China Press Review – March 15, 2019

Press review

The US-China Trade War and Declining Trade? We’ve Been Here Before.
The US-China trade war – on which negotiators have recently pushed back any hopes for a compromise to April at the earliest – has resulted in the World Bank forecasting that the global economy will shrink to 2.9 percent in 2019, from three percent in 2018. It cites the US-China trade issue as the main factor responsible. Given that the US and China contribute to over one-fifth of world trade, any developments in their relationship has an impact on global trade, thereby affecting other nations too.

China and US make ‘concrete progress’ on trade deal text
Xinhua reports phone conversation between Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He and US’ Robert Lighthizer and Steven Mnuchin Donald Trump expects outcome in three to four weeks

podcast : The US and China work to coordinate a meeting between Trump and Xi
Chinese negotiators suggest combining a long-discussed state visit by President Xi Jinping to the United States with the announcement of any forthcoming trade deal, according to three sources briefed on discussions.

China approves new foreign investment law designed to level domestic playing field for overseas investors
Attempt by Beijing to address key issues raised by US President Donald Trump as part of the US-China trade war including forced technology transfer and market access Draft had received a lukewarm reception, but was approved by the vast majority of the National People’s Congress lawmakers on Friday in Beijing

China Approves New Foreign Investment Law to Level Playing Field for Foreign Companies. MEH.
For weeks now, our China foreign investment lawyers have been getting a steady stream of emails regarding China’s now approved new law on foreign investments. Those emails can very roughly be divided into two camps:

China Approves New Foreign Investment Law to Level Playing Field for Foreign Companies. MEH.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says foreign investment law shows Beijing is serious about opening economy further
New foreign investment law will improve market access, protect intellectual property rights and end forced technology transfer, Li says Foreign observers say law is step in right direction, but concerns remain that law does not go far enough amid doubts that it will be effectively implemented

Party versus market — Xi fails to resolve China’s contradictions
New policies at People’s Congress, but old tensions remain, not least over Belt and Road

China’s Premier Acknowledges Economic Slowdown, Promising Tax Cuts
Responding to concerns raised by the United States and its allies, the premier also denied Beijing asks Chinese companies to engage in overseas spying.

China’s Economy Is Limping Toward Stabilization on One Leg
China’s economy is not yet on an even keel: Demand-side indicators — investment and retail sales — are showing signs of stabilization, while supply-side gauges — production and employment — were weak in the first two months of the year. This may partly reflect a larger-than-usual swing in exports around the Chinese New Year holidays, but for Bloomberg Economics, the bottom line is that the economy still needs sustained policy support.

podcast : Next China: Uncertain Times

Li Keqiang says decoupling from US ‘not realistic’, denies China would ask tech firms to spy

Premier refutes spying suggestion, saying it is ‘not how China behaves’ and that Beijing would never require Chinese companies to do so He says ‘the whole world would like to see’ resolution to tariff war with mutually beneficial outcomes

China needs to create 11 million new jobs next year to ensure stability, Premier Li Keqiang says
Uncertainty persists even as the National People’s Congress passes a law protecting foreign investment in China, and several proposals to fend off an economic downturn Follow the Post’s blow-by-blow coverage of Li’s press conference here

Huawei targets 50 per cent smartphone market share in China on way to wresting global crown from Samsung
Chinese telecoms giant on track to ship up to 260 million handsets globally this year Brand is third-biggest smartphone vendor in the world after Samsung and Apple

Huawei pleads not guilty to US charges of bank fraud and violating Iran sanctions in case that triggered a global firestorm
The world’s largest telecoms equipment maker also faces charges of obstructing justice, becoming a lightning rod for Donald Trump’s tough China policies. A court process for the case is to be set at the next hearing on April 4

Huawei built its own OS as backup amid tensions with US
Huawei’s mobile chief confirmed that it has developed its own operating system for phones, tablets, and computers in the event that escalating tensions between the US and China cut off its use of Google’s Android system. Huawei, the largest smartphone maker in China, began building the Android alternative in 2012, after the US began investigating whether Huawei and ZTE pose threats to national security.

Briefing: Huawei built its own OS as backup amid tensions with US

Huawei and Canada are victims of US-China technology stand-off, founder of telecoms giant says
Ren Zhengfei says US case against his daughter Meng Wanzhou should not damage his company’s relationship with Canada

Suspicion of Huawei, From 5G to Under the Sea
The security of national 5G mobile data networks has been a key battleground in the ongoing tensions between China and the United States. Chinese telecom giant Huawei has been caught in the middlelike “a tomato,” in the words of its founder Ren Zhengfei, with the U.S. recently going so far as to threaten a halt to intelligence cooperation with countries which allow the company’s involvement. While much attention has focused on the future of networks within countries, relatively little has fallen on the connections between them. This week, The Wall Street Journal’s Jeremy Page, Kate O’Keeffe, and Rob Taylor reported on parallel concerns about Huawei’s role in expanding the global submarine cable network.

Suspicion of Huawei, From 5G to Under the Sea

China’s e-commerce players look to smaller cities to help drive consumption, growth
Alibaba,, Pinduoduo and Vipshop pursue expansion outside China’s leading metropolises

E-commerce complaints surged 126% in 2018: regulator
What happened: Chinese e-commerce players are facing rising fury from local customers. Regulators received over 1.68 million filings from online shoppers in 2018, a 126.2% increase compared to the prior year. According to State Administration for Market Regulation, misleading advertising, fake goods, as well as complaints over low quality are some of the main areas of dispute.

Briefing: E-commerce complaints surged 126% in 2018: regulator

WeChat, Alipay, QQ top-ranking apps in February
Latest mobile app rankings show that WeChat, Alipay, and QQ were the most used apps in February, according to Chinese mobile internet research firm Trustdata’s latest release (in Chinese). The company posted its February figures for China’s top 200 mobile app rankings on its official WeChat account Thursday.

WeChat, Alipay, QQ top-ranking apps in February

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s quick economic fixes pass with zero votes against – a show of approval by National People’s Congress?
Ballot often seen as barometer of premier’s popularity, with hundreds having opposed some of Li’s past reports – but he is seen as face of Xi Jinping’s policies In Friday’s other ballots, on supreme court and prosecutor reports, 156 and 71 delegates vote against respectively

China’s Supreme Court stung by disappointment of the people as congress has its say on legal papers scandal
‘Unanswered questions’ over judge-turned-whistleblower who admitted losing documents for major trial results in lowest approval rating in three years

China’s US$59 billion internet and technology bubble will trap many private-equity investors when it bursts, Bain says
Investors are stuck with overhang of portfolio companies bought at high valuations amid worsening outlook Median return fell to less than two times in 2016-18 from 4.7 times in 2014-15

Italy lining up Chinese deals despite deputy premier’s national security warnings
Agreements could be signed alongside memorandum of understanding on ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ when Xi Jinping visits Rome But Matteo Salvini warns against influence of foreign powers and Huawei taking a role in Italy’s 5G telecoms

Italy brands win with Silk Road-Di Maio
Involvement in Chinese project enhances sovereignty – minister

China new home prices grew at their slowest pace in 10 months in February, but property market expected to bottom out
Prices edged up by 0.53 per cent last month, their slowest pace since April 2018, in 70 cities monitored by the government

China’s home appliance queen Dong Mingzhu backs ambitious Gree Electric target, plays down trade war
Outspoken chairwoman and delegate to the National People’s Congress rules out price cuts to expand market share overseas amid US-China trade war The 64-year-old breached disclosure rules in January after ‘leaking’ an ambitious target of tripling her white goods empire’s annual revenue to US$89.4 billion

Have China’s super-rich lost faith in the country’s embattled economy?
Hurun Report says almost half of super-rich are considering, or are in the process of, leaving China

Hong Kong slips to 22nd spot globally in home price inflation as property curbs bite, survey finds
Hong Kong tumbles from the world’s hottest market as home price gains ease to 5.8 per cent last year, according to Knight Frank’s global index

Big companies on alert in countdown to China’s consumer rights TV show
Foreign and local brands hold their breath to see which ones will be named and shamed by the country’s state broadcaster

Chinese Baby Creams Under Scrutiny for Hormonal Ingredients
Several brands claiming to be hormone-free were found to contain potentially harmful chemicals, a state newspaper investigation revealed.

China New Energy Vehicle Production Soars Upwards Again
For the first two months in 2019, China’s new energy passenger vehicle (PV) wholesale volume surged 132% from a year ago to 141,958 units, among which the Feb. sales reached 50,783 units with a sharp year-on-year (YoY) growth of 74%, according to the data released by the China Passenger Car Association (CPCA).

China New Energy Vehicle Production Soars Upwards Again

Pollutionwatch: China shows how political will can take on air pollution
Sulphur dioxide in Beijing was reduced by 70% and particle pollution by 36% in just four years

China is to blame for South Korea’s air pollution. Really?
South Korea is one of the world’s most polluted countries and its killer dust claims thousands of lives a year But rather than blame diesel cars and coal-powered plants, it has become trendy to look abroad for a bogeyman

China to host World Environment Day 2019 on Air Pollution
The head of Chinese delegation, Zhao Yingmin, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment, and Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment, jointly announced on Friday, that China will host the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2019 with a theme of air pollution.

China to host World Environment Day 2019 on Air Pollution

Time to speak up about the South China Sea
There appears to be a collective aversion among government officials and heads-of-state in Southeast Asia to speak up in public about Chinese transgressions and coercion in the South China Sea. Such reticence is based on misplaced fear of Chinese repercussions and does a disservice to regional interests, undermines deterrence and needlessly concedes leverage in negotiations with China on territorial disputes or a South China Sea Code of Conduct.

Time to speak up about the South China Sea

United States considers sanctions on human rights violations in Xinjiang
State department report says repression on a scale not seen since the 1930s US may target party bigwigs, including Politburo member Chen Quanguo

China’s Double Standard on Terrorism
While Beijing clamps down on Muslims in its own territory, it provides cover for Pakistan’s support of extremist groups.

China’s “South Asia challenge” for the Belt and Road Initiative
China’s South Asia policy has long been centred on maintaining a strategic balance in the region, often pitching nuclear Pakistan against nuclear India.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
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