Books

08.21.17

China’s Banking Transformation

James Stent
In this timely and provocative book, James Stent, a banker with decades of experience in Asian banking and fluency in Chinese language, explains how Chinese banks work, analyzes their strengths and weaknesses, and sets forth the challenges they face in a slowing economy. Without minimizing the real issues Chinese banks face, China’s Banking Transformation challenges negative media accounts and reports of “China bears.” Based on his 13 years of service on the boards of China Minsheng Bank, a privately owned listed bank, and China Everbright Bank, a state-controlled listed bank, the author brings the informed view of an insider to the reality of Chinese banking.China’s Banking Transformation demonstrates that Chinese banks have transformed into modern, well-run commercial banks, playing a vital role supporting the country’s extraordinary economic growth. Acknowledging that China’s banks are different from Western banks, the author explains that they are hybrid banks, borrowing extensively from Western models, but at the same time operating within a traditional Chinese cultural framework and in line with China’s governance model.From his personal experience working at board level, Stent describes the governance and management of China’s banks, including the role of the Communist Party. He sees China’s banks as embedded in ancient concepts of how government and society work in China, and also as actors within a market socialist political economy. The Chinese banking system today bears similarities with banking in Northeast Asian “developmental states” of recent past, and also pre-1949 Chinese banking.As the first account of Chinese banking by a Westerner who has worked in China’s banks, China’s Banking Transformation should be read by anyone interested in the political economy of contemporary China, in Asian development issues, and in banking issues generally. The book dispels misconceptions and provides insight into the financial aspects of China’s economic growth story. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Conversation

08.21.17

Should Publications Compromise to Remain in China?

Margaret Lewis, Andrew J. Nathan & more
The prestigious “China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity,” wrote editor Tim Pringle on Monday after days of intense criticism of the brief-lived...

Steve Bannon Says U.S. In Economic War with China

NBC News
The United States is in an economic war with China, U.S President Donald Trump's chief political strategist has said, warning Washington is losing the fight but is about to hit China hard over unfair trade practices...

Conversation

08.16.17

Trump Says He Wants Fairer Trade with China. Will His Latest Move Work?

Wendy Cutler, Susan Shirk & more
On Monday, Donald Trump returned to Washington from his summer vacation for the public signing of an executive order requesting that the United States Trade Representative begin a review to determine wether the U.S. should investigate China over...

Exclusive: China's Belt and Road Acquisitions Surge despite Outbound Capital Crackdown

Kane Wu and Sumeet Chatterjee
Reuters
Mergers and acquisitions by Chinese companies in countries that are part of the Belt and Road initiative are soaring, even as Beijing cracks down on China’s acquisitive conglomerates to restrict capital outflows.

China Reclaims Spot as World's Biggest Holder of Treasuries

Andrew Mayeda and Katherine Greifeld
Bloomberg
China reclaimed its position as the top foreign owner of U.S. Treasuries after increasing its holdings for the fifth straight month.China’s holdings of U.S. bonds, notes and bills rose to $1.15 trillion in June, up $44.3 billion from a month earlier...

Trump Administration Goes After China Over Intellectual Property, Advanced Technology

Ana Swanson
Washington Post
President Trump signed an executive memorandum Monday afternoon that will likely trigger an investigation into China’s alleged theft of U.S. intellectual property, a measure that could eventually result in a wide range of penalties as the...

Facebook Tests Way Into China Via Secret Photo—Sharing App

Yuan Yang
Financial Times
A photo—sharing app has appeared on Apple’s App Store in China that looks exactly like Facebook’s Moments app, and analysts say it may be a way for the US tech group to finally break into its most coveted market.

In China, Facebook Tests the Waters with a Stealth App

New York Times
Facebook and many of its apps have been blocked in China for years. To change that, Mark Zuckerberg has made a big point of meeting with Chinese politicians, reading stodgy Communist Party propaganda, studying Mandarin and—perhaps more daunting—...

Facebook’s Secret Chinese App Is a Dud in China So Far

Quartz
Over the weekend the New York Times reported (paywall) that Facebook had stealthily released a photo-sharing app in the Chinese iOS App Store translated as “Colorful Balloons.” The news spread rapidly around English-language media, as it marked the...

Conversation

08.10.17

Should China Support the U.S. in a War with North Korea?

Ryan Hass, Susan Shirk & more
On August 9, U.S. President Donald Trump warned North Korea that if it does not stop threatening the United States, it will be “met with fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” Just hours later, the...

China Warns U.S. Over Aluminum Dispute

CNN
China has told the Trump administration to tread carefully in a spat over aluminum exports if it wants to avoid damaging the relationship between the world’s two largest economies. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce on Thursday disputed U.S...

A Missing Tycoon’s Links to China’s Troubled Dalian Wanda

New York Times
Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate that owns the AMC movie theater chain and nurtures Hollywood ambitions, has sometimes turned to the secretive business network of a politically connected Chinese billionaire in times of need. Now both Wanda and...

SoftBank Partners with China’s Ofo to Bring Its Dock-Less Bikes to Japan

Jon Russell
TechCrunch
A month after committing to help WeWork enter Japan, SoftBank is lending a hand to another global unicorn with its sights set on the country. Today, it announced a tie-in that will bring Ofo’s dock-less bike rental service to Japanese soil.

China Willing to ‘Pay a Price’ for Stronger North Korea Sanctions

James Griffiths and Serenitie Wang
CNN
China is willing to take the economic hit of greater sanctions on North Korea, a top official said Monday, as Washington continues to pressure Beijing on the issue.

China’s Crackdown on Money Fleeing the Country Looks Like It’s Working

Sophia Yan
CNBC
China’s giant cash pile is increasing—and it’s a sign that the government’s industry-spanning crackdown on money fleeing the country is working.

Patriotic Action Film Set to Break China Blockbuster Record

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
A patriotic Chinese action film whose tagline is “whoever offends China will be hunted down wherever they are” is poised to become the country’s highest grossing film to date.

‘China Has Conquered Kenya’: Inside Beijing’s New Strategy to Win African Hearts and Minds

Jonathan Kaiman
Los Angeles Times
It took the StarTimes satellite TV salesman about 30 minutes to install a pipeline for Chinese propaganda into Francis Gitonga’s squat, cinder-block home here in southern Kenya, near Africa’s Great Rift Valley.

The Trump Organization Has Been Granted Trademarks in Macau, China’s Casino Hub

Fortune
A company linked to U.S. President Donald Trump has been granted approval from the Chinese territory of Macau for additional trademarks, including casino services, to develop the “Trump” brand in the world’s biggest gambling center.

Conversation

08.03.17

As China Reins in Capital, What Next for Global Trade?

Yu Zhou & Peter Knaack
China’s Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping, are tightening controls on overseas spending by the country’s biggest companies and their highly visible billionaire CEOs. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Xi personally signed off on...

U.S. Cinema Chain AMC's Shares Plummet 25% on Profit Warning in Latest Setback to China's Wanda Group

Jane Li
South China Morning Post
Troubled Chinese real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has received another setback after shares of its U.S. cinema subsidiary, AMC Entertainment Holdings, plummeted 25 percent on Tuesday after it issued a profit warning for the second quarter.

Apple’s Decision to Remove VPN Apps from the App Store in China Explained by Tim Cook

Andrew Griffin
Independent
Tim Cook has responded to criticisms that Apple is quietly removing apps from the App Store for the Chinese government.

Debt-Ridden Chinese Giant Now a Shadow of Its Former Size

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The Han Show here in central China was supposed to turn the city of Wuhan into a leading tourist destination, with a dazzling spectacle of lights, water jets and acrobats by the former creative director of Cirque du Soleil. But the custom-built 2,...

Joining Apple, Amazon’s China Cloud Service Bows to Censors

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Days after Apple yanked anti-censorship tools off its app store in China, another major American technology company is moving to implement the country’s tough restrictions on online content.

Trump Administration Is Said to Open Broad Inquiry into China’s Trade Practices

Keith Bradsher
New York Times
The White House is preparing to open a broad investigation into China’s trade practices, according to people with knowledge of the Trump administration’s plans, amid growing worries in the United States over a Chinese government-led effort to make...

A Crackdown on Unfettered Internet Access Is Jeopardizing China’s Pro-Business Credentials

Charlie Campbell
Time
Another big political meeting, another crackdown on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)—the location-shifting software many in China use to access websites banned by its government, such as Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Apple ‘Pulls 60 VPNs from China App Store’

BBC
The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend. Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations. It refused to confirm the exact number of apps withdrawn, but did not deny...

China’s Banks Are Now Stable as ‘Shadow’ Banking Looks Less Threatening, Moody’s Says

CNBC
Moody’s Investors Service no longer takes a negative view on China’s banking system, raising its outlook to stable on Thursday as concerns over so-called shadow banking eased.

Does North Korea Sanctions Bill Risk US-China Relationship?

James Griffiths
CNN
The US may target Chinese companies as part of new North Korea sanctions, an administration official said this week, even as diplomats are working with Beijing at the UN to reach a new international agreement.

China Orders Halt to Red Meat Imports From Several Australian Meatworks

Sarina Locke
ABC
China has temporarily banned beef exports from six Australian meatworks, the Federal Government has confirmed.

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.

Environment

07.25.17

China Enters the Garden of Eden

from chinadialogue
Built on the site of an abandoned clay pit, the Eden Project has never been short of grand vision.Its iconic biomes house the world’s largest captive rainforest and have become a landmark of the local Cornish countryside. Since opening 16 years ago...

Why Ponzi Schemes Are Thriving in China Despite Crackdowns

Frank Tang
South China Morning Post
The financial naivety of the public and a collective desire for unfeasibly high returns have helped fuel the proliferation of fraudulent investment schemes in China, according to an academic.

For China's Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’

Thomas Erdbrink
New York Times
When Zuao Ru Lin, a Beijing entrepreneur, first heard about business opportunities in eastern Iran, he was skeptical. But then he bought a map and began to envision the region without any borders, as one enormous market.

China's ‘Belt and Road’ Opens up New Business in Africa—for Both the U.S. And China

Washington Post
There has been no shortage of headlines proclaiming China’s growing clout in a “new world order” in recent months. This speculation resurfaced after the July G-20 summit, at which the United States reconfirmed its withdrawal from the Paris climate...

Former Political Star in China Is Under Party Investigation

New York Times
The Chinese Communist Party said on Monday that Sun Zhengcai, a high-flying politician who had been seen as a potential future premier, was under investigation over suspected “grave violations of discipline,” ending his career and raising the stakes...

Conversation

07.20.17

Should the U.S. Play Hardball with China on Trade?

Tom Hoffecker, Duncan Innes-Ker & more
Last week, United States President Donald Trump suggested that he is considering leveraging tariffs on Chinese steel imports. Trump’s aggressive posture has left diplomatic experts uneasy amid an already divided U.S. diplomatic house in Beijing, and...

U.S.-China Economic Dialogue Ends in a Tiff

Nikkei Asian Review
Negotiators involved in the first U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue here on Wednesday failed to produce concrete results. The U.S. later issued a statement saying China acknowledged a shared objective to reduce the U.S.’s bilateral trade...

Chinese Billionaire Battles Talk of Trouble at Real Estate Empire

CNN
Last week Dalian Wanda sold several theme parks and dozens of hotels for $9.3 billion, marking the end of Wang Jianlin’s dream to defeat Disney (DIS) in China. The billionaire said the deal would reduce his company’s debt burden. It followed several...

CPEC: The Growing Resentment and Resistance among Poor Pakistanis Can Cost China Dearly

Quartz
In Pakistan, there’s no topic hotter than the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar bilateral development project that will officials promised in 2015, “usher in an era of unprecedented progress and prosperity.”

Sinica Podcast

07.19.17

Guo Wengui: The Extraordinary Tale of a Chinese Billionaire Turned Dissident

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
The life and times of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui reads much like an epic play, so it is fitting that we have included with this podcast a dramatis personæ to explain the many characters in Guo’s story. Scroll to the bottom, below the...

Chinese Labor Activist Targeted over ‘Ivanka Trump Supplier Probe’

South China Morning Post
Hua Haifeng believes police arrested him and took a special interest in his work after he began investigating factories supplying Trump’s clothing brand

China Is Increasingly Becoming Key For Israel’s High-Tech Industry

Ferry Biedermann
CNBC
Israel has laid out the welcoming mat to Chinese companies and investors who may face more troublesome regulations and scrutiny elsewhere.

China to Keep Monitoring ‘Irrational’ Overseas Investments

Reuters
Reuters
Chinese authorities will continue to monitor the trend of "irrational" overseas investments in the real estate, hospitality and film industries...

In Urban China, Cash Is Rapidly Becoming Obsolete

New York Times
Almost everyone in major Chinese cities is using a smartphone to pay for just about everything. At restaurants, a waiter will ask if you want to use WeChat or Alipay — the two smartphone payment options — before bringing up cash as a third, remote...

China Cracks down on Dalian Wanda’s Overseas Deals: WSJ

Reuters
China’s regulators have told banks to stop providing funding for several of Dalian Wanda Group’s overseas acquisitions as Beijing looks to curb the conglomerate’s offshore buying spree, sources familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Is New Transformers a Sign of China’s Hollywood Fatigue?

Sherry Fei Ju and Charles Clover
Financial Times
Like a high-flying space robot shot out of the sky, the Transformers film franchise has crash-landed in China—singeing a promising Hollywood business model in the process.

China Is Trading More with North Korea but Buying Much Less Coal

CNN
A Chinese government official said Thursday that China-North Korea trade was worth $2.6 billion in the first half of 2017, up about 10% over the same period last year.

KFC—Yes That KFC—Is Selling Its Own Smartphones in China

Cheang Ming
CNBC
Kentucky Fried Chicken celebrated its 30th anniversary of operations in China by unveiling a limited edition smartphone it had collaborated on with Chinese smartphone maker Huawei.

Apple Opens Data Center in China to Comply With Cybersecurity Law

Paul Mozur
New York Times
Apple has set up its first data center in China, setting the tone for how foreign companies will handle a strict new law requiring them to store Chinese users’ information in the country.

In China, Shoppers Buy Bad Loans Online with Their Groceries

Bloomberg
Among the sneakers, diapers, and pet food for sale on Taobao, China’s biggest e-commerce platform, is a listing that may take up a little more space in the online shopping basket.

Modi’s India Beats Xi’s China

Panos Mourdoukoutas
Forbes
India has been on the radar of different international agencies in recent days and has been getting high marks for its reforms and growth prospects—beating China.

China Envoy Says North Korea Trade Growth Picture ‘Distorted’

CNBC
China’s ambassador to the United States has said reports of trade growth between his country and North Korea, in spite of international efforts to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile programs, give “a distorted picture.”

China’s Wanda Signals Retreat on Debt-Fueled Acquisition Binge

Sui-Lee Wee
New York Times
The Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has epitomized the country’s high-flying deal makers, building a vast global empire of theme parks, real estate developments, and movie theaters across the United States.

Chinese Umbrella-Sharing Firm Remains Upbeat Despite Losing Most of Its 300,000 Brollies

He Huifeng
South China Morning Post
Just weeks after making 300,000 brollies available to the public via a rental scheme, Sharing E Umbrella announced that most of them had gone missing, news website The Paper reported on Thursday.

China’s Baidu Being Probed after CEO Tests Driverless Car on Public Roads

Reuters
Baidu Inc, China’s biggest search engine provider, is under investigation to determine whether it had broken any laws after its chief executive tested a driverless car on public roads.

Features

07.05.17

China is Driving a Boom in Brazilian Mining, but at What Cost?

Milton Leal
In the middle of northern Brazil’s Amazon jungle, Chinese-made digging equipment rasps at the bottom of a giant iron ore mine. Here in the municipality of Canaã dos Carajás in the Serra dos Carajás in Brazil’s Pará state, some 1,600 miles northwest...

China Shadow Banking Is Slowing amid More Coordinated Government Measures, Says Moody’s

Huileng Tan
CNBC
Growth in shadow banking in China is slowing due to coordinated government action to contain systemic financial risks, a development that will benefit banks, although it will also bring adjustment risks.

Environment

06.30.17

Can the AIIB Support Asia’s Energy Revolution?

from chinadialogue
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), headquartered in Beijing, held its second annual meeting on the Korean island of Jeju last week. Korea is currently positioning Jeju as a zero-carbon tourist destination, so the choice of location...