Economic zones

People walk at the venue of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, 6 November 2023. (Casey Hall/Reuters)

China International Import Expo: A good start amid challenges and criticism

The annual China International Import Expo (CIIE) is back this year as a fully in-person event after three years of the pandemic. However, while the authorities say that the results are looking good, participants may not be saying the same thing. Despite positive attendance numbers, is the CIIE truly effective at expanding global business activities and promoting market openness in China?
(front row, left to right) Indonesia's President Joko Widodo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, China's President Xi Jinping, Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with other leaders wave during a group photo at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2023. (Suo Takekuma/AFP)

Belt and Road Forum: A show of China’s influence

The scale and attendance by world leaders to the two-day third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing is a show of China’s influence in the global diplomatic stage, says Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan. Despite the West’s view that the Belt and Road Initiative is a strategic tool for China to expand its international influence, numerous developing countries are still willing to participate in it given the significant progress overall.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, along with other leaders, attends the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum (BRF) to mark the tenth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on 18 October 2023. (Edgar Su/Reuters)

Ten years of the BRI: Where does it go from here?

Lianhe Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that after ten years, the BRI has a somewhat mixed report card. Some analysts say that the BRI has helped some countries, while others observe that progress has sometimes come at a cost, ranging from heavy debt to other indirect effects such as corruption and environmental damage.
In this picture taken on 30 August 2023, workers assemble a motorbike at the Northstar Precision Vietnam factory in Vinh Phuc province.  (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

The global south's rare development opportunity as big countries de-risk

EAI academic Chen Gang notes that although the Chinese authorities are against the Western notion of “de-risking”, it has itself taken steps to de-risk, with ASEAN overtaking Europe and the US as China’s largest trade partner. As major countries are gaining ground in their de-risking strategies, the global south is set to benefit.
An art installation dubbed "Double Ducks", by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, is seen at Victoria Harbour, in Hong Kong, China, 9 June 2023. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Integrating Hong Kong into China's Greater Bay Area: Easier said than done?

Greater prosperity in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area would require greater synergising and complementarity between the core leading cities of Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. But this is easier said than done, especially for Hong Kong. EAI senior research fellow Yu Hong explains.
A general view of the Qianhai area in Shenzhen, 4 June 2023. (SPH Media)

Shenzhen's deserted business district needs more pull to develop

Shenzhen’s Qianhai is a relatively new business district that the Chinese government wants to develop. However, there has been comparatively little pull so far, given that general facilities are lacking and the supportive policies for foreign companies are no different from those in other areas in Shenzhen. However, some business people Zaobao talked to are upbeat about its future.
Pedestrians cross a busy intersection in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on 4 January 2022. (Peter Parks/AFP)

China's grand plans to further integrate Hong Kong and Macau. Will they work?

The Hengqin Plan and Qianhai Plan released by the Chinese central government aim to deepen economic cooperation and promote cross-border integration within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA). The Plans will involve greater integration of Hong Kong and Macau with the mainland. While Macau has always embraced this trajectory and the Hengqin Plan could bring greater dynamism to the SAR, Hong Kong’s fears of “mainlandisation” and the territorial instincts of mainland cities may present some obstacles to the Qianhai Plan. EAI academic Yu Hong tells us more.
Xiamen is known as “Egret Island” and the “garden on the sea”. (CNS)

The case of Xiamen: Are special economic zones in China no longer special?

Despite having a head start in being established as a special economic zone (SEZ), Xiamen’s economy lags behind other cities in Fujian province such as Quanzhou and Fuzhou. Coupled with disproportionately high property prices, Xiamen is not doing as well as other places like Pudong New Area and Shenzhen either, which started their development spurt later but have overtaken Xiamen. Zaobao correspondent Chen Jing looks at how Xiamen can turn things around.
Workers are seen on the production line at a cotton textile factory in Korla, Xinjiang, China, 1 April 2021. (CNS photo via Reuters)

Does a leadership change in troubled Xinjiang signal a new direction?

Guangdong governor Ma Xingrui has been appointed the next Xinjiang party secretary, replacing Politburo member Chen Quanguo, who has implemented tough security-related measures in Xinjiang in his time. Does this signal a fresh direction for Xinjiang? How will Ma lead efforts to promote high-quality development in Xinjiang while maintaining social stability and give all people of Xinjiang a sense of ownership and belonging?