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Economic Watch: China's fintech innovation boosts real economy******
by Xinhua writers Ye Ting, Wang Xiaojie, Lu Chang
BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The 2021 Annual Conference of Financial Street Forum, which concluded in Beijing on Friday, highlighted the importance of fintech innovation to serving the high-quality development of the real economy through more convenient and inclusive financing.
"Now, thanks to tailor-made applications developed by banks, small and micro enterprises are able to obtain financing more easily, unlike in the past when it took up to a month for banks to conduct credit reviews. This is a typical practice of inclusive financing that could better serve the real economy," said Ji Zhihong, vice president of China Construction Bank, at the forum.
Participants of the three-day event have reached a consensus that the financial sector should meet the more diversified financial demands of the people and the real economy through technological innovation and digital transformation.
"Fintech innovation plays a fundamental role in promoting the development of the real economy through financial services," said Qi Ye, vice president of China Everbright Bank.
"It can push forward the digital development of the industrial economy, accelerate the transfer of offline business to online business, improve efficiency and reduce enterprise management and operation costs," Qi said.
China's central bank has been actively innovating and using structural monetary policy tools to improve the quality and efficiency of inclusive financing in an all-around way to better serve the development of the real economy.
By the end of September this year, the balance of inclusive financing loans to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises was 18.6 trillion yuan (about 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars), up 27.4 percent year on year, which had benefited over 40 million entities, according to Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China.
The manufacturing industry has been the main body of China's real economy, making fintech innovation in the sector more than necessary.
It is the duty of financial institutions to serve the manufacturing industry, which will also help them seize market opportunities, according to Liao Lin, president of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
In the first half of this year, the balance of ICBC loans to the manufacturing industry exceeded 2 trillion yuan, with loans to strategic emerging industries amounting to 1 trillion yuan, according to Liao.
"Without the real economy, finance would be like water without a source or a tree without roots," said Wang Jian, vice president of the Bank of Beijing. "Considering the new situation of the high-quality development of China's real economy, finance can only be more innovative when it is actively integrated into the real economy." Enditem
Economic Watch: Chinese cuisine taking in exotic tastes******
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- A platter of Beijing fried sauce noodles, served with fried chicken nuggets and French fries in Beijing's downtown area, raise eyebrows.。
"It is an unexpected mix and match with Chinese food in a Western fast-food restaurant," said a man surnamed Wang, who ordered the unique working lunch for roughly 35 yuan (5.47 U.S. dollars) at a KFC outlet.。
An elder Beijinger surnamed Qiao now finds it easy to enjoy a family dinner with his wife and child who prefer Western food.。
"Most western-style meals don't agree with me, but I enjoy delicious Beijing fried sauce noodles here," Qiao said.。
The specialty has been freshly added to the fast-food chain's menus in Beijing. "It is a hot seller," said Shi Jiajia, a local KFC employee.。
Customers can now order chicken rolls, preserved egg and pork congee, soybean milk, deep-fried dough sticks and boiled skewers, which are typical Chinese food, at KFC outlets in China.。
The fusion of traditional Chinese and exotic tastes has been embraced by KFC as well as many other catering brands in China.。
At the Beijing APM shopping mall, Tongrentang, a time-honored traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pharmacy with a history of over 350 years, opened a coffee shop featuring herbal coffees in late September.。
Coffee latte with goji berries or dried tangerine peels on top, or Americano with monk fruits -- such creative combinations have attracted numerous youngsters.。
"Young consumers in China are increasingly health-conscious nowadays and would like to have a taste of our special coffee," said the coffee shop's manager. The coffee business has also boosted the sales of its medicinal materials and processed products.。
Chinese per capita nominal consumer spending rose 15.8 percent year on year to 17,275 yuan in the first three quarters. After factoring in price levels, spending went up 15.1 percent year on year.。
The country's ever-expanding consumption market will unleash huge market demand and investment opportunities, where Chinese and foreign brands can team up with each other, said Zhuang Rui, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics.。
In July this year, China allowed cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Chongqing to take the lead in building international consumption centers.。
Beijing is expected to become an international tourism destination featuring shopping, food and cultures as well as digital consumption. Experts believe that the convergence of Chinese and Western cuisine is an inexorable trend for the city to build itself into an international consumption hub.。
"There is no doubt that the Chinese market has huge potentials. Meanwhile, our household disposable income needs to be further raised and efforts should be made to cater to the demand for high-quality, diversified and personalized consumption," said Zhuang. Enditem。
Preview: Steven Gerrard goes back to Anfield as top******
LONDON, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Steven Gerrard's return to Anfield as the coach of Aston Villa will no doubt provide the emotion and the headlines on a Premier League weekend where the top three sides all play at home.。
The games kick off on Friday night with Brentford and Watford looking for three points to help lift them away from the relegation zone, and continues on Saturday lunchtime when league leaders, Manchester City entertain Wolves.。
Manchester City have several injury worries ahead of the game, with Phil Foden, Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus and Nathan Ake all doubts, while Ferran Torres is still sidelined with a foot injury.。
The Wolves have problems in turning possession into goals, but will think that a City defense that has conceded a goal in their last five games may offer them a glimmer of hope.。
Former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has had a good start to management in the Premier League with three wins from his four games in charge at Aston Villa and he now takes his new club to the ground where he spent virtually his entire playing career.。
Gerrard looks to be turning Villa into a team than uses quick short passes, but without Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Matt Target, although he can expect a warm welcome home from the Liverpool fans, Liverpool players such as the in-form trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Diojo Jota are likely to be a great deal less welcoming.。
Chelsea suffered only their second league defeat of the season away to West Ham last weekend, before a late goal away to Zenit St Petersburg in midweek condemned them to a second-place finish in their Champions League group.。
Coach Thomas Tuchel needs to see an improvement when his side take on Leeds United at Stamford Bridge, although Chelsea's job has been made easier by injuries to Leeds captain Liam Cooper and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips.。
Saturday also sees Manchester United visit Norwich City, whose three-game unbeaten run came to an end last weekend against Tottenham. Ralf Rangnick is likely to stick with his 4-2-2-2 formation, while Norwich are without Brandon Williams, who is on loan from Old Trafford and ineligible to play.。
Southampton have goalkeeping problems ahead of their visit to Arsenal and have signed Willy Caballero on a short-term deal after injuries to Alex McCarthy and Fraser Forster, while Mohammed Salisu and Oriol Romeu are also sidelined through suspension.。
With Tottenham's visit to Brighton postponed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Tottenham squad, there are just three games on Sunday.。
West Ham travel to face Burnley without central defenders Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna and they could be important absentees in a game between two of the teams in the league that are most effective from set pieces.。
Newcastle United beat Burnley last weekend for their first win of the season and could have a good chance of making it two wins from two games when they visit an irregular Leicester City, whose interest in the Europa League was ended by a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat away to Napoli on Thursday.。
Finally, Crystal Palace entertain Everton, who are still without Yerry Mina, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Lucas Digne, but received a huge morale boost on Monday when they fought back from a goal down at home to Arsenal to end a run of eight games without a win. Enditem。