A history exhibition is shown to tourists in Guangzhou in Guangdong province. Photo: Xinhua

China has recently rolled out a comprehensive development plan on cultural and tourism development for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, according to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

China will build the Greater Bay Area into a habitable, entrepreneur-friendly area and a tourist destination with a flourishing cultural industry, said the ministry. By 2035, the area’s tourism and cultural sectors will realize high-quality development and will boast greater cultural soft power and higher tourism competitiveness.

The plan also emphasized the promotion of national history and culture and the need to beef up patriotic education among youth in the area.

The plan was jointly issued by the ministry, the office of the leading group for the development of the Greater Bay Area, and the Guangdong provincial government.

Sino-EU investment agreement

Chinese President Xi Jinping and European leaders announced on Wednesday that the two sides have completed investment agreement negotiations as scheduled.

The announcement was made during a meeting between Xi and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via video link.

Calling the investment agreement between China and the European Union (EU) as “balanced, high-standard and mutually beneficial,” Xi said the treaty has shown China’s determination and confidence to push a high-level opening-up.

“The agreement will provide greater market access, higher level of business environment, stronger institutional guarantees and brighter cooperation prospects for mutual investment,” Xi said.

Manufacturing PMI

The purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for China’s manufacturing sector came in at 51.9 in December, edging down 0.2% points from November, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday. A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below reflects contraction.

The PMI remained in the expansion zone for the 10th consecutive month, indicating that China’s manufacturing sector continued its steady recovery, data from the NBS showed. The sub-index for production stood at 54.2 in December, down 0.5% points from November, while that for new orders dropped 0.3% points to 53.6.

The new export order and import sub-indexes edged down from 51.5 and 50.9 in November to 51.3 and 50.4, respectively. The PMI for the country’s non-manufacturing sector fell to 55.7 in December from 56.4 in November.

Company news

The State Administration for Market Regulation said Wednesday it had fined e-commerce giant JD, Alibaba Group’s business-to-customer platform Tmall and discount e-retailer Vip.com, 500,000 yuan (US$76,650) each for irregular pricing.

It said it had made the decision after it received consumer complaints about these companies’ pricing strategies, such as raising the price first and then offering discounts, false promotions and inducing consumers to make transactions during the November 11 Singles Day online shopping carnival.

Meituan, China’s largest on-demand service platform handling online food deliveries and restaurant orders, is facing a lawsuit in a Beijing court for alleged abuse of market power, amid China’s ongoing scrutiny of key technology sectors, including the internet.

The antitrust case, filed by a person surnamed Wang, has been accepted by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, according to an official court notice. The complainant said that Meituan’s decision to temporarily remove Alipay, the payment platform of Alibaba, as a payment option from its main app, was an abuse of its dominant market position.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and KoKo and first published at ATimesCN.com.

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.