Business

The Singapore skyline, 31 March 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Rich China tycoons park family offices in Singapore

Associate business editor Pang Kia Nian takes a look at the increasing number of wealthy Chinese setting up single family offices (SFOs) — entities that manage assets for one family and is wholly owned or controlled by members of the same family — in Singapore. What makes Singapore an attractive place for high-net-worth individuals to park their offshore assets?
 Jack Ma, founder and executive chairman of China's Alibaba Group, speaks in front of a picture of SoftBank's human-like robot named 'Pepper' during a news conference in Chiba, Japan, 18 June 2015. (Yuya Shino/Reuters)

The end of 'Papa Ma Yun' and his Hupan University

As Chinese authorities take action against monopolistic behaviour and the “disorderly expansion of capital”, companies like Alibaba and founder Jack Ma are finding themselves falling out of favour not only with the authorities but with the public. The latest development is the name change for Hupan University, established by Ma, where the motivations of the institution have come under question. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at the issue.
Employees walk past chemical vapour deposition chambers at the Daqo New Energy Corp. plant in Shihezi, Xinjiang province, China, 11 May 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Japanese academic: China’s industrial policy is not just about protectionism

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani notes that Chinese industrial policy has been attracting much attention these days, especially after recent moves to prevent monopolistic practices by major companies such as Alibaba. China has also been criticised by many for its practice of giving industrial subsidies. However, it is worth taking a closer look and examining these policies from the standpoint of current trends in economics, as like everyone else, China is experimenting with new possibilities.
Some items featured on Mi Crowdfunding. (Screen grabs from Mi Crowdfunding)

China's live-streaming e-commerce: The million dollar business fueling product innovation

Recently, Xinba, one of the biggest influencers on Chinese streaming platform Kuaishou, sold US$300 million worth of goods in a single 12-hour session, in a testament to the enormous pull of live-streaming e-commerce. Research shows that crowdfunded products often rely on live-streaming e-commerce to convey product information and funnel early adopters. Such an ecosystem creates a positive business environment for producing and marketing new products. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at how live-streaming e-commerce is fast giving China the edge in product innovation.
Protesters hold coffins displaying a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (right) during a demonstration in New Delhi on 3 March 2021, to protest against the military coup in Myanmar. (Prakash Singh/AFP)

Why the Chinese are confused by ‘ungrateful’ anti-China sentiments in Myanmar

Chinese academic Fan Hongda notes that mutual benefit is the real driver of bilateral relations, and expecting “gratitude” for maintaining ties is not the way to go. China would do well to rethink its mindset in international relations and the role it plays in the world.
An aerial shot of people walking through the Zhuyuwan Scenic Area and admiring the blooming flowers in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, China, 21 February 2021. (Xinhua)

Qing dynasty ‘eccentric’ painter Zheng Banqiao: Art is commodity and beauty is physical

From a laser-etched calligraphy in a restaurant, art historian Chiang Hsun delves into the writings of Qing dynasty painter and calligrapher Zheng Xie, better known as Zheng Banqiao. Zheng was part of the “Eight Eccentrics of Yangzhou” group of painters who had wealthy businessmen patrons and developed an aesthetic grounded in the material and secular. Bright and colourful scenes of mirth were common — unlike the Song and Yuan dynasty literati before them who indulged in melancholic musings above worldly concerns. Contemporary ink artists may want to get some inspiration from Zheng's works, and boldly declare the feelings and observations of the times.
OSIM International CEO Charlie Teo. (OSIM)

[Sponsored content] 28 years in China, Singapore brand OSIM continues to thrive amid the pandemic

Since its inception in 1980, homegrown massage chair specialist OSIM International has striven to gain and maintain its foothold as one of the world’s leading wellness brands. China, with its vast market, is an important piece of the puzzle. OSIM’s presence in China for 28 years is not without its travails, but through constant innovation and a willingness to adapt to change, it continues to find a way to thrive amid the competition. CEO Charlie Teo shares the OSIM experience.
A protester holds up a sign of detained Myanmar civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they take part in a demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy against the military coup in Yangon on 13 February 2021. (STR/AFP)

From Yangon to Hong Kong: Why locals attack mainland Chinese companies during political unrest

Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing notes that mainland Chinese companies in Hong Kong, Yangon and elsewhere often find themselves targets of attack. Why are they so unpopular in the very communities they seek to bring greater economic activity to? Perhaps they are expanding too much, too soon and too fast, giving little opportunities for locals to adapt. But their work cultures probably also play a big role. 
Motorists travel past a screen displaying stock figures in Shanghai, China, on 18 February 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Innovation and ‘new retail’ driving the Chinese economy

Commentator David Ng explores the changes that are happening in China with developments in technology that allow vast changes in business models, from traditional offline transactions to online business, and “new retail”, which combines the two. How will the Chinese economy grow under these forces?