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- LEVEL 1: China completed 84 skyscrapers in 2016
More than 65% of skyscrapers that were completed around the world in 2016 are in China. Among the 128 building of 200 meters in height or more that were completed in 2016, 84 of them are in China. That is more than double of the next 10 countries combined, and this makes the 9th year in a row. The United States came in second with seven skyscrapers completed, four less than the number built in the city of Shenzhen alone. South Korea comes in third position with six buildings.
- LEVEL 2: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
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In China’s coolest annual tradition, the capital city of Heilongjiang province has been transformed once again into a magical winter wonderland for the International Ice and Snow Festival. 2017 is the 33rd edition of the festival, which started on January 5th and will continue until the end of February. The tradition dates from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when local peasants and fishermen used to produce ice lanterns for fishing, hunting or even just pleasure. Today the ice lantern show is still the preferred event of the festival.
- LEVEL 3: Jack Ma meets with Trump
Last Monday, US President-elect Donald Trump received Alibaba founder Jack Ma to the Trump Tower in New York: “It was a great meeting. Jack and I are going to do some great things,” told Trump afterward, praising Ma as “one of the best entrepreneurs in the world.” In meeting with Trump, Ma captured headlines by vowing to create 1 million American jobs over the next five years. Ma mentioned Alaskan fisherman and Washington cherry farmers as just a few examples of local American businesses helped by his company. He also said that as incomes rise in China, Chinese consumers will increasingly demand higher quality products and a more diverse range of goods. And that’s where American producers come in.
- LEVEL 4: Taiwan loses one more African nation to China
End of December, China restored ties with Sao Tome and Principe just one week after the small WestAfrican island of about 200,000 inhabitants cut all diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The Republic of China’s foreign minister expressed “regret” over Sao Tome’s decision but added that Taiwan refuses to engage in “dollar diplomacy,” explaining that the impoverished nation felt its financial needs were not being satisfied. The last government to sever ties with Taiwan was Gambia in 2013, and with Sao Tome’s abrupt departure, there are now just 21 countries or entities around the world that have full diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. Most of these nations are located in Latin America.