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Silk Road standoff? The current border dispute between China and India is little more than a sideshow as South Asia’s tectonic plates shift in a direction that makes New Delhi’s resistance to Beijing’s global trade initiatives seem futile, writes Pepe Escobar. China’s trade connections now surround India and as Beijing is New Delhi’s top trade partner, nationalist attempts to block Indian involvement in the New Silk Road look increasingly counter-productive.

China-India, border endgame: With Beijing drawing a non-debatable ‘red line’, the month-long military standoff between China and India on the border near Sikkim may be about to enter the home stretch this weekend. M.K. Bhadrakumar writes that the Chinese Defense Ministry has waded into the discourse for the first time, saying the People’s Liberation Army will defend Chinese territory “at all costs” and this means Beijing’s conclusion will be that India must leave “Chinese territory” unconditionally, unilaterally and without further delay.

Myanmar’s slow-lane connectivity: Despite its 2,000 kilometer-long coastline, Myanmar is home to only nine small-scale ports, reports Michael Mackey. Infrastructure development in Myanmar, long viewed as Southeast Asia’s ‘connectivity’ laggard, has been plagued by a host of political and commercial issues but it seems the country is now poised to change that by allowing more foreign-built ports, roads and rails.

Vladivostok feeding China? Russia’s government is offering tax breaks, special economic zones and other incentives to help move its Far Eastern region’s economy from natural resource extraction to processing and services. Irina Drobysheva writes that the region surrounding Vladivostok has long been known as Russia’s resource base but investors are now waking up to the area’s unused arable land, its climate suitable for agriculture and, crucially, its proximity to food-hungry China.

China’s entertainment crackdown: When online streaming site Bilibili said the removal of foreign dramas was due to a “strategic adjustment of content” driven by internal decision-making and copyright concerns, many of the site’s users remained skeptical, reports Poo Yee Kai. When Bilibili pulled foreign content, including popular dramas from the US, UK and South Korea, its millennial-heavy audience was outraged and believed the crackdown to be part of an attempt to push content “approved” by the Chinese authorities, especially that which praises the Communist Party.

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Posted inBeijingChinaChongqingIndiaShanghaiSouth AsiaWorld

China Digest for Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Xi Jinping lists property market as key sector

Stability in the property market is a national priority, The Politburo of the Communist Party of China announced on Monday as part of its meeting regarding plans for the later half of this year, the National Business Daily reported. The top level meeting, headed by President Xi Jinping, also affirmed seven key areas such as the closure of “zombie enterprises,” and ensuring that the finance industry grows in a stable way, while tackling local government debt.

Former party official Sun Zhengcai under investigation

Sun Zhengcai, former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is under investigation for “serious violations of discipline,” the Xinhua News Agency reported. Sun was replaced by Chen Min’er on July 15 pending the investigation by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, it added.

‘Zombie enterprises’ a priority for SASAC

The State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) will make tackling “zombie enterprises” a key priority, alongside decreasing leverage levels of state-owned enterprises, the Economic Information Daily reported. At least 12 centrally-owned enterprises have signed on to a framework to tackle their leverage ratios, the report added.

CMB reports robust net profit of US$5.8 billion

The China Merchants Bank (CMB) said its net profit hit 39.3 billion yuan (US$5.82 billion) in the first half of 2017, a 11% year on year increase, Caixin reported. Annual net profit increased more than 10% year on year from 2010 to 2013, but less than that between 2014 and 2016. The revenue in the first six months of 2017 stood at 112.7 billion yuan, a 0.22% year on year jump, while the non-performing loan ratio was 1.71%, a slight decrease from early 2017.

JD.com and Suning fight over logistics services

Sun Weimin, vice chairman of retail giant Suning Commerce Group, posted a message on Sina Weibo criticizing JD.com for dumping delivery company TTK Express. In response, a spokesman for JD Logistics said that Sun has a “glass heart.” JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, recommended its dealers use logistics companies other than TTK Express on Friday.

CRRC exec appointed as Xinxing Cathay’s new chairman

Dong Xiguo, vice-chairman of the world’s largest railway manufacturer, CRRC, has been appointed as chairman of Xinxing Cathay Global Group, a major iron-pipe manufacturing company, Caixin reported. The two companies were the subject of merger rumours, but with the appointment of Dong the deal looks unlikely, according to Caixin.

Shanghai residential leasing on track

The first two parcels of land designated for residential leasing in Shanghai were traded on Monday, taking only 20 days after the initial sales announcement, the Economic Information Daily reported. The larger plot is located in Zhangjiang, in the Pudong New Area, and the other in Jiading District, offering an estimated 1,897 homes. Shanghai aims to add around 1.7 million new homes in the 13th Five Year Plan, 7 million homes which would be for rent only.

Beijing hosts BRICS Trade Union Forum

The 6th BRICS Trade Union Forum kicked off in Beijing on Monday to discuss the union’s role in sustainable development, the Economic Information Daily reported. The two-day meeting focused on challenges and opportunities facing the labor world, in an effort to achieve the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and strengthened civil exchanges. The combined share of BRICS output in the global economy rose from 12% to 23% in the past decade, contributing more than half of global growth, it added.

China leads US real estate purchases for fourth year

China has topped real estate buying in US for the fourth year running in terms of sales dollar volume, Yicai reported on Monday, citing figures by the National Association of Realtors in America. Buyers from China bought US$31.7 billion worth of real estate between April 2016 and March 2017, the report said, with 65% of the transactions paid in full, compared to 18% of transactions for buyers from India.

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