China Press Review – June 2, 2020

Press review

The global downturn is bottoming out and optimists are right on the money
Germany and China are the workshops of the world, and the best places to see early shoots of recovery. The latest German business sentiment data and Chinese factory numbers suggest that better times might be around the corner

A resilient return for Asia’s manufacturing and supply chains?
Asia shows an early glimpse of how manufacturing and supply-chain leaders are responding to disruption caused by the pandemic.   Nearly half of respondents in China expect rapid recovery, possibly because the country is further along the timeline in its pandemic response. Responses from Southeast Asia, Japan, and South Korea, on the other hand, report markedly lower confidence in a swift recovery. The majority of these regions are still tackling cases and only just beginning to ease lockdown measures—South Korea is currently preparing to slowly and cautiously proceed to the next normal under “everyday quarantine” measures. Japan’s lack of confidence is worth noting, as the country has a wealth of experience managing natural disasters and boasts a manufacturing sector that is well-versed in responding to and recovering from them. Nevertheless, the dynamic nature of COVID-19 appears to have challenged the Japanese manufacturing sector.

China’s coronavirus stimulus is geared towards economic survival, but no more
At the close of the NPC annual meeting, Premier Li Keqiang made it clear that China will defy market hopes for large-scale stimulus in favour of targeted support to help the economy ‘survive’. China is right not to set a growth target to focus on job creation and long-term investment instead

Call for China and US to make efforts to avoid ‘total breakdown’ in relations
Prominent foreign policy expert Wang Jisi writes in state tabloid that Beijing should fulfil trade promise to buy more US agricultural products    He says if the situation gets out of control, it could result in ‘chaos in the world order and unprecedented disasters’

Shanghai Free Trade Zone to Pick Up Hong Kong’s US Business if Trump Ditches the Territory
Last Friday, US President Donald Trump announced some form of sanctions would be placed on Hong Kong following Mike Pompeo’s announcement earlier in the week that he no longer considered Hong Kong as being autonomous from mainland China. Trump specifically mentioned that the preferential trade nature of the US-Hong Kong Special Policy Act would be reconsidered. In this article, I look in greater detail as to how China has already begun positioning Shanghai and the Lingang New Area as a potential successor for Hong Kong as an international financial hub. It should be noted that Shanghai Free Trade Zone covers an area of 240 – roughly 25 percent of the total area of Hong Kong – yet significantly larger than the Hong Kong financial district and related ports and customs facilities. China is ahead of the game here and if sanctions on Hong Kong become a reality, Beijing has an immediate, readymade solution at hand. New policies introduced by China in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to expedite foreign trade, including financial arrangements, customs and improved administration procedures, are helping foreign investors in China sell their China-manufactured products to Belt and Road (BRI) markets. So much so that the FTZ allows products manufactured elsewhere in Asia to be exported via the zone to the buying destination.

China unveils plan to make Hainan a free trade hub like Hong Kong, Singapore as risks of US decoupling loom
Beijing has outlined plans to turn Hainan into a ‘free trade port’ similar to Hong Kong, as China faces the risk of decoupling with the United States    The tropical island will benefit from a low income tax rate, freedoms in trade, investment, capital flows and an easier investment environment

Today In Payments: China’s Rebounding Economy Is Likely Not Norm; At Least $20B Of PPP Loans Have Been Canceled
In today’s top news, China’s economy looks to be rebounding, and a minimum of $20 billion in PPP loans has been returned. Plus, lawmakers ask the FTC to investigate the tipping practices of delivery platforms.

Germany’s Telefonica Deutschland picks Ericsson for 5G core network over Huawei
Telefonica Deutschland says the choice to use equipment from Swedish supplier Ericsson will safeguard the security of its next-generation services    Germany’s three main operators are removing China’s Huawei from their network cores

China’s largest chipmaker to raise $2.8 billion in listing to boost capabilities amid trade war
China’s largest contract chipmaker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), has filed for a listing in Shanghai that will raise 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion).  The move comes as the company looks to bolster investment in its technology amid the escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which could force SMIC to take on more production. SMIC is part of China’s broader push for self-reliance when it comes to semiconductors, a field in which the world’s second-largest economy is seen as far behind the U.S.

Alibaba Launches 6.18 Campaign To Propel Post-Covid Recovery
Alibaba Group on Monday kicked off its annual 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival, which is expected to be China’s largest sales event since the outbreak of Covid-19.     Within the campaign’s first 10 hours, total gross merchandise volume jumped 50% from last year. Certain industries, including cosmetics and home appliances, saw their GMV double from the previous year, per Alibaba.

Alibaba’s e-commerce platform AliExpress launched influencer program
AliExpress, Alibaba Group’s export e-commerce platform, announced last week that it will empower over 100,000 content creators and influencers worldwide to bring new jobs and help them generate incomes to recover from the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19.

Should Luxury Brands be Worried About Revenge Saving?
While many citizens are finding ways to adjust to the pandemic, the younger generation, in particular, are likely feeling the brunt of the psychological trauma most deeply. Liu Ting is a post-90 consumer who works at a boutique brand consultancy company in Shenzhen. The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 forced her company to lay off half of the staff; fortunately her clients stayed but in financial terms, the experience left her in an anxious state of mind. Heats Up the Battle for 618 Dominance
E-tailer kicked off China’s 618 festival today by announcing that sales have already soared across a number of categories. During the four phases of the mid-year shopping event, an estimated 200 million new products will go on sale. This year’s 618 coincides with the 17th anniversary of and will see the e-commerce giant distribute at least 10 billion yuan worth of compensation and vouchers as well as 100 billion yuan worth of discounts. also inked a collaboration with video sharing platform Kuaishou for the event

Cut subsidies to inefficient Chinese airlines: European business group
Authorities should ensure that air traffic to new cities is guided by the market and does not lead to oversupply, chamber says   ‘Only international long-haul routes to and from either Beijing or Shanghai are profitable’

Oil Tankers Queuing Off Chinese Coast Proof of Rapid Rebound
Queues of tankers have formed off China’s busiest oil ports as the vessels wait to offload crude for refineries that are quickly ramping up production amid a rapid rebound in fuel demand.

How Technology can Improve your Logistics Operation
As technology makes rapid strides, one can realistically expect vast logistics optimization potential. From warehouse management and monitoring to shipment tracking and delivery, the possibilities seem endless. When contemplating how technology can improve your logistics operation, both the present and the future hold much promise. And as supply chains expand and grow, it will be vital to adapt to such technologies to remain competitive

Industrial farming of livestock a ticking pathogen bomb, scientists say
After African swine fever and the coronavirus, Chinese authorities plan to plug holes to control diseases in animals, but experts say it’s a global problem   They warn that the risk of viruses spreading and mutating in large-scale, high-density farms is not being adequately monitored

Coronavirus: ‘WHO masked concern’ about China’s slow release of information
Recordings show UN agency frustrated by lack of data to assess new virus, costing the world valuable time   Rather than colluding with China, new documents show UN agency was largely kept in the dark

Monster or Machine? A Profile of the Coronavirus at 6 Months
Our “hidden enemy,” in plain sight.

Can Singapore Replace Hong Kong As Asia’s Top Luxury Destination?
Anti-government protests and COVID-19 have kept wealthy mainland Chinese away from Hong Kong, but will Singapore become the region’s next luxury hub? Following Beijing’s newly proposed national security law, the Guardian dramatically announced that this would be “the end of Hong Kong.” It might seem like an overreaction, but reality shows that Hong Kong has been sinking into chaos since March of 2019. Anti-government protests and COVID-19 have kept wealthy mainland Chinese tourists and investors away from the Special Administrative Region for over a year, and these months of turmoil have naturally come with a high economic cost.

Can developing countries handle the headwinds of COVID-19?
How developing countries handle the headwinds of COVID-19 will have substantial implications for the global joint effort to fight the virus and boost post-COVID-19 recovery. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South America has now become a COVID-19 epicentre, raising more questions around how the developing world can endure the attack of COVID-19. Learning from previous infectious disease outbreaks and acting promptly to the changing situation are effective strategies to combat a pandemic — demonstrated this year by South Korea and Vietnam.

Vietnam leads ASEAN through COVID-19
COVID-19 is posing serious challenges to ASEAN in 2020. But Vietnam, as ASEAN chair, is trying to make the best of the situation and demonstrate leadership. As 2020 marks a mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Community Building Blueprints 2015–25, Vietnam chose ‘Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN’ as the theme for its chairmanship.

China and US clash over coronavirus and Hong Kong, derailing Japan’s plans for reset
PM Shinzo Abe must walk a tightrope between biggest trading partner and sole military ally as relations between the superpowers hit new low    China has so far taken a markedly softer line on Japan than against the US, avoiding the need to confront both at once

View: India needs to reset its relationship with China drastically
The changing global conversation on China provides a whole new political context to fashion a fresh approach.

COVID-19: The Impact on China-Africa Debt
Defaulting on loans has some negative economic implications, regardless of the origin of the loans. Countries that default will find it harder to borrow in the future, and they could face broader negative repercussions on their economies.    For most countries in Africa, China is only one among many creditors and therefore it would not make sense to only default on Chinese loans. This could work for those countries which owe most of their debt to China – but then, these countries might find it difficult to borrow from China again. And since only a handful of countries owe most of their debt to China, the global repercussions would be minimal.

Australia ‘carefully and closely’ watching US-China phase one purchases for signs of trade diversion
Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham told the ‘SCMP’ that he is watching US-China trade flows for signs of export diversion     China last month banned beef from four Australian abattoirs, slapped an 80.5 per cent tariff on Australian barley, but stepped up American imports of the same goods

Hong Kong stocks gaining for second day over economic recovery, shrugging off Trump threats and US protests
Bottom fishing continues in Hong Kong, but analyst predicts sell-off at 24,000 if rally continues
Traders remain concerned about souring US-China relations

China-US clash over stock market rules casts doubt over $1tn of listings
Hong Kong in lead to attract Chinese companies if Washington tightens audit rules  Chinese companies, which threatens to restrict their access to American capital markets.  U.S. senators last month approved a bill that could push companies off American stock markets if they fail to comply with the country’s regulatory audits for three consecutive years. Chinese officials have said that the bill would harm the interests of both Washington and Beijing and that political forces in the U.S. are pushing the two powers into a new Cold War. Shares in U.S.-listed Chinese tech companies, such as Alibaba Group Holding and, have yet to recover from the steep losses they suffered after details of the bill were revealed on May 20.”The most important relationship in the world is being decimated,” said Hao Hong, head of research at BOCOM International in Hong Kong, referring to U.S.-China ties. “Most investors are now anticipating the bill being passed into law and I expect Chinese companies to make a beeline to list in Hong Kong.”

Chip maker SMIC plans to raise US$2.8 billion on Shanghai’s Star Market as US moves to stifle China’s tech ambitions
Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC), which delisted from NYSE a year ago, plans to raise 20 billion yuan (US$2.8 billion) on the mainland’s Nasdaq-style Star Market    The biggest listing since the Star Market’s inception last July comes as Washington raises the barriers to Chinese tech firms

Amid US-China rancour, salvoes are fired in 280 characters
Though reluctant to play referee, Twitter has appended fact-check warnings to posts by President Donald Trump and Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian    Much ‘wolf warrior’ messaging has occurred on Twitter, a platform banned in heavily censored mainland China

Hong Kong’s COVID-19 debate: are health and freedom really at odds?
Hong Kong has faced a series of infectious disease threats over the past two decades, including H5N1 avian influenza (1997), SARS (2003), H1N1 swine influenza (2009) and MERS (2015). In response, the Hong Kong government developed a series of ‘preparedness and response’ plans to address infectious diseases of public health concern. This system was activated to the highest level on 25 January 2020 when a train passenger from Wuhan became the first confirmed COVID-19 patient in Hong Kong.

Foreign firms may ‘vote with their feet’ if Hong Kong’s autonomy is threatened: European business leader
Hong Kong’s status as Asian metropolis and a financial centre is attractive to overseas investors and should be maintained, says chamber of commerce president      China may be unharmed by US trade impact on Hong Kong ‘but innovation may suffer’

Trump’s latest move on Hong Kong is bluster
If President Trump follows through on his threat to eliminate Hong Kong’s status as a special customs territory with the United States, separate from China, the economic impact on Hong Kong would be minimal and on China even less. The timetable for the administration’s actions has not been specified. Trump said that his administration would “begin the process” of eliminating various forms of “special treatment” in its relations with the United States. But because exports to the United States of goods produced in Hong Kong account for only one tenth of 1 percent of Hong Kong’s output, even if higher tariffs cut this flow entirely, the effect on the Hong Kong economy would be imperceptible.

Hong Kong security law: China weighs risk US will go for ‘nuclear option’ and cut Beijing from the dollar payment system
Risks of US financial sanctions emerge for China after National People’s Congress approves national security law for Hong Kong    Beijing wonders whether Washington will cut it off from US dollar payment system and hasten the demise of dollar hegemony in the process

US may open doors to Hongkongers in response to China’s push for national security law, Mike Pompeo says
Asked about welcoming people from city to ‘come here and bring their entrepreneurial creativity’, Secretary of State says Washington is ‘considering it’     Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell in favour of such a move, saying US has ‘rich heritage of standing as beacon of light’

National security law: how a ‘burning’ Hong Kong wore out Beijing’s patience
Tensions have long simmered on Hong Kong’s journey of integration with the mainland: the long-running protests triggered by the extradition bill were the last straw    Carrie Lam and her opponents share blame for jeopardising the future of the city and its young people

National security law is a bitter betrayal of Hong Kong’s promise and exposes all to fear and intimidation
Anyone who disagrees with the Communist Party line is likely to become open to bullying, credit-scoring and revenge – reminiscent of the weaponisation of fear during the Cultural Revolution     It’s no surprise some people are reconsidering their retirement plans

China-enacted national security law must be consistent with Hong Kong legal principles
Local government must make every effort to fulfil responsibility to ensure proposed legislation is in keeping with legal system    Barring judges who hold foreign passports from hearing national security cases is not justified and would be detrimental to judicial independence

China using border tensions to warn India not to side with US: ex-foreign secretary Shyam Saran
The former diplomat said Beijing’s recent moves, including its Hong Kong security law, suggest it will be ‘more assertive post-pandemic’   India will head the WHO Executive Council and may influence two critical issues for Beijing: a coronavirus investigation and Taiwan’s observer status

China is launching a mission to Mars this summer. So is the US
Chinese Tianwen-1 will lift off in July or August, reaching the red planet by February where its rover will explore the surface      Nasa plans to send Perseverance around the same time – when Earth is closest – and it will collect samples to be brought back

Class Conflict
Exam pressures and Confucian tradition foster draconian rules in Chinese schools   China’s authorities are currently trying to standardize teachers’ disciplinary power, while ultimately affirming their basic power to manage the classroom. In November 2019, the MOE asked for public feedback on a draft of new rules meant to guide elementary, middle, and high school teachers in enforcing classroom discipline.  The draft forbids the use of corporal punishment, as well as “being made to stand for an abnormal length of time,” but allows punishments like “standing or facing the wall inside the classroom for no longer than one class period” and “requesting parents to sit with their children in class.”   But Yu doesn’t think the new rules will make a big difference. “The climate has already changed. There is already a trust crisis between the teacher, the students, and parents. A responsible teacher ought to discipline students, but nobody likes asking for trouble.”

Are Kids in China Better-Off Today Than a Decade Ago?
This Children’s Day, Sixth Tone takes a look back at 10 years’ worth of policies aimed at better protecting children, as well as their still-evident shortcomings.

World’s biggest Smurfs Indoor Theme Park designed by KCC Entertainment Design welcomes first visitors today!
After 2 years of intense design and construction, the 8.000 sqm park opened doors near Shanghai with a Smurftastic opening ceremony attended by both Chinese and Belgian government officials.

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