Economy

Agricultural e-commerce is helping to lift rural Chinese villages and townships out of poverty. (Meng Dandan/SPH)

Village entrepreneurs' love-hate relationship with e-commerce

There are 225 million rural internet users and over 9.8 million e-businesses in China’s rural areas. With internet sales for agricultural products standing at over 230 billion RMB, e-commerce seems like the perfect way to alleviate poverty in China. Edwin Ong speaks to village entrepreneurs to find out how e-commerce works, the many problems it faces, and its future.
The Chinese flag is raised in front of the Chinese Embassy in Dili, capital of Timor-Leste, May 20, 2002. China was the first country in the world to establish diplomatic relations with Timor-Leste. (Xinhua)

Old Chinese, new Chinese and the China factor in Timor-Leste

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is extending all over the world, including the little country of Timor-Leste, situated between Indonesia and Australia. How is China’s influence perceived there, and how are the locals reacting? Sim Tze Wei finds out.
Many economies fall into the middle-income trap. (iStock)

How can China escape the middle-income trap?

History tells us that avoiding the middle-income trap is not easy. According to Zheng Yongnian, since World War II, very few middle-income economies have successfully become high-income economies. Most economies stagnate, unable to compete with low-income countries in labour costs or with rich countries in cutting-edge technological research and development. How can China save itself from the middle-income trap?
Tiffany & Co. held its grand exhibition at the Fosun Foundation Shanghai, themed "Vision & Virtuosity". (Photo: Yang Danxu)

The myth of China’s solid consumer demand

Why relying on domestic consumption to sustain China’s economy is putting one’s eggs all in one (wrong) basket.
China’s domestic economic growth is slowing while companies’ operating costs are going up. Foreign trade orders have been impacted by a worsening global trade environment, and China’s private companies are facing new challenges in transformation and upgrading. (AFP)

Private enterprises in China feel the heat of government influence

In September this year, the Hangzhou municipal government started sending government officers to be attached to some private companies, sparking discussion and speculation over the motive behind such a move. What are these private companies concerned about, and are these concerns valid?
The gulf between Lin and Ferguson’s views is actually a reflection of China and the US' opposing values and development model. (iStock)

Justin Yifu Lin and Niall Ferguson’s 200,000 RMB bet

With 200,000 RMB (approximately S$40,000) at stake, two academics wager on the prospect of China’s economy surpassing the US’ in 20 years.
An aerial view of Ho Chi Minh City's skyline and skyscrapers. (iStock)

Vietnam's cautionary tale on benefiting from the trade war and the BRI

Vietnam is a rising star amongst Southeast Asian economies. Its GDP totalled US$238.5 billion in 2018 and its economy grew more than 7%, the fastest it has grown since the 2008 global financial crisis. Many said Vietnam is benefiting from the China-US trade war and stands to gain from Chinese investments and the BRI. But what is the reality? Researcher Yu Hong was in Vietnam to find out.
The US and China have been competing on different fronts. (Jason Lee/REUTERS)

China and the US, who innovates better?

Who is the better innovator between China and the US? Prof Chen Kang observes that both sides are lacking in confidence in their innovative capabilities, and the grass seems greener on the other side. What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how can China and the West overcome their own insecurities to be more adaptable and responsive?
China is finding out how it fits in on the world stage. (SPH)

China will shake the world: World stage (Part II)

In this two-part article, we explore China’s progress from a poor, underdeveloped country to an economic superpower, with a major impact on world affairs. How has this been possible? What does it mean for the rest of the world?