Jun 26
Rome-Chengdu direct flight inaugurated at Fiumicino airport
A new direct flight linking the Italian capital Rome with Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province, was inaugurated June 25 at Rome's Fiumicino Leonardo da Vinci Airport with an official ceremony.
The flight will be operated by an Airbus A330 three times a week on every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, taking off from Rome at 1:25 p.m. and landing in Chengdu the next day at 5:50 a.m., taking about 11 hours a trip.
The Rome-Chengdu direct route is the first of its kind between the two cities and marks Sichuan Airlines' very first entry into the Italian market as well as in the Mediterranean area, according to the Chinese airliner.
The opening of this new route "is another result of the signing of the MoU on the Belt and Road that the Italian government wanted also in terms of the increase of the flow of Chinese tourists to Italy," said Prof. Michele Geraci, Undersecretary to the Italian Ministry of Economic Development and head of Italian government's Task Force China, while attending the ceremony.
"The start of the flight is in keeping with the signing of the MoU in cooperation with the province of Sichuan, which I signed in Chengdu last September, precisely to strengthen relations with this important area of southwest China," he said.
Speaking in Mandarin, the Italian undersecretary also lauded the city of Chengdu, the first city where he worked in China, also said that it boasts an exquisite local cuisine.
According to Wang Lihang, general manager of Sichuan Airlines Italy office, Rome is the fourth destination served by Sichuan Airlines and is one of the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists.
"We are proud to celebrate the start of this important connection, which is the result of concentrated efforts of the Company as part of its internationalization strategy," said Wang Lihang.
"Rome and Chengdu are very popular touristic destinations for both Italians and Chinese. The new link brings the Chinese destination connected to Rome Fiumicino airport to a total of 12, reaffirming Rome as China's main gateway to Europe," said Fausto Palombelli, Chief Commercial Officer of Aeroporti di Roma (ADR), the company that runs the airport.
"Covering Chengdu allows us to cover Sichuan province. On the one hand, we expect a big number of business trips due to the presence of Italian industries in the area and its proximity to Chongqing, another important business destination. On the other hand, we also expect a big number of tourism trips given the beautiful natural landscapes of the province, which can really surprise Italian visitors," explained Palombelli in a recent interview with Xinhua.
The move is part of Fiumicino Airport's broader China-oriented policy, which features Chinese-language signs and information; Mandarin-skilled personal shoppers, the launch of an official account on China's popular digital platform WeChat and the availability of payment methods popular in China, such as WeChat Pay, UnionPay, and Alipay, highlighted Palombelli.
Geraci said that the use of new technologies is very important to increase tourists spending, especially electronic payment methods, encouraging every Italian enterprise to use them in order to be competitive also on the Chinese tourism market.
Italy is among Chinese tourists' top destinations, expecting 1 million more Chinese tourists in 2019 compared to the previous year, while Rome alone attracts more than 30 million tourists every year, around 1 out of 20 being Chinese, according to data from the city's tourism office.
(source: Xinhuanet, June 26, 2019)
Apr 16
6 Chinese cities among world's top 30 in tech
Six Chinese cities made it into the list of the top 30 tech cities worldwide compiled by international real estate adviser Savills, and they account for a higher share of venture capital investment than their US counterparts. The list — led by New York, San Francisco and London — ranked the Chinese cities of Shanghai in 15th place, Beijing in 17th, Hong Kong in 20th, Shenzhen in 24th, Hangzhou in 25th, and Chengdu in 26th.
As important centers of technology within their regions, the cities on the list are assessed by 100 metrics, ranging from the number of days needed to start a business to the cost of a flat white coffee. The metrics are grouped into six categories, namely business environment, technology environment, city buzz and wellness, talent pool, real estate costs and mobility.
Chengdu top tech cities worldwide
Chinese cities have emerged as leaders in shared mobility services, although the overall mobility ranking puts London first on the list. Shanghai leads Chinese cities as a more global technology city, thanks to an international business environment and better of quality of life for residents. Chengdu's technology economy has soared on outsourcing, with its government being pro-business and technology investments rising.
Tapping into a vast, internet-enabled domestic market, Chinese technology giants have moved up fast and, thanks to integrated payment systems, revolutionized the way business is conducted in the country, says the report, which notes that China is also a global leader in artificial intelligence technology. Already established as a center of technology manufacturing, China sees its homegrown hardware firms making global moves.
Mar 20
Spotlight: Chengdu, Austin -- cities of China, U.S. bonding over pursuit of innovation
Aside from the fact that they are both located in the southwest of their respective countries and have nurtured people fond of spicy food, the two cities, perhaps surprising to many, share a zeal for innovation.
Chengdu and Austin are now seriously considering teaming up to tap opportunities that are already there or wait to be created while working toward the establishment of a formal relationship.
"The cities of Austin and Chengdu have so much in common," Steve Adler, mayor of Austin, U.S. state of Texas, said at an event promoting Chengdu.
"Chengdu is a very fast growing city in China, and Austin of Texas is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States. Chengdu is a city full of innovation and high technology, a city that is really growing, as is Austin," Adler said.
Austin is home to 46 incubators and has attracted a great many tech companies, including Apple, Samsung, IBM and Amazon, said David Colligan, manager of Global Business Expansion at the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Chengdu, at the same time, is striving to build itself into a "city of innovation," with a goal of increasing the added value of cultural and creative industries to 180 billion yuan (26.8 billion U.S. dollars), or about 10 percent of the city's GDP, according to Zhang Yingming, deputy director of the Publicity Department of the Chengdu Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Hailing Austin and Chengdu as "forward-looking cities," and "cities that are technology and innovation centers," Adler saw ample possibilities for an upgrade of their relations.
"Conversations and meetings like this will lead to science city, friendship city kinds of relationship. That is in our future. I think there are going to be lots of different kinds of relationships," he said.
By strengthening the ties between the two innovation-driven cities, a win-win scenario will be created, Chinese Consul General in Houston Li Qiangmin said at the promotion event.
The event was held on the sidelines of the 10-day South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals, a platform that gathers innovators and entrepreneurs from across the globe to breed and fund novel ideas.
A Chinese delegation of more than 100 people, twice the size of that last year, showed up at SXSW 2019 that opened on March 8, comprising those from Chengdu and companies like China's e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
We came to "inspire others and get inspired by others," said Shanying Leung, design director of Alibaba's online payment platform Alipay.
"The delegations from China are a very significant part of what makes SXSW very special, and the delegation from Chengdu is the largest ever we've received from a Chinese city," the Austin mayor said.
"Chinese delegations are now creating quite a storm, quite an excitement just because of the size of the delegations," he added.
(source: Xinhuanet, March 10, 2019)
Mar 19
Cameron likes Chengdu hotpots
British Prime Minister David Cameron enjoys eating hotpot filled with meatballs and vegetables, Sichuan media Newssc.org reported. Cameron arrived in Chengdu, capital city of Sichuan province on Wednesday, and visited a hotpot restaurant.
The waitress who served Cameron's table said Cameron only ate the food cooked in the spicy hotpot, and he liked meatballs served with coriander.
Feb 02
City ready to host foreign tourists after overseas showcase
Chengdu, the capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, is among the country's top destinations during Spring Festival, which will be celebrated from Feb 4-19. Local attractions include pandas, delicious cuisine, beautiful scenery and a variety of cultural traditions.
A promotional event in Athens, capital of Greece, on Jan 22, marked the beginning of Chengdu's overseas marketing campaign.
With the support of the Chinese embassy in Greece, this was the first time that Chengdu hosted a city-marketing event in a Greek city.
the pictures from the official WeChat account "国际蓉" of the Chengdu Municipal Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
More than 100 representatives from the Greek government as well as local businesses and media attended.
Xu Yabin, deputy general manager of Chengdu Culture and Tourism Group, the corporate organizer for the event, introduced Chengdu's tourism resources to guests through pictures, videos and product displays.
Chengdu's food, intangible cultural heritage and landscapes were the highlights exhibited at the venue.
Visitors were treated to Sichuan Opera, paper-cutting, sugar painting, bamboo craft and a tea ceremony.
A Greek lawyer named Daphne was one of the visitors. She said she had been working for a law firm in Shanghai for several years.
"I had served a number of clients from Chengdu when I was in the law firm," said Daphne, adding that she hopes her firm will open operations in Chengdu.
A representative from a local meat products company, whose surname is Athanasiu, said he is considering a research trip to Chengdu.
Miu Bin, from Chengdu, who is studying drama at a university in Athens, said he plans to introduce Greek dramas to Chengdu after graduation, to contribute to the cultural exchange between the two ancient cities.
In the evening that day, the Chinese embassy in Athens held a reception to treat guests to genuine Chengdu dishes.
During the event, the governments of Chengdu and Athens signed an agreement of friendly partnership.
Chengdu will hold more Spring Festival-themed activities in Greece, with the aim to improve awareness of Chengdu's food, culture and tourist attractions among local residents.
Days after the Greek event, Chengdu kicked off a promotional campaign in Germany.
The event, called "Happy Spring Festival and Happy Trip of Chengdu", was opened at the Chinese Culture Center in Berlin on Jan 25 with shows of Chengdu dishes, handicrafts and Sichuan Opera.
the pictures from the official WeChat account "国际蓉" of the Chengdu Municipal Foreign and Overseas Chinese Affairs Office
A photographic exhibition featuring Chengdu's landscapes, people and arts is an important part of the event, which will last to Feb 28.
A show of Chengdu's food was also held at Potsdamer Platz, in central Berlin. The show was a carnival for the locals as they experienced the joyful atmosphere of Chinese New Year by tasting Chengdu food and watching cultural and arts shows.
A German tourism magazine publisher, whose surname is Hertus, said he is familiar with the term of Chinese New Year.
"I knew Spring Festival is a big day for the Chinese people," he said, "but it is from the shows of Chengdu's paper-cutting, sugar painting and Sichuan Opera arts, I got to understand the cultural connotations of the festival."
A young German man named Patrick said the shows of Chinese paper-cutting and sugar painting were almost "legendary" for him. At the event, he had a video chat with his mother, whom he said is an enthusiast of Chinese culture, and showed her the performances at Potsdamer Platz.
During the chat, Patrick and his mother said they hope to have a trip to Chengdu during next year's Spring Festival.
Chengdu's officials, who were in charge of the campaigns in Greece and Germany, said the events are meant to attract investors, as well.
"The events are ideal platforms to tell the stories of Chengdu and improve its recognition in the world," said an official from the Chengdu city government.
Jan 23
American community director assistant helps foreigners settle in Chengdu
Public-spirited O'Connell was named a community director assistant of Tongzilin Community about three months after he settled in the community, where he now lives alongside 4,300 foreigners from over 30 countries and regions including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.
As a community director assistant, O'Connell's primary role is to help foreigners solve problems they come up against in everyday life, like how to take a bus or use apps such as WeChat and Alipay. Furthermore, O'Connell also explains Chinese law to foreigners in the community, to help them adapt to life in China as quickly as possible.
People can call him anytime, whether they need to find a new apartment, find a school for their children, or figure out legal issues, said O'Connell.
Keen on causes for the public good, O'Connell voluntarily donates blood every month, picks up litter, and actively takes part in various public benefit activities in his spare time. He explained that as this city has given him so much, he wants to repay it in his own way.
"We often see him taking part in public benefit activities," said Zhang Jiarong, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Tongzilin Community Committee, noting that warm-hearted O'Connell has deeply impressed people in the community, and that his interest in volunteering was an important factor in naming him a community director assistant.
Since O'Connell currently doesn't know Chinese, he asks his Chinese friends to translate for him. Now, he says that he is trying hard to learn the language, and hopes to master it as soon as possible.
According to Chengdu Economic Daily, O'Connell and his wife came to Chengdu in August 2016, at which point Chengdu was meant to be their first stop on a tour of the whole country. However, the couple fell in love with the city, and quickly decided to settle in Tongzilin Community.
O'Connell found a part-time job not long after they settled in Chengdu, teaching English at an international school, while his wife became a physics teacher in another international school.
"Chengdu is as modern as New York, and it is a pleasant city to live in just like where I'm from in California. More importantly, the people here are very friendly and generous," said O'Connell, adding that instead of seeing the city as tourists, they wanted to enjoy real Chengdu life.
(source: en.people.cn, January 11, 2019)
Dec 22
Transport network transforms Chengdu
Air routes and an advanced international railway network have transformed Chengdu ― in landlocked Sichuan province ― in major ways since China's reform and opening-up policies were introduced in the late 1970s.
Now the city can align growth closely with the outside world thanks to the extensive transportation network.
Every student of Chinese literature knows the famous line from Li Bai, a great poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907): "Traveling in Sichuan is as difficult as mounting to the sky." That line would remind many Chinese people of Sichuan's deplorable inaccessibility.
"Forty years ago, Sichuan didn't have a single international air route. There was only a daily flight from Chengdu to Beijing. It took a day and two nights to get there on the fastest train at that time," said Shen Zaiwang, a senior official with Sichuan People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.
With the opening of the Xi'an-Chengdu Bullet Train a year ago, the trip takes only 10 hours.
Known for its silk products in ancient times, Chengdu was a major source of cargo on the Silk Road, starting from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, some 700 kilometers away.
Now, Chengdu not only has bullet trains linking to parts of China but also boasts trains linking to Europe.
Last month, a freight train starting in Bremerhaven, Germany, arrived at the Chengdu International Railway Port in the first test of the China-EU Express Railway (Chengdu). It increased the number of overseas departure terminals to 22.
The express railway, a direct line for freight that was launched in 2013 to connect Chengdu to Europe, has eliminated the geographic disadvantages of Chengdu as a landlocked city and transformed the city into an important logistics hub and economic exchange center between Europe and western China.
Chengdu has sent 2,597 freight trains to Europe in the past five years, 25 percent of China's total.
"With the increasing global influence of the China-EU Express Railway (Chengdu), a growing number of multinational companies are establishing a presence here," said Zhang Tianyi, deputy director of the management committee of the city's railway port.
Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel and Moldova have located their national commodity pavilions at the port.
A similar story has played out in the air. As the largest aviation hub in central and western China, Chengdu currently has 112 international air routes that enable it to expand cooperation and exchanges with the outside, while boosting domestic investment.
It is home to 285 Fortune Global 500 companies and 17 foreign consulates, the largest numbers among cities in central and western China.
Since its debut in Chengdu ― as part of the China (Sichuan) Pilot Free Trade Zone in early 2017 ― the southwest operation center of dhgate.com said it has seen a 300 percent increase in business volume and a drop of around 30 percent in its logistics cost in the past 18 months.
The company helps small and medium-sized enterprises in Sichuan sell their commodities in some 130 countries and regions.
Its general manager, Zhu Rong, said the growth is largely due to the facility's proximity to Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu.
Du Jinyou, head of Chengdu's logistics office, said the city will accelerate the pace of setting up seven international railway channels, along with five channels that combine sea and rail transportation, in a bid to become the hub of the new Eurasian land bridge linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Chengdu's global air network will include business routes covering 48 core aviation hubs and economic centers; cargo-only routes directly linking with 14 key logistics cities, including Frankfurt, Chicago and Amsterdam; and another 30 high-quality routes serving the demand for tourism and culture, he said.
(source: www.chinadaily.com.cn, December 21, 2018)
Dec 05
Chengdu establishes China’s first 5G demonstration zone
5G communication technology
5G communication technology is superior to the current 4G technology in three ways - it has an ultra-low latency of one millisecond, the internet speed supported by 5G is a hundred times faster than that of 4G, and it can enable up to 1 million connections per square kilometer.
Besides Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu, 5G has been put into practice in multiple areas of the city, including a software park, a China Mobile office, and the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, while 5G technology will be put into commercial use around the world in 2020.
The new 5G demonstration zone is a test area for 5G communication technology. According to an employee of the Chengdu branch of China Mobile, with 5G technology, people can download a blueray-quality movie within a minute, which usually takes half an hour or longer with 4G.
Also, in the experimental area, people can witness dinosaurs strolling down the street after putting on a helmet with Mixed Reality (MR) technology, and see the adorable giant pandas in real time with the help of 5G and the 360-degree virtual reality (VR) cameras located several kilometers away.
(source: en.people.cn, December 04, 2018)
Dec 03
Chengdu's all-day snacks
Sichuan cuisine is known for its mala quality, a numbing spiciness that comes from the prolific use of its famous peppercorns. But Sichuan food is not just about heat. It includes a much broader spectrum of flavors, and this is best showcased by its vast variety of street snacks.
In Chengdu alone, you can be eating street food from morning till midnight, and you'd have just skimmed the surface of the available choices.
Chengdu's all-day snacks
chengdu cuisinedumpling
Chengdu loves a good skewer of meat or vegetables, which they call chuanchuan (above); Zhongshuijiao (above right) are dumplings served in hot oil. Photos Provided to China Daily
Let's take a trip, which begins with a leisurely cup of tea in the park, where pavilions and booths selling hot tea are a common sight. A lidded bowl of tea here is a morning ritual, and you sip it slowly, catching up on the day's news with a newspaper, or settling down as a friendly old man cleans your ears for a small fee.
He uses a bamboo sliver with a scooped edge, so tiny it looks like a caviar spoon. He would methodically clean your ears, and then brush it clean with another bamboo stick, this time tipped with a tiny clump of downy feathers.
Hot tea and ear-cleaning services - an odd but irresistible combination.
Now that you can hear perfectly, it's time to sally forth in search of breakfast.
Start with a bowl of soft, savory bean curd. The tender, custardlike curds are topped with pickled vegetables for a bit of crunch and then drizzled with hot oil.
Those with a sweet tooth can choose to eat their curds sweet, with a ladleful of brown sugar syrup. The curds are beloved in Sichuan, where they call it bean curd flower.
Or breakfast can be a bowl of noodles, if you can decide which variety you prefer.
chengdu snack
There are the famous dan-dan noodles with savory meat sauce, little bowl noodles with tailor-made condiments that include sesame paste, soy, chili oil, herbs and Sichuan peppercorns, or the "sweet-water" noodles that are served with a sugary but spicy hot bean paste.
Chengdu folks have a fondness for innards, and a popular choice any time of the day is noodles served with chunks of large intestines doused with chili oil to help mask the gaminess.
Dumplings are also popular in Chengdu, and there are two or three very famous choices.
Hongyou chaoshou are large wanton dumplings served in a vinegary sauce spiced up with chili and Sichuan peppercorns. Named after the bright red sauce, these soft-skinned dumplings are fiery favorites.
chengdu snack
Zhongshuijiao are also dumplings served in hot oil, but they're shaped differently.
Apart from noodles and dumplings, Chengdu loves a good skewer of meat or vegetables. They call these chuan-chuan.
Bamboo sticks are used to string up all sorts of ingredients and cooked in a spicy broth. These are then piled into a large basin and placed on the table. Diners pick out their favorites and then pay for what they eat.
There is also something called maocai, which is a selection of food such as fish, prawns, pork, beef, chicken or mutton cut up in slices or pieces. You choose your meat and add vegetables or tofu. The platter is then handed over to the cook, who then cooks up everything the way you want it, with the seasoning you prefer.
This stir-fry special is a city favorite for lunch, dinner or late night supper. At the same stall, you can often find another interesting off-cut - deep-fried nuggets of brain.
chengdu snack
The brain has to be carefully cleansed of any blood vessels. It is blanched to firm it up and then coated in a crispy seasoned batter before being cooked in hot oil. For those who dare, the result is a crisp crunch at first bite, followed by the custardlike texture of the brains.
Those with a taste for the even more exotic can try another Chengdu specialty, spicy rabbit heads.
chengdu snack
These skeletal tidbits are a favorite street-side snack, although it is a bit disconcerting to see pretty Sichuan lasses munching happily on a rabbit skull spotted with chili flakes.
Compared with this, the next Chengdu dish is positively tame. Granny's pig trotters are pig's feet cooked till they are fall-apart tender. They come in a thick soup, but you eat them dipped into spicy chili oil - what else?
Sometimes, the name intrigues more than the dish. "Lung slices by husband and wife" is one. It is a delicious stir-fry using beef, tongue, heart, tripe and intestines and the only organ it does not include is lung.
Still, misnomer or not, it remains one of the most popular dishes on the streets.
After the skewers and meats, Chengdu foodies love their desserts.
Glutinous rice balls are cooked in boiling syrup till they turn golden brown. They are then drained and cooled until a brittle sugar crust forms. Hongtang guozi, or brown sugar rice balls, are then sold skewered onto bamboo sticks.
They must be eaten hot, so the sugar crust crackles in the mouth, exposing the soft, hot glutinous centers.
Another dessert that Chengdu children of all ages love is something called three cannonballs, also made of glutinous rice flour.
Cooked rice flour balls are bounced onto a dough board where cymbals are placed. The balls hit the cymbals before ricocheting into a basin full of toasted soy bean flour.
Customers buy these snacks more for the acrobatic skills of the vendor than the actual dumpling, but that's where the fun lies.
chengdu snack
The candy artist also sells his skills and delights in exhibiting them. Using a special funnel, he draws with heated caramel and artfully turns out flowers, butterflies or even dragons as his customers watch.
As the caramel hardens, the candy becomes edible art.
And finally, there are the jellies.
Wobbly cakes made from bean pastes and starches are eaten with sweet or spicy sauces. Collectively known as liangfen or cool cakes, the plain white cakes are made of potato starch, and the yellow cakes from mung beans.
There is also a transparent jelly made from fig sap known as bing liangfen or iced jelly. These are served cold with brown sugar syrup.
These are just some of Chengdu's street snacks. To fully savor the whole range, you'd have to get an airplane ticket and plan for a very long, very delicious holiday.
(source: www.chinadaily.com.cn, November 30, 2018)
Nov 29
Experts surveyed on most attractive cities
The 2018 survey for the most attractive Chinese cities for expats officially kicked off.
The annual survey, organized by International Talent Magazine and China Society for Research on International Professional Personnel Exchange and Development, has served as an important window for expatriates to learn about China. It is the only national survey participated in exclusively by foreign experts working and living in China, including Nobel Prize laureates and Chinese Friendship Award recipients. The annual survey began in 2010 and is now in its eighth year.
As of last year, Shanghai has topped the list five times in a row, having scored highest both in working and living environments. For the list of most attractive cities in western China, Chengdu has led the race two years in a row.
Chengdu most attactive citiesChengdu most attactive cities
Economic reasons continue to dominate the list of reasons why expats choose to work in China. Employment opportunities were voted as the reason to come to China by 57.2 percent of voters. More than half of respondents, 55.3 percent, took urban environment and pollution into consideration when choosing a city to work in China.
Climbing up the career ladder and enhancing working environments was a core need for expats. 39.1 percent of voters hoped to work in China in the long term. 71.6 percent were satisfied with their pay, and 36.1 percent expressed a willingness to stay in China for the long run.
This year's survey, the ninth of its kind, is more engaging and targeted. Top ten nominees were selected by Nobel Prize laureates and Chinese Friendship Award recipients, as well as renowned expats living and working in China. Four indexes will be looked at, namely policy, governmental environment, working and living conditions. Furthermore, Chinese cities with the most potential will also be selected.
The survey will also work closely with "city openness and talent recruitment" to showcase the effort China has made to attract foreign talent, as well as the preferences expats have when working or starting business in China, so as to put more emphasis on building an environment to attract more high-level expats to come to China.
This year's survey results will be released in April 2019.
(source: www.chinadaily.com.cn, October 30, 2018)