China Press Review – November 5, 2019

Press review

Europe ‘pushed off Beijing’s radar’ in China’s drive to seal US trade deal
Concerns mounting among European businesspeople about lack of progress on EU-China investment agreement, head of EU business group says    Cancellation of Chinese vice-premier’s Brussels trip reflects ‘lack of face-to-face engagement’ with bloc   Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said on Tuesday that concerns were mounting among European businesses and leaders over the lack of progress on an investment treaty between Beijing and Brussels, which had already taken seven years of talks.

French President Emmanuel Macron starts China visit hoping for agriculture and finance deals
French leader will push for progress on EU-China trade deal and is due to meet Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Shanghai    Elysee Palace aides expect 40 deals to be signed during visit, where he will be accompanied by representatives from 30 firms

France’s Emmanuel Macron kicks off China visit with deal to protect wine and cheese from counterfeiting
French president arrived in Shanghai late on Monday, attending China International Import Expo ahead of trip to capital on Wednesday     Visit is timed to ease global trade tensions, with EU asking China to further open markets, while tariff war between Washington and Beijing continues

China’s yuan soars above key level against US dollar on hopes that Trump considering ditching some tariffs
Yuan surged back above key psychological level of 7 to the US dollar on reports that Donald Trump could agree to removing tariffs on China in phase one trade deal     Market expectations for further yuan decline have completely evaporated, analysts say, amid surprise suggestion of more significant trade deal than expected

Xi Jinping tells import expo China will open market further in push to bring down global trade barriers
China’s president has urged global leaders to bring down trade barriers and resist protectionism in a speech at the China International Import Expo      Xi’s comments come a day after the closing of the Canton Export Fair, at which export orders fell for the third year in a row amid the US trade war

Xi Vows To Improve China’s Business Environment
The president’s address Tuesday kicked off the second annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai

Import expo shows China is opening up more for business
The Shanghai event promotes the flow of advanced and high-quality products and services into the world’s most populous nation

China pressing Donald Trump to remove more tariffs ahead of ‘phase one’ trade deal signing
Beijing wants duties lifted in exchange for agreeing to buy up to US$50 billion worth of US farm goods within two years      US officials struggling over how to ensure China lives up to its side of deal, with reimposition of tariffs being considered as main enforcement mechanism

Asian businesses turn their growth focus towards the region as US-China trade war upends global trade links, supply chains
More than half of Asian business leaders surveyed said they plan to expand in Asia-Pacific in the next five years, according to HSBC report    79 per cent of Chinese businesses believe governments are trying to protect domestic companies, HSBC says

Washington must stop trade war and work with allies to counter China risks, says US think tank
Non-partisan research institution recommends cooperation to help an increasingly isolated United States ‘partially disengage’ from China      ‘Congress is begging for alternatives to tariffs … there really doesn’t appear to be a coherent, comprehensive strategy,’ its report says

China seeks to accelerate trade talks with Japan, South Korea, EU
In Shanghai, Xi stresses need to combat unilateralism by ‘tearing down walls’    In his speech, Xi said China was ready to sign more “high-standard” free trade agreements and accelerate the negotiation process of free trade deals with the European Union, Japan and South Korea. He added that he hoped the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could be signed soon. This is despite India’s opposition to the deal on Monday.

China Stabilizes Bond Market With Symbolic Interest Rate Cut
China’s central bank has finally helped put the brakes on the downward spiral in government debt. While Tuesday’s 5 basis-point reduction in the cost of one-year loans to banks was largely symbolic, it was the first such move since 2016. That was enough to soothe nerves in a market that’s been walloped by the prospect of tighter liquidity in the financial system.

China’s Corporate Social Credit System: What Businesses Need to Know
China’s social credit system, including for corporate organizations, aims to be fully functional by 2020. Businesses across China are already being categorized according to their compliance standards and audit and financial records. Incomplete information from the government and discrepancies across pilot regions implementing the social credit system have produced several myths about how it will impact foreign businesses. Foreign firms and businesspeople are advised to seek local expertise and ensure full compliance with corporate laws and government policies to avoid being ‘blacklisted’

China’s social credit system for business creates new and complex headaches for EU trade officials
Sources say China’s corporate social credit system is an impediment to finalising the bilateral investment treaty with the European Union, under negotiation for six years  The NBA’s freedom-of-speech crisis is seen as example of how China could use the system to punish Western firms and add complication to future trade negotiations

What Your Luxury Brands Need to Survive Today
The question I’m asked most consistently these days is why has brand storytelling becoming so important? Shouldn’t the product and craftsmanship matter most in luxury? Here is the problem with that train of thought:  When established luxury brands try to reverse their sluggish sales and boost profitability, one usually sees a typical pattern. There’s too much internal focus on the product and not enough emphasis on building brand equity and creating value for customers — especially younger customers

Alipay launches international e-wallet, giving foreigners access to electronic payment platform in first for China
Ant Financial unveils a 90-day ‘tour pass’ programme for short-term visitors to pay for online purchases through its Alipay platform   China received 30.5m international tourists in 2018 who spent US$73.1 billion from lodging to shopping and food, Ant Financial says

Alipay now open to international tourists in China
Alipay, the mobile payments and lifestyle platform owned by Ant Financial, is opening its platform to international travelers in China for the first time.  Starting Tuesday, tourists visiting China will be able to download and use the app during their trip, giving them access to the most popular form of payment – and the most popular mobile-payments provider – in the country.

China’s blockchain development should learn from P2P lending mistakes, researcher warns
A task force will seek to eliminate risks associated with peer-to-peer online lending platforms after the savings of millions of individuals were trapped    Blockchain, the technology that underlies bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, was endorsed by President Xi Jinping last week, leading to an increase in interest

German foreign minister warns over  ei’s state ties
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Monday questioned whether the country should allow Huawei access to its fifth-generation wireless network rollout because the company is compelled to hand information over to the Chinese government, Reuters reported.

China’s central bank inks deal with Huawei on fintech research
Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei has signed a new partnership agreement with the Digital Currency Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, focused on financial technology research, the company announced on Monday.

Xiaomi to launch in Japan in 2020 amid ongoing global push
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is planning to enter the Japanese market next year as the company expands its global presence to offset sluggish market conditions and fierce competition at home.

China’s Xi Jinping meets Hong Kong leader, backs Carrie Lam’s ‘hard work’ amid protests
Xi express support for Lam’s effort but says priority is still to curb violence and stop chaos in Hong Kong during talks in Shanghai    Meeting the first for the two leaders since Hong Kong unrest broke out in June

Hong Kong protests: could a financial crisis be the jolt that brings the unrest to a halt?
While Hong Kong’s economy fell into a worse than expected recession last quarter, financial markets have remained resilient    A run on a major bank or a serious challenge to the currency peg might push Beijing, the Hong Kong government, protesters and ordinary Hongkongers to seek a resolution

More Hong Kong investors are eyeing Spanish property as gateway to permanent residency in EU
Spain allows investors to gain permanent residency by buying property worth €500,000    Since 2014, more than 1,700 Chinese nationals have been granted ‘golden visas’, more than a third of total approved applicants

Donkey for Dinner
How a draft animal became a popular—and controversial—northern delicacy  Donkey meat may not be a regular option at deli counters in Western countries, but in China, it’s food fit for the gods, at least if one folk saying is to be believed: “In heaven, there is dragon meat; on earth, there is donkey meat” (天上龙肉,地上驴肉).

US should extend export ban, bump AI spending: Ex-Google chief
Led by ex-Google chief Eric Schmidt, a US defense committee urged the government to increase its spending on artificial intelligence (AI) research and continue the use of export bans to ensure its lead over China.

China worst abuser of internet freedom as online censorship hits ‘unprecedented’ levels, US human rights group says
For the fourth straight year, the internet in the country was ranked the least free among surveyed nations, Freedom House says     The country is at the forefront of a global embrace of social media to ‘manipulate elections and monitor citizens’

How Should Universities Respond to China’s Growing Presence on Their Campuses?
Over the last several months, opponents of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong have clashed with protest supporters at universities across the world. In Australia and New Zealand, pro-Beijing students have occasionally shoveddoxed, and threatened peaceful protesters. In some cases, these activities seem to have been directed by Chinese embassies and consulates, while others appear to have been spontaneous actions, undertaken by students from mainland China. Meanwhile, in mid-October, the London School of Economics suspended a plan to launch a China program funded by Eric X. Li, a Shanghai businessman known for his pro-Chinese Communist Party views. In Belgium, the former head of a Confucius Institute was recently accused of spying and banned from entering Europe’s 26-country Schengen area. Such events have prompted larger concerns that as China’s power grows, so too has its ability to shape, suppress, and censor speech around the world. This has raised alarm at the prospect that various forms of pressure emanating from China’s government could erode the foundations of liberal education and democratic debate.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
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