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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: August 13, 2010 NO. 33 AUGUST 19, 2010

Endurance Challenger

Zhang Jian, China's top marathon swimmer, completed the world's longest single crossing of a freshwater lake on August 8-9. He swam 69 km without a break to cross the Xingkai Lake in northeast China.

The Xingkai Lake is a boundary lake between China and Russia. Zhang's record-making attempt, lasting 36 hours and 30 minutes, was carried out in waters on the Chinese side.

Zhang, 46, is a teacher at the Beijing Sports University. He began engaging in open water marathon swimming in 1988, when he swam across the 29.5-km Qiongzhou Strait between the Chinese mainland and southern Hainan Island in about 9 hours and 20 minutes. From then on, he has taken on more challenges in this field. His crossing of the 123-km Bohai Strait, off China's northeastern coast, in August 2000 set a marathon swimming record for China. Then in July 2001, he made history by becoming the first Chinese to swim across the English Channel.

Charity Time Giver

Shi Yuzhu, one of China's most well-known entrepreneurs famed for his roller-coaster career, has earned 1.89 million yuan ($278,000) for a local charity program in China's first auction for a time share with celebrities. On August 5, Shi honored a deal to hold a three-hour talk with the highest bidder of the online sale modeled on the Warren Buffet charity luncheon auction on eBay.

Shi said after the meeting, although he couldn't offer practical investment advice like Buffet, his reflection upon personal ups and downs in business circles might help others avoid mistakes.

Shi, 48, started his first business, Giant Group, from scratch in 1991. The company rose to be China's second largest private hi-tech company in 1993, with annual revenue of 360 million yuan ($69 million at the then exchange rate). Giant Group collapsed in 2007 due to excessive expansion and Shi was in debt to the tune of 200 million yuan ($23 million at the time). Shi managed to rebuild his business reputation with success in the health products sector. In 2005, he founded Giant Interactive Group Inc. The NASDAQ-listed company is a leading online game developer and operator in China.

Shi ranked 468th on Forbes' World Rich List 2009 with a net fortune of $1.5 billion.

Split Partners

Chen Xiao

Huang Guangyu

Chen Xiao and Huang Guangyu, the duo who led Hong Kong-listed Gome Electrical Appliances in 2006-08, have broken up in a struggle for control over China's second largest electronics retailer.

On August 5, Gome filed a writ of summons against Huang at Hong Kong's High Court for Huang's alleged breach of fiduciary duties in early 2008 as a former board director.

The move was launched after Huang, the largest shareholder in Gome, accused Chen of incompetence and proposed his removal.

Gome, however, said Chen and his board had helped restored the company's financial stability and operational strength.

Huang, 41, was arrested in late 2008 on charges of illegal business dealings, insider trading and corporate bribery and was sentenced to 14 years in prison in May. Chen, 51, then Gome President, has since served as acting chairman and chairman of Gome.

"The principle of reciprocity does not necessarily lie in coverage and threshold, but more importantly, relates to the scale of China's economy and its growth rate."

Sun Zhenyu, the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of China to the WTO, calling on member nations of the Government Procurement Agreement not to be "too demanding" on China's revised accession offer. China's procurement market, worth 700 billion yuan ($100 billion) in 2009, will open to foreign businesses if the country joins the agreement

"The independence of some U.S. rating firms needs to be questioned due to the close relationship between the shareholders and their clients."

Guan Jianzhong, Chairman of the Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., refuting criticism by its Western counterparts that the Chinese rating agency follows a "populist mood" and lacks transparency. Dagong is the first non-Western rating agency to assess the world's sovereign credit and risks

"In reducing poverty, China is the fastest in the world."

Ajay Chhibber, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director of the UN Development Program's Regional Bureau for Asia-Pacific, referring to UN data showing China has achieved the target of halving the number of poor people from the 1990 figure of 85 million

"We are now moving into the post-pandemic period. The new H1N1 virus has largely run its course."

WHO Director Margaret Chan, declaring on August 10 the official end to the H1N1 flu pandemic

"He is leaving Iraq to the wolves."

Tariq Aziz, formerly Saddam Hussein's Foreign Minister, accusing U.S. President Barack Obama of abandoning Iraq before making sure the country was back on its feet

"Life is short, but memory is long."

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, at a ceremony in Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Park to mark the 65th anniversary of the world's first nuclear-bomb attack

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