|Beijing Scene, Volume 5, Issue 8, May 7 - 13|
It's the E-conomy, Stupid
"Through logging onto the Internet, some people have managed low-level
entertainment or gambling. These activities are illegal," says Zhang
Jing, director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
"The government should implement strict rules to eliminate these players
and allow legitimate players into the market," Zhang told the World
Economic Forum's China Business Summit in Beijing.
"E-commerce is advantageous to the people of China. Players that are
qualified should put forward a common code of conduct," he says.
The government will apply existing consumer rights and fair competition
laws to prevent e-commerce monopolies, he says. Strict laws protecting
against fraud on the Internet will also be enacted, he says without
Information technology executives attending the business summit said
there is a laundry list of obstacles to the development of China's tiny
e-commerce industry, from a lack of credit cards to high Internet fees
and snail's-pace access. While roughly 80-100 million Chinese have debit
cards, most are loath to use them to buy goods over the telephone or
the Internet. The problem has less to do with a lack of technology governing
financial transactions than with traditional Chinese habits, says Charles
Zhang, chief executive officer of the Chinese-language web portal Sohu.com.
"It's a cultural issue. It's going to take some time to really observe
the habits of using credit cards," he says. Almost all of the goods
bought on-line by Chinese consumers are relatively large and expensive
items that are paid for in cash on delivery, he says. Leehun Lee, the
chief China representative of credit card company Visa International,
cites bandwidth problems and high government-set telephone and on-line
"It's too slow, there are too many interruptions and it's too expensive,"
Lee says. Some of the biggest opportunities for Chinese e-commerce appear
to be in overseas business-to-business wholesale, an area on which the
government has put a premium in order to boost exports. Vincent Lin
of Sun Microsystems cites examples in which Chinese flower growers and
Christmas ornament-makers have bypassed Hong Kong middlemen to sell
their wares online directly to markets as far away as Brazil. "I think
a lot of this is happening already," Lin says.
The Central Daily News says Chen Ing-hou, the creator of the virus,
told police he "had been embarking on two more types of CIH virus that
would be more powerful than the existing one."
Mr. Chen reportedly says the design is 80 per cent completed. He says
that one of the new viruses will be able to penetrate Microsoft NT servers
and paralyze them.
Socking It Away
In late April, the elderly woman went to the bank branch, claiming
that she had a lot of coins at home and asked whether she could "sell
them to the bank." The bank promised to help her count the coins no
matter how many she had.
The tellers were surprised when 18 sacks of coins were delivered to
their doorstep. Zhou said the coins had been accumulated by her late
husband who sold newspapers for 25 years.
Wen Baocheng and Lu Peng - both employees at the Ping'an Insurance
provincial headquarters in the capital of Henan province - are accused
of posting news that the bank was in trouble because a top official
had disappeared with a massive amount of embezzled funds.
The rumors prompted depositors to rush to multiple branches in the
city to withdraw their funds, it says.
The report did not specify the motive, but another official with the
bank in Shanghai speculated prior to the arrests that the rumors may
have come from another financial institution.
A Beijing court ordered financial compensation paid to writer Chen
Weihua after the Computer Business Information Weekly last year published
an article without Chen's permission.
The publication later refused to apologize or pay compensation to
Chen, claiming that Chen could not prove that he was "Wu Fang."
Better than Viagra
"Hey, these herbs work better than Viagra. Come and take a look!"
shouts a shopkeeper at a Chinese herbal medicine shop to a passing middle-aged
Viagra, a blue diamond-shaped tablet made by New York-based pharmaceutical
giant Pfizer Inc., created a sensation in China even before it hit local
pharmacy shelves in February.
Tales of the wonders of Chinese potency cures abound in the PRC, which
wants to develop into an international research and trading center for
traditional Chinese medicine.
The ingredients prescribed and the quantity varies depending on the
kind and degree of sexual impairment.
While doctors have warned of Viagra's side effects such as headaches,
facial flushing, heartburn and vision problems, herbalists say Chinese
potency medicine has few side effects unless inappropriately used.