Friday April 19, 2019

Is China trying to revive the Old Silk Route? Find out!

China’s primary focus on culture and history is a sign that this is a way back to a “normal” economy

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Illustrated map depicting the journey of the Venetian merchant Marco Polo (1254 - 1324) along the silk road to China. Image source: MPI/Getty Images
  • The attempt to revive Silk Route is to dig back into its past glories and historical achievements
  • In the oasis city of Dunhuang, the ancient Mogao caves are being restored with special care
  • The first International Expo will take place in the Dunhuang city in September 2016 

The project of developing the Silk Route is neither spontaneous nor coincidental. It is a strategic scheme to keep the accusations that Beijing is enjoying the regional dominance owing to its financial stature, at bay. Analysts opined that it is China’s way of sending a message that the One Belt One Road project is an extension of the peace treaties China had made with Asia and Europe in the ancient times. The new project is to honour that Silk Route which remained the connecting route of theirs for centuries.  The Chinese are aiming at the revival of their agreements with Asia and Europe.

The economically boosted city of Beijing. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
The economically boosted city of Beijing. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

“The Silk Road has a shared legacy, for not only did it involve China, but many other countries including India, Russia, and Italy,” said E. Jun, the director of the Gansu Provincial Museum in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu to The Hindu.

In fact, the museums have antics which remind us of India’s Buddhist connect with China. The museum is under construction but the work is progressing at an extremely triumphant rate. A mega theatre is being built, a few miles away, in the area that falls under the Gobi desert. The scale of cultural infrastructure that is being developed is amazing. China’s primary focus on culture and history is a sign that this is a way back to a “normal” economy. At least, that is what they seem to be aiming at.

The Old Silk Route of Indo-China. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

Mr Wu pointed told The Hindu that the overall contribution of the “culture industry to the total GDP of the city had already crossed the 55 per cent mark last year, and the figure is expected to rise, as plans to develop infrastructure take root.

The historic Mogao Caves. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
The historic Mogao Caves. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

However, the critics perceive the work going on to develop the Silk Route through these plans as “cultural overkill”. They are saying that the attempts made by China to revive their cultural heritage by constructing new cultural sites will result in drawing in a flood of tourists to that particular area and the novelty of the Mogao caves will wear off.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Its really good if they are trying to revive their agreements with Asia and Europe. This will not only help the financial condition of China but also of Asia and Europe.

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Amazon Plans to Close its Domestic Marketplace in China by Mid-July

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store

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FILE - Amazon plans to close its domestic marketplace in China to focus on more lucrative businesses there. VOA

Amazon.com Inc. plans to close its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, focusing efforts on more lucrative businesses selling overseas goods and cloud services in the world’s most populous nation.

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store. Amazon expects to close fulfillment centers and wind down support for domestic-selling merchants in China in the next 90 days, one of the people said.

Home-grown e-commerce

The move underscores how entrenched, home-grown e-commerce rivals have made it difficult for Amazon’s marketplace to gain a foothold. Consumer insights firm iResearch Global said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Tmall marketplace and JD.com Inc. controlled 81.9 percent of the Chinese market last year.

“They’re pulling out because it’s not profitable and not growing,” said analyst Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. Ker Zheng, marketing specialist at Shenzhen-based e-commerce consultancy Azoya, said Amazon had no major competitive advantage in China over its domestic rivals.

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FILE – A logo of JD.com is seen on a helmet of a delivery man in Beijing, June 16, 2014. VOA

Unless someone is searching for a very specific imported good that can’t be found elsewhere, “there’s no reason for a consumer to pick Amazon because they’re not going to be able to ship things as fast as Tmall or JD,” he said.

Amazon’s customers in China will still be able to purchase the firm’s Kindle e-readers and online content, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing unit that sells data storage and computing power to enterprises, will remain as well.

The U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba and JD.com rose 1% Wednesday after Reuters first reported the move, before paring gains later in the day. Amazon’s shares closed flat.

US retreat, e-commerce showdown

The withdrawal of the world’s largest online retailer — founded by the world’s richest person — comes amid a broader e-commerce slowdown in China. Alibaba in January reported its lowest quarterly earnings growth since 2016, while JD.com is responding to the changing business environment with staff cuts.

 

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FILE – A worker removes an advertisement billboard of Indian online marketplace Flipkart, installed along the roadside in Mumbai, India, Oct. 16, 2015. Amazon.com Inc. is concentrating on India and its competition, Flipkart. VOA

It also follows the Chinese e-commerce retreat of other big-name Western retailers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold its Chinese online shopping platform to JD.com in 2016 in return for a stake in JD.com to focus on its bricks-and-mortar stores.

Similarly, the country appears to factor less in the global aspirations of fellow U.S. tech majors Netflix Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Pachter said.

ALSO READ: Microsoft, Amazon in Race For $10bn Pentagon Project

Amazon bought Chinese online shopping website Joyo.com in 2004 for $75 million, rebranding the business in 2011 as Amazon China. But in a sign of Tmall’s dominance, Amazon nevertheless opened an online store on the Alibaba site in 2015.

The firm is still expanding aggressively in other countries, notably India, where it is contending with local rival Flipkart. (VOA)