Manufacturing

US President Joe Biden arrives to speak about American manufacturing and the American workforce after touring the Mack Trucks Lehigh Valley Operations Manufacturing Facility in Macungie, Pennsylvania, US, on 28 July 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

Could China-US trade relations be thawing?

High-level trade and foreign policy officials from the US and China have articulated their views recently on implementing the phase one trade deal and hopes for cooperation amid a state of strategic competition. Will more of such sessions help to chip away at the great wall of mistrust that has been built between the US and China?
A woman guides a boy learning to cycle below power lines in Beijing, China, on 13 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Why China will continue to experience power cuts

Erik Baark takes a bird’s eye view of the structure of energy supply and demand in China, analysing how macro issues led to the September 2021 rash of power cuts across China. He notes that China's continued development needs energy, and a shift from heavy industries to services or high-tech fields does not mean that the country's energy needs will decrease. The Chinese government is looking to new and renewable energy resources to take the place of the old, but transitioning to new energy sources is not an easy process, especially when different actors are trying to protect their own terrain and a mindset change is necessary. It will be a tall order for the Chinese government to get local governments, old power grid corporations and the public to align with new policies and thinking. All this means that power cuts will not be going away anytime soon.
An employee gestures next to a Lenovo logo at Lenovo Tech World in Beijing, China, 15 November 2019. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Lenovo's IPO withdrawal: Why Lenovo is no longer the golden boy of the Chinese tech industry

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that Lenovo’s aborted bid to get listed on Shanghai’s STAR Market is telling of it being held back by a lack of R&D and innovation. Is this emblematic of other companies in China’s manufacturing industry who went for low-hanging fruits in the early days instead of planning for long-term technological development?
Workers produce adhesive tapes for flexible printed circuits (FPC) at a factory in Yancheng, Jiangsu province, China, on 15 September 2021. (STR/AFP)

How can China benefit from the CPTPP?

China has made it clear that it wants to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This will allow it to strengthen its image as an advocate of free trade, gain some cover from future sanctions by the US, and most importantly, spur domestic reform. Academic Gu Qingyang delves into the topic.
A general view shows the Lujiazui financial district (left) in Shanghai, China, on 22 September 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China joining the CPTPP: It's a matter of time

Zhang Rui analyses that there are more pros than cons to China’s entry to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) whether one looks at it from China’s individual economy, regional industrial chains or global income gains. However, sizeable obstacles stand in the way of its entry, not least US-led political roadblocks, even if the latter is not currently a member of the reconfigured CPTPP. China’s internal system and regulations will also have to change to meet the rigours of the high-standard CPTPP. Can China play the long game and will the world truly move closer towards Asia-Pacific economic integration?
This file photo taken on 31 May 2021 shows an employee of the semiconductor manufacturer Bosch working in a clean room during the preparations for the series production of semiconductor chips on innovative 300-millimetre wafers in Dresden, Germany. (Jens Schlueter/AFP)

Why no country can win the chip war

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on many industries, annual global semiconductor sales still increased by 10.8% in 2020 to reach US$464 billion. The current global semiconductor supply chain is highly internationalised. While it is dominated by a small number of countries and regions, none of them has full control over every segment in the supply chain and geopolitics can be a risk factor. While the US has imposed sanctions and trade restrictions on China to hinder its development in chip making, academic James Pang says that given the nature of the industry, the current status quo will be maintained for some time.
A man checks his phone while walking in Lujiazui financial district during sunset in Pudong, Shanghai, China, 13 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Kai-Fu Lee: Five ways artificial intelligence will put China ahead

Dr Kai-Fu Lee recently spoke at a summit reviewing the development of artificial intelligence. He gave five predictions about the industrial changes that would be brought about by the combination of artificial intelligence and other new technologies. Lee feels these changes would allow China to lead the world in science and technology in the next 20 years or so. This is the edited version of his speech.
A vendor (centre) sells meat at her stall in front of a residential building in Hanoi, Vietnam on 31 March 2021. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP)

Shifting supply chains from China to Southeast Asia is hard but necessary

Amid the effects of the China-US trade war and the Covid-19 pandemic, global manufacturers are seeing the need to adopt a ”China+1“ strategy by diversifying their supply chains or business operations beyond China. However, moving parts of the supply chain to the Southeast Asian region is not so straightforward. What challenges do they face and how are they overcoming them? Will China's position as the "world's factory" be shaken and how will its economic model be changed?
U.S. President Joe Biden, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., 13 May 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Can America beat China with Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans?

US-based Chinese researcher Zhou Nongjian takes a close look at Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans to improve the US economy and meet the challenge from China. He asserts that infrastructure-building and poverty assistance plans are stop-gap measures that will not address fundamental problems such as the US’s loss of industries and declining national strength. Is the US president putting the cart before the horse?