China Press Review – June 5, 2020

Press review

Coronavirus lockdowns are lifting and economies are reopening, but the hard work of recovery has only just begun
Governments across the world are cautiously allowing businesses to reopen and removing pandemic restrictions in steps  The second stage of recovery will be more difficult and may have to contend with some lingering economic damage amid US-China tensions

Intercontinental all-cargo flights resume between Wuhan and Europe through Liege Airport
As announced in our forum, a Boeing 747-400F cargo plane (reg. OO-ACF) of ACE Belgium Freighters carrying nearly 100 tonnes of European auto parts and machinery arrived at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on Tuesday on flight FRH281.

Asian airline stocks take off on signs travel is ready to come back after being grounded by the coronavirus
This week, China Southern Airlines has surged 20.1 per cent in Hong Kong, while Cathay Pacific has shot up 13.2 per cent    Travel group says bottom for air services was hit in April

EU-China summit: What really happened?
The EU and China have postponed a hotly anticipated summit, blaming COVID-19. But with infections down, the economy reopening, and China under fire over its clampdown on Hong Kong — is the pandemic the real reason? These are the realities the EU faces: caught in the middle of a possible new Cold War between a difficult America and an encroaching China, juggling its own internal divisions and to top it all, a global pandemic. In the light of all this, the postponement of a potentially highly controversial summit looks hardly surprising. But as Noah Barkin points out, there will ultimately be no avoiding these issues. “We have to get beyond some of these events. I think next year the EU will have to sit down and really think hard about its strategy towards China.” When the time comes, Reinhard Bütikofer says, Germany has a responsibility to look beyond its economic interests. “They can’t come at the cost of our shared values. Appeasement doesn’t pay.

The United States must end its mindless reliance on China
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed a terrible truth: Our mindless over-reliance on China has led us to no longer have the capacity, the expertise or the manufacturing infrastructure to meet our own nation’s needs.  When unbridled capitalism helped shift millions of production jobs to low-wage countries like China decades ago, we unintentionally but systematically ceded control of our supply chains to them. Our chaotic response to the coronavirus situation shows how thoroughly unaware we were of how the systems we have created truly work.

Nio boosts its registered capital to RMB 3.85 billion
Registered capital for electric vehicle maker Nio swelled to RMB 3.85 billion (around $540 million) from a mere RMB 11 million on Tuesday, in a sign that the company’s fortunes are finally turning around after a bailout deal in April worth RMB 7 billion.

Long-term forecasts predict China’s move toward decarbonisation
A scientific paper has forecast China’s long-term energy future, showing how the economic giant would change in different scenarios.

Millennials in China reexamine their spending habits as economy recovers
In China, millennials — defined as anyone born between 1981 and 1996 — have been known to be big spenders. But as the Chinese economy recovers from a coronavirus-induced slowdown, many young people are reexamining their lives and their spending habits.

E-commerce Giants Up Their Livestreaming Game for 618 Shopping Festival
618 Shopping Festival, a major mid-year sales promotion created by, has been picked up by rival retailers and expanded into several weeks of splashy campaigns. This year, e-commerce teamed up with live streaming platforms.

How Big Is the ‘Billie Eilish Aesthetic’ with China’s Gen Zers?
The biggest challenge for luxury brands will be to overcome the cultural barrier when trying this approach. “The key is not letting a barrier prevent consumers from actively engaging with the brand,” Ju said. Particularly for luxury, cultural differences can be a prominent driver of a brand’s appeal, but when an appeal is done incorrectly, it can risk becoming a hindrance rather than a help. “For example, ‘authenticity’ is one of the topics repeatedly touted by Western brands,” he explained, “but for Chinese consumers, this could read very differently from the brand’s original Western point of view. Some attributes like ‘rebellion’ or ‘free spirit’ can go wrong and may even pose political risks.” Indubitably, branding localization in China requires specific rules as well as deep insight into local backgrounds.
The question for brands isn’t if, but rather, how to take action when confronted with newer Chinese trends. “It’s important to evaluate the underlining drive of [world-weary] behavior and whether it reflects a cultural shift that will have a sustainable impact,” Ju stated. “There’s a profit to be made, but it also comes with the risk of affecting the consistency of a brand.”  In a time of uncertainty and hyper-globalization, it’s already difficult for brands to stay afloat of market developments and retail model changes. Yet, ultimately, if brands want to expand their horizons and break into China’s Gen-Z market, they have to find a middle ground between chasing transient trends and maintaining long-term success.

By Land, Sea, and Air: China’s Environmental Ups and Downs of 2019
A government report says air and water quality improved last year, but also flags fresh concerns.

Opinion: ‘Two Sessions’ Didn’t Mark a U-turn in China’s Green Economy Push
Our overall interpretation is that a green push and green recovery are not a top priority in the short term, especially when compared to the big push promised in 2019. Rather, we see the focus of economic policy on stability, employment, the role of state-owned enterprises and — quite explicitly — energy security for China. While the latter has been captured in the new energy law and clean power plays an important part, it is also clear that fossil fuel is here to stay for a while. This focus is in line with many of the world’s markets that hope to get the economy going again, but less ambitious than the EU, for example, which is explicitly pushing a green recovery, as well as several BRI countries, like Pakistan.

China Focus: Going greener, China on course to meet environment goals
As World Environment Day reminds global citizens of the “Time for Nature,” China keeps its eyes fixed on its green targets this year amid solid steps along the path of environment-friendly development.  Considering lucid waters and lush mountains as invaluable assets, the country has made great strides in tackling pollution in recent years, with most of the ecological and environmental protection goals set for the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) accomplished in a smooth manner.

Beijing’s change of heart on street vendors sparks stock market frenzy as traders predict surging demand for vans, kitchenware, umbrellas
Investors believe products of use to hawkers, like vans and umbrellas, will be in high demand after the government signalled its support for stall owners     Beijing is now touting tiny street vendors as vital to a floundering economy, a dramatic U-turn from its previous attitude

Xi Jinping vows to build strong public health system to ensure China’s stability
Chinese president pledges to pour resources into network to enable swift response to disease outbreaks     But analysts say that this alone will not prevent a recurrence of infections like Sars and Covid-19

Coronavirus has given us a glimpse of a green future, now for the hard part
Reduced emissions have been the pandemic’s great silver lining but they risk being squandered without permanent changes

Stay or Go? COVID-19 Forces Students to Rethink Study Abroad Plans
All over China, students are deciding whether to move overseas for university. In the age of COVID-19, the choice is more complex than ever.

Beijing says will take ‘whatever measures necessary’ to defend China firms added to US entity list
Ministry of Commerce response comes on day 33 more Chinese firms added to US entity list, curbing their ability to do business with American firms   Speculation China will soon roll out its own ‘unreliable entity list’ to retaliate against US firms

Mike Pompeo warns US investors against ‘fraudulent Chinese companies’
US secretary of state says Nasdaq’s decision to tighten listing rules should be model for stock exchanges around the world   Remarks illustrate Trump administration’s desire to make it harder for some Chinese firms to trade on exchanges outside own country

India’s $6.6 Billion Incentive Program Challenges China in Manufacturing, Insiders Say
The announcement came against a backdrop in which governments around the world are increasingly calling for their countries to reduce their dependency on China for manufacturing amid the Covid-19 pandemic that exposed risks in key supply chains. It also came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has called for a more self-reliant India, has pushed for additional incentives to create more domestic manufacturing in an effort to create jobs.

India’s new aversion to Chinese investment will hurt its own businesses
In the Netflix documentary China Hustle, fraud-hunting investor Carson Block explains the significance of a Chinese proverb: Muddy water makes it easy to catch fish. It means “in clear water, you catch no fish”. But as Block, who exposed corporate malpractice in China in 2011, aptly puts it, “opacity (muddy water) creates opportunities for people to make money — that’s China’s view.”  Davis is right that China has been one of the important sources of FDI in India. According to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, foreign direct investment from China stood at a total of $1.8 billion between 2015 and 2019.

China grows ‘more assertive’ in world politics as the U.S. leaves behind a vacuum, ex-diplomat says
As countries around the world grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, China has been flexing its geopolitical muscles on multiple fronts including the South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong

Leading face of Chinese diplomacy gets enhanced UN role to help Beijing win over world
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang will take up public outreach role at New York-based mission, which has been upgraded to ambassador status    Diplomat shuns the aggressive ‘wolf warrior’ style favoured by some of his peers and new posting is described as ‘tailor-made’ for him

US unrest threatens to derail the post-lockdown recovery and catch markets flat-footed
The protests are being exacerbated by a spreading epidemic and the worst recession since the 1930s
Leaving aside the frightening prospect of a military crackdown, the unrest is putting pressure on the shaky foundations of the equity rally

The coronavirus is highlighting Hong Kong’s wealth inequality. What’s the government doing about it?
The latest Covid-19 cluster involves warehouse workers, who probably don’t earn much more than the minimum wage    Why isn’t a city as wealthy as Hong Kong doing better by its population, and developing worthwhile jobs for people?

Welcome to Britain? The big questions in Boris Johnson’s vague plan for Hong Kong’s BN(O) holders
The British prime minister says Beijing’s national security law will prompt changes to Britain’s immigration rules to expand rights to Hongkongers with the travel documents    But it is still not clear what those changes would be and how they would work

China won’t back down on Hong Kong national security law or any other key issues, whatever the US threatens
The outrage of the US has never made Xi Jinping change his behaviour. If anything, it has only emboldened him   The national security law resolution is part of a broader strategy to reassert China’s territorial integrity

China says social media firms should not selectively create obstacles for media
China said on Friday that social media companies should not selectively create obstacles for media agencies, responding to Facebook Inc’s decision to start labeling state-controlled media organisations. Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing that any media agency operating in line with relevant laws of various countries should be treated equally. The world’s biggest social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, according to a partial list Facebook provided.

China can’t take over US security presence in Southeast Asia: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong
Lee’s op-ed in Foreign Affairs magazine highlighted the importance of the US even as he warned against moves by Washington to contain Beijing    ‘Any confrontation between these two great powers is unlikely to end as the Cold War did, in one country’s peaceful collapse,’ he wrote

TikTok owner ByteDance kills news aggregator app TopBuzz
TopBuzz, which used machine-learning technology similar to TikTok’s to help recommend content to users, was launched in 2015     The move to shut down TopBuzz shows how ByteDance has struggled to crack the overseas news app market

TikTok (Yes, TikTok) Is the Future
Whether serious or silly, TikTok is an outlet for expression unlike anything that came before.

Has China gone into stealth mode with its military-civil fusion plans?
There was no apparent word in this year’s government work report of the defence strategy that has raised alarm in Washington  But that doesn’t mean it’s off Beijing’s radar, observers say

Alain Gillard
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