BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Examining China’s economic data
How bad are China’s economic woes? / BBC
Industrial output in April grew by a better-than-expected 3.9% — a marked difference from the collapse of 13.5% in the first two months of this year as massive lockdowns were imposed.
There’s also a swathe of other data that has been surprisingly strong – pointing to what economists like to call a V-shaped recovery — a sharp, drastic initial fall — followed by a quick rebound in economic activity.
Fund manager accused of lying to investors
U.S.-focused fund manager condemned for cheating investors / Caixin
“Cornerstone Management Inc., a Chinese private investment fund manager focusing on investing in U.S.-listed Chinese stocks, was condemned by a provincial securities regulator for lying to investors, casting a shadow over its planned New York IPO.”
Loan relief for SMEs extended
China extends loan relief for smaller businesses to March 2021 / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Small and medium-sized businesses can delay their interest and principal payments to the end of March 2021, from an original deadline of June 30, according to the text of Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng’s 李克强 annual policy address on Friday.”
China reiterates commitment to trade deal
NPC: China pledges to implement U.S. phase one trade deal / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“We will work with the United States to implement the phase one China-U.S. economic and trade agreement,” Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 told an annual gathering of lawmakers in Beijing on Friday. “China will continue to boost economic and trade cooperation with other countries to deliver mutual benefits.”
Huawei deals with chip restriction fallout
U.S. strikes at a Huawei prize: chip juggernaut HiSilicon / Reuters via Channel NewsAsia
“With the new restrictions, HiSilicon ‘will be in a situation where they’re not able to manufacture chips at all, or if they do, then they’re not leading edge anymore,’ says Stewart Randall, who tracks China’s chip industry at Shanghai-based consultancy Intralink.”
Huawei turns to mobile chip rivals to beat U.S. pressure / Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall)
Huawei Technologies is seeking help from rival mobile-chip makers to withstand a U.S. clampdown aimed at crippling the Chinese company, sources familiar with the matter told the Nikkei Asian Review.
Huawei is in talks with MediaTek, the world’s second-largest mobile chip developer after Qualcomm of the U.S., and UNISOC, China’s second-largest mobile chip designer after Huawei’s HiSilicon Technologies unit, to buy more chips as alternatives to keep its consumer electronics business afloat, the sources said.
- Context: U.S. moves to cut Huawei off from global chip suppliers as China eyes retaliation.
NetEase and JD.com set Hong Kong listing dates for mid-June
NetEase and JD.com set dates for U.S.$5 billion Hong Kong listings / Reuters via Channel NewsAsia
Australian miners back new export rules amid trade tensions
Miners back new Chinese iron ore inspection rules / Australian Financial Review (paywall)
“Miners say China’s changes to its inspection processes for iron ore imports is a positive development because it will streamline shipments, even though some analysts suggested it could be used to block Australia’s most important export.”
Too many delivery drivers in the kitchen?
China’s laid-off workers rush into food delivery / Sixth Tone
“Workers let go during the pandemic are trying to make ends meet delivering takeout. But the huge influx of drivers is making the grueling job even tougher.”
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Nobel laureates call for investigation into China grant cancellation
Prominent scientists denounce end to coronavirus grant / NYT (porous paywall)
A group of 77 Nobel laureates has asked for an investigation into the cancellation of a federal grant to EcoHealth Alliance, a group that researches bat coronaviruses in China.
The pre-eminent scientists characterized the explanation for the decision by the National Institutes of Health as “preposterous.” The agency said the investigation into the sources of pandemics did not fit “with program goals and agency priorities.”
The Nobel recipients said the grant was canceled “just a few days after President Trump responded to a question from a reporter who erroneously claimed that the grant awarded millions of dollars to investigators in Wuhan.” President Trump said the grant would be ended immediately.
Authorities to investigate delivery waste control
China’s war on urban waste has a new foe: delivery packaging / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“The country’s top economic planning agency said it will ‘look into measures for controlling the pollution created by express delivery packaging and the problem of excessive packaging’ in a report delivered Friday at the annual National People’s Congress.”
Wuhan bans eating wildlife
Carol Yin summarizes on Twitter: “Wuhan government sent out a notice on the total ban of eating wildlife today. Also mentioned are the strict ban on trading wildlife and the strict management of breeding wildlife (breeding for food is also prohibited).”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Beijing signals tougher stance on Taiwan
China drops word ‘peaceful’ in latest push for Taiwan ‘reunification’ / Reuters
“Chinese Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 left out the word ‘peaceful’ on Friday in referring to Beijing’s desire to ‘reunify’ with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, an apparent policy shift that comes as ties with Taipei continue on a downward spiral.”
The White House releases new China strategy report…
United States strategic approach to the People’s Republic of China / White House
Alexander Bowe summarizes on Twitter: “The White House’s new China strategy report, required by NDAA 2019, is only 16 pages. Worth reading in full. BLUF, whether you agree or not: The USG believes Beijing has proven it doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt, and will no longer give it any.”
…As U.K. Labour Party signals a tougher China policy
China presents itself as rival to democracy and plays U.K., says Labour / Guardian
China’s authoritarian rulers are presenting themselves as a viable rival to democracy and have played the U.K. economically, Stephen Kinnock, Labour’s foreign policy spokesman on China, has said.
In a significant hardening of the party’s stance towards China, he also described David Cameron’s golden era of engagement with China as “an abject failure”, adding the UK has been naive about China’s intentions.
The rise of a Foreign Ministry hawk
In China-U.S. showdown, Beijing’s steely propagandist sharpens her attack / Washington Post (porous paywall)
“Her [Huá Chūnyíng 华春莹] promotion last summer to the Foreign Ministry’s information department chief made her only the second woman to hold the post and reflected a broader ascendancy of policy hawks in Beijing.”
Eva Dou on Twitter: “It’s rare that I get to write about two female Chinese officials. Here I track the trajectories of China’s foreign ministry spin chief Hua Chunying and her only female predecessor, Kung Peng [龚澎 Gōng Péng], in the 30s-60s.”
What does COVID-19 mean for the Belt and Road?
Coronavirus strikes China’s Belt and Road Initiative / LA Times (porous paywall)
No major contracts have been canceled due to the pandemic, and the initiative is too important to Xi to be shelved. But seven years after the Chinese leader unveiled his vision of a modern Silk Road connecting continents, the future of travel and trade is uncertain. Analysts say the most ambitious international building spree since the Marshall Plan could be scaled down and refocused toward safer investments.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Is China’s CDC warning against senior travel ageist?
How ageist policies leave seniors vulnerable to COVID-19 / Sixth Tone
“COVID-19 was 60% more fatal to men than women, yet it’s hard to imagine public health professionals ordering all men to stay indoors for their own safety.”