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China’s industrial output, retail sales in May beat expectations, but ‘difficulties and challenges’ remain

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China’s major economic indicators for May improved marginally and beat market expectations, with signs of good recovery momentum and that the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being gradually overcome, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The country’s industrial output increased 0.7 percent year on year in May, picking up from a decline of 2.9 percent in April, NBS data showed on Wednesday. The reading beat Reuters’ expectation of a 0.7-percent drop.

The NBS data also showed that retail sales last month shrank 6.7 percent from a year ago, less than the expected 7.1-percent decline by Reuters. In April, the figure slumped 11.1 percent from a year earlier.

Fixed asset investment rose 6.2 percent year on year in the first five months, compared with growth of 6.8 percent in January-April, according to the NBS. It was above a gain of 6 percent expected by Reuters.

“As expected, growth of activity indicators broadly improved from April,” Lu Ting, chief China economist of Nomura said, attributing the improvement to the easing of COVID-19 control measures in some regions in late May.

China’s exports rebounded and grew at a double-digit pace in May, shattering expectations and adding to signs that China’s economy is recovering from COVID-19 outbreaks as factories restarted and logistics snags eased in Shanghai, customs data showed last week.

The country’s exports rose 16.9 percent in May year on year in dollar terms, accelerating from April’s 3.9-percent increase, according to the General Administration of Customs. It was the fastest growth since January and beat the Reuters forecast of an 8-percent gain.

Dollar-denominated imports also expanded for the first time in three months, rising 4.1 percent in May from a year ago and above the flat growth in April and Reuters’ expectation of a 2-percent increase.

Read more:

China’s exports surge to double-digit pace in May, beat forecast

The economy “showed a good momentum of recovery” in May, “with negative effects from COVID-19 pandemic gradually overcome and major indicators improved marginally,” the NBS said in a statement.

“However, we must be aware that the international environment is to be even more complicated and grim, and the domestic economy is still facing difficulties and challenges for recovery,” the agency said.

NBS data showed that the surveyed urban unemployment rate lowered to 5.9 percent in May from 6.1 percent in April, while the unemployment rate for people aged between 25 and 59, the majority of the labor market, stood at 5.1 percent.

“Growth has bottomed, the recovery just started,” Robin Xing, Morgan Stanley’s chief China economist, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. “It’s still a very incomplete and bumpy recovery, but we have seen the worst.”

The economy is expected to improve further in June and achieve “reasonable” growth in the second quarter if COVID-19 outbreaks are controlled, Fu Linghui, a spokesman for the NBS, told a press conference on Wednesday.

The People’s Bank of China on Wednesday left its key policy interest rates unchanged after lowering benchmark lending rates in May to prop up the economy. The rate on the one-year medium-term lending facility was kept unchanged at 2.85 percent, in line with most forecasts.

Chinese stocks performed best in Asia on Wednesday, with the benchmark CSI 300 Index going up 1.8 percent before the lunch break and climbing further over 2.6 percent as of 2:00 p.m. Beijing Time.

Source: CGTN 

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Samsung starts mass production of advanced 3-nanometre chips

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The new chips will be more powerful and efficient and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.

Samsung Electronics has become the first chipmaker in the world to mass-produce advanced 3-nanometre microchips as it seeks to catch up with Taiwan’s TSMC.

“Compared to 5nm process, the first-generation 3nm process can reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent, improve performance by 23 percent and reduce area by 16 percent,” Samsung said in a statement on Thursday.

The South Korean conglomerate last month announced a five-year plan to invest 450 trillion won (US$356 billion), saying it would “bring forward the mass production of chips based on the 3-nanometre process”.

The vast majority of the world’s most advanced microchips are made by just two companies – Samsung and Taiwan’s TSMC – both of which are running at full capacity to alleviate a global shortage.

READ MORE: Samsung’s blueprint features $356B investment, 80,000 jobs

Smaller, more powerful

The new chips will be smaller, more powerful and efficient, and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.

Samsung is the market leader in memory chips but it has been scrambling to catch up with TSMC in the advanced foundry business.

TSMC dominates more than half of the global foundry market, with clients including Apple and Qualcomm, while Samsung trails with around 16 percent market share, according to TrendForce.

TSMC plans to begin volume production of 3-nanometre technology in the second half of this year, and entered the development stage of 2-nanometre technology last year, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.

READ MORE: Apple becomes first US company to hit $3 trillion market cap

Source: TRT

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China’s market regulator proposes new rules to better implement revised antitrust law

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China’s market watchdog, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), on Monday proposed new rules to better implement the recently revised antitrust law.

Nearly 14 years after its current Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) came into effect, China passed a revised version on Friday, which will come into effect on August 1.

Read more: China’s efforts to protect competition in the latest anti-monopoly law

Besides slightly amending some current rules, the SAMR added several new ones in the draft, covering descriptions of what deals could be perceived as monopolistic to regulations governing how local authorities with the power to restrict competition should behave. The regulator is seeking public comment for its proposals before July 27.

One of the new rules defined the behavioral method of leveraging digital means, including data and algorithms, technology, capital advantages and platform rules, for reaching a monopoly deal.

The rule will allow better adaptation to the needs of anti-monopoly supervision in the context of the digital economy, regulate relevant competition behaviors, and promote healthy economic development, the SMAR said.

Echoing the new AML, the draft also stipulated a safe-harbor rule clarifying specific standards and procedures to provide more certain compliance guidelines and a more predictable environment for business operators, the SAMR said.

In the antitrust law amendment, it added a safe-harbor rule to vertical monopoly behavior stipulating the law shall not prohibit market operators that can prove their market share is lower than the standard set by the anti-monopoly law-enforcement agency.

Chinese regulators began cracking down on monopolies in late 2020 in multiple industries to prevent the disorderly expansion of capital and foster fair competition. E-commerce firm Alibaba Group was fined a record 18.2 billion yuan ($2.78 billion) for violating anti-monopoly laws, while the food-delivery platform Meituan was penalized 3.442 billion yuan for abusing its market dominance.

As the revised AML increased penalty fines putting fresh emphasis on the digital economy, the cost of illegality to enterprises will be greatly increased, and enterprises will also face greater compliance tests, Beijing-based law firm JT&N said on Saturday.

Source: CGTN

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Floating city agreement revised for residential real estate

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The Government of the Maldives has revealed that the agreement for The Floating City Project was revised to pave the way for the development of residential real estate.

The floating city is being developed in a lagoon near Aarah, Kaafu Atoll. The lagoon was previously leased under the resort development model. However, the agreement with the contractor Dutch Docklands has been revised to change the development model to an Integrated Tourism Development Model.

The revised agreement was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and contractor Dutch Docklands on June 23. Upon the change to the Integrated Tourism Development Model, the contractor has paid a transfer fee of USD1 million to the state for the lagoon.

The government stated that the previous lease agreement did not allow the development of residential real estate and that the Integrated Tourism Development Model will pave the way for the development of housing units under the project.

Five lagoons have been leased to Dutch Docklands for the project, two of which have been re-leased to another company by the contractor. The government stated that the revised agreement allows the development of one of the lagoons and that no change has been made to the deadline for the completion of the project.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Tourism Dr. Abdulla Mausoom said the government is working on diversifying the tourism industry by introducing different concepts of tourism development. He said that The Floating City Project has raised the profile of the Maldives in the global media, and that government has received proposals to develop floating guesthouses. He added that the Maldives is open to any investments and concepts that are beneficial to the country.

Also at the ceremony, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dutch Docklands Paul Van de Camp said the floating city concept is different from the one agreed upon with the earlier administration in 2010 and that he expects the revised project will help solve the housing crisis in the Maldives. He noted that previous discussions involved pricing housing units at USD250,000 but assured that the housing units developed under this project would be affordable. He also said that the floating city will be open for public viewing in August and that a large part of the structure has been completed in Thilafushi and will be assembled at Lagoon-7 near Aarah. He said the biggest challenge is logistical issues pertaining to the transport of 1,400 containers to the Maldives.

The Floating City project is the first of its kind to ever be developed in the world. The city will span a lagoon of 200 hectares, comprising of various establishments such as residences, shops, and hospitals. All of the establishments will be designed and developed to float on shallow water. The project is expected to cost about USD1 billion.

Dutch Docklands stated the floating city will be reachable within 10 minutes by boat from Male’ City and will be large enough to house 20,000 people. It will be designed in a pattern similar to brain coral and consist of 5,000 floating units including houses, restaurants, shops and schools, with canals running in between.

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