China Press Review – June 29, 2021

China Consumers Continue To Boost E-Commerce Spending: Bain & Kantar
E-commerce has been the only retail channel to experience rapid growth in China’s fast-moving consumer good industry since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new research report released today in Bain & Company in collaboration with Kantar Worldpanel.

Hydropower plants go on sale in China amid mining crackdown and bitcoin slump
After cryptocurrency mining rig sales, small hydropower stations are now for sale on e-commerce site Xianyu    Prices of small hydropower stations have dropped amid crackdown, as bitcoin miners head for the exits in China

Shanghai Leads Way in China’s Carbon Transition
Many Chinese cities and provinces are working on plans to hit peak carbon before 2030. Shanghai, China’s most developed city, is set to lead the way.

China’s largest battery maker CATL extends agreement with electric vehicle giant Tesla to 2025
Contemporary Amperex says it has reached an agreement with Tesla’s Shanghai subsidiary to provide battery packs for another 30 months    No detail on the purchase volume was disclosed but move comes as Tesla’s vehicle orders in China show signs of slowing

China digital currency: e-yuan launch would be ‘hard to ignore’, ex-top Japanese financial regulator says
China began exploring the concept of a sovereign digital currency in 2014 following the success of e-commerce platforms Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu     China has already distributed some 200 million yuan (US$31 million) in digital currency as part of pilot projects across the country   Edwin Lai, professor of economics at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said China wants more people to use the yuan to reduce reliance on the dollar-centric global financial system. In particular, it wants to boost its political influence in Southeast Asia by increasing the use of the yuan in regional trade.
But given China’s reluctance to relax its stringent capital controls, the digital yuan is likely to have limited use internationally, Lai said.  The yuan’s importance in the international monetary system is disproportionately small, accounting for 1-2 per cent of foreign exchange market turnover, global payments and foreign exchange reserves. In comparison, the US dollar’s share is 44 per cent, 46 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively.   “China wants to have more political influence internationally. One way to achieve this is if other people use your currency more as a medium of exchange, for a store of value and as a reserve currency,’ Lai said. “However China does not want to fully integrate its financial system with the West any time soon.”

These charts show the dramatic increase in China’s debt
China’s debt has grown dramatically over the past decade and is one of the biggest economic challenges confronting the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which turns 100 this week.  Beijing has identified the ballooning debt pile as a potential threat to its economic stability, and in recent years tried to reduce the economy’s reliance on debt for growth.    That deleveraging effort came to a pause for much of last year, when China’s debt — measured against the size of its economy — soared to record levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

China’s Great Bitcoin Mining Migration: two birds – one stone
In the end of an era for Chinese Bitcoin mining; Beijing has started the implementation of their much touted ban on Bitcoin (BTC), following a series of policy announcements over the previous weeks.    The dust has begun settling as the market stabilises in the aftermath of these decisions, and the emergence of silver-linings offers a glimmer of hope as the crypto industry stands witness to what has been coined by some the Great Mining Migration.

Out of lockdown: China’s edtech market confronts the post-pandemic world
Pessimism about the future of online classes fades when it comes to non-curriculum learning     Reliable internet connections in remote areas are still a problem, with half of the country’s rural areas not having web access last year

Chinese Provinces Curb Private Schools, Encourage Public Education
While Hunan and Jiangsu will cap the number of students attending private academic institutions, Sichuan has stopped approving such facilities altogether.

This is how Hong Kong can become an international data centre hub in Asia-Pacific region
Hong Kong remains a prime location for data centre development, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s 2020 Global Data Centre Market Comparison report     Government should expedite and expand the current development of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park

Chinese apps TikTok, Tencent Video, iQiyi among world’s top-earning apps in first half of 2021
TikTok is the highest-earning app for the year through June 23, making US$920 million for the period, but downloads have tumbled 38 per cent     Streaming video sites and video games have been the biggest beneficiaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, but spending and downloads growth is starting to slow

Domestic drivers of China’s policy toward Hong Kong
China has been using oppression, police brutality and various other measures to handle Hong Kong issue. It has damaged democracy and has converted popular rule into rule of officials. However, in my opinion, these measure will only make the people of Hong Kong distant from mainland China simultaneously  jeopardizing its economy. Suspicions and fears of Hong Kongers on their future after 2047 will only increase diminishing prospects of smooth re-unification

US-China tech war: China’s investment binge on chip sector unabated as US commerce secretary urges lawmakers to approve funds for similar purpose
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urged approval for US$52 billion in funding for semiconductors as supply chain crunch continues  China pushes ahead with its chip sector investments, with latest figures showing local firms received US$6.2 billion in venture capital in January-May period

pdf Mapping China’s semiconductor ecosystem in global context: Strategic dimensions and conclusions
China’s capabilities in the semiconductor value chain play a key role in these considerations. China’s government is making great efforts to raise the competitiveness of Chinese industry in the semiconductor sector, building on and supporting China’s role in global electronics manufacturing and emerging technological ecosystems. With growing strategic concerns in the US and Europe about China, a better understanding and systematic assessment of China’s capabilities in producing semiconductors is needed. What is the position within the semiconductor value chain of Chinese companies? In which areas is China highly reliant on foreign technology providers? How likely is China to catch up within this decade in a particular production step? This report provides a framework for assessing the national interest vis-à-vis China’s role in the semiconductor value chain. We draw conclusions across three strategic dimensions – industry competitiveness, national security and resilience of the global supply chain – that impact the interests of all nations, given the importance of semiconductors in the modern world. Understanding China’s role throughout the value chain in terms of these strategic dimensions helps policy makers to identify current and future interdependencies with China, and to balance or prioritize between competing interests. With this picture, European decisionmakers are better equipped to best position EU countries for a world in which technological interdependence is increasingly contested, weaponized and fraught with national risk.

China, Russia extend friendship treaty after Biden-Putin summit
Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin meet by video link for a second time in a month, both hailing the countries’ closer ties     If US continues ‘dual containment’ policy ‘there are no obvious limits to how far and deep the Beijing-Moscow alliance could develop’, observer says

US ban on China’s Xinjiang solar products linked to alleged forced labour heaps pressure on supply chains
Newly blacklisted Hoshine Silicon Industry is Xinjiang’s biggest producer of metallurgical-grade silicon, a key raw material in solar panels     Joe Biden administration’s ban on silica-based products from the Chinese company is likely to touch many of the world’s biggest solar-grade polysilicon makers

Explainer-Are Chinese COVID-19 shots effective against the Delta variant?
Many countries from China to Indonesia and Brazil rely heavily on Chinese vaccines to inoculate their people against COVID-19, but there are growing concerns about whether they provide enough protection against the Delta variant, first identified in India.   Below are views from China’s health experts about the effectiveness of home-grown vaccines against the Delta, which is becoming the globally dominant variant, and virus preventive measures China is taking.

China watchers may steer clear once travel curbs are lifted, survey finds
Just 44 per cent of respondents – all with professional ties to the country – say they will visit when it’s possible, according to ChinaFile     Fear of being detained and restrictions on movement, research or reporting among concerns of those who probably or definitely won’t go

Party members must forever trust and love the CCP: Xi
President Xi Jinping on Tuesday urged Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members to “forever trust, love, and contribute to the CCP”, as he presented medals of the highest honour to 29 party members. The “July 1 medal”, announced in 2017 and given out for the first time on Tuesday, is part of Xi’s efforts to shore up the image of the party.

China one step closer to shining Earth’s brightest light on the atomic world
Scientists breathe a sigh of relief at the installation of an electron gun at the ambitious Heps facility on the outskirts of Beijing     Project has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and US hi-tech sanctions

Only foreign scientist in Wuhan lab says Covid-19 leak highly unlikely
Australian virologist worked at institute in late 2019, saw nothing unusual   Says full investigation needed to nail down coronavirus origins once and for all

China’s Communist Party turns 100: how each generation justifies its rule
Every generation of leadership must define what constitutes ‘good governance’ – whether it’s economic or geopolitical victories or beating Covid-19     Except for the reunification of Taiwan, Xi Jinping has offered few clues to what ‘rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation’ means for his leadership

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