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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: December 1, 2008 NO. 49 DEC. 4, 2008

Road Troubleshooter

Huang Wei, a transportation expert, was appointed vice mayor of Beijing on November 20. The 47-year-old former vice minister of housing and urban-rural development is the city's first vice mayor who is also an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Huang, who holds a doctorate in road and airport engineering, began to serve as vice minister of housing and urban-rural development (vice minister of construction before this March) in August 2003. Before that, he was vice governor of east China's Jiangsu Province, after spending a 16-year teaching career at the province's Southeast University and holding the directorship of the provincial department of construction for two years until February 2003.

Huang is among China's first researchers of the intelligent transportation system and has worked at the University of California, Berkeley, as a senior visiting scholar. He is expected to play an important role in Beijing's efforts to improve its transportation network planning and management.

With a population of more than 16 million, Beijing now has 3.5 million cars. Traffic jams during peak hours have become a major complaint of local residents.

Fall of Tycoon

Huang Guangyu, founding Chairman of China's largest household appliance retailer, Gome Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd., has been detained for a probe into his role in manipulating the price of a Shanghai-listed pharmaceutical company and bribing government officials, according to police authorities.

Beijing-based Caijing magazine posted a report on its website on November 23, saying that Huang was suspected of getting involved in stock manipulation of the Jintai Co. Ltd. The company, which is controlled by Huang's older brother Huang Junqin, saw its share price nosedive from 26.58 yuan ($4) on August 31, 2007, to 2.31 yuan (less than $0.40) on November 21, after rallying 450 percent last July to August.

A report by the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald also cited anonymous sources at a company funded by Huang as saying that the 39-year-old tycoon had bribed several officials at regulatory approval agencies before Gome launched its first share issue in Hong Kong in 2004.

Huang founded Gome in 1987, which now holds 35 percent of China's household appliance market. He also has made successful inroads in the property sector.

Huang ranked second on Forbes magazine's list of the richest people in China in 2008 and is worth 18.36 billion yuan (nearly $3 billion).

Sports Stars

Yang Wei and Zhang Yining, double gold medallists at the Beijing Olympic Games in August, have been selected as China's male and female athletes of the year.

The result was announced at the 2008 China Top 10 Benefiting Laureus Sports for Good award ceremony in Beijing on November 21.

Gymnast Yang, 28, won his first Olympic title in the men's individual all-round gymnastics event this year after losing his first two bids in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004. He also won a gold medal in the team event and a silver medal in the rings final.

Zhang, 26, successfully defended her titles in the women's table tennis singles and doubles at the Beijing Olympics. She is the second female table tennis player to do so, following another Chinese player, Deng Yaping.

"We are convinced that we can overcome this crisis in a period of 18 months."

From a statement issued by leaders of 21 member economies at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, after they concluded their annual summit meeting in Peru's capital Lima on November 23

"There had been an argument that terrorist groups don't have the nautical skills required to capture a ship. But the Somali experience shows you don't need a high degree of skills."

Ian Storey, a fellow at Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, warning that the ease with which Somali pirates have captured a huge range of vessels may indicate a new field for al Qaeda to attack the world economy

"What went wrong is we had tremendous concentration in the sense we put a lot of our money to work against U.S. real estate. We got here by lending money and putting money to work in the U.S. real estate market in a size that was probably larger than what we ought to have done on a diversification basis."

Vikram Pandit, Chief Executive Officer of Citigroup Inc., in an interview on PBS' Charlie Rose Show on November 25

"The Chinese market is the most important new emerging market for the EU, and it's no other large growing markets in the world, but China. I mean, if even China slows down, the focus will still be China."

Joerg Wuttke, President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, after the organization's annual business confidence survey found about 70 percent of EU enterprises in China experienced a growth in their profit during the first three quarters of the year

"While China's economy is heavily dependent on exports to the United States, it is also a growing market for U.S. products, making trade retaliation-long a threat wielded solely by Washington-more of a two-way street."

Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen in his commentary "Economy, Not Rights, Rules the New China-U.S. World"

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