A Trio Bands Together
It's time for Beijing to lose some economic weight and synergize with neighboring Tianjin and Hebei Province
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UPDATED: May 4, 2014 NO. 19, MAY 8, 2014

FEAST YOUR EYES: An eaglewood sculpture is displayed at the ninth China (Putian) Straits Arts and Crafts Fair, which opened on April 28 and attracted more than 600 enterprises from both sides of the Taiwan Straits (LIN SHANCHUAN)

Policy Stability

China's economic growth in the first quarter was within a proper range, so the government will maintain the continuity and stability of its macroeconomic policies, the top leadership announced on April 25.

Since the beginning of the year, the country has been forced to face economic challenges and difficulties head on but the economy has generally had a good start, said a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chaired the meeting to discuss the economic situation and related matters.

"The economic situation was generally in line with the government's macroeconomic regulation and developmental outlook," the statement said.

Economic fundamentals remain unchanged and the country should coordinate the measures required for stabilizing growth, promoting reforms, adjusting structure, improving livelihoods and preventing risks, the statement said.

"Both fiscal and monetary policies will be kept steady to nurture expectation for sound development and a transparent macro policy environment," it said.

The Yangtze Belt

Premier Li Keqiang promised on April 28 to help group 11 provincial-level regions into the largest development network in China—an economic belt along the 1,800-km "golden waterway" of the Yangtze River.

It is a logical step to use the Yangtze River to connect the relatively developed east China with central and west China, Li said.

Li discussed the plan with leaders from the 11 municipalities and provinces in Chongqing, and he said it will generate a powerful driving force behind the nation's next round of economic development.

The 11 regions in the proposed economic belt include Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities, along with Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

"The well-being of people along the Yangtze River—about 580 million in 2012—is vital to the country's overall development," Li said.

Alibaba's Purchase

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba has stepped up its investment in cultural and digital entertainment industries with a strategic deal with leading online video source Youku Tudou.

The deal, announced on April 28, means Alibaba and private equity firm Yunfeng Capital will buy an 18.5-percent stake in Youku Tudou for $1.22 billion.

Alibaba holds 16.5 percent while Yunfeng Capital possesses 2 percent. Alibaba's founder and chairman Jack Ma is a co-founder of Yunfeng Capital.

The cooperation will support Youku Tudou's innovation in the newly emerging area and accelerate Alibaba's digital entertainment and video content strategy, said Ma.

It will also extend the Alibaba ecosystem and bring new products and services to Alibaba's customers, he said.

The deal will help Youku Tudou build a cultural entertainment platform that integrates online and offline entertainment," said Victor Koo, Chairman and CEO of Youku Tudou.

Loans for Small Firms

Outstanding loans from both domestic and foreign-invested banks to the nation's small and micro-sized companies stood at 13.7 trillion yuan ($2.22 trillion) as of the end of March.

The value represented an increase of 16.3 percent year on year, with the growth rate picking up by 2.1 percentage points compared to the growth level at the end of last year, according to data released by the People's Bank of China, China's central bank.

In the first quarter, new yuan-denominated loans to small and micro-sized firms totaled 560.9 billion yuan ($89.69 billion), accounting for 30.5 percent of new loans to all companies.

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