The China Pilot Free Trade Zone in Yunnan. Photo:

Total cross-border renminbi settlements in Southwest China’s Yunnan province reached around 45.75 billion yuan (US$7.1 billion) in the first three quarters of this year, according to a local branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).

The figure marked a year-on-year increase of 7.5% in the period, according to the Kunming branch of the PBoC. Of the total, cross-border renminbi settlements under current accounts exceeded 33.4 billion yuan, up 14.16% year-on-year, mainly due to the increase in trade settlements with Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

However, the settlements under capital accounts fell 7.14% to 12.35 billion yuan, mainly due to the decrease in cross-border direct investment settlements affected by Covid-19.

The Chinese currency accounted for more than 38% of the total cross-border incomes and expenditures of local and foreign currencies in Yunnan during this period, remaining the second largest cross-border settlement currency in the province after the US dollar.

Foreign investment

China will continue to be a magnet for foreign investment during the fourth quarter of the year, thanks to it being a key market and production base as well as an innovation hub for many multinational corporations, officials and experts say.

The comments came after the Ministry of Commerce said last week that big names such as Exxon-Mobil Corp, BMW Group, Siemens AG, LG Group and Toyota Motor Group added investment and expanded production capacity in the country. Global companies’ reinvested earnings grew by 25.5% on a yearly basis in the first three quarters of this year in US dollar terms.

Reinvested earnings, or plow backs, are the investors’ share of earnings from direct investments that are not distributed to owners. These earnings, which can be losses sometimes, are recorded in the current account of the balance of payments under international investment income.

Many global companies regard China, backed by strong industrial and supply chains, as a safe haven for cross-border investment, and have deployed more resources in this market, said Zong Changqing, director-general of the department of foreign investment administration under the Ministry of Commerce.

Internet hospitals

Internet-powered health services are playing an increasingly important role in China’s health system, with 900 Internet hospitals now operational in the country, Mao Qun’an, a department head at the National Health Commission, said of the reform and development of China’s health sector during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020).

Internet hospitals represent a new approach to outpatient service delivery, allowing patients to attend a local medical consultation facility and seek a consultation through the Internet with a doctor based at a major urban hospital. A remote medical collaboration network has been put in place covering more than 24,000 prefecture-based health institutions across the country, Mao said.

Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, Chinese hospitals have rolled out a number of internet-based services, from sharing knowledge on virus control, health consultation and psychological counseling, to follow-up treatment for chronic diseases and drug delivery, he said, adding that such services met people’s health needs well, while reducing the risks of infection caused by offline meetings.

Central bank bills swap

The PBoC, China’s central bank, said it conducted this year’s 10th central bank bills swap (CBS) operation on Wednesday to improve the liquidity of perpetual bonds issued by commercial banks.

The CBS, valued at 5 billion yuan, is open to primary dealers for bidding at a fixed rate of 0.1%, the PBoC said. The swap will be due on January 28, 2021.

Company news

Tencent Holdings, a Shenzhen-based internet giant, has unveiled two medical products in a row that use technology to accelerate medical artificial intelligence and enhance the delivery of healthcare services.

In a medical trade show in Shanghai, the company announced Tencent AIMIS Medical Image Cloud to enable patients to manage their X-ray, CT and MRI images and facilitate the safe and secure sharing of patient medical data.

Also making its debut is its namesake open lab, which is positioned to share Tencent’s medical AI capabilities with third-party partners from research institutions to universities and innovative enterprises to incubate AI medical applications.

“The medical industry is ripe for technological innovation that can improve outcomes for patients and their doctors,” said Wang Shaojun, vice-president of Tencent Healthcare.

“We are building a comprehensive medical AI portfolio including Tencent AIMIS, the Guide and Assistant Diagnosis System, and the Tumor Assistant Diagnosis System, which have proven the feasibility of combining AI with medical treatments.”

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and Shan Hui and first published at

Xu Yuenai

Xu Yuenai is a Beijing-based columnist specializing in international relations.