Economy

Morning commuters wearing face masks, amidst concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus, ride past in Hanoi on 4 May 2021. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Southeast Asia: A hotspot for Chinese enterprises in the post-pandemic era?

With growing competition and tension between China and the US, one region that China is looking to is Southeast Asia. Many major Chinese companies are expanding their operations into ASEAN countries, using them as manufacturing and assembly bases or springboards to the region. Zaobao's associate foreign news editor Sim Tze Wei examines the possibilities.
A mother and her baby play on a slide at Wukesong shopping district in Beijing, China on 11 May 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China’s rising property prices have serious social consequences

Han Heyuan asserts that rising property prices in China are not just the “biggest grey rhino” in terms of financial risks as some policymakers have said, but also a catalyst for a slew of development and social issues such as the lack of entrepreneurs, negative attitudes to work, and falling birth rates.
Jack Ma, billionaire founder of Alibaba Group, arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France, 15 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

What the Chinese government wants to tell Alibaba and China's tech giants [Part II]

Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion RMB after an anti-monopoly probe. Commentator Yuan Guobao observes that Alibaba is not the only tech giant in China accused of monopolistic practices; for that matter, the “big four” companies in the US have also come under the spotlight. All this suggests that on a global level, tech companies must be prepared to adhere to a strict regulatory environment, even as they break new ground.
An Alibaba sign is seen outside the company's office in Beijing, China, on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is Alibaba doomed? [Part I]

Alibaba was recently slapped with a 18.2 billion RMB fine and has acquiesced to state authorities’ demands for “rectification''. Commentator Yuan Guobao asserts that Alibaba’s “choose one out of two” policy of tying online merchants down to exclusive deals was already sounding alarm bells. Jack Ma’s politically incorrect speech at the Shanghai Bund Summit may have been a fire starter, but the tech giant’s troubles have been brewing for quite some time.
A man walks past an Alibaba sign outside the company's office in Beijing, China on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Can private Chinese enterprises truly ‘develop boldly and with confidence’?

Amid punishments meted out to Chinese private enterprises such as Alibaba, President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to various private enterprises was seen as a way for the Chinese government to assure companies that the state would still be supporting them. However, the status of private enterprises has always been a little fuzzy in China. Companies feel that they are at a disadvantage when competing with state-owned enterprises and may be reined in when they grow too large. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong looks for a way out.   
A man stands at a crossroads in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 5 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Lesson for Jack Ma's Ant: Finance is finance and technology is technology

Chinese author and fintech researcher Yang Jun says that while the fintech industry has been booming over the past few years, not everybody seems to know that it is really about using technology to complement finance, which remains the foundation. Knowing this distinction will help one better understand the current push to impose regulations on the sector.
A woman walks past an Alibaba sign outside the company's office in Beijing, China, on 13 April 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Blacklisted and fined: The end of Chinese tech companies' heyday?

In the aftermath of the US$2.8 billion fine imposed on Alibaba, Xu Le reflects that for Alibaba, this is no big shakes as the amount makes up only a small percentage of its revenue. However, in the larger scheme of things, industry players will be saying goodbye to unregulated days of wild growth. They too will have to grit their teeth and get ready for fiercer domestic competition amid a harsh external environment. Will this mean a slowdown in China's tech and internet sectors?
A general view shows a cargo ship and cranes at the port of Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, on 24 March 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Can Biden’s new infrastructure plan rival China's BRI?

US President Joe Biden has suggested an alternative to China’s BRI — one that is enterprise-led, rather than country-led, bringing together democratic nations to help developing nations to upgrade their infrastructure. How attractive would this option be amid some countries’ fears that China is extending its influence through the BRI?
The logo of Alibaba Group is seen at its office in Beijing, China, 5 January 2021. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Is Alibaba leaving its carefree days behind?

Alibaba’s name is said to be inspired by the song that goes: “Ali Baba is a happy youth!” But after the halting of Ant Group’s listing and being slapped with a 18.228 billion RMB fine, Alibaba faces headwinds. In their anti-monopoly efforts, the authorities seem to have no qualms about making an example of companies like Alibaba. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan analyses the situation.