Tag Archives: Beijing

Macau gets its ‘red packets’ from Xi

President Xi Jinping’s visit to Macau last week for its 20th anniversary celebration ended up being everything that the SAR expected – and more.

A lot more.

In a series of announcements that came late in the day – after most media outlets had put to bed their Macau coverage – central government agencies unveiled policies designed to boost Macau’s economic development and integrate it more closely with neighboring Zhuhai via the special economic zone of Hengqin.

The most eye-catching of these came from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which focused on plans to support Hengqin in establishing a so-called “Guangdong-Macau Deep Cooperation Zone.”

Continue reading Macau gets its ‘red packets’ from Xi

Hong Kong gets reform agenda rolling

American scholar Andrew Nathan has an interesting piece in Foreign Affairs summarizing what “insiders” say is Beijing’s approach to the crisis in Hong Kong. Though the presentation of this analysis fits too neatly into a US-centric worldview, it helps explain why the Hong Kong government is moving quickly to address the city’s dire shortage of housing: Because the central government believes the protests are being driven primarily by intolerable socio-economic conditions. Fix those, and the rest will take care of itself.

The logic has appeal. While Nathan’s sources are almost certainly wrong to suggest that the country’s senior leadership isn’t worried about addressing the political dimension of the protests, it makes sense to train attention and resources on fixing first what can be fixed easiest. Any capable government would be taking this approach.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Beijing misunderstands where the protesters’ rage is coming from. The country’s leadership probably knows all too well that the crisis is not going to be fixed with bread alone. But it also likely understands that without a commitment to deep socio-economic reform, no other grievances can be addressed in a sustainable way. Fixing the land issue is about much more than bringing down the cost of living. It’s about changing the way people live.

Continue reading Hong Kong gets reform agenda rolling

Shenzhen’s average salary exceeds RMB10,000

Shenzhen leads the country in average monthly salary levels, together with Beijing and Shanghai, which jumped nearly 8% YoY in Q1. The national average is RMB8,452, but Shenzhen’s is above RMB10,000. This compares with HK$16,892 for fresh graduates in Hong Kong. However, as any HR manager with experience will explain, once social-security costs are added in, those Shenzhen salary levels are much less competitive. 

The data comes from the country’s biggest online recruitment platform, Zhoapin.com. Its latest report shows that jobs with more than RMB8,000 monthly salary are 35.5% of all job opportunities, followed by RMB4,001-6,000 at 29.5%. Foreign-owned enterprises and listed companies are most generous, offering on average more than RMB9000 per month. 

Read more in Chinese. 

Wider, deeper opening pledged

Here comes the point again that we keep harping on about: While the U.S. is stuck on insisting that its economic reform demands be met before it will consider lifting its tariffs on Chinese goods, China is busy getting on with the business of Reform and Opening, Act II.

The National Development and Reform Commission announced today in Beijing that the country will remove all access restrictions on foreign investment in areas outside the “negative list” by the end of this year. The reason they are doing this, according to China Daily, is because it is part of the country’s overall effort to further open up the economy and pursue high-quality development (emphasis added).

“China welcomes foreign businesses to invest and develop in China. And we will continue to unswervingly expand opening up, create a more open and business-friendly environment and protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investment,” Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the NDRC, said.

That is not all. “Our negative lists will only be shortened further,” she added. “By the end of this year, China will lift all barriers to foreign investment not included on the negative list. And China will encourage more foreign investment in more fields, especially for the central and western regions.”

A negative list indicates areas where investment is prohibited, while all other areas are presumed to be open. The reality, however, is that many other areas have had a slew of other restrictions in place that effectively shut out foreign competition, and it is these areas where the barriers are coming down.

What does this mean for investors in the GBA? Perhaps rhetorical questions work best. Where do you suppose high-quality development is going to be pursued most vigorously? In the western and central regions, far from an integrated supply chain and the world’s busiest financial markets and ports? Or right here?

Read more.

Beijing backs HK for lead in aviation

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) says Hong Kong is a “very important location” for both the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area. Moreover, it is “fully behind Hong Kong taking a leading role as an air hub to help advance China’s ambitious global trade and infrastructure strategy,” the SCMP reported.

According to the SCMP, the CAAC’s deputy administrator, Dong Zhiyi, made the comment at the Aviation Silk Road International Conference currently taking place in Hong Kong. It follows an announcement yesterday by the Hong Kong International Airport’s chief, at the same conference, that HKIA aims to nearly double the number of remote check-in and bag-drop facilities in mainland cities to 29 over the next six years, to capture a greater share of cross-border air travel.

Hong Kong’s Finance Secretary, Paul Chan, was also in cheerleading mode for the city at the conference, saying that Hong Kong aims to keep its edge as a global aviation hub with its three-runway airport expansion project and through the “aerotropolis” initiative linking adjacent cities. Former Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, meanwhile, called for “more pilots and more routes” from the HKIA.

Such suggestions must have been music to the ears of Cathay Pacific Airways, which offered its own suggestions at the conference, including the need for relaxed boundary controls to allow the best use of existing infrastructure and to open up more airspace for civil aviation.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the airline was the subject of a glowing endorsement by the SCMP yesterday in an editorial, titled, “Hopes of Hong Kong also ride with Cathay Pacific”.