China Watching

A cura di Fabrizio Perretti

2020-09-21 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Great Race for a Vaccine that China Wants to Win

For more than a month the People’s Republic has not recorded any new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19;[1] schools and universities have reopened, and if we don’t consider the restrictions on entering the country and digital contact tracing,[2] everything seems to have returned to how it was prior to the pandemic. The Chinese economy was the first to breathe a sigh of relief, and the “Communist Party for the Chinese people, hit by the storm, has demonstrated the most reliable backbone,” President Xi Jinping declared last September 8, when he gave awards to the SARS-CoV-2 war heroes: ...

2020-09-01 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Pinduoduo: The New Chinese E-Commerce Giant

Colin Huang is not a name known outside of China. Yet he is the man who together with Jack Ma of Alibaba and Pony Ma of Tencent (and thus WeChat) is competing for the top spots among China’s millionaires. Born in 1980, Huang comes from a working-class family and grew up in the suburbs of Hangzhou, the city in Eastern China where Jack Ma is also from, and where Alibaba has its headquarters. The company Huang created in 2015, Pinduoduo, has exceeded the value of the oil giant Shell in just five years. It is an e-commerce platform that competes directly with Alibaba and JD, but that uses messaging ...

2020-07-09 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Solitude of the WHO

"They’re giving [the information] to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV," the Chinese state channel. This, according to Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Beijing. His words clearly describe the UN agency's frustration toward China at the beginning of January, with the attempt to scrape up the little information available on the new coronavirus, the one that has now infected almost 12 million people around the world, provoking over 550,000 deaths. This statement is part of an account by the United States news agency Associated Press[1] that confirms the ...

Palazzo del popolo_Pechino
2020-05-28 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Beijing’s Iron Fist

With a minute of silence and two months late, the lianghui began, literally the “two sessions.” This is the most important political appointment in the People’s Republic of China: almost five thousand government representatives arrive from all over China to “discuss” and ratify the budget and laws for the next year. The assembly takes place every March, but was postponed this year due to the pandemic. The members of the National People’s Congress, the body that comes closest to our Parliament, are all wearing masks. Only those in the first row have their faces uncovered. That is where ...

2020-05-04 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

China’s Difficult Phase 2

For Beijing, announcing the date of the only annual meeting of the National People’s Congress means affirming that the epidemic is under control. So when the date was officially set for May 22, after a delay of two and a half months, for many it was confirmation of a return to normalcy. People have in fact resumed taking public transportation and moving around the country, provided that the health code of the potential travellers - assigned by a complex algorithm that combines the medical history, travel, and contacts of each single citizen - is green. This system functions with at least a hundred ...

2020-03-25 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Mask Diplomacy

They are already calling it “mask diplomacy.”[1] Selling medical devices in the time of Covid-19 is highly profitable, and China is starting to convert its economy. In just one month, it has gone from 20 to 116 million masks a day. And that’s still not enough. The new business involves both state-owned companies and small factories, incentivized with subsidies and tax reductions, interest-free loans and preferential channels to obtain the necessary documents and approvals. The result? Sinopec, that we could define as a state-owned multinational in the petrochemical field, has inaugurated ...

2020-02-24 Emanuele C. Francia

The Chinese Model of Internationalization. The case of ChemChina-Pirelli

Despite a slowdown in direct investment in the past two years, China's international expansion activities will continue at a strong pace[1] due to both the activism of large Chinese groups (that are often state-controlled), and due to the effect of the super-ambitious plan renamed the BRI-Belt and Road Initiative (or the "New Silk Road"). This advance is often perceived by foreign companies and their managers as a true attack on their economic system. In that regard, it is proper to ask whether this represents only a threat, or whether opportunities exist as well. The Chinese economic system is ...

2020-02-12 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Le conseguenze economiche del coronavirus

«Se la Cina starnutisce, l’economia globale si raffredda», si diceva ai tempi di Napoleone. E ora, di fronte a un’epidemia che la Repubblica popolare cinese sta cercando di combattere limitando al massimo gli spostamenti di 1,4 miliardi di persone, il mondo intero è con il fiato sospeso. I numeri di contagi e decessi hanno superato quelli dei nove mesi che tra il 2002 e il 2003 sconvolsero l’Asia orientale con l’epidemia di Sars (1). Si cerca di fare paragoni, ma allora la Cina era appena entrata nel WTO, oggi è la seconda economia del mondo, ovvero vale un sesto del PIL globale. Da ...

2020-02-12 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

The Economic Consequences of the Coronavirus

"When China sneezes, the global economy catches a cold," it was said in Napoleon's time. And now, faced with a epidemic that the People's Republic of China is attempting fight by limiting the movements of 1.4 billion people as much as possible, the entire world is waiting with bated breath. The numbers of people infected and deaths have exceeded those of the nine months that between 2002 and 2003 shook East Asia with the SARS epidemic (1). People try to make comparisons today, but at the time China had just joined the WTO, while today it is the second largest economy in the world, representing ...

2020-01-29 Cecilia Attanasio Ghezzi

Coronavirus: quello che Pechino non racconta

Quasi tremila contagi in 16 Paesi e oltre 80 decessi (1). 16 città in quarantena, per un totale di circa 56 milioni di persone bloccate (poco meno del totale della popolazione italiana per dare un’idea). Da Wuhan lamentano supermercati vuoti (2), prezzi al dettaglio triplicati, mascherine e disinfettanti ormai introvabili, ospedali affollatissimi (3), letti e personale medico carente. E mentre la tv di Stato santifica la figura di Liang Wudong, medico in pensione richiamato per affrontare l'emergenza, contagiato dal virus e deceduto «sul campo», i social sono pieni di video di cittadini in ...