China Press Review – May 15, 2019

Press review

China economy growth slows sharply in April, even before higher US trade tariffs take effect
Industrial production growth – the output of industrial sectors in China’s economy, including manufacturing – fell to 5.4 per cent from 8.5 per cent in March Retail sales, a measure of consumer demand in China, grew by 7.2 per cent in April, well below 8.7 per cent rate in March and lowest in 13 years

China’s online retail growth in April falls to a new low of 17.8%: report
China’s online retail sales increased 17.8% year on year in the first four months of 2019, a significant deceleration compared with the 32.4% year-on-year jump in the same period last year, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.

China’s online retail growth in April falls to a new low of 17.8%: report

China’s retail sales growth slumps to 16-year low as trade war risks rise
China reported surprisingly weaker growth in retail sales and industrial output for April on Wednesday, adding pressure on Beijing to roll out more stimulus as the trade war with the United States escalates.

Foreign Investment into China up 19.8% in 2018. What Does this Mean?
A survey by financial intelligence provider FactSet, and featured in a comprehensive article in the Financial Times, indicates that FDI into China grew by 19.8 percent last year, up from 13.9 percent in 2017. The survey covered nearly 3,000 foreign businesses, excluding the financial services industry. That means that the figure is not swayed by the big banks, insurance companies, and so on, and are mainly industrial and service economy related.

China, Hong Kong stocks gain on trade, stimulus hopes
Foreign traders bought more of mainland stocks than they sold for the first time in seven trading days US President Trump pumped up hopes by saying trade impasse will end ‘extremely well’

‘Game over, we win!’: Donald Trump wants to draw US Federal Reserve into trade war against China
US president says Beijing will ‘pump money’ and cut interest rates to make up for lost business as dispute escalates He says Fed should ‘match’ these moves to counter China, pressuring central bank to stimulate US economy

The US-China trade war should prompt American firms to take a US Inc approach to doing business
US companies should consider expanding supply chains and export markets outside China and moving critical manufacturing back to the US They have a role to play in protecting the national interest

China’s plan for a tax on property takes an unexpected twist thanks to the trade war
Chinese officials indicate the timing of draft legislation could be pushed back as US-China trade war takes focus

‘From bad to worse’: tariff-hit US farmers urge Donald Trump to settle trade war
Calls from agricultural groups to break stalemate through deals with China and Mexico or prioritising markets elsewhere Pig farmers push for speedier settlement while soybean farmers have ‘no hope of making any money’

China turns attention to jobs as trade war casts shadow over economy, with Li Keqiang demanding jobs for graduates, ex-military and more
Chinese premier calls on cadres to give top priority to fresh graduates, demobilised military personnel and migrant workers Beijing’s grip on the reins of power gives it an edge in dealing with the US, analyst says

Chinese export growth may see short-term boost as trade war restarts
Tweeting yesterday, Trump appeared to indicate a belief that negotiations could yet bear fruit: “When the time is right we will make a deal with China. My respect and friendship with President Xi is unlimited,” he said. China’s scope now for further tariff retaliation is limited, leaving it either with the option of regulatory harassment of US firms operating in China or renminbi depreciation, says Lee, who believes Beijing has “significant motivation” to settle the trade dispute with Washington. But not everyone is convinced. “The risk of a full-blown trade war has materially increased, even though both sides seem to still want a trade deal and talks are expected to continue,” says Tao Wang, head of China economic research at UBS, in a note.

Chinese export growth may see short-term boost as trade war restarts

The President Takes On China, Alone
As President Trump escalates his trade war with Beijing, we look at what each side stands to gain or lose.

‘We’re Having a Little Squabble With China,’ Trump Says
President Trump on Tuesday defended his actions in the U.S.-China trade war, telling reporters at the White House that “we’re in a very strong position.”

Trump and Xi: Are things getting personal?
Responding to the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, Stephen Collinson wrote at CNN today that this is getting personal, and is shaping up as “a personal duel between two rival presidents.” Today, however, it seemed that the People’s Daily, generally the best visible measure we have of the mood within the Chinese Communist Party, did its utmost to avoid personal attack.

Trump and Xi: Are Things Getting Personal?

China’s biggest companies can weather US-China trade war escalation, says rating agency S&P
However, prolonged uncertainty and lagging confidence could eventually make it harder for Chinese companies to refinance debt, S&P says Only about 8 per cent of companies S&P rates have direct exposure to increased tariffs through exports

In China, Some Fear the End of ‘Chimerica’
As the trade war with the U.S. threatens to decouple the world’s two largest economies, some in China argue that the two sides benefit from the relationship more than they admit.

US and China superpower race to lead the future of technology comes down to $6 billion
Silicon Valley’s lead over China in venture capital investing shrank by the end of 2018 to $6 billion as the Asian market’s techno-nationalism rises. China’s venture investments rose to $105 billion in 2018, nearly matching the U.S. at $111 billion. China’s technology ambitions in its Made in China 2025 policy initiative has been a bone of contention in the U.S.-China trade war.

Donald Trump expected to sign executive order this week paving way for US telecoms ban on Huawei
Move would bar US companies from using telecoms equipment made by firms posing national security risk Order, which will not name specific countries or companies, has been under consideration for more than a year but has repeatedly been delayed

Huawei executive shrugs off threat of widened US ban against telecom equipment
In response to the potential ban from the US market, Huawei’s President of ICT Strategy and Marketing Wang Tao stated Wednesday at an event in Beijing, “We are a global company, and we don’t have too much business in the US. Any change in any country won’t affect our global businesses.”

Huawei executive shrugs off threat of widened US ban against telecom equipment

Huawei will commit to ‘no-spy agreements’ to win government contracts, chairman says amid US pressure on allies over 5G fears
Concession comes as US presses its allies not to include Huawei as they build their 5G networks US State Department official confirms Washington continues to regard Huawei a national security risk: ‘We have to protect our information’

Huawei promotes cloud with new products as carrier segment stumbles
Huawei moved to grow its enterprise business by launching new cloud database and storage products on Wednesday, after announcing last month that it would expand its presence in the global cloud arena.

Huawei promotes cloud with new products as carrier segment stumbles

More 5G-related spending to sustain growth
China’s investment in 5G infrastructure has witnessed an unprecedented growth with bulk of the efforts being trained at creating new infrastructure that will lend “innovative but strong” impetus for local economic growth, experts said. Investment on base stations, networks and other 5G infrastructure will continue to increase and reach 1.1 trillion yuan ($145 billion) in the next few years, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

New US bill could make exporting American tech to China more difficult
A new bill announced by US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) would restrict the export of various emerging technologies to China, making it more difficult for companies to do business in the world’s second-largest economy. The bill is focused on limiting China’s military development, its “ability to violate human rights,” tech that will lead to the “excessive drain of scarce materials” from the US, and any technology that belongs to an industry “influencing artificial intelligence, semiconductors, quantum computing and robotics.”

Briefing: New US bill could make exporting American tech to China more difficult

China’s seventh supercomputing center approved in race to tech dominance
China’s efforts in supercomputing are picking up steam. The Ministry of Science and Technology recently approved the plan to build the country’s seventh supercomputing center in the central Chinese province of Henan, reported Science and Technology Daily.

China’s seventh supercomputing center approved in race to tech dominance

Trade war to rescue China’s stalling car firms as Beijing considers stimulus to boost domestic consumption
Passenger car sales declined 16.9 per cent year on year in April, the eleventh consecutive month of declines Industry represents about 6 per cent of China’s economic output

Alibaba projects 500 billion yuan in annual revenue amid escalation in US-China trade war
Alibaba reported revenue growth of 39 per cent to 376.8 billion yuan in the year ended March

Alibaba, Tencent earnings to be watched for clues on consumer sentiment in China as trade war swirls
Alibaba’s earnings are driven by its e-commerce engine, services, entertainment and cloud computing – meaning domestic consumption is always a key factor

Tencent posts better-than-expected US$3.9 billion first-quarter profit on back of payments, ads, digital content
Revenue rose 16 per cent to 85.5 billion yuan, missing analysts’ estimates

Kids Need Money Management Training, Say China’s Teachers
How can parents keep their children from spending small fortunes on virtual gifts for their favorite livestreamers? Educators suggest the answer lies at home.

SK Innovation to invest US$490 million to build a second assembly in China to supply batteries for electric vehicles
SK Innovation said it plans to invest 579.9 billion won (US$488.30) million to build its second factory in China to supply batteries for EVs The company did not elaborate on its Chinese partner, the site or the capacity for the proposed plant

Germany shrugs off recession fears, but China’s economy stumbles – business live
However, she also warns that the US-China trade war could Europe, so governments may need to boost spending to help the economy: The eurozone is an export-led economy, and global trade is at its weakest in a decade. Trade tensions continue to take centre stage for the world economy, looming as a circuit breaker to global recovery. Unless we reach resolution, the EU must be open to fiscal intervention to avoid a downturn.”

Ctrip CEO says trade war is putting Chinese tourists off US, with many opting for ‘more welcoming’ nations
Jane Sun says Chinese tourists are taking their money to European countries such as Italy and the UK because they feel welcomed During the Labour Day holiday in early May, the US ranked as the ninth most popular travel destination for Chinese tourists, down from fifth spot last year

Chinese Investment and the Security of EU Member States
A drawing of the Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel, which may be built with Chinese investment. EU governments need to be aware of the potential downsides of Chinese funding.

Chinese Investment and the Security of EU Member States

French builder Eiffage in talks to buy Toulouse-Blagnac airport, creating a bookend for Chinese owner’s tumultuous investment
Casil Europe, a unit of the venture between Shandong Hi-Speed Group and Friedman Pacific Asset Management, paid €308 million in 2014 for 49.99 per cent of the Toulouse-Blagnac airport The 2014 sale, initially hailed as a successful case of privatisation of French public assets, had been mired in legal wrangling and what local media called”disengagement” among shareholders

EV maker Xiaopeng to enter ride-hailing sector, take on Didi
Electric vehicle (EV) maker Xiaopeng is preparing to take on Didi as it enters China’s competitive ride-hailing sector. The company was granted an operating license by Guangzhou authorities on Monday and began advertising jobs for fleet operators and mobility operations specialists on its website in March. Xiaopeng declined to comment on its timetable or expected fleet size, according to the South China Morning Post.

Briefing: EV maker Xiaopeng to enter ride-hailing sector, take on Didi

China’s Millennial Burnout Culture Wear Luxury Like a ‘Badge’
Overworked and highly ambitious, many “burnout” Chinese millennials are turning to luxury shopping as a gesture of self-reward or self-care.

China’s Millennial Burnout Culture Wear Luxury Like a ‘Badge’

Via Secoo, Another Western Luxury E-tailer Enters the China Market
Marking its 90th anniversary this year, the Italian luxury retailer, Luisa Via Roma, now better known for their e-commerce site than their iconic concept store in Florence, Italy, is ushering in a new era with rapid expansion in China.

Via Secoo, Another Western Luxury E-tailer Enters the China Market

Shenzhen home sales rose 66 per cent, hit 30-month high, according to April data
Surge reflects increase in March and early April, while real-time data shows sales have fallen since

China’s Jan-April property investment up 11.9%, slightly quicker from Q1
China’s real estate investment rose 11.9% in the first four months of the year from the same period last year, quickening a touch from 11.8% in the first quarter, official data showed on Wednesday.

China Wants Piraeus Gateway Silk Road Into EU
Having taken control of Athens’ port of Piraeus and elevating it to one of the most productive in Europe, China wants to use it as a gateway for the rest of the European Union even though a major renovation plan is being stymied by a Greek archaeological council.

China Wants Piraeus Gateway Silk Road Into EU

Indonesia could be Beijing’s best belt and road friend
Indonesia needs Chinese investment to close its gaping infrastructure gap so that development can be distributed equally across the archipelago But China also needs Indonesia to reach its economic goals overseas, say Muhammad Zulfikar Rakhmat and Dikanaya Tarahit Looking at these factors, it is not surprising that China sees Indonesia as an attractive country in which to implement its belt and road plans. Even in the midst of domestic opposition to “foreign domination”, it is likely to continue trying to realise its interests in the country. It knows all too well that the its planned belt and road maritime route from China to Europe is not possible without Jakarta.

Where China is most heavily investing in Latin America
China’s is investing heavily in the Latin American region, but it could be a double-edged sword for the recipients

Where China is most heavily investing in Latin America

Baloch versus Beijing: how Chinese investment in Pakistan has energised a violent separatist movement
CPEC is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and would link the western province of Xinjiang with the Pakistani port of Gwadar The problem is that Balochistan, the province through which much of CPEC runs, is riven by Islamist, sectarian, and separatist insurgencies

China Increases Tariffs on U.S. Products: How to Get YOUR Products Excluded
Chinese companies impacted by China’s Section 301 retaliatory tariffs will can apply for exclusions of certain products through this process. It is reported that a key consideration for granting a product-specific exclusion is the lack of an adequate substitute for the U.S. produc

China Increases Tariffs on U.S. Products: How to Get YOUR Products Excluded

Fever could kill a third of China’s pigs. That’s almost as many as live in the US and Europe combined
African swine fever (ASF) is decimating China’s pork industry, by far the biggest in the world. Dutch bank Rabobank, which lends to the global agricultural sector, estimates the country’s pig population could shrink by a third in 2019 — up to 200 million animals — through a combination of the disease and culling.

US-China rivalry ‘could steal show and undermine reform agenda’ at June’s G20 summit
Outcome of the expected meeting of presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump threatens to detract from multilateral efforts Rivalry risks a stalemate similar to that at Apec summit, despite Beijing’s attempts to woo G20 member states

Cultural superiority is stupid and disastrous, Chinese President Xi Jinping warns as US tensions persist
He urges more openness and cooperation in speech at Beijing’s Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations US State Department’s Kiron Skinner had provoked criticism by calling competition with China ‘a fight with a really different civilisation’

Hits and misses of Xi’s ‘civilizational dialogue’
In his opening speech to the opening session of his inaugural Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations (CDAC), Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday explained how, as global challenges are becoming far too daunting to avoid joint responsibilities, the world is moving rapidly toward multilateralism, unleashing an ever-expanding experience of diversity. Nevertheless, Xi’s first CDAC failed to bring together leaders of nations representing Arab, Persian and Indic civilizations. Indeed, unlike the inevitable contritions of their irreconcilability about the Belt and Road Initiative, the abstract ideas of CDAC could be been an ideal platform for Beijing and New Delhi to begin bridge-building in exploring shared peace and prosperity.

China to put soft power on show as ‘clash of civilisations’ debate comes back to life
Beijing to champion ‘charms of Asian’ societies as tensions rise with Washington Conference comes after senior US official described strategic competition with China as ‘a fight with a really different civilisation and a different ideology’

China’s Propaganda Machine Takes Aim at U.S. Over Trade War
Nationalism has surged as commentators attack ‘Giant Baby Trump’ and vow to resist American demands.

Who’s Afraid of China’s Internet Vigilantes?
It isn’t just government censorship that is restricting free expression in China. It’s also the “human flesh searches.”

Women’s Work: How ‘Ernai’ Mistresses Bolster Fragile Masculinity
Not all extramarital relationships are about sex. Some Chinese men keep “ernai,” or financially dependent mistresses, for reasons as much emotional as they are physical.

Alain Gillard
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