China Press Review – February 27, 2019

Press review

Trump Undermines Top Trade Adviser as He Pushes for China Deal
Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, must defend a trade pact that is shaping up to be less ambitious than he might once have hoped.

China’s economic policy dilemma increases as boosting growth is eating into local government coffers
Most of the nation’s 31 provinces failed to meet 2018 budget targets after China’s cut in value-added tax last year Analysts expect fiscal revenue growth to slow further due to planned business tax cut

Credibility is Beijing’s fragile defence against financial crisis
One of the most important factors driving the rapid growth of China’s economy over the previous decade has been the unprecedented expansion of the country’s financial system. Since the global financial crisis, bank assets have quadrupled to an astonishing US$39.5 trillion in 2018, roughly three times the size of China’s economy. This amounts to the largest single-country credit expansion in the last century.

Credibility is Beijing’s fragile defence against financial crisis

U.S.-China trade – tariff and non-tariff barriers
U.S. President Donald Trump said this week he may soon sign a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping to end a trade war blamed for slowing global economic growth and disrupting markets.

Here are the differences between the China trade talks and the negotiations with North Korea
Leland Miller, China Beige Book International CEO, joins “Squawk Box” to explain the different geopolitical dynamics at play in the China trade talks and the nuclear disarmament talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Vietnam’s economy races ahead. But can it keep the wheels on?

The US-China trade dispute has given Vietnam growth opportunities but it still has to overcome key challenges.

Hong Kong economy surpassed by neighbour Shenzhen for first time in 2018 as China’s hi-tech hub soars
Finance chief Paul Chan Mo-po confirmed during Wednesday’s budget economic growth in Hong Kong rose by just 3 per cent to HK$2.85 trillion last year Shenzhen’s gross domestic product grew by 7.6 per cent to 2.42 trillion yuan or HK$2.87 trillion based on last year’s official exchange rate

China is catching up to the US on artificial intelligence research
China is doing far more than talking about AI. In 2017, the country’s national government announced it wanted to make the country and its industries world leaders in AI technologies by 2030. The government’s latest venture capital fund is expected to invest more than US$30 billionin AI and related technologies within state-owned firms, and that fund joins even larger state-funded VC funds.One Chinese state alone has said it will devote $5 billion to developing AI technologies and businesses. The city of Beijing has committed $2 billion to developing an AI-focused industrial park. A major port, Tianjin, plans to invest $16 billion in its local AI industry.

Intel ends partnership with state-owned Unisoc to share 5G tech
US chip giant Intel has ceased cooperation with Unisoc, a state-owned mobile chipmaker, following ongoing tensions between the world’s two largest economies and coming less than a year after the deal was announced.

Intel ends partnership with state-owned Unisoc to share 5G tech

Intel’s 5G modem alliance with Beijing-backed chipmaker ends
Unisoc loses tech partnership in new blow to China’s chip ambitions

US cyber official says Europe is listening to its message on China’s ‘deceitful’ Huawei
People are understanding the US’ point ‘about the security risks that are inherent in this technology coming from China’, says US cyber official Robert Strayer The official was part of a US delegation in Barcelona seeking to persuade governments and telecoms operators at the Mobile World Congress

Xiaomi sets up artificial intelligence and big data departments to sharpen focus in tech race
Tech firm trying to transform itself from a smartphone maker to an internet services firm New departments will focus on AI, big data and cloud computing

Xiaomi seeks growth in Europe, to triple stores in 2019
Xiaomi is accelerating its move in the European market with plans to open more than 150 stores in Western Europe by the end of year. It has nearly 50 shops in the region since opening its first location in Spain in 2017. Wang Xiang, Xiaomi global business head and senior vice president, disclosed its ambitious plan on Tuesday targeting Europe ahead of the US, where carriers play “very important roles” and “a lot of customization ” is needed.

Briefing: Xiaomi seeks growth in Europe, to triple stores in 2019

Alibaba Cloud has kicked off a new initiative to leverage technology for social good.
The initiative, dubbed “Tech for Change,” calls on potential partners to work together in areas such as education, economic development and the environment to improve the lives of those in need by using cloud computing, artificial intelligence and other advances in tech.

Robots are taking over China’s food service industry, and making it better
At a café called Ratio in Shanghai, a revolving, jointed robot arm with two fingerlike prongs knows just how you like your latte. That’s because customers can order via a mini-app on social media platform WeChat, specifying the level of sweetness and choosing between coffee beans. Plus, because it syncs with your social media profile, the barista never spells your name wrong

Robots are taking over China’s food service industry, and making it better

China Shifts, and Detroit’s Big Bet Goes Sour
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors saw a booming Chinese driving culture and cheap labor. Now the market is slowing, competition is rising and the Trump administration wants limits.

A Chinese government-owned company just defaulted on its debt. It’s a worrying sign for the country’s economy
Qinghai Provincial Investment Group failed to pay an $11 million interest payment on a offshore $300 million bond on Friday, the first time a state-owned Chinese company has done so for 20 years. It’s another sign of the increasing strain on debt-loaded provincial governments in China. Despite attempts to loosen lending conditions in recent months, China’s slowing economy is negatively impacting default rates — now worryingly extending to state-owned companies.

Declining home sales in smaller Chinese cities during Lunar New Year point to longer term troubles
Housing market in tier 3 and 4 cities hit by removal of government subsidies, general lack of demand Slum redevelopment plans were single largest driver of property boom in 2016-18 and reductions could hurt growth

Lego builds China empire as profit growth returns
The toy firm’s recovery looks to be on track as it reports a return to revenue growth and profits in its last financial year Lego is building on its presence in China after “stabilising the business” in 2018 despite the collapse of Toys R Us damaging consumer exposure to its products.

Considering China
Last year, China’s stock markets experienced their worst year since 2008. The markets appeared to bottom at year-end and staged a strong recovery as trade tensions began to ease. The other main cause of last year’s plunge in China’s stock market was increasing signs of a slowdown in China’s economy, paired with uncertainty about the severity of the downshift. China is steadily advancing towards high-income status and a current account deficit that implies the necessity of substantially higher capital inflows. That prospect should encourage further opening up of the economy.

How to Make 19,267% in China and Lose It All in 24 Hours
Even by the boom-bust standards of China, the moves are incredible: gains as large as 19,267 percent in one trading session, a near-complete wipeout in the next.

Chinese government may have funded CRISPR babies project
The Ministry of Science and Technology, Shenzhen Science and Technology Innovation Commission, and the Southern University of Science and Technology have been revealed as participants in the funding of He Jiankui’s project to genetically modify viable human embryos. The documents contain evidence that, if true, indicates the Chinese government was involved in ethically questionable research, a conclusion that contradicts the results of a joint investigation by the Guangdong provincial health commission, National Health Commission, and science ministry claiming He had little outside support. It is unclear whether the institutions were aware of the extent to which their funds were being used for He’s controversial study.

Briefing: Chinese government may have funded CRISPR babies project

TikTok narrows gap with Facebook as downloads hit 1 billion
Bytedance-owned short video app TikTok has just surpassed 1 billion downloads on iOS and Android, CNET reported, citing figures from data insight firm Sensor Tower. TikTok was downloaded about 663 million times in 2018, making it the fourth most-downloaded non-game app during the year. The download figure includes the app’s lite versions—a smaller version of the original app with fewer features—and regional variations, but does not include Android installs in China.

Briefing: TikTok narrows gap with Facebook as downloads hit 1 billion

Is China Headed Towards a Future Without Foreign Bands?
With a new tax on foreign acts, some music fans fear a return to the days when outside music was all but banned in China

Is China Headed Towards a Future Without Foreign Bands?

China Gets Cold Feet On Solar Subsidy Cuts
Chinese officials have opened discussions with the solar sector about a new package of solar subsidies that would offer a softer landing for its domestic industry after recent dramatic cutbacks.

Home-made food sale regulations in China
Sale of home-made food is becoming increasingly common in China – at least in first tier cities.

Japanese cuisine popular in China: agency
Japanese cuisine has gained popularity in China in recent years, according to a Japanese trade agency. Restaurants selling Japanese food in China increased from about 10,600 to 40,800 in 2017, according to the Japanese External Trade Organization (JETRO)

Is China’s social credit system as Orwellian as it sounds?
China’s social credit system is designed to incentivize lawfulness and integrity. Citizens can earn points for good deeds like volunteering, donating blood, or attracting investments to the city; they can lose them for offenses like breaking traffic rules, evading taxes, or neglecting to care for their elderly parents. Their scores then affect their access to community welfare programs: high scorers receive benefits like free medical checkups and discounts to heating bills; low scorers lose government subsidies or get barred from government jobs.

Rising Chinese political star Wang Junzheng confirmed in Xinjiang security role
Official media reports that Wang told law and order body he would ensure the party’s ‘absolute leadership’ in the autonomous region

Taiwan, Tibet, Tiananmen: how to get your video game banned in China for political reasons
A Taiwanese horror game was recently banned in China for linking Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh

Beijing says it can ease power and water shortages on Taiwans’s Quemoy, Matsu islands
Different social systems should not be ‘a barrier to unification or an excuse for separation’, according to mainland’s cross-strait affairs office After Quemoy began importing water from Fujian in August, preliminary research has been done to supply water to Matsu chain and electricity to both

Is China playing the North Korea card?
Washington maintains that the trade war (between the United States and China) and the denuclearisation negotiations (between the United States and North Korea) are separate matters. But we should remember that Trump, upon inauguration, proposed to China that he would be willing to be soft on China on trade if China cooperates on the North Korean issue. It is unwarranted to conclude that Xi will again turn out to be a spoiler. We should be open to the possibility that China this time may turn out to be a positive force in mediating between Pyongyang and Washington. At the minimum, China doesn’t want to be finger-pointed if the talks yield less-than satisfying results, so it is keeping a low-profile.

Is China playing the North Korea card?

China welcomes all like-minded countries to jointly build Belt and Road
China welcomes all like-minded countries to take part in the joint construction of the Belt and Road, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Beijing Censors Foreign Books Printed in China
Chinese government censorship is adversely impacting Australian publishers as local Chinese printers turn down books containing politically sensitive key words and maps. Although these booksare written by Australian authors and intended for readers in Australia, they are being denied printing in China unless they comply with a long list of censorship restrictions, according to a report by Michael Bachelard at The Age:

Beijing Censors Foreign Books Printed in China

China’s ‘horizontal skyscraper’ attraction nears completion
an engineering marvel, China’s highly anticipated Raffles City Chongqing project is nearly complete. Devised by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, it measures a staggering 1.12-million-square-meters and consists of a collection of eight towers and a gigantic connecting skybridge — which is being called a “horizontal skyscraper.” The 250-meter-long skybridge, named Crystal, is said to be one of the world’s highest

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