News from the Chinese tourist industry

News from the Chinese tourist industry

News from the Chinese tourist industry

China's lucrative and booming tourist industry continues to be one of the most important players in the country's economy. Since economic liberalization was kick-started by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, the investment and export-led aspects of the economy have grown by almost 100%. As well as representatives from the business world, China has also become a magnet for leisure visitors. In 2010 there were around 55.7 million visitors to China, making it the world's third most-visited destination for tourists.

As well as enticing foreign visitors, China enjoys a vast domestic tourist market. In October 2012 it was gauged that an estimated 740 million Chinese chose to holiday within the borders of their own country.

Amongst the many events which have attracted tourists, both domestic and international, was October's ‘Golden Week' holiday. During this period China's 119 major scenic hotspots received a total of 34.25 million visitors in eight days – accounting for a rise of over a fifth in numbers compared to the corresponding tally from 2011. These visitor totals also boosted the revenues coming into the country to the tune of 1.77 billion Chinese Yuan, according to National Tourism Administration.

There were many draws which were popular, including the Confucius Temple in Nanjing, capital city of the Jiangsu province in the east of the country. Other traditionally well-visited locations, such as the Forbidden City, proved to be as potent as ever in attracting curious holidaymakers. Indeed, this ancient treasure trove of architectural delights received record visitor numbers – in the Tuesday of the Golden Week, 186,000 people dropped by. This figure represents the largest single-day number of visitors ever received by the iconic Chinese location.

The government policy of exempting passenger cards from road tolls during Golden Week saw huge numbers of individual road travellers, leading to some congestion around the restaurants and scenic spots. However, according to the Ministry of Transport, although a record 80.8 million road travellers thronged China's highways during Golden Week, this was eased by the fact that rail travel saw an increase of over 9%, with passenger figures rising to 61 million.

During this time, all of China's 119 centrally monitored scenic hotspots reported double-digit growth in tourists coming through their doors and revenue generated.

Related info on China National Tourist Offices

NetEase - a Chinese internet sensation

NetEase - a Chinese internet sensation

NetEase - a Chinese internet sensation

While the success of companies at the forefront of the so-called ‘dot com' revolution have peaked and waned over the years, there are many continual success stories. Amongst these is NetEase, the Chinese internet company that operates the popular portal 163.com.

Since it was founded in 1997, NetEase has gone from strength to strength, partially down to its heavy investment in search engine technology, as well as other hugely popular ventures like multi-player gaming and ‘Fantasy Westward Journey'. The latter is a classic example of what is known as a ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing game'; indeed, with registered users reaching 25 million in August 2005, it is China's most popular online game. Together with the equally popular ‘Westward Journey II', these games are both inspired by ‘Journey to the West' (regarded as one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature, written during the Ming Dynasty of the 16th century, and translated into English-speaking countries as ‘Monkey').

The instigator and chief architect of NetEase was internet entrepreneur William Ding (Ding Lei). An innovator in the field of technology, Ding received the prestigious Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award for his skills and dedication, resulting in him becoming one of the wealthiest individuals in China.

As of May 2012, NetEase had gained a market value of $8.7 billion (US dollars), employing a workforce of some 6,000. The 163.com domain that is hosted by NetEase (simplistically put, the Chinese version of a giant search engine facility like Google) attracted upwards of 1.8 million annual visitors in 2008, according to a survey by web traffic analysts Compete.com. Two years later it had risen to the 28th most visited website in the globe, as determined by the Alexa internet rankings. These statistics meant that the NetEase site was drawing a larger scale of internet traffic than massively popular websites such as Apple, LinkedIn, Flickr, the BBC site, AOL, CNN and Adobe, amongst many other traditionally visitor-heavy sites.

The latest innovations being offered by China's most influential website include a mobile device app known as ‘Fan Fan', dedicated to recommending the best places to eat.

Hong Kong - thriving alongside China

Hong Kong - thriving alongside China

Hong Kong - thriving alongside China

On 1 July 1997 British colonial rule in Hong Kong came to an end, as political control of the province was handed over to the People's Republic of China. Its first Chief Executive under this new status was Tung Chee Hwa, and he initially presided over some turbulent times. Although Hong Kong suffered during the Asian financial crisis, as well as the outbreak of the so-called ‘bird flu', it has remained an economically robust hub. In 2009 it hosted the fifth East Asian Games, the largest multi-sport event held in the territory.

The fact is, with the growth of the Chinese economy, Hong Kong is continuing to face interesting and challenging times. It has always been renowned for its position as a truly global business city, and its commercial environment is currently thriving. The burgeoning growth of the economy of its larger neighbour on the other side of the Shenzhen River bodes well for Hong Kong. The territory consistently plays an active brokering role for global entrepreneurs wishing to access the mainland Chinese economy.

At a conservative estimate, almost two-thirds of the worldwide middle class will soon be Asian. What this means for China, and Hong Kong in particular, is that entrepreneurs from all over the globe will be taking an intense interest in economic matters in the vicinity. Hong Kong itself will feature heavily in this. Aside from its bustling business community, the very location of the territory, right in the heart of Asia, makes it a very attractive destination. The city is within four hours flight from all of Asia's most important regional markets.

Its strategic location to mainland China means that it will continue to play a crucial role in providing access to the Chinese markets. The territory has taken active steps to promote itself as the gateway to China money. Developments such as the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation Circle are encouraging Chinese businesses to undertake research in the former UK colony. Being a mere one hour's drive from the Pearl River Delta, the largest manufacturing region on the planet, has given Hong Kong's own entrepreneurs access to a potential consumer market numbering some 450 million.

Hong Kong has forged tighter ties with the mainland through the Closer Economic Parnership Agreement, and this will undoubtedly boost Hong Kong's economic development immensely, allowing it to take full advantage of its proximity to China: Asia's fastest rising economy.

Top 5 Greatest Chinese inventions

Top 5 Greatest Chinese inventions

Top 5 Greatest Chinese inventions

As China continues to lead the world in many key areas of science and economics, it is worth considering that the present-day entrepreneurs and innovators shaping the nation's destiny are actually following in illustrious footsteps. China has a rich heritage of inventors, dynamic individuals whose intellectual abilities not only made life better for their fellow citizens; in many cases they completely transformed the world.

China's booming 21st century economy owes much to the pioneers who have strived for greatness over the centuries. Although it is impossible for any list to be anything other than subjective, here is a suggested top 5 for those historic achievements.

1. Gunpowder While Medieval Europeans were settling their differences on the battlefield by bashing each other with sharp pieces of metal in the 12th century, the Chinese had already invented gunpowder. By extrapolation, harnessing the power of these explosives led to cannons, and then guns, mines and rockets. Possessing these potentially destructive weapons gave successive Chinese Imperial dynasties supreme power in the Far East. Firearms and fireworks became popular trade items along the so-called Silk Route across Central Asia to Europe.

2. Music It was the Ling-lun, musician to the Chinese court, who fashioned the world's first recorded reed instrument. Carved from a bamboo pipe, he was creating his unique melodies for Chinese royalty sometime between 3000 and 2500 B.C. From these relatively simplistic origins, Chinese music grew ever more complex, eventually employing a five note scale.

3. Pasta While this has been associated with Italy for many years, this foodstuff owed its origins to the Chinese. Pasta is simply a variation on the much older Chinese noodle, something that has formed a staple part of the diet in this part of the world for over 4,000 years. It was only when early European traders arrived in China that they discovered this highly versatile foodstuff and decided to borrow the recipe!

4. Science Chinese scientific advancements have been leading the way for the rest of the world for thousands of years. The decimal system was introduced in China in the 4th century, almost 600 years before the Europeans cottoned on to its revolutionary simplicity. In the 2nd century there is evidence that Chinese scholars were aware of the notion of blood circulation, even although the history books falsely credit its ‘discovery' with English physician William Harvey in 1628. In 1080 Chinese science was advancing theories about climate change based on the study of plant fossils. They also went on to explain the causes of solar and lunar eclipses.

5. Printing and Publishing Ts'ai Lun perfected the process for manufacturing paper in 105 A.D. This was far superior to the baked clay or papyrus used elsewhere in the world at that time. Four centuries later China produced the world's first printing press, while the first newspaper was published in Beijing in 700 A.D.

Without these innovations, civilization could not have advanced on any level – educational, political or literary – to the extent that it has to this day.