Caixin

Computer games are seen at a store in Beijing, China, on 10 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Will overregulation kill Chinese firms' metaverse ambitions?

The metaverse is the latest tech industry buzzword that has generated great interest among Chinese tech companies and China's capital market. Not everyone is equally enthusiastic, however, as Chinese authorities appear to be taking a cautious approach, attempting to strike a balance between regulatory control and the risk of stifling innovation. Caixin explores what's in store for the metaverse.
A person looks towards cranes in front of the skyline of the central business district (CBD) in Beijing, China, 18 October 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Can China pull itself out of the economic doldrums?

China was the only major economy to expand in 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept across the world. But its regulatory whirlwind over the past year has created uncertainties and headwinds for the economy. Caixin tells us the five key things to watch for as the world’s second-largest economy ploughs through the final quarter of the year.
People walk in a commercial street during the country's national "Golden Week" holiday in Beijing, China, on 2 October 2021. (Jade Gao/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: What to do when you have a stinky neighbour

A family stroll down a food alley has Chinese economist Li Jingkui teaching the Coase theorem while holding his breath and fleeing a luosifen stall and its pungent smells. If rights of stallholders are defined and transaction costs are low, then the optimal value of resources in society will be realised. That is, either the luosifen moves away under some compensation from his neighbour or it stays put and his neighbours cope with the negative externalities this presents.
Residents walk through Huanggang village in Shenzhen, China, on 11 October 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China needs to raise personal income to achieve common prosperity

Analyst Luo Zhiheng compares China's distribution of national income with 20 major economies and concludes that among other things, there is a need to address a lower-than-average share of personal income in China, in order to achieve common prosperity. The Chinese government can work towards the goal of fostering an olive-shaped income distribution pattern by adjusting the tax structure, providing more investment options to its people, and developing its social security network.
Residential buildings are seen in Beijing, China, on 17 September 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

How China’s housing market landed in the deep freeze

Policymakers have imposed a series of measures to limit rampant borrowing by developers and tighten standards for mortgage lending since Chinese President Xi Jinping declared in 2017 that “houses are for living in, not for speculation”. Following this, developers are experiencing a sharp drop in home sales, which adds to their financial burdens. In spite of this, industry experts opine that Beijing’s determination to reduce dependence on real estate investment will not change easily.
People dine at a restaurant in Beijing, China, 13 August 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Chinese economics professor: If you like salty and spicy food, your ancestors might have been poorer folk

The Big Mac index as an informal gauge of the economic standards and consumption capacities of countries is well known. But actually, there’s also the pickle index, the lipstick index, and the ultimate indicator from everyday life — the regional food flavours index. What do the saltier, bold-flavoured food in regions like Hunan, Jiangxi and Shandong, and the clean, light flavours of Jiangsu say about the relative states of their regional economies?
This file photo taken on 15 September 2021 shows a worker walking in front of the Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China. (Noel Celis/AFP)

High debts, big money: Can Evergrande continue its high life by living on the edge?

China's Evergrande Group has agreed to sell a 20% stake in Shengjing Bank Co. to the local Shenyang government for 10 billion RMB (US$1.55 billion) to settle debts with the lender, according to a Bloomberg report. But the sale will do little to help Evergrande pay its massive debts to bond holders and homebuyers, many of whom camped outside its Shenzhen headquarters since news of its possible bankruptcy was reported more than two months ago. In fact, Evergrande missed paying its bond interest due on 29 September, in its second unpaid offshore debt payment in a week. Caixin journalists investigate the "high risks, high rewards" modus operandi of the Evergrande Group and its executives who lived on high debts, high financing costs but also big profits. Can Evergrande's high life continue or will they become "China's Lehman Brothers"?
Motorists pass the China-Myanmar border gate in Muse in Shan state on 5 July 2021. (STR/AFP)

Will the Chinese government's crackdown on cross-border crime in Myanmar work?

In recent years, Chinese criminal gangs have moved to Southeast Asia including Myanmar, Laos and Thailand as China tightened its crackdown on telecom fraud at home. These gangs even have the support of local authorities in some cases. Now that the Chinese authorities are cracking down on cross-border crime, will the situation improve? Or will it be a never-ending merry-go-round?
This photo taken on 6 September 2021 shows residents looking at a flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Quxian county, Dazhou city, Sichuan province, China. (STR/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: The making of a moral society

How can one encourage a society where people do things that benefit not just themselves but also others? How can we eliminate bad behaviours and encourage better ones by institutionalising various means of rewarding good behaviour? Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui looks at examples from Chinese modern life and history to find the answers.