No. 31 | 19.12.2020

Groundbreaking ceremony for Africa CDC headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 14 December 2020 [Michael Tewelde/Xinhua]

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Construction begins on the China-funded Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention headquarter (US $80 million) in Ethiopia, amidst US withdrawal

40,000m2 complex built and equipped by the Chinese government will include emergency operation centre, laboratory and data, resource, conference and training centres; construction of five additional regional CDCs set to begin

China funds US $4.7 billion railway revitalization project in Argentina, tripling its freight capacity (9 million tons/year) and promoting economic recovery

Three Chinese companies contribute to the 1,813 km project, which will generate 28,000 jobs in 13 provinces, reduce high freight costs and increase competitiveness of exports

Shifting trade and energy reliance from sea to land, China transfers its processing capacity to oil-producing partner Kazakhstan

Bilateral trade grew from 1992-2013 (US $368 million to $28.5 billion) until economic slowdown and Kazakh currency depreciation; since 2013, 56 Chinese-funded transfer projects (US $20 billion) were approved, with 11 in oil and gas

After being sanctioned by the US for alleged military ties, several Chinese stocks will be removed from major Western financial indexes

Huawei, SMIC, China Mobile, China Telecom and CCCC will be among the excluded companies from Nasdaq, S&P Dow Jones, FTSE Russell and MSCI indexes; as of September, foreign investors held US $420 billion in Chinese company shares


Between January and November, foreign investors acquired US $150 billion in Chinese stocks, currency and government bonds

China’s economic resilience during the pandemic drove growth in Shanghai (+27%) and Shenzhen (+59%) stock exchanges, surpassing New York’s; foreign direct investment in China reached US$ 137.3 billion (+6.3% year-on-year)

Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges to rank second and third in world’s top IPO exchanges in 2020, following Nasdaq

Shanghai and Shenzhen (ranked fifth) will register 383 new IPOs (US $70.4 billion, +82% year-on-year) and Hong Kong with 140 (US $50.3 billion, +24%), driven by homecoming of nine US-listed companies after threats of sanctions

National Politics

Government fines Alibaba and Tencent (US $76,000) for failing to notify authorities about acquisitions, signaling greater oversight of internet monopolies

Though unprecedented penalty is of negligible sums, recently approved laws allow for fines of up to 10% of revenues of internet companies, which must follow new regulations on data privacy, media activities and finance 

Chinese Football Association announces new rules for national league, restricting high spending and corporate influence

Salary caps will be reduced for Chinese (US $1.5 to $0.76 million/year) and foreign (from US $24 to $3.7 million/year) players, while ban on naming teams after corporations (Beijing Guoan, Guangzhou Evergrande, etc.) upsets fans and sponsors

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Agriculture and Environment

China’s grain reserves reach historic high with 2020 harvest of 670 million tons (up 0.9% year-on-year)

World’s largest grain producer saw fastest growth in soybean production (20 Mt, +8.3%), then rice (212 Mt, +1.1%) and wheat (134 Mt, +0.5%) as local governments increase support to ensure food security

Geological surveys contributed to poverty alleviation efforts by identifying opportunities for natural resource development, employment and disaster mitigation

Ministry of Natural Resources provided technical assistance for disaster prevention and identified 1,600 drinking water sources, 2,200 ecotourism sites, 420 mines and 1.53 million hectares of agricultural land

People’s Life and Culture

Group online buying grows among the elderly and in lower-tier cities, with half of grocery shopping expected to go online by 2025 (up from 20%)

Organized by community leaders during the pandemic, bulk purchasing reduces delivery costs and increases efficiency; online grocery shopping market to grow from US $61.2 billion to $147 billion (2019-23)

One of China’s most popular singers, Tan Weiwei, launches 3811 album on struggles and violence faced by women

Final track of 11-song album, Xiao Juan (“Pseudonym”) — name given by Chinese authorities to female victims of violent crimes — alludes to two recent real-life cases and triggered online discussion generating 320 million views

Tan Weiwei performing Xiao Juan (“Pseudonym”) song on violence against women, 2020 [Bilibili]