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Volkswagen to Invest Over 4 Bln Euros in China Betting on Quick Recovery

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The further opening-up of the Chinese market presented German automobile giant Volkswagen with more opportunity and the carmaker will invest over four billion euros in the country with its cooperating partners even as the global storm caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is still on.

Despite the COVID-19-triggered strain on the global market, Volkswagen’s performance in China during the first half of 2020 (H1) has been relatively good, according to Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

Wollenstein said that at the beginning of the pandemic, the Chinese government undertook a series of fiscal policies to alleviate companies’ financial burden and promote market liquidity, the local government around the country also launched targeted measures to stimulate consumption. Those measures have been a success.

With warming signs seen in the Chinese auto market in recent months, multiple global auto giants are confident that China will be one of the very few markets in the world whose growth path is following a V-shaped curve, expecting recovery at a picked up pace.

Data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that China’s auto sales rose by 1.8 percent in June year on year but fell by double digits in the first half of 2020 after the country shut down to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Automakers expect H2 sales to pick up

Volkswagen is China’s biggest foreign automaker, followed by U.S. rival General Motors Co. The German automaker sold 1.59 million vehicles in China in the first six months of 2020, down 17 percent from 1.92 million units during the same period last year. For sales in last year, Volkswagen sold around 4.23 million units in the country.

The bright side is that China’s premium market outperformed during the past half year and still has much potential to release.

“The premium market is only down by two percent year on year so far. In general, China is still a bit behind what we see as a pattern in Europe and in the U.S., where the premium market already has a substantially higher share than it has so far in China. So the market here is a bit more than two million units in this respect. And we see this probably would grow substantially next year because there will be more people in the middle class,” Woellenstein added.

As Volkswagen obviously has edges in several areas, including the already strong presence in high-end market plus their ever growing expansion into the New Energy Vehicle sector, Volkswagen China expects sales in the second half will boost with a picked up pace.

“We are strongly convinced that we come up with a similar convincing proposition to Chinese customers both on product as well as the entire service and purchasing experience. China will probably be one of the very few markets in the world whose growth path is really following a V-shaped curve,” Woellenstein projected with a determined tone.

Woellenstein also believes that the remaining months of this year will more or less follow the trend of 2019 in absolute numbers, which would set a sound basis for the second half and a positive outlook into 2021, “Therefore, there’s no reason for us to change any of our plans, we stay on our investments, have even further increase them, nor is any of our product launch is being delayed or questioned at all.”

The optimism is shared by multiple global auto giants, as China is seen an oasis for global carmakers during COVID-19 drought.

A number of auto companies have also reported strong recoveries in June sales, with Toyota China up by 22.8 percent year on year, Nissan China up by 4.5 percent year on year, and Dongfeng Motor up by 9.8 percent annually.

Tesla accounted for nearly 23-percent share of the electric car sales in June. The company, which already has strong determination and presence in expansion in China, has started production at its Shanghai factory at the beginning of the year, and has rapidly secured leadership in domestic market and boosted monthly EV registrations in China.

VW continues expansion in NEV, adapts to dual-credit system

Previously, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that the credit ratios of new-energy vehicles are required to reach 18 percent by 2023. The revised policy will be effective from January 1, 2021. Born in 2017, the dual-credit policy requires automakers to produce a minimum number of non-polluting vehicles for the sake of environment protection.

Talking about how VW adjusts to the changes, Woellenstein said he’s pretty confident that in the years to come, the company will stay compliant and make full use of the dual-credit policy.

In May, Volkswagen announced to invest a billion euros to take a 50-percent stake in the state-owned parent of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group (JAC Motors), and raised its stake in an existing electric vehicle joint venture with JAC to 75 percent from 50 percent. In a separate transaction, Volkswagen became the biggest shareholder of Gotion High-Tech Co., a manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries.

“So we will have the Anhui-based electric vehicle cluster alongside what we are already doing in both of our traditional joint ventures, given this as a prerequisite plus our product plans, we believe that we are in a good shape and also to get a substantial share on the NEV market,” Woellenstein added

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Will Astronauts Have Private Time to Themselves During the Three-Month Trip to The Space Station?

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Three Chinese astronauts logged into space on June 17 to fly to the Chinese space station. This is China’s first manned space mission in nearly five years, and the taikonauts will spend three months in space to help build the station and conduct experiments. Their flight has opened up endless reveries for many Chinese.

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Father’s Day: Three ‘Treasures’ Xi Jinping Gets From his Father

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Falling on the third Sunday of June, Father’s Day will be celebrated on June 20 this year.

Fathers always have a great influence on their children – the same applies to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

There are at least three characteristics that Xi has inherited from his father Xi Zhongxun (1913-2002), a leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the state.

File photo of Xi Jinping (L) with his father Xi Zhongxun. /CMG

People-oriented philosophy

Many Chinese leaders started their careers from the grassroots, going through the difficulties ordinary people face and understanding the people’s needs, which lays a solid foundation for their practical and people-oriented approach in formulating national policies.

The people-oriented philosophy is one of the most important treasures Xi Jinping got from his father, who believed that officials and the masses are equal and they must always live among the people.

The father once told his boy: “No matter what your job title is, serve the people diligently, consider the interests of the people with all your heart, maintain close ties with the people, and always stay approachable to the people.”

Adhering to the path of “serving the people,” Xi Jinping visited China’s 14 contiguous areas of extreme poverty after becoming general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in November 2012. He went to villages and households, and told communities that he is just “a servant of the people.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to people while visiting Fudao, a 19-km-long pedestrian walkway in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian Province, March 24, 2021. /Xinhua

During his domestic inspection tours, Xi Jinping always chatted with the locals, cared about their daily life and stressed the responsibilities of serving the people with other officials.

The Party has won the people’s wholehearted support because it has always served the people with heart and soul and striven for the well-being of all ethnic groups, Xi has said on many occasions.

Down-to-earth approach

Inheriting his father’s down-to-earth approach, Xi Jinping visited all the villages in Zhengding, Hebei Province during his tenure of county Party chief in the 1980s. Then in Ningde, Fujian, he visited nine counties within the first three months as secretary of the CPC Ningde Prefectural Committee, and traveled to most townships later on. 

Xi Zhongxun (C) visits rural Huiyang, south China’s Guangdong Province, August 1978. /CMG

After he was transferred to east China’s Zhejiang Province in 2002, he visited all 90 counties in over a year. During his brief tenure in Shanghai in 2007, he visited all its 19 districts and counties in seven months.

The formulation of the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for Economic and Social Development and future targets for 2035 also reflected Xi Jinping’s adherence to investigation and research.

By convening and presiding over a number of symposiums, he listened to opinions and advices on the country’s economic and social development in the plan period from all walks of life.

Living a simple life

The Xi’s has a tradition of being strict with children and living a simple life. Xi Zhongxun believed if a senior Party official wanted to discipline others, he should begin first with himself and his family.

Xi Jinping and his younger brother used to wear clothes and shoes from their elder sisters. After Xi Jinping became a leading official, his mother called a family meeting to ban the siblings from engaging in business where Xi Jinping worked.

Xi Jinping has carried on his family’s tradition and been strict with his family members. Wherever he worked, he told them not to do business there or do anything in his name, or else he “would be ruthless.” Whether in Fujian, Zhejiang or Shanghai, he pledged at official meetings that no one was allowed to seek personal benefit using his name and welcomed supervision in this regard.

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Peng Liyuan Calls for Global Efforts in AIDS and TB Prevention and Treatment

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Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, called on people from all walks of life in all countries to join hands and take action to strengthen the prevention and treatment of AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), in order to benefit all mankind and build a global community of health for all.

Peng, also World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, made the remarks via video link on Monday at the opening ceremony of a special high-level event on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS.

The event aimed to provide a platform for WHO member states to reassert their commitment to ending TB deaths among people living with HIV and deliberate on how they will intensify the response to HIV-associated TB in the context of COVID-19.

Peng said the global fight against AIDS and TB has achieved remarkable results in recent years thanks to the concerted efforts made by the international community.

China has gradually established a cooperation mechanism between prevention and control institutions of AIDS and TB, she said. The country has kept the prevalence of AIDS at a low level, and in the past 20 years, the incidence of TB has dropped by more than 40 percent and the mortality rate by more than 70 percent.

These achievements have been made due to the attention paid by the Chinese government, the efforts of the medical personnel and the silent contributions of the volunteers, she said.

Peng also shared some touching stories and expressed her respect for people and volunteers worldwide who have contributed to the prevention and treatment of the diseases.

Major communicable diseases are among the common challenges facing mankind, and it is people’s common wish to end the threats of AIDS and TB, said Peng.

She added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought more challenges to the containment of the diseases, calling for global efforts to protect lives and forge ahead.

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