Economy

A worker stands in front of Mao Zedong sculpture at Dandong station at the border city of Dandong, in China's northeast Liaoning province on 11 August 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China's growing north-south gap: Can the north catch up?

Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan notes the growing gap between northern and southern China in terms of economic and population growth, as businesses and people become more concentrated in the south. How will the central government tackle this imbalance?
This drone shot taken on 21 August 2021 shows a general view of Shenzhen. (CNS)

Will clampdowns on China’s property sector lead to economic turmoil?

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that China’s property market has long been deeply bound with various aspects of China’s economy and society, forming a community of shared interests. Following increasing regulations on the property sector as part of the government’s drive towards “common prosperity”, will a chain reaction of economic turmoil ensue or is this a necessary move to achieve larger goals?
Vendors sell vegetables at a stall in an older neighborhood in Shanghai, China, on 30 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China's internet giants are shelling out money for 'common prosperity'. But is that enough?

Heightened gestures of corporate social responsibility and outright donations from major companies have been declared since the Chinese government’s recent push for “common prosperity”. Are these simply knee-jerk reactions to the government’s stance? Can companies be encouraged to be more socially responsible in the long term? China is all abuzz with talk on ways to achieve common prosperity.
People visit the Alibaba booth during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, 4 September 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

How internet giants' monopolistic practices hurt SMEs in China

Internet giants in China have been engaging in monopolistic practices that hurt the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, says technology specialist Yin Ruizhi. As such, these practices will be dealt with by the government if the platforms themselves do not find ways to resolve them. Is this another move towards "common prosperity"?
This photograph taken on 8 June 2021 shows a street vendor walking past narrow residential houses, known as "nha ong" in Vietnamese or "tube houses", in an urban area of Hanoi. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Vietnam needs to do more to reduce trade dependence on China

Vietnam’s trade deficit with China has grown rapidly since 2001, and its heavy dependence on Chinese intermediate and capital goods creates vulnerabilities in its entire production chain. Besides, China has a history of using trade as a weapon to punish countries with which it has disputes. To reduce its trade dependence on Beijing, Vietnam has signed a number of new-generation free trade agreements (FTAs) in recent years, but these efforts have not produced desired outcomes. Vietnam will need to increase the utilisation rate of these agreements and push forward economic and institutional reforms to strengthen its overall economic resilience.
Pedestrians cross a traffic intersection near commercial buildings in Beijing, China, 25 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is setting up the Beijing Stock Exchange

With President Xi Jinping’s announcement of a new Beijing Stock Exchange, innovation-oriented SMEs will benefit and Beijing’s stock as a credible financial centre will also rise. Not only that, it is hoped that this will show China’s resolve to continue pursuing the market economy as it continues its push for “common prosperity”.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk down Nanjing East Road in Shanghai, China on 14 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is embarking on the journey of 'common prosperity'

China has set itself the goal of achieving "common prosperity" in the coming years, after realising its goal of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects". Chinese academic Luo Zhiheng describes this ideal society which is the opposite of a society plagued by a serious wealth gap — people should look forward to improving their quality of life and not worry about their basic needs; social safety nets should also provide basic livelihood protection for the disadvantaged groups. He outlines how China can realise this ideal by harnessing the strength of all who are able and who have "gotten rich first" during the reform and opening up process.
People wearing face masks are seen on an overpass in front of a residential building in Beijing, China, 11 August  2020. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

Why China is regulating the property market

Rapid real estate and infrastructure development in China over the past two to three decades has improved people’s lives, but also led to rising housing prices and property speculation. Regional governments have started to step in with regulatory measures. Commentator David Ng thinks these are good signs, as a society’s wealth should be distributed by labour and contribution instead of through housing.
Cryptocurrency representations are seen in front of an image of the Chinese flag in this illustration picture taken 2 June 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies: Trade-offs between stability and innovation

China’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies has increased the volatility of the market, not least with bitcoin miners fleeing and the price of bitcoin plummeting. What are the reasons behind China’s regulatory clampdowns and will other countries follow suit?