Trump government strategies to press China

Business & Technology

Top business and technology news for February 14, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Small-time investors risk jail to recoup billions"

A clerk counts Chinese yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes at a branch of Bank of China in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China, January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Jon Woo

  • U.S. eyes new tactic to press China / WSJ (paywall)
    A new policy is under discussion in the White House to discourage China from devaluing its currency to increase exports. According to people briefed on or involved in formulating the plan, to avoid making confrontational claims about whether or not China is intentionally manipulating its currency to its advantage, “the commerce secretary would designate the practice of currency manipulation as an unfair subsidy when employed by any country,” without singling out China. In light of Trump’s phone call with Chinese president Xi last week, in which the U.S. president said he would honor the one-China policy, “the move could be a sign that the Trump administration is softening its stance on China,” especially given the context of Trump’s repeatedly calling China a currency manipulator and threatening to impose 45 percent tariffs on Chinese goods during his presidential campaign.
  • China’s obsession with skyscrapers reaches new heights / SCMP
    It is the ninth year in a row that China, the world’s second-largest economy, ranked top in the world for having the largest number of new skyscrapers 200 meters or taller. In 2016 alone, China accounted for 70 percent, or 84 buildings, of 128 such mega-buildings constructed around the globe. Many of these skyscrapers are located in smaller cities, not the megalopolises of Shanghai and Beijing. This year, more than 10 mid- and small-sized cities, including Suzhou, Changsha, and Wuhan, will see 300-meter-plus skyscrapers begin construction or application for regulatory approval. The frenzy to erect more high-rises is partly attributed to “the acceleration of China’s urbanization and a desire to improve the national image with modern construction.”
    The problem, however, is that it will be hard to find quality tenants to fill the space in smaller cities. In fact, a remarkable percentage of already-existing skyscrapers are unoccupied and, over time, are neglected. Furthermore, it is estimated that by the end of 2017, “the cumulative vacancy area of office space in 17 cities will increase 3.3 percentage points to 23.5 percent, or 19 million square meters.”