Economics/Business Part 4

US, EU clear Chinese takeover of Syngenta

Apr. 5, 2017

  • U.S. and European regulators have cleared a Chinese conglomerate’s proposed $43 billion acquisition of Swiss agribusiness giant Syngenta on condition it sells some businesses to satisfy anti-monopoly objections.

The bulls are back after China kicks off 2017 with strength

4 Apr 2017

  • Looks like the bulls are back in the China shop, pushing stocks up for the first quarter of the year on the back of stronger economic data and better-than-expected corporate earnings. The benchmark MSCI China Index gained 13 percent in the first three months of 2017, while the Shanghai Composite added 3.8 percent. Over the last year, mainland-traded stocks have posted a pretty steady ascent — markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen have added 7 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively. “This past quarter was a great one for China stocks,” said Larry Hu, China economist at Macquarie, attributing the rise to solid earnings growth, a strengthening property market and a stable yuan.

China factory index hits 5-year high as economy gains steam

Mar. 31, 2017

  • China’s factory activity ticked up again last month to its highest level in five years, according to an official survey released Friday, in a fresh sign that the world’s No. 2 economy is picking up steam. The index based on a survey of purchasing managers climbed for a second straight month in March to 51.8, its strongest level since April 2012, from 51.6 in the previous month. The PMI by the Chinese Federation of Logistics and Purchasing is based on a 100-point scale, with numbers above 50 indicating expansion.

Tesla deal boosts Chinese presence in U.S. auto tech

Mar 29, 2017

  • China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) has bought a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) for $1.78 billion (1.43 billion pounds), the latest investment by a Chinese internet company in the potentially lucrative market for self-driving vehicles and related services. Tencent also could help the U.S. company sell – or even build – cars in China, the world’s largest auto market, analysts said.

NHL poised to skate into China, hockey’s next frontier

Mar. 27, 2017

  • When Andong Song started playing hockey in China at age 6, he wore figure skates on his feet and had to use the straight parts of short-track speedskating rinks for practice. That could be coming soon with the NHL looking at China as hockey’s next great frontier. With the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China is eager to step up its game and the league is intrigued by the potential of a new nontraditional market with 1.4 billion people that might take to hockey like it did basketball.

China’s ‘unicorns’ nearly double to 131: official


  • China had 131 billion dollars worth of private start-ups by the end of 2016, nearly doubling the figure of the year before, said an official with Ministry of Science and Technology. He used the term “unicorn,” rarely used by Chinese officials, which refers young, unlisted companies with a market value of over 1 billion U.S. dollars, based on private funding sources.

China Expected to Import $8 Trillion Worth of Goods in 2016-2020


  • China’s imports in the current five-year period (ending in 2020) are expected to amount to $8 trillion, China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli announced on Saturday. In 2016, the first year of China’s 13th five-year-plan, the country’s imports fell by 5.5 percent, amounting to about $1.5 trillion.

This Chinese Company Is Now SeaWorld’s Largest Shareholder

March 24, 2017

  • China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co. agreed to acquire a 21 percent stake in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. from Blackstone Group LP, becoming the embattled U.S. theme-park operator’s largest shareholder. The Asian leisure and tourism holding company will pay Blackstone $23 a share, or about $448.5 million based on shares held at the end of December. That represents a 33 percent premium to SeaWorld’s closing price Thursday. The announcement sent the stock soaring.

Pentagon worried about Chinese investment in US startups: report


  • Chinese firms are sending money to U.S. startups, include rocket engine manufacturers, companies that design sensors for autonomous naval ships and printers that make flexible screens that could be used in fighter jets. Many of the Chinese firms making the investments are owned by state-owned companies or have connections to Chinese officials, according to the Times.

China May Set New Rules to Curb ‘Irrational’ Outbound Investment This Year

Mar 20, 2017

  • China this year may publish rules on outbound investment by Chinese firms that would spell out the sectors in which investing is encouraged and those where it is restricted, state media reported on Tuesday. Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on March 11 that a small number of Chinese companies had invested overseas “blindly and irrationally” in investments China does not encourage. The state foreign exchange regulator has said the government will more closely monitor “irrational” investment in property, entertainment, sports, and other sectors.

WIPO chief calls China’s patent application growth “extraordinary”


  • The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Director General Francis Gurry on Wednesday lauded China’s strong performance in international patent and trademark filing. WIPO revealed that China filed 43,168 applications under the organization’s patent cooperation treaty (PCT) in 2016, up from 29,839 two years ago. This compares to the 56,595 and 45,239 applications filed by the United States and Japan respectively.

UN agency: China has explosive growth in patent applications

March 15, 2017

  • The U.N.’s intellectual property agency says China is showing “quite extraordinary” growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years. Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying “the country continues its journey from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China.’”

Chinese firms hire 1.5M foreign staff overseas

March 12, 2017

  • Chinese enterprises hired some 1.5 million foreigners overseas in 2016 amid their rapid global expansion, China’s commerce minister said Saturday. Overseas Chinese enterprises recorded 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in sales volume last year, bringing 40 billion U.S. dollars of taxes to host countries, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan told a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

China’s Didi launches Silicon Valley research hub

March 9, 2017

  • Chinese ridesharing leader Didi Chuxing has opened a Silicon Valley research hub, where it will join the race with other tech companies for autonomous driving. The Didi Labs center in Mountain View—which is also the home of Google—will focus on “intelligent driving technologies,” according to a statement Wednesday. Building on rich data and fast-evolving AI (artificial intelligence) analytics, we will be working with cities and towns to build intelligent transportation ecosystems for the future,” said Didi founder and chairman Cheng Wei.

China’s foreign reserves rise following capital controls

Mar. 7, 2017

  • China’s foreign exchange reserves rebounded unexpectedly from a six-year low in February after Beijing imposed controls to stop a flood of capital leaving the world’s second-largest economy. The reserves rose by a relatively modest $6.9 billion to just over $3 trillion, according to official data Tuesday, while private sector analysts had expected them to shrink.

Chinese goods flex more muscle in S. Korea


  • Chinese products are fast expanding their presence in South Korea in a graphic indication of their ever-growing brand power in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, local analysts said. China has long been a major exporter of consumer goods and tech items to South Korea, but Chinese manufacturers, armed with lower prices and improved quality, are now venturing into new South Korean markets such as home appliances and even autos.

Xinhua Insight: China’s booming “sheconomy”


  • On Wednesday, the International Women’s Day, department stores, shopping malls and online shopping sites in China are readying themselves for the holiday to attract women and get them to spend on various gifts, clothing, and cosmetics. Female consumers have become a key driver in China’s consumption market in recent years. According to data released by Guotai Junan Securities, female consumption in China reached 2.5 trillion yuan (about 362 billion U.S. dollars) in 2015 and is expected to hit 4.5 trillion yuan in 2019.

EPO Sees Highest Patent Filings Ever; Chinese Applications Still Rising


  • The European Patent Office published its 2016 annual report today, showing an “unprecedented level of patent filings,” and underlining the growing number of patent applications from China. The top technical fields for applications included medical technology, digital communication, and pharmaceuticals. According to the 2016 report, almost half of all European patent applications came from the EPO member states, followed by the United States, Japan, China, and South Korea. Europe’s “growth champions” were Belgium and Italy, while Germany remains Europe’s biggest patent applicant. Meanwhile, applications from China grew 24.8 percent and exceeded applications from South Korea for the first time, the press release said.

China Now World’s Biggest Banking System, Unseats Eurozone

Mar 07, 2017

  • New analysis by the Financial Times, a leading business news and information organization, shows that China’s banking system has already overtaken the eurozone to become the world’s biggest in terms of assets. This reflects the country’s increasing global influence as well as reliance on growth driven by debt.

China’s Richest Win, Mexican Billionaires Lose With Trump Effect

March 1, 2017

  • The 36 Chinese billionaires on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index have increased their wealth by 13.2 percent since the real estate mogul was elected U.S. president on Nov. 8, a $39.2 billion increase that’s pushed their combined net worth to $336 billion. The gains top those seen by billionaires in any other country outside the U.S., even as Trump has called China a currency manipulator whose trade policies have led to the loss of American jobs.

China creates over 13 million new urban jobs for 4 consecutive years


  • The latest figures from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS) show that China managed to create jobs more than 13 million urban jobs for four consecutive years, despite downward pressure and industrial restructuring in the Chinese economy.

China February official manufacturing PMI rises to 51.6, beats forecasts

Feb 28, 2017

  • Activity in China’s manufacturing sector expanded faster than expected in February, an official survey showed on Wednesday. The official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to a three-month high of 51.6 in February, compared with the previous month’s 51.3, and above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

PBoC is going digital as mobile payments boom

February 25 2017

  • After assembling a research team in 2014, the People’s Bank of China has done trial runs of its prototype cryptocurrency. That’s taking it a step closer to becoming one of the first major central banks to issue digital money that can be used for anything from buying noodles to purchasing a car. For users transacting over their smartphones or laptops, a PBoC-backed cryptocurrency probably wouldn’t seem much different to existing payment methods such as Alipay or WeChat. But for sellers, they would get digital payments directly from the buyer, lowering transaction costs as the middleman is cut out of the process.

Chinese and American Consumers Have Different Ideas About What Makes a Product Creative

February 23, 2017

  • Jeffrey Loewenstein and I recently published a study examining the features that indicate whether a product is creative in the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China. We found that the two countries had different views of what made a product creative. For example, the kind of product that an American loves and finds highly creative might seem trivial to a Chinese person. In contrast, the kind of product that a Chinese person finds creative might lack distinctiveness to an American.