West China

Investing in China’s Future: The New Silk Road Economy

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By Matthew Zito

SHANGHAI – A report issued last week by the World Bank stating that China’s economy had grown much faster than previously anticipated caused some commotion among economic observers. While the significance of the report was somewhat exaggerated by its use of purchasing power parity (PPP) as its primary indicator, the news should nonetheless assuage doubts that China is on its way down. But where does the future of the Chinese economy lie? This article looks at some macro-scale trends in China’s investment environment to identify how foreign investors can get in on the ground floor of tomorrow’s opportunities. Continue reading…

China Regional Focus: Urumqi, Xinjiang

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Urumqi – Powering Western China’s Growth

By Lisa Quach

Nov. 18 – Located on the eastern frontier of Central Asia, Urumqi is the capital of China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Urumqi, which means “beautiful pasture” in Mongolian, is also the most remote city from any sea in the world. Despite this fact, the city thrived as a trading hub along the Silk Road during the Tang and Ming dynasties. Today, with its large coal reserves, strong transportation networks, and a burgeoning consumer class, the city has grown to become the center of industry, retail and commerce in Western China, as well as the regional trade hub for Central Asia. Continue reading…

China Proposes New Silk Road Free Trade Zone

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The Great Game Takes Another Twist in Central Asia

Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Sept. 17 – Chinese President Xi Jinping last week has been busy in Central Asia, on a trip that coincided with a meeting in Kyrgyzstan to attend the 13th summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). While many China observers concentrate on the nation’s political and trade dynamics with the United States and Europe, for me the key to really understanding China and its position in the world is how it is influencing, and being influenced by, countries closer to its borders i.e. Central Asia and the ASEAN bloc.

While on his Central Asian tour – which included visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan – Xi discussed the forming of an official “economic belt along the Silk Road,” stating that is was home to “close to 3 billion people and represents the biggest market in the world with unparalleled potential.” On the sidelines of the SCO Summit, Xi also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, indicating that the “Great Game” is now just between these two superpowers with Britain now long absent and the United States mainly bogged down in military adventures. Also intriguing was the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani; the mooted zone also includes Iran and thereby stretches all the way to the Caspian Sea. Continue reading…

New Issue of China Briefing: Sourcing from China

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Sourcing-from-ChinaJun. 3 – The new issue of China Briefing Magazine, titled Sourcing from China, is out now and will be temporarily available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore throughout the month of June.

While the United States and Europe continue to lead in the production of top-end manufacturing and smart technologies, China is slowly but surely climbing the technology ladder, and is actively trying to raise the human capital and managerial skills needed to lead such growth. Meanwhile, China continues to outpace competitors in the mass production of those basic, low value-added products necessary in the daily lives of people around the world. It has also managed to develop a fast and efficient national network of roads, railways, ports and airports coupled with a first-tier integrated logistics system. On top of these structural accomplishments, China has created a skilled workforce capable of producing anything an engineer can design, and a comprehensive supply chain that sources energy and raw materials from around the globe. Continue reading…

Utilizing Development Zones in China

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By Christian Fleming and Shirley Zhang

May 28 – Development zones are not a Chinese creation, but China in particular has found tremendous success with this economic tool. Historically, the liberal business environment in these areas have allowed foreign enterprises to operate more comfortably in the Chinese business environment, sheltered from the bureaucracy and red tape that often characterizes the rest of the country while at the same time such businesses could benefit from preferential policies, greater resource availability, and prime locations within regional hubs of creativity and innovation. Continue reading…

Picking China’s Middle Hanging Fruit – The New Inland Consumer

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Op-Ed Commentary: Chris Devonshire-Ellis

May 13 – Much commentary in the media has recently been focusing on the “China slowdown” and the impact of the country’s lower GDP growth figures going forward. In reality, measuring GDP growth is always a losing game, and not a particularly good indicator of how an economy is progressing. China has had tremendous GDP growth over the past 20 years, but it has always been inevitable that this growth would begin to slow at some point. A country cannot keep expanding its economy indefinitely at 10 percent a year, it is simply not possible. Accordingly, the naysayers over China’s future when it comes to measuring it purely in GDP growth terms are misled about what is really going on. Sure, the economy is slowing, but not all at the same time, and it doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad. Continue reading…

New Issue of Asia Briefing: An Introduction to Development Zones Across Asia

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Development-Zones-Across-Asia-cover-250May 10 – The new issue of Asia Briefing Magazine, titled An Introduction to Development Zones Across Asia, is out now and will be temporarily available as a complimentary PDF download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore throughout the months of May and June.

The use of development zones in their different guises has been an effective model essentially brought to prominence by China over the past 25 years to help both foreign investors and domestic companies meet in a relationship that provides tax advantages to both. Development zones typically permit the foreign investor to bring component parts into a country for assembly without having to pay import duties. Investors may then add in locally-sourced components, assemble the final product, and warehouse it all duty free before then having the option of exporting the finished product (collecting some VAT rebates on the locally sourced portion) or entering the domestic market with a product assembled at local labor costs. Continue reading…

China Regional Spotlight: Lanzhou, Gansu Province

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Lanzhou: Transportation and Logistics Hub for Northwest China

By Yao Lu

May 9 – Lanzhou, once known as the “Golden City,” has been an important regional commercial center and transportation hub since as early as the Han Dynasty. The city used to be a major link on the ancient Silk Road and has played a vital role in the cultural and economic exchange between China and countries to its west throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Today, Lanzhou is the capital of Gansu Province, covering an area of 1,631 square kilometers and home to approximately 3.14 million residents. Continue reading…

Asia Briefing Bookstore Catalogue 2013