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.
China’s economy has made an impressive recovery since the onset of the pandemic, and the stringent health measures and targeted economic stimulus enacted by Beijing’s top leaders have been remarkably successful. However, with policymakers now beginning to phase out centrally-backed economic support, some are voicing concerns that a premature rollback could threaten an already reeling global economy.
As BRI infrastructure projects stalled at the peak of the pandemic, Beijing found an opportunity to rebrand the decaying initiative. To maintain ties with BRI member countries while providing China the maneuverability to deflect Western criticism of its mishandling during the early stages of the pandemic, Beijing is in the midst of re-orientated the BRI to emphasize vaccine diplomacy through the new “Health Silk Road.”
As the second largest eSports markets in the world, China is cashing in on opportunities within the growing industry. Governmental support has elevated eSports to an officially mandated sport and has fostered career prospects for professional gamers in China. Yet, some of Beijing’s actions may be betraying its true outlook on eSports and undermining its short-term efforts to spur industry growth.
A bubble-prone housing market has been one of the most challenging sectors within the vast array of economic issues that China has faced on its road to economic modernization. One of the key approaches harnessed by policymakers in Beijing has been to limit property loans as a curb for speculative activity; however, questions remain as to the long-term feasibility of this solution to China’s property value crisis.
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 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.
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.
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.
Accounting fraud at two highly visible Chinese companies have shaken the confidence of global investors while prompting US policymakers and exchanges to push for stronger accounting requirements for overseas companies listed in the United States. Whether or not Chinese regulators will comply remains to be seen.
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.
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.