Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee

Correspondent

Amanda is a contributor to Inkstone. The Beijing-based correspondent covers markets and the economy for the South China Morning Post, with an interest in China's economic and social landscape.

Location
Beijing
Language spoken
English, Mandarin
Areas of Expertise
Markets, economy
Chinese births fell 15% during pandemic-hit 2020
Just over 10 million babies were registered in China’s birth registration system last year, raising concerns that the country’s demographic crisis is no longer an issue that is on the horizon.  “The collapse of the newborn population is really here,” said James Liang, a research professor of applied economics at the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, in a blog post last week. Concerns over China’s population’s outlook have grown after the number of newborns recorded in the country’s household registration system declined 15% during a coronavirus-hit 2020. According to figures released by the Ministry of Public Security on Monday, the 10.035 million newborns recorded in 2020 b
What you need to know about China’s record-high debt
China’s overall debt level is set to rise this year to a record as analysts expect China to be borrowing more money in the coming months to rescue its coronavirus-hit economy. But the economic fallout from the pandemic has raised concerns over the state firms and local governments’ ability to pay back those loans to investors, potentially triggering a financial tumble at home which could destabilize other markets around the world.  The South China Morning Post examines China’s debt, who owns it and why it matters. What is the nature of China’s debt?  Broadly speaking, China’s debt can be divided into domestic debt and foreign debt. China’s domestic debt, denominated in yuan, consists of thr
Coronavirus could cause ‘disastrous’ global food shortages
The coronavirus pandemic could disrupt global food supply chains and send prices soaring, international agencies and experts have warned. Export restrictions imposed by major producing countries could especially hurt economies with vulnerable supply structures, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said last week. And the UN Committee on World Food Security warned that “disruptions at borders and in supply chains may cause an echo in the food system with potentially disastrous effects.” The warnings highlight the potential damage of the coronavirus outbreak beyond its immediate toll on the at least 700,000 people it has sickened in nearly 200 countries. “Coupled with the curr
Frog farmers make appeal to keep their livelihoods from croaking
Frog breeders in southern China have appealed to authorities to allow them to keep rearing the animals despite a national ban on the wildlife trade triggered by the coronavirus epidemic. “The government’s forestry department has banned the trading of all wild animals, including our 11,000 tons of domesticated [East Asian bullfrogs]. Where do we go from here?” wrote a group of breeders from Jiangmen in the southern province of Guangdong. It included the names and phone numbers of more than 100 signatories. “Frog farming is no longer a source of living. The government asked us to try something else. What are we capable of doing?” they said, adding that the industry employed 10,000 people in on
Coronavirus has Chinese airlines offering tickets for the price of a latte
There’s never been a worse – or better – time to travel in China. The price of a one-way air ticket from coastal Shanghai to the inland megacity of Chongqing, a three-hour flight, has fallen to as low as the cost of a cup of coffee. Chinese airlines are slashing prices in a bid to boost weak domestic demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. The epidemic has led to the cancellation of around 10,000 flights a day, or around two-thirds of the total number of flights scheduled every day in February, putting huge financial pressure on airlines and airports. The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a notice on Tuesday that flights should resume gradually as part of the country’s efforts to
Made (mostly) in China 2025: Beijing wants to cut reliance on foreign tech
After the Trump administration showed itself willing and capable of blocking Chinese access to US technology as US-China tensions rose, Beijing may have learned. China is aiming to increase its reliance on domestic production for key components, including chips and control systems, to 75% by 2025, according to a former official. The target reflects Beijing’s determination to reduce its dependence on imports by expanding its national manufacturing innovation centers to 40 from the 15 at the end of 2019. Domestic production currently only provides around a third of the key components required by China, but Li Yizhong, a former industry and information technology minister, said this week that t
How does the world see China's rise? It's complicated
China’s growing economic strength is seen by most people as positive, but the country’s rise as a global superpower is not making it popular with neighbors in the Asia-Pacific, a survey released on Thursday showed. The survey of nearly 39,000 people in 34 countries by the Pew Research Center also showed the world had an overwhelmingly negative view of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Over the past 70 years, China has transformed itself from an economic backwater to the world’s second-largest economy and a major source of investment around the world. Some 58% of people across 16 countries recognized China’s strong economy as mutually beneficial, while 52% said they see Chinese investment as posi
China’s massaging of economic data distorts global growth, study says
China’s official economic data over the past four years has been “too smooth to be realistic,” according to a new study by Rhodium Group, a US-based research house. A new report claims that this unrealistic data has led to distortions in global economic growth estimates, which in turn has affected economic policy decision-making throughout the world, especially in China. “There is significant cost to its data smoothing for China itself, which I think is completely under appreciated, based on the expectation that projecting stability is a significant impediment to reform,” said Logan Wright, head of Rhodium Group’s China markets research. “It’s obvious that if there’s not much broken then the
China quietly tightened screening of foreign investments
China’s powerful central planning agency quietly had its remit ­expanded last month to govern whether ­foreign investments in the country threaten ­national security. Experts say that the new powers, together with a new article in China’s foreign investment law, enable Beijing to make strong legal cases against American firms investing in the country amid an escalating US-China trade war. China’s National Development and Reform Commission is now charged with reviewing foreign investments to ensure they are in line with “economic security.” The state planner’s authority has been strengthened in the process. This signals a big change in the national security review process for foreign investo
China refuses to give up its ‘developing’ status, or its perks
China will refuse to give up its status as a developing country at the World Trade Organization, in a rebuke to a US proposal that would pare back the privileges China and other nations enjoy on trade. China declares itself as a developing country at the global trade body, which allows it to subsidize its agricultural producers and set higher barriers to market entry than more developed economies. The dispute reflects a fundamental divide within the WTO that has threatened the future of the global trading system. The United States has long complained that too many WTO members – about two-thirds – define themselves as developing countries to take advantage of the terms the status permits the