Posted inAT FinanceBeijingCambodiaChinaIndiaIndonesiaNortheast AsiaSouth AsiaSouth KoreaVietnamWorld

The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 28 March 2017

China US manufacturing: Are the days of China as a manufacturing hub over? This question has sparked fervent discussion since China glass mogul, Cao Dewang, openly compared the cost of running factories in the US and China to justify his US$1 billion factory investments in the American Rust Belt, reports Lin Wanxia. “Except for labor, everything in China is more expensive than in America,” claims Cao, who owns Fuyao Glass Industry Group, China’s largest auto glass manufacturer.

Indonesia’s high-speed railway: Land, finance and security issues have dogged the much-hyped US$5.1 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project, writes John McBeth. Indonesian President Joko Widodo, keen to bridge a yawning infrastructure gap, oversaw an ambitious joint venture between China Railway International and a consortium of four Indonesian state-owned enterprises two years ago but China has since refused to disburse the funds and, amid other domestic issues, the project has stalled.

China, South Korea: Beijing’s opposition to Seoul’s deployment of the THAAD missile defense system is less about missiles and more about efforts to weaken the US’ longstanding network of formal and informal alliances in Asia. Grant Newsham writes that the THAAD controversy displays China’s familiar modus operandi: First, pick a fight over an allegedly offensive act; next, follow up with vitriol and veiled threats; and then inflict economic pressure.

Cambodia’s war debt: Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly asked the US to cease its demands for the repayment of a US$500 million loan that dates back to the Vietnam War. David Hutt reports the debt, that Hun Sen refers to as “blood-stained” and “dirty, could push Phnom Penh even closer to Beijing.

India’s temple politics: The 1992 demolition of the 16th Century Babri mosque in Ayodhya, believed to be the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram, marked a watershed moment in Indian politics and paved the way for the rise of the pro-Hindu BJP. Asia Times reports that in April, India’s Supreme Court will hear submissions on reopening 25-year-old criminal conspiracy charges against leading BJP figures who, it is alleged, were involved in religious riots that caused 2,000 deaths, and this something that will reopen deep and old political wounds.

Posted inChina

China Digest for Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Reforms for yuan exchange rate mechanism in 2017: PBOC

The central bank pledged to steadily push for convertibility of yuan’s capital account this year, China Securities Journal reported on Monday. The People’s Bank of China also aimed to improve the currency’s function as an investment reserve and for financial exchange, and the policy framework and infrastructure for the cross-border use of the yuan.

January, February investment in roads grew 36% from 2016

Fixed-asset investment in road construction stood at 160.1 billion yuan (US$23.29 billion) for the first two months of 2017, a 36% increase from a year earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission said on its website. Fixed-asset investment in rail saw a 0.2% uptick to 41.7 billion yuan. In civil aviation construction, investment stood at 9.5 billion yuan, an 18.7% year on year rise.

Shanxi accelerates green car development

The northern province of Shanxi plans to invest 5 billion yuan in production of new energy vehicles in 2017, aiming to reach 100,000 units per year, Sina Finance reported on Monday. The Shanxi Provincial Commission of Economy and Information released details of the plan.

CRRC wins two rail bids in Los Angeles, Philadelphia

The country’s leading rolling stock manufacturer, CRRC Corporation, won two rail bids in the United States, Caixin said, citing a company source. It will produce 64 subway carriages in Los Angeles to be completed by September 2021. CRRC also secured the US$137.5 million contract to produce 45 trains for Philadelphia’s commuter rail network. CRRC has had three previous deals in the US, worth US$2.14 billion in total.