China Insights Series

Turn News Into Insights

There’s a lot of buzz over China news, but significantly less understanding of the drivers behind China’s political economy. We’re here to bridge that gap.

At TCG we strive to ‘turn news into insight,’ which helps cut through the noise for rookies and experts, alike. Our team of China Watchers from across the globe weigh in on issues that impact critical business and investment decisions in the Chinese market. If we’ve piqued your interest, then don’t be shy and read on, below!

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Cut through the noise on China’s business landscape with TCG’s China Insights

China Insight Articles

Another Step Forward on China’s Long March Towards Improved IP Protections

Amendments to China’s Patent Law are set to take effect later this year. The changes promise to strengthen patent enforcement in China in a variety of areas and should allow foreign companies operating in China to better protect their intellectual property portfolios. However, changes to the Patent Law alone will not be enough to put an end to the predatory practices of forced technology transfer, and it remains to be seen how Chinese courts and regulators will interpret and enforce the amendments.

A Glimpse Into the Past, Present, and Future of Xi’s Bellwether City, Shenzhen

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.

Wuhan’s Recovery: From Epicenter to Economic Center in 365 Days

As the early epicenter of the pandemic, 2020 brought Wuhan countless challenges. One year later, the city is cautiously optimistic about its recovery. Despite COVID’s lingering impression on local consumer habits—particularly in the service industry—Wuhan’s slow but steady re-emergence as the tremendous industrial hub it once was serves as an excellent model for cities across the globe.

Katherine Tai: A Look at Biden’s Tough New Trade Representative

Boasting bipartisan support and a track record of effective work in US-China relations, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai shows unique promise for repairing trade relations that have bottomed at all time lows. Given her support in Washington and emphasis on cooperation over competition, Tai’s confirmation may mark a turning point in US foreign policy on China.

Chinese Tech Giants Showdown Over Community Group Buying

China’s hottest tech trend in 2020 was collective online grocery shopping, also known as “community group buying.” This contact-free model for digital grocery retail took off during the pandemic as a convenient way to procure daily necessities in lockdown. Doubling in value over the course of the year, community group buying has all of China’s e-commerce giants, including tech companies outside the e-commerce space, aggressively pursuing a share of the pie.

What the Proposed Changes to China’s Anti-Monopoly Law Mean for Businesses in China

After only a dozen years since promulgating its initial Anti-Monopoly Law, currently proposed revisions promise to strengthen anti-monopoly enforcement in China and reshape the regulatory landscape in the world’s second largest economy. Actions by regulators over recent years have shown a commitment to more vigorous monopoly busting, and supplementary draft regulations indicate that China intends for its enforcement to be as robust as that found in the West.

Veiled Intentions & Long-Term Mindset: Beijing Rejects Market-Oriented SOE Reform

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.

E-Commerce Lends a Hand to Eradicating Rural Poverty in China

In 2015, President Xi committed to eradicating rural poverty by the end of 2020, and despite the economic distress brought on by the pandemic, China declared its momentous victory. While a mix of state policy and private sector support were key to the campaign’s success, digital technologies such as e-commerce played a pivotal role in improving the quality of life in rural areas and have brought China one step closer to realizing a moderately prosperous society.

Michael Jordan, Bruce Lee and the Future of Trademarks in China

Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee have been making news in China’s trademark scene over recent years with cases aimed at protecting the legitimate IP rights of foreign persons and entities in China. Amendments to China’s trademark laws should provide broader protections to companies across the board; however, questions concerning whether owners of less well-known brands can find as effective enforcement as celebrities sporting household names remain.

The RCEP: A Big Deal Unlikely to Resolve Sino-Australian Disputes

At first viewed as an olive branch amidst a spiraling Sino-Australian trade war, the now finalized Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is unlikely to ease mounting tensions. The untested dispute settlement mechanisms within the deal and shallow provisions for reducing tariffs bode poorly for Sino-Australian relations and point to no end in sight for 2020’s series of new economic tariffs and sanctions.

Hainan, an Island Paradise for Foreign Trade and Investment

As Hong Kong’s economy continues to decline, retail, tourism, and foreign investment dollars have assumed a newfound importance to the Chinese economy. An up-and-comer is rising from the shadows to challenge Hong Kong’s regional stature in the form of an island paradise. The newly designated free trade port of Hainan and Beijing’s aptly named Master Plan strive to usher in a new center for global trade and investment for the island-province.

What Ant’s IPO Flop Means for China’s Consumer Finance Industry

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.

Ready Player China: China’s Growing Gaming Market

Despite its history of strict regulation against the industry, China’s gaming market is flourishing. Chinese MMOs and RPGs are topping lists around the globe while high-quality cross-platform releases, along with creative marketing through films, eSport competitions, and livestreaming, have set the tone for China’s growing gaming market for years to come at home.

Reducing Coal Consumption in China Requires Sweeping Reform

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.
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