Founder and chairman of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Jack Ma gives a speech at a high-profile startups and high-tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech, in Paris, France, on 16 May 2019. (Charles Platiau/Reuters)

Jack Ma's reappearance energises Chinese internet and investors: Will Alibaba rise again?

Jack Ma recently sent out an internal memo, affirming Alibaba’s reforms and organisational restructuring, stating that the company has returned to a healthy growth track. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Ma, having returned from obscurity, is once again deeply involved in strategic decisions. Will this be Alibaba’s foray back to the top? Lianhe Zaobao’s China Desk tells us more.
This aerial photograph taken on 5 April 2024 shows tourists at a vacation resort in Huai'an, in eastern China's Jiangsu province. (AFP)

Why China's debt-ridden local governments left trillions of special bond proceeds unused

PIIE researcher Tianlei Huang explains how local governments did not make the best of the local special bond programme, a major instrument of fiscal stimulus after the pandemic in 2020. He considers if the programme needs to be downsized, and resources possibly channelled to other areas such as building human capital.
Publicity posters of Luckin and Cotti, both offering 9.90 RMB coffees. (Weibo)

Luckin challenger pushes China’s coffee price war towards boiling point

Cotti appears to be struggling to sustain its rapid expansion, having already faced operational issues with franchisees and suffering a spate of store closures, as Luckin fights back. Meanwhile, as the two Chinese coffee chains duke it out at the cheap end of the market, China’s largest international player, Starbucks Corp., is distancing itself from the competition and focusing instead on growing its foothold in the country’s smaller cities.
Mannequins stand behind a shop window with a sale sign, at a clothing store inside a shopping complex in Beijing, China, on 4 January 2024. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Is China’s middle class slipping back into poverty?

As the group of people most sensitive to social change, the middle class is a yardstick for measuring the state of China’s current economy and a window into the future. At the moment, the signs are there that China’s middle class is not doing as well as before, leading to cutting down on spending and saving on daily expenses.
People play computer games at an internet cafe in Beijing on 26 January 2024.  (Greg Baker/AFP)

No more easy wins for Chinese mobile games in overseas markets

With games companies outside of China stepping up their efforts with quality games, Chinese games companies are increasingly feeling the challenge in maintaining their position in the industry. How will the industry develop from here? Zaobao journalists Li Kang and Lee Chan Hui find out.
People cross a road in Beijing on 16 March 2024. (Greg Baker/AFP)

Is China falling into the middle-income trap?

While China has enjoyed decades of economic rise, it also risks losing its pace of fast growth, falling into what economists call the middle-income trap. Can China find strategic solutions to navigate its challenges and sustain its economic momentum? Chinese academic Bo Chen examines the issue.
Visitors check a Zeekr 001, a model from Geely's new premium electric vehicle (EV) brand Zeekr, at its factory in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, China, on 15 April 2021. (Yilei Sun/Reuters)

China’s overcapacity draws concern from global market

China’s production overcapacity is an issue that its officials are well aware of, and it has even drawn the criticism of the outside world, most recently US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Given the fact that high-end manufacturing is facing overcapacity pressures and risks just after it has taken off, how will China mitigate the impact of overcapacity on the geopolitical landscape and its external environment?
People watch street entertainers singing on a street at the Xinyi district in Taipei on 16 January 2024. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

More Taiwanese are venturing overseas for better pay

Taiwan is experiencing a brain drain as it loses talents to neighbouring countries such as Japan and Singapore, due to the prospects of higher salaries compared with back home. Commentator Gu Erde notes that as those countries face an ageing and declining population, they have set up favourable policies to attract talent.
People line up outside a restaurant at Qianmen pedestrian street in Beijing, China, on 26 January 2024. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China’s status in the global economy is stable, for now

Chinese academic Chu Zhaogen notes that while China is well poised to make its mark on the global economy, it needs to keep its eyes open and wits about it, so that it can seize on opportunities, not least in the field of technological innovation.