Private enterprise

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.
People pass an electronic stock board at The SGX Centre on 12 March, 2020. (SPH)

Singapore vs Hong Kong: Who will benefit more with greater legal market opportunities from US-China competition?

In the context of China-US competition, US-listed China concept stocks companies may find it advantageous to get secondary listings on the Hong Kong or Singapore stock exchange. US companies may also veer towards Singapore and Hong Kong when it comes to international arbitration cases. In the final analysis, will Singapore or Hong Kong have the edge?
A mining/crushing supervisor at MP Materials displays crushed ore before it is sent to the mill at the MP Materials rare earth mine in Mountain Pass, California, 30 January 2020. (Steve Marcus/File Photo/Reuters)

How to break China's monopoly on rare earths

Much attention has been focused on the burgeoning US-China tech war and the US’s suppression of Chinese companies. But less is known about China’s firm hold on the rare earths supply chain, which has the potential to derail the world’s production of products from the humble smartphone to F-35 aircraft and guided missile systems. In response, the US and its allies, including the EU, Japan and Australia, are actively coalescing around new rare earths strategies. But private investment alone will not be enough to challenge China’s global monopoly in rare earths. Can new international public-private partnerships be the answer?
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.
A vendor holding up a Donald Trump latex mask that she sells.

Who will win the US election? Chinese vendors at ‘the world’s supermarket’ think they have the answer

Four years ago, when most political pundits put their money on Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, vendors in the Yiwu International Trade Market in Zhejiang province already knew that Trump would win. Orders of presidential election merchandise gave them the clue. Termed “the world’s supermarket”, Yiwu is the world’s biggest wholesale market of small commodities. How is it seeking to reinvent itself in the pandemic downturn, and what does this year’s orders list tell them about the likely outcome of the 2020 US presidential election?
A worker collects a package after it was delivered by an automated conveyer belt at a JD.com distribution center in Beijing on 16 July 2020. (Greg Baker/AFP)

China's e-commerce 'big four' locked in cut-throat battle

Media commentator Cai Enze frowns on the beggar-thy-neighbour approach of improving one’s business at a rival’s expense. In his view, big names in China’s internet market — Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, and JD.com (known as BATJ) — should practise more openness and cooperation rather than rivalry and mutual blocks.
Attendees browse as a humanoid robot stands in the exhibition display area at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, 9 July 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

'Kiasu' Singapore, 'yao mianzi' China, and 'leela' India: How does culture influence innovation?

In a study conducted by academics from the NUS Business School surveying the China, India, and Singapore landscape, respondents often described the Chinese as disciplined and focused, Singaporeans as structured, fearing failure and sticking to the plan, and Indians as creative, flexible and frugal. While it is not the only or most pertinent factor, cultural traits matter when it comes to managing teams and maximising their potential to innovate.
Street vendors wait for customers at their vegetable stalls in Jingzhou, 27 March 2020. (Aly Song/REUTERS)

Street stalls: Saviour of livelihoods for ordinary Chinese after Covid-19?

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei once ran a stall selling slimming pills, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma used to sell small items in Zhejiang. In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, the street stall economy is making a comeback in China. These stalls were popular in the 1980s and 1990s but declined with efforts by authorities to clean up the streets. Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan weighs the pros and cons of reviving the street stall economy.
A deliveryman walks past a closed Luckin Coffee store at Sanlitun, Beijing, China on 7 February 2020. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Misbehaving US-listed Chinese enterprises and their gambler attitudes

Chinese companies listed on US stock exchanges such as Luckin Coffee and iQiyi have been embroiled in accounting scandals of late, causing investors to eye Chinese concept stocks with doubt. What can Chinese companies with hopes of gaining access to foreign investment do to improve their bad reputations by association?