China Press Review – March 8, 2019

Press review

China exports saw biggest fall in three years in February
Chinese exports saw the steepest fall in three years in February, adding to worries about growth in the world’s second largest economy.

China’s 21% plunge in exports shows weakening global economy
China’s huge export industry has suffered its worst month in three years, hurt by the trade war with the United States and a slowing global economy.

China’s resilient commodity imports contrast with weak exports
If the sharp plunge in China’s exports in February shows anything, it’s that a gap is opening between what the country is shipping out and its still resilient imports of major commodities. It may be that commodity imports are a lagging indicator and will start to weaken in coming months, especially if China’s export-orientated manufacturing industries continue to struggle. Or it may be that the resilience in commodity demand is a sign that Beijing’s efforts to stimulate the economy are starting to bear fruit, with demand for raw materials preceding an uptick in industrial output and construction.

Shanghai stocks plummet more than 4%: ‘China’s trade recession has started to emerge’
Shares in mainland China crumbled on Friday.The significant losses in Chinese stocks came as overall sentiment in Asia was downbeat for the day. Chinese trade data from February widely missed expectations

Is China Really the Economic Juggernaut We Feared?
In a week bookended by Premier Li’s address and a buzzy academic paper, we get a reminder that growth just isn’t what it used to be.

Inside China Tech: Analysing China’s Two Sessions and the influence of tech company chiefs
What was announced – and what was left unsaid – at China’s annual political summit and policy meetings in Beijing.

Beijing backs Huawei in legal fight against United States for first time
Foreign Minister Wang Yi calls on Chinese firms not to be victimised like ‘silent lambs’ Chinese government will take ‘necessary measures’ to protect legal rights

Germany to tighten security on 5G equipment to avoid Huawei ban
On Thursday, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier revealed on a local television talk show that the government has no plan to exclude any company, including Huawei, from upcoming 5G network auction. Berlin plans to instead update its laws to ensure the security of all equipment used in the country’s 5G networks and compliance with customer data protection regulations.

Briefing: Germany to tighten security on 5G equipment to avoid Huawei ban

Government’s worries over backdoors in Huawei’s 5G tech castle
Huawei is facing allegations that its next generation 5G equipment could pose a national security risk.
There are concerns that China is using Huawei as a proxy and could spy on rival nations and scoop up useful information. The BBC’s cyber security reporter Joe Tidy explains why one potential problem with 5G technology may have more to do with castles than you’d expec

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says Beijing’s diplomats cannot be expected to roll with every punch
Wang’s week at the National People’s Congress winds down by fielding a question about Chinese diplomatic corps’ more pugnacious members

China warns US of ‘all necessary measures’ to protect Huawei
Foreign minister suggests recent actions against Chinese firms are ‘deliberate political suppression’

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi calls for cooperation amid growing world tensions
Wide-ranging press conference covers relations with US as well as India-Pakistan relations, North Korea and other hot-button issues Progress promised on South China Sea code of conduct

China growth to slow to 2 per cent over next decade as structural issues take hold, research firm says
Domestic structural issues are a bigger factor in the slowdown than US-China trade war, according to Capital Economics Economists expect the current cyclical slowdown to bottom out in mid-2019, but rebound could be small

China’s stimulus plan will lift the economy, just not right away
Despite the gloom of a slowdown as the impact of a trade war with the US hits, the raft of policy measures Beijing is taking is boosting market optimism. The strong rally in the stock market may well signal the economic cycle is ready to turn

The People’s Bank of China is quietly reforming, opening up and taking its hands off the yuan
The Chinese central bank has become more communicative and adaptable under its new governor, Yi Gang. It is intervening less in the currency market and letting the yuan move towards the stability of a flexible exchange rate

EU to launch desperate bid to please countries furious at Merkel and Macron over China
Brussels wants to conclude a deal with by next year that secures an EU-wide consensus on how to deal with the trade threats posed by China. Tensions are currently growing between EU countries as the leading Franco-German axis demands a crackdown on Chinese investment in the bloc. But Paris and Berlin have come under heavy criticism from smaller EU economies, mainly from Portugal, who have greatly benefited from Chinese spending after the financial crisis.

Reject idea of a blanket ban on Chinese access to American tech, US senators urged
US lawmakers told to bolster America’s strengths as an innovator and beacon for talent Hearing examined challenge to US competitiveness posed by Chinese hi-tech prowess

US tech firms fear China could be spying on them using power cords, report says
U.S. technology companies are concerned that China could be spying on them using power cords and plugs, Nikkei Asian Review reported on Friday. As a result, the American companies have asked their Taiwanese suppliers to shift production out of mainland China, according to the report, citing unnamed executives from Lite-On Technology and Quanta Computer.

China’s rushed foreign investment law gains lukewarm response from local and international businesses
Draft legislation, set to be debated at the National People’s Congress, covers items on the wish list of US President Donald Trump to end the US-China trade war Slimmed down version of law first drafted in 2015 raises concerns that enforcement and implementation have been sacrificed

China’s parliament takes up new foreign investment law
China’s rubber-stamp parliament took up on Friday (Mar 8) a draft foreign investment law that could help smooth out trade talks with the US as the world’s top two economies angle towards a deal. The legislation was presented at a session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing and is expected to be approved on Mar 15, the last day of the annual parliamentary meeting.

China’s Factories Are Struggling to Hire Enough Workers
Booming services sector seen more attractive than factories Pressure on manufacturing lies ahead as cost pressures rise

Chinese bankers say lack of fintech investments is a ‘major drag’ on competitiveness
Bankers dissatisfied with existing IT level at Chinese banks at three-year high, a survey by PwC and China Banking Association shows Findings show Chinese banks’ increased focus on fintech investment, as race in internet and virtual banking intensifies

Tencent and University of Hong Kong to partner on fintech development
Tencent Financial Academy, a subsidiary of Chinese internet giant Tencent, has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the University of Hong Kong to collaborate on fintech research and development projects. The fintech and blockchain lab within the university’s computer science department will work with Tencent on joint fintech-related research projects. The university will offer a fintech course in its bachelor program this September, with plans to offer internship opportunities to students as well as organize workshops and guest lectures.

Briefing: Tencent and University of Hong Kong to partner on fintech development

Shenzhen banks become first in China’s megacities to ease mortgage rates – others may follow suit, say analysts
China Merchants Bank is offering rates as low as 5 per cent above the benchmark, compared with 10 per cent at most lenders Local authorities have been given more leeway by Beijing to control their own property markets

BMW’s China electric car export plans on hold amid tariff uncertainty
BMW’s ambitions to establish China as a hub for exporting electric cars are in limbo because of uncertainty over potential trade tariffs between China and the United States, company executives told Reuters.

Tesla lands $500 million loan to fund Gigafactory in Shanghai
On Thursday, Tesla announced it secured a loan for up to RMB 3.5 billion ($521 million) to fund its electric car plant in Shanghai, the first Tesla factory outside the US. The funds will be available for 12 months and comprise about a quarter of the $2 billion estimated total necessary to build the factory. Construction started in January and, according to Shanghai authorities, it is expected to be completed in May.

Briefing: Tesla lands $500 million loan to fund Gigafactory in Shanghai

Baidu invests further in WM Motor to raise stakes in smart mobility
Electric vehicle maker Weltmeister Motor recently closed its RMB 3 billion (around $450 million) Series C led by Baidu, which seeks to increase its self-driving advantages in the country’s EV consumption boom. The investment will be put primarily toward delivering an enhanced driving experience, including the research and development (R & D) of an intelligent cockpit, according to WM Motor founder and CEO Freeman Shen, in a statement sent to TechNode.

Baidu invests further in WM Motor to raise stakes in smart mobility

China is home to only 5 of the top 30 most polluted cities on Earth
In a new survey by Air Visual of the world’s most polluted cities in 2018, only two Chinese cities rank in the top 20 and just five in the top 30. That’s compared to India with 15 cities in the top 20 and 22 in the top 30. China, however, dominates the rest of the top 50, holding 17 of the next 20 spots.
This achievement comes as the Chinese government has emphasized cleaning up its infamously toxic air. Nowhere has this effort been more apparent than in Beijing where “smog squads” and coal-fired power plant shut-downs has seen the city plummet all the way down to the world’s 122nd most polluted city on this latest list.

China is home to only 5 of the top 30 most polluted cities on Earth

Fishing for Alpha? Take Your Investing Net to China
A market bursting with IPO candidates and dominated by retail investors offers a rare haven for stock pickers.

Capacity glut rules force EV maker Nio to yield to Tesla on Shanghai factory plans
China’s top economic planning agency has blocked homegrown electric vehicle maker Nio from building its own manufacturing facility in Shanghai, as enforcement of new rules aimed at curbing overcapacity in the auto sector kick in.

Capacity glut rules force EV maker Nio to yield to Tesla on Shanghai factory plans

‘We Don’t Just Bet on China’: An Interview with Delvaux CEO Jean-Marc Loubier
Delvaux is the oldest luxury handbag brand in the world. Its new CEO Jean-Marc Loubier is leading the global expansion of this 190-year-old brand by leveraging the company’s solid retail network and harnessing the power of digital communication. When Delvaux CEO Jean-Marc Loubier bought the brand in 2011, he decided to push this hidden Belgian gem into the international market. Eight years later, the luxury handbag brand has established a solid footprint in key geographies like Asia, North America, and Europe, with a total of 42 retail stores across the globe. Now, as Delvaux’s continues to add boutiques around the world, its revenue from markets outside of Belgium has jumped to over 85 percent, up from just 3 percent seven years ago.

‘We Don’t Just Bet on China’: An Interview with Delvaux CEO and Chairman Jean-Marc Loubier

Bank of China issues 500 mln-euro bond in France
Bank of China (BOC), one of China’s four biggest lenders, has issued a 500 million-euro bond in France to be listed on Euronext, the eurozone’s primary exchange. Called the “Arc de Triomphe Bond,” the euro-denominated bond was issued by the BOC’s Paris branch, according to the bank.

China will not buckle in face of belt and road criticism, says Foreign Minister Wang Yi
State Councillor dismisses criticism that project is a ‘debt trap’ for smaller countries and seeks to allay growing international concerns

Interview: China-UK cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative to be promoted through 3 phases
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) “is a real opportunity” to strengthen UK-China cooperation in addressing fundamental challenges in the next 20-30 years, which can be divided into three phases, Britain’s envoy to the BRI told Xinhua in a recent interview. “The most significant contribution we can make to BRI is through engagement to build a mutual understanding of where the opportunities may lie for cooperation,” said Sir Douglas Flint, who was appointed as the Special Envoy to BRI of the British Treasury in December 2017.

China’s Touchstone to invest $17 billion in Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel
A train tunnel linking Helsinki with Estonia’s capital Tallinn has got a provisional 15 billion euros ($17 billion) in financing from China’s Touchstone Capital Partners, the latest infrastructure investment in Beijing’s Belt and Road plan.

China-Malaysia railway still not on track
PM Mahathir says the stalled mega-project could yet steam ahead if Beijing agrees to slash costs

China: New “artifical sun” will be completed this year
In November, Chinese researchers announced that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor — an “artificial sun” designed to mimic the nuclear fusion process the real Sun uses to generate energy — had hit a milestone by achieving an electron temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius.

Bad Romance: Understanding China’s New-Look Traditionalists
From swarming unfaithful husbands to rewriting ‘Titanic,’ China’s ‘Three Outlooks Party’ is looking out for the country’s morals.

Understanding Jinping Thought
The Chinese Communist Party began its annual fortnight-long National People’s Congress this week. This year’s session is of particular interest to the international community as everyone is waiting for a resolution to the ongoing United States-China trade war and anxious about China’s global ambitions. To put things in perspective, we should first understand President Xi Jinping’s doctrine of “great power diplomacy” and where he stands when compared to his predecessors.

Understanding Jinping Thought

The Chinese Communist Party Is Still Afraid of Sun Yat-Sen’s Shadow
But the existential danger posed by dissident communities abroad—and the potential for the ideas they cultivate to seep back into China and gain popular support—became a lesson later Chinese governments, from the Nationalists to the Chinese Communist Party, learned well.
The Chinese Communist Party Is Still Afraid of Sun Yat-Sen’s Shadow

Which economy, estimated at US$28 trillion, is bigger than the US or China? It’s women
Survey reveals 97 per cent of businesses in China employ at least one woman in senior management, higher than the global average of 87 per cent China should encourage more women to participate in the booming in the e-commerce and technology sectors and into leadership positions, say analysts

Chinese Women Hold Up Most of the Travel Industry
Chinese women don’t just hold up half the sky, they’re holding up entire industries. A growing proportion of travel consumers and decision-makers in China are now women. And social media is playing a pivotal role in their travel decisions, with short video platforms like Douyin and vlogs expanding their influence in the lucrative sector.

Chinese Women Hold Up Most of the Travel Industry

Female entrepreneurs find equal footing with Alibaba
Alibaba’s online marketplaces have served as a launching pad for many entrepreneurs both in China and abroad, offering a platform to reach new customers. And that’s just as true for women entrepreneurs as it is for men. About 49% of the stores on Alibaba’s marketplaces are run by women, and over half of those led by young women, between 23 and 33 years old. The percentage of female entrepreneurs on AliExpress, a global e-tail platform under Alibaba, is even higher, at about 53%.

The Women’s Day Celebrations – or Lack Thereof – from Luxury Brands in China
International luxury brands are adamant about marketing around festivals like Valentine’s Day and Chinese Lunar New Year, but, for whatever reason, International Women’s Day on March 8th receives much less attention.

The Women’s Day Celebrations – or Lack Thereof – from Luxury Brands in China

China’s gig economy attracting more women as they seek financial independence amid slowing economy
China’s gig economy is not just a man’s world, with more than 30% of working women keeping a side job to earn extra income, according to a survey by one of the country’s largest classified online marketplaces.

Despite gains, gender inequality still a bug for China’s tech world
Depending on who you ask, women both are and aren’t making big strides in China’s tech world.
On the one hand, for years official outlets have held that women make up 55% of entrepreneurs in the vaguely defined field of “internet businesses.” In addition, according to Silicon Valley Bank’s 2018 survey, China again topped the US, the UK, and Canada in terms of tech and healthcare startups with at least one woman as an executive or directo

Despite gains, gender inequality still a bug for China’s tech world

podcast : International Women’s Day: The Chinese women breaking stereotypes
To mark International Women’s Day, three women in China speak about how they are challenging traditional gender expectations through independent travel, exploring sexuality or choosing not to have children.

What Chinese women really want when it comes to children and reproductive rights
China has abandoned its one-child policy but the worries are not over for unmarried women and parents struggling to afford childcare

Alain Gillard
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