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He Huifeng

Articles by He Huifeng

Coronavirus: wealthy Chinese families say pandemic has eroded appetite for overseas schooling and investing

9 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The coronavirus pandemic could permanently change wealthy Chinese families’ plans to send their children to study abroad or to use investment vehicles to emigrate overseas, according to a series of interviews with families in the mainland.A mix of pandemic-based problems for China’s urban rich, including the sudden uncertainty over future incomes, the health risks of living abroad, and China’s deteriorating image in Western countries, have forced many to reconsider, if not totally give up,…

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Coronavirus: China’s ‘cherry freedom’ vanishes as consumers cut discretionary spending

13 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]So-called cherry freedom was once a buzzword among China’s middle class, but as consumers cut unnecessary expenses while under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic, the ability to purchase pricey imported products without a second thought is now a thing of the past.Few products tell the consumer spending story in China better than fruits such as cherries, as before the pandemic, demand for Chilean cherries and Peruvian avocados from China’s middle-class seemed insatiable.The coronavirus,…

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Coronavirus: Chinese workers in Vietnam cry foul after being fired by Taiwanese firm making shoes for Nike, Adidas

24 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A group of 150 Chinese workers believe the world’s largest maker of trainers used the coronavirus as an excuse to fire them, having helped Taiwanese firm Pou Chen successfully expand its production into Vietnam for more than a decade.Pou Chen, which makes footwear for the likes of Nike and Adidas, informed the group in late April that they would no longer be needed as they were unable to return to Vietnam from their hometowns in China due to the coronavirus lockdowns.“We believe we contributed…

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Coronavirus: China’s hi-tech hub Shenzhen suffered record economic contraction in first quarter of 2020

April 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Shenzhen’s economy shrank by 6.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, marking the worst performance in the city’s 40-year history, as China’s Silicon Valley was unable to avoid the impact of the coronavirus.The local government data showed Shenzhen did little better than the rest of the economy, with the national average dropping 6.8 per cent in the first quarter.Shenzhen, which officially has a larger economy than Hong Kong, is facing a testing year as production and services contracted…

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Coronavirus: China’s economic woes could be worse than thought as legions of migrant workers return home

April 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The sight of hundreds of migrant workers standing, sitting or even squatting at a temporary bus stop at the end of last week resembled the scene of an emergency evacuation, but it was not a natural disaster that had fallen on the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou they were fleeing.The group assembled in Shangchong village had with them the bags and suitcases usually carried by passengers on interprovincial buses, but the addition of kitchen items, sewing machines, refrigerators, and air…

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Coronavirus: China probes ways to ramp up bank lending to cash-strapped small businesses

April 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s government is asking small and medium-sized enterprises about the difficulties they are encountering when trying to take out a loan, as reports emerge of coronavirus-battered businesses struggling to get credit from local banks.A new survey launched on Tuesday by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is trying to map the problem, and comes as a growing number of small businesses struggle with cash flow problems and complain about banks’ reluctance to lend them money.The…

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Coronavirus: China’s bank loans intended to help small businesses are actually fanning Shenzhen’s property bubble

April 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Daniel Du’s souvenir company has for a long time existed in name only as it was too troublesome to dissolve. But earlier this year, the Shenzhen resident again found a use for it: to borrow cheap money from banks.With a few phone calls and a bit of paperwork to navigate through a less rigorous application procedure, Du managed to obtain a loan valued at 70 per cent of his collateral, a commercial property, at an annualised interest rate of 4 per cent, which is below China’s one-year benchmark…

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Coronavirus: China’s economy unlikely to be saved by ‘revenge spending’ as worried consumers emerge from lockdowns

April 15, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The idea that consumers in China will engage in lavish, pent-up “revenge spending” following the end of domestic coronavirus lockdowns to create a quick rebound in the world’s second largest economy is unlikely to be realised by its middle-class.Chinese social media users have coined the phrase as China emerges from almost two months of lockdowns aimed at halting the spread of the virus.But with the result also pushing China towards its first economic contraction since 1976, the year former…

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China’s shrimp farmers ‘terrified’ as deadly virus threatens to destroy lucrative seafood industry

April 12, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Shrimp farmers in China are watching with growing horror as a mysterious virus decimates aquaculture farms in the southern province of Guangdong, slashing output of the popular seafood and threatening the livelihood of tens of thousands of households.The virus, known as Decapod iridescent virus 1, or Div1, was first detected as early as 2014, but came back with a vengeance last spring and again in February this year, affecting about a quarter of the area under shrimp production, local farmers…

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Coronavirus: China manufacturing hub Dongguan faces grim test as global export orders vanish

April 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In February, friends Jay Wang and Zhou Ping were among the millions of Chinese manufacturers battling to resume production after the coronavirus outbreak shuttered key industrial sectors across the economy.But when the pair finally managed to restart their separate operations last month, after rigorous quarantining of workers and disinfection of factory floors, they encountered an even bigger problem: clients from Europe and the United States were suspending orders as the pandemic spread…

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Coronavirus: Italian prosecco maker apologises after owner asks China to pay compensation

April 1, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Italian prosecco producer Bottega Spa apologised to its Chinese customers and wine importers on Tuesday after its owner’s comments demanding China compensate Italy and the rest of the world for the economic damage resulting from the coronavirus caused a storm of outraged reactions on Chinese social media.The incident suggested that tensions remain high over attempts to assign blame for the pandemic, during which more than 853,000 people have been infected and nearly 42,000 killed globally. The…

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Coronavirus: China’s small businesses increasingly desperate to raise cash to stay afloat

March 27, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Describing herself as an ordinary white-collar worker with a stable income based in China’s manufacturing hub of Guangdong, Li Yue was left shocked by phone calls from two friends asking for urgent help to pay rent and salaries for their businesses.“[I am] not any kind of wealthy investor or boss. I’ve known both of them for over a decade and it’s the first time they have asked me for anything. I think their money is just exhausted,” Li said.Her experience underscores a new troublesome aspect…

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Coronavirus: China’s largest trade expo postponed as Canton Fair spring session falls foul of pandemic

March 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The spring session of China’s largest trade expo, the Canton Fair, has been suspended over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, Chinese authorities said on Monday.The announcement comes amid reports that regular foreign buyers were scrapping plans to attend the event, which was due to open on April 15. The fair has held its spring session in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, between mid-April and early May since 1957.The decision was made after considering the current…

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Coronavirus: Hubei’s migrant workers ‘living in fear’ as debts mount under lockdown

March 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Trapped under a lockdown and unable to return to work, Cao Xier is one of millions of people struggling with no income and growing personal debt in China’s coronavirus ground zero.Like scores of other rural migrant workers from Hubei province, Cao and his family returned to their hometown for the Lunar New Year holiday in late January only to be stranded, as authorities implemented sweeping containment measures, including transport restrictions, to control the virus.“We have never experienced…

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Coronavirus: China’s small factories brace for ‘big hit’ as pandemic erodes overseas demand

March 13, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Most Chinese manufacturers are on track to resume normal operations in April after months of crippling coronavirus restrictions, but the rapid spread of the pandemic is sapping international demand and presenting new challenges for under pressure businesses.Weeks of quarantine and transport limitations that forced the closure of businesses across the country are gradually being lifted as the number of new infections drops, indicating Beijing’s unprecedented controls have helped stem the spread…

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Coronavirus: China to push ahead with Canton Fair despite pandemic threat

March 12, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The spring session of the Canton Fair, China’s largest trade expo, will go ahead despite a global outbreak of the coronavirus, China’s Premier Li Keqiang said in a statement on Thursday.Li said at a State Council meeting this week that the spring exhibition, which is expected to run from mid-April to early May, would be an important part of Beijing’s efforts to “stabilise” China’s international trade.“Against the backdrop of foreign trade and foreign investment being hit hard by the …

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Coronavirus: China’s restaurants and shops suffer ‘sleepless nights’ as business closures surge

March 10, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Struggling under a coronavirus-related ban on restaurant dining, Jay Li and his business partners made the heartbreaking decision to close their three eateries in the Chinese city of Guangzhou and sack all their staff in February.Under the containment policy, which does not include food delivery services, the capital of prosperous Guangdong province – once a heaven for gourmets – has suffered an unprecedented downturn, with once thriving restaurants and shops forced to shut down.The fate of Li…

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Coronavirus: China’s manufacturing heartland almost back to normal as over 6 million workers return

March 4, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A concentrated effort, which includes chartered trains and flights as well as cash bonuses for workers, for factories in China to resume normal operations after the coronavirus slowdown is producing results with over 90 per cent of firms in the Guangdong province having resumed operations as of Monday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.The Human Resources and Social Security Department of Guangdong said over 6.08 million migrant workers had returned to work, which represents around a…

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Coronavirus: China plastic factory shut down after asymptomatic worker tested positive

March 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]One of China’s largest plastic producers was forced to shut down production and quarantine and test hundreds of employees after a worker was confirmed to be carrying the coronavirus despite showing no symptoms, Chinese media reported on Tuesday.The municipal government of the city of Hefei, the capital of Anhui province in central China, released a statement on its official website on Monday reporting the case of the 43-year-old male employee at Guofeng Plastic, which is located in the city’s…

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Coronavirus: China’s small businesses ‘still losing blood’ despite creative means of retrieving stranded workers

February 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Every day over the past week, Sunwill human resources director Felix Luo has been busy sending long-distance coaches to neighbouring provinces to pick up employees from their hometowns to bring them back to their factory in Guangdong that produces air conditioner fans for the likes of Panasonic, Toshiba and Gree.The chartered buses, sent to the likes of Guangxi and Jiangxi, mean workers will be able to return to the production lines in five days, and not the mandatory 14 days quarantine…

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Japan’s coronavirus support wins praise in China, showing further signs of improving relations

February 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Japan’s support for China as it battles to contain the new coronavirus outbreak is winning it praise online and from the government in a further sign of warming relations between the two neighbours.The pneumonia-like illness, which causes a disease officially known as Covid-19, has so far killed more than 1,800 people and infected over 70,000 in the mainland since it spread from the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December.In stark contrast to some of the criticism Beijing has directed at…

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Coronavirus: China reports work-related infections as factories, offices resume operations amid outbreak

February 18, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Cracks have appeared in China’s eagerness to resume economic activities amid the coronavirus outbreak, with a number of work-related cases reported.Gree Electric, the country’s biggest air-conditioner manufacturer located in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province, was forced to take emergency action last week to check and quarantine its employees after a bus driver was found to have had close contact with a suspected case, according to a notice published by the company’s labour union on its…

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Coronavirus could be ‘death blow’ for many of China’s small manufacturers if not under control by April

February 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Concerns among small and medium-sized manufacturers in China over the impact of the coronavirus outbreak have risen sharply, with many worrying about going bust if the situation is not brought under control soon.Anxiety is most acute among labour-intensive manufacturing firms, as local governments have restricted business where numerous people congregate in an effort to contain the deadly virus.If the outbreak is not brought under control by March or April, when many foreign customers place…

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Explained: Why Wuhan is so important to China’s economy and the potential impact of the coronavirus

January 23, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Concerns are mounting about the economic toll from a deadly outbreak of coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, a transport hub that is home to more than 11 million people and a major engine of growth in the world’s second largest economy.Public transport in and out the city – including trains, planes and ferries – ground to a halt on Thursday morning as authorities placed the city on lockdown to try to contain the spread of the Sars-like virus that has already killed 17 people and…

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Wuhan coronavirus: outbreak wreaks havoc on China’s Lunar New Year travel plans, hitting family reunions

January 22, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The coronavirus outbreak in the city of Wuhan that has spread across the country is threatening to wreak havoc on Lunar New Year travel plans, at a time when many Chinese people journey to their hometowns for family reunions.People from Wuhan and its landlocked province of Hubei were officially asked to cancel plans to travel back to the region, amid fears that the virus would be spread further. On Wednesday morning, it was confirmed to have killed nine people and infected 440 others.Sisi Chen,…

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China’s middle class frets the ‘good times’ are over amid sliding house prices, stagnant wages

January 16, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]While the US-China trade war has been on the lips of politicians and analysts from Beijing to Washington, millions of middle class Chinese are increasingly anxious about a problem closer to home: the sliding value of their incomes and assets as the country’s breakneck economic growth begins to stutter.China’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow to 100 trillion yuan (US$14.4 trillion) in 2020, with per capita GDP having already passed the US$10,000 mark last year, both much to the…

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China’s truck drivers see dead end ahead amid rising costs and new toll system

January 12, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Dirty, lonely and exhausted from driving hundreds of kilometres at a time on only a few hours of sleep, Wang Ping is one of China’s army of 30 million truck drivers working long hours for low pay.Ping, who is in his early 40s, has just finished a gruelling 36-hour, 2,500km journey from the central Chinese province of Hubei to the Pearl River Delta in his 49-tonne truck. After a few days’ rest, he’ll climb back behind the wheel and do it all over again – a round trip he grinds out about four…

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China enlists ex-World Bank economist to help run Guangdong, sparking hopes of Greater Bay Area reform

January 9, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has enlisted a New York-educated former World Bank economist to help run one of its major economic engines, fuelling hopes that greater financial opening could be in store for 2020 and beyond.Zhang Xin, a graduate of Columbia University, has been appointed vice-governor of Guangdong province, over the border with Hong Kong and home to China’s ambitious Greater Bay Area project, in a plan to link the economies of 11 cities to create an economic powerhouse on China’s southern coast.The 51…

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China’s pork crisis piques interest in dog and cat meat, as animal activists raise the alarm over illegal slaughter

January 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]At a wet market in Guilin, a city in China’s Guangxi province, a pork trader is bemoaning the loss of sales to an unlikely competitor.“They have taken away a lot of our business this year because now dog meat, as well as cat meat, is cheaper than pork and beef,” said the vendor, while pointing at a dog meat stand doing a roaring trade at the city’s bustling Ximen fresh market in December.He is one of the many people in China to have suffered due to an African swine fever crisis which has led to…

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China’s ‘art factory’ Dafen a picture of tough times

December 29, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]For three decades the urban village of Dafen in southern China was a hive of artistic industry, churning out metres after metres of reproduction oil paintings to adorn walls throughout the country and overseas.The village in the northeastern part of Shenzhen, just over the border from Hong Kong, was an assembly line for copycat masterpieces and the place to go for a knock-off van Gogh Sunflowers or a fake Fan Lijun.But today Dafen is fading as tough economic times at home, plummeting export…

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