Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

China Press Review – September 16, 2021

Parliament sets out its vision for a new EU strategy on China
Address human rights violations in Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and Hong Kong. More resources needed to monitor and tackle Chinese disinformation. China should allow independent investigation into origins and spread of COVID-19.   5G and 6G networks: exclude companies that do not fulfil security standards.

China urges EU not to let ideologies, geopolitics hijack relations
The Chinese Mission to the European Union on Friday urged the EU not to let ideologies and geopolitics hijack bilateral relations a day after the latter adopted a new EU-China strategy.    The European Parliament on Thursday adopted the new strategy that sees China as an “economic competitor” and a “systemic rival” in an increasing number of areas and calls for a more “assertive, comprehensive and consistent” EU-China strategy.

The vanishing attract of doing enterprise in China
IT IS NOTHING new for overseas companies to endure shakedowns by the Chinese language Communist Although multinationals have flocked again to China since, the federal government’s nit-picking has continued, encompassing all the things from know-how switch to how freely companies can make investments. There have been huge enhancements, however the pettifoggery is a continuing reminder, as one American places it, that corporations mustn’t get “too huge for his or her britches”. Western companies function in China on sufferance and at some point the nation could search to exchange them.   Because of this, some could have felt a way of Schadenfreude that Chinese language companies, not Western ones, have been the primary victims of President Xi Jinping’s current effort to socially engineer a brand new kind of economic system. Prior to now week alone the federal government has taken steps to scale back boundaries between tech giants Alibaba and Tencent, and, in keeping with the Monetary Instances, ordered the break-up of Alipay, a monetary super-app owned by Alibaba’s sister firm, Ant. Some go as far as to attract flattering comparisons between Mr Xi’s efforts to emasculate China’s tech “oligarchs” and the way in which governments in America and Europe are going after Western tech giants.

Focusing on the middle class
In fact, calls by Biden’s predecessor President Donald Trump to “make America great again” and put “America first” also emphasized tax cuts to the middle class. As distinguished American economist Nouriel Roubini has pointed out, when inequality in the United States “becomes excessive, politicians — of both right and left — become more populist,” especially in terms of adopting policies to please the middle class.      For China, the priority to reduce poverty and enlarge the middle class, or “the middle-income group,” has been a key national development strategy since the turn of the century. President Xi Jinping’s blueprint for fulfilling the “Chinese dream” — and, more recently, the development strategy for “common prosperity” — focuses on expanding the middle class.Can this parallel promotion of middle-class development in both the United States and China serve as common ground for cooperation or healthy competition rather than a source of zero-sum confrontation?

China unemployment: Beijing’s regulatory crackdowns pose yet another hurdle for young urban jobseekers
15.3 per cent unemployment rate among 16- to 24-year-olds in Chinese cities is three times as high as the overall national average of 5.1 per cent     High jobless rate in the young workforce seen persisting as millions of fresh grads vie for employment, while one popular sector – tutoring – has basically been wiped out

Hong Kong unemployment hits lowest level since coronavirus pandemic began, with economy boosted by multibillion-dollar e-voucher scheme
Jobless rate drops to 4.7 per cent for three-month period ending in August, with some 10,700 fewer people out of work     The rolling total is down 0.3 percentage points from the period spanning May to July

US-China decoupling: if it comes down to a US bloc vs China bloc, who stands to gain the most?
Prominent Beijing adviser says loss of access to hi-tech goods from US would equate to having an abundance of rice but no delectable foods    China is already trying to tackle the challenge through its dual-circulation strategy that aims to reduce reliance on other economies     Shi Yinhong, an adviser to the State Council and a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said the US would welcome a tech war with China even if it seriously impacts the US economy. This is a tactical and calculated decision, he explained, because if China were to take the lead in the hi-tech realm, the US would lose out not only economically, but also strategically. As for the potential impact on China, Shi put it this way: “After the US restricts its hi-tech exports to China, China will still be able to feed itself. But what happens will be like, after eating a single bowl of rice today, two bowls may be available tomorrow through quasi-high-tech and non-hi-tech means, but upscale foods such as sea cucumbers, fish and meat will be gone.” But Yu said that suggestions of a full decoupling between the US and China may be premature, or at least far off.   “The two countries are still doing business while they brace for a potential decoupling,” Yu said. “It is still unclear what will happen in the future, but there is still a glimmer of hope that we won’t see further decoupling.

Financial blogger crackdown leaves China investors scrabbling for data
China has launched a crackdown on financial blogs and social media, a move that risks exacerbating the difficulty of obtaining reliable data about the world’s second-biggest economy.
The restrictions were implemented as fissures widened in the top echelons of Wall Street over whether investing in China was a smart bet.
snowballing policy overhaul has caught seasoned China investors off guard, spooked markets and sparked questions over which sector would be targeted by Beijing next.

China’s carbon neutral goal: Beijing approves creation of power grid equipment giant to meet decarbonisation needs
The move will create a company with more than 100 billion yuan (US$15.5 billion) in assets     Merger to create a big equipment maker and service provider that can compete well in nations targeted by Belt and Road Initiative, analyst says

Why China is likely to set the pace in hydrogen industry growth
More economies are turning to green and blue hydrogen to help decarbonise, but local geography and weather conditions will continue to affect their ability to do so     With its abundant wind and solar resources and forecasts of fast-rising demand for hydrogen, China is poised to take a lead

Is China’s Evergrande Group Too Big to Fail?
In a year marked by defaults, the potential collapse of China’s second largest property developer offers insight into Beijing’s changing attitude on bailouts and financial risk.    The COVID-19 pandemic dealt an unprecedented blow to the Chinese economy, and getting it back on track required taking on an unprecedented level of debt risk. From local government financing vehicles to property developers to state owned enterprises (SOEs), China’s debt markets have seen waves of defaults since the latter part of 2020 as business incomes faltered. Halfway through 2021, 25 Chinese businesses had defaulted on about $10 billion worth of bonds, setting a new record.  Even more dangerous, a full-blown collapse could send ripples through the Chinese economy. Currently, more than three-quarters of household wealth in China is tied up in real estate, and Beijing has a strong incentive to make sure that such wealth doesn’t go down in an exploding bubble. A collapse of Evergrande could be detrimental to property values, which would deal a blow to consumer wealth and in turn lead to a slowdown in consumption and investment, in addition to other consequences. Because the CCP has focused its attention on de-risking the property sector and other developers have done good jobs of reducing their debt burdens so far, it should reduce the effect of an Evergrande collapse. Nonetheless, the firm is so big that this ripple effect is possible.    In the end, there are plenty of outspoken individuals on both sides of the aisle, and only time will tell how serious Beijing is about de-risking. Regardless of outlook, investors should play the bet with caution. In the case of a default, Beijing has made clear that bondholders will be the lowest on the totem pole for receiving anything in a bailout.

Nine bonds of Evergrande’s flagship go on restricted trading after ratings cut in latest woe to befall indebted developer
Three bonds valued at 28.2 billion yuan issued by Evergrande’s Hengda Real Estate Group unit were restricted to negotiated transactions in Shanghai    On the stock exchange of Shenzhen in Evergrande’s hometown, six bonds valued at 25.3 billion yuan were relegated to block transactions

Alibaba consolidates community group buying operations under new Taocaicai brand
Taocaicai is expected to offer more than 1 million products from around the world to community group buying users in China    The new brand will work closely with Alibaba’s logistics unit Cainiao and food delivery service

China accounts for 40% of 6G patent applications: survey
Research shows country leads development race despite US sanctions China’s 6G development had been expected to slow due to sanctions against Huawei Technologies imposed by the U.S. government under former President Donald Trump in 2019, but China has maintained its competitiveness by mobilizing state-run companies and universities. China topped the list with 40.3% of 6G patent filings, followed by the U.S. with 35.2%. Japan ranked third with 9.9%, followed by Europe with 8.9% and South Korea with 4.2%.  China’s patent applications are mostly related to mobile infrastructure technology. In the 6G era, aerial coverage, such as satellites, as well as ground base stations for broader radio bands, will be needed. Many of the latest patents have been filed by Huawei, which controlled 30% of the world’s base stations in 2020. Other big Chinese patent holders include state-run companies such as State Grid Corporation of China and China Aerospace Science and Technology.The International Telecommunication Union, a U.N. body, and industry groups are expected to begin discussing 6G standardization around 2024. China, which has many related patents, has a strong voice in the organization and likely to have the upper hand in rule-making. Washington has tried to slow the development of Chinese mobile communications products by imposing a de facto embargo on sales of cutting-edge chips to Huawei, but a senior ITU official said it will be difficult to exclude China from discussions of the matter. The U.S. and China are not the only ones competing for supremacy in 6G. In Europe, Swedish telecommunications equipment maker Ericsson and the University of Oulu in Finland have published 6G white papers, and the European Union has played a key role in standardization, including the establishment of a research group by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute. In South Korea, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have already set up 6G development centers, and the government is subsidizing development efforts.

China’s cyberspace watchdog presses internet platforms to vet their online content as crackdown deepens
New guidelines emphasise that China’s online platforms are responsible for managing their content and urges them to improve their censorship      It is the latest move by Beijing in its drive to create a ‘clean and healthy’ cyberspace, free from information it deems harmful to society

XPeng launch world first LiDAR-guided smart EV
Chinese electric vehicle (EV) maker XPeng Motors has launched the world’s first LiDAR-guided smart vehicle, reports the South China Morning Post. The premium edition of XPeng’s P5 all-electric sedan, called the 600P, will come fitted with the laser scanning technology provided by Livox, an affiliate of the drone maker DJI.    The cars will be ready for delivery to customers from late September with a catalogue price of RMB 223,900 ($34,800). A basic edition called the 460G is priced at RMB 157,900 yuan, without LiDAR (Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging).   The launch of the P5 is the latest move by XPeng to chip away at Tesla’s lead in the world’s largest vehicle market, where three of every five new cars on Chinese roads will be powered by electricity by 2030, according to a UBS forecast.

China’s CATL invests $2bn in plant for new lithium battery
CATL, the world’s largest producer of electric vehicle batteries, will spend up to 13.5 billion yuan ($2.09 billion) on a plant in China to produce a new type of lithium battery.   The Chinese manufacturer struck an agreement Monday with the Jiangxi Province city of Yichun to build the plant. The factory is expected to produce automotive batteries, such as those for EVs.    The production capacity and construction start date have not been disclosed, but the company said the facility is meant to expand operations in response to market demand.  Including joint venture locations, CATL plans to build or expand about 20 domestic factories and one in Germany, according to Chinese brokerage SooChow Securities. The company’s total battery production capacity is projected to reach roughly 600 gigawatt-hours in 2025, or quintuple the level in 2020.  CATL, formally known as Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., has increased spending to expand production over the past two years. In February 2020, the company announced a plan to invest as much as 26 billion yuan to boost capacity.  In December, CATL outlined a plan to invest up to 39 billion yuan, then announced this February a decision to invest up to 29 billion yuan. To fund the fresh spending, CATL said last month that it plans to raise as much as 58.2 billion yuan through a private share placement.

TikTok faces probes in EU over transferring data to China and processing children’s information
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is investigating whether TikTok’s handling of personal data complies with the EU’s strict data protection law    Another probe is examining the short video platform’s age verification and handling of data for minors

China ramps up efforts to tackle plastic pollution with five-year action plan
The government plan sets out targets for phasing out single-use plastics, boosting recycling and promoting alternatives to plastic      A fifth of the world’s single-use plastic came from China in 2019, according to a study in May this year by the Australia-based Minderoo Foundation

Chinese mining firms told to stop work and leave Democratic Republic of Congo
Congolese authorities had suspended six firms’ operations over illegal mining and destruction of the environment    Beijing demands the companies obey the local government, after protests outside a Chinese mine that had ignored its orders

How pandemic proves China’s ‘digital Confucianism’ is superior to the West
For all the West’s complaints about invasion of privacy and freedom of movement, there are obvious benefits to an approach combining Confucian-style acceptance of governance with tech advancements    The ability to quickly ease social distancing rules and return to jobs and classes in person are also valuable freedoms

China Has Fully Vaccinated More Than 1 Billion People
China has fully vaccinated more than 1 billion people against Covid-19 — over 70% of its total population — powering ahead of the U.S. and Europe despite having no immediate plans to ease some of the strictest pandemic measures in the world. The success of China’s vaccination strategy hasn’t averted flareups of the pathogen in recent months, and questions remain about how effective the shots are, especially against the newest variants. The nation is currently battling a cluster in the southeastern province of Fujian after squelching an earlier delta outbreak, the broadest it’s experienced since Covid first appeared in Wuhan.

Biden’s muddled China policy
President Biden came into office with a plan for dealing with China that sounded great in theory but’s failing in practice

After Australia arms deal flop, EU to launch Indo-Pacific plan
The European Union will set out a formal strategy on Thursday to boost its presence in the Indo-Pacific and counter China’s rising power, although Australia’s decision to cancel an arms contract with France may complicate cooperation.

Australia to Get Nuclear Subs in New US, British Partnership
Earlier this year, Australia said it will earmark $185 billion for new and upgraded defense capabilities.

Aukus: China denounces ‘irresponsible’ US-UK-Australia pact
China has denounced a historic security pact between the US, UK and Australia, describing the alliance as “extremely irresponsible” and “narrow minded”.

Japan sends message to China, US with largest military drill in 30 years
As part of the exercise, personnel and vehicles will be moved to the country’s southwest, where areas such as the Diaoyu Islands are seen as at risk of attack     Analysts say this will give Japan some much-needed logistical experience, while signalling to rival Beijing and ally Washington that it is ready to protect itself

Chinese astronauts preparing to return to earth after 3-month mission on Tiangong space station
The three crew members have detached the Shenzhou 12 spaceship from the core module and are making their final preparations    Their return comes ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival and one source said they will be back home ‘in time for the mooncakes’

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
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