China’s Household Debt: A Grey Rhino?
China’s household leverage ratio rose from 47.4 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 48.6 percent in the third quarter. By the end of the third quarter, loans granted to Chinese families totaled 39.1 trillion yuan, up 23.2 percent year-on-year, far above the growth rate of 12.5 percent for overall bank loans. Meanwhile, housing loans accounted for a large percentage of aggregate household lending, and part of non-housing loans, mainly short-term consumption loans, also ended up in the real estate industry.
The structure of China’s household debt has undergone major changes. The rapid rise in the household leverage ratio has led to higher risks. Given that many Chinese residents turn to private lending or borrow from relatives and friends in order to buy homes, only considering bank loans may underestimate the debt burden Chinese families feel and the debt risks they face.
TB Epidemic Sweeps Through Middle School
Taojiang No. 4 Middle School, a municipal-level key middle school in Yiyang City, Hunan Province, suffered an outbreak of tuberculosis in mid-November 2017. Class 364 with 97 students preparing for the 2018 College Entrance Examination was most severely affected.
How did this epidemic occur in the first place? Students who had been infected recalled that the germs sneaked into the class in July 2016. Due to a lack of epidemic prevention knowledge, excessive pursuit of “college enrollment rate,” and an attempt to understate tuberculosis incidence, an epidemic which could have been avoided ultimately got out of control and swept through the whole class and even the whole school.
Challenges of Unmanned Vehicles From Lab to Public Roads
Waymo--Alphabet’s self-driving car division--is launching a trial of an autonomous self-driving taxi service with no human on board in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a massive step toward the driverless future Waymo has been pursuing since starting this project in 2009. This launch brings up a host of unanswered questions about the details and practical elements of such a service.
In December 2015, Waymo launched as a stand-alone company under the umbrella of Alphabet, demonstrating Google’s bets on unmanned driving. Unlike Waymo pursuing fully driverless cars, GM, BMW, and Volkswagen, envision a future where today’s driver-assistance systems gradually evolve into more sophisticated self-driving software, with human drivers intervening less and less frequently over time.
Returning to First Rank: No Easy Path for Luzhou Laojiao
Luzhou Laojiao, which ranked among top 3 in the Chinese baijiu liquor industry between 1998 and 2009, dropped off the top 3 list afterwards. Over the past three years, the company managed to return to a growth track through organizational reform and by streamlining its sales channels and price system.
Wang Hongbo, board secretary of Luzhou Laojiao, recently told Caijing in an exclusive interview that management of the company was basically satisfied with the performance. However, Luzhou Laojiao, although its product structure improved and sales channels were refined, still has a long way to go compared with KweiChow Moutai and Wuliangye.
Implementation of Family Doctor System Faces Hindrances
The new round of healthcare reform in China has prompted the implementation of the Family Doctor System to reach full swing in 2017. As the year ends, “good news” about family doctor subscription rates were frequently heard. Many regions claimed that they have completed their tasks ahead of schedule and surpassed the set targets.
However, Caijing found that the implementation of the Family Doctor System was restrained by factors including human resources shortages, uneven distribution of medical resources, and lack of incentives and competition. These restrictions have greatly hindered the realization of the vision of “Community clinics handling small diseases while first-class hospitals treat serious diseases.”