MarketLine Blog

Posts tagged to China

Luckin Coffee could displace Starbucks in China

MarketLine

Chinese coffee start-up company Luckin Coffee has demonstrated strong potential in the Chinese coffee market. In just two years of existence the company has expanded prolifically and now threatens Starbucks, the leading coffee house chain operating in China. Luckin has made its intentions clear with the aim of become the nation’s leading specialist coffee provider by continuing an aggressive expansion strategy. The company has already achieved in two years what Starbucks has taken 19 years to complete in China. This has raised concern for Starbucks, which has begun taking action… Read more

Argentine agricultural exports: Tax on exports not helping to initiate economic recovery

MarketLine

Even during numerous economic crises during the early 2000s Argentina routinely registered a trade surplus, but that is no longer the case. To combat biting economic conditions the government has imposed austerity alongside a plethora of policies which include higher taxation on exports. The decision to tax exports at a higher rate to lower the deficit is therefore flawed. Instead of agriculture being helped to improve the economy, higher export taxation makes key Argentine products more expensive in an industry which is notoriously price sensitive. Instead of targeting the agricultural… Read more

African ports are driving economic growth: Expanding the port network will bring big benefits

MarketLine

According to SAP, 90% of imports and exports to and from Africa are transported by sea, and with the global middle-class population predicted to balloon to five billion people in just over a decade, expectations are African ports will take on greater economic significance. Problems, therefore, must be solved. Durban in South Africa is one of the more egregious examples of ports failing: the port is highly expensive and suffers from crippling congestion in the surrounding areas, causing it to only operate at 75% of the efficiency expected of an… Read more

Huawei exerting soft power: International relations strained as Chinese giant seeks overseas expansion

MarketLine

Many governments fear, to varying degrees, the signing of contracts with Huawei will grant intimate access to the government of China – certainly that is the line being pushed by the US government. The New Zealand government gained international attention towards the end of 2018 after the Communications Security Bureau successfully banned mobile phone company Spark from using Huawei equipment in the planned 5G network upgrade. An abrupt cancelling of official Chinese representation at the launch of the much vaunted Year of Chinese Tourism campaign was a rare public statement… Read more

New Zealand: New efforts to curb skyrocketing house prices

MarketLine

New Zealand has the world’s most frenetic property market, with prices in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, now outstripping London. In 2017, New Zealand house prices were the most unaffordable in the world and prices in Auckland have risen by 75% over the last four years alone. Home ownership is also low. The share of owner occupied dwellings has fallen from 74% of all private dwellings in 1991 to 63% in 2018. The last five years have also witnessed a rise in homelessness. At the same time, New Zealand has… Read more

China Three Gorges takeover of EDP: Deal would leave Portugal dangerously exposed to China

MarketLine

The $10.9bn bid from China Three Gorges, the largest clean energy company in China, was rejected by EDP but the takeover remains very much the most likely outcome – only at present the shareholders would prefer to extract a larger sum of money for a prized asset. Current trading conditions are ideal for China Three Gorges. A relatively poor government (although now at least managing a growing economy and rising employment) in need of foreign investment makes EDP ripe for a takeover bid. Yet to secure this the government will… Read more

Chinese regulator takes over Anbang: Massive insurer made example of in wider effort to keep money at home

MarketLine

President Xi Jinping has plenty of motivation to take action on Anbang Insurance Group. Not only had the company come to symbolize debt-ridden conglomerates through a series of lavish overseas purchases, but the speed at which the company had expanded raised concerns as to the wider impact failure could have. So far it would appear policy revisions have been successful in halting the flow of money out of the country. The messages many businesses in China will have deduced very swiftly is the President, now rated among the most powerful… Read more

UK sugar tax – Attempts to curb rising levels of obesity

MarketLine

The UK is the most obese country in Western Europe, and the sixth most obese country in the world. Around 26.9% of the British population has a body mass index of 30 and above, according to the OECD report and the cost of treating ill health caused by obesity and related issues is rising fast, threatening the NHS budget. The government, long criticized for taking no action to tackle this issue, decided to introduce a Soft Drinks Industry Levy, in the hope that the increased cost will stop people from… Read more

Nissan $9.5bn China investment: Scale of spending required to stay relevant in world’s largest car market

MarketLine

Whilst Nissan is not regarded as being a member of the top-tier car manufacturers – the likes of Volkswagen Group and Mercedes Benz are much larger – that has not stopped the company from pumping $9.5bn into car manufacturing in China. Such investments are now essential, particularly for the less popular global brands. The move represents significant ambition from the Japanese car maker: Toyota, recently the second largest player in the Chinese market, is declining in China and an opportunity exists for Nissan to climb up the hierarchy. Large investments… Read more

Chinese ban on waste imports: End to off-shoring dirt

MarketLine

Introduction of the ban on imported solid waste, coming to force in China as of January 1, 2018, means the country will be importing a lot less of foreign waste material, and replacing it with recycled material collected in its own domestic market instead. China’s dominance in manufacturing means that for years it has been the world’s largest importer of recyclable materials. The country’s hunger for plastic, the most difficult waste material to dispose of, has spawned a lucrative industry where plastic waste was purchased from the international market and… Read more

Tata-ThyssenKrupp merger: Deal will have short-term impact but doubts remain over long term

MarketLine

The merger of the European steel making section of Tata and German based ThyssenKrupp will likely have useful short-term impacts upon European production, but the benefits heading into the long-term future are less clear. Soon to be the second largest steel maker in Europe, the combined company will have sufficient bulk to compete much better with Chinese producers who are under pressure from the central government to consolidate. Chances are the new company will gain substantial efficiencies and improve product quality beyond other major rivals, but this only solves some… Read more

Toshiba NAND business sold: Business must reform or risk becoming a ‘zombie’ company

MarketLine

Now the immediate future of Toshiba has been secured through the $18bn sale of the NAND business, the company must scale down operations to become sufficiently nimble and competitive enough to become prosperous again. With all the large profitable sections sold or bankrupt, Toshiba now mainly exists as a collection of firms which are low-growth and unlikely to yield consistent profits. To solve this problem the company must sell or close the worst performers and use any funds raised to help the company expand again. If this course of action… Read more

Siemens Alstom merger: Deal necessary to compete against China state-backed CRRC

MarketLine

The merger between Siemens and Alstom will create a company able to compete against the largest train companies in the world. Previous talks between Siemens and Canada based Bombardier failed but showed the mood in the market was towards consolidation. A merger between two leading European companies is necessary if Europe is to remain relevant. The Chinese CRRC is armed with massive resources and is pressing ahead with highly advanced technology. The importance of the ability of Europe to compete was underlined by the decision of the French government sold… Read more

US and China trade talks: Emphasis on steel and tariffs is misguided

MarketLine

The danger of current US policy towards Chinese steel is that damaging tariffs will be imposed. Many observers describe such a policy as the nuclear option because the ability of other countries to impose harmful tariffs on US goods will be just as strong. Troublingly, tariffs would do little to solve the actual problem of dumping on the international market. A policy with many similarities was attempted in 2002 but resulted in a public climb down by the then President Bush after severe job losses were incurred. Tariffs are not… Read more

Behind the Digital Iron Curtain: Rise of Chinese Silicon Valley

MarketLine

After a long period of rapid, double digit growth, the Chinese economy entered a more sustainable phase of development, based on innovation and consumption. Given the large population of 1.3 billion in China, the explosive growth of smartphone users, e-commerce, and online content consumption and creation led to a digital revolution in almost all industries and business sectors. While the Chinese Communist Party is trying to match its social control in the real world with the virtual world, which becomes more and more restrictive, the country’s internet is thriving and… Read more

China’s OBOR project: Threatening the Singaporean transportation sector

MarketLine

Singapore’s location at the southern tip of the Strait of Malacca has allowed the country to position itself as one of the world’s major transportation hubs. Through this Strait travels practically all trade between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and therefore trade going in and out of countries such as Japan and China will more likely than not pass through Singapore, especially if headed towards Europe, the Middle East and Africa. To emphasize its importance, almost half of all Chinese oil imports pass through Singapore, and the figure is even… Read more

Toshiba NAND business sale: Suitable sale is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve

MarketLine

A major problem Toshiba has with the sale of the NAND business is the company as a whole is in such a bad financial condition, potential buyers are in a very strong negotiating position. Toshiba has already sold off other profitable parts of the business in order to cover costs resulting from an accounting scandal in which profits were overstated. Now the second largest NAND business in the world is up for sale, prospective buyers are aware that the Japanese technology giant desperately needs a deal, and soon. Downward pressure… Read more

South Korea and China: WTO complaint must be resolved swiftly and amicably

MarketLine

In July 2016, American and South Korean military officials agreed to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system in South Korea. China was unimpressed, seeing the move as an act of aggression and intimidation by the US close to its borders, as well as citing concerns that it could interfere with the efficacy of its own military capabilities. On March 20, 2017, South Korea complained to the WTO that China’s unease with the THAAD situation has caused it to retaliate economically, although it was keen to… Read more

Chinese Foreign Direct Investment Liberalization

MarketLine

Reducing the number of markets foreign investors are prevented from entering – down to 62 from 93 – marks a useful step in the right direction and should encourage investment into China, reducing the gap to the outflow. Investors should become more comfortable with China given the proposed new rules, but there is much to be done and reasons for pessimism. The proposals appear to be hobbled by caution and need to go much further to create a lasting impact. More worryingly, the problems that the changes aim to tackle… Read more

COMAC C919 Airliner lands

MarketLine

When the COMAC C919 launched, comparisons were immediately made with the failed Bombardier effort to break the Boeing/Airbus duopoly. Bombardier failed for several reasons, chiefly because it was unable to gain the required customer base needed to gain traction in the airline industry. This does not apply to COMAC: the company has a ready-made market of state controlled airlines, colossal state backing and provides fantastic opportunities for foreign companies. These factors will aid the company to make serious inroads into the Chinese domestic airline market, providing the impetus for future… Read more

Belinda Wong appointed CEO of Starbucks China as part of growth plan

MarketLine

A focus on China and on increasing store openings in the country has been part of the Starbucks strategy since the company felt the negative impact of recession. Prior to 2008, Starbucks had been growing rapidly in terms of store openings, revenues, and operating profit. However, this all changed as the recession hit and the company struggled to cope. As many countries around the globe fell into recession, the impact on Starbucks was strongly felt. This led to a shift in resources to growth in international markets. It was felt… Read more

China’s banking industry: BIS scaremongering unwarranted but warning signs must be heeded

MarketLine

China’s economic growth has been slowing for a while now and while it remains healthy, there are concerns over the state of the country’s banking industry. Non-performing loan (NPL) rates have been increasing, with some of the country’s biggest banks seeing a surge in that particular metric. Bank of China and ICBC saw noticeable increases in their NPL rates during 2015, necessitating greater allowances for credit losses, while Agricultural Bank saw something of a surge from 1.54% to 2.39%, with the retail and wholesale industry the main cause for concern…. Read more

Uber & Didi Chuxing: Uber gives app in China

MarketLine

Uber’s once seemingly irresistible march to world domination has suffered a setback as it agreed to merge its business operations in China with local competitor Didi Chuxing. Uber had been employing the practices that served it well elsewhere, by engaging in subsidizing of rides and drivers’ income to gain market share. However, in China a domestic ride sharing incumbent made from the merger of Didi and Kuadi in February 2015 (later renamed Didi Chuxing) could match Uber’s financial power, as it drew backing from Chinese internet companies and Apple. The… Read more

Self-driving to the future

MarketLine

The line between the auto and tech industries is rapidly blurring, with the pursuit of autonomous driving and a shift from car ownership towards car sharing and ride sharing. China is widely viewed as the next frontier for growth and many market players are looking to establish a foothold in this country, which requires significant investment. To keep up with changing market trends, most major auto makers are investing in their own driverless-car technology, which is less costly if done in cooperation with high-tech companies, like Google or Apple. The… Read more