Thursday, June 19, 2014

An Insightful Speech by Xi Jinping at College of Europe

Excerpts from the speech at the College of Europe by Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China

Let me use this opportunity to describe to you what a country China is. I hope it will be helpful to you as you try to observe, understand and study China. Of course, a thorough account of the country would be too big a topic for today, so I will just focus on the following few features of China.

First, China has a time-honoured civilization. Of the world’s ancient civilizations, the Chinese civilization has continued uninterrupted to this day. In fact, it has spanned over 5,000 years. The Chinese characters, invented by our ancestors several millennia ago, are still used today. Over 2,000 years ago, there was an era of great intellectual accomplishments in China, which is referred to as “the period of one hundred masters and schools of thought”.

Great thinkers such as Laozi, Confucius and Mozi, to name just a few, explored a wide range of topics from the universe to the Earth, and from man’s relations with nature to relations amongst human beings and to that between the individual and society. The extensive and profound schools of thought they established covered many important ideas, such as the moral injunction of fidelity to one’s parents and brothers and to the monarch and friends, the sense of propriety, justice, integrity and honour, the emphasis on benevolence and kindness towards fellow human beings and the belief that man should be in harmony with nature, follow nature’s course and unremittingly pursue self-renewal. These values and teachings still carry a profound impact on Chinese people’s way of life today, underpinning the unique value system in the Chinese outlook of the world, of society and of life itself. And this unique and time-honoured intellectual legacy has instilled a strong sense of national confidence in the Chinese people and nurtured a national spirit with patriotism at the very core.

Industrial revolution
Second, China has gone through many vicissitudes. For several thousand years before the industrial revolution, China had been leading the world in economic, technological and cultural development. However, feudal rulers of the 18th and 19th centuries closed the door of China in boastful ignorance and China was since left behind in the trend of development.

The country was subdued to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. As a result of incessant foreign invasions thereafter, China experienced great social turmoil and its people had to lead a life of extreme destitution. Poverty prompted the call for change and people experiencing turmoil aspired for stability. After a hundred years of persistent and unyielding struggle, the Chinese people, sacrificing tens of millions of lives, ultimately took their destiny back into their own hands. Nevertheless, the memory of foreign invasion and bullying has never been erased from the minds of the Chinese people, and that explains why we cherish so dearly the life we lead today.

The Chinese people want peace; we do not want war. This is the reason why China follows an independent foreign policy of peace. China is committed to non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and China will not allow others to interfere in its own affairs. This is the position we have upheld in the past. It is what we will continue to uphold in the future.

Third, China is a socialist country with Chinese characteristics. In 1911, the revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen overthrew the autocratic monarchy that had ruled China for several thousand years. But once the old system was gone, where China would go became the question. The Chinese people then started exploring long and hard for a path that would suit China’s national conditions. They experimented with constitutional monarchy, imperial restoration, parliamentarism, multi-party system and presidential government, yet nothing really worked. Finally, China took on the path of socialism. Admittedly, in the process of building socialism, we have had successful experience and also made mistakes. We have even suffered serious setbacks.

After the “reform and opening-up” was launched under the leadership of Mr. Deng Xiaoping, we have, acting in line with China’s national conditions and the trend of the times, explored and blazed a trail of development and established socialism with Chinese characteristics.. Our aim is to build a socialist market economy, democracy, an advanced culture, a harmonious society and a sound eco-system, uphold social equity and justice, promote all-round development of the people, pursue peaceful development, complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eventually achieve modernization and ensure prosperity for all. The uniqueness of China’s cultural tradition, history and circumstances determines that China needs to follow a development path that suits its own reality. In fact, we have found such a path and achieved success along this path.

Fourth, China is the world’s biggest developing country. China has made historic progress in development. It is now the second largest economy in the world. It has achieved in several decades what took developed countries several centuries to achieve. This is, without doubt, a proud achievement for a country whose population exceeds 1.3 billion. In the meantime, we are clearly aware that the large size of the Chinese economy, when divided by 1.3 billion, sends China to around the 80th place in terms of per capita GDP. 

In China, over 74 million people rely on basic living allowances; each year, more than 10 million urban people would join the job market and several hundred million rural people need to be transferred to non-agricultural jobs and settle down in urban areas; more than 85 million people are with disabilities; and more than 200 million people are still living under the poverty line set by the World Bank, and that is roughly the population of France, Germany and the UK combined. In the 40-day-long season of the last Chinese New Year, China’s airlines, railroads and highways transported 3.6 billion passengers, which means 90 million people were on the move each day. Therefore, to make the lives of the 1.3 billion Chinese people more comfortable requires still arduous efforts for years to come.
Economic development remains the top priority for China, and we still need to work on that basis to achieve social progress in all areas.

Fifth, China is a country undergoing profound changes. Our ancestors taught us that “as heaven maintains vigour through movement, a gentleman should constantly strive for self-perfection”, and that “if one can make things better for one day, he should make them better every day”. Being faced with fierce international competition is like sailing against the current. One either forges ahead or falls behind. Reform, which was first forced upon us by problems, goes deeper in addressing the problems. We know keenly that reform and opening-up is an ongoing process that will never stop. China’s reform has entered a deep water zone, where problems crying to be resolved are all difficult ones. What we need is the courage to move the reform forward.

To use a Chinese saying, we must "get ready to go into the mountain, being fully aware that there may be tigers to encounter". The principle we have laid down for reform is to act with courage while moving forward with steady steps. As we say in China, he who wants to accomplish a big and difficult undertaking should start with easier things first and make sure that all details are attended to. With the deepening of reform, China will continue to undergo profound changes. I believe that our efforts of deepening reform comprehensively will not only provide strong momentum for China's modernization drive, but also bring new development opportunities to the world. 

To observe and understand China properly, one needs to bear in mind both China's past and present and draw reference from both China's accomplishments and the Chinese way of thinking. The 5,000-year-long Chinese civilization, the 170-year struggle by the Chinese people since modern times, the 90-year-plus journey of the Communist Party of China, the 60-year-plus development of the People's Republic and the 30-year-plus reform and opening-up should all be taken into account. They each make an integral part of China's history, and none should be taken out of the historical context. One can hardly understand China well without a proper understanding of China's history, culture, the Chinese people's way of thinking and the profound changes taking place in China today.

The world's development is multi-dimensional, and its history is never a linear movement. China cannot copy the political system or development model of other countries, because it would not fit us and it might even lead to catastrophic consequences.

The Chinese people, over 2,000 year ago, had come to understand this from a simple fact that the tasty orange, grown in southern China, would turn sour once it is grown in the north. The leaves may look the same, but the fruits taste quite different, because the north means different location and different climate.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Ardeshir's Cold Drinks 130 Years - From 1984 to 2014

Taking a sip of Pune’s very own cold drink : Ardeshir’s Raspberry Soda

Today, 130 years later, Murzban Irani, his great grandson continues the legacy with pride and was pleased to explain the history of Ardeshir’s. His family first arrived in India in the mid 19th century along with the exodus of Zorashtrian Parsi Irani’s from Iran under the British reign. Ardeshir spent his first few years in Bombay (now Mumbai), before finally making Pune his home, where he pioneered the local cold drink. He then proudly named the cold drink Ardeshir’s. British soldiers and some Indians would savour the drink in its early days, and over the years it has become a local delight.

Traditionally known for its two flavours being Soda and Raspberry, today it can boast of 10 distinct flavours. I was surprised to know that even in todays’s day and age Ardeshir’s cold drinks are modestly priced at Rs 7 and the latest addition, the Jeera flavor drink is priced at Rs10. Another little surprise is to know that although Ardeshir cold drink caters mostly to the restaurant in and around Camp owing to its physical proximity, it has seen a decent demand from retailers in Pimpri and Chinchwad. When asked about competition from large corporations and international brands, Irani shrugs the possibility. He believes his brand has a market that will not die down so easily. As far as the taste and quality of Ardeshir’s is concerned, I feel it could give any international brand a run for their money.

Ardeshhir’s has come a long way since its inception in 1884. Murzaban proudly flaunted some of the old quaint handmade paintings and sketches used for advertising Ardeshir’s more than a century ago. These alone were priceless to my eyes. Ardeshir’s has stood the test of time and managed to keep its head above water. Plans to expand distribution and production of this 130-year-old brand are bubbling under the horizon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sinar Sosro Teh Botol Adopts New Plastic Packaging

If you live anywhere near Indonesia then you must have tried or at least know about Teh Botol, which literally translated to English means Tea Bottle. And that is exactly what it is, pure Jasmine Tea naturally flavored with Cane Sugar and packaged in glass bottles. Or at least that's what is was. I cant say exactly how long Teh Botol has been around in Indonesia but I can speculate that it is probably the highest selling non-alcholic beverage in the country. It is available at every restaurant and warung (street vendor) all over the country. Growing up in Jakarta there was not a day which went by that we did not pull over on the side of the road for a cold Teh Botol to quench the thirst.

Teh Botol is owned by Resko International who operate a variety of other businesses in Indonesia. They have experimented with a variety of different packaging for Teh Botol over the years including Tetra Pack and some versions of hot fill PET bottles we well. This is obviously to reduce cost of distribution. Having spent extended periods of time away from Indonesia I was relying on family and friends to supply me with all the goodies from home when visiting. I sampled some of the varieties in flexible packaging but none of them ever really hit the spot. The Teh Botol just did not taste the same.

But recently a friend supplied me with the latest edition of Teh Botol packaged in plastic PET bottles and I was super impressed. The bottle design first of all is a fantastic testament to the traditional glass bottle. They have not deviated from the original design but have made subtle changes which make the transition to plastic well balanced and attractive. They have also added a new variation with less sugar which is great because Teh Botol can be overly sweet for some people. And having tried them both, they taste equally good.

The label design however leaves something to be desired. Teh Botol has a gorgeous natural color so I do not see the value of having a full printed sleeve that is designed to look like the natural contents of the bottle. Also they have not introduced any modern elements to the logo or layout which is a conscious decision but not one I would completely agree with. Nevertheless, I am super stoked that SOSRO has dropped this new product for us which will allow them increase distribution, possibly boost export, and reduce their carbon foot print but shifting over to plastic from glass. Great product from a great company.

Monday, June 9, 2014

See you in Jakarta - INDOPACK 2014

Hi everyone. It has been a while since our last post. While we love to update our social media and keep our followers updated with new developments in our company and industry, the task sometimes falls on the back burner while we are engrossed in daily operations. We are thrilled to report however that we will be taking part in our first Indonesian Exhibition this September in Jakarta. Our company was originally founded in Jakarta so we are excited to be going back to our roots. 

There is a lot more to share about the projects we have completed over the last year, now machinery we have launched, fresh label designs for our clients, and of course our expanding range of promotional products. Look out for more frequent posts on this blog and news about our companies expansions. 

Cheers - PAE TEAM