China posted its first overall quarterly current account deficit in 17 years in the second quarter of 2018 as growth in imports continues to outpace exports. Meanwhile, the value of Chinese domestic bonds held by overseas institutions has increased 68% in the past year and that means nearly 6% of Chinese government bonds are now held by foreign investors. Domestically, the number of lawsuits related to online music streaming in China leaped from 20 in 2014 to 535 in 2016 as providers try to enforce exclusive deals with artists. Find out the most important and interesting news here in the China Data section.
For many years, China’s emerging companies, especially those in the internet sector, have relied on foreign capital. Alibaba and Tencent were nurtured by overseas venture capital, and were eventually listed abroad. These two companies have today become world-class giants. The market value of Alibaba was $495 billion as of late May, while Tencent’s valuation was $605 billion. This puts them among the world’s top 10 most valuable companies. The success of China’s leading tech companies is an understandable source of pride to many in China. But for China’s policymakers, a question presents itself: why do so many outstanding Chinese companies end up going public overseas?
Live streaming in China is not new. Even back in 2005 there were live streaming businesses based on the PC, but it was not until 2014 that this industry really started to take off in the Chinese market, as China’s almost 700 million internet users became aware that mobile live-streaming is fun and can even be profitable. China’s internet giant companies have long recognized that live streaming is going to be the new portal to bring in traffic, so just like their competition in other battle fields, Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba have spread their tentacles to live streaming and mapped out their respective businesses.
Each year Alibaba breaks a new record on Singles Day, the 24-hour online shopping extravaganza has now become a celebratory annual event. The rise of online ecommerce has transformed the way Chinese people shop. According to 2015 e-commerce stats, 46% of Chinese people buy groceries online, 30% people made impulse buys, and $ 333 billion purchase were conducted on mobile devices. The online shopping phenomenon, on one hand, is hurting retail, on the other is fostering a multi-billion dollar express delivery business. With 8,000 express companies national wide, China’s express delivery market was worth $ 42.1 billion in 2015.
The world’s largest restaurant chain is gearing up to do even more in China. In a bid to make China its second-largest market globally, fast food company McDonald’s is set to open 1,250 new outlets in China over the next five years. Despite recent troubles over food safety in China, McDonald’s continues to be gung ho about its prospects in the country. Even concerns over a slowing economy aren’t dampening is spirits. McDonald’s is betting on population growth and rising urbanization to give sales a boost. In this edition of China Data, we bring you the latest numbers from China: from Ronald McDonald’s China plans to wind power and pork prices in the country.
China’s healthcare sector is huge but it doesn’t mean that people are getting what they need. China’s public health infrastructure is bursting at the seams: it is clearly not equipped to meet the growing demands of 1.35 billion people and an aging society. The problem in China’s healthcare sector is two-dimensional: it involves both shortages, wherein current healthcare infrastructure is just not enough to meet the people’s needs, and skewed market dynamics, where the demand isn’t necessarily for the healthcare services that are easily accessible. Can tech companies step in with digital healthcare services and apps to help bridge the gaps?
Luxury brands have never had it this bad in China. For most of them, China is no longer the cash cow it once was. Multiple reports suggest that the luxury retail business in China is shrinking. The top 10 global luxury brands as per Millward Brown’s latest BrandZ report—a list that includes names like Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Chanel—saw 6% of their total brand valuation evaporate in 2015, and China is partly to be blamed. Already the likes of Louis Vuitton, Armani, Prada and Chanel have started shuttering stores in China. But all is not lost and luxury can still make a comeback in China.
For the first time ever, this December the municipal government of Beijing issued not one, but two pollution red alerts in the city. A red alert, the most severe air pollution warning, means that there are restrictions on car use, some factories have to halt production, construction work is stopped and in some cases, schools have to be closed. Obviously things have reached a tipping point forcing the authorities to institute tough measures to curb pollution. But how much does pollution cost China? Also, when the government tries to ensure blue skies, what does it lose in terms of output lost? We bring you the lowdown.
Each year Alibaba breaks a new record on Singles Day, the 24-hour online shopping extravaganza that has now become an annual event. This year was no exception. With sales of RMB 91.2 billion ($14.3 billion), Alibaba surpassed last year’s (also record) sales by a whopping 60%. What started as China’s equivalent of Cyber Monday, Singles Day has become bigger than both Cyber Monday and Black Friday. In this edition of China Data, we bring you the lowdown on Alibaba’s Singles Day numbers, Vanke’s moves in the UK real estate market, Baidu’s interest in the online travel market, and other important bits of data from China.
To boost the economy and help small and medium enterprises get capital more easily, the Chinese government is encouraging non-government entities to invest in financial institutions, even allowing private companies to open their own banks. When the government announced its decision to grant five banking licenses for private banks earlier this year, the big three tech companies—Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu—jumped at the opportunity. Given the technological expertise of their backers, these online banks are able to leverage things like big data and cloud computing to assess credit worthiness and tailor the user experience. But can they outmaneuver traditional banks?