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He Huifeng



Articles by He Huifeng

China’s Canton Fair wraps up, but exporters lament the lack of foreign buyers

2 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Canton Fair participants said global inflation was the biggest risk for their businesses as they attended the biannual trade event in person for the first time in three exhibitions.The five-day fair – the largest of its kind in China – kicked off last Friday in Guangzhou, but many Chinese exhibitors said they were disappointed at the lack of foreign buyers, with some packing up and leaving early on the last day of the fair on Tuesday.Many exporters taking part in the exhibition, especially…

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China’s education crackdown sparks lawsuits against defunct institutions, while some tutors keep teaching in secret

6 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Many private English teachers who remain in China are keeping a low profile amid China’s ongoing crackdown on off-campus education, and a number of private institutions remain stuck in an operational quagmire – saying they are unable to refund customers or provide back pay to employees and teachers.Several middle-class families from across China, including in provinces such as Guangdong, Sichuan, and Hubei, have filed lawsuits through local courts against a 22-year-old ESL (English as a second…

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China’s Li Keqiang acknowledges slowing economic growth, but says Beijing has the ‘tools’ to cope with headwinds

8 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has “adequate tools” to tackle the economic challenges facing the country, including the nation’s current power crisis and high commodity prices, Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday.Though economic growth has slowed in the third quarter due to a number of factors, the government was confident China could meet its growth target of “above 6 per cent” for 2021, Li said at the opening of the Canton Fair in the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou.“We have adequate tools in our toolbox to…

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China manufacturing town is again buzzing after being crippled by Samsung’s departure in 2019

16 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Li Dong is busy these days decorating his new barbecue restaurant in a northern Pearl River Delta community that is rumbling back to life two years after Samsung closed its smartphone factory that had operated there for almost three decades.The South Korean electronics giant’s decision to relocate its complex to Vietnam in October 2019 devastated the Jinxinda community in Guangdong province’s Huizhou city. It was also Samsung’s last smartphone factory in China.Nearby businesses – from shops to…

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China’s Xinjiang gets money, talent from ‘pairing assistance’, but is the controversial programme helping?

16 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the second 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.In spite of Xinjiang‘s vast natural beauty, a common impression of the region held by many Chinese concerns the poverty of its residents, which is often the focus of official state media reports.The idyllic setting – including snow-capped mountains, lush…

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China’s Guangdong slashes foreign investment barriers amid challenges from coronavirus pandemic, US tensions

22 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s southern Guangdong province, the nation’s biggest manufacturing hub, has loosened foreign investment barriers to attract more multinational companies, echoing Beijing’s message that the country remains open for business despite pandemic disruptions, rising concern over protectionism and ongoing tensions with the United States.At the first Conference on Multinational Corporations Investment this week, the Guangdong government said it had relaxed the total assets requirement for foreign…

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Coronavirus outbreak in neighbouring Fujian province force Canton Fair to be cut to just 5 days

September 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s largest trade fair has been cut to just five days from 15 days following the recent coronavirus outbreaks in southern China.The biannual Canton Fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, which has been held since 1957, will resume in person activities from October 15 after holding the past three events online, but outbreaks in the neighbouring southeastern province of Fujian have forced organisers to cut the number of days, the State Council confirmed on Monday.A limited number of China…

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Common prosperity in China: rich or poor, people have questions about Beijing’s attempt to spread the wealth

September 11, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Across China, the phrase “common prosperity” has become a major talking point spanning every demographic, from the rich and political elite to rural farmers and factory workers. Their concerns are vastly different, but many of their questions are quite similar.“What does it mean?” “Will it work?” “How might it affect me?” Uncertainty abounds, and concerns are rife.Steve Xie and Huang Weijie are private business owners who live more than 1,000km (620 miles) apart, in Zhejiang and Guangdong…

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Coronavirus shipping delays force China’s small manufacturers to cancel orders as inventories pile up

September 8, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Small and medium-sized Chinese export manufacturers are rejecting orders and scaling back production to avoid mounting inventory and cash flow problems caused by extended shipping times.Disruptions to shipping – both sea and air – as a result of increased pandemic control measures, including lockdowns, are stretching out payment terms for Chinese factories.Cash is being tied up in inventory that cannot be shipped quickly, forcing people like Betty Chen, who runs garment factories and wholesale…

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China shuts Japanese-themed complex after just 2 weeks over online backlash, ‘sensitive’ date concerns

September 3, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A Japanese-themed cultural and residential project in the city of Dalian in northeast China has been closed after just two weeks, with suggestions it is related to a sensitive date in history prior to the second Sino-Japanese war.Videos and images have emerged on social media in China of the Tang Little Kyoto project being closed as of Thursday following instructions from local authorities.It recreates a Kyoto-style townscape and had proved popular among domestic tourists who are unable to…

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China’s new Gen Z jobs reflect changing views on life and society, from pet morticians to ancient Chinese stylists

August 14, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The evolution of China’s economy and its job market has created new opportunities for young Chinese workers, many of whom are keen on avoiding the heavy pressure and dreary conditions that are often associated with traditional private-sector jobs.And these new occupations are a telling sign of the changes in China’s economy, with an increasing focus on domestic culture. The trend also serves as a commentary on young people’s contemporary views on life and society.Take Bai Ling, for example. She…

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Could China’s rising household debt threaten Beijing’s consumer-led growth vision?

August 7, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the fourth part in a series of stories looking at China’s economic outlook in the second half of 2021 as it continues its recovery from a coronavirus-hit 2020.Since May, Jane Zeng has had countless sleepless nights after her husband told her how deep the family was in debt.Zeng’s husband has steadily taken out credit over the past few years, including a loan to purchase a 70-sq-metre three-bedroom flat and two condos in Shenzhen, and a second mortgage on their properties to finance…

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China’s smallest businesses are crumbling as costs soar and help fails to arrive, putting national economy at high risk

August 5, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the second part in a series of stories looking at China’s economic outlook in the second half of 2021 as it continues its recovery from a coronavirus-hit 2020.When he invested in a snack shop at a Shenzhen mall nearly two years ago, Wen Tao foresaw a steady stream of customers looking to enjoy his clay-oven-baked crispy flatbreads while perusing the mall’s offerings.Then the coronavirus began ravaging China’s economy, and his customers lost their appetite for spending.“Since the…

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China’s tech hub Shenzhen sees economic performance tumble against competition in the first half

August 2, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Shenzhen’s economy – usually a top performer in southern China – is facing a slowdown after posting one of the lowest half-year growth results in Guangdong province, amid poor fixed asset investment and slowing revenue expansion at some of its biggest companies.The city’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 9.7 per cent in the first six months from a year earlier, making it the third worst performing of the province’s 21 cities.Its two-year average growth rate – used to reduce coronavirus…

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China’s state-owned enterprise reform: Shenzhen tries to lure loyal party cadres into oversight roles

July 28, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In an effort to fill Shenzhen’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with loyal and capable Communist Party cadres, authorities in the southern tech hub are encouraging local government officials and existing executives of state institutions to take up additional responsibilities in oversight roles as corporate board members.The new policy has been outlined in drafted regulations for state-owned assets of enterprises, and it is currently open to public feedback.This move comes as the influence of…

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As China’s population ages, the world’s factory struggles to recruit young migrant workers

July 27, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the third in a series of stories on China’s job market, looking at its history, the role of migrant workers, inequality and the future for its graduates entering the workforce.After riding out the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese factory owner Cai Zhongpeng is turning his attention to another, arguably more dangerous long-term threat: a shortage of workers.The 37-year-old businessman, who makes infrared heating bulbs for livestock, is one of scores of small manufacturers dotted…

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China’s Canton Fair to return with on-site exhibitions, but exporters bemoan the lack of overseas buyers

July 22, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Canton Fair will allow exhibitors to return in person in October, with a limited number of exporters and foreign buyers in China allowed to attend the trade exhibition after it was shifted online last year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the commerce ministry has said.The biannual trade event, which has been held since 1957, is the largest of its kind in China, but interest among the nation’s export manufacturers has been waning over the past year amid pandemic-related travel disruptions…

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Coronavirus has changed China’s entertainment habits, but consumer spending is still weak

July 4, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]With international travel off the cards and cinemas intermittently closed, young Chinese like Jiang Tang have been spending more time entertaining themselves online since the coronavirus pandemic hit.When not at home, scores of young people gather during the evening at milk tea cafes to play online games in the southern city of Guangzhou.“To attract young consumers, the cafes are equipped with fast internet speed and are rushing to launch one-litre packages of drinks and snacks that cost about…

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Why Chinese giants JD.com, Didi, Meituan are turning to stand-up comedy to reach Gen Z and millennials

June 26, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A laugh is good not only for the soul, but also for business, as many Chinese companies are finding out.Over the past several years, a growing number of businesses have hit on a novel advertising method to reach younger customers and create a buzz around their brands – producing tailor-made stand-up comedy shows.From e-commerce giants like JD.com to food delivery apps such as Meituan, some of China’s biggest companies are targeting increasingly discerning millennial and Gen Z consumers with…

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China’s millennials bet on cryptocurrencies in hopes of reaching upper middle class

June 10, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In the past few months, Wendy Li, a 32-year-old independent online content producer in Shenzhen and her boyfriend, Henry Yi, a 29-year-old photographer and video editor, say that they and many of their friends have been riding the wave of cryptocurrency speculation – with all of the ups and downs that come with it.This surge of interest in cryptocurrencies has been spreading rapidly among China’s millennials and adult members of Generation Z – either through advice from friends or being…

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Coronavirus controls pushing China’s southern container ports to limit, sending freight rates soaring

June 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Capacity at major ports in China’s southern manufacturing hub is being pushed to the limit by tighter coronavirus controls, with the delays spreading over the world’s busiest port cluster set to further exacerbate global container shortages.Operators of most of the ports in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, including Yantian, Shekou and Nansha, plan to keep stringent disinfection and quarantine measures in place at least until next week.As a result, industry insiders nationwide are predicting that…

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China population: millennial couples decry ‘unaffordable’ childcare as fertility rate falls

May 30, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the 14th in a series of stories about China’s once-a-decade census, which was conducted in 2020. The world’s most populous nation released its national demographic data in May and the figures will have far-reaching social policy and economic implications.With her first child due in August, Getty He’s joy about becoming a mother is tinged with a host of worries about how the new family will stave off financial disaster.Although she will receive 178 days paid maternity leave at the same…

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China population: millennial couples decry ‘unaffordable’ childcare as fertility rate falls

May 30, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the 13th in a series of stories about China’s once-a-decade census, which was conducted in 2020. The world’s most populous nation released its national demographic data in May and the figures will have far-reaching social policy and economic implications.With her first child due in August, Getty He’s joy about becoming a mother is tinged with a host of worries about how the new family will stave off financial disaster.Although she will receive 178 days paid maternity leave at the same…

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China’s population outlook worrying as young people baulk at high cost of having kids

May 11, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is the third in a series of stories about China’s once-a-decade census conducted in 2020. The world’s most populous nation released its national demographic data on Tuesday, and the figures will have far-reaching social policy and economic implications.China’s young people are not surprised that their homeland has one of the world’s lowest fertility rates. In fact, most seem to empathise with the growing reluctance to have kids in China.Many believe that there is a general consensus among…

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China’s provinces fall deeper into local government debt mire, study finds

May 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The debt problem for all but one Chinese provinces is worsening as local authorities continue to rely on borrowings to finance big-ticket spending programmes, according to a joint review of local government finances.The review revealed that with the exception of the hinterland province of Shaanxi, debt ratio, measured as outstanding debt to local GDP, rose in 30 of 31 mainland provinces as of the end of June 2020.The assessment was released in the Local Government Bond Blue Book 2021, jointly…

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China to unveil census data on Tuesday after delays and speculation

May 9, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]After a month-long delay, the results of China’s once-a-decade population census will be released on Tuesday, the country’s statistics bureau said on Sunday.The data was originally scheduled to be released in early April, but was put back first until the end of the month and then until an “indefinite” future date.The delay raised suspicions in some quarters that the government was trying to cover up perceived problems with the data, but there has been no evidence to support this speculation.The…

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China’s Gen Z splashes out on luxury, with little regard for debt

April 23, 2021

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Chinese live-streamer Huang Hanwen uses domestic cosmetics brands and spends his time talking about animation, comics, games and short novels (ACGN), as well as domestic, Japanese and Korean celebrities and entertainment news. At weekends, he uses Make Up For Ever and drinks imported whisky mixed with Coke or Red Bull. Huang is 24, putting him in the same demographic as most of his 300,000 fans from across China – Generation Z, which is helping to drive Chinese consumer spending. This…

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

April 14, 2021

[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

March 29, 2021

[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

March 24, 2021

[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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