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Business

Online shopping is exploding in China
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 710 million: the number of online shoppers in China.  The number of people in China who shop online reached 710 million in March 2020, according to the state-run China Internet Network Information Center.  The number has grown by 100 million from the end of 2018. Currently, more than half of China’s 1.4 billion population are buying things online. E-commerce has become a massive industry because of the growing spending power of China’s middle class. Also, the proliferation of online payment methods, as well as the low cost and efficient delivery infrastructure, has helped co
Beijing wants to turn the ‘Chinese Hawaii’ into a trade hub to rival Hong Kong
China has unveiled plans to turn its southern island of Hainan into the mainland’s answer to Hong Kong or Singapore, as it tries to dampen the risk of decoupling with the United States. Beijing on Monday outlined a package of special policies to make the tropical island a free-trade port by lowering the income tax rate for selected individuals and companies, scrapping import duties and relaxing visa requirements for tourists and business travelers. The island province of 9.5 million people will also enjoy freedoms in terms of trade, investment and the movement of people and data, according to the plans. The project to create a regional trade, shopping and shipping center in Hainan – which at
Will Trump cut China from the dollar payment system?
Will the Trump administration weaponize the US dollar to hurt China following Beijing’s plan to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong? This new and troubling question is suddenly looming for Chinese officials.  While the probability remains very low, the risk of a financial war – including being cut off from the US dollar system – is no longer unthinkable for China. President Donald Trump has not mentioned sanctions against Hong Kong or Chinese financial institutions amid worsening US-China relations. But if Washington were to sever China’s corporate and financial system from the US dollar payments system, it could start a financial tsunami that would lead global finance into unch
Hong Kong scrambles after US says city ‘no longer autonomous’
Economists, diplomats and business figures were scrambling on Thursday to quantify the effect of Washington’s decision to deem Hong Kong “no longer autonomous” from China.  The US decision came hours before China’s top legislature endorsed moves to impose national security legislation on the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the promise that it would enjoy a high degree of autonomy.  Many of the Hong Kong stakeholders gamed out the “nuclear option,” in which the United States revokes the city’s special trading status. Former White House officials said that the most likely immediate scenario is that US President Donald Trump approves a “variety” of sanctions
China looks inwards as it plans for economic ‘worst-case scenario’
China is turning inward and looking to its domestic market, rather than international trade, to revive its economy in what has been described as preparation for a “worst-case scenario” that might see it decoupling from America and the rest of the West.   President Xi Jinping told dozens of top economic advisers in Beijing over the weekend that China was pursuing a new development plan where “domestic [trade] circulation plays the dominant role.” “For the future, we must treat domestic demand as the starting point and foothold as we accelerate the building of a complete domestic consumption system, and greatly promote innovation in science, technology and other areas,” Xi said in comments pub
Beijing abandons 2020 economic growth target
In a break with the past, the Chinese government will not set a target for its economic growth this year, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday. The decision underscores the uncertainty facing the world’s most populous country brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and worsening US-China relations.  Li announced the decision during the opening session of China’s annual parliamentary gathering, which was delayed for two months due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  China has set a hard target for its gross domestic product growth every year since 1994. Li attributed the move to scrap the 2020 target to “the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.”
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
‘The public is still fearful of the virus’: Wuhan faces long road to recovery
When Kang Wei landed a job with the local government in Wuhan last month, he believed his luck had finally turned. “I thought it was under a government bureau and would last until the end of the year,” he said. The migrant worker in his thirties had left his home in Huanggang in the central Chinese province of Hubei last year, heading to the provincial capital Wuhan to look for work. He then spent two months under lockdown as the city fought the Covid-19 outbreak, before joining the long lines outside businesses in the city looking for work before landing a job patrolling farms and villages to look for illegal structures. But as it turned out, the job lasted only a week before it fell victim
US semiconductor giant scraps its only China factory
An American technology giant has closed its semiconductor factory in China, dealing a potential blow to China’s bid to own a bigger slice of the market of a technology crucial to its global ambitions. The US chip giant GlobalFoundries confirmed that it has halted operations of the facility and placed employees on an “employee optimization plan,” a commonly-used euphemism for lay-offs.  The facility was GlobalFoundries’s only factory in China. While its closure has little to do with the US-China rivalry –  it never managed to get off the ground – the announcement comes amid an escalating tech war with the United States. The symbolism is rich. China is struggling in its efforts to boost its d
41% of Americans shun China’s products. The mistrust is mutual
The coronavirus pandemic is fueling mistrust among consumers in China and the United States of each country’s products.  A recent survey by Deutsche Bank’s big data platform dbDIG showed 41% of Americans would not buy a “Made in China” product again. 35% of Chinese would avoid buying products “Made in USA.” Even though most consumers were not ready to completely shun each other’s goods, the survey results indicate a rise in commercial nationalism and a growing distaste for globalization, said Apjit Walia, an analyst at Deutsche Bank. US consumer distrust of Chinese products has been boosted by comments from American officials, particularly President Donald Trump, who has blamed China for th