Can Western brands recover from consumer backlash in China?
For many years foreign companies operating in China have faced social media-fuelled consumer backlashes, sometimes over instances of cultural insensitivity and sometimes over political controversies.
China’s economy continues booming after record first quarter
Early indicators show a pick-up in activity as exports climb, while rising commodity prices also pushing up factory inflation
China’s month-long consumption campaign aims to ‘unleash spending potential’ of Chinese people
Upcoming promotional period in May will involve millions of retailers, but analysts say significant hurdles remain to get people to spend again Boosting domestic consumption is an economic priority in China’s five-year plan to 2025, as well as its long-term vision through 2035
Biden’s new stimulus plan is all about infrastructure, and China has lessons to share
For decades, spending on infrastructure has been China’s go-to method to both combat economic slowdowns while supporting long-term development Analysts say US President Joe Biden’s plan should prioritise infrastructure projects that support overall economic development, with the creation of new jobs being secondary
Why the socialist element of China’s market economy is important
China’s socialist market economy has been at the heart of the nation’s economic transformation Private investors must remember socialism comes first, meaning public interests trump commercial concerns
EU slams China’s ‘authoritarian shift’ and broken economic promises
Tougher stance comes as Joe Biden plans to visit Brussels in June with Beijing likely on agenda. “The reality is that the EU and China have fundamental divergences, be it about their economic systems and managing globalization, democracy and human rights, or on how to deal with third countries. These differences are set to remain for the foreseeable future and must not be brushed under the carpet,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said in a letter outlining the report to the European Council comprising leaders of the 27 EU countries, on April 21.
Think the EU Isn’t Acting on China? Look Closer.
Understanding how the EU is responding to China’s rise requires understanding how the organization actually works. The Indo-Pacific strategy of the EU’s largest member Germany, as well as the China-policy papers of smaller members Sweden and the Netherlands all emphasize the importance of working through the EU to achieve national goals with respect to developments in Asia. This is quite a change from the previous age of competition, the Cold War, when the EU’s predecessor, the EEC, was barely active in foreign policy and Western European countries looked to the U.S.-led NATO as the main vehicle for protection against the Soviet Union. In the new geopolitical age, the EU is set to occupy a central place in the foreign policies of its member states. How well the organization can adapt to the role will depend mostly on choices made by its member states. However, there are good reasons to be optimistic about the EU’s capacity to adapt to the coming challenges, and it would be a mistake to write it off as irrelevant.
China: The rise of a trade titan
Overall, China is likely to remain the world’s leading exporter for the near future. However, its exports dominance in the global economy may be approaching its peak. There are a number of reasons for this. First, China’s economy is maturing to be more reliant on domestic rather than foreign demand, as the prominence of exports in the Chinese economy has been rapidly declining in recent years. For global trade, this implies that Chinese imports are likely to increase faster than exports, thus eroding China’s exports’ share in the global economy. Second, increasing labour costs in China are eroding its global competitiveness, especially in labour-intensive production processes. This will eventually result in the relocation of global production to lower-cost countries. Highly competitive economies like Viet Nam will likely chip away trade from China. Moreover, advancements in labour-saving technologies, such as automation and robotics, as well as fiscal incentives like incentives to firms and tax credits for local employment, are improving the financial attractiveness of reshoring some manufacturing processes closer to consumers in developed countries. Finally, headwinds hitting the globalized economy are strengthening. Current geopolitical tensions and national policy shifts, which are increasingly considering social and environmental aspects of development, may reverse the hyperglobalization process of the past more than 20 years. A further escalation of tensions and a lack of global action to address social and environmental concerns could lead to a deglobalization process that will likely have stronger-than-average implications for major exporters such as China.
Targeting China with trade reforms will not work – WTO head
China is more likely to cooperate with global trade reforms if it is not made to feel a target of other international powers, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Monday.
China beefs up crackdown on intellectual property rights violations
China has strengthened crackdown on violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) last year and as a result approval among the public of IPR protection reached a record high, Chinese officials said on Monday, marking the World Intellectual Property Day. “Based on a survey regarding China’s IPR situation, the score of public satisfaction with IPR protection reached 80.5 at the end of 2020, which was 1.07 points higher than that of 2019 and 11.33 points higher than 2015,” the National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) said in a statement on Monday.
Beijing Hopes U.S. Companies Will Push to Scrap China Tariffs
China hopes U.S. companies will press their government to cancel additional tariffs on China, cease “decoupling” and supply suspension, and stop suppressing Chinese companies, a top diplomat said. Xie Feng, a vice minister of foreign affairs, made the comments during a meeting with officials from major U.S. companies last week. He said that American companies are stakeholders in Chinese-U.S. cooperation, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website. Competition between the world’s two largest economies should be more a track-and-field competition than a life-and-death gladiatorial confrontation
China Gets Serious About Antitrust in Cyberspace
Record Alibaba fine is only part of a sweeping government crackdown on anti-competitive practices by China’s freewheeling internet giants. Meanwhile, not all antitrust investigations will be publicly disclosed. Due to limited law enforcement resources, in some cases in which a company is committed to internal rectification to meet requirements, regulators could shift their attention to more-complicated cases, according to the person close to the market regulator. It’s not realistic to expect administrative moves to completely eliminate the picking-sides practice, but such behaviors will be greatly limited, and the operating costs of merchants will be reduced, said Li Mingtao, president of the Institute of China International Electronic Commerce Center under the Ministry of Commerce.
China digital currency: fintech giant Ant Group reveals partnership history with People’s Bank of China
This is the first time that Ant Group has disclosed a detailed timeline of its work on China’s digital currency Both Ant Group and Tencent Holdings were showing off their involvement in the digital yuan roll-out at an industry event over the weekend
Meituan becomes the focus of China’s antitrust investigation as government’s scrutiny of business practices shifts
The State Administration of Market Regulation, the antitrust watchdog agency, announced the probe in a one-line statement on its website The government is looking into whether Meituan has forced merchants to pick its platform as the exclusive distribution channel, after receiving a tip-off from the public
Chinese regulators tighten grip on live-streaming e-commerce, intensifying scrutiny on tech
China’s internet and market watchdogs, along with several other regulators, issued new rules to regulate the live-streaming sector Influencers and vendors are increasingly turning to live streams to sell products on the internet
New Chinese law to improve online personal data protection
A new draft law submitted to China’s top legislature for review has proposed imposing more requirements related to personal information protection on the country’s big internet platforms. The draft law on personal information protection on Monday returned to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) for a second reading.
China’s Big Tech firms to create user information oversight bodies under upcoming data privacy law
China’s upcoming Personal Information Protection Law will have internet companies create independent bodies to oversee their compliance of data privacy regulations The law’s latest draft is undergoing a second round of review, as Beijing increases scrutiny of how Big Tech companies handle user data
JD.com Says It’s Been Paying Some Staff in Digital Yuan
The e-commerce giant’s employees who are paid with China’s state-backed digital currency can spend it at participating vendors or transfer it to their bank accounts.
Semiconductor-starved mainland China seen driving long-term surge in exports from Taiwan
Global chip shortage – caused by a glut in pandemic-era orders, China-US tensions and new demand from automakers – is piling pressure on chip buyers to secure supplies Mainland tech firms said to be stockpiling for the future in case worsening relations with the United States make it even harder to get Taiwanese tech supplies
TikTok owner ByteDance takes on Alibaba, Pinduoduo in big e-commerce push
ByteDance-owned short video app operator Douyin is moving to build up a vast ecosystem of merchants under its own e-commerce platform There are about 600 million daily active users on Douyin, which has been subject to rampant IPO speculation
TikTok owner ByteDance ramps up local services expansion, squaring up against industry leader Meituan
Tech unicorn ByteDance is ramping up its challenge to Meituan, operator of China’s dominant food delivery provider, through its short video-sharing platform Douyin, the sister app of TikTok, in a move that will expand the country’s e-commerce market for local services.
South China’s Shenzhen seeks comments on draft plans for 5G chip breakthroughs and 6G research
The southern city of Shenzhen, China’s reform showcase, is seeking public comments on a set of draft measures to push for 5G commitments and innovations with a focus on breakthroughs in key components and chips, according to local industrial and information technology bureau.
What will the new normal look like for China?
In the short term, the successful COVID-19 response by President Xi Jinping’s government will allow China to temporarily strengthen its position. But in the long term, its problems aren’t going anywhere. As vaccination use spreads and the COVID-19 pandemic is slowly brought under control, China seems to have been more resilient to the pandemic when compared to the West, at least superficially. Throughout 2020, China adeptly pivoted away from its initial missteps in handling the COVID-19 pandemic, with the government accruing ever more support from its citizens in spite of the draconian measures it used to suppress the spread of the virus.
Bad-debt manager China Huarong once again delays results as auditors need time to ‘finalise unspecified transaction’
China Huarong Asset Management had missed an earlier March 31 deadline to announce preliminary results, saying that its auditors needed more time The Hong Kong stock exchange, where the shares are listed, has a deadline of April 30 for companies to file final earnings results
China’s cosmetics producers want to outsell L’Oreal, Shiseido with quality, market funding and trust from millennials
Local cosmetics and skincare makers are boosting research, marketing and innovation with funding from capital markets Their growth outlook has fuelled prices of stocks such as Yunnan Botanee Bio-Technology and Yatsen, which listed this year
Hermès Is Proof That Gen Z Is Turbocharging The Luxury Recovery
The most influential luxury brands haven’t just returned to form; they’re now performing better than ever. How? By connecting with Gen Z. The largest and most influential luxury brands haven’t just returned to form; they’re now performing better than in 2019 — a record year in the industry. History has shown that luxury is, in fact, the most resilient category after recessions and economic downturns, with recoveries that are dramatically faster and stronger than non-luxury sectors. The influence of Generation Z — customers who are now 25 years of age or younger — has increased significantly. Their viewpoints, habits, preferences, and opinions have shaped the entire luxury market in a shorter time frame than any generation before it.
China In 10 Charts
Now the world’s second largest economy, China continues to grow at a far faster rate than other major markets. Driven by investment, manufacturing and exports, GDP expanded 2.3% year-on-year in 2020. It underlines how China’s economy was first in, first out of the Covid-19 pandemic and the successful measures taken to contain the initial outbreak and subsequent infection waves. However, there are reasons to think this rate of recovery will moderate. As the rollout of vaccines gathers pace in the US and Europe, we anticipate a slowdown in China’s exports by the year’s end as production activities pick up in rest of the world and consumption rotates from goods to services . We also expect a normalisation in fiscal policy. This indicates that 2021 could be a year of two halves: a strong first six months, followed by a slowdown in growth momentum as policymakers prioritise sustainable growth and the external environment becomes more contested. Investors will need to think carefully about where to commit their capital in 2021, what to avoid and where the risks are. Here we offer a macro-economic and asset allocation overview, touching on both equities and bonds and highlighting historical patterns and what investors might anticipate this year. Security selection will be critical if and when the broad market beta rally moderates in 2021.
China’s biggest stock sale of 2021 may be in renewable energy, with Three Gorges unit’s IPO of 8.57 billion shares in Shanghai
The unit of China Three Gorges Corporation plans to sell up to 8.57 billion shares in Shanghai, it said in a prospectus filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange The state-owned company received written approval from China’s securities regulator
China must curb energy demand, create clean supply to hit its Paris climate goal: researchers
Chinese and foreign researchers look at how aiming to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius affects China Most models analysed reported China’s coal demand would shrink to near zero around 2050
China is switching its investment focus in Africa from oil to minerals
Beijing has more options on where to source its crude these days, but is still reliant on Africa for its copper, cobalt and other rare minerals, analyst says A ‘substantial part of the Congolese mining sector … is now in Chinese hands’, report says
China’s dominance of rare earths supply is a growing concern in the West
China provides more than 85 per cent of the world’s rare earths and it is home to about two-thirds of the global supply of rare metals and minerals like antimony and baryte, report says US and Europe are worried that any disruption to their supply chains for such products would hurt key industries
Why Chinese construction firms will remain the big builders in Africa
Chinese government financing has helped to drive exports of services to the continent but Chinese companies have another big factor in their favour – price, analysts say A major shift in lending is under way, with commercial banks filling some of the gap left by Beijing’s official credit agency
Biden’s Anti-China Ambitions
Like Trump, Joe Biden is committed to a distinctly anti-China global strategy rooted in fears of American decline.
Beijing Hopes U.S. Companies Will Push to Scrap China Tariffs
China hopes U.S. companies will press their government to cancel additional tariffs on China, cease “decoupling” and supply suspension, and stop suppressing Chinese companies, a top diplomat said. Xie Feng, a vice minister of foreign affairs, made the comments during a meeting with officials from major U.S. companies last week.
He said that American companies are stakeholders in Chinese-U.S. cooperation, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
China looks to Amcham Shanghai to lobby against US tariffs
Deputy foreign minister Xie Feng calls on American business leaders to ‘exert active influence’ on Washington to end trade war Xie stresses need for greater cooperation between China and US, plays up Beijing’s reform efforts according to foreign ministry statement
Can Asia reinvent global trade?
Let’s not believe our own propaganda. Asia reinventing global trade is a superficially attractive but problematic proposition. It assumes there once was a free international economy open to reinvention. It assumes there is an ‘Asia’ beyond the geographic sense and that what defines ‘Asia’ is a common attitude towards trade, somehow superior to the attitudes of other regions. It also assumes this ‘Asia’ can relieve the international trade regime from the pressures it has been subjected to. None of these assumptions are valid. China is better placed to pursue long-term goals. But authoritarian systems have their shortcomings. They have an advantage only if decisions are correct in the first place. Deng’s decision to reform was correct; Mao Zedong’s ‘Great Leap Forward’ and Cultural Revolution were disasters. Xi’s abandonment of Deng’s approach of ‘hiding capabilities and biding time’ was a strategic mistake. Once revealed, ambitions are not easily forgotten and inevitably provoke counter-reactions. Not all problems have solutions; not everything desirable is achievable. Bereft of leadership from either East or West, the international trade regime will stumble along sub-optimally for the foreseeable future. But it is unlikely to entirely collapse, provided ad hoc and flexible coalitions of the like-minded — from which China should not be a priori excluded — pragmatically calculate risk and opportunity and manage particular issues, rather than chase the chimaera of definitively ‘reinventing’ global trade.
EU-China ties ‘flexible, multi-faceted’, envoy says as Brussels rolls out Indo-Pacific strategy
After much deliberations the EU has come out with its on Indo-Pacific strategy to ‘reinforce its strategic focus, presence and action’ in the region.
Will China invade Taiwan?
A successful takeover by China of what it sees as its own renegade province would be a crowning glory for President Xi Jinping. But the stakes are high – is he really willing to risk it?
How next-generation technology could allow US to fight off mainland Chinese invasion of Taiwan
US military planners have identified the advanced equipment they believe they need to stop mainland China occupying the island following a war game Analysts say up to 80 per cent of America’s naval and air power may be needed to secure victory, which could still come at a heavy cost
China’s Belt and Road projects face climate change challenges
China has built many of its BRI projects in places that studies show are very susceptible to the extreme effects of climate change Beijing may be increasingly vulnerable to the consequences of climate crisis, including migration pressures, political unrest and rising sea levels
Creating alternatives to China’s Belt and Road
With its bold Belt and Road Initiative to boost trade and infrastructure links with partners, Xi Jinping’s China stole a march on other large economies. Since 2013, it has created a framework endorsed by more than 150 states and international organisations. Western democracies were slow to recognise its strategic implications, and even slower to respond. Talks between the EU and India on building joint infrastructure projects around the world show attempts to come up with alternatives to China’s project are finally under way. Whether they can have a similar impact is less clear
China to continue belt and road cooperation and spur green projects
China will continue belt and road cooperation with other parties, according to Chinese president Xi Jinping, speaking at the Boao Forum for Asia conference.
Devastating epidemic ‘may drag Indian economy back to 20 years ago’; China stands ready to help
As India suffers its worst humanitarian crisis amid the devastating second wave of COVID-19 with the fastest rise in new daily cases any country has experienced since the outbreak, the Chinese government and enterprises have made goodwill gestures by offering help or donating medical supplies despite sour bilateral ties.
Chance of China, Taiwan conflict should not be discounted – Australian defence minister
The chance of a conflict involving China over Taiwan “should not be discounted,” but Australia will work with its allies in the region to try and maintain peace, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said on Sunday.
Beijing tells Australian defence minister Peter Dutton to abide by one-China principle after Taiwan warning
Dutton told an ABC interviewer that conflict could not be ‘discounted’ and suggested a Chinese lease on the port of Darwin could be under threat Relations between the two countries have already been under strain after Canberra called for an inquiry into the origins of Covid-19
Germany should be tough on China, Greens’ chancellor candidate says
If Beijing requires Chinese firms like Huawei to pass on European data ‘we cannot integrate products from such manufacturers into European infrastructure’, Annalena Baerbock says ‘We can say: products from forced labour do not come onto our market,’ she says
China population: what’s driving central bank concern about the nation’s ageing workforce?
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been increasingly vocal about the potential economic consequences associated with the country’s demographic challenges Chief among its concerns are how China’s declining fertility rate and ageing population will weigh on the pension system and productivity
Blocking Wen Jiabao’s article reflects atmosphere of extreme censorship
Blocking Wen Jiabao’s article reflects atmosphere of extreme censorship in Xi Jinping-led China Former Premier of China Wen Jiabao recently has had close encounter with the increased, amplified censorship in the country which he ruled for 10 years. His personal essay on his deceased mother, which was published in a newspaper, was instructed to be removed and be blocked on internet. China is known for its restrictive media environments but Jiabao’s essay did not make for censorship since it did have any critical observation or remarks about the current Chinese dispensation.
A Professor, a Zoo, and a Fight Over Facial Recognition in China
In China, businesses are forcing customers to use facial recognition scanners. But Guo Bing is trying to outlaw the practice — by taking his local safari park to court.
With COVID-19 Alarms Off, China Eyes Huge Labor Day Travel Rush
Some 200 million trips are planned during the five-day holiday, potentially surpassing the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.
China’s anti-poverty playbook should inspire Hong Kong to act
The single-mindedness with which Beijing has pursued its goal to eradicate absolute poverty is worthy of emulation The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are good starting points for Hong Kong to work towards, mapping out local, measurable targets along the way
China Censors Oscars Winners Chloé Zhao and ‘Nomadland’
China‘s largest social media website worked overtime to quash discussions about Oscar-winning director Chloé Zhao and her Best Picture winner Nomadland on Sunday, following controversy over the filmmakers previous remarks about her homeland. Chinese filmmaker Zhao, 39, became the first woman of color and only the second woman ever to win an Academy Award for Best Director, but celebrations on Weibo—China’s Twitter-like microblogging service—were being muted almost as quickly as they were being posted.Censorship on the website, which had more than 500 active monthly users as of last December, began less than an hour into Oscars night when Zhao made history by bagging the first of the event’s big awards
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