Economic reform

Jack Ma speaking at the Bund Summit in Shanghai. (Weibo)

Jack Ma: Traditional banks are operating with a 'pawn shop' mentality

Days before the listing of his Ant Group on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, Jack Ma at the Bund Summit in Shanghai criticised the existing global financial supervisory system as not fit for China’s purpose as a young, growing economy striving for innovation. Analysts beg to differ, as China’s enormous financial markets already bear great systemic risk. Is regulation and innovation mutually exclusive?
People walk along a street in Wuhan, Hubei, China on 29 September 2020. (STR/AFP)

Why modernising China is so difficult

Wei Da calls out China’s modus operandi of seeking modernisation yet fighting it at the same time. He says China’s road to modernisation faces the classic dilemmas of setting its priorities right and establishing new paradigms that will liberate it from the shackles of the past. Only then, can China imagine a future that will bring it on par with advanced civilisations. 
Morning commuters ride an escalator in the Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, on 9 October 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China’s Five-Year Plan: A bottom-up model of policy making?

Each of China’s five-year plans charting the country's development path goes through many hoops before being finalised. The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) is no different and will see several more iterations before it is discussed and launched at the National People’s Congress in March next year. Yu Zeyuan reveals the complicated and extensive process.
Li Hongzhang (L) and Henry Arthur Blake at the opening ceremony of the Kowloon-Guangzhou railway service, July 1900. (Wikimedia)

China's distrust of private enterprises goes back a long way

Even back in the Qing dynasty, the concept of “state-owned enterprises” was not a foreign one. The Qing government had the habit of maintaining monopolies by running their own enterprises or looking out for profitable industries and private companies, and taking control of them. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao notes that even grabbing profits could not prevent the fall of the Qing dynasty.
US President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 30 September 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

Chinese socialism against American capitalism: The final showdown?

The Soviet Union and China have both previously tried and failed to overtake the US in various aspects. However, China's rise in the past few decades and the new Cold War has given China renewed impetus to duel the US for supremacy. Have they got enough firepower now with a government-led economic model that has a fair component of a market economy? Economics professor Zhu Ying looks at who might win.
This photo taken on 1 September 2020 shows elementary school students attending a class on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)

Why online education fails to thrive in China amid the pandemic

The pandemic has provided a chance for a review of online internet platforms. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi explains why online education platforms are getting the shorter end of the stick and why this offers a lesson for others hoping to ride the digital wave.
People are reflected in a puddle after a rainfall as they walk along a shopping district in Beijing on 18 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Will China's inward economic shift lead to a closed society?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently emphasised the concept of “domestic circulation”, or focusing on domestic markets. But while this might prompt concern that China’s economy may be shut off from the rest of the world, given current circumstances, this is unlikely. What China needs to guard against though, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, is the groupthink generated by a closed loop of ideas.
In this file photo former Chinese communist leader Chairman Mao Zedong (L) welcomes former US President Richard Nixon at his house in the Forbidden City in Beijing on 22 February 1972. (Handout/AFP)

Was Nixon’s policy of engaging China a failure?

US State Secretary Mike Pompeo made a key speech on China at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum recently. The venue could not have been more symbolic, given former President Nixon’s role in the US’s rapprochement with China in the 1970s, and the current Trump administration’s belief that a new approach to China is necessary as the US’s engagement strategy “has not brought the kind of change inside China that President Nixon hoped to induce”. Analyst and writer Zheng Weibin weighs up the costs and benefits of this new approach.
Chinese and US flags flutter before a trade meeting in Shanghai, China, 30 July 2019. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese academic: 'China will walk its chosen path and let Western countries talk!'

In the current political climate, the possibility of a phase two trade deal between China and the US is practically a non-starter. So be it, says Zhu Ying. China has shown that it wants to walk its own path, and will probably do so even more resolutely as it bristles at criticism of “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.