An employee places side molding on a car along the assembly line at a factory of Chinese automaker NIO in Hefei, in China's eastern Anhui province on 10 May 2023. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

Chinese manufacturers playing catch-up in core technology

Somewhat paradoxically, the trade decoupling of China and the US has forced Chinese manufacturers to independently develop their core technology, which is a boon to their long-term development and competitiveness. But it may be some time to go before China catches up with the West.
A cargo ship berths at Lianyungang port, in Jiangsu province, China, on 9 May 2023. (AFP)

Chinese exporters turn toward emerging markets

The diverging performance of China’s ports reflects a shift in trade for the world’s largest exporter. A growing proportion of shipments are destined for emerging markets such as countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Middle East and Latin America, and an increasing share of exports consist of intermediate goods and capital items. Meanwhile, the shift in demand for Chinese exports is driving up prices for container shipping, squeezing margins for China’s small, private exporters.
Banknotes of Chinese renminbi and US dollar are seen in this illustration picture taken 29 September 2022. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

The US’s dilemma: Dollar dominance or re-industrialisation

In response to former US President Donald Trump’s recent scare about China trying to “displace the US dollar as the number one currency throughout the world”, academic Han Heyuan says that a certain equilibrium is maintained by the US suffering a trade deficit but safeguarding dollar hegemony. If the US wants to bring manufacturing back to the US, it may not be able to export dollars the way it used to, and cannot hope for the dominance of the US dollar to hold.
Employees work on an assembly line producing speakers at a factory in Fuyang, Anhui province, China, on 31 March 2023. (AFP)

It may be too early to celebrate China’s exports rebound

China’s exports grew by 14.8% in US dollar terms in March from the year before, ending five straight months of decline. But a spike in exports may be a false hurrah for China’s economic economy, given the mixed signals from different data indicators. Levels of consumption and inward investment are important as well, and the improvement of these factors will need to take into account the impact of US-China tensions on foreign enterprises in China.
Customers queue at the Apple Fifth Avenue store for the release of the Apple iPhone 14 range in New York City, US, 16 September 2022. (Andrew Kelly/File Photo/Reuters)

Long tethered to Apple, Chinese suppliers seek new options

Chinese component suppliers are trying to curb their reliance on Apple, the latest American giant caught in the US-China tug of-war. In the early days, Chinese firms able to make it onto Apple’s supplier list were able to breathe a little easier. But with reliance comes exposure, and a need to adapt amid news of Apple's decreasing sales and rumoured plans of making production shifts to other countries.
Visitors view a BYD Dolphin EV at the 44th Bangkok International Motor Show in Bangkok, Thailand, 23 March 2023. (Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s EV battery boom goes bust

China’s auto market has been rattled by a brutal price war since late last year amid slowing sales. Sales of electric vehicles have plunged since a government subsidy expired at the end of last year and as consumers remain hesitant about spending.
A worker walks near an evaporation pool where lithium bicarbonate is isolated from salt brine during the process of lithium production at the Uyuni Salt Flats in Uyuni, Bolivia, on 29 January 2014. (Noah Friedman-Rudovsky/Bloomberg)

The world’s EV supply chain is fracturing

Until now, China has held a dominant position in the global industrial chain from cathode materials to EV battery manufacturing and vehicle production, supplying nearly half of global core products. But with a major restructuring underway, it will have to tackle rising costs, supply chain shortfalls and the need to tailor resources for different markets.
This picture taken on 2 December 2022 shows an employee working inside a packaging factory of Nam Thai Son Group in Ho Chi Minh City. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Chinese investment and diversion of investment from China: Opportunities abound for Vietnam

While some Vietnamese are wary of Chinese investments, others see it as a good opportunity for their companies, especially SMEs to upgrade and upskill. With new opportunities afforded by investments from countries looking to diversify their supply chains from China, SMEs should be given a boost by the Vietnamese government in order for Vietnam to make the most out of the influx of capital.
People attend a job fair in Fuyang in China's eastern Anhui province on 29 January 2023. (AFP)

Chinese provinces' battle for talents and workers after Chinese New Year

Zaobao journalist Meng Dandan looks into the current shortage of workers in various areas of China, especially in the labour-intensive manufacturing sector. Why is it so difficult to hire and retain workers, and what does this mean for the world’s factory and the global supply chain?