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November, 2013

  • disputed islands

    Earlier this week China asserted her territorial control in the region by identifying an air defence identification zone over what she claims is her space. Not unusual for a nation to otherwise do so, what Beijing probably didn’t expect was an international outcry over what she maintained as her territory which included the disputed Diaoyu islands.

    Many nations including Japan and South Korea have maintained  an air defence identification zone since several decades, wherein non commercial flights have to identify themselves, their nationality, purpose and destination if flying over the a particular nations ADIZ. Therefore not completely out of bounds in marking the ADIZ, China brewed up the perfect diplomatic storm.

    Even as American, South Korean and Japanese warplanes asserted their prowess by flying over the region without informing Beijing, local publications shook their heads at Beijing’s mild respons to what was seen as a sign – both domestically and internationally of her powers of assertion in the region. The nationalistic tabloid the Global Times said in a Thursday editorial that China “failed in offering a timely and ideal response” and risked “undermin[ing] the image of our military forces”. “Chinese authorities must make speedy reactions to various emergencies and challenges,” the editorial added.

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  • A baby is carried in a basket on her mother's back on a street in Beijing, ChinaStock markets in Hong Kong and Shanghai jumped to a two and a half year high on news that China will be amending her one child policy, abolishing labour camps, and tweaking  land, market, financial and social welfare reforms. The changes announced as part of Beijing’s third Plenum reforms are expected to be a precursor of the good times ahead. Much needed changes, announced at a time when the initial reforms disappointed China watchers, the more recent reforms seek to bail China out of her doldrums and escalate her progress. As a sign of what the people felt – the Chinese stock market which has been one of the worst-performing world markets over the last three years or so with valuations remaining at a substantial discount to global and emerging market peers, is now expected to witness a soaring streak especially in baby and consumer products.

    The third Plenum, expected to set the economic vision for China’s next decade was watched eagerly by all with a stake in the nation. Expected to not only alter the fortunes of the billion plus people within Chinese territory, but more than half the world, the reforms announced at the end of the three day session, just before the weekend threw everyone in a tizzy. Having just digested the news, here is a brief of the five major reforms expected and their impact on domestic, Indian and International markets.

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  • cpc-meetingChina’s new Premier Xi Jinping is taking a bold step towards reforms within the Middle Kingdom. The newly crowned Premier announced a shift towards a more market driven economy during the Central Committee’s Third Plenary session held from 9th – 12th November. Getting the ball rolling for economic liberalization the highlights of Premier Xi’s  policy blueprint, included calls to “encourage, support and guide” the private sector, minimise investment restrictions, add greater rights for farmers and a more transparent system for local and national government taxing and spending. The communiqué or  ‘Master Economic Plan’ released on Wednesday will be China’s economic blueprint for the next decade.

    Seven plenary sessions of the party’s Central Committee are usually held during the five-year term of each party Congress with the Third Plenum focusing mainly on the economy. In 1978, the 11th CPC Central Committee, presided over by Deng Xiaoping opened up the Chinese economy and empowered state owned enterprises in the 1980’s which fueled China’s meteoric growth over the last three decades. Now its Xi Jinping’s turn to address some of the strategic shifts in China’s economy. This session is expected to enable the people to discern the degree of economic liberalisation proposed within the tough political regime now being imposed. By giving private companies and entrepreneurs a chance to shine will increase competition in the domestic market, streamlining investments and creating a more transparent banking, taxing and spending environment will invite confidence in her people and giving greater rights to her farmers will lead to setting right the social odometer. Yet, while nobody’s disputing the necessity of these changes, analysts are keen to see how these plans will be laid out over the next seven years or by 2020, the CPC’s target year. Read more

  • online-shoppingThe internet is greatly transforming the way young Chinese and Indians consume products, view entertainment and gain information. While China has long since triumphed the US in the number of internet users, India is estimated to overpar the United States to the number 2 slot worldwide by next summer. According to a report released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) and IMRB, China currently has 300 million active internet users, the US has an estimated 207 million internet users and India will have 243 million internet users in the country by June 2014.

    With internet penetration driven largely by mobile phones, connectivity is changing the way the youth in China and India behave, react and feel. Besides flattening the world, being connected allows consumers to purchase products from the comfort of their own bedrooms, altering the retail industry. On Monday, the 11th of November, also China’s singles day, the country’s biggest online shopping company Alibaba processed more than US$5.75 billion in its online payments system — a record for a single day anywhere in the world, surpassing by two and a half times the total for American retailers last year on so-called Cyber Monday. Alibaba also reported Monday that it had 402 million unique visitors to its sites — more than a third of the adult population in China — and prepared 152 million parcels for shipping.

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