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He Huifeng

Articles by He Huifeng

China’s Canton Fair losing its lustre among export manufacturers and buyers who bemoan virtual forum

5 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The appeal of China’s Canton Fair is fading among the nation’s export manufacturers, as already-strong export orders and new worries about operating risks force them to re-evaluate the pros and cons of participating in the 10-day event that begins on Thursday. The twice-a-year exhibition – held since 1957 – is the largest of its kind in China. It was long the epicentre of China’s export economy – a must-attend event for sellers and buyers alike. But the rise of the digital economy and e…

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China population: plan to lift retirement age stokes workers’ anxiety as demographic crisis looms

21 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Speculation is running rampant among Chinese about how many years of pension income may be lost after the government announced plans to gradually increase the nation’s mandatory retirement age.The move has sparked deep concern among working and middle class citizens, many of whom may now have to work for years more than planned and are scrambling to get their finances in order. On Chinese microblogging site Weibo, a popular post on the new policy has been read more than 210 million times and…

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China’s tech hub Shenzhen moves ahead with GDP alternative that measures value of ecosystem goods and services

26 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s technology hub of Shenzhen claims to have established the first complete system of accounting that will focus on the contributions made by resources and the environment to the local economy, that could potentially replace traditional gross domestic product (GDP) to define the development of the city. The introduction of the gross ecosystem product (GEP) system comes as China is looking to play down the importance of its GDP growth rate after Beijing dropped a specific numerical target…

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China’s property price declines in lower-tier cities take heavy toll on middle class

29 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Like countless parents throughout China, those of 34-year-old Yuan Yin want to do everything they can to support him and his future wife as they prepare to get married.But the weakened property market in Sheyang county, Jiangsu province, is making it difficult to pull together a wedding dowry – marriage expenses traditionally offered by the groom’s family in the country.Yuan is a migrant worker, living and working as a freelance photographer in Guangzhou – nearly 1,700km (1,056 miles) away from…

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China’s millennials, Generation Z leading nation away from Hollywood films, American culture, US brands

March 19, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s youth do not seem to want to go so far as to be labelled anti-American, but while older generations once admired US values, films and brands and held the political conditions and economic and technological advancement in a positive light, conversations with the younger generation show the appeal has certainly faded in the last few years.Citizens born in the 1970s and 1980s have memories of once admiring US individualism and democratic freedoms, but modern generations have become…

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China’s truck drivers still have a long road to post-coronavirus recovery

March 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As rain beat down on his truck, Zhang Liang dozed in his cab at a rest stop in Shenzhen after a gruelling 36-hour drive from the central Chinese province of Hubei. After a quick nap, the Hubei native will turn around and pilot his 49-tonne truck 2,500km home again.The journey is normally a job for two people, but Zhang says a co-driver is now unaffordable after a year of financial turmoil in which his income had fallen, unpaid bills had begun to stack up and his personal debts had grown.“I…

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China’s ‘two sessions’: wealth inequality poses threat to Beijing’s post-Covid economic plan

March 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]When Peng Biao first shifted to the bustling city of Guangzhou from the remote mountain village she grew up in, she felt a world away from home.Like hundreds of millions of Chinese from underdeveloped rural areas, Peng was forced to leave her children and parents behind to find work in the country’s booming cities. Once she arrived, she was taken aback by just how stark the gap was between China’s rich and poor.“Compared to when we were kids or even 10 years ago, the conditions in the village…

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China population: economic powerhouse Guangdong aims to add 1 million residents a year, even as birth rate keeps falling

February 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s manufacturing and technology hub of Guangdong province has set an ambitious target to expand its population – including permanent residents and migrants – to 130 million by 2035, in spite of a sharply dropping national birth rate.The total would be a 13 per cent increase from 2019’s population of 115 million. But some demographers say such a goal – adding an average of roughly 1 million people a year – is too aggressive.The plan was outlined in the Territorial Special Planning of…

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China’s provinces bank on high growth amid export rebound

February 21, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Provinces throughout China have set growth targets of up to 10 per cent this year as the country’s top legislature prepares to meet next month.All of the 31 provincial-level jurisdictions are aiming for over 6 per cent economic growth for 2021, with 20 setting a target of more than 6.5 per cent – roughly the same growth forecasts set in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.The provinces of Hubei and Hainan lead the nation with 10 per cent while Tibet’s goal is 9 per cent, according to the…

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China’s coronavirus fears curb migrant worker travel over Lunar New Year, but small factories to stay shut

February 11, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]More than 100 million Chinese migrant workers will drop the decades-long tradition of returning home for the Lunar New Year holiday this year and instead stay in big cities and manufacturing hubs.The nation’s army of migrant workers has been a crucial component in the manufacturing boom that followed China’s opening up to the world in the late 1970s, and for almost four decades, nothing could stop their annual journey to see their families in rural provinces.That was until the pandemic hit…

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US-China relations: Biden rouses optimism among businesses in mainland manufacturing hubs

January 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Businesspeople in China’s manufacturing powerhouses believe the nation’s economic and technological development could leap forward in coming years because US President Joe Biden is likely to take a less confrontational stance toward the country.Biden is expected to scale back the antagonistic style that was a hallmark of former President Donald Trump and adopt a China strategy more like that of the Obama administration, according to entrepreneurs and economists.Many are confident trade will…

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China’s hi-tech hub Guangdong sees higher education investments boom in bid to rival Silicon Valley with home-grown talent

January 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]An investment boom in institutions of higher education is taking place in Guangdong province, one of China’s biggest manufacturing hubs and its up-and-coming hi-tech region with grand ambitions to rival Silicon Valley in the United States.Guangdong will open 11 new universities this year, with more to come in the next few years. In Shenzhen city, the local government announced that it would invest 150 billion yuan (US$23.21 billion) to build 20 new universities and colleges by 2025, with an aim…

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Most China, South Korean executives see Biden improving Washington-Beijing ties, survey shows

January 13, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese and South Korean business leaders are much more optimistic than their Japanese counterparts about the prospect for better US-China relations under the incoming administration of Joe Biden, according to a recent survey by leading newspapers in the three East Asian countries.More than 57 per cent of executives from China and 51 per cent from South Korea said the bilateral relationship would improve or greatly improve after Biden takes office next Wednesday. However, only 25 per cent of…

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China’s factories must be ‘armed with automation’, as pandemic gives boost to machines in manufacturing

January 10, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The US-China trade war weakened demand for automation on Chinese assembly lines from 2018-19, but a shortage of manpower during the pandemic reversed that trend last year, and analysts expect manufacturers to further embrace robots in 2021.“The impact of the pandemic on the global industrial supply chain has been a major stimulus, forcing a huge number of orders to return to China,” said Peng Biao, an analyst with, which monitors the fashion industry. “Last year was like a…

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China’s rich face million dollar question: stay and risk losing assets, or face the coronavirus abroad?

December 31, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]While some affluent Chinese would like to emigrate to escape a perceived harsher environment for private entrepreneurs at home, they are increasingly reluctant to do so – at least in the next few years – because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic in popular destinations abroad, consultants and businesspeople say.Many are conflicted and feel under pressure given changing rules in China and around the world: move now and risk infection, or delay and risk assets being seized by the…

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Almost half of China’s 1.4 billion people spend less than US$150 a year on leisure activities, survey finds

December 28, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]With virtually all their leisure time spent sitting under trees, chatting and playing cards, it is no surprise that over 44 per cent of China’s population spends less than 1,000 yuan (US$153) a year on entertainment activities, with some even left struggling to remember when they spent money for personal enjoyment.China’s average annual leisure spending was 5,647 yuan (US$863) this year, according to a recent survey, reinforcing the large spending gap between China’s rich and poor.“The last…

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More Chinese cities ease residency rules to boost local economies

December 26, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Some of China’s biggest cities are loosening their residency rules in an effort to increase their populations.Cities that have recently relaxed their regulations in the hope of boosting their local labour and property markets include a number of major export and manufacturing hubs such as Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, Suzhou in Jiangsu and Fuzhou in Fujian.Suzhou’s new rules came into force on December 18 and allow all rental tenants to apply for a permanent residence permit, or…

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China’s wealthy and middle-class investors are shying away from risky plays and looking inward after tumultuous 2020

December 22, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]On the surface, there should be little reason for China’s wealthy and middle-class investors to be anxious about their money next year: China will be the only major economy to report positive growth this year, and the recovery is expected to accelerate in 2021.But discussions with dozens of members in this social group, which comprises the biggest winners from China’s economic boom and its integration into the global economy, reveal that many feel just the opposite. While they are generally…

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China’s small exporters see bank accounts frozen amid ‘massive crackdown’ by police across the country

December 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Individual traders in some of China’s export hubs are having their bank accounts frozen in what industry insiders say is collateral damage from the nation’s crackdown on internet crimes and illegal foreign exchange transactions.Traders in the cities of Guangzhou, Yiwu, Shenzhen and Quanzhou are among those whose bank accounts have been targeted.They include the family of small manufacturer Betty Chen, who has been running garment factories and wholesale shops for decades in Guangzhou, focusing…

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Chinese-Venezuelans desperate to extend China stay as authorities tighten rules on visa extensions

December 16, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Time is running out for Liang Lintao and tens of thousands of other naturalised Venezuelans who returned to China in recent years but could be forced to return to the troubled South American country when their visas expire, under new Chinese restrictions.In early 2017, after living in Venezuela for 24 years, Liang returned to his Chinese hometown of Enping, a county-level city in Guangdong province across the mainland border from Hong Kong. He is now among roughly 30,000 Chinese-Venezuelans…

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Chinese tenants, landlords left dismayed by Danke debacle after US-listed firm fails to pay up, leading to evictions

December 15, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]For Henry Wang and thousands of other young tenants across China, the business model pitched by one of China’s largest rental specialists seemed to be exactly what they were looking for – a win-win arrangement in which they were offered a decent place to live at an affordable price in a major city, while increasing the rental profits of property owners.It seemed too good to be true – right up until the moment his landlord showed up and told him to get out.“The landlord came [on December 6] with…

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Shenzhen’s population size, key to gauging economic development, remains a matter of debate

November 26, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has showcased the rapid development of Shenzhen, a hi-tech hub neighbouring Hong Kong, as a model for economic growth in China, but getting a precise handle on its demographic make up remains elusive.The city, which China plans to turn into a “core engine” of reform that will power growth and innovation in the Greater Bay Area, was praised by President Xi Jinping as a “trailblazer” in October and is home to some of the country’s most valuable tech companies.But analysts have long…

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How China’s factories are pivoting from an export-oriented business model to rely more on domestic sales

November 16, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]If you build it, will they buy? That’s the big question facing China’s manufacturers as they are being told by the highest levels of government to embrace an inward-facing model of domestic consumption.In the world’s second-largest economy, built in good part on the back of exports and investment, it is a sea change that is being driven by propaganda and a growing sense of national pride among the public that China has done the best job of dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, particularly as…

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China’s band of daigou shoppers turn to domestic sales after coronavirus halts overseas trips for luxury goods

November 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]An increasing number of young women from across China are joining a movement seeking to take advantage of a growing domestic consumption drive, a key element of the government’s new dual circulation strategy.The women, known as daigou, are small-time buying agents who would traditionally travel abroad on shopping trips for their customers. The job took off in the last few years in China amid strong demand for foreign goods among wealthy and upper middle-class families.The women, though, feared…

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China manufacturing: Stanley Black & Decker shuts Shenzhen factory as costs soar

November 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Shenzhen factory of Stanley Black & Decker, a major US tool and household hardware maker, has closed up shop and laid off all of its 1,000 workers after 25 years of operations – reflecting the changing business environment in the world’s second-biggest economy.Last week’s closure of the American company’s wholly-owned China unit, Stanley Black & Decker Precision Manufacturing (Shenzhen), marked the latest retreat by a manufacturing business from Shenzhen amid rising labour and land costs in…

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Guangzhou’s latest urban development plan sparks debate about preserving cultural roots

November 1, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In the heart of Guangzhou, vague plans are in place to raze part of a traditional community featuring historical buildings that can be traced back to the 1920s – decades before the Chinese Communist Party came to power.A new subway station and related property projects appear to be at the centre of the plans. And in anticipation of the large-scale project, local residents and visitors are flowing into the neighbourhood, cameras in hand, hoping to secure a few pictures and revisit memories…

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China’s manufacturers embrace ‘smart shops’ to address rapidly changing, and increasingly pickier, consumer tastes

October 31, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Digital garment printers are helping China’s clothing manufacturers meet the demands of fickle young consumers who want it all in the era of internet shopping: unique designs, fast delivery and low prices.Cntop, a subsidiary of the Hanglory Group in Shenzhen, is one such company making these printers. The devices are becoming increasingly indispensable in today’s garment value chain, as rapid printing helps clothing manufacturers respond to sudden changes in demand, with a garment’s design and…

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China’s rice prices rising ‘several times a day’, but a bountiful northern harvest may change that

October 26, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s grain traders and processing plants are suffering from a shortage of newly harvested rice as severe weather and the coronavirus pandemic have taken a hefty toll on south-central provinces, pushing up wholesale prices – a trend that is expected to last at least through the end of the year.However, the central government is guaranteeing that the rice harvest in northern provinces will be one of the best in history – large enough to prevent a sharp rise in rice prices at the consumer level…

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China’s P2P ‘financial refugees’ face never ending wait to recover lost US$120 billion

October 20, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]An exporting company owner in his 40s in the eastern province of Zhejiang, a public relations manager in her 20s in the southern city of Shenzhen and retired state-owned enterprise executive in eastern-central coastal province of Jiangsu would normally share little in common as they blend into China’s 1.4 billion population.

Like many, they did share a common and unsurprising goal of seeking a return on their investments. But unfortunately it is the fact that they have joined the ranks of…

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Chinese authorities step in to ‘correct’ Japanese-themed street in Guangdong popular with tourists

October 10, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A popular Japanese-themed shopping street in China’s Guangdong province has been closed since the beginning of the “golden week” holiday, disappointing tourists and stoking speculation copyright complaints and patriotism could be behind the change.The 100m-long road in Foshan city called Ichiban Street quickly gained popularity among young Chinese who could not travel abroad due to coronavirus travel restrictions, but the street has now been sealed off with emergency tape and barricades to…

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