Most read topics on the Chinese economy in 2021
Shenzhen, China skyline. / CFP
Shenzhen, China skyline. / CFP
The year 2021 for the Chinese economy has been marked by growing uncertainties caused by the scattered epidemics of Covid-19 and decisive regulatory reform in key areas.
As the pandemic continues to weigh on the economy, consumer spending is showing signs of decelerating. With competition in the tech sector and new fabricated charges against Xinjiang, tensions between China and the United States are mounting. Faced with all the domestic and international challenges, China has implemented a series of regulatory changes in key sectors to resolve risks and ensure healthy development.
Here are the most viewed and read topics on the Chinese economy and business during the year on the CGTN website.
As the pandemic roams with epidemics, retail sales of social consumer goods in China in 2021 still saw monthly growth, but were often below analysts’ expectations.
Chain stores that have grown rapidly in recent years are now under pressure, such as the popular hotpot chain Haidilao, which plans to close around 300 underperforming restaurants by the end of this year. The chain had more than 1,500 restaurants on the continent by mid-2021, according to its website.
Compared to brick-and-mortar stores, online business continued to show strong growth this year, especially through e-commerce live streaming and emerging national brands.
During this year’s Double Eleven shopping festival (November 1-11), the two main online shopping platforms, Alibaba, Tmall and JD.com, recorded growth of 8.45% and 29% respectively in year-over-year.
Made in Xinjiang
In recent years, anti-Chinese forces have been keen to play the Xinjiang card – claiming that Xinjiang’s products are made through “forced labor.”
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a London-based NGO, seized the trend and announced that it had ceased all operations in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on the same charge.
Some fashion companies, such as H&M and NIKE, claimed they “did not work with any garment manufacturing factories located in Xinjiang,” although without proof of the charges, were quickly boycotted by Chinese consumers.
The BCI, however, quietly removed its statement on Xinjiang from its website without giving a future explanation, while its Shanghai office said it had found no cases of “forced labor” in Xinjiang in a statement released in late March.
After nearly three years in Canada, Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou returned to China in September. It was widely seen as China’s victory in years of battling the United States’ long-armed jurisdiction amid a growing technological war between the world’s two largest economies.
Meng was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport on a US warrant accusing her of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC Holdings about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, but Meng and Huawei have denied the accusations.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the charges against Meng were purely fabricated and his detention was “arbitrary.”
She was declared free to leave Canada without extradition proceedings in Canada and without prosecution in the United States after entering into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice.
The growing competition started under the Trump administration and continued under current US President Joe Biden.
At first a trade dispute, the conflict quickly turned into a battle in core technologies including semiconductors, 5G and AI.
In December, more Chinese companies were added to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s entity list and an investment blacklist by the Treasury Department.
This year, China officially launched its long-awaited national carbon emissions trading market in July.
China’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which replaced the EU’s as the world’s largest emissions trading system, should help China deliver on its promises in reducing carbon emissions – achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.
China will firmly control energy-intensive and high-emission projects, aimed at improving its “double-check system” on energy consumption and energy intensity, or the amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP.
To avoid speculation and systematic risk, China established a new regulatory guideline in 2020 to control the leverage effect of real estate developers and asked banks to cap outstanding home loans and mortgages this year.
Some real estate developers who have been exposed to high leverage and indiscriminate expansion have struggled with liquidity and even defaulted, like China Evergrande.
But market regulators, including the central bank, reiterated that individual cases will not impact regular market funding, and local governments have worked with developers to address the risks and maintain stable development of the market. Chinese real estate sector.
Another major regulation has landed on the after-school tutoring (AST) industry, which has spurred Chinese parents’ anxiety with the surge in investment.
China announced in July that it would prohibit curriculum-based AST companies from raising capital through stock market listings, and listed companies will not be allowed to invest in curriculum-based ASTs through stock market listings. ” capital investments or to acquire AST assets (through the issuance of shares or cash).
The new rules also prohibited the granting of new AST licenses, and existing AST operators were only allowed to register their schools as non-profit.
The new regulations (which leave the sector once considered a “cash cow” in the education sector abandoned by investors) aim to further improve the quality of teaching and teaching in schools.