Breaking news and analysis on China’s economy, including its opening up, the US-China trade war, the impact of tariffs and trade talks, growth rates and other key economic data, the Belt and Road Init

iative, and Greater Bay Area plan.

Coronavirus lockdowns may need to last 6 weeks to be effective
Populations might have to endure lockdowns or stay-at-home orders of more than six weeks before the coronavirus pandemic can be brought under control in their area, researchers in the United States have said. According to the study published this week on SSRN, an open-source journal for early-stage research, countries adopting aggressive interventions might see a moderation of an outbreak after almost three weeks, control of the spread after one month, and containment after 45 days. The researchers defined aggressive intervention as lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, mass testing and quarantine. With less aggressive intervention, the process could take much longer. “In the absence of a vaccine,
Slowly and cautiously, China begins to get back to normal
After nearly two months of lockdowns, strict quarantine rules and travel restrictions, life is slowly returning to normal in China as the coronavirus outbreak – which has infected more than 81,000 people and claimed more than 3,200 lives in the country – starts to wind down. Workers are gradually returning to their jobs and there is at last relief for medical staff on the front line, as the number of new patients falls and the condition of others improves. Schools, factories, public spaces and tourism destinations are starting to reopen.  In northwestern Qinghai province, which mostly sits on the Tibetan plateau, China’s first batch of 144 high schools and secondary vocational schools reopen
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
‘Kingdoms of women’: how modernity threatens Asia’s female-centric societies
While women’s rights may have become a major topic of discussion around the world in recent years, there are female-centric communities that for centuries have distinguished themselves by carving out their own feminist traditions in places such as China, India and Indonesia. But many of these matriarchal and matrilineal societies are now struggling to survive, amid threats posed by the modern world such as mass tourism, technology and the infiltration of ideas from mainstream patriarchal society. In China, for instance, there is a small Mosuo tribe known as the “kingdom of women.”. “Key to the Mosuo culture is their matrilineal family structure, with a basic building block of only members sh
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
Locust threat looms for Chinese farmers still reeling from coronavirus
China has raised its alert to prepare for the possibility that swarms of locusts that have laid waste to agricultural land in Pakistan, India and East Africa find their way across its borders, a government agency said on Monday. “Although experts believe that the risk of swarms entering the country and causing disaster is relatively low, [China] will be hampered in tracking the locusts by a lack of monitoring techniques and little knowledge of migration patterns [if they do] invade,” the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said in an emergency notice on its website. Beijing has convened a task force to watch for, control and – if possible – prevent the arrival of the voracious ins
How the coronavirus affects beekeepers and why it matters
Chinese beekeeper Mo Jiakai should be as busy as the inhabitants of his 200 or so hives at this time of year. He and his wife should be close to Chengdu in the southwestern province of Sichuan, ready for the colonies to make the most of the canola crops coming into bloom. Instead the 48-year-old is stuck much further south near a city called Panzhihua, trying to keep the bees alive as blanket traffic bans imposed to stop the coronavirus epidemic put their livelihood in danger. “We would have to go into quarantine for 14 days upon our arrival in Chengdu, which means the hives would be left to starve and die,” said Mo, who has been in the beekeeping business for more than two decades. “For bee
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
Black swans, grey rhinos and Xi Jinping’s worst fears
Back on January 21 last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a gathering of senior officials that they must be on guard against “black swans” and “grey rhinos” which could threaten the rule of the Communist Party amid a slowing economy. At that time, Xi’s use of animal metaphors sparked discussions among observers who generally interpreted his warnings as being related to different kinds of economic risks.  “Black swans” are events that cannot be predicted but have a profound impact on markets, while “grey rhinos” are known risks that have the potential to cause great harm but which people choose to ignore. One year later, Xi’s wildlife metaphors about the dangers facing the country have
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