December’s Forum on China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has been and gone, and the eagerly-awaited list of numbers has been released, digested, and analysed. China’s commitment of US$60 billion in financing for development across Africa is triple the amount pledged at the last summit three years ago, according to several mainstream media reports. Other calculations put this figure at closer to a 50% increase in financial commitment. And, while it is this magic number that has since hogged the limelight, China’s important second policy toward Africa was released too.
“It’s one small step for WeBank, one giant step for financial reform” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the launch of the country’s first online-only bank, a joint venture headed by Tencent Holdings Limited, best-known outside China for its popular instant messaging and social networking app, WeChat. WeBank is the first private bank to pilot online operations after becoming one of six institutions that were granted licences to do so last year.
Groot Constantia Wine Estate is shrouded in mist as I drive towards its tasting room, the lush grounds glistening in the drizzle. A man in a red rain jacket strides toward the whitewashed building. “He jiu! He jiu!” – Let’s drink! – he calls behind him, enunciating the Mandarin tones. He is followed closely by fifteen bright-eyed Chinese tourists in an assortment of rainbow-coloured jackets. Heads swivelling left and right, taking in their surroundings, they head through a green Cape Dutch door. Continue reading
While China’s anti-corruption campaign has undeniably contributed to the country’s recent economic slowdown – particularly where real estate and luxury goods like wine are concerned – its long-term effects on the economy are still up for debate.
One relatively pessimistic view of the changes to come was published in The Wall Street Journal‘s China Real Time Report in the form of a graph illustrating projected changes in China’s GDP based on improvement in corruption perception index. Continue reading