All posts by Greater Bay Insight

Guangdong trade holds steady

August trade data is in for Guangdong, and it is not looking too shabby. According to official numbers reported by Nanfang Daily, exports remained in positive territory  at +1.23% YoY, and even picked up from the low growth point seen in July of +0.5%. Imports were still weak, but the pace of the drop, at -8.4%, was an improvement on July’s -12.7%. 

We had been intuitively expecting worse, given the China macro data released last week showing industrial production had slowed sharply in August. We still don’t have that data for Guangdong, so we cannot make comparisons yet. Moreover, in issuing these trade numbers, it seems like Guangdong has jumped the gun on the custodians of the national accounts, because China’s trade data for August isn’t out yet. 

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Shenzhen IT shopping area goes 5G

It seems only fitting that the neighbourhood of Shenzhen once renowned for knockoffs of IT gadgets is today the first to switch over to 5G. 

Huaqiangbei, which has cleaned up its piracy act in recent years, is still a must-visit place in Shenzhen for anyone wanting to see what a Chinese electronics market looks like. The place is insanely packed and carries every piece of equipment that could remotely be called electronic. Now, it is the country’s first “city block” to be fully 5G-operational, which allows it to host demonstrations of all sorts of new, high-bandwidth applications.

According to the Shenzhen Daily News, the three major telco operators have set up the main base stations in the area and are now laying indoor sub-base stations inside the major malls and shops. These include SEG, Huaqiang, Gome, Suning, Shundian, Maoye and others.

Already working are some outdoor applications around the market’s main areas, while an indoor “experience pavilion” is under way. Some of these include: VR-based interactive games, 360-degree 8K panoramic VR live broadcast, remote driving, VR-based cloud games, remote ultrasound diagnosis, 3D vision screening, AR industrial inspection, AI face recognition.

We will get across their soon and shoot a video of it. Stay tuned.

Fresh perspectives on the HK crisis

As Hong Kong counts down apprehensively to the October 1 National Day holidays, attention is focusing on how the government might address the underlying causes of the protests. As we wrote recently, CE Carrie Lam’s “Four Actions” are a decent game plan. But time is running out for specifics to be researched and decided ahead of the Policy Address at the end of October. The government cannot properly canvas public opinion by then. It is going to have to draft some measures on the fly, based on a less-than-perfect consultation mechanism. 

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Shenzhen Metro Line goes ‘all-brush’

One-upmanship between Guangzhou and Shenzhen over AI-driven subway technology is continuing to provide reporters with fun material. Last week, Guangzhou opened two “Smart Stations” on its Metro, powered by AI algorithms. This week it is Shenzhen’s turn to promote the rollout of automated customer service kiosks and announce the entire Metro Line 11 now has “brush-face” gates.

The new customer service kiosks allow riders to register their faces for purchasing tickets, topping up their Metro cards, and other services. Initially, only those who get to ride the line for free can use them to register for “face-brushing”, but they will be upgraded soon for paid ticketing. In the meantime, everyone can use the kiosks for performing a variety of other transactions. 

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GBA Briefs: 20/09/19

UOB in Zhongshan: Singapore’s UOB Bank sees the potential in Zhongshan, becoming the first international bank to open a branch in the city. Read more.

Financial Rankings: Even without a convertible currency, Shenzhen has climbed into the global rankings as a finance center, making 9th place on a list compiled by a UK-based think tank and a … Shenzhen-based institute. Read more.

Shenzhen seeks business input on laws

Shenzhen is opening its legal system to input from the business community. Sort of.

The city’s Bureau of Justice held a symposium last week, together with the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, focused on drafting new legislation that would improve – “optimize” is the official, beloved word – Shenzhen’s business environment. Corporate leaders from fields as diverse as finance, foreign trade, science and technology, security, power supply, gas, and consulting attended. The Chamber of Commerce was there.

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Shenzhen turns on 5g in hospital

Shenzhen has become the first city in China to use a 5G network in its healthcare system, switching on the new network this week in the Shenzhen People’s Hospital.

Quoted by the Shenzhen Daily, Qiu Chen, the hospital’s chief, said he was mightily pleased by the demonstration, as he was taken on a “video ward rounds” exercise.

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GBA Briefs: 11/9/2019

Gree energy: Gree Electric boss Dong Mingzhu is finding time amid the bidding war for her company’s shares held by the city government to chair another joint-venture, this one involved in new-energy industries. Read more on Yicai Global.

Keep calm and Carrie on: Hong Kong CE Carrie Lam welcomed more than 5,000 delegates to the city’s Belt and Road Initiative Forum today, saying the “Hong Kong spirit” will overcome the current turmoil. This followed an evening of protesters singing their own anthem in shopping malls and soccer fans booing the national anthem. Read the SCMP’s wrap.

No more panic: China must stay alert to the possibility of a severe market disruption in case the trade war deteriorates further, as a repeat of the 2015 sell-off will shatter the confidence of international investors, Jessie Pak, managing director for Asia at FTSE Russell, tells the SCMP.

All rise: ‘Smart court’ is now in session

Guangzhou has taken the lead in reform and advancement of the country’s legal system, establishing the world’s first “smart court”.

According to a report in Nanfang Daily, the first national-level Intelligent Court Laboratory has been built in Guangzhou, in which big data, blockchain, and many other technologies are being used to change the way legal proceedings are conducted.

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Huawei commits Kunpeng to home base

We thought there was something strange about Huawei’s recent decision to set up its major hub for Kunpeng, the new “chip ecosystem” it is developing, in Shanghai.  

Why there? Huawei is a son of Shenzhen. We can understand why it would build a new campus in Dongguan’s Songshan Lake, as that is literally just up the road from its headquarters in Shenzhen’s Longgang district. But Shanghai is on the eastern seaboard, part of the Yangtze River Delta and is Shenzhen’s biggest competitor, er, comrade. 

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