CBN Special丨China Business 2021 in Recap

China Business Now李莹亮,见习记者张然 2021-12-31 20:33


Hello everyone, welcome to CBN Special. Today is the last day of 2021. In this episode, we have selected ten of the most important events in China’s economy and society over the past year which had tremendous impacts on ourselves and the world. Sit back and take a listen.

1. CPC celebrated its 100th year anniversary


China held a grand ceremony on July 1 to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said there would be no New China without the CPC, which profoundly transformed the nation. Xi announced that China has realized the first centenary goal – building a moderately prosperous society in all respects – when he delivered an important speech at the gathering. 

In November, the CPC held its sixth plenum and adopted a key resolution summarising its 100 year history and enshrined Xi’s role as leader, as well as determine the party’s direction for the next few decades. This pivotal document is only the third of its kind since the party’s foundation in 1921. 



2. China’s action in responding to climate change


In 2021, biological diversity and climate change are two of the key words of the year too. In October, the COP15 on Biological Diversity was held in China’s Kunming city, adopting the “Kunming Declaration” calling for action to slow the loss of the world’s biodiversity. And one month later, COP26 began in Glasgow, Scotland. The climate conference finalized detailed implementation plans for the Paris Agreement. China and the U.S. signed a joint declaration to combat climate change.



3. Power crunch and electricity price reform


In line with China’s “30-60” carbon emission goals, Beijing finally rolled out electricity price reform as the central government tries to tackle an energy crunch. The country’s top economic planner has liberalised pricing for electricity generated from coal and that industrial and commercial users will all have to buy from the market. The floating range of the market-based electricity transaction prices are adjusted to a range of 20 percent up or down. The NDRC also requires local governments to prioritise supply of low-cost power for residents and agriculture.

China has set a binding “dual-control” target for overall energy consumption and to lower energy intensity by 13.5 percent in its latest five-year plan through 2025 in September. However, a new tone of pragmatism has been set for China’s decarbonization drive in 2021 following wide-scale power shortages across the country in the latter half of the year.

The top leadership made it clear in December’s central economic work conference that while unwavering efforts will be made to meet last year’s pledges of peaking carbon emissions before 2030 and attaining carbon neutrality by 2060, the goals won’t be achieved overnight and there should be a pragmatic approach to push them forward.





4. Global pandemic and China’s zero-tolerance strategy


In the beginning of 2021, there were high hopes that with the release of the COVID-19 vaccines, our life, economy and investment will return to normal. But as the new variant Delta and then Omicron emerged one after another, hope turned to dread.

As of December 24, there were more than 276 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 5.37 million deaths from the pandemic worldwide. The Omicron variant had spread to at least 110 countries and regions, causing many countries to hit all-time high in number of infections. 

Despite sporadic flare-up over the year, China has sticked to its zero-tolerance strategy and try hard to keep the virus away of country to safeguard people’s health. The Chinese mainland has not had any local transmission of the Omicron variant.

As the global entered the second year of the pandemic that changed everything, China has largely brought the domestic spread of the infectious disease under control with its “zero tolerance” policy despite sporadic flare-ups over the year, and maintains that the strategy has been effective to deal with the more contagious Delta and Omicron varients.

China has provided more than 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine to over 120 countries and international organizations, making it the world's top vaccine donor. The WHO estimates that around 8.6 billion doses of vaccines had been administered globally by December 23. However, there has been a severe disparity in vaccine distribution between rich and poor countries.




5. Economic recovery slows in the second half year


In March, China set its economic growth rate at 6 percent for 2021. In the first quarter, China’s GDP grew by almost 20 percent year-on-year, as manufacturing, auto sales and consumer spending rebounded to pre-pandemic level due to government stimulus. China’s export expanded 60 percent in the first quarter as global demands recovered from the pandemic. 

But starting from the second quarter, China’s recovery slowed. The second quarter GDP growth dropped to 7.9 percent year-on-year, and third quarter expanded less than 5 percent, as parts of the country entered a power crunch because of a shortage of coal and local governments rushed to meet central government’s carbon emission targets. 

The official manufacturing PMI steadily declined from March, and even contracted to below 50 in September and October, the first time since the pandemic began. The economy was hit by rising raw material costs, production bottleneck and power rationing. China's factory activity in December unexpectedly expanded again. The official PMI edged up to 50.3 in December from 50.1 in November.

On the other hand, China’s factory gate prices grew at their fastest pace for 26 years. October’s PPI rose by 13.5 percent from a year earlier. The November number dropped slightly to 12.9 percent because of a government crackdown on commodity prices and ease of the power crisis. Growth of export in November went down to 21.4 percent, less than October’s 27 percent growth. Yet import unexpectedly surge 32 percent to $254 billion, suggesting consumers demands are rebounding.

China’s central bank cut reserve requirement ratio, or cash banks  must hold as reserve by 50 basis points in December to bolster the real economy, releasing 1.2 trillion yuan in liquidity. This is the second cut this year. 






6.  Property sector cools under the “three red lines”


2021 was the year China Evergrande Group became a household name for all the wrong reasons.

In the latter half of this year, China’s second-largest developer by sales has been locked in an intensifying battle to keep the lights on. Evergrande’s liquidity crisis stems from slumping sales in a cooling property market amid the central government’s ongoing clampdown on real estate speculation and excessive borrowing, including the August 2020 introduction of the “three red lines” policy, which curbs borrowing in the troubled sector. 

China has missed its customary "gold and silver months" for home sales this year, which are normally in September and October. Several policy curbs have been eased and the financing environment is looking brighter. In November, new and pre-owned home prices in China's major cities continued to grow at a slower pace, and the latest top-level meeting's stance to promote the healthy development of the property sector is expected to further stabilize market expectations. 





7. Regulatory storm targeted big techs


For Chinese tech giants, 2021 will be remembered as a harrowing year of regulation, where government penalties and a range of tough rules hampered the sector’s performance and resulted in some big losses of market value.

Regulators had a range of concerns, from specific targets like “fan culture” and online insurance sales to broader issues like clamping down on anti-competitive behaviour and the disorderly expansion of capital, which is in line with the country’s strategic goal of achieving “common prosperity” — a phrase that has been frequently mentioned by the top leadership since last year. 

In April, Alibaba was fined a record 2.8 billion yuan, while dozen were called in by anti-trust authorities. Regulators are trying to rectify anti monopoly practices, Didi, Tencent, Baidu and many others are fined for exclusive contracts and other irregularities.

In November, China inaugurated the National Anti-monopoly Bureau, marking a new chapter of the country's intensifying efforts to rein in companies' monopolistic practices to maintain free competition of the market.







8.  The “double reduction” and third-child policy


In September 2021, Chinese authorities banned for-profit private tutoring institutions teaching school curriculum, in an effort to ease pressure on children and parents. Offline tutoring are not allow to give online tutoring courses. Also, Beijing stipulated that all minor should only play video games for three hours a week in designated time. 

The central government revised the country's population policy by allowing couples to give birth to three children, and at the same time, pledging to invest more resources to improve parenting and reduce the cost of education. The new policy, meted out just prior to June 1, the International Children's Day, is is taken after a massive census conducted in late 2020, which showed that 12 million babies were born last year, marking a steep drop from the 18 million born in 2016. 

Local governments have also been exploring measures to encourage childbirth, including extending maternity leave, giving parental leaves, cutting taxes for parents, and setting up public childcare services.

今年的7月底,由国家中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《关于进一步减轻义务教育阶段学生作业负担和校外培训负担的意见》,简称“双减”。“双减”政策落地已有5个月,各地纷纷出台减负实施细则,大幅压减学科类培训机构、提高课内服务质量、推进考试改革、加大校外培训机构监管整治力度,成效显著。



今年5月份“七普”公布的数据里,2020年全年出生人口为1200万人,相比于2019年,下降了18%。 有些城市出生人口的降幅甚至达到了10%至30%,虽然二胎政策开放,出生率也难以大幅上涨。近日发布的《中国统计年鉴2021》首次透露了人口出生数据。根据年鉴,2020年全国人口出生率为8.52‰,首次跌破10‰,创下了数十年来的新低。

9. Global Development Initiative and 20 years in WTO


In 2021, 50 years after the People's Republic of China restored its lawful seat at the UN, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative in his speech to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September, saying the country remains committed to promoting multilateralism and building a community with a shared future for mankind – in a time of crisis and great uncertainties.

2021 also marks China's 20 years in the World Trade Organization. As a WTO member, China fulfilled all its WTO accession commitments by 2010, and has also exceeded these goals by a mile. Over the past 20 years, China's average annual contribution to global economic growth has been nearly 30 percent. The total level of tariffs has fallen sharply from 15.3 percent to less than 7.5 percent, well below the 9.8 percent promised on WTO accession. China will continue to uphold the multilateral trading system, even as protectionism and unilateralism rise across the globe.

50年前,第二十六届联合国大会以压倒性多数通过第2758号决议,决定恢复中华人民共和国在联合国的一切权利,承认中华人民共和国政府代表是中国在联合国的唯一合法代表。9月21日,习近平主席以视频方式出席第七十六届联合国大会一般性辩论,并发表题为《坚定信心 共克时艰 共建更加美好的世界》的重要讲话。习近平主席在讲话中强调必须复苏经济、推动全球发展,并明确提出构建全球发展命运共同体。


10. Exploring the universe


During 2021 China successfully launched an orbiter and rover to Mars, the first nation to sent both in one try. Zhurong made it on the surface of Mars on May 15, making China the world’s second country to send a rover on the Red Planet besides the US. 

China’s Shenzhou 13 Spacecraft docked with its space station core module Tianhe in October, and the crew are staying in space for six month, China’s longest manned mission ever. It also includes the country’s second “Taikonaut” Wang Yaping, who became the first Chinese female to walk in space. 



And that brings us to the end of today’s program as we looked back on China’s financial headlines in 2021. Wish you a better, stronger, and healthier 2022. Thanks for joining us and Happy New Year.


Executive Editor: Sonia YU

Editor: LI Yanxia

Host: Stephanie LI

Writer: Stephanie LI, ZHANG Ran

Producer: XIANG Xiufang

Sound Editor: ZHANG Ran, Andy YUAN

Graphic Designer: ZHENG Wenjing, LIAO Wanni

Co-produced by 21st Century Business Herald Dept. of Overseas News & SFC Audio/Video Dept.

Presented by SFC

编委:  于晓娜







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(作者:李莹亮,见习记者张然 编辑:于晓娜)