BEIJING Wholesale Nike Blazer China , Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- China's logistics sector remained in the expansionary zone in January although the upcoming Spring Festival holiday affected business activity, an industry index showed Tuesday.
A performance index for the sector stood at 53.3 in January, 1.7 points below the previous month but still above the 50-point demarcation level, according to data from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion, while a reading below that means contraction.
He Hui, deputy head of the China Logistics Information Center, attributed the lower reading to seasonal factors as business is usually slack ahead of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, which begins on Feb. 8 this time.
Storage business indices for consumer goods, such as food and home appliances, as well as machinery equipment ran at relatively high levels, reflecting strong logistics activity in those industries, He said.
An index for business expectations in the logistics sector rose by 1.6 points to 54.9 in January, showing that enterprises were upbeat about post-holiday business, according to the federation.
Chinese authorities are supporting the logistics industry in a bid to bolster consumption, as they hope it will emerge to play a bigger role in China's economy than investment.
Consumption contributed 66.4 percent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, up 15.4 percentage points from 2014, official data showed.
by Shuai Rong, Zhao Xiaona
BRUSSELS, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Peter Claus, a successful Belgian businessman who has been doing business with China since the 1980s, has many stories to tell when it comes to his experience in China.
Claus started a company in the fashion business in the early eighties in Europe and, after feeling the pressure of high competition on the European market, he decided to look to the Far East and started doing business in China.
"I went to the Chinese mainland, at that time, twice a year. It was like somebody going on a discovery trip to a new country," Claus said.
"Everything was complicated, if you had to take a train, a bus, almost nobody spoke or understood English, and it was complicated to make a hotel reservation also," he said.
At the time, the Chinese economy was dominated by state-owned companies with which Claus did business at the beginning.
Claus still remembers that when he attended an export commodities fair in Guangzhou the fair was not organized by product but by region. All items were mixed together. "It was very funny. We saw a booth and there were some completely different products like rice, underwear, car tires, etc. mixed with each other," he said.
"The employees were functionaries of the government and were not really interested to sell, and were not really driven as a commercial enterprise like we know in the West," he recalled.
In his view, the Chinese people he was dealing with then didn't understand his way of thinking at all, nor did they understand what he was looking for.
"Because their taste was completely different from ours, we had to explain everything very well and step by step so that we could develop a business with them, and finally we found a way to work with them," he said.
Claus based his design teams in Belgium and outsourced production to China, a model that allowed his company to grow very fast and make a good profit.
Claus said things began to change when China allowed for more private enterprises and the Chinese people were very motivated to set up businesses. "They worked hard and learned quickly."
In the nineties, Claus came to China more frequently and he could see changes with every visit.
"The infrastructure changed very quickly, because they built roads and communication systems, and the Chinese government can make very fast decisions," he said.
"Until now, it has changed completely, you can take a flight from Brussels to Beijing within 14 hours," he said.
In 2007, just before the financial crisis, Claus had the wisdom to sell his company to a private equity group at a good price.
However, in recent years, as China-EU relations have become closer, Claus sensed new business opportunities and opened a new company in mid-2014 in Belgium with a Chinese businessman, Tom Zhou. The two have been doing business for more than 20 years and are now co-partners sharing a 50-50 stake in a new company.
Claus and Zhou are now general managers of Felix Europe BVBA. Claus is an expert of the European market and Zhou is very familiar with the Chinese market, and the two do business exporting European food products to the Chinese market.
About one-and-a-half years into their business, Zhou said he felt very lucky to have a European business partner like Claus, because the rules of the game are very different in Europe from in China and without a good European side partner, it's very difficult for a Chinese company to integrate into European society because it may face many risks including taxes, laws, and cultural differences.
As for cultural differences, Zhou said: "In China, whenever a company receives a goods order, the boss and the workers will have great passion to work very hard to finish the production as soon as possible. But things are very different in Europe. When a European company was asked for an order of products, they refuse you if their order is full or if they are going to be on vacation."
"At the suggestion of Mr. Claus, our company has bought security insurance for all of our food products. In addition, you know we export very high-quality honey to China. To my surprise, at the very beginning, he suggested that all our honey had to be sent to a lab for testing until we get the food safety report before we export them to China," Zhou added.