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HKET: China Smartphone Market Suffered Largest Quarterly Setback in History

Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), the leading financial daily in Hong Kong, recently reported that the Mainland’s first quarter smartphone sales suffered a year-over-year decline of 21 percent. Total smartphone handset volume dropped below 100 million to 91 million. This was the lowest point since 2013 and was the biggest quarterly decline in history. With the exception of Huawei and Xiaomi, all smartphone vendors saw a sales decline. Apple iPhone’s sales ranking fell out of the top-four list. At this point, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi – all are domestic manufacturers – lead China’s smartphone market. The top-four occupy 73 percent of the Chinese Mainland market. Analysts expressed the belief that Apple’s lack of innovation (except for the iPhone X) and high price were the reasons for its loss. In the past two quarters, China’s smartphone market had already suffered a decline. Most of the consumers in the market have completed the conversion from basic phone to smartphone. As the quality and lifespan of a smartphone improve, customers have less of an interest in switching to a handset.

Source: Hong Kong Economic Times, April 27, 2018

Samsung Intends to Expand in Vietnam

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase recently reported that Samsung’s CEO Koh Dong-jin told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of his intent to expand the scale of Samsung’s manufacturing in Vietnam. Samsung is Vietnam’s largest foreign investor. In 2017, Samsung Vietnam achieved US$54 billion in exports for Vietnam. This amounted to one quarter of the nation’s total export income. According to the Vietnamese government, Samsung has established eight manufacturing factories and one research and development (R&D) center in Vietnam. The total investment from Samsung has reached US$17.3 billion. Vietnam is now Samsung’s largest smartphone manufacturing base. Prime Minister Nguyen also assured Koh with his promise of providing Samsung with the best investment environment for growth. Samsung currently has plans to hire more local Vietnamese workers in Northern Vietnam. Not long ago, Samsung completely closed down its Shenzhen branch in China.

Source: NetEase, April 21, 2018

Samsung and LG Plan to Close Their LCD TV Factories in China

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according to South Korean media news, more early signs of the negative impact of the China-US trade war are emerging. Two large South Korean technology companies, Samsung and LG, are planning to close their LCD TV factories located in China, where their 40- and 50-inch LCD TV sets were manufactured for the U.S. market. The announced U.S. tariff on Chinese TVs will leave the two companies with no profit, or they may even suffer a loss. Insider sources said the two companies have almost reached final decisions on this plan. After the closures, the South Koreans will establish new factories elsewhere, such as Mexico. LG is constructing new factories in the United States too. TV sets made in China hold ten percent of the total TV output of these two companies. A Samsung official commented that, with a 25 percent tariff, there would be no way to continue production without a loss.

Source: Sina, April 16, 2018

Options for Manufactures in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone if the Trade War were to Begin

According to an article Hong Kong Economic Times published, if the trade war between U.S. and China were to begin, manufacturers in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone might be looking at the following options. The first option is to relocate their production line or setup a warehouse in Malaysia, Vietnam, or Thailand, to avoid increases in the tariff. The second option is to forge a fake product bar code or change the country of origin to countries such as Mexico but there will be legal consequences with this approach. The third option is just close the door. The manufactures who make common products such as light bulbs or LED flat panels would face greater risks of closing the door. The last option is to pass the increase to the consumers in the U.S. who will end up paying an extra 30 to 35 percent. Currently, the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone produces 25 percent of the export volume in China. The article stated that companies in the zone will face the largest threat of survival if the U.S. and China trade war were to begin.

Source: Hong Kong Economic Times, April 16, 2018珠三角恐成貿戰「焦土」%20廠商只有三條路走?

RCI Chinese: China is Strongly Against Adding Labor Protection into FTA

Radio Canada International (RCI), Chinese Edition, recently reported that Lu Shaye, China’s Ambassador to Canada, said China stood strongly against the Canadian idea of adding any conditions to protect labor to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Canada. Lu also commented that Canada’s position in NAFTA to protect Mexican workers could also result in increased unemployment in Mexico. Due to the fact that Canada asked conditions be added, such as environmental protection, equality of men and women, as well as labor rights protections, the negotiation of a Free Trade Agreement between China and Canada remains highly uncertain. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could not convince the Chinese leadership to accept these protections. Lu also called for a “fair Canadian position” on the U.S.-China trade war. For decades, the Chinese Communist Party has claimed to represent the best interest of the Chinese workers, against capitalism.

Source: Radio Canada International, April 10, 2018


China Uses 15 to 17 Percent of GDP to Pay Interest Each Year

According to an article the Jing Rong Jie (Financial World) website published, during the Tenth Chinese Mulan (Women) Entrepreneur Annual Conference held on April 14 in Beijing, Mao Zhenhua, the Founder and Chairman of China Chengxin Credit Management Company gave a speech in which he stated that, each year, China spends 15 to 17 percent of its GDP to make its interest payments. It is therefore facing an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. As a result, financial risk prevention has become the top priority for the country to deal with. According to Mao, with the large amount of capital injection following the 2008 world financial crisis as well as the country’s strong economic growth policy, China has emerged as the world’s economic power. However, China has also become the country that prints the most money in the world. Almost all the companies in China suffer from a huge amount of debt. Meanwhile China has surplus production and faces the issue that the supply is greater than the demand, as well as the issue of the price level of its stock and its real estate is too high. All of these have created an economic bubble that could lead to a financial crisis and therefore, in 2017, the government took tighter control of the economy. This control is expected to continue over the next few years.

Source: Jing Rong Jie, April 14, 2018

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