China Press Review – February 24 – 2020

Press review

Covid-19 likely to slash US$185 billion off China’s economy in January, February, says ex-IMF official
Dips in tourism, consumer spending could reduce first-quarter growth by three or four percentage points, according to Zhu Min, a former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund
Massive effort now needed to help country rebound, economist says
Podcast : German trade expert: ‘There’s no second China’
Talking to DW in Berlin, the president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, JörgWuttke, elaborated on the impact of the coronavirus epidemic on the global economy, saying supply chains were increasingly at risk.
Coronavirus Outbreak Deepens Its Toll on Global Business
The disruption of China’s manufacturing network, and slowdown of its economy, have rippled through to airlines, automakers, tech companies and more.

Coronavirus will have no ‘material impact’ on US-China trade deal, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin conceded that while China was focused on the virus, Washington still expects Beijing to live up to its commitments    He acknowledged the outbreak could also delay the start of negotiations on deepening the trade deal with Beijing and reaching a phase two agreement

Economic impact of coronavirus will be clearer in ‘three or four weeks,’ Mnuchin says
U.S. officials will have a better idea of how the coronavirus outbreak will impact the economy in “three or four weeks,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday.  “I think we’re going to need another three or four weeks to see how the virus reacts, until we really have good statistical data,” he said.

Millions of Chinese firms face collapse if banks don’t act: Bloomberg
With much of China’s economy still idled as authorities try to contain an epidemic that has infected more than 75,000 people, millions of companies across the country are in a race against the clock to stay afloat, reported Bloomberg. A survey of small- and medium-sized Chinese companies conducted this month showed that a third of respondents only had enough cash to cover fixed expenses for a month, with another third running out within two months. Without more financial support or a sudden rebound in China’s economy, some may have to shut for good.

Coronavirus: China pledges to hit 2020 targets despite economic impact of epidemic
China’s leaders say the coronavirus outbreak is a ‘temporary’ setback and the country’s social development targets for this year can be achieved   Beijing is intent on doubling the size of the economy in the decade to 2020, but supply chain disruptions and factory shutdowns threaten to throw growth of course

Help China’s key manufacturers plug back into global supply chain, Xi Jinping says
Epidemic control must be balanced with restoring production, president says   Economic goals for this year ‘remain unchanged’
China’s Factories Are Reeling From Forced Coronavirus Closures
Managers and entrepreneurs complain about unequal and conflicting regulations across the country. While Beijing has stressed that it wants to restart the economy, pledging tax cuts and other forms of aid to industries harmed by COVID-19, local regulations are preventing factories from reopening. Thus companies find themselves stuck between the necessity of keeping their employees safe and staying in business.
Chartered trains help Chinese workers return to work
China has arranged sets of chartered trains to help workers return to work in a safe and orderly manner amid the fight against the novel coronavirus. The China State Railway Group Co., Ltd. has sent 29 customized trains and transported over 30,000 workers since Feb. 16 with another 73 trains ready to leave within the next few days. Most of the trains are bound for the country’s manufacturing hubs such as Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shanghai.
Why Tesla Stock Should Panic About China’s Auto Sales Implosion
Chinese automobile sales are in freefall due to the coronavirus outbreak. Tesla stock won’t escape this crisis unscathed.

China delays self-driving car deployment goal to 2025
vehicle (AV) deployment from its original target by five years as auto and tech companies continue to struggle with the challenges of truly driverless vehicle adoption.   China backing off its ambitious plans underscores the challenging technological leap that self-driving technology has proven to be.

Coronavirus compounds the hurdles and uncertainties for global companies doing business in China, as Apple loses US$43 billion in market value
Apple warns that the outbreak will affect its first-quarter revenue as other companies with wide exposure to the Chinese market weigh the potential impact   ‘We expect an avalanche of companies to follow suit’ with a warning on earnings, US analyst says

PepsiCo pays US$705 million for a lesson in e-commerce through buying Chinese online snacks retailer Be & Cheery
PepsiCo is buying Be & Cheery from Shenzhen-listed Haoxiangni Health Food    Haoxiangni’s shares close down 2.1 per cent at 10.96 yuan in Shenzhen

Art world fights coronavirus with digital shows in wake of mainland China and Hong Kong event cancellations
Art Basel Hong Kong, the Shanghai Power Station of Art and Tank Shanghai are among institutions that are launching online viewing rooms and shows    While no substitute for experiencing art in person, digital exhibitions help fill the cultural vacuum created by the coronavirus outbreak

China postpones annual meeting of parliament: state TV
China’s top legislative body has formally decided to postpone the annual meeting of parliament originally scheduled to start on March 5, state TV reported on Monday, amid a coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 70,000 in the country.

ITB Berlin 2020 will be canceled
A cancellation of ITB would be the first in 54 years. It would set a new chapter for the already fragile state of the travel and tourism industry during a world epidemic the coronavirus may become.

Giorgio Armani holds Milan Fashion Week show behind closed doors over coronavirus concerns
In a last-minute change, Giorgio Armani held his Milan Fashion Week runway show behind closed doors Sunday due to concerns raised by coronavirus, and instead streamed the event from inside the empty showroom.

Luxe Pack Shanghai postponed until July due to coronavirus
The global event is the second cosmetics trade show to be postponed in recent months following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19)

Mido Eyewear Show Postponed Due to Coronavirus
The board of directors of the Mido eyewear trade show has decided to postpone the 2020 edition until dates, still to be decided, between the end of May and mid June because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Behind the mask: The show must go on
At the time of writing, Shanghai Fashion Week for A/W 2020, scheduled for the end of March, had announced it was being postponed, with the possibility of it being canceled outright still hanging in the air. Adding to the fashion gloom, Japanese giants, including Uniqlo and Muji, have all but shut down their mainland China retail presence, with 280 and 25 stores closed respectively. Meanwhile, widespread factory closures in China have left many Japanese brands that rely on Chinese labor worrying about their supply chain.

Factbox: Airlines suspend China flights due to coronavirus outbreak
Airlines have been suspending flights or modifying service in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy puts one-day classic Milan-Sanremo in jeopardy
Race organisers admit ‘There’s no plan B’ for opening monument of the season

Factbox: Sport events affected by the coronavirus epidemic
The following is a list of international sports events affected by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

Coronavirus outbreak a ‘disaster’ for luxury brands as China sales crash, says former LVMH executive
Pauline Brown, a former chairwoman of LVMH North America, says Chinese buyers are ‘not feeling safe’ and have no interest in going out to shop     As the virus has spread, several brands have been forced to close or restrict store opening hours in China and cancel fashion shows
L’Oréal’s Online Makeup Sales Rose in China in February
The cosmetics company is still bracing for a hit on demand due to the coronavirus health crisis.

Worse than financial crisis, deadlier than Sars: coronavirus to push Hong Kong bankruptcies to decade high
The trade war, social unrest and coronavirus outbreak will make it harder for individuals and companies to stay afloat this year, says Johnson Kong of HKICPA    In 2019, personal bankruptcies in Hong Kong rose 9 per cent year on year to 8,151, while company winding-up petitions jumped 14 per cent to 419

Coronavirus: most Hong Kong hotels record single-digit occupancy as industry faces ‘life or death’ struggle to survive
Number of tourists arriving drops to daily average of 3,000 in mid-February – from 200,000 in same month last year    Occupancy rates drop below level of Sars in 2003
Foreign brands still dominate as parents do not trust China’s home-grown baby milk formula makers 12 years on from melamine milk scandal
Domestic makers of baby powder rebuild their market share to 44 per cent, all down to Feihe which was not caught up in the 2008 tragedy   Foreign brands are seen as “way more trustworthy” and this reputation is likely to last for very long time, EIU says
China buys Danish robots to fight coronavirus
As a new and powerful weapon against the spread of the coronavirus, Chinese hospitals are now deploying Danish disinfection robots from UVD Robots.
Coronavirus: China’s small businesses ‘still losing blood’ despite creative means of retrieving stranded workers
Sunwill in China’s Guangdong province has been able to bring back 60 per cent of its staff by sending buses to neighbouring provinces, cutting the quarantine to five days   As of the start of last week, around 26,000 or half of the provinces major industrial firms with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan, had restarted production

Coronavirus: China likely overestimating economic recovery by leaving out hard-hit small businesses
Official figures only cover larger firms with an annual turnover of over 20 million yuan (US$2.85 million)   Officials on Monday claimed 90 per cent of industrial enterprises in Zhejiang province had resumed operation

China’s air, water quality unaffected by epidemic: ministry
The ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak has not contaminated China’s environment as the quality of urban air, surface water and drinking water sources are all kept stable, monitoring results from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment showed Saturday.
Coronavirus hits China’s farms and food supply chain, with further spike in meat prices ahead
Many farmers in China’s are unable to access animal feed due to lockdowns across the country, leading to fears for the future of the meat supply chain   China has been forced to loosen restrictions of agriculture market access, amid fears of a further spike in food prices
Coronavirus is China’s fastest-spreading public health crisis, President Xi Jinping says
Xi calls on government and military chiefs to work to overcome the epidemic    But country will continue to pursue its social and economic goals While urging the various government leaders to push for a return to work and production, depending on the circumstances, Xi also promised more policies to stimulate economic growth. “Fiscal policies will be more proactive, [we will] continue to study and introduce targeted cuts in taxes and fees in stages to help small, medium and micro enterprises overcome difficulties. The prudent monetary policy should be more focused on flexibility and moderation, [we should] make good use of existing financial support policies, and introduce new policy measures in a timely manner,

Stocks decline throughout Asia as fears rise about global spread of deadly coronavirus
South Korea and Italy see surge in infections, deaths, and take steps to contain virus   ‘Investors are getting more nervous,’ said Louis Tse of VC Asset Management

Coronavirus: US faces ‘tremendous public health threat’ as imported infections rise
World Health Organisation to start Wuhan inquiry    Public health agency says the number of US infections stands at 34, including 21 ‘repatriated cases’
Medical experts are set to travel to Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, on Saturday, WHO secretary general says
How China is losing global trust and goodwill over its handling of the coronavirus crisis
The crisis could have been a turning point in Beijing’s quest to be a reliable world power. Instead, a lack of transparency is poisoning the well of global goodwill and rekindling concerns about China’s influence over the WHO
Coronavirus: China’s Hubei province reports 96 new deaths as Wuhan reaches a month under lockdown
South Korean authorities report 123 more infections including 75 linked to a church in Daegu, and two new deaths   Hubei’s latest daily figures show slight rise in cases and small drop in new deaths

Coronavirus: don’t let down your guard just yet, cooped-up Chinese residents warned
Officials in a southwestern city disciplined for allowing customers to flood a square as tea vendors reopened for business    Containing epidemic remains ‘priority of priorities’

Coronavirus: Wuhan to quarantine all cured patients for 14 days after some test positive again
Recovered and discharged people were sent to designated centres from Saturday onwards   Decision follows several instances in which recovered patients were found to be still carrying the virus and able to infect others
Despite Government Assurances, Medical Workers in Hubei Say They Lack Supplies
Amid quickly changing news about the trajectory of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, on February 20, the Chinese government body overseeing the response to the epidemic announced that medical supplies adequate to combating the spread of the disease were now “generally guaranteed.” China Daily tweeted the news with the headline, “Shortage of Medical Supplies in Hubei Ends.” I have spent the past month trying to organize shipments of donations of medical gear to hospitals in Hubei, and while the doctors, nurses, and their family members I have contacted say the situation has improved, they continue to report shortages of supplies, concerns about further infections among medical workers and skepticism about official numbers of infections.
Coronavirus: prisons must learn from outbreak, China’s top legal official says
Those in charge of the nation’s penitentiaries must ‘resolutely put an end to laxity and taking chances’, says Guo Shengkun, head of the Communist Party’s Politics and Legal Affairs Commission   Orders issued after more than 500 inmates and several prison officers are confirmed as being infected with the potentially deadly virus

New Study Casts Doubt on Common COVID-19 Treatment
Shanghai’s leading coronavirus treatment center will no longer prescribe anti-HIV drugs lopinavir and ritonavir, though the study’s own authors say a larger sample size is needed for a conclusive result.

Confusion in Wuhan as move to ease coronavirus lockdown is reversed
Notice saying visitors without symptoms who were trapped in the city could leave is revoked three hours after it is issued Local government says it was released without approval and those responsible had been reprimanded

China’s coronavirus controls are starting to pay dividends, but elsewhere in the world infections are rising fast
Number of confirmed cases reported in Wuhan on Saturday falls 55 per cent from previous day, National Health Commission says    But surges in South Korea, Japan and Iran suggest the epidemic is becoming a pandemic, according to experts
Coronavirus: South Korea declares highest alert as infections surge
South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level” as confirmed case numbers keep rising.
Italy cuts short Venice carnival over coronavirus fears
Scrambling to contain rapidly rising number of new coronavirus infections in Italy, the largest amount outside Asia, authorities on Sunday stepped up measures to ban public gatherings, including stopping Venice’s famed carnival events.
Coronavirus: northern Italian towns close schools and businesses
Authorities act on cluster of infections in the Lombardy and Veneto regions
Italy suspends carnival events as number of cases in Italy reached to 132
The total number of cases nationwide is 132 including 89 people in Lombardy, 25 in Veneto, nine in Emilia Romagna and six in Piemonte, the head of the country’s civil protection service, Angelo Borrelli, said on Sunday afternoon.
Coronavirus: asymptomatic Wuhan woman shows why outbreak ‘will be hard to stop’
Case study of 20-year-old who infected relatives despite not showing signs of illness – and testing negative – stokes global pandemic fears
There was no vaccine for Sars or Mers. Will there be one for the new coronavirus?
A month has passed since China locked down millions of people in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei at the heart of the epidemic   In the first part of a series, the Post looks at how the race to find a vaccine may be different than for other coronaviruses
podcast : Inside the Coronavirus Outbreak
Guest attorney Grace Yang explores this new coronavirus outbreak, the overall impact on travel, and business, and China’s new rules for dealing with the coronavirus.
North China city of Harbin puts four districts on lockdown in bid to contain coronavirus
Capital of Heilongjiang province, which borders Russia and North Korea, facing ‘peak of the epidemic’, local Communist Party official says  But residents of key commercial and trading hub say authorities have been too slow to react to the deadly outbreak
Big business is stepping up where the Hong Kong government has fallen short in the coronavirus fight, but it can do more
Donations of money and supplies have rushed in even as company managers rally round to make new work arrangements to contain the virus spread    But more is rightly expected of these conglomerates. They could learn from mainland companies that have harnessed their strengths to answer on-the-ground needs
Biggest donation from Qatar Airways lands in Shanghai
A Qatar Airways cargo freighter delivered about 92 tons of medical supplies donated by the airline to Shanghai on Saturday.    The shipment includes 435,000 medical masks and 163,000 bottles of hand sanitizer that the airline purchased across the globe.
No, coronavirus isn’t a bioweapon. Nor was it accidentally leaked in China
There’s a myth that SARS CoV-2 may suddenly mutate into an especially dangerous pathogen and spread more quickly. This is simply not how biology works.
Could the coronavirus crisis sink the cruise industry?
The Diamond Princess went from a symbol of luxury to one of disaster when the coronavirus struck down hundreds of passengers   Its story raises questions not only about a quarantine seen by some as ‘a cruel human experiment’, but also about the future of a multibillion-dollar industry
WHO coronavirus team at ground zero in Wuhan to work out next containment step
Central Chinese city added to international group’s trip as UN health body warns that epidemic could go either way   Specialists on fact-finding mission to see how well lockdown has worked
Locked in the land of loss and regretting: one month in China under coronavirus siege
A month has passed since authorities locked down millions of people in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei to contain the epidemic   Through quiet kindness and sudden trauma, people in the epicentre are confronting a life-altering experience
Is China’s Military Doing Enough to Fight the Coronavirus?
The perception that federal disaster relief was lackadaisical during Hurricane Katrina damaged the image of President George W. Bush. But in an authoritarian nation like China, where the government must appear strong and competent, inept relief efforts are more than a disaster. They could undermine the Communist Party’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese people.

Coronavirus did not originate in Wuhan seafood market, Chinese scientists say
Analysis of genomic data from 93 samples of the novel coronavirus suggests it was imported from elsewhere   The busy market then boosted its circulation and spread it to the whole city, research shows
How the coronavirus is affecting Hong Kong hospital patients with other conditions
Visitation ban and lack of manpower are spillover effects of outbreak, as pregnant women are unable to see their partners, while family members can only talk to loved ones on video call  Hospital Authority says measures are to enhance infection control and focus resources
How big data is dividing the public in China’s coronavirus fight – green, yellow, red
Cutting-edge technologies and old-fashioned surveillance are being used to decide who can and who can’t go back to work     But the smart technology is not always that intelligent
So the west is winning, is it? Only if you’re a delusional Trump toady, Mr Pompeo
 Whether for security, trade, political, or public health reasons, it’s too late to isolate China

China ventures outside the Great Firewall, only to hit the brick wall of online etiquette and trolls
Officials are starting to realise that, unlike on Chinese social media, they can’t manipulate public opinion on Twitter without being challenged. Instead, their accounts come under heavy scrutiny, their views are opposed and they attract trolls
The three mistakes the Chinese government has made in its mishandling of the coronavirus crisis
Even though the Sars disaster demonstrated the need for greater openness, China has made the same mistakes in the current crisis while expecting a different outcome. Wuhan’s decision to suppress the bad news was particularly dire
Coronavirus: to Chinese democracy what Chernobyl was to glasnost?
The 2003 Sars crisis changed Beijing’s view on openness in governance and the timely release of information about health crises    But China’s increasing move towards authoritarian rule under Xi Jinping makes the country even more vulnerable to the outbreak of epidemics

Shipping lines face troubled waters as oil tankers, container carriers and cruise lines stop calling on China for fear of catching the coronavirus
Port calls by container carriers fell 30 per cent in February, from a year ago, according to Clarksons   Oil shipment to China from the Middle East fell to 12 per cent of what it was a year ago on February 5

China’s recent air pollution levels may be telling a story about the coronavirus impact on its economy
Analysts are using pollution levels as a gauge of industrial activity. Major cities in China are well known for being choked by smog, due to the extensive burning of coal by factories.   On Feb. 20, daily coal consumption of six major power plants was 42.5% less than the same period last year, according to Japanese bank Nomura, which has been tracking such metrics daily.   “The weak resumption of production is reinforced by a set of high-frequency indicators in the areas of energy consumption, real estate transactions, passenger traffic, and air quality,” J.P. Morgan wrote.

China’s arms industry back in business despite disruption by coronavirus
Manufacturers say they resumed full aircraft production in early February    Pace must be maintained to meet military’s growing needs, observers say

Laid low by coronavirus, Wuhan’s industrial heart is kept beating by its defence industries
Hubei’s capital city by the Yangtze River has become synonymous with China’s fight against deadly disease   Outbreak has been a major setback for Wuhan’s economic and social stability, but experts say its history as defence and transport hub in central China give it hope

Vietnam counts the economic cost of the Covid-19 epidemic
Manufacturers in the Southeast Asian nation are struggling to secure the raw materials they need to remain operational    Hanoi relies on China for about 30 per cent of its imports
Thailand nixed China’s Mekong River blasting project. Will others push back?
Plan to blast and dredge parts of the riverbed so that it could be used by cargo ships had been around for 20 years   Decision may signal a shift in how downstream countries deal with Beijing’s ambitions, but coordinated efforts are needed, observers say
China wants to build a new space station. A planned launch in April will set the stage.
China’s space program is planning a launch in April to prepare for building the country’s next space station.  A Long March 5B rocket will carry a “trial version” of China’s new spaceship, which is designed to carry crews of up to six people, state media source Xinhua said. Previous Chinese spaceships carried up to three taikonauts, the term used to describe Chinese astronauts

China Roundup: Amid coronavirus, tech firms offer ways to maintain China’s lifeblood
shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world. The coronavirus outbreak is posing a devastating impact on people’s life and the economy in China, but there’s a silver lining that the epidemic might have benefited a few players in the technology industry as the population remains indoors.

China’s state pension plan needs retooling as slowdown, ageing population hit retirement pot
China plans to subsidise state pension shortfall caused by relief measures for state employers in 2019 amid economic challenges    Things can get worse as slowdown deepens, while an ageing population pressures the younger generation, experts say

Coronavirus: how Chinatowns from Milan to London are coping with the fallout
Fears over the Covid-19 outbreak ripple around the world, and Chinatowns are feeling the pinch
On Empty Streets: Life as a Wuhan Deliveryman
With Wuhan under lockdown, its couriers are more important than ever.

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