Is the Belt and Road Initiative a Bold Economic Agenda or a Political Ploy?

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
In an ongoing series that explores different interpretations of what exactly is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Eric and Cobus are joined by Zhu Zheng, an international affairs columnist for Caixin and a research fellow at the China-Eastern...

Devising a New Formula for Global Leadership

Paul Haenle & Yan Xuetong from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Yan asserts the U.S.-China relationship is experiencing structural disruptions, the resolution of which will have a lasting impact on the two countries. He says the tensions in the U.S.-China relationship are primarily due to the narrowing gap...

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

China Creates Nuclear Powerhouse

Wayne Ma
Wall Street Journal
China is putting two of its largest nuclear-power firms back together as it seeks to bolster its state-owned enterprises and create a corporate powerhouse that can better compete for contracts in other countries.

The Human Cost of China’s Economic Reforms

Robin Brant
BBC
Mr Yu is worried that millions of workers the Chinese government plans to lay off from failing state owned companies will be “abandoned” like he says he was 15 years ago.

China to Turn All Centrally Owned Giants Into Joint-Stock Firms by 2017

Reuters
China will turn all big companies owned by the central government into limited liability firms or joint-stock firms by the end of 2017, as Beijing looks to make its state-owned giants more nimble as part of broader reforms of the capital markets.

Books

04.05.17

China’s Crony Capitalism

Minxin Pei
When Deng Xiaoping launched China on the path to economic reform in the late 1970s, he vowed to build “socialism with Chinese characteristics.” More than three decades later, China’s efforts to modernize have yielded something very different from the working people’s paradise Deng envisioned: an incipient kleptocracy, characterized by endemic corruption, soaring income inequality, and growing social tensions. China’s Crony Capitalism traces the origins of China’s present-day troubles to the series of incomplete reforms from the post-Tiananmen era that decentralized the control of public property without clarifying its ownership.Beginning in the 1990s, changes in the control and ownership rights of state-owned assets allowed well-connected government officials and businessmen to amass huge fortunes through the systematic looting of state-owned property—in particular land, natural resources, and assets in state-run enterprises. Mustering compelling evidence from over two hundred corruption cases involving government and law enforcement officials, private businessmen, and organized crime members, Minxin Pei shows how collusion among elites has spawned an illicit market for power inside the party-state, in which bribes and official appointments are surreptitiously but routinely traded. This system of crony capitalism has created a legacy of criminality and entrenched privilege that will make any movement toward democracy difficult and disorderly.Rejecting conventional platitudes about the resilience of Chinese Communist Party rule, Pei gathers unambiguous evidence that beneath China’s facade of ever-expanding prosperity and power lies a Leninist state in an advanced stage of decay. —Harvard University Press{chop}

Caixin Media

03.03.17

China’s Legislators Take on Zombie Companies, Real Estate

Curbing wasteful socialist-era business practices and taming unruly real estate and lending sectors will take center stage at the annual meeting of China’s legislature, which starts next week, with some also looking for signs of a pickup in economic...

Ordinary Citizens Are Hoping to Make a Difference at China’s Biggest Political Meet-Up

Charlie Campbell
Time
China’s “two sessions” kicks off this week, bringing together all of the movers and shakers from the top echelons of government for the nation’s two big annual political shindigs.

China, the Party-Corporate Complex

Yi-Zheng Lian
New York Times
In December, 15 years after China’s accession to the World Trade Organization, the European Union, the United States and Japan formally refused to grant Beijing the coveted label, denying it important concessions on tariffs and other trade...

China’s Shipbuilders Go From Boom to Rust

Trefor Moss
Wall Street Journal
Shipyards across China are being driven out of business by weak global demand for new ships

U.S. Commerce Nominee Ross Calls China ‘Most Protectionist’ Country

David Lawder
Reuters
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for commerce secretary, voiced sharp criticism of China’s trade practices on Wednesday

Heralding Social, Financial Change, China Aims Blow at Iron Rice Bowl

David Stanway
Reuters
China has ordered state firms to smash the decades-old system of providing cradle-to-grave welfare support, known as the country's "iron rice bowl"...

As Trump Bashed China, He Sought Deals with its Government-Owned Energy Firm State Grid

South China Morning Post
Trump Hotel Collection negotiated with the State Grid Corporation of China to brand and manage a major development in the capital

Escaping China’s Parent Trap

Nisha Gopalan
Bloomberg
Think Chinese SOEs' have little incentive to stray beyond China? That's far from the case. Just look at Britain's utilities...

Xi Jinping Reminds China’s State Companies of Who’s the Boss

Emily Feng
New York Times
In an unusual meeting that ended on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping announced that the Chinese Communist Party had the ultimate say over state companies

China State Steel Merger Taps Old Theme: Bigger is Better

Chuin-Wei Yap
Wall Street Journal
Beijing revives push to consolidate heavy industry

China Bondholders Lose Their Beijing-Bailout Confidence

Jasper Moiseiwitsch and Carol Chan
Wall Street Journal
Investors’ long-held assumption that the government would step up for state-run companies is shaken.

Death and Despair in China's Rustbelt

Bloomberg
The river plain once at the forefront of the Communist Party’s first attempt at a modern economy has become a valley of brutal murder, protests, and suicide.

Caixin Media

09.15.15

Stock Market Volatility Is Not a Harbinger of Collapsing Growth

It would be a sad end to an amazing story. An economic miracle—one that lifted 300 million people from poverty and shifted the world's economic center of gravity—collapsing under the weight of risky investments and a financial crisis.This seems...

Sinica Podcast

12.26.14

Regulating the Fourth Estate in China

Kaiser Kuo from Sinica Podcast
The explosion of the commercial media sphere in China over the last decade hasn't been particularly subtle, especially if you're anything like us and walk past multiple Chinese newsstands in the morning. But let's look beyond the way...

China’s Assault on Corruption Enters Executive Suite

Lingling Wei and Bob Davis
Wall Street Journal
Communist Party leaders plan to slash the compensation of the top executives at China's largest state-owned companies over the next few months to make sure only those truly committed to the party run them...

Caixin Media

07.01.14

China Pulling the Plug on Foreign Mainframes

E-commerce companies and banks in China are scrapping hardware and uninstalling software for mainframe servers made by American suppliers in favor of homegrown brands said to be safe, advanced, and a lot less expensive.The movement has taken special...

Your 3-Letter Guide to the Latest News From China

James Fallows
Atlantic
Those three letters are B, A, and D.

Caixin Media

03.25.14

State-Owned Oil Firms Invite Outside Investors

Since February, state-owned oil majors have taken steps toward pilots in mixed-share ownership, following central government calls for reforms to state-owned enterprises (SOEs).   After the Chinese New Year, China Petroleum and Chemical...

China Approves Pilot Plan to Set Up 3-5 Private Banks

Nick Macfie
Reuters
In a step to boost financial support for cash-starved smaller firms, The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has announced its plan to maintain “prudential regulatory standards” in approving private banks. 

Caixin Media

09.30.13

Reform of State-Owned Enterprise Requires Adopting Modern Governance

Corruption involving the country’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has hogged the headlines. So far, senior executives at China National Petroleum Corp. have been sacked, former railways officials have been hauled to court and, most recently, news...

China Corruption Probe Reflects Struggle

Deutsche Welle
Analysts argue the investigation, which involves four other top executives of state-owned enterprises, is an attempt by Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang to assert their authority over powerful S.O.E.’s. 

Letter from Beijing

Helen Gao
Prospect Magazine
For recent college graduates strugglgin to find a job, positions inside the government, the state enterprises and state banks, which offer steady incomes and generous benefits, have increased dramatically in their appeal. 

Caixin Media

05.25.13

Honeymoon’s Over for Sweethearts of SOE Reform

Corporate wedding bells were ringing in 2011 when a trust controlled by insurer Ping An Insurance Group forged a partnership with a Shanghai-based cosmetics maker called Jahwa Group and its listed subsidiary, Jahwa United.The tie-up was duly praised...

WeChat War Escalates, Becomes Showdown Between Government And Internet Users

Rachel Lu
Most Internet users believe that China’s three state-owned telecom operators are pushing for the introdction of a fee scheme to popular messaging app WeChat because their core SMS and voice business are threatened by the app. 

As Pollution Worsens In China, Solutions Succumb To Infighting

Edward Wong
New York Times
As some officials push for tighter restrictions on pollutants, SOEs have been putting profits ahead of health in working to outflank new rules, according to government data and interviews with people involved in policy negotiations. 

Once So Mighty, Now Gone: China’s Ministry of Railways

Didi Kristen Tatlow
International Herald Tribune
The massive rail system, which employs more than 2 million people, is being turned into a state-owned corporation. Among ordinary workers, there’s considerable anxiety, and an insistent concern about whether their lives will actually...

Who Makes China Exports: Local Companies or Foreign?

Valentina Romei and Rob Minto
Financial Times
Another month of disappointing China trade data: on Monday, overall Chinese exports increased just 2.7 per cent in August from a year earlier, and imports dropped 2.6 per cent. Export growth was higher than July’s worrying 1 per cent, but...

State Monopolies Continue to Dominate China’s Top 500

Zhang Dian (Translator)
Economic Observer
A new list that ranks China's top 500 companies according to operating revenue put together by the China Enterprise Confederation & China Enterprise Directors Association (CEC/CEDA) reveals that most of China's biggest companies...

The Unwritten Rules in Chinese Technology

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
What do we mean when we say a Chinese company has “close ties to the government”? Or is “connected to the military”? And does this matter? It is a problem that writers on China have encountered for years, and it can be difficult get firm evidence...

Reports

01.01.07

Das (Wasted) Kapital: Firm Ownership and Investment Efficiency in China

David Dollar and Shang-Jin Wei
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Based on a survey that covers a stratified random sample of 12,400 firms in 120 cities in China with firm-level accounting information for 2002-2004, the authors examine the presence of systematic distortions in capital allocation that result in...

Reports

10.20.05

How China Should Use Its Foreign Reserves

Deepak Lal
Cato Institute
China’s labor-intensive economic growth over the last two decades allowed the transfer of a vast amount of low-wage labor from both the rural sector and the declining state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector. That allowed China to grow by “walking on two...