Manufacturing

Customers walk past a dragon made from Lego bricks at a store in Beijing, China, on 7 December 2020. (Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg)

China’s 14th Five-Year Plan will be a game changer

In anticipation of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan kicking in next year, commentator David Ng examines how the proposals will affect the direction of China’s economic growth, as well as China-US competition, and in turn shift the global order.
A supporter of US President Donald Trump carries a teddy bear and a semi-automatic rifle at a "Stop the Steal" protest after the 2020 US presidential election was called for Democratic candidate Joe Biden, at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC), in Phoenix, Arizona, US, 9 November 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

Globalisation and the American blue-collar workers who voted for Trump

US-based academic Wu Guo observes that white Americans without a university education are still the group in the country most vulnerable to the ill-effects of globalisation. With manufacturing moving overseas to countries such as China, many of these Americans doing “hands-on jobs” as blue-collar workers lost their jobs and had their middle-class dreams shattered. At the same time, they are not able to leapfrog to hi-tech manufacturing that calls for specialised skills. How can this serious issue be tackled? Would bringing back manufacturing jobs from China help?
A man visits a Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) booth, at China International Semiconductor Expo, in Shanghai, China, 14 October 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Chinese companies drawn to chip-making like bees to honey

Amid international supply chain restrictions that have stalled China’s chip manufacturing industry, Chinese companies are heeding the country’s clarion call to quickly skill up and help China achieve self-reliance in the field. With all and sundry throwing their hats into the ring, it seems that the country’s currently counting more on enthusiasm, rather than expertise, to make it happen. Will this mean more haste, less speed?
People wearing face masks walk past a flower display dedicated to frontline healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic in celebration of the upcoming National Day of the People's Republic of China, in Beijing on 29 September 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

China’s public healthcare system: Robust enough for 1.4 billion people?

David Ng goes over several key indicators in China’s healthcare system to see how China’s public healthcare system holds up. With medical advances driving up healthcare expenditure and a fast-ageing people, the most populous nation of the world has got its work cut out.
Customers wait in line outside a Shake Shack Inc. restaurant in Beijing, China on 20 September 2020. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Is it possible to decouple from the world's biggest market and factory?

Despite US efforts to reduce reliance on China and decouple from it, the process will not be easy, given China’s enormous economic influence. Even with countries such as Vietnam trying to take China’s place as the “world’s factory”, their capacity is limited. However, this does not mean that China’s position is assured, as other countries are noticing China’s penchant for using its economic might as a bargaining chip.
Car assembly at Beijing Benz.

How labour-intensive factories and packed dormitories achieve 'zero infections' in China

With the coronavirus affecting businesses and production industries worldwide, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu finds out how companies and factories in China are ensuring that workers stay healthy and virus-free.
Pedestrians wearing protective masks walk with umbrellas past stores in Wuhan, China, on 30 April 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Can Hubei bounce back after the pandemic, like Sichuan did after the earthquake?

China’s Hubei province — most badly-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic — has pressed the reset button on its economy, becoming China’s first province to implement an economic revitalisation package following the pandemic. Although policy details are not yet released, academics interviewed predict that Hubei will receive more financial subsidies than any other province or city, and industries like auto manufacturing and infrastructure will benefit from industry support policies. Hubei’s revitalisation scheme will also give an idea of how the country’s yet-to-be-released economic stimulus package will look like. While help is on the way for Hubei, due to the enormous economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, making a fast and effective recovery is going to be a tall order.
A 3M N95 respirator mask is seen hanging on a rear view mirror of a car as the spread of Covid-19 continues, in New Orleans, Louisiana, US, on 4 April 2020. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Mask: A national tool for diplomatic games

A mask is not just a mask in times of a global health pandemic. Neither is humanitarian assistance simply that either. Zhu Ying traces the effect that mask politics is having on China’s efforts at redeeming its image abroad and on larger issues such as globalisation.
In this file photo, a consumer is choosing flour at a supermarket in Taiyuan city, Shanxi province, China. Chinese officials have repeatedly reassured the Chinese people that food supplies are sufficient and there is no need to hoard. (CNS)

Will China plunge into a food crisis? Officials say no

As the Covid-19 pandemic slows down in China, the panic-buying frenzy goes on. Chen Jing reports on people bulking up on supplies across China amid fears of a looming food shortage.