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News from China
China overtakes US to have world’s largest middle class
14th October 2015

 China’s middle class has overtaken the United States’ to become the world’s largest, Credit Suisse said yesterday in its latest report on global wealth.
Asia will be the scene for the greatest expansion of the world’s middle class, it predicted.
The Swiss bank said that with 109 million adults “this year, the Chinese middle class for the first time outnumbered” that in the US at 92 million.
While the number of middle class worldwide grew last year at a slower pace than the wealthy, it “will continue to expand in emerging economies overall, with a lion’s share of that growth to occur in Asia,” Credit Suisse Chief Executive Tidjane Thiam said in a statement accompanying the bank’s annual Global Wealth Report.
“As a result, we will see changing consumption patterns as well as societal changes as, historically, the middle class has acted as an agent of stability and prosperity,” he added.
The report used a floor for the middle class as having wealth double the annual medium income for their country.
While wealth may still be mostly concentrated in Europe and the US, “the growth of wealth in emerging markets has been most impressive, including a fivefold rise in China since the beginning of the century,” Thiam said
China now accounts for a fifth of the world population, while holding nearly 10 percent of the global wealth.
Overall, the report found that global wealth fell by nearly 5 percent in the year to mid-2015 to US$250 trillion due a strengthening of the US dollar in which income is compared.
However if currency effects are stripped out, wealth continued to expand at the trend rate since the beginning of the century.

Source: Shanghai Daily
Antitrust draft for auto sector on cards
13th October 2015

 The first draft of an antitrust guideline for the automobile sector in China is expected to be finished by the end of October, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.
In addition to policy guidelines on monopoly violations, the draft, to be reviewed by the Anti-Monopoly Commission under the State Council by June next year, will also cover price-fixing violations by car makers selling products online.
With the rise of retailers such as Alibaba and JD.com, consumers are looking for better deals online, and cars are no exception. This has caused controversy as it is unclear what is classed as fair play.
Concerns abound over the possibility that websites will facilitate price fixing, and, thus, impede market fairness.
China’s antitrust law enforcement has been actively restricting price fixing in the automobile industry this year. Dongfeng Nissan was fined 123.3 million yuan (US$19.45 million) last month on price fixing charges. Mercedes-Benz was fined 350 million yuan in April on similar issues. In total, two billion yuan of monopoly-related fines were issued in the auto sector this year.

Source: Shanghai Daily
Reform for yuan to be in SDR
12th October 2015

CHINA will continue to push ahead financial reforms with the hope that its currency can be included in the special drawing rights basket later this year, an official said.
Yi Gang, deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, made the remarks at the International Monetary Fund annual talks held in Lima, Peru, according to a statement on the website of the central bank on Saturday.
The IMF is expected to assess the possible inclusion of the yuan before the year end.
China has opened its interbank bond market and forex market to overseas financial institutions and has been promoting data transparency, following SDR requirements, Yi said.
The PBOC has further freed the yuan exchange rate through changes to the central parity rate mechanism to make the exchange rate more flexible, he said.
China will continue with its stable monetary policies, he said.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily
Chinese buyers spend big money shopping online
9th October 2015

CHINESE consumers of luxury products are spending increasingly big money online as growing use of smartphones makes Internet shopping ever easier, according to a new industry report.
The report, by auditor KPMG, Chinese e-retailer Mei.com and Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo, analyzed survey responses from more than 10,000 luxury consumers.
Forty-five percent said they purchased most of their luxury items online. The maximum amount most felt comfortable paying online for a single item was 4,200 yuan (US$661), more than double the figure in 2014, the first time this research was undertaken.
“The smartphone is the most commonly used device for retail; we expect mobile commerce expenditure to soon far exceed the PC Internet platform, as Chinese consumers become more sophisticated,” said Egidio Zarrella, clients and innovation partner at KPMG China.
The average expenditure was 28 percent higher than in 2014. Chinese consumers are now spending around 2,300 yuan in each luxury transaction.
The top driver for purchasing online remains pricing. However, close to a third of the respondents had made luxury online purchases at the full, non-discounted price. The report’s authors said this was an important development as factors including product origin and uniqueness are starting to impact more on purchases.
“Price is becoming less of a driver. But value remains important as customers are well informed about global prices,” said Thibault Villet, CEO of Mei.com.
 

Source: Shanghai Daily

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