A historic speech given by China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping in late 2020 highlighted the past and future importance of Shenzhen, a city pivotal to the nation’s continued economic rise. Within his speech, Xi laid out a strategic vision for the future growth of the city, placing particular importance on economic reform, consumption-driven growth, and integration with the broader Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.
Author: Archit Oswal
A recent string of high-profile SOE defaults have revived hopes for market reform of China’s inefficient state sector. However, despite appearances to the contrary, Beijing continues to push for greater state control over the sector and an augmented role for SOEs in strategic industries and initiatives. As a result, the performance of China’s SOEs has stagnated and the state sector remains a burden to near-term economic growth.
In the run-up to Ant Financial’s behemoth IPO, the fintech giant’s suspiciously light balance sheet triggered the release of draft rules by Chinese regulators that would significantly impact the firm’s operating model. Consequently, Ant’s IPO was delayed, and investors went home disappointed. While regulators’ concerns were not unfounded, the consequences of these new regulations resurface big questions about the future of China’s consumer finance industry.
To achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, China needs to ditch coal-fired electric power plants for renewable alternatives. However, doing so will require dismantling an antiquated system of incentives that are in place for local officials and power producers. Whether Beijing can summon the political will to overcome powerful vested interests opposed to these changes will be an important indicator of China’s capacity for meaningful reform.
China’s leaders are meeting in October to finalize proposals for the country’s fourteenth Five-Year Plan (2021-2025). As tensions with the US intensify and economic growth slows, Beijing is under pressure to produce a five-year plan that delivers its “Made in China 2025” ambitions on time and is likely to turn to increased state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy as a central tenet of the upcoming five-year plan.