Business & Finance
CKGSB Knowledge - China Business and Economy

CKGSB Knowledge - China Business and Economy

Summer 2020

CKGSB Knowledge is an English language business publication focused on China. It features original articles on business and economy in China, the evolution of “Made in China”, policy issues, the rise of Chinese companies, the emergence of Chinese multinationals, and foreign multinationals’ strategy and operations in China. It also features interviews with influential thought leaders and CEOs, both Chinese and global, on trending topics. CKGSB Knowledge provides a unique vantage point from which to discover the latest general and China-specific business trends. It also provides a matrix to understand how emerging markets are transforming the global business landscape.

United States
Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
pandemic fallout

With the effects of COVID-19 still not yet fully seen and relations between the world’s two largest economies—the United States and China—worsening, many things are hanging in the balance right now. This issue of CKGSB Knowledge addresses several economic and business trends that have been exacerbated by the virus crisis as we look toward the future and what it may bring. With economies around the world still very much challenged by the pandemic and many not able to meet their debt payment responsibilities, where does that leave China’s massive infrastructure project, the Belt and Road Initiative? “Ambitions Disrupted” (page 11) explores the future of the expansive plan. The countries of East Asia, however, appear to have found a way to flatten the curve of pandemic cases and deaths. Our cover story “Facing…

11 min.
misaligned expectations

The EU Chamber of Commerce in China, currently led by President Jörg Wuttke, was founded in 2000 by 51 member companies with a shared goal of establishing a common voice for European businesses operating in the country. It has now expanded to over 1,700 members with chapters active in nine cities across the country. The Advisory Council of the Chamber includes the CEOs and presidents of some of the largest EU companies with investments in China. Wuttke has also been the Chief Representative of German multinational chemical company BASF in Beijing since 1997. In May 2019, he was elected for a third term as the President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. Since 2019, he has been Vice Chairman of the CPCIF International Cooperation Committee, a group representing…

9 min.
ambitions disrupted

The Belt and Road Initiative is one of the biggest development projects in history, but the pandemic has had a huge impact on the economies of the countries involved in it Pakistan has long been the jewel in the Belt and Road Initiative’s crown with China infrastructure projects under construction spanning some 3,000 kilometers and expected to cost more than $62 billion. Then came the pandemic. Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to complete the flagship project, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), “at all costs” but in April Islamabad appealed to Beijing for debt relief and to relax the terms on loans worth $30 billion. Similar pleas have since echoed across the world, particularly from developing countries. To different extents, these countries have grown dependent on Chinese aid and loans and…

10 min.
smartphone dominance

Throughout the recent China-US trade war, one consumer electronics product has been conspicuously exempt from Washington’s tariffs: the smartphone. In many a tweet, US President Donald Trump threatened to slap 15% levies on Chinese-made handsets, but it never came to pass and was put to rest—at least for a while—with the signing of the phase-one trade deal in January. China has built up a remarkable dominance in the global smartphone market over the last decade, both in manufacturing and brands. But things may be changing Trump never pulled the trigger on smartphone tariffs because it would have had a significant impact on the price of most mobile phones sold in the United States. It would have particularly hit Apple, which has almost half of the US smartphone market and relies on Chinese…

7 min.
a balancing act

Hans Vriens has lived and worked in Asia since 1990 and is the founder and Managing Partner of Vriens & Partners, a leading government affairs, public policy and political risk analysis firm in South-East Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, the firm also has offices in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. Before establishing Vriens & Partners, Vriens was Vice Chairman, Asia, at management consulting company APCO Worldwide. He set up and served as Managing Director of the Indonesia practice for six years. Before that, he worked as a political economist at the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy in Hong Kong. He is a founding member of the Europe ASEAN Business Alliance as well as the founding chairman of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. In this interview Vriens explores…

9 min.
out of office

China’s commercial property market has been a huge winner over the past three decades, but have the virus, a slowing economy and changes in work culture created a turning point? In early February, as the Lunar New Year holiday drew to a close and COVID-19 infections in China surged, Winnie Li found herself an unwitting participant in the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. Li, a web developer at an e-commerce company in Shanghai, used to commute each day for up to an hour to her downtown office. Instead, she began clocking in at home. The experiment was not an immediate success. “For the first week or two it was truly challenging,” says Li. “There were many distractions… my sons, my parents and my husband, who also began working from home. But then I…