Media Focus on Multinational Corporations [2022.09.05]





Shanghai Electric

Shanghai Electric Completes Phase B of 900-MW fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park

SHANGHAI, Sept. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Shanghai Electric announced that Phase B of the 900-MW fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park has entered operation. As part of the world's largest photovoltaic (PV) plant under construction, the project will aid Dubai's push to upgrade and transform its energy mix by providing 2.268 billion kWh of power supply per year upon completion, enough to serve up over 240,000 homes and capable of reducing 1.1 million tonnes of carbon emission annually.

'We are so proud to see the solar park hit another historical milestone after Phase A was connected to the grid in 2021. Now, work on Phase C is well underway and is expected to complete in 2023, ' said Meng Chuanmin, Project Manager of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park Phase V.

'The construction process of the fifth phase of MBR Solar Park is marked by a series of challenges, culminating in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic that severely disrupted global supply chains. The team overcame the difficulties and ensured the procurement and delivery of the raw materials for the project were timely implemented to avoid any delay to the overall progress,' Meng added.   

Shanghai Electric has also made great efforts to control the costs. Compared to the pre-pandemic period, container shipment has become widely unavailable, with transportation prices for cables having generally increased by a factor of ten. To ensure the project can be completed on schedule, the team decided to ship cables via bulk carriers, despite the new solution driving up the workload.

In addition, due to the natural movement and fluidity of sand dunes, the team later discovered that the construction site was elevated by hundreds of thousands of cubic meters compared to the previously surveyed value, translating to an addition of $3 million to the overall cost. After a thorough investigation and research, Shanghai Electric came up with a plan that helped the team solve the issue while guaranteeing no interruption was caused to the construction progress.

Acwa Power, owner, developer and operator of the fifth phase of the Mohammed bin Rashid Solar Park, appointed Shanghai Electric as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project in 2020. Starting in July 2020, the project consisted of Phrase A, B and C, with a total installed capacity of 1050 MW.



Alibaba sets up largest intelligent computing center

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, has launched the world's largest intelligent computing center in Zhangjiakou's Zhangbei county, Hebei province, which can offer up to 12 EFLOPS (12 quintillion floating-point operations per second) of AI computing power, surpassing US tech company Google's 9 EFLOPS and electric vehicle maker Tesla's 1.8 EFLOPS.

An EFLOPS rating is a direct mathematical measurement of a computer's performance, in terms of a processor's ability to calculate 1 quintillion floating-point operations per second. A 3 EFLOPS computer, for example, means that its processor can handle 3 quintillion floating-point calculations every second on average.

Alibaba said the Zhangbei intelligent computing center will provide intelligent computing services for artificial intelligence-powered large-scale model training, autonomous driving, spatial geography and other AI-related frontier applications. It has also unveiled another intelligent computing center in Ulaanqab, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, with computing power reaching 3 EFLOPS.

Computing power, or the ability to process data, is widely regarded as a vital foundation for bolstering the development of the digital economy and a new engine to unleash the potential of data as a factor of production.

Cai Yinghua, president of Alibaba Cloud Global Sales, said 58 percent of Chinese enterprises have leveraged AI technologies, which far surpasses the global average of 35 percent. Meanwhile, accelerated digital transformation and popularization of intelligent applications have sped up data generation, thus creating strong demand for enhanced computing power.

The two superintelligent computing centers are powered by Alibaba's Feitian intelligent computing platform, which can increase the utilization rate of computing power resources by more than three times and AI training efficiency by 11 times thanks to advanced technical architecture.

China's total computing power scale now ranks second in the world, said the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. By the end of 2021, superlarge and large data centers in use exceeded 450 nationwide, while intelligent computing centers surpassed 20, the ministry said.

The market scale of China's computing power industry exceeded 1.5 trillion yuan ($217.5 billion) last year, with cloud computing surpassing 300 billion yuan and internet data center services over 150 billion yuan, said the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank.

Charlie Dai, a principal analyst at consultancy Forrester, said the superintelligent computing centers built by Alibaba Cloud, which serve as crucial computing infrastructure, are of great significance in empowering AI-related innovation and applications spanning various segments and driving digital economy development.

'With the rapid development and commercial application of 5G, AI and the industrial internet, demand for data processing is increasing, which has driven construction of intelligent computing centers across the nation,' said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association.

Xiang said the establishment of intelligent computing centers will improve efficiency in the use of computing resources and accelerate enterprises' digitalization push.


Apple offers curriculum promoting environmental protection

Apple Inc is stepping up to raise awareness of leveraging technologies for environmental protection through a string of 'Today at Apple' lessons, which are designed to encourage more people to protect environment and biodiversity and speak up for the planet.

The curriculum has invited photographers and designers who are concerned about the environment and nature as guest tutors to share creative skills in using iPhones and iPads, help participants to understand environmental issues such as biodiversity and climate change from a creative perspective.

The lessons, which started from April and go until August, are jointly organized by Apple and Beijing Entrepreneur Environmental Protection Foundation, a Beijing-based non-governmental organization aiming to protect the environment.

Gao Huilun, who is in charge of new media communication in China for the Nature Conservancy, a global environmental organization, said this series of courses gave her a rare opportunity to learn with professional teachers from different institutions.

In order to popularize knowledge about ocean protection and draw more people's attention to ocean health issues, such as oyster reefs and coral reef degradation, Gao and her team produced a video to introduce the practice of protecting and restoring oyster reefs in China after participating in the curriculum. When filming the oyster reef, they used iPhones to capture some of the footage




ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Sept. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ --  LG Electronics (LG) is set to host a sophisticated party in Berlin to share the brilliance of its new MoodUP™ technology, unveiled today at IFA 2022. Held in partnership with NTS Radio – a global online radio station and media platform – the event will present inspiring, mood-driven experiences centered around LG's latest kitchen innovation. With its revolutionary, color-changing LED door panels, LG's latest refrigerator featuring MoodUP technology delivers unrivaled interior design flexibility and a new way to create a stylish, integrated kitchen.

Dubbed Notes + Tones, the party will enable guests to soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the many moods and bold colors of the new refrigerator. NTS Radio will be supplying the music, syncing the tone of each track with the changing colors and mood of the LED door panels, while LG serves up cocktails matching the different hues and artist-created themes of its game-changing refrigerator.

Taking cues from the creative potential of the new refrigerator with MoodUP technology, the Notes + Tones event will showcase three different themes: Roots, Island and Sky by mixing color, sound and flavor. 'Roots' will feature a mix of warm, natural tones, reggae and jazz, and flavors like whiskey and smoke while 'Sky' will include bright, bold hues, glossy electronica, and punches of rum, mango and absinthe. A dynamic installation of the refrigerator with MoodUP technology will cue shifts in mood throughout the evening. As the palette of the refrigerators shift, the colors and lighting in the space, the genres of music in the DJ sets and the flavors on the cocktail menu will shift with it.

Along with meeting the new refrigerator with MoodUP technology and enjoying delicious, hand-crafted drinks, guests at the event will get to spend an evening listening to great music, with themed sets programmed by NTS and featuring talented DJs Eva Geist, mobilegirl, Slim Soledad and Zakia. Notes + Tones kicks off at CAN on the evening of September 3.

Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to see how easy it is to change the refrigerator's color or theme using the LG ThinQ™ app. What's more, they'll even receive a specially-made cocktail matched to their favorite MoodUP look.



UBTECH announces global debut of intelligent healthcare robots and solutions

SHENZHEN, China, Sept. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- On August 31, UBTECH ROBOTICS CORP LTD hosted a forum on 'The Integration of the High Technology and the Elderly-care Service Industry ' together with the launching of 'The Global Strategy of Smart Elderly-care of UBTECH ROBOTICS CORP LTD'. Experts and professionals in the healthcare and elderly-care service industry came together to discuss the development and implementation of a technology-driven smart elderly-care system and shared the valuable experience and insights within the domain.

At the event, UBTECH announced its strategy of creating a smart elderly-care system with several sub-systems within specific elderly-care scenarios. They also launched several robotics products for the healthcare and elderly-care domain. In addition, UBTECH announced key strategic collaboration agreements with China Merchants Health Care, Medical Care Service Company Inc (MCS) in Japan (A joint venture company to be established this month), and China Academy of Transportation Sciences Group.

UBTECH combines intelligent robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, coordinated by the UBTECH Smart Elderly-care Cloud-based Platform, for the aged group. The whole system provides nursing services for senior citizens living at home or in community centers. The cloud platform-based solution focuses on six key scenarios: services management, daily care management, security and health monitoring, memory-loss prevention, emotional support and rehabilitation. The goal of the system is to create a comprehensive system with high reliability and security to provide the elderly a happy, healthy, and high-quality way of living.



Aramco Set To Take Stake In Renault's Future Thermal Engine Business

Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco could take a stake in French automaker Renault’s (OTCPK: RNSDF) future thermal engine business after it separates it from its electric vehicle division.

The report notes that Japanese carmaker Nissan (OTCPK: NSANY), does not plan to take a stake in the combustion engine business.

Renault is in the process of creating a new division that will bring together all of its petrol and hybrid engine and transmission production sites in Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Romania and Latin America. The company hopes that by sharing costs for diesel and gasoline engines, it will free up funds to reinvest in electric models, a technology it pioneered with Nissan and Mitsubishi, but has fallen behind the likes of Tesla Inc. .

Renault stock has been falling after H1 2022 worldwide sales dropped to 12% Y/Y to 1,000,199 units, with the E-Tech range (electric vehicles and hybrid powertrains) accounting for 36% of passenger car sales in Europe in the 1H2022 vs. 26% in 2021.

But it’s not just Renault that’s witnessing a contraction in its fossil fuel vehicle business. EU passenger car registrations plunged 15.4% Y/Y in the month of June to the lowest level on record in terms of volume since 1996. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), European Union passenger car registrations fell 15.4% to 886,510 units following an 11.2% contraction in May as supply chain issues continue to limit vehicle output. New car registrations in the EU shrank by 14% to 4.6M units in 1H22.For the month, Germany posted the strongest decline of -18.1%, followed by Italy -15%, France -14.2% and Spain -7.8%.

The EV outlook is much brighter, with electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and hybrids continuing to increase their market share, with a combined market share now of 42.5%.



Actis inks deal with Egypt for green hydrogen development

Global investor in sustainable infrastructure Actis has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Egyptian government for green hydrogen development.

The MoU will give Actis an entry point into what could be one of the largest hydrogen markets in the region. Egypt has a comparative advantage due to its renewable resources and proximity to European and Asian markets.

Currently, almost all of the world’s hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, with a significant amount of CO2 emitted as a byproduct of the process. Green hydrogen is far superior because it is generated by electrolysing water using renewable electricity and has zero emissions. The production cost of green hydrogen depends on two factors: the cost of renewable power and the cost of the electrolysis equipment. It is currently more expensive than fossil fuel-based hydrogen production.

However, with an expected decrease in the cost of both renewable electricity and electrolysing equipment, countries such as Egypt are seizing the opportunity to lead the way.

Lisa Pinsley, partner and head of Middle East and Africa for Energy at Actis, added: “We expect green hydrogen to be a key enabler of the global energy transition. For industry and certain hard-to-abate sectors it offers an excellent and sustainable solution for decarbonisation.”



ZIM inks $1 billion LNG bunkering deal with Shell

Israeli container shipping company ZIM has signed a ten-year marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales and purchase agreement with Shell, valued at more than $1 billion.

The LNG is intended for ten LNG-fueled vessels that will be deployed on ZIM’s flagship ZIM Container Service Pacific (ZCP), on the Asia to USEC trade.

These ten 15,000 TEU vessels are expected to enter into service during 2023-2024 and will be transporting goods from South Korea to US East Coast and the Caribbean. The vessels have been chartered from Seaspan Corporation. The charter agreement, announced in February last year is also valued in excess of one billion dollars.



Skechers exercises more markets across country

After putting a 1.35 billion yuan ($195.4 million) logistics center into operation in Taicang, Jiangsu province, in August, Skechers-a US-based athletic shoe and clothing company-will raise its store numbers from around 3,000 this year to up to 6,000 in 2026 across China, said its senior executive.

Unlike many global brands, which are satisfied with sales revenue generated from China's first and second-tier city markets and are not willing to enter and invest in the lower-tier markets due to different management models and customer preferences, Skechers will open stores from 50 square meters to 3,000 sq m in lower-tier markets based on their economic growth conditions, consumers' shopping habits and other characteristics, said Willie Tan, CEO of Skechers China, South Korea and Southeast Asia.

'Chinese consumers' demand for footwear and clothing products has been changing fast and become more diversified. For example, consumers' clothing styles in Shanghai can be so different compared with other cities. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for designing products in China,' he said.

In addition to deploying more resources in e-commerce sales channels, Tan said the company will continue to reinforce its wide-ranging product layout for all age groups as China has become a cradle for fostering numerous new consumption scenarios, products and services in the sports and health industries.

Prompted by new opportunities brought by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement-which came into force in January-and growing domestic sales, the company is currently building the second phase of its Taicang logistics base. The facility is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2024, with a total investment of 1.65 billion yuan.



Sinopec to green its hydrogen ecosystem

China Petrochemical Corp, also known as Sinopec, the world's largest refiner by volume, said it will further boost its green hydrogen manufacturing capacity and expand its hydrogen refueling network nationwide to build itself into China's largest hydrogen company, the company said on Friday.

The company plans to take advantage of its nationwide gas refueling network and actively build its hydrogen refueling network in China, and aims for a hydrogen refueling capacity of 120,000 metric tons per year by 2025, the company said in its mid-to-long-term hydrogen development plan released on Friday.

The company will also step up its refinery using green hydrogen, which is derived from renewable sources, to gain a lead in the high-quality development of the country's hydrogen sector, and promote the consumption of cleaner energy in the transportation and industrial sectors.

Sinopec will further boost the utilization scale of renewable energy in hydrogen production to gradually replace fossil fuel in the refinery sector, it said.



Tesla to expand its initiative of going green throughout China

As a three-year in a row participant to the China International Fair for Trade in Services, Tesla Inc shared its development experience in boosting efficiency and environmental protection during an exclusive interview with China Daily Website.

Users of Tesla China have covered more than 2.8 billion kilometers driving distances through Tesla charging networks in the first half of the year, that's about 70,000 times around the earth, according to Li Haolin, sales manager of Tesla Beijing. Resulting in cutting carbon dioxide by more than 650,000 tons, these travels are equivalent to planting more than 1.3 million hectares of forest.

In a bid to reduce the carbon emission of raw materials and parts in the transportation process and maximize its local industrial clusters, the localization rate of Tesla's auto parts has exceeded 95 percent, Li added.

The company has built over 1,200 supercharging sites and nearly 9,000 supercharging pillars in the Chinese mainland by August 2022, along with more than 700 destination charging sites and 1,800 destination charging pillars.

Beijing, the host of the 2022 CIFTIS, has seen over 100 supercharging sites built by Tesla within the city; the company is also aiming to make more breakthroughs in the city and the whole country to deeply engage in the development and upgrading of China's new energy industry, said Zhang Lina, senior manager of Tesla Supercharger Development and Operation.



Amazon records massive surge in Chinese merchants

The number of Chinese merchants that have registered on Amazon has grown by 40 times over the past four years, with more companies viewing brand value as the basis for long-term development when selling overseas, according to Amazon Global Selling.

Jin Jin, head of Seller Management, Global Selling China, said the company has helped Chinese sellers build self-owned brands on the global stage, and bolster the digital transformation of traditional foreign trade companies.

Jin said an increasing number of Chinese enterprises have attached greater importance to building their own brands when expanding their presence in overseas markets.

Chinese enterprises should further improve their capacities in the aspects of supply chain management, warehousing and logistics, as well as step up efforts in localized operations to satisfy the needs of local consumers, Jin said, adding that compliance is becoming increasingly important as Chinese enterprises have accelerated steps to expand their overseas footprint.

'We have found that 70 percent consumers tend to learn about the feature, quality and brand stories of products via video format,' said Verona Huang, head of Brand Marketing, Amazon Ads China, while calling for efforts to speed up localization push and produce advertisements that cater to the tastes of local consumers.

The import and export volume of China's cross-border e-commerce totaled 1.98 trillion yuan ($287.3 billion) in 2021, up 15 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs. E-commerce exports stood at 1.44 trillion yuan, an annual increase of 24.5 percent.



ABB to open $150m robotics factory in Shanghai

ABB Group, the Swiss technology company, is in the final stages of commissioning its new $150 million robotics factory in Shanghai, and the facility is expected to be operational within the next few months, said a senior executive.

It will be the most advanced, automated, and flexible factory in the robotics industry worldwide – a center where robots make robots, said Sami Atiya, president of ABB robotics and discrete automation.

'The new facility will also host an onsite research and development center, which will help accelerate innovations in artificial intelligence, and an open innovation hub where we will collaborate with customers to co-develop tailor-made automation solutions,' he said.

Under the ABB plan, the new factory will deliver high-end manufacturing solutions for Asia and part of the group's comprehensive value chain in China: from research to sales and services.

'Robotics can bridge labor and skills shortages, while giving companies a greater degree of flexibility. We have seen much of the current demand for automation coming from new sectors and companies that previously hadn't considered it,' said Atiya.

One example is the flexible automated pharmacy built by ABB for Shanghai Seventh People's Hospital. A robot can dispense medicines to patients 50 percent faster in a busy inpatient pharmacy, making the whole process traceable, while simplifying the inventory management and, ultimately, reducing the labor intensity of medical staff so that they can do more valuable work.

Eager to enhance its growth strength, China issued a guideline for the robotics industry for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) in December 2021. The country will strive to become a global hub for robotics innovation by 2025, putting together a group of leading enterprises with international competitiveness and forming several industrial clusters with an international influence.

'As we are at a tipping point in adapting virtual world simulation, design, and collaboration into real and practical advantages for businesses, we are constantly looking at the latest in virtual technology and artificial intelligence,' Atiya said, adding the group will continue to create solutions that combine robotics powered by artificial intelligence with management and programming software that is simple and easy to use.

China's new round of reform and opening-up will encourage global companies from the high-end manufacturing sector to further transform traditional industries with smart manufacturing in the country, said Wang Wen, executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of the Renmin University of China.

China's actual use of foreign capital surged 17.3 percent on a yearly basis to 798.33 billion yuan in the first seven months of 2022. The growth rates for high-tech manufacturing and high-tech services were 33 and 31.8 percent year-on-year during the seven-month period, statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed.



Royal DSM bites into plant-based proteins trend

Dutch company Royal DSM said it is optimistic about the plant-based protein market in China, vowing to take proactive measures to further explore the emerging market in the country.

With China's ever-climbing per capita disposable income to double in 15 years, its consumers are attaching more importance to balanced diets and quality proteins. DSM, whose nutritional products range from vitamins to dietary supplements, will seize the opportunity and continue to customize protein solutions for Chinese consumers, said Dino Asvaintra, president of hydrocolloids at DSM Food and Beverage.

Hydrocolloids are natural water-soluble polysaccharides used in foods to create texture.

The company restructured the food and beverage business group last year to better respond to the rising demand for plant-based consumables, eyeing 'good growth' in the categories of dairy, baking and beverages.

Asvaintra said the company has been working on creating plant-based solutions with both taste and texture to be more like animal meat to better serve the increasing demand in the country.

As Chinese consumers are attaching more importance to health and nutrition, the company will continuously explore different kinds of texture and taste possibilities in China with similar nutritional value combinations as those of animal meat, he said.

China has always been a big source of innovation for DSM in plant-based meat solutions, he said.

The country now contributes about 13 percent of DSM's global revenue. The percentage is expected to continue rising in the country, which is not only a key market and production base but also an innovation hub for many multinational corporations.

A recent survey conducted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade showed some 86 percent of the respondents are satisfied with China's policies on stabilizing foreign investment, and the majority of foreign companies in China still see the country as one of their main strategic markets, despite challenges to their businesses triggered by COVID-19 resurgences.

'China has strong economic resilience and great potential, and its sound long-term fundamentals will not change,' said Wang Chunying, deputy head of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.


Sino-Ocean Group

Sino-Ocean Group shows positive increase in H1

Sino-Ocean Group Holding Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed property developer, reported in its interim report a 14 percent year-on-year increase in its turnover in the first half year to 23.41 billion yuan ($3.4 billion).

According to the report, the developer reported a gross profit of approximately 4.311 billion yuan and contracted sales of around 43.01 billion yuan in the first half of this year, which improved its sales ranking by 23 places. It delivered 22,000 units of housing on schedule and entered the top 10 list in nearly 10 cities. The Beijing region was the biggest sales contributor for the company, accounting for 29 percent of the group's total sales.

With a focus on first- and second-tier core cities, the company added 420,000 square meters of the land reserve during the reporting period through the acquisition of a total of five new projects. Additionally, the Group has also signed contracts for around 21.3 million square meters of reconstruction projects, an increase of approximately 2.3 million square meters from the end of last year, mostly in important cities in the Greater Bay Area.

The group's financing cost stood at 5.07 percent in the first half of this year, despite a substantially tight financing environment for real estate. The company repaid more than 13 billion yuan in various interest-bearing debts, as well as 6.6 billion yuan in supply chain ABS, with all maturing liabilities being entirely repaid.

Even though it was affected by COVID-19, project rental income remained stable or slightly increased. As of the first half of this year, the company had 3,822,000 square meters of leasable area in operation and it had generated the full rental income of 2.64 billion yuan, an increase of 19 percent from the previous year.


Bank of China

Bank of China reaps benefits from improving key fields' credit support

The Bank of China ramped up credit support for key fields and weak links of the economy in the first half of this year, strengthening financial support for infrastructure construction, better serving the green transition and increasing financial supply to stabilize foreign trade, said senior executives of the bank.

As of the end of June, the large State-owned commercial lender's renminbi loans and advances to customers totaled 13.78 trillion yuan ($2 trillion), an increase of 1.02 trillion yuan or 8 percent compared with the prior year-end.

Specifically, technology finance loans grew by 17.21 percent, loans granted to strategic emerging industries rose 67 percent and manufacturing loans went up 15.64 percent from the end of last year. The balance of its domestic green credit reached 1.73 trillion yuan, according to the bank's 2022 interim report.

Its outstanding inclusive finance loans granted to micro and small enterprises reached nearly 1.11 trillion yuan, up more than 25 percent from the beginning of this year, said Liu Jin, president of the bank, at a news conference on Wednesday.

'The Bank of China will make greater efforts to realize a higher year-on-year growth of domestic RMB loans in the second half and for the full year,' said Lin Jingzhen, executive vice-president of the bank.

'We will ramp up financial support for major infrastructure projects in the areas of transportation, energy, water conservancy, new infrastructure and China's new-type urbanization, and allocate more credit resources to projects that are in line with the nation's policy orientation, including carbon emissions reduction, technology innovation, logistics and green development projects,' Lin said.



CCB confident of managing property sector's lending risks

The asset quality of China Construction Bank Corp in terms of loans to the real estate sector remained relatively stable, with the overall risk associated with lending to the sector being under control, said a senior executive of the large State-owned commercial lender on Wednesday.

The Chinese real estate sector faced stress in the first half of this year due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some areas and downward pressure on the economy. This led to an increase in the nonperforming loan ratio of the CCB's lending to the property sector over this period, said Cheng Yuanguo, chief risk officer at the bank.

As of the end of June, the balance of its loans to the real estate sector amounted to 762.79 billion yuan ($110.65 billion), and the NPL ratio was 2.98 percent, up 1.13 percentage points from the end of last year. The balance of its residential mortgages reached 6.48 trillion yuan, and the NPL ratio increased by 0.05 percentage points to 0.25 percent, according to the bank's 2022 interim results announcement.

In spite of the rise in housing-related NPL ratios, the overall risk of the CCB's lending to the real estate sector and homebuyers still remains controllable and the allowances for impairment losses on loans are sufficient, Cheng said.

'We kept optimizing the bank's credit structure, allocating more resources to the key fields and weak links of the economy while reducing the issuance of credit to the real estate sector. The bank also pressed ahead with a house rental strategy, allocating more credit resources to rental housing projects,' he said.

At the end of June, the balance of its loans for the house rental business was 180.62 billion yuan, up more than 35 percent from the end of last year.

In addition, the bank continuously optimized the structure of corporate clients in the real estate sector, the structure of regions where properties are located, and the structure of housing-related loan products, Cheng said.

'Recently, the government launched a series of measures, which we believe will have a positive impact on stabilizing the housing market and restoring market confidence,' he said.

The CCB will continue to stabilize the supply of credit to the real estate sector, better meet the rigid and upgraded demand for housing, and keep stepping up support for government-subsidized rental housing. It will also provide financial services for mergers and acquisitions of housing projects in a steady and orderly manner, monitor risks at real estate developers by giving full play to intelligent risk management instruments, and tighten supervision over the use of presold property proceeds, he said.



Maersk completes acquisition of HK-based LF Logistics

A.P. Moller-Maersk, a Danish shipping and logistics service provider, announced on Wednesday that it had completed the acquisition of LF Logistics, a Hong Kong-based contract logistics company with capabilities within omnichannel fulfillment services, e-commerce and inland transport in the Chinese mainland and the Asia-Pacific region.

With a total transaction value of $3.6 billion, Maersk will add 223 warehouses to its existing portfolio, bringing the total number of facilities to 549 globally, with a total floor area of 9.5 million square meters, said the company.

'Maersk in Asia has historically been primarily focused on ocean transportation out of Asia and related logistics services, transporting and managing goods manufactured in Asia for consumer markets in other parts of the world,' said Ditlev Blicher, regional managing director of Asia-Pacific at A.P. Moller-Maersk.

With the addition of LF Logistics, Maersk gains unique capabilities to serve the fast-growing consumer markets throughout Asia. Furthermore, LF Logistics' expertise in omnichannel fulfillment positions the company well in the global e-commerce market, he said.

Backed by more than 5,600 employees, LF Logistics currently operates 73 warehouses across the mainland.

Experts said that the completion of this deal will enhance Maersk's earning strength in non-shipping and port operation businesses in the Asia-Pacific region.