China Press Review – February 28, 2020

Press review

Huawei to build first European 5G factory in France to soothe Western nerves
Huawei will build its first European manufacturing plant in France, the chairman said on Thursday, as the Chinese telecom giant seeks to ease worldwide concerns stoked by U.S. charges that Beijing could use its equipment for spying.  Liang Hua said Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, would invest €200 million ($217 million) in the first phase of setting up the mobile base station plant. He said it would create 500 jobs.

Congress approves US$1 billion to help rural telecoms companies ditch Huawei and ZTE
Funds will go to firms to rip and replace any gear in their networks from the Chinese telecoms giants
Dozens of small US carriers use Huawei and ZTE equipment, largely due to its low cost

Coronavirus could trigger a worrying psychological change in US consumers, economist says
For one economist, the “biggest thing” to watch now is the impact the coronavirus outbreak could have on U.S. consumers.   U.S. consumer confidence rose less than expected this month, but it’s unclear whether coronavirus will dent sentiment.   Another analyst said social media posts about the virus “could spread panic” and negatively impact consumer behavior.

Farmer on U.S.-China trade pact: ‘Ag economy doesn’t live on promises’
“The purchases, which have not yet materialized, are a promise while the tariffs are real,” Dufault said, stressing the rising number of farm bankruptcies in Minnesota and several other states. “The ag economy doesn’t live on promises. Until China buys, we are not buying the promise.”

Coronavirus: China will ‘definitely’ meet US trade deal agricultural demands, but may invoke force majeure
China has agreed to buy an additional US$32 billion in US farm goods over a two-year period, but demand is likely to be complicated by coronavirus outbreak  Wei Jianguo, former deputy minister responsible for foreign trade, suggested China could invoke force majeure on other items due to coronavirus impact on economy

Force Majeure in the Time of Coronavirus
Way back in the pre-coronavirus days — October 30-2019 — in Do Not Let Force Majeure be a Major Force In Your China Contract, we did a post warning of force majeure provisions in contracts with Chinese companies.

Coronavirus: China’s consumers will not rescue economy when outbreak is over, survey shows
China has repeatedly said that the impact of the coronavirus will be short-lived and that it is still on track to achieve its economic development goals in 2020   But 31.4 per cent of respondents to a survey conducted by said they would not increase consumer spending after the outbreak

How Can Western Luxury Brands Navigate China Now?
With lasting effects on supply chains, brick-and-mortar shops, e-commerce, campaigns, historic shopping destinations like Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, and Japan, as well as, the attitudes of millions of China’s luxury shoppers, how can Western luxury brands best use this time to reconfigure their China plans for beyond 2020?The most important strategy is to maintain effective communication with your Chinese customers. As suggested in the China Covid-19 Outbreak Situation Analysis and Recovery Planning report by Reuter Communications, a leading integrated agency connecting luxury brands and Asian consumers, “While now is not the time for active promotion, it is a time for active involvement.”

Baidu chief confident on ability of Chinese business to recover from coronavirus despite ‘undoubted’ near term impact
Company reported a 6 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to 28.9 billion yuan (US$4.15 billion)     Telecommuting is still the first choice for more than 60 per cent of companies in major Chinese cities

Markets are finally waking up to the coronavirus crisis, as hopes of a V-shaped recovery fade
The epidemic caught up with global stocks this week, suggesting investors had clearly misjudged its contagiousness and, just as importantly, the severity of the economic shock. Moreover, central banks appear powerless to deal with the problem

Asia stocks fall as US benchmarks enter correction territory on mounting fears of coronavirus threat to world economy
In the US, S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average fell into correction territory    Benchmark indexes fell in every stock market in the Asia-Pacific, from India to New Zealand, except for the KSE-100 in Karachi

Hong Kong, China stocks see big drops as coronavirus spooks traders
Asia markets fall broadly    S&P 500 in US falls into correction territory

Virus Disrupts China’s Shipping, and World Ports Feel the Impact.
 Even where factories are back in operation, getting freight to docks has been impeded by roadblocks and quarantines.   Some docks in China are clogged with arriving shipping containers or iron ore.

Are technology firms the new ‘white horse’ stocks in China?
The ChiNext Index of tech start-ups has jumped 47 per cent since June, making it the best-performing Chinese benchmark     A boom in tech-themed ETFs, which has drawn over 80 per cent of the US$3.4 billion inflows so far this year, reflects investors’ exuberance over tech stocks

Delivery platforms provide ‘contactless delivery’ to prevent spread of Covid-19
Delivery platforms like Meituan and Eleme have rolled out the “contactless delivery” feature that prevents direct contact between drivers and customers.  Many residential compounds are taking steps to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Most compounds in China no longer allow delivery drivers to enter.

China’s coronavirus epidemic shows strengths, flaws of one country, one system
The system allows Beijing to mobilise vast resources and take steps that would be unthinkable in the West     But critics say the top-down system encourages cover-ups and repeated missteps in the face of a crisis

Carmakers could solve China’s face mask shortage
No one ever expected that the face mask could be a strategic material, but now the whole country is looking for them. Many pharmacies have been sold out for weeks. Local governments have been caught fighting each other over shipments of medical materials, and factories have had to delay resuming work because they can’t provide masks to their workers.

Switzerland bans major public events to slow spread of virus
Switzerland has imposed a ban on public events that gather more than 1,000 people together in the same place until at least March 15 in response to the coronavirus threat.
Baselworld Is Postponed To January 2021 As Switzerland Bans Large-Scale Events
The Baselworld watch and jewelry fair, scheduled for April 30 – May 5, has been postponed until January, the MCH Group, which owns and operates the fair, said in a statement Friday.

Geneva Car Show Canceled in Swiss Bid to Contain Virus Outbreak
One of the auto industry’s marquee events fell victim to the coronavirus epidemic, with organizers of the Geneva International Motor Show pulling the plug as the outbreak spreads in Europe.

Hong Kong Fashion Week and Spring Fairs postponed
The fairs are Hong Kong Fashion Week, Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition), Hong Kong Electronics Fair (Spring Edition), International ICT Expo, Hong Kong Houseware Fair, Hong Kong International Home Textiles and Furnishings Fair, Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair and the International Printing & Packaging Fair.

Export Furniture Exhibition 2020 tentatively postponed to end August 2020
The Export Furniture Exhibition 2020 (EFE 2020) is postponed to end August 2020, with the exact date to be announced in due course. The four-day trade exhibition was scheduled for 9 to 12 March 2020 in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) but following today’s Town Hall Meeting  Voting by EFE Exhibitors, the organiser- EFE Expo Sdn Bhd through its Board of Directors announced this afternoon that EFE 2020 will be postponed to end of August 2020, in line with the wishes of exhibitors.

Another event postponed due to coronavirus: HITEC Europe 2020
Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®), the producers of HITEC®, announced today that HITEC Europe 2020 has been postponed in response to the global uncertainty related to the Novel Coronavirus and its immediate impact on the hospitality industry. The event which was planned for Mallorca, Spain, from April 21-23 is Europe’s premier hospitality technology event.

“Food Expo” Trade Fair in Greece Postponed until May
The International exhibition FOOD EXPO scheduled to be held between March 7-9 at the Metropolitan Expo has been postponed to May 16-18, the organising company FORUM SA announced on Friday.

IWA OutdoorClassics & ENFORCE TAC 2020 Postponed Due to Coronavirus Concerns
IWA OutdoorClassics 2020, Europe’s largest outdoor and firearms trade fair, has been postponed. The event was due to take place on 6-9 March, at the NürnbergMesse convention centre in Nuremberg, Germany. ENFORCE TAC, a defence and security trade show which preceeds IWA OutdoorClassics (on 4-6 March), has also been postponed. Although the announcement states the events will be rescheduled to later this year, there is no update on when this may be

ICANN cancels another event due to Covid-19
ICANN has canceled a second event scheduled for March due to travel restrictions and fears over Covid-19, a coronavirus.    The Middle East DNS Forum, scheduled for March 24-25 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is postponed. ICANN will set a new date in coordination with the event host, the Communications and Information Technology Commission.

How Disease X, the epidemic-in-waiting, erupted in China
Health experts warned it would be ‘threatening to the world and socially disrupting’. Then the new coronavirus arrived

Tech for Good | Alibaba develops AI system for Covid-19 diagnosis
In order to process the CT images of suspected Covid-19 cases in a timely manner, Alibaba DAMO Academy and Alibaba Cloud have jointly developed a new set of AI diagnostic technologies for clinical use. The AI system can accurately analyze the CT images within 20 seconds, with an accuracy rate of 96%. Zhengzhou’s main Covid-19 hospital, launched on Feb 16, has introduced this AI algorithm to aid clinical diagnosis. Zhengzhou is the capital of Henan Province, one of the provinces with the highest cases of Covid-19 outside of Hubei Province.

Coronavirus: 85 per cent of patients in China benefiting from traditional Chinese medicine, officials claim
Ancient remedies play a complementary role to Western drugs in fighting the potentially deadly infection, officials, doctors say    But others say TCM works only as a placebo and that people who say they have benefited would have recovered anyway

Coronavirus cluster at ‘work unit’ believed to be China’s cybersecurity agency in Beijing
Health official says 178 people have been quarantined and are under observation, with 11 of them testing positive    Cleaner from a property management firm that provides services to the unit thought to have been first case

Tokyo Disneyland to close through March 15 over coronavirus
The operator of Tokyo’s two Disney resorts, Disneyland and DisneySea, said Friday the parks would be closed for around two weeks on fears over the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The Missing Link in China’s Economic Ambitions in Latin America
The spotty records of Chinese companies on sustainability continue to undermine Beijing’s ambitions in the region.

Tencent teams up with ‘Sars hero’ Zhong Nanshan on AI, big data lab to combat coronavirus and predict outbreaks
The joint lab aims to combat the novel coronavirus and help prevent future epidemics    Tencent is the latest company to team up with top expert Zhong, who is also collaborating with Alibaba Cloud and Foxconn

Tencent invests 88 million RMB to help with Covid-19 research and medical care
Tencent announced on Feb 26 that it has invested 88 million yuan in the establishment of an “epidemic care package” to support scientific research, public health research, and medical care.

Coronavirus: Israeli AI start-up says it has tools for the Chinese, Hong Kong governments to help people in distress
Cobwebs Technologies can help monitor mentions of the virus on the web, tweets or posts asking for assistance, or to locate people in case of emergency     Company says its tools came in handy during Hurricane Harvey, which struck the US in 2017, by helping to locate people who were seeking urgent help

Job Seekers Anxious About Employment Amid COVID-19 Epidemic
Liu said she has already undergone a few online interviews, and the process wasn’t as difficult as she had expected. Though her university has trained students for online interviews and she’s “well prepared,” Liu said she’s more concerned that COVID-19 will deplete her interview opportunities. Data released Thursday by job-seeking platform Boss Zhipin showed that the overall demand for fresh graduates is 44% lower than at the same point last year. Employment prospects in the pharmaceutical industry shrank by 8.8%, while recruitment demand in the advertising and media sectors has dropped by nearly 72% compared with the previous year.“If the epidemic continues to spread, more companies will lay off workers and continue to reduce recruitment costs,” she said. “(But) when it’s over, there will be more job fairs and opportunities for graduates. After all, gold always shines.”

China Spins Coronavirus Crisis, Hailing Itself as a Global Leader
The propaganda push suggests the Chinese government might be worried about the lasting damage of the outbreak.

Alain Gillard
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