This episode covers the tourism data during the Dragon Boat Festival; Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s visit to German and France; profits of China’s larger industrial firms in the first five months of 2023; and heat waves putting pressure on China’s power supply. From the Chamber side, the latest issue of EURObiz on Environmental, Social and Governance or ESG is released and available to download.
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Dragon Boat Festival spending (in Chinese):
Li Qiang in France:
Industrial profits January-May (in Chinese):
Extreme weather conditions putting pressure on China’s power supply (in Chinese):
EURObiz May/June 2023:
RUI: Hello and welcome to China Shortcuts,
RUI: Data released on 24th June by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism showed a lopsided recovery of passenger flows and holiday consumption during the three-day long Dragon Boat Festival.
MARIANN: The number of passenger trips increased almost 13 per cent from the pre-pandemic level of the same period in 2019, showing that people around China were excited to travel again after COVID-related restrictions were lifted earlier this year. While many took advantage of the three-day long official holiday to travel, at the same time, tourism revenue was still about 5 per cent below the 2019 level, suggesting a weaker recovery in tourism-related consumption. This is in line with the broader picture, with several key economic indicators suggesting that sluggish consumer demand is a key factor in holding back the pace of economic recovery.
RUI: As part of his first official overseas trip since taking office in March, China’s Premier Li Qiang visited Germany and France and held meetings with political and business leaders in both countries.
MARIANN: On 21st June, the Chinese Premier attended a dinner with over one hundred representatives from Chinese and French business communities. In his speech he was alluding to the European Union’s ongoing discussions about ‘de-risking’ from China, when saying that interdependence is an inevitable result of economic globalization. He praised the mutual trust between China and France for enabling the two countries to focus on the opportunities for development in their interdependence rather than the risks. Li reiterated China’s commitment to opening up, and fostering a market-oriented, world-class business environment.
RUI: Cumulative profits of China’s larger industrial firms decreased 18.8 per cent in the first five months of 2023, with the rate of contraction narrowing slightly from the January-April period.
MARIANN: According to the data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on 28th June, from an ownership-composition perspective, private-owned enterprises recorded the steepest fall in profits in the first five months. Out of the 41 sectors surveyed by the bureau for the data collection, profits fell in 24, with only 14, including electric power and heat production and supply, as well as the equipment and car manufacturing industries registering an increase.
RUI: As heat waves have been sweeping through northern China since the beginning of June, there are growing concerns that with high temperatures expected to prevail, the pressure on China’s energy supply will continue to mount in the coming days.
MARIANN: Experts interviewed by Chinese media platform, The Paper warned that extreme weather conditions might again lead to energy shortages in the summer. Last year, Southwest China was affected by power shortages as Sichuan’s precipitation decreased significantly, and the sharp decline in water from major river basins caused a drop in hydropower generation output. As hydropower production in Southwest China provides 80 per cent of Sichuan’s power, as well as up to 10 per cent of combined power consumed by Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang, the problem of power shortages spread to several other regions. Some companies operating in the affected regions were asked to reduce their electricity use often at very short notice, which led to disruptions to normal operations. As extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent as a result of climate change, relevant authorities need to prepare in advance and create sustainable strategies that can be carried out in a coordinated and orderly manner to provide predictability for businesses.
RUI: Over the past decade, there has been an increased focus on environmental, social and governance or ESG issues, and the roles that they can and should play to improve living conditions, increase efficiency and generate sustainable incomes.
MARIANN: The May/June 2023 issue of the Chamber’s bimonthly magazine, EURObiz looks at why ESG is important for European business in China, and the areas in which opportunities for investment and engagement can be found.
RUI: Download the latest issue of EURObiz for free to find featured articles on the Chamber’s other recent publications as well.
MARIANN: Thanks for listening. Tune in again next week.
RUI: In the meantime, please find useful links in the episode notes.