GBA briefs: 4/17/2020

Revenge dining: Consumption coupons worth 360 million yuan are being gobbled up – literally – in Foshan, local media report. A reporter recently visited several major commercial districts in this city of more than 10 million people and found long waiting times at restaurants and few available spaces in car parks. SCN.

Faster by train: Trains running to Europe from Dongguan have seen strong growth recently, as sea and air cargo routes have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. In the year to date, official data shows 21 international trains carrying 2,050 TEUs, with a value of US$112 million have departed from Dongguan’s Shilong Station. More than half went in March: 12 trains (+9.1% YoY), 1,170 TEUs (+14.7%) and US$63.88 million (+9.1%). “Trains save nearly 2/3 of the time compared to ocean liners, are nearly 50% of the cost of flights, and maintained normal operation during the epidemic,” one exporter said. 

Wild stuff: Here is what the provincial government has to say about the trade of wild animals across Guangdong: (The government will) “prohibit illegal wildlife trade, eliminate the bad habits of overeating wild animals, regulate the artificial breeding of terrestrial wild animals for food purposes, and ensure their disposal. Local governments should support, guide, and help affected farmers to adjust and change their production and operation activities, and provide certain compensation according to the actual situation. Those that are legally cultured and shut down in accordance with regulations should be compensated. Priority should be given to poor households for compensation. Those who have obtained an administrative license or illegally engaged in breeding will not be compensated.” SCN.

Guangdong robots rule: Guangdong accounts for 28% of all patent applications for industrial robots across China, well ahead of any other province. SCN.

Kids prepped: Schools across Guangdong have been running live drills for children to prepare for a resumption of classes, which start in phases from April 27. SCN.

Nanshan No. 1: Shenzhen’s Nanshan district, home to many of its biggest tech companies, has doubled its GDP over the past five years, to 610 billion yuan. That is the highest of any district in Guangdong, and third in the country. It grew 7.6% last year. SCN.

Qianhai on track: Shenzhen’s special zone of Qianhai managed to keep investment pumping in Q1, despite the coronavirus, with 24.8% of the year’s total budgeted investment actually spent. Utilized foreign direct investment, meanwhile, stayed positive year-on-year, and accounted for more than half of the city’s entire foreign investment in the period. SZN.

Baiyun cargo soars: Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport is now handling around 113 daily flights for cargo as orders for medical-protection gear are surging. SCN.

Cathay cuts: Cathay Pacific is to sack almost 300 of its staff in the United States and close its cabin crew bases there, in its biggest cutback of employees during the coronavirus pandemic. SCMP.

Article 23 storm: The storm over gridlock in Hong Kong’s legislative council has intensified, with public accusations of abuse of power and interference in Hong Kong affairs being thrown by both democrats and pro-establishment voices. At the heart of the debate seems to be the potential for passage of Article 23 (national security) legislation before the September elections, in which the democratic camp is expected to take control of the legislature. SCMP.

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