Industrial policy

Workers assemble an electric car at the VinFast electric automobile plant in Haiphong, Vietnam, on 7 April 2022. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Should Beijing worry about the exodus of manufacturing from China to Vietnam?

It appears that Beijing is losing some of its factory orders with MNCs and investors putting their bets on Vietnam. But maybe it is a win-win situation: as China moves to transition its economy to advanced manufacturing, countries like Vietnam with a young and relatively cheap labour force could fill the gap.
An empty road is seen at Shanghai Central Business District during a lockdown, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in Shanghai, China, 16 April 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Why China's economists and entrepreneurs are keeping mum about the economy

Even as the Chinese authorities continue to battle the spread of Covid-19, one thing is bugging people: why does it seem like nobody cares about the economy? China’s latest economic figures do not look good, and the protracted lockdown in Shanghai and semi-lockdowns in Beijing are not helping people’s livelihoods. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan examines the cost of zero-Covid.
An electronic ticker displays stock figures in Pudong's Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, on 7 February 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Japanese academic: China’s economy pushing forward with neoliberal reforms

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani doubts that the Chinese government's emphasis on common prosperity last year had the aim of implementing radical redistributive policies. Instead, he sees it as a “vaccine”, in the sense of a precautionary measure against widening disparities caused by the essentially neoliberal growth-focused strategy that Beijing is consistently advancing.
People walk past the headquarters of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, in Beijing, China, 28 September 2018. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

China’s 2022 economic growth will start low and end high

China's 2021 quarterly economic figures showed a general weakening, falling to a low 4% in the fourth quarter. While international analysts are of the view that China’s economy is in rapid decline, Gu Qingyang thinks otherwise. But that does not mean China's road ahead in the new year will be smooth sailing. Policies will need to be tweaked to ensure a stable economic trajectory in 2022.
Xiamen is known as “Egret Island” and the “garden on the sea”. (CNS)

The case of Xiamen: Are special economic zones in China no longer special?

Despite having a head start in being established as a special economic zone (SEZ), Xiamen’s economy lags behind other cities in Fujian province such as Quanzhou and Fuzhou. Coupled with disproportionately high property prices, Xiamen is not doing as well as other places like Pudong New Area and Shenzhen either, which started their development spurt later but have overtaken Xiamen. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how Xiamen can turn things around.
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.
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.
An algae reef zone is seen before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrives for an inspection at the coast of the Guanyin district in Taoyuan on 25 November 2021. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan’s algal reef referendum: A proxy for political battle?

The Datan algal reef off Taoyuan in Taiwan is rich with biodiversity, and a natural barrier for Taiwan. However, plans for a third LNG terminal in the area have turned the reef into a political point of contention, with conservationists wanting to protect the reef and the Taiwan government having to consider energy demands. A KMT-supported referendum on whether the terminal should be moved away from the reef, along with three other referendums on pork imports, nuclear power and future referendums, will also be held on 18 December. Zaobao correspondent Woon Wei Jong examines the political undertones behind the environmental concerns.