China Press Review – March 9, 2020

Press review

China’s January-February trade surplus with U.S. falls to $25.37 billion
trade surplus with the United States for the first two months of the year stood at $25.37 billion, Reuters calculation based on Chinese customs data showed on Saturday.   That is much narrower than a surplus of $42.16 billion in the same period last year.
uk.reuters.com
 
Coronavirus: China’s economy faces tough time as epidemic set to weigh on exports
Despite Beijing’s efforts to get domestic production back on track, the global spread of the deadly disease is likely to cause a sharp decline in foreign demand for Chinese products  And first-quarter contraction remains on the cards as measures to contain outbreak at home bite into consumer spending
www.scmp.com
 
Coronavirus: China export slump ‘on par with global financial crisis’ as surprise trade deficit concerns Beijing
China’s trade deficit in the first two months was US$7.1 billion, the first since March 2018, which could hit recovery hopes from coronavirus shutdown    Analysts suggest that while January-February data were bad, the worst will come later, as other countries’ demand for Chinese exports sags
www.scmp.com

Will the coronavirus crisis, like Sars, give birth to the next big thing in China tech?
Alibaba and JD.com, China’s two largest e-commerce players, both trace their success back to the Sars crisis in 2002 and 2003   Now some online businesses are seeing a surge in users, but will they be able to repeat the success of e-commerce in China?
www.scmp.com
 
Why Vietnam will not replace China any time soon as the world’s manufacturing hub
Not only are global companies heavily invested in Chinese manufacturing operations, they also have an eye on the country’s massive consumer market
Countries in South and Southeast Asia cannot match China’s manufacturing capacity and infrastructure
www.scmp.com

China’s February EV sales dive 77% on Covid-19 effects
The Covid-19 outbreak suppressed already weak demand in China for electric vehicles and created a scarcity of auto parts which drove a record 77% year-on-year drop in sales for February, according to the latest figures from a Chinese auto industry association.
technode.com

coronavirus: China tries to go back to work to heal illness-inflicted economy
China wants to show business is slowly returning to normal amid ongoing restrictions and an impacted economy.
news.sky.com

China’s coronavirus response slowed by bureaucracy, unstable funding as government never empowered lower level officials
China’s spending on health has grown 10 times since 2002 with thousands of local centres for disease control and prevention established across the country    But unstable funding, complicated bureaucracy and an insufficient labour force still left China ill-equipped to deal with the latest coronavirus outbreak
www.scmp.com

China will emerge stronger after outbreak
I expect China to learn vital lessons from the novel coronavirus epidemic and to become more prosperous and stable socially, economically and politically. After all, the history of China is dotted with crises that have been turned into opportunities: the banking crisis of the 1990s, which stabilized the banking system; the 2008 global financial crisis, which gave impetus to the development of a high-speed rail network. These are just two of the many examples.
global.chinadaily.com
 
International Manufacturing Update: China Down, Mexico Up
Yesterday, a long-term European client of ours asked me about the state of manufacturing in China. In response I asked him if he wanted the long or the short version. When he replied, “short,” my response was “really mixed, but overall really bad.” He then asked me to give him the short version how foreign companies are feeling about China manufacturing “going forward.” My answer was that I’d heard or read dozens of times someone saying the Coronavirus was “the last straw
www.chinalawblog.com

Covid-19 Statistics: Reality and Illusion
Given the remarkable disparity between infection and death rates in countries across the world, it is questionable how believable the data is about the Covid-19 coronavirus, which is sourced from national governments and put out by the World Health Organization. Many of the statistics, whether published regularly or not at all, are of varying quality and detail and thus probably give a very inaccurate picture of the reality on the ground.
www.asiasentinel.com

Can Amazon’s New luxury Platform Challenge Alibaba’s?
Bluntly put, Amazon is always one step behind Alibaba, and its new venture into the world of luxury continues this trend. In years past, Amazon tried to replicate and even reinvent Alibaba’s model, but its track record hasn’t been impressive. From its Prime Day (Amazon’s copy of Alibaba’s 11.11 festival) to its failed live-shopping program, “Style Code Live,” to its purchase of Whole Foods after Alibaba’s Hema grocery success, everything Amazon is doing looks like an attempt to turn the platform into a cheap American version of the Chinese giant.
jingdaily.com

Trump Administration Blocks Chinese Acquisition of Hotel Software Company
The decision, based on national security concerns, is the latest example of a stricter approach to policing Chinese investment in the United States
www.nytimes.com
 
From Twitter to Jaguar, companies repurpose terrorism, natural disaster contingency plans to cope with coronavirus shutdowns
Splitting critical teams into multiple locations, and holding video conferences instead of group meetings are among measures taken by companies   Epidemic measures are becoming a key topic for contingency planning
www.scmp.com
 
80% of Department Stores and Supermarkets in China’s First-Tier Cities Reopen & More
Department stores and supermarkets in first-tier and new first-tier cities are going back into operation, with 80% of those in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shenyang fully back in business. Consumption needs are increasing after the month-long lockdown in China, due to business closures amid the Covid-19 epidemic, according to Baidu search statistics. Over the last week, relevant information on the Chinese search engine about “return to work” rose by 678%
jingdaily.com
 
The Post-COVID-19 Rise of Conscious Luxury
Many brands have been hurt by the lack of spending in China during COVID-19 but are hopeful it will return once it ends. The reality is more complexThe COVID-19 crisis in China has triggered a new reality where medical supplies are everyone’s current hard-to-get luxury items. Across the country, citizens are fighting over N95 masks, protective gear, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues and toilet paper, and Fortune reports that masks “have become a symbol of protection
jingdaily.com

Hong Kong, China stocks plunge amid coronavirus global turmoil
Alibaba falls 5 per cent in biggest drop since its secondary listing in Hong Kong in November  Tencent falls 4.6 per cent; Chinese oil stocks crash in Hong Kong
www.scmp.com

Learn from China to stop the coronavirus epidemic, top medical journal says
Developed countries must take more aggressive action and abandon fears of negative short-term public and economic consequences, The Lancet says  Less-developed countries could ‘easily be overwhelmed and unable to fight the virus by themselves’
www.scmp.com

China’s COVID-19 Recovery: What Lies Ahead for Foreign Investors
While the attention of the COVID-19 pandemic moves away from China, businesses are slowly getting back to normal in the country. That means relief not just for foreign investors based in the country but also for overseas sourcing and manufacturers around the world who are reliant on Chinese supplies.  But how reliable will the return to normality in China be? How long will it last? What are the options? We deal with these issues in the below sections.
www.china-briefing.com

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