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China’s acute water shortage imperils economic future

The bestiary beloved of China commentators and economists needs an addition to its black swans, grey rhinos, white elephants and the ‘tigers and flies’ targeted in the corruption war. Welcome to the Camel Economy, one that must adjust very rapidly to water scarcity. A crisis looms, with potentially far more serious economic, social and political consequences than demographics, debt and deleveraging.

China seeks to repeal term limit, opening way for Xi

David Cohen, a Beijing-based managing editor at consulting firm China Policy, said the decision to lift presidential term limits means the direction of policies will remain the same for the foreseeable future. 'China has been going for the last few years under Xi in the direction of increased party intervention in society and lower hopes for the rule of law,' Cohen said. 'This move signals that those whose opinion Xi has to care about are either happy about the direction Xi is taking things or have been effectively sidelined. Either way, things aren’t going to change.'

the end of e-commerce freedom?

The electronic commerce (e-commerce) market in China has been growing at an astonishing rate, however this market expansion has come at the expense of meaningful regulation. With an ever-increasing number of intellectual property infringements taking place, China is making an attempt to step up and reign in this industry. In this article, Helen Gao, legal analyst at China Policy, clarifies if this new law portends the end of ‘freewheeling days’ for e-commerce in China.

Chinas Bauern profitieren nicht vom Aufschwung

Although state media only report the program's major successes, it will remain a pilot project in the future, only covering a few areas around Beijing and Tianjin. For good reason, says Even Pay from Beijing research advisory China Policy. After all, it has only produced modest results: on the one hand it has provided many farmers urgently needed money for investments, but on the other hand the formalities are so complicated that several have already failed at the application process, criticises Pay. Moreover, banks lack the required knowledge to correctly assess the situation of farmers.

emboldened by a strengthening economy, China flexes its diplomatic muscles

Still, there is debate about the sustainability of China's economic growth and its capacity for global leadership, David Kelly, a director of research at the Beijing-based advisory firm China Policy, observes. "If you speed up very fast," Kelly says, "you find that you're up against a barrier of other powers bandwagoning against you" — resulting in diplomatic isolation. "The sustainability of wealth and power is very much up for debate," he says. Assumptions about China's future economic strength rest on the country's past success in meeting U.S. and European manufacturing needs of the 1990s and 2000s. In other words, "That growth was based on the world economy at that time," he says, "and it's no longer the same world economy."

trials in pharmaceutical innovation

A new and simplified approval process is making it easier for foreign firms to sell pharmaceuticals and medical devices in China. This is a shift from the country’s previous requirement for separate trials, which discouraged and delayed the launch of new products by foreign pharmaceutical firms on the Chinese market. To be eligible for faster pharmaceutical authorisation, foreign firms need to include Chinese people in their international multi-centre trials (IMCTs). Jeroen Groenewegen, Amy Mao and Xu Meiying from China Policy argue that this new trial system changes China’s research and development (R&D) system with it having better access to international clinical data, research facilities, testing populations and investment.

echoes of Mao: China Communist Party fawns over ‘Xi thought’

Xi is already expected to use the congress to stack the top echelons of party leadership with loyalists. But adding his name to the party's commandments would show that 'he has turned the page' on Chinese history, said David Kelly, director of research at Beijing-based consultancy China Policy. 'It's his assertion that "on my watch, we became a major power," which is something Mao could not claim,' he said.

revised subsidy to keep Chinese EV carmakers afloat

'The government decided to cut subsidies gradually to allow the industry to stand on its own, as it was heavily reliant on subsidies previously,' said Cao Nanxin, a senior industry analyst at research advisory China Policy, headquartered in Beijing. EVs are also part of a grander plan by China to burnish the image of “Made in China” and transform itself from a producer of cheap goods into an economy of value-added industries, Cao said.

at China’s Party Congress, all eyes will be on Xi Jinping

David Kelly, director of research at China Policy in Beijing, says Xi claims to have higher levels of support than even his predecessors. 'He (Mao) was important ... he was taken seriously, but China remained a client state of the Soviet Union. Perhaps you can say he was the leader of a developing country, but you could not say he was the leader of a major power as Xi is.'

thinking the unthinkable in China: abandoning North Korea

David Kelly, director of research at Beijing-based consultancy China Policy, said the thinking among Chinese academics was: 'We could do better without them, a unified Korea would be incredibly good for China, the northeast would boom'.

UBS report says Chinese unicorns are on the rise

Analyst Jeroen Groenewegen, with Beijing based research company China Policy, told The Australian that the core issue in assessing China’s likely success at innovation was “whether you believe such top-down planning can generate innovation, and if so, what kind”. The Chinese state is indeed investing heavily, both economically and politically, he said, and had been for more than a decade. Because its returns had been comparatively modest, he said, the state was adjusting its support to incentivise the kind of indices that UBS highlights in its report, especially patents, scientific publications and university programs.

China’s National Congress prepares to shuffle the deck in second-largest economy

China Policy's David Kelly, an Australian who has been observing Chinese politics for 40 years, says he no longer watches for factions but rather where people sit along an "axis of risk aversion", to guess who Xi will want to work with. Who in the party thinks China should push onto the world stage faster? Who wants a more cautious approach?