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Cissy Zhou



Articles by Cissy Zhou

Xinjiang cotton ban uncertainties weigh on Chinese farmers, smaller textile firms

4 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Mr Zhang runs a cotton-processing plant in the middle of Xinjiang province. Every year, from September to November, he purchases raw cotton locally and processes it into ginned cotton – separating the seeds and the fibres – and then sells it to traders and yarn plants. And as a member of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) for more than five years, his business in Yuli county has benefited quite a lot from the Switzerland-based network.However, while Zhang, who would only give his surname, was…

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Xinjiang cotton ban, forced labour claims push China to step up plans for domestic Better Cotton Initiative

5 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has stepped up plans to launch its own version of the under-fire Better Cotton Initiative after the network cut off all ties with Xinjiang due to concerns about the alleged forced labour issue in the region, according to three people familiar with the matter.Beijing-based cotton vertical service provider Zhongnong Guoji started the Weilai Cotton, or future cotton, project two years ago, but it did not make much progress until January when two state-backed organisations – the China Fashion…

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G7 pressure on China over subsidies ‘doomed to fail’ even as Biden administration gathers coalition

18 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Pressure from the G7 to force China to change its economic behaviour is “doomed to fail”, and Beijing might simply choose to ignore it if external pressure continues to mount, experts said.On Wednesday, trade ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) – the United States, Germany, Britain, France, Canada, Italy and Japan – pledged collective action against “harmful industrial subsidies” without naming China directly.British Trade Minister Liz Truss, with Britain the current president of the bloc, had…

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China’s SWIFT joint venture ‘defensive move’ against US refuted by former bank executive

21 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A theory that China’s latest joint venture with the SWIFT financial messaging service is a defensive move against the United States has been refuted by a former Chinese bank executive, who insists the move is actually part of efforts to promote the internalisation of the yuan and the development of the nation’s digital currency. Last week, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced a newly established joint venture with Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service and four Chinese…

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Chinese economists debate potential for domestic stagflation, with most dismissing the risk

March 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A worrisome prediction by a renowned Chinese economist has sparked heated debate among experts in his field.“Stagflation is coming,” Ren Zeping, chief economist at the Evergrande Group, warned earlier this month. He had earlier cautioned that China was at risk of “light stagflation” as a result of escalations in trade tensions with the United States since late 2018.But not everyone is in agreement. Some economists argue that stagflation is indeed looming, while others are dismissing the…

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China’s tech megacity Shenzhen at risk of being high-income trap as GDP soars

March 16, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]While the world’s second-largest economy is battling a so-called middle-income trap, its tech megacity Shenzhen is now facing the dilemma of trying to avoid a high-income trap, as the city’s gross domestic product (GDP) has swollen almost 15,000-fold in the past 40 years, according to experts.In 2018, the city’s GDP hit 2.42 trillion yuan (US$372 billion), overtaking Hong Kong for the first time. Before 1980, Shenzhen’s GDP was just 0.2 per cent of Hong Kong’s. Meanwhile, Shenzhen’s GDP per…

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China’s steel city Tangshan vows to crack down on pollution after weeks of heavy smog

March 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Officials in China’s steelmaking hub have vowed to crack down on illicit emissions after two weeks of heavy smog across northern China.In an emergency municipal meeting on Saturday night, Li Guifu, the vice mayor of Tangshan, a city in Hebei, ordered factories to limit or halt production on days when a heavy pollution alert was in place to reduce the overall emissions of air pollutants such as sulphuric dioxide or nitrogen oxide by 50 per cent.Li issued the warning after a surprise inspection…

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China’s plan to raise retirement age will be gradual process, government researcher insists

March 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s plan to put back the retirement age will be a gradual process rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach, a leading government researcher has told state media.The proposal prompted by the county’s ageing population sparked uproar on social media after it was announced on Friday with critics saying it was unfair to make them work longer than expected because the shrinking labour force was the result of government policies.Jin Weigang, the head of the social security research institute of…

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China ‘needs’ trade pact like CPTPP to force it into domestic reform, says former commerce minister

March 11, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Conditions are right for China to start negotiating entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), but it will be a “jump” for the country to meet the deal’s more stringent requirements, a former high-ranking minister says.President Xi Jinping said in November last year that China was “actively considering” joining the trade pact, something that was reiterated by Premier Li Keqiang when he delivered the government’s annual work report last week…

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China ratifies RCEP trade deal three months ahead of schedule, urges other members to follow suit

March 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has urged other members to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement as soon as possible, after Beijing rubber stamped the deal around three months ahead of schedule.The 15-member trade deal was signed in mid-November, and China is already accelerating the technical preparations to implement the treaty and ensure processes around tariff reductions and certificates of origin for trade goods are “quite smooth”.“The sooner the agreement enters into force, the…

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China’s ‘two sessions’: Beijing set to signal post-coronavirus economic confidence

March 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s political elite will gather in Beijing this week for the year’s biggest legislative set piece, known as the “two sessions” or lianghui , facing a number of major political challenges, including the aftermath of the coronavirus and the ongoing rivalry with the United States. In this instalment of a series looking at the agenda, we examine why Beijing is likely to use the event to highlight its economic achievements.Beijing is set to send a message of unparalleled success in its economic…

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Troubled Chinese semiconductor plant has ‘no plans’ to resume operations, 240 lose their jobs

February 27, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Hundreds of people are set to lose their jobs at a semiconductor manufacturing plant in Wuhan that was once touted as part of the country’s plans to become a self-sufficient chip maker, according to Chinese media reports.Employees at Wuhan Hongxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (HSMC) – intended as a US$20 billion state-of-the-art facility – were “asked to resign” by the end of play on Monday via a WeChat message, Caixin Media reported on Saturday.The factory, in central China’s Hubei province,…

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China’s ‘difficult’ job market to be inundated with 15 million new urban applicants this year

February 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]About 15 million urban workers, including a record-high 9.09 million university graduates, will enter China’s job market this year, exerting greater employment pressure on the world’s second-largest economy.Zhang Jinan, minister of human resources and social security, said this year’s employment situation is rife with challenges, as there are still “quite a few uncertainties and instabilities” in the economy.Structural obstacles remain prominent in the job market, with hardships faced by both…

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China’s robotics revolution falls behind target as technology gap with rivals Japan, Germany persists

February 20, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s robotics industry has fallen behind targets set out by Beijing in a plan to upgrade the industrial sector, despite production surging 19.1 per cent last year, research shows.China buys and builds more industrial robots than any country, but its market is still dominated by Japanese companies, followed by manufacturers from Europe and South Korea, according to data from Shenzhen Gaogong Industry Research (GGII).Robots produced by Chinese companies made up about 39 per cent of the…

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WTO: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala faces tall order to reform global trade body, Chinese experts say

February 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The new director general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, faces an uphill battle to reform the global body, especially as China and the United States remain far apart on key issues like subsidies, Chinese economic experts say.Okonjo-Iweala – the first woman and first African leader of the organisation – will take control of the WTO at one of the most difficult periods in its history, and faces a herculean task to restore the battered institution.The 164-member WTO has…

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China’s GDP ‘paradox’: why young Chinese despair about future prospects despite rapid economic growth

February 13, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As vlogger Ning Nanshan stares down the camera and launches into a lecture about China’s push for technological self-reliance, a flood of “bullet comments” begins floating across the screen.“Go our own way and corner the rest of the world!” says one of the comments on Bilibili, a popular video-sharing site that allows viewers to post messages in real time.“Our motherland’s five-year plan is so awesome!” says another as it flies across the monitor.While most of Ning’s videos trumpet China’s…

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China’s coronavirus testing ‘overkill’ gives economy a shot in the arm, with huge windfall for industry

February 4, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A knock at the door jarred Susan Li out of bed on a chilly morning in Beijing last month.“Nucleic acid test,” proclaimed the woman outside Li’s home. And then her neighbour’s home. Then the next home. And so on, with the knocks stretching well into the millions across the country.In Li’s case, the testing came a day after Beijing recorded two new cases of the coronavirus, in Daxing district. Even though the 33-year-old lives more than 10km away, Li was among the 1.8 million residents in the…

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China-Myanmar border trade could be disrupted if military conflict intensifies, analysts say

February 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Every day, e-commerce trader Mr Sun imports live crabs from Myanmar to Ruili, a major border crossing in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan. But all of his crabs were seized in Myanmar after the coup on Monday.“The traffic was cut off. Telecommunication was cut off, too. I have no idea when I can get my crabs in,” Sun said.Given that he has few crabs in stock, and the crabs survive for only a few days, Sun said he dramatically raised his prices on Tuesday.Myanmar’s military detained de…

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As Biden takes office, US still viewed as ‘grey rhino’ risk for Chinese economy

January 21, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The outlook for China-US trade ties under a Joe Biden presidency has been met with mixed views by Chinese economists, with some saying the United States remains the nation’s biggest “grey rhino” – a very obvious yet ignored threat – in terms of economic risk this year.Biden, who was sworn in as the 46th US president on Wednesday, inherits a bilateral relationship at historic lows and many economists are hoping he can reverse the course set by former president Donald Trump, who launched a…

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As coronavirus, US-China tensions add to global economic uncertainties, Asia looks to be a key growth engine

January 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The evolution of the global coronavirus pandemic and geopolitical tensions between the United States and China will continue to reverberate throughout the world for some time, even after the virus is brought under control and bilateral tensions ease, experts have warned.Speaking at a virtual panel during the Asia Financial Forum (AFF) on Monday, Singapore’s former deputy prime minister, Wong Kan Seng, said the stakes are high in the relationship between the world’s two largest economies, and…

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US-China trade war deal reaches first anniversary as bilateral mistrust hits ‘all-time high’

January 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]One year after signing the phase one trade deal with the US, China remains far behind in its commitment to buy more American goods, though the agreement has been a vital sticking plaster in a fast deteriorating bilateral relationship, experts said.The world’s two largest economies signed the deal on January 15 last year, effectively calling a ceasefire in a trade war that saw tariffs slapped on billions of dollars worth of products and reorganised global supply chains after it was launched by…

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How will China’s GDP be hit by Beijing’s new caps on real estate lending?

January 12, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s aggressive moves to tamp down risk in the real estate sector by curbing financing are not expected to significantly affect growth this year, provided other sectors of the economy continue to improve, economists have said.The property market has been a major driver of economic expansion in recent years, particularly in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, so a slowdown in the sector could have an outsize effect on the overall economy. One reason is that many other industries – such…

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China hits back at foreign sanctions on Chinese companies and individuals

January 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China on Saturday issued a new order to prohibit firms from complying with foreign laws banning transactions with Chinese companies and individuals, effective immediately.The so-called Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extraterritorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures apply to circumstances that “improperly prohibit or restrict” Chinese individuals, companies, and institutions from conducting normal economic, trade, and related activities with parties from the third…

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China GDP: IMF cuts 2021 growth forecast citing US tech decoupling, domestic debt, Hong Kong risks

January 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has trimmed back its growth projection for the Chinese economy in 2021, citing headwinds from technological decoupling with the United States and domestic financial risks, to restrictions on fundraising via Hong Kong for Chinese companies.China will grow by 7.9 per cent this year, the fund forecasts, down from its previous prediction of 8.2 per cent growth made in October.While few other nations will achieve such a level of growth, the downgrade is a…

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China’s home appliance manufacturers left cursing export orders as costs rise, profits vanish amid yuan rally

January 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Faced with a perfect storm of a strong yuan and the rising cost of raw materials, China’s home appliance manufacturers are fearful of booming exports orders caused by the coronavirus as profits decline, leaving some on the verge of bankruptcy.On one hand, overseas demand for appliances is rising amid lockdowns and work from home arrangements in the West, but on the other, firms are seeing profits vanish as the Chinese yuan continues to rise, meaning they will receive less for the orders which…

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How coronavirus turned China’s economic expectations on their head

January 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]At the end of 2019, economic debate in China centred on whether the country should aim for 6 per cent growth the following year – a conversation that was rapidly turned on its head by the coronavirus.As the situation steadily worsened, first in China and then across the globe, growth forecasts were slashed as the death toll mounted.Revisiting these increasingly pessimistic forecasts highlights how quickly assumptions were turned on their heads by a disease that has now infected more than 84…

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China’s 2019 GDP revised down, shrinking the base for 2020 growth calculations

December 30, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The size of China’s economy and its growth rate for 2019 are slightly smaller than Beijing previously announced, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday after its annual revision of economic data.The NBS statement did not say how much the revision would affect the calculation of the 2020 growth rate. However, by creating a lower base for that calculation, the revision could potentially result in a larger increase for this year than otherwise would have been expected.The…

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China ramps up domestic jet development as OTT Airlines makes maiden flight with home-grown ARJ21 jet

December 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]One Two Three Airlines (OTT Airlines), a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines launched in February to expand domestically-produced aircraft to more markets, completed its maiden commercial flight on Monday.The nearly two-hour flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport will be followed by the opening of new routes to Nanchang, Hefei and Wenzhou over the next three months, according to the airline.The Shanghai-based company used an ARJ21 jet for…

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Boeing jet sales to China ‘highly complicated’ by company’s arms sales to Taiwan, experts say

December 17, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The outlook for sales of Boeing passenger jets in China is “highly complicated” due to bilateral diplomatic issues, particularly the company’s arms sales to Taiwan, according to analysts.China is likely to be cautious in its future dealings with Boeing – including whether to give its 737 MAX approval to resume flying again – given continued US-China tensions, they said.For its part, Boeing is trying hard to break the ice and resume business in China.In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday,…

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China’s yuan to continue rise against US dollar in short term, but when will Beijing say enough?

December 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s yuan is expected to continue appreciating against the US dollar in the early part of next year due to strong growth of the Chinese economy and weakness in the American currency due to a coronavirus-induced slowdown in the United States, analysts said.However, they disagree over whether the yuan will continue appreciating throughout the entire year, with some arguing Beijing will step in to stop an excessive rise that would endanger the economy and its policy priority to promote home…

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