China Press Review – May 26, 2020

Press review

China 2020 GDP forecasts left unchanged as size of Beijing stimulus disappoints
China’s second quarter economic performance will be crucial to full-year growth forecasts, with a negative rate still possible   Most economists expect further stimulus measures this year if economic output remains weak amid fallout from Covid-19

China’s economic strategy shift shows Xi Jinping is preparing for ‘worst case scenario’, analysts say
The Chinese president said that Beijing was pursuing a new development plan, focusing on its domestic market rather than an export-led growth model   China’s economy is under pressure from the coronavirus, as well as escalating trade war and technology tensions with the United States

As China’s Economy Slows, Its Slow Economy Takes Root
As the frailties of the country’s fast-growth model become clearer, Chinese communities are adopting slow living as an alternative.  Coronavirus Central: OZY looks at the virus sweeping the planet and its impact. More than 100 cities and counties are embracing “slow living,” setting population limits, throttling down traffic and restricting fast food. They’re rejecting the high-speed life and rapid urbanization that have epitomized China’s development, as the economy shrinks.

Lessons from China: This is how COVID-19 could affect globalization
Coronavirus has disrupted global value chains that connect producers across multiple countries.   Comparative figures between the first two months of 2019 and the first two months of 2020 reveal a collapse in Chinese trade with the EU and US.  Researchers have studied data from China to see which imports and exports have been the most affected.   The COVID-19 pandemic is now expected to trigger the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many argue it could unravel globalisation altogether.    Globalisation relies on complex links – global value chains (GVCs) – that connect producers across multiple countries. These producers often use highly specialised intermediate goods, or “inputs”, produced by only one distant, overseas supplier. COVID-19 has severely disrupted these links.

China to strengthen policy, lower lending rates
China will strengthen its economic policy and continue efforts to lower interest rates on loans, central bank Governor Yi Gang said, reinforcing expectations of further support measures to revive an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

China lowers yuan fix to weakest level since 2008 after currency drop
CHINA set its daily yuan reference rate at the weakest level since 2008 after the currency hit a seven-month low in onshore trading on Friday amid increasing political tensions with the US. The People’s Bank of China put the yuan fixing at 7.1209 per dollar. That compares with the 7.122 average estimate in a Bloomberg survey of traders and analysts. The fixing limits the onshore yuan’s moves to 2 per cent in either direction

Mapping the China Debate
President Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He sign the U.S. China Phase One Trade Agreement, Jan. 15, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
The debate over U.S. foreign policy toward China is often boiled down into the usual hawk-versus-dove metaphor. Hawks see U.S.-China great power competition as requiring a more aggressive posture, while doves worry about the downsides of an adversarial relationship.

Endgame of US-China rivalry is ‘lose-lose,’ says Harvard professor
Relations between the U.S. and China — the world’s top two economies — look set to worsen, said Graham Allison, Harvard University’s Douglas Dillon Professor of Government.

China’s digital currency not set for launch as trials are ‘just routine’, central bank governor cools speculation
People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang says ‘there’s no timetable for an official launch’ of the first sovereign digital currency among major economies    The central bank chief played down upcoming trials involving the likes of Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway despite a screenshot of the user interface emerging in April Creates Covid-19 Support Community for SMBS has launched a support initiative for small and medium-sized businesses during the Covid-19 crisis, sharing timely information and resources, including free training, online events and content to help businesses stay afloat.   The initiative, named B2B Today, launched in March and is an extension of the weekly outreach events the e-commerce platform holds with suppliers across the U.S. The program aims to build up a community of buyers, sellers and industry insiders as a way to foster connections and confidence among business-owners, said the company.

Why China Uses ‘Special Debt’ to Help Economy Recover
With the virus pandemic pummeling China’s economy, the government plans to sell 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) of special government bonds to help fund public health and Covid-19 recovery efforts — without inflating the budget deficit. The rarely used financing tool was previously employed during the Asian financial crisis in the 1990s and to help seed the sovereign wealth fund in 2007.

Europe won’t recover from the coronavirus or other ailments as long as Germany stands in the way
The Franco-German €500 billion recovery plan is a mere drop in the ocean. Over the years, Germany has opposed quantitative easing and other perceived risks to financial stability. But, to save the euro, Germany must support a level playing field

Coronavirus recovery: China must hold the yuan stable and resist the temptation to let it weaken
To the extent that Beijing welcomes overseas inflows into Chinese government bonds to help finance its stimulus, it makes sense to keep the yuan stable. Besides, a weaker yuan is hardly going to boost Chinese exports now

COVID-19’s medical, economic and financial triple shock
The COVID-19 pandemic combines three shocks: medical, economic and financial. Policymakers around the world must respond to these shocks not only to limit the extent of the immediate economic, health and social damage but also to demonstrate support for the institutions of international economic and financial cooperation in the future.

German companies flying 200 workers to China in mass return
A flight carrying about 200 employees of German companies to China is to arrive Saturday in the first mass return of foreign workers since Beijing barred most visitors from overseas two months ago to fight the coronavirus

All eyes on China as Africa spurns G20 debt relief plan
Lukewarm response as debtor countries opt to negotiate with Beijing and other lenders on individual terms    Fears G20 deal would block access to private finance and harm future credit ratings

China’s Cash-Strapped Millennials Embrace a New Trend: Thrift
Many young Chinese developed lavish spending habits during an era of rapid economic growth. Now, they’re learning to cut back.    Song Lewen never used to worry about money. The 27-year-old lived paycheck to paycheck, spending most of her 7,000 yuan ($980) monthly income on meals and shopping sprees. For luxury purchases and foreign trips, she’d use one of her credit cards.

China’s top court vows to help companies stay afloat amid coronavirus fallout
Delivering his annual report to the legislature, Zhou Qiang says courts must support Beijing’s efforts to revive economy and protect jobs   He also says China’s interests will be ‘resolutely’ defended in response to overseas lawsuits over the pandemic

Tencent to invest US$70 billion in new digital infrastructure, backing Beijing’s economic stimulus efforts
The five-year plan will have Tencent focus on fields that include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the Internet of Things   Other investments will go to infrastructure such as advanced servers, supercomputers, data centres and 5G mobile networks

China accelerates plan to build 700 state-backed labs by end of this year amid push for self sufficiency in tech
There were 501 key state labs operating in China at the end of 2018, according to the latest available data  Two months ago a lab on transport engineering and another on ultrasonic medicine were given the green light

Coronavirus has hit China’s migrant workers harder than Sars and the financial crisis, but worst yet to come
China’s army of 290 million migrant workers has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, but most are unable to access unemployment support   Covid-19 is having a deeper impact on employment in China than the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak and the global financial crisis

China’s 5G buildout on track after being slowed by Covid-19 outbreak, minister says
China is currently adding about 10,000 new 5G base stations a week after a brief slowdown during peak of Covid-19, says minister

Singapore cuts GDP forecast to 4-7% contraction for 2020
After 0.7% fall in Q1, nearly 32,000 coronavirus cases herald prolonged pain  — Singapore on Tuesday downgraded its growth projection for this year to a range of -7% to -4%, from the previous forecast of -4% to -1%, suggesting prolonged economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic despite the phased business resumption starting next week.

China import data reveals tainted Australian oats, almonds blocked last year as trade war fears grow
Chinese customs data shows a range of Australian exports were subject to technical blocks last year for problems ranging from pest infestations to mildew  China has already moved to slap export bans and tariffs on Australian beef and barley producers, raising fears that more duties are on the way

After six decades, countdown to vote on China’s draft civil code
Legislation expected to bring together a range of laws under one umbrella and go to a vote on Thursday   Proposed code to underscore Beijing’s commitment to private property but the key to its success will be enforcement, analyst says

COVID-19 speeds up China’s ‘Health Silk Road’
China’s Health Silk Road (HSR) first appeared in a speech given by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016 in Uzbekistan. But the concept can be traced back to a document prepared by China’s health authorities in 2015. The document laid out a three-year proposal (2015–2017) to promote the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through cooperation in the healthcare sector.

TikTok user spending hits US$78 million in April, leads YouTube to become world’s top-grossing non-game app
About 86.6 per cent of TikTok’s user spending in April was generated in mainland China, followed by 8.2 per cent in the United States    That raises the stakes for ByteDance amid expectations that TikTok will continue to pull in advertisers and user spending worldwide

Tips for Luxury Brands Trying Out Livestreaming
Because of COVID-19, many brands have hopped onto the latest online trend of livestreaming to sell merchandise. Here, some tips on how to do it properly.   As COVID-19 challenges the fashion industry worldwide, many brands have hopped onto the latest online trend of livestreaming, which is a way of selling directly to customers through live videos. When the pandemic hit China hardest in February, extended quarantines kept Chinese consumers inside for weeks, and they quickly flocked to e-commerce platforms. Similarly, shopping mall shut-downs have forced brands to turn to online channels. Taobao saw the number of livestream sessions on its app double — a sign that brands were relying more on livestreaming to reach customers.

Coronavirus: keep calm and get the economy going again, Chinese adviser says
International relations expert Jia Qingguo says boosting growth will also help other countries and ‘would be good news for the world’   He says combative diplomats reflect anger in China, but they should consider public sentiment elsewhere and base arguments on facts

From voice-activated lifts to augmented reality, coronavirus spurs use of proptech by real estate sector
Businesses, tenants and landlords are reassessing current property technologies to address risks and guard against threats such as the coronavirus outbreak    Insurance company introduces app to alert users to coronavirus cases in buildings within 200 metres of their location

China shuts down WeChat social media account claiming ‘US making dead bodies into hamburgers’
China has shut a virulent anti-US WeChat account for spreading fake news and stoking xenophobia, as Beijing moves to rein in misinformation on social mediaClosure comes as Cyberspace Administration of China starts new campaign to clean up misinformation and conspiracy theories on Chinese internet

China-India tensions mount as troop stand-offs along disputed border cause speculation to swirl
Indian and Chinese troops have reportedly clashed this month at different sections of the Line of Actual Control that separates the two countries   Analysts say the response from both sides points to a shared desire for de-escalation, yet speculation has still been rife into the other’s motives

Taiwan says it ‘isn’t giving up on Hong Kong’ as Tsai Ing-wen considers suspending special status
President may suspend act that gives preferential treatment to people from the city, if Beijing passes national security law  Policymaking body clarifies that Tsai’s remarks were aimed at letting Beijing know there would be ‘serious consequences’ over the legislation

China threatens US with countermeasures if punished for Hong Kong law
Beijing will take ‘every necessary measure’ to oppose any new sanctions imposed by US, foreign ministry says   White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien earlier warned that proposed national security legislation could cost city preferential US trading status

EU leader promises to put pressure on China over Hong Kong security law
Council President Charles Michel insists bloc is ‘not naive’ about Beijing’s behaviour and wants to protect city’s autonomy    Plans for national security law in Hong Kong have triggered international outcry over concerns it will undermine its rights and freedoms

Distrust of China has blinded Hongkongers to Beijing’s intent in pushing a national security law for Hong Kong
The draft decision, when passed, will initiate the long-delayed passage of a Hong Kong law to safeguard the nation from subversion and foreign interference. It comes after months of violent unrest and challenges to state power that have worried Beijing

China’s Hong Kong garrison ‘ready to safeguard national security’ in the city
PLA commander says new law will help to crack down on separatist and foreign forces in ‘two sessions’ interview   Military has ‘determination, confidence and ability’ to safeguard national security interests and Hong Kong prosperity

US outrage over national security law for Hong Kong puts Donald Trump and China trade talks in an awkward spot
New national security law could create economic and political risks for US multinational firms with operations in Hong Kong  Trump faces a tough choice between securing a trade deal with China and heeding lawmakers’ calls to defend democratic freedoms

China shuts down WeChat social media account claiming ‘US making dead bodies into hamburgers’
China has shut a virulent anti-US WeChat account for spreading fake news and stoking xenophobia, as Beijing moves to rein in misinformation on social media Closure comes as Cyberspace Administration of China starts new campaign to clean up misinformation and conspiracy theories on Chinese internet

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