Industrial policy

People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 17 July 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

China can overcome the middle-income trap with technological innovations

Academic Ding Ke believes that the Chinese government is making efforts in using innovation to drive further development of the country and avoid the middle-income trap. But this would prove difficult amid heightened China-US tensions and the trend of economic decoupling.
The woodcut of a satay seller at work, given to the writer. (Lim Jen Erh)

The stories behind the woodcuts

A gift from a friend prompts former journalist Lim Jen Erh to think about the stories behind the scenes depicted in woodcuts, from simple days in school to the final days of the tongkangs on the Singapore River, and the artform that can be traced back to China, especially the modern woodcut illustration movement led by literary giant Lu Xun in the 1930s.
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.