Posts tagged ‘Economic growth’

14/12/2014

China Has a ‘New Normal’ Too – Businessweek

China’s Communist Party leaders are known for their turgid jargon, much of it dating back decades to when Mao Zedong still dominated dogma. But sometimes, apparently, they feel the need to borrow from less hoary, more capitalistic sources.

A technology and manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China

That is what Xi Jinping has done with his “new normal” theory of the Chinese economy, now getting lots of play in the state media. The phrase, first popularized by Pacific Investment Management Co., or Pimco, the giant Newport Beach (Calif) bond fund manager, referred of course to the lackluster economic growth following the global financial crisis.

Earlier this year Xi used the then-already tired cliché while on a May inspection trip to Henan, the province southwest of the Chinese capital. Then it got a real airing during a speech he gave at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum last month. “A new normal of China’s economy has emerged with several notable features,” Xi said, speaking before more than 1,500 global business executives in Beijing, reported the Party-owned Global Times on Nov. 10.

“First, the economy has shifted gear from the previous high speed to a medium-to-high-speed growth. Second, the economic structure is constantly improved and upgraded. Third, the economy is increasingly driven by innovation instead of input and investment,” the paper wrote, paraphrasing Xi.

Translation: Yes, the economy will not grow at the hyper rates all of you had gotten used to—still, no need for alarm. We are making the transition to a healthier, more sustainable version, this one driven more by consumption, services, and, oh yes, innovation. “The ‘new normal’ theory elaborated by Chinese President Xi Jinping would be one of the hallmarks to be engraved in history,” the Global Times ambitiously predicted.

“We must understand the new normal, adjust to the new normal, and develop under the new normal—coming to terms with the new normal will be the ‘main logic’ for economic growth for some time,” the official Xinhua News Agency wrote today, in a report on the three-day, high-level Central Economic Work Conference that closed Thursday. “The new normal has not changed the strategic importance of a period that will see great achievements,” it promised.

via China Has a ‘New Normal’ Too – Businessweek.

07/12/2014

India plans 5-fold increase in clean energy – Businessweek

India said Friday it was optimistic the world would reach an agreement to curb climate change, but said its actions would be focused on boosting its renewable power capacity five-fold rather than on cutting carbon emissions.

With hundreds of millions still mired in poverty and without access to electricity, India cannot afford to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the expense of economic growth, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said before leaving this weekend for U.N. climate talks in Lima, Peru.

“Our growth cannot be compromised,” Javadekar said. “Poverty needs to be eradicated immediately. Poor people have aspirations. We must fulfill them. We must give them energy access. We cannot and nobody can question on this.”

He said he was optimistic industrialized nations would agree to shoulder more of the burden to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, given that they had been polluting with fossil fuels for decades before developing nations.

“That is the just regime,” he said.

The recent U.S.-China pact announcing new targets for fossil fuel use marked a positive step toward establishing this sort of equality, he said. In that pact, the U.S. said it would aim to bring down its per-capita emissions from about 20 tons while allowing China to raise its 8-9 tons per capita so that both reach a level of about 12 tons by 2030.

“They have accepted the differentiated responsibility and the need of time for growth,” Javadekar said.

India had already pledged to reduce its emissions intensity — how much carbon dioxide it produces divided by its GDP — rather than promising to cut overall emissions. However, Indian officials and scientists say it could easily go beyond the target set in 2009 of cutting emissions intensity by 20-25 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

India’s preference for the per-capita emissions calculation also ignores the fact that around 400 million Indians still have no access to electricity at all, while hundreds of millions more are lucky to get a couple of hours a day. Experts worry that as India’s population continues to grow beyond 1.2 billion and more people become wealthy, its share of global emissions will skyrocket.

via India plans 5-fold increase in clean energy – Businessweek.

07/12/2014

Transparency International Socks China for Corruption – Businessweek

Given all the emphasis Chinese President Xi Jinping has put on fighting corruption over the past two years, you might think China was getting a lot cleaner. More than 80,000 officials have already been punished for breaking party rules, the graft-fighting Central Commission for Discipline Inspection announced earlier this week.

China's President Xi Jinping

But in reality, corruption may be getting worse, according to a survey by Transparency International released today. In its annual Corruption Perceptions Index, the Berlin-based watchdog found that China dropped four points, to 36, on a scale from zero, or highly corrupt, to 100, or very clean, over last year.

That put it alongside Turkey, Rwanda, Malawi, and Angola as the countries where conditions deteriorated most. Meanwhile, China fell from 80th least-clean country to the 100th worst place amongst the 175 countries rated, the report shows. Cleanest was Denmark, while North Korea and Somalia were tied for worst.

“We have heard a lot about government efforts to prosecute corruption and corruption scandals in China. Its commitment to catch ‘tigers and flies’—public officials big and small—indicates the government is serious,” wrote Transparency’s Srirak Plipat in a blog post on the organization’s website today.

Still, the worsening situation poses “a hugely challenging question: how effective is a top-down approach when you don’t have transparency, accountable government and free media and civil society?” Plipat wrote.

The larger picture across Asia was hardly more encouraging. All told, 18 of the 28 Asian countries ranked fell below 40 on the index. The “scores of countries from Asia Pacific, the world’s fastest growing region, are a resounding message to leaders that, despite many public declarations and commitments, not enough is being done to fight corruption,” Plipat wrote.

via Transparency International Socks China for Corruption – Businessweek.

04/12/2014

China bolsters support for farm sector with tax breaks | Reuters

China is increasing its support for agriculture by renewing select tax breaks that have expired, the government said on Wednesday, in another move to support the real economy.

A farmer plants paddy on a terrace field in Suichuan county, Jiangxi province May 20, 2014. REUTERS-Stringer

China’s stumbling economy this year has pared banks’ tolerance for risk when they lend, further reducing the supply of loans to small-time borrowers who are usually ignored by banks because they are deemed to be high-risk borrowers.

Financial companies do not have to pay a business tax on the interest earned on agricultural loans worth no more than 100,000 yuan ($16,260), the Chinese cabinet said after a weekly meeting.

Their corporate income tax would also be discounted by 10 percent to “muster the enthusiasm of financial institutions when it comes to lending to farmers”, the cabinet, or State Council, said in an online statement.

The tax breaks, previously in place but had expired, would be reinstated and are effective until the end of 2016.

Insurers that sell insurance to crop and livestock farmers would also get a 10 percent discount on their corporate income tax, the government said.

A tax break that cuts the business tax to three percent for financial firms working within counties would also be extended until the end of 2016, the cabinet said.

Buffeted by a slowing housing market and slowing domestic demand and investment, China’s economy is forecast by some analysts to be sliding towards its worst downturn in nearly a quarter of a century this year.

Annual growth in the world’s second-largest economy could fall to 7.4 percent, a Reuters poll showed in October.

To rejuvenate the real economy, China announced a cut in interest rates of 40 basis points on Nov. 21 in a move that the central bank said was aimed at lowering borrowing cost.

via China bolsters support for farm sector with tax breaks | Reuters.

20/11/2014

China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek

China’s hazardous smog is an in-your-face and choke-your-lungs kind of problem—hard to miss, particularly when air quality soars to severely polluted levels, as it did in Beijing today (Nov.19). But an equally dire environmental threat is the alarmingly low quality of China’s water resources.

A polluted canal in Beijing

That was highlighted in an investigative report on China’s water crisis in the official Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Sixty percent of China’s groundwater, monitored at 4,778 sites across the country, is either “bad” or “very bad,” according to a survey by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, more than half, or 17 of China’s 31 major freshwater lakes, are polluted, at least slightly or moderately.

The report said that 300 of China’s 657 major cities also face water shortages, according to the standard set by the United Nations. A particularly severe problem is the dearth of water in the North China region, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei. Water per capita in that area amounts to only 286 cubic meters annually, much less than the 500 cubic meter minimum. Below that minimum is classified as “absolute scarcity.” (Xinhua says under 1,000 cubic meters per capita classifies as “scarcity.”)

With rapid urbanization an official economic priority, fears are that China’s crisis of degraded and inadequate water supplies could worsen. Meanwhile, about 3.3 million hectares of farmland—an area the size of Belgium—has become too contaminated to grow crops, China’s authorities revealed late last year.

“Experts blamed some local governments and businesses for recklessly pursuing quick money by developing projects that devoured resources and caused serious pollution,” the China Daily reported today, citing the Xinhua article on water scarcity.

via China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek.

19/11/2014

‘Exceptionally Low’ Female Labor Participation Holding Back India’s Economy – India Real Time – WSJ

Women’s empowerment hasn’t featured prominently so far in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s program for economic revival. It probably should, according to the latest overview of the Indian economy by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The report, released Wednesday by the Paris-based club of rich nations, suggests that enlarging economic opportunities for women could be a new “growth engine” for India, accelerating GDP growth by around two percentage points each year. India has narrowed the gender gap in health and education, the report says. But Indian women still lag far behind men when it comes to participation in both the formal and informal economies.

Just a third of working-age women in India were employed or looking for a job in 2010, a lower share by some distance than in Brazil (around 65%), China (75%), Indonesia (55%) or South Africa (45%). The figure for Indian men was over 80%.

More strikingly, female labor participation in India has actually fallen over the last decade: According to Indian-government data, the working-age populations of both men and women increased by around 100 million between 2000 and 2012. But the number of women employed or seeking employment only grew by 7 million over that period, whereas the number of men in those categories expanded by 70 million. Just a quarter of the increase in the number of women outside the labor force was accounted for by more women staying in school.

Indian women who do work don’t have great jobs, the OECD report shows. More than a third are unpaid helpers, as opposed to just 11% of working men. Women are also overrepresented in low-productivity agriculture and traditional, small-scale manufacturing. Only 6% of employed women get formal benefits like pensions or maternity leave. There aren’t many female entrepreneurs. (The report notes, though, that there aren’t many entrepreneurs in India, period, relative to other countries at the same stage of development.)

Illiterate women are more likely to be in the labor force than better-educated women, though participation is higher among high-school graduates. The relationship between female participation and income is similar: The richer a woman’s household is, the less likely she is to work.

Those patterns suggest “exceptionally low” female labor participation isn’t fully explained by simple measures of worker productivity.

On a 2012 OECD index of social obstacles to gender equality, India scores poorly relative to other large developing countries. Families’ preference for sons is stronger. Violence against women is more common. Women’s access to credit, land and property is more restricted. Marriage and inheritance laws favor men more.

Other social norms matter, too. As men’s incomes have risen over the last decade, their wives may prefer housework to a low-paying job, the report suggests. One study cited by the report finds that a family’s social status is considered higher if the woman stays at home.

via ‘Exceptionally Low’ Female Labor Participation Holding Back India’s Economy – India Real Time – WSJ.

03/11/2014

Wanted: 500,000 pilots for China aviation gold rush | Reuters

China’s national civil aviation authority says the country will need to train about half a million civilian pilots by 2035, up from just a few thousand now, as wannabe flyers chase dreams of landing lucrative jobs at new air service operators.

Guests walk next to aircraft during the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) at Hongqiao International Airport in Shanghai in this April 15, 2014 file photograph. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/Files

The aviation boom comes as China allows private planes to fly below 1,000 meters from next year without military approval, seeking to boost its transport infrastructure. Commercial airlines aren’t affected, but more than 200 new firms have applied for general aviation operating licenses, while China’s high-rollers are also eager for permits to fly their own planes.

The civil aviation authority’s own training unit can only handle up to 100 students a year. With the rest of China’s 12 or so existing pilot schools bursting at the seams, foreign players are joining local firms in laying the groundwork for new courses that can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars per trainee.

“The first batch of students we enrolled in 2010 were mostly business owners interested in getting a private license,” said Sun Fengwei, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China‘s (CAAC) pilot school. “But now more and more young people also want to learn flying so that they can get a job at general aviation companies.”

While uncertainties remain for what will be a brand new industry, firms are betting they can make money and trainee pilots are convinced they can land dream jobs. Among them is Zong Rui, a 28-year-old former soldier in the People’s Liberation Army from Shandong province in east China, attending a pilot school in Tianjin, an hour’s drive from Beijing.

“The salary is good for a general aviation pilot,” Zong told Reuters by telephone, preparing for a training session. Even without a job lined up, Zong is certain money he borrowed to learn how to fly will pay off: “I can easily pay back the 500,000 yuan ($81,750) tuition in two years, once I get a job.”

via Wanted: 500,000 pilots for China aviation gold rush | Reuters.

29/10/2014

China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China’s Premier, Li Keqiang, has said repeatedly how happy he is with the strength of the country’s job market, despite a slowing economy. That’s the main reason he sees little need to ease policy aggressively to spur growth, he says.

Officials attribute low unemployment to a drop in the working-age population, along with the development of the service sector, which is more labor-intensive than manufacturing.

But a deeper look into the government’s jobs data shows that the current employment situation is more worrisome than it appears. Across China’s cities, 10.82 million new jobs were created over the first nine months of the year, up 1.5% from the same period of 2013, according to official data released on Friday. That’s slowest rise in five years.

Migrant workers are normally the first to take the brunt of an economic slowdown, since more than one fifth of them work in the construction sector, which is highly sensitive to economic cycles. Employers also tend fire migrant workers first if business is bad rather than laying off urbanites with permanent resident status, economists have said.

“Over the past few years, especially after 2009, the government stepped up investment in infrastructure and property market. That has created many job opportunities for migrant workers,” said Li Shi, an economics professor at Beijing Normal University. “But now a sluggish property market has affected migrant workers.”

The global financial crisis cut China’s economic growth from double-digit rates to 6.6% in early 2009, and left some 200 million migrant laborers facing unemployment and a fraying safety net.

The government responded with a four trillion yuan ($650 billion) stimulus package that helped China rebound rapidly from the global downturn, but also resulted in a series of problems such as industrial overcapacity and environmental pollution.

This time around the economic situation is less dire, and the reaction has been more restrained. Since economic growth started to falter earlier this year, policy makers have contented themselves with a series of targeted easing measures like accelerated spending on infrastructure and special lending programs from the central bank. They have also brought in measures to spur mortgage lending and reduce financing costs and tax burdens for small firms.

via China’s Jobs Picture Not As Rosy As It Looks – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

26/10/2014

China GDP Growth of Just 4 percent is possible – Businessweek

China reported on Tuesday that its economic growth fell to a five-year low. But one forecaster says that’s just the beginning. This week the Conference Board issued a 75-page white paper predicting that China’s annual growth will dip below 4 percent in the next decade. Its title: The Long Soft Fall in Chinese Growth.

I met on Monday with the report’s authors, David Hoffman and Andrew Polk, and asked why they’re so pessimistic on China. They said it’s a straightforward projection of recent slowdowns in the growth of capital investment, labor productivity, and the quantity and quality of the labor force.

It’s the optimists who need to defend their case, according to Hoffman, because the only way to project continued 7 percent growth for China is to project major output-enhancing economic reforms. “We just don’t think that will happen,” says Hoffman, who manages the Conference Board China Center for Economics and Business in Beijing.

via China GDP Growth of Just 4 percent is possible – Businessweek.

19/10/2014

A pocket guide to doing business in China | McKinsey & Company

A pocket guide to doing business in China

McKinsey director Gordon Orr goes behind the trends shaping the world’s second-largest economy to explain what companies must do to operate effectively.

October 2014 | byGordon Orr

China, a $10 trillion economy growing at 7 percent annually, is a never-before-seen force reshaping our global economy. Over the past 30 years, the Chinese government has at times opened the door wide for foreign companies to participate in its domestic economic growth. At other times, it has kept the door firmly closed. While some global leaders, such as automotive original-equipment manufacturers, have turned China into their single largest source of profits, others, especially in the service sectors, have been challenged to capture a meaningful share of revenue or profits.

This article summarizes some of the trends shaping the next phase of China’s economic growth, which industries might benefit the most, and what could potentially go wrong. It also lays out what I believe it takes to build a successful, large-scale, and profitable business in China today as a foreign company.

via A pocket guide to doing business in China | McKinsey & Company.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 549 other followers