Thanks to the integration of its online-and-offline bus

inesses, McMillon said brick-and-mortar stores have become hybrid, and forward fulfillment centers.

He said Sam’s Club has been gaining strength in the country. The high-end m

embership store that was launched in China in 1996 has about 2 million members nati

onwide. By 2020, there will be 40 such clubs either in operation or in construction in the country. The format ha

s 23 stores currently in 19 cities stocking quality fresh food and membership products.

Globally Walmart has 11,300 stores, with a third of them large stores.

According to Kantar Worldpanel, in 2018 Walmart’s market share was 5.4 percent, an improvement from t

he 5.2 percent in 2017. Last year it opened 33 new stores, including 21 hypermarkets, four Sam‘s Club and eight compact stores.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, said Walmart has to roll out

more innovations to further improve its operational efficiency and achieve growth through

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Wang, the Chinese think tank member, said many of

nternational relations scholars of his generation think of the US

as an example of the value of “freedom, democracy, fairness and human rights”.

“But those words are no longer applicable to describe the US today,” he said.

Wang said that for him, cancellation of the visa is nothing m

ore than a short-term absence from US academic activities, and “it is the US’ loss, not ours”.

He also said the decision would not affect the Chinese think tank he leads in continuing aca

demic exchanges with the US, and he suggests that China should not take countermeasures over such matters.

“No matter how petty the US becomes, China should still stick to its open attitude rather compete for who’s worse,” he said.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool or a debt trap for particip

ating countries, but a platform for cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remark at a press conference ahead of the second Belt and Road F

orum on International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing next week.

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The economy has stayed on the track of steady gro

owth. We have the confidence, conditions and capability to mee

t the projected targets for economic and social deve

lopment this year,” Yuan told an NDRC news conference on Thursday in Beijing.

Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed China’s economy grew at a faster-than-e

xpected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, remaining at the to

p end of the government’s projected growth range of 6 to 6.5 percent for this year.

The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Zhang Chenghui, former director at the finan

cial research institute of Development Research Center of the State Cou

ncil, said despite the downward growth pressure, China will see many positive factors in the economy this year.

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growth of PM.5 tiny particulate matter concentration tha

that could at least double the readings,” Zhang said. He added that this could help explain the o

ccurrence of heavy PM2.5 pollution that lasts for an extended period of time in certain regions.

Zhang said the interaction of air pollution and meteorologic

al conditions could be triggered when PM2.5 density reaches 100 micrograms per cubic meter in ma

ny of the monitoring points of a region. In such situations, more solar radiation wil

l be reflected back into the space, resulting in temperature inversion and further stabilizing the ground atm

osphere. And the height of the mixing layer could decrease to only one-third of that w

hen pollution processes begin, exacerbating particulate concentration levels even further.

The center’s research also showed that global warming is increas

ing the number of days with a stable surface atmosphere in n

orthern China, especially in the cluster, making smog more likely to develop.

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China’s foreign direct investment up 6.5% in Q1

China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) totaled 242.28 billion yuan in the first quarter of t

his year, up 6.5 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

FDI in China from non-financial sectors reached $35.8 billio

n in the first three months, up 3.7 percent year-on-year.

Investment from South Korea, the United States and Germany in China m

eanwhile increased 79.6 percent, 71.3 percent and 86.1 percent year-on-year, respectively.

Foreign capital flowing to the country’s high-tech manufacturing s

ector surged 14.8 percent year-on-year to 25.97 billion yuan during the same period.

March’s FDI amounted to 95.17 billion yuan, up eight percent year-on-year.

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Paris fire sends alarm on relics protectionhedral in Pa

An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa

ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh

ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.

“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi

nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.

The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.

On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On

Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.

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The most recent incident was Saturday in Jinjiang, Fujian

when the late Qing Dynasty residence of Wu Lu, the province’s last zhuangyuan (top scorer on imperial examinations), was damaged.

Fire this year also destroyed a bridge dating from four centuries ago in Nanping, Fuji

an, a Qing Dynasty residence in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, and an office structure from the 1930s in Fuzhou, Jiangxi.

The operators of the sites hit by fire will be responsible for the dam

age, said the heritage administration. “Electrical faults and loose supervision over the use of fire

during renovation are the main reasons” for the damage, the administration’s statement said.

Though the fire at Notre Dame is under investigation, Frenc

h officials said they suspect its source might have been related to restoration work on the cathedral.

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Fiscal spending can directly influence fixed-asset inves

tment, and it could also leverage on more bank lending and attract private funds to increase investment, said Xu.

In the meantime, allowing retail access to local government bonds will help diversify the

investor base and increase market liquidity, said Amanda Du, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

The analyst expected access for retail investors to widen to encompass all local government bonds in 2020.

hina’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first qua

rter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

The growth was unchanged from that registered in the fourth quarter of last year.

The country’s industrial output posted steady growth in the same period, up by 6.5 percent

year-on-year, compared with 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, official data showed.

Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first quarte

r, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, according to the NBS.

Retail sales increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the same pe

riod, compared with 8.2 percent in the first two months, the data showed.

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mental protection, science and technology innovation,

end manufacturing, finance, sharing economy, medical care and elderly care indust

ries,” Osuga said, adding Japan and China will push forward cooperation in more areas this year.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the dialogue on Sunday that Ch

ina hopes the two sides can make steady headway in promoting bilateral investments and trade coope

ration, and actively explore third-party market cooperation as well as local cooperation.

Osuga said the Japanese government’s position on the Belt and Road Initiative remains unchan

ged, as it expects to conduct cooperation with China in a third market, promote trade and invest

ment liberalization and facilitation and uphold a business environment of fairness, justice and non-discrimination.

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Chinese people are deeply sad about the fire, just as th

He said he believes that with the efforts of the French people and supp

ort from the international community, Notre Dame will be repaired and regain its glory.

The fire broke out around 6:30 pm on the roof of the cathedral, which was covered in scaffoldi

ng. The blaze spread quickly and destroyed the wooden interior before causing the spire to collapse.

It took more than 400 firefighters over 12 ho

urs to put out the fire, and the main structure and two bell towers remained standing.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, though officials said it could be linked to renovation work. Investigators were eag

er to question the workmen in an effort to determine the cause of the fire, according to media reports.

Visiting the scene of the fire in Paris, Macron vowed an immediat

e fundraising effort to rebuild the landmark, calling for international contributions.

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