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China announces 10 billion yuan fund to curb air pollution

On Wednesday China’s central government announced a number of measures in the battle against air pollution. They also identified large cities and regions with the most frequent smog and haze.

A special fund of 10 billion yuan (EUR 1.2 billion) will be set up this year by the central government. The money will be used to reward efforts to curb air pollution in the key areas.

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China Daily: Fight Air Pollution

Mentioned measures include promoting cleaner coal with low sulfur content and curbing coal consumption. The State Council also pledged nationwide implementation of Phase 4 of the diesel fuel standard — which means that fuel must contain less than 50 micrograms of sulfur per gram — by the end of this year.

Read more: ChinaDaily

Dutch gene therapy company uniQure went IPO

The Dutch VC firm Forbion Capital Partners, investing in world-class healthcare technologies, announced that its portfolio company uniQure has closed its initial public offering (IPO) at a price of $17.00 per share. uniQure’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and began trading under the symbol “QURE“.

Last year Sander van Deventer, partner at Forbion, was one of our speakers at Dutch Innovators in Science & Technology 2013 (DIST 2013) here in Shanghai. During his talk he explained the audience what and how gene therapy can do to combat several rare but severe diseases.

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Glybera, one of uniQure’s gene therapies. Photo: nature.com

uniQure is a leader in the field of gene therapy and has developed the first and currently the only gene therapy product to receive regulatory approval in the European Union. uniQure is developing a pipeline of additional gene therapies.

Read more: uniQure press release

‘China will beat everyone’

Chief editor Alexander Pil of Mechatronica&Machinebouw visited Shanghai and Suzhou. He visited the German company Festo and the Dutch companies NTS Mechatronics, Tecnotion, Keytec and VDL-ETG.

In the article that Alexander wrote about his trip, several industry representatives explain their experiences in and with China. Although their stories vary, a number of conclusions are shared by all interviewees.

One conclusion is that entering China is not easy, nor is setting up and running your business. But China is still growing fast, and it is already strong at cost-reduction-oriented innovation. Foreign enterprises will likely (need to) shift from a low-cost production-only operation to one with technical centers and later on also full-blown R&D teams.

Cheap labor was often mentioned as an initial reason to come to China, but being close to your customers is equally important. Other reasons were raised too, for instance for Tecnotion the monopoly that China has on several natural resources (for magnet production) was an important trigger.

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‘Buy [resources] without the need of an intermediary’, Michel Heck, Tecnotion.

That the entrepreneurs working in China are impressed by China was voiced clearly by Maarten Langendonk (R&D-manager Keytec Suzhou): “China is going to beat everyone”.

Dutch readers are encouraged to read the full story with all the interviews on: Mechatronica&Machinebouw

Chinese research on gas hydrate moves forward

A basic research project on “the South China Sea gas hydrate accumulation and exploitation” was successfully finished. The project was mainly undertaken by the China Geological Survey Bureau. It targeted the gas hydrate on the northern slope of the South China Sea and was focused on conditions for its formation, as well as the formation process dynamics and accumulation. The project has resulted in a number of insights that will be used in future gas hydrate research.

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According to the source article the exploitation of marine gas hydrate puts high requirements on current available technology. It could be a potential hazard since mining may cause seabed instability, leading to geological disasters and is likely to have an impact on the atmospheric environment. Quite a few issues need to be solved before large scale gas hydrate exploitation can be commercialized.

China was late in the gas hydrate resources survey and evaluation. Only in 1999, the Ministry of Land and Resources started to carry out gas hydrate resources investigation. On December 17, 2013, the Ministry announced discovery of gas hydrate samples of high purity along the eastern coast of Guangdong Pearl River Basin. It also estimated a large stock of gas hydrate in this area. China is No.4 in the world after USA, Japan and India, to get the gas hydrate samples through national R&D programmes.

The gas hydrate sample is discovered not very deep under the seabed and its stock is in rather thick layers and with high purity. The distribution of this gas hydrate stock is estimated an area of 55 square kilometers which accounts for 100~150 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.

Source: sina.com

Dutch Teacher in Beijing Awarded Favorite Foreign Expert Title

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Dutch teacher Padma Bansie received the award for ‘My Favorite Foreign Expert’ from the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) during the New Year Party for Foreign Experts held on December 26th last year.

In total, 18 foreign experts from six colleges and departments from the prominent foreign studies university were awarded the “My Favorite Foreign Experts” title. Ms. Bansie was one of the awardees who started teaching Dutch language at BFSU since last year.

A selection committee assessed the foreign teachers at BFSU based on recommendations made by students and management from BFSU. The committee members based their decision on different criteria, including teaching skills, personal involvement and commitment, and extracurricular and cultural activities.

The Dutch programme at BFSU currently has enrolled 13 Chinese students who study Dutch language and culture for 4 years leading to a bachelor’s degree. The programme is supported by the Nederlandse Taalunie in The Hague, which is a Dutch authority supporting Dutch language teaching worldwide.

In China there are several universities that offer full-time Dutch language programmes, such as the Communications University of China and Shanghai International Studies University.