The Kindergarten Syndrome
Several cases of suspected child abuse happened in kindergartens in China recently, undermining the already inadequate trust between parents and kindergartens. The number of kids that went to kindergartens increased by nearly 15 million between 2010 and 2016. Despite the thriving demand for pre-primary education, the admittance threshold for kindergarten teachers, who are usually poorly educated and incompetent, is very low. Additionally, the turnover rates of kindergarten teachers are high given their low incomes and heavy workloads.
The supply could hardly keep pace with the soaring demand, but the imbalance has not pushed up the salaries of kindergarten teachers, who are the core resource of the early childhood education industry. What caused the basic rule of the market to fail? What was the root cause of the mismatch of resources?
Foshan: Chinese Manufacturing Upgrading
To understand the Chinese manufacturing industry, one has to study the development of Foshan. Foshan is not rich in natural resources, nor is it a provincial capital or a special administrative region. Foshan, which has achieved endogenous growth over the past three decades of reform and opening-up, is regarded a wind vane of the domestic manufacturing industry.
Foshan began preparations for industrial restructuring and upgrade before the global financial crisis in 2008. Through process transformation, automation, and informatization, the Foshan manufacturing industry is shaking off labels of “copycat, cheap, and low-end” and presenting itself as a sample of high-end manufacturing in China. Success for Foshan manufacturing’s industrial transformation and upgrade would mean a success for a shift in the nature of the driver of China’s economic growth over the next three decades.
June Life’s Equity Disputes
June Life Insurance Co., Ltd. (June Life) has always been full of stories: in its 11 years of history, June Life has been renamed twice, and has had three generations of leaders and 12 equity transfers. Moreover, its shareholder sued China Insurance Regulatory Commission and its executive openly challenged regulators. Continuous equity disputes made it a hot topic of the industry.
Various chaos and predicaments that haunted private capital-backed June Life, are common among many private capital-backed insurance companies. Resolving the corporate governance failure and even impasse confronting June Life has become an urgent task facing company shareholders and management, as well as regulatory authorities.
Offline Battle Between Alipay and WeChat
Alipay, which was overrun by WeChat’s aggressive growth over the past two years, staged a comeback in 2017. As Alipay’s market share in the mobile payment market rose from 54 percent in the first quarter to 54.5 percent in the second quarter, the war over mobile payment, once dominated by social relations, entered a new stage wherein in-depth services rule.
Both Alipay and WeChat are determined to win the offline mobile payment battle because of its significance as a portal for users and merchants. Also, the market share of Alipay is of great significance to Ant Financial, which has been preparing for a public listing. The payment business contributed to 67 percent of Ant Financial’s estimated total valuation of up to $75 billion.
Hunan Satellite TV Dethroned
Hunan Satellite TV, once the most marketized and reform-minded station in China’s television industry, was the only provincial-level TV station that could compete with the state-run China Central Television. However, the programs it launched in recent years failed to repeat its past glory.
Hunan Satellite TV, which faces many challenges right now, is a microcosm of the Chinese television industry. Tightening regulation, loss of talent, and the rise of the Internet have caused television stations to experience constant struggles. TV stations have become more conservative in that they lack the creativity to launch new variety shows and can only roll out sequels instead. Programs offered by various TV stations have become increasingly homogenous.