January 6-13, 2006
 
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"The most important characteristic of a chief executive of any region is that he or she should be a noble person."

- Li Ka Shing, business tycoon from Hong Kong, on the topic of the special administrative region's future chief executive. see more



Arabian delights


CHEF Tarek Mouriess carried about 10 kinds of ingredients in his suitcase on his flight to Shanghai to host an Arabic Food Promotion at the Hilton Shanghai.
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Death-sentence for Xiangyang market arouses mixed response

By Xie Fang

The news that Shanghai's famous -- or infamous -- Xiangyang market is going to be shut down has generated a mix response.

While tourists and locals who have enjoyed bargaining in the open market said they were disappointed, the news is a boon for those whose intellectual property rights have been infringed upon by the counterfeit products there.

Shanghai Vice-Mayor Zhou Taitong said at a meeting on Wednesday that the city government has firmly decided to shut down the Xiangyang Fashion and Gift Market, where -- alongside the sale of cheap genuine goods -- a controversial business in counterfeit products has thrived for a long time.

In an effort to protect intellectual property right and improve the image of the city, government officials have said the open market will be shut down rather than merely relocated this year. The closure schedule has yet to be released.

An entirely new market will open in the Xuhui District.

Concerns have been raised by foreigners who love to bargain for cheap goods at the market. They say worries about counterfeit products have been exaggerated, since these can be found worldwide.

Spanish tourist Maria-Gracia Cavestany said: "They should not close the market. The sale of fake goods happens everywhere in the world -- in Spain and Italy for instance. No one worries about it."

Guy Angel, an Israeli businessman, also likes the market because of its cheap prices.
"I am sorry to hear that this world-famous market will close soon. People know what they are buying here. Even if goods are fake, as long as the quality is good and the price is better than that in department stores, I don't think it will damage the city's reputation."

Vendors appeared calm after learning the news, unlike the disappointed foreigners.
One trader, who withheld his name, said: "I already knew the market would close someday, according to our contract. As China has gradually linked up with the world's latest fashions, more Chinese brands will appear in the West. If we want to have our intellectual property rights protected overseas we should also protect the Westerners' rights here."

He said he had been thinking about opening a small shop to sell legal computer games after his contract expires May 15.

Another vendor surnamed Qiu said she learned the news from the media, rather than being informed by authorities.

"I am not disappointed at all. Although on the surface a huge number of people flow in every day and business seems to be booming, the rent here is very high. The annual fee for a stall with a good location tops 1 million yuan (US$123,000). It is not easy to work under such tremendous pressure. I will find another cheaper place to do business in the future," she added.

A shopkeeper surnamed Zhang has worked at the market for two years. He was concerned that counte

rfeit goods would be found somewhere else in the city after the closure of the market.
"You will eventually find a place to go if you want to buy this kind of stuff. In my opinion, the biggest problem of the market is not the sale of fake goods, it is the black sheep who gather outside the market and attempt to sell foreigners counterfeit goods from stores hidden in re

sidential areas. Typically, they charge extremely high prices and they are aggressive."
Zhu Liankou, director of the New Shanghai International Centre Development Co, which operates the market, said most ve

ndors have accepted the facts with equanimity and he hasn't received a complaint so far.
"Because we signed contracts with traders for just six months starting
from November 15 last year, they shouldn't be surprised about the closure of the market."

When asked why the market hadn't learnt from the Beijing Silk Market, which is located indoors, he said: "The key point is we don't have the access to the land."

Nongfan Zhu, IPR Subcommittee Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, gave a warm welcome to the move when he was told the closure of the market on an early occasion.

He said US businesses in the Shanghai and Yangtze River Delta region have long been concerned about the market where fake goods of well-known American brands were on sale.

Along with other foreign business communities, they have been lobbying the local government to shut down the market.

"It is quicker than we have expected," he added.

According to a local newspaper report, the land for the market was leased to a Hong Kong company in 1996 and again in 1998. It was the site for a key project on Huaihai Road, with the plan to build five-star hotels, office buildings and residential apartments. However, it had not been developed due to a shortage of funds so the temporary market was set up in October 2000.

Coupled with flexible management and cheap goods, it has developed dramatically. There are nearly 900 vendors in the market, and the daily number of customers reaches 50,000, while the figure can reach 100,000 on weekends.

About 35 raids were conducted by the 668 members of the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Bureau Xuhui Branch during the first half of last year. Up to 328 stalls suspected of selling counterfeit products were targeted and more than 11,000 fake items were confiscated.

 


Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence

 


Profle

End of the Dream
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Auto fans melt away
With the approach of the Formula One Grand Prix, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, was worried about how to attract enough spectators to the circuit and rev up sluggish fan interest in the event.
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Under artificial eyes

FOR most customers, CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras installed in shops, banks, buses or metro stops and many other places, merit little attention. But for Xiao Gang, such cameras have become an agonizing and confusing problem.

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