WA and China in Headlines

(A round-up from January-December 2016)

Dec. 21: Seattle a hot destination for Chinese tourists in 2017 lunar new year season

Qiao BaoQiaobao, or Overseas Chinese Press, reported that according to recent statistics by China’s Xiecheng travel service, the number of Chinese citizens traveling overseas during the coming Chinese New Year of 2017 would break a new record of 6 million as estimated. Besides the usual hot destinations closer to China such Thailand, Japan, Korea, Singapore, etc., Seattle, along with Miami, has become more and more favored by Chinese tourists. With the movie “Beijing Meets Seattle,” the city’s reputation has rapidly spread. The non-stop flights to Seattle from Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen have also made it easy to Chinese visitors to come. --WA China Watch Digest 12/26/16

Dec. 16: Ray Conner says Boeing’s China deliveries support 150,000 American jobs

CNNMoneyPSBJCNN Money reported that Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO and President, said at an event held by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations that 150,000 American jobs were supported by Boeing’s China plane orders. CNN Money quoted Boeing spokesman Doug Adler that the U.S. Commerce Department had a formula that determined $1 billion in exports supported about 6,000 U.S. jobs. Since Boeing delivered 191 planes with a list price of $24.6 billion to China in 2015, that worked out to 150,000 jobs. According to a related Puget Sound Business Journal report, customers in China were slated to take delivery of 30% of all Boeing’s 737s and about 25% of all jets assembled in plants in Washington and South Carolina. --WA China Watch Digest 12/16/16

Dec. 13: Washington apple shippers looking to China, Asian markets as best target

Capital PressCapital Press, the West's Ag Website, quoted Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, as saying that a recent survey of Washington apple shippers showed they still viewed Asia as the best target for export growth while realizing that maintaining the traditional top markets of Mexico and Canada was critical. Fryhover continued that China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand all offered opportunities for growth as Washington continues to produce larger apple crops. Fryhover said this after a Dec. 8 commission meeting in Yakima. --WA China Watch Digest 12/16/16

Dec. 8: Seattle lawyer Dan Harris warns American retail business of tough China market

CNBCCNBC posted a report with this headline, “More and more American companies have decided their big China opportunity is over.” It quoted Dan Harris, of Harris Bricken and author of the China Law Blog, as saying, "The trend is that opening retail business on the ground in China as a foreigner is difficult and expensive.” He continued, “We have for years tried to push a lot of our clients not to do that, but instead do what McDonald's and Yum Brands are doing, which is … monetize your name and your knowledge without actually being the one who does all the work to make it work in China," which, Harris said, “is a tough, tough market." --WA China Watch Digest 12/11/16

Dec. 2: Chengdu of Sichuan found to be happiest city in China

China DailyChina Daily reported that Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan, Washington state’s sister province, came on top of a survey of happiest cities in China, conducted by Oriental Outlook magazine and the Blue Book of Cities in China compiled by China Association of Mayors. The survey of 11 million people used 50 indicators in categories such as income, quality of life, employment, environment, education, and transportation. In second place of the top 10 happiest cities is Hangzhou, followed by Nanjing, Xian, Changchun, Changsha, Suzhou, Zhuhai, with Beijing and Shanghai respectively in 9th and 10th place.--WA China Watch Digest 12/07/16

Nov. 30: Sichuan, Washington’s sister province, is building a full-size replica of Titanic

NetEase NewsNetEase News reported that on Nov. 30 the world’s first “never sinking” Titanic had its official keel laying ceremony in Daying County of Sichuan. As a tourist attraction, the Chinese Titanic shall be built in the exact size of the original that sank over 100 years ago, with a total cost at 1 billion yuan, or $145 million. It would still take a real shipbuilder, Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group, to build it. Working along with the builder on the project will be GC Hitech Design Co. Ltd of the U.S., Titanic Hollywood team and the British Museum. The new Titanic shall have all functions of the old, except an engine, including banquet hall, theater, first class cabin, viewing stand, swimming pool, etc. Room interior would be modern, with wifi, for instance. --WA China Watch Digest 12/03/16

Nov. 21, 22: Chinese company teaming up with Legacy Partners to build apartments in Redmond

The RegistryZondaThe Registry reported that the San Francisco-based Legacy Partners was teaming up with a Beijing-based Chinese investment firm on a major development in downtown Redmond. It said that the site Legacy and the Chinese company acquired for $31 million now has a strip shopping center. In a related story, Zonda Real Estate posted that the Chinese company was listed as MGRM LLC, associated with the Vancouver office of the Chinese developer Modern Green Development Co. Ltd. The Registry quoted Kerry Nicholson, a senior managing director with Legacy, that the idea was to build 600 apartment units, with some condo units, maybe some senior housing, and even a hotel. A potential start date would be in the summer of 2018. --WA China Watch Digest 11/28/16

Nov. 4: Starbucks seeing fastest growth in China and Asia Pacific for the year

BBC NewsBBC News reported that Seattle-based Starbucks showed in its latest financial release record Q4 and record FY16 results. It made an operating income of almost $4.2bn for the year to 2 October, up 16% on the previous year. The fastest growth, the report said, was in the China and Asia Pacific region, which recorded growth of 23% for the year. BBC also quoted Starbucks boss Howard Schultz that its Chinese stores were the most efficient and lucrative and that while Starbucks still made most of its profit in the U.S., expansion in China would secure its future for decades to come. Last month, Starbucks announced plans to more than double its stores in China to 5,000 by 2021. --WA China Watch Digest 11/07/16

Oct. 30: China’s COMAC challenging Boeing to realize Xi Jinping’s dream

BloombergBloomberg reported that the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., or COMAC, was helping Xi Jinping’s dream take shape in challenging Boeing and Airbus. The report came on the eve of the Zhuhai Airshow in China this week from Nov. 1-6. According to Bloomberg, COMAC is showcasing its new 168-seat, single-aisle aircraft C919 at the airshow. The company has already got commitments from 21 customers for 517 planes. COMAC’s new regional jet ARJ21 has been flying since June, with a purchase order 60 at about $2.3 billion. Bloomberg said the passenger jet project was part of an ambitious plan by President Xi Jinping to transform China from a maker of sneakers, apparels and toys into one that can compete with the likes of Boeing and Airbus. -- WA China Watch Digest 11/02/16

Oct. 28: Amazon launching Prime in China with free shipping

WSJWall Street Journal reports that Seattle-based U.S. e-commerce behemoth Amazon is launching its Prime membership program in mainland China on Friday to capitalize on Chinese consumers’ desire for overseas products. The new service with a cost 388 yuan ($57) for one year offers unlimited free cross-border and domestic shipping. Most members, the reports said, will receive overseas packages in five to nine days. Amazon is doing this, according to WSJ, to compete with Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc., both of which offer international products to mainland shoppers, Alibaba through Target and Costco stores on its platform and JD with a Wal-Mart on its platform. WSJ quoted Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as saying that Amazon must adapt in China and not run our normal playbook. China is the 12 country where Amazon has launched Prime. --WA China Watch Digest 10/28/16

Oct. 21: Columbia Pacific Management getting $250 million for China operations

PSBJPuget Sound Business Journal reported that the Seattle-based health care company Columbia Pacific Management received a $250 million investment from Singapore-based Temasek, one of Asia's largest investment companies, to create more affordable health care in China. The company has worldwide affiliates, such as Columbia Asia, Columbia China, offering healthcare and senior care services. It invested $200 million in China in 2014 in building two new hospitals and acquired a hospital in Shanghai last year. It has plans for more acquisitions over the next 10 years. PSBJ quoted Nate McLemore, managing director of Columbia Pacific Management, that “China’s demand for health care services and senior living at international standards is unprecedented and growing every day.” --WA China Watch Digest 10/25/16

Oct. 14: First international panda protection conference held in Chengdu, Sichuan

CNRChina's Central National Radio reported that the first international conference on panda protection was held in Chengdu, Sichuan, Washington state’s sister province. The theme was “Protect the Earth Environment, Help the Panda.” It was organized by China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. More than sixty business representatives and individuals from around the world gathered together, including Susan Braden, director of Pandas International, of the United States. Zhang Hemin, director of the Research Center, issued a proposal, calling on people all over the world to action to protect the environment and help the panda. The conference attendees also joined the students at the Sichuan University to share their experiences with pandas. --WA China Watch Digest 10/17/16

Oct. 12: October best month in three years for Boeing 787s with China Southern order

Seattle TimesDominic Gates at the Seattle Times reported that China Southern, the largest airline in China by fleet size, had placed an order of a dozen 787-9 Dreamliners, with a total value of about $1.7 billion after standard discounts. China Southern already operated 10 of the smaller size 787-8 while its subsidiary Xiamen Airlines, which just began its direct flight between Seattle and Shenzhen, had a separate order for a dozen 787s. With this order from China Southern, Boeing’s total 787 order tally was raised above 1,200 jets for the first time, making October the first month the 787 order backlog had grown since April and the best month in three years. --WA China Watch Digest. 10/14/16

Oct. 11: Ten thousand from China among illegal immigrants in Washington

Seattle TimesSeattle Times FYI Guy Gene Balk reported that Washington was one of six states with an increase in their illegal population. Balk quoted the data from Pew Research Center showing that the number of people living in Washington without legal permission reached 250,000 in 2014, 40,000 more than in 2009. Of them, 130,000 were from Mexico, 20,000 from India, 10,000 from China, and rest from other countries. Balk also quoted Diane Narasaki, executive director of Asian Counseling and Referral Service, that because wait times for legal residency were so long, people trying to reunite with family members here entered the country on a tourist visa and stayed past the date. The overall illegal population in the U.S., according Pew, had remained stable at about 11.1 million since 2009. --WA China Watch Digest 10/14/16

Oct. 7: Visit Seattle is visiting China with largest delegation to promote the region

PSBJPuget Sound Business Journal reported that Visit Seattle, the official tourism marketing organization for Seattle and King County, was taking its largest business delegation to China on Friday and would visit Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Members of the delegation included airlines, hotels, resorts, Boeing and Port of Seattle. Visit Seattle President Tom Norwalk was quoted as saying that China was Seattle area’s No. 1 inbound market, with more than 125,000 visitors here a year, and that the delegation would be knocking on doors promoting the region. Members would have one-on-one appointments along on the trip with key travel buyers in China. –WA China Watch Digest 10/10/16

Oct. 4: Aerospace analyst warns Boeing of Chinese manufacturing surprise

PSBJPuget Sound Business Journal reported that Michel Merluzeau, a Seattle-based aerospace business analyst, warned that Boeing and Airbus must 'beware the Chinese' for manufacturing surprise. Speaking at the British-American Business Council annual Aerospace Conference, Merluzeau said that Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (COMAC) would make 50 to 60 aircraft a year, and that the automation in the Chinese factory was like nothing he had ever seen. According to Merluzeau, COMAC currently makes a mid-market jet called the C919 with 156 to 186 seats, a small regional jet called the ARJ21 with 78 to 90 seats, and that it also wanted to make wide-body, dual-aisle large jets called the C929 and C939. –WA China Watch Digest 10/06/16

Oct. 4: Ron Chow of Panda Foundation optimistic about bringing pandas to Washington

KUOWKUOW reported that Ron Chow, co-chair of Washington State Panda Foundation, is attending a Panda Summit in China later this month. Chow has been trying to bring pandas to Washington since last September when Chinese president Xi Jinping visited the state. The two local zoos, however, worry about the cost: $1 million a year the Chinese government charges for U.S. zoos to host panda bears, and up to $30 million to build a panda exhibit, as estimated by the Woodland Park Zoo. Chow, however, is not worried, saying, “We have private citizens, we have companies, who have voiced interest already.” He also revealed that Chinese government officials would visit in March to decide which Washington zoo is best for hosting pandas. –WA China Watch Digest 10/06/2016

Sept. 20: Boeing’s Ray Conner refuting Donald Trump on Boeing "moving jobs to China”

PSBJSeattle TimesPuget Sound Business Journal reported that in a recent chat with Jon Talton of the Seattle Times, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner criticized Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for misrepresenting Boeing's dealings in China. Trump has said Boeing will move U.S. jobs to China if he's not elected to stop major corporations from shifting jobs offshore. Conner said Boeing's activities in China were more beneficial to the jet maker's American plants and workers than they were to the Chinese. Conner called Boeing’s new Chinese assembly center “our largest opportunity for sales” and said it “only completes aircraft cabin interior installations and painting of the 737 jets made in Renton” and would “also create more jobs here.” Conner also mentioned to Talton both Trump’s and Clinton’s opposition to TPP and said that some people do get impacted by trade agreements, in general, they create more opportunities. --WA China Watch Digest 09/22/16

Sept. 15: Seattle now most-inquired market for mainland Chinese homebuyers

Seattle TimesMike Rosenberg at the Seattle Times reported that Seattle has become the No. 1 market for homebuyers from China. The “No. 1” was in number of inquiries Seattle received, which were “more than any other American city in four of the last seven months,” and “more than doubled” after British Columbia enacted a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver metro area. Still, the report said, Washington was behind only California, New York and Texas in dollar amount as buyers from China bought about $1.6 billion in homes across the state last year. The story generated hundreds of comments from the readers. One entry by “From Vancouver BC” suggesting “You need to do something before Seattle become like Vancouver. In our city, the people who built this city, paid taxes, run businesses and work here are being displaced to make room for…the Mainland Communist Chinese elite” received many Likes. --WA China Watch Digest 09/17/16

Sept. 14: 100 Tacoma Lincoln Hi students to visit China at invitation of Xi Jinping

The News TribuneThe News Tribune of Tacoma reported that 100 students at Lincoln High School are getting ready, including learning to pack for their 13 hour flight, for their 12-day trip to China starting October 7. When President Xi Jinping visited Lincoln High last September, he invited 100 students to visit China. The 100 lucky ones were chosen by a lottery from 200 applicants with GPA of 2.5 and higher. The student travellers’ expenses, including airfare, and those of ten of their teachers as chaperones, are all covered by the Chinese government. The Tribune said, the kids would firs visit Hong Kong, then Fuzhou, Tacoma’s sister where Xi Jinping once worked as the party leader, see pandas in Chengdu, the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, and visiting schools along the way. They also might meet Xi Jinping. --WA China Watch Digest 09/16/16

Sept. 12: Donald Trump once wrote to Gary Locke over trademark issue in China

HuffPostHuffington Post reported that in 2011, the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump wrote a letter to former governor of Washington Gary Locke, then U.S. Commerce Secretary, asking his office to intervene on Trump's behalf over “a miscarriage of justice” in Macau, China where Trump could still trademark his name for hotels, but not for restaurants, as a small-time Chinese coffee shop business had registered the word “Trump.” “I would greatly appreciate someone speaking to the Chinese and Macau representatives,” Huffington Post quoted Trump in his letter. Trump received a reply back from Gary Locke, thanking Trump for his letter and agreeing that piracy and counterfeiting in China were still “unacceptably high, “ and suggested that Trump talk to the International Trade Administration to resolve his dispute. --WA China Watch Digest 09/14/16

Sept. 9: Xiamen Airline getting ready for new Shenzhen-Seattle flight this month

Aviation Resources NetCivil Aviation Resources Net reported that Xiamen Airline was in full force getting ready for its new and direct flight from Shenzhen to Seattle on Sept. 26. The flight shall start in Xiamen and onto Shenzhen and then Seattle. It would be Xiamen Airline’s first U.S. flight and second North American flight, as it already has service flying from Xiamen-Vancouver, B.C. With the busy market, strict laws and regulations of aviation in the U.S., Xiamen Airline has welcomed the American route as a new challenge as well as a demonstration of the airline’s growth. Having now completed their intense studying and training, Xiamen pilots and crew members are ready for the September 26 debut flight to Seattle. --WA China Watch Digest 09/14/16

Sept. 6: Boeing to have its Asia Pacific delivery center built in Zhoushan, China

People's DailyPeople’s Daily reported that a Boeing Asia Pacific delivery center would be built in Zhoushan (舟山) of Zhejiang province. The story was based on a recently published list of projects by the Zhejiang provincial government for its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020). Out of more than 500 projects ranging from IT to new material, from e-commerce to medicine, the Boeing project came under Aviation and Transportation and listed as “Zhoushan Boeing Aircraft Asia Pacific Delivery Center project.” Boeing’s response, according to People’s Daily, was that the project was still in negotiation and the location was yet to be finalized. A delivery center in China, the report said, means that Chinese airlines could pick up their order at home, saving the cost of receiving their planes overseas. Airbus already has its A320 delivery center in Tianjin and is building one for A330 in China, too, People's Daily added. --WA China Watch Digest 09/07/16

Sept. 5: China art festival to be held in Washington state in September-October

People's DailyAs spelled out in the list of accomplishments between China and the U.S., published by the People’s Daily, as agreed by President Xi Jinping and President Obama during their meeting before the G20 Summit (Sept. 4-5) in Hangzhou, the two sides decided that the third “Trans-Pacific-China Art Festival” would be held in various cities in California and Washington state during the months of September and October, 2016. This would be part of the exchanges of 2016 U.S.-China Tourism Year promoted by China State Tourism Administration and U.S. Department of Commerce, including a closing ceremony to be attended by 5,000 Chinese tourists and the start of construction by Oct. 30 of The China Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington D.C. –WA China Watch Digest 09/07/16

Sept. 2: Bill Gates offered congratulations to China on a successful G20 summit

People's DailyPeople’s Daily interviewed Bill Gates just before the G20 Summit (Sept. 4-5) in Hangzhou, China. “The G20 is a vital international forum where leaders of the world’s major economies work together to strengthen global economic security and increase prosperity,” Gates said, and “for the first time that global health has been included in the G20 development agenda.” Gates mentioned that China has lifted 600 million people out of poverty and that Gates Foundation has been working with China on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and in fighting poverty. He expressed his confidence that China would play an even greater role in helping other countries achieve progress on their own and looked forward to continuing to support China in this important work. –WA China Watch Digest 09/07/16

Aug. 29-30: Microsoft sells, or dumps, MSN China to XiChuang Technology of Beijing

Caijing NetCaixin OnlineCaijing Net reported that Microsoft and XiChuang Technology (Beijing) Co. had reached a management buyout (MBO) agreement for XiChuang to acquire full equity of MSN China, effective on August 10. XiChuang stated on its website that the companies wanted to be more flexible and agile to meet the local domestic market needs and to continue creating value for their respective shareholders and employees. But Caixin Online described the buyout as a “dump,” and as Microsoft's retreat from the web portal business in China, similar to that by Google, Yahoo, eBay and Wal-Mart. XiChuang, according to Caixin, was co-founded last year by Liu Zhenyu, MSN China's former general manager. --WA China Watch Digest 08/31/16

Aug. 26: Boeing aims to begin operations of Chinese finishing factory in 2018

Nikkei Asian ReviewThe Nikkei Asian Review reported that Boeing aimed to begin operations at its planned Chinese finishing factory in 2018 or 2019, according to Ihssane Mounir, Boeing's senior vice president of sales for Northeast Asia. The factory is a joint-venture with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China, or Comac, as once confirmed in September 2015 when Chinese president Xi Jinping visited Boeing. The factory, Boeing’s first such facility abroad, will complete the 737 jetliner for local delivery, including installing seats, kitchen facilities and lavatories as well as handling exterior painting. The location of the factory, the Review said, was yet to be decided. --WA China Watch Digest 08/31/16

Aug. 22: Kristi Heim leaving China Council after two and half years

WCWDAs stated on her newly updated LinkedIn page, first spotted by our watchful China watcher Carson Tavenner, and confirmed by herself in an email, Kristi Heim, president/executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council since January 2014, has left the position earlier this month and joined the BGI of Shenzhen as its Senior Director of Business Development and Communications, supporting the company’s global growth. Agreeing to an interview later on, Kristi told WA China Watch Digest that she is “still working on the WSCRC board and executive committee, helping with the transition to a new director.” BGI, a premier genome sequencing center, is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, with its president, Dr. Jian Wang, a UW alumnus. Kristi visited BGI in Shenzhen last May accompanying Mayor Murray who signed a MOU with the city of Shenzhen for BGI and UW Medicine collaboration in precision medicine. (For an interview with Kristi from last February, click here.) --WA China Watch Digest 08/22/16

Aug. 17: GIX to open doors in fall 2017 with “professors in practice”

PSBJAt a recent Business Journal Live event, Ashley Stewart reported, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce updated the audience on GIX, Global Innovation Exchange, a graduate program jointly developed by UW and Tsinghua University first announced in June 2015. Cauce said that GIX was neither a UW export nor a Tsinghua import, but a partnership blending the best of both. GIX will teach experiential learning, with degrees focusing on issues facing the business world, and with some of the professors as “professors of practice,” who have worked at Alaska (Airlines) or Boeing or Microsoft. The first UW and Tsinghua dual degree program will be centered around connected devices and the internet of things. Students will spend a year at Tsinghua before coming to GIX Bellevue campus to open in fall 2017. --WA China Watch Digest 08/19/16

Aug. 15: Chongqing team wins Seattle 2016 International Dota 2 Championships

Guangming NetYahoo! EsportsGuangming Net reported that a team named Wings Gaming from Seattle’s sister city Chongqing won the 2016 International Dota 2 Championships at Key Arena on Saturday night. Valve Corporation of Kirkland, WA, developer and publisher of Dota 2 multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game, has held the tournament since 2011. Yahoo! Esports reported that fourteen squads and four Wildcards from China, Korea, Europe, and North America battled it out for two weeks. Wings Gaming from Chongqing, described as “intimidating, unpredictable” with “unique strategies,” with its 18-year-old captain Zhang “Innocence” Liping, beat DC in the final showdown and won over $9,100,000 in prize money. --WA China Watch Digest 08/15/16

Aug. 12: Crosscut listing former governor Gary Locke’s scandals over the years

CrosscutAfter writing about the former ambassador's questionable D.C. home sale story first reported by The Intercept, Drew Atkins at Crosscut posted his second piece on Gary Locke, with a primer on the “more notable” scandals in the former governor’s past: handing Boeing the $3.2 billion tax break in 2003 using the study by Deloitte Consulting, a company very close to Boeing; fundraising in 1997 at New York restaurant Harmony Palace tied to the city’s biggest Chinese gang; fundraising in 1997 at a Buddhist Temple in Redmond, a tax-exempt place of worship prohibited from raising money for candidates; accepting funds in 1996 raised by John Huang who had illegally funneled money from foreign nationals into the Clinton-Gore campaign. “Just because someone is out of public office doesn’t mean their record is necessarily complete,” Atkins concluded. --WA China Watch Digest 08/13/16

Aug. 6: Alibaba encompassing wide range of fields beyond e-commerce

Seattle TimesJanet Tu at the Seattle Times reported that Alibaba’s chief technology officer Jeff Zhang visited Seattle for the first time since 2014 when his company opened an office here. Zhang spoke at an Alibaba Technology Forum in Bellevue on Aug. 6 to an audience of 300 mostly Chinese-speaking engineers. Zhang said, Alibaba, in addition to being one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world, was also one the best big-data companies. It is invested in everything from health care to food delivery to entertainment, Tu wrote, and it also provides cloud infrastructure to businesses with Alibaba Cloud. Other technologies Alibaba was paying attention to, Zhang told the crowd, included augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR), voice recognition and artificial intelligence. --WA China Watch Digest 08/09/16

Aug. 3: Former Amb. Gary Locke’s home sale to Chinese tycoon raised ethical questions

The InterceptOnline publication The Intercept, self-claimed as “aggressive and adversarial” journalism, posted the story “A ‘Desperate’ Seller - Gary Locke, while Obama’s Ambassador to China, Got a Chinese Tycoon to Buy His House.” It details how our former governor sold his suburban Maryland home to Chinese citizen and owner of American Pacific International Capital, a firm Locke had provided legal services to before becoming ambassador and is advising now. Locke bought the home at $1,525,000 in 2009 while being Commerce Secretary and sold for $1.68 million in 2013 while still ambassador to China. The authors quoted ethics expert Craig Holman of Public Citizen that Locke’s sale raised a number of flags, such as “placing himself in a conflict of interest situation in which financial opportunities could be perceived as influencing his judgment.” --WA China Watch Digest 08/04/16

Aug. 1: UW Chinese students scammed of their tuition payment up to $1 million

Seattle TimesCatherine Long at the Seattle Times reported Monday that as many as 90 University of Washington students from China may have been defrauded of up to $1 million in tuition money, according to UW Police Department investigators. The students said to have paid an intermediary by check or wire to save 5% on the tuition, about $600 on the summer tuition of $11,340, while the scammers reportedly used stolen credit cards to pay UW to get a payment confirmation, as discovered by a New York detective last month. . The investigation is ongoing but no arrests have been made, UW Police investigator Lt. Doug Schulz told Long. --WA China Watch Digest 08/01/16

July 19: First Boeing 737-800, delivered to Jiuyuan Airlines, installed with seats made in China

NetEase NewsNanfang DailyNetEase News reported that on July 15, at its centennial celebration in Seattle, Boeing delivered to Jiuyuan Airlines, the first Guangzhou-based low-budget airline in Central South China, a 737-800. It was the first aircraft Boeing delivered to any customer upon turning 100. It was the first time a Boeing airplane was fitted with seats made in China. And it was the first delivery, according the South China Daily, of a 50 aircraft order Jiuyuan Airlines, or 9 Air, had signed in 2014 with Boeing for 50 737-800s and next generation 737MAX. The Chinese seats manufactured in Hubei reportedly were made with less time, lower cost and with more leg room for passengers. --WA China Watch Digest 07/20/16

July 12: Donghai Airlines to purchase $4 billion worth of Boeing planes

FengHuang NewsIfeng News reported that China's Donghai Airlines and Boeing announced at the Farnborough International Airshow (July 11-17) in England that the airline intended to purchase 25 737 MAX 8s and five 787-9 Dreamliners. Donghai Chairman and CEO Huang Chubiao and Boeing President and CEO Ray Conner signed the Letter of Intent for the deal valued at more than $4 billion. The Shenzhen-based Donghai Airlines was founded in 2006 as the first private aviation company in China. After a decade of successful cargo transportation, Donghai began passenger business in 2015. Right now, Donghai has 11 Boeing 737-800s. It plans to expand its fleet to 50 by 2020, with 45 Boing 737s and 5 Boeing 787s, and to 100 by 2025. --WA China Watch Digest 07/14/16

July 5: T-Mobile hit by lawsuit for patent infringement by Chinese telecom giant Huawei

TmoNewsTmoNews reported that Tuesday July 5 was not so good for the Bellevue-based T-Mobile as it was hit with a complaint over patent issues from Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant with operations in the U.S. T-Mobile reportedly has been using patents related to 4G wireless networking while refusing Huawei’s attempts to license the patents to T-Mobile on a fair, reasonable, and non- discriminatory (FRAND) basis. Huawei wanted the court to rule that it had met its FRAND commitment in offering licensing terms to T-Mobile and declare T-Mo an unwilling licensee. Huawei filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court in Eastern Texas, where Huawei Technologies USA has its headquarters. --WA China Watch Digest 07/06/2016

June 28: WSU and DJ Innovations to partner in agricultural drone research

PSBJAshley Stewart at the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Washington State University announced plans to partner with Shenzhen, China-based DJI, the world’s largest drone maker, to research unmanned aircraft for agricultural use. Stewart quoted WSU spokesman Alex Pietsch as saying that WSU was well positioned to bridge the gap between the state’s aerospace innovation and agricultural resources. WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems has been studying drone use in agriculture while DJI released a first drone specifically for agriculture in 2015. DJI-Innovations, known as Da Jiang in Chinese, was established in 2006, now with customers all over the world. --WA China Watch Digest 06/30/16

June 13: Create World from China is creating a lot of apartments in Seattle, Bellevue

PSBJMarc Stiles at the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Create World America, of the Create World Group from China, recently bought a piece of property across the street from Amazon and would start building a 26-story 242-unit apartment tower in October. Stiles also wrote that a week earlier Create World America said that it would develop a 40-story condo by Pike Place Market, with 40% of the units to be sold to Chinese nationals. Currently, the company is building an apartment and condo project in downtown Bellevue. According to its website, Create World Group was founded in Hong Kong in 1997 with business in energy, chemical and real estate in Europe, America as well as China. Create World America, with its office in Bellevue, came into being in 2014. --WA China Watch Digest 06/14/16

June 8: Chinese Chamber of Commerce opens office in Seattle

PSBJPuget Sound Business Journal reported that the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Washington State officially opened for business on Wednesday, with an invitation-only gala at the Seattle offices of law firm Davis Wright Tremaine. The head of the Chamber is Cathy Zhou, who heads the Industrial and Commercial Bank's Seattle office which opened last year during Xi Jinping’s visit. The new Chamber already has 50 members, including Hainan Airlines and Create World Real Estate. Its office, according to the report, is in Bellevue at 10224 N.E. 10th St. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce is also in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. --WA China Watch Digest 06/09/16

June 1: CEO Satya Nadella attending Microsoft Developer Summit 2016 in Beijing

SinaSina reported that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who was visiting China last week after India, attended Microsoft Developer Summit 2016 held on June 1 in Beijing. In his keynote speech, Nadella said that Microsoft’s mission is to help every developer in China and around the world to use advanced technology and platform to innovate and change the world. He talked about Windows, Linux, Mixed Reality, HoloLens and more. A Reuters report said earlier that Nadella was in China to meet government officials to discuss the ongoing anti-trust investigation of the company’s software. --WA China Watch Digest 06/04/16

May 26: China Council proud of nine agreements resulting from Mayor Murray’s China mission

WSCRCWashington State China Relations Council, which helped organize the May 9-13 business mission to China headed by Mayor Murray, proudly listed nine agreements/investments resulted from the trip: 1. A new nonstop Seattle-Shenzhen flight by Xiamen Airlines in September; 2. Genomics company BGI and UW to jointly develop precision medicine; 3. China Vanke partnering with Laconia to invest $200 million in residential tower in Seattle; 4. WSCRC and Shenzhen Foundation to promote non-governmental cooperation; 5. Seattle and Shenzhen to support collaboration in medical, biotech and health industry; 6. WSU and BGI to cooperate in research and technology; 7. Snohomish County and Shenzhen to develop bilateral trade and investment; 8. Hangzhou and Seattle to cooperate in trade and economy; 9. WSCRC and two Hangzhou organizations to promote ties. --WA China Watch Digest 05/30/16

May 26: Starbucks to open first international Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai

Seattle TimesJanet Tu at the Seattle Times reported that Starbucks will open its first international Starbucks Roastery and Reserve Tasting Room next year in Shanghai. It will be the second Starbucks Roastery anywhere, with the first one in Seattle that opened in 2014 and the third one to open in New York in 2018. The Shanghai one, Tu said, will be twice as large as the Seattle one. According to Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz, the Starbucks Roastery offers a modern day Willy Wonka experience of the theatre and artistry of the coffee craft. --WA China Watch Digest 05/28/16

May 25: Chinese cash preparing take-off of Washington’s newest airplane

PSBJSteve Wilhelm reported again that this September would see the delivery of Washington state’s newest airplane, called Merlin, by Glasair Aviation based in Arlington. Glasair was purchased by China’s Jilin Hanxing group in 2012. Certified by FAA, the single-propeller Merlin would be able to carry two people. It is Glasair’s first production aircraft. The company would build more of them and then deliver to customers. According to Wilhelm, president of Glasair Nigel Mott didn’t think the company could have done the same development work without the Chinese purchase. --WA China Watch Digest 05/27/16

May 19: Kenmore Air to design and turn Chinese Harbin Y-12 into seaplane

PSBJSteve Wilhelm at the Puget Sound Business Journal reported that Kenmore Air Harbor, the region’s oldest and best-known seaplane operator, would develop floats for the Harbin Y-12 of China, the 18-passenger built by China’s AVIC Harbin Aircraft Industry Group Co., Ltd. A Harbin Y-12 twin-engine turboprop plane will arrive in the region in June, Wilhelm said. This contract, Wilhelm quoted Kenmore Air President Todd Banks, if Harbin exercises all the options for 100 sets of floats, could generate $44.5 million in revenue, and several dozen hires for years to come.--WA China Watch Digest 05/20/16

May 16: Vanke China to finance apartment building near Space Needle

Seattle TimesSeattle Times reported that Vanke, China’s largest residential developer, has agreed to help finance the 43-story residential building planned at 600 Wall St. near the Space Needle. The Shenzhen, China, based company signed a MOU, during the recent visit there by Mayor Murray, with the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Laconia Development, which owns the triangular-shaped plot of land for the project. Seattle Times quoted Bob Kagan, Laconia’s senior vice president, that he hoped to begin construction in the first few months of 2017. It would have 400 apartments, with retail on the ground floor, Times said. --WA China Watch Digest 05/20/16

May 13: Mayor Murray at “Hangzhou Meets Seattle” event with new MOU on ecommerce

Zhejiang Online“Hangzhou Meets Seattle” is how Zhejiang Online described Mayor Ed Murray’s visit to the city in the province. Not just meet, it called the relationship as going from “love at the first sight” to “cooperation in ecommerce.” Following their visit in Shenzhen, Mayor Murray and his delegation arrived in Hangzhou on May 12 to attend the second “Hangzhou Meets Seattle” event. There, Amazon China and the City of Hangzhou signed a memorandum on cooperation in ecommerce, including helping over a hundred Hangzhou companies to open “global stores” on Amazon in 2016. The “love at the first sight” was presumably the visit to Seattle 20 years ago by Jack Ma, head of Alibaba of Hangzhou, who discovered and fell in love with the Internet in the Emerald city. --WA China Watch Digest 05/14/2016

May 11: New cooperation agreements signed between Seattle and Shenzhen

Sina NewsSina News reported that visiting Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and Party chief of Shenzhen Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞 ) witnessed signing of a number of agreements or memorandums of cooperation between the two cities. Among the signed are those between Shenzhen and Seattle on the cooperation on medical research and treatment; between Shenzhen Airport Group, Xiamen Airline and Seattle Continental Routs; between Vanke and Laconia Development on residential project in Seattle; between BGI and University of Washington on education, science and culture; between Shenzhen International Exchange & Cooperation Foundation and Washington State China Relations Council; between the City of Shenzhen and the Snohomish County. –WA China Watch Digest 05/11/2016

May 11: New direct flight between Shenzhen and Seattle to open in September

Sina NewsAt the “Seattle Day” event in Shenzhen, Sina News reported, out of meetings between Ma Xingrui (马兴瑞 ), Party chief of Shenzhen, and the visiting Mayor Ed Murray, there was also an announcement by Xiamen Airlines: On Sept. 26 this year, there will be a flight starting from Xiamen, of Fujian province, to Shenzhen and then onto Seattle. It would be the first direct international flight from Shenzhen to North America. The airline spokesman also said that since Seattle was the home of Boeing, all crafts on the new line would be Boeing 787. There would be three flights a week both ways, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. –WA China Watch Digest 05/11/2016

May 11: Mayor Murray announcing a Shenzhen innovation center to be built in Seattle

Netease NewsNetease News reported that Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and a delegation of over 60 members of Seattle’s business community attended the “Seattle Day” in Shenzhen. The group arrived in the city on May 10 and visited Vanke, BYD and other local companies. At “Seattle Day” event, Mayor Murray announced that he intended to award the last piece of commercial land in the South Lake Union high tech development zone to the Chinese side to build a Shenzhen innovation center. His suggestion received swift support from Shenzhen leaders. It is reported that the innovation center project would be jointly developed by BGI, a leading biotechnology company, and Shenzhen Chamber of Commerce. –WA China Watch Digest 05/11/2016

Apr. 21: Starbucks bucking the slowing trend of China

Seattle TimesJanet Tu of the Seattle Times reported that even though the company’s China-Asia Pacific segment as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa segment saw a slowdown in comparable sales growth from a year ago, its China market saw 18 percent revenue growth and 5 percent transaction growth, the “highest anywhere in the world,” Tu quoted Scott Maw, Starbucks’ chief financial officer on the transaction growth. According to Tu, Starbucks has now 2,000 stores in China and will have 3,400 by the end of 2019. Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz must be saying, “China slowing? What slowing?” --WA China Watch Digest 04/25/2016

Apr. 19: Northwest Innovation Works pulling out of Tacoma

The Daily NewsThe Daily News of Longview, WA, reported that Northwest Innovation Works, the China-backed company, announced in a press release that it has terminated its proposed $3.4 billion methanol plant at the Port of Tacoma, the biggest of three methanol plants to be built, but reaffirmed its commitment to the two smaller plants in Kalama of Washington and Clatskanie in Oregon. The Tacoma plant had met strong opposition from environmentally-concerned citizens back in February. But the three reasons given by NWIW’s president Vee Godley were: a lease expiration; required cleanup of land; changes in zoning. The Daily News said that the decision made the opposition groups happy but supporters sad over losing out on a lot of revenue, tax dollars and job creation for Tacoma. --WA China Watch Digest 04/21/2016

Apr. 9: Peng Liyuan’s Hutch visit led to partnership to help China quit smoking

Seattle TimesSeattle Times’ JoNel Aleccia wrote this story, “Seattle visit sparks effort to snuff China’s smoking habit — with an app.” The visit was by China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on September 23 last year while her husband President Xi Jinping was at Boeing. During the visit, Jonathan Bricker, a leading scientist at the Hutch, told Peng about his clinically proven smoking-cessation app for U.S. smartphones. As the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, Peng responded positively. Since then, Bricker has been working with Dr. Feng Cheng, a professor of global health at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The two are developing the Chinese version Bricker’s app, called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or ACT. In China, JoNel Aleccia said, 30% of the adult population smoke, compared with 17% in the U.S. --WA China Watch Digest 04/11/2016

Mar. 30: Kiro Radio remembering Hainan Island incident of U.S. Navy Whidbey Island crew

Kiro RadioFeliks Banel, historian at Kiro Radio, reminded listeners of the anniversary of the U.S. Navy incident in Hainan Island with this story: “Remembering the Whidbey air crew detained in China.” On April 1, 2001, Banel said, a U.S. Navy EP-3 ARIES "surveillance plane" was flying in international airspace along the coast of China over the South China Sea. A Chinese pilot accidentally struck the propeller of the EP-3 with the tail of his jet and was unable to maneuver safely away. After an emergency landing in Hainan Island, the 24 American crew members from Whidbey Island were detained for 11 days. Only after President Bush and Secretary of State Powell expressed their sincere regret over China’s missing pilot and aircraft did the Chinese free the crew. A few months later, Banel pointed out, the Chinese government, allowed the damaged EP-3 to return to the U.S. –WA China Watch Digest 03/30/2016

Mar. 28: Washington state one step closer to getting a pair of pandas from China

Kommo NewsKOMO News reported that the Chinese government, according to Washington State Panda Foundation, hoped to send a study delegation to the Pacific Northwest to determine if a pair of pandas could call the region home. Ron Chow, head of the Foundation, and other members including Steilacoom's mayor and Washington's former attorney general Rob McKenna, just had returned from China. KOMO said at $1 million a year, renting a mating pair of pandas over a ten year period would cost $10 million, plus another $20 million for housing and care. But Ron Chow said that was the least of his worries. KOMO also mentioned that Friends of Woodland Park Zoos Elephants opposed the whole idea, saying. "This is a political move between China and the U.S., and animals should not be political tools." The group, however, is heading back to China next month. --WA China Watch Digest 03/30/2016

Mar. 24: Chinese government paper praising Su Bin for trying to steal from Boeing and other defense contractors

Global TimesOn the day of the Department of Justice statement that Chinese citizen Su Bin had pleaded guilty on charges of conspiring with two people in China from October 2008 to March 2014 to gain access to protected computer networks in the U.S., including Boeing’s, Global Times, an affiliate of China’s official newspaper People’s Daily, posted this story, “Su Bin deserves respect whether guilty or innocent.” It went on to say: “We have no reliable source to identify whether Su has stolen these secrets and transferred them to the Chinese government. If he has, we are willing to show our gratitude and respect for his service to our country. On the secret battlefield without gunpowder, China needs special agents to gather secrets from the US. As for Su, be he recruited by the Chinese government or driven by economic benefits, we should give him credit for what he is doing for the country.” --WA China Watch Digest 03/27/2016

Mar. 24: Chinese citizen Su Bin pleading guilty of hacking into Boeing computer networks

PSBJDaniel McCoy of the Puget Sound Business Journal had this story, "Chinese businessman pleads guilty to trying to hack Boeing.” Su Bin, a China-based businessman in the aviation and aerospace fields, admitted that he conspired with two people in China from October 2008 to March 2014 to gain access to protected computer networks in the U.S., including Boeing’s, wrote McCoy, with the intention of sending sensitive military information back to China. Among the Boeing targets by Su, said McCoy, was the C-17 military cargo plane produced at Boeing’s facility in Long Beach, California. According to Department of Justice statement, Su was indicted in California, but was first arrested in Canada in 2014. Along with pleading guilty of conspiracy, Su also admitted that he engaged in the crime for the purpose of financial gain. Su’s sentence is scheduled on July 13. --WA China Watch Digest 03/24/2016

Mar. 18: Seattle Times cheering WA export of nuclear expertise to China

Seattle TimesThe editorial board of the Seattle Times made this headline announcement, "Washington has a new export to China: nuclear expertise.” The editors said that a Nuclear Security Center of Excellence had just opened in Beijing on Friday, March 18 and that experts from Richland, WA-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory helped establish it. The project was agreed upon, the editorial said, in 2010 between President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao as part of an initiative by Obama to prevent nuclear terrorism in the world. The national lab’s experience handling nuclear materials, the editorial mentioned, goes back to the 1940s to its work in the Manhattan Project. In China's media, the new center was mentioned as Sino-U.S. Nuclear Security Center, which was jointly built by China’s National Atomic Energy Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. --WA China Watch Digest 03/18/2016

Mar. 5: Northwest Innovation Works’ methanol project met opposition in Tacoma

Seattle TimesSeattle Times reporter Hal Bernton wrote that the $7 billion project of three methanol plants, respectively in Tacoma, Kalama and Oregon, proposed by Northwest Innovation Works, backed by Chinese investment and praised by Governor Inslee, has met opposition, especially in Tacoma. Even though the Tacoma plant, at $3.4 billion, would create 1,000 jobs during construction and 260 to operate afterwards, skeptics raised questions concerning the amount of hydro power it would tie up, the location in an earthquake zone, and risks of explosions, chemical spills and toxic emissions. In an earlier report, Bernton said that on Feb. 10 in Tacoma, 1,000 largely hostile people at a public hearing voiced their opposition in “tone and substance.” As a result, on Feb. 18, Northwest Innovation Works asked the city of Tacoma to put “a pause” on its environmental review. We stay tuned. --WA China Watch Digest 03/07/2016

Mar. 1: “Beijing Meets Seattle 2” April release announced in Beijing

SinaRemember “Beijing Meets Seattle,” the 2013 movie about a young woman from Beijing trying to give birth in Seattle and falling in love with a local man? Whatever the moral of the movie, it made Seattle a household name in China and helped launch a wave of Chinese tourists and investment in Seattle. Now “Beijing Meets Seattle 2,” Sina reported, is set to release on April 29 as announced at a press conference in Beijing where stars Tang Wei, Wu Xiubo and Director Xue Xiaolu appeared and answered questions. The full Chinese title of the new move is in fact “Beijing Meets Seattle No Two Hearts.” Director Xue insisted that this is not a sequel, but a new story, a further understanding of love.” Also announced was the real life pregnancy of Tang Wei, who played the pregnant Jiajia in the original movie. The new movie was reportedly shot in eight locations, Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, Macao, London, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Vancouver, B.C., which is always used as a “body double” for Seattle. --WA China Watch Digest 03/01/2016

Feb. 24: Huawei Technologies to open Bellevue office in March with up to 100 employees

Seattle TimesPSBJGeekWireSeattle Times’ Rachel Lerman reported that China’s telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies would open an office in Bellevue next month, with a lease about 11,000 square feet on the fifth floor of the Plaza Center. The Shenzhen, China-based Huawei is one of the world’s largest smartphone manufacturers, Lerman added. Rachel Nielsen of the Puget Sound Business Journal wrote that Huawei already had offices in Bellevue and Kirkland and the new Bellevue office would join Huawei’s global network of R&D facilities and 160,000 employees worldwide. Taylor Soper of GeekWire revealed that James Henderson, Bellevue’s economic development director, said in an email to GeekWire that the city was excited Huawei had chosen Bellevue as the site for their new R&D center.” None of the reporters, however, mentioned that in 2012 Huawei was determined by the U.S. House intelligence committee as posing security risks to the U.S. because its equipment could be used for spying on Americans. --WA China Watch Digest 02/26/2016

Feb. 23: Chongqing company’s Chicago ambition met with Congressional protest

New York TimesNew York Times DealB%k column had this article by Steven Davidoff Solomon, “Chinese Deals Feel the Chill from Washington.” Among the deals was one by a company from Seattle’s sister city Chongqing, Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (CCEG), to acquire the Chicago Stock Exchange. An agreement for the deal was reached earlier this month between Casin and the Chicago Stock Exchange. According to a Chicago Tribune report, 134-year-old Chicago Stock Exchange handled about 0.5 percent of U.S. stock trading and would give the Chinese buyer a beachhead in the $22 trillion American equity market. However, on Feb 16, 46 U.S. lawmakers wrote a letter to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, to block the deal on “transparency” concerns, New York Times said. In the letter, the lawmakers pointed out, “The American market has little information about CCEG, and it shares many of the traditional opaque qualities of a Chinese company,” and that “the financial assets of CCEG were originally owned by the Chinese government.” --WA China Watch Digest 02/26/2016

Feb. 5: Sichuan Governor Wei Hong fell on charges of disloyalty to the Party

APNews ChinaAlong with a tide of Chinese media reports, AP posted this story today: “China governor fired for 'disloyalty' as Xi tightens grip.” The governor was Wei Hong (魏宏) of Sichuan, Washington state’s sister province in China. Unlike other officials removed in recent years in Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign, Wei Hong was accused of being “disloyal” to the Party. In addition, as News China listed, Wei was also found as “dishonest, seriously violating political, organizational and administrative disciplines, resisting official investigations, and interfering in judicial activities." Wei, however, was not completely removed, but has been demoted four levels down to a deputy departmental post. News China also mentioned that the omen for Wei was there as early as last September when he failed to make the governors delegation to visit Seattle with Xi Jinping. The Party chief of Sichuan Wang Dongming (王东明) made the trip instead. --WA China Watch Digest 02/05/2016

Jan. 26: What was Bill Gates thinking selling Tank Man image to China?

CNN MoneyCNN Money, along with a number of other news outlets, posted the story that linked Bill Gates to Tank Man, the iconic image of the Tiananmen protests of 1989. In a sale of the image archives and licensing business of his company Corbis, CNN Money said, Bill Gates sold millions of its photos and videos to Visual China Group, including files from the events at Tiananmen Square nearly 30 years ago. The deal, CNN continued, has raised concerns about how historical photos would be treated by a Chinese company, as references to the Tiananmen Square protests have long been banned in books and media inside of China. The real problem, CNN quoted the artist Christoph Rehage, is the potential for digital censorship. Could Corbis have been practicing censorship already? Rehage said, "Log onto Corbis and try to look for identical search terms in English and Chinese, you will get different results." For those who love a Chinese proverb, here is one for the occasion: “一世聪明, 一时糊涂,” meaning someone can be smart all his life, but stupid in one moment. --WA China Watch Digest 01/26/2016

Jan 22: China Council held 36th annual banquet, presented Stan Barer with Lifetime Achievement Award

WCWD logoWashington State China Relations Council held its 36th (1979-2015) annual banquet last night at Four Seasons in downtown Seattle. One highlight was Stanley H. Barer receiving the Council’s 2016 Sidney Lifetime Achievement Award presented by former governor Gary Locke. Stan Barer was one of the five founders of the Council, along with Bob Anderson, Patricia Baillargeon, Jim Dwyer and Richard Kirk. Originally scheduled for December 2015, the Council had to postpone the banquet to secure the lineup of the four speakers: Dow Constantine, King County Executive; Lebin Wu, chairman of Chinese Academy of Sciences Holdings; Gary Locke; and Cheng Li, director of The Brookings China Center, who encouraged the audience to stay optimistic about China’s development in spite of the stock market turmoil and economic slowdown. The fact that the event was sold out, as Executive Director Kristi Heim told WCWD, with 330 attending didn’t seem to show any dampened enthusiasm of Washingtonians towards China. --WA China Watch Digest 01/22/2016

Jan. 16: New lifestyle magazine in Chinese for buyers from China of Seattle area homes

Seattle TimesJanet Tu at the Seattle Times reported the publication this month of a new magazine in Chinese, Seattle Luxury Living (璀璨奢侈西雅图), targeting wealthy people from China owning or buying homes here. With the recent dive of China’s stock market and currency devaluation, Janet wanted to know if the potential Chinese buyers would stop coming. The publisher of the magazine, John Spear, said that the magazine would up the flight from China and that there is now much more reason to come here. Prof. David Bachman of UW, however, pointed out that it remains in the air if China’s slowdown would mean its residents spending less on Washington state exports and properties, but the economic future of China is much less certain now. Janet also mentioned that for the first time, buyers from China had become the largest group of foreign purchasers of homes in the U.S. in 2015 and that Washington state was second only to California in number of homes sold to buyers from China last year. --WA China Watch Digest

Jan. 15: Sichuan governor Wei Hong being investigated for serious discipline violations

Sina FianceAfter being out of the public view for about two weeks, Sina Finance reported that Sichuan governor Wei Hong (魏宏) is now under investigation for serious discipline violations, as announced on Jan. 15 by the Party Central Disciplinary Commission. Wei's case, Sina pointed out, was the first in the new year, opening the curtain of the anti-corruption campaign for 2016. It is still not clear what violations Wei Hong has committed, but his problems, Sina said, are related to two people: former national security head and the now imprisoned Zhou Yongkang and former party chief Li Jia of the city of Ziyang, who was arrested herself in 2014 and has reportedly exposed Wei. Zhou Yongkang used to be the Party chief of Sichuan and had a close relationship with Wei Hong. --WA China Watch Digest 01/15/2016

Jan. 15: Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan rumored to become new finance tsar in Beijing

South China Morning PostSouth China Morning Post reported that China’s president Xi Jinping has picked Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan 黄齐帆 to oversee China’s chaotic financial markets because of “his profound understanding of China’s financial system as well as the real economy," the Post quoted a source. Huang’s new role is yet to be announced, but he would be heading to the State Council to assist Premier Li Keqiang and play a bigger role in economic and financial policymaking. A Bloomberg report from last October said that Huang Qifan had been a rising star, a top performer, who helped found the Pudong financial district in Shanghai and made Chongqing the economic center of the upper Yangtze River zone and beachhead of China’s development of the western provinces. Huang also worked "like a duck to water" with Bo Xilai, the imprisoned former Party chief of Chongqing. --WA China Watch Digest 01/15/2016

Jan. 13: Starbucks’ Howard Shultz shares secret to China success, and shares stage with Jack Ma of Alibaba, in Chengdu

Hexun netHexun reported that Howard Shultz, founder of Starbucks, was in Chengdu on Jan. 12 for the 2016 Starbucks China Partner Family Forum, an event first started in 2012. With him was Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. The two started a “relationship” last month when Starbucks opened its e-flagship store on Alibaba’s TMall. The secret of Starbucks’ success in China, Shultz said, was the partnership with its 30,000 Chinese employees, its biggest wealth. To recognize the role family plays in the Chinese culture, the Partner Family Forum was created as an event for both the employee/partners as well as their families. To make Starbucks an even more successful Chinese company, Belinda Wong, president of Starbucks China, also announced at the event that, beginning this month, Starbucks would offer its full-time baristas and shift supervisors in China a monthly housing allowance, following a practice in China by government and business employers alike to offer dorms to their employees. --WA China Watch Digest 01/12/2016

Jan 5: Xi Jinping tours Chongqing, Seattle’s sister city, on first work day of the new year

People's DailyPeople’s Daily, and most of China’s news outlets, carried the story and pictures of Xi Jinping, as General Secretary of the Communist Party, touring Chongqing on Monday, Jan. 4, 2016. He was at the Port of Guoyuan, the shipping hub of the upper stream of Yangtze, where he said he saw great hope; he was also at BOE Technology Group Co., Ltd., which makes flexible, ultra-high-definition screens, where Xi was quoted, “We got to get innovation up.” As Tengxun news pointed out, Xi’s predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao also toured Chongqing. Xi’s own last trip to Chongqing was December 2012. Bill Bishop, author of Sinocism newsletter, asked this morning, “Will Bo Xilai be forced to watch the CCTV coverage from his cell in Qincheng?” Bo Xilai, as you remember, was the Party chief of Chongqing from 2007-2012 and is now serving life imprisonment for bribery, abuse of power and corruption. --WA China Watch Digest 01/05/2016

Jan. 3: Chengdu of Sichuan, Washington’s sister province, aims to become China’s new Silicon Valley

Financial Times Charles Clover of the Financial Times posted a story with this eye-catching headline, “Chengdu pushes to become China’s Silicon Valley.” A concrete skyscraper on the outskirts of Chengdu, Clover described, was the home to 110 internet start-ups. Known as the Tianfu Software Park Lab, it is the centerpiece effort by the Chengdu government to compete in high-tech innovation with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. According to Clover, the Lab offers Rmb100m ($15.4m) in total annual subsidies to early stage start-ups. Companies in the building enjoy free office space, free recruitment services for engineers, and support on everything, including government-subsidized cappuccino at $0.60 in the “Idea” coffee house on the ground floor. Success stories, as Clover mentioned, include Camera 360, a selfie-taking smartphone app that has a retouching function. --WA China Watch Digest 01/04/2016