The decision of several European countries to join the China-inspired Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has created a widely believed narrative as follows. Beijing, frustrated by its exclusion from the centres of power in existing international economic institutions, creates its own. The accession of the UK to the bank, followed by (to date) five other European countries, is a powerful testament to China’s role as a rising hegemon.
This narrative is not wrong, but is far from the whole story. First, China’s decision to bypass multilateral institutions and go it alone with development lending was hardly forced on it. Second, Beijing’s willingness to allow western nations to join the AIIB is also an admission that its bilateral efforts have often not worked well. Read more
By Noor Menai, CTBC Bank USA
In a thinly veiled admonishment, the White House recently accused the UK – our closest ally – of “a policy of constant accommodation” towards China. The parallel drawn to the historical appeasement of Germany by an apprehensive Europe was lost on no one, nor indeed the overwrought nature of the underlying concern.
The proximate cause of this spleen-venting was the surprise breaking of ranks by the UK to join as a founding shareholder the nascent China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB.) This initial $50bn fund has as its’ agenda the financing of overdue infrastructure in Asia. Read more
By Gavin Bowring, Asean Confidential
With the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) gaining support from a growing number of global economic actors, one big question remains. Where will the bank itself be headquartered?
Beijing might seem the obvious choice. But given the political sensitivities surrounding the bank’s formation, it may seek to alleviate fears of Sinocentrism and opt for a neutral, regional destination. A similar calculation resulted in the decision by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) – in which Japan is the largest shareholder – to pitch its regional headquarters in Manila. Read more
By Andrew Collier, Orient Capital Research
Chinese investors have discovered a new way to spirit money out of the country behind the backs of the country’s regulators.
In recent years, savvy investors have used false invoicing as a way to disguise their capital flight. A Chinese company pays $1m to a foreign company for a machine tool that is actually worth $500,000; the rest is invested in property or stocks in London or Sydney or New York. Read more
By Guonan Ma, Bruegel
The Chinese economy is simply too big to remain tied to the once useful monetary anchor of the renminbi-US dollar peg. It is time to let it go.
The Chinese renminbi depreciated 2.5 per cent against the US dollar in 2014, the largest annual fall since 2005 when Beijing timidly started loosening its tight dollar peg. Recently, the Chinese currency has repeatedly tested the weak side of its daily trading band, despite attempts by the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to signal a steadier bilateral renminbi-US dollar rate via its daily fixing (see chart below, left panel).
What has led to the changing fortunes of the renminbi? What lies ahead for the currency in 2015? Read more
By Ali Wyne, Wikistrat
This September will mark the ten-year anniversary of two documents that have been highly influential in framing contemporary analysis of America’s relationship with China: an essay by Zheng Bijian in Foreign Affairs explaining how China would achieve a “peaceful rise,” and a speech by Robert Zoellick advising China to serve as a “responsible stakeholder” in the evolution of world order.
Today the two countries are struggling to define a framework of partnership that reconciles the imperative of enduring cooperation with the inevitability of mutual suspicion. Meanwhile, initially shared enthusiasm over adopting a “new type” of great-power relations has waned, in part because of the difficulties in bringing such an abstract and ambitious ideal into existence. Read more
The US travel industry is rolling out the red carpet to attract a most sought-after commodity – the Chinese tourist.
Some 114m Chinese are expected to travel abroad this year, according to the China National Tourism Administration, making it by far the world’s largest source of outbound tourists and one that is expected to continue growing as the country’s middle class expands. Read more
China’s status as the world’s largest outbound tourism market is in the global spotlight this week after it announced an agreement with the US at the Apec summit to extend the validity of visas for tourists and students between the two countries.
Under the reciprocal agreement, tourists and business travellers between the US and China will now need to re-apply for entry visas just once every 10 years instead of annually under the prior arrangement. The duration of student visas will also be extended from one year to five years. Read more
By Joel Backaler, Author of “China Goes West”
On a recent trip to London, I was shocked at how much evidence of corporate China was all around me. As I rode in a black cab, I remembered that Geely, a Chinese firm that acquired Volvo in 2010, had bought iconic British cab producer Manganese Bronze in 2013. Arriving at Heathrow, I recalled that China’s sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, owns 10% of the firm that operates the international airport. In line at the gate, I stared at a giant display for a laptop by Lenovo, the Chinese firm that made headlines in 2005 for acquiring IBM’s ThinkPad brand.
In only a few short years, Chinese companies have gone West in a big way. However, many questions remain about what drives Chinese firms to expand beyond the boundaries of the Middle Kingdom, and what the ultimate costs and benefits of their global investments will be. Read more
It is the monetary equivalent of what Chairman Mao called “bombarding the headquarters”. China’s renminbi is rapidly displacing the US dollar as a trading currency not only in Asia and Europe but now also in the US home market.
The value of renminbi payments between the US and the rest of the world rose by 327 per cent in April this year from the same month a year ago (see chart) as more US corporations switched to using the Chinese currency to pay for imports from China, according to data from SWIFT, the international currency settlement firm. Read more
By Jan Dehn, Ashmore
China is in the midst of a storming change. Interest rate liberalisation is coming as China prepares to let the bond market play an ever-greater role in macroeconomic policy.
The export-led growth model of the past few decades is no longer fit for purpose. As the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves, China will be more impacted by the unwinding of global imbalances than any other country.
Quite simply, China is adapting to the world of tomorrow, instead of merely languishing in yesterday’s land of denial. Read more
Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment group, has long been blacklisted in the US on suspicion of stealing trade secrets from local companies and posing a wider security threat.
Now the group is under investigation in India, following allegations that it hacked state-run telecoms carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). Read more
China’s competitive advantage is not what it used to be as its development drives up labour costs. Diana Choyleva, head of macroeconomics at Lombard Street Research, discusses with John Authers how the rebalancing of economic power could occur.
If a county’s future wealth and influence can be assessed by its American-educated intellectual elite, then China is well set.
In less than a decade, the number of Chinese studying in the US has quadrupled, from a little over 60,000 in 2004, to almost 240,000 in 2013, a report from the Institution for International Education shows. China now accounts for almost one in every three international students in the US, a historic high for any country. Read more
Are US-listed Chinese stocks back?
Judging by the 42 per cent share price pop enjoyed by 58.com on its first day of trading on Thursday, one would be inclined to think so. Don’t get too carried away though. Read more
Two more Chinese companies are looking to try their luck on Wall Street.
500.com, China’s leading online sports lottery service provider, and Sungy Mobile, a mobile app developer have on Tuesday filed plans with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $150m and $80m respectively via initial public offerings. Read more
It may only be a small deal, but investors couldn’t get enough of it. Forgame, the Chinese online gaming company, soared by a third on its market debut on Thursday, the only new deal this year to see a day-one pop.
At $200m, the IPO is hardly a blockbuster. But it does highlight a key problem – and a big opportunity – for Hong Kong: a lack of good technology stocks. Read more
The door is not exactly being kicked wide open. But after two years of accounting scandals and critical reports from short-sellers, Chinese companies are slowly making their way back to Wall Street again – and it’s not just Alibaba eyeing up New York.
On Monday, Qunar, a popular travel website in China, filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $125m in an initial public offering.
The move comes just three days after 58.com, China’s answer to Craigslist, filed to list on the New York Stock Exchange with an offer to sell $150m of ordinary shares in the form of American Depository Shares (ADSs). A day earlier, Montage Technology Group, a Shanghai-based computer chip maker, raised $71m in its public debut. Read more
Make way for another Chinese developer looking to try its luck in the US.
Shanghai Greenland Group, the state-owned company behind what will become China’s third-tallest building, is making its first foray into US real estate with a deal to invest $1bn in a downtown Los Angeles project. Read more
The list just keeps growing.
On Thursday, China MediaExpress, a supplier of television advertising services on buses, became the latest Chinese company to be charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission of “fraudulently misleading investors about its financial condition.”
The complaint also names the company’s chief executive officer, Zheng Cheng, and seeks to bar him from serving as an officer or director of any US publicly traded company. Read more