The DailyBrief

Tuesday May 2, 2017

China’s Q2 slowdown: The spectacular start that China’s economy made during the first three months of 2017 is apparently transitioning into a much more muted second quarter, writes Steve Wang. Both official and private surveys show the factory sector grew at a weaker than expected pace in April, due to sluggish orders and output combined with weaker market conditions at home and abroad.

Facebook’s Asian quandary: Social media giant Facebook is grappling with rising state censorship pressure in South East Asia, one of its fastest growing business advertising market. David Hutt reports that Southeast Asian nations have routinely prosecuted netizens under cybercrime or anti-state laws and observers are asking if Facebook is now starting to aid government censorship to protect its lucrative market positions.

China’s debt problem: Xu Zhong, the head of the People’s Bank of China Research Bureau, says government debt may have exceeded the 60% warning line, reports Asia Times’ China Digest. China keeps increasing its leverage by using project funds, public-private partnerships, trusts and other financial tools, with Xu stressing that strengthening corporate governance was the solution.

North Korean conundrum: In 1969, US president Richard Nixon considered an attack on North Korea after a US surveillance aircraft was shot down over the Sea of Japan. Writer Todd Crowell, who was then an Asia-based US air force lieutenant, recalls the episode and says Nixon’s conundrum – what force could the US use that would be tough but not too tough – is the same as the one Trump faces today.