Entries in China (57)


Apple Accused of Evading Concerns over Pollution in China

Photo Courtesy - Apple(BEIJING) – Apple has been accused of avoiding inquiries into pollution and occupational health hazards in China, reports the Financial Times.

A Chinese environmental group has ranked Apple last on a list of 29 multinational technology companies based on how they addressed concerns over such hazards at their factories, calling the company’s unresponsiveness evasive.

The report comes after a year-long effort by the group to change environmental and safety practices at the companies.

Also on the lower end of the list are technology giants Nokia, LG, SingTel, Sony and Ericsson.

None, however, were hit harder than Apple, who the group claims did not respond to questions regarding a poisoning incident at a facility that produces touchscreen modules for Apple.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US Company Pulls Jobs from China

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) – A Milwaukee-based company has announced they will bring some three dozen jobs back to the United States from China, where labor unrest has driven wages higher.

Master Lock said the move will bring the total number of workers at their U.S. factory to 379, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The company also cited the increased cost of shipping and a weakened U.S. dollar.
Still, the company’s U.S. workforce is far below what it used to be. Before outsourcing to China and Mexico, 1,300 employees were employed at the Milwaukee facility in the 1990s. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Geithner: China's Currency 'Substantially Undervalued'

Photo Courtesy - Darren McCollester/Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner called China’s currency “substantially undervalued” and stressed the need for China to revamp its economic system, from the exchange rate to its stance on intellectual property, in a speech at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

“This is not a tenable policy for China or for the world economy,” Geithner said.  “We believe it is in China’s interest to allow the currency to appreciate more rapidly in response to market forces.  And we believe China will do so because the alternative will be too costly --for China and for China’s relations with the rest of the world.”

Speaking at his alma mater, Geithner’s remarks offered a preview of the administration’s position on U.S./China economic relations leading into President Hu Jintao’s visit to Washington next week.

“China of course presents enormous economic opportunities for the United States and for the world but its size, the speed of its ascent, and its policies are a growing source of concern both here and in countries around the world.”

Geithner voiced the administration’s concern with an economy dominated by the Chinese government, theft of intellectual property, and policies that favor Chinese technology over foreign technology.  Geithner urged China to move away from its dependence on export driven growth and emphasize domestic consumption and innovation.

Despite being direct competitors, Geithner called the economic relationship between the U.S. and China “largely complementary” and resolved to encourage improvement in China’s economy.

“The prosperity of Americans depends overwhelmingly on the economic policies we pursue to strengthen American competitiveness.  Even as we work to encourage further reforms in China, we need to understand that our strength as a nation will depend, not on choices made by China’s leaders, but on the choices we make here at home.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rising Energy Prices Threaten Fragile Recovery

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oil prices could top $100 a barrel in the new year with gas prices near $4.00 a gallon on the horizon.  Experts say that could threaten an ephemeral economic recovery before it really gets started.

Oil hit $92.06 per barrel for February delivery during Friday's trading on the New York mercantile exchange.  That is the highest its been since October, 2009.  It closed at $91.38.  Experts say if that trend continues, as it's expected to in the near future, everything you buy -- from gas for your car to pizza delivery -- could grow more expensive.  When consumers are forced to spend more for necessities, they are less likely to spend on other goods.  That, in turn, could stall an economic recovery many are just beginning to think could be happening.

Part of the problem comes from rising fuel demand in developing countries, such as China.  While the U.S. remains the largest fuel consuming country in the world, its consumption is growing at just 1 percent while China's consumption is expected to increase by 5 percent next year.  Other emerging economies heighten the threat.

Oil company profits have grown considerably because of the increased demand.  Profits for the four biggest investor-owned oil producers -- excluding BP because of the Gulf spill -- grew by 49 percent during the first three quarters of 2010.  The final quarter's numbers are expected to stay on that track.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Mary Kay, McDonald's: American Businesses Booming in China

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(BEIJING) -- Mary Kay, the classic American makeup company, took its pink hats and pink Buicks 7,000 miles to China -- and after 15 years of trial and error, business is booming there.  Nearly 20 percent of the company's business now comes from China, said K.K. Chua, president of Mary Kay's Asia Pacific region.

"We're just scratching the surface in China right now considering that China is a country with more than 1.4 billion people," Chua said.  "I think in the time to come, we will see the business having a lot more lengths to run."

Mary Kay's success in China meant shifting from their well-known model of paying home visits to setting up "beauty centers."  The company also created specific products that appeal to Chinese women.

Mary Kay is one of several big American brands finding their way to Chinese consumers.  Another major American brand making big waves in China is McDonald's.  The company has spent 20 years working in the country and now opens a new location every other day.

The Gap, an American clothing brand, also just opened a string of stores in Beijing and Shanghai after two years of intense research.  The company redesigned some of its trademark jeans to appeal to Chinese consumers, even designing specific clothes for different cities in China.

Because the Chinese do like American brands and American know-how -- everything from U.S. architects to management experts -- there is potential to tap into vast amounts of money and benefits to American stockholders.

The boom in consumption by Chinese consumers could be good for American workers, too.  One estimate suggests that a 20 percent rise in Chinese consumption theoretically could lead to an extra $25 billion of American exports, creating more than 200,000 American jobs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Reports: Jaguar Land Rover Seeking Chinese Partner

Tata Motors CEO Carl-Peter Forster. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SHANGHAI) – Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to boost the company’s presence in the world’s leading auto market.

A subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors Ltd., the company is reportedly in talks with a Chinese automaker to establish a manufacturing and sales venture in China.

Tata Motors’ Chief Executive Carl-Peter Forster said this weekend that the company is in discussions with a potential partner to expand the unit's manufacturing and marketing operations.

China displaced the U.S. last year as the world’s leading auto market.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


China Raises Interest Rate; How Will it Affect Global Economy?

Photo Courtesy - ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- China is raising interest rates by a quarter percent and the decision has caused stock losses across global markets.

“China is trying to cool things down a little bit. Step on the brakes,” said Bloomberg’s Sarah Eisen. “It’s a red hot economy, it’s trying to stop it from overheating.”

The nation last raised interest rates in 2007.

“It’s a sign that China’s economy is really on fire,” Eisen told ABC News. “It just highlights the difference between what’s going on over there and what’s going on over here in the United States, where you have the federal reserve -- our central bank -- talking about easing further, moving in the opposite policy direction, adding more stimulus into the system to try to stimulate, jump start the economy.”

China’s move is an effort to tighten its economy.

“Traders were spooked about this interest rate hike,” she said. “They were worried that maybe if China starts tightening it will slow down that strong impressive growth that we’ve been used to seeing. So that was causing some tensions. That could really have ripple effects,” Eisen said, adding that she doesn’t expect the hike to have significant long-term effects on the global economy.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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