China Inc’s Smithfield bid expected to pass Washington test


A sign advertising Smithfield hams hangs at the Taste of Smithfield restaurant and gourmet market in Smithfield, Virginia May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Rich-Joseph Facun

A sign advertising Smithfield hams hangs at the Taste of Smithfield restaurant and gourmet market in Smithfield, Virginia May 30, 2013. REUTERS/Rich-Joseph Facun

Washington may still be digesting news of China Inc’s latest bold move into America with the nearly $5 billion takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N), but early indications are the deal will not inflame enough nationalistic opposition to kill it, and success could pave the way for more Chinese purchases.

Shuanghui International Holdings’ agreement to buy Smithfield would be the largest ever acquisition of a U.S. company by a Chinese one. The bid – an effort to feed a growing Chinese appetite for U.S. pork – has stirred some concern among U.S. politicians and will face review by a Treasury committee.

To many dealmakers and executives, that review is procedural and should not set off alarms.

“I don’t think the Smithfield deal will have problems,” said David Marchick, who leads private equity firm Carlyle Group LP’s (CG.O) government, public and regulatory affairs and was not involved in the deal. “It’s not a sensitive sector. They are keeping American management. And the U.S. agricultural community would love to export more to China.”

Carlyle, which has done several deals involving China, did not encounter any problems last year when it sold one of its portfolio companies, U.S. movie theater operator AMC Entertainment, to Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, Marchick said. The $2.6 billion deal was the fifth largest M&A transaction by a Chinese company in the United States, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“Most Chinese acquisitions in the U.S. will not encounter regulatory or political challenges. Three or four deals a year do encounter problems – and garner all the attention,” said Marchick, who has co-authored a book on U.S. national security and foreign direct investment.

The Smithfield deal could certainly still face opposition on Capitol Hill. Congress is out of session right now, and foreign policy hawks such as Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator John McCain of Arizona have yet to weigh in. Last week both Senators expressed concerns about the takeover of Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) by Japan’s SoftBank Corp (9984.T), due mainly to security concerns related to telecom equipment from China.

Chinese companies have become more comfortable looking to do deals in the United States, in spite of the 2005 rejection of China National Offshore Oil Corp’s (0883.HK) $18.5 billion attempt to buy U.S. energy company Unocal. CNOOC’s bid was thwarted by fierce political opposition because of national security concerns.

With over $10.5 billion of deals by Chinese companies in the United States so far, 2013 is on pace to be the largest year ever for inbound M&A by Chinese companies, according to Thomson Reuters data. There were $11.5 billion worth of deals by Chinese companies in the United States in 2012, which was itself a significantly higher figure than in any year other than 2007.

“I do think it’s helpful to get a large transaction with a Chinese buyer through,” said Adel Aslani-Far, global co-chair of the M&A practice at Latham & Watkins. “It’s a shot in the arm to the deal economy and to attitudes about Chinese deals. Something sizable like this could be a very good sign to the market that the conditions are right here and will encourage further Chinese investment into the U.S.”

Smithfield shares were trading at around $32.94 on Friday, 3.1 percent below the $34 a share offered by Shuanghui.

NATIONAL SECURITY QUESTIONS

Shuanghui’s acquisition of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods will face scrutiny by the Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS. Congress has no authority to block the deal but can exert political pressure.

The Smithfield deal has generated limited response from Congress so far with only a handful of lawmakers – notably Charles Grassley, Republican Senator from Iowa, the largest U.S. hog producing state – expressing doubts.

“No one can deny the unsafe tactics used by some Chinese food companies. And, to have a Chinese food company controlling a major U.S. meat supplier, without shareholder accountability, is a bit concerning,” Grassley said in a statement.

Some China skeptics, including Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, have supported the deal in principal, and Randy Forbes, the Republican who represents Smithfield’s Congressional district in Virginia, was measured in his response.

Forbes said the potential takeover “warrants robust analysis and review to ensure the safety and security of America’s citizens as well as the preservation of national economic interests, food safety, and environmental standards. I look forward to following that review process closely.”

Mark McMinimy, a policy analyst with Guggenheim Securities in Washington, said the deal “is not likely to face serious U.S. government-related roadblocks,” and also is not likely to run into resistance when it is reviewed by CFIUS.

The interagency government panel reviews transactions that would bring U.S. businesses under foreign-owned control and is comprised of the heads of a number of departments, including Treasury, State, Justice, Commerce and Homeland Security. Its deliberations are tightly guarded.

“CFIUS’s scrutiny of this acquisition is vitally important. How might this deal impact our national security? What role does the Chinese government play in Shuanghui, like it does in so many other ‘private’ companies? These are important questions for CFIUS to get answered,” Grassley said.

Aaron Schock, an Illinois Republican and a member of the House subcommittee on trade whose district includes several hog farms, raised concerns about food safety. “We have to be cautious that a Chinese-run firm wouldn’t result in Chinese standards here in the U.S.,” he said. “The safety of the consumer is the utmost concern and if that can’t be dealt with, then this deal might be for naught.”

The National Farmers Union, which mostly represents family farms and co-ops, said it opposed the deal out of concerns about concentration in the agricultural markets. “Now, in one fell swoop, 26 percent of U.S. pork processing and 15 percent of domestic hog production will be controlled by a foreign company,” it said in a statement.

Given that the company is not focused on defense, energy, or infrastructure, approval seems likely, according to Charles Skuba, a business professor at Georgetown University.

Shuanghui has promised not to close or move any of Smithfield’s operations and will keep current management, including CEO Larry Pope, in place.

“We may have some CFIUS concerns in relation to exactly what land Smithfield owns and what its proximity is to sensitive national security installations. But for the most part, I think they can work around that,” said Skuba.

Paul Marquardt, a partner at Cleary Gottlieb who works on cross-border deals, said that CFIUS review is a concern for Chinese companies looking to expand in the United States since they often say they find the process opaque and unfair.

“I think a successful deal will help convince Chinese firms that they can get a fair shake in the U.S. They need to see that just because a deal is Chinese doesn’t mean it will be blocked,” Marquardt said.

Source: Reuters “China Inc’s Smithfield bid expected to pass Washington test”

Related post: Smithfield China’s largest takeover target in US so far dated yesterday

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Chinese Defense Ministry: Filipino Marines’ Water, Food Supplies Will Not Be Cut Off


Photo of Filipino wrecked warship taken by a Chinese helicopter

Photo of Filipino wrecked warship taken by a Chinese helicopter

At a routine press conference of the Defense Ministry on May 30, Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng gave replies to reporters’ questions.

Reporter: There has been media report that in early May, the Philippines sent a warship to Renai Shoal in an attempt to do some piling to strengthen the dilapidated landing warship that it wrecked at the Renai Shoal in 1999 and increase its military presence at Renai Shoal in case there is any opportunity. Later Chinese marine surveillance ships and warships went to patrol the sea area around the Renai Shoal. Would you please tell us how Filipino military actions at the Renai Shoal will be dealt with? Moreover, a Filipino official said today that the Chinese warships converged at the South China Sea area around the Renai Shoal will cut off Filipino military personnel’s supplies of water and food. Please confirm.

Geng Yansheng: China has undisputable sovereignty over the Nansha (Spratly) Islands and the sea areas near them. China is entirely justified to have its navy warships patrol the sea areas under its jurisdiction.

In 1999, on the excuse of stranding, the Philippines illegally wrecked a warship at the Renai Shoal of China’s Nansha Islands. China took up the matter with the Philippines sternly and demanded that the Philippines tow away the warship. However, the Philippines ignored China’s solemn stand and its own promise and attempted to intensify its illegal presence and illegally occupy the Renai Shoal. By so doing, it has seriously violated China’s sovereignty over its territory and the “Declaration on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea”

It is necessary to make clear that Philippines side’s allegation has no support of fact at all. Chinese government’s and military’s determination and will to safeguard the country’s sovereignty over its territory is firm and unshakable. We are firmly against any act taken by a relevant party to complicate and worsen the situation.

Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Defense Ministry’s reply: China will not cut off Filipino marines’ supply of water and food at Renai Shoal” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)

Related posts:
South China Sea tension mounts near Filipino shipwreck dated May 28, 2013
China’s Strategy on Recovery of Islands Occupied by the Philippines dated May 28, 2013
China: PLA Navy amphibious task force reaches Malaysia ‘to defend South China sea’ dated March 27, 2013
Philippines warns of ‘very threatening’ actions by Beijing in South China Sea dated January 10, 2013
Xinhua plays down US support to Manila in South China Sea disputes dated June 9, 2012


Chinese wonder why their tourists behave so badly


Chinese shoppers stand with shopping bags on a sidewalk along 5th Avenue in New York City, April 4, 2013.  Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

Chinese shoppers stand with shopping bags on a sidewalk along 5th Avenue in New York City, April 4, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

From faking marriage certificates to get honeymoon discounts in the Maldives to letting children defecate on the floor of a Taiwan airport, Chinese tourists have recently found themselves at the center of controversy and anger.

Thanks to microblogging sites in China, accounts of tourists behaving badly spread like wildfire across the country, provoking disgust, ire and soul-searching.

While in the past such reports might have been dismissed as attacks on the good nature of Chinese travelers, people in the world’s second-largest economy are starting to ask why their countrymen and women are so badly behaved.

“Objectively speaking, our tourists have relatively low-civilized characters,” said Liu Simin, researcher with the Tourism Research Centre of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“Overseas travel is a new luxury, Chinese who can afford it compare with each other and want to show off,” Liu said. “Many Chinese tourists are just going abroad, and are often inexperienced and unfamiliar with overseas rules and norms.”

When a story broke recently that a 15-year-old Chinese boy had scratched his name into a 3,500-year-old temple in Egypt’s Luxor, the furor was such that questions were even asked about it at a Foreign Ministry news briefing.

“There are more and more Chinese tourists travelling to other countries in recent years,” ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Monday.

“We hope that this tourism will improve friendship with foreign countries and we also hope that Chinese tourists will abide by local laws and regulations and behave themselves.”

Other incidents have attracted similar anger, including that of a mother who let her children defecate on the floor of Kaohsiung airport in Taiwan, just meters (feet) from a toilet. She did put newspaper down first.

Embarrassment over the behavior of some Chinese tourists has reached the highest levels of government, which has tried to project an image of a benign and cultured emerging power whose growing wealth can only benefit the world.

“TERRIBLE RACKET”

This month, Vice Premier Wang Yang admonished the “uncivilized behavior” of certain Chinese tourists, in remarks widely reported by state media and reflecting concern about how the increasingly image-conscious country is seen overseas.

“They make a terrible racket in public places, scrawl their names on tourist sites, ignore red lights when crossing the road and spit everywhere. This damages our national image and has a terrible effect,” Wang said.

The central government has reissued guidelines on its main website on what it considers acceptable behavior for tourists, including dressing properly, queuing up and not shouting.

To be sure, the influx of newly wealthy Chinese travelling around world has bought economic benefits widely welcomed in many countries, and many tourists are well-behaved and respectful.

More than 83 million Chinese tourists travelled overseas last year, and Chinese expenditure on travel abroad reached $102 billion in 2012, the highest in the world according to the U.N. World Tourism Organization.

By 2020, about 200 million Chinese are expected to take an overseas holiday every year.

Criticism of bad behavior has in the past been leveled at American, Japanese and Taiwanese tourists, when they were also enjoying new wealth and going abroad for the first time.

Eventually, experts say, the criticism will fade.

“Travelling is a learning experience for tourists,” said Wang Wanfei, a tourism professor at Zhejiang University. “They learn how to absorb local culture in the process, and get rid of their bad tourist behavior.”

Source: Reuters “Chinese wonder why their tourists behave so badly”

Related posts:
Uncivilized people from Thousands Years of Civilization dated January 29, 2012
Arrogant Chinese dated February 2, 2012
China: Taiwan to tackle resentment caused by influx of mainland tourists dated February 16, 2012
Outrage after Chinese men on Air France flight take wine bottles ‘to go’ dated Febriary 26, 2013
China: ‘I was here’ Chinese carving on ancient Egyptian wall is decried on Weibo dated May 27, 2013 Thailand shocked by ‘rude’ Chinese tourists dated May 29, 2013


Chinese women learn how to marry ‘elite’ foreigner in 90 days


Couples find marital bliss at a mass wedding in Hangzhou, but others may need some help. Enter: Seek-a-Husband training. Photo: Reuters

Couples find marital bliss at a mass wedding in Hangzhou, but others may need some help. Enter: Seek-a-Husband training. Photo: Reuters

Reblog of Ernest Kao’s blog at SCMP on May 31

Shanghai company offers training classes for women seeking elite Westerner husbands

Droves of women from across China flocked to Shanghai’s Love and Marriage Expo this month in hopes of learning a tip or two about how to get hitched.

But Liang Yali, founder of the Seek-a-Husband Training Programme, has been teaching such skills in the metropolis for years.

Ninety days – that’s all it will take for her training programme to teach single women how to find – and marry – that laowai (expatriate) knight in shining armour, Liang purported, in an interview with the Modern Express newspaper.

After a 1½-month courtship, Liang managed to find the American husband of her dreams – you know, the “honest, considerate type” who happens to be a general manager at some big multinational corporation. The two are now happily married.

Liang decided to enter the “marriage business” in 2009 after her experiences as a divorced and single mother. She said she had hoped to “mass produce” her happiness to the spurned and desperate.

Her Seek-a-Husband course, which specialises in teaching women how to find “elite Westerner” husbands, launched in Shanghai to widespread acclaim – she boasts that her success rate has stayed at a constant 60 per cent – as well as controversy.

The programme’s target market is women above 35, divorcees and the so-called shengnu or “left-behind woman”, although clients are getting younger by the day.

Nearly 2.87 million mainland couples divorced in 2011, up 7.3 per cent from 2010, according to Ministry of Civil Affairs’ statistics.

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by the ministry last year showed that 70 per cent of mainland women would tie the knot only with a man who owned at least one flat.

“Many Chinese women over the age of 35 experience difficulties finding husbands domestically, but in the west, in many foreigners’ minds, women aged 35 are seen as most attractive,” Liang told Modern Express. She said her courses teach women how to select appropriate targets, use charm and to sell their “intellect”.

She gave examples of success stories such as how a 35-year-old woman from northeastern China learned a bit of English and managed to find a husband who worked as a manager at a large German construction company.

The least expensive one-day course costs 2,800 yuan (HK$3,500), and more advanced modules can be taken for more than 40,000 yuan. There’s also the “unlimited” package, which entitles customers to attend all classes for a cool 100,000 yuan.

Liang’s venture has been slammed repeatedly for ethical reasons. It drew heat recently after its youngest client was reported to be just 17 years old. It has also been criticised for teaching women to “throw money at love” and encouraging young girls to look for rich, expat “sugar daddies”.

But Liang stressed that “if your purpose is to find a rich man, please do not sign up. We are in the business of happiness”.

Source: SCMP “Course teaches Chinese women how to marry ‘elite’ foreigner in 90 days”


Smithfield, China’s largest takeover target in US so far


Smithfield ham slices are on sale at the Taste of Smithfield restaurant and gourmet market in Smithfield, Virginia May 30, 2013.  Credit: REUTERS/Rich-Joseph Facun

Smithfield ham slices are on sale at the Taste of Smithfield restaurant and gourmet market in Smithfield, Virginia May 30, 2013.
Credit: REUTERS/Rich-Joseph Facun

In three decades, Wan Long has turned Shuanghui International Holdings from a small, loss-making meat processor into China’s largest, and is making his country’s biggest takeover of a U.S. company – the $4.7 billion acquisition of Smithfield Foods Inc (SFD.N), the world’s leading pork producer.

Along the way, the tough negotiating Wan, who also sits on the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, has had the backing of Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings TEM.UL and Wen Yunsong, or Winston Wen, son of former Premier Wen Jiabao, among others.

Wan, who is dubbed ‘China’s Chief Butcher’, and Shuanghui’s connection to Winston Wen gives the firm direct access to power brokers and key decision makers in Beijing through a powerful princeling stakeholder.

The ties with Wen are through private equity firm New Horizon, which holds its stake in Shuanghui through two investment vehicles, according to a 2012 research report from China Investment Capital Corp.

While Wen stepped away from day-to-day operations at New Horizon three years ago – he left to work for China Aerospace Science & Technology Corp, and last year became chairman of China Satellite Communications Corp, according to media reports – he remains involved in the fund and derives income from its investments, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Shuanghui’s acquisition of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods will face scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government panel that assesses national security risks. At least one member of Congress has said the deal raises alarms about food safety. Shuanghui was forced to recall its Shineway brand meat products from store shelves in China two years ago amid fears that some of it contained a banned feed additive.

BRANDS, KNOW-HOW

Political scrutiny and cheaper pork supplies apart – average live hog prices in China are around a third higher than in the United States – much of the appeal for Shuanghui will be in Smithfield’s technology, quality savvy and packaged meat business.

The U.S. company owns well-known grocery store meat brands such as Eckrich, Armour and Farmland, which are likely to prove popular with Chinese consumers who consider foreign brands safer than many home-grown products.

“Shuanghui’s expansion faces problems in developing its upstream (breeding) sector in accordance with food safety requirements,” said Liu Xiaofeng, an analyst with China Minzu Securities.

Shuanghui, which controls Shenzhen-listed Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development Co (000895.SZ), China’s largest meat processor, is one of China’s few integrated meat producers, with farm-to-fork operations – but it only raises 400,000 of its own hogs a year, a fraction of the 11 million it needs, Liu said. This means the company, which has more than 61,000 employees, relies heavily on private breeders in a country where overcrowding on farms is commonplace, raising the risk of spreading disease.

Overcrowding on farms around Shanghai was the underlying factor that led to some 16,000 rotting pig carcasses floating down the Huangpu river earlier this year, according to official documents and interviews with local farmers.

QUALITY STAMP

Shuanghui would likely be keen to obtain Smithfield’s expertise in developing breeding farms that would help the Chinese firm establish a domestic product chain. It would also benefit from the U.S. company’s quality control.

“Smithfield has very strong know-how on producing pork and bringing products to market in a very sophisticated market,” said Michael Boddington, managing director of Asian Agribusiness Consulting.

A recent report on the U.S. Meat Export Federation website about training seminars at large Chinese meat processors, including Shuanghui, noted some participants were unfamiliar with the proper use and handling of frozen raw materials.

“In some instances, we found that while the processing equipment was very modern, there was room for improvement in terms of maintenance and sanitation,” it said.

Based in the city of Luohe in the central Henan province, Shuanghui was set up by the local government in 1958. Wan was appointed as head of the firm in 1984 and steered it through a restructuring and a successful initial public offering in 1998.

After the local government sold its stake in 2006, Shuanghui transformed itself into its current complex corporate structure.

Shuanghui International is an offshore entity registered in Hong Kong, and is 5.2 percent invested by Goldman Sachs’ main investing arm and 33.7 percent-held by funds associated with China-focused private equity firm CDH. New Horizon holds 4.2 percent, and Temasek 2.8 percent.

Source: Reuters “With big-name backers, Chinese firm eyes Smithfield’s know-how, brands”


3-D printers help China jet development take off


Large titanium alloy fighter jet part made with 3-D printing. Source: mil.huanqiu.com

Large titanium alloy fighter jet part made with 3-D printing. Source: mil.huanqiu.com

Use of 3-D printing means China’s aviation industry is saving money and materials and could soon rival manufacturers in the US

Creating a miniature plastic aeroplane using a household computer and a 3-D printer is no longer just a dream for aircraft enthusiasts. But what about printing out a real plane?

Chinese scientists and aviation engineers says it’s possible.

And they’re now starting to print out aircraft components from a 3-D printer without the help of traditional manufacturing processes such as casting, forging and assembling.

These can even include key structures such as landing gear, which has to be able to withstand extreme forces.

3-D printing, also known as laser rapid forming, is an emerging manufacturing technology in which blueprints made on computers can be turned into actual products by printers that add layer after layer of material until the finished shape is achieved.

It’s not clear how many materials Chinese scientists can use when printing out aircraft parts, but Stratasys, the world’s leading manufacturer of 3-D printers, says its machines can combine more than 100 different materials to form 3-D products, including wood, plastics and metals. Reports on the mainland have said 3-D printing technology has been used by China’s aviation industry.

It features in the country’s first home-grown commercial airliner, the C919, its first aircraft-based jet fighter, the J-15, its multi-role fighter and bomber, the J-16, its first home-made stealth jet fighter, the J-20, and its mid-sized, fifth-generation jet fighter, the J-31.

Former US defence secretary Dr Robert Gates once said that China would not have a “fifth-generation aircraft by 2020”.

Beijing responded by showing him the J-20’s successful maiden test flight when he visited the country in January 2011.

In the 1980s and 1990s, China took at least 10 years to develop the J-10, its third-generation all-weather jet fighter, currently a mainstay of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. But the development of the J-15 took just three years and it made its maiden test flight on August 31, 2009.

The PLA Navy announced the formal establishment of an aviation force for future carrier-based operations earlier this month, and the next day China Central Television reported that the first of its J-15s had been put on the production line early this year.

Sun Cong, deputy chief engineer at the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the nation’s leading military aircraft manufacturer, said the unprecedented adoption of 3-D printing technology for his J-15 project had made a significant contribution to its success.

“I would like to say that … the world was not astonished by our technology, but by China’s efficiency in aviation industry development,” Sun, the J-15’s chief engineer, told Science and Technology Daily in March.

“The J-15 project started without a solid technical basis … but now it has caught up to the technical level of the US’ most advanced third-generation, carried-based aircraft, the F/A-18 Hornet.” Sun told the Beijing Times the primary force-bearing structure of the J-15, including its landing gear, was formed by high-tensile titanium alloy powder sprayed from a 3-D printer.

Aviation engineer Huang Weidong, a professor at the College of Material Science and Engineering at Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian, Shaanxi, produced a three-metre-long titanium structure that is a key component of the C919’s wing, on New Year’s Eve last year.

He told the Chinese industry website lasterfair.com he had been using 3-D printing technology since 1995, with the output of his research commonly used in the aviation, aerospace, machinery, medical and other sectors.

“After near 20 years of research and development, [3-D printing technology in China] can produce … products that can replace metal structures made by complicated traditional manufacturing processes,” he said.

“We have applied the technology to [the aviation] industry, including sizeable titanium alloy structures and aircraft engine renovation, as well as some other high-end components.”

Another aviation materials specialist, Professor Wang Huaming, from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, told a workshop at the Chinese Academy of Sciences late last year that China now needed just 55 days to “print out” four hyperboloid cockpit window frames for the C919.

He said a European aircraft maker had said it would need at least two years to do the same job, with the cost of making a mould put at US$2 million.

“The traditional aircraft manufacturing industry doesn’t only need much more time, but also wastes too many expensive materials,” Wang said in a video clip of the workshop posted on the internet. “Normally, just 10 per cent of raw materials would be utilised, with the rest all cut and dropped during the processes of casting moulds, forging, cutting and polishing.”

For example, US-based Lockheed Martin Aeronautics needed 2,796kg of titanium alloy to produce an F-22 fighter jet, but only 144kg of the material actually made it into the plane, he added.

Wang, who formed a team of researchers to study 3-D printing materials in 2000, said they were now able to mix many different kinds of materials together to imitate some sophisticated, high-end aircraft components.

He said his research team had made many breakthroughs in 3-D printing technology, such as printing out key titanium alloy structures as big as 5 square metres which had been used in many new-generation military aircraft projects.

“For me and many Chinese aircraft engineers, we all dream of ‘printing out’ all kinds of plane components we need one day,” he said.

He believed 3-D printing technology could soon help the country overcome a long-standing technical bottleneck that was hampering its production of sophisticated aviation engines.

Sidney Wong, an engineer and associate director of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Institute for Enterprise, said 3-D printing technology could help China speed up the research and development of new generation aircraft.

“As 3-D printing technology can save both time and materials, researchers can easily print out all kinds of high-end and sophisticated components they need to assemble prototypes within a short period,” he said. “Without the hindrance of making moulds and other complicated traditional manufacturing procedures, the cost of making prototypes is much lower, and scientists and engineers can repeatedly produce more and more duplicates for tests and modification.”

Wang said China’s large-scale 3-D printing technology had surpassed that of the United States because many US counterparts were just using the new technology to produce “knick-knacks”.

But Luo Jun, chief executive of the Beijing-based Asian Manufacturing Association, said there was “still a certain gap” that Chinese scientists needed to bridge to catch up with their US and European counterparts in the development of 3-D printing.

“It’s a fact that all sizeable and intricate metal structures and components made by 3-D printers in China can replace those parts made by traditional manufacturing processes … but such an achievement still fails to solve the core problem of China’s aircraft manufacturing,” Luo said, referring to the engine problem.

“3-D printing is an emerging technology, but it still needs to be underpinned by traditional industry … there is still a certain gap between China and the US’ technology, including its stability, accuracy, materials and related skills.”

In August, US President Barack Obama announced the formation of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, with an initial investment of US$30 million, the National Journal reported.

It said the US Army had deployed a helicopter-borne 3-D printing laboratory to Afghanistan, and the military already used 3-D printers to manufacture some non-critical aircraft components.

China’s mil.huanqiu.com posts a photo of Large titanium alloy fighter jet part made with 3-D printing.

Source: SCMP “3-D printers help China jet development take off and mil.huanqiu.com


Thailand shocked by ‘rude’ Chinese tourists


Children at a snack stand in a Chiang Mai market. Photo: Amy Li/SCMP

Children at a snack stand in a Chiang Mai market. Photo: Amy Li/SCMP

Reblog of Amy Li’s blog at SCMP

The successful, low-budget Chinese comedy Lost in Thailand has lured tens of thousands of Chinese tourists to Chiang Mai, but they left locals in Thailand’s historic and culturally rich northern city complaining.

After seeing a record number of Chinese tourists over the Lunar New Year holiday, some locals described what they experienced as “cultural clashes”, others simply found the visitors’ behaviour disturbing and rude.

In a Letter to Editor published in Thailand’s English daily The Nation, Lamphun resident Vint Chavala wrote:

[Chinese tourists] tend to drive speedily on the wrong side of the road, and often go against traffic on one-way streets. Chinese tourists also often stop in the middle of busy intersections – just to argue among themselves about directions. Some hotel and guesthouse operators are turning them away because they say Chinese tourists often rent a room for two, but stay overnight in a group of four or five. They also deplore their tendencies to litter and hang their clothing on the balcony railing.

Chavala then went on to urge the Thai government to work with the Chinese consulate to better educate its tourists so Thailand will “thrive” instead of “suffer” from Chinese tourism.

On social network sites and local forums, locals posted more evidence of what they say are offensive acts by the Chinese:
1. A tendency to not flush the toilet.
2. Flouting traffic laws when driving, riding a bicycle, or parking their car.
3. Being loud – even in five-star hotels.
4. Littering, spitting, queue-jumping.
5. Allowing children to defecate in public pools.
6. Terrible English-language skills that lead to difficulties in communication.

Even Chinese people living in Chiang Mai said they found the behaviour of their fellow countrymen shocking and embarrassing.

“In the past I’ve always told people with pride that I am Chinese. I will be reluctant to do that in the future,” wrote one local.

“Please stop bringing shame to our people,” wrote another.

Still, more Chinese tourists are bound to visit. The Tourism Authority of Thailand expected more than 1.5 million Chinese to visit by 2014.

Why the increase in visitors? When Chavala asked a Chinese tourist why he came to Chiang Mai, the man in his 30s “stabbed a thumb to his chest and said ‘I am rich’.”

Source: SCMP “Chiang Mai locals shocked by ‘rude’ Chinese tourists”

Related posts:
Uncivilized people from Thousands Years of Civilization dated January 29, 2012
Arrogant Chinese dated February 2, 2012
China: Taiwan to tackle resentment caused by influx of mainland tourists dated February 16, 2012
Outrage after Chinese men on Air France flight take wine bottles ‘to go’ dated Febriary 26, 2013
China: ‘I was here’ Chinese carving on ancient Egyptian wall is decried on Weibo dated May 27, 2013