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China's official app for digital yuan is seen on a mobile phone next to 100 RMB banknotes in this illustration picture taken on 16 October 2020. (Florence Lo/Illustration/File Photo/Reuters)

China’s central bank digital currency has huge potential, but be careful of overregulation

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) can potentially optimise and vastly improve the central bank’s monetary policy transmission with preset conditions to incorporate forward-looking and counter-cyclical features. This means that central banks can accurately control the amount, direction and intensity of liquidity or money supply flowing to the desired industries, thereby allowing industries to achieve an optimal level of production and reduce the risk of inflation or deflation. Earlier this year, China tracked and paid wages to builders in Xiong’an using its digital RMB, e-CNY. Is this a harbinger of things to come?
Pedestrians cross a traffic intersection near commercial buildings in Beijing, China, 25 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Why China is setting up the Beijing Stock Exchange

With President Xi Jinping’s announcement of a new Beijing Stock Exchange, innovation-oriented SMEs will benefit and Beijing’s stock as a credible financial centre will also rise. Not only that, it is hoped that this will show China’s resolve to continue pursuing the market economy as it continues its push for “common prosperity”.
A picture illustration of the banknotes of the euro, HK dollar, US dollar, Japanese yen, British pound and Chinese yuan. (Jason Lee/File Photo/Reuters)

Escalating China-US confrontation will accelerate RMB internationalisation

Peking University PhD student Xiong Lan believes that as US-China tensions ratchet up from competition to confrontation, it is likely that the process of internationalising the renminbi (RMB) will be accelerated. The next ten years will be crucial, if China is to reach targets such as for the RMB to exceed 10% market share of international currencies by 2029 and account for 30% of global reserves in the long run. What obstacles stand in the way?
A sign indicating digital RMB is pictured on a vending machine at a subway station in Shanghai, China, 21 April 2021. (Aly Song/Reuters)

How China took the lead in the digital currency race

What’s the difference between virtual currency, digital currency, cryptocurrency, and e-money? In part 1 of his article on China’s digital currency ambitions, James Pang traces the development phases of China’s central bank digital currency DCEP amid a growing global appetite for central bank digital currencies. He also guides us through the jargon of the digital currency world.
A Chinese Yuan banknote is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken on 7 May 2021. (Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Will e-CNY spur the internationalisation of the RMB?

Academic Pei Sai Fan notes that China’s active promotion of the e-CNY has been closely linked to its ambitions of turning the RMB into a global trade and reserve currency. He says that the internationalisation of the RMB cannot be rushed. The more important thing for China to do now is to work on building its capabilities for crisis and risk management as well as gaining international support.
A man rides a bicycle along a street at the Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on 20 April 2021. (Roslan Rahman/AFP)

Chinese financial institutions drawn to Singapore and Southeast Asian markets

With the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and China's Belt and Road Initiative, a growing number of Chinese businesses are setting up outfits in Singapore, creating more opportunities for financial services providers from China. Associate business editor Hu Yuanwen takes a look at Chinese banking and insurance companies moving into Singapore, and how Singapore's business environment is changing.
A cyclist and pedestrians wearing protective masks travel past buildings on Financial Street in Beijing, China on 19 May 2021. (Yan Cong/Bloomberg)

Blindspots in the financial regulation of China’s tech ‘platform companies’

Zhang Yugui points out that China’s financial services development is currently at the awkward stage where there is much financial innovation and the opening up of the financial sector, but not yet the corresponding capabilities to manage the complex financial systems and cutting-edge fintech. Hence we see the recent rash of anti-monopoly measures directed at tech giants such as Ant Group and Tencent. But has the industry reached a true tipping point? What must regulators do to bridge the gap?
Chinese RMB banknotes are seen in this illustration taken on 10 February 2020. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration//File Photo/Reuters)

Why is China moving to curb the RMB’s sharp rise?

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC)'s announcement that it will raise the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for foreign currency deposits by 2% confirms that it will intervene decisively when necessary to prevent a sharp appreciation of the RMB. Too much is at stake: with raw materials in short supply, the RMB’s appreciation will not reduce imported inflation and may at the same time affect exporters.
Employees walk past chemical vapour deposition chambers at the Daqo New Energy Corp. plant in Shihezi, Xinjiang province, China, 11 May 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

Japanese academic: China’s industrial policy is not just about protectionism

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani notes that Chinese industrial policy has been attracting much attention these days, especially after recent moves to prevent monopolistic practices by major companies such as Alibaba. China has also been criticised by many for its practice of giving industrial subsidies. However, it is worth taking a closer look and examining these policies from the standpoint of current trends in economics, as like everyone else, China is experimenting with new possibilities.