Pharmaceutical companies are facing new hurdles in China as healthcare reform shifts the financial playing field — although critics say the debacle is the result of hospitals seeking to beef up their own profit.

After keeping its currency tightly linked to the US dollar for years, China in July 2005 revalued its currency by 2 % against the US dollar and moved to an exchange rate system that references a basket of currencies.

The Chinese government seeks to add energy production capacity from sources other than coal and oil, and is focusing on nuclear and other alternative energy development.

China is the world’s fastest-growing major economy, with an average growth rate of 10% for the past 30 years.

Some economists believe that Chinese economic growth has been in fact understated during much of the 1990s and early 2000s, failing to fully factor in the growth driven by the private sector and that the extent at which China is dependent on exports is exaggerated.

The country is one of the world’s largest producers of a number of industrial and mineral products, including cotton cloth, tungsten, and antimony, and is an important producer of cotton yarn, coal, crude oil, and a number of other products.

A report by UBS in 2009 concluded that China has experienced total factor productivity growth of 4 per cent per year since 1990, one of the fastest improvements in world economic history.

Over the years, large subsidies were built into the price structure, and these subsidies grew substantially in the late 1970s and 1980s.

On top of this, foreign direct investment (FDI) this year was set to “surpass $100 billion”, compared to $90 billion last year, ministry officials predicted.

“China is now the fifth largest investing nation worldwide, and the largest among the developing nations,” said Shen Danyang, vice-director of the ministry’s press department.

It also aims to sell more than 15 million of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the world each year by then.

Although China is still a developing country with a relatively low per capita income, it has experienced tremendous economic growth since the late 1970s.

Despite initial gains in farmers’ incomes in the early 1980s, taxes and fees have increasingly made farming an unprofitable occupation, and because the state owns all land farmers have at times been easily evicted when croplands are sought by developers.

In terms of cash crops, China ranks first in cotton and tobacco and is an important producer of oilseeds, silk, tea, ramie, jute, hemp, sugarcane, and sugar beets.

Livestock raising on a large scale is confined to the border regions and provinces in the north and west; it is mainly of the nomadic pastoral type.

Oil fields discovered in the 1960s and after made China a net exporter, and by the early 1990s, China was the world’s fifth-ranked oil producer.

China is among the world’s four top producers of antimony, magnesium, tin, tungsten, and zinc, and ranks second (after the United States) in the production of salt, sixth in gold, and eighth in lead ore.

In addition, implementation of some reforms was stalled by fears of social dislocation and by political opposition, but by 2007 economic changes had become so great that the Communist party added legal protection for private property rights (while preserving state ownership of all land) and passed a labor law designed to improve the protection of workers’ rights (the law was passed amid a series of police raids that freed workers engaged in forced labor).

Other leading ports are rail termini, such as Lüshun (formerly Port Arthur, the port of Dalian), on the South Manchuria RR; and Qingdao, on the line from Jinan.

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China Healthcare Reform Sparks Feud Between Foreign Drug Firms, Hospital

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