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.
Following its first economic contraction since Mao Zedong held office, China has set precedent as the first major economy to return to growth. While the road to recovery has been riddled with bumps indicative of lopsided development, Q3 results, paired with well-targeted policy support, are painting a promising outlook for China’s development into Q4 and beyond.
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.
China is leveraging its global leadership in green energy development to engage OBOR nations in overseas green growth initiatives. However, in the shadows of China’s green campaign exists a more calculated game to secure its own economic interests through the not-so-green methods of shrouded fossil fuel infrastructure investment and debt entrapment.
The Hong Kong national security law created a series of provisions that restrict the flow of information and suppress the civil unrest within the region. In the short term, this new law has had a profound impact on the business landscape, creating a series of winners which seek to expand their market share in the local marketplace. In the long term, it will reform the technology landscape in Hong Kong for years to come.
The Curse of the Skyscraper is a theory that claims that skyscrapers are usually a sign of poor investment and an economy careening towards recession. China has over half the world’s skyscrapers, and the central government is beginning to limit the height of buildings in an attempt to avoid the Curse.
Since 2009, the Chinese government has looked to consumer subsidies to bolster its domestic electric vehicle market. In addition, strong domestic brands and supportive policy have helped the industry to develop into the world’s largest EV consumer market. Initially, Beijing sought to reduce its role in the industry to promote market consolidation and leverage global economies of scale; however, changing tides in sales due to policy reversals and the outbreak are driving policymakers to reconsider their exit plan.
China introduced the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative to foster a Chinese-driven international trade initiative focused on regional economic collaboration. While the West may be concerned about the geopolitical undertone of OBOR, certain Western policies are instead spurring global participation in the initiative. Italy and Iran are two such examples, with restrictive economic policies from the West driving them to seek alternative sources of funding.
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.
While the Phase One trade deal marks a milestone in the US-China Trade War, it will likely disappoint foreign businesses seeking improvements in intellectual property rights protections and enhanced market access in China. Regardless, there were a few positive points of progress in the Phase One trade deal that pave the way to address improvements on additional securities and protections for American businesses abroad in a subsequent ‘Phase Two’ agreement.