important business locations, and they fit right in with the current thinking on how to exploit the China market best. That involves focusing on second-tier cities that have large populations.

Hangzhou has 9.5 million inhabitants, while Suzhou has 12 million, which is why the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum chose them for its business visit.

“This is all about taking a phased approach to Asia, and getting to know Asia better,” said Hugh Kelly, the chairman of the IEA’s Asia Trade Forum.

“We wanted to get people out here and get them over the hump of making the trip. We wanted to try to get people to experience China and better inform them if it’s the market for them.”

The IEA’s director for China, Niall O’Reilly, is a long-time Hangzhou resident and he orchestrated the coup of arranging a meeting with Mr Zong.

He is estimated to have a personal wealth of 82 billion yuan (€10.23 billion) and is the chairman of the privately held Wahaha group, China’s top homegrown beverage firm, producing bottled water, tea and other drinks, which had pre-tax profits of €1.23 billion last year.

A chain-smoking member of China’s annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, Mr Zong is famously frugal, spending just $20 (€15) a day on himself. He is the third-richest man in Asia and 23rd richest in the world.

His knowledge of Ireland was extremely limited, something the delegates were keen to remedy, but he seemed receptive to the possibilities offered by Ireland – the visit was supposed to be 20 minutes’ long but went on for one and a half hours.

Wahaha has about 60 factories in 29 provinces, and it also makes baby formula and children’s clothes.

The Wahaha group has considerable geographical spread in China and Mr Zong said that he can get a new product into two million shops inside of a week.

“Mr Zong was very interested in what Ireland had to offer,” said Mr Kelly.

Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha

Zong Qinghou, Chairman of Hangzhou Wahaha

During the visit, Mr Zong invited the IEA to attend a Wahaha event in three weeks’ time, which will be an opportunity to pitch products to the 20 shopping malls owned by Wahaha.

Among the companies taking part on the delegation was Áine Handmade Chocolates. Owner and chocolatier Anne Rudden was impressed by the scale of operations at Wahaha.

“I was here on this trip to see if there were opportunities, so I got more than I thought out of it. Meeting with Mr Zong was the best. And choosing Hangzhou seems to have been a good idea,” said Ms Rudden.

Mr Zong also tried Darling Cocktails’ ready-to-serve cocktail.

Mr Kelly said that while companies were happy to go to the US six times a year, companies found the trip to Asia more daunting and had less of a presence as a result.“Everyone is going home with a great impression. There are a lot of layers here and we’ve achieved more than we expected on this trip. You have to come here to see the scale on which they plan,” said Mr Kelly, the chief executive of Associated Marketing.

Unlike other Government trade missions, the IEA trade delegation had the benefit of not having to meet political obligations.

Mr Kelly said the choice of Hangzhou and Suzhou as the main venues for the trip was part of a plan to match Irish companies with their counterparts in smaller cities.

“Many Irish companies are small and medium-sized companies and are very small in China. If you pair off with someone too big you will fade,” said Mr Kelly.

The delegation also visited the Hangzhou Economic Development Authority and was received by the local government.

Source / Copyright: Clifford Coonan / Irish Times http://www.irishtimes.com/business/economy/world/asia-briefing-irish-trade-mission-to-paradise-meets-richest-man-1.1449280 . Accurate Group China Business Blog  http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=VDJvvLcn5vQ=

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

China Office : Niall O’ReillyAccurate China 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Ireland Office: Niall O’ReillyAccurate Ireland 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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Irish Exporters Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou and Hangzhou, China, June 23rd to June 28th

Overview

The Asia Trade Forum, an initiative of the Irish Exporters Association established to increase two-way trade with Asia, is delighted to announce a Business Visit in June 2013 to two of China’s most fabled and leading business cities, Suzhou and Hangzhou.

The visit will encompass the two cities of Suzhou and Hangzhou, both on the Yangtze River Delta and 30 minutes from Shanghai. Typically, Business Visits tend to focus on Tier 1 cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Both Suzhou and Hangzhou are highly competitive cities, with rapid economic development. In addition, they both offer a consumer market with above average disposable incomes. They are ideal gateways to China for your business.

The visit will take place from 23rd to 29th June in partnership Grant Thornton, William Fry, RBS/Ulster Bank, Enterprise Ireland, Euler Hermes, FcM Travel, and Etihad Airways.

The purpose of the Business Visit is to:

  1. Showcase exporting or partnering opportunities in Yangtze River Delta economic region.
  2. Showcase Chinese companies who wish to trade with Ireland.
  3. Highlight the growing indigenous Irish companies operating in China.
  4. Provide a platform for Irish and Chinese businesses to exchange trading opportunities.
  5. The event will include seminars, roundtable workshops, and 1:1 meetings with perspective customers and partners.

Dates / Schedule:

Sunday 23rd June

A.M.:  – Depart Ireland Etihad Airways

Monday 24th June

A.M.: – Arrive in Shanghai Pudong International Airport / transfer to City of Suzhou by road
P.M.: – Arrive City of Suzhou

[Distance from Shanghai Pudong International Airport to Suzhou is about 120km (similar to driving from Dublin to Enniscorthy)

Tuesday 25th June

All-Day: – Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Wednesday 26th June

A.M. –Gain real hands-on experience of the Suzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer:

Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. Depart City of Suzhou / Transfer overland to City of Hangzhou

[Distance from Suzhou to Hangzhou is about 166km (similar to driving from Dublin to Belfast)]

Thursday 27th June

All-Day:- Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment; find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, and partners

Friday 28th June

A.M. – Gain real hands-on experience of the Hangzhou / China business environment, find out what opportunities are on offer: Match-making with potential buyers, suppliers, partners

P.M. – Wrap up / Tour of West Lake

Evening – Head to Shanghai Pudong International Airport / Return to Ireland
[Distance from Hangzhou to Shanghai Pudong International Airport is about 200km (similar to driving from Dublin to Tipperary)]

Accurate China Insight - Irish Exporters Association - Asia Trade Forum Flagship Business Visit to Suzhou Hangzhou and Shanghai China June 2013

Business Visit Participation Fees and Details

The participation fee to take part on the mission is €500 plus 21.5% VAT per company.  The following will be included as part of the participation fee:

  • Seminars, business networking events and quality 1:1 match-making meetings (utilising the combined resources of local government and on the ground Irish Exporters Association expertise).
  • Group lunches and evening receptions in both cities.
  • Company profile and business visit brochure.
  • Organisational and logistical support including transfers and transport in China.
  • Negotiated group rates in hotels.

Travel Agency Support

Registration for the business visit opens on Tuesday 14th May, please visit http://www.asiatradeforum.org to register.

Final deadline for registration is Friday 7th June.

Travel Information & Visa

Information on travelling in China and vaccine requirements in available from the Department of Foreign Affairs on http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=402

business visa must be obtained through the Chinese Embassy visa service.

You will be required to include the following:

  • Passport valid for at least 6 months with 2 blank pages facing each other
  • 1 passport photo
  • Company Letter- stating 12 mth multiple visa
  • Invitation letter (to be arranged by ATF)
  • Application form and additional business form (attached).

Processing time is 10 working days. There is a same day service available for Irish passport holders for an additional €125. The IEA Consular Service can assist with visa applications.

What makes the Asia Trade Forum Business Visit to China Different?

  • Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum, having hosted many high-level delegations from these two cities over the years, have excellent relationships with local governments in Suzhou and Hangzhou
  • China isn’t a single market: 5 megacities with populations of over 10,000,000; 14 cities with populations of over 5,000,000 (including Suzhou and Hangzhou), and 41 cities with populations of over 2,000,000. The Yangtze River Delta economic powerhouse is a market place of 88,000,000 people
  •  The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum is in a unique position to work with practical and enthusiastic local governments, Irish business associations and Irish businessmen and businesswomen working on the ground in China to deliver a constructive Business Visit focused on quality match-making and business lead generation
  • The Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum are very conscious of the cost constraints holding many Irish companies back from engaging with China. This will be a very focused Business Visit aimed primarily at developing inroads into China’s Tier 2 city markets where strong local government relationships are critical.

Introducing Suzhou and Hangzhou

Chinese Proverb:

“In heaven there is paradise, on earth Suzhou and Hangzhou”

About Suzhou

A city built in 514 B.C.; Suzhou has long been one of China’s richest cities. Immediately west of Shanghai is strategically situated in the Yangtze River Delta region, China’s economic epicentre. Suzhou is also located in Jiangsu Province, which has the highest GDP per capita of all Chinese provinces, and the second highest GDP.

Suzhou Development

Municipality population:   10,500,000

Urban population:   4,074,000

Average temperature in June:    23 degrees

Average annual income:    Approx €13,000

According to Forbes ™ China, in 2011 Suzhou was China’s “best business city”, while in 2012 Suzhou was the “most innovative city” in China. Suzhou is also the 2nd largest manufacturing industry base in China, producing, for example, 40% PC sets, 65% mouses, 30% micro-cameras, 10% PC boards of world supply

Suzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

– Patent Applications     NO.1

– Government Service     NO.1

– Patents Grant     NO.2 (2011)

 Best Business Environment     NO.3

– Overall Competitiveness     NO.5 (2012)

– G.D.P     NO.5 (2012)

–  Total Exports     NO.3

–  Total Imports and Exports     NO.4

Irish companies including GlanbiaPM GroupEPS ElectronicsElement Six, etc, have already either invested in Suzhou operations, partnered with Suzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Suzhou.

About Hangzhou

Legend has it that Marco Polo called the former imperial capital of China, Hangzhou: “without doubt the finest and most splendid city the world“.

Hangzhou is known for its high level of education, advanced technology industries, considerable wealth and the fabled West Lake scenic area. Four of China’s best known brands were born, and are headquartered in Hangzhou Alibaba and Taobao (which is why Hangzhou is referred to as China’s e-commerce capital), Wahaha (mineral water), and Geely (owner of Volvo electric car research).

Hangzhou

Municipality population:     8,700,000

Urban population:     6,242,000 (10th largest in China)

Average temperature in June:     23 degrees

Average annual income:     Approx €10,000

Ranked by Forbes™ in December 2012, as the second “best city for business” in China, after Shanghai, Hangzhou has benefited almost disproportionately from the spread of wealth, development, and investment from Shanghai, which is 2 hours north. For example, Hangzhou already has 108.5 millionaires per 100,000 residents, China’s highest concentration of wealth.

The provincial capital of central Zhejiang Province, which is considered China’s technological and entrepreneurial heartland, Hangzhou is also situated on the southern wing of the Yangtze River Delta region, where it ranks 2nd in terms of economic prosperity.

Hangzhou’s ranking among major cities of China 2011 / 2012:

  • Patent Applications     NO. 1 (of Provincial Capitals 2011)
  • Government Service     NO.2
  • Patents Grant     NO.2 (2012)
  • Best Business Environment     NO.2
  • Overall Competitiveness     NO.8 (2012)

Kerry Group is one of a number of Irish companies who have already either invested in Hangzhou operations, partnered with Hangzhou-based companies, or sold products and services to companies based in Hangzhou

Sector-related Market Opportunities for Irish companies in Suzhou and Hangzhou

  • Software, e-commerce, animation, gaming design and testing
  • Precision machinery manufacturing
  • ICT
  • Services industry
  • Cleantech / Environment protection
  • Automobiles
  • Bio-pharmaceutical / medical
  • Retail
  • Government
  • Horticulture
  • Chemicals
  • Food, etc…

Note: Do not be put off if your business sector does not appear in the list above, as it is the intention of Irish Exporters Association / Asia Trade Forum to try to assist every company interested in tapping the China market to find potential partners / clients.

Estimated Travel Costs

Once the registration fee has been received and the registration form completed, FcM travel will offer a negotiated package to delegates.  However costs may vary according to individual itineraries and exchange rate.  The costs are based on the first 20 places on the visit.

The FcM travel cost will be approx. €1800 to include:

  • Etihad Flight    (Departure from Dublin:  Sunday 23rd. Arrive in Dublin Saturday 29th)
  • Transfers and internal transport
  • Lunch and evening receptions (2 in each city)
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation

For further information contact:

Ashley Beston, Asia Trade Forum Manager,

Irish Exporters Association ashleybeston@irishexporters.ie  or 01- 642 4170

Niall O’Reilly, Director for China, Irish Exporters Association,

niall@accuratelimited.com

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (ExportImport, Partner Due Diligence) Consultancy

Website: http://www.accuratelimited.com

Twitter: @AccurateChina

Accurate Group China Office : 1-3 Ying Hui Xing Zhou, Jiang Nan Shui Xiang Lian Sheng Road, Yu Hang District, Hangzhou. China 310023| O: +86 571 8709 1253

Accurate Group Ireland Office: 93 Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland| O: +353-1271-1830

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May 14, 2013 · 7:25 pm

A Niall’s-eye view of Hangzhou: Mystical, dreamy and alluring

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China – Under The Hood: Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Yesterday’s autumnal afternoon was typical of late: drizzling, murky and, if you found yourself in the middle of Hangzhou’s snarling traffic, chaotic. Thanks to a very impressive and convenient public bicycle system, I was cycling along minding my own business when, without warning, a real nasty piece of work, the local equivalent of a Hell’s Angel on an electric-bicycle, the ultimate street menace, tried to squeeze in front of the metre distance separating my pedal bicycle and the plastic bollard dividing our bicycle lane from the regular traffic lane. Unluckily for me his sudden, impulsive, totally devoid of conscience, maneuver was never going to work and I came off much worse in what was another surreal Hangzhou moment.

Within a flash there’s spread-eagled me and a mangled bicycle sprawled on the grimy black surface. The first thought to enter my mind was whether I should get up and strangle him? Meanwhile, the peloton of E-bikes and bicycles behind me had stopped. Waiting in readiness:

Urchin, with the jumpy smile, and everyone else from ‘rent a crowd’, was impassively staring at me waiting for me to pick myself up. Not one helping hand 漠不关心 (‘mo bu guan xin’ or “completely unmoved or indifferent) as I lay there.

Amid the spectators and the ‘raring to go’ din of more and more impatient bicycle bells, honking e-bike and motorised tricycle horns and blackboard screeching brakes no more than two or three metres behind me, I could hear the repeated words “你看他是老外!”, or simply “老外!” (‘ni kan ta shi lao wai’ a derogatory term for “foreigner”, “look he’s a foreigner!”).

As soon as I managed to shove the bicycle a few inches out of the way with my foot the horde was once again on the move, cautiously filing through the narrow gap I had created, all wearing the same sheepish gaze I have witnessed so many times while living in China: The ‘Three Wise Monkeys’ code of silence ― ‘Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.’ What happens to a stranger outside their immediate comfort zone of family and friends is none of their business, so best to flee rather than be blamed for any injuries the “老外” lao wai may have sustained.

No doubt I’d be the topic of conversation amid the cacophony of slurps over their next bowl of noodles. Now looking back, I am rather surprised that for added conversational embellishment one of the quick thinking onlookers didn’t have the ‘cop on’ to take out her iPhone and snap a photo of me sprawled on roadside with wrecked bicycle. On second thoughts such an exercise would have risked losing the Teacup Poodle peeking out of her designer handbag. In any case, I seriously doubt that any conversation about me would have decried the pathetic apathy or laziness of the renmin who left me on the ground, not bothering to offer any assistance: 漠不关心.

China Under The Hood - Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil - Something like 1,000,000 electric bicycles stalk the streets of Hangzhou

Something like 1,000,000 electric bicycles stalk the streets of Hangzhou

As for me I finally made my way to the hospital.

I couldn’t wrap up this exposé from the harmonious society of Hangzhou without a special mention about local hospitality as witnessed yesterday: Mind numbing, really touching indeed. It certainly gives a special resonance to the recent incident down in Foshan City where little Wang Yue was run over by two vans and ignored by 18 passers-by http://wp.me/p15Yzr-jJ.

The ethic of the jungle ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,’ looking out for yourself, may have been expedient in the dark days of Mao Zedong’s revolution. However, here in a China subjected to dramatic economic and social changes in nearly all aspects of life on an unprecedented scale, the gazes of indifference and lack of compassion for a fellow human being, as witnessed yesterday, patently reveal a public engulfed by a great moral vacuum, empty of imagination, hope and of any future… not really the hallmarks of a harmonious society.

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China – Under The Hood: Tinder box – China’s long hot summer

It’s the height of summer here in Hangzhou and it’s extremely hot…. Like sizzling! However, the degree of how hot varies between what is official and what the common man and woman on the street knows and feels.

Official hot (government offices, factories, etc are mandated to close if the official temperature hits 40 degrees Celsius) versus unofficial hot: Mary, who runs the GoMax tea and fruit drink outlet near my apartment, insists her thermometer showed an outside temperature reading of 42 degrees Celsius, but officially it was still 37 degrees Celsius.

People like Mary are increasingly aware of the alternative perspective: The truth uniquely experienced and the massive amount of shared beliefs gleaned from micro-blogging websites such as Sina Weibo.   Worn out by the never-ending official pronouncements, a tinder box situation of growing antipathy towards the way Official China is being run and directed is palpable.

Today, China’s rising prices, ever increasing income disparities, a mode of governance that pursues rapid economic growth and infrastructue development above all else, unrelenting corruption scandals, and a lack of transparency and accountability are testing this populace like never before.

And the spark?

Translation: “The Derailed Country

You ask, why are they acting like a bunch of lunatics?

They think they’re the picture of restraint.

You ask, why can’t they tell black from white, fact from fiction?

They think they’re straight shooters, telling it like it is.

You ask, why are they running interference for murders?

They think they’ve thrown their friends under the bus. And they’re ashamed.

You ask, why all the cover-ups?

They think they’re letting it all hang out.

You ask, why are they so irretrievably corrupt?

They think they’re hardworking and plain-living.

You ask, why are they so infuriatingly arrogant?

They think they’re the picture of humility.

You feel like you’re the victim. So do they.

They think: “During the Qing Dynasty, no one had television. Now everyone has a television. Progress!”

They think: “We’re building you all this stuff, what do you care what happens in the process? Why should you care who it’s really for, so long as you get to use it? The train from Shanghai to Beijing used to take a whole day. Now you’re there in five hours (as long as there’s no lightning). Why aren’t you grateful? What’s with all the questions?

“Every now and then, there’s an accident. The top leaders all show how worried they are. We make someone available to answer journalists’ questions. First we say we’ll give the victims 170,000 kuai apiece. Then we say we’ll give them 500,000. We fire a buddy of ours. We’ve done all that, and you still want to nitpick? How could you all be so close-minded? You’re not thinking of the big picture! Why do you want us to apologize when we haven’t done anything wrong? It’s the price of development.

“Taking care of the bodies quickly is just the way we do things. The earlier we start signing things, the more we’ll have to pay out in the end. The later we sign, the smaller the damages. Our pals in the other departments—the ones who knock down all the houses—taught us that one. Burying the train car was a bonehead move, true, but the folks upstairs told us to do it. That’s how they think: if there’s something that could give you trouble, just bury it. Anyway, the real mistake was trying to dig such a huge hole in broad daylight. And not talking it over with the Propaganda Department beforehand. And not getting a handle on all the photographers at the site. We were busy, ok? If there’s anything we’ve learned from all this, it’s that when you need to bury something, make sure you think about how big it is, and make sure you keep the whole thing quiet. We underestimated all that.”

They think that, on the whole, it was a textbook rescue operation—well planned, promptly executed, and well managed. It’s a shame public opinion’s gotten a little out of hand, but they think, “That part’s not our responsibility. We don’t do public opinion.”

They’re thinking: “Look at the big picture: We had the Olympics, we canceled the agricultural tax, and you guys still won’t cut us a break. You’re always glomming on to these piddling little details. No can-do spirit. We could be more authoritarian than North Korea. We could make this place poorer than the Sudan. We could be more evil than the Khmer Rouge. Our army’s bigger than any of theirs, but we don’t do any of that. And not only are you not thankful, but you want us to apologize! As if we’ve done something wrong?”

Society has people of means, and those without. There’s people with power, and those that have none. And they all think they’re the victim. In a country where everyone’s the victim, where the classes have started to decouple from one another, where it’s every man for himself, in this huge country whose constituent parts slide forward on inertia alone—in this country, if there’s no further reform, even tiny decouplings make the derailings hard to put right.

The country’s not moving forward because a lot of them judge themselves as if Stalin and Mao were still alive. So they’ll always feel like the victim. They’ll always feel like they’re the enlightened ones, the impartial ones, the merciful ones, the humble ones, the put-upon ones. They think the technological drumbeat of historical progress is a dream of their own making.
The more you criticize him, the more he longs for autocracy. The more you gaomao him (piss him off), the more he misses Mao.

A friend in the state apparatus told me, “You’re all too greedy. Forty years ago, writers like you would’ve been shot. So you tell me, have things gotten better, or have they gotten worse?”

I said, “No, you’re all too greedy. Ninety years ago, that kind of thinking would have gotten you laughed out of the room. So you tell me: after all that, have things gotten better, or have they gotten worse?”

Source:

Attributed to China blogger Han Han and posted on Sina Weibo 27th July 2011 (it was subsequently deleted). 23 July 2011, two high-speed CRH ‘Harmony’ trains collided on a viaduct in the suburbs of Wenzhou, in southern Zhejiang province killing at least 40 people. Inept officials reacted to the accident by hurriedly finishing rescue operations and ordering the burial of the derailed cars. Result: Uproar.

http://chinageeks.org/2011/07/han-han-the-derailed-country/

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Accurate China Insight: If your business is product sourcing: How competitive is the ‘Made in China’ brand?

Despite the Chinese Government’s past success at restraining inflation, accelerating food, fuel, raw material and labour costs have resulted in a widely held belief that average inflation rates of 4 to 5 percent are here to stay in China, at least over the over the next decade.

Which raises the question: With rises in wage and manufacturing costs set to be the norm is China still competitive as a product source for Ireland’s importers? Accurate China Insight: If your business is product sourcing: How competitive is the 'Made in China' brand?

Ireland’s importers are right to exercise caution when sourcing from China.  However, China still has much working in its favour:

  1. China is politically stable, and such stability is good for business
  2. Low cost countries surrounding China are also weathering an inflation contagion, with inflation rates in Vietnam, India and Pakistan increasing at a much faster rate.

June 2011 Inflation Rates:

Vietnam 20.8%

Pakistan 13.3%

India 8.7%

China 6.4%

Indonesia 5.5%

Malaysia 4.6%

Philippines 4.6%

Thailand 4.1%

(Sources: Respective country central banks) 

3.  Production costs in China are still low, despite rising costs.

4. Skills levels are generally high. While China’s factories could be said to be still at an early stage in their execution of innovative manufacturing techniques, their production processes are still well ahead of similar production operations in surrounding low cost countries.

5.  The striking effects of the ‘Clustering’ in China’s three economic powerhouses [Pearl River Delta (from Hong Kong to Guangzhou), Yangtze River Delta (Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai) and the area around Beijing and Tianjin] which have resulted in the construction of excellent infrastructure, a concentrated material supply chain, and an experienced and skilled labour force.  There is no evidence of such a clustering blend being prevalent in other surrounding low-cost countries.

6.  Productivity and industry familiarity.  While the costs of labour and logistics, as well as labour availability, are driving up factory output costs along China’s coastal rim, cities in central and China, such as Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Zhengzhou and Hefei, and their surrounding provinces, are much more cost competitive with respect to the manufacture of products in which the value-added and process complexity is low.  Meanwhile, the coastal manufacturing hubs, with their knowledge of particular manufacturing industry sectors, are becoming more focused on complex, skill intensive factory production.  In surrounding low cost countries such instances of high productivity levels and industry knowledge are limited.

The biggest issue for Ireland’s importers relates to fluctuating oil prices and their impact on the cost of shipping products sourced from China to Ireland, which is a worldwide occurrence.

Source:

Niall O’Reilly

Director for China, Irish Exporters Association

Accurate Ireland – China Business Advisers – Products & Services Sourcing | Business Development Consultancy

Tel: +353 1271 1830 / +86 15257194468

http://www.accuratelimited.com

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China – Under The Hood: The Curious Incident Of The Dissolving Peach

No, I’m not being self-absorbed, and it’s not as if loads of locals around me are succumbing to nasty, mysterious illnesses (anyway the local tabloids always tone down the numbers). Nevertheless, of late in conversations with Hangzhouers I’ve noticed three questions coming up again and again in a tone verging on alarm.

-What are we eating?

-What are we drinking?

-and…. What the hell are we breathing?

-and I’ll toss in another issue…. How can one of the two peaches I bought in the local fruit shop last Sunday turn from unripe into a liquefied mush within 36 hours of purchase? That toxic peach dissolved right before my eyes!

[Anecdote:  A couple of weeks ago having enjoyed a second Kelloggs Nutri-Grain bar (courtesy of a Red-Cross parcel from my mother back home in Ireland, also filled with a critical supply of Barry’s Tea bags) I found myself checking out the nutritional label on the back of the wrapper. Clueless as to what I was reading, it suddenly dawned on me what I was reading wasn’t anything about food.  Why did I just eat a load of preservatives which are of zero benefit to my body? Why indeed..]

If you want to participate in a live laboratory in which the food – [and air-we-breath] – chain(s) are “unintentionally” (yeah right! the expressions of innocence on the faces of those perpetrators regularly showcased to the media are as fake as the vile products they have been caught tainting) exposed to poisonous industrial chemicals with the potential to totally wreck our bodily processes, then all roads lead to China.

I’d never even heard of most of these chemicals by name. Sure I can hardly pronounce them:

  • Watermelons overdosing (exploding melons of mass destruction) on forchlorfenuron growth hormones (May 2011)

  • Sports and fruit drinks laced with “particularly damaging to a young male’s fertility” dioctyl phthalate (imported from Taiwan, June 2011)
  • The “high blood pressure” yielding heavy metal cadmium in rice (February 2011); toxic “kidney failure” conducive melamine in milk (ongoing?)
  • Arsenic in soy sauce (ongoing?)
  • Copper in coffee (imported from Japan, 2008)
  • Bleach in mushrooms (December 2010)
  • The detergent borax in pork (added to make it resemble beef, April 2011)
  • and a whole host of fruit and vegetables smeared in deltamethrin, a synthetic insecticide, and preservatives with extremely long names!

Sure it only seems like yesterday when my buddy Umberto, who being Italian takes his cooking very seriously, watched a pot of fresh tomatoes turn white in a boiling confusion of red artificial colouring (2006).

Here in Hangzhou, affectionately known as “The Pond”, on account of its scenic West Lake,  so far (and counting…)we have:

  • Lead in the air (a lot of it apparently, courtesy of the local battery manufacturing industry)
  • Phenol in the water (courtesy of a tanker driver whose load tipped into the water supply, June 2011)… anyway phenol only causes severe eye damage, and sure what’s 25 tons of the stuff?

Spare a thought for those Harbiners up north whose Songhua River water supply was  contaminated with at least 80 tons of the carcinogen Benzine (ok, so that was back  in 2005 –‘water under the bridge’…so the local officials will tell you, long-term cancer risks notwithstanding).  No doubt, these same faceless apparatchiks will point to Germany’s e-coli cucumbers and bean sprouts (last week), the UK’s Mad Cows (hmmm) and Ireland’s contaminated pig meat (2008) as symptomatic of a global problem not just a China problem   – I’ve noticed they don’t really like talking about the “far worse than governments are revealing to the public” Fukushima nucleur disaster.

The Good News

Yes there is. Multiple the uproar each food scandal outside China receives by 1,000 times and you’ll get a sense of the disgust local Chinese feel about the continuing government incompetence and cynical manipulation of consumers by devious producers. China’s ‘You Are What You Eat’ sensitive generation is becoming increasingly aware of potential hazards of almost everything they eat and drink. What they see all around them are poor public hygiene surveillance and low standards of food quality all of which are cultivated by official incompetence, slapdash law enforcement, corruption and a corner-cutting culture among some businesses. It’s common knowledge that corrupt manufacturers and growers still use bribery and corruption to escape scrutiny.

Which brings me back to the bad news – that peach.

Eat The Peach? Certainly Not!

The facts:

  • Sunday evening in the neighbourhood fruit store

A shop widely considered to trade in Hangzhou’s finest selection of fruits. A large store, open 24×7, all year round, I supposed its popularity was simply down to the fact you are given what you pay for: natural fruit, preservative and pesticide free, as in normal fruit, grown locally… generating visions of suppliers being meticulously selected by a resident ‘Man from Del Monte’, giving his nod of approval to the perfect pineapple or apple… Well not quite, clearly a figment of my imagination.

The shop has a large imported section, offering exotic fruits from all over the world to their bàofā hù (nouveau riche) patrons mad for anything deemed exotic, to know off their knowledge and sophistication.  In my mind best to avoid this part of the shop for the same reason I’d avoid purchasing any ‘fresh’ consumable products from outside China, knowing the length it took to get from source to shelf (Kiwi from New Zealand, Apples from the USA? Bananas from South America? Hmm, imported fruit just looks too perfect and do we really believe they’re all air-freighted in?).

So the local fruit section it is.

  • Discerning shoppers everywhere like pawing their fruit for ripeness and the masses here are no different

However, in a big fruit shop that can make for a lot of grubby paws feeling up the goods: ‘The greener the fruit, the less manhandled its likely to be; let it ripen at home’, so the prevailing wisdom goes.

Two curvy, still hard, peaches caught my attention. I reckoned after being stored at an average room temperature of about 22 Celsius they’d be perfect to eat in three days. Back in the apartment, I left them on the table in their open plastic bag and went about my business, as in business trip to another city.

36 hours later I noticed a damp blot on the table cloth under the plastic bag and lifted it up. Liquid is seeping right through the plastic bag, and while one of the peaches looks exactly like it did when purchased, the other has simply dissolved into a gooey toxic mush.

  • And the upshot of this morbid tale about defiled peaches?

Yesterday, still incredulous, I recounted the story to the wife of Umberto, who, Umberto often complains, is overly preoccupied by a fear of preservatives, toxic chemicals, phony foods, and corrupt practices. Mother of three, Wu Bei wasn’t in the least bit surprised offering me the following prudent advice the next time I go fruit hunting in China:

“.. pick the fruit that’s looks somewhat chewed  and scarred by insects, because if  it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for you…. The most flawless delicious looking fruit is the most dangerous of all”.

A slightly more resigned Umberto quips that perhaps the best rule of thumb is to keep changing your poisons.

Seeing is believing…

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Fast forward to March 2013

– Rivers of blood: the dead pigs rotting in China’s water supply

“Shanghai’s drinking water is under threat after 16,000 diseased pig carcasses are found in tributaries of the Huangpu river…” Source / read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/29/dead-pigs-china-water-supply?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

The reason why 16,000 pigs ended up in the Huangpu River was never fully explained by the authorities.

Fast forward to April 2013

– Bottled water scandal highlights food safety challenges

“The quality “..criteria Zhejiang’s Nongfu Spring uses are looser than national tap water standards in terms of the amount of arsenic and cadmium allowed in its products…. Nongfu Spring uses criteria that were set by the government of east China’s Zhejiang Province in 2005. National standards were upgraded in 2007…. Nongfu Spring was the only drinking water company to participate in drafting the Zhejiang provincial standards….. enterprises are only allowed to adopt local standards in exceptional cases when there are no relevant national standards….Nongfu Spring’s products do not meet the requirements for such an exception… China has formulated nearly 5,000 compulsory food safety criteria due to its excessive number of government departments….”

” Source / read more: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-04/12/c_132304484.htm

Fast forward to May 2013

– Forget mutton: in China, it’s rat, fox and mink dressed as lamb

Sold in thinly sliced rolls for consumption in hotpots  the “…”lamb” was mixed with rat, fox and mink with additives including gelatin. The meat was sold to farmers’ markets in the two cities…” Source / read more: http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130505000018&cid=1103

Fast forward to October 2013

– China’s Gutter Oil Scandal: 1/10 Of China’s Cooking Oil May Be Recycled From Garbage

“… In our current society everybody tries to swindle everybody else there’s nothing we can do about it.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kne4PL5uH7c

….. and this food scandal concerning the cat meat trade…

“.. selling cat meat to butchers who then repackaged it and sold it as rabbit…” Source / read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/10417032/Chinese-police-find-slaughterhouse-selling-cat-meat.html

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