China Tracker: What's Next In Xi Jinping's Reign

China Dashboard: Global Economic Slowdown Is Hurting Beijing's Exports

by Tushar Gupta - Mar 10, 2023 10:26 AM +05:30 IST
China Dashboard: Global Economic Slowdown Is Hurting Beijing's Exports Chinese President Xi Jinping

26 March: Global economic slowdown is now beginning to impact Chinese exports, as per a new report. For February 2023, the yoy growth was -6.8 per cent, even when Beijing has done away with all the Covid-zero lockdowns. For the same month, monthly containers processed by the Shanghai port were down 4 per cent yoy.

25 March: China's Belt and Road investment in sub-Saharan Africa fell to a new low last year, showing that increased U.S. and European spending could reduce the region's need to rely on Beijing for funding.

China's investment in the region related to Beijing's global infrastructure development strategy dropped 55% to $7.5 billion last year, according to a recent report from the Green Finance and Development Center at Fudan University in Shanghai.

24 March: China has released a top chip investor after an eight-month detention as the country battles to bolster its semiconductor industry in the face of Washington’s containment efforts.

Desperate Times: China Releases Top Semiconductor Investor From Jail As Chip War With US Intensifies

23 March: In the ongoing TikTok tussle with Washington, China said it “firmly opposes” any forced sale of TikTok, denouncing White House's demand that the social media app cut ties with its home country ahead of a pivotal hearing in the US.

22 March: The U.S. Commerce Department released proposed rules to prevent $52 billion in semiconductor manufacturing and research funding from being used by China and other countries deemed of concern.

The proposal limits recipients of U.S. funding from investing in the expansion of semiconductor manufacturing in foreign countries of concern such as China and Russia, and limits recipients of incentive funds from engaging in joint research or technology licensing efforts with a foreign entity of concern.

Supply Chain Wars: How US Is Turning The Heat Against China On Semiconductors

14 March: China seeks to extend the growing state influence over its technology sector into new manufacturing fields amid the threat of U.S. sanctions, leaving foreign investors spooked about government involvement in areas expected to drive the country's economy, as reported by Asia Nikkei.

Economy On Steroids: China’s Double-Digit Decade Of Growth Is Now History

13 March: China's new Premier Li Qiang on Monday said achieving the five per cent GDP target for the slowing down economy is not an easy task for the world's second-largest economy and requires redoubled efforts but assured the country's tattered private sector better environment to boost growth.

10 March: Chinese President Xi Jinping, formally, ensured an unprecedented third term on Friday, thus making him the country's longest-serving leader since founding father Mao Zedong.

Though the writing was on the wall since October, it was more about getting the paperwork done by the rubber-stamp parliament assembled in Beijing for the National People's Congress.

Five Key Challenges For President Jinping In His Third Term

7 March: Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to meet in California rather than Taipei, as requested by the former, to avoid an aggressive Chinese military response.

From August 2022; why America can’t save Taiwan.

5 March: China has set a growth target of around 5 per cent for 2023 as Beijing seeks to revive investor confidence after the damage ushered by President Xi Jinping’s Covid-zero policies and lockdowns across 2022.

China’s economy shrank to three per cent in 2022, registering its second lowest growth rate in 50 years.

The GDP growth in the fourth quarter was 2.9 per cent year-on-year, compared with 3.9 per cent in the third quarter as it was hit hard by recurring covid lockdowns of various urban centres, including the top industrial and business hubs like Shanghai.

3 March: President Xi Jinping is all set to use the upcoming rubber-stamp parliamentary session to overhaul the government by appointing his most trusted deputies to oversee the financial, technology and other sectors.

Some names include Li Qiang, who oversaw last year’s lockdown of Shanghai as its Communist party chief, is expected to replace Li Keqiang as premier, China’s second-highest ranking official. Lu Zhiyuan, a former senior official in Xi’s native Shaanxi province, could be the finance minister.

1 March: Big update from the White House about CHIPS and Science Act!
Chipmakers will be asked not to expand capacity in China for a decade if they are to receive money from a $39bn US federal fund designed to build a leading-edge US semiconductor industry, under the CHIPS and Science Act.

China no longer the world's factory: Head of Kyocera, one of the biggest companies of Japan involved in the producing of chip making components, has said that the export model of China is no longer viable and with the curbs ushered by the White House against Beijing with respect to export controls, companies would want to diversify.

18 February: White House to hold secret talks with Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu and national security adviser Wellington Koo, as early as next week.

The White House said on Friday it had successfully concluded recovery efforts off South Carolina to collect sensors and other debris from a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon shot down by a US fighter jet on 4 February.

17 February: Bao Fan, founder of China Renaissance, one of the country's leading investment banks has gone missing. Observers cite Xi's anti-corruption crackdown as one of the plausible reasons.

More Gold, Less US Bonds: China's US government bond holdings hit the lowest in over a decade at the end of 2022, while its gold trove grew against a backdrop of American interest rate hikes and bilateral tensions.

Chinese holding of US Bonds now stands at $867 billion, falling 17 per cent in 2022. In 2013, it stood at $1.3 trillion.


A New Cold War

Beijing and Washington are now engaged in a trade cold war. What began as many described an unnecessary diplomatic hammering under President Donald Trump is now an accepted bipartisan policy. Starting with semiconductors, the US is turning on the heat against China.

Where is this cold war heading?

India Versus China

The world's third-largest economy and biggest free-market in the making, India is emerging as a key challenger to conventional China, that prided itself on ease of doing business, ushering investments, and being the hub for easy labour. Post-Covid, is it India's time to shine?

The Music Is Slowing Down

For almost a decade after the financial crisis of 2008, it was China that was the global economic hotspot with investments coming in from world over. That party, unfortunately for Xi, is over, as Covid-zero policy coupled with a general slowdown in consumption threatens China's economy.

Troubles In The Taiwan Strait

For China, the question of Taiwan is not political, but civilisational, and one of Xi's primary priorities. Given the West's failure to curb the Russian misadventures in Ukraine, along with that infamous exit from Afghanistan and Iraq, will China go for Taiwan after Hong Kong?

The Ghosts Of China

In the second-half of 2021, authorities in China demolished 15 skyscrapers with 4.6 tonnes of explosives across 85,000 blasting points, all in 45 seconds. The buildings, unoccupied for almost a decade, were described as an eye-sore in the local newspapers. What is the Chinese 'Ghost Story' all about?

Wall Street's Eternal Love For Beijing

It won't be an exaggeration to state that the biggest pro-China lobby in the West Wing is the Wall Street itself, followed by the Silicon Valley. From Apple to Goldman, everyone wants to have a piece of the Chinese pie. In China, however, with great market size, comes great crackdowns.

Xi Versus Rest Of The World

In the 1990s, the Chinese drew critical lessons. One, from the fall of USSR. Two, from the US' quick victory in the Middle East. And three, from the protests at Tiananmen Square. Biding their time, the Chinese are now upping the ante, swiftly infiltrating global institutions.

The Infamous Belt And Road Initiative

Debt-traps, strategic takeovers, and wolf-warrior diplomacy have ushered a troubled phase for Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative. The $2 trillion plan, with key investments in Europe, Africa, and Latin America, is now under scanner from policymakers world over.

Tushar is a senior-sub-editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @Tushar15_
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