Danwei Noon Report

Karaoke fees and interest rates

Danwei Noon Report is a daily roundup of new and old media coverage about China from Chinese and English sources.

Would you like some parasites with your escargot?
Interest rate hike
Xinhua's top story on their Chinese website is an opinion piece titled Can interest rate hikes restrain government spending? (link). The article is supportive of the interest rate increases as a means of reigning in an economy that everyone seems to think is a little too hot. The Financial Times on Friday published an article by Richard McGregor about the rate hike: China raises rates to tackle credit boom (link).

Karaoke copyright fees
The National Copyright Administration is collecting opinions on its plan to impose copyright fees on KTV operators. It intends to charge operators RMB 12 (US$1.50) per karaoke room per day (link). In related news, yesterday Sina.com reported that one of Beijing's most popular karaoke club chains — Cashbox (钱柜) — raised its prices by nearly 50%. But Cashbox staff claimed that the price rise was not caused by the new copyright fees, but because of new investment in equipment and renovation (link).

Raw snails banned
The Beijing News yesterday reported that the Beijing Public Health Bureau (北京卫生监督所) issued an urgent banning restaurants from selling uncooked snails, in the wake of a number of meningitis infections found in people who ate raw Amazonian snails (link- in Chinese, Xinhua story in English, source of above image).

Parents of new Tsinghua students sleep outdoors
The Beijing News reports that hundreds of parents of freshman students at the prestigious Tsinghua University have been sleeping outdoors because nearby hotel rooms are full, and downown hotels are too expensive. The parents have come to Beijing to help their children settle in to the university before the semester starts. (Link)

Will Smith flees China for India where they actually want a thriving film industry
From The New York Times:

When you are Will Smith, there are few places you can’t get in. Last year, one of those places was China.

Government censors allowed only 20 foreign movie imports in 2005, leaving out Mr. Smith’s romantic comedy “Hitch.” The rejection rankled the actor; China is one of the fastest-growing movie markets. So at a gathering of the Sony Corporation’s top management in January, Mr. Smith appealed to the chief executive, Sir Howard Stringer, and a studio executive, Michael Lynton, to introduce him to Chinese producing partners.

“We can be more helpful in India,” Mr. Lynton told Mr. Smith at their afternoon meeting at the Kahala Resort in Honolulu. India has a robust movie industry with none of China’s political constraints. (link)

Amazon.com, Joyo and Dangdang
The Wall Street Journal has published a short article about online retailers in China, focusing on Dangdang.com. Some numbers:

Later that year [2004], Amazon bought Dangdang's Chinese competitor Joyo for about $75 million. Today, Dangdang and Joyo are by some accounts neck and neck, but Dangdang is edging ahead. Reliable market-share data are hard to come by, since none of the major companies are publicly traded. Shanghai iResearch Co., another Chinese market-research company, estimates Dangdang sold about $55.2 million of goods on its site last year, slightly less than the $56.4 million sold by Joyo. IResearch also estimates that Dangdang's sales nearly tripled last year, compared with 50% for Joyo. Dangdang "has the momentum to become the dominant player in the market," says Mr. Yu of Analysys.

Dangdang doesn't disclose its sales volume. Ms. Yu says revenue doubled last year and is on track to more than double this year, with Dangdang expected to turn a quarterly net profit by the end of 2006. She believes the company is bigger than Joyo. Joyo, which also doesn't divulge revenue, is "one of the biggest online retail companies in China," says Tony Tian, a Joyo spokesman.

Bertelsmann expanded its BOL site shortly after launching it to sell audio and video products, gadgets and small gifts. In 2003, however, the site was repositioned as a sales channel for its Bertelsmann Book Club, says Klaus Markus, a Bertelsmann spokesman. (Link)

More Uyghur music videos
Xinjiang-based blogger The Opposite End of China has posted another Uyghur music videos (link)

Working for state-owned, private and foreign companies
A Tianya poster has written a popular post comparing his work experiences at various types of company in China. Comparisons inlcude salary, benefits, training etc., but the author does not come down in favor of one or another type of company (link)

Bridge in park cures athritis?
The Beijing Youth Dailyreports that the Danbi bridge (丹陛桥) in Tiantan Park has become a folk remedy for local residents who lie on it in the belief that it cures leg and back pains (link - in Chinese)

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