Business

Business

These countries have reported zero cases of Covid-19
Much of the world has been hit by Covid-19 and many countries are still struggling for months to get their individual outbreaks under control. Even for the handful of nations that have yet to report a single coronavirus infection to the World Health Organization, the effects of the global pandemic are devastating.
How China braces its economy for a more hostile world
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Four decades after China opened its doors and put itself on a path to becoming the world’s factory, a pandemic has exposed how much industralized nations have grown to rely on Chinese imports, from medical equipment to factory parts and consumer goods. To diversify its supply chains, Japan is subsidizing companies to move their factories out of China. And the two men vying to be the next American president, incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden, have both signaled their desire to shift the US economy away from China. China’s
China’s tech hub is also the world’s e-cigarette center
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 90%: the percentage of e-cigarettes made in China.  About nine in 10 e-cigarettes sold globally are produced in China, mostly in the southern tech hub of Shenzhen.  The surging popularity of e-cigarettes, especially in America, has in recent years set off an investment frenzy around vaping products in Shenzhen. In 2018, the e-cigarette industry in China employed more than 2 million people, generating annual sales of nearly $5 billion, state broadcaster CCTV reported. But the health risks associated with vaping remain unclear, and the widespread use of e-cigarettes among young
How Japan helps businesses wean themselves off China
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features one important number about China to give you insight into the rising power. $2.2 billion: how much the Japanese government is spending on incentives for companies to move production lines out of China.  The coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for Japan to become less reliant on producing in China. In April, the government set aside more than $2 billion from its $1.1 trillion economic relief package to attract companies back to Japan or to set up in countries outside China. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said Japan needed to reform its supply chain to produce high-value products and essential goods at home, while diversifying it
Living without banks: The unbanked people of China
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 11.4%: the share of adults in China who did not have an active bank account by 2018.  Having access to the banking system is a key indicator of financial inclusion. The World Bank views access to bank accounts as crucial for escaping poverty because it helps people prepare for emergencies, start businesses, and pay for education or health care services. In China, an account is also needed to use the mobile payment services that are rapidly replacing cash in many parts of the country.  Although the expansion of mobile phone use has made it easier for people in rural China to u
What is China’s digital currency?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. The Chinese government has started large-scale testing of its digital currency, bringing Beijing a step closer to taking greater control over the country’s financial system – everything that a decentralized cryptocurrency like bitcoin was built to avoid. What is China’s digital currency? China’s sovereign digital currency program is officially called the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).  The plan is not to create a new currency, but to replace part of the notes and coins in circulation with a digital version of the yuan.  The currency will be i
Why can the US force TikTok to sell?
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. When the US government made overtures about banning the popular app TikTok in the summer of 2020, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin cited the unanimous support from an obscure interagency committee. Named the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the high-level panel’s job is to review business and real estate deals involving foreign investment for potential national security threats. As the Chinese-owned app TikTok exploded in popularity in the US, during a time when US-China relations spiraled to new lows, the US government was
Covid-19 is decimating the restaurant business
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Index features a single, illuminating number that helps you make sense of China. 32.8%: the decline in Chinese people’s spending on food and drinks in the first half of 2020.  Retail sales of consumer goods in China have dropped by 11.4% during the first half of 2020, according to the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics.  Most consumer goods industries have been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreaks, as people cut back social activities and travel plans. Restaurants had the worst time, with their revenue falling by 32.8% compared with the same period last year. Jewelry sales dropped by 23.6%, and clothing and textiles saw a 19.6% decline.  The pandemic ha
How young women are powering China’s consumption growth
Young women dubbed “little sisters” are fast becoming a driving force of spending in China, boosting the fortunes of companies selling everything from beer and liquor to streaming services and cosmetics. They are well-educated and are delaying or just skipping marriage and motherhood, giving them more money and the confidence to spend. Meanwhile, they see themselves reflected in popular TV shows – like the Chinese summer hit Sisters Who Make Waves – that encourage them to splurge on themselves. As such, they are an increasingly important segment of China’s female consumers, who among all age groups account for three out of four purchases in the world’s most populated country, according to a
China’s digital money goes into large-scale testing
China’s big four state-owned commercial banks have started large-scale internal testing of what would be the world’s first sovereign digital currency, according to mainland media.  The state-owned commercial banks are working on the digital yuan with the central bank in major cities, including the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald reported on Thursday. Different from decentralized cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Beijing’s digital currency is expected to give the government more power in tracing the movement of money within the second-biggest economy. Instead of allowing transactions to happen outside of a central authority – like what bitcoin does