China Press Review – March 26, 2020

Press review

Coronavirus: China to ban most foreign arrivals to block contagion’s spread
Suspension order is set to take effect at midnight on Friday   Foreign ministry makes some exceptions, including for transit passengers

China slashes inbound and outbound international flights in drastic action to curtail imported coronavirus cases
Starting March 29, each Chinese airline can fly only one weekly route to one city per country, operating it at no more than 75 per cent capacity, the aviation regulator said   Similarly, each overseas carrier will be limited to flying one weekly service to China, at three-quarters capacity, the regulator said

Xi Jinping urges ‘stronger international cooperation’ and quick action to fight coronavirus pandemic and stave off global recession
Chinese president pushes for unity and solidarity in videoconference with other Group of 20 leaders at emergency ‘virtual’ summit   Subtly calls on the US to stop its hostile moves against China

Almost 72 per cent of Chinese SMEs have resumed work amid push to digitise businesses, ministry says
For many small factories and service businesses, the process of returning to normal operations after disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic has been harder   Chinese authorities have been pushing for SMEs to make use of technologies such as remote working and smart manufacturing platforms to resume operations quickly

Covid-19 Likely to Accelerate a Business Environment Revolution
The need not to Be There will grow Although previous virus outbreaks have disrupted the world, Covid-19 is unprecedented, in a short space of time completely rearranging the focus of government, rupturing national economies, hindering world trade and mercilessly destroying businesses. Once the pandemic is under control, however, it is likely that it will hasten a consumer revolution that had already begun. Some commentators say the virus is attacking the very foundations of capitalism. Some of the change that has occurred will quickly return to normal. Specialty retail was quick to revive after the SARS scare over a decade ago. Many events have just been responses to the crisis. However, some changes are here to stay and have led to new sets of consumer habits. This is going to become the economic environment where new business models, new ways of doing things, often killing off long-established business models in the process. SARS, which struck China and its immediate neighbors in 2002-2004, enabled Ali Baba to connect manufacturers from China with customers around the world who didn’t want to travel, very conveniently and made Jack Ma one of the world’s richest men. Online purchasing in all forms is set to grow. Amazon, already a behemoth was growing exponentially in this crisis until the pandemic caused it to cut back for the safety of its workers, and it could soon be the world’s largest company. Others are set to follow. Its time for business owners to reimagine their businesses within the new environment. There is a need to rapidly innovate to survive. New consumption patterns need to be spotted and exploited with new business models. This is likely to mean accelerating the abandonment of fixed retail locations in favor of online marketing, using retail staff to push products through social media like WeChat, as Cosmo Lady, a large Chinese underwear and lingerie manufacture did.   With massive temporary unemployment in lockdown, those with specific industry experience and knowledge will be thinking of new ideas of how to tap into changing consumer habits. Lockdowns are now serving as incubators for new ideas that will no doubt emerge as new businesses after the crisis has passed. There will be no going back.

Coronavirus sparks US dollar dilemma for China as Federal Reserve ramps up easing
China is the world’s second largest holder of US government debt, with about US$1.1 trillion worth of US Treasury bonds in its foreign reserves   As the US Federal Reserve scales up monetary easing, pushing down bond yields, some analysts have asked whether Beijing should sell its US Treasury holdings

Coronavirus: trade war with China weakens crucial links in US medical supply chain
Trump administration hardliners resist medical supply imports despite Covid-19’s toll ‘The main distinction between Europe and the US in terms of lack of preparedness is that ours is more self-inflicted. We put tariffs on all of those products’

Spanish capital ditches ‘unreliable’ Chinese coronavirus test kits
Madrid city stops using the kits and the national health ministry asks for them to be replaced after tests suggest they only have a 30pc accuracy level   Spanish government is reported to have ordered 340,000 of the kits, which the Shenzhen-based manufacturer said had an 80pc strike rate

Governance for global pandemics
Above all, global biosecurity intelligence sharing should operate beyond nationalist considerations, simply because pathogens afflict all human beings regardless of political allegiance. It is sobering to recall that the first cross-border infections broke out across East Asia in less than a month. Three months later, 188 countries have officially declared infections amounting to more than 400,000 cases and over 17,000 deaths. This scenario panned out this way because there was no early warning through intelligence sharing across border

Alibaba’s Taobao launches platform to help factories digitalise their operations in China
The platform will enable companies to better manage raw materials and product inventories

Tesla’s China-made Model Y may soon be a reality
Tesla said its Model Y compact SUV will sell for an estimated RMB 444,000 to RMB 535,000 ($64,000 to $77,000) on its China website in January 2020. (Image credit: Tesla)
The made-in-China Model Y may start rolling off the Shanghai Gigafactory production lines of US electric carmaker Tesla earlier than expected. The company has placed a RMB 220 million ($31 million) order from a Chinese auto parts supplier for its compact SUV, TechNode confirmed on Thursday.

For India to become the next manufacturing powerhouse, it must first learn from China – with or without the coronavirus
The crippling disruption to Chinese supply lines has inspired talk of India capitalising on Covid-19 to boost its ‘Make in India’ push. But the challenge of setting up a suitable supply network, with the skilled workforce to operate it, is daunting even before India went into a lockdown of its own

Coronavirus: US stocks rise on massive stimulus plan, defying record jobless claims
The Dow Jones Industrial Average on track for gains in a third consecutive session   Jobless claims of 3.28 million are ‘not relevant’, treasury secretary says, with stimulus bill winning Senate approval and headed to House

Race for safety in Chinese utilities stocks may bode ill for wider market, history suggests
A gauge of utilities stocks on the CSI 300 Index has been the best-performing sector over the past month as traders seek shelter from sell-off driven by coronavirus  Rise in the sector – seen as a safe bet in turbulent times – may point to more losses on the broader market, if history is any guide

US companies are still betting on Chinese consumers, despite coronavirus impact
A survey of 119 companies from March 13 to 18 by the Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China found that the proportion of respondents saying they are experiencing significant revenue declines increased to 50%, up from 28% last month.   The consumer industry was among the most pessimistic about the disease’s impact on market growth this year, with 38% of businesses in the sector expecting a decrease of at least 50%,     But the consumer sector had the highest proportion of businesses saying they would maintain previously planned investments — at 46% — and 8% saying they would increase planned investments, the survey found.

Covid-19 outbreak slows US push to produce electric vehicle minerals, rare earths
Pandemic has fuelled a bunker mentality among some executives     Coronavirus could cause a year or two’s delay on projects: Morningstar

Tesla to reopen New York plant ‘as soon as humanly possible’ to make ventilators, Musk says
Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak told CNBC the medical device maker has started working with Tesla  Governments have appealed to carmakers and aerospace companies to help procure or make ventilators and other medical equipment

Founder Ren Zhengfei says Huawei ‘racing to develop’ new technologies amid coronavirus pandemic
Huawei was on the front foot before the coronavirus crisis gripped China because of pressure from the US government  Pandemic has not slowed Ren’s commitment to develop own technology and remain world’s largest telco equipment supplier

Economy seats sell out for business-class fares as travellers fleeing a worsening Covid-19 pandemic bid for limited flights to China
Average prices of tickets rose by about 150 per cent on March 15, as Covid-19 pandemic spread, according to Group data  Surge in bookings, prices due to insufficient supply caused by large scale and even complete suspensions by airlines globally

The world simply can’t afford China-style coronavirus lockdowns
Mass containment has become the narrative of the coronavirus pandemic, but is it really the answer? From an economic perspective, it makes more sense to actively protect vulnerable people, and get everyone else back to work

Coronavirus: Why some countries wear face masks and others don’t
People wearing masks has become an ubiquitous sight in many places in Asia, including China
Step outside your door without a face mask in Hong Kong, Seoul or Tokyo these days, and you may well get a disapproving look.

Coronavirus carriers with no symptoms could spread disease, Italian study shows
Analysis of patients in Lombardy region shows similar viral load, regardless of symptom severity  Meanwhile, pandemic continues to accelerate around the world

Up to 10 per cent of recovered coronavirus patients in Wuhan study tested positive later, doctors say
Hospital staff in the city say there is no evidence that these patients became infectious after recovery Tests carried out on patients suggest between 3 to 10 per cent gave positive tests after being discharged

Pangolins may not have passed coronavirus on to humans, Chinese scientists say
Although the animals, also known as scaly anteaters, carry a very similar virus to the one that causes Covid-19, researchers say the genetic relationship is not close enough   Virologist Zhang Zhigang says the search for the intermediate host should focus on animals that share habitats with bats and pangolins

Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Air Traced to East China Landfill
A study by Chinese researchers suggests waste treatment sites could give rise to difficult-to-treat superbugs.

Online education sector could be among biggest beneficiaries of Covid-19, may be worth US$61 billion in China this year
Tectonic shift in education, as online tutoring and education become more common, Hurun Report says as it releases list of sector billionaires   Online education one of several thriving niche sectors in China: Mergermarket

Notes on COVID-19 and the Abrupt Digitization of Learning
The coronavirus has closed classrooms and forced education online. A professor reflects on what’s been lost in the transition.   Online teaching also has a way of removing the most basic human and emotional exchanges from the classroom atmosphere.   For now, my students and I are eagerly awaiting the end of the pandemic and a return to our beautiful campus: to a world where people can face each other, not perfectly or even efficiently, perhaps, but with emotion and spontaneity.

China’s Social Credit System: COVID-19 Triggers Some Exemptions, Obligations for Businesses
In the face of this situation, the Chinese government has instituted special provisions to amend the standards of the social credit system. As before, the social credit system uses a combination of rewards and punishments to influence individual and organizational behavior, but now tailored to the circumstances of the coronavirus outbreak.

How Will China’s Luxury Fashion Market Bounce Back?
The impact of COVID-19’s effect is starting to take shape as we enter the second financial quarter of 2020. While the majority of the world is struggling to contain this out-of-control disease, fashion companies big and small are also fighting to soften the economic blow they’ll take during this troubling time. Nearly 40 percent of global fashion consumers kept their wallets shut during the peak outbreak months, a time when sales normally surge thanks to China’s Spring Festival. The country’s travel shoppers, which make up 38 percent of the global fashion market, traditionally save most of their consumption for these winter months. And now, as more people in China begin to go back to work after a required quarantine period, many are looking

China’s Handful of Reopened Cinemas Get the Cold Shoulder From Wary Audiences
China has re-opened a portion of its cinemas as it emerges from its coronavirus shutdown. But they’re far from back to business as usual. After nearly 60 days of closures, more than 500 cinemas — around 5% of China’s total — re-opened last weekend. Yet without exciting product yet to push, they remain comically empty.

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