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German industrial giant Siemens confirmed that Chinese regulators are "looking into" the business model of its healthcare unit, but denied it was a corruption investigation. China's healthcare sector is widely considered to be riddled with graft, partly the result of doctors' low salaries and an opaque tendering system for drugs. Media reports said the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) and other regulators last year started initial inquiries into the medical device businesses of Siemens, Dutch firm Philips and General Electric of the United States on suspicion of bribing hospitals to gain sales. Siemens said the SAIC was only examining its "business model" in China.
China's march towards global ascendancy has taken another leap forward -- at least when it comes to New York high society and its most glittering fashion extravaganza, the Met Ball. The city's party of the year, attended by A-list film stars, singers and models, the richest moguls and most feted fashion designers, has chosen China as the theme of its 2015 bash at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on Monday. For Chinese actress Li Bingbing -- "so excited" to be going for the first time -- it shows that Western attitudes towards her country, for so long a communist bogeyman in the United States, are beginning to change. "Nowadays China is the hot topic," she told AFP in an interview at her luxury hotel before embarking on three hours of preparation with an army of assistants she acknowledges is needed to grace the red carpet.