>> More than 20% of Chinese millionaires plan to visit the Middle East in the next year, according to a recent report from luxury consulting firm Agility. Middle Eastern destinations have been wooing Chinese travelers ever since Beijing resumed outbound group tours for its citizens on February 6. Dubai has launched a “China Ready” strategy and run campaigns in the country. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has included China in its e-visa program as part of its aim to attract 4 million Chinese visitors annually by 2030.
>> Starting from June 30, wagons, carts and wheeled carriers are banned at Shanghai Disney Resort for safety concerns. It noted that wagons – large in size and slow in speed – are disorderly parked, which occupies passageways, viewing areas and fire exits, as well as recklessly pulled by users, which creates long queues and accidental harm, especially in peak hours.
>> H World, a multi-brand hotel group in China, has highlighted that the performance of its direct sales channel stood out in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023. Speaking during the company’s Q1 earnings call, Jin Hui, CEO of H World, highlighted the significance of the direct sales channel for the hotel group, and said, “Our H World app and H World mini-program daily active users (DAU) increased by two times and three times, respectively, in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2019.”
>> Pony.ai, a Chinese autonomous driving startup, will start offering unmanned transport services with Jin Jiang International Holdings' taxi unit, one of the biggest taxi firms in Shanghai.
Poni.ai and the subsidiary of the state-owned operator of Jinjiang Hotel and Peace Hotel are now qualified to carry out demo operations of a robotaxi service in the eastern city, Guangzhou-based Pony.ai announced on WeChat today. The tests will be done on nearly 1,100 kilometers of open roads in Shanghai's Jiading district.
>> Visa applications by Chinese citizens remain well below pre-pandemic levels following the lifting of travel restrictions in January, data from a specialist visa firm revealed, as the number of international flights remained limited. VFS Global, a visa application outsourcing and technology services firm, said in a statement visa application volumes from China reached 35% of pre-COVID levels by May compared with the same period of 2019 (January to May 20).
>> With increasing demand on travel, international flights by various airlines are on offer to create more options and convenience for travelers in Shanghai. China Eastern Airlines resumed routes from Shanghai to Jeju, Busan, Seoul and Nagoya in mid-May, offering local travelers more options for travel to Japan and South Korea.
>> Hong Kong government is handing Hong Kong residents another round of consumption vouchers. The two-phase voucher rollout totals HKD 5,000. The first HKD 3,000 was given to users’ electronic wallets on April 16 while the remaining HKD 2,000 will be available from July 16 onwards. Besides Hong Kong residents, vouchers worth HKD 2,500 will also be available to new arrivals in the city. This includes overseas students as well as those on various admissions schemes for talents, professionals, and entrepreneurs.
>> Lubair Aviation Technology and China AVIC Electronics are just two of the many companies in China’s aviation sector that are set to benefit from the large-scale rollout of the country’s first homegrown passenger aircraft, the C919, that completed its maiden commercial flight on May 28. The C919’s long industrial chain will drive the technological upgrading and industrialization of China’s aviation sector, Great Wall Securities said.