China Press Review – April 18, 2019

Press review

Two more rounds of talks set for May amid hope the US-China trade war is ending
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to travel to Beijing the week of April 29 Officials hope to announce a deal when Chinese Vice Premier Liu He visits Washington the following week

China says US trade agreement not yet settled

China said Thursday there is “still much work to finish” on the text of a trade agreement with the United States. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday held out hope the current trade talks with China will be a success, and said an announcement on the status was due “shortly”.

Is US-China Trade Deal a Reality Within 2 Months? 5 Top Picks
On Apr 17, both The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reported that the United States and China are trying hard to reach a deal to end the prolonged trade-related conflict by early May. President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping could sign the deal later that month or the first week of June.

China sees brighter outlook for yuan and foreign investment as US-China trade war deal nears
State Administration of Foreign Exchange offers positive outlook due to domestic growth and move by the US Federal Reserve to halt interest rate increases China’s gross domestic product expanded 6.4 per cent in first quarter of 2019 – stronger than expected and at the top end of the government’s growth target range

US-China tensions may continue after trade war, says Singapore’s finance minister
Heng Swee Keat says rivalry between the world’s two biggest economies is ‘more complex’ than a simple trade dispute

China consumer spending ‘not fully recovered’ from US-China trade war despite improving sentiment
Nominal growth rate of household consumption actually slowed further to 7.3 per cent from a year earlier, down from 8.0 per cent in the fourth quarter But gross domestic product, fixed asset investment and retail sales improved from the fourth quarter, highlighting improved sentiment

China’s economic rebound is helping Europe, but not as much as Italy, France, Germany and Brexit are hurting it
China’s first-quarter GDP figures have helped fuel market rallies and some investors see opportunity in unloved European stocks, but home-grown problems will severely limit their upside, and that of the euro-zone economy in general.

Major banks raise China growth forecasts after surprise GDP numbers — some are still cautious
Citi, Barclays and ING are raising their 2019 forecasts for China’s economic growth after it came in at a higher-than-expected 6.4 percent for the first quarter, but others remain cautious. China has been implementing stimulus measures into the the world’s second-largest economy to try and bolster growth dented by the trade war with the United States. “Nothing is rosy,” said Taimur Baig, Singapore-based DBS Group Research chief economist. “China is on a structural slowdown path.”

China’s Growth Story Has Plenty of Holes
Don’t get carried away by the green shoots. Ample data show that Beijing’s targets are increasingly unrealistic.

China’s economy steadies as stimulus kicks in
But rising debt and retreat from reform threaten staying power

Skip the Party for China’s Economy
Relatively healthy growth belies the country’s systemic problems.

Is Japan Anti-China?
The Complexity of Japan-China Relations

Seeing what you want in Belt and Road
China’s sprawling infrastructure program has become a test of attitudes that tells us more about the analyst than BRI.

China’s EximBank provides more than $149 bln for Belt and Road projects
Export-Import Bank of China (EximBank) has provided more than 1 trillion yuan ($149 billion) to more than 1,800 “Belt and Road” projects, it said on Thursday. The outstanding loans were up from 810 billion yuan at the end of March 2018

Funding the new Silk Road
The Greater Bay Area excels in key areas that can strengthen financial co-operation, construct robust infrastructure and champion sustainable investment along the Belt and Road Initiative and worldwide, says Luo Yang, managing director of the Silk Road Fund

Feature: New Silk Road helps revive Germany’s rust belt city
“Duisburg is a logistics center. The new Silk Road is definitely a reason for the growth of logistics,” he said.

17 Arab countries join Beijing’s new Silk Road
Beijing has inked cooperation deals on its multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with 17 Arab countries, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the results of a joint Sino-Arab forum.

17 Arab countries join Beijing’s new Silk Road

China’s electric car makers face ‘critical’ maturity period over the next two years, KPMG says
Consolidation likely as electric car makers face tighter capital markets, end of government subsidies next year EV makers have yet to reach ‘true mass production’ standards

European Union must ‘play offence’ to offset China’s rising influence in Africa and Asia, insiders say
Brussels has to move away from its defensive strategy if it wants to compete for global infrastructure deals, promote its ideals, MEPs say Two sides ended their summit last week with an agreement to increase cooperation on infrastructure development

China to use own tech to grow nuclear energy capacity
China plans to deploy its own nuclear reactor, called “Hualong One,” in new power plants built around the country, instead of using foreign designs, government officials announced on Wednesday. Beijing has settled on using the Chinese design over the American AP1000 to meet its goal of increasing total installed nuclear capacity to 58 gigawatts and to have another 30 gigawatts under construction by 2020. Nuclear plant construction had been halted for three years due to a suspension of approvals, but the National Nuclear Safety Administration confirmed it will resume this year.

Briefing: China to use own tech to grow nuclear energy capacity

China’s solar installs plummet 46% to 5.2GW in Q1 2019 – AECEA
According to China’s National Renewable Energy Center (NREC), PV installations in the first quarter of 2019, declined by 46%, year-on-year to only 5.2GW.

5 Big Changes to China’s VAT in 2019
Following the announcements made in the annual Work Report delivered at the Two Sessions, the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration, and General Administration of Customs have jointly issued a series of new policies on value-added tax (VAT). The new polices, which took effect on April 1, 2019, aim to enhance economic activity in certain sectors by lowering VAT rates and increasing VAT credits. The latest changes mark the final stages of China’s overhaul of its VAT system, and come as part of a larger RMB 2 trillion (US$298.3 billion) cost cutting package intended to boost China’s economy

China shows off its ‘explosion-proof’ trams
Chinese firm making 90 trams for Israel, which feared they could be targets of possible attacks

China March FDI expands 8 pct
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland expanded 8 percent year on year to reach 95.17 billion yuan (about 14.2 billion U.S. dollars) in March, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

Big Tech With the power to change the world, here’s why the US and China are fighting over our 5G future
Some experts argue 5G will change the way we live forever, powering a new data-driven industrial revolution China realises that the advent of 5G is its chance to get out in front for the first time in the development of wireless communications technology

Amazon to close Chinese domestic marketplace business in major e-commerce setback
Mainland shoppers will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants, but can still make overseas orders via Amazon’s global store Closure underscores how home-grown rivals have made it difficult for US retail giant to gain local foothold

China retail market overview for Q1 2019; online grew by 15%, 23% of total
In March 2019, retail sales of consumer goods grew by 8.7% year-on-year to 3,172.6 billion yuan (US$472.73bn). About 85.7% of that came from urban areas (2,719.2 billion yuan, up 8.5%), and 14.3% from rural areas (453.4 billion yuan, up 9.4%). Grouped by consumption patterns, around 10.7% were from the catering services (339.3 billion yuan, up 9.5%) and 89.3% from retail sales of goods (2,833.3 billion yuan, up 8.6%)

As JD CEO and founder faces public criticism, what’s next for China’s largest retailer?
Renewed rape allegations against Richard Liu, the founder and CEO of, China’s largest retailer and second-largest e-commerce operator, represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Chinese tech behemoth’s problems.

As JD CEO and founder faces public criticism, what’s next for China’s largest retailer?

L’Oreal Shows the Lipstick Index Lives in China
L’Oreal’s strong sales in Asia show that, even in China, demand for cosmetics can weather difficult economic conditions.

China to lure more foreign investment in bonds, stocks
China aims to attract more foreign investment in its bonds and stocks as the country further opens up its capital markets, the foreign exchange regulator said on Thursday.

Large P2P lenders ordered to ready disclosures for regulators
Authorities are preparing to roll out a pilot program to register China’s surviving online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in a national monitoring system. Registered P2P platforms will be required to submit information to the monitoring system consisting of two databases, an information disclosure database and a real-time transaction monitoring database. Large platforms with loan balances of more than RMB 5 billion ($750 million) must register with the information disclosure database by the end of May. The remaining platforms with loan balances less than RMB 5 billion are required to complete registration by the end of June.

Briefing: Large P2P lenders ordered to ready disclosures for regulators

Chinese Health Care Is Betting Big on AI
Robots for diagnosing patients and sorting drugs are among the featured attractions at this week’s technology expo in Shanghai.

4K Laser TV market to heat up in 2019 on falling prices
A report by AVC Revo indicates 4K laser TV prices in China could drop below $1,500 on average in 2019, contributing to a continued explosion in sales that grew 132% year on year between 2017 and 2018. To help drive the industry surge, 16 local manufacturers recently met in Beijing to discuss coordination on product development, services, and technology. AVC Revo’s report estimates sales of up to 300,000 laser TV units in 2019, up significantly from last year’s 164,000.

Briefing: 4K Laser TV market to heat up in 2019 on falling prices

China’s hog hell in Year of the Pig
African swine fever could kill up to 200 million pigs and trigger a 70% rise in pork prices

Beijing takes control of rating agency Dagong, following last year’s licence suspension in China
Restructuring of one of China’s big four credit rating agencies comes as Beijing tries to boost its domestic bond market

China’s king of debt has US$35b fortune and lots of doubters
Donald Trump once called himself the “king of debt.” Hui Ka Yan, China’s richest property mogul, has a much stronger claim to the throne. In many ways, Hui is more emblematic of recent trends in global business than his richer peers. Worldwide corporate debt has swelled by 26 per cent over the past decade to US$132 trillion as companies have taken advantage of historically low interest rates to fund their growth. Like Evergrande, many have also used borrowed cash to repurchase shares and boost dividends. “They are keen to use debt to finance expansion – and if they want dividends and share buybacks, they will use debt to finance these too,”

Xi Jinping’s intolerance of dissent within government heightens the risk of Chinese policy mistakes
The dismissal of an outspoken reformist official reflects a profound change, under Xi, in the way Chinese leaders govern: from a collective decision-making process in which disagreements and debate were allowed, to a centralised leadership style in which loyalty and conformity are prized

8 ways China controls the internet – Inkstone
China has a slew of laws and rules banning online content it deems inappropriate

After official censure for vulgar content, Sina suspends apps for a month
On Wednesday, the Beijing Office of Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission announced on WeChat that internet company Sina had spread false and vulgar content on its content platforms, and was a “bad influence.” The post also said that Sina had volunteered to suspend updates for its desktop Sina Blog application, as well as take down its mobile Sina News and Sina Blog apps, for one month to fix issues. Weibo, the uber-popular microblogging platform also run by Sina, wasn’t mentioned in the post.

Briefing: After official censure for vulgar content, Sina suspends apps for a month

Stanford Staff Cautioned Chinese Scientist Against Gene Editing
Researchers at Stanford had ‘expressed serious concerns’ to He Jiankui before urging him to ‘follow proper scientific practices,’ the school’s investigation found.

The 1 Forgotten Reason China Has Spent Hundreds of Billions of Dollars On Its Military
A century of humiliation has taught Chinese planners that to allow military forces to be able to approach the coast and be able to build up forces for a possible attack invites strategic weakness and possible subjugation by foreign powers.

China’s Bureaucrats Are Increasingly Judged on What They Do After Work
Dozens of cities, provinces now stipulate rules for officials Government wants a nationwide social credit system by 2020

China reportedly monitors what civil servants do outside work as the country rolls out its ambitious social credit system
Some local authorities around China are monitoring government employees’ behavior outside work hours, Bloomberg reported. At least three cities have started assessing public servants’ activities outside of work to determine whether they get promoted, Bloomberg said.This new form of scrutiny comes as China rolls out its ambitious social credit system, which aims to track, reward, and punish citizens’ behavior. China’s Communist Party has also been cracking down on its members to ensure loyalty to the party and its leader, President Xi Jinping.

China’s social credit system stops the sale of over 26 million plane and train tickets
The National Development and Reform Commission confirms the sale of 20.47 million plane tickets and 5.71 million train tickets were stopped System aims to pressure citizens to avoid bad behaviour, with 13.49 million individuals classified as untrustworthy by the of March

China to build huge collider to study ‘God particle’
China racing against Japan, Europe to build largest machine in the world to study the Higgs boson

Depression affects nearly 30 per cent of China’s youth
Almost 30 per cent of Chinese young people aged 14-35 are in danger of becoming depressed, with 8.1 per cent considered high-risk, according to recent research by the China Youth & Children Research Centre and the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China’s first Tintin shop site of transnational friendship
The Belgian comic series The Adventures of Tintin officially opened its Shanghai flagship theme shop on Monday after a two-month trial run.

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