Winter steel production to be cut by 7.5 percent to clear up pollution – China’s latest business and technology news

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for September 25, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


The Financial Times reports (paywall) that China’s megacenter of steel production, the eastern city of Tangshan, will take the drastic step of halving its steel output this winter to lessen air pollution and, hopefully, help consolidate the bloated and indebted industry. Half of Tangshan’s steel production, or 20 million metric tons of metal, is the equivalent of 7.5 percent of China’s total annual steel output. The FT notes that three other steel towns, Shijiazhuang, Anyang, and Handan, are set to announce similar cuts. Reuters notes that cities in eastern Anhui Province are also asking some smelting industries to cut production by up to 30 percent starting on October 1, also to meet new air pollution targets.

Caixin investigates (paywall) the view from the ground on these environmental crackdowns, noting that “environmental inspectors closed or suspended operations of 56,000 polluters in 28 cities by the end of March…[and] that number more than tripled to 176,000 by the end of June.” But many inspectors were using “heavy-handed” methods in their scramble to meet pollution targets, as they nailed small businesses for lack of land permits and many business owners complained that “authorities didn’t give them enough time or help to install costly equipment” to manage emissions.