The largest airport in China opened in Guangzhou yesterday, establishing a giant freight and passenger hub in the country's manufacturing heartland to rival Hong Kong. \nBaiyun International Airport in the capital of Guangdong Province -- an area dubbed the factory of the world which is responsible for over a third of China's exports -- can handle 25 million passengers and 1 million tonnes of cargo a year. \nWhen an expected third runway comes online in 2010, those figures will rise to 80 million passengers and 2.5 million tonnes of cargo. \nThe 19 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion), 15km2 airport is poised to become a major player in the regional aviation market, most notably at the expense of neighboring Hong Kong International Airport. \nWhile the territory's 1998-opened Chek Lap Kok airport handles more freight than any other in the world, observers believe Baiyun's state-of-the art facilities in the center of China's manufacturing engine would rob it of vital trade. \nThe chief executive of the Hong Kong Airport Authority, David Pang, admitted as much recently when he said: "The two airports are overlapping in markets and both will engage in competition for passengers and cargo transport." \nBooming Guangdong Province has been waiting for years to replace its existing airport, watching while rival such as Beijing and Shanghai received major upgrades. \nThe new airport is China's largest, capable during peak hours of handling 9,300 passengers and 67 take-offs and landings per hour. \nBut given its vast potential, it is no surprise the new airport is causing headaches for industry officials in Hong Kong, which is little more than 100km away. \nSome 80 percent of all freight handled at Chek Lap Kok comes from Guangdong, accounting for more than a quarter of the city's external trade value. \nSunny Ho, executive director of Hong Kong Shippers' Council, said Hong Kong would face enormous challenges should the huge US logistics companies, like United Parcel Service and FedEx, choose Guangzhou as their Asian hub. \n"UPS and FedEx have their own marketing teams, distribution setup systems and their own crew. So it would be very easy for them to leave Hong Kong for Guangzhou if they wanted to," Ho said. "Could Hong Kong be their only choice? It would be impossible." \nIn addition, with a new bilateral aviation agreement between the US and China signed last week, US companies will be able to establish operations in China for the first time. The deal will double the number of airlines flying between the two countries, allowing a nearly five-fold increase in passenger and cargo flights in the next six years. \nFedEx has made no secret of its intentions to expand into China and will be adding new flights to new destinations from the current 11 a week. The company signed a deal last December to explore growth opportunities in Guangdong, which generates a third of China's exports. \nRival UPS, which has seen double-digit Chinese growth in the past three years, has plans to expand its Guangzhou services and aims to set up its regional hub there. \n"China is not an option. It's a must," said Leung Kwok-kee, UPS' general manager for Hong Kong and Macau. \n"Look at its economic growth. The GDP growth in southern China is 12 to 13 percent and its export/import growth rate is at nearly 20 percent. Hong Kong alone is not capable of supporting its growth," he said."There is a need to be there [Guangzhou]." \nChek Lap Kok, which handles 35 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of cargo per year, still has the advantage as China's aviation infrastructure modernizes. Nontheless it has been forced to respond, offering reductions on landing fees for airlines flying to new cities.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit