A craft beer bully in China

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Top China news for March 16, 2017. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at supchina.com/subscribe.

Strong-arm tactics in the craft beer business in China

Discounting craft beer, buying up microbreweries, spying on rival brands’ sales by installing flow meters in draft beer taps in bars and restaurants: Writing in Fortune magazine, Scott Cendrowski has the dirt on the strong-arm tactics of global beer giant AB InBev as it tries to ensure dominance in the craft beer market in China. The article is accompanied by a review of China’s biggest beer brands.

Women and China: A SupChina-sponsored forum

We’re organizing a conference on May 18 in New York with female speakers who are movers and shakers in technology, business, and journalism in China. Please click here to book tickets.

Cleaning up a Beijing satellite city

Last year, the Beijing government announced plans to move many of its administrative buildings to Tongzhou, a satellite city to the east of the capital. Today, Xinhua reports (in Chinese) that Tongzhou plans to demolish 7.5 million square meters of “illegal buildings” and ensure that there is no new unapproved construction. The city also plans to regulate polluting factories, “promote” a new maternity hospital, and construct a new pediatrics hospital with 2,300 beds.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor in Chief

Today on SupChina

China is seeking to build a strong digital economy at home. Graham Webster explores the cyber agendas on Chinese officials’ minds that will help achieve that goal, and how they will affect foreign tech companies. We also release a Sinica Podcast with the highly-respected New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley that was recorded with a live audience in Beijing.

This issue of the SupChina newsletter was produced by Sky Canaves, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, and Jiayun Feng. More China stories worth your time are curated below, with the most important ones at the top of each section.


  • China, Saudi Arabia eye $65 billion in deals as king visits / Reuters
    On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman signed deals with China worth as much as $65 billion involving everything from space to renewable energy markets. The deals included a memorandum of understanding for the Saudi kingdom to participate in China’s Chang E-4 Moon mission and a partnership agreement for manufacturing drones. King Salman told Chinese president Xi Jinping that he hoped China could play a greater role in Middle East affairs “to promote global and regional peace, security and prosperity.”
  • AC Milan bidder said to lose China state-owned firm backing / Bloomberg
    Haixia Capital Management, an investment firm controlled by State Development & Investment Corporation (SDIC 国家开发投资公司), will no longer purchase an interest in Silvio Berlusconi’s AC Milan soccer club, according to people familiar with the matter. Regulators in China have intensified their scrutiny of overseas investments, particularly in sports and entertainment. Last week, People’s Bank of China governor Zhou Xiaochuan said that some purchases of overseas sports and entertainment assets didn’t fit with China’s industrial policy because they “triggered some complaints abroad.” The AC Milan deal was first announced in August last year.


  • In Australia, a call for closer ties to China gains support / NYT (paywall)
    Australia is recalibrating its strategies in the Asia-Pacific region for the Trump era, and this is likely to result in a closer relationship with China. Stephen FitzGerald, Australia’s first ambassador to China (between 1973 and 1976), said in a speech on Thursday that the world had reached the end of an era that was defined by American and European leadership, and that Australia must shift its focus from the U.S. to China. “We are living in a Chinese world,” he said. “But we don’t have a relationship to match it.” Since Trump was sworn in, his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has caused concerns about a significant impact on Australia’s exports, while China is becoming (paywall) an increasingly important trade partner for the country. However, areas of conflicting interests still exist, including differing positions on the South China Sea dispute.
    You can read a book-length essay on the Middle Kingdom’s relations with the country down under titled Australia and China at Forty — Stretch of the Imagination, written by Stephen FitzGerald in 2013.


  • How Beijing’s sky changes before and after major political meetings / SCMP
    When this year’s Two Sessions started on March 3, Beijing’s skies were somewhat smoggy. But as the political meetings progressed, the sky became much clearer because polluting factories were closed and traffic on the roads was limited. Though the air quality during the meetings was still categorized on China’s air-quality scale as “moderate” — rather than “good” or “very good” — it was enough to make local residents happy. But as the meetings came to an end, smog began to appear once more. In a press conference hosted by Li Keqiang 李克强, the premier vowed to make the country’s skies blue again “by removing high-emission cars from the road and closing coal-fired furnaces.”
  • A new baby boom is happening in China’s smaller cities / Bloomberg
    As smaller cities in China struggle to cope with a baby boom that resulted from the new two-child policy, there is a debate over whether an immediate lifting of all birth control restrictions is needed to increase the country’s labor force. On the sidelines of the Two Sessions this year, Sun Xiaomei, a professor at China Women’s University in Beijing and National People’s Congress delegate, insists that it is too soon to further relax the new two-child ceiling because hospitals and schools in rural areas are already having difficulty accommodating the surging population of newly born babies. Others argue that the introduction of a two-child policy is too little and too late to address problems caused by China’s aging population.