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China

Macron Visits China in Bid for Greater Market Access

 2 min read / 

French President Emmanuel Macron has started a three-day state visit to Xian and Beijing to discuss trade, climate, North Korea and technology with President Xi Jinping.

In his first trip to Asia since winning office last year, Macron, 40, is seeking orders for Airbus SE as well as greater reciprocal market access, echoing President Donald Trump’s call last year.

Since taking office in May, he is determined for the Europe Union to strengthen its defenses in the face of U.S. and Chinese trade competition, saying the bloc must end its “naive” approach.

In a speech at the start of his tour in Xian, it is believed that Macron is likely to reference Xi’s lack of attempt to open China to foreign companies, a pursuit for a more economically sovereign Europe.

“The best Macron can do to help the European and French economies is to take Xi at his word on free trade and globalization and push relentlessly for more reciprocity,” said Francoise Nicolas, director of Asian studies at the Institute for Foreign Relations in Paris.

President Trump made similar demands during his own state visit to Beijing in November, leaving with few policy assurances. He is now counting on Europe to provide a united front against China on trade.

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China

China’s 2017 GDP Beat Estimates as Xi Announces Change

 1 min read / 

china gdp 2017

China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017, the fastest rate in two years.

For the fourth quarter, GDP grew by 6.8%, exceeding government expectations which had estimated a growth rate of 6.5%.

The announcement on Thursday comes at a time of great economic change for China. Following his re-election to a second term, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping announced plans to refocus future economic development in the PRC, with emphasis on industrial upgrading and environmental protection.

China’s rapid rise to the world’s second-biggest economy has been attributed to quantitative-focused government targets, like long-term GDP targets, which have led to higher industrial output year-on-year. However, officials are worried that continuing stimulus policies of this kind will become too aggressive, with projects that are unlikely to see any meaningful return.

Nevertheless, China is still expected to announce a high growth target at the 2018 annual session to be held in March.

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China

Tencent Targets Game Cheats

Tencent Cheats

Ahead of releasing PlayerUnknown in China, Tencent is cracking down on cheat software.  

Editor’s Remarks: The world’s largest video game company, Tencent, is collaborating with Chinese police to unearth criminal rings that make and sell programs that allow players to cheat. So far, there have been 30 such cases with over 120 people arrested and many doing jail time. PlayerUnknown has around 27 million users worldwide, and shattered video game records in 2017; around half of these users are in China despite the game not yet being officially released there. It is suspected that there are around 5m cheats on the game’s network – the majority of whom, it is believed, are also Chinese.

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Americas

Bitmain Considers Canada Move

Bitmain Canada

The Chinese bitcoin miner is looking to expand abroad and is eyeing up Canada.

Editor’s Remarks: Although Bitmain has not confirmed that it is seeking an overseas relocation because of China’s recent announcement that it will clamp down on cryptocurrency trading, it is unlikely to be a coincidence. Just a few days ago, the company said it had also opened a new branch in Switzerland, which would play an essential role in its further global expansion. Now, it has publicly said that it is considering an expansion to Canada’s Quebec region, which will give Bitmain access to cheap hydropower to power its mining operations, leading a number of crypto miners to move there.

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