Economy

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.
A farmer picks cotton on a farm on the outskirts of Hami, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 3 November 2010. (Stringer/Reuters)

Hong Kong commentator: Xinjiang’s cotton production figures debunk the myth of forced labour

Hong Kong commentator David Ng says that despite the accusations by the West against China of human rights violations in Xinjiang such as forced labour, the region’s economic trajectory and reliance on mechanisation seem to show a quite different truth.
People walk with umbrellas in Lujiazui financial district in Pudong, Shanghai, on the day of the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC), China, 5 March 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Post-Covid-19: Asia will be the beating heart of the world

Amid the gloom, there’s room for optimism in Asia in the post-Covid-19 landscape, says Benjamin Hung, CEO, Asia, Standard Chartered. The pandemic has speeded up structural changes in this growing region’s business landscape, and created greater opportunities which will pave the way for Asia’s strong rebound in 2021 and beyond.
Motorists travel past a screen displaying stock figures in Shanghai, China, on 18 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Innovation and ‘new retail’ driving the Chinese economy

Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?
Cranes unload imported iron ore from a cargo vessel at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, 27 October 2019. (Stringer/File Photo/Reuters)

Will China have enough natural resources to sustain its growth?

It is no longer an unqualified truism that China is a vast land of abundant resources, says Chen Hongbin. While it is rich in minerals such as rare earths, it is one of the world’s largest importers of natural gas, oil and iron ore, and is paying through its nose in some cases to reach a level of sufficiency. How can China achieve greater energy security?
People walk along a bridge that connects two shopping malls in Jakarta on 14 February 2021. (Adek Berry/AFP)

Chinese academics: How China and ASEAN can deepen digital economy partnership

With the conclusion of the 1st ASEAN Digital Ministers Meeting (ADGMIN) last month and the series of digital policies introduced, ASEAN is ready to move forward on building an integrated digital economy. Even as ASEAN aims to become an important player in the digital global value chain, there are areas where China and ASEAN can work together to achieve a win-win situation. Professor Zhai Kun of Peking University and Yuan Ruichen, member of the research group of the BRI Big Data Innovation Experimental Project, suggest cooperation in areas such as building smart cities, cybersecurity and digital governance.
Shoppers walking past a store of Italian luxury brand Prada at a shopping complex in Beijing, China, 19 September 2020. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

How to build a ‘super-sized domestic market’ in China

Even as China talks of a “dual circulation” system and building a “super-sized domestic market”, it seems that its population of 1.4 billion has yet to translate into a strong consumer market. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks into what it will take for the Chinese government’s plan to work.