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China

In Taiwan, even the street food vendors elect their own president

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Every evening, shortly after the kids get out of school, vendors start pushing their carts laden with raw ingredients, cooking apparatus, oil and other paraphernalia to the Ningxia Night Market at the intersection of Ningxia and Chongqing streets in Taipei.

Many of the dishes on offer – crispy squid, oyster omelet, braised pork and papaya milkshakes – are quintessentially Taiwanese street foods whose recipes have been handed down through families for several generations.

“I didn’t want to take it over at first,” stallholder Lin Chiu-yun said of the 70-year-old savory pancake business that was handed down by her father. “It turns day into night, and other people can go away on vacation on public holidays, but we can’t.”

“Then my father suddenly got sick, and I started running into regular customers around the night market, because we live nearby,” she said. “They were asking me when I was going to come out and start running things.”

“So I bit the bullet,” she said, adding that the stall could even get handed down to her daughter Minhsuan, who currently helps out.

Around 60% of the market’s custom comes from local residents, with the rest from overseas tourists, including plenty of visitors from Hong Kong.

It’s big business, as well as a generations-old purveyor of the island’s street culture, according to its democratically elected president. 

Market association president Lin Ting-kuo told RFA Cantonese that the market’s popularity among local people is a key reason for its healthy rebound after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

“When something happens internationally, or there’s a pandemic, it’s the local tourists who help you to survive,” he said.

A top tourist attraction

A recent survey by Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau found that the island’s night markets have long been the top attraction for tourists, with 80% of inbound tourists visiting a night market during their trip before 2019.

A Spanish tourist who gave only the name Gertruda said she was enjoying herself on a recent trip to Ningxia Night Market.

“You can get delicious food, and great drinks, so it’s a great place,” she said.

The Ningxia Night Market in Taipei has a reputation for quintessential Taiwanese street food. Credit: RFA

But the locals love them too. And the Ningxia Night Market has been a fixture of the city’s Datong district since the now-democratic island was under Japanese colonial rule in the first half of the 20th century.

“It’s pretty good value for money and there are very diverse foods,” said a Taiwanese customer at Ningxia in a recent interview. 

Lin Ting-kuo puts that down to the fact that vendors are constantly experimenting with new recipes, to cater to changing tastes.

“There are a lot of innovative products there alongside the traditional ones,” he said. “For example, one nightclub has a stall set up in the night market to offer [cocktails].”

“The owner of this stall is very old, and is a third generation stallholder, who used to sell braised pork with rice,” he said.

There are also online discount coupons, mobile phone payments and games to promote the market, in addition to the online banquet-booking service, he said.

One of the most popular options is the Chitose Banquet, which offers a taster selection of vendor snacks and offerings all in one place.

There is clearly a huge amount of political investment in making it work, at the local level, according to the YesAsia tourism website.

“In addition to mouth-watering snacks and delicacies, the night market also has a strong human touch, and many local stories and cultural spirits are included,” reads the Ningxia Night Market listing.

Promoting ‘neighborhood harmony’

True to the country’s democratic way of life, vendors elect their own president to represent them, and a finance committee keeps the books in order, as well as making the market’s dealings transparent.

The market association also works with local government officials “to promote neighborhood harmony,” the listing says.

“When the night market is closely integrated with the emotions of local culture, the image and taste of each stall become fun and interesting cultural stories that are constantly being told,” it says.

The Ningxia Night Market started out as a ring of shabby vendor stalls in the middle of an intersection, which the displaced Kuomintang-ruled Republic of China government started regulating in around 1954.

By 1973, the Taipei city government had relocated the vendors’ stalls to their current location, where the Ningxia Night Market began to flourish.

By 2000, it had transitioned into an environmentally friendly operation.

“The Ningxia Night Market once failed to do a good job of protecting the environment, which was unacceptable to the residents of the community,” Lin Ting-kuo said. “We came up with a … renovation project in which we banned disposable tableware to reduce garbage.”

“The next stage was even more drastic – we banned melamine tableware,” he said. “Then, we filtered waste oil and gray water from the stalls before discharging clean water into the city’s sewer system.”

“We hire a professional grease removal company every week, too,” Lin said.

Diners can book “banquets” online to sample a large array of the different dishes and snacks offered by vendors at a single table, including a “Thousand Years Banquet”, “State Banquet at the Presidential Palace,” while environmentally friendly and calorie-labeled banquets are also on offer, the site said.

There are several common seating and stand-and-eat areas, with power and water supplied to vendors, leaving the site clean and filled with the aromas of cooking, rather than less desirable smells.

“In the past, we had to get a big tub of water and push it over here in a cart,” Lin…

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Lingang New Area in Shanghai Introduces Whitelists for Data Export to Enhance Cross-Border Data Flows

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The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists to simplify data export procedures for companies in automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds sectors. This aims to reduce regulatory burdens and facilitate cross-border data flows, following efforts to improve business environment for foreign companies.


The Lingang New Area in Shanghai has introduced trial general data lists aimed at simplifying data export procedures for companies in the automotive, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual fund sectors. These lists outline specific scenarios where businesses can export data out of China with reduced regulatory burdens, bypassing more stringent compliance requirements.

The Lingang New Area of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has released the first batch of trial lists of general data for three sectors, facilitating cross-border data flows for companies operating in the area. This announcement closely follows the release of the Tianjin FTZ’s Negative List, which similarly seeks to facilitate cross-border data flows for companies operating in the FTZ by specifying the types of data that are restricted from being exported without certain approval procedures.

The first batch of general data lists has been provided for the fields of intelligent connected vehicles, biopharmaceuticals, and mutual funds, three sectors with a significant presence in the Lingang New Area. The general data lists are scenario-based, meaning they outline various situations in which data export is required and freely permitted. These include scenarios, such as multinational production and manufacturing of intelligent connected vehicles, medical clinical trials and R&D, and information sharing for fund market research.

The general data lists will be implemented for a trial period of one year from their date of implementation, May 16, 2024.

In January 2024, the Lingang New Area announced a new system for data management and export in the area, which included the release of two data catalogs, one for “important” data and one for “general” data. This new system will help facilitate cross-border data transfer (CBDT) for key sectors in the area by delineating the types of data that are restricted or subject to additional compliance measures to be exported (through the important data lists) and data that can be more easily exported (through the general data lists).

In March, the area released the Measures for the Classification and Graded Management of Data Cross-border Flow in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lingang Special Area (Trial) (the “Lingang CBDT Management Measures”), which outlined the rules and requirements for this new system, including how companies can use the general data lists.

These developments follow many months of efforts by the central Chinese government as well as local authorities to improve the business environment for foreign companies in particular, a core part of which has been resolving headaches surrounding data export.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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The New Company Law brings substantial changes with implications for new and existing foreign invested enterprises and stakeholders. Foreign investors must assess if adjustments to existing structures

Despite recent economic challenges, many organizations’ China operations provide unparalleled access to one of the world’s largest and most competitive global supply chains. Over the past 30 years, a significant number of foreign invested enterprises (FIEs) have been established in China. As of the end of 2022, the number of FIEs operating in China had exceeded 1.12 million.

Compared to their domestic counterparts, FIEs demonstrate greater caution regarding legal revisions and are diligent in making swift adjustments. This stems not only from the closer scrutiny FIEs face from regulatory authorities but also from their commitment to compliance and maintaining a competitive edge.

Clearly, there has been a shift in China’s corporate regulations—from merely encouraging an increase in the number of companies to focusing on attracting mature enterprises and higher-quality investments. While the transition from a broad approach to a more refined one may cause short-term challenges, it ultimately benefits the company’s long-term development. By returning to the original intent of setting registered capital, it not only protects the interests of creditors but also shields shareholders from the operational risks of the company.

In China’s foreign investment landscape, while most FIEs exercise commercial prudence in determining registered capital—factoring in capital expenditures, operational costs, and setting aside surplus funds—some opt for higher registered capital levels to avoid future capital increase procedures. This typically involves lengthy document signing and registration changes, lasting 1-2 months.

Joint ventures (JVs) often impose stricter payment deadlines for registered capital in their articles of association to ensure both parties’ simultaneous contributions align with operational needs. Conversely, wholly foreign-owned enterprises (WFOEs) tend to favor flexibility in payment deadlines, often allowing full payment before the company’s operational period expires.

Given these circumstances, despite the generally stronger capital adequacy among foreign companies compared to domestic entities, many FIEs could be affected by the new capital contribution rules.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Foreign Tourist Groups on Cruise Ships Fully Permitted Visa-Free Entry in China

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China will allow visa-free entry for foreign tourist groups arriving by cruise ship at 13 ports along the coast, starting May 15, 2024. Visitors must stay with the same ship and in permitted areas for up to 15 days. This policy aims to boost tourism and facilitate high-quality development in the cruise industry.


China’s immigration agency announced that it will grant a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups to enter China by cruise at all cruise ports along the coast of China, starting May 15, 2024. The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within permitted areas for no more than 15 days.

Effective May 15, 2024, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) has officially implemented a visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships. This progressive move aims to enhance personnel exchanges and foster cooperation between China and other nations, furthering the country’s commitment to high-level openness.

Under this policy, foreign tourist groups, comprising two or more individuals, who travel by cruise ship and are organized by Chinese domestic travel agencies, can now enjoy visa-free entry as a cohesive group at cruise ports in 13 cities along the Chinese coast.

The tourist group must remain with the same cruise ship until its next port of call and stay within China for no more than 15 days. The eligible areas for this policy are coastal provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and Beijing.

Furthermore, to support cruise tourism development, seven additional cruise ports—Dalian, Lianyungang, Wenzhou, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Beihai—have been included as applicable ports for visa-free transit.

The recent implementation of the visa-free policy for foreign tourist groups entering China via cruise ships is poised to have several significant effects. The policy will provide crucial support for the cruise economy and the overall cruise industry. By facilitating smoother travel for foreign tourist groups, it acts as a catalyst for high-quality development in this sector.

Additionally, under this policy, international cruise companies can strategically plan their global routes by designating Chinese port cities, such as Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen, as docking destinations. This move is expected to attract more cruise ships to Chinese ports, ultimately bringing in a larger number of international visitors to the Chinese market.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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