Chinese financial commentator Tan Haojun looks at what China has done right to quickly recover after the pandemic, and what makes international financial institutions and analysts confident about its economy.
China feeds about 20% of the global population, but its overall self-sufficiency in food seems to be dropping. Even though it is self-sufficient in some staples such as wheat, rice and corn, it is less so in others. In fact, it is the largest importer of food in the world. Recent calls by President Xi Jinping to cut food wastage has people thinking that political reasons aside, China’s food supply is at risk. This risk could yet be amplified by changes in land policies, rural-urban migration and more.
Despite US efforts to reduce reliance on China and decouple from it, the process will not be easy, given China’s enormous economic influence. Even with countries such as Vietnam trying to take China’s place as the “world’s factory”, their capacity is limited. However, this does not mean that China’s position is assured, as other countries are noticing China’s penchant for using its economic might as a bargaining chip.
On an organised visit to Wuhan with other journalists and business representatives, Lianhe Zaobao’s Shanghai correspondent Chen Jing sees a city that appears to be humming away as if the Covid-19 disaster was nothing but a bad dream. Nevertheless, she gets an inkling that many stories of the pandemic are still waiting to be told. She resolves to tell them, all in good time.
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?
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.
As the coronavirus continues to affect supply chains worldwide, especially with China being a key hub, Japan is taking steps to diversity its sources and be less reliant on China. However, contrary to previous speculations, Japanese academic Shin Kawashima does not think that the Japanese government is attempting to decouple from China, in the way that the decoupling of advanced industries is being carried out in the US.
From working to keep supply chains open to establishing “fast lanes” for essential travel, China and Singapore have been working together to face the tough challenges of the pandemic. Beyond pomp and pageantry, these actions are a sign of the strong ties that the two countries have forged over the last 30 years and more. In a recent interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Chinese ambassador to Singapore Hong Xiaoyong said Singapore and China have been working together this year, showing the strength of bilateral relations. And when the coronavirus is over, Singapore and China will be able to cooperate in more areas. With ASEAN becoming China’s top trading partner for the first time ever in the first half of the year, there is even greater scope for China-ASEAN cooperation.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations between China and Singapore. In a recent interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Singapore’s Ambassador to China Lui Tuck Yew takes stock of the relationship, speaks of the challenges and opportunities brought about by Covid-19, and looks ahead to greater heights that the two countries can scale together through greater collaboration and cooperation.