The year rolls round and as ever the Chinese New Year is upon us - this will be the Year of the Rooster, an animal noted for guarding its hens, a role that can be seen similar in China.
For more than 10 years many African countries have borrowed intensely from the international capital market amid the continent’s continued economic growth. However, some African countries’ debt loads are worsening and signs of a debt crisis have emerged, due to a decline in major commodity prices, the sluggish eurozone economy and China’s economic slowdown. Meanwhile, African countries are set to seek more development funds to achieve the UN’s sustainable goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The Trump rally has been astonishing in so many respects – not the least of which, was the shocking election outcome that sparked this extraordinary turnaround in asset prices. While the Trump team certainly won’t admit it, I suspect they were just as shocked as anyone at the November 8 election results.
Economically, it’s been a banner year for India. In February, it surpassed China as the world’s fastest-growing economy. In October, the IMF predicted India would retain that title for the foreseeable future; its GDP is projected to increase by 7.6 percent through 2017. On Wednesday, the World Bank ratcheted down India’s growth for the 2016-17 fiscal year to 7 percent, but still estimated that India would gain momentum again in the following years, growing by 7.6 percent and 7.8 percent. Further, India’s economy has reportedly overtaken the UK’s for the first time in over 100 years, now standing as the world’s sixth-largest economy by GDP. According to the OECD, the Indian economy, over the next 12 months, will grow faster than any other G20 economy. So, in all probability, India will overtake France in a year and Germany by 2020. This would mean that by the end of this decade, three of the top four economies in the world will be in Asia.
The spirit of innovation being a new economic driver has been established as a social consensus among Chinese citizens, but practices of innovation somehow have deviated from the right track, a situation that, in some areas, shows signs of bubbles. Being capable of innovation is a decisive choice for China and a fight that it cannot afford to lose. And only by analyzing the challenges China faces in innovation can we offer better solutions for the Chinese economy.
Airbnb, a San Francisco-based international rental agency established in 2008, with listings across more than 190 countries and regions and with 500,000 stays per night, began pushing into China in 2015. Since 2015, a new business model represented by Uber and Airbnb has sparked an investment craze in the sharing economy sector. Among the world’s 177 unicorn firms, Uber and Airbnb reportedly have a market value of $68 billion and $30 billion, respectively.
Recently, the State-owned China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC) criticized its subsidiary CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co Ltd for disrupting market order in conducting international business by not adhering to the group’s regulations and undermining relevant interests via cut-throat competition in multiple overseas bids in 2015 and 2016, according to a Caixin report.
China will ban all commercial ivory trading and processing by the end of 2017, the State Council, China’s cabinet, announced on December 30, 2016. The announcement has been highly regarded by the international community, and is a sign of the Chinese government’s attitude toward participating in global ecology governance.
Starting this year, the State monopoly in China’s salt industry will be officially dismantled with the removal of administrative price controls, allowing wholesale and retail salt prices to be determined by operating costs and market supply and demand and encouraging cross-region sales, even though the government will still issue licenses for salt producers.
“Twitter president” Donald Trump drew in voters with his China bashing campaign, claiming that “China is the largest currency manipulator on the planet.” Trump’s impending presidency seems to mean that a Sino-US trade war is approaching. China’s Deputy Minister of Finance Zhu Guangyao recently stated that the implementation of full cooperation is the only strategic choice for the two countries. As such, Trump’s administration should abandon its zero-sum game.
The exchange rate of the Chinese yuan has been continuously and heatedly debated over the past year. As the yuan exchange rate against the greenback approaches the psychological 7.0 threshold, people have become increasingly focused on whether the yuan’s gradual devaluation is sustainable and whether China should allow a free float of the yuan.
A Chinese consortium led by three Chinese exchanges is slated to acquire a 40 percent stake in the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) for 28 rupees ($0.27) per share, valuing the stake at 8.96 billion rupees. The three exchanges – China Financial Futures Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange – will take a combined 30 percent, while the remaining 10 percent will be halved between their local partners – Pak-China Investment Company and Habib Bank.
As such, more efforts need to be made to facilitate market communication and effectively guide market expectations, while gradually improving the yuan’s daily fixing rate mechanism. As China’s foreign exchange reserves have shrunk by 25 percent this year, it’s also of vital importance that the monetary authority comes up with solutions to reduce the consumption of foreign exchange reserves, seek steady measures in the opening-up of its capital accounts and reduce market intervention to achieve market clearing in the foreign exchange market, so as to fundamentally attest to the belief that “there’s no basis for continued depreciation of the Chinese currency.”
If that is the case, Chinese brands might lead the way in setting smart home trends, an achievement that would be a testament to the country’s emergence as an innovative powerhouse.
But is a development gap a guarantee of potential? If it is, why have countries that are less developed than China not been able to exceed China’s development over the years? My latest research has shown that only 10-20 countries, among which include ones in East Asia and Europe, have truly achieved catch-up growth since World War II. China today meets those basic common characteristics that are required of being a catch-up economy.
China needs to value its manufacturing industry more than ever and work to consolidate the country’s manufacturing foundation. Otherwise China will risk hollowing out its real economy before it grows strong enough.
It seems that only large Malaysian enterprises that have links with their Chinese counterparts stand to make gains. If this practice continues, local fervency toward Chinese investment will fade.
As IPR awareness in Chinese firms grows, the companies have a vested interest in respecting and asserting IPR. Such a tendency will likely reinforce IPR protection and enforcement in China, and will benefit both domestic and international firms.