Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

China Press Review – September 7, 2021

China’s exports boomed in August, as trade surplus with the US widened by 27 per cent
China’s exports grew by 25.6 per cent in August compared with a year earlier, up from 19.3 per cent growth in July.    China’s imports grew by 33.1 per cent last month, year on year, up from 28.1 per cent growth in the previous month.

China’s trade hit record levels last month despite the global shipping crisis
China’s trade with the rest of the world surged to record highs last month, easing fears that a stubborn coronavirus outbreak and the global shipping crisis were stalling the economy.

China and Big Tech: Xi’s blueprint for a digital dictatorship
In order to bend such troves of information to its will, Beijing has adopted a multipronged technique. It is publishing legal guidelines to manipulate information’s use. It is rising the state’s entry to the information of personal firms and accumulating huge information inventories itself.  The primary function behind such efforts is captured by final month’s launch of draft regulations on algorithms — or mathematical directions that govern a lot online behaviour. These ought to, the draft legislation says, “orient towards mainstream values” and “actively transmit positive energy”. In different phrases, they need to help — and actually not oppose — the messaging of the Chinese Communist celebration.  But some are feeling the chilliness. The hardening of China’s authorized regime round information utilization is inflicting extreme disruptions for multinationals working in China, massive Chinese firms and the monetary markets. One legislation, the Personal Information Protection Law, which is because of take impact in November, stipulates that information being moved out of China should both move a safety evaluation by the Cyberspace Administration of China, a authorities regulator, or acquire different types of official approval.   Another legislation which got here into impact this month, the Data Security Law, requires the safety of “important data” and “core data”, the latter of which is outlined as information involving nationwide and financial safety, folks’s welfare or necessary public curiosity. The definitions are so broad, they might cowl virtually something associated to personal information, specialists say.

Xi’s Common Prosperity Drive Triggers a Rare Debate in China
In a country that regularly censors opposing viewpoints, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s push for “shared prosperity” has led to something unusual: a spirited public policy debate. On one side are those sharing the views of blogger Li Guangman, whose comments last month calling Xi’s regulatory action a “profound revolution” were widely published by major government media outlets. It declared “the capital market will no longer be a haven for the capitalists to get rich overnight” and that “those who prevent this people-centred change will be shunned.” Opposing that argument are people such as Hu Zijin, editor-in-chief of the nationalist Global Times newspaper, who refuted Lee’s article, saying that the planned changes were the result of unified policies of top leaders. The goal, he said, was gradual social progress rather than a broad campaign that was some sort of second cultural revolution.

The digital renminbi and the rise of central bank digital currencies
A few years ago, governments were not prepared to accept any potential systemic disruption that digital currencies could have on the international monetary system. But positions have been changing drastically.    Facebook’s June 2019 announcement of its own digital currency, initially called Libra, then known as Diem, was a shot heard around the world and served as a wakeup call for many governments and financial institutions. If a private company with 2.8 billion users can issue a digital currency that circumvents sovereignty over money supply, what effect could this have on the international monetary system?

Tycoon founder steps back as China tech scrutiny deepens
Richard Liu follows a number of high-profile Chinese CEOs in stepping back from operations at the firms as the government tightens its grip on the economy

Chinese review platform Douban suspends reply function amid Beijing’s crackdown on social media
Douban cited ‘technical reasons’ for suspending its reply function until September 13       The platform has become a popular online meeting place for users to discuss the latest gossip and updates in China’s entertainment industry

Takeover of UK graphene maker Perpetuus Advanced Materials could be blocked as Kwarteng intervenes on national security grounds
The takeover of a Welsh graphene maker could be blocked after Kwasi Kwarteng intervened on national security grounds.     The Business Secretary has ordered an investigation into an attempt to buy Perpetuus Advanced Materials by a company called Taurus International and a Chinese scientist.    Documents released by the Government show that the importance of the technology Perpetuus makes has raised question marks about the sale.

An $11 Billion Distraction for China’s Chip Ambitions
Beijing wants to boost its semiconductor prowess, but instead the nation’s leading company is doubling down on mediocre technology.

George Soros ups the ante in war of words with BlackRock over China, exposing contrast of bets on world’s second-biggest market
Soros, an early investor in Hainan Airlines, calls BlackRock’s expansion in China ‘tragic mistake,’ in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal     Soros, the founder of Quantum Fund and the Open Society Foundation, has written two opinion pieces in the Journal since August 13

China opens big data centre in support of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals while Beijing clamps down on data at home
A big data research centre announced last year has launched with the aim of supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals      While supporting Beijing’s push for carbon neutrality, the new centre’s promise for data sharing is clouded by the government’s clampdown on data at home

Recommendation Algorithm Regulations – Bolstering China’s Cybersecurity Regime
The Cybersecurity Administration of China has begun soliciting industry feedback on a new set of recommendation algorithm regulations that would take significant steps in regulating how the technology can be used. If passed and enforced as intended, the regulations will have a major impact on companies that rely heavily on the technology, such as social media applications, e-commerce platforms, and news sites, requiring them to increase oversight and make significant technical adjustments.

Tech Crackdown Is a Cloud Over China Economy, Ex-WTO Chief Says
China’s regulatory efforts to increase control over its technology sector adds another “decoupling engine” to the global economy, which could weigh on Chinese growth prospects, the former head of the World Trade Organization said.    Pascal Lamy, who has long-warned of the negative effects of U.S. efforts to “decouple” elements of its economy from China’s, said political trends in China could stall the country’s push to increase exports of digital services, potentially trapping it in “middle income” status.

Analysis: Sovereign wealth funds sweet on China, despite regulatory headwinds
investment strategies and piling into venture capital and real estate, according to data and analysts.  Investors in China have been shaken in recent weeks by a slew of regulations targeting sectors ranging from gaming to education.    Sovereign wealth funds are not immune but, given their long-term investment outlook, they are not expected to pull back from a bet that China will provide the engine of global growth for years to come.”Long-term investors like sovereign funds won’t adjust their allocation to the second-largest economy down to zero overnight,” said Winston Ma, former managing director of China Investment Corp, Beijing’s own sovereign fund. “Their strategic asset allocation cannot be that tactical.”

Didi’s founder heads up data security committee, yielding to China’s regulatory demands as ‘a matter of survival’
Didi’s founder Cheng Wei will head the Information and Data Security committee, while CTO Zhang Bo will be the executive deputy director     The committee will oversee data security, cyberspace and information security, personal information protection, algorithm security, content security and overseas business privacy, according to a memo

Xi muffles Chinese consumer boom
President Xi Jinping is muffling China’s consumer boom. Policies targeting spending excesses are hammering listed companies from e-commerce giant Alibaba to liquor specialist Kweichow Moutai. Elsewhere officials are moving to buttress trade surpluses and state industrial giants. Companies who had bet that Chinese shoppers would evolve into free-spending Americans will be worried; trade partners should be alarmed.

What’s behind China’s video game restrictions?
China placed strict limits on the time young people may spend playing online games.  The move is part of a broader effort to enforce social guidelines.  But cracking down on video game play is not unique to China.

Buyers beware: investors of real estate assets beyond Hong Kong should be aware of risks, rules and complications
Consumers should study all related information before making a purchase and be extremely vigilant to protect their own interests      Consumers should have greater protection if they appoint licensed estate agents when purchasing non-local properties

China’s Crackdown on Private Equity Funds
The private equity fund industry posed serious enough financial risks that additional oversight was necessary.     In sum, although there has been debate surrounding the necessity of some of the regulations included in the recent flurry of rules, the violations in the private equity industry may cause significant financial disruption for new regulations to be considered essential. Development of this industry will help to provide more outlets for finance and investment in China, which remains necessary. In this case, cracking down on fraud and mismanagement can help to improve the level of China’s economic development.

Why Is China Setting Up a Third Major Stock Exchange in Beijing?
Beijing’s new bourse is designed to provide smaller Chinese companies with easier access to funding at home, as economic tensions with the U.S. continue to rise.

Opinion: Germany must call off Angela Merkel’s Chinese love affair
For years Berlin has mollycoddled China in the hope that billions of euros in investments would prompt it to shun its authoritarian ways. Beijing’s belligerence shows the tactic has backfired, says DW’s Ashutosh Pandey.   It’s also important to realize that the Chinese economy, which has benefited immensely from globalization, is today more integrated with other economies than ever. This means that any pain inflicted by Beijing on a trading partner is likely to be felt even at home.   China is not done with siphoning off intellectual property from Western firms and acquiring critical technology know-how. In fact, it needs them even more as it realizes President Xi’s goal of becoming a high-tech superpower. It can’t afford to pick a fight with the EU whose technologies and capital have underpinned the Chinese growth story, especially as relations with the US and Australia sour.    Economic interests have taken precedence over values for far too long thanks to Merkel’s obsession with keeping Beijing in good humor. It’s time that changes.

China-Australia relations: as demand for coal surges, how long can Beijing keep banning Australian supply?
In recent weeks, dozens of open-pit mines in Inner Mongolia have renewed land approvals, looking to mine coal from previously restricted land to meet demand       Australian treasurer says most coal exports that used to go to China have been redirected elsewhere

China’s top universities told to stop slacking off on Communist Party ideology
Party inspectors find ‘common and deep-seated’ political problems on campus in two months of in-house inspections         Orders come as leaders seek to maintain control in the lead-up to November’s gathering of the party elite, analyst says

China’s foreign students beg Beijing to allow them to return to the country to resume university study
For the last 20 months China has refused to allow foreign students to return to resume university study       Only students from South Korea have been granted visas after the two countries made a reciprocal deal in July last year

The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investments (CAI): a piece of the puzzle.
On 30 December 2020, the EU and China announced that they had reached an Agreement in Principle on investments. The text is the result of lengthy negotiations, which started in January 2014. The EU-China CAI was met with fierce criticism from political commentators, who believe the treaty is a “strategic victory” for China and may potentially damage transatlantic relations. However, as usual with international affairs, matters are not always as simple as portrayed and deserve thorough consideration.

Chinese foreign minister on fresh mission to Southeast Asia and South Korea
Wang Yi’s first stop on weeklong trip will be Vietnam on Friday       Visit comes just weeks after whirlwind visit by US vice-president   China’s foreign minister will head to Vietnam on Friday for the start of a weeklong trip to Southeast Asia and South Korea, as both Beijing and Washington court key Asia-Pacific partners.     Wang Yi, who is also a state councillor, will also visit Cambodia and Singapore, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday.    The South Korean foreign ministry said Wang would be in Seoul on Tuesday and Wednesday next week for talks with his counterpart Chung Eui-yong. Wang might also meet President Moon Jae-in, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Wang last visited South Korea in November, and his last in-person meeting with Chung was in April in the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen. In addition, there are fresh signs that North Korea has restarted its Yongbyon nuclear reactor in the last few months, possibly to give Pyongyang leverage if stalled denuclearisation talks are revived.  South Korea hoped that China, the North’s main economic and aid partner, can help rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. Beijing has called for sanctions relief to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.

Xi Jinping Speech at the 2021 Far East Economic Forum
Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the Far Eastern Economic Forum via video link on Friday.    The forum is an important stage for regional leaders to discuss the development of Russian Asia and its integration into neighboring economies, such as China, Mongolia, Japan, and South Korea.    The following is the translated text of Xi’s speech, which didn’t contain anything specifically new, but did underline the continuing and intended cooperation between China, the Belt & Road Initiative, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

Chinese air force may have cracked how to land a hypersonic drone
Flight control computers’ inability to calculate a descent quickly enough at Mach 5 has been an obstacle to using hypersonic aircraft      But Chinese military researchers say they have rethought the software to work around the problem

To Protect China From Disasters, First Close the Rural-Urban Gap
For all the attention focused on cities like Zhengzhou, natural disasters tend to wreak far more damage in the countryside.   It is thus vital for China to treat urban and rural areas equally when it comes to disaster prevention. Rural emergency management protocols must be established, disaster prevention infrastructure should be upgraded and maintained, and local governments need to implement new warning systems so that all residents are notified when a disaster is coming.

Why Gen-Z Symbols Are Different in China
Brands should be immersing themselves in the universes of Chinese Gen-Z symbolism. But what are these worlds, and where can they be found?    In China, consumers gain emotional or physical self-actualization from brands.    Hip hop and gaming operate on a rich tapestry of rituals which resonates with Gen-Z.    For China’s youth, symbols are both a continuum of ideas and history as well as being completely of the now.

What to expect from China at the upcoming major climate summit COP26
China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has made commitments to climate change and set ambitious targets to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. But details on how to get there have been scarce so far.    That may change at COP26 this year, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, according to Gavin Thompson, vice chairman of Wood Mackenzie Asia Pacific.    Thompson outlined five things to expect from China at the summit, including demands for flexibility and opposing so-called carbon border taxes.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
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