Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

China Press Review – November 29, 2021

China’s economy: What next for the Asian powerhouse?
China’s post-COVID recovery has been hurt by Beijing’s crackdown on real estate and tech giants. Strong exports have, until now, saved the economy but what happens when global demand for Chinese goods slows?

China’s Economy Likely Remained Weak as Factories Slump
China’s manufacturing activity likely remained subdued in November, with weak domestic demand in the economy outweighing any relief that came from an easing in energy shortages. The official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index is forecast to improve slightly to 49.7 from 49.2 in October when it’s released Tuesday, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists. That would be the third month it stays below the key 50-mark, indicating a contraction in production.

From US trade tensions to Beijing’s zero-Covid goal, 5 dilemmas facing China’s economy
China’s economic growth is expected to slow in the fourth quarter and policymakers will have their work cut out stabilising it next year     Deleveraging in the property market, trade tensions and a zero tolerance approach to Covid-19 could all weigh on the economy

Will China’s social distancing on world stage stand remote chance of success?
President Xi Jinping continues to attend summits by video link and during the pandemic has met very few foreign leaders in person   His country’s strict controls help to guard against Covid-19, but also complicate the face-to-face exchanges that allow countries to manage their differences

In China and Europe, the work of policy super stimulus is not over yet
Supply-side logjams, rising inflation and the Omicron Covid-19 variant are all headwinds to global growth     China and Germany are well placed to benefit once normal business conditions return, but keeping monetary and fiscal policy conditions loose will help fuel domestic consumption in the interim in China at least   There are parallels for policy perceptions in China. The country’s export performance still looks highly impressive, with the year-on-year growth rate only moderating to 27.1 per cent in October from 32.2 per cent in June. But, given background world trade trends, a weaker contribution to growth from China’s external sector is looking more likely.   This shouldn’t be too much of a worry though, as Beijing’s objective under its dual circulation strategy is to shift focus from exports and promote faster domestic-driven growth. This may be tough to deliver in the short term while consumer confidence is being overshadowed by the impact of the Evergrande crisis and ongoing pandemic worries.  China’s consumers are key to the outlook. With consumer demand the biggest driver for China’s economy, accounting for 64.8 per cent of gross domestic product, it’s imperative that Beijing keeps monetary and fiscal policy conditions as loose as possible  Consumer confidence might have bounced back to 121.2 in September from August’s downbeat 117.5 level, but sustaining it is vital. Annual retail sales growth rose to 4.9 per cent year on year in October but consumer spending must be stronger longer term if Beijing wants GDP growth to come close to 6 per cent in 2022.   It’s no surprise that the pendulum is switching towards the possibility of lower interest rates as the next step in China. It’s a risky gamble when the US is on the brink of tighter money policy, but it may be inevitable.

China says zero-Covid policy will protect it against Omicron variant
One of China’s top epidemiological advisers said Beijing’s strong Covid-zero strategy could prevent the new Omicron from becoming a threat, confirming strong points at a time when the rest of the world is trying to end sanctions.   The comments, made by Chinese journalists, came as government officials published a study conducted by local experts warning that anything China could do to stop the abolitionist approach to Western forms of animal protection could be “dangerous”.

Asia-Pacific stocks fall as investors watch omicron Covid variant; oil prices rebound
Shares in Asia-Pacific fell in Monday trade as investors in the region continue to watch for developments surrounding the recently discovered omicron Covid variant.   Global markets tumbled late last week as the World Health Organization labeled the omicron Covid strain a “variant of concern.”  Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, recovering partially after Friday’s big drop.

Omicron response: China to wait, see and keep up tough zero-Covid rules, experts say
Close watch to be kept on new coronavirus variant but it’s too early to make conclusions, Zhong Nanshan says    The country already has strict border controls in place as part of its ongoing zero-Covid policy

China makes billion-dose pledge to Africa to help overcome the coronavirus pandemic
Chinese president tells Africa forum that Beijing will also advance billions of dollars for trade and infrastructure   In addition, Chinese medical teams and experts will be sent to help the continent

China could double down on its zero-Covid approach amid concerns about omicron, analysts say
 “The spread of highly transmissible variants may ultimately make the strategy untenable. But in the short-term, the authorities are more likely to double down,” said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics,  To be sure, the WHO has said it remains unclear whether the omicron Covid variant causes more severe disease than other strains, such as delta.   China has stuck with its zero-Covid strategy even as many countries moved to live with the virus and lifted some restrictions.

Introducing Omicron, Global Luxury’s Latest Enemy
Over the past week, the discovery of a new, highly mutated COVID-19 variant raised serious questions about how the retail landscape could look in the first quarter of 2022 and beyond, particularly for luxury brands that have welcomed a muted recovery over the past six months. Currently, it remains unclear how big a threat the new variant, Omicron, poses, and countries are scrambling to limit its possible spread. Yet if the variant is indeed as contagious and fast-moving as its predecessor, Delta, luxury could be in for a tough ride in key markets for many more months to come.
What a highly virulent new strain could mean is that the shifting of resources and emphasis to mainland China — a move that many luxury brands and groups made out of necessity in the second quarter of 2020 as the COVID-19 situation in China improved — could be here to stay well into 2022. And with Chinese consumers still doing a significant amount of their luxury shopping domestically, which in itself was a tectonic shift after years of doing much of their luxury shopping abroad, this means brands will need to rethink their investment strategy and balance of brick-and-mortar compared to e-commerce.
Yet there is reason to expect the retail landscape in China, even in the luxury segment, to be quite different in 2022 than it was in 2020. First, the market is becoming much more driven by smaller, more neighborhood-like stores than in years past, when large-scale flagship reigned supreme. Second, consumers — after two years of greater use of e-commerce to buy everything from groceries to luxury handbags — demand more from high-end retail in China, preferring boutiques that bridge the gap between on- and offline.

The shifting consumer packaged goods market in a diversifying Asia
Asia is the world’s consumption growth engine; if you miss Asia, you could miss half of the global picture, a $10 trillion consumption growth opportunity over the next decade. New research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) identifies the large growth potential in Asia and the new growth angles for companies serving Asian consumers.1 New, increasingly diverse cohorts of consumers with the potential to drive growth include Insta-grannies in Seoul, Generation Z gamers in Surabaya, career moms in Manila, and lifestyle-indulging digital natives in Chengdu. Shifts and diversification in Asia’s consumer landscape offer new opportunities for consumer packaged goods (CPG) players. Now is the time for these players to redraw Asia’s consumer growth map.   Asia’s consuming class is growing rapidly.2 By 2030, three billion people, or 70 percent of Asia’s total population, may be part of the consuming class—a billion more than today and 2.5 billion more than at the beginning of the millennium. For some economies, this will mean a substantial expansion of their consuming class. In Indonesia, close to 200 million people may belong to the consuming class by 2030, up from 120 million today. In India, the 2030 figure may be close to 825 million, up from around 340 million today. CPG companies will therefore have the opportunity to serve an increasing mass of incoming consumers.   As pronounced as this shift is, movement within the consuming class in the next decade is likely to contribute more to consumption growth than movement into it. Members of the consuming class are expected to attain higher income levels than ever before, shifting the center of gravity of the income pyramid sharply upward and changing consumption patterns. In the past 20 years, 80 percent of Asia’s consumption growth came from the lower-income tiers of the consuming class as new entrants joined. In the next decade, 80 percent of that growth could come from higher-income consumers

Many Luxury Brands Shouldn’t Panic About 2022. They Should Be In Shock
The luxury industry is undergoing its most significant changes ever, and in 2022, many forces will align to alter it for good.   Équité estimates growth in the personal luxury sector between one and five percent compared to 2019, which would bring the luxury market to an all-time high.   Over the last two years, some brands merely focused on reducing costs, and many entered a downward spiral by trading brand equity for the hope of fast growth that, in the end, did not happen.   By 2022, the importance of Gen Z will become more felt by brands, creating a headache for those who thought they could wait to communicate with them.

The Chinese Tech Whitelist – Is China Trying to Replace Foreign Technology?
A new report from Bloomberg claims to provide details on a whitelist of Chinese tech suppliers from which enterprises and government bodies in China can choose companies to provide core technology products and services, citing government insiders. The tech whitelist is supposedly being prepared by the Information Technology Application Working Committee (known as the ‘Xinchuang Committee’). China’s Ministry of Foreign affairs has denied the existence of such a whitelist.     According to the report, there are strict limits on foreign ownership for companies to be eligible to feature on the list, leading to questions over the motives of this move and the impact it could have on foreign technology companies in China.    In this article, given the lack of concrete information, we do not wish to make a judgment on the existence, or lack thereof, of the whitelist, but rather take this opportunity to look at the Information Technology Application Working Committee and explain its functioning and composition. We also discuss China’s current relationship with foreign technology.

China Tech Investor: Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba earnings with Michael Norris
China Tech Investor is a weekly look at China’s tech companies through the lens of investment. Each week, hosts Elliott Zaagman and James Hull go through their watch list of publicly listed tech companies and also interview experts on issues affecting the macroeconomy and the stock prices of China’s tech companies

China urged to be ‘vigilant’ to rising grain prices in battle for food security
China should boost policy support, monitor global grain prices and diversify imports to maintain food security, state media says     Rising food prices are driving inflation concerns and putting average people under more economic pressure, analysts say

A look at China’s October economic data
Faced with the changing domestic and international environment, the Chinese government has taken multiple measures to ensure supply, stabilize commodity price and support the real economy.    In October, the national economy maintained steady recovery, with employment and consumption remaining firm and international payment better than expected.

Alipay & WeChat Pay’s personal payment barcodes to be banned from business use from next March
Personal payment reception codes, used for people to receive money, on Alibaba’s online payment platform Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay will be banned from receiving money for business operation purposes.   This is following the notice by People’s Bank of China regarding strengthening the administration terminals and related business, with the new regulation set to come into effect from 1 March 2022, meaning personal accounts of either Alipay or WeChat Pay would soon be no longer eligible for business use.

China industry profit increase continues
Profit increases at China’s industrial companies grew again in October, largely helped by firms in sectors such as mining and raw materials manufacture, reports Bloomberg. Profit for the month grew 24.6% year-on-year to RMB 818.7 billion ($128 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, compared with an increase of 16.3% in September. For the first 10 months of the year, profits increased 42.2% from a year earlier to RMB 7.16 trillion.   “Operations of industrial firms have continued to improve thanks to the policies to secure supplies and stabilize prices,” Zhu Hong, a senior statistician with the statistics bureau, said in a statement accompanying the release. Profitability of consumer goods manufacturing turned positive in October with a rise of 3.6%, after plunging in recent months, Zhu said, as companies prepared for Single’s Day shopping spree.  Profits at companies in the mining industry have been soaring this year as prices of commodities from coal to oil surged. Coal production companies saw profits increased by 438% year-on-year, about 69.6% higher than the previous month, as the government urged companies to ensure supply amid a power crunch

Record 2.1m Chinese sit civil service exam as economy slows, youth jobless rate climbs
More than 2.12 million registered for Sunday’s ‘guokao’ exam, the first time the number has crossed 2 million     Applicants have just a one-in-68 chance of success of landing coveted ‘iron rice bowl’ positions

Why there are no grand alliances in Asia
The outlines of the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy are emerging. Public comments from administration figures indicate that the US is seeking to build more bespoke or ad hoc regional coalitions – such as the Quad and AUKUS – to balance China’s military power and buttress the ‘rules-based order’.  Regional order depends firstly on how regional elites define and defend their domestic legitimacy. The domestic legitimacy of many regional elites in Southeast Asia now significantly depends on the private benefits and public goods China provides. A regional order that excludes one great power over the other may make sense geostrategically, but be unpalatable politically.     It’s time to spend more time figuring out the local drivers of regional order. Rather than reinventing the wheel on new policy initiatives, the United States could work with and support regional powers such as Japan and multilateral institutions under ASEAN. Genuinely co-operating with these actors might take the wind out of China’s narrative that the West is still stuck in a colonial mindset.

ByteDance said to launch new wave of education job cuts, as employment prospects dim in China’s tech sector
The move by China’s most-valued unicorn is a sign of dimming job prospects within the country’s technology sector     The latest wave of lay-offs mainly affects ByteDance’s K-9 education businesses, including Guagualong

Climate change: is entrepreneurship the magic touch for turning zero-emission planes and ships into commercial reality?
If left unabated, the aviation industry’s contribution to climate impact could reach 25 to 50 per cent by 2050      While electric cars are already all the rage, zero-emission ships and planes are mostly research projects, unlikely to be commercially deployed for the next 15 years   Electric cars and fuel-cell freight trucks are all the rage these days, with an estimated 500 companies in China alone designing and assembling vehicles that run on electric batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.   “Society is very schizophrenic about this. What most people want, despite all the emotions, is zero carbon at zero cost to themselves,” Stopford said. “If you are running a shipping business you’ve got to take a long-term view. We need people who have the money to take the long term view and take a chance. I am confident we’ll find a few good Elon Musks kicking around somewhere.

EVs, 5G set to spearhead China’s ‘moderately excessive’ infrastructure push amid economic slowdown concerns
China is likely to place an emphasis on new infrastructure – such as new energy, charging stations for electric cars, data centers, 5G     Economists are worried about China’s economic slowdown with fourth quarter growth likely to fall below 4 per cent from 4.9 per cent in the third quarter

Xiaomi to build its first electric vehicle factory in Beijing suburb
The car factory will be constructed in two phases, each designed to have an annual production capacity of 150,000 units      Xiaomi is among a number of Chinese tech companies, including Huawei and Baidu, that have ventured into the EV industry

China Evergrande’s electric-vehicle unit gets US$200 million from returning undeveloped land
The Hong Kong-listed carmaker says the money will be used to fund construction projects and pay wages     Its cash-strapped parent, China Evergrande, is hoping to transform its business focus from property development to car manufacturing

EV battery: China powers Asia in race to ramp up recycling capacity as industry tests new method to overcome pollution problems
China, home to Tesla’s biggest challengers, accounts for 77 per cent of the EV battery-recycling capacities in Asia    The dominant pyrometallurgy is likely to be the mainstay metal-recovery method for the next three years before a cleaner hydrometallurgy way takes hold

EV sales boom pushes Lithium past RMB milestone
The cost of lithium, a key component of batteries for electric vehicles, has broken the RMB 200,000 ($31,305) price barrier in China, a rise that comes off the back of the ever increasing sales of EVs in the country, reports Caixin. As of Thursday, the price of lithium carbonate had risen almost 360% year-on-year to RMB 200,013 per ton. On January 4, the first recorded price of 2021, the commodity was worth RMB 53,00

China strengthens lending for private enterprises
China has increased lending support for the private sector, with new loans to private enterprises reaching five trillion yuan (US$782 billion) in the first 10 months of 2021, according to a Xinhua report citing the nation’s top banking and insurance regulator.    The amount accounted for 53.5 percent of the total new corporate loans for the period, 1.8 percentage points higher than the level at the beginning of this year, data from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) showed.

Asia and Europe vow to fix supply chains, push digital access
In a joint news conference after the meeting, European Council President Charles Michel said, “Our new European Union strategy for cooperation with the Indo-Pacific sends a strong political signal.”  The coronavirus — once again raising alarm over a potentially more infectious new variant — has disrupted global supply chains. Southeast Asia has become a key manufacturing hub for a wide range of parts and products, but containment measures have led to factory closures and labor shortages. Meanwhile, the EU that used to sharply criticize the U.S.-China trade war turned protectionist, restricting vaccine exports and gearing policies toward self-sufficiency.   The ASEM participants this week resolved to fix broken supply links and promote the multilateral trading system. “Leaders were committed to reducing trade barriers or disruption to global supply chains,” the statement said. “Any respective trade-restrictive or distorting measures should be wound back when they are no longer necessary to tackle the pandemic,”   The digital shift was another focus. In Europe and Asia alike, the crisis has made digitalization all the more crucial — from working at home to using cashless payments. But access to such technology is not equally available. In the statement, Asian and European leaders “urged governments to speed up the planning of digitalization in response to the people’s needs.” They also agreed to enhance cooperation in bridging the digital divide, particularly in digital infrastructure development, provision of digital skills as well as digital literacy and capacity building.
The chairman’s statement also delivered an indirect warning regarding China’s naval expansion in waters including the South China Sea. “Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to maintain peace, stability and ensuring maritime security and safety, to uphold freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded economic activities, and to combat piracy and armed robbery at sea, in full compliance with international law,” the statement said.

Meet the Chinese millennials rejecting luxury labels
 “I hate looking like a million dollars. I want to look independent and smart — like I’m different, but not too different.” Keira Kong, a millennial Shanghai-based agent for South Korean music artists, is trying to explain her newfound love for French brand Coperni. Since designers Arnaud Vaillant and Sébastien Meyer relaunched the label in 2019, Kong has built a small wardrobe of Coperni staples, including two dresses, two tops, three jackets and a pair of trousers. She commends the brand’s tailoring, its signature asymmetric cuts and its prices (T-shirts sell for about Rmb839 on, or $130). “The fabrics are never going to be at Chanel’s level but their cut, their concept and the way they see women is never too girly,” continues Kong. “They like strong, independent women and that’s who I am trying to be.”

China’s ‘dual-credit’ policy that spurred the EV sector will be revised in bid to ensure high quality growth
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is revising annual credit ratio requirements and will explore the setting up of a flexible mechanism      The dual-credit policy was implemented in 2018, under which carmakers that fail to meet the fuel consumption targets of their vehicles are penalized

EU plans €300bn global infrastructure spend to rival China
The EU wants to mobilise up to €300bn of spending on infrastructure and other projects for a Global Gateway plan to respond to China’s influential Belt and Road Initiative.    The European Commission’s draft proposals, seen by the Financial Times, suggest that the EU’s ambitions will rely heavily on leveraging private sector spending as well as public investment, while co-opting spending from EU member states.

China needs risk assessment, anti-corruption measures to address ‘challenging’ belt and road environments
President Xi Jinping last week called for businesses to assess overseas risk regularly, while also establishing a risk monitoring system and anti-corruption legal framework    The US and its allies have criticised China for using its Belt and Road Initiative as a geopolitical weapon that creates debt problems for member countries

China Mints Its Latest Green Energy Billionaire
China is a world leader when it comes to billionaires from new energy fields such as electric vehicles and solar power; the 2021 Forbes China Rich List released on Nov. 4 is dotted with members from both industries, such as BYD Chairman Wang Chuanfu (worth $23.5 billion) and LONGi Green Energy CEO Li Zhenguo (worth $13.4 billion).    This week, the country minted a new billionaire from another part of the green energy field – wind power. Shares in Jiangsu Haili Wind Power Equipment surged from an IPO price of 60.66 yuan following their debut at the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Wednesday. They ended the week at 167.69 yuan, giving the company a market capitalization of 36.4 billion yuan. That left founder’s Xu Shijun’s 48% stake worth 17.6 billion yuan, or $2.75 billion. He shares that fortune with his son Xu Chengchen.

Hui Ka Yan Raises $343 Million By Cutting Evergrande Stake For First Time Since IPO
Chinese billionaire Hui Ka Yan has cut his stake in Evergrande by 9.1%, raising HK$2.7 billion ($343 million) as the deeply indebted property developer continues its scramble for cash.    Still, it remains unclear how Evergrande plans to resolve its whopping amount of liabilities. The company is close to cratering under more than $300 billion in total debt, as it once borrowed from financial institutions as well as average employees to sustain its rapid expansion in China’s real estate sector. A government clampdown on financial leverage and housing prices has drastically reduced available funding for property developers, with investors dumping their stocks and bonds across the board

How to buy and sell data? Shanghai starts new exchange for trading massive amounts of data like commodities
The Shanghai Data Exchange initially offered 20 data products at the start of trading on Thursday   These include flight information from China Eastern Airlines, and data from China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.

US-EU press on with plan to tackle ‘dirty’ Chinese steel flooding markets
Senior US trade officials have doubled down on criticism of excess steel from China as the phase one deal nears expiry     US will begin negotiations with the EU to create ‘world’s first carbon-based sectoral agreement’ on steel and aluminium

China can set the rules and counter US moves on Asia-Pacific digital trade, if DEPA bid succeeds
China has applied to join the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement launched by Singapore, New Zealand and Chile   The Asia-Pacific, a digital boom hub, could be a major battleground as the Biden administration steps up its drive to contain China through regional alliances

That fear comes as China has started to experience a reverse brain drain. Over the last decade, a growing number of Chinese scientists have been lured back to the country by the promise of ample funding, impressive titles and national pride. More recently, scientists returning to China have cited a hostile environment in the United States as a factor.  Westlake University, a research university in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has recruited an impressive roster of talent, including many who once held faculty positions at top American schools. In August, Westlake announced several new hires, including a tenured professor from Northwestern University and another from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.    Shi Yigong, a prominent molecular biologist and the president of Westlake University, said colleagues had complained about the atmosphere of suspicion in the United States. “For those who have chosen to relinquish their jobs in the U.S., sometimes I do hear stories of a bitter nature,” Dr. Shi said. “I think some of them, not all of them, have been singled out for what I think was pretty harsh treatment.”

The Chinese diplomatic force in the IAEA to confront Western leadership
At the level of international relations, through China’s presence in all the relevant international organizations, and its membership in all of the United Nations organizations, specifically in the International Atomic Energy Agency “IAEA”, China aims to play the role of the (international balancer),  in light of its quest to maintain a certain level of competition with the United States of America politically and economically, this is in line with its desires to constantly play the role of the pole calling for (multipolarity and multilateral international pluralism through the Chinese political speeches of Chinese President “Xi Jinping”), in order to oppose American hegemony over the world and Washington’s policies to maintain its position as a single pole in the international community. China’s increase in its foreign investments, in order to enhance its economic hegemony over the world through its political and diplomatic tools with countries that have equal economic power with it in a number of (trade, scientific and technological issues, in addition to military and intelligence tools, as a reference for China’s new foreign political center).

The secret to a prosperous China-Africa relationship
The China-Africa friendship, according to the paper, has been embodied by mutual political trust, rapidly expanding economic cooperation, growing social development cooperation, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and steadily expanding cooperation on peace and security. Economy-wise, statistics show China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for the 12 years since 2009. China-Africa trade accounted for more than 21 percent of Africa’s total external trade in 2020. China has increased its imports of non-resource products, and offered zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of taxable items by the 33 least-developed countries in Africa.   By the end of 2020, direct investment by Chinese companies in Africa had surpassed 43 billion U.S. dollars. The over 3,500 Chinese companies across the continent have directly and indirectly created millions of jobs while more than 80 percent of their employees are locals.

China looks for firmer legal ground for economic ties with Russia
Beijing is growing impatient with the lack of progress on integration between the two economies, particularly on the Belt and Road Initiative, analyst says  Some form of institutional framework needed to ‘see an impact

How does China really view Aukus? This military assessment may offer a clue
People’s Liberation Army researcher writes that the security alliance’s purpose and its geopolitical context make it a different proposition to Nato    Beijing has strongly condemned the pact between Australia, the UK and the US, but the researcher’s assessment could point to its actual strategy

There’s more to Australian security in Asia than AUKUS
When the AUKUS agreement was announced on 16 September it not only surprised the French and President Macron — Indonesia’s parliamentarians were stunned and not a single one offered any support for it.   If it was a major unforced error on the part of the Australian government not to have given advanced warning to Paris of its intention to scrap a deal to buy French submarines, it was even more incomprehensible that Canberra failed to prepare its partners in the region for the announcement of a major new defence arrangement.

Which Chinese military units are expanding while others are shedding troops?
The PLA is pivoting to confront changing challenges – and that means more combat personnel, according to one commentator     But much more needs to be done to realise the armed forces’ modernisation ambitions, author says    In another essay in the book, Liu Yantong, another military commentator, said risks to China’s security were growing as it came under greater technological, economic and political pressure from a number of other countries. The country’s borders were also unresolved.     “Right now, we are facing the threat of war. The army needs to be urgently aware that a war may happen overnight … We should be fully prepared and combat ready at all times,” Liu wrote.  Zhou Chenming, a researcher from the Yuan Wang military science and technology think tank in Beijing, said the PLA had been under growing pressure at home and overseas as challenges came from different directions.   “The PLA used to be a traditional ground force-oriented military, but now the country’s overseas interests are expanding, with major security threats coming from the sea, then the air, and even the cyber world,” Zhou said, adding that overhauls to the various combat wings were still under way.    “The Chinese military leadership also feels a strong sense of crisis when dealing with domestic issues. For example, the ongoing ageing problem has affected the PLA’s recruitment.”

Why wind tunnels are key in China’s race for hypersonic weapon supremacy
The test facilities are part of the secret to the country’s success in rapid development of hypersonic missiles and new-generation aircraft, observers say     The Pentagon has highlighted US concern over Chinese advances in the technology as a ‘fundamental change’ in the military balance of power

China conducts naval, air force drills near Taiwan Strait after US lawmakers’ visit
Army is on ‘high alert’, says ‘this is a necessary measure in response to the current situation in the Taiwan Strait’     American lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Thursday offering support for the island’s authorities, who Beijing accuses of seeking independence

Nuclear Proliferation Concerns in East Asia: Beyond North Korea
The nuclear situation in East Asia is more nuanced than the actions of a single nation.   While there are a number of contributing factors, one stands out. Put simply, nuclear weapons beget nuclear weapons. While China’s arsenal remains a threat to the security of others in the region, that nation’s overwhelming conventional strength blunt the incremental impact of nuclear weapons. Instead, North Korea’s nuclear armada looms large both in real terms and in the psyche of its neighbors in East Asia. Polling in South Korea, for instance, has long shown a plurality or majority of the population in favor of nuclear development. With this support in mind, it’s only a matter of time before a political party seizes the nuclear issue to gain power and makes good on its promises. Japan, for its part, has increasingly been the target of North Korean missile overflight — possibly leading to a similar popular groundswell for a nuclear defense.

Twenty years have passed, the BRIC countries have disappointed
Since my past 20 years Published papers It formally grouped emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China, and coined the term “BRIC countries” to describe them. I think that since these countries are likely to continue to maintain amazing GDP growth in the next ten years, we urgently need them to play a greater role in global governance. As France, Germany and Italy join the permanent economic and monetary union, I propose to merge their separate seats in the G7 and their corresponding representatives in the IMF and the World Bank into one European seat, which will allow the BRIC countries to join the slightly enlarged European seats make way. G7.   China is the only BRIC country to exceed its growth expectations, and India is not far from meeting its expectations. However, due to the bleakness of the second decade, neither Brazil nor Russia has a greater share of the nominal dollar in GDP than in 2001. How these countries successfully transition to a higher income state in the whole society remains a huge challenge. unsolved. For those countries that are truly eager to achieve this goal, South Korea remains the only shining example. In my career, it is the only country whose economy has developed to the same level of prosperity as its citizens in southern Europe. No other country with a population of more than 45 million has come close. Countries such as Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Vietnam should emulate Seoul’s economic success for their own societies. This will ultimately make their people richer and possibly happier, and it will also promote equality across the world.

Chinese graduates lament Western degrees no longer a fast track for top jobs
As Chinese universities climb up world rankings, Western degrees are not as prized by employers as they once were, according to overseas graduates     Hiring departments are often more familiar with elite Chinese universities and certain professions require strong local networks, young jobseekers say

The Gate to China by Michael Sheridan; The World According to China by Elizabeth C Economy – review
Two authoritative books reveal Hong Kong’s role in reviving China’s economic fortunes and Beijing’s attempts to impose its will abroad

In China, People Are Risking Everything for a Box of Ritalin
For years, Chinese adults with ADHD have struggled to access vital medication. Now, they’re also being ensnared in the country’s war on drugs.

How did China’s digital music industry become the second largest in the world?
Hindered for years by online piracy, China has morphed into the world’s seventh-largest music market, behind South Korea    A decade ago, 99 per cent of China’s digital music was pirated, but now most Chinese consumers listen to licensed music – meaning they stream legally

Why China’s elite tread a perilous path
International renown offers no protection from arbitrary power. Jack Ma, Alibaba founder and China’s most famous businessman, dared to criticise Chinese regulators in October 2020. He has barely been seen in public since. Meng Hongwei was the first ever Chinese president of Interpol, but he was arrested on a trip home in 2018, charged with corruption and sentenced to more than 13 years in prison.   Sympathy for billionaires or party functionaries, brought down by the system that once elevated them, might be limited. But the powers of the Chinese state are used with even more ferocity against dissenting lawyers, journalists and academics. As a recent report for Human Rights Watch illustrates, the authorities also often go after the families of dissidents.  The nature of the Chinese system means that steering clear of politics is no protection. The business world is opaque and runs on connections, so everyone is operating in what Shum calls the “grey zone”, and is therefore vulnerable to a charge of corruption. All institutions are under the sway of the Communist party. A smart lawyer or diligent journalist will be no help if you are arrested. The courts have a conviction rate of 99.9 per cent.
At the top of the system sits President Xi, a leader who has defended not only Mao Zedong but also Lenin and Stalin. It was Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria, who once explained the absolute vulnerability of any individual in a police state, when he said: “Show me the man, and I will find the crime.”

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
Place Sainctelette 2
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