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The Daily Brief for Friday, 19 May 2017

Japan’s casino plans: Tokyo is currently working on a new legal gambling framework that could act as a green light for gaming companies to invest billions of dollars in Japanese casino resorts. David Bonnet writes that the new laws could bring Japan on a par with the lucrative gaming markets of Singapore and Macau, with Japan’s industry expected to surpass US$25 billion a year.

Controlling China’s graft-busters: Xi Jinping’s high-profile campaigns to curb China’s widespread corruption, that is thought to cost Beijing US$86 billion each year, have often been controversial. Zhiqiong June Wang writes that a new body, that merges all existing anti-corruption authorities, could either promote efficiency and transparency or, conversely, exacerbate current “due process” breaches.

Sino-US ties strong: The successful April summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump was a defining point in Sino-US relations, said China’s ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai. Doug Tsuruoka reports that Cui said the summit, together with the Belt and Road forum, were sources of connectivity that could restore balance to a troubled world.

Watching ‘wildcard’ Trump: The US President’s unpredictability in foreign affairs has turned the US into a “geopolitical wildcard,” warns a new global risk report, reports Johan Nylander. UK-based risk and strategic consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft said Trump’s foreign policy impulsiveness has turned global politics into a guessing-game.

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China Digest for Friday, 19 May 2017

Country is first in world to mine gas hydrate in South China Sea

The country is the first in the world to successfully mine gas hydrate in a pilot scheme that began on March 28 in the South China Sea, with yields collected on May 10, Yicai said, citing the Ministry of Land and Resources. Profits are expected after 2030 because technical problems must be ironed out.

Cuts in steel capacity at 64% of target, says NDRC

The National Development and Reform Commission said capacity cuts in the steel industry stood at 63.4% of this year’s target of 50 million metric tons, well ahead of schedule, Caixin reported. Capacity cuts in coal stood at 46% of the 150 million metric ton target.

Salt regulators must split from producers by June

Provincial, city and county level salt regulators must divorce themselves from production by June 30 this year as part of liberalization that began in January of the state monopoly, Economic Information Daily said on Friday, citing the National Development and Reform Commission.

Air quality in 28 cities worse than a year ago

A Ministry of Environmental Protection investigation of 27 cities around Beijing and in four provinces found that air quality was worse than last year, the Paper reported. Mean concentration of PM2.5, a measure of particles that can get into the lungs, grew by 12% compared to last year.

PBOC urges mobile payment firms to expand beyond China

Mobile payment companies such as Ant Financial (Alipay) and Tencent (WeChat pay) should expand into emerging markets and push for cashless payments in other countries, said Fan Yifei, the deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China on Thursday in a Caixin report.

‘Long-term measures required to stabilize housing market’

An op-ed in the Xinhua-affiliated Economic Information Daily on Friday called for long-term measures to be introduced to stabilize the property market and capitalize on the reprieve in prices following recent curbs to cool the heated sector.

Homes on the market in Lanfang city down by 40%

The number of homes on the market in two counties of Langfang city near Beijing has declined by 40% in April since down payments on mortgages were raised to 50%. Developers also plan to release new homes and experts say market prices may remain high in the next six months.

Market forces will hinder industry insurance shakeup: experts

Maintaining liquidity and market forces are among key factors that will hinder the crackdown on the insurance industry, which may not see a decrease in firms operating capital funds, experts said in a Securities Daily report on Friday.

First homegrown attack helicopter debuts in maiden flight

The country’s first domestically made attack helicopter, the Z-19E, made its maiden flight on May 18 in Harbin, said the Huanqiu news website. The helicopter is armed with missiles and can fly at low altitudes.

Public consultation sought on anti-smuggling law

The government is seeking public opinion on a proposed anti-smuggling law that could fine companies and individuals 1 million yuan for storing goods, Xinhua said, citing to a consultation paper released on Thursday.

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