Posted inAT Finance, China, Myanmar, North Korea, Northeast Asia, South Korea, World

The Daily Brief for Thursday, 19 January 2017

In the lead-up to Friday’s inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th US president, China makes its case in the headlines from not one but two cities. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, China’s richest man Wang Jianlin warned Trump that Hollywood would be the biggest loser in a trade war. Wang, whose Wanda conglomerate owns a US cinema chain, a Hollywood production company and the firm that runs the Golden Globe awards, has joined a chorus of concern from international business chiefs over the protectionist leanings of the US president-elect.

Then in a speech at the United Nations in Geneva, President Xi Jinping portrays China as a global leader at the helm of international cooperation. Xi urged countries to resist isolationism: “Trade protectionism and self-isolation will benefit no one.” Xi called for the world to unite on everything from environmental protection to terrorism and nuclear disarmament, in contrast to Trump who says he has an “open mind” on climate change and that the US would win any nuclear arms race.

Myanmar’s military has intensified aerial bombardments in an escalating ethnic conflict that belies government claims of pursuing peace, writes Bertil Lintner for Asia Times. International attention is on the crisis in Rakhine State and the government bid to forge national peace after decades of civil strife, but the autonomous military is waging a less noticed vicious war in northern Kachin State.

The Chinese population in Africa is becoming more diverse than is often supposed, with workers seeing opportunities after they have completed their usually three-year stint with Chinese companies, writes Doug Tsuruoka. Rather than go back to China with the round-trip tickets they are issued, these “independent” Chinese migrants usually stay to run small grocery stores, clothing shops and restaurants across Africa as part of small Chinatown communities that can number as many as 500 people.

Smuggling of foreign culture and information, as well as portable media players, from South Korea into the North is an increasingly lucrative business amid the rise of a black market for banned and politically sensitive goods, writes Johan Nylander. Small street stalls in Pyongyang sell foreign films and animations, including Disney hits such as Aladdin. But the underground cultural revolution in the North has a dark side: It’s partly run by drug lords and corrupt military officers.

Posted inBeijing, China, Shanghai

China Digest for Thursday, 19 January 2017

GDP growth will be no less than 6.5% in 2017, says economist

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2017 will be no lower than 6.5%, economist Xu Hongcai said in the Securities Daily on Thursday. To support the economy, an 11% to 12% growth in M2 for 2017 should be targeted, added Xu, an economist from the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges, a think tank under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Sasac tightens reins on state-owned firms’ investment targets

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has introduced a “negative list”, naming overseas and domestic projects that state-owned companies cannot invest in, Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday night. The list categorizes projects into “forbidden” and “special supervision.”

Bitcoin trading platforms caught illegally doing financing: PBOC

OKCoin and, the bitcoin trading platforms in China, had illegally operated financing business and caused abnormal fluctuations in the market, the National Business Daily reported on Thursday. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) made the discovery after a co-inspection with the Shanghai and Beijing Finance Departments on bitcoin trading platforms from January 11, aiming to find out if they had conducted business out of their scope of credit and payment.

2 million electric cars to be built annually by 2020: MIIT

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said at a forum on January 15 that it will aim to build 2 million electric cars by 2020, National Business Daily reported on Thursday morning. The ministry also said that by 2025, 20% of all vehicles manufactured annually should be electric. China produced 500,700 electric cars in 2016 and saw an almost 50% increase from 2015, the report said.

Rise in raw materials price sees manufacturing earnings decrease

The manufacturing industry faces the risk of deteriorating earnings in the near future, Caixin said on Wednesday evening citing a new report by Renmin University and China Chenxin Credit Management. The report said the increase in the December producer prices index had not coincided with higher consumer prices as they should have. It shows that middle and upstream prices are unable to react to changes in downstream demand. This will further impact the earnings capacity of middle to downstream players, Caixin said.

Zhuge Tianxia no longer a tech ‘unicorn’

Automotive aftermarket website Zhuge Tianxia (Beijing) Information Technology has lost its title as a tech “unicorn,” or a tech company valued at US$1 billion and above, reported Caixin on Wednesday evening. Zhuge is now worth 256 million yuan (US$37.4 million) down from a heyday price of 6 billion yuan in December 2015. The Beijing-based company was the first “unicorn” on China’s New Third Board, the country’s largest OTC trading board, but due to losses in recent years its stock has dropped sharply.

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