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Cissy Zhou



Articles by Cissy Zhou

US-China trade: who will ‘targeted tariff-exclusion process’ help more, Chinese factories or American buyers?

October 5, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Some factories and industries in China will benefit from the Biden administration’s upcoming “targeted tariff-exclusion process”, but US policy is still more focused on supporting American companies than it is on strengthening bilateral trade, according to analysts.In a speech on Monday outlining Washington’s vision for trade ties with China, US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai also said that the Biden administration will “keep open the potential for additional exclusion processes”, as…

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How is Xinjiang’s economy holding amid US sanctions, and can China keep supporting its ‘great burden’?

October 1, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the first in a series of stories looking at China’s Xinjiang province and how the far-western region is coping economically under a series of US sanctions over alleged human rights violations and the widespread use of forced labour.Nine months ago, when the United States banned cotton and tomato products from Xinjiang over alleged human rights violations and the widespread use of forced labour in the region, cotton farmers in particular in the far-west region feared the worst.But with…

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China power crisis: thermal coal inventory nears record low as country suffers worst outages in a decade

September 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In past years, when the calendar turned to September, China’s power-generation groups set out to replenish their coal inventories ahead of the cold winter months.This year, coal is so scarce that they are struggling to merely keep the lights on. And some are failing even at that.As of September 21, the total stockpile of thermal coal – used to generate electricity – held by the nation’s six major power-generation groups stood at just 11.31 million tonnes – which is capable of meeting demand for…

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US-China decoupling: if it comes down to a US bloc vs China bloc, who stands to gain the most?

September 16, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]If the decoupling between the world’s two largest economies were to continue gradually – with supply chains rearranged rather than completely severed – the consequences would be much more disruptive to the China bloc than to the United States bloc, according to a new report by Capital Economics.This is largely because most of the global economy rests in the US bloc. Based on bilateral relationships involving all 217 global economies recognised by the World Bank, plus Taiwan, a total of 114 are…

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Japan’s Toshiba closing Chinese facility once considered ‘pearl of the Dalian Development Area’

September 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Japanese electronic giant Toshiba has confirmed it will cease production at its Dalian facility by the end of September, and the liquidation process will begin next month, ending its 30-year presence as an economic force in the city.Established as a manufacturing base focusing on industrial motors and broadcast transmitters, Toshiba Dalian was brought to Liaoning province’s second-largest city in 1991 by then deputy mayor Bo Xilai, an infamous politician now serving life in prison for…

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China’s coming era of ‘common prosperity’ – and what it means for the rich

August 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]When Chinese student Ding Xueliang was studying in the US city of Boston in the late 1980s, one of the biggest lessons he learned occurred outside the classroom.Ding crossed paths with a number of other Chinese students who had arrived in the United States fresh from taking part in protests that had gripped several cities in eastern China, including Shanghai, for a month from December 1986.The demonstrators took to the streets in frustration at corruption, eventually expanding their demands to…

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China’s coronavirus success could see Hong Kong-style subsidised medical care in mainland, health expert says

August 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Mainland China’s success in combating the coronavirus pandemic increases the likelihood that free public health care, similar to Hong Kong, will be provided for the nation’s 1.4 billion-strong population, says a leading expert on the country’s medical care reform.“China’s success in containing transmission of the virus last year was largely due to the up-to-the-minute free testing and treatment, the result was very good with an affordable price,” said Li Ling, a professor at the National School…

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China’s zero Covid-19 approach sparks debate about long-term impact on economy

August 12, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]With China intent on sticking to a zero-tolerance Covid-19 elimination strategy, debate is swirling over the long-term economic impact of sealing the country off from the outside world and imposing severe domestic restrictions.China believes its handling of the pandemic has been superior to Western democracies and the ruling Communist Party sees it as a major political achievement. But some leading epidemiologists and economists have suggested the country may need to prepare to “live with the…

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China’s education crackdown ‘only scratched the surface’ of what’s to come, former ministry spokesman says

August 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Although Chinese regulators say they are determined to rein in the nation’s education sector, it remains to be seen how extensively local governments will implement new restrictive policies.And then there’s the fact that similar, but more vague, administrative regulations – passed nearly a quarter-century ago – have been basically ignored and never strictly enforced.Last month’s crackdown on private test-prep firms also raised a litany of concerns and unanswerable questions among schools and…

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Why China cracked down on education and upended a US$70 billion tutoring industry, with millions of jobs and students affected

August 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]When the representatives of several after-school tutoring giants were called in for a meeting with China’s Ministry of Education in March, they were told that their teaching materials and content would be treated as publications – subject to advanced censorship.Those who attended the meeting said the representatives agreed to fully cooperate but explained that they could not simply change the handouts overnight. The proposal also would not be an easy task for education authorities, as it would…

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Chinese floods snarl supply chains for lead and aluminium amid metal market price volatility

July 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Deadly floods in the central Chinese province of Henan will have an inevitable impact on the supply of non-ferrous metals, with lead and aluminium the most severely hit, according to analysts.The flooding, which has been described by local authorities as a “one in one thousand year event”, has killed at least 73 people and affected more than 13 million residents, or 13 per cent of the province’s total population.The disaster has also tangled supply chains for key materials and products.The…

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China’s domestic brands boom, fuelled by nationalism, with Li-Ning, Anta standing out from the crowd

July 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]For Chinese director Zhang Yimou and well-known actor Ni Dahong, track suits were the attire of choice for a red carpet premiere in late April, although as this came just a month after a nationwide boycott of H&M, Adidas and Nike, the decision behind the wardrobe selection was viewed as more than just a fashion statement.With fellow cast members from the sky thriller Cliff Walkers choosing for more traditional suits, blazers and ties, Zhang opted for an Anta track suit with the Chinese flag…

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Chinese manufacturers forced to halt production in Vietnam as coronavirus surge grows

July 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese manufacturers in Vietnam are struggling amid the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak so far, with one business in the hard-hit south “losing tens of thousands of US dollars” a day.Fuelled by the fast-spreading Delta variant, cases have surged in the Southeast Asian nation in recent months, hitting another record high of 6,194 new infections on Thursday.Authorities in Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s financial and economic hub, and neighbouring industrial provinces like Dong Nai and Binh…

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US-China economic talks ‘infinitely far away’ with ‘emphasis on competition over cooperation’

July 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The resumption of formal high level economic talks between China and the United States seems “infinitely far away”, according to Chinese experts, following reports the Biden administration has no plans to resurrect the regular communication channel that ground to a halt under former president Donald Trump.The US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) mechanism was created in 2009 by the Obama administration as an upgrade to the Strategic Economic Dialogue that was initiated by the…

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US sanctions on China will continue but Beijing ‘unlikely to escalate’ amid decoupling fears

July 12, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China is prepared for more sanctions after the US added 23 Chinese entities to its export blacklist last week, but Beijing will be cautious in responding given its reluctance to encourage full-scale technology decoupling, Chinese experts and government advisers say.The Biden administration’s latest action follows the addition of a handful of Chinese polysilicon producers to its “entity list” last month as part of efforts to hold China accountable for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang…

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US-China trade war hits third anniversary, with no sign of Joe Biden easing economic pressure

July 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Three years after the US and China began a tit-for-tat trade war, the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration remain in place on most Chinese goods, and bilateral tensions have extended beyond trade to encompass a range of geopolitical and human rights issues under US President Joe Biden.Since the signing of the phase one deal in January last year, Beijing has repeatedly urged the US to roll back its punitive tariffs on Chinese products and called on the American business community to help…

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China’s economic growth to cool at end of year, weighed down by slowing export demand as world recovers

July 6, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s economic growth is expected to decelerate in the second half of the year due to softer export demand, property tightening measures, higher commodity prices and Beijing’s carbon neutral campaign, economists said.Economists from Nomura believe China’s economy will grow by 8.9 per cent this year, up from the 2.3 per cent growth seen during a coronavirus-hit 2020.Standard Chartered economists forecast the country’s growth will reach 8 per cent this year due to a fading base effect,…

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Chinese economist Gao Shangquan’s death a blow to pro-market camp within Communist Party

June 29, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The death of renowned economic reformer Gao Shangquan, who was also instrumental in Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China, is a major loss to the pro-market camp within the Communist Party, a faction whose influence has been waning in recent years, experts said.Gao, the former president of China Society of Economic Reform and one of the minds behind the country’s reform and opening up from the late 1970s onwards, died on Sunday in Beijing, aged 92.One of China’s earliest advocates for a…

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Xinjiang firms blacklisted by US seen ‘shifting orders within China’ to minimise impact

June 24, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The US ban on imports and restricted exports involving five Chinese companies will not have an outsized impact on them, because producers can simply change the production origin by shifting orders elsewhere in the country, according to a Chinese analyst.The Biden administration confirmed on Thursday that it has banned US imports of metallurgical-grade silicon, as well as products made from it, from Hoshine Silicon Industry, over forced-labour allegations in China’s far-west Xinjiang Uygur…

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Is a commodities supercycle looming, and what risks does it pose for China?

June 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Booming commodity markets are fuelling debate in China about the potential impact of a commodities supercycle, which could saddle producers with high costs for years and pose a major threat to the country’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.Commodities fell slightly last week from recent record highs after the US dollar strengthened and Chinese authorities took steps to intervene in the market, but raw material prices are expected to remain buoyant until at least the end of the…

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China population: infertility rate rising faster than expected, new reproductive study shows

June 17, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The prevalence of infertility in China has increased at a faster-than-expected rate in the past decade, dealing yet another blow to a nation that is finding it harder and harder to get people to have children, according to a leading reproductive specialist.The world’s second-largest economy saw its infertility rate rise from 12 per cent in 2007 to 18 per cent in 2020, meaning that one out of every 5.6 couples of childbearing age faces difficulties making a baby, according to the latest national…

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China’s closed borders ‘a real problem’ for foreign business operations amid coronavirus

June 15, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the second in a series about China’s plans to reopen its borders to the world amid the Covid-19 pandemic.China’s practice of quickly clamping down on even the smallest coronavirus outbreaks – by imposing aggressive restrictions on movement and mandating widespread testing – has for the most part kept the pandemic at bay since the initial lockdowns in January 2020.But this unorthodox approach, including effectively closing the nation’s border to visitors, is having a knock-on effect of…

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US-China relations: Biden’s trade strike force sees US turn to aggressive ‘industrial policy’ to counter Beijing

June 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]US efforts to combat unfair trade practices with a new strike force and provide government support for American businesses highlight the Biden administration’s “more aggressive” stance towards China, as well as its willingness to implement “industrial policy” to maintain international dominance, analysts say.The White House announced on Tuesday that the Biden administration will establish a trade strike force, led by the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, to halt the “hollowing out” of…

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China population: why did Beijing opt for a three-child policy when it could scrap birth caps altogether?

June 4, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]When Beijing announced early this week it would allow couples to have up to three children each, even seasoned Chinese demographers were caught off guard.“I was surprised,” said Yang Chenggang, vice-president of the China Population Association, which is affiliated with the National Health Commission (NHC). “None of the demographers were expecting a policy like that, we never proposed that.”The policy overhaul came just weeks after the latest census revealed the number of births in China…

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Coronavirus: shipping rates to stay at ‘unprecedented’ levels until pandemic brought under control

June 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In more than 10 years in the logistics business, David Sun says he has never seen shipping fees climb as high or quickly as they have this year.“It’s unprecedented,” he said on the phone from Yiwu, a central Chinese city known as the world’s largest trading centre for small commodities.Ocean freight fees are three to five times higher than the same period last year. The cost of moving a 40-foot sea container from China to Dubai is normally less than US$1,000, but it now costs about US$5,000.The…

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China’s credit risks are down in most sectors, but payment delays persist in construction and energy, survey finds

May 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Given Beijing’s stimulus measures to support the economy, Chinese credit risks appear to be on the decline, but there is still considerable exposure in China’s construction and energy sectors, according to a new survey.Although fewer companies experienced payment delays in 2020 compared with 2019, the proportion of firms in both the construction and energy sectors that reported payment delays longer than 180 days on invoices totalling more than 10 per cent of their annual turnover doubled to…

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China’s credit risks are down in most sectors, but payment delays persist in construction and energy, survey finds

May 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Given Beijing’s stimulus measures to support the economy, Chinese credit risks appear to be on the decline, but there is still considerable exposure in China’s construction and energy sectors, according to a new survey.Although fewer companies experienced payment delays in 2020 compared with 2019, the proportion of firms in both the construction and energy sectors that reported payment delays longer than 180 days on invoices totalling more than 10 per cent of their annual turnover doubled to…

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China’s central bank says it has no plans to ease exchange rate controls

May 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s central bank has no plans to alter its exchange rate mechanism, one of its deputy governors said on Sunday, dismissing speculation that the yuan might be allowed to move more freely against other currencies.The existing “managed floating exchange rate” system was “an institutional arrangement fit for China at present and in the foreseeable future”, Liu Guoqiang said in a brief statement published on the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)’s website.His comments came after Zhou Chengjun, the…

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China’s small manufacturers endure ‘difficult time’ as surging raw material prices drive up costs

May 4, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Last year, as China’s economy started to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic, Ding Yi saw export orders take off.Ding, who runs a factory making stainless steel strips in the city of Wuxi in eastern Jiangsu Province, even invested in new equipment while demand was good.But with commodity prices now above pre-pandemic levels, the businessman is starting to feel anxious again.“We tried to find new suppliers, but every supplier was raising prices,” he said. “Then we raised the prices of our…

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Global supply chain continues to shift away from China, but it remains the top sourcing location

April 30, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Although China has rebounded relatively strongly from the pandemic, having brought it under control much faster than the West, long-term diversification trends in the global supply chain are continuing to shift away from the world’s second-largest economy, according to a survey of more than 700 firms across the world in March.In 2019, 96 per cent of US-based companies and 100 per cent of Europe-based companies listed China as one of their top-three sourcing countries, but those proportions…

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