China Press Review – January 6, 2020

Press review

UAn imperfect US-China deal may be better than no deal at all
Some observers were quick to question the feasibility of some of the Trump administration’s boasts, including the claim that China would commit to purchasing $40 billion worth of US agricultural products. That’s double the amount purchased in 2017, the year before current tensions escalated. At the same time, very little has been said about intellectual property protections. Theft of trade secrets was one of Trump’s primary justifications for his tough stance on China. And, while some hopes for reform emerged last November, there have been precious few details about what meaningful cooperation on intellectual property rights might look like. Perhaps most importantly, China has remained tight-lipped about the deal. Trump’s critics have used Beijing’s silence to raise suspicions, casting doubt on any announcement from a White House with an established reputation for over-claiming on its trade policy successes. In fairness to Trump, the impending deal is only “Phase One.” But a modest deal at this point may be better than no deal at all. The trouble with the trade war has been the uncertainty it introduces to the market. Investors and traders have been at pains to anticipate Trump’s next moves. At a minimum, January 15 may bring some stability to the situation.
Can China and the EU put aside their differences and find common ground?
Beijing’s focus in 2020 is expected to be less on the US and more on Europe, with a packed agenda of cooperative engagements with Brussels    But will the two sides be able to overcome disagreements and mistrust in favour of pragmatic cooperation?
New regulations make it easier for foreign banks to do business in China
China’s banking regulator unveiled revised management regulations for foreign banks to advance the opening-up of the country’s banking sector and promote its high-quality development.     Foreign banks can now register and open branches on the Chinese mainland at the same time, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
China, Japan and South Korea must choose: history or economics
The three countries have a complicated rivalry over war history and territorial claims, but economic cooperation remains their biggest bond Leaders recently shared their desire for a free-trade agreement in a market of over 1.5 billion people
China’s Financial Services Industry Is Banking on AI
Increasing market competition and economic uncertainties are prompting banks to re-examine customer needs and business processes in order to improve service aptitude and operating efficiency. Banks’ massive data accumulation in financial transactions, customer portraits, market analysis and risk control provide a great environment for AI to flourish.    In 2018, Chinese financial institutions invested about CN¥160.4 billion (US$23 billion) in technology, an increase of 10 percent over 2017, of which AI hardware and software-related investment accounted for 10.4 percent. The banking industry was the biggest investor in AI-related applications, accounting for 70 percent of all market purchases.
Chinese manufacturing hub Suzhou eyes increased foreign investment as it chases fresh growth
City’s economic output is expected to top 2 trillion yuan in 2020   Expansion of manufacturing sector will lead to ‘another development miracle’, local party boss says
Squeezed by China and US, Germany faces key Huawei decision
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government faces a critical decision in the new year over what role Chinese tech titan Huawei Technologies should be allowed to play in the rollout of 5G in Europe’s largest economy.    Merkel is under pressure from lawmakers in both ruling and opposition parties to ban the controversial Chinese company from the network. But that would risk Chinese retaliation such as a clampdown on German auto exports to a crucial market for the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz
China delivers on promise to expand imports
China fulfilled its commitment to increase imports in 2019 amid rising tides of protectionism, boosting domestic economic expansion and offering a beacon of hope for multinationals that had suffered from low profit growth in other parts of the world.
5G Is Where China and the West Finally Diverge
President Trump and the public alike have trouble seeing speedy new cellular networks as the geopolitical battleground that they are.
China’s big spending millennials and Gen Z help Chanel, LVMH and other luxury retailers defy its slowest economic growth in 30 years
Luxury sales in China are expected to reach US$43.6 billion in 2024, Euromonitor says    China’s growth has always been driven by younger consumers, McKinsey says
Tesla Is Well Positioned for Big Growth in China
The electric car company’s China-made Model 3 is going on sale in the world’s largest auto market — just in time for Chinese New Year.
The New Generation of C-Beauty
C-beauty (Chinese beauty) products used to be considered low-priced alternatives to top-shelf international brands, but now, C-beauty brands are gaining popularity.   They’ve been called affordable, fair quality, and basic. “C-beauty” — a.k.a. Chinese-born beauty brands — used to be what most Chinese beauty consumers relied upon when they couldn’t afford better and cooler foreign brands. But with a new generation of C-beauty brands emerging and evolving, this story is quickly being rewritten. And now, at the dawn of the 2020s, C-beauty’s reputation is set to change from a cheap alternative to an industry trendsetter.
Hong Kong protests: China sacks top envoy after months of unrest
Wang Zhimin served a little over two years as director of the liaison office
China has sacked the official in charge of relations with Hong Kong, Chinese state media reports.
China’s new top official in Hong Kong hopes city can return to normal, and says ‘one country, two systems’ must be implemented in long-term
Luo Huining starts first day on job and says he will do his best ‘with a sincere affection for Hong Kong’  Luo calls the civil unrest worrying and hopes city can get ‘back on track’
Why we must hold China to account
Libby Ruffle on China’s economic gains and humanitarian failings, and Jim Denham on Beijing’s global dominance
China’s belt and road: an environmental disaster for Southeast Asia?
Beijing professes to be ‘greening’ its multitrillion-dollar trade initiative, yet has still invested heavily in fossil fuels and the extraction of natural resources   The results could be habitat loss, increased pollution and the destruction of biodiversity, as well as the entrenchment of existing power structures
China’s Belt And Road Is Not About Going Green
President Xi Jinping stated in 2019 that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) must be green and sustainable, but much of what Beijing is providing to the countries that form part of the BRI is just the opposite.
6 ways that Chinese tech is ahead of the rest of the world
From WeChat and 5G to megaprojects and Mars missions
China builds record 968.77 km of urban rails in 2019
Cities on the Chinese mainland built a record 968.77 km of urban rails in 2019, according to a report from the China Association of Metros.     At the end of last year, 40 cities had urban rail transit systems in operation, with a total length of 6,730.27 km.
A rising China will not become a global aggressor – it has too much to lose and enough space to transform
While some fear that resurgent communist ideology will undo China’s gains and spark aggression towards other nations, this is unlikely because of how enmeshed China’s economy is with the West
Seeing China as a system in transition allows for greater space for innovative responses, including to the question of Taiwan and Hong Kong
China’s sovereign currency ‘progressing well’, central bank says, but there’s still no launch date
PBOC says research and development work will continue in 2020    Beijing is keen to create a digital currency to offset perceived risks posed by bitcoin, Libra
Xi Jinping says he’s ready to endure fire and boiling water, but the internet is a worry
Communist Party releases book of president’s speeches from the past six years   Leader speaks of the anti-corruption campaign, consolidation of personal power in the military, and tightening control over the media and the internet
As China’s internet giants expand their global reach, they bring Chinese censorship to the world
The popularity of apps such as TikTok and WeChat among the growing overseas Chinese community raises concerns in the West about Chinese government influence. Given the size of their markets in China, it is hard for these companies to stand up to the Communist Party’s censorship demands
China’s richest tycoons hit by debt defaults, arrests and suicides in 2019 amid tightening regulation
A number of China’s wealthiest businesspeople fell from grace in 2019 amid debt defaults, criminal charges and tightening government regulation   Beijing is trying hard to assure private businessmen they are valued, but analysts say they will ‘continue to face challenges in the year ahead’
China pneumonia: Sars ruled out as dozens fall ill in Wuhan
A mysterious viral pneumonia that has infected dozens in central China is not Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), health chiefs have said.
‘Disloyal and two-faced’ Chinese provincial boss accused of ignoring Xi Jinping’s orders facing prosecution
Former Shaanxi party chief Zhao Zhengyong was implicated in scandal where president’s orders to destroy illegal structures were disobeyed    Anti-corruption investigators say Zhao and subordinate Chen Guoqiang have been expelled from the party and had their illicit gains confiscated

Alain Gillard
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