No. 63 | 14.08.2021


Over 30 major business organizations appeal to Biden against tariffs on imports from China (US $550 billion/year), which have fueled US inflation

With imports from China equivalent to ¼ of US manufacturing output (US $2.4 trillion), ending the 20% tariff applied to half of imports from China could reduce durable goods cost by 2% in the US

Science and Technology

Chinese companies and mobile payment apps boost Africa’s fintech sector, serving populations without access to formal banking

Offering insurance, loans, funeral cover, and remittances on e-banking apps compatible with non-smartphones on 2G networks, hundreds of locally and foreign-funded fintech companies serve unbanked Africans; Huawei powers TeleBirr (Ethiopia) and M-Pesa (Kenya), which transacts more than most banks

National Politics

Alibaba Group will lose tax breaks given to high-tech companies, adding US $1.7 billion to its taxes this fiscal year

Key enterprises pay less taxes (10-15%) than the country’s average (25%); China’s top e-commerce platform warned investors that its total tax burden will increase (from 18% to 23-25%), amid government’s targeted suspension of the sector’s tax benefits

Government issues national fitness plan to promote public health, driving sports industry to US$773 billion by 2025 (+72% from 2019)

Plan includes creating 2,000 fitness venues within 15-minutes walking distance, making a sports instructor available for every 500 residents, and ensuring 38.5% of people exercise regularly, with two hours/day of sports for students

Agriculture and Environment

Record algae bloom covers 60,594 km2 of Shandong’s coast, diminishing oxygen levels essential for marine life

Believed to originate from neighboring Jiangsu’s seaweed farms – which expanded from 29,751 to 102,961 acres (2004-19) – Qingdao’s government has deployed 12,686 vessels to collect what could total one million tonnes of Ulva prolifera


China’s industrial production increased from 2.7% to 25.4% of global total (1990-2020), totaling US $4.8 trillion in 2020

China’s manufacturing surpasses the US, Germany, and Japan’s combined; China leads in high-tech exports (US $715.8 billion) – followed by the US (US $156.1 billion) – but still relies on imported strategic inputs, such as chips

China’s 2020 household debt hits record high, reaching 130.9% of disposable income and hurting domestic consumption growth

In June 2020, credit cards bills over six months overdue totaled US $13.1 billion, ten times more than a decade earlier, with total household debt equivalent to 62% of GDP

People’s Life and Culture

China’s competitive, test-oriented education system fueled for-profit tutoring industry boom (2010-18) reinforcing social classes

Due to pressures on only-children to “get ahead”, over 30% of primary and middle schoolers participated in extracurricular classes in 2018, doubling parents’ spending (US $51 billion) since 2016; experts warn industry overhaul could result in underground tutoring

China’s elderly who use the internet are happier, using digital tools to maintain relationships and access services

Rather than being “digital refugees”, Tsinghua research of 200 elderly (2018-20) found higher levels of happiness for those online, using technology to create relationships that mirror close-knit rural society; online scams and fake news are common problems

Women fill labor shortages in construction and transportation sectors, spurred by China’s declining working-age population and new rural revitalization initiatives

In 2018, 9.5 million women worked in construction, comprising 14% of construction workers (from 10%, 2014); in some projects, ⅓ of city construction workers are women (from near-zero in 1980s), despite gender wage gap

Women maintenance road workers in Beijing, 2016 [Xinhua/Li Xin]

Subscribe to News on China. The digest is published every Saturday in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Read the News on China: Africa Weekly in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Follow our social media channels: