Over-consumption

People walk past a Canada Goose store in Beijing, China, 2 December 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Canada Goose: Why Western brands are not open to returns in China

Commentator Chip Tsao notes that even as Chinese consumers are unhappy about perceived differential treatment by Western high-end brands in terms of returns and refunds, this is due in some part to their penchant for buying items and then easily changing their minds, or returning them after only using them once, perhaps just for selfies for social media. Not to mention the possibility of consumers’ irrational nationalism kicking in and the high costs of processing returns, it’s no wonder that brands are thinking twice before offering returns.
People walk past a China Energy coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, 29 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

The conspiracy theories behind China's power cuts

Last year, Western media attributed the cause of China's power shortages to the latter's unofficial ban on Australian coal. This year, Chinese netizens and we-media are claiming that power cuts are necessary and a result of “an invisible exchange of swordplay in big country economic competition”. Leveraging nationalism and big power competition to garner attention and support is indeed the order of the day. Zaobao journalist Liu Liu explains why Chinese authorities and state media are debunking these conspiracy theories and refusing to ride on the patriotism wave.
A general view of Laos, January 2020. (SPH)

Is Laos mining itself into a crisis?

Despite low global commodity prices, the mining sector in Lao PDR still constitutes a key source of state revenue and an important destination for foreign direct investment, especially from China, Vietnam and Thailand. However, economic development through industrial mining has not translated into employment opportunities for local communities. Rather, the Lao mining sector is marked by a parallel structure of medium- to large-scale mining operations and informal artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM), which often operate in a legal grey zone. ASM communities thus suffer from the sector’s high social and environmental costs and conflicts with foreign investors over allocated land.
People visit the riverbank of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, China's central Hubei province on 2 February 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

China’s serious water woes

Water security is literally a question of life and death. And as one of the most populous nations in the world with a severe lack of water resources, China needs to ensure that its water sources are sustainable and usable. But as Chinese academic Chen Hongbin explains, this is not always easy, despite the country’s best efforts.
This file photo taken on 5 March 2020 shows farmers harvesting cabbages at Huarong county in Hunan province, on the border of Hubei. A national campaign to curb mounting food waste in China is feeding speculation that the supply outlook is worse than the government admits and fuelling warnings food could become another front in the worsening US-China rivalry. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Food scraps and empty new apartments: China’s fight against wastage

China has a problem of wastage, and two areas where this is clearly seen are food and property development. Hong Kong commentator David Ng reviews the impact on China’s economy.
Tiffany & Co. held its grand exhibition at the Fosun Foundation Shanghai, themed "Vision & Virtuosity". (Photo: Yang Danxu)

The myth of China’s solid consumer demand

Why relying on domestic consumption to sustain China’s economy is putting one’s eggs all in one (wrong) basket.
Chinese youths in debt crises due to uncontrollable spending habits: Suffocated by their debts and left at wit’s end, some went to the extremes and took their lives. (iStock)

Online lending is feeding the insatiable purchasing desire of Chinese youths

China’s young generation of overspenders is rapidly on the rise, fueled by the presence of an expanding online lending market. What will it take to stop them?
Middle-class wannabes in the same boat: it may look like a luxurious yacht to outsiders, but it’s hardly stable. Financial instability threatens to rock the boat and those in it are using it as a guise to hide their insecurities. (Graphic: Jace Yip)

The emergence of the Chinese “middle-class wannabes” and their race towards a higher social status

China’s “middle-class wannabes” live on the margins of a lower-middle class income, leading seemingly glamorous lives, but what goes on behind the scenes is a life laden with tough challenges and insecurities.