EU-China Mappings: Interactions between the EU and China on key issues
In 2020, most European governments restricted Huawei’s participation in the rollout of their countries’ 5G networks. Approaches vary from blanket bans in the UK and Sweden, to tighter regulatory frameworks which de facto discourage operators from using Huawei technology, like in Italy. A number of European countries have also signed onto the US’ Clean Network Initiative, affirming their commitment to only allow trusted vendors in their fifth-generation infrastructure. This is the case for Poland, Romania, and other countries in eastern Europe. Meanwhile, debates about security risks involved in working with organizations linked to the Chinese party-state have extended to other areas of EU-China relations, such as cooperation in research and innovation. Western Europe and Scandinavia are the main recipients of Chinese investment Many Eastern and Southern European countries have endorsed the BRI EU countries are not fully aligned on Beijing’s human rights violations China’s law enforcement extends to Europe
China FDI rose to record level in 2020 despite coronavirus, fastest growth rate in five years
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China rose 4.5 per cent from 2019 to US$144.37 billion last year Investment from the Netherlands and Britain increased by 47.6 per cent and 30.7 per cent, respectively, from a year earlier
Shipping costs quadruple to record highs on China-Europe ‘bottleneck’
The cost of shipping goods from China to Europe has more than quadrupled in the past eight weeks, hitting record highs as a shortage of empty containers stemming from the pandemic disrupts global trade, reported the Financial Times. The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Asia to northern Europe has increased from about $2,000 in November to more than $9,000, according to shippers and importers.Lars Jensen at consultancy SeaIntelligence said, “It’s a bottleneck problem . . . These rates are being driven by customers fighting over a limited resource — containers.” Thousands of empty containers were left stranded in Europe and the US in the first half of 2020 when shipping lines cancelled hundreds of trips as coronavirus lockdowns caused a sudden slowdown in global trade. When western demand for Asian-made goods rebounded in the second half of the year, competition among shippers for available containers sent freight rates soaring, reported the FT.
Europeans believe China will overtake US in a decade, despite Biden presidency
A survey of 11 countries in Europe has uncovered a massive shift in attitudes, with many believing the US system is broken Most respondents say the EU should be self-reliant and remain neutral in any conflict between the two powers “This may reflect the fact that, although both Europeans and Americans are toughening up their approaches to China, their long-term goals are somewhat different. While Americans want to do so to decouple from and contain China, Europeans (above all, Germans) still hope to bring China back into the rules-based system,” the report said. “It is not that Europeans are pro-China. But Europeans appear keen to forge their own path rather than fall into line behind America’s China policy.”
China increased US debt holdings for first time in six months in November despite overall decline
Chinese holdings rose to US$1.063 trillion in November from US$1.054 trillion in October, with China remaining the second largest non-US owner of US debt Foreign investors held US$7.053 trillion in US government debt in November, down from US$7.068 trillion the previous month
Zhang Jian Vs. Jack Ma: CCP Capitalism
Compare and contrast the CCP’s portrayal of Zhang Jian and Jack Ma as models of CCP-led capitalism
Alibaba founder Jack Ma delivers video speech to China’s rural teachers in first public appearance in three months
Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, makes his first public appearance after nearly three months of being out of public view Ma told teachers that he has been ‘learning and thinking’, according to a report published by an official local news service
Hang Seng Index near 30,000 level as Alibaba surges, more China funds add to record inflows
Hang Seng Index rises to as high as 29,984 points, less than 0.1 per cent of surpassing the psychological level last seen on May 3, 2019 Technology stocks rally with Alibaba pacing the winners; Meituan, Tencent and bourse operator HKEX reach new highs
Jack Ma resurfaces amid regulatory clampdown
Jack Ma made his first public appearance after months of avoiding the spotlight, following rampant speculation attributing his disappearance to a regulatory crackdown on his businesses. Ma had not appeared in public since Oct. 25, when he made a speech at a gathering of China’s top financiers and regulators criticizing Chinese regulation on fintech. The speech reportedly contributed to the negative attention from regulators that led to the suspension of Ant Group’s initial public offering just days later.
Tencent super app WeChat celebrates a decade of influence in China’s online world, but are its best years behind?
WeChat has helped make Tencent the largest company in Asia and propelled its market capitalisation to US$800 billion, the sixth biggest globally While WeChat does not have to worry about foreign competition, it is facing a fierce fight from emerging domestic rivals like ByteDance
China worries about lagging consumption as broader economy shakes off COVID
China will be looking to tweak its economic policies to get consumers to spend more, policy advisers in Beijing said after retail sales emerged as a weak spot in better-than-expected GDP data, underlining the need for reform.
Dual circulation is a strategic process, not a theory
China watchers were puzzled by the country’s ‘dual circulation strategy’ when it first surfaced in 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the ‘formation of a new pattern of economic development’, given the rapidly changing global context, and the strategy is being embedded in China’s 14th Five Year Plan (2021–2025). Chinese policymakers, who are more often engineers than lawyers or economists, think about development in terms of an open giant complex system. The dual circulation framework is dialectic, being a strategic balance between internal loops and external loops, depending on overall threats and opportunities. Dialectically, if the outside world does not want to engage with China, it will focus internally. But since China has the largest trading partnerships, increased domestic consumption will inevitably bring larger imports and global trade. If trading partners reject win-win cooperation, then withdrawal to internal circulation is less lose-lose than trading insults. When rivalry clouds entangled partnership, temporary separation is better than divorce. The United States and China are warring elephants in the proverbial global room. The dual circulation policy applied to bilateral relationships basically says that it takes two to tango. Only time will tell which elephant can pivot more adeptly than the other.
China’s iron ore imports from India rose nearly 90 per cent in 2020, with purchases from Australia and Brazil also up
Australian shipments rose 7 per cent to 713 million tonnes, while Brazilian supplies were up 3.5 per cent at 235.7 million tonnes China imported 44.8 million tonnes of iron ore from India last year, compared with the 23.8 million tonnes bought in 2019, and the most in nine years
Joe Biden taps Asia expert Ely Ratner as top Pentagon adviser on China
The move may help reassure China watchers concerned that Lloyd Austin, Biden’s pick for defence chief, does not have enough experience in Indo-Pacific affairs Ratner, a long-time Biden aide, has also worked in the office of Chinese and Mongolian affairs and the State Department
China revamps trade negotiation team ahead of possible fresh talks with Biden administration
China’s Ministry of Commerce reshuffle lays out new trade team that would work directly with the United States, and in other international forums Joe Biden said last month that he will maintain current trade tariffs on China and make no immediate changes to the phase-one deal signed a year ago
XI JINPING, HEADLINE COLUMNIST
addressed to an audience of international diplomats. “Ladies, gentlemen and friends,” it began.
Dealing with the topic of international cooperation at the start of a new year, and following a year full of rancor over trade, technology, Covid-19 and other concerns, Xi’s article seemed to point toward a more neighborly future. Its publication was apparently big news as well. All of China’s mainstream media – the word “mainstream,” or zhuliu (主流), referring in a Chinese context specifically to Party-state media – reported on the General Secretary’s “important article” in Seeking Truth.
China reckons US democracy is imploding but could be missing the point
Academics argue Beijing’s view that the democratic system is failing is based on a fundamental misunderstanding Checks and balances were tested by the Trump administration but they held, and that could be sign of the system’s strength, they say
Why is Suga so insistent on the Tokyo Olympics? It’s partly the threat of losing face to China
Analysts say the prime minister is keenly aware that if Japan postpones or cancels the event, Beijing is set to host the first post-pandemic Games with the 2022 Winter Olympics Conservatives will see this as a ‘humiliation’, they say, with Suga’s position and political legacy on the line over the issue as well as his handling of Covid-19 “It could all come to nothing,” Nakano said. “The failure of a campaign that he spearheaded would not just be a humiliation, but it could very easily mean Suga losing his direction entirely.” Kingston of Temple University said the prime minister would not be blind to the challenges that needed to be overcome for the Olympics to go ahead, as well as the precarious nature of his position, but added that Suga had no choice but to project an air of supreme confidence. “He will be pushing it hard, because of all the vested interests behind the scenes, up until they have to make a decision on whether to pull the plug because it could become a super-spreader event,” he said. “Up until that point, he will be putting a brave face on it.
The Decades-Old Move That Got the CCP Through the COVID-19 Crisis
The CCP has always claimed to represent the entire nation, but it was the decision some 20 years ago to ease entrance barriers that helped make promise a reality. (New social classes) began to demand more access to political participation, the ability to express their interests, and the opportunity for party-promised democratic supervision. Despite early difficulties, China’s performance over the ensuing weeks, taking control of the country’s epidemic and containing the virus in a matter of months, suggests Zhang’s call to arms went answered. Today, the CCP’s presence can indeed be felt in every corner of society, in ways that aren’t true of election-oriented parties. But for the majority of China’s 1.4 billion people, the heart of that presence lies in its 92 million members. They’re the ones who represent the party’s mission of national rejuvenation, whether in villages or cities, government departments or hospitals, or in state-owned enterprises and tech companies.
Beijing steps up Covid-19 measures over outbreak
Beijing authorities said on Wednesday that they will investigate all individuals who entered the capital from abroad from December 10, after reporting the biggest daily jump in new Covid-19 cases in more than three weeks.
Coronavirus: Chinese local authorities step up efforts to convince migrant workers to stay put over Lunar New Year
Incentives range from gifts of ‘lucky money’, free mobile data and tickets to attractions as central government starts campaign urging people not to travel The country has reported more than 100 cases of Covid-19 a day for over a week and Beijing became the latest city to extend curbs on inbound travellers
Taiwan cancels more events as Covid cases rise
Taiwan has cancelled or postponed more large-scale events after a rare outbreak of domestically transmitted Covid-19 cases connected to a hospital, where the military has been sent to help with disinfection.
Coronavirus: China calls for revisions to reports at WHO, defends early response
Two expert reviews suggested shortcomings in Beijing’s actions after health authorities reported first cases in Wuhan But China tells executive board the reports made statements that were inconsistent with the facts
Coronavirus in China: residents of five Beijing neighbourhoods told to stay home
Affected communities are all in Daxing district, which is home to the city’s second airport and where China’s first infections involving the B117 variant were reported last week All 1.7 million residents of Daxing have been told they cannot leave the city without official permission and a negative test result
China curbs viral resurgence with ‘strictest’ measures in Spring Festival
Outbreaks amid holidays could be catastrophic, just look at US: expert
China’s belt and road: what’s holding up the trains from Pakistan to Turkey via Iran?
While the three countries involved in the rail project have announced it will be revived this year, it must still overcome infrastructural hurdles before it can kick-start important rail routes under China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Will the West Catch Up With China’s Social Commerce?
Purchases are predominantly influenced by social media, but the West has yet to pick up the pace of China when it comes to integrating mobile payments. Livestreaming is another element that factors into China’s social commerce success while yet to take off in the West. Even pioneers such as Bytedance, which launched e-commerce on Douyin in 2018, has only just started to roll out shopping features on its global counterpart TikTok. The coming year is sure to reveal whether the West is following China’s social commerce strategies, or whether it is simply choosing to continue on a different journey.
Are Chinese Netizens Sick Of Mass Digitization?
China’s e-commerce giants have jumped headfirst into the growing grocery delivery trend, but some netizens are shaming them for the social ramifications.
Is Criticism Of Its Hostile Work Culture Hurting Pinduoduo?
The Chinese e-commerce company Pinduoduo is being criticized for its unethical workplace culture. Will this crisis slow down the tech giant’s meteoric rise?
Foreign brands rush to join Chinese platforms
Cross-border e-commerce trade a silver lining amid pandemic According to data provided by Tmall Global, the cross-border business-to-consumer marketplace under Alibaba Group, also one of the most popular platforms in China, more than 29,000 brands across 5,800 categories had come onto the platform at the end of December 2020, and over 80 percent of them are entering China for the first time. Brands, particularly small- and medium-sized players that have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are trying their best to enter new markets and find fresh channels for growth, according to the platform
China’s central bank defines monopoly for the first time in antitrust curb of world’s largest online payment services market
Any non-bank service provider with half of the market for online transactions, or two entities with a combined two-thirds share, could be subject to antitrust probes, according to draft rules by the People’s Bank of China Three providers with three-quarters of the market would also set off the antitrust alarm
irresistible? Pension funds plot move on China’s $16 trillion bond market
– China’s $16 trillion bond market is the proverbial elephant in the investment room. But it’s becoming too big to ignore, even for the most risk-averse Western investors. A large, A+ rated market that pays 3% yields, with minimal volatility? It’s looking increasingly alluring for European pension funds swimming in sub-zero bond yields as aging populations stretch their finances.
TikTok owner ByteDance launches Douyin Pay, mobile payment service for China
Beijing-based ByteDance recently launched its own third-party payment service for Douyin, the Chinese version of its hit short video app TikTok, on Tuesday as it presses to expand into the e-commerce business in China, reported Reuters. “The set-up of Douyin Pay is to supplement the existing major payment options, and to ultimately enhance user experience on Douyin,” Douyin said in a statement to Reuters on Tuesday. ByteDance’s expansion comes as China’s financial regulators are tightening oversight over financial technology firms, particularly companies such as Ant Group. China’s third-party payment sector is dominated by Alipay and WeChat Pay, with the former taking 55.39% of the total market in the second quarter of last year, according to market researcher Analysys. Other players include JD.com’s JD Pay, Baidu Wallet and Meituan Pay.
China jobs market still seen as weak, unstable even as unemployment rate returns to pre-coronavirus level
China’s official surveyed unemployment rate came in at 5.2 per cent in December, the same as in 2019, and a far cry from February’s reading of 6.2 per cent According to an independent index, the number of job posts fell by 17 per cent and the number of jobseekers dropped by 7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 China set a target of creating 9 million new urban jobs in 2020, compared with 11 million in 2019. This week, it confirmed that there were 11.86 million new urban jobs created in China last year, 131.8 per cent of the target. For the whole of 2020, China’s surveyed jobless rate was 5.6 per cent compared with a target of around 6 per cent. “The government reported that new urban job creation reached 11.9 million in 2020, though the number of migrant workers declined by over 5 million. Migrant wages rose by 2.8 per cent in 2020 on average, compared to 6.5 per cent in 2019. These numbers suggest both improving labour market conditions and room for further improvement,” said Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS Investment Bank.
Analysis: China’s would-be chip darling Tsinghua Unigroup bedevilled by debt and bad bets
Tsinghua Unigroup, a Chinese conglomerate that has long sought to become a semiconductor powerhouse, is now caught between a rock and a hard place as debt woes mount while key chip units are failing to thrive, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Volkswagen says China car sales, production hit by chip supply shortage
German automaker Volkswagen AG lost sales of tens of thousands of cars in China as a global chip supply shortage impacted its production in December, the head of its China operations, Stephan Wollenstein, said on Wednesday, reported Reuters. Volkswagen is the biggest foreign automaker in China, the world’s biggest car market. Global automakers including Ford Motor Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd have said they would cut vehicle production this month due to a shortage of semiconductors.
The Chinese university will open the Budapest campus while Orban leans towards Beijing
Ties between Hungary and China have grown since Orban returned to power in 2010. Hungary hosts Huawei Telecom Group’s largest supply center outside China. The company accounts for 0.5 per cent of the country’s employment, 0.4 per cent of Hungary’s gross domestic product and 0.4 per cent of total tax revenue, according to a STUDY by Oxford Economics, a British marketing and consulting firm.
Last year, Hungary received a 20-year, $ 1.9 billion loan from Beijing to build a railway link to the Serbian capital, Belgrade. In April, as the Hungarian parliament voted to give the government extraordinary emergency powers, the legislature also voted to classify all details about the project, saying it would be necessary to secure a loan from the Chinese bank ExIm. Hungary also expects five Confucius Institute, which China says help promote language learning and foster friendship between peoples. Critics in the US and Europe say the institutes facilitate the spread of pro-Chinese propaganda and are a mechanism for spying on students and faculties.
After Shandong Scandal, Punishments Added for Test Score Theft
A revised law is aimed at stamping out cases of families exerting influence to obtain higher “gaokao” scores for their kids, allowing them to attend university under an assumed identity.
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