Surprising Harbin - Ice Cold Hot Pot
Did you know . . . a new ice restaurant
welcomed its first diners at this year's Harbin Ice
and Snow Festival. The restaurant, made
entirely out of ice with ice walls, an ice
dome and ice table and chairs can hold up to
100 guests. Various ice sculputres will also be
on display in the restaurant.
Popular local cuisine will be served. Not
surprisingly, the most popular dish is
the "huoguo" which is the traditional hot pot
To prevent the ice from melting, two ventilation
outlets in the roof of the restaurant ensure the
internal temperature remains at least at freezing
level although the temperature inside is usually
at 14 degrees Farenheit. For the comfort of
guests, the floor (made entirely out of ice) is
with thick carpet and ice furniture are covered
with wool padding to allow patrons to sit
Firstly, our very best wishes to each of you for
New Year and our personal hopes and prayers for
of our good works this year. Hope you all had a
wonderful and enjoyable holiday season.
I have decided to talk about South America in
issue. No, you did not misread that. And no,
have not changed the focus of this newsletter.
no, Jill and I are not communicating from some
sun-baked beach on the Caribbean. In fact, it is
the opposite. As this newsletter is on its way to
your inbox, I am sitting on a trans-pacific flight
to sub-zero Harbin for the annual Ice Festival.
on that in the next issue)
What intrigues me about South America is the
apparent rise of left-wing leaders and social
Granted, this is not akin to the Communist era
Fidel Castro, but it is significant.
Apart from tall the political rhetoric, I think there
very interesting impact on China. Already an
enormous magnet for American investment,
likely to be a major benefactor in the political
South America. First, the new administrations
more likely to strengthen ties to America’s
adversary, now competitor and critical trade
partner. China can be more global, and build
influence in the western hemisphere as it builds
customers and joint ventures.
More significantly, American foreign investor
are (and should be) likely to look to China as a
risk investment, especially for investments with
labor issues. Uncertainty repels investment.
less expensive labor markets of South America
well be trumped by new national policies
business. It may be arguable as to the extent
problem, but clearly South America will lose
competitive standing for U.S. investment dollars
each notch to the left.
For those who read this regularly, you know I am
concerned that U.S. business interests and
are losing out in the biggest game in town.
the political climate in South America will prod
Americans to get into the game in China. That
New Year’s wish and resolution.
Have a productive week.
Larry Horist - Chairman HBE
|Free Rural Education
Rural elementary and secondary schools will get
the bulk of educational funds allowing children
to enjoy new computer and multimedia
classrooms and free education as early as 2010,
according to the Ministry of Education
(MOE). "Rural education is still the weakest
link, and our newly-allocated educational funds
will be used mainly in rural areas," said Zhang
Xinsheng, vice-minister of MOE. As many as 36
million rural students are currently benefiting
from this policy. They will be exempted from
paying miscellaneous as well as tuition fees by
Zhang said China aims to increase the
percentage of educational input in gross
domestic product from 3.41 percent in 2003 to 4
percent in the future. This new program aims to
solve the educational gap, whereby 8 percent of
the country has not yet completed nine-years of
education in the poorer western part of China.
|High Grain Output
Northeast China's Heilongjiang province is
expected to see a record harvest year in grain
production, with the total grain outputs to hit 79
billion pounds this year, an increase of 14.8
percent to the previous year, according to
sources with the provincial government.
Since 2004, a series of preferential policies on
supporting grain production have been issued.
Farmers in the province were exempted from
agriculture taxes and were given grain
subsidies. To promote grain production and help
farmers earn more money from grain planting,
the province of Heilongjiang has invested USD
32.5 million in modernizing farm equipment.
|Airbus Outsource to China
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus could shift
the final assembly line for some of its aircraft
outside Europe for the first time under an
industrial pact signed with China on Sunday,
company officials said. A feasibility study will
establish within six months whether it would
make sense to build an alternative assembly
point for A320 single-aisle aircraft in China, the
Chinese demand for aircraft is expanding rapidly,
helping to propel Airbus and its US rival Boeing
towards a record year for orders in 2005 despite
a severe downturn of the aviation industry in the
|McCain Factory Cleans Up
Canada's McCain Foods Ltd. has learned one
clear lesson from the two-week shutdown of its
new French fry factory in Harbin, China: It has to
start digging a well. The plant should restart
early this week, said Basil Hargrove, McCain's
chief executive officer for Asia, who is coping
with fallout from an industrial accident that sent
toxins spilling into the river from which Harbin
derives its water supply.
McCain, the world's largest producer of French
fries, had just opened its plant in late October,
ending six years of crop trials and false starts in
searching for a suitable factory location. Mr.
Hargrove said the incident has not lessened
McCain's enthusiasm for its Chinese factory. He
sees it as part of the learning curve in a long-
term venture aimed at seizing a bigger share of
the rapidly growing fast-food market in China.
|Shop Till You Drop
Since Walmart's entry into China in 1996, the
retail supergiant has opened 40 stores in various
stores. Latest expansion include the
construction of a 200,000 square feet store in
the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province.
In other news, domestic Chinese retail giant
Dashang Group Co Ltd yesterday merged with
Harbin No 1 Department Store, one of the
largest department stores in the country.
Dashang will refurnish the entire store, changing
it into a new shopping facility, which integrates
shopping and entertainment. This
marks the beginning of Dashang's further
expansion in the Northeastern retail market.
With the liberalization of the Chinese economy,
the rate of disposable income has increased
tremendously which drives the booming retail