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The day's top China business headlines

Daily News Update

Today's briefs


1. Top White House adviser casts further doubt over G20 deal with China

Senior White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that progress on resolving trade differences between the US and China had stalled in the run up to the highly-anticipated meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump later this week, CNBC reports.

It was now up to Xi to “step up and come up with new ideas” in order to move things forward, Kudlow told reporters.

“We can’t find much change in their approach,” said Kudlow. “President Xi may have a lot more to say in the bilateral [with Mr Trump], I hope he does by the way, I think we all hope he does…but at the moment, we don’t see it.”

Kudlow did offer some optimism later on, saying that the US president feels that there was a “good possibility that a deal can be made,” although “certain conditions have to met with respect to fairness and reciprocity.”


2. Beijing makes last-minute pledge to open markets ahead of G20 summit

China made a late push to curry international favour on Tuesday by saying the country aims at opening its economy “even wider” to the outside world, the Financial Times reports. 

Speaking in Hamburg, Liu also promised that the government was working at “greatly improving” intellectual property protection for foreign companies in China.

He then called on Europe to join China in its opposition to protectionist policies. “China and Europe are both staunch supporters of the rules of free trade and the multilateral system and we share enormous common interests,” Liu told business leaders. “We have to make concerted efforts to deepen our co-operation.”

On the topic of opening up, Liu made reference to China’s telecommunications, education and medical service industries, claiming that “the development of the Chinese economy in the future can only be guaranteed on the basis of even greater openness.”

He also acknowledged that intellectual property rights were a key grievance of many Western companies, and that China was pursuing stricter patent laws and harsher punishments to reduce IP theft.


3. China draws up list of firms ‘too big to fail’

China’s market regulators will publish a comprehensive list of companies deemed “systemically important financial institutions” (SIFIs), in a move to grant greater protection against 2008-style market crises.

The list of over 50 financial institutions, including banks, securities firms and insurance companies, will be subject to additional regulatory requirements on liquidity, leverage ratios and large investments, according to central bank guidelines released on Tuesday.

Taken together, the companies will account for at least 75% of total assets in their respective sectors, according to Caixin.

The Chinese list will also include some domestic fintech platforms, such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial, going further than other international lists which are limited to banks and insurers.

China already has five financial institutions deemed SIFI by the Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board. They are insurer Ping An and the country’s “big four” state-owned commercial banks.


4. Google employees call for end to China search project

Hundreds of Google staff have expressed their opposition to the tech giant’s latest plans to launch a censored version of its search function on the Chinese mainland, triggering support from human rights activist groups, Reuters reports.

In an open letter published on blogging site Medium, the employees said that concessions made to the Chinese government could sacrifice citizens’ privacy rights and facilitate the suppression of truth by banning words such as “Tiananmen” and “democracy.”

“We object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be,” the staffers wrote.

Since its announcement earlier this year, Google’s plan to return to the mainland, codenamed Project Dragonfly, has attracted widespread criticism from company insiders, US lawmakers and human rights groups.

Following Tuesday’s letter, Amnesty International also set up a petition for Google to cancel Dragonfly.


5. Tanzanian president lauds Chinese lending policy

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has accused Western lenders of attaching unfair and unrealistic conditions to their aid to developing countries and praised China’s position of not interfering in debtor nations’ domestic affairs.

“China are true friends who offer help without any conditions,” Magufuli said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for a $39 million university library built with Chinese funds. “Free things are really expensive especially when they are provided by some countries. The only free things that won’t cost you anything are those provided by China.”

The remarks come as other key nations that have received Chinese loans as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative push back against what they see as predatory and one-sided lending practices. The new governments of the Maldives and Malaysia have recently reviewed billions of dollars in Chinese-led infrastructure projects.

Tanzania, meanwhile, has been rebuked by international creditors for what they see as worsening human rights in the country. Denmark, for example, is withholding 65 million krone ($9.8 million) in aid following a Tanzanian official’s “unacceptable homophobic comments,” according to Bloomberg.

Other stories:

More European insurers get green light to set up wholly-owned Chinese businesses [Caixin]

French insurance firm AXA Group has announced plans to buy out its Chinese joint venture partners, becoming the second foreign European insurer to receive approval for a wholly foreign-owned business in as many days. 

Tesla sales fell 70% in China last month, report claims [CNBC]

Electric car brand Tesla saw its share price fall nearly 2% yesterday’s premarket after China’s passenger car association claimed the American company’s sales were down 70% year-on-year in October.

Pinduoduo pulled from Apple’s App Store[TechNode]

The e-commerce platform was included among over 700 apps purged from the popular App Store following technical faults found in the Pinduoduo app.

Jack Ma is a Communist Party member [NYT]

China’s richest man and founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba belongs to the country’s ruling Communist Party, state media revealed.

China must provide real results to get through Buenos Aires, says policy expert [SCMP]

Sino-US relations expert Shi Yinhong said that China is under increasing pressure from Western critics to offer concrete resolutions to trade disputes, and its tactic of using rhetorical sidesteps will no longer work.

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The new editor will be based in our offices in Shanghai and will focus on writing and editing long-form features on the latest business, economic and tech trends in China.

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