While ballots are being counted in a far-off land, China is getting its own affairs in order. The People’s Republic signed an agreement with Taiwan to expand cross-Strait passenger and cargo flights, increasing the number of cities with flights to the island from five to 21. Those extra (and presumably busy and expensive) routes should help out the mainland’s floundering airlines. The big three – China Southern, Air China and China Eastern – just signed an agreement to cooperate on maintenance to cut down on costs and flight delays. If it has the intended effect, then that’s good news all around – Li Jiaxing, the chairman of China’s civil aviation regulator, agrees. China also expanded a currency-swap agreement with its neighbor across the Bohai Sea, South Korea, from US$4 billion-worth of won to US$30 billion to help the latter hedge against the effects of the financial crisis. (Q: What’s worth more, US$30 billion of won, or US$30 billion in renminbi? A: Wait a while.)
An US$8.3 billion agreement between the government of Nigeria and China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) to build a 1,315km railway in the African country was suspended for 90 days to “redefine” the scope of the contract, sending CRCC’s Hong Kong-listed shares plummeting. China Construction Bank, while not strictly in the construction business, announced that its investment banking arm is starting up a health care fund to invest in pharmacies, medical equipment, medical institutions and services.
Things did not go so agreeably in court for Gowell Electronics, a Chinese DVD player manufacturer, in California. A US district court issued an injunction saying that the Shenzhen-based company needed to equip its players with anti-piracy technology, agreeing with the plaintiff, the Motion Picture Association of America.