Domestic consumption

People walk along a street in Beijing, China, on 12 October 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Is a zero-Covid policy adversely affecting China’s economic recovery?

In the face of some turbulence in China’s economic indicators lately, academic Xu Le looks at certain bright spots amid falling aggregate demand and aggregate supply for a realistic gauge of China’s economic prospects in the coming months.
This file photo taken on 3 May 2021 shows a fan holding images of actors as fans wait outside the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium before a concert with the theme of the Chinese television drama 'Word of Honor', in Suzhou in China's eastern Jiangsu province. From reality TV to online gaming and even pop stans, China's leadership has launched a crackdown on youth culture in what experts say is a bid to ramp up "ideological control". (STR/AFP)

Chinese youths are falling for the 'Squid Game trap' with Chinese characteristics

The constant pursuit of the high life in China, especially among young Chinese urbanites, often means that they are spending beyond their means. It does not help that financial companies and banks are encouraging people to take loans, while fans of celebrities and influencers are also nudged into chasing glamour. Given the circumstances, commentator Chip Tsao wonders if the Chinese authorities’ efforts towards an even distribution of wealth will work.
Labourers at a construction site in Shanghai, China, 12 July 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Is China’s economy collapsing?

While China’s latest third quarter year-on-year growth rate of 4.9% is still considered strong, some international commentaries have recently revisited the idea that “China’s economy is collapsing”. Taking a hard look at the situation of power cuts, a depressed property sector and the fact that state media saw fit to rebut these conjectures, Yang Danxu notes that there is some truth to slowing growth in the Chinese economy. However, the larger question is not how many percentage points drop here and there, but if downward momentum will shake the nation’s resolve to make structural adjustments for the good of the long-term health of the Chinese economy.
Internet celebrities flocked to Wuzhong Market over the Golden Week holiday to pose for pictures with vegetables wrapped in Prada packaging. (Xiaohongshu/@超赞小姐姐 (left); Xiaohongshu/@周小晨Kiki)

Chic and trendy wet markets are the in-thing in China

Below-the-line marketing tactics of high-end brand Prada sees a wet market in Shanghai wrapping its walls, stalls and vegetables — yes, even the edibles — in Prada packaging. Lucky shoppers also get to receive limited edition Prada paper bags. And it's not just in Shanghai; trendy markets that have cafes, reading areas, exhibition spaces and bars are popping up in first-tier cities all around China.
A woman walks past a store of German fashion house Hugo Boss in Beijing, China, 27 March 2021. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

China's crackdown on pretty boys and temple temptresses: Why are Chinese women feeling targeted?

The Chinese authorities are not just clamping down on celebrities for their excesses or “unhealthy’ fandoms, but setting the ground rules for media portrayals of gender norms of appearance and behaviour. In particular, the "effeminate aesthetics" of male celebrities and female influencers marketing themselves in Chinese temples have come under attack. But why are Chinese women feeling targeted? Are these necessary actions to moderate the internet economy or just signs of an over-the-top paternalistic bent?
Singapore skyline taken from the Supertree Observatory at Gardens by the Bay showing the Costa Rhu Condominium. (SPH)

How increased wealth affects Chinese foreign buyers' housing consumption in Singapore

In 2005, the People’s Bank of China unpegged the RMB from the US dollar, transiting it to a floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand with reference to a basket of currencies. The policy shift resulted in an appreciation of the RMB relative to the US dollar and Singapore dollar. With stronger purchasing power, how did Chinese foreign buyers' housing consumption patterns in Singapore change? How has that affected Singapore's property market? Academics Fan Ying and Sing Tien Foo analyse data over the last two decades for the answer.
People wearing face masks are seen on an overpass in front of a residential building in Beijing, China, 11 August  2020. (Tingshu Wang/File Photo/Reuters)

Why China is regulating the property market

Rapid real estate and infrastructure development in China over the past two to three decades has improved people’s lives, but also led to rising housing prices and property speculation. Regional governments have started to step in with regulatory measures. Commentator David Ng thinks these are good signs, as a society’s wealth should be distributed by labour and contribution instead of through housing.
People wearing face masks walk at a main shopping area in Shanghai, China, 27 January 2021. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

The most trusted provinces in China, according to Taobao

In a study on consumers’ shopping patterns across provinces in China, Associate Professor Chu Junhong of NUS Business School and Professor Pradeep K. Chintagunta of the Chicago Booth School of Business found that Chinese buyers tend to buy from sellers they trust, and a seller’s location forms a large part of that equation.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk along Nanjing Road in Shanghai, China, on 6 June 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Dual circulation strategy revisited: China deepens integration with the global economy

When China’s “dual circulation” strategy was launched last year, some analysts interpreted it to mean that China would be focusing more on its domestic market. Figures show otherwise. Studying trade and investment indicators over the past few months, Chen Gang concludes that China’s economic engagement with the world is increasing as it runs on dual domestic and external engines.