Germany's ranks of small and medium-sized enterprises, especially so-called hidden champions, have been key to drawing more Chinese investment, and the trend shows no signs of abating, according to Hermann Simon, one of the country's most influential business thinkers. Hidden champions are often market leaders, either worldwide or within the continent they are based in, with revenues below 5 billion euros ($5.55 billion). Simon, chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global consultancy firm founded in Bonn, says Chinese investors, unlike some US firms, see acquisitions in Germany as long-term strategic investments.
An Ernst & Young report in February shows Germany was the most attractive destination in Europe for Chinese investment last year, with 36 acquisitions. Simon, 69, believes this trend will continue thanks to Germany's many hidden champions, a term he coined to describe relatively unknown SMEs that are the backbone of a nation's economy and have for many years sustained Germany's leading position in exports. Many German SMEs are leading niche markets globally and are valued below several billion euros, he says, which makes them natural targets as the majority of Chinese acquisitions in Europe are limited in size, and Chinese industrial companies have a strong sense of affinity or preference for German SMEs. China is one of few nations with so many entrepreneurs that understand the concept of hidden champions, Simon says. One prominent example he cites is a Chinese chemical products owner whom he met during a recent visit to Shandong province. On another occasion, when Simon was giving a presentation in Shanghai, he noticed the hidden champions concept was met with great interest. There is a largely positive attitude in German business circles toward Chinese investors, according to Simon, who says that, unlike some US companies that acquired European enterprises and focused on maximizing short-term gains before looking to offload them again, Chinese buyers tend to see such purchases as strategic investments. The Chinese investment in Germany is less aggressive compared with the Americans, he says, adding that Chinese buyers in Germany behave in a moderate and reasonable way. Simon acknowledges there is concern in Germany about more Chinese investment pouring into the country, but says: "When General Motors took over Opel in 1929, or Ford built a huge automobile plant in Cologne in 1930, people said we would be dominated and conquered by the Americans, and that we would be a colony of the US. He believes Chinese investment can bring advantages for both sides and refutes the notion that Chinese companies are simply trying to extract know-how from Germany to transfer to China. In addition, he says, Chinese investment means German SMEs can gain a "stronger capital base" and access to the Chinese market.
Simon, who in an online poll by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper was named the second-most influential management thinker in German-speaking countries, says German SMEs are in general becoming more open due to internationalization. Although he believes Germany's hidden champions can be excellent role models for Chinese companies, Simon says most would still prefer to avoid a takeover if possible. They combine specialties in products and know-how with global sales and marketing, and serve the target markets through subsidies.
They are massive innovators, and the effectiveness of their R&D beats that of large companies by a factor of five. Their greatest strength is their closeness to customers, while their strategies are value oriented, not price oriented. According to Zhai, one of the reasons is that "China soon will become the largest source of travelers" for France outside Europe. Outside Europe, China was France's second biggest tourist market in 2013 after the United States, with 1.7 million visitors and $681 million of revenue, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Currently the major museums in Paris provide instructions in Chinese, and Zhai said the conditions are still being improved. French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius said in August last year that "the goal we have set with our Chinese officials is to quickly reach 5 million (Chinese tourists)".
Zhai noted that the French side has responded proactively by offering more convenience to Chinese tourists.
Welcoming 84.1 million tourists in 2014, France confirmed its position as the world's most visited country. Zhai noted that in the past, the United States and Japan accounted for a major portion of the travelers, while the number of Chinese tourist has surged rapidly in recent years. The ambassador said that the country faced great security challenges last year, including two deadly terrorist attacks that shocked the world.
Last year, Beijing worked closely with Paris to make the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris a success.
Zhai said he was impressed last November by the unbeaten French spirit and the country's commitment to hosting such an event after a deadly terrorist attack that killed more than 100. Although the number of Chinese tourists going to France dropped after the attacks, it was a minor dip compared with other countries, Zhai said. The ambassador said the services provided by France for Chinese travelers have been improving, while "public security remains an issue" as cases of theft and robbery targeting Chinese travelers have been reported frequently. Due to the large number of Chinese tourists, the number of such cases is daunting and this indicates "a demanding task for the consular protection staff of our embassy and consulates", Zhai said. Zhai noted that the French have made progress in boosting public security, including increasing cameras to monitor downtown areas and strengthening police patrols. But he thinks major improvement will not be achieved overnight because of the quickly rising number of Chinese tourists. Cao believes respect can be earned, and families will remember the good service, which is the result of years of practice.
His workplace, Changshu Crematory, employs 10 cremators and cremates about 10,000 bodies each year.
He is also satisfied with his salary, saying that the pay, more than 100,000 yuan ($15,300) each year is "above average in Changshu". Charmed by a painting of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor on the wall of his parents' sitting room in Dublin, Ireland, young Goff didn't know he would later be in charge of the place that gained China a spot in the Lonely Planet's list of world's greatest bookshops. He is talking quickly in the Beijing Bookworm, boxed in a building with notable pink walls outside, while inside red lanterns hang high from the ceiling and great music floats in the air. Hailed as one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world by many international media, it has been a "home away from home" to many. Goff's efforts not only include being hospitable to customers and partners, and being passionate about books, he has to "be innovative" as he's managing brick-and-mortar bookshops in the digital age.
The community-based Bookworm has year-round programs, and an annual literary festival that just wrapped up on Sunday.
This year's Bookworm Literary Festival featured 180 writers and thinkers from 30 countries in 300 events. In the past decade, Goff has witnessed China become "more accessible than ever before" and with an increasingly attractive publishing market. Calling China "one of those major countries an international writer can't miss to visit", he advised writers to come in with open eyes and open ears, taking in as much as they can. Goff was born in 1968 in Dublin into a family that "had no connection with China" besides that painting in the sitting room. After graduation with a degree in journalism from Rathmines College in 1992, he worked for several newspapers that brought him to Africa and central Europe.
He then arrived in Beijing "with no friends and no relatives here", stationed somewhere in the Haidian district where he studied Chinese and got an apartment before looking for a job. Beginning in 2002, he and Alexandra Pearson, daughter of a British diplomat, started to manage a big English language book collection that became the foundation of the current Bookworm. Goff went to Chengdu, Sichuan province, to develop a Bookworm branch in 2006, and later another one in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, in 2007.
Goff took over part of Pearson's responsibility as she left for home in 2013, and since then has been based mostly in Beijing. And though he doesn't travel as much as previously, he still chooses to go to literary festivals around the world, including his top holiday destinations of Toronto, London and Jaipur. I'm looking for people who write stories that are based in today and really reflect young Chinese writers' experiences of the society they're living in. People around world still have more historical views of the country-based on the movies and books they have experienced.
I always come in at lunchtime at the Bookworm, and in the afternoon, do some organizational work with the team. Investment is a personal and lonely experience, but becoming a startup entrepreneur can be even lonelier. Wei Min, founder and CEO of Yunhuo Technology, says people tend to overestimate their ability when they have a successful career path in a big company.
The one thing I don't like about it is the fact that I seldom have the time or money to enjoy things.
I live in a seaside villa in Hong Kong and I own a yacht, so it's not that I don't have the money for five-star hotels. Also, most people who enjoy a good start to their business tend to underestimate the difficulties that lay ahead.
I was born into a fairly ordinary family in Dalian, which is on the northeast coast in Liaoning province. So far, I've invested about 10 million yuan in the initial development of the app, and I expect to spend another 30 million yuan on marketing. Our app is a platform that brings together job seekers and local employers looking to fill part-time positions. Although this life is much harder than just going sailing on my yacht, becoming an entrepreneur is a lifestyle full of challenges, charm and growth opportunities. Zhuo Qiang has been involved in wildlife conservation in Kenya for five years, but he says he still gets odd looks from locals and tourists when they see him reinforcing bomas, which are predator-proof cowsheds used in the Maasai Mara's Ol Kinyei Conservancy. Zhuo, who started the fund in 2011 using his savings and donations from friends, says that view has remained largely unchanged despite the visible contributions in recent years by Chinese to conservation across the continent. In China, celebrities have gone a long way to raising awareness about wildlife protection in Africa. Yao Ming, the retired basketball star, visited Kenya in 2013 and appeared in the documentary, End of the Wild, which captured the threat posed by poachers to elephant populations. The former NBA All-Star is expected to return to the country for a star-studded summit to promote the issue in Nairobi on April 29, joining Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Nicole Kidman, musician Elton John, US business leaders George Soros and Howard Buffett, and several heads of governments in Africa. Celebrities help to increase the visibility of a campaign, says Edwin Wanyonyi, chief strategist at Kenya Wildlife Services.
This certainly appears to have been the case in China: When the Zimbabwean government announced in September that poachers had killed 85 elephants in a wildlife sanctuary by putting cyanide in their watering holes, many Chinese took to the Internet to condemn the act and call for tough penalties for the perpetrators. According to WildAid, a US-based NGO, poaching has fallen by 80 percent in recent years thanks to the work of governments and wildlife groups.
Wanyonyi says China has made significant contributions to elephant conservation in the country. During a three-day visit to Nairobi in 2014, Premier Li Keqiang pledged $10 million to support African wildlife protection. China and Kenya have also made significant progress in tightening surveillance of entry points for illegal ivory, he says. Moreover, the Chinese government's ban on the import of illegal ivory has been a major step.
Mara Conservation Fund founder Zhou, who is known locally as "Simba", has commended his country's government for participating in Kenya's conservation efforts.
However, he adds, "For wildlife conservation to be successful more Chinese NGOs need to be established to champion the cause.
He says more investigations are needed globally to understand and effectively curb the illegal trade of ivory and rhino horn, and admits he has reservations about the forthcoming CITES meeting in South Africa that will discuss proposals to legalize the trade. Zhuo says a strong international mechanism independent from political divisions, along with a clear consensus on law and enforcement, would boost efforts to halt the trade.
Those who criticize China's involvement in Africa's development would do well to keep in mind how the partnerships already have helped African nations achieve some of their key medium-term goals, says the man running Kenya's long-term development plan. A number of years ago, as the old millennium became a new one, many countries were facing basic challenges and needed to accelerate progress. Wainaina says he thinks Kenya would have fallen short in meeting such targets if traditional funding sources alone had been involved. Alluding to critics who call China a neocolonial power in Africa, Wainaina says: "China is a true friend and partner. More opportunities were presented when the Chinese government announced a $60 billion fund during the Forum on China Africa Cooperation in December in Johannesburg, South Africa. President Xi Jinping said in Johannesburg: "China has decided to provide a total of $60 billion of funding support. Wainaina says this partnership can be sustainable if projects have contracts that emphasize Africa's needs. He believes that history has buoyed Kenya's confidence in Chinese firms, including heavy Chinese involvement in such projects as the $3.2 billion Nairobi-Mombasa Standard Gauge Railway to be completed this year, the $26 billion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor, expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, and modernization of Mombasa port. Such projects have converged well with the Belt and Road Initiative spearheaded by China that, among other things, earmarks the port of Mombasa as a key African hub. While noting that the Chinese firms have a leg-up in clinching government contracts, he discounts the notion that the Asian giant steers Africa's development agenda. To achieve mutual and sustainable growth, he advises African countries to conceive goals that are achievable and then engage China as a partner. When Liu Xianfa, the Chinese ambassador to Kenya, addressed the Vision 2030 board on China and the implementation of the development plan, an important lesson taken away from the meeting is the need to translate the roadmap "into Chinese", Wainaina says.
Wainaina adds, however, that the relationship is complex, with many levels, and at times there are disagreements.
But being a strong believer in the free market, he says laws should not be used to protect local content at the expense of quality.
He applauds Ethiopia for enforcing high taxes on imports while encouraging quality manufacturing of leather goods, and believes other African countries could use this example. He says he thinks the partnership between Kenya and China will continue to be government-led. China is increasingly providing mutually beneficial growth opportunities for less-developed countries and economies hit by the current debt crisis, according to veteran diplomat Zhou Xiaoming.
Such opportunities, he says, are being created via multinational institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the New Development Bank (formerly BRICS Bank), and organizations like the United Nations. Veteran diplomat Zhou Xiaoming says China's experience, resources and technology can be shared with other developing countries.
China is participating in long-term development programs at the UN, especially to help realize the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last year, following the country's major contribution to the Millennium Development Goals, which led to tremendous global growth between 2000 and 2015, he says.
China showed its support for the new goals when President Xi Jinping attended the UN General Assembly that launched them in September and announced a number of major initiatives, including a South-South Cooperation Fund with an initial pledge of $2 billion to help developing countries implement a sweeping sustainable development agenda over the next 15 years. Between 1990 and 2015, more than 470 million people in China were lifted out of extreme poverty, according to data from the UN Development Programme. As the Sustainable Development Goals aims to lift another 1 billion worldwide out of poverty by 2030, China's experience, resources and technology can be shared with other developing countries, Zhou says. He says China's contribution toward poverty reduction is twofold: "We still have about 100 million people in China living below the poverty line, so we need to eliminate poverty domestically. China's support of a UN resolution for debt-burdened developing countries last year helped in restructuring their debt in a way that allowed their economies to grow in a sustainable way, Zhou says. Such a clause is beneficial when considered within the context of the Argentinean debt crisis, which has for the past decade seen the country battle a small group of hedge funds that refused to join a deal it had agreed with more than 90 percent of creditors. The deal would have allowed Argentina to pay back its debt at huge discounts, but the hedge funds refused and took the matter to court in New York, consequently prompting a new default by the country.
The UN resolution, passed with 136 supporting votes, including that of China, was met with opposition from creditor nations such as the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom, and the European Union abstained as a whole. China, while still a developing nation, has become a global player in the world economy and a major international lender.
In addition to supporting the UN resolution, China is also exempting the debt of outstanding intergovernmental interest-free loans due by the end of 2015 owed by the least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing countries, as announced by Xi at the UN assembly meeting last year. Zhou, who served as minister counselor in the economic and commercial office at the Chinese embassy in London before taking up his post in Geneva last year, has seen China's rapid emergence onto the world stage through his extensive career as a diplomat. In particular, over the past five years, he says there has been tremendous growth in UK-China relations, especially in financial services, property, high-technology manufacturing, creative industries, energy and infrastructure. He attributes the growth to the UK economy being open to foreign businesses, and China's enhanced capability to meet the UK's financing needs. Looking ahead, Zhou believes China will become further integrated in the world economy as it takes a leadership role in reviving global growth.
Omara Portuondo's tiny frame belies the sheer power of a sonorous voice that made her a star in Cuba well before she found global fame with the Buena Vista Social Club around the age most people start claiming their pensions. Even as the group winds down with their final farewell "Adios Tour", the 85-year-old, who has been performing since she was just 15, insists she is not ready to hang up the mic. It has been 20 years since a twist of fate led American guitarist Ry Cooder and World Circuit's Nick Gold to Cuban star Juan de Marcos Gonzez, who encouraged a coterie of the island's musical talent - some out of retirement - to join together and create a record. Crafted in just six days, the album Buena Vista Social Club - named after the long-closed members' only venue in Havana - sold millions, secured a Grammy, and along with Wim Wenders' Oscar-nominated film documenting its production, thrust Cuban music onto the international stage. It also exported a vibrant idea of Cuba to a world from which it had been largely closed off since the 1959 revolution and the Cold War.


De Marcos Gonzez has previously credited the band for helping begin the thaw in relations between US and Cuban administrations, by re-igniting America's curiosity about the island. It was a situation Portuondo says "none of us could ever have imagined" when they started out, describing the leader as "very warm and welcoming". Early this week Obama became the first US president to visit Cuba since 1928, with the White House describing the trip as a "Berlin Wall" moment.
Portuondo, who has attended parties thrown by the Castros, is circumspect about the fact Obama and leader Raul Castro have been in secret discussions on a rapprochement, or what it means for ordinary Cubans: "Politics is for the politicians. She dismisses criticism the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon has created a caricature of Cuban music or that there is a disconnect between what islanders listen to and what is performed for tourists.
The 1997 Buena Vista Social Club album gave some veteran Cuban musicians a new lease of life: Ibrahim Ferrer, a great star in the 1940s, had fallen on hard times and was shining shoes in Havana to earn extra cash, while pianist Ruben Gonzalez, who helped pioneer the cha-cha and the mambo dances, had retired after struggling with arthritis, his piano riddled with termites, when they were called up to join the group.
But with so many of the stars in their twilight years when the band began - death and illness has taken its toll on membership over the past 20 years. For the diva, who began performing 70 years ago at Havana's famed Tropicana club, the Buena Vista chapter is just one high note in a remarkable career that has seen her work with stars such as Nat King Cole, Herbie Hancock, Edith Piaf, and Chico Buarque.
Three founders of the Buena Vista Social Club (from left to righ) Guajiro Mirabal, Portuondo and Barbarito Torres chat in Hong Kong. In what could be his last show for the label, designer Hedi Slimane - the man credited with the skinny black jeans look and making grunge glam - was judged to have given the brand "the finger" by parodying its founder Yves Saint Laurent's least glorious period. The hugely-influential Women's Wear Daily was scathing about his collection which went hell for shiny snakeskin leather for late 1980s vamp, claiming it was drawing on a time when "Yves Saint Laurent was well past his creative prime".
Slimane sent out a succession of very short one-shouldered dresses with gigantic bows, belts and black angel or bat wings that would not have looked out of place in "Miami Vice". Their full-throttle glamour had some style editors shifting awkwardly in their chairs, each of which carried a brass plate onto which their names had been engraved.
There was no such controversy at Chanel, where designer Karl Lagerfeld, who was only hitting his stride in the 1980s, continued his modernising riff on the brand's core looks, with lots of boucle wool jackets, coats and skirts, piles of pearls and big necklaces.
The Kaiser, as Lagerfeld is known, created an old-fashioned couture salon inside the French capital's Grand Palais. His models strode down the aisles in front of stars that included singer Pharrell Williams in riding hats.
While Coco Chanel loved to sport a boater, Lagerfeld told AFP that the hats were "something you could nearly wear on your bike and on your motorbike because they can protect you. A strong equestrian theme ran right through the collection with the hats decorated with rosettes and black riding boots open at the ankles. Despite the set evoking the nostalgia of an old couture show, Lagerfeld, 82, said there was nothing old-school about his clothes. The models were not tottering in high heels he said, because these clothes "were made for walking, like Nancy Sinatra's song" - "These Boots Are Made For Walking".
French designer Agnes b celebrated her 40 years in the business with a typically timeless and elegant collection that reflected women's fashion over decades, starting with a billowy white 1940s style silk skirt ensemble. And in a witty final twist to mark International Women's Day, she sent two modern brides down the runway, one in a white catsuit and veil and in the other in a silver wool-trimmed bomber jacket, before the models held up letters reading "Vive les femmes!". US actress Eva Longoria later sat in the front row at Taiwanese luxury label Shiatzy Chen, appearing in head-to-toe black with a long-sleeved see-through blouse and equally transparent skirt.
The actress is set to release her own autumn clothing line which she teased in an Instagram post a week ago.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner holds a copy of Chinese Enterprises in the United States, published by China Daily.
Sylvester Turner would like you to know that he still enjoys being mayor of his hometown of Houston. After 26 years in the Texas Legislature, Turner was elected mayor of the US' fourth-largest city last December.
Born in 1954 in Houston as the sixth of nine children, Turner, 61, was raised by his father, a commercial painter, and his mother, a maid at the old Rice Hotel.
When Turner was 13, he lost his father to cancer and his mother became the primary breadwinner. Turner attended what at the time were segregated neighborhood public schools until integration arrived in Houston. Turner graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science from the University of Houston. The next year, Turner made his first attempt at public office but did not win a seat on the Harris County Commission.
As Houston's new mayor, Turner said that his priorities are "to make us safe, build the infrastructure for business and people, including good streets and a good transit system, take care of the finances of the city, and go beyond the fundamentals". Turner already had created a buzz in the city by seeing that potholes plaguing Houston streets were speedily fixed, as he promised in his mayoral campaign. Turner indicated that it was time to turn to more serious and address long-term infrastructure issues as well as the city budget, plan for the upcoming Super Bowl, and make appointments to various public boards. As a native Houstonian, Turner considers diversity a major plus for the city: "Houston is a welcoming city embracing all the cultures, ethnicities and nationalities. For nearly 20 years, every mayor of Houston from Lee Brown to Bill White to Annise Parker, has led trade delegations to China to entice Chinese investors, and Turner is sure he will do the same. In Turner's view, the local Chinese community can contribute much to the strengthening of ties between Houston and China.
Brother Sway poses with other performers at the BTV Global New Year Gala in Beijing on Jan 10. Cui Baoyin was quite successful by most standards - working as an interpreter for Boeing and Microsoft and later owning a company with 70 employees.
The video, shot in the basement of his house six years ago, has been viewed more than a million times online. A native Beijinger, Brother Sway graduated from Beijing University and worked as an interpreter in the Forbidden Palace.
Things began to look better after he sealed a contract to sell beer and snacks at some major sports and entertainment events in Seattle. Appearing on a China Radio International talk show, the host pressed him on his motivations. To attract an audience, every weekend Cui's wife cooks a huge pot of zha jiang mian, a traditional Beijing dish of noodles topped with pork sauce and cucumber cut in julienne style. In 2010, a friend recorded Brother Sway performing his iconic show Don't Come to America, in which he blames China for growing too fast and leaving him behind. He has performed in 11 cities in the United States and is preparing to tour Australia and Europe.
Zhang Jinhao performs his own choreography, Dying Swan, at the English National Ballet's emerging dancer competition in 2015. That Zhang Jinhao finds himself on stage, living out his love of ballet, is one of the little wonders of life.
Zhang, who started studying ballet at the age of 4, has won international acclaim, including winning the English National Ballet's emerging dancer competition last year. The teacher in charge of registration told Zhang's mother that the difference between kung fu and ballet is small, and urged Zhang to try ballet instead. In conversation, his youthful liveliness and passion for the profession shows through strongly, while his 185 centimeter, muscular body commands respect. Sitting down for an interview in a small office above his rehearsal studio, he elegantly moves his head, hands and feet in the air to demonstrate how concepts like love, promise and suicide are acted out in ballet. A favorite role is Basilio in Don Quixote, which is a ballet originally choreographed in 1869, based on episodes taken from the famous Spanish novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. When competing in Prix de Lausanne in 2013, Zhang performed the passionate dance of a proud Basilio as he is about to get married.
Despite years of practice, Zhang felt nervous when he competed in Prix de Lausanne, which turned out to be a life-changing opportunity for him when he won a scholarship to study at the English National Ballet School as a result.
To overcome this fear, he instead forced himself to forget about the stage, to focus on Basilio's joyful feelings in that particular marriage, to think about Basilio's beautiful bride, and to enjoy himself. Zhang fell in love with ballet immediately when he tried it, and he recollects his childhood encounter with ballet with fondness. After four years, it was time for Zhang to choose the path of becoming a professional ballet dancer. As a professional dancer, Zhang joined the school affiliated with the Liaoning Ballet, where he trained for six years before starting his undergraduate degree in ballet at Shanghai Tongji University. The glamorous milestones of Zhang's ballet career came one after other, but one big disappointment taught Zhang how much he really loves ballet. In 2013, right after his success at the Prix de Lausanne, he continued to train for another international competition in Moscow. Those days were the darkest in his memory, where he experienced intense grief and self-doubt. Zhang is now working toward his next goal, which is to eventually perform lead roles at the English National Ballet.
A portion of zhuafan is delivered by the pass-through window at a Wemily eatery in Urumqi, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Almas Pulat's restaurant in Urumqi offers a rare combination: it is a modern, stylized fast-food outlet that features a traditional Uygur delicacy, a mutton pilaf known as zhuafan.
In Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, zhuafan is a staple dish that blends steamed rice, mutton, carrots, onions and, sometimes, dried fruits. Almas grew up watching his father, Hushur Pulat, prepare the pilaf, develop the recipe and build the family's Mayflower brand into a successful business. Still, it took Almas a few years to realize that he could build a business from the family recipe, although he studied entrepreneurship during his four years at college in the United States.
In 2007, as a sophomore at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Almas joined an exchange program to the US.
Coming back, he spent a summer improving his English and a few months later, he enrolled in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he spent four years. Upon graduation, he considered starting an English school in Urumqi, his hometown, so he joined New Oriental, the largest educational company in China. When he was studying in the US, he cooked zhuafan for his friends, who raved about the dish and asked him for the recipe and where they could order it.
He has his eyes on the potential for a modernized fast-food chain of traditional Uygur delicacies, much like a McDonald's or KFC.
In contrast to his father's ornate restaurant, which features ethnic decor, a floor show, delicate cutlery and many kinds of dishes, Almas chose a simpler, more youthful theme.
Inside Wemily, graffiti and Marvel comic heroes take the place of elaborate hand-carved patterns and fancy furniture. Almas also tried online promotions and starred in two commercials, including one in English about the process of making zhuafan.
His target customers are those who are familiar with the modern world and enjoy online shopping and international style, he said. Thanks to a warm reception among the young and working classes, Almas opened his second restaurant in Urumqi within a year and is planning a third in downtown Shanghai. In Almas' opinion, many Xinjiang restaurants in inland cities focus too much on the ethnic and mysterious Uygur style, creating a barrier between the restaurant and the locals.
Diners stand in line to order food at Yunus Ustam, a halal eatery run by Arman Muslim Foods Industrial Group in Urumqi, Xinjiang. As the leading manufacturer of halal food, a dietary requirement for Muslims, the company has several food-processing plants and nearly 4,000 small markets scattered across the region - even in the remotest villages in the middle of the Taklimakan Desert. A food-processing center in the region's capital, known as the central kitchen, delivers around 300,000 half-processed meals to the group's retail outlets every day. This means that by 2017, one in seven of Urumqi's more than 3.4 million residents will be eating Arman's fast-food at least once a day, on average. The company was founded in 1995 when Abla, a university graduate who majored in biology, quit his job as a research assistant at a public institution. Then, he hit on the idea of opening a small supermarket - the first was no bigger than 10 square meters. When Arman first expanded into fast-food in 2010, it faced a cha-llenge: how best to deliver traditional staples such as noodles, pilaf and naan bread to customers within a few minutes of their order, while still ensuring freshness and flavor? Ayinur, an ethnic Uygur, has been the canteen's chief cook since 2000, shortly after being laid off from a spinning factory. Now, as deputy manager of Arman's first central kitchen in Urumqi, Ayinur uses this book as a manual to train new employees and guide the kitchen's operations, delivering processed foods to the group's retail outlets. Arman now runs 72 fast-food outlets across the region, which Abla hopes to increase to 100 by next year. I hope you kids are hungry, because SeaWorld’s super-popular Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival is back in action to rock (and stuff?) your face off for 2016!
In addition to the signature acts and festivities, it looks like SeaWorld is switching things up a bit this year. Safety First-acteurs Bruno Vanden Broecke, Ruth Beeckmans en Matteo Simoni spelen drie personages op zoek naar hoe ze moeten omgaan met de vraagstukken en gevoeligheden in hun leven. Wannes Capelle schittert momenteel als doodbrave flike Johan ('Wantje') in de Canvas serie 'Bevergem'.
Dames die zin hebben in een leuke avond met vriendinnen, noteer alvast 25 november 2015, 19 uur in uw agenda.
Het aantal asielzoekers dat straks opgevangen wordt in Koksijde en Lombardsijde is aanzienlijk afgenomen. De Koksijdse N-VA-afdeling laat vandaag zijn licht schijnen over de asielopvang in Koksijde. Kans is dus groot dat het Koksijdse gemeentebestuur vandaag nog uitsluitsel krijgt over de hele zaak.
September, de zwoele geur van de zomer hangt nog in de lucht, maar de nevel en frisse nachten kondigen al de komst van de herfst aan. De organisatoren van de Lentewandelzoektocht en de Zomerfietszoektocht samen met de vertegenwoordigers van de VVV en de Dienst Toerisme Koksijde-Oostduinkerke. De VVV van Koksijde-Oostduinkerke en Toerisme Veurne slaan de handen in elkaar en organiseren een nieuwe editie van de lentewandelzoektocht en de zomerfiestzoektocht. Wie voortaan Koksijde-Bad binnenrijdt, krijgt ter hoogte van het rondpunt met de molen een volledig nieuw uitzicht voorgeschoteld.
Dit voorjaar hadden we het al op een akkoordje gegooid met de Dienst Toerisme van De Panne: de volgende Miss Elegantie komt op de cover van Westkust Magazine. Vergeet eindejaarsconferences zoals je die tot nu toe gekend hebt met eindeloze grapjes over prins - excuseer - koning Filip en z'n Saksen-Coburg compagnie. Het zal u wellicht niet verwonderen, dierbare lezers en lezeressen: maar de zomertijd is zonder een zweem van twijfel ons favoriete seizoen.
Een Westkust-move maken is zo gepiept: houd 4 vingers in de lucht en kruis midden- en ringvinger met elkaar, waardoor uw hand een denkbeeldige W vormt.
Na een handvol sabatjaren, gaat Toerisme De Panne deze zomer opnieuw op zoek naar een Miss Elegantie. Heel ons land kleurt tegenwoordig zwart-geel-rood, al gebeurt dat op sommige plaatsen ook in een andere volgorde. The Roe Family Singers are a nine-member Mississippi headwaters music ensemble based in Minneapolis, MN. This entry was posted in 2009 Artists and tagged Artists, Deep Blues Festival 2009, Roe Family Singers. To focus on his core business, the Chinese entrepreneur gave up a couple of businesses and as a result is now the world leader in three chemical compounds. The hosting efforts continued and more attention was paid to anti-terror and other affairs," he said.
Many Chinese prefer holding high-end bags in their hands after purchasing them," he said, adding that another bad habit is carrying large amounts of money to pay by cash.
Where we're trying to develop is through the community, where lots of events are organized," he said. Goff has also tried launching a magazine, plus holding a literary award and running a press.
In previous sessions, Peter Hessler, Benjamin Zephaniah, Howard Goldblatt as well as home authors Mo Yan, Yan Lianke and Bi Feiyu were festival speakers. He said many of the writers from outside of China have arrived "with their own educational purposes".
They are engaging in wider discussions over the years with topics like environmental awareness, a sense of self, of belonging and of social justice," he added. At that time he "caught the China bug", and was "struck by how dynamic China was as it was going through a period of such frenetic change" he wrote in a column in China Daily in 2015.


A social community platform where people would come in, listen to music, eat nice food, just hang out and meet people from all around the world," he said. He developed a "hot and spicy" tooth there, and loves to take international writers to hot pot dinners even when they are in Beijing.
He carried on the quake relief efforts until 2015, when he and the team handed over a school to the local authorities. I love its atmosphere, and bought a house there that I call my second home after Dublin," he said.
And there's all those issues they're dealing with: all the issues of urbanization, job pressure, relationship pressure, family pressure, environmental pressures, that all those different things coming together and all being seen on a daily basis. It's important that those new things get out, not to ignore the great historical materials, but also have with that, contemporary material, contemporary writers who are young, energetic, charming, smart people.
The biggest threat to our existence every month is how to pay rent, how to raise money to pay for those flights for so many authors.
The people we invited to this year's Bookworm festival are some of my favorite writers: A Yi, Han Song, Yi Sha. Yet there are so many unexpected difficulties that need to be conquered, and it can be a miserable life.
To save cash, I fly economy and stay in cheap chain hotels that cost no more than 200 yuan ($30; 27 euros) a night. I quit that job to start my own oil-trading fund, which in four years saw profits soar 480 percent. I set up two personal wealth management companies in 2012, but I eventually had to shut both down because I couldn't find the right talent. People tend to overestimate their ability when they have a successful career path in a big company. After its launch in mid-March, the number of the active customers hit about 10,000 within a week, which is a good start for a startup like us. He is the first Chinese national to found a wildlife conservation not-for-profit organization in Kenya. The government of Kenya confirms that just 57 elephants and 5 rhinos were killed in Kenya in 2015. And shortly after President Xi Jinping's visit to Zimbabwe in December last year, China donated vehicles and equipment to anti-poaching forces there, too. He is CEO of China House, an organization in Nairobi that helps Chinese companies with social projects in Kenya, including wildlife conservation.
During a recent presentation in Nairobi, he said: "There's just no tangible data that can be used to support this idea. This, he believes, will require key contributions from the United Nations Environment Program, the United States, China and the European Union. This was achieved and the (Kenyan) economy recorded 7 percent growth in 2007," says Gituro Wainaina, acting director-general of Kenya Vision 2030 Delivery Secretariat. Africa started witnessing true and sustainable growth after China's entry because they are working cohesively with African governments," he says. The initiative would connect China with Europe, Africa and other areas by means of investment and infrastructure along the traditional Silk Road routes. Audits should be carried out often to revise goals while re-engaging China in the areas of need.
By that he means designing the language and tone of the program to be easily understood by Chinese investors. He says there has been some controversy about the involvement of Chinese entrepreneurs in small businesses.
Internationally, we can contribute in many ways: trade expansion, economic aid, productive capacity building, and infrastructure development. Loans from the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China to investment in African countries have, for example, outnumbered the lending of the World Bank.
In addition, the UK's expertise in building a knowledge economy is also helpful to China as the country experiences a structural transition from a growth model fueled by manufacturing to one led by services and consumption. For a generation coming of age in the 1990s in the West, the music of Buena Vista Social Club added a burst of colour to the perceived grey palette of Castro's Communism - encouraging people to see the place for themselves. Last October the group performed for President Barack Obama at the White House, where he reportedly revealed he too had bought the iconic album. Diplomatic ties between the two nations, which broke off in 1960, were restored in July last year.
Portuondo is one of a few from the original line-up to remain, and just this month Jesus 'Aguaje' Ramos pulled out of the Hong Kong performance for health reasons. Tour pays homage to the band's history combining new talent with the veterans, as well as images and footage of elder statesmen of Cuban music now passed. Portuondo’s tiny frame belies the sheer power of a sonorous voice that made her a star in Cuba well before she found global fame with the Buena Vista Social Club around the age most people start claiming their pensions.
While one style editor wryly described one dress as "Batwoman", a red heart-shaped fur coat provoked another fashion fan to tweet: "I can't believe Saint Laurent murdered Gossamer from Looney Tunes to make a coat" - referring to the hairy red monster who is always trying to eat Bugs Bunny.
Having not finished high school herself, Turner's mother ensured that her children got an education and inspired them to do their best.
He was transferred to Klein High School, and after a rocky start, was eventually accepted by his fellow students.
He continued his studies at Harvard Law School, where upon graduation he briefly worked as as an associate at a major Houston law firm before founding his own firm, Barnes & Turner, in 1983. According to data provided by the mayor's office, more than 900 Houston companies reported ties with China.
Conversely, dozens of Chinese companies have operations in Houston, including the three major Chinese oil companies. The mayor went to the Shandong Fellowship Association's Lunar New Year celebration, which was attended by more than 1,000 people in February.
Though he didn't practice law upon graduation, Cui said he learned a lot about the American justice system, and more importantly, it improved his English and led him to work as a part-time interpreter for some major companies in the area, including Boeing and Microsoft. Cui enjoyed talking to the Western audience about China, race and dirty jokes, "especially the dirty jokes", he joked.
Everyone in the Chinese community knew that Brother Sway served free noodles and told jokes that were quite funny," he said. In China, he has bragged on the stages of several broadcast stations, including the New Year Gala of Beijing Television. On stage, he wins his audience over with the perfection of his technique and his ability to create true and believable characters, be it a wealthy boss, a loyal servant or a beautiful swan.
Suddenly, these soundless movements seem to vividly describe what writers have attempted to convey for generations. The fast-moving excerpt, lasting for just over a minute on stage, consists of jumps and turns, and paints a cheerful and lively picture representative of Spanish culture. In addition to the importance of the competition was the technical challenge of the 3.5 degree stage slope. Just before the competition, he landed on the back of his foot in a jump during a rehearsal and fractured a bone.
His father owns the locally popular Mayflower chain, which has three restaurants and more than 100 employees. But by then, his interest had shifted to the mutton pilaf, which he admitted to have taken for granted - both as the signature taste of his youth and as the family business. Inspired, Almas decided to take over the family business and push it forward in his own way. But after much discussion, Almas persuaded him to transform the restaurant into a fast-food chain. Lamb chops and shanks from free-range sheep, yellow carrots from southern Xinjiang and white onions from Hami in the east of the region add local flavor to the dish. The number is expected to rise to 500,000 meals by the end of the year, according to Radil Abla, founder and director of Arman Muslim Foods Industrial Group. We use industrial processes and standards to make our food halal," said Abla, in a recent interview with China Radio International. She recalled numerous trials and tribulations that the kitchen faced before a standardized cookbook was finally put in place. The event also will feature a secondary stage to showcase local bands, and a DJ spinning music for guests to line dance, or in our case, trip over yourself and flail majestically.
Z'n muzikaal parcours begon eind jaren tachtig en langsheen projecten als Citizen Kane, Volt, Dead Man Ray, maar ook veel solowerk evolueerde z'n stijl verder. Koksijde zal nog 300 vluchtelingen opvangen op hun luchtmachtbasis, Lombardsijde nog 200 op hun landmachtbasis. De meerderheidspartij vindt dat er nu vooral werk moet gemaakt worden van een degelijke en menselijke opvang. Burgemeester Vanden Bussche kondigde alvast aan om zich met hand en tand te verzetten tegen de eventuele komst van vluchtelingen. Ook de maand waarin zowat een miljoen kinderen weer de harde schoolbanken onder hun achterste voelen.
In deze show laat Deprez (in 't West-Vlaams!) z'n licht schijnen over de Groten Oorlog, WOI. De tapkranen beginnen vloeien vanaf 18 uur en dit… hopelijk onophoudelijk tot 24 uur. CasinoKoksijde ruilt tijdens het openingsweekend het zwarte podium in voor het zachte, warme zand, de donkere theaterzaal voor de blauwe lucht en de foyer wordt omgetoverd tot een gezellige openluchtbar.
Nieuwe zweep getest met meesteres Eufrasie in de SM-bar “De Roestige Tepelklem”?
Dat vertelden we jullie hier vorige maand al, maar ondertussen zijn er meer details over het programma en de prijzenpot bekend. Radiomaker Jan Hautekiet maakte er woensdag een punt van in zijn programma en retweette daarbij onder andere ook deze foto, die foute vlaggen in de Zeelaan in de Panne toont.
It's an honor in many ways, because China is a wonderful country with an incredible past and a really exciting future. I don't mind, whatever way works for a bookshop to keep still open, I'm very happy to do that.
It's about this generation of Chinese youth, where they're going to, what problems they are facing, how they are moving out into the world. I've become much more mature and gained a lot of valuable business management experience from my two failures. When I saw the news in 2014 about Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba listing in the United States, I was amazed by its achievements.
It pushed us to rein in the tide as we were considered the source, transit and destination countries.
The international community should recognize this, as China can become a leader in global wildlife conservation," he says. Vision 2030 outlines development of key infrastructure to move the economy into the middle-income bracket. He emphasizes the need for strong domestic policies and regulations to defuse such conflicts by encouraging partnerships.
The injection of young talent means the ensemble now performs under the name Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club. His primary focus as a Democratic state legislator was public education, healthcare, consumer protection and criminal justice. Turner said that 95 percent of the time, the city crew fixed potholes reported by citizens by the next day, a fact verified by an independent study by Rice University. We want to explore as many business opportunities with China as possible," Turner continued.
Like many early Chinese immigrants, Cui said he "changed from a white collar in China to a blue collar in America".
Zhang has loved this dance since high school and prefers the technical and artistic challenges required of the Basilio character, who is more of a free spirit. But at the age of 8, I did not know what being a professional ballet dancer meant at all," he says. The 29-year-old, US-educated entrepreneur intends to develop the brand into a modernized fast-food chain, a McDonald's of traditional Uygur delicacy. The star product, zhuafan, is so loved that "Mayflower" became as synonymous with zhuafan as "Starbucks is to coffee", Almas said. The rice, grown in northeastern China, is cooked in small pots to guarantee quality and taste. In the first two years, before finding the focus of his business, he tried his hand at wedding photography and the sale of imported electronics. Special packages will include a BBQ Tasting Sampler (where guests can choose up to five menu items from SeaWorld’s sampler selections at any of the Bands, Brew & BBQ food locations for $20), a Craft Brew Sampler (sample 10 ice-cold craft beers from a selection of more than 30 brews for $30), or combine them both like a boss for the BBQ Tasting and Craft Brew Sampler for only $35. Westvlaams is niets meer of niets minder dan de moedertaal van frontman en drijvende kracht Wannes Cappelle.
Het veelbelovende food truck festival gaat door op het Theaterplein, pal voor het gemeentehuis.
Dat zei de burgemeester van Koksijde Marc Vanden Bussche na overleg met minister van Binnenlandse zaken Jan Jambon (N-VA) en staatssecretaris voor Asiel en Migratie Theo Francken (N-VA) vandaag (woensdag 23 september 2015).
De overheidsinstantie wil namelijk nagaan of de Basis Koksijde onderdak kan bieden aan zomaar eventjes 1.000 vluchtelingen. Maar vooral de maand waarin traditioneel het cultuurseizoen in de cultuurcentra op gang geschoten wordt. En dus keken we reikhalzend uit naar wie het felbegeerde Elegantie-lintje rond haar slanke taille zou mogen gorden.
Na de beklemmende overwinning tegen Mouscron-Peruwelz (16de finales), staat Koksijde dus weer voor een historisch moment. Je kan er de hele middag genieten van een hapje en een drankje én live soundtrack - een eclectische mix van electronica, wereldmuziek, psychedelica, soul en rare grooves door niemand minder dan dj Sir.
And I think it's just great to have the opportunity to be present to watch these rapid changes happen on a day-to-day basis, watch the society blossom, and watch China become a real high-profile member on every level of the world society.
Friends that I met in the US and came back in the early 2000s have become top executives in large companies.
Maar wát hij met die taal doet, maakt van Het Zesde Metaal een groep die weinigen onberoerd laat. Daarna wordt met het nodige beeld- en videomateriaal, foto's en deskundige uitleg het volledige programma uit de doeken gedaan. Ze goochelt complexloos met elektronische danspop en disco beats, maar ook met akoestische gitaren. It has been an awesome experience," Turner said at a recent luncheon hosted by the Asian Chamber of Commerce.
Hits als Swedish Designer Drugs, Housewife, Icon of The Player zijn intussen gemeengoed geworden.
Burgemeester Marc Vanden Bussche is ongerust: "Koksijde heeft een hart en is uiteraard bereid om te helpen, maar ieder land, iedere gemeente kan maar bijdragen naar eigen draagkracht en vermogen!
Wacht niet te lang om tickets te reserveren voor deze meesterlijke voorstelling waarin Wouter vertelt over de Eerste Wereldoorlog voortgestuwd door de muziek van Kristof Rosseeuw. De vertrouwde jazzritmes klinken nog steeds door de  muziek heen, maar dan elektronisch gearrangeerd. De vertrouwde jazzritmes klinken nog steeds door de muziek heen, maar dan elektronisch gearrangeerd. Daan brengt op vrijdag 30 oktober gestripte versies van z'n oeuvre op piano, vergezeld door Isolde Lasoen (drum) en Jean-François Assy (cello). In samenwerking met GoneWest, het artistieke programma van de Provincie West-Vlaanderen ter herdenking van de eerste wereldoorlog. Onder zijn aaibare uiterlijk gaat een slecht observatievermogen en een vlijmscherp karakter schuil. Geen nood, haar fantastische begeleidingsband Her Magnificent Seven gaat nog steeds mee op tournee en swingt nog steeds dat het kraakt. Het voltallige schepencollege hoopt dat op het overleg morgen het gezond verstand zegeviert en dat Koksijde geschrapt wordt als mogelijke bestemming". Zoals enkele blitse Ice-watches en tal van waardebonnen om 'ns lekker met uw lief te gaan bikken in eigen regio!



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