China Press Review – April 15, 2019

Press review

Commentary: It’s time for the US and Europe to ask what sort of world China wants to build
Chinese President Xi Jinping has strengthened his party’s hold domestically while advancing the country’s influence overseas. Experts believe the country’s current goals suggest China wants to fill America’s shoes as the dominant global agenda setter and rulemaker. If China hits its 2021 targets, it would become 40% larger than the U.S. economy. If it meets its 2049 targets, it will become three times larger.

The World China Wants
Finally, it’s clearer than ever that Beijing by the time of the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049 aspires to be the dominant economic, political and perhaps military power for an era where democracies remain but authoritarian systems are ascendant.

Mnuchin says hopes US-China trade talks nearing ‘final round’
Lighthizer and Mnuchin to hold two calls next week with Chinese Vice Premier

U.S. waters down demand China ax subsidies in push for trade deal – sources
U.S. negotiators have tempered demands that China curb industrial subsidies as a condition for a trade deal after strong resistance from Beijing, according to two sources briefed on discussions, marking a retreat on a core U.S. objective for the trade talks. The world’s two biggest economies are nine months into a trade war that has cost billions of dollars, roiled financial markets and upended supply chains.

US may back down on trade talks push for China to axe subsidies

Sources say strong resistance from Beijing has prompted a retreat on a key condition for ending the trade war Focus is now on areas where Washington demands are considered more achievable

US must ease up on tariffs and ask allies to push China to more economic reforms, says Bush-era diplomat
Terry Miller tells globalisation forum Trump must ‘find a tool’ other than tariffs Washington has stepped back from belt and road as it is a ‘Chinese show’, he says

China must not assume it will overtake US as top superpower, warns former commerce minister
China’s former commerce minister Chen Deming reminds Beijing to stay cool-headed in quest to become world’s top superpower China ‘must follow a strategy of seeking multilateral cooperation’ says ex-MOFCOM chief, as US-China trade war continues

US-China trade war: if Trump and Xi agree ‘grandaddy’ of trade deals, here’s what comes next
A trade pact with Washington could help Beijing transform its economy and take the reins on the world stage. And then? Reforming the World Trade Organisation, joining the new trans-pacific partnership, free-trade with Japan and Korea and schmoozing Europe should be high on the agenda

U.S. Farmers Fear China Deal Will Leave Them Worse Off Than Before Trade War
Even after an agreement, agricultural levies could linger Economic strains weigh on farmers as commodity prices plunge

Trade deal nears, but tensions are rising over China’s inroads into America’s backyard
Latin America seen as ‘latest battleground’, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramping up criticism of China during his tour of the region Growing influence in Caribbean also appears to be unnerving Washington, after Jamaica endorsed Beijing’s global trade and infrastructure push

Chemistry between Xi Jinping and Donald Trump can smooth the way for China-US ties, Michael Pillsbury says
There will be trouble ahead for the world’s two biggest economies but it needn’t be all bad news, White House adviser says US president views China as both a challenge and an opportunity, and his idea that there is “a good China and a bad China” is reflected in the ongoing trade talks, Pillsbury says

China-US trade deal could threaten Beijing’s other trading partners, IMF says
Agreement ‘should be consistent with multilateralism, rather than bilateral’, IMF Asia-Pacific director Changyong Rhee says China’s potential purchase commitments are already worrying its other trading partners, like Australia

A Chinese central bank official takes a swipe at US policy, saying protectionism harms ‘mutual trust’
Chen Yulu urged the International Monetary Fund to continue supporting a rules-based multilateral trade system He says tariffs play ‘only a limited role’ in fixing trade imbalances

China economy at more risk from EU recession than US trade war, economist El-Erian says
Allianz Group chief economist talks of sizeable risk of European Union recession this year, posing a threat to China, as biggest trading partner China, Canada and Mexico have worked out ‘appropriate approach’ to dealing with US trade tariffs, says Mohamed El-Erian

Europe may be playing spoiler to the elusive US-China trade deal
It seems that Beijing’s trade arrangements with Europe are complicating American efforts to radically change trade relations with China. Washington’s difficult trade round with the EU is another reason why China may not be in a hurry to strike a deal with the U.S. Financial markets should focus on economic policies, growth, inflation and corporate earnings instead of being distracted by posturing on international trade issues.

Chinese ambassador to EU says bloc should not discriminate against investors
Introduction of new screening process has left companies feeling nervous, Zhang Min says But success of EU-China summit shows sides remain committed to cooperation, envoy says

In Europe, China’s economic cold war with the West is over before it’s begun
The economic strain between the EU and China that has dominated headlines in recent months is exaggerated The truth is Europe has too much to lose and is too fragmented to present an assertive front to China over bilateral economic affairs

In talks with Europe, China has shown willingness to compromise, but will it make good on its commitment?
As US and China edge towards an accord over trade tariffs, Brussels reaches an understanding with China that relations be built on ‘openness, non-discrimination, and fair competition’ – and a need for vigilance The EU has been very firm on trade with China, but less so on the vexed question of Beijing’s human rights record

China says it respects EU laws and standards as 16+1 becomes 17+1 with new member Greece
Premier Li Keqiang says growing platform is an important ‘supplement’ to Beijing’s relationship with the European Union Joint statement includes list of nearly 40 deals signed between China and partner countries on agricultural exports, e-commerce and technology

EU on the New Silk Road: China is both a ‘partner’ and a ‘systemic rival’
Some European countries are increasingly buying in, while others are skeptical of Beijing’s ultimate intentions. Indicating the continent’s ambivalence, a European Union (EU) spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that China is both a “cooperation partner” and a “systemic rival.”

Japan wants more access to the Chinese market – and the US-China trade war might help
Timing of talks could work in Tokyo’s favour, with US negotiations putting Beijing under pressure to offer concessions to other powers, source says China ‘has been more forthcoming and more willing to discuss issues such as intellectual property protection, forced technology transfers and opening up’

Analysing China’s growth and inequality
Since 1978, China’s share of world population has declined mildly from 23% to about 19%. In those same 40 yeas, China’s share of world GDP has risen dramatically from 3% to about 20%. Here’s China’s share of world population and the global economy since the start of its economic reforms.

China data expected to show signs of economic stabilisation
Corporate tax cuts, upswing in manufacturing, progress on trade deal boost optimism This coming week, investors will be watching for readings on sales, investment, industrial output

China shouldn’t count on currency stability to last. Rather, it should take steps to make the yuan a safe haven
While Beijing may breathe easier now than in 2018, global conditions remain uncertain, meaning China should hasten reforms to strengthen the yuan’s position as a reserve currency, to challenge the dominance of the US dollar

Podcast : The BRICs were supposed to take over the global economy. What happened?
But shortly after the financial crisis, external factors combined with serious internal turmoil proved too much for the group. While China and India are growing steadily today, Russia and Brazil have gone in the opposite direction.

China’s EV market as subsidies fall
Automotive trade show Auto Shanghai, which opens this week, shows that global car makers are increasingly focused on making electric vehicles (EVs) designed for the Chinese market. Well-funded companies including General Motors, Volkswagen, and Nissan, among others, are looking to take on Chinese rivals BYD and BAIC Group, which have more than 10 years of experience in the low-price segment. At the Shanghai event, automakers are set to display dozens of EVs to compete with their gas-driven counterparts, while the Chinese government promotes electric cars as part of its Made in China 2025 Initiative.

Briefing: Global automakers rush into China’s EV market as subsidies fall

China’s electric vehicle ambitions to take centre stage at Shanghai auto show
Chinese purchases of pure electric and hybrid sedans and SUVs soared 60 per cent to 1.3 million last year Carmakers to display dozens of electric cars, from luxury SUVs to micro-compacts priced under US$10,000

Volkswagen’s new chief is betting carmaker’s future on his major push into China’s market, as trouble looms on the home turf
Volkswagen said last month it’s considering the option of increasing its stakes in local joint ventures to expand, part of a strategy review to be completed by early 2020 The German carmaker already operates ventures with SAIC Motor and FAW, and is weighing the options of a third venture with Jianghuai Automobile

VW says China to become global software development hub to autonomous tech
Volkswagen will use Chinese software developers to help design a global autonomous vehicle architecture thanks to the prevalence of qualified programmers which carmakers are struggling to hire elsewhere, senior executives said on Monday.

How China’s new highway for self-driving cars will boost its AV ambitions
China has its eyes set on making self-driving cars mainstream. In order to boost its position as a leader in this sector, the country is building a 100 km long highway with dedicated lanes for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles (AVs).

Zurich-based robotics giant ABB expects Chinese electric vehicle makers and SME sector to keep Shanghai plant busy
Swiss-Swedish company is investing US$150 million in factory With an annual capacity of more than 100,000 robots, plant represents ‘quantum leap’ for ABB

The advantages of ‘Made in China’ still outweigh the risks
While some companies have announced that they are looking elsewhere, there is little evidence of a systemic spike in the number of firms shifting production away from China in the wake of the trade dispute

How China took to made-in-America entrepreneurship and is re-exporting it around the world
Entrepreneurship is now part of China’s soft power push in Africa, Southeast Asia and beyond. The US president’s disparaging attitude to developing countries means America may miss the opportunity to spread an idea that had its roots in its soil

Nearly 1 million foreigners worked in China in 2018
China issued 336,000 foreigner’s work permits and more than 950,000 foreigners worked in the country in 2018, which shows that China is becoming an ideal place for innovation and entrepreneurship for foreign talent.

China revises cloud services proposal in trade talks with US
China has revised its offer to ease restrictions on foreign cloud service companies, allowing them easier access to the cloud computing sector in a bid to reach a compromise with the US in trade negotiations. Last week, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He proposed to issue more licenses to data center operators and lift the 50% foreign investment cap for cloud service providers. Negotiators from both sides continue to haggle over the cloud computing offer this week.

Briefing: China revises cloud services proposal in trade talks with US

Is 5G the ‘next big thing’ for investors?
Gauge of China-listed 5G stocks shows 75 per cent jump in past 6 months Red flags include US-China friction, policy changes in Beijing, costs for companies

‘The race to 5G is a race America must win’, Donald Trump says as US announces plans to accelerate high-speed wireless development
shington to auction largest ever radio spectrum to support 5G telecommunications Federal Communications Commission will devote US$20.4 billion to improve broadband internet in rural America

China opens anti-trust investigation against Ericsson as 5G race heats up
The Chinese regulators have launched an anti-trust investigation against Ericsson over complaints against its intellectual property licensing practices, an unusual move that comes as Chinese companies increase efforts to gain ground in the race to 5G.

China opens anti-trust investigation against Ericsson as 5G race heats up

China tells WTO that Australia’s ban on 5G technology is ‘obviously discriminative’
Restriction has a ‘great impact on international trade’ and will not resolve concerns about cybersecurity, diplomat says Canberra has not had time to formulate a response to the allegations, Australian representative says

Alibaba founder Jack Ma says companies forcing staff to work overtime are ‘foolish’
Billionaire makes remarks in social media post after earlier comments that long hours could be a ‘huge blessing’ for young workers He also calls enforced 996 schedule – working 9am to 9pm, six days a week – ‘inhumane’ and ‘unsustainable’

Jack Ma endorses China’s controversial 12 hours a day, 6 days a week work culture
One of China’s richest men has been criticized for endorsing the controversial culture of 12-hour workdays in the country’s red-hot tech industry, saying employees who worked longer hours will get the “rewards of hard work.” Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA), has spoken out on social media in recent days in support of the Chinese work practice known as “996.” The number refers to working from 9 am to 9 pm six days a week and is said to be common among the country’s big technology companies and start-ups.

JD Logistics lost RMB 2.8 billion in 2018: CEO
Richard Liu, the founder and CEO of, sent a note to JD Logistics employees early Monday, calling for unity and cooperation from delivery drivers at a crucial time for the company. According to an internal letter obtained by Chinese media, the e-commerce firm’s logistics arm recorded net losses exceeding RMB 2.3 billion ($343 million) in 2018. If costs from internal platform, JD mall, are included, that widens to RMB 2.8 billion.

JD Logistics lost RMB 2.8 billion in 2018: CEO

China building SME credit database to open funding access
China to include businesses in credit score database plan – Financial Times
China is building a credit scoring system to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain better access to funding. According to a document (in Chinese) released earlier this month, the database will contain an array of records pertaining to individual SMEs including penalties and presence on government blacklists, as well as tax payments and utility bills. So far the database contains about 400,000 companies with credit scores, and those who with relatively high credit ratings will be given priority access to funding.

Briefing: China building SME credit database to open funding access

China’s small business lending push could equal US$418 billion in new loans, S&P Global says
Lending push could lead to higher credit costs and weaker asset quality, but the affect on credit quality is limited Loans to micro and small businesses in China totalled about 9.36 trillion yuan at the end of 2018

China’s P2P lending market could be decimated this year amid Beijing crackdown
Beijing to introduce stricter P2P licensing requirements in the second half of this year Only 100 P2P platforms seen surviving out of 1,000 in operation early this year, amid government crackdown on dodgy lenders

China stocks lose ground for a third day on concern government to pare policy loosening
The Shanghai Composite Index gave up an intraday gain of as much as 2.1 per cent as investors brushed aside March credit data that exceeded analysts’ estimates

Fading fears of a ‘hard landing’ for China’s economy could push stocks higher, strategist predicts
China increasingly appears set to avoid a dreaded “hard landing” and that could help push the country’s stock markets higher the rest of this year, says Stefan Hofer, chief investment strategist at LGT Bank in Hong Kong. Hofer said investors have been focused on whether China can sidestep that scenario, which he said has hung over the market as “one of the more frightening tail risks.”

Hong Kong may boost start-up ecosystem by offering more incentives to overseas angel investors, says financial secretary
Government will consider offering more tax and other incentives to attract overseas angel investors, Paul Chan says

US, European institutional investors plan to pile into China’s capital markets, survey finds
MSCI inclusion of A-shares and new Bloomberg Barclays inclusion of China bonds behind rush ‘This is just the beginning,’ says Chris Pigott of Brown Brothers Harriman

Chinese companies break out of fundraising lull in 2019
Foreign money pours in as mainland shares join major benchmarks

China has six of the world’s 10 busiest container ports, spurred by booming trade and a state coffer that invests in public works
Six of the world’s busiest container ports last year were in China, stretching from Qingdao in the north to Shenzhen and Guangzhou in the south China’s government has spent 1 trillion yuan since 2012 to expand the country’s port facilities

China’s trade boom and building frenzy of ports help home-grown producers corner the world market of containers and cranes
Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries now exports quay cranes, gantry cranes to more than 300 ports in 100 countries, with 70 per cent of the global market China International Marine Containers Group (CIMC), took a little more than a decade to become the world’s largest maker of shipping containers

Malaysia to ‘take advantage’ of ECRL deal to sell China more palm oil: Mahathir Mohamad
The Malaysian prime minister suggests there was a quid pro quo for agreeing to resume work on the controversial Beijing-backed rail project Not only did the cost drop by more than US$5 billion – he says China will buy more palm oil from Malaysia, though the issue ‘isn’t directly related’

4 Reasons Why Luxury Rentals Could be a Hit with Chinese Millennials
Luxury rental appeals to the Chinese millennials who are experience-seeking, environmentally-friendly, self-fulfilled, and tend to be in debt.

4 Reasons Why Luxury Rentals Could be a Hit with Chinese Millennials

To Win in China’s Luxury Market Means to Succeed in the World
Chinese luxury consumers are younger than in any other country. Millennials account for about 70 percent of consumption (versus about 35-40 percent worldwide), and Generation Z accounts for another 10-15 percent (versus 3-5 percent worldwide). They are digitally native — more than 30 percent of all Chinese luxury consumers buy (at least occasionally) online, with Generation Z consumers reaching up to 60 percent. More than 75 percent of brand preferences are built online, through WeChat, Weibo, and KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Traditional advertising makes no sense in China, in my opinion, as it does not allow for building online communities. Troubling? No, it’s a new reality! Disruption in motion, at accelerating speed.

To Win in China’s Luxury Market Means to Succeed in the World

China’s young rich tech entrepreneurs take off into private jet rentals, ditching the status symbol of ownership
Leasing rather than owning can mean big savings and fewer hassles, VistaJet says Rental trend comes amid greater scrutiny of corporate expenses

The Belt and Road: The Good, the Bad, and the Mixed
Demystifying China’s Belt and Road Initiative through 3 case studies.

Debt fears, delays and land disputes: how China’s belt and road plan for Indonesia got off track
China’s high-speed rail project, linking West Java city of Bandung, has been plagued by delays, complaints of inadequate compensation for villagers and is now a central point of debate in the coming election Fears have also intensified over the potential debt trap that comes with China’s global infrastructure initiative

Japan to Send ‘High-Level Delegation’ to China’s Belt and Road Summit
Japanese officials said they will attend in order to expand their cooperation in Belt and Road-related fields. Minister of foreign affairs Wang Yi said the dialogue over the weekend was “constructive,” though China expects Japan to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative with a “more positive and clear” manner.

Xi Jinping won’t force unification on Taiwan for now, the show of force by China’s PLA notwithstanding
Xi has unification on his mind, but the conditions are not ripe for it, given that China is still locked in a trade war with the US and Taiwan is gearing up for elections. The PLA’s incursion into Taiwanese airspace was intentional, but it won’t be overplayed

Taiwan boosts defence with 10-year military spending plan
Intention is to surpass US$13 billion by 2027 with further increases planned Bid to deter growing threat from mainland China

Who rules China? Representation on the NPC and Central Committee
March Madness for China watchers is the ‘Two Sessions’: the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Yet, from scripted press conferences to rubber stamp approvals, these institutions are often dismissed as political pageantry of little significance. Recent scholarship suggests otherwise.

Who rules China? Representation on the NPC and Central Committee

Video What does the world’s largest single-building airport terminal look like?
The busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers is in Atlanta, Georgia and no 2 is in Beijing, both with tens of millions more passengers every year than their nearest rivals.

Chinese customs officers seize more than 7 tonnes of ivory in record haul
Elephant tusks found in wooden boxes during raid on disused factory in remote town in Anhui
Twenty-six suspected members of international trafficking ring arrested in coordinated operation across six provinces

Book Review: The Future Is Asian
Parag Khanna clearly loathes the West, hates democracy and believes the entire continent of Asia – from Japan to Saudi Arabia, from Afghanistan to West Papua – is the new utopia. That, at least, is the impression left by his new book, The Future is Asian. This would have been a much better book if the author had avoided knee-jerk blanket prejudices against the West and Lee Kuan Yew ‘Asian values’ indoctrination. It reads too much as banal propaganda-speak. Compared with another, far more thoughtful and balanced attempt to look at a region – Michael Vatikiotis’ superb Blood and Silk: Power and Conflict in Modern Southeast Asia, which I recommend very highly – Khanna deserves full marks for trying, credit from his propaganda masters for his loyalty to their message, but a disappointingly low grade overall. The future may well be Asian, but not because Khanna says so.

Book Review: The Future Is Asian

Alain Gillard
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