Posted inAT Finance, China, Japan, North Korea, Northeast Asia, Philippines, Russia, South Asia, South Korea, World

The Daily Brief for Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Situation not critical: North Korea’s new inter-continental ballistic missiles are not the game-changers one might imagine from the reaction to recent launches, writes Robert E. McCoy for Asia Times. Much of America is now within Pyongyang’s reach, he writes; however, without a reliable re-entry system its artillery cannot hurt US targets. The hardware also adds little to the level of threat already posed to South Korea and Japan.

Doing Deng’s work? China’s recent offer to the Philippines to jointly develop energy resources in the South China Sea calls to mind its late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping’s cooperative approach on the matter, writes Richard Javad Heydarian. History has shown the difficulties of negotiating a resource-sharing agreement among rival claimant states, however – especially when China still claims almost the entirety of the disputed area.

Russian shock therapy: The Kremlin, writes MK Bhadrakumar, has just administered shock treatment to the US establishment by demanding it cut 755 diplomatic personnel. But the bigger political impact may be to kill the ‘Russia collusion’ story plaguing US President Donald Trump. After all, if Trump is a Russian stooge, wouldn’t Vladimir Putin wish to be more discreet about the whole relationship?

Don’t blame Inada. Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada’s resignation last week is better viewed as being symptomatic of the problems with Japanese defense policy at large than of her personal shortcomings, writes Grant Newsham for Asia Times. One might more correctly point the finger, he argues, at several generations of Japanese and American “alliance managers” who were content with building a misshapen JSDF and a Japanese national defense pathologically dependent on the USA.

Asia Times app: The Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that will deliver the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. Asia Times Staff report that the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play.

Kenny Hodgart is an editor for Asia Times.

Posted inBeijing, China, Chongqing, Hong Kong

China Digest for Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Fortune China 500 list goes public

Sinopec, China National Petroleum Corporation and China State Construction Engineering Corporation ranked as the top three enterprises respectively on the list of top 2017 Fortune China 500 companies, Sina Finance reported. Revenue from Sinopec and China National Petroleum accounted for one tenth of the total 33.54 trillion yuan (US$4.99 trillion) revenue of the 500 listed companies, which increased 9% year on year.

Foreign investment dips to US$49.2 billion

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) hit 331.1 billion yuan in the first half of 2017, a sharp 42.9% year on year decrease, Yicai reported. Qian Keming, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce, said that “irrational” FDI faced restrictions as regulations motivated enterprises back into the real economy.

Second Ring Road land parcels released in Beijing

Five parcels of land for either residential or commercial use in the Dongcheng District of Beijing will go up for public bid today, Sina Finance reported. It’s the first land supply located within the Second Ring Road in the past five years. A top sales price of 93,521 yuan per square meter for residential buildings was set as the limit, while home prices in the neighborhood have already hit 130,000 yuan per square meter.

Li tells telecoms to cut charges, boost data flow

Premier Li Keqiang called for a decrease in charges and an upgrade in speed for data flow in a meeting with China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, the Paper reported. The three state-owned telecommunications giants recently announced they will remove domestic long-distance and roaming charges from September 1 onward.

GDP growth rate of 21 provinces tops average

The GDP growth rate of China’s 21 provinces outperformed the country’s average in the first half of 2017, Yicai reported. Tibet took the lead with a 10.8 measure, while Chongqing and Guizhou followed with 10.5 and 10.4, respectively, it said.

Search engine Sogou plans US IPO

Sogou, China’s second largest mobile search engine, has filed documents for a possible initial public offering in the United States, Caixin reported. Sogou’s revenue reached $US211 million in Q2, a 20% increase compared with figures last year, it said.

Oil industry challenged by age of electric cars

The proportion of oil energy consumption used in China’s transportation sector is expected to see declines starting in 2030, due to the rise of electric vehicles, Yicai reported, citing a report by the China Petroleum and Economic Technology Research Institute. Currently at 90% of consumption, oil remains the main energy source in the sector, but that number is expected to drop to 77% by 2050, the report added.

Hong Kong’s second-hand property index on the rise

Hong Kong’s second-hand private residential property index rose to 336.1 in July this year, 21.6% higher than July 2016, Caixin reported, citing data from the Rating and Valuation Department. The index, which measures the price of residential properties over time, has been rising for 15 months, the report added.

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