China GDP: coronavirus helped Chinese economy trim US$1 trillion from gap with US in 2020
After recovering quickly from the pandemic, China gained almost US$1 trillion in ground on the United States economy in 2020. Some analysts now forecast China will overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by 2028, ahead of Beijing’s official predictions.
China’s state-led economy makes it clear for foreign firms: you’re either OK with regulatory requirements, or you’re out
Toeing the party line, censorship, and strict controls on capital flows are challenges facing foreign firms that wish to take advantage of China’s massive market Outsiders have long complained about unequal treatment and market restrictions in the Chinese market, as favouritism is shown to state-owned enterprises Chinese SOEs are pervasive in almost every sector but are especially prevalent in utilities, transport and steel manufacturing, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a recent report. The latest data shows that total assets of Chinese SOEs stood at 194 per cent of GDP in 2018, higher than in the early 2000s, and several orders of magnitude larger than in any other country. Despite improvements in recent years, SOEs continue to underperform and have significantly lower revenue productivity than private firms in the same sector, the IMF said.
China’s January factory activity growth likely slowed as COVID cases rise: Reuters poll
China’s factory activity likely expanded at a slower pace in January amid a resurgence of local COVID-19 cases, a Reuters poll showed, although growth is seen staying at an elevated level, suggesting momentum is firm going into 2021.
‘Still much work to do’ with China after investment deal, says Commission
Despite a recent investment agreement reached with Beijing, there is still “much work to do” to rebalance the EU-China trade and overall economic relations, the European Commission said on Friday (29 January).
US-China relations: common interests outweigh differences, Wang Qishan says
‘Upholding the spirit of non-conflict and non-confrontation … key to promoting the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations,’ Chinese vice-president says Relationship between world’s two largest economies matters to global prosperity and stability, he says
Top Chinese diplomat calls Trump’s China policy ‘utter failure’, says US must repair relations with Beijing
Le Yucheng, vice-minister of foreign affairs, takes aim at the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic Le also says Washington and Beijing can use Covid-19 and climate change as ‘priority areas’ for cooperation
Taiwan GDP growth outpaces China for first time in three decades
Hong Kong, meanwhile, logged back-to-back annual contractions Taiwan’s giant neighbour China — where the pandemic began but has been largely stifled — grew 2.3 percent, a performance most countries would envy but still its slowest pace in more than four decades. That means Taiwan’s growth outpaced China for the first time since 1991. Taiwan’s fourth quarter growth was especially strong thanks to exports — up 4.94 percent on year, the best quarterly performance since early 2011. The island is a major world player in electronics and crucial latest generation semiconductors and microchips. “The main reason for the significant economic growth is the technological advantages that our semiconductor makers hold,” said Wu. “Also the manufacturing sector continued to invest domestically in recent years to expand production capacities… that spurred high growth in exports,” she told reporters. Exports soared to a historic high in 2020 to $345.28 billion, up 4.9 percent on-year despite the global economic slowdown, according to official data.
China and European ‘17+1’ nations to hold virtual talks in February
President Xi Jinping will reportedly meet leaders from central and eastern Europe for summit that was postponed due to pandemic Observers expect cooperation to fight the virus, economic recovery and climate change to be high on the agenda
Digital yuan poses Orwellian threat: report
People’s Bank of China project raises serious concerns about financial data collection, says US think tank
Explained: China’s poverty alleviation goal still a myth
China’s middle class (households that earn more than $10,000 annually) comprise only 6% of China’s population while nearly half of China’s population earns less than $1000 per household a year. As per a research paper titled ‘ncome inequality is growing fast in China and making it look more like the US’ published by the London School of Economics, the share of national income earned by the top 10 percent in China has risen drastically from 27 percent in 1978 to a whopping 41 percent in 2015
Online luxury retailer Mytheresa eyes China expansion with tailored shopping experience for wealthy consumers
Getting fully attuned to Chinese consumer behaviour is the key to brand growth in the US$236.6 billion market, says CEO Mytheresa wil partially fund China expansion from the US$406.8 million it raised via IPO in New York this month
How will China spend during Spring Festival 2021?
Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year, is right around the corner. As the biggest holiday season in China, it has always been one of the biggest consumption periods for many industries. But this year’s Spring Festival, which will begin Feb. 11, is going to be a little different, as millions of people are canceling travel plans as Covid cases rise. When my team and I took a look at the data on consumers’ plans from our quarterly Mega Guide to China E-commerce and Marketing, we found that spending is likely to remain strong, while continuing the shift to online purchases and livestream we saw last year.
What Explains the COVID-19 East-West Divide?
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn a clear line between Asia and the rest of the world. In Asia, it’s very possible that the successful efforts by governments to contain COVID-19 will lead to a virtuous circle of trust, if not in the governments, then at least in social institutions like medical authorities, as this recent study from South Korea suggests. The West, meanwhile, is descending into a vicious circle of mistrust that vaccinations, herd immunity that the exile of Trump to Florida will not be enough to forestall. Forget about so-called Eastern values for a moment. The West needs to look more carefully at its own values since they are clearly not fit for purpose at a time of crisis.
‘Nervous’ China accused of silencing families of virus victims
The families of Wuhan’s coronavirus dead have claimed Chinese authorities are trying to silence them as a team of investigators look to identify the source of the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s Covid-19 outbreaks force caution as Lunar New Year travel rush begins
Government pushes initiatives to limit and discourage movement during the traditional migration period Transport ministry estimates 1.2 billion trips will be made over the 40-day holiday season, a 60 per cent drop from 2019
Pluses and minuses
China’s economy continues to look pretty good as it powers into 2021, but the stock market and property markets are both a bit jittery. Stocks because the Center wants to start pulling back on various virus era supports and property because inflows of cash into the economy have resulted in crazy property market booms in all major cities. But what IS the right price for an apartment in Shanghai or Beijing? If it is true that the Chinese economy is being fundamentally decoupled, then comparisons with property prices in New York and London have increasingly little relevance.
HNA Group goes bankrupt as China’s largest asset buyer succumbs to loans after a decade-long shopping spree
HNA Group had at least 1 trillion yuan (US$154.8 billion) of assets as recently as 2017, with at least 500 billion yuan of debt HNA Group would cooperate with the court’s review, push forward with the debt restructuring work and support the court to protect the legitimate rights and interests of creditors, the company said
Liaoning plans to merge 12 local banks amid bad loan concerns
Northeast China’s Liaoning province plans to merge 12 local city commercial banks to contain financial risks amid a deteriorating economy affected by the pandemic, reported Caixin.
The provincial government said it plans to merge the 12 institutions to create a “first-class urban commercial bank” that has a “clear shareholding structure, abundant capital adequacy, tight internal risk control and fine governance.” Strategic investors including the state-owned Liaoning Financial Holding Group and central bank’s deposit insurance fund will be invited to take part in the restructuring, the government said.
Tencent-backed Kuaishou’s IPO overbought 1,200 times by retail investors, sets record
Retail tranche more than 1,200 times oversubscribed, Kuaishou’s Hong Kong IPO, topped demand for beverage giant Nongfu Spring’s IPO Kuaishou marketed its IPO in a range of HK$105 to HK$115 a share
China builds Digital Silk Road in Pakistan to Africa and Europe
China is set to lay the final stretch of a cross-border fiber optic cable in Pakistan that will create the Digital Silk Road, serving the geostrategic interests of both countries. It will connect to a submarine cable in the Arabian Sea to service countries participating in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Europe. “It is a way for Chinese firms to gain greater access to certain foreign markets, at a time when they are increasingly being shut out of building infrastructure like fiber optic cables and 5G technology in North America and parts of Europe,” Joshua Kurlantzick, a senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations, told Nikkei. Kurlantzick said the pandemic and ensuing debt crisis has contributed to the shift in focus from traditional infrastructure projects. “The Digital Silk Road, including this project, is a way of China continuing to show that the BRI will be a major initiative,” he said. For China, building a quick and safe route for internet traffic to Europe through a dedicated cable managed and supervised exclusively by the Chinese is vital.
TikTok owner ByteDance claims WeChat banning links makes Douyin more social in latest public spat with Tencent
ByteDance China CEO Kelly Zhang says Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, is becoming a more social platform because its links are blocked on WeChat Competition between ByteDance and WeChat owner Tencent has been ramping up in many areas in recent years, including games and video streaming
China’s commercial jet ambitions shaken as US blacklists Comac
The inclusion of China’s state-owned commercial jet maker on the Trump administration’s sanctions list could disrupt Beijing’s plans to carve out a big piece of the lucrative industry for its homegrown champion, given the company’s high dependence on US suppliers, reported the Financial Times. Beijing’s hopes of challenging the lock held by Boeing and Airbus on the large commercial jet market rest primarily on Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or Comac. With China forecast to be the biggest source of demand for such planes in the coming years, Comac has been winning an increasing share of local orders for smaller jets with its ARJ21 model. But it is seeking to move into the midsized market with its C919, which is still undergoing flight tests.But the blacklisting would be a big problem for Comac. Comac’s website includes a number of other US companies as “tier one” suppliers of key component systems, including Honeywell, B/E Aerospace, Donaldson, Moog and Parker Hannifin, reported the FT.
Corruption in China: former top banker Lai Xiaomin executed for taking US$277 million in bribes
Amount of bribes received by ex-chairman of China Huarong Asset Management was ‘extremely large, the crime’s circumstances were particularly serious and the social impact was particularly severe’, Supreme People’s Court says Lai was convicted by a court in Tianjin earlier this month
China-Australia relations: Canberra’s approach based on ‘assessment of national interests’ despite New Zealand critique
Australia Trade Minister Dan Tehan said on Thursday that his trade policy will be guided by the three P’s of proactivity, principle and patience A day earlier, his New Zealand counterpart Damien O’Connor seemingly questioned Canberra’s approach amid its 10-month dispute with Beijing
New Biden era of confrontation in the South China Sea
China has wasted no time in testing new US administration’s resolve to remain disputed maritime region’s preeminent power All the pieces are falling into place for a new era of US-China confrontation in the South China Sea under the newly inaugurated Joe Biden administration. On Wednesday, Beijing said its deployment of a squadron of fighter jets into Taiwan’s airspace last weekend was meant as a “somber warning” to “external powers”, a thinly veiled threat to the US. On the same day, the US State Department said in a statement that the US’ 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines “will apply to armed attacks against Philippine armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific, which includes the South China Sea.” China’s recent moves have raised the potential for such armed attacks against rival Southeast Asian claimants in the sea.
Pentagon spokesman dismisses China’s warning on Taiwan as ‘unfortunate’
The US Defence Department under the Biden administration ‘sees no reason why tensions over Taiwan need to lead to anything like confrontation’, spokesman says Comment is a response to China’s defence ministry saying that ‘Taiwan independence means war’
India has sent more troops to disputed China border, President Ram Nath Kovind says
Parliament hears that forces have been built up ‘to protect India’s sovereignty’ over disputed territory Previously external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar accused China of ‘signalling a disregard for commitments about minimising troop levels’
UK offers Hong Kong residents a route to citizenship, angering China
Britain on Friday hailed a new visa offering Hong Kong citizens a route to citizenship after China’s crackdown but Beijing said it would no longer recognise special British passports offered to residents of the former colony.
Hong Kong: What is the BNO visa?
A new UK visa system is giving Hong Kongers with British National Overseas status the chance to live and work in Britain and potentially become citizens.
State-Owned Tree Farm Probed for Leasing Land to Vineyards
The Gansu government says there was no large-scale deforestation to make room for grape cultivation. A Beijing newspaper’s investigation says otherwise.
The Chinese Couples Going Dutch on Literally Everything
Young Chinese are ditching tradition and adopting an egalitarian style of relationship known as the “two-sided marriage.” But is the practice really as progressive as it appears? Two-sided marriage solves a series of problems, such as passing on the family line within a one-child family.
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