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May, 2015

  • china-pharmaAs China gets older faster than it gets richer, her pharmaceutical industry is under threat. Owing to sky high prices of medicines, thrust onto citizens by local hospitals, the Central government has cracked down on drug prices in a policy to be implemented from June 1st, 2015.

    In the recently released pilot program, Beijing has introduced plans to abolish drug price mark-ups in more Chinese hospitals and to give hospital administrators greater clout to negotiate price cuts with suppliers. To further avert corruption that has severely tinged the pharma industry in China, China’s State Council, announced this month that a pilot programme to reform the hospital finance system would be extended to 100 big cities this year, with the goal of covering all urban public hospitals within two years. The pilot programme scraps the 15 percent mark-up that Chinese hospitals typically place on drug sales, providing them with 40 percent or more of their budgets.

    For anyone who frequents the India-China route and has local friends on the other side of the bamboo curtain knows that cancer drugs from India are in high demand in China primarily because they are typically 1/6th – 1/10th the price in India. Corruption, riddled with a pharmaceutical industry that is flamed by hospitals being the sole dispenser of drugs in China has created an illicit circle wherein the prices of medicines are highly inflated.

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  • Top-5-Indian-Films-in-ChinaIndian Bollywood actor Aamir Khan is a sensation in China. Having awed audiences in 3 idiots, as a geeky yet charismatic student, his latest film PK, recently released to rave reviews. In the first 72 hours of release in China, the film has already grossed US$5.3 million (32.6 million RMB).

    Known to make intellectual, creative and thought provoking films that have movie-goers reflect on their lives, society and ideologies, Aamir Khan’s movies also connect India and China – expose their differences and celebrate our similarities. Take for example, PK which ridicules the idea of religion and superstitions that are so ingrained in Indian society. Yet, at the same time, reflects Chinese sentiments which from an communist, atheist perspective, religion has no purpose or function.

    In the story, PK, an alien from outer space (Khan), who doesn’t know what religion is,  lands in India and through his various experiences and idiosyncrasies exposes the often strange and inexplicable religious notions much believed in India. The movie, which in a way reflects how Chinese audiences might view Indian religious rituals makes a comedy of an otherwise sensitive topic.

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  • MODI_XIIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Xian, Beijing and Shanghai has high on visuals yet, low on impact. The two countries had a lot of hopes riding on the shoulders of two of the most nationalist leaders we’ve had in decades, yet the steps taken to achieve any substantial impact either on economic, political or border issues was subpar.

    During his three day visit, accompanied by the Chief ministers of some of India’s most prosperous states and heads of large Indian companies, Mr. Modi met Chinese president Xi Jinping in Xian his hometown, Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing, Chinese and Indian students, businessmen, investors and society. He signed 21 MOU’s worth US$ 21 billion. Funding from Chinese banks ICBC and China Development Bank for Airtel, Adani Power Company and Jindal Steel and Power accounted for the major part of the agreement total, as did tie-ups for renewable energy companies.

    The two countries share bilateral trade of US$70 billion, making China India’s biggest trading partner, but the figure is worryingly skewed, with an estimated US$40 billion in favour of China.

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  • black moneyIndia and China’s recent crack down on black money has sent shock waves across the world. With illicit money stocked in banks from Switzerland to Singapore, New Delhi is enforcing strict policies and tighter regulations to  bring black money back to Indian shores. Meanwhile Since President Xi took over, Beijing has also come down heavily on evaders in a major clampdown on both government officials and businessmen.

    According to a report by Global Financial Integrity, Russia and China scale above India in the illicit funds that sit overseas.

    According to the report, India’s total (US$95 billion) is still less than 40 percent of China’s US$250 billion in illicit fund exports in 2012 but it’s gaining ground. Ten years earlier India’s total was only 20 percent of China’s, according to data from the Washington DC-based research and advocacy organization. Russia was on the top with US$123 billion in 2012.

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