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He Huifeng

Articles by He Huifeng

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

2 days ago

[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

21 days ago

[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, Didi, Meituan are turning to stand-up comedy to reach Gen Z and millennials

29 days ago

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

March 21, 2021

[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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