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The Daily Brief for Thursday, 13 July 2017

China-Syria Silk Road? China and Syria have begun discussing post-war infrastructure investment and a “Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction” was held in Beijing last week. Pepe Escobar reports that the fair, organised by the China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy and crammed with hundreds of Chinese infrastructure investment specialists, is the precursor to a series of even larger scale China-Arab trade expos that will be held in the coming months.

Sharif to resign? The beleaguered prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, is believed to have decided to step down after a judicial probe found him guilty of amassing wealth incommensurate with his declared sources of income, sources in his party have told Asia Times. F.M. Shakil writes that insiders are saying the question is now not if but when Sharif will resign and talk has now turned to who will fill the prime minister’s shoes.

Japan’s banking crunch-time: Policymakers at the Bank of Japan see little to cheer in successfully defending their yield target as European and US central banks start to stem the flow of ultra-cheap money. Leika Kihara reports that a global plug is being pulled on the extraordinary monetary support deployed during the global financial crisis which casts doubt on the BOJ view that global bond yield gains will be short-lived.

Bitcoin not temporary: The CEO of one of China’s largest bitcoin exchanges says the cryptocurrency is here to stay and thinks it is only a matter of time before Beijing establishes a regulatory body for the digital currency, writes Poo Yee Kai. Talking at Hong Kong tech conference Rise, Bobby Lee from Shanghai-based BTCC — that was China’s first bitcoin exchange — said cryptocurrencies are an important new “asset class” as they are based purely on information and not reliant on identity or physical possession.

Kashmir-Chemical attacks planned: Audio intercepted in June by Indian security agencies points to a plot by the Kashmiri separatist group Hizbul Mujahideen to use chemical weapons against security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. E Jaya Kumar reports that the revelation comes after a terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims killed seven in Batingoo, near Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district late on Monday.

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Posted inBeijingChinaEuropean UnionNortheast AsiaShanghaiWorld

China Digest for Thursday, 13 July 2017

China to encourage innovation-driven development

China plans to deepen reforms in innovation-driven development in order to promote public entrepreneurship, Caixin reported, citing a statement released after the State Council’s meeting. China will also expand financing channels for start-ups, encourage industrial upgrades and improve policy support for entrepreneurial and innovative professionals, it said.

Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges see strong growth

As of the end of May 2017, the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges listed 3,261 companies with a total market capitalization of 51.38 trillion yuan (US$ 7.57 trillion), Sina Finance reported. The two exchanges have become the fast growing in the country, the report said.

Ministry of Industry denies personal VPN ban

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology denies ordering a ban against all personal VPNs by February 1, 2018, the Paper reported. Only illegal VPN networks without the approval of telecommunications authorities will be under scrutiny, the report added, citing the Ministry’s notice issued in January this year.

Shanxi targets coal mine over-capacity

Shanxi province will stop approving new coal mine projects within two years in order to cut excessive capacity, Sina Finance reported. For the iron, steel, aluminium, cement, glass and other industries with overcapacity issues, the government will follow State Council’s production capacity guidance, it said.

Soaring aviation market has potential to exceed US and Europe

China’s aviation market has grown two to three times faster than the global average, and in the next 20 years it has the potential to exceed the US and Europe, the Paper reported, citing Darren Hulst, executive director of Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group’s Northeast Asia market.

‘Super coordinating’ regulator eyed at July conference

The fifth meeting of the National Financial Work Conference will take place July 14 and 15 in Beijing, Yicai reported. Regulations on financial industry supervision to rein in risk is expected to be a key policy goal this year, while delegates may also study the possibility of setting up a “super coordinating organization” overseeing China’s other financial regulators, it added.

Major cities average US$1,084 in monthly salary: report

The average monthly salary in 37 major cities stood at 7,376 yuan (US$1,084.32), while an average of 35.8 people compete for one position, Sina Finance reported, citing a Zhaopin.com research report. Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen led the average monthly salary in the summer job hunting period with 9,791 yuan, 9,377 yuan and 8,866 yuan respectively.

Move to cultivate artificial intelligence expertise

China’s technical personnel in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) numbered 50,000 people in the first quarter of 2017, ranking it seventh globally, the Economic Information Daily reported. Wang Di, vice president of LinkedIn’s technology in China, said the nation will see more cooperation with foreign enterprises and universities to cultivate AI talent.

O&G pipeline network to cover nation by 2025

All provinces and cities in China will be connected with refined oil and natural gas pipelines by 2025, the Economic Information Daily reported, citing an official announcement made by the National Development and Reform Commission. The total length of the network will reach 240,000 kilometers by 2025, it added.

Bonds could replace traditional loans for highway construction

Local governments could issue bonds to finance highway construction projects, the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Transport said in a joint statement, replacing traditional loans for building transportation, the Securities Daily reported. Insiders said the bond issues would help regulate debt financing for local governments.

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