The Weekly Pigeon (September 30, 2018)

 

9-30 Brief

Can China be separated from global value chains?

Rising wages and the onset of recent tariffs slapped onto Chinese manufacturers by Trump have turned companies away from China towards safe havens in Southeast Asia and India, with foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia increasing by 11% in 2017. However, lack of infrastructure and immature logistics mean that for now, China’s manufacturing capabilities remain unrivaled. Meanwhile, Beijing’s Made in China 2025 strategy aims to conquer the electronic chip industry, where it still lags behind American and Korean giants Intel and Samsung.

Are autonomous vehicles set to take off in China?

Last week, the Beijing Municipal Government granted permission for street testing of autonomous vehicles to seven home-grown tech companies, including Internet giants Tencent and Baidu. While Chinese automakers have a lot to catch up on compared to their US counterparts, the shift of R&D to research centers in Silicon Valley have allowed them to announce their presence in the AI and autonomy market. Foreign companies including Germany’s Audi and BMW have conceded to using Chinese mapping and data providers in order to test in China.

What’s behind China’s “compromise” on religious authority?

Saturday’s announcement of a provisional deal between the Vatican and China for mutual recognition of legitimacy may bring the end to historically frosty relations, despite criticism that it represents compromise of morals to deal with an authoritarian government. Coinciding with the deal has been a harsh crackdown on religion, with the destruction of churches being heralded as the beginning of China’s “war on Christianity”. The government drive to “Sinicize” religion falls in line with the Vatican’s agreement to legitimize seven previously-excommunicated bishops appointed by the Chinese government.

 

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