China Press Review – April 27, 2020

Press review

Coronavirus: Live-streaming sales prove a lifeline for China’s small retailers as pandemic disrupts business models and consumer behaviour
From houses, cars and clothes to food and film tickets, Chinese consumers are suddenly buying vast quantities of goods via live-streaming platforms
After most of China went into lockdown, many small retailers turned to live-streaming in a desperate bid to stay afloat

Coronavirus: China’s industrial giants see profits collapse in first quarter of 2020
From January to March, China’s industrial giants’ profits were down 36.7 per cent, with the energy and automotive sectors suffering huge drops     Chemicals and ferrous metals processing were next worst hit, as China’s efforts to reopen the economy continue

Coronavirus: China’s belt and road plan may take a year to recover from slower trade, falling investment
But trade with partner countries might not be as badly affected as with countries elsewhere in the world, observers say   China’s trade with belt and road countries rose by 3.2 per cent in the January-March period, but second-quarter results will depend on how well they manage to contain the pathogen, academic says

Coronavirus: China’s belt and road plan hits roadblock as virus pinches supply of materials and workers
Despite tentative signs of economic recovery at home, projects under the Belt and Road Initiative remain cut off from vital Chinese materials and specialist labour    Supply chain disruptions are pushing out existing project timelines, including in Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and adding uncertainty to new plans

Lack of Demand: The Coronavirus Pandemic and China’s Belt an road
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which arose in China and swept around the globe, has devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands. But however large the health impact of COVID-19 ultimately is, hundreds of millions more have already felt its economic impact. With people worldwide ordered to social distance and stay at home, entire industries have been shuttered. And though national economies will recover in time, fully restoring them may prove to be a slow process. No doubt, the longer the disease lingers, the longer an economic recovery will take. That could create one more economic casualty: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The future of China’s economic engagement
Oil trades at a negative price. Unemployment in the United States is nine times greater than during the period following the Global Financial Crash (GFC) in 2008. A poorly managed response to COVID-19 infections and a medical system that favors the affluent, means around two thousand people are dying every day. And yet the American stock market rallied higher for five weeks. This is a stunning disconnect between economic reality and the financial market. It’s taken a collapse in the oil price to get the American market to wake up and reconnect with economic reality.

China’s digital payments revolution
Learn more about Global ChinaWhile America spent the past decade upgrading its bank-based magnetic striped cards with chips, China experienced a retail payment revolution. Leapfrogging the card-based system, two new payment systems have come to dominate person-to-person, retail, and many business transactions. China’s new system is built on digital wallets, QR codes (two-dimensional bar codes), and runs through their own big tech firms: Alipay running through Alibaba (China’s version of Amazon) and WeChat Pay running through Tencent (China’s version of Facebook). China’s system largely disintermediates banks from payment transactions, robbing banks of an important and long-standing source of revenue. It creates an alternative payment ecosystem with different incentives between merchants, consumers, and payment system providers. It challenges the long-standing placement of payments on the side of banking as opposed to commerce. In doing so, this system creates new incentives that could realign existing business models and relationships between merchants, banks, and technology providers. China’s new payment system exploded in under a decade, growing from inception to dominance. With over a billion users on each platform, the power of network incentives has been unleashed. The new payment system has replaced cards and cash at registers, how families give gifts, and even how beggars ask for money, with QR codes replacing tin cups.

Xpeng launches their first sedan, promises “China’s best driver assist system”
Xpeng Motors on Monday launched its first sedan model P7, boasting a range of 706 km (439 miles) and what it claimed the best-performed autonomous driving hardware stack among locally-produced vehicles.

Coronavirus: Chinese consumer sentiment still reeling from pandemic, hitting hopes of ‘revenge shopping’
More than half of Chinese households plan to increase savings and cut back on spending following the Covid-19 pandemic, a new survey shows     Results show that consumer sentiment is still recovering from crisis and quash hopes of a quick rebound in the world’s second largest economy

Tesla escalates battle against Chinese EV maker Xpeng over alleged theft of robocar secrets
Tesla alleges that an engineer stole Autopilot secrets before bolting to Chinese start-up Xpeng    Guangzhou-based Xpeng has called the claims ‘questionable’, and denies wrongdoing

US regulator moves closer to halt operations of three state-controlled Chinese telecoms companies
Federal Communications Commission issues ‘show cause’ orders to China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, and Pacific Networks Corp subsidiary ComNet
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says ‘we simply cannot take a risk and hope for the best when it comes to the security of our networks’

Power is ‘up for grabs’: Behind China’s plan to shape the future of next-generation tech
China is set to release a new plan this year called “China Standards 2035” with the aim of influencing how the next-generation of technologies, from telecommunications to artificial intelligence, will work.   Standards will define how some technologies work and their interoperability around the world.
Experts described standards as something that can “shape the playing field and landscape for the future of these technologies.”    But China will have challenges dislodging the dominance of Europe and the U.S., experts said.

Huawei and ZTE now have more than 80% of China’s 5G base station contracts
China Unicom and China Telecom have given the majority of their 5G base station contracts to Huawei and ZTE. Combined with previous contract awards from China Mobile, the two telecoms equipment makers now account for more than 80% of China’s 5G base station contracts.   The contracts of the three major carriers show that state-owned telecoms firms have a strong preference for homegrown players in the buildout of their 5G networks even though Beijing has pledged to give foreign companies “equal opportunities.”

China’s antitrust law doesn’t seem to apply to internet giants
Does Tencent have a monopoly on China’s instant messaging market? You might think so. It has nearly 1.2 billion monthly active users, the same company owns QQ, with more than 800 million users. It’s hardly possible to live in Chinese cities without using WeChat to make contact, pay bills, and recently, pass health checkpoints.

Huawei and ZTE now have more than 80% of China’s 5G base station contracts
China Unicom and China Telecom have given the majority of their 5G base station contracts to Huawei and ZTE. Combined with previous contract awards from China Mobile, the two telecoms equipment makers now account for more than 80% of China’s 5G base station contracts.

Inside China Tech: Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s biggest wish
The leader of China’s largest technology company looks forward to gentler times outside the telecommunications equipment business     As Huawei’s chief executive, he says his major contributions have been to help maintain the company’s strength during hard times

In rambling letter to investors, Pinduoduo founder predicts his company will lead a new market order
In a letter to investors, Pinduoduo founder Colin Huang suggests that companies with new business models, a group that Huang portrayed Pinduoduo as leading, are expected to outrun their older rivals in a world that’s witnessing a “reestablishment”. The already intense rivalry between Pinduoduo and arch-rivals like Alibaba and JD is reaching a fever pitch as the Covid-19 is moving more Chinese shoppers online.

National AI champion SenseTime enters pact with China’s central bank amid digital currency trials
The collaboration aims to help strengthen ‘risk control and operational capabilities’ across financial institutions    The Digital Currency Research Institute, a unit of the People’s Bank of China, is overseeing development of a new sovereign digital currency

Chinese cities turn to video technology to cut coronavirus risk at key meetings
Delegates are being allowed to log on remotely to discuss their city’s annual work report and budget in the run-up to nationwide meeting    In one city in Shanxi, around half those attending did so remotely

Jack Ma: The billionaire trying to stop coronavirus (and fix China’s reputation)
The richest man in China opened his own Twitter account last month, in the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak. So far, every one of his posts has been devoted to his unrivalled campaign to deliver medical supplies to almost every country around the world

How COVID-19 changes the game for biopharma in China
Biopharmas should consider five areas as they deal with the crisis.   The COVID-19 crisis is fundamentally changing how biopharmas operate in China. It has put short-term pressure on budgets, reduced treatment of non-COVID-19 patients, and undermined market fundamentals. Equally, it has revealed a number of new focus areas, amid expectations for rising investment and a supportive policy agenda as the economy recovers. The urgent task for biopharmas is to mitigate the short-term impacts of the outbreak and prepare for a reformed landscape once normality returns.  China is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market and a strategic priority for most global players. The market is complex, and has become more so as the crisis has played out. Expectations for economic growth and healthcare spending have been revised downward and companies have struggled to deliver normal levels of patient impact. Product approvals have continued, but launches have faced challenges, reflecting fewer diagnoses as hospitals have seen constrained capacity and fewer patients. Chronic therapies have been affected to a lesser extent, with patients able to secure longer prescriptions and obtain medicines through retail pharmacies and online platforms.

The China lesson
In the months since the Wuhan lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, there is reason to feel sadder if not wiser. How quickly the Beijing government gathered its national resources to help the province of Hubei was impressive. Having delayed some weeks before the officials responsible began to take the virus seriously, they used all the resources available to make up for earlier mistakes. This included alerting the rest of the world of the emergency measures taken.   Is there a lesson to be learnt here? Should such a state prove to be better at controlling a global disaster like COVID-19, would it impress those who had earlier been sceptical? Would those who think that freedom could lead to less efficiency be more willing to give in to authoritarianism?

EU toned down report on Chinese disinformation after Beijing threatened ‘repercussions’, diplomatic sources say
Sources tell South China Morning Post that references to Beijing’s efforts to deflect blame for the Covid-19 outbreak were removed due to fears it would withhold medical supplies in revenge   Initial version accused China of running ‘global disinformation campaign’ and used ‘covert and overt’ tactics

Coronavirus: China wants to lead the fight against Covid-19, but can it overcome the mistrust?
Beijing has sent medical teams and millions of dollars worth of supplies to help countries tackle the health crisis, but is it just trying to make amends for initially covering it up?‘They’re trying to make the world forget the big mistake,’ French academic says

Coronavirus: China loosens controls on medical exports after suppliers complain they were ‘banned’
Manufacturers complained a rule banning overseas sales unless they held a domestic licence was too restrictive because of the difficulty of obtaining the latter    Exporters will also have to declare that their products meet quality controls in the recipient country after a string of complaints about substandard equipment

Coronavirus: China’s mask, gown markets in chaos as shortages of vital raw materials sow more mayhem
Prices for surgical gowns and masks have soared, sources said, due to shortages in vital materials such as melt-blown non-woven fabric   Industry sources also point to surge in poor quality equipment, lacking in the sorts of raw materials vital to ensure masks are effective

China could have Covid-19 vaccine ‘ready for public use early next year’
One of the vaccines in clinical trials could enter emergency use for groups such as health workers by September, official says     Six candidates worldwide are being trialled, according to the WHO

Bank of China Clients Said to Have $1 Billion Losses on Oil Bet
(Bloomberg) — Bank of China Ltd.’s estimate for the carnage to retail investors from the collapse in a product linked to U.S. crude oil futures has surged 11-fold to more than 7 billion yuan ($1 billion) as it consolidated reports from its nationwide network, according to people familiar with the matter.

Piecemeal lifting of coronavirus travel restrictions likely, say experts
Families, business and individuals trapped by patchwork of bans and quarantine rules in different countries    Situation is likely to continue for months and travel in post-pandemic world is unlikely to be the same

Coronavirus infects China-US relations as blame game over pandemic intensifies
The global health crisis has killed tens of thousands of people, battered economies and put a severe dent in Beijing’s relations with other countries    In the face of a possible global backlash, Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country must be prepared for unprecedented external adversity and challenges

Coronavirus: WHO row between US, China sees G20 leaders summit called off at last minute, source says
The Group of 20 (G20) planned to hold a second virtual leaders’ summit on Friday, to be attended by President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump   But the video conference was called off amid US-China row over World Health Organisation (WHO), but could happen in near future

Can Europe copy China’s health code?
Decentralized or centralized? Bluetooth or geolocation? Control quarantines or alert people to infection risk? Store data for one month or six? There are many questions that need answers to build an app-based system to manage the Covid-19 pandemic and lift lockdowns. Much like how the implementation of health code systems wildly varies between Chinese provinces and cities, European countries are coming up with wildly different solutions.

Back to school in China as lockdowns start to ease
Children in China’s two most important cities went back to school Monday after more than three months at home, as coronavirus restrictions eased and governments around the world began charting a path out of the pandemic lockdown.   Europe’s four worst-affected countries all reported marked drops in their daily death tolls, offering hope that the outbreak may have peaked in some places — at least for now

Will coronavirus pandemic transform the university sector as the Black Death did in the Middle Ages?
The plague that swept through Europe in the late 1340s shut some universities but ultimately led to a shift from a world view centred on theology to one that valued science    Today’s higher education sector is a massive economic driver in the US, Britain and Australia. The drop in international student numbers will hit these countries hard

Australia rejects Chinese ‘economic coercion’ threat amid planned coronavirus probe
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has cautioned China against attempts at “economic coercion” as Australia pushes for an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic that China oppose

Why Many Western Luxury Brands Banking On China Will Fail
Luxury brands that struggled before the outbreak will continue to lose momentum in China if they don’t transform their digital capabilities

How Luxury Are Reaching Consumers During Lockdown
Jing Daily summarizes how Loewe, Prada, Gucci, Manolo Blahnik and YSL Beauty connect with consumers at home via social marketing campaigns.

The next normal: Retail M&A and partnerships after COVID-19
Now is the time to think about retail M&A after the coronavirus crisis. Four trends could unlock opportunities for retailers, brands, and investors to shape the next normal.

Is China changing its LGBT views? Tmall campaigns and Weibo posts give us a hint
China has world’s largest LGBTQ+ community, and rich Chinese who spend on luxury fashion brands are more than happy see advertising reflecting positive images of those citizens

Chinese cinemas ‘on their knees,’ reduced to selling popcorn, wedding packages as Netflix, streaming sites gain viewers
Cinema closures could double this year as lockdown leaves smaller operators in lower-tier cities on the brink, PwC says     Netflix and ByteDance streaming platforms have gained more members and viewers during the pandemic

Post-Covid-19: the world is facing a hunger pandemic and other disasters of biblical proportions
Locusts, pestilence of livestock, disease. The 10 plagues of Egypt seem to be playing out in today’s world, as locusts invade Africa, pigs die in China and Covid-19 stalks the Earth

Donald Trump owes tens of millions to the Bank of China – and the loan is due soon
One of US president’s most prized New York buildings was refinanced for almost US$1 billion in 2012, a chunk of which came from China    Revelation complicates Trump’s charge that ‘China will own the US’ if rival Joe Biden is elected president in November

Beijing could face Asean’s wrath over ‘naming and claiming’ of South China Sea features, observers say
Formal identification of 80 topographical formations unlikely to impress the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, with which China is trying to agree a code of conduct for the disputed waterway    Naming of underwater features might also be in breach of international law, regional affairs expert says

China envoy threatens Australia boycott over virus inquest demand
The comments mark a significant escalation in tensions between Beijing and Canberra, whose relations are already strained.  They also reflect the willingness of a new generation of Chinese diplomats to aggressively and publicly push Communist Party interests, using Chinese economic might as leverage if necessary.

Coronavirus: they’re only answering Xi Jinping’s call but are China’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomats doing more harm than good?
At least seven of Beijing’s foreign ambassadors were summoned by authorities in their host nations last week to answer charges ranging from spreading rumours to racist abuse     After the Covid-19 pandemic, the envoys’ truculence – seemingly demanded by their leader – could well come back to bite them, China watchers say

Is this really China’s ‘Chernobyl moment’?
It took time for the political effects of the 1986 disaster to come clear, and the same is true for the Covid-19 crisis   Whether there will be a similar introspection and investigation by Chinese publications about what exactly happened in those weeks between early December and mid-January in Wuhan, when news of the coronavirus was being hushed up, remains to be seen. Equally tenuous is whether the Chinese people will still believe in their government’s nationalist and conspiratorial rhetoric once the crisis nears its end, and some level of rational thought returns. As such, a “Chernobyl moment” is really only seen in retrospect. We will have to wait until 2021, or even 2022, to know if it really has any analogy to China’s coronavirus disaster.

EU revises China coronavirus report, courting controversy
Controversy over revisions made to a public report from the European Union under pressure from China is pitting EU staff against each other and against media outlets that have covered the issue.
The furor over the report, which called out China for its coronavirus disinformation campaign, demonstrates how behind-the-scenes pressure from an authoritarian government can sow division within democratic societies.

Coronavirus: Chinese professor targeted after praising Fang Fang’s Wuhan Diary
Hubei University launches investigation into staff member who took aim at novelist’s critics Inquiry a bad sign for freedom of speech, observers warn

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
Place Sainctelette 2
1080 Bruxelles
Tél 02 421 85 09 – Fax 02 421 87 75
Copyright © 2020 awex, All rights reserved