China Policy and Asia Society Australia team up to focus on China’s shifting healthcare priorities as its population ages and the nation grapples with a tangled security web. Our seventh China Executive Briefing maps Beijing’s pivot to home-grown drugs and R&D that underpins a ‘New Era’ of health and aged care.
An emergency blanket ban on all trade in exotic animals, made as Wuhan went into lockdown in 2020, shook up an industry worth C¥520 billion, employing over 14 million people. Since the initial blanket ban, robust legislation has been enacted, laying the groundwork for resuming trade in captive-bred exotic animals. Yet penalties for wild animal trafficking appear softened in some cases.
Under review for two years, an amended AML (Anti-monopoly Law) was passed on 24 June 2022. Finessing the crackdown on tech giants, it comes into effect on 1 August. The Ant Group IPO saga in November 2020 heralded a shock anti-monopoly campaign upstaging the legislation. The amended law, not quite the supervisory storm expected, defines fresh criteria and sketches a line under a devastating political chapter.
A much-touted success story in the saga of PRC rural development, e-commerce boosts trade both from and to rural communities. It promises to broaden markets for ag foods, cutting out intermediaries and raising local incomes that can then buy manufactured goods, delivered to rural doors, from anywhere in the country. But lack of profit from online sales is cause for disillusionment.
With a global food crisis threatening, Beijing is suddenly fast-tracking domestic GMO production. In the too-hard basket for over a decade and a half, GMO approvals have had a dream run in recent months with national standards for corn and soybean finalised in June. The summer harvest is underway nationwide, but global and domestic supplies are tight.
Outrage has spread nationwide from a scandal in Henan. Local officials there exploited personal COVID QR health codes, blocking bank customers from travelling to protest a freeze on their deposits. The officials were reprimanded by Beijing, who, fearing a trust crisis, launched investigations. Concerns over bank stability will add another negative factor to consumer confidence.
After months of staggered lockdowns, Shanghai is struggling to resume normal life. The city is rolling out a 50-point ‘Action Plan for Speeding Up Economic Recovery and Revitalisation’. Accompanying measures to support the return to work and fire-up production emerged from the municipal government in early June 2022. Luring non-Shanghai hukou holders to start careers in Shanghai was an action item.
Recent incidents shine an unwelcome spotlight on ‘new style grassroots management’. Debate on the underlying model, launched in 2012 nationwide, has been constant. Excelling at ‘control’, its critics say it falls short in providing other benefits to the public. Authorities and academic experts had high hopes for its explicit mission: reconfiguring state/society relations to achieve ‘service-oriented’ governance.
Reaching carbon neutrality by 2060 requires hundreds of GW of storage for renewables. But the fast-moving energy sector leaves storage tech in its wake, a major headache for planners. Beyond the steep tech frontier, limited incentives hinder progress. Seeking a solution, the National Development and Reform Commission and National Energy Administration, are opening storage tech to market forces.
The PRC is far from self-sufficient in bulk commodities, least of all soybean, corn, canola and barley. Today it is the world’s largest grain importer, much to Beijing’s discomfort. Not long ago, Beijing claimed to be planning for sustainable domestic ag production over the long term, while it took advantage of the price and quality of abundant ag commodities on international markets. But global politics changed.
The real estate sector—and the wider economy—is still reeling from COVID outbreaks in H1 2022. Its vital signs contracted as sales offices shut. Unhappily, COVID is not the only headwind. A perfect storm of building cycles, long-term demographic change and state regulation play into the current crisis. Credit clamps on developers shook market expectations in 2021, weakening consumer confidence and thus sales.
As COVID’s economic fallout mounts, supply chain snarls worsen. Among the hardest hit are industries relying on far-flung logistics networks, above all auto, electronic, chemical and medical manufacturing and others, concentrated in the Yangtze Delta. Protecting supply chains is again policy front and centre.