No.37 | 30.01.2021

An indigenous Brazilian being vaccinated with Chinese Coronavac vaccine in state of Amazonas, Brazil, 19 January 2020 [AFP]

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President Xi Jinping warns against a “new cold war”, promoting multilateralism for Covid-19 and economic recovery in virtual Davos speech

World Economic Forum address outlined four major tasks of coordinated global macroeconomic policy, peaceful coexistence, North-South inequality gap reduction and global cooperation, while rejecting tactics to “isolate, intimidate, decouple and sanction”

China and Venezuela donate thousands of liters of oxygen to Brazil’s Amazon region where hospitals face a shortage crisis

The two countries were the only to send aid despite being political targets of President Bolsonaro; China authorized export of active ingredients to produce 8.6 million Coronavac vaccine doses in Brazil (10.8 million doses already available)

Despite trade tensions, Australia exported US $111 billion in goods to China in 2020, down only 2.16% from 2019 record high

In largest-ever monthly export, Australia shipped 600,000 tons of wheat (⅓ of total) to China in December, driven by large supply, export restrictions for leading exporter Russia and increasing Chinese demand; iron-ore export increased (+25%)

National Politics

For the first time, China’s central bank defines monopoly in e-payment sector, dominated by Alipay (55.4%) and WeChat Pay (38.5%)

Nonbank payments provider with half of market, or two companies with a combined two-thirds share, could be investigated; regulators aim to limit concentration of US $29 trillion e-payment market

President Xi pledges to deepen anti-corruption campaign in key state-backed areas, including financial sector, SOEs and law enforcement

161,500 corruption cases were processed (56,900 involving poverty relief) (Jan-Nov 2020), 18 centrally-administered officials investigated and 1,229 fugitives repatriated (2020), with intra-Party supervision and public oversight being prioritized


China becomes the world’s top destination for foreign direct investment (US $163 billion) in 2020, overtaking the US for the first time

While FDI in the US (US $134 billion) fell 49% and EU dropped 71%, China grew 4% and East Asia received ⅓ of global total; US giants (Walmart, Starbucks, Tesla, Disney) continue to invest heavily in China

Government seeks to stabilize real-estate prices as housing market warms (+15% year-on-year), stressing “homes are for living, not speculation”

“Three red lines” policy was implemented to limit bank lending to developers (29% of total bank loans in Q3) and weight of the sector in GDP (20-25% in Q3)”

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

China more than doubles production capacity of wind (+71.67GW) and solar (+48.2GW) energy in 2020

Commitment was made to increase non-fossil fuel sources (15% to 25% of total) and reach carbon emission peak by 2030, but also increased coal-fired plants (11GW completed, 53GW planned)

Science and Technology

Global chip shortage driven by pandemic demand and US sanctions could push prices up by 30% in 2021

Surge in smartphone and PC (+14.6%) demand – highest annual increase in 10 years – and sanctions against Huawei drove profits up 30% for leading chip producers SMIC and TSMC (Q2 and Q3, 2020)

People’s Life and Culture

China’s elders struggle to navigate an increasingly digital world, especially with mobile-based requirements during the pandemic

Public institutions are providing staff support, teaching courses and creating accessible apps for elders aged 60+ years, facilitating use of essential digital services for 90 million internet users (10.3% of total) and 157 million who have never had access

Smartphone training program for the elderly in Beijing, August 2018 [Huizhong Beili Community Center]