China business and economy

China business and economy

China’s rapid growth has created wealth for millions and an irresistible pull for companies and nations alike.

China's economy fell off a cliff during coronavirus lockdown
The coronavirus’ impact on China’s economy was made plain in new numbers released on Monday, which showed a collapse across the board. Strict containment efforts, including the full-scale lockdown of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus was first reported, has led analysts to downgrade their outlook for the Chinese economy, with most now expecting a historic contraction in the first quarter. On Monday, newly released economic data points fell dramatically further than analysts had predicted. For example, retail sales,  a key metric of consumption in the world’s second-largest economy, fell by 20.5%, the first decline on record.  The median forecast of a group of analysts, conducted by Bloomberg
How face masks are reminding the world of China's manufacturing dominance
The Liu family factory has been making diapers and baby products in the Chinese city of Quanzhou for over 10 years. In February, for the first time, it started making face masks, as demand soared spectacularly due to the coronavirus outbreak. The business – which employs 100 people in the southeastern province of Fujian – has added two production lines to make up to 200,000 masks a day. And while the decision was primarily commercial, “encouragement” from the Chinese government – in the form of subsidies, lower taxes, interest-free loans, fast-track approvals for expansion and help to alleviate labor shortages – made the decision an obvious one, said Mr Liu, who preferred only to give his fa
China’s economy could shrink for the first time since Mao died
The odds are rising that China will report a sharp deceleration in growth – or even a contraction in the first quarter as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. The outbreak has paralyzed the country’s manufacturing and service sectors, putting Beijing in the difficult position of either forgoing its economic growth goal for 2020 or returning to its old playbook of massive debt-fuelled economic stimulus to support growth. The first available economic indicators showing the extent of the economic damage done by the epidemic have prompted economists to slash their Chinese growth forecasts. Several are even expecting the once-unthinkable scenario in which China’s economy posts a zero growth rate
Global trade was breaking down. Then came the coronavirus
The still-evolving coronavirus outbreak has already disrupted trade and economic performance both regionally and globally. Perhaps the most insidious impact of the virus stems from China’s pre-eminent position as a producer of intermediary products that feed into global supply chains. China accounts for almost one-fifth of world manufacturing and Chinese intermediary products are predominant in the electronics, car, machinery and textile sectors. Subtracting Chinese inputs from these supply chains will, in some instances, cause production to grind to a halt, as has been the case for Hyundai Motor in South Korea. In other instances, alternative or workaround solutions will be found but they w
Mastercard can finally set up shop in China
Mastercard has won Chinese government approval to enter China’s payments market. It’s a major step in the American company’s decades-long effort to reach the country’s 400 million middle-class consumers. China’s central bank on Tuesday said it had approved an application from Mastercard’s joint venture to set up a business to settle payments in yuan, the official Chinese currency. Beijing has long insisted on state control of key financial infrastructure despite Washington’s insistence on giving American companies wider access to the Chinese market. The approval by China was granted three weeks after Beijing and Washington signed their initial trade deal, in which China promised it would fur
China wants people to get back to work. That may not be happening
China is facing a dilemma. The country is trying to get back to business after the extended Lunar New Year holiday amid fears that a mass movement of workers across the country will worsen the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has infected over 31,000 people. Allowing the workforce to return to their jobs is crucial both for sustaining economic growth and providing support to fight the outbreak, according to Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at the Industrial Bank in Shanghai. “It’s obviously desirable for employers who are now paying rent, salaries and social welfare for their employees, for nothing in return,” he said, adding that most small and medium enterprises in China could only last a
Designing clothes for China’s working women
When Alicia Lee launched her own fashion label, more than seven years ago, it was something of an uphill struggle. In many ways the design part was the easiest. Finding distributors and factories prepared to commit to smaller production runs was the trickiest part. It was particularly difficult for the Beijing-based designer, who was located some distance from where most China garment factories are. Being in the capital, however, did offer one huge advantage – the concentration of media organizations there made it easy to cultivate contacts from fashion and lifestyle magazines. “When I launched in 2012, the designers here got a lot of attention,” recalls Lee. “It was easy to get exposure wi
Melting sea ice is opening a new frontier in US-China rivalry
As declining sea ice threatens to disrupt the main habitat for polar bears, the United States and China see a once-in-a-lifetime opening. A decrease in Arctic summer sea ice could turn previously frozen sea lanes into “the 21s century Suez and Panama Canals,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in May 2019. But the possibility of faster and cheaper shipping between Asia and Europe through the Arctic has also pitted the US against a rising China eager to expand its global influence. A year before Pompeo spoke of leveraging the Arctic in his speech in Finland, Beijing announced a policy to include the polar region in its Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious effort to build land and mariti
China’s growth falls to 29-year low. Official says progress ‘unstoppable’
China’s economy grew by 6.1% in 2019, the lowest annual growth rate for 29 years, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. The gross domestic product (GDP) figure came in a year in which the Chinese economy was hammered by US tariffs as a result of the trade war. The new data comes a day after China and the United States signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday, marking something of a ceasefire in the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. However, despite falling to a new low since 1990, when political turmoil drove economic growth down to 3.9%, the 6.1% rate met the target range of between 6.0% and 6.5% set by the central government at the beginning of last year
Rise of Chinese sex rings catches Philippines by surprise
A sudden new development in the sex trade in the Philippines has left the country’s law enforcers scratching their heads: the rise of Chinese prostitutes catering exclusively to Chinese customers. Nearly 300 Chinese sex workers and their clients were rounded up in raids by the Philippine authorities on 12 brothels in six cities in the second half of last year, the Philippine media company ABS-CBN reported this week. Agents believe all the raided premises were being run by mainland Chinese, for Chinese clients. A source at the National Bureau of Investigation who took part in one of the raids told the South China Morning Post the brothels are a “new development.” The brothels’ customers, pros