Economy

Delivery workers wearing face masks ride scooters in front of Lujiazui financial district, in Shanghai, China, 10 July 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Socialism and universal basic income: Creating happy societies in the age of the knowledge economy

Lance Gore analyses that the knowledge economy offers great potential for bettering the lives of people. But capitalism may not be the best route to take. Power in the hands of a few, income gaps, job losses and wage cuts in the digital age bear this out. Can China offer a third way as it seeks to marry socialism with a market economy? The West is already considering some proposals with a socialist bent such as the Universal Basic Income (UBI). Surely, proponents of socialism can think of even more revolutionary ideas?
A neon sign of the American flag and neon lights at One Times Square in New York, 31 July 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP)

No country can be the world's policeman: Debt-ridden US needs to focus on itself

For all of President Trump’s failings, says US academic Han Dongping, he did persist in his belief that the US has over-extended itself abroad and sought ways to pull it back. Whoever becomes the US president next will have to recognise that the US’s global role has changed irrevocably since 1945.
Residents dine at a 500-metre-long table spanning across the length of the medieval Charles Bridge as restrictions ease following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Prague, Czech Republic, 30 June 2020. (David W Cerny/REUTERS)

Are the Czechs alarmed by China's buying power?

From media companies to hotels and football clubs, the Chinese have gone on a shopping spree in the Czech Republic over the past few years. Hong Kong commentator Chip Tsao notes that the Czech Republic was the first European country to fall in love with China, allowing the latter to acquire large stakes in Czech entities. But now, it seems that the love affair is not so rosy any more. The recent visit of Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil to Taiwan is just one chink in the relationship’s armour.
The male contestants in the third season of Youth With You (青春有你). (Internet)

Working 'mothers' are the biggest spenders of fan economy in China

The fan economy is a huge business in China, driven mostly by young women in their 20s. But while these fans are willing to spend money on their idols, some chalk up mountains of debt to feed their passion. Given that the idols are endlessly trotted out on a conveyor belt and few escape the cookie cutter, how long can the fan economy last?
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?
This photo taken on 1 September 2020 shows elementary school students attending a class on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (STR/AFP)

Why online education fails to thrive in China amid the pandemic

The pandemic has provided a chance for a review of online internet platforms. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi explains why online education platforms are getting the shorter end of the stick and why this offers a lesson for others hoping to ride the digital wave.
People are reflected in a puddle after a rainfall as they walk along a shopping district in Beijing on 18 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Will China's inward economic shift lead to a closed society?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently emphasised the concept of “domestic circulation”, or focusing on domestic markets. But while this might prompt concern that China’s economy may be shut off from the rest of the world, given current circumstances, this is unlikely. What China needs to guard against though, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, is the groupthink generated by a closed loop of ideas.
A stretch of the 400-kilometre long China-Laos railway in Vientiane, 29 July 2020. (Xinhua)

China's Belt and Road Initiative faces huge challenges in Southeast Asia

Beijing has pledged financing, materials, technology and manpower to build railroads, hydropower stations and other infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries under the BRI. But China continues to face enormous challenges getting projects off the ground in countries that need the investment most. US academic Murray Hiebert examines why.
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.