The most read topics on the Chinese economy in 2021

Skyline of Shenzhen, China. /APC

Skyline of Shenzhen, China. /APC

The year 2021 for the Chinese economy has been marked by growing uncertainties caused by scattered outbreaks 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 slowing. With competition in the technology sector and new fabricated accusations against Xinjiang, tensions between China and the United States are rising. In the face of all domestic and international challenges, China has implemented a series of regulatory changes in key industries to resolve risks and ensure healthy development.

Here are the most watched and read topics on China’s economy and enterprises during the year on the CGTN website.

Consumption

As the pandemic spreads with epidemics, retail sales of social consumer goods in China in 2021 still recorded monthly growth, but were often below analysts’ expectations.

Chain stores that have expanded rapidly in recent years are now under pressure, such as popular Chinese 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 mainland as of mid-2021, according to its website.

Compared to physical stores, online business continued to experience strong growth this year, driven by e-commerce live streaming and emerging national brands.

During this year’s Double Eleven shopping festival (November 1-11), the two major online shopping platforms, Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com, recorded growth of 8.45% and 29% respectively in year-on-year.

Read more:

Chinese hot pot chain Haidilao to close 300 restaurants by end of 2021 after massive expansion

Made in Xinjiang

In recent years, anti-China forces have been keen to play the Xinjiang card – alleging that Xinjiang products are made by “forced labor”.

Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), a London-based NGO, caught on to the trend and announced it had ceased all operations in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region over the same charge.

Some fashion companies, such as H&M and NIKE, claimed that they “do not work with any garment factories located in Xinjiang”, although without proof of the accusations, quickly received a boycott from Chinese consumers.

The BCI, however, quietly removed its Xinjiang statement from its website without giving a future explanation, while its Shanghai office said it found no cases of “forced labor” in Xinjiang in a press release published at the end of March.

Read more:

BCI removes Xinjiang cotton statement from its website

Tech War

After nearly three years of detention in Canada, Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou returned to China in September. It was widely seen as China’s victory in years of battle with long-arm US jurisdiction amid a escalating tech war between the world’s two largest economies.

Meng was arrested in December 2018 at Vancouver International Airport on a US warrant charging her with bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC Holdings about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, but Meng and Huawei have denied the charges.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the charges against Meng were purely fabricated and that her detention was “arbitrary”.

She was deemed free to leave Canada without extradition proceedings in Canada or prosecution in the United States after reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with the United States Department of Justice.

Read more:

Meng Wanzhou returns to China after 3 years of detention in Canada

Where is Huawei going after the chip shortage?

The growing competition began under the Trump administration and continued under current US President Joe Biden.

Beginning as a trade dispute, the conflict quickly escalated into a battle over core technologies, including semiconductors, 5G and AI.

In December, more Chinese companies were added to the U.S. Commerce Department’s entity list and an investment blacklist by the Treasury Department.

Read more:

China condemns US unjustified suppression of Chinese companies

Carbon reduction

This year, China officially launched its long-awaited domestic carbon trading market in July.

China’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which has replaced the EU’s as the world’s largest emissions trading system, is expected to help China deliver on its reduction in carbon emissions – reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.

China will firmly control energy-intensive and emission-intensive projects, aiming to improve its “double-checking system” on energy consumption and energy intensity, or the amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP.

Read more:

CGTN Explains: Understanding China’s Domestic Carbon Emissions Trading Market

Regulatory Storms

To avoid speculation and systematic risk, China established a new regulatory guideline in 2020 to control the leverage of real estate developers and asked banks to cap outstanding real estate and mortgage loans this year.

Some real estate developers who were exposed to high leverage and indiscriminate expansion, struggled with liquidity pressures and even defaulted, such as 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 risks and maintain stable development of the market. Chinese real estate sector.

Read more:

PBOC: Evergrande’s debt issuance will have no impact on long-term funding

Another major regulation has landed on the after-school tutoring (AST) industry, which has boosted Chinese parents’ anxiety with soaring investment.

China announced in July that it would ban curriculum-based AST companies from raising capital through public listings, and listed companies will not be allowed to invest in curriculum-based ASTs. through equity 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 nonprofits.

The new regulations (which leave the sector once seen as a “cash cow” in the education sector abandoned by investors) aim to further improve the quality of education and school teaching.

Read more:

China bans tutoring institutions in basic school subjects from IPO and foreign M&A

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