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The Daily Brief for Friday, 9 June 2017

UK election shock: British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing calls to quit on Friday after her snap election gamble to win a stronger mandate backfired, reports Alastair Macdonald. No single UK political party has a clear claim to power and European Union leaders now fear this will delay Brexit talks, due to start this month, and raises the risk of negotiations failing.

Trump and Millwall: The notoriously tough nature of South London football club Millwall, with its fan chant “No-one likes us. We don’t care”, was exemplified by a supporter who, as he fought three knife-wielding terrorists at London Bridge last week, shouted ““F**k you, I’m Millwall.” David P. Goldman argues that Donald Trump, by being the first Western leader to truly stand up and announce that the whole sick business of terrorism has to stop, has become as disliked as Millwall but, nonetheless, the American president is iterating towards the right thing.

Abe, hype misguided? Many analysts are now reporting that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s revival program is finally firing on all cylinders and is bringing back growth and optimism to Japan’s economy. Yet, writes William Pesek, the average Japanese household is actually not feeling any groundswell of progress and media headlines in the months ahead will instead start reflecting disappointment that deflation isn’t going anywhere.

Vietnam-Competing With Giants: Tan Hiep Phat Beverage Group hopes to increase its revenue to US$3 billion by 2027 and its focus is almost entirely on targeting Vietnamese consumers in an increasingly sophisticated domestic market. Kenny Hodgart writes that family-owned THP has, since formation in 1994, grown to be second only to Coca Cola in Vietnam by selling market-leading teas and energy drinks and also by learning how to savvily compete, in terms of capital and resources, with global giants.

Understanding Myanmar’s Buddhists: Many observers have misunderstood the true nature of Myanmar’s Buddhist ‘nationalist’ group, Ma Ba Tha, writes Matthew J Walton. Since Ma Ba Tha’s founding, it and similar groups have regularly been the subjects of misleading media reporting, reflecting an inability or unwillingness to really understand the underlying popularity these groups have as defenders of the faith.

Posted inBeijingChengduChinaShanghaiTianjinWorld

China Digest for Friday, 9 June 2017

Rail freight volume up 14.7% in first five months this year

Freight volumes rose 14.7% to 1.2 billion tonnes in the first five months of 2017, a rise of 14.7% from the same period a year ago, China Railway Corporation said. Housheng think tank analyst Zhao Yayun said the increase shows the real economy was vibrant, offsetting the bad debt and overheated housing market issues of March and April, Securities Daily reported.

Shenzhen housing fund center kept US$50 million in fees

The Audit Bureau of Shenzhen revealed that the provincial Housing Provident Fund Management Center failed to send more than 326 million yuan (US$50 million) in fees to the treasury department from 2011 to 2015, Caixin reported. The center also failed to follow rules when it withdrew more than 30 million yuan.

70.6% companies in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area failed in environmental assessment

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that in the past two months, 70.6% of 19,517 companies in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and adjacent areas failed environmental standards when assessed, China News reported. The ministry also said 296 out of 457 companies failed an environmental assessment on June 7.

54 farmers paid in first performance insurance case

Around 54 farmers in Chengdu, Sichuan province, received a total of 317,500 yuan in compensation from the first performance guarantee insurance case, the Economic Information Daily reported. Chengdu set up the insurance to help rural owners recoup losses if tenants fail to fulfill contracts on land use.

US$187.44 billion worth of homes sold in first five months

A record 1.27 trillion yuan in property sales at 21 listed real estate firms were completed in the first five months of 2017, rising 61.67% from a year earlier, Shanghai Securities Journal reported on Friday. The top three – Country Garden, Vanke and Evergrande – contributed more than half of the sales valued at 655.24 billion yuan.

ChemChina takeover of Swiss giant Syngenta complete

China National Chemical Corporation said on Thursday it had completed the purchase of Syngenta and now owned 94.7% of the Swiss agribusiness, Yicai reported. The deal was the largest overseas merger and acquisition in the country, passing US and EU security and anti-monopoly reviews.

25 entertainment news accounts suspended on WeChat

Tencent’s Wechat suspended 25 popular entertainment news accounts on June 8, a day after Sina deleted Weibo accounts of well-known paparazzi, China News reported. The Wechat accounts included BAZAAR and Southern Entertainment Weekly. Beijing’s Office of Cyberspace Affairs told Tencent and Sina to restrict accounts on June 7 due to so-called complaints.

7 million potential immigrants for China

American research consultancy Gallup found China has edged into the top 20 of the most wanted countries for migrants, Sina Finance reported. An estimated 7 million people want to move to the country.