Putting the environment above the economy – China’s latest business and technology news

Business & Technology

A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for October 19, 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.

Measures to reduce the air pollution that chokes China’s cities are starting to bite:

  • Reuters reports that “China has ordered state oil companies to speed up the construction of pipelines to move natural gas to homes and factories” to reduce pollution and diversify power sources away from coal. However, both government-owned and private companies in energy and household heating are worried that the supply of gas may not meet demand because necessary infrastructure is not yet in place. Gas supply to households for heating has been prioritized, so factories will be the first to suffer power cuts if there are shortfalls in gas supply.
  • Bloomberg says that steel output sank to its lowest level in at least six months, “as the anti-pollution drive touted in President Xi Jinping’s landmark policy address this week began to make its mark.” The campaign to cut pollution “is roiling metals markets.”
  • Caixin reports that China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has submitted a document “to the State Council, the country’s cabinet, for approval.” It recommends that China’s railway system lower freight fees “to encourage the use of rail over trucking services in order to reduce the worsening air pollution in northern China.”