No. 27 | 21.11.2020

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership meeting of 15 Asia-Pacific countries [CGTN]

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15 Asia-Pacific countries sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest free trade agreement

New trade bloc represents ⅓ of the global population (2.26 billion) and GDP (US $26 trillion), lowers trade tariffs, eases restrictions on investment and travel and is seen as a victory for Chinese diplomacy

China’s State Grid pays US $3 billion to Spanish company for 96% stake in Chile’s Compañía General de Electricidad SA

Since 2010, the Chinese have increased their share of transmission and power generation in the region; State Grid invested US $12.4 billion in Brazil and owns CPFL Energia SA, the country’s largest electricity company

African traders in China face uncertain future as Alibaba gains greater ground in Africa’s e-commerce market (US $35 billion by 2024)

Despite migrating online and receiving Chinese state support, Africans connecting Chinese manufacturers to home markets see sharp drop in sales; by May,’s active users increased year-on-year (South Africa 130%, Egypt 100%)

Trump bans US capital investment in 31 Chinese companies that are allegedly controlled by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)

New sanction on companies like Huawei, China Telecom, China Mobile and Hikvision, effective on 1 November 2021, raises concerns about possible “disruptive actions” by Washington against China in the last weeks of Trump’s term

National Politics

Public healthcare proposals announced in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), highlighting prevention, elder care and traditional Chinese medicine

As part of the 2035 “healthy China” goal, basic medical insurance coverage reached 95% of the population (1.35 billion in 2020) and life expectancy increased from 76.3 to 77.3 years over last five years

Government cracks down on rise in illegal online gambling, reaching US $151 billion this year (US $2.7 billion in 2019)

Police arrested 60,000 people and investigated 1,700 online gambling sites using search engines (Baidu), social media (QQ, WeChat), e-commerce (Pinduoduo) and payment platforms (Alipay) to conduct illegal transactions


China’s economic performance in October exceeded expectations and fourth-quarter GDP is expected to surpass the third-quarter’s 4.9%

Industrial production rose 6.9% year-on-year, retail sales increased by 4.3% to reach US $585.8 billion and more than 10 million new jobs created in urban areas from January to October

In October, China’s foreign direct investment grew for the seventh consecutive month to US $12.4 billion, up 18.3% year-on-year

From January to October, FDI in the tech service sector grew by 27.8% and, despite tensions, US investment in mergers and acquisitions rose by 69% (to US $11.4 billion)

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Agriculture and Environment

New study quantifies carbon dioxide absorption from China’s two major forests (400 million tonnes), showing benefits of large-scale afforestation efforts

Southwest forest (YunnanGuizhouGuangxi) accounts for 31.5% of China’s carbon sink, in addition to combating desertification and soil erosion, and supports paper and timber industries

Shanghai will launch 13 pilot projects for high-quality urban agriculture, focusing on automated rice cultivation

Self-driving agricultural machinery saves 2 kg of seeds and increases yields by 150 kg/ha, lowers costs of fuel (-50%) and labor (-65%)

Anji, China’s first “national ecological county”, sets example for green growth with tea, bamboo and furniture industries, bringing in US $136 million in 2019

The Zhejiang province county closed 30+ polluting enterprises in 20 years, received “good” air quality rating 97.5% of the time (January-August 2020), and increased fiscal revenue eleven-fold since 2005

Science and Technology

High-tech company Tsinghua Unigroup leads effort to develop domestic semiconductors after sanctions against Huawei and SMIC

The Tsinghua University-controlled company (51%) is prioritizing flash memory and DRAM chips, essential for smartphone and computers; China planned for 40% self-sufficiency in chip production by 2020 but only reached 15.7% in 2019

Huawei sells Honor budget smartphone business to ensure survival of manufacturer amidst US sanctions

With over US $10 billion in revenue in five years, Honor accounted for 15% of China’s smartphone market in third-quarter and soon will be controlled by Shenzhen consortium, including SOEs, in deal worth US $15.1 billion

People’s Life and Culture

Third-generation wing chun masters carry on the ancient martial arts style popularized by Bruce Lee

Dating back to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Guangdong province, the kung fu style became an “intangible cultural heritage” in 2013 and is promoted overseas, with the 2018 competition drawing 1,000 athletes globally

National Art Museum exhibits work of 93-year-old, Gao Chao, who has painted Chinese peasant life for seven decades

Hailing from rural Hebei province, the “Chinese Pieter Bruegel” – in reference to Dutch painter – painted landscapes and ordinary people and contributed to national art education

“Moonlight hometown” by Gao Chao (高潮), 1984 []