Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

China Press Review – February 3, 2022

How India and Southeast Asia can save global growth as US and China stagnate
Both China and the United States, the two biggest engines of global economic activity, face severe slowdowns.  India and the ‘Asean-5’ could emerge as saviours of global growth, thanks to their young, tech-savvy populations and low wages.

Chinese tech tycoon Richard Liu of donates US$2 billion amid Beijing’s pursuit of ‘common prosperity’
Richard Liu Qiangdong announced during the Lunar New Year holiday that he was donating 62.4 million class B shares to a third-party foundation      Liu is one of several tech executives to make large charitable donations amid an ongoing campaign to rein in Big Tech and Beijing’s ‘common prosperity’ drive

Tesla gets the presidential snub as Biden ignores it to laud inroads by GM and Ford in electric vehicles
In 2021, Tesla delivered over 936,000 cars globally while GM sold nearly 480,000 EVs last year, mostly in China

podcast : Caged tiger—the looming threats to China’s economic growth
Our podcast on markets, the economy and business. As China celebrates the lunar new year and winter Olympics, we assess the prospects for prosperity in the year of the tiger

How Long Will Taiwan Stick to Its Zero-COVID Approach?
Taiwan is one of the few places still attempting to bring case counts down to zero amid the Omicron outbreak.

Asia-Pacific markets mixed amid lingering growth concerns and geopolitical tensions
Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed on Thursday amid some lingering concerns about global growth and ongoing geopolitical tensions.  On the data front, traders will watch the U.S. Labor Department’s nonfarm payroll count due Friday, which is seen as one of the major indicators of the how the U.S. economy is doing. Elsewhere, on Wednesday, OPEC and its non-OPEC allies agreed to green-light an increase in crude output to 400,000 barrels a day for March as oil prices trade near record levels in part due to geopolitical tensions.

M&A deals in China and Hong Kong hit record high as market brushes aside economic headwinds
The number of deals rose nearly 20 per cent to 2,381 in 2021, the most since records began in 2006, according to Mergermarket       The US$111.5 billion merger between Sichuan Railway Investment Group and Sichuan Transportation Investment Group was the largest deal in China and the world

Hongkongers snap up property in Taiwan as self-ruled island becomes a popular relocation option
Hong Kong residents accounted for 41.2 per cent of property acquired by foreigners in 2019, according to Savills data    Some 27,844 Hongkongers were eligible for residency in Taiwan from 2019 to 2021, more than double the 12,220 in the previous three years

Fed indecision puts US above China as top source of market uncertainty
Concerns about China have ebbed amid measures to shore up the economy and investors turning increasingly bullish on Chinese stocks    Meanwhile, the Fed is flailing as valuations in US equity and bond markets are dangerously stretched and inflation is the highest in decades

Chinese luxury spending unlikely to bounce back to pre-coronavirus levels any time soon, Bain says
Luxury purchases to recover to pre-pandemic levels between the end of this year and the first half of 2023, partner at American consultancy says     A lacklustre luxury market could dent Beijing’s hopes of domestic consumption bolstering the national economy

Why the metaverse matters for investors, in the longer term
Ten years ago, the internet evolved from something you viewed on a desktop to an always-on mobile connection in your pocket With the metaverse, the internet will jump out of your pocket. Hardware and software firms will benefit as VR headsets, then the metaverse, enter the mainstream  Despite tighter regulation in China, the government appears generally supportive of metaverse development (although it is likely to impose restrictions on underage content).

Gen Z in China and India more environmentally conscious: Report
Credit Suisse Research Institute survey suggests youth in emerging economies more likely to buy sustainable products.

China’s decimated US$1.5 trillion tourism industry buckles under coronavirus pressure with no end in sight
Tourism in China recovered slightly last year, but was still only around 50 per cent of the levels seen in the pre-coronavirus era in 2019    Travel agencies are closing and airlines are suffering huge losses as virus outbreaks and travel bans decimate the industry

ECONOMY RCEP: A Geopolitical Gain for China
China has won a big geopolitical win with the RCEP as the deal improves Asia’s economic connectivity closing to China’s economic orbit as a result of tighter integration. Beijing will operate its economic muscle as the region’s largest economy to exercise influence over the bloc’s norms and standards, since it currently does in the countries that have signed on to its Belt and Road Initiative. “This alliance will definitely help China in realizing its geopolitical ambitions,” quoted by Alexander Capri, a professor of commerce at the National University of Singapore, as saying. Former Indian Army lieutenant general Utpal Bhattacharya said, “This agreement is more political than economic.” According to Utpal Bhattacharya, there is no scope for implementation of the issues mentioned in the agreement right now. As a result, the agreement is an attempt to convey a political message. The RCEP will strengthen China’s economic ties with East Asian countries and with US allies like Japan and South Korea. Though Beijing has territorial disputes over Spratly Islands and Senkaku Islands with South East Asian countries. Again, Australia whose relations with the PRC (People’s republic of China) have been deteriorating since early 2020 because in response of Australia’s demand of impartial probe into China’s first coronavirus epidemic, China banned import of beef from Australia.China now has the ultimate dominance in South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific. In the past few years, the United States has been desperate to reduce Chinese dominance in South China Sea. Recently, Biden administration is trying to boost up the activities of QUAD, AUKUS with India, Australia and Japan to balance the Asia-Pacific region. Naturally, China did not like it.

The Be More Like China Act –
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Chinese President Xi Jinping should feel honored by the 2,900-page bill House Democrats claim will make the U.S. more competitive. To counter China, Democrats think America must copy Beijing’s industrial policy. Last summer the Senate passed a $250 billion bill with $54 billion in handouts for the U.S. semiconductor industry and much more for government science bureaucracies. Now with Build Back Better stalled, House Democrats are rushing through their own version that leaves no liberal special interest behind. Democrats say the $52 billion for chip makers will ease supply-chain problems. Sorry, but building a foundry takes years. Chip makers expect shortages for years no matter how much governments subsidize them. The White House laments that the U.S. manufactures only 12% of the world’s chips, down from 37% in 1990. But most chips are commodities, so manufacturing has naturally shifted to lower-cost Asia. The U.S. still leads in chip design (52%) and chip-making equipment (50%). China is years behind the U.S. in both.
https://tinyur China and US at high risk of stumbling into conflict over military misfire: analyst
Leaders of both countries have said they don’t want a war and relations are better than they were several years ago, Wang Jisi says
But they can still ‘lose their sense and get into a fight’

China’s state-owned nuclear power developer to build plant in Argentina using third-generation Hualong One design
A 1.2GW power plant based on China National Nuclear Corp’s Hualong One reactor design will be built in the South American nation, Argentine media reported   This will be China’s second export of its nuclear technology after Pakistan

The Moral Cost of Doing Business in China
American and other Western companies have long been eager to do business in China, and that made sense when the country was opening to the world and reforming its economy. But operating in China has become more problematic as President

How the United States can strengthen its position in the Indo-Pacific
The Biden administration largely delivered on its commitment to prioritize the Indo-Pacific region. With its withdrawal from Afghanistan and gradual de-emphasis on developments in the Middle East, its rebalancing of focus to the region is real.

China presented its artificial intelligence development policy, stating that it will increase the use of AI in military
China has prioritised Artificial Intelligence in its quest to become a powerful superpower under Xi Jinping. Beijing’s interest in AI development and use stems from the fact that technology may be used for both civil and military objectives. As a result, while AI advances can benefit China’s economy and healthcare, they can also help the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engage in “intelligent warfare”, which PLA strategists define as “the implementation of artificial intelligence and its related technologies, such as cloud technology, data analytics, quantum information, and autonomous systems for military uses.”

Xi-Putin summit: Russia inches closer to China as ‘new cold war’ looms
When the leaders of China and Russia meet in Beijing this Friday shortly before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, observers of the bilateral relationship will be looking for insights into how this 21st century quasi-alliance is reshaping the postwar world order.

The Parallel between Ukraine and Taiwan: Collusion in Disguise or Deception in Reality?
Taiwan and Ukraine, from a historical perspective, occupy similar positions in Chinese and Russian geopolitical strategic experience. For Chinese Communist Party (CCP), capturing Taiwan would not only allow the second largest economy to break out of the First Island Chain and pose direct threats to Japan, but thwart the grand strategy of “Pivot to Asia” of the United States. For Russia, seizing Ukraine would secure its hold on the Black Sea and impede NATO’s eastward expansion by increasing the pressure on Bulgaria and Romania. More importantly, successful annexation of Taiwan and Ukraine would undoubtedly consolidate the incumbent leaders of China and Russia – both of them are straining to seek a longer term, legally and legitimately, than they are supposed to have.

Beijing Winter Olympics reveal a very different China
Timidity ahead of 2008 Summer Games now all but forgotten He has promised a lower-key ceremony this time around, but the message is much the same. “The motherland is only able to host two Olympic Games in such a short period of time because it is strong and powerful,” he said.    The other, larger thread tying the two events together is Vladimir Putin. The Russian president attended the 2008 Games, sitting a few seats behind George W. Bush at the opening, just as the U.S. president was learning about Russia’s invasion of Georgia.   The Chinese government says claims that Beijing has extracted a promise from Putin that he will not invade Ukraine during The Games this time are “a hoax and provocation.” Unless he does send his forces into Ukraine to coincide with the Winter Games, Putin is likely to star in a different drama.   On Feb. 4, Putin will become one of the first foreign leaders to meet Xi face-to-face since February 2020, when COVID-19 was then raging in China and spreading around the world.  In a China that has worked overtime to protect Xi from the virus, Putin’s stature will make him a rare welcome guest. Their handshake, should they allow it to be broadcast, will be as big a geopolitical moment as The Games themselves.

Taiwan’s Diplomatic Offensive in Eastern Europe
Growing disillusionment with China has created new opportunities for Taiwan in Central and Eastern Europe.   It is in this context that Taiwan is trying to increase its influence in the region by looking out for new economic opportunities. In the past few months, Taiwan has signed a series of MOUs with Czechia covering cybersecurity, the space industry, green energy, and smart machinery, as well as with Slovakia over electric vehicles, the digitization of small and medium-sized enterprises, and smart cities. Lithuania, for its part, has agreed to work with Taiwan in the areas of semiconductors, life sciences, laser and satellite technology, crystal research, and finance. Taipei also announced the launch of a $1 billion credit program to fund joint projects between Lithuanian and Taiwanese companies.     Taipei intends to take full advantage of the vacuum left by Beijing, but it remains to be seen whether the island’s engagement in Eastern Europe will bring tangible results or end up a disappointment, like the results of those countries’ experiments with China. While governments in the region are voicing support for Taiwan, they have already said that they plan to uphold their own “one China” policies, which means not diplomatically recognizing Taipei. The challenge for Taiwan in the coming months will be to capitalize on this positive dynamic to thrive internationally without the benefits and protections associated with state sovereignty. It is certainly in the island’s best interests to broaden and deepen its ties with democratic European partners to secure its position within the international community rather than to remain at the mercy of official allies, many of whom have proven unreliable

China: What does it want from the Ukraine crisis with Russia?
As the war of words between the US and Russia grows louder over Ukraine, one major player on the international stage has spoken up firmly as well: China.

China’s ‘Wolf Warriors’ Are Having a Field Day With the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
Beijing’s social media pugilists are taking the opportunity to troll the U.S. and Europe.

Beijing Olympics: the new front line in the US-China cold war
In a video presentation, NBC said its coverage of the Beijing Games would “provide perspective on China’s place in the world and the geopolitical context”. But it emphasised that its Olympic broadcasts would be primarily focused on the athletes. The network isn’t sending announcers to Beijing, citing Covid-19 concerns, so the commentary on events such as figure skating and snowboarding will be made from Connecticut. But it said there would be NBC news reporters at all of the Beijing Olympic venues.

Beijing 2022: Life inside the Winter Olympics bubble
The Bejing Winter Olympics are operating in a contained environment to prevent Covid transmission
Robots serving drinks, temperature-controlled sleep pods and disinfectant everywhere.

Going Home for Spring Festival, in Rented Luxury Cars
While some wanted to avoid the crowds amid COVID-19 outbreaks, others wanted to show off their success.

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