China Press Review – February 25, 2020

Press review

China, Japan, and the art of economic statecraft
To some observers, Asia is moving towards a long familiar past — a China-centric regional order. While the jury is still out on the outcome of rekindled strategic rivalry between China and the United States (an extra-regional actor enjoying primacy during the past seven decades), most believe it is game over when it comes to Asian great power competition. The conclusion seems obvious to most: China has eclipsed Japan. However, a focus on economic statecraft renders this conclusion premature.

China ‘resisting calling off’ EU summit in March as coronavirus threatens delay
Leaders’ meeting unlikely to happen on March 31 as planned but China does not want to be the one to cancel, according to source   Postponement could also push back China’s ‘17+1’ summit with Central and Eastern European nations

China faces the possibility of a financial crisis, which would send a shockwave through the world
Chinese bank failures, loan defaults and supply-chain disruptions would put a dent in global GDP

Asian banks from DBS to HSBC are bracing for bad loans to spike as coronavirus outbreak batters the region’s economies
HSBC and Singapore’s biggest banks flag coronavirus epidemic is likely to swell loan losses    Most lenders see short-term impact if virus is contained in coming weeks; S&P said worst-case, peak questionable loan ratio may almost double

Coronavirus credit crunch hits millions of Chinese firms
Mounting debts have hit Chinese companies struggling to pay workers and suppliers amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus: Xi Jinping rings alarm on China economy as country shifts priority to maintaining growth
President Xi Jinping has acknowledged the ‘unavoidable’ impact of the coronavirus epidemic on China, but implored local officials to resume production where possible    Xi’s comments come as concern grows that the economy could be dragged into a deep slowdown, threatening the country’s 2020 development goals

Unlike during Sars, this coronavirus epidemic is hitting the global economy when it’s down
The outbreak will pass, but it is unlikely to be the temporary blip that complacent financial markets expect, given the central role China now plays in many aspects of the world economy and the vulnerabilities in major economies   Investors hoping for a V-shaped recovery, as happened post Sars, are likely to be disappointed

Global equity market thrashing boomerangs back to Asia as coronavirus outbreak spreads to more countries
Old playbook predicts quick end to market volatility after disease outbreak and more government stimulus. That may not happen this time, said Fidelity International  Benchmark indexes fall in nearly all of the Asia-Pacific region’s stock markets

BYD electric bus deal one of the biggest for US
BYD, China’s biggest electric vehicle maker and a partner to Toyota and Daimler, on Tuesday announced it had secured the lion’s share of the biggest single order to date for electric buses in the US.

Nio reaches strategic investment deal with Hefei government
Cash-strapped electric vehicle maker Nio on Tuesday announced that it has reached an agreement with officials in the eastern Chinese city of Hefei, where the company’s joint manufacturing plant with JAC Motors is located.

Heading Back to the Office? Not Without Taking These Measures Says Beijing
The directive, titled “Notice on Further Clarifying the Epidemic Prevention Requirements for Office Units in Commercial Buildings” and jointly released on Monday by five government departments, outlines a number of measures that shared business spaces must adhere to in order to mitigate the chances of a new round of coronavirus cases as staff return to the workplace after a prolonged Chinese New Year.

Foxconn offers $1,000 to new workers in bid to resume production
A factory of iPhone assembler Foxconn in central China is reportedly offering bonuses of up to RMB 7,000 (around $996) to each new recruit in an effort to lure workers back to plants and restore normal production levels.

China announces 500 billion yuan of funding help for small businesses
China announced a string of new measures to ease financing for small businesses, amid an epidemic which has been putting massive pressure on the world’s second largest economy.

Coronavirus: Only a third of Chinese small businesses open as outbreak continues to disrupt labour and logistics
Government says just 30 per cent of small businesses are back to work, with many manufacturers struggling to source labour due to the coronavirus outbreak    Larger producers are faring better, but still suffering a logistical hangover from China’s nationwide containment efforts

‘Employee Sharing’ an Emerging Trend Amid COVID-19 Epidemic
Many online retailers are hiring temporary workers from less-booming businesses to meet increased demand in China’s e-commerce sector.

China Races Against Time to Cure Its Virus-Stricken Economy
The country ground to a standstill to contain the spread of COVID-19. Now it has to get going once more. Yao Tong, a quality inspector at Foxconn’s factory in Shenzhen, never expected his Lunar New Year holiday to drag on for 44 days when he headed home to the central Hunan province in January. Like most of China’s millions of migrant workers, he thought it would be just another weeklong family celebration. “Overall economic activity remains sluggish,” said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS. Wang added that the next one to two weeks will be crucial, and the epidemic’s actual impact on the economy will depend on how China can balance disease control efforts and resumption of production. The central government, she said, is likely to expand fiscal spending on health care and infrastructure to support recovery and allow higher budget deficit.

The coronavirus outbreak is already a global crisis, as companies worldwide are forced to issue profit warnings
Companies from Air New Zealand to Pernod Ricard have issued profit warnings, as they see slowdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak    With the spread of the outbreak raising questions over whether it will be declared a global pandemic, businesses around the world that are exposed to travel are clear targets

What’s Behind the Rise in Inequality and Consumerism?
While walking around China’s hi-tech cities, from Shenzhen to Shanghai, Beijing to Chengdu, it is impossible to ignore the signs of consumer culture. The country has come a long way since its impoverished and socialist past — being now the quintessence of a consumer society. In fact, it built the contemporary economic boom on the shoulders of the modern Chinese consumer.  To give some context, McKinsey highlights that from 2000 to 2010, consumption grew from around $650 billion to almost $1.4 trillion. And, it would be a great mistake to associate the consumption growth only with the big spenders and ultra-wealthy; the newly established middle-class is the real economic force. McKinsey predicts that in fact the Chinese middle-class could reach 550 million by 2022 and the urban-household income will double by the same year.

Cosmoprof postpones giant Bologna trade show until June on coronavirus outbreak
Another day, another major trade show is postponed or cancelled. This time it’s Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna, the world’s premier cosmetics industry show that takes place in the Italian city every year.

Organiser consults on MCE 2020 decision
The organiser of next month’s Mostra Convegno Expocomfort (MCE 2020) exhibition in Milan is evaluating the possibility of postponing the event as a result of the coronavirus.

WiT Seoul 2020 has a new date: Oct 29
WiT and local partner, Tidesquare, will be rescheduling its Seoul edition from Apr 23 to Oct 29, amid uncertainties over the developing Covid-19 situation in South Korea. Photo Credit: Natalie Joy Lee
SINGAPORE – WiT and local partner, Tidesquare, will be rescheduling its Seoul edition from Apr 23 to Oct 29, amid uncertainties over the developing Covid-19 situation in South Korea.

Coronavirus Forces Another Hong Kong Event to Postpone
The 9th AEC Gems & Jewelry Presidents’ Summit, originally scheduled for 3 March, will now take place on 19 May.    It will form a part of two other Hong Kong shows, which have both been postponed amid health fears.   The Hong Kong International Diamond, Gem & Pearl Show 2020 (originally scheduled for 2 to 6 March) and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Jewellery Show 2020 (originally scheduled for 4 to 8 March) will jointly take place 18 to 21 May at AsiaWorld-Expo.

Seoul Fashion Week Cancelled Due to Coronavirus Spread
South Korea’s top fashion event, scheduled to run March 17-21, has been called off following a surge in cases of COVID-19 over the weekend.

Geneva car show organizers urge exhibitors to make health checks
The organizers of the Geneva car show on Tuesday pressed exhibitors from coronavirus-infected areas to check staff for symptoms before arriving in Switzerland and pledged to step up cleaning and disinfection at the congress center.   Geneva is set to host the show next week but restrictions on travel have caused other fairs including the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Frankfurt’s Light + Building fair and the Beijing Auto Show to be postponed or canceled.

Can Digital Save Shanghai Fashion Week?
As the Shanghai platform emerges in global importance, it represents the most powerful consumer base and production center in the world. “If the organizers [of Shanghai Fashion Week] were to embrace the digital format, rather than fly fashion editors in from every corner of the globe, the significance would be enormous. This is particularly true, if it was made clear from the outset that the decision was made in light of carbon emissions and the climate emergency,” Jacobs adds.  She continues, “The silver lining here is we are forced to think about new ways of communicating and doing business across long distances.” Gilhart, a regular visitor to China’s fashion capital, is optimistic about the possibilities for an upsurge in digital for the event however. “Obviously with the use of technology, we should use this time to figure out how we might create new, sustainable ways of executing fashion weeks and all the selling presentations that surround these times,” she explains.

Ready To Talk About Virtual Events This Year?
More than 24 large conferences have either been canceled or postponed because of the Coronavirus. Here at the RSA Conference, large exhibitors such as Verizon, AT&T, and IBM have already pulled out leaving a couple of large holes at the 45,000 attendee event.  Expect many more cancellations through 2020 as the Coronavirus spreads – As of Jan. 20 there were only 280 reported cases of the virus across 4 countries. There are now over 76,000 cases across more than 24 countries, just 35 days later.

EU orders quarantine for staff who traveled to northern Italy
EU institutions have ordered staff who travelled to areas of northern Italy hit by an outbreak of coronavirus to stay at home for two weeks, a measure that may be repeated by member states as concerns mount over the epidemic in Europe. Under European Union rules, travel restrictions are decided by each of the 27 member states, but the bloc’s institutions can issue warnings to their staff. The European Parliament ordered a 14-day quarantine for all its staff who travelled to Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto, the industrial and financial heartland of Italy, according to an email sent on Monday evening.

China gets EU help in battle against virus
The European Commission is co-financing the delivery of more than 25 metric tons of personal protective equipment to China after the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism was activated to help the fight against novel coronavirus.

Coronavirus: European Commission earmarks US$124 million to WHO response plan, biggest pledge so far
‘With more than 2,600 lives lost already, there is no option but to prepare at all levels,’ says Europe’s commissioner for crisis management    World Health Organisation leader calls spike in cases in South Korea, Iran and Italy ‘deeply concerning’

Coronavirus: China is making a ‘bigger effort to cooperate’ with WHO than during Sars
Global health body has had to defend its support for Beijing’s aggressive efforts to contain the epidemic
Analysts say the relationship has improved, but ‘Chinese officials cannot be made to share anything they do not want to share’

Novel coronavirus cases top 80,000 as markets plunge on pandemic fears
Italy has largest cluster of coronavirus outside Asia with 215+ cases, seven deaths 02:17
Hong Kong (CNN)Multiple outbreaks of the novel coronavirus outside of mainland China have continued to worsen, as experts warn we may be approaching pandemic levels.    A World Health Organization landed in Italy late Monday to “support Italian authorities in understanding the situation,” the WHO said. The team’s focus will be on “limiting further human-to-human transmission” after a rapid rise in cases. At least 229 people have been infected with the virus, and seven people have died in the Southern European nation

Coronavirus: China introduces targeted coronavirus controls for each county
Authorities drop blanket, provincewide restrictions for all areas, with exception of Hubei and Beijing     Only nine of new cases on the mainland occurred outside province at epicentre of epidemic

China’s Farmers Worried as COVID-19 Stifles Domestic Agriculture
Experts say the novel coronavirus epidemic will hit small-scale animal farms the hardest, and could have a lasting impact on the industry.

China’s scientists face major changes in how their work is judged … and coronavirus anger may be partly to blame
New rules will mean that researchers will no longer be judged on the amount of research published in international journals    Some members of the scientific community believe the sluggish response to the Covid-19 outbreak may have prompted the announcement

Shanghai companies begin production of face masks that can be reused up to 10 times
The new KN95 masks, which are not yet for sale, are said to have high air permeability and to be waterproof    Manufacturers say the mask can maintain its filtering ability after being disinfected multiple times

Coronavirus latest: Hong Kong schools to stay shut until April 20
Japan’s J-League to postpone soccer games; South Korea’s cases rise to 977

How China is using QR code apps to contain Covid-19
As China goes back to work after weeks of epidemic lockdown, it’s betting on high-tech QR code quarantines to keep the virus from spreading.

The Invisible Victims of China’s Coronavirus Crisis
Patients at the outbreak’s epicenter with diseases other than COVID-19 are struggling to receive treatment.

Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China
Summary of a Report of 72 314 Cases From the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The Covid-19 outbreak and the implications for Hong Kong’s real estate sector
The highest risk sectors would include hotels, retail, food and beverage, entertainment venues and other tourism-related assets   Establishing preparedness strategies and identifying how insurance coverage may respond are key to epidemic resilience

Why Chinese President Xi Jinping called 170,000 cadres about the coronavirus epidemic
Xi addressed officials and military personnel around the country to make sure his words reached the provinces directly, observers say   Lower-level officials are used to interpreting Beijing’s edicts in their own way, insider says

US mulls expelling Chinese journalists after Beijing kicks out Wall Street Journal reporters
Three Americans were ordered to leave after newspaper refused to apologise for ‘sick man of Asia’ opinion piece    There are more than 500 reporters from Chinese outlets in US, compared to 75 American journalists in China

Coronavirus could be a ‘catalyst’ for China to boost its mass surveillance machine, experts say
The Chinese government has enlisted the help of technology companies to create products to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.  Technologies from drones to facial recognition are being used to track people.    Experts told CNBC that the ramp up in surveillance could continue even after the virus is contained.

Huawei launches XS foldable handset with self-developed ecosystem
Huawei launched an upgrade to its foldable smartphone on Monday, putting on offer for overseas users its proprietary ecosystem to replace the Google app and services it has been banned from.

Of the 200 cities with worst air pollution, 90 per cent are in China and India
Accounting for population, Bangladesh has the worst PM2.5 pollution, followed by Pakistan, Mongolia and Afghanistan   Microscopic flecks are small enough to enter the bloodstream via the respiratory system, leading to asthma, lung cancer and heart disease

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
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