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China’s government sets growth target of at least 6%

China will slash taxes and boost lending

China will cut billions of dollars in taxes and fees, increase infrastructure investment, and step up lending to small firms, Premier Li Keqiang said Tuesday, as the world’s second-largest economy looks set to slow further this year.

The government aims to expand its economy by 6.0 to 6.5 percent in 2019, Li said at the opening of the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, less than the gross domestic product growth of 6.6 percent reported last year.

Sources said earlier this year that China would cut its 2019 growth target to 6.0 to 6.5 percent from the 2018 target of 6.5 percent amid growing economic headwinds.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp

U.S. and China said to appear close to deal to roll back tariffs

Formal trade deal could be sealed at a summit around March 27

The United States and China appear close to a deal that would roll back U.S. tariffs on at least $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, as Beijing makes pledges on structural economic changes and eliminates retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, a source briefed on negotiations said on Sunday.acebook would have various options to go to after the currency has been launched.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could seal a formal trade deal at a summit around March 27 given progress in talks between the two countries, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

https://www.reuters.com/

Huawei founder says Huawei CFO arrest was politically motivated

Huawei equipment could be used to spy on Americans

The U.S. Justice Department denied the charges were politically motivated. “The Justice Department’s criminal case against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is based solely on the evidence and the law. The Department pursues cases free of any political interference and follows the evidence and rule of law in pursuing criminal charges,” spokeswoman Nicole Navas said in an email to Reuters.
Huawei, along with another Chinese network equipment company, ZTE Corp, has been accused by the United States of working at the behest of the Chinese government. The United States has said their equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied the claims.

http://www.reuters.com

Tesla Gigafactory in Shangai To Be Complete In Summer Of 2019

10% of the total planned capacity of the plant

The breakneck pace of work at Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory continues with the announcement that the company has started an energy conservation assessment in cooperation with several governmental agencies. In a further update, Chinese media noted that the project would be completed in the summer of 2019.

The first phase of the Tesla Gigafactory in Shanghai is only an estimated 10% of the total planned capacity of the plant and will be producing the first cars by the end of this year.

The factory will produce Tesla’s smaller Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, launching with the Model 3 and starting production of Model Y essentially in parallel with production in the United States (at Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada).

http://www.cleantechnica.com

Apple iPhone sales in China fell by 20% in fourth quarter

Sales by Chinese rival Huawei soared by 23% 

Apple Inc iPhone sales in China fell 20 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2018, while sales for smartphones made by home-grown rival Huawei soared by 23 percent, data from industry research firm IDC showed on Monday.

The report is the first to put a firm number on the scale of a recent decline in Apple’s fortunes in the world’s second largest economy, after Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook pointed to China as a big factor in a rare cut in the company’s quarterly sales forecast last month.

http://www.reuters.com

The U.S. Just Charged Huawei With Stealing A T-Mobile Robot Idea

Arrest of executive Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Huawei founder

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei is facing charges of theft of American intellectual property.

It stands accused, amongst other charges, of stealing a novel idea from T-Mobile in 2012: a cellphone testing robot called Tappy. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Huawei even offered bonuses to employees who stole confidential information from rivals.

Following the arrest of executive Meng Wanzhou, who’s also the daughter of Huawei founder, in Canada, the U.S. was reportedly planning on upping the ante in its fight with the Chinese giant. It’s now landed its first blow.

Huawei hadn’t responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

http://forbes.com

Davos: Soros calls on the west to crack down on Chinese tech companies

Machine learning and artificial intelligence in the hands of repressive regimes

The billionaire philanthropist George Soros has delivered a stinging attack on China with a warning that Xi Jinping’s regime is using breakthroughs in machine learning and artificial intelligence to repress its people.

Soros used his annual dinner at the World Economic Forum to say Xi was the most dangerous opponent of open societies and to call on the west to crack down on Chinese tech companies that he said were being used as a means of authoritarian control.

“I want to call attention to the mortal danger facing open societies from the instruments of control that machine learning and artificial intelligence can put in the hands of repressive regimes. I’ll focus on China, where Xi Jinping wants a one-party state to reign supreme,” Soros said.

http://theguardian.com

At Davos, pessimism is dramatically rising among global CEOs

Record jump

Chief executives from the world’s leading companies have expressed a record jump in pessimism about global growth prospects, according to a PwC survey released alongside the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

The survey of 1,300 plus CEOs around the world revealed that nearly 30 percent of business leaders believe global growth will decline in the next 12 months, approximately six times the level of last year. The dramatic shift is coming off an extremely high base, however, with 2018 marking a record jump in confidence among corporate bosses.

The new risks this year are “the trade conflicts which are outside of their (CEOs) control per say, the policy issues when you think about the EU and Brexit and a combination of climate change and other aspects like that,” Bob Moritz, the global chairman of PwC, told CNBC Tuesday.

http://www.cnbc.com

China set to post slowest growth in 28 years in 2018

More stimulus seen

  • China is expected to report on Monday that economic growth cooled to its slowest in 28 years in 2018 amid weakening domestic demand and bruising U.S. tariffs, adding pressure on Beijing to roll out more support measures to avert a sharper slowdown.
  • Growing signs of weakness in China — which has generated nearly a third of global growth in the past decade — are stoking worries about risks to the world economy and are weighing on profits for firms ranging from Apple to big carmakers.
  • Analysts polled by Reuters expect the world’s second-largest economy to have grown 6.4 percent in the October-December quarter from a year earlier, slowing from the previous quarter’s 6.5 percent pace and matching levels last seen in early 2009 during the global financial crisis.

http://www.cnbc.com

Beijing is ready to dig in for a war of attrition with the United States on trade

The US government wants China to change practices

The Trump administration launched its biggest barrage of tariffs yet just as top executives and policymakers were gathering for the start of a World Economic Forum event in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin on Tuesday. China said later it would retaliate with more tariffs of its own. The trade war dominated discussions at the “summerDavos,” as the event is known, and few participants predicted a swift resolution to the conflict.

“China is growing concerned that the US motivation is now trying to keep China down and contain it,” said Timothy Stratford, a managing partner at law firm Covington & Burling in Beijing. “I expect that we’re going to have a deadlock for some time.”

The US government wants China to change practices that it says disadvantage American businesses, accusing Beijing of overseeing the theft of US intellectual property and boosting Chinese companies through aggressive industrial policies. The Chinese government dismisses the criticism as groundless, even though American and European firms operating in China frequently complain about the issues.

https://www.cnn.com/

China’s Annual Trade Surplus With U.S. Hits Record

China posted a trade surplus of $323.32 billion with the U.S. in 2018

China’s trade surplus with the U.S. hit a fresh record last year, as robust American demand for Chinese goods undercut the Trump administration’s tariff offensive aimed at narrowing the countries’ lopsided trade gap. China recorded $323.32 billion in surplus with the U.S. in 2018, representing a 17% jump from the figure in the previous year, according to Chinese government trade data released Monday.

Abetting the record imbalance were a healthy American economy and a weakening Chinese one, some economists and analysts said, which in turn fed U.S. demand for imports and damped demand in China. The Trump administration’s phased deadlines for tariffs, along with threats of more for this year, also sent Chinese exporters racing to fill orders, and a weakening Chinese currency kept the prices of those goods competitive.

https://www.wsj.com/

Chinese tech investors flee Silicon Valley

Trump tightens scrutiny

New Trump administration policies aimed at curbing China’s access to American innovation have all but halted Chinese investment in U.S. technology startups, as both investors and startup founders abandon deals amid scrutiny from Washington. Chinese venture funding in U.S. startups crested to a record $3 billion last year, according to New York economic research firm Rhodium Group, spurred by a rush of investors and tech companies scrambling to complete deals before a new regulatory regime was approved in August.

Since then, Chinese venture funding in U.S. startups has slowed to a trickle, Reuters interviews with more than 35 industry players show. U.S. President Donald Trump signed new legislation expanding the government’s ability to block foreign investment in U.S. companies, regardless of the investor’s country of origin. But Trump has been particularly vocal about stopping China from getting its hands on strategic U.S. technologies.

https://www.reuters.com/

Apple shares plunge

Tim Cook slashes revenue outlook, blaming China slowdown and trade

The company now expects revenue of about US$84 billion in the quarter ended December 29, chief executive Tim Cook said in a letter to investors Wednesday. Analysts had been forecasting US$91.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Apple shares fell 7.6 per cent in extended trading after the announcement.

https://cnbc.com/

White House wants to bar Huawei, ZTE purchases

U.S. companies will be barred to use telecom equipment made by Huawei and ZTE

President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the new year to declare a national emergency that would bar U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei and ZTE, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

It would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp, two of China’s biggest network equipment companies, out of the U.S. market.

The United States says the companies work at the behest of the Chinese government and that their equipment could be used to spy on Americans.

http://reuters.com