Economy

Junior high students wearing face masks attend a class on their first day of returning to school following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, 16 March 2020. (cnsphoto via Reuters)

Investing in China: Why didn't anyone foresee the regulatory clampdown on the tutoring industry?

Since China’s regulatory clampdowns in the after-school tutoring sector, Chinese education sector stocks have dropped and analysts have been left wondering how they were caught on the back foot. SMU academic Liang Hao and postgraduate student Wang Jialun discuss the predictive limitations of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) ratings and what the cycle of anxiety that pervades the tutoring industry means for investors.
People cross a road in the central business district in Beijing, China, on 16 December 2021. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's desperate measures to avert a looming economic crisis

Hefty civil servant pay cuts and desperate measures to get more money in regional coffers portend headwinds in China’s economy. The “triple pressures” it currently faces — demand contraction, supply shocks and weakening expectations — will see China needing to right severe imbalances and do more than just pushing for high-quality development.
A woman takes a photograph of the China Central Television (CCTV) Tower in Beijing, China, on Monday, 13 Dec, 2021. Economists predict China will start adding fiscal stimulus in early 2022 after the country’s top officials said their key goals for the coming year include counteracting growth pressures and stabilising the economy. (Andrea Verdelli/Bloomberg)

China holding off on regulatory crackdowns and common prosperity?

“Stability” was the main keyword of the CPC’s annual Central Economic Work Conference on 10 December. Emphasising “economic development as the central task” without compromising on stability, the signs seem to point to the party soon putting the brakes on some of the extreme regulatory measures it has taken to rein in capitalist forces. While it fears its powers could be eroded by the wealthy, it fears even more the collapse of the Chinese economy, which would have dire consequences. Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong analyses the situation.
A man enters a taxi in the Chinatown district of Bangkok on 9 November 2021. (Jack Taylor/AFP)

Chinese investments are increasing across sectors and regions in Thailand

Even as other countries are pulling out of Thailand due to the pandemic, China has been accelerating its foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. This strong FDI momentum is prompted by China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as investors' interest in various industries across Thailand. Thai officials are hopeful that this trend will continue. Academics Aranya Siriphon and Fanzura Banu look at the numbers and offer suggestions for attracting even greater Chinese investment interest.
This general view shows the headquarters of SenseTime, a Chinese artificial intelligence company based in Hong Kong on 13 December 2021, after the company postponed a planned US$767 million initial public offering after it was blacklisted by the US over human rights concerns in Xinjiang. (Peter Parks/AFP)

China's AI giant SenseTime blacklisted: Is China-US financial decoupling taking place?

The US government has seemingly pulled the rug from under the feet of SenseTime by putting it on a blacklist just a week before its planned IPO, effectively blocking US funding from the AI company. But while the official reason is human rights issues in Xinjiang, perhaps the real reason is the ongoing tech competition between the US and China. If so, it seems that the US has found another lever with which to pressure China — curtailing investment.
Lenovo founder Liu Chuanzhi. (SPH)

Why Chinese netizens are attacking PC giant Lenovo and its founder Liu Chuanzhi

In recent weeks, two camps have formed over Lenovo and accusations that the latter has sold off state-owned assets on the cheap in an equity transfer deal a little more than a decade ago. Some are defenders of Lenovo, but the other more vitriolic camp is bent on bringing Lenovo to its knees. What are the underlying issues behind this wall of hate forming around Lenovo? Yu Zeyuan looks into the issue.
People walk along at financial district of Lujiazui in Shanghai, China, 15 October 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China's 'poor' ultra-rich can truly become world-class entrepreneurs

Deng Qingbo finds that those who have “grown rich first” during China’s initial period of reform and opening up, and who have grown rich a second time by consolidating their holdings, now find themselves locked in an endless pursuit of wealth with no clear direction to better themselves. He thinks it is high time that they “grow wealthy for the third time” in the spiritual sense, and give back to society by developing a truly influential and well-respected corporate culture. It works out well that this would be in line with China’s “common prosperity” goals.
A screen displays trading information for ride-hailing giant Didi Global on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, US, 3 December 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Will China concept stocks pull out of the US completely?

Amid recent news of Chinese ride-hailing company Didi delisting from the New York Stock Exchange, Zaobao correspondent Edwin Ong notes that China seems to be closing a regulatory loophole allowing companies to sidestep the Chinese authorities and get listed overseas. In turn, the US is taking action to require audit checks on Chinese companies that are already listed or want to get listed in the US. Is this a sign of financial decoupling between the US and China or will both sides reach an agreement on regulations?
This photo on 26 November 2021 shows journalists gathered at a train station in Kunming to join a preview ride on the China-Laos railway, which is set to start operating in early December 2021. (CNS)

Laos hopes for economic boost with the opening of Laos-China railway

ISEAS academic Nick Freeman says that Laos’ first major railway, inaugurated on 3 December 2021, will create a new link with the Chinese market and has the potential to be a game changer for the Lao economy. This comes at a good time, as Laos seeks post-pandemic recovery in 2022. But the opening of the railway alone does not guarantee such a prospect. While the railway might boost industries such as tourism and exports, leading to a shift away from traditional sectors such as power generation and mineral mining, Laos needs to develop economic "muscle tissue" to ensure that the potential of the railway is translated into tangible results through investing in both hard and soft infrastructure.