Premier Li looking short of real power
The opening of China's annual session of parliament was an opportunity for Premier Li Keqiang to present his proposals for the economy, historically a central part of his portfolio. President Xi Jinping's increased powers, however, left the prime minister looking a hollow man.
(Mar 7, '14)
China lending curbs
lift shadow economy
The Chinese government's crackdown on excess and outmoded production, backed by lending limits on state-owned banks, has added new uncertainty to economic growth data as more business is forced off the official books.
- Michael Lelyveld (Feb 18, '14)
Reforms in China:
The impact on growth
Economic reforms recently proposed by China's leaders aim to unlock greater productivity potential in the economy and return the country to a sustainable growth path. But, even assuming they are forcefully implemented, the higher productivity resulting from the reforms will not lead to higher reported GDP growth.
(Jan 30, '14)
China keeps its telecoms sector close
Moves by China to prise the vast, expanding telecoms market away from state-owned enterprises have not overjoyed foreign companies. These firms know that despite Beijing's neoliberal window dressing, telecoms are a strategic sector propped on national security considerations including political stability. - Romi Jain
(Jan 30, '14)
Taiwan's farmers win
key battle to keep land
Taiwanese farmers have secured a landmark court victory in their long fight against expropriation of their fields for projects that use part of the land for infrastructure while other parts are sold to raise funds for construction or local government finance.
- Dennis Engbarth (Jan 21, '14)
China's digital media role raises concerns
Countries across the globe have switched to digital broadcasting. In Kenya, this is giving China an important role both in the technical switch from analog and in the supply of media content, while some local bidders have been excluded from the latter - raising concern among Kenyans over potential repression of the media.
- Miriam Gathigah (Jan 14, '14)
China 'high growth" is a pipedream
Predictions that China, helped by recently proposed reforms, is about to embark on a decade of 7-8 % growth misunderstand the nature of China’s transformation and ignore the history of previous similar growth miracles. It is almost impossible that GDP growth rates over the rest of this decade remain at or close to current levels.
(Jan 6, '14)
SPY vs SPY
NSA leaks sink US business deals
Barely a year after the United States was holding China's feet to the fire over matters of cyber-espionage, Washington is feeling the heat over the shenanigans of its own National Security Agency revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Now it is US technology companies that are paying the price for spying overreach.
- Andrew M Johnson
(Dec 23, '13)
China manages soft end to slowdown
China appears to have managed a soft landing to its slowdown in economic growth - which might be as low as 5% this year, with big question marks over the official figures - but reforms will be needed if the government is to pick up the pace of expansion. - Michael Lelyveld
(Dec 19, '13)
China: the politics of economic adjustment
Political turmoil in China over the past two years came as something of a surprise to many. Yet historical precedents suggest it should have surprised no one, as the country had exhausted its growth model of 30 years.
(Dec 11, '13)
China's coal use forecast to surge
China's coal use may soon increase each year by more than 60% of the total US coal consumption, if a forecast by the country's mine owners is borne out in reality. That is bad news for people already struggling to survive in smog-ridden cities.
- Michael Lelyveld
(Dec 10, '13)
Sinopec 'sorry' for fatal blast
Chinese oil company Sinopec says it is "sorry" for a pipeline blast that killed at least 55 people in Qingdao, Shandong province, after the company failed to evacuate residents following discovery of a leak seven hours before the explosion. - Qiao Long
(Nov 26, '13)
Kyrgyz workers query Chinese influx
Chinese funds are helping to upgrade Kyrgyzstan's highways and other infrastructure, but labor activists are demanding to know why so many jobs are also going to Chinese workers when locals have to seek employment in Russia. - Bakyt Asanov and Farangis Najibullah
(Nov 18, '13)
China risks tension through urbanization
China's top economic planning body says it will throw its weight behind a growing focus on urbanization. Yet, the push to bring more rural people into cities as a driver of economic growth could increase social tensions. - Gao Shan
(Nov 14, '13)
Will debt derail Abenomics?
One of the automatic consequences of Abenomics is to force up Japan's current account surplus substantially. That could derail recovery elsewhere, while it is not obvious that the world will be able to absorb a significant increase in Japanese exports.
(Nov 13, '13)
Pollution clash leads to Guangdong anger
Protesters besieged government buildings in China's Guangdong province after more then a dozen people were injured and detained the day before in disturbances over pollution, which locals say has led to much of the population having higher-than-normal levels of lead in their blood. - Yang Fan
(Nov 6, '13)
China in dilemma over gas shortages
China's cities have been turning to increased use of natural gas in a bid to curb air pollution by reducing consumption of coal. Now the country is facing natural gas shortages as winter approaches.
- Michael Lelyveld
(Nov 5, '13)
Hidden debt must be repaid
A bad argument has resurfaced that China doesn't have to worry about rising bad debts because it can use foreign reserves to recapitalize its banks. Like the fallacy that debt misallocation doesn't matter, this must be refuted. Debt always matters because it must always be paid for by someone.
(Oct 25, '13)
Thousands protest China bank layoffs
Former workers of Chinese state-run Industrial and Commercial Bank (ICBC) and the Construction Bank have been bussed to detention centers after joining rallies outside their Beijing headquarters to protest redundancy payments.
(Oct 23, '13)
Chinese mine spill pollutes Tibetan area
Polluted water from a Chinese mining in a Tibetan-populated area in western China has killed fish and livestock and contaminated drinking supplies, locals say. As in previous standoffs over mining blight, authorities sent the troops in to quell protest.
(Oct 21, '13)
Shanghai trade zone misses on all points
Shanghai's new free trade zone is claimed as China's most significant reform push in three decades. Outsiders disagree, with one critic saying "it's not free, it may not emphasize trade, there are questions about its function as a zone .. and it offers little assurance of 'opening up'. - Michael Lelyveld
(Oct 15, '13)
Hong Kong refuses
next treasure trove
Alibaba's multi-billion dollar initial public offering looks set to go to New York rather than Hong Kong. With it goes share dealing not just in China's biggest e-commerce outfit, but also what is set to be the country's future top private financial group. - Gabriele Battaglia
(Oct 2, '13)
Xi builds up power in Central Asia
Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent sweep through Central Asia, involving billions of dollars in trade and other contracts, was treated lightly by Russia. A photograph of the region's leaders in Kyrgyzstan last month suggests a different story.
(Oct 2, '13)
China exports mask domestic weakness
Recent optimism over Chinese export numbers, and claims that the slowdown in China's economy may be bottoming out, may be optimism too soon. The fall in import growth serves as a worrisome signal of the core economic problem: declining internal demand. - Tom Velk and Olivia Gong
(Oct 1, '13)
Free-trade Shanghai keeps on Internet gag
The Shanghai free-trade zone, a move to match the city with Hong Kong and London, opened on Sunday, but its bid for global status as a financial and trade center will have to manage without Internet freedom. - Wen Jian and Gao Shan
(Sep 30, '13)
After the party runs dry
A truly clever economist never makes a verifiable prediction, but two years after suggesting that once the current liquidity-driven boom subsides the BRICS nations and rest of the developing world will be hit hard, the prediction is looking unpleasantly close to reality.
(Sep 26, '13)
Shanghai to top Hong Kong
Shanghai's efforts to reclaim its 1920s' role as East Asia's center of trade and finance are moving forward fast, and the days of Hong Kong being the primary venue in China for financial transactions could be numbered. - Dan Steinbock
(Sep 20, '13)
The ABC of China's dead-slow growth
Growth forecasts for China's economy in the medium-term are falling, but a forecast that claims 3-4% annual growth rates will soon to be the country's upper limit? And that might be the good news.
(Sep 9, '13)
Hong Kong eyes with fear
world's largest nuke plant
Hong Kong residents are eyeing with concern completion of a nuclear power plant in neighboring Guangdong province that is to hold a reactor with the biggest capacity in the world. Chinese mainland residents may be less fearful, as they can access no information on the plant.
- Lin Jing
(Sep 5, '13)
China output curbs doomed to failure
The Chinese government's latest actions to close industrial companies to curb overproduction, however laudable, have a familiar ring to them, and the efforts will be as ineffective as previously. - Michael Lelyveld
(Aug 27, '13)
China's 'urbanization' is a growth fallacy
The latest argument supporting higher levels of growth in China is based on Beijing's plan for another major urbanization push, but too many fallacies undermine the idea that ever-more cities and infrastructure make for economic expansion.
(Aug 23, '13)
Qihoo 360 takes on challenge of Baidu
Qihoo 360 Technology, China's top anti-computer-virus company, has climbed to a position where it can consider rivaling Baidu as the country's top Internet search outfit, its share price surging alongside. Now it is looking to expand in the wider world. - Sherman So
(Aug 22, '13)
China coal-price fall risks wider crisis
A prolonged plunge in China's coal prices may indicate that the country's economic growth is less than officially reported. It has also created wider risks, with rising losses for coal companies and large-scale debts going unpaid or abandoned.
- Michael Lelyveld (Aug 20, '13)
Tibetans hurt in anti-mining protest
Several hundred security forces have violently dispersed Tibetan protesters blocking mining activity by Chinese workers in a Tibetan-populated area of China's Qinghai province, injuring dozens in the process.
(Aug 19, '13)
'Premium' players are new Macau bet
"Premium mass-market" players have taken the spotlight in Macau since key high rollers from mainland China have shied away. But identifying this customer segment is as challenging as beating the house. - Muhammad Cohen
(Aug 15, '13)
Cross-strait trade deal
raises concerns in Taiwan
A broad coalition of Taiwanese labor and other organizations is seeking to block ratification of a Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement recently signed by representatives of Taiwan and mainland China. Concerns include reduced press freedom and mainland control of beauty parlors. - Dennis Engbarth
(Aug 7, '13)
China bets big on new global links
China and its companies are betting on geopolitical corridors to expand their international clout and business opportunities. Though it is grappling with a creeping economic slowdown, the government in Beijing seems to be keen to fund a string of new, innovative transport arteries around the world. - Emanuele Scimia
(Aug 7, '13)
China's GDP growth may be optimistic
China's energy sector has been showing signs of slower growth, suggesting that real growth of the economy could be considerably lower than figures have been below the official 7.6% annual pace. - Michael Lelyveld
(Aug 6, '13)
Jobs riddle at heart
of changing China
China's fast economic growth rate, previously seen as vital to maintain social stability, is falling, accompanied by the government no longer demanding 8% annual expansion. A declining labor force may be a key factor - but accurate job numbers are not available. - Michael Lelyveld(Jul 31, '13)
China lifts gas price
China has increased the price of natural gas for industrial users, a step toward boosting gas use while promoting efficiency and reduced use of coal. Yet the price rise may have the reverse impact. - Michael Lelyveld
(Jul 25, '13)
Germany's 'success' poses threat to China
Germany is running the world's largest trade surplus, and is hoping to foist its imbalances onto the rest of the world now that the rest of Europe is too sick to absorb them. European trade policies are going to put additional pressure on China's own economic rebalancing, even as Beijing appears more determined to pursue it.
(Jul 16, '13)
UN hails China on poverty cuts
The United Nations, trumpeting progress under its Millennium Development Goals project, puts China ahead of the pack when it comes to reducing poverty. Yet even that single bright spot of progress has little to do with UN targets, claim some analysts. - Thalif Deen
(Jul 2, '13)
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