A total of 36 IC-related companies received funding, up

percent from the first half of 2018, and three of them each obtained more than $100 million in investment. Cloud computi

ng, artificial intelligence, robotics, and virtual reality also were hot spots that lured investment during the period,” Ni said.

Ni added although the technology industry is rapidly expanding under favorable polic

es, internet and mobile internet are still the attractive sectors in the TMT industry. Internet finance, ian

ternet-based education, fragmented entertainment and content sharing were hotly pursued by investors.

“The setup of the science and technology innovation board will improv

e the inclusiveness of the domestic capital market towards emerging enterprises, and o

pen a new financing and exit channel. The board offers a new platform for high-tech emerging enterprises, and tech

nology companies are expected to kick off a new wave of IPOs,” Janson Yang, PwC China assurance partner, said.

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After decades of rapid GDP growth, China’s economy has en

entered a new era of moderately slowing expansion and a transition to a high-quality grow

h model. That has pushed economists to reconsider some long-term issues, such as whether the economy wo

uld cool down sharply before a considerable rise in wealth, especially after a period of fast growth.

“The key method to ensure China’s role as a high-income cou

ntry is to adjust industrial structures and promote productivity,” said Zhu Min, an inf

luential Chinese economist and former deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund.

High-tech manufacturing, the service industry and the digital economy will be the new engines

for the economy, while some traditional driving forces, such as injecting funds into the market, are losing momentum, Zhu said.

China’s total GDP exceeded 90 trillion yuan ($13.4 trillion) in 2018, and the per cap

ita GDP was about $9,700. Economists predict that if the country maintains growth of at least 6 percent th

is year, which is likely given the current momentum, its per capita GDP this year would surpass $10,000.

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That means China would move closer to the standards

for a “high-income country” — above $12,736 in per capital GDP — set by the World Bank in 2015.

However, a productivity slowdown, aging population and unbalanced regional developme

nt could be among the “bottlenecks” that constrain China in becoming a high-income country, economists said.

Given the pressure of the slowing global economy, a high degree of leveraging maintains the top risk for China’s econ

omy, thus measures should continue to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio “in proper order”, said Lou Jiwei, chairman of

the National Council for Social Security Fund and a former finance minister.

It is necessary to build a long-term and efficient mechanism for financial regula

tion and fiscal supervision, and to prevent potential risks in the property sector, Lou said.

The three-day China Development Forum has a guest list of more than 150 international delegates, including global industry leaders.

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China is willing to enhance high-level guidance with the

Italian side, respect each other’s major concerns, jointly build the Belt and Road, explore cooperation with third parties, boost

cultural exchanges and local-level cooperation, and strengthen popular support for bilateral relations, Xi said.

The Chinese president stressed that in recent years, China’s National People’s Con

gress and the Italian Senate have established a regular exchange mechanism.

China supports the two countries’ legislative bodies to carry out multi-level, wide-ranging and multi-c

hannel exchanges and cooperation, and share successful experience on major issues such as legislative supervision, state gov

erning, national economy and the people’s livelihood, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual learning, Xi said.

He said he hopes that the Italian Senate will continue to play an active facilitating role, and cr

eate better conditions for and inject greater momentum into the development of bilateral relations.

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The Italian Senate warmly welcomes Xi for his visit, Casell

llati said, noting that the Italian and Chinese peoples have always trusted each other and

maintained profound friendship, with close ties in such fields as economy and trade, and culture.

The Senate speaker said she agrees with Xi on his remarks about the traditional friendly exchanges between the two cou

ntries dating back over 2,000 years, published in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit.

China and Italy are major countries that boast a rich culture, she said, adding that Italy is willing to boost communication and c

ooperation with the Chinese side in such fields as culture, art, language, heritage protection, tourism, science and tec

hnology, and innovation, and encourage their youths to increase exchanges and mutual understanding.

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The 10 percent deduction rate, which applies to buyers of ag

ricultural goods, will be cut to 9 percent, said the statement.

“The VAT reform is not simply lowering the tax rate, but focusing on the integration with the overall tax reform. It has continued to ma

ke progress toward the long-term goal of establishing a modern VAT system, and it also leaves room for cutting the number of VAT brac

kets from three to two in the future,” said Wang Jianfan, director of the department of taxation under the Ministry of Finance.

To implement the statutory taxation principle, China will also accelerate legislation to deepen VAT reform, Wang said.

The joint statement came after Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will imp

lement a series of measures to cut VAT rates and ease the tax burden in almost all industries.

Earlier this month, Li said in his 2019 Government Work Repo

rt that VAT reform was key to improving the tax system and achieving better income distribution.

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Volunteers inundate blood donation center near explosion site

After an explosion at a chemical plant killed 47, residents of Xiangshui county in Ji

angsu province have flooded centers to donate bolod for the severely injured survivors.

There were so many people coming in to donate blood that the organ

izers at one center ran out of application forms, China Daily discovered Friday afternoon.

“On average, people have to wait for at least five hours for their turn,” said Meng Xiangh

ua, a member of the local labor union that has been assisting in the drive to build up blood supplies following the blast.

He said one of his neighbors came in at 8 am Friday and had to wait until 1:30 pm to d

onate. “There are so many people coming that we failed to count how many people have donated so far,” he added.

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North Korea withdraws from DMZ joint liaison office after new US

  North Korea is withdrawing from a joint liaison office near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) with Sout

h Korea, a key symbol of the rapprochement and ongoing peace process between the two countries.

  The move comes after the US slapped two Chinese firms with sanctions for doing busin

ess with Pyongyang, the first action taken by Washington against North Korea since the second summit bet

ween North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi ended early with no agreement.

  South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced the move Friday, say

ing the decision had been taken by the North on “instructions from the superior authority.”

  In its communication with the South, Pyongyang said it would not mind Seoul’s representatives “remaining in the office,” whi

ch is based in Kaesong, a part of North Korea near the de facto border between the two countries.

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All the devices were judged to be viable, and the package

  sent to Heathrow Airport burst into flames after being opened by staff. Nobody was injured by the devices and no arrests have been made.

  The packages were posted with Irish stamps and had return addresses in Dublin, prompting Irish police to join the investigation. The packages were all A4-size

d white postal bags containing yellow padded bags, which were capable of igniting when opened.

  Police Scotland confirmed that a controlled explosion was carried out on the p

ackage found at the University of Glasgow on March 6 as a precautionary measure.

  The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said in a joint statem

ent that the devices “bore similarities” to past packages “linked to dissident groups asso

ciated with Northern Ireland related terrorism,” and that “officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.”

  The devices did not cause any injuries or damage.

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The visit was not only for Harvard but also on behalf of

  all of US higher education in order to promote bilateral educational exchanges, he said.

  ”I am here precisely because, like you, I believe these ties are extremely import

ant for our academic institutions, but even more importantly, for our nations,” he said.

  He noted that there are a large number of overseas students from China at Har

vard, and the Chinese language is among the most popular foreign languages at the institution.

  He also expressed his admiration for the great emphasis the Ch

inese government has placed on education and its efforts to enhance higher education, addi

ng that Harvard University is ready to move forward with exchanges with Chinese education and research inst

itutions.He calls for tapping partnership potential in such sectors as shipping, telecommunications

  China stands ready to work with Italy on the Belt and Road Initiative by strengthening its alignment with the Eur

opean country’s development strategies to bring bilateral ties to a new level, President Xi Jinping said.

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