In the halcyon days before the pandemic, when headlines were dominated by the mundane trials and tribulations of the US-China trade war, China enacted a sweeping new Foreign Investment Law as the worst of the hostilities began to die down. The regulations enshrined in this high-level law provide many of the concessions that the US and other G7 nations with investments in China had long been clamoring for, but also contain provisions to review foreign investments for national security concerns.
As he undertakes a thorough review of Trump’s China policies, President Biden is expected to formulate a China strategy that puts American interests first and strengthens US competitiveness in the global market. While he maintains that his administration will take a different path than his predecessor, there is no doubt that heated competition is on the horizon – and TikTok may find itself at the forefront of the battle.
Chinese companies are increasingly looking towards foreign markets to unlock new growth opportunities abroad while diversifying away political risk at home. Haidilao and Tencent are two prominent examples of companies that have successfully entered foreign markets. While the two giants have vastly different approaches to expansion, together they have formed the golden standard by which other emerging companies seek to grow their global footprint.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Navigating the Chinese market had been challenging for international luxury fashion brands even before the pandemic, but shifting consumer trends in the world’s largest luxury goods market now threatens the bottom line for major brands worldwide. To remain competitive, luxury brands must identify the challenges within the market and restructure their China strategies around the culturally-charged consumer market.
China’s rapid economic development and rising household incomes have enabled a broader consumer base to invest in a healthy lifestyle by means of vitamins and dietary supplements. While domestic brands compete via localized advertisements and low-price leadership, foreign brands still reign king in terms of luxury, quality, and prestige.
China built its economic engine on the back of its strong manufacturing capabilities. However, 2020 has presented unique challenges for its producers as the nation contends with global trade tensions amid the pandemic fallout. While China’s manufacturing industry still may have a bright future ahead, Beijing and manufacturers will need to navigate the pitfalls on their road to recovery.
Since Deng Xiaoping’s 1979 Reform and Opening Up Policy began, Western brands have faced headwinds entering the Chinese market. Some have succeeded, but there have been many more failures. We’ll take a longer, historically informed view to think about what separates the winners and losers of Western brands trying to make it in the Middle Kingdom.
The narrative of AIA and Ping An is one familiar to Western brands that enter China – with many fallen prey to the pitfalls of misaligned cultural values. AIA had not fully weighed the taboo of death when it entered the Chinese market and faced significant challenges when selling insurance – stymieing its growth and providing the perfect opportunity for China’s now largest life insurer to seize the market.
As Chinese factories open their doors, American buyers close theirs. Amid the backdrop of waning foreign demand, Beijing has introduced several critical trade-friendly policies intended to support the resumption of ordinary Chinese operations. Once the coronavirus outbreak subsides and global demand recovers, China may be the only viable trading partner left standing.