Jet Lag (Italy perspective): +7 , +6 with daylight saving time.
Area: 9.600.000 square km
Climate: China is enclosed between a cold-temperate climate to the north and an equatorial-monsoon climate to the south. Within this range, one can find a whole series of diverse climates, governed by the summer and winter monsoon: cold-temperate in the north (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Beijing, Tianjn, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia), which is associated with warm and sometimes hot summers, not much rain, while in winter is very cold (often below -20C) with few precipitations, mainly snow. Rains are much more intense in the southern portions of the above mentioned regions, which borders with the most common climate in China: the moist-continental climate, which includes all the remaining regions of China. This type of climate tend to be wet-dry tropical climate to the southern portions of China. This climate is similar to the mediterranean climate, but seasons are mainly two (winter and summer) with interlude`s seasons very short or absent at all. Precipitation are abundant (very abundant occasionally), especially in summer. Temperatures are tropical in summer, cold in winter (colder as one travels to the north). The hottest cities in China are known as the "3 ovens", and they are Wuhan, Nanjing and Chongjing, that reaches the heat peak in July. The coldest city in China is Harbin, where every winter the Ice City is built, and it melts only in late April. Another key factor in the summer season is the "Mei Yu" front, which is often referred to as the summer front of rain. From March to September, a low pressure area lingers around central and southern China, with a vague arc form. Into this area, humid tropical air masses converge with cool dry air from the north, and an area of intense rainfall forms. The presence of the "Mei Yu" front is not stable troughout the year, and the intensity is also variable from year to year. Generally, it is very strong during the years with El Nino (e.g., 1998) and is weaker during the years with La Nina (e.g., 1999). Moreover, China is often affected, from May to November by Typhoons, which form in the Western Pacific ocean and South China Sea. In this case the frequency is also quite variable from year to year. It tend to be very low during El Nino years.
Population: 1.305.650.230 (about 41% live in urban areas)
Ethnic Groups: China counts about 56 ethnic groups; over 92% of population belongs to Han group, while among 55 officialy recognized minorities (with their own language) the most important ones are: Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uygur, Tujia, Yi, Mongolian, Tibetan, Bouyei, Dong, Yao, Korean, Bai, Han, Kazak, Li, Dai. The smallest ethnic group is that of Lhoba with 2900 people.
Italian Community: Italian people registered at AIRE are 457 in Beijing, 460 in Shanghai and 173 in Canton.
(because of this registration is not made by many foreigners, data are not well-founded)
Capital City: Beijing (17,5 millions inhabitants)
Regions and Main Towns: Guangdong-Canton (79.540.000 in.), Hebei-Shijiazhuang (67.690.000 in.), Heilongjiang-Harbin (38.150.000 in.), Chongqing (31.300.000 in.), Shanghai (17.110.000 in.), Tianjin (10.110.000 in.), Sichuan-Chengdu (8.7000.000 in.).
Currency: the coin is RMB (renminbi), also called yuan, or kuai. One yuan (kuai) is divided in ten jiao (mao), a mao is divided in ten fen (seldom used). Paper money is 1 and 5 jiao, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 and 100 yuan.- Calculate exchange rate
Language: RPC official language is putonghua ("common language"), generally known as Mandarin Chinese, originated in Beijing area, together with many other local dialects spoken by ethnic minorities.
Main Religions: Confucian, Buddhist, Taoism, Muslim. There are also little Christian, Jewish and Protestant communities.
State Organisation: The denomination is Chinese Popular Republic (CPR). Legislative power belongs to Popular National Assembly. This organ elects inside its apparatus the Permanent Committee. Popular National Assembly and Permanent Committee elect the President of CPR, the Prime Minister and the Government.
Administrative Partition: CPR is divided in administrative areas according to 3-levels system; there are 23 districts, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipal corporations and 2 special administrative regions.
Internet: It`s very common to find internet service, besides fax service, in big hotels and cafes. It`s possible to establish an internet connection by pre-paid cards sold in small stores, xiaomaibu. In other places it is also possible to connect the PC to wireless net by pre-paid cards: Kerry Center, Gloria Plaza Hotel, Renaissance Beijing Hotel, Kunlun Hotel, Great Wall Sheraton Hotel, Capital Times Square (LCX), COFCO Plaza, Full-link Tower, China Life Tower, Starbucks.
Phone: To call foreign countries it can be use room phone or an IP card ( 50 or 100 RMB, but the effective phone credit is lower). To make an international call dial ‘00`, the international code (0039 for Italy), the user`s number. To call using a credit card or charging on the receiver dial ‘108`, international code and user`s number.
Mobile Phone: SIM card is sold in mobile phone shops. Recharges are from 30 to 100 RMB and are sold in phone shops and in news kiosk. It is possible to rent Chinese phones, information on: www.phonerent.com or www.tourfone.com.
Mail Service: Air mail to U.S.A., Europe and Australia takes from 4 to 7 days to arrive. Stamps are sold at post offices. Furthermore, big hotels have local and international mail services.
Credit Card: You can pay by credit card in almost all high category hotels (Visa; MasterCard; Amex, Diners Club, JBC). Low category restaurants don`t accept carte international credit cards, but only cash.
Traveler`s cheque: it is the better and securest choice instead of carrying a large quantity of cash. You can use it in banks and in big hotels, not in low-cost restaurants and hostels.
Electricity: electricity in China is 220V, 50Hz. Sockets have various shapes (usually two or three flat or round connectors), so you need to buy a connector converter.
Working Hours: banks, public and private offices open at 8:30-9 till 18:00, with a 1-2 hours break for lunch. Usually temples, museums, zoo and other tourist places are opened every day from 8-9 to 17.
Trade Bargaining: Shopping for foreigners is very expensive (especially in tourist places), so foreigners have to bargain the price, unless the price is already set. If the price is not set, sellers can ask for any price - usually you can pay less than 40/50 % of the requested price.
2010 has been a year of strong growth for China. The GDP growth reached +10.3%, outperforming the analysts’ forecasts of +9.2%. GDP growth has undergone an acceleration in the fourth quarter, passing from +9.2% of the third quarter to +9.8%. This year’s performance confirms the strength of Chinese economy, and is the highest since the 2008 financial breakdown. Moreover, during the last quarter, China has set an historical milestone, surpassing Japanese GDP, which was the world second highest since 1968.
This growth rate is even more startling if we take into account the difficulties that the Chinese government has faced in 2010, among which there were the persisting world financial crisis, internal unemployment problems, slowing growth and the social turmoil and unrest in factories and in the country. Industrial production spiked in 2010, with a 15.7% growth, from 11% of 2009.
One shadow seems to dim such a positive economic layout, as increasing prices have raised some concerns: consumer prices index has increased by 3.3% in 2010, while the government expectations were set at 3%. Prices might still rise in 2011, with forecasts up to 3.9%. Real estate prices are also causing major worries, as the massive injection of liquidity of the last years, carried out to counterbalance the liquidity shortage of the financial crisis, have helped them skyrocket. Retail prices and sales, increased by 18.4% this year, have also greatly contributed to the rise in prices.
To avoid excessive inflation and to prevent the burst of a real estate bubble, the People’s Bank of China has increased the interest rates for loans and deposits twice, each time by 25 basis points. Inflation and rise in consumer prices are regarded as extremely dangerous as possible sources of social unrest and calls for higher wages. The Communist Party Political Committee has announced that in 2011 it will follow a more conservative monetary policy in order to avoid these phenomena.
Main productive sectors:
In 2010, as in the year before, the industrial sector has played a major role in forming the national GDP, contributing with 46.8% (as in 2009), followed by the tertiary sector (43.6% increased by 1% since 2009) and the agricultural sector (9.6%).
Workforce distribution, although the increasing rates of urbanization, remains biased towards the agricultural sector, employing 39.5% of the workers, followed by the service sector, with 33.2% of the workforce, and the industrial one, with 27%.
Heavy and light industry have both increased their added value, by 13.6% and 15.7% respectively.
Textile manufacturing (+17.5%), Food & Beverage (+15%) and Oil industry (+17.2%) are among the fastest growing sectors in China, while iron ore mining suffered a slight decrease (-0.2%).
Infrastructures and transportation:
The 12th five year plan (2011-2016) will give great importance to the developing of the transportation sector and of Chinese infrastructures. In the next five years, the investments to enhance railroad transportation in both rural and urban areas will increase by +16.2%.
In 2010 freight transport rose by +13.4% with respect to the last year, with railway freight transport increasing by +9.2%, road transport increasing by +14% and air transport by +25.1%. Freight transport passing through Chinese harbors has increased by +14.2%.
Passenger transport has shown an increase of +10.2%, with railway transport increasing by +10% and airborne by +15.8% while maritime passenger transportation has slightly decreased (-0.7%).
Foreign direct investments:
According to the data distributed by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in 2010 foreign direct investments to China broke any previous record reaching $105.7 billion, with a growth of 17.4% with respect to 2009, year in which they had decreased by 2.3% due to the world financial crisis. This amount is computed including investments in factories, real estates and other activities, excluding stocks and financial instruments.
Chinese investments abroad have skyrocketed to record levels, increasing by 36.3% up to $59 billion. Investments carried out through merger and acquisition operations sum up to $23.8 billion, representing 40.3% of the total.
Chinese Visas: (if you need support for your invitation letter click here)
A Chinese visa is a permit issued by Chinese visa authorities to non-Chinese citizens for entry into, exit from and transit through China. American citizens and citizens of most countries are required to obtain a China visa before entering China. There are eight categories of ordinary Chinese visas, which are respectively marked with the letters C, D, F, G, J-1, J-2, L, X and Z.
L Visa: The most popular type of China visa, an L visa is also known as tourist visa. It is issued to those who visit China for tourist purposes, family visit or other personal matters.
F Visa: Also known as business visa, an F visa is issued to applicants who are invited to China for business, research, lecture, scientific-technological and culture exchanges, short-term advanced studies or intern practice for a period of no more than six months.
Z Visa: A work visa, it is issued to those who are hired by Chinese companies to work or teach in China, and to their accompanying family members.
X Visa: A student visa, issued to applicants who go to China for the purpose of study, advanced studies or intern practice for a period of more than six months.
C Visa: Issued to crewmembers on international aviation, navigation and land transportation missions and to family members accompanying them on China-bound flight.
G Visa: Issued to those who transit through China. American passport holders must obtain a transit visa to transit through all Chinese airports except Pudong International Airport in Shanghai.
D Visa: Issued to applicants who are to reside permanently in China.
J-1 Visa: Issued to foreign resident correspondents in China.
J-2 Visa: Issued to foreign correspondents on temporary interview missions in China.
Validity of Visa: A single entry Chinese visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue, and a double entry visa is valid for 6 months. A Chinese visa holder must enter China before the expiration date for the visa to remain valid.
Duration of Stay: The duration of stay is specified on the Chinese visa. Chinese visa holders must not stay beyond the specified date without extending their visas. Otherwise, they will be subject to stiff penalties.
Overseas Chinese Visa Authorities: Foreign citizens can obtain a Chinese visa from Chinese embassies, consulates, visa offices, and the consular department of the office of Chinese Foreign Ministry. For further information, please consult the nearest Chinese visa authorities in your country.
Chinese Embassy in Rome:
Ufficio Visti Ambasciata della RPC
ADDRESS: Via Bruxelles, 56 00198 ROMA
PHONE: 06-8419942 / 06-85350118
WORKING HOURS: mon., wed. and thu. 9:15 - 12:00
(On August: mon. And wed. 9:15 - 12:00.)
General Consulate in Milan:
ADDRESS: Via Benaco，4，20139 MILANO
FAX: ：+39-02-5694131 (Cancelleria)
+39-02-533257 (Sezione Consolare)
For further information:
Chinese Consulate in Florence:
Via dei Robbia,89
Hong Kong and Macau Visas
ADDRESS: Hong Kong, Wanchai, Wanchai Rd, 7piano
PHONE: registered information (24H) 00852-34132300 or 00852-34132424（mon.-fri. office hours)
WORKING HOURS: mon.-fri., 9.00-12.00 -14.00-17.00
Non-visa is required if the applicant is Italian, holding the valid passport with the duration in Hong Kong less than 90 days for travels, visiting relatives, the commercial inspection or meeting and so on.
If the applicant goes to Hong Kong for the purpose of study, receiving training, work or residence with the duration surpassing 90 days, the visa transacted in advance is highly required.
The applicant may directly go to the immigration department of Hong Kong to apply for the visa or submit his application to Hong Kong embassy or general-consulate stationed in his own country.
To know about required documents to apply for your VISA please refer to the website http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/home.htm for further details, from which the application form can be download.
To visit Macau, contact Identification Department of Macau (Phone: 00853-356615 Fax: 00853-374300)
Visa to visit Tibet: to visit autonomous region of Tibet, you need to book your trip in a tourist agency in Lhasa. With the confirmation letter from the agency you can have your Visa to visit Tibet.
For further information: Tibet Tourism Administration in Shanghai
ADDRESS: Suite B, 2/F, QiHua Tower 1375 Middle Huaihai Rd., Shanghai 200031, China.
PHONE: 86-21-64311184, 64311084 ext 806