Chinese people are used to hearing about the extraordinary benefits enjoyed by employees of big state-owned enterprises. But the size and scope of such benefits still delivered a shock when the National Audit Office released its annual reports on 10 SOEs and further exposed the extent of the problem.
Among the 10 were China Mobile, China Huaneng Group, China Publishing Group and other SOEs and, notably, their subsidiaries. They were found to have violated financial regulations by offering staff a variety of “invisible benefits”, according to audit reports for 2012 on the NAO’s website. Continue reading »
Official figures released on Monday showed that China’s economy is not getting worse – industrial production rose a touch, as did retail sales. Fixed asset investment fell slightly, but stayed above 20 per cent year on year growth.
But those banking on a speedy bounce in Chinese growth are unlikely to take much comfort. Continue reading »
The news that Guangzhou is to start building a costly cemetery exclusively for revolutionary heroes and government officials this October has stirred up something of an online controversy.
With the cost of cemetery space far higher than housing, it has highlighted the increasing inequality in Chinese society – in death, as well as in life. Continue reading »
The quality of Chinese infant milk is not just an issue for mothers and the market – now Ai Weiwei, the artist Beijing most loves to hate, has been inspired by the formula scandals to create a piece of protest art.
The dissident artist told the South China Morning Post that his new sculpture, to be unveiled in Hong Kong next week at an exhibition dedicated to the history of epidemics, was inspired by the continuing crisis over the quality of mainland infant milk – a crisis that has had repercussions around the world, with grocery stores as far away as the UK restricting sales as mainland consumers rush to procure safer supplies overseas. Continue reading »
China’s April trade data published this week highlighted a nagging question – are companies over-stating their exports to secure legal and illegal financial benefits?
Economists say exports are almost certainly being inflated, notably through the so-called “one-day tour” of goods through bonded export zones in Shenzhen, in southern China, and via the “round-tripping” of goods between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. What exactly is going on? Continue reading »
If you had an indebted, loss making property development business in a market that was saturated with supply and you asked your local government to cough up a reasonable chunk of money to take it off your hands, what do you think would happen?
Well, if your name is Weixian Wang and your business is in Shanghai, it seems the government says ‘ Yes!’ Continue reading »
Xinyuan Real Estate is making bold moves into the US property market, backed by its ready access to China’s monied classes. But in its latest project, it is surprisingly keen to play down its Chinese roots. Continue reading »
When the head of a $35bn company makes his first-ever media appearance, you would expect a big splash. But that couldn’t be further from the intentions of Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei, the world’s second-largest network equipment vendor.
After hiding from the media for more than 25 years, Ren tested the waters with a media appearance that would not have an immediate global impact. He therefore chose to meet with four local reporters in Wellington, New Zealand, on Thursday. Continue reading »
Pure 24 carat gold has a special place in the hearts and minds of the Chinese, who love its beauty and its practicality. So while investors around the world were dumping gold last month, shoppers in China (and elsewhere in Asia) have been lining up in droves outside jewellery stores and banks.
For Chinese people, no other material item on earth so epitomises wealth, prosperity and family tradition. And (rightly or wrongly) it is also regarded as an insurance policy, currency hedge, inflation hedge and international currency all rolled into one. Why? Continue reading »
When the White House created a petitioning website in 2011, it surely didn’t count on Barack Obama being asked to invade China, rule on the flavour of tofu and investigate a two-decade old Chinese poisoning case.
But that is exactly what has happened over the past week as Chinese people, motivated variously by a sense of justice, powerlessness or just plain humour, have flooded the White House “We the People” website. Continue reading »
By Ben Simpfendorfer of Silk Road Associates
The rise in China’s outbound investment is a divisive subject. On the one hand, some worry that Chinese multinationals will emerge as powerful competitors by leveraging their economies of scale and cheap funding. On the other hand, many firms are excited about the opportunities to collaborate with Chinese partners in their home markets.
For the most part, however, the hype is still greater than reality, and subsequent waves of investment will be very different to the one the world is currently witnessing. Continue reading »
When Xiao Gang, the new boss of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, used ‘China dream’ as the theme of his first public speech following his appointment back in March, he was making an obvious echo of president Xi Jinping’s evoctaion of a ‘China dream’. Xiao’s speech was published on CSRC’s website to just before China’s May 4th Youth Day.
However, whether Xiao really is a reformist remains to be seen. He certainly seems willing to continue the reforms started by his predecessor, Guo Shuqing. But progress will require something more practical than dreams. Continue reading »
If a mark of being a developed country is innovation, then look out: China is certainly throwing ideas about.
The number of patent applications from China has overtaken those from the US, a remarkable catch-up over the last few years. But does this mean China will soon be exporting ideas in the way it has exported manufactured goods? Chart of the week takes a look. Continue reading »
China got a bit of a late start on the internal combustion engine and has yet to produce a globally-competitive home-grown automaker. So Beijing decided several years ago that it might be better to leapfrog that entire generation of cars and go straight to electric vehicles instead.
Unfortunately, it’s proved harder than expected to build an affordable and practical electric car in China; despite hefty government subsidies, private sales of electric cars have not got off the ground. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that there is no public infrastructure for charging private vehicles (taxi fleets have proven easier to convert to electric). Continue reading »
After sending tourists flocking to Japan two years ago with a hit rom-com, Chinese film-makers now seem to have done a similar favour to Thailand.
The country has become the the top foreign destination for Chinese tourists during the current May Day holiday, thanks to Lost in Thailand, a low-budget road comedy turned box-office success. Continue reading »